Hari-katha Gurudeva Katha What to Think About While Chanting

What to Think About While Chanting

Darsana with Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja, spoken in France, on April 27, 1998

Syama-kunda and Radha-kunda are extremely beautiful, surrounded by the many exquisite sweet groves of Lalita, Visakha, and all the other principle sakhis. We want the mercy of Radha and Krsna Conjugal. Srimati Radhika is our Svamini, our worshipful mistress, so we must please Her. How do we please Her? Not by glorifying Her. Rather, by our glorifying Her beloved, She will be very pleased and bestow upon us whatever we desire.

So, try to please Srimati Radhika by first glorifying Her beloved Krsna, Syamasundara. How? By singing and remembering the bhajana “Namami Nanda-nandana.” If you can think of the meanings of the verses in this song, you will feel so much spiritual joy that your heart will melt. [*See Endnote]

Karena venu-ranjitam” – Krsna keeps His flute on His lips and smiles, looking towards His beloved. “Gati karindra-ganjitam” – And He walks like an elephant, who walks as though he were intoxicated with happiness. In fact, Krsna walks more sweetly and beautifully than that elephant.

Dukula-pita-sobhanam” – Du-kula literally means ‘two sides.’ Dukula pita means ‘yellow garments’, and here it refers to Krsna’s uttariya, or upper cloth. Krsna’s upper cloth is exceedingly more beautiful than the yellow mustard seed flowers we see in the fields. His cloth can be compared with lightening flashing upon His body, which is like the color of clouds.

Then after these three lines, we remember the refrain, “Namami nanda-nandanam.

All the verses have very excellent and sweet meanings. If one sings this kirtana and meditates on the meaning, Krsna will enter his heart along with Srimati Radhika – as promised in the last verse.

sri nanda-nandanastakam pathed yah sraddhayanvitah
tared bhavabdhim dustaram labhet tad-anghri-yugmakam

That person will easily cross birth and death, lust, and all other obstacles. ‘Yugmakam’ means that Radha and Krsna are together. Where? At Radha-kunda.

When chanting Sri Radha-Krpa-Kataksa-Stava-Raja, beginning “Munindra-vrnda-vandite,” try to know some of the meanings of these verses as well. You will be truly happy by this. Absorbed in thinking about this, your mind will not go here and there.

When you chant harinama, you can try and visualize that you are anywhere in the eighty-four krosas (thirty-two square mile area) of Vrndavana. You can be under the shade of Vamsi-vata (the tree under which Krsna plays His flute and calls the gopis to come and dance rasa-lila with Him), and sometimes in Nandagaon, at Ter-kadamba (one of the important meeting places of Sri Radha-Krsna). And, if you like to weep bitterly, then go to Uddhava-kyari, where all gopis are lamenting in a mood of separation from Krsna. Sit there for some time and chant Hare Krsna, feeling something of the gopis’ great separation mood.

If your mind is wandering, go then to Govardhana and try to chant Hare Krsna loudly, performing parikrama of Govardhana. You can take some rest at Kusuma-sarovara (where Krsna jokingly chastises Sri Radha for picking ‘His’ flowers) or Govinda-kunda (where King Indra worshipped Krsna), and especially take bath at Radha-kunda. First take bath in Radha-kunda and then in Syama-kunda (where Radha and Krsna and the gopis perform their water sports).

While chanting Hare Krsna and thinking about all of these things, gradually your mind will be controlled. In our sampradaya, especially in the line of Srila Rupa Gosvami, devotees do not have to do anything separate to remove anarthas (detrimental thoughts and habits). We simply engage our minds all the time, second by second, in chanting, remembering, reading, and worshipping Krsna twenty-four hours a day. In this way our minds cannot go here and there, and we can conquer anarthas easily. We have a taste in these processes that assist us in entering bhakti.

Srila Rupa Gosvami says that without the association of pure Vaisnavas, what to speak of attaining bhakti, even our attraction towards worldly desires will not go away.

mahat-krpa vina kona karme ‘bhakti’ naya
krsna-bhakti dure rahu, samsara nahe ksaya


[“Unless one is favored by a pure devotee, one cannot attain the platform of devotional service. To say nothing of krsna-bhakti, one cannot even be relieved from the bondage of material existence.” (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya-lila, 22.51)]

We should try to be far away from four things: illicit sex, gambling of all sorts, meat-eating (including fish and eggs as well), and intoxicants (including coffee, tea, and cigarettes.) We should try to avoid these things. We must also avoid the three W’s: women – for women, men are women (the ‘W’ would then stand for ‘men’), and for men, women are women; it is not one-sided – and wealth and wine. We must try to follow all these principles. Don’t smoke marijuana. This is so dangerous that it is like taking poison; one who takes it will die.

Have strong belief in gurudeva and guru-parampara. Don’t have any doubts in our guru-parampara, otherwise you will die in spiritual life. Don’t think that Parama-pujypada Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja is an ordinary person. He went everywhere in the world and created a revolution in bhakti. We must not lose faith in him and our guru-parampara. No sahajiya babaji can do what he and our guru-parampara have done. In fact, even the word ‘babaji’ has not been written in scriptures like Vedanta, Upanisads, Caitanya-caritamrta, Mahabharata, Bhagavad-gita, Srimad-Bhagavatam, or in the books of Srila Rupa Gosvami, Srila Sanatana Gosvami, Srila Jiva Gosvami, and Srila Visvanath Cakravarti Thakura. Where has it been written? Don’t fall in their traps.

Those who think that parakiya-bhava is material, Krsna is material, bhakti is material, and we are this material body have no conception of true, transcendental love and parakiya-bhava. They smoke ganja, and they desire many parakiya ladies – not as married ladies, but as parakiya lovers – and these ladies want parakiya husbands. Thus they meet together and indulge in all varieties of immoral behavior. Such persons will not be able to touch bhakti in millions upon millions of births; not even a semblance of bhakti. They are all offenders, so we should believe in our guru-parampara and the line that has been given by them.

In order to attain true bhakti, you will need to do millions of times more labor than what you are presently doing to maintain your lives. You do so much labor and undergo so much suffering for maintaining your lives. I see that some people work sixteen hours a day like machines. They have no time for anything else.

In order to attain pure bhakti, we will have to do even more labor than this. Sri Rupa and Sanatana used to sleep one hour, or sometimes they would not sleep at all. They were always weeping in the ecstasy of separation from Radha and Krsna. Let us be like that.

I see that so many devotees don’t attend morning arati. They don’t see the utility in doing morning kirtana. They don’t chant and remember or read books. So how can they progress? They cannot progress.

Now I am somewhat old and have bad eyesight; that is why I don’t attend mangala-arati. When I lived on the same level as Thakuraji in my room in Mathura, I used to attend daily. Now, it may be that I will fall down the stairs, so that is why I don’t go. But I am never asleep after 3 am.

Try to do great labor for bhakti. Don’t be idle. If you are engaged in the variety of activities in practicing bhakti-yoga, then Sri Krsna and Srimati Radhika will surely be kind enough to sprinkle Their mercy upon you.


[ENDNOTE: (A lecture given on Janmastami Morning, in Mathura, India, on August 31, 2002)

Tridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
(A lecture given on Janmastami Morning)
Mathura, India: August 31, 2002

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja held his Janmastami celebration at Sri Kesavaji Gaudiya Matha, in Mathura. After mangala-aratika, bhajanas preceded as usual, with a special emphasis on those bhajanas glorifying Sri Krsna. Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja entered the temple at around 6:30am and began his Hindi class, wherein he explained the deep meanings of various bhajanas. The translation of his class was kindly given by Uttama dasa Brahmacari:]

After Srila Maharaja led the devotees in singing Sri Nanda-nandanastakam, he explained that this song is the glorification of Krsna. Hearing this song pleases Him, but He is most pleased when the devotee worships and glorifies those who are most dear to Him. If one glorifies pastimes such as those found in Sri Ujjvala-nilamani and other Gosvami scriptures wherein Krsna bows His head at the lotus feet of Srimati Radharani, Krsna will be most pleased. Srila Maharaja said that if we really want to please Krsna, we should sing Sri Radha-Krpa-Kataksa-Stavaraja, which is the glorification of Srimati Radharani. Therefore this song, Nanda-nandanastakam, which indicates the glorification of Krsna, gives more pleasure to Sri Radha.

Srila Maharaja then led the devotees in singing Srimati Radharani’s astakam, Sri Radha-Krpa-Kataksa-Stavaraja, after which he explained that the verses in this bhajana are just like mantras (mantra does not only mean ‘prayer;’ it is the actual presence of the mantra’s worshipful Deity). Each verse is also a mantra. This bhajana is just like a desire tree; it can fulfill all of our desires.

Every verse of Srimad-Bhagavatam is also a mantra, and one can attain siddhi (perfection) from each of them. These verses can fulfill even the topmost desire, but unfortunately we have no faith in this. We are chanting the maha-mantra and we have no faith in it; but this and all other mantras are truly kalpa-vrksa, desire trees. Every sloka of Srimad-Bhagavatam is like the kama-dhenus (the cows of Goloka Vrndavana, who can fulfill all of one’s desires). Not only one kama-dhenu – each sloka can be compared to millions of kama-dhenus.

“Ananga-ranga-mangala-prasanga-bhangura-bhruvam…” [“In the immensely auspicious drama enacted with loving playfulness (prema-vilasa) on the amorous battlefield, Your eyebrows curving like bows suddenly unleash the arrows of Your sidelong glances, piercing Nanda-nandana with amorous delusion and bringing Him under reverential submission”]. In this verse, every word describes the moods of Srimati Radharani, and especially Her topmost moods of madanakya-mahabhava. These moods can be understood only by the mercy of guru and Vaisnavas, and also by those who have previous samskaras (impressions on the heart made by devotional activities of this and previous lives).

“Asesa-hava-bhava-dhira-hira-hara-bhusite…” [“You are adorned with all Your various deep emotions (anuraga, dhiradhira, kila-kincita, etc.) for Krsna, which shine on Your person like a diamond necklace.”] Hava is explained in Srila Rupa Gosvami’s Sri Ujjvala-nilamani. They are gestures of Radharani such as Her sidelong glances towards Krsna, and also the tilting of Her head. When She acts in these ways, Krsna becomes completely powerless and begins trembling. Bhava means ecstasies or moods, or a combination of varieties of moods as in kila-kincita bhava, and these are also elaborately explained in Sri Ujjvala-nilamani. If one is qualified he can read Sri Ujjvala-nilamani, but he must do so under the guidance of exalted Vaisnavas. In that way, by the mercy of guru, he can realize all those moods.

These verses can give you the highest perfection. These mantras and guru are so powerful that by their mercy they can manifest all transcendental moods and deep meanings in your heart. Unfortunately, however, we have no faith in guru or the power of the mantras.

“Nitamba-bimba-lambamana-puspa-mekhala-gune…” [“Your rounded hips are decorated with dangling flowers and tiny tinkling jeweled bells hung from the flower-belt on your charmingly slender waist.”] No one can explain the meaning because it is unfathomable, and even Srila Rupa Gosvami cannot speak about these hidden truths. In his realized state he could only write down his realizations in his books. Later, when Srila Visvanatha Cakravartipada read them, he began laughing and feeling shyness in his heart. Thus, he was qualified to write a commentary on the verses of Srila Rupa Gosvami.

We are really very unfortunate. We have the opportunity for this type of wealth, but still we try to collect the wealth of this material world. The bhavas of Srimati Radharani are the most valuable wealth in this world. Anyone who has once tasted this wealth can reject all material wealth. Unfortunately, however, we are still searching for insignificant material wealth.

Srila Maharaja then led the devotees in singing Krsna Deva! Bhavantam Vande, and then explained that if you want to please Srimati Radharani, you will have to sing Krsna Deva! Bhavantam Vande; this song especially gives Her pleasure. And, if you want to please Yugala Kisora, both Radharani and Krsna, you must sing Sri Gaura-gita. This song, which reveals the moods of Srimati Radharani and also of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, gives great pleasure to Yugala Kisora.

The author of Sri Gaura-gita, Sri Radha-mohana dasa, is a highly qualified Vaisnava in our sampradaya. In the last line of his bhajana he sings, “paramakincana-kincana-nara-gana-karuna-vitarana-silam” [“I hanker to relish the unparalleled pastimes of the greatly munificent Sri Gaurasundara, who distributes mercy in the form of nama-prema to the supremely fortunate niskincana souls (those whose only possession is love of Krsna)]. He considers himself to be very akincana (fallen and worthless). Although he is very great, still he says, “I am akincana.” “Ksobhita-durmati-radha-mohana-namaka-nirupam-lilam [“The fallen and foolish Radha-mohana sings in a mood of great distress]. Duramati – here he says, “I am duramati. I am a very low-minded person.”

Ksobhita means ‘one whose heart is disturbed.’ Why is the author’s heart now disturbed? “Nidhuvana nagari mohita-manasa-vikathita-gadgada-bhasam” [“The heart of Krsna, in the form of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, is thoroughly immersed in Srimati Radhika’s unnatojjvala-prema. That Caitanya Mahaprabhu now lovingly extols Sri Krsna in a choked voice.”] Nidhuvana is one of the topmost forests in Vrndavana, where Yugala Kisora enjoy Their sweet pastimes. Srimati Radharani is the nagari (heroine) of this Nidhuvana. Here, Krsnacandra serves Srimati Radharani from the beginning to the end of night, and still He cannot serve Her completely. By remembering this type of pastime, Radha-mohana dasa’s heart is agitated. This pastime of Nidhuvana is the crown jewel of all pastimes.

Srila Maharaja then spoke from Brahma-samhita. He began by saying that Brahmaji, the adi-guru of our sampradaya, realized his offense to the lotus feet of Govinda after stealing His sakhas and their calves. He therefore performed atonement and offered stutis, prayers, unto Govinda’s lotus feet.

Since the time of Srila Rupa Gosvami, no one in our sampradaya offers prayers of formal worship to Govinda. Bhajami means to do bhajana, but in our sampradaya bhajana means something more than that which is described in Brahma-samhita. The acaryas in our Gaudiya Sampradaya worship Govinda in this mood: He is always using sweet words to flatter Srimati Radharani. Govinda is not the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Rather, His qualification is that He is always following Srimati Radharani’s orders. Whatever She wants Him to do, He must follow. This is Govinda.

Srila Maharaja then quoted verses from Brahma-samhita, such as:

avita-dhiyo manujas tathaiva

samprapya rupa-mahimasana-yana-bhusah
suktair yam eva nigama-prathitaih stuvanti
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami
(Brahma-samita 5.36)


[“I adore the same Govinda, the primeval Lord, in whose praise men, who are imbued with devotion, sing the mantra-suktas told by the Vedas, by gaining their appropriate beauty, greatness, thrones, conveyances and ornaments.”]

“Yad bhava bhavita dhiyo…I offer my humble obeisances unto the lotus feet of Govinda, the hearts of whose devotees are overwhelmed by various kinds of bhavas towards Him. Someone may have sakhya-bhava, someone vatsalya, and someone else may have madhurya-bhava.” All the acaryas in our sampradaya have the mood that, “I am the maidservant of Srimati Radharani,” and it is from the vantage-point of this mood that we look at Govinda.

Mahimasana generally means ‘asana (sitting place),’ but here asana means ‘Vraja-bhumi.’ Vraja-bhumi is the only sitting place of Govinda; and greater than Vraja is Radha-kunda, which is the highest sitting place of the Divine Couple. Still greater is Srimati Radharani’s bhava, which is the only asana for Krsnacandra, Govinda. Krsna always desires to be situated in Radharani’s bhava. Those who are overwhelmed by the moods of our sampradaya, thus performing this type of bhajana to Govinda, can attain the highest perfection very quickly.

Srila Maharaja then spoke about bhava. He said that there are eleven types of bhava revealed by the guru when the disciple is entering bhava-bhakti. [1) sambandha (relationship), 2) vayasa (age), 3) nama (name), 4) rupa (personal form and beauty), 5) yutha (group), 6) vesa (dress), 7) ajna (specific instruction), 8) vasa (residence), 9) seva (exclusive service); 10) parakasta-svasa (the highest summit of emotion, which is the aspirant’s very life breath, and 11) palya-dasi-bhava (the sentiment of a maidservant under the protection of Sri Radha).]

There are also five dasas (stages of advancement approaching the stage of perfection). This is explained in Jaiva-dharma. and those who really desire to do bhajana will attain these eleven types of moods and five dasas.

yam krodha-kama-sahaja-pranayadi-bhuti-
sancintya tasya sadrsim tanum apur ete
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami


[“I adore the primeval Lord Govinda, the meditators of whom, by meditating upon Him under the sway of wrath, amorous passion, natural friendly love, fear, parental affection, delusion, reverence and willing service, attain to bodily forms befitting the nature of their contemplation.” (Brahma-samita 5.55)]

Here Brahmaji is giving us encouragement. Whoever serves Govinda and adheres to any of these types of moods in relation to Krsna, such as krodha (anger), kama (amorous desire), sahaja pranaya (natural friendly love), and so forth, will one day attain perfection. Different people have different types of relationships with Krsna, and through this relation they attain Him. Brahma says in this verse that one who comes to Krsna must one day attain perfection; there is no doubt about it. The type of sraddha one has in his heart determines what type of perfection he ultimately attains.

Must Read

He is Rupa Manjari

1. In Vraja-lila, he is Rupa-manjari. 2. Rupa-manjari is the embodiment of Srimati Radhika’s love. So one who receives her mercy naturally receives the mercy of Srimati Radhika. 3. He arranges everything for the service for Srimati Radhika...

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)

Abandonment Krsna's Mercy

1. When everyone abandons me, it is Krishna’s mercy. Then I can be one-pointed. 2. Śraddhā is confident, firm faith that by rendering transcendental loving service to Krishna one automatically performs all subsidiary activities. Such faith is favorable to the discharge of devotional service...


If we desire prema-sevā, divine loving service, we will make a firm vow to Śrīmatī Rādhikā and Her prominent sakhīs like Lalita-devi, Viśākhā, Rūpa Mañjarī, and so forth. We will pray, “I will not take shelter of any other. I only seek and wait for Your blessings and mercy. I will only associate with those who similarly seek Your shelter and who have vraja-niṣṭha. I will sternly avoid any other association.”

Love is Perpetual. Politics is Not…

This is a policy. Policy means a political thing. I don’t want to go to any politics. I want to help all the little beings, the living entities like Svāmījī has done. I am helping everyone causelessly. I don’t want to be political; I only want to support everyone. It is not written in any śāstra; my Gurudeva or any Gurudeva has not said like so. We see that...

More Articles Like This