[Hari-katha inspired by the Guru-varga; translated from Hindi]
When a person loves someone in this material world, then all the qualities of that person whom he loves enters within him. But by having a relation with the personalities of the transcendental world we will be led to the Dhama by them. They will bring us to the Dhama when the situation is favorable and we are ready. Bringing us to the Dhama, they will not leave us until we achieve Krsna-prema.
During the month of Kartika, on the day of Sarad Purnima, Krsna desired to engage in the Rasa-lila. Krsna manifested Srimati Radharani from His left side. After manifesting from Krsna’s left side, Radharani looked and thought, “Krsna is alone and I am also alone.” By Her desire, She manifested 108 principal sakhis first. She then manifested millions of gopis from Her moods and thus decorated Vrndavana. To fulfill Krsna’s desire, the twelve forests of Vraja-mandala, which embody the twelve rasas, and the twelve sub-forests were manifested. The rasas of hasya (comedy), adbhuta (wonder), bhayanaka (horror), raudra (anger), vibhatsa (disgust), karuna (pathos), and vira (chivalry) were manifested. There are seven gauna (secondary) rasas and five mukhya (principal) rasas, which are santa (passive adoration), dasya (servitude), sakhya (friendship), vatsalya (parental affection), and madhurya (conjugal loves). The forests, sub-forests, sakhis, sakhas, and the followers of all the rasas were manifested. Why? All the rasas manifested to serve Krsna. Krsna is raso-vai-sah. Krsna cannot be served by one rasa.
Srila Gurudeva would say, “Sugar has one rasa. Milk has one rasa. But we cannot see. But we can see rasa in water because of its transparent nature. So, rasa cannot be seen in the forests, sub-forests, cows, calves, animals, birds, and rivers. Rasa is present in hari-katha and kirtana. And through hari-katha and kirtana we can understand how the rasa is present in the forests of Vraja, and so forth.”
When a person does kirtana, he melts everyone’s hearts. When a person speaks beautiful hari-katha, he attracts everyone’s hearts by rasa. But another person makes people drink some juices; rasa cannot be had by eating and drinking. Rasa is only present in hari-katha and kirtana. So, if on coming to the forests and sub-forests, one is not able to taste this rasa, then how can he do Krsna’s seva without being rasika? What is the nature of hari-katha?
srnvatam sva-kathah krsnah
hrdy antah stho hy abhadrani
vidhunoti suhrt satam
—Srimad Bhagavatam 1.2.17
[Sri Krsna, the Personality of Godhead, who is the Paramatma [Supersoul] in everyone’s heart and the benefactor of the truthful devotee, cleanses desire for material enjoyment from the heart of the devotee who has developed the urge to hear His messages, which are in themselves virtuous when properly heard and chanted.]
All the impurities of the heart will be cleansed by the rasa of hari-katha. The heart cannot be cleansed by any other method. In Vrndavana, Kartikesvari-Vrajesvari-Urjesvari—Srimati Radharani, combines all the rasas and makes Krsna happy. In the material world, people marry, make merry, see movies, and act in various ways to try to enjoy mundane rasa. But this is not possible. Only the transcendental rasa of Vraja can give happiness.
rasam hy evayam labdhvanandi bhavati
Radharani makes Krsna enjoy this ananda-cinmaya-rasa. How will this rasa manifest? Nija-rupataya kalabhih—the name, form, qualities, pastimes, associates, Vrndavana Dhama, animals, birds, Yamuna, Govardhana, and everyone else worship Krsna with unnatojjvala-rasa. How is this possible? Who can do this? In Vraja, you can only worship Krsna by this rasa. Within this rasa all rasa are present. Therefore, Gurudeva gave rasa-siksa for this rasa-upasana. In the Bhagavatam it is said:
nigama-kalpa-taror galitam phalam
pibata bhagavatam rasam alayam
muhur aho rasika bhuvi bhavukah
—Srimad Bhagavatam 1.1.3
[O expert and thoughtful men, relish Srimad-Bhagavatam, the mature fruit of the desire tree of Vedic literatures. It emanated from the lips of Sri Sukadeva Gosvami. Therefore this fruit has become even more tasteful, although its nectarean juice was already relishable for all, including liberated souls.]
You should drink this rasa. You cannot make Krsna happy by any other method; only this rasa-upasana pleases Him. To obtain this Bhagavat-rasa, you must come to Vraja and pray to the twelve forests. Vrajendra-nandana-Krsna is Rasikasekara and Paramakaruna. There are two forms of worship–worship based on rules and regulations and worship based on rasa-upasana. A servant also engages in hard work, but he is punished or removed if he does something wrong. But, if someone’s son does something wrong like gambling and losing a lot of his parents’ money; still, he is not told to leave by his parents. Why? There is a relationship. A relationship can only be established by rasa. Duty, karma, and other things cannot give rasa. Srimati Radhika showed what the meaning of an asulka-dasika is. An asulka-dasika means an unpaid maidservant. This form of service is filled with love. This loveful service is rasa. There is no rasa in paid service. In Raya Ramananda Samvad, Mahaprabhu said:
premnaiva bhakta-hrdayam sukha-vidrutam syat
yavat ksud asti jathare jaratha pipasa
tavat sukhaya bhavato nanu bhaksya-peye
—Caitanya Caritamrita Madhya 8.69
[As long as there is hunger and thirst within the stomach, varieties of food and drink make one feel very happy. Similarly, when the Lord is worshiped with pure love, the various activities performed in the course of that worship awaken transcendental bliss in the heart of the devotee.]
Even if there are many items for worship; still, if there is no love then Krsna will not accept one’s worship. Whatever you do, you should do with love. Then Krsna will accept your love. None of the Vrajavasis ever rang a bell or did acamana before giving something to Krsna. Neither did they place an asana. Every offering of theirs was filled with natural, spontaneous love. Krsna would even steal their offerings. Krsna would steal from the houses of others during the night. Why? He is only hungry for prema and rasa. Prema is rasa. Where will this be obtained? It will be obtained in Vraja. It will not be found anywhere else. Through the process of chanting harinama, Mahaprabhu taught that we can achieve this rasa. Mahaprabhu taught everyone the glories of the holy name.
nama cintamanih krsnas
purnah suddho nitya-mukto
—Caitanya Caritamrita Madhya 17.133
[The holy name of Krsna is transcendentally blissful. It bestows all spiritual benedictions, for it is Krsna Himself, the reservoir of all pleasure. Krsna’s name is complete, and it is the form of all transcendental mellows. It is not a material name under any condition, and it is no less powerful than Krsna Himself. Since Krsna’s name is not contaminated by the material qualities, there is no question of its being involved with maya. Krsna’s name is always liberated and spiritual; it is never conditioned by the laws of material nature. This is because the name of Krsna and Krsna Himself are identical.]
The name of Krsna is the embodiment of rasa. The name bestows rasa. You may do anything, but if there is no prema then there is no rasa. Krsna ate the banana peels that Vidurani offered with great love. In Vraja, none of the gopis, manjaris, or sakhas can hide their love. Either Krsna or His associates will reach each other first. If the Vrajavasis don’t do service then they are not happy. And Krsna is not happy if He does not accept the service of the Vrajavasis. Everyone is served when Krsna accepts your service. No one will be happy if Krsna doesn’t accept your service. Hence, no one will be served. Krsna therefore thought in Vraja, “Everyone here wants to serve Me. If I accept their service then they become happy. My service is to make them happy. So, how can I accept the service of everyone? I am Parabrahma. I manifest in millions of forms. But the service tendency of the Vrajavasis is more than the number of forms I can manifest.”
Krsna may assume millions of forms and go to steal butter. But the service tendency of the gopis also increases. They think, “Krsna only ate butter; He didn’t eat anything else. Now I will make more sweets. I will make condensed milk and with this many other delicacies. I will also sew many clothes for Krsna. Krsna has to accept whatever I have to offer.” The service tendency of the servants overwhelms Krsna. He becomes restless; this is rasa. Some don’t know what rasa is. So whatever they do is in vain.
[Break of audio]
When Krsna is at Manasi-Ganga, He waits while standing on the boat. At that time, all the Vraja-devis came. They brought milk, yogurt, and ghee. They were going to go to Mathura. However, this was just an excuse because then they would not be allowed to go out of their homes. Selling milk was not their work. But if they wouldn’t go to the Mathura market then they would be told to stay at home. They needed an excuse to make their family members happy and allow them to leave their house.
They told their family members, “What will we do with so much milk? We will sell the milk at the Mathura market.” Therefore many gopis would walk one behind another. Sometimes, they would tell their family members, “Someone stole the pots of milk and ghee.” While sometimes they would say, “The pots fell to the ground.” Yet another time they say, “The Mathura officials took everything for free.” Sometimes they receive something. Today, they brought big pots of milk, ghee, and butter. When they brought the pots to the bank of Manasi-Ganga, Krsna had hidden Himself and assumed the form of a boatman. He said, “If you want to board the boat, then you will have to pay a price.”
“How much will You take?” the Gopis asked. “Should we give one anna?”
Krsna agreed to take them across for sixteen annas. When the Gopis sat on the boat, the boat started to shake. Krsna said, “The combined weight of all of you is very heavy. The pots are heavy as well. I cannot take all of you across. Throw all the pots away or else the boat will sink. My boat is old and broken. Water is entering inside, quickly throw the pots away!”
When the Gopis threw all the pots away, Krsna told them, “You weigh too much. I cannot ply the boat with the combined weight of all of you.” When it seemed that the boat would sink, Krsna said, “Now I will not take you across.”
The Gopis asked, “What should we do?”
“You are weighed down by your clothes and ornaments. Throw them away. You have already given Me the fare of sixteen annas, so all of you should listen to everything I say. Or else the boat will sink.”
Hence, it is said that, “If you are in Vraja and if you don’t pay the fare of sixteen annas to Krsna, then your boat will sink.” So, if you distribute your love even a little to anyone, then Krsna will say, “I don’t accept any remnants. I will take your remnants but not the remnants of others. You have given yourself to others, so you have become the remnants of the love of others. I will not accept these remnants. Yet, I will take your remnants if you have one-pointed love for Me.”
When will rasa manifest? It will manifest when sattvika, vyabhicari, vibhava, and anubhava combine. These are the ingredients of rasa. We should go near Rupa Gosvami to learn this rasa-seva-siksa. We will go near our Guru-varga. It cannot be said that this rasa was not given to any living being; this rasa was given to everyone. Gurudeva would say, “Is there anyone in whom there is no rasa or love? Love unites everyone. But, most people don’t have the courage to repose all their love in Krsna.” A person loves his son and his son loves his son. Although this chain of love is passed down, no one loves one another. One loses all his love; his love flows into the drain. What is the result? The twelve rasas help a devotee repose all his love in Krsna. These twelve rasas are present in the twelve forests of Vraja. We have lost our love; where can we regain this love? If your house has no rice, dahl, or ghee, then won’t you buy these items again? A conditioned soul has accepted many life forms in his sojourn in the material world. Confined to the bodies of a mosquito, snake, or a fly, the conditioned soul loses all inherent love to love another.
People try to kill each other while trying to love another. They say, “You took my wife away. You took my lover away.” The Mahabharata and Ramayana were caused because of Draupadi and Sita. The demons wanted Draupadi and Sita for themselves. The conditioned souls thus destroy themselves while trying to love each other. Because their hearts have become dry, where will they get this love?
Will you receive this love from any field or market? Can this love be bought by money, charity, austerities or vows? Can this love be had by yoga or karma? Your love has been de-plinished *. Now no one asks about you. You have been left on the streets. Why? Everyone has stolen your love. Your children and property have stolen your love.
Gurudeva said, “There were two friends. One would go to the temple and serve Krsna. He would always be in sadhu-sanga as well. The other friend would chide him and say, ‘Oh you are useless. You only waste your time.’
Undeterred the devotee friend told him, “You are retired now. Why don’t you worship Krsna at least now? Why don’t you listen to hari-katha now?”
Listening to his friend, he divided his wealth between his wife and children. After some time, the friend became seriously ill. He told his wife, ‘Can you give me some hot water?’ Earlier, the wife would treat her husband with great love. But now she said, ‘I have no time. I have to prepare breakfast for my son. He is going to go to the office soon. My grandson will also go to school soon.’ Now that her husband had given everything away, she didn’t care for him.
He then called his servant. But the servant replied, ‘I have no time.’
When the son came home, he told his mother, ‘This old man only coughs all the time. My children will become sick. Let’s put him down somewhere. Let him die today or else all of us will become sick.’ Without having his father treated by any doctor and without giving him any medicine, the son took him away and put him in a room under the stairs. Many mosquitoes and dangerous insects were present in this room. Now his well-wishing friend came searching for him. He asked for his friend from his family members, but none of them answered. He then saw his friend languishing in a room. There was no food or water for his friend. The room was filled with urine and stool. Yet, no one had inquired about him. They were only concerned about throwing his body away after he died.”
So Gurudeva said, “Paramatma is always present with us. The atma and Paramatma are friends.”
There are two birds on a tree—the atma and the Paramatma. The Paramatma is witness to the atma’s actions. He is always telling the atma, “Go towards Krsna.” The Paramatma is caitya-guru, yet the atma doesn’t go towards Krsna. Today, Paramatma came and said, “O friend, why are you in this horrible state? What happened to you My friend?”
The atma bitterly wept and said, “I gave everything away. Now no one asks about me. Today, I am suffering for a drop of water. There is no food. I cannot take a single breath. They have thrown me under the stairs.”
Paramatma said, “My dear friend, let Me clean everything.”
He changed the clothes of his friend and brought medicine and fruits for the atma. Paramatma then said, “I will give you a metal pot full of gold coins. Jingle them when your son passes by and drop some coins. Whenever anyone becomes suspicious, put the pot under the bed.”
When the son returned from office, the father shook the pot and put some coins on the floor. The son thought, “My father didn’t give anything. He has kept all his wealth with himself.”
The son told his mother of his father’s wealth. When the mother would walk past, the husband would shake the pot and catch her attention. The mother told her daughter-in-law, “He didn’t give us anything. Everything is with him.” The mother then called for the servant and told him to bring her husband upstairs. But the husband said, “I will not go. Your house will become dirty.”
The friend returned and asked, “O My friend, how are you feeling today?”
“I am feeling very well. Why don’t You stay for two more days?”
The friend got food and medicine and looked after His friend. He also clothed him. After some days, the son returned and told his father, “O father, please come upstairs. I made a mistake. My wife has also come to request you. You should go upstairs father.”
But the father refused. The friend then said, “Now you know what the reality is. Will you go upstairs?”
“Will you go with Me?”
So, we have lost our love for Paramatma. Sankaracarya wrote Mahamudgara and Mahakuta. Gurudeva made us study this. When this well-wishing friend brought the beleaguered friend to sadhu-sanga, then listening to hari-katha in that association, he slowly changed. Where will you find what you have lost? Therefore, the twelve forests and sub-forests of Vraja give this love. By doing the eighty-four mile parikrama of Vraja, you will gain this love. You have taken birth in all the eighty-four lakh species of lives. Krsna has given you prema-rasa, but you have distributed it to everyone. When youth comes, a great fire burns from within. One’s senses make a person crazy. He runs to ladies, men, and even animals to pacify his senses. A conditioned soul sacrifices his own self to taste this mundane love in the eighty-four lakh species of lives. The impressions from our previous lives are always with us. We always try to destroy ourselves. We have no balance of anything; yet, we only want to destroy ourselves. We have not attained sat-sanga. We are not attached to Isvara. Then where will renunciation come from? So after wandering in the eighty-four lakh species of life, if a person attains the grace of Guru-Krsna-Sadhu, then his life becomes successful.
labdhva su-durlabham idam bahu-sambhavante
manusyam artha-dam anityam apiha dhirah
turnam yateta na pated anu-mrtyu yavan
nihsreyasaya visayah khalu sarvatah syat
—Srimad Bhagavatam 11.9.29
[After many, many births and deaths one achieves the rare human form of life, which, although temporary, affords one the opportunity to attain the highest perfection. Thus a sober human being should quickly endeavor for the ultimate perfection of life as long as his body, which is always subject to death, has not fallen down and died. After all, sense gratification is available even in the most abominable species of life, whereas Krsna consciousness is possible only for a human being.]
Krsna has mercifully given us a human body. Srila Gurudeva has mercifully brought us to Vraja Dhama. After wandering through the eighty four-lakh species of lives, if a conditioned soul does the eighty-four kosa Vraja-mandala, then all the impurities he has collected since time immemorial will be cleansed. The forests and sub-forests of Vraja are storehouses of Vraja. Those who relish rasa reside here.
Therefore, Sukadeva Gosvami has said, “If you want to love Krsna and taste the rasa of His service, then seek the association of rasika, bhavuka devotees.”
nigama-kalpa-taror galitam phalam
pibata bhagavatam rasam alayam
muhur aho rasika bhuvi bhavukah
—Srimad Bhagavatam 1.1.3
Sukadeva Gosvami said, “Maharaja Pariksit, nothing will happen for you unless you associate with rasika, bhavuka devotees. What was the fruit of asat-sanga? Your intelligence became contaminated. And you placed a dead snake around the neck of a sadhu. You did not become a beggar for the sadhu’s mercy.”
vraje kori vasa, raganuga hoiya, smarana-kirtana koro
e nikhila kala, karaho japana, upadesa-sara dharo
—Hari He! Sri Rupa Gosai [Based on the eighth verse of Sri Upadesamrta] by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura
[Residing in Vraja as a raganuga-bhakta, engage in smarana and kirtana of the Lord. Indeed, spend all your time in this way. Accept this as the essence of all instructions.]
Come to Vraja and do Parikrama. Hence, cleanse your heart of all impurities that you have collected since wandering in the eighty-four lakh species of life. You should inquire from the Vrajavasis about the different pastimes Krsna has engaged in different parts of Vraja. You must pray and beg for this rasa in all the different forests of Vraja. Then you will attain this completely pure Vraja-rasa. After attaining this rasa, you must be careful. How can you be careful?
You should think with determination that “I will not lose this Vraja-rasa.”
Clay is very hard. But when it rains, the clay becomes soft mud. Grass then grows in the mud. But nothing grows on stones despite rainwater falling on them continuously. Similarly, by coming to Vraja-mandala and by receiving the mercy of Guru-Vaisnava, your consciousness will become soft, beautiful, sweet, and healthy. But maya will try attracting the conditioned soul again. Hence, you should be very careful. What need is there for four walls when there is no wealth? But when there is wealth, then you will build four walls and try fortifying the place with a strong door. When your wealth will increase, you will also keep a gatekeeper. As your wealth increases, you will employ the services of a bodyguard and security. Siva Thakura was naked and residing in Kailasa. But, when he came to Vraja in the form a gopi, he was slapped continuously by all the gopis as told by Srila Gurudeva.
The gopis asked him, “Where have you come from? Which village are you from? Who is your husband? Speak!”
Gopisvara Mahadeva didn’t know the answer to these questions, so he had to surrender. Yogamaya came and saved Gopisvara Mahadeva. So, as long as you don’t do bhajan-sadhana, and unless you take shelter of Guru’s lotus feet, then you will continually be bound by the tight grip of maya. By coming to the Dhama, you should always remain in the association of Hari-Guru-Vaisnavas, or else maya will attack. The demigods will come; apsaras will come; gandharvas will come. Why will they come? They themselves don’t have any balance. They cannot do sadhana. Sadhana can be performed in Martya-loka, planet Earth. This is the place for karma.
labdhva su-durlabham idam bahu-sambhavante
manusyam artha-dam anityam apiha dhirah
The human body is firstly obtained. By performing karma in this body, you will have to proportionately enjoy the fruits of your actions in the different forms of lives. If you distribute your inherent love for Krsna to others in the human form of life, then you will wander in the eighty-four lakh species of life to enjoy the fruits of your actions. As a dog, a conditioned soul barks and screams for hours and hours. A conditioned soul will have to go through different life forms. He will become an elephant or a horse or any other animal and will constantly suffer in these forms. Why? Because he missed the opportunity in the human form of life. Therefore, by staying in the association of Krsna’s bhaktas i.e. Guru-Vaisnavas, our real love will awaken and it will then never be lost. Guru-Vaisnavas will not allow us to lose this love. Why? We have lost our real love life after life. So, they will keep a constant vigil on us and not let us lose this love again.
They will chastise us and say, “Oh why do you want to wander in the eightyfour lakh species of life again? Don’t you become tired by this enjoying tendency? You will enjoy and die. Then you will take birth, enjoy, and die again. But, how will you be delivered? You will not be delivered; neither will you die. When you didn’t have any wealth, there was no need of four walls. When wealth came, there was a need of four walls. Then the need of a gatekeeper came. Therefore, always stay with your guardians. Stay in the association of like-minded devotees.”
svajatiya asraya snigdha sadhu-sanga sato varreh
If you want to study and learn the imports of the Bhagavat, then don’t do so in the association of an unqualified person. Study in the association of a rasik devotee.
yaha bhagavata pada vaisnavera sthane
ekanta asraya kara caitanya-carane
—Sri Caitanya Caritamrita Antya lila 5.131
[If you want to understand Srimad-Bhagavatam, you must approach a self-realized Vaisnava and hear from him. You can do this when you have completely taken shelter of the lotus feet of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.]
You should always remain with like-minded, svajatiya devotees. If you stay with vijatiya devotees, then they will say, “Oh you should work in the field. You should not go to Kamai-karehla.” Who will tell us about the importance about mala-mantra, kirtana, and bhajana. Who will lovingly tell us, “Oh today you should make a nice garland. You should cook beautifully. You should clean meticulously. You should make a nice Tulasi garland. You should speak hari-katha very nicely and increase everyone’s eagerness towards Krsna.” But a person will not do what he is told. Why? Because of asat-sanga. This will pull him away. And on one side, there is sat-sanga-svajatiya asraya-snigdha. This association will uplift us. So, Gurudeva would always say that we need protection. A person takes initiation, yet he wanders on the streets like an animal. And soon after, he will be attracted to the opposite sex. You should always listen to the instructions of Srila Rupa Gosvami and Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami.
Sadhu-sanga is a common need for all; Mathura-vasa is common; Nama-kirtana is common; Sri-murtira-sraddhaya-sevana is common; and Bhagavat-sravana is common for all. These five limbs of devotion are most important. Bhakti will be obtained even by the slight practice of any of these five limbs. You will attain prema-rasa. We have lost our most valuable treasure of love. Do you know what is the nature of this rasa? A devotee sees a baby and soon after, the devotee also desires a baby.
The devotee will say, “I want a baby. I want to play with the baby. I want to take the baby on my lap. I cannot remain alive without a baby.” It is as if the life airs of the devotee have dried up.
“Why can’t you love Gopala in the same way? Why can’t you take Him on your lap? Why do you desire to embrace another material body? The baby is a great dacoit. He steals our love away. We see him in our dreams. We also see him during the day. Really, the baby is such a great dacoit.”
What did Kamsa do? He killed the babies of Devaki. If he had not done so, then Devaki would have lost herself in illusion. She would have forgotten Krsna. If the six sons would have remained with her, then she would not have had prema for Krsna. Therefore, always remember that whenever you see a puppy, kitten, baby, or a lover and beloved, then you should know that they are all dacoits.
A person sees a baby and says, “Haribol! Radhe Radhe!”
He then gives a chocolate to the baby. The baby will crawl and catch the neck of the person and the person loses himself in this joy. This is the game of maya. The atma assumes these forms to destroy the world. We don’t call anyone, yet some persons dance in such repulsive ways. Why do they do so? With so much difficulty, by the association of Guru-Vaisnavas, we have developed slight attachment for the lotus feet of Krsna. We have started to develop this priti-rasa. But some unscrupulous persons try to steal this love we have for Krsna. How will you escape?
Hence, you should not associate with the opposite sex even in your dreams. You should not look at them no matter how beautiful they are. Gurudeva would always say how careful you must be regarding the opposite sex. He would say that if anyone approaches you with lusty intentions then you must kick them away like you would kick a donkey. People who have these base intentions can never do bhajan. They are murderers.
Therefore, Rupa Gosvami advised one to perform Mathura-vasa, Nama-sankirtana, Bhagavat-sravana, Sadhu-sanga, and Sri-murtira-sraddhaya-sevana. He did not say that you should take any material deity and place all your love in it. You should serve Krsna’s deity. This was spoken by Krsna Himself to Uddhava. Uddhava wept and said, “What will I do when You leave, Oh Lord?”
Krsna replied, “Look, after I leave you should make a deity of Me. This is possible in eight ways¬.
saili daru-mayi lauhi
lepya lekhya ca saikati
—Srimad Bhagavatam 11.27.12
[The Deity form of the Lord is said to appear in eight forms—as stone, wood, metal, earth, paint, sand, the mind, or jewels.]
Krsna told Uddhava, “Make a deity of Mine from these eight elements and worship Me. Hence, I will always be with you.”
So leaving the transcendental deity of Krsna aside, we are enticed by the material forms of conditioned souls. We start to love these forms of flesh and bones. So, where will our rasa go? It will go to the ditch. This is the result of wandering in the eighty-four lakh species of life. How will we escape from this dire situation? Therefore, it is said:
bhaktih paresanubhavo viraktir
anyatra caisa trika eka-kalah
prapadyamanasya yathasnatah syus
tustih pustih ksud-apayo ‘nu-ghasam
—Srimad Bhagavatam 11.2.42
[Devotion, direct experience of the Supreme Lord, and detachment from other things—these three occur simultaneously for one who has taken shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, in the same way that pleasure, nourishment and relief from hunger come simultaneously and increasingly, with each bite, for a person engaged in eating.]
You have come to Vraja Dhama. By doing parikrama and associating with the sadhus, and by listening to hari-katha, what will happen? Gradually, anuraga for Krsna will be awakened within you. Now, when you see anything or anyone not related to Krsna, you will develop distaste for it or them. Yet, you must do harinama and hari-bhajana and pray to Krsna for their auspiciousness. But, we will not become their servants. In Nandagrama, one son of a panda sang a song that was very offensive. Gurudeva, Trivikrama Maharaja, and everyone else were present as it was Vraja-mandala Parikrama. When the devotees heard this boy sing this song, then Trivikrama Maharaja took his danda and wanted to give the boy a good beating. These mundane songs were so offensive, and although they were stopped from being played—this boy sang one of them. Shouldn’t there be respect for Vrajaraja-nandana-Syamasundara? Doesn’t Srimati Radharani respect Him? Don’t the sakhis and manjaris respect Krsna as well? Can any of them tolerate Krsna being disrespected? Therefore, it is said:
siddhanta baliya citte na kara alasa
iha ha-ite krsne lage sudrdha manasa
—Sri Caitanya Caritamrita Adi 2.117
[A sincere student should not neglect the discussion of such conclusions, considering them controversial, for such discussions strengthen the mind. Thus one’s mind becomes attached to Sri Krsna.]
You may want to go to Vraja, but if you don’t meet with the anuragi-devotees, then you will become destroyed. Punar musika bhava i.e. you will return to the same stage where you have been since time immemorial. You will not be able to progress. Hence, Gurudeva would say, “All of you have come to Vraja-mandala Parikrama with so much difficulty. You are engaged in seva and parikrama by overcoming so many obstacles. So, why do you want to lose this transcendental love you have gained? If the dacoits plunder this love, then nothing will remain. Please, do not destroy your lives.”
Devotees would come from everywhere during the parikrama. Many devotees would meet me because I arranged for prasadam and accommodation. After the parikrama party left, I would be engaged in cutting vegetables. During the final years, Gurudeva would return from parikrama quickly. He could not tolerate the dust. When Gurudeva returned, he saw that some people were talking with me when I was cutting vegetables. Gurudeva became very upset when he saw these people talking. There were also some brahmacaris with me. Gurudeva kicked one of them and said, “Why haven’t you gone to parikrama? Why have you come here—to destroy your life?” Everyone then ran away. Gurudeva didn’t say anything to me.
Srila Gurudeva later asked me, “Why are you talking to these people? Why do you waste your time? Who are these people? Have they come for service? Who are they to you?”
Listening to Gurudeva speak, these people ran away. We have come for Vraja-mandala parikrama to be in the association of Guru and Vaisnavas. But upon coming here, if we still engage in conversing about material topics, then what is the use? Therefore, Gurudeva would speak about the different anarthas like utsaha-mayi, ghanatarala, vyuda-vikalpa, taranga-rangini, visaya-sanghara, and niyama-aksama. Hence, the sadhus are always told to be careful. We have received the association of Guru-Vaisnavas after many, many births. By being in their association, they will take you to the Dhama and make all facilities for your eternal auspiciousness. They will give you the key to your own welfare. But if you misuse the blessings they have given, then it is your fault. But if you make good use of the opportunity, then you will be eternally benefited. Firstly, you should understand. What will you do if you cannot understand this? You have the key to the storehouse of mercy. By properly taking what you need from the storehouse, you can do Krsna’s and the sadhu’s seva. You can do everything by properly utilizing the riches from that storehouse of mercy. But, if you use that wealth to fill anyone’s house or stomach, then the consequent fruits will come and will be very fearsome. You will then understand your fault. But if you sincerely do Krsna’s seva, then you will also receive the appropriate fruits. What will happen? You will never entangle yourself. You will be worshiped by millions of people. Presently, everyone desires a share of your love. But at that time, no one will try to steal your love. No one will try to destroy you.
Therefore, remember the prayers of Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, especially this verse:
asad-varta-vesya visrja mati-sarvasva-haranih
katha mukti-vyaghrya na srnu kila sarvatma-gilanih
api tyaktva laksmi-pati-ratim ito vyoma-nayanim
vraje radha-krsnau sva-rati-mani-dau tvam bhaja manah
—Sri Manah-siksa 4
[O my dear brother mind, please abandon altogether the prostitute of contemptible mundane talk, which plunders the entire treasure of pure wisdom. You must unequivocally give up hearing all talk of impersonal liberation which, like a tigress, devours your very soul. Furthermore, please abandon even
the attachment to Laksmipati Sri Narayana, which leads to Vaikuntha. You should live in Vraja and worship Sri Sri Radha-Krsna, who bestow upon devotees the precious jewel of love for Them.]
You obtain everything. Guru-Vaisnavas give you everything. Yet, you engage in mundane talk with others. At that time, these people will catch you like a prostitute and steal everything. We have come to do hari-bhajana, so why should speak about trivial things of this material world? Hearing a croaking frog, a snake thinks, “I have been hungry since so many days.” Similarly, when you have been blessed by the mercy of Guru-Vaisnavas, you jump up in ecstasy. Being blessed by them, you start speaking well above your eligibility. And then the snake of maya will come and bite you. Therefore, bhajana, ramana, and bhojana are very confidential.
apana bhajana-katha na kahiba jatha tatha
ihate haiba sabadhana
na kariha keha rosa na laiha mora dosa
pranamaha bhaktera carane
—Prema Bhakti-candrika by Srila Narottama das Thakura
[I will not disclose my path of worshiping the Lord to anyone and everyone. I will be extremely careful about it. Please do not get angry with me or take offense. I offer my respectful humble obeisances unto the lotus feet of the devotees.]
Here, we learn from Narottama das Thakura not to tell everyone about our bhajan or else our bhajan will be destroyed. When you speak pretentiously, maya will surround you. You will not be saved. Therefore, don’t love anyone other than Guru and Vaisnavas. Gurudeva would say that during a storm, much water is collected and all the frogs come out. They croak loudly and then the snakes attack. The snakes were not drawn to them when the frogs didn’t croak. Similarly, by staying with Guru-Vaisnavas, we receive their unbounded love and affection. But some people will not love Guru-Vaisnavas; they will try to love you and destroy you and drag you into maya.
Gurudeva would ask me, “Why does everyone come to you? Why do they love you? And why have you taken responsibility for them? Why don’t they come to me? Something must be wrong. These people want to steal you away from me. They want to destroy you. I am your well-wisher. I am the one who assures the auspiciousness of your soul. But these other people only want to destroy you. You should understand this carefully.”
Many boys would come to me and they would serve with me throughout the day. If I would tell them to cook they would cook. They would come with me to the market and do all services. They did everything I said; yet, they would seldom go to Srila Gurudeva. They would tell me, “You are our guru.”
One day, Gurudeva called them near and told them, “Don’t go to Premananda Prabhu.”
I told Gurudeva, “I taught these boys everything since their childhood. But now you are telling them to not come near me.”
Gurudeva replied, “I spoke this way because I don’t want you to become Jada-Bharata. Illusion will overcome you and you will be destroyed. Instead of doing bhajan, you will only think about taking care of these boys. The welfare of these boys will become your bhajana. Therefore, deeply consider this. I am your eternal well-wisher. I brought all these boys here. You are always with me. These boys only want to destroy you. But you don’t have the intelligence to understand this.”
So, if Guru-Vaisnavas don’t rescue us in this manner, then we have no saviors. Everyone else only wants to destroy us. Hence, Mahaprabhu told Chota Haridasa, “Why did you listen to Bhagavan Acarya? Why did you go there? You know that I instruct everyone on vairagya, renunciation.”
vairagya-vidya nija bhakti yogam
Mahaprabhu said, “By this vairagya-vidya, you will gain bhakti-yoga. Why are you leaving this vairagya-vidya and going somewhere else for bhiksa? Do you want to enjoy and make Me an enjoyer as well? Why did you act against My desire? Why did you listen to others?”
Therefore, during Vraja-mandala Parikrama, Gurudeva would clearly tell us on how to obtain this Vraja-rasa from the twelve forests and sub-forests. He would form a boundary and instruct us on how to enter Vraja. But when I speak on this, some people claim that what I am saying is irrelevant.
They say, “What is he saying?”
I want to speak on Gurudeva’s life-history as it is. I want to give all his siddhantas and conclusions. Will Vraja-rasa be achieved so easily? Will one become rasika in this way? Is bhakti so easy? We have lost this rasa, life after life. The real festival of love is only found in the twelve forests and sub-forests of Vraja. This love is only found here and not anywhere else in its pure condition. Being merciful to us, Srila Gurudeva took us on Vraja-mandala Parikrama and tried to give us the qualification to enter Vraja. But nowadays, pastimes of mundane lovers are spoken. Then ultimately this will happen because the door is not open. How will one get the qualification to enter Vraja if he doesn’t know anything. He is not tattva-jna. He doesn’t know any siddhantas. He is a blind man. Gurudeva would speak of one story.
A blind man was told to enter the royal assembly for the king would take care of him. The blind man was happy to go. He was told, “There is only one door. Take support of the four walls and pass through the door.” When the blind man took support of the four walls and started to proceed, he thought, “I have been cheated. There is no door here.” The blind man then turned around just when the door was in front of him and he returned to where he came from. Thus, he continued to wander. Similarly, nothing will happen by wandering in the eighty-four lakh species of life. What will you do if you don’t have faith in the words of Guru-Vaisnavas? How will you enter the door of Vraja-bhakti?
Therefore, Gurudeva would always say, “Don’t ever stop following Guru-Vaisnavas. Don’t lose their shelter.”
asraya loiya bhaje, ta’re Krsna nahi tyaje,
ara saba mare akarana
—Thakura Vaisnava-pada by Srila Narottama das Thakura
[Sri Krsna never forsakes one who, having taken shelter of the Vaisnavas, lovingly worships Him. All others perish without any welfare in their lives.]
Pray that you never lose the association of Guru-Vaisnavas. Always stay under their shelter. Hari-katha, hari-kirtana, harinama, hariseva, and Guru-Vaisnava seva should never be forsaken. Guru-Vaisnavas never want anything bad to happen to us. They will never harm us. They are our eternal well-wishers. They don’t want anything from us. They only want to give. What can we give to Srila Gurudeva? What does Gurudeva want? What do we want? By massaging Srila Gurudeva’s feet, your hands are feeling happiness. Only your happiness waits. Instead of pressing the bosoms of women, massage the feet of sadhus. Then you will receive something. Or else you will harm yourself. By serving sadhus, you will benefit yourself i.e. you will cross over maya. We have heard all these instructions from our Guru-varga. Therefore, remembering them today and staying under their shelter, we hope to do upasana, the proper method of worship. By the mercy of the Guru-varga, our vicara-dhara, transcendental conception, is not of this world. Why should we concern ourselves with the conceptions of this material world? Therefore, we cannot pacify anyone in this world. How can we co-operate with others? One person is a slave of maya, yet he expects to have his hand shook by the hands of devotees. This is never possible.
So, you should think about this. We can never expect ourselves to satisfy the whims of a conditioned soul. We stay with those who have the inclination to perform bhakti. Do you understand? You should know the aim and object of your lives. Why have we come here? Without this rasa, our lives are dry. Where there is no rasa, there is nothing. Everything will scatter here and there. You should pray to Krsna for the association of rasika devotees. Your life should be spent in serving their lotus feet. Thus, all the impurities you have collected since millions of lives will be cleansed. Or else, just by the sight, remembrance, or touch of a mayavadi, dharma-dvaji, or a guru-bhogi, your intelligence will become polluted. Your service tendency will be destroyed. There is one prominent quality of the sadhus. What is it? It is seva-vritti, the tendency to serve. Who has this seva-vritti? If you go to the Madhva-sampradaya, you will see how they feed thousands of pilgrims. They place all the plates for the pilgrims who are seated in a row. They will not let you lift your plate or glass. If you go to Tirupati, you will see how tables and chairs are arranged for the pilgrims to honor prasad. You only need to raise your hand and honor prasad. When we went to Chota-Tirupati, we saw how respectfully they receive everyone. They wash the plates and distribute hot sabji, dahl, halava, pakodas, rice, and many other items made of pure ghee. Who is providing to them? Bhakti is only found in the association of devotees. What does a devotee do? By the hladini-vritti of kriya-sakti—Srimati Radharani, he controls Krsna. But can one who lacks this seva-vritti be called a sadhu? If he is dressed as a sadhu but has no service tendency, he is a disgrace to the sadhus; he can never be called a sadhu.
Krsna gives everything unrestrictedly but you have to accept what He wants to give. Therefore, you must be careful. Now we will gradually discuss Vraja-lila. When we were in Jagannatha Puri, the pujari of the Jagannatha Temple would bring maha-prasada to us in the night. He would cook the entire day but he would still bring maha-prasada to us. This maha-prasada is so beautiful! It emitted such a wonderful fragrance. I thought I would never even touch this maha-prasada. I would take a morsel and feel completely satisfied. Who is doing this for us? We are street-beggars. What do we have? Hence, Krsna will Himself think about us from the day we establish this relationship with Him. What worries do we have? All of this is gotten from Srila Gurudeva’s vaisisthya, specialty. You will not get this from anywhere else. Only Guru Maharaja has given us this and enabled us to enter Vraja.
Gaura Premanande! Hari Haribol!
[CC-by-NDNC Bhakta Bandhav]