Badger, California: June 11, 2010
Brajanath das: Prabhu is asking: You explained in Hawaii some years ago that sambhoga (the pastimes of Krishna and His associates in meeting), is higher than vipralambha (the pastimes in the mood of separation).
Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: I have also sometimes told that vipralambha dances on the head of samhhoga. But, do any of you want the separation of Radha and Krishna?
Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: Do any of you want this?
Devotees: No. Never.
Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: So, which is greater?
Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: Yet, Krishna wants everyone in the world to know that Radhika is His topmost beloved – not only in meeting, but in separation.
Shripad Madhava Maharaja: Both sambhoga and vipralambha are needed – like two sides of a coin. Without vipralambha, sambhoga cannot be nourished.
Shripad Bhagavat Maharaja: Shrila Gurudeva, now, because you have written the book Journey of the Soul, some persons are saying that the jivas have not fallen from Goloka Vrindavan, but that they are in Goloka sleeping, and their dream is the dream of this world.
Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: They are the ones who are seeing a dream.
Shripad Bhagavat Maharaja: They are trying to change their philosophy now.
Brajanath das: They were saying that even before the publication of the book.
Shripad Damodara Maharaja: This is mayavada completely. How can maya cover the liberated soul?
I never got a good answer about this: why does the jiva forget his previous life?
Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: Krishna has made the world like this. If we would not forget everything after taking our next birth, we would not be able to survive. We would die. We cannot imagine how much suffering one experiences at the time of death.
Shripad Visnu Maharaja: Raganuga-bhakti is very high; it is rare that a person can follow it. In vaidhi-bhakti there are so many rules and regulations and mantras for arcane (worship). So, what are we doing here? Vaidhi-bhakti, or raganuga-bhakti, or something else? Vaidhi-bhakti leads [*See Endnote 1]to Vaikuntha. We are hearing hari-katha from you and the Vaisnavas – not about Vaikuntha – but still I don't think we are following raganuga. [*See Endnote 2]
Brajanath das: He is saying that raganuga-bhakti is very rare and difficult to attain. Vaidhi-bhakti is also very difficult, because there are so many rules, regulations, mantras...
Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: No. Vaidhi-bhakti is easy. Anyone can perform vaidhi-bhakti – anyone.
Shripad Bhagavat Maharaja: What are your followers practicing? Are we practicing vaidhi or raganuga?
Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: We are doing vaidhi-bhakti and aiming for raganuga-bhakti. Some, those who are qualified, are practicing raganuga; and some propose to be qualified, but are not.
Brajanath das: Sajjana Maharaja is preaching everywhere – in South America, North America, Middle America...
Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: Damodara Maharaja – not less.
Shripad Sajjana Maharaja: Gurudeva, some devotees say that they are following raganuga-bhakti, so there is no need for them to perform the activities of vaidhi-bhakti – no need for mangala-arati or any other regulations.
Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: [With sarcasm] They are also higher than Krishna.
Shripad Damodara Maharaja: Krishna goes to mangala-arati.
Shripad Madhava Maharaja: Ask them to stop their passing of urine and stool, and eating and sleeping. [*See Endnote 3] Then we will understand what kind of bhakti they are doing. Or, are they simply enjoying their senses?
Nityananda das: I have read that part of our siddhanta is that there must be at least one devotee in the world who is worshipping Shrimati Radhika on the level of bhava – otherwise the world would be destroyed. I read this in an article by Shrila Vamana Gosvami Maharaja. [*See Endnote 4] I don't understand why the world will be destroyed if there is no such devotee in the world.
Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: This is correct, but such devotees are rare.
Shripad Madhava Maharaja: He can't understand why the world will be destroyed.
Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: This is the rule and regulation of Krishna; no one can change it.
Prana-govinda das: When the jiva first falls into the material world, does he always take a human form first, or might he take any other form?
Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: He may take any kind of form among any of the 8, 400,000 species of life.
Abhirama das: Shrila Gurudeva, when you will perform prana-pratistha (installation of the Deities in a temple) in Houston, will the temple be the same as your temples in Vrindavan?
Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: I have told them to make their temple like our temple in Govardhana.
Abhirama das: Will the speciality of the Govardhana temple – which is Giriraja Govardhana Himself – be the same in Houston? Will you bring the same Giriraja Govardhana to Houston? Will both places be non-different?
Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: I will see.
Syamasundara das: Shrila Gurudeva, I also have a question about prana-pratistha. On page 422 of the biography of your Gurudeva, our Parama-gurudeva, you quote Parama-gurudeva saying that if the vigraha (Deity) is not installed by a maha-purusa, a fully self-realized soul, then Thakurji (the Lord in His Deity form) is not present; only a statue is present there. But some persons are saying that if we simply have some faith that Krishna is there, then He is there. How do we reconcile that?
Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: That is right. The Deity should be established by a maha-purusa. It is not that anyone can do this. [The maha-purusa invites Krishna to come by Vedic mantras. Krishna is controlled by him. ed] "Krishna sei tomara...." Krishna, Govinda, is resting in the heart of the maha-bhagavatas, or maha-purusas.
Shripad Asrama Maharaja: If a maha-purusa (maha-bhagavata) doesn't establish Thakuraji, then Thakuraji is not there?
Brajanath das: Gurudeva, Maharaja is asking that if any general devotee – not a maha-purusa – performs the prana-pratistha ceremony, then Thakurji is not there?
Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: Not there.
Shripad Asrama Maharaja: If people who are worshipping the Deities commit Vaisnava aparadha (offences to any pure devotee), is it possible that Thakuraji may leave, or is He always there?
Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: In that case, there is no use of their Thakuraji worship. If one is committing such aparadha, no fruit will come from such worship and that person will go to hell.
Shripad Madhava Maharaja: Thakuraji will not accept that person's service.
Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: Are there any more questions?
Shripad Asrama Maharaja: Sometimes devotees worship their Deities for a long time, and their Thakuraji are not installed by a maha-purusa. Yet, sometimes Gurudeva has said to continue worshipping Them.
Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: Yes. [*See Endnote 5]
Where is he from?
Brajanath das: Canada. He is the father of Krishna-prema.
Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: [to Krishna-prema] He is your father? Very good. [To the father, Jnana-sakti das:] You are happy that he is in the matha (temple)?
Jnana-sakti das: Very happy.
Devotee: Gurudeva, if the jiva's constitutional position is that he is an eternal servant of Krishna, then why do some jivas go to Vaikuntha to serve Narayana there?
Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: Oh, Narayana is Krishna. All the manifestations of Krishna are Krishna in tattva (by philosophical truth).
Vrindavan das (of Hawaii): If a madhyama-adhikari performs prana-prastistha, is there no result?
Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: Yes. [*See Endnote 6]
Devotee: What is the method for a sadhaka to perform visvrambhena-gurau seva (intimate loving service to Gurudeva) from far away?
Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: One should simply have the ambition to do that seva; and then one can serve him by one's money, one's energy, and by doing the needful in any circumstance.
Brajanath das: One time you told us that if a person has to go far away for his job, he is always remembering his family. He saves money for them, sends them that money, calls them, and writes them letters; he is always serving them. Similarly, this can be done with Gurudeva.
Padmanabha das: This is Danny. He is coming from Indiana.
Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: What does he want?
Padmanabha das: He wants to take harinama tomorrow.
Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: Yes, if he wants to take, he can take.
Radha-kanta das: In Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, there is this verse:
krsnam smaran janam casya
prestham nija samihitam
tat tat katha ratas casau
kuryad vasam vraje sada
[While remembering Shri Krishna and His beloved associates whom one desires to follow, being fully absorbed in discussions of their pastimes, one should always reside in Vraja. If this is not possible, then one should reside there by mind. (Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu 1.294)]
Prestham nija samihitam. What is that process in choosing a very near and dear associate? Is it manifest through our sadhana, or do we choose him by hearing?
Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: Shrila Rupa Gosvami has written:
smrtyoh kramena rasana-manasi niyojya
tisthan vraje tad-anuragi-jananugami
kalam nayed akhilam ity upadesa-saram
[While living in Vraja as a follower of those who are attached to Shri Krishna, one should utilize all his time by gradually transferring the absorption of his tongue and mind from matters other than Krishna to the chanting and remembering of narrations of Shri Krishna's name, form, qualities, and pastimes. This is the essence of all instructions. (Upadesamrta, verse 8)]
This verse tells the process. The devotee will be in Vrindavan, the place of Krishna's pastimes. Tan nama – He will always chant the holy names. And smarana – he will remember the pastimes connected with these particular names – such as Damodara, Rasa-bihari, Radhanatha. Under the guidance of a raganuga-bhakta he will remember these important names that are connected with Radha,. This is the process. If one cannot physically reside in Vrindavan, then he should think, "I am in Vrindavan."
Radha-kanta das: Are we personally choosing, or is it something that manifests in the heart?
Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: It will come by hearing. We should try to hear more and pray more, and then that will come.
Radha-kanta das: The second part of the verse says one should always hear and chant about those dear associates. But In preaching, so many subjects need to be told, like Prahlada-carita and Dhruva-carita (the life and character of Prahlada Maharaja and Dhruva Maharaja.)
Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: Not all the time, but from time to time. At last, everything external will go away and you will become internally absorbed. "Krishnam smaran janam casya prestham nija." You will follow the dear associate for whom you have greed in raganuga-bhakti. In this regard, you may remember Rupa Gosvami as an associate of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (his sadhaka-svarupa), and his siddha-svarupa in Vraja as Rupa Manjari.
Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: Who has brought that chair?
Brajanath das: Sivananda.
Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: [To Sivananda-sena das] Oh, you. That is why I sat on it.
Devotee: I would like to ask you a question. I now live in Oregon and work as a mechanic. I would like your permission to change my occupation.
Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: Yes.
Devotee: My friend has many cows, and I would like to start a dairy.
Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: You can do that.
[*Endnote 1: (Shri Chaitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila 22.109) "Those who have not attained the platform of spontaneous attachment in devotional service render devotional service under the guidance of a bona fide spiritual master according to the regulative principles mentioned in the revealed scriptures. According to the revealed scriptures, this kind of devotional service is called vaidhi-bhakti.]
[Endnote 2: (Shri Chaitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila 22.149) The original inhabitants of Vrindavan are attached to Krishna spontaneously in devotional service. Nothing can compare to such spontaneous devotional service, which is called ragatmika-bhakti. When a devotee follows in the footsteps of the devotees of Vrindavan, his devotional service is called raganuga-bhakti. (Chaitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-léla 22.150) When one becomes attached to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, his natural inclination to love is fully absorbed in thoughts of the Lord. That is called transcendental attachment, and devotional service according to that attachment is called ragatmika, or spontaneous devotional service. (Chaitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila 22.152) Thus, devotional service which consists of raga [deep attachment] is called ragatmika, spontaneous loving service. If a devotee covets such a position, he is considered to be most fortunate. (Chaitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila 22.153) If one follows in the footsteps of the inhabitants of Vrindavan out of such transcendental covetousness, he does not care for the injunctions or reasonings of sastra. That is the way of spontaneous love.
[Endnote 3: A person mature in raganuga-bhakti is beyond these bodily necessities. –ed]
[Endnote 4: "Performing bhajana with the inclination to serve Shrimati Radhika is the best type of bhajana. It cannot be said that no one is qualified to perform this kind of bhajana. In this world there is always a rupanuga Vaisnava who is capable of doing such bhajana. Past, present, and future, there will always be someone with this qualification. To say otherwise is incorrect because the world would face destruction if it lacked the presence of such a qualified person." ("Jewels from the Ocean of Separation," translated by the Rays of the Harmonist team, Kartika, 2005)]
[Endnote 5: By such worship a person's life will become regulated – Shripad Bhaktivedanta Madhava Maharaja]
[Endnote 6: This is Vedic culture. He is under the guidance of the uttama-adhikari. He is remembering and realizing his uttama-adhikari Gurudeva's presence, thinking, "You are doing this, and we are helping." Everything depends on the degree of surrender of that madhyama-adhikari to his Gurudeva. – Shripad Bhaktivedanta Madhava Maharaja]