Śrīla Gurudeva: What is today’s śloka?
[Acyutānanda dāsa and Madhuvrata dāsa each recite Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 6.11.25, as spoken by Vṛtrāsura]
Acyutānanda dāsa: O Lord Hari, O Kṛṣṇa, I have no desire to attain Svarga, nor do I want to go to Brahma-loka. I do not want to rule over the entire Earth, nor over Rasātala. I do not want the aṣṭa-yoga-siddhis (eight yogic perfections), nor do I want mokṣa (liberation). If I have to give You up, I do not want any of these.
Śrīla Gurudeva: Why did you say mokṣa? What is the reference?
Acyutānanda dāsa: apunar-bhavaṁ vā.
Śrīla Gurudeva: What is the meaning of apunar-bhavaṁ vā?
Acyutānanda dāsa: It means ‘to not have to take birth again’.
Śrīla Gurudeva: [To Madhuvrata dāsa] Can you explain?
Madhuvrata dāsa: Vṛtrāsura is addressing Kṛṣṇa in this way: “O source of all possibilities.” Śrī Kṛṣṇa can give liberation and yoga siddhis, mystic perfections. He can give everything. Still, Vṛtrāsura is saying, “I do not want sovereignty over planets such as Dhruvaloka, or even a position like that of Lord Brahmā. I do not desire yoga siddhis or even liberation from material existence, if it means that I am not in Your association.”
Śrīla Gurudeva: What is the meaning of virahayya kāṅkṣe?
Madhuvrata dāsa: It means ‘if I am separated from You.’
Śrīla Gurudeva: What does he want?
Madhuvrata dāsa: He is not saying.
Śrīla Gurudeva: He wants to be always serving. This is the meaning. In the previous verse he addressed Kṛṣṇa as asu-pate, which means ‘Prāṇanātha, O Lord of my life.’
Śrīla Gurudeva: [To Vṛndāvana dāsa] Do you understand the mood of this verse?
Vṛndāvana dāsa: Yes.
Śrīla Gurudeva: What do you want from Śrī Kṛṣṇa? If He comes and tells you, “You may ask any boon,” what will you say?
Vṛndāvana dāsa: What will I ask? I will ask to be able to render direct service to Him.
Śrīla Gurudeva: Do you want to attain heaven?
Vṛndāvana dāsa: Whatever He wants, that I will do.
Śrīla Gurudeva: No, that is not the way to respond. You can reply in this way: “If You want to give me salvation, liberation, heavenly power, yoga siddhis, or Rasātala as attained by Bali Mahārāja, I will not accept any of these things. I only want to be with You and serve You. I want never to be separated from You.”
ajata-paksa iva mataram khagah
stanyam yatha vatsatarah ksudh-artah
priyam priyeva vyusitam visanna
mano ’ravindaksa didrksate tvam
[O lotus-eyed Lord, as baby birds that have not yet developed their wings always look towards their mother to return and feed them, as small calves tied with ropes await anxiously the time of milking when they will be allowed to drink the milk of their mothers, or as a morose wife whose husband is away from home always longs for him to return so that she can satisfy him in all respects, I always yearn for the opportunity to render direct service unto You.]
Madhuvrata dāsa: I spoke with Dāmodara Mahārāja yesterday.
Śrīla Gurudeva: How is he?
Madhuvrata dāsa: He is in Turkey. His preaching is going very well.
Śrīla Gurudeva: Very good.
Madhuvrata dāsa: Already three new people have come to join us. He is doing nagara-saṅkīrtana1 and book-distribution in Istanbul, and he is very happy.
Brajanāth dāsa: Dāmodara Mahārāja says this is the best place he has ever gone to. He quoted Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura’s statements in Jaiva-dharma about Muslim-dharma and how it is related to vaiṣṇava-dharma. He says that in Turkey all are open-minded. At least ten people at a time surround the devotees when they are distributing books, and ask questions and want the books. On nagara-saṅkīrtana all the people are saying, “Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa.”
He said, “We distributed books and invitations, and now people are calling us on the telephone and saying, ‘We want to come to your program.’ ” And he also said they are becoming vegetarian. He said this is the best place he has ever been in the Western world for book-distribution and preaching. He is encouraging all devotees to come there and help distribute books, and in this way make Kṛṣṇa consciousness successful there.
Śrīla Gurudeva: Muslim countries, like Pakistan, Malaysia, Iran, and others, are very, very strict. Iran is not as strict as Pakistan. Malaysia is good, but not like Turkey. Another reason I like Turkey is that the Muslims there are truly liberal.
[Excerpted from the Gaudiya Vedanta Publication “Walking With a Saint 2009”]