Shrila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaj
Murwillumbah, Australia: Feb.14, 2002
Gosvami Shri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja
[A Discourse on Jaiva Dharma]
Try to come with me to Navadvipa-dhama. In Godruma-kunja, full of flowers, creepers, cuckoos and others birds, there was a bhajana-kutira named Pradyumna-kunja. In that very lonely place on the bank of Ganges and Sarasvati, Paramahamsa Premadasa Babaji performed his bhajana.
Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has written that Premadasa Babaji was the siksa-disciple of Pradyumna Brahmacari, but he has not written the name of the Babaji's diksa-guru. Usually the name of one's diksa-guru is written, but because Premadasa Babaji's siksa-guru was higher than his diksa-guru, Thakura Bhaktivinoda has not done so. Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami had a bona fide diksa-guru, but he is particularly known as Svarupera-Raghu, the Raghunatha dasa of his siksa-guru, Shrila Svarupa Damodara Gosvami. Svarupa Damodara Gosvami is a very high-class paramahamsa and an eternal associate of Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Radha-Krsna Conjugal. He is Lalita-sakhi. He is therefore more powerful than Raghunatha dasa Gosvami's diksa-guru, Yadunandana Acarya, and he was therefore more prominent in his life. In a similar way, Shrila Thakura Bhaktivinoda has given the name of Premadasa Babaji's siksa-guru.
Premadasa Babaji was known as 'Paramahamsa Babaji' and Pradyumna Brahmacari was known as 'Brahmacari.' The title 'paramahamsa' is higher in rank then that of the brahmacari, and therefore we can only imagine what kind of brahmacari became of guru of a paramahamsa. Nowadays, everyone wants to be known as gosvami, paramahamsa, parivrajaka, and so on, but Pradyumna Brahmacari never wanted that. Devotees like Shrila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura and Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura kept their family name, but they are more than paramahamsa.
If the diksa-guru and siksa-guru are both on the same level, we can honor them to the same extent. On the other hand, if one of them is superior, we have to give that guru more respect. For example, my Gurudeva is nitya-lila-pravista om visnupada Shri Shrimad Bhaktiprajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja. If my siksa-gurus are Shrila Rupa Gosvami and Shrila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, I will have to give more honor to them. First I must give honor to my Gurudeva, because he has dragged me from family life and he has supported and nourished me in bhakti, but if my siksa-gurus are Rupa Gosvami, Cakravarti Thakura, or Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Rupa Manjari, I will have to give more respect to them. One must first offer pranama to his diksa-guru, and, if his diksa-guru is a high-class Vaisnava and the disciple feels greatly indebted to him, then he must also give all honor to his diksa-guru. In some cases, however, as here in Jaiva Dharma, Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has only given the name of Premadasa Babaji's siksa-guru.
The diksa-guru should be served by the process of arcana. Although sastra has said, 'visrambhena-guru-seva; one must serve the guru with a sense of intimacy,' you may commit some offences if you attempt this at your stage. When you come to the level of spontaneous devotional service, then you can do visrambhena-guru-seva. Otherwise, you will have to show that gurudeva respect, awe, and reverence. On the other hand, the siksa-guru can be seen as one's own heart, and the siksa-disciple can even joke with him. I used to joke with my Shrila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja. Sitting on the same seat, we used to laugh together. I never sat on the same level with my Gurudeva on my own accord, but sometimes he ordered me to serve him in that way, sitting on his bed or on a nearby chair as we worked on so many things together. I did so on his order, but I always felt a sense of awe and respect. With ones siksa-guru, on the other hand, there is so much joking and telling of everything that in ones heart. There is nothing to hide, and the siksa-guru will reveal truths about Radha and Krsna that we cannot always discuss with our diksa-guru. If anyone is very advanced, he can also act in that way with his diksa-guru, but such a disciple is very rare.
As Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has given the name of Premadasa Babaji's siksa-guru in bhagavata-parampara, we should try to accept that bhagavata-parampara given by our acaryas. Shrila Kavi Karnapura was the first to give the list of these bhagavat-parampara gurus; then Shri Baladeva Vidyabhusana, then Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, and then, especially, Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Prabhupada. Premadasa Babaji Maharaja was very learned and perfect in all sastras, like the Vedas, Upanisads, Puranas, Brahma-sutra, Mahabharata, Ramayana, and Caitanya-caritamrta, and he was also expert in the books of the Gosvamis, like Ujjvala Nilamani, Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, Brhad-bhagavatmrta, and Sat-sandarbha.
Try to follow Premadasa Babaji, and then you can be pure devotees. He chanted two lakhs of harinama every day without any fail. He not only chanted one, two, or three rounds. He chanted 128 rounds, and that is equivalent to two lakhs of harinama. Moreover, he was not only chanting two lakhs names, but he was also serving the six Gosvamis in the following ways:
sankhya-purvaka-nama-gana-natibhih kalavasani-krtau nidrahara-viharakadi-vijitau catyanta-dinau ca yau radha-krsna-guna-smrter madhurimanandena sammohitau vande rupa-sanatanau raghu-yugau sri-jiva-gopalakau
["I worship the Six Gosvamis, who passed their time in chanting the holy names, singing songs, and offering dandavat-pranama, thereby humbly fulfilling their vow to complete a fixed number daily. In this way they utilized their valuable lives and conquered over eating and sleeping. Always meek and humble and absorbed in the highest bliss, they were enchanted by remembering Shri Radha-Krsna's sweet pastimes." (Shri Sad-Gosvamyastakam by Shrila Shrinivasa Acarya)]
Besides his two lakhs of harinama, he engaged himself for hours each day in offering dandavat pranama, falling down like a stick at the feet of all the associates of Radha-Krsna and Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He offered similar dandavat pranama to Vrndavana, Navadvipa-dhama and Jagannatha Puri, and to all the pastime places there. Besides this, he used to do madhukari at the gopa-grha (homes of the cowherd families), begging only a little milk or some chapatis from the residents and thinking those places as part of Nandagaon.
He never spoke any 'chatter-patter.' Rather, he spent the rest of his time reading Prema-Vivarta. He was not reading Bhagavad-gita or Caitanya-caritamrta, but Prema-Vivarta of Shri Jaganananda Pandita, which was full with rasa. If a rasagula is squeezed, rasa continually flows out, and similarly, every line of Prema-Vivarta is full of rasa. While reading, Premadasa Babaji used to weep bitterly, with tears in his eyes, and his bodily hairs stood on end. Many Vaisnavas used to come to hear him speak from that book, and he used to explain Shrimad-Bhagavatam, Caitanya-caritamrta, Brahmara-gita, Gopi-gita and other topics of krsna-katha by using it as his reference.
One day, at about 3.00 in the afternoon, Premadasa Babaji had completed his rounds and was reading Prema-Vivarta while drinking from the ocean of bhava and prema - love and affection. At that time an ekadandi-sannyasi came and fell flat at his lotus feet. There are two kinds of sannyasis: ekadandi and tridandi. Our parampara is a tridandi sampradaya, and he was from the ekadandi Sankara Sampradaya. Such persons are mayavadi. They think that brahma is undifferentiated oneness, whereas tridandi means that by our mind, senses and words, we engage in the service of Krsna. Tri means three, and therefore tridandi also means the acceptance of sakti, saktiman and jiva.
Krsna is saktiman, Radhika is sakti, and in this connection jivas are all the souls who serve them in madhurya-rasa. These three are also in the seed mantra 'klim.' They are fully present in klim, in a seed form.
Believing that all are brahma, mayavadis carry take one danda. Nityananda Prabhu once took the ekadanda of Mahaprabhu, broke it into three, and threw it into the river. He was teaching us, "Don't take one danda; take three dandas." He also taught that although it is necessary for us to carry the weight of a danda, there is no need for Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, to do so.
When that sannyasi arrived, Babaji was not in his external consciousness. He was totally engaged in a mood of serving Radha and Krsna and Mahaprabhu. He was in antardasa, trance or samadhi, and he could not see that a sannyasi had fallen down like a rod at his lotus feet, doing sastanga-pranama to him for some time. When he finally returned to external consciousness and saw the sannyasi, Paramahamsa Babaji also began to do pranama to him, calling out, "Ha Nityananda, ha Caitanya. Please sprinkle your mercy upon this wretched person." Then, folding his palms, that sannyasi said, "I am so fallen and full of anarthas. Why are speaking in that way and cheating me of your mercy? Please don't cheat me."
Babaji Maharaja then gave him an asana made of banana leaves. He himself was sitting on such an asana, and he gave the same to the sannyasi and told him, "O Sannyasi Thakura, what service I can do for you?" The sannyasi replied, "I am very unfortunate."
When a sisya goes to his Gurudeva to take initiation, he should behave as Sannyasi Thakura behaved towards his Gurudeva. Folding his hands he said, "I am a very high class of ekadandi sannyasi. I've very thoroughly read the sastras containing the six philosophies: sankhya, patanjala, nyaya, vaisesika, purva-mimamsa and uttara-mimamsa." In India there are six kinds of philosophy, and Sannyasi Thakura was perfect in them all. He was accustomed to speak in Sanskrit, and he had studied Brahma-sutra, the Upanisads, and Vedanta-sutra.
Sannyasi Thakura said, "I was in Kasi, Varanasi, wasting so much time in tarka and vitarka, logic and argument. I practiced chanting, 'All are brahma,' and I practiced the belief that brahma is nirvisesa, we are all pratibimba, reflections, of that brahma, and in the end we'll mix in and become brahma. And I used to try to prove this by logic. Twelve years ago I took sannyasa from Saccidananda Sarasvati and I roamed in all the holy places of Kanya Kumari in the South, in Badarikasrama and Kedaranatha in the South, in Dvaraka in West, in Jagannatha Puri, and here and there. During that time, I discussed with and defeated all those who came to question or challenge me."
Sannyasi Thakura continued, "I have passed the three stages of sannyasa, namely kuticaka, bahudaka, and hamsa." Kuticaka means to remain in one place. After that, the sannyasi gives up that kutira, roams here and there, and drinks water from many different places. Hamsa means swan. As the swan can take the milk portion of water and leave the water, a hamsa sannyasi can differentiate between worldly things and that which is transcendental. He can differentiate between atma-tattva and anatma-tattva, what is the soul and what is this body (not soul, but inert matter). Sannyasi Thakura's idea was that this world is false, there is a soul within the body, and that soul is brahma. He told Paramahamsa Babaji, "I practiced chanting, 'Aham brahmasmi,' 'prajnanam-brahma,' and 'tat tvam asi.' I completed my sadhana of all these meditations, but I was not happy. I passed so many stages, but still I was not happy."
Shri Vyasadeva was paramahamsa, but he was also not happy. Actually, he was the father of all paramahamsas and the forefather of all paramahamsas. He was a manifestation of Narayana Himself, but still he was not satisfied with what he has accomplished. Although he had realized all his Vedic literature, but still he lamented, "Why am I not gladdened?" Sannyasi Thakura is similarly lamenting to Paramahamsa Babaji. "One day," he said, "I saw a Vaisnava loudly singing, 'Shri Krsna Caitanya Prabhu Nityananda, Shri Advaita Gadadhara Shrivasadi Gaura Bhakta-vrnda.' He was weeping bitterly and rolling down on the ground. His eyes were full of tears and his hairs stood on end. Sometimes rolled on the ground, and sometimes she stood up and then again fell down. I had been practicing 'aham brahmasmi for twelve years,' but I had never felt what I felt that day, in a moment. I cannot explain to you how happy I became. At that time my bodily hair stood on end and tears also fell from my eyes. I wanted to go to him and offer prostrated obeisances at his lotus feet, but I thought, 'I am paramahamsa. Why should I go there?' I was stopped by my false ego and I could not go to him. I could not offer proper respect to him. Then, he went on his way and disappeared.
"It was after he left that I realized, 'Fie on me. Fie on my paramahamsa-pada (position of paramahamsa). Why could I not go and take his foot dust?' I began to search for him, wondering, 'Where is that Vaisnava?'
I realized that if after a moment's darsana I am so happy and overwhelmed by bhava, then how much greater he will be! I knew I should go to him as Vyasadeva went to Narada Rsi to hear from him how to have that happiness. I continued to search, but I could not find him. I then left Kasi, Varanasi, thinking, 'This class of Vaisnavas may be in Vrndavana, so I must go there.
I went to Vrndavana, and there I went door-to-door, bhajana-kutira to bhajana-kutira, to the bank of Yamuna, to the lotus feet of Govardhana, Radha kunda and Syama-kunda. I searched everywhere, but I could not find him.
"By roaming throughout these places, my sukrti increased. By passing through all these high class of pastime places of Krsna and seeing the Vaisnavas singing, dancing, hearing hari-katha, and hearing Shrimad-Bhagavatam classes here and there, I amassed vast sukrti."
In Vrndavana, there are more temples than there are houses. Yamuna flows practically everywhere there, and birds like the cuckoos are singing, "Radhe Radhe." Even watchmen in various areas in the night are chanting, "Oh, Radhe Radhe." All the bumblebees are singing, "Radhe Radhe." And all the creepers and trees are singing, "Radhe Radhe." So he went there, and some transcendental impressions came in his heart.
Sannyasi Thakura continued, "All the pure devotees in Vrndavana dhama were weeping due to feeling separation from Shrila Rupa Gosvami and Shrila Sanatana Gosvami. They were praying, 'O Rupa! O Sanatana! Vande rupa-sanatanau raghu-yugau sri-jiva-gopalakau.' Having entered the sweet pastimes of Krsna in trance, and having taken the names of Sacinandana Gaurahari and Patita-pavana Nityananda, all were weeping there. I did parikrama of the entire caurasi krosa (the 84x2mile or 128 mile area of) Vraja-mandala parikrama.
"Upon my inquiry regarding that Vaisnava I'd seen in Kasi, a devotee told me, 'You can have darsana of a Vaisnava like this. Just go to Navadvipa.' I then journeyed here, visited the birthplace of Caitanya Mahaprabhu and other holy places, and everyone directed me to you. Thus, today I have taken your darsana." Sannyasi Thakura then began to weep.
This is the process of going to bow down at the feet of gurudeva. Such a person can have a real guru, just as Krsna sent Sannyasi Thakura to a real guru. If you want to discuss with your mind and think, "I can select my guru," you will not be able to do so. If you want to have a siksa-guru or bhagavata-guru in bhagavata-parampara, pray to Krsna and try to follow the above-mentioned procedure. Premadasa Babaji is not different from Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, in the sense that Bhaktivinoda Thakura is not less than him. Thakura Bhaktivinoda was realizing all the events and highest moods in Jaiva Dharma in his trance, and then he wrote it down.
Falling again at Premadasa Babaji's feet, Sannyasa Thakura now said, "I heard your glorification and I have thus come to you. I have surrendered my entire existence at your lotus feet and you are free to use me in your service in any way." This is the process. If you want to have an eternal guru and an eternal relationship with Krsna and Radhika and Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu, you'll have to follow this process.
Devotees in this process will not be weak. They cannot fall down. Lust cannot approach them, nor can worldly desires touch them. Give up all desires, today, with this vow: "I have given up all other interests. I want to serve Radha and Krsna totally."
After Sannyasi Thakura completed his identification, Babaji Maharaja began to weep as He took a straw between his teeth and said. "I only pretend to be trnadapi sunicena (more humble than a blade of grass). O Sannyasi Thakura, I'm very unfortunate. I have wasted my time in filling my belly and chattering. It is true that I live in Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's pastime place, but I have not yet realized what is krsna-prema."
It is stated in Shri Caitanya-caritamrta:
na prema-gandho 'sti darapi me harau
krandami saubhagya-bharam prakasitum
bibharmi yat prana-patangakan vrtha
["Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu continued, 'My dear friends, I have not the slightest tinge of love of Godhead within My heart. When you see Me crying in separation, I am just falsely exhibiting a demonstration of My great fortune. Indeed, not seeing the beautiful face of Krsna playing His flute, I continue to live My life like an insect, without purpose.'" (Cc Madhya 2.45)]
Shrimati Radhika Herself is saying this: "I have no krsna-prema; not even a scent of it. Sometimes I weep. I know I weep. Why? I do so only to show off to others that I have overwhelming love and affection for Krsna. Until now I've not taken His darsana. If I really had love and affection for Krsna, I would not have been able to remain alive in his separation. And yet I'm alive! The fish actually have great love and affection for water. The proof is that if they're taken out of it, they will die in a minute or two. Still, I'm not dying! Why am I not dying? Because My heart is made from a thunderbolt, without any krsna-prema."
Babaji Maharaja similarly began to speak, "Though I live in a very high class of pastime place of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, I don't know what is prema.
You, on the other hand, told me that you felt this love and affection simply by seeing a Vaisnava for one moment. I have not realized this." Saying this he began to weep loudly and he embraced Sannyasi Maharaja. Seeing this, Sannyasi Thakura began to weep still more loudly. Tears continually fell from his eyes, and now even more feeling came than when he had seen that Vaisnava in Varanasi. Now he felt great love and affection for Krsna, and the hairs of his body stood on end. He realized that Premadasa Babaji was still more elevated than that devoted Vaisnava in Kasi.
We have seen in Brhad-bhagavatamrta that when a young gopa of Govardhana was cowherding and he heard a voice, he could not decide whether the person whose voice he heard was weeping or singing. When he began to search for him, he saw a Vaisnava in the midst of a very thick grove, weeping bitterly.
He was not singing, but he was weeping, "Radhe, Radhe! Radha Ramana Hari!
Govinda Jaya Jaya!"
Now, Sannyasi Thakura even more fully surrendered himself at the lotus feet of Premadasa Maharaja and said, "I have surrendered myself to you, so please be merciful to me. I am your eternal servant." A person who wants to be a disciple should be like Sannyasi Thakura, whether he is a grhastha or a renounced person like he was. When Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu went to Gaya and met with Shri Isvara Puripada, Mahaprabhu said the same thing: "I have surrendered to you my life, my body, and everything I possess. Please do what is best for me. Now I'm not mine; I'm yours." He said this not only by his words, but by his heart and soul.
If you follow the way in which Caitanya Mahaprabhu approached His Gurudeva, no one will be able to cheat you. Krsna will arrange for you to go to a very bona fide guru. Otherwise, Krsna will also cheat you. He will consider, "This person has some worldly desires. Let him go to a third class, cheating, bogus guru." Those who select their guru by their own intelligence fall into the trap of bogus gurus. On the other hand, for those who first surrender to Krsna and say, "Krsna, I've surrendered to You," Krsna will make arrangements. Krsna is caitya-guru. You should always know that you cannot cheat Him. He is always in your heart. He knows everything about you that you don't even know; so how can you cheat Him? You'll cheat yourself; not Krsna and guru and Vaisnava. If Gurudeva is bona fide, if he has surrendered to his guru and Radha and Krsna and Mahaprabhu and Nityananda, we should not try to hide anything from him. He is not a mortal being.
Premadasa Babaji then said, "I wish that you remain here in my asrama. I want to associate with you." The Sannyasi Thakura replied, "I have surrendered myself to you. Not only for two or three days, or one or two years; I've surrendered to you for my whole life. I am your servant."
From then on he stayed with Premadasa Babaji, and if we follow him, we will attain Krsna's mercy very soon. Guru's mercy will come to you, the mercy of the parampara will come, and you will become a high class of pure Vaisnava.
We have not come to enjoy in this world. We have already engaged in sex enjoyment for lakhs and lakhs of births in various male and female forms. We will not be satisfied by that process. Don't go in that direction. If you are married, you and your husband or wife should serve Krsna together. If you are not married, then don't marry. Be like Sannyasi Thakura. If you cannot do so, then you can remain with one devotee. If the wife and husband remain together in Krsna consciousness, they are also like brahmacaris.
There is no harm in that. But try to follow all the instructions elucidated in this chapter of Jaiva Dharma. Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has written everything in Jaiva Dharma with full realization, and he has invested all his life's realizations in each word.
Jaiva Dharma is not the figment of his imagination. He wrote this literature as Vyasadeva wrote Shrimad-Bhagavatam. Shrila Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami also did not write anything in Caitanya-caritamrta that is not real, but rather he wrote what he had seen in his trance. Shri Sanatana Gosvami has also written Brhad-bhagavatamrta in the same style as Jaiva Dharma, in the form of a discussion, and there is no part of it that is false.
Pray to Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, "Om bhaktivinodaya svaha." By this process, he will reveal to you all the answers and realizations about his identity and his writings.
[Devotee:] Gurudeva, what's the difference between a hamsa and a paramahamsa?
[Shrila Narayana Maharaja:] A hamsa can differentiate. As a swan can take the milk portion of the water and leave the water, a hamsa sannyasi can differentiate between spiritual substance and maya, and he will reject maya.
A paramahamsa, however, sees that everywhere there is only milk, milk, milk. There is no water at all. Moreover, if there is water, the paramahamsa can turn it into pure milk. This is paramahamsa.
Transcribers: Shrimati Yamuna devi dasi and Shrimati Rohini devi dasi
Editor: Shrimati Shyamarani devi dasi
Typists: Shrimati Jayanti devi dasi and Shrimati Radhika devi dasi