oṁ ajñāna-timirāndhasya
cakṣur unmilitaṁ yena,
tasmai śrī-gurave namaḥ

"I was blind in the darkness of ignorance but my Spiritual Master applied the ointment of proper spiritual knowledge and thus opened my eyes. Unto him I offer my respectful obeisances." (SOTGOD, v 3, p 26)

Those who can conquer their partiality and prejudices can stand amongst the most qualified. The eye to detect our disqualification is our real wealth. And we are given the eye to see by the grace of our gurudeva.

oṁ ajñāna-timirāndhasya jñānāñjana-śalākayā.

"I worship my guru who has opened my eyes that were blinded with the darkness of ignorance, by adorning them with the collyrium of knowledge."

Most important is the eye to see what is good, what is bad, and then to accept and reject. First the eye is necessary. Then there is justice, and above that there is mercy. Justice is the standard, but above that we can conceive that there is also a land of mercy, compassion, grace. With our faith and earnestness we can aspire after that mercy. If we increase the quality of our negativity, or the feeling that we are so mean, the positive will automatically be attracted. (SOTGOD, v 1, p 107) + (see also śloka 331)

oṁ bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ tat savitur vareṇyam
bhargo devasya dhīmahi, dhiyo yo naḥ prachodayāt

Gāyatrī is the Mother of the Vedas. In only one sentence the whole Vedic truth is contained: bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ tat savitur vareṇyam: You are in the midst of different stages of experience, ranging from gross to subtle. Here begins, tat savitur - a categorical change (beyond our general thought). That which is divulged to you or makes you conscious of the gross and subtle experience - catch that light which is showing these things. Light does not create a thing. Light shows a thing. Knowledge is showing, so try to achieve that type of knowledge which is showing. That is, go to the subjective aspect of things. Try to catch the one who is showing, that is consciousness. Not what is being shown, but who is showing. Try to enter into that subjective realm if possible. There you will find the illuminator - savitā - that which is giving birth to all this material experience. The light. The sun is giving birth to all this by sending his ray.

The universal subject is helping your dependent subjective identity to see and experience this world. Try to connect with that. Vareṇyam - then, try to trace some respectful, reverential cause. Try to go beyond that which is showing everything to you, that grand super-subject, and find the world on the transcendental side, the upper side. There we will find, vareṇyam: that is, varaṇīya, pūjya, a venerable world. Here comes the question of submission and devotion. It is not only light, not only knowledge, but there we will find that a venerable plane is on the other side, which we should serve, worship and respect. Vareṇyam bhargo: it is full of all knowledge but it is mixed with veneration, devotion, dedication and worship. That world is of such nature. Devasya dhīmahi: and we should try to exert all the nerves of our conscious selves to that.

The root meaning of Deva is 'He who is very beautiful and playful.' His character is dynamic, not static; a character of līlā and saundaryya - beauty and pastimes. Thus bhargo devasya, His bhargo - His paraphernalia of venerable and knowing substance. Dhīmahi, dhiyo yo naḥ prachodayāt. If we use our venerative, knowing faculty, we will embrace that. If we can engage ourselves in that endeavour, the result will be our increased capacity to go higher and higher in that direction. There will be no other remuneration for such an endeavour.

This is the substance within Gāyatrī, which, in a nutshell, is considered to be the Mother of the whole Revealed Truth. (SGD, SGP, 1997, p 19) + (see also ślokas 50, 100, 121, 197 & B-g, p xxii, xxiv, xxvi)

oṁ tad viṣṇo paramaṁ padaṁ sadā,
paśyanti suraya divīva cakṣur ātatam
tad viprāso vipanyavo jāgṛvāṁśāḥ,
samindhate viṣṇor yat paramaṁ padam

"As the sun and sunlight is continuous over the skies as light-giver to us (for that sunlight is the universal form of the Lord) similarly, the Divine Lotus Feet of the Lord Śrī Viṣṇu is always spread widely (like a canopy) over our head." (RV , 1.22.20)

He is not the object to be inspected by us, but He is the Seer, He is the All-Knower - never to be known by us. He is not to be used as an object by our knowing faculty. But with our submissive knowledge, knowledge of surrender, servitude, we are then permitted to see that Seer and know that All-Knower. In fact, He is beyond all our perceptions. (SS, v 6, # 1, '92, p 7) + (see also ślokas 445 & 502)

The advice of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam should be our guiding principle under all circumstances. Whatever is coming to us is under His sanction, under His eye, so it cannot but be good. Everything is perfect. The only imperfection is within us, and therefore we should try with all our energy to do our duty. In no time, we shall find ourselves released from all troubles. That is the key advice in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.

The environment is not dead - an overseer is there. Just as the sun is over our heads, every action is under our guardian's eye. oṁ tad viṣṇo paramaṁ padaṁ sadā. We should approach any duty thinking: "My guardian's eye is always vigilantly watching over me, seeing everything I am doing, and whatever is happening to me. I need not worry about this environment or circumstance." (LSFTLS, p 21-2 ) + (see also śloka 502)

The Holy Feet of Viṣṇu who is pervading everywhere (yaḥ idaṁ vyāpnotīti viṣṇuḥ) His Feet, His lowest portion, is towards us. Paramam means 'very highly qualified, from all standpoints.' That is not to be neglected. From the standpoint of fine existence, knowledge as well as sweetness, the Absolute is paramam padaṁ. Sadā paśyanti sūrayaḥ - the scholars are always conscious of the fact; this is the real basis of their life. Man is not an animal, wandering over the earth, mountain or jungle, but the real man is in his consciousness, and he is always conscious of a higher entity. He is always seeing or conscious of that ideal.

Divīva cakṣur ātatam - vaguely or in a mystic way? No. As conspicuous, as clear and as real as the sun we see in the sky. Tad viṣṇoḥ paramaṁ padaṁ - so we should really live and move in that consciousness. We are children of that conscious world.

"Our sincerest laughter with some pain is fraught;
Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought."
(The English Romantic poet, Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1792-1822)

Externally, there may be pangs of separation, but internally there is the greatest satisfaction. In this way we are advised by the scriptures, and our practical experience corroborates our faith in this subtle matter. The English poet Shelley has written: "Our sincerest laughter with some pain is fraught; Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought."

When we are reading an epic where there is cruel separation between the hero and heroine, it is so sweet to us that although we shed tears, still we cannot leave the book. When we hear about the pangs of Sītā Devī, how Rāmacandra banishes Her and leaves Her uncared for in the forest although She is with child, this is very painful. We shed tears, but still we read on. There is sweetness within pain. It is possible.

Separation from Kṛṣṇa is like that. The special characteristic of kṛṣṇa-prema is this: externally, we feel extreme pain, like lava, but internally our heart is filled with some extraordinary ecstatic joy. This is what Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has given us. As much as we can catch the meaning of His instructions, we shall be prepared for that kind of life. This is the fare to go to Vṛndāvana, and when we are introduced to so many others like us, then our joy knows no bounds. When we meet others who have the same nature and mind as us, we get solace from them. We need not be afraid. In spite of all these things, we should think firmly that that is our home, and we should want to go back to home, back to Godhead.

We are not foreigners there. Here we are foreigners: every man treats me in any way he likes. But Vṛndāvana is most hopeful and full of the highest prospect. It is the place of inner satisfaction. We aspire after that; we cannot but continue aspiring for our real home. What is real joy and ecstasy? We are not acquainted with that. This is our present trouble. Yet as much as we progress in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, we shall become conscious of a practical feeling of real joy and ecstasy, beauty and charm, and in this way, we shall become more and more encouraged. (TGVODL, p 149-150) + (see also ślokas 76 & 571)

pāiyā mānuṣa janma, ye nā śune gaura-guṇa,
hena janma tāra vyartha haila
pāiyā amṛtadhunī, piye viṣa-garta-pāni
janmiyā se kene nāhi maila

"Anyone who attains a human body but does not take to the cult of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is baffled in his opportunity. Amṛtadhunī is a flowing river of the nectar of devotional service. If after getting a human body one drinks the water in a poison pit of material happiness instead of the water of such a river, it would be better for him not to have lived, but to have died long ago." (C-c, Ādi-līlā, 13.123)

The water of the nectarean river - the nectar flow is there on one side. And another is (merely) the drain water. In human life, coming in contact with Śrī Gaurāṅga and His followers, one can have a taste of that nectar. But if he misuses this and engages himself in this material exploiting taste, then he's drinking drain water! He is misusing such a great chance. It should have been better that, after birth, he should have died - passed away immediately after birth. Caitanya Avatāra has come and...Oh! He has neglected the opportunity to serve Him (Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu)." (SS, v 4, # 1, '86, p 3)

paṣcaitāni mahā-bāho,
kāraṇāni nibodha me
sāṅkhye kṛtānte proktāni,
siddhaye sarvva-karmmaṇām

adhiṣṭhānaṁ tathā kart,
karaṇaṁ ca pṛthag-vidham
vividhāś ca pṛthak ceṣṭā,
daivaṁ caivātra paṣcamam

"O mighty hero, in the scripture known as Sāṅkhya, or Vedānta, these five causes of the accomplishment of all actions have been described, and you may now learn of these from Me."

(With the help of these five factors, all actions are effected): The body (the place of action), ego (the performer - in the form of the knot of spirit and matter), the separate senses, the different endeavours, and destiny, or the intervention of the Supreme Universal Controller - the Supersoul." (B-g, 18.13-4)

The first thing it depends on is the intensity of the sukṛti of the devotee. And secondly is of course his free-will, his independence. The circumstances will also have their effect. Every action is the combined result of several factors. If we analyse any one event we will find that it is the combination of different forces from different quarters. So generally we can consider that the devotee's situation will depend on his previous initial merit, his present free-will, the environment and the mercy of the Lord. His free-will may cause him to commit Vaiṣṇava-aparādha. And his previous merit, sukṛti, will tend to keep him floating at the standard he previously acquired. By his free-will he may commit offences. Also there is the free-will of the environment: the surrounding paraphernalia may grant him their mercy. There are many contributory factors. (SOTGOD, v 3, p 64)

paraṁ vijayate śrī-kṛṣṇa-saṅkīrtanam

"The supreme victory of the congregational chanting of the Holy Names." As preached by the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself Personified as Śrī Śrī Gaura-Nityānanda. (S, 1) + (SOTGOD, v 1, p xiv) + (see also śloka 108)

para-vyasaninī nārī,
vyagrāpi gṛha-karmmasu
tad evāsvādayaty antar,

"A married lady who has love and affection for another gentleman may be seen to be always engaged in her household activities but her heart always realises, or tastes, the company of that person whom she loves. Though outwardly she is seen to be very busy with household work, at heart she's always enjoying the company of her beloved. (Similarly, outwardly you may be captured and may be seen to be busy in the association of the government's activities, but your heart is not there. It is searching something, and it is receiving the benefit of the association of that inner substance.") (C-c, Madhya-līlā, 1.211)

When Mahāprabhu began His saṅkīrttana preaching mission, at that time the two brothers Rūpa and Sanātana were engaged in the service of the king in Gauḍa-deśa (Bengal). They were very high scholars and studied the scriptures. Sanātana found that the time for the Yuga-avatāra, the Lord's incarnation for Kali-yuga to preach Nāma-Saṅkīrttana was drawing near. So he was alert: "Has that incarnation appeared? And where?" Then he heard that in Nabadwīpa Nāma-Saṅkīrtana, the preaching of the Holy Name, was already begun by Śrī Caitanyadeva as Gaurāṅga, he could trace that the Avatāra, the incarnation of the Lord, must have come there, and that Gaurāṅga was that Avatāra. Then he wrote a letter to Mahāprabhu: "We are fallen souls and are engaged in the management of this government which is anti-Hindu. We are engaged in such a position, and outwardly we are affected by this influence. So what will be our future?"

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu replied to them with a letter, in which He wrote: para-vyasaninī nārī…etc. So others cannot capture our heart; they can control our physical activity, but whenever we shall do something in the form of worship, of Harināma, our heart will go there. (SOTGOD, v 3, p 69-70)

pariniṣṭhito 'pi nairguṇye,
gṛhīta-cetā rājarṣe,
ākhyānaṁ yad adhītavān,
tad ahaṁ te 'bhidhāsyāmi,
mahā-pauruṣiko bhavān
yasya śraddadhatām āśu,
syān mukunde matiḥ satī

"O saintly King, I was certainly situated perfectly in transcendence, yet I was still attracted by the delineation of the pastimes of the Lord, who is described by enlightened verses." - "That very Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam I shall recite before you because you are the most sincere devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa. One who gives full attention and respect to hearing Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam achieves unflinching faith in the Supreme Lord, the giver of salvation." (S-B, 2.1.9-10)

Śrī Śukadeva Goswāmī explained to Mahārāja Parīkṣit and all the topmost assembled sages: "This illusory world is full of variety and movement, and above it is the Brahman, the non-differentiated plane of the Absolute. But on the other side, there is again a differentiated and specified world, the adhokṣaja world (beyond sensual perception). This Brahman is not the ultimate existence, but crossing Brahman, on the other side, there is an adhokṣaja world. There, we find Kṛṣṇa-līlā, which is not a thing of this mundane world. You all know I have no charm for this world whatsoever. And my mind was attracted by the charm of that higher līlā. Today I shall speak to you all about that līlā (divine pastimes)."

The king and the sages had to give their undivided attention. "What does he say? This young boy, over sixteen years of age, does not care to use any clothing. He goes naked. He feels no excitement, and he is constantly engaged in Brahman conception. And he says that there is another world on the other side of this Brahman! And Kṛṣṇa-līlā is the wealth of that side." They could not but give audience attentively. "And what does he say? How does he know? And what is the nature of that līlā he speaks about?" They became more and more attentive to hear. (SOTGOD, v 1, p 102-3)

When Parīkṣit Mahārāja enquired from Śrī Śukadeva Goswāmī, Śukadeva first introduced himself in this way: "O sage among kings, despite being excellently merged into the transcendental Brahman, I have studied this Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam because my heart was attracted by the pastimes of the Supreme Lord Uttamaḥśloka. King, you are a devotee, and as such you are most qualified to come to Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Person; therefore I shall explain this narrative scripture to you. Swiftly does the divine love for the Supreme Lord Mukunda arise within the heart of one who has developed faith in this Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam."

Śrī Śukadeva Goswāmī told Mahārāja Parīkṣit: "You seem to be a student of a high standard of learning (mahā-pauruṣiko bhavān). There are many seekers of their future fortune, but you are a bona fide student; presently death is encroaching upon you, so no ordinary aspirations are in your mind. You are a genuine student and enquirer. Dharma, artha, kāma, and mokṣa (religion, wealth, sense pleasure, and liberation) are known as the fourfold ends of human enquiry (puruṣārtha), but because I consider you to be the most bona fide and sincere seeker of the truth (mahā-pauruṣiko), I think I can teach you what I have heard from my dear father very recently; I consider that to be the highest end of every life."

adhītavān dvāparādau, pitur
dvaipāyanād aham
- (S-B, 2.1.8)
tad ahaṁ te 'bhidhāsyāmi,
mahāpauruṣiko bhavān
- (S-B, 2.1.10)

"At the end of Dvāpara-yuga, I studied this Mahā-Purāṇa Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam from my father, Śrī Kṛṣṇa-Dvaipāyana Vyāsa. I conceive that to be the highest standard of education and you are the fittest man to receive it. Therefore I shall deliver it to you."

that harmonises all classes. To receive descending spiritual knowledge in this way is the method of the dedu

Saying this, he began the talk of Bhāgavatam. And there he gave the principle of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, ctive school. And the nature of such fit recipients is described as nirmmatsara - they are free from jealousy. Those who are suffering the disease of jealousy cannot tolerate anyone holding a higher position than themselves. They cannot tolerate the merit of others. "I am the best. None can be greater than me." This is their disease (matsara ).

But the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is for those who are free from the disease of such a mean egoistic feeling. The students that come forward to read the Bhāgavatam must be of such character that they have conquered that mean egoistic sentiment of considering oneself to be all-in-all. When that sort of mean, egoistic feeling is removed, one will be fit to study Bhāgavatam, and they will successfully imbibe the teachings herein and make a great and inconceivably divine improvement in their life.

Vedyaṁ vāstavam atra vastu śivadam: (S-B, 1.1.2): "I am not dealing with an imaginary concoction. This is vāstava-vastu, a realistic thought which death and mortality cannot challenge. I am dealing with such a thing here. The whole world you are living in is unreal, but what I am dealing with here is the only reality. The realistic thought is not unreal. You are suffering from the mania of unreality. Tāpatrayon-mūlanam: and your disease will be wholesale cured. The disease and its effect - your suffering - will be uprooted to the extreme." (SOTGOD, v 1, p 150-3)

paripūrṇa kariyā ye saba jane khāya
tabe bahirddeśe giyā se santoṣa pāya

"When one who has eaten and has a full belly goes to the latrine, while passing stool he feels some relief, but you do not even get that sort of meagre pleasure! But in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam there is such high nectar, such high taste, but you, such a mean fellow with your mean mind, approach the Bhāgavatam and teach it in such a filthy way. What do you know about the Bhāgavatam?" (C-Bha, Madhya-līlā, 21.73)

Devānanda Paṇḍit, a real brāhmaṇa of noted scholarship, was a 'professor' of Bhāgavatam. Many people used to come to hear from him. But although a scholar, his stand-point was that of the Śaṅkara school.

Śrīvāsa Paṇḍit also lived locally but he was an expert in the real explanations of Bhāgavatam. Mahāprabhu suddenly one day said: "Oh, that Devānanda Paṇḍit, he teaches Bhāgavatam to so many students, but he himself does not know its real purport. He is spreading poison in the name of Bhāgavatam. I shall go and tear up his books." Inspired one day with such a spirit Mahāprabhu suddenly ran towards that place, but Śrīvāsa Paṇḍit, and others perhaps, stopped Him, saying: "No, no, this won't look good for You."

Anyhow, on another day Mahāprabhu met Devānanda Paṇḍit and told him: "You are teaching Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam to the students, but do you know what is there in Bhāgavatam? You yourself do not know what nectar is there." In a very ridiculing way, Mahāprabhu told him: paripūrṇa kariyā ye saba jane khāya:

On another occasion Śrīvāsa Paṇḍit went to hear Bhāgavatam from Devānanda's ṭol, Sanskrit school. While Devānanda was pronouncing the ślokas, Śrīvāsa was understanding the ślokas in his own way thus causing many feelings to come in him: sometimes he shed tears and sometimes he shivered. Devānanda Paṇḍit told his students: "Oh, that man has come to disturb us with all these lower sentiments. Take him out!" So his students forcibly removed Śrīvāsa Paṇḍit from the room and left him outside; but that enraged Mahāprabhu.

Later on, one of Śrī Caitanya's intimate devotees Vakeśvara Paṇḍit went to Devānanda's house. He came and had a private talk with Devānanda, and Devānanda was converted to Vaiṣṇavism. Devānanda commented: "Yes, I did not know that such meanings may be found in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. I was influenced by Śaṅkarācārya's teachings that Brahman is all-in-all, therefore I considered these topics of Bhāgavatam to be all saguṇa, all under māyā."

So, when Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu after five years of sannyāsa again visited the area of Kuliyā, in Navadwīp Dhāma, Devānanda fell at His feet, crying and begging forgiveness: "I have made such offences!"

Mahāprabhu said: "Yes, but you have committed offences not so much against Me as against Śrīvāsa Paṇḍit. Go and beg forgiveness from him and you will be absolved from your offences." (SOTGOD, v 3, p 18-9) + (see also śloka 264)

So also, in the case of reading Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam there is this question of adhikāra (qualification) and sat-saṅga (good association). Even a brāhmaṇa may not have the proper position to understand, what to speak of teach, the scriptures. Only sādhu-saṅga - the association of a good teacher - is necessary to understand the śāstra. (SOTGOD, v 3, p 20) + (see also śloka 264)

parivadatu jano yathā tathāyaṁ,
nanu mukharo na vayaṁ vicārayāmaḥ
bhuvi-viluṭhāma-naṭāma nirvviśāmaḥ

Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya said: "The gossipers may slander us, but we shall not heed them. Completely intoxicated by drinking the wine of the ecstasy of Śrī Hari's service, we shall dance and roll about on the ground, and faint."

There is a class that think that they can take intoxication and chant and dance and roll about on the ground, imitating the divine intoxication mentioned in this verse written by Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya. They think they can purchase 'divine' ecstasy very cheaply with the help of intoxication, but their whole attempt is deception. Not to mention them, even the yogic attempt is inferior. (SOTGOD, v 1, p 91) + (see also śloka 583)

The people's opinion is of no consequence to the devotees absorbed in the ecstasy of service to Lord Hari. (SSPJ, p 117)

parokṣa-vādo vedo 'yaṁ,
bālānām anuśāsanam
karma-mokṣāya karmāṇi,
vidhatte hy agadaṁ yathā

"Childish and foolish people are attached to materialistic, fruitive activities, although the actual goal of life is to become free from such activities. Therefore, the Vedic injunctions indirectly lead one to the path of ultimate liberation by first prescribing fruitive religious activities, just as a father promises his child candy so that the child will take his medicine." (S-B, 11.3.44)

"The Vedic purport is presented in an indirect, veiled manner in order to instruct undisciplined, childishly foolish persons." (SOTGOD, v 3, p 17) + (see also śloka 66)

We are to be dealt with according to our stage. A boy should be given the standard of examination of a boy, not of a grown-up man. The questions in a boy's examination will be of a different standard than those for the adults. Gradually we will be taken to the higher standard. parokṣa-vādo vedo 'yaṁ, bālānām anuśāsanam. Just as a child is guided with some modified policy, similarly that sort of process has been adopted in dealing with ourselves. (SOTGOD, v 3, p 63)

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) + (see also śloka 307)

pāśa-baddho bhavej jīvaḥ
pāśa-muktaḥ sadāśivaḥ

Just after Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu met Nityānanda Prabhu at Nandana Ācārya's house, Mahāprabhu gradually began preaching. Haridāsa Ṭhākura and Nityānanda Prabhu were both given orders. "Go from door to door and request them to leave everything aside and take the Name of Kṛṣṇa. Whomever you may meet going from door to door, approach and ask them to take the Name of Kṛṣṇa leaving aside everything else."

At that time, Navadwīpa Dhāma was mostly filled with tantrics, that is, the worship of Śakti Devī and Māyā Devī. The tantrics says: "This māyā is disturbing us, so we must take shelter under her feet. When she will be propitiated and satisfied, then she will loosen, open the door and we will get out and become Śiva. By nature, by birth, jīva means Śiva, Śiva means the master of māyā. We are now in the clutches of māyā, misunderstanding. When the goddess of misunderstanding is satisfied with us, she will then withdraw and we shall go to the other side.

There are so many liberated souls there and we shall join them. They are all enjoying the position of Śiva, the master of māyā. Māyā cannot force them to do anything and everything as she wills, rather she serves her masters. Māyā serves Śiva, the liberated souls. Māyā serves them though in the relativity of māyā but they cannot control so they render some service to the liberated souls and they are known as Śiva.

pāśa-baddho bhavej jīvaḥ pāśa-muktaḥ sadāśivaḥ. When within bondage he is jīva, a fallen soul, when he is outside the bondage of this māyā, this misunderstanding, then he's always Śiva. He can then move here and there at his sweet will and māyā cannot force him, rather she will come to serve him, and that is liberation. We shall then serve Māyā Devī and the tantric process invokes something, in this way she will be satisfied."

They use many things, they may drink wine and eat meats. They offer them to the Deities Māyā, Śakti, and Kali. They also enjoy the women in different moods. They think that the application of mixing with ladies is such, that they will get liberation from the charm of the ladies. In this way in their process, they approve of the wine, the meat and the ladies. It seems to be very harmful to us but these are the underlying principles of the tantric upāsanā (worship).

"In our method, our process of approaching these things which we feel temptation for, we shall get liberation from them. They come to attract us towards them but by a particular process we shall handle them. We shall be masters of those poisonous things."

At that time, Navadwīp was filled with such tantrics. Mahāprabhu Śrī Gaurāṅga began His preaching, attempting to convince everyone to give up everything and take to chanting the Name of Kṛṣṇa, Nārāyaṇa. He then said: "Not only will you be out of māyā but you will attain positive life in Vaikuṇṭha in Vṛndāvana. That is higher attainment, and what is to be attained by worshipping the Śakti in the method they are following, that is reactionary and sometime again they will have to evolve." This is mentioned in the śāstra, but not very extensively. If you are very particular then you will have to see that the relativity of this negative world is not safe. You must enter the positive world and then you will be safe. (GOD, p 28)

A jīva can attain the position of Śiva, he can be 'Śiva,' when he is out of the clutches of māyā; and the Vaikuṇṭha devotee is more than Śiva. When a spiritual molecule is free from the clutches of the exploitation tendency, he is known as 'Siva'. pāśa-baddho bhavej jīvaḥ pāśa-muktaḥ sadāśivaḥ. When he is entangled, he is 'jīva,' and when he is free, he is 'Śiva' (Śivo 'ham ). (SOTGOD, v 2, p 94) + (see also śloka 329)

patita-pāvana jagannātha sarvveśvara
vṛndāvana-candra sarvva-rasera ākara

"Lord Kṛṣṇa is the purifier of the fallen souls, the Lord of the universe, the Lord of all beings, the moon of Vṛndāvana and the origin of all rasas." (TSOBT, p 92)

When enumerating one hundred and twenty Names of Kṛṣṇa, (Śrī-Kṛṣṇa-Viṁśottara-śata-Nāma), Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura mentions at the end, Patita-pāvana: Jagannātha has come to save the fallen; and Kṛṣṇa's special quality is that He is the Emporium of all Rasas: Vṛndāvanacandra Sarvva-rasera Ākara - The very Source of all types of ecstasy, Personified. That is Kṛṣṇa. Mahāprabhu is also patita-pāvana. He passed the major portion of His life there in Jagannātha Purī. Patita-pāvana means 'Saviour of the fallen.' Everything has its speciality. As a doctor may prescribe medicine with a free diet except for restrictions on only two or three items, similarly in the case of the Temple of Lord Jagannātha we also see great liberality, with the exception of a few items. (SOTGOD, v 2, p 142)

patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyaṁ,
yo me bhaktyā prayacchati
tad ahaṁ bhakty-upahṛtam,
aśnāmi prayatātmanaḥ

"Certainly, if one offers Me with devotion a leaf, flower, fruit, and water, I partake of that whole offering from such a purehearted and affectionate devotee of Mine. With heartfelt love, I graciously accept." (B-g, 9.26)

"Whatever the pure-hearted devotees lovingly offer unto Me, such as Tulasī leaf, flower, fruit, and water, I accept that with heartfelt affection." (SSPJ, p 153)

"There are many demigods. They are making trade, but I am not amongst the commodities of their trading. None can make trade with Me. I am Absolute. I look only for devotion, exclusive devotion which is not formal, but natural, hearty and sincere. I look for that. I look for the heart and not for anything else - bhāva-grāhi-janārddanaḥ."

patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyaṁ, yo me bhaktyā prayacchati. "Whatever My devotee offers Me with sincere devotion, with sincere affection, I accept that. It does not matter whether it is a leaf, a flower, water, or anything else. Rich food or rich presentations are not necessary for Me, but what I want is the heart. I want sincerity and good faith. That is the highest requirement within Me."

There is a carefully written poem: "Oh Kṛṣṇa, You have everything but only You do not have Your heart. Your heart has been stolen by the gopīs. You have everything except for Your heart and mind, they are not present in You for they have already been stolen by the gopīs. So You take my heart, You accept my mind. That is what is wanting in You, so please accept my heart and mind for Yourself. Your heart is missing, and that has attracted my heart towards You, so please take it." (SOTGOD, v 3, p 51)

phala-śrutir iyaṁ nṝṇāṁ,
na śreyo rocanaṁ param
śreyo-vivakṣayā proktaṁ,
yathā bhaiṣajya-rocanam

"Those statements of scripture promising fruitive rewards do not prescribe the ultimate good for men but are merely enticements for executing beneficial religious duties, like promises of candy spoken to induce a child to take beneficial medicine." (S-B, 11.21.23)

"We must not allow ourselves to be led by those who lived and thought before us. We must think for ourselves and try to get further truths, which are still undiscovered. In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.21.23) we have been advised to take the spirit of the Śāstras, and not the words. The Bhāgavata is therefore a religion of liberty, unmixed truth, and absolute love." (TSFSK, p iv) (Quoted from Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura's English lecture at Dinajpur, West Bengal, India, 1869)

pitā rakṣati kaumāre,
bharttā rakṣati yauvane

Hindu law gives no rights or position to the females. The whole right is with the men and nothing with the women, but by their affection and serving spirit the women hold the whole respect - the key to all respect. They have the respect of the son and the affection of the husband, and they enjoy like anything. By the law of society, externally no rights have been given to the mother, wife or daughter, yet the ladies hold a peculiar and very venerable position in the eyes of society. Pitā rakṣati kaumāre, bharttā rakṣati yauvane. Here Manu explains that during early age the father will protect the females, during youth the husband will protect them, and in old age the son will protect them. Though externally having no rights, they draw respect from society more than a goddess does.

In a similar way the potency of Kṛṣṇa, His servitors, hold such a position in relation to Him. They have no external right and do not care for any. They are His, but only through the power of affection and loving service they command the whole. The potency aspect of Kṛṣṇa does not want any right, force or power, yet they have the subtlemost power: the power of affection, the power of love, the power of service, and that is considered to be the highest power ever known to the world. Give up your legal power or any physical power; the śakti (potency) is such that it does not care for that. (SOTGOD, v 3, p 76-7)

The following is a song called Emana Durmati, from Śaraṇāgati by Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura: with Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣaka Śrīdhara Deva Goswāmī's commentary.

(prabhu he!) emana durmati saṁsāra bhitare
paḍiyā āchinu āmi
taba nija-jana kona mahājane
pāṭhāiyā dile tumi

"Due to an ignorant and wicked mode of mind I came into this world of illusory mortal activities and have been here for a very long time. O Prabhu! Out of Your loving grace You sent one of your own eternal associates to me in the form of a pure devotee."

In this first verse nija-jana means beloved associate-servitor and the term 'mahājana' indicates the bona fide ācārya or gurudeva. Ṭhākura Bhaktivinoda thus expresses heartfelt gratitude to the Supreme Lord by saying: "O Lord, out of your great compassion upon me you sent one of your own beloved associates as my gurudeva for my eternal benefit."

dayā kori more patita dekhiyā
kahila āmāre giyā
ohe dina jana śuna bhāla kathā
ullasita he'be hiyā

"Seeing me so fallen and destitute he took pity on me and came to me saying: 'O humbled person please listen to me carefully for my words will certainly gladden your heart."

In the second verse 'śuna bhāla kathā' means 'please listen to my true well-wishing words.' The mood of this expression of Ṭhākur Bhaktivinoda relates to the esoteric mood of this beautiful verse of Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā, spoken by the supreme guru Kṛṣṇa to His disciple-friend Arjuna.

sarva-guhyatamaṁ bhūyaḥ,
śṛṇu me paramaṁ vacaḥ
iṣṭo 'si me dṛḍham iti,
tato vakṣyāmi te hitam

"Please listen to this My supreme well-wishing instruction to you for your eternal benefit. Because you are a very dear friend of Mine, I am telling you this supreme truth, the most confidential of all." (B-g, 18.64) + (see also śloka 435)

It also relates to a verse of Śri Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā, 20.127: 'sarvajña' āsi' duḥkha dekhi' puchaye tāhāre.' "Once a learned astrologer devotee of the Lord came to the house of a poor man and upon seeing his misery revealed to him about how to obtain the secret wealth of life for his supreme benefit." (see also śloka 436)

tomāre tārite śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya
nabadvīpe abatāra
tomā hena kata dīna hīna jane
karilena bhava-pāra

"Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya has made His divine appearance in Navadvīpa to liberate you. He has delivered many unfortunate conditioned souls like you across the ocean of worldly, mortal existence."

In the third verse 'śrī kṛṣṇa caitanya' has two simultaneous root meanings, one refers to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu Who is non-different from Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself and the other is the 'divine nectarean consciousness of Kṛṣṇa'. A beautiful reference to this is found in Padma Purāṇa and Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, Pūrva-vibhāga, 2.233.

nāma cintāmaṇiḥ kṛṣṇaś,
pūrṇaḥ śuddho nitya-mukto,
'bhinnatvān nāma-nāminoḥ

"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." (see also śloka 314)

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. 'navadvīpe-avatāra' means appearing in Navadwīpa. This event was predicted in the holy scripture known as 'Ananta Saṁhita', in the following verse:

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

The Lord said: "In the age of Kali, in a pious family on the banks of the river svardhunī (Gaṇgā) in Navadvīpa I will appear in the womb of Śacī accompanied by my eternal associates." (see also śloka 74)

Bhava-pāra in verse three means crossing over the ocean of mortal existence. This phrase corresponds to the following prayer from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.5.33): "bhṛtyārttihaṁ praṇata-pāla bhavābdhi-potaṁ: My dear Lord, You compassionately protect and take care of Your loving servitors who sincerely bow down to You with heartfelt respect and thus You mercifully relieve all their distress. Your lotus feet are the suitable boat for crossing over the ocean of mortal existence. Thus They are the supreme shelter of everyone." (see also śloka 128)

bedera pratijña rākhibāra tare
rukma barṇa bipra-suta
mahāprabhu nāme nadīyā mātāya
saṅge bhāi abadhūta

"To fulfil the promise of the Vedas, the Lord has appeared this time with a golden complexion as the son of a brāhmaṇa bearing the Name Mahāprabhu which is very dear to the devotees heart. He maddened and overwhelmed all of Nadia with divine joy which was supplemented and enhanced by His beloved brother, the avadhūta, Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu."

The fourth verse begins with vedera pratijñā - meaning the promise made in the Vedas. rukma-varṇa - means golden complexioned or purata-sundara-dyuti beautified with a golden hue. This reference is found in Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad. "yadā paśya paśyate rukma-varṇaṁ kartāraṁ īśam purusaṁ brahma-yonim."

"When one sees an exalted or extraordinary personality with lustrous golden complexion He should be known as the omniscient all mighty Lord who is the divine origin of everything." (see also śloka 568) Mahābhārata also describes the incarnation of Kali-yuga as follows:

suvarṇa-varṇo hemāṅgo,
varāṅgaś candanāṅgadī
sannyāsa-kṛc chamaḥ śānto,

"Appearing in a handsome golden form with limbs smeared with sandalwood paste, He looks like a figure of beauty made of molten gold. He accepts the sannyāsa order and always remains equipoised and peaceful. He is the highest resort of peace and devotion." (Śrī Viṣṇu-sahasra-nāma, which appears in Chapter 189 of the Dāna-dharma-parva (149) of Mahābhārata ) + (see also śloka 488)

Therefore we understand that Lord Caitanya is the same full incarnation of Lord Kṛṣṇa in this age of Kali. The term "Mahāprabhu" has been defined in the Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad as follows: mahān prabhurvai-puruṣa sattvasya aisa pravarttakaḥ: He is the most magnanimous and compassionate master who mercifully presents the divine conclusions of the supreme truth to all." (śloka 277)

Avadhūta - Lord Nityānanda; Śrīla Śrīdhara Swāmīpāda explains in his commentary to Srīmad-Bhāgavatam the meaning of the term avadhūta in the following way. "avajñāyā janaiḥ takto yaḥ" means an extraordinarily exalted and qualified person who because of His supernormal ways of living appears to the common man as abnormal. Thus he (the avadhūta Vaiṣṇava) is unfortunately misunderstood and ignored by them.

nanda-suta jini caitanya gosāin
nija-nāma kari' dāna
tārila jagat tumi-o yāiyā
laha nija-paritrāṇa

"Śrī Caitanya, who is Kṛṣṇa Himself, the son of Nanda, has saved the world by generously distributing His own Holy Name. Please you also go to Him take the great privilege of accepting His shelter and attain liberation."

Verse five describes nanda-suta as the son of Nanda Mahārāja, Kṛṣṇa who appeared as Lord Caitanya in this age of Kali. Śrī Jīva Goswāmī states in his Krama-Sandharbha & Tattva-Sandarbha 2:

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

"I take shelter of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who is outwardly of fair complexion but inwardly is Kṛṣṇa Himself. In this Kali-yuga He appears with His expansions and associates to perform the congregational chanting, and preaching of the Holy Name of Kṛṣṇa." (see also śloka 36) The purport of this verse is further revealed in the Kapila Tantra.

prema āliṅgana-yogena
rādhā bhāva-kānti-yutāṁ
mūrtim ekāṁ prakāśayet.

"Having been deeply imbued with the divine love of My supreme beloved Śrī Rādhikā, and with the help of My inconceivable potency, a super excellent form of Mine, embellished and possessed with Her mood and complexion will be manifest." (see also śloka 373)

se kathā śuniyā āsiyāchi, nātha
tomāra caraṇa-tale
bhakativinoda kāndiyā kāndiyā
āpana-kāhinī bale

"O beloved Lord, impelled by hearing these words, Bhaktivinoda has come weeping to the shelter of your lotus feet and is telling you his life story." (TSOBT, p 9-11) + (ARO, p 19-24)

prabhu kahe,- "paḍa śloka sādhyera nirṇaya"

"What is the ultimate goal of life? I not only want to hear your statements, but also evidence from the scriptures." (C-c, Madhya-līlā, 8.51-313)

In the famous conversation with Rāmānanda Rāya, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu began the approach to pure devotional service in a general and comprehensive way. This is recorded in Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā, 8.51-313. He asked Rāmānanda Rāya this question: prabhu kahe,- "paḍa śloka sādhyera nirṇaya."

(The answer came from Rāmānanda Rāya: "rāya kahe, - sva-dharmācaraṇe viṣṇu-bhakti haya: "Discharge your own duty, without expecting anything in return.") (TSFSK, p 135) + (see also śloka 407)

prakṛtermahān ahaṅkara pancatran mahatrāni

As objective substance evolves by the influence of consciousness, it expresses itself in five main ingredients: that which can be seen, smelled, heard, tasted, and touched. These five elements are the primitive principles of material existence. And that fivefold principle evolved in three phases: sattva, rāja, tamaḥ: goodness, passion, ignorance. Expressing itself as ether, sound, hearing, and the ear; air, mass, touch, and the skin; fire, colour, vision, and the eye; water, tastes, the sense of taste, and the tongue; and earth, aroma, the sense of smell, and the nose. There are twenty-four elements. The self, three subtle elements - prakṛti, mahat-tattva, and ahaṅkara, five gross elements, five senses, five sense objects, five sense-gathering instruments - in this way, the development of the material world has been described to have come down through a process of subtle to gross, from consciousness to matter. Again when this material existence is withdrawn by superior will, the gross dissolves into the subtle. Beginning with the most gross, gradually the whole material existence becomes more and more subtle until it finally enters into the subtle expression of material existence known as prakṛtī - the subtle causal watery substance." (SEOC, p 25-6) + (see also śloka 57)

prāpaṣcikatayā buddhyā,
mumukṣubhiḥ parityāgo,
vairāgyaṁ phalgu kathyate.

anāsaktasya viṣayān,
yathārham upayuñjataḥ
nirbandhaḥ kṛṣṇa-sambandhe,
yuktaṁ vairāgyam ucyate

"That renunciation which is practised by those desirous of impersonal liberation and rejects things in connection with Śrī Hari, thinking them to be material, is called phālgu-vairāgya, external or false renunciation."

"That renunciation in which there is no attachment for the objects of the senses, but in which everything is seen in relationship to Kṛṣṇa and all things are engaged in His service is called yukta-vairāgya, or practical renunciation." (P-P ) + (B-r-s, Pūrva-vibhāga, 2.125-6)

Faith is the only means through which we can see, hear, or feel the higher world; otherwise it is all meaningless to us. To understand that plane, an inner awakenment is necessary. We can connect with the upper world only through a higher source. Therefore divyaṁ jñānam, knowledge of the higher plane, is not ordinary knowledge; it is transcendental, supramental feeling and sense. But to realise this, surrender is compulsory. After that, we may go on hearing and chanting, remembering and worshipping and praising the Lord, or rendering so many other kinds of service, but the first thing - the foundation of devotion - must be self surrender. Otherwise nothing will be effected; our show of devotion will all be imitation.

We must sincerely feel: "I shall be faithful in my service to the Supreme Lord. I am meant for Him. I am ready to die to live. I want to live for Him only and not for fulfilling any separate interest. I want nothing less than the absolute. I want to be His completely." This sort of intensity is an indispensable necessity for a devotee. A devotee has to conceive, to feel, that they are meant for Kṛṣṇa. They are not independent entities; they are dependent on Kṛṣṇa - the highest absolute centre - and nothing else.

To identify with the interest of our family, society, or country is extended selfishness, but all false identification must be eliminated. We must be neither selfish nor entangled in extended selfishness. Rather, all sorts of foreign contamination must be eliminated from our conception of self. All outside demands must be cancelled. Then we shall feel in our innermost hearts that we are connected with the whole of the infinite, the absolute. And nothing external is required for our success. The only thing required of us is that we dismantle the ego's cover. The ego is collecting some foreign elements, but that foreign collection box must be dissolved - finished - and then, in our innermost hearts, we shall find our connection with the fundamental plane of loving service to the organic whole.

Both enjoyment and renunciation are abnormal. They are two kinds of demons: enjoyment or exploitation, and eternal rest or renunciation. These two tendencies are our enemies. A higher, positive life is possible only when we become fully independent of both exploitation and renunciation. Everything will help us if we can see it in connection with the centre. On the other hand, the kind of exclusive renunciation practised by the Śankarites and Buddhists is not recommended by our line. We are concerned to harmonise things so that everything will remind us of our duty towards the Absolute, and encourage us to dedicate ourselves to Him.

To neglect the environment, thinking that it is filled with undesirable material things, won't help us. That is not correct. Everything within the environment should remind us of the Absolute. In that spirit we should move, thinking: "Accept me and connect me with the service of our Lord." When the environment is seen with the correct vision, everything will help encourage and excite us in our service to the centre. We are living in an organic whole, a system. And that system is composed of the owner and the owned, the possessor of the potency and the different types of potencies. (śakti-śaktimān ). (LSFTLS, p 1-2)

prati aṅga lāgi kānde, prati aṅga mora

jñāna Dāsa says in his Vaiṣṇava-padāvali - Anthology of Vaiṣṇava Songs: "Every part of My being cries for the corresponding part of Him."

There is great value in having the company of the saints and scriptures, without mixing with the robbery of this material world. What is present here at this moment becomes nothing at the next. We are not of this world full of treachery. We are disgusted with the treacherous aspect of the world that charms us and engages us in a treacherous soil. Now something - next moment, nothing. We must give that up and try for something substantial: sat, cit, ānandam - eternal existence, uncontaminated consciousness, and finally, the fulfilment of all our necessities - the corresponding engagement of the whole of our existence. prati aṅga lāge kānde, prati aṅga mora.

And Kṛṣṇa says: "Only I can give you complete fulfilment, so come to Me and give up everything else." (SOTGOD, v 1, p 10) + (see also ślokas 410 & 434)

In Vaiṣṇava-padāvali there is an expression: prati aṅga lāge kānde, prati aṅga mora. In the acme of Divinity, madhurya-rasa, where Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī is Śakti (the Divine Potency of the Lord), She says: "My every limb is crying for the respective limb of My Lord; not only My Self, but every part of My Body earnestly aspires for the corresponding part of My Master's." (SOTGOD, v 2, p 80-1) + (see ślokas 93 & 410)

praviṣṭaḥ karṇa-randhreṇa,
svānāṁ bhāva-saroruham
dhunoti śamalaṁ kṛṣṇaḥ,
salilasya yathā śarat

"The sound incarnation of Lord Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Soul (i.e. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam), enters into the heart of a self-realised devotee, sits on the lotus flower of his loving relationship, and thus cleanses the dust of material association, such as lust, anger and hankering. Thus it acts like autumnal rains upon pools of muddy water." (S-B, 2.8.5)

We know that the connection with the present enjoying mood brings a painful reaction. We can realise that, but we cannot leave it behind. We cannot cut off the connection completely in the stage of sādhana, spiritual practice. Still, we have no other alternative. Our affinity for the positive truth should be increased more and more, and gradually our affinity for our paraphernalia and obligations will all disappear. Although repeatedly we may not be successful, still we will be unable to give up the idea. We will attempt again and again to make progress towards the truth, and when we are unsuccessful, our heart will ache to think that we are repeatedly being defeated by the enemies who are all around us.

But the fire of Kṛṣṇa consciousness is there, and that fire is not to be quenched. It is a spark of eternal truth. So, the fire will continue, and the day will come when the enemies that are surrounding us will have to retire once and for all. One day we will find that Kṛṣṇa has gradually captured our whole heart, and the others have retired forever; they are no longer present to trouble us in our mental circle. We will find that those unwanted things were like mushrooms: they came out from their mental soil, and now they have all gone and died. They have all gone away, and Kṛṣṇa alone is in the heart. At that time, the heart is only full of Kṛṣṇa, full of the Kṛṣṇa conception.

Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākura once instructed a disciple at the time of initiation into the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, that Kṛṣṇa should be allowed to land in our hearts, just as an army is landed by the navy. An army is carried by a ship, and when they have landed, the fight begins, and they capture the country, just as Julius Caesar said: "Veni vidi vici, I came, I saw, I conquered." So, we have to allow Kṛṣṇa to land in our hearts. Then the fight will begin; the unwanted things are sure to withdraw, and Kṛṣṇa consciousness will capture the whole heart. Somehow or other, from a pure devotee, a bit of real Kṛṣṇa consciousness should enter through our ears into our hearts, and Kṛṣṇa will supply whatever is required. One who has imbibed even a slight regard for Kṛṣṇa consciousness is assured of success in spiritual life, today or tomorrow.

We may have erected high walls on all sides to protect ourselves so that Kṛṣṇa consciousness may not enter, but Kṛṣṇa is a thief, and a thief requires no invitation. No preparation is necessary for His welcome. He will enter for His own interest, and that is our consolation. Our solace is that Kṛṣṇa is a thief. Māyā has erected her high walls on all sides, but nothing is sufficient to stop Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Kṛṣṇa is a thief, and stealthily He will enter one day.

A devotee may become hopeless, thinking: "The enemy is within my own house; my own kinsmen are my enemies. I am hopeless." We may become disappointed, but Kṛṣṇa consciousness will not leave us in any way. Kṛṣṇa will persevere, and in due course of time, He will conquer. And other things, no matter how closely related they may be in private and well-protected rooms in our hearts, will have to go. They must take leave from every corner of our hearts. Kṛṣṇa will conquer. Kṛṣṇa will capture the whole thing. The unwanted lusty desires of our hearts are foreign things. They are only like mushrooms, and like mushrooms they come out; they have no permanent stability or root. They are not rooted to the soil. We may think that what we have stored in our hearts is very near and dear, and that is already mixed with us as a part of our existence, but when Kṛṣṇa consciousness enters, they will all float like mushrooms.

After all, they are mushrooms; they have no footing, no connection with the soil. They are only floating. All material interests are only floating on the surface. They are not deeply rooted within and without the whole of our existence. Only Kṛṣṇa consciousness has its existence everywhere, within all parts of our existence. So, the mushrooms will have to vanish one day. This is confirmed in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam: praviṣṭaḥ karṇa-randhreṇa svānāṁ bhāva-saroruham: "When Kṛṣṇa enters the heart through the ear, He captures the lotus of the heart and then gradually makes all the dirt in the heart disappear. Just as when the autumn season comes, all the water everywhere becomes pure, so also, when Kṛṣṇa enters our hearts, all the impurities within will gradually vanish, and only Kṛṣṇa will remain forever." (TSFSK, p 90-3)

By accepting the path of devotion, a wholesale transformation of our internal system begins, and gradually our charm for the outside world vanishes. There is a war within, and when the Kṛṣṇa conception enters into the heart of a devotee, all other thoughts and ideas gradually have to retire. When the autumn season appears, the mud within the water vanishes. In the same way, when the Kṛṣṇa conception enters into one's heart, all other conceptions and aspirations will gradually have to retire, leaving Kṛṣṇa in possession of everything. When a real drop of Kṛṣṇa consciousness enters the heart, all opposing forces must leave and Kṛṣṇa will conquer and take possession of the whole. (TGVODL, p 102)

prema āliṅgana-yogena
rādhā bhāva-kānti-yutāṁ
mūrtim ekāṁ prakāśayet.

"Having been deeply imbued with the divine love of My supreme beloved Śrī Rādhikā, and with the help of My inconceivable potency, a super excellent form of Mine, embellished and possessed with Her mood and complexion will be manifest." (KT ) + (ARO, p 24) + (see also śloka 36)

prema-dhāma-devam eva naumi gaura-sundaram

"While strolling through the forest groves of Vṛndāvana, the beautiful flowers surrounded by bumble bees humming in sweet love drones welcomed and entertained Him. The trees lining the forest groves harmoniously offered their respects to Him in unison with a variety of birds that were expertly dancing and singing in sheer delight. The Lord's mind became flooded by loving feelings remembering how the cows, calves, and oxen of the holy abode of Vṛndāvana would affectionately call for Him in a previous era. I sing with joy the unending glories of my golden Lord Gaurasundara the beautiful divine abode of pure love." (PDDS, 39) + (SBRBM, p 10-11)

premaiva gopa-rāmānāṁ
kāma ity agamāt prathām
ity uddhavādayo `py etaṁ
vāṣchanti bhagavat-priyāḥ

"The dealings of the gopīs with Kṛṣṇa are on the platform of pure love of Godhead. However, they are sometimes considered to be lusty. But because such dealings are completely spiritual, all the dearmost devotees of the Lord, like Uddhava and others, also desire to participate in them." (C-c, Madhya-līlā, 8.216) + (B.r.s.,1.2.285 ) (SS, v 3, # 1, '85, p 7) + (see also ślokas 62, 220, 375 & 420)

premā nāmādbhutārthaḥ śravaṇa-patha-gataḥ kasya nāmnāṁ mahimnaḥ
ko vettā kasya vṛndāvana-vipina-mahā-mādhuriṣu praveśaḥ
ko vā jānāti rādhāṁ parama-rasa-camatkāra-mādhurya-sīmāṁ
ekaś caitanyacandraḥ parama-karuṇayā sarvam āviścakāra

"Who would have been so fortunate to imbibe the ambrosial meaning of "prema"-the wonderful ecstasy of love of Kṛṣṇa, within the core of their heart through the pathway of their ears? Who would have truly known the inner meaning of the divine Holy Names? Who would have discovered entrance into the innermost sweet love pastimes of Vṛndāvana? Who would have properly understood Śrī Rādhā Tattva as the last limit of infinite love ecstasy? It is only Caitanyacandra who has mercifully revealed all this." (C-Cand, 130) + (SBRBM, p 32) + (see also śloka 574)

santaḥ sadaiva hṛdayeṣu vilokayanti
yaṁ śyāmasundaram acintya-guṇa-svarūpaṁ
govindam ādi puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi

"I worship Govinda, the Primeval Lord, Who is Śyāmasundara, Kṛṣṇa Himself with inconceivable innumerable Attributes, whom the pure devotees see in their heart of hearts with the eye of devotion tinged with the salve of love." (B-s, 38)

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said to Rāmānanda Rāya: "Because you are a cent per cent devotee, wherever you cast your glance you see only Kṛṣṇa; nothing else. The object of your interest is represented everywhere."

Rāmānanda Rāya said: "My Lord, don't deceive me in this way. You have come here so graciously to purify this mean person, and if You act diplomatically now, it will not look well for You. I won't hear what You say; come out with Your real position. Who are You?"

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said: "By dint of your loving devotion, you can know everything in this world; nothing can be concealed from your loving eye."

Premāñjana-cchurita-bhakti-vilocanena santaḥ sadaiva hṛdayeṣu vilokayanti.

Then, Mahāprabhu revealed Himself: "When you see Me to be externally of a golden colour, it is not so. It is by the touch of the colour of Rādhārāṇī. And who can Rādhārāṇī touch and closely embrace? She will never touch anyone accept Kṛṣṇa. So, now you know who I am: Rasarāja - ecstasy Himself, and Mahābhāva - the one who can taste that highest rasa. See how They mingle together!"

Rāmānanda Rāya fainted and fell flat on the floor. He could not keep his senses. Then by the touch of His hand, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu again brought him to his senses. Rāmānanda returned to his previous stage of consciousness and saw a sannyāsī sitting before him. After a short pause, Mahāprabhu said: "Remain here, I am going."

For almost two years, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu wandered about the holy places of Southern and Western India and at last returned to Jagannātha Pūri. There They again met. (TSFSK, p 148-9)

'prema-phala' pāki' paḍe,
mālī āsvādaya
latā avalambi' mālī
'kalpa-vṛkṣa' pāya

"When the fruit of devotional service becomes ripe and falls down, the gardener tastes the fruit and thus takes advantage of the creeper and reaches the desire tree of the Lotus Feet of Kṛṣṇa in Goloka Vṛndāvana." (C-c, Madhya-līlā, 19.162 )

"The fruit becoming ripe, will come down, and, from here, the mālī (the gardener) will taste it." This is the kauśala, the strategy - the key to the process of action, the guiding principle." (SS, v 4, # 1, '86, p 2) + (see also ślokas 279, 531, 498 & 504)

preme matta nityānanda kṛpā-avatāra
uttama adhama kichu nā kare vicāra
ye āge paḍaye tāre karaye nistāra
ataeva nistārilā mo-hena durācāra
(ataeva mo adhame korilena para)

Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Goswāmī says: "Lord Nityānanda, who is always intoxicated by divine love, is the great saviour of destitute jīvas and the magnanimous incarnation of divine mercy. His benevolent nature does not discriminate between high and low, or qualified and unqualified. He simply delivers, from material existence, anyone who comes before Him and falls at His lotus feet surrendering themselves to Him with all sincerity. Therefore He also mercifully delivered me who am so fallen and disqualified." (C-c, Ādi-līlā, 5.208-9) + (SBRBM, p 4)

prithi vite yata katha dharma nam chole

The pure thing is that if we have got faith for such divine conception of life then we should come to Bhāgavatam, the last gift of the śāstric world of Vedic literatures. Vyāsadeva's last gift in the world of Vedic literatures is Bhāgavatam. "The Bhāgavatam is so high, so high." - "Prithi vite yata katha dharma nam chole." Our Guru Mahārāja's (Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākura's) translation of dharmaḥ projjhita-kaitavo (see śloka 126) explains that of all the words and tales that are running in this world in the name of religion, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam says that it is all false, all is false, all is tampered with and not pure, not pure! The pure type of religion is not yet spoken. It is there, all self-centred, the current is towards the centre. Not only selflessness but self-sacrificing, self-forgiving, self-forgetfulness. In that way we are to start, we are to start, we are to go. (GOD, p 30)

priyaḥ so 'yaṁ kṛṣṇaḥ sahacari kuru-kṣetra-militas
tathāhaṁ sā rādhā tad idam ubhayoḥ saṅgama-sukham
tathāpy antaḥ-khelan-madhura-muralī-paṣcama-juṣe
mano me kālindī-pulina-vipināya spṛhayati

Upon arriving in Kurukṣetra, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī said: "O My dear friend, now I am at last reunited with My most beloved Kṛṣṇa in Kurukṣetra. I am the same Rādhārāṇī, and He is the same Kṛṣṇa. We are enjoying Our meeting, but still I wish to return to the banks of the Kālindī, where I could hear the sweet melody of His flute sounding the fifth note beneath the trees of the Vṛndāvana forest." (P 383) + (TGVODL, p 163) + (see also śloka 469 ).

There are said to be eight different tunes from Kṛṣṇa's flute; (1) the demigods break their meditation, (2) the Yamunā flows backwards, (3) the moon stops moving, (4) the cows run with upturned ears to Kṛṣṇa, ( 5) this brings the gopīs running, (6) this creates autumn, and stones melt, (7) this instantly ushers in all six seasons, and (8) this takes the Name of Rādhā.

proktena bhakti-yogena
bhajato mā 'sakṛn muneḥ
kāmā hṛdayyā naśyanti
sarvve mayi hṛdi sthite

"When an intelligent person engages constantly in worshipping Me through loving devotional service as described by Me, his heart becomes firmly situated in Me. Thus all material desires within his heart are destroyed." (S-B, 11.20.29)

"With accelerated motion, his intensity towards Me grows. Then, by My appearance, all his internal and external discrepancies are gradually destroyed and evaporated. When by such an approach he reaches My Domain, or rather, I come down, extending My existence to his heart - then everything else disappears." (SOTGOD, v 2, p 79)

"In this way, the introspective devotee unceasingly absorbs himself in all the practices of devotional service as enunciated by Me. And I, who am situated in the heart of My devotee, strike at the root of all the material urges that infect his heart, reducing them to oblivion." (SSPJ, p 164-5) + (see also ślokas 198, 509 & 93)

pṛthivīte āche yata nagarādi-grama
sarvatra pracāra haibe mora nāma

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is the pioneer of Śrī Kṛṣṇa saṅkīrtana. He said: "I have come to inaugurate the chanting of the Holy Name of Kṛṣṇa, and that Name will reach every nook and corner of the universe." (C-B ) + (TGVODL, p 90) + (see śloka 108)

Although pṛthivīte āche has been mentioned in different places, pṛthivīte 'paryyanta' yata nagarādi-grama ... must be noted. This means that Mahāprabhu's preaching of Śrī Hari-Nāma will spread to not only the towns and villages on the earth, but to all the villages and towns of all the planets - wherever there are villages and inhabitants to be traced anywhere. Brahmāṇḍa tārite - His Mission is to deliver the whole universe. Brahmāṇḍa means that which is created by one Brahmā. Space and time is controlled by one Brahmā. There are so many aṇḍas. Aṇḍa means egg. There are so many egg-like solid objects floating in the air. Again, like so many eggs innumerable planets are floating in the air. (SGD, SGP, '97, p 17)

pūjāla rāgapaṭha gaurava bāṅge
mattala sādhu-jana viṣaya range

"The path of divine love is worshippable to us and should be held overhead as our highest aspiration."

Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākura composed this verse expressing the proper attitude he considered necessary to convert everything in such a way as to draw the essence from all of the revealed scriptures. And to take our stand in the negative position is the strategy he gave for remaining in the relativity of the highest quarter of service to Kṛṣṇa.

He ordered that a cottage be built for him in Govardhana and said: "I shall live there. I am not fit to live in Rādhā-kuṇḍa. So I shall live in a lower position, but my gurus - Śrīla Gaurakiśora dāsa Bābājī, Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, and others - are fit to serve there. So I shall go and serve them there in Rādhā-kuṇḍa, and then return to a little lower position, in Govardhana. There I shall stay."

That is the proper tactic to maintain a subjective position in the subjective world. Otherwise, if we think we are in the highest quarter, the higher reality will vanish from us. Only from a little lower position shall we view that higher plane with respect. But whenever we think that we have attained that higher position, that we are there - we are nowhere. That is the nature of the higher world. So we must maintain a respectable distance. If we try to look directly, we lose, but if we try to look at that plane through a screen or from a hidden place, then we may see. It is most peculiar. If we want to come in direct contact with things of a higher order, then they vanish from our experience. If you can't come in direct connection with something, you may find out about it by espionage - it is something like espionage. If you try to know it directly, it is impossible. Only from behind a screen can we have a glimpse.

In that way we can experience the highest ontological truth. As if by chance ontological truth comes to us, He accepts us suddenly, and we can find Him. He is absolute, He is an autocrat, He is independent; whenever He comes by His own whim to give His connection to us, we can have it. It is never within my clutches. He is not an object to come directly within my control. He is always above. (LSFTLS, p 60-1).

First understand the degree of purity in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. The followers of form are only imitationists; they want only to exploit Mahāprabhu and not to serve Him. They are our worst enemies. They are traitors; they have taken the garb of Mahāprabhu's sampradāya, and they are saying something bogus. This is cheap marketing; they are extensively selling adulterated things very cheaply. They have no inner necessity to attain the purest thing (pūjāla rāgapaṭha gaurava bāṅge ).

Although he was such an exalted Vaiṣṇava, our Guru Mahārāja never presented himself as a great devotee. He always used to say: "I am a servant of the servant of the Vaiṣṇavas." That was his claim. And he would say: "The higher devotees are my guru, they are so exalted." First come and practice all these things, and then you can hope to reach the goal. It is not so easy, or so cheap. "Out of many liberated persons, a pure devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa is extremely rare." (koṭi-mukta-nadhye 'durlabha' eka kṛṣṇa-bhakta ). Kṛṣṇa consciousness is an internal thing, and those who cannot see the internal truth will make much of the external cover. We do not support that. Rather we are interested in the real spirit. (SGAHG, p 26-8)

When asked to explain the meaning in Brahma-saṁhitā of the description that Śrī Śrī Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa are seated on a divine throne, and the whorl of the lotus flower upon which They are seated is described as a hexagonal figure - what is the meaning of this hexagonal figure? Śrīla Guru Mahārāja commented: "I am sorry, but we are not to enter into the discussion of such higher and subtle position of the līlā of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. That is not to be brought into public, and that is the distinction between the Gauḍīya Maṭh and the sahajiyā section. The sahajiyās are trying to imitate all these things, but we have no faith in imitation. The higher līlā will come in an individual case, and it will awaken in an irresistible way.

When the programme of the sādhana stage is finished it will come automatically, spontaneously. We are believers in that, and not to know the form already and then we will reach there - that is not the policy accepted by Guru Mahārāja, Prabhupāda, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākura. pūjāla rāgapaṭha gaurava bāṅge. Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura also said: "Stick to the rulings of the class you are fit for, then you will see automatically." (SGD, '96, p 29) + (see also śloka 601)

purīṣera kīṭa haite muṣi sei laghiṣṭha
"I am so mean, lower even than the worm in stool."
(C-c, Ādi-līlā, 5.205)

The propounder of the greatest scripture in Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism, Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Goswāmī says this, and he is saying so sincerely. Should we be ashamed to express our negative character, our negative development, which is the real wealth for a disciple? So, because such a negative character is shown by him, we fall at his feet. (SGAHG, p 51)

As much as we shall have a real approach towards the infinite, we cannot but consider ourselves to be the meanest of the mean. The standard of Vaiṣṇava qualification (vaiṣṇavatā ) is measured in this way. And this is not lip-deep, but the sincere dealing of the innermost heart. When Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Goswāmī says "I am lower than the worm in stool" - this is not mere imitation, but his heartfelt truth. (SOTGOD, v 1, p 155)

As much conception of the infinite as one has, he (or she) must feel within himself that s/he is insignificant to the same degree. It is the infinite conception from the view of relativity. It is a question of relativity. When you can see a bigger thing then relatively you cannot but think that you are very infinitesimal. When you look at a great thing, in comparison with that you are the smallest. Do you concede this? When you see the ocean you can perceive how tiny you are in relation to that great magnitude of water. In comparison you are very insignificant, is it not? So apply that principle in this instance also. One who looks at a great thing, whether in size, or knowledge, or love, when standing at the verge of a great thing, from the consideration of relativity s/he shall think, "I am very poor and very low." Śrīla Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Goswāmī says of himself: "I am so mean, lower even than the worm in stool." When one has seen such pure and higher things, in comparison with that s/he must have such feelings. Mahāprabhu Himself says: "I am as insignificant as an insect but still I continue my life. My life is like an insect's." (SOTGOD, v 3, p 39) + (see also śloka 193)

rādhā-bhajane yadi mati nāhi bhelā,
kṛṣṇa-bhajana tava akāraṇa gelā.
ātapa-rahita sūray nāhi jāni,
rādhā-virahita mādhava pūjaye sa ajñānī.
kavāhi nāhi karavi tākar saṅga,
citte icchasi yadi vraja-rasa-rāṅga.
rādhikā-dāsī yadi haya abhimān,
śīghra-i mila-i tava gokula-kān.
brahmā śiva nārada śruti nārāyaṇī,
rādhikā-pada-raja pūjaye māni.'
umā ramā satyā śacī candrā rukmiṇī,
rādhā-avatār sabe āmnāya-vaṇi.
heno rādhā-paricaryā yākara dhana,
bhakativinoda tā'r māgaye caraṇa.

"If your desire to worship Śrī Rādhā is not awakened, worship of Kṛṣṇa is ultimately useless. Just as the sun is not perceived without sunlight, similarly I cannot accept Mādhava without Śrī Rādhikā. One who worships Kṛṣṇa alone has imperfect knowledge and one who disrespects Śrī Rādhikā, is simply conceited and full of vanity. Never associate with such a person if you at all desire the transcendentally delightful pastimes of Vraja, to appear within you heart. If you consider yourself to be a maidservant of Śrī Rādhikā, then you will very soon meet Kāna (Kṛṣṇa) the Lord of Gokula. 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. The Vedic scriptures (āmnāya) declare that Umā, Ramā, Satyā, Śacī, Candrā and Rukminī are all the expansions of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. Bhaktivinoda whose only wealth is the service of Śrī Rādhā Ṭhākuraṇī humbly begs the shelter of Her lotus feet." (TSOBT, p 129-131) + (SBRBM, p 35-6)


"Mahāprabhu as Rādhā and Govinda combined appears only once in a day of Brahmā, in Nabadwīp." (SOTGOD, v 2, p 98) + (see also śloka 137)

388 rādhā kṛṣṇa-praṇaya-vikṛtir
hlādinī śaktir asmād
ekātmānāv api bhuvi purā
deha-bhedaṁ gatau tau
caitanyākhyaṁ prakaṭam adhunā
tad-dvayaṁ caikyam āptaṁ
naumi kṛṣṇa svarūpam

"I worship Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who is Kṛṣṇa Himself, enriched with the emotions and radiance of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. As the Predominating and Predominated Moieties, Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa are eternally one, with separate individual identities. Now They have again united as Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya. This inconceivable transformation of the Lord's internal pleasure-giving potency has arisen from the loving affairs of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa." (C-c, Ādi-līlā, 1.5)

(Confirmed by Svarūpa Dāmodara Prabhu, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's personal secretary, who is considered to be Lalitā-sakhī, the nearest friend of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī). (TGVODL, p 67).

Sometimes Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa are combined; sometimes They are separate. They are separate in Dvāpara-yuga, and in Kali-yuga They are combined as Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Both are eternal expressions of the same Absolute Truth. Summer, autumn, winter, and spring continue in a cyclic order; it cannot be said that summer is the beginning and winter comes later. So, the pastimes of Śrī Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa are eternally being enacted. In ancient times, sometimes Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa divided Themselves and showed Their pastimes; again Both of Them, the potency and the owner of the potency, are combined and closely embraced as Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.

The Predominating and the Predominated Moeity are mixed, and an extraordinary ecstatic feeling is there. Kṛṣṇa is overpowered by His potency, and He Himself is searching after His Own Self: kṛṣṇasya ātmānusandhana. Kṛṣṇa Himself is engaged in the search for Śrī Kṛṣṇa, Reality the Beautiful. The influence of Rādhārāṇī over Kṛṣṇa has transformed Him into a devotee, and He is searching Himself. Sweetness is tasting Itself and becoming mad. And it is a living sweetness; not dead or static, but dynamic ecstasy - sweetness endowed with life. And He is tasting Himself, the Personification of happiness, ecstasy, and beauty, and dancing in madness, and His performance of kīrtana means distributing that ecstasy to others. The ultimate sweetness, or ānānda, is such that no other thing exists that can taste itself and express its own happiness with such intensity. (TSFSK, p 150-1) + (see also śloka 72)

govardhanaparvvata yāmunatīra
kusumasarovara, mānasagaṅgā,
kalindanandinī vipula-taraṅgā
vaṁśīvaṭa, gokula, dhīrasamīra,
vṛndāvana-taru latikā-vānīra
khaga-mṛgakula, malaya-bātāsa,
mayura, bhramara, muralī-vilāsa
veṇu, śṛṇga, padacihna, meghamālā,
vasanta, śaśāṅka, śaṅkha karatālā
yugala vilāse anukūla jāni,
līlāvilāsa-uddīpaka māni
esaba choḍata kāhā nāhi yāu,
esaba choḍata parāṇa hārāu
bhaktivinoda kahe, śuna kāna,
tuyā uddīpaka hāmārā parāṇa

"The grove-dwelling on the banks of Rādhā-kuṇḍa, Govardhana mountain, the banks of river Yamunā; Kusuma-Sarovara lake, Mānasa-Gaṅgā river, The rolling waves of Yamunā, daughter of the sun; Place of the rāsa dance, and Gokula, the gentle breezes, The trees, vines, and Vetasa palms of Vraja; The birds and animals, the sweet air of spring, The peacocks, bumblebees, the flute's sweet song; Flute, horn, His footsteps, range of clouds in the sky, Season of spring, the moon, the conch, hand-cymbals; I know all these things are nourishing the pastimes of the Divine Couple, I can feel they arouse the holy pastimes of the Lord; I can never leave all these things so dear to me, Without them I know I shall surely die; Hear me, O Kāna, says Śrī Bhaktivinoda: You are the only light of my life."

Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura says: esaba choḍata parāṇa hārāu: Śrī Vṛndāvana and its surroundings so intensely awaken my remembrance of Kṛṣṇa; and if these things are taken away from me, I shall lose my very life. They are sustaining me, because they are encouraging me to take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. They are all encouraging and helping me towards Kṛṣṇa consciousness in different aspects. Whatever I see there, rādhā-kuṇḍa-taṭa-kuñja-kuṭira, govarddhana-parvvata yāmuna-tira (the dwelling in the groves on the banks of Śrī Rādhā-kuṇḍa, the holy Govardhana mountain, the banks of the holy Yamunā river) - reminds me in such a sweet way, taking me towards Kṛṣṇa conception and Kṛṣṇa-līlā, spreading nectar in my heart. If I am to leave them, then I shall leave my existence. They are all around me; they are so encouraging and life-giving to me. They are so fulfilling to my life - indeed, they are more than my life! Kusuma-sarovara, mānasa-gaṅgā, kalindanandinī vipula-taraṅgā (the holy lake midway between Mathurā, Govardhana, and Rādhā-kuṇḍa, the river at the edge of Govardhana, the rolling waves of the Yamunā); khaga-mṛga-kula, malaya-bātāsa (the birds and animals, the breezes of spring) - what a sweet contribution all these things offer me! Kṛṣṇa is very near to me! I would die without them. Such beauty, the whole thing takes me with lightning speed directly towards Kṛṣṇa consciousness, towards His associates and His pastimes with Them. That is direct nectar, and that will come in me." (TSOBT, p 39-40) + (SOTGOD, v 1, p 179-82) + (see also śloka 491)

rādhām ādhāya hṛdaye
tatyāja vraja sundariḥ

"Her devotional service is categorically higher than that of all the other gopīs. The whole group of gopīs can be cancelled for one: Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī." (GG, 3.1) + (C-c, Madhya-līlā, 8.106)

Rāmānanda Rāya said this after Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu asked him to "go further." Rāmānanda Rāya began to explain the kind of service rendered by Rādhārāṇī in mādhurya-rasa. What peculiar type of service may come from Her? And Kṛṣṇa, the Original Personality of Godhead (svayam rūpa ) is only by the side of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. By the side of other gopīs, that is prabhāva prakāṣa, a plenary expansion; not svayam rūpa, the original form. Such is the quality of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. We should show our highest reverence to this highest ideal of devotional service. (TSFSK, p 145-6) + (see also śloka 222 & 441)

nirmmaṣcanopakaraṇe kṛta-deha-lakṣyām

Rūpa Goswāmī says when Lalitā Devī finds a drop of perspiration at the feet of Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Govinda, she furiously engages herself to remove it. "How has it come there? We are circumambulating Them to see that not the least pain can enter this domain to trouble Them. But how without our notice has this perspiration appeared? Perspiration, perspiration!" So she is furiously chastising herself, and wants to immediately take birth one lakh (100,000) times - with that force she comes to remove that drop of perspiration from the lotus feet of either of the Divine Couple. If the least difficulty is seen in the serving area, the Lord's Associates can't tolerate it in any way, and such eagerness, self-abuse and earnestness is found in them. (L, 1) + (SOTGOD, v 1, p 198-9) + (see also śloka 429)

rādhāpadāṅkita dhāma
vṛndāvana yāra nāma
tāhā yena āśraya karila

"He who has failed to carefully worship the Lotus Feet of Śrīmatī Rādhikā, which are the abodes of all auspiciousness; who has not taken shelter in the transcendental abode known as Vṛndāvana, which is decorated with the beautiful Lotus Flower Named Rādhā; who in this life has not associated with the devotees of Rādhikā, who are very wise and whose devotion for Rādhā is very deep - how will such a person ever experience the bliss of bathing in the ocean of Lord Śyāma's sublime mellows? Please understand this most attentively." (TSOBT, p 118-9)

Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura says: "What is Vṛndāvana? It is where there are the footprints of Śrī Rādhikā. The criterion of Vṛndāvana is this: that it has on its head the footprints of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. This is Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura's finding. So, if we want to see what is Vṛndāvana, and who is Rādhārāṇī and who is Kṛṣṇa, then we must take some note, some clue, and some impression from this. Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura says that Rādhārāṇī is all-in-all. rādhāpadāṅkita dhāma vṛndāvana yāra nāma tāhā yena āśraya karila. Where does the Name 'Vṛndāvana' belong? Upon whose head the footprints of Rādhārāṇī are borne, that is Vṛndāvana!" It is all sweet! And there everything is sweet because the paraphernalia has all emanated from Her. Just as the entire screenplay for a film evolves from the brain of the director, who then himself may come to act his own part within it, similarly the entire paraphernalia of Vṛndāvana has come from Śrī Rādhikā." And from Gaurāṅga we receive the combined gift of the grace of all these things. His gift is full of so much transcendental sweetness and is eternal in its play. (SOTGOD, v 3, p 55-6)

rādhā pūrṇa-śakti,
kṛṣṇa pūrṇa-śaktimān
dui vastu bheda nāi,
mṛgamada, tāra gandha
yaiche aviccheda
agni, jvālāte yaiche
kabhu nāhi bheda
rādhā-kṛṣṇa aiche sadā
eka-i svarūpa
līlā-rasa āsvādite
dhare dui-rūpa

"Śrī Rādhā is the full power and Lord Kṛṣṇa is the possessor of full power. The two are nondifferent as evidenced by the revealed scriptures. They are indeed the same, just as musk and its scent are inseparable, or as fire and its heat are nondifferent. Thus Rādhā and Lord Kṛṣṇa are one yet They have taken two forms to enjoy the mellows of pastimes." (C-c, Ādi-līlā, 4.95-98) + (SBRBM, p 33)

rādhāra mahimā,
jageta jānāta ke?

Prema - we give two paisa to another and we find much ecstasy in the heart - a paisa or two and some food, some morsel are all on the relative circle - giving some morsel to the body - not the real representation of the living being. And what I am giving, that is not touching the real plane of life! We are all thinking, "doing this," we are big men, we are generous hearted, we are patron = puffed up with our pride. But we did not reach the real plane of life at all. Prema-rasa-sīmā. Given that the self-satisfaction of self-distribution can reach so far, so high - by giving to others. But how to give? And what quality of giving real gift? Proper gift? All these things we did not know at all. Prema-rasa-sīmā, prema - We give, and what we get in reaction? That is prema, love. That is the ecstasy. By distributing ourselves, what will we get as a reaction? The quality of that may be so high that such a reaction may come - the prema-rasa-sīmā - rādhāra mahimā. And where is the acme of all self-giving? That is to be found in Rādhikā only, how the self-forgetfulness, the self-distribution to be found in the Absolute, how far it may grow? To what standard? This we find in Rādhārāṇī: rādhāra mahimā, prema-rasa-sīmā, jageta jānāta ke? (SS, v 4, # 1, '86, p 9-10) + (see also śloka 574)

rādhāra svarūpa--kṛṣṇa-prema kalpalatā
sakhi-gaṇa haya tāra pallava-puṣpa-pātā

"By nature, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī is just like a creeper of love of Godhead, and the gopīs are the twigs, flowers and leaves of that creeper." (C-c, Madhya, 8.209)

The general inclination of the sakhīs, the confidential maidservants of Rādhārāṇī, is not to come in direct connection with Kṛṣṇa. They avoid that. But still, it is the benevolent and generous nature of Rādhārāṇī to connect them with Kṛṣṇa on some plea at some time or other. But their innate nature is always to avoid Kṛṣṇa and concentrate on the service of Rādhārāṇī. This is confirmed in Caitanya-caritāmṛta. Eternally the twigs, flowers and leaves sprout from the creeper of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. She is the trunk, and they are the branches. This is their relationship. (SGAHG, p 154)

rādhe jaya jaya mādhava-dayite,
vṛṣabhānū dadhi-nava-śaśī lekhe,
lalitā-sakhī guṇa-ramita-viśākhe.
karuṇāṁ kuru mayi karuṇā-bharite,

"O Rādhe, Your transcendental love and beauty are so powerful and attractive that they captivate even the heart of Mādhava who is eternally self fulfilled and the unlimited source of all divine ecstasy and charm. By Your own natural excellence You are the most adorable of all young beautiful damsels of Gokula Maṇḍala, therefore Your glories remain ever unequalled.

O Rādhe, Your elegant countenance, decorated by coquettish moods and captivating dress, ever increase the love ecstasy of Your beloved Dāmodara. Manifesting such unique loveliness, You forever remain the beloved queen of the beautiful forest groves of Hari, who is expert in stealing away Your heart by creating an irresistible love attraction.

O Rādhe, from the ocean of Vṛṣabhānu, You have risen like a full moon of exquisite beauty that ever delights the heart of Mādhava.

O Rādhe, You are very fond of Lalitā and Viśākhā who stand out amongst all other damsels of Gokula, due to their charming beauty and expertise in prema sevā. They are also deeply captivated and overwhelmed by Your super excellent qualities which enchant Kṛṣṇa, the divine monarch of all loving mellows and so they accept You, with all adoration as their beloved Goddess and exclusive shelter of life.

O Rādhe, Your transcendental glories are described with unending joy by the exalted saints like Sanaka Ṛṣi and Your intimate servitor Śrīla Sanātana Goswāmī. O magnanimous Goddess! Your heart is full of compassion, therefore please bestow Your mercy upon me." (SOTVA, SR-s, p 96-7) + (SBRBM, p 34-5)

rādhe vṛndāvanādhīśe,
kṛpayā nija-pādābja,
dāsyaṁ mahyam pradīyatām

"O Radhe, O Queen of Vṛndāvana, You are like a flowing river filled with the nectar of mercy. Please be kind upon me, and bestow upon me some small service at Your lotus feet." (AP, p 70)

You are the Queen of the whole management of ecstasy (rasotsava ). Rasa means ecstasy. That is an unlimited flow of ecstasy. That is the speciality of Vṛndāvana: ādi-rasa, the original rasa, mādhurya-rasa, conjugal mellow. All rasas are branches of that rasa, in its peculiar developing character. If analysed, all rasas will be found within mādhurya-rasa. And mādhurya-rasa has been recognised as the highest mellow of devotion.

In His conversation with Rāmānanda Rāya, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu rejected devotion contaminated with reason. He said: eho bāhya āge kaha āra, "This is superficial; go further." Mahāprabhu accepted that real bhakti begins from the stage of pure devotion, unmixed with reason. When Rāmānanda suggested dāsya-rasa Mahāprabhu said: "This is good, but go further." Then Rāmānanda mentioned sakhya-rasa: Mahāprabhu said: "This is also good, but go further."

Then he came to vatsalya-rasa, the son-hood of Godhead. "This is very good," Mahāprabhu said: "But go further." Then he came to mādhurya-rasa, "Yes," Mahāprabhu said: "This is the best." At that stage in the development of rasa, Vṛndāvana is the most suitable place.

Mādhurya-rasa is found most extensively in Vṛndāvana. So, it is said: rādhe vṛndāvanādhīśe: "You are the Queen of that sort of līlā which is found in Vṛndāvana. There, the highest type of nectar is flowing. You are like a flowing river of nectar."

The very nature of Kṛṣṇa has been described as "Ecstasy Himself." He is tasting the innate ecstasy of Himself. He knows His ecstasy and He feels it, but to distribute that innate ecstasy outside, a particular potency is indispensable, and that is known as hlādinī. The gist of hlādinī-śakti, or Kṛṣṇa's internal ecstasy potency, is Rādhikā, Who is drawing the innermost rasa, the ecstasy of the highest order, extracting it from within and distributing it outside.

So, it is said: karuṇāmṛta-vāhini: Ecstasy mixed with magnanimity is flowing from that great fountain, and just as a river flowing from the mountains may carry with its current many valuable minerals to the outside world, the hlādinī potency carries rasa out from the abode of the rasa-svarūpa, Kṛṣṇa Himself, ecstasy personified. The flow of that river of nectar carries ecstasy and rasa, the flow of sweetness and magnanimity, to distribute to others.

Then, another categorical change is effected within the mind of a devotee, in the meantime, in the course of one's progress. The devotee realises: "Oh! Kṛṣṇa is of secondary concern to me. I find my primary connection with You, Śrī Rādhe. I want Your direct service and not the direct service of Kṛṣṇa."

This awakenment of the heart, intimate adherence and obligation to the next nearest agent, develops in a surrendered soul. At this stage, the devotee thinks: "I shall derive more benefit by giving my closest attention to the nearest agent, my gurudeva. I shall thrive thereby." And it is his concern to sanction the upper connections. Of course, our intentions should be pure and genuine, and the business of that agent is to give us a favourable, normal connection with the hierarchy of service.

All our attention should be concentrated in the service of our guru. This should be the idea. Our first tendency is to approach Kṛṣṇa. In that stage, the first thing to understand is that we are helpless. Of course, all things must be sincere. First there is the stage of helplessness, then we want the shelter of Kṛṣṇa, sweetness personified, then we are attracted to sweetness of a particular type, and to approach that department. There, we pray for the final closest connection or permanent membership as a servitor there. This has been taught by Śrīla Raghunātha Dāsa Goswāmī as the highest achievement of the living being.

Dāsa Goswāmī lived for sixteen years continuously in the association of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Svarūpa Dāmodara. After They disappeared from this world, Raghunātha Dāsa, disgusted with his future prospect, left Purī and went to Vṛndāvana to finish his life, thinking: "I have what is to be had; now I only want to see Vṛndāvana Dhāma once, and then I shall leave this body by jumping from the highest peak of Govardhana."

With this idea he went to Vṛndāvana, but when he came into contact with Rūpa Goswāmī and Sanātana Goswāmī there, he saw another vision, a dream of a new life, he found the beginning of a new life. Then he found: "Although Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Svarūpa Dāmodara have departed, disappeared from my physical eyes, they are living here in Rūpa and Sanātana, within their activities, in their preaching tendency. Mahāprabhu is here, as living as anything, in them." He had to reject the idea of finishing his life. And with new vigour he began to serve in Vṛndāvana.

And Dāsa Goswāmī has given us the understanding of our highest aspiration. He says: "O, Rādhikā, I want Your service. If You are not satisfied with me, I do not want Kṛṣṇa, nor this land of Vraja." This is his prayer and he is admitted as the prayojana-ācārya, the guru who has shown us what is the highest aim of our life, prayojana-tattva, the ultimate destination. And this (śloka 51) proves his position as the giver of our destination. (SGAHG, p 148) + (see also śloka 51)

rādhikā-mādhavāśāṁ prāpto yasya prathitaḥ
kṛpayā śrī-guruṁ taṁ nato 'smi

The destination has been settled, but how shall I reach it? When shall I reach it? Those who come to my aid to take me there - they are my masters, my gurus: śikṣā-gurus and dīkṣā-guru. Whoever helps me to go there is my guru. He is my guide who will help me to reach my located destination, the station of my innermost hankering. He has helped me to locate my destination; he has educated me how and what to aspire after, and how to reach that highest aspired shelter. I have attained all these things through him. He is my all-in-all in life; the master of my life. (SOTGOD, v 1, p 188) + (see also śloka 316)

rāga-dveṣa-vimuktais tu,
viṣayān indriyaiś caran
ātma-vaśyair vidheyātmā,
prasādam adhigacchati

"However, a true devotee on the path of renunciation in devotion (yukta-vairāgya) acts exclusively for My transcendental satisfaction. Abandoning attachment and envy, although accepting sense objects with his controlled senses, he attains full contentment of heart." (B-g, 2.64)

Only surrender can give you relief, can give you the real, higher life. You will be able to understand that from your innermost heart. In Bhagavad-gītā, Kṛṣṇa has repeatedly hammered this rāga-dveṣa - apathy and sympathy. rāga-dveṣa-vimuktais tu. These two are your enemies. Apathy for something and sympathy for something - these are your enemies. Be independent of those two enemies, and concentrate yourself towards your guardian. (SOTGOD, v 1, p 172) + (see also śloka 94)

rajas tamaś ca sattvena,
sattvaṁ copaśamena ca
etat sarvaṁ gurau bhaktyā,
puruṣo hy añjasā jayet

"One must conquer the modes of passion and ignorance by developing the mode of goodness, and then one must become detached from the mode of goodness by promoting oneself to the platform of śuddha-sattva. All this can be automatically done if one engages in the service of the spiritual master with faith and devotion. In this way one can conquer the influence of the modes of nature." (S-B, 7.15.25)

By living at the disposal of the higher, we learn selfless service of the higher, which is not of any mundane source. This is our necessity: Vaiṣṇava-sevā and guru-sevā, service to the Vaiṣṇava and guru. By guru-bhakti alone - devotion to the service of Śrī gurudeva - in one stroke, all desirable pursuits will be accomplished. (etat sarvaṁ gurau bhaktyā, puruṣo hy añjasā jayet ). There are also many symptoms by which to recognise the genuine guru, and by obeying the directions of the higher, we can make progress towards the higher; we may hope to be selected by the higher and be taken up to that layer if we are considered sufficiently qualified. This attitude will be the main tenure of our lives if we want to go to the high, super-conscious region. (SOTGOD, v 1, p 71-2)

rakṣā koribo tuhuṅ niścaya jāni
pāna korobuṅ hāma yamunā pāni

"Fearless and confident of Your protection, I shall drink the waters of the Yamunā, whether they are poisoned or not. I am Your property. You must take care of me; You can't leave me." (TSOBT, p 26-7)

Kṛṣṇa's friends think: "What do we care for others? We have our Kṛṣṇa, our friend." That sort of inner encouragement, that desperate encouragement, comes from within. "Kṛṣṇa is there, He is our friend. What do we care about anything? We can take poison, we can jump on the head of that big serpent Kāliya, we can do anything. With Kṛṣṇa behind us, what do we care. This sentiment is expressed by Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura in his Śaraṇāgatī. (LSFTLS, p 1V ) + (see also śloka 219)


"O Rāma, the splendid ocean of divine pleasure and enchanter of the heart.

O Nārāyaṇa, the shelter of the universe and all life.

O Ananta, the unlimited omnipotent reality.

O Mukunda, the giver of pure liberation and perfection.

O Madhusūdana, destroyer of the demon Madhu, the embodiment of all demonic forces and elements.

O Kṛṣṇa, Keśava, all attractive personality of divine ambrosial beauty and ecstasy.

O Kaṁsari, destroyer of Kaṁsa, the embodiment of sinister powers.

O Hari, who takes away the devotees' hearts with His unparalleled superb superexcellent attractiveness, unique loveliness, beauty and glory.

O Vaikuṇṭha, the supreme reality, transcendental to all limits and doubts, invulnerability and unsteadiness.

O Vāmana, possessor of unlimited range of ability. I worship You with all devotion, may You compassionately embrace me in Your shelter."

(SBRBM, p 17)

403 rāma rāmeti rāmeti,
rame rāme manorame

Valmiki said: "ma-ra, ma-ra," he could not pronounce the Name of Rāma in a direct way. Brahmā and Nārada came to prove the efficacy of Rāma-Nāma. It is mentioned in the śāstra: "A thousand-fold result we can find from Rāma-Nāma. This Ratnakar Daśu, he is the most notorious type of dacoit, a heinous person, let us make an experiment with him." So they asked him to chant the Name of Rāma. They tried, but he could not pronounce it. Then they said: "Chant ma-ra, ma-ra. Go on, repeat it." And he started, "ma-ra-ma-ra-ma-ra-ma-ra-ma-ra-ma-ra." This is just the opposite of Rāma. Then, after some time chant the Name of Rāma. Then he could say Rāma, Rāma. (SVT, v 2, # 1, Jan. Feb. '93, p 4 & 18) + (see also verse 288)

rasa-rāja, mahābhāva-dui eka rūpa

Rāmānānda Rāya's composition gave a hint about the divine appearance of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu in which both Rādhā and Govinda are combined, and it is as if They are unconscious of Their separate existence. One is searching the Other, Kṛṣṇa Himself is overflowing with the feelings of Rādhārāṇī, and They are so deeply embraced that One is lost in the Other. Then, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu put His palm over the mouth of Rāmānānda Rāya, and told him: "No further." rasa-rāja, mahābhāva-dui eka rūpa, (C-c,Madhya-līlā, 8.282). Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the fountainhead of all pleasure, and Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī is the embodiment of ecstatic love of Godhead. These Two Forms are united as One in Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. (TSFSK, p 147-8) + (also śloka 377)

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is putting the questions and Śrī Rāmānānda Rāya is answering: in this posing, the entirety of theological development was expressed there on the banks of the Godāvarī River.

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is magnanimity and sweetness combined. And that meeting on the banks of the Godāvarī was the only time Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu revealed His real identity. He revealed it to Śrī Rāmānānda Rāya in that place only, and we never find it anywhere else. rasa-rāja, mahābhāva - dui eka rūpa. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is both Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa combined. The most secret portion of the Truth was shown there, only once; and we never find that it was expressed in any other place.

The whole cause of existence is twofold: the Predominated Part of Beauty and the Predominating Part of Beauty. This has been taught by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Not power or force, but beauty and love is the Prime Cause. This is a new grant to the world, which was never given to the world before: the Prime Cause of the whole infinity is beauty and love. And this is the speciality of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. (SOTGOD, v 1, p 111-2)

rasa-varjaṁ raso 'py asya,
paraṁ dṛṣṭva nivartate

"However, inner attachment to sense objects is spontaneously denounced by the person of a properly adjusted intelligence, due to his having had a glimpse of the all-attractive beauty of the Supreme Truth." (B-g, 2.59)

After getting a taste of divine sweetness, suspicion vanishes, (rasa-varjaṁ raso 'py asya, paraṁ dṛṣṭva nivartate ). When we have a taste of real ecstasy (rasa ), then all doubts are cleared. By getting a taste of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, the heart is captured, and when the heart is captured, the ecstasy of love of Godhead, prema, begins to flow. Being satisfied, the heart will say: "This is what I was searching for!" Then, the brain will follow, thinking: "Yes, there can be no doubt, this is the highest goal of our search. Dissolve everything else." (TGVODL, p 22 ) + (see also śloka 561)

raso vai saḥ.
rasaṁ hyevāyaṁ labdhānandī bhavati
ko hyevānyāt kaḥ prāṇyāt yadeṣa ākāśa
ānando na syāt eṣa hyevānandayati

"Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the embodiment of all ecstatic bliss; He is the reservoir of all pleasure. Having derived ecstasy from Him, the individual souls become blissful. For, who indeed, could breath, who could be alive if this Blissful Lord were not present within the hearts of all souls. He alone bestows ecstasy." (TU, 2.7)

"They (the Vedas ) all want Me to show the object of their quest." (B-g, 15.15)

"Because I am ecstasy and everyone wants that." (SS, v 4, #1, '86, p 7)

rāya kahe,-sva-dharmācaraṇe viṣṇu-bhakti haya

"Discharge your own duty, without expecting anything in return."

(This is Rāmānanda Rāya's answer to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's question: "What is the ultimate goal of life? I not only want to hear your statements, but also evidence from the scriptures.") + (see also śloka 368)

Sva dharma means varṇāśrama dharma, Vedic social stratification. "You are posted in your present position by your previous karma. According to your present position, you have to discharge your duties on one condition: you must do them without remuneration. If you go on with your duties in varṇāśrama dharma, without any mundane aim, you can achieve viṣṇu-bhakti, devotion to God. (see śloka 546)

Here, Rāmānanda Rāya says that viṣṇu-bhakti, adherence to the Lord who is permeating everything, is the object and ultimate destination of our life. This is the Vāsudeva conception: everything is in Him, and He is everywhere. Rāmānanda explained that from our local interest, we must come to embrace the general interest, and that must reach the level of Viṣṇu consciousness: viṣṇu-bhakti. Our submission to Viṣṇu, the internal spirit Who is everywhere, is the object of life. We must connect with Him and live accordingly; not a phenomenal life, but a spiritual life pertaining to a deeper, more subtle plane. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said: "This is superficial; go deeper." (TSFSK, p 135-6) + (see also śloka 259)


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

"O Brahmā, whatever appears to be of any value, if it is without relation to Me, has no reality. Know it as My illusory energy, that reflection which appears to be in darkness." (S-B, 2.9.34)

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam asks: "What is the conception of māyā?" Ṛte 'rthaṁ yat pratīyeta, What seems to us to be the right reading of the environment, is actually not so. Artheṣu abhijñaḥ (see also śloka 197). The meaning and purpose of every incident is known to Kṛṣṇa. Many events are harmonised together and are for the purpose of serving Him. But when there is localised interest there is a clash. Imperial and universal interest clash with provincial and local interests. Artheṣu abhijñaḥ. He alone can know why each straw is moving to this side or that. He is the only knower of everything.

Only He knows what purpose is served by the grass bending in the wind to this side, and not that. All these movements taken together in harmony, go to Him. Artheṣu abhijñaḥ svaraṭ. He is not responsible to anything or anyone.

The universal meaning of every event and incident, even the movement of a piece of straw, is all-purposeful and all-meaningful to the Absolute. It all contributes to the absolute satisfaction of Kṛṣṇa. That is the meaning of the phrase, Ṛte 'rthaṁ yat pratīyeta." (SGD, SGPI, '91, p 11)

Without knowing the real meaning, what we feel and read is the wrong meaning of the environment - it is māyā. We miss the universal purpose, and from local interest we read: "Oh, this is for this purpose, this is for that purpose." But this is local interest. What we conceive, feel, trust and believe, is not in consonance with the universal reading: it is māyā. Even our belief is within the realm of māyā. Our conceptions will have no standing in the interest of the Absolute. What we read in the local interest, we will not find if we go to read from the universal interest. Our disease of local interest and conception will be cured and removed when we see that everything is meant for Kṛṣṇa and we become one with that interest.

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

That feeling, that conception, is known as māyā, "what is not." It is apparent, but not real. What is not real, that is māyā. Even what I think to be real, is not so. mā - yā, mā means no, and yā means what - "what is not." Apparently it seems to be, but the fact is, it is not so: that is māyā. In such a plane we eliminate the infinite interest and instead we see things by measuring according to our own interest. We measure everything only from the angle of vision and standpoint of our own selfish interest. In this way we ignore the infinite representation, position, duty, and service. This is māyā. yathābhāso yathā tamaḥ - light and darkness both exist. The absence of truth is not truth: it is tama, darkness, ignorance, mistake, error. (SGD, VPI, '91, p 12) + (see also śloka 449)

The ontological base of the whole Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is contained within these four ślokas - (S-B, 2.9.33-36 + see ślokas 12, 149 & 597)

rundhann ambubhṛtaś camatkṛti-paraṁ kurvvan muhus tumburuṁ
dhyānād antarayan sanandana-mukhān vismāpayan vedhasam
autsukyāvalibhir baliṁ caṭulayan bhogīndram āghūrṇayan
bhindann aṇḍa-kaṭāha-bhittim abhito babhrāma vaṁśī-dhvaniḥ

The most attractive sound is the sound of His flute. Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī has given a description: "Arresting the movement of the clouds, astonishing the Gandharvvas headed by Tumburu and breaking the meditation of the sages headed by Sanandana; astonishing the heart of Lord Brahmā, distracting the mind of the indomitable Balirāja with intense ecstasies, reeling the head of Ananta, the Serpent King who supports the earth planet, and piercing the covering of the universe - the vibration of Kṛṣṇa's flute wandered all around."

The sound of Kṛṣṇa's flute began to reverberate. When that sound entered the ear of Brahmā, he became bewildered: "Oh, what can this mean, and from where is it coming? What is this? It's puzzling me!" Then the Infinite Anantadeva who keeps unlimited universes on His lap - His head began to reel. The Total Force who supports all these brahmāṇḍas, so many lustrous masses - the intense vibration causes even His head to reel. It attacks the heart of Rādhārāṇī and the sakhās (friends); and the cows are also with their ears perked up, enquiring: "In which direction are we wanted to go?" (SOTGOD, v 2, p 103-4)

rūpa lāgi āṅkhi jhure guṇe mana bhora,
prati aṅga lāgi kānde prati aṅga mora
hiyāra paraśa lagi hiyā mora kānde,
parāṇa piriti lagi thira nāhi bāndhe

"Seeing the festival of His divine beauty my eyes shed tears, my intoxicated mind is fully absorbed in tasting His virtues, every part of me deeply craves for every part of Him and my heart incessantly yearns for the thrill of His touch. O sakhī, by such intense irresistible love attraction my heart cannot have patience to have Him." (jñāna Dāsa) + (SBRBM, p 36) + (see ślokas 93 & 371)

śābde pare ca niṣṇātam

"Practical application is superior to mere theory. A guru of theoretical knowledge cannot help us." (S-B, 11.3.21) + (SOTGOD, v 2, p 94) + (see also śloka 507)

sā cārpitaiva satī yadi kriyeta,
na tu kṛtā satī paścād arpyeta

"Devotional services must be first offered to the Lord, then performed; not performed and offered afterwards." (Śrīla Śrīdhara Swāmī)

After a famous renowned Goswāmī who was well-versed in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam had explained the Bhāgavatam in a public gathering, Śrīla Gaura Kiśora Dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja, who was present during the lecture, later ordered his servant: "Purify this place with water and cowdung!"

The servant was wonderstruck. "Why? It is already purified; the recitation of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Bhāgavata-kathā, took place here."

Śrīla Gaura Kiśora Bābājī said: "You heard Bhāgavatam, but I heard only 'money, money, money.'"

In other words, the Goswāmin had been very eager to have Śrīla Gaura Kiśora Dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja present at his lecture; the publicity that Śrīla Gaura Kiśora Bābājī was present to hear his explanation of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam would give the lecturer greater scope to make more money in his trade. He came to read Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam only for that purpose, and not to satisfy Bhāgavatam or Kṛṣṇa. He came for his own business; not for the purpose of Bhāgavatam. Trading with Bhāgavatam is an offence, aparādha, against the Bhāgavatam, most detrimental to pure devotion. One's attitude in devotion is all-important.

Śrīla Śrīdhara Swāmī, the renowned commentator of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, has stated: sā cārpitaiva satī yadi kriyeta, na tu kṛtā satī paścād arpyeta: "Devotional services must be first offered to the Lord, then performed; not performed and offered afterwards."

We should be already committed when we come to serve, and not that we shall collect capital and later try to utilise it in the service of the Lord. The commitment is to Him, to Kṛṣṇa. I have come to know about Him for Him, not for me or anyone else. (SOTGOD, v 1, p 56-8)

If everything is dedicated to Him then all these things can be recognised as bhakti, otherwise it is all bogus. If I hear, chant, etc, to fulfil my own purposes then it is no longer bhakti. Whatever I shall do, it is for Him. Then whatever will be done will be accepted as bhakti. It is the foundation on which bhakti stands.

413 ṣaḍ aṅga śaraṇāgati haibe yāṅhāra
tāṅhāra prarthanā śune śrī nanda-kumāra

"The youthful son of Nanda Mahārāja, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, hears the prayers of anyone who takes refuge in Him by this six-fold practice." (TSOBT, p 1)

"If you want Nanda Kumar, you must have this six-fold śaraṇāgati."

The six limbs of śaraṇāgati are: (i) acceptance of the favourable; (ii) rejection of the unfavourable; (iii) full confidence in the Lord's protection; (iv) embracing the Lord's guardianship; (v) full self-surrender; and, (vi) surrender in humility.

Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja said: "When I left the association of the disciples of our Śrīla Prabhupāda to live alone, I felt some sort of helplessness within me. I knew that śaraṇāgati, surrender, is the indispensable necessity in the life of a devotee, and felt, "I have left, or somehow or other I am excluded from the company of Prabhupāda's association. I am helpless, but śaraṇāgati may come to my relief." So I especially came to think, "Śaraṇāgati is the basis, but what is śaraṇāgati ?"

On reading Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura's book Śaraṇāgati, this point impressed me most. He wrote: ṣaḍ aṅga śaraṇāgati haibe yāṅhāra tāṅhāra prarthanā śune śrī nanda-kumāra: "The youthful son of Nanda Mahārāja, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, hears the prayers of anyone who takes refuge in Him by this six-fold practice." I wanted to culture that, so at that time after coming to live alone I recollected all I had imbibed in my Maṭh life, and also consulted about śaraṇāgati in Sanātana Goswāmī's Hari-bhakti-vilāsa, in Jīva Goswāmī's Bhakti-sandarbha, and in the Rāmānuja Sampradāya's writings. Śrīla Yāmunācārya's Stotra-Ratna was a source of inspiration, as were many other books. I then tried to collect it all together and arrange it in a particular way as I thought best. In this way I began to write the book Śrī-Śrī Prapanna-jīvanāmṛtam that it may also help others who might come in such a position as mine. That was the real reason.

The title Śrī-Śrī Prapanna-jīvanāmṛtam means, prapannānāṁ, jīvane, āmṛta svarūpaṁ, "The nectar in the life of the surrendered souls." This was my conception from the beginning - prapanna-jīvanāmṛta - that those who have come to take this, to feel it, this will be like nectar to them. To those who have surrendered, it will be like nectar to them, but others, the ordinary people, may not appreciate it. It will be the nectar in the life of those who have surrendered, those who have the real adhikāra, the proper qualified standard of faith, they receive it. (SOTGOD, v 3, p 16-7)

Śrīla A.C Bhaktivedanta Swāmī Mahārāja said to his sister: "This Prapanna-jīvanāmṛtam is a very important and nice book. You have money so please you spend some money for the printing of this Prapanna-jīvanāmṛtam." Her name was Bhāvinī Didi. We called her Pishima or 'Madan's Mother' and it was she who subsequently gave the money for the first printing of this comprehensive scriptural study of Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja's first book of śaraṇāgati.

sad-guru caraṇāśraya

"Anyone who has received the grace of a sādhu can have that nectar."

But the human form of life alone is not sufficient. sat-saṅga, sādhu-saṅga, is necessary, sad-guru caraṇāśraya. Anyone who has received the grace of a sādhu can have that nectar, whereas, ya'o paḍa bhāgavata vaiṣṇavera sthane (śloka 588), even a brāhmaṇa may not be qualified to enter into the Bhāgavatam. Śrīman Mahāprabhu said: "Go to a Vaiṣṇava, from him you will get the real standpoint of Bhāgavatam and how to approach it." (SOTGOD, v 3, p 18)

sādhu saṅga kṛṣṇa nāma ei matta jai
vaikuṇṭha nāma grahaṇam aśeṣāgham haraṁ vidun

"The Holy Name must be taken with the attitude of service to the saints. Serving means die to live; to throw oneself wholesale for the higher existence."

Vaiṣṇava seva, guru seva, Vigraha seva, and Nāma seva are all recommended, but in Kali-yuga especially, the service of the Name has been given as the most general approach. It is mentioned: sādhu saṅga kṛṣṇa nāma ei matta jai. We must climb up to the real plane where we can take the Name proper, vaikuṇṭha nāma grahaṇam aśeṣāgham haraṁ vidun. It is true that an infinite magnitude of sin may be removed by one Name but that must be Vaikuṇṭha Name. It must have the characteristic of Vaikuṇṭha, the unlimited plane of eternity, not only the physical sound. So sādhu saṅga is necessary. The Name must be taken from gurudeva, and with the company of sādhu the Name must be taken. (GOD, p 19, 22)

sāṅketyaṁ pārihāsyaṁ vā,
stobhaṁ helanam eva vā
aśeṣāgha-haraṁ viduḥ

"One who chants the Holy Name of the Lord is immediately freed from the reactions of unlimited sins, even if he chants indirectly - sānketyaṁ (to indicating something else as in the case of Ajāmila who called for his son by the Name of Nārāyaṇa), jokingly - parihāsya, for musical entertainment - stobha (to use the Name with some other intention; Jīva Goswāmī has taken advantage of this in his book of Sanskrit grammar, the Harināmāmṛta-vyākarana; when one is playing the mṛdanga drum, using the Names Gaura Nitāi, Gaura Nitāi to represent different drumbeats), or even neglectfully - hela (when we are rising from bed in the morning sometimes, we may neglectfully say Hare Kṛṣṇa; in this way we may cast off our indolence). This is accepted by all the learned scholars of the scriptures." (S-B, 6.2.14)

sādhu saṅga, nāma-kīrttana, bhāgavat-śravaṇa
mathurā-vāsa, śrī-mūrttira śraddhāya sevana

"Association with the pure devotee, chanting the Holy Name, hearing the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, residing in Mathurā Dhāma, and faithfully worshipping the Deity." (C-c, Madhya-līlā, 22.128)

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu accepted these five principal limbs from the nine that are mentioned in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam as śravaṇaṁ kīrttanaṁ, etc. So of these five, Mahāprabhu has given Nāma-saṅkīrttana the highest position. Nāma-saṅkīrttana has been considered best of all. It has been delineated by the Ācāryas. That was especially given by our Guru Mahārāja (Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākura), and the basis is supported by the śāstra, scriptures. (SOTGOD, v 2, p 25-6) + (see ślokas 85 & 456)

'sādhu saṅga,' 'sādhu saṅga,'
sarva śāstre kaya
lava-mātra sādhu-saṅge
sarva-siddhi haya

"The verdict of all revealed scriptures is that by even a moment's association with a pure devotee, one can attain all success." (C-c, Madhya-līlā, 22.54)

Sādhu-saṅga, the association of saints, is the most important and valuable thing for us. To make our advancement and progress towards the infinite, our association is our guide; it is all-important. We must stick to this conclusion: 'sādhu saṅga,' 'sādhu saṅga.'

The conclusion has been given in the scriptures that all perfection can be attained by the help of the saints. Good association is our greatest wealth in reaching the supreme goal. (TGVODL, p 152)

The main necessity is to keep company with the sādhu who has real faith in Kṛṣṇa. Such a sādhu, is very, very rare in this world, but if you want to achieve the highest good, make that ideal the crown of your head - in any way possible, take the help of that association. 'sādhu saṅga,' 'sādhu saṅga,' - sarva śāstre kaya. "A moment's association with the sādhu awards all success, and this is the verdict of all the scriptures." (SOTGOD, v 1, p 34) + (see also śloka 235)

sādhu-saṅge kṛṣṇa-nāma ei mātra cāi
saṁsāra jinite āra kona vasttu nāi

This is Kali-yuga - the age of quarrel - and our real and only helpful necessity in life is the company of the established saints and the Holy Name of Kṛṣṇa - sādhu-saṅge kṛṣṇa-nāma. Otherwise, deviating from that, we may be misguided at any and every step. sādhu-saṅge kṛṣṇa-nāma ei mātra cāi. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu gave this as the substance of all advice, and there is nothing more useful than this to help us get out of undesirability. He says that to chant Kṛṣṇa-Nāma but without the association of the sādhus also means that it will be very difficult for us to proceed. Therefore in one word the solution is in sādhu saṅga. We are to secure the company of a standard realised soul, then everything will fall into place, and the king of the sādhus is the guru. (HC, p 20)

yadi kṛṣṇonmukha haya
sei jīva nistare,
māyā tāhāre chāḍaya

"If the conditioned soul becomes Kṛṣṇa conscious by the mercy of saintly persons who voluntarily preach scriptural injunctions and help him to become Kṛṣṇa conscious, the conditioned soul is liberated from the clutches of māyā, who gives him up." (C-c, Madhya-līlā, 20.120)

"If, by the blessings of a pure devotee and the scripture, a jīva soul becomes devoted to Kṛṣṇa he naturally becomes liberated and māyā withdraws." (SOTGOD, v 3, p 57) + (see also ślokas 245, 247 & 442)

sahaja gopīra prema
nahe prākṛta kāma
kāma-krīḍā-sāmye tāra
kahi 'kāma-nāma'

"It is to be noted that the natural characteristics of the gopīs is to love the Supreme Lord. Their lusty desire is not to be compared to material lust. Nonetheless, because their desire sometimes appears to resemble material lust, their transcendental love for Kṛṣṇa is sometimes described as lust." (C-c, Madhya-līlā, 8.215) (SS, v 3, # 1, '85, p 7) + (see also ślokas 62, 220 & 375)

sai kevā ṣunāila śyāma nāma
kāṇera bhitare diyā marame paśila go
ākula karila mora praṇa
nā jāni kateka madhu śyāma nāme āche go
badana chāḍite nāhi pāre
japite japite nāma abaśa karila go
kemane pāiba sai tāre
nāma paratāpe yāra aichana karila go
aṅgera paraśe kibā haya
yekhāne basati tāre nayane heriyā go
dharama karama kaiche raya
pāsarite kari mane pāsarā nā yāya go
ki kariba ki habe upāya
kahe dvija caṇḍīdāse kulavatī kula nāśe
āpanāra sarvasva (yauvana) yācāya

"O dear friend, that person who let me hear the Name Śyāma, was indeed a great friend of mine. Through my ears, it entered the core of my heart and deeply captivated my mind and overwhelmed me with deep ecstatic love. As I say that nectarean Name, I cannot fathom the depth of its ambrosial sweetness. My mouth cannot give up attachment to repeatedly taste it due to the unprecedented wonderful attachment, that floods my whole existence. By constant remembrance and contemplation on that beloved Śyāma Nāma, my body, mind and heart have all become charmed and stunned with love.

O dear friend, I cannot wait any longer, please advise me, how can I intimately have Him in my life? Merely by remembering His Name I am helpless and overwhelmed, so what astounding ambrosial experience will happen if He touches me? How can anyone go on with the ordinary affairs of life after seeing His divine form or the beauty of His abode.

O my sympathetic friend, I cannot bear any longer my painful feelings of separation from Him, I cannot bear my ever increasing thirst for His association, therefore I truly wish to forget all about Him, to get back to my normal, peaceful state of mind, but I see to my astonishment that I am not able to forget Him! I am so helpless, please advise me, what shall I do? Dvija Caṇḍī dāsa, a devoted servitor of Śrī Rādhe Śyāma says:"True! This is the way of transcendental Śyāma prema! Its power disrupts all moral bindings of a respectable housewife from conservative, aristocratic society and makes her helplessly give everything to Him!" (Caṇḍī Dāsa) + (SBRBM, p 36-7)

sajātī-yāśye snigdhe
sādhau saṅgaḥ svato vare

In a certain stage, we should beware of bad association, so in Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu Rūpa Goswāmī has said: "What sort of saintly persons shall we try to mix with earnestly? Those that are in our line, who have the same high spiritual aspirations as we do, and who hold a superior position. To associate with such saintly persons will help us the most to progress towards the ultimate goal." (SGAHG, p 120) + (see also śloka 307)

āsvādo rasikaiḥ saha
sajātī-yāśye snigdhe sādhau
saṅgaḥ svato vare

"One should taste the meaning of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam in the association of pure devotees, and one should associate with the devotees who are more advanced than oneself and endowed with a similar type of affection for the Lord. Those that are in our line, who have the same high spiritual aspirations as we do, and who hold a superior position. To associate with such saintly persons will help us the most to progress towards the ultimate goal." (B-r-s, 1.2.91) + (C-c, Madhya-līlā, 22.131)

sakala chāḍiyā bhāi,
śraddhādevīra guṇa gāi
yanra kṛpa bhakti dite pare

Give up everything; try only to have faith, and everything will be found. Everything is there (sakala chāḍiyā bhāi, śraddhādevīra guṇa gāi ). Do not demand for any proof, because that is meanness. To search after proof as to whether He 'is' or 'is not' is meanness. With deep faith, automatically it is known, "Yes, He is." (SOTGOD, v 1, p 27) + ( see also śloka 612)

Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura has written: "Giving up everything, let us sing in praise of Śraddhā-devī - faith - whose grace can take us to Kṛṣṇa."

Śraddhā, faith, is the most subtle thing, and it is also the most tangible. It is not imaginary. We must realise that it is reality, it is concrete, and not merely an abstract sentiment of mere individual consciousness. Faith is universal as the most fundamental element that can connect us with the finest objective. Through electricity or radio we can establish communication over a long distance. The science is very subtle, and not known to anyone and everyone, yet, we cannot deny its existence; it has its tangible existence. But faith is much more subtle, and through it one can establish both higher contact and reciprocation. Subtle faith is not is not approachable by anyone and everyone; it has its tangible existence and it may function in any circumstance if we have its peculiar contact. We cannot give false statements that we possess it; our power and grandeur are not necessarily any proof of its presence in us. Despite great pomp and show, all we personify may be falsehood. We should be very cautious to maintain our contact with genuine faith. (SOTGOD, v 1, p 37-8)

First śraddhā, the sādhu-saṅga and bhajana-kriyā: with faith, when one has the association of the devotees, the practices of devotional service follow. With faith, one can embrace the process of realisation. Sakala chāḍiyā bhāi, śraddhādevīra guṇa gāi: give up everything and with your utmost energy praise the nobility of faith, the ray for a new and noble life. (SOTGOD, v 1, p 61) + ( see also śloka 123)

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." (SOTGOD, v 1, p xix)

425 sakhyāya te mama namo
'stu namo 'stu nityam
dāsyāya te mama raso
'stu raso 'stu satyam

Śrīla Raghunātha Dāsa Goswāmī, the greatest exponent of the faith of servitude to Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, Rādhā-dāsyam, wrote: "I won't allow myself to become fascinated by the proposal of the higher level service as a friend, sakhya. Rather, I shall tend always to do the lower service, dāsya, the service of the servant. I shall not consider myself to be a high-class servitor and I shall always tend to go towards the lower class of service. But He may forcibly take me to a higher service - "No, you are no longer to serve there; now you must serve in this higher category." (Vilāpa-kusamāñjali, 16)

"But I consider that I am not fit for that confidential service, my Lord. You may engage the higher servitors in Your confidential group, while I may serve in the lower level."

That sort of tendency is safe for us. We should always be tending towards the lower service; and it is His business to forcibly take us up to a higher group, should He wish: "No, you are qualified to render such service, and you should no longer remain in the lower group." But the tendency of the servitor will always be toward the lower service, dāsyāya te mama raso 'stu: "I would like to be engaged in service as a servant, not as a friend." That should be the normal tendency of a devotee. With such a mood, s/he is safe. Even in that world, s/he should have no ambition except to be the servant of the servant.

Hearing of such things from the devotees and from the scriptures, we may think such a conception to be exaggeration; but it is the reality, and we should search out this pristine substance within us. This is a safe and wholesome position. (SOTGOD, v 1, p 15-6)

Our attention should always be towards the negative side. If we can practice that in a real way, our promotion cannot be checked. But without qualification, if we are very eager to go upward, there will be a tendency to fall down. Dāsyāya te mama raso 'stu raso 'stu satyam: "May I have the aspiration for servitude." (SOTGOD, v 2, p 34)

sakhī vinā ei līlāya anyera nāhi gati

"The whole storehouse of this mādhurya līlā is in the hands of those maidservants." (C-c, Madhya-līlā, 8.204)

It is mentioned in the Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta, that if one wants to enter into the spontaneous devotion of Śrī Kṛṣṇa's pastimes in Vraja, it is required that they take shelter of a confidential maidservant in conjugal mellow, mādhurya rasa (sakhī vinā ei līlāya anyera nāhi gati ). They are the masters of that situation. The whole storehouse of this mādhurya-līlā is in the hands of those maidservants. Only they can give it to others. In mādhurya rasa, the guru is seen in the form and spirit of a sakhī, a maidservant of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. (guru rūpa sakhī ). (TSFSK, p 134) + (see also śloka 232).

427 sākṣād-dharitvena samasta-śāstrair,
uktas tathā bhāvyata eva sadbhiḥ
kintu prabhor yaḥ priya eva tasya,
vande guroḥ śrī-caraṇāravindam

"In the revealed scriptures it is declared that the spiritual master should be worshipped like the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and this injunction is obeyed by pure devotees of the Lord. The spiritual master is the most confidential servant of the Lord. Thus let us offer our respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of our spiritual master." (SOTVA, p 18) + (SGAHG, p i)

"According to all the scriptures, gurudeva is directly the Lord Himself, and the pure devotees also realise the same. He is actually a simultaneously one and different Manifestation of the Lord, different in the sense that he is the Lord's dearmost servitor. I offer my obeisances unto the Lotus Feet of that Divine Master, Śrī gurudeva."

We are asked to see gurudeva not opaque, but transparent - transparent to such a degree that through him the highest end, the highest conception of service, can be seen and attained. We can attain it there. If we are earnest, we shall find the highest link, from the very Source. So we are requested not to see guru as limited in his ordinary personification, but as the transparent Mediator of the highest function in his line. We can see this only if our vision is deep. According to the disciple's depth of śraddhā, he will see the Lord present in his gurudeva. The guru principle, guru-tattva, is very special, very noble, very broad and very deep. So we are warned against thinking that our gurudeva is in mortal relativity.

Prabhupāda (Bhaktisiddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākura) showed us by his ideal conduct how much earnestness one may have for gurudeva. We have witnessed this in his practices and teachings. Gurvvaika-niṣṭhā - exclusive adherence to the service of Śrī guru. Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura was his very being. Everything was Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura. (SOTGOD, v 2, p 54-5)

In the beginning it is mentioned in the śāstra that Brahma means the Absolute as a whole, but by clearer vision we see that there are Nārāyaṇa, Vāsudeva, Rāmācandra and so many forms of the Lord. And by even clearer estimation we will find Kṛṣṇa to be within.

One time when Kṛṣṇa was in a conference with Lord Balarāma and Uddhava, They saw a mass of light approaching them. Then after a little time a figure became visible within that mass of light. Then after the light mass approached even closer, They could see the figure of a male person. And when closer still, They could see: "Oh, this is Devarṣi Nārada who has come."

In this way from far off you may get a conception of the whole, just as by viewing the Himalayas from a distance you can see many things. But as much as you approach, you will find just specific parts, but with more clarity. And when you actually arrive, you will find your Lord and your friends, and you will mix there. At that time you do not find the whole of the Himalayas, but you are located in a particular position. And there, not with the whole, you will find that the desired end of your life has been fulfilled." (SGD, SGPI, 1991, p 23)

sambhanda kosale dhame prabeshile

The entrance into that domain (Goloka) can only be obtained by the loving submissiveness of loving surrender. That is neither a subject of gossip nor the subject of history - it is the glory of the Godhead beyond all perceptions. If we move through to the devotional judgement, then that fact is also seen as applicable in our immediate surroundings. Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura has written: "If we can really enter into the divine abode of the Lord (dhamo) following the proper channel, we will see these things." (SS, v 6, # 1, '92, p 2-3)

sanātana, deha-tyāge kṛṣṇa yadi pāiye
koṭi-deha kṣaṇeke tabe chāḍite pāriye,
deha-tyāge kṛṣṇa nā paī, pāiye bhajane
kṛṣṇa-prāptyera upāya kona nāhi 'bhakti' vine

"My dear Sanātana," He said: "If I could attain Kṛṣṇa by committing suicide, I would certainly give up millions of bodies without a moments hesitation."

"You should know that one cannot attain Kṛṣṇa simply by giving up the body. Kṛṣṇa is attainable by devotional service. There is no other means to attain Him." (C-c, Antya-līlā, 4.55-56)

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said: "O Sanātana, to attain the service of Kṛṣṇa, I want to immediately die ten million times. I am ready to embrace ten million deaths if that will help me serve Him." (SOTGOD, v 1, p 199)

Difficulties are coming, but, the only way to do away with them is to give yourself more and more and more - there lies the solution! Difficulties are coming and what is the cure for that? Give more; learn to give more. Individuality is also there; but, it is on the surrendered plane. To die in the physical sense is nothing! Mahāprabhu told Sanātana Goswāmī: sanātana, deha-tyāge kṛṣṇa yadi pāiye, koṭi-deha kṣaṇeke tabe chāḍite pāriye. Sanātana Goswāmī wants to teach us. He came from Vṛndāvana to Purī to have the darśana of Mahāprabhu. He came by the same route which Mahāprabhu had taken to get to Vṛndāvana from Purī - that jungle way - through the Jhārikhaṇḍa forest. And there, taking water from different places and eating so many different types of food, Sanātana got some itches on his body and also, some oozing sores on his body. When Mahāprabhu met him, He used to embrace Sanātana. There, some of that oozing juice, Mahāprabhu's body was smeared by some of that. Sanātana Goswāmī felt much pain! "What is this? What have I done to Mahāprabhu?"

Later, Sanātana was consulting one Jagadānda Pandit: "I came to get something but, by my misfortune, I am committing some offences. These bad sores all over my body are touching the Divine Body of Śrīman Mahāprabhu! That is committing a grave offence! So, I think I must go back, or perhaps better, it would be better if I give up this body just in front of the wheel of the Jagannātha Cart (a huge chariot which carries Lord Jagannātha at yearly festivals in Jagannātha Purī ). This body will be smashed to death and I will get a good birth in the next life. I will have a happy life."

It came to Mahāprabhu that Sanātana was saying these things. Mahāprabhu was very much excited: "What do you say Sanātana? You have come to such a conclusion? A fool's conclusion!" sanātana, deha-tyāge kṛṣṇa yadi pāiye. "If it is possible for anyone to achieve Kṛṣṇa only by giving this physical body, then in a second, I want to die crores (ten million) of times. It is not so easy! What is the value of this body? This has got some negative value, and I shall sacrifice this body crores of times if possible to get the grace of Kṛṣṇa. So, this is not the way at all. It is not a big thing. It is not a valuable thing - this negative representation (the body). What is this? It is nothing! Kṛṣṇa wants the inner attention." (SS, v 3, # 1, '85, p 8-9) + ( see also śloka 122)

sango śakti kalau yuge

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu came and introduced saṅkīrtana - sango śakti kalau yuge. "In this age of Kali, if the Holy Name is chanted congregationally, the combined efforts will be fruitful." (TSFSK, p 109) + (see also śloka 77)

śubhadodaya-divase vṛṣaravijā-nija-dayitam
praṇamāmi ca caraṇāntika-paricāraka-sahitam

"O Dayita dāsa, on the bank of Śrī Rādhā Kuṇḍa at Svānanda-sukhada-kuñja, you are preoccupied with intimate service alongside the Lord's closest servitors, and are thus greatly endeared to the divine damsels of Vraja. Always standing just before Śrīmatī Lalitā Sakhī within a group of mañjarī servitors (as Nayana-maṅī Mañjarī) you are deeply absorbed in devotion's inward current. In the groves of Vraja you are intimately disposed to Kamala Mañjarī, the closest object of your affection, and your singing of the divine qualities of Guna Mañjarī weaves a tent inviting Lord Hari to reside there. On your auspicious appearance day I offer my obeisances unto the tips of your lotus feet in the association of your dearmost servitors. O gurudeva, you are the most favourite object of King Vṛṣabhānu's daughter, Śrīmatī Rādhikā." (ARO, p 11)

sarasī-taṭa-sukhad oṭaja-nikaṭa-priya-bhajanam
śubhadodaya-divase vṛṣa-ravijā-nija-dayitam
praṇamāmi ca caraṇāntika-paricāraka-sahitam

"O Dayita dāsa, preoccupied with intimate service alongside the Lord's closest servitors, you are residing on the banks of the Saraswatī River, seated inside a simple grass hut in the beautiful garden known as Svānanda-sukhada-kuñja. Always standing just before Śrīmatī Lalitā Devī within a group of Mañjarī servitors (as Nayana-maṅī Mañjarī) you are deeply absorbed in devotion's inward current. In the gardens of Vraja you are intimately disposed to Śrīmatī Kamala Mañjarī (Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura), the closest object of your affection, and your singing of the divine qualities found in Guna Mañjarī (Śrīla Gaurakiśora) weaves a tent inviting Lord Hari to reside there. On your auspicious appearance day I offer my obeisances unto the tips of your lotus feet in the association of your dearmost servitors. O Gurudeva, you are the favourite object of King Vṛṣabhānu's daughter, Śrīmatī Rādhikā." (S-K-M, p 33-4)

sarasvatī-dṛṣadvatyor deva-nadyor yad antaram
taṁ deva-nirmmitaṁ deśaṁ brahmāvarttaṁ prachakṣate

In the Manu-saṁhitā it is mentioned: The Āryyan civilisation came from upcountry. First it was between the two rivers Saraswatī and Dṛṣadvatī. Vyāsadeva and other authorities all belonged to Badarīkāśrama, in that quarter. Badarīkāśrama is just on the banks of the River Saraswatī. Vyāsadeva used to live there, and Nārada Muni came to give dictation about the principles of Bhāgavatam there at Badarīkāśrama on the banks of the Saraswatī. Vyāsadeva also taught the principles of Bhāgavatam to Śukadeva at Badarīkāśrama on the banks of the Saraswatī. Ambarīṣa Mahārāja also lives in that area. It is mentioned that he used to live by the Saraswatī River which joins the Ganges near Badarīkāśrama. It is mentioned in Bhāgavatam that he performed hundreds of sacrifices on the two banks of the Saraswatī River. These took place in very ancient times.

At that time the Himālayas were considered as the most recently formed mountains. Though the Himālayas were the highest mountains, they were also considered to be the youngest. Where the Himālayas rose became very cold, and the people came down to inhabit the plains. With the rising up of the Himālayas the plains also rose up out of the sea, thus increasing the land mass of India. The seat of ancient civilisation was there, but, as it rose in height, the people came down to the warmer coastal regions. The original seat of Vedic or Āryyan civilisation was on that side, and gradually it spread itself towards the coast. It is from the banks of the Saraswatī that the Vedic culture began. Gradually it has been extended towards this side. East Bengal and this area by the Ganges is ancient, but many other areas have sprung up from the sea. In the south of India some areas are also ancient.

So, the Sāraswata Brāhmaṇas are a particular group of Brāhmaṇas who uphold the Vedic culture. They are supposed to have their residence now in the Upper Himālayas, and they are gradually coming this side. (There is a class of Sāraswata Brāhmaṇas in the Mahārāṣṭra area of India who say they are Gauḍa Brāhmaṇas or Sāraswata Brāhmaṇas. Sāraswat are a particular group who are under Śrī Caitanyadev).

As to who, or which races, are the descendants of the Āryyans, there seems to be differing opinions. I do not know the conclusions of the present-day historians, but as a matter of faith we find that those who follow the Vedic culture are Āryyans. 'Āryya' means venerable, principal. Here in India there is a custom that the wife addresses the husband as 'Āryya-putra.' 'Āryya' also means 'grand' - 'those who are revered, those who hold the highest culture.' At the beginning of creation those who held the highest culture commanded such reverence from all.

In the course of time, under different circumstances, perhaps they had to move to different places. Of course, it may be thought that they are somewhere near the Caspian Sea. Caspian. Kaśyapa. Kaśyapa is understood to be the father of the gods. Nearby, the ṛṣis are mainly residing on the other side of the Himālayas. Then, as I mention before, it is said that the Himālayas gradually rose up and formed some sort of partition. Some ended up on the other side, some on this side. That does not matter so much, as we are not as concerned with the geography as the culture. We have to make a comparative study of all available cultures and try to conceive their height, and wherever the high culture may be found we will accept that. It does not matter where it is found.

One devotee once asked Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣaka Śrīdhara Deva Goswāmī Mahārāja why he named his Mission 'Śrī Chaitanya Sāraswat Maṭh,' and what is the meaning of 'Chaitanya Sāraswat?' He replied: "First there was 'Chaitanya Maṭh,' and 'Saraswatī' is our gurudeva. So Chaitanya Sāraswat - this name indicates the line from to 'Saraswatī,' our gurudeva - the knowledge that has come from Śrī Chaitanyadeva up to Prabhupāda Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākura. Within that Divine Dispensation we are to revere, accept and preach. It is indicating the angle of vision of our Guru Mahārāja, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākura, about Śrī Chaitanyadeva; the way he saw it with his divine eyes. It is available here, and we are concerned with that. From Chaitanya to Saraswatī, the whole of our guru paramparā is covered, considered, cultured and being preached and spread. This is Chaitanya Sāraswat.

Also, Chaitanyānuga Saraswatī. Saraswatī means vāṇī, vākya: the words or expressions of Chaitanya. Chaitanya-vāṇī is the real preaching and instructions of Śrī Chaitanyadeva. So the substantial meaning is 'from Chaitanya to Saraswatī.' It is the culture of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam as viewed by Śrī Chaitanyadeva and His followers up to Saraswatī. This is the object, theme and purpose of our life. Our nature and acquaintance is there. They are our masters, and we are the servants of that group. We want to revere them, to propagate knowledge about them, and to ask people to accept them. Our whole concern is there.

Out Temple is 'Chaitanya Sāraswat,' distinct from the Sāraswata Brāhmaṇas. So, Chaitanya Sāraswat is the line of Bhāgavatam as enhanced by Śrī Chaitanyadeva. Of all the Ācāryas, Chaitanyadeva preached about Love Divine. Clearly and in a developed, scientific way, only Chaitanyadeva preached the fifth end of life: Bhāgavata-Prema. The end of life is to acquire Love, affection and attraction for Godhead, for Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa is the Lord of Love and He is the innermost conception of Godhead. The highest conception of Godhead is in Kṛṣṇa. The jīva can have a relationship with Him - the relationship of Love - and that is the highest achievement for all souls, ever known to have come down to the world.

Thus Chaitanya-Sāraswat is exclusively Chaitanyānuga Sāraswat - Sāraswata that belongs to the School of Śrī Kṛṣṇa Chaitanyadeva. They are believers in Kṛṣṇa consciousness and Chaitanyadeva's instructions. Sāraswat means that the communication is with sound or words - a Treasure of words. Here, sound refers to the Holy Names. Their business is with Divine Sound. Their duty is with the transaction of Divine Sound. And what sort of Divinity? Kṛṣṇa consciousness sound business. That is their trade. They are engaged in the transaction of the Divine Sound of Kṛṣṇa: Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

Kṛṣṇa consciousness is a philosophical, ontological expression, but Kṛṣṇa Chaitanya consciousness means that Chaitanya is there. His Name is Kṛṣṇa Chaitanya. Śrīla Swāmī Mahārāja (an affectionate address for Śrīla A.C Bhaktivedānta Swāmī Mahārāja) called his society ISKCON, but the public has given it a very warm welcome by calling it 'the Hare Kṛṣṇa Movement.' But 'Kṛṣṇa consciousness' is an ontological expression that can be realised by the philosophically minded. In the Name 'Kṛṣṇa Chaitanya' - 'Chaitanya' means 'consciousness' - so 'Kṛṣṇa consciousness' means 'Kṛṣṇa Chaitanya.' The Name is there personified.

When I asked Śrīpāda Bhaktivedanta Swāmī Mahārāja why he was fond of the name 'ISKCON' he had given for his society, he replied, "Isa-con." - īśāvāsyam idaṁ sarvaṁ. (SGD, SGP, 1997, p 15-6 ) + (see also śloka 187)

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

"A person advanced in devotional service sees within everything the soul of souls, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Consequently they always see Kṛṣṇa everywhere and in everything. One who is situated on the topmost platform of devotional service is known as an uttama-bhāgavata." (S-B, 11.2.45) + (linked to śloka's 47, 190)

The highest stage of Vaiṣṇavism according to the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is described as follows: "The first class devotee sees Kṛṣṇa in everything, and everything within Kṛṣṇa." (SGAHG, p 63)

"In the highest stage, uttama-adhikarā, one can trace the Supreme Entity everywhere and in every moment." (SOTGOD, v 1, p 30) + ( see also śloka 612)

We can attain the highest position in this way. Whatever and whoever we come across, we must see it at the central interest and not from provincial or local interest. Go straight to the centre: bhagavad bhāvam. Then, ātmanaḥ. Try to see the centre in everything, and then in connection with or through the centre, come to approach your environment. First go to the centre, and from the centre, knowing your relationship with the centre, come to adjust with your surroundings and company.

What is a person's relationship to the centre, and what is my relationship to the centre? Considering these two factors, I shall ascertain what shall be my relationship with that person. My connection with everything and everyone should be ascertained through the centre. My relationship with others must be calculated from the central interest, not local or partial interest between them. That will be wrong, and that is the root of all evil. This separate relationship is not wholesome. Only go straight to see things through the eye of the interest of the centre, and your relationship will descend (sarva bhūteṣu yaḥ paśyed, bhagavad bhāvam - ātmanaḥ ).

Next, bhūtāni bhagavaty and then ātmani, vice versa: what is God's relationship with the thing, and what is the thing's relationship with God; and according to that calculation, you come into adjustment with them, with your environment. Then you are out of danger." (SOTGOD, v 1, p 173-4) + ( see also śloka 612)

Everything should be seen through Him, and only after that - 'mine.' sarva bhūteṣu yaḥ paśyed, bhagavad bhāvam ātmanaḥ. 'Mine' should mean 'how Kṛṣṇa has enjoyed.' Everything may be fittingly enjoyed by Him. I must be Kṛṣṇa-centred. Then other centres such as beauty to be enjoyed by any other person, not to speak of oneself, will be recognised as risky and poisonous. Beauty - everything - is to be enjoyed by Him. It is meant, it is created, it is sustained - for Him. We must reach this understanding, for this is to be situated in the deepest plane. This is nirguṇa, transcendental. Otherwise, all is saguṇa, or superficial. Get out of the saguṇa, the waves of local interest.

That may be centred in a family, a village, a country, a species, or human society to the exception of the birds, beasts and insects - the circle may increase, but it is still limited. But properly adjusted, we want nothing less than Kṛṣṇa, so everything must be connected with Him and seen through His interest. My interest should not entertain any independent friendship with anyone. Everything should be done on Kṛṣṇa's account. Negotiation, transaction, and future prospect - everything is for the centre, Kṛṣṇa. In this way, everything will come to me through the Absolute Good. Then all the poison will be eliminated and whatever comes to me will be mixed with nectar. (SOTGOD, v 1, p 177)

"One who can always see My connection with everything, and accordingly see what will be his connection with Me, is properly adjusted." (GOD, p 11-12) + (see also śloka's 47, 190)

sarva-dharmān parityajya,
mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja
ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo,
mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ

"Totally abandoning all kinds of religion, surrender exclusively unto Me. I will liberate you from all kinds of sins, so do not despair." (B-g, 18.66)

So Kṛṣṇa says: "Give up all your duties and come to Me. And your present duties good or bad, whatever you can conceive from your present position - give up everything and come straight to Me. I'm everything to you." This is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Kṛṣṇa is telling us: "You belong to Me, you are My property. Just as you can say that you are master of any property, so you are My property, My slave." That is the truth, and by accepting that truth we will live in a higher plane. We will be the gainer, we will come into our normal position. At present, in an abnormal position, we are suffering from thinking: "I am the master, the monarch of all I survey." But that ego is our worst enemy if we are to progress in devotional service. (SEOC, p 37)

Do not lose a moment. Don't waste a minute of your time in wild goose chasing. Give up everything. sarva-dharmān parityajya. Leave it behind. Give up all phases of duty that you are so busily engaged in. It is all worthless. Begin the search for that divine principle who is the creator, the master of everything, and the fulfilment of everything. Search for Him directly. Give up all your so-called obligations and duties in your relative position. They are misconceived, misviewed from your present defective position. Do not rely on them. Make a direct search for the prime cause from which everything is coming as a miracle. He is the fulfilment of our lives. He is the fulfilment of every atomic existence in all worlds. (SEOC, p 112)

In Vṛndāvana, all considerations of individual and local interest are sacrificed. In Vṛndāvana, there is the highest self-sacrifice, to the degree that everyone's own particular interest or consideration is sacrificed into fire. Only when you came to that stage of self-sacrifice can you take birth in Vṛndāvana; not before. This is the conclusion of Bhagavad-gītā.

Kṛṣṇa says: "You must risk all your prospects, you must risk everything, with no prospects other than Myself. I cannot tolerate the presence of any second entity in your heart. I cannot tolerate that you will come to Me with some consideration. My relation with you must be unconditional. I can't tolerate any other interest in the heart of My devotee. Only one interest, and that is Me. Sacrifice all your so-called interests, all your prospects, everything. Then you can come to meet Me in Vṛndāvana." (SEOC, p 135)

When we try to put a stop to our material form of life and take our course towards Godhead, Kṛṣṇa consciousness, neglecting the imperative duties that are upon us, so many difficulties may come to trouble us, to trap us in our journey towards the ultimate truth. But if we stick to the order of Kṛṣṇa, He will protect us. Kṛṣṇa confirms this in Bhagavad-gītā (18.66).

He says: "Abandon all other conceptions of duty and just surrender unto Me. Have no fear. I shall protect you and free you from all sinful reactions that might arise from neglecting your ordinary duties."

Different material tendencies and mental impulses may attack us - even Indra himself, the king of heaven and the controller of all ordinary activities, may attack us - but if we are attentive towards our goal, if we are careful to read the order of Kṛṣṇa, He will protect us in the shade of His lotus feet. He will give us shelter under the shade of Govardhana Hill, where no Indra will be able to touch our heads. And with full faith that Kṛṣṇa will give us protection, we should try to take shelter under Govardhana Hill and pray: "O Kṛṣṇa, give me protection from all the difficulties that may come to attack me because of my leaving behind my ordinary obligations." (see śloka 120)

Although many anomalies may try to catch us, Kṛṣṇa will protect us. And His representation as Govardhana Hill, that wonderful master of the cows will save us from all sorts of difficulties. How is this possible? God works wonders. His ways are unknown and inconceivable. (LSFTLS, p 38)

Many things are recommended in the scriptures, but they are meant to promote us towards the truth in an indirect way. It is recommended at a certain stage that for the sake of our close friends, we should give up our ideal. But in the Bhagavad-gītā, Kṛṣṇa's final instruction is: "If it is necessary to maintain the highest ideal, you must give up your friends. Surrender to Me. I am the real purport of the scriptures." The highest kind of idealists give up their country, their family, their friends, and everything else, but they can't give up their ideal.

In the Bhagavad-gītā, Kṛṣṇa says: "It is better to die while performing one's own duty than to try to do another's duty." That is one stage of understanding: the relative consideration. The absolute consideration is also given in Bhagavad-gītā: Kṛṣṇa says: "Give up everything. Come to Me directly." This is the revolutionary way. This is absolute. And this is relative: "Stick to your own clan. Don't leave them." That is the national conception. There is nation consciousness and God consciousness; society consciousness and God consciousness. God consciousness is absolute. If society consciousness hinders the development of God consciousness, it should be left behind. (SGAHG, p 43-4 ) + (see also śloka 168)

I am not a servant of A,B,C or D. I am a servant of Mahāprabhu. I may have to turn this way or that way, or whatever way will by favourable to reach my Lord. Wherever I feel the presence of my Lord in an intense form, I must be attracted to that side. We are out for that thing, and not for any fashion or formality; that will hamper our cause.

Kṛṣṇa says: sarva-dharmān parityajya, mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja. Wherever we shall find Him, we must run in that direction. The direction may not always be straight. It may go in a zigzag way, but if Kṛṣṇa comes from that side, I must run there. Again if He appears on this side, I must run to this side. My interest is with Him. Not that we can challenge: "Why did Kṛṣṇa appear here, and why is He appearing there? That may be a doubtful thing, so I must stay on this side." No. If I have genuine appreciation for the real thing, the proper thing, I must go to that side, the side of Kṛṣṇa.

If I am blind, that is another case. Then I must have to suffer for my inability. But, if anyone has the ability to understand things properly, they will run to wherever they find help. If someone in a boat is passing through the current and finds they are in danger, then from whatever side help may come, they must run to that side. (SGAHG, p 108-9)

There are different stages of education imparted in Bhagavad-gītā: bhakti-yoga, karma-yoga, jñāna-yoga, aṣṭānga-yoga, so many different layers of theism, but pure devotional theism begins where Kṛṣṇa says: sarva-dharmān parityajya: "Give up your affinity to all other activities, whether religious or nonreligious, and wholly surrender to Me. Don't try to push your demands on Me, but ask Me what will be most beneficial for you. And what shall I do on your behalf? Fully surrender to Me, and I will give Myself to you. All these other methods and their prospects are more or less effective and valuable, but don't aspire after anything but Me. That will be your highest prospect: to want Me, to have Me, to live in Me, to do what I say, to enter into My own personal family in My private life. That will be your highest attainment. Don't aspire for anything else from Me. The comparative study of all religious aspirations will show that the highest inner necessity may be satisfied by entrance into My personal private dealings." (TSFSK, p 65-6)

In the famous conversation with Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu (recorded in Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā, 8.51-313) about pure devotional service, Rāmānanda Rāya quoted this verse from Bhagavad-gītā - sarva-dharmān parityajya. "Give up all your duties, and just surrender unto Me."

We must be particular with the object of life; not the external activities of varnāśrama. Less importance should be given to the form of our activity: whether I am a king, a brāhmaṇa intellectual, or a worker does not matter. We may think, "I have this sort of duty, I have that sort of duty," but that does not matter very much. We must have no attachment for that. The king may leave his kingdom and take to a brāhmaṇic life of renunciation and austerity. A śūdra may give up his labour, become a beggar, and chant the Name of Kṛṣṇa. A brāhmaṇa may give up his performance of sacrifice and become a mendicant. So, we are to be particular about the aim of life; not the form of our duty. We must exclusively devote ourselves to the cause of the Lord, ignoring our present paraphernalia and duty.

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said: "This is also superficial; go ahead - deeper." (TSFSK, p 137-8)

Whatever my position may be, I want my connection with the greatest fulfilment of the whole world. Everyone is searching for such fulfilment of all their necessities. sarva-dharmān parityajya: the search for Him eliminates all other duties. A true devotee thinks: "There is no obligation to anyone except one, and He is my Lord, Kṛṣṇa." And His most laudable and greatest servitors are those who are in contact with the greatest agent. Not His direct contact, but contact with the greatest agent of His service will constitute the safer and higher relationship of ananya-bhajana, exclusive service eliminating all else. (SOTGOD, v1, p 4)

"Only I can give you complete fulfilment, so come to Me and give up everything else. I shall accept the reaction you have earned in the relativity of this mortal world - I shall clear your debt! You need only come to My feet." If we are charmed by this universal call of the Lord and we try to abide by it, then that is sufficient. If we are answering that absolute call to our best ability, Kṛṣṇa assures us: "I shall free you of your burden; you simply come to Me. Give up all your duties." Faith in this call, and acting on the basis of such faith is a great thing in us. We should try to follow this according to our best capacity, and this is possible only in the company of the exclusive devotees of the Lord. (SOTGOD, v1, p 10-11)

"My exclusive devotee is he who gives up all phases of duties (sarva-dharmān ) and surrenders to My feet, accepting only his duty to Me." (SOTGOD, v1, p 78)

"Dharma means morals, duties, including duties to father, mother, country society, humanity, etc. But if one neglects all these and keeps a straight relationship towards Me, he will be considered free of any fault. He is in the line of sarva-dharmān parityajya, mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja. He is doing right, and one who can simply appreciate this will also very soon be converted to the same class." (SOTGOD, v 1, p 81)

So the problem is, how can we surrender, giving up our mundane attraction and our ignorance about our own interest? How can we jump into the Absolute Good - the ocean of our real interest. That is the problem and our questions should be of such a general character. Only there is this one question. (SOTGOD, v 3, p 4)

"Reject all else and only concentrate on My own Self for that is the only sort of devotion that can draw Me to the devotee. All else is futile and shameful. It is not that someone will come with hired persons to canvas Me. No! My agents are the best benefactors to you. They are searching to canvas persons in My favour. My agents are there and not for any business purpose. Their business is to do good to others, and with this idea so many agents are out to canvas for Me. Come through them and do not seek any recommendation from outside to use various means to try to force Me to favour you. That is not the proper path, but come to Me through My own agents. They have no aspiration to fulfil for themselves. They are all-given to My service and they are wandering trying to recruit persons, to benefit them. So come through My agents, never otherwise.

What is yoga? There is air and there are so many things but by controlling those do you think you will force Me to come to you? I am the Absolute Autocrat. I don't care for anything else. I have no necessity to care for anything else. Not any force, any tactics, any cunning methods, any canvassing - nothing can influence Me. I am the Autocrat. And admitting the line of autocracy, try to come to Me. There are many demigods. They are making trade, but I am not amongst the commodities of their trading. None can make trade with Me. I am Absolute. I look only for devotion, exclusive devotion which is not formal, but natural, hearty and sincere. I look for that. I look for the heart and not for anything else." (SOTGOD, v 3, p 51)

The real world is where every unit is dedicating itself to the whole, represented by the Centre, just as in a healthy body every atom will work for the welfare of the whole body. If an atom works for itself, it exploits to the extreme, and such local works for local interest are clearly bad. Every part of the body, and every atom, is to work for the welfare of the whole system. There is a Centre, and by the guidance of that it will work. What is the position of the Centre? It is mentioned in the Bhagavad-gītā (18.66). Kṛṣṇa explains His position: sarva-dharmān parityajya. "Abandon all dharmas (duties) and just surrender unto Me."

Now I want to represent this conception from another standpoint. Hegel was a good German philosopher and his philosophy is known as perfectionism. He has given an idea: the Absolute Truth, the Prime Cause of everything, must have two qualifications. What are they? It must be by itself and for itself. Please try to pay attention. By itself means that He is His own cause - nothing else created Him. If anything has created Him, that creator will have the primary importance. Therefore, to be the Absolute He must be anādi, eternally existing and not created by anything. The Absolute must have this qualification. The next qualification is that the Absolute Truth is for itself. He exists for His own satisfaction, not to satisfy any other. If His existence is to satisfy another entity, then He will be secondary, and they for whose satisfaction He is living will have the prime position. Therefore, the Absolute must have these two qualifications: He is His own cause, and He exists only to satisfy Himself, to fulfil His own purpose. The Absolute is by itself and for itself. If any straw moves, it moves to fulfil the purpose of the Absolute. Everything - every incident and whatever happens - must have to be for His satisfaction. So the real current is for His līlā, His pastimes, but ourselves we are guided by separate interest: family interest or country interest or social interest or humanitarianism, etc. But in the infinite consideration it is all only a tiny part, and we are all engaged in acting for such separate interest. There is a clash between innumerable separate interests and so there is trouble. But we must leave all our so-called special interests, come out from misunderstanding, and try to attain the function of a unit active for the cause of the whole.

The conclusion of Bhagavad-gītā given by Kṛṣṇa is sarva-dharmān parityajya, Give up your duties which you think at present you have to discharge, and - mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja - surrender to My feet. ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo, mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ. I shall release you from all the troubles of which you can ever conceive." In other words you are to remember to be faithful to the Centre. At present all your respective duties are for local interest, but give up the local identification of your own interest and merge totally in the interest of the organic whole. (HC, p 3-5)

It is mentioned in the scriptures that we should not change our position very easily. For example a commander will say to his army: "Don't change your position. Rather, die to keep it." But when the chance will come, he will say: "Go forward." Similarly, the śāstra, the scriptures, have told: "Wherever you are born according to your previous karma, wherever you have taken your stand, don't try to leave there otherwise there is the possibility you will go down." But at the same time, when a proper chance comes, they say: "March on towards the Absolute! Make further progress." So, in Bhagavad-gītā it is given: "Don't easily lose your present position acquired by your previous action - rather, die there." But then again, Kṛṣṇa comes to say: sarva-dharmān parityajya. "When you get the chance of marching towards the Centre, you must do it at all cost." This is the revolutionary method. There is the constitutional method and the revolutionary method. The revolutionary method is to take the risk of anything and everything and march on, march forward towards the central truth, and, because this human life gives the best opportunity, we shall do whatever is necessary for that. (HC, p 28-9)

Substance is necessary and not form. Form may be adopted only as much as it may connect me with that higher thing. So sarva-dharmān parityajya: "All phases of duty you perceive as perfect, give up. At once try to jump in Me, into the ocean of nectar. I am the ocean of nectar. Try to jump. That is the direct teaching. So our addiction to this or that, to vānaprastha, sannyāsa, or gṛhastha has got very negligent value. But the earnest desire, that is to be acquired by any means. That is bhakti proper." (GOD, p 21)

"Now I ask you to summarily dismiss every one of those religiosities and surrender unto Me, the Personality of Godhead, Bhagavān. Then I shall deliver you from all sin of this worldly sojourn, as well as any sin incurred by giving up the aforementioned duties or religiosities. There will be no cause for you to lament that your life's mission is unfulfilled." (SSPJ, p 158)

We may interpret in our own way the reason for an earthquake, or a storm, or anything, but that reading is from our local interest - the real meaning is hidden. This is māyā, and on the basis of that we are performing so many activities. All our interpretations are from the plane of local interest, so give it up! sarva-dharmān parityajya. Give up your local interest and identify yourself with the current of that plane of universal interest. (SGD, SGPI, '91, p 12)

sarva-guhyatamaṁ bhūyaḥ,
śṛṇu me paramaṁ vacaḥ
iṣṭo 'si me dṛḍham iti,
tato vakṣyāmi te hitam

"Now again hear My supreme teaching, the most hidden of all hidden treasures. You are extremely dear to Me, and really, this is why I am explaining this for your true benefit." (B-g, 18-64)

"I have revealed to you My hidden teaching of the non-differentiated Absolute, and now more hidden teaching of the Almighty Dominion. Now hear the most hidden of all treasures concerning Me, the Sweet Absolute. Of all the teachings I have imparted within this Gītā-śāstra, this is topmost. You are most dear to Me, and thus I am explaining this for your best benefit."

The most hidden of all hidden treasures of the Lord: the most affectionate advice of the devotee's dear friend. (SSPJ, p 157) + (see also śloka 192)

According to Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, the hidden (guḥyam ) instruction of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa is found in the second and third chapters of Śrī Gītā. There it is stated that engagement in selfless action will gradually lead one to the paths of knowledge and contemplation. His more hidden (guhyataram ) instruction is found in the seventh and eighth chapters wherein the Supreme Lord imparts knowledge of Himself which gives birth to devotion. In Chapter nine, the most hidden (guhyatamam ) instruction begins. The Lord describes the symptoms of exclusive devotion (kevalā-bhakti ), which is unmixed with action, knowledge, or abstract meditation. Because His devotee Arjuna is very dear to Him, the Lord now repeats His hidden teaching for Arjuna's benefit. This time, however, He reveals His most hidden of all hidden treasures (sarva-guhyatamam ) - His most affectionate advice: "Arjuna, you are most dear to Me, so I will now divulge the whole truth to you."

'sarvajña' āsi' duḥkha dekhi' puchaye tāhāre'

"Once a learned astrologer devotee of the Lord came to the house of a poor man and upon seeing his misery revealed to him about how to obtain the secret wealth of life for his supreme benefit." (ARO, p 22)

ihāte dṛṣṭānta - yaiche daridrera ghare
'sarvajña' āsi' duḥkha dekhi' puchaye tāhāre'

"The following example may be given. Once a learned astrologer came to the house of a poor man and, seeing his distressed condition, questioned him." (C-c, Madhya-līlā, 20. 127)

'tumi kene duḥkhī,
tomāra āche pitṛ-dhana
tomāre nā kahila,
anyatra chāḍila jīvana

"The astrologer asked: 'Why are you unhappy? Your father was very wealthy, but he did not disclose his wealth to you because he died elsewhere?' (C-c, Madhya-līlā, 20. 128)

sarvajñera vākye kare dhanera uddeśe
aiche veda-purāṇa jīve 'kṛṣṇa' upadeśe

"Just as the words of the astrologer Sarvajña gave news of the poor man's treasure, Vedic literatures advise one about Kṛṣṇa consciousness when one is inquisitive to know why he is in a distressed material condition." (C-c, Madhya-līlā, 20. 129)

sarvajñera vākye mūla-dhana anubandha
sarva-śāstre upadeśe, 'śrī-kṛṣṇa' - sambandha

"By the words of the astrologer, the poor man's connection with the treasure was established. Similarly, Vedic literature advises us that our real connection is with Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead." (C-c, Madhya-līlā, 20. 130)

'bāpera dhana āche' - jñāne dhana nāhi pāya
tabe sarvajña kahe tāre prāptira upāya

"Although being assured of his father's treasure, the poor man cannot acquire this treasure by such knowledge alone. Therefore the astrologer had to inform him of the means whereby he could actually find the treasure." (C-c, Madhya-līlā, 20. 131)

'ei sthāne āche dhana' - yadi dakṣiṇe khudibe
'bhīmarula-barulī' uṭhibe, dhana nā pāibe

"The astrologer said: 'The treasure is in this place, but if you dig towards the southern side, the wasps and drones will rise, and you will not get your treasure.' (C-c, Madhya-līlā, 20. 132)

'paścime' khudibe, tāhā 'yakṣa' eka haya
se vighna karibe, - dhane hāta nā paḍaya

"If you dig on the western side, there is a ghost who will create such a disturbance that your hands will not even touch the treasure." (C-c, Madhya-līlā, 20. 133)

'uttare' khudile āche kṛṣṇa 'ajagare'
dhana nāhi pābe, khudite gilibe sabāre

"If you dig on the northern side, there is a big black snake that will devour you if you attempt to dig up the treasure." (C-c, Madhya-līlā, 20. 134)

pūrva-dike tāte māṭī alpa khudite
dhanera jhāri paḍibeka tomāra hātete

"However, if you dig up a small quantity of dirt on the eastern side, your hands will immediately touch the pot of treasure." (C-c, Madhya-līlā, 20. 135)

aiche śāstra kahe, - karma, jñāna, yoga tyaji'
'bhaktye' kṛṣṇa vaśa haya, bhaktye tāṅre bhaji

"Revealed scriptures conclude that one should give up fruitive activity, speculative knowledge, and the mystic yoga system and instead take to devotional service, by which Kṛṣṇa can be fully satisfied." (C-c, Madhya-līlā, 20. 136)

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu, came and told: "Don't try to think yourself a master of so many siddhis like aṇimā, laghimā, vyāpti (becoming small as the atom, lighter than a feather, all pervading, etc.). The thought that you can play with miracles is all lower conception. With mukti (liberation), then siddhi (yogic supernatural mystic powers), you will have to encounter so many traps and obstacles that your very existence will be at stake."

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu gave a solution to all our problems with an allegorical example. He said: "We see that you are poor, but there is a happy solution. Your wealth is underground in your own room: just try to unearth it. Don't approach it from the Southern side, the give-and-take method of karma, for then whatever you do will bring some reaction that will capture and disturb you, and you will have no time to reach the proper solution. To the South there is the bhīmarula-varulī, the hornet's nest of unfulfilled desires (karma-kāṇḍa ).

If you approach that hidden wealth from the Western side, through the yoga system, by manipulating the subtle forces of nature to attain supernatural mystic power, that will enchant you and take your attention away from the desired goal. Your own activity in the wrong direction will create obstacles to your achievement. To the West, there is the Yakṣa, the deceitful ghost representing the death of merging into the Absolute by supernatural yoga practice (yoga-siddhi ).

If you approach the treasure from the North, the side of that grand brahmāsmi, the impersonal conception, with the help of misinterpreted Vedāntic logic, then you will enter into eternal samādhi, that great phantom will swallow you up, your existence will be nowhere, and who will come to enjoy the peace of getting the wealth? To the North there is the Ajagara, the black python representing the death of merging into the Absolute Brahman by the liberationists on the path of knowledge (jñāna-mārga ). They will all bewilder you.

Only if you approach from the Eastern side, with the help of devotion, will you get the wealth easily. That is the direction of the sunrise, the light-giving direction. And that light is not prepared by our own hand; that light is from the source of all light: the revealed truth. It is extended from the quarter which is unknown to us. That light is revealed knowledge, bhakti, the path of devotion."

sarva mahā-guṇa-gaṇa vaiṣṇava-śarīre
kṛṣṇa-bhakte kṛṣṇera guṇa sakali saṣcāre

"A Vaiṣṇava is one who has developed all good transcendental qualities. All the good qualities of Kṛṣṇa gradually develop in Kṛṣṇa's devotee." (C-c, Madhya-līlā, 22.75)

Through Kṛṣṇa everything is possible. And the nearer we come to Him, the more we shall catch. His influence inspires His devotees, and all His qualities fill their hearts. In that way, although a devotee is not himself a master, through the link of love he can be a master of anything. This is the line of thought explained by Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and the Upaniṣads. (LSFTLS, p 68)

sarvasya cāhaṁ hṛdi sanniviṣṭho,
mattaḥ smṛtir jñānam apohanaṁ ca
vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyo,
vedānta-kṛd veda-vid eva cāham

"I am situated (as the Supersoul ) within the heart of all souls, and from Me arises the soul's remembrance, knowledge, and the dissipation of both (according to his karma, or action in the mundane plane). I am the exclusive knowable (ecstatic) principle of all the Vedas. I am the author of the Vedānta - Vedavyāsa, the expounder of the knowable meaning of the Vedas. And certainly I am the knower of the purport of the Vedas." (B-g, 15.15)

Encompassing the aggregate individuality and collectively, the Absolute Autocracy over both the material and spiritual planes is held by Śrī Kṛṣṇa alone, the Supreme Male Dominating Principle as corroborated in the Upaniṣads; and He is the objective sought after by the yogīs.

"I am situated as the Supreme Lord within the hearts of all souls. As a result of a soul's worldly deeds, his remembrance, knowledge, and forgetfulness arises from Me alone. Thus, I am not only Brahman, the Absolute Spirit that pervades the universe, but above that, I am the Supersoul present in the hearts of the living beings, who dispenses the results of their attempts. And even above My worshippable aspects of Brahman and Paramātmā, I am the Guru of all souls, the eternal dispenser of their good fortune - I am Bhagavān, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, to be known by all the Vedas; I am the creator and perfect knower of all the axiomatic conclusions of the Vedas (Vedānta). (SSPJ, p 148)

Kṛṣṇa says: mattaḥ smṛtir jñānam apohanaṁ ca: He is the prime cause of remembrance, forgetfulness, and intelligence. He is the controller. For His own pleasure, His līlā, He can do anything. This is true not only in the material world, but also in His own domain. What is meant by this statement of the Gītā concerns this braḥmānda, this material world. The gist of this statement is that from the lower planetary systems up to the highest - this entire area of evolution and dissolution - everything is manipulated by Him. No credit can be attached to any external thing. All credit should go to the centre who controls everything. (SEOC, p 5)

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu delegated Rūpa and Sanātana with the power to preserve the devotional current they had received from Him, and to present it in a new light. They were asked to prove by drawing upon different scriptures that Mahāprabhu's Teachings are the very gist and purpose of all the scriptures. As in Bhagavad-gītā, vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyaḥ: "The attempt of every revealed scripture is to show Me as the Highest Centre - I am the Absolute." So Mahāprabhu said: Kṛṣṇa is the Absolute. With the help of the different scriptures and historical reference - by all means possible - try to prove that Kṛṣṇa is Svayaṁ Bhagavān, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and that Vraja-līlā, Vṛndãvana-līlā, is the highest achievement." (SOTGOD, v 2, p 124)

"They (theVedas ) all want Me to show the object of their quest." (SS, v 4, # 1, '86, p 7)

tat paratvena nirmalam
hṛṣīkena hṛṣīkeśa
sevanaṁ bhaktir ucyate

"Pure devotion is service to the Supreme Lord which is free from all relative conceptions of self interest." (NP )

Devotion to Kṛṣṇa means sacrifice - "die to live." By devotion to Kṛṣṇa, our whole conception of mundane, self-centered, self-interested life will be finished totally. In his Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, Pūrva-vibhāga, 1.10, Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī quotes this verse from the ancient Purāṇas. upādhi means "all relative conceptions of self interest." We must be totally free of all upādhis. (LSFTLS, p 13) + (see also śloka 39)

sarvva-vaiṣṇavera pā'ye kari namaskāra
ithe aparādha kichu nahuka āmāra

Vṛndāvana Dāsa Ṭhākura says: "I bow at the feet of the Vaiṣṇavas; may there be no offence in my attempt to serve them."

Nitāi Gaurahari bol! We pray to Nityānanda Prabhu. We want to come to an adjusted, former position: "If I have committed any offence, aparādha, when dealing with so many subtle things about the great personages, please, Nityānanda Prabhu, absolve me of the offence and restore me to my normal humble position." When we deal with so many things, such as trying to speak about great personalities of the highest order, we should beg Nityānanda Prabhu to pardon us for our audacity. He is patita-pāvana, saviour of the fallen souls. He is adoṣa-darśī - He generally does not take any offence. Fools rush in where angels fear to tread. (SOTGOD, v 2, p 47)

śata-koti-gopīte nahe kāma nivāpna

"Lord Kṛṣṇa's transcendental desires for loving exchanges could not be satisfied even in the midst of billions of gopīs. Thus He went searching after Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. Just imagine how transcendentally qualified She is!" (C-c, Madhya-līlā, 8.116)

The other gopīs numbered so many, but in quality they were a little less. Their total combination could not satisfy Kṛṣṇa. The qualitative difference was there. That is found. (SGAHG, p 153) + (see also śloka 222, 390 & 395)

sataṁ prasaṅgān mama vīrya-saṁvido,
bhavanti hṛt-karṇa-rasāyanāḥ kathāḥ
taj-joṣaṇād āśv apavarga-vartmani,
śraddhā ratir bhaktir anukramiṣyati

"One will rapidly progress on the path of liberation, and naturally will develop firm faith, attraction and devotion, when he cultivates the activity of engaging in discussions about My glorious Pastimes in the association of pure devotees. Such activities are very nourishing to the ear and heart." (S-B, 3.25.25) (SOTGOD, v 3, p 57) + (see also ślokas 245, 247 & 419)

Lord Kapila said His mother, Devahūti: sataṁ prasaṅgān mama vīrya-saṁvido: "Talks about Me which are full of potency can only be found coming from the lips of My devotees. Not only lip-deep words, but words that have got depth, spirit, power, that represent Reality come from the lips of My real devotee. Such words are not shallow, but are surcharged with spirit, with life, and can enliven us. bhavanti hṛt-karṇa-rasāyanāḥ kathāḥ, they satisfy both our ear and our heart and give a taste of spiritual joy, rasāyanāḥ. Their words are surcharged with the ecstasy of the spiritual world, and colour our ear, our mind, and our heart - physically, mentally, and also on the plane of our soul. taj-joṣaṇād, by hearing from the real source, from that real sādhu, āśvapavarga-vartmani, we are led towards relief from this worldly life. By a gradual process, we attain these things: śraddhā ratir bhaktir anukramiṣyati, first, śraddhā, ever increasing faith; then rati, slight taste; then we get real love, bhakti. By anukramiṣyati, a gradual process, we are taken towards the higher domain."

sattvam viśuddham vasudeva śabditam

What is Vṛndāvana proper? It is a stage of consciousness. In different stages of consciousness, there are different subjective realities. Everything springs from the willpower of the Lord. He is the subject, and His potency and sweet will is all subjective. The Lord said: "Let there be light," - and there was light. He said: "Let there be water," - and there was water. He said: "Let there be earth," - and there was earth. If, like a hypnotist, the higher subject wants to make the lower subject see something, he cannot but see that thing. We are all in the subjective, imaginary world, but above imagination is the supersubjective plane of reality. So, Kṛṣṇa reveals Himself to one who has developed pure consciousness, and in the stage of pure consciousness one can perceive the true nature of subjective reality (sattvam viśuddham vasudeva śabditam ). (TGVODL, p 77) (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, 4.3.23)

sattvānurūpā sarvasya,
śraddhā bhavati bhārata
śraddhāmayo 'yaṁ puruṣo,
yo yac chraddhaḥ sa eva saḥ

"O Bhārata, all men have a particular type of faith according to their individual mentalities. The very nature of the living being is based on faith - their internal and external nature is modelled according to their faith. Therefore, their nature may be discerned according to the manner of worship or reverence in which they have faith." (B-g, 17.3)

Śraddhāmayo 'yaṁ puruṣaḥ: "The nature of a person is modelled on faith."

Of what value is a mirror without an eye? In a looking-glass we should find the reflection, but if the eye is absent, what will the subject see in the glass? So the eye to see - faith - is necessary. According to the śraddhā, the specific character of the Dhāma as distinct from all other places will come into view, disclosing its real form. Everything depends on śraddhā, faith.

Faith is the only effective link. If we wish to have any link with the sun or the moon, ordinary instruments won't do, but some plenary medium like electricity, etc., can help to connect us. We must approach via a plane similar to the object. Similarly, we can approach the infinite only with the help of śraddhā. We cannot hope to have any connection with that finest plane of fundamental existence of this world with the help of the eye, nose or ear, or even by intelligence or reason. If we want to have any connection with the finest plane that is underlying this creation, it is possible only through faith (śraddhāmayo 'yaṁ puruṣaḥ ).

Then, the question of credibility arises: faith may be blind. But as long as the qualification of 'blind' faith exists, 'seeing' faith must also be possible! Blind faith is diseased faith, but we must connect by real or healthy faith. Then again, our experience must be confined to our own limitations; so how much faith can we accumulate? Infinite faith in the infinite. When we try to establish a connection with the infinite, there are infinite possibilities. But how much faith can infinite things like us have? (SOTGOD, v 2, p 6-7) + (see also śloka 153)

sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharmo,
yato bhaktir adhokṣaje
ahaituky apratihatā,
yayātmā suprasīdati

"The supreme occupation (dharma ) for all humanity is that by which men can attain to loving devotional service unto the transcendental Lord. Such devotional service must be unmotivated and uninterrupted to completely satisfy the self." (S-B, 1.2.6)

The wave of the most fundamental plane is bhakti, devotion, where everything follows the sweet will of the centre - nirguṇa. That divine flow is causeless and can never be opposed. We should try to take our stand in that plane. Bhakti is nirguṇa, beyond the influence of material nature, and it is ahaituki, causeless - that divine flow is eternally going on. And it is apratihatā: bhakti can never be checked by anyone. It is irresistible. This is the nature of the flow of devotion. Anyone who takes their stand in consonance, in harmony with that flow, will find the same thing; it can never be checked or given any successful opposition. This is the nature of bhakti according to Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.

Bhakti is the highest function of the soul (paro dharmo ). Our duty here must have its origin in the plane of bhakti; we must be able to read and catch and utilise that flow. We must dance in the waves of that flow. Everyone's highest duty will be full submission to the unseen, undetectable causal power, which has no cause, no rhyme, no reason. It is automatic, eternal, and can never be opposed by any forces here. And then only will we find our soul's greatest satisfaction. We will feel real satisfaction only when we come in touch with that most fundamental harmonious wave. Then we can feel the highest ecstasy. That is bhakti.

So in coming to such a great idea of life, whatever obstacles we must cross are only small losses and gains, victories and defeats. We should not allow them to disturb our march towards the truth. (LSFTLS, p 16) + (see also śloka 225)

So readjustment is necessary, and real religion means proper adjustment. We are now incorrectly adjusted and concerned with different types of separate interest: that is the difficulty. We have to change and find out the universal interest. That universal wave is the most fundamental current.

Sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharmo: The highest type of duty for everyone is yato bhaktir adhokṣaje, that your attention, your submission will be to Adhokṣaja, that unknown universal guardian. ahaituky apratihatā: that submission is causeless and cannot be opposed. The original vibration is forever existing. It is self-existent: it was never created, and it is eternally continuing. None can oppose it - that wave is irresistible.

Try to identify your interest with that wave. That is bhakti proper. This is the definition of bhakti: sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharmo; the highest duty of every soul is this. Bhakti is adhoksaja. Your attention, your interest should be diverted towards the infinite, to the unknown quarter and to the nth degree. The mathematicians may speak of calculating to the nth degree but actually this is beyond the nth degree. What are its qualities? ahaituki and apratihatā, ahaituki: no hetu, no cause; it is causeless. And apratihatā: it is eternal; it can never be stopped. None can oppose it or give any hindrance to it. It is so forceful and continuous, that none can stop it. (C, # 1, Spr. '91, p 5-6)

He is not the object to be inspected by us, but He is the Seer, He is the All-Knower never to be known by us. He is not to be used as an object by our knowing faculty. But with our submissive knowledge, knowledge of surrender, servitude, we are then permitted to see that Seer and know that All-Knower. In fact, He is beyond all our perceptions. The word adhoksaja is one of the dearmost words in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam has never distributed mere imaginary or sentimental feelings. No. There, everything has been distributed, widely distributed, which is closely related and relating to the divine knowledge in the "Super-scientific field." That Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam tells us: "Just be sincerely devoted unto that which you can never touch or feel through your material perceptions, by means of the activities of your worldly senses (through your limited sensual experience)." Sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharmo: "Whatever you can easily get within your grasp, you must know that this illusory thing always limits the real thing itself." That which limits the 'Truthful conception' of everything is called the 'magic' vision or 'magic conception, because it doesn't allow anyone to really know what is the infinite conception. Some things are finite in their identity - limited identity. You should know these things to be the production of Mahā-māyā. But the Adhoksaja-Tattva, He is always beyond your grasp, beyond being controlled by nature. (SS, v 6, # 1, '92, p 7) + (see ślokas 8 & 351)

savye pānau niyamita-ravaṁ kiṅkinī-dāma dhṛtvā
kubjī-bhūya prapada-gatibhir manda-mandaṁ vihasya
akṣṇor bhaṅgyā vihasita-mukhīr vārayan sammukhīnā
mātuḥ pāścād aharata harir jātu haiyaṅgavīnam

"Stifling the sound of His golden waist-bells with His left hand, with a cute smile, child Hari, stealthily crept into the milk churning area, gesturing silence with His eyes to the gopīs who had difficulty in checking their laughter, and stole freshly made butter, right from behind His mother's back!" (Śrī Caitanya Candra) + (SBRBM, p 24)

se du 'era madhye viṣayī tabu bhāla
māyāvādi-saṅga nāhi māgi kona kāla

"I shall never reside at a place unfavourable for devotional practices, and may I never take pleasure in non-devotional works." (TSOBT, p 31-2)

Of exploitation and renunciation (bhukti and mukti ), renunciation is more dangerous, because it holds a greater position than exploitation. It can exploit more, just as half-truth is more dangerous than falsehood. It can misguide the devotees more. It has its own special glamour, over and above exploitation. It can capture the scholars. One who wants relief can think: "Oh, this is the conception of relief; there is no further." Renunciation captures those who may have been making real progress towards their good, and tells them: "Yes, you have come here, you have succeeded." It captures them in the name of the higher plane. Renunciation holds some prestige over exploitation; people think: "Oh, that must be the highest goal." So, in this way, half-truth is more dangerous than falsehood. se du 'era madhye viṣayī tabu bhāla.

The association of a materialist is preferable to that of a māyāvādī . If the māyāvādī can make you enter into the cell of sāyujya-mukti, the liberation of merging with the Absolute, you are finished. There is no calculable time when you will be able to emerge from it. But if you are in materialism, viṣaya, the recruiters may come to you. You may get the chance of meeting a preacher in this material world. But in sāyujya-mukti you are nowhere. It is very difficult and rare to awaken you from the deepest possible sleep. So that is more dangerous, as half-truth is more dangerous than falsehood. The māyāvādī may even try to bring others into his impersonal conception, because he is suffering from that disease. He thinks that impersonal liberation is the highest, so he recruits for his own purpose.

Ye 'nye 'ravindākṣa vimukta-māninas tvayi (S-B, 10.2.32 - see śloka 609). They do not perceive the mistake in their calculation, but they think they have attained the highest type of liberation, and so they try to recruit others for their purpose. But there is a mistake in their calculation. They are not aware of the fact. They are misguided and they also help to misguide others. How can one who is not established in the truth guide others towards the truth? If it had been possible for him to know the truth, he would have gone toward the land of truth himself; but he has no knowledge of it. He has miscalculated.

Yam evaiṣa vṛṇute tena labhyaḥ (K-U, 1.2.23 - see śloka 335): but there is a conscious land, and whoever is accepted by that land can enter it. Otherwise, by dint of one's own power, no one can enter that land. This point has been missed by the māyāvādīs. (SOTGOD, v 1, p 122-5) + (see also ślokas 335 & 609)

sei sabera sādhu-saṅge guṇa sphurāya
kṛṣṇa-bhajana karāya, 'mumukṣā chāḍāya

"If those who are attached to demigod worship fortunately associate with the devotees, their dormant devotional service and appreciation of the Lord's qualities gradually awaken. In this way, they also engage in Kṛṣṇa's devotional service and give up the desire for liberation and the desire to merge into the existence of impersonal Brahman." (C-c, Madhya-līlā, 24.124)

In every camp, there is the possibility of a particular perfection. Ultimately, the zenith is in the service of Rādhārāṇī. Śānta, dāsya, sakhya, vātsalya are different rasas: Then, in madhura-rasa, the all comprehensive rasa which has got everything in it is possible. Here also, there are differences, differentiation is necessary. We will have to eliminate, and continue with elimination and acceptance up to Rādhā-kuinkujya. Elimination and acceptance even in the positive world - what to speak of this negative side? In the middle, there is such a stage of equilibrium, something like mukti. It may be a non-differentiated area, but that is also local, temporary and non-permanent. There will be no permanent solution for us until we reach the dynamic world of service, because utility is there. sei sabera sādhu-saṅge guṇa sphurāya.

The world is not without any objective! The Buddhists, the Śaṅkarites, - they have conceived that, through the process of merging into zero conception, that is everything. The highest end, then stop. The stoppage of everything: that is the conclusion? It cannot be! The world does have purpose. To become zero cannot be the end of life. Samādhi, the stoppage of all movement. Is polarity bad? It is not! Polarity may work in harmony and that is the success. The harmony and the polarity and the movement, no hitch.

Here in this world, movement means aggression. But there, it is just the opposite. Here, movement means sustenance. Sevā, service, everything is helping the other. Sustenance, movement means, real movement means dissipation. False movement means aggression, exploitation. The existence, real existence of the truth is this, and the existence is wholesome. Not only nothing, not even injurious, but it is wholesome existence. Everything is good. All is great movement; waves of grace of the Lord. Everything! (SS, v 3, # 1, '85, p 2) + (see also śloka 503)

siddhānta baliyā citte nā kara alasa
ihā haite kṛṣṇa lāge sudṛḍha mānasa

"A sincere student should not neglect the discussion of such conclusions (regarding the Absolute Truth in the revealed scriptures), considering them controversial, for such discussions strengthen the mind. Thus one's mind becomes attached to Śrī Kṛṣṇa." (C-c, Ādi-līlā, 2.117)

One in the uttama-adhikāra (highest) stage makes no attempt to preach. Distribution of propaganda is for those in the madhyama-adhikāra (middle) stage. It is there to take everyone from the narrow conception to the bright conception - from the improper to the proper conception, sambandha-jñāna - and they will carry out their activities accordingly.

Siddhānta baliyā citte nā kara alasa - To engage us more earnestly towards service sometimes hearing is necessary. To hear just for the sake of hearing, is luxury. But hearing for engagement, that is proper hearing.

The master calls: "Oh you, please bring me a glass of water." But the student remains sitting. "Did you hear me?"

"Yes, I heard." But still he remains sitting tight - that sort of hearing won't do!"

There is a saying amongst the sahajiyā section: "Gurudeva asked for a glass of water, but I am engaged in Harināma. 'No, Gurudeva, I'm engaged in Harināma.'" This is self-deception. (SGD, SGPI, 1991, p 13) + (see also śloka 111)

śloka dhenu pravakṣyāmi
yad aktam yānti kotibhiḥ
brahma satyaṁ, jagan mithyā
jīva brahmaiva na paraḥ

Śaṅkarācārya said: "In half a verse, I am summarising the truth that has been expressed by volumes and volumes of scripture. Within only half a verse I shall give the essence of all truths: brahma satyaṁ, jagan mithyā, Brahman, spirit, is true - this world is false. And the jīva is nothing but Brahman. This is the substance of all the scriptures."

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

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

Again, if everything is one, then the questions arise: "Why do we speak, and to whom are we speaking? For whom have the Vedas come with this advice? If everything is false, is this philosophy also imagination?" We will have to ask Śaṅkarācārya: "Does your coming to this world and your endeavour to refute Buddhism and establish oneness as the ultimate truth have no meaning? Who have you come to preach to? Why have you come to preach if this world has no reality? If this world is false, then why are you taking so much trouble to explain your philosophy? For what? Is your mission also imagination?"

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu explained that while Śaṅkarācārya has denied the existence of this perverted reflection, we cannot dismiss it. If it does not exist, then why has Śaṅkara come to preach Vedānta? Illusion means "this is not that." One thing may appear to be something else. An illusion is not what it appears to be, but it is not nonexistent. In that way it is real. It has its existence.

Within the real world which is created by the help of the Lord's internal energy, svarūpa-śakti, this world of misconception has no place. But in a relative way, the conditioned world has an indirect relationship with the unconditioned world. So māyā is existing. In that sense it is true. But it is false in that it cannot give you the desired result you are searching after. In that sense it is all false.

Both the relative and the absolute exist together; they are coexistent. The absolute and the relative are also represented in the Vedāntic aphorism tat tvam asi: Thou art that. tat or "that" is there and tvam "you" is also there. Both variety and unity are found represented in the aphorism tat tvam asi, but Śaṅkarācārya accepts one and rejects the other. His explanation is therefore a misinterpretation of the original meaning of the Vedānta-sūtras. (SEOC, p 75)

smarantaḥ smārayantaś ca,
mitho 'ghaugha-haraṁ harim
bhaktyā sañjātayā bhaktyā,
bibhraty utpulakāṁ tanum

"The devotees of the Lord constantly discuss the glories of the Personality of Godhead among themselves. Thus they constantly remember the Lord and remind one another of His qualities and pastimes. In this way, by their devotion to the principles of bhakti-yoga, the devotees please the Personality of Godhead, who takes away from them everything inauspicious. Being purified of all impediments, the devotees awaken to pure love of Godhead, and thus, even within this world, their spiritualised bodies exhibit symptoms of transcendental ecstasy, such as standing of the bodily hairs on end." (S-B, 11.3.31)

Bhakti will produce more bhakti, and that bhakti will also produce more bhakti - in this way. Nothing else comes as a fruit. Bhakti is such a thing, it is its own reward. (SOTGOD, v 1, p 194) + (see also ślokas 52 & 593)

so 'ham

Half-truth is more dangerous than falsehood. As in Śaṅkara's Māyāvāda, there is atheism in the garb of theism. They say "so 'ham: I am the highest substance." (SOTGOD, v 2, p 210) + (see ślokas 450 & 549)

sparśo 'pi mama nābhavat

"My fate was not to get even the slightest touch of it."

The conception and feelings of all the great devotees are of such type. Śrīla Prabhodānanda Saraswatī says: "It is there. I can see and feel that it is there but I am deprived." Rādhārāṇī Herself says: "Kṛṣṇa is qualified in every way. I can't blame Him in any way at all, but still He is so cruel to us all. He left Vṛndāvana and so we are all feeling extreme pain, but I cannot accuse Him in any way. This is My durddaiva-vilāsa ("Pastime of separation.") This is union in separation and it is a peculiar type of achievement. (SOTGOD, v 3, p 42) + (see also ślokas 76, 193 & 542)


Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda used to give this example; that in a fun-fair there is a bamboo post smeared with oil and ripe banana pulp, so it is very slippery. And if anyone can climb up he'll be given a reward, but wherever one catches the pole he slides down - cannot go up.

So it is like that, we cannot go up - āroha-panthā (ascending method; gain by assertion) that will not give us entrance there. The path is slippery, slippery, slippery. We can come down, but we cannot go up. So are we brave enough to deal with such a thing, we have such audacity? But still the position is there. It is by His grace, the line of His grace. He wants to distribute Himself in a line, so śrauta-panthā-guru-sampradāya (disciplic line teaching the descending method of receiving Divine Grace). It is exclusive, the necessity is there. The śrauta paramparā, guru paramparā. The knowledge and the bhajana, everything comes down from the infinite to the finite and never from finite to infinite via āroha-panthā. That should be the backbone of our movement, always. So whatever we shall go to do, we shall look up to gurudeva. "If you do it, it may be done, I am nothing, I am nowhere sir."

I found this in the character of Rāmānuja. Once he had a debate with a māyāvādī paṇḍit, for fourteen days, and came back frustrated, he could not defeat him. And he came to Lord Varadarāja: "What am I? I can't defeat this man. I am in discussion for so many days and I am trying to argue, but to no avail. I am nothing, nowhere. I should not go with my head errect as an ācārya of the sampradāya." He prayed to Śrī Varadarāja in His temple, and the next day, no sooner had they begun their talk, than that gentleman expressed his defeat, he clearly saw: "Yes, what you have said all these days, I have understood. I am wrong. What you say is right."

By His will, that man was defeated. So devotees are always expectant, upward. By guru's will, He may do anything through me, but otherwise I have nothing. If I go to assert myself, I'll not only be defeated, but I shall also be lost. But when I shall go to show the proud attitude in the name of my guru, sincerely, then it will be bhajana. It will help me and others also. As much as I have the tendency of receiving power from above, then my attempt will be real. And also the attempt of the ācārya will always be to bring things from above, from his guru and he is also always dependent. He can never say I am in possession of the potency power. No. Jagāi mādhāi haite muṣi se pāpiṣṭha ( see śloka 193). This is negativity, the conception of the ego of the negative. Negativity so intense, that: "I am nowhere but Nityānanda Prabhu is so great, He is patita-pāvana (Saviour of the fallen). So I have gotten everything by His grace." (C, v 1, # 5, Sum. '93, p 10-11) + ( see also ślokas 193 & 611)

bhakty-aṅgānāṁ hi yājane
akṣamasyāpi sarvvāptiḥ,
prapattyaiva harāv iti

"Everything is accomplished by surrendering unto the lotus feet of Śrī Hari, even for one who is unable to execute the integral practices of devotional service based on hearing and chanting." (SSPJ, p 13)

If one is not able, or does not have the opportunity to execute the different forms of services to Kṛṣṇa, if s/he has only śaraṇāgati (surrender), s/he will accomplish everything in the future. Śaraṇāgati will give everything. Śaraṇāgati is the most fundamental and basic substance in the devotional world. The whole structure of the devotional world is based on śaraṇāgati. Without śaraṇāgati there can be no real entrance into the domain of service. Śaraṇāgati is the very life essence of devotion, so it must be present in all forms of services. Without śaraṇāgati, service will be mere imitation, mere lifeless activity, and not proper devotion. Śaraṇāgati is the first condition (not the last resort). (SOTGOD, v 1, p 127-8) + (see also śloka 285)

śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ,
smaraṇaṁ pāda-sevanam
arcanaṁ vandanaṁ dāsyaṁ,
sakhyam ātma-nivedanam.
iti puṁsārpitā viṣṇau,
bhaktiś cen nava-lakṣaṇā
kriyeta bhagavaty addhā
tan manye 'dhītam uttamam

"Hearing about Kṛṣṇa, chanting Kṛṣṇa's glories, remembering Kṛṣṇa, serving Kṛṣṇa's lotus feet, worshipping Kṛṣṇa's transcendental form, offering prayers to Kṛṣṇa, becoming Kṛṣṇa's servant, considering Kṛṣṇa as one's best friend, and surrendering everything to Kṛṣṇa - these nine processes are accepted as pure devotional service." (S-B, 7.5.23-24)

"Hearing, speaking about, and remembering Kṛṣṇa, serving His lotus feet, worshipping His Deity form, praying, becoming His servant, cultivating His friendship, and surrendering to Him utterly are the nine processes of devotion. One who cultivates these nine processes of devotion, offering himself completely to Kṛṣṇa, can easily attain the ultimate goal of life."

What are the forms of sādhana? What are the means to attain kṛṣṇa-bhakti? How can we revive our innate love for Kṛṣṇa? We are told to hear about Him, to talk about Him, to meditate upon Him, to praise Him, and so on. But in his commentary on this verse, Śrīdhara Swāmī has explained that we should not anticipate what benefit we shall derive from śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ, hearing or talking or thinking about Kṛṣṇa. Rather we should pray: "May whatever service I do go to my Lord. I am not the enjoying party - He is the sole proprietor."

All these functions (śravaṇaṁ, kīrtanaṁ etc.) will be considered devotion only if one condition is fulfilled; otherwise they may be karma, jñāna, yoga, or anything else. They may even be vikarma, polluted misdeeds. One condition must be there to ensure that all these different forms of devotional activity are actually bhakti: We are His property; we are not the owners of any wealth or property. We must think: "My Lord is the possessor and I am in His possession. Everything is His property." (LSFTLS, p 14-5) + (see also śloka 13)

All these things are advised; a thousand details may be necessary. (SGAHG, p 11)

Śrīla Śrīdhara Swāmī in his commentary about this verse has said that if everything is dedicated to Him then all these things can be recognised as bhakti, otherwise it is all bogus. If I hear, chant, etc. to fulfil my own purposes then it is no longer bhakti. Whatever I shall do, it is for Him. Then whatever will be done, will be accepted as bhakti. It is the foundation on which bhakti stands.

Without śaraṇāgati, all karma, jñāna, yoga, will not be bhakti. Bhakti means that the result will go to the Lord. I am a slave to my Lord. I have got no independent personality to keep any independent property. I am wholly His servant. Whatever I shall acquire, everything I own is His. He has got the right to do anything with me that He likes, according to His sweet will. With this feeling, whenever we perform kīrtana, or smaraṇaṁ, etc., that will be devotional activity. When that is withdrawn, everything will go to hell. Just as when the stage, where the dancing is performed, is drawn away, then the whole thing comes down. Śaraṇāgati means self-dedication. Then the activity of the dedicated self will be bhakti. We must do everything on behalf of Kṛṣṇa, keeping Kṛṣṇa in sight, having no separate interest. Consciousness of separate interest has made us separate from Kṛṣṇa. Only when the common interest of everything is with Kṛṣṇa, then it will be bhakti. Śravaṇaṁ, kīrtanaṁ, etc., are mere forms, not life. In order to have a living devotion śaraṇāgati must be there. (GOD, p 17-8)

Prahlāda was requested by his father: "Please tell me what progress you are making in your gurukula study. What have you learned to be the best thing in life?"

Prahlāda answered (with these verses - S-B, 7.5.23-24): "I think the best study is this: to hear, chant, and serve - all in relation to Viṣṇu. That is the best utility of time for everyone in the world. This is what I consider to be the best thing I have learned."

Prahlāda's trouble began from here. His father replied: "Viṣṇu is my enemy eternally, and who has taught you that to cultivate love for Him in different ways is the best understanding of human life?" The torture began. We must also be prepared for that torture. Torture will increase our enthusiasm in an indirect way. Anything may come, anything may go on. Wherever that impetus, that intense tendency to serve Kṛṣṇa is to be found, there we must go. But it is nowhere, it is unknown and unknowable, and in this way transcendental. (GOD, p 23)

To give oneself is the substance of all devotional activity. This is also stated by Śrī Śrīdhara Swāmīpāda in his commentary of the nine basic devotional practices (śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ, etc.). If devotional hearing, chanting, etc., is already dedicated to Him, only then will it get recognition as devotion, bhakti. Otherwise, everything is bogus. If I hear to fulfil my mundane purpose, then it is no longer bhakti. If I perform kīrtana or speak Hari-kathā to make some money, then it will not be bhakti. "Whatever I shall do, it is for Him." That sort of bond must first be 'signed' and then whatever will be done on that basis will be recognised as bhakti. (SOTGOD, v 1, p 128-9)

The nine islands of Navadwīpa represent the nine fundamental processes of Devotional Service. Śrī Navadwīpa Dhāma - The Holy abode of the līlā of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu in West Bengal, is envisaged as a lotus flower. In the central island of the lotus is Antardvipa within its perimeter of ten miles, is Māyāpura, the Birthplace of Mahāprabhu who appeared under a Nima tree, hence the Name Nimāi. The centre of the lotus represents ātma-nivedanam or self-surrender. One has to first surrender, and then all the practices of Devotion follow. The petals of the lotus represent śravaṇam, kīrtanam, smaraṇam, pādasevanam, arcanam, vandanam, and dāsyam (hearing, chanting, remembering, serving the Lord's feet, worship, prayer, and servitorship). Sakhyam (friendship) is situated half on one side of the Ganges and half on the other. In this way, the nine islands of Navadwīpa are represented as a lotus flower embodying the Nine Standard Practices of Devotion. (SOTGOD, v 2, p 97-8)

śreyaḥ kairava candrikā vitaraṇaṁ

As soon as we come in contact with Kṛṣṇa, even in the form of mere sound through the ear, our real welfare begins to awaken. (śreyaḥ kairava candrikā vitaraṇaṁ ). Kṛṣṇa consciousness is infinitely surcharged with all the resources of our welfare. And those who can distribute Kṛṣṇa consciousness to the world are really benevolent and kind hearted. They give the most who give Kṛṣṇa to those who are helpless and disappointed. Only this sort of transaction should be continued in the world, to save these souls suffering from the disease of mortal connection. (S, v1) + (SOTVA, p 22) + (SGAHG, p 56) + (see also ślokas 108 & 589)

śreyaḥ sṛtiṁ bhaktim udasya te vibho,
kliśyanti ye kevala-bodha-labdhaye
teṣām asau kleśala eva śiṣyate,
nānyad yathā sthūla-tuṣāvaghātinām

"My dear Lord, devotional service unto You is the only auspicious path. If one gives it up simply for speculative knowledge or the understanding that these living beings are spirit souls and the material world is false, he undergoes a great deal of trouble. He only gains troublesome and inauspicious activities. His endeavours are like beating a husk that is already devoid of rice. One's labour becomes fruitless." (S-B, 10.14.4 ) + (C-c, Madhya-līlā, 22.22)

This is the only way of devotion, yet they have rejected it - kliśyanti ye kevala-bodha-labdhaye - they want to have a clear conception of You, Oh Lord, but - teṣām asau kleśala eva - their attempts have ended only in frustration. These are useless attempts at energising. Only His pain is the consequence of their endeavour. nānyad yathā sthūla-tuṣāvaghātinām - just as those who labour very hard to get the rice from the empty husk - the cover. They are trying their best to beat that husk in order to take the rice from there.

So, jñāna is - the heart's cover. It is the outer aspect - knowledge. Only the outer aspect. The substance, the rice, is devotion - is love. That is the tasteful thing within. jñāna-karma anavṛtam - other things are mere covers, but it is the thing within that is tasteful. Satyam-śivam-sundaram - Sundaram, beauty, is the reality. Anāndam, ecstasy, is the reality and all else is the outer cover. If we mix too much with the cover, then we cannot mix with the substance within. Then, our life is ultimately a disappointment. (SS, v 2, # 1, '84, p 4) + (see also ślokas 39 & 310)

"O Lord, those who want to have a clear conception of You through their intellect find their attempts useless. Their endeavours end only in frustration, like those who try to beat rice from an empty husk."

So jñāna, knowledge, is like an empty husk. Energy and knowledge are only outer aspects. The real substance, the rice, is devotion - love. That is the tasteful thing within. (LSFTLS, p 76) + (see also śloka 206)

śreyān dravyamayād yajñāj,
jñāna-yajñaḥ parantapa
sarvaṁ karmākhilaṁ pārtha,
jñāne parisamāpyate

"O Arjuna, subduer of the enemy, of those various sacrifices, the sacrifice of knowledge as mentioned, brahmāgnāv apare (2)...is far superior to the sacrifice of various articles, indicated by brahmārpaṇaṁ brahma haviḥ (1), because all action ultimately culminates in knowledge." (B-g, 4.33)

brahmārpaṇaṁ brahma havir,
brahmāgnau brahmaṇā hutam
brahmaiva tena gantavyaṁ,

"According to the basic principles of sacrifice, the sacrificial spoon, ladle, and other paraphernalia, the various offerings with clarified butter, the sacrificial fire, the priest who performs the sacrifice, and the act of offering the sacrifice and its reward - all are of the nature of Brahman, the Absolute. A person who, with this understanding, is constantly absorbed in divine action with one-pointed attention, certainly attains to the divine plane of the absolute." (B-g, 4.24)

daivam evāpare yajñaṁ,
yoginaḥ paryupāsate
brahmāgnāv apare yajñaṁ,

"Other karma-yogīs perform sacrifice in the worship of demigods such as Indra and Varuṇa. Other jñāna-yogīs, simply by vibrating the praṇava mantra, Oṁkāra, offer the individual soul (as the sacrificial clarified butter) unto the Supersoul (as the sacrificial fire)." (B-g, 4.25)

Śreyān dravya mayād yajñā, By sacrifice and yoga also, dedication is promoted. By dedication we live and grow, and by exploitation we die and go down. By renunciation we become zero and stand still like in deep slumber. So both exploitation and renunciation must be given up and dedication to the centre and to all in connection with the centre, must be taken up. I shall not exploit anything, at the same time I must not dismiss anything. Everything is friendly to me. One should see with that vision. (GOD, p 11) + (see also śloka 612)

śreyān sva-dharmo viguṇaḥ,
para-dharmāt svanuṣṭhitāt
sva dharme nidhanaṁ śreyaḥ,
para-dharmo bhayāvahaḥ

"It is better to carry out one's own duties a little imperfectly rather than faultlessly perform another's duties. Know that even death is auspicious in the discharge of one's duties appropriate to his natural position in the ordained socio-religious system, because to pursue another's path is perilous." (B-g, 3.35).

Many things are recommended in the scriptures, but they are meant to promote us towards the truth in an indirect way (sva dharme nidhanaṁ śreyaḥ ). (SGAHG, p 43) + (see also śloka 434)

According to one's capacity, he will purchase in the market. sve svehadhikāre yā niṣṭhā (see śloka 493). In the market, there may be valuable things, but the buyer must have some capacity to purchase them. The ṛṣīs, the tradesmen of knowledge have also gone so far as to say: "This is the highest. Go no further." Similarly, Kṛṣṇa says in the Bhagavad-gītā, sva dharme nidhanaṁ śreyaḥ, para-dharmo bhayāvahaḥ: "Don't go ahead - you'll be doomed. Take your stand here; go no further."

Why is such a great warning given to us? Generally our teachers advise us: "Pay full attention here. Only then will you understand everything completely, and your march to the end-point will be sincere and satisfactory. Otherwise, sahajiyāism, imitationism will enter your heart. Do you think that in one leap you can capture the summit of a hill? Impossible. You must march, but your march must be sincere. You must make real progress, not imitative progress." This warning is given at every stage of life. "This is the highest for you. Give your whole attention to this. Don't be absent-minded and haphazard in your study. Engage yourself fully in this lesson, and the next higher stage will come to you automatically." In this way, by gradual instalments, knowledge is revealed. (TSFSK, p 68) + (see also ślokas 207 & 493)

śrī-caitanya-dayāsudhā dhunidharo dāmodarā modado
rādhāśyāma rasāmṛtābdhi-makarabrātaika-samrāḍhiyaḥ
sa śrī rūpa ihāmṛtābdhi laharī-sparśe spṛhāṁ yacchatu

"With innermost hankering, I desire to embrace the waves of the ambrosial ocean known as Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, manifested by Śrī Rūpa Goswāmīpāda. He is the paragon of the nectarean mercy of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and enchants Śrīla Svarūpa Dāmodara by his beautiful qualities. He is the loving follower of Śrī Rāmānanda and Sanātana Goswāmīpāda, and as dear as life to Śrī Raghunātha dāsa Goswāmī and Śrī Jīva Goswāmī. He is the foremost kingfish in the nectarean ocean of ecstatic divine love of Śrī Rādhā Śyāma." (SBRBM, p 39-40)

This is Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣaka Śrīdhara Deva-Goswāmī Mahārāja's praṇama-maṇtra, in glorification of Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī, in the maṅgalācaraṇa of his presentation of Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu.

śrī caitanya mano'bhīṣṭaṁ,
stāpithaṁ yena bhūtale
svayaṁ rūpa kadā mahyaṁ,
dadāti sva-pandāntikaṁ

Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura said: "O when will Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī, who has firmly established in this world, the pure devotional teachings and principles of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and thus fulfilled His cherished desires, ever bless me with eternal shelter of his lotus feet?" (SOTVA, p 3) + (SBRBM, p 39)

When a devotee asked Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣaka Śrīdhara Deva Goswāmī Mahārāja: "How can we please you? What can we do that will be pleasing to you?" He replied: "Kṛṣṇa is for Himself, that is He exists for His own purpose, and we also exist for Him. When you can adopt this line of life, for which I am also trying to use my energy wholesale, when you will join that concern then I will be pleased.

What I am to do with this life, I like that others will also follow that. My life is only meant for Kṛṣṇa, and naturally I would like that others will also follow this same route. That is only natural. Śrī caitanya mano'bhīṣṭaṁ, what is the desire of Śrī Caitanyadeva, and accordingly, the desire of my Guru Mahārāja, I want to work towards fulfilling that.

Under the direction of my Gurudeva, I am following the path to Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa consciousness, where we will enter the domain where Rādhārāṇī is serving Her most beloved Lord Kṛṣṇa. We consider this to be our highest goal, and any day, any time in this infinite time, we want to reach that goal, the highest ideal. It is our only aim in life, and we consider that everyone should accept it as their summum bonum. (C, # 3, Spr. '92, p 6-7)

śrī-gaurānumataṁ svarūpa-viditaṁ rūpāgrajenādṛtaṁ
rūpādyaiḥ pariveśitaṁ raghu-gaṇair-āsvāditaṁ sevitam
jīvādyair abhirakṣitaṁ śuka-śiva-brahmādi sammānitaṁ
śrī-rādhā-pada-sevanāmṛtam aho tad dātum īśo bhavān

"What was sanctioned by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu by His descent was intimately known only to Śrī Svarūpa Dāmodara Goswāmī. It was adored by Sanātana Goswāmī and served by Rūpa Goswāmī and his followers. Raghunātha Dāsa Goswāmī tasted that wonderful thing fully and enhanced it with his own realisation. And Jīva Goswāmī supported and protected it by quoting the scriptures from different places. The taste of that divine truth is aspired for by Brahmā, Śiva, and Uddhava, who respect it as the supreme goal of life. What is this wonderful truth? śrī-rādhā-pada-sevanā: that the highest nectar of our life is the service of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. This is most wonderful. O Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, you are our master. It is within your power to allow them to bestow their grace upon us. You are in a position to bestow the highest gift ever known to the world upon us all. It is at your disposal. O Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, please be kind to us and grant us your mercy."

So Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, our most benevolent Lord, has come to search for His long lost servants and to give to them this highest ideal of divine love. Gaura Hari Bol! (LSFTLS, p 103)

"What is sanctioned by Gaurāṅga, and the very purpose, the inner meaning is known only to Svarūpa Dāmodara, and Śrī Rūpa, with his own hands, he has served that very thing to the devotees. And then, Ragunātha Dāsa, he has tasted and also, he has added something to that. And Jīva Goswāmī, Jīva Goswāmī has given protection to that by giving śastric evidence, and that, from different misconceptions of that thing of different types, has projected and the Brahmā, Śiva and Uddhava." (SGG, v 9) + (SS, v 3, # 1, '85, p 11)

"What was sanctioned by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu by His descent was intimately known only to Śrī Svarūpa Dāmodara Gosvāmī. Sanātana Gosvāmī, the elder brother of Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī, was attentive to that divine truth, and Rūpa Gosvāmī himself served that very thing with his own hands to the devotees. Raghunātha Dāsa Gosvāmī tasted its sweetness and also added something of his own to its flavour. (He was assisted in doing so by Raghunātha Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī and Gopāla Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī). What was distributed by Rūpa and tasted by Raghunātha was protected by Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī, who lent support to its divinity with scriptural evidence. The taste of that divine truth is aspired after by Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī, Lord Śiva, and Lord Brahmā, who regard it with the highest respect from a distance. What is that inconceivable ambrosia? The sublime sweet nectar of the mellows relished in the service of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī's holy lotus feet. O Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, within this world, you fully possess the ability to give us that extraordinary nectar." (SKM, p 54-5)

This poem is one of ten, collectively known as Śrīmad-Bhaktivinoda-viraha-daśakam, in glorification of Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, was appreciated very much by Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākura. (see also ślokas 124 & 573)

śrī-guru-caraṇa-kṛpā sāmarthya labhiyā
e-hena apūrvva vṛkṣa dilāma āniyā
ṭāniyā ānite vṛkṣa e karkaśa mana
nāśila ihāra śobhā śuna sādhujana
tomrā sakale hao e vṛkṣera mālī
śraddhā-vāri diyā punaḥ kara rūpaśālī
phalibe kalyāṇa-phala--yugala-sevana
kariba sakale mili' tāhā āśvādana

"By the grace of Śrī Guru's lotus feet,
I gained the ability
To bring you this beautiful tree, so sweet,
Of wish-fulfilling capacity.

O devotees, please hear me:
By dragging to this world that tree,
My harsh mind has taken away
Some beauty and grace that she did display.

But you, O devotees, are the attendants of her garden,
Who supply her sustenance and loving cultivation;
By the sweet waters of your devotional heart,
To once again her full beauty impart.

Being pleased by such tender care,
Benedictine fruits she will graciously bear:
The Divine Couple's service in pure devotion;
Together we'll taste in holy association."
(Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura)
(SOTGOD, v 1, p xvii)

śrī hari-vāsare hari-kīrtana vidhāna
nṛtya ārambhilā prabhu jagatera prāṇa
puṇya-vanta śrīvāsa-aṅgane śubhārambha
uṭhila kīrtana-dhvani gopāla govinda
mṛdaṅga mandirā bāje śaṅkha kāratāla
saṁkīrtana saṅge sava haila miśāla
brahmāṇḍe uṭhila dhvani pūriyā ākāśa
caudikera amaṅgala yāya sava nāśa
madhye nāce jagannātha miśrera nandana
savāra aṅgete śobhe śrī-candana mālā
ānande nācaye save haiyā bibholā
nijānande nāce mahāprabhu viśvambhara
caraṇera tāli śuni ati manohara
bhāvāveśe mālā nāhi rahaye galāya
chiṇḍiyā paḍaye giyā bhakatera gāya
yāra nāmānande śiva basane na jāne
yāra rase nāce śiva se nāce āpane
yāra nāme vālmikī haila tapodhana
yāra nāme ajāmila pāila mocana
yāra nāma śravaṇe saṁsāra bandha ghuce
hena prabhu avatari kali-yuge nāce
yāra nāma laye śuka nārada beḍāya
sahasra badana prabhu yāra guṇa gāya
sarva-mahā-prāyaścitta ye prabhura nāma
se prabhu nācaye dekhe yata bhāgyavāna
śrī kṛṣṇa-caitanya nityānanda cānda jāna
vṛndāvana dāsa tachu pada-yuge gāna

"Once, on the auspicious day on Ekādaśī, in the house of Śrīvāsa Paṇḍita, Śrīman Mahāprabhu inaugurated congregational Nāma-saṅkīrtana with great enthusiasm, accompanied by His devotees and associates. Surging in divine ecstasy, Śrīman Mahāprabhu, the life and soul of the universe, began to dance beautifully. The devotees surrounded Him being deeply touched and inspired by such an ecstatic moment and they also began to dance and sing the Holy Names like Gopāla, Govinda.

The combined sound vibrations of mṛdaṅga, mandira bells, karatāla and sankha in harmony with the congregational singing and dancing took everyone to the plane of transcendental delight. The holy vibration of saṅkīrtana filled the sky and spread through the ether all over the cosmic universal existence. Thus the atmosphere in all directions became purified and filled with auspiciousness by that divine sound. Everyone was decorated with fragrant sandalwood paste and beautiful garlands. The most wonderful rhythmic sound arose from the dancing footsteps of Śrīman Mahāprabhu which captivated the minds of the devotees. As He continued dancing in His own self-born ecstasy, the swinging flower garlands around His neck began to fall, decorating the earth.

The devotees beheld before their eyes, this rare and precious heart captivating, ecstatic dance of the Supreme Tattva, Śrī Gaurāṅga, who is the most worshippable object of even the great personalities such as Lord Śiva, Śuka, Nārada and others. Being totally overwhelmed and lost in the transcendental bliss of taking Mahāprabhu's Holy Name, Lord Śiva sometimes does not care for His formal appearance or obligation to retain His clothing, which sometimes falls down while He dances in the ecstasy of loving devotion. The pure devotees Śrī Śukadeva and Devārṣi Nārada are always blissfully engaged in relishing the nectar of His Holy Name and distributing it to all suitable jīva souls, wherever they travel.

By chanting and meditating upon His Holy Name, Śrī Vālmīki became a great powerful ṛṣi, and Ajāmila attained pure liberation. Even Anantadeva describes His unlimited glories with thousands of mouths. As one hears and takes His Holy Name with devotion, embracing its holy potency within the core of his heart, his existence becomes totally purified and he attains deliverance. The two brothers, Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Nityānanda Prabhu, are my beloved Masters and life and soul. Thus Vṛndāvana dāsa sings this song of Their glorification and devotionally offers it at Their Lotus Feet." (C-B, Madhya-līlā, 8) + (SBRBM, p 14-5)

śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya rādhā-kṛṣṇa nahe anya

"Although it is very difficult to enter into the Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa pastimes, most of the devotees of Vṛndāvana are attracted to the Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa-līlā. However, since Nitāi-Gauracandra are direct incarnations of Balarāma and Kṛṣṇa, we can be directly in touch with Lord Balarāma and Lord Kṛṣṇa through Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Nityānanda Prabhu. Those who are highly elevated in Kṛṣṇa consciousness can enter into the pastimes of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa through the mercy of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. It is said: śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya rādhā-kṛṣṇa nahe anya. Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu is a combination of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa." (C-c, Madhya-līlā, 16.281, purport)

So, the grace of Nityānanda Prabhu will construct a firm foundation for us. If there is a firm foundation, then we may build a great structure over it. If we have faith in Nityānanda, then that faith can bear any amount of weight. It won't betray us.

So, Śrīla A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swāmī has laid stress amongst the Westerners on devotion to Nityānanda. First, we must get His mercy. And then, afterwards, we can get the mercy of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu means Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa (śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya rādhā-kṛṣṇa nahe anya ). First achieve the mercy of Nityānanda Prabhu, and then Gaurāṅga Mahāprabhu, and then Śrī Rādhā Govinda. In these three stages, we must raise ourselves up.

And how to attain the mercy of Lord Nityānanda? One who finds more inclination to serve Gaurāṅga and His Dhāma, His transcendental land, and His servants can get the mercy of Nityānanda Prabhu. Nityānanda is very much kind to one who has some special tendency towards Gaura-līlā. (SGAHG, p 31-2)

śrī-kṛṣṇākarṣiṇī ca sā

Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī wrote: "The highest and most excellent capacity and qualification of devotion can forcibly draw Kṛṣṇa towards the devotee, though He is absolutely independent. Bhakti or self-sacrifice to the extreme, sacrifice for service - Loving Service - is so powerful that the Lord becomes a friend and in different ways He comes to meet His devotees." (SOTGOD, v 2, p 185) + (see also ślokas 10 & 238)

śrī-rādhā kṛṣṇa-lilā rasa-madhura-sudhāsvāda-śuddhaika-mūrtau
gaure śraddhāṁ dṛḍhāṁ bho prabhu-parikara-samrāṭ prayacchādhame 'smin
ullaṅghyāṅghriṁ hi yasyākghila-bhajana-kathā svapnavac caiva mithyā
śrī-nityānanda-candraṁ patita śaraṇadaṁ gauradaṁ taṁ bhaje 'ham

"O Nityānanda Prabhu, emperor amidst the personal associates of Śrīman Mahāprabhu! Kindly grant this fallen soul deep and resolute faith in that pure and divine figure of Śrī Gaurāṅga. Lord Gaurāṅga's Personality exclusively embodies the sweet nectar relished deep within the devotional mellows of Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa's pastimes. But if Your lotus feet are overlooked, then all so called devotional orations and prayers meant for the highest worship, become false like a dream. I worship You, that great Personality Nityānandacandra, who openly bestows shelter to the most fallen souls, freely granting the association of Śrī Gaurāṅgadeva." (SKM-ND, p 21)

"O Nityānanda Prabhu, emperor amidst the dear associates of Śrīman Mahāprabhu. Please bless this fallen soul with resolute faith and devotion to Śrī Gaurāṅga. Lord Gaurāṅga's Personality exclusively embodies the sweet nectar relished deep within the devotional mellows of Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa's pastimes. If Your lotus feet are deliberately overlooked, then all so called devotional prayers and worship of Gaurāṅga and the Divine Couple become false like a dream, but anyone who is devoted to Your holy feet can eventually attain all divine success. I worship You O Nityānanda Prabhu, Your mercy is my great hope. Please embrace me in the shelter of Your lotus feet and engage me in the service of Śrī Gaurāṅga." (SBRBM, p 6)

śrī rūpa-hṛdaye prabhu śakti saṣcārilā
sarva-tattva-nirūpaṇe 'pravīṇa' karilā

"By entering the heart of Rūpa Goswāmī, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu empowered him to ascertain properly the conclusions of all truths. He made him an experienced devotee whose decisions correctly agreed with the verdicts of the disciplic succession. Thus Śrī Rūpa Goswāmī was personally empowered by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu." (C-c, Madhya-līlā, 19.117)

The unique qualities, devotional taste and realisation of Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī became more and more obvious to the foremost associates of Mahāprabhu, who recognised the symptoms of his exalted level of consciousness and could not but feel profound appreciation for him. Śrīman Mahāprabhu Himself also became deeply enchanted by Śrīla Rūpa's excellent understanding of the deepest esoteric truths of ecstatic love. This was proven when Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu recited the following verse before the chariot of Śrī Jagannātha:

yaḥ kaumāra-haraḥ sa eva hi varas tā eva caitra-kṣapās
te conmīlita-mālatī-surabhayaḥ prauḍhāḥ kadambānilāḥ
sā caivāsmi tathāpi tatra surata-vyāpāra-līlā-vidhau
revā-rodhasi vetasī-taru-tale cetaḥ samutkaṇṭhate

"That very Personality Who stole My heart during My youth is now again My Master. These are the same moonlit nights of the month of Caitra. The same fragrance of mālatī flowers is there, and the same sweet breezes are blowing from the kadamba forest. In Our intimate relationship, I am also the same lover, yet My mind is not happy here. I am eager to go back to that place on the bank of the Revā under the Vetasī tree. That is My desire." (K-p) + (P ) + (C-c, Antya-līlā, 1.78)

This was considered an ordinary mundane verse from Kāvya-prakāśa and as such some of the devotees could not clearly understand why Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was reciting it. Śrīla Svarūpa Dāmodara Goswāmī and Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī fully understood Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's inner mood. Feeling deep inspiration, Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī then composed his famous Sanskrit verse:

priyaḥ so 'yaṁ kṛṣṇaḥ sahacari kuru-kṣetra-militas
tathāhaṁ sā rādhā tad idam ubhayoḥ saṅgama-sukham
tathāpy antaḥ-khelan-madhura-muralī-paṣcama-juṣe
mano me kālindī-pulina-vipināya spṛhayati

Upon arriving in Kurukṣetra, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī said: "O My dear friend, now I am at last reunited with My most beloved Kṛṣṇa in Kurukṣetra. I am the same Rādhārāṇī, and He is the same Kṛṣṇa. We are enjoying Our meeting, but still I wish to return to the banks of the Kālindī, where I could hear the sweet melody of His flute sounding the fifth note beneath the trees of the Vṛndāvana forest." (P, 383) + (TGVODL, p 163)

Priyaḥ so 'yaṁ kṛṣṇaḥ, explaining the intimate purport to the mood of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Eventually when Mahāprabhu discovered the verse inscribed on a palm leaf hidden in the roof, He became charmed by the fine quality of Śrīla Rūpa's realisation and extraordinary ability to understand His mind. He fondly patted him with profound feelings of appreciation and asked Śrīla Svarūpa Dāmodara Goswāmī: "How did Rūpa know My heart?"

To which, Svarūpa pleasantly replied: "Prabhu, such ability in Śrī Rūpa is definite proof of Your special grace and empowerment upon him."

Thus suffused and empowered by the grace of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, whom he accepted in heart as the unified manifestation of the Divine Couple, Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī revealed the most authentic, authoritative and high class devotional literature describing the transcendental nature, conclusions and intimate pastimes of Śrī Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. Being imbued with the beauty of this deep devotional realisation, his famously known writings and compositions, Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, Ujjvalla Nīlamaṇi, Śrī Upadeśāmṛta, Dāna-keli-kaumudī, Laghu-Bhāgavatāmṛta, Utkalika vallari, Stava-mālā, Padyāvalī, and others became considered the most valuable treasure in the world of intimate loving service. Śrīla Guru Mahārāja composed ten verses known as Śrīmad Rūpa-pada-rajaḥ Prārthanā Daśakam to describe and honour this exalted contribution of Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī. (SSPJ, p 210-14) + (see also ślokas 154, 214 & 272), (SBRBM, p 40-1)

śrī-rūpa-mañjarī-pada sei mora sampada
sei mora bhajana-pūjana
sei mora prāṇa-dhana sei mora abharaṇa
sei mora jīvanera jīvana

sei mora rasa-nidhi sei mora vāṣchā-siddhi
sei mora vedera dharama
sei vrata, sei tapaḥ sei mora maṇtra-japa,
sei mora dharama-karama

anukūla habe vidhi se pade haibe siddhi
nirakhiba e dui nayane
se-rūpa mādhurī-rāśi prāṇa-kuvalaya - śaśī
praphullita habe niśi-dine

tuyā adarśana ahi garale jarala dehi
cira-dina tāpita jīvana
hā hā prabhu kara dayā deha more pada-chāyā
narottama laila śaraṇa

"The divine lotus feet and shelter of Śrī Rūpa Mañjarī are my ever cherished invaluable wealth and object of my devotional service and worship. They are the treasure of my heart that adorns my existence and they are the life of my life. They are the infinite reservoir of all transcendental mellows and the perfection that fulfils all my desires. They are the conclusion of the esoteric meaning of the Vedas for me. They are the goal of my vows, austerity, maṇtras and meditation. They are the purpose of my inner divine existence and the spiritual activities of my soul.

I am earnestly praying that the divine will of providence will greatly favour me so I may maintain perfection in the pure loving service of her lotus feet. At that moment the moonlike beauty and radiance of Śrī Rūpa Mañjarī will appear before my eyes captivating and bathing the lotus of my heart with rays of ecstasy constantly day and night. My heart burns afflicted by the venomous bite of separation from such a beautiful life of fulfilment. I am in such desperate need therefore, O my divine mistress Śrī Rūpa Mañjarī, please shower your ambrosial mercy upon me, soothe me, and embrace me in the shade of your lotus feet. Narottama dāsa takes complete shelter of you." (PL, 16) + (SBRBM, p 43-4) + (SOTVA, p 86-7)

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."

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 Ṭhākura 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) + (see also śloka 272)

śrī rūpa mañjarī,
prabhṛtir sama,
jugala-sevāya āśa
avaśya se-rūpa,
sevā pābo āmi,
parākāṣṭā su-viśvāśa

"I deeply aspire to execute confidential service to the Divine Couple, similar to that which is rendered by Śrī Rūpa Mañjarī and her associates. I know one day I will certainly attain that highest kind of service for I so intensely long for it with absolute totality of faith." (SBRBM, p 46) + (GMSL, 8, v 3)

śrī rūpa mañjarī, sakhī kṛpā-dṛṣṭe cāṣa
tāpi narottame siṣca sebāmṛta diya

"O Śrī Rūpa Mañjarī, the intimately beloved friend of the Divine Couple! Please cast your merciful glance upon me. Please soothe this distressed Narottama by sprinkling the nectar of your devotional service on me." (P, 21. v 5) + (SBRBM, p 45)

śrī rūpa mañjarī, saṅge jābo kabe
tad-anugā ho'ye rādhā-kuṇḍa taṭe
rohibo harṣitāntare

"When will that precious fortune be mine, when Śrī Rūpa Mañjarī will take me with her to the banks of Śri Rādhā-kuṇḍa, the most favourite place of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. There She will give me lessons in the performance of rasa sevā making me follow her own example. Remaining under her affectionate care and guidance with all loyalty and obedience I will thus ecstatically pass time in her company." (GM-SL, 4, v 2) + (SBRBM, p 45-6)

śrī-rūpa paścāte āmi rahiba bhita hāṣa
doṅhe punaḥ kahibena āma pāne cāna
sadaya hṛdaye doṅhe kahibena hāsi
koṭhāya paile rūpa ei naba dāsī
śrī rūpa mañjarī tabe doṅha-bākya śuni
mañjuālī dila more ei dāsī āni
ati namra-citta āmi haibe janila
sebā-kārya nīya tabe heṭhāya rakhila
hena tattwa doṅhakāre sākṣāte kahiyā
narottama sebāya dibe niyukta kariyā

"I long for that priceless moment, when on the plane of transcendence, following behind Śrī Rūpa Mañjarī with all awe and reverence, I will meet the Divine Couple. They will graciously look at me and silently express Their deep affection to my heart. Compassionately smiling They will ask: "Śrī Rūpa, where did you find this beautiful new maidservant?" Upon hearing this sweet inquiry, Śrī Rūpa Mañjarī will then address the Divine Couple, telling Them all about me: "Feeling special care, my dear friend Mañjuālī thought this new girl would be sublimely dedicated to Your service, so she fondly brought her to me." Thus by her personal request and recommendation, Śrī Rūpa Mañjarī will eternally engage me in the devotional service of the Divine Couple of Vraja." (SBRBM, p 45) + (P, 19)


"His pastimes culminated in the Gambhīrā-līlā with His closest associates Śrī Svarūpa Dāmodara and Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya. For twelve long years He remained within the fire of deep feeling of separation from Kṛṣṇa, which He relished and discussed with His associates. At the same time He was like an elephant, intoxicated with love for Rādhārāṇī and His being was vibrant with Rādhā bhāva, for He was beautiful Kṛṣṇa Himself illuminated by the beautiful bodily effulgence of Śrī Rādhikā. I sing with joy the unending glories of my golden Lord Gaurasundara the beautiful, the divine abode of pure love." (PDDS, 54)

"Diving deep into the reality of His own beauty and sweetness, Kṛṣṇa stole the mood of Rādhārāṇī and, garbing Himself in Her brilliant lustre, appeared as Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. For the last twelve years of His manifest pastimes He was deeply absorbed in union and separation and shared His heart's inner feelings with His most confidential devotees. Volcanic eruptions of ecstasy flowed from His heart in the agony of separation from Kṛṣṇa. And His teachings, known as Śikṣāṣtakam, appeared from His lips like streams of golden lava. I fall at the feet of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the Golden Volcano of Divine Love."

He was vomiting the fire of painful separation from Kṛṣṇa in the form of Śikṣāṣtakam. Therefore, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is compared to a golden volcano and the Śikṣāṣtakam is compared to divine lava. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has taught us that separation is the highest principle in divinity. Just as the most intense conception of ecstasy is association with Kṛṣṇa, the most intense conception of pain is separation from Kṛṣṇa. Yet the pain felt from Kṛṣṇa's separation is far more intense than the ecstasy felt from His association. Śrīman Mahāprabhu says: "Can't you understand the painful situation you are in? Your senses must have all been destroyed! Otherwise you would have died from the pain of separation from Kṛṣṇa. It is inconceivable. We belong to Him wholesale. He is all in all to us, but we can't see Him. We are forcibly separated from Him. How can we tolerate this?" And Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura once said: "I can't tolerate separation from Kṛṣṇa any longer. I can go on for only three or four more days, and then I shall have to leave this body." (TGVODL, p xi, xii) + (see also śloka 76)

śriyaḥ kāntāḥ kāntaḥ parama-puruṣaḥ kalpataravo
drumā bhūmiś cintāmaṇigaṇamayī toyam amṛtam
kathā gānaṁ nāṭyaṁ gamanam api vaṁśī priyasakhī
cid ānandaṁ jyotiḥ param api tad āsvādyam api ca
sa yatra kṣīrābdhiḥ sravati surabhībhyaś ca sumahān
nimeṣārddhākhyo vā vrajati na hi yatrāpi samayaḥ
bhaje śvetadvīpaṁ tam aham iha golokam iti yaṁ
vidantas te santaḥ kṣiti-virala-cārāḥ katipaye

"That place where the Divine Goddesses of Fortune are the Beloved, and Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Male, is the only Lover; all the trees are Divine wish-fulfilling trees, the soil is made of Transcendental Gems and the water is nectar; where every word is a song, every movement is dancing, the flute is the dearmost companion, sunlight and moonlight are Divine Ecstasy, and all that be is Divine, and enjoyable; where a great ocean of milk eternally flows from the udders of billions of Surabhī cows and the Divine time is eternally present, never suffering the estrangement of past and future for even a split second . . .that Supreme Transcendental Abode of Śvetadvīpa do I adore. Practically no one in this world knows that place but for only a few pure devotees - and they know it as Goloka." (B-s, v 56)

And only my soul can take a stand in that plane and move in harmony with that plane. Kathā gānaṁ nāṭyaṁ gamanam. In Brahma-saṁhitā it is mentioned: "All the talks there are as sweet as song; all the walking there, movement, is as sweet as dancing." In this way, everything is sweet. That is the harmonious movement plane. In Vṛndāvana. We have to go back to that home.

We have come out with the spirit of colonisation in a foreign land, with the bad object of exploitation. For that purpose of exploitation we have come to colonise in this material world, and as a reaction we suffer. The whole cover must be eliminated, and our person within, the finest ego, must emerge. Within this gross mischievous ego there is the finer ego, soul; and that is the child of that soil. (SOTGOD, v 2, p 191)

śṛṇvantu viśve amṛtasya putrāḥ

Try to realise that your situation is full of honey - full of nectar. Don't try to see only the outer cover. Your vision must be deep enough to see the real position. Then you will find everything is like nectar to you. Śṛṇvantu viśve amṛtasya putrāḥ. This clarion call is coming from the Veda: "O you sons of nectar! Attempt to listen to My words! You are really sons of the nectar lake. Why should you be like poison? Are you a poisonous unit? Are you now down-trodden to become units of poison? But your real, innate self - you are a drop of the nectar ocean!" Śṛṇvantu viśve amṛtasya putrāḥ. "Awake! Arise! Arise to your self-consciousness that you are a drop of the nectar ocean! Try to realise it!" (SOTGOD, v 1, p 175)

śrotavyādīni rājendra nṛṇāṁ santi sahasraśaḥ
apaśyatām ātma-tattvaṁ gṛheṣu gṛha-medhinām

Śukadeva Goswāmī said to King Parīkṣit: "Those persons who are materially engrossed, being blind to the knowledge of ultimate truth, have many subject matters for hearing in human society, O Emperor." (S-B, 2.1.2)

If we seriously take note of when Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam appeared in this world, and through whom it appeared, immediately we can see with our clear vision that were present the speaker, Śukadeva Goswāmī, and the hearer, Parīkṣit Mahārāja. The speaker is seen to be steadfastly situated in the transcendental plane of super-dedication, whereas the hearer shows himself to be in this mundane plane, to be very much confused, and in want.

King Parīkṣit had very little time left to live. He enquired as to what process would give him the supreme benefit of life. Śrī Śukadeva Goswāmī happily received his question, furthermore he declared this to be the only suitably sufficient uestion for the conditioned souls as well as for the real searchers of the truth. (SOTGOD, v 3, p vi)

śrutibhir vimṛgyām
(S-B, 10.47.61)

Those revealed scriptures - they are only searching after such things - that is, the Sweet Pastimes of the Highest Good, the Highest Ecstatic Personality. So, from the Oṁ - "Yes," "Yes" is going up to the rāsa-līlā of love. In rāsa-līlā of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, it is mentioned that the Śrutis, the Vedas, they are begging forgiveness.

"We could not have any conception of such līlā, and we failed to give direction to this happy end of the Absolute Truth. We could not express it. So, we beg forgiveness. We could not follow and nor could we advise the people that ānandam is of this type. We could not understand. We could not make the others understand. So, we beg forgiveness." (When they participated in rāsa-līlā ).

Such a thing! First thing! The Absolute and the paraphernalia in mad dance! And singing, . . .so near and dear. "And this class of ecstasy - this substance is being distributed to the environment? Such an atmosphere? - This is the highest! We could not begin to understand it ourselves - what to speak of make it known to others?"

Śrutibhir vimṛgyām; The Vedas are only pointing out the direction: "Go this side, go this side - this direction - So far, we are like a gate-keeper. We can show that the harem is on this side. More than that, we cannot say." The guide in the palace, he may also say: "Oh, the harem is there; this side, this is the court, this is the police station," etc. - a general guide:" (SS, v 4, #1, '86, p 8) + (see also śloka 574)

The Ṛṣis, the Seers, saw that the Vedic mantras were eternal. They are not creators of the mantras in the Vedas, they are only seers and feelers of spiritual current; they are only observers. The knowledge that is contained in the Śruti (Vedas ) is not created by anyone or anything. It is eternal and flowing. The Ṛṣis are onlookers and recorders. And that Śruti has come to reveal the Fundamental Truth underlying the whole creation; still, they are only inquisitive of something, they are enquiring about something. What that thing is, they do not know. They are only searching for the highest revelation that ever came down in the world. They are only searching for that reality, but they have not yet come into its connection.

And this is kṛṣṇa-bhakti and vraja-bhakti - loving devotion for Kṛṣṇa in Vṛndāvana. And Mahāprabhu and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam came with the quality of that type of adherence to the Truth: unconditional surrender, adherence, searching, and serving attitude, seeking such fortune of serving the Truth. That higher type of truth and existence is such that if we can be only a seeker after it, we may consider ourselves to be possessors of the highest fortune. We can really post ourselves in the path leading to the Highest Truth.

That quality is the very basis and the degree of self-surrender (ātma-nivedanam ). Whatever beautiful and valuable things we come across, we cannot but surrender ourselves to them. That is the criterion. If we come across anything higher within our vicinity, our appreciation means surrendering ourselves unto that. So according to the degree of our surrender, we have to measure what degree of quality of truth we have come across. That can be measured only according to the degree and intensity of surrender, or how much we could surrender to what we came into connection with, to the point of no return. And the true devotees know no satisfaction or fulfilment of feeling that "I have it." They feel no trace of such satisfaction that "I have achieved." Never. The inner sweetness of the truth and its infinite characteristic is such. It attracts. It can attract to the highest degree and magnitude. (SOTGOD, v 1, p 113-5)

Vyāsadeva has given the Kṛṣṇa conception of Godhead in his Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Devaṛṣi Nārada came to instruct Vyāsadeva to spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness of Godhead, for without that everything is tasteless: "Whatever you have delivered until now, will all be tasteless and redundant if you do not ultimately connect it with Kṛṣṇa consciousness."

The general Vedic culture could not reveal the meaning of Kṛṣṇa consciousness properly. At the time of rasa-līlā the Śruti, the higher Vedas personified, are admitting: "We failed to express You, my Lord. We could not understand that You are so beautiful and so loving. We failed to distribute Your such high conception to the public." The Śrutis are confessing this. "Mostly what we have so far given the public to understand is somewhat Brahma or Paramātma, but now we are charmed! There is such beauty within! So charming, so loving. We failed to understand, and we also failed to deliver. May we be forgiven for our failure."

Then Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam came. Śrutibhir vimṛgyām: all the revealed truth is only trying to show the direction: "Go this side. We do not know it fully, but we can say that it must be somewhere this side." This is the general instruction of all the revealed truth in the world. "It is very sweet. It must be very sweet, high and fulfilling our highest need, and more. But we could not understand this. It is so loving, so charming and so beautiful as to attract us to the utmost - we even forget our own existence. We could not understand this!" This is the confession of the general revealed truth. This has been given in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam by Vedavyāsa and by Nārada, Śuka, etc. (SGD, SGP, '97, p 16-7) + (see also śloka 383)

The hidden treasure attracts our hearts. We have been deprived of our heart's deepest interest. Although we have a natural claim to it, it has been hidden from us (śrutibhir vimṛgyām ). In an unparalleled way, Śrī Gītā considers all these aspects and directs us to the correct meaning and conclusion of all the Upaniṣads. From this point, the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam begins.

śrutim apare smṛtim itare,
bhāratam anye bhajantu bhava-bhītāḥ
aham iha nandaṁ vande,
yasyālinde paraṁ brahma

Raghupati Upādhyāya says: "Those who fear rebirth in this world may follow the advice of the Vedic scriptures - others may follow the Mahābhārata - but as for me, I follow Nanda Mahārāja, in whose courtyard the Supreme Absolute Truth plays as a child." (C-C, Madhya-līlā, 19.96) + (P, 126)

In the system of varṇāśrama-dharma, Vedic social duty, the people in general are under the guidance of the Smṛti, Vedic law. In this way, they are engaged in bodily duties with a colour of godliness. Those who are free from physical demands, however, who are trying to transcend this life of enjoyment and exploitation, generally take their guidance from the Upaniṣads because higher advice is given there.

Raghupati Upādhyāya says: "I don't care for all these things, but I feel a need to follow the guidance of my heart. I am not so much concerned with the brain; I consider that real peace has its connection with the heart. And my heart is always attracted by Kṛṣṇa's father, Nanda. Kṛṣṇa is said by authorities to be the Supreme Absolute Truth, and that Absolute is crawling in the courtyard of Nanda Mahārāja, so I see concrete reality there." (see also śloka 321)

This was the answer to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's questions to Raghupati Upādhyāya, near Mathurā: "Whom do we want to have as our master? Who is the final goal of our life?"

Raghupati Upādhyāya 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." (TGVODL, p 128-130)

"Of persons afraid of material existence, some worship the Śruti Scriptures (Vedas), some worship the Smṛti Scriptures (supplementary Religious Codes), and others worship the Mahābhārata. But as far as I am concerned, I worship Nanda Mahārāja, in whose courtyard the Supreme Absolute Truth is playing." (SSPJ, p 47)

Raghupati Upādhyāya was a scholar and a devotee. He came to see Mahāprabhu and Mahāprabhu enquired: "Paṇḍita, what is your mainstay of life; what keeps you going on?"

He answered: "I am a little disappointed. I have gone through many scriptures, but I am not satisfied with them. My finding with the scriptures is mostly this, that those who are afraid of the uncertainty of this mundane life of birth and death seek shelter of the holy scriptures to save themselves.

Those who are too afraid of their mundane life in this world, and worldly affairs (bhava-bhītāḥ ), run to find some consolation in the scriptures, to find if they give any clue, any way, any path to get out. There are various scriptures, the Śrutis, the Smṛti, and Mahābhārata, including Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā, but generally, those who approach them run there to get relief, being frightened by their present circumstances. But I do not care for that. I do not care for those śāstras (scriptures), because I have found the symptoms of my real interest in one place. Where is that? "aham iha nandaṁ vande, yasyālinde paraṁ brahma" - "I find that Unknown and Unknowable thing is crawling in the compound of Nanda Mahārāja, a cow-keeper! In the compound of a cow-keeper the 'param brahma' is crawling! This is charming, the most charming of all charms! My heart is sold there." It is hinted here that this is in itself the result of what is achieved by following all these scriptures. And Mahāprabhu gave His appreciation of that. (SVT, v 1, # 1, Jan-Feb. '92, p 5) + (see also śloka 321)

sthira haṣyā ghare yāo, nā hao bātula
krame krame pāya loka bhava-sindhu-kūla

"Compose yourself and go home - don't be a madman. One reaches the shore of the material ocean gradually." (C-c, Madhya-līlā, 16.237)

When Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu went back to Śrī Advaita Ācārya's house (Advaita-bhavan) after His sannyāsa, Raghunātha Dāsa came and saw Him, and became mad with love of Kṛṣṇa. His heart was completely melted by Mahāprabhu's beauty and charming Personality, His Devotion and His Teachings of Devotion for Kṛṣṇa. Mahāprabhu Himself was also aware of this. Raghunātha would not leave Mahāprabhu, but the Lord told him: "Go home. Don't be over-enthusiastic; control yourself. Keep your Divine Love for Kṛṣṇa within your heart, and don't express it outwardly. Don't advertise it. Very soon the time will come when Kṛṣṇa will guide you. He will make a way for you. Don't allow any external show but keep it within your heart."

Then, he later came into the association of Nityānanda Prabhu in Pāṇihāṭi. Nityānanda Prabhu said to him: "You are the son of a rich man, so manage to give a feast here for My followers."

Raghunātha did so, and Nityānanda Prabhu was very satisfied. He also blessed him, saying: "Very soon your bright day will come." And He addressed His devotees, "See this young boy, he has immense wealth; in abundance he has everything required for a young man's enjoyment, but he does not care for it. Kṛṣṇa's Grace has come down into his heart, so he does not care for anything of this world; but he's mad to leave his home of material grandeur and become a street beggar. He has become mad for Kṛṣṇa. Just see his high ideal, devotion, attraction. He is very, very fortunate. This royal dignity and prosperity cannot please him." (SOTGOD, v 2, p 117-9)

strī-putrādi-kathaṁ jahur viṣayiṇaḥ śāstra-pravādaṁ budhā
yogīndrā vijahur marun niyamaka-kleśaṁ tapas tāpasāḥ
jñānābhyāsa-vidhiṁ jahuś ca yatayaś caitanyacandre param
āviṣkurvati bhakti-yogapadavīṁ naivānya āsīd rasaḥ

"Something most wonderful and miraculous has happened because the Divine full moon Śrī Caitanyacandra has graciously illuminated the sky of everyone's heart, imbuing them with ambrosial transcendental love. Being deeply attracted by that, the materialists have given up talking about their wives, children and mundane affairs. The paṇḍits have given up arguing the scriptural conclusions, the yogīs have given up the difficulty of controlling the breath, the ascetics have given up their austerity, and the impersonalist renunciates have given up their pursuit of impersonal philosophy. Now there is only one exclusive and super excellent taste, the nectar of pure devotional service, compared to which, nothing else is attractive anymore." (C-Cand, 113) + (SBRBM, p 11-12)

śrotriyaṁ brahma niṣṭham
guru evābhigacchet

What will be the position of the guru? He will be well-versed in the scriptures, the śruti-śāstra, or that knowledge which can only be acquired through the medium of sound, by attentive earnest hearing (śrotriyaṁ brahma niṣṭham ). brahma niṣṭham means: "One who is established in brahman, spirit, and who is acquainted with the causal position of the universe." guru eva means that we must certainly approach the spiritual master. abhigacchet means that the approach should not be haphazard or hesitating. One should go with a clear and honest, full heart. Our gurudeva Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākura used to say: "You have not come here cutting any return ticket."

I have seen, I have got full experience of this mortal world. I have nothing to aspire after here. One must have this clear consciousness that there is no other way to live. No one can live in the mortal plane whereas the innate tendency everywhere is to live. There is no means to live here, but I only want to live, to save myself. So I am running to take real shelter, and this is my earnest desire and utmost necessity.

Samitpani (from śloka 501) means that the necessary materials will be taken by the disciple. He won't go to trouble his own guru. With his own bed, baggage and everything he requires he will go to the spiritual master, not to show some kindness to him, that I have come to give you some name and fame, etc.

And what will be the qualification of the guru? śrotriyaṁ brahma niṣṭham, śrotriyaṁ means that he will be well versed in the śruti-śāstra. This is not ordinary knowledge but revealed truth. Revelation in many shades has been spread throughout the world from the higher plane. Guru must have some spacious, graphic and extensive knowledge about revealed truth. And he should already be practising the real life. śabde pare ca niṣṇātaṁ (from śloka 507) means that one should be well versed in revealed truth, śabde śāstra, or śruti-śāstra. Not only the precepts of the revealed scriptures, but one should be in contact with and conversant with the very object of the scriptures.

One should approach an experienced person who is established in that plane of consciousness if he wants to get relief and to understand what is the highest benefit in the world and how to attain it. His activities are all with brahman, not with the material world. Brahman is the plane which can accommodate everything. It is the most fundamental, vyoma or basis of everything. Guru is always leading his life in relation with that plane and not with any mortal mundane reference. He is always doing everything in connection with that plane. Whatever he does is only in that consciousness. That is brahma niṣṭham. (GOD, p 16-7) + (see also ślokas 501 & 507)

sudurdarśam idaṁ rūpaṁ,
dṛṣṭavān asi yan mama
devā apy asya rūpasya,
nityaṁ darśana-kāṣkṣiṇaḥ

"Oh Arjuna, the chance to see Me as you are now seeing Me before you is very, very rarely attained. Even the gods constantly aspire for a glimpse of this human-like form of truth, consciousness and beauty." (B-g, 11.52 )

Generally it may be thought that the divya-darśana, the vision of the Universal Form, is what is very rarely to be found. But by the specific use of the words dṛṣṭavān asi, in the present tense, and not dṛṣṭavān which is past tense, our interpreters say that here what is being referred to is the human-like form.

The Lord is saying: devā apy asya rūpasya, nityaṁ darśana-kāṣkṣiṇaḥ: "At present, how you are seeing Me, that is in My two-handed figure. But the public can't understand, they generally look to My catur-bhuja-rūpa, four-handed form. Or they look to My divya-rūpa, which contains the whole cosmic manifestation within, as the highest; but that is a troublesome form of Myself. It is not natural, but it is like My playing the part of a magician: 'Everything is in Me! See this, and this and now this!' That is not aprākṛta but it is full of majesty of different types mixed together."

But the aprākṛta-rūpa, is dvi-bhuja, the two-handed form. Kṛṣṇa told Arjuna: sudurdarśam idaṁ rūpaṁ: "This saccidānanda two-armed human-like form of Mine which you are seeing is very, very rarely seen. Even the demigods constantly aspire for a glimpse of this form."

Of all the Lord's Pastimes, the highest is very near to that of human type - aprākṛta (Kṛṣṇa is always aprākṛta - prākṛta means 'mundane' and aprākṛta means similar in appearance to the mundane plane but in fact just the opposite). It is like human life. Rather, human life has been fashioned after His highest form of Playful Life. The model is there in the original, highest form of life, and human society has been fashioned after that.

In the Bible also it is said: "God made man after His own image." And the Vṛndāvana-līlā appears most human-like and ordinary, even to the extent where the Lord acts like a rogue and a debauchee by stealing, lying and doing anything and everything - all in the sweetest way. (SOTGOD, v 3, p 27) (see also ślokas 132, 331 & 486)

sukha-rūpa kṛṣṇa kare sukha āsvādana
bhakta-gaṇe sukha dite `hlādinī'-kāraṇa

"Ecstasy personified is Kṛṣṇa Himself, and He feels, tastes and enjoys Himself; but only through faith is it possible to transmit and distribute that ecstasy and joy to others. Faith is the very nature of the hlādinī-śakti, the ecstasy potency, which is represented in full by Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. It can transmit total Kṛṣṇa consciousness to the devotees outside. Faith is the halo of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, by the light of which others may understand Kṛṣṇa. When the negative combines with the positive, realisation of Their function is distributed to all other negative parts." (C-c, Madhya-līlā, 8.158)

The central, 'mother' negative can expand and transmit such faith and joy. Śraddhā, faith, is a special substance about which we must enquire. It is not merely abstract. (SOTGOD, v 1, p 21) + (see also śloka 585)

Once when Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣaka Śrīdhara Deva Goswāmī Mahārāja was giving an informal talk about Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, he was searching for a fitting expression to describe Her bhāva and kānti, Her inner and outer qualities. The devotees attending his talk at the time attempted to provide suitable expressions: "mood and lustre," "feeling and effulgence," and several other such versions were put forward, but each time Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja shook his head, unsatisfied. Suddenly, with a smile lighting up his countenance, he looked up and said sweetly: "Heart and Halo."

In the centre is only Kṛṣṇa feeling His own ecstasy. sukha-rūpa kṛṣṇa kare sukha āsvādana. When extension begins, we find that Balarāma and Yogamāya make arrangements for that transaction of Kṛṣṇa where rasāmṛta-mūrtti, Kṛṣṇa the embodiment of all rasas, tastes Himself. Rasa is tasting Himself. It is different in the case of the mundane rasa, where the soul is the subject and the 'rasa' is an object to be 'enjoyed' by him; but here, rasa is Himself the Highest Subject, and He is tasting Himself - sukha-rūpa kṛṣṇa kare sukha āsvādana. He then gradually extends Himself and so we find Baladeva Who is a facsimile of Kṛṣṇa. (SOTGOD, v 3, p 37)

śūnahe mamṣa bhāi,
sabār upare mānuṣa ṣatya,
tāhār upare nai

"Above all existence, the human form is the highest - even above the God conception." (V P ) + (SS, v 3, # 1, '85, p 7) + (see also śloka 484)

śuskaṁ paryuṣitaṁ vāpi,
nītaṁ vā dūra-deśataḥ
prāpti-mātreṅa bhoktavyaṁ,
nātra kāla-vicāraṇā

"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) Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu gave some mahā-prasādam from the Jagannātha Temple in Purī to Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya and he began uttering these mantras (ślokas 301 & 487) + (TGVODL. p 19)

suvarṇa-varṇo hemāṅgo,
varāṅgaś candanāṅgadī
sannyāsa-kṛc chamaḥ śānto,

"Appearing in a handsome golden form with limbs smeared with sandalwood paste, He looks like a figure of beauty made of molten gold. He accepts the sannyāsa order and always remains equipoised and peaceful. He is the highest resort of peace and devotion." (C-c, Ādī-līlā, 3.49) + (ARO, p 23)

The Śrī Viṣṇu-sahasra-nāma, which appears in Chapter 189 of the Dāna-dharma- parva (149) of Mahābhārata describes the incarnation of Kali-yuga as follows:

"When the Supreme Personality of Godhead Kṛṣṇa appears as Śrī Gaurāṅga, in His early pastimes His complexion is gold (suvarṇa-varṇa ), His limbs are the colour of molten white gold (hemāṅga ), His body is extremely beautiful (varāṅgaś), and He is decorated with sandalwood pulp (candanāṅgadī ). These are the four symptoms of His gṛhastha-līlā. Another meaning of the description of the Lord as having a golden hue is that Lord Caitanya's personality is as fascinating as gold is attractive.

Śrī Caitanya accepts the sannyāsa order of life (sannyāsa-kṛt ), and shows equanimity (sāma ) in different ways: by describing the mysteries of devotion to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and by satisfying everyone by knowledge and attachment to Kṛṣṇa, (śānta ). He is peaceful because He renounces all topics not related to the service of Kṛṣṇa. His mind is always fixed on Kṛṣṇa, and thus He is fixed (niṣṭha ) in performing the great sacrifice of the Holy Name of Kṛṣṇa. He silences the nondevotees and impersonalists who are opposed to the service of the Lord, by promoting the cause of devotion. Thus He distributes real peace. He is therefore an abode of the highest spiritual peace and devotion (mahābhāva-parāyaṇa )." (G-K, 4.8)

svadharmma-niṣṭhaḥ śata-janmabhiḥ pumān
viriṣcatām eti tataḥ paraṁ hi mām
avyākṛtaṁ bhāgavato 'tha vaiṣṇavaṁ
padaṁ yathāhaṁ vibudhāḥ kalātyaye

"A person who executes his occupational duty properly for one hundred births becomes qualified to occupy the post of Brahmā, and if he becomes more qualified, he can approach Lord Śiva. A person who is directly surrendered to Lord Kṛṣṇa or Viṣṇu in unalloyed devotional service is immediately promoted to the spiritual planets. Lord Śiva and other demigods attain these planets after the destruction of this material world." (S-B, 4.24.29)

Here, Mahādeva (Lord Śiva) says that if one can perform his duty in Varṇāśrama-dharmma (Godly socio-religious function) for one hundred consecutive births, he attains to the position of Lord Brahmā. Svadharmma means prescribed duties according to the varṇāśrama-dharma as sanctioned in the Vedas. (SOTGOD, v 2, p 90) + (see also śloka 595)

The conditioned soul has some attraction to Lord Śiva in Maheśa Dhāma, so what is Lord Śiva's position? His position is as a master of this Māyā, Illusory Potency. He is not a slave of misunderstanding, although he remains in the relativity of misunderstanding. He remains in a masterly position.

In his Bṛhad-Bhāgavatāmṛta, Śrīla Sanātana Goswāmī has explained that when one becomes liberated, Māyā Devī comes to him, saying: "Why do you leave me? I would like to serve you, don't forsake me!" In this way, she again comes to offer her services to Śiva, that is, the liberated soul. If he is enticed by that charm, he may again enter the mundane world, but if he has the attitude and śraddhā within himself to deal indifferently, he neglects it and goes upwards: "No, I have my engagement, my duty. I have no time to satisfy anyone by accepting their service. I have my Lord, I must serve Him." (SOTGOD, v 2, p 89-90) + (see also śloka 595)

Lord Śiva says: "I know what is what; what is material and what is spiritual. I know that. But you want to present me with a hoax? How can you satisfy me? Even when the Loka of Brahmā - even when that is destroyed - then how can you give me a hoax of this illusory civilisation? Temporary civilisation - I know that is where I have come from, all who are there speak with me of this and that. But what are my real duties and responsibilities? Where can I be naturally conscious of my duties." (SS, v 6, # 1, '92, p 5) + (see also śloka 224)

jīvān gaurāṅghri-paṅkaje
uddhṛtya śaraṇāpatter,
māhātmyaṁ samabodhayat

"All the conditioned souls are saṁmagnān - they are diving or struggling in the ocean of svairācāra or pleasure seeking - anyābhilāṣa - immoral or whimsical activities, energising there. gaurāṅghri-paṅkaje uddhṛtya: taking them out of that ocean, you put them in the lotus - you took them to the lotus feet of Śrī Gaurāṅga. You collected them from the wide, troubled ocean, and gave them to the lotus feet of Gaurāṅga. uddhṛtya śaraṇāpatter, māhātmyaṁ samabodhayat: and so, having placed them there, you began to instruct them about the great nobility of and high value of śaraṇāgati, exclusive surrender. samabodhayat: you tried to make them understand and realise the efficacy of śaraṇāgati proper. You, my gurudeva, Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda did so, so I bow down unto you first."

Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣaka Śrīdhara Deva wrote this svairācārābdhi-saṁmagnān verse as an introductory poem to his commentary of Śaraṇāgati. Then also he wrote a verse offering obeisances unto the writer of Śaraṇāgati, Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura. (see śloka 463) + (SOTGOD, v 1, p 117)

Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākura remarked: "A very happy style." And next he said to Śrīpād Śrauti Mahārāja: "This poem is so fine, it is not written by him, it is written by Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura himself, and has come out through him. It is so appreciable." Once, he said to Śrīyukta Aprākṛta Prabhu: "I'm satisfied that what I came to say will remain after me, I find in this śloka (463) the siddhānta (perfect theological conclusion)."

svarūpe sabāra haya,
golokete sthiti:
muktir hitvān-yathā-rūpaṁ
svarūpeṇa vyavasthitiḥ

"This is Vṛndāvana, Vṛndāvana is so friendly, so sweet, so near to us, and such a wellwisher of ours. We are quite at home there, sweet, sweet home. In our innate and innermost existence, we are members of that plane." (SOTGOD, v 1, p 182) + (see also śloka 389)

muktir hitvān-yathā-rūpaṁ svarūpeṇa vyavasthitiḥ

"Liberation is the permanent situation of the form of the living entity after he gives up the changeable gross and subtle material bodies." (S-B, 2.10.6 )

Kṛṣṇa is always situated in His original position as sac-cid-ānanda-vigraha, and anyone who renders service to Him is also situated in his original, spiritual identity (svarūpeṇa vyavasthitiḥ ). This is the highest perfection of human life. (purport to S-B, 10.1.7)

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam tells us this. Home, sweet, sweet home. You are a child of that soil. In one word, that is the goal. Why is that the highest goal? Because that is your home. svarūpe sabāra haya, golokete sthiti. This one word 'home' is sufficient to attract you. You are wandering in a foreign land, but here is your home. You'll get home comfort here, and you won't be able to deny that. So, back to God, back to home, back to Godhead.

To avoid the Christian conception of 'God' our Guru Mahārāja, Prabhupāda Bhaktisiddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākura, used the word 'Godhead.' 'God' is a particular conception of the Absolute, but 'Godhead' represents Bhagavattā or the background of the conception of God, which is Svayaṁ Bhagavān - the Supreme Lord Himself. This is the highest conception of God. This is the meaning. So more than 'back to God' is 'back to Godhead.' Śrīmad Swāmī Mahārāja named his spiritual magazine from this consideration. (SOTGOD, v 2, p 82)

Love means sacrifice. If they know the real meaning of love, none can say: "I don't want love." Anyone may say: "I don't want power; I may misuse it." To be in possession of power is a great responsibility. Love is also a responsibility, but it is unavoidable. We want love, from the higher - shelter in the loving lap, in the loving consideration. We want to enter a domain where everyone will love us. A home.

Home is sweet. Why? Because everyone there has some attraction and love, some blessing over us. Home is so sweet. All-favourable, all-loving, all-trustworthy. So we want to go back to home; home, sweet, sweet home. Svarūpe sabāra haya, golokete sthiti. Muktir hitvān-yathā-rūpaṁ svarūpeṇa vyavasthitiḥ. Mukti is self-determination; the stage of self-determination, as much as our self can determine; our utmost interest. That is home, that is Goloka, that is the plane of Kṛṣṇa. (SOTGOD, v 2, p 102-3) + (see also śloka 409)

svayaṁ samuttīryya sudustaraṁ dyuman
bhavārṇavaṁ bhīmam adabhra-sauhṛdāḥ
bhavat-padāmbhoruha-nāvam atra te
nidhāya yātāḥ sad anugraho bhavān

"O Self-revealed One, You are bhakta-vāṣchākalpataru, the wish-fulfilling tree of the devotee. The great devotees surrendered unto Your Lotus Feet, who have crossed over this ghastly insurmountable ocean of mundanity, have left the boat of Your Lotus Feet in this world (in the guru-paramparā or in the line of Revealed Truth, Śrauta-panthā) - because, they are greatly affectionate to all beings." (S-B, 10.2.31) The Devas (Brahmā and Śiva) say in the Bhāgavatam: "The saints who by Your Grace have crossed that insurmountable ocean, that dreadful ocean, with dreadful waves and so many water animals - those saints again send back the boat, which is compared with the Lotus Feet of the Lord. By the help of the Lotus Feet of You, the Infinite Absolute Lord, they cross this ocean, by the Grace of Your Holy Feet; and they again send that boat back here for others to cross the same ocean. They're experienced about the ocean, and in which way they crossed and what difficulty they faced, and where. Your devotees are so magnanimous that after using the boat of Your Holy Lotus Feet to cross, they again send them back for us. Because, their friendship for the people is very white, and pure. And You are always in favour of those devotees, so by their request You can't refuse. You allow Your Lotus Feet again to come to this side and take others across." (SOTGOD, v 2, p 198-9)

Newton said: "I am only collecting pebbles on the shore of the ocean of knowledge."

He was a man of this world, yet he had the sincerity and courage to make this statement. If such a statement is made in deference to the knowledge of only this world, what should be thought of the knowledge of the infinite unknown and unknowable? We must have courage, just as Columbus floated his ship to discover America. He had the courage. To float our little boat in the ocean of the unknown and unknowable, we must be cognizant that the laws will be of that type. The laws of the higher ocean may not be applied to the strait or local sea. A thoroughly new thing we have to study - the revealed truth. If we go to measure the infinite with the law of finite, it will be hopeless for us to go that side. We must invite and think purely of that land, that standard. The unknown world. (SOTGOD, v 2, p 197)

Here the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam says that just as in the vast ocean, when nothing else can be seen, the compass is the only guide, so in the world of infinite, our only guide is the footsteps of those great souls who have travelled on the path of faith. The way has been marked by the holy footsteps of those who have gone to the highest quarter. That is our only hope. Yudhiṣṭhira Mahārāja also says that the real secret is concealed in the hearts of saints, as treasure is hidden in a mysterious cave (dharmasya tattvaṁ nihitaṁ guhāyām ). The broad line towards the truth is chalked out by those who are going to the divine world. And that is our surest guide. All other methods of guidance may be eliminated because calculation is fallible. Guidance comes from the absolute infinite. And His guidance can come in any form, anywhere, any time. With this broad view, we should realise the meaning of Vaikuṇṭha. Vaikuṇṭha means "without limitation." It is as if we are in a boat floating on the infinite ocean. Many things may come to help or hinder us. But only our optimistic good faith may be our guide, our gurudeva. The guide is Śrī Guru. (LSFTLS, p 5-6) + (see also śloka 347)

sve svehadhikāre yā niṣṭhā,
sa gunāḥ parikīrtitāḥ
viparyayas tu doṣaḥ syād,
ubhayor eṣa niścayaḥ

"Remaining fixed in the position for which one is qualified is considered virtuous. The opposite - accepting a position for which one is unqualified, while giving up a position for which one is qualified - is irresponsible and is considered impious. This is the conclusion of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam." (S-B, 11.21.2)

Higher things do exist, but the general man in this world has no knowledge about them. We are indeed experiencers and have some knowledge, but only to a particular degree and standard. We cannot venture to calculate what is beyond our reach. But if those who actually have experience of that plane will come to us and give us some information, then we can make some comparison: "This gentleman of a particular experience of ether has written in this way, another gentleman who has experience and who has also experimented about ether has written in another particular manner." In this way we can gain some understanding from their investigation and their real connection with the subject matter.

In the section of those investigating about telescopes, we can make a comparison of their findings. The experience of one researcher with his telescope is of a certain type and we can also learn about the experience of others with their particular telescopes. With the information available to us from their actual connection with the telescopes and their experiments, we may be able to conclude that perhaps a certain telescope was more powerful, another more powerful in a particular field, etc. So, we have some limited capacity to compare what has been discovered beyond our senses by means of the telescope, even though we ourselves may not have a telescope.

The subject of the higher things discovered by the mental "telescope," or soul's "telescope," has been dealt with in the Scriptures. Such subject matter is known by the saints, and we are to take their help in order to have entrance within that land. We are not at present in a position to have experience of the higher plane, but later, by the help of the saints and Scriptures, when we shall ourselves have that type of telescope, we will be able to have such higher experience. sve svehadhikāre yā niṣṭhā sāgunāḥ parikīrttitāḥ. . . "To pay attention to your own plane is admirable." (HC, p 9-10) + (see also śloka 5)

According to one's capacity, one will purchase in the market. (sve svehadhikāre yā niṣṭhā sāgunāḥ parikīrttitāḥ ). In the market, there may be valuable things, but the buyer must have some capacity to purchase them. The ṛṣīs, the tradesmen of knowledge have also gone so far as to say: "This is the highest. Go no further."

Similarly, Kṛṣṇa says in the Bhagavad-gītā (3.35): "Don't go ahead - you'll be doomed. Take your stand here; go no further." (TSFSK, p 68) + (see also śloka 460)

śyāmāc chavalaṁ prapadye,
śavalāc chyāmaṁ prapadye

"By the help of black (śyāmā ), we shall be introduced to the service of the white (śavalā ); by the help of white (śavalā ), we shall be introduced to the service of black (śyāmā )." (CU, 8.13.1)

Our ācāryas have explained that the Absolute can be understood by the help of the energy and the energetic. Śyāmā means Kṛṣṇa, who is blackish, and śavalā, white, means Rādhārāṇī. So, by the help of Rādhā, we can have the service of Kṛṣṇa, and by the help of Kṛṣṇa, we can have the service of Rādhārāṇī. (TSFSK, p 122) + (see also śloka 257)

śyāma eva param rūpaṁ

Mahāprabhu once had a talk with one Mathurā brāhmaṇa, Raghupati Upādhyāya, on his way back from Mathurā, perhaps in Allahabad. In their talk we find this śloka mentioned. What is the highest conception of figure? The answer was Śyāmasundara. What is the highest place of worship? Mathurā maṇḍala is the highest place to worship Him. What should be the best age befitting for our service? Kaiśora, or new youth. And in what sort of rasa should we try to serve Him? We should try to serve in the mood of madhurya rasa. Mahāprabhu told him that you have taught Me a good lesson.

We want to worship Kaiśora Kṛṣṇa, we are not going to worship old Kṛṣṇa. There is Mathurā and Dwāraka, but we are fond of worshipping Kṛṣṇa in Vṛndāvana, where He has a new, youthful life. His companions are also new youths. The highest point is beauty. The idea of eternity is like that, navayauvana, new, youthful, progressing not full blown, but blossoming. (GOD, p 26)

śyāmaṁ hiraṇya-paridhiṁ vanamālya-barha-
vinyasta-hastam itareṇa dhunānam abjaṁ

"His complexion was the colour of a blue raincloud, and His garment was golden. Sporting a peacock feather on His head, coloured minerals decorating His body, wearing sprigs of flower buds and a garland of forest flowers, He was artistically dressed like a beautiful dancing actor. He rested one hand upon the shoulder of a friend and with the other twirled a lotus. Delicate lilies adorned His ears and His curling hair gently caressed the cheeks of His lotus face which was sweetly smiling." (S-B, 10.23.22) + (SBRBM, p 24) + (see also ślokas 25, 81 & 544, 112, 446 & 551)

syāt kṛṣṇa-nāma-caritādi-sitāpy avidyā-
pittopatapta-rasanasya na rocikā nu
kintv ādarād anudinaṁ khalu saiva juṣṭā
svādvī kramād bhavati tad-gada-mūla-hantrī

"The Holy Name, character, pastimes and activities of Kṛṣṇa are all transcendentally sweet like sugar candy. Although the tongue of one afflicted by the jaundice of avidyā (ignorance) cannot taste anything sweet, it is wonderful that simply by carefully chanting these sweet Names every day, a natural relish awakens within his tongue, and his disease is gradually destroyed at the root." (U, 7)

We are always dissatisfied with the environment and we want to correct it to suit our purpose. But, no! "Your taste is bad. Everything is all right. It is your taste that is bad." Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī has given one analogy:

"One who is attacked with bile disease has distorted taste. Sugar candy will taste bitter to him. When the attack of bile disease disappears, then the sugar candy will again taste sweet. So, the bitterness is not in the sugar candy, but it is in the tongue. So, take that sugar candy. That is the medicine for bile disease."

Similarly, we say: "Take the Name." Now, it is bitter. But, you go on taking in a particular process, the Name will cure your bile disease and it (the Name) will become tasteful to you. You will be able to feel. "Here, now! The sugar candy is tasteful!" So, wrong is in us, in the tongue, not in the sugar candy. By the attack of ignorance, the bile of ignorance, you are diseased. But go on taking (the sugar candy), the bile disease will be off and you will get the taste of sweetness from that thing. You are, on the whole, Kṛṣṇa conscious. God consciousness may not be sweet, but by the help of your previous sukṛti and also your reason which has come to you based on that sukṛti, go on with sādhana-bhakti. Eventually, you will reach a stage where you will be able to see: "Oh, this is very sweet. Kṛṣṇa consciousness is very sweet and very beautiful." The whole process of sādhana is like that. (SS, v 3, # 1, '85, p 5) + (see also śloka 310)