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Questions and answers while walking

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gd_badger_2.jpgShrila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaj
A Morning Walk in Houston, Texas
May 28, 2009

Raghunatha Bhatta dasa: Gurudeva, I want to ask one question. Sometimes a disciple thinks that the guru cannot understand what is going on. Is this due to yogamaya (Krishna's spiritual desire potency)? Or, is guru testing the disciple?

Shrila Gurudeva: If it is Yogamaya, then what will be the job of Mahamaya (Krishna's deluding material potency)? In this world there is no Yogamaya; there is only Mahamaya. There is no need of Yogamaya here. Yogamaya plays a part only in eternal, transcendental matters, like Krishna's pastimes, His associates, and His dhama. That very Yogamaya, when in the hands of Kamsa, became Mahamaya; and in the hands of Vasudeva Maharaja, Krishna's father, She remained Yogamaya.

Raghunatha Bhatta dasa: If the disciple thinks that the guru does not understand, then he himself is in mahamaya?

Shrila Gurudeva: I don't think that all disciples feel this way. It may be that you do, but my other disciples don't think like this.

Kanhaiya dasa (a child): I have a question. In Vrindavan the devotees love Krishna a lot, and in Dvaraka they treat Him like a king. Is the love in Dvaraka a lot different from what it is in Vrindavan, or just a little bit?

Shrila Gurudeva: By comparison, there is less love in Dvaraka. There in Dvaraka Krishna is a king, so He is beyond the reach of His subjects. His subjects offer Him pranamas from a distance, and they offer Him stutis, or prayers.

In Vrindavan the relationship is more intimate. Krishna's devotees embrace Him, and they play and joke with Him.

Atula-Krishna dasa: Gurudeva, thank you for coming to this planet.

Shrila Gurudeva: Why thank me? Why not thank Krishna? Krishna sent me.

All devotees: Haribol!

Janardana dasa: Gurudeva, how many sets of clothes should a brahmacari have?

Shrila Gurudeva: He should have the least amount possible; only two or three sets - two dhotis, two kurtas, and one cadar. Minimize all your personal possessions and don't engage in sense gratification. The more you can minimize your requirements, the better off you will be.

Ramacandra dasa (From California): Gurudeva, can you speak for a moment on the importance of book distribution?

Shrila Gurudeva: By distributing books, Shrila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja preached throughout the world. His books went house-to-house; to all cities, to forests, mountains, hotels, trains, bookstores, and practically everywhere else.

I want my disciples to distribute my books in the same way. My books should reach every house, and every part of the world. (To Ramacandra dasa) Thank you for distributing so many books.

Perhaps Ramacandra is the #1 distributer?

Brajanatha dasa: On the days he goes out to distribute books, he distributes more than one hundred.

Shrila Gurudeva: So why not others? Others should also try.

Sivananda Sena dasa: Gurudeva, you have used an example comparing Krishna to a bumblebee. You said that the bumblebee sometimes visits a very fragrant flower and becomes intoxicated. He becomes so intoxicated by that one flower that even when he visits other flowers that are not as fragrant, he thinks they are also fragrant. You compared this example with Krishna visiting Kubja. [Krishna became so intoxicated by the sweetness of the gopis love that He went to taste even the selfish love of the hunchback Kubja. -ed]

Similarly Krishna is visiting you, who are very fragrant and full of love for Him. I am thinking that since we are close to you, maybe in Krishna's mood of love for you He will visit us also even though we are not so fragrant. Is that possible?

Shrila Gurudeva: What is your question? There should be questions, not lectures.

Ramacandra dasa (from Delhi): His question is that when Krishna is visiting you, will He visit us?

Shrila Gurudeva: He has no time.

Govinda dasa (translating for a Spanish Devotee): At which point can one consider that the jiva is liberated from vanity?

Shrila Gurudeva: (To Padmanabha Maharaja) Did you understand the question? You can answer.

Shripad Padmanabha Maharaja: He is asking: At which stage of bhakti can the jiva be considered liberated from the false ego of identifying with his material body?

Govinda dasa: From vanity.

Shripad Padmanabha Maharaja: Vanity means false ego.

The answer is that when someone has reached the stage of bhava, he has no more identification at all with the body.

Shrila Gurudeva: Even at the stage of bhava-bhakti there is some kasaya (obstacle); but when prema appears in the heart, identification with the body fully disappears. This is called atyantiki.

When the devotee attains prema, all kinds of anarthas are totally washed away, whereas the scent of some bodily identification may remain at the stage of rati or bhava.

Shripad Padmanabha Maharaja: But in the stage of bhava-bhakti, hasn't the devotee realized his svarupa (his constitutional spiritual form)?

Shrila Gurudeva: What I have explained is written in Madhurya-kadambini. *

Shripad Damodara Maharaja: Is it true that among all incarnations, only Advaita Acarya manifested old age?

Shrila Gurudeva: What about Nityananda Prabhu and Mahaprabhu?

Shripad Damodara Maharaja: They did not become old.

Shrila Gurudeva: What do you consider the age of forty-eight to be? It is not kisora (teenage).

Ramacandra dasa (from Delhi): He was forty-eight years old, but did He look like forty-eight?

Shrila Gurudeva: Only Krishna is always kisora - nava-kisora-natabara (the ever-fresh and youthful teenage dancer. This is the nature of His transcendental body.

Shripad Madhava Maharaja: When Krishna was in Kuruksetra during the solar-eclipse, still He appeared as a teenager. So, Mahaprabhu must be the same.

Shripad Damodara Maharaja: When Lord Ramacandra appeared, He also always had the form of a sixteen-year-old.

Shrila Gurudeva: When His age was 11,000 years old, He looked like a full youth - not old, but not kisora.

Brajanatha dasa: Damodara Maharaja is saying that Advaita Acarya looks like an old man. So, what about other incarnations, like Vyasa?

Shrila Gurudeva: Vyasa had the appearance of an old man. He had a long beard.

Mukunda dasa: As part of Lord Chaitanya's pastimes, he brought the yuga-dharma for everyone in the world. We also understand from you that most people who come to Mahaprabhu's line are in madhurya-rasa, and sometimes in sakhya-rasa. So it appears that there is some conflict, or difference, in these two statements.

Shrila Gurudeva: When Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came here from Goloka Vaikuntha the associates of Rama, Nrsimha, and all other incarnations descended with Him (within His body). Therefore, although most of His devotees were in madhurya-rasa, some were in other rasas. A few examples of this are Murari Gupta, Anupama, and Nrsimhananda Brahmacari; and there were so many more. However, those who actually followed the instruction of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu regarding the gift He specifically came to give were all in madhurya-rasa.

Devotee: But we have also heard that Mahaprabhu came for the whole world. How can both principles be true?

Shrila Gurudeva: Yes, both statements are true. Vatsalya (parental love), sakhya (friendship), and dasya (servitorship) are all included in madhurya-rasa (amorous love). For example, those who are attracted to dasya-rasa, due to having dasya as their constitutional form, attain dasya.

It is not that all rasas are equal. One can withdraw from the bank as much as one has in his account, and there are so many thousands of devotees who have a great deal in their account.

Mukunda dasa: Shrila Gurudeva, in a class in Alachua, some discussion came up about svarupa-siddhi (internal realization of one' spiritual form) and vastu-siddhi (one's actual spiritual) regarding this verse:

duhsaha-prestha-viraha-
tivra-tapa-dhutasubhah
dhyana-praptacyutaslesa-
nirvrtya ksina-mangalah

tam eva paramatmanam
jara-buddhyapi sangatah
jahur guna-mayam deham
sadyah praksina-bandhanah

"For those gopis who could not go to see Krishna, intolerable separation from their beloved caused an intense agony that burned away all impious karma. By meditating upon Him they realized His embrace, and the ecstasy they then felt exhausted their material piety. Although Lord Krishna is the Supreme Soul, these girls simply thought of Him as their lover and associated with Him in that intimate mood. Thus their karmic bondage was nullified and they abandoned their gross material bodies." (Shrimad-Bhagavatam, 10.29.10-11)

You've said that it is not that the sadhana-siddha gopis gave up their physical bodies. Does this automatically mean that those who go to Krishna?s prakata-lila are already in vastu-siddhi, or are they still in svarupa-siddhi until they have the association of nitya-siddhas and then achieve vastu-siddhi at that time?

Shrila Gurudeva: I have already explained this.

Shripad Padmanabha Maharaja: Gurudeva said previously that they have begun vastu-siddhi.

Mukunda dasa: So automatically, by going there...

Shrila Gurudeva: Bas. Bas, bas, bas.

Vrajendra-nandana dasa: Regarding those devotees who already have a relationship with Nrsimhadeva or Ramacandra, do they not taste the mood of Vraja when they come in Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's association?

Shrila Gurudeva: All incarnations, including Narayana, are present in the body of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

Brajanatha dasa: He is asking if Their devotees also taste the madhurya mood.

Shrila Gurudeva: No, no, no. Never.

[*Endnote from Madhurya Kadambini, Shower Three: Now we shall talk further on the anarthas (unwanted desires) that crop up in the execution of devotional service. Unwanted desires tend to smother the natural growth of the creeper of bhakti. At first glance unwanted desires look like off-shoots from the bhakti-lata (the creeper of devotion), but in reality they are mundane desires for position, adoration, and opulence, which color and taint the practitioner's consciousness. Thriving in this way, these anarthas arrest the growth of the creeper of devotional service.

The four anarthas mentioned in the beginning of this chapter can be mitigated in the five following ways: i) eka-desavarttini (partially); ii) bahu-desavarttini (substantially); iii) prayiki (almost completely); iv) purna (completely); v) atyantiki (absolutely thoroughly).

The many anarthas stemming from aparadhas are partially destroyed in the final stages of bhajana-kriya (rendering devotional service under the guidance of a spiritual master). This is known as eka-desavarttini. When bhajana-kriya gains maturity it turns to nistha, or steadiness, in devotional activities. In this stage of development the mitigation of anarthas is substantial (bahu-desavarttini). Thereafter, on the platform of rati (attraction) the unwanted desires in the heart are almost completely absolved (prayiki). With the first awakening of prema, or divine love, these anarthas are completely removed (purna). Finally, the anarthas are totally uprooted (atyantiki) when the devotee receives the mercy and shelter of the Lord's lotus feet and is directly engaged in His personal service.]

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