Hari-katha Articles Sri Gauranga Samaja - The Society of Sri Gauranga

Sri Gauranga Samaja – The Society of Sri Gauranga

Only those who have faith in Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu are part of His society

After thorough deliberation we have concluded that mankind will greatly benefit through Sri Gauranga Samaja, the society of Sri Gauranga. Srila Vrndavana dasa Thakura has said “ye va mane, ye na mane, saba tanra dasa– Everyone is a servant of Sri Caitanya, even if some accept Him as Bhagavan and others do not.”* Indeed, every Gaudiya Vaisnava accepts that Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu is Sri Krsna Himself, the Absolute Truth.
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* A similar verse appears in Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Adi-lila 6.85): “keha mane, keha na mane, saba tanra dasa – Everyone is a servant of Sri Caitanya, even if some accept Him as Bhagavan and others do not.”

Constitutionally, every living being is a servant of Sri Krsna. However, many do not accept this because they are afflicted by offences. Such people will certainly neglect this Sri Gauranga Samaja, so what will the society do but remain indifferent to them? Those who hold Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu in high regard will participate in this society with one-pointed focus. What doubt can there be in this?

Three types of people have faith in Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu: (1) those who have faith that He is the Supreme Lord, (2) those who have faith that He is the topmost devotee, and (3) those who categorize Him as a great personality. However, as all three types respect Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu, they can be included within His society.

It is necessary to include in the society of Sri Gauranga the three types of people who have faith in Him

Those who perform bhajana of Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu, knowing Him to be the Supreme Lord, are His one-pointed devotees who are counted among His intimate associates. This category is further divided because even though some people know Sri Gauranga to be the Supreme Lord, they may not consider Him the object of their bhajana. Nonetheless, there is no doubt that everyone in this particular category demonstrates love for Sri Gauranga.

Those who consider Sri Gauranga to be the topmost devotee will certainly propagate love for Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu (gaura-prema) from time to time, even if they belong to another sampradaya. Persons in this category can never become disinclined to the promotion of Sri Gauranga Samaja.

And those who consider Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu to be an ordinary devotee and a native social reformer also belong to His community. If the second and third categories are not included in the society of Sri Gauranga, then this society cannot be said to benefit the public at large. Taking care to bring them within the community of Sri Gauranga is thus an intelligent act.

Accordingly, the conclusion is that the society of Sri Gauranga comprises those great souls who hold Sri Gauranga as an ideal.

The members summoned to the society of Sri Gauranga, and the grand assembly of Prakasananda Sarasvati of Kasi (Varanasi)

One question must be considered here: Does Sri Gauranga approve of such a society or not? If we examine the sastras pertaining to bhakti we will observe that Sri Gauranga personally established the foundation of such a society during His prakata-lila, or manifest presence.

O reader, do you remember that in the holy place of Varanasi a grand assembly was held in honour of Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu? It was organized by the brahmana from Maharastra, who was an exceptional devotee and an associate of Mahaprabhu. He invited all the Sankarite sannyasis and other paramahamsas of Kasi and specifically requested Sriman Mahaprabhu to join that assembly so that Mahaprabhu would bestow His mercy upon them all, as well as manifest some of His opulence. Astonished upon beholding Sriman Mahaprabhu’s grandeur, those sannyasisrose from their seats and offered Him – the Lord of our hearts – the most elevated sitting place.

In that assembly Sriman Mahaprabhu preached suddha-svabhakti, or pure devotional service to Himself, and thus became worshipful by all of those present there.

The sannyasis, their eyes brimming with tears, took shelter of His lotus feet. All varieties of people participated in that grand assembly, which was made more glorious by the presence of paramahamsa sannyasis, a multitude of brahmanas who were engaged in fruitive activities, countless worldly minded people, devotees from every sampradaya, and the most elevated pure devotees such as Sri Sanatana Gosvami, Sri Candrasekhara Acarya, Sri Tapana Misra and Sri Paramananda Kirtaniya. This is described in Sri Caitanya-caritamrta:

ara dine gela prabhu se vipra-bhavane
dekhilena, vasiyachena sannyasira gane

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Adi-lila7.58)

 

The next day Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu went to that brahmana’s residence and saw the sannyasisof Varanasi sitting there.

vasiya karila kichu aisvarya prakasa
mahatejomaya vapu koti-suryabhasa

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Adi-lila7.60)

 

Sitting on the ground, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu revealed His mystic power by manifesting extremely effulgent bodily lustre as bright as millions of suns.

prabhave akarsila saba sannyasira mana
uthila sannyasi saba chadiya asana

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Adi-lila7.61)

 

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s brilliant bodily effulgence attracted the minds of the sannyasis, and they respectfully rose, giving up their sitting places.

apane prakasananda hatete dhariya
vasaila sabha-madhye sammana kariya

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Adi-lila7.65)

 

Prakasananda Sarasvati, however, personally caught Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu by the hand and with much honour seated Him in the midst of the assembly.

prabhura mista-vakya suni’ sannyasira gana
citta phiri’ gela, kahe madhura vacana

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Adi-lila7.99)

 

After hearing the sweet words of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the minds of the Mayavadi sannyasiswere moved, and thus they spoke pleasing words.

ye kichu kahile tumi, saba satya haya
krsna-prema sei paya, yara bhagyodaya

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Adi-lila7.100)

 

“Dear Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, all You have said is completely true. Only one whose good fortune has awakened attains krsna-prema.”

The founding of the society of Sri Gauranga and its success in preaching

By reading this narration, we can certainly understand that the original Sri Gauranga Samaja in the house of the brahmana from Maharastra was manifested by the desire of Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu. If He bestows His mercy upon us, the present society of Sri Gauranga will achieve similar success. If those who honour Sri Gauranga constantly cultivate an understanding of His glories they will become supremely pure Vaisnavas within no time. Moreover, even if those who do not honour Him at all attend the society’s assemblies and thereby regularly hear sweet narrations about Him, they will also become gentle at heart. Moreover, they will eventually relinquish the impurity of their adherence to other sampradayas and become wholly pure bhaktas of Gauranga. As Srila Kaviraja Gosvami says in Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya-lila 2.87):

yeba nahi bujhe keha, sunite sunite seha,
ki adbhuta caitanya-carita
krsne upajibe priti, janibe rasera riti,
sunilei bada haya hita

 

If one does not understand Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s wonderful life and pastimes but nonetheless continues to hear about them again and again, love for Krsna will be aroused. Gradually one will come to understand the tradition of rasa, the loving affairs between Krsna and the gopisand other associates of Vrndavana. Thus, simply hearing about Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu awards the highest benefit.

Only Vaisnavas in the topmost class do not belong to any society

According to the scriptures, there are three categories of Vaisnavas: uttama, madhyama and kanistha. Among them, the uttama-vaisnava, or topmost devotee, does not belong to any society. Nonetheless, his merciful presence in Sri Gauranga Samaja will bring it much benefit. He inherently sees all beings in relation to Bhagavan and therefore he does not differentiate between what belongs to him and what belongs to someone else. Because he sees every living entity as situated within the Supreme Absolute Truth, He does not distinguish between friend and enemy, or devotee and non-devotee.

Sri Haridasa Thakura, the topmost Vaisnava, possesses all these bhavas, or moods. Nonetheless, he has particular affection for the bhakta-gosthi, the community of bhaktas, and He is devoted to the preaching of bhakti. As stated by Srila Sanatana Gosvami in Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Antya-lila 4.100?):

avatara-karya prabhura – nama-pracare
sei nija-karya prabhu karena tomara dvare

 

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu descended with the mission to propagate the importance of  chanting the holy name. Now He is accomplishing His own mission through you [Sri Haridasa Thakura].

pratyaha kara tina-laksa nama-sankirtana
sabara age kara namera mahima kathana

 

Daily you are chanting 300,000 holy names and speaking the glories of the holy name before all.

apane acare keha, na kare pracara
pracara karena keha, na karena acara

 

Some persons behave properly but do not preach the glories of chanting sri nama, whereas others preach but do not behave according to the principles.

‘acara’, ‘pracara’, – namera karaha ‘dui’ karya
tumi – sarva-guru, tumi jagatera arya

 

In relation to the holy name you both behave in an exemplary way (acara) and preach to others (pracara). You are the guruof all, for you are the topmost devotee in this world.

The duty of an intermediate Vaisnava in Sri Gauranga Samaja

The Vaisnavas on the madhyama, or intermediate, level remain under the guidance of uttama-vaisnavas, and are the benefactors of kanistha-vaisnavas, neophyte devotees. Therefore, uttama- and madhyamabhaktas are qualified for the bhajana section of Sri Gauranga Samaja.* Although they may occasionally participate in the activities of the working section, they do not manifest their competence in such work like the kanisthadevotees, who are fond of it. However, with the assistance of the kanisthavaisnavasthey accomplish whatever work needs to be done.
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* According to Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, the society of Sri Gauranga has two divisions: the bhajana section and the section that focuses on external work. The division a person belongs to depends on his adhikara, or qualification.

Vaisnavas in the bhajana section of Sri Gauranga’s society commonly take pleasure in nirjana-bhajana, or solitary absorption in the holy name, and in istagosthi (a gathering of like-minded devotees in which they discuss their ista, worshipful Lord, and thus attain much satisfaction and pleasure). There are two types of istagosthi: personal practice (acara) and missionary work (pracara). To maintain their practices, such Vaisnavas remain engaged in reciting and hearing scriptures like Srimad-Bhagavatam, and in performing harinamakirtana. At the time of preaching, they impart knowledge of bhagavat-tattvajiva-tattvarasa-tattvaand the glories of the holy name of Sri Hari, according to the qualification of the listener.

“Istagosthi” and “Vaisnava society” are other ways of referring to Sri Gauranga Samaja

The general society of Gauranga was founded during the Lord’s manifest pastimes in Varanasi, and the istagosthi process was also established at that time. Vaisnavas participated in some form of istagosthi even before the advent of Sri Gauranga. At Mahaprabhu’s time also those istagosthis were known as the “Assembly of Gauranga” or the “Vaisnava assembly”. Once, while in an istagosthiwith all His associates at Siddha-bakula (in Puri-dhama), Mahaprabhu spoke to Sri Rupa Gosvami:

prabhu kahe, – “kaha, kene kara sankoca-laje?
granthera phala sunaiba vaisnava-samaje?”
Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Antya-lila 1.130)

 

Mahaprabhu encouraged Rupa Gosvami, saying, “Why are you hesitating out of shyness? You should recite the good fruit of your writing to the Vaisnava assembly.”

Istagosthi also means krsna-katha-gosthi

Without the association of suddha-bhaktas*, or pure devotees, there is no question of holding an istagosthi.
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* One of the definitions of suddha-bhakta given by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada is one who is free from the desire for wealth, women and fame.

The word ista means “desired subject”, and gosthi means “assembly”. These two words combine to form the term istagosthi, which refers to an assembly of sadhus who are devoted to suddha-bhakti, or the practice of pure devotion. Suddha-bhaktas are rare in this world, and therefore only a few suddha-bhaktas can be found in any single istagosthi. Even a gathering of just three Vaisnavas constitutes an istagosthi. This is described in Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Antya-lila 4.52):

prabhu asi’ prati-dina milena dui-jane
ista-gosthi, krsna-katha kahe kata-ksane

 

Every day Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu would come to meet them both (Sri Svarupa Damodara and Sri Raya Ramananda) and in their istagosthi they would discuss krsna-katha for some time.

A meeting of only two Vaisnavas is called a krsna-katha-gosthi. This is stated in Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Antya-lila 4.136):

dui-jana vasi’ krsna-katha-gosthi kaila
panditere sanatana duhkha nivedila

 

When Jagadananda Pandita and Sanatana Gosvami sat together for a krsna-katha-gosthito discuss Krsna’s pastimes, Sanatana Gosvami submitted to Jagadananda Pandita the cause of his sorrow.

Sri Gauranga Samaja is universal

The purport is that when all types of people congregate in assemblies organized by devotees or faithful people, a general assembly of Gauranga is formed. A congrega-tion consisting solely of devotees is called a Vaisnava assembly, or an istagosthi of Vaisnavas. When two suddha-bhaktas meet, a krsna-katha-gosthi takes place. And when a single suddha-bhakta resides somewhere to exclusively chant the holy name, it is a place of nirjana-bhajana, or solitary devotional practice. The people in all these categories are included in Gauranga’s society. It can therefore be concluded that the purpose of Sri Gauranga’s congregation is to cultivate activities related to the eternal, constitutional occupation of the living entity (jaiva-dharma) throughout the universe.

The founding of Sri Gauranga Samaja in Kalikata and an instruction for the society’s leaders

By the inspiration of Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu, Sri Gauranga Samaja has been established in the vast city of Kalikata (Kolkata). This is a matter of extreme good fortune for the public. Now it is the responsibility of every noble-hearted, genuine seeker of the Truth to work on promoting and preserving it. This society will not remain undisturbed unless its members vigilantly avoid selfishness, hypocrisy and the desire for honour and prestige.

In the land of Bengal, these three faults pollute whatever grand mission is inaugurated, and consequently that mission is eventually ruined. With folded hands we humbly beg the big-hearted leaders of this society to remain ever conscious of this. If the members of this society can follow all the ancient rules and regulations of sat-dharma, or true religion, while remaining unaffected by the three improprieties mentioned above, the society will flourish. Unity alone is the life of any community. The introduction of a new opinion or the divergence of opinion will destroy the unity of its members and eventually ruin the very life of the society. We, however, will perform kirtana of Gauranga Mahaprabhu’s glories and never be envious of the opinions and activities of the other sampradayas. The most venerable Haridasa Thakura has said:

suna, bapa, sabarai ekai isvara
nama-matra bheda kare hinduye yavane
paramarthe ‘eka’ kahe korane purane
eka suddha nitya-vastu akhanda avyaya
paripurna haia vaise sabara hrdaya
se prabhura nama-guna sakala jagate
balena sakale matra nija-sastra mate
ye isvara, se punah sabara bhava laya
himsa karilei se, tahan himsa haya

Sri Caitanya-bhagavata (Adi-khanda 16.76–78, 80–81)

 

Dear father, the Supreme Lord is one for all living entities. The difference between the Muslim God and the Hindu God is in name only. All scriptures, whether the Koran or the Puranas, state that there is only one Supreme Lord. He is the non-dual, eternal, transcendental Absolute Truth, infallible and perfectly complete, and in that capacity He resides in everyone’s heart. The Supreme Lord’s transcendental name and qualities are glorified throughout the world by various scriptures. The Lord accepts each individual’s mood of surrender. When you are violent to others, you are being violent to the Lord Himself.

khanda khanda hai’ deha yaya yadi prana
tabu ami vadane na chadi hari-nama

Sri Caitanya-bhagavata (Adi-khanda 16.94)

 

My body may be cut into pieces or I may lose my life, but I will never abandon uttering the holy name.

Delineating the behaviour of the members of the Vaisnava society

The society of Gauranga is certain to develop if its noble-hearted members adhere to the above guidelines. It is essential that they follow certain time-tested principles. In the general meetings of Sri Gauranga Samaja,* recitations, explanations, scriptural discourses and nama-sankirtana can be performed, but it will be offensive to hold discourses imbued with rasa or to sing rasa-kirtana in such assemblies. This can take place only in an istagosthi. It is essential to observe certain principles, as witnessed in the character of Mahaprabhu:
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* When all types of people congregate in assemblies organized by devotees or faithful people, a general assembly of Gauranga is formed.

dine nrtya-kirtana, isvara-darasana
ratrye raya-svarupa-sane rasa-asvadana

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Antya-lila 11.12)

 

During the day, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu performed nrtya-kirtana, dancing and chanting, and He also took darsana of Lord Jagannatha. At night, along with Raya Ramananda and Svarupa Damodara Gosvami, He tasted the nectar of rasa.

This implies that there is no pleasure in discussing rasa in the association of general people, and that such discussions will substantially impede one from relishing rasa. This hindrance does not appear in an istagosthi.

It is necessary to preserve the etiquette of kirtana when nama-kirtana is performed. In this regard it is also necessary to decide what is most effective. If the members of the Vaisnava society themselves perform kirtana, that kirtana will bear the most fruit. Listening to the kirtanaof hired musicians who perform for remuneration is both offensive and fruitless.

Caution to preachers regarding their qualification

It is vital that Sri Gauranga Samaja exercises great care in its preaching. Discourses and instructions should be strictly in accordance with the teachings Sri Gauracandra, bestowed upon the jivasof Kali-yuga out of His boundless compassion.

The responsibility to preach is best given to the members of the bhajana section. Mere eloquence cannot make one a preacher of Sri Gauranga’s teachings. If some young, learned great souls attend istagosthis of the bhajanasection and therein discuss in a simple-hearted way the teachings of Sri Gauranga, they will quickly become adept preachers.

If the society of Gauranga consists of preachers who do not have the understanding that the Lord’s name (nama) and the Lord Himself (nami) are non-different, and if they do not have faith that this non-different reality is the Supreme Absolute Truth, parama brahma-tattva, they will not confer any welfare to others. Rather, their preaching will only have a negative effect. This is most vital. The only qualified preachers are those who have acquired knowledge about the intrinsic nature of suddha-bhakti, and who relish nama-rasa, the nectar of the holy name, being completely free from offences.

It is essential for all preachers to be fully acquainted with nama-aparadha, offences to the holy name of the Lord. Those who are aware of these offences are qualified to preach the glories of the holy name. In disseminating the glories of the holy name, one must also give instructions about the necessity of consciously avoiding nama-aparadha. Preachers who do not do so will themselves become offenders to the holy name.

The genuine society of Gauranga is the society that includes from its inception visuddha-vaisnavas, or devotees on the transcendental platform

Previously, we explained that a society of Sri Gauranga that does not accommodate all types of Vaisnavas will be short lived. That said, the fact is that a society founded with visuddha-vaisnavas, or pure devotees on the transcendental platform, as members is to be regarded as the true Sri Gauranga Samaja. Among the various Vaisnavas in such a congregation, the visuddha-vaisnavas are immersed in the bliss of bhajana, and are mostly inactive in developing their worldly life. Until those who have an inclination for bhajana become specifically immersed in the bliss of bhajana they can engage in activities to advance their worldly life. However, if they do not get the association of Vaisnavas who are immersed in the bliss of bhajana, they will become completely materialistic within no time. For such people, it is nothing but self-deception to establish and promote themselves as representing the society of Sri Gauranga, without associating with suddha-vaisnavas.

Progress in bhajana is not possible without the association of an elevated Vaisnava

One may certainly be engaged in spreading the holy name of Sri Krsna Caitanya while living with extremely materialistic people. But without having the association of Vaisnavas who are deeply absorbed in the bliss of bhajana, one’s life will go in vain and gradually one may fall down. Those in the society of Gauranga may see this happening to certain members. However, if they still do not seek the association of those devotees who are deeply absorbed in the bliss of bhajanaand include them within their society, what will become of their society? We cannot say.

The preachers of bhakti-dharma always reject the policy of conciliation, which is opposed to the teachings of Sri Gauranga

Nowadays it is seen that the members of Sri Gauranga Samaja are not performing any special activities beyond celebrating the festival of Mahaprabhu’s appearance. It does not seem that by holding assemblies in the homes of two or three materialistic people anything significant will be accomplished. If they simply try to satisfy the materialists, anarthaswill gradually arise in them. By agreeing with the opinion of materialistic people they will continue to float on the unending wave of impersonalism.

To propagate bhakti to Sri Gauranga, it is essential that in taking the help of materialistic people, one is not obliged to agree with their understanding. To accept conceptions that oppose the teachings of Sri Gauranga in order to satisfy the minds of materialistic people is utterly inappropriate. Respect all beings in this world. Try to remove the suffering of every living entity. While living with others, try to act for their welfare. Never forget, however, to follow the supremely ideal character and absolutely essential instructions of Sri Gauranga. In every city, perform sri krsna-sankirtanaand propagate Sri Gauranga’s teachings.

An instruction of benevolence to Sri Gauranga Samaja:
Travel and spread the teachings of Sri Gauranga

O devotees in Sri Gauranga Samaja, go from door to door with the scripture Sri Caitanya-caritamrtain your hands and spread the name and teachings of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Just as Sri Mahaprabhu ordered Sri Nityananda Prabhu and Sri Haridasa to travel everywhere and preach, you also become the servant of Sri Gauranga and go to every country, engaging honest people in circulating Sri Gauranga’s message.

This preaching mission cannot be accomplished by dishonest people. Immediately establish a Vaisnava school for this purpose. Educate some selfless people of good character and give them the responsibility of itinerant preaching in every town and village. Most blessed indeed are they who can do this. Those who do not follow such a formula will simply be imitating the supremely pure character of Sri Mahaprabhu.

[CC-BY-SA Rays of The Harmonist]

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Guru must be like this: nikunja-yuno rati-keli-siddhyai. He must be serving Radha and Krsna Conjugal, and especially Radhika. The gopis make so many arrangements for Their meeting. Ya yalibhir yuktir apeksaniya. They engage in all the methods of...

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE MEDITATE ON THE GOPIS? Did They Compete With Each Other?

In Vraja there is no one who does not have complete love for Krsna. Some have vatsalya or parental love, others sakhya-bhava, or love of the mood of friendship. And some have love in the mood of servitude and others have love in the mood of a paramour or beloved. No one has a competitive spirit or thinks they are enemies. They don’t think; “Oh you are very low and I am so great.” The sakhas don’t say to Krsna; “Oh what kind of big person do you think You are? Your father is the King Nanda-raja but You only have 9 lakhs cows, but my father has 11 lakhs cows. You are always coming to our houses and stealing butter but we don't steal butter from Your house.” The Vrajavasis don't have this critical mood towards one another. They don't think, “Oh this person is very low and inferior.” When we develop this type of mood, we receive all kinds of suffering and give depression to ourselves. But in Vraja no one is like this because by keeping Krsna in their hearts, and staying nearby Sri Krsna, then all kinds of low and undesirable traits are lost. If we look at all our qualities, do we think to ourselves how contemptible we are? Do we think how fallen I am? How despicable I am? Or do we climb atop the mountain of pride? Is that good for us? No! We have a relationship with God and we should know, “I am the servant of Krsna. I am Krsna das. I am very small, and He is the master.” In this world even an ant does not think itself to be small. He thinks, “I am such a great ant.” He is always very proud. He does not have these good qualities, and he does not have anugatya. In Vraja no one is acting out of their independent will. They are all in anugatya. Without Krsna’s desire even Nanda Baba does not act without discussing with Krsna. Parjanya as well only acts after discussing with Nanda and Krsna. Whatever the Vraja-vasis do they will act only according to the desire and will of Krsna.  Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura explains in the commentary on these verses of Sukadeva Goswami that the Gopis were filled with all kinds of good qualities so by meditating on them you will get kalyana – welfare. Even if you meditate on a worm or insect in Vraja you will get benefit. In Rama-loka in Ayodhya, there are so many animals, like Hanuman, who is a monkey, Kaka- basundi, the crow, and many other bears, birds and squirrels. They all have so much love for Rama, and therefore Rama’s qualities enter within them. Simply by remembering such devotees, even though they are animals, you will become decorated with all their good qualities. Similarly if we remember the residents of Vraja then we will also develop all their transcendental characteristics.  Now the Gopis were dancing, while they were singing with very beautiful melodies. They danced in many wonderful varieties of ways. Who were they trying to attract? Were they trying to show off their skill to one another? Or were they trying to show off their expertise? No! They were doing kirtan only to satisfy Sri Krsna. By their loving mood they surpassed even the Vedic stutis. In the Vedic stutis there is the Sama Veda which is filled with different poetic songs. The singing of the Gopis was millions of times greater than the songs of the Sama Veda which have 16,000 raginis, and the Gopis were singing these different ragas in very beautiful and sweet melodies and tones. This beautiful scene manifested in the rasa-sthali where Sri Krsna decorated everyone with His transcendental rasa. At that time Krsna said; “Oh sadhu, sadhu! How glorious your singing and dancing is!” He began to praise the gopis. The gopis seeing and hearing Sri Krsna’s dancing and singing, began to praise Krsna. They said; “How glorious Your singing and dancing is!” Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura explains that Sukadeva Goswami glorified Sri Vraja. Thinking of all the Vraja-devis glories he became so absorbed, that he began to speak about the wonderful traits of each of the different Gopis. At that time Pariksit Maharaja began to have direct realization of these in his heart. It was not that Sukadeva Goswami was only speaking these glories, but Pariksit Maharaja was actually having a direct spurthi, or darsana, in his heart of the Gopis. He developed sambandha jnana, a direct relation with them, and he knew Krsna would never be able to neglect him now. If someone takes shelter at the Gopis or Vraja-devis lotus feet, then it is impossible for Bhagavan to ever leave that person. In this way Sukadeva Goswami glorified the Gopis qualities and all the manifestations of the eightfold symptoms of ecstasy appeared. (CLICK ON THE TITLE TO READ THE COMPLETE ARTICLE)

WHY WILL WE ALWAYS SUFFER IF WE DON'T COLLECT THIS BHAKTI RASA?

Vilāpa-kusumāñjali 8 O Devī, please rescue this unfortunate person drowning in an ocean of pain. Place him on the strong boat of Your mercy and carry him to the wonderful realm of Your lotus feet.He says, “O Rādhe! I am not merely sad, I have fallen in the ocean of distress where I am burning in separation. I don’t know how to come out. Be merciful upon me, send a boat to help and carry me across this ocean to Your lotus feet. They are my all and all. Please bring me close to Your lotus feet. Otherwise, for millions of lives I take shelter of ordinary people, but they don’t accept me. They only kick me. O Rādhike, You are my life and soul. Please give me shelter. This will be my permanent post and service. Otherwise, I have no power.”Rādhārānī may say, “Oh, why are you sad? Why are you disturbed? Why are you crying?”“O Devī! Before, I had no knowledge that this world is a prison. Many cruel animals are present who are always cheating me, stealing my life. They appear like friends but they only steal my life, time, and energy. They make me perform bad karma, sending me away from bhakti and God.“By the mercy of Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Guru-pāda-padma, I have realized this and come here. Without Your mercy it is not possible to cross over this mundane world. I cannot cross beyond this attachment. If I have no protection and shelter, then I would be forced to go back. If You don’t give taste and relation, then I would have to go to others and work constantly for their pleasure.“I have no shelter. Without You I am very small. Your lotus feet are very wonderful. Many millions and millions of siddha-sevakas are present there.“Please give me a small place there as well. I will sit by Your lotus feet and Your sevakas will teach and guide me.”In the ninth verse Dāsa Gosvāmī prays: tvad-alokana-kalāhi-daṁśair eva mṛtaṁ janamtvat-padābja-milal-lakṣa-bheṣajair devi jīvayaVilāpa-kusumāñjali 9 O Devī, with the medicine of the red lac from Your lotus feet, please bring back to life this person now dead from the bites of the black snake of not seeing You. “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 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. Babies go to their mother and father, who take them in their lap, and kiss and play with them. With all types of love and affection, relatives poison us and keep us disconnected from our soul and the Supreme Soul. These family members are the soldiers of time.“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 anurāga.”Caitanya Mahāprabhu covered Himself with this anurāga. In Anurāga-vallari, Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura wrote that in the early morning Śrīmatī Rādhārānī watched many pulina-kanyās going to collect dry wood and cow dung. They saw Kṛṣṇa’s foosteps 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 pulina-kanyās place this kuṁkum on their heads and chests. Śrīmatī sees this and says, “How much love they have for this Kṛṣṇa!”Caitanya-candra wore cloth the reddish color of this anurāga. He said, “I always keep the Vraja-devīs’ footdust with Me. This footdust is 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 abhīkṣṇaśaḥyāsāṁ hari-kathodgīrṇaṁ punāti bhuvana-trayam Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 10.47.63 I constantly glorify the dust of the feet of the women of Nanda’s cowherd pastures. 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 you take it? You don’t have the desire. How can desire come? For that desire you must worship Śrīmatī Rādhārānī’s lotus feet.Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura sings: rādhikā-caraṇa-renu, bhūṣaṇa koriyā tanuanāyāse pābe giridhārīrādhikā-caraṇāśraya, je kore se mahāśayatāre 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.jaya jaya rādhā-nāma vṛndāvana jāra dhāmakṛṣṇa-sukha vilāsera nidhiheno rādhā guṇa gāna, na sunilo mora kānavañcito korilo more vidhi All glories, all glories to She whose name is Rādhā, whose divine abode is Vṛndāvana, and who is a treasury of pastimes that bring joy to Kṛṣṇa. Alas! If my ears have not heard Rādhā’s glories, then destiny has cheated me. Everything we sing, we sing without desire to accept. We sing, pray, and pass our time, and then run another way. Why? We have no desire to accept this.Dāsa Gosvāmī Prabhu says, “Color yourself from top to bottom with this kuṁkum. Then nothing else can touch or disturb you.”If we don’t read the Gosvāmīs’ books, like this Vilāpa-kusumāñjali, how can we understand what process the Gosvāmīs left for us? How can we cross māyā? How can we collect bhakti-rasa? Without this, our lives pass uselessly. If we only cry and think about the negative, what benefit will come to us? We accept nothing positive. We will be weak if we take no food and have no rasa. Vaidhī-mārga is not useless, but who can actually follow all rules and regulations? Those who have anurāga follow all rules and regulations naturally. They come everyday to maṅgala-āratī to serve in niśānta-līlā. There is no need to bang on their doors and shout, “Wake up!” They naturally follow everything with anurāga. Vaidhī-mārga followers do everything by force. If sometimes they are sick, then how can they follow? This anurāga is the only thing necessary for strength in bhajana. devi te caraṇa-padma-dāsikāṁ         viprayoga-bhara-dāva-pāvakaiḥdahyamānatara-kāya-ballavīṁ     jīvaya kṣaṇa-nirīkṣaṇāmṛtaiḥVilāpa-kusumāñjali 10 O Devī, with the nectar of a moment’s glance, please restore the life of this maidservant of Your lotus feet, who now burns in the great forest-fire of separation from You. What does Devī mean? In the transcendental realm of Vṛndāvana-dhāma, You control Śrī Kṛṣṇa with Your over-world-power-love and keep Him always near You, thus You are Devī.“O Devī, I am burning; my body, mind, and senses—everything is burning. Everywhere I look there is only fire, dryness, and ashes. Please cool me with the nectar from Your lotus feet. Śiva Ṭhākura sits in a crematorium and smears his body with ashes, saying, ‘In this world there is only fire and ash, fire and ash.’ O Devī, this world is a forest-fire and my body is like a burning creeper. I am a very small dāsī at Your lotus feet. Kṛpā kaṭākṣa bhājanam—please just o nce grace me with Your merciful glance. If You don’t look at me and take care of me, then everyone will come with fire and attack me, saying, ‘Hey, don’t do this, do what I am telling, follow me.’ The government, educators, parents, friends, and the so-called gurus and ācāryas—everyone in this world smashes us and squeezes out our life. They like to take all our time and life. But they don’t say, ‘Follow this line of the Gosvāmīs; this is good for you.’ ”When a goat or pig is young and healthy, everyone is ready to check, “How much does it weigh? How tasty will it be?” The fire of peoples’ desires burns us. People are always ready to attack and digest us.Dāsa Gosvāmī says, “Kṛṣṇa is transcendental. He is in my heart, but I can’t meet with Him because I am surrounded by fire. How can I cross this fire and go to meet with Kṛṣṇa? It is not possible. I am burning in my desire-fire, lust-fire, anger-fire, and so many other fires. I collect fire from all others; they give me this by force. Also, I am sentimental and sensitive—this is one fire. Even worse is the fire of pratiṣṭhā, greed for name and fame. O Devī, if these fires aren’t vanquished, I will not be able to cross beyond this fearsome world and reach You. I have been burning, burning, burning for millions of lives. Now I have only a little time left. I cannot tolerate this torment any longer. Without Your merciful glance, I will be burnt to ashes and destroyed. Please give me Your kṛpā-kaṭākṣa-bhājanam, without which I cannot cross over this fearsome world.“This body that You gave is always demanding attention and wants me to be its slave. It is a vortex of fire in which I am always burning. I desire to engage my body always as an instrument of Your service. But these fires are burning me and keep me from serving You. In a forest there are many big trees. Sometimes, when wind rubs them against each other, fire is generated. This fire burns the whole forest down. Similarly, mundane people have fire and they steal us away from bhakti and bhajana. This is like a forest-fire. How can I protect myself from the fires of this world? I don’t know. Please help me.“Your darśana is not possible for me. I can’t see you, but You can see me. Please give me Your glance of mercy, otherwise I cannot cross over this world and go to You." svapne ‘pi kiṁ sumukhi te caraṇāmbujāta-        rājat-parāga-paṭavāsa-vibhūṣaṇenaśobhāṁ parām atitarām ahahottamāṅaṁ        bibhrad bhaviṣyati kadā mama sārtha-nāmaVilāpa-kusumāñjali 11 O beautiful-faced one, when, even in a dream, will I, by decorating my head with the splendid perfumed powder of Your lotus feet, attain the goal of my life? (Click on the Title to see more)

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