by Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja
[Dear Respected Readers,
Dandavat pranama. All glories to Shri Shri Guru and Gauranga. Below is a lecture Shrila Gurudeva gave on the first day of Kartik in Mathura. I apologize we do not know the date. Thank you to Dvija-krsna prabhu for recording and to Karunamayi dasi for digitalizing the tape and translating the short parts that were not in English. And, thank you to Haripriya dasi for checking the translation.]
This very day, Saradiya- rasa-purnima (the full-moon day on which Krishna's Autumn rasa-lila began), is important in so many ways. On this day my Gurudeva entered nitya-lila, Shri Shri Radha-Krishna's eternal pastimes. It is because he has entered nitya-lila that we address him as "nitya-lila pravista om visnupada astotara-sata Shri Shrimad Bhakti Prajnana Keshava Gosvami Maharaja." He is one of the dearest associates of jagad-guru Shrila Prabhupada Bhakisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Thakura. He served Shrila Prabhupada throughout his life.
He left on this day, during Saradiya-rasa, when the moon was rising in Navadvipa-dhama. Navadvipa-dhama is non-different from Vrindavan-dhama, and in some ways it is superior. Though both are the same, in some respects it is superior. Navadvipa-dhama (Gaura-dhama), and Gaura-nama (the holy name of Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu) do not take any offense. By Their mercy we can enter Vrindavan. By their mercy we can attain the mercy of Vrindavan and the mercy of the Divine Couple Shri Shri Radha-Krishna. Without the mercy of Gaura-Nityananda, we cannot enter the realm of bhakti.
We are told to observe the appearance and disappearance days of Vaisnavas and Guru – both days – but we never observe the disappearance days of Krishna and Mahaprabhu and Their manifestations. We can celebrate the appearance day of Krishna, as well as that of His incarnations like Rama, Nrsimadeva, Kalki, Vamanadeva, and so on, but nowhere is the celebration of His disappearance day described in sastra. There are many reasons for this.
We observe the appearance and disappearance days of Gurudeva and Vaisnavas. On the appearance day of Gurudeva we perform Vyasa-puja, because Gurudeva is a manifestation of Shrila Vyasadeva, the literary incarnation of Krishna. We also observe the birthday of Vyasadeva. We observe the appearance and disappearance days of Shrila Rupa Gosvami and the acaryas in his disciplic succession, but never the disappearance days of Krishna and His manifestations.
When a Vaisnava takes birth, his glory is not manifested. No one knows the glory of that Vaisnava, whereas from the first day of the birth of Krishna and Mahaprabhu, or any manifestation of Krishna, their glory is known. Regarding Vaisnavas, for example, when Parama-pujyapada Shrila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja was born, his glory was not seen. When he took sannyasa, very little was seen. After his taking sannyasa, he preached throughout the world, and at that time his glory was somewhat seen. Then, after his disappearance it became known – Oh, how glorious he is – and we can remember his glory. In this way, a Vaisnava's and Guru's disappearance day is more essential and glorious than his appearance day. This day is more important because we can consider so many aspects of his glory, and we can remember all his pastimes.
As today is the disappearance day of our Guru Maharaja, today I am remembering the entirety of his pastimes, from the beginning – how he preached to the entire world, how he was most dear to his Gurudeva, and how he gave his everything, never keeping anything for himself.
Out of love, his Gurudeva used to call him dokla. Dokla means 'very foolish,' meaning that he was never thinking of himself but always thinking of his Gurudeva. Spiritually, it does not really mean 'foolish;' it really means 'not thinking of oneself.' He never kept even one paisa for himself.
In turn, Guru Maharaja used to call his Gurudeva bokar-jahaj. [Jahaj means 'ship,' and bokar means 'foolish.' As a ship is full of varied cargo, bokar-jahaj means 'a brain full of foolishness.'] Why did he call Shrila Prabhupada boka-jahaj? It was because Prabhupada had so much love and affection. He never did anything for himself; never. He gave his whole self to his own Gurudeva and to his disciples. With this quality of his being bokar-jahaj, he showered his full mercy upon my Guru Maharaja, who is now very easily worshipped throughout the world.
Whereas my Gurudeva never kept a paisa for himself, nowadays disciples are very 'wise.' It is rare that someone will have nothing in their pocket, for nowadays all are very intelligent – with one, two, three, or four pockets. Actually, this is real foolishness; it is most bokar. Those who keep things for themselves cannot understand guru-seva.
[In 1965-8] One of my Gurudeva's friends, Parama-pujyapada Shri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja, came to America and made a very good platform for him. Shrila Svami Maharaja told him, "Now you can come, and throughout the world you will be worshipped by sincere devotees." [In 1940], when Gurudeva established Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti in Calcutta, his most intimate friend, Abhaya Caranaravinda prabhu [Shrila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja's name in his previous asrama] was present as the other establisher. Thus, this Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti is also of Shrila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja. He helped established it.
[In 1959], Shrila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja took sannyasa here – sitting right here – in Mathura. I was the priest. Krishnadasa Babaji was the kirtaneer, and Sesayai prabhu and others were also singing kirtana. They were witnesses of this ceremony, along with Ranganatha Baba, Kunjabihari prabhu, Padmanabha Maharaja, Muni Maharaja, and many other sannyasis.
[In 1968], on the evening of the full moon, we were performing kirtana – all varieties of kirtana. Especially, I was singing, "O he Vaisnava Thakura," Gauranga Bolite Habe," "Hari Haraya Nama Krishna Yadavaya Namah," "Jaya Radhe Jaya Krishna, Jaya Vrindavan," and all kinds of prayers. We performed guru-vandana and Vaisnava-vandana, and Gurudeva was hearing.
When we saw that he was about to leave this world, we began to chant, "Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare." While we were singing kirtana, we kept his photo of his Gurudeva and Radha-Krishna and Mahaprabhu in front of him, and he was uttering, "Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare..."
All began to weep.
In the meantime, as the pujari was performing sandhya-arati, the garland of Radhika or Krishna fell down, and, weeping, he ran to us and we gave the garland to Gurudeva. Pujyapada Shri Rupa Siddhanti Maharaja and others were called, and together we gave samadhi to Gurudeva throughout the night. Then, throughout the morning, we remembered and glorified his pastimes – how he served Radha-Krishna, Mahaprabhu, Nityananda Prabhu, and his Gurudeva.
What is the meaning of the word viraha (generally understood as 'separation')? Our Gurudeva used to explain its significance. 'Vi' means 'in a special way,' and 'raha' means 'meeting.' Thus, viraha means 'meeting internally, in a special way, by prema. For example, Shrimati Radhika and the gopis used to meet with Krishna in Vrindavan when He was in Mathura. They were always thinking, and thinking, and thinking of Him; totally absorbed. Krishna used to directly manifest in Vrindavan and meet with them. They would think that they were seeing Him in a dream or a spurti (vision), but actually He had come to them.
In the Gambira, Mahaprabhu was full with the intrinsic mood of Radha and, in viraha, was always totally absorbed in the pastimes of Krishna.
Whatever ideas I am now expressing have all come from my Gurudeva. He used to explain so much about viraha. I want to publish a Vaisnava literature describing the glory of the Vaisnava viraha (the real mood of separation from exalted Vaisnavas).
The glory of viraha, separation, is that meeting is present within it. Such separation is not a bad thing. There is no unhappiness in such separation, as revealed in the separation pastimes of Sita devi and Shri Ramacandra. Their pastimes are full of hardships, wherein Rama was always immersed in feelings of separation from Sita.
Rama sent Sita out from His kingdom, and Laksmana took Her to Valmiki's asrama. Just before Rama's pastimes were to come to an end in this world, He called for her. Valmiki then brought her and her two sons to Rama's assembly. Hundreds of thousands of Ayodhya residents were assembled there, including Rama's mothers Kausalya, Sumitra, and Kaikeyi.
Valmiki was walking in front. Sita's head was lowered, as she held the hands of her sons Lava and Kusa in her own hands and walked into the silent, awe-filled assembly. Rama gave a signal to give Sita a place to sit, after which she and Luv and Kusa sat down along with Valmiki.
Lord Rama announced, "I know that Sitaji is pure. I know that there is not a black spot on her. I have no doubt. I am a King and I must maintain My dharma, so I had to send the Queen out of the kingdom – but I always kept Sita in my heart. My desire is that, In front of everybody, let her purity be established."
When Sita heard this, she stood up, folded her palms, and declared, "Is proof still needed? All right, I will give You proof." Then, she said three times," O Prthvi devi (Mother Earth), If I am pure, please open yourself and take me in your lap. If I have never touched any other man but Rama – even in my mind or heart, then open yourself and take me into your lap. If in my helpless condition someone touched my body, I cannot say anything about that; but of in my mind I have not given any place to anyone but Rama, O, Prthvi devi, please open up." In this way, Sita devi prayed three times to Mother Earth. At that moment Mother Earth, Prthvi devi, rose from the now opened earth on a golden chariot and took Sita in her lap – and then they both disappeared into the earth.
Lava and Kusa began to weep for their mother, all the queens wept, all the people wept, and Rama also wept. Rama took his bow and arrow and exclaimed, "O Prthvi devi, O Mother, remember that I punished the ocean. Retrun my Sita, otherwise I will punish you as well, by breaking you in pieces." Valmiki then approached Rama and said, "The time has come. I have not written beyond this point] Please be peaceful. It is Your time to go. Sita went first [Rama's potency, Sita devi, set the platform for Him to leave His Earthly pastimes], and now You must also go."
When people come to a theatre and watch a drama of these pastimes, they bitterly weep. On the next day the same drama takes place again, and still more people come than on the first day. If crying is so painful, why do more people come on the following day? And why do the same people come back to cry? It is because in this crying, there is a special kind of pleasure.
If a person does not have in his heart this kind of separation mood for his guru, that person's heart is like a thunderbolt. He does not even have a trace of bhakti in his heart. Guru-nistha is the backbone of all bhakti, and without guru-nistha, a person is devoid of any kind of bhakti. His heart is zero.
Guru Maharaja always served his Gurudeva with his life and soul. For the pleasure of his Gurudeva, he was willing to jump in the ocean or the fire.
Shrila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura was once doing Navadvipa parikrama along with thousands of pilgrims. On the third day he came to Navadvipa town, in front of the Praudha Maya temple, which was surrounded by a big population. All the so-called brahmanas and caste Gosvamis there were in opposition to Shrila Prabhupada, because they felt he thought himself superior to brahmanas. They made a conspiracy saying, "We will punish and kill him. About a thousand of these brahmanas took sticks, bricks, stones, soda water and hot water; and they threw these from all the houses. This was reported to the police, but the police were silent; they were favoring the caste brahmanas.
There was no way to escape. Shrila Prabhupada was alone; all his senior disciples had fled. One brahmacari was with him – in white cloth, not saffron. He at once signalled to Shrila Prabhupada and they both approached a house. He begged the householders, "O, please open the door. We want to stay for a moment. He immediately gave Shrila Prabhupada his own white clothes, and took his sannyasi clothes and danda. In this way he actually took sannyasa there, and then he somehow sent Shrila Prabhupada, in white cloth, to Mayapura.
My Gurudeva, Shrila Bhakti Prajnana Keshava Gosvami Maharaja, was beautiful like Prabhupada, and therefore he was able to take Prabhupada's sannyasa danda, sannyasa cloths, and chaddar. He gave his life to save his own Gurudeva. Prabhupada loved him so much, and made him most dear.
Gurudeva's disappearance day in Kartik month took place on Saradiya-rasa. What can I say of the glories of this month; you should know its glories.
Shrimati Radhika is called Urjesvari (the Mistress of all power), and this entire month is called Urja month. Urja means power, or sakti. Krishna can only wish, but He cannot do anything to fulfil His wish. He depends on Shrimati Radhika for everything. He can wish, and She can fulfil.
Do not think Krishna lifted Govardhana Hill. Shrimati Radhika lifted it. Krishna can only desire to do whatever He wants to do; that is why Shrimati Radhika is Urjesvari. As stated in the brahma-gayatri mantra, "savitur varenyam." Urja-sakti is the source of the light of the sun; the sun's light comes from Radhaji. Radhika is varanyam. She is worshipful by the Sun, who gives heat and light. The brahma-gayatri mantra concludes with the words "Diyo yo na pracodayat." We meditate on Shrimati Radhika and pray that She will come in our heart. We pray that She will manifest Her beauty, so that we can see how beautiful She is.
Another meaning of urja is bhakti, or prema. Prema, the purest love for Shri Krishna, comes from the heart of Radhika, not from Krishna. He is the taster. He is the relisher of love and affection, but that love and affection comes from Radhika's heart. She gives urja, the power of prema, love and affection, to all, even to Krishna. Krishna cannot exist, or remain alive, without Her. Without Her He would be nirvisesa-brahma (the formless and qualitiless spirit whole). This is why Radhaji is Urjesvari. Without worshipping Her, we cannot achieve Krishna.
Because Radhika is the predominating Deity of Kartika month, She is also called Damodari. Krishna is Damodara, and Radhika is Damodari. Without Radhika, no one can bind Krishna permanently. Mother Yasoda can bind Him for a day, but Radhika can bind Him forever.
During this Kartika month, Krishna lifted Govardhana on the very day of Govardhana puja, just before the full moon day of this month, and Dipavali, the day on which Mother Yasoda bound Her son Krishna, also took place in this month. Dipa means 'light, and real light manifests in the form of bhakti-tattva (the established truths of pure devotional service), krsna-tattva (the established truths about the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna), maya-tattva (the truth of this deluding material world), jiva-tattva (the truth of the eternal spirit soul) – all this knowledge is 'light.' Knowledge of all these tattvas comes from Shrimati Radhika.
Shri Krishna left the rasa dance on this day, in this month. Thus feeling great separation from Him, the gopis sang their Gopi-gita. In this month they also sang their Venu-gita, and some of their verses (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 10.21.1,5,9) are as follows:
nyavisad vayuna vatam
sa -go-gopalako 'cyutah
["Sukadeva Gosvami said: Thus the Vrindavan forest was filled with transparent autumnal waters and cooled by breezes perfumed with the fragrance of lotus flowers growing in the clear lakes. The infallible Lord, accompanied by His cows and cowherd boyfriends, entered that Vrindavan forest."]
barhapidam nata-vara-vapuh karnayoh karnikaram
bibhrad vasah kanaka-kapisam vaijayantim ca malam
randhran venor adhara-sudhayapurayan gopa-vrndair
vrndaranyam sva-pada-ramanam pravisad gita-kirtih
["Wearing a peacock-feather ornament upon His head, blue karnikara flowers on His ears, a yellow garment as brilliant as gold, and the Vaijayanti garland, Lord Krishna exhibited His transcendental form as the greatest of dancers as He entered the forest of Vrindavan, beautifying it with the marks of His footprints. He filled the holes of His flute with the nectar of His lips, and the cowherd boys sang His glories."]
gopyah kim acarad ayam kusalam sma venur
damodaradhara-sudham api gopikanam
bhunkte svayam yad avasista-rasam hradinyo
hrsyat-tvaco 'sru mumucus taravo yatharyah
["My dear gopis, what auspicious activities must the flute have performed to enjoy the nectar of Krishna's lips independently and leave only a taste for us gopis, for whom that nectar is actually meant! The forefathers of the flute, the bamboo trees, shed tears of pleasure. His mother, the river on whose bank the bamboo was born, feels jubilation, and therefore her blooming lotus flowers are standing like hair on her body.']
In this month, although child Krishna was tied to his mother's grinding mortar, He gave mukti, meaning bhakti, to Nalakuvera and Manigriva. As stated in Shri Damodarastakam, He not only delivered them, but He gave them positions as singers – Madhu-kanta and Snigda-kanta – in His own assemblies in Goloka Vrindavan.
kuveratmajau baddha-murtyaiva yadvat
tvaya mocitau bhakti-bhajau krtau ca
tatha prema-bhaktim svakam me prayaccha
na mokse graho me 'sti damodareha
["O Lord Damodara, just as the two sons of Kuvera –Manigriva and Nalakuvara – were delivered from the curse of Narada and made into great devotees by You in Your form as a baby tied with rope to a wooden grinding mortar, in the same way, please give to me Your own prema-bhakti. I only long for this and have no desire for any kind of liberation."]
In this month, along with His associates the Vrajavasis, Shri Krishna performed worship of the cows and calves (go-puja), brahmanas, and Govardhana Hill. In this month they performed Govardhana parikrama.
Then, when Indra created torrential rains to destroy Vrindavan, Krishna lifted Govardhana Hill, which was a trick to bring the gopis in purva-raga close to Him. Krishna was thinking that all the gopis should come nearer. Mother Yasoda and Nanda Baba were also present there, but on that day the young gopis were not at all shy at all; they felt no shame. This was the first day the gopis came so near to Krishna.
Krishna thus broke the pride of Indra. Indra then performed abhiseka of Krishna and gave Him the name Govinda. Govindam adi purusam tam aham bhajami. [All the devotees sang this song along with Shrila Gurudeva, who, after a couple of moments said...] In this way. [Shrila Gurudeva now led the devotees in singing the verse in the same tune as sung in the ISKCON temples, and then said...] We remembered Svamiji.
In this month Saradiya-rasa took place, but it did not last for only one month. Even Krishna Himself could not conceive how long it lasted, nor could the Gopis. Only Yogamaya knew. The moon stopped in one place, not moving at all, and the sun stayed on the opposite side of the rasa. If the sun had made its presence there would not have been rasa, so the sun also stopped in one place.
All these pastimes were performed in the month of Kartika . In this way, this month is very high.
In the evening, at 4pm, we will all sit here and glorify My Guru Maharaja's contribution to the world. Now we will go to the Yamuna to make our vows (sankalpa) and offer our prayers that our parikrama will be successful and our desires will be fulfilled. Jamuna is Krishna's associate, Visakha-devi. You should all be ready and come. When we reach Vrindavan we will take vow again, at Kesi-ghat.
[Endnote from the editors: For clarity, we have added some details regarding Shrila Bhakti Prajnana Keshava Gosvami's Maharaja's changing cloths with Shrila Prabhupada (from Shrila Gurudeva's "Secret Truths of the Bhagavatam" p. 145-146)]