[Hari-katha inspired by the Guru-varga]
Today is Aksaya-tritiya. Candana-yatra Maha-mahotsava also starts today. Today is also Parasurama Jayanti and on this very day, the doors of the Badrinatha temple open. Badrinarayana gives His darsana on this day. Satya-Yuga also started on this day.
Before creating the bodies of the jivas, Brahma didn’t think about how the jivas could be fed. After the jivas took birth in the material world, they started eating each other.
Brahma thought, “What should I do? If the jivas continue eating each other, creation will be finished.”
If you go to the tribal areas of Assam, you will see how people invite everyone for a feast. But this is no ordinary feast. The aged elder of the family is bound by ropes and repeatedly thrown from the roof of the house. When he breathes his last, his dismembered body is cooked and fed to everyone. This is also done to the aged mother. Even children are not spared. So, Brahma was left speechless on seeing how vicious the conditioned souls became.
When Hanuman was born, he desired to eat the sun because he thought it was a fruit. Jatayu’s brother Sampati also tried to eat the sun. When a baby is born, he immediately opens his mouth. Why? He desires to be fed. Brahma was surprised and anxiously thought about what could be done. The conditioned souls are never happy with any of the five elements. Air, fire, water, plants, tees, creepers, humans, animals, and the living entities of various species can never satisfy any of the conditioned souls.
Brahma then saw how his sons desired to enjoy him.
He cried out, “Raksa mam! Raksa mam! O Sri Hari! Save me!”
Then this world witnessed the birth of the demons. The word ‘Raksasa’ has come from the word ‘Raksa,’ which Brahma uttered.
The Raksasas told Brahma, “All right, we will not eat you. But you should tell us what to eat.”
Brahma was greatly disturbed and surprised by how the demons spoke. The Rsi-Maharsis, Tapasvis, and Brahmarsis performed many austerities and penances. But they had no protection. They didn’t have any residence.
Brahma prayed and called out, “Trahi mam! Trahi mam! Oh Pundarikaksa!”
Then who came? Visvakarma came. He came to empower the jivas. Being thus engaged, the jivas would no longer have any inclination towards fulfilling their animalistic propensities. The jivas built houses and many artefacts. They sew clothes and started to use fire.
Meanwhile, Brahma thought, “The jivas are only continuously working now. They only pile blocks of stones. Also, they acquire land and claim everything they see as their own. What can I do? How should I maintain this creation?”
Brahma also became sick when all the conditioned souls became sick. Dhanvantari then appeared; His appearance heralded the arrival of Ayurveda. He prescribed certain herbs that would cure everyone. But, Brahma saw how everyone unnecessarily disturbed each other. A tiger will only kill animals when it is hungry. But humans were far worse. They would kill everyone.
Brahma prayed to God. God appeared in Badrikasrama to correct the conditioned souls. Why did Nara-Narayana Rsi appear in Badrikasrama? Nara-Narayana Rsi engaged in many austerities to unconditionally help all the living entities. Mahalaksmi also came and manifested the Badri tree. The tree bears small leaves and small, sour fruits. The leaves of this tree are very strong. The tree provides shelter from the scorching heat and excessive downpour. During the summer, the tree provides refreshing shade. Conversely, it provides warmth during the winter.
When Nara and Narayana Rsi were doing austerities, they were visited by Brahma and all the demigods. Brahma and all the demigods asked, “How can we control our senses and mind? What should we do?”
Nara-Narayana Rsi replied, “Mahalaksmi will give something.”
What did Mahalaksmi give? She gave barley and Narayana gave sesame seeds. Barley and sesame seeds are good sources of protein. A person will never be sick or weak by eating this produce of the earth. His mind and senses will also never be disturbed. Everyone then started eating husks of raw barley.
Mahalaksmi said, “Although I gave you food, why don’t you offer it to Lord Narayana?”
Mahalaksmi then hid the barley within its husk. It was no longer possible to eat it. Sri Hari Himself gave many types of food to the jivas during Satya Yuga, Treta Yuga, and Dvapara Yuga. He told the jivas, “By eating these forms of food, you will not commit sin. But you will be of guilty of sin by eating meat and other forms of food that are in the mode of passion and ignorance.”
Therefore, He arranged for the milk of cows. He requested Mother Surabhi to provide milk for everyone. He also arranged for rainfall. Rainwater is clean water. Along with water and milk, God also arranged roots, fruits, and grains. Sri Hari made these arrangements in Satya Yuga. Therefore, mangoes, barley powder, milk, and water are offered to Badrinarayana by Mahalaksmi. She also offers many types of fruits and roots. Sri Hari’s remnants are then distributed to all the living entities.
The Rsi-Maharsis became very happy. They followed Mahalaksmi’s rules; they were recipients of her mercy. The Yaksas, Raksasas, Kinnaras, Nagas, Vanaras, and other beings were no longer envious of each other. They completely desisted from fighting each other. By drinking blood and eating meat, you will have a demoniac nature.
All the demoniac beings became friends with each other at the start of Satya Yuga. They were helpful to each other. Mahalaksmi herself opens the doors in Badrikasrama. By having Sri Hari’s darsana and by offering Him obeisance, a person is showered by many blessings. Therefore, He is giving darsana today to everyone. How can the jivas become friends with God?
Mahalaksmi was asked, “You say that Sri Hari is our helpful friend. His darsana cools everyone’s hearts. Eating, sleeping, fighting, and enjoying are not sources of such happiness. Sri Hari’s darsana gives everyone pure happiness. Everyone is pleased at heart. His darsana, blessings, and words are inconceivably nectarean. So, how should we please Sri Hari? What is the process?”
Mahalaksmi replied, “I will tell you the process. All of you should offer Tulasi and candana (sandalwood paste) to Sri Hari. He doesn’t accept anything else. He gives everything; yet, He only desires candana and Tulasi.”
But the taste of candana is very bitter. Yet, your body will be cooled by eating candana. Candana has many medicinal values. Ayurveda recommends candana to those whose body is scorched by the intolerable heat of enjoyment. Therefore, Dhanvantari gave candana. The Rsi-Maharsis would apply the oil of candana on their heads. Their hearts would be completely cooled; they would never be disturbed.
Tulasi and candana is always offered to Lord Narayana. And, Mahalaksmi distributes the Lord’s remnants to everyone. Everyone is very pleased and happy by receiving these remnants. Although candana is very bitter tasting, when it is smeared on the body, it cools the body. The body will not suffer from boils or other problems. This candana is very helpful.
Lord Nrsinghadeva was very angry after killing Hiranyakasipu. Everyone smeared His body with candana to pacify the Lord. Pleased, the Lord took rest. Sri Hari Himself awards permission to His devotees to apply candana on Him.
He tells His devotees, “I will give you many benedictions if you apply candana on Me.”
During this candana-yatra, Tulasi and candana are always offered to the Lord. After receiving Mahalaksmi’s permission, the devotee offer bhoga every morning to Lord Narayana. They offer many drinks to the Lord. Sesame seeds bear much importance. Even an Ekadasi is named after sesame seeds. The name of the Ekadasi is Sat-tila Ekadasi.
So, these rules and regulations have been followed since Satya Yuga. Many types of grasses, fruits, and other forms of food have been classified in the modes of goodness, passion, and ignorance since Satya Yuga. According to the food you eat, you will either become a brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya, or a sudra. Your nature will correspond to the food you eat and the clothes you wear. You should have diet control.
ahar suddhe sattva suddhe
sattva suddhe dhruva smrti
smrti labdva vipra moksah
vipra moksanam uttama gati
There are four stages—brahmacari, grhasta, vanaprasti, and sannyasi. Therefore, after giving darsana to everyone, Badrinarayana gives His caranamrita, candana, and Tulasi to everyone. The brahmacaris should engage in austerities, vows, and fire sacrifices. But the grhastis cannot do this because they have to work from early in the morning. Vanaprastis also cannot do this. A vanaprasti is always in deep contemplation. A sannyasi is above everything.
You should seriously and carefully follow these regulations. Nara-Narayana Rsi ordered Vedavyasa to manifest the scriptures. Vyasadeva then manifested the scriptures that were in the mode of goodness, passion, and ignorance. Why? The standard of everyone is not the same. It is not possible for everyone to become brahmacaris. Therefore, many become grhastas. But not everyone can live like a grhasta. Therefore, they become vanaprastis. Ultimately, they become attached to God and offer everything in His service. They then become sannyasis.
The mood of everyone is not the same. A person resides in the asrama; but he thinks, “How to do business here? How can I control everyone? How will I be great?” A humble and sweet mood will not enter his heart. But all the arrangements were made for the upliftment of the conditioned souls after creation in Satya Yuga. How would a person be happy in Satya Yuga? He would be happy by doing meditation and performing austerities. He would not look at anything. Being of such fixed consciousness, he followed the soul and the Supersoul. His senses were completely withdrawn from the sense objects. He would barely eat.
Eating excessively causes an adverse reaction. But the conditioned soul wants to eat and enjoy by any means. Yet, he is never happy. All the senses of the conditioned soul are always ready to ‘eat’ or enjoy. Also, a conditioned soul desires to have his body replenished because he desires uninterrupted enjoyment.
Answering Brahma’s prayers, Nara-Narayana Rsi descended to this world to help all the conditioned souls control their senses.
Today is also the appearance day of Parasurama. His father was Jamadagni. Parasurama saw how the ksatriya kings usurped power and desired to control everyone in the state. They desired everything for themselves.
Prithvi Devi said, “Everyone is my children.”
But the demoniac kings said, “I am the husband of Prithvi Devi. I am Bhupati; I am Nrpati. I am everything. Everything is mine.”
Seeing the kings assert their power, Prithvi Devi thought, “They were born on may lap—yet, they say, ‘I am Prithvi Devi’s husband.’”
The kings tried acquiring everything they came across. Little did they realize that they came naked to this world and they would leave this world naked. They would not take anything with them. But still, their desire for control and power remained unsatiated.
Prithvi Devi was always disturbed by these ignoble ksatriya kings. They either followed Siva, Durga, Surya, Ganesa, or Visnu. Desiring to have their desires fulfilled, they offered some prayers to their worshipable deities. The followers of Durga were very strange. They were always disturbing everyone. The followers of Ganesa were very rich. But how could they be controlled? The followers of the Sun-god were very powerful; they possessed good intelligence. And, Visnu’s followers are humble, and in the mode of goodness. They are very polite.
A strange position came upon the world. The different gods followed their different followers. Durga’s followers said, “Durga is God; she is great.” Everyone followed different demigods. Such was the strange position of this world. Parasurama appeared and with an axe in hand, he killed any ksatriya who was guilty of transgressing moral conduct. Everyone started to flee in fear.
Parasurama told the ksatriyas, “I will spare all of you if you follow the brahmins. The brahmins have brahma-sakti. They perform austerities and penances for the welfare of everyone. They are our well-wishers. But I will kill all of you if you don’t follow the brahmins.
All of you think, ‘Everyone should follow me. I am the king and the king is everything.’”
When the kings said, “I am Visnu; I am God,” Parasurama whirled his axe around and killed anyone who made such assertions. We will listen to the history of Parasurama in the evening. Parasurama came to Rama and Laksmana after Rama was married to Sita. Laksmana teased Parasurama and tried to arouse his anger. Laksmana then stole Parasurama’s cit-sakti by making him very angry. After Parasurama was divested of all power, he went to Badrikasrama.
How can we make a permanent relation with Krsna? The Vrajavasis give Krsna laddus, butter, milk, and many other types of food.
Krsna told them, “I will always accept your love.”
During holi-lila, Krsna smeared everyone with flower pollen, kunkum, mehendi, and other colors. Krsna told the sakhas, “I am taking the wealth of the Vrajavasis’ feet by force. I will understand that all of you have love for Me if you give the dust of your lotus feet by your own accord.
The heat of this summer is making Me suffer so much. How can I be cooled? I remain in the forest from morning to evening. The sakhas apply some minerals on My forehead to cool My body. But My body is afflicted by intolerable heat. How will My body cooled? I bathe ten times; yet, My body is never cooled.”
The sakhas replied, “Then there is no need to go to the forest.”
Krsna said, “No. This is our service to the cows.”
Yet, the heat of the summer made Krsna suffer. Paurnamasi Yogamaya was asked, “What should we do?”
She replied, “When Krsna goes cowherding in the morning, you should cover His body with candana—sandalwood paste. Then the sun will not be able to touch Him. He will have no problems. Krsna will be protected.
Krsna has innumerable sakhas and cows. Mehendi should be pasted on the cows and gorocana should be smeared on the sakhas. And, candana should be smeared on Krsna.”
—Sri Prema Sudha Sattrakhya (Rupa Gosvami) 17
[Srimati Radharani’s complexion is as fair as gorocana. Her garments are as splendid as sapphires. Her beautiful braided hair is crowned with colorful flowers.]
—Sri Prema Sudha Sattrakhya 18
[Srimati Radharani’s beautiful face, which has already conquered both the lotus and the moon, holds Lord Krsna as its prisoner. Her eyes enchant Lord Hari and fill the cakori birds with wonder.]
—Sri Prema Sudha Sattrakhya 19
[The snake of Srimati Radharani’s frowning eyebrows makes Lord Krsna, the crusher of Kaliya tremble. The tip of Her nose is decorated with a great white pearl.]
Why is Krsna’s body suffering from intolerable heat? When Krsna dove into Kaliya’s lake, all the poison of Kaliya entered His body. Therefore, the heat from His body didn’t go away. His body’s poison was removed by having Him continuously covered in candana for twenty one days. Kaliya bit Krsna on various soft places of His body. Kaliya had thousands of hoods. He bit Krsna and injected poison into His body. The summer didn’t give pain to Krsna; but the poison of Kaliya did.
Candana-yatra is also being observed in Jagannatha-puri. Madan-mohan goes on a palanquin to Candana -sarovara. He is accompanied by many dancers and devotees. He goes for His boating pastimes. His complete body is covered in candana. He returns to the temple in the night and then eats.
So, Krsna showed how the poison could be removed from His body. Siva Thakura also felt great heat in his body after swallowing poison. But Ganga, the caranamrita of Visnu cooled his body. Paurnamasi Yogamaya told the Vrajavasis, “Candana has such power. By smearing it on Krsna’s body, He will be thoroughly cooled.”
Candana was applied on Krsna for twenty-one days. Candana was again applied on Him when He slept. After taking sannyasa, Mahaprabhu came to Advaita Acarya’s house. Advaita Acarya smeared the body of Mahaprabhu with candana. Mahaprabhu had not eaten anything since three days because He was doing sankirtana and dancing with all the devotees. Therefore, Advaita Acarya cooled Mahaprabhu’s body with candana.
Even the heat caused by the three forms of miseries (adhyatmika, adhidaivika, and adhibhautika) will be cooled by candana. But you should apply candana carefully because your body doesn’t have much heat. Your body will turn into ice cream if you apply candana all over your body. Although you will feel relieved from the heat of the summer, you will have a running nose the next day. You will have a severe cold.
So, this lila of candana-yatra manifested in this month. But, the sakhis and manjaris secretly applied candana on Krsna’s body because Yogamaya had given them permission. Only the kisori-gopis applied candana on Krsna’s body; the married gopis did not. Why? The kisori-gopis had performed many austerities. Anything offered by them after being married was not helpful. They would only obtain half a result. But the kisoris and kumaris obtained a full result.
Yet, Ahalya, Draupadi, Kunti, Tara, and Mandodari had many husbands. They were made one’s own by force. But, by remembering their names, your mind and heart will be cooled. How? They have no relation with anyone except God. So, you will also become one-pointed if your love is not divided among others. You will also be a kisori.
So, the kisoris celebrated the candana-yatra mahotsava today. Boating pastimes also manifest today. The kunjas are decorated with so many flowers. You will see how wonderfully all the temples in Vrndavana are celebrating candana-yatra. If you go to Mayapura or Jagannatha Puri, you will see how all the deities are covered in candana. Feasts are also arranged for the pleasure of the Lord. By taking the candana-remnants of the Lord, all your anarthas will go away.
Now we will do abhiseka. We will listen to more katha in the evening.
Gaura Premanande! Hari Haribol!
[CC-by-NDNC Bhakta Bandhav]