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Shrila B.V. Narayana MaharajShrila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami (birth name: Narayana Tiwari, February 16, 1921, Tivaripur — December 29, 2010, Puri) is a Hindu Vaishnava religious figure, theologian, writer, senior student and successor of Shrila Bhaktipragyana Keshava Gosvami (1898-1968); founder of the "International Pure Bhakti Yoga Society." Being in old age Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami traveled around the world more than 30 times, having been preaching Gaudiya Vaishnavism in many countries of the world. According to data for 2002, the Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami had more than 40,000 students.

Шрила Бхактиведанта Нараяна Госвами (имя при рождении — Нараяна Тивари; 16 февраля 1921, Тиварипур — 29 декабря 2010, Пури) — индуистский вайшнавский религиозный деятель, богослов, писатель, старший ученик и преемник Шрила Бхактипрагьяна Кешавы Госвами (1898-1968); основатель «Международного общества чистой бхакти-йоги». Пребывая в преклонном возрасте Бхактиведанта Нараяна Госвами объехал вокруг света более 30 раз, побывав с проповедью гаудия-вайшнавизма во многих странах мира. По данным на 2002 год, у Бхактиведанты Нараяны Госвами было более 40 000 учеников.

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A108-AI

malaysia_vyasasana.jpgShri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja
April 17, 2007
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

I am very happy to see so many devotees, not only from Malaysia, but also from Singapore, Indonesia, America, India, and the Philippines and other places. The purpose of our preaching is to present the instructions given by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to Shrila Rupa Gosvami. We should know the purpose, the aim and object, of our bhajana and sadhana, and then we must practice the devotional activities that lead us to that goal.

If you do not know the real goal of your life - where you must ultimately go - then where will you go? Therefore, we should know the aim and object of our life, and the process by which we can attain it. We can understand all these truths from the literature of Shrila Rupa Gosvami, and especially from Shrila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura. Shrila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura has written:

aradhyo bhagavan vrajesa-tanayas tad-dhama vrindavanam
ramya kacid upasana vraja-vadhu-vargena ya kalpita
srimad-bhagavatam pramanam-amalam prema pumartho mahan
sri-caitanya mahaprabhor-matam-idam tatradaro nah parah

[The Supreme Lord, the son of Nanda Maharaja, and also His transcendental abode, Shri Vrindavan-dhama, are my worshipful objects. The most excellent method of worshipping Krishna is that which was adopted by the gopis, the young wives of Vraja. Shrimad-Bhagavatam, which is evidence of this, is the flawless and most authoritative scripture, and Krishna-prema is the fifth and highest achievement of human life - beyond mundane religiosity, economic development, sense gratification and impersonal liberation. This is the opinion of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. We have supreme regard for this conclusion."]

Shri Krishna, who is the son of Nanda Baba and Mother Yasoda, is our topmost worshipful object. There is one Krishna. When He is in Vrindavan He thinks that He is the son of Nanda Baba and Mother Yasoda. He thinks, "I am Radha-kanta, the beloved of Shrimati Radhika, and Rasa-vihari (the central enjoyer of the Rasa Dance)."

In Vrindavan He has a flute, a peacock feather, and a cow-herding stick; but when He goes to Mathura and Dvaraka, He gives these up and His mood is different. The Krishna of Mathura and Dvaraka has a different mood from the Krishna of Vrindavan. Now He thinks, "I am the son of Vasudeva Maharaja and Devaki." Though He is one, He has many moods. Dvarakadhisa or Mathuradhisa Krishna is not really the original Supreme Lord, (Svayam Bhagavan). They are not Rasika-sekara (the topmost enjoyer of transcendental loving mellows) or Rasa-vihari. Only Radha-kanta and Rasa-vihari can perform rasa-lila. Without Krishna's peacock feather and flute, He cannot dance with the gopis.

Aradhyo bhagavan vrajesa tanayas, tad dhama Vrindavanm. This Krishna never leaves Vrindavan, and His sweet pastimes can only be performed there. In Dvaraka, Mathura and Ayodhya, there is no rasa dance. In those places Krishna has no flute or peacock feather.

Radha and Krishna - that is, Vrsabhanu-nandini Radhika, Nanda-nandana and Radha-kanta Krishna - do not leave Vrindavan for even a moment.

We see that Radha and Krishna met in Kuruksetra. Who are They? They are not really Vrajendra-nandana Krishna or Vrsabhanu-nandini Radhika. A manifestation of Krishna, that is, Vasudeva-nandana, and a manifestation of Vrsabhanu-nandini, that is Samyogini-Radha, met in Kuruksetra. There are so many deep conclusive philosophical truths in this regard, and from time to time I have told the pastimes in relation to these truths.

What is the nature of the gopis love for Krishna? Their love is so strong that they can take the heart of Krishna and control it. Rukmini, Satyabhama, and the other16,108 queens were all very beautiful, marvelous, and possessed all good qualities, but they could not take the heart of Krishna and control it. Only the gopis can do this, and among the gopis, Shrimati Radhika can do so still more. In this way, the mood of the gopis in worshiping and serving Krishna is the highest.

There is one topic that Shrila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura has not included in this verse, which is that Radha-dasyam, service as a maid servant of Shrimati Radhika, is higher that the worship of Radha-kanta, Vrajendra-nandana Shri Krishna. Shri Krishna bestows Radha-dasyam upon whomever He is pleased.

Shrimad-Bhagavatam pramanam amalam. The best evidence of the above truths are given in Shrimad-Bhagavatam. In all other Puranas, Vedic scriptures and Upanisads there are some worldly considerations, but this Shrimad-Bhagavatam is the siddhanta of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Here we can realize our goal to serve Krishna, and more than that, Radha-dasyam.

Once we determine that the goal of life is Radha-dasyam, we should begin from sraddha (and gradually come to anartha nirvriti (becoming free from unwanted habits and thoughts), nistha (steadiness), ruci (taste for bhakti), asakti (attachment to Krishna)and so on. Upadesamrta states that those who want to do bhajana should first of all control their speech, mind, anger, tongue, belly and genitals. A person who can control these six urges is jagat-guru (guru of the entire world); he is a gosvami (controller of the senses). The Six Gosvamis of Vrindavan are Shrila Rupa Gosvami, Shrila Sanatana Gosvami, Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, Shrila Jiva Gosvami, Shrila Gopala Bhatta Gosvami and Shri Bhatta Raghunatha Gosvami. The Seventh Gosvami is Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. Nowadays many sannyasis call themselves 'gosvami', but this is wrong. Gosvami means one who can control the six urges.

Now we should understand the meaning of sraddha (faith in the words of Guru, sadhu, and Vedic scriptures). We have heard that sraddha is the smallest fraction of bhakti, but we should know what bhakti is.

Shrimad-Bhagavatam states that after the disappearance of Krishna from this world, Kali Yuga (the Age of quarrel and hypocrisy) began. Many Rsis and Maharsis (sages and saints were very fearful of this Iron Age of Kali-yuga. They went to Naimisaranya, where Shri Suta Gosvami, the disciple of Shrila Sukadeva Gosvami, was also present. The assembled sages asked him, "O, Suta Gosvami, Kali Yuga is coming. In this kali-yuga life is very short, and the mind is always disturbed with so many problems.

prayenalpayusah sabhya
kalav asmin yuge janah
mandah sumanda-matayo
manda-bhagya hy upadrutah

["O learned one, in this iron age of Kali men have but short lives. They are quarrelsome, lazy, misguided, unlucky and, above all, always disturbed. (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 1.1.10)]

The sages requested Suta Gosvami, "We are very unfortunate. So many problems are coming and thus our minds are always disturbed. You know all the Vedic scriptures. If we are qualified to hear, please tell us how our souls can become satisfied:

bhurini bhuri-karmani
srotavyani vibhagasah
atah sadho 'tra yat saram
samuddhrtya manisaya
bruhi bhadraya bhutanam
yenatma suprasidati

[There are many varieties of scriptures, and in all of them there are many prescribed duties, which can be learned only after many years of study in their various divisions. Therefore, O sage, please select the essence of all these scriptures and explain it for the good of all living beings, that by such instruction their hearts may be fully satisfied. (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 1.1.11)

Suta Gosvami became very happy and said, "You have reminded me of the sweet pastimes of Krishna." Then he offered obeisances to his Gurudeva:

yam pravrajantam anupetam apeta-krtyam
dvaipayano viraha-katara ajuhava
putreti tan-mayataya taravo 'bhinedus
tam sarva-bhuta-hrdayam munim anato 'smi

[Shrila Suta Gosvami said: Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto that great sage who can enter the hearts of all. When he went away to take up the renounced order of life , leaving home without undergoing reformation by the sacred thread or the ceremonies observed by the higher castes, his father, Vyasadeva, fearing separation from him, cried out, "O my son!" Indeed, only the trees, which were absorbed in the same feelings of separation, echoed in response to the begrieved father. (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.2)]

He prayed, "Gurudeva, you know everything. As Krishna knows everything about our hearts, you are also everywhere and also in our hearts. I offer obeisances unto you. I am going to tell harikatha now so please inspire me." Suta Gosvami then said:

sa vai pumsam paro dharmo
yato bhaktir adhoksaje
ahaituky apratihata
yayatma suprasidati

[The supreme occupation for all humanity is that by which men can attain to loving devotional service unto the transcendent Lord. Such devotional service must be unmotivated and uninterrupted to completely satisfy the self. (Shrimad-Bhagavatam. 1.2.6)]

Here there is one thing to remember. Why did the sages not ask how one's self as this body can be happy? You should know why and the entire world should know why? The reason is not written or told anywhere in the world, except in Indian Vedic culture, and it is especially told in the Shrimad-Bhagavatam.

Sa vai pumsam paro dharmo. The original Supreme Lord is Krishna. Service to Him who is above our senses, continuously and without any worldly desires, is the supreme duty (parama dharma) of the soul.

The soul is the real self. This material body is nothing but a bag of urine, blood, puss and stool, but the soul and the Supersoul, Krishna are present there. If the soul leaves, at once the body will rot. It will be burnt or put in the earth. So the happiness of the body is therefore not the happiness of the soul. If the soul is happy, then the body is undoubtedly happy.

Shrila Rupa Gosvami has given the best definition of bhakti:

anyabhilasita sunyam
jnana karmadi anavritam
anukulyena krsnanusilanam
bhaktir uttama

["The cultivation of activities that are meant exclusively for the pleasure of Shri Krishna, or in other words, the uninterrupted flow of service to Shri Krishna, performed through all endeavours of the body, mind and speech, and through the expression of various spiritual sentiments (bhavas), which is not covered by jnana (knowledge aimed at impersonal liberation) and karma (reward-seeking activity), and which is devoid of all desires other than the aspiration to bring happiness to Shri Krishna, is called uttama-bhakti, pure devotional service." (Shri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu 1.1.11)]

Those of you who are children, and those of you who are young, you should always remember that one day you will have to become old. This is for certain. No scientist or doctor can stop your inevitable old age from coming. After sometime you will have to give up this body and what you have collected in this world. None of your relatives: father, daughter, son, mother, or wife - will go with you. Not a farthing will go with you.

Therefore, try to realize the soul, and the Supersoul, Krishna, in your heart. If you lose this opportunity of human life and are only engaged in collecting money, putting your whole energy into that, then you are more foolish than a donkey. Don't lose this precious life in which, by the grace of Gurudeva, we can realize Krishna. Don't be weak. You should work only to maintain your life, and try to give all your energy to Krishna Consciousness. Then, you can understand all these essential truths. Now you should hear.

Bhakti is very rare. Those who are very fortunate can have it. How?

bhaktis tu bhagavad-bhakta sangena parijayate
sat-sanga prapyate pumbhih sukrtaih purva sancitaih

["Bhakti becomes manifested by the association of the Lord's devotees. The association of devotees is obtained by previous accumulated piety." Brhan-naradiya Purana, 4.33]

If someone in his past thousands of lives has accumulated a great amount of pious activities (sukrti) in relation to Krishna or His associates, only then will he receive sadhu-sanga. Without sukrti, you will be unable to find an elevated and qualified, bona fide guru.

That sadhu will tell that without Guru your life will not be successful: "If you want to get rid of the pain of endless birth and death, if you want to be happy, if you want to have Krishna-prema, then you will have to go to a bona fide and very qualified guru:"

tasmad gurum prapadyeta
jijnasuh sreya uttamam
sabde pare ca nisnatam
brahmany upasamasrayam

[Therefore, any person who seriously desires real happiness must seek a bona fide spiritual master and take shelter of him by initiation. The qualification of the bona fide guru is that he has realized the conclusions of the scriptures by deliberation and is able to convince others of these conclusions. Such great personalities, who have taken shelter of the Supreme Godhead, leaving aside all material considerations, should be understood to be bona fide spiritual masters. (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 11.3.21)]

Some persons drink alcohol. Then, drunk and senseless they think, "I am the supreme master of this entire world," and in the meantime, while laying in the street completely senseless, their faces are taking a hot shower in the urine of a dog standing nearby. Some persons think that if we take eggs, meat and wine then we will be happy. What is the meaning of meat? ME-EAT. Whom you eat now will certainly eat you in the future. Don't take all these things.

The symptom of guru has been given in the above verse, beginning with tasmad gurum.

When a person realizes that this world is perishable with no real happiness, then they will take shelter of a realized and qualified guru. The above-mentioned verse states that a guru should be very expert in his knowledge of all the Vedic literatures, from beginning to end - Vedas, Upanisads, Puranas, Mahabharata, Ramayana and all others - so that he can remove the doubts of his disciples. He should have realization of the original Supreme Personality of Godhead Krishna. He must know krsna-tattva, jiva-tattva, and maya-tattva. He should know how Krishna is an ocean of rasa, and how He has inconceivable energies or powers, and how He is eternal, full of pleasure and knowledge. He must have realized all these truths and he must be detached from worldly sense gratification. He has controlled his anger, lust and all other urges. The guru goes everywhere, only to help the conditioned souls. These are the symptoms of guru.

I have not come for any other reason - not to collect money or anything else. I have come to invite you to Vrindavan for one month, so that you can attend Vraja Mandala Parikrama and hear the sweet pastimes of Krishna, and also to invite you to our Navadvipa Parikrama for seven days, where you will hear the sweet pastimes of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. If you come to Vrindavan or Navadvipa, you will get so much inspiration to do bhajana. All your anarthas (unwanted and degrading habits and thoughts) will automatically go away. You must come to Vraja Mandala Parikrama now. Navadvipa and Calcutta are very near to Malaysia. I see that only Doctor Paramesvari, Vijay Prabhu and a few other devotees have been coming recently, but in previous years so many were coming from Malaysia. I want to see all of you there.

Without Guru you cannot receive bhakti. This fact has especially been told in the Vedas:

yasya deve para bhaktir
yatha deve tatha gurau
tasyaite kathita hy arthah
prakasante mahatmana

["Anyone who has developed unflinching faith in the Lord and the spiritual master can understand the revealed scripture folded before Him." (Svetasvatara Upanisad 6.38)]

Those who have honor and supreme devotion to Lord Krishna, they should have the same mood, not less towards their Gurudeva. Always know who Gurudeva is:

saksad-dharitvena samasta-sastrair
uktas tatha bhavyata eva sadbhih
kintu prabhor yah priya eva tasya
vande guroh sri-caranaravindam

[All the scriptures proclaim Shri Gurudeva is saksat hari, the direct potency of Shri Hari, and is thus considered by saintly authorities to be His non-different representative. Because Shri Gurudeva is so dear to the Lord, being His confidential servitor (acintya-bhedabheda-prakasa-vigraha, the inconceivable different and non-different worshipable manifestation of the Lord), I offer prayers unto his lotus feet. (Shri Guruvastakam, verse 7)]

Haritvena, He is not Hari, Krishna, but he is His near and dear associate. Therefore, you should know that if Guru is happy, then Krishna is happy, and if Gurudeva is not happy, then Krishna is also not happy.

yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasado
yasyaprasadan na gatih kuto 'pi
dhyayam stuvams tasya yasas tri-sandhyam
vande guroh sri-caranaravindam

[Only by the mercy of Shri Gurudeva can one receive the mercy of Krishna; without his grace the living entities cannot make advancement nor be delivered. Meditating three times a day on the glories of Shri Gurudeva and reciting stava-stuti, I offer prayers unto his lotus feet. (Shri Guruvastakam, verse 8)]

If you disturb Gurudeva and he becomes angry, then even Krishna cannot help you. We can see this in the case of Durvasa Rsi. He committed an offense at the lotus feet of Ambarisa Maharaja, and therefore even Lord Narayana could not save him. Narayana told him to beg forgiveness from Ambarisa Maharaja.

So without Guru, we cannot have bhakti. What to say of ordinary persons and devotees, Krishna Himself accepted a Guru in this world. He accepted Bhaguri Rsi. Lord Ramacandra came and He accepted Visvamitra Muni as a Guru, and Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came and accepted Isvara Puripada as His Guru. Why did They do this? To teach, and be an example to all others.

It is stated in scriptures: Visrambhena guroh seva. Try to follow the orders of Gurudeva and serve him like a laukika sad-bandhu. Sad-bandhu means like a bosom friend or a worldly relative - like we serve our father, mother or brother.

For example, we can see in the Shrimad-Bhagavatam how Shri Narada Rsi told about his realizations to Shrila Vyasadeva. Vyasadeva is sakti-avesa avatara, a manifestation of Narayana. He was in a dilemma, and in the meantime his Guru Narada came to see him. Narada asked him, "Why are you unsatisfied?"
[Shrimati Syamarani was called on to speak about Narada's subsequent discussion with Vyasadeva, and then Shrila Narayana Maharaja continued with his class.]

vasudeve bhagavati
bhakti-yogah prayojitah
janayaty asu vairagyam
jnanam ca yad ahaitukam

["By rendering devotional service unto the Personality of Godhead, Shri Krishna, one immediately acquires causeless knowledge and detachment from the world. (Shrimad-Bhagavatam, 1.2.7)]

Vyasadeva's Gurudeva ordered him to enter in trance and witness Krishna's pastimes. On his Guru's order, Vyasadeva surrendered totally to Krishna and prayed, "O Lord Krishna, please give me realization of Your sweet childhood pastimes, youthful pastimes and all others as well." At once he saw the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Nanda Baba, Mother Yasoda, the gopis, the cows and all the other associates of Krishna. He saw Krishna's childhood pastimes. He saw how even though Krishna is full with unlimited potencies, He was bound by Mother Yasoda. Before and after this pastime, no one was able to bind Krishna in this way with the exception of Shrimati Radhika and the gopis. In this way, there are two Damodaras - Radha-Damodara and Yasoda-Damodara. We follow Radha- Damodara, yet Yasoda-Damodara is so important for us.

Shrila Vyasadeva also saw how Krishna killed Aghasura, Bakasura, Putana, Dhenukasura and so many other demons in Vrindavan, and then Kamsa, Canura, Mustika and all others in Mathura and Dvaraka.

He saw how Shri Krishna left Vrindavan and went to Mathura. He saw how later He sent Uddhava to Vrindavan. He said, "O Uddhava, go to Vrindavan and pacify My father and mother, and especially the gopis who cannot remain a moment without Me. I have promised that I am coming tomorrow or the day after. Only because of this are they able to maintain their lives. You should go there."

Shri Krishna wanted to send Uddhava so that Uddhava could be admitted into the same school where He had learned the art of love and affection. He was thinking, "Uddhava will learn from the gopis, and when he returns here, I will open My heart and tell how I am suffering in separation for Radhika, the gopis and all the Vrajavasis. The gopis can discuss amongst themselves, and especially they all pacify Shrimati Radhika. They are able to share their suffering but I cannot. So Uddhave should go."

Uddhava went to Vrindavan, but he was not admitted in the University of Prema (transcendental love), where the principal was Shrimati Radhika, and Lalita and Visakha were the professors of prema, raga, anuraga, mahabhava and so on.

The gopis asked Uddhava, "There are two kinds of love - one with selfishness, and one without. Those who want something in return for their love, from the persons they love, have selfish prema. They are likened to a beggar who goes to a house and says, "Radhe Radhe." After the resident gives a donation to that beggar, he will not stay there for one moment longer. Another analogy is that a student goes to a teacher; when his lessons are complete he does not stay with that teacher for one more day, and in the future he will not visit his teacher and inquire after his well being. He will not ask, 'O Gurudeva, how are you?" In a jungle there are many varieties of trees like pippal or banyan. Many birds make their nests and take the fruits of those trees. If those same trees become dry or burn, the birds will no longer remain there. Another analogy: A prostitute has affairs with many men. If anyone gives her money, she will show him so much love and affection, but when she has taken all of his money, that prostitute will kick him out."

These analogies may be likened to those persons who are always attached to worldly sense gratification. When one's wife is very beautiful, he will serve her and address her: "My dear wife." However, if she becomes ugly, he will take a second wife. This is selfishness.

The gopis told Uddhava, "Krishna loved without any selfishness, and we also love Him without any self interest, so how did this transcendental love and affection of Krishnas break? He left us and went to Mathura and now we are all weeping. Uddhava, can you tell us why He has done this to us?" Uddhava began to scratch his head. He could not give the gopis an answer, so they did not admit him into their school and he returned to Mathura.

All this is very sweet hari-katha. By hearing the sweet pastimes of Krishna, all tattva-jnana (knowledge of God, the living entities, the material and spiritual worlds, and pure love of God) will automatically manifest in your heart without any effort to attain it. You may know that even without all kinds of knowledge regarding Shri Krishna's Godhood and creation, so many persons - ladies, men and even monkeys -have gone to Vaikuntha. Even deer and others have been able to approach Krishna simply by hearing His sweet pastimes. You should all come here tomorrow, and I will tell you about the sweet pastimes of Krishna. After I depart from here, then you will become somewhat weak. I don't want you to become like this. Therefore I have come to remind you of the importance of hearing, chanting and reading about Shri Krishna's pastimes. If you always remember Krishna and Gurudeva, they will inspire you.

Gaura Premanande.

Transcriber: Sulata dasi
Typist: Vasanti dasi
Proof-reader: Krishna-kamini dasi
Editor: Syamarani dasi

A108-AI

tgm.jpgShri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja
Tota Gopnath Temple, Jagannath Puri, India
September 1993

When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu lived in the cave at Gambhira, He was always thinking of Krishna and weeping. He came to this world to taste radha-bhava, and His activities while in Gambira comprise a drop of the ocean He experienced. While living in Gambira He gave the deity of Gopinatha to Shrila Gadadhara Pandita and told him, "Today I will give you a very good thing. Will you accept it?"

Shrila Gadadhara Pandita replied, "Yes, why not? I'll keep it on my head."

In the mood of Radhika, Mahaprabhu began to search here and there in the sand. All of a sudden He touched the mukut (crown) of Gopinatha and told the others, "Take out the sand." He then placed Gopinatha in the lap of Gadadhara Pandita and said, "You should never leave Him."

Shrila Gadadhara Pandita built a hut there, and Mahaprabhu used to come daily to take darsana of Gopinatha. Whenever He went to Jagannatha Mandira and saw Subhadra and Baladeva, He did not experience very much pleasure. Rather, in front of Baladeva and His sister Subhadra He felt very shy and thought, "I have come to Kuruksetra." He was in the mood of Shrimati Radhika at Kuruksetra where, in great separation, She tried to bring Krishna (Jagannatha) to Vrindavan. In the mood of Shrimati Radhika, Mahaprabhu did not like to see Krishna in Kuruksetra, because all His associates, along with all His queens of Dvaraka, were there, and so many horses and elephants were there. There was no chance for Radhika to be with Him in private, and this is why Mahaprabhu always felt intense separation in Puri. In this way, being in Gambhira was like being in Vrindavan and feeling separation for Krishna in Dvaraka.

The mood of separation was always present in Mahaprabhu in Puri. When Radhika went to Kuruksetra, She did not take rest with Krishna. Rather, She was given a separate accommodation in a tent, and Krishna lived with the Yadavas and His queens. When He went to His own accommodation, She felt great separation.

In Puri, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu sometimes saw the sea as Yamuna and jumped in it, but there He wept still more, because Krishna would disappear. Sometimes He became like a tortoise, His limbs drawn into His body, and sometimes the joints of His hands and legs would become separated by eight inches, remaining connected only by skin. At that time He sometimes appeared like a ghost. When the devotees would see Him in that condition, they would all become fearful and begin to weep for Him. All this was due to separation from Krishna, and therefore, to get some relief, Mahaprabhu would come to Gopinatha. Seeing Gopinatha, He felt, "Oh, I have come to Vrindavan. My Prananatha (life of My soul) is here." In this way His tears of separation would subside.

On one side of Gopinatha we see Shrimati Radhika, on the other side Lalita, and both are black like Krishna. Being in the mood of Radhika, when Mahaprabhu used to see Gopinatha, He (She) became one in mood with Krishna and became black. Radha becomes black by seeing Her Prananatha and becoming absorbed in Him. She sometimes takes the flute of Krishna and begins to play it, and in this way also, She becomes black. This is the mood of Tota Gopinatha with Radhika and Lalita. Then, in the mood of Shrimati Radhika, Krishna becomes Mahaprabhu, and Lalita becomes Shri Svarupa Damodara.

You can see that Gopinatha is sometimes standing and sometimes sitting. Although you do not see any other vigraha (deity) sitting, He sits. Some say that when Shrila Gadadhara Pandita became old, he could no longer offer garlands to Gopinatha, and therefore Gopinatha sat down. But this is not actually true. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu disappeared at the age of 48, and Gadadhara Pandita was only one year younger. He left this world a year after Mahaprabhu disappeared, and thus there was no chance for him to become old. When Mahaprabhu disappeared, following the order of Mahaprabhu, he did not leave the worship of Gopinatha. Always feeling separation, he quickly became lean and thin and could not even stand to give a garland to Gopinatha. Seeing Gadadhara Pandita in such a state, Gopinatha sat down for him, and Gadadhara Pandita continued to offer the garlands along with his tears.

There was a bhakta of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu named Mamu Thakura who used to render various services to Him. Soon after Mahaprabhu disappeared, Shrila Gadadhara Pandita also disappeared, and at that time his disciple Mamu Thakura was appointed by the government of Puri to serve Gopinatha. He was old – about 84 years – and he could not properly offer garlands to Gopinatha. Some say that perhaps because Mamu Thakura could not give garlands to Gopinatha in his old age, Gopinatha sat down for him. Actually, however, Gopinatha sat only for Shrimati Radhika. It is a common thing for Shrimati Radhika that Krishna stands up and sits down for Her.

Question: Some people say these deities are Lalita and Radhika, and some say they are Lalita and Visakha. Are both opinions correct according to their own moods?

Shrila Naryana Gosvami Maharaja: On Gopinatha's left side is Shrimati Radhika and on His right is Shrimati Lalita devi. As Gadadhara Pandita, Shrimati Radhika was always watching Krishna, in the form of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, to see whether or not He was correctly playing Her role. In this way, it is Shrimati Radhika who is there with Tota Gopinatha.

Question: Before coming to Puri, Mahaprabhu knew Svarupa Damodara in His early years in Navadvipa? They were school friends?

Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: Both Svarupa Damodara and Gadadhara Pandita, and also Murari Pandita, were with Him. They all grew up together. Jagadananda Pandita, Mukunda, and Vasu Gosh were also His friends from childhood.

Question: You have said that of the four dhamas of Mahaprabhu, Navadvipa is considered the best. I could not understand what you said.

Shrila Naryana Gosvami Maharaja: At first He was in Navadvipa, from childhood up to kisora-lila, reading and writing. When He was 24 years old He left His home and came to Jagannatha Puri, and there He gave mercy to Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya. After that He went to South India, and there He met Raya Ramananda at Godavari. Raya Ramananda saw Him in mahabhava (as Radha) and as Rasika Sekhara (Krishna). He saw Rasaraja Mahabhava, Shrimati Radhika and Krishna combined, and he fainted. After that Mahaprabhu returned to Puri and enjoyed the vipralambha-bhava of Shrimati Radhika.

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu performed His kisora-lila in Navadvipa, and therefore Navadvipa is Vrindavan. Shrila Narottama dasa Thakura and others have explained that it is non-different from Vrindavan, but they have not said that Jagannatha-ksetra is Vrindavan. Rather, it represents Dvaraka or Kuruksetra. Those who follow Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and do bhajana in Navadvipa will come out in Vrindavan on the bank of the Yamuna at Vamsivat. This has been written and revealed by our acaryas, but they have never said that Jagannatha Puri is Vrindavan. Shri Ksetra means Laksmi Ksetra, where Satyabhama and Rukmini, or Maha Laksmi, reside. If a person leaves his body in Jagannatha Puri, he becomes four-handed, but this is not so in Vrindavan and Navadvipa. There, one will become two handed like the associates of Radha and Krishna. Therefore, Navadvipa is superior to Jagannatha Puri.

Question: And the fourth place?

Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: The four places are Navadvipa, Puri, Godavari and Vrindavan. Vrindavan and Navadvipa are the same, but they are seen as two. At the time of sadhana, Navadvipa it is seen as Navadvipa, and in the siddha stage it is seen as Vrindavan. In sadhanavasta (the stage of performing sadhana) we will see Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in the form of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, but when we become siddha we will see: "Oh, Radha and Krishna have both become Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu." So both are one.

On the other hand, in the intense separation of divyonmada, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu used to see Puri as Kuruksetra and Dvaraka. As far as Godavari is concerned, it is Mahaprabhu's 'school.' He learned from His siksa-guru, Visakha devi, in the school of Shrila Raya Ramananda, and after that He returned to Puri. In Puri, He was always absorbed in Vrindavan.

Question: I heard that this part of Puri, Tota Gopinatha, was called Gupta Vrindavan.

Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: Mahaprabhu used to see Gopinatha here, and He therefore used to see His place as Vrindavan. But it is not Vrindavan. It is part of Dvaraka and Kuruksetra, and Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu used to feel separation here, throughout the entire day and night.

Question: Why did Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu not go to Vrindavan first?

Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: If He had done so, everybody would have known that He is Krishna. There He will always weep and become as mad. He would not be in Radha's mood; He would be in the mood of Krishna. When He would see the cows grazing, the calling peacocks, "Ke ka, ke ka," and the cuckoos calling, "Kuhoo, kuhoo," He will leave that mood of Radhika. He will become Krishna and begin to run everywhere searching for Radha: "O Radhe! Radhe! Radhe!" This is because every leaf, tree, creeper, and everything else in Vrindavan calls, "Radhe, Radhe," He would not able to remain in radha-bhava.

Question: You've said that, by bhava, Jagannatha Puri is higher than Navadvipa. I think you said that Navadvipa is first, then Puri, then South India—in order of superiority. But by bhava, Jagannatha Puri is first, then South India and then Navadvipa. Is that correct?

Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: No. I explained that here in Puri there is only lamentation in the mood of separation. I said that the acaryas in our disciplic line are associates of Shrimati Radhika – as palya-dasi. We want that Shrimati Radhika is always cheerful, and She is cheerful when She is with Krishna. We are pleased when Krishna searches Radhika, when Radhika is hidden in a kunja and Krishna is calling, "Where is Radha? Where is Radha? Where is Radha, Lalita, Visakha and the others?" The gopis are very pleased, thinking, "Oh, today He is searching." They are all in a good mood, and Radhika is so joyful. We should always be pleased in that way.

Here in Puri, Radhika is always calling, "O Krishna! O Krishna! O Krishna!" We don't want that. We select as the best place that place where Krishna will search – in a place like Radha-kunda. Krishna approaches Radhika and serves Her feet, and at that time Radhika is proud and enjoys so much. Here in Puri there is no rasa-lila. Here there is a separation mood; no meeting.

Question: You said one time that this was the most important part of everything He showed.

Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: It is extremely important. For us, at our stage, the mood of separation is more helpful than meeting. But we want that Shrimati Radhika should be always pleased. Here She is always weeping and weeping. We don't want to see Radhika constantly weeping.

Question: But it is Krishna who is weeping, isn't it?

Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: But Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is in the mood of Radhika. We consider Vrindavan the best place. It is the where Radhika will place Her feet in the lap of Krishna and He will paint His name on them. Krishna will then keep Her feet on His head and heart, and that fresh color will make a stamp-like print on His body. He is always serving Her there; there She says, "Oh, He loves Me best." We want that; but for sadhana, separation is helpful. Without separation we cannot advance an inch further.

Question: Is Jagannatha Puri better for sadhana than Navadvipa?

Shrila Maharaja: Navadvipa is better in all ways.

Question: Does Tota Gopinatha give some special benedictions?

Shrila Maharaja: Yes, He can give His service. What is the meaning of Gopinatha? Who is Gopinatha?

Question: Lord of the gopis. Master of the gopis.

Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: No, no; it doesn't mean master. Natha means prana – life. Krishna is the gopis' life. But this is not a name. What is His name? If anyone asks you, "Who are you?" you will generally state a relation between you and someone else. Similarly, there is a relation between Krishna and the gopis, and this relation is very high. Therefore, if you go to Gopinatha, He will give you the benediction that you can serve Him as the gopis serve. You will also be able to serve like them. You will realize that it is Gopinatha who gives this benediction. You cannot realize this at present, but when the time comes, you will realize it.

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