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The Glories of Vasanta Panchami

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candrasarovara.jpgOrlando, Florida: February 6, 2003
Tridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja

[This year the celebration of Vasanta-pancami is February 1, 2017.]

In India, today is a very auspicious day. It is Vasanta-pancami, the first day of spring. Vasanta means spring and pancami means the fifth lunar day. It is also Shrimati Visnu-priya devi''s birthday, it is the appearance day of Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, and it is also the disappearance day of Shrila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura.

The climate in India has been very cold until this day, but now spring will begin. The earth there will be covered with yellow flowers and will resemble the pitambara (yellow upper cloth) of Lord Krsna. New, reddish sprouts will now appear on mango trees and the air will become very fragrant. Here there are so many good flowers, but none of them have as good a fragrance as those in Vrndavana. The air in Vrndavana is full of beli, chameli, jui, chatika, malati, lotus and others, and it is so heavy with fragrance that it can hardly move.

During this spring season the vasanta-rasa of Sri Krsna takes place in Govardhana, at Candra Sarovara, where the moon stops his travels for one entire night of Brahma, a duration of trillions of years. He stays there to have darsana of the dance and to hear the singing of Sri Sri Radha-Govinda and the gopis.

Shrila Jayadeva Gosvami has described the vasanta-rasa-lila in his Gita-govinda. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu used to hear this description and weep loudly, with tears rolling down His face and with a melted heart. In Sri Caitanya-caritamrta vasanta-rasa has been described as giving vivid evidence of as the prominency of Shrimati Radhika over millions of gopis.

Radha-Gokulanda-Kartika-Oct-12-2006-046.jpgSo today is a very auspicious day, and in India and other places devotees observe a fine festival. We offer Sri Sri Radha and Krsna yellow paraphernalia, yellow cloth, yellow rice, and many other varieties of yellow items, and we also offer puspanna, fancy yellow rice, mango manjaris and fresh barley grass.

For one month Holi kirtanas will be sung, like, "Aje Viraja me hari he rasija". Lord Krsna, along with His friends and all the gopis who are under guidance of Shrimati Radhika take syringes and sport together. The gopis want to defeat Krsna and He wants to defeat them and in this way the very melodious songs of Holi will resound everywhere.

This very same day is also the appearance day of Shrimati Visnu-priya devi, the manifestation of bhu-sakti and Satyabhama, who are themselves expansions of prema-bhakti-svarupini, the embodiment of prema-bhakti. Her separation mood for her husband, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, was very high after He took sannyasa.

Today is also the birthday of Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami. It can be said that he is the siksa-disciple of Sri Svarupa Damodara, and he is especially the siksa disciple of Shrila Rupa Gosvami. He has written many stavas and stutis (hymns and prayers) in glorification of Sri Sri Radha-Krsna and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and he has also glorified all the sweet pastime places of Vrndavana like Radha-kunda, Syama-kunda and Govardhana. He was always remembering all the pastimes of Sri Sri Radha-Krsna, and his life is full of the love and affection that the manjaris have toward Shrimati Radhika. He is fully dedicated to Her as Rati Manjari in the pastimes of Radha-Krsna, and in the pastimes of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu he is Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami. His character is so high that is impossible even for an exalted devotee to touch the dust of his lotus feet.

Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami wrote Sri Vilapa-kusumanjali, which expresses a deep separation mood and all varieties of love and affection. He has shown what a sadhaka should do if he wants to enter the sweet pastimes of Krsna, especially in the love and affection of Sri Sri Radha and Krsna. If a sadhaka wants to understand these topics he must read Sri Vilapa-kusumanjali and Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami's other stavas and stutis.

How glorious is his life! He is the embodiment of vairagya, total absorption in krsna-prema wherein one automatically forgets the world and all the needs for sense gratification. The scriptures tell us that our vairagya, meaning renunciation, should not be markata, like that of a monkey * [see endnote 1]. We should not follow that type of renunciation. If we want to have pure love for Lord Krsna in the line of Shrila Rupa Gosvami and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, we must follow Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami and offer everything to the lotus feet of guru and Bhagavan. Krsna will then be merciful to us and sprinkle us with His highest love and affection otherwise this will not be possible. We should always remember this and determine, I must follow Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami.

When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Sri Svarupa Damodara, Sri Raya Ramananda and Sri Gadadhara Pandita disappeared from this world, Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami became totally maddened in separation and wanted to give up his life by jumping in the Yamuna or from the top of Giriraja Govardhana. Why not in the ocean at Jagannatha Puri? The ocean is very deep deep enough to have drowned in but he wanted to be touched by the dust of the lotus feet of the gopis, which can be found only in Vrndavana. Giriraja Govardhana is very merciful. He assists Sri Krsna in His various pastimes; and Yamuna is Shrimati Visakha devi. They can both easily give gopi-prema.

Shrila Rupa Gosvami and Shrila Sanatana Gosvami saw that Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami was totally maddened in love and affection in the mood of separation. They behaved towards him as one would to a younger brother. They told him, If we thought we could achieve krsna-prema by giving up our lives, we would have very easily done that. But that is not the way. You should engage in the proper practices for attaining gopi-prema. They gave him a place at Giriraja Govardhana, specifically at Radha-kunda and Syama-kunda, and he remained there for the rest of his life. He continually wept bitterly, and there he regularly used to write his prayers

When Shrila Sanatana Gosvami and Shrila Rupa Gosvami left this world, Dasa Gosvami became still more restless and overwhelmed. He saw Giriraja like a python and Radha-kunda and Syama-kunda like the gaping mouth of a tiger. He was upset in intense separation.

No one could have written as he did.

One of the verses of his Vilapa-kusumanjali is as follows:

sri rupa manjari kararcita pada padma 
gosthendra nandana bhujarpita mastakayah 
ha modatah kanaka gauri padaravinda 
samvahanani sanakais tava kim karisye

"O Kanaka-gauri (golden complexioned girl)! When You are laying with Your head in Krsna's lap, and Your feet in the lap of Rupa Manjari, and when she is massaging Your feet, will Rupa Manjari, with the corners of her eyes, give me her mahaprasadam seva of gently massaging Your feet, while she is fanning You?" (Sri Vilapa-kusumanjali verse 72)

Playing together, Radha and Krsna become tired, and Shrimati Radhika lies Her head upon the lap of Krsna so that She may take some rest. He caresses Her head and wipes away the perspiration from Her face. How glorious this is. Sri Rupa Manjari is massaging Her and Rati Manjari is fanning her. Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami is praying, When will I be so fortunate that Rupa Manjari will kindly bestow her mercy upon me and say, 'Come on, come on. Take some remnants.' Here remnants means the remainder of the service begun by Rupa Manjari the massage she was doing. Hearing the prayer Rupa Manjari  quickly gave her remnants to Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami in his transcendental gopi form. Later, when this pastime disappeared from his vision, realizing the mercy of Sri Rupa Manjari, Raghunatha dasa wept bitterly with a melted heart and wrote:

padabjayos tava vina vara dasyam eva 
nanyat kadapi samaye kila devi yace 
sakhyaya te mama namo stu namo stu nityam 
dasyaya te mama raso stu raso stu satyam

O Devi! I am not praying for anything except that most exalted direct service to Your lotus feet! Time and again I offer pranama to Your sakhitva, a position as Your sakhi, but I swear that my unwavering devotion will always be only for Your dasitva, a positon as Your servant! (Sri Vilapa-kusumanjali verse 16)

On another occasion he wrote: If Krsna comes to me and says, 'You may have any benediction. What do you want?' I will say, 'I am not like Prahlada Maharaja. I want a benediction.' Prahlada Maharaja told Lord Nrsimhadeva, I don't want any benediction, but Raghunatha dasa Gosvami is telling Shrimati Radhika, O Radhika, I want a benediction. I don't want to be your sakhi. I offer millions of obeisances to the lotus feet of sakhis like Lalita and Visakha, but I don't want to be a sakhi like them. I want to serve you like Rupa Manjari and the other manjaris. I want to serve You. I want to be happy in Your happiness, and in Your separation mood I will weep and think how to console and assist You.

He has prayed to Krsna:

ha natha gokula sudhakara su prasanna 
vaktraravinda madhura-smita he krpardra 
yatra tvaya viharate pranayaih priyarat 
tatraiva mam api naya priya sevanaya

[O Natha! O nectar moon of Gokula, whose lotus face is very cheerful and smiles so sweetly! O You whose heart is soft and melting, waiting to bestow mercy on all. Wherever You go to enjoy loving pastimes with Your beloved,  please take me there, and allow me to render confidential, loving service to You both. (Sri Vilapa-kusumanjali verse 100)]

The meaning is as follows: I cannot tolerate this separation. O Gokulacandra, O moon of Gokula, take me very quickly to the place where Your Radhika is staying right now, and engage me in Her service otherwise I will die. Without Her service I don't want You; I don't want Vraja. I don't want anything except this. If She is in Dvaraka with You I want to fly there. I do not want to go to Dvaraka, but if Radhika is there, then I will want to go. If you are with Rukmini, Satyabhama and all Your 16,000 queens I don't want to go there. I will never go. If you request me to do so I will reject Your proposal, but if I hear that Radhika my master, my Swaminiji is there, I will very quickly fly there to serve Her.

This is his mood.

asa bharair amrta sindhu mayaih kathancit 
kalo mayatigamitah kila sampratam hi 
tvam cet krpam mayi vidhasyasi naiva kim me 
pranair vrajena ca varoru bakarinapi

[O Varoru (a girl with beautiful thighs)! It is decidedly only with the hope of obtaining the nectarine ocean of service unto You and the vision of Your transcendental pastimes that I have been able to maintain my life thus far with severe difficulty. But if You are not merciful unto me even now, then of what use to me is this life, residence in Vraja-dhama or even Sri Krsna Himself?  (Vilapa Kusumanjali verse 102)]

The meaning is this: I have been hopeful that one day I may be able to serve my Svamini Radhika; but now, if that hope is not fulfilled, I will give up my life. If I cannot have Shrimati Radhika's service, I don't want Sri Krsna, Govardhana, Radha-kunda or anything else. This is the exalted love and affection of Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami  the highest love.

In Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Shrila Krsnadasa Kaviraja prays,

sri rupa raghunatha pade yara asa 
caitanya caritamrta kahe krsnadasa

[Praying at the lotus feet of Sri Rupa and Sri Raghunatha, always desiring their mercy, I, Krsnadasa, narrate Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, following in their footsteps.]

I am writing this Caitanya-caritamrta in order to get the mercy of Shrila Rupa Gosvami and Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami. I only want to please them.

Shrila Narottama dasa Thakura has written:

rupa raghunatha pade hoibe akuti 
kabe hama bujhabo se yugala piriti

[When will I eagerly follow the path of Sri Rupa Gosvami and Sri Raghunatha dasa Gosvami? By their instructions I will be able to understand the divine love or Sri Radha and Krsna. (Gauranga Bolite Habe verse 4)]

rupa raghunatha pade rahu mora asa 
prarthana koroye sada narottama dasa
[My only aspiration is to attain the lotus feet of Sri Rupa Gosvami and Sri Raghunatha das Gosvami. This is Narottama dasa's constant prayer. (Gauranga Bolite Habe verse 5)]

All the pure rasika Vaisnavas of our guru-parampara want to serve the lotus feet of Shrila Rupa Gosvami and Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami. But we cannot simply jump to that height. We should start from the beginning. First we will have to follow the life and teachings of Prahlada Maharaja.

Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami ki jaya.

Today is also the disappearance day of the manifestation of Shrila Rupa Gosvami, that is, Shrila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura. He repeated the same teachings taught by Shrila Rupa Gosvami that the love and affection of the gopis, called upapati bhava (paramour love) is the highest stage of love of God. Without his contribution the flow of the teachings of Shrila Rupa Gosvami would have stopped. He kindly came and revived these understandings in the world.

[Looking out towards the back of the audience Shrila Narayana Maharaja added at the end of his class:] In India we have seen that only very old people sit down on chairs, but here I see something different. All the young boys seem to be eighty year old men. They can't sit on the floor. It seems they don't want to learn anything. Why are they not sitting near me, hearing and understanding? They should not imitate older persons. They should always be very energetic like Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami. He traveled a one month path in twelve days without eating. He never rested. But I see that here in Western counties old persons are sitting on the ground and children are sitting on chairs.

[Endnote:]

markata-vairagya na kara loka dekhana 
yatha-yogya visaya bhunja' anasakta hana

You should not make yourself a show-bottle devotee and become a false renunciate. For the time being, enjoy the material world in a befitting way and do not become attached to it. (Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya-lila 16.238)

[Shrila Prabhupada's purport:] The word markata-vairagya, indicating false renunciation, is very important in this verse. Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, in commenting on this word, points out that monkeys make an external show of renunciation by not accepting clothing and by living naked in the forest. In this way they consider themselves renunciants, but actually they are very busy enjoying sense gratification with dozens of female monkeys. Such renunciation is called markata-vairagya the renunciation of a monkey.}

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