Hari-katha Articles The Snake of Time

The Snake of Time

In the ninth verse of , Dāsa Gosvāmī prays:

“O Devī, I can’t see You. The serpent of time is stealing away my life. It bites me and injects me with poison. I can’t protect myself. By its poison I am suffering and feeling so much pain. O Rādhe! Ever since I entered saṁsāra, I have been continuously bitten by the snake of time!”

What is the snake of time? Time is a snake that is always devouring us. Yesterday I was a little child, then I grew up and I was married and my life has passed by in the busyness of family life. Time is always devouring us like a snake, like a swallowing python. And it is also injecting us with so much poison, binding us with attachment to this world. Before I was alone, then I got one friend, and then a wife—that was another kind of bondage. Then my family increased and that made another layer of bondage. And then I was further bound up in society, with so many relatives and acquaintances. I became bound up in their attachments and unable to escape. This poison was always afflicting me.

No one was there to give me nectar. No one would say, “Oh, leave me! Forget me and leave everything and develop your relationship with Kṛṣṇa! Give up this poison and drink divine nectar!’ No one says that. Everyone wants us to take shelter of them, to follow them, serve them, and stay bound in the ropes of their affection, and thus always remain bound by the snake of time.

The Poison of Material Attachment

This is the poison of material attachment and false possessiveness. Because of that we cannot make relation with Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. And our poison is increasing and we are burning more and more. All day and night we are busy, with no time for anything auspicious. We cannot find help. If you go to someone and pray to them to help you escape, they will say, “Oh, are you mad? Your losing your mind! Make money, enjoy, eat, sleep, have fun! Get a good job, a nice car, a nice house.” They want you to become more and more tied up in this bondage. To take on so many responsibilities.

Life after life we are suffering—the fruits of karma come and fill us with pain. And everyone who is also following the path of materialistic karma is also pushing us into this ditch of mundane activities and worldly life. Who will help us?

The Kissing Snakes of Material Relations

“O Devī Rādhe, today I am praying to You! By the mercy of Mahāprabhu, His associates, and Śrī Guru, by Svarūpa Dāmodara’s mercy, by Your causeless mercy—I have come to Vraja. I am very close to Your lotus feet. I am lying at Your lotus feet begging for Your mercy. No one else can save me from this snake of time. This snake of time is always biting me, again and again I am being bitten. I am always suffering from this poison without being able to find any way to escape. You are my only hope.

“Wherever I look, there are many snakes present. They show so-called love and affection.” Someone is smelling our head, someone is taking us in their lap, someone is embracing us, someone is kissing us—these are all snakes. All these male and female snakes are biting us, but we cannot escape their grasp.

“Your lotus feet are my only refuge. I pray therefore to Your lotus feet.”

Why Do People Take the Poison of Material Life

Why do people like this poison and think it is good? People who are always drunk, they like this poisonous intoxication. They are addicted to it. They will give up other types of food and will only take the toxic poison of drugs and alcohol. In this way people are wasting life after life, intoxicated by the poison of māyā and bound up by the snake of time. And only to forget their pain they take more of this poison, more of this intoxication.

What did Mahāprabhu say to Raghunātha when he came to the Lord, after leaving everything else. Mahāprabhu said, “The Lord is so merciful, He has taken you out of the pit of stool that is material family life.

Raghunātha said, “Everything is only by Your mercy! You have taken me out of this stool pit of sense gratification in family life. My family arranged the most beautiful wife, and I had so much wealth, and a healthy, young body to enjoy with.”

Externally, it looks very attractive; however, there is so much poison hidden in that. It is like a beautiful mountain on the outside, but inside it is a raging volcano. How do people understand from outside, the pain of saṁsāra? Instead we cover ourselves with more and more layers of the poison of saṁsāra and just burn in our own fires.

Therefore, Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī prays, “There is no one to help us in this world, Your lotus feet are my only refuge! May the dust of Your lotus feet always be on my head! May I always have Your shelter! I do not pray for anything else. I will not go to anyone else for shelter. No one has ever been able to help me.”

In this world, everyone says, “I am yours! I am yours!,” but that day when the soul leaves this temporary body, or if someone becomes very poor or outcast from society, then no one asks about that person. When we are in good times, everyone calls themselves our friends and relatives, but in our times of trouble it is very hard to find a friend. And when the soul leaves the body, then that body is considered impure. People burn the body, throw it in a river or bury the body. They consider it impure.

Who is our true friend and relative in this world? No one knows the soul. When we die, who is our friend and relative? We are burning and burning, life after life, and nothing remains, everything turns to ash. Oh, Śrī Rādhe! Please give me the medicine of the service of Your lotus feet. Please give me that medicine, and save me from the poison of Your separation. Millions and millions of kiṅkarīs have been given the shelter of Your lotus feet, You have given so many shelter, so please also accept me!” If someone has not taken shelter of the lotus feet of Śrīmatī Rādhikā, they cannot find any means to escape from poison and fire of worldly.

Kṛṣṇa Is Only Eager for Rādhā-rasa

Śrī Kṛṣṇa is always eager to drink the nectar of rādhā-rasa. Everything else is only for show, only external. Madhumaṅgala says to Kṛṣṇa, “Oh, I know why You aren’t so interested in eating, even laddus, or playing with the sakhās, You only want one thing, one mellow, rādhā-rasa!” Madhumaṅgala teases Kṛṣṇa like this.

Kṛṣṇa prays to Rādhikā, “Oh Rādhe, You are My life and soul! You are the wealth of My life! Your sweetness, Your qualities, Your sweet smiling, Your laughter, Your lotus eyes, they are always in my heart. How can I gain the great jewel of Your service, of Your love?”

Raghunātha prays, “By taking the dust from Your lotus feet on my body, I have obtained complete peace. Oh Svāminī, I am not qualified. I have no qualification to become Your kiṅkarī. But I am always thinking of You, while awake, while dreaming, I am only praying for the service of Your lotus feet. Please, I do not want anything else! Please grant me the glorious dust from Your lotus feet and in this way sooth my burning heart! You are the ocean of mercy!”

What Has the Power to Bestow Divine Life?

The dust from Her lotus feet is unparalleled, it can bring someone back from the deathlike existence of material life. It will destroy our material tendencies and awaken our spiritual nature. As long as we, the spiritual principle, are in the service of inert matter, it is like we are dead. We are not truly alive. Even though we are the children of the Divine, even though we have the chance to be in the presence of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, still we go far away. We leave Them and take on so many false egos, thinking, “I am a dog!” “I am a cat!” “I am a man!” I am a woman!” We get these different bodies and the sleeping soul thinks, “I am this material body!” Until we have transcended matter and achieved our spiritual body, our soul remains unconscious, like a dormant seed waiting to sprout.

Until we take shelter of the lotus feet of Śrī Rādhā and the sakhīs, we cannot receive the medicine that awakens our spiritual consciousness. The body of the soul is not given by mundane parents. If you want to obtain your spiritual body, you must take shelter of the pollen from the lotus feet of Śrīmatī Rādhikā. That is the essence of hlādinī-śakti, we must anoint ourselves with this pollen. No other god or goddess can give this, they cannot tell us, “I will grant you your spiritual form—I will give you svarūpa-siddhi!” No one has that power. Therefore that person who has not taken shelter of the lotus feet of Śrī Rādhārānī, that person is an orphan in this world.

Dāsa Gosvāmī feels completely lost without Rādhārānī’s direct darśana and merciful service. Thus he prays, “O Devī! Tat-padābjam, Your lotus feet are like life-giving medicine. Please give me life and strength, so that I may return to You. Now I am wounded, as if dead by the influence of mahā-kāla. Poisonous snakes always come and bite me. O Devī, Your lotus feet are covered with reddish kuṁkum. Please give me a particle of kuṁkum from Your feet. This medicine will cure the material disease and bestow divine anurāga.”

What is the Color of Anurāga?

What is the color of anurāga, the divine love of the gopīs for Kṛṣṇa? anurāga is the color of the saffron pollen on the lotus feet of Śrīmatī Rādhikā. As Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Kṛṣṇa dressed in cloth the color of that saffron pollen. Caitanya Mahāprabhu thus covered Himself with Rādhikā’s anurāga.

One early morning, Śrīmatī Rādhārānī watched many pulinda-kanyās going to collect dry wood and cow dung, when they saw Kṛṣṇa’s footsteps and kuṁkum on the grass. Where did this come from? The Vraja-devīs put Kṛṣṇa’s feet on their breasts that are smeared with kuṁkum and that kuṁkum becomes imprinted on the grass when Kṛṣṇa walks through the forest. The pulinda-kanyās place this kuṁkum on their heads and chests. Śrīmatī sees this and says, “How much love they have for Kṛṣṇa!”

Caitanya Mahaprabhu wore cloth the saffron-reddish color of this anurāga. He said, “I always keep the Vraja-devīs’ footdust with Me. This footdust is infused with their anurāga.” This anurāga color is medicine that treats our material condition. How can hṛd-roga, lust, go? Dāsa Gosvāmī Prabhu says, “If you take a little bit of this footdust and smear it on your body and pray to that dust, then your hṛd-roga will go away. The serpents of time will no longer bite you. Even if you can’t bring Her feet directly in your heart, if you can collect a little of this kuṁkum and place it in your heart, then that will cure you and bring you to Vraja-dhama.”

Some people say, “I have no time, when can I chant? I will chant later. I will serve later.” This is the poisonous effect of kāla-sarpa, the serpents of time. If you want to be saved from these serpents, then you must take shelter of the Vraja-devis’ foot dust.

vande nanda-vraja-strīṇāṁ
pāda-reṇum abhīkṣṇaśaḥ
yāsāṁ hari-kathodgīrṇaṁ
punāti bhuvana-trayam
Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 10.47.63

I constantly glorify the dust of the feet of the Vraja-devis. Their chanting of the activities of Śrī Kṛṣṇa purifies the entire universe.

Brahmā and Uddhava pray like this. This dust is available. Why don’t we take it? We don’t have the desire. How can desire come? For that desire to come in our hearts, we must worship Śrīmatī Rādhārānī’s lotus feet.

Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura sings in Prema-bhakti-candrika:

rādhikā-caraṇa-renu, bhūṣaṇa kariyā tanu
anāyāse pābe giridhārī
rādhikā-caraṇāśraya, je kare se mahāśaya
tāre moi jāo bolihārī

Ornament your body with the dust of Śrīmatī Rādhikā’s lotus feet
and you will easily attain Giridhārī. I congratulate such a great
soul who takes shelter of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī’s lotus feet.

We must color ourselves from top to bottom with this kuṁkum pollen from the lotus feet of Śrīmatī Rādhikā.

Excerpted from the Bhakta Bandhav Publication “Śrī Vilāpa-Kusumāñjali”, Verse 9, The Kṛpā-kaṭākṣa Commentary
[CC-by-NDNC Bhakta Bandhav]

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SHOULD WE PRAY TO GURU TO CORRECT OUR FAULTS?

When guru gives a turban, tilaka, and glorifies a person, then he is being raised up for a fall, to rectify him of his pride. In Hindi, there is a saying, which means that when people get praised continuously, it makes them more and more puffed up. They become so puffed up that they can no longer sit. They desire more and more prestige. If anyone tells them anything a little bit against them, or a little bit critical, then it is like they burst in anger and shout, “Sālā! Don’t you know who I am? I am the father of Gurudeva.” This is like saying, “I am the guru of my guru; I am everything to him! Without me, Mahārāja would have no life.” If Gurudeva or Bhagavān praise their dependents, it can give rise to a great anartha in the heart of the sādhakas. It is ve hard to tolerate such an anartha.The disciple should always pray that Śrī Guru chastise him and correct his faults. He should always reserve the right with his guru to chastise him. One should pray to Guru, “Always keep me as your humble follower and chastise me when I do wrong.” If at the time guru chastises his sevaka or disciple, that disciple then also speaks back to guru or reprimands guru, or complains about his Guru to others, then he will certainly fall down. If he goes around complaining, “Oh! Mahārāja said this and that. He was so abusive,” this is taking away the right of guru to chastise. Then the guru will stop chastising and then gradually, the disciple would certainly fall down. Therefore we should always have someone who is there ready to chastise us if we do wrong. Without a guardian we are hopeless. We should never take away the right of Guru and Vaiṣṇavas to chastise us. If we ourselves go and reprimand our guru or think ourselves to be superior to our guru then he will become silent and will not chastise us. Then guru will worship us. And he will say, “You are everything. You are my master; you are the authority.” So, a sincere sādhaka should always be cautious and understand that if Guru and Vaiṣṇavas begin to regularly praise him and worship him then he should try to rectify that situation before his downfall. He should pray for forgiveness for his offense. And he should always pray to Guru and Vaiṣṇavas that they be his chastiser and guardian.When this question was asked to Gurudeva about why a sevaka would leave guru or Bhagavān, Gurudeva said, “They are serving physically, but where is their mind? Is their mind engaged in service with sincerity? They look, ‘Oh! Who has come, who has given how much, who is a wealthy person, who has given donations?’ ”When people come to the sevaka of guru and say, ‘Oh! You sing so nicely and you do such nice service. You cook so well. O Prabhu! Really you have kept guru completely pleased by your service.’These people who come and give praise like this are great enemies, because then the sevaka will always be thinking about them and will forget about Guru and Vaiṣṇavas. We think of these people and try to take care of them and to keep them happy. In this way we leave the service of guru and begin serving others. That person is not a real guru-sevaka. He is showing that he is serving guru only to really engage others in his own worship and to enjoy himself. If he is a real sevaka then he will always be eager to be chastised by his guru. He will always be very humble and consider himself insignificant. He prays to guru, ‘If I have any mistake or any shortcoming please at once chastise me and correct me for my fault.’ And if he ever does anything wrong he will fall at the feet of Guru and Vaiṣṇavas and weeping, will pray for forgiveness.But some people become so arrogant that if guru finds any fault with their character and says anything to them then they are ready to start a fight and they will raise their hand to fight with guru, or they will turn their back on guru and leave him. Or if guru chastises them, then they will leave like a scolded wife and spend days crying here and there, and they will tell everyone they meet, “Oh! Gurudeva is so mean. He wrongly accused me.” They will tell everyone and try to show that they were right and that they had done nothing wrong. If someone acts like this then he has left his dharma as a sevaka. If the ‘se’ from the sevaka is taken away then all that is left is vaka, which means a crane, which represents the hypocrite. That person is only an impostor in the dress of a sevaka. Cranes are white and they have a nice long śikhā, and they do austerities with their eyes closed, standing on one foot in the water. Why? They only want to catch a fish. They wait and do austerities until a nice big fish comes along and then they snatch it up and eat it. One should be very careful not to be such a servant of Guru and Vaiṣṇavas. If one is a real sevaka then what happens? Kṛṣṇa-bhakte kṛṣṇera guṇa sakali sañcāre—Kṛṣṇa’s qualities enter His devotees. So if someone is with guru and they are really a bhakta and a servant then all the good qualities of guru and Bhagavān will enter that person. Then he will be humble and fully qualified in all the different manners of vaiṣṇava-sevā and Vaiṣṇavism. By the good qualities of guru he becomes qualified. What is the fruit of this qualification? He learns to ree all Vaiṣṇavas properly according to their position. He always chants harināma and his mind will be naturally absorbed in Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa’s eternal pastimes.How can these good qualities and tattva-jñāna enter our hearts? How can we protect our bhakti and maintain a life of service of Hari, Guru and Vaiṣṇavas? Scripture states: āyur harati vai puṁsāmudyann astaṁ ca yann asautasyarte yat-kṣaṇo nītauttama-śloka-vārtayāŚrīmad-Bhāgavatam 2.3.17 Both by rising and by setting, the sun decreases the duration of life of everyone, except one who utilizes the time by discussing topics of the all-good Personality of Godhead.When the sun and the moon rise and set they steal the span of life of all living beings. The sun and the moon thus enjoy all life forms. All the devatās and dānavas enjoy the mānavas, or humans. When a boy or girl comes into maturity then different supernatural beings come at any opportunity and try to enjoy him or her through some subtle form. Apsarās or gandharvas will come and they will embrace you in their subtle forms and in that way enjoy you and cause you to lose your vital energy. Our life span and vital energy is thus being stolen from us. The presiding deities of the nava-graha, nine planets, are all like different manifestations of time, which steal away the life of all beings. When any planet’s period is acting in a person’s life, then that planet enjoys that person who is under its sign. During the Rāhu period, Rāhu enjoys that person. During the Ketu period, Ketu enjoys that person. Similarly, during one’s maṅgala-daśā or śani-daśā, Mars and Saturn enjoy that person.We can be saved from this situation by being always absorbed in the Absolute Truth under the guidance of Guru and Vaiṣṇavas, by serving them and hearing hari-kathā from them. We should study the Bhāgavatam, Bhagavad-gītā, Rāmāyaṇa, and other scriptures, under guidance of Guru and Vaiṣṇavas. But it is not enough to only hear or read; we must endeavor to remember hari-kathā. While you are engaged in other activities try to remember what you have heard or read. Always remember the teachings and the pastimes of the Lord. And then after remembering, you should perform kīrtana. You should hear, chant, and remember. And not only that, you should also pray. You should hear, chant, remember, and pray. If you do that then these different influences, the planets, the sun and the moon will not be able to take away your life. You will achieve your transcendental form and go beyond this material realm. (click on the title to see more)

A Treasure in Waiting – 05 Feb 2013 – Govinda-lilamrta

If we have no relation with līlā-śakti, if She doesn’t help us and come in our heart, then we will never get liberation from mundane activities, māyā līlā. We will not be able to cut this off. Therefore, the guru-varga, our gosvāmīs, gave us a way to make relation with kṛṣṇa-līlā, vraja-līlā. They took some help, power and potency from līlā-śakti, and then wrote about Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes in Vraja and reserved it in the form of granthas. Hearing these pastimes, one will become attached to līlā-śakti, and She will gradually give us entrance. On one side, intense renunciation will arise in the heart, vairāgya, and on the other side there is deep anurāga, intense attraction. Then one will never hear, follow or have any connection with māyā līlā. If one doesn’t establish connection with līlā-śakti and vraja-līlā, then he will make stronger relation with māyā. He will never understand what is kṛṣṇa-līlā, what is Kṛṣṇa’s śakti, Divine Potency. Everything one does will be speculation and imitation.

The gopis were not worried that Krsna may be harmed by Kamsa. That is not why they were distressed. They knew that Krsna’s heart was very soft and that as soon as Vasudeva and Devaki saw Krsna they would offer their affection and prayers to Him and not allow Him to ever return. They knew this would come to pass.  

WHAT SERVICE ARE YOU DOING FOR GURUDEVA?

“Someone who has no niṣṭhā (strong faith) in his guru and in the Vaiṣṇavas, no attachment for them, no attachment for their service, and who doesn’t take any responsibility to do sevā—such a person is like an animal with two legs. Taking responsibility can even make an animal into a human. Stay in the maṭhas (temples) under the guidance of Guru and Vaiṣṇavas. Respect them and serve them with strong faith and attachment. “Devotees must take responsibility for service. Wherever Gurudeva sends a disciple, he should do that service with a sense of responsibility. Gurudeva sent me to Mathurā, and I accepted all the responsibility of the maṭha—including fighting in the court, preaching, doing kīrtana, cooking, going house to house and preaching, writing books, and publishing Bhāgavata Patrikā. I took all this upon my head. is was my area of responsibility for Gurudeva.

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