Kartika-vrata and Disappearance day of Param Gurudeva – Acarya Kesari

Kartika-vrata and Disappearance day of Param Gurudeva – Acarya Kesari

Hari-katha inspired by the Guru-varga.
Disappearance day of Acarya Kesari

Today is the disappearance day of Srila Param Gurudeva – Nitya lila pravista om visnupada Paramradhyatam Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja.

I met Srila Gurudeva for the first time at Devananda Gaudiya Math on this occasion in 1968. Many people were invited to attend the separation day. I met our Guru-varga at this viraha tithi for the first time. People from many different Gaudiya Maths were invited. I came there in 1968; I was twelve or thirteen. I saw how much love these sadhus had for their Gurudeva. They had renounced everything, but they did not renounce their Gurudeva and the Vaisnavas. In that viraha sabha, many acaryas were present like Pujyapada Bhakti Dayita Madhava Maharaja, Pujyapada Bhakti Raksaka Sridhara Maharaja, Pujyapada Bhakti Bhudeva Srauti Maharaja, Pujyapada Hrisikesa Maharaja, Pujyapada Janardhana Maharaja, and many other disciples of Prabhupada Sarasvati Thakura. They had heartfelt love and respect for their god-brother. Everyone had heartfelt love and deep respect for Param Gurudeva during the time of Prabhupada Sarasvati Thakura; their love for Param Gurudeva was undisturbed even after Prabhupada’s disappearance. We cannot define or understand such love. This is called a relationship. Their hearts are not hard like rocks. What do they do for their Guru-varga? Each acarya would offer puspanjali to Param Gurudeva and bitterly weep in separation. Some were elder and senior, but all of their hearts melted in separation from Param Gurudeva, and when they offered puspanjali, they showered everyone with the nectar of their separation-filled harikatha. They wept incessantly as they spoke. Thousands of disciples were there. The temple did not have any towers. There was only the ground floor, and the temple hall was small. There were not so many rooms. Everyone sat outside, like during Navadvipa Parikrama, or Vraja Mandala Parikrama. Everyone was there for the start of kartika-vrata.

We heard how Param Gurudeva was so close to Nayana-manjari, who had appeared as Varsabhanavi-devi dayita dasa in this world. He was very close to her in the spiritual world in his form as Vinoda-manjari. His service to his guru manifested in this world also. Through his immaculate service, he distributed the glories of Prabhupada, Nayana Mani-manjari to the conditioned souls.

Prabhupada gave him the name, “Vinoda Bihari.” He had a brother named Pramoda Bihari who later became Bhakti Kevala Audulomi Maharaja. Prabhupada said, “Unless someone meets with Vinoda, one cannot understand bhakti, bhajana, and Bhagavan. They will never realize eternal happiness. Whoever remembers Vinoda, and makes a relation with him can understand me. And they will never have any problem in life.”

Prabhupada would look to see who respected Vinoda. Ordinary people complained against Param Gurudeva to Prabhupada. They said, “He wears a Santipura dhoti and turban, and rides on a big horse, and he spends so much money. He does not wear tilaka, and he never has his mala or does bhajana. He leaves in the morning and returns at night. He does not follow any rules and regulations of bhakti.”

Prabhupada replied, “A person who follows all good etiquette but has no love only performs karma. This is external.”

People come to perform their duty, but they have no love. After they finish their duty, they return to their loved ones. Another person does not follow the rules and regulation externally, but he has love in his heart, and he has a heart to heart relation and connection with his spiritual master; this love is spotless and unbreakable.

Relationships are comprised of love. For instance, a servant in a palace works from morning to evening, while the prince does not do anything. If the servant has a little fault, he gets suspended or punished. The king’s son may break all regulations, and may destroy many things in the palace, but the king has love for his son, and does not punish him; he overlooks his faults.

ananya-mamata vishnau
mamata prema-sangata
bhaktir ity ucyate bhishma-
prahladoddhava-naradaih
—Caitanya Caritamrta, Madhya 23.8

One-pointed mamata, or possessive affection, is the binding force of prema, and is what is known as bhakti, as described by Sri Bhisma, Prahlada, and Narada. How can this love and affection come to us? Unless we have love for Guru and Vaisnavas, whatever we do is artificial. You can perform subha karma or sukrti sometimes, but you will not attain pure love.

Prabhupada said, “Vinoda is busy from morning to evening, and whatever he desires for Mahaprabhu’s service manifests in this world. Whatever he needs appears. If he needs to print books, then wealth comes. He has love for me, and for my service. He is engaged in many services from morning to evening. He always remembers me. Then, how can I forget him? If he is always with me, how is it possible that he is devoid of good qualities? Someone who does not respect him also does not respect me, and they do not have love for God. If they have love for God, they will understand who the Vaisnavas are, and if they have love for the Vaisnavas, they will understand God.”

Some people sometimes complained, “Vinoda meets with ordinary people, like the police or gundas.” Once, a lawyer came to Mayapura, and after Gaura Arati, he saw Vinoda Bihari sitting on a chair. His feet were on a table, and he shook his feet while being absorbed in deep thought. His head leaned back, and his eyes were closed. Many sannyasis came and offered him pranama after Gaura Arati. They folded their hands and left.

The lawyer went to Prabhupada, and said, “In Vaisnavism, if someone offers pranama, the others should also offer pranama in return. You offer your pranama to everyone, even to your followers. You offer pranama to people before they offer pranama to you. But, there was this person wearing white cloth sitting on a chair while placing his legs on a table. He does not return respect to anyone. Is this person a Vaisnava?”

Prabhupada did not respond. He told others to bring this person. When Vinoda came, Prabhupada said, “O Vinoda, do you know that Gaura Arati has passed?”

“No, Prabhupada.”

“Gaura Arati was observed nearby. The bells were ringing and people were singing. Didn’t you hear anything?”

“No.”

“Didn’t you see that after arati, many people came to you and offered you pranama?”

“No, Prabhupada.”

“Where were you? What were you doing?”

Vinoda humbly replied, “Prabhupada, tomorrow, there are many articles to publish, and there is so much management to be taken care of, and also, there are many eternal services to look after. Therefore, I forgot everything of this world.”

This is called natural samadhi, or antardasha. What do those who reach the eternal world do there? How do their bodies work? How do they see things? This is called sahaja samadhi, antardhasa, and nitya lila. In ardha-bahyadasha, a devotee will look around or speak. And in bahyadasha, he will behave like an ordinary person.

yanra citte krishna-prema karaye udaya
tanra vakya, kriya, mudra vijneha na bujhaya
—Caitanya Caritamrta, Madhya 23.39

For those in whose hearts prema has arisen, ordinary persons cannot understand their speech and activities.

Where are the Mahabhagavatas present? When Acarya Srinivasa Prabhu and Ramacandra Kaviraja would enter antar-dasha, their bodies would appear like lifeless statues. They wouldn’t even breathe. Where were they? They were in the eternal world, serving in Radha Kunda. Practice chanting your mantras during the time of brahma muhurta. By praying to and remembering the Guru-varga, and by chanting harinama, you will forget your mind, senses, and body; you will realize that you are in the eternal world. You will not be here any longer. It will not be possible for you to remain in this world. You will be in the flower gardens, picking flowers. And you will bring water from wells, and milk from the cowshed. You will be continuously engaged in the service of Srimati Radharani. Then, you will have no sense of what is happening in this world. This is called sahaja samadhi. This is very easy. You do not need to meditate, and perform so much austerity. There is no need to control your mind and senses. This spiritual power is present for everyone, but they have to learn how to take it. In brahma muhurta, there is Hari rasa, or Brahma rasa, available for everyone. The Guru-varga instruct us to serve Parabrahma.

mahaprabhoh kirtana-nritya-gita
vaditra-madyan-manaso rasena
romanca-kampasru-taranga-bhajo
vande guroh sri-caranaravindam

The Guru-varga are engaged in Mahaprabhu’s kirtana, and in Radha and Krsna’s pastimes.

After this discussion between Prabhupada and Vinoda, Prabhupada sent him to continue performing his services, and then told everyone, “Vinoda is not present in this world.”

People asked Param Gurudeva, “You are a sadhu. Why are you wearing nice cloth?” This was nearly a hundred years ago. He used to wear fine, silken dhotis from Santipur, and a turban, and cadar. He went to the courts and offices like this.

People complained to Prabhupada, “Vinoda wastes your money.”

Prabhupada said, “He is not a babaji or a vairagi. He is an eternal associate of Mahaprabhu.”

The manjaris, kinkaris, and sakhis of Radharani do not wear dirty or broken cloth when they go to serve Krsna. Or would they go naked? They are not crazy. Radharani first decorates everyone. Even their nails and faces are decorated. Indeed, they are completely decorated, fragrant, and beautiful. We are not sahajiyas, who decorate their material bodies by wearing nose rings and saris. We wear cloth colored with the foot dust of Srimati Radharani, whose feet are smeared with kumkum. This saffron cloth is the anuraga that protects us from maya.

Mahaprabhu said, “How can I protect myself? How can I achieve anuraga?” The lotus feet of Krsna have kumkum. Where does this come from? It comes from the head and chest of Radharani. When Krsna’s feet touch Radharani’s head and chest, Krsna’s feet become smeared with this kumkum. And then, when He walks, the grass becomes covered with this kumkum. In the early morning, the forest girls see Krsna’s footprints on the grass, mixed with the early morning mist. They take this kumkum, and smear it on their bodies.

Radharani sees this from a distance and says, “Oh, how much love they have for Krsna’s foot dust.” With this, they cool their hearts and bodies. They have anuraga for Krsna. Therefore, Caitanya Mahaprabhu adorned this aruna vasana, cloth the color of the rising sun. Radharani’s footprints are present on Giriraja Govardhana. There, Giriraja took this kumkum in his heart, and kept it with him.

So, we adorn ourselves saffron cloth, or the color of this anuraga. This is the color of the kumkum from Radharani’s and Krsna’s lotus feet. Do not think that this is only a color that you use to cover your face and body. This is your protection. Not only does it protect you from Maya-devi, it protects your bhakti and anuraga. Param Gurudeva would say in his classes that only widows wear white cloth. They wear white cloth if their husband is dead or if they are divorced.

Prabhupada said, “My brahmacaris are brahma-cari. This means that they are the followers of Brahma. They follow the acaran of the near and dear of Brahma.” Who are they? They are the manjaris, dasis, or kinkaris. They are not widows. They are beloveds of Krsna. When the sadhaka has this relationship, he wears saffron. He then does not wear white anymore. Anyone who is alone and independent wears whatever he chooses—blue, red, white. Gurudeva offers you to the lotus feet of the Vraja-devis, and the sign of the Vraja-devis comes from their foot dust. This is Krsna anuraga. This saffron colored pollen of kumkum represents the love and affection the Vraja-devis have for Krsna.

Prabhupada gave all the brahmacaris and sannyasis – saffron. Some people requested Prabhupada, “Vinoda is elder and senior. You should give him sannyasa first.”

Prabhupada said, “There are two kinds of sannysa. One is avidvata sannyasa and one is vidvata sannyasa. Don’t think that sannyasa means to only hold a danda and change your cloth.” In order to protect his Gurudeva, Param Gurudeva gave his own white cloth to Prabhupada, and took the sannyasa cloth from Prabhupada. Prabhupada agreed to do this with Param Gurudeva. When they have love—a heart to heart relationship based on spontaneous love and affection, this can be done. Who else could have done this? This can be done by the manjaris and kinkaris.

Today is his disappearance day. Today Radha Damodara vrata, Urja vrata, starts. Before Haridasa Thakura left, he was with Mahaprabhu and all the bhaktas were there. Similarly, when Param Gurudeva was leaving, everyone had arrived in Navadvipa for the beginning of Kartika vrata.

Krsna plays His flute on Sarad Purnima. He had promised the Gopis after Katyayani vrata, “After one year, on Sarad Purnima, I will call you.” When Krsna played on His flute, no one hesitated to run to Him. Whether they were cooking, cleaning, distributing prasadam, or milking the cows, as soon as they heard the flute call of Krsna, they ran to Him.

Vinoda had been present in this world for a long time, but when Prabhupada needed him for service, he called him to the eternal world. Then, Param Gurudeva disappeared in the evening. The Guru-varga then came, and arranged the viraha mahotsava. They said, “He is now in the eternal world. Here is his memorial place.” Where will we offer respect? Where will we go to pray? Where will we cry? Anything that was used by Guru-pada-padma is spiritual, even his fingernail or cloth. He was with this body for a long time, and he has given that to you as a gift. The place where this body is present will be a holy dhama. It will be surcharged with spiritual power. Therefore, Guru-pada-padma is given samadhi. This place is called the samadhi pitha stana.

Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu did not give their bodies as a gift to the world. None of the panca tattva left their bodies behind. Svarupa Damodara and Ramananda Raya also took their bodies with them. But, our Guru-varga were very kind to leave their bodies behind. They could have taken them with them. Narottama dasa Thakura took his body with him. Also, the body of Gopala Guru Gosvami could not be found. But, the Gosvamis, like Rupa and Sanatana, were very kind. They left their bodies behind for us. The Guru-varga are very kind. They offer their transcendental bodies to us. The Gosvamis left 500 years ago, but you can go to their samadhis, and if you offer respects there and pray to them, then all their eternal power will come to you. There, you can collect all their power. But, if you go there and speak prajalpa, act frivolously, or waste your time, then you will become disturbed.

Today is Sarad Purnima. On one side is Saradiya rasa yatra, and on the other side, it is the beginning of Urja vrata, Kartika vrata, Damodara vrata, and niyama seva. The meaning of niyama seva is not niyama agraha. There is niyama agraha and niyamagraha. Pray and request with a humble mood, “O Prabhu, I know that I am not qualified. I am insignificant. But, please give me energy and strength, and enable me to follow bhakti in this life. I want to serve, but I am not qualified. Then, how can I serve? How can I go beyond the Himalayas and reach the transcendental abode of Goloka Vrndavana dhama? My body, mind, and senses do not support me in spiritual service. They say, ‘You are tired. Take rest. This is not good for you.’ They give many types of instructions. The mind tells many things. How can I cross the mind, body, and senses? How can I engage them in service? Please help.”

Practice every day. A baby lies, then sits, then crawls, then walks on its knees, and then tries to stand but falls over. The whole family helps it to walk. If we try to follow bhakti, then the Guru-varga will help us walk on the path of bhakti. The baby does not think, “I will lie down forever. I will never sit up.” The baby tries, and then its family members catch its hands and help the baby to walk. Then it tries to walk on its own and falls, and then tries again and falls again. Slowly, it becomes strong, and then it begins to run. Even if it slips, there is no problem. It again gets up and walks and runs.

In this life, we are more than infants. We are nothing. But, we have been given a chance to follow Kartika vrata, Urja vrata, Niyama vrata, Caturmasya, Katyayani vrata, Maga vrata, and so forth. These are very helpful for us. They give us spiritual strength. Then, we will not be lame and blind. Otherwise, if we are lame there is a problem, and if we are blind, there is more of a problem. Unless spiritual power comes to us, we are weak, and we will lose everything.

During the time of Kartika vrata and Radha Damodara vrata, Srila Gurudeva would sing the Damodarastakam, Upadesamrtam, Siksastakam, and Manah Siksa, and he would give class on these books. He would speak on Srimad Bhagavatam, and sometimes on Rasa pancadhyaya – gopi gita, venu gita, brahmara gita, yugala gita, and pranaya gita. These chapters of the Bhagavatam are very close to Krsna. They are His nectar, and please Him inestimably. Wherever Krsna hears Rasa pancadhyaya, He stays nearby.

Sukadeva Gosvami spoke to Pariksita Maharaja in the assembly of all the sages. They asked Sukadeva, “You said that the Bhagavatam is Krsna’s svarupa. But, where is Krsna? He has not come? So, how can the Bhagavatam be considered Krsna’s svarupa?” Some of the sages had some doubt. But, everyone heard the Bhagavatam, and remembered Krsna. Then Krsna came in their hearts and minds. They were immersed in thoughts of Krsna. After hearing the Bhagavatam, Pariksita Maharaja’s mother Uttara asked her son, “You heard the Bhagavatam, and I also heard it. But, I don’t remember the meaning or essence of it. Sukadeva Gosvami spoke continuously for seven days and nights, but what should we really follow? I don’t know anything.”

Pariksita Maharaja replied, “O mother, Krsna is kisora. You should develop a sweet relationship with Him. He is your lover.” Can someone tell this to his mother? She said, “How can I see Krsna? Where is He, and will He accept me?”

Pariksita Maharaja said, “If you are ready, and if you have a desire to be accepted, then Krsna will accept you.”

Krsna is very kind, He accepted 16,108 princesses, and made them His queens in Dvaraka. But, the Vraja-devis are with Him twenty-four hours a day. If you want to follow the Vraja-devi’s footsteps, then Krsna will be your beloved, and you will understand everything. Then, you will understand Krsna-seva. Unless you are nearby someone, how can you understand the means of serving him? First make a relationship, and then you will get instructions on how to serve with affection. If you have no relation, then how will you understand how to serve?

Pariksita Maharaja’s mother was not shy. She thought, “Oh, Krsna has really come and accepted me.” On one side, Pariksita Maharaja left to eternal Vrndavana. And Uttara, his mother, entered this sadhana. She did not call him her son. She said, “You are my Guru.” This is called parakiya diksa in the parakiya parampara. The svakiya parampara diksa is another process.

Some people take diksa from different Gurus. Children go from their parents to playschool and school, but once they are qualified, they will come back to their parents and their own family. Many acaryas are there who will teach you on how to make a relationship with Krsna. Go to the acaryas and Gurus to learn. But, once you are qualified, Vrnda-devi will engage you in your eternal service. Then, you will attain svarupa siddhi. This is the parakiya parampara, or bhagavat parampara. But, you must cross these different stages. Therefore, you need a guardian. But, in the eternal world, you will see your real svarupa and Guru. There, you will have another svarupa.

Today, we will start the discussion on Damodarastakam. In the evening, we will hear more about Param Gurudeva, and we will offer puspanjali. Now, we have many services. Guru puja will be at eight o’clock. We will again come together at eleven o’clock, start kirtana, and we will offer puspanjali then also. I don’t know when Maharaja will return from Radha Kunda.

If you invite someone, it is vaidhi marga. And if people have anuraga, they automatically come. This is pusti marga, or parakiya marga. Yesterday, people had anuraga for pasta. Therefore, many maharajas came. And if they have anuraga for Param Gurudeva, they will come today. I did not invite anyone here because I am not the owner. The Guru-varga is the owner. If people have love for the Guru-varga, they will come, and if they don’t come, ‘Haribol’. I am not an authority, owner, or guardian who invites others. People have given me a room here, and therefore I came. The mahanta here has called me and offered me a room. Therefore, I came. Otherwise, I would not come.

The Vraja-devis go into the forest, and wherever they go, they cook for Krsna, and give some prasadam for Krsna. If Krsna has no plates and bowls, they make bowls inside the stone. There, they give sweet-rice, curry-sauce, and dal batti. Now, I understand why they leave their homes, and wherever they go, they serve. I understand this process now. And wherever they go, many people follow them. Whoever has anuraga will come.

Respect everyone, and if people do not come, do not call them. Do not disturb anyone. They are respected divine masters. If you make any offense to them, you will lose your life. Be very careful. But, if anyone comes, then respect them with your heart, and serve them. If they come, it is by Krsna’s desire; Krsna and Gurudeva have called them. If I call, then I am independent. And then, if I do not serve and respect them properly, then I will make an offense.

Siva Thakura told Sati, “Don’t go to your father’s house. He has not invited you.”

She said, “I have the right to go. He is my father. There is no need for an invitation to go to one’s father or Guru.”

But, Siva said, “No, don’t go.” She went anyway, and then we know what happened to her. Afterwards, Siva Thakura gave many instructions which can be read in the Puranas or in the Bhagavatam.

If people come to wherever harikirtana, harikatha, and hari-seva are going on, by the desire of Krsna and the Guru-varga, then understand that they are coming to help us, and that they have been sent by Krsna. There are here to purify us, and Krsna has given us a chance to serve Vaisnavas.

Now, we will read the first sloka of Damodarastakam, and then we will perform Guru puja. Srila Gurudeva published Damodara lila described in Srimad Bhagavatam. This has just been published this year. Only a hundred copies have been printed so far. Yasoda Damodara is in Gokula Mahavana, and Radha Damodara is in Vrndavana. But, now these deities are in Jaipur. Why did they leave Vraja and go to Jaipur? Can He not tolerate separation? Anyhow, we will hear from the Bhagavatam tomorrow. Now, we will read the first verse from Damodarastakam.

namamisvaram sac-cid-ananda-rupam
lasat-kundalam gokule bhrajamanam
yasoda-bhiyolukhalad dhavamanam
paramrishtam atyantato drutya gopya

Sanatana Gosvami and Param Gurudeva wrote a purport here. Before starting bhajana or hari katha, you must do mangalacarana. First you pray for their blessings and offer obeisance. Then, you will make relation, and will understand something, and will become close to them. Then, your life will not be spoiled. Otherwise, speculation is not permanent. Speculation lasts for a little while, but the reality is unlimited, and more and more truths will be revealed.

Therefore, Satyavrata muni first offers pranama – namamisvaram. “O Isvaral, I offer pranama to You.” Who is Isvara? Rama, Parasurama, Vamanadeva, Visnu, Jagannatha, Nrsingadeva – out of unlimited incarnations of the Lord, there are twenty-four prominent ones. “I offer pranama to all of these Lords.” Why? Isita, They have power. They can accept our respect and love. They purify that, and clean us.

If a child takes birth in a good place, it gets taught good etiquette. When they come to a good school, they get taught to dress nicely, and they get taught what to eat. In gurukulas, the students get taught all etiquette.

Therefore, we offer pranama to all Isvaras that appear throughout the four yugas. We pray, “Please, accept my obeisance. For millions of lifetimes, I have taken birth. I was present in Rama’s time, in Nrsimhadeva’s time, in Kalki’s time, in Krsna’s time, and in Visnu’s time. The soul is eternal. However, at that time, I did not have faith and knowledge to offer obeisance. Kamsa was right in front of Krsna, and Ravana was in front of Rama. I am a greater demon than Kamsa, Ravana or Hiranyakasipu. I have taken birth for millions of lives, but I never prayed to You. I never asked You for help. Therefore, I offer my prayers to You—namamisvaram. Before, I would not offer even pranama. I was dumb, blind, and useless.”

Kaviraja Gosvami said:

jayatam suratau pangor
mama manda-mater gati
mat-sarvasva-padambhojau
radha-madana-mohanau

“Whatever life I achieved, I was surata, or filled with lust. I had a good friendship with lust, and to satisfy my lust, I have done everything. However, I never took shelter of Radha Govinda deva, or of Madana Mohana deva. Why? Madan Mohana defeats lust, and cleans us. But, I did not take shelter of Him. I had no desire to take shelter of Him. I am mandamati and mandagati, and pangu, or lame. But, jayatam suratau pangor, I cannot walk to attain this rati, or love for God. I have no strength to go to sadhus and to pray to them for this love. I cannot go in this direction.”

Satyavata muni says, “For millions of lives, I have taken birth, and You have also appeared millions of times, but I never offered pranama, and I never asked You to help me, and to purify me. Please, I pray to You. O Prabhu, You are sat-cit-ananda rupam. You are the embodiment of one quality and three qualities at the same time. Sat-svarupa is Baladeva Prabhu, or Guru. You sent many Gurus to help. Before, I had no knowledge. I did not know You. I never respected You. I thought that I was God, that I was Brahma, sarvam khalv idam brahma.”

Guru and Vaisnavas have kindly told us, “Now it is Damodara vrata. Come to Vrndavana to observe this vrata. I will give you lodging and everything. You should stay with me during Kartika vrata. Go on parikrama, take darsana of the holy places. You do not need to pay or do service. Just follow bhakti.” But, we hesitate to go.

We think, “I may not have to pay, but I want you to give me ten-thousand dollars after parikrama.”

Gurudeva would say, “I will give you twenty-thousand. Just come.” They bring us for parikrama, and they engage us in harikatha, service, parikrama, and bhakti every day. At the end, Gurudeva would say, “I will give you twenty-thousand dollars now.”

“Oh Gurudeva, no need.”

Then, they hold their ears and say, “Please, excuse me. I am a rascal. I want to steal your blood.” Then, they receive Guru bhakti, and realization comes. Before, they were very strange and stubborn, but then they change. Similarly, we don’t want to come to God, Guru or the Vaisnavas without offering respects and obeisance.

Sat-cit-ananda rupam; Baladeva is Sat svarupa. The Guru-varga is the personification of Sat. They come, teach us, and give us cit-jnana, or spiritual knowledge. They give us knowledge of the absolute truth.

vadanti tat tattva-vidas
tattvam yaj jnanam advayam
brahmeti Paramtmeti
bhagavan iti sabdyate
—Srimad Bhagavatam 1.2.11

They teach us ananda rupam. We go everywhere, but we find no ananda, no bliss. Ananda rupa stays with Ananda svarupini-Srimati Radharani. Ananda, or bliss, is present in seva. Without seva, there is no rasa. Service has all rasa. This ananda, or hladini is with seva. Without seva, there is no meva, or feast. Before the jiva has no tendency to serve, and wants everyone to serve him, and everyone to like him. But then, he understands that he lost everything. He then prays, “O Prabhu, You have given me this chance. Now, I pray to all the incarnations. I hold my ears, and understand that I am a very insignificant living entity. Before, I was proud, but now I gave up this pride. Namami – I have no ahankara. Now, I offer myself. Before, this was not possible. Now, I offer pranama to all incarnations, to all the part and parcels of God.”

krpa koro’ vaisnava thakura
sambandha janiya, bhajite bhajite,
abhiman hao dura

‘ami to vaisnava’, e buddhi hoile,
amani na ho’bo ami
pratisthasa asi’, hrdoy dusibe,
hoibo niraya-gami

“Now, I am going on the path to hell. I am not going on the helpline; I am going on the line towards hell. Why? It is because I am so attached to my prestige. I collect pride. O Prabhu, now I offer myself to You.” This is called saranagati.

First comes saranagata, and then we become akincana, then we can become surrendered. Then, atma samarpana is possible. This mood comes the first time. This is taught by Satyavata muni. Gurudeva, Param Gurudeva, and our Guru-varga teach this. They tell us, “Come to the holy dhama.”

atma-nivedana, tuwa pade kori’
hoinu parama sukhi
duhkha dure gelo, cinta na rohilo,
caudike ananda dekhi

Bhaktivinoda Thakura also says:

ki jani ki bale, tomara dhamete,
hoinu saranagata
tumi doya-moy, patita-pavana,
patita-tarane rata

“I came to the holy dhama, but I am not saranagata to the holy dhama.” People look for nice gardens, clean places, nice toilets, nice rooms, and all facility, cars, servants, etc. But, if we are not servants, then who will serve us? First be sarangata. Then, look at the family of God, and then you will understand. Otherwise, you cannot understand, and you will not realize the truth. Therefore the first line is— namamisvaram sat-cit-ananda rupam.

Time is over now. In the evening we will give another purport to this sloka. We will hear how this is related to Param Gurudeva. We will understand how the Guru-varga is sat svarupa, and how they give sat-vritti, or pure tendency. I will try to explain this in the evening. If we can accept this, or hear this, then this is offering ourselves, and then we can be atma nivedana. Then, we can surrender ourselves and become niskincana and akincana. First, we therefore pray for saranagati.

Now, we will perform Guru puja, and do our seva. By eleven or eleven-thirty everyone should be present here, and offer puspanjali again.

Gaura Premanande Haribol!

 

Kartika vrata in Vraja-mandala

If anyone has the desire to follow kartika-vrata, urja-vrata, he should always reside in the holy dhama of Sri Vraja-mandala. If one tear for God falls from the eyes, this is like an offering of flowers. This love is our worship. In kali-yuga, even by thousands of spiritual rituals, we cannot attain freedom from maya. On the other hand, if a person’s heart once melts and cries out for the mercy of God, all help will come to him.

Even though God is omnipresent, when we come to His holy dhama, we experience a different kind of relief. In the holy dhama, there is good opportunity for saintly association. Even if we are not in the holy dhama physically, if we remember these holy places, Sri Guru and Vaisnavas will definitely help us. We are not alone, Guru and Vaisnavas are always with us.

When one follows this vrata, he should offer a ghee lamp and bhoga to Radha-Damodara. In this month especially, one should be careful to avoid making offenses and to have good character. Give respect to all; don’t have any anger fire or bad desires. Try to always be humble, and then certainly you will receive mercy.

By the causeless mercy of our spiritual preceptors, we are trying to follow kartika-vrata, urja-vrata. How can we attain the mercy of Urjesvari Srimati Radharani? How can we attain the mercy of Radha-Damodara? Our lineage of divine masters have called us to the holy dhama. Srimati Radharani has manifested Her countless sakhis and manjaris from Her heart.

The night of saradiya-rasa-purnima is very auspicious. Sri Vrndavana-dhama will help everyone, including conditioned souls, mystic yogis, and so forth. This pure help is not ordinary. In other places, only after millions of lives of practice may one attain perfection. Even then there is no guarantee of one’s destination.

Srimati Radharani’s potency is present everywhere in Sri Vraja-mandala, especially during this month. Therefore, Sri Guru is inviting us to be here. By staying in Sri Vraja-mandala, we can receive Vrnda-devi’s mercy. Later, Srimati Radharani will give the sincere practitioner self-realization and service to Krsna.

 

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Kripa Daily: The Taste of Meeting

Kripa Daily: The Taste of Meeting

Day 236: Gaurābda 533, Caitra Māsa, Dvitiya, 06 May 2019 – Monday

kripa

What is the nature of bhakti? You should know. Always to please, always to satisfy the Lord—nothing else.

[To young boys in the audience…]

I want that you should all come near to me and hear. Oh, yes these boys. Always I want to see you with me in my classes. I will be happy. Very happy.

If anyone says that, “In old age I will chant and remember,” then there is no guarantee that he will become old. In a couple days he could die. Old age may never come. Better to chant and remember from the beginning of life. Don’t wait for old age.

Srila Gurudeva – May 06, 2001 New Braja, California

kripa

Radhika’s Abhisara with Krsna

Here there is a reference to a pastime. Srimati Radhika is at first not ready to do abhisara (arrangement for meeting) and meet Krsna. Krsna has sent Vrnda devi as His messenger to inform Her that He will immediately die if He cannot see Her. She must therefore meet Him at the sanket kunja, either in Vrndavana, near the Yamuna, at Sanket, or wherever Krsna has indicated.

The duti, messenger, may be Vrnda devi, and it may also be Paurnamasi or Nandimukhi. At times, Krsna Himself, as apta-duti, may indicate His desires to Srimati Radhika—not by telling, but simply by glancing from the corners of His eyes. And, by the corners of Her eyes, Srimati Radhika also admits Her desires. Krsna’s vamsi may also act as the messenger. Vamsi is also called apta-duti or vamsi-duti. In this way there may be so many messengers.

Srimati Radhika then proceeds towards the kunja, bringing with Her only a very few, highly qualified sakhis like Rupa Manjari and Rati Manjari. At times, Subala may also come and lead Her. The night is very dark and cold, and the sky is full of clouds pouring rain. On such a night, to avoid detection, Radhika dresses accordingly in a black dress and dark ornaments, and She removes or silences Her anklebells with a cloth. On full moon or moonlit nights She dresses completely in white.

On another day Vrnda devi came from Krsna. She offered many prayers, wept, and did everything else possible, but Śrīmatī Radhika’s mana did not leave. She would not meet Krsna. She would not allow Him to come to Her, and therefore He was very unhappy. Time was passing, and finally Krsna asked Subala, “Can you help me?” Subala replied, “Surely I will help you.” He at once went to Śrīmati Radhika and spoke in such a way that She began to weep. He told Her, “Krsna is now about to die. He will not…” At once Srimati Radhika became ready, and Subala Sakha went ahead. Then, keeping Her hand on the shoulder of Vrnda and accompanied only by Rupa Manjari and one or two other manjaris, Srimati Radhika went to Krsna. One day it was like this, on another day Lalita and Visakha were there, and on another it was different again. The pastime may take place in several ways; not only in one way.

Kila-kincit-bhava

As Srimati Radhika now nears the kunja and sees Krsna waiting, She at once turns and is ready to return to Her palace. The sakhis are thinking, “Why is She returning?” Krsna is also thinking so. He approaches Her and at first prays to Her to stay, but She ignores Him and continues to leave for Her own palace. Krsna then creates obstructions, blocks Her path, and at last catches hold of Her hands and tries to take Her with Him. At that time, Srimati Radhika feels intense pleasure in Her heart—tears are in Her eyes, and on Her mouth there is anger. So many bhavas are coming at the same time, and this is known as kila-kincit-bhava. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu Himself displayed these transcendental ecstasies during the Ratha-yatra festival.

At last Sri Krsna takes Srimati Radhika to the kunja, and Rupa Manjari is seeing Their meeting through a hole in the creepers of the kunja. Rupa Manjari becomes astonished and thinks, “Such a beautiful meeting. I’ve never seen anything like this. They are so premi, full of love. I am greatly fortunate to see this.”

Then, seeing that Rati Manjari is not there, she calls, “Oh, my dear Rati Manjari, where are you? Are you not seeing this? If not, your eyes are not successful. The success of the eyes is only to see these beautiful, sweet exchanges.” Thinking like this, Rupa Manjari leaves the kunja to search for Rati Manjari.

This is a natural feeling. If a man acquires something very sweet and tasteful, he wants that his friend also taste it. If a disciple tastes something wonderful, he wants his Gurudeva to also taste it. If a devotee obtains something very tasteful, he desires that Radhika and Krsna also taste it. He does not want to taste such sweetness alone. So Rupa Manjari is looking here and there and thinking, “Where is my dear, so dear, Rati Manjari, the very bosom sakhi of Srimati Radhika?”

Rati Manjari always serves and learns how to serve under the guidance of Rupa Manjari. In turn, Rupa Manjari wants that every taste should also be savored by Rati Manjari. Therefore, leaving this scene, she at once went to search, thinking, “Where is Rati Manjari?” Rati Manjari had just completed her service and was also searching for Rupa Manjari, thinking, “Where is Rupa Manjari?” In this way they were both searching for each other…

(To be continued…)

 

 

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Kripa Daily: Oh, Let Us Go! What Sweet Pastimes Are Taking Place!

Kripa Daily: Oh, Let Us Go! What Sweet Pastimes Are Taking Place!

Day 237: Gaurābda 533, Caitra Māsa, Tritiya, 07 May 2019 – Tuesday

You should first try to come in niṣṭhā. Do you know what is niṣṭhā? At first there is śraddhā, and when śraddhā is matured it becomes niṣṭhā. Niṣṭhā is a good, high thing. Then the mind is fixed. There is no doubt in any siddhānta—no doubt. At that time māyā will not attract. At that time we will chant harināma, yet with no taste, but we see that there is no remedy without taking the chanting of Hari’s name. So, even if there is no taste at the time of niṣṭhā, we know that there is nothing which will take us to Kṛṣṇa without His name.

Srila Gurudeva – May 07, 1996 Netherlands

“Oh, Let Us Go! What Sweet Pastimes Are Taking Place!”

Meeting each other, Rupa Manjari took Rati Manjari in her arms and said, “Oh, let us go! What sweet pastimes of Krsna are taking place!” Rati Manjari quickly proceeded to that place with Rupa Manjari, who then encouraged her, “Look at this!”. The place, or gap in the foliage outside the kunja, from where all the pastimes can be seen in the kunja, is called gavaksa. Those outside can see in, but the persons in the kunja cannot see them—otherwise the lila would end. In order for Their pastimes to continue freely and not be hampered, They must not allow Themselves to be seen.

When Their pastimes were over, Srimati Radhika called for Rupa and Rati Manjari. Rati Manjari has the seva of fanning with a camara, and therefore Srimati Radhika said, “We are tired. Where is your camara? Please fan Us with the camara and massage Our feet. We are very tired.”

In this second sloka, Rati Manjari is describing that scene. Sthala-kamalini yuktam garvita kanane ‘smin. Kanane ‘smin means ‘in this very kanana.’ It may be at Radha Kunda, it may be at Sanket, it may be at Seva Kunja, or it may be in any kunja of Govardhana. She tells Radhika, “You are so garvita, proud. Pranayasi vara-hasyam. You are kamalini, like a lotus flower, and it seems as though that lotus flower is laughing. You are laughing. Puspa guccha-chalena. It seems that hundreds and thousands of lotus flowers are in one big cluster.” This is called Sahasra-dala-kamala. The flowers are not separate, and yet they are separate. “All the lotuses are blossoming, and a wonderful fragrance emanates from them. Still, passing over all the other lotus flowers, a bumble bee is searching for this particular cluster of lotus blossoms.”

The Krsna Bee is Searching, Waiting to Serve Srimati

Why is Rati Manjari speaking like this? While Rupa Manjari and Rati Manjari were coming to see this pastime, Padma and Saibya were waiting for Krsna at Gauri Kunda. They were trying to discover a way to arrange a meeting for Candravali. Candravali was in her kunja, and they were at the door of the kunja. Krsna was coming from home, and He was on His way to meet Srimati Radhika at Sanket Kunja where She was waiting for Him. Rati Manjari and Rupa Manjari had gone to bring Krsna to Srimati Radhika. Although they were at a distance, they were accompanying Him. On the way, Padma and Saibya told Krsna, “Oh, Your sakhi Candravali is here waiting for You.” Krsna replied, “I am coming to her at once. I have just heard that there is a demon, Aghasura, or a demon like Aghasura, nearby, and he is causing a great disturbance. I must go there now, but I will not delay. I am coming. Wait here for Me!” Saying this, Krsna left to go to Srimati Radhika, and Rupa Manjari and Rati Manjari followed behind.

Upon meeting Srimati Radhika, Rupa and Rati Manjari now speak this verse. Api nikhila-latas tah saurabhaktah sa muncan. “Leaving all the other creepers and flowers that are so exquisite, sweet, and fragrant, that black bee has come to You! How lucky you are that Krsna has left all these beautiful young gopis and come to You.” Mrgayati tava margam krsna bhrngo tad adya. “That bee is waiting for this flower.” In literature this is called anuprasa alankara, a reverse analogy. Usually flowers wait for bees, because bees can fly and flowers cannot, but here the bee is waiting for the flower. Krsna has a wish and Radhika also has a wish, but the wish of Krsna is stronger. He wants Srimati Radhika more than She wants Him. The Krsna bee is searching, waiting to serve Srimati Radhika.

The manjaris are only pleased when Krsna serves Radha, when Krsna weeps for Radha, or when Krsna tries for and searches for Radha. At that time they become so delighted. If Srimati Radhika is weeping and searching for Krsna, the manjaris become very distressed. Here the bee is searching, and they are delighted. They say to Srimatiji, “We are so lucky, and You are also so lucky, because Krsna is waiting to render service to You. Having left all the creepers, flowers, and all else, He has come to You and is flying around Your lotus feet.”

In this way, Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami has prayed primarily to his aradhyadevi, Srimati Radhika, and secondly to his Gurudeva. In this meaning there will be no confusion.

 

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Gopis Mood – Krishna Is Appearing After He Left The Rasa Dance

Gopis Mood – Krishna Is Appearing After He Left The Rasa Dance

Some Gopis were in the mood of a servant with folded hands, some were in the mood of a maidservant, some in the mood of a beloved like a paramour, but they all began to approach Krsna and meet and speak with Him. Some placed Krsna’s hands on their shoulders. Some held His arms that were smeared with candana paste. They took His left arm and placed it on their right shoulder and with different ointments began to anoint His limbs. Some Gopis who were contrary and prakada (very bold), were looking at Krsna with angry eyes. In this way all of Krsna’s different beloveds, interacted with Him according to their different moods.

The prominent gopis began to think and serve Krsna through their bhava (loving mood) and glances. They were so immersed in ananda-rasa, because of touching Krsna in their hearts. The daksina-nayikas, those who were in a rightest submissive mood – came to Krsna and were holding His hands and serving Him in various ways. Those who were in vamya-bhava (contrary or bold mood) were looking at Krsna in a contrary way. Those who were in neutral mood served and engaged with Him in these different ways. Some of the Vraja-sundaris – beautiful gopis – took the tambula pan that He had chewed and began to take that. Some Gopis sat at His feet and placed His feet on their breasts.

Srila Jiva Goswami says here that some Gopis took the tambula that Krsna had chewed with two hands. Vrinda Devi had arranged before in all the kunjas, all the various paraphernalia for service.

As I said, however much the Gopis were lamenting in separation, still there was nothing lacking. When we are sad or disturbed we will go and hide somewhere and cover ourselves with a chaddar or go here and there in the jungle and lament and cry, or tell someone about how sad and sorry we are. Nowadays we will send emails to our friends, or will call our friends and tell them how much we have become maddened and upset. But the Gopis were never like this. They were never distanced from their service, they were always prepared. Therefore they had all varieties of paraphernalia like flower garlands, sandalwood paste, etc. were ready and prepared.

Srila Jiva Goswami Prabhu says the gopis had tambula and offered it to Krsna and then took His remnants. They took very nice, cool fragrant water. Why? Because Krsna had wandered for a long time in the forest so they gave Him this nice, cool drink. There were those who were mrdu (mild mannered), and others who were submissive, and some were right and left wing. The left wing Gopis were very bold and contrary and they liked to control Krsna and discipline Him with their love.

Other Gopis were submissive and through their service, were serving Krsna and trying to please Him. They placed seats in the kunjas of their hearts for Krsna as well. Some Gopis were standing at a distance and not speaking at this time. Some Gopis came and embraced His lotus feet and placed them on their breasts. Some Gopis placed Krsna’s arms on their shoulders. Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura explains those who were grtha-sneha (with ghee-like affection) who were on the side of Candravali, were submissive. The other Gopis who had madhu-sneha (honey-like affection) were in the contrary mood.

GOPIS SHOOT ARROWS OF ANGRY GLANCES

Some Gopis, overwhelmed with love, were clenching their teeth and biting their lips as if they were very angry, and their eyes had become powerful arrows, shooting glances of love. It was as if they were saying, “Oh now just show us what You will do. Now we have surrounded You on all sides. See if You can disappear now. We are now prepared. See if You can escape us now.”

These Gopis made their eyebrows like bows pulled back, arched very high. Their lips became cut by their teeth because they were clenched so tight. It as like they were chewing Krsna. They were very angry ladies. If you have ever seen a very angry lady then you may understand, they had become very strong and powerful. They were thinking, “What will we tell Him? I will say this and that.” But no words came out of their mouths. They just looked at Him with extremely sharp glances, thinking of all the things they wanted to say to Him.

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura says one Gopi was clenching her teeth, biting her lips and shooting arrows from her arched eyebrows. It was like she was trying to pierce Krsna. She said, “Oh crest jewel of cheaters. Your love is like the strongest snake poison and You have injected us with that poison. You gave us this poison and then ran away thinking, ‘Oh I have given them poison, now if they die then that is good.’ But we did not die. We are still alive. Now what will You do? You tried to kill us, thinking, ‘Oh I have given them poison and now they will die very soon.’ You left thinking we will die, but now we have new life, so what will You do now? Where will You run now? We didn’t think You would leave before, we weren’t ready for You to disappear. But now we are ready and have surrounded You, so try and leave now.”

The Gopis tied a knot in their shawls or saris and then tied themselves to Krsna. Some tied Krsna to Radharani, and some tied Him to other Gopis. In this way they all tied Krsna to one another and He was bound. They said, “This is not only some show. We have completely bound You now and You cannot escape. You will have to be punished for Your sins.” Some gopis were burning in their anger towards Krsna born out of their love for Him. Some gopis, being very mild mannered and submissive, acted in other ways.

Srila Jiva Goswami Prabhu says Krsna is Vraja-guala, a simple sweet cowherd boy. However these gopis did not see Him like that. They were saying, “Oh You are Surasena-Krsna, a warrior. Some of the Gopis had this mood that He was like a warrior and said, “Oh You are like a coward. You are running away from the battlefield and hiding.” These Gopis taunted Him. “You came to love’s battlefield and were defeated. You are so weak, and such a coward that now You have run away. Why did You call us all here? You called us here to the battle. If You are so weak and want to hide like a weakling then You shouldn’t have called us here and met with us in the first place.”

The submissive Gopis in daksina-bhava came before Krsna and accepted His tambula and held His hands and began to serve Him and gave Him candana. Krsna was surrounded on all sides. Some Gopis were complete absorbed in a loving anger mood, and with their eyes shot anger arrows at Him.

The Visnu-purana explains that some of the Gopis spoke to Him with an angry mood. Some Gopis drank the honey of the beauty of His lotus face. Some were very angry, and some were very soft and submissive. In this way the various Gopis had different moods and interacted with Krsna differently.

The gopis with a strong, bold mood are called lalita-anubhava. They are in the line or mood of Lalita. Those who were svadina – always subordinate, were speaking with Krsna in a subordinate way, or meeting in that way. Some gopis were burning in their anger towards Krsna born out of their love for Him. Some gopis, being very mild mannered and submissive, acted in other ways.

Guruvarga ki Jaya! Srila Gurudeva ki Jaya! (Excerpted from the up and coming Bhaktabandhav book publication, “Rasa Pancadhyayi”. For more info contact: [email protected] )

 

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Is There Nothing Pure Left In This World?

Is There Nothing Pure Left In This World?

We are living in the Age of Kali. Devotees would ask Srila Gurudeva, “How should we live in this despicable day and age? Everything seems impure and it is very difficult to follow varnasrama-dharma.” Srila Gurudeva told the devotees that it is almost impossible for the people in general to follow proper varnasrama-dharma. Their mind and senses are uncontrolled. One of the main reasons for this degradation of people’s consciousness is the impure food that they eat.

The Chandogya Upanisad (7.26.2) states:

āhāra-śuddhau sattva-śuddhiḥ
sattva-śuddhau dhruvā smṛtiḥ
smṛti-lambhe sarvagranthīnāṁ vipramokṣaḥ

By eating pure food one’s mind becomes purified and sattvika. When the mind is purified, one attains a stable memory. When the memory is stable, all the knots of the heart are untied.

Even modern scientists, doctors, and nutritionists have concluded that we are what we eat and people desiring a healthy life should eat organic food. Unfortunately, these days, pure organic food is both rare and expensive. The majority of the people can only afford non-organic, harmful eatables.

The food, the water, and the air are polluted now, and consuming impure substances has brought about so much suffering for the living beings on this planet. If you can manage to have a pure diet and environment, then all activities of your life will be favorable and healthy. There is a saying: If your wealth is lost, nothing is lost; if your health is lost, something is lost; but if your character is lost, then everything is lost. However, your life in all three of these activities will flourish if you insure that what you eat and drink is pure. But, as I already mentioned, finding pure ingredients to offer is becoming more and more difficult as Kali-yuga progresses. What then can we do? How can we insure purity of our body, mind, and atmosphere in order to practice bhakti seriously?

Advaita Acarya observed the critical state of Kali-yuga and began to search in scripture for the answer to this question. He thought, “Is there nothing pure left in this world?” He was satisfied when he found the verse:

tulasī-dala-mātreṇa
jalasya culukena vā
vikrīṇīte svam ātmānaṁ
bhaktebhyo bhakta-vatsalaḥ
Gautamiya-tantra

The Supreme Lord, who is affectionate to His devotees, gives Himself to the bhakta who offers Him merely a Tulasi leaf and a palmful of water.

The Tulasi plant is always perfectly pure. It cannot be grown with chemical processes. Tulasi alone is enough to satisfy Krsna.

Advaita Acarya concluded that Tulasi and Ganga are the two infallibly pure objects available in the world. Most other substances, although pure in nature, are contaminated. Examination of Ganga water has left many scientists amazed. It is, after all, liquid transcendence. Srila Rupa Gosvami says—brahma-dravatvam apagacchati nira-dharmaih—the purity of Ganga water—which is itself the liquid form of Divinity—is never lost.

If you find yourself in a situation in which you cannot arrange completely pure ingredients for offering to Krsna, then offer what you have with Tulasi, Ganga water, a small amount of pure ghee or honey, and—most importantly—love. Then, distribute the prasada to Vaisnavas and everyone around you. Serve and feed God’s family members with respect, and if there is something left, eat that to maintain your life. By this practice, you will become spiritually strong. The Guru-varga recommends this practice for brahmacaris, grhasthas, vanaprasthis, and sannyasis alike.

Srila Bhaktinoda Thakura has mentioned the rules for all asramas in his book Sri Caitanya-siksamrta. These primary rules are essential and are the foundation of spiritual progress. We must not disregard these fundamental rules and assume we are maha-bhagavatas.

Prasada should be distributed to everyone. On large festival days in Mathura, Srila Gurudeva used to have me distribute prasada first to the ordinary people, and then the matha’s residents. All beings are in God’s family and thus have a right to Krsna’s prasada. I often advise you to sponsor feasts in Jagannatha Puri, Vrndavana, and Navadvipa, because by doing so, you will receive sukrti.

Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji Maharaja once called his sevaka, Bihari dasa, and told him that there were 200 rupees in a container that was nearby. It was a mystery how the blind Baba knew this.

“Buy some rasagullas,” he said. “There will be a feast today.”

When Bihari dasa returned from the market with rasagullas, Babaji Maharaja said, “Give them to the cows.”

“The cows?”

“Yes, and the dogs. They never get rasagullas. We will serve these dhamavasis today. There is no need to serve the bogus Babajis. All they think of is bodily comfort.”

Srila Gurudeva taught us to first serve the guests of the temple no matter who they were.

We should give prasadam to all souls around us. If we don’t they will be harmful to us. This is the world in which one living being gains from the suffering of another. However, if we give the souls prasadam, they will become favorably disposed to us and will even help us in our spiritual progress. Our bodies themselves contain many jivas. The proper way to maintain this body is to offer bhoga, serve prasada to everyone around, and then finally take what remains. It will not do to hide in a room with only a few chosen friends and to eat ice-cream and pizza.

Some people say, “I am a Vaisnava, my wife is a Vaisnava, and my children are Vaisnavas. We can eat together and this will be vaisnava-seva.” Being a miser will keep us entangled in karma. We should share whatever God gives us. If we try to enjoy it for ourselves we will partake in the karma related to those things. The Lord mercifully gives us the chance to receive sukrti. But if we always waste this chance, why should He continue to give it. If a grhastha understands this and serves those around him, then he becomes very powerful.

Most of Mahaprabhu’s associates were grhasthas. They exemplified perfect householder life. Every year, the devotees from Bengal brought many gifts and edibles for Mahaprabhu, Jagannatha, and the devotees in Puri. This tradition continues today.

These Bengali devotees that have come here for Ratha-yatra are poor, but they still brought mangoes, jackfruits, and coconuts for the temple. Some devotees from Uttara Pradesa put aside a handful of flour every time they make capatis for their family. They reserve that flour for Gurudeva’s temple and when there is a substantial amount they bring it to the temple as bhiksa.

I used to advise devotees that would come to Kesavaji Gaudiya-matha to put aside one rupee of every hundred rupees they earned and reserve it for donating to the temple. This is madhukari. If I were to use that money for myself, my life would be destroyed. But because I used it in the service of Guru and Vaisnavas I was safe.

Srila Gurudeva told me that 60% of the donations I received were to be given to him, and the remaining 40% were for the temple maintenance and taking care of the brahmacaris. “None should be for yourself,” he said. “I will worry about your maintenance.”

You should be generous and open-hearted. Don’t think, “This sannyasi has so much money, and facility for prasada; why should I give him anything?” Or, “This man is poor but he takes intoxication, I should not give any prasada to him.” This is not a good mentality. Offer bhoga and distribute the prasada to everyone without discrimination.

Srila Gurudeva used to tell the following story: Once there was a man who lived with his wife, two children, and his old parents. He was a government official and worked hard all day in the city. One evening, as he passed the fruit market on the way home, he noticed that there were many ripe mangoes for sale. He purchased a bag of mangoes and brought them to his wife. “Please, cut these mangoes and give some to my parents, and the children. Then take some yourself and give me some also.” Saying this, he retired to bathe and rest for the night.

The next morning, the man asked his parents, “Did you like the mangoes?”

“What mangoes?” they asked.

The man asked his children, “Did your mother distribute mangoes last night?”

“No, father,” the children replied.

Upset, the man went to his wife. “Hey,” he said. “What did you do with the mangoes I brought?”

“Mangoes? Bah! Those rotten things you brought back were infested with worms. I threw them out.”

The man recalled the mangoes seeming fine. “I must have not been careful enough,” he thought. In reality, there was nothing wrong with the mangoes. His wife was used to him bringing back money, which she could use to shop herself and also hide for her own secret use. She was angry that instead of giving her money he gave her mangoes.

That evening, the man brought 5 kilos of mangoes home. He was sure to check each and every one of them carefully. Before entering his bedroom, he said to his wife, “I have brought good mangoes today.

I am sure of it.” He pretended to go to sleep, and then got up in the middle of the night to see what his wife would do with them. He was surprised to see that she had hidden herself in a room and was eating them alone.

God gives us facility and waits to see what we do with it. He wants to know if we will utilize what He gives us in selfish pleasure or if we will share it. When we chose to share, we take the path of auspiciousness, and if we accept only what is left after distributing prasadam to everyone, it is as if we are drinking immortal nectar.

yajña-śiṣṭāśinaḥ santo
mucyante sarva-kilbiṣaiḥ
bhuñjate te tv aghaṁ pāpā
ye pacanty ātma-kāraṇāt
Bhagavad-gita 3.13

Wise persons become free from all sins by accepting the nectar-like remnants of sacrifice, whereas reprobate persons who cook and eat for their own sake alone, eat naught but sin.

Sin is inevitably attached to the wealth you earn by work. If you use that wealth only to fill your own stomach, ill-effects will certainly befall you. If you offer what you have to God and his family members, it is called yajna. And if you only accept the remnants of that yajna for sustenance, then you are partaking in amrta, nectar.

When Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja went to the West, he cooked gulabjamuns, laddus, halava and many other dishes and distributed them with his own hand. He also distributed the pera that Srila Gurudeva sent from Mathura.

catur-vidha-śrī-bhagavata-prasāda-
svādv-anna-tṛptān hari-bhakta-saṅghān
kṛtvaiva tṛptiṁ bhajataḥ sadaiva
vande guroḥ śrī caraṇāravindam
Gurvastakam 4

Sri Gurudeva delights in seeing Sri Hari’s devotees relishing the four kinds of foodstuffs that have been offered—namely, those which are chewed, sucked, licked, and drunk—to their full satisfaction. I offer prayers unto the lotus feet of Sri Gurudeva.

Srila Bhaktivedanta Trivikrama Gosvami Maharaja used to live in a temple in Cunchura called Uddharana Gaudiya-matha. The building was old and had many cracks, crevices, and corners in which many animals lived. He would spend most of the day on bhiksa, riding his bicycle sometimes up to 40 kilometers away. Aside from rice and donations, some people would give him fruits or a few sweets. He saved these things in his bag. When he returned to the temple, he would ring the bell on his bicycle. As soon as they heard the bell, all the cats, dogs, mice, birds, mongooses, and squirrels that lived in the area surrounded him. None of them were afraid of him or each other.

Maharaja knew exactly what each animal preferred. First, he gave sandesa to the mongooses, all of which climbed unto his body and clung to his cloth. Next, he gave some puffed rice to the pigeons, broken pieces of laddu to the mice, and fruit to the squirrels. The cats waited patiently at a distance. After bhoga was prepared and offered, and all the devotees had taken prasada he gave some milk and rice to the cats and the remaining prasadam to the dogs. He would accept some prasadam after everyone around him was fed. If Srila Trivikrama Maharaja was a sannyasi, and he practiced in this way, this means that grhasthas should surely do this also.

Distribute prasada to everyone and eat only the remnants of that sacrifice. If we do not pursue the well-being of our souls, then what is the difference between our lives and the lives of animals? All souls are ultimately Krsna’s servants. Thus, we can say that they are all Vaisnavas. If someone is not acting like a Vaisnava now, he will later. Devakinandana Thakura sings:

hoiyāchena hoibena prabhura jata dāsa
sabāra caraṇa vandoṅ dante kori’ ghāsa

Holding a straw between my teeth, I offer obeisance to the feet of all the servants of Mahaprabhu that were or will be.

We must understand that serving the Vaisnavas is our path to spiritual welfare. This is the instruction of Mahaprabhu.

prabhu kahena,—‘kṛṣṇa-sevā’, ‘vaiṣṇava-sevana’
‘nirantara kara kṛṣṇa-nāma-saṅkīrtana’
Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila 15.104

The Lord said, “Serve Krsna and the Vaisnavas and perform krsna-nama-sankirtana incessantly.”

As all souls are servants of Krsna, they also have the right to His mercy—His prasada. When Krsna sees that you are serving His devotees, He will shower you with blessings. Give without worrying about where more will come from. For so many years, I arranged prasadam for thousands of people at the time of Navadvipa Parikrama. Srila Gurudeva told me to never stop this service.

I asked Srila Gurudeva, “Where will the necessary money come from?”

Gurudeva called me close.

“Here,” he said, holding out his closed hand.

I held out my hand. He made a gesture of giving me something—but nothing was in his hand.

“What is this?” I asked.

“Don’t worry,” Gurudeva said. “Gauri-sena will provide whatever you need.” He always spoke about this Gauri-sena.

“Who is Gauri-sena?” I asked, but he did not answer.

Gauri-sena is Srimati Radhika. Gurudeva was assuring me that Radha-Krsna will take care of everything.

We must ree all Vaisnavas, and never find fault in them:

kāhāre nā kare nindā, `kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa’ bale
ajaya caitanya sei jinibeka hele
Caitanya-Bhagavata, Madhya 10.312

One who chants the names of Krsna without criticizing anyone will easily conquer the unconquerable Sri Caitanya.

Mahaprabhu says that the chanting of the holy name, coupled with vaisnava-seva, will bring about rapid progress towards Krsna. He also says:

khecarānna piṭhā-pānā, apūrva prasāda nānā,
jagannātha dilo tomā sabe
ākanṭha bhojana kori’, bolo mukhe ‘hari hari’,
avidyā-durita nāhi robe

Jagannatha has given all of you khicari, pitha-pana, and many other kinds of wonderful prasada. Take all this prasada until you are filled up to your neck, and chant ‘Hari! Hari!’ In such a transcendental atmosphere, ignorance and sin cannot remain.

“Eat maha-prasada up to your neck. Leave no room for anything else—not even digestives. How will you digest it? Just dance in sankirtana. I will personally be with you, if you eat only My prasadam.’

Srila Gurudeva ki Jaya! (Excerpted from the Bhaktabandhav book publication, “Sri Guru Darshan”. Available from [email protected] )

 

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NEVER GIVE UP YOUR SERVICE

NEVER GIVE UP YOUR SERVICE

The sadhaka has now offered everything to the Lord, and Paramatma (God in the heart) becomes pleased with him, and He appears from within the sadhaka’s heart, and accepts his service. Paramatma is witnessing all our actions and is aware of everything we do. When He sees that we are doing everything for Him, then at that time Visnu-swayam – the Supreme Personality Himself appears. Brahma, Siva and the demigods all see this and, being pleased with our endeavor, they pray to Supreme Lord on our behalf, and the chanting of our mantra’s and japa will go directly to Paramatma.

What do the yogis do? First, they meditate on Paramatma residing within the heart. If we do kirtan, mantras and chant harinama, but if our purpose is not for pure bhakti, and we have other motives and desires, then we cannot be called one-pointed. When everything we do is only for the pleasure of the Lord, then the spiritual tendency will arise in our hearts. Spiritual knowledge will also come and we will become established in the spiritual reality.

At this time Visnu, Brahma, Siva, Guru, Param Guru, all these transcendental personalities will pray on our behalf, to the Supreme Personality, Paramatma, the indwelling witness in our heart, who is the original Krsna,. Then our seva-vrtti, (service tendency), will be delivered directly to Sri Krsna. Then it will not take long for us to directly reach and meet Krsna.

WHO IS ENTERING OUR BODY, MIND AND SENSES?

It is said when the abala-Gopis, the Gopis who had become very weak, first saw their beloved Sri Krsna appear before them, they immediately stood up and all strength came back in their limbs. Krsna was the one-pointed object of their hearts, desires and minds, and they stood up with great eagerness. This was aghatam, not swaghatam. Aghatam means the Lord has arrived and swaghatam is a welcome. Where did the Lord appear? He appeared in all of their limbs and in all of their bodies, and therefore they became very powerful and full of potency.

Who is entering our minds, limbs and senses? They enter through our senses, eyes, ears, nose and touch, and then make a house. In a tree there are so many birds, bees, bugs, squirrels and other living entities, so our body is like a tree in this way. So many people, and jivas (living entities) are within us and disturbing us, and what is their nature?

On the other hand, the gopis only have place for Krsna. Their senses do not take association of all these other living entities who are unfavorable. Therefore, the Lord appeared and pervaded their entire body, minds, hearts, and senses. This is called sat-sanga.We call a friend or relative and if they come to us then we feel happy. In this way we are constantly thinking of them. However the gopis never think of any materialistic people. They only think of Sri Krsna.

GOPIS PRAY TO TREES AND PLANTS

People in this world pray to God for material things, however the gopis prayed to everything else. They prayed to the plants, the Yamuna river, the trees, the creepers, but only for Sri Krsna. Whereas we come to Vrindavan, go to Govardhana and all the different tirthas, but everywhere we go, what do we pray for? Whatever our minds are desiring in this world, at that time and whatever has become dear to us. Then we go to those people or things, or we may pray for our own bodies to be healthy, or that our mind will be sharp. Where is our ananyatha – where is our focus?

The gopis prayed to all the different creatures in Vraja, to the dhama itself, to the Earth Goddess, to the rivers, mountains, trees, and hills. They prayed, “Oh where is our Krsna? Please tell us where He is hiding. You know this and have seen Him, so be pleased with us and tell us where He is.”

GOPIS BODIES BECOME REJUVENATED

When the Lord appeared before them, they embraced Him within their hearts and all their senses became completely surcharged with spiritual potency. Those senses and limbs were now all paraphernalia for Krsna’s service. Their hands, legs and bodily limbs had become murcit, unconscious and weak, and when Krsna appeared they became surcharged with spiritual energy.

Previously the gopis minds and bodies had lost all strength, but when Krsna appeared, He returned their prana (life air), and all their bodies received this naya-sanjivani a powerful rejuvenating medicine or rasayan. Their color and beauty all became very effulgent like blossoming flowers. Before this they were like wilting flowers, and when Krsna appeared they immediately blossomed with so much beauty and effulgence.

Some gopis grabbed Krsna’s hands very tightly so that He could not move away and began to smear His limbs with sandalwood paste. Why did they put sandalwood paste on Him? Because this would enter into His body and He would become cool, peaceful and fragrant and He would not be restless. This sandalwood paste is a great method to control someone. If you want to control Krsna you don’t have to work very hard. Simply offer Him tulasi and candana  (sandalwood paste). If you give Him sandalwood paste then He will be so happy with you.

The Gopis were lamenting in separation in the forest and wandering here and there. Even though they were lamenting so much, still they would not give up His service, they were always prepared to serve Him. They had pots with cool water, pan, tambula, sandal, flower garlands, aguru, kasturi, kumkum always ready. Different gopis had various services under the authority of their group leaders, and they were all present and prepared.

DON’T BE HOPELESS

What do we do? When we don’t like something or are feeling disturbed, we say; “Oh I have now retired. Bhagavan does not accept my service. Guru and Vaisnavas don’t want my service. I am being thrown aside, I am feeling like useless straw.” We should not be hopeless like this. The Lord has accepted our service and therefore we are nearby Krsna and not far away from Him. Will we leave Prabhu or will He leave us? To glorify and serve Him is our eternal dharma. However in separation, because of some sadness, we should not neglect and reject everything, or give up all service. This is only a kind of enjoyment and is only for one’s own peace, happiness and satisfaction, it is not for Krsna’s pleasure.

The gopis did not leave or reject anything. They had ankle bells, bracelets, baskets, and flower garlands. All this different paraphernalia was for service. They did not leave anything. They brought candana and when Krsna finally came, they immediately started to apply it on Him.

The Gopis were on the banks of the Yamuna River throughout the whole night of Brahma, wandering here and there in great separation and lamentation. They were always thinking that if the Lord comes, will we not give Him any flowers? If He is thirsty, will we not give Him any cool water or nice drink? The gopis were always prepared for service.

NEVER GIVE UP SERVICE

Even if the most difficult circumstances would come to the Gopis, the saddest days, they will never become opposed to service, instead they will always be more and more eager to serve. If there is any chance then immediately, they will serve. They will not think; “Oh now I will give up everything. I will not serve.” Instead, like Sabari, they were always prepared to serve.

For many, many years Sabari was cleaning the ashram, sprinkling the pathways, sweeping and bringing new fruits, sweets and flowers. Her Gurudeva told her to do this and said to her that Rama will certainly come. Everyday she did it despite everyone opposing her and acting against her. Then when Rama finally came, He accepted her fruits. He said; “You have not given it to Me only today. Everyday you have been giving this to Me.” If you will read the Ramayana you will be amazed how merciful Rama was.

THE REAL REASON AHALYA WAS CURSED

In the story of Ahalya who was cursed to become a stone, Rama said, “Oh Ahalya, I have liberated you today, but don’t think; ”Why did I become a stone? Your husband, Gautama Rsi would do austerities, and everyday you would think; “Oh I don’t want to do austerities at this time”. But Gautama Rsi made you into stone so you would sit in one place and do your mantra and japa properly.

Those who have all different facility will not do bhajan. If one has all facility but does not do bhajan then the Lord will arrange something for them. If one has all qualification then why won’t they do it? Still, if we don’t want to do it, the Lord will arrange something.

Gautama Rsi was such a great sage and Ahalya had no real fault, it was a mistake. Indra was such a wicked man. He thought Gautama will become the king of heaven and defeat him. Demigods like this will come to serve Guru to try and destroy him. In those days there were no clocks or alarms, the birds woke them. In Vraja we see the peacocks will call in the early morning, and in other places chickens will do it.

So Indra came and told the rooster, “Oh you must call out at midnight so Gautama thinks its brahma-muhurta and he will get up and go to the Ganga to bathe.” Again and again Indra said, “If you don’t do it, I will destroy you all.” Gautama Rsi then heard the cock crow at midnight and thought, “Oh it is now brahma-muhurta.” So he got up and went to the Ganga. Indra then took the form of Gautama Rsi and entered his kutir and enjoyed with Ahalya.

What was Ahalya’s fault? She had said, “Oh prabhu, you just went to the Ganga! Why are you back so early.” Indra in the guise of Gautama Rsi said, “No, no. I came back for something. When the real Gautama Rsi returned he saw Indra coming out of his kutir in his form, and with his cloth in disarray. Gautama then cursed Ahalya, as well as Indra.

If the husband is doing austerity, waking at brahma-muhurta, then the wife should also be with him or doing sadhana. It is said if you are waking at brahma-muhurta and doing sadhan,a then even if any wicked person or rakshasa comes then no one can disturb you.

Gautama Rsi said, “You let him enjoy with you, so you should become a stone, then you can do proper sadhana. When Rama came He said; “How many days were you doing sadhana, dhyana, tapa and japa? Therefore, I had to come to you and free you, otherwise I would not have come.”

Before Ahalya would only sleep and not get up to do bhajana and sadhana. Those wives who follow under the guidance of their sage husbands are called dharma-patni – religious wives. Rama said, “You did not properly follow, therefore Gautama Rsi enabled you to do sadhana. He gave you a favorable form in which you could do sadhana. Then how could any rakshasa come and enjoy you as a stone? Would any other demigod come and try and enjoy you like this? If someone is a leper, is disfigured or is handicapped, then will any demigod come to enjoy them? Will any rakshasa or man come to enjoy them? In that way they can do sadhana very nicely.

NAKED BHIKSA

The three Gods, Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh all came for Anusuya. Can anyone imagine that these three Gods would come to Anusuya who was so chaste and glorious in the three worlds? They said to her; “Oh give us bhiksa.” What?” she replied; “Oh then you should give yourself. You should become free of all your coverings and give yourself.” Meaning she should go naked before them and give them alms. Anusuya said; “Oh you want to see me naked?” Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh were testing her in this way. Why? She was always doing austerities with her husband. When they came as beggars and asked for alms she said, “What do you want?” and they replied, “Oh we want you.”

She went to her husband and asked, “What should I do? They are asking to see me naked.” He replied, “Ok give them.” He knew that they were Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh in disguise, testing her. She said; “Ok, I will do this on one condition. I will appear before you naked but all three of you must become my babies in my arms. Then I will give you my breast milk.”

So Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh became her babies and she began to feed them her breast milk and push them in a swing. Her husband came back and he said, “Very good. Just see what happens when you come to such a chaste woman. Now you are just babies. And now you can stay babies.” They had no strength. They could not even return to their own abodes.

Where was Siva’s power to destroy? Where was Brahma’s power to create? And where was Visnu’s power to maintain? Now they were just naked little babies, unable to even walk or move about. They simply played in her arms, drank her breast milk, and swung in their cradle.

Then Narada thought, “How long can I let this go on?” So Narada said to Laksmi; “Oh Laksmi, your beloved husband has now left. Now He won’t come back. He is now a little baby. You have now lost your husband forever.” Laksmi thought; “Yes where is He? I haven’t seen Him for some time. I searched for Him everywhere in Vaikuntha but I could not find Him.” So Laksmi then went and performed so many austerities and pleased Anusuya. Then she prayed and begged for her husband back. She begged alms and said; “Please give me give me my husband back.” The three wives of the three demigods all came and did austerities, and received their husbands back. However in one form Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh stayed with Anusuya, and became Soma, Dattatreya and Durvasa.

The Vraja-devis are not like this. They will never give a place for anyone else. They are only one-pointedly and completely offered to Sri Krsna. No one can trick and cheat the gopis. They are not like Ahalya. In every circumstance they are always prepared to serve, even in great separation, their service tendency does not leave them. They are always prepared. At every moment they are absorbed in Sri Krsna’s service. Even in separation they serve Sri Krsna.

So why were the gopis sad and wandering in the forest? Only because they thought they had committed some fault and were separated from Krsna, and thus not able to serve Him. When He finally appeared they held and stroked Krsna’s hands, and by touching Sri Krsna it gave them so much happiness.

Guruvarga ki Jaya! Srila Gurudeva ki Jaya! (Excerpted from the up and coming book publication, “Rasa Pancadhyayi”. For more info contact: [email protected] )

 

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