[Hari-katha inspired by the Guru-varga]
In this world, if anyone collects the pure love of the Vrajavāsīs in his heart, his heart will melt and will shower that love in thousands of other hearts. In the absence of this anurāga, the love of the Vrajavāsīs, the fires of anger, lust, hunger, and worldly desires will burn us. We will burn everyone we come in contact with. When the electric line is connected to the powerhouse, then power comes to all appliances. But if there is no connection, even though all the appliances are in the house, they will not function. How can this powerful love of the Vrajavāsīs come in our hearts and how can we become connected to this powerhouse?
Only the Vrajavāsīs have this power, this anurāga, this love. If you don’t follow the Vrajavāsīs, you cannot get this anurāga. If you follow the Mathurāvāsīs, the Dvārakāvāsīs, or the Vaikuṇṭhavāsīs, they don’t have this power of anurāga. They only have vaidhīmārga, maryādā, rules and regulations. We must be connected to that powerhouse of the Vrajavāsīs’ love. In Vraja, the cows, calves, peacocks, deer, tiger, lion, horses, all animals have this anurāga in their hearts. They come and smell Kṛṣṇa, lick Kṛṣṇa, and sit nearby Him. The birds fly in the sky and make shade for Kṛṣṇa as He goes to graze with His sakhās. The clouds also follow Kṛṣṇa. When Kṛṣṇa is under any tree, the birds come and sing from the top of that tree. They collect beautiful flowers and drop them at Kṛṣṇa’s feet, and they collect sweet and ripe juicy fruits, and offer them to Kṛṣṇa. The squirrels bring mangoes and guavas to Kṛṣṇa. How did they acquire such a nature?
If we look at ourselves we see that if any item comes to us, we hide it in our rooms to keep it for ourselves. Why? Who are we staying with? Why has our nature not changed to the nature of the Vrajavāsīs? Are we connected to our guardian and authority? Or are we disconnected from guru and Vaiṣṇavas and instead connected to māyā? If we are filled inside with the qualities of māyā, we should know that we are connected to māyā, and not guru and Vaiṣṇavas.
Without a guardian, we are orphans. From whom will you hear? Who will accept your bhajana? Who will hear and answer your prayers? Who will give the fruit of our endeavor and think about our welfare? If we do not have any relationship, then who will care for us with love? Harinama and dīkṣā is not enough, if there is no relationship with Śrī Guru, then there is no affection, and no affection means no connection and no connection means no attraction—then one’s life is useless. Merely staying in a temple is not enough! Being a brahmacārī or sannyāsī or a gṛhastha is not enough! Relationship is necessary! How does this come? It comes through the process of rūpānuga, rāgānuga-bhakti. Whoever is a rūpānuga Vaiṣṇava, follow him. If you see that someone is only speaking all these things, but not following Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī and Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī, then do not follow him. By following that person you will be disturbed and destroyed. Follow the rūpānuga Vaiṣṇavas, then their love will manifest in your heart, and that love will automatically control everyone. All people will be surrendered to that love, that love is very powerful. To follow the rūpānuga Vaiṣṇava is the most important thing to do in this life. If someone doesn’t have this pure love, then they are dry and useless and in this world they are cheaters and dacoits who will only disturb others! They will only speak uselessly and disturb others. What can they give? When we are with our friends, do we talk about Rūpa and Raghunātha and memorize their prayers, or do we waste our time speaking about mundane subjects?
Pure devotion flows in the hearts of the Vrajavāsīs. When Kṛṣṇa goes to the forest in the daytime, will the Vrajavāsīs be happily engaged in activities with their families? Will they forget Kṛṣṇa for even a second? No. Their love will only increase. If one follows rāgānuga-bhakti, then if one day he doesn’t hear hari-kathā, or does not go to kīrtana, then he becomes agitated and restless.
Now, choose, “Should I follow the service of Citraka and Patraka? Or Subala sakhā, Stoka-kṛṣṇa, Dāma, Vasudāmā, Kiṅkiṇī, Arjuna, Pippali, Bhadrasena? Should I follow the love of Yaśodā Mātā and Nanda Bābā? Should I follow Lalitā, Viśākhā, Rūpa-mañjarī, or Rati mañjarī?”
Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī says, “I will become a rope in Śrī Vraja-maṇḍala, and Kṛṣṇa will use me to bind His turban. Sometimes He will open His turban and decorate the cow’s horns with this rope.”
Sometimes, the sakhās will go to Kṛṣṇa and ask, “Why is this rope with You?”
Kṛṣṇa says, “I use this to bind someone.”
“Who do you like?”
They pull one sakhā to Kṛṣṇa, saying, “You stay distant from Kṛṣṇa, you should stay with Him.” The sakhās bind this sakhā to Kṛṣṇa, and he feels, “Now I am close to Kṛṣṇa.” But this sakhā is very golden and Kṛṣṇa is black.
The sakhās tell Kṛṣṇa, “If you stay with this golden sakhā, then your blackness will go away.”
The rāgātmika Vrajavāsīs’ hearts have pure love. If we remember them, speak about them and pray to them, their love will flow into our heart. How often do we remember the Vrajavāsīs? How often do we pray calling out the holy names of the Vraja-devīs, such as: “Nayana-maṇī-mañjarī, Rati mañjarī, Rasa mañjarī, Vilāsa-mañjarī, kastūrī, Kanaka mañjarī, Ramaṇa mañjarī?”
How often do we pray with their names? But we are shy. Okay, then pray to the sakhās with their holy names: “Śrīdāma, Sudāma, Stoka Kṛṣṇa, Subhadrā, Bhadrasena, Kiṅkiṇī, Labanga, Subala, Madhumaṅgala, Arjuna.” How often do we pray with the holy names of the Aṣṭa-kavirāja, Cauṣaṭṭi-mahānta, and Six Gosvāmīs? We don’t even know their names. We have no relationship, and we feel no need for this. We don’t know who they are. Many don’t even know the names of the islands of Navadvīpa-dhāma, and which islands are the centers of each sakhī. But we know from the internet what is five kilometers down in the ocean, what is in deep space. We have all knowledge of māyā. What result does that knowledge give us? What result will come from that knowledge? Only repeated birth and death, only misery.
If knowledge of the Vrajavāsīs and their love spreads to our hearts, what will be our position? Every morning and evening we will go in our minds to Nandagrāma, Varsānā, Rādhā-kuṇḍa, Girirāja Govardhana, and pray and weep there in the dhāma, rolling in the dust.
smṛtyoḥ krameṇa rasanā-manasī niyojya
tiṣṭhan vraje tad-anurāgi-jana anugāmī
kālaṁ nayed akhilam ity upadeśa-sāram
Śrī Upadeśāmṛta 8
[The bhakti-sādhakas should perform kīrtana and smaraṇa (remembrance) of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s name, form, character and pastimes. Thus they should gradually engage their tongues and minds, withdrawing them from absorption in sense objects which cause aversion to Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Residing in Vraja-maṇḍala they should follow in the footsteps of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s associates who have deep attachment for Him, and fully utilize every moment of their time like this. This is the essence of all teachings.]
We come to Vraja-maṇḍala, but we don’t remember Vraja-maṇḍala, we remember māyā maṇḍala. We do parikramā of Girirāja Govardhana, but doing so just with the body is not enough, we must do parikramā by our minds. The body is only a physical structure; it has no consciousness. Our mind must walk on parikramā, our heart must go on parikramā, then we are connected, otherwise we will be disconnected. Then this anurāga will very easily come in our hearts.
The reservoir water connects to a canal, the canal connects to a drain, the drain to irrigation pipes, and eventually it comes to the farmhouse. This is the procedure. Without this the clouds will go and shower rain. The Vrajavāsīs’ hearts have this anurāga. If anyone tries to follow them, then he will be very fortunate. His life will be successful, for the love of the Vrajavāsīs will come in his heart. That love is unparalleled.
All beings are searching for love. We must not wait for love from conditioned souls. Follow the Vrajavāsīs. If we follow in their footsteps, then we will achieve that pure love. That love is very clean. That love controls Kṛṣṇa. It controls the whole creation! That loves protects and helps all. It is food for our souls. If we take this, then we will never be hunger or thirsty running for any material gratification. If we don’t take it we will run searching after mundane love. When we are unsatisfied, we will run and disturb all others. If our fire is quenched, cooled with this love, then we will be eternally satisfied.
We must pray from the core of our hearts, following in the line of the ṣaḍ gosvāmīs.
he rādhe! vraja-devike! ca lalite! he nanda-sūno! kutaḥ
śrī-govardhana-kalpa-pādapa-tale kālindī-vanye kutaḥ
ghoṣantāv iti sarvato vraja-pure khedair mahā-vihvalau
vande rūpa-sanātanau raghu-yugau śrī-jīva-gopālakau
[I am offering prayers to the Six Gosvāmīs, who were always calling out, “Hey Rādhe! O Queen of Vṛndāvana! Where are You? Hey Lalite! O son of Nanda Mahārāja! Where are You? Are You seated beneath the kalpa-vṛkṣa trees of Śrī Govardhana Hill? Or are You roaming in all the forests along the soft banks of the Kālindī?” They were always lamenting, overwhelmed and burning in feelings of great separation as they wandered throughout all Vraja-maṇḍala.]
When will that day come that we move everywhere with greed and thirst for vraja-prema? When will that desire come? That desire is called rāgamayī bhakti. This only comes from the hearts of the Vrajavāsīs. If their hearts melt seeing our suffering, and hearing our prayers, then they will shower their love in our hearts. Then our hearts will be restless and we will forget the whole world. There will be no need for hard austerities.
Śrīla Gurudeva instructs us, “Remember the Vrajavāsīs. You will forget your past and future, and will only remember Kṛṣṇa and the Vrajavāsīs.”
The Vrajavāsīs’ love has no selfishness. They have no desire for sense enjoyment. The Vrajavāsīs’ love is deep friendship, there is no other cause or action. This love is spotlessly pure. A cow has natural love for her calf, as a mother has love for her child, but there is some spot of selfishness there. The calf is waiting for the mother’s milk, but the Vrajavāsīs’ hearts don’t have this desire. They love Kṛṣṇa, but with no desire for anything in return. There is no cause for their love. This love is very costly and powerful.
In this world, all have so-called love for others, but it is only really to satisfy their own desires. Kṛṣṇa and the Vrajavāsīs’ love is pure. If one drop of that love comes to us, then we will realize how sweet it is. You will forget everything else—food, sleep, cloth, money—everything. All will be forgotten, and you will use everything for Kṛṣṇa’s service.
Kṛṣṇa’s associates want to give the conditioned souls this spiritual food—pure love. By tasting this love, one will understand his spiritual form, and his soul’s service. Śrīla Gurudeva has brought this soul food from Vraja Bhūmi to give nourishment to the conditioned souls. In the morning we eat but, by the afternoon, again we become hungry. Again in the evening we need to eat. We are never permanently satisfied. If for two or three days we don’t eat or drink then we will die. In the heavenly planets we may take soma-rasa, but that will also not satisfy our thirst. We will want to drink more and to enjoy with the heavenly damsels. Even in heaven the fire of anger burns, and they fight with the demons. Our soul is suffering and because of this our body and mind is restless. Try to realize your position. By chanting kṛṣṇa-nāma incessantly, you will come to the realization:
gāite gāite nāma ki daśā haila
kṛṣṇa-nitya-dāsa muñi hṛdaye sphurila
jānilāma māyā-pāśe e jaḍa-jagate
govinda-virahe duḥkha pāi nānā-mate
Because my attention has been diverted from Śrī Kṛṣṇa, I have been bound in the dreadful grip of māyā. Thus I am suffering from various kinds of miseries in this material world.
The soul is hungry and thirsty, weak and tired, and needs help. They go here and there searching for help and satisfaction. By taking this mahā-prasāda given by Rūpa Gosvāmī Prabhu, all fires burning within us will be extinguished.
[CC-by-NDNC Bhakta Bandhav]