Siva-ratri

Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
The Post and the Person

[Dear Readers,
Please accept our obeisances. All glories to Sri Sri Guru and Gauranga.
This year, 2018, Siva-ratri is on February 14. Please accept this lecture Srila Gurudeva gave in Holland in 1997:]

Sri Narada desired to proclaim the glories of Lord Siva. As previously described, he praised Siva as the greatest devotee of Lord Krsna and most dear to Him, and Lord Siva became upset by hearing those praises. Siva then related a number of incidents which, according to him, were evidence that he was not dear to Krsna at all.

Now Lord Siva compares himself to Sri Prahlada Maharaja, (*See Endnote 1) the famed devotee of Lord Nrsimhadeva described in Srimad-Bhagavatam. He told Narada, “Sri Prahlada Maharaja is superior to me, and it is he who is the dear devotee of the Lord.” Even though Lord Siva is superior to Prahlada Maharaja, he told Narada that Prahlada Maharaja is superior. Why? He said this to encourage people to follow Prahlada Maharaja’s ideal character and teachings.

However, Prahlada Maharaja cannot enter Sri Krsna’s transcendental abode, Vrndavana, whereas Lord Siva resides there eternally as Gopisvara. Siva serves Sri Krsna personally in numerous ways. He and his wife Parvati-devi meditate on asta-kaliya-lila, Lord Sri Krsna’s confidential eight-fold daily pastimes. These secret pastimes are very confidential, yet both Siva and Parvati are able to meditate upon them. Siva is hundreds of thousands of times superior to and more worshipable than Sri Prahlada Maharaja, and yet the artful Siva declared Prahlada Maharaja to be superior. Why did he do so? In one sense Prahlada Maharaja is superior, and in another sense he is not.

We can reconcile this by considering the two perspectives from which to understand the identity of Lord Siva: We can see Siva from the point of view of his post, and also from the point of view of his personality. As a personality, separate from his post, he appears as an associate of the Supreme Lord, such as Gopisvara, Hanuman and Bhima. As Gopisvara he resides eternally in Vrndavana. As Hanuman he always associates with and serves Lord Rama. As Bhima he always serves Lord Krsna. And, when Hanuman and Bhima combine together in this present age of Kali-yuga, they become Madhvacarya, our Sampradaya-guru. (*See Endnote 2)

From the point of view of Lord Siva’s function as the god of annihilation, and also that of Brahma as the secondary creator of the universe, Siva and Brahma are actually posts. Lord Brahma and Lord Siva are not ordinary human beings, but their posts are like that of the president or prime minister of a nation, wherein the man representing the post has to perform a certain defined job.

Both as the post and the person, Siva is superior to Brahma. Lord Siva is an expansion of Lord Visnu, but sometimes a jiva may become Siva’s expansion known as Rudra. If a man purely performs the duties of varnasrama for one hundred births, he may become Brahma.6 In other words, he may attain the position or post of Brahma. In turn, when a person in the post of Brahma carries out his function expertly for one hundred births, he becomes qualified to perform the function of Siva in his manifestation as Rudra. Siva’s post is therefore superior to that of Brahma, and this is also evidence that Siva is more powerful than Brahma.

The Duty of Destruction

What is the function of Lord Siva’s post, and why is it superior to that of Lord Brahma? One reason is that Brahma cannot execute pralaya, the complete destruction of the universe – a very dangerous thing, whereas Siva can do so.

Siva’s function as destroyer is similar to that of a farmer who plants and cultivates a large area of wheat. The farmer carefully waters and nourishes the crop, guarding it from animals, and after five or six months the wheat matures and ripens. Then, either by hand or a machine, the farmer harvests the plants and carefully removes the grains from their shafts. The rest of the plant-matter becomes refuse, subject to rotting and attracting disease, vermin, and snakes. Therefore, the farmer sets fire to it and burns it.

Just as the farmer extracts the grains from the plants, Lord Siva extracts the eternal spirit souls from their material bodies and from the world. At the time of annihilation he creates an inferno, setting the entire universe on fire, but the spirit souls are not destroyed.

There are two kinds of universal devastations: one at the end of Lord Brahma’s day and one at the end of his life. At the end of his day (4,320,000,000 solar years) he rests in a mystic sleep within the body of Garbhodakasayi Visnu, and all the conditioned living entities enter as well. (*See Endnote 3)

While the entire universe is submerged in water, the living entities rest in their subtle bodies within the transcendental body of Garbhodakasayi Visnu. They await the start of the next day of Brahma, the next material creation or manifestation. Some of them become liberated, and others do not.

When Lord Brahma completes the one hundred celestial years of his life, Lord Siva again performs this duty of destruction. At that time all the spirit souls enter into the body of Karanodakasayi Visnu or Maha Visnu. At the end of each day of Lord Brahma, all souls enter Garbhodakasayi Visnu, and at the end of Brahma’s life, even the millions of manifestations of Garbhodakasayi Visnu enter Karanodakasayi Visnu (*See Endnote 4) along with the spirit souls. At the time of creation, Karanodakasayi Visnu generates innumerable manifestations of Garbhodakasayi Visnu, and at the time of complete annihilation, they enter back into his body. (*See Endnote 5)

Lord Siva is not a living entity, but he is also not in the category of Lord Visnu. He is much more powerful than any living entity, even up to Lord Brahma. However, he is not equal to Lord Visnu. Because he is almost as good as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he can see the three phases of time: past, present, and future. One of his eyes is like the sun and another is like the moon. He also has a third eye, located between his eyebrows. It is from this third eye that he generates fire and employs it at the time of the universal destruction.

Seen from this perspective – the destroyer – Lord Siva cannot serve Sri Krsna directly, because he is engaged at his post. Those souls who are liberated after hundreds of thousands of lifetimes of devotional practice, having renounced all responsibilities and concerns of the world – including occupations like that of Brahma and Siva – and who constantly hear about, glorify, and remember Lord Krsna, take birth in this world as pure devotees like Prahlada Maharaja. This was told by Lord Siva to Sri Narada.

Prahlada Maharaja has nothing to do with this world; nothing to create or demolish. He rejected all such affairs as insignificant. Although he had inherited a large kingdom, it was controlled and governed by his ministers. His senses were totally absorbed in the transcendental loving service to the Supreme Lord. He was always engaged in hearing the name and glories of the Lord, singing and speaking about his glories, remembering and meditating on him, offering prayers, carrying out the his orders and fully surrendering to him.

Devotees in Prahlada’s category have no need to approach Lord Krsna’s manifestations like Lord Nrsinhadeva and Lord Rama, for the Lord personally comes to them in these forms. Lord Siva told Sri Narada that because he is always engaged in the post of controlling the universe, he can neither see nor offer services to the Lord daily, as Prahlada Maharaja sees Lord Vamanadeva or Lord Nrsinhadeva. Vamanadeva and Nrsinhadeva are both manifestations of the same Lord, who regularly gives Prahlada his divine association and the opportunity to serve and offer obeisance at his lotus feet.

Although both Brahma and Siva are actually superior in bhakti to Prahlada Maharaja, their posts involve contact with the three gunas, or modes of material nature, namely goodness, passion, and ignorance. The role of Lord Brahma is creation and procreation in raja-guna, the mode of passion. Lord Siva’s role of demolition and dissolution is in tama-guna, the mode of ignorance. It is for this reason that they are called guna-avataras, incarnations of the material qualities.

Prahlada Maharaja is nirguna, transcendental to the three modes of nature. He has nothing to do with activities in material goodness, passion, and ignorance, by which this world is shackled. Lord Siva is also beyond the three modes of nature, but he adopts the mode of ignorance (tama-guna) to efficiently perform his function.

The Personal Associate

Regarding Lord Siva’s glorification of Prahlada Maharaja, now consider Lord Siva’s identity as a transcendental personality – separate from his post.

Sometimes senior Vaisnavas express sincere recognition of the novice, inspiring him or her on the path of devotion. The Vaisnava may say, “Oh, you work so hard and earn money, and with that money you support and nourish me. I have no means at all. I do nothing but visit for a short while, eating, and sleeping at your expense. I would not be able to speak the glories of Lord Krsna at this festival if you had not arranged for the management of all the activities here, so you are superior to me.”

Out of sincere humility, gratitude and affection, liberated souls speak in this endearing manner, and at the same time they are fixed in the realization that they are always being personally maintained by the Supreme Lord. The senior Vaisnava has the disciple’s personal benefit in mind.

However, Lord Siva was not speaking for Prahlada Maharaja’s benefit, but to acquaint aspiring devotees with the stages of devotion. His desire was to facilitate the service of Sri Narada Muni and Srila Sanatana Gosvami (*See Endnote 6), whose mission was to establish in the world the sequence of the grades of devotion and ultimately establish the glories of the gopis. Try to understand all these truths, and seek to gradually become firmly situated in bhakti.

Imagine that you are in a market in which there are thousands of varieties of shops. In some of those shops there are products made of iron, in some shops there are products made of gold, in some there are jewels, and in others cintamani (wish-fulfilling stones). An expert is guiding you through all the shops, pointing out different products and revealing which are superior.

If there are a thousand pounds of iron and only one ounce of gold, the gold has more value. On the other hand, many pounds of gold will not amount to the value of one Kaustubha-mani or a similarly precious stone. Millions of such precious jewels cannot compare with a tiny quantity of cintamani, and even millions of cintamani stones cannot compare with one holy name of Lord Krsna.

Now suppose someone is chanting the name of Lord Krsna alone, and another is absorbed in the name of Radha-Ramana. The name Radha-Ramana, meaning Sri Krsna, the enjoyer of pastimes with Srimati Radharani, has more transcendental taste (rasa) than the name Krsna alone. The person absorbed in that holy name will therefore experience a greater spiritual pleasure.

Regarding the analogy of the shops in a market, that expert tells you, “This shop is good, that shop is better, and this one is the best. Similarly, in his Sri Brhad-bhagavatamrta, Srila Sanatana Gosvami establishes the gradations of excellence of various devotees and their devotion, in order to help his readers determine their spiritual path.

The history of Narada Muni’s coming to the abode of Lord Siva and glorifying him was first narrated in this Sri Brhad-bhagavatamrta. Like Srila Sanatana Gosvami, Narada is also that expert described above. He desired to establish pure bhakti in the world, and therefore he played the role of searching for the greatest devotee and recipient of Lord Krsna’s mercy. His search had taken him first to the “shop” of a brahmana in Prayaga, and after that to South India, to the shop of a king. Then he traveled to heaven, where he entered the shop of King Indra, and Indra sent him to the shop of Lord Brahma. Brahma sent him to Lord Siva, and Lord Siva is now sending him to Prahlada Maharaja. Gradually, Sri Narada will bring us to the greatest recipients of Lord Krsna’s mercy, the gopis. In the form of Gopisvara, Lord Siva is the beloved servant and associate of those gopis.

Once, the great sage Narada Muni traveled to the abode of Lord Siva and began to glorify him, saying, “You are very near and dear to the Supreme Lord Krsna. Not only that, you are Krsna’s manifestation; you are non-different from Him. You can give liberation and also krsna-prema, the rare jewel of transcendental love for Krsna.” Hearing Narada glorify him in numerous ways, Lord Siva became angry and said, “Your glorification of me is false. I am not at all dear to Sri Krsna.”

Lord Siva is actually most dear to Sri Krsna, and therefore Krsna can give him services which He cannot give anyone else. When the demigods and demons were churning the Milk Ocean in order to obtain the nectar of immortality, the first substance produced was a powerful and dangerous poison, burning the entire world. The demigods appealed to Sri Krsna, and He advised them to request Lord Siva to drink the poison. Thus, they worshiped Lord Siva and prayed, “Please save us! Only you can protect us!” Lord Siva collected the poison and took it in his mouth, but he hesitated to swallow it, considering, “Lord Krsna is in my heart. The poison will affect Him.” He therefore kept the poison in his throat, which was burned, and his neck turned the color blue.

Now, out of genuine humility, Lord Siva told Narada: “I want to be His beloved devotee, but actually I am not. You know that I always wear ashes from the burial grounds, and a garland of skulls. All my associates are ghosts and witches, so I am not qualified to be Krsna’s dear devotee. If I am so dear to Him, why would He have ordered me to engage with the mode of ignorance in the terrible function of destroying of the universe? If I am such a great recipient of His mercy, why would he have ordered me to become Sankaracarya and preach a philosophy that is adverse to Him?”

Actually, although he expressed otherwise, it was because Siva is so dear to Krsna that Krsna was able to give him the difficult task of appearing as Sankaracarya. (*See Endnote 7) Many people had been worshiping the Supreme Lord only to fulfill their selfish purposes, thinking, “Simply by our worship of God, He will be pleased with us and satisfy all our worldly desires.” They worshiped Him only so that He would rapidly arrange for all of their needs, not to please Him. Lord Krsna thought, “This is very dangerous.” He called Lord Siva and instructed him, “Such false devotees will create great disturbances, so keep them far away from Me. Create a philosophy which teaches, ‘brahma satyam jagan mithya – the Absolute is true, this world is false.’ You should preach, ‘All souls are Siva; all souls are Brahma; all are one. You are brahma, the impersonal Absolute. There is no need to worship any other God; you are the Supreme God.’ ” Reluctant, Lord Siva asked Krsna, “Can you please tell someone else to do this? I am not qualified for this service.” Krsna replied, “No, you will have to do this. In the entire world, I see no one else who is as capable.”

Feeling ashamed, Lord Siva now told Narada, “At last, I had to agree to follow His order. Appearing as Sankaracarya I preached everywhere, ‘You are brahma, you are brahma, you are the impersonal brahma. The entire world is false.’ I am so much regretting this. I know I have committed a great offence by causing so many people to be averse to Lord Krsna. Still, to carry out His order I spread this doctrine. It is clear by the fact that He sometimes gives me such orders that I am not His dearest one.”

Cheating the Cheaters

Lord Siva also expressed to Narada his regret in having given benedictions to Lord Krsna’s enemies. To fulfill his Lord’s desires, he had given benedictions to demons like Ravana, Vrkasura, Salva and Jayadratha, and thus he had performed many activities that were seemingly opposed to Krsna and krsna-bhakti.

Narada Muni said, “Master, please don’t try to mislead me. I know that whatever you do is to please Lord Krsna and to assist Him in His pastimes, for the benefit of all beings. You told me that you have many times given benedictions to His enemies. I know that His enemies, as well as the enemies of His devoted cousins, the Pandavas, worship you for ill-motivated benedictions. I also know that you grant them benedictions. But those benedictions are not foolproof; they always have some loophole. Actually, you cheat these beneficiaries in order to please Lord Krsna. You are undoubtedly His dearest friend.”

Siva and Narada continued to discuss some historical incidents which, according to Siva, proved that he was not dear to Krsna – but according to Narada, proved the opposite.

A Loophole

The great epic Mahabharata tells of King Jayadratha, one of the many demons who received such a clever benediction from Lord Siva. Duryodhana, the paternal cousin of the five Pandava brothers, had given his sister Dushala in marriage to King Jayadratha, and therefore the king had also become like a brother-in-law of the Pandavas. Once, Jayadratha tried to kidnap the Pandavas’ wife, Draupadi, desiring strongly to make her his own wife. As he forced her onto his chariot, she admonished him, crying, “I am the wife of the Pandavas. When they catch you, they will punish you and kill you!”

Jayadratha’s arrogance prevented him from hearing her, and he continued his abduction. Meanwhile, the sage Narada approached the Pandavas and informed them, “Oh, I saw Jayadratha taking away Draupadi, and she was weeping!”

Two of the Pandavas, Bhima and Arjuna, immediately chased after Jayadratha. Bhima dismounted his chariot and ran faster than Jayadratha’s horses. With his bow and arrows, Arjuna created a fire that surrounded the chariot of Jayadratha, who was then captured and could not move. Severely beaten by Bhima and arrested by Arjuna, Jayadratha was bound to the chariot and taken to where Yudhisthira Maharaja had been staying with Draupadi.

Bhima and Arjuna spoke to Yudhisthira, their respected senior brother. Bhima urged him, “I want to kill Jayadratha. Please order me to kill him.”

In support of Bhima, Arjuna said, “Jayadratha has performed a heinous act and should be killed.”

King Yudhisthira replied, “The offense was committed against Draupadi. We should take the case to her, and we will do whatever she orders.”

When Jayadratha was brought at the feet of Draupadi, she mercifully told her husbands, “Don’t kill him; forgive him. He is our brother-in-law. If you kill him, your cousin-sister will be widowed and she will weep for the rest of her life.”

Bhima and Arjuna then approached Lord Krsna and appealed to Him: “What should we do? We have vowed to kill Jayadratha, and now Draupadi tells us to forgive him.”

Krsna replied, “For one who has been honored, dishonor is worse than death.”

Arjuna then shaved King Jayadratha’s head, leaving five patches of hair, and he shaved one side of his face, leaving the other side unshaven. Jayadratha felt humiliated, and after being released by Bhima and Arjuna he considered it better to have died. He thought, “I will somehow take revenge.” Thus absorbed, he went to Gangotri in the Himalayas and undertook a severe type of penance to please Lord Siva.

After some months he gave up all food, water, and bodily activities, and was about to die. At this point Lord Siva came before him and asked what boon he wanted as a result of his austerity. Jayadratha replied, “I want revenge against the Pandavas. I want to defeat and kill all of them.” Lord Siva told him, “You can defeat the Pandavas, but only Yudhisthira, Bhima, Nakula and Sahadeva; not Arjuna.” Jayadratha said, “If you cannot benedict me to my full satisfaction, then please grant that neither Arjuna nor anyone else will be able to kill me.” Lord Siva replied, “I can grant you this: if your head is severed and falls on the ground, the person who caused this will die immediately. Your life will be saved and your head will rejoin your body. You may be ‘killed’ hundreds of thousands of times, but you will not die. On the other hand, if your severed head falls into your father’s hands and he throws it on the ground, then you will die.” Jayadratha was satisfied, thinking, “My father would never do this.”

When the battle of Kuruksetra began, Jayadratha took the side of the Pandavas’ enemy, Duryodhana. One evening during the battle, as the sun was setting, Jayadratha’s father was absorbed in prayer and making an offering of water to the Sun-god. Arjuna saw this opportune moment. With the skillful release of an arrow, he severed Jayadratha’s head from his body and caused it to fall into the hands of his meditating father. Startled and without thought, Jayadratha’s father tossed the head on the ground. Then, opening his eyes he exclaimed, “What was that wet thing?” Seeing that he had just thrown his son’s head, he began to cry, “Oh my son! Oh my son! You are dead now!”

A Clever Benediction

Envious of Krsna and with a desire for the strength to destroy him, the demon Salva also took shelter of Lord Siva. He performed a severe type of austerity and ate no more than a handful of ashes daily. After one year, Lord Siva became pleased with him and asked him to beg for a boon.

Salva begged from Lord Siva the gift of an airplane, saying, “This airplane should perform as I wish; it should be operated by my mind. On my order it should go to heaven or anywhere I desire. In summer it should be air-conditioned. If there are only two men, there should only be two seats, and if I want to travel with hundreds of thousands of persons, many seats should manifest. It should never crash due to mechanical difficulty, and it should be equipped with all varieties of weapons. It should be dangerous and fearful to the Yadus.”

Lord Siva agreed, and Salva was helped by the demon Maya Danava to manufacture a mystical airplane that began to destroy Dvaraka, Lord Krsna’s abode. Salva personally attacked from above, and his soldiers attacked on the ground. Headed by Pradyumna, the Yadu dynasty warriors fought with Salva and his army, but they could not defeat him.

Finally, Lord Krsna personally appeared on the battlefield, and after much intense fighting on both sides and many mystic displays by Salva, the Lord took up His disc, cut off the demon’s head, and gave him liberation.

In this way, the benedictions given by Lord Siva to the enemies of Lord Krsna always have a weak point – a loophole. Lord Siva is extremely clever, and he is always serving his Lord, Sri Krsna. Narada knew this fact, and he wanted to publicize Lord Siva’s glories. Siva is very near and dear to Krsna, and non-different from Him. Try to always honor him, for he is Krsna’s greatest devotee.

nimna-ganah yatha ganga
devanam acyuto yatha
vaisnavanam yatha sambhuh
purananam idam tatha

[(Just as the Ganga is the greatest of all rivers, Lord Acyuta [Krsna] the supreme among deities and Lord Sambhu [Siva] the greatest of Vaisnavas, so Srimad-Bhagavatam is the greatest of all Puranas. (Srimad-Bhagavatam (12.13.16)]

The Principle of Siva

The principle of Siva – Siva-tattva – is extremely complex. The principle of Brahma is not as complicated, because Lord Brahma is always a jiva, a finite spirit soul. Sometimes, when there is no qualified jiva, Lord Visnu (Krsna’s expansion) personally takes the post of Brahma, but that is rare. Lord Siva is not like that; he is not a finite soul.

After passing through the eight material coverings, and after crossing the Viraja (the river that divides the material world and the spiritual world) and the planet of Lord Brahma (the highest material planet), one comes to the planet of Siva. There he is known as SadaSiva, a manifestation of Lord Visnu.

Siva-tattva can be understood by the analogy of yogurt and milk. Yogurt is nothing but a transformation of milk. Milk can become yogurt, but yogurt cannot become milk. This analogy is found in Sri Brahma-Samhita and elucidated in Srila Jiva Gosvami’s commentary: “Just as milk is transformed into yogurt by contact with a transforming agent, Sri Govinda, Lord Sri Krsna, similarly accepts the form of Sambhu (Siva) in order to accomplish a specific purpose. The example of yogurt is actually given in order to convey the idea of cause and effect, not the idea of transformation. Sri Krsna is reality and cannot be transformed, so it is not possible for Him to undergo any kind of distortion. A wish-fulfilling gem manifests many things according to one’s desire, yet its constitutional nature remains untransformed.” (*See Endnote 8)

Ramesvara Mahadeva

When Sri Ramacandra was making the bridge to Lanka, he established a Siva-linga (deity form of Siva) called Ramesvara. All the common people began glorifying Lord Siva, shouting, “Ramesvara ki jaya! You are Rama’s isvara: you are the lord of Rama.” The demigods were unsatisfied by this and announced through an arial voice, “Ramas ca asau isvarah: Rama is God, and Sankara is also God; they are the same.” Hearing this, the Siva-linga broke. Lord Siva emerged from the linga and told them all, “You are all foolish; you do not know my tattva, the established truths regarding my identity. Rama is my beloved and my God, and that is why I am called Ramesvara.”

Granting Perfect Love

Lord Siva eternally resides in Lord Krsna’s abode, Vrndavana, where he manifests many forms to render devotional services to Him. The form of Gopisvara Mahadeva (*See Endnote 9) was manifested by Lord Krsna’s desire. When Krsna desired to perform His rasa dance, Srimati Radhika, the embodiment of His pleasure potency, manifested from His left side and Gopisvara Mahadeva manifested from His right side. The form of Siva who lives in Kasi or Kailasa in the material world is a partial manifestation of the original Sadasiva in Vrndavana. The many other commonly worshiped forms of Lord Siva are expansions of Sadasiva. They are not the original. Partial expansions such as Pippalesvara Mahadeva, Bhutesvara Mahadeva, Rangesvara Mahadeva and so on cannot award the benediction that can be attained by the mercy of Gopisvara – the highest perfection of love, namely vraja-prema.

Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami has composed a prayer in his Vraja-vilasa-stava:

muda gopendrasyatmaja bhuja parisranga nidhaye
sphurad gopirvrndair yam iha bhagavatam pranayibhih
bhajadbhistair bhaktyas vamabhilasitam praptam acirad
yamitire gopisvaram anudinam tah kila bhaje

I daily worship Gopisvara Mahadeva, who is situated on the bank of Yamuna. That very Gopisvara was worshipped with deep devotion by the gopis, and he quickly fulfilled their desire to attain a supremely precious jewel in the form of the embrace of the son of Nanda Maharaja [Krsna].

Srila Sanatana Gosvami, the great Vaisnava saint who resided in Vrndavana near the old Sri Madana-Mohana temple, would go daily to see Sri Gopisvara Mahadeva at his temple. Once, in his older years, Sanatana Gosvami had a dream wherein Gopisvara Mahadeva appeared and instructed him: “Now that you are old, please do not go through so much trouble to see me.” Sanatana Gosvami replied, “I will continue to come. I cannot change this habit.” Gopisvara Mahadeva said, “Then I will come and stay very near to your residence, manifesting in Bankhandi.” The very next day, Sri Gopisvara Mahadeva appeared in Bankhandi, halfway between his orginal temple and Srila Sanatana Gosvami’s residence. Seeing this, Sanatana Gosvami became overwhelmed with transcendental ecstasy, and from that day on he visited Bankhandi Mahadeva every day.

Wherever he was, Srila Sanatana Gosvami could not live without his beloved Lord Siva – Gopisvara Mahadeva and Bankhandi Mahadeva in Vrndavana, and Kamesvara Mahadeva in Kamyavana forest. In Govardhana he would stay near his very dear friend, Cakresvara Mahadeva, who acquired the name when he served Govardhana Hill and the Vrajavasis by holding up his trident like a cakra, protecting them from the torrential deluge sent by King Indra.

Prior to this, Lord Siva had asked Sri Krsna for the boon to witness His childhood pastimes. Krsna ordered him to situate himself in Nandagaon in the form of a hill. Siva followed this order and became Nandisvara Hill, and he thus became known as Nandisvara. (Lord Brahma became Brahma-parvata, the mountain in Srimati Radhika’s birthplace, Varsana. Because Brahma is so near to Radhika, he is also our Gurudeva.)

We honor Lord Siva as a great Vaisnava and as Guru. We do not worship him separately. We observe Siva-ratri, Lord Siva’s appearance day, and we glorify him in connection to his relationship with Sri Krsna. Srila Sanatana Gosvami has written in his Hari-bhakti-vilasa that all Vaisnavas should observe Siva-caturdasi (Siva-ratri). Lord Siva, in whom all good qualities reside, should certainly be honored by the observance of this day.

We offer obeisance to Lord Siva with prayers like this:

vrndavanavani-pate! jaya soma soma-maule
sanaka-sanandana-sanatana-naradedya
gopisvara! vraja-vilasi-yuganghri-padme
prema prayaccha nirupadhi namo namas te
(Sankalpa-kalpadruma 103)

O Gatekeeper of Vrndavana! O Soma, all glories to you! O you whose forehead is decorated with the moon, and who is worshipable by the sages headed by Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatana and Narada! O Gopisvara! Desiring that you bestow upon me prema for the lotus feet of Sri Sri Radha-Madhava, who perform joyous pastimes in Vraja-dhama, I offer obeisances unto you time and again.

By Siva’s Benediction

A brahmana in Kasi Varanasi once prayed to Lord Siva, “I want to give my daughter in marriage, but I have no money. Please give me money.” Lord Siva told him, “Go to Vrndavana and meet with Srila Sanatana Gosvami. You can ask him to give you some wealth for your daughter’s marriage.” The brahmana went to Vrndavana, by foot, and there he asked the villagers there for the whereabouts of a person named Sanatana Gosvami. As they all knew him, they pointed out his residence.

Srila Sanatana Gosvami was practicing bhajana near the Yamuna River at Kaliya-hrada, the former abode of the very poisonous snake named Kaliya. Kaliya-hrada was close to the Yamuna, and therefore its surrounding area was full of sand. Srila Sanatana Gosvami wore only a loincloth. He used to go begging door-to-door for a small amount of prasada (Krsna’s food remnants), and would take as his meal only one dry chapatti (flat bread), with no salt.

The brahmana arrived at his cottage and told him, “I went to Sankara Mahadeva, Lord Siva, and he told me to meet you. He said you will give me some wealth for my daughter’s marriage.” Sanatana Gosvami replied, “I have no possessions. You can see that I have nothing but a loincloth.” Then he thought, “Oh, Siva cannot tell a lie. He is my bosom friend.” Thinking of Lord Siva and contemplating further, he remembered a touchstone he had once disgarded and then forgotten. Now he told the brahmana, “Go to the Yamuna and remove some of the sand, and there you will find a touchstone. It is somewhere in the sand, though I don’t remember where.”

The brahmana found the jewel, touched it to iron, and the iron turned into gold. He was very, very happy that Lord Siva had told him to come to Vrndavana, and thought with gratitude, “My prayer has been answered by him.” On the way home, however, his greed for money increased and he began thinking, “Why did Sanatana Gosvami keep the touchstone in the sand? It had no use there. He must have still more valuable jewels.”

He thus returned, and Sanatana Gosvami asked him, “Why have you come back?” He replied, “I’ve come because I know that you have more valuable jewels than this.” Sanatana Gosvami then said, “Go and throw the touchstone in the Yamuna. The brahmana did so with all his power, and then Sanatana Gosvami told him, “Come here. Come here.” He gave him the mantra, “Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare” and said, “I do not have worldly jewels, but I have transcendental jewels. The jewel of Lord Krsna and Sri Radha will come to you in a very short time. So remain here. Your daughter’s marriage will take place automatically. Stay here and chant Hare Krsna.” That brahmana followed his instruction and became a very elevated saint.

*[Endnote 1] In the hermitage of Sri Narada Muni, Prahlada Maharaja heard the message of Srimad-Bhagavatam while within the womb of his mother. From his birth, Prahlad was fixed in transcendental realization of the all-pervading presence of the Supreme Lord, and he preached love of God to his schoolmates at the tender age of five. Despite efforts by his atheistic father to change his nature – efforts that culminated in repeated attempts to kill him by means of administering poison, putting him in boiling oil, tossing him from the top of a cliff and so on – Prahlada continued to experience great joy by remembering Lord Visnu and chanting his holy names. Prahlada was protected by the Supreme Lord in every situation. Finally, Lord Visnu appeared in the form of a half-man, half-lion and killed his demonic father. When offered a benediction by the Lord, Prahlada simply asked for the liberation of his father, as well as that of all conditioned souls. He is honored in this world by all pure devotees.

*[Endnote 2] “Srila Madhvacarya is the original acarya for those who belong to the Madhva-Gaudiya-sampradaya.”(SB 6.1.40.purport) “This Madhva-Gaudiya-sampradaya is also known as the Brahma-sampradaya because the disciplic succession originally began from Brahma. Brahma instructed the sage Narada, Narada instructed Vyasadeva, and Vyasadeva instructed Madhva Muni, or Madhvacarya.” (Krsna Introduction).

*[End note 3] “The Vedas say, ‘svadharma-nisthah sata janmabhih puman virincatam eti – One who strictly follows the principles of varnasrama-dharma for at least one hundred births will be rewarded with the post of Lord Brahma.’ ” (Srimad-Bhagavatam, 5.20.33 purport)
Varnasrama-dharma – the institutions dividing society into four divisions of social life and four occupational divisions of castes.

*[Endnote 4] “At the beginning of Brahma’s day, all living entities become manifest from the unmanifest state, and thereafter, when the night falls, they are merged into the unmanifest again. Again and again, when Brahma’s day arrives, all living entities come into being, and with the arrival of Brahma’s night they are helplessly annihilated.” (Bhagavad-gita 8.18-19)
“At the end of the day, under the insignificant portion of the mode of darkness, the powerful manifestation of the universe merges in the darkness of night. By the influence of eternal time, the innumerable living entities remain merged in that dissolution, and everything is silent.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.11.28)
“The dissolution of the three worlds is effected by the incarnation of darkness, Rudra, represented by the fire of eternal time which blazes over the three worlds. These three worlds are known as Bhuh, Bhuvah and Svah (Patala, Martya and Svarga). The innumerable living entities merge into that dissolution, which appears to be the dropping of the curtain of the scene of the Supreme Lord’s energy, and so everything becomes silent.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.11.28 purport)
“It is said that the blazing fire from the mouth of Sankarsana rages for one hundred years of the demigods, or 36,000 human years. Then for another 36,000 years there are torrents of rain, accompanied by violent winds and waves, and the seas and oceans overflow. People forget all these devastations of the worlds and think themselves happy in the material progress of civilization. This is called maya, or ‘that which is not.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.11.31 purport)
“Thereafter, at the end of the millennium, the Lord Himself, in the form of Rudra, the destroyer, will annihilate the complete creation as the wind displaces the clouds. This creation is very appropriately compared to clouds.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.10.43)

*[Endnote 5] “There are two types of dissolution of the manifested cosmos. At the end of every 4,320,000,000 solar years, when Brahma, the lord of one particular universe, goes to sleep, there is one annihilation. And at the end of Lord Brahma’s life, which takes place at the end of Brahma’s one hundred years of age, in our calculation at the end of 8,640,000,000 x 30 x 12 x 100 solar years, there is complete annihilation of the entire universe, and in both the periods both the material energy called the mahat-tattva and the marginal energy called jiva-tattva merge in the person of the Supreme Lord.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.10.21 purport)

*[Endnote 6] “Karanodakasayi Visnu is the first incarnation of the Supreme Lord, and he is the master of eternal time, space, cause and effects, mind, the elements, the material ego, the modes of nature, the senses, the universal form of the Lord, Garbhodakasayi Visnu, and the sum total of all living beings, both moving and nonmoving.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.6.42)

*[Endnote 7] Lord Siva was referring to the long history in relation to Sripad Sankaracarya’s propagating the concept of the living entities’ oneness with God in all respects. Before the appearance of Sankaracarya fifteen hundred years ago, voidist Buddhism, which rejects the Vedas, was prominent in India. Sankaracarya is an incarnation of Lord Siva, the topmost devotee of the Lord. However, in order to drive away Buddhism and re-establish Vedic authority, he had to compromise with the atheistic Buddhist philosophy and preach a non-devotional doctrine.

*[Endnote 8] “In this case the special transforming agent is constituted of a mixture of maya’s aspect of the mode of ignorance, the minuteness aspect of the marginal potency, and a slight degree of the combined knowledge (sahvit) and bliss (hladini) aspects of the transcendental potency. The effulgent subordinate controller in the form of Sambhu-linga, being united with this special transforming agent, is constitutionally the semblance of God’s expansion.” (Brahma-samhita commentary by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura)

*[Endnote 9] In his original and most pure form, Siva is eternally Gopisvara Mahadeva. Yet, he performed the following human-like pastime in which he ‘became’ Gopisvara:
“Lord Siva wanted to become a gopi. He performed austerities, and when Paurnamasi Yogamaya became pleased and appeared before him, he prayed to join Krsna’s rasa-lila. Paurnamasi mercifully assisted him in dipping in Brahma-kunda, and he immediately assumed the form of a teenage gopi. He then went to the place where rasa-lila was being performed, and hid there in a grove.
“Krsna and the gopis sensed that someone of a different mood had come. They asked each other, ‘Why are you not so happy today? What is the matter?’ After searching, they discovered the new gopi and asked ‘her’, ‘Who are you? What is your name? Who are your parents? What is your husband’s name? Where is your in-laws’ house?’
“When Siva could not reply, they began to slap her so much that her cheeks became swollen and she began to cry, ‘Yogamaya, Yogamaya. Save me. I will never again come to Vrndavana, and I will never dare take part in rasa-lila.’ Paurnamasi arrived, and she requested the gopis to show Lord Siva mercy. ‘She is the object of my mercy,’ Paurnamasi told them. The gopis then accepted her as a gopi and Krsna named her Gopisvara (she whose isvaras, controllers, are the gopis). He blessed her to become the guard of the rasa-lila and said, ‘Without the sanction of Gopisvara, no one will be able to enter the rasa-lila.’ ” (Pinnacle of Devotion)

For the Appearance day of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada

Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
SRILA BHAKTISIDDHANTA SARASVATI THAKURA PRABHUPADA

[Dear Readers,
Dandavat pranama. All glories to Sri Sri Guru and Gauranga. This year, 2018, February 4 and 5 (in America and India) is the sacred appearance day of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada. Please accept this lecture, given for his glorification and your spiritual happiness by Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja in 2003:]

Today is a very auspicious day. It is the very holy birthday of Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Thakura. I want to speak something of his glory.

If this great self-realized soul had not descended in this world, no one would have known the meaning of pure bhakti. No one would have known the identity of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, the book Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, or the books and glories of the Gosvamis.

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura gave us two jewels, the first one being the holy birthplace of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He manifested Gaura-dhama. Before him, no one knew where Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu had taken birth. No one knew where Sridhama Mayapura was actually located.

Secondly, he gave the jewel of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, who preached throughout the world and universe the glories of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Sri Nityananda Prabhu, the conceptions of the disciplic line of Srila Rupa Gosvami, and the glories of Sri Sri Radha and Krsna. Before the birth of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami and Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, and after the disappearance of Srila Narottama Thakura, Sri Syamananda Prabhu, Srinivas Acarya, and especially Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura and Srila Baladeva Vidyubusana, pure bhakti was covered. The sahajiyas’ ideas were spread throughout Sri Vraja-dhama and Sri Navadvipa dhama. Their influence prevailed and there were hardly any real Vaisnavas.

In the name of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, His philosophy and His prema-dharma, the sahajiyas were degraded in character and were most sinful. To live with widows, to dance and sing with them, and to smoke cigarettes and drink wine with them – this was their idea of parakiya- and vaisnava-dharma. Because of their influence, none of the learned and aristocratic persons even wanted to hear the name ‘Gaudiya Vaisnavas’, what to speak of follow them. They hated Gaudiya Vaisnavas.

There are eleven sahajiya groups, like gaura-nagari, sakhi-bekhi, aul, baul and so on. In India, their main function was widow-bhajana, and they maintained their lives by doing professional kirtanas during funeral processions. After following a dead body and singing, they would receive a donation from the deceased relatives. True vaisnava-dharma is completely pure, but due to these practices, all aristocratic persons began to hate it, and Mahaprabhu’s message was thus in danger.

At that time, Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati appeared in Sri Jagannatha-dhama as the son of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. He was born with many symptoms of a great soul, such as natural tilaka marks on his body and the impressions of kanti-mala on his neck. At that time Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura told his wife Bhagavati-devi, “He is not an ordinary boy. No ordinary boy can have these natural tilaka, kanti-mala and other signs. He has taken birth in Jagannatha Puri, and also I have prayed to Vimala devi, the consort of Lord Jagannatha. He has come by Her mercy.” The Thakura thus gave his boy the name Vimala Prasada. Prasada means ‘mercy’.

After six months, the baby became qualified to have his anna-prasana mahotsava (grain ceremony in which a baby is fed grains for the first time). At the same time the Jagannatha Chariot festival was taking place. The three carts carrying Jagannatha, Baladeva and Subhadra were in procession and had stopped in front of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s house for three days. The Thakura was the manager of the entire festival. Therefore, without any problem or obstacle, he took his son upon the chariot and placed him in front of Jagannatha-deva. He took some prasadam from there and placed it in the mouth of Vimala Prasada, and at that time the flower garland from the neck of Lord Jagannatha dropped on the baby’s head. It is a very good sign when the Deity’s garland falls in this way, for it means the recipient is being blessed by the mercy of Lord Jagannatha, Sri Govinda-deva, Sri Gopinatha, or any other Deity. This also happened to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu Himself. Thus, Vimala Prasada’s anna-prasana mahotsava was observed.

Gradually he began to grow up. After some time, when he became a boy of five years, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura himself gave him harinama and the arcana mantra for the worship of Lord Kurmadeva, the Deity of Sri Krsna’s Tortoise incarnation.

He began to learn many things. He was always with Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, carrying his father’s Sri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, Sri Ujjvala-nilamani, Sri Caitanya-caritamrta and other books on his own head as he accompanied him to various places for preaching or giving classes. Thus, from the beginning of his life, very good samskaras came to him. This, of course, was his naravata-lila (human-like pastimes), because he was actually the eternal associate of Sri Varsabhanavi-devi dayitaya, near and dear to Varsabhanavi devi, Srimati Radhika. In his pranama mantra he is referred to as krsna-presthaya. Krsna has so much love and affection for the manjaris, so Srila Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada is also near and dear to Him.

The words ‘gaura-vani-sri murti’ is also present in his pranama-mantra. This adjective has also been used in the pranama mantra of Parama-pujyapada Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja, and we must go deep to uncover its meaning. Gaura-vani refers to that which Gaura (Sacinandana Gaurahari) preached, and that which He inspired in the heart of Srila Rupa Gosvami – the glorification of the mood of the gopis and Srimati Radhika. Sri Gauracandra said, “O Nityananda, O Haridasa Prabhu, you should go door to door and preach ‘Bolo Krsna, bhaja Krsna, karo Krsna (chant Sri Krsna’s name, worship Him, and serve Him)”. This is gaura-vani.

It is also what Mahaprabhu discussed with Sri Raya Ramananda and Sri Svarupa Damodara in the Gambira. In that regard it is especially His hidden revelation of the meaning of ceto-darpana-marjanam, yugayitam nimesena caksusa pravrsayitam, and aslisya va pada-ratam. This is gaura-vani. It is also the love and affection explained by Srila Rupa Gosvami in Sri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, Sri Ujjvala-nila-mani, Sri Vidagda-madhava and Sri Lalita Madhava. This is gaura-vani.

Our entire parampara descended to this world from Goloka Vrndavana, and Srila Bhaktisiddanta Sarasvati Thakura was one of the most prominent acaryas. If he had not come, everything would have been transferred into sahajiyaism – wherein all philosophy is asat-sampradaya (outside the parampara line of philosophy, spiritual sentiments and behavior.)

If one is not serving his Gurudeva, if he does not have strong belief in his Gurudeva, and if he is not following his line of thought, such a person must be sahajiya. This is taking place nowadays. We are preaching and therefore they are somewhat stopped, but I do not know what will happen after I leave this world. A very dangerous stage is coming.

Many Iskcon devotees left Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja, their Guru, Srila Prabhupada, and they went to Radha-kunda. They wanted to remember the 24-hour daily amorous pastimes of Sri Sri Radha and Krsna (asta-kaliya-lila) as goopis – not gopis, but goopis – and for this offense they went to hell. They became ‘babajis’. Keeping two, three, or four widows with them, they began to relish their ‘parakiya-bhajana’. I know not only two or three or four, but so many. They want to jump – not to practice bhakti-yoga. They want to be gopis by paying two pennies to any bogus person who will ‘give’ them siddha-deha, their perfected personal identity, and tell them, “You are a gopi.” Such persons will give a name, and all other false information, about that ‘gopi’. Then, after some time, such ‘disciples’ imagine themselves absorbed in Sri Sri Radha and Krsna’s most confidential pastimes in the kunjas. Please do not try to be like that – do not go in that direction.

There are some ill-charactered persons who have been rejected from the Gaudiya Matha, and they also went to Radha-kunda to become babajis in that asat-sampradaya. Such characterless or unqualified persons imagine themselves to be absorbed in the asta-kaliya-lila of Radha and Krsna in Their midnight and end of the night (nisanta-lila) pastimes. At that time, Radha and Krsna are meeting in a kunja. If They are alone, half naked and kissing each other, what will that ‘meditator’ think? Material ideas will come to him. He is bound to think in this way, and this is wrong.

Sri Sri Radha-Krsna-lila is transcendental. Only a saintly person like Sri Sukadeva Gosvami who was a brahmacari from his birth, or like Sri Narada Gosvami who is a liberated soul, or like Lord Sankara who is an ideal personality, can properly think of asta-kaliya-lila.

You should offer obeisances to such pastimes and try to practice bhakti-yoga as our predecessors acaryas have taught us. Gradually begin from the root of the tree, then be qualified to climb, and then reach the top. Then you can take the fruits. Otherwise, you will have nothing but these bogus ideas. Try to follow Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saravasti Prabhupada, our Gurudeva Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja, and Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja. Otherwise, you will be like those misdirected persons and you will also go to hell.

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura sent his son to a Sanskrit college and, at the age of twelve perhaps, he received the degree in astrology and the title Siddhanta Sarasvati. At that time he had become the champion in astrology throughout Bengal, and therefore all the elevated scriptural scholars gave him that title. Sometimes Srila Saravasti Thakura would defeat the arguments of his teachers, and he therefore left that college. Our Gurudeva also left college. They both left because they had nothing to learn from the teachers there.

During that time, the governor of Bengal was Ashutos Mukarji. At that time the Indian government was ruled by the British, and the British had made him governor. He was very qualified. He established the Calcutta University, and there he reserved a seat for Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. He requested him, “Oh, please come and be the head of the department. Please oversee it. You are the most qualified for this.” Srila Sarasvati Thakura replied: “I have not come to this world to count the stars in the universe. I have not come to count the sands on the ocean beaches of the world. I cannot fulfill your desire.” As long as Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati remained in this world, that post was reserved for him, but he never accepted it.

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura then thought: “What should I do for this boy?” He established a medical dispensary and told his son, “Remain there, and somehow maintain it so that there are no losses. Srila Prabhupada Sarasvati Thakura began to do so, but the dispensary failed, and again the father wondered what to do.

There was a king in India at that time who was the king of Kashim Bazar, and he was a bosom friend of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. He told the Thakura, “I want a tutor for my son. He will be king after me, so I want a tutor for him.” Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura replied. “Let us try; I will tell my son to teach him.” At that time the salary was very high.

Srila Sarasvati Thakura went to the king and began to teach his son that the entire world, along with all the sandhis and samas (movements of the moon) is an emanation of Krsna and non-different from Him. He taught as Mahaprabhu taught when He was a teacher in Navadvipa. After some time the boy became very learned and a scholar in Vaisnava philosophy, and the result was that he became renounced. He was not like you. Many of you have been hearing for sixteen or twenty years, but you have not become detached. On the other hand, being taught by Srila Saravati Thakura, that prince became detached from worldly enjoyment.

The boy’s mother became very disturbed, and she told her husband, the king: “You have only one son, and you want to make him a sannyasi? Your only son? I do not want this. If you continue in this way I will take poison and die.” The king became upset and asked Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, “What should I do?” Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura replied, “I will tell my boy to return home.” The King said, “I will continue to give you money, the same salary that I have been giving, but he should return.”

At that time the king had a very big library, and Srila Sarasvati Thakura Pabhupada studied the thousands of books there – all the Gosvami’s books, Srimad Bhagavatam, Brahma-sutra, books of the other sampradayas, and so on. Though he already knew their contents, he studied those books just to set an example for us. Quickly, in one or two years, he completed that study.

After that he returned home, and Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura again considered what might be a good engagement for his son. He purchased land in Mayapura, beginning from Jagannatha Bhavan (the house of Sri Sacinandana), the Yogapitha, Candrasekara Bhavan and beyond. He gave the entire area to Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, and he himself then began to perform bhajana in Svarupa-ganja, in Godruma. He told his son, “We have discovered the birthplace of Mahaprabhu by the help and mercy of Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji Maharaja. Now you should glorify it.”

Srila Saravati Thakura then made a hut where Sri Gauracandra, Srimati Visnupriya, Srimati Laksmipriya and Pancha-tattva were established, and his father then ordered him, “You should perform arcana in the Deities’ hut, and you can maintain yourself by depending on Lord Krsna while performing His worship and service.”

As you may know, in general, a father does not believe that his boy is very intelligent and capable. Our Guru Maharaja considered us his babies and thought, “What will they do?” He told us that he had made this Gaudiya Matha with bricks, and added, “After I leave this world, if you cannot maintain yourself you should sell these bricks and somehow maintain.” Similarly, Srila Bhaktivinoda used to think, “My baby is the same as he was when he was young.”

Srila Prabhupada very quickly preached over the entirety of Bengal. He began to establish the Navadvipa-dhama parikrama and Kartika parikrama. Then, after some time he gave sannyasa to very qualified disciples – who were practically only boys. At that time Pujyapada Bon Maharaja, Pujyapada Sridhara Maharaja, Pujyapada Vaikhanas Maharaja, Pujyapada Auduloumi Maharaja and many others were only about 25, 26, or 27, and they were the cream of all qualified personalities in Bengal and all of India. They were the upper-class. He brought them to himself, gave them brahmacarya and sannyasa, and established Sri Caitanya Matha.

What is the meaning of the word ‘matha’? Mathanti vasanti satrah – it is a place in which students study and learn under the guidance of their Gurudeva. It is like the gurukulas of previous times, wherein boys would study and become very qualified in all kinds of siddhanta (philosophical conclusions). Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura established this. He gave brahmacarya to many beautiful boys, and thus very quickly preached all over India.

After some time he wished that this religion of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu would also go to the Western countries, and he inspired Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja – Sri Abhaya Caranaravinda. By his mercy Parama-pujyapada Srila Svami Maharaja went abroad and preached throughout the world in just a few years. Srila Svami Maharaja established preaching centers and translated and published many books, which were in turn translated in all the prominent languages of the world. You have come by his mercy, and the root mercy is that of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Thakura.

Appearance day of Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja,

Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
HE KEPT HIS LIFE IN HIS HANDS

[This year, 2018, February 2 (in America and February 3 in India) is the appearance day of Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja, the initiating and sannyasa guru of Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja and the god-brother and sannyasa guru of Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja. In honor of this most auspicious day, please accept this lecture spoken by Srila Narayana Maharaja in Murwillumbah, Australia, February 9, 2004:]

Today is a very auspicious day. It is the birthday of my spiritual master, om visnupada Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja. I have seen with my own eyes how he used to observe Vyasa-puja on his birthday, by offering respects to all other Vaisnavas – especially to senior Vaisnavas, but also to juniors.

The backbone of bhakti is guru-nistha (strong faith in one’s spiritual master), and those who have no guru-nistha can never develop in Krsna consciousness. We have seen his guru-nistha. He wanted to glorify his Gurudeva, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada, but he became overwhelmed simply by beginning to utter the word ‘Prabhupada’. He would begin to weep loudly, and then he would call upon us (Srila Vamana Maharaja, Srila Trivikrama Maharaja, myself and others) by some signal to glorify his Gurudeva. Having heard from him about his relationship with his Gurudeva, we glorify him in connection with his absorption in his Gurudeva’s service.

This is also the way in which we glorify Lord Krsna. What is the glorification of Krsna? It is the glorification of His associates – especially the gopis, and especially Srimati Radhika. If one glorifies Srimati Radhika, Krsna is automatically glorified. Similarly, if Parama-gurudeva (Srila Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada) is glorified, the glory of our Gurudeva will come; it is bound to come.

It may be that the liberated guru is not liberated in the eyes of his god-brothers, but in the eyes of the disciple he is the direct representative of Sri Krsna Himself. The disciple will always have strong faith that, “My Gurudeva is a special representation or manifestation of Krsna. We have heard everything from him.”

What is the symptom of a disciple who has guru-nistha? He will give proper respect even to a dog that is related to his Guru. If he does not give proper respect to everyone related to his guru, whether they are initiated or not, if he has no regard and honor for them, then his honor for his guru is actually only a show. He has no real guru-nistha.

I have seen how my Gurudeva served the mission and mood of his Gurudeva. This service is called guru mano-bhista seva.

sri caitanya-mano bhistam sthapitam yena bhutale
svayam rupa kada mahyam dadati sva-padantikam

[“When will Sri Rupa Gosvami give me the shelter of his lotus feet? Because he understood the innermost desire of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, he was able to establish His mission in this world and is very dear to the Lord.” (Sri Prema-bhakti-candrika, by Narottama dasa Thakura)]

Always have this kind of nistha towards your spiritual diksa-guru and siksa-guru. The diksa-guru may also be siksa-guru. If your diksa and siksa-guru are the same personality, this is very good. In some cases a separate siksa-guru is needed, as the disciple cannot always reveal his thoughts to the diksa-guru because of a mood of great awe and reverence (sambhrama-bhava). With the siksa-guru there is visrambha-bhava (a mood of intimacy). In visrambha-bhava, the disciple may even quarrel with Gurudeva – for Gurudeva, for his service. Sometimes we used to quarrel with our Gurudeva, for his service, and this is a symptom of guru-nistha. Another symptom is always offering respect to superiors – especially to god-brothers. Nowadays, I see that god-brothers quarrel with each other. They do not want to be together to glorify their Guru.

Gurudeva used to observe Vyasa-puja according to the book discovered by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada and edited by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. In that book there is an explanation of the seven groups with five personalities in each group (the seven pancakas), to be worshiped by the acarya on his birthday.

These seven groups are guru-parampara-pancaka (guru, parama-guru, paratpara-guru, paramesthi-guru, and param-paramesthi guru), krsna-pancaka (Sri Krsna, Vasudeva, Sankarsana, Pradyumna, Aniruddha.), sanakadi-pancaka (Four Kumaras and Visvaksena), vyasa-pancaka (Srila Vyasadeva, Jaimini Rsi, Paila Rsi, Vaisampayana Rsi, Sumantu Rsi), Vaiyasaki-pancaka (Sukadeva Gosvami and the four sampradaya acaryas.), panca-tattva pancaka (Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Sri Nityananda Prabhu, Sri Advaita Acarya, Sri Gadadhara Pandita, and Srivasa Pandita) and upasya-pancaka (Radha-Krsna, Gaura Gadadhara, Guru).

We should try to have regard for all acaryas of the four sampradayas, the four guru-paramparas: Ramanuja, Madhvacarya, Visnusvami, Nimbaditya, and the four Kumaras (Sanaka, Sanatana, Sanat-kumara and Sanandana). We should have regard for Sri Panca-tattva, and especially for Sri Gaura-Gadadhara, Sri Sri Radha-Krsna and Sri Gurudeva. Try to follow all the details of this worship.

Gurudeva used to say, “On my birthday I should give proper honor to all guru-parampara acaryas, god-brothers, and all senior Vaisnavas.” What I have and what I am preaching is not coming from me. It is not that I am so intelligent or that I am preaching – the credit belongs to my Gurudeva. By the mercy of my Gurudeva I know the mercy of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Sri Rupa-Sanatana, Sri Rupa-Raghunatha and other guru-parampara acaryas. I was sinking in the well of worldly activities in material existence, but he took my sikha and dragged me, and he mercifully engaged me in his service – fully, not partly. He did not tell me, “You should be a householder.” He dragged me and engaged me. Sometimes desires outside the realm of pure devotion came in my mind, and I asked him, “How can I be saved?” He answered, “Don’t worry; I will save you. If one is sincere, Guru and Krsna mercifully save him. So don’t worry.”

When he would perform his Vyasa-puja, he would first worship his Gurudeva, and then he would give proper honor to all Vaisnavas and especially seniors. During his manifest presence there were no seniors, because he was the senior-most. He joined the movement of Srila Prabhupada and became a disciple in 1916, so he was senior to others. Only five or six had joined before him, like Narahari prabhu, Bhakti-vilasa Tirtha Maharaja and a few others like the brother of Vasudeva, Bhaktipradipa Tirtha Maharaja. At that time, when Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura would do arati, my Guru-Maharaja would ring the bell and Narahari prabhu was also there.

At that time there was no Sri Caitanya Matha. Instead there were many Muslim graves and Muslim influences.*[See Endnote 1] My Guru-Maharaja came in the night, took out all the graves and threw them away. On that same night he planted a large garden of mango trees and flowers. On the next morning, when the Muslims came to do their Namaz, they exclaimed, “Oh, Where is our place?”

Srila Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada was very happy because Guru Maharaja used to give his life and soul to fulfill Prabhupada’s desires, which is very difficult for most disciples to do. Sometimes a disciple does not obey his guru. Guru says, “Don’t do this,” for the betterment of that very fellow, and yet that disciple rejects his guru’s order. This is not a symptom of guru-nistha. We should give our life to serve his every word. Our Gurudeva always used to ‘keep his life in his hands’ (a Hindi expression meaning ‘to be prepared to give one’s life’) for the purpose of Srila Prabhupada. He even went to jail for him.

Once a person tried to defame Prabhupada *[See Endnote 2] by writing, “He is a tattva-jnani (knower of philosophy) and not a rasika-bhakta (knower of Krsna’s sweet pastimes). He does not know the taste of mango; he simply sucks the seed. As there is no taste in a seed, concentrating on philosophy without absorption in Krsna’s confidential pastimes is tasteless. He is like that, so he is a tattva-jnani. He does not know Sri Rupa-Raghunatha’s line and he does not know the krsna-prema of the gopis. He writes about tattva-jnana, and he is preaching that everywhere”.

They were blind. They never actually saw him. By what his disciple, my Gurudeva, preached to me and others, you can realize his position. He preached under the cover of tattva-jnana. He did not expose the confidential secrets of Krsna’s pastimes and the philosophy behind them. He preached this to qualified persons, and he kept the highest truths of Krsna consciousness covered from others.

My Gurudeva wrote against those persons, and for that reason they filed a court case against him. They managed to get big, qualified advocates to plea that Guru Maharaja should be put in jail. Our Gurudeva then engaged an advocate from the high court in Calcutta, and those persons were obliged to apologize.

By the grace of our Gurudeva, when I was in Mathura, I was the editor, writer, translator, and manager for his monthly magazine called Bhagavat-patrika. I published it alone. I used to translate Srila Prabhupada’s articles, Gurudeva’s articles, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s articles, and other articles.

Someone once wrote in a publication of the Nimbarka sampradaya*[See Endnote 3] that when Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu met with Kesava Kasmiri, Kesava Kasmiri defeated Him and gave Him the gopala-mantra. Sriman Mahaprabhu was thus the disciple of Kesava Kasmiri.

This publication came to me and I showed it to my Gurudeva. His face at once became red, he became angry and he ordered me to get a piece of paper. He then dictated to me that there was no Nimbarka in our history, and no books of Nimbarka. He said that Srila Jiva Gosvami and our other Gosvamis, Sri Madhavacarya, Sri Ramanuja, Srila Gopal Bhatta Gosvami and all other previous acaryas never wrote about anyone named Nimbarka acarya. The followers of this false person used to say that Nimbarka Acarya lived at the time of Krsna. If that were true, why have none of the acaryas written about him? Sankaracarya never wrote about him and Srila Jiva Gosvami never wrote about him in his Sandarbhas. Thus there was no person named Nimbarka – this false person’s followers had invented a story.

Guru Maharaja explained from the evidence in Sri Caitanya-caritamrta that Kesava Kasmiri came to Navadvipa and was defeated by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and then he received some teaching from the Lord. Gurudeva wrote: “The mentality ‘I will conquer the whole world’ is not the teaching of vidya, knowledge.” Our paper was sent to those persons involved in writing the misinformed article, after which they became quite furious. “Oh, there is no Nimbarka?!” They challenged, and they filed a case in court for defamation. Our Guru Maharaja replied, “I will prove my statements, so you should file a suit for one million rupees for defamation. You should go to court, and I am also coming. I am ready and will prove my points.” He proved all his points and the opponents apologized. They promised, “In the future we will never write like this.”

If one wants to have guru-nistha, he should read my Guru Maharaja’s biography and philosophy. This book has been appreciated all over the world. In this biography I have tried to bring all the teachings of our acaryas. If you read it, you will be able to understand what is guru-nistha and what was the greatness of my Guru Maharaja. Parama-pujyapada Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja did not take sannyasa from him as a formality. He knew all the principles and philosophy of pure devotional service. Since the time he joined the temple he had so much honor for Guru Maharaja, for he saw what he was doing for Prabhupada. He did not take sannyasa from him accidentally or to complete a formality.

Our Guru Maharaja took sannyasa from Parama-pujyapada Srila Sridhara Maharaja. Even though Srila Sridhara Maharaja joined the mission of their Gurudeva after him, he was an elevated philosopher, a knower of the established truths of bhakti, and his very name, Bhakti Raksaka, means “protector of devotion”. He has also extensively glorified our Gurudeva. To teach other devotees, they used to hold meetings and defeat each other’s arguments in philosophy. Parama-pujapada Srila Sridhara Maharaja would establish one thing and Guru Maharaja would defeat all his arguments, and then at the next moment Srila Sridhara Maharaja would defeat all the arguments of our Gurudeva. The entire audience would hear them, enjoy their discussions, and in this way learn so much philosophy.

All the sannyasis of Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura had great regard for our Gurudeva. When Srila Sridhara Maharaja came to Mayapura for the first time, his name was Ramananda Brahmacari. He saw a young boy of about twenty years old sitting on a chair under the shade of a jackfruit tree and keeping his feet on the table and hands joined together. Srila Sridhara Maharaja saw from a distance that the young brahmacari was wearing white cloth, not saffron cloth, and he was sitting in a very relaxed manner. At that time senior and very qualified sannyasis would come and offer him their obeisances, and they would ask him questions. Staying in the same position, not getting up to offer them obeisances, he would answer. Then, again offering him their obeisances, they would leave.

Pujyapada Srila Sridhara Maharaja told this story to me personally. He told me that he asked the devotees present there at that time, “Who is this young boy in white dress, to whom even sannyasis in saffron cloth are offering obeisances? Who is it that, in the same position, is answering their questions and they are leaving very satisfied?” Someone replied, “He is Vinoda-babu. He managed the complete Mayapura premises, and now there is no longer any influence of Muslims.” If you want to know more, you can read his biography and learn what an influential and great acarya he was.

At the time of parikrama, I saw that when an editorial article was needed, Parama-pujyapada Srila Vamana Maharaja would wait with paper and pen – to know what Guru Maharaja wanted to write. Guru Maharaja would be surrounded by thousands of persons at that time, so at the same time he would dictate the required article and also talk with those persons.

If we would write any article, we would have to look at so many books for reference, and we would have to carefully think and consider. But Guru Maharaja had no need to think. Although continually interrupted by others, he would speak and Srila Vamana Maharaja, who was qualified like Srila Vyasadeva’s divine scribe Ganesha, would take the dictation.

Read the biography and learn how to respect others and obey the bona fide and transcendental Gurudeva. Don’t wonder, “Is what my Gurudeva telling wrong or right?” You may test him before the time of initiation, not after. If he says, “Jump in the ocean” and you can do so, that is good. We have seen so many qualified devotees like Ananta Vasudeva and Sundarananda Vinoda prabhu who were vastly learned; but they left their Gurudeva, Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, because they were thinking, “Is what he is telling right or not?” They thought that he was not qualified for raganuga-bhajana and thus offended him. They took poison and went to hell, and one of them literally took poison.

Try to think about these activities of my Guru Maharaja and be a disciple like him. If Gurudeva tells his disciple to give his life and soul to him, he should do that at once – like Hanuman, who gave himself for the service of Sri Ramacandra. The disciple thinks that Gurudeva should not tell him to do this, however. He does not understand that whatever Gurudeva says is for his benefit.

So today is his birthday and we are going to celebrate Vyasa-puja – guru-puja. We will do so in the way that was introduced in our sampradaya by Sri Nityananda Prabhu and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

Gaura premanande
[The following is from the book “Acarya Kesari Sri Srimad Bhaktiprajnana Kesava Gosvami – His Life and Teachings” by Tridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja:

Endnote 1 – “After Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu entered aprakata-lila and His lilas became unmanifest, the Bhagavati Ganga changed course many times. Places that had once been in Mayapura were relocated to the relatively high ground of the west bank. The extensive town of Nadiya (Navadvipa), which had previously been on the east bank, became situated on the Ganga’s west bank, and the east bank became a deserted, desolate place. During the reign of the yavanas (Muslims), all the sacred places of the Hindus were destroyed, temples were demolished and the names of the places of Mahaprabhu’s pastimes were changed. The temples at the birthplaces of Sri Rama in Ayodhya and Sri Krsna in Mathura were razed, and mosques were erected on their foundations. Their names were changed to Phaijabad and Mominabad. Similarly, the Muslims changed the name of Sriman Mahaprabhu’s birthplace from Mayapura to Miyampur. Later, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura discovered Jagannatha Misra Bhavan, the birthplace of Sri Gaura, and again called it Sridhama Mayapura. In this way the name Sridhama Mayapura once more became known to the world.

“Besides changing the name of Sridhama Mayapura, the Muslims had also made a graveyard on the huge courtyard of Candrasekhara Bhavan, which was very close to Jagannatha Misra Bhavan, and this was still there when Sri Vinodabihari became manager of Sri Caitanya Matha. He could not tolerate this atrocity and acted fearlessly and boldly. One night, while all were asleep, he had all the graves in the graveyard dug up and placed elsewhere. In their place he had large, beautiful trees and foliage planted and overnight he made a beautiful park with a wall all around it for protection. The next morning everyone was astounded at what had taken place. The local Muslims reported it to the police and filed a case in court. But police officials and governmental investigators could not find any trace of the graveyard; they saw only an old garden. In this way the devotees reclaimed Candrasekhara Bhavan and no one was able to stop them. For this pious act the name of Sri Vinodabihari Brahmacari will be written in golden letters in the history of India.”

[Endnote 2 – “On another occasion, members of the sahajiya-sampradaya of Bengal wrote essays full of apasiddhanta, opposing Srila Bhaktisiddhanta. Srila Gurudeva argued with them in a similar way, using abrasive words. The opposition party actually presented a lawsuit in court against Srila Gurudeva and other devotees, including the editor of Sri Gaudiya Patrika. However, when they were faced with Srila Gurudeva’s train of thought, they also had to bow their heads in defeat. They begged him for forgiveness in the court of law and thereafter avoided him. For these reasons, Om Visnupada Sri Srimad Bhaktisaranga Gosvami Maharaja, who was Srila Gurudeva’s dear Godbrother and a leader of the Gaudiya community, decorated Srila Gurupadapadma with the title ‘Pasanda-Gajaikasimha,’ the lion who vanquishes the elephants of heresy.’]

[Endnote 3 – “Some time in 1956, Srila Gurudeva came to Mathura to see Kesavaji Gaudiya Matha. At that time followers of the Nimbarka sampradaya in Vrndavana used to publish a spiritual journal called Sri Sudarsana. In one issue they cast aspersions on Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, saying that He was a disciple of Kesava Kasmiri. In other editions they insolently dared to claim that Gaudiya Vaisnava acaryas such as Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura were in the Nimbarka sampradaya. When I showed these editions to Srila Gurudeva, he became extremely angry and immediately had a short essay written for Sri Bhagavata Patrika. The headline was ‘Sri Nimbaditya and Nimbarka are not the same person.’ The purport of his headline is as follows.
“‘Nowhere in the scriptures is there any mention of a Nimbarka sampradaya. The Puranas mention a vaisnava-acarya called Sri Nimbaditya, and the Catuhsana (the four Kumaras) have accepted this Nimbaditya Acarya as their sampradaya-acarya in the age of Kali. However, Nimbarka Svami is a completely different person. Nimbaditya was a disciple of Naradaji at the end of Dvapara-yuga, but Nimbarka Acarya appeared much more recently. Great and eminent authors of scripture such as Srila Jiva Gosvami have mentioned the names of the prominent acaryas of all the other sampradayas, but they have not mentioned the name of Nimbarka Acarya anywhere.

“‘The Nimbarka sampradaya currently uses the Parijata-bhasya which was written, not by Nimbaditya Acarya, but rather by Srinivasa Acarya and Kesava Kasmiri. These two wrote this scripture and then preached that it had been written by their guru. The scriptures of the Six Gosvamis mention the names of acaryas such as Sri Ramanuja, Sri Madhva, Sri Visnu Svami, Sri Nimbaditya and Sri Vallabha Acarya. If the Nimbarka sampradaya had existed even to a slight extent at that time, then they would most certainly have mentioned the name of Nimbarka Acarya as well. None of the other sampradaya acaryas, such as Sri Ramanuja, Sri Madhva, Sri Visnu Svami and so on have mentioned Nimbarka Acarya’s name in any of the scriptures that they have written.’
“When this essay was published in Sri Bhagavata Patrika, the office directors of the Sudarsana journal announced that they were making arrangements to prosecute for slander. Srila Gurudeva replied firmly, “We will prove each and every word that we have written on the basis of evidence supported by sastra.” When the prosecution party heard about Srila Gurudeva’s immense scriptural knowledge and his profound personality, they became absolutely silent, and from that day onwards they did not dare to write any more nonsense.]

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“My heartly blessings to all. I’m praying to Krsna that your coming here will be successful. I want to speak to each and every one of you. I want to speak with all those who have come. I know that you have come with very great hope. I want to speak personally with you. Gradually I will speak with all of you, so that you can try to realize my classes.”

For the Disappearance Day of Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja

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
bhaktyaikayesam guru-devatatma

[“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
bhaktyaikayesam guru-devatatma

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.

Gaurapremanande

* [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).]

THE GLORIES OF SRILA HARIDASA THAKURA

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

mama vartmanuvartante

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

amanina mana-dena

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

(Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.14.8)

[“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

amanina mana-dena

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:

suddha-sattva-visesatma

prema-suryamsu-samya-bhak

rucibhis citta-masrnya-

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)]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Srila Prabhupada Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja

Appearance Day

[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
purnam evavasisyate

[“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.”

sri-bhagavan uvaca
yasyaham anugrhnami
harisye tad-dhanam sanaih
tato ‘dhanam tyajanty asya
svajana duhkha-duhkhitam

[“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.]

WHO IS LORD NRSIMHADEVA?

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.

Gaura Premanande.

[*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.”