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  1. A lecture given in France: July, 1999 What are you doing? Stop making garlands. Try to make this garland in your heart. Your attention is not here. I have only come for four or five days, and this is perhaps the third or fourth day. You are losing your time. You can make garlands at night, after my class. Don't even chant. You can chant when ordinary devotees like yourselves are giving class. At that time you can chant and remember. But don't neglect any senior Vaisnava who is on the level of a Guru. Don't chant or do anything. Your eyelids should not go down. Continually drink his words with both your eyes and ears, and also with your mouth. At that time Sri Sukadeva Gosvami may come to you. [In his previous manifestation as a parrot, Sukadeva Gosvami entered the mouth of Vyasadeva's wife while she was hearing Srimad-Bhagavatam from him. [Through her mouth he entered her womb, and remained there for sixteen years. After that, he took birth from her womb as a teenage youth.] Sukadeva Gosvami is transcendental knowledge, and he is the embodiment of bhakti. This is the way and the process. Those who are senior did not seriously follow the process during Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja's manifested presence, and now you are not following. That is why you do not have any taste for chanting and hearing. Try to follow. Try to hear this very carefully. If you want to do bhajana, you will have to remember this sloka of the Srimad-Bhagavatam – not the sloka, but its meaning and mood. Without such remembrance you will always be angry, with so many problems, and you will always be upset. You will not be able to do bhajana. That sloka is: tat te 'nukampam su-samiksamano bhunjana evatma-krtam vipakam hrd-vag-vapurbhir vidadhan namas te jiveta yo bhakti-pade sa daya-bhak ["One who seeks Your compassion and thus tolerates all kinds of adverse conditions due to the karma of his own past deeds, who engages always in Your devotional service with his mind, words and body, and who always offers obeisances unto You, is certainly a bona fide candidate for becoming Your unalloyed devotee."] What is the meaning of su-samiksamano? It is the careful consideration or judgment of what is good and what is bad. 'Su' means that we should consider and wait. We should consider that everything in this world, both good and bad, is coming by the mercy of Krishna. We should think, "Krishna is arranging everything, good and bad, for my benefit, for my auspiciousness." When the Muslims were beating Srila Haridasa Thakura in the market place, how was he thinking? Su-samiksamano. He considered, "This is the mercy of Krishna. He wants to show the entire world that we should be tolerant, and He wants to use me as an example of that. He wants to glorify me throughout the world. Krishna has mercifully done this; Mahaprabhu has done it." We should see something good in whatever happens to us. We should see how Krishna has arranged all circumstances for our benefit. How should we think when a problem comes? "There is certainly something good here for me. Krishna has sent this." Su-samiksamano. We will have to reconcile everything in this way. Why has Krishna sent this? Su-samiksamano bhunjana evatma-krtam vipakam. What is the meaning? Why are all the troubles, miseries, sorrows, suffering, and problems coming? Krishna is not the cause. These conditions are the results of our past activities, and they are coming to purify us. It is the arrangement of Krishna that reactions must come as a result of whatever actions we perform, and we will have to be ready to taste these results. No one is guilty, and Krishna is also not responsible for all these things. Who is responsible? I am. I am responsible for whatever activities I have performed. By thinking like this, we will always be happy — even if we have millions of problems. Thinking in this way, a devotee offers pranama, obeisance, and considers, su-samiksamano bhunjana evatma-krtam vipakam hrd-vag-vapurbhir vidadhan namas te. "O Krishna, You have sent this to purify me from all the results of my past activities." High-class devotees will think, "O Krishna, you are very tricky. By this You want to glorify me by using me to set an example. How merciful You are." Vidadhan namas te. The devotee always offers pranama to Krishna. If problems and sufferings are coming, then vidadhan namas te; he offers pranama by folding his hands. Hrd means 'by the core of the heart,' and vag means 'by speech': "O Prabhu, I am so guilty, I am worthless, I am stupid, and I am more of a nonsense than Jagai and Madhai. I am more nonsense than the worms in stool. You are merciful, so merciful, that You have invested Your whole power in Your name — and I can chant that name. I will very quickly be free of these impurities, and I will be able to have Your service. By having done this, You are creating the process by which I can very soon reach You and serve You." By rolling down upon the earth in appreciation of Krishna's mercy, a devotee can become the heir to His service. He can have prema. What type of prema? Vraja-prema. Krishna will automatically give this. Even if a father has not written anything in his will, when he dies, everything automatically goes to his son. You may know about Sri Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya. At first he was a nirvesesavadi, impersonalist, but by the causeless mercy of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu he was turned into a very high class of devotee. In his former life he only used to chant and remember, "Nirvisesa-brahma, nirvisesa-brahma," referring to qualitiless, nameless, attributeless spirit. Now he was changed, however. He so much hated mukti, impersonal liberation, that he would never even utter the word. He considered impersonal mukti to be a very bad thing. Although the word 'mukti-pade' is written in this Srimad-Bhagavatam verse itself, still he changed it to 'bhakti-pade sa daya-bhak.' Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was very happy to hear this, but still He corrected the Bhattacarya by saying, "You should not change the words of the Bhagavatam. Everything there is good." Here, mukti-pade sa daya-bhak means bhakti-pade sa daya-bhak. Mukti-pade means that mukti (liberation from all material connection) is always serving the lotus feet of that person who is mukti-pade. In other words, mukti always serves the lotus feet of bhakti. Thus, the devotee will automatically inherit prema-bhakti for Krishna. Now I will give an example. Try to hear it patiently, and try to understand. If one is always in sadhu-sanga, he will inherit prema-bhakti; otherwise not. Giving up sadhu-sanga one may say, "I am proud that I have distributed so many books. I was number one on the list for this. I have done everything." Due to this false ego, such a person can easily give up this high class of association. If you want to inherit bhakti, then always try to be in good association. If it is not available, you can read Sri Chaitanya-caritamrta and associate with Srila Rupa Gosvami, Srila Sanatana Gosvami, and all others like them. You can associate with Sri Sukadeva Gosvami by reading the Srimad-Bhagavatam. The following is an example to illustrate how this is possible. By the time the Kuruksetra Battle was finished, millions upon millions of soldiers had been killed on both sides. Even Abhimanyu and the sons of the Pandavas were killed. On the other side, Duryodhana and all of his party were killed. When the war was over, the crown automatically came upon the head of Maharaja Yudhisthira. Yudhisthira Maharaja was very upset, however, because he did not want to be king. He wept to his brothers, "For this crown, millions of soldiers have been killed. All the ladies are now widows, and these ladies are always crying. By this, I have ruined sanatana-dharma, eternal religion." He continuously wept, and therefore Krishna began to think, "This is a very great problem. How can I pacify him?" At that time Bhisma Pitamaha, who was a very good devotee and among the twelve Vaisnava mahajanas, was lying down on a bed of arrows at Kuruksetra. Previously, when he had requested water, Duryodhana had come forward and said, "I will bring water, because he is my grandfather." He brought some very beautiful, sweet, fragrant water in a golden pot, but Bhisma Pitamaha told him, "I cannot accept this. Where is Arjuna? He should be called." Arjuna was called and Bhismadeva said, "Can you give me some water to drink?" Arjuna said, "Oh, of course I will give it." He took his bow and arrow, shot it in the ground, and at once very sweet water came forth from the earth. It shot up in such a way that it then poured down directly into the mouth of Bhisma Pitamaha. Bhisma Pitamaha became very happy and asked, "Can you give me a pillow?" Duryodhana ran and brought a very soft cotton pillow, and he wanted to give it to his grandfather. Bhisma Pitamaha said, "You see that I am lying down on the bed of arrows, and still you are bringing this. It is not appropriate. You are not qualified. Arjuna should be called." Arjuna was called, and Bhismadeva requested him, "Can you give me a pillow?" Arjuna said, "Why not prabhu?" He took his bow and arrow, shot it in the ground, and several arrows manifested from it. Those arrows then crisscrossed in such a way that they created a 'pillow' (looking similar to the small Indian-carved, wooden, folding bookstands). Although Bhisma was fighting against the Pandavas, he was a pure jnani-bhakta. Krishna now told the Pandavas, "Come with Me. We are going to see Bhisma Pitamaha. He is about to pass away; so we must go." He took all the Pandava brothers and Draupadi, and came to the spot where Bhisma was lying down. When they arrived, all the Pandavas sat by his feet so that they could see his face. Sitting at the front, Krishna touched Bhismadeva, and all his pain at once disappeared. Bhisma then offered Krishna pranama by his eyes. When all were seated there, Krishna told Bhisma Pitamaha, "Your knowledge is very transcendental, and therefore I want you to pacify all of the Pandavas. They are always weeping, blaming themselves for the death of all the soldiers. They think that they are the reason the fighting began, and they are the reason that all were killed. I want you to pacify them with your transcendental knowledge." Bhisma Pitamaha began to laugh. He told Krishna, "You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead. You are the one who gave the knowledge of Gita for the benefit of the entire world, and now You are telling me to pacify them." Krishna said, "You are superior to Me in this respect. I know you can pacify them. I cannot. My devotees can give more knowledge and more love and affection than I can. I cannot give love and affection like that of the gopis, for example, but superior devotees can give this transcendental knowledge." Bhismadeva thus began to speak, and in the midst of his explanation, in a very chaste way, Draupadi began to smile. This is the ornament of chaste Indian ladies. They don't laugh aloud in public. Nowadays, even when there are many persons passing them, men and women will kiss each other — not only one time, but hundreds of times — like he-goats and she-goats. They have no shame at all. I request you not to do these things. Seeing Draupadi shyly smiling, Bhismadeva asked her, "My dear daughter, why are you smiling? There must be some reason. I know that you are a chaste lady, and therefore without a good reason you would not do so. Draupadi replied, "O Bhisma Pitamaha, you are now going to speak about transcendental knowledge to pacify us, and Krishna also desires that we hear from you. But where was this transcendental knowledge when an attempt was made to make me naked in the council of demons like Duryodhana and Dhusasana? I wept as they were snatching my cloth. Dhrtarastra was there, and my five husbands were there. But at that time they could not speak. Where was your knowledge at that time? Why could you not give this knowledge to Duryodhana, Dhusasana, Karna, Sakuni, and all the other demons? Why?" Bhisma Pitamaha replied, "At that time I was taking my meals and water from those demons. I was dependent upon them. I was taking their food, their meals, their drinks, their juices, and everything else from them. My intelligence was affected by this, and I became like them. I became like a demon. This transcendental knowledge was not in my heart at that time. I had forgotten it. Now, however, due to the sharp arrows of Arjuna, all the blood that was collected by that bad association has drained out." Visayira anna khaile malina haya mana. What is the meaning? "If I accept the foodstuffs offered by materialists, my mind will become contaminated. If my mind becomes contaminated, I will not be able to remember the name, fame, qualities and pastimes of Krishna." If the Ford company gives us great amounts of money, and we try to enjoy that money by purchasing and eating fruits and delicious foods, what will become of our hearts' devotion? It will quickly disappear. If one takes foodstuffs offered by a prostitute, his mind will become lusty like that of the prostitute. If one takes anything from a visayi, a sense enjoyer, his mind also becomes contaminated with the desire to enjoy matter. The word visayi also applies to a person who is chanting, remembering, worshiping, and reading the Bhagavatam. Although he is worshiping, chanting, wearing tilaka and kanti mala, and performing all other devotional activities, he is thinking, "Krishna will be merciful to me. He will be pleased, and He will give me so much money and wealth." The father and uncle of Raghunatha dasa Gosvami were like this. You should try to consider all these things. A person may try to collect money from a visayi, in the name of Guru and Krishna. He will tell that visayi, "I want to collect something from you. Please give me something so I can serve my Gurudeva. We will serve Radha and Krishna Conjugal. We will make many arrangements for preaching, so please give something." If you take even one farthing, one pence, one fraction for yourself, not using everything properly in the service of Krishna or Guru, you will have to suffer so much. In that case you are also a visayi. Bhisma Pitamaha thus replied to Draupadi, "At that time I used to take their meals, water, juice, and everything else. I was dependant on them, and therefore I did everything to please them. My intelligence at that time was covered." You should also consider that if you are taking meals and all other things from visayis and not purifying those gifts of donations by giving them to Guru and pure devotees, you will fall down. Pure devotees like Prahlada Maharaja, Haridasa Thakura, and all other exalted Gurus, like Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja, were so powerful that they could take poison and purify it. Bhisma Pitamaha continued, "At that time my intelligence was somewhat bewildered. Now, in this fifth month, my blood has gone, and after the sixth month I will give up this body. During uttarayana, when the sun's course runs into the northern hemisphere, I will leave. I am waiting for that. Because my blood has now drained out, I am purified. My intelligence has returned and now I want to give you something. "You should not think, 'I have killed. It was only for us that all have been killed.' Here is a story to illustrate this teaching: "Once there was a very poor brahmani widow. She had only one son, of eight or nine years, and he was very beautiful and charming. She lived in a hut, and she used to maintain herself and her son by begging. She had been initiated by a high class of Vaisnava and she daily worshiped Thakurji. She was happy in her life of worshiping, chanting, and remembering. One day, very early in the morning, she was engaged in some duty and she requested her son, 'Bring some flowers. There are flowers in the bushes. Bring them, and I will worship Thakurji'. "The boy became very happy and left to follow her orders. He went to some nearby bushes, where there were beli, cameli, and other flowers, and he began to pick them. In the meantime, a very poisonous black snake came and at once bit the boy. Without delay, in a moment, the whole body of the boy became black, and he fell flat on the ground and died. At that moment a hunter was walking in the forest, carrying a clay pot. Seeing this accident, he became very compassionate. He knew a vasibhut, controlling mantra, to catch a snake very easily. Hearing the hunter's mantra, the serpent became peaceful, and the hunter was thus able to put that serpent in his clay pot. The hunter then covered the mouth of the pot, took the boy in his arms as well as the pot, and he approached the boy's mother. "When the old widow saw her son, she cried out, 'What happened?' She began to bitterly weep, 'Haya! Haya! Alas! Alas!' After some time she was somewhat pacified, at which time the hunter told her, 'Mother, I was there when he was picking flowers. He was innocent. He never attacked that snake, and he did not disturb it at all. Still, that snake came from within the bushes and bit him. I know a mantra, and by that mantra I have caught this poisonous snake and kept it in this pot. Please order me to cut the snake into pieces. I will burn it, and there will be no sign of its existence. Please order me. Please order me.' "Although the hunter appealed to her again and again, the old widow told him, 'O hunter, by killing and burning this poisonous serpent, will my son return?' He replied, 'Never.' She said, 'Then why should you kill it? I don't want to kill it.' The hunter said, 'He is very wicked. He may bite another person. You must order me.' Again and again he insisted, but that kind widow brahmani was a realized soul and a devotee of Krishna. She said, 'Don't kill it. If my son will not return by your doing this, why should you kill it?' He told her, 'He will again attack a passerby without any reason.' "At that time the serpent interrupted, 'Why should I do that? For years and years I was there, but I never bit anyone. Today I bit this boy, and it was only because death came and told me, "You should bite him." I'm innocent. Don't kill me.' "In the meantime, death personified as Yamaraja Maharaja, the controller of our deaths, came and said, 'You say this is due to me? You say that I ordered you to bite him? I never did so. Why are you accusing me? I am not responsible for this. The boy is responsible for his own actions. In the boy's previous life that serpent was in a human body, and the boy was also a human. They were fighting each other, and the boy killed that other person. That murdered person is now a snake and he has taken his revenge. The boy's actions themselves are like a poisonous snake, and he was bitten by that snake. I am not responsible. Neither this serpent nor myself, Yamaraja, are responsible.'" If any problem comes in your life, it means that you have done something wrong in the past, and now the result is coming. Why are you now afraid to taste the result? You must taste it. If you are fearing, if you don't want the result, still it will take place. You will have to taste all of your bad actions, and this is similarly true regarding your good actions. Don't fear. Krishna has arranged this situation. If you abuse anyone, Krishna will abuse you. You cannot clap with one hand. In other words you have done things in the past, and that is why this reaction is coming. If the widow had asked the hunter to cut and burn the snake, in her next life she would have had to take birth, and again the serpent would come as a human and take revenge. Therefore, if someone is abusing you, don't abuse him in return. If anyone is making problems and giving poison to you, be very careful. Be like Prahlada Maharaja and Haridasa Thakura. Although Haridasa Thakura was beaten in so many market places, he was praying, "O Krishna, be merciful and try to excuse them. These beatings are the result of all my bad activities. Your mercy is coming in this way." Be calm and quiet, and chant, "Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare." You should think, "I am worthless. I have offended many Vaisnavas, and the reaction is that I am so stupid and nonsense. Although I am chanting the holy name, tears are not coming and my heart is not melting. O Krishna! What should I do?" You can also remember Chaitanya Mahaprabhu: "O Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, You are causelessly merciful. Please bestow Your mercy upon me. In this kali-yuga life is very, very short, there are many problems, and the mind is always upset. What should I do? I am always covered with so many obstacles in my attempt to execute bhakti. I have no association, I am very weak, and I have not obtained the mercy of Krishna. What should I do? O Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, I know only You. You are causelessly merciful. Please sprinkle Your mercy upon me. You have sprinkled your mercy even to Jagai and Madhai. Why not to me? I think I am more wretched than them, and therefore I am qualified to receive Your mercy." If you weep in this way, then Krishna will give His mercy. By chanting, your heart will be melted and tears will come. If tears do not come you should think, "I have committed so many offenses. That is why tears are not coming." Always repent like this, and chant, "Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare."
  2. Tridandisvami Shri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja December 16, 2007 - Bangalore [Respected Harikatha Readers, Please accept our humble obeisances. All glories to Shri Guru and Gauranga. In December of 2007, we sent you a photo-tour report of Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja's visits to Delhi and Bangalore. In that report you received a few words from Shrila Maharaja's Bangalore lecture regarding the ritvik philosophy. Below is a complete transcription of what he said on this subject at that time. Shrila Maharaja spoke in Hindi, and Acyutananda dasa brahmacari kindly sent us the following translation:] I want to say something regarding a certain matter. Nowadays, some people have begun to follow the ritvik doctrine.* Having left the actual guru-parampara, they have accepted the ritvik parampara. But the ritvik doctrine has no relationship with spirituality (paramartha). Ritviks simply perform fire sacrifices (yajnas), take some payment (daksina), and then depart. The guru-parampara descends from Shri Krsna to Brahma, Brahma to Narada, Narada to Vyasa, Vyasa to Madhvacarya, Madhvacarya to Laksmipati, Laksmipati to Madhavendra Puri, to Isvara Puri, to Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, to Svarupa Damodara Gosvami, to the Six Gosvamis, and ... to Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, and it is descending down to the present day. If a person does not take diksa in the line of the parampara, pure bhakti can never come to him. The four paramparas and their acaryas are: Shri (Laksmi devi) sampradaya - Shri Ramanujacarya Rudra sampradaya - Shri Visnusvami Kumara sampradaya - Shri Nimbaditya Brahma sampradaya - Shri Madhvacarya It is from these four paramparas that we receive tattva-jnana, knowledge of the essential philosophical truths. From diksa one receives divya-jnana, realization of the soul's particular relationship with Krsna, and this is given by the bona fide self-realized guru. Guru Disciple The ritviks have no relationship with this. If the ritvik doctrine does not accept the guru-parampara, it is against bhakti. Having said this, I am ending my discussion (vaktavya, literally meaning ‘that which should be said'). [*Endnote - Excerpts from Shrila Narayana Gosvami's "True Conception of Guru-tattva" The necessity of approaching a sad-guru for eternal and transcendental benefit And further Shri Krsna says: tad viddhi pranipatena pariprasnena sevaya upadeksyanti te jnanam jnaninas tattva-darsinah [Gita, 4.34] "Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized souls can impart knowledge unto you because they have seen the truth." For understanding the Supreme Absolute Reality, which is the topmost benefit of the jiva, one must approach a guru who has realized the truth. By offering him obeisances, inquiring submissively from him, and rendering service to him, you should please him. Thus pleased, he will bestow upon you knowledge of jiva-tattva (the pure constitutional nature of the self), para-tattva (the nature of Supreme Absolute Reality), and bhakti-tattva (the nature of devotion to Shri Krsna). After knowing all these truths, your human life will be successful. It is clear that the tattva-darsi (self-realized) guru imparts knowledge of only bhagavata-tattva, bhakti-tattva, and atma-tattva. He has nothing to do with the fulfillment of one's temporary mundane desires. It is said in the Upanisads: tad-vijnanartham sa gurum evabhigacchet samit-panih srotriyam brahma-nistham [Mundaka Upanisad, 1.2.12] "To learn the transcendental subject matter, one must approach a spiritual master. In doing so, he should carry fuel to burn in sacrifice. The symptom of such a spiritual master is that he is expert in understanding the Vedic conclusions, and therefore he constantly engages in the service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead." For attaining vijnana (knowledge with prema-bhakti) of the supreme Absolute Entity, carrying samidha (wood for the sacrifice), which is considered to be representative of sublime faith, one must approach with complete surrender of body, mind, and words, a guru who knows the tattva of Krsna and the essence of the Vedas. Furthermore it is said in Svetasvatara Upanisad (6.23): yasya deve para bhaktir yatha deve tatha gurau tasyaite kathita hy arthah prakasante mahatmanah "Only in the hearts of great saints, those who have transcendental devotion (para-bhakti) unto the Supreme Lord and also toward their Gurudeva, is the essence of all the Vedas revealed." A similar statement is found in Shrimad-Bhagavatam: tasmad gurum prapadyeta jijnasuh sreya uttamam sabde pare ca nisnatam brahmany upasamasrayam [Shrimad-Bhagavatam: 11.3.21] "Any person who seriously desires to achieve real happiness must seek out a bona fide spiritual master and take shelter of him by initiation. The qualification of the spiritual master is that he must have realized the conclusion of the scriptures by deliberation, and must be able to convince others of these conclusions. Such great personalities, who have taken shelter of the Supreme Godhead, leaving aside all material considerations, are to be understood as bona fide spiritual masters." Bhakti, loving service to the lotus feet of Shri Krsna, is the only auspicious path for the jivas. To know this, the inquisitive sadhakas (practitioners) must take shelter of the lotus feet of a sad-guru. Only one who is very expert in the understanding of sabda-brahma (the conclusions of the Vedas), who has realized the Supreme Absolute Truth and who is never over-powered by mundane sense objects or miseries, is a sad-guru. In Shri Caitanya-caritamrta, this conclusion is also established: brahmanda bhramite kona bhagyavan jiva guru-krsna-prasade paya bhakti-lata-bija [Cc Madhya, 19.151] "According to their karma, all living entities are wandering throughout the entire universe. Some of them are being elevated to the upper planetary systems, and some are going down into the lower planetary systems. Out of many millions of wandering living entities, one who is very fortunate gets an opportunity to associate with a bona fide spiritual master by the grace of Krsna. By the mercy of both Krsna and the spiritual master, such a person receives the seed of the creeper of devotional service." tate krsna bhaje, kare gurura sevana maya-jala chute, paya krsnera carana [Cc Madhya, 22.25] "If the conditioned soul engages in the service of the Lord and simultaneously carries out the orders of his spiritual master and serves him, he can get out of the clutches of maya and become eligible for shelter at Krsna's lotus feet." The difference between ‘guru' and ‘ritvik' From the above scriptural evidences it is very clear that the relationship between guru and disciple is eternal and transcendental. Gurudeva is described as the manifestation of God, and therefore he must always be worshipped like Him. Only by his mercy can a jiva who is bound in the grips of maya be freed, and after being situated in his pure constitutional position, become engaged in the service of the Lord. Without the mercy of Shri Gurudeva, the supreme welfare of the jiva is impossible. Nabi's Fire Sacrafice On the other hand, the relationship between the yajman (the person who undertakes a fire sacrifice in order to fulfill some material desire, and on whose behalf the priest, or ritvik, performs the fire sacrifice) and the ritvik is temporary and based on self-interest. It is for the fulfillment of mundane desires. Their relationship lasts for a short time only. Therefore, since time immemorial, the system of guru-parampara, which is also known as amnaya or sat-sampradaya, has been prevalent in the scriptures. The four lines of bona fide succession of spiritual masters have originated from the associates of the Lord, that is, Shri Laksmi, Shri Brahma, Shri Rudra and Shri Sanat-kumara. In the age of Kali, Shri Ramanujacarya, Shri Madhvacarya, Shri Visnusvami and Shri Nimbaditya respectively are the four acaryas famous as the followers of the above personalities. Guru-parampara (the bona fide succession of spiritual masters) is always prevalent in the amnaya line of these four acaryas. Even in the advaita-sampradaya (followers of Sankaracarya), the tradition of guru-parampara is well preserved. 'Ritvik-guru', a contradiction of terms Param-pujyapada Shrila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja has neither accepted nor mentioned the tradition of ritviks as gurus anywhere in his bona fide books. Nor did he support the tradition of ritviks in his personal letters. Whatever Shrila Swami Maharaja arranged, it was most definitely not 'ritvik-guru', which is a contradiction of terms. To call it this is the cause of embarrassment for him among those who know the Vedic sastras. As you can see, it is very important to consider the scriptural meaning of the word 'ritvik'. The term applies only when a yajman undertakes a yajna for fulfilling his material desires. Because he, the yajman, is himself ignorant of the Vedic rules for performing the yajna, he appoints, for the successful completion and achievement of desired results, the ritviks, who are virtuous and who know the Vedas. 'Ritvik-guru', an impractical concoction which is against the scriptural conclusions In consideration of this principle, can it be conjectured that a guru, being ignorant of the diksa-mantras and their conceptions, will appoint a ritvik more qualified than himself, who in turn will give diksa to others, thus acting as the representative of the guru? Some people say that Shrila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja appointed ritviks who were to give diksa to his disciples. If this statement is accepted as true, it means they are accusing Shrila Swami Maharaja of being an unqualified guru, an ignorant yajman who, for the sake of fulfilling his material desires would have appointed ritviks more qualified than himself. No, it cannot be true; this is completely impossible. Therefore, on the path toward attaining the Supreme Absolute Reality, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, this concocted ritvik conception is impractical and against the scriptural conclusions. [Question:] How does a disciple relate with his guru once he has entered in aprakata-lila (the guru's entrance into the eternal pastimes of Krsna in the spiritual world)? Like Shrila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada's disciples, those who took initiation when he was still physically present. How can they relate with him since he is now in aprakata-lila? [Shrila Narayana Maharaja:] A disciple should think, "He is my Gurudeva. He is eternal. He is still here." When we pray for anything, he will inspire us. He is eternal, everywhere, and in our hearts also. He has not left his body. His body, his everything, is transcendental. So don't worry. Our relationship with him is the same as it was. [Question:] Does the example of Shri Madhvacarya approaching Shrila Vyasadeva show that an aspiring disciple can, so to speak, summon a departed acarya who has entered into aprakata-lila, and request initiation from him? Of course, Madhvacarya was in a special situation. He was an empowered expansion of the Lord. He was one of the four sampradaya acaryas. [Shrila Narayana Maharaja:] Madhvacarya was a direct disciple of Shrila Vyasadeva. When Madhvacarya was living, about 4000 years had passed since Vyasa had disappeared from the vision of this world. However, Madhvacarya knew that Vyasadeva was still alive and that he is eternal. So he prayed to him in Badrikasrama, beseeching him, "I want to take your darsana and to be initiated by you." When he was praying, Vyasadeva personally came there, and Madhvacarya presented his wish to him, that he would give Madhvacarya initiation. After that, Vyasa disappeared. So guru is like this. However, those who do not understand the correct siddhanta (conclusive philosophical truths) and are not very learned, and who have not developed their bhakti to the level of madhyama-uttama-adhikari or uttama-adhikari, cannot realize all these truths. And certainly a kanistha-adhikari is not able to realize all these things. Such persons, being bewildered, may try to take help from the ritvik philosophy or some other ideology which is not our siddhanta.
  3. Shri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja A Lecture Given in Polansk, Russia: July 19, 2001 I offer my humble obeisances at the lotus feet of my paramaradhyatama gurupadapadma nitya-lila pravista om visnupada Shri Shrimad Bhaktiprajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja, and also to my siksa-guru om visnupada Shri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja. In our class yesterday we discussed the intrinsic nature of bhakti. We explained there that pure bhakti is the function of the svarupa-sakti (internal potency) of Krishna, and therefore it never manifests in the material senses, words, or mind. There is a process for it to manifest, however. Krishna is an ocean of mercy and His devotee is also an ocean of mercy. Our only hope is to receive their mercy. This is the only ray of hope. Only by the causeless mercy of Krishna and His devotees will the vrtti (characteristic function) of svarupa-sakti enter and become one with the senses of the material body. Shrila Rupa Gosvami has given a process for this transcendental vrtti of bhakti to come upon the conditioned soul's tongue and other senses, and that is: adau sraddha tatah sadhu sanga'tha bhajana-kriya, tato 'nartha nivritti syat tato nistha rucis tatah, athasaktis tato bhavas tatah premabhyudancati sadhakam ayam pemnah pradurbhave bhavet kramah "In the beginning there must be faith. Then one becomes interested in associating with pure devotees. Thereafter one is initiated by the spiritual master and executes the regulative principles under his orders. Thus one is freed from all unwanted habits and becomes firmly fixed in devotional service. Thereafter, one develops taste and attachment. This is the way of sadhana-bhakti, the execution of devotional service according to the regulative principles. Gradually emotions intensify, and finally there is an awakening of love. This is the gradual development of love of Godhead for the devotee interested in Krishna consciousness." (Madhya 23.16) Without accepting diksa from a bona fide guru, can one develop bhakti or not? Some think that chanting, remembering, reading books, and performing arcana, sravanam and kirtanam is sufficient and there is no need for a mediator. They think that accepting a 'ritvik' person is sufficient for attaining pure bhakti, and there is no need of accepting diksa from any living self-realized guru. Those who think, "There is no need to accept a guru as a mediator because we can chant the holy name, we can read books, and we can do arcana and sadhana simply by the ritvik system," are not within the guru-parampara. They deceive others. They are actually cheaters; not bhaktas. Nowhere in the sastra is it written that a ritvik can ever give bhakti. [There are nineteen places in Prabhupada's books where the word 'ritvik' is used, and in all cases the word only refers to a priest officiating or performing a fire sacrifice. Even when the word used is 'ritvik acarya,' it is still defined as a priest performing a fire sacrifice for a secular gain.] This can never be the case. Those who advocate the ritvik system are misleaders, and their followers are misled. Do not go towards the ritvik system. Nowadays, among others, those who fell down from their pure life and those who left the renounced order due to being very lusty want to be ritvik. They want to gain the same position they had before, and that is why he they are crying, "Ritvik, ritvik, ritvik!" Actually, however, they are all fallen souls and they have nothing to do with bhakti. In none of the sastras has it been said that this ritvik system will give bhakti. Be careful regarding the bogus ritvik system. These ritviks have no faith in Krishna, no faith in bhakti, and no faith in scriptures like the Vedas, Upanisads, Shrimad Bhagavatam, and Caitanya-caritamrta. They also have no faith in the guru-parampara, and that is why they cannot give bhakti. You should give up the idea that the ritviks can help. They can never help you. They have never even helped themselves, so how can they help others? This word 'rt' (rit) has come from the word 'Rg-Veda.' Those who know all Vedas, including the Rg, Sama, Yajur, and Atharva Veda, all the Upanishads, and all the Puranas, are actually ritvik. I think, however, that these modern ritviks don't even know the ABC's of the Vedas. They say that in this world there are no pure devotees, and therefore there are no pure devotees to initiate anyone. This idea is very, very wrong and it against the principles of bhakti. The ritvik proponents saw that the devotees in their society were quarreling amongst themselves, and that there was no suddha-bhakta there. Then, mistaking that those who quarreled were in the guru-parampara, the ritviks became opposed to the actual guru-parampara. Beware of this ritvik system. Without a self-realized guru you cannot achieve bhakti in thousands of births. This is an established truth. This is siddhanta. You should therefore accept a sad-guru, serve him, and try to follow his instructions. Then you can develop your Krishna consciousness and all of your anarthas will disappear. Otherwise, it will never be possible for pure bhakti to come and touch your heart and senses. I would like to clarify one thing. I am not saying that all ritviks mislead others. Only those who say that there is no need of a guru do so. Whatever has been told in the Vedas and Upanisads about ritviks is only in relation to their sole function in a fire sacrifice, and those fire sacrifices are performed only to fulfill a worldly desire. They have nothing to do with transcendental love and affection for Krishna. [In The True Conception of Shri Guru-tattva it is stated: "After deliberation upon the Mahabharata, Ramayana, and Puranas, it becomes obvious that ritviks have nothing to do with the supreme transcendental goal...'Rtau yajtiti rtviki.' One who conducts sacrifices according to Vedic mantras is called a ritvik. There is an arrangement of 16 types of ritviks to perform the sacrifices...The yajman employs priests to perform sacrifices for him and he pays them...All these ritviks are virtuous, of high character, learned in the Vedas, and expert in the execution and supervision of sacrifices.... After the completion of the yajnas, the yajman (employer) pays the appropriate remuneration to the ritviks and sends them away. The yajman and the ritvik have no mutual eternal relationships."] Real ritviks know all sastras, and all of them have gurus. A ritvik cannot be a ritvik without accepting a real guru. All ritviks, like Vasistha Rsi, are very high-class devotees. Visvamitra, Gautama, and even Vyasadeva are ritviks, but they have all accepted the guru-parampara. They all believe that there are always self-realized gurus in the world. Nowadays, therefore, those who call themselves ritviks are all cheaters, and we should beware of them. When we accept a guru, it may be that we have so many anarthas, unwanted thoughts and habits, within us. We may be very ignorant about Krishna-tattva, maya-tattva, radha-tattva, bhakti-tattva, and all other tattvas. So many anarthas and aparadhas may be there within us, but there is a process to be free from them. There are so many gurus: caitya-guru, diksa-guru, siksa-guru, bhajana-guru, and others. Why go to a bogus-ritvik guru? If our siksa-gurus are Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Nityananda prabhu, and Radhika, why do we need to go to these ritviks?
  4. Bhagavat Saptah [Part 1] Mathura, India: 1994 (date unknown) Tridandisvami Shri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja [Shrila Narayana Maharaja gave a series of Shrimad Bhagavatam classes in Hindi in 1994, and this timely lecture was just translated in English. ] Today is the third day of our Shrimad-Bhagavatam classes. We are in the midst of relating the history of Ajamila and the glories of chanting the holy names of the Lord. We see here that the holy name is so powerful that one does not require diksa (brahminical initiation), or the five activities performed before taking diksa, to assure full success. Just by naming his son Narayana, which is the name of one of Lord Krsna's incarnations, Ajamila began chanting the Lord's Holy Name. He had he taken diksa when he first spoke the name of Narayana. Furthermore, he was so fallen that there was not a single sin he had not committed. He used to take intoxication and engage in other illicit activities. Such a person uttered the name of the Lord when he named his son Narayana, and received so much benefit. Shrila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura says that the very day Ajamila named his son Narayana, all his sins were finished – just by his first utterance of the holy name. After that, the rest of the holy names he called out constituted his sadhana. We see that all the while he was taking the name, he continued to act unlawfully – stealing, taking intoxication and so on. However, we should not consider his behavior at this point to be sinful. Yes, these activities were going on, but they had no power in them. You can understand it like this – if you put some peas in the ground, they will sprout and grow. Now roast some peas and try to grow them. Even if you fertilize the ground with many kilos of icow dung and give it plenty of water, they will not sprout. Similarly, all Ajamila’s sins were burned, simply by his calling out the names of Narayana. Now his unlawful activities, which seemed like lowly fruitive activities in the eyes of ordinary persons, no longer constituted sin. His activities can be compared with a snake whose poisonous teeth have been pulled out. The snake still continues to bite because it is his habit, but there is no more poison. Similarly, now Ajamila’s unlawful activities had no power to give any fruits to bind him. If a rope is burnt, its shape is still there in the ashes, but when one touches the ashes, the shape falls apart and cannot be used as a rope. The result of Ajamila chanting the names of Lord Narayana was that he attained the association of the Visnudutas, who are associates of the Lord Himself, and inadvertently took diksa initiation from them. Up to that point his chanting was called nama-abhasa (the clearing stage of chanting), because whatever else he did, he had not committed any offences to a Vaisnava. He had not disrespected the Vaisnavas in this life or any previous life. By his nama-abhasa he received the association of the Visnudutas, who gave him diksa and explained to him the full glories of the holy names. sadhu-sanga, nama-kirtana, bhagavata sravanam mathura-vasa, Shri-murtira sraddhaya sevana sakala-sadhana srestha ei panca anga krsna prema janmaye e panca (CC Madhya 22.128-129) Shrila Rupa Gosvami has promised: “One should stay in Vrndavana under the guidance of a sadhu, chant the holy names, hear Shrimad Bhagavatam from the lotus mouth of a rasika Vaisnava and serve the Deity of the Lord. There is no doubt that by performing these five activities one will surely receive krsna-prema.” However, there is one condition – there should be no disrespect or offence to the Vaisnava. This is our dilemma. We are doing hari-nama, staying in the holy place and hearing Bhagavatam, but we are not really hearing. Sometimes, some of us only act as if we are following. We speak publicly on the Bhagavatam and give instructions to others, but we do not protect ourselves from offense to Vaisnavas. Joking and laughing, we somehow disrespect or criticize Vaisnavas. The holy name (who is God Himself) cannot tolerate this. Therefore, we deceive ourselves and we are deprived of the real fruit of chanting the holy name. In this way, many lifetimes are wasted. Therefore, be very, very cautious to avoid committing, by any means, offence to the Vaisnavas; for offense to Vaisnavas is offence to the holy name. If you see another devotee doing something wrong, do not look. There are elevated Vaisnavas who will see their faults and rectify them. You cannot do so. Just tend to your bhajana. If someone else is not doing bhajana, why are you worrying about it? Just look at your own behavior. We do not see our own faults, but we want to see others’ faults; and day and night we talk about this. Nowadays this is the fashion, and therefore we loose the chance to do bhajana. Understand all this clearly. Wherever we see some kind of fall down, some disaster, some digression from bhajana or some material difficulties, the main cause for these is disrespect to the Guru and Vaisnavas. Ajamila was more fallen than fallen, but he did not disrespect anyone. He was sinful, but as soon as he had the association of Vaisnavas he stopped his sinful activities and was able to chant the pure holy name. Wherever there is a little bit of disrespect for the Vaisnavas, guru, saints, sadhus, the holy abodes of the Lord in this world, or the holy names, there is a decline in bhakti. You must have heard the story of Prajapati Daksa. He cursed Shri Narada Muni, saying, “You gave my sons instructions on the performance of bhajana of the Supreme Lord, and now they have left home and family. You have ruined everything for me. For that I curse you that you will not be able to remain in one place longer than the time it takes to milk a cow.” Shri Narada became very pleased, taking this as a benediction rather than a curse. But how do other persons react? There is a Hindi saying: if you place a thorn in someone’s path, what will happen? That thorn will become three, like a trident, and will come back and pierce you. On the other hand, if you do good for others, you will be showered with flowers. We see what happened with Daksa Prajapati. He gave a curse, and by that he first disrespected the Vaisnava, then Guru and then God. Therefore, never keep bad thoughts in your mind to harm anyone. Even if someone is unjustly abusing you, just tolerate and not retaliate. There is another very good example in the instance of Sati, also known by the names Uma and Parvati. She was wandering in the forest with her husband Lord Siva. Siva and Uma saw Lord Ramacandra crying for His wife. Because Ravana had kidnapped Sita-devi, Lord Rama was wandering here and there, calling out, “Oh, Sita! Oh, Sita!” Lord Siva saw Lord Ramacandra lamenting like this, and he paid his obeisances at the Lord’s lotus feet from afar. Uma-devi asked, “My lord, to whom are you paying obeisances?” Siva answered, “Here is my Master. Here is my Lord Ramacandra. I am paying obeisances to Him.” She questioned him, “How can He be God? He is running after His wife and lamenting. Siva answered, “That is His transcendental pastime. You can test Him, if you don't believe me.” Then Siva left. Disguising herself as Sita, Uma went to test Rama. She stood in front of Him, but taking no notice of her, He turned away and continued to call out for Sita. She came in front of Him again and again. Finally He said, “Mother Sati, you are roaming around here alone, but Sankara has already left. How can you remain here without him?” She came to her senses and realized that her husband had spoken the truth about Rama. Feeling very ashamed, she offered obeisances to Lord Rama and then, wherever she looked, she saw Rama with Sita and His brother Laksmana. In every tree, every shrub, every creeper, everywhere she saw Sita-Rama, Sita-Rama, Sita-Rama. She became confused and realized she had committed a very great offense. As soon as this thought came in her mind, she again saw Lord Ramacandra looking in all directions and calling, “Oh, Sita! Oh, Sita! Oh, Sita!” This pastime took place to show that Rama is never separated from Sita. His pastime is under the jurisdiction of the Lord's yogamaya (spiritual desire) potency. This is His human-like pastime (naravat-lila). He was actually crying for Sita, but at the same time, in another prakosth (division or section of His pastimes), He is always with Her. He and Sita-devi are never separated. Now the doubt of Uma was removed. She returned to Lord Siva, who understood internally everything that happened to her and had thus made a vow to remain silent. The demigods showered Sankara with flowers, saying, “Who can take a vow like you?” Uma-devi asked, “What vow have you taken?” He remained silent and did not reply. Somehow she came to know of her husband's vow. From now on he would respect her as his mother. Because she had doubted her guru (Lord Siva), disguised herself as Sita, and lied to her guru when he had asked her if she had tested lord Rama, Lord Siva could no longer accept her as his wife. He entered a trance for thousands of years, and Sati felt severe separation from him. She thought, "Siva has left me. He is treating me like his mother because I took the form of Sita. As long as I am in this body he will not accept me as his wife, so I will have to give up this body." After some time, Sati's father Daksa, the son of Lord Brahma and great progenitor of the universe, began a sacrifice. Although every sacrifice is intended to please the Supreme Lord Visnu, all the demigods, especially Lord Brahma, Lord Siva and the other principal demigods, are invited and take part. However, Lord Siva was not invited to Daksa's sacrifice. The chaste Sati heard the heavenly denizens, who were flying in the sky, speak about the great sacrifice being performed by her father. She approached her husband and said, “My dear Lord, your father-in-law is now performing a great sacrifice. If you desire, we may also go.” Lord Siva warned her not to go, due to her father's enmity and envy towards him - an enmity that had begun long before, in a former Age.Now Lord Siva told Sati, “A woman can go without an invitation to see her guru or her father and mother, but if her father thinks that her husband is his enemy, then she should not go to see him. You know that your father thinks I am his enemy, although I have never considered him as such.” Despite her husband's words, Sati was determined to go. She went, but upon her arrival she observed Daksa dishonoring him. She angrily condemned her father and glorified Lord Siva in front of all present. Then, while meditating on Lord Siva's holy lotus feet, she gave up her body in a mystic fire that manifested from her heart. By quitting her body, Sati was able to disconnect herself from her offensive father and transfer herself to another body in order to associate with Lord Siva without that contamination. However, her main motive was to become free from the result of her own offenses, and again be accepted as Lord Siva's beloved wife. In her next life she took birth as Parvati, the daughter of the Himalayas. In that birth she performed austerities for many years and achieved her desired goal. Sati-devi is a pure devotee. She is the Supreme Lord's divine energy, but she was playing a role in order to give lessons to ordinary persons. So be very careful. You may not have faith in the words of Guru; you may not believe him when he says that the holy name is non-different from Lord Krsna. Sati was not convinced when Lord Siva, who was her guru as well as her husband, said, “Oh, He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” She thus committed such a serious offense that she had to give up her body as a result. We must very deeply pay attention to the words of Shri gurudeva. If one neglects his words, one is bound to commit an offense. For that kind of person, gurudeva is always silent. He will not say anything to a person who neglects his words. One may hear so many good instructions, but if he has no faith in the words of guru, he will commit offenses. Whenever someone disrespects guru and Vaisnavas, or sees some fault in them, he is actually reflecting the impure feelings of his own eyes and heart onto the Vaisnavas. In reality, guru, Vaisnavas, saints and Lord Siva do not have any faults. To show this again and again, these examples from history are given.
  5. Shri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja The Bona fide process of Siddha-Pranalil France: June 27 1997 The glories of Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura are so great that even Lord Brahma, with his four mouths, cannot completely describe them. Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura was a transcendental personality and we are not transcendental, so how then can we touch his glory? Only a transcendental person can expound on his glory. We have heard from our gurudeva and other Vaisnavas, and we have also read in authentic books, that Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura was given the title 'Seventh Gosvami.' From the time of the Six Gosvamis up to his time, no one else was ever designated as such. During his manifest stay in this world (1838-1914), learned persons and devotees saw his glorious activities and gave him this title. It was he who once again illuminated the true principles of Gaudiya Vaisnavism. If he had not appeared when he did, all the teachings of pure Gaudiya Vaisnavism would have been forever drowned in an ocean of oblivion. That time was a dark period for Gaudiya Vaisnavaism. The sahajiyas [see endnote 1] used to give what they called siddha-pranali (the process, or system, that gives perfection), or siddha-deha (one's perfected spiritual body, by which one can render transcendental service unto Shri Radha and Krsna), to anyone and everyone, without even knowing whether or not their so-called followers were actually devotees. The followers neither knew any Gaudiya Vaisnava philosophy nor did they have any sadacara, (proper etiquette and behavior), yet they would take shelter of their sahajiya-babaji gurus who pretended to give them their siddha-deha. They misunderstood Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's teachings. According to their conception of siddha-deha, Gaudiya bhajana meant traveling to Vrndavana, living there, and having children with other's wives. They considered that by doing this they had become gopis. "Come on, come on," their guru would say to them. "I'm giving you siddha-deha and siddha-pranali." To whom did he pretend to give siddha-deha? Thinking, "I am this body," his disciples did not even know the ABCs of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's teachings. Such persons did not know that they are eternally part and parcel and servants of Krsna. In reality, instead of being given gopi-bhava they were given 'goopi'-bhava! What are 'goopis'? Goopis are those who are lovers or beloveds of this world. They think that they should find a lady, live with her, and enjoy sex life. They think this bogus prema to be Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's philosophy. [Prakrta-sahajiyas are those who understand the aprakrta (spiritual) pastimes of the aprakrta Supreme Personality of Godhead to be prakrta (mundane) like the affairs of ordinary men and women, and who think that the aprakrta-tattva is attained by a material sadhana (malpractice in the name of spiritual practice). (from Parama-gurudeva's biography, part 6)] In the name of Gaudiya Vaisnavism, these sahajiyas would perform Hare Krsna kirtana, following the dead body during funeral processions, and then take a large payment from the deceased's rich relatives. In their so-called kirtanas the word 'Krsna' did not clearly manifest; it was difficult for the audience to actually find the word "Krsna." The chanters sang, "Hare Kr-sna-a-a-a-a-a-a," in a very fancy melody. Then the audience applauded, calling out, "O, very good, very good," and paid them some rupees. Although those chanters drank wine and ate meat and fish, they still thought what they were doing to be all right, and they were still called Vaisnavas by unintelligent people. Because of such disgraceful displays, learned and educated persons became ashamed and did not want to associate themselves with the words 'Gaudiya Vaisnavism.' Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura was, in his time, the first person to preach the factual philosophy of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to this learned society. By his preaching, people came to know about true transcendental love, prema-bhakti, and it is for this reason that he was given the title Seventh Gosvami. Just as King Bhagiratha brought the Ganges River to the Earth, to India, Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura brought the bhakti-ganga (the flowing Ganges River of bhakti) to this world. Because of him, so many people became inspired to follow pure Gaudiya Vaisnavism. If he had not appeared, we would not have joined this mission. If Shrila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja had not come to the West – if he had not gone to Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura and if Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura had not come from Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, what would have been your fate? Your good fortune is coming from Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, who preached the very pure doctrines of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. To Help Them It is due to lack of intelligence – to ignorance – that these so-called babajis speak the way they do. In order to help them, Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura clearly explained the entire process for achieving spiritual perfection in his final literary work, Jaiva-dharma. In that book he clearly elucidated the qualifications for receiving siddha-deha, explaining how the bona fide guru reveals siddha-deha to a qualified disciple; and previously, in his book Bhajana-rahasya, he clarified many deep siddhantas on the same subject. Those who actually want to enter into the realm of bhakti may try to follow Bhajana-rahasya, Jaiva-dharma, and all his other books. In Bhajana-rahasya Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura wrote that our bhakti begins by our trying to serve and realize the first verse of Shri Siksasakam: ceto-darpana-marjanam bhava-maha-davagni-nirvapanam, Then we follow and practice the second verse: namnam akari bahudha nija-sarva-Saktis. And then the third: trnad api sunicena taror iva sahisnuna. If we factually adopt the qualities delineated therein, we may enter the fourth: na dhanam na janam na sundarim. At that time we are detached from worldly desires and tastes. Then, when we become still more pure, when we are always chanting and remembering Krsna without being disturbed by any obstacle, we can enter the fifth: ayi nanda-tanuja kinkaram. Entrance into this fifth verse is the beginning of siddha-deha, at which time we realize ourselves as eternal servants of Krsna in a specific relationship. All aspects of our eternal relationship with Krsna are already in our atma, or soul, just as the potency of a fully grown tree is present in the seed of that tree. With water, air, and light the seed sprouts, and gradually leaves, branches, flowers, manjaris, and finally fruits also manifest. The entire tree or creeper is there in its seed, but only when air, water, and sunlight touch it do all its features sprout. Similarly, the full potency of our pure bhakti is present in our atma, but it manifests only by adopting the correct bhakti process. In this fifth verse, the jiva-svarupa is revealed. The sixth verse of Shri Siksastakam states: nayanam galad-asru-dharaya vadanam gadgada-ruddhaya gira pulakair nicitam vapuh kada tava nama-grahane bhavisyati ["O Prabhu! When will my eyes be filled with a stream of tears? When will my voice choke up? And when will the hairs of my body stand erect in ecstasy as I chant Your holy name."] When a devotee realizes his atma and understands that he is an eternal servant of Krsna, he has no worldly attachments. It is then that the svarupa-sakti [see endnote 2], as hladini and samvit, mercifully manifests in his heart. He then begins to weep, and, while chanting the holy name of Krsna, he rolls on the earth and sings, "Agha-damana (O Krsna, the killer of the Agha demon), Yasodanandana (O son of Yasoda), O, Nanda-sunoh (O, son of Nanda Maharaja), where are You?" The devotee may sometimes get a glimpse of Krsna and immediately run towards Him. And then, when Krsna goes out of sight, that devotee rolls on the ground in separation. If a person does not feel this type of separation from Krsna, his siddha-deha will not manifest. Those who artificially exhibit emotions of separation will go to hell, like the thousands of babajis (those with false initiation into false renunciation and false spiritual perfection) in Vrndavana and Radha-kunda who are simply illicitly giving birth to children and engaging in other malpractices. One of the brothers of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura used to think that his father, Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, was his physical body. In fact, he thought of himself as the son of Kedarnatha Datta (Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's civil name), not Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. But Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura considered his father to be an associate of Shri Krsna, Shrimati Radharani, and Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He never considered him his material father, a person made of blood and flesh. Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura actually followed the path of Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. Whatever his father spoke, he totally accepted and followed. Our goal is siddha-deha, but what is siddha-deha? What is siddha-pranali? Who started it, in what year did it begin, and from where did it originate? Shrila Sanatana Gosvami and Shrila Rupa Gosvami are called Gosvamis, not Babajis. No one has given them the title Rupa Babaji, Sanatana Babaji, or Shrila Raghunatha dasa Babaji. At the time of Shrila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, no one addressed him as Visvanatha Cakravarti Babaji. During his time the process of giving someone this bogus version of gopi-bhava was not practiced. Who gave this siddha-pranali to them? What is siddha-pranali? Siddha-pranali is Siksastakam – from the beginning verse, the first verse. One knows first of all that he is an eternal servant of Shri Krsna and Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and he therefore follows trnad api sunicena. He becomes detached from worldly attractions and chants and remembers Krsna twenty-four hours a day under the guidance of any very qualified Vaisnava. tan-nama-rupa-caritadi-sukirtananu- smrtyoh kramena rasana-manasi niyojya tisthan vraje tad-anuragi jananugami kalam nayed akhilam ity upadesa-saram [Shri Upadedamrta 8] ["The essence of all advice is that one should utilize one's full time – twenty-four hours a day – in nicely chanting and remembering the Lord's divine name, transcendental form, qualities and eternal pastimes, thereby gradually engaging one's tongue and mind. In this way one should reside in Vraja [Goloka Vrndavana-dhama] and serve Krsna under the guidance of devotees. One should follow in the footsteps of the Lord's beloved devotees, who are deeply attached to His devotional service."] This is real siddha-pranali, and Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami has explained it in his prayer called Manah-Siksa. All the verses of his prayer are pranali – not artificially imagining, "Oh, you are a gopi. You are Lalita-gopi. You are Visakha-gopi." From where and from whom has this artificial siddha-deha come? There is no history. It is not in our culture, nor is it the teaching of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Real siddha-deha and siddha-pranali manifest when we follow the correct process – from sraddha to nistha to guru-karana (taking complete shelter of guru), guru-bhajana, and guru-seva and after that, bhajana-pranali. It comes by purely adopting the process of sravanam (hearing), kirtanam chanting), visnoh-smaranam (remembering the Lord), pada-sevanam (serving the Lord's lotus feet), arcanam (worshipping), vandanam (offering prayers), dasyam (becoming a servant), sakyam (becoming a friend), atma-nivedanam. (surrendering everything) It comes by: sadhu-sanga, nama-kirtana, bhagavata-sravana mathura-vasa, sri-murtira sraddhaya sevana [ Shri Chaitanya-caritamrta (Madhya 22.128)] ["In the association of devotees one should chant the holy name of the Lord, hear Shrimad-Bhagavatam, reside in Mathura, and worship the Deity with faith and veneration."] These are the processes to adopt, by following which, Shri Krsna and Shrimati Radhika will mercifully give us siddha-deha. How Shri Narada Muni Received Siddha-Deha Shrimad-Bhagavatam states that Narada Muni received his mantra from Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatana and Sanat-kumara. Later, as soon as his mother died, he left for the dense forest. There he bathed in a river, sat down silently under the shade of a banyan tree, chanted his mantra, and meditated upon the Supersoul within his heart. After practicing this for many years, Lord Visnu momentarily manifested in his heart and then vanished. Narada wept bitterly in separation from Lord Visnu, and then a voice from the sky called to him, "Narada, I will not give you darSana again as long as you are in this material body. Continue chanting My name, remembering Me, and glorifying My pastimes all over the world. At the appropriate time, when death comes, you'll put your feet on the head of death." Following Visnu's instruction, Narada always chanted and remembered the Lord, and while playing on his vina he sang songs and poems glorifying the pastimes of Krsna. For example, he sang, "Radha-ramana haribol." Bhaktivinoda Thakura wrote about many pastimes of Krsna and His devotees in his own poetries and songs. For example he wrote a song beginning, "Narada muni bajaya vina radhika ramana name – Narada Muni plays his vina while chanting the glories of Radha and Krsna." He also wrote, yasomati-nandana, braja-baro-nagara, gokula-ranjana kana gopi-parana-dhana, madana-manohara, kaliya-damana-vidhana ["Lord Krsna is the beloved son of mother Yasoda; the transcendental lover in the land of Vraja; the delight of Gokula; Kana ; the wealth of the lives of the gopis. He steals the mind of even Cupid and punishes the Kaliya serpent."] After many years, death came to Narada. At that same moment his siddha-deha manifested, and in that siddha-deha (transcendental body) he became so strong that he could travel anywhere in the universe or beyond. Unlike Dhruva Maharaja, Narada did not require the help of an airplane to transport him to Vaikuntha. We should try to know all of the processes taught by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura: sravana dasa, varana dasa, smarana dasa, bhavapana dasa (the stage of bhava or svarupa-siddha), anusmrti, and finally prema-sampatti dasa. It is in sampatti dasa that siddha-deha (vasthu-siddhi, one's spiritual form) will manifest. In sravana dasa, one hears from his bona fide guru about Shrimad-Bhagavatam, Shri Chaitanya-caritamrta, and the entire philosophy of Shrila Rupa Gosvami. In sravana dasa there are many things to learn, such as who you are and what is your name – not the name of your material body, but of your transcendental body. The true guru knows this. A false guru does not know all this, but by imagination he gives this type of information. The bona fide guru knows everything: your name, your relationship with Shri Krsna and Shrimati-Radhika and the gopis, your place of residence – whether it is at Radha-kunda or Javata or Nandagaon or Varsana – the name of your father and mother, your service, and the nature of your beautiful form. He then reveals your particular service (agya) to Radha-Krsna conjugal, and your palya-dasi-bhava. There are eleven items in all. In sravana dasa, therefore, you will hear and understand about the process for perfection from Jaiva-dharma, Shrimad-Bhagavatam, Shri Chaitanya-caritamrta, and all the books of Shrila Rupa Gosvami. Taste in the Name and Mercy to All To teach the actual process was the main objective of Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, whose teachings can be summarized in two lines: Jiva-daya krsna-nama, sarva dharma sara. This is also the sum and substance of all the teachings of all the Vedas, Vedanta, Upanisads, Bhagavad-gita, the Puranas, Srutis, Smrtis, Pancaratra, etc. In essence, there are two principles – jiva-daya and krsna-nama. The meaning of jiva-doya is 'mercy to conditioned souls.' Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has elaborately explained that the best daya, or mercy, is turning conditioned souls from their worldly moods to the mood of service to Krsna. It is worth more than opening hundreds of thousands of hospitals and universities, or donating hundreds of thousands of dollars in charity. Jiva-daya is the most special gift, and it can be given only by a realized soul. harer nama harer nama harer namaiva kevalam kalau nasty eva nasty eva nasty eva gatir anyatha [Shri Chaitanya-caritamrta (Adi 17.21)] ["In this age of quarrel and hypocrisy, the only means of deliverance is the chanting of the holy name of the Lord. There is no other way. There is no other way. There is no other way."] Jiva-doya is attained only by chanting Krsna's holy name. Krsna's name is Krsna Himself, but we can chant suddha (pure) nama only in the association of the bona fide guru and bona fide Vaisnavas. Without this association we can neither chant the pure name nor engage in pure suddha-bhakti. What is suddha-bhakti (pure devotion)? Raganuga-bhakti is suddha-bhakti. [see endnote 3 and 4] We may think that vaidhi-bhakti is auddha-bhakti, but it is not, nor will it ever become so. Spontaneous devotion to Krsna is raganuga-bhakti, and when the practice of raganuga-bhakti fully matures, it is then called ragatmika-prema. When we yet have no ragatmika-prema, then cultivation of that pure ragatmika-bhakti with all of our senses is called raganuga. When our hearts accept the same mood that Shrila Rupa Gosvami possesses in his heart – the mood of a palya-dasi (unpaid maidservant) of Shrimati Radhika – it is called rupanuga-bhakti. We conditioned souls are eligible to become palya-dasis. We cannot become like Lalita or Visakha, whose position (as a direct beloveds of Krsna) is beyond our limit of attainment. We can follow only Shrila Rupa Gosvami or Rupa-manjari, Rati-manjari, Lavanga-manjari, and all the other manjaris. The sahajiya-babajis' utterance of "Oh, you are Lalita. I am Lalita" is nothing but mayavada philosophy, or monism, artificial imitation. Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura foretold that in the near future many hundreds of thousands of Western devotees with Sikha and tulasi-mala will meet with Indian devotees, and they will all chant together, "Haribol, haribol," "Gaura premanande, hari haribol," and "Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare." Thus, all over the world, this pure mission of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu will spread. This idea was started by Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. He is the root of all our preaching, and therefore we are truly indebted to him. [Endnote 1: from Paramagurudeva's biography, part 6 section g, quoting Shrila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's essay entitled The Depravity of the Sahajiya Doctrine) : The jiva is cinmaya (spiritual), and its only natural dharma is cinmaya service to Krsna. The word 'sahaja' means saha-ja, i.e. that which arises along with the atma. Transcendental service to Krsna is sahaja (natural) for the pure atma, because it occurs along with the jivatma and thus it is naturally inherent. However, it is not natural in the stage of bondage to inanimate matter. Sahajiyas cheat others and are themselves cheated or deprived of their pure and natural love for Krsna by transforming the union of man and woman into a mundane, supposedly natural dharma.] [endnote 2: The Lord's divine potency is known as svarupa-sakti. It is called svarupa-sakti because it is situated in the Lord's form. This potency is cinmaya, fully conscious, and thus it is the counterpart and antithesis of matter. Consequently it is also known as cit-sakti (potency endowed with consciousness). Because this potency is intimately connected with the Lord, being situated in His form, it is further known as antaranga-sakti (internal potency). Because it is superior to His marginal and external potencies both in form and glory, it is known as para-sakti (superior potency). Thus, by its qualities, this potency is known by different names – svarupa-sakti, cit-sakti, antaranga-sakti, and para-sakti. The svarupa-sakti has three divisions: (1) sandhini, the potency which accommodates the spiritual existence of the Lord and all His associates, (2) samvit, the potency which bestows transcendental knowledge of the Lord, and (3) hladini, the potency by which Krsna enjoys transcendental bliss and bestows such bliss upon His devotees.] [endnote 3 – from Shrila Prabhupada, Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja (lecture in Vrndavana, Nov.12, 1972): The more you are engaged in devotional service, the more your senses become pure or uncovered. And when it is completely uncovered, without any designation, then you are capable to serve Krsna. This is apprenticeship. Vaidhi-bhakti, that is apprenticeship. Real bhakti, para-bhakti, that is raganuga-bhakti. [endnote 4 – from cc: "The original inhabitants of Vrndavana are attached to Krsna spontaneously in devotional service. Nothing can compare to such spontaneous devotional service, which is called ragatmika bhakti. When a devotee follows in the footsteps of the devotees of Vrndavana, his devotional service is called raganuga bhakti.]
  6. 03 December 2002 bhayam dvitiyabhinivesatah syad isad apetasya viparyayo 'smrtih tan-mayayato budha abhajet tam bhaktyaikayesam guru-devatatma ["Fear arises when a living entity misidentifies himself as the material body because of absorption in the external, illusory energy of the Lord. When the living entity thus turns away from the Supreme Lord, he also forgets his own constitutional position as a servant of the Lord. This bewildering, fearful condition is effected by the potency for illusion, called maya. Therefore, an intelligent person should engage unflinchingly in the unalloyed devotional service of the Lord, under the guidance of a bona fide spiritual master, whom he should accept as his worshipable deity and as his very life and soul." (Srimad Bhagavatam 11.2.37)] What are the causes of fear? Srila Sukadeva Gosvami has explained it. We all fear. Although everyone in all species of life throughout all the material universes only wants peace of mind and happiness, everyone is full of fear. Happiness and peace of life follow us like a shadow. If we want to take that shadow within our grasp, we will find it to be intangible – with no substance. On the other hand, when we proceed forward, turning away from our shadow, that shadow will follow us. This is the nature of shadows. Perhaps all of you know the meaning of maya? Maya, in the form of economic development, sense gratification, and impersonal liberation, is like a shadow. When we turn to her and try to enjoy sense gratification, we find sense gratification to have no substance. In other words, the desire for material happiness becomes the cause of pain and grief. There is no happiness in the material world, only distress and suffering, and this suffering is experienced as the endless chain of birth and death. No one is happy to be in maya. On the other hand, if we progress towards Krsna, then all material facility and liberation will follow us. We are part and parcel of the Supreme Lord, Krsna, and He is an ocean of ananda, unlimited happiness and peace. He is the reservoir of pure ananda, and in fact He Himself is ananda. Because we are His parts and parcels, by our constitutional position, by nature, our bodies are made of pure ananda. This refers to our transcendental body, however, not our material body. bhayam dvitiyabhinivesatah syad isad apetasya viparyayo 'smrtih tan-mayayato budha abhajet tam bhaktyaikayesam guru-devatatma Somehow we have departed from that Supreme Lord, the ocean of rasa and ananda, who is ananda Himself, and now we are entangled in illusory maya. Ma – Ya. We are seeing that which is not actually a fact to be a fact. Whatever we see or feel by our sensory perception is maya. When we first departed from Krsna, when we first forgot Him, maya came at once and attacked us. She defeated us and put us in her jail. What is that jail? It is this body and mind. Actually there are two jails, one within the other. This gross body is the outer jail and the subtle body is the inner jail. We have been suffering and fearing since time immemorial, and we are never free from that. Pariksit Maharaja asked Srila Sukadeva Gosvami, "How can we come out of this endless chain of birth and death? How can we get free from maya?" Srila Sukadeva Gosvami replied, "Tan-mayayato budha abhajet tam / bhaktyaikayesam guru-devatatma." Being in maya, we cannot become free from maya at once and go to Goloka Vrndavana. It is possible only by the help of Vaisnavas. By the association of pure Vaisnavas, you can have a very pure guru – not an imitation guru or a kan-guru, but a sad-guru. If we take shelter in his lotus feet, he will take full charge of our lives. He will take all kinds of responsibility for our lives, and he will teach how to do bhajana of Krsna. Guru-devatatma. First, we must think that guru is our atma. Being totally surrendered to him, we must depend solely on him. Tan abhajet. Tan means the Supreme Lord, Krsna. If we serve Krsna under the guidance of sad-guru, then certainly, like magic, we will be out of maya. We will see that our transcendental form has manifested, that we are serving Krsna, and that we are now bathing in the endless ocean of ananda and rasa. At that time we will also be embodiments of ananda, and we will simultaneously be the enjoyers of ananda by serving. Try to realize all these facts. It is not sufficient to simply hear about this and tell others. We will have to be established in this truth. We are in deep maya, and to the extent we are in maya we are that far away from Krsna. Our only hope is the fact that Krsna has sent sad-guru and Vaisnavas to this world. I realize this; I was a third-class bogus person, but my Gurudeva picked me up and engaged me in this transcendental service. To give the happiness of direct service to Radha-Krsna Yugala is the mission of Srimad Bhagavatam, Sri Narada Rsi, Srila Sukadeva Gosvami, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, our guru-varga, and especially, in Western countries, Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja – who ordered me to also preach it. I request you all to understand these eternal truths and be established in them, and to also preach this mission of our guru-parampara to others. If you are practicing but not preaching, you are selfish. Do not be weak. Preach. It is stated in Caitanya Caritamrta: "Sthane sthitah sruti-gatam tanu-van-manobhir" If you are wearing the saffron cloth of a brahmacari or sannyasi, do not marry and do not fall down. If you are grhastha, then remain grhastha, but after you are fifty years old, try to come out of grhastha life. Do not engage your whole life in the grhastha asrama. If you can be a grhastha like Prahlada Maharaja or the Pandavas, that is fine; but that is very rare. Gaurapremanande * [Endnote: "This is a quotation from Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.2.37). It is an instruction given by Kavi Rsi, one of the nine saintly personalities called the nine Yogendras. When Vasudeva, Krsna's father, asked Devarsi Narada in Dvaraka about devotional service, it was mentioned that previously King Nimi, who was the King of Videha, was instructed by the nine Yogendras. When Sri Narada Muni discoursed on bhagavata-dharma, devotional service, he indicated how a conditioned soul can be liberated by engaging in the loving transcendental service of the Lord" (Caitanya Caritamrta Madhya 20.119 purport by Srila Prabhupada Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja).]
  7. (Vedic Cultural Center, Vancouver, Canada, April 20, 2001, pm) [Two hundred devotees gathered at the very grandiose Vedic Cultural Center in Vancouver. After taking darsana of the large Deities of Radha-Krishna, Sita-Rama, Shiva-Parvati, and Durga devi, they heard the following lecture by Shrila Narayana Maharaj. In this lecture Shrila Maharaj helped all to understand the respective positions of these Deities in relation to themselves.] Kirtanananda and so many others were there with Shrila Swami Maharaj on the eve of his departure, and therefore I don't know why he selected me. He told me, "With your own hand you should give me samadhi." He requested me, not once, but several times on that very day, that I should help his devotees. He said, "I have collected so many monkeys from here and there." I don't want to say this, but this is what he really told me. He didn't speak in English; rather he spoke in Bengali to conceal it. If he did not do so, his disciples may have become angry. He said so many things in Bengali, and other things he said in English for his disciples to know. He called his disciples to him and said, "You should hear from Narayana Maharaj and try to follow forever. I want him to help you to become good devotees." I followed his order. He told me so many things. I gave him samadhi according to all the Vedic rules and regulations. My Gurudeva had taught me all these things. I learned from him how to perform a marriage, how to give sannyasa, how to perform a fire sacrifice for establishing Deities (vigraha pratistha) and all other things. I have come here to the West only to obey your Prabhupada. Wherever he went is a very sacred place for me. I am going to all of these places to take his lotus dust. Shrila Swami Maharaj is sending me, having inspired me to go all over the world where so many are honoring and hearing from me. By his mercy I have traveled so many times around the world - from east to west, north and south. This is his mercy. I am like a dry straw without any qualification. I am nothing. The inspiration of my siksa and diksa gurus is my everything. Their mercy is everything. We are here in Canada in this Vedic Cultural Center. Actually, we should know what is Vedic culture. We think we know, but really we have many misconceptions. What is Veda? Veda means knowledge. Knowledge of what? Where did this world come from, who are we, and what is this universe? Why do we become old and why do we die? We don't want to become old, but still we become old. We don't want to die, but still we die. We want to be happy, but still we are unhappy. Why are we born? A person may not want to be blind or lame from birth, but still it is so. Why is a person born in that family? Why is someone born in the family of the president of America and someone else is born in the family of a very poor beggar? Even though someone may study for sixteen years, still every year he fails his exams. Why does he have no intelligence? Some are dumb. Why? Buddhism and all other religions cannot give complete explanations. Vedic culture, sanatana-dharma, however, has the answers that completely satisfy these inquiries. Vedic culture means to know the answers to all these questions: why do we become old and who created this world? After death, what becomes of us? Why is one very happy throughout his life and someone else is suffering since birth? Veda has explained everything completely. Not a single question remains unexplained. Everything is solved. Who spoke the Vedas? Bhagavan Krishna Himself. There are no faults in the Vedas, Whatever has been spoken in Veda is correct to the fullest extent. Previously there was only one Veda, and that was Atharva Veda. Vyasadeva realized that the people of kali-yuga would not be able to understand the language of this Veda, and he therefore divided it into four: Rg Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda, and the remaining portion was again called Atharva Veda. In this way, four Vedas were created. What is the subject matter of these Vedas? The four Vedas were again divided into two: Brahmana Veda and Upanisad Veda. The Brahmana Veda describes fire sacrifices which can fulfill any earthly desire, as well as any heavenly attainment. Even the desire to attain Brahmaloka could be fulfilled by fire sacrifice. A person who had no sons could, by fire sacrifice, have many sons. Someone who was ill could become very healthy. Someone could have ten heads like Ravana. By fire sacrifice, someone could also become like Hiranyakasipu. Hiranyakasipu could not be killed in the day or in the night, in the sky or on land, inside or outside, nor in any month of the year. He attained all these by the power of fire sacrifice. This is Brahmana Veda. Who can perform such sacrifice? What qualities are required? ["1) One who invokes the particular deities (devatas) to be present in the sacrifice by reciting the mantras of Rg-Veda, and thus performs the sacrifice, is called hota. 2) One who sings aloud the hymns of Sama-Veda in adoration of invoked deities is called udgata. 3) The adharvyu murmurs the prosaic section of the Yajur-Veda, and performs his specific duties. His participation in yajna is quite prominent. 4) Protecting the yajna from external obstacles, rectifying possible mistakes in recitation, and removal of various types of discrepancies arising in the detailed performances related to yajna, is the function of brahma. He is the chief priest of yajna. He supervises the over-all functioning of yajna and rectifies the faults. So this brahma is considered superior to all other rtviks, priests. Hence, it is imperative for the brahma, who undertakes the main responsibility to supervise the whole sacrifice, to have complete knowledge of all three Vedas (Rg, Sama, Yajur)." (True Conception of Guru-Tattva)] They should all be qualified by knowing and following the rules and regulations of Brahmana Veda. However, the desires that are fulfilled in this way are all for worldly desires. Upanishad Veda is comprised of transcendental knowledge, and it is also called Vedanta-the essence and conclusion of all the Vedas' knowledge. What is this jagat? Who is Brahma? Who is the creator? What happens to the living being after death? The Upanishad has all conclusions. . Upanishad Veda has many divisions, such as Aranyaka, and so on, for those in household life, and also for others who have given up everything and gone to the forest to remember the Supreme Personality of Godhead-Parabrahma. In the land of Bharata (India) there were, and still are, people who can recite all the slokas of the Gita from memory. Vyasadeva kept all the mantras of the Vedas in his heart and could speak them. As this age advances, however, there is no real brahmacarya - all are becoming lusty. There is no proper food, and no proper air or water. Now, in so many parts of the world, you have to buy mineral water. Nowadays there are practically no uncontaminated vegetables or foods in this world, and this is a very big problem. For those of this age who have less intelligence, Shrila Vyasadeva wrote a very useful book called Vedanta Sutra, Upanisad Sutra, or Brahma Sutra. Therein Vyasadeva reconciled all the teachings of the Vedas and Upanishads and compiled the essence of that into 550 sutras. Sometimes in the Vedas and Upanishads it seems to indicate that Brahma is nirakara - brahma-nirvisesa-nirakara.avyakta anadi - without form or qualities. The actual teaching of Veda is that Bhagavan has form, but people today will not believe it. Vyasadeva has reconciled everything. Modern people won't believe in Krishna, but they will believe in impersonalism. Especially now I am seeing that everywhere in the world Buddhists are preaching so much, but they don't acknowledge or accept the form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Either they don't recognize or they don't tell - that Brahma has form. We see that Christians are also not properly accepting the form of God, although it is written in the first chapter of the Bible that God created man after His own image. They cannot deny this statement from their own scriptures. Why are they not admitting the form of God? If He is Father and Jesus is His Son, and if His Son has some shape, the Father must also have some shape. Surely. they cannot deny this. But they are ignorant of the deep philosophy within the Bible. Muslims also don't accept that God has form. They also deny it, but in their Koran it has been written that God has made man in His image. So this also cannot be denied. The Buddhists don't have any faith in God at all. Why, therefore, are there so many Buddhist murtis? I have seen some deities of Buddha that are more then 25 feet high. Why are there so many forms of Buddha throughout the world? Why are they doing this? Where has this form come from? They cannot reconcile these truths. We must have faith that God has form. The first instruction in the Veda is that God has a form-Bhagavan has shape. He has so many attributes and qualities. He is so powerful. He can create, in a second, lakhs and lakhs of universes. Then, in a second, He can destroy them. He can make a dry straw the master of the whole world, and he can turn a master of the whole world into straw. The word impossible does not exist for Him. He can do everything - He is God: G-Generator, O-Operator, D-Destroyer. So many qualities are there - all qualities are there. Vedic culture insists that you should give all honor to your guru, be very respectful to your Vedic culture, and give up your wicked ways. A man may ask, "Why do you worship so many demigods and gods like Ramacandra, Varahadeva, Nrsimha, Siva, Sankara, Ganesa, Kali, and Durga?" We actually have only one God. However, if there is a king, a queen must be with him. If one is king, a kingdom must be there with many officials and generals. In the same way Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, has multiple energies and deputed servants. After compiling Vedanta Sutra, Vyasadeva saw that no one would be able to understand it and reconcile it, and therefore he wrote a bhasya, commentary. What is that bhasya? Shrimad Bhagavatam is the complete commentary on Vedanta Sutra. Whatever was in the Vedas, Upanisads, Aranya, etc., he put in Vedanta Sutra. Then, again he explained it, first in Gita and then in Shrimad Bhagavatam. The essence of all Upanishads was given by Shri Krishna in Bhagavad-gita, and the essence of all Vedas, all Vedic literature, is Shrimad Bhagavatam. nigama-kalpa-taror galitam phalam suka-mukhad amrta-drava-samyutam pibata bhagavatam rasam alayam muhur aho rasika bhuvi bhavukah ["O expert and thoughtful men, relish Shrimad-Bhagavatam, the mature fruit of the desire tree of Vedic literatures. It emanated from the lips of Shri Sukadeva Gosvami. Therefore this fruit has become even more tasteful, although its nectarine juice was already relishable for all, including liberated souls." (Shrimad Bhagavatam 1.1.3)] Buddhists say that this world is false, but it is not false. We see that Rama has come here, Krishna has come, and Sankara has also come to this world. How can this world be false? It is never false. You are not this physical body. To think that this physical body is you or your spiritual body is false. The conception of this physical body as oneself is quite false. My relations - this is my father, this is my mother - are all false. They will one day die and be put into a cremation ground. At one time we were very beautiful. In our youth, when we were about sixteen years of age, we were very beautiful. But how will the most beautiful teenage girl talk when her teeth are gone? What will became of one's beautiful hair when it is white? You cannot take anything from this world at the time of death. To identify with the body is to be like the dogs. These are not my words. Veda is telling these things. Dharmena hinah pasubhih samanah. Having this human body, when there is a chance to realize, they are not realizing who is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Who am I? Vyasa divided the Vedas. He made Brahma Sutra, he wrote Mahabharata, and he compiled 54 Puranas. He wrote so many things and he was perfect. Still, he was lamenting, "It is not perfect. Why am I worried? Why am I not happy with this?" In the meantime his transcendental guru, Narada, came and said to him, "Oh, you look very sad. Why are you sad? Any doctor can tell what disease is there. "You have written Vedanta Sutra, Mahabharata, and all the Puranas. You have written everything, but have you written the very sweet glory and pastimes of Krishna? Have you written that the Supreme Lord has become the son of Yasoda and Nanda? Have you written that He is the maidservant of all the gopis?" "Oh, how can I write this? I cannot write this. I have no realization and no power to write like this." Krishna can take the shoes of Nanda Baba on His head. Dancing, He is comes to His father and says, "O father, here are your wooden sandals. This is Vedic sanscrti - love and affection. God is love and love is God, and this has only been proved in the Shrimad Bhagavatam - not anywhere else. This is Vedic culture, that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Ete camsa kala pumsah. Though He is God, He is a baby, taking the milk of His mother. His mother is chastising Him, "Oh, I don't want to give my milk to You. You are a very naughty boy." Who can say this? Can Brahma say this? Can any realized soul say this? No one can say. Can Vyasa say this? Even Valmiki and Vasista cannot say this. Only the gopis can, and Krishna's friends can. They can defeat the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and Krishna will be very happy by being defeated. This is Indian culture, Vedic culture - that quality of love and affection. In Shrimad Bhagavatam Vyasa was able to write all these things. How? He took shelter of Narada Rsi. Narada told him, "Take shelter of bhakti." At first Vyasa said, "I cannot do anything, I cannot realize anything." sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja aham tvam sarva-papebhyo moksayisyami ma sucah ["Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear." (Bhagavad-gita: 18.66)] Mam eka eva. Who is telling this? Krishna. Not only one time, but several times in Gita He has spoken like this. daivi hy esa guna-mayi mama maya duratyaya mam eva ye prapadyante mayam etam taranti te ["This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it." (Bhagavad-gita 7.14)] Rama, Nrsingha, Kalki, and Vamana are not separate gods. Krishna is the only God. He is manifesting Himself sometimes as Rama, sometimes as Himself, Krishna, and sometimes as others. There are not many different supreme Gods. The one supreme God is Krishna. Who is Sankara? Who is Hanuman, Durga, and Kali? Muslims or Westerners sometimes say, "You Hindus are worshippers of so many gods and goddesses." But we can never ever worship others as God. The only God is Krishna. Sankara must be followed as guru, Parvati, as guru, and Hanuman as guru. In the service of Rama, only one very small monkey came flying in the air from India, he entered Lanka, and in a moment he destroyed and burnt the whole city. How? Sankara had become Hanuman. There are so many examples in sastra which explain how Sankara is the subordinate servant of Krishna. Bhasmasura wanted to burn Sankara. He had a boon from him, but Krishna came and saved him Otherwise, Sankara was in great danger. Vedic culture says that you should honor your mother and father. Honor the guru. This is our duty. Speak the truth. Be nonviolent. These are ordinary matters. However, if your mother and father go against God, you should leave them. Bharata's mother was Kaikeyi. When Ramachandra was ordered to go into the forest for fourteen years by the influence of Kaikeyi, Bharata told her, "Our relation is cut. Now you should not call me son and I will not call you mother." Bharata was a very high class of devotee, and he left his mother. Mirabai's husband and family were opposed to her bhakti. She wrote to Tulasidasa for advice, and he wrote back to immediately leave them. Even Bali Maharaj rejected his guru, Sukracarya, because he was opposed to giving anything to Vamanadeva. We see that all the gopis left their husbands. Why? This is our dharma. This is Vedic Culture. Etavan eva loke'smin Who is the Supreme God? Krishna Himself. Rama Himself. In this iron-age of Kali, the only kirtana is: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. This is Vedic culture, especially in this age. You cannot concentrate your mind, even for a moment. It is very hard. You have no time to worship. From morning until the next morning you are always absorbed. When will you do arcana? Also, you cannot do arcana. You can, however, chant the name even while you are driving a car, Hare Krishna, walking, Hare Krishna, in the day, Hare Krishna, and in the night, Hare Krishna. You can chant, "Govinda Damodara Madhaveti" when you are doing anything. While driving the car, why not chant? Using the steering wheel to keep time, you can chant, "Govinda Damodara Madhaveti." While walking in a good park, why not take your mala and chant, "Govinda Damodara Madhaveti"? When your son is weeping, you should not tell him to sleep. Tell him instead, "You should chant, 'Govinda Damodara Madhaveti.'" At the birth of your sons and daughters, you should chant, "Govinda Damodara Madhaveti." Even at the death of your father, mother, wife, or any relative, you can take them on your shoulder and tell them, "Govinda Damodara Madhaveti." You can quarrel with anyone and chant. You should chant while you are quarreling, "Govinda Damodara Madhaveti" - and be happy forever, eternally. This is the essence of Vedic culture. If this culture is not there, it means there is no Vedic culture. Try to have love and affection for all, even for an ant. If you want to realize yourself, if you want to realize the Supreme Personality of Godhead, if you want to realize this maya and this whole universe, what should you do? Chant, "Govinda Damodara Madhaveti."
  8. Srila Gurudeva is visiting 26, Second Ave, New York. Шрила Гурудева посешает Второе Авеню, 26, в Нью-Йорке.
  9. Shrila Gurudeva is visiting the Thompkins Square Park in New York. Шрила Гурудева посешает Томпкинс-сквер-парк в Нью Йорке.
  10. This year, 2017, June 25th and 26th around the world is the commemoration of the divine Ratha Yatra festival. Please accept this lecture excerpted from Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja's book, The Origin of Ratha-yatra, chapter 5. Mahaprabhu's mood at Ratha-yatra At the beginning of the Ratha-yatra Festival, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu offers a prayer to Jagannatha-deva, not to His form as Lord Jagannatha or Vasudeva-Krsna, but to His form as Vrajendra-nandana Sri Krsna: jayati jana-nivaso devaki-janma-vado yadu-vara-parisat svair dorbhir asyann adharmam sthira-cara-vrjina-ghnah su-smita-sri-mukhena vraja-pura-vanitanam vardhayan kama-devam Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.90.48) ["Sri Krsna is He who is known as jana-nivasa, the ultimate resort of all living entities, and who is also known as Devaki-nandana or Yasoda-nandana, the son of Devaki and Yasoda. He is the guide of the Yadu dynasty, and with His mighty arms He kills everything inauspicious, as well as every man who is impious. By His presence He destroys all things inauspicious for all living entities, moving and inert. His blissful smiling face always increases the lusty desires of the gopis of Vrndavana. May He be all-glorious and happy."] Caitanya Mahaprabhu is praying in the mood of Srimati Radhika meeting Krsna at Kuruksetra. There, by their mood, the gopis bring Krsna to Vrndavana and decorate Him with flowers. By their mood they forcibly give Him the flute He left in Vrndavana with Mother Yasoda, along with His peacock feather, and they whisper in His ear, "Don't say that Your father and mother are Vasudeva and Devaki. Don't say that You are from the Yadu dynasty and that You are a Yadava. Say only that You are a gopa." Krsna replies, "Yes, I will follow your instructions." Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu prays, jayati jana-nivaso devakijanma- vado. This sloka, which Sri Sanatana Gosvami has quoted in his Brhad-bhagavatamrta, has many profound meanings. If Caitanya Mahaprabhu or Srila Sanatana Gosvami were to explain it, they would do so with a hundred different meanings, each deeper and more unfathomable than the previous one. It contains the entire Srimad-Bhagavatam from beginning to end. The general meaning of jana-nivasa is, "You are always in the hearts of all as Paramatma." However, Krsna cannot live as Paramatma in the hearts of the Vrajavasis; He can only be present there in the form of Vrajendra-nandana Syamasundara. Jana also means nija-jana (near and dear), and therefore it means Krsna's personal associates. All the Vrajavasis are Krsna's nijajana, for He is the jivana (life-air) of Nanda, Yasoda, all His friends, and especially of the gopis. He is also radhika-jivanera jivana, the very life of Radhika's life, and He always resides in Her heart. This relationship is reciprocal; the Vrajavasis are His life, just as much as He is theirs. Devaki-janma-vado. Only Mathuravasis and worldly people can say that Krsna took birth from the womb of Mother Devaki. General people say this, but actually He is the son of Mother Yasoda; she is His real mother. Yadu-vara-parisat svair dorbhir. The members of the Yadu dynasty are the nija-jana of Dvarakadhisa-Krsna, for they are His associates. It seems that this sloka refers to Vasudeva-Krsna, and describes Arjuna, Bhima, and His other associates as His arms. Vasudeva-Krsna fought in the Mahabharata War and in various other battles, and He fought with Paundraka Vasudeva and other demons. The sloka seems to describe dvaraka-lila, but actually, in its deeper meaning, it glorifies Vrajendra-nandana Krsna. In Vrndavana, Krsna killed Putana and other demons with his own arms. Moreover, in Vrndavana He killed the greatest demon – the feelings of separation felt by Srimati Radhika and the gopis. Sthira-cara-vrjina-ghnah su-smita-sri-mukhena vraja-puravanitanam. In Vrndavana, Krsna always took away all kinds of problems and suffering, simply with His smiling face and His flute. What was the suffering of the Vrajavasis? It was only their mood of separation from Him. They had no other problems at all. This verse includes the pastimes of Gokula, Vrndavana, Radha-kunda, Syama-kunda, rasa-lila, and all the other Vraja pastimes as well. Vardhayan kamadevam. In this connection, Kamadeva does not mean lust, but prema. What kind of prema? Sneha, mana, pranaya, raga, anuraga, bhava, and mahabhava. The gopis tell Krsna, "You are that person – that Kamadeva." In this way, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is offering pranama and praying, putting the whole of Srimad-Bhagavatam, and all of Krsna's pastimes as well, into this one sloka. The meaning of gopi-bhartuh As I have explained before, Mahaprabhu very rarely sees Jagannatha, Baladeva, and Subhadra. When He does, He at once enters a mood of very intense separation and prays, "After a long time I am meeting with My most beloved, for whom I was burning in the fire of separation." He addresses Jagannatha as gopibhartuh and prays, "Pada-kamalayor dasa-dasanudasah." The word gopi-bhartuh reveals Krsna's relationship with the gopis, for it means "the gopis' most beloved," or "He who is always controlled by the gopis." Mahaprabhu concludes, "I want to be the servant of the servant of the servant of that Krsna." naham vipro na ca nara-patir napi vaisyo na sudro naham varni na ca grha-patir no vanastho yatir va kintu prodyan-nikhila-paramananda-purnamrtabdher gopi-bhartuh pada-kamalayor dasa-dasanudasah Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 13.80) ["I am not a brahmana, a ksatriya, a vaisya, or a sudra. Nor am I a brahmacari, a grhastha, a vanaprastha, or a sannyasi. I identify Myself only as the servant of the servant of the servant of the lotus feet of Sri Krsna, the maintainer of the gopis. He is like an ocean of nectar, and He is the cause of universal transcendental bliss. He is always existing in full brilliance."] Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu prays not only for Himself, but for everyone. He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, gopibhartuh Himself, and He offers prayers in order to teach us how to pray. He is teaching us our actual identity; we are not Indian or American, nor are we from Great Britain or anywhere else. We are not brahmanas, administrative ksatriyas, mercantile vaisyas or sudra laborers, nor are we brahmacari students, grhastha householders, retired vanaprasthas, or sannyasis in the renounced order. We are eternally servants of Krsna. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu uses the name gopi-bhartuh for further clarification, and by this He is indicating, "We are not servants of that Krsna who lived here and there in Dvaraka without His flute. Others may be, but as for My associates and Myself, we are only gopi-bhartuh pada-kamalayor dasa-dasanudasah, the servants of the servants of the servants of the lotus feet of Sri Krsna, the beloved of the gopis." Who is gopi-bhartuh? He is Radha-kanta, Radha-ramana, and Gopinatha. The gopis must be there as the aradhya (worshipable deities) of Krsna. He must be their worshiper, and then we are His servants; otherwise not. We are not Krsna's servants if Rukmini and Satyabhama are there, or if He is four-handed and holding His Sudarsana cakra. Krsna must be with the gopis, He must be controlled by their prominence, and especially by Radha. We are servants of that Krsna. We are all transcendental, and our intrinsic, constitutional nature is to serve Krsna; but we are not servants of all His manifestations. There are very big differences in these manifestations, and to be the servant of gopi-bhartuh is very, very rare. We can consider that those who have come in the line of Mahaprabhu are radha-dasis, as gopi-bhartuh pada-kamalayor dasadasanudasah only applies to the maidservants of Radhika. Caitanya Mahaprabhu's statement therefore refers to those who are coming in His disciplic line, those who are coming in the line of Srila Rupa Gosvami, Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, and our entire guru-parampara. One day, if our creeper of bhakti blossoms and the fruits and flowers of prema-bhakti manifest, we will be able to realize this. This is the aim and object of our life. Leading up to the meeting: Krsna sends Uddhava to Vraja Mahaprabhu was so absorbed that He could not utter Jagannatha's name. He could only chant, "Jaja gaga! Jaja gaga!" Tears fell from His eyes, and His heart melted. One can realize this state only if he is a devotee of the highest standard. What was the cause of Mahaprabhu's bitter weeping? What was the reason behind it? Mahaprabhu told Svarupa Damodara to sing a song that suited His mood, and Svarupa Damodara began to sing: sei ta parana-natha painu yaha lagi' madana-dahane jhuri' genu Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 13.113) ["Now I have gained the Lord of My life, in whose absence I was being burned by Cupid and was withering away."] You will have to consult Srimad-Bhagavatam to understand the meaning of this verse, because the history of Ratha-yatra has been indicated there. Krsna left Vraja at the age of eleven1 [Krsna is exactly ten years and eight months old when He leaves for Mathura,but His transcendental body is like that of a full-grown kaisora of fourteen orfifteen years] and went first to Mathura, and then after some time He went to Dvaraka. While He was in Mathura, He sent Uddhava to console the gopis, and later He also sent Baladeva Prabhu from Dvaraka to console them. The gopis had now been feeling separation for a long time. Everyone in Vrndavana was feeling separation from Him, and even the cows and calves were upset. The gopas and gopis were weeping continuously, and everyone, including the entire forest of Vrndavana, was drying up. When Krsna was sending Uddhava from Mathura, He told him,"Uddhava, go to Vrndavana and pacify My father and mother, Nanda and Yasoda, and especially pacify the gopis who have given Me their life and soul and everything they possess. The gopis always remember Me, and they do nothing else. They never decorate themselves and they have even given up taking their meals. They don't bathe and they don't even sleep." mac-citta mad-gata-prana bodhayantah parasparam kathayantas ca mam nityam tusyanti ca ramanti ca Bhagavad-gita (10.9) ["The thoughts of My pure devotees dwell in Me, their lives are fully devoted to serving Me, and they derive great satisfaction and bliss from always enlightening one another and conversing about Me."] The gopis' only relief from their feelings of separation came when they sometimes fainted and sometimes slept. However, even these two friends – fainting and sleeping – abandoned the gopis when Krsna took them with Him to Mathura. In this way Krsna sent Uddhava to Vraja, and there Uddhava related His message, word by word, letter by letter. However, this only made the gopis more unhappy. Previously they had thought, "Krsna has promised that He will come;" but after hearing the message, they thought, "Krsna will never come," and they felt even more separation. Srimati Radharani began to weep: he natha he rama-natha vraja-natharti-nasana magnam uddhara govinda gokulam vrjinarnavat Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.47.52) ["O master of My life, O master of the goddess of fortune, O master of Vraja! O destroyer of all suffering, Govinda, please lift Your Gokula out of the ocean of distress in which it is drowning!"] Srimati Radhika said, "I am dying without Krsna. My dear sakhis, if Krsna does not come, I will die; I will surely die. Take My body, place it at the base of a tamala tree, and place My arms around that tree so that I may feel connected to Krsna. I pray that the water in My body will mix with Pavana-sarovara where Krsna bathes, so that I may touch Him. Let the air in this body go to Nanda Baba's courtyard and touch Krsna when He is fanned. May the fire in this body become rays of sunshine in Nanda Baba's courtyard, and then My soul will be happy. Now I cannot see Krsna, or touch Him." She was in a very pitiful condition, always in a mood of deep separation. Krsna was also feeling unbearable separation, but no one knew that. The gopis could share their suffering with each other, but Krsna could not share His feelings with anyone. He wept alone. This is why He sent Uddhava to Vrndavana; He wanted Uddhava to be admitted into the school of the gopis, so that he would learn the meaning of the two-and-a-half letters in the word prema. [Unlike English, which has only full letters, Sanskrit words can contain both full and half letters.] Krsna considered, "When Uddhava understands the love of the gopis, he will be qualified to realize My feelings of separation." When Uddhava returned from Vraja, he told Krsna about the glories of the gopis and their one-pointed love. He said, "It is so very high that I could not touch it. I only saw that mountain of love from a great distance, but still it was so high that my hat fell off the back of my head as I looked up at it. I cannot imagine how glorious the gopis are. I wanted to take the dust of their lotus feet, but now I am hopeless. I am not qualified to touch their foot-dust, so I simply offer pranama to it from very far away. Uddhava then uttered the following prayer in glorification of the gopis: vande nanda-vraja-strinam pada-renum abhiksnasah yasam hari-kathodgitam punati bhuvana-trayam Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.47.63) ["I repeatedly offer my respects to the dust from the feet of the women of Nanda Maharaja's cowherd village. When these gopis loudly chant the glories of Sri Krsna, the vibration purifies the three worlds."] Instead of becoming pacified by Uddhava's explanation, Krsna felt more and more separation. He wanted to go to Vraja, but for some reason He could not. What Krsna never told before Krsna had told Uddhava, "My father and mother are weeping bitterly. They have become blind, and they are hardly more than skeletons. Perhaps they will only live for one or two days more; in fact, they may die at any moment. Please go and pacify them. And go also to the gopis. I know that My father and mother are weeping bitterly, that they are blind, and may die... but I don't know what is the condition of the gopis. They are feeling the topmost separation for Me. I don't know whether they are alive, or if they have already died; so go at once, quickly. They always remember Me, keeping Me on the chariots of their minds, without any selfish motive. They know that nobody in Mathura knows My heart." The gopis know that Krsna is very shy, and cannot ask anyone for something to eat when He feels hungry. Yasoda-maiya is not present in His palace; so who will pacify Him, and who will serve Him? This is why the gopis feel so much separation. Krsna had told Uddhava, "The gopis are mat-prana, My life and soul." He had not said this about His father and mother, only about the gopis. He continued, "They have left everything for Me. For My sake, they have stopped caring for their bodies and have forgotten all their bodily duties. I am their only beloved, and they are My most beloved; indeed, they are My life and soul. They have left their shyness and their worldly responsibilities, and they have also abandoned all social etiquette for Me. For My sake, they have disobeyed their parents and left their source of maintenance. I must somehow save them and maintain them. Now they are far away, thinking, 'Krsna will surely come tomorrow. If we die now, He will also die when He finds out.' This is the reason they somehow maintain their lives without dying. "The gopis think, 'Krsna has promised, and He cannot break His promise. He must come. He will come tomorrow.' That is why they maintain their lives. Actually, I think that they are not maintaining their own lives. Their lives rest in Me, and I am maintaining them, otherwise they would have been finished. Go at once and see whether they have died or not; and if not, please pacify them." Krsna had only spoken like this about the gopis; never about anyone else, including Arjuna and the Pandavas, or His queens, Satyabhama and Rukmini. The gopis are unique in their boundless and causeless love and affection for Krsna. Our highest aim and object is the love for Krsna that is in the gopis, and especially in Radhika. When Radhika was feeling separation, gopis like Lalita, Visakha, Citra, Campakalata, and Rupa Manjari were serving Her and trying to pacify Her; but who could actually pacify Her? She was totally mad, with no external sense at all. The others were trying to pacify Her because their consciousness was still somewhat functional. Their love is very high, millions of times greater than that of Uddhava, Satyabhama, and Rukmini, and higher even than that of the other sakhis of Vrndavana; but it is not as high as Radhika's love. Radhika was totally mad, as Uddhava saw when he witnessed Her talking to the bumblebee. Actually, Krsna Himself had gone to Vraja in the form of that bumblebee, and He also saw that Radhika was totally mad. She was lying on a bed of rose petals, which had become dried up by the touch of Her body, and all the candana that had been put on Her body to cool Her was also completely dried. At first, Uddhava could not understand whether She was dead or alive. Then, he saw that Radhika was very angry with Krsna, criticizing and abusing Him, and calling Him an ungrateful cheater. No one else could have spoken to Krsna in this way, including Satyabhama and the other queens, and even Mother Yasoda and Nanda Baba. Radhika told Him, "You are ungrateful, and You are like a six-legged bumblebee. Human beings have two legs and animals have four; but bumblebees have six legs, so they are more ignorant than any animal. We don't want to have any relationship with that black person whose heart is as black as a bumblebee. Rama was also black, and he cheated Surpanakha and cut off her nose and ears." Srimad-Bhagavatam is actually an explanation of the glory of Radhika's love. Her love is supreme, and it is the goal of all living beings. We can never grasp its breadth, but we can taste a drop of it, and even that one drop can drown the entire universe. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu gave Srila Rupa Gosvami that drop of the endless ocean of nectar, bhakti-rasa. If we can serve the gopis, and especially Radhika, we can also have love and affection for Krsna, and then we can feel separation. Otherwise, it will never be possible. Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the Six Gosvamis, Srimad- Bhagavatam, and Sukadeva Gosvami have proclaimed this conclusion: our goal is krsna-prema, the prema that the gopis have for Krsna. Previously, Uddhava had heard about how much love and affection the gopis have for Krsna, but he had no experience of it. He had heard that the gopis are Krsna's most beloved, and that Krsna is their most beloved, but even knowing this, he could not know the intensity and the ways of their love. Uddhava also loves Krsna, and thinks, "Krsna is my master, He is also like my brother, and we have so many other relationships." However, Krsna did not say anything about Uddhava's love. Rather, He told him to go to Vraja and learn there: "Go and realize the nature of prema." He said, "There is no one in Mathura like these gopis." Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has mercifully sprinkled a drop of that love on the world (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Adi-lila 1.4)): anarpita-carim cirat karunayavatirnah kalau samarpayitum unnatojjvala-rasam sva-bhakti-sriyam harih purata-sundara-dyuti-kadamba-sandipitah sada hrdaya-kandare sphuratu vah saci-nandanah ["May the Supreme Lord who is known as the son of Srimati Sacidevi be transcendentally situated in the innermost chambers of your heart. Resplendent with the radiance of molten gold, He has appeared in the age of Kali by His causeless mercy to bestow what no incarnation has ever offered before: the most sublime and radiant mellow of devotional service, the mellow of amorous love. Uddhava failed the entrance exam Uddhava had great love and affection for Krsna, but when he arrived in Vraja, he realized that vraja-prema was totally new to him. He saw Krsna playing with all His sakhas. Millions and millions of cows were hankering after Him, and milk was flowing from their bulging udders because of their spontaneous love. The very beautiful black and white calves were jumping here and there, and Nanda Baba's big bulls were fighting with each other. As Uddhava saw that scene, beautiful ghee lamps flickered in the gopis' rooms, and the light from these lamps was soft and fragrant – not like the dead light from electric bulbs. Varieties of flowers spread their sweet aroma in all directions, and the songs of the humming bumblebees were like the blowing of Cupid's conchshell. Cuckoos and other birds were singing everywhere, and peacocks were dancing about and calling, "Ke kaw! Ke kaw!" All the gopis were churning yogurt and singing, "Govinda Damodara Madhaveti." They were all very beautiful, and Mother Yasoda was the most beautiful of all. How else could Krsna have become so beautiful? He would only have been black otherwise; it was because of her that His beauty was like the luster of pearls. Uddhava saw all this, but in a moment the scene changed completely, and now he saw that all the residents of Vrndavana were weeping for Krsna: "O Krsna, where are You? Where are You?" Cows were not going out to graze. They simply wept, keeping their heads and eyes toward Mathura, and the calves were not drinking the milk from the udders of their mothers. The peacocks were not dancing; rather, they looked as if they were blind. Every person and creature was mad in separation from Krsna. It was now evening, and Uddhava found himself in Krsna's home, where he became dumbstruck to see the love and affection of Mother Yasoda and Nanda Baba. He could never have imagined that such high-class love could exist, but now he was able to realize something of its elevated nature. Early the next morning, Uddhava went to Kadamba-kyari, where, by Krsna's mercy, he was able to see the gopis, who were all mad in separation and just about to die. This is why Krsna had sent him to Vrndavana: to try to be admitted into the school of the gopis. Krsna had told him, "Be admitted into the school in which I studied. Then, when you return, we will be able to have some discussion about love and affection. First, go and become qualified." However, Uddhava was not qualified for admittance into the school of the gopis. His entrance examination score was about 25 percent, but the gopis demanded more than 85 percent. Still, although they rejected him, he was able to enter the school and see the very high-class students there. He saw professors like Visakha and Lalita, and he saw the principal, Radhika Herself. Now he knew something of the glories of the gopis, and he realized a little of their love for Krsna. He had never seen anything like this before, and now he felt, "If I want to love Krsna, I must be admitted into this school. But I am not qualified." He therefore requested the gopis, "If you do not admit me, can you at least take me on as a servant, to bring water and clean the school?" The gopis rejected even that request, however, and they told him, "You should go back to Mathura. First become qualified, and then you can sweep our kuïjas; you cannot sweep here at the moment." Uddhava then prayed: vande nanda-vraja-strinam pada-renum abhiksnasah yasam hari-kathodgitam punati bhuvana-trayam Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.47.63) Nanda-vraja-strinam means the beloved gopis of Krsna. Uddhava prayed to them, "I want to offer myself unto the dust of your lotus feet. I want to keep even one particle of your foot-dust on my head, and if I can only get one particle of dust, it must be Srimati Radhika's." Neither Brahma nor Sankara, nor even Satyabhama and the other Dvaraka queens, can attain this. Krsna had sent Uddhava to see the glories of the gopis, and now he saw Mount Everest, the highest peak of the Himalayas of the gopis' love. He could not become like them, however, so he had to return to Krsna empty-handed. "I went there and saw something very mysterious and wonderful, which I cannot explain," he told Krsna. "You told me about the gopis, and what I saw was even more wonderful than what You told me. But I had to return without realizing anything." Yasam hari-kathodgitam, punati bhuvana-trayam. The songs of the gopis, such as Bhramara-gita and Gopi-gita, purify the whole universe, and if one recites them, or even remembers them, he will actually be purified. So try to recite all these songs (gitas) and know them. The meanings are very deep, and Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja wanted to teach that the very wonderful moods therein are our aim and object. He wanted to teach this and he did discuss it in his books, but how could he actually plant it in barren lands and deserts? First he had to cultivate the lands to make them fertile. He wanted to give this highest goal, but in the meantime his Svamini, Srimati Radhika, called to him, "Come at once! We need your service." This is our goal – the dust of the lotus feet of Srimati Radhika. asam aho carana-renu-jusam aham syam vrndavane kim api gulma-latausadhinam ya dustyajam sva-janam arya-patham ca hitva bhejur mukunda-padavim srutibhir vimrgyam Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.47.61) ["The gopis of Vrndavana have abandoned the association of their husbands, sons, and other family members who are very difficult to give up, and they have forsaken the path of chastity to take shelter of the lotus feet of Mukunda, Krsna, which one should search for by Vedic knowledge. Oh, let me be fortunate enough to be one of the bushes, creepers, or herbs in Vrndavana, because the gopis trample them and bless them with the dust of their lotus feet."] Uddhava prayed, "If I cannot attain Radhika's lotus feet, then I will be satisfied with the dust particles from the feet of any of Her sakhis. I don't want the dust of Krsna's lotus feet, because I will have to take a particle of the gopis' moods if I want to please Krsna." We must engage in the process given by Srila Rupa Gosvami, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, and Srila Narottama dasa Thakura. The teaching of our present acaryas is the same wine in new bottles. The bottles are different colors, but the wine is the same. If you drink that wine, you will certainly become mad, but this madness is actually desirable. Krsna meets His parents at Kuruksetra Years later there was to be a solar eclipse and Krsna planned to go to Kuruksetra with all His commanders, His army, and all His 16,108 queens. He did not invite Nanda Baba directly, but He thought, "Father will know, and he will not be able to remain in Vraja. He will come at once; he must come." In Vrndavana, Nanda Baba somehow came to know about the religious function to be held at Kuruksetra. Thus, all the gopas, gopis, and young people prepared their bullock carts and proceeded toward Kuruksetra, leaving Upananda and some other elders in Vraja to look after everything. They took with them many personal items for Krsna, such as butter and other things that He liked, and on the way they constantly remembered: "Krsna, Krsna, Krsna." By then, the gopis had been lamenting for perhaps fifty, sixty, or seventy years. Krsna also felt separation for that long, but even after all those years, He was still youthful (kisora), and the gopis remained young as well. In the meantime, the sun was covered by a shadow and the whole world became dark. According to Vedic culture, during a solar eclipse one should take bath three times: when it is just beginning, when the sun is fully covered, and when it is again fully visible. At that time, one should bathe and give donations in charity. It is written in Indian history and in the Vedas and Upanisads that many kings used to donate their entire wealth to the brahmanas and needy persons. Every golden pot and utensil was given in charity. Having given away their own clothing, keeping only a loincloth for themselves, the kings themselves would become penniless. Those charitable persons were giving so much charity that there was no longer anyone to take it. Those who had accepted charity began to give charity to others. They gave their charity in charity, and therefore there was no one left to think, "I want charity." All were giving and all were satisfied – because Krsna was there. Even recently in India, many people would donate all these things. Now, however, although giving in charity is for the betterment of the donors, this culture is gradually reducing. Everyone bathed there at Kuruksetra, made their donations, and after that they came to Krsna's tent to take His darsana. Thousands and thousands of rsis, maharsis, brahmavadis, realized souls like Narada, Bhisma Pitamaha (the grandfather of the Kauravas and Pandavas), Vyasadeva, Gautama, Yajïavalkya, Duryodhana and all his brothers, Dronacarya, Karna, and all the Kauravas came from all over India, and from all over the world. Rsis and maharsis from the Caspian sea, like Kasyapa, also came, and from Mongolia, sages like Mangala Rsi came with all his sons and daughters. Almost all the kings of the world had assembled there to bathe in the very pious lake there, and the crowd consisted of more than ten million people. All were there to bathe in that lake, and all were residing there in separate camps. Now, everyone assembled in the camp of Vasudeva and Devaki to take darsana of Krsna, and they began to enter His tent. His tent was so large that thousands of people could sit inside. Although there was no arrangement for a loudspeaker, everyone could easily hear Him speak, and in fact everyone thought, "Krsna is sitting near me. I'm joking with Him, I'm telling Him something, and He is very happy to hear it." The Pandavas – Yudhisthira, Arjuna, Bhima, Nakula, Sahadeva, and Draupadi – had also joined the assembly, and their mother, Kunti, was also there. Kunti met with her brother Vasudeva, and pitifully weeping with tears falling profusely from her eyes, she told him, "Brother, you did not remember me when my sons were given poison, when they were about to burn in a fire, or when all their wealth, kingdom, and everything else was taken and we were begging here and there. Like a demon, Duryodhana cheated my sons. He drove them from their kingdom, and he and Duhsasana also tried to strip Draupadi in the big council where Dhrtarastra, Bhisma Pitamaha, and other elders were present. You are my brother. You should have remembered me." Weeping loudly, she put her arms around Vasudeva's neck, and Vasudeva Maharaja also began to weep. Kunti continued, "Perhaps, my brother, you forgot me." Vasudeva replied, "O elder sister, please do not lament. This was all caused by the time factor of Sri Bhagavan. At that time my wife and I were imprisoned in the jail of Kamsa, and we were suffering so grievously. Kamsa was always abusing and insulting us. His men bound me in iron chains and they were kicking me with their boots. How could I do anything? Moreover, our six sons were killed right in front of us, snatched from my lap and put to death. Luckily, Baladeva and Krsna are saved. I was in unbearable distress, and that is why I could not help you. Nevertheless, despite everything, somehow I always remembered you, and when I came out of jail I sent my first message to you. "Everything depends on the mercy of God. Sometimes we meet and sometimes we are separated from each other. Sometimes there is suffering and sorrow, and sometimes we are very prosperous. Nothing depends on any soul. Don't worry anymore. Now it is over." In this way Vasudeva was consoling Kunti. In the meantime, Nanda Baba and the Vrajavasis were coming on many bullock carts. Mother Yasoda, Nanda Baba, all the gopis like Srimati Radhika, Lalita, and Visakha, and all Krsna's cowherd friends like Dama, Sridama, Sudama, Vasudama, Stoka-krsna, Madhumangala, and all others were on their way. Thousands of gopas and gopis were on their way to Krsna. While everyone else was meeting with Krsna, someone came and told Him and Baladeva, "Oh, Your father and mother are coming in a bullock cart." When Krsna heard this, He immediately left all the members of the assembly. Although there were many thousands upon thousands of devotees, like Kasyapa, Kavi, Havi, Antariksa, Narada, Vasistha, Agastya, and Valmiki, Krsna left them all and began to run at once towards Yasoda and Nanda – weeping with tears in His eyes. In one second His heart had melted, and now He called out, "Oh, Mother is coming? Father is coming?" Upset, He cried out, "Mother, Mother, where are you?" The bullock cart had now stopped. Baladeva Prabhu was following Krsna, and they both exclaimed, "Oh, the bullock cart is here." Nanda Baba and Yasoda-maiya came down from the cart, and when they saw Krsna they became overwhelmed and began to weep, "O my son, my son! Krsna, Krsna!" Standing at a distance, all the gopas and gopis, including Radha, Lalita, and Visakha, were also weeping. Somehow they had been tolerating their separation from Krsna while traveling from Vraja, and in Vraja they were also somewhat tolerating. Now, however, as they came nearer and nearer, their tolerance began to disappear and they began to cry like babies. Krsna at once sat on the lap of Yasoda-maiya, and Baladeva Prabhu fell at the feet of Nanda Baba. Seeing Krsna, whom she had lost for years and years, all Yasoda-maiya's separation mood, in the form of tears, began to flow out. She wept loudly, "My dear son! My dear son!" She covered Krsna's face as she had done when He was a baby, and milk flowed automatically from her breasts. She covered Him as though He was a helpless, small baby and she wept bitterly – so bitterly. In Vrndavana she had never wept as much as she did now. There she was like a statue, and her heart was dried up in separation. Krsna had also been like dry wood, or like a stone, but now He also wept aloud. Nanda Baba took Baladeva in his lap and he also began to weep, and it was a very piteous scene. Krsna cried out, "Mother! Mother!" Baladeva Prabhu, sitting on the lap of Nanda Baba, was crying out, "Father! Father!" and Nanda Baba caressed him. Having followed Krsna, Vasudeva, Devaki, and Mother Rohini arrived there, and Rohini thought, "Oh, how very wonderful this situation is!" Krsna had always been somewhat shy in front of Devaki. If He was hungry, He would tell Mother Rohini – not Devaki – and now Devaki saw Him weep uncontrollably. Devaki thought, "Krsna never sat on my lap. He has never called me, 'Mother, Mother.' But now He is in the arms of Yasoda crying, 'Mother, Mother, Mother.' Yasoda thinks, 'Krsna is my own son,' and Krsna also thinks, 'My mother is only Yasoda – not Devaki.' Yasoda will surely take Krsna and return to Vraja. Krsna will go forever and He will never return to Dvaraka!" She wanted to tell Yasoda, "O Yasoda, Krsna is not your son. He is my son, but now He is forgetting me and accepting you as His real mother." She also wanted to tell Krsna, "You are not the son of Yasoda. You are my son." She could not say all this in the assembly of so many persons, however, and therefore she spoke her mind in a roundabout way. Being very intelligent, she said, "O dear friend Yasoda, you are wonderful and merciful. When we were in the prison of Kamsa, we could not support Krsna. Then, in a hidden way, we sent our son to Gokula – to you. Although He is my son, you have kept and supported Him. You have nourished Him better than anyone could nourish her own son. Although you knew that Krsna is my son, you nourished Him as though He was yours. As the eyelids protect the most important part of the eyes – the pupils – you protected Krsna. You never thought, 'He is the son of Devaki.' You saw Him only as your son. I see, therefore, that there is no one as merciful as you in the entire world. You are very humble and broadminded, and you have served Him up to now. Because of this, He never remembers me. He always thinks that you are His mother." Rohini saw that Devaki was trying to do something wrong – she was trying to come between Yasoda and Krsna. Rohini wanted her not to disturb them. To trick her, therefore, she quickly said, "Oh, Mother Kunti and so many more persons are waiting for you. We should go there." She cleverly sent her away to welcome all the guests, and she also sent Vasudeva Maharaja. After some time Yasoda-maiya became relieved, but she could not say anything. She was not in a state to say anything, and Krsna was also in that condition. There was now only an exchange of moods – from heart to heart. Yasoda then thought, "Outside, nearby, all the gopis like Lalita, Visakha, and Srimati Radhika are waiting. They cannot meet Krsna if I am here – and Nanda Baba and Baladeva are also here." Up until now the gopis were checking their moods of separation and their lives remained in their bodies. Once they reached Krsna, however, they could no longer tolerate a moment's separation. They were about to die. Being very kind and generous, Mother Yasoda thought, "They will die if I do not give a chance to them at once. I must take everyone away from here, by trick, and then the gopis will come. If I delay, they will all die. They cannot tolerate the separation any longer." I remember an example from my boyhood, when I was fifteen. My father was a farmer. I went with him to a place far from my house, and there I picked a bundle of very delicious, beautiful green chickpeas. At first I thought the bundle was very light, when I reached the midway point it became heavy, and as my village became nearer I could not bear the weight. When I came into the village I should have instantly fallen down, but somehow I persevered. When I reached the door of my house, however, I could not take the load inside. I dropped it outside. This was also the case with the gopis. When they were in Vraja they were somehow tolerating separation, and as they traveled to Krsna their separation-feeling increased. Then, when they saw Krsna but had no chance to meet Him because Yasoda, Nanda Baba, and others were with Him, they could not endure the separation at all. Yasoda realized this fact, and she at once took the hand of Baladeva Prabhu. She put his fingers in her hand and, looking towards Nanda Baba, she told him, "Let us meet with the others." Being very intelligent, Baladeva Prabhu also considered, "If I am here, the gopis will not come," and he hurriedly left with his parents. Yasoda thus went to Devaki and embraced her, and some dialogue ensued. Nanda Baba met with Vasudeva and others, and they also engaged in conversation.