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  1. by Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das ← Shri Radharani of Shyam Sundar ji To confirm the connection between Radharani, the Karttika vrata and the uniqueness of this month, Sri Rupa Goswamipada says Radha is Karttika-devi, Urjadevi, Urjesvari, and the Kartika-devata. KARTTIKA VRATA—SIX INCONCEIVABLE BENEFITS The benefits of other vows last for only one life, but the benefits from a Karttika vow last for a 100 lives, vratasyoktam phalam janma satanugam (Skanda Purana: Hari Bhakti Vilasa 16.45) In Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, Sri Rupa Goswamipada cites the Padma Purana to prove the special effect of observing Karttika in Vraja-dhama: “Sri Krishna gives sense enjoyment or liberation, but never bhakti to those worshiping Him outside of Vraja Dhama, bhuktim-muktim-harir-dadyad-arcito-anyatra-sevinam. However, one will quickly obtain Hari bhakti by worshiping Damodara in Mathura/Vrndavana during Karttika—harer-bhaktir-labhyate- kartike-naraih-mathurman-sakrd-api-damodara-pujanat.” Sri Jiva Goswamipada comments: “By the power of just once worshiping Sri Krishna in Mathura/Vrndavana during Karttika, even an UNQUALIFIED person will OBTAIN BHAVA, love for Krishna—mathura-karttikayoh-sangame-pujanam-ghatate-tada-yogyata-virahiten-api-vastu-prabhavat-prapyate- eveti-bhava.” The Skanda Purana says, “The Karttika vrata is always dear to Sri Kesavaji, sarvada-kesava-priyah. If during Karttika one performs even a few pious deeds for the pleasure of Vishnu/Krishna, one will derive indestructible benefits, kincit-kriyate-punyam-visnum-uddisya-karttike, tad-aksayam-bhavet-sarvam-satyoktam-tava-narada.” Once Sri Rupa-manjari said, “O Krishna! You delight the world with Your flute by singing the glories Kartika-devi Radha, the topmost form of pure love, prema mūrti-vara kārtika devī, kīrti gāna mukharī-kṛta vaṁśam.” (Uttkalika Vallari 11) The Padma Purana (Karttika-mahatmya) says, “Of the twelve yearly months, Kartika is the most beloved of Krishna—dvādaśāsv- api -māseṣu / kārtikaḥ -kṛṣṇa-vallabhaḥ.” “If one performs even a little Vishnu/Krishna puja during Kartika, one will definitely attain Vaikuntha—sampūjito- viṣṇur -alpa- dadāti / vaiṣṇavaṁ -lokam -niścitaṁ.” ← Shri Damodar ji of Vrindavan “Bhagavan Sri Hari, the Master controller, will be pleased if one offers a ghee lamp, or even just relights another person’s extinguished lamp, and He will give one a good destination—dīpenāpi -hi –yatrāsau / prīyate -harir –īśvaraḥ / sugatiṁ- ca –dadāty- eva / para- dīpa –prabodhanāt.” Five Liberation Vows In Hari Bhakti Vilasa (17), Sri Sanatana Goswami quotes the Padma Purana (Uttara-khanda chapter 115), wherein Bhagavan Sri Krishna says: “If one performs these FIVE VOWS for the entire month of Karttika, one will attain liberation (mukti) to the spiritual realm: Stay awake both Karttika Ekadasi nights (Hari-jāgaraṇam). Daily sunrise bath (just before sunrise is best). Caring for a Tulasi plant. (Daily watering, bathing, puja, plucking leaves and manjaris, praising, respecting and circling). Finishing a charitable work previously started i.e. building a temple, digging a well. Daily offering ghee lamps (dīpas).” Radharani Month Karttika Vrata ki jai! Kartika-devi Sri Radha ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!
  2. One of the Saptadevalyas (seven ancient temples) of Vrindavan, Shri Gopinath Mandir was founded by Madhu Pandit whose glories are sung in the Bhakti Ratnakar. His Samadhi is found near the temple courtyard. Vrindavan, 2020-10-29 (VT): On Day 3 of Braj Darshan with Vrindavan Today, we seek the blessings of Shri Radha Gopinath. श्रीमान् रासरसारम्भी वंशीवट तटस्थितः। कर्षन् वेणुस्वनैर्गोपीर्गोपीनाथः श्रियेऽस्तुनः।। Shri Gopinath is the origin of all rasas. Standing at Vamsi Vat, He plays His enchanting flute to attract the gopis. May the contemplation of this beautiful Lila bless us! From Keshi Ghat it is a ten-minute walk through Gopinath Bazar (past a tiny and rare old temple to Shitala, that four-handed goddess of smallpox whose mount is a mule) to the famous Radha-Gopinath temple. The almost pyramidal shape of its ancient red sandstone dome serves to guide us as it stands slightly higher than the surrounding dwellings which all but obscure the ancient rich architecture. ← Original deity of Shri Gopinath ji, residing at Jaipur One of the Saptadevalyas (seven ancient temples) of Vrindavan, Shri Gopinath Mandir was founded by Madhu Pandit whose glories are sung in the Bhakti Ratnakar. His Samadhi is found near the temple courtyard. Madhu Pandit was the disciple of Shri Gadadhar Goswami who came from Nabadwip to Vrindavan in search of Krishna. Here he started living under the tutelage of Shri Paramananda Bhattacharya. There are two different accounts of the appearance of Shri Gopinath who was first worshipped at Vamsi Vat. According to one of them, He manifested to Paramananda Bhattacharya while the other talks of His appearance to Madhu Pandit who served the deity for 40 years in his hut. Later Raja Raesaal Shekhawat (Rae shilji) of Jaipur arranged for the construction of the present red sandstone temple for Him, sometime after Emperor Akbar’s Braj visit in 1573 AD. During Aurangzeb’s wrathful reign, the original Deity was moved to Jaipur and a Prati-bhuh murti was installed in its place. गोपीनाथावतारो स्थानमथुरायां विराजिताः। ← Presiding deity of Shri Gopinath ji in Vrindavan दशवर्षमवस्थायां चतुः षष्ठि कलान्वितः।। दशवर्षावतारश्च गोपीनाथाभिधानतः। राज सेवाभिधानशच ललिता राधपान्वितः।। (ब्रह्मवैवर्त पुराण) It is stated in the Brahmvaivarta Puran that Shri Gopinath resides in Mathura along with Shri Radha and Lalita as the ever playful ten-year-old adorned with all sixteen kalas (divine attributes) Once Maa Jahnava, the wife of Shri Nityananda Prabhu, came to Vrindavan and had the darshan of Lord Gopinath ji. Much later after her disappearance, a messenger arrived in Vrindavan from Jahnava‘s native Bengal bearing with him a murti of Jahanva which he said had appeared by divine wish. He made his way to the temple of Radha Gopinath. In a dream that night Lord Gopinath appeared to the temple pujari saying that Jahanva is none other than Gopi Anangamanjari. On the Lord’s behest Shri Radha Rani was moved to the right of Thakur ji, and Jahanva was placed on His left. On Radha’s right is the Sakhi Vishveshwari. This is the reason given for the unusual placement of the deities at the new Radha-Gopinath Mandir. A grand festival is observed in veneration of Jahnava Devi every year.
  3. Shri Radha Madan Mohan Temple stands majestically on a small hill (tila), with its iconic elongated temple dome standing above all the other historical temples of Vrindavan. The simple worship of the Deities in Vrindavan’s Madan Mohan and the more elaborate worship of Madan Mohan in Jaipur, pays tribute to the extreme dedication and renunciation of Shri Sanatan Goswami, who is considered by many to be the greatest saint who ever walked in the dust of Shri Dham. ← Madan Mohan Temple Sanatan Goswami: From office holder to most senior goswami Shri Sanatan Goswami was born in Jessore, now in Bangladesh, in around 1488 as the son of Mukunda, the private secretary of the Sultan of Bengal. When his father died, Sanatan was forced to take up the post of treasurer to the new ruler of Bengal, while his younger brother, Rupa, was given the post of private secretary. The first time Rupa and Sanatan met Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, they became determined to renounce materialistic life. Rupa resigned from his post but the emperor refused to allow Sanatan to leave peacefully and threw him in jail. Rupa sent some money, which Sanatan used to bribe the jailor and escape. He then made his way towards Vrindavan, making a stop in Varanasi to receive further instructions from Shri Chaitanya. Shri Madan Mohan arranges for Sanatan Goswamipada to serve Him Every day, Sanatan Goswami used to go for madhukari (collecting alms) from house to house. One day he came to the house of a Chaube (Chaturvedi Brahmin) in Mathura. Chaube had an extremely attractive Deity of Shri Krishna named Madan Mohan. Sanatan Goswami was entranced by His beauty but he was sad to see that the children of the Chaube family were playing with Madan Mohan just like a doll. Then he noticed that their mother was making khichdi for Madan Mohan while brushing her teeth with a daatun (Neem twig). Sanatan Goswami became very upset, and had a word with Chaube, who felt very embarrassed and said, “Please excuse us. We do not know how to love Madan Mohan. Madan Mohan is an ancient Deity, installed five thousand years ago by Shri Krishna’s grandson Vajranabh. How can we possibly worship him properly?” “You should worship him according to the rules and regulations laid out in the scriptures.” said Sanatan Goswami. So the Chaube family became very strict with Madan Mohan. He was awakened, fed, and so forth at all the right times and with all the rules of cleanliness. Fearful of making a mistake, all the family members kept a respectful distance. That night, Madan Mohan appeared in Sanatan Goswami’s dream and said, “Why did you ruin everything? These people treated me like their own family. The children were my real brothers and sisters. I loved so much to play with them! And Maiya used to brush her teeth while cooking, because she knows I am very hungry in the morning. She would do many things at once, just so that I wouldn’t have to bear the pain of hunger for one more moment. But now I have to wait forever for my breakfast. Look, rules and regulations have their place, but these are not ordinary people. They are Brajwasis and they truly love me. You only have to look into their hearts.” ← Thakur Shri Madan Mohan ji worshipped at new temple in Vrindavan “O Lala, I am very sorry,” said Sanatan Goswami, wiping away his tears. “What should I do?” Madan Mohan smiled and replied. “Come tomorrow and take me away from here. Now I want to enjoy that kind of love from you.” Sanatan Goswami smiled too and said, “If that is what you want, I accept. But I have to warn you: I am a renounced man. I don’t have any possessions. The only home I have to offer you are the trees of Vrindavan, and the only feast I can give you is the bread I get from begging and the water of the Yamuna River.” “That sounds like a wonderful feast!” said Madan Mohan. “For me it is,” said Sanatan Goswami. “But you are used to the finer things in life. I wonder if you will be able to manage.” “I will manage,” said Madan Mohan. And so Madan Mohan came to Sanatan Goswami. The first day, Sanatan Goswami went for madhukari as usual, and received just a little bit of wheat flour (atta). He mixed the flour with water from the Yamuna and made a dish called baati,by forming the dough into balls and cooking them in the coals of a fire. He served the baati to Madan Mohan with Yamuna water in an earthen pot. Madan Mohan took it and smiled. Madan Mohan eats Sanatan Goswami’s baati Usually, Sanatan Goswami got only wheat flour for madhukari and made baati with it. After a few days of this diet, Madan Mohan very sweetly said, “May I please have some salt? I am finding it difficult to swallow your dry chunks of bread.” “That’s impossible” said Sanatan Goswami. “If I give you salt one day, the next day you will ask for ghee. And if I give you ghee, you will ask for rabri (sweets). And if I give you rabri, you will ask for a whole feast. Your desires will be the end of me. I will have to give up the mission Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has given me, leave my renounced life and get a job to buy whatever you wish. I want you to be happy, my darling, but I cannot do this for you. If you want salt, you will have to get it yourself.” Madan Mohan was speechless. He smiled and the wheels of his naughty mind started turning. Soon after, a ship washed ashore on the riverbank near Sanatan Goswami’s camp. Back then, the Yamuna River flowed right next to where the Madan Mohan Temple stands today – just at the foot of the hill, where the Parikrama Marg is now. The captain of the ship was a Punjabi merchant named Ramdas Kapoor. He was very upset, because he could not get his ship unstuck. No matter how he tried, there was no movement at all. The Brajwasis noticed, and some came to help. But even the strong young farmers and cowherd boys could not free the boat. The Brajwasis advised Kapoor to visit Sanatan Goswami and ask for his blessings. Surely the great saint’s blessings could free his boat! Ramdas bowed to Sanatan Goswami and told him the problem, “My boat is carrying an important shipment bound for Agra,” he said, “And if I cannot deliver, I am financially dead! Please give me your blessings, o Sage!” Sanatan Goswami was silent. He did not like to get involved in worldly affairs. But something in his heart made him inquire further. “What exactly is inside your boat?” asked Sanatan Goswami. “The entire boat is packed with salt,” replied Ramdas. Sanatan Goswami smiled and said, “I think I know how we can free your boat.” Ramdas was overjoyed to hear this news. Sanatan Goswami instructed him to offer a little salt to Madan Mohan with his evening meal. He did so, and immediately, at the moment the bhog (meal) was offered, the boat came unstuck. Ramdas Kapoor was so overwhelmed by the grace of Sanatan Goswami and Shri Madan Mohan, that he donated a huge sum of money to build a temple for Madan Mohan. The temple of Madan Mohan remains today as one of the most iconic landmarks of Vrindavan. It is one of the famous ‘Sapta Devalaya’ temples and is fully protected by the Archaeological Survey of India. Temple History Madan Mohan temple is among the earliest of Vrindavan’s grandly constructed temples. In the 16th Century, when it was constructed, the temple and ghat below it served as one of the places where the Yamuna met with the town. Describing the events in the lead up to the construction of this grand temple, in his 1883 Memoire, F.S. Growse says: “The story of its foundation is given as follows in the Bhakt Sindhu of Lachman Das, which is a modernized version of the Bhakt Mala. In this poem it is stated that the image of Gobind Ji was found by Rupa and Sanatan at Nand-gaow, where they had dug it up in a cattle-shed (Go-khirk men se nikar dye, tote Gobind nam dharaye), thence they brought it to Brinda-ban and erected it on the site of the present temple near the Brahm kund. They went daily to the neighbouring villages (Brinda-ban being at that time an uninhabited forest) and to Mathura to beg; and one day a man in the city gave Sanatan an image of Madan Mohan, which he took and set up near the Kali-dah Ghat on the Duhsasan hill. One day a merchant from Multan in the Panjab, a khattri by caste, named Ram Das, but more familiarly known as Kapuri, came down the river with a boat-load of merchandise bound for Agra, but stuck on a sand-bank near the Kali-dah Ghat. After trying in vain for three days to get off, he determined to discover the local divinity and implore his assistance. So he came on shore, climbed up the hill, and there found Sanatan, who told him to address his prayer to Madan Mohan. He did so, and his boat immediately began to float. When he had sold all his goods at Agra he came and brought the price to Sanatan, who told him to build a temple with it. This he did and added the Ghat also, all of red stone.” Madan Mohan in Jaipur Along with many of Vrindavan’s Deities, Shri Radha Madan Mohan was shifted to the Rajput stronghold when the attacks of Aurangzeb made worship in Vrindavan precarious. Madan Mohan ji was taken to Amer in Jaipur to the protection of Raja Sawai Jai Singh II, the founder of Jaipur. From there was brought to Karauli in Rajasthan by Maharaj Gopal Singh in 1600 CE, after his victory in the battle of Daulatabad. Madan Mohan Vrindavan temple today After we reach the top of the stairs, an elderly devotee instructs us to remove our shoes and do Parikrama. Parikrama takes us to the back of the temple; to the ashram where a few simple rooms surround Sanatan Goswami’s bhajan kutir. We then walk past a small hall that seems to be under renovation, before reaching the Deities. The Pujari is Bengali and speaks to visitors very sparingly, however invites everyone to take Charan Amrit. There is a sign on the wooden door saying ‘No Photography’. The Deities are kept at a distance from visitors, in the traditional style. Their mood seems subdued and elusive, especially in comparison to the glamour of Madan Mohan in Jaipur, whose daily Darshan can be seen on Facebook. In the ashram too, there is an atmosphere of simplicity and humility. Women can be seen washing dishes in the traditional way, using water from the well and dirt. These woman are not residents of the ashram but simply come here to do seva. Most are disciples of Shri Dina Bandhu Maharaj and feel grateful to be doing service in the vicinity of Shri Sanatan Goswami’s bhajan kutir. While busily engaged in many tasks, they also keep an eye on visitor activities, directing people to have Darshan of Sanatan Goswami’s Kutir and warning against offenses like walking through with shoes on. Amid several Tulsi plants and a large Govardhan Shila, the ashram is populated by half a dozen male sevaiyats. One informs us that the temple opens at 7am but this changes a little according to season. There is Bhog Aarti at 12pm, Sandya Aarti at 7.30pm and Shayan Aarti at 8.30pm. During Kartik, there will be Mangal Aarti at 4.30 am. The temple is one of the best places for Yamuna Darshan. Sunrise Darshan of Shri Madan Mohan and the Yamuna during Kartik will be a special treat. Jai Shri Sanatan Goswami! Jai Shri Madan Mohan!
  4. By Ashee Sharma I remember Shri Shri Radha Govind who are sitting on a gem-studded throne, and enjoying the loving services of Their most dear sakhis Shri Lalita and Vishakha, in Their glittering abode, under the Kalpvruksha that blossoms in the ever-enchanting forest of Vrindavan… दीव्यद्-वृन्दारण्य-कल्पद्रुमाधः श्रीमद्रत्नागार-सिंहासनस्थौ। श्रीश्रीराधा-श्रीलगोविन्द-देवौ प्रेष्ठालीभिः सेव्यमानौ The search for the King of Vrindavan: Govind Dev Shri Krishna’s great grandson, Vajranabh is said to have made eight ‘vigrahas’ in Braj – four Dev (Hardev, Baldev, Keshav Dev, Govind Dev), two Nath (Shrinath, Gopinath) and two Gopal (Sakshi Gopal and Madan Gopal)… चारि देव, दुई नाथ, दुई गोपाल बाखान। बज्रनाभ प्रकटित एइ आठ मूर्ति जान।। Shastras have clearly indicated their features, whereabouts, glories and seva. It was based on such revelations that Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu instructed Rupa Goswami to set out on the search for these lost treasures of Braj. While looking for Govind, Rupa Goswami wandered in the forests, gardens, and villages of Braj-Vrindavan asking people about the exact location of the Yogapeetha where He resides, but no one had an answer. Disappointed, he sat on the banks of Yanuma one day and began to ponder, “Who has the ability to find Him. Like the sun, He must reveal Himself.” He cried, Oh Govind, Oh Govind, as tears kept flowing from his eyes. As he sat lamenting, an unusually attractive Brajwasi approached him and on learning the reason behind his grief said, “Near Keshi Tirth, is a sacred place called Gomatila. That is the Govind/YogPeeth you are looking for. A cow comes there every morning to feeds Govind with the milk flowing from her udder. I shall take you there.” On reaching Gomatila, the Brajwasi disappeared. Rupa Goswami at once understood His identity as the supreme Lord and fainted in ecstasy. On gaining consciousness, he gathered some Brajwasis to excavate the site that lay wet with the cow’s milk. Soon the radiant form of Govind emerged and everyone was overjoyed. The Lord of Vrindavan had been found. The year was 1536, though some accounts say it was as early as 1525. पुनर्वृन्दावने चैव वृन्दादेवी प्रसादत:। वृन्दादेवी प्रसक्ताय पूर्ण कामस्य हेतवे।। हृषीकेशो करोद्रूपं नाम्ना गोविन्द संस्थितः। चतुर्दशसमावस्थः अवतारो विराजते।। ← Inside view of the Govinda Dev temple (ब्रह्म वैवर्त पुराण) By the grace of Vrinda Devi, Shri Bhagwan appears as the all-powerful and wish-fulfilling Govind. He resides in Vrindavan in His form as a 14-year-old (nava kisora). Rupa Goswami quoted the shastras to establish that Gomatila was indeed the Dwapar Yuga Yogpeetha mentioned therein and the unearthed vigraha was the one made and worshipped by Shri Vajranabh at this place. He then wrote a letter to Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in Puri informing Him about Govind’s appearance. Mahaprabhu was delighted. He ordered His disciple Kashishwar to leave for Vrindavan at once. Kashishwar agreed, albeit reluctantly, because he could not bear separation from his master. Understanding his dilemma, Mahaprabhu gave him His Gaur-Govind murti and said, “Know that Gaur-Govind and I are one. I will always be with you in this form.” On reaching Vrindavan, Kashishwar established the Gaur-Govind vigraha near Govind Dev and started worshipping Him. काशीश्ववर अन्तर बूझिया गौरहरि। दिलेन निज-स्वरूप-विग्रह यत्न करि।। प्रभु से विग्रह सह अन्नदि भुज्जिल। देखि काशीश्वरेर परमानन्द हैल।। श्रीगौर गोविन्द-नाम प्रभु जानाइला। ताँरे लैया काशीश्वर वृन्दावने आइला।। गोविन्द दक्षिणे प्रभुरे बसाइया। करये अद्भुत सेवा प्रेमाविष्ट हैया।। (भक्तिरत्नाकर) According to Chaitanya Charitamrita, one of Shri Raghunath Bhatta Goswami’s disciples got a temple built for Govind Deva and offered gems, and jewelled trinkets at the Lord’s feet. By some accounts, this disciple was Maan Singh’s father, Bhagwant Singh and the first temple came up in samvat 1561. PART – I From Govind to Shri Shri Radha Govind ← Original deity of Shri Radha Govinda ji Maharaj in Jaipur Of the many stories about Govind Dev, His meeting with Shri Radha is most endearing. The son of Odisha’s king, Purushottama was a devout Vaishnava like his father. When he came to know that Vrindavan’s Thakur Madangopal and Govind Dev are shriviheen (without Their Shakti Shri Radha), he sent two beautiful metal vigrahas of Radha to be instated by Their side. However, while the vigrahas were about to reach Dham, Thakur Madangopal appeared to His sevadhikari (servitor) in a dream and said, “Of the two murtis, only one is Radha, while the other one is Lalita. Bring Them both here, and install the smaller one Radhika to my left and the bigger one i.e. Lalita to the right.” His instructions were followed. Back in Odisha, Purushottama kept worrying about finding Govind Dev’s Radha, until one day when the supreme goddess conveyed Her will to him in a dream. She said, “I have been residing in Chakrabed near Puri for a long time now. People call me Lakshmi. They don’t know that I am Radha. Arrange for my meeting with Govind Dev at the earliest.” Purushottama did as instructed. On reaching Vrindavan, She was consecrated to left of Govind Dev in a grand ceremony which is described in Shri Rupa Goswami’s famous composition ‘Chatupushpanjali’. This was the year 1553 (17 years after Govind Dev’s appearance). The great Goswami entered nitya-lila shortly after that. As per ‘Saadhan Dipika’, in the past, this vigraha of Radharani had travelled from Vrindavan to Radhanagar in Utkal Desh. There She accepted the loving services of the Brahmin Brihadbhanu as his daughter. She was later established in Chakrabed in accordance with Her wish, which She made known to the King of Puri in yet another dream! However, it is also believed that the Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had the murti made and sent to Vrindavan along with Kashishwar. PART – II Poetry in Stone: the architectural masterpiece When the old temple built by one of Raghunath Bhatta Goswami’s pupils wore out, he motivated Raja Maan Singh who was a general in the court of Akbar, and one of the King’s nine gems, to build a new one. Shri Raghunath Bhatta Goswami was the younger associate of Shri Rupa and Sanatana Goswami. According to Shri Chiatnya Charitamrita (Antya 13.131), he was the spiritual master of Raja Maan Singh. The plan for construction of the grand Govind Dev Mandir was conceived around the year 1565 A.D. according to various accounts. At that time, the red sandstone from east Rajasthan was being used by Emperor Akbar for the construction of Agra Fort. Raja Maan Singh being his general and confidant was able to convince Akbar to donate the coveted sandstone – otherwise reserved for imperial palaces/forts – along with 130 ‘bighas’ of land in the service of the King of Vrindavan, Shri Govind Dev. Expenses for building the temple were borne by Maan Singh. In his monumental work ‘Mathura- A District Memoir’, collector and the district magistrate of Mathura (1871-77) F.S. Growse records an inscription taken from the exterior of the ‘north-west chapel’ which translates as follows… In the 34th year of the era inaugurated by the reign of the Emperor Akbar, Shri Maharaj Maan Singh Deva, son of Maharaj Bhagwan Das, of the family of Maharaj Prithiraj (of Kurm Kul), founded, at the holy station of Brinda-ban, this temple of Gobind Deva. The head of the works, Kalyan Das, the assistant superintendent, Manik Chand Chopar, the architect Gobind Das of Delhi, the mason, Gorakh Das. Growse further writes, “Under one of the niches of the west end of the nave is a tablet with a long Sanskrit inscription. This has unfortunately been too much mutilated to allow of transcription, but so much of it as can be deciphered records the fact that the temple was built in ‘sambat’ 1647 i.e A.D. 1590 under the direction of the two Gurus, Rupa and Sanatana.” The fact is corroborated by Margaret H. Case’s ‘Govinddeva: A Dialogue in Stone’, which states that the temple opened in 1590 A.D. However, Case notes it was the 37th year of Akbar’s reign. ← Presiding deity of Shri Govinda Dev in Vrindavan (New Govinda Dev) It took nearly 12 years for the temple to come up in its full glory depicted in the unique synthesis of Nagara and Indo-Islamic styles, while following the classical ‘ratha’ layout of Hindu temple architecture. The ‘shri vigraha’ of Thakur Govind Devji Maharaj was consecrated in the shrine under the sole ‘seva’ of Shri Haridas Goswami – second in the line of sevadhikaris. For more than a century after Raja Maan Singh’s death in 1614 A.D. Shri Govind Deva gave darshan to His devotees in the magnificent temple. In addition to being an architectural marvel, the historical significance of Govind Dev Mandir can be gauged by the fact that it was perhaps the only grand Hindu temple built in northern India during the 600-700 years of iconoclastic Islamic rule. According to Case, the original structure (described as pyramidal) was topped by hundreds of domes and it towered seven grand storeys in height. So tall in fact was the temple that a sacrificial fire in the upper storey, which was fed by 150kgs of ghee daily, was visible from Agra. However, its unrivalled majesty became an eyesore for the tyrant Aurangzeb, the great grandson of the same Mughal Emeperor (Akbar) who played a pivotal role in its construction. In the year 1670 Aurangzeb ordered his generals to dismantle it block-by-block thereby reducing the most beautiful temple in India to its present size. The upper storeys completely obliterated, what stands today is the huge, cruciform ‘Mahamandap’. The remaining monument, however, has an elevation that is equal to several storeys in its own right, containing open arcades and a vaulted dome composed of intersecting, pointed arches. In design, the temple, with its accentuated angles and openings, can still be glorified as an innovation in the field of temple architecture. In this regard, Case writes, “Although the Govindji temple has been subjected to so much senseless havoc, the unique architecture is still praiseworthy. With its ten-foot-thick walls it is considered to be north India’s greatest contribution to temple design.” Growse went on to aptly describe it as “the most impressive edifice that Hindu art has ever produced, at least in upper India”. According to him the “most characteristic feature of Govind Dev Mandir that went unnoticed by all architects who described this famous building is the ‘harmonious combination of dome and spire’ which is still quoted as the great crux of modern art, though nearly 300 years ago the difficulty was solved by the Hindus with characteristic grace and ingenuity.” Flight of the Deities: Jaipur via Kamyavan and Radhakund Anticipating an attack by the iconoclast Aurangzeb, the Lordships were briefly instated at Kamyavan in 1669 A.D., and Their protection was entrusted to Raja Ram Singh (I). From there They were taken to Govindpura in 1707, and later to Amber (Amer) – the old capital of Jaipur – in 1714. They are also believed to have spent some time in Radhakund (Govardhan). When Sawai Jai Singh (II) established the city of Jaipur, the deities were consecrated in a temple within the precincts of ‘Jai Nivas’ in 1717 A.D. The King was a devout Vaishnava. He got the ‘Chandaramahal’ built in a way that would allow him darshan of Govind Dev from his chamber. Sawai Jai Singh considered himself a servant of Govind Dev, running the kingdom of the His behalf. The official seal of Jaipur state under him carried the following inscription, ‘महाराजाधिराज श्री श्री गोविन्ददेव जी, दीवान महाराजा जयसिंह’… The King of Vrindavan has been blessing devotees outside the physical boundaries of Shri Dham since then. On His left is Shrimati Radharani, while Mahaprabhu’s Gaur-Govind adorns His right. PART – III Resurrecting the phoenix: Shri Govind Mahatmya Around the time of the reign of Delhi’s Emperor Mohammad Shah (1726-1748 A.D.), the stranglehold of the tyrannical Islamic rule in India had started to loosen. Back in Vrindavan, devotees made a replica of their beloved deities and installed Them in a small temple near the original one. In 1819-20 A.D, following the order of his late Guru Shri Baldev Vidyabhushan, Kolkata’s Nand Kumar Basu commissioned a new temple to the north-west of the old sandstone edifice for the Divinities. But Vrindavan’s King had by then become the ‘nagara devata’ of Jaipur and the ‘ishta’ of its people who had loved and served Him for nearly two centuries by then. Like many other deities who left Braj-Vrindavan under the ‘pretext’ of escaping the marauding Mughals, Govind was never returned. Till date he remains the ‘bone of contention’ between the two regions – Braj-Vrindavan and Mewar/Rajputana – with each asserting its claim on Him. But when has Govind – the heartless enchanter – been known to look back? Then what does one make of His words and His promises? Why does he lament to Uddhav, ‘ऊधो, मोहिं ब्रज बिसरत नाहीं’… Why does he in the Bhagavatam promise the Gopis, ‘वृन्दावनम् परित्यज्य पादमेकम न गच्छति’? The Lord of Vrindavan is not limited by time, space and form. Vrindavan and the Gomatila Yogpeetha is that eternal ocean of nectar which nourishes the souls of devotees everywhere, and every drop emanating from this fountainhead of bliss is the ocean itself. By His causeless mercy Govind assumes a form (‘maunmudra’ or ‘vigraharoop’) to bless devotees elsewhere, but He is forever present in Vrindavan (Gomatila) as His unmanifest essence or ‘tattva’. The following verse from Gopala Tapani Upanishad (Atharva Ved) explains this esoteric lila of the Lord thus… गोकुलाख्ये मथुरामण्डले वृन्दावनमध्ये सहस्रदलपद्मे षोड़शदलमध्ये अष्टदलकेशरे गोविन्दोऽपि श्यामः पीताम्बरो द्विभुजो मयूरपुच्छशिरा वेणुवेत्रहस्तो निर्गुणः सगुणो निराकारः साकारो निरीहः सचेष्टो विराजत इति In the center of Gokul-Mathuramandal is the thousand-petal lotus of Vrindavan, in whose center is a sixteen-petal lotus which in turn encircles the eight-petal lotus that is the abode of the dark, yellow-robed Govind Deva, who has two hands, He sports the peacock feather and flute, is both with and without attributes and form, devoid of any apparent action, yet ever-engaged in lilas… Extolling the greatness of Vrindavan’s Govind Peeth in the Varah Trantra, Bhagwan Varaha says, श्रीवराह उवाच- कर्णिका तन्महद्धाम गोविन्दस्थानमव्ययम्। तत्रोपरि स्वर्गपीठं मणिमण्डपमण्डितम्।। The jewelled lotus in the heart of Yogpeeth is Shri Govind Dev’s dazzling and imperishable abode. At the top of the lotus is a brilliant gem-studded, golden throne… Stone carving in the temple damaged by Mughals Further it is said, कर्णिकायां महालीला तल्लीलारसवद्गिरौ। यत्र कृष्णो नित्य वृन्दा-काननस्य पतिर्भवेत्।। कृष्णो गोविन्दतां प्राप्तः किमन्यैर्बहुभाषितैः। दलं तृतीयकं रम्यं सर्वश्रेष्ठोत्तमोत्तमम्।। In the soft petals of that lotus, Shri Krishna performs His Rasalila. How can the glory of that hillock be described where the eternal King of Vrindavan became Govind’ (attained Gopalatva). The tender and beautiful third petal of that lotus is supreme among all things coveted… (The name Govind itself is extraordinary for it places Krishna in the center of Goloka Vrindavan as the enjoyer and the source of all enjoyment, the darling of all Gopis (Gopijan Vallabha) who carefully protect, nurture and direct their ‘Go’ – the senses – towards Him.) Similar references about the significance of Vrindavan’s Gomatila as not just the ‘prakatya’ (appearance), but also the ‘nitya (eternal) sthali’ of Govind Dev are found in other Puranas, Upanishads, Tantras and other shastras such as Sammohanaa tantra, Skanda Puran (Mathura Khanda), Brahmavaivarta Puran, Padma Puran (Vrindavan Mahatmya), Adivarah Purana and Shri Govindlilamrita. They indisputably establish the fact that Govind Dev is the unrivalled King of Vrindavan, and that His supreme ‘lilasthali’ is the lotus-shaped Yogpeetha of Gomatila. He commands the same status in Vrindavan as Dwarakadheesh does in Dwaraka, Jagannath in Odisha, Mahakaal in Ujjain and Vishwanath in Kashi. It was on the basis of these shastric directions/revelations that Shri Rupa Goswami set out to discover Him. Sripad Ramdas Babaji Maharaj, one of the greatest mystic Gaudiya acharya in recent times never went to see the Govind at Jaipur for this reason. In olden days it was customary for pilgrims to visit Govind with ‘dusty feet’ and pay homage to Him on arrival in Vrindavan. This tradition is still followed by many Vaishnava babajis. However, the shastras and Krishna’s promise to the Gopis notwithstanding, the weakened material and spiritual faculties in this age of confusion and darkness need a form to fix the manas-buddhi-chitta on. Hence the merciful Lord acquiesces to become the devotee’s ‘object of love’, so that he can use his focused energies to turn the consciousness within and eventually find ‘Govind’ sporting in the ‘ashtadalkamal’ (eight-petal Lotus) of his own eternal and pristine ‘hridi vrindavan’. This explains why the King of Vrindavan and His divine abode have been relegated to the background in these times, while His manifest form continues to be the heartthrob of Jaipur. The Mughal invasions, the flight of Deities and the refusal Their custodians to return Them (for which petty arguments such as the ‘temple being desecrated’ became the pretext), were all the compassionate ‘lilas’ of Govind; He awaits His devotee who will after enjoying and perfecting the drops come back to the fount… From a distance, Vrindavan’s majestic Govind Dev Mandir seems quite alluring, but as one ventures near/inside it for the first time, the imposing energies of the Yogpeetha stir up an uncanny fear that overwhelms the devotee for a moment. The fear is not an earthly one, but that of losing the ego that binds us to the ‘samsara’, the ocean of misery. Who, but Govind, is capable of such a feat! He enchants the seeker only to cut off his mortal coils. It is for this reason that Shri Rupa Goswami ‘warned’ people regarding Govind Dev in the Bhaktirasamruta Sindhu… स्मेरां भंङ्गीत्रय परिचिता साचि विस्तीर्ण दृष्टिं वंशीन्यस्ताधर किशलयामुज्ज्वलां चन्द्रकेण। गोविन्दाख्यां हरितनुमितः केशीती्र्थोपकण्ठे मा प्रेक्षिष्ठास्तव यदि सखे! बन्धुसंगेअस्ति रंगः।। (भ.र.सि.) O friend! If you wish to enjoy the company of your wife, children, friends and family never have darshan of that Govind residing near Keshi tirtha. Adorned with a peacock feather, a sweet smile, and slanting, large eyes, He stands in ‘tribhang mudra’ (bent in three places, neck, waist and knees) holding the flute to His lotus lips. If you ever see His transcendental form bright as/with the moonshine, you will forget everything else. If His form is so potent, what can be said about His internal potency! Describing the latter’s glory the Adivaraha Puran categorically states, वृन्दावने च गोविन्दं ये पश्यन्ति वसुंधरे। Ceiling of the temple न ते यमपूरं यान्ति यान्ति पुण्यकृतां गतिम्।। Those who worship/see Govind Dev ‘in Vrindavan’, never go to Yamaloka; they directly attain punyagati… It is said that only the privileged are allowed in Braj, the more fortunate come to Vrindavan, how much more merit should then one possess to enter the King’s palace, supreme among all Kshetras/Peethas. Yuga after yuga, He manifests from the heart of the jewelled lotus in Govind peetha; He, verily, is the Lord of Vrindavan!
  5. Mathura, India: October 14, 2005 Tridandisvami Shri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaj [The following is a continuation of the lecture series on Shrila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura's book, Shri Prema-samput (The Treasure-chest of Love). This book is based on a conversation that takes place in the courtyard of Shrimati Radhika’s home in Yavat.] Shri Krishna said, "Oh Devi, Oh You who are the most qualified girl in the three worlds, even including the Vaikuntha planets. Who in her right mind would dare to consider herself equal to You, for there is no one equal to You in this world! I have heard about Your superiority in the assembly of Parvati, the wife of Lord Siva, and by hearing Your glories, I have developed the burning desire to meet You. In my heart arose the enthusiasm to have Your association, and this desire is now fulfilled. However, I still have one great sadness. The burning sensation caused by one unfulfilled desire is giving me great sadness. Shrimati Radhika replied, "Oh sakhi, please tell Me, what is Your unhappiness? She asked again and again, "Why are You feeling sad?" but despite Her repeated request, Krishna did not reply. His throat was choked, so even though He looked like He desired to speak, He could not. Lord Shri Krishna is performing a drama here. He is trying to increase Shrimati Radhika's curiosity by continually weeping and then, remaining silent. He finally said, "I have one question. Krishna is very lusty and passionate. He has many bad qualities, and therefore I do not understand why You love Him. Your prema is completely pure and faultless. In Your prema there is no desire for Your own happiness, and therefore, it can never be destroyed or lost. It is so forceful that it cannot be checked under any circumstance. Still, how is it that You can give the affection in Your heart to an unqualified, restless and lusty person like Krishna? This is the cause of Your suffering, and others’ suffering as well." Shri Krishna is personally describing Himself. He continued, "Krishna's fame, beauty and everything about Him is complete. There is no one equal to Him in the three worlds – but He has one huge fault. He has no discrimination or understanding of the meaning of prema. This fault destroys all His good qualities and is the root of His bad qualities, and for this reason it is not proper to give Your affection to Him. "I was hiding in Vamsi-vat and watching all Your pastimes there, especially Your dancing in rasa-lila and other pastimes when You met with Him. I saw that His affection for You was just an artificial show. He called you to meet Him in a particular place and time, but what did He do? At that time, He went to another gopi and left You alone. He is a most crooked fellow. I saw all the gopis crying, and especially You. Feeling Your pain, all the gopis were weeping for You, and even the plants, animals, and creepers all cried in sympathy for You. I saw all of this at Vamsi-vat, and I saw how that cheater did not cry at all." In the situation described by Shri Krishna, Shrimati Radhika had been manifesting Her mohanakya-mahabhava, wherein many ecstatic emotions like prema-vaicittya are experienced. These emotions are described in Shri Ujjvala-nilamani in the sthayi-bhava section. When Shrimati Radhika experiences mohanakya-mahabhava, all the life-forms weep with Her. Such is the effect of these ecstatic emotions. Shri Krishna continued, "I saw how, in rasa-lila, Krishna left all the gopis for You. He showed so much affection for You – but only for a moment. You told Him, 'I am tired and cannot walk,' so He took You on His shoulder and then cruelly left You and disappeared. I saw, Radha, how You wept and lamented. For My entire life, and in all My future births, I will never be able to forget Your lamentation at that time. Even if I repeatedly undergo the six changes of material existence, beginning with birth, growth, producing offspring etc., still I will never forget the suffering You had to experience. My heart had never melted by seeing the different varieties of material suffering in this world, but the suffering I had to see You undergo at that time has pierced My heart. I will never be able to remove it or forget it." Lord Shri Krishna is criticizing Himself here, because He wants to examine the depth of Shrimati Radhika's prema for Him. He wants to see if Her prema will decrease by any amount, or if it will break completely. If it will not be disturbed or broken in any way, but will rather increase, this will be the proof that it is pure and without any tinge of selfishness or material designation. Shrimati Radhika is the crest jewel of those who experience prema. Krishna wants to see Her reaction when She hears His criticism. He has come to taste the nectar of Her speech. If the beloved hears the faults of her beloved and yet her prema increases without interruption, this is the proof that her prema is pure. If one's prema decreases when hearing the faults of one's lover, this is the proof that the prema is not pure. Later, after Shri Krishna left Vrndavana to reside in Mathura and sent Uddhava to Vrndavana with His message, the gopis asked Uddhava a question: "Oh Uddhava, how did it happen that our prema broke? How is it that Krishna seems to have no prema for us any more? Our prema was pure." Uddhava could not give an answer. Now Shri Krishna as the demigoddess said, "Oh Radha, You are very simple. Your prema is unlimited and pure. My mind is confused: on one hand I cannot leave Your association for a moment, and on the other hand it is intolerable for Me to see Your suffering on account of Krishna. I cannot stay and I cannot go. I have revealed My heart to You. I have no faith in Krishna, because He has all bad qualities. He has no shyness, religious tendencies or mercy. In fact, He does not have any relationship with the word 'mercy'. His heart is hard like a stone. I heard that as an infant He killed a woman named Putana. At the age of pauganda (five to ten years old) He killed a bull named Aristasura, and in His youth He killed a calf named Vatsasura. His behavior is atrocious." Shrimati Radhika heard everything. She collected Her patience and said, "Oh most fortunate one, what can I do? Krishna has such a power of attraction that despite the fact He gives Me so much pain and suffering, My mind never leaves Him for even a moment. Despite His causing Me so much pain, My mind always runs to Him. My sakhis have advised Me, 'Don't love Krishna. Don't give Your affection to Him.' Especially Lalita always warns Me in that way, but what can I do? My mind cannot accept Her instructions or that of the others. Krishna’s power of attraction is so great, that as soon as I see Him I forget all of His faults and these warnings, and My mind runs to Him. I have thought many times to stop loving Him, but as soon as I see Him, I forget everything." Shrimati Radharani Herself is prema-samput, the container of love. She is revealing Her heart to us – by describing the meaning of prema. Having kept all this in their hearts, the Acharyas in our guru-parampara have very mercifully disclosed their realizations to us. And, if any of us can get one drop of this prema, this mood, our lives will be completely successful. Translator: Shripad Damodara Maharaj Transcriber: Vasanti dasi Typist: Janaki dasi Editor: Syamarani dasi Proof-reader: Krishna-kamini dasi
  6. Mathura, India: October 14, 2005 Tridandisvami Shri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaj [Respected Readers, Please accept our humble obeisances. Since October 11th, 2005, Shrila Narayana Maharaj has been giving evening lectures on the small book, Prema Samput, by Shrila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura. He has just completed its translation from Bengali to Hindi, and expects to publish it during Kartika. Prema Samput is a conversation between Lord Shri Krishna, disguised as a demigoddess, and Shrimati Radhika. In that conversation Shrimati Radhika reveals to Krishna, whom she does not recognize, about Her exalted and supremely pure love for Him. In the middle of his October 14th, 2005 class, Shrila Narayana Maharaj made some points about guru-seva, as a loving warning to his followers. The following is a transcription of that short section, spoken sometimes in English and sometimes in Hindi. He called on Shripad Damodara Maharaj to translate the Hindi-parts:] Shrimati Radharani is prema-samput, the treasure-chest of love, and She is revealing Her heart to us by describing what is prema. Our guru-parampara has very mercifully collected all this, and they have opened their realizations to us. If any of us can get one drop of this mood, our lives will be successful. So-called learned persons and scholars have doubt in Guru. Even if Guru is real – even if he is sad-guru (self-realized) – still they are disobeying him. They have some doubt in him and they can even give up their renounced order of sannyasa. Still I speak harikatha, so that it may be understood by the one person, or half a person, who is qualified to hear. I am speaking about the symptoms of the high class of love and affection of Shrimati Radhika. Try to hear and be like that. Today I was editing my Hindi version of Shrila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura’s Madhurya-kadambini, and especially the commentary of Shrila Jiva Gosvami. There I saw Shrila Jiva Gosvami’s discussions on visvrambena guru-seva, service to Guru with intimacy. If one serves his Guru with intimacy and affection, all of one's desires will be completely fulfilled. Even if one has to leave some of the limbs of bhakti, like sravana (hearing) and kirtana (chanting), but still the disciple’s mind remains completely engaged in guru-seva, there will be no loss for him. All of his desires will be completely fulfilled, even if he leaves any of the limbs of bhakti like sravana and kirtana but always remains engaged in guru-seva. This is the commentary of Shrila Jiva Gosvami. I have heard the following history from my Gurudeva, Shrila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaj: When Shri ShankarAcharya was living in Badrika-asrama, he was often surrounded by his many learned disciples, amongst whom five were very prominent. He also had a disciple named Giri. Everybody considered Giri very foolish, for he was not scholarly like them. He only engaged himself in different types of menial guru-seva. One day Shri ShankarAcharya was ready to give hari-katha, and all the learned disciples were there waiting. Again and again they asked, “Gurudeva, you must speak. We are all present here except for that foolish Giri; but he doesn't understand anything anyway.” At that time Giri was across the river, washing the clothing of Shri ShankarAcharya and waiting for them to dry. At that time, the river’s current was so strong that it could sweep away an elephant. Again and again the disciples asked, “Gurudeva, who are you waiting for? Please start.” But ShankarAcharya was silent. Meanwhile Giri had dried and folded the cloth. He ran across the river and arrived before his Gurudeva. During those days Shri ShankarAcharya had been speaking on a very difficult section of Vedanta. Giri sat down and began to recite his own verses glorifying his Gurudeva. His glorification was so high, with such ornamented language, that many of the others could not understand his words. Shri ShankarAcharya then said that this was the result of guru-seva. We are unable to do this, but still we are hearing so many high topics in glorification of Shrimati Radhika. Many learned disciples have come and gone – millions. They saw some fault in their bona-fide, self-realized Guru, thinking, “Gurudeva doesn’t know so much.” Therefore, despite being so-called learned persons, some of them have even given up the sannyasa asrama and the path of pure bhakti. Therefore, visrambhena guru-seva is so important. Those people cannot tell hari-katha. Those disciples who no longer have faith in the words of their Guru are totally unqualified to speak any hari-katha. How can they say anything? They want to speak about the elevated love and affection of Shrimati Radhika, but they have no guru-bhakti. I think it will be better to not hear even a word from them – if you really want bhakti. Don't try to listen to their hari-katha, because they have so many doubts and they no longer follow their Gurudeva. Those persons are not qualified to tell any hari-katha. Translator: Shripad Damodara Maharaj Editor: Syamarani dasi Transcriber: Vasanti dasi Typist: Janaki dasi
  7. Tridandisvami Shri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaj [The lecture below, on the sixth verse of Shri Vilap-kusumanjali, was given in Vrndavana in 1991.] Text Six vairagya-yug-bhakti-rasah prayatnair apayayan mam anabhipsum andham krpa ambudhih yah para-duhkha-duhkhi sanatanah tam prabhum asrayami vairagya—renunciation; yug—enriched with; bhakti—devotion; rasam—nectarean taste; prayatnaih—carefully; apayayan—made drink; mam—me; anabhipsum—unwilling; andham—blind; krpa—of mercy; ambudhih—an ocean; yah—who; para—of others; duhkha—misery; duhkhi—was sorry; sanatanah—Sanatana Gosvami; tam—him; prabhum—lord; asrayami—I take shelter. Translation I take shelter of my lord and master, Shri Sanatana Gosvami, who is an ocean of compassion and who always feels sorry for the suffering of others. Although I was unwilling and blinded by ignorance, he diligently made me drink the nectar of devotion laced with renunciation. Commentary Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami has prayed to his diksa-guru, Yadunandana Acharya, in a general way, and to his raganuga siksa-guru, Shrila Rupa Gosvami, in a more special way. From this we may infer that there are different types of gurus. If one's guru has not given one any instruction in raganuga, one may also have another guru, as did Raghunatha dasa Gosvami. However, if the guru has given both vaidhi and raganuga siksa, there is no question of accepting another guru. As far as I know, Raghunatha dasa Gosvami did not receive any siksa of raganuga from Yadunandana Acharya, because at that time Raghunatha dasa had no idea of raganuga bhajana. He learned from Shrila Haridasa Thakura to chant "Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna," and from his diksa-guru, he understood, "I am Krishna dasa" and "We should chant harinama. We should do bhakti." He had no opportunity to receive greed for raganuga from Yadunandana Acharya. Still, it is a very, very important task to bring someone from the worldly side to Krishna's side. If the guru cannot do that, then the endeavor to approach raganuga, rupanuga, and everything else will be useless. The vaidhi-bhakti guru is certainly guru. Even if someone, without giving mantra or diksa, has endeavored to put us in contact with guru or Krishna, and has given some inspiration to worship Radha and Krishna in vaidhi-bhakti, we should be so grateful to that person. It is for this reason that Raghunatha dasa Gosvami has prayed to Shri Yadunandana Acharya. In raganuga bhajana, Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami is especially indebted to Shrila Rupa Gosvami, and also to Shrila Sanatana Gosvami. He was primarily associating with Rupa Gosvami, however, and he has taken all his ideas and ideals for raganuga bhajana from him. He prayed only to Rupa Manjari in his siddhi-deha. He has not prayed to him in the same apparently external way that he prayed to Shri Sanatana Gosvami: sanatanas tam prabhum asrayami. Rupa Gosvami gave him all the conceptions needed in raganuga and rupanuga for developing manjari-bhava, and Shri Sanatana Gosvami gave him all necessary instruction in vaidhi-bhakti and sadhana-bhajana aiming for raganuga. When Raghunatha dasa Gosvami had first come from Jagannatha Puri, due to the intense pain of his separation for Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu he was of a mind to give up his life. He wanted to go to Govardhana, climb upon the hill, and, by jumping from there, end his life. If he had simply wanted to commit suicide, Raghunatha dasa Gosvami could have easily done so in Puri. Why did he not do so? While passing through the Jharikhanda forest, full of tigers and other wild beasts, dense forests, and high mountains, he could have easily died without anyone interfering. Why was he intent upon leaving his body at Govardhana? He had some thoughts: "I will have to serve Radha and Krishna, if not in this life, then in another. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has given me the shelter of Govardhana, so I will go to Govardhana, and, if Govardhana allows, I will give up my life there. As Gita has said, 'Whatever a man thinks of at his last moment, he will attain in his next birth.' I will die at Govardhana with this ambition: 'O Giriraja Govardhana, please grant me a birth near you. Have mercy upon me so that I may serve Radha and Krishna, and especially Shrimati Radhika.' In his Manah Siksa, sloka two, Raghunatha dasa Gosvami has written: na dharman nadharmam sruti-gana-niruktam kila kuru vraje radha-Krishna-pracura-paricaryam iha tanuh saci-sunam nandisvara-pati-sutatve guru-varam mukunda-presthatve smara padam ajasram nanu manah ["O my dear mind! Please do not perform either the dharma or adharma mentioned in the srutis or Vedas. Rather, you should render profuse loving service to Shri Shri Radha-Krishna Yugala here in Vraja, for the srutis have ascertained Them to be the highest principle of supreme worship and the Supreme Absolute Truth. Always meditate on Sacinandana, Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who is richly endowed with the complexion and sentiments of Shrimati Radhika, as non-different from Shri Nanda-nandana. And always remember Shri Gurudeva as most dear to Shri Mukunda."] Now he was thinking, "To carry out the order of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is service to Him. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is actually Radha and Krishna. Therefore, if He is telling me to serve Radha and Krishna, that is also service to Him." He was considering that if he would die in this consciousness, he would at least take birth as grass at Govardhana, as Uddhava did. He determined, "Then, at the time of abhisara, when the gopis go to meet with Krishna at night, their pure foot-dust will come upon my head. In this way I will be satisfied." He therefore wanted to die at Govardhana, especially near Radha-kunda and Syama-kunda. As soon as he arrived in Vrindavana, Raghunatha dasa Gosvami went to Shri Rupa Gosvami and Shri Sanatana Gosvami and offered his obeisances. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had previously told him, "Always consider Rupa Gosvami and Sanatana Gosvami as your elder brothers," and therefore he came and offered them his obeisances. Somehow or other Rupa Gosvami and Sanatana Gosvami understood that he had a wish to die at Govardhana. Shri Sanatana Gosvami was very wise in understanding a person's heart. In this respect, he was even wiser than Shri Rupa Gosvami. He was raja-niti-jna, in knowledge of politics, whereas Rupa Gosvami was very simple. Shri Sanatana Gosvami and other Gosvamis used tarka, logic, in their writings. To make common persons understand anything, especially in vaidhi-bhakti and the methods of Krishna-bhajana, some logic is very necessary. Vedanta itself is based on sound logical principles. Rupa Gosvami writes for those eager form raganuga-bhakti, "Don't take shelter of any logic. What I am explaining for entrance into the transcendental pastimes of Krishna does not depend upon logic. Such logic cannot help you in this realm. Only sraddha can give you entrance here." He has not used logic anywhere in his Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, Ujjvala-nilamani, Vidagdha Madhava, or Lalita Madhava. For preaching, of course, it is very essential to have logic, and for management raja-niti is essential. If we examine Rupa Gosvami's books, we will see that he is simply telling lila-katha (topics regarding Krishna's pastimes), without touching upon logic or scriptural arguments at all. From the beginning of Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu and Ujjvala-nilamani, he has cited references from various scriptures regarding lila-katha, rasa (the taste of relationship with Krishna), and vilasa (playful pastimes). These books contrast Jiva Gosvami's Tattva Sandarbha, which has used all logic and sastric evidences to establish his points. Shrila Rupa Gosvami has written all his books, such as Lalita Madhava, Vidagdha Madhava, and Hamsaduta, only on the basis of the pastimes of Krishna. parama-rasa-rahasyannanda-nihsyandi-vrnda vana-vipina-nikunje divya-divyair vilasaih niravadhi rasamanan radhika-Krishnacandrau bhaja sakalam upeksya tavakah sastra-yuktih (Nikunja-rahasya-stava #31) ["Shri Shri Radha-Krishnacandra enjoy limitless, splendid transcendental pastimes in the secluded, blissful groves of Vrndavana forest. O friend, please abandon all contrary scriptural arguments and just worship Them with pure devotion."] In this verse, Shrila Rupa Gosvami recommends that one should do bhajana of Radha and Krishna, always chanting and remembering Their nikunja-lila. He says here, "There is no need to adhere to sastra-yuktih, scriptural logic. Whatever logic has been given in Vedanta or other sastra, leave that aside; don't depend upon that. Logic is required in vaidhi-bhakti, and also for managing and preaching. For entering deeply into bhajana, however, only sraddha is of necessity." This poetry of Rupa Gosvami contains thirty-two slokas of nikunja lila, from Radha-Krishna's lila at the beginning of the night all the way to nisanta lila. "Leaving all logic and scriptural regulations aside, meditate on these confidential pastimes and do bhajana." This is the specialty of Rupa Gosvami's teachings regarding raganuga-bhakti. By the expert employment of sastric and general logic, by politics, and by following carefully the example of our Acharyas and especially Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Shri Sanatana Gosvami convinced Raghunatha dasa Gosvami to not give up his life. He then related his personal experience. He told Raghunatha dasa, "At first, in Jagannatha Puri, I was of the same opinion as you." After traveling through Jharikhanda forest, Sanatana Gosvami had developed itching, oozing sores all over his body. Whenever Chaitanya Mahaprabhu would see him, He would run towards him and embrace him. Sanatana Gosvami considered, "It is offensive on my part that Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, being Krishna Himself, is embracing me to His chest and the moisture from these sores is touching His body. Rather than allow my offense to continue, I have made up my mind to give up my life at the time of the Ratha festival, under the wheels of the chariot." Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu could understand Sanatana Gosvami's heart and said, "O Sanatana, if a person gives something to another person, does he have any right to take that property back?" Chaitanya Mahaprabhu did not order him directly, but cleverly and tactfully He indicated His desire. Then He told him, "The first point is that if you have surrendered your body to Me, you no longer have the right to do what you like with it. Only I have that right. By taking what is rightfully Mine, you are committing an offense to Me. Secondly, if I had thought that by giving up My life I could attain the service of Radha and Krishna, I would give up My body millions of times. By giving up one's life, one cannot attain Radha and Krishna's service. Only by bhakti-yoga can a person have Their service. Try to understand this. Give up your idea of ending your life. Increase your sadhana-bhajana, and you will very soon achieve perfection." Shri Sanatana Gosvami continued, "By hearing the words of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu I understood His desire, and I have thus tried to follow His order and serve Radha and Krishna. You should do the same. You have no right to give up your life, because you have already surrendered your soul to Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Svarupa Damodara, Raya Ramananda, and also to us brothers. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu told you to come to Vrndavana and stay in our company, and therefore we will try to protect, support, and nourish you. Don't worry. Just stay at Radha Kunda, at Govardhana, and always chant harinama and perform bhajana." In this verse of Vilapa-kusumanjali, Raghunatha dasa Gosvami is now remembering, "If I had left my body at that time, I would have never received instruction in raganuga and manjari-bhava. I would have never read Vidagdha Madhava, Lalita Madhava, or Dana Keli Kumudi, nor would I have written any books. I am therefore so much indebted to Shri Sanatana Gosvami." Anabhipsum andham. "I was unaware of raganuga-bhakti." Raghunatha dasa Gosvami is speaking in a mood of humility. Actually, he had received instructions in raganuga-bhajana from Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Svarupa Damodara, and he had learned so much more from Rupa Gosvami. Still, he is saying, "I was andha, blind. I did not know anything about rasamayi-bhakti, Krishna, Radha, the gopis, or Vraja-bhava. I did not even have the desire for these things." We also would be quite blind in these matters if we had not come to our Gurudeva. At first we had nothing, and now we reflect on how obliged and indebted we are to him. Should we advance further, we will feel even more indebted. Anabhipsum. "I did not want that bhakti, but Sanatana Gosvami gave it by force." If a boy requires medicine and is not willing to take it, his mother will give it to him by force. She will forcibly open his mouth. Similarly, Raghunatha dasa Gosvami says, "I was not in the mood to take up this raganuga-bhakti, so he forced me." Prayatnair means 'carefully.' When Raghunatha dasa Gosvami lived at Radha Kunda, Sanatana Gosvami used to go there from Vrndavana to do Govardhana parikrama. Shri Sanatana Gosvami is Lavanga Manjari. Why did he do parikrama? Did he have anything to gain for himself? Yad yad acarati sresthas tat tad evetaro janah (Bhagavad-gita 3.21). People in general benefited by his example, but that was also not his real motive. Raghunatha dasa Gosvami is saying, "He used to go only for me." This is the meaning of the word prayatnair. He did it to give his association to Raghunatha dasa Gosvami. Raghunatha dasa continues, "You come here now and then, only to see how this orphan boy is doing. You come to tell me the pastimes of Krishna and to teach me how to serve Him." I personally prefer to live in Vrndavana. Why, then, do I stay in Mathura? Is there some specific benefit for me to remain in Mathura? Is it for rupees, delicious food, or the affection of the residents of Mathura? Could it be that I will advance more in raganuga-bhakti and achieve the mercy of Shrimati Radhika and the manjaris by being here? No, there is another reason. In Shrimad-Bhagavatam, there is a sloka: bhavad-vidha bhagavatas tirtha-bhutah svayam vibho tirthi-kurvanti tirthani svantah-sthena gadabhrta (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 1.13.10) ["My Lord, devotees like your good self are verily holy places personified. Because you carry the Personality of Godhead within your heart, you turn all places into places of pilgrimage."] This is a very important verse, told by Yudhisthira Maharaj to Vidura. Yudhisthira Maharaj was so glad to see Vidura, who had just returned to his palace after the great Battle of Kuruksetra. Another sloka is also related to this point: mahad-vicalanam nrinam grihinam dina-cetasam nihsreyasaya bhagavan kalpate nanyatha kvacit (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 10.8.4) ["O my lord, O great devotee, persons like you move from one place to another, not for their own interests, but for the sake of poor-hearted grhastas. Otherwise, they have no interest in going from one place to another."] This sloka was spoken by Nanda Baba to Garga Rsi at Krishna's name-giving ceremony. Nanda Baba said, "I know you have not come here for a donation." Babajis and priests come to their patron only for his donations, and they remain at his home only until the donation is paid. It is certain that as soon as it is paid they return to their own residences. Here Nanda Baba is expressing, "Actually, GargAcharya, you have no personal reason to come here. You have no self-interest. You have come to my house only because I am a very wretched grhastha. You go to the homes of grhasthas only to give them Krishna-bhakti. You are a bhagavata." Who is a bhagavata? One who has bhakti for Svayam Bhagavan Krishna is a bhagavata. The symptom of a bhagavata has been recorded in various slokas. One symptom is that the wealth of the entire universe cannot influence the heart of a bhagavata, or change his ideas, what to speak of some donation. Nanda Baba continued, "You have not come with any self-interest, but only for the benefit of a wretched grhasta such as myself who has fallen into the dry well of householder life. You have come to give mercy." Shri Sanatana Gosvami's concern for Shri Raghunatha dasa Gosvami was displayed in the following pastime: Once, Raghunatha dasa Gosvami was sitting under the open sky and performing bhajana on the banks of Syama Kunda. Two tigers approached the kunda, drank water, and then went away. Sanatana Gosvami was watching this from a distance and became concerned. He approached Raghunatha dasa Gosvami and instructed him, "O Raghunatha, you should not sit here like this. I will build a hut for you. By my special order you will have to live there and perform your bhajana there." Raghunatha dasa Gosvami could not refuse his order. Sanatana Gosvami made a hut, and from that time onward Raghunatha dasa Gosvami lived there, chanted harinama, and performed all other devotional activities. Even though Rupa Gosvami and Sanatana Gosvami – especially Sanatana Gosvami – used to see Raghunatha dasa Gosvami as their younger brother, he always saw them as his gurus. Being the direct disciples of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Sanatana Gosvami, Rupa Gosvami, and Raghunatha dasa Gosvami were all god-brothers Therefore Sanatana Gosvami and Rupa Gosvami saw Raghunatha dasa as their god-brother, never as their disciple. On the other hand, he never saw them as god-brothers. He always saw them as his own gurus. "Gurur kinkara haya manya se amar. The servant of the guru is always respectable for us." (Cc. Mad 10.142) This is a statement by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. When Govinda came and met Mahaprabhu in Puri, he told Him, "Our Gurudeva, Isvara Puripad, has sent me to serve You." Mahaprabhu was thinking, "How can this be? He is my god-brother, and therefore I should respect him. But he wants to serve Me." His guru had ordered that Govinda serve Him, and therefore He accepted his service. The servant of the guru should be deeply respected. Understanding this, Raghunatha dasa Gosvami always saw Sanatana Gosvami and Rupa Gosvami as his gurus. We should also have this behavior amongst ourselves, for that will create love between us. We may think, "I am guru. He knows nothing. He is not as good a servant of our Gurudeva as I am. He doesn't even know any Siddhanta." If we think in this way, there will be quarrels among us, and now this is going on: "I am the only Acharya and no one else is qualified." Where there is hating and similar mentalities, that place is Kali-rajya, the kingdom of Kali. Vairagya-yuga-bhakti. There are two types of bhakti. One is general and the other is bhakti with vairagya. Vairagya has two meanings. Visesa rupena raga. This means 'special raga,' or in other words, anuraga (great absorption and affection for Krishna). The distinguishing feature of vairagya is raga or anuraga. This is a most important point. When anuraga is present, attachment for sense objects cannot remain. This is the definition of vairagya. One truly fixed in vairagya will have attachment only for bhakti and for the service of Radha and Krishna. One who has this special anuraga for Radhika's service will automatically leave all worldly attachments. Those who have not developed real vairagya may leave their worldly attachments, but after some time they will again become immersed in those things. Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami has this special attachment to the service of Radha and Krishna and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and he glorifies Shri Sanatana Gosvami as the one who blessed him with this vairagya-yuga-bhakti, or renunciation enriched with bhakti. In Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's own life we see this vairagya-yuga-bhakti, and when He sees His followers performing bhakti with vairagya He is so pleased. He desires that every one of His devotees should be akincana, niskincana, thinking that their only possession is Krishna. We are not like this, and therefore we have so many problems. If we maintain any attachment for anything other than Krishna – to name and fame, wealth, women, or food – then bhakti will become very remote for us. It will be very, very remote. It is stated in Shri Chaitanya-caritamrita, Antya-lila 6.310: sade sata prahara yaya kirtana-smarane ahara-nidra cari danda seha nahe kona dine sade sata prahara—7.5 praharas (one prahara equals three hours); yaya—is spent; kirtana-smarane—in chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra and remembering the lotus feet of Krishna; ahara-nidra—eating and sleeping; cari danda—four dandas (one danda equals twenty-four minutes); seha—that; nahe—is not; kona dine—some days. ["Raghunatha dasa spent more than twenty-two hours out of every twenty-four chanting the Hare Kåñëa maha-mantra and remembering the lotus feet of the Lord. He ate and slept for less than an hour and a half, and on some days that also was impossible."] A complete day and night is eight prahara, and one prahara, three hours, consists of six or seven danda. Our Gosvamis spent four dandas; that is, about one and a half to two hours, on eating, drinking, and sleeping. They spent the rest of the day and night, over seven and half prahara, doing asta-kaliya-lila smarana. Moreover, there were some days when they neglected to eat or sleep at all. We sleep from eight to nine hours daily. Then, so much time is spent in oil massage, bathing, roaming here and there, general laziness, sitting and sitting, and thinking. The rest of the day passes as we talk about things other than hari-katha. Then, sometimes we feel sick, and at that time doctors must be brought and medicine administered. Our whole time goes in vain. Certainly, this is a situation of great hopelessness! Krpambudhir yah. Sanatana Gosvami is a great ocean of mercy, the highest extent of mercy. He can also give Radha's mercy. He can pray, "O Shrimati Radhika, please give Your mercy to this devotee." Lalita devi can also give this, and we can pray to her: yam kam api vraja-kule vrsabhanu jayah preksya sva-paksa-padavim anurudhyamanam sadyas tad ista-ghatanena krtarthayantim devim gunaih su-lalitam lalitam namami (Shri Lalitastikam verse 6) ["I offer my obeisances to Shrimati Lalita devi, who is the embodiment of all sublime qualities. When she approaches any young maiden upon seeing her in the vicinity of Vrndavana, and finds out after some clever interrogation that she is inclined toward her mistress Radhika, immediately fulfills her desires and satisfies her completely."] If Lalita hears that any teenage gopi in Vraja wants to be a playa-dasi (unpaid maidservant) of Shrimati Radhika, she at once fulfills the desires of that gopi. If anyone, anywhere, has in his form as a sadhaka the desire that, "I only want to be a playa-dasi of Radhika," and if he prays to Lalita-devi, "I want to be a playa-dasi of Radhika; this is so high, but I want it. O Lalita-devi, please be merciful to me so that I may have that service," then Lalita will manage to do this at once. This is the mood of this sloka. Lalita will ask any kisori (teenage gopi) moving within Vraja, "O kisori, where are you going?" The young girl may reply, "I'm going to Varsana (or Javat or Radha Kunda). "Why are you going there, kisori?" "I know it is very difficult to achieve, but I am going there with the hope that Shrimati Radhika may keep me as Her playa-dasi." When Lalita knows this she at once tries to give that bhava. She will order – not pray – to Shrimati Radhika, "Keep this girl as Your palya-dasi. I'm writing her name in the register of Your playa-dasis." Shrimati Radhika cannot disobey. She is bound to obey the order of Lalita. If Lalita sees any sign at all that one wants to become a playa-dasi, she certainly arranges for it. At once she tells Radhika, and Radhika obeys her order. This is the meaning of krpambudhir (an ocean of mercy) in this prayer by Srjila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami to Shrila Sanatana Gosvami, and there is no krpa (mercy) beyond this. Shri Sanatana Gosvami, as Lavanga Manjari, is an ocean of mercy because he can distribute the mercy of Shrimati Radhika. Para duhkha-duhkhi. Sanatana Gosvami is always unhappy to see the unhappiness of any jiva. No jiva is saying to him, "Please have mercy upon me." Rather, he sees that they are pots or vessels for mercy though they don't want it. He will go to a person and request, "Can you give me water to drink?" Why is he asking for water? This is because he wants to give his mercy; he is creating their sukriti. He therefore travels to every village and contacts the sense enjoyers. In the grhasta's home he questions, "I have heard that your daughter is soon to be married." The grhastha may reply, "Her marriage has already been performed." "Oh, how is she?" Although he has no self-interest, Sanatana Gosvami will listen to all the samacara, news, of the villagers. What is the need? He wants to give them bhakti by his association – somehow or other. He will instruct someone, "Your father is very ill. Try to chant 'Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna' and he will improve." In any way he can, Sanatana Gosvami gives his mercy. This is the symptom of para-duhkha-duhkhi. He has nothing to be gained for himself. Rather, he is simply unhappy to see the unhappiness of others. Sanatanas tam prabhum asrayami. Raghunatha dasa Gosvami is addressing Sanatana Gosvami as Prabhu. Who is Prabhu? Mahaprabhu is Mahaprabhu, and Nityananda and Advaita Acharya are both Prabhus. A Prabhu is one who can give anything to any person. He should be master of all things. I may ask you, "I want a son. Please give me a son." Can you fulfill my request? No, you cannot. But if I request you, "Give me five rupees," you can give that. What you have, you can give. You cannot give what you don't have. Because Sanatana Gosvami can give anything we may desire, Raghunatha dasa Gosvami has addressed him as Prabhu: "O Prabhu, you have something in your treasury which you can supply to me. Please give me radha-pada dasya. You are the master of that. Prabhu asrayami. I am taking shelter of your lotus feet." The question is raised: "We hear that Raghunatha dasa Gosvami prays to Shri Rupa Manjari, but does he not pray to Lavanga Manjari in the same way? The answer is that he has not prayed here, but he knows that Sanatana Gosvami is Lavanga Manjari. He can pray, but not everything can be written. In his mind he always prays. He has prayed to all the sakhis, and he has prayed even to Saibya, Padma and Candravali who are Radhika's rivals – and what to speak of Lavanga Manjari. Raghunatha dasa Gosvami has prayed to Sakhi Sthali (the abode of Candravali, Radhika's chief rival), though in one way he should not do so. A man once brought buttermilk from there, and he became very furious; yet he prayed to Sakhi Sthali. He has also offered pranama to Jatila and Kotila (the mother-in-law and sister-in-law of Radhika, who ae always trying to prevent Radhika from meeting with Krishna). If Jatila and Kotila were not there, there would be no rasa. So it must be that he also prays to Lavanga Manjari, Sanatana Gosvami in his form as a manjari, but not everything can be given in writing. In Çrimad-Bhagavatam we see the same thing. Only one day's rasa has been described, and only eight days' association of Uddhava has been given. It is stated that Uddhava stayed in Vrndavana for six or ten months, but what took place and what conversations transpired have not been written. We should always remember all these topics, as well as the pastimes of Krishna – not only for others, but with a wish to have a relationship with Him.
  8. Tridandisvami Shri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaj October 3, 2006 Mathura, India Very sad news came today, that one of the prominent disciples of Shrila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj, Shripad Bhakti Svarupa Damodara Maharaj, has left his body. He was injured by a bomb attack in Manipura, and yesterday he left his body. Tomorrow they will bring his body to Radha-kunda and they will give samadhi. He was really a Vaisnava, even from his home-life. I have seen this in Shripad Gour Govinda Maharaj, and he was like this also. They are real Vaisnavas. They followed the principles of their Guru in the real sense. They never accepted what ISKCON is now propagating. Shripad Svarupa Damodara Maharaj was my bosom friend. He was very humble, very humble and he has told his disciples, "You can associate with Narayana Maharaj. He is pure Vaisnava." He met me in Govardhana last year; and in Navadvipa also. Whenever I was in Navadvipa he used to meet me. He helped me, and I also used to help him. So we have lost one very good devotee. I pray to Shri Krsna and Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu that they will bless him that pure bhakti will come in his heart. He has not died. The soul will never die. May Krsna be merciful, and sprinkle His mercy upon him. Gaura Premanande! Editor: Shyamarani dasi Transcriber and typist: Janaki dasi
  9. (The second class in a lecture-course on "Prema-samput, The Treasure Chest of Love") October 12, 2005: Mathura, India Shri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaj [A Note to the Readers In the conversation between Shri Krishna and Shrimati Radhika as discussed in the following lecture transcription, Radhika is not aware that She is speaking with Krishna, because He is in disguise.] We have been speaking about Shrila Visvanatha Chakravarti Thakura’s book, Prema-samput, since the day before yesterday. Shrimati Radhika had sent Vishakha-devi to get some medicinal oil, so that she Herself could rub it on the head of Shri Krishna who had disguised Himself as Shyama-sakhi. [*See part one of this lecture] Shrimati Radhika said, "Alas, this sakhi is quite a cheater. We are trying our best to find out the cause of her sadness and disease, but she is not speaking at all." She ordered Her sakhis to take some warm water to bathe Syama-sakhi and then give her a massage. In this way her disease would be removed and she would be able to speak. She would smile and become happy. Shrimati Radhika continued, "If that doesn't work, I have another medicine. By placing this medicine on her body, all diseases of her body, mind and senses will disappear and her body will be nourished. This medicine was given to Me by Dhanvantari. “Actually, I think that if Rasika-sekhara Krishna, the topmost connoisseur of conjugal love, will come and touch this young girl's body, she will definitely be okay and her happiness will return. Krishna's touch is completely indescribable. Ashta-sattvika bhavas will appear on her body without a doubt, and she will smile." Hearing the words of Shrimati Radhika, Shri Krishna began to smile a bit. To disguise His smile He hung His head, and with His very beautiful, delicate fingers He brushed away the curls that had fallen on His forehead. With a very lovely lady-like voice, He then began to speak with Shrimati Radhika and the sakhis. His speech was just like that of a cakori bird and, hearing His beautiful voice, Radhika and the sakhis became astonished. Krishna as the heavenly damsel said, "Oh supremely beautiful Radha, I am actually from Svarga (the heavenly planets). I came here because I have a doubt about a certain subject, and apart from You, nobody in the entire world can completely fulfill My desire to have this doubt dispelled. That is why I have come down to this Earth planet." Shrimati Radhika replied, "What You have said is completely true. You must be a goddess from a heavenly planet, and that is why You are so astonishingly beautiful. You are equal in beauty only to Yourself. There is no one to compare to You. You are so attractive, like a lotus from the heavenly planets. Actually O beautiful one, whatever we said before regarding Your unhappiness, such as your husband leaving you, you leaving your husband or your husband not giving you so much affection, was only a joke. Please do not take any offense. Because You are so dear to us and we have so much affection for you, we feel we have the right to joke with You." Shri Krishna replied, "Oh Radha, You are indeed very dear to Me. You have all good qualities. I am completely indebted to You. You have so much prema, which is astonishing and unlimited. You also have unlimited glorious qualities. Just to attain one drop of your prema I have come here to become your maidservant." From this point Prema-samput actually begins. Krishna as the demigoddess continued, "Oh Radha, listen carefully. I left Svarga to come to this planet. I was very unhappy there because a doubt had arisen in My heart, and only You can dispel it. Thus far, although I am hearing Your nectar-like words, My doubt and the unhappiness in My heart have not been dispelled. The sound of Krishna's flute reaches even the heavenly planets. Despite sitting on the laps of their husbands, the ladies of the heavenly planets become mad upon hearing the sound of His flute and desire to run to Him. They become mad not only by hearing His flute, but by experiencing anything related to Him – such as His form, His speech, or His touch (His touching His dear devotees in Vraja). Anything related to Krishna is so attractive that it easily breaks one’s attachment towards material objects. One of Shrimati Radhika’s sakhis said, “This is very strange, because it seems that nectar is actually mixed with a great poison. There is a poison called halahala, which was produced by the churning of the Milk Ocean. How can a bitter poison be nectar? Hearing the sound of Krishna's flute is like nectar, but the suffering we receive upon not meeting Him is like bitter poison. All the nectar in the world combined together cannot compare to one drop of the sweetness of Krishna's flute. And all the poison and suffering in the world combined together cannot compare to one drop of the suffering we feel in separation from Him. Shri Krishna continued, “That sound enters the ears like Cupid Himself, and the ladies in the heavenly planets become unconscious. They feel a burning sensation in their bodies, and their husbands cannot understand where this disease has come from. So much burning sensation is in their wives' bodies, that they keep those ladies separate so they themselves will not become burned. "Oh Radha, another name for Svarga or heaven is Tri-dashalaya, which means there are only three stages of life there: childhood, adolescence and youth. There is no old age there. By the heavenly girls' hearing the sound of Krishna's flute, the name Tri-dashaloya became false, because everyone entered the same situation. There are not three situations anymore – but only one. Everyone enters the same mood, thinking, 'Let's go to Krishna.' The mood of being chaste and loyal to one's husband becomes crushed and defeated, and all become bewildered by the sound of Krishna's flute." Krishna as the demigoddess continued, "I began to think deeply about where this flute-sound came from and to whom it belonged. Thinking in this way I followed the sound from the heavenly planets to this Earth planet. When I arrived here I stayed for some days at Vamsi-vata, where Krishna was performing His Rasa-lila. There, from a distance, I saw you all dancing with Him; and this is how I have come to know all of you – who is Vishakha, who is Lalita, who is Champakalata and so on." Shrimati Radhika laughed and said, "Oh, You are most fortunate, and therefore You are very dear to us. With the sword of your desire to meet Shri Krishna, You have separated yourself from all other desires. You are the most fortunate damsel in the heavenly planets. To attain Krishna, ardent desire is necessary. Once this desire enters the heart, one cannot be pacified by anything else. When one feels constant pain by this desire to meet Krishna, it is called sumana, auspicious mind-set, but when we fall unconscious that quality of sumana is lost. When we fall unconscious we cannot go to meet Krishna, but You are the most fortunate girl because You have crossed all this and have met Him." Hearing Shrimati Radhika's joking words, Krishna began to smile and said, "Oh Radha, other ladies are not equal to You. I am also not equal to You, because I am not very attracted to Krishna at all. Besides, I have seen Him but He has not seen Me; I am only watching from a distance." Shrimati Radharani said, "Only You saw Krishna, so this is proof that You are attracted to Him. He is not a paramour lover for You; rather He is Your own beloved. You have seen Him and realized His pastimes, and You are therefore most fortunate. For this reason we cannot be joking with You. I cannot say anything false to You. Lakshmi, who was produced from churning of the Milk Ocean, and Parvati, the wife of Siva, are not equal to You in any way. Therefore we cannot lie to You. You are really attracted to Krishna." Shrimati Radhika continued, "Oh Sakhi, You have seen the beauty of Krishna; so what is the necessity of any husband or any other man besides Him? Please tell me, what is Your question? For what reason have You come here? I joked with You for a moment only. Please present Your doubt to Me. What do You wish to ask? Krishna replied, "Oh Radha, who can defeat You in joking and who can stop You from joking?" When Shrimati Radhika defeats Krishna in joking, all the sakhis clap their hands and chant, "Jaya Shri Radhe." Krishna continued, "Despite your being human, all the girls in the heavenly planets bow their heads and offer obeisances to You." Shrimati Radhika is not human. She is Lord Shri Krishna's own hladini-shakti, who manifests a human-like form in order to serve Krishna's human-like pastimes. Shri Krishna continued, "Oh Radha, don't be shy. Even Lakshmi, Parvati, and the crest-jewel of chaste women like Arundhati have been defeated by Your ocean-like qualities of chastity and playful activities. They hope to achieve a drop of Your qualities. If it is not even possible for the girls in the heavenly planets to achieve equality with You, then what to speak of the girls of this world!" Translator: Shripad Damodara Maharaj Editor: Shyamarani dasi Transcriber: Vasanti dasi Proofreader: Krishna Kamini dasi.


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