Hari-katha Articles A Hint of Srila Prabhupada's Glories

A Hint of Srila Prabhupada’s Glories

bhajami radham aravinda-netram
smarami radham madhura-smitasyam
vadami radham karuna-bharardram
tato mamanyasti gatir na kapi

 

[“I worship Radha who has lotus eyes, I remember Radha who has a sweet smile, and I speak of Radha who is melted with compassion. There is nothing else for me. She is my life and soul.” (Sri Visakhanandadabhidha-stotram 131, Raghunatha dasa Gosvami)]

First, I offer my heartfelt expressions of devotion at the lotus feet of my Gurudeva, nitya-lila pravista om visnupada astottara-sata Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja. I am also offering my so much sraddha, honor, at the lotus feet of my siksa-guru, Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja, and also to Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura.

By the causeless mercy of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, we are seeing so many devotees. Holland is a little country, so I could not fathom that I would meet so many devotees here. It is by the grace of Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja, who came to fulfil the desire of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and especially the desire of his Gurudeva, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Thakura Prabhupada.

The entire world knows Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura as ‘Prabhupada,’ and any devotee can know his own bona fide Gurudeva by that title.’ After the disappearance of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, his disciples gave him a special kind of honor, as they did not want any acarya other than him to be addressed as Prabhupada in India. The disciples of Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja called him Prabhupada, and there is certainly no harm in that. Any self-realized guru in our line can be addressed by this word. When we say, “Jaya Prabhupada,” we think of our entire guru-parampara, from top to bottom. If any guru who is a disciple of Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura feels that “This honorific title is used for our Gurudeva so I should not use it,” this is another thing. Otherwise anyone can use this title. ‘Srila Gurudeva,’ ‘Srila Prabhupada,’ ‘Sripada’ – all these titles are used for Gurudeva.

When I came here to Holland, especially today, I was overjoyed to see you all.

Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja came to the West penniless, on the Scindia Navigation ship, with an old and torn cloths, a ‘worn and torn’ Gita, and three volumes of Srimad-Bhagavatam – this was his only luggage, along with one pair of karatalas and two mantras: “Sri Krsna Caitayana, Prabhu Nityananda, Sri Advaita, Gadhadhara, Srivasadi Gaura bhakta vrnda,” and “Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.” Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s prediction was that “Very soon, a day will come that devotees will preach My nama: ‘Krsna,’ ‘Rama,’ ‘Hare,’ ‘Gaura’ – and this chanting will go to each and every village of the world.”

Srila Svami Maharaja, and for that matter Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and all His followers, did not come to this world for any worldly gain. He did not come for rupees, or guilders (Dutch money), or pounds. He came to give the real treasure of Sri Caitanaya Mahaprabhu to everyone; not just devotees, but anyone to whose ear the maha-mantra would go to, whether that person is a tree, grass, animal, man, god, or goddess. Wherever it would go, it would reach everyone’s ear and take them towards Krsna, towards God.

He not only came penniless, with not a single coin, but there was no one to give him svagatam (welcome) when he arrived. He came alone. Actually Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Radha-Krsna were with him, and his Gurudeva and guru-parampara were with him, but this was not seen externally. Everyone saw that he was alone, but he was not alone.

It seems that he sometimes felt alone on the ship, but actually he knew that Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, the entire guru-parampara, Radha-Krsna and Their whole family, the asta-sakhis like Lalita and Visakha, and also Rupa-manjari and all the manjaris, and the entire Vrndavana-dhama were helping him there.

He made such a platform throughout the world, in each country, that now so many devotees with mrdangas and karatalas, and singing “Hare Krsna” and “Haribol,” are receiving me now. Tears come when I think that in these countries there was not a single devotee. There were, of course, many people in the different countries from India, but there were no ekantika-vaisnavas (a pure devotee fixed in the worship of Radha-Krsna). There may have been worshippers of Narayana, Dvarakadhisa, Ramacandra, and Laksmi-Narayana. There may have been pure Vaisnavas, as Ramanujacarya and his followers were pure Vaisnavas, but there was no pure worship of Vrajendra-nandana Syamasundara.

Here, two or three-hundred devotees were waiting for me with mrdanga and karatalas, but throughout the world there are perhaps hundreds of thousands. I am overwhelmed by this. What a miracle he performed in a very few years, and if he had more time he would have performed so many more miracles.

When he came, there were so many obstacles. Practically everyone was not only eating eggs and fish, but also cows; and they were busy drinking and making merry. They had no awareness of Krsna; no idea who is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Rather, they had their own conception of God and were simply praying to Him, “God, give me bread and butter.” That’s all; not more than that. He played such a good role that, in a short time, devotees like you began to worship Radha-Krsna, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and Gaura-Nityananda Prabhu.

I knew him from the very beginning, when he first came to Mathura, as he was a friend of my Gurudeva. One day he told me a story: “When I took initiation from Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Thakura, he told me to preach in Western countries in the English language.” He said that he would frequently come to meet with his Gurudeva, and once he read a verse from the Srimad-Bhagavatam:

yasyaham anugrhnami
harisye tad-dhanam sanaih
tato ‘dhanam tyajanty asya
svajana duhkha-duhkhitam
(Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.88.8)

 

[“The Personality of Godhead said: If I especially favor someone, I gradually deprive him of his wealth. The relatives and friends of such a poverty-stricken man then abandon him. In this way, he suffers one distress after another.”]

For one who takes shelter of Krsna, Krsna takes away everything and that devotee becomes a street beggar. Then, if he doesn’t give up Krsna at that time, Krsna proceeds to give him everything.

He told me, “I was so afraid that Krsna would take everything from me. I was worrying ‘What would I do? I am living with my wife and children, and am a manager of Bengal Chemicals.'” He was the manager at that time, and if he would have stayed there longer he would have become the owner. But he left that managerial seat and came to Alahabad, where he made his own co. and made his own medicines. He built a very good business and opened a factory, and so many persons were engaged in helping. But soon that factory failed and was given to others, at which time he began his medical shop which also failed. He then engaged in selling his own medicine, alone, which at first sold but then also failed. Krsna would not allow it to continue.

Sri Kesavaji Gaudiya Matha, MathuraHe then came to our Kesavaji Gaudiya Matha in Mathura, penniless, and I honored him there, and I had also met him before, in Calcutta where I also gave him so much respect and honor. I used to prepare cappatis with ghee and vegetables for him, and he was so pleased with me. We became bosom friends.

At that time, I was Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja and he was Abhaya Caranaravinda. I told him, “You are so qualified. Please take sannyasa at once, without delay.” It was at that same time that he told me that story, saying, “I was fearing that everything would be taken away from me and that I would become a beggar. I see that I am becoming more and more of a beggar, and at last, if I take sannyasa, I will become a street beggar.”

At that time my Gurudeva came from Navadvipa, and they embraced each other. I told Gurudeva that I had requested Abhaya Caranaravinda to take sannyasa, and then he also requested him to take sannyasa, and to preach everywhere. A devotee of about 90 years old named Sanatana prabhu, a disciple of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, came and said to him, “You are fearing. I am 99 years old. If you take sannyasa, I will also take sannyasa.” Then he said, “Yes, I will take sannyasa.”

Thus, on the good occasion of Purnima, (Visvarupa Mahotsava), he took sannyasa. I made his danda myself, and I wrapped the cloth around it. I made his utariya (upper sannyasa garment), and I also showed him how to wear the sannyasa cloths. Guru Maharaja came and performed the fire-yajna, and Krsna dasa Babaji Maharaja came and sang kirtana with so many brahmacaris.

Then he became Bhaktivedanta. On one hand I was Bhaktivedanta first, but he was also Bhaktivedanta first, as his Guru Maharaja Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura had given him the nickname: Abhava Carana Bhaktivedanta. In bhakti he was senior to me, and in sannyasa he was junior to me.

When we met, he would often request me to perform kirtana: “Jaya Radhe, Jaya Krsna, Jaya Vrndavana,” “Hari haraye nama-krsna yadavaya namah,” and especially, “Sri rupa-manjari pada sei mora sampada, sei mora bhajana-pujana.”

Some persons say that he did not preach raganuga-bhakti, but what is more raganuga than this bhajana – “Sri rupa-manjari pada sei mora bhajana-pujana” This is the best kirtana of ragatmika (Krsna’s personal associates), what to speak of raganuga (those who are following in the footsteps of those associates). Ragatmika is not sadhana-bhakti, as is raganuga. It is performed only in Goloka Vrndavana, not here in this world.

Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja came for this purpose: that from vaidhi-bhakti we will develop through sadhana-bhakti to bhava-bhakti and then to prema-bhakti. He has not only come to clear the jungles and for harinama. He wanted the people of the world to realize the identity and meaning of harinama. He did not want them to chant harinama without any rasa. He wanted them to become so attached to chanting Hare Krsna that they would not be able to ever leave it, and he wanted their taste and attachment to increase continually.

Now we are chanting and remembering, but it is a rare devotee who has tastes that chanting. If any taste will come, that devotee will not be able to leave krsna-nama. Rather, his devotion will develop to become bhava-bhakti.

Srila Svami Maharaja has not only come to clear away jungles and thorns. He has come to give this. He had very little time, and when he was going to give it, Krsna called him and said, “Your task is finished. Come on, come on. Come and serve Me here with Radhika.”

He called me to his bedside a few days before his divine departure and, I don’t know why, he said, “Excuse me for whatever I have done wrong.” I replied, “You have not doing anything wrong.” “I have done some wrong; I know that, He objected, “To preach encourage the Westerners I have said, ‘Living in Vrndavana, my god-brothers are simply taking their meals and sleeping.’ I said this only to give inspiration to those devotees of mine who did not know the abc’s of bhakti. I know that my god-brothers are so qualified. If they were not qualified, why did I take sannyasa from Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja? I also respected Srila Sridhara Svami. Why I respect them as my siksa-gurus if I had considered that they are not superior to me. I respected them so much. Please excuse me, and request my god-brothers to excuse me.”

I told him, “What you have done is not an offense. You did it for preaching, and to teach your disciples. It is not anything to be excused. You did a marvellous thing. All the Gaudiya Vaisnavas, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and Radha-Krsna are pleased with you by the miracle that you have performed in the western countries – a place of flesh-eaters and wine-drinkers. They were like beasts, and you have turned them into good devotees. We are so proud and indebted to you for this work.”

He ordered me, “You should do the rest of my work. Perform my samadhi ceremony and viraha-mahotsava, and teach my devotees how to develop in bhakti, so that they do not remain on the same level they are at present.

I told him, “I have to say something to your disciples.”

He at once called his senior devotees. He called Tamal Krsna Maharaja, who was perhaps his secretary at that time, and he called Bhavananda Maharaja, Jayapataka Svami, Bhagavan dasa, Hamsaduta, Brahmananda, and about 100 other disciples. When they came I told them, “Do not think that he will die. He will be in our guru-parampara forever. When he leaves, you will think that he is no longer on this planet, and then you will quarrel with each other and disrespect Vaisnavas. I am telling this to you all of you.”

Then he told them, “You should patiently hear, and make a record of this.”

And then I continued, “Do not quarrel among yourselves. Rather, come in the line of Svamiji, to fulfil the tasks for which he has come to this world, and try to develop in this line.”

Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami has said that if we want to do bhakti, then we must respect all Vaisnavas, gurus, those who live in Vrndavana-dhama, even those brahmanas who are not pure devotees, and even those of other sampradayas:

gurau gosthe gosthalayisu sujane bhusura-gane
sva-mantre sri-namni vraja-nava-yuva-dvandva-sarane
sada dambham hitva kuru ratim apurvam atitaram
aye svantar bhratas catubhir abhiyace dhrta-padah

 

[“O my dear brother, my foolish mind, taking hold of your feet, I humbly pray to you with sweet words. Please give up all pride and quickly develop deep, loving attachment for the spiritual master, Sri Vraja-dhama, the residents of Vraja, the Vaisnavas, the brahmanas, your diksa-mantras, the holy names of the Supreme Lord, and the shelter of Sri Sri Radha-Krsna, the eternally youthful Divine Couple of Vraja.” (Sri Manah-siksa, Verse 1)]

We must obey these principles. These principles are of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, our guru-parampara, and Svamiji. He has never said to disrespect any Vaisnava. If we want bhakti, it is imperative that we give respect to Vaisnavas.

Srila Krsnadasa Gosvami Maharaja has said that Gurudeva is also in the category of Vaisnava. Srila Rupa Gosvami is our siksa-guru, Krsna is our siksa-guru, Caitanya Mahaprabhu is our siksa-guru, and Nityananda Prabhu is our siksa-guru. Siksa-guru is not less than diksa-guru. Try to understand all these facts. Diksa-guru is not less than siksa-guru and siksa-guru is not less than diksa-guru. Both are equal if they are qualified. If they are not qualified, then they are not guru.

If diksa-guru is not giving proper honor to Vaisnavas, then he is not even a devotee. His name should be cut from the list of devotees. We must try to give honor to Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s followers – and even to the followers of Ramanujacarya, and those who are serving Laksmi-Narayana and Dvarakaidsh, although not the same respect as we give to ekantika-bhaktas of Krsna. We should give honor to the devotees of Krsna who are chanting and remembering, and at the same time try to know the gradations of devotees. If one is serving only Krsna, and if one is serving Radha-Krsna conjugal, and if one is very near and dear to Srimati Radhika, who will be given more honor? Of these three grada
tions of devotees, who is superior?

We should try to understand these gradations, otherwise we will see that Krsna, Caitanya Mahaprabhu, ordinary bhaktas, Srila Rupa Gosvami, Srila Haridasa Thakura, a Ramanuja bhakta, and a Dhruva-bhakta are all the same. We need to differentiate. A kanistha-Vaisnava cannot differentiate, and therefore our gurus have not come only to tell us, “You should not remain third-class kanistha-Vaisnavas.”

It is essential that we hear all these things and develop in our bhakti, so that we can clearly understand who are kanistha-Vaisnavas, who are madhyama-Vaisnavas, and who are uttama-Vaisnavas – who are conditioned souls and who are above conditioned life. Srivasa Pandita and Gadadhara Pandita came to this world, but they are not sadhana-siddha. They are eternal associates of Krsna. Haridasa Thakrua was both Brahma and Prahlada Maharaja.

But who was Rupa Gosvami? He was Rupa-manjari. In this lila, Rupa Gosvami used to take the foot-dust of Haridasa Thakura and Srivasa Pandita, but he is far, far, far superior to them. We should know all these truths.

Who preached more the heartfelt conceptions of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in this world? Rupa Gosvami or Haridasa Thakura? Haridasa Thakura spread the holy name, and he was namacarya, but Rupa Gosvami was Mahaprabhu’s life and soul. He gave us all the books that were the heart of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, such as Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu and Ujjvala-nilamani.

How can we know all these truths without good association? If someone bans this and tries to stops others from going to qualified Vaisnavas, how can they themselves develop? Chanting alone will not suffice. Only hanting under the guidance of any good Vaisnava can take us to perfection. Mayavadis chant, “Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Hare Hare, Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare.” What is the difference between them and pure devotees?

If anyone chants, “Hare Krsna Hare Krsna” with no association of rasika-tattva Vaisnavas, they will only go to Vaikuntha, not Goloka Vrndavana. If we chant harinama under the guidance of those pure devotees in Rupa Gosvami’s line, in no time we will realize something, and our hearts will taste that name.

Many persons call out, “Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.” Some say that Hare is Hari, Krsna is that Krsna who took birth in Mathura (Vasudeva Krsna), and Rama is Ayodha Rama. Others say that Krsna and Rama are Krsna and Balarama.

Our guru-parampara has not given this idea. Our guru-parampara has given the idea that the three names are one. Krsna is Hari and Krsna is Rama. If any devotees worship equally two Gods, or two different manifestations of Krsna, their bhakti will be ruined. When Krsna takes our sins and offenses, He becomes Hari. After that He gives a momentary darsana, as He gave in His form as Narayana to Narada. Narayana then disappeared and Narada began to weep. Narayana said, “By this body, you cannot have My darsana. This body cannot bear the meeting of Krsna. After leaving this body, when you have your siddha-deha (spiritual form) of Vaikuntha, your body of eternity, bliss and knowledge, then you will realize Me and you will never again die and come as a conditioned soul.”

When all sins go away, Krsna gives his sweet darsana and takes our mind and hearts. In this regard, He is Hari. He lives everywhere, in all hearts, so He is Rama. Without Krsna, we cannot live for a moment.

Rupa and Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami have told us that in this connection that Hare is not Hari. Hare is Hara. Radhika is Hara, which means that She steals the mind and heart of Krsna. When calling out to Hara, Her name becomes in the vocative and becomes Hare. Hare Krsna is Radha-Krsna. Rama means Krsna playing with Radhika. In rasa, He becomes Rama. Here Rama is Krsna, or in other words Radha-ramana Rama.

Each syllable has so many good meanings. There are 32 syllables, 16 names, 8 pairs, and one in each group. Separation and meeting are both present there. Hare Krsna Hare Krsna and Hare Rama Hare Rama indicates meeting. Krsna Krsna Hare Hare and Rama Rama Hare Hare indicate separation.

If we chant with this taste, and also take association from our superiors, then all perfections can be attained and we will never be able to give up harinama.

There are so many gifts that Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja wanted to give you all, but he went away and there was no one who could give you this. Perhaps he called me to give some things to you all, so that you will become qualified. Then you will never give up bhakti and chanting, and you will always be absorbed in hearing hari-katha.

He has written so many truths in his explanation of Gita. At that time there were very rare devotees who could understand higher things, so he also wrote many truths in a hidden way. Otherwise, his readers would not have been able to understand.

Try to develop your bhakti so you can take everything from him. He has written so many things in his books, but it is rare to find someone able to understand and receive. Our guru-parampara, Krsna and Srimati Radhika, Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and Nityananda Prabhu have perhaps called me here, and if I will give something to you and help you, then I will see that I am successful in this tour. I pray to Them all, that they will bestow their mercy on me so that I may express to you all these hidden truths.

At first, I was so much fearing that I would have no proper English language to give anything. My English is so poor. I am so fallen, as it states in the prayer beginning Trnadapi. I am not able to express all these things to you, but you are so qualified that even if I speak in ‘worn and torn’ English language, you will still understand.

I want to help you all, without any desire for gain.

[Looking at some of the individual devotees in his audience:] Oh, I know Navadvipa dasa so well. He is my right-hand man. And what to speak of Vrnda and Brajanath prabhu; I was a penniless person, and they have dragged me here. I never dreamt that I would go to the West. I never desired to give up Vrndavana and come here. But I think I have come to Vrndavana, to Vrnda, and Brajanath is in Vrndavana also. There are two Tunga-vidyas here, and Vrndavana-vilasini is so marvellous. So many devotees are here. I am so happy to come here. I am thinking that I am still in Vrndavana. I am never out of Vrndavana.

I pray to you all that you will give your company, so that we may give energy and impression to those who have left Iskcon but are still chanting the holy name. We should try to call all devotees – those who are kanistha Vaisnavas and those who are madhyama Vaisnavas. All should be called, and we should embrace them and give them respect. A person who is superior has so much mercy for those who are juniors. Have no envy at all.

If anyone is doing anything opposed to us, we should be like Haridasa Thakura and Prahlada Maharaja. Thus, we can preach the mission everywhere.

Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.

Gaura-premanande!
Gaura-Nityananda Prabhu ki jaya!
Guru-parampara ki jaya!
Sacinandana Gaurahari ki jaya!
Radha-Krsna ki jaya!
Gaur-premanande! Hari, haribol.

If you have no obstacles, then all of you please meet me everywhere I go to preach. With four mrdangas, and like at the time of Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja, with kirtana and the same inspiration and enthusiasm. Now it is noon, so you can perform arati and take prasadam. Svamiji and my Gurudeva used to call me to sing sweet kirtanas. Now I am invalid, but when I see you, I have inspiration to chant Hare Krsna.

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WHY SHOULD WE GO ON PARIKRAMA?

Once, a brahmacārī asked Śrīla Gurudeva, “Why do we go on parikramā every year? I heard that in our line mānasī-sevā is the highest practice. So, is it necessary to do parikramā physically year after year? Why don’t we simply visit the holy places mentally?”“Five material elements compose the physical body,” Śrīla Gurudeva answered. “These elements are governed by demigods. If we do not take the body on parikramā and engage it in the service of Hari, Guru and Vaiṣṇavas at the holy places, we will remain indebted to the presiding deities of the elements in our bodies and will not be able to achieve salvation. During parikramā our bodies touch the dhāma and become purified, and we have the opportunity to serve the sādhus. Our bodies thence purified, the senses become favorable to the execution of devotional service. The nine limbs of devotion are naturally performed during parikramā. When we engage in bhakti, the demigods presiding over the elements of the body are pleased and discharge all debt. If we don’t engage our bodies in service, our senses will be agitated, and it is unlikely we will have the mental discipline to serve internally. Laziness is the worst malady. We must cure indolence by forcible engagement in service. For this reason we travel in sādhu-saṅga to all those places where Śrīman Mahāprabhu and Nityānanda Prabhu went with Their associates:gaura āmāra, ye saba sthāne, karala bhramana raṅgese-saba sthena, heriba āmi, praṇayi-bhakata-saṅge‘In the company of devotees that have love for Gaurāṅga Mahāprabhu, I will visit the places where My Lord happily wandered.’“Alone you cannot attain perfection. By going on parikramā in sādhu-saṅga, and smearing the dust of the holy places on your body, you will certainly receive the mercy of Śrī Guru, Kṛṣṇa, and the dhāma.“The Guru-varga serve the dhāma by annually bringing the devotees together for parikramā. They teach us that parikramā of the dhāma must not only be done annually, but daily—no matter where we are physically. We learn from them that we must first offer praṇāmas to the Guru-varga when we wake in the early morning, chant our mantras, and also visit all the dhāmas, praying to Guru and Vaiṣṇavas, ‘Please let me stay nearby you. Without you I am a helpless orphan. Please do not reject me.’ You will always be with Guru and Vaiṣṇavas if you have this humble and prayerful mood.“While chanting harināma, you should mentally go to Vraja-maṇḍala, Navadvīpa-maṇḍala, and Kṣetra-maṇḍala. Offer obeisance at each of the places within these dhāmas, and pray at those places, as well as to all the devotees and associates of Rādhā, Kṛṣṇa, and Mahāprabhu. Render service in the mind by sweeping, cleaning, and decorating the dhāma, and offer gifts to the Deities. By doing so, your mind will be present in the spiritual abodes and will not wander in the realm of illusion, māyā-maṇḍala.“The dhāma cuts our relations with our temporary home and family, and awakens our relation with our eternal home and family. In truth, we are refugees in this world; like guests staying for some time in a boarding house—our material body. In these temporary dwellings we meet with many other refugees, whom we call our relatives. Inevitably however, death will come and all these relations will be lost. We must understand this bitter lesson. The duty of sādhus is to take the conditioned souls to the dhāma and connect them to Kṛṣṇa and His associates. is Navadvīpa-dhāma Parikramā has been going on continually from the time of Nityānanda Prabhu and Jīva Gosvāmī, to the time of Prabhupāda Sarasvatī Ṭhākura. My Guru Mahārāja continued this tradition and that continuation runs on to this day. All branches of the Gauḍīya Maṭha perform Navadvīpa-dhāma Parikramā.”In 1986, a massive celebration was held in Māyāpura for Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s fifth centennial. Millions of people came to Māyāpura from India and all over the world in the days before and after Gaura-pūrṇimā just for a chance to see the birthplace of Mahāprabhu. In preparation for all the people, the Bengal government set up temporary shelters, hand-pump wells, lights, and other facilities all around Māyāpura. The Indian Prime Minister granted 25 lākhas rupees for preparation and orchestration of the festival.Each branch of the Gauḍīya Maṭha organized a party of many thousands for Navadvīpa Parikramā; the overall congregation of Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas was well over a hundred thousand adherents from all over India. The fifteen thousand strong Parikramā party of the Gauḍīya Vedānta Samīti, led by Śrīla Gurudeva and his dear godbrothers, Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Vāmana Gosvāmī Mahārāja, and Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Trikrama Gosvāmī Mahārāja, was the largest group.ISKCON invited the Parikramā party of the Gauḍīya Vedānta Samīti to participate in their opulent celebrations at the Māyāpura Candrodaya-mandira on Jagannātha Miśra Mahotsava. Śrīla Gurudeva led the procession from Devānanda Gauḍīya Maṭha to Māyāpura, with dozens of other sannyāsīs and scores of brahmacārīs, all singing, playing instruments, and dancing ecstatically in saṅkīrtana. A hundred and eight mṛdaṅgas played in rhythm to the kīrtana of Mahāprabhu’s names and glories, and devotees carried 108 clay pots of paraphernalia for Mahāprabhu’s abhiṣeka. As the grand procession entered the Candrodaya-mandira’s gates, the devotees were welcomed with showers of flower petals from both sides.Śrīla Gurudeva spoke in the temple room, glorifying Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja, and the specialty of Māyāpura and Mahāprabhu. Gurudeva concluded his speech saying, “The glories and specialties of Sri Guru are always present in the place that Vaiṣṇavas are welcome, and those who respect Vaiṣṇavas can experience the mercy of Śrī Guru. Those who serve and respect the family and disciples of Śrī Guru are true guru-sevakas. Today, the magnanimous disciples of Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja have conquered the world by their service to the Vaiṣṇavas.”Thereafter, Śrīla Gurudeva offered puṣpāñjali to the deity of Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja, and then proceeded to Yogapīṭha with the Parikramā party. At midday, over 50,000 Mahāprabhu-bhaktas gathered in a field by Śrīdhara-āṅgana. Śrīla Gurudeva had arranged for the distribution of kicari, sweet rice, chutney, sabjis, and other varieties of prasāda, with generous help from Rāma Praka from Mathurā, Phuland from Āgrā, and other devotees. (click on the Title to read the full article)

Guru Purnima

Your Cāturmāsya-vrata will be successful when you adopt the vow not to accept any food other than the mahā-prasāda of the bhaktas. When you are thus determined, your character will be purified. You will no longer want to go to the cinema and play on a laptop. Your mind will not automatically run to the internet. This is the power of the pure devotees’ remnants. Nārada was a small child but by the mercy of the mahā-bhāgavata ṛṣis he became determined to also become a fully devoted servant of Bhagavān.

Entering the Stage of Bhava

Those who taste rasa are called rasika, and those who taste bhāva are called bhāvuka. The gopīs and Kṛṣṇa are both rasika and bhāvuka. When viśuddha-sattva, or in other words bhāva, descends from the gopīs upon those who are in the stage of sādhana, they attain svarūpa-siddhi, or perception of their permanent devotional sentiment (sthāyibhāva), but they have not yet attained their perfected spiritual body. At that stage they are known as bhāvuka-bhaktas. When, by further advancement, the sthāyibhāva mixes with the elements of vibhāva, anubhāva, sāttvika-bhāva and vyabhicāri-bhāva and one is able to taste bhakti-rasa, instigated by hearing the pastimes of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, then one is called a rasika...

BHAJANA IS MEANT ONLY FOR YOU AND GOD AND THE GURU-VARGA

Narottama Ṭhākura is telling his realization from his own bhajana, that during bhajana or sevā, do not discuss or talk with anyone else, otherwise one will be disconnected from this flow. One must remain very serious to truly engage in bhakti. To properly chant mantra and harināma, read śāstra, and perform arcana, or any guru-sevā, it must be one-pointed. At that time do not talk with any other persons or address anyone else. Bhajana is meant only for you and God and the Guru-varga. If I deviate slightly in this practice then to that extent that I am neglecting and disobeying God and Guru, my heart will be divided, and my mantra-devatā will be disturbed. Līlā-śakti will not enter the heart of such a person, or if she was present there before, she will disconnect herself. Therefore do bhajana in a secret hidden place. Meet with a premi-bhakta in private, serve, and speak with him in private. It is not to show all. When a sādhaka does sādhana it should be secret. If one does not carefully follow this rule and remain serious about their sādhana then it will simply become a show or exercise. This is not proper. So a sādhaka must be very serious and strict in this regard. As a result of this one-pointed mood others may become disturbed and not approve of this disposition. They may be upset that, “He is not talking with us, he doesn’t love us, he is always hiding and avoiding us.” But this is not a problem. Don’t worry about this. To protect one’s bhakti is more important than pleasing ordinary people. Never compromise bhakti with anything. She is most important and above all else. When the Guru-varga sees this seriousness, they will give more adhikāra. They will see that within the sādhaka’s heart is a secure and protected place and there they will store more and more confidential subject matters. If any ordinary person asks, they will never tell these secrets. Never tell anything for your own name and fame. Never be greedy for material achievements. The Vraja-devis are always hiding their own glories and svarūpa. Their bhāvas are all hidden. Their love for Kṛṣṇa is secret. They never show anyone. Ṭhākura Mahāśaya continues: “I am a follower of the Vraja-devī’s. In their guidance I am always engaged in confidential sevā. I cannot give time to anyone else. So please forgive me and do not be angry with me. I am again and again praying that no one should see my faults. I am offering my praṇāma to all bhaktas. Please allow me now to be absorbed fully in my service. Before I was not one-pointed and my Guru Mahārāja was very disturbed. Now I have learned the proper method and I will continue to seriously serve under his guidance in Vraja-dhāma. So I pray that no one will become angry if I avoid or rebuke them.” This is called ananyataḥ, or being appointed. Our bhajana is meant for the pleasure of God and Guru. So called bhajana performed for the purpose of receiving praise from ordinary people, or bhajana done to please one’s self, can never be called real bhajana. Bhajana is very strong, serious, and straight. Whatever Śrī Gaurāṅga Mahāprabhu has said to me, I have spoken in this book, but really I do not know what is good and what is wrong.

WHAT IS THE INNER MEANING OF RADHARANI IGNORING RATI MANJARI?

Dāsa Gosvāmī prays, “O Rādhike, please do not be angry with me. You are the epitome of patience and tolerance. In this world, millions of people don’t follow or respect You. Still, You continuously help all living entities, but they do not think of You. You don’t reject them or stop nourishing them for even a second. If You did so, all the material and spiritual creation would be destroyed in an instant. You have unlimited patience and give everything to the living entities. I am full of faults. Please don’t look at them.“Please send Lalitā-devī. May she be kind to me and bring me before You, and then ask You to forgive me and bestow some service on this small Rati. I do not understand what is wrong and what is right. If You say, ‘Get out, never come near Me. You have no brain,’ then what will be my position? I don’t know the process of Your service, but I am very greedy for this.”Absorbed in his eternal form as Rati Mañjarī, Dāsa Gosvāmī prays to Śrīmatī Rādhārānī, “O Rādhike, I made a small mistake and therefore You have kicked me out of Your kuñja. Kṛṣṇa came and spoke to me, questioning me and enticing me to reply. I tried very hard to remain silent, but afterwards I could not constrain myself and I independently gave an answer to Him. Seeing me speaking with Kṛṣṇa outside the kuñja, You became angry. When I reentered the kuñja, You said, ‘Get out! Don’t come near me.’ Lalitā-devī saw me crying in a corner and brought me back to You. O Rādhe, my heart was broken when You sent me away angrily. I cannot express the magnitude of my sorrow and cannot find peace anywhere. I have no one in this world but You; I cannot leave You and go to anyone else. O Rādhe, I had no desire to speak with Kṛṣṇa, but what could I do…”Śrīla Gurudeva gave an example here. Once, Vallabhācārya instructed his dear disciple, “When Thakurji is given rest after the midday offering and artik go inside the temple altar and fan the Lord with eyes closed. If you hear someone saying anything, don’t give any answer or open your eyes.”The disciple followed his Gurudeva’s instruction. A short while after beginning to fan the Lord, the disciple heard someone saying, “Hey! Why are you fanning for so long with closed eyes? Open your eyes and look at Me!”When the disciple didn’t open his eyes or speak anything, the voice continued, “Speak something! You will fan Me, but won’t talk to Me, or look at Me? If you have so much daring to fan Me as I rest, then why won’t you speak to Me?”But the disciple remained firm to the order of his Gurudeva and remained fanning, while the Lord endeavored to make him speak. Outside, Gurudeva was waiting to see what happened.When the Deitie’s curtains were opened at four in the afternoon, Vallabhācārya asked his disciple, “Who was talking to you?”“Gurudeva, I followed your instruction and didn’t open my eyes. But someone was saying again and again, ‘Open your eyes and talk to Me.’”“You did well.”Śrīla Gurudeva gave this example when commenting on this verse of Vilāpa-kusumāñjali.Śrīla Gurudeva would further explain.Kṛṣṇa could not tolerate seeing Rādhārānī’s one-pointed beloved maidservant. She was so close to Rādhārānī, such an expert maidservant, and so beautiful, that Kṛṣṇa came and tried to converse with Rati Mañjarī, teasing her from behind, in front, and side-to-side. Rati Mañjarī remained firm and ignored Kṛṣṇa, and then He began teasing her, “O Svāminī’s beloved! O Svāminī’s nearest and dearest! There is no one dearer to Her than you. You know Her better than any other. You are so chaste! You don’t speak with anyone else or look at anyone. Oh! You are so proud. If anyone comes to you, you show them contempt and reject them.”Kṛṣṇa began teasing her like this more and more, until finally Rati Mañjarī’s resolve was broken and she strongly responded to Kṛṣṇa’s antics. This is called vaco-vegam.Rādhārānī had told Rati Mañjarī, “You are so close to Me, don’t allow any distance to come between us. Don’t speak or make relation with anyone.”Rādhārānī knew what had transpired. When Rati Mañjarī fearfully came to Rādhārānī, She reprimanded her, “Why did you give Him a moment of your time? Why did you show Him any affection by speaking with Him? Go! Never come near Me. Leave here at once!”Rati Mañjarī left in a state of devastation. She fell down in a corner outside the kuñja in despair, and within, Rādhārānī also lamented. When Rādhārānī could no longer tolerate being separated, Lalitā-devī brought Rati back to Rādhārānī. Then Lalitā said to Śrīmatījī, “Will You forgive her and look just once in her direction?”Dāsa Gosvāmī says, “You have patience and tolerance, please forgive me. What was my fault? Amidst a thousand things Kṛṣṇa said, I only gave a momentary reply and looked at Him for a moment from the corner of my eyes.”Those mañjarīs and sakhīs who are in Rādhārānī’s group have this difficulty. Rādhārānī is not pleased if they have relation with any other.In the first verse of Vilāpa-kusumāñjali, Rādhārānī gave indication for Kṛṣṇa to go to Rūpa, and Rādhārānī watched, ‘What will Rūpa do?’ Like if I told you, ‘Do this work.’ Then I will watch what you do, and if you do any error, I will correct you. What did Rūpa Mañjarī do? She ran away when Kṛṣṇa came to her. However, Rati Mañjarī spoke with Kṛṣṇa, therefore Rādhārānī became upset. If she had not spoken with Kṛṣṇa, then Rādhārānī would have been happy ten or twenty times more, and Kṛṣṇa as well.Kṛṣṇa also would be happier if Rati had completely ignored Him, and He would have teased her even more, embracing her from behind, kissing her neck and then saying, “Won’t you speak to Me?” Kṛṣṇa would fold His hands to her a thousand times if she completely ignored Him.This mood is essential. Therefore, from an externalper­­spective, Rūpa Gosvāmī instructed, ‘vaco-vegam’ for sādhakas, and for those in the highest position, this is applied to a much greater extent.Once, a policeman came and spoke with me while I was cutting vegetables in Mathurā, near the kitchen in Keśavajī Gauḍīya Maṭha. Śrīla Gurudeva was sitting in a chair on the other side of the temple courtyard. After watching me speak to the policeman for sometime, he began shouting, “Why are you talking so much? What is the need? Why do you have so much affection for this outside man?”The policeman became astonished, got up and left. There is a very strong bond between the servant and served. If one is someone’s svapakṣa, any slight deviation will not be tolerated, even if it is of no great significance.tavaivāsmi tavaivāsmi na jīvāmi tvayā vināiti vijñāya devi tvaṁ naya māṁ caraṇāntikamVilāpa-kusumāñjali 96I am Yours! I am Yours! I cannot live without You! O Devī, please understand this and bring me to Your lotus feet.“O Rādhike, You are my heart, my soul. Everything I possess is Yours. You have complete adhikāra over me. I am Yours, I am Yours! Without You, I cannot stay one moment in this world. Please, please, give me shelter at Your lotus feet. I desire nothing other than the shelter of Your lotus feet.”Tavaivāsmi tavaivāsmi means, “I offer myself to You, I am Yours. I don’t know anything without You. I am Yours, I am Yours, I cannot live without You.” Why is this repeated? Is once not enough? The first ‘I am Yours’ means, “Many mañjarīs are close to You. May they accept me, give me shelter, and a chance to serve You. I am poor, fallen, and full of faults, but please accept me.” The second ‘I am Yours’ means, “I am praying to Your senior authorities, the sakhīs. May they accept and teach me, not reject me. May they call me forward and give me a drop of their love, otherwise I am dry. How can I stay with You without any love and affection?”If there is no love and affection, then one brahmacārī or devotee cannot remain following bhakti. He will be dry and suffering in māyā. If one devotee helps another, then devotion can grow in such a favorable environment. If a senior devotee nourishes junior devotees with his love and affection, the juniors’ devotion will become strong, and they will gradually become senior in bhakti, and will bestow love and affection to others and help them grow as well. This flow will then run on continuously.In this verse, Rati Mañjarī laments, “Aho! Devī, I have no one else in this world other than You! I am only Yours! I am only Yours! I cannot live without You for a single moment! Please bestow the shelter of Your lotus feet. I cannot go to any other, look at any other, nor have any dealing or connection with any other. I am Yours alone, Yours alone, Yours alone!”“What is the need to promise so many times?” Śrīmatījī asks.“If I spoke with anyone,” Rati replies, “it wasn’t for my own happiness. If anyone asks about You, then I feel the need to speak for Your sake. And if I don’t answer, then He teases me, ‘O stubborn one! O exalted arrogant maidservant of Your proud mistress. You are so exalted that you can’t spare me even a moment to speak.’ Then, when I said a few words, You became angered. I tell You sincerely that I am Yours, I am Yours, I am Yours! I cannot live another minute without You. Please give me shelter at Your feet. You are the reason I am living. Not seeing Your lotus feet, I cannot survive for even a moment. Please give me place at Your feet and don’t make me separate from You for even a moment.“Lalitā-devī is extremely dear to You, I am not so dear to You as she is. I made a mistake, but Lalitā-devi is very close to You. Please listen to Her request and accept me back in Your good graces. Don’t keep me away from You.”Now Rati Mañjarī prays to Lalitā-devī, “Please, by any means, remove Svāminī’s māna. If you can’t do this great task, who will I go to for shelter? And only having Her speak to me again is not enough; may She grant me Her intimate service. Otherwise, if She shrugs and says, ‘Okay, I forgave her, no problem,’ but doesn’t give me service again, keeping me at a distance, then what will be my position? Please petition Her on my behalf. If She doesn’t give me Her intimate service, I will die.”Dāsa Gosvāmī was in the highest state of separation in his sādhaka form. Even in mānasī-sevā, one cannot be deviated in service and dedication to one’s worshipable beloved.Once, one thirsty man came to the cottage of Lokanātha dāsa Gosvāmī and asked for water. Receiving no answer, He next went to the kuṭīra of Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura and begged for water. When Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura gave water to this thirsty man, Lokanātha dāsa Gosvāmī became upset and said, “Leave this place! If you want to serve others, then there is no need to stay here. You have no desire for bhajana. Go and serve others.” It was Kṛṣṇa who had come. There were many homes nearby in the village, why would anyone come to a Bābājī’s kuṭīra for water? Anyone could go drink water from a well. Why would one come and beg for a glass of water from Bābājīs? But Kṛṣṇa came to test Narottama, knowing, “He is on Rādhārānī’s side. Let me see what he does.”When Lokanātha dāsa Gosvāmī saw that Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura had some softness towards Kṛṣṇa, that he had become a little favorable to Kṛṣṇa, he said, “Go serve Him and His followers.”The situation is perilous for those solely dedicated to Rādhārānī. If they go a little to one side or another, then She has great māna. Breaking that māna is not easy.sva-kuṇḍaṁ tava lolākṣi sa-priyāyāḥsad aspadamatraiva mama samvāsa ihaiva mama saṁsthitiḥVilāpa-kusumāñjali 97O restless-eyed one, Your lake is the eternal dwelling-place of You and Your beloved. Here only will I reside and here alone will I stay.Dāsa Gosvāmī says, “Rādhā-kuṇḍa is extremely dear to You. Inside this kuṇḍa there is not only water, rather the mellows of all Your love are present here. All the sakhīs’ and mañjarīs’ love is present here as well. I stay on the bank of Your Rādhā-kuṇḍa without any qualification, but my eyes search in all directions to see from which way You are coming. The mañjarīs and sakhīs will call me and show me the pathway to Your lotus feet in a secluded grove. They will give me permission to reside here eternally.”Srimati may then say, “Why are you distressed? You are already living here at Radha kunda, performing bhajana. What problem do you have?”“No, no, no, I have this body now. Gaurahari offered me to His near and dear Svarūpa Dāmodara, who sent me here to Rādhā-kuṇḍa. But now this body is very old. Soon it will leave me.”“Are you sad because of this?”“No, no, no, I am not sad or afraid of leaving my body, but I want to permanently serve You in the form of a mañjarī. Please give this to me. Don’t give me a big rich post or make me wealthy and healthy and send me far away.”Dāsa Gosvāmī prays, “May I have eternal residence here at Radha kunda.” What is the meaning? This means, “I will serve You while You engage in intimate pastimes with Kṛṣṇa, ready to do anything needed. I will fan You, massage Your lotus feet, and make Your bed. I will stay here for all services, not going anywhere.”Dāsa Gosvāmī next prays, “I am staying here, but I am unqualified. Yet, You are searching for me, ‘Where is Rati? Where did she go?’ Then I say, ‘I am here, with You. Don’t worry. Why are You looking at me with restless eyes? Wherever Kṛṣṇa is present, I will bring Him to Your kuñja by any ploy. I know how to catch Him. But if I speak with Kṛṣṇa to bring Him back, will You be angered? I will teach Him how to break Your māna, but for this, please don’t become upset with me.“You engage in loving pastimes with Kṛṣṇa at Rādhā-kuṇḍa. May I reside here eternally. If I am always present, I can assist Him in pleasing You. I do not want to leave this service for any other engagement.” (click on the Title to read the full post)

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