labdhvā su-durlabham idaṁ bahu-sambhavānte
mānuṣyam artha-dam anityam apīha dhīraḥ
tūrṇaṁ yateta na pated anu-mṛtyu yāvan
niḥśreyasāya viṣayaḥ khalu sarvataḥ syāt
"The human form of life is very rarely attained, and although temporary, gives us a chance to achieve the supreme goal of life. Therefore, those who are grave and intelligent should immediately strive for perfection before another death occurs. There are so many forms of life: the aquatics, the vegetable kingdom, the animals, the birds, ghosts and other living beings, but only in this human position do we hold the key to the complete solution of the problems of life." (S-B, 11.9.29)
Our life in this world is valuable, because in this life we can acquire a higher aspiration. We can have the chance of acquiring the goal from this plane. This human life is so valuable that with it we can take the path of the highest divine conception. This human body is highly valued and rarely achieved.
If we can use this human life in a valuable way, we can acquire the key by which to become free from the whole chain of life in this troublesome world. We can get rid of the bondage of all sorts of physical and mental troubles. The key is here, in this human form of life. Jīva Goswāmī says that lower life-forms have insufficient understanding to realise the highest truth. And in the higher life-forms, such as demigods, because previously acquired energy or karma has accumulated on all sides, the chief enjoying elements are surrounding the living being. It is difficult to escape the charm of those influences and begin the prospect of a fresh life in a higher plane of consciousness. This human form of life is the most advantageous position to escape this entanglement and reach the highest object of our divine life. (TGVODL, p 169-170) + (see also ślokas 133, 150, 152, 195, 261, 284, 300, 330, 347, 353, 445, 478, 534 & 588)
One has to associate with liberated persons, and not always directly, physically, but by understanding philosophically and logically. As stated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (3.31.48), samyag-darśanayā buddhyā, one has to see perfectly, and the eye will always be guided by the ear. One must realise perfectly that the living entity is spirit soul, only tasting various kinds of material bodies. We are individual units of consciousness having a human experience, and not humans trying to have a spiritual experience, we are the ātma, soul.
So our birth has come to the human species, near the goal. So the jīva when coming to human species has come in connection with this highest prospect, can get out of the gate of this māyā, and if that chance is finished, then again after this may have again the birth of a beast, or a tree. The jīva came just to the goal and again may have to return far away from the goal.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu taught that the human society is so valuable because Kṛṣṇa is originally in this form. This human society is created after His original social style and therefore it is so important for the reciprocation of love and affection.
lāg bali' cali' yāya sindhu taribāre
yaśera sindhu na deya kūla, adhika adhika bāḍe
Vṛndāvana Dāsa Ṭhākura, the Vyāsa of Śrī Caitanya-līlā states: "(Even) the unlimitedly powerful Śrī Balarāma (Śrī Anantadeva) tries to cross the ocean of the Lord's glories (attempting to sing all the glories of the Lord using His thousands of mouths), but He never reaches the shore. Rather, that ocean expands more and more." (C-Bhā, Ādi-līlā, 1.71) + (SOTGOD, v 1, p xiii)
prema-dhāma-devam eva naumi gaura-sundaram
"Amidst the showering of tears of sorrow from the eyes of millions, He gladly cut off His beautiful long hair. As He accepted His daṇḍa, millions of voices were singing the glories of Kṛṣṇa. Thereafter the people of all lands cried out desperately in grief when they saw Him in the dress of a sannyāsī. I sing with joy the unending glories of my golden Lord Gaurasundara the beautiful, the divine abode of pure love." (PDDS, 16)
The scene was at Katwa. Nimāi Paṇḍita was young and beautiful, with a tall figure. He was only twenty-four and had beautiful curling hair. A barber was asked to shave Him, and approached Him, but then withdrew. The barber could not venture to touch Nimāi 's body. He began to cry. "How can I remove such beautiful hair from such a beautiful head?"
And so many others were also crying aloud: "What a horrible thing is being done here! Who is the creator of this sannyāsa? Who is so hard-hearted that he created the sannyāsa-āśrama, where one must give up all that is near and dear and go from door to door, begging, leaving his own friends and relatives crying helplessly? What is this creation of the Supreme? Is it logical? Is it a happy thing? It is most cruel!"
Nimāi Paṇḍita was smiling. After the barber was ordered repeatedly, somehow he was forced to shave Nimāi's head. At first, he could not venture to touch His hair, saying: "I can't touch Him." But at last, he had to do the service of shaving the beautiful, curling hair of the beautiful face of the twenty-four year old genius boy. He began with his shears. Some people could not stand the scene. Some even became mad. In the midst of the weeping, wailing, and crying of the threatening mob, it was done.
Nimāi Paṇḍita was senseless. After being only half-shaved, He stood up and began chanting in kīrtana and dancing in ecstatic joy. After He was shaved, the barber promised: "I will never again shave anyone with this hand! I would rather live by begging. This is my last service as a barber." After this, that barber took up the occupation of a sweetmaker.
Ultimately Nimāi's appeals pacified the mob, and a little before noon the inevitable gradually came: the sannyāsa function was performed. Candraśekhara Ācārya, the maternal uncle of Nimāi Paṇḍita, was deputed to take charge of the rituals in the ceremony of sannyāsa. When the mantra was to be conferred, Nimāi Paṇḍita asked Keśava Bharatī: "Is this the mantra you will give Me? I heard it in a dream." He whispered the mantra in the ear of His guru who accepted, saying: "Yes, this is the mantra I shall give You." Then that mantra was given.
And the name of this sannyāsī was not given in an ordinary way either. A most peculiar name came through Keśava Bharatī: "Kṛṣṇa Caitanya." None of the ten names generally given to sannyāsīs was given to Nimāi Paṇḍita, but the name that was given to Him was Kṛṣṇa Caitanya. According to the Muktikopaniṣad and Sāttvata-saṁhitā, there are one hundred and eight authorised names for tridaṇḍī sannyāsīs, principle among which are the following ten: Tīrtha, Āśrama, Vana, Āraṇya, Giri, Parvata, Sāgara, Saraswatī, Bhāratī, and Purī. As soon as they heard that name, the mob began to cry: "Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu ki jaya!" "All glories to Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya!"
The father of Śrīnivāsa Ācārya was a class friend of Nimāi Paṇḍita. On his way to his father-in-law's house, he heard that Nimāi Paṇḍita had come to take sannyāsa. He ran there, and seeing everything, he became dumb, he was devastated and went half-mad. After that, nothing came from his mouth but "Caitanya." After he heard the Name "Kṛṣṇa Caitanya," whatever anyone said to him, he would only say, "Caitanya!" He became mad. After that, his name became Caitanya dāsa. His former name vanished, and everyone used to call him Caitanya dāsa. He could not stand the scene of Nimāi Paṇḍita's sannyāsa.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, newly dressed in red robes, embraced His guru, and both of them began to dance, chanting the Name of Kṛṣṇa. After some time, the meaning of the Name was given. Keśava Bharatī Mahārāja said: "Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya means that You arouse Kṛṣṇa consciousness throughout the entire world. You have descended to make all people Kṛṣṇa consciousness. So the most suitable Name for You cannot but be Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya."
Mahāprabhu was very cheerful, thinking, "I am going to relieve so many souls from their eternal misery and affliction. I have promised to deliver the whole world from this ocean of misery and take them to the nectarine world, and now I am going to accept that task." He was cheerful, but everyone around Him was diving in the ocean of despair and sorrow.
Some scholars stress that Caitanya Mahāprabhu took sannyāsa from Keśava Bharatī, who was a māyāvādī, an impersonalist. But although Keśava Bharatī may have externally showed himself in that way, it is seen that by coming in connection with Mahāprabhu, he became a devotee. Otherwise, we may also think that he was a devotee who came in the garb of an impersonalists to help the preaching of Mahāprabhu by assisting Him with the social formality of taking sannyāsa. At that time, all over India, māyāvādī sannyāsīs had greater recognition than Vaiṣṇava sannyāsīs, and Keśava Bharatī was already situated in that post. Mahāprabhu took the garb of a sannyāsī from him for His own purpose, to help His preaching activity. All these things may be explained in different ways. In any case, after Mahāprabhu took sannyāsa, Keśava Bharatī began to sing and dance with Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. He joined in saṅkīrtana and was immediately converted. (TGVODL, p 59-63) + ( see also śloka 148)
līlā premṇa priyādhikyaṁ,
ity asādhāraṇaṁ proktaṁ,
"Kṛṣṇa has four superexcellent qualities - His wonderful pastimes, His wonderful associates like the gopīs, who are very dear to Him, His sweet beauty, and the sweet vibration of His Flute." (C-c, Madhya-līlā, 23.84) + (TSFSK, inside front cover)
yat pādāje 'rpito yat pada-bhajanamayaṁ gāyayitvā tu gītam
yogyāyogyatva-bhāvaṁ mama khalu sakalaṁ duṣṭa-buddher agṛhṇan
sa śrī-rūpaḥ kadā māṁ nija-pada-rajasābhūṣitaṁ saṁvidhatte
"Just prior to the withdrawal of his manifest līlā, my causeless merciful divine master Śrīla Saraswatī Ṭhākur handed me over to the holy feet of that divine personality by having me sing the glorious prayer unto his lotus feet. Despite my lowliness, when will Śrī Rūpa Prabhu grace me with the dust of his holy lotus feet, ignoring all my disqualifications?" (PJRPRPD, 10) + (SBRBM, p 43)
Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣaka Śrīdhara Deva-Goswāmī Mahārāja said: "When Prabhupāda (Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākura) became ill, I attended his sickbed. Just one day before his departure he called for me, and he asked me to chant śrī-rūpa-mañjarī-pada. At that time I was not accustomed to leading the kīrtana. I was hesitating - Śrīyukta Kuñja Bābu (later Śrīpād Bhakti Vilās Tīrtha Mahārāja) asked one brahmacārī: "Prabhu, you go on singing." Then he began singing, but Prabhupāda felt dissatisfaction. He said: "I don't want to hear the tone or sweet sound." Then that brahmacārī Prabhu stopped and I had to sing śrī-rūpa-mañjarī-pada. And the others said: "Prabhupāda has hereby given you admission to the rasa-sevā section." (see also śloka 470)
mac-cittā mad-gata prāṇā,
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) (TGVODL, p 149) + (see also śloka 516)
"The hearts and minds of My devotees are always filled with Me, and they are forever experiencing pleasure and ecstasy in talking about Me."
Here, Kṛṣṇa says: "I am in their hearts, in their thinking (mac-cittā mad-gata prāṇā,) Their whole life, their entire energy is spent for Me, utilised for Me. Their prāṇā-śakti, their life-energy, is so fully devoted for My cause. Internally they are always thinking about Me and devoting their whole energy for Me, and externally they talk about Me to enhance their mutual understanding (bodhayantaḥ parasparam )
They love to talk about Me with one another; they talk about nothing else. In private life, and in public life also, they love to talk about Me, and nothing else. I am the only subject of their discussions (kathayantaś ca māṁ nityaṁ ). Whatever they do, wherever they are, everywhere, I am the subject of their talk."
And next Kṛṣṇa says: "In this they find great satisfaction (tuṣyanti ca ramanti ca )." The internal meaning of (tuṣyanti ca ramanti ca ) is as follows. Here two levels of devotees are described. Up to vātsalya-rasa, or the parental mellow of devotion, Kṛṣṇa's devotees are feeling great satisfaction (tuṣyanti ). And above this is the higher kind of satisfaction (ramanti ) experienced in the mādhura-rasa. Just as a wife and husband enjoy a peculiar kind of connection, Kṛṣṇa's devotees feel ecstasy (ramanti ) in His connection, simply by talking about Him.
Here the ācāryas have agreed that the word ramanti indicates consorthood, and that devotees in consorthood can experience the very deep connection of husband and wife in relation to Kṛṣṇa. In the company of Kṛṣṇa they feel the ecstasy of consorthood, ramanti ca. They also feel that ecstasy even when they are only talking about Kṛṣṇa. This meaning of the word ramanti has been explained in different places by Viśvanātha, Baladeva, Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, and is also admitted even by Śaṅkarācārya, who agrees that the word ramanti indicates consorthood." (SEOC, p 143-4) + (see also śloka 517)
"My male or female servitors, who have dedicated their entire lives to Me and taken full shelter in Me, mutually assist one another in a manner befitting their respective internal devotional aptitudes. They eternally relish conversing about Me, the satisfaction of serving Me, and the nectar of devotion culminating in My divine consorthood." These are the symptoms of these exclusive devotees: "With heart and soul dedicated unto Me, they constantly exchange their devotional ecstasies while conversing about Me. By such hearing and chanting, in the stage of practice (sādhana ) they enjoy the happiness of devotion; and in the stage of perfection (sādhya ), that is, in the achievement of divine love (prema ), they relish up to the mellow of My intimate relationship in divine consorthood, in the free spontaneity of Vraja." (SSPJ, p 152-3)
Mac-cittā: "Their attention is in Me"; mad-gata prāṇā: "Their energy is also spent for My cause"; bodhayantaḥ parasparam: "They mutually assist one another."
This reminds us of the 'Napoleonic chair.' Once, when stranded in a marsh, Napoleon arranged that each man sit on the lap of another, in a circular formation; each automatically protected the other from the otherwise fatal cold, and they could all remain awake to pass the whole night of intolerable cold. Otherwise, his army would have perished.
So, by mutual help, one devotee is asking questions, another is answering, and they are both getting engagement. The questioner is giving some energy and the answerer is also energising. bodhayantaḥ parasparam: those of equal standing exchange their thoughts about Kṛṣṇa; kathayantaś ca māṁ nityaṁ: and thereby their blissfulness is generated. By mutual understanding and discussion, a kind of nectar arises that nourishes the devotees.
"One is asking something about Me and another is answering, and thereby that discussion creates a flow of nectar that nourishes both parties." tuṣyanti ca ramanti ca: "Satisfaction is generated from that mutual understanding, and it develops up to ramanti ca, up to the quality of the absolute reciprocation, the 'wholesale transaction.' It rises up to that standard, ramanti ca, and again I give them a further instalment, an illumination of new light, (dadāmi buddhi-yogaṁ tam, B-g, 10.10), and they take a new course and are promoted into the 'suicide squad,' that squadron which is eligible for every type of service." That particular type of 'soldier' is competent to fight on the land, in the water, in the sky or in any circumstances, and he is prepared for any form of fighting, any form of service. "I direct them to that section."
Yena mām upayānti te (B-g, 10.10), Unconditional service: they are ready for any service demanded of them. They are ready to sacrifice their lives for any form of service, and that peculiar group is in Vṛndāvana. I mentioned to Śrīpāda A.C. Bhaktivedānta Swāmī Mahārāja that in Gītā, after ramanti (10.9) comes buddhi-yoga and then upayānti, (10.10); according to me, the meaning is that ramanti, or divine service in mādhura-rasa progresses through buddhi-yoga, or yoga-māyā, up to upayānti, or the highest plane of service in Vṛndāvana. Śrīpāda Swāmī Mahārāja responded: "What more could it mean than this!" (SOTGOD, v 1, p 45-7)
So, helplessly, when one is searching by this method or that method, when he practically comes in contact with the service of a Vaiṣṇava he gets real benefit. Then the service of vigraha and śāstra all becomes superficial. The more real thing we find in the Vaiṣṇava. In his heart, the Kṛṣṇa conception, Kṛṣṇa as He is, knowledge or love, whatever we may be searching for, we will find in a living condition in the heart of a Vaiṣṇava who is regulating all his activities towards the service of the Lord. In the Vaiṣṇava it is animated more than in the vigraha, than in the tīrtha and than in the śastra. Direct contact with Kṛṣṇa we can find in the consciousness of a Vaiṣṇava. From what plane he is regulating all his activities: To what plane he is withdrawing himself from all worldly attraction? What is that which guides him towards some direction which is unknown and unknowable? He is moving towards that direction which is not to be traced in any loss or gain of this world. What is that thing?
Nāhaṁ vasāmi vaikuṇṭhe yogināṁ hṛdayeṣu vā: (see also ślokas 303 & 304). "I am not present Myself there." In the Vaikuṇṭha conception, the enquiry after the Infinite where one gets the personal conception of a Master, that the Infinite is controlled by a Master, and of the wonder in that personal conception of the prime cause, Kṛṣṇa says: "I am not there." And the attempt of the yogīs is to enquire into the all-permeating and all-guiding potency, in the deepest consciousness, by analysis, analytical enquiry into who is controlling everything from within, and how to trace Him. This is the way of enquiry of the yogīs, but Kṛṣṇa say's, yogināṁ hṛdayeṣu vā, "I am not there."
Then He says: mad bhaktāḥ yatra gāyanti tatra tiṣṭhāmi nārada: "But, Nārada, I am to be traced where My devotees are singing in praise about Me." This is a peculiar process. The Lord gives some hope that: "Without trying to capture Me, they are taking pleasure from far away, engaging themselves in singing about My greatness. They can feel pleasure in that they have got some clue from some agent, and they are satisfied with that; from outside they want to relish My existence, My presence. It is not that they want either to experience the personal conception of the all-controlling aspect of reality, or like the yogīs, to enter into the deepest extent into the science of this experience. But only far away, whatever little trace the devotees may have got about Myself, with that capital they engage in dancing and singing, and Myself, I am there. They get selfless satisfaction in singing My glory; and this is a far higher degree of selflessness, of a type which is found only there, in the singing of the devotees, and not in the enquiry mixed with curiosity about the most fundamental entity which is controlling everything from within, nor in the realisation of the personal creator, who creates and controls everything. That is the principle in kīrtana. Gaura Hari Bol! Gaura Hari Bol! (SVT, v 1, # 1, Jan. Feb. '92, p 9)
In the Rāmanūja sampradāya there is an incident regarding three Alwar devotees, nitya parsada devotees, who were contemporaries. One night they went to a temple perhaps for some occasion. They did not know one another. In the darkness one was talking, another hearing. It was also very sweet to him. Then the third also joined. They were talking although they did not know one another. They might have heard the names of each other, but this night they have met together. Natha yogī, Bhuta yogī and someone talking between them. Then one questioned: "We three are here. Do you feel the presence of a fourth one?" One told: "Yes, I feel the presence of a fourth one." By this it is meant that the Lord, about whom they were talking is present. In their talking, in the conversation He has come and is hearing the talk. So, only attraction, pure spiritual attraction, and nothing else can be pleasing to one but Kṛṣṇa, Rādhārāṇī, the gopīs, all this, the very inner most part of the heart is taken possession of by the thought of Kṛṣṇa and His associates, His līlā, His Name, His Paraphernalia. That is what is necessary. (GOD, p 21-2)
"With their thoughts forever fixed on Me, their lives consecrated to Me, My exclusive devotees enlighten one another, conversing about My wondrous nature. They derive great satisfaction and everlasting delight constantly relishing My ever-blissful and glorious attributes and deeds." (B-g, 10.9) + (C, # 3, Spr. '92, p 1)
(The ontological substance of the Bhagavad-gītā is found in Chapter 10, verses 8-11) (see also ślokas 14, 516 & 517)
mādhavendra purīra 'sambandha' dhara jani
kintu tomāra prema dekhi' mane anumāni
mādhavendra-purīra 'sambandha' dhara - jāni
"Upon seeing Your ecstatic love, I can just imagine that You must have some relationship with Mādhavendra Purī. This is my understanding." (C-c, Madhya-līlā, 17. 172 ).
We must have the vision to recognise the presence of our guru's temperament. When Mahāprabhu met the Saṅodiyā brāhmaṇa, upon seeing his movements, He at once detected that this brāhmaṇa must have some connection with Mādhavendra Purī. He said: "Without his connection, I could never find such symptoms of transcendental ecstasy. It must come from. Mādhavendra Purī." (SGAHG, p 26) + (see also śloka 4)
prema-dhāma-devam eva naumi gaura-sundaram
"Lord Caitanya relished the mood of intensified love of separation (vipralambha ) revealed from the core of heart by Mādhavendra Purīpāda in his composition, ayi dīna dayādra-nātha, describing Śrī Rādhikā's separation from Her beloved Kṛṣṇa after He had left for Mathurā. Intimately tasting its mood within His heart, Śrī Gaurāṅga revealed to His devotee that this mood of Śrīmatī Rādhikā is the zenith point of transcendental devotion. He finally beheld before His eyes Vṛndāvana, the abode of divine love of Kṛṣṇa, and became overwhelmed with the joy of hearts satisfaction. The Lord was delighted to see the beautiful gardens and forest groves that had served as His playground for spiritual pastimes in a previous era. While visiting the twelve forests of Vṛndāvana, such as Gokula Mahāvana, He displayed various affectionate dealings with the gopīs and gopas there. I sing with joy the unending glories of my golden Lord Gaurasundara, the beautiful divine abode of pure love." (PDDS, 38) + (SBRBM, p 10)
dayita bhrāmyati kiṁ karomy aham
While passing away from the material world, Śrīla Mādhavendra Purī chanted the following verse: "O gentle-hearted Lord, ever-gracious upon the destitute, O Lord of Mathurā, when shall I see You again? In Your absence my broken heart trembles. Beloved! What shall I do now?" (Padyāvalī ) + (C-c, Antya-līlā, 8.34)
Śrī Gopāla wanted to show how intensely Mādhavendra Purī loved Kṛṣṇa; therefore He asked him to go to Nīlācala to fetch sandalwood and camphor. With great trouble and much labour, he brought the load to Remuṇā. To test the intense love of Mādhavendra Purī, Gopāla ordered him to bring sandalwood from Nīlācala, and having passed this examination, the Lord became very merciful to him.
After saying this, Śrī Caitanyadeva read the famous verse (beginning ayi-dīna-dayārdra nātha he ) of Mādhavendra Purī. That verse is just like the moon. It has spread illumination all over the world. By continuous rubbing, the aroma of Malaya sandalwood increases. Similarly, by considering this verse, its importance increases. As the kaustubha-maṇi is considered the most precious of valuable stones, this verse is similarly considered the best of mellow poems.
Actually this verse was spoken by Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī Herself, and by Her mercy only was it manifest in the words of Mādhavendra Purī. When Śrī Kṛṣṇa left Vṛndāvana and accepted the kingdom of Mathurā, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, out of ecstatic feelings of separation, expressed how Kṛṣṇa can be loved in separation. Thus devotional service in separation is central to this verse, and is considered to be the topmost level of devotional service by the Gauḍīya-Madhva sampradāya.
Only Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has tasted the poetry of this verse. No fourth person is capable of understanding it. This indicates that only Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, Mādhavendra Purī and Caitanya Mahāprabhu are capable of understanding the purport of this verse.
When He recited some verses composed by Mādhavendra Purī, Mahāprabhu fell to the ground unconscious in an ecstatic mood, and Nityānanda Prabhu took Him on His lap. Crying, Caitanya Mahāprabhu got up again and would run here and there, making resounding noises. Sometimes He laughed, sometimes He cried, sometimes He danced and sang. Mahāprabhu could not recite the whole verse. He simply said: "ayi-dīna, ayi-dīna," repeatedly. Thus He could not speak, and profuse tears were in His eyes. When he saw that many people were assembled, Mahāprabhu checked Himself and regained His external senses.
madhuraṁ madhuraṁ vapur asya vibhor
madhuraṁ madhuraṁ vadanaṁ madhuraṁ
madhu gandhi mṛdu smitam etad aho
madhuraṁ madhuraṁ madhuraṁ madhuraṁ
"O Lord Kṛṣṇa! The beauty of Your transcendental form is sweet, but Your beautiful face is even sweeter. The sweet smile on Your face, which is like the sweet aroma of honey, is sweeter still." (KK, 92)
Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura says: "Sweet, sweet, sweet, sweetness. Kṛṣṇa is sweetness personified. At my first sight, I thought Kṛṣṇa was Cupid, who can capture everyone. But then I saw, 'No, this is not like lust personified, which can be experienced only in the material world. This is cinmaya, spiritual substance.' I see that this sweetness is spiritual in characteristic. I feel it. It is the very gist of all sweetness. What is this? My eyesight is being nectarised. I am experiencing nectar pouring on my eyes. Oh, Kṛṣṇa has already conquered my heart. I am captured, I am captivated by sweetness personified." (SGAHG, p 54) + (see also śloka 287)
sattvasya aisa pravarttakaḥ
The term "Mahāprabhu" has been defined in the Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad as follows: "He is the most magnanimous and compassionate master who mercifully presents the divine conclusions of the Supreme Truth to all." (SU ) + (ARO, p 23)
rādhā-kṛṣṇa nahe anya
rūpānuga janera jīvana
"Mahāprabhu Śrī Caitanya is nondifferent from Śrī Śrī Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa and is the very life of those Vaiṣṇavas who follow Śrī Rūpa Goswāmī. Śrī Svarūpa Dāmodara Goswāmī, Rūpa Goswāmī, and Sanātana Goswāmī were the givers of great happiness to Viśvambhara (Śrī Caitanya)." (SOTVA, p 90-2)
This verse is #6 of 8 verses describing the Brahma-Mādhva-Gauḍīya sampradāya as compiled by Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākura.
Our guru paramparā, disciplic succession, follows the ideal, not the body; it is a succession of instructing spiritual masters, not formal initiating spiritual masters. In a song about our guru paramparā written by Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Saraswatī, it is mentioned: mahāprabhu śrī-caitanya, rādhā-kṛṣṇa nahe anya rūpānuga janera jīvana: the highest truth of Kṛṣṇa consciousness comes down through the channel of śikṣā gurus, instructing spiritual masters. Those who have the standard of realisation in the proper line have been accepted in the list of our disciplic succession. It is not a dikṣā guru paramparā, a succession of formal initiating gurus.
Dikṣā, or initiation is more or less a formal thing; the substantial thing is śikṣā, or spiritual instruction. And if our śikṣā and dikṣā gurus, or instructing and initiating spiritual masters are congruent, then we are most fortunate. There are different gradations of spiritual masters. In the scriptures, the symptoms of the guru and the symptoms of the disciple have been described: the guru must be qualified in so many ways, and the disciple must also be qualified. Then when they come in connection, the desired result will be produced. (SGAHG, p 99-100)
mālī haṣā kare sei bīja āropaṇa
śravaṇa-kīrttana-jale karaye secana
"When a person receives the seed of devotional service, he should take care of it by becoming a gardener and sowing the seed in his heart. If he waters the seed gradually by the process of śravaṇa and kīrtana, the seed will begin to sprout." (C-c,Madhya, 19.152)
Just as by taking water from in front and sending it behind him a swimmer can make progress, so also by hearing and chanting, we can make progress. śravaṇa-kīrttana-jale. We are to hear, and what we acquire we are to distribute to others." A swimmer makes quick progress by passing behind him the water in his front, similarly, in spiritual terms we are to receive from the capitalist and deliver that to the customers. Śravaṇa kīrttana, śravaṇa kīrttana - by imbibing and exporting we can make good progress and the Absolute Capitalist will supply as much as the customers can receive from Him. This is Mahāprabhu's advice. (SOTGOD, v 3, p 9) + (see also śloka 589)
"The latā (creeper), it will grow up to Vṛndāvana and it will catch the Holy Feet of Kṛṣṇa, but mālī's (the gardeners) duty will be to pour water onto the root of that creeper." (SS, v 4, # 1, '86, p 2) + (see also ślokas 378, 531, 498 & 504)
mālikā upabāsa nā
"The beads should not fast."
So, Prabhupāda (Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākura) told us that our tulasī beads should not fast. His minimum advice was that we must do some service in the form of chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa while counting on beads, at least once daily. His exact words were: mālikā upabāsa nā: "The beads should not fast." And his general instruction was to preach as much as possible. (TSFSK, p 110)
So, kīrtana means preaching, śravanam, kīrtanam - kīrtana does not simply mean loudly chanting, but preaching. And preaching means there must be a fight with the opposition party. Kīrtana means a fight. Kīrtana creates the divine vibration which will fight with all the ordinary vibrations that are floating in this world in subtle and gross waves.
Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākura's emphasis was on intense service and did not impose any mathematical restrictions upon chanting. His general recommendation was to chant twenty-five thousand names, sixteen rounds, daily, or at least four rounds minimum. When someone had no work, they could chant one hundred thousand names, or sixty-four rounds, and that when one had the opportunity they could chant more and more.
As to the question of whether he would give harināma initiation to someone who could only chant four rounds daily? - there was no such consideration. Formally, one had to do some counting, but there was no rigid limitation. Our attainment of the goal is not insured simply by increasing the number of times we repeat the Name; only by increasing the quality will we reach success. What he wanted from us was intense engagement in the service of the Lord, under the guidance of a Vaiṣṇava, because the all important point is service.
Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣaka Śrīdhara Deva Goswāmī Mahārāja's mood was similar to Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākura's in this context.
Śrīla A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swāmī Mahārāja instructed his disciples to chant at least sixteen rounds daily of the Hare Kṛṣṇa māha-mantra.
The general standard set by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was to chant sixty-four rounds daily, one lakh (100,000) Names, of the Hare Kṛṣṇa māha-mantra.
Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣaka Śrīdhara Deva Goswāmī Mahārāja recalled: "Once I had a talk with one of the big spiritual leaders of the Udipi Temple in Madras. He told me, "Sometimes I preach about Madhvācārya and the bhakti cult, but I have no time for sādhana." (regulated spiritual practices such as japa, gayātrī mantra, scriptural study, and so on).
I supported him. Our guru mahārāja said that hari-kathā, preaching about Kṛṣṇa, is no less important than sādhana. Rather, it is a more living thing. Preaching is more vital. When we are preaching, automatically we must have the maximum concentration. On the other hand, while chanting on our japa beads, we may be absent minded. When we are speaking about Kṛṣṇa to another person, we must be all-attentive. Otherwise we cannot speak accurately. All our attention will automatically be concentrated when we talk about Kṛṣṇa. And in writing about Kṛṣṇa, accuracy is even more necessary than in speaking about Kṛṣṇa. So, writing is also kīrtana. The cultivation of Kṛṣṇa consciousness may even be more intense when we are engaged in writing about Kṛṣṇa.
So, preaching, saṅkīrtana, and not counting beads, japa, is the real service of Kṛṣṇa. But because we have taken a vow, and it is ordered by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and our gurudeva, we must chant the Holy Name while counting beads; it is our duty. What is really all-important is the spirit of service. We are not told that the gopīs always count the Name on tulasī beads, yet they possess the highest position in the service of Kṛṣṇa in Vṛndāvana. (TSFSK, p 110-113)
mallānām aśanir nṛṇāṁ naravaraḥ strīṇāṁ smaro mūrttimān
gopānāṁ svajano 'satāṁ kṣitibhujāṁ śāstā svapitro śiśuḥ
mṛtyur bhojapater virāḍ aviduṣāṁ tattvaṁ paraṁ yogināṁ
vṛṣṇīnāṁ paradevateti vidito raṅgaṁ gataḥ sāgrajaḥ
"O King, Śrī Kṛṣṇa then appeared as a thunderbolt to the wrestlers, as the supreme male to the men, as Cupid incarnate to the ladies, as a friend to the cowherdsmen; as an emperor to the wicked kings, as a child to His father and mother, as death to Kaṁsa, as the universal form of the world to the ignorant; as the Supreme Truth to the yogīs, as the Supreme Worshipful Lord to the Vṛṣṇis - and along with Baladeva He entered the arena." (S-B, 10.43.17) - When Kṛṣṇa entered the arena, all the different categories of persons had different perspectives of Him, according to their inner eye. Experience of the truth must vary according to different attitudes or degrees of consciousness, and this is applicable everywhere. (SOTGOD, v 2, p 100)
"When Lord Kṛṣṇa, accompanied by Baladeva, entered Kaṁsa's wrestling arena, He appeared to the spectators in different ways. Everyone viewed Him according to their own relationship (rasa ) with Him. To the wrestlers He appeared as a lightning bolt. To the people in general He appeared as the most beautiful personality. To the ladies, He appeared to be the most attractive young man, Cupid personified, and thus increased their lust. The cowherd men looked upon Kṛṣṇa as their own kinsman coming from the same village of Vṛndāvana. The kings who were present there saw Him as the most powerful ruler. His parents Nanda and Yaśodā saw Him as their most beloved child. Kaṁsa, the king of the Bhoja dynasty, saw Him as death personified. The worldly-minded saw Him as the Universal Form; the unintelligent saw Him as incapable, and to the yogis, He appeared to be the Supersoul. To the members of the Vṛṣṇi dynasty, He appeared to be their most celebrated descendant." (S-B, 10.43.17) - When Kṛṣṇa entered the arena, everyone saw Him in their own way. In this way we can understand how He satisfies everyone. When Yaśodā sees Him, she says: "My boy!" But the gopīs see a grown-up, not a child. His friends see Him as one of their playmates. Kṛṣṇa satisfies everyone. Even the animals in Vṛndāvana become ecstatic when they come in connection with Kṛṣṇa. (SEOC, p 79, 80)
Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura remarks that this verse gives a clue as to the different rasas in which devotees of different points of view relate to the Lord. Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura says that in this verse, the yogīs are seen to be representative of śānta-rasa (the mellow of passive adoration), the Vṛṣṇīs of dāsya-rasa (the mellow of devotional servitude), while the cowherd boys in the arena represent sakhya-rasa (the mellow of devotional friendship) mixed with hāsya-rasa (the sub-mellow of comedy). The cowherd men, headed by Nanda Mahārāja, exemplify vātsalya-rasa (the mellow of parental devotion) and karuṇa-rasa (the sub-mellow of compassion). The ladies exhibit madhurya-rasa (the mellow of conjugal devotion). The wrestlers exhibit vīrya-rasa (the sub-mellow of chivalry), while the people in general are examples of adbhuta-rasa (the sub-mellow of wonder). The kings exhibit raudra-rasa (the sub-mellow of anger) and the Bhojas, headed by Kaṁsa exemplify bhayanaka-rasa (the sub-mellow of fear). The worldly-minded, who view the Lord as the Universal Form relate to Him in vibhatsa-rasa (the sub-mellow of ghastliness). In this way, Kṛṣṇa is the supreme object of the five principle and seven secondary mellows or rasas. It is for this reason that He is known as akhila-rasāmṛta-murti, or the embodiment of all transcendental mellows.
guṇātītaḥ sa ucyate
Both sides, loss and gain, both are transient so receive them with equal spirit. Stand erect and meet both sides, success or failure, both are equal because the very plane in which they appear is a concoction like a dream. To become a king in a dream or to become a beggar in the street, in a dream, both are equally false. So loss or gain in this plane is all false, don't allow yourself to be disturbed by loss or gain, by victory or failure. Prepare yourself to receive grace by neglecting the adverse, apparently injurious environment. Prepare yourself to be a student of this higher standard, neglecting all the junk that comes to you. This will be better and more ambitious than to confine your ambition to this mortal world. When the reins are removed everything goes freely to Kṛṣṇa, just as a horse will run freely when it is unreined. So cure yourself quickly for a place is waiting for you. (B-g, 14.25) (C, # 4, Win. '92 - '93, p 11) + (see also śloka 10)
man-manā bhava mad-bhakto,
mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru
mam evaiṣyasi satyaṁ te,
pratijāne priyo 'si me
"Think of Me, serve Me, worship Me, offer your very self unto Me, and surely you will reach Me. Sincerely, this is My promise to you because you are My dear friend." (B-g, 18.65)
"Be My devotee, give Me your heart. Do not think of Me as the karma-yogīs, jñāna-yogīs, and dhyāna-yogīs do. Sacrifice your every endeavour for Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is My vow that without a doubt you will then achieve the servitude of My Own Self, which is the embodiment of truth, sentience, and beauty. Because you are most dear to Me do I reveal this transcendental devotion to you." (SSPJ, p 157)
"Think of Me always, and become My devotee. Worship Me, and bow down before Me. In this way you will certainly come to Me. My dear friend, I promise you on oath, I am speaking the truth. I am everything. Try to come to Me. I am the goal, the fulfilment of life not only for you, but for everyone. From the absolute consideration My position is such. At least you are My friend. I won't deceive you. You can believe Me. I promise that I am so."
How shamelessly Kṛṣṇa is expressing Himself here. He has come to plead for Himself so much, for our benefit. And a record is kept in the Bhagavad-gītā for our guidance. And Lord Kṛṣṇa came as Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu to preach about Himself. He came as His own canvasser with His eternal associates. He even brought Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, devotion personified, along with Him, saying: "I will show you how charming your position in My service is, how beautiful and dignified the devotion of My Other Half can be. So, come along with Me." And Baladeva has come as Nityānanda to canvass, and Vṛndāvana has come to canvass itself in Navadwīpa. So we are most indebted to the canvasser, especially when Kṛṣṇa Himself has come to canvass and to show how beautiful, how magnanimous, and how sacrificing divine love is. (TSFSK, p 12-4)
Kṛṣṇa says: "You Arjuna, you are My most favourite devotee. I promise you at least, I won't deceive you. So I say that I am everything. I tell you clearly that at least I won't deceive you because you are My friend. Always mind Me, become My devotee and serve Me. If you sacrifice anything, do it for Me. Or at least you may show respect to Me. So you are sure to enter Me, to come to Me. Myself alone you will come to. This is the truth. I promise you. You are My favourite. The truth is this, do everything for Me, attend Me, always think of Me and you are sure to come to Me." (GOD, p 22)
kaścid yatati siddhaye
yatatām api siddhānāṁ,
kaścin māṁ vetti tattvataḥ
"Out of countless souls, some may have reached the human form of life, and among many thousands of human beings, some endeavour to attain direct perception of the individual soul and the Supersoul; and among many thousands of such aspirants who have attained to seeing the soul and the Supersoul, only a few receive actual perception of Me, Śyāmasundara." (B-g, 7.3)
Our object is to satisfy Him, and thus, whatever policy may be considered best for us will be recommended from there. We have to accept wholesale surrender to the higher agency. That is necessary. If we are allowed to consider our own case, we shall accept yukta-vairāgya (abnegation in the spirit of devotion), because privation or affliction is not our end. Our end is to satisfy Kṛṣṇa. The fire lit by our guru mahārāja must be allowed to burn. We must not keep a feeble fire. The ideal that guru mahārāja has given is very rarely found in this world. Out of thousands and millions of chances, we may have such a seed sown in our heart. (SOTGOD, v 1, p 99) + (see also śloka 104)
manye tad etad akhilaṁ nigamasya satyaṁ
svātmārpaṇaṁ svasuhṛdaḥ paramasya puṁsaḥ
Prahlāda Mahārāja has said: "The whole gist of Vedic teachings is svātmārpaṇaṁ - to give and fully dedicate oneself to the Lord. To give oneself is the substance of all devotional activity." (S-B, 7.6.26 ) + (SOTGOD, v 1, p 128) + (see also śloka 456)
mārobi rākhobi yo icchā tohārā,
nitya-dāsa prati tuwā adhikārā
"Slay me or protect me as You wish, for You are the master of Your eternal servant." (TSOBT, p 13)
The least tinge of exploitation, any speck of the ambitious life, will not take us there. That is another thing. Pratiṣṭhā is self-establishing, to be stable, to be immortal, to be invincible - it is not self-giving, but it is the self-establishing tendency: "I must stay. I must live." But if necessary, I must die for the interest of Kṛṣṇa.
A suicidal soldier! For the cause of the country, if necessary I must die. I must efface myself. I may be effaced. If it is necessary my very existence may be effaced for the satisfaction of Kṛṣṇa. (SGD, '96, p 33)
"If You come to calculate, I have no hope; so if You can show me some grace - some causeless mercy - then I have that hope. I have come to this department of the Lord, by surrendering. Anyone may have His voluntary mercy, but I may not. If I hesitate to think about justice, then I am already cancelled from the list. My name will be struck from the resister."
This is one of the finest points of śaraṇāgati. What is surrender, and what should be the quality of surrender? mārobi rākhobi yo icchā tohārā: "According to Your sweet will, You can make or mar me." With such understanding we can go to surrender. Calculation is not allowed in that department of causeless mercy. Mercy may be extended to everyone except me, but I have nothing to complain about. What more can one give than this? This is the thunderbolt from the blue! To become śaraṇāgata, to surrender, means to leave all prospects - to be emptied - "I have no prospect;" to be fully emptied, and then to surrender. There cannot be the least application in the petition: surrender means a clean slate. Complete dependence on Him means He can make or mar. I must admit my Master's right to make or mar. I am a slave. (SOTGOD, v 1, p 132) + (see also śloka 200)
māraḥ svayaṁ nu madhura-dyuti-maṇḍalaṁ nu
mādhuryam eva nu mano-nayanāmṛtaṁ nu
venī-mṛjo nu mama jīvita-vallabho nu
kṛṣṇo 'yam abhyudayate mama locanāya
"My dear friends, where is Kṛṣṇa, who is Cupid personified, brilliant as a kadamba flower? Where is Kṛṣṇa, sweetness Himself, the sweetest nectar for my eyes and mind? Where is Kṛṣṇa, who loosens the hair of the gopīs? He is the supreme source of divine bliss. He is my life and soul. Has He come before my eyes again?" (KK, 68) + (SGAHG, p 54-5) + (see also śloka 276)
Before becoming a saint, the sage Valmīkī was a dacoit. But the great saint Nārada had a plan to benefit him. Nārada thought, "This person is the most notorious and heinous dacoit I have ever seen. Let me experiment with him to see the potency of the Holy Name. I shall ask him to chant the Holy Name of Rāma." He tried, but Valmīkī could not pronounce the Holy Name of Rāma. Then Nārada told him to chant mara - the word for "murder" - instead. The dacoit said: "Yes, I can do this. This is just the opposite of the Name of Rāma." He began to chant "mara-mara-mara-mara-rāma-rāma-rāma-rāma." In this way, after some time, mara became rāma. Valmīkī began to chant the Name of Rāma, and gradually his mental attitude changed. So it is possible for the Name to have an effect on someone even if they have no proper conception of its meaning. This is called nāmābhasa: the shadow of the Name. It can effect liberation. But a real devotee is not interested in liberation, but wants to enter the domain of divine service. (see also śloka 403) + (LSFTLS, p 89)
martyo yadā tyakta-samasta-karmā,
niveditātmā vicikīrṣito me
mayātma-bhūyāya ca kalpate vai
"One who is subjected to birth and death attains immortality when he gives up all material activities, dedicates his life to the execution of My order, and acts according to My directions. In this way, he becomes fit to enjoy the spiritual bliss derived from exchanging loving mellows with Me." (S-B, 11.29.34)
It is not necessary that if we dive deep into the plane of consciousness, we must lose our own personality, our own individuality. It is not necessary at all. And yet the nature of divine love, is that you are still living, but you are living on His behalf, wholesale converted into His service. It is a wonderful thing: you can keep your personality for the interest of Kṛṣṇa. But you must have no selfish motive, no conception of separate interest. Merging there is not physical, mortal merging, not merging of the losing variety, but the kind of merging spoken of in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.29.34): martyo yadā tyakta-samasta-karmā. And in Bhagavad-gītā (18.55 - see also śloka 91) (LSFTLS, p 57-8)
"When a mortal totally abandons all karma and offers himself to My direction, at that time he acts according to My sweet will and becomes one with Me - he attains the fitness to become My family member in his divine form of saccidānanda nature."
This is a transformation that can be seen in the physical system also. The physical cells undergo transformation. Old cells vanish, new cells grow. And this also occurs when one accepts prasādam, food offered to the Lord. A revolutionary transformation occurs. Unconsciously, there is transformation in the physical system, by the gradual process of living a pious and divine life. Imperceptibly, the transformation takes place.
"Martyo yadā tyakta-samasta-karmā: he has detached himself from all the activities of this so-called mundane world; niveditātmā: and he considers himself no longer a member of this material world. He has entered and enlisted in the family, in the entourage, of another plane. And gradually he more and more intensely identifies himself as one of that family, that plane.
Niveditātmā vicikīrṣito me: he is very busy to find out what can please Me. That is his errand always. He is always seeking how to please Me. That is the only principle in him; he automatically thinks over and over again, "How can I please Him? How can I please Him?
Tadāmṛtatvaṁ pratipadyamāno: then, indispensably, such a change cannot but come in him: the necessary transformation. A transformation from mortality to immortality gradually occurs. The progress is sure and substantial.
Mayātma-bhūyāya ca kalpate vai: and consequently, he comes to be reckoned as one of My family members." (S-B, 11.29.34)
Also in Bhagavad-gītā (18.55 - see also śloka 91), viśate tad anantaram: "My devotee enters into My family." With our bhajana (divine service), such transformation is inevitable. It must happen. Material hankering will be diminished. Mostly in rajo and tamo-guṇa (the modes of passion and ignorance) there is dissipation of vital energy, but in sattva-guṇa (truthfulness, realisation) the energy lost is of much less quantity. (S-B, 11.29.34) + (SOTGOD, v 1, p 137-9) + (see also śloka 87)
"When the mortal being gives up all worldly attempts, completely offers himself to Me, and acts exclusively according to My desire, he attains to the state of nectar, or positive immortality. He is then accepted: he becomes qualified to enjoy the acme of divine ecstasy, united with Me as My family member." (SSPJ, p 169)
We are urged to take shelter of the lotus feet of a Vaiṣṇava. So, the proper conception of the lotus feet of a Vaiṣṇava is: martyo yadā tyakta-samasta-karmā, niveditātmā vicikīrṣito me: According to the extent and intensity of their realisation, the Vaiṣṇavas are unified with Him as a part within a system. Just as the iron or any other mineral that , when touched by the fire obtains the property of the fire and is able to impart the same to others, the Vaiṣṇava conception, Viṣṇu realisation, when it is wholly captured by any personality, gives the quality of Kṛṣṇa - purity.
The Vaiṣṇava's connection is cheaper in the market place than Kṛṣṇa Himself. If one can come in contact with any Vaiṣṇava (Vaiṣṇava means one who is completely absorbed in consciousness of Kṛṣṇa - that is, only the Kṛṣṇa conception is fully represented in them), then they get the capacity from Kṛṣṇa for purifying. It is easier for us to get the association of the Vaiṣṇava than with Kṛṣṇa Himself. So we are recommended everywhere in the śāstras to come in contact with the Vaiṣṇavas and, by their grace, we may be purified wholesale, extensively. Then, if we are fortunate, we may also attain the status of a Vaiṣṇava. (SS, v 2, # 1, '84, p 2) + (see also śloka 309)
matir na kṛṣṇe parataḥ svato vā,
mitho 'bhipadyeta gṛha-vratānām
adānta-gobir viśatāṁ tamisraṁ,
punaḥ punaś carvita-carvaṇānām
Prahlāda Mahārāja said: "Because of their uncontrolled senses, persons too addicted to materialistic life make progress toward hellish conditions and repeatedly chew that which has already been chewed. Their inclinations toward Kṛṣṇa are never aroused, either by the instructions of others, by their own efforts, or by a combination of both." (S-B, 7.5.30.)
Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam tells us that we can try to enter the world of higher reality through intellectualism, but we will again come back, baffled in our attempts. If we try to press with our intelligence to enter into that domain, we will come back dissatisfied in despair and will wander here within this mortal world again and again. The world of sense experience will come and go through its different phases, but it cannot enter that spiritual plane. To enter that world, the only requirement is submission to a real agent of divinity. He can impart the process, and if we can accept that, we will be able to enter that world; otherwise we will have to wander in this world of sense experience. (LSFTLS, p 73)
mat-tulyo nāsti pāpātmā,
nāparādhī ca kaścana
parihāre 'pi lajjā me,
kiṁ bruve puruṣottama
"There is no parallel to my sinful, criminal life. Everything that can be conceived of as bad is found in me. O Supreme Lord, I am even ashamed to come before You to petition, 'please forgive my offences.' What more can I say than this?" (B.r.s, 1.2.154) + (SSPJ, p 125)
"My Lord, I feel ashamed. How shall I offer You so many pure things like flowers? Generally, pure things are offered to You, but what about me? I have come with the most filthy thing to offer You. I feel ashamed. I have come to You, with only my shame, to beg for Your mercy. There is no parallel to my sinful, criminal life. Everything that can be conceived of as bad is found in me. It is very difficult even to speak about the characteristics of my heinous sins and crimes. Still, Your nature, existence, fame, and benevolence cannot but attract me. You can save me. You can purify me. Hoping against hope, I have come to You. And I have only one solace, that I am the real object of Your mercy. Your tendency is to purify the meanest. Those who are the most needy have some claim to Your mercy. I am the worst of the needy and the meanest of the mean. This is my only qualification, my only hope to attract your attention and appeal to Your magnanimity." (B.r.s, 1.2.154) + (SGAHG, p 144) + (see also śloka 614)
mātur agre 'dhijananaṁ dvitīyaṁ mauñji-bandhane
tritīyaṁ yajña-dīkṣāyāṁ dvijasya śruti-codanāt
Mātur agre 'dhijananaṁ: First we take our body from the mother, or the parents.
dvitīyaṁ mauñji-bandhane: The second birth is by receiving sacred thread in a brāhmaṇa family.
tritīyaṁ yajña-dīkṣāyāṁ: Again, the third is to take this Pāṣcarātrikī-dīkṣā, to help for further progress. This is in Manu-saṁhitā. A brāhmaṇa man has three births. The second, mauñji-bandhane is Gāyatrī or Vedic dīkṣā. It teaches us: "try to have your reading from the example that has been set by the Veda. Don't believe what your experience tells you, but try to follow how the revealed truth wants you to read the environment." Don't survey your environment with your own fleshy ear and eye, but with a more scientific education try to see things beyond that. Of course, science is also generally mundane, but revealed truth tells us to see things in another way: nothing is for me, but everything is for the Supreme Authority. We are a particle of that. Try to read you environment in this way. Everything belongs to the centre and we are a part of that organic whole, and our duty must be ascertained accordingly. This is the Vedic process of reading the environment. And ordinary vision is: "I am monarch of all I survey." We want to utilise everything for our purpose. This is mundane. (MS, 2,260) + (SOTGOD, v 2, p 162) + (see also śloka 131)
"O Kaunteya, My deluding potency, under My direction gives birth to this universe of moving and stationary beings. And for this reason, that is, since only a created object is subject to destruction, the universe is created again and again." (B-g, 9.10)
Darwin has given the theory of evolution-fossilism. Vedānta has given subjective evolution. In Darwin's theory of objective evolution, matter evolves consciousness. The object exists first, and by its development, life is coming, consciousness is coming - from stone. That is objective evolution. But an object is a relative term; without the subject, an object cannot stand. The subject is the primary substance. Whatever is to be felt is only an idea in the subjective ocean. So, the subject, consciousness is first. The object, the gross, proceeds from the subtle.
When a particular potency is handled by Kṛṣṇa, in His form as Mahā-Viṣṇu, then the material energy begins to move and produce something (mayādhyakṣeṇa prakṛtiḥ, sūyate sa-carācaram ). The first product is a general ego. Then, gradually so many plural individual egos emanate from the general ego. The experience of this world develops from ego. When ego contacts the mode of ignorance, form is produced. When it contacts the mode of goodness, the sun and light are produced. When false ego comes in connection with these three modes of nature, a trifurcation takes place, generating the objects of the senses, the material senses, and the power of sense perception. So, from the subtle, the gross is coming.
That is Vedāntic evolution. But the Darwin theory says that from the gross, the subtle is coming. At present, people are fond of the Darwin theory that stone produces consciousness. Darwin's objective evolution has swallowed us. Although externally, we reject it, we hate it, still, the ghost of Darwin's theory has devoured everyone. Therefore, it is difficult to make them understand that consciousness is more valuable than stone. It is easy for consciousness to produce stone; it is difficult for stone to produce consciousness. Consciousness is more valuable, stone is less valuable. So, a more valuable thing can produce a less valuable thing, but it is difficult to explain how a less valuable thing can produce something more valuable. (TSFSK, p 29-30) + (see also śloka 532)
mayā tatam idaṁ sarvaṁ,
na cāhaṁ teṣv avasthitaḥ.
na ca mat-sthāni bhūtāni,
paśya me yogam aiśvaram
bhūta-bhṛn na ca bhūta-stho,
"In an unmanifest manner, I pervade this entire universe, and everything conceivable is situated within Me - and yet, I am not situated within that total entity."
"And again, that is also not situated in Me. Just behold My inconceivable simultaneous one and different (acintya-bhedābheda ) nature as the perfect, omnipotent, omniscient originator and Lord of the universe! Although My very Self is the mainstay and guardian of all beings, I am not implicated by them." (B-g, 9. 4-5)
"I am everywhere and nowhere. Everything is in Me, and yet nothing is in Me. In My unmanifested form, this entire universe is pervaded. Behold My mystic opulence, My simultaneous oneness and difference! Although I am the maintainer of all living entities and although I am everywhere, I am not implicated by any of this, for I am the very source of creation."
We have to understand the relationship between the cause and effect. The cause and its effect are of different types. Even the inner cause and the outer cause may have different positions. The body may be disturbed, but the mind may not be. The mind may be disturbed, the soul may not be. By this we are to understand the difference between cause and effect, subtle and gross, matter and spirit." (SEOC, p 33) + (see also śloka 597)
"I am everything, and everything is in Me. I am nowhere, and nothing in Me. I am not a madman. Try to have an estimation of what I am, Arjuna. What am I?" Such a bold statement has come into the world of philosophy. "I am everywhere and nowhere. Everything in Me, nothing in Me. Try to ascertain what I am." This sort of straight, simple and most perplexing, impossible idea, all possible together. He is that. (C, v 1, # 5, Sum. '93, p 9-10) + (see also ślokas 345 & 206)
"Everything is in Me, yet nothing is in Me. I am everywhere and I am nowhere." Everything will come within this conception. He can even interfere with the free will of the jīva, but still He doesn't. He is within and He can control, yet He does not. He may choose not to control. He has this independence. This sort of conception we shall have to indent. This is the conception of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and this is what separates His conception from the Hegalian philosophy and the philosophy of Aurobindo. Māyā is not a necessary part of existence, and by Kṛṣṇa's will Māyā may be finished, and if He so desires, again recreated." (C, v 1, # 6, Spr. '94, p 9) + (see also śloka 241)
mayi bhaktir hi bhūtānām,
diṣtyā yad āsīn mat sneho,
"My dear gopīs, everyone considers themselves fortunate if they possess devotion for Me, and by that they achieve an eternal life of nectar. But I must admit that I consider Myself most fortunate because I have come in touch with the wonderful affection found in your hearts." (S-B, 10.42.44) + (SEOC, p 150) + (see also ślokas 21 & 516)
"It is supposed that one who gets My connection is fortunate, but I consider it My fortune that I got your (the gopīs ) connection. Others say that anyone who gets My connection is fortunate. But I consider Myself fortunate because I have your connection. I am the most fortunate. It is My fortune that I have your connection, so it is sure that I shall be yours, I shall always be yours."
Such things were spoken by Kṛṣṇa when He met the gopīs at Kurukṣetra. Such things are unattainable - people cannot even think so high, that such a life is possible. (SOTGOD, v 1, p 193-4) + (see also ślokas 21, 52 & 451)
"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."
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. (TGVODL, p 166-8) + (see also ślokas 21 & 324)
mayi te teṣu cāpy aham
There is another side also: although we are advised to be prepared for painful separation, the fact is not so cruel in reality. Kṛṣṇa says: mayi te teṣu cāpy aham: "I am always with My devotees." Wherever there is an exclusive devotee, Kṛṣṇa is there like his shadow, always invisibly moving after him. This is the Lord's nature. (B-g, 9.29 ) + (TGVODL, p 151) + (see also ślokas 10 & 571)
samo 'haṁ sarva-bhūteṣu,
na me dveṣyo 'sti na priyaḥ
ye bhajanti tu māṁ bhaktyā,
mayi te teṣu cāpy aham
"I am equally disposed to all souls, therefore no one is My enemy or My friend. Yet, for those who render devotional service unto Me with love, as they are bound by affection for Me, I am similarly bound by the tie of affection for them." (B-g, 9.29)
mora mana - vṛndāvana
Mahāprabhu says: "My speculation is on the other side - Vrndavana." (SOTGOD, v 2, p 32) + (see also ślokas 98 & 115)
svarūpa-gosāṣire paṇḍita kailā nivedana
"pūrva haite vṛndāvana yāite mora mana
He then submitted a plea to Svarūpa Dāmodara Gosvāmī: "For a very long time," He said: "I have wanted to go to Vṛndāvana." (C-c, Antya-līlā, 13.27 ).
mukam karoti vācālaṁ
panghum langhāyate girīm
yat kṛpā tam ahaṁ vande
śrī gurun dīna-tāranam
"I offer my respectful obeisances unto Mādhava, Who is the Personification of transcendental bliss. By His mercy, a blind man can see the stars in the sky, a lame man can cross mountains, and a dumb man can speak eloquent words of poetry." (BD, maṅgala stotram, 1)
"I offer my respectful obeisances unto my spiritual master, the deliverer of all fallen souls, whose mercy turns the dumb into eloquent speakers, and enables the lame to cross mountains. Such is the mercy of Śrī Guru."
As much as one progresses, so much he thinks himself helpless in going further for measurement. No part of the Infinite comes into the plane of measurement. We cannot understand the Infinite; we don't find ourselves qualified to give any expression about that, so we become dumb, thinking, "What shall I say?" But He makes us speak, He makes us open our mouths. Otherwise the reader, the knower, becomes dumb. A bona fide searching person is struck dumb with Kṛṣṇa's ways. He cannot give any expression to that. But the power from on high comes down to make him give some statement. In that way, the truth from that part comes here. He begins to speak, to give vent to his feelings, being pressed by the higher plane, that higher entity. He has no power of his own to walk, but the Lord's wonderful power can help him cross mountains. This is the nature of the grace of the Almighty, of the Absolute: by His power, everything can move and live. (LSFTLS, p 63-4) + (see also śloka 603)
na ca sat kriya, na dikṣe
na ca purāścarya manadilate
mantrayam rasana spri
hanato śrī kṛṣṇa nāmātmaka
"One need not undergo all the purificatory processes, or follow the six ritualistic ceremonies mentioned in the Vedas for pious life; one need not even take initiation into the gāyatrī-mantra. If one simply chants the Holy Name of Kṛṣṇa without offence, everything will be successful." (Jīva Goswāmī) (SGAHG, p 86) + (see also śloka 252)
na ca tasmān manuṣyeṣu,
kaścin me priya-kṛttamaḥ
bhavitā na ca me tasmād,
anyaḥ priyataro bhuvi
"There is no one in this world of human society more dear to Me than he (who explains the secrets of bhakti to the devotees), nor will there ever be one more dear." (B-g, 18.69) + (C, # 3, Spr. '92, p 1) + (see also śloka 273)
na deśa-niyamas tatra,
na kāla-niyamas tathā
prāptam annaṁ drutaṁ śiṣtair,
bhoktavyaṁ harir abravit
"The prasāda of Śrī Kṛṣṇa is to be taken by gentlemen as soon as it is received, without hesitation. There are no regulative principles concerning time and place. This is the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead." (C-c, Madhya-līlā, 6.226)
śuskaṁ paryuṣitaṁ vāpi,
nītaṁ vā dūra-deśataḥ
"One should take the mahā-prasāda of Śrī Kṛṣṇa as soon as one receives it, without consideration of time or place, even though it may be dried up, stale, or brought from a distant country." (C-c, Madhya-līlā, 6.225 ) + (see also śloka 487)
One day, early in the morning, Śrī Caitanyadeva, with some prasādam from the Jagannātha temple, ran to Sārvabhauma while he was still in bed. He cried in a loud voice: "Sārvabhauma, how wonderful is this prasādam! It has a very extraordinary taste. Please take it. I have come for you with this prasādam."
Sārvabhauma arose from bed as Mahāprabhu offered him the prasādam, and he could not but accept it without even cleansing his mouth. Ordinarily a brāhmaṇa paṇḍita, early in the morning, will first cleanse his mouth, bathe, offer different prayers, and only then take prasādam. But when Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu personally came and offered it to him with His own hand, what could Sārvabhauma do? He had to accept that prasādam.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu told him: "We have previously experienced the taste of so many things like ghee, rice, sweets, and spices. We all know what flavours they have, but this is wonderful. This has touched the lips of Kṛṣṇa Himself. It is extraordinarily wonderful and tasteful."
Then, Sārvabhauma eagerly ate that prasādam and began uttering these two mantras: śuskaṁ paryuṣitaṁ vāpi and na deśa-niyamas tatra. He took prasādam, and the Lord and servant embraced one another and began to dance in ecstasy. As they danced, the symptoms of ecstasy appeared in both of them. They perspired, trembled, and shed tears.
Absorbed in ecstatic love, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said: "Today, I have conquered the whole world, for I have converted a scholar like Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya. Now, he has so much faith in mahā-prasādam that without performing any Vedic rituals, he took the prasādam. My mission is successful!" (TGVODL, p 19) + (see also ślokas 111, 205, 487 & 579)
na dhanaṁ na janaṁ na sundarīṁ,
kavitāṁ vā jagad-īśa kāmaye
mama janmani janmanīśvare,
bhavatād bhaktir ahaitukī tvayi
"O Lord, I have no desires to accumulate wealth, followers, beautiful women, or salvation. My only prayer is for Your causeless devotional service, birth after birth." (S, v 4)
We should try to move in this direction. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu says: "I don't want any money (na dhanaṁ ), I don't want any popularity or manpower (na janaṁ ), I don't want the company of beautiful ladies (na sundarīṁ ), I don't want a good name, or the fame of a poet (kavitāṁ vā )."
This is the general meaning of this verse, but it has been deeply dealt with in the commentaries of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Saraswatī and Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura. Our Guru Mahārāja has commented that in this verse, wealth, followers, women, and scholarship represent duty, wealth, sense pleasure, and salvation (dharma, artha, kāma, mokṣa ). Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura has explained that in this context, "wealth" means the wealth which comes from following one's prescribed duties. It can also mean artha, economic development. He says that "followers" means physical relationship for comforts: wife, children and so forth. The word sundarīṁ means kāma, the company of beautiful ladies. And kavitāṁ, poetry, represents mokṣa, liberation. Liberation apparently has a high value but really, like poetry, it is only flowery words. Liberation is imaginary because the ultimate result of liberation is that one's existence vanishes.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu says: "O Lord of the universe, I pray for spontaneous devotion to You without motive for any reward. I want a natural serving attitude." Prema means affection, love. Prema means: "I shall serve You, and in remuneration You must give me more of a tendency to serve You - more energy and more hankering to serve You. My affection for You will be enhanced and the interest will become capital just as in the money-lending business."
In this way a devotee prays to Kṛṣṇa: "I am serving You, and if You want to pay me something, then give me more capital to increase my serving tendency so it may be more enhanced. Wherever I am born according to my karma, I aspire only for You service, my Lord, and I pray for unmotivated service, not for anything else in return." (S, v 4) + (TGVODL, p 123-5)
Surrender is so powerful that it can even capture the Absolute. We are aspiring for that kind of potency. And whoever possesses that - they are all in all; they are our masters. For our highest interest, we must look towards the direction in which that power is intensified. We shall try to look wherever we find surrender in a thick, condensed stage. Our aim should be directed towards that. We are beggars of that. We are not beggars for anything which can be found in this mundane world: na dhanaṁ na janaṁ na sundarīṁ…not wealth, followers, or the enjoyment of women, but eliminating everything else, our aim should be directed towards one thing - the most intensified condition of divine service to the Lord of Love. (LSFTLS, p 60)
"O Lord, I do not ever desire wealth, followers, popularity, a beautiful spouse, or the fame of scholarship for My personal enjoyment. Any such worldly promotion and sense gratification harm My true interest which is My ever cherished relationship with You. These things can tempt Me away from You, My highest fortune, and keep Me addicted to selfish enjoyment. Even salvation is empty without You, for You are My beloved Master and only solace, therefore I pray for unmotivated devotion and service to You birth after birth." (SBRBM, p 28)
"O Lord of the universe, I have no desire for wealth or worldly promotion, nor do I desire wife, family, and society, nor do I aspire for Vedic religiosity or mundane scholarship. The only aspiration in my heart is that in my every birth I may have unmotivated devotion for You." (The Supreme Lord Śrī Caitanyacandra) (SSPJ, p 56)
nāhaṁ tisthāmi vaikuṇṭhe
yogināṁ hṛdayeṣu vā
mad bhaktāḥ yatra gāyante
tatra tiṣṭhāmī nārada
Kṛṣṇa says to Nārada Muni: nāhaṁ tisthāmi vaikuṇṭhe: That is, in the spiritual endeavour of the different classes of transcendentalists: "I am not present Myself there." In the Vaikuṇṭha conception, the enquiry after the Infinite where one gets the personal conception of a Master, that the Infinite is controlled by a Master, and of the wonder in that personal conception of the prime cause, Kṛṣṇa say's: "I am not there." And the attempt of the yogīs is to enquire into the all-permeating and all-guiding potency, in the deepest consciousness, by analysis, analytical enquiry into who is controlling everything from within, and how to trace Him. This is the way of enquiry of the yogīs, but Kṛṣṇa says: yogināṁ hṛdayeṣu vā: "I am not there."
Then He says: yatra gāyante tatra tiṣṭhāmī nārada: "But, Nārada, I am to be traced where My devotees are singing in praise about Me." This is a peculiar process. The Lord gives some hope that: "Without trying to capture Me, they are taking pleasure from far away, engaging themselves in singing about My greatness. They can feel pleasure in that they have got some clue from some agent, and they are satisfied with that; from outside they want to relish My existence, My presence. It is not that they want either to experience the personal conception of the all-controlling aspect of reality, or like the yogīs, to enter into the deepest extent into the science of this experience. But only far away, whatever little trace the devotees may have got about Myself, with that capital they engage in dancing and singing, and Myself, I am there.
They get selfless satisfaction in singing My glory; and this is a far higher degree of selflessness, of a type which is found only there, in the singing of the devotees, and not in the enquiry mixed with curiosity about the most fundamental entity which is controlling everything from within, nor in the realisation of the personal creator, who creates and controls everything. That is the principle in kīrtana. Gaura Hari Bol! (SVT, v 1, # 1, Jan - Feb. '92, p 9) + (see also ślokas 273 & 304)
nāhaṁ vasāmi vaikuṇṭhe,
yogināṁ hṛdayeṣu vā
mad bhaktāḥ yatra gāyanti,
tatra tiṣṭhāmi nārada
The Lord Himself says: "O, Nārada, wherever My devotees sing My praises I cannot but be present there." (This verse is within the purports of S-B, 4.2.41 & 4.30.35, the following way: nāhaṁ vasāmi vaikuṇṭhe, yogināṁ hṛdayeṣu vā, tatra tiṣṭhāmi nārada, mad bhaktāḥ yatra gāyanti ).
Many years ago when Śrīla A.C. Bhaktivedānta Swāmī Mahārāja was in the West, a lecture program was arranged but hardly anyone attended. The devotees apologised but Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Swāmī Mahārāja said: "Well, Nārada Muni, Lord Brahmā and many others came - I could detect that, but you were unable to see."
Just as when Śukadeva delivered Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, his gurus - Nārada, Vyāsadeva, Atri, Vaśiṣṭha and others - all came there, similarly Śrīla Swāmī Mahārāja went to the West with so much eagerness to preach the doctrine of Love Divine, so his gurus went there to see how he was getting on. It is not impossible.
"Nāhaṁ vasāmi vaikuṇṭhe, I do not live in the transcendental plane; yogināṁ hṛdayeṣu vā - nor in the heart of a yogī, mad bhaktāḥ yatra gāyanti, but wherever My devotees sing with most earnest heart; tatra tiṣṭhāmi - I present Myself there. I take My seat and hear their hearty song. Their singing and chanting carries Me from the heart of the yogī, and even from the throne of My Vaikuṇṭha. I run towards the place where the devotees chant with hearty devotion about Me: that is what really attracts Me most." Nārāyaṇa Himself says this, therefore it is so that Nārāyaṇa and His higher devotees come to attend such assemblies. (SOTGOD, v 3, p 33)
nāhaṁ vedair na tapasā,
na dānena na cejyayā
śakya evaṁ-vidho draṣṭuṁ,
dṛṣṭavān asi yan mama
bhaktyā tv ananyayā śakya,
aham evaṁ-vidho 'rjjuna
jñātuṁ draśṭuṁ ca tattvena,
praveṣṭuṁ ca parantapa
"Neither by study of the Vedas, nor by austerity, charity, or sacrifice, can anyone behold My humanlike form of Supreme Absolute Truth (Parabrahman) which you are now seeing before you." - "O Arjuna, conqueror of the enemy, although in this form of Mine I am practically impossible to be seen by all other methods, the pure devotees, by their exclusive devotion unto Me, are capable of actually knowing Me, seeing Me, and entering into My divine pastimes." (B-g, 11.53-4)
"All other means may fail. Only exclusive devotion can draw Me as you see Me here, Arjuna, but other things cannot lead to such a position. Temporary devotion also will not be sufficient, but what is necessary is permanent, exclusive devotion." (SOTGOD, v 3, p 51) + (see also ślokas 583 & 434)
nāhaṁ vipro na ca nara-patir nāpi vaiśyo na śūdro
nāhaṁ varṇī na ca gṛha-patir no vana-stho yatir vā
gopī-bharttuḥ pada-kamalayor dāsa-dāsānudāsaḥ
"I am not a priest, a king, a merchant, or a labourer (brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra ); nor am I a student, a householder, a retired householder, or a mendicant (brahmacārī, gṛhastha, vānaprastha, sannyāsī ). I identify myself only as the servant of the servant of the servant of the lotus feet of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Lord of the gopīs, who is the personification of the fully expanded (eternally self-revealing) nectarean ocean that brims with the totality of Divine Ecstasy." (P, 63 & 74 ) + (C-c, Madhya-līlā, 13.80 ). (SSPJ, p 115)
Nāhaṁ vipro na ca nara-patir: This is not only an ornamental thing. It is reality. This is reality. To actually feel ourselves to be mean is really to become eligible for the higher service. So much selflessness, so much self-abnegation is necessary for a unit here of the lower order to enter into that domain. So much self-abnegation is necessary, then we can come into that plane. There is a plane of undercurrent, and if we really want to contact that, we shall have o develop such finest of the fine sentiment in us, and with no demand. In this negative way we are to transform ourselves, then we can have a touch of the approach to that plane. (SGD, '96, p 32) + (see also śloka 286)
Kṛṣṇa bhajana is independent of any external form of life. Varnāśrama dharma is just the beginning, then gradually improving we are to go up to the absolute service of Kṛṣṇa. Without considering any law or form, thinking only of service, whatever we do, or think, or speak, everything should be done for the service of Kṛṣṇa. That is the standard of real devotion. And mere form may be a little favourable, but not always. The spirit, even crossing every formality, is what is required of us. Our Absolute attraction for the service, the beauty does not allow law to have any status. In the beginning they have got some sort of utility. But when a little advanced they do not care for anything. Only sādhu-saṅga, adherence to the saint of a similar type and a little better. (GOD, p 21) + (see also ślokas 159, 247 & 422)
na hi kalyāṇa-kṛt kaścid
durgatiṁ tāta gacchati
pārtha naiveha nāmutra,
vināśas tasya vidyate
na hi kalyāṇa-kṛt kaścid,
durgatiṁ tāta gacchati
"O Arjuna, son of Kuntī, the unsuccessful yogī does not suffer ruination either in this life or the next. He is not deprived of the pleasures of the heavenly planetary systems in this universe, nor is he denied the chance to personally see the Supersoul in the divine realm. This is so, O dear one, because a person who performs virtuous actions never becomes ill-fated." (B-g, 6.40)
Act in the living present, with heart within - with sincerity - and with God overhead; the ultimate reality must be Good Absolute. Accept a life of this type. na hi kalyāṇa-kṛt kaścid, durgatiṁ tāta gacchati: if you be sincere, well meaning, no one will be able to defeat you. Your victory is assured. (SCS, p 48) No force outside can check us if we are sincere. Of course for beginners there is some concern about a proper environment for spiritual cultivation, but even that is also dependent on the nature of their sincerity, or sukṛti. na hi kalyāṇa-kṛt kaścid, durgatiṁ tāta gacchati. The assurance is given here by Kṛṣṇa. He says: "I'll be there to look after you in any unfavourable circumstance. I am omniscient. And I am omnipotent also. So if anyone is directed towards Me, I'll look after Him." And it has also been seen in history, in the cases of Dhruva, Prahlāda, and so many others. Sincerity is invincible. Even obstacles may improve our position if we can take them in the right way. From a higher angle of vision it may be seen that everything is coming to help us. (LSFTLS, p 18) + (see also śloka 512)
If we are sincere in our attempt, then no one in the world can check us or deceive us; we can only deceive ourselves. (na hi kalyāṇa-kṛt kaścid, durgatiṁ tāta gacchati ). We must be true to our own selves, and true to the Supreme Lord. We must be sincere. (SGAHG, p 45)
Preferably we shall enquire from a śikṣā guru, but if none is available then we shall try to ask our internal guru: "In such a case what may be required of me? My Master, please reveal this." We shall have to make this appeal to our internal caittya-guru and proceed accordingly. na hi kalyāṇa-kṛt kaścid, durgatiṁ tāta gacchati. The sincere will have nothing about which to repent. He who is sincere to his own self will have such dictation as will help him to progress in his spiritual life. (SOTGOD, v 3, p 62)
When enquiring as to how to recognise guru, śāstra, and sādhu, we receive confirmation from our heart's approval, our inner approval. We must trace it to there because that took me to my guru. Guru is all in all, but who took me to my guru? It was my inner sentiment, my inner guide. It did not like anything else in the environment but instead selected that advice. Many others do not care to come here, and many may ridicule this life, but what made me come here? I cannot deprecate that internal approval, consciousness and sincerity. Therefore that is an important factor and ultimately we have to depend on that internal consciousness the most. When collecting advice from the scripture and when seeking or relying on advice from a sādhu, the only thing that takes me there is my internal approval, my inner friend. If it were not for that I would not have come. Indeed, so many others do not come. So who has taken me to this plane?
na hi kalyāṇa-kṛt kaścid, durgatiṁ tāta gacchati.
One who sincerely wants real good can never be deceived. When one is a real seeker of the truth, he can never be deceived. Kṛṣṇa says: "My dear boy, one who is sincerely hankering after the truth can never come across misfortune. If apparently some misfortune comes to visit him along the way, that is to enhance his position for his improvement. Some sort of danger may come on our way but if we are sincere it will be as a test to us and when we overcome that, it will be an addition to our glory. The temptations will be rejected and disarmed - but they will plead for us again. So sincerity - sincere hankering after the truth - is needed if we are to go further. And that is made of sukṛti - the grace of the divine agents who, by their nature, are wandering through this cursed land to help others who may not even know they are being helped. (SGD, SGPI, '91, p 17)
na hy ekasmād guror jñānaṁ,
su-sthiraṁ syāt su-puṣkalam
brahmaitad advitīyaṁ vai,
"Although the Absolute Truth is one without a second, the sages have described Him in many different ways. Therefore one may not be able to acquire very firm or complete knowledge from one spiritual master." (S-B, 11.9.31)
In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is stated: "One certainly cannot get complete knowledge from only one guru." In the highest stage of devotion, we must see not only one guru; we must see that guru is everywhere. In the land of Kṛṣṇa, all are gurus; our transformation should be towards that. Everything in the spiritual world, the entire environment is our guru and we are servants. To enter into Vaikuṇṭha, or Goloka, means that on all sides we must see guru and pay our respects. There is gradation of course, but all are guru. There are different classes of guru. All Vaiṣṇavas are considered gurus. If the spiritual master gives one letter to the disciple, what is contained there is infinite. But to know and understand it fully, however, different sources are necessary. In the highest position one can read devotion to Kṛṣṇa from everywhere. If we can attain the proper vision, then everything will supply me inspiration towards the centre in the performance of our duties. Whenever Mahāprabhu saw a forest, He saw it as Vṛndāvana. Whenever He saw a river, He saw the Yamunā. Whenever He saw a hill, He saw it as Govardhana Hill. In that highest stage, wherever we cast our glance, whatever we come in contact with, it will remind us about our Lord. They will teach us, they will press us to engage ourselves in service to Kṛṣṇa. That is the duty of guru. Wherever we cast our glance, whatever we come in contact with will only excite us "do your duty." That is guru. Our guru is whoever gives us impetus for the service of Kṛṣṇa, whoever helps us to look towards the centre. So, because every atom in Vaikuṇṭha and Goloka will encourage us to towards our duty, they are all our gurus. Gurus will be amply available when we can raise ourselves to a higher level.
When we are in the lower stages of material conception, everything will take us away from the centre by the out-carrying current. Whatever we see says: "Oh, come and enjoy me." The invitation of enjoyment is found here in the lower level, and the inspiration of renunciation is also found in a particular stage. The impersonalists who desire salvation say: "Whatever we find here is all temporary. Reject it all." But devotion is the positive side. From the side of devotion, everything will draw me towards the centre, towards Kṛṣṇa. And those who will help us in that way, are our gurus. Guru means "one who dispels the darkness of both enjoyment and renunciation." (SGAHG, p 115-6) + (see also śloka 4)
So not only in the supreme goal of life, but in everything, our knowledge depends on more than one source. We mainly learn from one place, but this is verified and corroborated by many sources; then it comes to be proper knowledge. In the nyāya-śāstras, the Vedic textbooks of codes of logic, the six processes of acquiring knowledge are mentioned: viṣaya (the thesis), saṁśaya (the antithesis), purva-pakṣa (cross-examination), mimaṁsā (synthesis), siddhānta (conclusion), and saṁgatiḥ (verification from different sources). After these six stages, something may come in the name of truth in this world. Any knowledge presupposes consultation with different sources. (SGAHG, p 117-8)
naiṣāṁ matis tāvad urukramāṅghriṁ,
sprśaty anarthāpagamo yad-arthaḥ
niṣkiṣcanānāṁ na vṛṇīta yāvat
Prahlāda Mahārāja states: "Unless they smear upon their bodies the dust of the lotus feet of a Vaiṣṇava completely freed from material contamination, persons very much inclined toward materialistic life cannot be attached to the lotus feet of the Lord, Who is glorified for His uncommon activities. Only by becoming Kṛṣṇa conscious and taking shelter at the lotus feet of the Lord in this way can one be freed from material contamination." (S-B, 7.5.32)+(SS, v 2, # 1, '84, p 2)+(see ślokas 289, 52, 75, 272, 562)
arcye viṣṇau śilā-dhīr guruṣu nara-matir vaiṣṇave jātī-buddhir
viṣṇor vā vaiṣṇavānāṁ kali-mala-mathane pāda-tīrthe 'mbu-buddhiḥ
śrī-viṣṇor-nāmni-mantre sakala-kaluṣa-he śabda-sāmānya -buddhir
viṣṇau sarvveśvareśe tad-itara-sama-dhīr yasya vā nārakī saḥ
Śrīla Vyāsadeva states in Padma-Purāṇa: "Anyone who considers the worshippable Deity of the Lord to be made out of wood, stone, or metal; who considers the Vaiṣṇava guru to be a mortal man; who considers a Vaiṣṇava to be limited by the confines of caste, lineage, or creed; who considers the holy foot-wash of Lord Viṣṇu or a Vaiṣṇava to be ordinary water, although such water has the potency to destroy all evils of the age of Kali; who considers the Holy Name and mantra of Lord Viṣṇu, which vanquish all sins, to be common sound vibration; and who considers the God of gods, Lord Viṣṇu, to be merely on the level of the demigods - such a person is a diabolical devil."
kṛṣṇera ucchiṣṭha haya 'mahā-prasāda' nāma
'bhakta-śeṣa' haile mahā-mahā-prasādākhyāna'
bhakta-pāda-dhūli āra bhakta-pada-jala
bhakta-bhukta-avaśeṣa, - tina mahā-bala
ei tina-sevā haite kṛṣṇa-premā haya
punaḥ punaḥ sarva-śāstre phukāriyā kaya
tāte bāra bāra kahi, - śuna bhakta-gaṇa
viśvāsa kariyā kara e-tina sevana
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu states: "The remnants of food offered to Kṛṣṇa are called mahā-prasāda. After this same mahā-prasāda has been taken by a devotee, the remnants are elevated to mahā-mahā-prasāda. The dust of the feet of a devotee, the water that has washed the feet of a devotee, and the remnants of food left by a devotee are three very powerful substances. By rendering service to these three, one attains the supreme goal of ecstatic love for Kṛṣṇa. In all the revealed scriptures this is loudly declared again and again. Therefore, My dear devotees, please hear from Me, for I insist again and again: please keep faith in these three and render service to them without hesitation." (C-c, Antya-līlā, 16.59-62)
śuna bhāi! haiṣa eka mana:
āśraya laiyā bhaje,
tāre kṛṣṇa nāhi tyaje,
āra sava mare akāraṇa.
prema-bhakti dite bala,
āra keho nahe balavanta:
mastake bhūṣaṇa vinu,
āra nāhi bhūṣaṇera anta.
se saba bhaktira pravaṣcana:
sama nahe ei saba,
yāte haya vāñjita purāṇe.
dīna narottama kāne,
hiyā dhairya nāhi vāndhe,
mora daśā kena haila bhaṅga.
Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākura states (in Prārthanā 43): "O brother, please hear my words with rapt attention: the lotus feet of the Vaiṣṇavas are the most valuable treasure in the world. Those Vaiṣṇavas continually take shelter of Lord Kṛṣṇa and worship Him. They never abandon their Lord, but they are liberated from the cycle of birth and death. The water which has washed the lotus feet of the Vaiṣṇavas bestows devotional service in pure love of Godhead. There is nothing as effective in attaining this divine love. I place the dust from the lotus feet of the Vaiṣṇavas upon my head. I wear no other ornament. The purifying powers of the waters of the various places of pilgrimage is described in the Purāṇas, although this is something of a deceptive trick. Actually, there is nothing which is as purifying as the water which has washed the lotus feet of the Vaiṣṇavas. This water fulfils all desires. Moment after moment my mind finds constant pleasure in the association of the Vaiṣṇavas. I always seek out the company of those devotees who are devoted to Lord Kṛṣṇa. The poor-hearted Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākura cries: 'I cannot maintain my composure any longer. Why have I fallen into such a low condition of life that I cannot get the association of the Vaiṣṇavas?"
At the end of the verse in his Śaraṇāgati beginning: keśava tuwā jagata bicitra karama-vipāke - (see also śloka 229) - Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura says: daṇḍabat dūrato, bhakativinoda bhelo, bhakata-caraṇa kori' sār - "But anyhow, I might have been saved. I understand that definitely only the feet dust of Your devotees is everything for me - nothing else! I want only the holy feet dust of Your devotee - bhakata-caraṇa No other ambition I have got! And I have got this sort of yearning by Your Grace."
After Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura describes the position of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī in his Śaraṇāgati, he says: "I want to serve those who have the service of Rādhārāṇī in their heart. I want to serve the feet dust of those whose only wealth is the service of Śrī Rādhā. I want to fall before them and take the dust of their holy feet. If you cannot fix your mind in the service of Rādhārāṇī, then all your attempts to serve Kṛṣṇa are useless. If you cannot achieve earnestness in the service of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, then all your labour for Kṛṣṇa has gone to hell."
In the verse from his Gītāvalī, beginning: rādhā-bhajane yadi mati nāhi bhelā - (see also śloka 386) - Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura says: "Even Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva, Devārsi Nārada, the personified Vedas (Srutis ) and Lakṣmī-Devī honour and worship the dust of Śrī Rādhikā's lotus feet."
anārādhya rādhā-padāmbhoja reṇum
anāśritya vṛndāṭavīṁ tat padāṅkām
asambhāsya-tad bhāva-gambhīra cittān
kutaḥ śyāma-sindho rasasyāvagāhaḥ
Śrīla Raghunātha Dāsa Goswāmī states (in his Stavāvalī, Śrī Sva-saṅkalpa-prakāśa-stotra ): "How is it possible to immerse oneself in the ocean of Śyāma rasa (love for Kṛṣṇa or the mādhurya rasa ) without worshipping the dust of the lotus feet of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, or without taking shelter of Vṛndāvana, which is decorated with Her footprints, or without serving Her devotees, whose grave hearts are always absorbed in love for Her?"
Kṛṣṇa wanted to come as the incarnation for this age of Kali, as well as to fulfil His promise in Vṛndāvana: "I shall chant the glory of the gopīs, especially of Rādhārāṇī. I shall chant Her Name, Her glory, and roll in the dust of the earth."
But Rādhārāṇī said: "I won't allow Your body to roll in the dust of this earth. I shall cover You with My lustre."
Both the mood as well as the lustre of Rādhārāṇī capture Kṛṣṇa when He comes here in Kali-yuga. And this does not occur in all Kali-yugas, but only in a special Kali-yuga. In all the days of Brahmā, in every yuga, the yuga-avatāra comes, but Kṛṣṇa appears only once in a day of Brahmā, or once every 4.3 billion years. At that time, the Original Personality of Godhead (svayam bhagavān ) appears along with His abodes, Vṛndāvana and Navadwīpa.
The reason why Kṛṣṇa wants this dust has been explained separately by Śrīla Śrīdhara Svāmī and Śrīla Jīva Goswāmī. Explaining this amazing pastime, Śrīla Śrīdhara Svāmī says: "To purify His creation with the dust from the feet of His devotee, Kṛṣṇa follows him." Śrīla Jīva Goswāmī says: "Kṛṣṇa has become indebted to His dear, loving devotee, premi-bhakta, and is unable to pay back this debt of such unmatched devotion, or bhakti-ṛṇa. He is indebted."
In the tenth canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam He explains how He becomes so indebted to His devotees. He says to the gopīs: "You have all developed such pure love for Me that I cannot repay your debt! I do not have any asset with which to pay you back." He who is full of the six opulences expresses incapability to repay a debt! Kṛṣṇa laments: na pāraye, na pāraye - "I cannot pay back!"
na pāraye 'haṁ niravadya-saṁyujāṁ,
sva-sādhu-kṛtyaṁ vibudhāyuṣāpi vaḥ
yā mābhajan durjaya-geha-śṛṅkhalāḥ,
saṁvṛścya tad vaḥ pratiyātu sādhunā
"O gopīs, I am not able to repay My dept for your spotless service, even within a lifetime of Brahmā. Your connection with Me is beyond reproach. You have worshipped Me, cutting off all domestic ties, which are difficult to break. Therefore please let your own glorious deeds be your compensation." (S-B, 10.32.22)
Such wealth, which even Kṛṣṇa Himself does not possess, however, does exist, and that is rādhā mādanākhya-mahābhāva rūpaka dhana, which is with Śrīmati Rādhārāṇī, and She alone is the owner of this wealth. The wealth is Her un-matched love for Kṛṣṇa. So Kṛṣṇa thinks: "Rādhārāṇī is the owner of that wealth, but how will I get it? I will have to either beg, borrow or steal." So Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Thief, decides to steal that wealth from Rādhārāṇī's heart. He is hṛdaya cora - stealer of the heart. By stealing the wealth of love from Her heart He assumed Rādhārāṇī's mood, and He came as Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu to pay back the debt. Kṛṣṇa became a sannyāsī who was crying and begging for Rādhā-prema, the love of Rādhārāṇī. So Śrīla Jīva Goswāmī says that Kṛṣṇa has become indebted to His devotee, and therefore He intends to smear the dust from the feet of His devotee all over His body to purify Himself, thus repaying the debt.
rādhe, rādhe, dehi pada-pallavam udāram
Śrī Jayadeva Goswāmī has written in Gita Govinda, 10.7, that "Kṛṣṇa wants the feet-dust of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī."
bahum anutetanute tanu saṁgata,
pāvana calita māmapi reṇu
Jayadeva also states in Gita Govinda: "The most precious and the most valuable thing for Kṛṣṇa is one single particle of dust of Rādhā's feet, mercifully conveyed to Him by the blowing breeze."
nirapekṣaṁ muniṁ śāntaṁ
anuvrajāmy ahaṁ nityaṁ
Kṛṣṇa says to Uddhava that He perpetually walks behind the selfless sādhus, who are peaceful and make no enemies, just to purify the material universes within Himself with the dust of their feet carried in the breeze by their movement. (S-B, 11.14.16 ).
nikṣiptā madhu-bindavaś ca parito bhraṣṭā mukhāt guñjitaiḥ
yatnaiḥ kiṣcid ihāhṛtaṁ nija-para-śreyo 'rthinā tan mayā
bhūyo-bhūya ito rajāṁsi pada-saṁlagnāni teṣāṁ bhaje
"The bees, intoxicated in the festival of drinking the honey of the Lord's lotus feet, busily humming the glories of the Lord, drops of honey from their mouths fall and scatter all around; for my own divine prospect, I've carefully collected some of those drops herein - and thus do I worship the dust of the lotus feet of those saints, again and again." (SSPJ , p 179)
sakala vaiṣṇavapade mora namaskāra
ithe kichu aparādha nahuka āmāra
"I respectfully bow to the lotus feet of all the Vaiṣṇavas, praying that there is no offence in this attempt to please them."
naiṣkarmyam apy acyuta-bhāva-varjitaṁ,
na śobhate jñānam alaṁ nirañjanam
kutaḥ punaḥ śaśvad abhadram īśvare,
na cārpitaṁ karma yad apy akāraṇam
"Knowledge of self-realisation, even though free from all material affinity, does not look well if devoid of a conception of the Infallible (God). What, then, is the use of fruitive activities, which are naturally painful from the very beginning and transient by nature, if they are not utilised for the devotional service of the Lord?" (S-B, 1.5.12)
"When unadulterated knowledge that is devoid of action and its reactions is never becoming without a devotional relationship with the Infallible Lord, how then will action, which is ill-fated by nature, ever be exalted without being offered to the Almighty, even if it is utterly selfless?" (SSPJ, p 65)
"Mere retirement is not considered to be fulfilment in anyone's life. Although in the stage of liberation no contamination of death, birth, disease, and infirmity are to be found, still that cannot be considered perfection. Then what to speak of karma, a laborious life of work which is not done for the satisfaction of Kṛṣṇa?"
The only thing that can give us fulfilment in both labour and rest is Kṛṣṇa: He is the harmonising principle of both. If work is done as a service for Kṛṣṇa, then our labour is converted into gold: it is no longer iron. And only if renunciation is related to divine service does it have any value. (LSFTLS, p 76) + (see also śloka 458)
Naiṣkarmyam, those that are suffering from hard labour, they want to get some rest, naturally. In order to live their life, they are dependent on labour and that is thought as useless and undesirable - labouring to live. "If I have to live, then I must labour. This is a dishonourable life." So, generally, people's aspiration is: "How to live a life without labour?" "naiṣkarmyam" - they are in search of "naiṣkarmyam," rest, peacefulness, a life of rest, not the servant of labour.
Naiṣkarmyam apy acyuta-bhāva-varjitaṁ na śobhate - even if it is possible to get it to a certain extent without the connection of "acyuta," the Infinite - still, it is not estimated as a good gain, a successful life. Why? It is mere retirement - retirement in renunciation. That is also considered not to be fulfilment in anyone's life. Although in that stage, there is no contamination of birth, death, disease and infirmity; still, that cannot be considered by the Vaiṣṇava's as a very fine life, what to speak of the labour which is not done for the satisfaction of Kṛṣṇa. That is labour which is already held in condemnable position, an insulting position. Even that higher position of rest is not considered to be a happy position, so what to speak of this laborious life.
What can give fulfilment to both labour and rest? That is Kṛṣṇa, the harmonising principle of both. If you will act to please Kṛṣṇa, serve Kṛṣṇa, then the labour will also be converted into gold, no longer iron. And if the rest, that is, the renunciation, is also performed in the relativity of devotion, divine service, then that has colour - otherwise not. This is the speciality of the Bhāgavat teaching. It is always trying to put the conception of divine love, sentiment, feeling, - above our intellectualism and mastery over energy. The master of power and the master of knowledge, if devoid of divine love, - have got no value. On the other hand, devoid of these two, if it is possible to enter into the area of divine love, one's life is successful. (SS, v 2, # 1, '84, p 4)
Śobhate jñānam, due to miscalculation, we are suffering; we feel pain. Not the pain outside, it is within the heart! With such an attitude, we are to approach. And with favourable association, we can keep our strength for investigation. What will be necessary to attain the goal? (SS, v 3, # 1, '85, p 5)
jñāna, knowledge, is generally regarded as being very pure. By the majority of people, jñāna is considered to be very innocent because it has no relationship with gross, material things. It is always admitted that to handle the gross material energy is very unwholesome (śaśvad abhadram ); and knowledge is considered by the higher personalities to be very pure, very innocent and spotless (jñānam alaṁ nirañjanam ). But if it is not connected with Kṛṣṇa, such knowledge must be hatefully rejected.
Naiṣkarmyam apy acyuta-bhāva-varjitaṁ. Here, in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, it is said that knowledge is widely considered to be spotless, pure and innocent, but if it is not connected with the positive absolute good, then it is your enemy. A qualified candidate will consider things in this way. jñāna-śūnya-bhakti: Surrender is so pure, that any connection with knowledge, which is considered to be very innocent and pure - even that must be hatefully rejected. Such a degree of surrender is necessary for the higher association of genuine devotion. (SOTGOD, v 1, p 74-5)
naiva tasya kṛtenārtho,
na cāsya sarvva-bhūteṣu,
"In this world, a self-realised person who rejoices in the soul does not accrue piety by the performance of actions, nor does he incur sin by abstaining from duties. Amongst all living entities, from the highest life-forms of the planet of Lord Brahmā down to the world of immobile organisms, he never depends on anyone for any personal demand whatsoever." (B-g, 3.18)
Man proposes and God disposes. Proposal is directed upwards, and disposal comes down. The waves of suggestion and acceptance are all the Lord's līlā. (SGD, SGPI, p 11) + (see also śloka 408)
na kartṛtvaṁ na karmāni,
lokasya sṛjati prabhuḥ
svabhāvas tu pravartate
"Due to their tendency towards ignorance since immeasurable time, the living beings act, considering themselves the doers or inaugurators of action. The Supreme Lord does not generate their misconception of considering themselves doers, nor does He generate their actions or their attachment to the fruits of those actions." (B-g, 5.14)
Why has the soul come to the world of exploitation, and not the world of dedication? That should be attributed to his innate nature, which is endowed with free will. It is a free choice. This is substantiated here in Bhagavad-gītā.
"The soul is responsible for his entrance into the land of exploitation." The responsibility is with the soul, otherwise the Lord would be responsible for his distressed condition. But Kṛṣṇa says that the soul's innate free will is responsible for his entanglement in the material world. The soul is conscious, and consciousness means endowed with freedom. Because the soul is atomic, his free will is imperfect and vulnerable. The result of that free choice is that some are coming into the material world, and some are going to the spiritual world. So, the responsibility is with the individual soul.
Once, an Indian political leader, Śyāmasundara Cakravarti, asked Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākura: "Why has the Lord granted such freedom to the jīva ?" Prabhupāda Bhaktisiddhānta told him: "You are fighting for freedom. Don't you know the value of freedom? Devoid of freedom, the soul is only matter." Freedom offers us the alternative to do right or wrong.
Once, Gandhi told the British authorities: "We want freedom." They replied: "You are not fit to have self-government. When you are fit, we shall give it to you." But finally he told them: "We want the freedom to do wrong."
So, freedom does not guarantee only acting in the right way; freedom has its value independent of right and wrong. Free will is only absolute with the Absolute Truth. Because we are finite, our free will is infinitesimal. The possibility of committing a mistake is there. Our first choice was to dominate, and so, gradually we have entered the world of domination. As a result of this first action, everything else has developed. So, in different ranks, the species have been divided, from the demigods down to the trees and stones. And watery bodies, gaseous bodies, anything that we find here has evolved in that way. The activating principle in any form of embryological development is the soul, and from the soul, everything has evolved. (TSFSK, p 37-9)
nāmākṣara bahiraya batu nāma kabu naya
The Holy Name of Kṛṣṇa is not mere physical sound; it is not lip-deep only, but it has a greater and higher aspect. It is all spiritual. We are in the marginal plane of existence, so some higher connection is necessary in order that the wave will descend from that higher realm and come to us and spread its influence outside as well. (TGVODL, p 94)
Not only the sound of the Holy Name of Kṛṣṇa is necessary, but also the proper meaning, the substance, the spirit of the sound. Only the physical aspect of the Holy Name is represented in nāma-aparādha, offensive chanting, not the real Name. The real Name is all spiritual. nāmākṣara bahiraya batu nāma kabu naya: the sound of the letters of the Name alone is never the real Name. Merely the sound of the Holy Name of Kṛṣṇa should never be thought of as the actual Name. This is explained in the Prema-vivarta of Jagadānanda Paṇḍita, a book which is full of the philosophical conclusions of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. It was published and edited by Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura. There you will find this passage: nāmākṣara bahiraya batu nāma kabu naya: merely the sound of the Holy Name of Kṛṣṇa should never be thought of as the actual Name.
Even in nāmābhāsa, the twilight dawning of the Holy Name which occurs before pure offenceless chanting, the sound of the Name is there, but the inner substance of the Name is not there. Nāmābhāsa can give us mukti, or emancipation from the negative side, the material world. But there we cannot trace participation in the positive side, the spiritual world. The Name is absent there. The Holy Name of Kṛṣṇa is a positive thing, and if we really want a touch of the Holy Name, we must gain admission into the positive world. When we are in the negative side, how can we get a touch of the Name? Nāmābhāsa may give us liberation, but not participation in the devotional realm. So, the real Name is not to be found in nāmābhāsa either. (TSFSK, p 117) + (see śloka 340)
nāma cintāmaṇiḥ kṛṣṇaś,
pūrṇaḥ śuddho nitya-mukto,
"The Holy Name of Kṛṣṇa is full of transcendental bliss. It blesses the devotee with all fulfilment, for it is non-different from Kṛṣṇa, the fountain source of all pleasure. Therefore it is also by nature the embodiment of all transcendental mellows. It is complete, pure, eternal and ever liberated from all material conditioning because the Name of Kṛṣṇa and Kṛṣṇa Himself are identical." (B.r.s, Pūrva-vibhāga, 2.233) + (PP )
In this Kali-yuga, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is the most magnanimous Incarnation of generous distribution of the Holy Name of Kṛṣṇa. He thus inundates the hearts of all living entities with His own divine ecstasy. Therefore He is defined and realised to be eternally identical with that transcendentally blissful Name. The term Kṛṣṇa-Caitanya-rasa-vigraha means the embodiment of all transcendental divine mellows of love of Kṛṣṇa, and this factually refers to Lord Kṛṣṇa Caitanya. (ARO, p 22)
nāma saṅkīrtanaṁ yasya,
sarva pāpa pranāśanam
taṁ namāmi hariṁ param
"I offer my respectful obeisances unto the Supreme Lord, Hari, the congregational chanting of whose Holy Names destroys all sinful reactions, and the offering of obeisances unto whom relieves all material suffering." (The last verse of S-B, 12.13.23)
In the last verse of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam this conclusion is given. Pāpa means all anomalies, all undesirable things: sin. Material enjoyment and liberation are also included as anomalies, sinful activities. Why is liberation considered sinful? Because it is considered an abnormal condition; our natural function is to serve Kṛṣṇa, but we do not do that in salvation. Mere salvation does not include service to Kṛṣṇa, so that is an abnormal position and therefore it is also a sin. To ignore our natural duty and stand aloof cannot but be sinful. The concluding verse of the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam says: "Kṛṣṇa's Holy Name can relieve us from all undesirable sinfulness, all filthy characteristics, and all miseries. Let us all bow down to Him." Uttering this verse, the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam stops; that great treatise becomes silent. The last word in Bhāgavatam is nāma-saṅkīrtana. And Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu developed it from there. (TGVODL, p 99)
nāma-śreṣṭhaṁ manum api
śacī-putram atra svarūpaṁ
rūpaṁ tasyāgrajam uru
purīṁ māthurīṁ goṣṭavāṭīm
prāpto yasya prathita-kṛpayā
śrī guruṁ taṁ nato 'smi
Śrīla Raghunātha Dāsa Goswāmī prays: "I only aspire after one thing. I cherish the hope that one day I may be welcomed into the plane where Rādhikā and Mādhava are in Their glory, sitting and playing." That should be our prospect. This is found in Raghunātha Dāsa Goswāmī's prayer to his guru. He says: nāma-śreṣṭhaṁ manum api:
"I am fully indebted to śrī gurudeva. Why? He has given me so many things. He has given me the highest conception of the Holy Name of Kṛṣṇa, the highest form of sound which contains the highest form of thought, aspiration, ideal, everything. And next he has given me the mantra."
The Name is there within the mantra. Without the Name, the mantra is nothing. If the Name of Kṛṣṇa is withdrawn and replaced with another name, the mantra will give the opposite result. The Name of Kṛṣṇa is all in all. And within the mantra, the Name is couched in a particular way as a sort of prayer.
And then he says: "He has given me the service of that great saviour, the son of Mother Śacī, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who is like a golden mountain standing to show the direction of Kṛṣṇa līlā. And gurudeva has brought me to the lotus feet of Mahāprabhu's most favourite personal assistant, Svarūpa Dāmodara, who is the representation of Lalitā Devī, the most favourite friend of Rādhikā. Then he has brought me in connection with Śrī Rūpa who was ordered to distribute the highest kinds of devotional love, rasa."
Vaidhi bhakti, the worship of the Lord in awe and reverence, is of a lower order. But rāgānugā-bhakti, spontaneous love, the hearts inner-most dealings, was distributed through Śrī Rūpa Goswāmī. Mahāprabhu considered Śrī Rūpa the best to deal with rāgānugā-bhakti.
Dāsa Goswāmī says: "Then, by his grace, I have achieved the association of Śrīla Sanātana Goswāmī, who adjusts our position in relation to rāgānugā-bhakti. He explains the path of vaidhi-bhakti, and gives us sambandha-jñāna: the knowledge of what is what, a proper acquaintance with the environment." Then he says: "Gurudeva has given me Mathurā Maṇḍala, where Rādhā and Govinda have Their pastimes; where the forest, the hills, every creeper, shrub, and grain of sand, everyone is bearing the acquaintance of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa līlā, and wherever I cast my glance they will help me in my remembrance of Rādhā and Govinda. I have received all these things from my gurudeva: Vṛndāvana, where the cows and the milkmen have their village constructed. I am becoming acquainted with their association, their nature, and their feelings of love for Kṛṣṇa.
By the grace of gurudeva, I have become acquainted with Rādhā-kuṇḍa, the favourite place of Rādhā and Govinda for Their pastimes, and this great Govardhana. And lastly he has given me the hope that one day I can get the service of Śrī Śrī Rādhikā and Mādhava. I have been given all these assurances by my gurudeva, so I bow my head with all my respects to his lotus feet." (SGAHG, p 38-9) + (see also śloka 398)
nāmnām akāri bahudhā nija-sarva-śaktis
tatrārpitā niyamitaḥ smaraṇe na kālaḥ
etādṛśī tava kṛpā bhagavan mamāpi
durdaivam īdṛśam ihājani nānurāgaḥ
"O my Lord, Your Holy Name bestows auspiciousness upon all. And You have unlimited Names such as Kṛṣṇa and Govinda by which You reveal Yourself. In Your many Holy Names You have kindly invested all Your transcendental potency. And in chanting these Names, there are no strict rules concerning time or place. Out of Your causeless mercy, You have descended in the form of divine sound, but my great misfortune is that I have no love for Your Holy Name." (S, v 2)
Here it is said: "O my Lord, You have revealed the chanting of Your Holy Names, and all Your power has been invested within those Names." Both the Holy Name of Kṛṣṇa and its potency are eternal. All potencies or energies are found with the Holy Name of Kṛṣṇa. And there is no particular time or place which has been fixed for chanting the Name. It is not that one can only chant in the morning, or only after taking bath, or only after going to a holy place - there are no such conditions. One may go on chanting the Holy Name of Kṛṣṇa anytime, anywhere, in any circumstances.
In this verse, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu says: "O Kṛṣṇa, You have given a most sublime opportunity to all. You are so infinitely gracious that You have given us the service of Your Holy Name (nāma-bhajana ). Still, My misfortune is the worst. I don't find any earnest desire within Me to take the Name. I have no faith, no love, no tendency to take the Name. I do not find any innate hankering to chant the Name. What can I do?"
This is the second of Śrīman Mahāprabhu's eight precepts. He says: "O Lord, You have given everything from Your side to lift Me up from this mundane world of relativity. Your attempt to deliver Me is so magnanimous that all You require from Me is a little co-operation in accepting Your grace, but I turn a deaf ear to Your magnanimous call. O Lord, I am hopeless."
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has given us great hope in the first verse of His Śikṣāṣṭakam or eight precepts. He explains that the chanting of the Holy Name of Kṛṣṇa, when properly undertaken, may progress step by step, revealing seven consequences. The first effect is the cleansing of consciousness; the second is liberation from all mundane relativity. As the third effect, positive goodness awakens within our heart and takes us to Vṛndāvana. Then, under the guidance of svarūpa-śakti, the Lord's internal energy yogamāya, we will come to the vadhu conception: vadhu means that rasa which gives full connection with the Lord (mādhurya-rasa ). After attaining that stage, what are the other consequences that come? One becomes a particle in the ocean of joy, and that joy is not stale or static, but ever-new and dynamic; it is purifying to the utmost. Although we are allowed to keep our individual conception, still we feel that all parts of our existence become purified to the utmost when we take the Name. And this will not only affect me, but all who are connected with this nāma-saṅkīrtana. They will experience mass conversion, mass purification, the utmost purification. These are the sevenfold results of chanting the Holy Name.
After mentioning this thesis in His first verse, Mahāprabhu now gives the antithesis in the second verse. When such a great hope is there in the Holy Name, why are we having so much trouble? Where is the difficulty? Why do we not realise the advantage of the magnanimous sanction of divinity found in the Holy Name? Inestimable grace is coming from Kṛṣṇa's side. He has given us so many opportunities, with the least requirement from our side. We must have some taste, some earnestness to accept the Holy Name; but there's the difficulty, we have none. So what hope can we have? How can we attain it? We may be approaching formally, but not from the core of our hearts, so by what process can we really benefit and make progress? The third verse answers this question. (see also śloka 522) (TGVODL, p 104-7)
"O Lord, Your Holy Name bestows all good fortune unto the soul, and thus you have extended into the world Your many Names - Kṛṣṇa, Govinda, etc. You have offered all Your Transcendental Potency in Your Holy Name, without enjoining any (scriptural or philosophical) hard and fast rules and regulations concerning time, place or circumstance to be observed in chanting it. Dear Lord, You have so graciously made Your Holy Name available to the ordinary souls, and yet my misfortune, my offensiveness, does not allow Love for that gracious Name to be born in my heart."
Therefore Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura says: "I don't find any taste for You in my heart, it is hard like a rock. There is unlimited grace on Your side, but I am so mean, so low, and You are so high." (SOTGOD, v 2, p 15-6).
There is more mobility there, where both parties are combined. The greatest giver - and the greatest taker. Who is giving - and Who is taking? It cannot be determined, clearly. Who is the giver? And Who is the taker? Apparently they are the same. The potency is the giver - the consciousness is the taker. Anyhow, both combined come here to distribute Themselves.
They come to distribute Themselves to one and all! "This is the process. Accept this and come to Me." Very magnanimously - and, almost the sole agent - was Nityānanda Prabhu. He preached: "Anyhow, accept Gaurāṅga - nothing is to be done. I shall look after all other things. You take His Name. Enlist your name in His group. I shall look after all your needs."
But again, it is unbelievable! We are so far away! - To understand our own best interest, we are far, far away from our own inner self interest. We are so far away that it is difficult to understand what is our interest and what is not? The Interest Himself is running, wandering from door to door: "Accept Me, accept Me - accept Me. I have come to your door - you take Me, accept Me." It is all possible by His magnanimous līlā, pastimes. Still: nāmnām akāri bahudhā nija-sarva-śaktis. Many say that it is one hand giving and another hand taking, so much magnanimity is there! But some sort of "durdaivam" is opposing my acceptance. Then, what is the joy of such preaching and distribution? Because it is not possible to get that divine thing in a forced way. It is free! Free achievement is necessary. So, without disturbing our freedom, we are invited, and we are most welcome, most welcome. Gaura Hari bol! (SS, v 2, # 1, '84, p 8).
śrī-kṛṣṇa-nāma-svarūpasya parama-pāvanatvaṁ, jīvasya durddaivaṣ ca
"The Holy Name of the Lord is the supreme purifier, yet the soul's misfortune is to deny it." (SSPJ, p 122)
nāmno 'sya yāvatī śaktiḥ pāpa-nirharaṇe hareḥ
tāvat karttuṁ na śaknoti pātakaṁ pātakī janaḥ
Still, we are requested to observe the formalities of taking one thousand Names, one lākh (one lākh is, one hundred thousand) of Names, sixteen rounds, etc. These observances are necessary for the lower order. Our attention should nonetheless focus on quality. One Name can be infinitely more effective than crores (one crore is, ten million) of Names if they are only Nāmāparādha or Nāmābhāsa (offensive or an indirect, hazy facsimile). They must be discerned. (KP ) + (SCS, p 37) (see also śloka 145)
nānaṁ tisthāmi vaikuṇṭhe
yogināṁ hṛdayeṣu vā
mad bhaktāḥ yatra gāyante
tatra tiṣṭhāmī nārada
"I am not even in Vaikuṇṭha, not even in the heart of the yogīs, but where My devotees are singing with pleasure about Me, I am there, I am owned by them." (GOD, p 21) + (see ślokas 303 & 304)
nandagopa-sutaṁ devī patiṁ me kurute namaḥ
"Please manage in such a way that we can have the Service of the son of Nanda in our own hearty way."
With this prayer the Kārttika-vrata was observed by the gopīs, with the internal aim of satisfying the Devī Yogamāyā. (SCS, p 34)
nandaḥ kim akarod brahman,
śreya evaṁ mahodayam
yaśodā ca mahā-bhāgā,
papau yasyāḥ stanaṁ hariḥ
Parīkṣit Mahārāja asks Śukadeva Goswāmī: "O knower of Brahman, you are always merged in the exclusive conscious world. No trace of any mundane objective reference can be found in you, for you are always engaged in the subjective world of spirit. Never is your consciousness thrown towards this objective world of ours. And you say that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Absolute Truth. I ask one question of you, my master: what duty did Nanda discharge, what sort of realisation did Nanda have that the Absolute Truth is so intimate with him that He appears as Nanda's son and crawls in his courtyard? He seems to be under Nanda's clutches. What is this? This is a most wonderful thing. Is it possible? The yogīs, the ṛṣis, the great scholars and penance-makers say that they sometimes have a rare peek into their object of aspiration and realisation, and then they come back suddenly. They can't keep their attention in that plane for long periods of time. How is it possible that that Supreme Substance sits on the lap of Yaśodā and sucks her breast? If such things are real, if it is at all possible, then why should I not be attracted by that method by which I can have so much intimacy with the highest entity?" (S-B, 10.8.46) + (TGVODL, p 128-130) + (see śloka 480)
Śukadeva Goswāmī, who is supposed to be always constant in the position along with Brahman - that is to say, there is no mundane reference in his consciousness - he has a wholesale conscious character: There is no charm for any mundane attraction. All is in the nirguṇa plane. Śukadeva's personality was necessary to inaugurate the Kṛṣṇa conception of Godhead, because, everyone knew he had not the least attachment for this mundane thing. Yet, what is very similar to this mundane thing, that is to be given to the world! The highest conception of Godhead! So that man who had not the least attraction, he came. And, he did not come down to this level of the mundane enjoying mood. It was all a continuous flow of spiritual connection. He did not even care to wear a cloth! No attempt to care - wholesale! He was selected to give out to the scholastic section the highest type of līlā of Godhead which is like the mundane.
Giving submission to hearing, Parīkṣit Mahārāja enquired: "How do you say that Kṛṣṇa the Parābrahman, that highest conception of the Absolute, is crawling on the compound of Nanda and sucking the breast of Yaśodā? The yogīs, the jñānis, they are trying their utmost together, life after life, dedicating, to find that thing which is over and above their own soul. They are trying so hard that sometimes they meet for a second, and then, again they are separated! And you say, that that very same thing is crawling on the courtyard? That Paramātmā? Above that; that Godhead, Kṛṣṇa? How is it possible? Then please tell me, what type of sādhana, what type of means have they adopted to attain that end?
nandaḥ kim akarod brahman,
śreya evaṁ mahodayam
This is impossible! Then all other endeavours are useless! This is karma, jñāna, dhyāna, etc, so many means to get that Absolute Truth, - they are useless! By them we are told that for a second or so, we are connecting. Some wonderful thing I experienced there for a second! Such is the Holy Name we are acquainted with. And you say that this very thing is crawling onto the compound of Nanda and He's sucking the breast of Yaśodā? Not only that, Yaśodā is running after Him and He is crying: "I won't do it again Mother any longer - not this offence. Please spare Me this time."
Mother Yaśodā was breast feeding her small child, Kṛṣṇa, when the pot of milk on the stove boiled over. Setting Kṛṣṇa aside, she ran to catch the milk pot. Being neglected, Kṛṣṇa decided to break the pot of churned butter and ran away to feed the monkeys. Mother Yaśodā was quick to follow Him when she discovered the broken churning pot. She found Him not far off sitting atop an over-turned wooden grinding mortar feeding the monkeys the stolen butter. Kṛṣṇa, however, quickly saw her coming at Him with a stick in her hand, and immediately He got down from the grinding mortar and began to flee in fear, and He is crying: "I won't do it again Mother any longer - not this offence. Please spare Me this time."
Is it possible? The sane man will come to accept this as Divinity? What do you say? If it is possible, then how wonderful a sādhana must be there. I want to know that by which the Godhead Himself can be controlled in such a way. Is it possible? How wonderful is that thing? (SS, v 3, # 1, '85, p 7-8).
In his prayer (C-c, Madhya-līlā, 19.96 - see śloka 480), Raghupati Upādhyāya expresses a similar ego. He says: "I don't want to be entangled in the subtle discussion and analysis of the scriptures; I just want to surrender myself to Nanda and his party. I want to enlist my name in the group where Nanda is the master guide."
nānyathā te 'khila-guro,
yas ta āśiṣa āśāste,
na sa bhṛtyaḥ sa vai vaṇik
Prahlāda Mahārāja states: "Otherwise, O my Lord, O supreme instructor of the entire world, You are so kind to Your devotee that You could not induce him to do something unbeneficial for him. On the other hand, one who desires some material benefit in exchange for devotional service cannot be Your pure devotee. Indeed, he is no better than a merchant who wants profit in exchange for service." (S-B, 7.10.4)
In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Śrī Prahlāda Mahārāja refused to accept any boons offered to him by the Lord. He said: "One who accepts boons in return for his service to You is not Your servant but a merchant." na sa bhṛtyaḥ sa vai vaṇik; Those who approach guru and Kṛṣṇa with their separate interest have only come to make trade. They have come to acquire something to satisfy their own purpose. We must be very cautious to avoid such traits within ourselves. For what have I come? There may be many motives. (SOTGOD, v 1, p 56)
"Whoever is doing something for the satisfaction of Nārāyaṇa and wants something in return, is not a servant, but a merchant. He wants to give something to the Lord and then take some price in exchange for that." So, Prahlāda Mahārāja is a pure devotee, and only through a pure devotee of Nārāyaṇa can one attain pure devotion.
All these peculiar achievements in the devotional world begin with Prahlāda Mahārāja. The nature of his devotional service is that of śānta rasa, neutrality, where there is no actual service, but only perfect adherence to Nārāyaṇa under all circumstances. Whatever may be the unfavourable condition in the environment, he stands true to the faith that Nārāyaṇa is all in all, and that He is our master. So, Prahlāda Mahārāja, and the Four Kumāras, the sons of Lord Brahmā, are in the position of śānta rasa bhakti, or neutral love of God.
Prahlāda Mahārāja is Nārada Muni's disciple, still, for our benefit, Nārada was approaching him to measure the standard of his devotion in a comparative study of the devotional world. Approaching Prahlāda Mahārāja, Nārada said: "I have come to see you, Prahlāda, because Lord Śiva also appreciates your position. You are really a devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa. You are so fortunate! I have come to see how you are."
Prahlāda Mahārāja told him: "Gurudeva, you are all in all. Have you come to test me? Whatever fortune I may have, I have received by your grace. I was born in a family of demons, so the demonic qualities have not exclusively left me. Don't you know that in Naimiṣāraṇya, I went to fight with Lord Viṣṇu? I repent for that, but what can I do? He has given me such a position. I cannot have the privilege of direct service to Him, but only mentally I think of Him. I think that He is every thing, but I do not have the great fortune of rendering service to Him. Hanumān is really a devotee. How fortunate he is! What grace he has received! He gave everything to Lord Rāmacandra. I envy his situation, but what can I do? God's dispensation is absolute. We must accept that. Hanumān's position is really enviable. How attached to his master he is, and what a great magnitude of service he has done for Lord Rāma." From there, Nārada Muni went to visit Hanumān. (TSFSK, p 81-2)
When we take particularly to this system, in a practical way, we want to deal with it very successfully, then we are to find that. Anyhow, we must come in connection with the service of the Hari, guru, Vaiṣṇava. Merely the recollection of Hari is not forceful enough to expedite our realisation. Something positive should be done.
Just as Prahlāda Mahārāja told, when Nārada went to see him after seeing Mahādeva, Nārada went to Prahlāda to see the positive participation in devotional line. Prahlāda told: "What do I do Devarṣi? You know everything about me, I am simply trying to recollect my Lord. Recollection, remembrance, but remembrance is not enough, it is very weak connection with Hari. Mere remembrance, it is śānta -rasa, may be found and taken as śānta-rasa, a very weak, but favourable position towards the service. But actual service of Hari, always to be busy, to find out how we can satisfy Him, that is the laudable thing, and I have not got that temperament. If you want really a devotion of Hari, just go to Hanumānji, he's surcharged with the spirit of serving Rāmacandra. How wonderful he did it, so I am in weak position. It is his grace that I am not engaged in any worldly thoughts, but very meagre, and lower order, not very intense remembrance I have got about Hari."
So the mere connection with Hari is not enough, that is good, but from there we have to enter into the serving stages, and there also are classification, and intensity also. Not mere recollection, or remembrance only, but actual service to satisfy Him, that is necessary. So that will come gradually in the retinue, there after.
Devotional service develops in a crude form, in a general way, and when it is more mature, it must take the shape of śānta, dāsya, sakhya, vātsalya, and mādhurya rasa. 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 madhurya (conjugal love). In this way we can trace the progressive development of devotion.
nā poḍāio rādhā-aṅga nā bhāsāio jale
marile tuliye rekha tamāleri ḍāle
āmi tamāla baḍa bhālabhāsi
kṛṣṇa kāla tamāla kāla tāite
tamāla baḍa bhālabhāsi
marile tuliye rekha tamāleri ḍale
"At the acme of pain of separation from Kṛṣṇa, Śrī Rādhikā remembered the blissful intimate moments spent under the beautiful tamala trees with Her adorable beloved. In Her divine vision, imbued with those nectarean memories, She accepted the tamala tree as a non different expansion of Kṛṣṇa, therefore after Her departure She wanted Her form to remain embracing this tamala kalpa taru. Expressing Her last desire, She said to Her sakhīs, 'My dearest friends, soon I will die, but please do not put My body on a funeral pyre or in the river. Just lay it on the spreading boughs of a tamala tree whom I love because he is just like My beloved." (Candi Dāsa). (SBRBM, p 38)
na prema-gandho 'sti darāpi me harau
krandāmi saubhāgya-bharaṁ prakāśitum
vibharmmi yat prāṇa-pataṅgakān vṛthā
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said: "My dear friends, I have not the slightest tinge of love of Godhead within My heart. When you see Me crying in separation, I am just falsely exhibiting a demonstration of My great fortune. Indeed, not seeing the beautiful face of Kṛṣṇa playing His flute, I continue to live My life like an insect, without purpose." (C-c, Madhya-līlā, 2.45)
"O My companion, I do not have the slightest scent of love for Kṛṣṇa - and yet, I cry. This is only for the purpose of exhibiting My great fortune. Without seeing the lovely face of Kṛṣṇa playing His flute, I worthlessly pass My days, like an insignificant insect." (SSPJ, p 139-140)
As soon as we assert that we have some qualifications, our difficulties begin. So Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu Himself says: "I don't find a trace of love of Kṛṣṇa within my heart." (na prema-gandho 'sti darāpi me harau ). This is the standard of humility. And that feeling must be sincere; it must not be an imitation. We must be careful. We must not venture to imitate the highest devotees. To genuinely feel, to conceive that we possess nothing and that everything is His - that is the only qualification for chanting the Holy Name of Kṛṣṇa. (TGVODL, p 109)
"I have not even a bit of divine love for Kṛṣṇa within Me. Not even a scent of love for Kṛṣṇa is to be traced within Me. You may ask: 'Then why are You shedding tears profusely, uninterruptedly? Day and night, You are always shedding tears for Kṛṣṇa. How do You explain this?' Oh, you don't know. I only do this to make a show and deceive the people in general into thinking that I have divine love for Kṛṣṇa. In this way I want to become famous as a great devotee of Kṛṣṇa. But I am a hypocrite. Why do I say so? The positive proof is this: I still live. I could not die! If I had any real love for Kṛṣṇa, I would have died from His separation. That is the positive proof that I have no trace of kṛṣṇa-prema within Me."
Kṛṣṇa-prema is so high and attractive that once coming in contact with it, no one can maintain their life without it. It is so high, so beautiful, so enchanting - it is heart-swallowing! It is impossible even to conceive of it. Divine love of such a high degree is known as prema. That divine love for Kṛṣṇa is not to be traced in this mundane world. If by chance someone had any experience of that high and vital kind of devotion, then by any separation from that, they would die instantly. It is so beautiful and magnanimous. We are out to search only for that divine love in this world. And Śrīman Mahāprabhu came to distribute that to the world for our sake. (TGVODL, p 168-9)
Whatever degree of attainment one may reach, one will still be unsatisfied - because that is infinite. na prema-gandho 'sti darāpi me harau. "Is there such an attainment in Me? No. I do not possess it, because it is impossible to possess Him." Yet, possession is there in the negative sense: "I am so negative."
This is the nature of the Negative's possession of the Positive, and so, She can attract the Positive. The more the negative characteristic is found in a particular place, the more the positive is attracted there. That is the underlying truth.
Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī says: "I am in the highest need of Kṛṣṇa." So much feeling of necessity in Kṛṣṇa's absence is not to be found anywhere as in Her heart. And that satisfies Kṛṣṇa. Setting aside all other demands, He wants to come and satisfy the demand of that heart where want for Him is of the highest degree. Is it not natural? Dedication. We are units or aspects of the Moiety of Dedication, and not of fulfilment. Fulfilment is a stagnant thing. It is a qualification of the limited world. But in the unlimited, such an attitude can't stand. This is the nature there. Kṣudhā, unquenchable thirst, so the tiniest drop of nectar will be tasted as very, very sweet. Inundating. (SOTGOD, v 2, p 17-8) + (see also ślokas 76 & 142)
Mahāprabhu Himself says: "I am as insignificant as an insect but still I continue My life. My life is like an insect's." na prema-gandho sti darāpi me harau. "Such a pure and merciful ocean of love I see spread before Me but I am so unqualified that I do not receive even a drop of it. Why? Because I am a hypocrite. I really do not want it, so I don't deserve it. I don't want it, and so My life is unfulfilled. I have come near such a vast and beautiful thing but now I am not allowed to even touch or receive a drop of it. I am so low, so unqualified. Why? Because I am a hypocrite. But still I think I am great, that I have importance, pratiṣṭhā. Despite all of this I cannot leave My vanity, My false vanity. I want to display that I have some great achievement of kṛṣṇa-prema and therefore I shed tears. But these tears are not real, for still I am addicted to My lower self, I am self-centred. My self-centredness has not been dissolved. I am a seeker of My own fame, so I am not being allowed to partake of that ocean of nectar."
So, seeing such ocean of nectar one must gradually come to see oneself as the meanest of the mean. As much as one comes in connection and consciousness of the higher reality then relatively one is compelled to think oneself to be the meanest of the mean. That is the truth. That is the law of nature. Therefore the devotees of the higher order are seen always to say: "Everyone has got the chance but not I. I cannot avail myself of this ocean." (SOTGOD, v 3, p 39-40) + (see also śloka 522)
We must not be overconfident of our previous acquisition - so much I have acquired, my progress is so much. I must not be satisfied with my self-certificate, self-satisfaction, the certificate of my own making. Mahāprabhu Himself said: "I am taking the Name, I am showing so many tears in the Name of Kṛṣṇa. But why? It is all a false show! na prema-gandho sti. My crying is only a show to canvass others to see what a great devotee I am." So much you are to disbelieve your own self that you are a devotee. In this way we must be very careful, very, very careful. (GOD, p 20) + (see also śloka 242)
ahaṁ matyā bhāsitayā,
svabhāsā puruṣo jyathā
In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam an example is given that in the night a cloud may cover the moon. Though the cloud obscures the moon, still the cloud can only be seen by the light of the moon. na rarājoḍupaśchana. In this example the soul is likened to the moon and the ahaṅkāra is likened to cloud cover. The sense-consciousness, the mind and the intelligence have all combined to form a system, ahaṅkāra, which has covered the soul. But they are seen, and it is possible for them to act, only because there is light - the light of the soul, the moon. So by the help of our reason we must try to perceive what is above reason, and we shall come to see that it is the ātmā, the soul. In this way we may have some direct connection with the ātmā, or at least some conception, however vague, of its existence and nature. The compiler of the Vedas, Vyāsadeva, says the ātmā is like that illuminating moon. Or, like the sun: a cloud has covered the sun, but the cloud is seen by the light of the sun. Similarly, the ātmā is a point of light within us, and because it is in the background we can feel our mental system. At that time our whole material aspiration will turn into trash and within ourselves we will be able to conquer all the charms of this world. (SOTGOD, v 3, p 46)
O Nārāyaṇa, the fundamental, causal cosmic potency which is by nature unlimited, all pervading and omnipotent, that validates, maintains and sustains the whole universe.
O Nārāyaṇa, the bestower of pure liberation, attained by achieving an eternal devotional relationship with You.
O Nārāyaṇa, You the supreme ambrosial goal and shelter of life." (SBRBM, p 16-7)
bhaktir bhavati naiṣṭhikī
"By regular attendance in classes on the Bhāgavatam and by rendering of service to the pure devotee, all that is troublesome to the heart is almost completely destroyed, and loving service unto the Personality of Godhead, who is praised with transcendental songs, is established as an irrevocable fact." (S-B, 1.2.18)
The impure, undesirable things within us are going to almost completely vanish, almost disappear by our serving association with the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and the devotee. Sādhu and śāstra. In this way, the continuous connection with Kṛṣṇa consciousness comes out from within. The interrupting elements that result from renunciation and enjoyment vanish, the covers vanish, and the continuous flow within, the connection with pure Kṛṣṇa consciousness comes out. nishta means nairantaja, continuous. (see also śloka 6, B-r-s, 1.4.15-6)
When the covers are removed, then we find that inner continuity of flow with Kṛṣṇa connection within us, and naiṣṭhikī bhakti appears. That is completely clear, cleansed. bhaktir bhavati naiṣṭhikī: then on the basis of niṣṭhā, that is, the continuous flow, then further progress is made on the positive side - āsakti, attachment, then bhāva, spiritual emotion, then prema, divine love - in this way the inner aspect of devotion will gradually come out. And we shall be able to dive deep into reality. As we give up the external covers, and we experience what may be considered as death in the external world-die to live-we shall enter into the inner side more and more.
Question: This verse says: naṣṭa-prāyeṣu abhadreṣu: that the impurities are almost destroyed. Why not completely destroyed?
That means it happens gradually. The gradual development is described there. naṣṭa-prāyeṣu means when the stage of niṣṭhā comes, when all the undesirabilities are almost finished, then we can have a real peep into the thing. Just as before sunrise, when there is twilight in the early morning, the sun is not there, but the darkness has been dispelled. The darkness has been mainly removed, but the sun has not yet risen. In the same way, the Bhāgavatam is describing how bhakti develops gradually. naṣṭa-prāyeṣu: it is not finished immediately; there is a gradual process of sādhana - a means to an end. And gradually, slowly, according to the capacity of the devotee, and the endeavour, the sādhana, one's bhakti develops. When darkness has almost been finished, the non-gentle, abnormal, exploitative symptoms like the mean attempt to exploit the environment, gradually disappear. And in this way, gradually, we make further progress. It is not that all of a sudden - in one stroke - everything is cleared. Rather, according to our bhajana, our sādhana, our attempt, the undesirable elements will gradually vanish, go away. And by different stages we shall reach the goal. (SEOC, p 43-5)
na tad bhāsayate sūryo,
na śaśāṅko na pāvakaḥ
yad gatvā na nivartante,
tad dhāma paramaṁ mama
"My supreme holy abode is that place which the surrendered souls reach, never to return again to this deathly plane. Upon going there, one never returns to this material world. Neither sun, nor moon, nor fire - nothing can illuminate that all-illuminating supreme abode." (B-g, 15.6)
Upon going there, one never returns to this material world (yad gatvā na nivartante, tad dhāma paramaṁ mama ). Kṛṣṇa's abode is nirguṇa, or transcendental to any material quality. (see also śloka 2) + (TSFSK, p 50)
Wherever there is death there cannot be any happiness. In such a plane we are always under the threat of death, so there is no charm: all charm is completely finished. Therefore, with eagerness we must make enquiry as to where we shall be able to live. We must select a higher plane where we can really live. yad gatvā na nivartante. In the Śrīmad-Bhagavad-gītā Kṛṣṇa says: "The place from which there is no returning to this deathly plane is My supreme abode." (see śloka 2) + (HC, p 21)
"One who reaches My abode never returns to this material world. The dissolution will go on in the plane of the material world, but if you can secure a visa for that land, if you can enter into that soil, you will never be mishandled. When the sun, moon, and stars are all dissolved, your eternal self, your devotional ego, will be quite safe in My plane. The place from which there is no returning to this deathly plane is My supreme abode. Upon going there, one never returns to this material world. 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. Even Lord Brahmā, the creator himself, has to die. Up to Brahmaloka, the highest planet in the material world, the whole material energy undergoes such changes."
na tathā me priyatama
ātmayonir na śaṅkaraḥ
na ca saṅkarṣaṇo na śrīr
naivātmā ca yathā bhavān
"Neither Brahmā nor Śīva are as dear to Me as you; My elder brother Saṅkarṣaṇa is not as dear to Me as you, nor even Lakṣmī Devī. Even My own Self is not as dear to Me as you." (S-B, 11.14.15)
Even the Goddess of Fortune, Lakṣmī Devī, cannot enter there, what to speak of others. It is inconceivable. Kṛṣṇa is not under any law or within anyone's fist. "All rights reserved." Everything is His sweet will. He is absolute good; that is our solace. We cannot enter His domain as a matter of right. Even Lord Brahmā, Lord Śīva, and Lakṣmī Devī cannot enter there. But still, if we take the path chalked out by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, we can enter and achieve a position there.
It is so dear, so rare, so valuable and desirable. We must look for the magnanimity of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu which is aspired for by Lord Brahmā and Lord Śīva. They are praying for a drop of His mercy, but Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu brought that here in a flood and inundated everyone with that nectar, a drop of which is rarely to be had or even thought of. We must approach His mercy with such an attitude of hankering and expectation. His gift is so great and magnanimous - who can understand it?
With two verses of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, one from the mouth of Kṛṣṇa Himself, and the next from the mouth of Uddhava, He takes us straight to that highest place, eliminating so many external things. Kṛṣṇa says: na tathā me priyatama, and Uddhava says: āsā maho caraṇa-reṇu-juṣām ahaṁ syāṁ (see also śloka 52). (TGVODL, p 156-7)
We want to know the realistic view of the whole gradation of devotional thought. Kṛṣṇa shows this gradation in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.14.15) where He says: na tathā me priyatama ātmayonir na śaṅkaraḥ: "Neither Brahmā, nor Śīva, nor Saṅkarṣaṇa of Vaikuṇṭha, nor the Goddess of Fortune Lakṣmidevī, nor even My own self is as dear to Me as you. You are my favourite, Uddhava." (SGAHG, p 23)
So, Rādhā-dāsyam, the servitorship of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, is said to be the highest attainment of the living being by the school established by Mahāprabhu. It is the gist of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. It is Kṛṣṇa's own version. He says: na tathā me priyatama: "O Uddhava! Neither Brahmā, nor Śīva, nor Baladeva, nor Lakṣmi, nor even My Own Self are as dear to Me as you are." And that Uddhava glorifies Vṛndāvana, the vraja-gopīs, and Rādhārāṇī in this way: āsā maho caraṇa-reṇu-juṣām ahaṁ syāṁ (see also śloka 52). (SGAHG, p 151)
The Pāṇḍavas said to Nārada: "We are living independently, careless about Kṛṣṇa's existence. But among us, Uddhava is really His favourite. Whatever Kṛṣṇa does, He always consults with Uddhava, and in all His confidential matters, Uddhava is present there, and in every case, He is always very thick with Uddhava. Even we envy the fortune of Uddhava."
Then Nārada went to Uddhava and told him: na tathā me priyatama: "Uddhava, you are the most favourite devotee of Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa says: "O Uddhava! What to speak of other devotees like Brahmā, Śiva, Saṅkarṣana, or Lakṣmī; you are more dear to Me than My own life." You are such an intimate associate that Kṛṣṇa values you more than His own life."
Uddhava said: "Yes, of course, out of His causeless benevolence, He might have said something like that, but I don't think that I am His real devotee, especially after visiting Vṛndāvana. All my pride has been melted by seeing those devotees. The spirit of service and the intensity of love towards Kṛṣṇa that I found in the devotees in Vṛndāvana is unparalleled. O Devaṛṣī, I am nowhere. Do you know that statement of mine? It is recorded in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.47.61): āsā maho caraṇa-reṇu-juṣām ahaṁ syāṁ (see also śloka 52) + (TSFSK, p 85-6)
Such is the position of a devotee, a bhakta. He's (or she's) above Brahmā, he's above Śīva, he's above Saṅkarṣaṇa, he's above Lakṣmī - he's above even Kṛṣṇa Himself, by the free, sweet will of Kṛṣṇa. (SOTGOD, v 2, p 95) + (see also śloka 10)
na te viduḥ svārtha-gatiṁ hi viṣṇuṁ,
durāśayā ye bahir-artha-māninaḥ
andhā yathāndhair upanīyamānās,
te 'pīśa-tantryām uru-dāmni baddhāḥ
Prahlāda Mahārāja says: "Persons who are strongly entrapped by the consciousness of enjoying material life, and who have therefore accepted as their leader or guru a similar blind man attached to external sense objects, cannot understand that the goal of life is to return home, back to Godhead, and engage in the service of Lord Viṣṇu. As blind men guided by another blind man miss the right path and fall into a ditch, materially attached men led by another materially attached man are bound by the ropes of fruitive labour, which are made of very strong cords, and they continue again and again in materialistic life, suffering the threefold miseries." (S-B, 7.5.31)
Those who are carried away by the charm of the external world cannot understand their inner temperament; they are unfortunate. na te viduḥ svārtha-gatiṁ hi viṣṇuṁ. The main necessity is to keep company with the sādhu who has real faith in Kṛṣṇa. (SOTGOD, v 1, p 34) + (see also śloka 417)
"Those whose minds have been polluted by mundane sense-pleasure, and who hold respect for sense-enjoyers addicted to external mundane pleasures - they cannot know of the glories of Lord Viṣṇu, the exclusive refuge of those desirous of attaining the supreme goal of human life."
Externally and ignorantly, it may be seen that we are in quest of this and that - duty, money, sense-pleasure (dharmma, artha, kāma ); but this is an external and partial examination of things. But with a deep examination it must be found that we are eagerly searching for only rasam, sundaram: the fullest satisfaction, and not for partial, temporary so-called pleasure. So dharmma, artha and kāma cannot satisfy our inner hankering. Not to speak of them, even liberation (mokṣa ) from the present flickering hankering is not the goal, and this is the finding of the scholars. Mere liberation from the negative side is an artificial life. Life must have its fulfilment. Everything has its fulfilment and necessary position. It is not meant for nothing! Zero cannot be the conclusion of the whole existence. Infinite is the conclusion, not zero. So mere liberation - to remain as in a long, deep slumber - that is destructive and inconclusive. That cannot be the object of creation or the object of our existence. The other side must be searched out - the cid-vilāsa (the transcendental dynamic plane). And where can we get that? Here in this world is exploitation, and there is just the opposite: dedication. Bhakti is dedication, after surrender to the centre. (SOTGOD, v 1, p 169-70)
So the environment is not bad. We are suffering from misunderstanding, māyā (na te viduḥ svārtha-gatiṁ hi viṣṇuṁ ), and that misunderstanding should be cleared. We shall try to live anywhere and everywhere, and we shall see the environment as all-loving, if we have that deep vision to see who is at the basis of all of us, if we find Him. It is also mention in the Upaniṣads that in pure consciousness, one can see nectar everywhere - in the wind, in the ocean, in the plants, in the stars - everywhere. Try to recognise your situation is full of honey - full of nectar. Don't try to see only the outer cover. (see also śloka 477) + (SOTGOD, v 1, p 175)
Whatever can be perceived by the eye, the ear, the tongue, the nose, the skin - any of the external senses - is only a covering of reality. Prahlāda Mahārāja says: na te viduḥ svārtha-gatiṁ hi viṣṇuṁ. We are making too much of the covering of reality, we are devoting our minds to the external coating - bahir-artha-māninaḥ - but we do not dive deep into the eternal substance. If only we were to dive deep into reality - there we would find Viṣṇu. The most peaceful substance is within, but it is covered, just as milk is covered by cream, and we are making much of that cover. The real substance is within, just as fruit is covered by its skin. What we experience at present is the cover, the skin, and we are making much of that, ignoring the very substance which the cover is protecting.
The primary step in the search for truth is to penetrate the covering and find the knower within. And then begin our analysis. What is he? Is he an atom like an atomic particle of dust? Or is he a fantastic atom in the conscious plane? At first we must approach reality in this way. There is the knower and the unknown, the enquirer and the enquired.
Try to find yourself. Then gradually, you will come to know that you are the soul, the particle of consciousness within. And just as you are spirit covered by matter, the whole world is also like that; the spiritual reality within is covered. Upon realising yourself as spirit soul, you will be able to see that everything is a part of consciousness. Within the world of consciousness, worlds of different sorts of experience are floating. In the conscious sea, the sun, the moon, trees, stones, human beings, our friends, and our enemies are all floating. As we approach the spiritual plane, we will find it to be nearer to our real self. And in this way, we will see that matter is far, far away, but the soul is near. (SEOC, p 67-8)
There is a plane of concrete reality, but we are only chewing the cover; we are not getting a touch of the spirit within. What we experience by our eyes, by our ears, by our tongue, is only the cover and not the spirit within. (na te viduḥ svārtha-gatiṁ hi viṣṇuṁ ). Prahlāda Mahārāja says that we are making much of the outer cover of the world, of the universe, but the sweet substance that is within, we cannot have a trace of that. But the grace is coming down by the will of that Almighty; that supreme knowledge and beauty is the uppermost. (GOD, p 14)
The scientists are discovering so many wonderful things. But are these things there already? Or are the scientists creators? Those wonderful truths are already there. It is only that some of them are being discovered. It is not the creation of the scientists, so they are not superior to those truths. And in any case, they can only know a part of it, and even that with some endeavour. But the conscious nature of reality, the superior reason of divinity, is unknown to them, although they may go on researching, researching, researching. Whatever they find is only the outer cover, not the real spirit, the substance. (na te viduḥ svārtha-gatiṁ hi viṣṇuṁ ). (LSFTLS, p 73) + (see also śloka 290)
na tu māṁ śakyase draṣṭum,
divyaṁ dadāmi te cakṣuḥ,
paśya me yogam aiśvaram
"By these present eyes of yours you will not be able to see Me. Therefore I give you supernatural eyes by which you can see My almighty, mystic power." (B-g, 11.8)
So the question is: "How to see?" The proper eye is necessary and that is called divya-darśāna. But here we find another extraordinary consideration: Arjuna already had the capacity of higher vision (to see the Lord in His two-handed human-like form), so here the divya-darśāna that was given to Arjuna in order to see that Universal Form of the Lord meant he was to come down to a lower level. He had to actually come down to have that kind of darśāna of the Lord, which was not the highest. Then, when Arjuna could not tolerate that divya-darśāna, he said: "I cannot bear it. You please come to my level, as I had experience of You before." Then the Lord became first catur-bhuja (four-armed form of Nārāyaṇa) and then dvi-bhuja (two-armed human-like form of Kṛṣṇa). (see also ślokas 132 & 484) + (SOTGOD, v 3, p 26)
nāty aśnatas tu yogo 'sti,
jāgrato naiva cārjuna
"Oh Arjuna, yoga practice is impossible for anyone who over eats, under eats, over sleeps, or under sleeps." (B-g, 6.16).
We are to follow the middle path, just as in the case of vairāgya, renunciation, we follow yukta-vairāgya. Too much renunciation will waste our energy, and too much indulgence is also a waste of energy, therefore we are advised to follow the middle path, and that is called yukta-vairāgya. (nāty aśnatas tu yogo 'sti ).
The middle path has been recommended: too much of anything is to be left aside. If one attempts to live without sleep or without food, that is bad; and too much food, or too much sleep is also bad. We are advised to accept the middle path, and that will be more progressive and fruitful. So to 'make the most of a bad bargain' should be the policy. We are not to specifically invite a fight, and also we are not to only avoid it. The middle course will always be helpful for us. We are not to lose our energy, to waste it only for fighting, but it is necessary for us to give the positive thing and engage our energy there. If we can give a thing to the left side, why should we be determined to go to the right side and thereby waste our energy? Our business will be to give, to distribute the nectar, and we shall have no stubbornness to distribute nectar on the right side only. If any opposition comes, we can go to the left side and distribute there. (SOTGOD, v 3, p 73)
naumīdya te 'bhravapuṣe taḍidambarāya
lakṣmaśriye mṛdupade paśupāṇgajāya
"I offer my prayers unto You, O praiseworthy Lord who are the child of the cowherd Nanda. Your complexion is the dark blue colour of a thundercloud and You are clad in silk garments that shine like lightning. Your charming face is adorned with guñja-mālā ornaments, and Your hair is decorated with a peacock feather. You look beautiful wearing a garland of forest flowers, and that beauty is enhanced by the morsel of food in Your left hand. You carry a buffalo horn and a stick for herding cows tucked beneath Your left arm. You hold a flute and other emblems, and Your feet are as soft as a lotus." (S-B, 10.14.1)
When Brahmā took away the cowherd boys and calves, he thought that he had created some want in the līlā, but he came to find it flowing just as it had been. Not even the least part of it had been disturbed. Kṛṣṇa had expanded Himself to become the calves and the cowherd boys. When Kṛṣṇa Himself took the form of all the calves and cowherd boys, then the mothers felt an infinite type of affection, so much so that they could not understand, but were rather entranced, thinking: "How beautiful these boys are!" And the cows were also mad to show their affection to those calves.
Then Brahmā thought: "Have those cowherd boys and calves that I have stolen come here stealthily to join Him?" Again he went to see where he had hidden them. He saw, "No, the boys and calves are where I kept them in the caves of the mountain. They are there!" Again he returned to where Kṛṣṇa was and saw everything continuing as it had been. At that time Brahmā surrendered and was reassured. He spoke this prayer: "naumīdya te 'bhravapuṣe taḍidambarāya - "I offer my prayers unto You, O praiseworthy Lord who are the child of the cowherd Nanda. ……."
That is the general meaning of this verse. The internal meaning of this verse, however, is this: "O venerable one, we submit our prayers to You. Who are You? You are unseeable, unfeelable, unknown, and unknowable. Your complexion is the colour of a black cloud, and therefore You are very difficult to see, but You can be seen because of Your yellow garb."
Yellow is Rādhārāṇī's colour. So only by the help of Kṛṣṇa's potency can it be ascertained who He is. Taḍid means lightning. By the help of lightning we can see a black cloud at night. So although Kṛṣṇa is unknown and unknowable, His potency can reveal Him to us.
Brahmā says: "You are the venerable entity I have come to know. Now I bow down to You. Your body is like that of a black cloud, and that is some mystic representation. Black generally cannot be detected. But Your dress of yellow colour helps us to know what You are. It is carrying some similarity to Nārāyaṇa. Your black body and yellow dress hints towards the personification of Nārāyaṇa. You are unknown and unknowable Yourself. But Your yellow dress - Your Potency - makes You known to us.
And You come down to our level as if You were one in our position. You are dressed as a cowherd boy, playing in the jungle with a lump of foodstuffs in Your hand. That deceives us in ascertaining who You are. And You adore ordinary things. Even the garland that You wear is collected from ordinary jungle flowers. Your taste appears to be for lower things. And all these signs are misleading us.
You take a morsel of food in Your hand and run after cows. That is a sign of being low-class. The higher-caste people like brāhmaṇas and kṣatriyas cannot move like this or behave in such a way with their food. The instrument You carry - a bamboo flute - is also unsophisticated. And Your stride is short. All this is misleading us to have a lower conception of You. You are hiding Yourself, so how can we understand You? What fault is there on our part, then, for not recognising Your supremacy? It is difficult to accept that You, Kṛṣṇa, are the master of everything.
You have so many plain ornaments. We don't find anything that is gorgeous or filled with splendour here in Vṛndāvana. We are accustomed to find those things in Vaikuṇṭha. But this is new. You have come here to show Your playful pastimes. Here in Vṛndāvana we have come across a new conception. And it is wonderful, plain, and charming. Plain, yet most attractive.
With simple ordinary things You have decorated Yourself, but You are so extraordinarily charming. It is impossible to understand and to describe. Generally in this world, the position of cowherd boys is of no real significance. They represent the lower section of society. But here in Vṛndāvana, such a position is so wonderful and charming that we find You all-attractive - hypnotising us.
And Your movement is very slow but sure. Your movement is such that You don't care for anything else in this world. Though You are in a lower position, Your posture is such that apparently You don't care for anything in this world. In You we find the highest conception garbed in a very plain way - but a very wonderful way.
In connection with You, things of ordinary value become charming. Although I am the Creator and have created everything, I fail to understand this sort of creation. I am proud that I have created so many things in the world, but I am overwhelmed to see the beauty of the environment here in Vṛndāvana. Here Your movement is slow, but sure and beautiful. You may be the son of that human being who keeps the cows; this is not a very high status in society or in the scriptures, but it is the nature of Your personality that whatever You do, You make it hold the highest position. What is this! Whoever You may be, my vanity is defeated. I take refuge at Your holy feet, I surrender. Please help me to understand what You really are."
In this way, Brahmā surrendered. And so, Kṛṣṇa is beyond the understanding even of the creator of the universe. He is infinite. And He is infinite not only in the consideration of space, but also in the consideration of time - He is infinite in every sort of consideration. Infinite. His infinite potency is represented in consciousness, in existence, and then in dealings of love.
The scriptures give us three conceptions of the infinite: Brahman, Paramātmā, and Bhagavān. The Brahman conception is the all-comprehensive infinite. Whatever we can conceive is within it. Paramātmā is the smallest of the small: aṇor aṇīyān. Whatever you can conceive of that is small, it is smaller than that. And the Bhagavān, or personal conception of Godhead, is of two types: one is as the master of infinite majesty and power, and the other is of absolute sweetness. (LSFTLS, p 51-3) + (see also śloka 83)
nā uṭhiyā vṛkṣopari,
ṭānāṭāni phala dhari'
duṣṭa-phala karile arjjana
Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura says that if one wants fruits without taking the trouble to climb the tree, what sort of fruits can he expect? The fruits will be ruined, or rotten. Without proper progression, it is all imagination - a madman's feat. One must gradually reach the plane of truth, śuddha-sattva. There are so many planes to cross - Bhūr-, Bhuvar-, Svar-, Mahar-, Janar-, Tapar-, Satya-loka, Virajā, Brahmaloka, Mahāprabhu says that the creeper of bhakti grows and rises up to Goloka, and she has to cross all these planes. (K-k, U-18) + (SOTGOD, v 2, p 29) + (see also śloka 531)
For example, Śrīla Gaura Kiśora Dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja went on with smaraṇa (remembering Kṛṣṇa, in solitude). Once, there was another Bābājī who constructed a kuṭīr nearby, a small hut, and he went on imitating Śrīla Gaura Kiśora Dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja, doing mādhukarī (subsisting on alms), sitting and meditating, and wearing similar cloth. Then once Gaura Kiśora remarked: "If a lady enters into a maternity ward, she cannot produce a child only by imitating the sounds and symptoms of labour. Many things are necessary before that!" So only by imitating the Paramahaṁsa Bābājī, bhajana cannot be effected. One must have connection with śuddha-sattva, the real plane, and then all the higher symptoms may appear. Otherwise, all those speculative antics will manifest.
nāyam ātmā pravacanena labhyo,
na medhayā na bahunā śrutena
yam evaiṣa vṛnute tena labhyas,
tasyaiṣa ātmā vivṛnute tanūṁ svām
"One cannot understand the substance of the Paramātmā, the Super-soul residing within everyone's heart, by means of expertise in logic, intelligence or learning. When the living entity begs the Lord for His mercy, being desirous of His transcendental loving service, then the Supreme Lord reveals His self-manifest form directly before him." (K, 1.2.23) + (MU, 2.3.2)
Śrī Caitanyadeva of the Gauḍīya Maṭh comes with an open mind. It was thought that we do not understand any diplomacy or tactfulness, but we came to catch with an open mind the real teachings of Śrī Caitanyadeva. If you can become simple, then you will be able to understand the teachings of Śrī Caitanyadeva. The simplicity is necessary. It is the only qualification. It is plain - jñāna-sunya-bhakti - not jugglery of reason and argument. They do not have much of a place in the teachings of Śrī Caitanyadeva. So, intellect - na medhayā na bahunā śrutena - extensive reading of the scriptures or sharp understanding, they have got no place in the line of Śrī Caitanyadeva. Simplicity, simple, simple. Not complex with the understanding of this misunderstood aspect of the world - diplomacy - they will only trouble us. Avoid them. A brāhmana fails to understand, even a kṣatriya or vaiṣya, but an ordinary sensible non-read (illiterate) man, even one who is not sharp in intelligence may understand. Therefore, intellectualism is disqualification. jñāna-sunya-bhakti. Only love, liking, affection; love, that is the unit. Attraction, sympathy; all - the outcome of the heart. (SS, v 2, # 1, '84, p 3) + (see also śloka 206)
vadanaṁ gadgada-ruddhayā girā
pulakair nicitaṁ vapuḥ kadā,
tava nāma-grahaṇe bhaviṣyati
"O Lord, when will tears flow from my eyes like waves? And my voice tremble in ecstasy. When will the hairs of my body stand on end while chanting Your Holy Name?" (S, 6)
In this verse, the devotee's prayer has been granted and he has acquired a position in Kṛṣṇa's domain. Now his ambition has no end. Although he is posted in a safe position, he is again praying for further promotion. First he aspired only for an insignificant position as the dust under the soles of Kṛṣṇa's divine feet. Then, the grant came. The touch of Kṛṣṇa's holy feet came to the dust and the dust was converted as if by a magic wand. Now a greater, higher demand automatically comes.
The devotee thinks: "What is this? I prayed only to become the dust of the soles of Your feet, but what do I now feel within me? I am the dust of the earth, and You are the Supreme Absolute Truth. But by the very touch of Your lotus feet, dust has been converted into such a great and inconceivable substance. I wonder: 'How is it that I have been transformed? Now I find that my demand is for greater intimacy. First I aspired for servitude but now, by the touchstone of Your lotus feet, that hope has been converted into spontaneous attraction ( rāgā-marga )."
Spontaneous attraction can only mean Kṛṣṇa, not Nārāyaṇa or Rāmacandra. Kṛṣṇa means "one who is worshipped by divine love and affection." He is the king of affection, the centre of affection and love. The devotee's whole conception of devotion changed just by coming in touch with Kṛṣṇa's lotus feet, and he was graced by the demand for more intimacy; greater love and affection came to grace that servitor.
He was raised to such a plane of dedication that his prayer has changed. He thinks: "What is this? I can't check my tears. They are coming incessantly, and when I try to chant Your Name, my Lord, I feel that I am losing control.
Some interference from another quarter is moving me, disturbing my normal thinking and aspirations. I feel I am in the midst of another plane. I am nowhere. I have lost control; I have become a doll in the hands of some other power.
My aspiration is taking me towards something else. Now I not only want a connection with You as a servitor from a distance, but coming in touch with the magic wand of Your lotus feet, my aspiration has changed. I see that so many devotees are engaged in Your service and chanting Your Name, and seeing this, my hopes have been raised.
I want to be lifted to that position. I can visualise that position from far away, but now my earnest prayer is that I may be raised to that level. Your connection has given me such a thirst. I want to be handled by You. When I chant Your Name with this feeling, I find that my previous conception has changed and my new hankering is for the standard of spontaneous love. I pray that you lift me into that plane of Your divine affection and love." (TGVODL, p 133-5) + (see also śloka 613)
"My dear Lord, when will my eyes be decorated with tears that constantly glide down as I chant Your Holy Name? When will my voice falter and my body be thrilled in transcendental ecstasy as I chant Your Holy Name?" (SBRBM, p 20)
vipralambhe milana-siddhau nāma-bhajanānukūlyam.
"Serving the Holy Name in pure devotion (nāma-bhajana ) in the pain of separation is favourable to achieve union with the Supreme." (SSPJ, p 53)
pratyavāyo na vidyate
svalpam apy asya dharmasya,
trāyate mahato bhayāt
"Even a small beginning in this devotional service cannot go in vain, nor can any loss be suffered. The most insignificant practice of such devotional service saves one from the all-devouring fear of repeated birth and death in this world." (B-g, 2.40)
When an organised party approaches for relief work, some soldiers may be sacrificed before obtaining victory. The victorious party will also have to incur some loss when fighting with the enemy. Similarly, in the Mission some soldiers may be asked to approach the rich men and women, therefore sometimes some may be lost. But their loss will be for the time being, and again they will come back. We expect them to come back again because once someone has a taste, they will not be able to forget that. nehābhikrama-nāśo 'sti: "Whatever has been acquired is eternal, it cannot be destroyed." (SGD, SGPI, p 21) + (see also śloka 263)
"In this bhakti-yoga there is no loss of initial endeavour and there is no diminution of results. Even the slightest performance of this bhakti-yoga saves one from the great fear of birth and death in this material world."
Some permanent acquisition is deposited in his 'account,' and everything else, both the happiness resulting from accommodating a good, honest man in the worldly sense, as well as the suffering resulting from his accommodating a dacoit, will be finished. This sort of acquisition is permanent, and when it accumulates to a sufficient degree it will attract the man to do some sort of vague service to the sādhus, though not very consciously. That is also accumulated and when it reaches a certain stage, the search for the truth will awaken within him. He will think: "For what are those sādhus living?" Then he will approach them, and if he goes in the proper mood as described in the scriptures, the transaction will begin. (SOTGOD, v 3, p 59-60 & p 71) (see also śloka 104)
"We can be saved from fears - great worldly fears - even by a touch of that supreme wealth." (SS, v 6, # 1, '92, p 6)
nidrayā hriyate naktaṁ,
vyavāyena ca vā vayaḥ
divā cārthehayā rājan,
"At night we see two things; either sleep or playing with women (sex indulgence). And the day-time is spent either in search of money or by serving the relatives." (S-B, 2.1.3)
We find that there are thousands of engagements in those that are unconscious of their own real interest. They are very busy, but very busy about nothing. What do we see if we look around? nidrayā hriyate naktaṁ ……etc. (SOTGOD, v 3, p 3)
vilasatu hṛdi nityaṁ bhaktisiddhānta-vāṇī
"Slashing and smashing the illusion of the whole mundane plane, Dealing the deathblow to the scholars' manic search for liberation's throne; Relaxing calculation, for the realm of Pure Devotion in Love of Śrī Rādhā's Lord Supreme: O Abode of Divine Love - Divine Message of Śrī-Bhakti-Siddhānta, May you dance and play and sing your song within my heart forever." (SCS. )
nikhila-śruti-mauli ratna mālā,
ayi mukta-kulair upāsyamānaṁ,
paritas tvām hari-nām saṁśrayāmi
"The acme of all the Vedas, the Upaniṣads, are like a string of transcendental jewels. The tips of the toes of Your lotus feet, O Holy Name, are eternally worshipped by the radiance emanating from those jewels. You are constantly worshipped by the great liberated souls (headed by Nārada and Śuka, whose hearts are reposed in complete absence of worldly aspirations). Therefore, O Name Divine, I surrender unto You in every time, place, and circumstance." (N, 1) + (SSPJ, p 104)
"O Holy Name! The tips of the toes of Your lotus feet are eternally worshipped by the glowing effulgence radiating from the gemmed chapters of the Upaniṣads, the crest jewels of the Vedas. You are eternally adored and chanted by great liberated souls like Nārada and Śukadeva Goswāmī. O Hari Nāma! Clearing myself of all offences, I take complete shelter of You." (N, 1)
Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī says that so many liberated souls worship the Holy Name of Kṛṣṇa, offering their respects from all sides. He explains that the greatness of the Holy Name may not be found in the ordinary scriptures, but if you study all of them as a whole, you will find the very spirit of the Holy Name. Ordinary people may not find this in their study, but there are those who can collect the real substance, the real purpose from those vast writings, and detect the greatness of the Holy Name as the whole purpose of all the main Vedic scripture.
The principle codes in the śruti, the Vedas, are giving hints about the Holy Name of Kṛṣṇa. Śruti means śabda: that which can be grasped by the ear, from the sound form of the revealed truth which has descended from above. The Vedas naturally tell us that we can approach the supreme reality only through sound. Otherwise they would be suicidal. If they do not say that by sound only we will attain the truth, then what is the necessity of the Vedas which are only embodied sounds? So, if we can trace their real characteristic we shall find that the principle Vedas say that by the cultivation of sound we can attain the Lord. So, we can come to understand this only through sound (śabda pramānam ). Sound alone can deliver reality. The Vedas must say so, otherwise they will only be an ineffective jungle of sounds.
Śruti means that which can be received through the ear, and that sound is absolute. The śrutis have come to declare to us that through sound alone we can attain the highest end. The main codes (sutras ) of the śruti inform us: nikhila-śruti-mauli ratna mālā. Mauli means the principal scriptures. They are like so many gems or jewels forming a necklace. By their lustre, the lotus feet of the Holy Name are being revealed. Just as while performing ārātī, we offer a lamp to show the Deity form of the Lord more clearly to the ordinary people, the principle śrutis are helping us to have this perception: by sound only we can have the Supreme Lord.
Rūpa Goswāmī says that is we are more attentive to their meaning, we will find that the principle śrutis are only trying to show us the lotus feet of the Holy Name, just as during ārātī the ghee lamp helps us to see the figure of the Lord. We may have a general view of the Deity, but with the help of the lamp, we can have a particular conception of the different parts of the body of the Lord. Similarly, we find that the principle śrutis with their light are trying to show us the lower portion of the Holy Name of Kṛṣṇa. They are leading us and helping us to have a conception of the remotest part of the Holy Name, a vague conception that the Name is everything. Rūpa Goswāmī says that those who are really liberated are all surrounding the Holy Name and offering praise and adoration. And he prays: "In this spirit, I take refuge in the Holy Name of Kṛṣṇa….
So, Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī says that only a superficial study of the Vedas will frustrate us. But if we search with a positive mind, by the grace of the sādhus, the ācāryas, and the mahājanas we will find that the principle śrutis are leading us towards the conception that the whole object of all the Vedic sounds is that central sound: the Holy Name of Kṛṣṇa. There are so many sections of the Vedas that have come to distribute the tidings of the absolute realm, but there must be a centre. So, the principle sounds are all emitting light like a torch, to show us that they have a central sound which represents the supreme whole, and that is Kṛṣṇa. So many liberated souls are all around, offering their respects to the Holy Name of Kṛṣṇa, that central sound from which all Vedic mantras have come to give us some idea of the sound aspect of the absolute centre. This is Rūpa Goswāmī's argument.
The branches of the Vedas are all sounds, and so many sounds must come from a central position. They cannot but direct one who has a proper eye towards that fountainhead of sound, saying: "Go! Run towards that direction! In our source you will find everything. We are all partially representing so many things but we have a centre, we have a fountainhead. Go in that direction and you will find the sound that can sufficiently satisfy you, and you may also be introduced to other aspects of that sound."
The Holy Name of Kṛṣṇa is most important; it is no less than Kṛṣṇa Himself. It fully represents the whole. Rūpa Goswāmī says: "O Holy Name, I take refuge under Your lotus feet. You are the grand, central sound who has given cohesion to all the sounds in the revealed scriptures." (TSFSK, p 118-23) + (see also śloka 199)
nīlāmbhodhi-taṭe sadā sva-virahā-kṣepanvitaṁ bāndhavaṁ
śrīmad-bhāgavatī kathā madirayā sañjīvayan bhāti yaḥ
śrīmad-bhāgavataṁ sadā sva-nayanāśru-pāyanaiḥ pūjayan
gosvāmi-prabaro gadādhara-vibhūr-bhūyāt mad-ekā-gatiḥ
"On the shore of the broad blue ocean, Gadādhara Paṇḍita used to read Śrīmad- Bhāgavatam to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who was suffering from the great internal pain of separation from Himself (Kṛṣṇa). Gadādhara Paṇḍita supplied the wine of Kṛṣṇa-līlā to intoxicate his afflicted friend and give Him relief. As he read, tears would fall from his eyes like flower offerings onto the pages of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. May the pleasure of that brilliant personality, Gadādhara Paṇḍita, the best of the Goswāmīs, be my only object in writing this book." (TGVODL, p x, xi)
Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣaka Śrīdhara Deva Goswāmī Mahārāja said that he originally composed this verse (nīlāmbhodhi-taṭe sadā sva-virahā-kṣepanvitaṁ bāndhavaṁ ) to introduce his summary study of the 18,000 verse Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Just as Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura has condensed the whole Bhāgavata principle into 1,000 verses in his Bhāgavata-arka-marici-mālā, Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣaka Śrīdhara Deva Goswāmī Mahārāja says he had a mind to consolidate it even more, to represent it within 300 verses, but he did not finish it. This verse glorifies the position of Gadādhara Paṇḍita, the most intimate associate of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Gadādhara Paṇḍita used to read Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam in Jagannātha Purī, at the Toṭa Gopinātha Temple. He would read, and Śrīman Mahāprabhu and the great devotees like Svarūpa Dāmodara and Rāmananda Rāya were his audience. (TGVODL, p x, xi) + (see also śloka 475)
nirjana kuṭīre śrī rādhā-caraṇa,
smaraṇe thākibo rata
śrī rūpa mañjarī dhīre dhīre āsi,
kahibe āmāya kota.
"In my divine form of perfection, in the transcendental abode, Goloka, I will be waiting in a solitary cottage remaining absorbed in the blissful remembrance of Śrī Rādhā's lotus feet. After some time, I will see my adorable rasika guru and friend, Śrī Rūpa Mañjarī approaching me, charmed and overwhelmed in some special joy. She will say to me with excitement: "O dear friend, what are you doing sitting here? Come outside and see, your cherished dream has now come true. In that beautiful kuñja decorated with flowers, Śrī Rādhikā and Kṛṣṇa, the Divine Couple are now having Their wonderful ecstatic pastimes. These lovesports are flooding everyone and everything with ambrosial ecstasy. Come with me, I will take you there to serve Them and you will become an eternal maidservant of Their lotus feet." (GMSL, 6, v1 & 2) + (SBRBM, p 46)
ye chāyāya jagat juḍāya
hena nitāi vine bhāi
rādhā-kṛṣṇa pāite nāi
dṛdha kari' dhara nitāir pāy
se sambandha nāhi yāra
bṛtha janma gela tāra
sei paśu baḍa durācāra
nitāi nā bālila mukhe
vidyā-kule ki karibe tāra
ahaṅkāre matta hoiyā
asatyere satya kari māni
nitāiyera karuṇa habe
braje rādhā-kṛṣṇa pābe
dhara nitāi-caraṇa du'khāni
tāṣhara sevaka nitya
nitāi-pada sadā kara āśa
narottama baḍa dukhī
nitāi more kara sukhī
rākha rāṅgā-caraṇera pāśa
"The lotus feet of Prabhu Nityānanda are most pleasing, like the combined calming radiance of millions of moons. By receiving the cooling shade of His transcendental shelter the whole universe, scorched by heat of material existence, can be fully relieved and soothed. O dear brothers, without the grace of such a magnanimous personality as Prabhu Nityānanda, it is very difficult to attain divine loving service to Śrī Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa in the groves of Vṛndāvana. Therefore firmly take shelter of His lotus feet with all sincere respect and love so you may reach that nectarean goal.
A person who has not strived to receive any blessed connection with Nityānanda Prabhu or His invaluable wealth, which is ecstatic love of Godhead, becomes materially entangled and his intelligence is misused for animal propensities. Compared to the higher life of divine taste such a life is considered wasted. Those who do not know the great fortune of taking the Name of Nityānanda as well as those who deliberately ignore Him become more and more intoxicated and addicted to mundane happiness.
Without a connection to the eternal blissful nature of Nityānanda Prabhu what real protection can the satisfaction of mundane education or boast of heritage give in this insecure mortal world? Being maddened and bewildered by false pride, such persons forget their eternal relationship with Nityānanda and do not attain the great solace of His lotus feet and thus accept illusion as reality. My friends, if Nityānanda Prabhu gives you mercy, only then can you attain the service of Rādhā Kṛṣṇa, the Divine Couple of Vraja, therefore firmly embrace His lotus feet and beg Him for it. Please know that the shelter of the lotus feet of Prabhu Nityānanda are eternally true and the giver of transcendental fulfilment. One who engages in the loving service of Nityānanda with perfection is understood to have attained that plane of eternal truth and fulfilment. Therefore always pray and hope for the shelter of Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu's lotus feet.
Narottama says: "O merciful Prabhu Nitāi, I find myself very unsatisfied because I have an endless hankering for more of the taste of Your nectarine grace. So please satisfy this need of mine and make me very happy by keeping me close to Your lotus feet, ever smeared with the hue of divine ecstasy." (P )+(SOTVA, p 83)+(SBRBM, p 5)
nitāiyer koruṇā habe,
braje rādhā-kṛṣṇa pābe,
dharo nitāi-caraṇa du 'khāni
After Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura describes the position of Rādhārāṇī in his Śaraṇāgati, he says: "I want to serve those who have the service of Rādhārāṇī in their heart. I want to serve the feet dust of those whose only wealth is the service of Śrī Rādhā. I want to fall before them and take the dust of their holy feet. If you cannot fix your mind in the service of Rādhārāṇī, then all your attempts to serve Kṛṣṇa are useless. If you cannot achieve earnestness in the service of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, then all your labour for Kṛṣṇa has gone to hell."
We cannot conceive of a sun without heat, nor can we conceive of Godhead without His potency. The finest potency of Bhagavān is Rādhārāṇī. So also, no conception of Kṛṣṇa is possible without Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. We can't know any Mādhava without Rādhā. She is Kṛṣṇa's other half - in Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākura's language, the Predominated Moiety. Devotional service as a whole is represented by Her, because both the intensity and the comprehensiveness of Her service to Kṛṣṇa are unparalleled.
There are so many examples of chaste and pious ladies in the ancient history of the Purāṇas: Śācī, the faithful wife of Indra; Satī, the wife of Lord Śiva; Lakṣmī Devī, the Goddess of Fortune; Satyabhāmā, Kṛṣṇa's wife in Dwārakā; Rukmiṇī, the principle queen of Kṛṣṇa in Dwārakā; and even the antagonists of Rādhārāṇī, headed by Candrāvalī. All of them represent different aspects of Rādhārāṇī. They all spring from the main potency which is known as Rādhā.
The Name Rādhā comes from the word ārādhana: One who can serve, who can worship, who can give respect, who really loves Kṛṣṇa, who can render loving service. All of these other ladies who are famous for their chastity and piety are but partial representations of Rādhārāṇī. If we note the scriptures and scrutinise the position of those virtuous ladies, we'll find that the source of all their chastity and devotion is Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. She is the fountainhead of devotion. And so Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura says: "I bow down and take the dust of the holy feet of those who have as their only wealth the service of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. I hanker after nothing else." (LSFTLS, p 98-100) + (see also śloka 343)
Our highest aspiration is to achieve the service of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, but in the beginning, we must approach Śrī Nityānanda through His manifest representative, the guru. Nityānanda Prabhu consolidates the foundation which helps us progress further in devotion. Quick progress without a good foundation invites a negative reaction, so the mercy of Nityānanda Prabhu is our primary necessity. This approach culminates in the service of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī." (nitāiyer koruṇā habe, braje rādhā-kṛṣṇa pābe )
To be reinstated as a servant of the servant to the extreme degree is the philosophy of Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism. Our goal is not to become one with Kṛṣṇa - to receive service - we want to render service. The Predominated Moiety of the Absolute Truth is negative potency - the energy that serves - and the Predominating Moiety receives that service. Our best interest will be reached when, according to our constitutional nature, we attain out position in the line of servitors in the negative, Predominated Moiety; not by considering ourselves one with the positive, Predominating Moiety.
By the grace of Nityānanda Prabhu, we develop our attraction for Śrī Gaurāṅga. If we receive the grace of Śrī Gaurāṅga, we receive everything in the highest degree. And that is the safest way to approach Rādhā-Govinda. If we try to achieve Rādhā-Govinda in some other way, avoiding Śrī Gaurāṅga, our attempt will naturally be artificial and defective, and there will be great difficulty. Therefore, we should invest all our energy in the service of Śrī Gaurāṅga. Then, we shall automatically find ourselves being lifted towards the highest level. (TGVODL, p 26-7) + (see also ślokas 343 & 601)
Śreyaḥ covers the grace of Nityānanda Prabhu, for it is by His grace that we may be allowed to worship Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa in Vṛndāvana. (Śrī Gaurāṅga's first verse of Śrī Śikṣāṣṭaka states: śreyaḥ kairava candrikāvitaranaṁ - the Holy Name bestows upon us the supreme goal of life, an intimate personal relationship with Kṛṣṇa which includes neutrality, servitude, friendship, and filial affection (śānta, dāsya, sakhya, and vātsalya rasa ). (TGVODL, p 93) + (see also ślokas 108 & 343)
'nitya-līlā' kṛṣṇera sarva-śāstre kaya
bujhite nā pāre līlā kemane 'nitya'.haya
"Although Kṛṣṇa's eternal līlā is described in all the scriptures, still it cannot be understood how it is eternal." (C-c, Madhya-līlā, 20.385)
And Kavirāja Goswāmī has given us to think in another way; the sun is rising here, and the next minute it is rising over there. Sunrise is always to be found somewhere in one portion of the world. Is it not? So also, Kṛṣṇa-līlā from brahmāṇḍa to brahmāṇḍa (universe to universe) it is extended like the sun. The bālya-līlā when it is past here then it is happening in another brahmāṇḍa - continued, like the sun. 'nitya-līlā' kṛṣṇera sarva-śāstre kaya. It is continuous. The morning is everywhere, the noon is everywhere. It is revolving. And in a different brahmāṇḍa Kṛṣṇa is taking birth, the next moment in another brahmāṇḍa, it is always continued. (C, v 1, # 5, Sum. '93, p 9) + (see also śloka 294)
bhavauṣadhāc chrotra-mano 'bhirāmāt
pumān virajyeta vinā paśughnāt
"Glorification of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is performed in the paramparā system; that is, it is conveyed from spiritual master to disciple. Such glorification is relished by those no longer interested in the false, temporary glorification of this cosmic manifestation. Descriptions of the Lord are the right medicine for the conditioned soul undergoing repeated birth and death. Therefore, who will cease hearing such glorification of the Lord except a butcher or one who is killing his own self?" (S-B, 10.1.4 )
Śrīla Jīva Goswāmī mentions in the Tattva-Sandarbha, just as it is mentioned in the Brahmavaivarta Purāṇa, that Śukadeva was unwilling to leave the womb of his mother due to fear of māyā. Even though Śukadeva was a great muni being completely freed from material desires (nivṛtta-tarṣaiḥ ), he only partially (aṁśena ) understood the transcendental position of Kṛṣṇa, but he knew Kṛṣṇa could grant liberation. So, Śukadeva requested his father Śrīla Vyāsadeva to call Kṛṣṇa, and Kṛṣṇa came and revealed Himself to Śukadeva while he was still in the womb. And with the liberation granted to him, he came out and went to the forest. Vyāsadeva then tried to capture his son by sending a woodcutter to the forest, asking him to sing verses from the Bhāgavatam, hoping that Śukadeva would hear them. These verses were not mentioned specifically by Jīva Goswāmī, but he says they were selected sections where the glory of Kṛṣṇa is particularly mentioned. Also, the section of the Brahmavaivarta Purāṇa describing this event is no longer available. However, due to the oral tradition of the Gauḍīya sampradāya, Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣaka Śrīdhara Deva Goswāmī Mahārāja suggests that one of the verses was this one from Bhāgavatam (10.1.4): nivṛtta-tarṣair upagīyamānād, which describes how kṛṣṇa-kathā cures the disease of māyā and also the qualifications of the speaker of the Bhāgavatam.
When Śrīla Vyāsadeva wanted to deliver to the world the higher conception of the right path of life that had just been given to him by Devaṛṣi Nārada, he searched for Śukadeva. Vyāsadeva felt: "Mokṣa, the Brahma-jñāna (liberation in the non-differentiated Absolute), has been given the highest position. Now, the higher conception that has been given to me by Devaṛṣi Nārada must be delivered to the world by a person whose Brahma-jñāna is unquestionably admitted by all the scholars." So he searched for Śukadeva. "Śukadeva is the only person who is very widely respected by the so-called liberationists. This higher doctrine should be brought to light through him, and then the position of Bhāgavatam will be automatically unchallengeable." So he hunted after Śukadeva.
He sent a woodsman whose business it was to cut down trees in the jungle and dense forest, and who made a trade from that. Śrīla Vyāsadeva told this śloka to that woodcutter to give to Śukadeva: nivṛtta-tarṣair upagīyamānād: "Wherever you will find a boy like my son, you will try to chant this śloka. You always wander in the dense forest, and my boy is there, roaming hither and thither in the jungle. It is very difficult to trace his whereabouts, because he does not stay in one location. Always roaming and wandering, he lives on only leaves and fruits, and he takes water from the river."
Suddenly one day, this śloka caught Śukadeva's attention. "What do these woodcutters say? nivṛtta-tarṣair upagīyamānād: This big sound, with high meaning - where did they get it from?" Then after hearing twice, thrice, he approached them. "What do you say?"
They again repeated: "nivṛtta-tarṣair upagīyamānād: "Who have had all their thirst quenched, satisfied - they come and sing this song; bhavauṣadhāt: it is the medicine for the solution to birth and death; śrotra-mano 'bhirāmāt: and it is always pleasing to the senses. The senses should not be considered as one's eternal enemy, and eliminated from any utility. They can be utilised. This song is very sweet for all the senses. śrotra-mano 'bhirāmāt: Both the ear and the mind are pleased by a high class of joy. ka uttamaḥ-śloka-guṇānuvādāt pumān virajyeta vinā paśughnāt: who but a suicide will keep such a conception of life, such a model ideal of his life, at a distance? Only a self-killer can do so! Otherwise, one who is wakeful to his real interest can never avoid the, uttamaḥ-śloka-guṇānuvādāt - the praise and prayer of the highest entity, the Lord Absolute. Who can keep himself aloof from this highest conception of life which is beyond even moksa?"
Then after having a glimpse into the meaning of this śloka, this poem of Bhāgavatam, Śukadeva enquired: "Where did you obtain this śloka?" "At Badarikāśrama." "Can you show me the place?" "Yes, come." And they took him to Vyāsadeva. He could recognise, "Oh, this is my father's āśrama. Vyāsadeva, my father, requested me to stay with him, but I did not care for that. I ran away to the forest to avoid human society. To avoid being influenced by human society's designing attitude, I left it. However, for the solution I find in this śloka, I cannot but enquire from him." So he came, and asked his father the meaning of the śloka. Śrīla Vyāsadeva then explained according to the angle of vision that Devarṣi Nārada had recently given him. And when Śukadeva later delivered the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, he openly admitted in the assembly…. (see also ślokas 126 & 357) + (SOTGOD, v 1, p 147-50)
nṛ-deham ādyaṁ sulabhaṁ sudurllabhaṁ
plavaṁ sukalpaṁ guru-karṇadhāram
pumān bhavābdhiṁ na taret sa ātmahā
There is a boat, and he is the helmsman (guru-karṇadhāram ). I have surrendered unto him. I have accepted him. I have boarded his boat and he is taking me towards the goal of my life. The human body (nṛ-deham ) has been compared to a boat. By utilising my resources in this body and mind, my gurudeva, as the helmsman, is guiding me towards the goal. One who does not take this opportunity after coming into the human species commits suicide. He commits suicide by failing to take advantage of crossing the ocean of life and death, birth and death, birth and death. The very nature of the ocean of mundane existence is waves - life and death, birth and death. The helmsman to take us across this ocean of life and death, is gurudeva. It is said in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam that anyone who misses this chance is committing suicide:
nṛ-deham ādyaṁ sulabhaṁ sudurllabhaṁ,
plavaṁ sukalpaṁ guru-karṇadhāram
Here the Lord is inferring: "So many boats are passing, and I am helping like a favourable wind. The helmsman is guru, and I am the favourable wind. The boat is this human body, and you should all take this opportunity to cross the ocean of life, birth, and death. The world is compared to the infinite. It resembles infinity; it is very difficult to cross the ocean of life and death, birth and death." (S-B, 11.20.17) + (SOTGOD, v 1, p 188-9) + (see also śloka 186)
In the infinite ocean we have boarded our small boat, the human form of life, and our destination is uncertain and inconceivable. But it is conceivable to our gurudeva (guru karṇadhāram ). Our guru is our guide - the captain of the boat. And we must progress with sincere faith. We are trying to cross a horrible ocean with huge waves and dangerous sharks and whale-swallowing whales. It is full of danger. The guidance of saints is our only hope. We must depend on them. They stand like lighthouses in the infinite ocean to guide us to the land of faith." (LSFTLS, p 6) + (see also śloka 492)
"When He returned to His birthplace, Nadia, after five long years of sannyāsa, millions of people rushed to see Him, feeling a most wonderful and irresistible love attraction. Deeply moved with eyes full of eagerness, they beheld their Lord who attracted their innermost heart of hearts. Excited by His ecstatic presence there arose a continuous tumultuous uproar that spread in all directions and pierced the sky. To please their beloved Gaurāṅga, the people's voices repeatedly resounded the Holy Names of Kṛṣṇa. I sing with joy the unending glories of my golden Lord Gaurasundara, the beautiful divine abode of pure love." (PDDS, 34) + (SBRBM, p 9)
For Kṛṣṇa, the opposition in Vṛndāvana līlā came from Mathurā in the form of Aghā, Bakā, Pūtana, Tṛnāvarta, and other demons who were being sent by King Kaṁsa. To uproot the opposition, Kṛṣṇa had to go to Mathurā. And when He went there, He found that the opposition was widespread. Kaṁsa's father-in-law, Jarāsandha, Kālayavana, Śīśupāla, Dantavakra, and many others were inimical to Kṛṣṇa. So Kṛṣṇa promised the gopīs that after finishing His enemies, He would return to Vṛndāvana to play peacefully with them.
And in Navadwīpa līlā, the background is almost similar. To gain victory over the opposition party, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu left household life in Navadwīpa. Later, after His conquest of all the Indian scholars and religionists of different positions and creeds, after five years, when He returned to Navadwīpa, everyone was transformed. The mass approached Him madly. It is difficult to conceive with what madness the mass approached Śrī Caitanyadeva, the child of their own village.
They crossed the Ganges. The whole Ganges, as far as it could be seen, was filled with human heads. They were running towards Him from all directions in such a way that the jungles were cleared by human feet. For a few days, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu stayed nearby in Vidyānagara, and then went towards Vṛndāvana, singing the Holy Name of Kṛṣṇa. Thousands of devotees were running behind Him, digging up the earth to take the dust of His holy feet, and huge pits were being created. When Mahāprabhu returned to Navadwīpa after five years of His sannyāsa, all the men, women, and children madly came to see Him, to have a glimpse of His face.
Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, in his internal conception of the pastimes of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, draws a parallel with the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa in Kurukṣetra. There, Dwārakā-Kṛṣṇa and the gopīs of Vṛndāvana were meeting, and the gopīs and gopas wanted to take Kṛṣṇa from Dwārakā back to Vṛndāvana. Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura expresses a similar aspiration. When Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu returned to Navadwīpa and the crowds rushed to see Him, He stood on the roof of Vacaspati Paṇḍita's house in the red dress of a sannyāsī. Taking Himself as a permanent resident of Navadwīpa, and as one of the members of Śrīvāsa Angam, Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura envisions himself seeing Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu on the rooftop.
When Kṛṣṇa had gone to Dwārakā and wouldn't return to Vṛndāvana, the hearts of all the devotees were burdened with grief. In a similar way, Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura fervently prays: "When will the day come when Nimāi Paṇḍita will give up the robes of renunciation and again come and join us in kīrtana in the house of Śrīvāsa? Now He can't come - as a sannyāsī He can't return to His old house. So now, we are deserted by Him, but our aspiration is this: Just as the gopīs wanted Kṛṣṇa's royal dress removed, and His cowherd dress resumed, so they could take Him again to Vṛndāvana and play with Him and rejoice, we aspire that Mahāprabhu's sannyāsa dress be removed, and His former dress resumed. In this way, we will get back our Nimāi Paṇḍita, who is one of us, in Śrīvāsa Angam. And together we shall rejoice, taking the Name of Kṛṣṇa. Oh, when will that day be mine?"