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Shri Rupa Gosavami, & Shri Baladeva's appearance

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2.jpgVrindavan, India: August 19, 2005
Tridandisvami Shri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaj

[In 2006, over seven hundred devotees from India and abroad were present each evening for Shrila Rupa Gosvami's disappearance day festival and Shri Baladeva Prabhu's appearance day festivals  held from August 6-9. Also in the mornings, several scholars and senior, scholarly devotees spoke on this occasion. Although seated on the raised platform with the several scholars present, Shrila Narayana Maharaj spoke only a few words due to health restrictions. We are presnting this lecture from previous year, 2005, glorifying both Shrila Rupa Gosvami and Shri Baladeva Prabhu.:]

Many people have spoken tonight about Shrila Rupa Gosvami. Even if Anantadeva (the many-thousand-headed serpent who holds the universes on his hoods) speaks for thousands of years with his thousands of mouths, he will not be able to complete the topic of Rupa Gosvami. Shrila Rupa Gosvami's pastimes, characteristics and transcendental qualities are oceanic. I am on the shore of that ocean, looking at that ocean. I have a desire to enter it, but I am not even able to touch it.


Shrila Rupa Gosvami
Shrila Rupa Gosvami took the definition-verse of the Shrimad-Bhagavatam:

ete camsa-kalah pumsah
Krishnas tu bhagavan svayam

["All of the above-mentioned incarnations are either plenary portions or portions of the plenary portions of the Lord, but Lord Shri Krishna is the original Personality of Godhead." (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 1.3.28)]

Explaining that verse, he gave the definition of bhakti:

anukulyena Krishnanu-
silanam bhaktir uttama

["One should render transcendental loving service to the Supreme Lord Krishna favorably and without desire for material profit or gain through fruitive activities or philosophical speculation. That is called pure devotional service." (Bhakti-rasamrta Sindhu 1.1.11)]

The beginning stage of uttama-bhakti is sadhana-bhakti, and Shrila Rupa Gosvami defined that as well:

krti-sadhya bhavet sadhya-
bhava sa sadhanabhidha
nitya-siddhasya bhavasya
prakatyam hrdi sadhyata

["When transcendental devotional service, by which love for Krishna is attained, is executed by the senses, it is called sadhana-bhakti, or the regulative discharge of devotional service. Such devotion eternally exists within the heart of every living entity. The awakening of this eternal devotion is the potentiality of devotional service in practice." (Shri Chaitanya Caritamrta, Madhya-lila 22.105)]

What most people are practicing is not really sadhana-bhakti, but sadhana-abhasa (the shadow or dim reflection of sadhana). In sadhana-bhakti the devotee constantly makes bhava-bhakti the goal of all of his activities. In sadhana-bhakti the devotee engages all the endeavors of his senses to achieve the nitya-siddha bhava (love of God which is eternally present in t he living entity) in his soul.

If we don't know the meaning of bhava, how can we do sadhana? Therefore, Shrila Rupa Gosvami has given the definition of bhava-bhakti as well:

rucibhis citta-masrnya-
krd asau bhava ucyate

["When devotional service is executed on the transcendental platform of pure goodness, it is like a sun-ray of love for Krishna. At such a time, devotional service causes the heart to be softened by various tastes, and one is then situated in bhava (emotion). (Shri Chaitanya Caritamrta, Madhya-lila 23.5)

Prema (devotional service in pure love of God) is compared with the sun, and bhava-bhakti is like one ray of that sun. Those who have achieved bhava and are performing bhakti to achieve prema, are practicing another type of sadhana, called bhava-bhakti.

What is prema? Shrila Rupa Gosvami also gave that definition. In prema there are particu lar symptoms present in the heart: the devotees' heart is completely melted, and he is endowed with a sense of complete possessiveness (mamata) towards Shri Krishna. For example, Mother Yasoda thinks, "Krishna is my son."

Shrila Rupa Gosvami has given us all these definitions, and he also gave the definition of 'maha-bhava'.*[see endnote 1] Everyone is saying, "maha-bhava, maha-bhava," but what exactly is maha-bhava? First we should know what is 'anuraga'. At the stage of anuraga the devotee always sees Krishna in ever-fresh ways.

In the morning, Shrimati Radhika says: "Who is that boy? I have never seen Him before, He is very attractive."

Lalita replies "Who is He?! You don't know? All last night you were with Him!" Shrimati Radhika then says, "No, no; I have never seen Him before."

When that anuraga reaches its most condensed stage, there is a competition between Shri Krishna and the gopis. When Shrimati Radhika sees Krishna, Her attraction to Him and Her desire to please Him swell. When He feels that, He feels so happy. Then, when Shrimati Radhika sees His happiness, Her happiness increases. In this way there is a never-ending competition between the anuraga of Krishna and the anuraga of the gopis.

When anuraga reaches a very high stage, it is called yavat-asraya-vrtti. Yavat means 'up to the extreme limit'. Shri Krishna is visaya, 'the enjoyer and object of pure transcendental love,' and the devotee is asraya, 'the enjoyed' or 'the container or reservoir of that love.' Krishna is the object and the devotee is the container. Of all the enjoyers (visaya-tattva), Shri Krishna is the topmost, and of all reservoirs of love, as the enjoyed (asraya-tattva), Shrimati Radhika is the topmost.

Yavat-asraya-vrtti. Vrtti means tendency. The stage in which the tendency of the asraya to love Krishna increases up to the very topmost stage is called sva samvedya dasaa . Dasaa means 'condition.' This condition is so exalted that only the person who is experiencing it can actually explain or understand what it is.

There are three aspects or sections in prema: the object, the subject and the exchange between them. When anuraga becomes very thick, it comes to such a high stage that all the distinctions between these three diminish. Only the experience of the mellow taste of the relationship remains. This stage is so exalted that Shrimati Radhika forgets that "I am Radhika," and Shri Krishna forgets that "I am Krishna." At this stage, prema, that pure transcendental love, which is "the doer," becomes prominent, and only the feeling of happiness remains. Who is the object and who is the subject - this understanding is lost in the stage of sva samvedya dasaa. It is impossible to explain this appropriately; only Shrimati Radhika, who experiences it, can explain it.

In yavat-asraya-vrtti there i s ever-increasing attraction towards Krishna and it reaches to the topmost stage of sva samvedya dasaa. At this stage, all asta-sattvika bhavas (eight types of transcendental bodily transformations) completely manifest in one person and in one place, to the fullest extent. Normally there are five levels of experiencing asta-sattvika bhavas: dhumayita, jvalita, dipta, uddipta, suddipta - smoking, smouldering or lighted, blazing, inflamed and then intensely inflamed or fully blazing.*[see endnote 2] Perhaps one or two asta-sattvika bhavas appear in a very low stage of prema. In the stage of sva samvedya dasaa, however, all eight asta-sattvika bhavas are completely and fully present at one time. Shrila Rupa Gosvami has explained all these stages of love. Without his mercy how could we know any of this?

Anuraga increases up to the topmost stage of madanakhya mahabhava*[see endnote 5] and that madanakhya mahabhava is experienced only by Shrimati Radhika. It is not ev en experienced by Shri Krishna. Madanakhya mahabhava is experienced only during Shrimati Radhika's meeting with Shri Krishna, and in that stage, the moods of both meeting and separation are present.

We are indebted to Shrila Rupa Gosvami. He has given us all these sublime topics, especially in his book Shri Ujjvala-nilamani.

Today is also Baladeva-Purnima, the appearance day of Lord Balarama. ["Purnima" means "the full moon day.] In Mathura, and especially in Vrindavan, many people believe that Balarama Prabhu is one year older than Krishna. Therefore they do not celebrate His appearance day today. Rather they observe it on the day called Baladeva-sat. Sat means 'six days after the full moon'.

These people think that Baladeva was actually born one year and two days before Krishna, but this is not possible. Of course, some pastimes may be different according to the different days of Brahma - the pastimes in one day of Brahma may be different from the pastimes in the next day. However, Shrila Jiva Gosvami has described everything in Shri Gopala-campu. He rhetorically asks: how is it possible that Balarama could be one year older than Krishna? Shrimad-Bhagavatam says t hat they both crawled on their hands and knees together. They were both given their nama-samskara (name-giving ceremony) on the same day. If Balarama were one year older than Krishna, was He one year without a name? For all these reasons, we cannot accept that conclusion.

Shrila Jiva Gosvami has explained that the original Balarama, Rohini-nandana Rama, is always present in Vrindavan. Just as Krishna never leaves Vrindavan, so Balarama also does not leave. He was actually present, in Vrindavan, in the womb of His mother Rohini for fourteen months.

We hear in Shrimad-Bhagavatam that the first six children of Devaki were killed by Kamsa, and that the seventh child was a miscarriage. This statement is reconciled in the commentaries of our acaryas. The original Balarama was in Vrindavan. He was in the womb of Rohini since the beginning - for fourteen months - but for seven months His manifestation or partial form, called Sankarsana or Mathuresa-Balarama, w as in the womb of Devaki. Then, after seven months, as the Shrimad-Bhagavatam seems to say, Devaki had a miscarriage. But there was no miscarriage. After seven months, Yogamaya transferred the partial expansion of Balarama from the womb of Devaki to the womb of Rohini, where the full expansion of Balarama was already present. The partial expansion then merged with the complete Balarama.

The original form of Balarama is eternally present in Vrindavan and is called Rohini-nandana. His expansions stay in Mathura and Dvaraka as the first caturvyuha (quadruple expansion) - Vasudeva, Sankarsana, Pradhyumna, Anirudha. The first quadruple stays in Mathura and Dvaraka.

The second quadruple expansion resides in the Vaikuntha planets. From that second quadruple expansion, Balarama Prabhu expands Himself as the Purusa-avataras (the incarnations who create, maintain and destroy the material world). The first Purusa-avatara is Maha-Visnu, from whom millions up on millions of universes emanate. From that Maha-Visnu He further expands again as Garbhodakasayi Visnu, the incarnation of Visnu who lies at the bottom of each universe. From Garbhodakasayi Visnu, who is the second Purusa-avatara, Balarama further expands as Ksirodakasayi Visnu or Paramatma (the Supersoul) in the hearts of every living entity. From that Ksirodakasayi Visnu He expands again as Sesa, and again He expands as Ananta. Sesa is that incarnation who carries all the universes on his head. [*See Endnote 4] All these incarnations are expansions of that Balarama Prabhu.

Lord Balarama is like a farmer, in the sense that He is cultivating unlimited types of jivas for the service of the Supreme Lord. He manifests the nitya-siddha (eternally liberated) jivas for the service of Shri Shri Radha-Krishna in Vraja-Vrindavan. As Maha-Sankarsana He manifests, cultivates and sustains the jivas for the service of Lord Narayana and all the other incarnations, like Shri Rama, Matsya and Kurma. Then again, He produces the tatastha-sakti jivas for this world, who come from the glance of Maha-Visnu. Balarama is cultivating, and that is why He carries a plough. He performs the job of cultivating jivas for the service of Shri Krishna.

[*Endnote 1
The essence of the hladini potency is love of God, the essence of love of God is emotion , and the ultimate development of emotion is mahabhava. (Chaitanya Charitamrita, Adi-lila 4.68)

[Endnote 2: The word suddipta-sattvika is explained as follows by Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura: "The Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu mentions eight kinds of transcendental transformations in the bodies of advanced devotees. These are sometimes checked by the devotee, and there are two stages of such checking, technically known as dhumayita and jvalita. The dhumayita (smoking) stage is exhibited when only one or two transformations are slightly present and it is possible to conceal them. When more than two or three transcendental transformations are manifest and it is still possible to conceal them, although with great difficulty, that stage is called jvalita (lighted). When four or five symptoms are exhibited, the dipta (blazing) stage has been reached. When f ive, six or all eight symptoms are simultaneously manifest, that position is called uddipta (inflamed). And when all eight symptoms are multiplied a thousand times and are all visible at once, the devotee is in the suddipta (intensely inflamed) stage. Nitya-siddha-bhakta indicates the eternally liberated associates of the Lord. Such devotees enjoy the company of the Lord in four relationships-as servant, friend, parent or conjugal lover. (Purport, Chaitanya Charitamrita Madhya-lila 6.12)

[Endnote 3: The highest perfection of adhirudha affection in conjugal love involve meeting (madana) and separation (mohana). In the ecstasy of madana, meeting, there is kissing, and in the ecstasy of mohana, separation, there is udghurna and citrajalpa.]

[Endnote 4: I adore the primeval Lord Govinda who assuming His own great subjective form, who bears the name of Sesa, replete with the all-accommodating potency, and reposing in the Causal Ocean with the infinity of the wo rld in the pores of His hair, enjoys creative sleep [yoga-nidra].
(The subjective nature of Ananta who has the form of the couch of Maha-Visnu, is described.) Ananta, the same who is the infinite couch on which Maha-Visnu reposes, is a distinctive appearance of the Divinity bearing the name of Sesa, having the subjective nature of the servant of Krishna. (Brahma-samhita, 5.47)]

Editor: Shyamarani dasi
Transcriber: Janaki dasi
Typist: Radha-kunda dasi
Proof-reader: Krishna-kamini dasi

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