Srila BV Narayan Maharaja
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Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
SRI GURU – MORE INTIMATE THAN OUR ATMA
[ Most appearance and disappearance days in our Vaisnava calendar are observed in various countries on different days according to the local astrological timing: some holidays are observed over a two or three day period. This year, for most places of the world, this auspicious holy day (of Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja disappearance day) is observed on December 11th.
I remember a sloka of Srimad-Bhagavatam, which was spoken by Narada Rsi to Vasudeva, the father of Krsna.* [See Endnote 1] This sloka was then re-told by Srila Sukadeva Gosvami to Pariksit Maharaja, who was cursed to die by the bite of a snake-bird after seven days:
bhayam dvitiyabhinivesatah syad
isad apetasya viparyayo ‘smrtih
tan-mayayato budha abhajet tam
[“Fear arises when a living entity misidentifies himself as the material body because of absorption in the external, illusory energy of the Lord. When the living entity thus turns away from the Supreme Lord, he also forgets his own constitutional position as a servant of the Lord. This bewildering, fearful condition is effected by the potency for illusion, called maya. Therefore, an intelligent person should engage unflinchingly in the unalloyed devotional service of the Lord, under the guidance of a bona fide spiritual master, whom he should accept as his worshipable deity and as his very life and soul.” (SrimadBhagavatam 11.2.37)]
What are the causes of fear? Srila Sukadeva Gosvami has explained it. We all fear. Although everyone in all species of life throughout all the material universes only wants peace of mind and happiness, everyone is full of fear.
Happiness and peace of life follow us like a shadow. If we want to take that shadow within our grasp, we will find it to be intangible – with no substance. On the other hand, when we proceed forward, turning away from our shadow, that shadow will follow us. This is the nature of shadows.
Perhaps all of you know the meaning of maya? Maya, in the form of economic development, sense gratification, and impersonal liberation, is like a shadow. When we turn to her and try to enjoy sense gratification, we find sense gratification to have no substance. In other words, the desire for material happiness becomes the cause of pain and grief. There is no happiness in the material world, only distress and suffering, and this suffering is experienced as the endless chain of birth and death. No one is happy to be in maya. On the other hand, if we progress towards Krsna, then all material facility and liberation will follow us.
We are part and parcel of the Supreme Lord, Krsna, and He is an ocean of ananda, unlimited happiness and peace. He is the reservoir of pure ananda, and in fact He Himself is ananda. Because we are His parts and parcels, by our constitutional position, by nature, our bodies are made of pure ananda. This refers to our transcendental body, however, not our material body.
bhayam dvitiyabhinivesatah syad
isad apetasya viparyayo ‘smrtih
tan-mayayato budha abhajet tam
Somehow we have departed from that Supreme Lord, the ocean of rasa and ananda, who is ananda Himself, and now we are entangled in illusory maya. Ma – Ya. We are seeing that which is not actually a fact to be a fact. Whatever we see or feel by our sensory perception is maya.
When we first departed from Krsna, when we first forgot Him, maya came at once and attacked us. She defeated us and put us in her jail. What is that jail? It is this body and mind. Actually there are two jails, one within the other. This gross body is the outer jail and the subtle body is the inner jail. We have been suffering and fearing since time immemorial, and we are never free from that.
Pariksit Maharaja asked Srila Sukadeva Gosvami, “How can we come out of this endless chain of birth and death? How can we get free from maya?” Srila Sukadeva Gosvami replied, “Tan-mayayato budhaabhajet tam / bhaktyaikayesam guru-devatatma.” Being in maya, we cannot become free from maya at once and go to Goloka Vrndavana. It is possible only by the help of Vaisnavas. By the association of pure Vaisnavas, you can have a very pure guru – not an imitation guru or a kan-guru, but a sad-guru. If we take shelter in his lotus feet, he will take full charge of our lives. He will take all kinds of responsibility for our lives, and he will teach how to do bhajana of Krsna.
Guru-devatatma. First, we must think that guru is our atma. Being totally surrendered to him, we must depend solely on him. Tan abhajet. Tan means the Supreme Lord, Krsna. If we serve Krsna under the guidance of sad-guru, then certainly, like magic, we will be out of maya. We will see that our transcendental form has manifested, that we are serving Krsna, and that we are now bathing in the endless ocean of ananda and rasa. At that time we will also be embodiments of ananda, and we will simultaneously be the enjoyers of ananda by serving.
Try to realize all these facts. It is not sufficient to simply hear about this and tell others. We will have to be established in this truth. We are in deep maya, and to the extent we are in maya we are that far away from Krsna. Our only hope is the fact that Krsna has sent sad-guru and Vaisnavas to this world. I realize this; I was a third-class bogus person, but my Gurudeva picked me up and engaged me in this transcendental service.
To give the happiness of direct service to Radha-Krsna Yugala is the mission of Srimad Bhagavatam, Sri Narada Rsi, Srila Sukadeva Gosvami, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, our guru-varga, and especially, in Western countries, Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja – who ordered me to also preach it.
I request you all to understand these eternal truths and be established in them, and to also preach this mission of our guru-parampara to others. If you are practicing but not preaching, you are selfish. Do not be weak. Preach.
It is stated in Caitanya Caritamrta: “Sthane sthitah sruti-gatam tanu-van-manobhir” If you are wearing the saffron cloth of a brahmacari or sannyasi, do not marry and do not fall down. If you are grhastha, then remain grhastha, but after you are fifty years old, try to come out of grhastha life. Do not engage your whole life in the grhastha asrama. If you can be a grhastha like Prahlada Maharaja or the Pandavas, that is fine; but that is very rare.
* [Endnote: “This is a quotation from Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.2.37). It is an instruction given by Kavi Rsi, one of the nine saintly personalities called the nine Yogendras. When Vasudeva, Krsna’s father, asked Devarsi Narada in Dvaraka about devotional service, it was mentioned that previously King Nimi, who was the King of Videha, was instructed by the nine Yogendras. When Sri Narada Muni discoursed on bhagavata-dharma, devotional service, he indicated how a conditioned soul can be liberated by engaging in the loving transcendental service of the Lord” (Caitanya Caritamrta Madhya 20.119 purport by Srila Prabhupada Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja).]
Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
[This year, 2017 September 4 (in America), is the divine disappearance day of Srila Haridasa Thakura, the great teacher of the glories of the holy name. The following is Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja’s lecture on his glorification, given on May 25, 2001 in Alachua, Florida:] Listen
Come with me to Jagannatha Puri, near to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Srila Haridasa Thakura. Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s pastimes are more deep than the ocean, more deep than even thousands upon thousands of oceans. No ordinary person can understand the Lord’s pastimes, and even most devotees cannot realize them.
One day Caitanya Mahaprabhu asked, “O Haridasa Thakura, in this world there are many uncultured and materialistic Mohammedans, Muslims, who want to control the world and make all people Muslims by the help of a sword or any other way. They address those who are not Muslims as ‘Kafir,’ meaning ‘against God’ (ka – fir). They tell their followers, “Somehow or other, by hook or by crook, make them Muslims.”
This is still their policy. They don’t honor other religions. They don’t chant the name Hari, Krsna, Govinda, or any other name of God, and they don’t believe in the form of God at all. They are like mayavadis (impersonalists).
Mahaprabhu inquired, “Is there any process by which they can be liberated?”
Haridasa Thakura replied, “Once there was a Mohammedan, a Muslim, who while passing through a forest felt the urge to pass stool. As he sat somewhere in the forest for passing, a very powerful boar saw him from a distance and ran to attack him from the backside. As boars run one-pointed with their eyes closed, so that boar ran to kill the person from the backside by tearing him to pieces with his sharp teeth. As soon as the man saw that the boar was going to attack him, he called out, ‘Ha rama! Ha rama!’ Ha rama means ‘condemned’ or ‘abominable’ or ‘impure.’ He condemned that boar by calling out, ‘Ha rama, ha rama!’
“Hearing that man call out, ‘Ha rama!’ Krsna in the form of His incarnation Lord Rama considered, ‘He is calling Me. I must go and help him.’ Lord Rama came there at once, since He is non-different from His holy name. He gave that man liberation, and attainment of Vaikuntha-dhama. [*See endnote 1] This was all because the man had unknowingly chanted, ‘O Lord Ramacandra’ [ha means ‘O’, and Rama may refer to Lord Ramacandra].”
The holy name is very powerful. If a person does not know the glories of the holy name and yet chants with respect, or even without respect, he will certainly achieve the fruits of chanting the holy names. He will not attain prema, but he will be liberated from this world – up to this. Or, he may gain much wealth. Moreover, if someone takes proper diksa and chants with honor, with a sense of a relation to Krsna, what will become of him? If he is under the guidance of any exalted rasika tattva-jnana Vaisnava, he will gradually attain sraddha (firm faith in sadhu, guru, and Krsna), nistha (steadiness in devotional service), ruci (taste for service and bhajana), and asakti (spontaneous attachment to Krsna). After that he will become liberated [*See endnote 2], and after that he will attain the stages of prema, sneha, mana, pranaya, raga, anuraga, bhava, and mahabhava.
We should try to continuously chant Krsna’s name in this process, like Haridasa Thakura. If a person cannot do this, still, he will achieve liberation. He will not die. [*See endnote 3] Krsna’s name will save him. But try to chant the name in the approved process. First associate with a highly qualified Vaisnava who will give you diksa, at which time you will receive divya-jnana, or all transcendental knowledge. You will then become detached from worldly desires, and very soon you will develop a thick relationship with Krsna that will manifest according to your constitutional form. You will gradually develop sraddha, nistha, ruci, and asakti, and after that rati. This rati is suddha-sattva as I explained yesterday. [*See endnote 4]
This is all being explained by Srila Haridasa Thakura [in Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Antya-lila, chapter 3].
Once, by the wish of Sri Krsna, Srila Haridasa Thakura came to see Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, who was at that time at the premises of his father. Many learned persons and brahmanas had assembled there, and they were discussing the glories of the holy name. Some were telling that the holy name can give liberation, and others told that it can never give liberation; both parties were quarrelling.
Upon the arrival of Haridasa Thakura, everyone honored him, and they asked him the same question with which they were struggling: “Can one achieve liberation by the holy name, or not?” Haridasa Thakura very humbly replied, “There is no need of the pure name for achieving liberation, for even by the semblance of the holy name anyone can very easily be liberated.” [*See endnote 5]
[Haridasa Thakura said, “As the sun begins to rise, even before it is visible it dissipates the darkness of night. With the first glimpse of sunlight, fear of thieves, ghosts, and demons immediately disappears, and when the sun is actually visible, everything is manifest and everyone begins performing his religious activities and regulative duties. Similarly, the first hint that offenseless chanting of the Lord’s holy name has awakened dissipates the reactions of sinful life immediately. And when one chants the holy name offenselessly, one awakens to service in ecstatic love at the lotus feet of Krsna. Liberation is the insignificant result derived from a glimpse of the awakening of offenseless chanting of the holy name. While dying, Ajamila chanted the holy name of the Lord, intending to call his son Narayana. Nevertheless, he attained the spiritual world. [*See endnote 6] What then to speak of those who chant the holy name with faith and reverence?” (Antya 3.183-187)]
Hearing the words of Haridasa Thakura, a brahmana named Gopal Cakravarti became very angry and began to challenge him. All others warned Gopal not to challenge Haridasa Thakura, because of the Thakura’s elevated position in bhakti, but still he challenged, “Even the name itself cannot give liberation, and you are telling us that namabhasa (the semblance of harinama) can give liberation?! If I am speaking the truth, then your nose will fall off due to leprosy, and if I am wrong and you are right, then my nose will fall off!”
Everyone present became angry at that person, and the father of Raghunatha dasa Gosvami told him, “Get out from our assembly. I have no sympathy for you.” He had been paying that person many thousands of rupees monthly for being his tax-collector, but now he said, “I have stopped all connection with you. Get out of my kingdom.”
After a couple of days, that brahmana’s entire body was attacked by leprosy and his nose melted away. After many days, being extremely upset, he left for Aparadha-bhanjana-pata (the place where offences are destroyed) in Navadvipa. There he prayed to Caitanya Mahaprabhu, “I have done wrong. I have committed offenses to the feet of a high-class Vaisnava. Please excuse me.”
Caitanya Mahaprabhu forgave this nama-aparadhi brahmana and instructed him to continuously chant the holy name. Gopala Cakravarti did so, and his leprosy soon disappeared, leaving him beautiful as before. And now, he was a devotee.
So, Haridasa Thakura was a very exalted devotee.
If you chant the holy name, a special kind of power comes to you; whatever you speak will become true. Your words will bear fruit. I have personally tested and examined this. Once I was chanting the holy name, thinking, “If I am chanting this name purely, then this must be done,” and at once it was done. I have examined this so many times. If you are chanting the holy name purely and you tell someone, “Oh, you should die,” then that person will die.
Narada Rsi cursed the sons of Nalakuvera and Manigriva, “At once become trees,” and by the power of his chanting of the holy name, they immediately began turning into trees. Once, Narada told someone, “Oh! You are now dead? Oh, Come on, Come on, Come on.” That person immediately came alive and began to speak. This is the power of the holy name.
Once, the ocean swallowed up a mother bird’s eggs, which she had laid by the ocean’s shore. Garuda came and told the ocean, “You should return the eggs to this bird.” When he did not hear a reply, he breathed in, and by the power of the holy name he drank all of the ocean’s water and the ocean became dry.
You can also examine whether or not this is true. Chant for some years like Srila Haridasa Thakura, or like any pure devotee, and you will see so much power come to you. Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja was so powerful that in a couple of years he successfully preached everywhere. Why? He was always chanting the holy name. By the power of the holy name and his own bhakti, so many souls came under his shelter. And what I am doing? I am only chanting. I am also successful in my preaching by the power of the name.
So, don’t disbelieve in the holy name. You can very easily receive anything by this name – money, liberation, and all other things, and Haridasa Thakura is an example of this. He never wished ill to the person who challenged him, but that person became attacked by leprosy.
We have seen so many scriptural references about Haridasa Thakura. Last night we explained about a prostitute who was about 16 to 20 years old. Although she tried to seduce Haridasa Thakura, by his grace she became a very prominent devotee. We should try to chant the holy name like him.
Once, the very beautiful Maya-devi herself came to Haridasa Thakura on a full-moon night. He was staying in a solitary place on the side of the Ganges, where she went to him and prayed: “I see that you are the most beautiful man in the entire world, and you can see that I am also beautiful. Look at me for just a moment.” But Haridasa Thakura was absorbed in chanting: “Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.” She spent the entire night with him, speaking so many words to allure him. In fact, she came there three nights in a row, but each night Haridasa Thakura told her, “Please wait. I have taken a vow to chant 300,000 names a day.”
Finally, at the end of the night of the third day she said to him with folded palms, “I am personally Maya-devi, the illusory energy of the Lord. I have cheated Sankara, Brahma the creator, Narada, Gautama, and so many others. I can cheat all others, but I am defeated by you. I am the same Maya, and now I am begging your mercy. Be pleased with me. I have received Rama-nama [from Lord Siva], but now I want to be initiated into the Krsna mantra. Please initiate me.”
She continued, “Mukti-hetuka taraka haya rama-nama, krsna-nama paraka haya kare prema-dana – The holy name of Lord Rama certainly gives liberation (taraka), [*See endnote 7] but the holy name of Krsna transports one to the other side of the ocean of nescience (paraka) and at last gives one ecstatic love of Krsna (Vraja-prema).” Being very merciful, Haridasa Thakura initiated her into Krsna-nama.
Although both Ramacandra and Krsna are the same by tattva (philosophical truth), there is some speciality in Rama. What speciality? First, those who take shelter of Rama cannot achieve the position of Sita. And second, Rama sometimes gives up Sita for no reason.
Believing the words of a very bogus washer-man, Rama gave up Sita for His entire life. [*See endnote 8] What was the fault, or offence, of Sita-devi that Ramacandra gave Her up? She had no fault. But Rama believed in the words of a washer-man, who had indirectly convinced Him to leave her. So, if you are chaste in your service to Rama, He may reject you also. We fear this may happen.
With Krsna, on the other hand, even the hunchback prostitute Kubja can come to Him and say, “Oh, I have taken your shelter; please accept me,” and He will accept her.
Do you know Narakasura? He conquered all the kings of India and then collected all the beautiful princesses for his personal enjoyment. Krsna knew about this from Narada Rsi. He went and killed that demon, and He told the sixteen-thousand princesses, “Now you are independent. You can easily go to your fathers, mothers, and others. I will arrange for your return home.” But what did they say? “We don’t want to return. No one will accept us now, because we have been in the house of Narakasura. So, we have taken Your shelter. Please give us the chance to serve Your queens. We will sweep and cook for them, and we will massage them. Somehow, please give us shelter.” Krsna then took them all on His bird-carrier, Garuda, who expanded to a very large size and carried them all to Dvaraka. Krsna also expanded Himself into sixteen thousand forms, married them all, and lived with them in separate palaces as His queens.
Rama cannot do this. Can He marry with anyone except Sita? And He can also reject Sita. In fact, in the end, He also left His brother, Laksmana, forever. These scenes are all full of extreme pathos.
So, we will go to Krsna.
ye yatha mam prapadyante
tams tathaiva bhajamy aham
manusyah partha sarvasah
[“All of them, as they surrender unto Me, I reward accordingly. Everyone follows My path in all respects, O son of Prtha.” (Bhagavad-gita 4.11)]
Krsna has promised to reciprocate with our surrender to Him, so we can believe in Him. Sometimes Krsna becomes cruel in His form of Ramacandra in Rama-lila, but Krsna Himself is very humble and sweet to all. In her prayer to Haridasa Thakura, Maya-devi herself glorified Krsna as being more merciful than Rama
In her ecstatic love in separation for Krsna, glorifying Him indirectly in the form of rebuke, Srimati Radhika uttered these words:
mrgayur iva kapindram vivyadhe lubdha-dharma
striyam akrta-virupam stri-jitah kama-yanam
balim api balim attvavestayad dhvanksavad yas tad
alam asita-sakhyair dustyajas tat-katharthah
[“Like a hunter, He cruelly shot the king of the monkeys with arrows. Because He was conquered by a woman, He disfigured another woman who came to Him with lusty desires. And even after consuming the gifts of Bali Maharaja, He bound him up with ropes as if he were a crow. So let us give up all friendship with this dark-complexioned boy, even if we can’t give up talking about Him.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam, 10.47.17)]
The gopis told Uddhava, “Go and tell Krsna, ‘We have nothing more to do with Him. We don’t want to have any further relation with Him. If He can give us up, we can also give Him up. But what can we do? Our hearts can never give Him up. This is the problem. How cruel He is. All black people are cruel, not only this fellow. All black fellows are cruel.
“There was another black person in Treta-yuga (Lord Ramacandra). A very beautiful lady came to Him and said, ‘I love you. I want to marry you.’ That black person replied, ‘Oh, I will have only one wife. I cannot marry a second. It will be better for you to go to My younger brother, Laksmana. He has no wife.’
“Actually, although Laksmana’s wife was not with Him in the forest, He was married; so Rama had said this only as a trick. That lady then went to Laksmana, who told her, ‘Do you want to be a queen, or do you want to be a maidservant? If you marry Me, you will have to be a servant of Rama’s wife, because She is My queen. I am a servant, so you will be a servant. If you want to be a queen, then marry Rama. Rama can have so many wives.’
“She again came to Rama, but again Rama said, ‘Oh, I cannot do this; better that you go to my younger brother.’ Rejected by Rama, she again went to Laksmana, and was again sent to Rama; and thus she became upset. She wanted to kill Sita, and Rama cut off her ears and nose to stop her.
“Why did He do so? He was lusty. Just to please his wife, He wanted to cut off that other lady’s nose. He could have humbly told her, ‘I cannot do this.’ But He was joking with her and making fun of her. That is why she became furious. He could have humbly told her, ‘Oh, I cannot do this. You should go to your husband, or anyone else.’ But why did he do what He did? Because He was cruel.
“And third is Vamanadeva. What did He do? He took all the possessions of Bali Maharaja and bound him in a snake-rope. Bali Maharaja was weeping. Somehow Prahlada Maharaja and Brahma arrived, and Brahma challenged, “What are You doing?” And then He left.
There are so many deep meanings in these pastimes, but we have no time now to describe all those deep truths. Let us return to our subject.
Regarding Rama-nama: ‘Rama’ refers to Ramacandra, and ‘Rama’ also refers to Krsna Himself. In the maha-mantra, which embodies ‘Hare Krsna’ and ‘Hare Rama,’ Hare indicates Radhika and Rama indicates Radha-Ramana Krsna. Krsna is also called Rama, so Hare Rama indicates Radha-Krsna.
It is stated in scriptures like Visnu Purana that three Rama names equal one name of Krsna. Rama’s name is equal to Krsna’s name when Rama refers not to Ramacandra but to Radha-Ramana Krsna – and in that connection it is sometimes superior to Krsna. There are so many things to understand here.
Haridasa Thakura has four qualities:
trnad api su-nicena
taror via sahisnuna
kirtaniyah sada harih
[One who thinks himself lower than the grass, who is more tolerant than a tree, and who does not expect personal honor yet is always prepared to give all respect to others can very easily always chant the hold name of the Lord. (Siksastakam, verse 3)]
How is Haridasa Thakura su-nicena? He used to think, “I am Muslim. I am not qualified to go to Jagannatha’s temple.” He never used to walk on the many streets of Jagannatha Puri, because he was trnad api su-nicena.
When he was staying with Advaita Acarya in Santipura, Advaita Acarya insisted on honoring him. All Advaita Acarya’s relatives were assembled at His home, along with many brahmanas, as it was the day of their forefathers’ sraddha ceremony. During this ceremony, the plate of prasadam offered to the forefathers is then offered to the best of the brahmanas in the assembly. Instead of offering the first plate to any other brahmana present, Advaita Acarya offered it to Haridasa Thakura, considering him greater than any of the foremost brahmanas. Haridasa began to weep, saying, “I am not qualified. I am a Muslim.” But what did Advaita Acarya reply? “If I give you this offering, this will be the best thing in the universe. All of my forefathers will be liberated if you take this.”
Seeing this, all the brahmanas present became angry at Advaita Acarya and said, “By bringing a Muslim in here, you have contaminated this place and insulted us! We will not eat here! We don’t like your behavior. Your actions are opposed to the principles of caste consideration.” And, taking their water pots, they all stood up to leave. Advaita Acarya replied, “I don’t care if you go. You can go. I want only bhakti. You are foolish persons.” [*See endnote 9]
Soon afterward, those brahmanas returned and fell flat on the lotus feet of Advaita Acarya, and also to the lotus feet of Haridasa Thakura. Haridasa Thakura is surely ‘out of caste,’ as they challenged, in the sense that he is superior to a paramahamsa. He is a combination of Prahlada Maharaja and Brahma.
So, we should try to follow Haridasa Thakura, always chanting the holy name and being, trnad api su-nicena taror iva sahisnuna. [To Prema-prayojana dasa] Can you prove that he is su-nicena?
Prema-prayojana dasa: Srila Haridasa Thakura was very popular. The Muslim king was thinking, “This Haridasa Thakura is giving a bad reputation to Islam. He is born in a Muslim family, so why is he chanting the name of a Hindu God?” He called him to his council and said, “You should not chant the name of Krsna anymore. You should be a very good Muslim and chant the name of Allah. If you don’t do this, there will be a severe punishment for you.”
Haridasa Thakura replied: “My dear sir, you can cut my body into thousands of pieces, and I may give up my life, but my tongue cannot give up the chanting of this name: Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.” The King then ordered that Haridasa Thakura be beaten in twenty-two marketplaces.
Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: You should hear this. [Speaking to someone in the audience] Oh, my dear friend, what are you counting? You should hear this. You should give your ears to this hari-katha. What are you counting? Hear this attentively, and don’t allow your mind to wander.
Prema Prayojana dasa: The soldiers took Haridasa Thakura to the marketplace, where they had very strong and powerful whips and were beating him. Usually in one marketplace one will die, because the beating is so severe. First the skin breaks, and then it is cut, and then the skin begins to come off. They were beating him in every market place until there was no skin, no flesh, and even his bones were broken. Like a miracle, he was still chanting the holy name. They couldn’t believe it.
Sometimes, while they were beating him, Haridasa Thakura would look towards them and smile very compassionately. He could see they were sweating from the hard labor of thrashing him. He would say, “I hope your arms are not feeling pain from all of this beating.”
He was very humble. After some time, they became afraid, thinking, “If he doesn’t die, the king will kill us.” They revealed to him, “The king will kill us if you don’t die.” Haridasa Thakura thought, “I don’t want to give any trouble or inconvenience to others.” At once he went into samadhi and it seemed he passed away. They took his body and threw it into the Ganges. The next moment he came out of the Ganges and his body was strong and healthy again. This is the power of harinama. Haridasa Thakura is Lord Brahma and Prahlada Maharaja. Prahlada was beaten and tortured by his father, but he never complained or was disturbed.
Lord Brahma has said:
tat te ’nukampaà su-samikñamano
bhuïjana evatma-kåtaà vipakam
håd-vag-vapurbhir vidadhan namas te
jiveta yo mukti-pade sa daya-bhak
[“My dear Lord, one who earnestly waits for You to bestow Your causeless mercy upon him, all the while patiently suffering the reactions of his past misdeeds and offering You respectful obeisances with his heart, words and body, is surely eligible for liberation, for it has become his rightful claim.]
It is only a matter of time until a person attains the shelter of the lotus feet of Krsna. What kind of person? That person who in the midst all kinds of difficulties, problems, and adverse conditions says to himself, “It is not your fault; you are not beating me. My own karma is beating me. I have done this to myself. It is my fault.” One who patiently tolerates and considers himself to be the cause of all his problems, and at the same time takes shelter with body, mind, and words in Krsna, that person will easily come to Krsna’s eternal service and be happy forever.
Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: Mahaprabhu performed His pastimes with devotees like Svarupa Damodara, Ramananda Raya, Sikhi Mahiti, Madhavi-devi, Pundarika Vidyanidhi, Vakresvara Pandita, Sri Gopinatha Acarya, Kasisvara, Vaninatha Raya, Govinda, Gopala Guru; and all the Gaudiya bhaktas like Sivananda Sena, Raghava Pandita, and Kavi Karnapura as a baby and small boy. And especially, He performed pastimes with Rupa Gosvami, Sanatana Gosvami, Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami, and Haridasa Thakura.
Maya-devi personally told Haridasa:
caitanyavatare vahe premamrta-vanya
saba jiva preme bhase, prthivi haila dhanya
[“There is now a flood of the eternal nectar of love of Godhead due to the incarnation of Lord Caitanya. All living entities are floating in that flood. The entire world is now thankful to the Lord.” (Caitanya-caritamrta, Antya-lila 3.254)]
The flood of full prema, vraja-prema, was present everywhere during Mahaprabhu’s pastimes. Everywhere there were waves of that flood.
e-vanyaya ye na bhase, sei jiva chara
koti-kalpe kabhu tara nahika nistara
[“Anyone who does not float in this inundation is most condemned. Such a person cannot be delivered for millions of kalpas.” (Caitanya-caritamrta, Antya-lila 3.255)]
Those waves are still going on today, and those who are fortunate can take bath in the flood. Those who are not taking this bath are very unfortunate. Chara means ‘wretched’ and ‘fallen.’ Koti-kalpe kabhu tara nahika nistara – if you are not taking bath in that flood of love and affection of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, then millions of your births will go in vain; you’ll gain nothing. In this human form, at this present time, you are very near to that flood, as only four or five hundred years have passed since Mahaprabhu’s time. Still, so many waves are coming. Try to take bath in this, and thus become fortunate enough to very easily attain kr?na-prema. We are helping you.
Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja came to help you. He preached, “Give up all these bogus things that you are thinking can give you happiness. Such things can never give you happiness. Wealth cannot give you any happiness, and your relatives cannot give you anything. Your home is opulent with so many facilities. You can turn on a switch and your restroom will come, by another switch your kitchen room will come, or your dish will come, or your office will come. But give up all these facilities. They cannot help you at all.”
Please chant the holy name like Haridasa Thakura:
trnad api su-nicena
taror iva sahisnuna
kirtaniyah sada harih
Never wish for reputation. Don’t try to hear your own glories. Rather, give proper honor to all Vaisnavas. This is the teaching of Haridasa Thakura. Let us try to obey him from today; not today, just now. Chant always, without any interruption, “Hare Kr?na, Hare Kr?na, Kr?na Kr?na, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.”
One thing more: In the last days of Haridasa Thakura, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu used to go to him daily to give His darsana, along with all His associates, just after the morning arati of Jagannathadeva, He also used to send so much maha-prasadam for Haridasa Thakura through the hands of Govinda, His own servant. What was Govinda? Mahaprabhu’s servant, or disciple, or what? [*See endnote 10]
One day, when Govinda brought some prasada, Haridasa Thakura told him, “Today I shall fast, because I have not completed my regular number of rounds.” So how can I eat? But you have brought maha-prasada, so how can I neglect it?” Haridasa then offered pranama to the prasadam and took a small morsel. Worried, Govinda returned to Caitanya Mahaprabhu and said, “I went with prasadam to serve him, but he said, ‘I am feeling some sickness.’ I think that he is not in good health.”
The next day Mahaprabhu went to see Haridasa, with all His associates – Svarupa Damodara, Ramananda Raya, and others – and said, “How are you feeling?” Haridasa Thakura answered, “Oh, I am feeling sick.” Mahaprabhu asked, “What is your sickness?” Haridasa Thakura replied, “My body is okay, but my sickness is that I have not completed my chanting of three lakhs holy names (300,000 names or 192 rounds). I cannot chant. My fingers do not move. Oh! This is my sickness.”
Can you try to be like this? We should try to be like this. This is our only disease – that we have no taste in chanting the holy name, and that we are not chanting.
Caitanya Mahaprabhu told Haridasa, “Now you are perfect. There is no need to chant so much. As much as you can chant, that will be sufficient.” But Haridasa said, “I don’t want to live in this world for long. I know that very soon You will disappear from here, and I don’t want to see that very pathetic scene. I want to leave my body with my head in Your lap. In that way, I will see Your golden face and chant Your holy name: Saci-nandana Gaura Hari! Gaura Hari! I want to give up this body in this way.” Mahaprabhu told him, “I perform My pastimes with you. If I don’t have My associates like you, then there are no pastimes. Let Me not be alone in this world. I don’t want you to go.” But Haridasa Thakura again and again requested, “I don’t want to see this pathetic scene. Please be merciful to me.”
On the next morning, Caitanya Mahaprabhu assembled all the devotees with Svarupa Damodara and Ramananda Raya, and He returned to perform parikrama of Haridasa Thakura with kirtana and so many mrdangas and karatalas:
(hari) haraye namah krsna yadavaya namah
yadavaya madhavaya kesavaya namah
gopala govinda rama sri madhusudana
giridhari gopinatha madana-mohana
[Nama-Sankirtana Srila Narottama dasa Thakura (1-2)]
Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare,
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.
Requesting His devotees to continue kirtana, He sat down near Haridasa Thakura. He took the head of Haridasa upon His lap. Haridasa was only seeing towards His lotus face and calling out, “Saci-nandana Gaurahari! Gaurahari! Gaurahari,” and he left his body at once.
Mahaprabhu began to weep, and all the devotees began to weep in an intense separation mood. Then, Caitanya Mahaprabhu took Haridasa’s body in His arms and placed him from His arms onto a chariot. What kind of chariot? As we see in Indian Vedic custom. The devotees made a chariot like this, and with nagara-sankirtana they proceeded toward the shore of the ocean. During the devotees’ kirtana and parikrama, Caitanya Mahaprabhu bathed Haridasa’s divine body in the sea with His own hands, and declared that spot to have become a great pilgrimage site. He and His devotees anointed Haridasa’s body with Lord Jagannatha’s sandalwood. He placed Haridasa in Samadhi and personally covered his body with sand, after which all the devotees did so. A temporary samadhi mandir was established, and later on a permanent mandira was built.
Caitanya Mahaprabhu announced, “Those who were singing here, those who have done parikrama of Haridasa Thakura, those who gave even one palmful of sand, and those who are in this viraha maha-mahotsava festival will very soon achieve Krsna’s favor. He also announced that He wanted to collect prasadam from all the shopkeepers. All the shopkeepers began to give all their stocks, but Svarupa Damodara told them, “We don’t want everything from you. Please give only a small amount.” In this way, each shopkeeper gave a small amount of his various preparations. Someone gave dahl, someone vegetables, rice, and so on, and the combined quantity became sufficient. Caitanya Mahaprabhu sat all the devotees down and personally began to distribute the prasadam along with a few others, but Svarupa Damodara and everyone else requested Him, “If You are not sitting and taking, then no one else will take.”
Then, Mahaprabhu sat down and uttered the prayer to maha-prasada:
maha-prasade govinde nama-brahmani vai?nave
svalpa-punyavatam rajan visvaso naiva jayate
(Prasada-Seva –from the Skanda Purana)
Maha-prasadam ki jaya!
Harinama sankirtana ki jaya!
Srila Haridasa Thakura ki jaya!
Samagata bhakta-vrnda ki jaya!
Gaura premanande! Hari hari bol!
[*Endnote 1: Liberation in this connection means that in the man’s next life he entered into the proper process to begin his bhakti, and ultimately he attained Vaikuntha-dhama. (Sripada Bhaktivedanta Madhava Maharaja)]
[*Endnote 2: Liberation in this connection meaning that he will attain bhava-bhakti and have his first realization of his relationship with Krsna and services to Him. He sees within himself his own spiritual form and the forms of Krsna and His associates. (Sripada Bhaktivedanta Madhava Maharaja)]
[*Endnote 3: In this connection, ‘He will not die’ means that he will not be thrown by the constables of Yamaraja, the god of death, into hellish planets and lower species of life as a result of his past sins. He will get an opportunity for devotional service in his next life. “Material activities and their results end with the body. But work in Krsna consciousness carries a person again to Krsna consciousness, even after the loss of the body” (Bhagavad-gita 2.40 purport by Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja).]
[*Endnote 4: When our object is to attain rati (transcendental mood), and for this, with these material senses, tongue and mind, we will perform sadhana, then it will be sadhana, otherwise not. First there should be an object that, “I want to attain rati.” But, what is rati? What is that desired mood, which should be the object of our devotional activities. Then:
krd asau bhava ucyate
[“When devotional service is executed on the transcendental platform of pure goodness, it is like a sun-ray of love for Krsna. At such a time, devotional service causes the heart to be softened by various tastes, and one is then situated in bhava [emotion].” (Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya-lila, 23.5)]
What is bhava? You should know. If you don’t know what is bhava, or rati, then how can it be your object of attainment? If you don’t know this, how can you perform sadhana (devotional practices performed with the purpose of attaining bhava)? You may be performing sadhana-abhasa (a shadow of sadhana) or lower than that; not actually bhakti. We are all in this category.
We must know the meaning of sattva and suddha-sattva. Sattva means existence, and it is of two kinds; suddha-sattva and misra-sattva. All souls who are now captured in material things are misra-sattva, and those who give up these material conceptions and adopt the transcendental conception of thinking themselves as infinitesimal parts of the Supreme Lord are called suddha-sattva.
Then, suddha-sattva visesatma: Baladeva Prabhu is the origin of all suddha-sattva jivas, as well as everything existing in this world. Baladeva Prabhu is the personification or predominating Deity of Krsna’s sandhini-sakti, His existence potency; everything coming from sandhini-sakti is suddha-sattva.
Visesatma denotes Hladini-sakti (Radhika being the predominating Deity) and samvit-sakti (Krsna being the predominating Deity) of the svarupa-sakti of Krsna (Radhika being the predominating Deity of svarupa-sakti). Samvit means knowledge, and from knowledge this mood will come: all kinds of bhavas to serve Krsna that are in Radhika may come partly. Such moods are full of love and affection, with ananda (unlimited bliss). This is visesa – the essence of hladini-sakti and samvit-sakti, coming on the platform of sandini. Devotees receiving such mercy will have suddha-sattva visesatma descend in their hearts.]
[*Endnote 5: The meaning of this statement is explained in Bhagavad-gita 2.40: “In this endeavor there is no loss or diminution, and a little advancement on this path can protect one from the most dangerous type of fear.” It is further explained in the purport by Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja: “Activity in Krsna consciousness, or acting for the benefit of Krsna without expectation of sense gratification, is the highest transcendental quality of work. Even a small beginning of such activity finds no impediment, nor can that small beginning be lost at any stage. Any work begun on the material plane has to be completed, otherwise the whole attempt becomes a failure. But any work begun in Krsna consciousness has a permanent effect, even though not finished. The performer of such work is therefore not at a loss even if his work in Krsna consciousness is incomplete. One percent done in Krsna consciousness bears permanent results, so that the next beginning is from the point of two percent, whereas in material activity without a hundred percent success there is no profit. Ajamila performed his duty in some percentage of Krsna consciousness, but the result he enjoyed at the end was a hundred percent, by the grace of the Lord”]
[*Endnote 6: When Ajamila chanted the four syllables of the name Narayana, the four Visnudutas appeared to save him from the ropes of the Yamadutas, the constables of the god of death. By seeing them and hearing their words, Ajamila was inspired to leave home and perform severe austerities and engage in devotional service to the Lord. When his service became perfect he again saw those Visnudutas, and this time they took him on a celestial airplane to Vaikuntha – ed.]
[*Endnote 7 (Lord Rama easily offers the two types of Vaikuntha liberation as described here in Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja’s lecture of July, 2002, in France) The bhakti-creeper then goes to paravyoma (the spiritual sky), which is beyond even Siva-loka. Paravyoma, where there is no mixing in brahma, is divided into two sections. The lower of the two is like Vaikuntha, but is not actually Vaikuntha, and the jiva can also go there. It is the Vaikuntha planet within the material world, and it is called Rama-priya Vaikuntha. In that realm there is seva-sukha-uttara. There, the devotee wants to serve Lord Narayana, but he also wants the happiness accrued from the attainment of the four spiritual opulences. That desire for happiness is not like ours, for the devotees there do not have material bodies; still, that desire is not pure. In the higher section there is prema-seva-uttara; the devotee only wants to serve Narayana with love.
There is great aisvarya (opulence) in the Vaikuntha planets: one can have the same bodily features as Narayana (sarupya), he can live on the same planet with Him (salokya), he can have equal opulence (sarsti), and he can have association with the Lord. But a Vaisnava never wants these four types of liberation; he solely wants to serve.]
Narayana-loka, Nrsimha-loka, Rama-loka (Ayodhya), and many other such lokas are within the Paravyoma, and the bhakti-creeper passes beyond all of them. It crosses beyond Narayana-bhakti, Nrsimha-bhakti, and Ramacandra-bhakti. The devotee will say, “I don’t want that,” and that creeper then goes to Goloka.
[*Endnote 8 – Rama and Sita devi stayed together for many years, and everyone was very happy within their kingdom. Some people, however, criticized Rama for accepting Sita back after she had been staying in the palace of Ravana.
According to Vedic principles, it is unacceptable to accept one’s wife after her being away for one night, what to speak of one year. One evening, the wife of a washer-man came home late. Her husband immediately told her that she could not enter the house. He threw her out saying, “I am not like Rama, who accepted His wife after she’d been with another man.”
This news spread and the story got back to Rama. He was most disturbed, and realized that He had to do something to rectify the situation. How could He rule a kingdom where some of the people did not have faith in Him? He called a meeting, asking all of His brothers to come, but none of them could give Him any advice. He Himself then realized what to do. He remembered that Sita wanted to visit all the sages in the forest and shower them with gifts. He asked Laksmana to take Her to the asramas of all the sages, deliver His sorrowful message to Her, and then leave Her in the forest. Laksmana was devastated that He was called upon to do this, but He could not say anything as he was Rama’s younger brother. He therefore had to accept that responsibility. (Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja’s lecture of April 13, 2000)]
[*Endnote 9 – Haridasa Thakura was born in a Muslim family. At the sraddha ceremony for Advaita Acarya’s father, the highest seat and prasada were to be offered first to the most elevated person. Advaita Acarya was performing the ceremony when the moon was in the appropriate place in the month of Ashwina. All the high-class brahmanas were there – Bhattacarya, Trivedi, Caturvedi, Upadhyaya – and all of them were great scholars. After washing their feet, Advaita Acarya showed them to their respective seats. In front was an elevated seat, and Advaita Prabhu was standing and thinking, “Who will I seat here?”
All of the scholars were thinking, “I know so many scriptures; certainly I will be offered that seat.” Silently they were all aspiring for it. Advaita Acarya then went outside the house and saw Haridasa Thakura, wearing a langoti and sitting at the door. Haridasa was thinking, “The brahmanas will take their meal here, so Advaita Acarya will certainly give us a little of their prasada.” He had so much humility that he was thinking that if he were to go inside, the house would be contaminated.
At once Advaita Acarya embraced him, and Haridasa Thakura said, “Oh, you are a brahmana and I am a Muslim! Having touched me, you must now go and bathe.” But grabbing him and taking him inside, Advaita Acarya sat him on the elevated seat, at which time there was a great outcry in all directions. The brahmanas said, “By bringing a Muslim in here, you have contaminated this place and insulted us! We will not eat here!” Taking their water pots, they all stood up and left. They were abusing Advaita Acarya, saying, “You are opposed to the principles of dharma!”
But Advaita Acarya said, “Today my birth has become successful, and today my father has attained Vaikuntha. By giving respect to one Vaisnava, today, millions of my ancestors have crossed over maya. If Haridasa Thakura will eat here, that is greater than feeding millions of brahmanas.”
Haridasa Thakura was crying, thinking, “Because of me, all these brahmanas have been insulted and are not eating.” But Advaita Acarya said, “Haridasa, today you will certainly take prasada here. That will be our great good fortune.” Then he said to the brahmanas, “He will stay, and none of you will get prasada. Actually, you should all leave here quickly, because just seeing your faces is a great sin. Haridasa has great regard for maha-prasada, and therefore he is included within the Vaisnava class. Anyone who doesn’t accept this is an atheist, and one who judges a Vaisnava by his birth is an atheist. You can all go away from here, and then your offences will leave with you. You are offending Haridasa, and offending me as well.”
All the scholars left the house, but outside, as they were going, they began speaking amongst themselves. “Advaita Acarya is no ordinary personality. He is a great scholar, he knows all of the scriptures, and he is an exalted preacher of bhakti.” They continued deliberating, and after fully reconsidering, they returned, fell at Advaita Prabhu’s feet, and begged forgiveness. (From Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja’s Sri Prabhandavali, Chapter 7)]
[*Endnote 10: Both Kasisvara and Govinda were god-brothers of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and thus the Lord duly honored them as soon as they arrived. But because Isvara Puri had ordered them to give Caitanya Mahaprabhu personal service, the Lord accepted their service. (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila 10.140)]
[This year, 2017, the auspicious appearance day of Srila Prabhupada Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja is on August 16 (in America). The following is a first-time-published transcription of Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja glorifying Srila Prabhupada twelve years ago on this same day (August 28, 2005: Mathura). Such hari-katha is always fresh and new, just as Sri Krsna’s words spoken to Arjuna 5,000 years ago are fresh and new even now:] Listen
My millions of dandavat pranamas unto the lotus feet of paramaradhyatama nitya-lila-pravista astottara-sata Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja, and the same unto the lotus feet of my siksa-guru, nitya-lila-pravista om visnupada Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja.
Today is a very sacred day. It is Nandotsava (the celebration of Krsna’s birthday). Nanda Baba, Yasoda Maiya, and all the elder Vrajavasis had as their son the Supreme Lord Krsna Himself. Krsna took birth on the previous day, at midnight, and today, one of the associates of Krsna, Abhaya Caranaravinda, Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja took birth. How many years before? 109.
He was born in a very high-class, aristocratic family. His mother and father were both Vaisnavas. It was on this very day that he took birth. From his childhood, he had some special qualities. His father brought some toys. What toys? Mrdanga and kartalas, not other toys; and from boyhood he used to play on mrdanga. You can only imagine what kind of person he was.
His father named him Abhaya Carana. Who is Abhaya Carana? Krsna Himself. So, he was Abhaya Carana dasa. He was very intelligent from the beginning of his life. From the beginning of childhood, he used to observe Janmastami and all other holidays, and Ratha-yatra and other festivals. His father used to take him to hear discourses of Gita, Bhagavata, Ramayana, and other scriptures. In boyhood, he was very beautiful, and very intelligent. He was given to the English medium Scottish Church missionary school, and he always came first in his classes. When he finished his school, a friend of his father selected him to be his assistant in his medical business, and gave all the burden of responsibility to him. He would come time to time, but Srila Svami Maharaja used to manage everything, top to bottom.
Our Gurudeva joined the mission of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura at the age of 16, in 1916, and took diksa in 1918. Srila Svami Maharaja came in 1922, at the age of 24. When he heard some harikatha from Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Thakura, at once he was attracted. After examining him, Prabhupada gave him first harinama and then diksa [this is a part of their human-like pastimes – they are both eternal associates of Radha-Krsna and Mahaprabhu], and told him, “Try to write articles for the Harmonist.” The Harmonist magazine was established by Prabhupada at that time. He also said, “Try to preach in English everywhere. Your English is very strong. You should write articles and preach in English everywhere. I will send you to Western countries to preach this mission. The people there should know who is Caitanya Mahaprabhu, what is His mission, who is Krsna, who is Radhika, and what is prema-tattva, the truths of pure love and affection.”
Srila Svami Maharaja then began to write essays. He was also learned in Bengali. Our Guru Maharaja established Bhagavat Patrika (a Hindi periodical), Gaudiya Patrika (a Bengali periodical), and made him chief editor. Srila Svami Maharaja used to write articles – so high-class! He once wrote an article about the Murgi Mission. You know the Murgi Mission? The Rama-Krsna Mission – Chicken-mission. Rama-Krsna says that we can eat chicken. In Bengal, people like him very much. He was very popular there, but Srila Svami Maharaja Prabhupada never liked him. Rather, he used to cut all of his arguments. He wrote that they are not even in the line of Indian culture; they are outside. They tell that “All are God,” and about those who are demons they say: “Oh, they are doing bhajan of Krsna.” They also say, “We should not try to search Krsna, because all are God. Especially the poor are God. We should help poor people and those who have so many diseases.”
Our Guru Maharaja and Srila Prabhupada Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja cut [defeated] all their arguments. Vivekananda (the disciple of Rama-krsna) went to Western countries, and told, “Oh, everything is zero.” He tried to establish that this idea is Indian culture. Srila Svamiji Maharaja went to Western countries and everywhere established “Zero is nothing. Purnam adah purnam idam. Krsna, God is full and complete.”
om purnam adah purnam idam
purnat purnam udacyate
purnasya purnam adaya
[“The Personality of Godhead is perfect and complete, and because He is completely perfect, all emanations from Him, such as this phenomenal world, are perfectly equipped as complete wholes. Whatever is produced of the Complete Whole is also complete in itself. Because He is the Complete Whole, even though so many complete units emanate from Him, He remains the complete balance.” (Sri Isopanisad, Invocation)]
Thus, he preached everywhere.
[After initiation, he continued to work and maintain his family] He was the manager of a Chemical company, but later left that. He came to Allahabad, and established for himself a medicine factory. But after some time, it failed. Then he made a very big medical hall [Prayaga Pharmacy]. Jawaharlal Nehru, the Indian Prime Minister, and his daughter, Indira Gandhi used to come to his shop. But after some time it also failed. Then, he became a medical representative. Then, because he knew so many formulas for making medicines, he used to take them to sell in various cities. But this also failed. When he became penniless, his wife and son rejected him.
Somehow he came to Mathura, near Yamuna. One day I saw him and asked. “Oh, where are you staying, and what are you doing?” “I am distributing medicines to shop-keepers.” “Please come stay with us at our Matha.” He had practically nothing with him. By loving force, I brought him and all his luggage. I gave him a room here, in front of my room, and then here. [In his lecture, Srila Gurudeva is pointing to different rooms at Sri Kesavaji Gaudiya Matha.]
I requested him, “Krsna does not want you to be very happy in this world. Therefore, your wife and children have rejected you, and now you are also penniless. You are a very qualified person. You should take sannyasa and preach, and thus fulfill the desire of your gurupada-padma.”
He responded by telling a story: “After taking diksa from Srila Prabhupada, I used to read Srimad-Bhagavatam very minutely, and there I studied the sloka: ‘yasyaham anugrhnami, harisye tad-dhanam sanaih – Whom I accept, I make him a street beggar.”
harisye tad-dhanam sanaih
tato ‘dhanam tyajanty asya
[“The Personality of Godhead said: If I especially favor someone, I gradually deprive him of his wealth. Then the relatives and friends of such a poverty-stricken man abandon him. In this way he suffers one distress after another.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam, 10.88.8)]
“I began to fear and thought, ‘What should I do? If I am doing bhajana, chanting and remembering, doing all these things, then I will have to be a street beggar. Krsna will take everything from me. So what should I do?’ But I never stopped. Yes, now I am penniless, but I am very happy that Krsna has accepted me.”
[Srila Gurudeva has shared these remembrances of our Srila Prabhupada several time. One time he said that Prabhupada was only pretending to be worried that Krsna might take everything from him; he said Prabhupada was joking. Another time, in May of 1996 he said that Prabhupada was demonstrating, “For one who takes shelter of Krsna, Krsna takes away everything and that devotee becomes a street beggar. Then, if he doesn’t give up Krsna at that time, Krsna proceeds to give him everything.”]
After a few days my Gurudeva came here, and I requested him, “He is your god-brother. Please request him to take sannyasa.” Gurudeva asked him to take sannyasa, and he did. There was also a person, Sanatana Prabhu. He came and said, “If you will take sannyasa, even in my age of 90, I will take sannyasa.”
Then, here where you are sitting, sannyasa was given to him. I taught him how to wear the red [saffron] cloth of sannyasa. He is my siksa guru, but I am senior in sannyasa [Srila Gurudeva had taken sannyasa some years earlier.] I made his sannyasa danda, performed the fire sacrifice, and did everything else required.
Krsna dasa Babaji Maharaja or Seshayi were doing kirtan. Thus, here in our Mathura matha, he accepted sannyasa. From here he went to Jhansi and from there he brought this Mahaprabhu Deity here and gave him to our matha. Here, he completed his translation and commentary of the three volumes of Srimad-Bhagavatam [Canto One]. These three volumes were then given to Delhi for publication.
He then decided to go to America, but he had no money. He requested the head of Scindia Navigation, and he was accepted, without paise [money]. On the way he was so sick, about to die, but Krsna wanted that he should be saved. He wrote a poem on the steamship. He landed in Boston, and then after that, he went to New York. He had no help; he was not known to any person.
Thus, he took his pair of kartals, and he sat down in Thompkins Square Park. His eyes closed, he began to chant, “Sri krsna caitanya prabhu nityananda, sri advaita gadadhara srivasa adi gaura bhakta-vrnda, Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.”
Then, so many hippies came to him, like Syamarani and Vrndavana-vilasini – they were hippies, hippie-like. And now you see, they are both world preachers. He made all these hippies happy, and became guru of the whole world. Tamal Krsna, Satsvarupa, Giriraja, and so many others came to him. So many hippies used to come to him, dancing in his kirtana, and presenting to him wine and cigarettes and other things that they used. After that Srila Svami Maharaja began to initiate, and in practically a moment he established ISKCON.
In the beginning, I helped him. I sent his books to America. Even though in doing so, I became sick, still I did it. [Our Srila Prabhupada’s books were in Delhi. They were terribly dusty, and the dust affected Srila Gurudeva’s lungs] He used to write letters to me, about 500, and he requested me to come and join his preaching. I told him, “My guru is here, so after that, I will come.” I went to America, but after sometime – now I am going.
In a couple of years, he translated and wrote so many books – Gita As It Is, Srimad-Bhagavatam, Caitanya-caritamrta, Easy Journey to Other Planets, Krsna book – so many books. They became very popular books. By these books, in a couple of years, he preached everywhere in the world. He established preaching centers in forests, on hills, and in the midst of oceans. Whether or not he has established centers in the sky, I don’t know. He established them practically everywhere. Thus, you see that people have come and joined from all parts of the whole world.
In the last, he called me to Vrndavana. He was about to pass away from this world and join the service of his holy master. He requested me to come, and I went there. He took my hands in his own hands. He wanted me to sit with him on his bed, but I offered him pranama, and sat on a separate chair. He took my hand in his hand, and began to weep. He told me that, “Oh, I have done some mistakes, some wrong things. Now, I repent for this. I apologize for this, to you and all of my god-brothers. I have said, ‘Gaudiya Matha does not do anything. They take prasada and sleep. They do nothing.’ This is wrong. I told my disciples this only to save them, so they would not be out of control. That is why. So, I beg forgiveness from you and all of my god-brothers.
“Also, I request you that I have brought so many disciples…” He told secretly, in Bengali language, “I have brought so many monkeys from here and there. I have collected them, but I could not fully train them [due to their inability to accept full training]. Please help them to advance. And, one thing more. After my departure, you should give me samadhi by your own hand.”
I told him, “I will do all these things. You are my siksa-guru. But I want to tell you that you have not done anything wrong. For the situation, to save your disciples, you have told what you did. I know that you have not told all these things from the core of your heart. I promise that I will help all of your disciples.”
He then told all his disciples present – Tamal, Brahmananda, Jayapataka, and all other sannyasis present, “You should hear from Narayana Maharaja, and try to follow his words.”
Then I told them, “I know that after the departure of any very high class of guru, quarrel comes among the disciples. For what? For money, name and fame. I request you all to follow your guru. Don’t quarrel for position, money, name, and fame. Don’t quarrel for this. Respect all your god-brothers. Then you can preach the mission of your gurudeva; this will be the service of your gurudeva; otherwise, it will not be possible.”
After his departure, I gave him samadhi and performed nagara-sankirtan [carrying the palanquin upon which Srila Prabhupada’s divine form was seated.] For so many years, I helped them. I used to go to Bombay to give evidence in his court case – to save ISKCON.
But, what became? They neglected me, and they neglected their gurudeva. They could not follow what he ordered. They had no sadhu-sanga. Sadhu-sanga, sadhu-sanga, sarva sastre kaya. [meaning that all sastras urge the conditioned souls to avail themselves of association with pure sadhus.]
’sadhu-sanga’, ‘sadhu-sanga’—sarva-sastre kaya
lava-matra sadhu-sange sarva-siddhi haya
[“The verdict of all revealed scriptures is that by even a moment’s association with a pure devotee, one can attain all success. (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila, 22.54)]
They neglected this, and that is why, top to bottom, almost 99.9 % derailed – they left sannyasa and everything else in relation to bhakti. So many sannyasis became householders. So many left ISKCON and began to take meat, eggs, wine, and all other abominable things.
So, again I requested them, “I still want to help you, if you want my help. If I will help you, you will not deviate.” Now, we see that so many who were seniors like Syamarani, even though they took sannyasa, they derailed. But Syamarani and all others like her are preaching throughout the world the mission of their gurudeva, and they are rendering services. They cannot deviate.
So, I remember when he took sannyasa here, and from here he went to Western countries and preached in a couple of years. Everywhere there were preaching centers. I used to send him kartals, mrdangas, books, Deities, pera [an Indian sweet] and everything else he requested of me. I remember all these things, and pray to his lotus feet, that he will sprinkle his mercy so that we can serve our gurudeva, Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Radha-Krsna in his line. He is so merciful.
We should not think that he is dead. Never. Guru never dies. I think that all devotees, those who have come to me as my disciples – somehow or other the credit will go to Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja. I served him; they knew this, and then they came to me. Otherwise, they never would have come.
In the evening, Syamarani and others will speak. Now there is no time. We will have to take paran [breaking the Janmastami fast] also. I will do arati, and after that, you can take prasadam.
Question: In what way did our Prabhupada think he was saving his disciples by telling them that the Gaudiya Math didn’t preach?
Srila Gurudeva: He saw that one of his disciples came to India, but somehow the disciple went to Bon Maharaja and was disturbed in his bhakti. Others also went here and there. So he told them, “Why are you going there? What are they doing? Is there any preaching? Any book distribution? What are they doing? They only take prasadam and sleep.” But really, he did not think in that way. If it was so, then why did he take sannyasa from my gurudeva, and why did he so much honor to Srila Sridhara Maharaja, Gosvami Maharaja, and others like them?
If I had not come here to preach, who would have known that I am such a big preacher? Srila Svami Maharaja sent me to Western Countries, and then like his one hand, I preached all over the world.
At 5PM we will come for bhajanas and we will glorify him.
Gaura Premanande. Hari Hari Bol.
[The devotees then performed the kirtana Sri Guru-carana-padma, as Srila Gurudeva lead them in offering arati to Srila Prabhupada and the guru-paramapara.]
Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
WHO IS LORD NRSIMHADEVA?
(An Appearance Day Lecture)
[This year, 2017, the divine appearance day of Lord Nrsimhadeva is on May 9 (in Vrindavan). The following is Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja’s lecture on the Lord’s glories, given on May 14, 2003, in Badger, California. It is ever-fresh: Movie (dif year) from Badger p1 p2 ]
Today is the auspicious appearance day of Lord Nrsimhadeva. Who is Nrsimhadeva? He is Krsna Himself: “Kesava dhrta narahari rupa.” Kesava is a name of Krsna meaning that He has fine hair. Lord Nrsimhadeva is that same Kesava, but not directly. He is none other than Cakra. Krsna’s cakra (wheel-shaped weapon) becomes Nrsimhadeva. When there is a temple installation of Cakra, the prayers are offered to Nrsimhadeva.
Lord Nrsimhadeva’s main mercy is His protection of the devotees. The Cakra who saved Ambarisa Maharaja was Nrsimhadeva himself, and the Cakra who killed Sisupala was also Nrsimhadeva; there is no difference between the two. All the paraphernalia (weapons) in the hands of Krsna manifest as His Visnu incarnations; and it can also be said that His incarnations are manifestations of Baladeva Prabhu.
If you have any difficulties or problems given by demons or others, and you call Nrsimhadeva, He will come and save you. Vaisnavas therefore have a special consideration regarding Nrsimhadeva. We do not worship many other incarnations, like Vamanadeva, or Kurmadeva, or Kalki, but we do worship Nrsimhadeva.
Since there will be no cooking in the morning or midday today, I would like all the sannyasis and prominent speakers, one by one, to read continuously from the Srimad-Bhagavatam Seventh Canto (*See Endnote 1), and to also explain the verses – up to Prahlada Maharaja refusing to accept a material boon from Lord Nrsimhadeva. The readings should include the way in which Prahlada taught all the demon boys and made them maha-bhagavatas. In other words, it should include the chapter in which the verse beginning “guru susrusaya” is included. I would like that all of you attend and hear these readings.
There is no need of taking prasadam before dusk, the time of Nrsimhadeva’s appearance. Only children and those who are old and sick, or those whose doctors have advised them not to fast – they may take something for their maintenance. If Nrsimhadeva sees that you are all fasting and taking so much trouble on His behalf, He will be pleased. Otherwise, if you joke and make merry, He will neglect you. It is for Nrsimhadeva that you are accepting this austerity, for all of you to attract His mercy.
Today we do this austerity, as we do on Ekadasi, Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s appearance day (Gaura Purnima), Rama-navami (the appearance day of Sri Ramacandra), and other holy appearance days like Janmastami and Radhastami. These austerities are not like those performed by the yogis; these are performed to attract Krsna’s mercy, so try to follow.
I now want to begin our glorification of Lord Nrsimhadeva.
Yudhisthira Maharaja once performed a Rajasuya sacrifice. *[See endnote 2] He sent his army, under the guidance of Bhima and Arjuna, to conquer the entire world; but He did not want to kill anyone. He told his leaders that if the kings and princes of the other lands surrender without fighting, they should simply take a tax from them, and those kings and princes who wanted to fight could fight. Bhima and Arjuna traveled everywhere and took taxes from all the kings, and when they returned, a very high class of fire sacrifice was performed.
The question arose at the sacrifice as to who would be worshiped first so that the festival would be successful. Sahadeva proposed, “Krsna should be worshiped first, because He is the Lord of Lords, the Supreme Lord, and He is here.”
Bhisma-pitamaha and others supported this proposal, but Sisupala became very angry. At that time Sisupala was the leader of Duryodhana and all the other demons. He was envious of Krsna and wanted to kill Him. He knew about the foretelling at his birth that Krsna would kill him, so he thought that he should kill Krsna first and be saved. He had previously wanted to marry Rukmini, but clever Krsna had kidnapped her in front of him and all the other princes and kings, defeated them all, and then married her.
Krsna is satisfied and complete (purna). He needs nothing in this world and He has nothing to take from anyone. Still, for the enactment of His transcendental pastimes He kidnapped Rukmini and married her, and Sisupala and the others could simply wring their hands. When Krsna was leaving their midst with Rukmini, the other princes and kings had exclaimed, “Alas, this bogus black person, in front of generals like Jarasandha, has kidnapped her – and they could not stop Him. He defeated them all and took her away!” Thus, Sisupala wanted to take revenge.
Now, at the Rajasuya sacrifice, he looked at Krsna and began to criticize Him and call Him ill-names. He challenged, “Who is this person?!” Krsna actually has no father or mother, but Sisupala accused Him that, “This person has two fathers, and no-one knows who His real father is. He has no caste, and no one knows where He is from. He is not only a thief, but a lusty person – very lusty. When He sees any lady He becomes attracted; and somehow, by trick, He brings those ladies to Him. Moreover, He is not satisfied with only one lady; He must have thousands and millions of ladies. Not only this, He once climbed on a tree with the garments of the gopis who were taking bath naked, and He told them that they should come before Him one by one to get their clothes.
“What is this silly thing?! You have no intelligence; you are so mad that you have selected Him to worship first. As long as I am here, I will not allow this!”
Hearing this, Duryodhana and other demons clapped.
Sisupala considered that as long as he was present, he would not let anyone perform their first worship to Krsna. He said that he would fight for this not to happen, and he thus managed to utter his one hundredth offense.
When Sisupala’s mother had given birth to him, he had four arms. At that time an aerial voice announced that the person who Sisupala would see and two of his arms would disappear, that person would later kill him. All the relatives had come to see this beautiful and strong four-handed child. Out of social custom, Krsna took many ornaments for that boy, and being a representative of His father He came to see His cousin-brother. When He came near Sisupala He wanted to take him in His arms, but Sisupala’s two arms at once disappeared. His mother began to weep loudly and said, “Krsna, You are my nephew, so I want to request a boon from You. It has been foretold by an aerial voice that whoever my son sees, thus making his two arms disappear, would later kill him. I pray for You not to kill him – even if he offends You.” Krsna replied, “Oh yes, I am giving you this boon. I will kill him only when he abuses Me more than 100 times – otherwise I will not.” His mother was very happy and said, “He will never do this. I will train him and teach him good behavior.”
When Sisupala became older, he learned of this fact. He therefore became angry and continuously abused Krsna. Now, when he had abused Him more than 100 times, Krsna took His Cakra. The Cakra wanted to go very fast – not slowly as it had moved when it had chased Durvasa. It had been only following behind Durvasa and not killing him. For Sisupala, on the other hand, it sliced off his head at once. A very effulgent light immediately came from Sisupala’s body. That light went into the sky and then entered the body of Krsna.
Yudhisthira Maharaja wondered why rsis, yogis, and maharsis, after thousands of births of chanting mantras like “so ‘ham, so ‘ham” still could not attain the destination of sayujya-mukti (impersonal liberation). How wonderful it was, then, that this light entered the lotus feet of Krsna. But where did it go?
Narayana was present within Krsna’s body, because all the incarnations are eternally in Krsna, the Supreme Lord. Sisupala thus returned to Narayana in Vaikuntha and became His doorkeeper Jaya, but this was not seen externally. The entire world is in the stomach of Krsna. Narayana and other incarnations can also easily fit there, but still His stomach can be empty and He can feel hungry.
Yudhisthira Maharaja was not an ordinary person. Bhima was very strong and powerful, and Arjuna was also. However, when we consider who was stronger –Yudhisthira, Bhima or Arjuna – we find that where Arjuna and Bhima were not successful, Yudhisthira Maharaja was successful by his mere glance. Bhima was once wrapped up by the body of a snake, and that snake would not release him. Yudhisthira then came, simply glanced at that serpent, and it left at once. So do not think that Bhima and Arjuna are more powerful than Yudhisthira. Arjuna’s bhakti is superior to the others’, but dharma was especially present in Yudhisthira Maharaja. That is why he was called Dharmaraja, and that is why he was so powerful.
When Yudhisthira Maharaja saw Sisupala’s soul enter Krsna’s body, he began to think, “How wonderful! Even a yogi, rsi, or muni does not receive this kind of mercy from Krsna.” He then asked Narada Rsi, “You know everything, and you can remove all my doubts. So please explain this: Krsna has no fear of anyone and He does not want anything from anyone. He is purnatama (complete), atmarama (always happy internally) and aptakama (satisfied and equal to all). So why does He take the side of devotees and demigods? And why does He defeat or kill demons? I want to know why.”
Narada replied that the cause of all this is kala (Time) – the results of past activities. Sometimes, like during Satya-yuga, (the Age of goodness), the demigods and others like them become prominent. In Kali-yuga, on the other hand, the demons are more powerful. It seems that Krsna helps certain personalities, but actually the events of this world are controlled by Time. Krsna is equal to all, and everything here is thus due to kala.
You should not be angry or criticize anyone. If you are in distress or disturbed by many problems, it is due to you, yourself:
tat te ‘nukampam su-samiksamano
bhunjana evatma-krtam vipakam
hrd-vag-vapurbhir vidadhan namas te
jiveta yo mukti-pade sa daya-bhak
[“My dear Lord, one who earnestly waits for You to bestow Your causeless mercy upon him, all the while patiently suffering the reactions of his past misdeeds and offering You respectful obeisances with his heart, words and body, is surely eligible for liberation, for it has become his rightful claim.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.14.8)]
Evatma krtam. What one has done in the past is now coming back to him. If one is a pure bhakta and the results of all his past activities are finished, why would problems come to him? His so-called problems are due to the mercy of Krsna. Problems are not coming; Krsna is sending them. The Pandavas were praying for great calamity so that Krsna would be with them. Krsna gave them great distress – as he gave to Draupadi when Dusana tried to remove her clothes – and He did the same to Prahlada Maharaja.
He gave Prahlada so many troubles. Why? He considered, “The entire world should know that My devotees are exalted; they do not care about saving themselves, so I must save them.” You can know all these truths by reading Srimad-Bhagavatam.
I request that you all read Srimad-Bhagavatam Seventh Canto until 6:00 p.m., at which time I will return and we will perform abhiseka (the bathing ceremony) of Nrsimhadeva. Some flowers should also be here for offering.
We will observe today as we do Ekadasi, and we can break our fast after Nrsimhadeva’s birth (dusk). If anyone wants to break his fasting before that time, he may take only fruits and vegetables. If anyone wants to fast until tomorrow morning, he can do so very easily. Then, tomorrow we will worship Nrsimhadeva, and after that we will take prasada. Now, please bring Seventh Canto and begin.
[*Endnote 1 (from Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.8 Summary by Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada):
Hiranyakasipu was ready to kill his own son Prahlada Maharaja [for preaching Krsna consciousness], but the Supreme Personality of Godhead appeared in front of the demon as Sri Nr-kesari, half lion and half man, and killed him.
Following the instructions of Prahlada Maharaja, all the sons of the demons became attached to Lord Visnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When this attachment became pronounced, their teachers, Sanda and Amarka, were very much afraid that the boys would become more and more devoted to the Lord. In a helpless condition, they approached Hiranyakasipu and described in detail the effect of Prahlada’s preaching. After hearing of this, Hiranyakasipu decided to kill his son Prahlada. Hiranyakasipu was so angry that Prahlada Maharaja fell down at his feet and said many things just to pacify him, but he was unsuccessful in satisfying his demoniac father. Hiranyakasipu, as a typical demon, began to advertise himself as being greater than the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but Prahlada Maharaja challenged him, saying that Hiranyakasipu was not God, and began to glorify the Supreme Personality of Godhead, declaring that the Lord is all-pervading, that everything is under Him, and that no one is equal to or greater than Him.
Thus he requested his father to be submissive to the omnipotent Supreme Lord.
The more Prahlada Maharaja glorified the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the more angry and agitated the demon became. Hiranyakasipu asked his Vaisnava son whether his God existed within the columns of the palace, and Prahlada Maharaja immediately accepted that since the Lord is present everywhere, He was also present within the columns.
When Hiranyakasipu heard this philosophy from his young son, he derided the boy’s statement as just the talk of a child and forcefully struck the pillar with his fist.
As soon as Hiranyakasipu struck the column, there issued forth a tumultuous sound. At first Hiranyakasipu, the King of the demons, could not see anything but the pillar, but to substantiate Prahlada’s statements, the Lord came out of the pillar in His wonderful incarnation as Narasimha, half lion and half man. Hiranyakasipu could immediately understand that the extraordinarily wonderful form of the Lord was surely meant for his death, and thus he prepared to fight with the form of half lion and half man. The Lord performed His pastimes by fighting with the demon for some time, and in the evening, on the border between day and night, the Lord captured the demon, threw him on His lap, and killed him by piercing his abdomen with His nails. The Lord not only killed Hiranyakasipu, the King of the demons, but also killed many of his followers. When there was no one else to fight, the Lord, roaring with anger, sat down on Hiranyakasipu’s throne.
The entire universe was thus relieved of the rule of Hiranyakasipu, and everyone was jubilant in transcendental bliss. Then all the demigods, headed by Lord Brahma, approached the Lord. These included the great saintly persons, the Pitas, the Siddhas, the Vidyadharas, the Nagas, the Manus, the prajapatis, the Gandharvas, the Caranas, the Yaksas, the Kimpurusas, the Vaitalikas, the Kinnaras and also many other varieties of beings in human form. All of them stood not far from the Supreme Personality of Godhead and began offering their prayers unto the Lord, whose spiritual effulgence was brilliant as He sat on the throne.
Endnote 2 – “After gaining victory in the Battle of Kuruksetra, Maharaja Yudhisthira, the Emperor of the world, performed the Rajasuya sacrificial ceremony. The emperor in those days, upon his ascendance to the throne, would send a challenge horse all over the world to declare his supremacy, and any ruling prince or king was at liberty to accept the challenge and express his tacit willingness either to obey or to disobey the supremacy of the particular emperor. One who accepted the challenge had to fight with the emperor and establish his own supremacy by victory. The defeated challenger would have to sacrifice his life, making a place for another king or ruler. So Maharaja Yudhisthira also dispatched such challenging horses all over the world, and every ruling prince and king all over the world accepted Maharaja Yudhisthira’s leadership as the Emperor of the world.”
Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
GLORIFICATION OF SRI SITA-RAMA
Mathura, April 13, 2000
[This year, 2017, April 4 is the appearance day of Lord Rama. In honor of this day, we are sending out Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja’s lecture in glorification of Sri Sri Sita-Rama:]
After Ravana was killed, Sita devi had to undergo the agni pariksa, fire test. Of course, Maya-Sita entered the fire, and the real Sita devi remained unharmed – proving that she was completely pure and chaste. Rama then gave the kingdom of Ravana to Vivisana, Ravana’s brother, and after that he took Sita devi and all their associates to Ayodhya on a mystic airplane. There were millions and billions of associates, but this airplane was able to expand so that they could all fit on it.
On their journey, Rama pointed out to Sita all the places where they had enjoyed pastimes together, or where He and Laksmana had killed various demons. For example, Rama would say, “Oh look, here is where we built the bridge to Lanka. Do you remember?” When they reached Kishkinda, where all of Rama’s monkey associates lived, they stopped. Sita devi then invited all the wives of the monkeys to come aboard the airplane, as they were also very interested to see Rama’s coronation.
The party stayed one night and then went to Citrakut. Hanuman took the form of a brahmana and went to the place where Bharata was staying in Nandigram. Bharata was living the life of a renunciate, wearing simple cloth, with matted hair and living on fruits and roots; and all of his ministers lived in the same way. In the guise of a brahmana, Hanuman approached Bharata and said, “Oh Bharata Maharaja, Rama has come. Prepare to welcome him!” Upon hearing that his dear brother had finally returned, he was overjoyed and fainted. When he came to consciousness he said, “I want to give you many gifts. So please accept 18,000 cows, as many beautiful women as you desire, horses and other wealth. Still I cannot give you anything equal in value to the news you have given me.” Hanuman then returned to his original form, and Bharata said, “Oh, you are Hanuman!”
After Rama’s abhiseka ceremony, he wanted to give many gifts to everyone. Sita devi thought of a very nice gift to give Hanuman, so she gave him her most beautiful pearl necklace. Hanuman took it, examined it and broke it, and the pearls scattered all over the floor. Sita devi was surprised and asked, “What are you doing?” Hanuman replied, “Oh, I was just seeing if ‘Rama’ is written anywhere here.” “But don’t you know Rama is in your heart?” she said. Then Hanuman tore open his chest. In this way, Rama’s associates teach us that whatever is given to others should be in connection with Krsna.
Lord Rama and Sita devi stayed together for many years, and everyone was very happy within their kingdom. Some people, however, criticized Rama for accepting Sita back after she had been in the palace of Ravana. According to Vedic principles, it is unacceptable to accept one’s wife after her being away for one night – what to speak of one year. One evening, the wife of a washer-man came home late. Her husband immediately told her that she could not enter the house. He threw her out saying, “I am not like Rama, who accepted his wife back after she’d been with another man.”
This news spread and the story got back to Rama. He was most disturbed, and realized that he had to do something. How could he rule a kingdom in which some of the people did not have faith in him? He called a meeting, asking all his brothers to come; but none of them could give him any advice. He himself then realized what to do. He remembered that Sita had desired to visit all the sages in the forest and shower them with gifts. He asked Laksmana to take her to the asrama of those sages, deliver his sorrowful message to her, and then leave her in the forest. Laksmana was devastated that he was called upon to do this, but he could not say anything, as he was Rama’s younger brother. He therefore had to accept that responsibility.
Sumanta was Laksmana’s chariot driver, and moreover a very great minister of Rama. Laksmana told everything about Rama’s order to Sumanta and said, “My life is full of miseries. Now, today is the biggest misery of my life!” They passed Prayag and went across a river. “Valmiki’s asrama is here,” Laksmana told Sita. Then, with a heavy heart he told her, “Everyone is accusing Rama of accepting an unchaste wife. Many people don’t have full faith in him now; so how is it possible for him to rule the kingdom and guide the citizens properly?”
When Sita devi heard this she fainted, and when she revived she said, “I don’t want to create any difficulties for him. I do not want him to be disturbed by the public. Please pay my obeisances to all. Laksmana, I want to pray at your lotus feet, as I have offended you twice. The first night in Ayodhya, after our marriage ceremony, I stopped you from massaging Rama’s lotus feet. Though this had been your cherished duty for many years, I took this away from you. When you asked Rama about this, he could not answer. Then we asked the great sage Vasistha and he said, ‘The duties now have to be divided. So Laksmana, all the duties outside of the house should be taken by you. Sita devi should now perform all the duties inside of the house.’ In this way it was decided.
“Secondly, I was once allured by a deer in the forest when we were in exile. I heard Marici call out, ‘Alas, Laksmana!’ Assuming it was Rama’s voice, I told you to go immediately to help Him. You said, ‘No Sita, it is an illusion created by a demon.’ I insisted and told you, ‘I know. You are a spy of Bharata, and you have lusty feelings for me. That is why you don’t want to save your brother!’ These words pierced your heart. You replied that you always saw me as your mother and had never even seen my face; you had only seen my feet. You could not bear these harsh words. Then, when you went to see Rama, he chastised you saying, ‘Why did you take heed of the words of that woman?’ Then Ravana came here and begged, ‘biksana dehi’ three times. When I did not want to come outside of your circle of protection he threatened me, ‘I curse you that your husband will die if you do not give anything to me here!’ So please forgive me for these offenses.”
After leaving Sita devi in the forest Laksmana lamented, “Oh, alas! I will surely give up my life!” Sumanta tried to pacify him, and told him the truth of the matter. “Once I was with Dasaratha Maharaja, and at that time two sages, Vasistha Rsi and Durvasa Muni, came to visit him. Maharaja Dasaratha served them very nicely and then asked them to kindly tell him about the future of his four children. Vasistha Rsi remained silent and Durvasa Muni responded by saying, ‘Oh, you have four sons. Very good.” Dasaratha Maharaja said, “Yes, first tell me about Rama’s future.” Durvasa said, “Rama’s future will undoubtedly be full of miseries. He will have to leave Ayodhya, and everyone there will feel unbearable separation from Him. You will not be able to bear His absence, and you will die in separation. Rama will later have to be separated from his wife, and after suffering immensely they will become reunited. Then again they will have to be apart; and Rama will rule the kingdom alone without his wife. Do not tell this to anyone.” Dasaratha Maharaja was in complete shock, but he promised that he would not speak what he had heard to anyone. He said, “From today, I am your disciple.”
Having heard this from Sumanta, Laksmana realized that his brother Rama is in fact the Supreme Lord Visnu. Sumanta continued telling Laksmana the story that Durvasa Muni had told to Dasaratha Maharaja: “Once, a very big battle ensued between the demigods and the demons. The demons were defeated and went to the wife of Brghu Maharaja to take shelter; and, being very merciful, she gave them shelter. The demigods went to Lord Vamanadeva and told him the situation. He then took His cakra and beheaded Brghu Maharaja’s wife. Brghu Maharaja was very upset and cursed Vamanadeva saying, “You are responsible for my wife’s death. I loved her very much. Now I will have to suffer so much in separation from her. For this I curse you that you will have to suffer in the same way in the future. You will have a very beautiful wife who will serve you in every way. You will be fully satisfied and completely enamored with her feminine grace and charm, and her saintly qualities. You will then be separated from her, and you will always suffer immensely from that pain of separation.” Hearing this, Vamanadeva happily accepted the curse. He knew that in the future the whole world would be benefited by this. Also, this was but a pretext, as separation naturally increases the happiness of meeting.
Sita devi was walking towards the asrama of Valmiki Rsi, when some of his brahmacaris spotted her. They informed Valmiki that a lady looking like a demigoddess was coming. Valmiki came out to greet her, and immediately recognized who she was. He said, “Oh, you are Sita devi, the wife of Lord Rama. I know this because I have written the Ramayana. Please come in.” The ladies there were very pleased to see Sita devi and said, “Oh, please allow us to serve you.” Valmiki instructed them how to serve her in every way.
When Rama sent Satrughna to Mathura, he happened to come near to Valmiki’s asrama on the way. He paid obeisance to Sita devi and her sons, Luv and Kush, from a distance. Luv and Kush were very intelligent children. Valmiki was very expert in archery, singing and music, and he taught Luv and Kush these arts. They could thus sing in all ragas very sweetly. Valmiki also taught them the Ramayana.
No one in the entire kingdom was there to console Rama. However, the ladies were there to console Sita devi in the asrama of Valmiki. One day Rama turned to Vasistha Rsi and said, “Will you please perform a sacrifice?” Vasistha replied, “Then you must call your wife back.” “Oh, I cannot do that.” “Then you must remarry,” he insisted. Rama said, “It is not possible.” “Then you will have to make a golden deity of Sita devi.” Vasistha then performed the sacrifice. In fact, every year he performed a very big sacrificial ceremony for Rama, near Naimisaranya on the bank of Gomati, with a new golden deity of Sita devi each year.
One year many kings and sages were called, and Valmiki came with Luv and Kush. The boys were extremely beautiful, with very broad chests and slender waists. During a rest period, Valmiki asked them to sing Ramayana. They had melodious voices, and they sang in such a heart-rendering way that they captured everyone’s hearts. Rama was especially touched, and tears came to His eyes. Valmiki had previously warned the boys, “If anyone asks you who you are, tell them, ‘I am a disciple of Valmiki’”. Rama ordered Laksmana, “Go and give them eighteen thousand gold coins and many, many beautiful clothes and gifts. Then ask them who they are.”
When they were presented with these gold coins, clothes, and gifts, they said, “What will we do with all these things? We are brahmacaris.” Then Laksmana asked which dynasty they belonged to, and they replied, “You seem very learned. Why ask this? Why not ask who is our Gurudeva? We are disciples of Valmiki Rsi.” For five or seven days they came and recited the Ramayana, and after many days Rama and others came to know who they were.
Rama then called Valmiki and requested that Sita devi come and prove Her chastity so that he could call her back. Valmiki said, “I have never spoken a lie in my life. I can assure you that Sita is completely pure and chaste.” Rama said, “I know that. I’m quite confident of this, but I want proof for my citizens. So please bring Her here. Then we’ll see what we can do.”
At this time Brahma, Sankara, and many demigods and goddesses came, curious to see this event. Sita devi sent Luv and Kusa ahead to their father. She arrived thereafter, and Valmiki spoke gently to her, “O daughter, Sita devi. Come forward and prove your chastity.” Sita devi said, “Mother, please prove this to one and all, that I have never served any other man. I have never even had thoughts of any man other than Rama in my whole life. Please accept me, mother.” Pritivi-devi appeared from the earth and Sita sat on her lap on a golden throne. In a moment, Prthivi-devi completely covered Her. In other words, she took Sita devi with her, back under the Earth. Rama couldn’t bear to see Sita leave him like this, and he fainted. Then, when he returned to consciousness, he prayed to Prthivi-devi, requesting her to bring back Sita. He told her, “One time I went with a bow to the ocean and he was very much afraid. So I can turn you into dust in a moment.” Just then Brahma came and told Rama, “No. Don’t do it! This is the last time. Sitaji has gone to your own abode, so you should very quickly wind up your pastimes and go there.”
Srila Gurudeva in Los Angeles – 17 June 1996
[Hari-katha of Nitya Lila Pravista Om Visnupada Astottara Sata Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja Srila Gurudeva]
Why do they chant, “Om santi, Om santi?” Om has some form, some qualification. He’s merciful. Om means A U M, three things. Then why do they just say, “Om?” A U M makes OM. And here, A denotes Krsna as told in the Upanisads. They go together, but they don’t want to use this. They are satisfied because Kali has done something. In Kali Yuga, even if a person is qualified or not; but yet, if he chants the name of Krsna, he will be benefited. But in Satya Yuga, anyone cannot chant the holy name. To chant the holy name, they will have to perform austerities for lakhs and lakhs of years. But in Kali Yuga, anyone can say Krsna’s name and Rama’s name.
When a person chants, “Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare,” he chants the holy names sixteen times.
Devotee: Do you reside in Mathura Maharaja?
Srila Gurudeva: No, no. I live in Vrndavana.
Devotee: I’m coming to India, hopefully next year. So, I’ll have to come and visit.
Srila Gurudeva: But at that time I was foolish, I could not do anything. But now, he said, “Yes. You have come anyhow.” He is so pleased. What is the history of this temple?
[Srila Gurudeva goes on to speak some instructions that Srila Prabhupada gave before he left his body]
He used to go there and Caitanya Mahaprabhu would also come with all His parikars, associates. Rupa Gosvami, Sanatana Gosvami, and others would also come. When Caitanya Mahaprabhu or His parikars used to come there, He used to make an excuse that the Mohammedans are coming and they will take [unclear]. So, he would take it to that village.
So, Caitanya Mahaprabhu used to take darsana there. Mahaprabhu also said, “I will not go on top of Govardhana, and no one should go, because Govardhana is Krsna Himself. So, we should not climb on Govardhana hill and we will not see Gopalji.” Therefore, Gopalji Himself, used to come down in that village and everyone would take His darsana. There is a village named ‘Parso’ meaning, day after tomorrow.
The village is named as such because Krsna made a promise to the gopis and said, “I will surely come tomorrow or the day after tomorrow.” Every village in Vraja is named after a specific pastime of Krsna.
Oh you have come now. Even if these ISKCON leaders are not coming, I will always welcome them. I’m also happy to be here.
Devotee: We have been dreaming for a long time. . .
Srila Gurudeva: Svamiji and all of you have brought me here. Otherwise, I didn’t even dream that I would come to the western countries, and meet so many devotees.
Devotee: Seeing how sweet you are and so beautiful, how can they talk like this about such a great personality, what can we do?
Srila Gurudeva: You should not be angry.
Devotee: They have no eyes to see.
Srila Gurudeva: They are helping me. I could not have so much propaganda as they are doing. I have no money to do all these things. Actually, they are doing everything. They are doing everything for free. I’m indebted to them, so much indebted to them.
You know Kamsa was so kind to Krsna and to us all, because he brought Krsna from Goloka Vrndavana to this world. If there was no Kamsa, then no pastimes of Krsna would have manifested. So, Narada said, “I am indebted to Kamsa.”
Svamiji told me, “You should go and give some water, as the plants (the devotees) are drying. So you should go and give water to the plants.”
By bona fide Srimad Bhagavat kirtana, Krsna, Srimati Radhika, Uddhava, Sukadeva Gosvami, Narada Gosvami, and all will come; whether we can see them or not. When Narottama Thakur used to sing and dance with so many bhaktas, Caitanya Mahaprabhu would come with all His parikars, and they would ecstatically dance. And when the kirtana ended, Mahaprabhu and His associates would disappear. When Narottama Thakur would sing, “Gauranga bolite habe, pulaka sarira,” then Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu would descend and do kirtana. Everyone present would see and realize the presence of Mahaprabhu and His associates among them. But, when the kirtana ended, Mahaprabhu and His associates could not be seen, as I mentioned before.
Devotee: They would manifest to the general devotees or just those devotees with ….
Srila Gurudeva: Everyone could see, including the general public, because Yogamaya used to come and connect them. Where there is no Yogamaya, there is no connection with the eternal world. Now we will go to Mayapur or Vrndavana.
They have no connection with Yogamaya. There is not such a powerful person who can attract Yogamaya to come here, so we are not seeing. But Krsna and Mahaprabhu are there; They are always there. But if personalities like Narottama Thakur, and Nityananda prabhu come, then Yogamaya will come and connect us. They will sprinkle some of their mercy.
Gaura Premanande! Hari Haribol!