Srila Gurudeva: Why do we sing kirtanas, such as “Hari haraye namah krsna yadavaya namah,” “Jaya radhe, jaya krsna, jaya vrndavana,” and “Sri krsna caitanya prabhu nityananda”? Why not only “Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama, Hare Hare?”
Why do we do so many kirtanas? Is it a waste of time? Why not always chant, “Hare Krsna Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna…” When you will sing, “Hare Krsna Hare Krsna,” and “Hari haraye namah krsna yadavaya namah,” and “Jaya radhe, jaya krsna,” other devotees think they should take their mala and sit behind, and they can chant, “Hare Krsna Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna…”
What is better? What is better?
Devotee: At this time, kirtana is better.
Srila Gurudeva: Why? Why is kirtana better?
Sripad Padmanabha Maharaja: Because sankirtana is the yuga-dharma.
Srila Gurudeva: Why?
Sripad Padmanabha Maharaja: Because it is the yuga-dharma and it is the most powerful.
Srila Gurudeva: We are attacked by so many worldly desires, which are like dacoits. In Manah-siksa it has been told…
Srila Gurudeva: More loudly.
asac-cesta kasta-prada-vikata-pasalibhir iha
gale baddhva hanye ‘ham iti bakabhid vartmapa-gane
kuru tvam phutkaram avati sa yatha tvam mana itah
(Manah-siksa Text 5)
Srila Gurudeva: What is the meaning?
Devotee: It means that “While walking on the open road of life, I’ve been assailed by very ferocious dacoits in the form of lust, anger, greed, envy, pride, illusion, and madness. They have attacked me, and they have bound my throat with very deadly ropes of vicious acts, and they are beating me. So in this very dangerous predicament, there is no way for me to escape. All I can do is call out very loudly, “O Gurudeva! O Svarupa Damodara! O Rupa Goswamipada! Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura! O Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura! Bhaktivinoda Thakura! All the generals in the army of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu! Please help me!” By shouting out very loudly, they are so kind, surely they will come and save us from these dacoits.
Srila Gurudeva: Worldly desires – lust, anger, and especially envy – is like an attack by the dacoits. You cannot save yourself from these things. And at that time, your chanting of name may be shadow of name. Not even that; it is always nama-aparadha if these are there. Especially if you are criticizing any Vaisnava – not only by word; even if there is any smell of this in the heart – or if you are criticizing your diksa-guru or siksa-guru, and have any malice towards them or doubt in them, these things are more than dacoits. Dacoits can loot you, and then they can go. But these things are ferocious like tigers. They will jump and eat you, and your bhakti will leave forever. At that stage, if you are chanting name, it is only to fulfill your desires; your lust and anything else. So if you will call, “Ha (Alas) Svarupa, Raghunath Bhatta…”
What is that verse?
Devotees chant together with Srila Gurudeva:
ha ha svarup, sanatana, rupa, raghunatha bhatta-yuga
sri-jiva, gopala bhatta, prabhu lokanatha
(Sri Krsna Caitanya Prabhu Daya Karo More, verse 5)
[“Alas! O Svarupa Damodara Gosvami, Sanatana Gosvami, Rupa Gosvami, and Raghunatha dasa Gosvami! O Gopal Bhatta Gosvami, Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami, and Sri Jiva Gosvami! O my master, Lokanatha Gosvami give me your mercy!”]
daya karo sri acarya prabhu srinivasa
ramacandra-sanga mage narottama dasa
Sri Krsna Caitanya Prabhu Daya Karo More, verse 6
[“Be merciful, O Prabhu Srinivasa Aacrya! Narottama dasa begs for the association of Ramacandra Kaviraja.”]
Pray like this: “O Nityananda Prabhu, you are always sinking in the love and affection of Mahaprabhu. You have descended to this world only to save all the devotees.”
ha ha prabhu nityananda premananda-sukhi
krpavalokana karo ami bado dukhi
(Sri Krsna Caitanya Prabhu Daya Karo More, verse 3)
[“O Nityananda Prabhu, who are always joyful in ecstatic love, glance upon me with compassion, for I am very sorrowful.”]
The devotee should realize this and do kirtana. Perhaps it will be better than chanting chaya-nama-abhasa (a dim reflection of the holy name) or nama-aparadha (offenses to the holy name). So, first of all we should sing these songs, and then chant Hare Krsna. This is the regulation.
In the morning, if you can take bath, you should do that; then put on tilaka, do acamana (purification by sipping sanctified water and uttering purificatory mantras), and then chant ahnika (gayatri mantra). Then you can see arati (the ceremony to awaken and glorify the Deities on the altar), perform tulasi parikrama, and then sit down for bhajanas.
First of all the guru-parampara kirtana should be done, because we are so much indebted to our guru-parampara. This guru-parampara, from Krsna, Brahma, Narada, Vyasadeva, Sukadeva Gosvami, and so on, is bringing pure bhakti in our heart. In guru-parampara all the teachings and all spiritual truths are coming, so, we are indebted to them. Thus, guru-parampara, then Vaisnava kirtana, chanting to the Panca-tattva, and then this kirtana should be done, praying for their mercy:
“The dust of your lotus feet is my panca-prana (five kinds of life-air).” What is the meaning of this? “Without this mercy, I will die.” These acaryas are the root cause of bhakti. If you do not know Rupa Gosvami, then where is your bhakti? And if you do not know Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, you cannot know Rupa Gosvami. And if you are not knowing Jiva Gosvami, then you can never know any siddhanta (conclusive philosophical truths. “O Gopala Bhatta!” Who is he? By his bhakti, Krsna manifested as Radha-ramana from a salagram-sila. Pray to Gopala Bhatta and all other such acaryas, like Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami.
We should try to pray to them that our hearts should be very pure; that krsna-bhakti should come, gaura-bhakti should come, and the mercy of Nityananda Prabhu should come. Then we can realize something.
Don’t think, “Oh, these are bogus things. They are doing it, and when they do, I should chant the name or I should meditate or do anything else.” If you think in this way, you are neglecting Krsna and all the parampara. When you are singing, “Jaya radhe, jaya krsna,” pray to Them for Their mercy. By remembering them, the pure name can come. By tulasi-parikrama, this will come, and it will come by following Ekadasi.
Today is Ekadasi. It is called Madhava-tithi, the mother of bhakti. Bhakti takes birth from the womb of Ekadasi. You should not think that this is a day. This is Krsna’s personal sakti (power), a manifestation of Srimati Radhika. You should observe this Ekadasi with honor and love and affection. Don’t try to eat all day, like juice, milk, almonds, pistachios, so many times. Observe this day with honor. Don’t neglect Ekadasi.
Caitanya Mahaprabhu is Krsna in the mood of Radhika. This means that Radha and Krsna are both honoring Ekadasi in Jagannath Puri. On the Ekadasi evening, the panditas of Jagannath Puri brought all kinds of prasadam in a big dish – dahl, laddu, puri, katchoris and so many other preparations. You know how delicious Jagannath prasadam is. So they brought it, and kept it in front of Caitanya Mahaprabhu while He was doing kirtana with His associates.
Turnbridge, England: July 8, 1999