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First darshan in the West

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lecture19990413.jpgŚrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāj
May 5, 1996, Holland

Śrīla Gurudeva: I am offering obeisances to my Gurudeva Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja and to the lotus feet dust of Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Swāmī Mahārāja. I think they will give me so many blessings. By their blessings, I may be able to tell something about the teachings of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the teachings of Rūpa-Raghunātha, and our entire guru-paramparā.

Our whole philosophy is based on the Gītā. On the basis of the Gītā, a loving tree like Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam has grown and produced very sweet smelling fruits. Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Swāmī Prabhupāda has made the platform. When he came, no-one was here to welcome him; he was a penniless person. No one knew him in Western countries. But wherever I go, I see that there are big crowds dancing and singing. All are there welcoming me. This is certainly the mercy of Śrīla Swāmī Mahārājaji.

Devotee: Śrīla Gurudeva, this year is the centennial year for Swāmī Mahārāja. He is inviting you.

Śrīla Gurudeva: I am in the line of Swāmījī; not in any other line. Some have been misguided, and they don't think that I am in Swāmījī’s line. Now what Swāmījī has given – he has told me to give something more, additional to what he gave.At that time, India and Western countries were full of jungles, thorns, and everything – māyāvādīs, karmīs, jñānīs, sense-enjoyers (“eat, drink and be merry-waalas”). Because at that time no one was qualified, he could not give his message fully: the same message that Caitanya Mahāprabhu has given:

anarpita-carīṁ cirāt karuṇayāvatīrṇaḥ kalau
samarpayitum unnatojjvala-rasāṁ sva-bhakti-śriyam
hariḥ puraṭa-sundara-dyuti-kadamba-sandīpitaḥ
sadā hṛdaya-kandare sphuratu vaḥ śacī-nandanaḥ
(Vidagdha Mādhava (1)and Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Ādi-līlā 1.4)

[May the Supreme Lord who is known as the son of Śrīmatī Śacī-devī (Śacīnandana), 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. *]

Actually, he came to give vraja-prema, especially gopī-prema. Anyone who does not know the Gītā, who does not know who they are in reality, and especially those who are thinking that they are this physical body, should remove that misconception. Now, here in Western countries, there are so many devotees who like to have a deeper understanding of what Mahāprabhu came to give – “anarpita-carīṁ carat.….” – and that should be given to them. Gītā should be taught to general persons, as Srila Swāmījī has given. In India also, there are so many persons who are hankering and wanting to understand is the essence of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, which is gopī-prema. A man cannot live at the same stage forever.

Bhakti is like a current that is always moving or progressing. First, it is sādhana-bhakti, then bhāva-bhakti, then, like a current going upwards to prema-bhakti, then to vraja-bhakti and going towards gopī-bhakti. The current finally reaches the bhakti that Śrīmatī Rādhikā has for Kṛṣṇa. So, we should know why Caitanya Mahāprabhu has come. He has not come to only preach Nama, but much more than this. The fruit of Nama is Kṛṣṇa Himself. Kṛṣṇa is the ocean of rasa.

In Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.1.1) it is stated:

akhila-rasāmṛta-mūrtiḥ prasṛmara-ruci-ruddha-tārakā-pāliḥ
kalita-śyāmā-lalito rādhā-preyān vidhur jayati

[“All glories to Him, all glories to Him, the complete embodiment of all nectarean loving mellows (rasas), who by the diffusion of His bodily effulgence, kept both the gopīs named Tārakā and Pālī most subjugated, who also controlled Lalitā and Śyāmā Sakhī, and who is the most beloved of Śrī Rādhā.”]

Kṛṣṇa is “akhila-rasāmṛta-mūrtiḥ, the complete embodiment of all nectarean loving mellows”. We have brought Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu with us. Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Swāmī Mahārāja has done marvelous work in publishing so many books.

Caitanya Mahāprabhu has come to give a speciality, a very thick mercy; that you should have greed towards chanting Śrī Nama, hearing Hare Kṛṣṇa like Prahlāda Mahārāja, and trying to enter the realm of Vraja. Then our life will be successful.

Śrīmati Rādhikā has been so merciful. My language is so poor that I cannot express myself. Now devotees will help. Are you all from Holland? I am from Vṛndāvana.

At the time of Kṛṣṇa, there were so many cows in Vṛndāvana that the name of that forest became known as Goloka. Goloka means ‘the country of cows.’ Now there are not so many cows, but Govardhana is there still and Yamunā is there.

Those devotees who have not taken prasādam can come and take.

[Śrīla Gurudeva distributed prasādam and asked about the well-being of different devotees.]

In Vṛndāvana, Govardhana is there – whom Kṛṣṇa lifted on His little finger, and where Śrīmati Rādhikā and the gopas and gopīs used to play. Even Yamunā is there. Also, in Vṛndāvana there are places like Vaṁśivaṭa where Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs danced, as well as Nidhuvana and Sevā-kuñja. Do you know what Sevā-kuñja means? Kṛṣṇa is worshipped everywhere; but in Sevā-kuñja, Kṛṣṇa Himself worships the lotus feet of Śrīmati Rādhikā. This is the speciality of Sevā-kuñja.

You may have heard of Bhāṇḍīravana, where Kṛṣṇa took fire in his mouth like this and it became [cool like snow]. It is also the place where Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa were married in a gāndharvā style wedding performed by Brahmā, and where they offered garlands to each Other. It was not a traditional Indian Vedic marriage.

There is also another Vaṁśivaṭa in Bhāṇḍīravana. All the pastime places are still there. The footdust of Kṛṣṇa and Śrīmati Rādhikā, and the gopīs are there at all these places. Uddhava has prayed to become grass there in Govardhana, to have the mercy of all the gopīs.

He prayed:

āsām aho caraṇa-reṇu-juṣām ahaṁ syāṁ
vṛndāvane kim api gulma-latauṣadhīnām
yā dustyajaṁ sva-janam ārya-pathaṁ ca hitvā
bhejur mukunda-padavīṁ śrutibhir vimṛgyām
Śrīmad Bhagavatam (10.47.61)

[Śrī Uddhava jī prayed: Aho! The vraja-devīs have given up everything that is difficult to renounce, such as children, family and the path of chastity, and they have taken shelter of the path of prema-bhakti to Śrī Kṛṣṇa that is searched for, but rarely attained by the Śrutis. My prayer is that I may appear as a bush, a creeper or a blade of grass in Śrī Vṛndāvana and thus receive the footdust of these gopīs’ lotus feet.]

Uddhava prayed, “I want to be a small piece of grass, not a big tree, because a big tree has no chance to get the footdust of the gopīs. Particles of dust can go up and settle on the leaves of the tree, but they will not come directly from the gopīs lotus feet or Kṛṣṇa 's lotus feet. I want to become a blade of grass so that the dust from their lotus feet will directly come on me.”

Why did he want to become a blade of grass?

“The gopīs will come to meet Kṛṣṇa, and by stepping on me, a blade of grass, I will have gopī-prema. But I am insignificant. I am not qualified to take their footdust.”

If Uddhava is not qualified to take the footdust of the gopīs, then what to speak of all others? Only by the mercy of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Rupa Gosvāmī will we be qualified for this very soon.

I think Śrīla Gour-govinda Mahārāja, the disciple of Śrīla Swāmījī, may have mentioned something about these topics. So much has especially been given in Caitanya-caritāmṛta and Śrīmad-Bhagvatam. If any person will read Caitanya-caritāmṛta, they will surely have greed for this. We also pray to Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī and Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and all our guru-paramparāfor their mercy.

We should be in the line of Śrīla Swāmī Mahārāja, the line of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Rūpa Gosvāmī.

I will have to take some rest. I will come tomorrow. I have not slept since 2am and I was not able to sleep on the plane.

Brajanāth dāsa: We are very happy. The whole Western world has become joyful because Śrīla Mahārāja has come to bless the Western world.

We had one program in Delhi yesterday. Śrīla Mahārāja was mentioning, “I am going to the Western world. I will go to give something there. We are not interested in taking anything from the Western world, but we are interested to give something they don’t have.” He gave an example of the blind man and the lame man. It is a well-known example.

“The Western countries have a great deal of developed technology, but they don’t have spiritual vision. They have so many qualified people such as engineers and doctors, but still have the highest rate of suicide. There are so many thieves and so much money.” Śrīla Mahārāja was explaining why there were so many thieves with so much money and so many prisons full of persons who have committed crimes. So, what are we doing to help these people? He said, “In the Western world there is no problem that we cannot handle. I will go to the Western countries. I will help them to understand how to develop their character and how to understand the real meaning of life, which is to develop pure kṛṣṇa -bhakti.”

Exactly 100 years ago, Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s small English booklet “Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu: His life and precepts” was first sent to the Western world; to McGill University in Montreal, Canada and Royal Asiatic Society in London. Now, exactly 100 years later, Śrīla Mahārāja has come to give us the jewels of Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Thakura and our guru-paramparā. Śrīla Swāmī Prabhupāda also appeared in this world 100 years ago, and came to the west in 1965, about 31 years ago. Before he came to the West, he was actually staying in Mathurā. In Mathurā, he was very well related to Śrīla Mahārāja. They were such good friends. Śrīla Mahārāja inspired him to quickly take sannyasa and go to the Western countries. As we have heard him saying previously, many times Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Swāmī Prabhupāda requested Śrīla Mahārāja to go to Western countries and also to assist him. At that time, he was not able to do that, but he was sending karatālas, mṛdangas, granthas,and Deities.

Śrīla Gurudeva: And also peḍā (a famous sweet of Mathurā).

Brajanāth dāsa: Now after the 100th year celebrations of Śrīla Swāmī Prabhupāda, Śrīla Mahārāja is coming to give so much help to all those who are seeking pure bhakti. We are so happy that he is here now.

[Śrīla Gurudeva was now meeting with devotees who had previously met him in Mathurā]

Brajanāth dāsa: You know Taruṇa-kṛṣṇa.

Śrīla Gurudeva: I remember him.

Brajanāth dāsa: He has come many times to Vṛndāvana and Mathurā.

Śrīla Gurudeva: He is a disciple of?

Brajanāth dāsa: Śrīla Swāmī Mahārāja.

Śrīla Gurudeva: I am so happy to see you all.

Devotees: We are happy to see you.

Question: What is the meaning of vaibhava?

Śrīla Gurudeva: I am seeing that all the devotees are the vaibhava, manifestation of Swāmī jī. Swāmījī has created such a beautiful place. I think it was by the prediction of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu that in every village, town, and everywhere His name will be chanted.

I wish that you develop your Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

I think that married life is not a wall, obstacle, to bhakti. All the gopīs are married. Also, most of the devotees of Caitanya Mahāprabhu were married. Also, at the time of Kṛṣṇa – the Yadu vamsi (Yadu dynasty) and Pandavas were all grhasthas, married, but they served more than renunciants like Nārada. Yuddhistira Mahārāja took the footdust of Nārada. He said, “I am so much fortunate to have the dust of your lotus feet”. Nārada replied, “You don’t know your opulence. You don’t know your influence. You are blessed. I see that Kṛṣṇa, with all His queens, lives with you and serves you. He took the reins of Arjuna’s horses, became his charioteer, and served him. He has given His very dear sister to Arjuna, and He was the tutor of Abhimanyu, the son of Arjuna. You are so much fortunate that even Kṛṣṇa, sarva sarveśvara, the Lord of Lords, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa is serving you. By this, Kṛṣṇa thinks that He is served by you.”

What was the relation of Draupadī with Kṛṣṇa? Do you know? She is Kṛṣṇa’s sakhī. Sakhās are male friends like Śrīdāma, Subala, and Madhumangala. Śrīdāma is the brother of Śrīmati Rādhikā and he is the sakhāof Kṛṣṇa, but Draupadī is sakhī. The Pāndavas are so much superior to Nārada and Nārada admits that the Pāṇḍavas are superior to him. Yet, Yuddhistira Mahārāja serves the lotus feet of Nārada, because the Pāṇḍavas are so humble: ‘tṛṇād api sunīcena’. The Pāṇḍavas are naturally humble, and they think they are lower than Nārada.

Gaura Premanande!

Now I should take rest, otherwise I will be so tired. I think that we should meet again and give me pleasure by your good association, lovely association.

Devotee: Gurudeva, are you cold here? It’s so cold her, isn’t it? I am worried you might get so sick.

Śrīla Gurudeva: Persons of Vṛndāvana and Mathurā told me that I should be very careful. After the eight hours of journey in the plane, I would be so tired, and it will be so cold there. But I am thinking that it is Phālguna month, spring season, in Vrndavana.

Here there are so many good devotees. They are not brahmavādīs or māyāvādīs; none are māyāvādīs, but special kṛṣṇa-bhaktas.

The devotees, especially ladies, were weeping so much. They were telling me, “When you go to the West, you will forget us.” I told them, “I will not forget you.” Now I am seeing that I may forget them. (all laughing). All are understanding my poor English?

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