HOW THE GOSVAMIS CAME TO GURUDEVA

One time when Gurudeva was with our Param Gurudeva, he said, “Oh Guru Maharaja, I was very strong and restless before. I would do the high jump, the long jump, I would race horses, coming to the Temple I would also be very busy and fully engaged, but now my body is not working.” Why? Srila Gurudeva did so much vairagya – renunciation, he even got ulcers from the fasting he would do.

Srila Gurudeva asked, “I have no strength with my body now. What should I do now?” Srila Param Gurudeva replied, “Oh this is Bhagavan’s great mercy, otherwise if we just go on the karma-marga, the path of action, we might become full of pride thinking we are great doers, but now you do not have to worry about anything. Now you can sit, chant harinama, study the granthas, and taking shelter of the granthas, you should translate the books. In your mind you can do all these services. In your mind you can give all your energy to the Lords service. With our body there is some limitation, but there is no limitation in the service we can do with our mind. By serving with the body, and showing this to everyone, we may become full of pride.”

Therefore, you should engage not only your body, but also your mind. Srila Rupa Goswami gave this instruction:

tan-nāma-rūpa-caritādi-sukīrtanānu-

smṛtyoḥ krameṇa rasanā-manasī niyojya

tiṣṭhan vraje tad-anurāgi janānugāmī

kālaṁ nayed akhilam ity upadeśa-sāram  (Śrī Upadeśāmṛta, Sloka 8)

“The essence of all advice is that one should utilize one’s full time—twenty-four hours a day—in nicely chanting and remembering the Lord’s divine name, transcendental form, qualities and eternal pastimes, thereby gradually engaging one’s tongue and mind. In this way one should reside in Vraja [Goloka Vṛndāvana dhāma] and serve Kṛṣṇa under the guidance of devotees. One should follow in the footsteps of the Lord’s beloved devotees, who are deeply attached to His devotional service.”

How can we do this? Krameṇa means the body, rasanā means the tongue, and niyojya, means the mind. Here it is said rasanā-manasī, meaning engage the rasanā, the tongue, and manasī, the mind. Simply engaging the body is not enough. The body should become fully absorbed, but the process to do that, is through the mind. If your mind is fully engaged, then your body will run along behind. If your body is crippled, or if you are old and cannot do it, still you can always do everything with your mind, and there will be no lacking. 

GRANTHA SEVA AND MANASI SEVA

Srila Gurudeva was therefore told to study the books and translate them into hindi from bengali and sanskrit. He would say, “After Srila Keshava Maharaja would instruct me like this, I would spend more time on grantha seva and internal manasi seva. When Srila Keshava Maharaja would stay in Mathura for one month, he would read all the books in the library and correct them if there were any mistakes, and he would also teach them to me. Previously I had been very fast, strong, quick and always physically engaged, but now my Guru Maharaja wanted me to study the books of the Goswami’s. In this way he told me to take shelter of the Gosvamis and become connected to them.”

GOSVAMIS BOOKS COME TO GURUDEVA

Srila Prabhupada Saraswati Thakur had a special disciple who lived in Bihar. He had an ashram there, but he saw that his disciples were not so qualified. He lamented that they were all absorbed in an enjoying mood and trying to steal just like dacoits. He explained, “Many people come with the name of followers, in Hindi you say ‘chela’ but they are only thieves and dacoits trying to disturb and destroy Guru and steal everything from him.” Therefore, he didn’t want to give them anything. He took a whole truck full of the Gosvamis books that he had collected, and brought them to Keshavji Gaudiya Math in Matura. He said to Srila Gurudeva, “Srila Prabhupada came to me in a dream and told me to bring these all to you.” 

He came to Keshavji Gaudiya Math in the evening with the truck load of books, then in the morning he met with Srila Gurudeva saying, “All these books are from Srila Bhaktisidhanta Prabhupada’s time. Books of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur and the Goswamis. I have brought them all for you because you are so qualified, please take them. My disciples are in name only, and what will they do with these books? They will burn them to heat water for warm baths, or to boil chai. They do not understand the value of these books, or the Goswamis.”

He brought all these books and gave them to Srila Gurudeva. Param Gurudeva heard about this and was very happy. Param Gurudeva came himself and sat down and made a wooden armoire, cupboard and shelves with his own hands and then he placed all the books there. Param Gurudeva said to Gurudeva, “The Goswamis have given you so much mercy. They have all come directly and accepted you. Now you should be fully engaged in studying them and translating them.

Srila Param Gurudeva himself would read them day and night and mark where there were any mistakes. Why? Many of these books were published by sahajiyas, so there were many incorrect things that had been added by them. Param Gurudeva would correct these things and take them out. At the end of his stay he asked Srila Gurudeva, “May I take one or two books with me?” Gurudeva was amazed and said, “Oh Guru Maharaja, I am yours. Whatever is nearby me is also yours. I do not think for a moment that these are mine. Please therefore take everything.” But Param Gurudeva said, “Oh but why have they come? I asked you to be connected with the Goswamis, therefore they themselves came. They are yours now.” 

At that time, to find these books of the Goswamis like Ujjvala Nilamani, Madhurya Kadambini, Aishwarya Kadambini, Bhakti Rasamrta Sindhu, Sanatana Goswami’s commentary of Damodarastakam and so forth, was not an easy task. These books were not easily available. Many hundreds of books came to Gurudeva. 

Srila Prabhupada had such disciples who would bring books from all over India and collect them. This disciple of Srila Prabhupada who had collected these books was a grantha-premi, he had so much love for the granthas. Therefore he had collected all the different commentaries of the various acharyas. He had all the different acharyas commentaries on Srimad Bhagavatam, like Srila Jiva Goswami’s commentary and Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakur’s commentary. *He brought all the 108 different commentaries on the Srimad Bhagavatam.

Param Gurudeva said, “I will come here and I will read everything. In Caturmasya, or in Kartika, or at some other time, I will stay and read all these granthas. These are the direct forms of the Goswamis. This is the method to meet with them. This is sabda-brahma – transcendental sound. Therefore, take these books in your hands, is like chanting a mantra, the ‘mantra devata’ comes. By taking shelter of the granthas is the same as taking shelter of the mantra devatas. Even if you cannot read or understand them, keep them with you, put them on your heart, put them on your head, then you will be touching the Goswamis directly. These books of the Goswamis are non-different from the Goswamis themselves, and the Goswamis are non-different from the ‘Vraja-devis’, so take shelter of these bookse, respect them, and honor them. Gurudeva began translating all these books. He would do anusilana – take complete shelter of them, and then Srila Gurudeva began translating them into Hindi. (CLICK ON THE TITLE TO READ THE COMPLETE ARTICLE)

HOW TO BECOME QUALIFIED FOR APRAKRTA RASA

Krsna gave this ‘rasa’ to the Gopis, but afterwards no one knew about it, therefore, Caitanya Mahaprabhu came and distributed it again. The Srimad Bhagavatam is the evidence of this, and it shows the highest prema, demonstrating that the highest *upasana, is that of the Vraja-gopis. Srimad Bhagavatam is the highest *pramana. The Srimad Bhagavatam came to give maha-prema, the topmost love. Krsna manifested the rasa-sthali (pastime place), for this purpose, then He distributed aprakrta-rasa (transcendental mellow). However, no one could understand or enter it without qualification and mercy. 

Mahaprabhu therefore said, “I will arrange a method for people to obtain this *unnatojjvala-rasāṁ sva-bhakti-śriyam. I will tell the method and show it through My associates. Yuga dharma nama sankirtana is not sufficient, I will give more than that. I will give prema – divine love, with yuga dharma sankirtana. That prema will be able to attract the jivas (living entities) to Vrindavan and to the rasa-stahli, and they will be attracted to rasa-mayi Krsna.”

LAULYAM – ONE POINTED SPIRITUAL GREED

That’s why there is his *parikaras like Swarupa Damodara who is Lalita, Gadadhara Pandit who is directly Srimati Radharani, Raya Ramananda who is Visakha. Mahaprabhu said, “I have brought all My associates from Vraja, and I will develop people’s mood of saranagati – surrender to them, and sambandha – relation with them. When they develop this sambandha-jnana then they will be attracted to Vrindavan and they will develop lobha, spiritual greed. At that time the jivas -living entities will develop more and more greed for this bhakti-rasa. Therefore, it is described:

kṛṣṇa-bhakti-rasa-bhāvitā matiḥ

krīyatāṁ yadi kuto ‘pi labhyate

tatra laulyam api mūlyam ekalaṁ

janma-koṭi-sukṛtair na labhyate  (Padyāvalī 14)

Srila Rupa Goswami said, “Go to that sadhu who is kṛṣṇa-bhakti-rasa-bhāvitā matiḥ, where their intelligence or mind is fully immersed in Krsna-bhakti-rasa. But not only that, what should you do there? Can you give them charity and receive it? Can you buy it? Can you get it by their mercy? What is the price? 

 

tatra laulyam api mūlyam ekalaṁ. 

Laulyam – spiritual greed, is the only cost to receive this bhakti-rasa. Srila Gurudeva would say a beggar would sit by a sweet shop and look in the glass case where there were many nice sweets like rasagula, malpua and rabari, but the beggar had no money so he could not buy any sweets. However, he had so much greed he would lick the remnant leaf cups thrown on the ground by the shop customers. Seeing his greed someone mercifully bought him a rasagula and other sweets. Because of his greed he received those very things, even though he had no money to buy them.

If we develop this one-pointed spiritual greed for Vraja-bhakti-rasa, and become like the cataka bird thinking, “I will not accept anything else, I will only take this Vraja-bhakti-rasa,” then those associates of Mahaprabhu will give us that rasa, Just like Srila Raghunatha Das Goswami, in all humility prayed to Sanatana Goswami in Panihati. Das Goswami gave this rasa to lakhs and lakhs of people, and even now this festival is going on ‘Ciḍā-dadhi-mahotsava’.

Krsna manifested the rasa-sthali, and then He also arranged all His associates to distribute it. Do not think this is a simple thing of just dancing and singing, embracing and kissing. In this world there is the story of Lila and Manju and its counterpart Romeo and Juliet, but these are not the same as the aprakrta rasa. Jada-rasa and aprakrta-rasa cannot be compared, they are not equal. One thing (jada-rasa) is contemptible, very insignificant and takes the soul away from its true purpose, and the other is aprakrta, transcendental, it has no scent of material lust. Even Kamadeva himself becomes bewildered by it, he cannot enter Vraja and affect the associates there with even a tinge of lust. 

DHARANA – COURSE AND CONCEPT

That transcendental place, or rasa-sthali, is the place where the source of all rasa is present. If we develop proper intelligence, spiritual greed, and a thirst for it, then very easily we will attain it. However, until we have one pointed greed, endeavor solely for that purpose, and develop eagerness for the association of the rasika Vaisnavas and Rasa-bihari-Sri Krsna, up to that time our ‘dharana’, course and concept will not change. We can easily think this to be insignificant and not understand its value.

We can easily become like these mad dogs in the world, barking and running after everyone and trying to bite them. We do not understand what is ‘aprakrta’, what is transcendental. We have no greed or intelligence in this. Krsna thought, “In this Vrindavan, I have never yet opened the center for giving charity of this aprakrta-rasa.” So Krsna brought the sadhana-siddhas. They did not have the potency themselves to go without Krsna’s mercy so He called them. 

A question has been raised by Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakur. During the time of Katyayani-vrata the sadhana-siddha-gopis did this vrata. Why did the nitya-siddha-gopis also come? The answer is that if the nitya-siddha-gopis hadn’t come, then who would have taught the sadhana-siddha-gopis? Who would help them to progress? 

Guru does not make disciples, He makes gurus. Just like sometimes students, study and then become teachers and help new students develop. Guru gives all qualifications and then he helps them progress and become advanced. In this way Bhagavan is great and the jivas are small, but what does He do for the jivas? He also makes them brhat. ‘Brahma’ is he who can make others great also, and established in pure brahma or pure spiritual substance. In this way Bhagavan gives spiritual knowledge to the jivas and infuses them with this rasa. The nitya-siddhas-gopis do not need to perform Katyayani-vrata, but to help the sadhana-siddhas-gopis progress, they also attended Katyayani-vrata, and they also helped and invited Krsna. When Krsna came He separated them from all moha and asakti – illusory false conceptions, and external coverings. Krsna then brought them back into the company of the nitya-siddhas-gopis and for one year the sadhana-siddhas-gopis stayed with the nitya-siddhas-gopis. After that Krsna called them and thought, “Now I will give you transcendental aprakrta rasa.”

This rasa cannot be obtained by any ordinary process, we must develop the qualification for it. That is why we see how much sadhana the sadhana-siddhas-gopis actually went through. Even when they came to Vraja they had to undergo ‘Katyayani-vrata’ and then for a year they were in the association of the nitya-siddhas-gopis, learning from them. 

In this way we can become qualified for that aprakrta rasa. We must come under the guidance of a proper group and group leader. As long as we have our independent spirit, we cannot meet with Krsna and receive aprakrta rasa. We must offer our independence and may do it with great difficulty, and effort, but at the same time not respect and honor others. We think, “Let them say whatever they want but I am senior. They will only speak and bark at us.” We will not have humility until we completely give up our independent spirit. We will not be able to progress into the various groups of Vraja. This is the last stage of our sadhana, when we offer our independence to the leader of one of the gopis groups.

OFFER YOUR INDEPENDENT SPIRIT

I have seen so many people say to Gurudeva, “I am your shoes.” But after a few days they try to become Gurudeva’s umbrella, and try to become the umbrella of everyone in order to control them. Actually, they are not the shoes. Until you offer our independent spirit, you can not make progress. It is not easy, but until we do this, Krsna will not give us the transcendental aprakrta rasa. We do not have any qualification for it, nor even a vessel to receive it and He does not forcefully give it. If we have no desire for it, then it will be the same as putting us into a prison. If we do not do this by our own free will, we would think, “Oh it is just a bond and Krsna is forcing us to do it.” We must be a willing recipient of His mercy and His love. Krsna thought, “I cannot force anything on the jivas. I only want to follow the process of pure love.”\

DAUGHTERS OF THE DEVA’S AND PERSONIFIED VEDAS BECOME GOPIS

The Gopis and sadhakas who had worshipped Krsna by the upasana, of the eighteen syllable Gopal mantra, were brought by Krsna into Vraja-mandala. They took birth as Gopis and received the association of the nitya-siddha’s, eternal associates, and *kaya-vyuhas of Srimati Radhika.

The Deva-kanyas are another kind of sadhana-siddha’s – eternal associates. The Deva-kanya’s were daughters of the different Devas – demigods, who also desired the association of Krsna. The personified Srutis or Vedic sastras, also prayed to Krsna, “Oh you are so beautiful, more than millions and millions of Cupids, please accept us and bring us to Your abode.”

In this way, various types of sadhakas and personalities, even the Vedas personified prayed to enter Vraja and achieve a position as one of His beloveds. Krsna told the Srutis – Vedas, “I will fulfill your desire. It is a very good desire. It is a very rare thing, and it is very special. I will accept you in due course.” Krsna gave His mercy and said He would accept them, then in due course when Krsna came to Bhauma Vraja, the Vraja on this planet.

*This planet is the place of sadhana (spiritual practice) as well as a place for the sadhakas (spiritual practitioners) to meet the siddhas – (perfected souls) and for Krsna to meet the siddhas, like in a Temple, or in a Math. Some ashrams are such that they are only like a place of business and some ashrams are only a place where Bhagavan’s worship is being performed. Other places are where only Krsna’s service is performed. In this way, there are different kinds of ashrams, and in a similar way, Krsna has different abodes.

In this Bhauma Vrindavan, or the Vrindavan that Krsna manifested on this earth, Krsna came with His eternal associates and accepted the sadhakas (spiritual practitioners) who achieved sadhana-siddhi (perfection through sadhana). Those who came as sadhakas, developed one pointed greed and desire to achieve Krsna, but like the sages of Dandakaranya in Rama lila, they originally worshiped Gopal, however they still could not achieve perfection. Only when they had darshan of Ramachandraji, did they develop the neccessary greed and wanted to accept Him as their beloved.

When the jiva (spirit soul) gradually becomes pure by performing sadhana, then naturally they develop an attraction towards Bhagavan. The mantra has this power and by chanting it, gradually the mind will become purified. By this, pure knowledge develops and the mind will become fixed in God’s loving service.” (CLICK OF THE TITLE TO READ THE COMPLETE ARTICLE)

WHY DID KRSNA STEAL THE GOPIS CLOTHES?

Krsna called the Gopis to His beautiful Vrindavan, which was filled with sweet smelling breezes and beautiful blossoming flowers and fruit trees. The Gopis at that time had so much pain in their hearts because they wanted to attain Krsna as their beloved. When they were practicing to attain Krsna as their beloved at the Katyayani-vrata, Krsna gave them a very strong test to see if they were still attached to their bodies.

He said, “If you worship Me but still have material lust, then I cannot accept you. You must give this up. He tested them again and again, and when He saw that they were completely separate and detached from their minds and bodies, He took away their clothes. These clothes represented their gross and subtle bodies, and then He gave them new clothes, which represented their spiritual form. Lust therefore could no longer touch them. If we do not identify with the material gross and subtle bodies, then we cannot be touched by lust. That is why we follow this Katyayani-vrata.

Krsna again called them, and He played on the flute and they all came. Krsna tested them saying, “Why have you come here to the forest?”

The Gopis replied, “Oh! We have come to see the beautiful forest.”

Krsna said, “Now you have seen it, so now you should go back and serve your families, and your husbands. Do not think I will enjoy with you like an ordinary relative or husband.”

Krsna spoke with them like this and could understand that they were free of material desires. Seeing they were completely pure and engaged in His loving service without any distraction, Krsna fully accepted them and performed rasa. When we are free of material identification with the body, samsara cannot touch us. Even though we may be in samsara, we are outside of samsara, just like the lotus is above the water even though it is within the water. We can practically see Vaisnavas who are in this world, that are completely absorbed in Krsna’s pastimes. Because they are spiritualized by this, the material energy, and the three material modes of nature cannot touch them.

In Krsna’s Saradiya-rasa, some Gopis developed pride in their good fortune, but Bhagavan Sri Krsna still accepted them. He then gave them one more test by disappearing and bringing them under the shelter of Srimati Radhika.

During the rasa purnima, Sri Krsna accepted the Gopis, but so many tests were given. In this way, Krsna made them completely qualified and He gave ever fresh moods of love and affection. They could receive that when they came under the guidance of Srimati Radhika and Her nitya-siddha-gopis.

VRAJA RASA IS THE HIGHEST MELLOW

When Srila Gurudeva gives diksa mantras, first he gives faith in transcendental rati. Rati means attraction towards something. Then while waking, sleeping, and moving about, they are attracted towards Krsna’s service and thinking about collecting things for His seva. In this way they become so absorbed, that they become as if merged within thoughts of Krsna and His service. In this way they very easily cross over this worldly existence. Then Sri Krsna completely fulfills them with His transcendental loving mellows.

Nalakuvera and Manigriva had so much lust, but by Narada Rsi’s mercy, He gave them diksa and took them out of their material bodies, giving them a body fit for sadhana in Vraja. They took the form of Arjuna trees and for a long time they had to perform sadhana there. After this they achieved vraja-bhakti-rasa. Therefore, we must take shelter of Sri Guru and be prepared to perform sadhana bhakti. The Vraja-gopis, seeing Krsna’s beautiful form, desired to serve Him. This is not a material thirst or a material desire.

SRIMATI RADHIKA IS THE MOST CHASTE

Srimati Radhika once said, “Oh Lalite, now I am contaminated. My life has no meaning.”

Lalita asked, “Why?”

Srimati Radhika said, “Oh when I was walking on the bank of the Yamuna, I saw a beautiful boy and My mind and heart went to Him. Then I heard someone playing a flute sound and my mind ran towards Him. And then I saw someone’s picture and My heart went to Him. My heart has been divided into three places, to the Boy I saw by Yamuna, to the Boy who played the flute, and to the picture of the Boy I saw.”

Then Lalita said, “Oh Radhe! They are all the same! Therefore, Your heart is only in one place. You are not unchaste.”

HEARING UNDER THE GUIDANCE OF THE GURU-VARGA

Krsna is so beautiful, so attractive, even Srimati becomes bewildered. This is not to be considered anything material. The form of Sri Krsna and His pastimes are the topmost, transcendental truth. This is the real method of becoming liberated. By experiencing it, you will understand what real rasa and love is. Before that everything is mere speculation. We may hear something but may not understand it, even in the slightest. If you do not have the proper understanding, faith and knowledge of how to accept something, then you are only passing and wasting time. Therefore, you should hear the commentaries of our Guru-varga, and by drinking this nectar and bringing it into your heart, you will understand how to relish this rasa-lila, and your spiritual welfare will be assured.

HOW TO BECOME FREE OF LUST

Srila Jiva Goswami Prabhu states that Sri Krsna bewilders even cupid himself. There is no living being who is free from the effects of this Kamadeva. Kamadeva’s kingdom is within the bodies and minds of all living beings. We see what happened when Siva Thakuraa became separated from everyone and went into deep meditation on Bhagavan. The demigods saw that because Siva Thakuraa had become renounced and was giving up the world, everything was becoming dark, and tamo-guna (mode of ignorance) was spreading everywhere.

The demons became more and more powerful and were disturbing all the different living entities. The demigods thought, “How can we get Siva Thakura’s attention back towards his material work?” They prayed to Lord Brahma and he said, “I cannot convince him. Although he has the power to remove all anarthas and ignorance, and help all the living entities, I am unable to bring him to his duties. Somehow you are going to have to break the meditation which he has become completely absorbed in. If he gives up his meditation and enters external consciousness, then the world will be benefited. Simply by opening his eyes the world will be free of anarthas, and the power of the demons will diminish. Just like when the sun rises, naturally the darkness is dissipated, and all the thieves and dacoits hide. If Siva Thakura’s eyes open and he comes out of samadhi, then immediately everything will be restored to proper balance. Now go and break Siva Thakura’s meditation.” 

Indra and his different demigods went and invited Kamadeva, they said, “Oh Kamadeva, please go and distract Siva Thakura. Shoot your five flower arrows at him and bring many beautiful gandharvas to distract him, thereby bringing him back to this world.” 

Kamadeva has five arrows. These all affect the five senses of the body. If the five arrows of cupid do not attack us, then we can easily remain peaceful. When Cupid shoots his arrows at us, because of their influence, it is extremely hard to refrain from acting upon it.

Cupid went to Kedaranatha, where Siva Thakura was performing meditation, and he saw Siva Thakura was completely absorbed in samadhi. Cupid then made a beautiful environment and invited so many apsaras (heavenly dancers), they began to dance and sing and shower flowers upon Siva Thakura. However, they could not bring Siva Thakura’s attention towards the world. Then Cupid began to shoot his five flower arrows at Siva Thakura. First, he shot his arrow which affects the agni or fire, then the air, then the earth. He has an arrow for each of the elements which affect the different senses. Then when he shot the next arrow, Siva Thakura became disturbed. He thought, “Why is this power coming upon me like electricity? Where has this lust entered from?” If someone has been touched by this disease of lust then day and night that person will not have any peace. He will be so restless and disturbed. Siva Thakura thought, “Where has this come from?” He opened his eyes to see. “Who is causing this disturbance of breaking my samadhi and absorption in Sri Krsna’s seva?” 

Siva Thakura opened his third eye, as he didn’t want to use his two eyes to see things in this world, and then he saw at a distance Kamadeva was dancing and attacking him with so many different instruments. Siva Thakura thought, “Oh you want to disturb me? Now at once you should lose your body.” Siva Thakura instantly burnt him to ash. Then Kamadeva had no more physical form, but still he could not be defeated by that.

Even though Kamadeva, or lust, is enjoying through everyone, still he is not satisfied. It is said however much a lusty person enjoys he can never be satisfied. A lusty person can never be satisfied, regardless of how much he enjoys. Day and night, he will never be satisfied. Siva Thakura said, “Now I will not let you go,” and he made him into ash. Now what could Kamadeva do?

KAMADEVA AND SAMBARASURA

At that time Rati, the wife of Kamadeva, approached Siva Thakura and prayed to him. Who is Rati? She is the wife of Cupid and she gives jada-rati, material desire, and because of her influence we are always thirsting for material things. She assists Kamadeva. She came and said to Siva Thakura, “Oh you have destroyed my husband, you have burnt him to ash!” She prayed for a long time and finally Siva Thakura gave her a blessing, saying, “Cupid will not come back now, but in Dvapara Yuga, when Krsna appears in this world, your husband will be born as His son. However, as soon as he is born, the demon Sambarasura will take him and try to kill him.” 

Why did Sambarasura want to kill him? Sambarasura did not want Kamadeva to be present in this world. He thought, “I will kill Kamadeva, because if Kamadeva is born, then he will try and enjoy everyone.” This jada-kama or material lust enjoys through everyone. So Sambarasura thought, “I will conquer and control him.” But it is not so easy. Sambarasura was thinking he would take this position of Kamadeva. 

Siva Thakura said to Rati, “You should stay in Sambarasura’s house and become a maidservant there, become his cook and servant. And when Kamadeva takes birth as the son of Krsna and Rukmini, then Sambarasura will capture him.” 

Sambarasura captured Kamadeva when he was born and planned to kill him. When he was on the way to his home to kill Kamadeva, he met Narada Rsi on the pathway. Narada Rsi asked him, “Oh where are you going? Are you going to kill this innocent child? Will you commit such a heinous sin? You will never be able to be free of that sin.”

Sambarasura asked, “Should I allow him to grow up and then kill him?”

Narada said, “Oh! You won’t be able to kill him if he gets big and strong. You should just throw him here. Now you are near the water, just throw him in the ocean and then somehow he will drown.” 

Sambarasura then threw Kamadeva, the baby son of Krsna, into the ocean, and then a fish swallowed the baby. But by swallowing the baby, the fish now became so restless because of Kama (lust). The fish became senseless and crazy. The fish was then shot and killed by a fisherman. By fate, the fish was sold to the home of Sambarasura, where Rati was his cook and servant. Sambarasura, being very pleased with her cooking, gave her this fish to cook. When she cut the fish open, she saw the baby Kamadeva in the stomach. She fed the fish to Sambarasura, but hid the baby and took care of him and taught him all mystic powers and potencies. Then when he grew and became a youth, she told him, “You are my husband and I am your wife.”

Kamadeva replied, “But you took care of me like a mother and you are so much older than me. I am just a young boy.”

Rati said, “No, I am actually your wife and you are my husband.” She then told all the pastimes of how he was burnt by Siva Thakura and so forth. She said, “Now you must kill Sambarasura,” and she helped him do this. 

NOT EASY TO GET RID OF LUST

Even though Siva Thakura conquered Kamadeva, still he again appeared in this world. Therefore, it is not easy to be free of Kamadeva. Whether you do bhajan and sadhana, or even try to achieve liberation, still Kamadeva can always touch you. He even approached Siva Thakura and disturbed him. No matter how old you are, whether you are a man or woman, young or old, boy or girl, or even an ant, Kamadeva will come. Kamadeva is like the king of the whole world and he has power over all the living beings in this world.

Sukadeva Goswami told Pariksit Maharaja, “As long as you are taking things from this world that are under the control of Kamadeva, you will have material desires and be influenced by the three modes of nature. Therefore, you must become freed from this.”

First, we must get mukti (liberation) from this world. What is the real meaning of mukti? It means to be present in your spiritual form in the spiritual world, otherwise it is not real mutki. Mukti is not an ordinary thing. The revealed scriptures say, “What is real mukti?” That is to achieve your spiritual identity and form in the transcendental world. As long as you are present in the realm of material lust then you cannot achieve your spiritual form.

WORLDLY LUST VERSUS DIVINE LOVE

Kamadeva came to Sri Krsna at the rasa-lila, but he could not touch any of them and he himself became senseless. Afterwards he offered pranam from a distance and left. Cupid could not touch the place where Krsna was performing His rasa-lila. Where bhagavat-rasa is present, then jada-rasa, or material rasa, cannot have any influence there because that place is already completely fulfilled with spiritual love and spiritual moods. Sri Krsna’s pastimes with the Gopis do not have a scent of material lusty affairs. In this world the five senses are always attracted towards sense objects, and seeing beautiful forms, their lust arises. They are always eager to taste material affairs, and day and night people are mad after this. It doesn’t matter how much people try to enjoy their senses, they never attain satisfaction. If they taste or smell nice things, or if any of the objects of the senses come towards them, like nice things to eat, smell, hear, or taste, they become maddened with lust. To satisfy their lust they are prepared to do anything, but still, they always remain restless. It is very difficult to progress even one step forward in spiritual life without becoming free of the influence of kama (lust). For example, if you touch a very powerful electric current, you become fixed to that and you cannot let go. This is like the effects of lust. Even if you are an old man on the verge of death, still you cannot be free of this lust, and you will always be thinking of this world and how to come back and enjoy more. (CLICK ON THE TITLE TO READ THE FULL ARTICLE)

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?

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?

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)

PART 1 WHY DID KRSNA TEST THE SADHANA-SIDDHA-GOPIS?

The Sruticari, Smrticari, Upanisadcari Gopis, and the Dandakaranya Rsis, who had come to Vraja and achieved the bodies of Gopis, performed Katyayani-vrata. After their vrata the Lord called them to perform rasa-lila. He brought them into His company and showed them His love and affection. In this way He accepted them and made them eligible for His company.

In the Caitanya Caritamrta, it explains that a doctor gave a medicine to a person to cure a disease but upon taking it, the disease increased. This was because the sick person did not follow the proper diet and so forth, so he became even more sick. Similarly, the jivas pray to God for so many things, but even if you give it to them, they become so proud when they receive it. As soon as they get some position, post, or qualification, then their pride devours them. When Krsna danced, played, sang, and showed His affection to the Gopis, they became proud, thinking, “I am no less than anyone. I am the dearmost of God. I am the dearmost of Krsna.” In this way so much pride came within the sadhana-siddha-gopis, and they did not respect Srimati Radharani who is svarupa-sakti, and hladini-sakti, nor the nitya-siddha-gopis, therefore the Lord disappeared.

What did the Gopis do when Krsna left them? They were experiencing so much separation from Him and were greatly lamenting. After meeting with Krsna there was so much joy, but when He left, they felt extreme separation. They began to search throughout the forest for Krsna. They asked everything and everyone, “Where is Krsna?” They asked the plants, the trees, the river, everything, but no-one was ready to give any answer or response to them. As long as the Lord is present in the heart, the jivas have some foundation and strength, but as soon as the Lord leaves or disappears, then the embodied souls have no position. Because of their karma they sometimes move in water, fire, air, ether, or earth. Without Paramatma (supersoul) the embodied souls have no form, and they move here and there in the elements like orphans. This is the fate of the ‘baddha-jivas’ – conditioned souls.

Those who are ‘mukta’ liberated souls, can achieve Vraja-dhama in this world, ‘bhauma Vrindavan’. Before the liberated souls go to ‘aprakrta Vraja’ – transcendental Vraja, the Lord will give them many tests. The Vraja in this world is like a training center for the sadhana-siddhas, those who have achieved perfection through spiritual practice. Before Krsna met with the sadhana-siddhas-gopis in the Rasa dance, He tested them so much. He saw that they were not displeased with Him, nor were they selfishly thinking of themselves, so they passed the test.

Krsna had previously danced, sang, and embraced the Gopis, filling them with the joy of meeting Him. He then thought, “I want to see what the sadhana-siddha-gopis will do.” This was like another test. Then what the Lord was thinking would happen, did indeed occur. They did not respect the other Gopis. The Lord then disappeared and the Gopis lamented greatly searching here and there for Him.

After wandering far and wide throughout the forests and groves they finally saw the footprints of Krsna. Seeing these footprints, they realized that they had never taken shelter of the footprints of the Lord. They had never meditated on or taken shelter of the symbols that are on Krsna’s feet, like the flag, goad, fish, pyramid, pot, and conch. There are very beautiful symbols on the Lord’s lotus feet and these were present in the footprints.

THE GOPIS BLAME KRSNA

The Gopis began to meditate on these symbols. By the influence of this meditation their hearts became completely purified, and the pride of their good fortune in meeting with Krsna was washed away. Because they meditated on His feet, everything was cleansed. Now they began to experience their own shortcomings. Before they were very proud and they thought, “Why has He left us? Why has He given us up? This is His fault. This is wrong. We left everything and came here to meet Him, and now He has neglected us!” They were thinking there was some fault in the Lord’s activities.

Although externally you couldn’t see this, Krsna thought, “Now I will see their behavior.”

The sadhana-siddhas-gopis were not feeling, “Oh we have neglected and disrespected the nitya-siddha-gopis, the eternal associates of the Lord.” It was like they have entered the house by force and tried to become the masters of the house. For example, it is like when a rich and wealthy person has just married a girl from a poor village. Within two days she will challenge and try controlling everyone in an attempt to become the master of the house. She will think, “Who is this aunt? Who are these in-laws? Who is this mother-in-law?” This is called ‘gusbeti’. They enter the house and within a few days try to exert their influence and try to dominate everyone thinking, “This is my place, now you can leave. Get out.” They have no respect and those who were always there, who were the masters for many, many years, are shown contempt and disrespect. Then the wife tries to become the queen, but there is no value in it.

Similarly, the Lord thought, “If they are competing here in ‘bhauma Vrndavan’, then what will they do in eternal Vraja?” It is not so easy to enter the eternal realm, so Krsna thought, “I will help purify them of this pride.” For this reason, He left with Srimati Radhika.

THE GOPIS FIND FOOTPRINTS

The Gopis then began to weep and search for Krsna. Finally, they reached the footprints of Krsna and began to pray and take shelter of them. Then they saw another set of footprints and thought, “Oh how dear this other Gopi must be to Krsna? How great She must be? How much greater than us She must be? But we did not respect Her, we neglected Her. How great She must be that Krsna left us all but He did not leave Her, therefore She is the most dear to Sri Krsna.” When they saw Srimati Radharani’s footprints, they also saw some other items including a broken garland, and flowers that had been picked and used by Krsna to decorate Srimati Radharani’s hair. In this way they developed some faith for Radharani.

DIFFERENT TYPES OF SRADDHA AND ANURAGA

There is one kind of faith that is called, ‘laukika’ meaning weak or material faith. Another one is paramarthika or transcendental faith. Laukika-sraddha, material faith, can easily be destroyed, it is very flimsy. But paramarthika-sraddha, transcendental faith, is much more firm and strong when one is progressing from sraddha to nistha, firm dedication and faith. And then further it develops to ruci – transcendental taste, and then on to asakti – transcendental attraction and deep attachment. Then finally to bhava – pure ecstatic emotion, and it even goes higher to sneha, raga, mana, pranaya, and anuraga, which is loving attraction.

Until this state of faith has reached all the way up to the pure state of anuraga or loving attraction, then one still has anuraga or love for one’s own body, mind, and senses. You cannot use this anuraga solely for Sri Krsna, you do not have that strength. For one’s own happiness one is ready to do anything, however for someone else’s pleasure or happiness no one is ready to sacrifice themselves for the pleasure of another, they cannot possibly do this.

Therefore, tad-anuragi-jananugami, we must follow in the footsteps of those who have this anuraga, and to follow them is considered the mature state of sadhana. Otherwise you may exhibit yourself as becoming a big babaji or sadhu, and show off so much faith, bang on the drums and karatals, but as soon as you are a little bit disturbed or disrespected, or there is some disturbance in your enjoyment and sense gratification, or maybe even a little chastisement and discipline from Guru and Vaisnavas, and you have to renounce all other things for service, then what will you do? You will enter your room or house and flee from service. This is laukika-sraddha – material faith, and it is very weak.

Until you follow this instruction of Rupa Gosvami, to follow in the footsteps of those who have anuraga – pure devotion, you will not be able to progress to the higher stages of devotion. Once you follow this tad-anuragi-jananugami properly then you can progress to mana, pranaya, anuraga and so forth. Otherwise this laukika-sraddha (material faith) is not very valuable. When you achieve paramarthika-sraddha (transcendental faith) this will progress to higher and higher stages of bhakti. We should strive only for this, and be prepared to sacrifice everything, renouncing all our own comforts and selfish desires. We have to sincerely look and see, who is dear to Guru, who is most dear to Krsna, and then take shelter of them.

THE GOPIS LEARN FROM RADHIKA’S PRAYERS

Proceeding forward, the Gopis found Srimati Radhika senseless on the ground. They began to fan Her, and witnessed many different ecstatic symptoms on Her body, like perspiring, hairs standing on end, and a choked voice. This made their faith in Her develop even more. They took shelter of Her and asked Her, “How did You get here?”

Those who have good qualities or good qualifications are actually exalted, when they experience any shortcoming they have, they are not shy to express this. They do not try to hide their faults. But we try to hide our faults. We lie, cheat, and steal, and then we will make ten or twenty people our witnesses to say, “No, this is a good person. They are not a thief, they are not a sinner, they are very good.” We think, “Everyone else is a sinner, everyone else is very bad, but I am so good.” We will arrange hundreds of people to give evidence in our favor. But a good person will not be afraid to show their faults.

Srimati Radhika did not say, “Oh it was your fault that Krsna left with Me.” Instead She said, “Krsna left Me. I told Krsna, ‘I am tired and cannot walk any further’. This was My own pride. I tried to engage the Lord in My own service. How great a mistake this was and as a result of this, Krsna left Me.”

The Gopis, hearing Srimati Radhika’s humility, could now understand Her exalted position. If those who occupy high positions are very exalted and advanced, have all good qualities, then those under them will also be decorated with these qualities. If they express their own faults, and are very open and honest, then those under their guidance will also become like that. Otherwise they will only develop more faults. If people from the outside criticize us, we should not think, “Why are they complaining and blaming?” but instead we should be ready to accept and see our own faults.

The Gopis now realized, “We have made a mistake!” Hearing the prayers of Srimati Radhika and the nitya-siddha-gopis, which are full of svarupa-sakti, the sadhana-siddha-gopis understood that these prayers are real and proper. They thought, “Until this point, we were all praying, but what was our mood?”

It is said that only Madhavendra Puri, Srimati Radharani, and Caitanya Mahaprabhu understood this sloka of Srimati Radhika. There was really no one else who could understand it. Mahaprabhu also performed kirtana of this verse. (CLICK ON THE TITLE TO READ THE COMPLETE ARTICLE)

The Only Way To Be Happy

We have told from the beginning that, without bhajana, no one can be happy. Actually, we are not this physical body. We are different from this body. But by the illusory energy of Krsna, we are thinking that we are this body. The happiness and problems we experience come from the mind. But actually, this is illusory. We are the eternal servants of Krsna. But we have forgotten Him. And that is why the illusory maya has covered over us, and we are thinking that we are this body. And whatever we do is not to please Krsna, but rather, to be pleased ourselves. But this is quite wrong. You cannot be happy independently. This has been true since time immemorial…

Interview with Satyaraja Prabhu

Oh, I had been wanting to meet him for years. Several dear friends, in whom I put a lot of trust, had told me about him, that he was not only a mystic and very knowledgeable, but that he was a sweet individual, giving of his time, and always engaged in service. I just had to meet him. And you were there when we first met. You saw it. We hit it off immediately. He took me into his room and I asked him all my longstanding questions, and we told each other about our lives, and our work, and we really bonded. I’m sure most people feel that way with him. How can you not?! [laughter] But this was really special. I briefly wrote about it in that coffee-table picture book about my travels in India. I gave you a copy last time I was there. Radhe Kunj is now a non-negotiable stop for me in Vrindavan. I can’t imagine going there without seeing Prabhuji!

Truthfully, when you’re there, at Radhe Kunj, you feel, “To hell with this sanga or that sanga. To hell with external affiliation. Give me bhakti, give me seva, give me Radhika!” [laughter] At the end of the day, that’s what we all thirst for, isn’t it?! He gave me all his books, and you continue to do that, kindly. I really appreciate it. His books are a wealth of information, and I can feel Gurudeva in his books…

Part 2 WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO MAKE A RELATIONSHIP WITH VRAJA RASA?

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura explains that Krsna began to dance in such a way, that it appeared as if there was no one else there but Him. He was in His own form, but He manifested many other forms. These forms were all non-different and inseparable from Krsna, even though they all had their own individual forms.

Krsna danced with all of them and exhibited ‘hasa-parihasa’, joking, laughing, playing, singing, dancing and embracing. Krsna played in these loving affairs with the Gopis, just like little children play with one another. In this way Krsna was playing and dancing with His own expansions or reflections.

The Gopi’s vilasa or loving exchange, is manifested through Krsna’s svarupa-sakti, Divine potency, and they are inseparable. The rasa play of dancing and singing is a manifestation of the soul’s divine play with the Lord and is not any kind of ordinary play.

THE GOPIS BECOME ‘KRSNA-MAYA’

Sukadeva Goswami said; “Oh Pariksit Maharaja being touched by the limbs of Sri Krsna the Gopis senses became overwhelmed with love and ecstasy. Krsna touched them by putting His hand on their shoulders or head while playing of His flute. They also witnessed His supremely beautiful face and became so absorbed in Sri Krsna that they were completely ‘Krsna-maya’, fully immersed in Sri Krsna. They lost all awareness of their cloth, their bodies, their senses and anything that was with them. They could not maintain or take care of anything. They were so absorbed in Sri Krsna that they forgot their own bodies. Their ornaments were also slipping and falling off. They forgot where they were and what they were doing. Through this ‘vilasa’ loving exchange, each Vraja-devi became ‘vyakula’ , submerged in the rasa dance. Each Gopi forgot completely where her cloth was, her ornaments, bracelets, ankle bells, where her chaddar was, the waist belt, and the garland she had been wearing. In the midst of this ‘ananda-rasa’, everything was forgotten.”

THE DEMIGODS BEWILDERED

As long as we do not receive the mercy of Sri Guru, we will always be externally absorbed in this world and its affairs. By the touch and the vision of Sri Krsna, our absorption will be pulled away from maya, and we will become completely absorbed in the Lord to the extent that we completely forget everything else. The demigods and their goddesses seeing Sri Krsna’s rasa-lila from their airplanes, along with the moon and all the stars, became completely bewildered and stunned seeing this. They were all thinking, “Will we ever be able to meet Sri Krsna, the Supreme Lord like this?”

Sridhara Swami explains that seeing the situation of the Vraja-sundaris, the wives of the demigods became bewildered and thought, “How can we also meet with Krsna like this?” Thinking about this, and having His darsana they fell unconscious. Why? The Lord’s mercy and His potency are very powerful. If it touches someone it does not allow any material thought or object to remain with that person, everything is washed away. Material objects have no connection to this ‘aprakrta-rasa’ transcendental nectar. Simply by thinking of Krsna they fell senseless. The stars and the moon all became bewildered and fixed in their places. For the whole night of Brahma lasting billions and billions of years, they did not move being transfixed in Krsna’s rasa-dance. When Krsna began to dance during the rasa-lila, it lasted for the entire night of Lord Brahma which is 311 trillion years.

ONLY THE GOPIS HAD THE QUALIFICATION TO PARTICIPATE

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura says ‘vikriditam’, what is the nature of this play? Because of lack of qualification we have become very far from Krsna. When we become the objects of Sri Krsna’s divine mercy, we will go to Him and not have any memory of, “Who I am, what I am doing, where am I, and what is the nature of my body and senses?” The Gopis were dancing without any knowledge of this for the entire night of Lord Brahma, which is equal to 1000 catur-yugas and after the night passed, they all returned to their homes.

The Lord’s potency, ‘Yogamaya’, initiates these pastimes and also concludes them, preparing for the next pastimes. However not everyone was able to be present. Some did not have enough sadhana with which they were able to participate, like the moon and the stars. All these planets and stars are presided over by different personalities, and they were not able to enter the rasa-dance. They were fixed, motionless. They became bewildered by Krsna’s ‘mohan-vidya’ bewildering power, and could not enter these pastimes.

Sri Krsna’s loving affairs with the Vraja-sundaris was not anything ordinary, and even the demigods were not eligible to participate. No one had achieved the ‘adhikara’ (qualification), except for the Vraja-gopis. By Yogamaya’s arrangement, Krsna didn’t have the mood of ‘purusha bhava’ – the mood of an enjoyer. He was just experiencing Himself as a young boy mixing and dancing with His beloveds. Even though He was in the midst of millions and millions of Gopis Sri Krsna is ‘atmarama’ and ‘aptakama’, fully self satisfied and pleased within Himself.

The maidens who prayed to Katyayani:

kātyāyani mahā-māye
mahā-yoginy adhīśvari
nanda-gopa-sutaṁ devi
patiṁ me kuru te namaḥ

They said, “Oh Mahamaya, Goddess of Illusion, Oh Srimati Radhika, please make that son of Nanda my husband or my beloved.”

Krsna told them at the end of Katyayani vrata, “Oh ‘abala’ ladies, – your desire will be fulfilled. Don’t worry, soon I will meet with all of you, so now return.” Krsna took such a wonderful form, like the crest jewel of all beauty, and danced with all the Gopis. During the ‘Brahma-vimohana-lila’, Krsna stayed with the Gopis for one year as the Gopas – the cowherd boys, but they were not satisfied by this. All the sakhas present were actually Sri Krsna, in this way the Gopis received their long, cherished desire to have Krsna as their husband. They had all married the various sakhas, but still they were not satisfied. Therefore, Krsna called them on a full moon night, and for the entire night of Lord Brahma, He danced and played with them. Sri Krsna is the embodiment of all compassion and mercy, and He appeared like an ordinary human being. Krsna was not only in one form, but He appeared in millions and millions of forms.

It is said ‘gopa yosita’, no one else had the eligibility to meet with Sri Krsna in this way, except for the Vraja-gopis. The daughters of the gopas who had come to the rasa dance were all young maidens – ‘kisoris’, and were decorated with all rasas to a fullest extent. Therefore, they could understand Sri Krsna’s, ‘rupa-madhurya, guna-madhurya, lila-madhurya, venu-madhurya and prema-madhurya’. They could realize and taste the sweetness of Sri Krsna’s form, beauty, flute playing, and loving exchanges. After perfection or ‘siddhi’, a sadhaka will also have acquaintance with these various kinds of sweetness’s, that Sri Krsna has only in Vraja. After Krsna completely surcharged the Gopis with this rasa, He danced and met with them. Therefore, Krsna is known as ‘Acyuta’ – infallible.

KRSNA REJUVENATES THE GOPIS

Sukadeva Goswami said, “Oh Pariksit Maharaja, the dancing and singing in the Rasa-dance continued on for a very long time, and the Gopis became covered in perspiration and became slightly tired and exhausted. Then with so much love, Sri Krsna, with His soft, fragrant and beautiful lotus hands, began to wipe the perspiration from the Gopis foreheads and faces with His chaddar. In this way, He showed His love for them and rejuvenated them. Sri Krsna always knew how to free them from any type of exhaustion or tiredness.

By Sri Krsna’s touch the Gopis became rejuvenated and completely satisfied in ‘ananda-rasa’. Out of love, they began to say something and He then began to fan them, gave them His own tambula remnants of pan from His mouth, and applied sandalwood paste to their foreheads.

Part 1-WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO MAKE A RELATIONSHIP WITH VRAJA RASA?

Krsna thought, “My sadhaka may engage in spiritual practice for many millions of lifetimes, and after that he may be able to achieve perfection by taking birth in Vraja or getting the qualification to stay in Vraja. However, if he does not make a relationship with Vraja-rasa and the Vrajavasis, then he will not be able to understand Me or come near Me.” Bhagavan Himself decided to distribute this rasa through rasa-lila. Krsna was dancing, singing, playing on His flute and meeting with everyone and by this He gave rasa.

PARAMATMA HELPS THE SADHAKA

The Absolute Truth, the Personality of Godhead is present within the hearts of all living entities as Paramatma. But the Lord does not reveal His form as Paramatma, nor does He manifest His qualities and names, He is always neutral and peaceful. He is present everywhere in a neutral manner.

When the practitioner begins his spiritual practice, he will gradually understand Paramatma and Visnu-tattva, ‘the indwelling witness in the heart’. Paramatma’s primary function will be to help the sadhaka make spiritual progress. If someone worships the ‘para-vasta’ avatars such as Rama, Narayana, Nrsinghadeva or Krsna, then Paramatma will personally help them progress towards their ultimate attainment. The Lord Himself will come, and through ‘rasa’, will fulfill and satisfy them, making them effulgent. He fully decorates the sadhaka, giving them all eligibility for His service.

BUMBLEBEES PARTICIPATE IN THE RASA DANCE

In Vrindavan the Lord Himself initiated the rasa dance. ‘Kamala’, lotus flowers, were decorating the hair and ears of the Gopis. Their braided hair was swinging back and forth and the faces of the Gopis were beautifully decorated with flowers. When Krsna was dancing in the rasa-mandala, the Gopis ankle bells were chiming, and as Krsna was beautifully dancing, so were the Gopis. Even the bumblebees were singing so sweetly, wanting to participate in the symphony of music of the rasa dance.

In Vrindavan the bumblebees drink nectar from the various flowers, and when they saw the wonderful dancing of Krsna and the Gopis, they also wanted to sing and dance. They think, “I will also participate in this wonderful symphony of music.” Even though the bumblebees seem to be without rational thought, still they became maddened by the nectar of the rasa dance and wanted to participate.

Sridhara Swami explains that the bumblebees made a very sweet sound like the drone of a tambura, in this way, they assisted in the rasa dance symphony. The residents of the heavenly realm also came to witness the rasa dance. Seeing the rasa dance, they became overwhelmed. Even though they could not understand anything externally, still their hearts became filled with love for Krsna.

During the Rasa-dance the singers were the Gandharvas and the Kinnaras. These heavenly performers became intoxicated and senseless by the attractive performance of Sri Krsna and the Gopis. Even without an invitation, they would instinctively come. When the Vraja-devis danced, their ankle bells, waste-belts and bracelets all resounded like musical instruments. The flowers that were decorating the Gopis hair-braids would shake and fall off, when their heads shook back and forth to the sound of the music and dance. The flowers in their hair were showering down like a shower of flowers that were dancing with Krsna.

The Gandharvas and Kinnaras, who were the heavenly performers and damsels, had appeared in their heavenly airplanes. They did not have a complete understanding of why the Gopis and Krsna were singing and dancing, they were still immersed in complete joy. Even the animals, birds, peacocks, bumblebees, cuckoos, and deer, all participated in the Rasa-dance and became completely intoxicated in divine love for Sri Krsna. The bumblebees were drinking the nectar from the lotus and other flowers that decorated the Gopis hair, and they also participated as singers.

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura explains, a person while taking full shelter of the Lord’s transcendental names, forms, qualities and pastimes, chants Their glories by singing and dancing, that person will become decorated with all good qualities.

QUALITIES OF GOOD PLACES AND BAD PLACES

What is the nature of a place filled with good qualities, and the nature of a place filled with bad qualities? It is described here, that wherever good qualities are present, everyone’s heart will be attracted and simultaneously pleased and joyful without bad or dark moods. As long as these good qualities are being distributed, people will come participate and not be able to leave that place because there is no selfishness present there.

Even if you don’t know any melody, have a good tone, or know any words to a kirtan, just chant the holy names of the Lord with all sincerity and faith, and whatever you don’t know, will manifest in your heart, simultaneously. Even if you don’t know anything, just start chanting the Lord’s holy names and mantras with full faith.

THE MOODS OF THE GOPIS ARE ORNAMENTS AND INSTRUMENTS

All the various ornaments of the Gopis, the ankle bells, waist belts with small hanging bells, and their bracelets, all participated in and manifested an effulgent beauty in the musical performance of the Rasa-dance. These ornaments all manifested a different mood and they all had a personality.

Can you comprehend the qualities of a flute that is made of wood, or a mrdanga that is made of clay and leather? What love is present within them? In Krsna lila the mrdanga, flute, ankle bells, bracelets, and the waist belts, all become favorable to Krsna-rasa. They became instruments of His loving rasa, and became intoxicated in the ‘vilasa’ or loving affairs of Sri Krsna with his beloveds.

The Gopis had braids that were adorned and wound with flowers and flower garlands, and when they were dancing, these flowers would begin to fall from their hair and it would appear like a shower of flower petals covering the whole area. Everyone became bewildered by their dancing, and as previous mentioned, even the bumble bees became instruments and participated in the singing.

In Sri Krsna’s Rasa-lila in Vraja, there is no pollution or lust. It was like children playing together, there was no lust. Krsna was dancing and having loving affairs with his own associates who are all manifestations of His divine potency.

THE NATURE OF SRNGARA-BHAVA

When Krsna began His loving affairs with the Vraja-gopis, they could not control or bewilder Him. Krsna is not controlled by anything, and is completely transcendental. It is like a child playing with its shadow or reflection. Krsna was not bewildered or influenced by any trace of lust, even though He was dancing with millions and millions of Gopis, who were all more beautiful than millions of Goddesses of fortune. Krsna attracts everyone, but at the same time He is not influenced by, nor does He come under the control of anyone because of their beauty or attractive qualities.

What is ‘srngara-bhava’? What is the nature of the Gopis’ srngara? They are all gifts and ornaments for Sri Krsna. With so much love Krsna gave so many gifts to the Gopis. Some He gave more gifts to, others He gave different gifts to. What were these gifts? The skills to sing, play the vina, mrdanga drum, dancing, and all the qualities through which they could perform their loving affairs, were the gifts given by Sri Krsna.

Krsna was playing with them, just as a little child would play with his own reflection in the water. He was like a small boy playing with His own reflection, being attracted by His own beauty, and being satisfied within Himself by His own sweetness. The limit of Krsna’s sweetness came to its full extent amidst the Gopis, and even though His sweetness is boundless, it fully appeared amidst the Vraja-gopis.

THE GOPIS ARE MORE FORTUNATE THAN LAKSMI

The gifts that Krsna bestowed to the Gopis were the gifts of love. The Goddess of fortune, Laksmi, could never receive this. The Lord never danced and sang with her like He did with the Gopis. She is present with Him with all ‘maryada’, rules and regulations. The Vraja-devis therefore are more fortunate than even Laksmi-devi. Their beauty increased more and more because of Sri Krsna’s love for them, but at the same time, there was no lust. Krsna was dancing and playing with His own potencies, just as a small boy would play with His own reflection or shadow. In this way Krsna began His play.

Krsna is perfected in the 64 arts that manifest through His ‘kaya-vyuha’, personal expansions. All of Krsna’s pleasure potencies and His various expansions are the Vraja-devis. They are not separate from Krsna, and we should not think they are something different. These potencies are present in other forms to facilitate His loving exchanges, and to serve Him. Krsna is the original personality that is engaged in loving affairs and wonderful pastimes, that bestow ‘ananda-cinmaya-rasa’ upon all the Vraja-gopis. (CLICK ON THE TITLE TO READ THE COMPLETE ARTICLE)

Srila Gurudeva Speaks on Katyayani-vrata – 1993

Śrīla Gurudeva speaks on Kātyāyanī-vrata Vraja maṇḍala parikramā, Cīra ghāṭa, 9th November 1993   Śrīla Gurudeva, Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja, leading a group of faithful devotees and pilgrims throughout the land of Vraja maṇḍala arrives at the bank of the...

WHY IS ‘KRSNA KIRTAN’ THE BEST PROCESS TO FIND KRSNA?

Srila Jiva Goswami Prabhu describes in his commentary that when the sakhis met with Radharani, they had a mood of friendship between one another, they all had the exact same mood. Radharani then spoke with tears in Her eyes. She said; “I don’t know how I went so far away from all of you. I was with Krsna, but then suddenly I realized I was all alone in the forest. Oh sakhis, what can I tell you? Madhava, who is the master of Laksmi Devi is filled with all good qualities. He is the master of all divine wealth. I don’t even understand how he brought Me aside, and then took Me out of the rasa dance. I couldn’t see that I was not with all of you. I was so absorbed in meeting Krsna, and being with Him.”,

When Krsna was dancing and singing with all the Gopis each Gopi felt Krsna was with them alone. Krsna was fully exhibiting His prowess in prema. With each Gopi, He was present and everyone had the mood that, “I am just with Krsna and Krsna is just with Me”. They did not see any of the other Gopis there.

Radharani said; “When He went with Me I couldn’t understand what was happening. Then when Krsna left Me, I was completely alone in the forest. I was so fortunate to have received such an exalted chance to be with Madhava, but then He left Me aside”.

In a mood of humility Radharani’s said; “Now I am a ‘duratma’. Krsna is present everywhere but still He has gone very far away from Me. Now I am a ‘duratma’.” If Krsna has left and gone far away from someone that person is called ‘duratma’, which means a wicked person. ‘Dur’ means far away. When the Gopis heard Radharani speak like this, they had a natural mood of friendship and love towards Her. They had a natural respect awaken. This would not be possible for Krsna.

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura states that the Sakhis were loudly weeping and began to fan Srimati Radhika. Radharani then returned to Her senses. After this the Sakhis asked Her, “Oh tell us what happened. Where is Krsna?” Radharani then told Her Sakhis; “I don’t understand how I went so far away from you. I do not know any of this. However later I saw that I was all alone and I began to lament, and fell senseless on the ground. I have slighted all of you when I went alone with Krsna, but now Krsna has also left Me. Before He left all of you, but now He has also rejected Me. I had the mood that, ‘Krsna is leaving everyone else and took Me with Him, and all of you were left lamenting in separation’. I told Him I cannot go forward, if You want You can carry Me. This was My ‘kutilita’ crookedness. By this Krsna was perhaps slighted and therefore He left Me. Now I am experiencing extreme lamentation because Krsna has forsaken Me and gone.

This mood of humility is described by Sukadeva Goswami. Seeing Radhika’s separation, the mood of ‘viraha-rasa’ from Srimati Radhika went into the hearts of all the Gopis, and they developed an intense desire to serve and take shelter of Krsna. Now they began to pray to ‘Dayanidhi Rasika-sekhara’ Sri Krsna. 

They began to think; “Meeting Krsna was His supreme mercy. We were not at all qualified, but by His great mercy He gave us His association and affection. Then we became proud and He left us again”.

FOREST JUNGLE BECOMES TOO DEEP, DARK, AND DENSE

Then Vraja-devis again started searching for Krsna. They saw the forest and jungle was now becoming very dark. They went into a dense area of the jungle and searched there. They thought Krsna must be hidden in the deep grove of the forest. “If we go further, He will go deeper and deeper into the dark forest, therefore we will not go any further to search for Him. They thought, “We will wait here. It is too deep and dark ahead”.

The Gopis had previously gone through all the different forests groves and caves, and they had searched everywhere for Krsna. They said; “Oh we have lamented so much in separation. We will now wait here”. Previously they had been ready to continue searching, and since they were now with Radharani, they went just a little ahead and decided to wait there. 

In the Visnu Purana it states that when Krsna entered the deep forest grove it was the full moon night and it was very bright everywhere. Krsna thought they would easily find Him so he decided He must hide somewhere. 

When the gopis went into the dark forest they saw there were no rays of the full moon there, so they returned to a brighter area of the forest, that was lit by the rays of the moon. They thought Krsna had hidden in the deep dark area of the jungle so they would not continue to search for Him, as it would not be proper. They thought; “We will arrange to somehow bring Krsna out. We will not run behind Him. Instead of going further into the dark forest, we will pray to Him and through that, He will come before us”.

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura states that when they all again searched for Krsna, the rays of the moon were helping them as if they were saying, “Go and search. I am behind you like a searchlight. I am with you and helping you. Don’t worry.” Then they went further ahead and the forest became very deep and thick and the rays of the moon could not enter there. They thought, “Ok we will not proceed any further.” 

The commentator states that by the color of Syama-Krsna’s limbs, the whole area became filled with darkness, or the Syama color. The light of the moon was not working there, so the gopis did not enter the ‘Syama’, dark area of the forest.

Now their mood changed. Why?  They thought, “Krsna’s body is very beautiful and soft and Krsna will feel some suffering and disturbance. When they met with Radharani then after that they had this mood that, “Oh Krsna will have to wander here and there in the dark forest and He may hurt His limbs or feet.”

Sukadeva Goswami said, “Oh Pariksit Maharaja the Gopis mood up to this point had been different. Now after meeting with Srimati Radharani, their mood changed and their bodies were absorbed in searching for Krsna. Every pore of their body was absorbed in Krsna and they were singing about His lilas, pastimes and qualities. They had no awareness of their own bodies.

Sridhara Swami states that even after meeting Krsna and even after He left them, they never thought of their homes or anything else. They were one-pointedly absorbed in Krsna. They were moving here and there but they did not think of anyone else aside from Krsna. In ordinary separation one thinks of so many things naturally, but when one is fully ‘tadatmika’, one at heart, then other moods cannot possibly come into the heart.

GOPIS STOP SEARCHING AND RETURN TO THE YAMUNA

Srila Jiva Goswami Prabhu states that after the Vraja-devis searched from forest to forest, they thought of Krsna’s very soft feet and how He was wandering everywhere in the forest. And at the same time, we are trying to follow behind Him. He may step on sharp stones or thorns and there are many sharp stones and sharp blades of grass here that He could step on. Since He is barefoot, we should not search anymore. We will not make Him sad or suffer because of our own sadness. Instead we should begin kirtan of Krsna’s glories and meditate on Him. We can never find Him if we continue searching for Him like this, we do not have the strength. If we stay together and from deep within our souls, we meditate on Him, and pray to Him from the bottom of our hearts, then certainly Krsna will return to us, giving us His darsana. In this way the Gopis decided what to do.

They went back to the bank of the Yamuna where they were before. Previously, they had searched and gone very deep into the different areas of the forest, finally they came back to the bank of the Yamuna and in loud voices, began to sing Krsna’s glories. Every pore of the Gopis bodies was like prayer to Krsna, “When will He come? When will He come?” 

Before they were always thinking of how they could meet with Krsna. He called them with His flute, they came and met with Him, and then He left. Now in great separation, sitting on the bank of the Yamuna, they all began to sing His glories.

Srila Sridhara Swami states here that when the Gopis came to the bank of the Yamuna, they began singing kirtans of Krsna’s glories. The mood that, “Certainly Krsna will come and give us His darsana”, became fixed in their hearts. At the time of ‘Katayani-vrata’, Krsna came to the bank of the Yamuna and during ‘Saradiya-rasa Purnima’, He also gave His darsana there. The Gopis felt that through kirtan, the power and rasa through which to attract Krsna would manifest.

Srila Jiva Goswami states that the Gopis searched everywhere for Krsna but now their mood changed. They thought, “We should sit. His feet are very soft and the sharp stones, thorns and grasses of the forest could cut them. It is like we are chasing Him and He is fleeing from us. He will suffer because of his so we should sit down and do kirtan and Krsna will come to us.” After they met with Srimati Radharani this faith came. They thought that certainly Krsna will come back to us. In this way they went to the bank of the Yamuna and in loud voices began kirtan to glorify Krsna.

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura says the gopis were saying, “Alas, Alas. For how long will we run here and there in the jungle? Wherever we go we are finding only sadness and suffering and we are giving Him suffering too by making Him run everywhere to hide from us.”

Those who become completely surrendered, the Lord will not be far away. There will be no need to chase the Lord. Therefore, we only need to perform ‘nama-sankirtana’. Krsna and His names are non-different. If you sit in a pure place with others and then all together sing ‘Krsna-kirtan’, then through the power of this kirtan, Krsna will definitely come, because He is non-different from his names. 

In this way this chapter of Rasa-pancadhyayi is complete. This is the end of the third chapter of Rasa-pancadhyayi. Sukadeva Goswami described that the Gopis determined this best process to find Krsna which is Krsna-kirtan. (CLICK ON THE TITLE TO READ THE COMPLETE ARTICLE)