[Harikatha inspired by the Guru-varga. Spoken 21 Aug 2013 in Jagannatha Puri Dhama]
Jagannatha Puri Ksetra Dhama is the nitya-prakasa-sthana of Baladeva Prabhu.
jagannathaya te namah
Jagannatha, Baladeva and Subhadra are eternally present here. Paramatma is manifest here for all time. In some places, God appears and performs His pastimes, and then disappears after His purpose is complete, but here in Jaganatha Puri, Jagannatha, Baladeva and Subhadra are eternally present. Why is Baladeva not giving us so much strength then, even though we are in this place? Because, when one gets too much strength he becomes like Kamsa, Ravana and Hiranyakasipu. Who will one respect then? Subhadra Devi gives bhadra, auspiciousness and Baladeva Prabhu gives cid-bala, spiritual strength. But to who? Those who want to serve Jagannatha.
This place is one prakostha of the spiritual world. By doing a small amount of sadhana here, ordinary jivas can receive cid-bala. Therefore the peoples’ hearts are naturally attracted to Jagannatha. Even if the people do not appear so devout, because of cid-bala, their minds naturally flow towards Jagannatha. They chant His holy name and have devotion for Him.
Those who are controlled by the modes of ignorance and passion and always engaged in sense gratification, possessing no power to control their senses, cannot worship Jagannatha. That person who has cid-bala is very fortunate and can reside in the holy dhama or in the abode of Bhagavan.
We could never find the end of Baladeva Prabhu’s glories, even if we had thousands of tongues and yugas to do so. He is Ananta, infinite, and His glories are thus infinite.
Once, someone came to Mahaprabhu and began to criticize Nityananda Prabhu. They said, “Oh, You are Bhagavan, a sannyasi and very good. But who is this Nitai? He took two little girls and married them, although He himself is thirty or forty years old. He wears gold ornaments, chews pan; has long hair that shines with scented oil and He wears beautiful silken clothes. What is all this? Nitai is not good.”
Hearing all this, Mahaprabhu was enraged. Mahaprabhu would normally never show anger, but now He was very angry and said —
mora nityananda yadi suri bari jaya
tathapi amara guru nityananda raya
Mahaprabhu said, “I will not tolerate criticism of My Nitai. Even if He goes to the house of a prostitute, He is my Guru still, He is the Guru of the whole world!”
On one occasion, Mahaprabhu tore the kaupinas of Nityananda Prabhu into pieces and gave them to all the devotees to put on their head. He said, “Let this be your kavaca, protective ward. It will help you for millions of lives.”
Who can understand the tattva of Nityananda Prabhu? Who has the capability? If Bhagavan cannot make us understand this tattva then no one can. Like a child in the lap of his mother. Without knowing, he passes stool and urine on her lap. Sometimes he cuts her breast while drinking milk and roughly pulls her hair. The loving mother does not chastise her child. She must gradually help him learn proper etiquette. But on one side, once one has knowledge, then prema goes. Tattva-jnana makes one hard hearted. Thus, there is no value of tattva-jnana in Vrndavana. Mahaprabhu opened some schools in Navadvipa, but in Vraja no one goes to study. The Vrajavasis only learn these two syllables, pre-ma. In Vraja there is only the school of prema. Those who are well-educated in this prema are the greatest scholars in existence.
Mahaprabhu tried so hard to teach the students in Navadvipa at Vidyanagara. But in Vraja if you want to study where will you go? Go to the seva kunja of Radharani and grinding your nose in the kunja, learn how to do some service. This is the study in Vraja. So we must hear and learn that tattva-jnana by which we can come forward on the path to Vraja and realize the glories of that supremely glorious abode. With this in mind, I will try to speak something on the glories of Baladeva Prabhu. By Jagannatha’s mercy we will get some of this prasada which our gosvamis and guru-varga have given. This is our greatest festival. Why? Baladeva Prabhu is the root of all gurus and He is the dearmost servant of Bhagavan.
Baladeva Prabhu is eight days elder to Krsna. Smartas say that He was born on another day, in another month, but then He would be a year older or He would be younger. Gargacarya gave Krsna and Baladeva Their names at the same time and they played together. This has been discussed in Gopala-campu by Jiva Gosvami and in Ananda-vrndavana-campu by Kavi-karnapura Gosvami. These are the direct dear associates of Mahaprabhu and the highest authorities.
Vasudeva Maharaja had more than one wife. Devaki was the last wife and she was the youngest. Vasudeva went with her to the prison, as she was foretold to be the mother of Kamsa’s killer. Rohini was also Vasudeva’s wife. She was very sad. If a women’s husband is in jail, how can she live happily? A woman who can live happily when her husband is in jail is not a chaste wife. She is a raksasi, a demoness. Rohini was pati-vrata, completely chaste, and therefore very unhappy when Vasudeva was imprisoned.
Vasudeva gave instruction through a messenger to those faithful to him. He said, “Do not keep my wives in the palace. Send them to a secret place.”
Where would he send his wife Rohini? Vasudeva thought, “Nanda Baba is my older cousin. He is completely pure at heart and always engaged in the welfare of others. There is no one else as charitable and helpful as Nanda Baba. He respects all sages and sadhus and considers all living entities to be his own family.”
He then sent a messenger to Rohini, requesting her to go to Gokula, and take shelter of the abode of Nanda. She went on the excuse of filling water at night to the Yamuna and then swam across and went to Gokula. There, Rohini was very depressed. Day and night she could not eat. What sadness can be so great as a chaste woman’s husband being in jail? At that time, seeing her sadness, Bhagavati Paurnamasi gave her some blessings. Rohini Mata would daily meet her at the Yamuna and pray to her. She was always thinking of the welfare of her husband Vasudeva.
Paurnamasi told her, “O Rohini, you came to Nanda and Yasoda. Remember Nanda and Yasoda are not ordinary. Yasoda’s fame, yasa, is spread throughout the three worlds. She has so much power, in a minute she can please everyone. Respect Nanda and Yasoda as your elders.”
Then Rohini Mata caught on to Yasoda Mata saying, “Oh, you are always pleased. You are greatly fortunate. Your Nanda Maharaja is always with you. I’m very unfortunate. Because of my sins, my husband is in jail. Please help me to liberate my husband and help me serve him.”
Whatever a pati-vrata chaste wife says will be true while an unchaste woman has no power whatsoever. For a woman the most powerful austerity is chastity. Rohini came to Yasoda and said, “Sister, please help me.”
Yasoda told her, “Always remember and serve your husband from here.”
Yogamaya Paurnamasi was called and Yasoda told her, “Please give her diksa.”
Then Paurnamasi gave a mantra to Rohini, “om namo bhagavate vasudevaya-dhimahi.” Day and night Rohini began chanting this mantra, and she felt spiritually surcharged. A siddha mantra, perfect mantra, bestows a siddha phala, perfect fruit.
Vasudeva Maharaja asked, “Is Rohini pleased in Nanda-bhavan?”
Akrura would say, “She is chanting mantras day and night and praying for your welfare.”
He said, “That woman is most fortunate who has a qualified son. Rohini is bhagyavati, she will certainly have a sat-putra, pure son.”
sattvam visuddham vasudeva-sabditam
Vasudeva’s words will come to being. He said, “This ‘bhagyavati’ will be ‘putravati’. She will have a son.
Yogamaya was smiling and thinking, “What have you done? Her husband is in jail. Not for one or two days. Since so many years. How will she get a son?”
But he spoke brahma-vakya and gave this blessing. This must come to truth.
Rohini would wake early and begin chanting and then come out to meet with Nanda and Yasoda. One day, she did not wake early. The door was closed and she remained in her bed late into the morning. Yasoda came to see Rohini and said, “O sister, are you feeling unwell? Why haven’t you arisen yet?” Rohini had covered her face and was lying in a depressed state. Yasoda asked, “What is wrong?
“I do not want to show you my contemptible face,” Rohini said.
“Why are you so upset?”
“I am with child.”
For a woman, being pregnant without the presence of her husband is the most disgraceful thing.
Yasoda said, “Don’t worry; I saw in a dream last night that Ananta Sesa, Maha Sankarsana Balarama entered into your heart. He came to me and said, ‘My brother is coming soon, so I’m first coming to your home in preparation. Where will I stay? Who will maintain and nourish Me? Who will care for Me?’ Then I said, ‘Rohini is here. Go to her. Rohini will take care of You and serve You. She has no one and is always very sad.’”
Yasoda said, “Did you give place for Him in your heart or not?”
Rohini was astonished to hear this. Then Paurnamasi Bhagavati Yogamaya came to give evidence of this. She said, “I know all these secrets. I have arranged this. I brought Him from the womb of Devaki by Sankarsana’s power and established Him in the womb of Rohini.”
Hearing this, Rohini was very pleased. Before six of Devaki’s sons were killed by Kamsa. Then the seventh son Baladeva Prabhu was brought to Rohini’s womb. Everyone had faith in Paurnamasi Devi. Otherwise in the early morning the word would go out that Rohini had a child in her womb and this would be a great condemnation on her character.
Nanda and Yasoda said, “When we were sleeping, Ananta sesa came in a dream and told us, ‘I am appearing in your home.’”
Then Paurnamasi also came and gave evidence to the fact that Baladeva had appeared in Rohini’s womb. Baladeva stayed for seven months in Devaki’s womb in the jail and seven months in Rohini’s womb. It seemed to everyone that Devaki’s seventh child pregnancy was a miscarriage.
The Vrajavasis told Paurnamasi Devi, “Look at Rohini, she is so beautiful today. She has so much effulgence. It seems that a great festival is about to start.”
Then today, Baladeva Prabhu appeared. Even if millions of moons rose at once they would not have the effulgence of Baladeva Prabhu. His hands had the signs of a plough and club. It is not that he was literally carrying a plough and club. In His hand there were these symbols. As Krsna has many signs on His hands and feet, Baladeva Prabhu also has many symbols.
Nanda Baba arranged a festive birthday celebration. Some days later, as Nanda Baba would go to check on the cows and pastures, he saw that this small boy Baladeva was present in all hearts. He was perplexed, and thought, “What am I looking at? Now I am seeing everywhere that boy who came in the womb of Rohini.”
The jivas’ svarupa-satta, spiritual forms, are manifested by Baladeva Prabhu. He is the presiding deity of all satta, existence. Jiva-satta, maya-satta and cit-satta is all manifested by Baladeva Prabhu. So Nanda Maharaja saw Him in the hearts of all the cows and the sakhas and all the cows were very full of strength and vitality. In the fields and gardens, he saw everything full of spiritual power. Paurnamasi Bhagavati Devi manifested Baladeva Prabhu everywhere in Vraja. When anyone takes Baladeva Prabhu in his heart he receives spiritual strength.
That person who has not taken Sri Guru in his heart is the slave of maya. That person who has taken Sri Guru in his heart, who has taken Baladeva Prabhu in his heart, cannot be touched by maya. Today Rohini Devi gave birth to that Baladeva Prabhu, the root of guru-tattva. Paurnamasi Bhagavati Devi then gave a place in all hearts for Baladeva Prabhu and everyone was filled with spiritual potency. If we do not bring Baladeva Prabhu or Sri Guru in our heart, then maya still has adhikara there and we will remain in darkness.
First Baladeva Prabhu was manifested in the hearts of the Vrajavasis and everything became vibrant and effulgent. That person who has place in his heart for Sri Guru will have shortage of nothing. Once Sri Guru has come, by guru-mantra, Krsna will certainly come.
Wherever Nanda Baba looked, he saw everything energetic, filled with vigor and vibrancy. When Nanda Maharaja went to the field and remembered Baladeva Prabhu, he saw all the fields were automatically cultivated and filled with crops. There was only eight days left before Krsna came, so who would serve and arrange everything in Vraja if Baladeva did not come. Baladeva Prabhu came and decorated Vraja for the appearance day of Krsna.
When Krsna appeared, Yasoda and Rohini would serve Baladeva and Krsna together with great love for both of Them. As They grew slightly older, both brothers played together exuberantly. On the day of Divali, Baladeva Prabhu was not present. He had gone to His uncle’s house. When He came in the evening, Rohini said, “Go and bring Your brother.” He went to Krsna and said, “O Krsna, lets go.” Krsna pushed with great force and Baladeva rolled back very far. Krsna said, “When I was crying ‘Bhaiya, bhaiya, O brother, brother, save Me, save Me, mother has bound Me up all day long,’ where were You then? Where had You gone? You went alone to Your uncle’s place and here, I had My hands tied behind My back against a mortar the whole day.”
Krsna had never overcome Baladeva Prabhu in this way. Baladeva Prabhu stood at a distance without saying anything. Rohini thought, “Today, Krsna is very angry.”
She went to Him and said, “Come on.”
Krsna said, “No.”
“What will You eat and drink.”
“I will drink milk from the cows and Baba will give Me some laddus and misri.”
“Where will You sleep?”
“Okay, it’s like that then,” Rohini thought. She said, “Look, what if Your mother were to,” and she paused and motioned across her neck with her hand. “Who would You call ‘Maiya’ then? Who would You run too?”
Now Krsna could no longer hold Himself back. He cried out, “Maiya, maiya!” and ran into the arms of Rohini, who took Him immediately to Yasoda. Yasoda had been standing like a wooden statue but when Krsna came in her arms, she began to cry out like a cow being reunited with her long lost calf. If Baladeva Prabhu had been there from the beginning, there would have been no problem.
Once, on Baladeva’s birthday, Nanda and Yasoda arranged a celebration, and all the sages were to come and give Him blessings. Krsna said, “Dau, I will go to graze the calves without You today, and will return shortly for the celebrations. You should stay back to receive the sages and guests.”
Baladeva wanted to go with Krsna, but Krsna insisted. As they went out to the forest, all the calves and boys saw this beautiful red carpet spread out before them, leading into a dark and mysterious looking cave that rose into the sky. They thought, “Oh, this is very wonderful. We have never seen this cave before.”
They walked towards the cave without heeding the cries of Krsna, who ran from behind, calling out, “Don’t go, don’t go.” The sakhas went forward without Krsna and fell unconscious in the mouth of Aghasura.
“Everyone has gone,” Krsna said, “what will I do alone.”
Krsna came inside and then Aghasura closed his mouth, but Krsna became very hot, and Aghasura’s life airs and soul left his serpent body and moved in the sky. When Krsna came out with the sakhas, the spirit of Aghasura, appearing like an effulgent light, entered the lotus feet of Krsna. The demigods were watching in the sky and were amazed to see this incident. We all know then how Brahma stole the calves and sakhas, and Krsna assumed their forms for one year.
A year later, Baladeva Prabhu was on top of Govardhana seeing that the cows ran and gave milk to their older calves with great love, and when the angry cowherd men came to chastise the sakhas for bringing the calves close to the cows, they embraced their sons and caressed them.
Baladeva Prabhu thought, “What is this?” He rubbed His eyes and said, “Oh, there is no one here, there is only Krsna. There are no calves or sakhas, they are all Krsna.”
He asked Krsna, “What maya is this? No ordinary maya can delude Me.”
He rubbed His eyes again and saw only Krsna alone.
Krsna said, “O brother, I did not listen to You. I went ahead without You on Your birthday, therefore this situation came.”
In this pastime, Krsna shows the importance of Baladeva Prabhu and Sri Guru—guru chade govinda bhaje, sei papi narakera majhe—one who neglects Sri Guru and thinks to worship Govinda alone becomes a resident of hell. Govinda will never protect one who gives up his Guru. If one does not take shelter of Guru, if one does not take shelter of Baladeva’s lotus feet, and he goes directly towards Krsna, then he will go inside the mouth of Aghasura. There Krsna saved the sakhas with His glance of mercy, but then Brahma stole them and they were senseless in a cave for a year. We see in this pastime that such a calamity comes to one who gives up Sri Guru. Even Krsna will not be able to protect such a person. We must remember this.
On the day of the Kaliya incident, Baladeva also did not come. He remained behind. What happened? The sakhas were frolicking in the forest, playing with a ball, and the ball bounced away into the Yamuna. The sakhas came to the shore of the Yamuna and fell senseless from the poisonous atmosphere spread by Kaliya.
Krsna thought, “Oh, what is this? This is a great misfortune.” He jumped into the Yamuna and went deep into her waters. In Vraja, jackals howled and birds screeched. It began raining blood and stones, bones and flesh, and a wind came and swept roofs off of the houses. The Vrajavasis looked on in terror as it appeared the universal devastation was upon them. They all ran toward the forest to find their heart, Krsna. As they approached the bank of Yamuna, Baladeva Prabhu came before them and spread out His arms, saying, “Stop! Don’t go forward. Be peaceful. Everything will be okay.” The Vrajavasis had so much love for Krsna, they wailed in separation and gazed longingly to the Yamuna where Krsna had entered.
Inside the water, Kaliya felt the tremors of an alien presence. He said, “Who has come into my kingdom? I am Kaliya, the king of all serpents. I have covered this whole area with my poison so no one can enter. How has anyone come without my permission? How is it possible?”
His wives said, “Oh, another Kaliya has come. He is your friend.”
Krsna is black, so universally He is called Kaliya, the black one.
Kaliya then went to see his friend Kaliya. He said, “My friend, You have come!”
Kaliya embraced Kaliya Krsna with his coils and kissed His soft body with his many mouths. He became so much more powerful from tasting the nectar of Krsna’s transcendental form. As they rose above the water, Krsna was saying, “Oh, friend this is so nice.” But the Vrajavasis with a parental mood towards Krsna could not tolerate this. They shook in fear and lamented grievously.
When the gopis saw this scene, they said, “Rama Rama Rama! We have never had such great fortune. We want to embrace Him, but can only do so from one side, and we want to kiss Him, but can only do so in one place at a time. Just look at Kaliya. He is binding Krsna in a tight embrace from head to feet and kissing Him all over at once. Alas! Alas!”
The gopis were burning in the fire of blazing jealousy, while Yasoda and the other Vrajavasis were lamenting, “Kaliya has struck our Krsna!”
Baladeva tried to pacify them, saying, “He will be okay. Krsna has immense power.”
Krsna then slipped out of Kaliya’s grip. He said, “You gave Me so much happiness. I have never been embraced and kissed like that. Now I will show My pleasure by dancing.”
When a person is very happy, he begins to dance in joyful abandon.
Krsna said, “Now I will show you how a person dances when he is very happy!”
Why would Parabrahma dance in bliss? He dances to show His charming qualities to the gopis. Krsna jumped on top of the hoods of Kaliya and danced so wonderfully, the gandharvas and demigods assembled in the sky and showered flower petals on Krsna.
Baladeva said, “Just look at our Kanhaiya.”
After dancing, Krsna pulled Kaliya and tied him to the tree and then all the sakhas also came and began to dance on his hoods.
The sakhis said, “We have been trying to meet with Krsna for so long but never received any chance!”
Now, evening had come. Baladeva Prabhu said, “It is late. Tonight we should stay here.” Why? Krsna needed to pacify the desire of the gopis to meet with Him. There was a blazing fire of jealousy and separation in the gopis’ hearts. In the night, this fire of separation was so intense, the forest caught on fire. In distress, the gopis cried out, “Kanhaiya, Kanhaiya, save us!” All the small kisoris ran and embraced Krsna from all sides, and gradually the forest fire of their separation was soothed.
In Nanda-bhavana, Krsna does everything with Baladeva. But He is thin and weak and does not eat well. He said to Yasoda, “My sikha is very thin and Dau’s sikha is very thick.”
Yasoda said, “Dau eats with gusto, but You eat so frugally. When You eat more makhana and roti Your choti will be moti.”
Krsna would sit down on one knee of Nanda Baba and Baladeva on the other and Nanda would give one handful to Krsna and another to Baladeva. Dau would eat and become strong and healthy but Krsna would not eat. He took only a very little. He had great sadness. Why? He said, “I am kala, black. I am in the line of Kaliya only.”
Krsna has this sadness. He thought, “I want someone to be in My black dynasty. Understanding everything, Baladeva Prabhu became black and sat there in Nandagrama.
If you look in Nandagrama, Krsna and Baladeva are both black because Krsna was saying, “I have only one brother and He is also golden. Everyone is golden. Only I am black.”
Then Dau said, “Don’t worry, I am also black.” Sometimes they both come as golden and play. Sometimes they are both black and play. But because they look so similar they have to be white and black so the Vrajavasis can tell them apart. Like in Dvaraka, Pradyumna looked so similar to Krsna, that even Krsna’s queens (his mothers) were bewildered. Baladeva is fair to keep distinction between Him and Krsna. But in certain places, like in the Nandagrama Temple, They are both black. Although They are non-different in tattva. For pastimes sake, They are manifest separately.
When Krsna was fighting Vyomasura in Kamyavana, Baladeva Prabhu helped Him defeat the demon. Vyomasura was so powerful. He could not be killed. When he was fighting with Krsna, he was lifting the entire earth up. Then Baladeva put his foot down, pushing down the earth. His footprint is still present there. When Baladeva pushed down the earth, Krsna killed Vyomasura, otherwise it could not have been done.
Baladeva’s footprint at Kamyavana
In every pastime, Baladeva Prabuhu is helping. To the extent that Baladeva Prabhu even has rasa-lila. How did Baladeva Prabhu perform this rasa? This is all beyond description. For foolish people, this is like poison and for those who are rasajna, this is the most sublime rasa.
Today is Baladeva Prabhu’s auspicious appearance day. All of our acaryas have followed Baladeva’s appearance on this day. Some smartas in Mathura and Vrndavana follow Baladeva’s appearance on a different day due to their misconception and attachment to Dvarkadhisa Krsna and Baladeva. They want to show anyhow that Krsna and Baladeva are the sons of Vasudeva, and Mathura is the highest place. Srila Gurudeva preached the glories of Vraja strongly in Mathura, changing the mentality of thousands of the locals. He prepared a grand festival for Baladeva Purnima on this day and spoke the glories of Baladeva Prabhu. We pray to Baladeva Prabhu on His appearance day that we will always be connected to Srila Gurudeva. We will hear more this evening.
Nitai-Gaura-premanande! Hari Hari bol! Baladeva Prabhu ki jaya!