WHAT CAN HAPPEN WHEN YOU GO TO A CONTAMINATED PLACE?

WHAT CAN HAPPEN WHEN YOU GO TO A CONTAMINATED PLACE?

After the bhagavat-katha kirtan, Sukadeva Goswami met with Pariksit Maharaja who was coming along the banks of the Ganga. Pariksit Maharaja had renounced his kingdom and had taken shelter of the Ganga. Why had he done this? Throughout Pariksit Maharaja life he had done many yajnas, given in charity and done many austerities. Besides doing so many vratas, he always respected the sadhus and would never disrespect anyone. Why then did he commit an offence to a sage?

When Pariksit Maharaja was travelling in the forest, he became thirsty and went to a sadhu’s ashram to ask for water. The sage there was absorbed in deep meditation and was unable to hear the kings request for water. Pariksit Maharaja being ignored by the sage, took a dead snake and wrapped it around the sadhu’s neck.

What influenced him to disrespect a sadhu like this? As long as a person is not established in nirguna-tattva (transcendental knowledge) then tamo-guna, rajo-guna, and sattva-guna, will always have influence over him. When we enter a tamasik or rajasik place, the influences of that location will enter within us. Besides why would there be a dead snake near a sadhu’s ashram? Did someone kill the snake and put it there? It’s not normal to find a dead snake in a sadhu’s ashram.

Nearby the sadhu’s ashram, in the forest, there were some very low class people living, and they would kill animals and keep them here and there. They would kill buffaloes, deer, cows, and snakes, then dry them, eat them, sell them, and use their leather. Pariksit Maharaja had been going through that area which was influenced by the tamasik nature of these people. This bad mood had entered and adversely affected him.

Ksatriya kings were known to hunt in the forest, and Pariksit Maharaja had been hunting in the forest when he entered that tamasik area of the forest. By being in the locale of these tamasik class of people, his mind became negatively influenced. When Pariksit Maharaja entered the Rsi’s ashram and asked for water, the Rsi’s son was playing on one side with his friends.

STORY OF DASARATHA MAHARAJA AND SRAVAN KUMAR

We see in the pastime of Sravan Kumar, how he served his parents so much. His father was Andak Muni. Both of his parents were blind and Sravan Kumar had loyally served them his whole life. Once they came to the bank of a river, and Sravan Kumar said, “Oh! My whole life I have been serving you and wasting my time. You have never given me a chance to be free, independent and enjoy, now I am leaving you here and rejecting you.” 

The blind parents replied, “Oh, no problem dear son. Please just take us to the other side. On the other side we can live by taking the leaves of trees, eating whatever is found on the ground, and drinking the water from the river. No problem. You can then go and be free and enjoy your life.”

When Sravan Kumar brought them to the other side of the river, his heart changed and he began to lament saying, “Why have I done this? Why have I disrespected my parents? Why was my mind so contaminated? My whole life I have served both of you?” Parents should always be respected, and they were also great sages, even though they were blind and lame. They were established in brahma-jnana. 

On thinking like this Sravan Kumar said, “Please punish me for my offence to you.” The parents replied, “Oh son it is not your fault. That place you were in was very impure. It was a very contaminated place. By going to that place your mind was completely contaminated, and therefore you spoke harshly to us, but we are not upset with you. You are our dear son and have served us so nicely. You are our son, but you are also like our disciple. 

It is said if you commit a sin you will have to suffer the results of that. Speaking harshly to your elders, parents, or Guru is like a great offence and certainly a reaction will come from this. 

One day later, when his parents were in an ashram, Sravan Kumar went to a river to bring them water and at that time Maharaja Dasaratha, the father of Lord Rama, (this was before Rama was born) was hunting in that area. It was evening time and Dasaratha Maharaja heard someone drinking water and he thought it was a deer, so he shot a sound arrow in that direction.

Dasaratha Maharaja had the power to shoot arrows just by hearing the sound. He shot the arrow and it struck Sravan Kumar, the beautiful son of the sages. When Dasaratha Maharaja heard the boy cry out, he realized he had made a great mistake, and had shot a person. Dasaratha Maharaja went there wondering what had happened, and he began to lament so much seeing that this boy was about to die. 

Sravan Kumar said, “This is no problem, this is only a result of my own offences, but please at least take me to my parents and tell them what has happened, otherwise they will be very disturbed and worried. Dasaratha Maharaja then lifted up the dead body of Sravan Kumar, and he went to find his parents.

The parents heard someone approaching and asked, “Oh son, why were you so late bringing the water?” Dasaratha Maharaja replied shyly, feeling very ashamed, “Oh I accidentally killed your son and I have brought him to you.” 

Andak Rsi and his wife replied, “Who can not change inevitable fate. We are not cursing you, but we will leave our bodies now, please perform our creation rite as our son cannot do it. You have killed our son, we are not cursing you, but we are just letting you know, you will also understand by karma, the pain of losing a very beloved son. 

When they told him this, Dasaratha Maharaja, was actually overjoyed because he had been struggling for a long time to have a son. At first, he was overjoyed just like Citraketu Maharaja, who also could not have a son, and upon hearing the news that he would have a son, became so happy. Dasaratha Maharaja thought that he had been blessed to have a son, and felt that he had been given a boon. In this way Andak Rsi and his wife gave up their bodies, and Dasaratha Maharaja performed the last cremation rites for Sravan Kumar and his parents. 

Later after Rama had been exiled to the forest by the request of Kaikeyi, Dasaratha Maharaja could understand everything. He had previously told the story of Sravan Kumar, but now he again told his wife Kausalya, “What I did I before, having killed Sravan Kumar, now I am suffering for this.” So, we see Dasaratha Maharaja lamenting, “Ha Rama, Ha Rama, Ha Rama” and giving up his life. 

DO NOT GO TO CONTAMINATED PLACES

Therefore, we should be extremely careful not to go to contaminated places that are full of tamo-guna and rajo-guna. It is described in sastra that a place where there is prostitution, gambling, and intoxication, is a very tamasik place. We can see this mostly in big cities. When there is a temple of God, that is nirguna, a transcendental place. It is described that the forest is a sattvik place, where the mode of goodness will enter you. By going to villages and towns then the nature of rajo-guna will come. What does that mean? It means you will want to be a creator and progenitor. You will want to have many children and a big family. This is rajo-guna. If you go to places where there is intoxication, gambling, and illicit sinful activities, then the influences of tamo-guna will enter you. (CLICK ON THE TITLE TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE)

WHO WAS SUKADEVA GOSVAMI? Why did he stay in his mother’s womb for 16 years?

WHO WAS SUKADEVA GOSVAMI? Why did he stay in his mother’s womb for 16 years?

Siva was speaking the Srimad Bhagavatam that he had attained in samadhi and Parvati was listening, but when the Srimad Bhagavatam begins people begin to fall asleep. This is a great problem. This world is controlled by the three ‘gunas’ and when we get something of this world from the these gunas we take it very happily. But if we are presented with something which is nirguna (transcendental), what to speak of having a taste for it, it is like we enter ‘maha-pralaya’, deep sleep. We have no taste for Bhagavan’s nama and kirtan. It is not such an easy thing to enter.

Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja once said, “There are people who haven’t been able to sleep properly for years, even after taking medicine to induce sleep. Once a man came to me and asked for help. I said, ‘Sit in hari-katha,’ and as soon as I began bhagavat-katha, within a few moments he fell asleep. Afterwards he came to me and said, ‘Oh you are like my God, I have taken your shelter.’ I said why? He replied, ‘Finally I have been able to sleep nicely. Please accept me as your disciple.” It is not so easy for everyone to enter into this bhagavat-katha rasa. When we start hearing hari-katha we start to enter maha-pralaya, deep, deep sleep.

Sati fell asleep and Suka the parrot, hearing this katha from Siva Thakur, became completely absorbed in bliss. He copied the voice of Sati, and when Siva Thakur asked, “Oh did you hear that? Do you understand that? Did you like that?” Suka would reply, “Ha, Ha, Ha, yes, yes, yes.” 

In this way Siva Thakur was happily giving hari-katha completely absorbed with his eyes closed. He went through all of Vraja-lila. In a very beautiful way, he was explaining all the pastimes of Krsna. At that time Suka became so happy, he felt, “My life is now successful!” He thought, “When I was in Vraja, staying with Srimati Radhika, I was receiving so much affection from Her. She would give me pomegranate seeds with milk and rice, and She would speak so much beautiful katha.”

It is very rare and hard to find someone in this world who is giving this hari-katha. Many people are there to give us pain, but who is there to give us spiritual happiness? In this world maya katha is going on everywhere, and it is very rare to find someone that will give us this spiritual happiness. Nowadays there are so many different people, so many movies, and TV channels, all distributing only ‘maya katha’. People are so anxious to go and hear this. It has now become their food. This poison is their food. Suka became so happy to hear this hari-katha, because Bhagavat katha is so rare in this world.

When the hari-katha was finished, Sati woke up and said, “What happened? What happened?”

Siva Thakur asked, “Oh you didn’t hear the hari-katha?” 

Sati replied, “Oh I fell asleep, what did you say?” 

Siva Thakur then asked, “So who was listening? Who was answering in your voice, saying yes, yes?”

Siva Thakur then began to search around for the person who was saying ‘yes, yes’, but he could not find anyone. 

Siva Thakur had meditated, and then this bhagavat-katha had entered his heart after which he spoke it. He began wondering, “If Parvati didn’t hear it, then who was replying in your voice? Who heard this ‘amrta’, nectar?”

There are many different types of hari-katha that Siva Thakur would speak, but this was one of the first times he had spoken this bhagavat-katha. He said, “If anyone will hear this hari-katha then they can distribute it and help everyone. Everyone will accept them, worship them and they will become like the mother of everyone in this world. But you didn’t hear this hari-katha?” 

Sati replied, “No, I fell asleep.”

Siva Thakur said, “Ok, then you lost this chance.” 

SIVA THAKUR CHASES SUKA WITH HIS TRIDENT

Then searching everywhere Siva Thakur finally found a parrot sitting in a mango tree. He was very happy from drinking this nectar which is the ornament of our life. On finding him Siva Thakur became angry and said, “Oh you stole everything from me! You heard this hari-katha. Now look!”

Siva Thakur then took his trisula (trident) and began to run after the parrot as if to kill him. Suka flew away in fear, and Siva Thakur followed him. Wherever Suka would fly Siva Thakur would follow him with his trisula (trident) ready to kill him. 

SUKA ENTERS VITIKA’S WOMB

Then finally Sukadeva Goswami flew towards the ashram of Vyasadeva and entered. At that time, Vyasadeva was also speaking hari-katha from the Puranas. Vitika, Vyasadeva’s wife, was also a little tired and she yawned, and when she yawned Suka flew directly into her mouth and went into her womb. 

Siva Thakur arrived there shortly afterwards and asked, “I saw a parrot fly in here, did you see a parrot enter your ashram?” 

Vyasadeva replied, “Oh Siva Thakur, why are you looking for him? Oh Lord, why are you so angry? Normally you are very peaceful. What has happened?” 

Siva Thakur replied, “The Srimad Bhagavatam had appeared in my heart by samadhi, and I was speaking it to Parvati. There was a parrot sitting in a nearby mango tree. Parvati fell asleep, and the parrot was cheating by using her voice to respond to everything, and in this way, he heard the entire Bhagavatam thereby stealing everything from me.”

Vyasadeva asked, “What will happen by hearing this Srimad Bhagavatam?

Siva Thakur replied, “He will become immortal.”

Vyasadeva said, “If he has become immortal by hearing it, then how can you kill him? If anyone hears this bhagavat-katha, then death will not be able to touch them. They will not again enter this cycle of birth and death, samsara. This parrot has transcended the three gunas of maya.” When Vyasadeva said this, Siva Thakur smiled, offered his respects and departed. 

The Srimad Bhagavatam first came through Siva Thakur, and he is always considering the auspiciousness and welfare of all beings. Who Bhagavan wants to give something to, may be different than who we want to give it to. So Vyasadeva could now understand that by God’s desire, a great personality had entered his wife’s womb.

Sukadeva Goswami came out only after he received the blessing from Sri Krsna that maya would be removed for as long as it took him to come out of the womb. He then ran into the forest, and was later attracted back by the hunters singing sloka’s of bhagavat-katha. (CLICK ON THE TITLE TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE)

PART 2 WHY DID KRSNA TEST THE SADHANA-SIDDHA-GOPIS?

PART 2 WHY DID KRSNA TEST THE SADHANA-SIDDHA-GOPIS?

All the Gopis had been previously wandering from forest to forest. When they met with Radharani they thought, “There is no need to keep searching, if we keep going, Krsna will just go further and deeper into the forest.” Up to this point the Gopis were in the forested areas that were lit up by the rays of the full moon, but further ahead the jungle was becoming more dense, deep, and dark. The Gopis then thought, “We will not proceed further because the Lord may step on sharp stones or thorns in the dark, and may possibly cut His feet. We do not want to give any distress to Krsna like this. Instead we will go to the bank of the Yamuna where we were previously.” 

The Gopis with Radharani then returned to the bank of the Yamuna and began to do kirtana of Sri Krsna. They began to sing Sri Krsna’s glories and meditate on His pastimes. Now these prayers will be expressed and described by Srila Sukadeva Goswami. 

Until this point they had searched everywhere and could not find Krsna. They had even asked the grass, the plants, the trees, the creepers, and the rivers, “Where is Krsna? Where is Krsna?” Then they began to blame them, “Oh you will not tell us. You are afraid of Krsna. You are very proud so you will not tell us where Krsna is.”

By Radharani’s connection, the Gopis finally understood that Krsna and His names are non-different. They could experience and understand their own shortcomings, and became very humble. Those who are very advanced and senior will not be afraid to tell others of their own faults, but those who are junior, even if they have so many faults, they will try to blame everyone else without thinking that they themselves have any faults.

GETTING YOUR BHAJAN FOCUSED

There is no need to wander here, there, and everywhere, doing so many tours, travels, and parikramas. What gain will you get from doing so much hard work and sadhana with your body. You may develop some good impressions, pious merits, and sukrti. But even if you do parikrama for a thousand lifetimes, wandering here and there, going in circles, what will you gain? What will you get? Who are you doing it for, and who has told you to do this? Are you doing this for your own pleasure or for Krsna’s pleasure? You should consider this first. What is the subject? What is the object? What is the aim and goal? What is my purpose? What is the positive point and what is the negative?

Whatever I am doing, from morning to evening, make a ledger, and account for what you have gained in your day’s work. Just like Citragupta, who is the accountant of Yamaraja, he keeps ledgers on all the jivas’ activities. But this only concerns worldly affairs and we need to look towards our spiritual life. What have we done in our day? What service was there in moving about here and there? Was it for one’s own self, or for one’s own desire to meet with Sri Krsna.

Srimati Radhika therefore said, “There is no need to wander here and there. The Lord can wander here and there if He desires, but we will sit in one place and do kirtan.” So they returned to the bank of the Yamuna and sitting there they began to sing the glories of Sri Krsna. This is the duty of Sri Guru. After Mangal Arati, Svami Prabhupada would take his disciples and sit down and say, “Now chant harinama with me.” When their harinama was complete he would say, “Now you can do as you like, otherwise don’t leave here until you have finished your harinama.” This is the pure instructions of a pure Guru. The Guru will not let the disciples wander here and there frivolously. Sitting in a room he would lock the gate and say, “Now do harinama.” Even in todays schools and universities, you cannot wander here and there as you like. You have to sit down in the classroom and do your studies. If they are wandering about here and there, they will never do their studies. Therefore, Prabhupada would say, “Close the door and do your harinama and studies, then you can move around.” In this way we can learn.

RADHIKA AND THE GOPIS BEGIN TO PRAY AND DO KIRTANA

Srimati Radhika then sat down on the banks of the Yamuna with all the Gopis and they all began to pray to Krsna. What did they pray?  

jayati te ‘dhikam janmana vrajah

srayata indira sasvad atra hi

dayita drsyatam diksu tavakas

tvayi dhrtasavas tvam vicinvate   

The Gopis prayed, “Oh Beloved, because of Your taking birth here in Vraja, Vraja-mandala has become more glorious than Vaikuntha, or any of the other spiritual planets.” They are not just saying it will be, they are saying it in the present tense. “Now, Vrindavan is more glorious than any other spiritual abode because of Your birth here.”

When Srimati Radhika began praying like this, did she first teach the Gopis to sing after Her? Like when people sing in kirtan, they follow a book or repeat after the main singer. However, after the sadhana-siddha-gopis took shelter of Srimati Radhika and Her nitya-siddha-gopis (eternal associates), then Radharani’s desire, the tendency of svarupa-sakti, manifested directly into their hearts. They then immediately understood everything, and in complete synchronicity, they all began to sing kirtan.

THE GOPIS GLORIFY KRSNA’S BIRTH

The Gopis sang, “jayati te ‘dhikam janmana vrajah,” you have taken birth in Vraja-mandala. They did not say Krsna took birth in Mathura, because there is no ‘janma-lila’ birth pastime, in Mathura. In Mathura Krsna appeared in a four-armed form as Narayana. He was wearing His ornaments, dress, crown, and He had long hair, so this was not considered a birth pastime. Krsna is never born with a crown, ankle bells, bracelets, necklaces, garlands, and four-armed, like Narayana. He appeared in Mathura, but in Vraja He took birth. His umbilical cord was cut in Vraja, and He was born from the womb of Yasoda in Nanda-bhavan (the home of Nanda Baba).

The Gopis said, “Vrndavan is more glorious than any of the other abodes.” In Vraja, everything then manifested outwardly, the trees became filled with fresh fruits and green leaves. Everyone’s heart became filled with beauty, and because of the beauty in their hearts, all their bodily forms became beautiful. Even those who were old became bright, red, fresh, and young looking.

Those Vraja children who were mischievous, now became even more restless and mischievous. Before they were somewhat peaceful being under the control and disciple of their parents and families. After Krsna took birth, all the different sakhas became out of control and undisciplined. If the parents and elders were in ecstasy, and became like children, then who will control the children? When we think I am elderly, I am in control, I am the master, then we try to control others. But if we ourselves feel like children, then how will we be able to control anyone? They all became very innocent and childlike and all of Vraja became filled with transcendental energy.

LAKSMI-DEVI STAYS IN VRAJA

The Gopis then said, “srayata indira sasvad atra hi,” Laksmi-devi is present here in Vraja. Previously, Laksmi-devi would wander throughout the whole universe, she would go everywhere. Whoever called her she will go to them. But now Laksmi-devi is saying, “My Lord has come so I will serve here in Vraja and not leave to go anywhere.”

Why? What has changed? Why will Laksmi serve in Vraja? What will she do there? Laksmi-devi said, “I saw what happens when I went and served everyone. There is no one who is always thinking about how to serve Krsna. They do not appear to be very dear to Him and He is not very dear to them, they are all independent enjoyers. But in Vraja everyone is dear to Krsna and He is dear to them. There is a reciprocation of love and affection. Therefore, by serving the Vraja-vasis, my master, Krsna, will always be pleased with me.”

In other places, Laksmi-devi gives so much wealth to businessmen, wealthy people, and aristocrats but they do not have any love for Krsna and therefore He does not have a relationship with them. They are only in love with their own material enjoyment and their outward display of collecting name, fame, and prestige. They do not have love for Krsna. Therefore, they are only misusing Laksmi.

“Srayata indira sasvad atra hi.” Laksmi-devi says, “I will not leave Vraja dhama, I will serve here. Because I have never seen such a place where everyone is so extremely dear to Krsna and He is so extremely dear to them. No one here has any other desire. The subject and the object is only for Krsna, there is no other consideration. Even the deer, the peacocks, the parrots, and the cows are the Lord’s very dear and intimate associates. 

“Dayita drsyatam diksu tavakas,” in this Vraja-dhama, who is present? The preyasi, the beloveds of Sri Krsna.

The Gopis said, “Krsna, we are very sad, and are offering our lives to You. Please give us Your darsana.” Krsna said, “Why are you searching for Me? Why are you lamenting so much? Are you greedy for something from Me?” If you want something then do austerity, do sadhana.”

KRSNA – THE REAL AIM AND OBJECT OF ALL AUSTERITIES

Someone will do ‘dandavat pranam parikrama’, but what service is this for Krsna? Is this for His pleasure? You may be doing dandavat parikrama a hundred times, a thousand times, ten million times, but what service to Krsna is there in this? This is only to satisfy your own desires and for your own enjoyment, that ‘I will be very great and exalted. I will be very prestigious. I will have such a high position and so much facility and enjoyment. I will be a king. I will be a master. I will get so much wealth. Everyone will become my servant. Everyone will be my follower. I will be crowned with the highest position of prestige.’

But why are we doing this? Why are we working so hard? There are so many yogis and bhogis that go to the Himalayas to perform tapasya and austerities, but if their mood is not pleasing to Krsna, then what is the purpose of all this endeavor? Hiranyakasipu stood on his fingers with his feet up in the air for 60,000 years, and he was so proud, and against Krsna, so what was the benefit of this austerity? He received so much strength and power, but then he began to fight with the Lord and His devotees. What was the fault of his son, Prahlada? Hiranyakasipu said, “Prahlada doesn’t listen to me, and he is so proud. Now I will show him and see what he does.” Then he even tried to kill his own son Prahlada, all because of his pride.

What benefit was there in all of Hiranyakasipu’s austerities? His pride only increased. He did not become purified. Instead he became very filthy and filled with a polluted sense of self-importance. Whatever fruit that comes to a person who is independently engaged, or acting according to his own desires, in ‘tyaga’ renunciation, ‘tapasya’ austerity, or ‘sankalpa’ vows, will not be for the Lord’s bhakti or service. If they do it for Krsna, under His authority, desire, and pleasure, and under the guidance of His devotees, they only will not incur suffering nor have any anxiety or perplexity. 

THE REAL GOPI-GITA

The Gopis now said, “We are offering our lives to You. We are searching for You and praying for Your darsana? We made the mistake of becoming proud and now You have gone far away, so please be merciful and give us Your darsana, and allow us to be engaged in Your service.”

Sridhara Swami explains in his commentary, that at the end of the third chapter it describes how the Vraja-devis returned to the bank of the Yamuna, and in a mood of intense separation, they began to sing the glories of Sri Krsna. These prayers of the Vraja-devis are called the ‘viraha-gita’ – the song of separation, or the ‘Gopi-gita’ – the song of the Gopis.

Previously, when the sadhana-siddha-gopis were wandering in the forest, imitating Krsna’s pastimes, praying, singing, asking the trees and plants where Krsna was, it was not considered the Gopi-gita. Only when they came under the guidance of Srimati Radhika and the nitya-siddha-gopis, was their singing considered the Gopi-gita. Why is this? Because this song was exclusively for the pleasure of Krsna. (CLICK ON THE TITLE TO READ THE COMPLETE ARTICLE)

“Rasik Mohan Das and the Bhaktabandhav team are doing an invaluable service publishing the hari-katha of Sripada Premananda Prabhu, Srila Gurudeva B.V. Narayana Gosvami Maharaja, and the books of the acaryas. Books like Sri Guru Darsana, Krsna-karnamrta, Radha-rasa-sudhanidhi, and so on, provide a wealth of information and purification: these volumes make one feel as though they are in Gurudeva’s presence, imbibing pure bhakti as only he could provide it.”

— Steven J. Rosen, Satyaraja Dasa (acbsp), author of 30 books on Gaudiya Vaishnavism, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Vaishnava Studies, and associate editor of Back to Godhead