Gurudeva Katha 1997 Lectures The Metaphor and Lila of Swallowing the Forest Fire - 13 Feb...

The Metaphor and Lila of Swallowing the Forest Fire – 13 Feb 1997 Australia

Krsna came to Bandhirvan. The Yamuna was flowing there. He sat under a banyan tree that was called Bandhirvat. All the cowherd boys kept Krsna in the center, making one, two, three circles—so many circles. Those who were far away from Krsna, those who were behind Krsna, those who were at the sides, here and there, they all felt that, ‘Krsna is sitting in front of me, joking with me and giving me something and taking something.’ All those who were sitting there were thinking like that.

Then the cows saw that very beautiful grass and more beautiful grass was ahead. Leaving Krsna behind, they began to go towards that grass. When they reached that place, they saw that more green was ahead of them. In this way they went on, far away from Krsna, leaving Him behind. At last they reached a place where there was no green grass, anything. There was only sand. And in that sand were so many tall, dry grasses. That is called munjavati. And they were all tired, it was summer. Those grasses were so high, that many elephants can go [inside] and would not be able to come out.

When the cows entered that forest of big, big grasses, they went in, but they were not finding any way to come out of that forest. They forgot their way. At that time it was a hot and dry summer day. The cows began to cry, they could not bear so much heat. They became so very thirsty, as if they will die. They wanted to come out of these dense grasses. But they found no way.

The cowherd boys were making so many jolly things, taking each other, playing something. One boy said, “Where are all our cows? They are our wealth. Where are they?”

They could not find them. They began to run here and there to search, but they did not seek any advice from Krsna. They had left Krsna behind. They went to search. They followed the cows by seeing the grass, that had come from their mouth. The cows took the grass. By this, understand?

Audience: Footprint.

By this sign, not footprint. The cows were eating grass and by this made a trail.

The cowherd boys entered and they also became like 

the cows. So thirsty, and it was so heat, from upper side, from lower, everywhere. All the senses were burning. They began to cry.

In the mean time some demons of Kamsa saw that all cows and cowherd friends were together and Krsna and Baladeva were not here. They thought, “We should give fire and they will all die. And then Krsna and Baladeva, they themselves will die, without extra cause.”

Then they made fire in that forest. And in a moment, the friend of fire came in his chariot. Which means, the wind came and took the flames from here to there and everywhere was fire, fire. And it was dry grass. The fire began to go so high and in a moment all the friends and cows were surrounded by this dangerous fire. They saw that, “There is no way, now we are dead.”

So they shut their eyes and called, “Oh Krsna, oh Baladeva, you are so powerful. We have no way to survive in this big fire. We cannot. We are taking your shelter. We know that you are equal to Narayana, so you have so many powers. Save us please.”

At once Krsna came, “Don’t worry, don’t worry. Why were you not telling me before all these things? Why were you leaving me and also the cows leaving me? Don’t worry, close your eyes.”

They closed their eyes, all [of them]. And they saw that when they opened their eyes, that all the cows were under the shade of Bhandirvat. It was so smooth, so sweet, so cool there. And they were somewhat like sleeping. Very easy. And the boys are like that, they have come under the shade of that tree and Krsna is there.

“We are giving something to him.”

As before they were doing. No trace of anything, no suffering, nothing.

Here you should know that cows are like indriyas [senses]. Go, cow, means senses. This, this, this [Srila Gurudeva gesturing], stomach, all. Jnanendriya and karmendriya—five working senses and five knowledge acquiring senses. These are like cows. All the senses are like cows. What is the grass? What we require. Worldly requirements. Our house, wife, husband, children. To make them happy, to be happy. To take, acquire, something for this, to see very beautiful things. All attachments. These are like green, green grass.

We are thinking this grass is not good, this wife is not so good. We should try to be with a new, new, new wife. And the girls are thinking, “My friend is not okay. This person must be very generous and very kind to me and we will be very good friends.”

But then again they think, “This is a very dangerous person, dangerous girl.”

So many problems come. So all these worldly attachments are like the grass and the indriya are like cows. Keeping from Krsna’s service, all the cows or indriyas are not serving Krsna, but serving our requirements. Always busy collecting all these things. They are going forward, forward, forward. Not looking backwards, toward Krsna. The cows are leaving and after that the masters, wife or boy. Our souls are like that, leaving Krsna behind.

First the senses went and after that followed the master of the senses, that is the soul. That also left Krsna behind and began to go forward, forward, forward. To where? Into the sea of destruction. [Which is like a] very big fire, with no end. No way to save oneself. At that we may sometimes take poison or commit suicide. If we called at that time, surrendering in every way to the lotus feet of Krsna and Baladeva, certainly They would come. They will surely come, They must come. They will say, “Close your eyes.”

Why did Krsna say that to them? Krsna knew they were My friends, “Once upon a time I took some earth in My mouth and they complained to My mother. My mother came and chastised Me so much. If they will see that I am taking fire in My mouth, they will give up their lives and if they don’t give up their lives, then they will complain to Yashoda Maya. And then mother will come and give a good lesson to Me and they will be happy and clap.”

So He said, “You should not see [this]. You should close your eyes.”

They thought that Krsna knows some mantra, magic. Mantra or magic is not recited in front of anyone. Like this. Secretly. So He wanted to do something secretly. That’s why they thought that He wanted them to close their eyes. They closed their eyes and then Krsna said, “Look where we are,” and they opened their eyes. At once they saw, they were so happy there, so easy there. They were playing among each other and the cows were sitting there and chewing and being very happy there.

So, if we neglect Krsna, who is always with us here, like the cowherd boys and cows are always with Krsna—Krsna is always with us here, He does not leave us for a moment. But if we neglect and give Him up, then we will suffer.

We think, “We are the monarch of all, we can do everything. There is no god. Nothing. We will rely on our powers, and we will give up Krsna.”

But if you will be like Arjuna, surrendered solely to His feet, then He will take care of you and then you will be so happy. There is so much good grass, sweet grass with Krsna. What is that grass? We can engage our senses to taste Krsna’s beauty, Krsna’s remnants, Krsna’s pastimes, everything there. But all this is aprakrta, transcendental. Here it seems everything is so beautiful, so tasteful, but all of this is more than poison. We should believe these words of Srimad Bhagavatam. It has been told in Srimad Bhagavatam, this history. So we should try to read Srimad Bhagavatam or Caitanya Caritamrta. But try to take the essence of all these things and try to follow from this moment. Don’t try to do it starting tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow. No. What we want to do, that we should do tomorrow?

Audience: Today.

Srila Gurudeva: Not today, but immediately.

“I will serve my Gurudeva starting tomorrow. I will adopt all your teachings and I will try to follow. I’ll try to follow from tomorrow. Give me some time. In a week, in a month or in a year perhaps I will be strong enough to follow you.”

And if you are dead, what will be then? So from this moment.

“But how can I do this, because I served them for long time? Like ganja, bad association and everything. If I am not taking that, then I will become ill, upset. I cannot do anything. Too much headache. Pain here.”

No. Krsna will give His strength if we decide from this moment, at once I will do. It is not very hard to do any task to complete a temple, but is very hard to complete THIS temple here [Srila Gurudeva indicates the heart]. We should all try to make this temple very solid and strong. Lakhs and lakhs of temple will be there. We have to give up this temple and we have to go there. Then who will look after [the temple]?

We think that, “If I am doing this, it will make a very good facility for me, helping me. If you are completing [the temple], still no facility. “Oh, if I build this temple.”

You may build lakhs and lakhs of temples, but you are trying to put yourself, your mind, to be in control. If your mind is not in controlled, your senses are not controlled. No need of [so many temples]. They will not help. We see that in Australia, Bhavananda Prabhu made a Mayapur that is more than heaven. He spent more than lakhs of dollars. He brought elephants, he brought deers, he did so many things. It’s a beautiful temple. But where is he to serve that temple? Is he serving? Than what is the use of making so many temples? Why are you not trying to make THIS temple [of the heart]? I can help so much with this. But I am poor, I cannot give so many dollars [Srila Gurudeva smiles], but you can collect in my name if you want, no harm. 

Audience member: No cheating. No cheating should be done in your name to collect money.

Srila Gurudeva:

Swamiji did not want that his name should be used to cheat. But all are cheating. What to do? What will we do? We will see it and sometimes laugh and weep. “I wanted to take them into Krsna consciousness, but they went towards sense consciousness.”

So we should try to do it. Don’t engage in so many worldly things. They [the Acaryas], have come for this. I think that in one year, two years, not more than five years, I am going to leave here. I will have to go. Anyhow, you have all together served me and you are serving so much that I am here. Otherwise I would have gone to the lotus feet of my Gurudeva and Swamiji, to where they are now serving Krsna. So, we should try to be very strong in Krsna consciousness, not by body, but by atma, soul. Always serving the divine couple. If you are doing this, then lakhs and lakhs of temples are right there.

We have seen [that], where is the temple and birthplace of Krsna in Mathura?

In Dvaraka he built so many royal palaces, nothing like this is ever to be found in the whole world. But where are they? Where is Ayodhya? Where is that Navadvipa? At that time it was scattered over so many miles and nine islands. Lakhs and lakhs. There were tutors. We cannot count the number of students. It has been told that in Dvaraka only the Sanskrit teachers were five kotis [million], more than that. So how many Yaduvamsa children and how many Yaduvamsa were there? Parijat flower was there, Sudharma Sobha was there, Krsna was there, all were there. But where are they now?

Don’t loose your most valuable time, collecting all these things. Try to develop Krsna consciousness. If we develop, so many temples will be there. If you want, within one year it will be there. But try also to do this. If we cannot give up our anger and lust, then how will we be pure? It will be then also like everything in that temple. If there are no bona fide devotees, it will be a place of making merry and all these things. Gaura Premanande!

Must Read

The Crooked Way – Govinda-lilarmta

The message and messenger of the eternal world are worthy of great respect. How can this message come without a messenger? It is not possible. If anyone has taste for this message, he will collect spiritual activities from the spiritual world. These pastimes will be tasted by him, and distributed to others as well. They know that this is helpful for many people and other things are not helpful. The guru-varga bring this nectar from the eternal world, and distribute it for us. The distributors receive double or triple benefit. Therefore, if anyone hears vraja-līlā, and discusses it, then he receives the blessings of God, and all the conditioned souls get benefit, tasting this and crossing māyā. They also then give thanks to that person who distributed to them. Therefore, we should try to follow this program again and again. It is helpful without any conditions. If there is a condition, one will run away and jump in māyā. Where there is no condition, everything will be right and good, but if a little condition comes, or some business mentality, everything will be lost. You will not get double or triple benefit, you will lose, you will be credited. Then you will have increased your anarthas, but received no paramārtha.


The devotees sent a telegraph to Ācharyadeva informing him of Narahari Prabhu’s departure. Broken-hearted Ācharya Kesarī rushed back with Gurudeva to Navadvīpa. When he arrived, he ran to the room where Narahari Prabhu had been respectfully placed and embraced his body. He wept, “O Prabhu! You are not just my elder brother. You are everything to me. Without you, I am an orphan.”

ARE MILK AND DAIRY PRODUCTS GOOD FOR YOU? – What is the Vedic version?

In our Prabhupada Saraswati Thakur’s time he had a sevak who followed so much strong vairagya -renunciation. Then gradually he could not digest anything. He was doing so much renunciation, not eating anything, that he then could not digest anything, he would immediately pass it out. So Prabhupada said, “Vinoda take him to a good doctor.” Vinoda replied, “There is such a good doctor in my area where I was a landowner. If you like I will take him there.” He was a good sevak of the math. So Vinoda took him to the doctor and he told the doctor the symptoms. Then the doctor said, “No medicine will work for him. He cannot digest anything so how will he take medicine. I will tell you what to give him by which he will become healthy. What is that? Everyday give him cow ghee. Everyday give him one teaspoon in the morning and one in the evening. Then after some time give him two spoons. Gradually come to the point where you are giving him 250mls a day.” Vinoda said, “He can't even drink water without throwing up or it passing through.” The doctor said, “Oh most of the ghee will go but something will stick and that will give him strength gradually. It will give him new life and strength.” So they brought him back to Prabhupada and he told him to follow the doctor's instructions. then everyday they would give him a spoon of ghee in the morning and evening. He would take it and pass most of it out. Sometimes he would pass involuntarily and his cloth would be soiled. Gradually however power and strength came into his body after a month or two and he was being given 250mls of ghee everyday. If you take flesh and put it in a container and you open it after a week or two it is rotten and so many maggots are in it. But if you take ghee and open it a few weeks later then only fragrance will come out. So if you put meat in your body, such a horrible condition will come to your body. But if you put ghee in your body then your whole body will become effulgent and filled with so much strength. Before there was a rule that is someone came to your house you would give them ghee as a gift. Now this thing has left. People say, “Oh do not take ghee.” However before it was the custom if any guest would come you would give them ghee or some ladhu made with ghee. It was said that if you take these ladhus on the winter then you would not feel any coldness and you will be strong and healthy. However nowadays what is the condition? Alas! People take vitamin tablets and capsules but they will not take any ghee or milk. They will say, “Oh I can not digest milk.” Why? Just see this person became healthy even though he was about to die. So when misfortune arises within us and we are brought up and maintained by demons then all these bad qualities come within us. However if we want to be happy in our life, then certainly we must take milk, yoghurt, ghee. Do not turn your face away with contempt. I saw in Srila Prabhupada’s final time even, everyday there would be chappan-bhoga - 56 items for Thakurji, and everything was cooked with pure ghee. So Prabhupada said to his sevaks, “Oh you are making kichoris for Thakurji? Then after offering bring some prasadam.” They said, “Oh Gurudeva the doctor told you should not take any heavy food like this.” He said, “Oh the doctor is my master? He will stop my maha-prasadam? Now he is my ruler and controller?” Then he began to chastise the sevak so much. When he would take prasada Prabhupada would always take hot puris with ghee. He would only take puris that were cooked in fresh ghee, not ghee that was used many times. There is no taste like fresh ghee puris. So Prabhupada would always be served with fresh ghee. When something is made with fresh ghee it has some special quality. Therefore in Mathura there is gavah- a special sweet in certain a season. The ghee that is used to make the gayvah is only used once, and the next day they will make gavah with fresh ghee again. It is very tasty and when you eat it you feel like you have eaten something so wonderful in your life. It is made in winter time. They make so many nice sweets out of ghee and they make so much nice butter. What do people do now? They will make milk powder. The butter that comes out first, is pure, proper butter, not machine butter. It is very soft and golden or white. When Krsna was sleeping in the morning,  Mother Yasoda would come and wipe His mouth with a damp towel, and then put the makhana - butter - in His mouth. Then she would see Krsna smile so happily. She thought, “Oh His throat must be dry.” She had so much love for Him so she would think like this. So please do not hear the rascal talks and foolish ideas of the demons and rascals. They have made some new philosophy to destroy the world. We are the followers of Krsna and we are following the path of bhakti. We should follow the sastra. Do not try to break the sastra and make some new thing and start some new philosophy. Do not be crazy like this. Either these people are crazy or they are very wicked rascals, therefore do not listen to these people. As long as you have life, if you can, serve the cows. And even to your last days if you are serving the cows and taking their milk then you will not have any problem. If you cannot do that then help those who are serving the cows. If you pay even for milk then that money will also go to help support the cows, if you are supporting a proper goshala. And whatever sweet you make should be made with milk products. There is no need to eat any other minerals and things like that, you do not need any other medicines and so forth. I remember we served Gurudeva so much. In the morning and evening we would bring Gurudeva milk. Gurudeva would take one bowl of milk in the morning and the evening otherwise he would not take anything. If we gave him rotis then he would put some ghee on the rotis. Otherwise Gurudeva would say, “A roti without ghee is like a widows roti. How will you offer this roti to the Lord without ghee? It is like thinking the Lord is like a widow without any money.” Nowadays we are wearing tilak and preaching against milk and ghee? Wicked followers of kali. This is like the biggest activity of the demons and now they are entering our temple and preaching. Therefore do not fall into the grip of these crazy people or your heart will become contaminated and filthy and you will not be able to do bhajan. Krsna is God Himself but in the morning He takes the cows out to graze. When He calls the cows with His flute they come to Him. Why? Because they are taking Krsna’s adharamrta - the nectar from His flute playing. When they hear the beautiful transcendental sound of Krsna’s flute a very good mood comes within them and they immediately come to Krsna. If you have served cows in your life, then by the mercy of Kamadhenu you can achieve everything. You will certainly get the mercy of Surabhi-mata. Therefore follow the sastra and do not make any new idea, do not follow a foolish person. Do not become a blind sheep and follow other blind sheep. (CLICK ON THE TITLE TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE)

Annada Ekadasi

One should think, “I have not created anything. All this creation comes from God, and anything I have, I will offer first to God; then it is pure.” Then you will have no more suffering or tension. So, this Annada Ekadasi is giving strength and power to follow this bhakti program. If your ahara, diet, is pure then your brain will be very nice. You will then have a pure brain and clean heart, and your memory will be very sharp and vast. You will remember past lives and all that you did...


I don’t know if my Prabhu’s kathā will be relishable or not for everyone. But someone may think: “What will I stand to gain by listening to your Prabhu’s kathā? Am I using my time and wealth to listen to your Prabhu’s kathā? How will my self-interest be fulfilled by listening to your Prabhu’s kathā? Such questions and various forms of objections arise in a place where there is dvitīya-abhiniveśa (where the mind is absorbed in objects separate from Kṛṣṇa). This is because in this world, each individual is separated from every other by one thing—illusion. In this corporeal plane, the moods of “I, mine, yours, and mine,” are seen. Therefore, the selfish interest of two individuals cannot be reconciled. And, the auspiciousness of one cannot guarantee the auspicious of another. In this world of separate interests, there is a difference between the interests of mother and son, husband and wife, master and servant, and teacher and students. Therefore, by speaking the words, Āmār Prabhura Kathā, in this world, feelings of such disparity or separateness appear in the heart. But such differences are not seen in the spiritual world. In that realm, advaya-jñāna Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is One without a second, is the only viṣaya (object of loving exchanges). The only aim of all the servitors in that realm, referred to āśrayas (abodes of love) is to bring happiness to Śrī Vrajendra-nandana Kṛṣṇa. Therefore, duality can never arise when everyone’s self-interest is one and where only one person enjoys being the cynosure of that interest. In that realm of divinity, there is no conception of “Your Prabhu and my Prabhu.” By speaking of “My Prabhu,” the kathā of “Your Prabhu” is spoken as well. Correspondingly, when the kathā of “Your Prabhu” is spoken, the kathā of “My Prabhu” is spoken as well. The countless eternal associates of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the non-dual Absolute Truth and the one and only object of love, are indeed His fundamental principle of variegatedness. Their exclusive interest is to satisfy the senses of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Disparity of interest can never arise among those who are perpetually absorbed in rousing the pleasure of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s senses. Therefore, in this world of disparity, people may or may not honor the accounts of my master. Nonetheless, since I am a lowly dog who is sustained by my master’s remnants, it is my sole constitutional duty and function (dharma) to extol his glories. I understand the word Prabhu (master) to refer to that person who can extend his authority over me in every way, who can fully and always exercise control over my whole heart, and who in my every act, every footstep, every inhalation and exhalation and every directive of life, he is my sole ideal, goal and guide, or polestar. That person alone is my master. Someone who controls my heart for some time and after a while is expelled from it, who is my role model for a few moments but who, after a short time, does not remain so, is not worthy of being called my master. It therefore becomes apparent to me that such a person or thing is a mere illusion, or a speculation of the mind. By nature I am critical, always looking for faults in others. My heart is so absorbed in attachment to my body and residence that the devo­tees call me gṛha-vrata, one bound by a vow to home and necessities.

More Articles Like This