[Hari-katha inspired by the Guru-varga]
Caitanya Mahaprabhu is now in Vrndavan. The holy places of Vrndavan had disappeared after Krsna-lila. Five thousand years of Kali-yuga had passed and the pastime places of Radha-Krsna had disappeared. Mahaprabhu desired for the conditioned souls to come to Vraja-dhama and receive the mercy of the dhama and then they would progress in sadhana-bhakti. Doing sadhana in other places, the primary fruit of krsna-prema will not be easily realized.
Kali Maharaja conquers all places in the material world during Kali-yuga, but he cannot therefore acquire or conquer Krsna’s own house or abode, Vraja-bhumi, because it is outside this world.
Therefore, the holy dhamas are the special places where the jivas can by sheltered from the influence of Kali, especially Ksetra-dhama, Gaura-dhama, and Vraja-dhama. Therefore, Mahaprabhu appeared in Gaura-dhama, then traveled to Ksetra-dhama, and finally came to Vraja-dhama. Mahaprabhu taught that Kali is always ready to offer his gifts of intoxicants, illicit sex, meat, gambling, and gold, and through this, he will enslave the living entities. These things increase our anarthas. Mahaprabhu said, “Chant harinama, take shelter of Nama Prabhu.” Mahaprabhu is nama-avatara and prema-avatara. He promises to protect one who thus takes shelter of Nama Prabhu. “I will protect you and take you with Me to Ksetra-dhama, and when you are prepared, I will take you to Vraja-dhama.”
Mahaprabhu thus went to Vraja-dhama and discovered the pastime places of Radha-Krsna. The twelve rasas correspond to the twelve forests of Vraja. As God has incarnations and expansions, the forests and sub-forests of Vraja also have expansions and incarnations. When you come nearby them, you can receive their mercy. Mahaprabhu teaches how to get this adhikara. Therefore, Mahaprabhu said, “First I will go Myself and prepare everything.” Before, Mahaprabhu thought, “I will take everyone with Me directly to Vraja.” But He then returned back to Ksetra-mandala, after Sanatana Gosvami advised Him that this was not the proper method to proceed to Vraja.
Parents clean the house, cook, and prepare everything, and then call and feed their children. Similarly, Mahaprabhu went first to Vrndavana and met there with Vrndavana-dhama and lila-bhumi. Without acquiring taste for krsna-lila, the jivas will run to enjoy maya-lila. Kali Maharaja sends agents to distribute his gifts, but if you touch them, you will lose your taste in harinama, your taste in guru-mantra, and nama-rupa-guna-lila. Many forms of Maya-devi will come to you. If you open your mobile phone or computer, and go on the internet, you can see many svarupas present ready to allure you. But when you chant harinama, you make connection to Krsna and His family and their svarupas. Then you become related to their guna and lilas.
Krsna-tattva, vastava-tattva, the Absolute Reality—we are connected to this by Mahaprabhu. He is guru and like a loving parent. He seriously and carefully prepares everything for the welfare of the jivas. Day and night He performed kirtana in Navadvipa. He opened a school to engage everyone in krsna-bhakti. He gave relationship with Vaisnavas, bhaktas, the family members of God. And then upon becoming related to Krsna’s devotees, one becomes qualified to see Krsna’s svarupa, and from there, one collects pure knowledge. By the mercy then of kriya-sakti, they achieve service tendency. When we serve mundane people, we suffer and taste bitter fruits, but when we serve God’s family, then we get pure nectar. We do not become sad, mad, miserable, and poverty-stricken. When we serve even a little bit, then we become very happy.
So Mahaprabhu came to Vrndavana with Balabhadra and only one other sevaka. Vraja could not be conquered by Kali Maharaja. Also, Maha Laksmi tried to conquer Vraja and cover it with opulence, but she was also unsuccessful. Karmis, jnanis, yogis, and bhogis also tried to acquire Vrndavana, but they failed. Vrndavana-dhama is the place for sadhakas. Vrndavana-dhama cannot be controlled by any king, president, or emperor.
There are many kinds of sadhakas in different rasas. With one’s own sadhana, the jivas have great difficulty achieving the highest rasa or madhurya-rasa. Srila Gurudeva would say, “They cannot cross beyond Vaikuntha without the mercy of the Vrajavasis—their own endeavor is not enough. Simply chanting mantras are not enough.”
In Vraja, some are chanting gopala-mantra, some other mantras, and they are in santa-rasa. Mahaprabhu came to Vraja and connected the jivas to Vraja and the glories of the Vraja. He gave the jivas entrance into Vrndavana. This means that He gave them connection to lila-sakti, Yogamaya-devi. When connected to Mahamaya, one cannot understand Vrndavana. They will see Vrndavana only like a drain and filthy place. They will not see the transcendental nature of Vrndavana. Mahaprabhu therefore first came and taught the process to enter real Vraja.
gaura-amara je saba-sthana karala bhramana range
se saba sthana heribo ami pranaya bhakata sange
If anyone has prema for Vraja, he can go to Vraja and if he remembers the followers of Mahaprabhu, like Lokanatha Gosvami, Bhugarba Gosvami, the Six Gosvamis, and other associates of Mahaprabhu, then by their mercy one can enter Vrndavana.
Jiva Gosvami Prabhu gave entrance to Syamananda Prabhu into Vrndavana and then Syamananda Prabhu received the mercy of Radharani. Lokanatha das Gosvami gave Narottama das Thakura mercy and entrance into Vraja, and then afterwards, wherever he was present, he did not lose his connection to Vrndavana-dhama. Vrndavana-seva is not ordinary.
We heard how Mahaprabhu came to Arid-grama. We heard how Krsna killed Aristasura and how Radha-kunda and Syama-kunda appeared. We heard how Radharani became angry because the tirthas served Krsna independently without Her permission. She was ready to reject them all. She said that the tirthas personified had also become contaminated. Vrndavana-dhama is the property of Srimati Radharani.
Pariksit Maharaja allowed Kali Maharaja to dwell wherever five things were present, but he could not give Kali Maharaja Radharani’s own place, Vraja-dhama. So if anyone enters Vraja, but is never heard chanting “Radhe Radhe”, and is never respecting Radharani and receiving Her shelter and mercy, then he is not really in Vrndavana. Why? Krsna called all the tirthas to purify Him after killing Aristasura. But Radharani was displeased. He thought, “I am the Supreme Godhead; whatever I do is right.” However, Krsna is not everything. He is God Himself, but the Supreme Authority of even Krsna is Srimati Radharani. Those who are half-minded worship Brahma, but not Parabrahma Krsna along with His beloved Srimati Radharani. Without Radharani, Krsna is only Brahma. But He becomes Param, Supreme, when in the shelter of Srimatiji. Without sakti He is only brahma, impersonal.
Therefore, Krsna begged forgiveness from Radharani for accepting seva independently from the tirthas. We see thus, that even Krsna, when accepting anything independently, is punished by Radharani and neglected by all Her sakhis and manjaris until He atones. Pujyapada Janardana Maharaja would often quote Jayadeva Gosvami’s verse, describing the chastisement of Radharani to Krsna: “Madhava Jahi! Madhava Jahi! Madhava Kaitava vadam! Don’t talk here! Leave at once! You are a cheater.” Radharani and Her sakhis can say this to Krsna because Vrndavana is their property. They invite Krsna to Vraja and He comes to Vraja to perform sadhana.
Mahaprabhu did not come with the mood of Krsna. He came with the mood of Radharani, to receive the mercy of Radharani. Mahaprabhu took sannyasa; but He is not the distributor; He came to Ksetra-dhama; He is not the distributor. Why? What does He have? He took a loan from Srimatiji. He took nama; but without prema, no one will change. Then He begged Radharani for a part of Her prema, and only then could He help the jivas with Radharani’s nama-prema.
Who has the power to give Vraja-prema? Without Guru-pada-padma’s causeless mercy, no one can understand Mahaprabhu’s mood and lila. Srila Gurudeva taught us the specialty of Vrndavana.
Mahaprabhu went everywhere in Vraja and prayed to the lila-bhumi, crying and weeping, then the pastime places revealed themselves. Mahaprabhu rolled in the dust of Vraja and wept and prayed. Therefore, Rupa and Sanatana told Mahaprabhu not to go to Vrndavana with millions of people. Then Radharani will never be happy and give you entrance and a drop of mercy. You should go and pray alone for Radharani’s mercy, then when She is pleased and gives you Her mercy, you can distribute something. Otherwise, what will you give others? When even God Himself cannot change the nature of the conditioned souls without Radharani’s mercy and blessings, what can an ordinary jiva do? Therefore, take shelter of Srimati Radharani and practice bhajana very seriously. God and His incarnations can remove anarthas and grant salvation up to Vaikuntha and the realms of opulence, but Kaviraja Gosvami says, “Aisvarya sithila prema nahi mora prita: Krsna is not pleased with love stunted by opulence.”
In Kuruksetra, Radharani said to Krsna, “Here, when You are covered by opulence, amidst armies and warriors, how can We relish rasa? If You want to be with Me, come to Vrndavana. We cannot give You anything here. Vrndavana is our house, our kunja, we have adhikara there. But this place is covered with aisvarya, stones, and the heart can never melt here and become soft. There can be no sweet relation here.”
If you go out of Vrndavana, you will become dry. Therefore, Srila Gurudeva went everywhere along with Vrndavana, with Vraja in his heart, because he is the dear maidservant of Srimati Radharani, endowed with Her full mercy, and he thus empowered those he encountered and gave them a chance to enter the service of the Divine Couple in Seva-kunja.
Three things are very special: Vraja-raja, Navadvipa-Ganga, and Jagannatha Puri Maha-prasada. These have great spiritual power; they purify and bestow bhagavata-prema. Everything is present in Vraja-raja. Thus, Mahaprabhu annointed Himself everywhere He went in Vraja with the holy dust.
In Arid-grama, Mahaprabhu asked where Radha-kunda is, but the villagers said, “We don’t know.”
Then Mahaprabhu saw two rice fields, and in these fields were two small ponds, one having blackish water and the other whitish. He bathed in these ponds and prayed and sang the glories of Srimati Radharani. If you do not request for mercy and take shelter of Radharani’s kunda and the gopis and manjaris, who will give you this power? Srimati Radharani is svarupa-sakti, hladhini-sakti. She manifests everything. Therefore, take shelter of Her lotus feet as taught by Mahaprabhu. Mahaprabhu begged the wealth of manjari-bhava there at Radha-kunda, and distributed that to the jivas.
Srimati Radharani is glorified in sastra:
maha-bhava svarupa tvam
prema-bhakti prade devi
radhike tvam namamy aham
She is the giver of prema-bhakti. Without Her mercy, you cannot collect prema-bhakti. It is available with no other. Without prema, there is kama. Kama-andha-tama, prema-nirmala-bhaskara. Lust is darkness and ignorance and love is the spotlessly pure and effulgent divine sun. So without Radharani’s mercy, you will not be freed of the darkness of ignorance and lust. Mahaprabhu therefore taught us how to become beggars of prema.
prema-dhana vina vyartha daridra jivana
dasa kari deha more vetana prema-dhana
“Please make Me Your servant and give Me the wealth of pure love. Give Me one drop of prema! I am poor and have nothing. Without prema My life is useless!”
Mahaprabhu went to Vrndavana to collect prema. Without doing this, what could He distribute? Srila Gurudeva therefore invited everyone to come to Vrndavana, for darsana of the lila-bhumi. Vrndavana is not the place of Kali Maharaja; everywhere in Vrndavana, everyone chants, “Radhe Radhe, Radhe Radhe.” Rickshaw-wallas, Pan-wallas, and all shopkeepers chant, “Radhe Radhe.” A son addresses his father, “Radhe Radhe,” and a wife addresses her husband, “Radhe Radhe,” and vice versa. From early morning, they give and receive this diksa-mantra. They teach everyone to chant, “Radhe Radhe.”
Srila Gurudeva always did Radharani kirtanas, and followers of Kali Maharaja became angry and told him not to chant like this. Is anything wrong with Radharani’s name? Is it a bad name? People say, “Radharani’s name should not be revealed; it should be kept hidden. Sukadeva Gosvami did not disclose Her name in the Bhagavatam. If you have a million rupees in your pocket, you should not show it openly to everyone.” Srila Gurudeva replied, “Yes! I have the power to show everyone! Look at the glory of Srimati Radharani! Without Her mercy, who will help you? Will Maya-devi help you? Will Kali Maharaja and his agents and soldiers help you? No! Chant ‘Radhe Radhe.’ ”
Mahaprabhu came to Vrndavana only to get the mercy of Radharani; to receive Her prema. Then He could distribute this. He went to South India and other places, but His parikrama was not complete until He came to Vraja. He was not satisfied until He came to Vrndavana. From the time of taking sannyasa, Mahaprabhu wanted to go to Vrndavana and requested His bhaktas day after day, “Please let Me go to Vrndavana.” But Sarvabhauma Pandita, Kasi Misra, Svarupa Damodara, Ramananda Raya, they wanted Mahaprabhu to stay with them. Mahaprabhu said, “I will not take you all with Me.” Mahaprabhu asked His mother, “Mother, please give Me permission to take sannyasa and go to Vrndavana. Here, everyone is collecting wealth, health, property, and everything to destroy themselves. I will collect krsna-prema and give this to you. So please allow Me to go.”
He softly and humbly prayed to Saci Mata like this. Then, when He came to Ksetra-mandala, He told His followers, “I am going to Vrndavana.” He went there to collect gopi-bhava, manjari-bhava. Gopi-bhava vina na paya Krsnacandra.
Kaviraja Gosvami wrote: madana-mohana govinda-gopinatha ei tina thakura gaudiyare karichena atma sata. Madana-mohana, Govinda, and Gopinatha will only accept Gaudiyas, the followers of Gauri, Srimati Radhika. If you don’t take shelter of Srimati, the manjaris and Vraja-devis and their followers, you will be dry, an orphan, and without any prema or ananda. Even if you go up to Vaikuntha, Dvaraka, or Mathura, you will not be completely satisfied. Try to understand Srila Gurudeva’s mood. Then you will be his follower and can enter Vrndavana-dhama.
[CC-by-NDNC Bhakta Bandhav]