Srila Bhaktivedānta Swami Mahārāja requested Srila Gurudeva to help his Society many times during his manifest presence. After Śrīla Swami Mahārāja entered nitya-līlā, Gurudeva endeavored to fulfill his śikṣā-guru’s desire in a neutral manner. Many devotees came to Śrīla Gurudeva for shelter and guidance. Gurudeva would help everyone like a gardener who carefully looks after seedlings, protecting them with the fence of sādhu-saṅga and watering them with the nectar of hari–kathā so that they would gradually grow into mature and advanced Vaiṣṇavas.
As orphans who have lost their mother cry in grief and suffer from hunger and thirst, Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja’s disciples became somewhat restless and bewildered as to how to continue the mission after their Divine Master’s departure. Śrīla Gurudeva helped Śrīla Svāmī Mahārāja’s disciples and followers in all manners. To keep them strong and moving forward on the path of bhakti, Gurudeva gave them a taste of transcendental rasa. He began telling them about Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes in Vraja, showering and satisfying them with this nectar. As a result, they better understood their Prabhupāda’s glories and gleaned an understanding of the transcendental realm.
Śrīla Gurudeva spoke about the confidential topics of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa’s worship, as revealed in the books of the Guru-varga: Bhajana-rahasya, Prema-bhakti-candrika, Rādhā-rasa-sudha-nidhi, and Vilāpa-kusumāñjali, to name a few. Gurudeva explained on the basis of the Gosvāmīs’ books that without attaining vraja-rasa, the soul all never experience fulfillment and spiritual bliss, and by merely following the path of rules and regulations, pure love for God shall never awaken. Gurudeva described that the process of natural spontaneous love, anurāgamayi-sādhana, is simple to follow, but owing to ignorance of this method, people undergo hard labor with no result, like threshing empty husks for grain. Pure love cannot be attained by hard austerities. Love begets love. When the Vrajavāsīs see a sādhaka following the limbs of devotion with an intense greed for pure love, their hearts will melt and their pure love for Kṛṣṇa will flow into the heart of the practioner.
Śrīla Gurudeva emphasized certain verses of the Gosvāmīs’ literature:
kṛṣṇa smaraṇ janaṁ cāsya preṣṭhaṁ nija-samīhitam
tat-tat-kathā-rataś cāsau kuryād vāsaṁ vraje sadā
Always remember Kṛṣṇa along with His beloved associate whose mood you aspire for; have great attachment for topics about Kṛṣṇa and that associate, and forever reside in Vraja listening to such hari-kathā.
krīyatāṁ yadi kuto ‘pi labhyate
tatra laulyam api mūlyam ekalaṁ
janma-koṭi-sukṛtair na labhyate Padyāvalī 14
Intelligence imbued with kṛṣṇa-bhakti-rasa cannot be had even by pious activity in hundreds and thousands of lives. Only by paying one price—intense greed—can one obtain it. If it is available, purchase it without delay at any cost!
“The Gosvāmīs’ literature and prayers are greater and more helpful than the Vedas,” Śrīla Gurudeva said. “The process of worshiping Kṛṣṇa as practiced by the Vraja-devīs is the highest. Kṛṣṇa and the Vraja-devīs have an eternal relationship and Kṛṣṇa always yearns to hear the Vraja-devīs’ loving speech. The Gosvāmīs themselves are rāgātmika Vrajavāsīs; moreover, they are the intimate maidservants of Srimati Rādhārānī. Singing their love-laden prayers immediately kindles Kṛṣṇa’s attention and can thus quickly cross the sādhaka beyond the lengthy process of spiritual practice.”
Śrīla Gurudeva continued, “Gopī yadi māna kari’ karaye bhartsana, veda-stuti haite hare sei mora mana—the gopī’s abuses are much more attractive to Kṛṣṇa than the hymns of the Vedas. Gopī-bhāva vīṇā na pāya kṛṣṇacandra—one cannot attain Śrī Kṛṣṇa without the moods of the gopīs.
mane nija-siddha-deha kariyā bhāvana
rātri-dine kare vraje kṛṣṇera sevana
Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya 22.157
“The sādhaka desirous of his supreme welfare must continuously absorb himself in the eternal service of Kṛṣṇa in Vraja Maṇḍala. As long as he does not do so, he has not really started on the path to fulfilling the soul’s innermost need for eternal love. The sādhana of rāgānuga-bhakti begins with service done in the mind. To be able to render such mānasī-sevā, one must be under guidance of those who have anurāga, pure love.
iṣṭe svārasikī rāgaḥ paramāviṣṭatā bhavet
tan-mayī yā bhaved bhaktiḥ sātra rāgātmikoditā
Rāga is the unquenchable loving thirst for the object of one’s affection that in turn gives rise to spontaneous and intense absorption in that object. Devotion that is performed with such rāga is known as rāgātmikā-bhakti.
“Mānasī–sevā of Kṛṣṇa and the Vrajavāsīs has been going on since the time of Mahāprabhu,” Gurudeva said. “It has descended through the line of Vakreśvara Paṇḍa, Gopāla Guru Gosvāmī, Dhyānacandra Gosvāmī, and Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura. Śrīla Prabhupāda Sarasvatī Ṭhākura arranged for this process of entering madhurya-rasa to be disseminated throughout the world, and Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja also came to give this.
“Prabhupāda Sarasvatī Ṭhākura is glorified with the following verse:
śrī-gaura-karuṇā-śakti-vigrahāya namo ‘stu te
I offer obeisance unto he who is the embodiment of that rūpānuga-bhakti which is radiant with the conjugal love of Śrī Sri Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, and who is the personification of Śrī Gaurāṅga Mahāprabhu’s mercy potency.
Śrīla Gurudeva continued, “This line of Prabhupāda Sarasvatī Ṭhākura will never stop. Those who come to this paramparā and accept this pure ideology will certainly obtain qualification for internal service. They will understand the speciatyl of mañjarī-bhāva and by their anurāgamayi-sevā they will capture Kṛṣṇa in their heart. It is not possible to control Kṛṣṇa by any other means.
“Kṛṣṇa doesn’t have much enthusiasm or greed to savor other rasas. Sri Kṛṣṇa says—aiśvarya-śithila-preme nāhi mora prīta—I am not pleased by love mixed with awe and reverence. The Vrajavāsīs worship Kṛṣṇa with the sweetest kind of loving service. This process should be followed externally in the sādhaka’s body, and internally within the mind:
sevā sādhaka-rūpeṇa siddha-rupeṇa cātra hi
tad bhāva lipsunā kāryā vraja lokānusārataḥ
Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, Pūrva-vibhāga 295la Gu
“When the sādhaka enters deeper and deeper into mānasī-sevā, the internal realm of Vraja inside the heart and purified mind gradually becomes more real than the external material world. He achieves the perfection of yoga—union with the Absolute, or a connection to the transcendental world and pure love for Kṛṣṇa and His associates. The sādhaka realizes his eternal form and service, and upon giving up the mundane body, he awakens in his spiritual body in transcendental Vraja.”
Śrīla Gurudeva concluded, “It is thus essential for the aspiring transcendentalist to reside in a place imbued with anurāga for Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa—where discussions of Vraja are always taking place amongst devotees whose hearts are filled with pure loving attachment for Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa.”
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Swami Mahārāja’s senior disciples felt the pangs of acute separation from their spiritual master and pondered how to obtain his association. Many of them took shelter of Śrīla Gurudeva and implored him, “Can you arrange our meeting with Śrīla Prabhupāda?”
Śrīla Gurudeva said, “Your Prabhupada is eternally related with his Gurudeva, the entire guru-paramparā, Mahāprabhu and Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. Try to understand and follow his heart’s desire. It is not enough to maintain and expand the external mission of ISKCON—you must develop Kṛṣṇa consciousness in your hearts. You have received some power from Śrī Guru, but have not fulfilled his heart’s desire. Prabhupada is always present in Vraja. You must ardently follow rūpānugā-bhakti—then you can find your Prabhupāda in Vraja. Undergo strong sādhana and meditation. When Śrīnāsa Acarya appeared to have left his body, Rāmacandra Kavirāja entered internal meditation and found his Gurudeva at Rādhā-kuṇḍa. Similarly, when you enter Vraja, you will find your Prabhupāda there.”
Gurudeva further explained, “When Kṛṣṇa disappeared during rāsa-līlā, He reappeared by the fervent prayers of the gopīs; and when Śrīmatī Rādhārānī disappeared from vasanti-rāsa, Kṛṣṇa searched for Her and prayed for Her to be appeased. In one respect, the devotees search for Kṛṣṇa, and on the other hand, Kṛṣṇa searches for His devotees. If the disciple feels the need for Śrī Guru, he can search out and find him. However, if the disciple desires to upsurp Śrī Guru’s position—to become jagad-guru himself—and thus feels guru’s presence a burden, guru will disappear. Guru is always present with those sincere devotees who feel his need and have love for him.”
Śrīla Gurudeva took Srila Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja’s disciples to many places in Vraja, including: Sūa-kuṇḍa, Sunaharā, Kāmyavana, Sera Ghara, Cīra Ghāṭa, Girirāja Govardhana, Śyāmaḍhāka, Gāṅṭholī, Ādikedār, and Ādibadrī. Śrīla Gurudeva not only brought them to these love-laden places in Vraja, he nourshied the devotees with the near of his hari–kathā and taught the process of developing a relation with the dhāma.
One day, Śrīla Gurudeva went with Śrīla Svāmī Mahārāja’s senior disciples to Lohavana. There, Śrīla Gurudeva told the story of Lohasura. He said, “A demon named Lohasura resided in this place, hence it is named Lohavana. He worshiped Durgā-devī and her expansions with the prayer, ‘May you be pleased and bestow upon me immortal nectar.’
“After Lohasura had undergone austerity for a long me, Devī brought him a container of amṛta from heaven and said, ‘I give this to you, but will only become immortal nectar when is distributed by the hand of a goddess in Vraja, the daughter of Vṛṣabhānu Mahārāja, Śrīmatī Rādhikā. If She comes and gives you this nectar, you will become immortal.’
“Lohasura contemplated how to bring Rādhārānī there to give him the nectar. He made a cave and tunnel to Mathurā, thinking to capture Kṛṣṇa and all His sakhās and take them to Kaṁsa; then, when there was no obstacle, he could capture Śrīmatī Rādhikā and make Her serve him the pot of near.
“He made many iron statues and would beat them with his fists to strengthen himself. One day, the sakhās came with Kṛṣṇa to Lohavana to play. The sakhās came upon the cave of Lohasura and entered within it. In a deep recess, Lohasura was meditating on Goddess Durgā. The sakhās saw the iron statues and broke them all into pieces. Hearing the clamor, Lohasura came out and was angered to see that all his idols had been destroyed.
“Lohasura fought with the sakhās, desiring to capture and take them through his cave as an offering for Kamsa. He thought, ‘When the sakhās are out of the way, I all then kill Kṛṣṇa, and there all no longer be any obstacle to bringing Rādhārāṇī and making Her give me the nectar.’
“As Lohasura herded the sakhās towards Mathurā, Kṛṣṇa attacked and killed him. Kṛṣṇa then went to the place where Lohasura worshiped Durgā and saw the container of amṛta. He gave this pot of near to Śrīmatī Rādhikā, who distributed it to the sakhās, sakhīs, and Vrajavāsīs. Kṛṣṇa made the Vrajavāsīs immortal with this nectar. When He left Vraja to Mathurā and Dvārakā, they languished after Him, but could not leave their bodies.”
Śrīla Gurudeva said, “Through this pastime It is shown that in Vraja no endeavor shall be successfully completed until one takes shelter of Śrīmatī Rādhikā. All Vrajavāsīs are surrendered to Śrīmatī Rādhikā. In Vraja, worship of any demigod or goddess will bestow no fruit.
“When the spiritual master gives kathāmṛta, the nectar of his words,” Śrīla Gurudeva concluded, “his followers lose attachment to worldly objects and material life. They simultaneously become eternally connected to Śrī Guru and engaged in Kṛṣṇa’s service. For those who received this kathāmṛta from guru and kept it safe in their hearts, immortality is assured.”
Srila Gurudeva ki Jaya! Excerpted from the Bhaktabandhav book publication, “Sri Guru Darshan”. Available from: firstname.lastname@example.org )