Houston, Texas: June 29, 2005 (pm)
Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja
All my daughters and sons, tridandipada-gana (sannyasis), brahmacaris and all Vaisnavas: So much honor to my god-brothers, and my heartfelt blessings to my daughters and sons. I am very happy that after the festival in Badger we have met again, especially the senior disciples of Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja like Bhagavat Prabhu, Narayana Prabhu, Bhumipati, Ramadasa, Mukunda and Sanatana Prabhus.
I have come perhaps ten times to Houston. Every time I came I spoke on Srimad Bhagavatam, in Hindi, and in Houston I am also accustomed to speak in Hindi. But most of you here are English-speaking, and the Indian devotees here also understand English. So I will speak in English, but the essence will be the same – the important points and sweet pastimes of Krishna in Srimad Bhagavatam.
satam prasangan mama virya-samvido
bhavanti hrt-karna-rasayanah kathah
taj-josanad asv apavarga-vartmani
sraddha ratir bhaktir anukramisyati
[In the association of pure devotees, discussion of the pastimes and activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is very pleasing and satisfying to the ear and the heart. By cultivating such knowledge one gradually becomes advanced on the path of liberation, and thereafter he is freed and his attraction becomes fixed. Then real devotion and devotional service begin. (Srimad Bhagavatam 3.25.25)]
Satam prasangam – One should hear from sadhus, but who are actually sadhus? A sadhu is one in whose heart Lord Sri Krishna has manifested. That sadhu is always remembering the sweet pastimes of Krishna. He is totally surrendered to Sri Krishna, and especially to his Guru. He has heard the sweet pastimes of Krishna from his own diksa-guru or siksa-guru, the followers of Krishna. In the association of a sadhu, all varieties of hari-katha flow like rivers and lakes such as Mana-sarovara. Such waters carry the very sweet pastimes of Sri Krishna, which come to us like so many currents here and there.
Sthane-sthitah. Whether one is a brahmacari or a sannyasi – whatever one is – one should hear hari-katha from such sadhus. It is stated in Srimad Bhagavatam 1.1.1:
janmady asya yato ’nvayad itaratas carthesv abhijnah svarat
tene brahma hrda ya adi-kavaye muhyanti yat surayah
tejo-vari-mrdam yatha vinimayo yatra tri-sargo ’mrsa
dhamna svena sada nirasta-kuhakam satyam param dhimahi
[O my Lord, Sri Krishna, son of Vasudeva, O all-pervading Personality of Godhead, I offer my respectful obeisances unto You. I meditate upon Lord Sri Krishna because He is the Absolute Truth and the primeval cause of all causes of the creation, sustenance and destruction of the manifested universes. He is directly and indirectly conscious of all manifestations, and He is independent because there is no other cause beyond Him. It is He only who first imparted the Vedic knowledge unto the heart of Brahmaji, the original living being. By Him even the great sages and demigods are placed into illusion, as one is bewildered by the illusory representations of water seen in fire, or land seen on water. Only because of Him do the material universes, temporarily manifested by the reactions of the three modes of nature, appear factual, although they are unreal. I therefore meditate upon Him, Lord Sri Krishna, who is eternally existent in the transcendental abode, which is forever free from the illusory representations of the material world. I meditate upon Him, for He is the Absolute Truth. (Srimad Bhagavatam 1.1.1)]
Lord Sri Krishna is satyam, the ultimate Truth; He is parama, Supreme. He is the Lord of lords. He is avatari-purusa, the source of all incarnations. He resides in His abode, in Goloka Vrindavana, where there is no maya (material illusion) at all. He is the one from whom millions of worlds emanate, including transcendental Goloka Vrindavana, the realm of the living entities and also this material world. He knows everything, whereas we living beings don't even know when we were created. Thus, the Lord is abhijnah (all-knowing).
Svarat means that He is fully independent. No one can control Him and no one can ask Him the question: “Why have You done this?”
Before beginning class, we should thus offer our obeisances to the Srimad-Bhagavatam, and to that Lord who is with Srimati Radhika. This first verse of Bhagavatam has so many meanings, and the highest meaning can be applied to Srimati Radhika. All the explanations can also be applied to both Radha and Krishna, and also to Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. There are very extensive explanations required, and they will gradually be discussed.
It is so late today – about seven thirty pm. I think it will be better if we begin every day at five. Otherwise, what can be spoken in four days? I want something solid to be spoken, so it is better that we begin our kirtana at four thirty. I will definitely come at five and begin, and then some drama play will be performed.
Now I am coming to my subject.
Once, Sri Narada was traveling throughout the world. He saw that Lord Sri Krishna had departed from the world, and he became very worried. He then went to the Himalayas. He went to Haridvar, to Kasi-Varanasi and to all the South-Indian holy places, and finally he came to Vrindavana. He saw that in all places, all were very unhappy and greatly suffering.
Kali-yuga had come, and its influence could be seen everywhere. Both ladies and men had lost their character, and the pilgrimage places had been captured by Mohammedans. Ayodhya, Mathura, Kasi and so many other places were all captured by them. The Mohammedans had forbidden all hari-katha, and the hearers and speakers would be captured and put in jail if they were caught. Nobody was allowed to worship or engage in religious activities,
Sri Narada thought, “I see everywhere nowadays, that everyone is unhappy. There is no hari-katha in the holy places, and there is no religious mood. The brahmanas speak on the Srimad-Bhagavatam, but they take money for that. There is no pure hari-katha anywhere, and that is why everyone is so unhappy.”
When Narada arrived in Vrindavana, he saw a very beautiful young lady who was weeping bitterly. He also saw two old men, and they were unconscious. That lady approached him and said, “Oh, now that I have seen you, I am somewhat happy. You must be a saintly person.”
Narada asked, “Why are you weeping?”
“I am Bhakti devi. My birthplace is in the South – where Madhvacarya, Ramanujacarya, Vishnusvami and other acaryas reside. There I gave birth to two sons, named Jnana (Knowledge) and Vairagya (Renunciation). From there I went to Karnataka, between Bombay and Kanya-kumari. There, I was somewhat happy with my sons. However, when I went with my two sons to Gujarat, which is a very wealthy country, my sons and I became old and they became unconscious. I was so worried. Somehow we reached Vrindavana and I became young here, but my two sons are still very old and their hair is completely gray. And they are still unconscious. I don’t know why this has happened. Do you have a remedy for me?”
Narada Rsi began to think about a remedy, but he could not discover one. He meditated, and then he heard an aerial voice.
We can understand about all these topics from a saintly person, and without such help we cannot know anything.
So Narada was searching here and there – searching and searching. He went to Haridvar, one day he saw his elder brothers, Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatana and Sanat-Kumara. They were quite naked and looked about five years old, although their age was millions of millenniums. The four Kumara brothers always look like that. They are the first manasa-putra (mind-born sons) of Brahma. Narada is also like them, in the sense that he was born from Brahmas' voice, and that is why his singing is so sweet.
Narada offered obeisances to his elder brothers and they asked him, “Why are you so worried, Narada? What is the reason? We know that bhakti, pure devotion, always resides in your heart. You always sing songs of Lord Krishna's pastimes everywhere. You can travel to Goloka Vrindavana, Vaikuntha and to all other planets. Why are you worried?”
He told them about his world-tour, and how he became upset to see the unhappy and suffering living entities. He said, “I went to Vrindavana, where I met Bhakti-devi and her sons, Jnana and Vairagya. She has become young, but her two sons are still old and lying unconscious. What can I do for them?”
They replied, “Bhakti is the ‘Sri’ of Krishna – the beauty of Krishna. This power of Krishna always lives in the hearts of the sadhus, along with her two sons, Jnana and Vairagya. Where there is Bhakti-devi, there will be all kinds of knowledge of Krishna-tattva (the philosophical, established truths of the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna, maya-tattva (the truths about this deluding material world), jiva-tattva (the truths about the eternal living entities), rasa-tattva (truths about the loving relationships between Sri Krishna and His associates) and all other truths. Vairagya, detachment, will also surely be there. Where there is bhakti, devotion, there will be these two: detachment from the world and knowledge of all truths.”
The four Kumara brothers continued, “We know you are aware of everything, O Narada, and you can do everything. But now you are acting as if in ignorance of the matter, and so you are asking us this question. You should do one thing, and by that, Bhakti-devi will be happy and her two sons will also be happy.”
“Our father, Brahma, has given us Srimad-Bhagavatam in four verses, and this is called Catuh-sloki Bhagavata. He received it from Lord Narayana. It has now been expanded by Srila Vyasadeva, who taught it to his son, Srila Sukadeva Gosvami. Thirty years after the beginning of Kali-yuga, Pariksit Maharaja was cursed to die in seven days, when a snake was to bite him. Srila Sukadeva Gosvami then told him the Srimad-Bhagavatam. This was only thirty years after the beginning of Kali-yuga, the date of Lord Sri Krishna's departure from this world. Then, two hundred years later, Gokarna told Srimad Bhagavatam to Dhandakari, who then went to Vaikuntha.”
Sanat Kumara said, “I will now tell hari-katha – the sweet pastimes of Krishna – as it was told by Sukadeva Gosvami. Tell everyone to come here.”
Invitations were then given to all the rishis. Narada Rsi went, Vyasadeva went, Sukadeva Gosvami went, Gautama and Vasistha, Nava-Yogendras and all the Rsis from all over the world went there. There, Sanat Kumara began the recitation of Srimad Bhagavatam, and all his brothers spoke in turn, at intervals. They continued for seven days.
Sanat Kumara said, “It is best to hear Srimad-Bhagavatam daily, from an elevated Vaisnava. If that cannot be done, then that hearing should be completed in one year. If you cannot do that, then hear at least one month, and then it can be told in summary.” But persons of Kali-yuga cannot give so much time. They have no time at all. They don't understand. If anyone will hear these pastimes for even seven days, from any high class Vaisnava, he will be liberated. Krishna will enter his heart, and then svarupa-siddhi (one’s internally conceived spiritual body as manifest in bhava-bhakti) and at last vastu-siddhi (one’s fully perfected spiritual form as manifest in prema-bhakti) will manifest. But even when one simply begins to hear, at that moment bhakti begins to enter one’s heart.” The Kumaras then began.
On the first day of the recitation, Bhakti-devi became very happy and Jnana and Vairagya also became fully conscious. Thus, all became very happy, and at the end of the recitation all those who heard it went to Goloka, Vaikuntha. So we must hear the sweet pastimes of Krishna.
When Srila Sukadeva Gosvami had previously recited Srimad-Bhagavatam to Sri Pariksit Maharaja, Pariksit Maharaja had asked two questions, to him, and to all the rsis (sages) present as well.
Narada was present there and Vyasadeva was also there. Parasara Rsi (pronounced rishi), the father of Vyasadeva, and so many rsis and maharsis (saintly kings) were also there. In such an assembly, why was Srila Sukadeva Gosvami chosen to recite the Bhagavatam? It is because his voice was extremely sweet, like that of a parrot. It is also because he was trained by his father, and also because he was totally detached from the world. He was sixteen years old at that time and, uninterested in social customs, he was quite naked. He was very tall, his arms were very long, and he had a very beautiful body. His eyes were also very beautiful, resembling lotuses. His beauty was similar to that of Sri Krishna.
While he was approaching the assembly of sages, children were clapping and treating him like a mad person. Some people were throwing dust on him. The ladies were thinking, “How very beautiful he is, but he looks like a mad person!” On the other hand, when he reached the assembly, Narada and all others stood up, welcomed him and gave him a worshipable seat.
Maharaja Pariksit then asked two relevant questions: When a person knows he is going to die at once, without delay, what should he do? Others will also die. When they will die they don’t know, but they will die. What should they do? Pariksit Maharaja primarily asked these two questions, and then he asked many others.
What should be done when a person is going to die at once? He should chant, but at the time of death this is not so easy.
adyaiva me visatu manasa-raja-hamsah
kanthavarodhana-vidhau smaranam kutas te
[O Lord Krishna, at this moment let the royal swan of my mind enter the tangled stems of the lotus of Your feet. How will it be possible for me to remember You at the time of death, when my throat will be choked up with mucus, bile, and air? (Mukunda-mala-stotra, sutra 33)]
It is very hard to utter Sri Krishna’s name at the time of death. At that time one’s throat will be choked up. You should speak hari-katha to that person, and chant Lord Sri Krishna's name: “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.” If you cannot do this, then chant: “Krishna, Radhe, Rama.” Those who have a longer time should hear Srimad Bhagavatam.
Editor: Shyamarani dasi
Transcriber: Krishna-vallabha dasi
Typists: Vasanti dasi and Janaki dasi
Proof-reader: Krishna-kamini dasi