abhivyaktā mattaḥ prakṛti-laghu-rūpād api budhā
vidhātrī siddārthān hari-guṇamayī vaḥ kṛtir iyam
pulindenāpy agniḥ kim u samidham unmathya janito
hiraṇya-śreṇīnām apaharati nāntaḥ kaluṣatām

"O learned personalities, this treatise, composed of the divine qualities of Lord Hari, will fulfil your cherished wishes despite the fact that it is presented by me, a very insignificant person. Does not the fire ignited from pieces of wood rubbed together by a low-born barbarian dissipate the impurities in gold?" (ŚŚPJ, p 4)

ābrahma-bhuvanāl lokāḥ,
punar āvartino 'rjuna
mām upetya tu kaunteya,
punar janma na vidyate

"O Arjuna, from the planet of Lord Brahmā downwards, the residents of all planets are naturally subjected to repeated birth and death. But, O Kaunteya, upon reaching Me, there is no rebirth." (B-g, 8.16)

In Śrīmad-Bhagavad-gītā Kṛṣṇa says: "The place from which there is no returning to this deathly plane is My supreme abode." He instructs Arjuna: "A permanent position is only possible in My plane. All occupations in this plane, even that of a king, are just as in a dream. So if you want to get out of this dreaming life and enter into reality then raise yourself to the standard of finding the plane of reality, however subtle it may be, for that cannot be devoured by death. Collect your energy to build something permanent. At present you are investing your energy in something that is going to be demolished at the next moment - a foolish attempt." (HC, p 21) + (see also śloka 530)

The attempts of the little brained persons will certainly be futile - going up and coming down. (GOD, p 11) Many people are worried about nuclear war. They think it may come very soon. That is a point on a line, a line on a plane, a plane in a solid. So many times wars are coming and going; so many times the sun, the Earth, the moon, and all the planets, and the solar systems disappear, and again spring up, appear and vanish, they die, and then again, they are created. We are living in the midst of such thought in eternity. The 'newkiller' war is a tiny point; what of that? Individuals are dying at every moment; the Earth will die, the whole human section will disappear. Let it be.

We must try to live in eternity; not in any particular span of time or space. We must prepare ourselves for our eternal benefit, not for any temporary remedy. Religion covers that aspect of our existence. We are told to view things from this standpoint: not only this body, but the human race, the animals, the trees, the entire Earth, and even the sun, will all vanish, and again spring up. Creation, dissolution, creation, dissolution - it will continue forever in the domain of misconception. At the same time, there is another world which is eternal; we are requested to enter there, to make our home in that plane which neither enters into the jaws of death, nor suffers any change.

In the Bhagavad-gītā (8.16) it is stated: "O son of Kuntī, Arjuna, from the planet of Lord Brahmā downwards, the residents of all the planetary systems within the material world are naturally subjected to repeated birth and death. Even Lord Brahmā, the creator himself, has to die. Up to Brahmāloka, the highest planet in the material world, the whole material energy undergoes such changes." But if we can cross the area of misunderstanding and enter the proper understanding, then there is no creation or dissolution. That is eternal, and we are children of that soil. Our bodies and minds are children of this soil which comes and goes, which is created and then dies. We have got to get out of this world of death.

We are in such an area. What is to be done? Try to get out. Try your best to get out of this mortal area. The saints inform us: "Come home dear friend, let us go home. Why are you suffering so much trouble unnecessarily in a foreign land? The spiritual world is real; this material world is unreal: springing and vanishing, coming and going, it is a farce! From the world of farce we must come to reality. Here in this material world there will not be only one war, but wars after wars, wars after wars.

There is a zone of nectar, and we are actually children of that nectar that does not die (śṛnvantu viśve amṛtasya putraḥ - see śloka 477 ). Somehow, we are misguided here, but really we are children of that soil which is eternal, where there is no birth or death. With a wide and broad heart, we have to approach there. This is declared by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, and the Bhagavad-gītā, the Upaniṣads, and the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam all confirm the same thing. That is our very sweet, sweet home, and we must try our best to go back to God, back to home, and take others with us.

(TSFSK, p 25-7)

Everything is meant for Kṛṣṇa. We are also meant for Him (īśāvāsyaṁ idaṁ sarvaṁ - see śloka 187). This is true knowledge, and this is the true situation of the world. Exploitation is an incomplete and reactionary idea for which we incur a dept that we shall later have to pay. We may go to Satyaloka, the highest planet in the material universe, but by exploiting nature, we incur a dept, become heavy, and go down. And when we go down, others come to exploit and extort us until our debts have been paid. Then the heaviness goes, and we become light and go upward to the higher planetary systems again. And when we go up, we exploit those who are in a lower position. In this way, there is continual exploitation and clearance of debt. This is confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (8.16): ābrahma-bhuvanāl lokāḥ: "All planetary systems within this world of matter are places of repeated birth and death, but one who attains My abode, O son of Kuntī, never takes birth again." Upon going there, one never returns to this material world (yad gatvā na nivartante, tad dhāma paramaṁ mama - Bhagavad-gītā, 15.6 - see śloka 328). Kṛṣṇa's abode is nirguṇa, or transcendental to any material quality.

(TSFSK, p 49-50) + (see also śloka 579)

ācārya kahe, - "vastu-viṣaye haya vastu-jñāna
vastu-tattva-jñāna haya kṛpāte pramāṇa

"It is evident that I have the grace of the Lord, because I know Him, and that you have not, because you deny Him."

(C-c, Madhya-līlā, 6.89) + (SGAHG, p 90-91) (Gopinātha Ācārya speaking to Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya) + (see also śloka 65)

Our own inner experience, our internal satisfaction, our connection or acquaintance with reality is the real evidence; nothing external can give any real proof.

ācāryaṁ māṁ vijānīyān,
nāvamanyeta karhicit
na martya-buddhyāsūyeta,
sarva-deva-mayo guruḥ

"One should know the Ācārya as Myself and never disrespect him in any way. One should not envy him, thinking him an ordinary man, for he is the representative of all the demigods." (Ś-B, 11.17.27) + (C-c, Ādi-līlā, 1.46)

Among the ten offences to be avoided while chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, the third offence is to consider the guru a human being. Although so many human symptoms may be found in him, still, according to our sincerity to meet Godhead, the Lord descends and represents Himself in the guru to satisfy the hunger for the truth. We must see him as the agent of the Lord. It has been advised to us in a general way not to think of the guru as a mortal being, because if our attempt to attain the Absolute is sincere, then He will also come to us to deliver us. God is omniscient, so through a particular agent who acts as His representative, He comes here to accept us and take us up to the higher plane. We are ordered by the advice of the scriptures to see the guru as the representative of the Absolute, because none can give us Kṛṣṇa but He Himself.

God's presence should be perceived in our gurudeva. We should see that God has come to give Himself to us. Generally we find mortal signs in the body of the spiritual master, but we must transcend that. The Ganges water may be filthy in external appearance, but still the dirty Ganges water can purify us by its touch. To our material senses the Deity seems to be wood, stone, or earth, but that is our polluted vision. Kṛṣṇa is there, and sometimes He is seen to walk and talk with the devotees of a higher order. We must not think that He is made of material stuff. When we go and stand before the Deity, we should not think that we can see Him, but that He is seeing us. He is in the subjective plane; I am His object.

He is mercifully seeing us to purify us. In this way our vision must be adjusted. Kṛṣṇa was killed by a hunter; the atheists will interpret that it was an ordinary incident, but it is not so. Sīta was stolen by Rāvana. This is all external, all illusory. The real truth is above, in the transcendental realm. So, we are requested by the expert transcendentalists and by the śāstra to see that our gurudeva is above all these mortal signs. Kṛṣṇa says: ācāryaṁ māṁ vijānīyān - "I Myself am the Ācārya. Do not think that the Guru is an ordinary man. I Myself reside within the heart of Gurudeva with all My parts and parcels, for the benefit of the disciple." (TSFSK, p 100-2)

Kṛṣṇa appears again and again to reclaim His long lost servants. And, as Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Kṛṣṇa is also tasting His own sweetness. When He wants to distribute it to the devotees, the cause is His ecstatic potency (hlādinī-śakti ). When Kṛṣṇa combines with His potency as Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, He becomes the ācārya. So Kṛṣṇa says: ācāryaṁ māṁ vijānīyān: "Know that I am the Ācārya." His ācārya-līlā is His self-distribution, and thereby He is taking His lost servants home. His recruitment is to distribute knowledge about Himself and devotion for Himself, and then take them home. (LSFTLS, p v II)

"One should understand the spiritual master to be as good as I am. Nobody should be jealous of the spiritual master or think of him as an ordinary man, because the spiritual master is the sum total of all the demigods." (SGAHG, p iii)

It is said ācāryaṁ māṁ vijānīyān, the spiritual master is not to be differentiated. One thing is coming down from the Supreme Lord, so the oneness of continuity is not to be ignored. Guru can be here, guru can be in another body also. The same teacher may come in a different body to inspire us; he may come to give us new hope and higher education. The substance should always be given a higher value than the form. (SGAHG, p 26)

A man is sometimes known most externally, by his uniform, and then by his body, then by his mind, then by his intelligence. As much as our eye will develop to see things rightly, what we are seeing will also change its face. Kṛṣṇa says: ācāryaṁ māṁ vijānīyān: "Ultimately it is I who am the Ācārya." It is the function of divinity, and in different stages there may be different forms. Different ācāryas may work at the same time. (SGAHG, p 35)

Kṛṣṇa tells us not to particularise in one point (ācāryaṁ māṁ vijānīyān.) There are so many śikṣā gurus in the line, and it is our good fortune to see more gurus, to come to the stage where we see gurus everywhere. Everywhere we shall try to draw the hints of the auspicious presence of Godhead." (SGAHG, p 116-7) (see śloka 612)

The devotee whom Kṛṣṇa wants to preach will do that work, but those who do not like to work in that way cannot be called unqualified. Those that like preaching will naturally speak in favour of the preaching camp. Because they are inspired by Kṛṣṇa to do that service, they are successful. Kṛṣṇa says: ācāryaṁ māṁ vijānīyān - "It is My inspiration that can really deliver the fallen souls." (SGAHG, p 131) (see śloka 335)

"Every movement begins from Me; even My own worship, My own service is begun by Me, in My role as guru. I reveal to the public so that you will properly worship Me. For this reason guru is called Bhagavān, for he is nondifferent from Me." (SEOC, p 140-1) + (see also śloka 14)

"You must know the Ācārya as My Divine Self. Never dishonour him as a mundane person. Guru is the abode of all godly representations." (SGD, SGPI, '91, p 2)

In the beginning stage we are told that the Ācārya, the guru, is Kṛṣṇa. Then Raghunātha Dāsa Goswāmī, the Ācārya of prayojana - the ultimate goal - says that the Ācārya's position is not that of God Himself, but it is that of His most favourite - mukunda-preṣṭhatve. Ultimately we find that Kṛṣṇa's dearmost is in the department of His potency, and that is guru. (SGD, SGPI, '91, p 22) + (see also śloka 427)

acintyāḥ khalu ye bhāvā
na tāṁs tarkeṇa yojayet
prakṛtibhyaḥ paraṁ yacca
tad-acintyasya lakṣam

"That which is inconceivable can never be understood through the logic and reason of the mind. The very symptom that something is inconceivable is that it is beyond logical comprehension." (SP) + (Mahābharata, Bhiṣma Parva, 5.22)

"Matters inconceivable to a common man should not be a subject for argument." (C-c, Ādi līlā, 5.41, purport).

So, in the case of Veda and Upaniṣad we are cautioned: acintyāḥ khalu ye bhāvā na tāṁs tarkeṇa yojayet: "Don't take your reasoning and doubt into that higher stage. It is unnecessary there where there is only plain speaking and fair dealing with no trouble from anyone wanting to deceive another. Deception and unfair dealings are unknown there."

This is the level of the Vedas and Upaniṣads where rhyme and reason are unnecessary. But in a lower stage, the Śmṛti and Purāṇas come to give their advice in another mood. The Purāṇas are like friends, advising: "Do this and you will be benefited." They give examples: "This person acted in such a way and received a good result; but this other did bad things and a bad result followed. So, my friend, please learn from this." Then, the Śruti comes to our help by showing us how to apply these truths in our everyday life.

The kāvya also approaches us and comes in a very sweet manner like an affectionate wife to advise: "Do this, it will be very good for you." But the Vedas take another approach: acintyāḥ khalu ye bhāvā na tāṁs tarkeṇa yojayet. "This subject matter does not come within the jurisdiction of doubt, reasoning, and so on. Don't drag all these filthy things into such a sphere."

In a lecture I gave an example to illustrate this. A mother gives a sweet to her son, she puts it in his hand but he says: "Oh, it may be poisoned! I must go to the laboratory and examine it." It is a deplorable thing and a very low type of civilisation where such an attitude prevails. But in such a plane where affection and fair dealing is unknown, tarka, vicāra and yukti (discrimination); doubt, examination and inspection are all present. But that is really a filthy life. (SOTGOD, v 3, p 6)

acintyāḥ khalu ye bhāvā na tāṁs tarkeṇa yojayet - Don't let the argumentative spirit overshadow everything. Argument is not all in all: it is not that it must be the resort of every belief. The spiritual realm is acintya, inconceivable, but still we are to try to understand things according to our capacity, faith, and realisation. Above all, we have to accommodate within our mind that sweetness is sweet, and truth is truth, however strong it may be, but we should not take any standard from here and apply it to that higher realm. (HC, p 10)

Don't take the inconceivable under the jurisdiction of your reason. When it will be extended to you, you will be astounded to find only a peep into that. na tāṁs tarkeṇa yojayet, Don't try to drag that into the zone of reason. This is autocratic in its nature. It may come in one shape to you, it may go in another shape to another gentleman. It is so expansive and so free in its nature. It is infinite. Rather the Infinite is the base of those pastimes. Always prepare yourself. Hanker, but don't make it an object of your experience. (SGD, '96, p 29)

ādau śraddhā tataḥ sādhu-saṅgo' tha bhajana-kriyā
tato' nartha-nivṛttiḥ syāt tato niṣṭhā rucis tataḥ
athāsaktis tato bhāvas tataḥ premābhyudañcati
sādhakānām ayaṁ premṇaḥ prādurbhāve bhavet kramaḥ

"In the beginning there must be faith. Then one becomes interested in associating with pure devotees. Thereafter one is initiated by the spiritual master and executes the regulative principles under his orders. Thus one is freed from all unwanted habits and becomes firmly fixed in devotional service. Thereafter, one develops taste and then attachment. This is the way of sādhana-bhakti, the execution of devotional service according to the regulative principles. Gradually spiritual emotions manifest and intensify, then finally there is an awakening of divine love. This is the gradual development of love of Godhead for the devotee interested in Kṛṣṇa consciousness." (B-r-s, 1.4.15-16)

Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī says here niṣṭhā means "continuous connection." After niṣṭhā, the mundane negative side is eliminated, and then, in the positive side, we may make progress. Then, after this there are the higher stages: āsakti, bhāva, and prema. Within prema, there are also different stages: sneha, mana, rāga, anurāga, bhāva, mahābhāva. In this way bhakti develops to the topmost plane, mahābhāva. Mahābhāva means Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. That supermost intensity of bhakti which is not found anywhere else is found only in Her. That is called mahābhāva. In this way, bhakti - divine love - develops in different stages up to the highest level. (SEOC, p 45-6)

Through self-giving I can acquire my fortune, and not as a master sitting in my chair gathering information from different quarters to utilise for my selfish plans.

ādau śraddhā tataḥ sādhu-saṅgo' tha bhajana-kriyā: to progress with faith, keeping the association of devotees and dedicating one's activities to the Lord, means this - you must go forward in your life with the spirit that you are willing to give away this life. "Do - or - die" is, of course, not in the physical sense but the internal sense (bhajana-kriyā ). This is self-giving, ego-giving.

tato' nartha-nivṛttiḥ syāt: if you can adopt this, the undesirable things within you will disappear very easily and swiftly. tato niṣṭhā: then you will find a continuous connection with such a principle in your life. That principle will always act continuously, and other fleeting, mean desires won't be able to approach or touch you.

Next, you will find ruci, a real taste for divinity. Otherwise, before that continuous stage, whatever taste we may think we have is only treachery and not real taste. niṣṭhā means nairantaryya: when we are established in twenty-four hours a day continuous connection with that charming substance, a real taste will arise, and we can rely on that taste. Any taste that we may find in any other position is unreliable. Twenty-four hours a day connection with divinity - eliminating all other charms of this world - is necessary. Then, the ruci, the conscious taste that arises in us, is a reliable guide.

After that, āsakti, natural affinity, arises, and then the symptoms of bhāva, the "bud" stage of the "flower" of prema, divine love, makes its appearance. This is the way of our progress." (SOTGOD, v1, p 66-68) (see also śloka 327 )

ādau yad dvāro 'plavate,
sindhuḥ pārer apauruṣaṁ

This verse says that the Jagannātha Mūrti has been there from the very conception, from the most ancient time. So every līlā of the Lord is eternal. Every part of the infinite is eternal. (Dwārakā-Saṁhitā ) + (C, v1, #6, Spr. '94, p 8 ).

adhaḥkṛtaṁ atikrāntaṁ akṣsajam,
indriyajaṁ jñānaṁ yena

"That Tattva, Supreme Reality, is always existing, keeping our sensual knowledge and experiences forever subordinate." Some things are finite in their identity - limited identity. You should know these things to be the production of Mahā-māyā. But the Adhoksaja-Tattva, He is always beyond your grasp, beyond being controlled by nature. He is that Supreme subject known by the devotees as Adhoksaja-Tattva. "Eternally existing, He continues to keep all our limited conceptions and experiences below Him, as sub-standard." He is eternally everywhere - our Guardian. But, as Unknown and Unknowable by us. That Supreme Reality is only to be known through śraddha, faith, proper, pure śraddha, pure devotion. (SS, v6, #1, '92, p 7)

adhokṣajam indriyaṁ jñānaṁ

The superior knowledge which can force down our knowledge of the experience of this world. (TGVODL, p 79)

ahaṁ bhakta-parārdhīno,
hy asvatantra iva dvija

sādhubhir grasta-hṛdayo,
bhaktair bhakta-jana-priyaḥ

The Lord tells Durvāsā: "I am the slave of My devotees; I have no freedom apart from their will. Because they are completely pure and devoted to Me, My heart is controlled by them, and I reside always in their hearts. I am dependent not only on My devotees, but even on the servants of My devotees. Even the servants of My devotees are dear to Me." (S-B, 9.4.63)

We must be prepared for any unfavourable circumstances, but we must not be discouraged. Kṛṣṇa is most affectionate; His care towards us is most acute and sincere. His affection towards us has no rival. Still, Śrīman Mahāprabhu has given us a warning in this verse: "You are coming to search after Kṛṣṇa? Kṛṣṇa is not a sweetball from the market that you can purchase and finish so easily. You are trying to attain the highest of the high, so you must be prepared for anything." (TGVODL, p 151-2)

"Yes, I have freely accepted subjugation to My devotees. I have no independence of My own. The way My devotees treat Me is so wonderful that it makes Me subservient to them." (LSFTLS, p 57)

"I feel My tendency to serve My devotee in such a way that I am not independent; I feel Myself to be under their direction." (SOTGOD, v 1, p 133)

I have no possibility of pressing any demand on Him. There is no possibility of placing and application: "Please consider this or that." But at the same time, we must not forget that He listens only to the words of the devotee who is actually of such a temperament. (ahaṁ bhakta-parārdhīno ). This, also, cannot be eliminated. But who is such a bhakta ? One who knows the Lord's nature in this way - s/he's a devotee. So, to become submissive to him, or her, is in other words to keep one's own independence! To be submissive to the surrendered soul amounts to no submission, because it is to submit to a person who is fully His. When He says: "I am subservient - I work under the direction of My devotee," then who are the devotees? They are those who have surrendered cent-per-cent to His sweet will. Then, in other words, they are as independent as He is. (SOTGOD, v 1, p 160-1)

Such is the position of a devotee, a bhakta. He's above Brahmā, he's above Śiva, he's above Saṅkarṣaṇa, he's above Lakṣmī - he's above Kṛṣṇa Himself, by the free, sweet will of Kṛṣṇa. ahaṁ bhakta-parārdhīno. This is running in the current of love, not of justice: through affection. (SOTGOD, v 2, p 95)

Apparently Yaśodā is whipping Kṛṣṇa. Her position is superior to Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa is under her control. This is the relative position. But from the absolute position Yaśodā is none but a servitor of Kṛṣṇa. Yet, by Grace, in the relative position she is superior. The fact is not so different, because the potency is His own.

Sometimes He, Himself, is controlled by that fine potency of pleasure. He says in the story of Ambarīṣa, ahaṁ bhakta-parārdhīno, hy asvatantra iva dvija: "I am dependent upon My devotees, as if I have got no independence."

Iva means 'as if.' That is His posing. Devotion is such. His Potency, peculiar particular Potency, Devotion, is so powerful that sometimes it works beyond His own Will. But that is Devotion to Him. Submission to the master is so intense that the master becomes subservient to the servant - through affection: "At My beck and call he can give his life. So how should I deal with him?" Automatically, the master's heart goes to him. That is love, prema.

Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī wrote: śrī-kṛṣṇākarṣiṇī ca sā. The highest and most excellent capacity and qualification of devotion can forcibly draw Kṛṣṇa towards the devotee, though He is absolutely independent. Bhakti, or self-sacrifice to the extreme, sacrifice for serving - loving service - is so powerful that the Lord becomes a friend and in different ways He comes to meet His devotees. asvatantra iva dvija: "Although I am free, I depend on My devotee as though I am not. Sometimes I feel like that." (SOTGOD, v 2, p 184-5)

"O My dear brāhmaṇa, I am subordinate to My devotee, and therefore I am like one who has no independence. The sādhu devotees have captured My heart. And not to speak of My devotees, those who are devoted to My devotees are also dear to Me."

The Original Supreme Lord of divine pastimes - the son of the King of Vraja - is by nature submissive to His surrendered souls, by His own sweet will. In the manifestation of the Lord's eternal fundamental identity, it is revealed that because love is everything to Him, law is naturally dependent upon and thus subordinate to love, and a brāhmaṇa is subordinate to the devotee of the Lord. (SSPJ, p 171)

Kṛṣṇa is the Absolute but He says: "I am controlled by My devotees, what can I do? I am not independent, I have My partiality. I cannot avoid the request of My devotees, that is My weakness. Those who have left everything and have come to depend on Me, how can I discourage them? How is it possible for Me? Who have left everything for Me and want nothing in return, if anyhow, some request comes from their side, then how can I deny that? Is it possible? ahaṁ bhakta-parārdhīno.

"Though I am the Absolute, still of My own accord I have to come to a relative position; a father, a husband, a son. All these relative positions I observe of My own accord although I am the Absolute. My devotees are all depending on Me and so I shall have to look after them. The Absolute does not mean that He is cruel but rather He must be sympathetic, what can I do?"

We see the Lord's favour to His devotees in the case of Ambarīṣa and Durvāsā. Durvāsā was a great sage and Ambarīṣa Mahārāja was a king. While waiting for Durvāsā and his followers to return from bathing so that he might honour them by giving them prasād, Ambarīṣa took a drop of water to observe the end of the Ekādaśī fast. Durvāsā became enraged considering that Ambarīṣa had insulted him by breaking his fast before serving him. Durvāsā summoned yogic fire to consume Ambarīṣa, but Ambarīṣa remained unharmed. Suddenly the Lord's Sudarśana cakra (disc weapon) appeared to punish Durvāsā for persecuting the innocent Ambarīṣa, and Durvāsā fled for fear of his life. Finally, finding no escape, Durvāsā entered Vaikuṇṭha and pleaded with Nārāyaṇa to withdraw His weapon.

Lord Nārāyaṇa addressed Durvāsā thus: "You demand that you are a brahmin and demand that you are a sannyāsī, but you fled for fear of your life while Ambarīṣa, he did not even step back when you summoned fire with the intention of burning him. He did not even take one step back, no, he stood firm and with humility, thinking: "If I am a culprit then let the punishment come to me." He did not falter, but you - when My Sudarśana came to charge you - you were flying from this place to that, to all corners of the world, running for fear of your life. Then who holds the more dignified position, you or Ambarīṣa?

You are a brahmin and he is a kṣatriya, but you observed the Ekādaśī vrata (vow) and on Dwādaśī at the time of paran (break-fast) you showed respect to the Ekādaśī vrata for Me and he also only did that. He showed respect to Me by properly observing the Ekādaśī vrata but you thought he had dishonoured you. You are his guest and before feeding you he has taken a drop of water to observe the end of the Ekādaśī day and he did it with conscience to Me. You yourself did that vrata and he also did that and only for Me, not for sense gratification. But you could not tolerate, you thought that he had dishonoured you. So you say that you are a brahmin, very near to Me and that he is a kṣatriya, he is far off. He is a gṛhastha, and you are a sannyāsī, you are nearer to Me; but this is only a fashion because practically Ambarīṣa is nearer to Me.

He is not afraid of receiving any punishment and even as we speak he is waiting for you. He is fasting, thinking: "My guest I have not fed. While Durvāsā is running hither and thither, still unfed, then how can I feed myself?" He is still standing, waiting, and when you return he will feed you and only then will he take prasād. What do you say? When My devotees have left everything and have surrendered fully to Me then should I not protect them? A little gratitude I must not have? Or am I a slave to your formality? What do you think Durvāsā? Go to him. You will have to go to him and see how magnanimous he is. Still unfed, standing waiting for you. Go and see?"

After hearing this, Durvāsā returned to Ambarīṣa and was able to appreciate his position. Ambarīṣa came to him with folded hands and like a criminal he began: "Oh what have I done? All these troubles have come to you brahmin, my guest, and only for my fault. I am the culprit, I am offender, please be propitiated by me."

And Durvāsā fell flat at his feet: "Yes, you are so magnanimous, this is only possible for the devotees of Nārāyaṇa. You are so great. We boast of our brahminic birth and our yogic attempt, but you, you are really the most magnanimous of all people and we are far below." And in this way Durvāsā began: aho ananta-dāsānāṁ (see śloka 19).

In this way Durvāsā began to preach. Durvāsā whose very nature is to always find fault in others and give them punishment by his yogic power. That is his nature, but he began to sing the song in praise of the devotees like Ambarīṣa. (C, #4, Winter 92-93, p 11-12)

ahaṁ brahmāsmi: "I am Brahman."
tat tvam asi: "Thou art that."
so'ham: "I am that."
sarvaṁ khalv idaṁ brahma: "Everything is Brahman."

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's interpretation of Vedānta is different from Śaṅkarācārya's. Śrī Caitanya says that we have to accept the Vedic truth in its entirety, without any modification. Śaṅkarācārya has accepted only a few Vedic aphorisms which constitute a partial representation of the truth. Śaṅkarācārya's four principle expressions taken from the Vedas are ahaṁ brahmāsmi: "I am Brahman;" tat tvam asi: "Thou art that;" so'ham: "I am that;" and sarvaṁ khalv idaṁ brahma: "Everything is Brahman."

Śrī Caitanya analysed the meaning of the aphorism sarvaṁ khalv idaṁ brahma, as follows: According to Śaṅkarācārya, everything is one. He says brahma satyaṁ jagan mithyā: "Spirit is true, the world is false." Śaṅkarācārya says that brahma (spirit) exists, and that sarva (everything) does not exist. If this is actually true, and everything is one, then why does the question of existence or nonexistence arise at all? In the aphorism sarvaṁ khalv idaṁ brahma, sarva - everything - exists, and brahma - spirit - also exists. In this expression, many exist and one also exists. There is many and there is one. Again, if everything is one, then the question arises, "To whom are we speaking? For whom have the Vedas come with this advice?"

Both the relative and the absolute exist together; they are coexistent. The absolute and the relative are also represented in the Vedāntic aphorism tat tvam asi: Thou art that. tat or "that" is there and tvam "you" is also there. Both variety and unity are found represented in the aphorism tat tvam asi, but Śaṅkarācārya accepts one and rejects the other. His explanation is therefore a misinterpretation of the original meaning of the Vedānta-sūtras. (SEOC, p 61-62) + (see also śloka 603)

aham evāsam evāgre,
nānyad yat sad-asat param
paścād ahaṁ yad etac ca,
yo 'vaśiṣyeta so 'smy aham

"Brahmā, it is I, the Personality of Godhead, who was existing before the creation, when there was nothing but Myself. Nor was there the material nature, the cause of this creation. That which you see now is also I, the Personality of Godhead, and after annihilation what remains will also be I, the Personality of Godhead." (S-B, 2.9.33) + (SGD, GPI, '91, p 12-13)

Śrī Hari is the cause of all worlds, gross and subtle. aham evāsam evāgre - "Prior to the creation of this universe, only I existed. The gross and the subtle, and even the indefinable non-differentiated Absolute, Brahman - nothing whatsoever existed separately from Me. After the creation, I exist as the aggregate entity; and after the cataclysm, only I shall remain." (SSPJ, p 159)

ṛte 'rthaṁ yat pratīyeta,
na pratīyeta cātmani
tad vidyād ātmano māyāṁ,
yathābhāso yathā tamaḥ

"O Brahmā, whatever appears to be of any value, if it is without relation to Me, has no reality. Know it as My illusory energy, that reflection which appears to be in darkness." (S-B, 2.9.34) + (SGD, GPI, '91, p 12-13) + (see also śloka 408)

yathā mahānti bhūtāni,
bhūteṣūccāvaceṣv anu
praviṣṭāny apraviṣṭāni,
tathā teṣu na teṣv aham

"O Brahmā, please know that the universal elements enter into the cosmos and at the same time do not enter into the cosmos; similarly, I Myself also exist within everything created, and at the same time I am outside of everything." (S-B, 2.9.35) (SEOC, p 32 + see also śloka 294) + (SGD, GPI, '91, p 12-13) + (see also śloka 597)

etāvad eva jijñāsyaṁ,
yat syāt sarvatra sarvadā

"A person who is searching after the Supreme Absolute Truth, the Personality of Godhead, most certainly search for it up to this, in all circumstances, in all space and time, and both directly and indirectly." (S-B, 2.9.36) + (SGD, GPI, '91, p 12-13) + (śloka 149)

(The ontological base of the whole Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is contained within these four ślokas. (S-B, 2.9.33-36)

ahaṁ hi sarva-yajñānāṁ,
bhoktā ca prabhur eva ca
na tu mām abhijānanti,
tattvenātaś cyavanti te

"-Because I alone am the enjoyer and rewarder of all sacrifices. But since they cannot know Me in this way, they again undergo birth, disease, infirmity, and death." (B-g, 9.24)

"I alone am the enjoyer and the Lord of all sacrifices. Those who worship the demigods, considering them to be independent of Me, are known as superficial worshippers (pratīkopāsaka ). They do not understand My factual position, and thus due to their fallacious worship they deviate from the truth. When they worship as expansions the demigods headed by the Sungod, they may ultimately gain an auspicious result." (SSPJ, p 144)

Sacrifice is not meant for the country, or for the society, or for anything else. Sacrifice is meant only for the Supreme Lord. No one less than He is worthy of sacrifice. So, only by connecting our activities with the infinite can we be freed from the present environment of action and reaction. (TSFSK, p 50)

This is the most vital point to establish God as a person. He is the enjoyer. If anything is to be enjoyed, the enjoyer will hold the supreme position. This cannot but be. Everything is meant for His enjoyment. And He is the supreme. "By Himself" means that the absolute is supreme - everything is meant for His satisfaction. This is a necessary truth; it is not questionable." (SEOC, p 85)

In Śrī Gītā, we find that 'Reality is by Itself and for Itself': "I am the Lord and Enjoyer of all sacrifices." Thus, Śrī Śrīhara Swāmīpāda has remarked: "First surrender, then serve." Otherwise you will try to acquire something, pocket it, and fly away. No. Sign the contract for everything that is given to you, then do the needful service without relying on yourself. (SOTGOD, v 1, p 60)

"I am the only enjoyer of all sacrifices, of all movements in this world. I am the only enjoyer, and everything belongs to Me, unconditionally."

God's position is such. He is paramount. He is the highest harmonising centre, and we must all submit cent-per-cent to him. Any deviation from that is anartha, 'meaningless,' it has no meaning. The only real meaning or purpose worthy to be served is in the connection with the universal wave, the universal movement. Anything besides that is anartha - undesirable and unnecessary. (SOTGOD, v 3, p 44)

Work should be done only as a sacrifice. All other work is mere energising force. And yajño vāi kṛṣṇa (see also śloka 581), ahaṁ hi sarva-yajñānāṁ, bhoktā ca prabhur eva ca. The Lord or Guardian says that: "It must be devoted towards Me, to My satisfaction, otherwise it is not yajña." Sacrifice means that is must be for the Absolute centre, and not for any provincial interest, sectarian purpose or anything else. It must go to the Absolute and then it will be real yajña. (GOD, p 11)

We are His property; we are not the owners of any wealth or property. We must think: "My Lord is the possessor and I am in His possession. Everything is His property."

Kṛṣṇa says: ahaṁ hi sarva-yajñānāṁ: "I am the only enjoyer of every action. You must be fully conscious of this fact."

The stern reality is that devotion is not a cheap thing. Pure devotional service, śuddha-bhakti, is above mukti, liberation. Above the negative plane of liberation, in the positive side, He is the only master. He is the Lord of everything. He is the Lord of the land of dedication. We must try to obtain a visa to enter there. There, His sweet will is the only law. It is very easy to pronounce the word 'absolute.' But if we are to enter into the meaning of the word, then it must be recognised that His sweet will is all in all. To get a visa to the world of reality we must recognise this. (LSFTLS, p 14-5)

ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavo,
mattaḥ sarvaṁ pravartate
iti matvā bhajante māṁ,
budhā bhāva-samanvitāḥ

"I am Kṛṣṇa, the Sweet Absolute, I am the root cause of the all-comprehensive aspect of the Absolute, the all-permeating aspect of the Absolute, and also the personal aspect of the Absolute - the Master of all potencies, who commands the respect of everyone - Lord Nārāyaṇa of Vaikuṇṭha. The universe of mundane and divine flow, every attempt and movement, the Vedas and allied scriptures which guide everyone's worship - all are initiated by Me alone. Realising this hidden treasure, the virtuous souls who are blessed with fine theistic intellect surpass the standards of duty and nonduty, and embrace the paramount path of love divine, rāga-mārga, and adore Me forever." (B-g, 10.8)

The ultimate sagacity is in Rāga-bhajana, spontaneous devotion (headed by servitude unto Śrī Rādhikā), under the impetus of the personal potency of the Original Lord who is beauty's own self.

"Know Me as the source of everything that be, spiritual or material. Understanding this, the truly intelligent souls give their hearts to Me: they engage in My pure devotional service."

(As soon as persons with the propensity for service in love [bhāva-bhajana] realise the original form of Godhead [svayaṁ-rūpa] to be the fountainhead of all currents of worship and devotion, then, in the mellow of divine consorthood [madhura-rasa], they will necessarily feel deep loyalty to follow the impetus of full-blown service, this impetus being the Lord's Personal Potency [svarūpa-śakti] or the Female Embodiment of the acme in devotion [mahābhāva-svarūpa]. In this way, they attain to the servitude of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī [Śrī Rādhā-dāsya]. The purport is that the potency of Śrī Kṛṣṇa is also the Inaugruratress of worship and devotion unto Him, and to engage in pure devotional service always in the shelter of such a conception in pure heart's devotion constitutes servitude to the guru for the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas, or Śrī Rādhā-dāsya in madhura-rasa.) (SSPJ, p 151-2)

Kṛṣṇa also says: ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavo: "Everything emanates from Me." And in the Vedas it is said: yato vā imāni bhūtāni jāyante (śloka 603) - "He is the origin of everything in its creation, its maintenance, and its annihilation." (SEOC, p 74)

"I am the origin of everything. Everything emanates from Me (including all conceptions of the Absolute Truth and even My own worship). The wise who know this fully worship Me with bhāva, deep devotional ecstasy."

Here, Kṛṣṇa says: ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavo, mattaḥ sarvaṁ pravartate: "Everything emanates from Me, including all conceptions of the Absolute Truth." In Bhāgavatam the three main conceptions of the Absolute are given: Brahman, Paramātmā, and Bhagavān. Brahman means the all-comprehensive aspect of the Absolute. Paramātmā means the all-permeating aspect of the Absolute, and Bhagavān means the personal conception of the Absolute.

In his Bhakti-Sandarbha, Jīva Goswāmī has given the real meaning of Bhagavān, the Personality of Godhead. The general meaning of Bhagavān is "one who commands all sorts of potencies." All sorts of potencies are controlled by Him personally. That is the conception of Bhagavān found in Nārāyaṇa of Vaikuṇṭha. But Jīva Goswāmī has given a particularly fine interpretation of Bhagavān. He says that Bhagavān means bhajanīya-sarva-sad-guṇa-viśiṣṭha: The nature of Bhagavān is such that whatever comes in contact with Him feels a natural serving tendency towards His charming personality. He is endowed with such qualities that everyone is drawn to worship Him, to love Him. He attracts the love of everyone. Everyone wants to serve Him - this is Bhagavān. He is endowed with qualities that attract everyone to serve Him.

I have included this special interpretation of Jīva Goswāmī in my commentary on the above Bhagavad-gītā verse. In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, three phases of the Absolute Truth have been described (all-comprehensive Brahman, all-pervading Paramātmā, and the all-attractive, Absolute Person, Bhagavān). I have explained in my commentary that Kṛṣṇa's statement here (ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavo ) means: "I am svayam bhagavān, the Original Personality of Godhead. I am at the root of all these three conceptions of the Absolute. And I am the origin not only of Brahman, the all-comprehensive Absolute, and Paramātmā, the all-permeating Absolute, but also Nārāyaṇa, the master of all potencies who commands the respect of everyone. I am the origin of all of them. I am svayam bhagavān."

In this way I have interpreted the meaning of ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavo. And in the next line, when Kṛṣṇa says mattaḥ sarvaṁ pravartate, here we must concentrate more finely. Kṛṣṇa says sarvaṁ pravartate, "Everything comes from Me." With this Kṛṣṇa is saying: "Even worship of Me comes from Me. I reveal it first. I Myself worship Myself. I do this as guru, as My finer potency. This potency is nothing but Myself. And My finest potency is Rādhārāṇī. Through My potency I worship Myself. Every movement begins from Me; even My own worship, My own service is begun by Me, in My role as guru. I reveal that to the public so that you will properly worship Me. For this reason guru is called Bhagavān, for he is nondifferent from Me (ācāryaṁ māṁ vijānīyān )."

The finest potency of Bhagavān is Rādhārāṇī. So guru in the highest sense, as well as service in the highest sense, is represented in Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. Next, Kṛṣṇa says: "Those who know this will worship Me: iti matvā bhajante māṁ, Those who understand this conception that Rādhārāṇī serves Him in the highest way, will serve Kṛṣṇa in subjugation to Her. That is rādhā-dāsyam, the divine service of Śrī Rādhā. And it is with this understanding that a worshipper will come to worship Kṛṣṇa.

In my interpretation, I have taken it that this is Kṛṣṇa's intent when He says:iti matvā bhajante māṁ: "Knowing this, they worship Me." He means, "Those who know that My worship comes from Me, and that My finest potency worships Me best, will worship Me under the direction of My finest potency." Here we find the importance of rādhā-dāsyam, the service of Śrī Rādhā, the highest goal of the followers of Rūpa Goswāmī, the rūpānuga-gauḍīya-sampradāya. Here, Kṛṣṇa is saying, "Knowing that it is My finest potency that worships Me best, one will worship Me under the direction of My first-class worshipper (Śrī Rādhā). With this idea one will always worship Me under the guidance of My finest śakti, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, or Her representation, śrī guru-deva. In this way, they will always worship Me under their direction, and never as a direct worshipper." This is the meaning of iti matvā bhajante māṁ.

Then Kṛṣṇa says budhā bhāva-samanvitāḥ. Here, budha means those of fine theistic intellect (sumedhasaḥ ). In Bhāgavatam it is said that those of fine theistic intellect will be able to appreciate this (yajanti hi sumedhasaḥ ). Fine theistic intelligence is the outcome of good fortune which comes from above (sukṛti ); it is not self-acquired. That fine intellectual inner direction and guidance can only come from the nirguṇa or transcendental plane. budha here means "One who has a direct connection with the nirguṇa or transcendental plane." His intelligence doesn't come from this mayic quarter; rather it springs from the spiritual platform. Only such a person can appreciate these subtle points." (B-g, 10.8) + (SEOC, p 139-142) + (see also śloka 258)

(In Bhagavad-gītā, the four principal verses, the ontological substance of the book is contained within Chapter 10, verses 8, 9, 10, 11.)

mac-cittā mad-gata prāṇā,
bodhayantaḥ parasparam
kathayantaś ca māṁ nityaṁ,
tuṣyanti ca ramanti ca

"My devotees mix together, talk about Me, and exchange thoughts that give consolation to their hearts. And they live as if this talk about Me is their food. It gives them a high kind of pleasure, and they find that when they talk about Me among themselves, they feel as if they are enjoying My presence." (B-g, 10.9) + (śloka 273)

teṣāṁ satata-yuktānāṁ,
bhajatāṁ prīti-pūrvakam
dadāmi buddhi-yogaṁ taṁ,
yena mām upayānti te

"To those devotees who are constantly dedicated to Me, and who engage in My service out of their love for Me, I bestow the internal divine inspiration by which they can approach Me and render various intimate services unto Me." (B-g, 10.10) (śloka 517)

teṣām evānukampārtham,
aham ajñāna-jaṁ tamaḥ
nāśayāmy ātma-bhāva-stho,
jñāna-dīpena bhāsvatā

"Out of compassion for them, I, situated within the hearts of all living beings, dispel the darkness of ignorance with the radiance of knowledge." (B-g, 10.11) + (śloka 516)

aham vedmi śuko vetti,
vyāso vetti na vetti vā
bhaktyā bhāgavataṁ grāhyaṁ
na buddhyā na ca ṭīkayā

Lord Śiva says: "I know the true purpose of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam; Śukadeva, the son and disciple of Vyāsadeva, knows it thoroughly, and the author of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Śrīla Vyāsadeva may or may not know the meaning. The real purpose of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is very difficult to conceive and can only be known through bhakti." (C-c, Madhya-līlā, 24.313)

Śrīdhara Swāmī wrote a commentary on the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. It was a little different from the previous commentaries, so the scholars, especially the Śaṅkarites, refused to accept that commentary as universal. They put it to the test. They left the commentary in the temple of Viśvanātha, Lord Śiva, and agreed that if He accepted the commentary, they would all accept. Then, from the Śiva temple, this verse was revealed. aham vedmi śuko vetti, vyāso vetti na vetti vā - The real purpose of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is very difficult to conceive, Lord Śiva says: "I know the true purpose of Bhāgavatam; Śukadeva, the son and disciple of Vyāsadeva, knows it thoroughly, and the author of the Bhāgavatam, Śrīla Vyāsadeva may or may not know the meaning."

When teaching Sanātana Goswāmī, Mahāprabhu said: "Sanātana, Kṛṣṇa is going to give His kindness to you through Me. I am talking to you like a madman. I feel many things are passing through Me to you. But I do not know that I Myself have that thing."

It is possible. It is wonderful, but still we find it there. It is not unreasonable, although it is not understandable.

When the second World War broke out, in Dalhousie Square in Calcutta, there was a popular government poster. A military uniform was painted on the wall. Beneath it was a saying: "Just wear this uniform, and the uniform will show you what you must do."

So, when a sincere man has taken a particular charge, he will somehow find out what are the duties of his post. He is sincere. And God will help. God helps those who help themselves. You have taken the charge, and that charge has come not only as a chance, but there is some underground link. Then if you try to go on, help will come to you. He's not a cheat. You have sincerely taken this responsibility, as given to you by your master, and the master is not a cheat. He will come to help you with all His might, saying: "Do this. I'm helping; I am at your back." When we are sincere, things will happen like this. (SGAHG, p 83-4)

ahastāni sahastānāṁ,
apadāni catuṣpadām
laghuni tatra mahatāṁ,
jīvo jīvasya jīvanam

"Those who are devoid of hands are prey for those who have hands; those devoid of legs are prey for the four-legged. The weak are the subsistence of the strong, and the general rule holds that one living being is food for another." (S-B, 1.13.47)

First of all we are to understand that there are three planes of life: the plane of mundane enjoyment, the plane of renunciation, and the plane of dedication. The plane of enjoyment is where we are at present, more or less. Mundane enjoyment means exploitation; and without exploitation, none can exist in this plane.

ahastāni sahastānāṁ - "Those that have hands live on those who have no hands. Four-footed animals live on grass, creepers, etc., and the big live on the small."

Everything is full of life: creepers, grass, and trees also have life, but without exploitation none can maintain their body here. This is the plane of exploitation, and, as Newton's third law says, to every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. By exploitation one takes a loan, and to clear that loan he will have to go down. In this way, there are so many jīvas (souls) going up and down, up and down due to action and reaction in the plane of exploitation. Society is trying to exploit to the utmost; everywhere there is the attempt to live at the cost of others. Without it life is impossible in this area because this is the plane of exploitation. (HC, p 1)

aher iva gatiḥ premṇaḥ,
svabhāva-kuṭilā bhavet
ato hetor ahetoś ca,
yūnor māna udañcati

"Just as a serpent naturally moves in a crooked way, in a zigzag way, the nature of love is naturally crooked. It is not straight. So the concerned parties quarrel, sometimes with cause and sometimes without cause, and separation comes. Separation is necessary for the transcendental pastimes of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa." (U-N)

An example of acintya-bhedābheda-tattva is found in the way Kṛṣṇa deals with His devotees. Kṛṣṇa Himself is independent of everything. Still, sometimes He shows Himself to be completely subordinate to His servants and must do whatever they want Him to do. Then again, sometimes He completely ignores them. These are the spontaneous pastimes of the Sweet Absolute. Sometimes He shows absolute submission to Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, and again, sometimes He ignores Her. This is the very nature of Kṛṣṇa's līlā.

Rūpa Goswāmī has supplied this verse from his Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi as the basis of the proper understanding of kṛṣṇa-līlā. When we think about the pastimes of the Absolute, we, the finite, will have to wear this armour: aher iva gatiḥ premṇaḥ, svabhāva-kuṭilā bhavet. We must understand that Kṛṣṇa's pastimes are naturally crooked, just like the movement of a snake. A snake cannot move in a straight line; it moves in a zigzag way. The waves that flow from the Absolute move in the same way. That characteristic of kṛṣṇa-līlā is always maintained above everything else. Kṛṣṇa can never be ruled by any law. With this initial consideration we should approach any study of the Absolute. He is absolute, and we are infinitesimal. He is adhokṣaja, transcendental, beyond the world of our experience. (LSFTLS, p 43)

"The nature of Love is curved like a snake; therefore two kinds of quarrelsome pride arise between Lover and Beloved: justified and groundless." (C-c, Madhya-līlā, 8.110)

Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī gives this example. By nature, the serpent goes by a zigzag or curved movement. So, in the land of Prema (Divine Love), māna, abhimāna (lover's quarrel, ego) and so on, are all in the nature of dealings there, but not out of necessity or want. That is the way of Vilāsa, or Pastimes. (SOTGOD, v 2, p 13-4)

When there is a competitive spirit between two persons who are doing the same thing, there will still be humility there if it is really Service, because its object is the Centre. The devotee feels inspiration and direction from there, and co-operates accordingly. He is connected with the Absolute Centre, so competition may be arranged by Yogamāyā. The devotee is not responsible because their necessity is only for the Centre. As we discussed, the Absolute is designed that way, but not out of necessity. aher iva gatiḥ premṇaḥ, svabhāva-kuṭilā bhavet: It seems to be crooked, but it is not; it is the very nature of absolute dealings. It is necessary only for the variegatedness of the Service of Kṛṣṇa. It is designed from the upper quarter. The devotees are not responsible for that. (SOTGOD, v 2, p 42-3)

Fire and heat cannot be separated; sun and light cannot exist separately. They are one and the same. The Absolute Truth is one absolute substance (advaya-jñāna ), but sometimes Rādhā and Govinda show Themselves as divided and again They are united. When They are together, They are enjoying each other, and sometimes they experience painful separation without the possibility of union. That is Their divine nature. Rūpa Goswāmī explains that just as a serpent naturally moves in a crooked way, in a zigzag way, the nature of love is naturally crooked. It is not straight. So the concerned parties quarrel, sometimes with cause and sometimes without cause, and separation comes. Separation is necessary for the pastimes of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. (TGVODL, p 68-9)

In Hegel's philosophy, truth progresses through thesis, antithesis, and synthesis. The truth moves in a crooked way. In the philosophy of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, the word vilāsa means "playful movement." You may take it to mean that the Absolute is absorbed in play. And that is expressed through crookedness. aher iva gatiḥ premṇaḥ, svabhāva-kuṭilā bhavet: A serpent moves in a crooked way; similarly, the movements of the Absolute are not straight, but crooked. vilāsa, or the conception of līlā - the divine pastimes of the Lord - is something like that. This is similar to Hegel's opinion in which the truth develops in a crooked way through thesis, antithesis, and synthesis. There is thesis, then its opposite, and then again they unify and create a new thesis. Then again antithesis, and again a greater harmony in synthesis. In this way truth is dynamic; it develops and makes progress. (SEOC, p 87-88)

ahiṁsā satyam akrodhas,
tyāgaḥ śāntir apaiśunam
dayā bhūteṣv aloluptvaṁ,
mārdavaṁ hrīr acāpalam

"The Supreme Lord said: "O Bhārata, all these qualities appear in a man endowed with a virtuous and godly nature - fearlessness, gracious-heartedness, absorption in self-knowledge, charity, control of the external senses, sacrifice, study of the Vedas, austerity, sincerity, nonviolence, truthfulness, freedom from anger, detachment from the mundane, tranquillity, disinclination to see others' faults, compassion for others, freedom from greed, gentleness, modesty, steadfastness, vigour, forgiveness, patience, cleanliness, non-enviousness, and freedom from egotism." (B-g, 16.1-3) (SS, v4, #1, '86, p 6)

aho ananta-dāsānāṁ,
mahattvaṁ dṛṣṭam adya me
kṛtāgaso 'pi yad rājan,
mangalāni samīhase

"I have seen the greatness of the servitors of the Anantadev, Śrī Nārāyaṇa. You are so magnanimous that although I am an offender you have prayed for me. You hold an unparalleled position in the whole universe." (S-B, 9.5.14) (C, #4, Win. '92 / 93, p 12 - see śloka 10)

aho bakī yaṁ stana-kāla-kūṭaṁ,
jighāṁsayāpāyayad apy asādhvī
lebhe gatiṁ dhātry-ucitāṁ tato 'nyaṁ,
kaṁ vā dayāluṁ śaraṇaṁ vrajema

"How astonishing! When Pūtanā, the wicked sister of Bakāsura, tried to kill child Kṛṣṇa by offering Him deadly poison on her breasts, she reached a position befitting the Lord's nursemaid. Could I ever have as merciful a shelter as that of Lord Kṛṣṇa?" (S-B, 3.2.23 - Uddhava) + (SSPJ, p 83)

"Oh, how amazing it is! The sister of Bakāsura (Pūtanā), desiring to kill Śrī Kṛṣṇa, smeared poison on her breasts and forced Kṛṣṇa to drink their milk. Even so, Lord Kṛṣṇa accepted her as His mother, and so she reached the destination suitable for Kṛṣṇa's mother. Of whom should I take shelter but the most merciful Kṛṣṇa?" (SGAHG, p 137)

"Who else but Kṛṣṇa should we approach? Who can be so kind, so gracious? There is limitless Grace in Him. Why? Bakī - Pūtanā, came to kill Him in a treacherous way, taking the garb of dhātrī, a motherly garb. In this way she came to try and kill Him; yet Kṛṣṇa gave her a position as a nursemaid in His group of assisting mothers. So gracious is the Lord. Who else can we approach for our good?" (SOTGOD, v 2, p 109) + (C-c, Madhya-līlā, 22.98)

Gadādhara Paṇḍita heard this śloka chanted by Mukunda Datta in a very sweet tone, and saw that it created a wonderful effect in Puṇḍarīka Vidyānidhi when they visited him. In Gaura-līlā, Gadādhara Paṇḍita is the Representation of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī Herself. At that time, Gadādhara Paṇḍita was a young boy. He was younger than Nimāi Paṇḍita. Mukunda Datta was a follower and admirer of Nimāi Paṇḍita.

Before anyone knew that Puṇḍarīka had come from Chaṭṭagrām to Navadwīpa, and even before Nimāi Paṇḍita had met him, Nimāi Paṇḍita was seen to suddenly cry: "Bāp Puṇḍarīka! Bāp Puṇḍarīka!" In the mood of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, Nimāi was taking his name. Bāp means 'father.' So He was calling: "Father! Puṇḍarīka! Father! Puṇḍarīka! Where are you?"

Puṇḍarīka Vidyānidhi, in Kṛṣṇa-līlā is Vṛṣabhānu Mahārāja of Varsānā, Vṛndāvana, the father of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. Puṇḍarīka Vidyānidhi was born in a brāhmaṇa family at Chaṭṭagrām, and he bore the title 'Vidyānidhi' on account of his scholarship.

Mukunda Datta and Puṇḍarīka Vidyānidhi came from the same village of Chaṭṭagrām, and knew each other. He knew Puṇḍarīka Vidyānidhi to be a man of higher religious type, that is, a Bhāgavata type or Kṛṣṇa-bhakta. But outwardly Puṇḍarīka Vidyānidhi lived the life of luxury. So Mukunda Datta went to Gadādhara Paṇḍita and asked him: "Would like to have the darśana of a Vaiṣṇava?"

From childhood Gadādhara Paṇḍita was very fond of Vaiṣṇavas and Kṛṣṇa-Nāma. He had much fondness for Nimāi Paṇḍita, when the Lord returned from Gayā. Previously he was very much afraid of Nimāi Paṇḍita, because whenever They met, Nimāi Paṇḍita would always tackle him with some apparent quarrel about etymology or something of that nature. So, after returning from Gayā, when Śrī Caitanyadeva expressed His Devotional Aspect, He said one day: "Gadādhara, from your very childhood you are a devotee of Kṛṣṇa, and My days have been wasted discussing grammar and mundane literature. But you, Gadādhara, My friend - your life is very successful. You have fulfilment of life. From the beginning you are fond of Kṛṣṇa-Nāma."

Therefore when Mukunda Datta him: “Would like to see a real Vaiṣṇava who has come from afar?"

Gadādhara Paṇḍita replied: “Yes, yes, I shall go; take me there. I am always eager to have the darśana of a real Vaiṣṇava."

Then Gadādhara followed Mukunda to see Puṇḍarīka Vidyānidhi, and was dumbfounded by what he saw. Apparently Puṇḍarīka Vidyānidhi was a man of luxurious habits, and a well-to-do man, a general zāmindār (state landowner). He was sitting on a luxurious bedstead, smoking an ornate and valuable pipe decorated with a golden thread and the whole room filled with a sweet scent. He was an aristocrat with beautiful oiled curly scented hair, stylish, princely dress, and many valuable pastes were anointed on his body. Two attendants fanned him on either side.

Gadādhara Paṇḍita thought: "Mukunda has brought me to this luxury-loving man sitting on the bedstead and smoking? What type of Vaiṣṇava has he brought me to see?" He was disappointed at heart.

Mukunda Datta could understand Gadādhara's heart, and as he was a good singer he began to sing this verse from Ś-Bhāgavatam, (3.2.23) & (Caitanya-c, Madhya-līlā, 22.98): aho bakī yaṁ stana-kāla-kūṭaṁ, jighāṁsayāpāyayad apy asādhvī. Upon hearing this śloka chanted in such a sweet tone, it created a wonderful effect in Puṇḍarīka Vidyānidhi's heart and began to vibrate, and produced such force that he was stunned and his movements stopped. He became very serious and the whole atmosphere was changed. Then some shivering was apparent in his body and he began madly gesticulating. He began to throw his hands and feet left and right. He cast his smoking pipe aside and began to roll on his bed, tearing off his silk clothing and the silk sheets, and pulling out his beautifully curled and decorated hair. His rich bedding and dress were ruined, and he began to roll on the ground and cry, kaṁ vā dayāluṁ śaraṇaṁ vrajema - "Of whom should I take shelter but the most magnanimous Lord? Where should I take refuge without such a Lord?"

With this on his lips he was rolling on the floor in ecstasy, and after a long time, he gradually subsided.

Gadādhara thought to himself: "What did I think about this great personality? He has so much love for Kṛṣṇa within. Although externally he appears as an ordinary man, a slave of luxury, internally he is a great devotee. What intense love he has for Kṛṣṇa, what a wonderful effect the memory of Kṛṣṇa caused in him!"

Then he thought: "I have committed Vaiṣṇava aparādha, an offence to a great devotee. How can I free myself?"

Gadādhara Paṇḍita then revealed his mind. "Mukunda, I have committed offence against this great Vaiṣṇava. What will be my fate? When I first saw him, I shunned him; I committed offence. I have not yet taken initiation from any Vaiṣṇava, so if I took mantra from Puṇḍarīka - became his disciple - then he may forgive all my offences. There is no other way to be absolved from this Vaiṣṇava aparādha. I shall have to inform my Lord Gauracandra, Nimāi Paṇḍita, about this."

So they left the place of Puṇḍarīka Vidyānidhi, and Gadādhara went to take Nimāi Paṇḍita's permission, to get His consent, to become the disciple of Puṇḍarīka Vidyānidhi.

When Gadādhara made his proposal to Nimāi Paṇḍita, the Lord immediately replied: "Yes, very good proposal. Go and accept him at once."

Gadādhara Paṇḍita represents Rādhārāṇī in Gaura-līlā, and Puṇḍarīka Vidyānidhi is Rādhārāṇī's father in Kṛṣṇa-līlā: the guru is like the father, and the disciple is like the child. So Nimāi Paṇḍita at once approved and Gadādhara took initiation from Puṇḍarīka Vidyānidhi.

āhuś ca te nalina-nābha padāravindaṁ
yogeśvarair hṛdi vicintyam agādha-bodhaiḥ
gehaṁ juṣām api manasy udiyāt sadā naḥ

"The gopīs spoke thus: 'Dear Lord, whose navel is just like a lotus flower, Your lotus feet are the only shelter for those who have fallen into the deep well of material existence. Your feet are worshipped and meditated upon by great mystic yogīs and highly learned philosophers. We wish that these lotus feet may also be awakened within our hearts, although we are only ordinary persons engaged in household affairs.'" (S-B, 10.82.49) + (C-c, Madhya-līlā, 13.136)

Like persons attached to hearth and home, even the gopīs, the damsels beloved of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, humbly petition the Lord in His separation - "O lotus-navelled one, Your lotus feet, eternally held as the object of meditation within the hearts of the greatest yogīs of profound intellect, are the only resort for delivering those souls fallen into the well of material life. May those holy lotus feet graciously appear within the hearts of we ordinary household ladies." (SSPJ, p 136)

The group of gopīs told Kṛṣṇa: "O You who have a lotus navel, we know that the great master yogīs who have nothing to do with this mundane world try to meditate upon Your holy lotus feet. Their interest is in higher realisation in the conscious world. They are said to centre their highest attention on Your lotus feet. And those who are busy elevating their lives in this world of exploitation are also busy worshipping Your lotus feet to escape the entanglement of action and reaction. The centre of interest for the elevationists (karmīs) and the salvationists (jñānīs and yogīs) is Your lotus feet.

And what are we? We are simple people from the country with cows as our wealth. We are animal traders who live in the country, trade in the cow business, and sell curd and milk on the outskirts of society. We are neither scientific exploiters (karmīs), nor are we the kind of exploiters who do research in the world of consciousness.

We know only family life. We have no other qualifications. We are busy with our family life in the lower section of society. But in our audacity, we pray that if at any time You would kindly condescend to extend Your lotus feet to our negligible hearts, we would think ourselves blessed. We are busy with family matters. We do not know scriptural life or the methods of the salvationists. We know nothing of yoga, jñāna, Vedānta or the Vedas. Our ultimate concern is neither with scriptures or moral standards. We hold a negligible position in society and simply pray that in the midst of our family life we may remember Your holy lotus feet. Please grant this to us. We can't expect anything more from You." That was their petition.

Kṛṣṇa replied to them, saying:

mayi bhaktir hi bhūtānām,
amṛtatvāya kalpate
diṣtyā yad āsīn mat sneho,
bhavatīnāṁ mad-āpanaḥ

"Yes I know. People want devotion to Me to achieve eternal life. To cross the limit of mortality and to have eternal life, they come to Me and worship Me. For these reasons they want My service, but fortunately for you, you have some natural affection towards Me. That will ultimately bring you to Me." (śloka 295)

That is the formal or superficial meaning of what was spoken by Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs. But the great preceptors of our line have squeezed out another meaning from these prayers. They are conscious of the real, private relationship between the two parties, so they have drawn out another meaning based on the divine sentiment between the lover and beloved.

When the gopīs prayed to Śrī Kṛṣṇa at Kurukṣetra, their real meaning was this: "Oh, we remember that one day You sent Uddhava to console us. He recited many scriptural references about how the world is mortal, how it is nothing, how we shall all have to die - affection has no great value; attachment must be cut out. He said that we must try to liberate ourselves from any attraction for the environment and attain salvation. You wanted to tell all these apparently sweet things to us through Uddhava. Now, You Yourself are also showing us the same path. You say that You are great and that everyone should try, for their highest interest, to think of You."

This explanation is found in Caitanya-caritāmṛta. The gopīs tell Kṛṣṇa: "Do You think we are yogīs who will be satisfied with abstract meditation on You? Can we be satisfied by imagination? We are not a party to that. Neither are we karmīs, fruitive workers who are incurring a great debt from nature, who come to Your door to get relief, praying, 'O God, please relieve us from all our previous sins.' We do not belong to either of these two sections.

"What are we? We want to live with You as Your family. We are interested neither in abstract thinking, nor in using You to clear off the faults of karma to nullify our sinful activities. We don't want to use You for any other purpose. We want to have a direct family life with You. Don't You know that? And still You send messages through Uddhava, and now this! Aren't You ashamed of Yourself?" That is their inner meaning.

Kṛṣṇa's answer also has an inner aspect. He replies: "You know everyone wants Me. Through devotion they want Me to help them attain the highest position in the world of eternal benefit. If they have a connection with Me, they consider themselves fortunate. But on the other hand, I consider Myself fortunate because I have come in touch with the valuable affection that I found in your hearts."

The gopīs read the inner meaning in that way. And when Rādhārāṇī could see into the inner meaning of Kṛṣṇa's reply, She became satisfied. "Wherever He may be in the physical sense, at heart, He is Mine alone." She composed Her troubles within and returned to Vṛndāvana thinking: "He cannot but come to join our party again very soon." In Padyāvalī, Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī reveals the inner meaning of this verse. When Kṛṣṇa came to the camp of the gopīs in Kurukṣetra, He suddenly found Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī and stooped down as if to touch Her feet. Rādhārāṇī began backing away, saying: "What are You doing! You are trying to touch My feet?" She shuddered: "You have done nothing wrong. You are My master. You are at liberty to do whatever You want. I am Your maidservant and should try with every nerve to satisfy You. You have committed no crime. I am the criminal. How? I still drag on My body and life. This is My crime - I could not die from Your separation! Still, I show My face to the public - I am not worth Your divine affection. The whole burden of breaking the law of love is on My head." In this way Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī spoke. (TGVODL, p 164-8) (see śloka 324)

ājñajaiva guṇān doṣān,
mayādiṣṭān api svakān
dharmmān saṁtyajya yaḥ sarvvān,
myāṁ bhajet sa ca sattamaḥ

"In the scriptures of religion, I, the Supreme Lord, have instructed men of all statuses of life in their duties. Duly comprehending the purificatory virtue of executing those prescribed duties as well as the vice of neglecting them, one who abandons all allegiance to such dutifulness in order to engage in My devotional service is the best of honest men (sādhu )." (S-B, 11.11.32)

One must worship Lord Hari, even if it is necessary to abandon scripturally enjoined prescribed duties to do so. (SSPJ, p 167)

Kṛṣṇa is there. He says that He has not finished Himself in His own śāstras. "What I have given in the śāstras, you must do that, but one who crosses that to come to Me is My higher servitor." So, Kṛṣṇa is living and He is above all. A transaction, a trade may be made by cash or a loan. Whether trading, or purchasing with cash, or purchasing with a loan, He is there, He is master, He is autocrat. His dealings should not be limited even by the scriptures. He says: "Even crossing the scriptures I exist, even though those directions are given by Me." So, directions are of different classes. And Kṛṣṇa says: "Sometimes it will be necessary to show devotion to Me, even crossing My own laws." We must also consider the realisations of higher devotees. So many things are there, but the main thing is faithfulness. Die to live, for the cause. (SGD, GP, '94, p 12-13)

Sometimes it may be necessary to show even greater loyalty to the king by crossing over his laws. (In society, one must obey the law, but there is also the situation of crossing law to show faithfulness to the king. If one risks his life and reputation, and crossing the general law, enters into the royal chamber to combat an assassin, then he will be considered the best and most loyal servitor).

So here God is above law. Considering the nature of divinity, we must conclude that Kṛṣṇa is above law. Law is for us, but it's not be applied in His case. One who has actually come in connection with the Absolute, cannot but ignore the laws meant for ordinary people. Of course, this means in a higher sense. It is not that devotees shall not observe the ordinary laws governing society in the name of devotion.

But in the higher sense we have to understand that Kṛṣṇa is all in all. He is the creator of law and He Himself sometimes breaks the law and especially likes those who are ready to break the law for Him. They are His favourite who are ready to take risks for His service, who are ready to bear the consequence of breaking the law. (SEOC, p 134) - For example when one puts their feet upon the altar when dressing the Deities. Or the gopīs offering their foot-dust as 'medicine' for Kṛṣṇa's headache. (see śloka 434)

ajo 'pi sann avyayātmā,
bhūtānām īśvaro 'pi san
prakṛtiṁ svām adhiṣṭhāya,
sambhavāmy ātma-māyayā

"Although My eternal form is transcendental to birth and death, and I am the controller of all beings, I appear within the world in My original form, by My own sweet will, extending My internal potency of yoga-māyā." (B-g, 4.6)

We cannot produce the vaikuṇṭha-nāma, real name. Our sound of our production, physical or mental production, that is not He. He is separate, and He can come everywhere, in any form, in any plane, controlling them. prakṛtiṁ svām adhiṣṭhāya, sambhavāmy ātma-māyayā. "When I come here, by the force of My internal potency, I remove this external potency's influence, and appear anywhere and everywhere. The external energy is forced back." When the plane is flying over in the sky, it removes the air, wind, and forcibly passes. So, by removing this influence of the material things, He has to come with His own force here, to appear. "I have got my own potency, and by the power of that potency, I remove this gross potency here, and live and move here, and act here." The law of this nature cannot apply to Him. He has got special power, with the help of that he subdues the law of this nature, and He comes here and there. (SVT, v2, #1, J-F 93, p 18)

akiñcanasya dāntasya
śāntasya sama-cetasaḥ
mayā santuṣṭa-manasaḥ
sarvāḥ sukha-mayā diśaḥ

"One who does not desire anything within this world, who has achieved peace by controlling his senses, whose consciousness is equal in all conditions and whose mind is completely satisfied in Me finds only happiness wherever he goes." (S-B, 11.14.13)

When he was captured by dacoits and taken to the Deity of Kālī to be sacrificed, his angle of vision was so spacious that he did not care for anything. He thought: "Whatever is happening is the Lord's will. He is the proprietor and witness of all, and I have nothing to do with the outcome." With this idea, wherever he was taken, he went without resistance. Although he was about to be sacrificed, he was unconcerned. He thought: "I am in a friendly circle. There is no danger." He was in such a plane of consciousness that no apprehension, no danger, could affect him; he thought: "I am under Kṛṣṇa's care." And so it is proved by Jaḍa Bharata's practical example that this angle of vision is not simply philosophy or imagination. It is reality. Kṛṣṇa's divine will is in the background of everything that exists. And when one comes in connection with that paramount power, that original plane of reality, he will not have any care; he will become fearless. mayā santuṣṭa-manasaḥ sarvāḥ sukha-mayā diśaḥ." (SEOC, p 72)

When I am in a normal state, I will be able to feel that so many sweet waves are coming from all around me. mayā santuṣṭa-manasaḥ sarvāḥ sukha-mayā diśaḥ.

"For one who is satisfied in Me, then all the four directions will bring only good news to him." All waves will carry only welfare to the person who is satisfied with God alone. "I want God, His interests are my interests. He is the loving father, guardian, and friend of everyone."

Presently we are distracted with many different interests, but if we can put God's interest in the centre, then we shall be able to read that from all directions only good news is coming to me - nothing bad or unfavourable. All favourable news will come to me if I can be on that plane, if my ego can take a stand there. In that universal wave, every vibration will carry only favourable news to me. mayā santuṣṭa-manasaḥ, "He who is satisfied with Me alone, sarvāḥ sukha-mayā diśaḥ, he will see that all directions are only carrying happy news to him, cent-per-cent good news." (C, #1, Spr. '91, p 5) + (see śloka 445)

ratnāṅgadaṁ praṇaya-keli-kalā-vilāsam
śyāmaṁ tri-bhaṅga-lalitaṁ niyata-prakāśaṁ
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi

"Around His neck is a garland of forest-flowers swinging to and fro, and adorned with a peacock feather locket; His flute held in hands adorned with jewelled bracelets, He who eternally revels in Pastimes of Love, whose charming threefold curved Form, Śyāmasundara, is His Eternal Feature - that Primeval Lord Govinda do I adore." (B-S, 31)

"I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, round whose neck is swinging a garland of flowers beautified with the moon-locket, whose two hands are adorned with the flute and jewelled ornaments, who always revels in pastimes of love, whose graceful three fold bending form of Śyāmasundara is eternally manifest." (SBRBM, p 25)

alpavidyā bhayaṁkorī

There is a saying in Bengali - alpavidyā bhayaṁkorī - "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing." We must be careful about that, otherwise our attitude will be suicidal. The question of offence arises whenever primary education stands against higher education. That sort of assertion is offensive. Slow and steady wins the race. Our march towards the Infinite is a long journey, not a journey to be finished within a few hours, a few days, or a few years. And we have to adjust accordingly. It is not that we shall run quickly to make progress and then stop and sleep. It is a long way we shall have to go. We will only be successful if we develop humility. (LSFTLS, p 32) (see also śloka 522)

amāra bhakta-pūjā, amā haite bala

Worship of the devotees is the best kind of worship.
(Vedas) + (S-B, 11.19.21) + (C-Bhag) + (SP )

ādaraḥ paricaryāyāṁ,
sarvāṅgair abhivandanam
sarva-bhūteṣu man-matiḥ

Kṛṣṇa said: "My devotees take great care and respect in rendering Me service, offering obeisances with all their bodily limbs, and - above all - worshipping My devotees. They see all living entities as related to Me." (S-B. 11.19.21)

Similarly, in the Śiva-Purāṇa, it is stated that the best mode of worship is to offer oblations to Viṣṇu, but better than that is to worship the devotees of Kṛṣṇa.

So, bhakta-pūjā, worship of the devotees, is the best kind of worship. This statement is confirmed in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, in the Vedas and by Vṛndāvana Dāsa Ṭhākura in the Caitanya Bhāgavata, amāra bhakta-pūjā, amā haite bala. Bhakta- pūjā, worship of the devotees, is advocated everywhere. At the same time, we should try to understand who is a devotee. That is also to be ascertained. What is the sign of a real devotee?

Kṛṣṇa says: "Those who say they are directly devoted to Me are not devotees proper; those who are devotees of My devotees are My real devotees."

We should try to follow the principle of this saying. This is not a perverted remark, but there is some genuine reality in it. If we look for its inner meaning, we will reach the conclusion our guru mahārāja (Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākura) has announced. He said: "We are śuddha śakta, worshippers of the pure potency, not the mundane potency." We worship the potency who is wholesale dedicated to the potent without retaining Her individual independence as a separate entity at all, who is cent per cent dependent on Kṛṣṇa. Such a potency as this is very, very rarely to be conceived. The direct approach to Kṛṣṇa is improper. One must approach Him through the proper channel, through the devotees. That is the real approach. (SGAHG, p 124-5) + (see also śloka 607)

āmi - eka bātula, tumi - dvitīya bātula
ataeva tomāya āmāya ha-i sama-tula

Mahāprabhu said: "I am insane, mad, bāula - pāgala - eccentric. I am one eccentric, and you are another. Therefore, we two are of the same class."

So He told to Rāmānanda Rāya. It is not to be expressed outside - not to be divulged. Still, the bāulas, the eccentrics - so called, they cannot check their ecstasy. They express it anyway. (C-c, Madhya-līlā, 8.291) + (SS, v4, #1, '86, p2) (see also ślokas 212 & 606)

āmnāyaḥ prāha tattvaṁ harim iha paramaṁ sarva-śaktim rasābdhiṁ
tad bhinnāmśāṁś ca jīvān prakṛti-kavalitān tad vimuktāṁś ca bhāvat
bhedābheda-prakāśaṁ sakalam api hareḥ sādhanaṁ śuddha-bhaktiṁ
sādhyaṁ tat prītim evety upadiśati harir-gauracandro bhaje tam

(1) - The Vedic scriptures received through the authorised disciplic succession of bona fide spiritual masters state that:
(2) - Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Absolute Truth.
(3) - He is the source of all energies.
(4) - He is the ocean of all transcendental mellows.
(5) - The living entities are His separated parts and parcels.
(6) - Due to forgetfulness of their constitutional position, the living entities are illusioned.
(7) - By awakening their transcendental ecstatic affection and attraction for the Lord, all living souls can be liberated from illusion.
(8) - All things are one with and different from Kṛṣṇa; this oneness and difference is acintya or inconceivable.
(9) - Pure devotional service (śuddha-bhakti ) is the only means to attain the supreme goal.
(10) - The supreme goal is divine love of Kṛṣṇa.

(Daśa-mūla śloka, The ten essential principles of Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism) The above truths were taught by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. May He be worshipped by all.

Here, in one verse, Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura has given the very gist of Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava philosophy. He says: "We are not interested in the opinion of anyone ordinary: there is no value to any opinion other than what is revealed truth (āmnāya )." āmnāya means revealed truth or scripture that is coming through a reliable source: the guru-paramparā, a genuine succession of gurus.

And what do they say? They enumerate these facts: Hari is all in all (harim iha paramaṁ ). What is His nature? He is the master of all potencies (sarva-śaktim ). And He Himself is the ocean of rasa, ecstasy (rasābdhiṁ ).

And the jīva soul is not a direct part of Him, but a part of His potency (tad bhinnāmśāṁś ca jīvān ). Not a plenary portion (śvāṁśa ), but a partial portion (vibhinnāṁśa ). Everything is a part of Hari, but śvāṁśa means an avatāra and vibhinnāṁśa means a part of His potency, taṭasthā-śakti. And by nature, some souls are engrossed in the external potency, and we find some in the lap of the internal potency (prakṛti kavalitān tad vimuktāṁś ca bhāvat ). By their very existence some souls are within the svarūpa-śakti and some are outside the svarūpa-śakti. Some souls are liberated and some are nonliberated (mukta and amukta ).

Everything is a part of Hari and has something in common with Him and something different (bhedābheda-prakāśaṁ sakalam api hareḥ ). And the only means to attain Him is pure devotion, exclusive devotion (sādhanaṁ śuddha bhaktiṁ ). Hari Himself, in the form of Gauracandra, is giving us the understanding that divine love is the highest goal of life. (sādhyaṁ yat prītim evaty upadi-śati harir-gauracandro bhaje tam ). (Daśa-mūla śloka, The ten essential principles of Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism ). (LSFTLS, p 1)

caitanyacandrāya namo namas te

"He who is the embodiment of divine bliss, whose form is decorated with the symptoms of ecstasy, who appears magnificently beautiful with a complexion as splendid as gold, He who benevolently gives in charity to all the ecstatic love of Kṛṣṇa, the highest divine perfection of life, I worship Him again and again, my beloved Lord Caitanyacandra with all devotion." (C-Cand, 11) + (SBRBM, p 12).

ananyāś cintayanto māṁ,
ye janāḥ paryupāsate
teṣāṁ nityābhiyuktānāṁ,
yoga-kṣemaṁ vahāmy aham

"I personally assume the whole responsibility of acquiring and protecting the necessities of My fully dependent devotees who are always absorbed in thought of Me alone, and who worship Me exclusively in all respects." (B-g, 9.22)

Mādhavendra Purī avoided begging, being indifferent to material things. If someone offered him some food, he would eat; otherwise he would fast. He had attained the paramahaṁsa stage of ayācita-vṛtti, or ajagara-vṛtti. ayācita-vṛtti means being accustomed to refrain from begging, and ajagara-vṛtti indicates one who is compared to a big python that makes no effort to acquire food, but rather allows food to come automatically within its mouth. The paramahaṁsa is therefore called vijita-ṣaḍ-guṇa. He must conquer the six material qualities - kāma (lust), krodha (anger), lobha (greed), moha (illusion), matsara (enviousness), and kṣudhā-tṛṣṇā (hunger and thirst).

Once, Śrī Mādhavendra Purī travelled to Vṛndāvana, and went to Govardhana Hill, and then to Govinda-kuṇḍa and took his bath. He then sat beneath a tree to take his evening rest. While he was sitting there, an unknown cowherd boy came with a pot of milk, placed it before Mādhavendra Purī, and, smiling asked him to drink it. The cowherd boy asked him why he didn't beg for food, and also, what kind of meditation he was undergoing.

When he saw the beauty of that boy, Mādhavendra Purī became very satisfied, and hearing His sweet words, he forgot all hunger and thirst. Mādhavendra said: "Who are You? Where do You reside? And how did You know I was fasting?" The boy replied: "Sir, I am a cowherd boy, and I reside in this village. In My village, no one fasts. In this village a person can beg food from others and thus eat. Some people drink only milk, but if a person does not ask anyone for food, I supply him all his eatables. The women who come here to take water saw you, and they supplied Me with this milk and sent Me to you. I must go very soon to milk the cows, but I shall return and take back this milk pot from you."

Saying this, the boy left the place. Indeed, He suddenly could be seen no more, and Mādhavendra Purī's heart was filled with wonder. After drinking the milk, he washed the pot and put it aside. He watched the path, but the boy never returned. He could not sleep, and so he chanted the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, and at the end of the night he dozed a little and his external activities stopped.

Later, while travelling through Bengal, (to collect some sandalwood pulp and smear it on His Gopāla Deity to cool Him) and going into South India, Mādhavendra Purī reached Remuṇā village, where Gopīnātha is situated. In the corridor of the temple, Mādhavendra Purī chanted and danced. Later, when he sat down there, he asked a brāhmaṇa what kinds of foods they offered to the Gopīnātha Deity, so he could also offer similar foods to Śrī Gopāla.

The brāhmaṇa priest told him that in the evening the Deity is offered sweet rice in twelve earthen pots. Because the taste is as good as nectar (amṛta ), it is named amṛta-keli. Also, this sweet rice is celebrated throughout the world as gopīnātha-kṣīra, and is not offered anywhere else in the world.

While Mādhavendra Purī was talking with the brāhmaṇa priest, the sweet rice was placed before the Deity as an offering. Hearing this, Mādhavendra Purī thought to himself that if he could be given some of the sweet rice without asking for it, he could then make a similar preparation for his Lord Gopāla. He then became very ashamed when he desired to taste the sweet rice, and immediately began to think of Lord Viṣṇu. While he was thinking in this way, the offering was completed, and the ārati ceremony began. When the ārati was finished, he offered his obeisances to the Deity and then left the temple, not saying anything more to anyone. Mādhavendra Purī left the temple and sat down in the village marketplace, which was vacant. He began chanting.

In the meantime, the temple priest laid the Deity down to rest. Finishing his daily duties, the priest went to take rest. In a dream he saw the Gopīnātha Deity come to talk to him, saying: "Please get up and open the door of the temple. I have kept one pot of sweet rice for the sannyāsī Mādhavendra Purī. This pot of sweet rice is just behind My cloth curtain. You did not see it because of My tricks. A sannyāsī named Mādhavendra Purī is sitting in the vacant marketplace. Please take this pot of sweet rice from behind Me and deliver it to him."

Awaking from the dream, the priest immediately bathed and entered the Deity's room, and opened the temple door. According to Gopīnātha's directions, he found the pot of sweet rice behind the cloth curtain. He mopped up the place where it had been kept, and closing the door of the temple, went out with the pot. He then went to the village with the pot of sweet rice, and called out in search of Mādhavendra Purī. "Will he whose name is Mādhavendra Purī please come and take this pot! Gopīnātha has stolen this pot for you!"

Hearing this invitation, Mādhavendra Purī came forward and identified himself. The priest then gave him the sweet rice, falling flat before him. When the story about the pot of sweet rice was explained to him in detail, Mādhavendra Purī at once became absorbed in ecstatic love of Kṛṣṇa. Seeing this, the priest was struck with wonder, and could then understand why Kṛṣṇa had become so much obliged to him. He again offered his obeisances to Mādhavendra Purī and returned to the temple. Since then, the Gopīnātha Deity has been known as Kṣīra-corā-gopīnātha, the Deity who stole the pot of condensed milk.

Then, in ecstasy, Mādhavendra Purī ate the sweet rice, and after this he washed the pot and broke it into pieces, then bound all the pieces in his outer cloth. Each day, Mādhavendra Purī would eat one piece of that earthen pot, after which he would immediately become overwhelmed with loving ecstasy. The thought then came to him that when the local people hear of this scenario of how the Lord gave him a pot of sweet rice, there will be great crowds arriving, so he offered his obeisances to Gopīnātha on the spot and left for Remuṇā before the morning.

Hearing of these incidents, we may think that Mādhavendra Purī was greatly fortunate, Kṛṣṇa Himself came and supplied food to him. But we find higher devotion in Sanātana Goswāmī.

Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī wanted to offer his gurudeva, Śrīla Sanātana Goswāmī, some paramānna (sweet milk-rice) and so he began thinking of the necessary ingredients. A little later, a young girl, perhaps twelve or fourteen years of age, came to Rūpa Goswāmī's bhajana-kuṭīr in Kadamkhāṇḍi. She told him she had come under instruction from her parents and the villagers. She mentioned they had given her some ingredients and asked her to take them to Rūpa Goswāmī in order for him to make sweet-rice to offer to Kṛṣṇa.

Rūpa Goswāmī was suprised. He reflected: "Just this morning I wished for these things and now they have come automatically." He happily accepted the items and immediately went the kilometre or so to Sanātana Goswāmī's bhajana-kuṭīr in Nandagrām and invited him, "Prabhu, today please come to my bhajana-kuṭīr and take some Prasādam."

Sanātana Goswāmī happily accepted the invitation and so Rūpa Goswāmī made very nicely the various preparations including the sweet-rice. Sanātana Goswāmī came there around noon and he saw the many fragrant and nice preparations. While taking that Prasādam Sanātana Goswāmī thought: "This is so tasteful, I have never found such tasteful things in this world. I have passed maybe sixty years but I have never tasted such fine types of Prasādam, it must have some extraordinary origin, I wonder in what way this has been made? Rūpa, in which way did you make these preparations? The ingredients are also very expensive and difficult to obtain. How were you able to secure such things?"

Rūpa Goswāmī said: "Today in the early morning, I was thinking that if I could obtain some milk and rice I would be able to prepare some paramānna which is very dear to you. Then I would invite you to take that. Presently one girl came saying she was from the nearby village of Jāvaṭ. She came and supplied foodstuffs for cooking and asked that I prepare and offer them to Kṛṣṇa."

Śrīla Sanātana Goswāmī was a little puzzled as he knew practically every house and all the members of each family in Vraja Dhāma. Everyone considered Sanātana Goswāmī as their family judge. If any quarrel would come within a family they would consult with him and abide by his decisions. In this way he was very well known, and knew all the people, especially in Nandagrām, Jāvaṭ, and Varṣānā, etc., but Rūpa Goswāmī did not.

Sanātana enquired further to Rūpa regarding that girl and asked from which family she had come. Rūpa Goswāmī could only say: "She told me she came from Jāvaṭ, but she did not mention any particular family."

Sanātana Goswāmī then went to Jāvaṭ and enquired as to whose family had supplied such fine ingredients. Finding that the ingredients had not come from anyone's house in that village Sanātana Goswāmī could understand that Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī Herself had come and served Rūpa Goswāmī by supplying those ingredients. He was very disturbed at heart. "What is this Rūpa? My dear brother, what have you done? Oh, you have done a great wrong! It is not good to want to fulfil your wish. Did you aspire after something for me? You wanted something for me and that was supplied by Her? We are searching after Her in order to serve Her, and She came and served us? What is this? Just the opposite! We want Her so that we may serve Her, but She came and served us, and went away. This is a great misfortune." He was greatly dissatisfied and left that place with these thoughts.

Rūpa Goswāmī was also very sad and could not take that Prasādam. He thought: "I invited my guru Śrīla Sanātana Goswāmī in order to serve and satisfy him, but quite the opposite result came. He has left dissatisfied." A servant was seated in front of Rūpa Goswāmī and he witnessed the great separation and sadness that came to Rūpa Goswāmī. His sadness in the feeling of separation was so high that his body became very hot, his breathing stopped, and his hairs all stood on end. Later, with full consciousness, Rūpa Goswāmī ran after Sanātana Goswāmī to try to satisfy him.

So, we see that Kṛṣṇa Himself brought foodstuffs to Mādhavendra Purī, and that may be considered a very great fortune; yet, in this instance with Rūpa and Sanātana, a similar event occurred but was considered a grave misfortune. In the higher type of devotion there is never any desire that Kṛṣṇa or His associates will come to serve and supply us, or that He will show Himself to us. To impose our will on Him is not actual service. Whatever He likes He may do. And whatever may be necessary from us, we shall consider ourselves fortunate if we are given the chance to supply it. Exhaustively eliminating all our desires in the extreme, we are to place ourselves fully at the disposal of the command of the Supreme Lord, who is never to carry out any order or wish of ours. By nature, He is eager to supply everything to His devotees (yoga-kṣemaṁ vahāmy aham ). But the higher devotees do not like that Kṛṣṇa will supply them with anything, or that He will render service to them. (SOTGOD, v 1, p 22-25)

32 anarpita-carīṁ cirāt karuṇayāvatīrṇaḥ kalau
samarpayitum unnatojjvala-rasāṁ sva-bhakti-śriyam
hariḥ puraṭa-sundara-dyuti-kadamba-sandīpitaḥ
sadā hṛdaya-kandare sphuratu vaḥ śacī-nandanaḥ

"May that Lord, who is known as the son of Śrīmatī Śacīdevī, be transcendentally situated in the innermost chambers of your heart. Resplendent with the radiance of molten gold, He has appeared in this age of Kali by His causeless mercy to bestow what no incarnation ever offered before: the most sublime and radiant spiritual knowledge of the mellow taste of His service." (C-c, Ādi-līlā, 1.4)

In His magnanimity, Mahāprabhu offered such great things to us. He is none other than Kṛṣṇa, because no one can give such a right to anyone and everyone without being Kṛṣṇa Himself. Therefore the devotees say that He is none other than Kṛṣṇa Himself, and more - Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa combined, because He gives the highest wealth of both. Only Both combined as Dayāl Gaurāṅga are entitled to give this chance to the ordinary soul. This is inconceivable. anarpita-carīṁ cirāt karuṇayāvatīrṇaḥ kalau:

Śrī Gaurāṅgadeva descended in this Kali-yuga to give what had never been given before. (SOTGOD, v 2, p 96) + (see also śloka 133)

If Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu had not appeared in this Kali-yuga, then how could we tolerate living? Without Caitanya Mahāprabhu, how could we know that Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī stands supreme in the world of divine love? And serving those who can serve Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī is the way to approach Her vicinity. Vaiṣṇava sevā, Guru sevā, Vigraha sevā, and Nāma sevā are all recommended, but in Kali-yuga especially, the service of the Holy Name has been given as the most general approach. anarpita-carīṁ cirāt - Mahāprabhu gave that which was never distributed before. Therefore we understand that Lord Caitanya is the same full incarnation of Lord Kṛṣṇa in this age of Kali.

anartha bandhu karanaik sindhu

"How can I pass these barren days, my Lord? These unfortunate days are impossible for me to pass. Without having a peep of Your sight, I can't stand to live anymore. But You are a friend to the helpless, and You are an ocean of kindness and grace. Please consider it my Lord, how can I pass my days without You?" The normal temperament of a devotee will be like that. Separation, of course, will be encouraging. If we find a person is always feeling separation from the Lord that will be appreciated, whereas anything else should be considered abnormal and dangerous. (GOD, p 24)

he deva he dayita he bhuvanaika-bandho
he kṛṣṇa he capala he karuṇaika-sindho
he nātha he ramaṇa he nayanābhirāma
hā hā kadā nu bhavitāsi padaṁ dṛśor me

Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura says: "O my Lord! O dearest one! O only friend of the universe! O Kṛṣṇa, O restless one, O ocean of mercy! O my Lord, O my enjoyer, O beloved to my eyes! Alas, when will You again be visible to me?" (K-k, 40) + (C-c, Madhya-līlā, 2.65)

amūny adhanyāni dināntarāṇi
hare tvad ālokanam antareṇa
anātha-bandho karuṇaika-sindho
hā hanta hā hanta kathaṁ nayāmi

Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura says: "O Hari, O guardian of the shelterless, O one and only ocean of mercy, how will I pass my unblessed days and nights without a glimpse of You?" (K-k, 41) + (C-c, Madhya-līlā, 2.58)

anayārādhito nūnaṁ,
bhagavān harir īśvaraḥ
yan no vihāya govindaḥ,
prīto yām anayad rahaḥ

"O my friend! Leaving us aside, Śrī Kṛṣṇa has gone off to a secluded place with a particular gopī. She must be truly expert in worshipping (anayārādhito ) Him, for He was so pleased with Her service that He has left us all behind." (S-B, 10.30.28)

This śloka describes how, during His joyful love pastimes with all the beautiful damsels of Vraja, Kṛṣṇa specifically took one of them to a secluded bower recognising Her superlative devotion as the best of all. Exalted pure devotees have realised the significance of this līlā and have revealed that the damsel taken by Kṛṣṇa was none other than Śrī Rādhikā. They explained that the term "ārādhito" is the mystic confidential reference to the name 'Rādhā' (the personification of devotion).

This verse was spoken by the gopīs who were left behind. Understanding that their principal and peerless Goddess had enchanted Him the most, they glorified Śrī Rādhikā, their most fortunate friend, saying that Her adoration of Govinda had excelled theirs. Therefore He had chosen Her exclusively and taken Her to a lonely spot to have more intimate pastimes in Her company, leaving them all behind. (SBRBM, p 31)

aniṣṭā-saṅkīni bandhu-hṛdayāni bhavanti hi

They are together, but the apprehension that one may lose the other makes their meeting intolerably painful, just as a mother is always alert about the safety of her son, she thinks, "Oh my son is out, is he in an accident?" This fear of separation is the symptom of deep love." (TSFSK, p 146)

antaḥ kṛṣṇaṁ bahir gauraṁ,
kalau saṅkīrtanādyai sma,
kṛṣṇa-caitanyam āśritāḥ

"I take shelter of Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who is outwardly of a golden complexion, but is inwardly Kṛṣṇa Himself. In this age of Kali, He displays His expansions while performing congregational chanting of the Holy Names of Kṛṣṇa. That He is blackish within means that internally He is Kṛṣṇa; that He is golden without means that He has accepted the mood of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. In the age of Kali, that Golden Lord is seen accompanied by His expansions, associates, and intimate devotees performing saṅkīrtana." (T-S, 2) + (K-S ) + (TGVODL, p 2-3) (see also ślokas 53 & 258)

"Accompanied by His divine entourage, the Supreme Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya has appeared in all His pristine glory. In this age of Kali, we know take shelter in Him by means of the characteristic method of devotional service based on saṅkīrtana, congregational chanting of the Holy Names. Within, He is none other than Kṛṣṇa Himself, and without, He is the Golden Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya." (Śrī Jīva Goswāmī, S-J ) + (SSPJ, p 103) + (ARO, p 24)

antar-dhvānta-cayaṁ samasta-jagatām unmūlayantī haṭhāt
premānanda-rasābudhiṁ niravadhi prodvlayantībalāt
viṣvaṁ śītalayantyy atīva-vikalaṁ tāpa-trayeṇāniṣaṁ
sāsmākaṁ hṛdaye cakāstu cakitaṁ caitanyacandra-cchaṭā

"The beautiful moonlight of Caitanyacandra powerfully dissipates the darkness from the heart of the world (hṛdi jagat ). That moon continually creates tidal waves in the ocean of nectar which is the bliss of love of Kṛṣṇa and brings coolness to the universe burning day and night in the threefold miseries of material existence. May that divine moonlight continually shine in our hearts."(C-Cand, 75) + (SBRBM, p 13)

ānukūlyasya saṅkalpaḥ,
rakṣiṣyatīti viśvāso,
goptṛtve varaṇaṁ tathā.
ātma-nikṣepa kārpaṇye,
ṣaḍ-vidhā śaraṇāgatiḥ
evaṁ paryyāyataś cāsminn,

These six chapters have been compiled, each consecutively dealing with the six limbs of surrender, which are as follows: 1 - To accept everything favourable for devotion to Kṛṣṇa. 2 - To reject everything unfavourable for devotion to Kṛṣṇa. 3 - To be confident that Kṛṣṇa will grant His protection. 4 - To embrace Kṛṣṇa's guardianship. 5 - To offer oneself unto Him. 6 - To consider oneself lowly and bereft." (C-c, Madhya-līlā, 22.100 - quoted from Vaiṣṇava Tantra ) + (SSPJ, p 9-10)

Six divisions of surrender - Acceptance of the favourable, rejection of the unfavourable, the faith that 'He will surely protect me,' embracing the Lord's guardianship, complete dependence on Him, and the perception of one's utter helplessness without Him - these six are the essential limbs of exclusive surrender to the Lord (śaraṇāgati ). (SSPJ, p, p 33)

When we want to have śaraṇāgati, to take shelter under His feet (that is also analysed in six ways); What is that surrender? How to taste it? And, who are the other stalwarts that came this way? How they dealt? What was their character? What was their movement? We take encouragement from that, that unknown, wholesale giving! Unknown? What unknown path? There are so many helpers, light-houses. The light-houses are there - stalwarts! Looking at them, we shall make progress on that way. How giving, we shall live. Give - and live. (SS, v 3, # 1, '85, p 9) + (see also śloka 229)

śīlanaṁ bhaktir uttamā

"One should render transcendental loving service to the Supreme Lord Kṛṣṇa favourably and without desire for material profit or gain through fruitive activities or philosophical speculation. That is called pure devotional service." (B-r-s, 1.1.11) + (S-B, 11.21.11, purport) + (C-c, Madhya-līlā, 19-167)

"If anyone wishes to execute pure unalloyed devotional service without desire for material gain, he must be freed from all kinds of contamination. He must be freed especially from the association of persons who are addicted to fruitive activities and mental speculation." (SS, v2, #1, '84, p 4) + (see also śloka 458)

"Pure devotional service is the favourable cultivation of Kṛṣṇa consciousness free from all traces of ulterior motives, such as karma, self-promoting activities, jñāna, mental achievement, and so on." Bhakti, devotion, must be free from any fleeting desires (anyābhilāṣa ), such as karma - the organised attempt for self elevation - and jñāna, the attempt to depend on our own ability, knowledge, and consciousness to reach the ultimate goal. To attempt to put one's own self as the subject, to become the judge of one's own fate - that is jñāna. Here ādi means yoga and other external things. These are all overcoatings (āvṛtam ). In the soul proper, however, these elements are not found. The soul is an eternal slave of Kṛṣṇa (kṛṣṇa-nitya-dāsa )." (LSFTLS, p 13)

Anyābhilāṣa is the layer of random, fleeting desires or the whims of every individual. Within the relativity of revealed truth, the path of karma which is recommended while catering for our present stage, produces a mixture. A certain percentage of devotion may be present in us, but it is mixed with the objects of this mundane world. Then above karma is jñāna: 'We can perceive the mortality of this world, so we should not keep any connection with such a world of death; we must rise above it, otherwise we cannot be happy.' Both jñāna and yoga come forward with this proposal to somehow escape from the difficulty of death. To drive away death should be the be-all and end-all of life, and we must be saved from the clutches of death, the chains of mortality. But all these things are merely to get out of the negative side. The word ādi (etc.) signifies yoga and śaithilya, our idleness and apathy. And ānukūlyena-kṛṣṇānuśīlanaṁ indicates 'not prātikūlya' or 'not that which is undesirable,' so cultivation of Kṛṣṇa means the Service of Kṛṣṇa. Our normal relation with our higher existence can only be that of service, not otherwise. So somehow we must take that path, and progress. To begin with it may be calculative but it will come to an automatic stage. We will find it within ourselves - spontaneously. (SCS, p 38-9)

āpana galāra mālā sabākāre diyā,
ajña kareṇa gaura-hari kṛṣṇa kaha giyā
ki bhojane ki śayane kibā jāgaraṇe,
aharniśa cinta kṛṣṇa balaha badane
yadi āmāra prati sneha thāke sabākara,
kṛṣṇa binā keha kichu na balibe āra
jagatera pitā kṛṣṇa ye na bhaje bāpa,
pitṛ-drohī pātakīra janme janme tāpa

"Blessing everyone with affection and placing His own flower garlands around their necks, Śrī Gaura Hari instructed them to return to their homes and fully engage in the service and worship of Kṛṣṇa with all devotion. He said: "Always engage in thinking, remembering, hearing and speaking about Kṛṣṇa in all situations, whether awake or sleeping, eating or resting. If you have affection for Me, please promise that you will never cultivate anything other than Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa is the benevolent father and supreme cause of the whole universe and all beings. One who deliberately avoids worshipping his own transcendental father, is considered most fallen and suffers birth after birth." (C-B, Mad, 28, 25-28) + (SBRBM, p 16) + (see also śloka 171)

apareyam itas tv anyāṁ,
prakṛtiṁ viddhi me parām
jīva-bhūtāṁ mahā-bāho,
yayedaṁ dhāryate jagat

"O mighty hero, Arjuna, this worldly nature known as external, is inferior. But distinct from this nature, you should know My marginal potency, comprised of the individual souls, to be superior. This world is accepted by this superior conscious potency as an object of exploitation for sense enjoyment, by the agency of each individual's fruit-hunting actions and reactions. The divine world emanates from My internal potency and the mundane world from My external potency. The potency of the living beings is known as marginal, on account of their medial adaptability - they may choose to reside either in the mundane plane or the divine." (B-g, 7.5)

(Question): "In Bhagavad-gītā, Kṛṣṇa says jīva-bhūtāṁ mahā-bāho yayedaṁ dhāryate jagat: the spiritual energy is sustaining this material world. How are we to understand this?

(Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja): The misguided souls of this world are from taṭastha-loka, the marginal plane, and misguided by misconception they have come within this illusory angle of vision. Kṛṣṇa says this world is dead matter. The souls entered here and movement came. They entered into this material conception and began moving it. In that sense, they are sustaining the universe, yayedaṁ dhāryate jagat. But ultimately everything is sustained by Him." (B-g, 7.5)+(SEOC, p 73-4)+(see also ślokas 14, 603)

api cet sudurācāro,
bhajate mām ananya-bhāk
sādhur eva sa mantavyaḥ,
samyag vyavasito hi saḥ

"If even a person of extremely abominable practices, abandoning all nondevotional pursuits of exploitation and renunciation engages in My exclusive and uninterrupted devotional service, he is venerable as a true saint because he has embraced the revolutionary plane of life. " (B-g, 9.30)

The generally accepted meaning of this verse is: "Even if one commits the most abominable action, if he is an ananya-bhāk devotee who worships Me alone in devotional service which is free from karma and jñāna, he is to be considered saintly because his endeavours are completely on My behalf and his determination is fixed."

Here, Kṛṣṇa says: "Whatever he has done, if he is exclusively given to Myself, he should be considered as My devotee. samyag vyavasito hi saḥ. And whatever he is doing is cent per cent right." But then the next passage says kṣipraṁ bhavati dharmātmā: "Very soon he will be a man of righteousness; he will become dharmātmā - dutiful."

Once, Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura had a dream in which he was wandering in the sky chanting the Holy Name, at his sweet will. Suddenly he found that he was just near Yamālaya where Yama, the lord of death, holds court for judging the sinners of this world. He came upon the court of Yamarāja, where Yamarāja himself was sitting with Brahmā, Nārada, and others discussing the meaning of two verses spoken by Śrī Kṛṣṇa in Bhagavad-gītā (9.30-31); but they could not solve the problem of discerning the proper meaning of the ślokas.

As Yamarāja, Brahmā, and Nārada discussed this point, a question came up. Kṛṣṇa says: bhajate mām ananya-bhāk - "One who is My exclusive devotee." The question arises: "What is exclusive devotion or ananya-bhajana ?" Kṛṣṇa says: "Give up all other religious conceptions and surrender unto Me alone." sarva dharmān parityajya, māṁ ekaṁ śaranaṁ vraja - (śloka 434). That is exclusive devotion. But if one is practising exclusive devotion, then he is already dharmātmā, he is already righteous. How is it then that in the very next verse, Kṛṣṇa says: "Soon he becomes dharmātmā ?" How are we to adjust to this? Kṛṣṇa says:

kṣipram bhavati dharmātmā,
śaśvac-chāntiṁ nigacchati
kaunteya pratijānīhi,
na me bhaktaḥ pranaśyati

"He soon becomes righteous (dharmātmā ) and attains lasting peace. O son of Kuntī, declare it boldly that My devotee never perishes." (B-g, 9.31)

This is the general meaning of this verse. Kṛṣṇa tells Arjuna: "He soon becomes dharmātmā. My devotee is never ruined. Go and declare this to the public." Kṛṣṇa says that after the devotee became ananya-bhāk - that is, he gave up all sorts of duties and surrendered to Kṛṣṇa - then again he will be a dutiful man.

As Brahmā, Nārada, and Yamarāja discussed this point, they saw Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura walking in the sky and taking the Holy Name. Then one of them suggested: "There is a pure devotee. He should be able to give the real meaning." Then Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura was invited in their midst and was asked: "How shall we adjust these points? Kṛṣṇa has said that this person is an exclusive devotee, that he has renounced all sorts of duties and surrendered to Kṛṣṇa. And yet, in no time it will be seen that he is very dutiful. How can we understand this?"

Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura explained that "he quickly becomes righteous" refers not to the exclusive devotee, but to one who considers the exclusive devotee pure in all circumstances. "Even if he performs some abominable act, he is really a sādhu, a saint." One who can think of an exclusive devotee in that way will soon become dharmātmā. This was Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura's explanation.

In this way, in my commentary on Bhagavad-gītā, I have followed Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura's explanation. I also saw that it was redundant to say that an ananya-bhāk devotee becomes dharmātmā. Kṛṣṇa says that an exclusive devotee should be thought of as a sādhu, and honest man. One who says that an exclusive devotee, a surrendered soul to Kṛṣṇa, should be thought of as pure whatever be his external practices - the man who is making this remark - he becomes righteous. This is the proper conclusion. What he says is cent per cent truth. And the next thing Kṛṣṇa says is that he who can remark in such a way will be purified very soon.

Kṛṣṇa says that by such appreciation of the exclusive devotee, a person will soon come to his eternal duty and attain eternal peace. "So I ask you, O son of Kuntī, Arjuna, to go and promise in public that My exclusive devotee will never be lost." (kaunteya pratijānīhi, na me bhaktaḥ pranaśyati ). Then you will get the benefit of the man whose remark improves his life.

Otherwise, why should Kṛṣṇa tell Arjuna: "Make a public announcement that My devotee is never ruined." What effect will there be for Arjuna? But one who declares: "an exclusive devotee of Kṛṣṇa is saintly no matter what he does" soon becomes righteous. If Arjuna declares this, he will become dharmātmā. He will get the benefit. So Kṛṣṇa tells him: "You make this remark. Take a bold step; take a risk and make this remark. Then you will also get that benefit I have described." Of course, Arjuna is a parṣada, an eternal associate of Kṛṣṇa, but using him as an example, Kṛṣṇa tells him: "You do it." Arjuna has taken the position of an enquirer independent of his parṣada character.

When I was publishing my commentary on Bhagavad-gītā, a godbrother once told me: "If you give such an explanation, then in the name of ananya-bhāk-bhakti, exclusive devotion, less advanced devotees will take advantage of this. What you are revealing here is a very hidden meaning. It is not meant for the public. It is a confidential point. api cet sudurācāro, bhajate mām ananya-bhāk, sādhur eva: 'He may be the worst debauchee in his outer life. But if he is ananya-bhāk, a surrendered soul, he should be considered a really honest man.' If you explain things according to your interpretation, everyone will say, 'Oh, I am an ananya-bhāk devotee' and they will go on with their debauchery. So please don't express this interpretation of yours so explicitly."

But I published my commentary over this objection because the principle underlying this verse is an important one. One who has surrendered to Kṛṣṇa is accepted as His own. And just a Kṛṣṇa has rights over everything and is never a trespasser, so His own man should never be considered a trespasser at any time. This is confirmed elsewhere, in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.29.34): ātmā bhūyāya ca kalpate (see śloka 68): "My devotee belongs to Me." So one who works by inspiration from Kṛṣṇa should never be considered a trespasser. He can enjoy anything on Kṛṣṇa's behalf if he is really a surrendered soul. He should be considered as Kṛṣṇa's. He has free access to everything that belongs to Kṛṣṇa. But some objected, saying: "Don't be so broad in your interpretation. If you do so, then the people at large will do abominable things in the name of pure devotion. They will say: "Oh, I am a Vaiṣṇava. I am acyuta-gotra, I am one of Kṛṣṇa's men. What is His property is mine. I can enjoy everything."

Then of course the question comes: "How do we recognise ananya-bhāk-bhakti, exclusive devotion? The real trouble is here. Merely professing that I am a pure devotee won't do. Rather, a real devotee will think: "I am not a real devotee." That will be his understanding, his inner feeling. Exclusive devotion is not a small thing. A genuine devotee thinks: "I can't be an ananya-bhāk-bhakta. I have not attained that stage. It is very difficult. Rather I am going away from that." That will be the general tenor of his attitude.

What to speak of lesser devotees, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī Herself says: "People associate Me with Kṛṣṇa. They say that I have an illicit connection with Kṛṣṇa. But what they say is all false. My grief is that I could not give My entire heart to Kṛṣṇa. I cannot say that I am completely His. My internal trouble is that I could not become wholly His and they falsely think that I am. I have no objection to becoming fully His, even to having an illicit connection with Him; but that I can't become so, this is My great fault."

That will be the general attitude of a real ananya-bhāk-bhakta. Just the opposite tendency will come. The fact is that one who has accepted Kṛṣṇa exclusively has no taste for any other thing, so really he is not durācāra - he is not capable of acting in an abominable way. Internally he is always connected with Kṛṣṇa. In external life he is indifferent. So what he is doing is not done by him. One who acts in that plane of reality may destroy thousands of universes, but does not do anything (hatvāpi sa imāḹ lokān na hanti na nibadhyate (B-g, 18.17) "One who acts in that plane of reality may destroy thousands of universes, but he does not do anything. He is acting in the transcendental plane." (see śloka 175). He is not to be seen in terms of what is good or bad in the calculation of this world. He is absent here. (SEOC, p 126-131) + (SOTGOD, v 1, p 77-79)

"If a person serves Me with heart exclusively devoted, even if his practices are abominable he is to be revered as a true saint (sādhu ), because his life's resolve is perfect in all respects."

By the potency of the purging effect of devotion for Kṛṣṇa, glaring inauspicious traits may arise in the character of a person who is exclusively devoted to the service of the Lord. Although such faults may seem to be abominable, they are not condemnable as born of evil motivations (as in a non-devotee). On the contrary, due to the natural, marvellous pristine glory of his exclusive devotion (ananya-bhajana ), that devotee is to be known as a true saint. (SSPJ, p 154)

aprākṛta-deha tomāra 'prākṛta' kabhu naya

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said: "Sanātana, you are a Vaiṣṇava. Your body is not defective. Kṛṣṇa is testing Me. I am a sannyāsī, and He is examining whether there is any partiality in My dealings with a Vaiṣṇava simply because of his externally having so many sores. He is examining whether I will shrink from the association of such a Vaiṣṇava and cast him aside. But your body is already pure, and only for the purpose of testing the public, Kṛṣṇa has created this; and if I cannot see this, I will have failed His test and will have been deceived by Kṛṣṇa. It is a mere show, it is nothing; your body is pure because you are a Vaiṣṇava, a devotee of Kṛṣṇa. This impurity is only an appearance in order to serve Kṛṣṇa's divine purpose. Wherever there is Vaiṣṇavatā, true saintly devotedness, there can never be any contamination. Only to test My devotion has Kṛṣṇa sent you to Me in this condition." So Mahāprabhu embraced him and demonstrated that he was absolutely pure.

Whether externally pure or impure, the whole principle is that our exclusive devotion for Kṛṣṇa is the only necessity. In the ordinary sense, the gopīs are also sinners. They crossed the laws of society and the śāstras, so they are 'sinners.' But they hold the highest position of purity by their exclusive devotedness to Kṛṣṇa and no other. They cannot help but serve Kṛṣṇa cent-per-cent, even at the risk of crossing the entire code of morality. They are considered to be the highest devotional ideal. But that sort of devotion is not so cheap that everyone will go on with their activities in this world, taking advantage of such ideals. That won't do. The real measure of devotion must be there, not that anyone may do anything passing in the name of pure devotion, like the prākṛta-sahajiyās. That can't be allowed. (SOTGOD, v1, p85-6)+see śloka 335.

prabhu kahe – vaiṣṇava-deha 'prākṛta' kabhu naya
'aprākṛta' deha bhaktera 'cid-ānanda-maya'
dīkṣā-kāle bhakta kare ātma-samarpaṇa
sei-kāle kṛṣṇa tāre kare ātma-sama
sei deha kare tāra cid-ānanda-maya
aprākṛta-dehe tāṅra caraṇa bhajaya

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said: "The body of a devotee is never material. It is considered to be transcendental, full of spiritual bliss. At the time of initiation, when a devotee fully surrenders unto the service of the Lord, Kṛṣṇa accepts him to be as good as Himself. When the devotee's body is thus transformed into spiritual existence, the devotee, in that transcendental body, renders service to the lotus feet of the Lord." (C-c, Antya-līlā, 4.191-3)

Śrīla Sanātana Goswāmī contracted sores all over his body due to the contact of bad water in the jungle, when he was returning from Vṛndāvana to Purī. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu used to welcome him by embracing him, but Sanātana would try to withdraw. He objected: "Don't touch me! This is the body of a sinful man." The sores were oozing and emitting a bad odour, but Mahāprabhu embraced him forcibly. Sanātana had decided: "I shall either leave this place or I shall invite death by falling under the wheel of the cart of Lord Jagannātha." But as the Lord in the heart of all, Mahāprabhu knew Sanātana's mind. He chastised him, and embraced him, forcibly. All the sores disappeared, and Sanātana's body immediately became like gold.

aprārabdha-phalaṁ pāpaṁ
kūṭaṁ bījaṁ phalonmukham
krameṇaiva pralīyeta

"The four types of sin known as aprārabdha, kūṭa, bīja and phalonmukha are gradually eradicated for persons exclusively attached to Devotion for the Supreme Lord Viṣṇu." (B-r-s )

Prārabdha is the karma or action which has been attached to be enjoyed or suffered in this body; and aprārabdha is that which is deposited to be experienced in the future. Prārabdha means 'that which has already begun,' and aprārabdha is 'that which has been reserved for the future.' The stages of progress from manifest to unmanifest are classified in three: kūṭaṁ, bījaṁ and phalonmukham. We can find this discussed in detail by Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī, with various scriptural quotations, in his Śrī-Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu. Kūṭam means 'the undetectable portion of our past action.'

We cannot read the actions and results contained there, present in a microscopic way. They are undetectable to us. So kūṭam is that which is undetectable, like a plane of action, that will gradually manifest and demand its satisfaction. Bījam or 'seed' means something which is more detectable, more clear. We can identify a particular seed and know which type of plant it will produce; and phalonmukham refers to actions that are waiting to achieve their realisation very soon. They are demanding.

In the stage of prārabdha, the previous actions have reached their satisfaction in this body. These are the divisions. The general Vedic scholars are of the opinion that prārabdha or that which has already begun to be experienced in this body cannot be changed. It is out of hand. And reactions that are reserved for the future may be finished by our good activity, and we may not have to undergo them.

But the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava school says that this prārabdha can also be removed. What is already destined to be experienced in this body can also be removed by Harināma, and by no other means. Only Kṛṣṇa-nāma, Harināma, can purify one from that which is already begun to be experienced in this body. He may be purified. A śūdra or mleccha properly taking Harināma may be converted into Brāhmanism. It is possible by Harināma. The Gauḍīya school has given quotations from different places, and by analysis of the meaning of those quotations (see śloka's 90 and 586) it holds that one may be freed from the prārabdha-karma which has already begun to be experienced in this life. (SOTGOD, v 2, p 154-6)

ārādhanānām sarveśāṁ,
viṣṇor ārādhanaṁ param
tasmāt parataraṁ devi,
tadīyānām samārcanam

Once, Pārvatī-devī asked Lord Śiva: "Of all kinds of worship, whose worship is best?" Then Lord Śiva told Her plainly, "The worship and devotional service of Lord Nārāyaṇa, Viṣṇu, is the highest." Then Pārvatī became a little mortified and disappointed thinking: "But I am serving Śiva, so I hold a lower position. But higher than the worship of Nārāyaṇa is worship of the devotees of Lord Nārāyaṇa. That is even greater than devotion to the Lord Himself." Then, Pārvatī smiled, thinking: "Then I am serving the devotee of the Lord. Śiva is a devotee: So I am doing the best thing." (P P ) + (SGAHG, p 122-123) + (see also śloka 607)

āra saba mare akāraṇa

"Others, who have not yet been able to tie themselves with the Holy Feet of their guardian or guru are in an uncertain position, and they may be deviated by any agent. Their future is deplorable." (Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākura)

If through our śraddhā we can have a real ideal in life and acquire a real guardian, then certainly our future is ensured practically. Our daily duty will be towards our guardian, our gurudeva, and all other duties will be automatically accomplished. So to run throughout the length and breadth of this wide world, this land where nothing but various types of exploitation and various planes are existing, is to run as a ship without a rudder that can be swept away by seastorm this side and that, endlessly, without purpose. It is through śraddhā that we can connect with our highest goal of our achievement and fulfilment. This matter must be solved. Then, real life begins. (SOTGOD, v 2, p 84) + (see śloka 60)

arcayam eva haraye,
pūjām yaḥ śraddhāyehate
na tad-bhakteṣu cānyeṣu,
sa bhaktaḥ prākṛtaḥ smṛtaḥ

"A devotee who faithfully worships the Deity, but does not properly respect the Vaiṣṇavas or the people in general is called a materialistic devotee, and is considered to be in the lowest position of devotional service." (S-B, 11.2.47) + (SGAHG, p 62)

īśvare tad-adhīneṣu,
bāliśeṣu dviṣatsu ca
yaḥ karoti sa madhyamaḥ

"The devotee in the intermediate stage of devotional service is called a madhyama-adhikārī. He loves the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is a sincere friend to all the devotees of the Lord, shows mercy to the innocent and disregards the envious." (S-B, 11.2.46) + (SGAHG, p 62) + (see śloka 190)

sarva bhūteṣu yaḥ paśyed,
bhagavad bhāvam ātmanaḥ
bhūtāni bhagavaty ātmany,
eṣa bhāgavatottamaḥ

"The first class devotee sees Kṛṣṇa in everything, and everything within Kṛṣṇa." (S-B, 11.2.45) + (SGAHG, p 63) + (see śloka 433)

These are three stages of devotees. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu explains these three stages in terms of those devotees who chant the Holy Name of Kṛṣṇa. One who has even once heard or uttered the Holy Name of the Lord may be considered a third class devotee. One who chants the Name with faith is an intermediate devotee. And the first class devotee is so powerful that whoever sees him will feel the tendency to chant the Holy Name of Kṛṣṇa. That is the nature of the highest kind of devotee.

The second class devotee may have some mundane touch, but he deprecates this completely and fully attends his spiritual realisation. He is fully engrossed in spiritual life. His attraction for Godhead is there, but he has not fully escaped from the influence of māyā, or illusion. Although he is weak, still his attempt to help others is laudable. He has not completely disassociated himself from his mundane nature, but he is conquering it gradually. He is gaining battle after battle and moving towards Kṛṣṇa consciousness. He has good will. He is a preacher. He has reached the stage just before he finally disassociates himself from this world, takes his final leave, and enters the spiritual world.

The neophyte devotee may go to the temple and worship there, strictly following the rules of the scriptures, but as soon as he is outside the temple, he may do anything and everything. In his relationship with others, he may not deal in a spiritual way; scriptural dictations have only a partial influence over him. In his dealings with others, he may have no spiritual principles at all. But the intermediate devotee applies the principles of the scriptures in his ordinary life. From the point of view of the scriptures, he considers who he should make friends with, what sort of trade he should accept for his livelihood, and how he should select his friends.

When a devotee's social life is also affected and controlled by his spiritual principles, he becomes a second class devotee. When he adopts such a form of life, he is fit to help others. He won't be affected by foreign, unfavourable association, and because he has already practised and is settled in that form of life, he knows how to deal with others and keep up his spiritual vitality. Because he has practised in that way, he can be eligible to initiate disciples. He is qualified to help others because he has already transformed himself in his dealings with the outside environment. He can keep up his standard by fighting with the agents of māyā. He has already proved that he has kept up his spiritual position, so he can be relied upon and entrusted with the power of ācārya.

Still there is another standpoint by which the qualifications of a devotee have been expressed to us in the revealed scriptures. One whose reliance, regard, and faith is in the śāstra, who attentively observes all the rules and regulations and practices that are found in the scriptures, whose practices and social activities are coloured by his faith in God, is an intermediate devotee. And one who acts according to his faith in Kṛṣṇa, in every stage, whatever circumstances there may be is a first class devotee. His faith in Kṛṣṇa is his main guidance. In whatever circumstances he may be in, with body, mind, and soul, in thought, word, and deed, in every way, he does everything for the service of Kṛṣṇa. He is the topmost devotee of Kṛṣṇa. So, from these different standpoints the stages of a devotee, a servant of Kṛṣṇa, have been expressed to us in the scriptures. (SGAHG, p 62-65)

prema-dhāma-devam eva naumi gaura-sundaram

"Śrī Gaurāṅgadeva soothed and pacified His devotees who were heartbroken due to the painful experience of His long separation and forgave many offensive anxiety ridden persons such as Cāpāla Gopāla and others. Overwhelmed with wonderful attraction He joyfully began to run towards Vṛndāvana, the abode of Kṛṣṇa. An ocean of people followed in His wake up to Rāmakeli where He was attracted by His two eternal associates Rūpa and his elder brother Sanātana, to whom He expressed His deep affection. I sing with joy the unending glories of my golden Lord Gaurasundara, the beautiful divine abode of pure love." (PDDS, 35) + (SBRBM, p 10)

artheṣu abhijñaḥ svarāṭ

"Only He knows what is what, and He is the Absolute Autocrat." (S-B, 1.1.1) + (see śloka 197)

Don't go to calculate the transcendental truth by the objective process. The factor of His will can never be eliminated, and that is the real factor. If you approach to calculate about Him, the most realistic thought you must keep in your mind is that it depends on His Supreme Will. He is abhijña, omniscient, and svarāṭ, fully independent. Only He knows what is what and what should be what. It is His monopoly, within His fist. You may conjecture so many alternatives, but to no avail. He knows what He will do; and at the same time, He is not under any obligation to anyone. He cannot be compelled to give any explanation for His deeds. Only He knows what is what, and He is the Absolute Autocrat. (artheṣu abhijñaḥ svarāṭ ) He does not care for the consideration of others. If we approach Him with this kind of understanding and impression, we must advance towards the divine realm. (SOTGOD, v 1, p 160) + (see also śloka 10)

artho 'yaṁ brahma sūtrānāṁ,
gāyatrī bhāṣya rūpo 'sau,
vedārthaḥ paribriṁhitaḥ

"Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam represents the real purport of Vedānta-sūtra. And although it is very difficult to draw out the real purpose of the one hundred thousand verse epic Mahābhārata, the great history of the world, Śrīmad Bhāgavatam has come to give its real meaning. The mother of all Vedic knowledge is the Gāyatrī mantra. Śrīmad Bhāgavatam gives the gist of Gāyatrī in a very full-fledged way. And the supplementary truths of the Vedas are also found within Śrīmad Bhāgavatam." (GP )

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said to Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya: "The sūtras or codes of Vedānta are lustrous in themselves. They are self-evident. The proper reading of the sūtras leads towards Parabrahman, Kṛṣṇa." Therefore, Vedānta must be explained in the line of truth which has been expressed in the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. Only then can the real meaning be understood. (TGVODL, p 14-15) + (see also śloka 71)

The wonderful development may be traced in gāyatrī. In a nutshell - how, from the beginning, we can reach the highest zenith. Gāyatrī, praṇava oṁkara also. Oṁ is the seed of gāyatrī. There, the meaning is "Yes!" I thought: "How? Why?" (about spirit), and then, in one word, the answer - "Yes!" That can be the seed of the highest good. How is that possible? "Yes!" Yes is the word that contains the highest good. That means, our inner quest. Everyone has got an inner search, they are searching for something - for happiness, pleasure, rāsa, ānandam. And, in one word - "What you are searching for? Yes! It is! It is!" In one word - the answer. The whole Vedic truth, revealed truth in its most concise form - it becomes "Yes." That is a general reply to everyone. "What you are searching for? That is, yes, that is; now, go on searching!" Encouragement, "Yes!" and from there, gāyatrī comes. artho 'yaṁ brahma sūtrānāṁ.

In this material plane, if you adopt this process, gāyatrī will take you to the zenith of your hankering. And from the Veda it is coming to Bhāgavatam. Veda means Upaniṣad (and Bhagavad-gītā is Gītopaniṣad ). Search after the central thing by knowing which everything will be known, and by getting which everything will be attained. That is the beginning, and that is the fulfilment of life, according to the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: The ripe fruit, the rasam, the līlā - the pastimes in the centre. That is the acme of all our achievements. That section of pastimes of the Absolute - that is the goal. To understand, to participate and to be conscious of the fact. And for that - "Yes!" from "Yes", it is going to the rasa. rasa generally means dancing; this rasa of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, dancing is going on. In the beginning, "Yes." What you are searching for - it is! It exists! And what is that? Come to enquire and gradually, you will get. And gāyatrī, in a nutshell, the connecting thread from the lowest to the highest - gāyatrī -then Purāṇa, this Śrīmād-Bhāgavatam. (SS, v 4, # 1, '86, p 7-8) + (see also śloka 100)

The meaning of the brahma gāyatrī must bring us to the conclusion of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. The gāyatrī mantra and the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam are one and the same. It is the very gist of the Vedānta-sūtra. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the elaborate commentary of gāyatrī. The meaning of the gāyatrī-mantra must be in the line of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. If we analyse how this is possible, we shall uncover the steps leading the gāyatrī-mantra to the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.

What is the meaning of gāyatrī ? The word gāyatrī is a combination of two Sanskrit words: gānat (what is sung) and trāyate (gives deliverance). This means: "A kind of song by which we can get our salvation, relief, emancipation." Gāyatrī is known as veda-mātā, the mother of the Vedas. And Gāyatrī has produced the whole Veda. If we examine the Vedic conclusion from its most condensed aphorism to its most extensive expression, we shall find that it begins with oṁkara: the Vedic symbol oṁ. That truth is expressed as the gāyatrī-mantra, then it appears in the form of the Vedas, and then as the Vedānta-sūtra. Finally, the Vedic conclusion is given its fullest expression in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Since the meaning, the purpose of Vedic knowledge progresses in this line, the gāyatrī-mantra must contain within it the meaning of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam - that is, that the Kṛṣṇa conception of Godhead is the highest.

This must be the meaning of the gāyatrī-mantra, but the problem is how to extract Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam - the Kṛṣṇa conception - from within the womb of gāyatrī. I heard that Jīva Goswāmī has given such an interpretation, but I could not find where it is written. I heard that he has given the meaning of gāyatrī leading to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Anyhow, the tendency awakened in me to draw the meaning to the Kṛṣṇa conception.

The general meaning of gāyatrī is "that song which grants liberation." Liberation must have some positive meaning. Liberation means not freedom from the negative side, but positive attainment. This is the definition given in Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: muktir hitvānyathā rūpaṁ svarūpena vyavaṣthiḥ - unless and until we attain the highest possible positive position, real mukti, real salvation, has not been effected. Mere withdrawal from the negative plane cannot be called liberation. Hegel has said that the object of our life is self-determination. We must determine our normal function in the organic whole - not mere emancipation from the negative side, but participation in a positive function in the domain of service. This is considered to be the highest attainment of life. This is the real meaning of gāyatrī. The word gāyatrī comes from two Sanskrit roots: gānat and trāyate. Trāyate means positive attainment to the final stage (sva-rūpena vyavaṣthiḥ ). And gānat means not mere sound, but musical sound. That musical sound which grants us the highest positive deliverance indicates the saṅkīrtana of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and the flute song of Kṛṣṇa.

The purport of the brahma-gāyatrī mantra is as follows: The first word is oṁ. Oṁ is the seed mantra which contains everything within it. The next word is bhūr. Bhūr is where we are - Bhū-loka - the world of our experience. The next word is bhuvaḥ. Bhuvar-loka is the world of mental acquisition in the mental plane, our karmic mentality of sensual predilection. It is the support, the background of our experience. Our present position of experience is the effect of our mental acquisition. That we are here in the world of experience is not an accident; we have acquired this position by our previous karma. The physical sphere, this present world of experience, is only the product, the outcome of our previous mental impulses. And the subtle world of previous karma, the mental sphere, is known as Bhuvar-loka.

The next word in the mantra is svaḥ. Above Bhuvar-loka is Sva-loka. The mental world (Bhuvar-loka) means acceptance and rejection: what to do and what not to do - "I like this, I don't like that." Sva-loka, however, is the plane of decision, the world of intelligence (Buddhiloka), the intellectual plane. svaḥ means buddhiloka, the plane of fine decision, the choice of movement up or down, the faculty of reason. Our intelligence tells us: "You may like this, but don't do that, for then you will be the loser." That plane, the plane of reason, is known as Sva-loka. In this way, this material world is composed of three general layers, bhūr, the physical world, bhuvaḥ, the mental world, and svaḥ, the intellectual world.

Of course, a more detailed analysis will reveal seven layers: Bhūr, Bhuvaḥ, Svaḥ, Mahā, Jana, Tapa, and Satyaloka: The mundane world of seven planes, up to Satyaloka, where resides Lord Brahmā, and those saints, the Four Kumāras. Then Virajā River, equipoised verge of negative side; Then Brahmāloka, equipoised verge of positive world; Then the world of reality, dedication, loving service, the soul's nature proper in the Śivaloka residence. Then further to Vaikuṇṭha, Ayodhya, Dvārakā, then Mathurā and finally Vṛndāvana, Kṛṣṇaloka. These are the planes of life in the material negative side, as explained in detail by Śrīla Sanātana Goswāmī in his Bṛhad-Bhāgavatāmṛtam. Here, these seven strata have been summarised in three planes of existence: physical, mental, and intellectual. In this way, this material world is composed of three general layers, Bhūr, Bhuvaḥ, and Svaḥ, and these three planes of existence have been summarised and reduced to one entity, in a word, tat.

The next word in the brahma-gāyatrī is savitur. Savitur means the sun, which illuminates all objects. The word savitur, generally means sūrya, the sun. And the sun means, figuratively, that which shows or illuminates; that by which we can see. The three gross and subtle strata within this world are shown to us by a particular thing, savitur. What is that? The soul. Actually, the world is not shown to us just by the sun, but by the soul also, the observer, he's the subject. What really gives us perception and allows us to see gross things? It is not actually the sun that helps us to see; we see with the help of the soul. This is found in Bhagavad-gītā, (13.34). (see śloka 599). The soul reveals this world to us just as the sun does, and can show colour to our eyes, the ear can reveal the sound world, and the hand can reveal the touch world. But really in the centre is the soul. It is the soul who gives light to this world, who gives us an understanding of the environment, the world of perception. All perception is possible only because of the soul. Here, the word savitur, which generally means sun, can only mean soul, for the soul, like the sun, shows us everything.

All seven strata of our existence - represented by bhūr, the physical plane, bhuvaḥ, the mental plane, and svaḥ, the intellectual plane - have here been reduced to one entity: tat - "that." "That" is shown by the sun, which in this context indicates the soul. Here soul means individual soul. The individual soul is the cause of his world. Not that the mind is in the world, but the world is in the mind. The Irish philosopher and Anglican bishop George Berkeley (1685-1753) has said that the world is in the mind. Here it is being expressed that everything is seen with the help of the sun. If there is no sun, everything is dark - nothing can be seen. So without light, nothing can be seen. And in a higher sense, light means the soul. The soul is the subject and the soul's object is the seven planes of experience within this world. Bhūr, Bhuvaḥ, Svaḥ, Mahā, Jana, Tapa, and Satyaloka.

The next word in the gāyatrī mantra is varenyaṁ, meaning pūjya: worshippable, venerable. Indicating that although within this plane, the objective world, the soul is the subject, there is another domain which is to be venerated and worshipped by the soul. Above the soul, which is more subtle than the soul, higher than the subject, is the Super-subject, Supersoul area, the abode of the super-subjective plane. That worshippable plane of transcendental existence is known as bhargo, bhargo means the super-subjective area, the area of the Supersoul. This is mentioned in the first verse of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam: dhāmnā svena sadā nirasta-kuhakaṁ satyaṁ paraṁ dhīmahi (see ślokas 121 & 197).

Śrīla Vyāsadeva says that here he is going to deal with another world whose pristine glory is so great that by its own ray, all misconceptions are brushed aside. The subject is the soul, and its object is all these worlds of experience. And the super-subject is the venerable area which is superior to the subject, the soul, that is the super-subjective area.

Here in this world we are presently being deceived through misunderstanding. We have entered a plane of existence where the whole world is full of misconception, falsity, and miscalculation. We are presently living in the world of māyā. Māyā means mā-yā: "What is not." I am seeing something which is really something else. The domain of Supreme Truth where all māyā is dispersed. In its own pristine glory, it shows the highest goal, a higher powerful light which illuminates the soul: That worshippable plane of transcendental existence is known as bhargo.

The word bhargo means "more subtle than the soul," and "holding a more important position than the soul." So this means the Supersoul, the Paramātmā. In general, of course, the word bhargo ordinarily means light. Just as an X-ray can show us what the ordinary eye cannot see, bhargo is svarūpa-śakti, higher, more powerful light that can reveal the soul, and that energy (bhargo ) belongs to deva. Deva means "who is beautiful and playful," that is Śrī Kṛṣṇa, Reality the Beautiful. He is not a non-differentiated substance, but is full of līlā, pastimes. Deva means pastimes and beauty combined, and this means Kṛṣṇa.

What, then, is the inner meaning and purport of the word bhargo? bhargo vai vṛṣabhānuja-ātma-vibhava-eka-ārādhanā-śrī-pūram. Bhānu means the sun, or "who shows us by light." Rādhārāṇī is the daughter of Vṛṣabhānu. So I selected the word bhānu. To represent Her personal extended self, I have given the word vaibhava, meaning, "what comes out," or "extended self." Prābhava is the central representation and vaibhava is the outer extension. The very gist of svarūpa-śakti is Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, and the whole svarūpa-śakti is Her extended self. The town of Her beautiful service, that is, the country, the abode of Her beautiful service is the whole svarūpa-śakti.

Just as rays of light extend from the sun, the whole internal potency is an extension of Mahābhāva, Śrī Rādhikā. She has developed Herself into such a beautiful area of brilliance, of internal energy, and thereby She serves Her Lord. All these necessary things have sprung from Her. To help Her in serving Her Lord, they all come out. When the entire internal energy is condensed in a concise form, it is Mahābhāva, Rādhārāṇī. And when Rādhārāṇī wants to serve, She extends Herself in limitless different ways.

And with some contribution from Baladeva and Yogamāyā, the whole spiritual world, including Vṛndāvana, Mathurā, and Vaikuṇṭha, evolves to assist Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī in the service of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. His domain is bhargo, brilliant, and it is varenyam, to be venerated by the jīva soul. The nature of the svarūpa-śakti is that it is the vaibhava (the extension) of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. She holds the full service responsibility and the energy to serve Kṛṣṇa. So bhargo is no less than the vaibhava, the extended body of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, which contains everything for the service of Kṛṣṇa. Bhargo represents Mahābhāva, the Predominated Moiety, and deva, Kṛṣṇa, is Rasarāja, the Predominating Moiety. (SEOC, 156-164)

Devasya - it's His potency, the Lord of sweet pastimes, Reality the Beautiful, to be worshipped at all times. That bhargo has expanded from King Vṛsabhānu's daughter, Embodiment of Mahābhāva - none other than Śrī Rādhā. All energy, responsibility to serve Lord Kṛṣṇa is Her domain, the loving plane of service to the centre. She knows how to serve Kṛṣṇa, to please Him like no other, so if we want to serve Him, we must pray to get Her order! In the gāyatrī-mantra, we are addressed and requested, bhargo devasya dhīmahi: "come and meditate." What sort of meditation is possible in that plane of dedication? Culture, cultivate our veneration, worship, our service in devotion: Engagement in the positive, not abstract meditation. Not an idle, fleeting, mundane experiment, but a spiritual culture - cultivate our serving temperament. Not abstract meditation, but service cultivation, kṛṣṇānuśilanam.

Dhīmahi means "to participate in the spontaneous flow, the current of devotion in Vṛndāvana." Dhīmahi means ārādhana (worship), pūjā (adoration), and sevā (loving service). It cannot but be explained in terms of ārādhana, pūjā and sevā. The word dhī is derived from the word buddhi, which generally means that which we cultivate with the help of our intelligence. But here, dhī is a reference to that venerable intelligence which descends into this plane to help us cultivate devotional service. So dhīmahi does not mean abstract meditation, but devotional service. This is the underlying, inner meaning of Gāyatrī mantra.

And what will be the result? (dhiyo yo naḥ pracodayāt ). What is the effect? The capacity of our cultivation will be increased. As we serve, a greater capacity and willingness to serve will be given to us in remuneration - just as interest is added to capital in the bank (dāsa kare vetan, more deha prema-dhan ) - the more you give, the more you get desire to carry on: the more service is increased, it's added to the treasure as interest, our willingness increases without measure. In this way, our dedicating principle will be increased again and again.

Gāyatrī, the song for deliverance, also means saṅkīrtana. Kīrtana is also sung, and it also improves us towards the highest goal. The saṅkīrtana of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu also reinstates us in our highest serving position. So brahma gāyatrī in connection with Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu comes to mean saṅkīrtana, Kṛṣṇa-kīrtana, then it reaches Vṛndāvana and the flute-kīrtana.

In Vṛndāvana the sweet sound of Kṛṣṇa's flute helps to engage all the Lord's servants in their respective duties. When the flute is sounded, the gopīs and others are adjusted in their respective duties. At night, the gopīs, hearing the sound of the flute, will run to the Yamunā, thinking: "Oh, Kṛṣṇa is there." And when Yaśodā hears the song of Kṛṣṇa's flute, she thinks: "My son is there. He is coming home soon." In this way, the sound of the flute engages all the servants of the Lord in their respective positions and inspires them to be mindful of their service.

In my Sanskrit commentary on the Gāyatrī mantra, I have written dhīr ārādhanam eva nānyad iti tad rādhā-padaṁ dhīmahi. All other services are represented fully in Rādhikā. Like branches they are part of Her. Mādhura-rasa is the chief or mukhya-rasa, the combination of all rasas. Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī is Mahābhava, She represents the entire serving attitude, so our service must be to surrender ourselves in the service of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, to accept Her directions, Her suggestions, to obey Her orders.

Such is the mature behaviour there and such a place is eternally existing. Because there should be such a happy, most ecstatic place and that is natural. That kind of quality is only possible through love. But not in any impure way. Only love is able to practically substantiate or promote that thing. Love means in other words, deep attraction, adoration, dedication, devotion and surrender. The very primary stage of that is called śraddhā (faith). The more that śraddhā is condensed or intensified, the more She takes someone in Her divine abode, the land of ecstasy. Thus, the abode of Śrī Goloka is manifested in that family life in this world, it means that She is only discovered exclusively through śraddhā. She is always there, but only when we remove the cover is it possible for us to see Her. In this way, the ultimate meaning of the gāyatrī mantra has been drawn to rādhā-dāsyam (exclusive devotional servitude to Her ). Self-determination (svarūpena vyavashitiḥ ).

In the meantime, the partial representations in vātsalya and sākhya rasa are also part and parcel of the original mellow of conjugal love, mādhura rasa. The vātsalya rasa devotee will serve Nanda and Yaśodā, the sakhya rasa devotee will serve Śrīdāma and Sudāma, but ultimately, the whole system in one conception is included in Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. Rādhā-dāsyam, the service of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, is the ultimate meaning to be extracted from the gāyatrī-mantram. That is the supreme end of our life. It cannot but be so. Kṛṣṇa's flute does not make any other tune except the glorification of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, and that is the real meaning and gist of the gāyatrī-mantram. (see also ślokas 100 & 350).

Śrīla Bhakti Sundar Govinda Mahārāja, when he was 17 years old, in 1947, joined the Mission of Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣaka Śrīdhara Deva Goswāmī Mahārāja and later became his disciple. After talking with him, Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣaka Śrīdhara Deva Goswāmī Mahārāja decided within seven days that he would train him to be his successor. He accepted sannyāsa from his Gurudeva on the 6th November 1985. Before Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣaka Śrīdhara Deva Goswāmī Mahārāja departed on the 12th of August, 1988, he appointed Śrīman Bhakti Sundar Govinda Mahārāja as his successor Ācārya and President of all the Temples and āśramas, with full responsibility of giving Harināma, dīkṣā, sannyāsa, etc.

Śrīla Govinda Mahārāja recalled: "You joined the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement in the last chapter of Śrīla Guru Mahārāja's Pastimes, therefore you did not hear actually three fourths, but what you heard was the last chapter, the final chapter. Before reading other lessons if you read the final lesson, that can sometimes be very harmful to digest. By the time the Western devotees came to Śrīla Guru Mahārāja he could not wait and therefore he expressed his fourth lesson. gāyatry-artha-viniryyāsaṁ gītā-gūḍhārtha-gauravaṁ. He expressed the explanation of the gāyatrī-mantram which previously no one had done widely. I have been with Śrīla Guru Mahārāja for many years and know his nature. Therefore I queried humbly: "Why are you expressing the gāyatrī-mantram interpretation? We have not seen this distributed anywhere. The previous Ācāryas have not given it. My thought is that it is not necessary to broadcast this. Why are you giving it?"

Śrīla Guru Mahārāja smiled and said: "Firstly, it has come in my heart and I cannot check myself. Secondly, if I do not give it then I am thinking that nobody will be effective in giving it in the future. In the past it has not been given and if in the future it will not be given, then I must give what I have now. You may control how it is published, but I must express my heart."

Śrīla Govinda Mahārāja recalled: "I heard from Śrīla Guru Mahārāja that maybe Śrīla Jīva Goswāmī gave some essence of that gāyatrī explanation but Śrīla Guru Mahārāja had not seen that. Recently I did find it given in Śrīla Jīva Goswāmī's writings, but there he gives only a hint of the meaning. Śrīla Guru Mahārāja's conception is very high, and he gave that gāyatrī explanation in the last chapter of his life. But it is also necessary to know his previous presentation. We can receive that from his book Śrī Śrī Prapanna-jīvanāmṛtam."

Śrīla Bhakti Sundar Govinda Mahārāja reveals:
gāyatrī muralīṣṭa-kīrttana-dhanaṁ rādhāpadaṁ dhīmahi


"Śrīla Guru Mahārāja composed this verse, and only he is able to. I have never seen in any book from Mahāprabhu's time right up to Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākura's time the type of explanation of gāyatrī as given by Śrīla Guru Mahārāja. Actually Mahāprabhu is our parent, and the seeds came from Kṛṣṇa. Mādhavendra Purī was the actual tree, and the fruits are Rūpa Goswāmī, Sanātana Goswāmī, and others. Śrīla Guru Mahārāja is also in the line of the fruits. It is not that the persons are the fruits, but what they gave are the fruits of Mahāprabhu's conception.

Śrī Chaitanya Sāraswat Maṭh, where saṅkīrttana is always going on, is inside the flute of Kṛṣṇa, and from there comes this sound Oṁ, and the explanation of gāyatrī has been given by Śrīla Guru Mahārāja. The flute is the specially adopted symbol of our Maṭh but before we depicted this in the logo of our Maṭh as our symbol, it was not to be found anywhere. Now many others also have copied this, but it first came from here, Śrī Chaitanya Sāraswat Maṭh. What is the song of the flute?"

muralīṣṭa-kīrttana-dhanaṁ rādhāpadaṁ dhīmahi.

"Kṛṣṇa's flute does not make any other tune
except the glorification of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī."

And that is the real meaning and gist of the gāyatrī-mantram.

āśābharair-amṛta-sindhu-mayaiḥ kathañcit
kālo mayātigamitaḥ kila sāmprataṁ hi
tvaṁ cet kṛpaṁ mayi vidhāsyasi naiva kiṁ me
prānair vrajema ca varoru bakārināpi?

This śloka is a direct prayer to Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. It expresses a particular type of hope which is so sweet and reassuring that it is compared with an unlimited ocean of nectar. Raghunātha Dāsa says: "With that hope I am somehow passing my days, flagging my days, dragging my life through these tedious times only for that hope. That hope is sustaining me, the nectarine ocean of hope is attracting me and sustaining me. Somehow I am dragging my days to my only safety. Otherwise, I have lost the direct association of Mahāprabhu, Svarūpa Dāmodara and so many other great souls, and still I am living. Why? I have a particular ray of hope. And the prospect and quality of my hope is very great and high. But my patience has reached its end. I can't endure it any longer. I can't wait. I am finished, I can't wait any more. At this moment if You do not show Your grace to me, I am finished. I shall lose the chance forever. I shall have no desire to continue my life. It will all be useless. Without Your grace, I can't stand to live another moment.

And Vṛndāvana, which is even dearer to me than my life itself-I am disgusted with it. It is painful; it is always pinching me. What to speak of anything else, I am even disgusted with Kṛṣṇa. It is shameful to utter such words, but I can have no love even for Kṛṣṇa, until and unless You take me up within Your confidential camp of service. Such a charm I have come for. I have seen the clue of such a charm within the service of Your camp. Without that, everything is tasteless to me. And I can't maintain my existence even in Vṛndāvana. And even Kṛṣṇa, what to speak of others, has no charm for me." (VKA, 102) + (SGAHG, p 150) + (LSFTLS, p 97)

"O Queen of my heart, for a long, long time I am waiting with great patience to have Your Mercy, which is so sweet to me that I cannot avoid it. It is heart-melting, heart-attracting, heart-crushing. It is so deeply touching me - I can't avoid Your Service Connection. Somehow I have managed to come such a long way, to endure such a long time, but I am impatient now. Be gracious; if You are not gracious upon me, I have got no hope. I will come to the end of my patience. My life will end here. So much so, that, what shall I do with this Vṛndāvana? Vṛndāvana is of no use to me! What is the utility of living my life? It is useless - it will end with no utility. I can't love even Vṛndāvana, which is associated with the līlā of Kṛṣṇa. To say nothing of Vṛndāvana, I can't relish the company of even Kṛṣṇa, without You. Without You, even Kṛṣṇa is meaningless to me. I can't tolerate, I can't relish either my own life, or this environment, or even Kṛṣṇa - if He Himself comes to grace me I can't relish that, without Your connection. So please be gracious upon me. You are all-in-all. Without You, Kṛṣṇa consciousness is not Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Your position is so great, so beautiful in Kṛṣṇa-līlā - You are the centre of all the līlā of Kṛṣṇa. Without You I can't conceive of any life worth living. I utterly surrender unto You, my Queen."

(This śloka has given us the highest conception of our attainment in the school of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Śrīla Raghunātha Dāsa Goswāmī is addressing Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, in his prayer in his, "Vilapa-kusumanjali," 102) (SOTGOD, v 2, p 127)

"O Varoru my beautiful, most magnanimous Goddess, my heart is flooded with an ocean of nectarean hopes. I have somehow been passing time until now eagerly longing for Your grace, which is an ocean of ever cherished nectar. If still You do not bestow Your mercy on me then of what use to me are my life, the land of Vraja, or even Śrī Kṛṣṇa who without You, is simply a mighty hero, the destroyer of demoniac forces like Baka." (VK, 102) + (SBRBM, p 39)

āsā maho caraṇa-renu-juṣām aham syām
vṛndāvane kim api gulma-latauṣadhīnām
yā dustyajaṁ svajanam ārya-pathaṁ ca hitvā
bhejur mukunda-padavīṁ śrutibhir vimṛgyām

"The gopīs of Vṛndāvana have given up the association of their husbands, sons and other family members, who are very difficult to renounce, and they have sacrificed even their religious principles to take shelter of the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, which are sought after by even the Vedas. O grant me the fortune to be born as a blade of grass in Vṛndāvana, so that I may take the dust of those great souls upon my head." (S-B, 10.47.61, Uddhava)

Uddhava has shown us the high position of the gopīs. And between all the gopīs and Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, there is also a categorical difference. That was proved in rāsa-līlā. When Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs openly displayed Their transaction of heart, with that divine rasa flowing, and inundating all directions, Rādhārāṇī was also there. She gave the highest contribution to the common rāsa-vilāsa display of the parakīya-mādhurya-rasa, paramour mellow. Then, suddenly, dissatisfaction came in Rādhārāṇī's heart. She began to think: "Am I also counted in the common flow of rasa?" Some reaction came within Her mind, and suddenly She left. After displaying her peculiar type of superexcellent dancing and singing, introducing a flow of new type there, suddenly She departed. She left the circle of the rāsa dance.

And Kṛṣṇa suddenly found: "Rādhārāṇī is not here. It is tasteless." The flow of rasa was there, but the gist, the quality, is a little down. He felt: "Why is it not so satisfactory to My inner heart?" He felt some ebb in the tide. And then by inspection He found that Rādhārāṇī was absent. Disappointed, He left the circle of the rāsa dance, and went to search after Her.

Although the parakīya-mādhurya-rasa, the highest mellow of conjugal love, Vṛndāvana, and the gopīs were all there, still there is a categorical difference in quality and quantity, in every way, between the other gopīs and the particular camp of Rādhārāṇī. Jayadeva Goswāmī, in his Gītā Govinda (3.1) has described how Kṛṣṇa left the circle of the rāsa dance. (SGAHG, p 151) + (TGVODL, p 157) + (see also śloka 222)

Uddhava says to Nārada: "There I have disclosed my heart fully. The quality of love for Kṛṣṇa that I found in the damsels of Vṛndāvana is so exalted that I could not but aspire to be born in Vṛndāvana as a piece of grass, so that the foot-dust of those divine damsels might touch my head. So, what are you saying Devaṛṣī? If you would like to see real devotion, real divine love, you should go to Vṛndāvana. Don't put us in an awkward position, saying that we possess devotion to Kṛṣṇa; this is rather a mockery, a foundationless utterance. I found Kṛṣṇa's real devotees in Vṛndāvana."

Sanātana Goswāmī tries his best in Bṛhad-bhāgavatamṛta to take us through the path, by showing us the gradual development of devotion to Kṛṣṇa. Lord Brahmā is the ideal of karma-miśrā bhakti (devotional service mixed with fruitive activity), and Lord Śiva is the ideal of jñāna-miśrā bhakti. He still maintains some affinity for an independent position, and not for cent per cent acceptance of service to the Supreme Lord, Nārāyaṇa. We have been directed to trace the development of śuddha-bhakti (pure devotional service), beginning with Prahlāda Mahārāja, because he is situated in śānta rasa (bhakti in neutrality). Above that there is dāsya rasa (bhakti in servitude), as shown by Hanumān. Above that there is sakhya rasa (bhakti in friendship), exemplified by the Pāṇḍavas. Uddhava is somewhat sakhya, connecting with vātsalya (bhakti in parental love), and finally the gopīs in madhurya (conjugal love). In this way we can trace the progressive development of devotion. Our close adherence to Kṛṣṇa develops in this way to Vṛndāvana. The acme of devotional service is found there. (TSFSK, p 86-7) + (see also ślokas 226 & 515)

Risk enhances the mood of love. It is a necessary part of the highest form of love: to risk so-called worldly achievement. The quest of divine love must be undertaken even at the risk of so much so-called purity of this world. That commands the highest position. Still, it should be very carefully taken. It should follow the line of humility shown by Newton, who was considered by scientists of his day to know everything. He said: "I know nothing." That is the way of proper realisation: as much as one is in the midst of genuine purity, so much s/he thinks that: "I am impure." That is the nature of the infinite measurement. Because the charm is so infinite, it cannot but be estimated in that way. The more they achieve, the more they thirst, the more earnestness is found within them. This is the characteristic of realisation of the infinite. (LSFTLS, p 63) + (see also śloka 298)

Śrīmad Uddhava says: "Although the most exalted devotion of the gopīs is only hinted at in the Vedas, I can now understand their most exalted position. O when shall I take birth as a creeper in Vṛndāvana, so that I can take the dust of the lotus feet of the gopīs upon my head? Those great souls gave up society, friendship, love, their relatives - and even the Vedic principles - to take shelter of the holy lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa."

Here, one thing should be mentioned: parakīya-bhāva has a broader application. It does not only mean paramour devotion. This feeling of crossing scriptural and social rules for an "unsanctioned" relationship is found not only in mādhura-rasa or consorthood. Parakīya literally means "belonging to another." Vātsalya-rasa, parental affection, and sakhya-rasa, friendship, are also infused with the sentiments of parakīya. This is the method of love for those who follow rāga-mārga.

In the case of Yaśodā, parakīya takes the following form: Yaśodā says: "Some people say that Kṛṣṇa is not my son. They say that He is Devakī's son!" This feeling enhances her heart's affection towards Kṛṣṇa, for then she thinks: "I could lose Him at any moment." This idea draws more intense affection towards Kṛṣṇa. It increases the affection of her service.

In sakhya-rasa, the sentiments of parakīya are also found: "Some say Kṛṣṇa has come from Mathurā and He may again go to Mathurā. He does not belong to us; He is not exclusively our friend." This apprehension also fills the minds of the cowherd boys, and they become anxious thinking: "We may lose Him at any time." So that sentiment makes friendly service towards Him more intense. In this way, the whole sentiment in Vṛndāvana is parakīya.

In the mood of servanthood, or dāsya-rasa also, there is some sentiment like that. Devotees feel: "Some say that Kṛṣṇa comes from Mathurā, that He is the son of Vasudeva. He is here only for a while; He is not an ordinary man like us." This idea is more or less current in Vṛndāvana.

So parakīya is not only found in mādhura-rasa; Kṛṣṇa may capture all with that sentiment. But parakīya is a very special thing in mādhura-rasa. Its speciality is that in mādhura-rasa it is more objectionable both to the scriptures and to society. But for the gopīs it is not objectionable. In mādhura-rasa they have to cross over the directions of both the Vedas and society - they must take that great risk.

But in other rasas there is only the fear that: "We may not have Kṛṣṇa permanently, He may go away, He does not belong among us." This suspicion increases the intensity of their service. But in mādhura-rasa, they must cross the positive directions of the Veda and society. They must go against these authorities, as if to take the risk of committing sin. This is the special feature of parakīya in mādhura-rasa, so there the intensity of devotion is in its highest condition.

So the inspiration towards parakīya (yena māṁ upayānti te - śloka 517) that Kṛṣṇa discusses here with special reference to those who are ramanti, who are connected to Him in consorthood, is also present in all the servitors in Vṛndāvana. (SEOC, p 148-50) + (see also śloka 516)

"Ignoring society and even scriptures, the gopīs have given themselves up to the Absolute. They gave up their own relatives, and what is socially considered to be holy; they gave up everything for the cause of the service of the Lord. I aspire after a birth as a blade of grass or some plant in Vṛndāvana, so that the feet-dust of the gopīs easily fall on my head."

So high is the position of the gopīs and Vṛndāvana. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu recommended that very thing, with the added feature of distributing it to others. Giving it to others, one may have a wholesale dealing with a life so divine. All conceptions of dharma (duty), adharma (irreligion), jñāna (knowledge, renunciation, liberation), etc., they are very, very low in comparison to these affairs in Vṛndāvana. Here, the heart is everything. Whoever has tenacity to follow this line has the greatest hope of success in life. (SOTGOD, v 1, p 192-3) + (see also śloka 295)

āsan varṇās trayo hy asya,
gṛhṇato 'nuyugaṁ tanūḥ
śuklo raktas tathā pīta,
idānīṁ kṛṣṇatāṁ gataḥ

"In past incarnations, this boy has appeared with different complexions: white, red, and gold, according to the particular age in which He appeared. Now He has assumed this blackish colour" (S-B, 10.8.13)

Once, Vasudeva sent the astrologer - priest Garga Ṛṣī to Vṛndāvana to perform the name-giving ceremony for Kṛṣṇa. At that time, Garga Ṛṣī came to the house of Nanda Mahārāja and explained that Vasudeva had sent him. He said: "Your child is now a little grown up and the name-giving ceremony must be performed. Kṛṣṇa comes in a white colour in Satya-yuga, red in Treta-yuga, and He also comes with a golden complexion. Now in this Dvāpara-yuga He has come in a black colour." So the reference to the golden colour (pīta ) is found here, because only that colour has been left for this present age of Kali. (TGVODL, p 3)+(see also ślokas 36, 258 & 568)

asato mā sad gamayo tāmaso mā
jyoti gamayo mṛtyor mā amṛta gamayo

"I am mortal, make me eternal. I am ignorant, filled with nescience, take me to science, knowledge. And I am threatened with misery, guide me towards bliss." (Bṛhad Āraṇyaka Upaniṣad, 1st Adhyaya, 3rd Brāhmaṇa, 23rd mantra )

Actually, the first principle of any living body is to save oneself. That is the first principle, and that should be our starting point. We should begin our research work in these three phases: how to save one's own self and save the world, how to remove darkness and attain light, and how to remove misery and taste nectar, the sweet life of eternity, knowledge, and bliss (sac-cid-ānandam, satyam, śivam, sundaram ). (TSFSK, p 32)

The first principle of any living being is to live, to save oneself. That should be the starting point of our whole endeavour for progress or knowledge. In the Upaniṣads we find: asato mā sad gamayo tāmaso mā. This indicates what should be the primary tendency of our quest in three phases. First, I am transient and mortal, make me eternal. Next, I am ignorant and in nescience, take me from ignorance to knowledge, from darkness to light. Then, I am in sorrow and misery, guide me to ānandam, joy, and a fit life there. These should be the real goals of life, and any research must begin here only. sac-cid-ānandam, satyam, śivam, sundaram. These should be the subject matter of our research, the line of our approach: to save oneself and save the world, to remove the darkness of ignorance and get the light of knowledge, and to remove misery and get the nectar of the sweet, sweet life. Scientific knowledge which avoids or ignores this is simply false, wild goose-chasing. (GOD, p 10)

As a student of nescience you are moving in the opposite direction from truth. You are being taught that you and other souls of your type are the subjects - the centre of the universe - and everything else - is an object meant only for your exploitation. You are being taught that we are exploiters and that the entire environment is for our exploitation. That is the foundation upon which the present system of education is based - a conception which is completely false.

In reality, we are not the subject, the centre of the universe. The cause is in the higher world. Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Absolute Truth. Simply by His will, everything is brought into existence. He said: "Let there be light," there was light; "Let there be water," there was water; "Let there be earth," there was earth. His will is all-powerful. To know this is real education - subjective learning. What we experience sprang up from the divine will. Just as if He were a magician, He can show one thing to you and something entirely different to me. The Supersubject, the universal subject, has such power.

asat saṅga tyāga - ei vaiṣṇava ācāra
śtrī saṅgī - eka asādhu, `kṛṣṇābhakta' āra

"A Vaiṣṇava should always avoid the association of ordinary people. Common people are very much materially attached, especially to women (and women to men). Vaiṣṇavas should also avoid the company of those who are not devotees of Lord Kṛṣṇa." (C-c, Madhya-līlā, 22.87)

Sometimes there may be some confusion about the relative and the absolute consideration. The absolute consideration is our own internal Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and the relative refers to the environment. One must not be influenced by the environment of the mundane world. That does not mean s/he won't seek an environment of the spiritual realm. That is found through sādhu-saṅga. In the spiritual plane the environment contributes much. Even Rādhārāṇī says that Kṛṣṇa alone cannot satisfy Her without the environment, so She doesn't want Kṛṣṇa as such. For instance, in Kurukṣetra when She met Kṛṣṇa, She wanted to take Him back to Vṛndāvana where Their meeting could be more intimate. The devotee also says: "Only Kṛṣṇa, that is nothing to me if we do not find Rādhārāṇī by His side."

So the environment has a great contribution to make in that realm. Everything there, every minute particle of the environment will help promote my attention towards Kṛṣṇa. That will be very desirable. But here in the mundane plane, just the opposite is found, the perverted reflection. Everything comes to take me away from Kṛṣṇa in this plane, and there everything pushes me towards Him. So there in the plane of dedication everything will be healthy. But in the plane of exploitation and renunciation, everything is just the opposite, taking me away from the centre, asat saṅga.

"Sādhu saṅga means promoting towards My cause." The mundane plane is the perverted reflection, but just above that is the real plane which is just the opposite of this. So we must not be maladjusted. (asat saṅga tyāga, - ei vaiṣṇava ācāra ) The practises of a student of Vaiṣṇavism is only one, to renounce the environment; but that does not mean that the sādhu is eliminated also if he is found. ('strī - saṅgī' - eka asādhu, 'kṛṣṇābhakta' āra ). There are two types of asat. One is strī saṅgī or yoṣit saṅgī, those who are attached to sensual pleasures. And the other is Kṛṣṇa ābhakta, one who has no attraction for Kṛṣṇa but is engaged in other errands, bhukti kāmī siddhi kāmī, who have other desires such as for liberation or material perfection.

bhukti-mukti-siddhi-kāmī 'subuddhi' yadi haya
gāḍha-bhakti-yoge tabe kṛṣṇere bhajaya

"Due to bad association, the living entity desires material happiness, liberation, or merging into the impersonal aspect of the Lord, or they engage in mystic yoga for material power. If such a person actually becomes intelligent, they take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness by engaging themselves in intense devotional service to Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa." (C-c, Madhya-līlā, 22.35)

They should be eliminated. We should be careful, cautious about these two. One may be a scholar, a yogi, a tyāgi, and all these things, but if s/he is not a devotee of Kṛṣṇa s/he should be eliminated." (GOD, p 25)

āścaryavat paśyati kaścid enam,
āścaryavad vadati tathaiva cānyaḥ
āścaryavac cainam anyaḥ śṛṇoti,
śrutvāpy enaṁ veda na caiva kaścit

"Some see the soul as astonishing, some describe him as astonishing, and some hear of him as astonishing, while others, even after hearing about him, cannot understand him at all." (Bhagavad-gītā, 2.29)

The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the ultimate cause of all harmony, is so wonderful that simply by approaching Him, we will be charmed by His ways. He is known as Urukrama, for His strides are wonderful, unthinkable, unknown, and unknowable. There is no end to His wonders. āścaryavat paśyati kaścid enam āścaryavad vadati tathaiva cānyaḥ. At every step towards Him, one feels wonder. We find no end to that feeling. Kṛṣṇa is infinite; He is the wonderful wonder of wonders. As much as we search Him out, we will find no end to His wonders. (LSFTLS, p 41)

āsīd idaṁ tamo bhūtam,
aprajñātam alakṣanam
apratarkyam avijñeyaṁ,
prasuptam iva sarvataḥ
tataḥ svayambhur bhāgavān,
avyaktavyaṁ jayan idam
mahābhutādi vṛtaujāḥ,
prādur āsin tamonudaḥ

Just before the creative movement began, the marginal potency of the Lord was in a state of equilibrium. taṭasthā means equilibrium: āsīd idaṁ tamo bhūtam. Everything was in darkness, fully enveloped by ignorance. alakṣanam means there was no possibility of any estimation; no symptoms of reality existed by which any conjecture or inference about the nature of reality would have been possible. And it was aprajñātam: science has no capacity for investigating the nature of that stage of existence. We can only say from here that it was completely immersed in deep sleep. The analogy of deep sleep may give us some conception of that period: prasuptam iva sarvatra. Material existence was as if in a sound sleep. (MS, 1.1.5-6)

At that time, movement began from within the spiritual plane, and light came. Light was seen by the seers. That light was pre-existent, but at that time the seers received the vision to see light. They began to see. The first conception of this material world after light was water. The light revealed a substance like water.

That primal light is compared with personality. Light means consciousness and consciousness means personality. That light, or personality, first gave birth to the onlookers - to the feelers of material existence - and then to an objective substance like water. That water is known as virajā, or causal substance. What is known in Vaiṣṇava vocabulary as brahmaloka - the world of consciousness - is represented by light, and virajā, or causal substance, is represented by water. The conscious world is represented by light and the first objective reality is represented as water. Then the seeds of consciousness are sown in the causal water which is the shadow of that light. Although the actual element of water was created long after this, the first conception of matter is compared to water because water is an accommodating, moving solution. The Sanskrit word for water - apa - means "of lower conception." In this way, the lower creation began.

Then, in connection with the seeds of consciousness and the primal water, the next production was known as mahat-tattva: the energy of consciousness represented by light, mixed with matter as a mass. When the mass of matter is infused with the energy of light-consciousness, that is known as mahat-tattva. After further development, that entity was divided into many units of ahaṅkara, the element of ego. mahato ahaṅkara. First there is ahaṅkara, mass ego as a whole. The element of conglomerate ego (that is to say, all the ahaṅkara, the "mother" ahaṅkara ) is called mahat-tattva. prakṛtermahān ahaṅkara pancatran mahatrāni. As objective substance evolves by the influence of consciousness, it expresses itself in five main ingredients: that which can be seen, smelled, heard, tasted, and touched. These five elements are the primitive principles of material existence.

And that fivefold principle evolved in three phases: sattva, rāja, tamaḥ: goodness, passion, ignorance. Expressing itself as ether, sound, hearing, and the ear; air, mass, touch, and the skin; fire, colour, vision, and the eye; water, tastes, the sense of taste, and the tongue; and earth, aroma, the sense of smell, and the nose. There are twenty-four elements. The self, three subtle elements - prakṛti, mahat-tattva, and ahaṅkara, five gross elements, five senses, five sense objects, five sense-gathering instruments - in this way, the development of the material world has been described to have come down through a process of subtle to gross, from consciousness to matter. Again when this material existence is withdrawn by superior will, the gross dissolves into the subtle. Beginning with the most gross, gradually the whole material existence becomes more and more subtle until it finally enters into the subtle expression of material existence known as prakṛtī - the subtle causal watery substance. With the dissolution of material energy, the ātmā or individual soul is absorbed in Brahman, the non-differentiated mass of consciousness. The position of the different kinds of spiritual energy has been described by Kṛṣṇa in Bhagavad-gītā (15.16-17). (see śloka 139) + (SEOC, p 24-6)

This world, in the beginning, was sheer darkness of ignorance. Aprajñātam - no one could have estimated what was there. Avijñeyaṁ - no scientific knowledge was possible at that stage. Alakṣaṇam - no symptoms were to be detected. Prasuptam iva - just as in deep slumber. Then, Syamabhur Bhagavān, and in this way, it began expressing. So, it was dark before Gaurāṅga came here and gave the news of that aprākṛta world - the highest world. Even it was not known to the Vedas nor even Lakṣmī Devī. She aspired after rāsa-līlā, but She could not enter. She was not given permission to enter into rāsa-līlā. It is such. We are talking high things - very, very high things - I close for now. (SS, v 4, # 1, '86, p 10)

āśliṣya vā pāda-ratāṁ pinaṣṭu mām,
adarśanān marma-hatāṁ karotu vā
yathā tathā vā vidadhātu lampaṭo,
mat-prāna-nāthas tu sa eva nāparaḥ

"Kṛṣṇa may embrace me in love or trample me under His feet. He may break my heart by hiding Himself from me. Let that debauchee do whatever He likes, but He will always be the only Lord of my life." (S, v 8)

This is the greatest medicine for the devotees. We have come to measure the immeasurable, but we must always embrace this principle. In attempting to connect ourselves with the infinite Lord of love and beauty, we must remember that He is infinite. He is only one to us, but He has many devotees like us to deal with. He may embrace us with much affection and adoration, but we must be prepared for the opposite. We may stick to His feet, but He may cruelly trample us. We have caught hold of His holy feet with great hope, with our whole heart; still we may find that He tramples us and does not care for all our attempts and affection.

We may be giving our best and find that our offering is being hatefully dishonoured. He may embrace us, but at the same time we must be prepared that His dealings may be extremely cruel. He may trample all our offerings beneath His feet. We must be prepared for both His adoration and His hateful negligence. We should be prepared for any adverse circumstances.

Kṛṣṇa may be indifferent. He may not care. And when He is punishing us, He is nearer, but when He is indifferent it is even more intolerable than punishment. The devotee thinks: "Kṛṣṇa is ignoring me, neglecting me so much that He does not like to keep any connection with me. Doesn't He know me? Am I a foreigner, unknown to Him?" We may accept punishment as a boon, but indifference is even more heart-rending.

The pain of separation felt by a devotee may even go a step higher. Kṛṣṇa may affectionately embrace another right before our eyes, in front of our face, without caring even a little for us. We may think: "This is my claim, my right," but that may be given to another right in front of our faces. That will be a source of increasing trouble to us.

This is the law of affection. The law of love cannot tolerate indifference. It is too much to tolerate, but we must be prepared for that. We must be prepared from the beginning that this is the meaning of kṛṣṇa-prema, divine love for Kṛṣṇa, because He is an autocrat. He is love. Divine love means mercy, and not justice. There is no law there. And we have selected divine love to be our highest fortune, so we must be prepared to be treated without justice. There is no justice in divine love; it is free. It may flow anywhere and everywhere. This is the very nature of divine love, so we can't make any claim - we have no rights.

This is the nature of the highest thing, and it is extremely rare. But unhesitating adherence to that principle is required from our side. It is real love, and you must be prepared for that. In all adverse circumstances, this is the real nature of kṛṣṇa-prema: die to live. If you can accommodate all these different stages, good or bad, then you can enter this exalted plane. Justice is within law; mercy is above law. Prema, divine love, is also above law, but it has its own law. Another verse (see śloka 559) whose meaning runs parallel to this one is given by Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī. (TGVODL, p 143-5)

āśliṣya vā pāda-ratāṁ pinaṣṭu mām, adarśanān marma-hatāṁ karotu vā. Our duty is to devote ourselves cent-per-cent and most intensely for Him. We are only to serve Him. And service does not mean that we must necessarily come into direct contact with Him. Remote service is also service; through His devotee it becomes tangible. We should try to serve Him through His devotees, without any expectation of any reward. We should have no desire except to serve, even without expecting to see Him once, to have His darśana. We shall only want to be utilised by Him. The little energy we have must be utilised for His cause. We are His potency, and we should prove that we belong to Him.

Mahāprabhu says: "He may embrace me or reject me, or He may even be indifferent towards me. Whatever He likes He may do, but I have no alternative but to serve Him."

We must adopt such an exclusive and unconditional attitude. Not that, "If He doesn't want to reciprocate according to my will, I won't like to approach Him; so I shall join the atheists or the māyāvādīs. If You don't come forward to satisfy me, then I shall seek my own way - I don't want You!" If there is any tinge of such an attitude, we are far, far away.

yathā tathā vā vidadhātu lampaṭo, mat-prāṇa-nāthas tu sa eva nāparaḥ. "We have no alternative but to serve You." To search means to serve: "I want to be utilised for His cause. However petty the service may be, nothing is petty when in His connection, the least connection, even from far away. He need not please me, even by giving His darśana in a lightning way. Everything depends on His will."

Unconditional offering unto Him shows faith of the highest type. If our offering is conditional, we shall have to remain far from Him. The characteristic of the highest faith is absolutely unconditional: "I am only to be satisfied with just the chance to serve Him from afar, through some medium; or many mediums, not only one.

dāsa-dāsa-dāsānudāsatvam - servant of the servant of the servant of the servant - I have His connection from afar, and my energy passes through the devotees, towards Him, towards the centre of fulfilment. Whatever my position may be, I want my connection with the greatest fulfilment of the whole world!" (SOTGOD, v 1, p 2-3)

"Kṛṣṇa may warmly embrace this maidservant of His lotus feet, claiming me as His own, or He may break my heart by not appearing before me. He is wayward, and he may exploit me as He wishes, but He will always be the only Lord of my life." The acme of self-dedication is surrender to the whim of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the paramour of Vṛndāvana. (SSPJ, p 119)

aśocyān anvaśocas tvaṁ,
prajñā-vādāṁś ca bhāṣase
gatāsūn agatāsūṁś ca,
nānuśocanti paṇḍitāḥ

"O Arjuna, you are mourning for that which is unworthy of grief, and yet speaking words of wisdom. But the wise lament neither for the living nor the dead." (B-g, 2.11)

"What is this? This killing and being killed? This is only material, but ātmā, your soul, your real self, is created for a higher plane of life. Body consideration, good-bad, in body consideration, in the plane of exploitation - all false. This is all false. You will have to give it up wholesale! And then you will awaken in the kingdom of soul." (SS, v 4, # 1, '86, p 5) + (see also śloka 237)

āśraya laiyā bhaje tāṅre kṛṣṇa nāhi tyaje

"If one can get a bona fide guardian, his future is ensured." (Narottama Ṭhākur)

Kṛṣṇa cannot very easily dismiss the guardian, because the guardian has a solid position in the Lord's relationship; so if I enter into the domain of my guardian's care, my position will be ensured. (SOTGOD, v 2, p 83) + (see śloka 46)

asvatantra iva dvija

"O My dear brāhmaṇa, I am subordinate to My devotee, and therefore I am like one who has no independence. The sādhu devotees have captured My heart. And not to speak of My devotees, those who are devoted to My devotees are also dear to Me." (S-B, 9.4.63) + (SSPJ, p 171) + (SOTGOD , v 1, p 133, 161 + SOTGOD v 2, p 95) + (LSFTLS, p 57) + (TGVODL, p 151) + (see śloka 10)

ataeva kāma-preme bahuta antara
kāma--andhatamaḥ, prema--nirmmala bhāskara

"There is a gulf of difference between lust and love; lust is dense darkness, love is the brightest sun." (C-c, Ādi-līlā, 4.171) + (SOTGOD, v 1, p 104) (see also ślokas 220, 375 & 420)

ataḥ śrī-kṛṣṇa-nāmādi
na bhaved grāhyam indriyaiḥ
sevonmukhe hi jihvādau
svayam eva sphuraty adaḥ

There are many sayings in the scriptures to encourage our realisation of the Holy Name in different ways, but Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī has given us a central thought. He quotes from the Padma Purāṇa: ataḥ śrī-kṛṣṇa-nāmādi na bhaved grāhyam indriyaiḥ. Our senses, physical or mental, are ineligible to come in touch with the transcendental. The Name is nonmaterial (aprakṛta), without mundane limitation (vaikuṇṭha). It belongs to another plane. So, nothing about Kṛṣṇa, His Name, Form, Qualities, or Pastimes can be touched by our physical or mental senses. But when we have a serving attitude, He comes down to us of His own accord. Only then can our tongue really pronounce the Name of Kṛṣṇa. Otherwise, only the physical sound of the letters of the Name can be produced. Our tongue, our hands, physical sound, all these mundane things cannot come in touch with Kṛṣṇa. Some intervening medium is necessary to connect this body with the supramundane. And that connection is our earnest desire to serve Kṛṣṇa, to satisfy Him. A bulb won't light if there is no electricity. Only when the electrical current is there will the bulb be illumined. So, the name may appear on the tongue and in the ear, in the mind, or in writing, but we must have a connection from Vaikuṇṭha to this mundane world. And that connection is devotional service, a functional serving attitude. That alone can connect the physical realm with Vaikuṇṭha and Vṛndāvana.

Kṛṣṇa will appear of His own accord. He will descend upon your tongue, and then your tongue will be able to chant the Name of Kṛṣṇa. A gun that has no bullet, but only a blank, may make some sound, but no bullet is actually fired. Similarly, chanting the Name of Kṛṣṇa without an attitude of service produces a sound, but that is only tongue deep. It is like firing a gun with blanks instead of bullets. Our chanting of the Holy Name of Kṛṣṇa must be surcharged with a serving temperament, the tendency to satisfy Kṛṣṇa.

Otherwise the sound we produce is bogus. It is only an imitation, or a permutation. The Holy Name cannot be experienced by our senses. It is supramental and transcendental. An ordinary sound of this mundane world cannot be the Name of Kṛṣṇa. Our ear cannot even hear the Name if that mediator, the serving attitude, is not there. The earnestness to satisfy Kṛṣṇa's will must mediate between Kṛṣṇa and the ear, through the mind. Then only will Kṛṣṇa's Name enter our ear and reveal to us His Form, Qualities, and Pastimes. The Holy Name is not physical, it is aprakṛta, transcendental, supramundane. Only through our service attitude will it come down to this mundane world.

Our guru mahārāja laid the highest stress on developing a serving attitude. Otherwise it is all bogus, all imitation. And people will say: "Oh, there is no Kṛṣṇa there. These men are all hypocrites. They are only dancing and making noise, they are not surcharged with a serving spirit." Only through service can we directly come in contact with Kṛṣṇa. The real point is to practice how to attain the spirit of service, vaiṣṇava sevā. The Vaiṣṇava is doing service, and we must imbibe from him, or her, the methods of attaining this serving attitude.

Under the order of a devotee we must practice to give ourselves. Self-abnegation and self-dedication are necessary. And that positive thing we will receive from a devotee. If children are given pen and paper in the beginning, it will not be fruitful, so a stone is given, and on the earth they practice writing. So, in the beginning, we must try to practice how we can develop a serving attitude, dedicating habit. It is our innate wealth, and that is our solace.

If we try to develop a serving attitude, the pure devotee will help us. It is said that if one is miserly, s/he should at least give some trash to anyone. One says to a miser: "At least give some ash to others and practice your hand to give." So, the serving spirit is a high thing. We must practice to give ourselves in the service of Kṛṣṇa.

We must not be afraid that we are not attaining the highest form of service in nāmabhajan, the worship of the Holy Name. We should not think: "Why have I been asked to sweep the temple? An ordinary man can do this." We must not be afraid of that. It is necessary for us to acquire a service attitude. Self-giving, selflessness, and self-forgetfulness are required. It is said that Socrates is an example of self-forgetfulness and Jesus Christ is an example of self-sacrifice. And for what purpose? For the cause of the Supreme. And for that we must have a positive connection with a devotee. Under his order we will connect with the plane of service. Our energy may go to the transcendental plane only by his grace or mediation. So, our guru mahārāja, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākura, laid ninety percent stress on developing a service attitude for preaching, and that should be our aim, whatever our position may be. (PP ) + (B.r.s, 1.2.234 & 2.109) + ( TSFSK, p 114-6) + (see also śloka 313)

Simply the external sound of the name is not the real name. The most important thing is the spiritual realisation backing the name - that is the real name. Otherwise, a tape recorder can produce that Holy Name of Kṛṣṇa. Even a parrot can pronounce the name - but the physical sound is not the thing itself. In the background there must be spiritual truth, which is conscious. That super-knowledge is beyond the knowledge of this mundane plane. This is understanding is confirmed by Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī Prabhu in this verse. ataḥ śrī-kṛṣṇa-nāmādi.

He says that Kṛṣṇa's Name, Form, Qualities, and Eternal Associates - everything about Him - is not mundane, but purely spiritual. It cannot be perceived by our gross senses. Simply by vibrating the sound Kṛṣṇa, our tongues cannot produce Kṛṣṇa, our noses cannot catch the transcendental fragrance of His body, our eyes cannot have a vision of His beautiful figure which is supramental. This is true not only for our physical senses, but for the mind also. Our minds cannot conceive of Kṛṣṇa. He is transcendental and supramental. His existence transcends all the knowledge in our possession.

We cannot be the subject and make Kṛṣṇa our object. He is the subject. He exists beyond both the ātmā and paramātmā. We should never forget that. We should always be mindful of the plane in which He exists. As finite souls we are taṭasthā jīvas - the marginal potency of the Lord. The tiny soul can think and know only those things which are more gross than himself. But in trying to know that which is more subtle than himself, he is helpless. A connection with that higher spiritual realm is only possible when the higher area wants to bring the lower up into that plane. Therefore, to understand Him is possible only through surrender. (sevonmukhe hi jihvādau ). (LSFTLS, p 86-7)

Sādhu-saṅga kṛṣṇa-nāma. The Holy Name must be taken with the attitude of service to the saints. Serving means die to live; to throw oneself wholesale for the higher existence. Mr Gandhi risked his whole life at every point of action. His attitude was: "Whatever I told to others, I am to maintain that throughout the whole of my life." What am I taking the Name for? To have some fame as a sādhu? No! That should not be our objective. kanak, kāminī, pratiṣṭhā - not for money, not to attract women, and never to attract popularity. Rather, I should be ready to sacrifice myself for whom I am serving, for whom I am taking the Name. It is not a limited thing, but complete surrender, then the whole thing is guaranteed. My pursuit, my attempt should be backed by my whole energy, whole prospect and everything. This is the attitude I should have to search for a drop of Vaikuṇṭha nectar. Otherwise our effort will be useless.

Die to live means sacrifice or sevā (service). Sevā means death. Sevā means to give one's own self for a particular cause, for Kṛṣṇa. That this mad, mundane concocted self should be saved is not a very laudable thing. It is a mortal thing, and the depot of many reactions. So one should get rid of this centre as soon as possible, and enter into the land of confidence, goodness, fairness, and sweetness. Try to enter that land with a sincere and wholesome attitude. Your campaign must be wholesome not partial. Taking one step forward and three steps back won't do. There should be no such hesitation. You are finite and you want to get the advantage of the infinite? You are so small, and do you think that by sacrificing only a part of your smallness your aspiration for the whole can be fulfilled? Is it reasonable to expect such? No, it is not so easy.

ataḥ śrī-kṛṣṇa-nāmādi na bhaved grāhyam indriyaiḥ. If only our superficial senses are engaged in Kṛṣṇa cultivation, as if it is nothing, then you cannot produce the Name, but only mundane sound, sevonmukhe hi jihvādau svayam eva sphuraty adaḥ. Your tongue can produce mundane sound, but that is not Kṛṣṇa. For the Name to be Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa has to come down. Don't be self-deceptive, thinking that, "Taking the Name, I am a great sādhu." It is not like that. Kṛṣṇa has come down to you in the form of sound and He is spiritual, transcendental. So sevā mukhe or your complete surrender to Him will attract Him, and He graciously descends to save you by His Name. In your arcana, in performing your duties, at every step He will come when you are giving yourself to Him, then He will accept you. He will come and embrace you. He'll be within you and without you, everywhere. But only those whose eyes are clear, and are not captured by any prejudice from selfish end or ordinary things can see Him. Those who are not captivated by any prejudice, in whom all prejudice is cleared, can directly see the highest power or highest principle, underlying all. (GOD, p 19-20)

Without sādhu-saṅga we cannot connect with the higher level. Therefore even chanting the Name may not be Vaikuṇṭha-Nāma. ataḥ śrī-kṛṣṇa-nāmādi So the universal necessity is to learn and acquire a serving attitude, and if that is applied to Nāma-bhajan, or any bhajan, that will be of great help to you. Jihva means the tongue, and nāmādi means the nāma, rūpa, guṇa, and līlā. On the tongue the Lord's Name (nāma ) will appear; within the eye, His form (rūpa ); within the mind, His qualities (guṇa ); and in the heart, His pastimes (līlā ): all these will come down to you, and everything about you will connect with that Vaikuṇṭha-tattva. So it is not just a question of increasing the quantity, but the quality must be present. To be real bhakti, sevonmukha and sevā presupposes surrender, and all this presupposes sādhu-saṇga. It all originates from the association of a sādhu. From the positive direction it can come to us, so we must be thankful to that positive source. The Lord is there, but His grace is coming through His agents. So His agents should be welcomed and dealt with properly. (SGD, SGPI, p 14)

So, this ordinary name, this superficial, this māyīc name and that Name has got great difference. That Name is one and the same with Him, and that comes down to our level. We cannot chant it by dint of our tongue or lip. Not lip-deep, but heart-deep. And beyond heart also it reaches to the land of Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa comes here; the Name Kṛṣṇa, He comes through the heart on the tongue - that is Kṛṣṇa-Nāma. Kṛṣṇa, in the form of sound, He is coming down from the transcendental world into my heart, and from my heart, controlling all my nervous system, He is coming to the lip and dancing here. That is Kṛṣṇa-Nāma; the initiative is in the transcendental world, and not produced from the physical plane. Spiritual sound has to, reality has to come down to this plane. He can come down, but we cannot go up there easily. He is super-subject, and we are object to Him. So, we cannot interfere with His independence; only by the negative, by our attraction, by our surrender we can attract Him to come down to our level. ataḥ śrī-kṛṣṇa-nāmādi na bhaved grāhyam indriyaiḥ. "It is not a production of our senses. When we are with a very intense serving attitude, He Himself comes down attracted by our serving nature, which is out of His grace." And then He can influence this element and produce sound, and there is dancing there. That is the Vaikuṇṭha-Nāma, the real Name. We cannot produce it. Our sound of our production, physical or mental production, that is not He. He is separate, and He can come everywhere, in any form, in any plane, controlling them. (see śloka 23 & 145) (SVT, v 2, # 1, Jan - Feb. '93, p 18)

atha niḥsattvāḥ-
tad abhyāsa-pare 'pi ca
sattvābhāsaṁ vināpi syuḥ,
kvāpy aśru-pulakādayaḥ

"Whenever shedding tears, horripilation, etc, are seen in persons whose hearts are soft externally and hard internally, and who are habituated to crying, rapture, etc, even though they do not possess a semblance of divine emotion - such an imitative sentiment should be known as totally unsubstantial and lifeless." (B.r.s. Daksina, 3.89)

Our own experience should not be easily relied upon, such as thinking: "This is God, this is my conception - I have a touch of God." There was a Bābājī who was thought by many to be a great devotee. Whenever he took the Name, he shed incessant tears. Liquid also oozed from his nose, and he was seen to be in some abnormal meditating position. On either side of him his attendants would be constantly cleansing his tears and face with napkins, as he madly chanted the Name. Some atheistic persons considered that he was displaying religious fanaticism, while common people who had some simple faith in God estimated him to be a very high-class devotee. But our Guru Mahārāja, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda, rejected him and his antics as devoid of proper God conception.

Mental imitation of devotion is possible, even without a tinge of pure devotion. In a drama also we may find a man who is fully drunk playing the part of a devotee, shedding tears and dancing madly as if he is a great devotee. By practising, one can show many feats as though he were a real devotee. Merely the display of some peculiar external characteristics does not prove the presence of pure devotion. Real devotion is sudurllabhā, a very, very rare achievement. (SOTGOD, v 1, p 8)

athāpi te deva padāmbhuja-dvaya-prasāda-leśānugṛhīta eva hi
jānāti tattvaṁ bhagavan-mahimno na cānya eko 'pi ciraṁ vicinvan

(After Lord Brahmā was defeated by Kṛṣṇa when he stole the calves and cowherd boys in order to test Kṛṣṇa, he prayed to Kṛṣṇa): "My Lord! If one is favoured by even a slight trace of the mercy of Your lotus feet, he can understand the greatness of Your Personality. But those who speculate in order to understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead are unable to know You, even though they continue to study the Vedas for many years." (S-B, 10.14.29) + (C-c, Madhya-līlā, 6.84)

"Only one who is blessed with the mercy of the Lord can know His true nature. On the other hand, those who try empirically to understand His inconceivable glories can study and speculate forever without arriving at the proper conclusion."

Here, through Bhāgavatam, Kṛṣṇa tells us: "You may devote yourself for eternity in an erroneous direction, with no possibility of coming to the end of understanding. But if you try to approach the Absolute Centre, then in no time you will be able to know what is what." That is the direction given by the Upaniṣads and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, that is the direction we must take, and that is devotion. It is so satisfying that once you have attained it, you won't care to know any other thing. We need only concentrate on Kṛṣṇa's service. (LSFTLS, p 68-69) + (see śloka 206)

Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya (who was the greatest scholar of the day) argued that Śrī Caitanyadeva could not have been an incarnation. Gopīnātha Ācārya told him: "You do not know the śāstra."

"No, no," Sārvabhauma said: "In the scriptures it is mentioned that the Lord doesn't appear in Kali-yuga, but only in three ages and is therefore known as Triyuga."

Gopīnātha Ācārya replied: "You think that you know so much about śāstra, but in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (see ślokas 36, 53 & 258) and Mahābhārata (see śloka 488) there is a direct mention of the avatāra of Kali-yuga (see also ślokas 32, 74, 128, 372, & 568). Have you no knowledge, no recognition of that?"

Then Sārvabhauma apparently defeated, said: "You go and take prasādam, and afterwards come and teach me."

Then Gopīnātha said: "Not by the dint of one's study or intelligence can one understand God, but only through His grace." (athāpi te deva padāmbhuja-dvaya-prasāda-leśānugṛhīta eva hi ) (SGAHG, p 90) + (see also ślokas 3 & 206)

athāto brahma-jijñāsā

In his Uttara-mīmāṁsā of the Vedānta-sūtra, Vedavyāsa wrote this.

Śrī Śaṅkarācārya says that in relation to this aphorism athāto -means anantaram - 'after this.' After what? "After one has attained śama, dama, titikṣā; all these qualifications, one who has qualities such as having controlled his senses and his mental speculations (śama, dama ), having a very tolerant and persevering spirit (titikṣā ), and so on, he will come to study this book. After he has acquired a certain grade in such qualities, he will come to study this. It is not for the ordinary people who will misunderstand, misinterpret and mutilate it thus creating trouble in society."

So for the benefit of society Śaṅkarācārya says that only such persons will come, and they will gain a clear and proper understanding. They will then preach that to the public in particular instalments and all will be benefited thereby.

Rāmānuja says: "No, athāto does mean that. athāto means, 'after finishing the pūrvva-mīmāṁsā of Jaimini.' There is pūrvva-mīmāṁsā (primary teaching) and uttara-mīmāṁsā (higher teaching). So, after one has finished the course of pūrvva-mīmāṁsā, that is, niṣkāma varṇāśrama-dharma, he will then come to understand the study of this uttara-mīmāṁsā. When he has finished successfully the karmādhikāra he will come to enter into jñānādhikāra and that will be beneficial to him." This is Rāmānuja's opinion.

And Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa says: "Whoever he may be, whether a karmī or jñānī, athā means he must have sat-saṅga, sādhu-saṅga. From any position, if he can get the association of a proper sādhu, he is qualified to study this book and he will understand the real meaning."

So everywhere there is consideration of adhikār - that is, yogyatā, or 'fitness.' He must acquire the standard of qualification, then he will come to tackle the particular plane, and he must have healthy association. (SOTGOD, v 3, p 17-8) (see also ślokas 360 & 588)

Our necessity is to find how that inner thirst can be quenched. Our feeling should be: "The world is here and I am here, but I am unsatisfied. How can my inner self be satisfied?" We are in want, therefore by what process can this want be removed? For the present we have this fleshy body, but to know anything and everything about the body - about the bones, nervous system, blood, etc., - is all unnecessary. To know about the composition of the blood, etc., is just unnecessary detail. Our enquiry should be regulated in this way: "Who am I, and why am I troubled? I do not know how to rid myself of these problems." This is the general question and we are to be concerned with that. athāto brahma-jijñāsā. "From where have I come? How am I living, and what is my future?" These are the main questions that should concern us, and we must concentrate the whole of our energy to find the solution. This does not apply just to one person - myself - but this is the concern of all creation.

To seek the source of everything is the nature of proper enquiry, but to enquire after this and that and so many hundreds of things is simply a waste of energy. The śāstric (scriptural) enquiry has been couched in such a way: "From where have I come? What sustains me? What is my future? Why am I uneasy, and how can I acquire my inner fulfilment?" All enquiry should follow this standard way, otherwise there is some disease of enquiry. More and more curiosity may arise without end, therefore we must learn how to question, how to enquire, and in that way our energy will have some value and won't be wasted. Enquiry is bona fide when it is directed towards how to fulfil the real goal, therefore we are to save our energy and regulate it in the proper channel. (HC, p 18-9) + (see śloka 418)

athavā bahunaitena,
kiṁ jñātena tavārjjuna
viṣṭabhyāham idaṁ kṛtsnam
ekāṁśena sthito jagat

"But Arjuna, what is the need of your understanding this elaborate knowledge of My almighty grandeur? By My fractional expansion as the Supreme Soul of material nature, Mahā-Viṣṇu (Kāraṇārṇavaśāyī Viṣṇu), I remain supporting this entire universe of moving and stationary beings." (B-g, 10.42)

"Arjuna, the infinite of your conception is in My one negligible part. I am so great that the infinite of your conception is contained in only a fraction of Me."

Then what is our chance of approaching Him? We may think: "Kṛṣṇa is only a reflection of a picture in my mind. There is Kṛṣṇa. The whole forms His one part, and I am approaching Him? My only solace will be that I am going through His agent. He has sent His agent to recruit me, and that is my hope. He has sent His men to recruit me. He's so kind and benevolent, and that will be my hope. I must be thankful for that, and not be a traitor to His agent." We must be cautious to see that we do not play treachery with His agent for thereby we play treachery against ourselves. (SOTGOD, v 2, p 178)

Only faith can give some connection. Our reason and all our other 'weapons' must come to failure. Only faith can somewhat connect us, give us some touch. How spacious is the faith we can accommodate in our tiny selves? In the infinite, we shall have to accommodate infinite possibilities. Kṛṣṇa says: "In your conception of infinite, thousands of infinite forms are only a negligible part of Me."

athavā bahunaitena, kiṁ jñātena tavārjjuna. You cannot imagine a connection with Him - it is only possible by His Grace. Then, the question is, how to get His Grace? Total surrender and attempt to please Him; to enter into His sympathy by fully inviting and accepting His ways, in whatever meagre we can know to do so.

We must approach Him through His bona fide devotees. They are our wealth and ultimate resort. His devotees, His agents, are our shelter. We should only try our utmost to connect with His bona fide agents. To attain the infinite is to make the impossible possible. Being finite, we aspire after a connection with the infinite. Apparently it is impossible. Yet, it is possible, and only possible through our most humbled attitude; to directly admit that we are nothing, we are so mean. We are so mean, so small, so negligible, so meagre. When we come to realise our proper position, the law of relativity will take us to Him. He will come, out of mercy. (SCS, p 43) + (see śloka 553)

ātma bhūyāya ca kalpate

"My devotee belongs to Me."
(S-B, 11.29.34) + (SEOC, p 130)
(within śloka 42 + see śloka 289 & 521)

ātma nivedana dainya ghucāo jañjāl

What is surrender? What is that, "die to live," by which we can live properly? That surrender: that is the basis! Wholesale is the degree of surrender we are after. The degree of surrender: that is the basis to get all these things. "Give and you will get." Give and get. You are to give, as a proper gift, not only ordinary, useless things, but the most precious! Wholesale! You are to give yourself wholesale! Hegel's words are very good here: "Die to live." ātma nivedana dainya ghucāo jañjāl. Difficulties are coming, but, the only way to do away with them is to give yourself more and more and more - there lies the solution! Difficulties are coming and what is the cure for that? Give more; learn to give more. Individuality is also there; but, it is on the surrendered plane. To die in the physical sense is nothing. (C-c ) + (SS, v 3, # 1, '85, p 8) + (see śloka 429)

ātmā parijñāna-mayo vivādo,
hy astīti nāstīti bhidārtha-niṣṭhaḥ
vyartho 'pi naivoparameta puṁsāṁ,
mattaḥ parāvṛtta-dhiyāṁ sva-lokāt

One party says:"God exists!" The other says:"God does not exist!"

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam says that the ātmā is self effulgent, but still we find that one class of men say, "He exists, we see Him, He can be seen," and another says: "He has never existed." This quarrel has no end because one of the parties hasn't got the eye to see what is self-evident. This quarrel is a useless waste of time, but still it will never stop; it will continue forever. (S-B, 11.22.34)

Why? Because there are those who have the eyes to see God and those who have no eyes to see Him or their own self. One of these classes of men have deviated from God consciousness. There is a barrier between them and God consciousness, between them and self consciousness. So the disagreement will only continue on account of their ignorance. This misconception will continue for those who deny the existence of both the soul and the Supreme Soul.

Those who have eyes to see will say: "The sun exists; here is the sun." And those who have no eyes will say: "No, no, there is no sun." This argument will continue forever, but that does not mean that the sun is not existing. It can show itself. For those who have direct experience, however, there is no question: it exists! But for the owl section who cannot admit the existence of the sun, the sun does not exist. It is something like that. Our own realisation of a thing will be the greatest proof of its existence.

Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākura gave an analogy in this connection.

A boy is born in a dungeon, a dark prisonhouse. And he grows up there without any experience of sunlight. One of his friends from outside the prison would come and visit him. One day, the boy's friend said: "Let us go and see the sun. Come with me, I shall show you."

The boy replied: "Yes, I shall go," And he began to take a lantern with him.

His friend remarked: "It is not necessary to take the lantern to see the sun."

The boy said: "What do you say! Do you think that I am a fool? Can anything be seen without the help of a lantern? I am not a fool!"

Then his friend forcibly took him by the hand into the sunlight and showed him the sun.

The boy said: "Oh, this is the sun! By its own light everything can be seen."

The soul is like that. God is like that. He is seen by His own light, and it is only by His light that we can see anything. He is self-effulgent. By His own light He can show Himself to others. He is the source of all knowledge. This is the proper conception of Godhead. He is automatically existing. He cannot be seen by our knowledge, just as the sun cannot be seen by the help of any other light. It is not necessary that we try to acquire God consciousness through intellect or knowledge. Knowledge of God is independent. It can come and go of its own accord. And if He comes to me, everything comes to me. But nothing can force Him to come within our vision. The sun cannot be taken into your dungeon, but you have to go to the sun and see things by its grace; in the same way, the Lord is self-effulgent. He can be seen only by His own light. (LSFTLS, p 74-5) + (see also śloka 206)

ātmārāmāś ca munayo,
nirgranthā apy urukrame
kurvanty ahaitukīṁ bhaktim,
ittham-bhūta guṇo hariḥ

"Those sages who, being merged in the bliss of the spirit soul, are totally free from the binding knot of mental images - they too engage in the unmotivated service of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the performer of marvellous deeds. This is but one of the qualities of the Supreme Lord Hari, who charms the entire world." (S-B, 1.7.10) +(SSPJ, p 176)

"Ātmā means self, and ārāma means to take pleasure. Even the liberated souls fully satisfied in the self are irresistibly attracted by the superexcellent qualities of Kṛṣṇa and surrender to Him with unalloyed devotion."

After Nimāi Paṇḍita accepted sannyāsa and became known as Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, He went to live in Jagannātha Purī. There He philosophically defeated and converted one of the greatest scholars of the day, Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya, who was the brother-in-law of one of His followers, known as Gopīnātha Ācārya.

After meeting Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the great scholar Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya questioned Gopīnātha Ācārya about the avatāra of the present age Kali-yuga. (see ślokas 109, 258 & 488)

Later, Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya told Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu: "I would like to teach You Vedānta philosophy, so that You can keep up the standard of Your renunciation. I will teach You that this world is nothing, so that You never feel any charm to again enter into mundane life."

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said: "Yes, you are My guardian. Whatever you say, I must do. I will come and learn Vedānta philosophy from you at whatever time is suitable for you."

Then Gopīnātha Ācārya told Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu: "Sārvabhauma is saying this because he doesn't know Your real identity."

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu replied: "Why are you speaking against him? He is My guardian. He was My father's classmate, so he has great affection for Me. It is out of great affection that he poses himself as My guardian and looks after My welfare. I don't find any fault in that."

In a few days, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu began to hear Vedānta from Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya, and as Sārvabhauma would speak, He would remain silent like a good boy, as if He were hearing with a submissive attitude. Sārvabhauma tried his level best to establish the impersonal doctrine of Śaṅkarācārya, which is in direct opposition to the conclusions of pure dedication. He used the most deceitful means in the art of word jugglery and tried to pervert the sense of the words. But after he had been teaching Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu for seven days, Sārvabhauma had some doubt in his mind.

He thought: "What is the matter? I am such a great scholar in Vedānta and logic, and I am trying my best with all my intelligence to put before Him the inner meaning of Vedānta, but I withdraw no response from Him. He is only quietly attending my discourse as if He is deaf and dumb. And I can't say that He does not understand me, for He has a sharp intellect. I am sure of this, but still He gives no appreciation, no response whatsoever. He raises no question and gives no indication whether He understands or not, nothing of the kind. Then what am I doing?"

He could not keep it to himself any longer. He put the question straight to the Lord: "For more than seven days I have been explaining the inner meaning of Vedānta to You. Many sannyāsīs come to me to learn about Vedānta, but You don't have any question about my talk, my explanation? You maintain a strange and wonderful silence. What is the reason?"

Then, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu revealed Himself. He said: "Sārvabhauma, what you explain is on the basis of Śaṅkara's philosophy known as vivartavād and is practised by followers in the ascending method of understanding, and who are interested in their external self-adoration. Such worship is the product of a demoniac intellect and backed by atheistic perseverance. But I heard that it was by the order of the Lord that Śaṅkarācārya concealed the real purpose of Vedānta. Its author, Vyāsadeva, is a completely theistic person, and he has prepared this Vedānta, but what you say is all based on atheistic scholarship."

Sārvabhauma idly heckled the arguments or assertions of the Lord without attempting to prove the opposite side, and he tried to find the weak points in the Lord's arguments. However, because Sārvabhauma was a very intelligent man he realised: "In a very gentle way, He wants to tell me that what I am explaining is all bogus. I am labouring diligently to explain Vedānta to my utmost capacity for the last seven days, and now He shows His true colours and says that what I am explaining is all false. What is He saying?" Still, in a gentlemanly way, with some hesitation, Sārvabhauma asked Śrīman Mahāprabhu: "You say that what I have been explaining for the last seven days is all unsubstantial and unreal. Then can You give the proper meaning? If this is all improper and false, then what is the real meaning of Vedānta ?"

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu humbly replied: "If you order Me to explain Vedānta, I will try. The sūtras or codes of Vedānta are lustrous in themselves. They are self-evident. The proper reading of the sūtras lead towards Parabrahman, Kṛṣṇa." Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu began with this introduction. He said that Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the real explanation and commentary on Vedānta. It is mentioned in the Garuḍa Purāṇa and Hari-Bhakti-Vilāsa, (10.394): "Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam represents the real purport of Vedānta-sūtra. And although it is very difficult to draw out the real purpose of the one hundred thousand verse epic Mahābhārata, the great history of the world, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam has come to give its real meaning. The mother of all Vedic knowledge is the gāyatrī-mantra. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam gives the gist of gāyatrī in a very full-fledged way. And the supplementary truths of the Vedas are also found within Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam." (see also śloka 50) "Therefore, Vedānta must be explained in the line of the truth which has been expressed in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Only then can the real meaning be understood."

When Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu mentioned Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Sārvabhauma, being a learned paṇḍita could not deny its validity. He said: "Yes, I also like Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. And I especially like one very beautiful verse." At that time, Sārvabhauma, to regain his lost prestige, began to explain this ātmārāmāś ca munayo verse of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam: (1.7.10).

"Even the liberated souls fully satisfied in the self are irresistibly attracted by the super-excellent qualities of Kṛṣṇa and surrender to Him with unalloyed devotion."

Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya explained this verse in nine different ways to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who, as before, sat silently hearing. After he had finished his explanation, Sārvabhauma thought that he had regained his lost position to a certain extent. Still, as a courtesy, he asked Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu: "Are You satisfied with this explanation? If You can give any more light to this verse, I will listen to that."

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu told him: "If you order Me, I may try." Then He gave eighteen different types of explanations of that verse, leaving aside the nine already given by Sārvabhauma.

At that time, while listening to the explanation of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Sārvabhauma gradually saw that he was losing his position. His pride was finished. Astounded, he thought: "This youth, this young boy, is not an ordinary person. No ordinary intellect can refute my arguments. Leaving aside all of my attempts to explain this verse, He gave eighteen wonderful explanations of this particular verse. What is this? Such consistent, irresistible, devotional, and beautiful explanations are coming, superseding all those that with great energy and effort I explained. No human being can surpass my explanations. No human intellect can cross mine. This is a different sort of explanation. It is all-encompassing. But it is coming from this young boy? What is this?"

Gradually, he lost his faith in himself and became baffled. And then he recalled how Gopīnātha Ācārya had said that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was not a human being and thought: "It is not possible for a human to explain things in this way, it is something supernatural."

Then Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu revealed to Sārvabhauma His spiritual position as Nārāyaṇa and Kṛṣṇa combined. In a trance, Sārvabhauma saw all these things and fell at the Lord's feet, and almost completely lost consciousness. When he arose from his trance, he found that boy still sitting there like a student with great humility. Then Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu asked him: "May I go for today?"

Sārvabhauma said: "Yes, You may go now." The Lord went away, and Sārvabhauma remained there, and after some time, he recovered, and began to think: "What have I seen? Four-handed Nārāyaṇa, then Kṛṣṇa playing the flute? I was not defeated by a man, that is my solace."

Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya had all truths revealed to him by the Lord and composed a book of one hundred beautiful verses, known as Suśloka-śataka. These verses were composed so quickly it has been said that even Bṛhaspati, the priest of the heavenly planets, could not compose verses as quickly. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu happily embraced him after hearing the verses, whereupon Sārvabhauma was immediately overcome with symptoms of ecstasy and fell unconscious. He then shed tears as he exhibited an ecstatic mood, he perspired, shook and trembled, danced, chanted, and cried, falling at the feet of Mahāprabhu. Much to the delight of Gopīnātha Ācārya and the other associates of Śrī Caitanyadev.

Sārvabhauma became a changed man and composed two verses on palm leaves and gave them to Jagadānanda Prabhu, requesting he give them to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. But Mukunda Datta took the palm leaves from Jagadānanda before he had chance to deliver them to Mahāprabhu. Mukunda Datta then copied the two verses on the wall outside the room before giving them to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, and all the devotees present there read the verses and kept them within their hearts. As soon as Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu saw the verses, He immediately tore them up. (TGVODL, p 11-20) + (The two verses mentioned are ślokas 215 & 539)

As well as philosophically defeating and converting Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya by giving eighteen different of explanations of the ātmārāma verse, leaving aside the nine already given by Sārvabhauma, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu also explained this ātmārāma verse to Sanātana Goswāmī, describing sixty-one meanings, all pointing towards devotional service. When Mahāprabhu explained the ātmārāma verse to Śrīla Sanātana Goswāmī, He highlighted eleven points in this verse: (1) ātmārāma, (2) munayaḥ, (3) nirgrantha, (4) api, (5) ca, (6) urukrama, (7) kurvanti, (8) ahaitukīm, (9) bhaktim, (10) ittham-bhūta-guṇaḥ, and (11) hariḥ.

The word ātmārāma is explained in the Viśva-prakāśa Sanskrit dictionary as having seven synonyms - Brahman (the Absolute Truth), body, mind, endeavour, endurance, intelligence, and personal habits.

The word munayaḥ indicates - those who are thoughtful, those who are grave and silent, the ascetics, the persistent, the mendicants, sages and saints.

The word nirgrantha indicates - one who is liberated from nescience, one who has no connection with scriptural injunctions, a capitalist, and one who is without money.

The word urukrama means - "One whose activities are glorious," indicating Lord Vāmana whose krama, or step, covered the whole universe.

The word kurvanti indicates - doing things for someone else, as for example the ātmārāmas who perform devotional service for the Lord, Urukrama.

The words ahaitukīm and bhaktim indicate - performing devotional service for the satisfaction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead with no desire for one's personal benefit.

The word ittham-bhūta is explained in the Hari-bhakti-sudhodaya as "complete bliss."

The word hari indicates here - the Lord who removes all inauspiciousness and obstacles for His devotees and gives them pure transcendental love.

Also with the addition of the words api (in spite of), and ca (also), one can increase the imports unlimitedly, as Sanskrit grammar gives seven synonyms for the word api.

jñātvājñātvātha ye vai māṁ,
yāvān yaś cāsmi yādṛśaḥ
bhajanty ananya-bhāvena,
te me bhaktatamā matāḥ

"My devotees may or may not know exactly what I am, who I am, or how I exist, but if they worship Me with pure love, then I consider them the best of devotees." (S-B, 11.11.33)

Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura mentions that although yāvān indicates Kṛṣṇa is unlimited, He allows Himself to appear limited by the love of His pure devotees. The word yādṛśa indicates that Kṛṣṇa is ātmārāma, completely self-satisfied. However, due to the affection of His devotees, He sometimes appears to be anātmārāma, completely dependent on the love of His devotees. Similarly, the word āptakāma indicates that Kṛṣṇa is able to automatically fulfil all His desires, and again, due to the affection of His devotees, He sometimes appears to be anāptakāma, completely dependent on the co-operation of His devotees to fulfil His desires.

ātma-siddha-sāva līla-pūrṇa-saukhya-lakṣaṇaṁ
prema-dhāma-devam-eva naumi gaura-sundaram

"The highest conception of the Absolute Truth must also be the highest form of ānanda, ecstasy. Mahāprabhu's dancing indicates that He is full of ecstasy, and His kīrtana is distribution of that rasa. So, if we scientifically search out who Mahāprabhu is, we cannot but find that He is the Ultimate Reality. He is mad in tasting His Own internal nectar, and His dancing is the outcome of His transcendental ecstasy. And He is chanting, distributing that to others. So, studying quite closely the character of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, we cannot but think that He is the Supreme Absolute Truth, in Its fullest, and most dynamic expression." (PDDS, 66) + (TSFSK, p 151)

"This is the all-conquering conclusion. The highest conception of the Ultimate Reality must also be the highest form of ānanda, ecstasy. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is Kṛṣṇa, ecstasy Himself, tasting His own sweetness and dancing in ecstatic joy. His own Holy Name is the cause of His ecstasy, expressed as dancing, and the Holy Name is the effect of His ecstasy, expressed as chanting. The cause is the effect. The dynamo is creating ecstatic energy which makes Him dance, and His chanting distributes that to others. "

In this way, by every word from His lotus mouth and every gesture and movement of His beautiful golden figure, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu performs His ecstatic pastimes of divine love. (TGVODL, p xiii) + (see also śloka 388)

atyāhāraḥ prayāsaś ca,
prajalpo niyamāgrahaḥ
jana-saṅgaś ca laulyaṁ ca,
ṣaḍbhir bhaktir vinaśyati

"One's devotional service is spoiled when he becomes too entangled in the following six activities: (1) atyāhāra - eating more than necessary or collecting more funds than required; (2) prayāsa - over-endeavouring for mundane things that are very difficult to obtain; (3) prajalpa - talking unnecessarily about mundane subject matters; (4) niyamāgraha - practising the scriptural rules and regulations only for the sake of following them and not for the sake of spiritual advancement, or rejecting the rules and regulations of the scripture and working independently or whimsically; (5) jana-saṅga - associating with worldly-minded persons who are not interested in Kṛṣṇa consciousness; and (6) laulyaṁ - being greedy for mundane achievements." (U, 2)

This verse from Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī's Upadeśāmṛta describes the six mentalities which will be detrimental to devotion proper. The first is atyāhāra which means that whatever comes in front of me I must collect that, unnecessarily hoard that (which causes prayāsa ), and also it means I must feed myself until I am fat, not just with food but with any material acquisition. (Atyāhāra is a combination of ati - much, and āhāra - eating or collecting). This temperament is called atyāhāra.

Then there is prayāsa. Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura has interpreted prayāsa to mean to endeavour with great enthusiasm after some false errand, a great attempt for something false, a "wild goose chase."

(Prayāsa can be described as jñāna-prayāsa and karma-prayāsa. For further explanations of jñāna-prayāsa see ślokas 206, 335 & 458. As for karma-prayāsa, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.2.8) says: "The occupational activities a man performs according to his own position are only so much useless labour if they do not provoke attraction for the message of the Personality of Godhead.")

Next is prajalpa - which means to allow ones mind to become slack and to enter into the discussion of anything and everything. With no self-control, whimsically discussing the world events or any other unnecessary topics that are not related to devotion.

Then niyamāgraha - this means to give abnormal attention to any particular rulings, as if those rulings in themselves were our desired goal. (There are two kinds of niyamas, or rules - vidhis, or prescriptions, and niṣedhas, or prohibitions. The word āgraha means 'too much attachment to,' and the word agrahaḥ means 'too much neglect of.') Rules are meant only to help us in a particular stage and after passing through that stage then that particular rule may no longer be applicable to me. Another higher ruling I shall have to accept. For example, according to the Vedic scriptures, on the day of Ekādaśī (eleventh lunar day) one must observe full fast. This means not even taking one drop of water, and by following this one can become firmly established in sattva-guṇa, or purity of consciousness. But there is a higher general rule which supersedes this injunction, which is that for the service of the Lord one should keep his body fit. So the devotees, they may take some water, some anukalpa, some root vegetables, etc., so that their service may not be hampered. The higher law should not be hampered by preoccupation with any particular ruling, that is niyamāgrahaḥ. (see ślokas 460 & 493)

Jana-saṅga means to be very approachable to the general people in a mundane way, to engage in mundane socialising. (The word jana means both male and female human beings; and saṅga means association). To entertain their any and every mundane conception and allow oneself to be captivated by that.

Laulyaṁ means to be weak-willed - to be greedy to enjoy everything. When I go to the market, so many things, hundreds of things capture my attention. That is laulyaṁ or weakness of heart, weakness in our object of life. Whatever I find other than devotion, whether in the market or anywhere, it attracts my attention and I engage myself greedily in that. We must save ourselves from being victims of these six types of natures, and there are others (see śloka 535) also mentioned." (U, 2) + (C, # 2, Sum. '91, p 5) + (SSPJ, p 61)

atyanta saṅgrahe yāra sadā citta dhāya,
atyāhārī bhakti-hīna sei saṁjñā pāya
prākṛta vastura āśe bhoge yāra mana,
prayāsī tāhāra nāma bhakti-hīna jana
kṛṣṇa-kathā chāḍi' jihvā āna kathā kahe,
prajalpī tāhāra nāma vṛthā vākya kahe
bhajanete udāsīna karmmete pravīṇa,
bahv-ārambhī se niyamāgrahī ati dīna
kṛṣṇa-bhakta-saṅga vinā anya-saṅge rata,
jana-saṅgī ku-viṣaya-vilāse vivrata
nānā-sthāne bhrame yei nija svārtha-tare,
laulya-para bhakti-hīna saṁjñā deya nare
ei chaya nahe kabhu bhakti adhikārī,
bhakti-hīna lakṣya-bhraṣṭa viṣayī saṁsārī

(i) For over-acquisition, one whose mind does always run: avaricious non-devotee - he should thus be known.
(ii) One who hankers to exploit some object mundane: non-devotee - overendeavourer - as such he is known.
(iii) One whose tongue speaks all but holy talks of Kṛṣṇa: he is just a gossiper of insignificant banter.
(iv) Apathetic to devotion, skilled in exploitation: so wretched - proud usurper of the higher devotee's position.
(v) Associates with all except Lord Kṛṣṇa's pure devotees: a mundane socializer in the mud of fleeting fancies.
(vi) Who wanders hither and thither for his own selfish plan: fickle-minded non-devotee - is known such a man.

In these six ways, never fit to render pure devotion: bereft of love divine - fallen, materialistic person.”

(Bengali verse by Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākura)

'avatīrṇo bhaviṣyāmi
kalau nija-gaṇaiḥ saha
śacī-garbhe navadvīpe

The Lord said: "In the age of Kali, in a pious family on the banks of the river svardhunī (Gaṇgā) in Navadwīpa I will appear in the womb of Śacī accompanied by My eternal associates." (A-S ) + (ARO, p 23) (see also ślokas 32, 36, 53, 128, 138, 254, 258, 315, 367, 372, 488, 572)

ayi nanda-tanuja kiṅkaraṁ,
patitaṁ māṁ viṣame bhavāmbudhau
kṛpayā tava pāda-paṅkaja
sthita-dhūlī-sadṛśaṁ vicintaya

"O son of Nanda Mahārāja, I am Your eternal servant, yet because of my own karma, I have fallen into this terrible ocean of birth and death. Accept this fallen soul and consider me a particle of dust at Your holy lotus feet." (S, v 5)

Here, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu prays: "O Lord, please consider me; I want to enter into the realm of Your merciful glance. I do not know how to take proper care of myself, and so I invite Your care. Please accept me and give me entrance. You are my guardian. I want to live under Your protection." And who is He? We hear of different conceptions of God - Kṛṣṇa, the son of Nanda Mahārāja. This is found only in Vṛndāvana. (TGVODL, p 127-8) + (see also śloka 480 & 321)

By the exercise of energy (karma ), we can attain a good destination; without faith in the achievements of karma, we may try for salvation by raising our consciousness (jñāna ). But if we enquire into the solution of life with the help of the experts of that higher spiritual realm like Nanda and his party, we can enter into the land of love and dedication.

My faith, my common sense about religion, tells me that if I see that Supreme Absolute Truth who is so rare and I find Him real, concrete, and intimate, appealing directly to my heart, then why should I engage myself in wild-goose chasing? I shall appeal directly to the object of my search. If someone tells me that a hawk has snatched my ear, should I chase the hawk without first touching my ear to see if it is still there? If I can have the Absolute Truth so intimately, why should I allow myself to run hither and thither? If I find that the Absolute Truth has kindly come with all His charm, and that charm is not a secret and many great personages are being attracted by Him, then should I run after the phantasmagoria of the meditationists, the abstractionists and renunciationists? Never.

It is common sense. The straight understanding is given by the authorities that Kṛṣṇa, the son of Nanda, is Supreme. So when we have come up to that standard, then we can ask: "O son of Nanda, Kṛṣṇa, king of the country of love: I appeal for Your affection. I am Your servant. I feel within myself that I have some connection with You. I am subordinate to You, but somehow, I am in adverse circumstances. I feel that there are so many enemies within me that are trying to take me away from You that I can't give my attention to You all the time. At the same time, I feel from the inner plane of my heart that You are my master, You are all in all to me. My heart won't be satisfied without Your companionship. So I appeal to You: I am under unfavourable circumstances; I am suffering, and without Your grace, I don't find any means of relief from my present imprisoned position."

Here it is said: "I feel that I am not eternally connected with You; if it were so, then this separation would have been impossible. Unlike an avatāra, I am not Your plenary portion." Other incarnations of the Supreme Lord are plenary expansions of Him (svāṁśa ), but the jīva is a partial representation of His potency (vibhinnāṁśa ). In Bhagavad-gītā Kṛṣṇa says that the living entities are His eternal parts and parcels. The soul comes from the marginal potency. (kṛṣṇera taṭasthā-śakti, bhedābheda prakāśa - see ślokas 75 & 260). And the soul is an atomic fragmental part of the Lord's potency like a ray of the sun.

But here, the devotee prays: "I am not part and parcel of Your own body, I'm not even a ray, but my representation is nearer to that of a particle of sand, a particle of dust - not even a particle of the ray coming out of the lustre of Your body."

In this way, Śrīman Mahāprabhu is presenting on our behalf that our petition must be of this type: "I cannot indulge myself in thinking that I possess such fortune that I may be considered an inseparable part of You. I am a separable part, but I also want Your grace. Please be kind upon me; I invoke Your mercy for a special grant. Accept me in any position in Your connection - even the lowest position. At least this must be sanctioned. Consider me a particle of dust at Your feet. This is my prayer." (TGVODL, p 130-2)

Mahāprabhu says: "Just consider Me a speck of dust at Your feet. Oh Kṛṣṇa."

"O Nandanandana, the son of King Nanda, although I am Your eternal servitor, I have fallen into the terrible ocean of material existence due to the fructification of my own deeds (karma ). Please graciously consider me to be a particle of dust at Your feet."

That may be our guidance. "Consider me to be one of the specks of dust that are at Your feet." That is too much?! No, our faith should come to such a grade of quality that we may be satisfied to become a speck of dust at His feet. Then by His sweet will, anything may happen. But our humble aim should be to have even the least connection of the Divinity, the reality, and not a concocted Kṛṣṇa. (SSPJ, p 92) + (SGD, '96, p 32)

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu prays: "O Lord, please consider me as the dust of Your holy feet." (vibhinnāṁśa jīva ). Foot-dust is generally inanimate. But when Caitanya Mahāprabhu prays: "Consider me foot-dust," the dust He speaks of is not matter; it is a unit of consciousness filled with knowledge and love.