Shri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja
1997 Badger, California
We must have some moods at the time of arati. It should not be performed without mood. When you are making an offering, you will also have to have mood. It may be the mood of Yasoda Ma, who is offering everything to Krishna and then distributing to all others. Or, if your svarupa (constitutional position) has the mood of the gopis and you are very qualified for that, if you have some greed for that, then you can see that Shrimati Radhika is giving the preparations to Krishna.
We should try to follow Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Shrila Narottama dasa Thakura, and all others like them. Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has given as the kirtana, Bhoga Arati:
bhaja bhakata-vatsala sri-gaurahari
sri-gaurahari so hi gosta-bihari
"Just worship Shri Gaurahari, who is always affectionate towards His devotees. He is none other than Krishna, who roamed with the cows from forest to forest and who stole the hearts of Nanda and Yasoda."]
Shrila Narayana Maharaja leads the devotees in singing:
gopi-parana dhana, mandana-manohara,
"Krishna is Yasoda Maiya's beloved son, and the topmost lover in Brajabhumi. As Kana (an affectionate name for Him) He delights Gokula and is the wealth of the life of the gopis. He is an inveterate thief, stealing the hearts of all, and He crushed the Kaliya serpant."]
At the time of mangala arati, the gopis, and especially Lalita and Visakha, are performing the arati to Radha and Krishna. Yasoda Ma does arati at eight or nine in the morning, just before Krishna goes to the forest for cow grazing. By her arati she is taking away His ills, sufferings which may come, and all obstacles. Lalita and Visakha do arati during nisanta, the end of night, telling Radha and Krishna, "You will have to go to your own houses." We should know all these truths.
When you chant you have no taste, and therefore sleepiness comes. But even if there is no taste you should force your mind by telling it, "I will not listen to you. I will have to give you a lesson. I will tie my sikha here, and then, oh, you will have to chant." This situation is likened to a boy who does not want to eat, and his mother forces him by hook or by crook. She somehow induces him to eat. Similarly, you should induce your mind by telling it, "You will have to chant harinama. I will not give you anything to eat if you have not chanted 16 rounds in the morning, sitting in one place."
We try to do more than 22 rounds in the morning in one sitting. You should tell your mind, "I will not give you anything to eat, and not even a drop of water to drink, if you do not chant. I know you are a very bad person, so I will whip you." By this you will see that after some days ruci (taste) will come and all diseases will go away. Then, at one sitting you will be able to chant one lack (64 rounds) of harinama. There will be no need to go here or there, doing this or that. No sleepiness or idleness will come.
In between your harinama you can chant:
he krsna! karuna-sindho! dina-bandho! jagat-pate!
gopesa! gopika-kanta! radha-kanta! namo'stu te
"I offer my unlimited pranama unto You, O Krishna! You are the ocean of mercy, friend of the fallen, lord of creation, and master of the cowherd community! You are Gopi-kanta, beloved of the gopis, and above all you are Radha-kanta, the beloved of Shrimati Radhika!"]
tapta-kancana-gaurangi! radhe! vrndavanesvari!
vrsabhanu-sute! devi! pranami hari-priye!
"O Gaurangi, whose complexion is like molten gold! O Radhe! Queen of Vrindavan! O daughter of Vrsabhanu Maharaja! O Devi! O dearmost of Hari! Pranama unto You again and again!"]
Chant in such a mood that tears will come:" O Radhe! O Krishna! O Harinama, you are Krishna Himself! O Radhika, You Yourself are Hare." Sit straight and sometimes weep. Then there will be no room for sleep. Also, while doing harinama, time to time chant:
bhajami radham aravinda-netram
smarami radham madhura-smitasyam
vadami radham karuna-bharadram
tato mamanyasti gatir na kapi
"I worship Radha who has lotus eyes, I remember Radha who has a sweet smile, and I speak of Radha who is melted with compassion. There is nothing else for me. She is my life and soul." (Shri Stavavali, Visakhanandadabhih stotram 131)]
Where is sleep? Where is kama, krodha, lobha, moha, mada and matsarya (lust, anger, greed, pride, illusion and envy)? They will all fly away. Sometimes you can utter, "There is no sinner like me. There is no one as wretched as me. You are giving everything, but I am so wretched that I am unaware of Your mercy." And sometimes you can chant:
namnam akari bahudha nija-sarva-saktis
tatrarpita niyamitah smarane na kalah
etradrsi tava krpa bhagavan mamapi
durdaivam idrsam ihajani nanuragah
"O Bhagavan! Your holy name bestows all auspiciousness upon the living entities. Therefore, for the benefit of the jivas, You eternally manifest Your innumerable names, such as Rama, Narayana, Krishna, Mukunda, Madhava, Govinda, and Damodara. You have invested those names with all the potencies of their respective forms. Out of causeless mercy, You have not even imposed any restrictions on the chanting and remembrance of such names. Nonetheless, I am so unfortunate due to committing offenses that I have no attachment for Your holy name, which is so easily accessible and bestows all good fortune." (Shri Siksastakam, 2)]
Remember the meaning of this sloka and, weeping, pray, "You are endlessly merciful, and I am a wretched person. None are like me. You are the greatest in giving mercy, but I am such a person that does not take your mercy. O Prabhu, I need only Your mercy - nothing else.
vadanam gadgada-ruddhaya gira
pulakair nicitam vapuh kada
tava nama-grahane bhavisyati
"O Prabhu! When will my eyes be filled with streams of tears? When will my voice choke up? And when will the hairs of my body stand erect in ecstasy as I chant Your holy name?" (Shri Siksastakam, 6)]
When weeping in this way, where is lust, anger, greed and so on? They will fly away and there will be no idleness, sleepiness, or any other material impediment. You will be able to chant Hare Krishna for hours. Test this yourself. After some time you will be able to see that Parama-pujyapada Shrila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja came to give this mood, and it will be automatically coming. This is Krishna consciousness. Krishna consciousness does not mean to control anyone - only your mind is to be controlled. Do not try to control anyone; only try to control your bad mind. Do not criticize anyone. Give honor to others, thinking, "They all are more advanced than me. I am the most wretched." Criticize your mind and the bad activities you have performed. With this mood, chant Hare Krishna.
You can also think, "Why are my tears not coming? Why is my heart not melting? My heart is harder than stone and iron and steel. O nama, you are my only help, and yet I think, 'I am such a bona fide Vaisnava or Guru; I am now acarya. I can control everyone.' Oh, what to do?"
yugayitam mimesena caksusa pravrsayitam
sunyayitam jagat sarvam govinda-virahena me
"O sakhi! In seperation from Govinda, even a moment seems like a millenium. Tears begin to shower from my eyes like rain from the clouds, and this entire world seems void." (Shri Siksastakam, 7 )]
You can think, "That mood is not here, but I want to follow. I want to have that mood - a greed to follow the pure devotees in the line of Shrila Rupa Gosvami." And then chant, thinking:
aslisya va pada-ratam pinastu mam
adarsanan marma-hatam karotu va
yatha tatha va vidadhatu lampato
mat-prana-nathas tu sa eva naparah
"Let Krishna tightly embrace this maidservant who is attached to the service of His lotus feet, and thus make me His very own. Or let Him break my heart by not being present before me. He is a debauchee and can do whatever He likes. Even if He cavorts with another lover directly in front of me, He is still my Prananatha. I have none other than Him." (Shri Siksastakam,
Who is uttering this? Shrimati Radhika. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is uttering the entire Siksastakam, and only very rare persons - bona fide Vaisnavas - can give all these impressions in your heart. Such a person is actually siksa-guru.
We have to learn everything - how to do bhajana, how to do arcana, how to make offerings, and how to do this systematically, with mantras. If we are not doing with proper mantras, we will not progress.
It is stated in Shri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, with reference to the Puranas, that if you are not practicing proper vaidhi-bhakti with proper mantras and so on, then the bhoga is not offered, or the arati etc. is not accomplished.
-- Harikatha Team, May 2009