Shri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
Singapore, February 11, 2001, pm
Today is the very sacred anniversary of the birth of my spiritual master, nitya-lila pravistha om visnupada Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja. He appeared in this world, on this day, to fulfill the needs of his dear-most Radha-Krsna Conjugal, Gaura-Nityananda Prabhu, and Gaura-Gadadhara. He came to help all the conditioned souls to come out of this jail. We are in jail – all of us. He came to save us from the jail of this world.
Who is he? Our Gurudeva is the manifestation of jagad-guru Srila Vyasadeva. It may also be said that he is a manifestation of akanda-guru-tattva Baladeva Prabhu or Nityananda Prabhu. Since Vyasadeva is Narayana Himself, we can surely say that Sri Gurudeva is a manifestation of Vyasadeva. He sits on the vyasasana, the 'vyasa seat', the seat on which Vyasadeva used to sit. In other words, he sits on the seat from which Vyasadeva preached the glory of Radha and Krsna Conjugal all over the world.
Today we should glorify him. We will also glorify guru-tattva and explain how guru-tattva descends from Goloka Vrndavana. Although we do not have much time – only 2 hours – we will explain all these truths today. I request all the speakers to speak only 15 to 20 minutes, and glorify guru-tattva.
Don’t think that this bhakti philosophy is useless. Don’t think in this way, otherwise you will be very weak and give up the bhakti line. I am hearing about this problem – daily, daily, and daily. So many disciples of Parama-pujyapada Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja and other pure acaryas are giving up bhakti and becoming weak. They are leaving Krsna consciousness and accepting worldly family life. Why? It is because they don't know this philosophy.
Try to know all these truths. If you do not know them now, one day you will have to know them. It may be after thousands of lives, but one day you will have to know all these philosophical conclusive truths. Don't think that it is useless to know them. If you don’t want to fall down, then know all the philosophical truths and arguments very, very deeply.
My Guru Maharaja rendered so many direct services to his Guru Maharaja Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada, like massaging him, and he was always with him for as long as Srila Prabhupada was present in this world. His glory is like an ocean. You have heard so many Prabhus glorify him, but we can never complete His glorification.
You should know that the backbone of krsna-bhakti is guru-nistha, unalloyed faith in Sri guru. If one has no guru-nistha, he has no bhakti at all. In Indian Vedic culture it is the tradition that one should accept a guru – a transcendental guru. If one has not accepted guru, no one will take any food that he has prepared. No one will even drink the water that as been offered by him – not even his father or mother will drink it.
Do you understand what I am telling? Even if a son or daughter is married, if he or she has not accepted a guru, his or her cooking or offering will not be accepted by that family. First, one will have to accept a high class of guru. Then he or she can cook and perform all related services. In Indian tradition, in Vedic culture, from ancient times up to now, it was essential to accept a bona fide guru. Nowadays, however, the Western breeze is also coming towards India, and thus India is rejecting all these principles. We are especially rejecting guru. Instead we think, "What is gurudeva? Gurudeva is nothing. There is no need of gurudeva."
Minute by minute people are changing their wives and husbands. They are divorcing so many in one life, and therefore no one is happy. If you want to be happy, you must accept a qualified guru and guru-parampara. If you do not do so, you will have to experience the miseries of old age and death. When you die, whatever you have collected in your life cannot be taken with you. Always remember that death is sure. No one can save you from death. What, then, will become of the palatial buildings and the many other things you have collected? Try to understand this. By guru-bhakti our lives will be changed, and we will be happy forever.
What is vyasa? The line that touches the opposite sides of the circumference of a circle by going through the central point is called the diameter or vyasa. What is the meaning? Krsna is the center of all. Not only this one world, but so many universes – millions upon millions of universes are in this circle. Vyasa is touching Krsna and going to all the innumerable ends of material existence. Who is Vyasa? He who is preaching the glories of Krsna to all, teaching everyone: "You should serve Krsna; otherwise no one can save you from this endless chain of birth and suffering." Vyasa is he who is always serving Krsna from one point to another – everywhere in this world.
Vyasa took birth between Mathura and Vrndavana, on an island in the Yamuna. Parasara Muni was his father, and his mother was Srimati Matsyodhari. Parasara was going somewhere and wanted to cross the Yamuna. He called the boatman, but that boatman was very tired and sent his adopted daughter instead. Because his daughter had been born from the womb of a fish, a fishy odor emanated from her, but at the same time she was very beautiful. He ordered her, “Oh, take the ferry boat and help that Rsi Parasara.” Ordered by her father, Matsyodari took the boat and told Parasara, “You can come. I will take you across.” When she reached the island in the middle of the Yamuna, Parasara looked upon her. At once she became pregnant, and in a moment she gave birth to a very tall, beautiful, blackish youth of sixteen years. Who was he? Vyasa. He had come by the mercy of Krsna through Parasara, but he was actually Narayana. He thus immediately renounced this world.
After some time he divided the Vedas in four – Rg Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda and Atharva Veda. After that he wrote the essence of all the Vedas, and that was called Brahma Sutra, Sariraka Sutra, or Vedanta Sutra. After that he wrote thirty-six kinds of Puranas: Puranas, Upa Puranas and Sakha Puranas. Then, for all persons – for ladies, sudras, and all those who always lament and who are entangled in worldly intoxications – he wrote the Mahabharata, and in that he gave the jewel-like Gitopadesa, or Bhagavad-gita. Prior to this he gave the Catuh-sloki Bhagavatam, which Narada had taken from Brahma. There was yet no Srimad Bhagavatam, however, so he was not satisfied with his life.
Narada came to Vyasa and asked, “Why you are so upset?”
Vyasadeva replied, “Gurudeva, I don’t know.”
Narada then told him, “You have not glorified Krsna and His pastimes of Vrndavana, and you have not discussed how the gopis and all the Vrajavasis serve Him. You should glorify Him, and especially His many devotees, His beloveds, the gopis, and His beloved Radhika.”
Vyasadeva then saw all the pastimes of Krsna and His associates in his trance, and thus he wrote Srimad-Bhagavatam and became happy. The essence, therefore, of all Vedic literature – Upanisads, Puranas, and Bhagavatam – is Vraja-prema, or gopi-prema, and especially the love and affection of Srimati Radhika, who controls Krsna and always keeps Him in Her heart.
A guru can give these truths, otherwise it is not possible to understand them. Otherwise we cannot know all these truths – all these mysterious truths. A guru gives all this to the sisya so that he can be happy. You know that Ravana had so much opulence, and so many millions of servants who lived in palaces made of gold and jewels. All kinds of opulences were present in Lanka; there were no poor people there. Ravana had ten mouths, ten heads, twenty eyes, and twenty ears, and he conquered the whole world. But he was not happy. He could not control his heart. He could not control his mind. He could not control his lust. Therefore, who is the greatest and strongest person? He who can control his six urges:
vaco vegam manasah krodha vega
etan vegan yo visaheta dhira
sarvam apimam prthivim sa sisyat
[“A sober person who can tolerate the urge to speak, the mind’s demands, the actions of anger and the urges of the tongue, belly, and genitals is qualified to make disciples all over the world.”]
If one cannot control his anger, his words, his tongue, and his mind, he cannot do anything to help himself. You know the ex-president of America, Clinton. He was so famous and he was a very strong personality, but he could not check his heart and he became entangled with an office girl. Such persons cannot do anything productive. Therefore, if you want to be happy in this world, try to follow Vyasadeva – try to follow a real guru.
Before writing Srimad-Bhagavatam, Vyasa made four disciples: Paila, Sumanta, Jaimini, and Vaisampayana; and he trained each of them in one of the four Vedas. Especially in South India, the Vedas, Upanisads, and Sanskrit sastras are followed. Nowadays, however, especially those outside of India have gradually left their traditions. Something is in their blood; they believe in God, but they have given up all religious principals and instead take meat, eggs, wine, and so on. They cannot control the six urges. Understanding the future, therefore, Vyasa gave one Veda to each of these four disciples, and he gave the Mahabharata and Puranas to Ugrasrava Suta.
Vyasa served his gurudeva. He followed the teachings of Narada and he preached the glory of Radha-Krsna Conjugal everywhere. This is guru-bhakti, the tradition of guru. He preached the supremacy of Krsna and Radha’s love and affection throughout the world. This is Vyasa.
A disciple is he who can serve his gurudeva as more dear to him than his own life and soul. He is not a disciple who is simply satisfied with the thought, “Oh, Gurudeva has given me a name;” but he does not chant, he does not realize anything, and especially he does not follow the principles of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, which is the essence of all the Vedas:
trnad api su-nicena taror iva sahisnuna
amanina manadena kirtaniya sada harih
[“One should chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking oneself lower than the straw in the street; one should be more tolerant than a tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige and should be ready to offer all respect to others. In such a state of mind one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly.”]
If you want to be a disciple of a bona fide guru, you should be tolerant. If you do not have this tolerance, then, when a mosquito comes, you will make a hydrogen bomb to kill it. You will think, “How shall I save myself from this?!” The whole day and night you will be thinking about this, and krsna-bhajana will disappear. To protect and maintain our life is essential, but why is it essential? Not for living like dogs, hogs, or pigs. If anyone is spending his whole time maintaining himself, he is like a dog and other nonsense animals. These animals can do more than you. You are very worried about one child, but dogs can have fifteen or sixteen. Two times in a year they can have so many children, and there are many other animals that can have still more than this. So don’t think you are more advanced than animals in this way, or that you are so intelligent. No, they are more intelligent than you.
If you want to be actually intelligent, then always remember your death and your old age. Always remember that you cannot take anything with you at death, and, if you are not doing bhajana, you will be crushed by maya – thoroughly crushed. At that time you will lament, “Why did I not do bhajana? I have failed."
labdhva sudurlabham idam bahu-sambhavante
manusyam arthadam anityam apiha dhira
turnam yateta na pated anumrtyu yavan
nihsreyasaya visayah khalu sarvatah syat
[“After many births we have attained this human form. Therefore, before death comes, we should engage ourselves in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. That is the fulfillment of human life.”]
The main object of this human life is to try at once, immediately, to realize who is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. We should realize, “Who am I? I am not this body.” This is the teaching of Vyasa.
sa vai punsam paro dharmo
yato bhaktir adhoksaje
[“The supreme occupation (dharma) 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.”]
The purpose of this life is to serve the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, as stated in these two slokas which were preached widely by my Guru Maharaja:
aradhyo bhagavan vrajesa tanayas tad dhama vrndavanam
ramya kacid upasana vrajavadhu vargena va kalpita
srimad-bhagavatam puranam amalam prema pumartho mahan
sri caitanya mahaprabhor matam idam tatradarah na parah
[“The Personality of Godhead Sri Krsna, Who is known as the son of the King of Vrajadhama, Sri Nanda Maharaja, is the ultimate worshipful Lord of all Lords. Similarly His residential abode, the holy place of Vrndavana, is as worshipful as the Lord Himself. The ways of His worship may be various, but the one which was conceived by the damsels of Vrajadhama is unsurpassable by any other devotee. Srimad-Bhagavatam Purana is the unalloyed guidance for approaching the worshipful Lord, which is the ultimate goal of life. This is the sum total opinion of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. We shall bow down our heads before His opinion, and not accept another.”]
[“The authoritative knowledge of Vedas received through the bona fide disciplic succession, establishes the following fundamental truths:
1. Hari is the supreme absolute truth.
2. He is omnipotent.
3. He is the reservoir of all mellows.
4. The living entities are His separated parts and parcels.
5. The conditioned souls are covered by Maya.
6. The liberated souls are beyond the influence of Maya.
7. The entire cosmic manifestation is simultaneously one and different from Him.
8. Suddha-bhakti is the only means to achieve love of Godhead.
9. The goal is to attain love of Godhead.
These teachings have been instructed by Gauracandra Himself.”]
If anyone is going on this path, he must be happy. No one will be able to check his happiness.
Hiranyakasipu was almost immortal. He had so much opulence. He used to control Vayu, the god of air, Indra, and all other gods and goddesses, but he could find no happiness. A new being – animal plus man – came to him, and in a moment He pulled out his intestines. If you do not follow this bhakti principal, then from the beginning of your life, day and night, you'll only be thinking, “Money, money, money.” And, after death you will become money. Realize this. It is to give you this message that we have come here. We have come to tell you that you should always remember your death. And you should always remember Vyasadeva.
Especially those of you who are Indians should remember the place from which you have come. India was previously known as Bharata. What is the meaning of Bharata? ‘Bha’ means illumination, or light. What is that light? Tattva-jnana. You come from that land where Narada Rsi, Brahma, Sankara, and all the acaryas were present. Transcendental knowledge is everywhere in Bharata. I have come to help you. And for those of you who are Indian, I have come to remind you that you are coming from Bharata. Don’t forget this knowledge. You can make some money for your maintenance, but what is the purpose of maintaining yourselves? It is to follow the teachings of Srila Vyasadeva.
In relation to Vyasa, there are four personalities who founded the four sampradayas: Brahma, Rudra, Sri, and Sanaka. From them came the four sampradaya-acaryas, Madhva, Visnusvami, Ramanuja, and Nimbaditya respectively, and they all made commentaries on Vedanta-sutra, or Brahma-sutra. Sri Sankaracarya wrote an explanation of Brahma-sutra called Sariraka-bhasya, or Brahma-sutra-bhasya, and his philosophy was known as advaita-vada, or kevaladvaita-vada. He claimed that brahma has no shape and is avyakta-anadi. He has no sakti, power. He has no visesa, special qualities, and therefore He is nirvisesa-brahma. Sankaracarya gave all these negative ideas, but he never gave any positive explanation. He said that brahma satya jagan mitya – this entire world is false, and only brahma is truth – but that brahma is powerless. There is nothing in Him. Sankaracarya's philosophy was therefore called advaita-vada or mayavada.
After Sankaracarya, Ramanujacarya came and defeated all his arguments. He taught that these are not the ideas of Vedas. Rather, these ideas are against the Vedic principles. We should not follow this. Only demons can follow these ideas. No Vedic person will accept the theory that the Supreme Personality of Godhead has no shape, no attributes, and no power. Ramanujacarya defeated all of the arguments of Sankaracarya and called his philosophy visista-advaita-vada (specific monism). There are innumerable jivas and innumerable worlds. The Supreme Personality of Brahma has attributes. Innumerable jivas have come from Him, and this world also comes from Him. The Supreme Personality of Brahma exists along with this world and the jivas. What was the abhideya, practice, described in Ramanuja's philosophy? It was bhakti. What was the prayojana, the goal?
It was service to the lotus feet of Narayana. Ramanuja accepted the form of Narayana, His attributes, His power, and also His bhakti. He rejected the mayavadi philosophy of advaita-vada.
After Ramanuja came Madhvacarya. He established a certain portion of the Vedas, and his philosophy is called visuddhadvaita or dvaitadvaitavada. In this philosophical understanding there are five differences. (To Prema-prayojana dasa) You should explain the five differences.
Prema-Prayojana dasa: Madhvacarya established the philosophy that there is a difference between brahma and maya, there is a difference between jiva and maya, there is difference between jiva and jiva, and between different manifestations of maya and maya there are also differences. These five types of differences are called dvaitavada.
Sriila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: His practice was bhakti and his prayojana was the service of the Supreme Lord in the form of Vasudeva. Which Vasudeva? He who has a churning rod in His hand. This form was also accepted by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
After Madhva came Nimbarka, or Nimbaditya, and his philosophy was visuddha- vedaveda, but svabhavika (natural). He preached that brahma has vikrit, transformation, and it is from brahma that the whole world is coming. Brahma is alone, but still there are so many jivas and so many associates, like His father and mother. His dhama is there, but advaita. Caitanya Mahaprabhu did not like this. He took the essence of all the Vedas – not only part of the Vedas. He fully took all the moods of the essence of the Vedas, and discovered acintya-bhedabheda-tattva. It is not directly from Krsna that this world and jivas have come, but rather from His energy. This is called sakti-parinama-vada, transformation of sakti, energy. Caitanya Mahaprabhu fully adopted this philosophy because it asserts that everything has not come from Krsna Himself, but from the power of Krsna. Thus, Mahaprabhu defeated the arguments of Nimbarka’s bhedabheda svabhavika and founded acintya-bhedabheda.
We cannot imagine this truth by our mental speculation. It can only be understood through the words of the Vedas – by amnaya, the Vedic literature which has been accepted by our guru–parampara. He established the service of Radha-Govinda, Radha-Gopinatha, and Radha-Madana-Mohana. What was the sadhana, practice? That practice begins with vaidhi-bhakti and then changes to raganuga- bhakti. By that practice one can achieve Vraja-prema, and this is the supreme goal of life.
If anyone accepts this practice or goal, he is truly in the line of Vyasa. We should try to realize all this. Somehow you should know the essence of krsna–bhakti, that bhakti which Caitanya Mahaprabhu brought from Goloka Vrndavana – gopi-prema. This is the goal of our life. If we accept this, then our Vyasa-puja is complete. The followers of Sankaracarya ‘worship’ Vyasa, but they don’t follow him. They say Vyasa was ignorant because he wrote that brahma is anandamaya-bhyasa, all-blissful. The followers of Sankaracarya reject this. They say that brahma is bliss, but He is not blissful. In other words He is not a person. This is not service to guru. A disciple must obey his gurudeva and serve his gurudeva. Serving gurudeva outwardly by worship, and at the same time cutting the arguments and teachings of gurudeva, is not the duty or service of a disciple – yet, Sankaracarya did that.
Why did he do so? It was because Narayana ordered him in that way, to save Himself from being disturbed by demons who came to Him in the name of bhakti but who really only wanted Him to fulfill their selfish desires. Narayana told Sankaracarya, “You should preach in this world, ‘You are brahma. Aham brahmasmi. Sarvam kalvidam brahma. Tat-tvam-asi.’”
There are so many things to discuss, but somehow try to know this: If you want to be happy in this world, then accept a high class of transcendental guru, who knows Gita, Bhagavatam, the Puranas, and Veda sastra, who can remove all doubts, and who practically chants harinama sankirtana following trnad api sunicena taror iva sahisnuna. He practices bhakti as received from Vyasa, Narada, and all other bona fide spiritual masters.
He serves and glorifies his gurudeva throughout the world, as we see in the lives of Srila Bhaktisiddanta Saraswati Gosvami, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja, my gurudeva, and so on. If you want to follow, you can be happy.
Gaura Premanande Hari Hari Bol.