Hari-katha of Nitya Lila Pravista Om Visnupada Astottara sata Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja who is referred to as Srila Gurudeva in the following transcription, which has been translated from Srila Gurudeva’s discourse in Hindi.
[A member of the audience introduces Srila Gurudeva in Hindi]
Despite his advanced age, Svamiji travels all over India to preach the Gita and Bhagavat. And now he is preaching all over the world as well. He is a devotee of Sri Radha-Krsna. He has written more than fifty books. He is proficient in giving discourses in Hindi, Bengali, and English. I request Svamiji to give a lecture in Hindi today. Svamiji has been in Houston since the sixth of June. I also have to make an important announcement.
Maharajaji will be speaking on the Srimad Bhagavatam at the Mahatma Gandhi center from 12-16th of June. The katha starts from 6:30 p.m. I request all my sisters and brothers to tell their friends and everyone should make use of this glorious opportunity. This is a very rare opportunity in our lives. A Mahatma has come among us by Bhagavan’s mercy. I now request Svamiji to speak.
[Srila Gurudeva begins his class]
I have come from Sri Sri Vrndavana Dhama. We have an asrama in Mathura; but I live in Mathura and Vrndavana. The land of Vrndavana is very beautiful. All the devotees like to go to Vrndavana and take darsana there. They want to spend the last part of their lives in Vrndavana. I will speak on some instructions from the Srimad Bhagavatam. I also want to give you all an audience of Krsna’s pastimes as I speak them to you.
Pariksit Maharaja was cursed by the son of a sage to die after seven days. He would die by a snake-bite. Therefore, he renounced his kingdom and came to the banks of the Ganga. He stopped eating and drinking and sat on the banks of the Ganga. He had made a vow that he will no longer take any food and water.
He thought, “This is not a curse. Rather, it is a benediction. Bhagavan Himself has come to me in the form of this benediction.”
The king then saw that more than 80,000 Rsis started to assemble on the banks of the Ganga. Some of the Rsis and Maharsis were Narada, Vyasa, Parasara, Gautama, Vasista, Kavi, Havi, Antariksa, and other realized souls. They were topmost, liberated sages. So, all of them assembled there. There was no need of any instrument to call all the sages. Who knows what the means of communication were during that age? Within minutes, all the sages assembled. There was a sage near the Caspian Sea called Kasyapa Rsi and he also came there. The Rsis residing in Mongolia like Mangala Rsi and others also came there. All the Rsis assembled there within minutes. There was an assembly and Pariksit Maharaja questioned Sukadeva Gosvami, who had appeared naked. Some ladies had thrown dust on him when he was on his way to the assembly. Because of the dust, his body shone like the sun. No one knew how many days had passed since Sukadeva Gosvami had taken a bath; neither did anyone know if the umbilical cord cutting ceremony was performed on him. And even if the ceremony was performed, no one knew if the purificatory rites were performed on him. His consciousness was always fixed on Krsna. He was a jivan-mukta.
How was he a jivan-mukta? As soon as he took birth, he left home. Vyasaji ran behind him and called out, “My son! My son!” Sukadeva Gosvami gave no reply. But the trees echoed in response and said, “Who is whose son? Who is crying out, ‘My son! My son!’”
As Sukadeva Gosvami entered the forest, Vyasadeva also ran behind his son. A little later, Vyasadeva saw a beautiful pond surrounded by many trees that were blooming with beli and chameli flowers. Birds were chirping on the branches of the trees. Vyasadeva came across some young ladies bathing in the pond. Their clothes were on the banks of the pond. A little while earlier, Sukadeva Gosvami had just walked past them. The ladies did not take notice of his presence. They continued playing and bathing in the pond. When Sukadeva Gosvami went past them, Vyasadeva arrived at that spot. His hairs were white; his eyebrows were also white. His age may have been many thousands of years. But when he arrived at that spot, the young girls became shy and came out of the pond. Dressing themselves, they offered their obeisance to Vyasadeva from a distance.
Vyasadeva told them, “This is astonishing. My son is a kisora, who is sixteen years of age. He is naked; he doesn’t wear any clothes. But on seeing him, none of you ladies became shy. On the other hand, I am like your great-great-grandfather. So, why were you all shy on seeing me?”
The ladies replied, “Your son didn’t even look at us. But, you saw us and are speaking to us. You look at us as young ladies. Your son saw us as dry wood. So, we didn’t feel shy on seeing him. A woman can stand naked in front of a tree; there is no harm in this. Hence, we saw your son as a tree and he saw us as dry wood.”
Thus, Sukadeva Gosvami reached the assembly of the eighty-thousand sages and Pariksit Maharaja did pranama to him. Naradaji, who was the guru of Vyasa was present. And, Vyasa, who was the guru and father of Sukadeva Gosvami was also present in that assembly. Despite so many saints being present, Pariksit Maharaja asked Sukadeva Gosvami, “Please answer my two questions. The first question is, ‘What is the duty of a person who is going to die immediately?’”
My daughter just sang a beautiful kirtan now of Kabirji. What is this samsara like? It is like a piece of paper. What will happen if one drop of water will fall on this piece? The piece will tear. This samsara is like a house of glass. If one rock is thrown at this house, then this glass house will be broken into many pieces. Samsara is also like a palace, which has been set on fire. When this palace is burnt, everything will be left behind in heaps of ashes.
Our Rsis and Maharsis have spoken this supreme truth in very sweet poems that touch our hearts. But these poems don’t enter our hearts and ears; they only serve to give our mind pleasure. If these poems really entered our hearts and we would consider on their meanings, then we will think, “Indeed, this samsara is like a delicate piece of paper.” We will have to leave this world today, tomorrow, or after some time.
jatasya hi dhruvo mrtyur
dhruvam janma mrtasya ca
—Bhagavad Gita 2.27
[One who has taken his birth is sure to die, and after death one is sure to take birth again.]
One who has taken birth will have to die. And if a person hasn’t done bhajan, then he will have to take birth again even after he dies. But if a person has done bhajan, then he or she will not have to come to this world. This world is the bhava-sagara; the endless cycle of birth and death. Therefore, Maharaja Pariksita asked Sukadeva Gosvami, “I have two questions. The first question is, ‘What is the duty of a person who is going to die immediately? And what is the duty of a person who is going to die today, tomorrow, the day after, or after a hundred or two hundred years? Everyone has to definitely die.”
Even if a person lives up to seven hundred years or a thousand years; yet, he will have to die. According to earthly estimation, Brahmaji’s age is trillions of years. But, even he has to die. Indra also has to die. In one day of Brahma, fourteen Indras change. In this way, everyone has to die. We will also die one day. Yesterday, we were children and now, we have become adults. Tomorrow, we will become old and then, we will see what will happen.
So, Pariksit Maharaja asked Sukadeva Gosvami, “What is the duty of a person who is going to die in a moment? And what is the duty of a person who is going to die in some time?”
In reply to this question, Sukadeva Gosvami narrated the Srimad Bhagavatam. He told the king, “Listen to the Srimad Bhagavatam. You have seven more days to live; so I will narrate the Bhagavatam to you in seven days. As a result, you will become immortal. All your problems will be solved.”
So, all the problems that are in this world will go far away by listening to the Srimad Bhagavatam. Therefore, Sukadeva Gosvami recited the Bhagavatam to Pariksit Maharaja. Sukadeva Gosvami said:
sa vai pumsam paro dharmo
yato bhaktir adhoksaje
—Srimad Bhagavatam 1.2.6
[The supreme occupation [dharma] for all humanity is that by which men can attain to loving devotional service unto the transcendent Lord. Such devotional service must be unmotivated and uninterrupted to completely satisfy the self.]
If you want to attain everlasting peace and happiness, then you should cultivate causeless devotion to Krsna. There should not be any cause. While cultivating devotion, one should not say, “Prabhu, my child is ill. My business is ruined. I am in need of wealth. I have a disease. I want Vaikuntha. I want heaven.” You should not ask for these things.
You should only say, “Prabhu, please bestow Your service to me. Please manifest my suddha-svarupa; the intrinsic form of my soul that is presently in a latent state. The constitutional position of my soul is to always be Your servant. Realizing my constitutional position, I will leave this world of maya forever and I will attain the service of Your lotus feet.”
This is bhakti. How is it bhakti? When you do proper sadhana in this world, it will be unbroken and continuous. It is not that you will do sadhana today and not tomorrow. Just as honey flows in an unbroken stream from a jar; similarly, your consciousness will also be fixed on Krsna in an unbroken manner. The rivers originate from the mountains and flow into the ocean. So, if the consciousness is automatically fixed on the lotus feet of Krsna, then this is called bhakti. If someone can do this, then his life will be successful. Therefore, what should be done if you have a moment to live?
yoginam nrpa nirnitam
—Srimad Bhagavatam 2.1.11
[O King, constant chanting of the holy name of the Lord after the ways of the great authorities is the doubtless and fearless way of success for all, including those who are free from all material desires, those who are desirous of all material enjoyment, and also those who are self-satisfied by dint of transcendental knowledge.]
If a man is dying, and is passing stool and urine, then tell him to chant Krsna’s name or Rama’s name. And if it is possible place Tulasi leaves and Ganga water in his mouth. Tat ksanat—he will be benefited immediately. Dana, punya, yoga, tapasya, vrata, homa, and sadhyaya will not work. But, Krsna’s name will enter his heart, if he can chant. He will achieve an auspicious destination like Ajamila. Then he will not have to enter another mother’s womb. This material world consists of the repeated cycle of birth and death. This is bhava-sagara. But by chanting Krsna’s names, a person will cross this world at the snap of one’s fingers. So, if a person has a minute’s time or less; if he is going to die at any moment, he should chant Krsna’s name. A person is travelling in an airplane, and there is going to be an accident, and death is imminent. Just chant Krsna’s name or Rama’s name, and everything will be all right. The result that is not obtained by doing sadhana for a million years will be obtained in a moment by chanting Krsna’s names. That person will never die. He will never enter another mother’s womb. The accident cannot do any harm to the soul. The soul is eternal, and ever-blissful. You will only have to realize this.
If there is more time; if you have seven days, or twenty days, or many more years to live; then what should you do? Listen to Krsna’s pastimes and remember Him. Do kirtan of His names.
sravanam kirtanam visnoh
arcanam vandanam dasyam
—Srimad Bhagavatam 7.5.23
[Hearing and chanting about the transcendental holy name, form, qualities, paraphernalia and pastimes of Lord Visnu, remembering them, serving the lotus feet of the Lord, offering the Lord respectful worship with sixteen types of paraphernalia, offering prayers to the Lord, becoming His servant, considering the Lord one’s best friend, and surrendering everything unto Him (in other words, serving Him with the body, mind and words)—these nine processes are accepted as pure devotional service.]
Listen to hari-katha. Do kirtan of Krsna’s names. The names that are especially meant to be chanted in Kali Yuga are—Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. This is the Mahamantra of Kali Yuga. This is stated in the Kali-santarana Upanisad, Brahmanda Purana, Brahma Yamala, and Visnu Yamala. There is much evidence to support these statements. What is our evidence? Who will we listen to? The Vedas give this evidence. The essence of the Vedas is the Vedanta-sutra. The essence of the Vedanta-sutra is the Srimad Bhagavatam, Gita, and the Ramayana. The Vedas are like an ocean of salty water. No one can drink this water. A bird cannot empty the ocean by drinking water from it repeatedly. The water from the ocean evaporates into the sky and rain-bearing clouds are formed. When these clouds give water, everyone’s life is nourished. The Vedas are traigunya visaya-Veda.
—Bhagavad Gita 2.45
[The Vedas deal mainly with the subject of the three modes of material nature. O Arjuna, become transcendental to these three modes.]
The Vedas are divided into the mode of goodness, passion, and ignorance. The sadhus churned these Vedas and obtained the cream of this vast literature. What is that cream? It is Srimad Bhagavatam.
nigama-kalpa-taror galitam phalam
pibata bhagavatam rasam alayam
muhur aho rasika bhuvi bhavukah
—Srimad Bhagavatam 1.1.3
[O expert and thoughtful men, relish Srimad-Bhagavatam, the mature fruit of the desire tree of Vedic literatures. It emanated from the lips of Sri Sukadeva Gosvami. Therefore this fruit has become even more tasteful, although its nectarean juice was already relishable for all, including liberated souls.]
Nigama means the Vedas, Srutis, and Upanisads. The Gita is also one Upanisad. The essence of all Vedic literature is Srimad Bhagavatam. Only a rasik and bhavuk person can listen to the Srimad Bhagavatam. Making himself happy, he will also make everyone else happy. Pariksit Maharaja obtained this result after listening to the Bhagavatam for seven days. So, if a person has many more days left to live, then he should listen to the Srimad Bhagavatam. Thus, Sukadeva Gosvami had Pariksit Maharaja listen to this spotless scripture. I want to give you all a glimpse of how nectarean Srimad Bhagavatam is.
Krsna appeared in Mathura in a four-handed form. Vasudeva and Devaki offered their dandavat pranama to Him and offered many stava-stutis. At the same time, Krsna was born from the womb of Yasoda, just as a baby is born from the womb of its mother. There was no festival celebrated in Mathura when Krsna appeared there. But, His umbilical cord cutting ceremony was performed in Gokula. His jata-karma was done. So much charity was given to the Brahmins. Everyone saw how Krsna was the son of Yasoda. Therefore, janma-lila manifested in Gokula. But in Mathura, He descended before Devaki and Vasudeva. He appeared there like how He appeared from a pillar and how He appeared from air. He did not take birth in Mathura. Instead, He took birth in Gokula. There was a great festival in Gokula.
Nande ke anande bhayo jaya kanhaiya lala ki
So, a beautiful festival took place in Gokula and everyone congratulated each other because Krsna took birth among them. Many cows were given in charity. Celebrating the birth of his son, Nanda Baba donated everything; there was nothing left in his house. After three days, Putana came. Putana means impurity. At first, the heart of the devotees is impure. The devotee’s heart has lust, hatred, greed, envy, pride, and illusion. Krsna mercifully removes all the impurities from the hearts of His devotees. Although Putana came to kill Krsna, He gave her the position of a mother in Goloka. Can anyone be more merciful in this world than Krsna, who gave the position of a mother to a lady who came to kill Him? After Putana, many more demons came. Some of who were Sakatasura and Trnavarta. When Krsna was three years old, all the Vrajavasis left Gokula and settled in Vrndavana. On the border of Vrndavana, Krsna stayed with Nanda Baba and all the Vrajavasis at Chattikara. Srimati Radhika also took birth in Raval and thus, She descended to this world.
Krsna gradually started to grow. In Vrndavana, Krsna killed Dhenukasura, Aghasura, Bakasura, and other demons. He gave them moksa. The destination He gave them cannot be attained by even brahma-jnanis, who practice austerities for millions of years and still cannot attain brahma-jnana. Putana came to kill Krsna in the guise of a mother, so Krsna gave her the position of a mother. On the day of Gopastami, Krsna started to herd the calves and cows. After His pastimes in Vrndavana ended, He went to Nandagaon. He would come from Nandagaon to Vrndavana and play on His Vamsi flute under the banyan tree. The gopis and Krsna did rasa-lila on the banks of the Yamuna.
After some time, He killed the Kesi demon. He also lifted Giriraja-Govardhana. He performed many pastimes in Vraja. Out of these pastimes, I will speak on the 21st chapter of Srimad Bhagavatam. This chapter is about Gopi-gita, the song of the gopis.
How should bhajan be done? In this world, the bhajan of the gopis towards Krsna is topmost. Their bhajan is unparalleled.
aradhyo bhagavan vrajesa-tanayas tad-dhama vrndavanam
ramya kascid upasana vraja-vadhu-vargena ya kalpita,
srimad-bhagavatam amalam puranam prema pumartho mahan
sri-caitanya mahaprabhor matam idam tatradarah na param
—Sri Caitanya Manjusa, by Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura
[“The philosophy of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is that Krsna is the only object of worship. As Krsna is the object of worship, similarly His place, Vrndavana-dhama, is also worshippable. Krsna was worshiped by the damsels of Vrajadhama, and Mahaprabhu recommends that theirs was the highest, topmost grade of worship because it was pure love. Mahaprabhu also taught that Srimad-Bhagavatam is the spotless Vedic literature, and krsna-prema is the highest goal of life.”]
All of you must have heard the name of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He has given this instruction that the Srimad Bhagavatam is the spotless Purana. It is completely pure. For the devotee, the Bhagavat presents itself as the supreme evidence. This sloka also states how the worship of the gopis is unequalled. No one can do better worship of Krsna than the gopis. The third consideration is that Vrajendra-nandana Syamasundara is our aradhya-deva, our worshipable deity. Who is Vrajendra? Nanda Baba is Vrajendra, and Vrajarani, the queen of Vraja is Yasoda. The son of Nanda-Yasoda is our worshipable Lord. Mathuresa and Dvarakadisa are His manifestations. Ramacandra is also His expansion. The Dasavatar are also Krsna’s expansions. Krsna and all His expansions are of one tattva. Don’t consider one expansion to be bigger or smaller than the other. The moon has different manifestations. On Purnima, we see the full moon. When we see one aspect of the moon, it is called Pratipada. When we see three portions of the moon, the day is called Trititya. When eight portions are seen, the day is called Astami. The moon is one; don’t think that there are different moon. Only according to the vision of the observer, are different aspects of the moon seen.
Don’t think, “The Hindus follow millions of demigods while we follow only one God.” To think as such is wrong. All the avatars are expansions and manifestations of Krsna. They only seem to be different from Krsna according to the eligibility of the person. These classes of devotion to different expansions and manifestations of Krsna are not present in other dharmas. They are only present in Sanatana-dharma. According to the eligibility of the practitioner, there are different classes. If a person is in the mode of ignorance, he cannot serve Krsna. Hence, he is taught from the basics. So, in India there are different classes of devotion. Why? It is so because then the practitioner will gradually be elevated to the topmost form of worship i.e. the worship of Krsna. How can a person who has not passed the lower classes earn an M.A. or a Ph.D. degree? This is impossible. So, there are many classes of devotion in India. They are not different, separate forms of worship. Some people claim otherwise; but their conception is completely wrong. Because of their lack of knowledge, they have understood incorrectly.
So, the son of Yasoda—Sri Krsnacandraji is our worshipable Lord. And the worship of the gopis is topmost. Where does this exchange of love and affection between Krsna and the Vrajavasis take place? It only takes place in Vrndavana. Krsna always resides in Vrndavana.
vrndavanam parityajya padam ekam na gacchati
Krsna never takes one step out of Vrndavana. When Krsna started to go cowherding, He was eleven or twelve years old. He was entering the age of kisora (age eleven to fifteen) from pauganda (age six to ten). Before, He was very naughty. There was no house in Vraja that He did not steal from. There was no gopi in Vraja, whose heart He had not stolen.
adharam madhuram vadanam madhuram
nayanam madhuram hasitam madhuram
hrdayam madhuram gamanam madhuram
madhuradhi-pater akhilam madhuram
—Sri Madhurastakam 1
[His lips are sweet, His face is sweet, His eyes are sweet, His smile is sweet, His heart is sweet, His gait is sweet—everything is sweet about the original Lord of Sweetness.]
Krsna’s Vamsi is sweet. Everything about Him is sweet. His mother is sweet. His father is sweet. His Vrndavana is sweet. His walking, gait, and everything are sweet. There is nothing that is not sweet about Krsna. His svarupa is sweet. His words are sweeter than honey. If the sound of His Vamsi enters your ears, then He will steal your heart. These are some of His qualities. When the gopis saw Krsna from a distance, they became bewildered. Before Krsna was to depart for His cowherding pastimes, Yasoda decorated Him. She put a peacock feather on His head. Ramacandraji wears the feather of a crow on His head.
Yasoda gave Krsna the Vamsi and the Pitambara. How did Krsna appear?
barhapidam nata-vara-vapuh karnayoh karnikaram
bibhrad vasah kanaka-kapisam vaijayantim ca malam
randhran venor adhara-sudhayapurayan gopa-vrndair
vrndaranyam sva-pada ramanam pravisad gita-kirtih
—Srimad Bhagavatam 10.21.5
[Wearing a peacock-feather ornament upon His head, blue karnikara flowers on His ears, a yellow garment as brilliant as gold, and the Vaijayanti garland, Lord Krsna exhibited His transcendental form as the greatest of dancers as He entered the forest of Vrndavana, beautifying it with the marks of His footprints. He filled the holes of His flute with the nectar of His lips, and the cowherd boys sang His glories.]
Krsna’s form is the essence of beauty and sweetness. He is the deity of prema. Krsna’s bodily limbs are composed of prema. When Krsna entered the forest, nine lakh cows accompanied Him. Nanda Baba has nine lakh cows and Vrsabhanu Maharaja has eleven lakh cows. Sridhama, the brother of Radhaji looks after these cows and takes them for cowherding. Upananda, and the other gopas have innumerable cows. Some of these cows are dark complexioned, while some cows are fair. The other cows are of varying colors. Their udders are big. When I went to Holland, I saw that there are lakhs of cows. Their udders are very big. They couldn’t walk. I think they give twenty or fifty litres of milk at one time. Such beautiful cows followed Krsna. The frolicsome calves also followed behind. Krsna took all the cows and calves and entered the forest. Thousands of sakhas accompanied Krsna. Everyone was playing on the Vamsi. How does Krsna look like? He looks like a fresh rain cloud. He is dark-complexioned. His Pitambara looks like a stationary bolt of lightning on His fresh rain cloud like complexion. Lightning strikes for a moment and disappears. Similarly, His Pitambara looked like a bolt of lightning on His rain cloud like complexion. He sweetly played on His flute while smiling. What were His eyes searching for? All of you may know who His eyes were searching for. They were searching for Srimati Radhika and the gopis.
All the sakhas said, “Kanhaiya ki jaya ho! Kanhaiya ki jaya ho!” and surrounded Krsna from all four sides. Krsna’s ear was decorated by a flower that resembled the color of Krsna’s Pitambara. He places the flower on either side of His ears. Thus, He plays the Vamsi so sweetly. Everyone in Vrndavana—bird, animals, humans including the young and old, and everyone becomes enthralled by the sound of Krsna’s flute. They follow Krsna as He enters the forest. Speaking pleasing words, Krsna tells them to not follow Him anymore. The cows are standing still.
They think, “We will only go when Krsna will come.”
On seeing Krsna, milk automatically flows from their udders. They will not give milk even if their calves come. But on seeing Krsna milk spontaneously flows from their udders. Thus, they followed Krsna when He entered the forest. Krsna’s feet have nineteen symbols. When He places His feet on the earth, the earth starts to horripilate. The grass stand erected. Beli, chameli, juhi, and other flowers bloom spontaneously because of the ecstasy Mother Earth feels on being touched by Krsna’s feet. It seems Mother Earth is smiling. Thus, Krsna moves from one forest to another. He goes from Bhandiravana to Bhadravana. He goes from Vrndavana to Kumudavana. Then, He goes from Madhuvana to Talavana. Herding the cows, He goes from one forest to another.
But, what is the condition of the gopis? I want to speak on this. The gopis are speaking to each other as they see Krsna in the forest. Their groups are different. There are different types of gopis. Some are svapaksa gopis; some are vipaksa gopis; some are tatastha gopis; some are suhrt gopis. Some gopis are also called priya-narma sakhis. There are millions of different types of gopis. The vipaksa gopis are Candravali, Padma, Saibhya, and others. The svapaksa gopis are Srimati Radhika, Lalita, Visakha, and other gopis. The suhrt gopis are Syamala sakhi and others. The tatastha gopis are Bhadra and others. According to their groups, the different gopis are either in their houses or in their kunjas. Thus, they speak about Krsna to each other. They have become so absorbed in describing and beholding Krsna’s form that the gopis have forgotten themselves.
Speaking about Krsna, every gopi forgot about herself. The gopi thought, “Where am I? What am I saying?” Becoming immersed in thoughts about Krsna, they only spoke about Him. What did they discuss?
aksanvatam phalam idam na param vidamah
sakhyah pasun anuvivesayator vayasyaih
vaktram vrajesa-sutayor anavenu-justam
yair va nipitam anurakta-kataksa-moksam
—Srimad Bhagavatam 10.21.7
[“The gopis began to speak among themselves: O sakhis! We think that for those who have eyes, there is but one thing which is a suitable object of vision. Success of the eyes lies in beholding this object alone; we know of no other. And what is that most precious object of attachment for the eyes? It is the vision of the two sons of Maharaja Nanda, Sri Krsna and Baladeva, accompanied by the gopas, as They enter the forest taking the cows, or as They bring them back to Vrndavana. They hold Their flutes to Their lips and look upon us with mild smiles and amorous sidelong glances filled with love. At that time we drink the sweetness of Their faces.” (Venu-gita, text seven)]
The gopis said, “If someone has eyes, then what is the fruit of having them? This darsana is the only fruit of having eyes; we know of no other fruit. We don’t know any other fruit of having eyes. We only know of this fruit and no other fruit. If someone has had Krsna’s darsana, then this is the fruit of having eyes. If someone has not had darsana of Krsna, then Brahma or Bhagavan should throw a thunderbolt on that person and deprive him of his eyes. This would be better. If someone has seen Krsna’s form, then it is fruitful to have eyes. Or else, the sight of his eyes is in vain.”
Why has Bhagavan made eyes? To have Krsna’s darsana. But which form of Krsna? Hence, the gopi said, “Aksanvatam phalam idam na param vidamah.” One friend told another friend, “Just see! Along with His sakhas, Krsna is slowly going from one forest to another with lakhs of cows. Let us go for His darsana.”
The friend replied, “How can we go? Our mother-in-law will not let us go. My sister-in-law is a hypocrite. She only sees My faults. My husband Abhimanyu is filled with pride. If he comes to know that I have set foot out of the house, then he will break My legs. We have to talk slowly and silently. Don’t talk loudly. If they listen, then we will have to face many difficulties.”
The other friend said, “Let them speak as they desire. Aksanvatam phalam idam na param vidamah—if Krsna will go away now, we will not have His darsana. We should go for His darsana now.”
vaktram vrajesa-sutayor anavenu-justam
I have described how beautiful Krsna’s face is in the sloka, “Barhapidam nata vara vapuh.”
syamam hiranya-paridhim vanamalya-barha-
vinyasta-hastam itarena dhunanam abjam
—Srimad Bhagavatam 10.23.22
[He is dark-complexioned like a fresh raincloud, and His yellow cloth, which defeats the splendour of gold, shimmers against His body. His head is decorated with a peacock feather, and every part of His body is ornamented with designs that are drawn with various coloured minerals. Sprigs of new leaves adorn His body, and around His neck is an enchanting forest-flower garland of five colours. Dressed in this way, He appears as a fresh, youthful, expert dancer. He rests one hand upon His sakha’s shoulder and with the other He twirls a pastime lotus. His ears are decorated with earrings (kundalas), curly locks of hair splash against His cheeks, and His lotus face blossoms with a gentle smile.]
These slokas from the Srimad Bhagavatam are so marvellous. You cannot find a better description of Krsna’s beauty than the descriptions given by these slokas that have been spoken by the gopis.
vaktram vrajesa-sutayor anavenu-justam
Krsna is entering the forest while herding the cows. It seems the beauty of His form is melting and falling on the ground. Today, Earth became blessed. The entire universe became blessed by bearing witness to Krsna’s beauty. What is Krsna doing? Vrajesa-sutayor; by knowing Sanskrit a little, you will understand better. Vrajesa-sutayor; the sons of Vrajesa are spoken of here. Who are They? They are Krsna and Balarama. Krsna is the son of Vrajesa—Nanda Baba. But Balarama is the son of Vasudeva. But They are reffered to as Vrajesa-sutayor because Balaramaji said, “I don’t know who My father is. I have not even seen My father. He abandoned Me when I was a baby. Yasoda Maiya and Rohini Maiya look after me, so they are My mothers. And, Nanda Baba is my father. Krsna is My younger brother. I don’t anything else.”
So, who is the father? There are many types of fathers. One father gives birth. Another father is one who looks after and tends to the needs of the dependant. Thirdly, another father is he, who is the father of the mother i.e. the maternal grandfather. So, there are many types of fathers. Even a king is considered to be a father if he looks after us. Bhagavan is our father also. Guru is also a father. The priest is also a father as he gives the sacred thread and mantra-diksa.
But Balarama Prabhu said, “Despite there being many kinds of fathers; I consider only Nanda Baba to be My father.”
Hence, Vrajesa-sutayor means the sons of Nanda Baba—Krsna and Balarama. How are They walking?
vaktram vrajesa-sutayor anavenu-justam
They are playing on the flute continuously. The gopis don’t desire to say that they also want to have the darsana of Balaramaji. If Balaramaji is near Krsna, then there will be the fault of rasa-abhasa. In our Vedic culture, a lady looks at her husband’s elder brother as a father-in-law. She never touches him. It will be wrong of her if she touches him. The elder brother sees the wife of his younger brother as his daughter. Therefore, Srimati Radhika and the gopis cannot meet Krsna in front of Balaramaji. So, the gopis mean to say that they want to have the darsana of the younger brother. Who is He? He is playing on His Vamsi while His elder brother who is playing on his bugle, has gone ahead. They want to have darsana of that personality whose eyes are showering forth mercy and prema.
The gopis say, “If anyone sees this personality, then their lives will be successful.”
Explaining the meaning of this sloka in another way, a gopi said, “Vrajesa-sutayor—there are two kings of Vraja.”
Nanda Baba is one king. Who is the other king? He is wealthier than Nanda Baba. He is the father of Srimati Radhika, Vrsabhanu Maharajaji. He has eleven lakh cows. He is also called Vrajesa. So, the son of Nanda Baba and the daughter of Vrsabhanu Maharaja, constitute the word—Vrajesa-sutayor. When Srimati Radhika, the daughter of King Vrsabhanu and Krsna, the son of King Nanda see each other, then anuvenu-justam manifested. Krsna sweetly played on His Vamsi, and Radhaji took His Vamsi away. She then started to play on the Vamsi, producing the sweetest of melodies. Anuvenu-justam; Krsna played on the flute first and Radhaji played on the flute from behind. As She did so, Krsna looked at Her with eyes filled with mercy. And Radhaji looked at Him. The lives of those who see this sight is successful; their having eyes is fruitful. The gopis are saying this.
dhanyah sma mudha-gatayo ‘pi harinya eta
ya nanda-nandanam upatta-vicitra-vesam
akarnya venu-ranitam saha-krsna-sarah
pujam dadhur viracitam pranayavalokaih
—Srimad Bhagavatam 10.21.11
[“These ignorant deer are also fortunate, because accompanied by their husbands they are standing motionlessly and listening to the vibration of Krsna’s flute. It is as if they are offering puja to the gorgeously attired son of Nanda with their loving glances.”]
The gopis are speaking like this to one another. One gopi said, “Aho! Look at these deer. Their lives are successful.”
As the deer walk ahead, the bucks follow them behind. Krsna-sara, the deer have made Krsna the essence of their lives. The deer come close and stand near Krsna as He plays sweetly on His flute. They look towards Krsna with so much love.
The bucks tell the deer, “There is no need to fear from anything. Don’t care for the opinion of others. With prema, listen to Krsna’s flute and take darsana of His form. Our lives will be successful.”
The gopis say, “Dhanyah sma mudha-gatayo ‘pi harinya eta. These deer are foolish animals. They are always on the run. But today, they stand near Krsna and taste the nectar of the sound of His flute. They look at Him without even blinking their eyes. They say, ‘We are begging for Your love. Please give us Your Pranaya and service.’ These foolish deer avail themselves of Krsna’s association. But we cannot; our lives are in vain. Our husbands are against us; our in-laws are against us. Our parents are against us as well. They will not let us meet Krsna. If they see us meeting Krsna, then we will be in much trouble. We want to die and take birth as deer. Thus, we will be able to meet Krsna. Today, the lives of the deer have become successful. We also want to become deer and meet Krsna.”
The gopis long for the sight of Krsna. Where are they? They are in their homes speaking to each other.
Another gopi said:
krsnam niriksya vanitotsava-rupa-silam
srutva ca tat-kvanita-venu-vivikta-gitam
devyo vimana-gatayah smara-nunna-sara
bhrasyat-prasuna-kabara mumuhur vinivyah
—Srimad Bhagavatam 10.21.12
[“O sakhi, when the wives of the devas (demigods) see Sri Krsna and hear His enchanting venu-nada, they become completely infatuated by the force of Cupid. After all, He attracts the hearts of all adolescent girls, being a treasury of all beauty for them, and bestows upon them supreme bliss with His sweet form, qualities and unique nature. The flowers binding the devis’ braided hair fall out, their saris slip from their waists, and they fall unconscious into the laps of their husbands in their heavenly airplanes.”]
The gopi said, “What to speak of the deer; the demigods have appeared in the sky in their flower airplanes to listen to Krsna’s flute. Their wives are sitting on their laps. Seeing Krsna’s beauty and listening to the playing of His flute; the wives have become bewildered.”
The sound of the flute entered their ears and they saw Krsna playing on His flute. The husbands did not see what their wives did. They heard a little of the flute sound; but they did not see Krsna, whose beauty makes everyone become mad. They did not see this. They were not as fortunate as their wives. When the demigoddesses heard the flute being played and when they saw Krsna’s beauty, their hair became dishevelled and the flowers fell out of their hair. Their belts loosened and they fell unconscious on the laps of their husbands.
One gopi said, “The lives of these demigoddesses are so successful. If we will die and become the wives of these demigods, then our lives will be successful as well. Their husbands look after them with love and rescued them. But our husbands are against us and don’t want us to see Krsna. We want to die and become the wives of the demigods. Then we will see Krsna’s beauty.”
gavas ca krsna-mukha-nirgata-venu-gita
piyusam uttabhita-karna-putaih pibantyah
savah snuta-stana-payah-kavalah sma tasthur
govindam atmani drsasru-kalah sprsantyah
—Srimad Bhagavatam 10.21.13
[“In order to drink the nectarean vibration of the flute-song emanating from the lotus mouth of Sri Krsna, the cows have raised their ears. The grass which they were chewing just remains in their mouths, and milk begins to drip from their udders. The calves at once stop drinking their mothers’ milk, and as they embrace Krsna within their hearts, tears of love begin to glide down their faces.”]
Another gopi said, “Look at these cows and their calves. They stand with upraised ears. By their ears, they are drinking the nectar of Krsna’s flute song. The calvas were drinking their mothers’ milk, but as soon as they heard Krsna’s flute song, the calves stood still. The milk doesn’t fall to the ground and neither do the calves swallow the milk. The cows and calves only stand silently and closing their eyes, drink the nectar of Krsna’s flute song. Our lives will be successful if we take birth as one of these cows or calves. Then, we can serve Krsna to our heart’s content. We can go near Him and be with Him. Today, we don’t have this fortune.”
prayo batamba vihaga munayo vane ‘smin
krsneksitam tad-uditam kala-venu-gitam
aruhya ye druma-bhujan rucira-pravalan
srnvanti milita-drso vigatanya-vacah
—Srimad Bhagavatam 10.21.14
[“O friend, the birds of Vrndavana are actually sages. They have taken positions on the branches of trees which have new and fresh leaves from where they can easily have darsana of Sri Krsna. Sitting there and hearing the sweet vibration of His flute, they close their eyes and become immersed in divine bliss.”]
The birds are sitting on the trees of Vrndavana and Govardhana. Some of these trees are Kadamba trees, mango trees, and jackfruit trees. The parrots, cuckoos, peacocks, and other birds are also perched on the branches of these trees.
The cuckoo says, “Radhe Radhe,” when it coos.
The peacock and peahen say, “Ke ka. Ke ka.”
The peacock says, “Who is that personality who can make the mountain of Radhika’s patience, shyness, and chastity fall? Only Krsna can.”
The peahen says, “Sri Krsna is like a mad elephant, who is always sporting with His beloveds. What can have this mad elephant bound? Only Radhaji’s prema can bind this mad elephant like Krsna; nothing else can.”
So the peacock says, “Ke!” while the peahen says, “Ka!”
Ke and Ka refer to the masculine and feminine genders, who are Krsna and Srimati Radhika respectively. Thus, all the birds and animals of Vrndavana say, “Radhe Radhe.” When the watchmen of Mathura wake people up in the night, what do they say?
They say, “Radhe Radhe.”
The birds, animals, and everyone say, “Radhe Radhe.” They don’t say Krsna’s name as much. In Vrndavana, Srimati Radhika is more prominent.
So, one gopi said, “These birds that are perched on the branches are actually sages.”
There are two types of sages. One sage says, “Aham brahmasmi—I am Brahma. Sarvam khalv idam brahma—everything is Brahma. Tat tvam asi—you are He.”
These statements are from the Upanisads.
The other group of sages have appeared in Vrndavana. They have prema for Krsna. They have come in the forms of birds like cuckoos, parrots, peacocks, and other birds. What do these sages do? They are always glorifying Krsna. The peacocks dance on seeing Krsna. The cuckoos coo and glorify Krsna. What do the parrots do? They say, “Krsna Krsna. Radhe Radhe.” Some parrots glorify Krsna and some glorify Srimati Radhika.
Thus, sages who have love and affection for Krsna stay in Vrndavana. Some follow karma-kanda. They worship Krsna and ask for material things. They are called karma-yogis. They are bound by the statements of the Vedas that are in the modes of goodness, passion, and ignorance. They are entangled in the cycle of birth and death.
Brahma-yogis don’t seek anything from this material world. They only want mukti. What is mukti?
mukti hitva anyata rupam, svarupena vyavastiti
What is mukti? These yogis think, “I will become Brahma.” But no one can ever become Brahma. The jivatma will always be a jivatma. No jivatma has ever become Brahma. Even Sankaracarya has never become Brahma. In the end, he sang:
bhaja govindam bhaja govindam govindam bhaja mudha-mate
He said, “Why are you always speaking of Brahma-jnana? Instead, worship Govinda.”
No one can become Brahma. The gopis said, “Those, who have devotion for Krsna sing, dance, and do kirtan of Krsna’s names. They dance as they do kirtan. They are seeing Krsna. Look at the Yamuna. Listening to Krsna’s flute song, she has become still. The water is flowing upstream now instead of going downstream. The lotus flowers in her waters break from their stems and Yamuna Devi offers them at the lotus feet of Krsna. See how fortunate she is.”
Thus, the gopis were at their homes and they spoke Krsna’s pastimes to each other. If a sadhaka is sincere and if he has listened to the Srimad Bhagavatam, then he will always remember these pastimes for his entire life. He will always glorify Krsna and His pastimes. He will then attain Krsna’s abode, Vrndavana, which is rasa-maya, permeated with rasa. Going to Vrndavana, he will attain the service of the Divine Couple—Sri Radha and Krsna.
I will end my discourse for today.
vancha-kalpa-tarubhyas ca krpa-sindhubhya eva ca
patitanam pavanebhyo vaisnavebhyo namo namah
A kirtan related to Krsna will be sung for two minutes.
[The member of the audience who requested Srila Gurudeva to speak now speaks some concluding words in Hindi]
Svamiji spoke so beautifully about Radha and Krsna. When I heard him speak, I felt I was in Vrndavana. Just as an artist paints a picture, he painted a picture of Vrndavana and Vrndavana’s Divine Couple—Sri Radha and Krsna in our hearts. His description was so enchanting that it seemed that all the pastimes he described were happening in front of us. Therefore, we are much grateful to Svamiji.
We are very thankful to Svamiji. He opened our eyes. I pray that whenever he comes to Houston, he will always give us his darsana. Thank you very much Svamiji.
[Applause from the audience]
[The audio file ends with a kirtan being sung]
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