We are currently observing Keśava-vrata in this month of Vaiśākha. Keśavadeva is very kind. Keśavadeva’s followers will arrange everything for a person who especially follows and glorifies Keśavadeva in this month of Keśava-vrata. The thirty-three million demigods will offer many presentations. Keśavadeva will give very special gifts to those who reject the presentations of the demigods. What will He give? He will give His [emaillocker]kathāmṛtam i.e. He will give the nectar of His pastimes. How does He give this nectar?

When Śiva Ṭhākura is in Kailāśa-dhāma, he externally covers himself by smearing ashes all over his body. He resides with ghosts, witches, goblins, and brahma-rākṣasas. He doesn’t meet with anyone. When he does kīrtana, everyone ecstatically dances with him. Those who dance with him have many physical deformities; yet, they dance without any reservations. They are very strong. They don’t give entrance to the unqualified.

Śiva Ṭhākura is very kind; he helps the helpless. A poverty-stricken, lame, and blind orphan is rejected by everyone in this world. People declare him to be a useless and bogus person. Everyone rejects him. But, Śiva Ṭhākura never rejects or kicks anyone away. He engages even the destitute and helpless in nāma-saṅkīrtana. During kīrtana, they quarrel and dance. Śiva Ṭhākura is not disturbed by their unusual kīrtana. He is very happy by kīrtana. He only speaks hari-kathā and does kīrtana for the pleasure and happiness of Śrī Hari. He knows the rules and regulations of every vrata. He knows everything.

Vāmanadeva is called Upendra (Indra’s younger brother). Upendra comes to heaven every day and speaks hari-kathā. His parents—Kaśyapa and Aditī worship Him along with everyone else. They also bless their son. He returns to His abode in the evening. He doesn’t stay in heaven.

Upendra proclaimed, “This month of Vaiśākha is My month. I will help anyone who follows this vrata. I will shower that person with many gifts. I will give him anything he likes.”

As I said earlier, the associates of Śiva Ṭhākura are mostly comprised of witches, ghosts, brahma-rākṣasas, goblins, and other fearful creatures. They are always intoxicated. They become happy on drinking cauldrons of alcohol.

Śiva Ṭhākura told his associates, “Don’t you dare touch or drink alcohol anymore. I will give you an inconceivably greater drink. This drink is far greater than sura (the drink of the demigods).”

The demigods tried luring the associates of Śiva Ṭhākura with this sura. Śiva Ṭhākura sternly told them, “Don’t ever accept the sura. I will give you the unending nectar of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam.”

This month of Vaiśākha is very auspicious. Therefore, many people continuously organize the complete recitation of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. Otherwise, they engage in nāma-saṅkīrtana. Nama-kirtana is done throughout the day in many places. By remembering even half a syllable of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam in this month, all forms of auspiciousness will be had. This holds true for a person who bathes in the Gaṅgā, and worships śālagrāma-śilā and Tulasī-devī.

Śiva Ṭhākura told his associates, “Don’t ever take anything from the demigods. They will cheat you and steal all your sukṛti away. Then all of you will be orphans. Don’t go here and there; just listen to the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam.”

When Śiva Ṭhākura started speaking on the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, all his associates fell fast asleep. They slept soundly. Śiva Ṭhākura thought, “Bābā! Everyone is so happy because they have fallen fast asleep.”

When Śrīla Svāmī Mahārāja was in the West, he met many hippies and drunkards. When he started kīrtana, they would dance around him. They would become very happy by his kīrtana.

Śrīla Svāmī Mahārāja told them, “Now all of you should come for class.”

Midway into Svāmī Mahārāja’s class, all the hippies would fall fast asleep. They would also embrace and kiss each other. This is normal in the West. But if a couple would be found engaged in such an act in India, they would face dire consequences. Presently, this trend is hidden in India; no one engages in such acts in public.

Everyone would awake when hari-kathā was finished. When Śrīla Svāmī Mahārāja would start kīrtana, everyone would ecstatically dance. They would be so happy. You can see how happy all the hippies were by seeing some videos. They would dance and circle Svāmījī as he sang. Everyone would be on their heels to watch these videos because they showed how wonderful Svāmī Mahārāja’s preaching was.

Similarly, everyone would dance to Śiva Ṭhākura’s kīrtana. But they would fall asleep when he would begin speaking on the Bhāgavatam. Although Satī was sitting on Śiva Ṭhākura’s lap, she also fell asleep on listening to the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. Yet, Śiva Ṭhākura spoke hari-kathā continuously because someone would not at regular intervals and say, “Go on. Go on.”

My Guru Mahārāja would also speak hari-kathā continuously; so would Śrīla Prabhupāda Sarasvatī Ṭhākura. Our ācāryas don’t need sound systems; yet, they speak hari-kathā continuously. After three hours had passed, Satī awoke and said, “What have you been saying all this while?”

“Haven’t you been listening?” asked Śiva Ṭhākura.

“No.”

“Why?”

“I was sleeping.”

“You were sleeping?”

“I was sleeping on your lap. So, didn’t you see me sleeping?”

“No.”

“Why?”

“I am absorbed in the eternal-līlā. When I speak, I am present in those pastimes. Therefore, I cannot see anybody.”

“Then I have missed the opportunity to listen to the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam,” Satī rued.

“But who has been listening all this while? Who has been nodding and saying, ‘Go on.’? He has been unlawfully drinking all this nectar.” asked Śiva Ṭhākura.

Śiva Ṭhākura then saw a parrot hiding among the leaves of a mango tree. This parrot had been listening to the Bhāgavatam. The parrot would nod and sound its consent and inspire Śiva Ṭhākura to speak more.

The parrot would sweetly say, “Yes. Go on. Go on.”

Śiva Ṭhākura became very angry with the parrot. He said, “Hey parrot! Why have you been listening without my permission? You were cheating me!”

Greatly angered, Śiva Ṭhākura took his trident and ran to kill the parrot. The parrot flew swiftly. It flew from Kailāśa and took shelter in Vyāsadeva’s āśrama in Badrinatha. Vyāsadeva was speaking from some Purāṇas while his wife Vīṭikā-devī -devī was attentively listening to him. He was speaking on the glories of some demigods. It is very auspicious to read from the scriptures during this month. Gaṅgā-pūjā and Tulasī-pūjā is performed in the morning and evening. Classes on the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam are also continuously held during this month. Also, everyone chants this mantra:

namo brahmaṇya-devāya go-brāhmaṇa-hitāya ca

jagad-dhitāya kṛṣṇāya govindāya namo namaḥ

Śrī Viṣṇu Purāṇa 1.19.65

My Lord, You are the well-wisher of the cows and the brāhmaṇas, and You are the well-wisher of the entire human society and world.

The followers of every religion automatically consider this month to be very auspicious. But many animals are offered as sacrifices. These animals are bathed in the Gaṅgā and then, their throats are slit. People then roll in the blood of the animals. Therefore, these people are worse than animals. They then eat the meat of the animals.

So, Śiva Ṭhākura ran to kill the parrot with his trident. The parrot swooped down and entered Vīṭikā’s stomach through her mouth. When Śiva Ṭhākura reached Badrīkāśrama, he was received by Vyāsadeva.

Vyāsadeva asked, “What happened Bholanātha?”

Śiva Ṭhākura looked very angry and the trident in his hands only added to his furious demeanor. Śiva Ṭhākura said, “I was speaking the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam in Kailāśa.”

“So, what happened?” inquired Vyāsadeva.

“Everyone was sleeping?”

“Even so, what is the problem?”

“A parrot heard me intently without asking my permission. He drank this nectar and fled for his life. He is now in your āśrama.”

The parrot had entered Vīṭikā-devī’s mouth because she had her mouth wide open. The parrot thought of her mouth to be a tree hollow; so he entered her mouth. He then hid himself in her stomach. Śiva Ṭhākura was then unable to find the parrot.

Vyāsadeva asked, “How can you kill the parrot? What is the result of listening to the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam? The parrot has become immortal now; he cannot be killed.”

“This is true,” Śiva Ṭhākura replied.

He offered obeisance to Vyāsadeva and returned to his abode. So, this parrot actually belonged to Śrīmatī Rādhārānī. The parrot was residing in Varsānā. The parrot would always stay with Śrīmatī Rādhārānī. She would always feed the parrot pomegranate seeds. She would also feed him rice and milk. And sometimes, Śrīmatī Rādhārānī would feed the parrot seeds of red chillies. Parrots like the seeds of chillies very much. The parrot would be fed pomegranate seeds, grapes, and many other fruits.

The parrot would always fly all over Vraja-maṇḍala. Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī Prabhu has explained how this parrot serves Śrīmatī Rādhārānī in his Gopāla-campū. When Śrīmatī Rādhārānī feels viraha (separation) from Kṛṣṇa, this parrot sings many names of Kṛṣṇa.

śrī kṛṣṇa-gopāla hare mukunda

govinda he nanda kiśora kṛṣṇa,

śrī kṛṣṇa govinda hare murāre

he nātha nārāyaṇa vāsudeva

 

Śrīmatī Rādhārānī Herself taught these names of Kṛṣṇa to the parrot. The parrot would then sweetly sing these names and make the nectar of Kṛṣṇa’s names enter the ears of Śrīmatī Rādhārānī. The parrot would bring so much joy to Śrīmatī Rādhārānī. Rādhārānī would caress the parrot as he sweetly sung Kṛṣṇa’s names.

After Kṛṣṇa’s disappearance, Śuka (the parrot) could no longer stay in Vraja-dhāma. Earlier, Kṛṣṇa had left to Mathurā and Dvārakā. He didn’t return to Vṛndāvana even after a hundred years had passed. Therefore, Vraja-bhūmi had become unmanifest. Śuka flew all around the world; but he didn’t come across anyone glorifying Kṛṣṇa, the Vraja-devīs, and the Vrajavāsīs.

When he came to Kailāśa, he heard the glories of the Vrajavāsīs as stated in the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, being spoken by Śiva Ṭhākura. So, he became very happy. On the advice of Nārada Ṛṣi, Vyāsadeva established himself in bhakti-yoga.

 

bhakti-yogena manasi samyak praṇihite ’male

apaśyat puruṣaṁ pūrṇaṁ māyāṁ ca tad-apāśrayām

Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 1.7.4

 

Thus he fixed his mind, perfectly engaging it by linking it in devotional service bhakti-yoga without any tinge of materialism, and thus he saw the Absolute Personality of Godhead along with His external energy, which was under full control.

Vyāsadeva had darśana of kṛṣṇa-līlā by Nārada Ṛṣi’s grace.

But he thought, “Who will distribute these pastimes? Who will be the follower of the Vrajavāsīs? Who has this greed? Who will be a brahmacārī? Who has this power?”

There is wide gulf of difference between a brahmacārī and a vyabhicārī. A brahmacārī embodies self-control while a vyabhicārī embodies debauchery. A vyabhicārī will also make many announcements and try disturbing everyone. A brahmacārī always maintains his composure; he always controls himself. He never enjoys his senses. By controlling the tongue, all the senses will be controlled. You should never unnecessarily speak. You should sincerely hear and reserve the nectar of hari-kathā in your heart. You should not distribute beyond your means.

Therefore, Vyāsadeva thought, “Who doesn’t have any desire for respect, name, and fame? I will speak the Bhāgavatam to that person. He will then distribute what he has heard. His heart will not have space for anything else. He will only have a desire to drink Kṛṣṇa’s glories.”

Vyāsadeva waited for many years; still, the personality in his wife’s stomach did not come out.

He inquired, “Who are you? Oh great personality! Why don’t you come out?”

“I will never come out.”

“Why?”

“Māyā-devī is very strong. Everyone will contaminate me as soon as I come out. I will then forget everything. My love and affection will be divided among many. I will be shared. Consequently, I will be a vyabhicārī. It will not be possible for me to remain a brahmacārī. Everyone will try stealing me away. I will then lose my beloved God. Therefore, I cannot come out! Māyā-devī is not present here. Paramātmā has coated her presence.”

“But when will you come out?”

“When Māyā-devī will not disturb me.”

Vyāsadeva prayed to Kṛṣṇa and said, “Oh dear Kṛṣṇa! This baby has been in his mother’s womb for so many years already. He refuses to come out. Please withdraw the influence of Your māyā.”

Kṛṣṇa agreed and said, “I will remove the influence of māyā—albeit for a moment.”

Hence, Māyā-devī left for a fraction of a second. Śukadeva Gosvāmī immediately emerged from his mother’s womb and ran in full pace. Otherwise, attachments would grab hold of him. Vyāsadeva followed his son from behind.

He thought, “Oh this mahāpuruṣa is leaving!”

He cried out, “My dear son!”

An echo from the trees stated, “Who is your son?”

Vyāsadeva thought, “What can I do? Now there is no one qualified to listen to the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. I should have the boy return to me by any means.”

Vyāsadeva went to the forest and taught the hunters some ‘mantras.’

He told them, “By reciting these mantras, you will catch many animals. You should play on the flute and sing these mantras. If a deer or anyone else falls into your trap, then bring them to me. Please don’t kill them. I will reward all of you with many gifts. Even if someone is killed by you, I will bring that animal or person back to life. You need only play the flute and sing the mantras.”

Thus, Vyāsadeva taught the hunters some ślokas from the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam that describe Kṛṣṇa’s name, form, qualities, and pastimes. After being taught, the hunters played on their flutes and sang what they had been taught. Śukadeva Gosvāmī had heard the sound of the flute after a long time. The trees were very proud to have Śuka as one of their own.”

Śukadeva Gosvāmī asked the hunters, “Who taught you these glories of Kṛṣṇa? You play the flute so nicely. Who taught you?”

“We have a guru in Badrīkāśrama; will you come with us to see him?” the hunters replied.

Śukadeva Gosvāmī had forgotten everything. When he came in front of Vyāsadeva, Vyāsadeva didn’t say anything. He didn’t cry in lamentation for his son.

He didn’t say, “Oh my son! You have returned after a long time!”

Vyāsadeva then started explaining the tenth canto of the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam to Śukadeva Gosvāmī. He only spoke Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes. He especially spoke on rāsapañcādhyāyī i.e. The five chapters of Gopī-gīta, Yugala-gīta, Bhramaragīta, Praṇayagīta, and Veṇu-gīta. These chapters are the five life airs of the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam.

yaṁ pravrajantam anupetam apeta-kṛtyaṁ

dvaipāyano viraha-kātara ājuhāva

putreti tan-mayatayā taravo ‘bhinedus

taṁ sarva-bhūta-hṛdayaṁ munim ānato ‘smi

Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 1.2.2

Śrīla Sūta Gosvāmī said: Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto that great sage Śukadeva Gosvāmī who can enter the hearts of all. When he went away to take up the renounced order of life sannyāsa, leaving home without undergoing reformation by the sacred thread or the ceremonies observed by the higher castes, his father, Vyāsadeva, fearing separation from him, cried out, “O my son!” Indeed, only the trees, which were absorbed in the same feelings of separation, echoed in response to the begrieved father.

Śukadeva Gosvāmī is always ātmārāma (self-satisfied) and āptakāma (all his desires have been fulfilled). But, he became very surprised by drinking the nectar of the Vraja-devīs’ glories. He then stayed near Vyāsadeva and heard the entire Bhāgavatam from him. He became very pleased by this inconceivable nectar.

He thought, “I will explain and distribute these pastimes of Kṛṣṇa and Vraja. I have this desire.”

Śukadeva Gosvāmī never desired name and fame. He would wander naked. Did he have any problems? No.

He thought, “If I don’t glorify the Vraja-devīs and the Vrajavāsīs, how will I ever be near them? They will not accept me.”

Śrīla Gurudeva may have apparently left us. But our duty is to glorify him. Then Śrīla Gurudeva and all his associates will be so happy with us; they will accept us. Therefore, how will we ever be far away from him?

Śukadeva Gosvāmī thought, “I must glorify the Vraja-devīs; then they will be pleased because their glories are the glories of Kṛṣṇa. This is the only way to please them.”

As Śukadeva Gosvāmī pondered on a suitable recipient, Parīkṣit Mahārāja was cursed by a brāhmaṇa. He then came to the bank of the Gaṅgā. Gaṅgā Devī invited everyone by her heart. Therefore, all the Ṛṣis-Maharṣis came. Śukadeva Gosvāmī also came. How did he come? People were throwing dust and stones at his naked body. He was in his youth; yet, he had no problems.

yaḥ svānubhāvam akhila-śruti-sāram ekam

adhyātma-dīpam atititīrṣatāṁ tamo ‘ndham

saṁsāriṇāṁ karuṇayāha purāṇa-guhyaṁ

taṁ vyāsa-sūnum upayāmi guruṁ munīnām

Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 1.2.3

“Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto him Śuka, the spiritual master of all sages, the son of Vyāsadeva, who, out of his great compassion for those gross materialists who struggle to cross over the darkest regions of material existence, spoke this most confidential supplement to the cream of Vedic knowledge, after having personally assimilated it by experience.”

He was only absorbed in chanting and praying to his Lord. All the sages headed by Nārada, Parāśara, Vyāsadeva, Yājñavalkya, Asita, and the rest of the Ṛṣis-Maharṣis gave him a seat. When he sat on the vyāasāsana, he didn’t say anything. Parīkṣit Mahārāja only asked him two questions. And, Śukadeva Gosvāmī started his recitation of the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam.

tam ādidevaṁ karuṇā-nidhānaṁ

tamāla-varṇaṁ su-hitāvatāram

apāra-saṁsāra samudra-setuṁ

bhajāmahe bhāgavata-svarūpam

Śrī Padma-Purāṇa

I pay my salutations to that Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who has appeared in the form of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, who is the original personality, who is the ocean of mercy, who is dark in color like a Tamāla tree, who is all auspicious, who is the most pure, who is the source of all incarnations, and who is the bridge to cross the immeasurable material ocean of birth and death.

As everyone heard Śukadeva Gosvāmī speak, they enriched themselves with the nectar of Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes. Therefore, everyone became brahmacārīs. They no longer divided their love and affection among others. When a lucky person will hear the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam from the mahā-bhāgavata Vrajavāsīs, he will have the nectar of Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes immediately enter his heart. This is the paramparā. Everyone should respect this paramparā; everyone should wait for this nectar to enter their hearts.

Śukadeva Gosvāmī glorified Lord Keśava by every syllable. He explained how Keśavadeva is the heart of all the Vrajavāsīs and how all the Vrajavāsīs are His heart.

After describing the first nine cantos, Śukadeva Gosvāmī said, “By listening to these nine cantos, you will obtain much spiritual welfare. But, the tenth canto is everything.”

But tenth canto is divided into two parts—vraja-līlā and dvārakā-līlā. Vraja-līlā consists of dāsya-rasa (the mood of servitude),
sakhya-rasa (the mood of friendship), vātsalya-rasa (the mood of parent­hood), and mādhurya-rasa (conjugal love). Ultimately, śṛṅgāra-rasa or mādhurya-rasa is the original mellow (Adi-rasa). Mahāprabhu and His followers like the gosvāmīs have only spoken about śṛṅgāra-rasa. They have one-pointedly written only about śṛṅgāra-rasa. In their purports, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, Sanātana Gosvāmī, Jīva Gosvāmī, and Kavi Karṇapura Gosvāmī have only described vraja-līlā because this was Mahāprabhu’s desire.

yaḥ svānubhāvam akhila-śruti-sāram ekam

Śukadeva Gosvāmī collected the essence of all the Śrutis, Smṛtis, and Purāṇas. Thus, he spoke the purport this essence to Parīkṣit Mahārāja and the rest of the world. Therefore, lucky people will start reading the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam from this month to herald the appearance of this spotless scripture. Therefore, it is said:

namo brahmaṇya-devāya go-brāhmaṇa-hitāya ca

jagad-dhitāya kṛṣṇāya govindāya namo namaḥ

Śrī Viṣṇu Purāṇa 1.19.65

My Lord, You are the well-wisher of the cows and the brāhmaṇas, and You are the well-wisher of the entire human society and world.

Everyone should worship the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. By listening to the Bhāgavatam from the mahā-bhāgavatas especially during this month, a pure relation with the Vraja-devīs, Vrajavāsīs and Vraja-bhūmi will manifest immediately.

Everyone is very lucky to be observing Keśava-vrata in Navadvīpa-dhāma. You should not waste time. You should always chant and serve with vraja-bhāva. Don’t have yourself arrested by any other mood.

You should think, “I will not cook, clean, or perform other services without possessing vraja-bhāva.”

Then the very special mood of the Vrajavāsīs will automatically enter your heart. Thus, it will be very easy to achieve vraja-sevā. You will gain entrance into Vraja-bhūmi. You will not be far away from guru-sevā. Guru Mahārāja is watching every one of us. He sees our services. By his mercy, his services in the spiritual world will manifest in your heart. For instance, when Śrīla Gurudeva would go to America and other countries, all of us would become orphans in Mathurā and Vṛndāvana. Although we had no physical connection—the class he would give would also automatically manifest in our classes. We would become so happy then. After listening to his class, we would realize how intimate a heart to heart connection is. By following in his footsteps, whatever Śrīla Gurudeva is doing in another brahmāṇḍa (universe) will reflect in our hearts. His activities in Goloka Vṛndāvana will also manifest in our hearts. The Absolute Truth will reflect in our hearts. Vraja-bhāva and residence in Vraja is non-different.

Srila Gurudeva ki Jaya! (excerpted from “Sri Kesava-Vrata” available from: dasrasikmohan@gmail.com )
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