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Surya’s Puja – Govinda-lilamrta

In pūrvāhna-līlā, Kṛṣṇa goes to the forest with the cows, calves and His friends. Other animals like peacocks and birds fly above, and deer and other animals follow behind. There are sādhana-siddhas that come in many forms. Kṛṣṇa teaches them how to have a sweet relationship with Him. He teaches them to take shelter of the nitya-siddhas.

In the forest there are no restrictions or boundaries. Kṛṣṇa is free in the forest. Although He is the Supreme Godhead, He does not feel as such. He always feels that He is a servant and in the forest He can fulfil His desire to serve the cows.

Kṛṣṇa is now the servant of the cows. He teaches how to be a servant. If Kṛṣṇa was proud, and had the mood of being the Supreme God like Nārāyaṇa, Nṛsiṁha, Kalki, or Vāmana, then He could not teach this mood of a servant.

Kṛṣṇa strokes the cows and bathes them, dries their bodies and massages them. He feeds them and walks behind them in the forest with bare feet. He collects grass for them and arranges water for their drinking. Anyone who comes to Him will not be able to be lazy and crazy. If the Ācārya of a temple daily cooks, performs arcana, serves prasādam, washes pots and sweeps the temple with his own hands, then all his followers will automatically serve like him. Then they will get benefit. If the leader does nothing, the juniors also will not do anything.

Therefore, Kṛṣṇa tells Nanda Bābā and Yaśodā Mātā, “I am not a prince. I am the servant of all. If I don’t practice serving now, when I become older I will not be able to serve. I will practice this service from childhood.”

If one takes harināma and dīkṣā from a Guru, but does not perform guru-sevā, then the mercy and power of his Guru will not come to him. When disciples do not take shelter and serve Śrī Guru and the Vaiṣṇavas, or those in the rūpānuga guru-varga, they will not get any mercy or spiritual benefit.

Kṛṣṇa tells Nanda and Yaśodā, “I will daily go to the forest and care for the cows. By serving the cows everyone, including all the demigods will be pleased. All My friends will come with Me to the forest and help.”

“If You insist on going to the forest, then I will go with You also,” Yaśodā Mātā says.

“Mother,” says Kṛṣṇa, “you must take care of the household, worship Śālagrāma and serve the many guests who come.”

Nanda Bābā says, “I will go with You then.”

Kṛṣṇa smiles at His father and says, “You have served the cows for so long, now it is My turn to serve.”

“We have many servants who can take care of the cows for You,” says Yaśodā Mātā.

“No,” Kṛṣṇa said. “I must go.”

One time, Rādhārānī and the sakhīs said to Kṛṣṇa, “If the sakhās are all going with You to the forest, then we will come also.”

But Kṛṣṇa says, “No. Have you not heard this story? Once, when Rāmacandra was preparing to go to the forest, Sītā-devī argued with Him saying, ‘I will come with You.’ Rāmacandra refused again and again but Sita-devī persisted. ‘I will go.’ She repeated firmly. All of Rāmacandra’s elders and family members said that they would go with Him to the forest, but Rāma requested them all to stay and serve His father. Sita-devī however, was stubborn and came with Rāma even after He told her not to so many times. Once in the forest, many tāmasika, cruel, flesh-eating demons made plans to steel Sītā. One after another they came and were destroyed, like moths flying into a fire. In the end, Rāvaṇa came and stole Sītā-devī, not knowing that by doing so he was causing the destruction of himself and his entire dynasty. Therefore, ladies should not go out into forest. You should stay in your homes!”

Rādhārānī replied, “We will not stay in our houses. We will go for pūjā at Surya-kuṇḍa!”

“I don’t know if that is a good idea,” Kṛṣṇa said, “You should ask Your mother-in-law Jaṭilā. She and her daughter Kuṭilā are Your guardians. They will be sure to keep You safe.”

Śrīmatī Radarani immediately went to Yāvaṭa to prepare for sūrya-pūjā. When She arrived there She saw that Jaṭilā had already arranged the paraphernalia for worshipping the Sun. There were flowers, sugar, sweets, incense, ghee wicks and other things ready to bring to Surya-kuṇḍa.

“I will perform sūrya-pūjā today,” Jaṭilā said in great excitement. “The brāhmaṇas have told me that if a supremely chaste lady worships the Sun all the area will benefit! Also, the summer’s heat will not disturb her.”

“If the Sun is worshiped by an unchaste lady, the results will be very inauspicious,” Jaṭilā went on. “Therefore, I will go with You today. I am famous for being chaste in Vraja-maṇḍala. I never think of any man. Because, I am the most chaste woman in this land, the Sun will be very pleased by my worship and bring, wealth and honor to our family.”

“Oh,” Rādhārāṇī said. “This is very good. If you perform the pūjā today, the Sun will definitely give you benediction.”

The mantra for worshiping the Sun is brahma-gāyatrī. If anyone impure or dishonest chants the brahma-gāyatrī, they will be burnt and destroyed.

Jaṭilā said, “I am the most honest woman in all of Vraja,” and with that, she set out for Surya-kuṇḍa with all the paraphernalia for worship. Once there, she bathed in the holy water and filled a pot to offer to the Sun-god. She came before the altar holding the pot of water. Suddenly she saw that the water in the pot had begun to emanate steam. Very soon the pot of water was too hot for her to hold, and the time she had hurriedly placed it down on the altar in front of her, the water started to boil. She anxiously began to chant the gāyatrī-mantra but before she finished uttering the first word, a fire erupted before her eyes. She came for worship but her strange nature disqualified her.

This is why ladies are not given the brahma-gāyatrī. Their minds are restless and uncontrolled. They think of one rasagullā one day and a different rasagullā the next day. Ladies’ rasagullas are young men. They look at them and cannot control their minds. Many have a husband, but that husband cannot bind them in their house. They want another one. They want two lovers, or three.

Once, Kṛṣṇa was with the Pāṇḍavas as they wandered in exile through the forest. That day they had walked for a very long time, without finding any roots or fruits to eat. In the evening they came across an āśrama where they saw a single beautiful mango hanging from a tree. Arjuna picked the mango and gave it to Draupadī, who was thinking to wash it and share it with the group, when Kṛṣṇa suddenly said, “Hey! Why did you take this mango? Don’t you know that this tree only gives one mango a day and the ṛṣi whose āśrama we are now present in, comes in the late evening and eats only this to maintain his life. This mango is his only food. If you take it without permission the sage will curse you and your dynasty will be destroyed!”

The others became afraid. “What can we do?” they asked.

Kṛṣṇa said, “Each of you must reveal a desire that you have, that you have not spoken of to anyone till now. If all of you do this, then the mango will fix itself back onto the tree and you will be saved.”

Yudhistira Mahārāja and all the Pāṇḍavas followed Kṛṣṇa’s advice and spoke their deepest secrets. When Draupadī’s turn came, she did not want to speak. Kṛṣṇa urged her to hurry for time was running out until the ṛṣi would come to eat the mango.

“I will not say it,” Draupadī said.

The Pāṇḍavas grew anxious and worried. “Please speak. We will not be angry. Just hurry!”

Three or four times Kṛṣṇa and the Pāṇḍavas requested her. Kṛṣṇa had the Pāṇḍavas vow not to become angry with their wife and finally Draupadī agreed.

She said, “The five Pāṇḍavas are my husbands and I am very happy with them. But I feel I would be fully satisfied if Karṇa was my husband also.”

Bhīma snatched up his club and Arjuna brandished his bow.

“Oh! You are not satisfied with five husbands? You need one more?” They were furious.

Then before their eyes the mango floated in the air and fixed itself to its original place on the tree.

This story confirms the statement that ladies cannot chant brahma-gāyatrī because of their restless minds. This is not their fault, it is their nature.

Jaṭilā was greatly distressed. When she tried to speak the brahma-gāyatrī mantra, not only did a fire start around her, but her body was permeated by an intolerable heat. It was like a big fire was burning her whole body from within. She bathed in Surya-kuṇḍa but still found no relief.

She went to Paurnamasi-devī, desperate for help.

Paurnamasi-devī said, “The only way to be relieved of this punishment from the Sun is to take the caraṇāmṛta of his Guru. If you drink that caraṇāmṛta and smear it on your body, you will feel well again.”

Who is the Sun’s Guru?

Jaṭilā said, “I will go and take this caraṇāmṛta this minute. Where can I find the Sun’s Guru?”

“You have no faith,” Paurnamasi-devī said, “I do not wish to tell you. When you have suffered enough for your offence and are ready to carry out my instruction with full faith, then I will tell you.”

Jaṭilā caught hold of Paurnamasi-devī’s feet, “You must be the Guru, please tell me and I will worship you.”

“I am not the Sun’s Guru,” said Paurnamasi-devī. “I will tell you who is, but you must promise to believe and follow my instructions.”

“Yes, I swear it,” Jaṭilā said.

“Savitura-varenyam,” Paurṇamāsī said, “The worshipable object of the Sun is devasya-bhargaḥ, the Divine Potency of the Supreme Lord. Rādhā is this Potency. She is the Sun’s Guru. He takes power from Her and uses this to maintain the universe.”

Jaṭilā was astonished, “Is it true?”

“Yes, now do as I have advised you.”

Jaṭilā went and offered obeisances to Rādhārānī and said, “Please save me. I am not honest or chaste. You are Guru. You are truly the most chaste one in Vraja-maṇḍala. The Sun reveres and worships You. Let me wash Your feet and take Your caraṇāmṛta so that I can be relieved of my torment.”

Śrīmatī Rādhārānī was reluctant.

Paurṇamāsī said, “Rādhe, You should help her.”

Then Rādhārānī’s abhiṣeka was performed and Jaṭilā took the caraṇāmṛta as Bhagavatī Paurṇamāsī advised and then felt completely cooled.

Avidyā, asmitā, rāga, dveśa, abhiniveśa—one can be relieved from all this by the mercy of svarūpa-śakti. The Sun has knowledge and cannot be cheated. The Sun is always watching over the world. He has collected his power from his Guru and watches over the world.

[CC-by-NDNC Bhakta Bandhav]

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