Vraja-maṇḍala has two parts. One is sambhoga, rāsa-maṇḍala; where the five rasas are always present to their full extent. This is Śrī Vṛndāvana. And one place is full of separation moods. There are two centers. One place teaches and makes us qualified and then sends us to Vṛndāvana. Then under the guidance of Vṛnda-devī one serves Kṛṣṇa.
Caitanya Mahāprabhu came to Jagannātha Purī and stayed here for eighteen years. It seems like it is far and separate from Vraja-maṇḍala, but this is only what is externally apparent, it is not the internal reality. Kṛṣṇa is always thinking about the Vraja-devīs and Vrajavāsīs. If the sādhaka goes to Vṛndāvana, they should think about Vṛndāvana. But this is difficult for the sādhaka. They think always about their future, past and present. Staying physically in Vṛndāvana, their thoughts are far away. They will not get the mercy of Vṛndāvana, realization and feelings will never come and they will not be ready for practical activities.
Caitanya Mahāprabhu and His followers stayed at a little distance from Vṛndāvana and offered full respects, while continuously thinking about Vraja-maṇḍala throughout the whole day following aṣṭa-yama-sādhana. Mahāprabhu’s followers do not forget or lose their eternal internal service for even one moment. They are always ready for service. Navadvīpa-dhāma is non-different to Vṛndāvana, and Kṣetra-maṇḍala is the training center to enter Vraja.
Mahāprabhu gave the pure mood of bhajana to Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī. He didn’t give only order and instruction; He gave inspiration, strength and energy. Many people make money, but they don’t know how to use, save and maintain it, therefore, they suffer. The sādhakas do bhajana. After bhajana, how do they use this sweet nectar gained by their practice? After collecting everything, they do not know how to save everything. The demons also do great austerity, like Kaṁsa and Hiraṇyakaśipu, but they use everything for their own senses, mind and bodily relatives. They don’t use anything properly for God, the soul and Supersoul. They think their body and mind is everything. They have no knowledge for the soul and they do not know any process to worship the Supersoul. They worship and do austerity only to get a material result. They worship God also, but only to make God their slave and order supplier. This is not bhajana, this is sense recreation and the desire disease. This is the demonic philosophy.
Śukrācārya always helps and Dhanvantari helps to fix the mind and body. In this world, all doctors and ministers, all try to serve this body. But what will we do with this strength? We eat to maintain life, but what will we do with our life? The demons don’t know this process. The sādhaka does sādhana, but why? Do we do it for the pleasure of our guardian? This is appropriate. But we are independent. A boy becomes educated and gets a good business, but why? No one teaches him how to properly use his money. Some say, “Serve the poor and crippled. Use your wealth and health for the beggars.” Then he is misguided and no result comes. He doesn’t know that this physical help is not everything.
While staying in Navadvīpa-dhāma and Vṛndāvana, people do a little austerity and they get the blessings of God, but they don’t know what to do with it. In Kṣetra-maṇḍala, Jagannātha opened a training center. Jagannātha is 24 hours thinking about Vraja-maṇḍala and the Vrajavāsīs. His meditation is very strong. If anyone comes near Him, He will teach and make them qualified to enter and serve Vraja-maṇḍala and the Vrajavāsīs.
Jagannātha is always helping everyone. If we seriously try to accept His help follow the moods of Vraja, Jagannātha will give good intelligence to make a strong relation. If we don’t follow, we are rascals. Who will care for us? Good association is God’s association and His devotees association. Don’t waste one moment separate from bhajana. Don’t waste your time. This is the supplication of our Guru-varga.
After sannyāsa, Śrīman Mahāprabhu traveled to Jagannātha Purī, Nīlācala-Kṣetra. In Kṣetra-maṇḍala, all arrangements and facilities are there for ātmā-sādhana, self-realization. All living entities are the eternal servants and children of Lord Jagannātha; however, until the time they establish a relation with Him they are like orphans suffering in māyā.
Who is Jagannātha? This is described in śāstra, the purāṇas, and by our Guru-varga. Lakṣmīpati Nārāyaṇa is always present in Vaikuṇṭha with Mahā Lakṣmī and His associates. He only comes to this world on rare occasions and does not stay for long. When He comes to this world, everyone benefits and becomes happy. When He departs the world is cast into misfortune. Brahmā, Nārada and other devotees go to great lengths so that God will stay in this world, but it is not possible. Bali tricked Him into staying for some time, but Lakṣmī came and took Him back.
When Bhagavān goes, then Lakṣmī goes and the world is devoid of all beauty and opulence, Śrī.
Nārada and all the devotees pray to Bhagavān, “This world is Yours, why don’t You stay here?” māyā and the demons have all control.
From childhood, all jīvas’ nature is bad, no one is there to help or give them good intelligence. The devotees were thinking what to do. Sometimes Bhagavān sends the devatās or gives śakti to some, but the jīva is very insignificant and weak. What to do? Even intelligence comes, but the jīva has no self-control and causes himself to suffer by his actions. Therefore, the devotees desire that Bhagavān will continuously stay in this world. But Bhagavān does not agree. Sometimes He would send His mūrti, but demons would tell that He is only stone and they would try to destroy. Some demons tell, ‘I am Bhagavān, worship me.’ When the master isn’t home, then everyone wants to be master. If Bhagavān does not stay, then how many ‘Bhagavāns’ are taking birth in His absence? Then they break His mūrti. For these reasons, the jīvas are not changing and the world is drowning in misery.
Nārada prayed like this to Bhagavān again and again. Bhagavān smiled but didn’t respond either positively or negatively. Why? The conditioned souls have independence. As they like, they can keep the beloved Lord or anyone else in their hearts. Whoever you make your beloved his qualities will come and you will taste that. No mundane person can free you from all the different types of suffering and give you happiness. Bhagavān gave all śāstra, but jīvas have no time for reading and then if they are reading they don’t have the desire to follow. The Guru-varga understands this and they pray to Bhagavān, but He did not accept their proposition. When the master sees that all people want to replace Him as master, then He stays at a distance. All want to be crowned king and be worshiped. If God bestows king to anyone, he considers that Bhagavān is very merciful. God says, “Oh, you want, then take,” and He stays away.
God is the master of all, but we want to take this master for ourselves. What will the result be? If a small tree has too many fruits on it then the branches will break. We should all surrender to Bhagavān. But no one follows this.
When Kṛṣṇa came to Vraja, He stayed there for ten years and then left and stayed as Dvārakādīśa. As Dvārakādīśa and king, all supplicate Him and He fulfills everyones desires. All jīvas become happy. Bhagavān works for the pleasure of everyone, but He Himself is sad. He pleases all, but He cannot please the Vrajavāsīs. Whatever they want, He cannot fulfill their desires. He is always sad for them and wants to glorify them. By glorifying them He feels success and bliss. But all are jealous of the Vrajavāsīs. They think, “Why does Kṛṣṇa always think of them?” Kṛṣṇa especially remembers the Vraja-devīs and glorifies them. His mind never goes elsewhere. But still He left Vraja and became Dvārakādhīśa. Why did He leave? Why does He suffer for that vraja-rasa.
Bhagavān and the bhaktas appear in this world and then they leave. They don’t stay here for long. Why? When they appear, the world is peaceful, beautiful and all good qualities and bliss are present.
When Bhagavān and the bhaktas leave then the world becomes desolate and the jīvas again suffer.
Nārada Ṛṣi prayed many times, “All the jīvas are like Your children. When You leave, they suffer and no one is here to help them.
However much they try to do good, they cannot change their bad habits. How will they become liberated and have good intelligence?”
Bhagavān replied, “I come into the world and give everything, making all arrangements, but the jīvas in their arrogance don’t approach Me. They are eternally related to Me but they never think properly. They have very bad intelligence. As soon as even a little quality comes to them they immediately become full of ahaṅkāra.”
Where there is opulence, beauty and wealth, pride comes beyond limit. But that has no value, when one dies he will lose everything.
Who is engaged in intense sādhana that they can offer all things to Prabhu? Prabhu gives all things, but if a dacoit steals, or fire burns, then we declare, “Hāy, hāy, hāy!” and have a heart attack. But we came in this world alone and will go alone, so why have a heart attack? We are so attached to a plate, a glass or a bowl that if it becomes lost we pull our hair out. Or if one of our nails breaks we go mad. But our life is draining away and we still have no love and relation with our eternal beloved Lord. Why is it that our illusion is not going?
Kṛṣṇa made all arrangements for the Dvārakā-vāsīs, but they developed their love for their 56 crores of family members, not for Him. He was very distressed and was not pleased with them because they did not respect His beloveds. Those who give everything to Bhagavān, they are His beloveds, and worship of them is worship of Him. The Vrajavāsīs are Kṛṣṇa’s topmost devotees because their love is solely for Him. But the dvārakāvāsīs do not have respect towards them.
In Dvārakā, Bhagavān and all opulences are present. Bhagavān gave great opulence to the Dvārakā-vāsīs and their pride became immeasurable. Kṛṣṇa mercifully called the Vrajavāsīs to Kurukṣetra to break the arrogance of the Dvārakā-vāsīs , but they didn’t respect the Vrajavāsīs and did not consider them as their own relatives. Kṛṣṇa saw that it was not possible to change the nature of the Dvārakā-vāsīs. Therefore, He was always sad in Dvārakā. Rukmiṇī, Satyabhāmā and all the queens try to please Him but they cannot. Devakī, Vasudeva, Ugrasena, all his servants or sons, Pradyumna, Aniruddha, and so forth, none of the Dvārakā-vāsīs could get close to Him. No one follows His desire and no one does any favorable activity for Him. Therefore, Kṛṣṇa was very sad.
If Kṛṣṇa in any way remembers Vraja, then all the Dvārakā-vāsīs become sad, and if anyone respects or glorifies the Vrajavāsīs then they become disturbed. They think, “Dvārakādhīśa is ours.” They have no magnanimity or desire to share.
In God’s temple, how much time are we giving for God and our Guru-varga and how much are we giving for our own enjoyment?
Kṛṣṇa told Nārada, “I came to Dvārakā and gave them all opulence, but they only pass time with their own sense enjoyment and their own family and homes and everything.”
Nārada Ṛṣi could not think of a solution. Kṛṣṇa showed the pastime of being sick and asking for the foot dust of His devotees. Nārada Ṛṣi brought the foot dust of the Vraja-devīs and showed their glories to the Dvārakā-vāsīs, but they never changed. They never thought, “The Vrajavāsīs are Kṛṣṇa’s nearest and dearest.”
Kṛṣṇa said, “The living entities never change, they like relations with other conditioned souls. They never think about God or try to cross over this world and make relation with My family members.”
Many years passed, but Kṛṣṇa was not pleased. The Dvārakā-vāsīs were depressed seeing Kṛṣṇa’s condition and they once went on a hunger strike.
Someone asked Rohiṇī, “Does He sometimes talk to you?”
Rohiṇī said, “No, He never calls me mother. Sometimes He talks mournfully and sometimes He talks with Baladeva Prabhu, but otherwise not.” How could they change Kṛṣṇa’s mood?
Rohiṇī Mātā thought very deeply and said, “The Vrajavāsīs have a permanent relation with Kṛṣṇa. Wherever the glories of the Vrajavāsīs are going on, Kṛṣṇa will be pleased there. Kṛṣṇa can never be happy with one who has no respect for the Vrajavāsīs. If you like the Vrajavāsīs and Vraja then Kṛṣṇa will be pleased with you.”
The Dvārakā-vāsīs approached Rohiṇī Mātā and asked her, “What process did the Vrajavāsīs follow? How did they serve Kṛṣṇa? He only spent ten years there yet became indebted to them for the rest of His life. He even told the Vraja-devīs:
na pāraye ‘haṁ niravadya-saṁyujāṁ
sva-sādhu-kṛtyaṁ vibudhāyuṣāpi vaḥ
yā mābhajan durjara-geha-śṛṅkhalāḥ
saṁvṛścya tad vaḥ pratiyātu sādhunā
I am unable to repay My debt for the spotless service you have offered to Me, even within a lifetime of Brahmā. Your connection with Me is beyond reproach. You have worshiped Me, cutting off all family and social ties which are very difficult to break. Therefore, please let your own glorious deeds be your compensation.
Kṛṣṇa said, “For millions of My lives I will be indebted to them.”
The queens asked, “What did they do to make Kṛṣṇa feel this way?”
Rohiṇī Mātā was disturbed, “You are full of the fire of jealousy. How can you understand the Vrajavāsīs and Vraja-devī’s moods?”
She was very angry. The queens could not tolerate any longer and prayed, “Dear mother, please save our lives, if you do not we won’t carry these bodies any longer. We will throw ourselves in the ocean and drown. You stayed with Kṛṣṇa in Vraja for a long time, but here He is indifferent to everything. He doesn’t take anything. If we give Him a garland then He wears it on His neck like it is a great weight. He is always distressed, and never talks with anyone in a loving way. What can we do? You know, He has not forgotten His childhood friends, the cows, and Yaśodā. He can never forget them. What to do? We must bring them here, or He will go there by force.”
They had many questions. Rohiṇī did not give any them any answers. What answer was there to give? The queens desired to control Kṛṣṇa, but īśvara is independent. Yet for His beloveds, He forever stays under their control. But without being His dearmost beloveds, they are trying to control Him. The Vraja-devīs’ love is samarthā-rati, capable of controlling Kṛṣṇa, but the Dvārakā queens love is only samañjasā-rati, and is not capable of controlling Bhagavān. By tapasyā or ordinary endeavors one cannot control Bhagavān. Make your heart big like the Vrajavāsīs and fill it with love. Why harbor jealousy and contempt?
Rohiṇī Mātā did not respond to the queen’s request because they did not understand her heart. They desired that anyhow Prabhu would be pleased and would be controlled and pleased by them. But they did not know or want to follow the proper process. When they asked Rohiṇī, she told them, “Look, I can’t tell you all these things. I am in the middle of the ocean. Your hearts are like a big ocean, and I can’t satisfy you.”
They begged and requested her, “If Prabhu is not pleased, we will not eat. From today we will renounce everything. We will not eat or drink until you explain how to please Kṛṣṇa as the Vrajavāsīs did. We are only trying to please Prabhu. If He isn’t pleased, everything is useless. If the husband isn’t pleased, then the wife’s life is useless. This is her duty.
We are 16,108 queens, but He is not pleased with any of us and practically never even looks at us. He never thinks of our boys as His own and does not play with them lovingly. We have no idea where He stays and what He thinks of. He is so indifferent to everything.”
All the queens surrounded Rohiṇī in the meeting hall and prayed to her like this. Devakī, Padma and a few others were not present. The queens sat themselves down and Rohiṇī sat in the middle and they all prayed to her.
They said, “Kṛṣṇa sometimes remembers Vraja when He sees a cloud and He cries bitterly. Sometimes He looks at the ocean and becomes senseless remembering the Yamunā.”
They thought that if Rohiṇī would give them the method of the Vrajavāsīs’ service, it would help them control Kṛṣṇa; therefore, they surrendered to Rohiṇī. When she saw their suffering, Rohiṇī thought, “If I help them then is it possible they will change?”
But where there is opulence and wealth, stones, gold and diamonds, then the heart will not soften. The jewels of Dvārakā cannot equal the dust of Vraja.
The queens today took a vow and sat around Rohiṇī and would not let her leave. In their hearts they were very disturbed.
Rohiṇī Mātā said, “If I speak about the Vrajavāsīs’ and the Vraja-devīs’ glories then Kṛṣṇa and Baladeva are bound to come. Kṛṣṇa will come running to be with the Vrajavāsīs and He won’t remain here. If you try to control Him, He will disappear from Dvārakā.”
“Let’s make this a secret meeting,” the queens said. “Subhadrā will check Kṛṣṇa and Baladeva from coming inside. Right now He is in another assembly hall some distance from here.”
Subhadrā agreed to protect the area. Then Rohiṇī Mātā told them, “I will describe how each group of the Vrajavāsīs served Kṛṣṇa with love and affection for each three hour segment of the twenty-four hour day and how they were not distance to Kṛṣṇa for a single moment.”
Internally Rohiṇī, knowing the desire of īśvara, prayed to Him and prayed to the lotus feet of the Vraja-devīs, “I am going to glorify you. If there is any fault on my part, please forgive me. The Vraja-devīs’ glories are so deep and vast, if I say anything that is wrong then Bhagavān Kṛṣṇa will never forgive or ever look at me again. And by hearing their specialties and glories, Bhagavān Kṛṣṇa will be pleased and there is no need for any other sādhana, nāma, tapa, or japa.”
Rohiṇī said, “Hear carefully, and remember this, I will glorify Vraja, but Kṛṣṇa and Baladeva will come immediately. They will become senseless upon hearing these glories and may even leave Dvārakā. Kṛṣṇa will forget, ‘I am Dvārakādīśa and Parameśvara.’ What will you do then?
Subhadrā was there and all queens prayed to her. “You have strength, you can stop Them. We can’t do anything.”
Why did they choose Subhadrā? Because she keeps inauspiciousness, obstacles and bad qualities at a distance and bestows welfare to everyone.
The queens prayed, “We are very sad and disturbed, O Subhadrā, you are not only our sister, you are our everything. Please give us auspiciousness.”
All the queens grabbed Subhadrā, the sister of Bhagavān Kṛṣṇa.
They thought, “He has so much affection for her. He gives everything to His sister. He will not see His own sons but does everything for His nephew.
Subhadrā said, “When both the brothers come, I will stand at the door and not let Them in. Hear the kathā and understand the method that will make Prabhu pleased. I don’t know how to make Him happy. Sometimes He talks with me and shows some affection, but He is never satisfied or happy. He addresses me as Subhadrā, but I don’t know why He has given me this, meaning the giver of auspiciousness. I don’t understand how to make Him happy. Today I will also hear how my brother will be pleased and I will also use that method.”
She stood by the door and blocked it with both arms. Kṛṣṇa and Baladeva were with Ugrasena, Devakī, Vasudeva, Satyaki, Uddhava, Akrūra and the Yādavas in the meeting hall.
Rohiṇī Mātā first gave praṇāma to Śrī Vraja-maṇḍala and the Vrajavāsīs.
She said, “If anyone offers obeisance’s sincerely to Vraja Bhūmi and the Vrajavāsīs once, then their life will be successful and Bhagavān Kṛṣṇa will think, ‘What can I do for them?’ This Vraja Bhūmi is the greatest.”
First, Rohiṇī Mātā offered praṇāma to the trees, creepers, animals, ponds and rivers, and then to the servants and Kṛṣṇa’s friends, then to Nanda and Yaśodā and finally to the Vraja-devīs. She prayed, internally reciting their names and offering praṇāma.
She said, “If we are not giving praṇāma, then even after hearing their glories no realization will come in the heart.”
The heart is very hard like a stone, it will break into pieces, but it will not melt. What is the condition of our hearts? Our hearts have become stone mountains of pride where no grass or anything green can grow. The Dvārakā-rānīs think, “I am Kṛṣṇa’s queen, and all the devatās in the universe offer me gifts.”
Rohiṇī Mātā gave praṇāma to Vraja, the Vrajavāsīs and the Vraja-devīs.
She said, “Give praṇāma. Then your real welfare will come. Don’t think, ‘Why should queens’ bow, the whole world worships us.’ If you do not offer praṇāma to the Vrajavāsīs then Kṛṣṇa will not be pleased and the Vrajavāsīs glories will not enter your heart.”
When the queens gave praṇāma they appeared to be shaking in a great storm. They were all weeping as their hearts shook and softened. Rohiṇī Mātā then began speaking about Kṛṣṇa’s sweet daily pastimes in Vraja.
Kṛṣṇa and Baladeva left the meeting hall and ran to where the hari-kathā was going on. No one could stop Them. The dvārakāvāsīs thought, “What has happened? Did any demon come? What is going on? Where is Kṛṣṇa going?” Everyone was in shock.
Kṛṣṇa and Baladeva were crying and running, but no one could understand where they were going. Satyaki, Akrūra and all the warriors and army prepared for a battle. All the demigods were watching from the sky to see, “What is happening in Dvārakā, where are Kṛṣṇa and Baladeva going?”
Kṛṣṇa and Baladeva arrived at the queen’s palace where everyone was assembled and tried to enter and hear kathā. Subhadrā was outside and said, “Today You can’t go in.”
“Why?” They asked.
“Today, I took vow not to let You enter.”
“We hold your feet and pray,” Kṛṣṇa and Baladeva said, “Please let us in.”
“Why are you so cruel?”
Kṛṣṇa and Baladeva are big and strong and were standing one on each side of Subhadrā, Kṛṣṇa on the right and Baladeva on the left.
She said, “Stay here. Don’t go in, if You do then there will be some great misfortune. Today everyone is very disturbed. They have come together and are thinking for some method by which You will be pleased. If You want to hear, stay some distance away.”
Kṛṣṇa said, “Nothing can be inauspicious here in Dvārakā, let us through.”
“No! You have no business here now, not today, today is our work.”
Kṛṣṇa and Baladeva stood on each side of Subhadrā, but she stayed firm in the doorway, not letting Them through.
Rohiṇī first was talking about the calves.
She said, “First thing in the morning the calves are waiting for Kṛṣṇa to come with buckets to milk their mothers. But the cows are sad. Why? Kanhaiyā hasn’t come yet. All the calves and cows are standing motionless. The calves are not going to their mother’s udders.
Their throats are dry, but they are not going. Why? Because Kanhaiyā has not come there yet.
“In Nanda-bhavan, Mother Yaśodā took a damp cloth and entered Kṛṣṇa’s room. She started to wipe His feet and hands. She thought, “Kanhaiyā is very tired. The peacocks, quails and birds are all singing, ‘Kanhaiyā Kanhaiyā,’ and He will be awakened. Mother Yaśodā told them all to be quite, ‘Shhh . . . Kṛṣṇa is very tired, all day He is with His friends and calves in the forest.’ She closed the curtains to stop the sunlight from entering the room and then pushed a little fresh butter and miśrī into Kṛṣṇa’s mouth and tiptoed out.”
“Once Kṛṣṇa saw that Mother Yaśodā had left, He went out through the other door to meet the calves. They cry upon seeing Kṛṣṇa and lick Him. They indicate to Kṛṣṇa for Him to drink from their mother’s udders, as if to say, ‘You drink, this milk is not only for us.’
“Kṛṣṇa took some of the fresh warm cow’s milk and then gave to the calves. All the calves and cows were now filled with bliss, they felt that their lives were successful.” As Rohiṇī was speaking all these things, Kṛṣṇa and Baladeva were standing at the door with Their eyes closed and Their hearts melting. Subhadrā thought, “What should I do? I can’t stop Rohiṇī.”
Rohiṇī continued speaking hari-kathā. She said, “So much milk is given by the cows that there is nowhere to put it all. They resorted to filling the kuṇḍas with milk, and taking it from there and making sweets, yogurt, butter and ghee. All of Vraja is filled with go-rasa, milk which is the nectar bestowed from heaven. Even the birds, peacocks and dogs take milk. No one goes hungry. Before Bhagavān Rāma was indebted to all the monkeys, gorillas, squirrels and animals who helped Him to build the bridge and fight with Rāvaṇa, but now in Vraja He repaid them all with milk sweets. Bhagavān Kṛṣṇa wandered amongst all the animals and played with them, distributing butter and sandeśa. The peacocks were flying and bringing leaves and fruits as offerings to Kṛṣṇa and He would accept them and distribute everything with great love.”
Kṛṣṇa was hearing this kathā and could not tolerate the separation. He began to cry and the palace walls began to shake and stones fell to the ground. Being in the middle of the big crowd, and absorbed in thoughts of Vraja, Rohiṇī could not hear all the commotion. Subhadrā Devī also forgot everything. She was unaware if Kṛṣṇa and Baladeva were there or not, being totally absorbed in the hari-kathā. Slowly, Their hands were melting in loving separation. They were so absorbed in vraja-rasa They could not even see each other. Vraja and Vraja-kathā are non-different. As Rohiṇī Mātā was engaged in kīrtana of Vraja, Kṛṣṇa, Baladeva, and Subhadrā were all entranced.
Rohiṇī Mātā continued, “Yaśodā returns to Kṛṣṇa’s room and sees that Kṛṣṇa has gone out to milk the cows with His friends. She quickly arranges everything for His bath and His clothes to dress Him. When Kṛṣṇa comes she first massages Him with a paste of neem, haldi and mustard seeds and then sits Him down and starts fanning Him with a cāmara so the paste will dry quickly. Then she massages Him with sesame oil mixed with kastūrī and sandalwood oils to remove the heat and tension from His body. She then takes Kṛṣṇa in her lap, kisses and embraces Him. All the Vraja-devīs are peeking into the room from outside, and they make some excuse for Yaśodā to leave and check on the rasāvalī, kṣīra-sagara, rasa-malaya and other items that are being cooked in the kitchen. Now the Vraja-devīs get the chance to have a short and sweet exchange with Kṛṣṇa.”
Hearing Rohiṇī speak about the transcendental glories and pastimes of Śrī Vraja-maṇḍala, Kṛṣṇa, Baladeva and Subhadrā melted in love and separation. Jagannātha is thus called premamaya-kalevara. How is it possible for this aṣṭa-kālīya-līlā to appear in our hearts? In the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.2.294) it states:
kṛṣṇaṁ smaran janaṁ cāsya
kuryād vāsaṁ vraje sadā
The devotee who desires rāgānuga-bhakti should constantly remember Vṛndāvana-Kṛṣṇa, along with Kṛṣṇa’s beloved associates who have the same mood as himself. He should remain engrossed in hearing and speaking narrations of their pastimes and always reside in Vraja.
One must hear hari-kathā from devotees who have this vraja-anurāga. But if we do not have any faith in the glories of the Vrajavāsīs, then our hearts will never melt.
After a little time, Padmā came and said, “All the queens have become caught in Rohiṇī’s trap. Rohiṇī always takes the side of Vraja. We must bind her up and send her to Vraja! She has no place in Dvārakā, she likes making cow dung patties and living with the cows.”
Rohiṇī got up angrily and left. If anyone is against the Vrajavāsīs, and speaks against the Vrajavāsīs—if you hear their criticism then this is a great offense and is very dangerous, all of your bhakti can be destroyed. Therefore Kṛṣṇa sunk Dvārakā. He thought, “There is no need for Dvārakā if they have no respect for Vraja-maṇḍala.” That place which does not respect and love Vraja is the worst place. Giving respect to Vrajavāsīs is pleasing to Kṛṣṇa and is His real worship.
Mahāprabhu was always engaged in kīrtana of the Vrajavāsīs, Vraja-devīs and Vraja-maṇḍala. Kṛṣṇa Himself came to this world and took sannyāsa, becoming Caitanya Mahāprabhu, to distribute the glories of Vraja. For those who don’t understand this, Kṛṣṇa and bhajana are very far away. Remembering and doing kīrtana of Vraja is the method to control Kṛṣṇa. Therefore the ācāryas go all over world to speak and distribute the glories of Vraja. They have no relation towards Mathurā or Dvārakā and neither does Kṛṣṇa.
Kṛṣṇa arranged for the dvārakāvāsīs to go to Prabhāsa where they fought and savagely slaughtered each other without Kṛṣṇa interfering. This is the result of arrogance, opulence and a lack of respect for the Vrajavāsīs. However much you give instructions to proud and foolish living entities, their attachment and illusion to the world will never leave, so what is the use of mantra, tyāga, tapa? Kṛṣṇa did not protect Dvārakā from being annihilated, but for the protection of Vraja He fought many demons that were sent by Kaṁsa, and also defeated the devatās who attacked Vraja on the command of Indra.
Mahāprabhu Himself came to distribute vraja-rasa, and He also sent the Guru-varga. This line of vraja-bhakti will run continuously by His desire. Attachment to opulence is not helpful. It will spawn pride that destroys good intelligence, society, unity, family and everything. If we do not use all things in God’s service then those very objects will act like poison and bring great suffering. If we don’t make any relation with God, then this life is spoiled. Nobody will be our helper. Mundane help will not protect us. It will not be helpful or favorable. All the prime ministers, presidents and civil officers try again and again to please the jīvas, but it is not possible.
This world is a training center to develop our relation with God. Not only a relation, but how we can increase our love and attraction and make God and His family members our dearmost beloveds. This is the purpose of all sādhana and austerity. If we are not doing this then our life is merely animal life — eat, drink and be merry — this is animal life, not human life. Humans have a higher consciousness to think about their soul and the Supersoul and to find out how God will be controlled by love. If we become the beloveds of God, and have relation with His followers, then automatically we will acquire a good nature, good philosophy and everything will automatically be inspired in our hearts. Good association will automatically come. If people are attached to ordinary people then they make friend with them, and say, ‘you are my brother, my neighbor, my wife and children,’ then their nature will automatically go down. If one who becomes God’s beloved, and has relation with Him, then automatically his eternal nature will manifest and all energy will come. That power makes one neutral towards the material world and bodily relations will cease. Nārada Ṛṣi, the Four Kumāras, Prahlāda, and especially the Vrajavāsīs, do not think about mundane enjoyment and recreation. They are continuously doing everything for Kṛṣṇa’s happiness.
How can we develop our relation with those Vrajavāsīs? Kṛṣṇa sent Uddhava to Vraja-maṇḍala to witness the Vrajavāsīs’ glories, but after six months he ran back and requested Kṛṣṇa, “Please come.”
Kṛṣṇa said, “Yes, you stayed for six months with the Vrajavāsīs and have understood a fragment of their glories, therefore you will get a further chance. I will not destroy you along with Dvārakā and the Dvārakāvāsīs.”
Uddhava went and stayed in Vraja-maṇḍala again after Kṛṣṇa’s disappearance and did austerity for a long time there, serving the Vrajavāsīs.
What is Mahāprabhu’s philosophy?
ārādhyo bhagavān vrajeśa-tanayas tad-dhāma vṛndāvanaṁ
ramyā kācid upāsana vraja-vadhū-vargeṇā yā kalpitā
śrīmad-bhāgavataṁ pramāṇam amalaṁ premā pumartho mahān
śrī-caitanya-mahāprabhor matam idaṁ tatrādarāḥ naḥ paraḥ
Vrajendra-nandana Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the supreme worshipful Deity. Vṛndāvana-dhāma is worshipful like Kṛṣṇa, because it is His pastime place. Amongst all forms of worship, the gopīs’ worship of Kṛṣṇa is supreme. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam offers the supreme, flawless evidence of this truth. This is the teaching of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
Kṛṣṇa’s holy dhāma is Vṛndāvana, not Mathurā or Dvārakā. Mathurā and Dvārakā people are very proud. They think about Kṛṣṇa for their own recreation and enjoyment. Therefore, tad dhāma vṛndāvanam.
Next, the verse says, ramyā kācid upāsanā. How do the Vraja-devīs serve? That process is the highest process.
This is not imagination. Kṛṣṇa left Vraja-maṇḍala after ten years. Does this mean that He neglected them? Never. Kṛṣṇa is always present in Vraja-maṇḍala, He only left externally.
How can we get the desire for vraja-vāsa, residence in Vraja? Those who are greedy for opulence can never enter Vraja-maṇḍala. Many people eat on steel plates but wish that they were made of gold. They have one acre of land, but want to acquire the whole Earth. If this desire to accumulate is present, then we will become statues in Dvārakā.
How can we become gopī-bhartuḥ pada-kamalayor dāsa-dāsānudāsaḥ?
nāhaṁ vipro na ca nara-patir nāpi vaiśyo na śūdro
nāhaṁ varṇī na ca gṛha-patir no vana-stho yatir vā
kintu prodyan nikhila-paramānanda-pūrṇāmṛtābdher
gopī-bhartuḥ pada-kamalayor dāsa-dāsānudāsaḥ
We should think, “I am not a brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya or śūdra, nor a brahmacārī, gṛhastha, vānaprastha or sannyāsī. Being transcendental to this gross and subtle body, I am the servant of the servant of the servant of the lotus feet of the master of the gopīs, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is the ultimate shelter of everyone, full of transcendental bliss, and an ocean of unlimited nectar.”
How can we obtain this sevā-vṛtti, service tendency? We will not serve anyone else. We came to this world to learn this service mood and to follow this. We will be the servant of the servant of the servants of the Vraja-devīs. Otherwise all activities will be karma and only give suffering in the form of pāpa and puṇya.
Kṛṣṇa even left all His queens when He disappeared. For their protection, Arjuna came and said, “I’m taking everyone to Hastināpura and I will serve and protect you all.”
But along the way, some cowherd boys came and beat Arjuna with sticks, took his Gāṇḍīva bow and stole all of Kṛṣṇa’s queens. Arjuna was hopeless, devoid of all strength, and crying like a child. Where did this power come from and where did it go? If one has relation with Kṛṣṇa, then all power will be present, but when He is gone then everything is lost.
As long as Śrīla Gurudeva is present then we are all behaving like princes from the wealth of guru, but after he removes his external presence what do we do? Therefore, do not lose your relation with Śrīla Gurudeva! Do not go distance from him! If you do, you will understand what real suffering is. Śrīla Gurudeva is always protecting his own followers, but we must not cut ourselves off from him.
Don’t follow the Dvārakāvāsīs or the moods of Dvārakā. Higher than Dvārakā is Mathurā. Why is this? Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī explained the essence of śāstra in Śrī Upadeśāmṛta:
vaikuṇṭhāj janito varā madhu-purī tatrāpi rāsotsavād
vṛndāraṇyam udāra-pāṇi-ramaṇāt tatrāpi govardhanaḥ
rādhā-kuṇḍam ihāpi gokula-pateḥ premāmṛtāplāvanāt
kuryād asya virājato giri-taṭe sevāṁ vivekī na kaḥ
Mathurā is higher than Vaikuṇṭha, and higher than Mathurā is Vṛndāvana. Higher than Vṛndāvana is Govardhana, and the highest place of all these is also at Govardhana — Rādhā-kuṇḍa. Girirāja is serving and providing the playground and facilitating the most wonderful and beautiful pastimes of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. Therefore, he is very dear to Them.
This Mathurā is millions of times greater than Vaikuṇṭha. Mathurā is Madhu Purī due to relation with Madhusūdana. Madhusūdana is He who relished the honey nectar of Vraja Bhūmi. Mathurā is known also as Madhu Purī only because of its proximity to Vraja. Mathurā-devī and Vṛnda-devī have a deep friendship. Mathurā-devī steals all false ego, sins and offenses, and purifies those who come to her and then she sends them to Śrī Vṛndāvana. Madhu Purī is the cleaning and washing place. After purification, one will enter Vraja Bhūmi and always be absorbed in serving Kṛṣṇa and the Vrajavāsīs.
We must pray that our nature and intelligence never departs from our Guru-varga and does not go here and there only to be traded elsewhere. If we remember the Guru-varga, if we remember their conceptions, then we will be nearby them. But if we are nearby them, but do not give proper respect, then we will automatically become distant from them. And if those at a distance follow the moods and desires of the Guru-varga, then automatically they become nearby.
When Rohiṇī Mātā glorified the Vrajavāsīs and the Vraja-devīs, Parabrahma Kṛṣṇa melted in love and became Jagannātha. In Purī, Mahā Lakṣmī only lets those she likes see Lord Jagannātha. Lakṣmī is scared that if anyone came and glorified the Vrajavāsīs and Vraja-devīs then Jagannātha would melt completely and what was left of Him would also be lost. Before, Lord Jagannātha was the Almighty Lord and God.
If anyone tried to fight against Him, He would kill them. He could never be controlled or captured. He has the Sudarśana cakra, club and all weapons. But now as Jagannātha He does not have arms or hands to carry the disc or club. Now He has no feet and legs, how would He fight in battle? He only has a torso, like a tree trunk body.
Only once a year, Jagannātha comes out and that time there is harināma-saṅkīrtana. Lakṣmī-devī never gives entrance to the Vrajavāsīs. She is very scared. He came outside and the Vrajavāsīs all cooked nice preparations and gave Him fruits and flowers. At that time Jagannātha manifested a new svarūpa, new hands, eyelids, ears, everything. Without the Vrajavāsīs He does not have anything. He lost everything.
The Vrajavāsīs are always thinking how Lord Jagannātha can come back to Śrī Vṛndāvana, but Jagannātha Himself will not come, He says, “How can I come with you? I lost everything in Dvārakā. I left Vraja-dhāma and the Vrajavāsīs and therefore this punishment has come to Me.”
Mahā Lakṣmī keeps Jagannātha hidden behind seven locked doors. She feeds Him, gives bath, śṛīngāra, and at night time she binds Him with 50 meters of cloth and rope. She binds Him inside, and in the morning the paṇḍā comes, breaks the seal and the temple opens. Even today, they bind Him at night with 50 meters of cloth and behind many locks and then they put Him to rest. Lakṣmī binds all three, Jagannātha, Baladeva and Subhadrā, and then she leaves and stays outside on guard at the gate. She does not sleep all night, watching in case someone comes and tries to capture Jagannātha.
During the day time she cooks continuously, feeding Jagannātha 56 times a day. Why? Otherwise Jagannātha will go and steal from everyone. He doesn’t think about the different castes, He eats from anyone. He will even eat peoples’ remnants. Therefore, Lakṣmī thinks, “I cannot allow Him to do this. I will bathe Him and in new pots cook many preparations and offer them. Whatever He wants He can eat but He can only take from me.”
Therefore, she cooks all day, so that His mouth will never become dry. She offers food, gives pan, then washes His mouth and brings the next offering. She brings khaja and so many different things. Otherwise if there aren’t many things available she will soak the morning rice and mix spices and give Him drinks. She is very clever in making arrangements so that the Vrajavāsīs cannot meet with Him and take Him away.
Mahā Lakṣmī is brāhmaṇī, Ṭhākurānī, she follows all rules and regulations, ācamana and bathing and everything. She opens the temple doors at seven, eight, nine or even ten o’clock in the morning for maṅgala-āratī. At night time she gives yogurt and rice and dosa, bada, chutney, coconut water. Then she binds Jagannātha and lets Him sleep bound like a prisoner. Still, Jagannātha once a year tricks her and says, “I want to go outside just for a little bit.”
She reluctantly agrees saying, “Alright, but I’ll go with you.”
Jagannātha says, “No! My brother and sister will go.”
“I’ll go also.”
“No, if you go then you will bind Me with so many rules.”
She is afraid someone will steal Him and run away.
He said, “I’m now old and feeble, who will steal Me? And I cannot run away on My own.
Don’t worry, I will just go out for some fresh air.”
They argued for some days, but Lakṣmī would not back down so easily. Finally, she says, “Okay, I’ll make some breakfast for You before You leave, but remember to come back soon.” But when Lakṣmī goes to cook, He quickly leaves. Mahā Lakṣmī hears Him leaving, she runs behind Him abandoning her fire pits.
Jagannātha continuously desires to go to Vraja. But it is not possible. If He had hands and feet than He could go. But seeing the Vrajavāsīs, then nice hands, vaṁśī, crown, feet and eyes, everything appears and Mahā Lakṣmī cannot even recognize Him.
On Hera-pañcami she goes to see Him but cannot find Him because when He reached the Guṇḍīcā all His limbs appeared. In front of all, He is like śālagrāma, but near His beloveds He manifests a different form, His original Śyāmasundara form.
Srila Gurudeva ki Jaya! (Excerpted from a Bhaktabandhav book publication, “Sri Guru Darshan”. Available from [email protected] )