Shri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
Murwillumbah, Australia: December 3, 2002
Krishna, the Origin of All Existence, the Lord of All Sweetness
The song Shri Madhurastakam tells us that everything is sweet (madhura) about Shri Krishna, the original Lord of sweetness. His Vrndavana is sweet, His laughing and smiling is sweet, His coming and going is so sweet, His Yamuna and her waves are sweet, His nikunjas, secluded groves wherein He and the gopis perform their confidential amorous pastimes, are sweet, and His sidelong glances are also very sweet.
Who is speaking about the sweetness of Krishna here? Is it the evil demons Kamsa Maharaja, Aghasura, Bakasura, or Putana? Shrimati Radhika Herself is uttering this; She alone is fully qualified to speak in this way.
The history behind Radhika's words is that a sakhi once told Her, "Krishna has left Vrndavana. He now has 16,108 queens, and numerous others want to marry Him as well. Why do You maintain such great love and affection for that crooked Krishna? He has no love for You and no love for Vrndavana. Give Him up; try to forget Him forever." Shrimati Radhika replied, "O sakhi, what you are saying is true. But I cannot forget Him, because everything about Him is so sweet."
Demons like Kamsa, Jarasandha, Duryodhana, Putana, Bakasura, Aghasura, Keshi, Chanura, and Mustika saw that very same Krishna, but they did not see or experience His sweetness at all. Rather, they considered Him a very cruel, powerful, and dangerous enemy.
Sahajiyas Cannot Relish His Sweetness
Do you know why I am speaking in this way? These demons were against Krishna, so instead of experiencing His sweetness, they simply experienced their own enmity. Similarly, if we imagine that we are deeply meditating on Krishna's asta-kaliya-lila, His daily twenty-four hour pastimes with the gopis, but we have not reached the stage of bhava-bhakti, we will also not experience His sweetness. Rather, we will experience our own lusty and other material desires. In this connection, Kamsa and other demons represent our material desires.
Krishna and the realization of the sweetness of Krishna is surely our goal, but do not try to jump up to the top of the tree. Begin from the root of the tree and gradually climb up from there; then you can realize your goal.
The sincere devotee engages in the proper process of bhakti from the start. At first he follows the verse beginning with "adau sraddha tatah sadhu- sango 'tha bhajana-kriya". After this, he is able to follow the principles as stated in the verse beginning "ksantir avyartha-kalatvam".
The Goal of Bhakti: To Realize and Relish His Sweetness
If you can follow these two slokas, then you can realize something of the goal. I know, and I see, that in Western and Eastern countries many of the devotees try to enter asta-kaliya-lila although they know nothing of its transcendental nature. Our Gosvamis have warned us not to delve very much into this subject matter.
This topic is truly our goal, and we can realize it by following the proper process. If a person is filled with worldly desires and is attached to women, wine, and wealth, misunderstanding his own identity and considering himself to be his body, how can he properly meditate on asta-kaliya-lila?
Eroticism Divine and Mundane
Suppose a man or woman try to meditate on Radha-Krishna's pastimes at midnight. Suppose they try to remember how all the gopis left their homes and met Krishna alone, and moreover how Krishna left all the gopis in the middle of the night and took Shrimati Radhika inside a kunja in which They played together intimately. What will he or she actually think about? Moreover, if such a man and woman meet together at night to discuss these most confidential topics, what will be the ultimate result of their discussion? They are bound to feel lust. They will not be able to control their minds or senses, and their characters and entire spiritual lives will be ruined. Do you understand what I am saying? We should not even think about these topics.
[Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja has personally translated into Hindi some of the Gosvamis' literatures that discuss these confidential topics, and he instructed his disciples to translated his works into English and after that to other languages. He wanted authentic translations, publications, and presentations of these esoteric transcendental pastimes – for now and for posterity – so that new and old comers would not be inclined to search in the domain of those who are not properly following the teachings of Shrila Rupa Gosvami and our Gaudiya guru-parampara.
In May of 2002, while translating Ujjvala-nilamani, he stated, "I am writing about the very elevated moods of Shrila Rupa Gosvami; moods that were inspired in him by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Himself. Mahaprabhu ordered him to write about the deep feelings of the gopis, and the process by which we can achieve similar feelings. Most of you are not qualified to hear or read about this, what to speak of follow, and yet we are writing. Otherwise, if we do not do so, these moods will be lost to the world. We must record this for future generations." Later that year, during his Janmastami lecture in August, Shrila Maharaja told his audience, "If one is qualified he can read Shri Ujjvala-nilamani, but he must do so under the guidance of exalted Vaisnavas. In this way, by the mercy of guru, he can realize all those/these moods."
He took the responsibility of educating the old and new comers how to carefully treat these most confidential, exalted, outstanding literatures, and he desired that his sincere disciples also accept that responsibility. –ed]
A young, or even old, person may remember the meaning of this verse:
pramada-madana-lilah kandare kandare te
racayati nava-yunor dvandvam asminn amandam
iti kila kalanartham lagnakas tad-dvayor me
nija-nikata-nivasam dehi govardhana! tvam
(Shrimad Raghunatha dasa Gosvami's Shri Govardhana-Vasa-Prarthana-Dashakam, Verse 2)
["O Govardhana! Please grant me a dwelling near your side so that I can easily witness and serve the youthful lovers Shri Radha-Krishna as They perform newer and newer secret, amorous lilas (pastimes) within your many caves where They become completely maddened from drinking prema. You are present and making everything possible."]
This verse suggests that Radha and Krishna are meeting together and embracing. If a devotee who is not advanced in bhakti tries to meditate on this, a worldly conception is bound to come in his heart. Therefore, always be careful.
Shri Sukadeva Gosvami, who is a maha-maha-bhagavata, a topmost self-realized soul, is so detached from material consideration and possessions that he does not even possess a dor kaupina (loincloth) nor does he even have a bhajana kutira, a place to perform bhajana). He is totally renounced. For him there is no difference between the most beautiful naked lady and a piece of dry fire wood. He has no interest at all in the affairs of men and women. Yet, that Sukadeva Gosvami offers reverential obeisances to rasa-lila and asta-kaliya-lila. Although service to sweet Krishna like that of the gopis is certainly our goal, we cannot pretend to be close to that service at our stage.
Shrila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura has written:
aradhyo bhagavan vrajesa tanayas tad dhama vrndavanam
ramya kacid upasana vrajavadhu vargena ya kalpita
srimad-bhagavatam pramanam amalam prema pumartho mahan
sri caitanya mahaprabhor matam idam tatradaro na parah
["Bhagavan Vrajendra-nandana Shri Krishna and His transcendental abode Shri Vrndavana-dhama are my worshipable objects. The most excellent method of worshiping Krishna is that adopted by the gopa-ramanis, the young wives of Vraja. Shrimad-Bhagavatam is the flawless and most authoritative scripture, and krsna-prema (pure love for Krishna) is the fifth and highest achievement of human life, beyond dharma (mundane religion), artha (wealth), kama (sense gratification), and moksa (liberation). This is the opinion of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. We have supreme regard for this conclusion. We have no inclination or respect for any other cheating opinions."]
The highest examples of love and affection in service to Krishna are the gopis. By constitution, conditioned souls of this world do not have have the eligibility to become svatantra nayakas, or direct beloveds of Krishna, like Shrimati Lalita and Shrimati Visakha and others in their category. We conditioned souls have the eligibility to become manjaris, young maidservants of Shrimati Radhika, thus serving Krishna through Her.
But this is not a small attainment. This most exalted service is so confidential that it cannot be performed by even Lalita or Visakha, or by others like them, even though these svatantra nayakas are on a higher rank than the manjaris. Such service can only be executed by gopis like Shri Rupa Manjari and Shri Rati Manjari. Lalita and Visakha cannot enter a kunja in which Radha and Krishna are alone and engaged in Their most intimate amorous pastimes, but the manjaris can enter without hesitation and serve both Radha and Krishna there.
An Obstacle On The Path To Bhakti
Do not discuss the confidential matters of Shri Shri Radha-Krishna before the general public or any neophyte audience. Be careful, otherwise your audiences of the opposite gender will be charmed by hearing from you; they will weep and run after you, and your character will be lost forever.
The Clear Path
Always try to follow the teachings of the Eleventh Canto of Shrimad-Bhagavatam, and try to follow Shrila Rupa Gosvami's Upadesamrta and Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami's Shri Manah-siksa. This is first. Then, try to gradually come to the stage of rati (bhava-bhakti), at which time all of Krishna's pastimes will automatically manifest in a very pure form. Try to follow these instructions. Go through the channel opened by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and by our guru-parampara, and especially by Shrila Rupa Gosvami and Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami.
In Shrimad-Bhagavatam, Shri Krishna-dvaipayana Vyasa and Shrila Sukadeva Gosvami have somewhat explained about the goal of our life in the descriptions of Krishna's incarnations like Matsya, Kurma, Varaha, Narasimha, Rama, Parasurama, Vamana, and Kalki. They have kept all the madhura-lila, the descriptions of Krishna and His associates in Vrndavana and especially the descriptions of the gopis, in the Tenth Canto, and there they explained our aim and object fully.
Krishna Himself manifested as each of the incarnations They are all the same Krishna, but He is playing the role of being Them.
Shri Jayadeva Gosvami sings in his Shri Dasavatara-Stotram (Verse 11):
sri-jayadeva-kaver idam uditam udaram
srnu sukha-dam subha-dam bhava-saram
kesava! dhrta-dasa-vidha-rupa! jaya jagadisa! hare
["O Kesava! O You who assume these ten forms! O Jagadisa! O You who remove Your devotees' material desires! All glories to You! My humble supplication at Your lotus feet is that You please hear this Dasavatara-Stotra composed by the poet Jayadeva, because it describes the essence of Your incarnations and is most excellent, bestowing happiness and auspiciousness."]
In this connection, Kesava refers to Vrajendra-nandana Shri Krishna. That same Krishna is our goal, and to serve Him as the gopis do is certainly our goal. At the same time, without being very careful you will be following the path of the great demons Putana, Aghasura, Bakasura and Kamsa. You will be bound to be like them.
Shrila Sukadeva Gosvami began speaking about the topics of bhakti from its beginning stages, as well as the processes to achieve the various stages of bhakti. Then, in the Eleventh Canto he discussed the process Shri Narada Muni explained to Vasudeva about the topics instructed by the Nava-yogendras to Maharaja Nimi. For example, the Nava-yogendras explained about the twenty-four gurus, including the air and the Earth (planet). From the air one can learn detachment, and from the Earth one can learn tolerance. In those texts the processes to achieve the highest goal given in the Tenth Canto has also been explained.
The same goal of life has been expressed in a still better way in Shri Chaitanya-caritamrta. In the very beginning of that sastra, Shrila Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami has shared Shrila Rupa Gosvami's words:
anarpita-carim cirat karunayavatirnah kalau
samarpayitum unnatojjvala-rasam sva-bhakti-sriyam
sada hrdaya-kandare sphuratu vah saci-nandanah
(Shri Chaitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila 1.4)
["May the Supreme Lord who is known as the son of Shrimati Saci-devi be transcendentally situated in the innermost chambers of your heart. Resplendent with the radiance of molten gold, He has appeared in the Age of Kali by His causeless mercy to bestow what no incarnation has ever offered before: the most sublime and radiant mellow of devotional service, the mellow of conjugal love."]
sri-radhayah pranaya-mahima kidrso vanayaiva-
svadyo yenadbhuta-madhurima kidrso va madiyah
saukhyam casya mad-anubhavatah kidrsam veti lobhat
tad-bhavadhyah samajani saci-garbha-sindhau harinduh
(Shri Chaitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila 1.6)
["Desiring to understand the glory of Radharani's love, the wonderful qualities in Him that She alone relishes through Her love, and the happiness She feels when She realizes the sweetness of His love, the Supreme Lord Hari, richly endowed with Her emotions, appeared from the womb of Shrimati Saci-devi, as the moon appeared from the ocean."
radha krsna-pranaya-vikrtir hladini saktir asmad
ekatmanav api bhuvi pura deha-bhedam gatau tau
caitanyakhyam prakatam adhuna tad-dvayam caikyam aptam
radha-bhava-dyuti-suvalitam naumi krsna-svarupam
(Shri Chaitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila 1.5)
["The loving affairs of Shri Radha and Krishna are transcendental manifestations of the Lord's internal pleasure-giving potency. Although Radha and Krishna are one in Their identity, They separated Themselves eternally. Now these two transcendental identities have again united, in the form of Shri Krishna Chaitanya. I bow down to Him, who has manifested Himself with the sentiment and complexion of Shrimati Radharani although He is Krishna Himself."]
Shrila Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami especially explained the goal and process to achieve it in the fourth chapter of Shri Chaitanya-caritamrta Adi-lila, and in Shri Raya Ramananda Samvada. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu also instructed the process to Shrila Rupa Gosvami in Madhya-lila chapers 19 and 20, and to Shrila Sanatana Gosvami in Madhya-lila chapters 20-23. Let us take care about being at the bottom of the tree and from there trying to jump to the top. If you enter a fire, you will be burned.
At the same time, it is also not sufficient to merely speak about the philosophical truths and processes of bhakti. Try to be actually established, or realized, in this. Suppose a disciple is always preaching the glories of Krishna's philosophy and variety of sweet pastimes. Suppose that disciple is always chanting. He; is chanting one lakha (sixty-four rounds) of holy names daily and is always reading about the pastimes of Krishna and glorifying Him – but he does not have very much faith in his guru and he does not follow his gurudeva's orders.
Or, he sometimes follows and sometimes does not; sometimes he follows his uncontrolled mind.
It is stated in the Upanisads:
yasya deve para bhaktir
yatha deve tatha gurau
tasyaite kathita hy arthah
(Svetasvatara Upanisad 6.23)
["Only unto those great souls who have implicit faith in both the Lord and the spiritual master are all the imports of Vedic knowledge automatically revealed."]