Prayer to Kṛṣṇa Describing One’s Fallen Condition
“He Govinda, please bestow upon me the qualification to perform service in Vraja. He Gopīnātha, You are the goal of my life, please grant me the qualification for prema-bhakti. You are my all-in-all. I never want to leave You or be distant to You in any way.” Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura is praying like this. He thinks, “I want to always be absorbed in thoughts of Kṛṣṇa in Vraja-bhūmi, but the six dacoits—kāma (lust), krodha (anger), lobha (greed), moha (attachment), mada (pride) and mātsarya (envy)—repeatedly catch me and steal my precious spiritual wealth. They are always polluting my intelligence. They are like powerful generals in Māyā-devī’s army. With my own strength it is impossible for me to protect myself. They can easily defeat me and destroy me. Only by the causeless mercy of Śrī Guru and Vaiṣṇavas will Kṛṣṇa, who is known by His bhaktas as Govinda and Gopīnātha, give me protection.”
He again addresses Śrī Kṛṣṇa, “Prabhu, Māyā-devī tries to make me her servant. She offers viṣaya-bhoga to me freely, along with respect from others and mundane wealth. She arranges many programs that take me here and there—away from You. I do not want this. “O Govinda, O Gopīnātha, please keep me safe from offenses to the devotees, the dhāma and the holy names. If I develop the tendency to commit these offenses then I will ruin my life and the lives of everyone around me. “After many lifetimes, You gave me shelter in Vraja-dhāma, but alas, Māyā-devī’s forces have defeated me and now Vraja is lost to me. Having once been freed, I now find myself caught again by Māyā-devī and plunged into the ocean of illusion. Who could be more unfortunate? Please, O Gopīnātha, forgive me. Save me. Pull me back and give me shelter in Vraja-dhāma once more.”
On Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī’s order, Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura set out from Vṛndāvana to serve the message of the Gosvāmīs by distributing their books and preaching in Bengal. When he wrote these prayers, he was in present-day Bangladesh. There, immense pain of separation filled his heart. Day and night he thought only of Vraja-bhūmi, his śikṣā-guru and dīkṣā-guru, and the Vaiṣṇavas there. Thus, he repeatedly prayed, “Please quickly bring me back to Vraja-dhāma. When will that day come when I will be in Vṛndāvana again? O Govinda-Gopīnātha, only if You call me back can this be possible. If You do not bring me back soon, I will surely leave my body. Here, I am an orphan, without any protector. It is as if I am floating senselessly in Māyā-devī’s ocean, and it is therefore impossible for me to fix my mind on bhakti, the bhaktas and Vṛndāvana-dhāma. I am distracted by the easily available gifts of Māyā. Indeed, I have become just like many others who wear the dress of a Vaiṣṇava but are in fact full of duplicity. Therefore, Prabhu, please pick me up and put me in sat-saṅga.”
In deep separation, he expressed all these moods of helplessness and humility. In reality, Māyā-devī cannot even come close to Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura, but he is kindly showing us how a true sādhaka knows only the shelter of the lotus feet of Gopinātha, who grants him protection from Māyā-devī. Again and again, Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura is teaching the sādhaka to cry and pray that he will never lose and forget Govinda. If at any time a sādhaka becomes distant from the Vaiṣṇavas, he will become full of fear and many unwanted desires will catch hold of him. We thus learn from this prayer the importance of never going far away from the dhāma and the Vaiṣṇavas.
Excerpted from the Bhakta Bandhav Publication “Śrī Prārthanā”, Song 8.
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