Jayadeva dāsa: In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam there is a statement that whatever the living entity desires, Kṛṣṇa fulfills. Is this true, or not true?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: It is true in one sense, and not true in another. Kṛṣṇa thinks, “I am very wise. I know what will benefit him, better than he knows. If he prays for worldly attainments, such as wealth, sons, daughters, wife, or position, it will not be good for him. These things are like poison, so, why should I give them to him? Because I am wise, I must give him bhakti.” In this way, Kṛṣṇa sometimes does not fulfill their desires; He gives them bhakti instead.
If you desire vraja-bhakti, thinking, “I want to have the same service mood as very elevated devotees like Śrīdāmā and Subala,” or “…Mother Yaśodā and Nanda Bābā,” or “…the gopīs,” He will very easily fulfill this desire.
Devotee: Yesterday, I heard you say that we jīvas were originally in the spiritual world and, somehow or other, because we forgot Kṛṣṇa, we fell down to this world.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: I have never said this. Rather, I have said that the jīvas came from the taṭasthā-śakti, the marginal point. The conditioned souls of this world have come from the marginal point. Those who manifested from Śrī Baladeva Prabhu in Vṛndāvana are always serving there; they cannot fall down. However, by the wish of Kṛṣṇa they may come here to help others.
Rāsa-līlā dāsī: How can I sing kīrtana in such a way that I feel Kṛṣṇa is with me? How, by my kīrtana, can I come closer to Kṛṣṇa and develop kṛṣṇa-prema?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: It depends on the quality of the kīrtana. It depends on whether or not the kīrtana is sung in a mood of surrender (śaraṇāgati). When you sing the prayers of Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura, Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, and other ācāryas, it is essential to sincerely feel those prayers: “I am very, very fallen, so please help me. I want to give myself to Your lotus feet, but I cannot.”
Greed to serve Kṛṣṇa like the residents of Vṛndāvana is called in Sanskrit lālasāmayī. You are new to this saṅga, so it is important for you to hear from my preachers and others who are close to me. They will speak this elevated hari-kathā to you, and then you will know how to develop that greed: “I want to serve Kṛṣṇa like Mother Yaśodā and the gopīs.” When you perform kīrtana at that time, you will be in the mood: “I want to serve You.”
Gītā dāsī: In yuga cycles other than the present one, who comes in Dvāpara-yuga? Is it Vāsudeva Kṛṣṇa or a Viṣṇu incarnation?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Śrī Kṛṣṇa only comes once in one day of Brahmā. This is also true for Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Śrī Rāmacandra. In other Dvāpara-yugas, it is the manifestations of Kāraṇodakaśāyī Viṣṇu or Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu who come, and they establish yuga-dharma (the religious process for the age). For example, the yuga-dharma of Dvāpara-yuga is arcana (temple worship), and the yuga-dharma of Kali-yuga is harināma-saṅkīrtana.
Śrīpāda Padmanābha Mahārāja: This devotee lives in Europe. She has a devotee friend who is translating books in the Finnish language but cannot sell the books due to living alone. What should she do?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: She can take help of other devotees.
Mahā-kratu dāsa: Does the attainment of rāgānuga-bhakti depend on the quality of our vaidhī-bhakti sādhana?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: It depends on whether one is hearing Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta. All the moods of the Vrajavāsīs have been explained there. If one reads these books, he will develop transcendental greed.
If you desire the mood of the gopīs but that mood is not in your constitutional form, you will not be able to perform rāgānuga-bhakti. You can obtain only that mood which is in seed in your constitutional form. When you perform bhajana in the correct way, following the correct process, you will cross niṣṭhā (the stage of steadiness in bhakti) and ruci (genuine taste for the practices of bhakti). Then āsakti (natural attachment for Bhagavān and bhakti) will come, and then you will enter the stage of rati (the sprouting of pure love for Kṛṣṇa). At that time you can realize your transcendental form and mood. Before then, your constitutional mood is not fixed.
I think it is better for you all not to ask these high-level questions, but to ask how to remove your anarthas – lust, anger, greed, illusion, envy, and the intoxication of pride. You can ask, “O Gurudeva, how can I become free from my anarthas?” When these are gone, you can control your mind and progress in bhajana; otherwise not.
Devotee: You said yesterday that sannyāsīs should not speak to women. How, then, can they travel and teach Kṛṣṇa consciousness?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Yes, I have said this.
[To Śuddhādvaitī Mahārāja] Can you explain the meaning of my statement?
Śrīpāda Śuddhādvaitī Mahārāja: Gurudeva said that sannyāsīs should not speak to ladies, even in their dreams. This means that they should not indulge with ladies in frivolous talk, talks in relation to sense gratification.
Śrīpāda Mādhava Mahārāja: This question was raised before. Śrīla Gurudeva replied that we must consider elderly ladies as mothers, younger ladies as daughters, and ladies of equal age as sisters. We have to treat them like mothers, sisters, or daughters; not looking at them or talking with them in a mood of sense gratification.
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Do you understand? Your mother is a lady, your sister is a lady, and your daughter is also a lady. You cannot avoid their association. Rather, keep this mood: “All elders are my mothers, those equal in age are my sisters, and those younger than me are my daughters.” There should be no illicit relationship or attachment.
Rāma-kānta dāsa: What is the best method for the devotees in Holland to preach and to bring one hundred devotees to you at Kārtika?
Śrīla Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Do as I am doing. Follow me, as well as Padmanābha Mahārāja, Śuddhādvaitī Mahārāja, Nemi Mahārāja, Āśrama Mahārāja, and all those who are preaching on my behalf. Perform nagara-saṅkīrtana, chanting in the streets, parks, and other public venues; give classes like the classes we are conducting here; go on book distribution; go from door-to-door and tell hari-kathā. This is the process.
My book table is here. I have been requesting all of you again and again to empty my book table. Take books and distribute them to your friends and others – and also take my posters. We distributed all the books and posters from the book table in Badger. But alas, here they remain on the table.
Perhaps the devotees here are not qualified to take my books, and that is why they are not taking them all. I want to see that my table is empty, knowing that when you leave here you will be distributing the books in your countries and cities. I want to see this today.
Otherwise, I will think, “They are not pure devotees. They are not fulfilling my desires.”
[Excerpted from the Gaudiya Vedanta Publication “Walking With a Saint 2008”]