Hari-katha Articles Why Does Mahāprabhu Pray to Nanda’s Son?

Why Does Mahāprabhu Pray to Nanda’s Son?

Mahāprabhu prays to Nanda-nandana in this verse. He does not approach Kṛṣṇa as Yaśodā-nandana, Gopī-jana-vallabha, or Radha-kanta. Why does Mahāprabhu say, ‘Nanda tanuja’? Nanda Mahārāja gives shelter to all the residents of Vraja-dhāma, and takes care of them as if they are his own children, his own heart and soul. He has love and affection for everyone. He does not think that only Kṛṣṇa is his and others are not.

Mahāprabhu prays to Nanda-tanuja because all the glories of Nanda Mahārāja are present in Kṛṣṇa. He is the son of Nanda and Yaśodā; He is the son of the King of Vraja. Nanda Mahārāja gives shelter to whoever comes to Vraja. He is never angry or disturbed by anybody and he never insults anybody or kicks them out of Vraja-maṇḍala. His heart is open to everybody.

Mahāprabhu said, “He Nanda-nandana, please make me Your kiṅkara. I am Your servant, but I forgot You and my real identification. Thus, I fell to this world, in which I experience great suffering. How can I realize my eternal position as Your servant, and stop my suffering?”

Nanda Mahārāja and the Vrajavāsīs take so much care of even the most insignificant servant in Vraja-maṇḍala. He maintains everybody very carefully. Kṛṣṇa is automatically happy with whomever is dear to Nanda Mahārāja. If you want to have a relationship with Śrī Guru-pāda-padma, the mahā-bhāgavata Vaiṣṇavas, or Kṛṣṇa, you have to first observe who is dear to them.

The sādhaka cannot directly approach Kṛṣṇa by independently performing bhajana and in a challenging mood asking for blessings and shelter. A lot of people say that they perform bhajana, worship Kṛṣṇa, and do austerity and parikramā, but Kṛṣṇa is not satisfied with this. As a result, they throw their Gopāla Deity away after sometime and say, “There is no need to further perform worship. This is all bogus.” This is only because you do not know the process.”

After stealing the cowherd boys and calves, upon realizing his mistake, Brahmā first offered praṇāma to Lord Kṛṣṇa again and again and asked for forgiveness. But Kṛṣṇa did not even look at him. Then Brahmā said, “Oh, You are Nanda-nandana, the son of Nanda Mahārāja.” And then he prayed to all the Vrajavāsīs; then Kṛṣṇa’s heart melted.

Mahāprabhu teaches us this process of anugatya. Receiving the mercy and blessings of Kṛṣṇa’s devotees is the only one way to become close to Kṛṣṇa and please Him with our service.

Mahāprabhu said, “Ayi nanda-tanuja.” He did not directly mention Kṛṣṇa’s name. He did not say, “Rāma, Hari, Gopāla.” “Ayi nanda-tanuja kinkaram, how can I become a small servant of Nanda Mahārāja’s son and family? If they accept me, my life will become successful.”

The next lines of this state that, “I fell in this dangerous well of materialistic family life, or saṁsāra. Krpaya, please accept me. Tava pāda pankaja—Your feet are soft and fragrant like a lotus. In this ocean of material existence, bhāvambudhau, there is no shelter, but if take shelter of Your lotus feet, then I can be saved from this calamitous circumstance.”

There are bumblebees, which are so strong, they can even make holes in trees. These bumblebees fly here and there in search of honey, and sometimes come to a lotus flower. They sit on the flower and start to drink the honey. The bee drinks so much honey that it forgets its family and its own nature, and falls asleep in the lotus. When the sun set, the lotus closes for the night, and the bee is stuck inside. The next morning the lotus blossoms again with the first ray of the rising sun, and the bee wakes, intoxicated with the fragrance of the lotus and sweetness of its nectar.

Kṛṣṇa’s lotus feet are more glorious than this lotus flower. Whoever relishes their fragrance and takes shelter of them will lose all relation, affection, and attraction to family life. Therefore Mahāprabhu said, “O Kṛṣṇa, Your feet are more glorious than a lotus, pāda-pankaja. Please give Me the shelter of these lotus feet. I do not desire anything other than the nectar from Your lotus feet.”

Then the verse continues, “Stitha dhuli sadrsam vicintaya, there are many sevakas who are affixed to Your lotus feet like particles of dust or pollen.” A blossomed lotus contains an abundance of pollen and nectar. This attracts many honeybees. “Your lotus feet are very attractive. There are numerous servants serving these lotus feet. These servants are like small particles of dust that never go away from Your feet, but continuously remember and serve them. Please, make me one of these small servants, so that I will also never leave You. I would like such a position.”

First the sādhaka has to understand and make a firm vow to become the servant of God. He should pray, “O Kṛṣṇa, please give me the adhikāra to serve You. Without Your service I will fall down. Please never reject me or replace me from the post of Your servant. When pride arises in my heart, many problems arise. Therefore I pray to be the small and insignificant dust at Your lotus feet. When my position is insignificant, Nanda Bābā and all the Vrajavāsīs will take care of me like a small baby, and I will not become proud.”

The following is Ṭhākura Bhaktivinoda’s song on the fifth verse of the Śikṣāṣtakam.

aparādha phale mama, citta bhela vajra-śama,
tuyā nāme nā labhe vikāra
hatāśa haiye hari, tava nāma ucca kari,
baḍa duḥkhe ḍāki bāra bāra

As a result of my offenses, my heart has become as hard as a thunderbolt. Consequently, it does not melt even slightly when I chant Your holy name. O Lord, now I am feeling very despondent. Being very aggrieved with distress, I am calling Your name again and again.

dīna dayāmaya karuṇā-nidāna
bhāva-bindu dei’ rākhaha parāṇa

You are very merciful. Kindly give me just a single drop of ecstatic love and save my agitated life.

kaba tuyā nāma uccāraṇe mora
nayane jharaba dara dara lora

When will that auspicious day arrive when, upon chanting Your holy name, a stream of tears will flow from my eyes?

gadgada-svara kaṇṭhe upajaba
mukhe bola ādha ādha bāhirāba

When will my throat become choked up, causing my words to become garbled?

pulake bharaba śarīra hāmāra
sveda-kampa-stambha habe bāra-bāra

When will the hairs of my body stand erect due to ecstasy? When will I become soaked with perspiration? When will the limbs of my body begin to tremble? O Lord, when will my body become stunned?

vivarṇa-śarīre hārāobuṅ jñāna
nāma-samāśraye dharabuṅ parāṇa

Becoming overwhelmed with bhāva, when will my color fade, and when at last will I lose all consciousness? Regaining my consciousness once again, I will maintain this life simply by taking shelter of Your holy name.

milaba hāmāra kiye aiche dina
ro-oye Bhaktivinoda mati-hīna

Crying incessantly, this Bhaktivinoda, who is devoid of all intelligence, says, “Will there ever be such a day for this unfortunate soul?”

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You should explain what is the mood of your heart, then I can satisfy you and you can return home."  Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura is saying, the Gopis coming to meet Krsna in the forest, doesn’t mean they wanted something material. They were thinking, "Oh Krsna, we don't want anything from You. We haven't come here for some material benefit. We don't have any shortage of anything in our lives and homes. We haven't come here to take anything from You. We have only come here to serve You and to fulfil Your desire. You are asking us how You can fulfil our desire, but we don't want anything from You. We have come here only to please and serve You. You invited us here with your flute, that is why we left everything. We even dressed quickly and without proper awareness. Only thinking of You, we left everything and came to serve You. Why are You now asking us what we want? You know what we want." 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He told her, "Oh Indra served you so much so definitely there was a motive. When you were unclean and he entered your womb and cut up your baby." Later they all took birth as the Maruts. We should all be very careful. People may come and serve you so much, but only to steal all your good qualities. When one becomes a Guru he should be very careful. Many people may come who want to be their dear disciples, but what is their real motive? It may be only to steal everything or to destroy you. It is very dangerous, especially if you have a big position, or are very young and beautiful. People will come and serve you, make a relationship with you, but the motive is only to steal and enjoy you.  Krsna said to the gopis; "Oh it is night time and many spirits, ghosts and wicked people come out at this dangerous time. Why have you left the safety of your homes and come into the forest so late at night?" The Gopis could have said; "We are fearless. You are here. You are Narayana." But they did not say this. They were decorated with all good qualities and were fearless. Krsna was just teasing them saying; "You should go home it’s not safe here."  If the Gopis had answered, "Oh we came together with many other Gopis so no one could have attacked us." Krsna would then say, "No it is the gor ratri. It is night time, and very dangerous time to be in the forest. In Vraja it is safer in the village."  Don't think there is no one in the forest. You may be walking alone but you do not know who is watching or waiting to capture and kidnap you. You may be alone but still it may be very dangerous. If you are in a temple, in a place with many devotees, then you can be safe. But if you are wandering alone in the jungle or the forest you don't know what is happening there. Many animals are killed in the forest. Many hunters are there. That place may have some tamo-guna, some bad influence that can affect your mind. You should be very careful because you are going alone and are not very strong, then how will you protect yourself? Krsna said; "Oh you don't know who is in the forest waiting to attack you, and there is no one here to help you. You should not stay, go home. Why? On one side it is night time and there are many violent animals roaming in the forest and there could be hunters who may hunt you. You should quickly return home to Vraja." If Krsna were to ask them, "What is the purpose of you coming here? Women should not stay in the forest alone. Men do not have to worry so much." Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura explains that ladies do not have the same strength as men, therefore they should be even more careful. They should not wander around alone. Krsna says, "You are abala, - without much strength so you should quickly return home."  If the Gopis were to say; "No. We came together. It is a full moon and it is not that dark. It is almost like day time because the full moon is so bright." But Krsna said that ladies should not be walking around alone and without protection, and especially at night time when it is such a dangerous and fearful time. The Gopis could also say; “Oh Kamala Locana. Oh Lotus-eyed one. It is not a dark night and it is not so dangerous in Vraja. There are not any wild and wicked animals or violent men, so don't worry, we are not alone, we are all together here."  If there is a lion in the forest, and if he is hunting, then he will capture any pray and kill it. So Krsna was saying, "Oh gopis, there may be many dangerous animals like lions and tigers and you don't know how to fight them, you are just simple cowherd girls. What will you do if you were attacked by many tigers or lions? I would not be able to protect you alone. Therefore you should quickly return home, don't stay here." If the Gopis said, "Oh Krsna we aren't afraid of any violent animals, hunters or anything." Krsna would tease the gopis saying, "Oh you are very thin waisted girls. You aren't strong, you are very weak girls. How will you save yourself from a very powerful animal or man? You shouldn't be wandering here, it is not a proper thing in society." The Gopis say, "In Vraja no one fights, or has a violent mood. Everyone is peaceful, and there is no fear of any violence happening here in the forest. We are walking in the forest on a full moon night and it is very peaceful like a beautiful garden. There is no danger so why are you telling us to go home? You have called us here with your flute and we have come, so do not tease us like this." Still Krsna says, "No go home to Vraja. It is not proper for you to be here alone with Me." The Gopis were then thinking, "Why is Krsna teasing us like this?" Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura says the gopis were thinking, "What an unfortunate condition we have. We are always trapped in our homes and now Krsna has so mercifully called us with His own flute by our great fortune and we have been able to escape the bondage of our homes. But now having come here He is only teasing us and telling us to return to our homes. He is trying to kick us out and send us back to our homes, completely rejecting us. Oh alas! Alas!" Krsna said; "It is night time right now. If it was brahma-muhurta (early morning) that would be another thing. Being night time you shouldn't be here alone." But the gopis were thinking, "There is no one against us here in Vrindavan. Even all the animals are our friends." Then Krsna said; "Ok you have come here, so sit and take rest for 10-15 minutes and then quickly go back to your homes. Why? Because you should act in accordance with proper time, place, and circumstance. You are all young and beautiful girls and it is nighttime here and there are many Demigods that could come and try and steal you. I am also a brahmacari and you should know that girls should not come to a brahmacari at nighttime when he is alone. It is not proper. So why have you here? Don't you know I am known as  a  famous brahmacari in Vraja? I don't know why you have come here and are standing in front of Me. Quickly go back to your homes. When Krsna spoke like this, if the Gopis were to say; "Oh Krsna we are all friends here. We have no strange mood and are not afraid of anyone here in Vraja, evenall  the animals are our friends”. Krsna says; "No, you should understand that by birth you are women, so you should act appropriately according to your position. You should not be here alone with Me, it is not proper etiquette. People will criticize you for this."  In this way Krsna began to tease and test the gopis. (CLICK ON THE TITLE TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE)

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