Tridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
[Parama-pujyapada Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja spent a week in Holland on his 2003 world tour. During that week he gave classes in the evenings and during the day met with small groups of devotees and worked on his translation of Srila Sanatana Gosvami's Sri Brhat-Bhagavatamrta. On four occasions he came out of his room at about 11am and sat on a chair on the lawn. On those occasions he was at once surrounded by over 100 devotees who sat around him and began asking a myriad of questions. The following is one of those "lawn darsanas":]
[srila Gurudeva:] Srimati Radhika and all the gopis are most beautiful. If one sees them he will die, because he will change his body and go to Goloka Vrndavana. This material body will not survive because it is not able to take darsana of the transcendental world. That is why during the night there are no monkeys in Vrndavana Seva Kunja, the place of rala-lila. If anyone goes there he must die or become mad. He will be speechless; he will not be able to converse in an ordinary way with anyone.
[Harernamananda dasa:] Sometimes, when a pujari performs puja to the deities or a devotee prays to the deities, he has a small glimpse of them.
[srila Gurudeva:] Only Srila Rupa Gosvami, Srila Sanatana Gosvami or Srila Gopala Bhatta Gosvami can have this; we devotees can never have it. One may pose that, "I have seen Radha and Krsna", but such an attainment will never be possible for a conditioned soul.
[Harernamananda dasa:] So it is a mistaken impression?
[srila Gurudeva:] Yes. Only Srila Rupa Gosvami and Srila Sanatana Gosvami can see Them. Once they were talking to each other about the sweet pastimes of Srimati Radharani and Sri Krsna, and as the time passed it became after 12pm. Srimati Radharani Herself came to them as an ordinary girl but extremely beautiful and said to them, "You are fasting; may I cook for you?" Because they paid no attention to Her She then said, I will cook. You are so busy in your discussion. She blew on some pieces of wood, the wood ignited at once, and the prasadam was prepared in a second. Then She said to them, "You should take this prasadam. I have to go now; otherwise My mother will be angry. In this way both Rupa Gosvami and Srila Sanatana Gosvami got a glimpse of Srimati Radhika.
[bhaktisiddhanta dasa:] What is the taste of that prasadam prepared by Srimati Radharani?
[srila Gurudeva:] It cannot be told by the tongue. If your tongue tastes it, you will not be able to speak. Even liberated persons like Lord Brahma and Lord Sankara, and even Sri Narada Muni, they cannot see the beauty of Srimati Radhika and Sri Krsna. Only Their sakhis can see Them.
[Devotee:] Some devotees say they have had a glimpse.
[srila Gurudeva:] They are mad and they are liars. The material body of a person with such a glimpse would not remain alive.
[Harernamananda dasa:] Some devotees say that when they see the deities, the deities sometimes speak to them.
[srila Gurudeva:] They want to cheat you. If one is qualified to see Srimati Radhika, there will be some symptoms. All his worldly desires will be gone, his past, present and future karma will also disappear at once, and all his ignorance will be gone. How will such a person survive in this bogus body? He will at once appear there in Goloka Vrndavana. Some say, "I have seen Radha and Krsna"; but then, after some time, those same persons are pursuing ladies. They become mad for ladies. It is not at all possible for these two types of consciousness to exist together.
[Harernamananda dasa:] So it is only imagination?
[srila Gurudeva:] Its not imagination. It is a motive to cheat others. If a man has seen Srimati Radhika and Sri Krsna he will not say, "I have seen." Srila Rupa Gosvami will not say, "Come on, come on. I have seen".
[bhaktisiddhanta dasa:] What is our aspiration in this body, because if we get that vision we are dead.
[srila Gurudeva:] No one can realize Srimati Radhika by these material eyes, mouths and hands. She is everywhere, like Krsna; but only when, by sadhana, one reaches the stages of bhava, and then reaches prema, sneha, maan, pranaya, raga, anuraga and mahabhava can She be realized. Even Srimati Rukmini devi and Srimati Satyabauma devi cannot have Her darsana, and even Lord Brahma, Lord Rudra, Srila Sukadeva Gosvami, Narada Muni and Bhisma-pitamaha cannot have Her darsana. Her darsana is not an ordinary attainment.
[bhaktisiddhanta dasa:] Is it a question of all or nothing? Or do the glimpse darsanas gradually increase to full darsana?
[srila Gurudeva:] In this world, by this body and these eyes, no one can have darsana even in a dream. When one reaches the stage of bhava-bhakti and experiences visuddha-sattva bhava, then, as a glimpse, you can see the shadow of Srimati Radhika; otherwise not.
[Devotee:] What is a sphurti?
[srila Gurudeva:] Srimati Radhika has sphurtis of Lord Krsna; you and I do not. She has a sphurti when she sees a tamala tree and thinks that Sri Krsna has come. Sometimes She becomes like a mad person, thinking He has come, but He has not. She will say, "Who has covered My eyes? I thought Krsna was here." This is a sphurti. Sometimes the mother of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Srimati Sacimata prepares an abundance of prasadam and weeps, "My son is not here to take it". In the meantime Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu comes from Jagannatha Puri and takes everything prepared, but still she thinks, "Today I have not cooked" and she cooks again. This is called a sphurti, and it is seen at a very elevated stage of advancement.
[Devotee:] What are we praying for when we say "pracodayat?"
[srila Gurudeva:] We should pray, "O Krsna, I am full of anarthas and aparadhas, unwanted habits and mentalities. Please remove these impediments so that I can chant pure harinama." Then, when suddha-nama manifests you can pray, "O Krsna, I want to serve You and Srimati Radhika." Then pray to Srila Rupa Gosvami, or Sri Rupa Manjari, and others, "Please give me the association of elevated rasika Vaisnavas like Srila Rupa Gosvami, Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, Srila Svarupa Damodara, Sri Raya Ramananda and others." In this way, practicing from sraddha, from the beginning of bhakti, a devotee will gradually realize the truths of Krsna Consciousness. After thousands of births of practice he will be very lucky to attain bhava-bhakti; and then one of the five rasas (relationships with Lord Krsna) will manifest in his heart and he will realize his siddha-svarupa (pure spiritual form). This is a very high attainment.
[bhaktisiddhanta dasa:] This is from the mercy of the spiritual master.
[srila Gurudeva:] A spiritual master should realize all these stages; then it will be by his mercy. Otherwise, if he is a madhyama-adhikari, he cannot give such mercy. Even an uttama-adhikari like Srila Haridasa Thakura may not be able to give this most rare type of vraja-bhakti. He will say, "Go to Srila Rupa Gosvami. If you want to chant pure harinama then please come to me; but for that vraja-bhakti you will have to go to Srila Rupa Gosvami." He will not give it himself, whereas Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami and Srila Svarupa Damodara can give it. There are sections, or divisions, of all the stages within pure bhakti.
[bhaktisiddhanta dasa:] How is it that we have so many questions in our minds, and then when we come in your presence we forget them?
[srila Gurudeva:] And when I tell my disciples to stand up and speak on a particular subject, they forget everything.
[Devotee:] Yesterday you were talking about diksa, but not siksa. When I ask you to be my siksa-guru what does that mean?
[srila Gurudeva:] It means that you will have to follow me in all respects. You should think about how I do bhajana, what is my ideal, my siddhanta, and how I serve my Gurudeva and follow that. Then you can see that, "He is my siksa-guru." For example, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu put Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvamis hand into the hand of Sri Svarupa Damodara and told him, "You should think that he is your siksa-guru" and he followed him totally. This is siksa-guru. Siksa-guru is attained neither by fire sacrifice nor by imitation. A boy used to sit with his father, and when his father would chant and meditate on his gayatri mantras he would also sit with him at that time. One day he imitated his father as he sat with his eyes closed offering pranama. His father knew he was imitating and he wanted to test him. So one day, when he was chanting his mantras, he took his asana and circled it above his head five times. began to do five times and his son also did it five times. He asked his son, "What are you doing my dear son?" This is imitation, not siksa. Siksa comes by an internal qualification.
[Devotee:] When a person has taken diksa from his guru, is it possible that this connection can ever be broken?
[srila Gurudeva:] If the Guru is an uttama-bhakta Guru, the relationship is transcendental and permanent. If he is not a realized soul, if he has not realized Krsna or His prema and if he is not an uttama-mahabhagavata, then it is not permanent.
[bhakta-svarupa dasa:] We hear about Krsna's different flutes; like murali, vamsi and venu. Can you give some
[srila Gurudeva:] Try to chant at least 64 rounds. Sixteen will not suffice. Your mind should be concentrated. First do this, and then I will tell you. A fruit takes time to grow on the tree, but you want this highest attainment to come in your heart immediately. This is a bogus idea. Krsna may give you a piece of stone instead, and all your teeth will break. [This statement is meant to show that it is not to ones spiritual advantage to ask questions above his level of qualification.]
[bhaktisiddhanta dasa:] I have a close friend who left his body in Vrndavana a few days ago.
[srila Gurudeva:] Whether he was a sadhaka or not, a true practitioner of bhakti or not, I cannot tell. We are not pure sadhakas. Srila Bilvamangala Thakura is a sadhaka for love and affection (prema-bhakti) and we are sadhakas to give up anarthas. At this stage no one can have love and affection for Krsna or for Guru. He will quarrel with his Guru and at the same time pose as a sadhaka.
[bhaktisiddhanta dasa:] We were helping Vrndavana dhama fixing it up. He was helping me.
[srila Gurudeva]: He was helping and serving you? Do you have any realization of the love of Sri Krsna and Srimati Radhika?
[bhaktisiddhanta dasa:] Only through you.
[srila Gurudeva:] Then how will he be more advanced than you?
[bhaktisiddhanta dasa:] I was wondering what happens to a person like that who leaves his body there in Vrndavana.
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.]
Wherever the pure devotee hears the name of Krsna and Radhika, tears will fall from his eyes, and he will faint and roll down on the ground like Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami and Srila Rupa Gosvami. You know the verses:
nidrahara-viharakadi-vijitau catyanta-dinau ca yau
radha-krsna-guna-smrter madhurimanandena sammohitau
vande rupa-sanatanau raghu-yugau sri-jiva-gopalakau
["I worship the Six Gosvamis, who passed all their time in chanting the holy names, singing songs, and offering dandavat-pranama, thereby humbly fulfilling their vow to complete a fixed number daily. In this way they utilized their valuable lives and conquered over eating and sleeping. Always seeing themselves as completely worthless, they became enchanted in divine rapture by remembering Sri Radha-Krsna's sweet qualities. (Sri Sad-Gosvami-astakam, verse 6)]
he radhe vraja-devike ca lalite he nanda-suno kutah
sri-govardhana-kalpa-padapa-tale kalindi-vane kutah
ghosantav iti sarvato vraja-pure khedair maha-vihvalau
vande rupa-sanatanau raghu-yugau sri jiva-gopalakau
["I am doing vandana to the Six Gosvamis, who were always calling out, 'He Radhe!' O Queen of Vrndavana! Where are You? He Lalite! O son of Nanda Maharaja! Where are You? Are you seated beneath the kalpa-vrksa trees of Sri Govardhana Hill? Or are you roaming in the forests along the soft banks of the Kalindi?' They were always lamenting, overwhelmed and burning in feelings of great separation as they wandered throughout all Vraja-mandala." (Sri Sad-Gosvami-astakam, verse 8)]
These are the symptoms of a person advanced in bhakti.
[bhaktisiddhanta dasa:] Srila Prabhupada never showed the symptoms of ecstatic trance, but on occasion he could not help but show it.
[srila Gurudeva:] It may be that by his activities he showed his advancement, because he attracted the entire world and translated so many bona fide books. Though he showed no external symptoms of his ecstasy, he did what would have been impossible for an ordinary person. Srila Rupa Gosvami hardly ever showed external symptoms. Once, the other pure devotees present with him were weeping by hearing the sweet Srimad-Bhagavatam from the mouth of Srila Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami, and some became faint; but he sat with no symptoms. One of the devotees then came to see what he was doing, and when he placed his hand in front of Srila Rupa Gosvami's face, close to his mouth, the devotees entire body was burnt from the extremely hot air that emanated from his mouth and nostrils. This is real samadhi like that of the gopis and it is very rare. If there is a small amount of water, even a little fish can make it dirty. However, in a great ocean, even a big whale cannot make an impression. Srila Rupa Gosvami is like an endless ocean, and that mood is like a fish. So, sometimes you cannot see ecstatic symptoms on the body of a pure devotee but his symptoms are understood by his behavior.
So many saintly persons, munis, and rsis try to chant Sri Krsna's name, but at the time of death they call out, "I am dying, I am dying."
[Devotee:] Why did Srila Prabhupada say we can attain perfection in one lifetime?
[srila Gurudeva:] He said that to inspire new persons, so they would not be discouraged. I also speak in that way, but sometimes I tell the real truth. Now I am telling the real truth. On the other hand, when I say that only one utterance of the holy name will take you to Goloka Vrndavana, this is also true.