Shri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja
June 14, 2006
[Since 1996, Shrila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja has completed about twenty-five world preaching tours, throughout America, Europe, Australia and the Orient. On those preaching tours he has discussed many topics repeatedly. At the same time those topics remained fresh and new, and he also discussed them in new and ever-fresh ways. This year in Badger, however, he discussed a topic that he had never discussed before in the West - Shrimad-Bhagavatam Canto Eleven:]
Yesterday in my class, I explained that Lord Shri Krishna wanted to remove the remaining burden of the Earth before His departure from this world. He therefore inspired brahmanas and rsis to curse the young Yadavas so that they would very soon be vanquished.* [See endnote 1] When they were all destroyed, Shri Baladeva Prabhu took samadhi. He left this world and entered transcendental Goloka Vrindavan. Lord Krishna acted as if nothing had happened; He went to the bank of the River Sarasvati and sat alone at the base of a banyan (pippal) tree, deeply thinking.
In the meantime Uddhava arrived there, weeping, and he told Krishna, "I know that You are going to Your own abode, Goloka Vrindavan. Please take me with You. I cannot remain here without You, so please take me."
Shri Krishna replied, "You will have to remain for some time in this world, but I will now tell you the essence of all the Vedic literatures. I will explain to you how a person can very easily attain the Supreme Lord. After this you should go to Badrikasrama, where Maitreya Rsi is staying. On the way, you will meet Vidura, and you should explain to him these teachings. Then you should teach Maitreya, after which he will reveal all these teachings to the world. I know that even if you remain here, you will not be separated from Me. You will be in Vrindavan, at Kusuma-sarovara (Uddhava-Kunda), as a blade of grass."
Previously Uddhava had prayed:
asam aho carana-renu-jusam aham syam
vrndavane kim api gulma-latausadhinam
ya dustyajam sva-janam arya-patham ca hitva
bhejur mukunda-padavim srutibhir vimrgyam
[The gopis of Vrindavan have given up the association of their husbands, sons and other family members, who are very difficult to give up, and they have forsaken the path of chastity to take shelter of the lotus feet of Mukunda, Krishna, which one should search for by Vedic knowledge. Oh, let me be fortunate enough to be one of the bushes, creepers or herbs in Vrindavan, because the gopis trample them and bless them with the dust of their lotus feet. (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 10.47.61)]
Uddhava had prayed, "I want to be in Vrindavan as a blade of grass. Then, when the gopis come to meet with Lord Krishna, their lotus foot dust will fall on my head and my life will be successful."
Now Lord Shri Krishna continued, "So you should remain there. After some time Vajranatha and Pariksit Maharaja will come to you, and at that time you should give them all the teachings I am about to impart." Then, Shri Krishna began to teach Uddhava.
What I have told up until now is a preface. I have discussed under what circumstances Shri Krishna gave His many instructions to Uddhava.
Now we will discuss the meeting of Nemi Maharaja and the nine Yogendras.
While Shri Krishna's father Vasudeva Maharaja was residing in Dvaraka along with Shri Krishna and the entire Yadu dynasty, Narada Rsi would sometimes visit his palace. On those visits, Vasudeva would wash Narada's lotus feet and distribute the bathing water to his entire family. Once, after duly worshipping Shri Narada, he asked, "In my previous birth, I performed worship so that the Supreme Lord would come as my son, but I have not done anything for my liberation from this world. Please now tell me the easiest process that even an ignorant man, who has no idea what is Krishna consciousness, can follow and attain Krishna-prema."
It has been told in Shrimad-Bhagavatam:
avatsin narado 'bhiksnam
[Shri Sukadeva Gosvami said: Eager to engage in the worship of Lord Krishna, O best of the Kurus, Narada Muni stayed for some time in Dvaraka, which was always protected by the arms of Govinda. (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 11.2.1)]
Narada Rsi is a most elevated, rasika devotee. In the beginning of creation Prajapati Daksa sent his ten thousand sons to the forest. He did this so that they would perform austerities and thus later beget good progeny. Seeing that the boys were qualified for liberation due to their performance of austerities, Narada Rsi met them in the forest and taught them Krishna consciousness. Inadvertently, therefore, Daksa had sent them to be educated in the school of Narada. *[See endnote 2] Narada very quickly trained them, and thus they became renounced sannyasis. They went to the forest and there they worshipped Shri Krishna, never to return to their homes. Lamenting at the news, Daksa begot another 1,000 sons, sent them to the forest, and the same thing happened to them.
Narada then approached the greatly lamenting Prajapati Daksa, to encourage him in the line of renunciation and liberation. Daksa knew that Narada had trained his sons, and that now they had become exalted devotees and would never return to this world. Narada knows the nature of this world - it is made only of fire. In this world no one can be satisfied by worldly desires and sense gratification.
Daksa angrily told Shri Narada, "I curse you that you will not be able to stay anywhere to train anyone. You will not be able to stay anywhere longer than the time it takes to milk a cow."
Narada thought, "Oh, very good. Now I can teach others, all over the world. At first, I was only engaged in teaching the sons of Daksa, but now I will tour the world and teach Krishna-bhakti."
Daksa's curse could not enter Dvaraka, because it was protected by Lord Shri Krishna. Whenever Narada Rsi came to be with Krishna, he would spend so many months with Him, Again, Krishna would send him out, and again he would return.
Now Vasudeva Maharaja told Narada, "I have worshipped the Supreme Lord, so that He would come as my son, but I have not done anything for my liberation. Please instruct me." Hearing this, Narada became very, very happy. He said, "You have reminded me of the sweet pastimes and transcendental qualities of Lord Shri Krishna. If anyone will hear them even one time, that person will become liberated and attain Krishna-prema."
Narada continued, "In very ancient times there was a king named Nemi Maharaja, and he lived in Janakapuri. He was very learned and a pure devotee. The sons of Rsabhadeva - the nine Yogendras- - as well as rtviks and thousands of rsis and others came to his kingdom, because he was performing a fire sacrifice under the direction of elevated sages. When the nine Yogendras arrived at the sacrifice, everyone stood up out of respect for them."
Maharaja Rsabhadeva had one hundred sons, among whom the nine Yogendras were prominent, and the eldest son was Bharata Maharaja. Before Bharata's rule, the Earth was known as Anjanaba-varsa, and by his name it became Bharata-varsa. Bharata was a great devotee. He left this world as one leaves his stool after passing it, and he went to the forest to perform bhajana. His devotion reached up to the stage of bhava-bhakti, but then he became somehow entangled with a baby deer. He had previously left his sons, daughters, wife, wealth and great kingdom, but later he became greatly attached to a deer. He therefore lost three births. At the time of death he was remembering the deer, thinking, "My dear son, those places were very auspicious where you used to travel, and the places where your foot dust was found are holy places." In the meantime, death came while he was remembering the deer, and he thus became a deer in his next life.
If anyone is attached to a beautiful lady, what will be the result? If Bharata was attached to a deer and he was at the level of bhava - and we are nowhere in bhakti - for us, hundreds of thousands lives will be lost. Be careful. Bharata became a deer. Similarly, if we are too attached to our families, wife and sons, at death they must come in our remembrance and we will become ladies - and ladies will become males. So be careful.
After three lives Bharata again received the same state as before, but this time he was careful. He attained Krishna-prema and was liberated.
The nine Yogendras were the brothers of this Bharata. From the beginning of their lives, the Nine Yogendras were like the four Kumaras - Sanat, Sanatana, Sanaka and Sanandana. They were paramahamsas. They did not identify with any caste, and they would go everywhere they liked - even up to heaven and Brahmaloka. When they arrived at Nemi Maharaja's fire sacrifice everyone present there stood up, and Nemi Maharaja told them, "The fruit of our sacrifice has come here. You may stop the sacrifice; there is no need of doing any further sacrifice."
Nemi Maharaja then asked the Nine Yogendras the same question asked by Maharaja Vasudeva to Shri Narada. When Narada came to Vasudeva Maharaja, Vasudeva Maharaja said
bhagavan bhavato yatra
krpananam yatha pitror
[Shri Vasudeva said: My lord, your visit, like that of a father to his children, is for the benefit of all living beings. You especially help the most wretched among them, as well as those who are advanced on the path toward the Supreme Lord, Uttamasloka. (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 11.2.4)]
"Oh Narada Rsi, your traveling through this world is for the benefit for the world. You are so merciful - more so than a father and mother."
If you worship demigods and you want poison from them, they will give poison. Even Sankara gave a boon to Bhasmasura: "On whomever you will put your hands, that person will be finished." In this way, Varuna, Indra and all other demigods will give any benediction you want. They won't consider whether that benediction is poison or nectar. But a pure devotee is not like that. He will only give what is actually beneficial.
When the fire sacrifice was over, Nemi Maharaja said:
manye bhagavatah saksat
parsadan vo madhu-dvisah
visnor bhutani lokanam
pavanaya caranti hi
[King Videha (Nemi) said: I think that you must be direct associates of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is famous as the enemy of the demon Madhu. Indeed, the pure devotees of Lord Visnu wander throughout the universe not for their personal, selfish interest, but to purify all the conditioned souls. (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 11.2.28)]
Nemi Maharaja said, "I think you are all associates of the enemy of the Madhu demon, Lord Shri Krishna, the Supreme Lord. Such associates always travel throughout the world by their mercy, to teach the world bhagavat-dharma."
An example of one's getting the benefit of advanced association is the dying Ajamila. The Visnudutas (messengers of Lord Visnu) came to him on his deathbed. They told him so many truths, and then he was given a new life and went to Haridwara, where he began to chant the pure name of Narayana. He thus achieved prema and went to Vaikuntha.
durlabho manuso deho
tatrapi durlabham manye
["For the conditioned souls, the human body is most difficult to achieve, and it can be lost at any moment. But I think that even those who have achieved human life rarely gain the association of pure devotees, who are dear to the Lord of Vaikuntha." (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 11.2.29)]
Hearing the question of Nemi Maharaja, one of the Nine Yogendras, Kavi, began his reply. He said, "The Supreme Lord Krishna has created so many processes for attaining Him. The path is easy. Even if you will run on that path of spontaneous devotion with your eyes closed - if you neglect something, no harm. By that path you will attain Krishna-prema."
an asthaya naro rajan
na pramadyeta karhicit
dhavan nimilya va netre
na skhalen na pated iha
["O King, one who accepts this process of devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead will never blunder on his path. Even while running with eyes closed, he will never trip or fall. (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 11.2.35)]
kayena vaca manasendriyair va
karoti yad yat sakalam parasmai
narayanayeti samarpayet tat
["In accordance with the particular nature one has acquired in conditioned life, whatever one does with body, words, mind, senses, intelligence or purified consciousness, one should offer to the Supreme, thinking, 'This is for the pleasure of Lord Narayana.'" (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 11.2.36)]
bhayam dvitiyabhinivesatah syad
isad apetasya viparyayo 'smrtih
tan-mayayato budha abhajet tam
["Fear arises when a living entity misidentifies himself as the material body because of absorption in the external, illusory energy of the Lord. When the living entity thus turns away from the Supreme Lord, he also forgets his own constitutional position as a servant of the Lord. This bewildering, fearful condition is effected by the potency for illusion, called maya. Therefore, an intelligent person should engage unflinchingly in the unalloyed devotional service of the Lord, under the guidance of a bona fide spiritual master, whom he should accept as his worshipable deity and as his very life and soul. (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 11.2.37)]
Don't disobey Guru, otherwise you will fall down. You should know that Gurudeva is our most dear friend. You should obey and serve him, and by that service you should always serve the divine couple Shri Shri Radha and Krishna. This is the easiest method to attain Them.
Bhayam dvitiya - If you forget Krishna, you are forced to be extremely attached to this world. You will have to think, "I am this body. Old age will come and then I will die." Fear comes. At the time of death we cannot take anything with us. So many diseases come, and so many problems come in this world. You should know that Gurudeva is more dear than your father, mother, wife or any relative. Obey him and worship him, and then perform bhajana to Radha and Krishna.
jatanurago druta-citta uccaih
hasaty atho roditi rauti gayaty
unmada-van nrtyati loka-bahyah
[By chanting the holy name of the Supreme Lord, one comes to the stage of love of Godhead. Then the devotee is fixed in his vow as an eternal servant of the Lord, and he gradually becomes very much attached to a particular name and form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As his heart melts with ecstatic love, he laughs very loudly or cries or shouts. Sometimes he sings and dances like a madman, for he is indifferent to public opinion. (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 11.2.40)]
Evam-vratah. Vrata means vow. Our vow should be to chant the glories of Shri Shri Radha and Krishna.
[The Devotees Sing:]
"Radhe Radhe Radhe Jaya Jaya Jaya Shri Radhe, Radhe Radhe Radhe Jaya Jaya Jaya Shri Radhe"
"Shri Krishna Gopala Hari Mukunda, Govinda He Nanda Yasoda Kisora Krishna"
"Radhe Radhe Radhe Jaya Jaya Jaya Shri Radhe, Radhe Radhe Radhe Jaya Jaya Jaya Shri Radhe"
[Shrila Narayana Maharaja:] Priya-nama-kirtya - You should chant those particular holy names that are most favorable for your bhakti, according to your constitutional spiritual nature or your level of advancement in Krishna consciousness. The gopis used to chant while performing their household activities. If they were churning yogurt, they would sing:
"Govinda Damodara Madhaveti, Govinda Damodara Madhaveti, Govinda Damodara Madhaveti, Govinda Damodara Madhaveti"
If they were sweeping, They would sing:
"Govinda Damodara Madhaveti, Govinda Damodara Madhaveti, Govinda Damodara Madhaveti, Govinda Damodara Madhaveti"
If any gopi was putting her child to sleep, she would not say, "Don't weep; you should sleep." Rather, she would sing:
"Govinda Damodara Madhaveti, Govinda Damodara Madhaveti, Govinda Damodara
Madhaveti, Govinda Damodara Madhaveti"
Singing and weeping, with arms raised like Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Krishna-prema comes at once. The pure devotees cannot check themselves. They would chant very loudly:
Madhaveti, Govinda Damodara Madhaveti"
While chanting, the pure devotee sometimes sees Lord Shri Krishna playing with cowherd boys like Madhumangala. Madhumangala tells Krishna, "If you give me Your dress and flute and peacock feather, then no one will give any sweets to You. They will give all the ladhus and other sweets to me." Krishna replies, "Here, take them," and He gives Madhumangala His flute, peacock feather and yellow cloth. In the meantime, the giant horse demon Kesi comes to Vrindavan. Thinking Madhumangala to be Krishna, the Kesi demon kicks his hind legs with such force that simply by the movement of the air he created, Madhumangala goes flying. All the cowherd boys begin to laugh loudly, and similarly, the devotee who remembers this pastime also laughs loudly.
Seeing that devotee laughing, general persons do not know why. They think he is a mad person, but actually he is simply absorbed in Lord Shri Krishna's sweet pastimes. Sometimes that devotee very loudly begins to laugh: "Ho Ho Ho." Sometimes he sees that Lord Shri Krishna has disappeared, and he then begins to weep loudly. Why he is weeping - nobody knows. Gayanty unmada means that he seems like a mad person. Nrtyate means dance. Sometimes, to please Krishna, that devotee dances with no shyness at all.
These are the symptoms of a maha-bhagavata, and we should try to follow him. Don't be attached to anything worldly. Bhakti is very rare; even demigods want to take birth as a human being in order to attain it.
Although this is hard to understand, you will have to know all these truths one day. Don't think, "This is very hard. We can't understand this, so we should give our attention to other things." You will certainly have to come to the stage of giving up attachment to unwanted habits, and then nistha, steadiness in the activities of bhakti, and ruci, taste in bhakti, will come. We should serve with all our time and all our senses. With our minds we should remember the sweet pastimes of Krishna, with our ears we should hear the sweet pastimes of Krishna, with our mouths we should sing the glories of Krishna, with our hands we should serve, and with our feet we should travel throughout the holy places of Navadvipa-dhama and Vrindavan-dhama. We should engage all our organs and senses, so that maya will not be able to enter in our heart. A person who acts in this way will achieve eternal peace and Krishna-prema.
Hearing this, King Nemi then asked:
atha bhagavatam bruta
yad-dharmo yadrso nrnam
yathacarati yad brute
yair lingair bhagavat-priyah
[Maharaja Nimi said: Now please tell me in greater detail about the devotees of the Supreme Lord. What are the natural symptoms by which I can distinguish between the most advanced devotees, those on the middle level and those who are neophytes? What are the typical religious activities of a Vaisnava, and how does he speak? Specifically, please describe those symptoms and characteristics by which Vaisnavas become dear to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 11.2.44)]
The King said, "I want to know the symptoms of a devotee. I wish to know how they speak, how they behave, what is their nature and by what symptoms they are most dear to Krishna. I want to know this."
We will continue tomorrow.
[*Endnote 1 - Once upon a time, great sages were made angry by the sporting activities of the princely descendants of the Yadu and Bhoja dynasties, and thus, as desired by the Lord, the sages cursed them.
The associates of the Lord who were playing the part of princely descendants of the Yadu and Bhoja dynasties were not ordinary living entities. It is not possible that they could offend any saintly man or sage, nor could the sages, who were all pure devotees of the Lord, be influenced to anger by any of the sporting activities of the princes born in the holy dynasties of Yadu or Bhoja, wherein the Lord Himself appeared as a descendant. The cursing of the princes by the sages was another transcendental pastime of the Lord to make a show of anger. The princes were cursed in order that one may know that even the descendants of the Lord, who could never be vanquished by any act of material nature, were subjected to the reactions of anger by great devotees of the Lord. One should therefore take great care and attention not to commit an offense at the feet of a devotee of the Lord." (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 3.3.25)
"A few months passed, and then, bewildered by Krishna, all the descendants of Vrsni, Bhoja and Andhaka who were incarnations of demigods went to Prabhasa, while those who were eternal devotees of the Lord did not leave but remained in Dvaraka."
"Thereafter, all of them , being permitted by the brahmanas, partook of the remnants of prasada and also drank liquor made of rice. By drinking they all became delirious, and, bereft of knowledge, they touched the cores of each other's hearts with harsh words.
In ceremonies when brahmanas and Vaisnavas are sumptuously fed, the host partakes of the remnants of foodstuff after the guest has given permission. So the descendants of Vrsni and Bhoja formally took permission from the brahmanas and ate the prepared foodstuff. Ksatriyas are permitted to drink at certain occasions, so they all drank a kind of light liquor made of rice. By such drinking they became delirious and bereft of sense, so much so that they forgot their relationship with one another and used harsh words which touched the cores of each other's hearts. Drinking is so harmful that even such a highly cultured family becomes affected by intoxication and can forget themselves in a drunken state. The descendants of Vrsni and Bhoja were not expected to forget themselves in this way, but by the will of the Supreme it happened, and thus they became harsh towards one another." (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 3.4.2)
"As by the friction of bamboos destruction takes place, so also, at sunset, by the interaction of the faults of intoxication, all their minds became unbalanced, and destruction took place.
When there is need of fire in the forest, by the will of the Supreme it takes place due to friction among the bamboos. Similarly, the descendants of Yadu were all destroyed by the will of the Lord by the process of self-destruction. Just as there is no possibility of a fire's occurring deep in the forest due to human effort, so also there was no power in the universe which could vanquish the descendants of Yadu, who were protected by the Lord. The Lord wanted them to be destroyed, and thus they obeyed His order, as indicated by the word tad-anujnata." (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 3.4.3)
'The Personality of Godhead, Lord Shri Krishna, after foreseeing the end by His internal potency, went to the bank of the River Sarasvati, sipped water, and sat down underneath a tree.
All the above-mentioned activities of the Yadus and Bhojas were executed by the internal potency of the Lord because He wanted them to be dispatched to their respective abodes after He had finished His mission of descent. They were all His sons and grandsons and were given complete protection by the paternal affection of the Lord. How they could be vanquished in the presence of the Lord is answered in this verse: everything was done by the Lord Himself (svatma-mayayah). The Lord's family members were either incarnations of His plenary expansions or demigods from the heavenly planets, and thus before His departure He separated them by His internal potency. Before being dispatched to their respective abodes, they were sent to the holy place of Prabhasa, where they performed pious activities and took food and drink to their heart's content. It was then arranged for them to be sent back to their abodes so that others could see that the powerful Yadu dynasty was no longer in the world. In the previous verse, the word anujnata, indicating that the whole sequence of events was arranged by the Lord, is significant. These particular pastimes of the Lord are not a manifestation of His external energy, or material nature. Such an exhibition of His internal potency is eternal, and therefore one should not conclude that the Yadus and Bhojas died in a drunken state in an ordinary fratricidal war. Shri Jiva Gosvami comments on these incidents as magical performances." (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 3.4.4)
"The Lord is the vanquisher of the distresses of one who is surrendered unto Him. Thus He who desired to destroy His family told me previously to go to Badarikasrama.
While at Dvaraka, Uddhava was warned to avoid the distresses which were to follow the disappearance of the Lord and the destruction of the Yadu dynasty. He was advised to proceed to Badarikasrama because there he could associate with the devotees of Nara-Narayana, and in their association of devotional service he could increase his eagerness for chanting, hearing, knowledge and detachment." (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 3.4.5)
"Yet in spite of my knowing His desire , O Arindama , I followed Him because it was impossible for me to bear separation from the lotus feet of the master. Thus following, I saw my patron and master sitting alone and deeply thinking, taking shelter on the bank of the River Sarasvati although He is the shelter of the goddess of fortune." (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 3.4.6-7)]
[*Endnote 2 - "This chapter relates how all the sons of Daksa were delivered from the clutches of the material energy by following the advice of Narada, who was therefore cursed by Daksa.
"Influenced by the external energy of Lord Visnu, Prajapati Daksa begot ten thousand sons in the womb of his wife, Pancajani. These sons, who were all of the same character and mentality, were known as the Haryasvas. Ordered by their father to create more and more population, the Haryasvas went west to the place where the River Sindhu (now the Indus) meets the Arabian Sea. In those days this was the site of a holy lake named Narayana-saras, where there were many saintly persons. The Haryasvas began practicing austerities, penances and meditation, which are the engagements of the highly exalted renounced order of life. However, when Shrila Narada Muni saw these boys engaged in such commendable austerities simply for material creation, he thought it better to release them from this tendency. Narada Muni described to the boys their ultimate goal of life and advised them not to become ordinary karmis to beget children. Thus all the sons of Daksa became enlightened and left, never to return.
"Prajapati Daksa, who was very sad at the loss of his sons, begot one thousand more sons in the womb of his wife, Pancajani, and ordered them to increase progeny. These sons, who were named the Savalasvas, also engaged in worshiping Lord Visnu to beget children, but Narada Muni convinced them to become mendicants and not beget children. Foiled twice in his attempts to increase population, Prajapati Daksa became most angry at Narada Muni and cursed him, saying that in the future he would not be able to stay anywhere. Since Narada Muni, being fully qualified, was fixed in tolerance, he accepted Daksa's curse." (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 6.5, Summary by Shrila Prabhupada A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja)
Editor: Syamarani dasi
Transcriber: Vasanti dasi
Typist: Lalit-kisori dasi
Proof-reader: Krishna-kamini dasi