Hari-katha Articles WHERE CAN YOU FIND BHAKTI?

WHERE CAN YOU FIND BHAKTI?

We heard yesterday how the Gopis became fully absorbed in Sri Krsna by seeing His footprints with one of His beloveds. At that time the gopis began to meditate and pray to Him. Krsna has akarsana sakti, attractive power, this is also called sankarsana. Krsna can attract everyone but how powerful is that person who can attract even Krsna by their seva.
Seeing the footprints of Lord’s beloved, the Gopis became astonished that Lord Krsna, became conquered by Her. The Lord comes in so many different incarnations in the four different yugas, and so many people are attracted to these incarnations. The devotees of the Lord also have this limitless attractive power. We can see how Narada Rsi helps numerous jivas, and other sages like Narada, Kratu, Angira, Yajnavalkya, Bharatavaja they all have so much power.

They not less then God because they are servants of the Lord who have conquered Him by bringing Him into their hearts by love. Then they have such qualifications, that all living entities become attracted to the Lord through them. That is called over-world-power-love. They can conquer the whole world by their love, because they have conquered the Lord Himself, who has entered and become bound in their hearts.

In the rasa mandala many millions and millions of Gopis came. Bhaktivinoda Thakura says, sata koti gopi”, which means hundreds of millions. No one had the power to keep Krsna with them alone. When Radhika left, Krsna immediately left. Radhika was more powerful then all of them. Then they thought; “Oh, our pride has become the cause of our downfall. The Lord met with us, praised us, and very mercifully gave us His attention, but then we became proud of our good fortune. We thought this praise and attention was because of our own good qualities, but then He suddenly left us. Now we can understand how this beloved of His is so qualified “. Upon seeing Her footprints we understand that She had so much power, that the Lord Himself became exclusively attracted towards Her. Krsna, who is the all-attractive was completely attracted towards Sri Radha. They could now begin to understand Her glories.

TWO TYPES OF ABSORPTION

There are two kinds of absorption, one is through affection and love, and the other is through envy or hatred. Kama dvesa bhaya sneha, through attraction, affection and love kama or through dvesa, envy or hate this will give quick absorption. If you hate someone so much then you will always be thinking about them and be absorbed in them. If absorption comes within the devotees through love or through anything else then you will quickly make relation with the Lord and be connected to Him. Specially by remembrance then you will get the shower of mercy. What to speak of darshana, simply by seeing His footprints simply by having darshana of them or touching them, then so much power comes.

The Gopi’s became anxious thinking of Krsna but when they saw His beloveds footprints and began meditating on them, then shakti came within them. By this they began to look and what did they see? They saw from the footprints that Krsna had picked some flowers, and then decorated His beloved with a nice garland. How much power is within His beloved that the Lord Himself is decorating Her and is serving Her!

WHERE CAN YOU FIND BHAKTI?

If you touch the places where Radha and Krsna have performed their pastimes then your consciousness will naturally be transformed. Sukadeva Gosvami therefore said; “Oh king, sthane sthitah sruti-gatam tanu-van-manobhir, be situated in those transcendental pastime places where bhavarti avartham the Lord`s discourses are being spoken and the glories of His pastimes are being sung and where the kirtana is always going on. Go to that place and be firmly situated there.

Jnane prayasam utapasya namanta eva, do not endeavor for knowledge, because pure knowledge will come automatically if you are in that pure place. Understand you cannot conquer the Lord through knowledge, you must go through love and devotion, bhakti. Otherwise jnana is only like dry straw and without any juice. Do not go towards jnana, impersonal knowledge or the cultivation of speculative knowledge. Instead go towards bhakti.

Where can you find that bhakti? Wherever the devotees of the Lord are always engaged in His kirtana and performing sravana and smarana, rememberance of the Lord continuously, then if you go there then you can develop. Otherwise if there is a little gap then that place would be for maya. Therefore wherever there is continous kirtana like an unbroken stream of honey or oil then wherever katha is going on like that you should be present there and fully absorbed in that place

Sukadeva Gosvami told Pariksit Maharaja; “Oh king, simply sitting on the bank of the Ganga is not enough. You should go to that place, sthane sthitah, and sruti-gatam tanu-van-manobhir, engage your body, mind and words, hear with your ears. Bring it in your heart and then with your body, touch that place of the Lords transcendental pastimes and serve that place, and manobhih, engage your mind, and by drinking that rasa, naturally you will become absorbed.

If someone takes this Hari rasa, they will become intoxicated with that nectar, and they will not have desires for anything else. If we don`t have time to physically go with your body to these auspicious places, then go with your mind or by soul. Engage your speech via your tongue in kirtana and do not to listen to anything else, or hear mundane talks. Do not hear of the other incarnations or the demigods. What should we do?

Avatiya vartam, hear those talks which grant liberation and pure devotion. If you can be continuously absorbed twentyfour hours a day in kirtana, katha and devotional practices, by going to that transcendental place you will feel happiness. That happiness or satisfaction is such, that not only will it take away all our suffering, which is a small thing, but it has the power to give pure love, good qualities and all spiritual power. It will also give spiritual intelligence and then you will understand how to please the Lord, and you will be able understand who is the most dear to the Lord. Sanatana Gosvami explained in the Brhad Bhagavatamrta about the glories of all the different types of devotees in sequence, explaining who is dear to the Lord, who is in which rasa, who is the premi-bhakta, the suddha-bhakta, the prematura-bhakta, he explained the specialities of these different gradations of devotees.

GLORIES OF PASTIME PLACES, FLOWERS AND TULASI

As the Gopis saw the footprints of Krsna, mentally they began to think, “Oh, we never took shelter of these feet!“  They became fully absorbed when they saw the footprints of both Radha and Krsna together, and some Gopis felt mana, or jealousy. The vipaksa Gopis, who are antagonistic to Sri Radha, felt some jealousy or enmity, but then they understood and thought, “How glorious She must be! What worship has She performed by which the Lord himself has decorated Her, picked flowers, and carried Her. Oh, we do not even possess a fraction of Her glories! We have so much arrogance, what to speak of good qualities, we do not even have a fraction of Her power.“ As they touched that holy place in their minds, then a natural kind of stimulus appeared within their mind, a uddipana.

If you go to a place of ignorance or a place of passion, or a place in the mode of goodness, these places they will all influence you, you will become affected by the environment. We cannot get the spiritual, transcendental inspiration without a nirguna or transcendental place. “Oh sakhis! Look, Syamasundara He took His beloved and carried Her. That Sri Krsna, param premi, the greatest beloved, He became engaged in decorating His beloved with flowers. We can see Krsna’s footprints are deeply embedded in the earth in the places where He stood up, carried His beloved and where He picked flowers from the trees. In this way we see the amazing relationship between the lover and the beloved. The Lord stood up on His toes and picked flowers from the trees. With these flowers He decorated His beloved Radha, and sat Her on His shoulders.“

What is the pleasure or the happiness that comes from being decorated with flowers? These flowers beli, cameli, campaka, gandharaja, within these flowers there is so much potency, so much ability. It gives life energy, jivani sakti. It gives such a powerful energy that is not found in other substances. The pollen of flowers, like saffron and other pollens, and pure kumkum from certain flowers, when touched the body will become energetic and you will not feel any sense of exhaustion. It can also cure different kinds of sicknesses, and the good qualities of the flowers, like humility and the ability to attract good intelligence, will come within you. You cannot do worship with other things, you must use flowers. These are some of the glories of flowers and flower garlands.

Tulasi is the most dear to the Lord. She is so dear. Why is she so dear to the Lord? She is respecting the Lord and His devotees and they are respecting her. In Vrndavana so many hundreds and thousands of Tulasi’s have been offered to Thakuraji and when you stay there in the temple for some time, surrounded by a Tulasi garden then your life can be transformed.

Syamasundara took His beloved and He kept Her on His shoulders and later He decorated Her with flowers. He knew, “Oh these Gopis and Sri Radha they are decorating and making so many kunjas for Me!“ Wherever the Lord rests, they make a flower-bed out of flower petals. The Lord is not attracted to gold, jewels and ornaments or soft mattresses, but He likes these soft flower petals and flower decorations. If there are no flower decorations hanging around His bed and no flowers on His body then He is not pleased. Even the Lord`s dress can be made out of flowers. The Lord now felt, “Oh, they have done so much service for Me and made so many nice flower decorations, now I will decorate Sri Radha with flowers Myself.“

KRSNA’S HALF FOOTPRINTS

Sridhara Swami explains, the Gopis could see that Krsna had stood up on His toes, and there was not a full footprint. If you go to carana padi at some of the places you can see that during Krsna’s precence he was standing there and only one foot is half imbedded in the stone. Generally, Krsna would always have one foot down and the other foot crossed over and half up. In Govardhana we also find places where Krsna`s footprints are present, where Krsna had been standing on a stone and the stone melted in ecstasy and imprinted His footprints in the rock.

Where Madhavendra Puri had darshana of Gopal, Krsna`s footprints are also imprinted there. There is also bhajana sila where Krsna and the sakhas would play on a special rock that would make noises like a karatala, and mrdangam. They would play many different instruments on the stones and all the different tones and melodies can be played there. You can take one small stone and play on the big rock with it. The sakhas would go and sit there and make music, they would take different stones and say; This is my instrument!“ and another would say; “This is my instrument!“ In that way they would make a beautiful symphony there and it is like an ananda utsava festival of music. There the Lord`s footprints are present. One full footprint is there and half of another footprint. Also the Gopis sometimes go there.

Excerpted from the up and coming Bhakta Bandhav publication, “Rasa-pancadhyayi”

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Like an ant that becomes trapped in honey, the more the conditioned soul accepts māyā, the harder it is to escape. However, if we are engaged in vraja-rasa, then we will get strength, transcendental power, and the ability to easily cross over māyā. At that time, everything to do with māyā will appear to us like...

Srila Jiva Gosvami’s Appearance Day

Today, we shall remember the glories of His priya parisada, His dear associate Srila Jiva Gosvami. This mahaprasada is bhagavat prasada, and by taking this we can consider our lives successful. Bhagavan’s prasada means His priya bhaktas, His dear devotees. Those who are God’s atyanta priyas, who are very dear to Him and the recipients of His mercy, are Bhagavat-prasada. They appear in this world to benefit the conditioned souls by connecting them to God. To take shelter of these devotees and hear their glories is only possible for those who are extremely fortunate. Bhagavan Himself is yajnesvara-hari—He appears from yajnas to distribute causeless mercy. Those people who received God’s blessings can help the world. One who has not received God’s blessings and is not a dear associate of God cannot give welfare to others. Therefore you should look for somebody who is dear to God, bhagavat-priya. Then you should try to receive his association, blessings, and mercy, and once you understand the welfare they have given to you, you will naturally want to glorify them. If someone gave you food or a place to live, then you would not forget this person, and you would glorify him. It is hard to forget somebody who has helped one so much. A person who does this is called ungrateful. There is a guru-drohi, one who is ungrateful to his guru, a pitri-drohi, one who is ungrateful to his ancestors, and a bhakta-drohi, one who is ungrateful to the devotees. If you do not glorify the devotees, Vaisnavas, and bhaktas, then Bhagavan says that you are an enemy in this world. No one will be the friend of such a person, and one who favors this person will as well be the enemy of the world, because he has not glorified the Vaisnavas, who are the sevakas and sevikas of Bhagavan. How much do the sevakas and sevikas serve God? If we do not hear and speak their glories, then we are akrtajna - ungrateful, adrohi - an enemy, and aguna - full of bad qualities. We do not forget someone who has helped us with one roti or one paisa. The vaisnavas who eternally help us, who pull us out of this hell of samsara, where we have been for millions of lives, and who bring us to the lotus feet of God, are our greatest benefactors. If we do not glorify them, then we are extremely ungrateful. They give us the food for our soul that helps us transcend this world and go to the spiritual world. A person who does not glorify them is a pasandi, or an atheist. They are asuras, raksasas, or demons. It is very difficult for such people to get benefit in this world. In sastra it is said: krsna gurudvaya bhakta sakti avatara prakasa krsna ei chaya rupe karena vilasa Caitanya-Caritamrta, Adi 1.32 Bhagavan appears in six forms in this world. Kaviraja Gosvami explains this in Caitanya-Caritamrta. Krsna guru dvaya—Krsna appears in this world in the forms of siksa-guru, diksa-guru, and His incarnations, the avataras: manvantara, gunavatara, avesavatara, saktyavesavatara, who are all His prakasa, His manifestations. One who is grateful glorifies them, but one who is ungrateful wastes time and does not glorify the guru-varga and Bhagavan. Whose property is the soul? This soul is the separated part and parcel of God. It is not the separated part and parcel of any demigod or goddess. No one can say, “The soul is mine.” But Bhagavan says to Arjuna, “The jiva is mine. I created the Earth, and all the people, and the 330 millions of demigods. A person who thinks himself to be independent brings suffering into his own lap, but for a person who surrenders to Me and accepts Me as his life and soul, I will take responsibility, and even still I will give him independence. It is everyone’s own choice whether they want to act correctly or incorrectly.” Fools are forgiven, but those who are intelligent and still commit offenses are punished. Those who are udanda, the greatest rascals, will receive the biggest punishment. Those who are connected to the devotees of God and do sravana and kirtana of their glories are siddha or suddha. Today is a supremely auspicious day, because we are present in the dhama, in the vaisnava mandali, and are hearing the guna gana of the Vaisnavas. This life will be completely auspicious if we surrender ourselves to the guru-varga. By doing kirtana and sravana of Bhagavan’s qualities, we immediately become connected to God.

Kamika Ekadasi

Guru-pada-padma, Ganga, Vaisnavas, and Bhakti are always present in this world. They are always helping us. But we should follow these personalities. We should never forget Guru-pada-padma. We should never forget bhakti and her rules and regulations. By being sincere, we will always be with Guru-pada-padma and the Vaisnavas. You will then realize, “I am very lucky and fortunate. I am always surrounded by Vaisnava association. In their association, harikirtana and haribhajana is always present”...

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