The gopīs desire that Kṛṣṇa always remain in kiśora age, and they pray to Him, “Kṛṣṇa, you are an ocean of mercy. Please never grow up and leave us.”
Why do they say this? If Kṛṣṇa grows up, then He will not be able to stay with them. Childhood friends play together without a care, but for how long does it last? As kids they have no responsibility; they are free. They have no desire but to play. They play, talk and move here and there. But the gopīs are scared, “Kṛṣṇa will become mature and get many responsibilities. Our time with Him then will be very short.”
Like one grown-up person may play for some time, but for how long? Half an hour or an hour, then he goes to his house or for service. He has many responsibilities for maintaining the family. Then he can’t play twenty four hours a day. Even for a prince this is not possible.
The gopīs pray, “Don’t let Your young age pass. Then we will be orphans.”
Millions of Kṛṣṇa’s devotees had been doing sādhana for millions of years. Now they came to meet with Kṛṣṇa, like a founder-ācārya, divine master, who has thousands of followers and disciples, who all want to meet with him. They all wait for a chance, thinking, “When will Guru Mahārāja be free so that I can go and speak with him?” But they have no chance. They only think and pray for this, but then suffer. If Gurudeva is once alone, they think, “This is our good luck. Now there is a chance to meet with him.” The vraja-gopīs lament, saying, “If Kṛṣṇa was nitya-kiśora and we kiśorīs, it would be best. May we never cross this kiśora age. This is very bad. Then we will have family, and many responsibilities, headache and tension. This is not good. You should remain kiśora, and we will all be Your kiśorī friends with no other responsibility besides Your service and company. Kṛṣṇa, You are very kind; don’t give us any punishment. What punishment? Please don’t grow up and leave us. This is not good.” Then they do a hunger strike, saying, “Don’t cross this age. If You grow up, then a big problem will come.”
Nanda Bābā and Yaśodā Mātā thought, “When Kṛṣṇa is young, we will arrange His marriage and celebrate with a huge feast.”
Then Gargācārya came from Mathurā and said, “Until Kṛṣṇa has a sacred thread, don’t let Him be married.”
Hearing this, the vraja-gopīs clap, “This is very good.” Then Nanda and Yaśodā Mātā are very sad. All in vātsalya-rasa are sad: “Oh, Kṛṣṇa will not get married—this is very bad.”
But Kṛṣṇa’s sakhās and sakhīs say, “This is very good. Otherwise, Kṛṣṇa will be distant and divided from us. Then we will feel deep pain.”
In the daytime Kṛṣṇa plays and wrestles with the sakhās, and at night He slips out of bed and goes to meet with the sakhīs. Yaśodā Mātā thinks Kṛṣṇa is sleeping, but He slips out into the forest. But if a wife is there, she will never give one a free life. She will tie and bind one, and say, “You are mine. Your mind is not your own. You are mine and no other can have any share.”
Therefore the sakhīs start a big strike to stop Kṛṣṇa from growing up. They know that if Kṛṣṇa grows up, they will never be able to be with Him. He will go and sit in big assemblies and perform great deeds. This is a big problem for them. When Kṛṣṇa fights with demons and then comes back and meets with His sakhās and sakhīs, they tease Him, “O Kṛṣṇa, You killed such a powerful demon.”
Kṛṣṇa says, “No. He came, and I asked him, ‘Do you know any good fighting moves or have any mystic powers?’ In response he showed Me a move, but did it wrong and then broke his legs and knees. I went and tried to help him, and then all of a sudden he came out of his body and joined Me as a sakhā. What can I do? Look, he is here. He left his physical structure, which was like the costume of a joker, but now he is here with us. His outfit was as a demon to play, but now he is here as My eternal friend.”
When Aghāsura came, the sakhās entered his mouth. Then Kṛṣṇa went inside and liberated Aghāsura. Kṛṣṇa said, “He was wearing this dress. He is not really a snake.” The demigods were watching and saw that an effulgent light came out of Aghāsura, moved in the sky, and then came and entered Kṛṣṇa’s feet. Brahmā and the demigods were surprised, “Who is this Kṛṣṇa?”
But the sakhās fear that Kṛṣṇa will leave them, and they say to Him, “Promise that You will never grow up and leave us.” The sakhās and sakhīs do not like Kṛṣṇa growing up.
madhuram adhara-bimbe mañjulaṁ manda-hāse
śiśiram amṛta-nāde śītalaṁ dṛṣṭi-pāte
vipulam aruṇa-netre viśrutaṁ veṇu-nāde
marakata-maṇi-nīlaṁ bālam alokaye nu
Oh, when may I see that young boy, who has a complexion as deep blue as a sapphire, sweet lips like bimba fruit, a charming, mild smile, soothing, nectarean words, cooling glances, and large, dawn-red eyes, and who is famous for His flute-song.
When Kṛṣṇa smiles or laughs, it is very sweet. In the early morning, on top of grass, there is dew. In the winter, this water is very clean on the grass. Touching it, the water will come to your hand, not staying on the grass—this is very light and clean. Heavy water can’t stand and sit on top of the grass. It is very light. Now when Kṛṣṇa smiles and laughs, this is not heavy. Like if you laugh, after sometime you become weak, but when Kṛṣṇa smiles and laughs, you will also laugh with Kṛṣṇa and not become weak; more and more strength will come. (see more)
Śrīla Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura expresses a similar mood. He says, “I will do everything for Kṛṣṇa’s pleasure. He may do with me as He likes, but my only desire is to serve and please Him. Kṛṣṇa likes to play with the vraja-gopīs. I do not drink the nectar of those pastimes for myself, I explain those pastimes and distribute them everywhere. When Kṛṣṇa hears this, He is overjoyed.”
How powerful and great the Vraja-devīs are! Kṛṣṇa is overjoyed to hear the glories of the Vraja-devīs, and when many people follow and respect the Vraja-devīs, then Kṛṣṇa will be more and more happy. The Vraja-devīs playful pastimes with Kṛṣṇa are the essence of sweetness. Kṛṣṇa says, “If anyone takes training from them, then they will become My dearest associates.” Otherwise, if people offer many things according to the injunctions of śāstra, or with their own desire, this doesn’t necessarily please Kṛṣṇa.
Mahāprabhu came to give sva-bhakti-śrīyam. What is this? He did not give any other kind of bhakti, only sva-bhakti. How will Kṛṣṇa be pleased? Who knows that process? What is His desire? Only Śrīmati Rādhārānī and those engaged in Her service understand that. If they don’t know how to please God, then how can they consider serving Him? If they have no pure knowledge, then any service they perform will be based on speculation. Mahāprabhu came to give sva-bhakti-śrīyam, that is the service of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa in unnata-ujjvala-rasa.
Śrīla Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura was with Kṛṣṇa in Vraja-dhāma among the Vraja-devīs. Daily, with his internal vision, he observed the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa with the Vraja-devīs and saw how pleased Kṛṣṇa was with them, and how they did everything for the happiness of Kṛṣṇa. He then described their glories and pastimes with Kṛṣṇa.
Kṛṣṇa is kiśora. His face is like a budding lotus, not yet fully blossomed. When the sun rises, the lotus blossoms. When the Vraja-devīs come from a distance, Kṛṣṇa waits to speak with them. Slowly a smile appears on His face. Kṛṣṇa looks at someone and waits to speak. With the sun’s light, the lotus blossoms. All the gopīs are like rays of the sun. The sun is the power of Śrīmatī Rādhārānī. When this power comes, then darkness is dispelled. Light comes, and everywhere, everyone is smiling; pure happiness comes. Svarūpa-śakti is supremely powerful. That power is greater than millions of suns. This gives inspiration to everyone and causes everyone’s hearts to blossom.
Kṛṣṇa’s kiśora age is only for the kiśorīs, not for any others. His mercy, līlā-kaṭākṣa, and beauty are not available for any demigods, yakṣas, rākṣasas, or kinnaras; His beauty is only for the Vraja-devīs. Without the Vraja-devīs, He is Brahma and neutral; He is Nārāyaṇa, Viṣṇu.
paśyāmaḥ pathi pathi śaiśavam murāreḥ
On every path we see the childlike form of Murāri, whose one fixed vow is to relieve all the afflictions of those whose hearts are blossoming with faith in Him. His soft, bright bluish cheeks glow with ever new effulgence. The devotees have deep faith and love. They take dīkṣā. Does dīkṣā mean only a promise, and to try again and again? Dīkṣā means a firm vow to follow this line with an attitude of do or die.
In Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s movement, if anyone takes true dīkṣā, then he becomes a follower of unnata-ujjvala-rasa. This unnata-ujjvala-rasa comes from Śrīmatī Rādhārānī. We accept dīkṣā to attain Her service. We do not take dīkṣā to attain any mundane rasa. How can this bright, clean and powerful rasa come in our heart? This unnata-ujjvala-rasa spreads from the heart of Śrīmatī Rādhārānī to all the Vraja-devīs and Vrajavāsīs and pervades all of Vraja-maṇḍala with its powerful love. The Vrajavāsīs serve Kṛṣṇa with rays of that love. To achieve that love we must have faith. Kṛṣṇa accepts that love; this is the paraphernalia, instrument, and bhoga for offering to Kṛṣṇa. Without this rasa, if you offer anything, this will not be bhoga; Kṛṣṇa will not accept it.
During nāma-saṅkīrtana, or while moving anywhere, while cleaning or doing any service, if you have no love, your action is dry and not bhakti. Kṛṣṇa will never accept an offering or any service done without love. Therefore we must have deep faith. If you have faith, then all problems and other attractions and disturbances will not affect you. By taking that dīkṣā, Kṛṣṇa will stay always on the path of one’s eyes in His kiśora form, and then one will not be able to watch anything else.
When and how will Kṛṣṇa come, there is no guarantee. One person is in his room, and the door and the ventilators, everything is locked and closed. Sunshine can’t even enter. He is hiding in a dark room and serving Kṛṣṇa—thinking of Kṛṣṇa. He has dīkṣā and promises to follow this line, meaning, from the early morning he remembers aṣṭa-kālīya-līlā and continuously serves in those pastimes. Then Kṛṣṇa comes and is present there. By serving Kṛṣṇa, and keeping appointments with Kṛṣṇa, no other thing will come. That Kiśora Kṛṣṇa will come. His lotus feet will walk and dance gracefully there.
If anyone remembers Kṛṣṇa, then Kṛṣṇa’s mercy comes to help him. Kṛṣṇa doesn’t send His mercy. Without waiting for Kṛṣṇa’s permission, Kṛṣṇa’s karuṇā-śakti goes to help whoever is remembering Him, saying, “I will help him and make friendship with him, then he will not wait for the mercy or help of any other.” (see more)
While walking in the dhāma, if you think of materialistic people and their mundane activities, then those very people will steal your energy. If you think of Vraja-bhumi and the glories of the Vrajavāsīs, then their power and mercy will come to you. You will acquire spiritual energy from svarūpa-śakti.
Śrīla Gurudeva would perform parikramā of Vṛndāvana, Govardhana, Varsānā, Navadvīpa-dhāma and Kṣetra-maṇḍala with the accompaniment of saṅkīrtana and also the presence of Mahāprabhu and the guru-varga. Because of this, none of the pilgrims or brahmacārīs became weak.
Śrīla Gurudeva said, “By performing parikramā and having darśana of the prominent pastime places of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, Mahāprabhu, and the Vaiṣṇavas, great strength will come. Love and affection will awaken in the heart and one will have spiritual energy. One will never be weak, hopeless or tired.”
If one remains with his body and uncontrolled mind while performing parikramā, thinking of worldly people and impermanent things and talking and joking about useless subject matters, then all his strength will be lost. Why is this? You are in Vraja-maṇḍala, Kṛṣṇa’s Līlā-bhūmi, but there you bring only useless things. What is coming from your mouth? Where is your consciousness? You are not in Līlā-bhūmi. You came to Vraja-dhāma, but your nature, mind, culture, behavior and etiquette keep you far away from the dhāma. You are not following the proper principles therefore you offend the dhāma. This is called dhāma-aparādha. If you perform dhāma-aparādha, then the dhāma itself will send you out, saying, “Why did you come here? Why aren’t you glorifying Radha-krsna?”
When someone comes to the dhāma with a negligent or disrespectful mood, then after one or two days he will lose taste for parikramā or any kind of dhāma-sevā. As a result of this, he will become hopeless and weak.
If anyone has a little love, however, if he stays in the dhāma under the guidance of Śrī Guru and the Vaiṣṇavas, serves them, offers them gifts and hears their hari-kathā, then he will receive blessings. The eyes of Śrī Guru and the Vaiṣṇavas will surely fall favorably on that person who comes to the dhāma with a service attitude. They will think, “Oh, he is working so hard,” And their hearts will melt.
Guru and Vaiṣṇavas appreciate any love we can offer to God, His dhāma, and His devotees. If they see this love in us, then they will reciprocate with their own love. The flow of their love will transfer from their hearts to ours.
Once I asked Śrīla Gurudeva, “Every day you are going on parikramā and conducting big feasts. Do you never become tired or weak?”
“No,” Śrīla Gurudeva said. “Why would I? This is service for the
Guru-varga. They are always with me, therefore I am never weak or hopeless.”
After some time Krsna became an adolescent. One day, it was dusk and the moon was shining in the eastern direction. It seemed that the moon considered the eastern horizon as his beloved. It seemed that his rays were decorating the face of his beloved Purva-disa i.e. the eastern horizon. At that time, Krsna remembered the gopis. He took His Vamsi and played a very sweet melody. Each of the gopis thought that Krsna was only calling her. Listening to this inconceivable sweet song of the flute, all the gopis ran to where this sound came from. The gopis left all their household chores behind and ran to Krsna. One gopi was sweeping the floor; another gopi was making rotis; another gopi was decorating herself—but they left everything behind on listening to the flute song and ran from their houses. The rotis were left unattended and the gopi who was decorating herself only put collyrium on one eye and left the other eye as it is. One gopi did not clothe herself properly; yet, she also ran to Krsna when she heard the flute song. On listening to the flute song, one gopi wore her necklace around her waist and another gopi wore her waist belt around her neck. In this way, they left everything behind. Another gopi was serving her husband; but she also ran to Krsna. Becoming bewildered, all the gopis ran to Krsna.
ajagmur anyonyam alaksitodyamah
—Srimad Bhagavatam 10.29.4
Each of the gopis stopped whatever they were doing and being alone, ran to where Krsna was. There was not just one gopi; there were millions of gopis. Even Yasoda Maiya had not heard this sweet melody of the Vamsi; neither did Nanda Baba ever listen to this melody. The sakhas also did not listen to this melody. Only those gopis who were deeply attached to Krsna, could hear this flute song. When the gopis reached the spot where Krsna was, He told them, “O most fortunate gopis, it is very nice that all of you have come here. Welcome everyone. Please say what I can do for you?”
The gopis only stood silently. Krsna saw that the decoration of the gopis was very wonderful to behold. One gopi had only put collyrium on one eye and not on the other. The necklace was around the waist and the waist belt was around the neck. Another gopi had worn her clothes upside down. Krsna smiled and said, “Welcome everyone. If someone takes one step towards Me; then I take millions of steps forward for that person.” This is Krsna’s promise.
In the Gita, Krsna has said:
ye yatha mam prapadyante
tams tathaiva bhajamy aham
—Bhagavad Gita 4.11
[As all surrender unto Me, I reward them accordingly.]
If someone does even a little bhajan of Krsna, then Krsna comes ten times forward to help that person. And if someone goes one step back from Krsna, then He also goes ten steps behind. So, Krsna told the gopis, “Welcome. But now it is the dead of night.” But on that night it was Purnima; the full moon was shining in the sky.
Krsna told the gopis, “It is very dark now. Also, there are dangerous animals in the forest. You have left your crying children, husbands, parents, and in-laws behind. This is not right.”
“Then why did You call us?” the gopis asked.
Krsna did not answer. The gopis asked the same question again. Krsna told the gopis, “Do not delay, O chaste ladies; return to your husbands at once. The duty of a virtuous woman is to serve her husband under all circumstances, regardless of whether his character is good or bad. He may be rich or poor, beautiful and highly qualified, or lame and ugly, but still she must serve him. It is her religious duty (dharma) to do so. You came to see the forest. With her sparkling water, the Yamuna is very beautiful to behold. Many lotuses are blooming on her surface. The cuckoos are cooing. The peacocks are dancing and the deer are prancing. The moon rays are lighting up the entire forest. You came to see this sight and now that you have seen the setting of the forest, you should return to your homes.”
The gopis thought, “Is Krsna being serious? Or is He playing a game? He is a cheater. His words carry many meanings. He is always teasing us. Why is He speaking like this?”
The gopis remained silent for some time. Krsna asked them, “You haven’t returned to your homes yet? You should return to your homes.”
One gopi said, “We will return; but our feet don’t turn the other way around. Our feet only want to stay here. And even if we force ourselves to return; what is the use? Because we have left our minds here. Give our minds back and we will happily return. We don’t have our minds with us now. So, unless You return our minds to us—we will not return.”
Another gopi said, “Who can be a more able guru than You in this world? You have given us such beautiful knowledge. You have told us to always serve our husbands. You enlightened us with transcendental knowledge. The Vedas and sastras say, ‘If Guru and Bhagavan are present before you, then whom should you offer pranama first? You should offer pranama to the Guru first.’ So, You have given us the transcendental knowledge that serving our husbands is the topmost dharma. You told us that a woman should serve her husband regardless of whether he is blind, lame, or dumb. Therefore, we should serve the guru first because You have enlightened us with such transcendental knowledge. Hence, we offer ourselves to Your lotus feet. We will serve You first and then, we will serve our husbands. Isn’t this all right? If what we have said is wrong, then why did You instruct us like this?”
Smiling, Krsna listened to what the gopis had to say. He was also very grave.
Another gopi said, “We heard that You gave the knowledge of the Gita to Suryadeva millions of years ago. In one of those instructions You said:
ye yatha mam prapadyante
tams tathaiva bhajamy aham
—Bhagavad Gita 4.11
[As all surrender unto Me, I reward them accordingly.]
You said, ‘I will reciprocate with one according to the bhajan he does.’ So, we have come to You. We are worshiping You like a guru. If You don’t accept our worship, then You will be guilty of adharma and not us. Because of not accepting our worship, sin will contaminate You. You have also said that a person should abandon all dharmas and surrender to You. So, we are only doing what You have said. We have left all our dharmas and come to You. If You don’t accept our service, then You will be the biggest liar.”
In this way, the gopis refuted all the arguments of Krsna. A gopi said, “Why are we at fault for abandoning our dharma? We see that in this Vrndavana, all the living entities have become enchanted by Your beautiful form and flute song. The stationary beings start moving and the non-stationary beings become stationary. The Yamuna has become still and the trees welcome You by their blooming flowers. The deer run away on seeing the humans; but they come near You now. The cows have become inanimate and are only drinking Your flute song by their upraised ears. They don’t swallow the grass and neither does the grass fall from their mouths. The calves are also in a similar condition. They don’t drink the milk completely and neither does the milk fall from their mouths. The non-moving entities have become moving and the moving entities have become non-moving.
When the devotee takes dīkṣā from Śrī Guru, it means he is receiving relationship, sambandha-jñāna. The knowledge that, “I am Kṛṣṇa’s, I am Gurudeva’s.” But one who gives nothing to Śrī Guru and Kṛṣṇa is not a real disciple. If one does not give anything by body, at least he should give something by mind. But even this is rare nowadays. Now if a disciple is asked, “Can’t you give one tulasī leaf to God?” he will say, “This is not possible for me.”
Such a person’s chanting of harināma and mantra is dry. It as if they simply run like a tape recorder saying, “Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Hare Hare…” and “He Gopinātha, Hey Gopijana-vallabha,” but without any affection or mood of any kind.
Why do you call Gopijana-vallabha? Is He your servant? Can you not serve Him? This is not the proper process. If a mother has affection for her baby, she will tend to him without bathing and without having to be asked.
We have heard the story of Sanatana Gosvāmī and the brāhmaṇi who cooked daliā for Madana Mohana. She was stirring the daliā with the back end of the stick she was using to brush her teeth. Her two boys Madana and Sadana were crying, “Give me breakfast, give me breakfast,” She put it on their plates piping hot and the boys lips were burning as they tried to eat it very fast.
If you have no love how can you have relationship. How can you expect to enter aṣṭa-kālīya-līlā or asta-kaliya-smarana? The dry chanting of mantra does not work. Service is necessary. The gopīs have love, Yaśodā Mātā has love. Therefore they always serve. Crazy people are lazy and inactive. Karmīs, yogīs, bhogīs and jñānīs, who have no relation with svarūpa-śakti or līlā-śakti, have no affection, attachment, or attraction for God. They run here and there devoid of love.
The sadhaka, at least by mind, must serve in the way that Yaśodā Mātā and the gopīs serve Kṛṣṇa. If you cannot do this practically, then do it by mind.
Bhajana is very deep. You must have a do or die mentality. Who will do or die? Will the body do or die or the soul do or die? The soul never dies. And tomorrow or the day after the body will have to be discarded. Therefore, like candana, you should grind and paste the body on the stone slab of loving service. Then you will be fortunate. Your life will be successful. If you don’t do this, though you might have a big body like an elephant’s, many jackals and dogs will bite and have a huge festival of eating your body slowly.
Therefore, use this body for the sake of God. This is the first instruction. If one does not do this, he will never cross māyā nor enter the eternal world.
Caitanya Mahāprabhu said to Raghunātha das Gosvāmī—
eka kuṅjā jala āra tulasī-mañjarī
sāttvika-sevā ei—śuddha-bhāve kari
dui-dike dui-patra madhye komala mañjarī
ei-mata aṣṭa-mañjarī dibe śraddhā kari
Mahāprabhu said, “Give eight tulasī-mañjarīs to Girirāja, and bath him with a clay pot of water. Start this practice, then everything will run on nicely.”
Another time during breakfast, Yaśodā Mātā noticed that many peacocks, parrots, cuckoos and other animals were all waiting outside the window to offer something to Kṛṣṇa. They had all collected something from the forest. Some brought fresh dates, grapes, cherries and other fruits. There was a small rabbit that had come with small green leaves.
Srila Gurudeva: The first aparadha is satang-nindha. The first offense to the holy name is to criticize the sadhus who are engaged in chanting harinama and in doing bhajan. These Vaisnavas should not be criticized. A man doesn’t offend guru as easily. He will respect his guru who gave him harinama and diksa. Only a degraded person will criticize his guru; or else no one will offend their guru. They know the glories of Sri Guru. But a person thinks of a Vaisnava to be like him. Although the Vaisnava is on the same platform as one’s guru, or although he may be even more advanced than one’s guru; but still, people consider him to be an ordinary person and thus, they criticize him.
Hence it is said, “The first offense to the holy name is criticizing the Vaisnavas. You should be very careful to avoid this offense.” What to speak of criticizing a Vaisnava, you should not even criticize a person who is in samsara, who doesn’t chant, and who is of bad character. You should not criticize him, or else all his bad qualities will enter your heart. Therefore, don’t criticize the Vaisnavas, or else you will suffer in hell for millions of lives. And bhakti will not be had.
Devotee: Shouldn’t we tell a man if he is doing something wrong?
Srila Gurudeva: You should be silent. You should speak to him if he is acting against bhakti. Or else, you should be silent.
Devotee: You seem to make a difference between a Vaisnava and a Suddha Vaisnava?
Srila Gurudeva: It is very difficult to become a Suddha Vaisnava. Actually, it is not that difficult. I never criticize anyone. I have never criticized anyone. So, you should never criticize anyone. But, if a fault is seen in someone, then just be silent because his previous karma is like a fangless snake. This karma will not bite him.
api cet su-duracaro
bhajate mam ananya-bhak
sadhur eva sa mantavyah
samyag vyavasito hi sah
—Bhagavad Gita 9.30
[Even if one commits the most abominable action, if he is engaged in devotional service he is to be considered saintly because he is properly situated in his determination.]
Sripad Madhava Maharaja: A person’s present karma will end very soon when he is engaged in Bhagavan’s bhajan. A burnt rope looks like a real rope, but in reality, by the faintest of touches, it will crumble and fall to ashes. A snake that has its fangs removed cannot kill anyone by its poison.
Srila Gurudeva: Similarly, one who is engaged in Bhagavan’s one-pointed bhajan; who worships only Krsna and who chants and listens to hari-katha; yet if he commits an abominable action like theft or looking at a woman, or any other form of ill behavior—even so, this should not be considered. You should still consider that person a sadhu, because his actions will not bear fruit. All his inappropriate tendencies have been done away with because of practicing bhakti. All the reactions to his karma have been burnt.
Sripad Madhava Maharaja: When you stop a fan, it doesn’t stop immediately. It runs for some time and then stops. Similarly, even a sadhu does something inappropriate, he cannot be punished for that. Bhagavan will Himself correct that devotee. The devotee will automatically be rectified.
In the śāstra, it tells us to wake in the early morning and to bathe, dress, put on tilaka and do ācamana, and then serve Kṛṣṇa and remember His mantra. But then a long time is spent, and the anurāgis don’t like this. What does Kṛṣna like? Kṛṣṇa is in Mathurā, at the home of a caturvedi. One old widow lady is present. She had a son, who was very young, three and a half. His name was Sadana.
In the early morning he would cry to his mother, “I am very hungry.” Babies’ become very hungry. He cried for something to eat in the early morning, and his mother would cook something. She did not bathe or change into clean clothes, wash the cooking pots, or clean the kitchen. She put a pot on top of a few bricks and began a fire. This would occur daily. She would put water in a pot and cook porridge or khicari. How did she stir the pot? She stirred the pot with a tree branch, which she used as a spoon as well as a toothbrush. As she cooked, she brushed her teeth with one side of the branch, and with the other, she stirred the pot on the fire. When the khicari was cooked, she put it on a plate to cool and said to her boy, Sadana, “Now take your breakfast, I am going to bathe in the Yamunā.”
When she went to bathe, Sadana called Madana from the altar room, “Come, You are hungry. I am hungry. Let’s eat!” Then, without a sitting mat, an offering of flowers, puṣpāñjali, or Vedic mantras, Madana came and sat down to eat with Sadana from the same plate. The khicari was very hot, so they blew on it to cool it down. Sadana took a handful of khicari and said to Madana, “It’s so hot, how shall we eat it?” Then Sadana blew on the khicari in his hand till it was cooled and gave his hand in the mouth of Madana. Then Madana took some in His hand and blew on it, then gave it to Sadana. In this way, they ate together happily and then ran off to play without cleaning their hands, leaving the plate lying on the ground.
Sanātana Gosvāmī went on daily parikramā from Vṛndāvana to Mathurā, to Govardhana, and then back to Vṛndāvana. He took darśana of the bhaktas and accepted mādhukarī from the Vrajavāsīs in search of the anurāgī devotees. One day, as he passed through Mathurā, he saw these two boys eating. One ate a little faster than the other, and then they fought over who had gotten a bigger share. Afterwards, they did not wash their hands or mouth, and the remnant plate was left behind. They wore small clothes and began playing guli-daṇḍā. One took a big stick and struck a smaller stick on the ground, making it fly up into the air, and then they chased after it together trying to hit it.
Sanātana Gosvāmī said, “Prabhu, I am very lucky to see You in this attractive form! How are you? With no rules, no Vedic mantra, no ācamana, no bath—this Vrajavāsī cooked for You, and You greedily ate everything up. She was even brushing her teeth with the same stick with which she stirred the pot, and she did not even wash the plate before she gave the offering to You!”
Sanātana Gosvāmī watched this pastime and wept. He began to come every day to see the pastimes of Madana Mohana. One day he called the mother over, and said, “I know your son is very hungry, but you should first bathe and clean the area up before cooking.”
She said, “Yes, Bābā, I will try to follow your request.”The next day she went to bathe in the Yamunā and washed her cloth, then cleaned all the pots and room, but was late to cook—Madana and Sadana were very hungry and were crying. They came to the Bābā, “What did you tell my mother? She is not cooking for us. We are hungry and can’t tolerate it. You are an old man. Your digestive fire has stopped working, therefore you aren’t hungry. But what stupid advice did you give our mother? Now our stomachs are burning, and we are suffering so much!”
Each boy caught one side of the Bābā and began pulling on his cloth.
Sanātana Gosvāmī had written many rules and regulations in Hari-bhakti-vilāsa—this month these flowers, this month this bhoga, this month this seat, and so forth—he wrote so many rules and regulations. But that Sanātana Gosvāmī was very restless now, and was crying before those baby boys. Before, he had no fire of digestion, but now he was also hungry like Lord Hari. Why? Tasmin tusṭe jagat tuṣṭe. If the Lord is satisfied, the universe is satisfied. If you feed God, and He is satisfied, then the entire world is satisfied. If God is hungry, everyone is hungry. Sanātana Gosvāmī thought what to do. When the mother returned, he said, “These boys are very restless and hungry. How many sons do you have?”
“And this other boy?”
“Yes, where did He come from?”
“He is the neighbor’s boy.”
She did not know that the Madana-mohana she worshipped came and ate with her boy. Other pujārīs came and rang bells, offered candana, and gave a small plate with food to offer. This was their rule. They gave four or five chapatis and a small bowl of subji, and one small cup of milk—it was limited. Then how would His hunger be satisfied? He wanted to eat a lot. But pujārīs feed Him, using a measurement and scale, “This much is for God, the rest for us.”
Kṛṣṇa said, “This is not possible for Me. These are rules and regulations of śāstra.” Kṛṣṇa continued, “I am not a prisoner, that you give Me four chapattis and I eat like a cow in a pen. I don’t like this. I eat with My sakhā, friend. I eat in front of everyone, with everyone. I will eat from any plate or hand.”
Like the pastime of Dahi-ciḍā-mahotsava in Pānihāṭi—during the feast, Nityānanda Prabhu went to all the thousands of devotees and took handfuls from everyone’s plate, giving it to Mahāprabhu. Mahāprabhu ate from everyone’s pot. Who saw this? Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī, Rāghava Paṇḍita, Śivānanda Sena, and other advanced Vaiṣṇavas. They saw Nityānanda Prabhu taking a handful and giving it somewhere, and Mahāprabhu was accepting everything.
The bhaktas are not controlled by any rules and regulations. Their anurāga is very strong. They have too much anurāga and burn from its heat. This is not a small thing. God drinks and eats this love. Now Sanātana Gosvāmī was feeling bad and said, “Mother, continue cooking as you did before. Never stop cooking and offering like this.”
The next day Sanātana Gosvāmī came and the boys were not crying. Their mother had given a plate. They were sitting down eating and said, “Bābā, thank you. Now don’t come here anymore. Seeing our eating habits, you become disturbed. Therefore don’t come here anymore.” I offer something to God, but am also greedy for this. If the manager gives four rasagullas, and three come back from the offering, he will ask the pūjārī, “What happened to the rasagullā?” If the pūjārī doesn’t give any answer, then the manager will bind and beat him with a whip, saying, “Where did the rasagullā go?”
It is not the rule of anurāga to offer to yourself and not God—this is not bhajana and bhakti.
Raghunandana was the son of Mukunda Datta. Mukunda Datta worshipped a Deity of Gopīnātha. Raghunandana said, “Prabhu, you eat lots of laddus in Vraja-maṇḍala. My mother only gives you a little. I want her to cook a lot, and I will bring everything to you.”
Gopīnātha replied, “Yes, I will carry it here and lock the door, and we will both eat.”
“No, first you eat, and then I will eat; otherwise, my mother will beat me.”
“No, don’t worry. We will eat together. When your mother asks what happened, tell her Gopīnātha ate everything.”
In this way, both Raghunandana and Gopīnātha played together. Raghunandana had pure love for Gopīnātha, and therefore Gopīnātha engaged in loving pastimes with him.
There are millions of followers of rules and regulations. The followers of pure love, anurāga, are very rare in this world. It is very rare to find them.
There are therefore two sampradāyas—one is the lampaṭa-sampradāya, meaning, the anurāga-sampradāya, and the other sampradāya is called vaidhī-mārga, maryādā-mārga-sampradāya. They follow all rules and regulations and etiquette. If there is some discrepancy in following the rules and regulations, like if the bhoga is meant to be offered at six o’clock, and is not, then a fight will ensue. Vaidhi-mārga means to follow the rules and regulations strictly. Sometimes people without a sufficient fund of knowledge establish some etiquette, or rule and regulation, and demand that it be followed by everyone.
In pūrvāhna-līlā, Kṛṣṇa goes to the forest with the cows, calves and His friends. Other animals like peacocks and birds fly above, and deer and other animals follow behind. There are sādhana-siddhas that come in many forms. Kṛṣṇa teaches them how to have a sweet relationship with Him. He teaches them to take shelter of the nitya-siddhas.
In the forest there are no restrictions or boundaries. Kṛṣṇa is free in the forest. Although He is the Supreme Godhead, He does not feel as such. He always feels that He is a servant and in the forest He can fulfil His desire to serve the cows.
Kṛṣṇa is now the servant of the cows. He teaches how to be a servant. If Kṛṣṇa was proud, and had the mood of being the Supreme God like Nārāyaṇa, Nṛsiṁha, Kalki, or Vāmana, then He could not teach this mood of a servant.
Kṛṣṇa strokes the cows and bathes them, dries their bodies and massages them. He feeds them and walks behind them in the forest with bare feet. He collects grass for them and arranges water for their drinking. Anyone who comes to Him will not be able to be lazy and crazy. If the Ācārya of a temple daily cooks, performs arcana, serves prasādam, washes pots and sweeps the temple with his own hands, then all his followers will automatically serve like him. Then they will get benefit. If the leader does nothing, the juniors also will not do anything.
Therefore, Kṛṣṇa tells Nanda Bābā and Yaśodā Mātā, “I am not a prince. I am the servant of all. If I don’t practice serving now, when I become older I will not be able to serve. I will practice this service from childhood.”
If one takes harināma and dīkṣā from a Guru, but does not perform guru-sevā, then the mercy and power of his Guru will not come to him. When disciples do not take shelter and serve Śrī Guru and the Vaiṣṇavas, or those in the rūpānuga guru-varga, they will not get any mercy or spiritual benefit.
Kṛṣṇa tells Nanda and Yaśodā, “I will daily go to the forest and care for the cows. By serving the cows everyone, including all the demigods will be pleased. All My friends will come with Me to the forest and help.”
“If You insist on going to the forest, then I will go with You also,” Yaśodā Mātā says.
“Mother,” says Kṛṣṇa, “you must take care of the household, worship Śālagrāma and serve the many guests who come.”
Nanda Bābā says, “I will go with You then.”
Kṛṣṇa smiles at His father and says, “You have served the cows for so long, now it is My turn to serve.”
“We have many servants who can take care of the cows for You,” says Yaśodā Mātā.
“No,” Kṛṣṇa said. “I must go.”
One time, Rādhārānī and the sakhīs said to Kṛṣṇa, “If the sakhās are all going with You to the forest, then we will come also.”
But Kṛṣṇa says, “No. Have you not heard this story? Once, when Rāmacandra was preparing to go to the forest, Sītā-devī argued with Him saying, ‘I will come with You.’ Rāmacandra refused again and again but Sita-devī persisted. ‘I will go.’ She repeated firmly. All of Rāmacandra’s elders and family members said that they would go with Him to the forest, but Rāma requested them all to stay and serve His father. Sita-devī however, was stubborn and came with Rāma even after He told her not to so many times. Once in the forest, many tāmasika, cruel, flesh-eating demons made plans to steel Sītā. One after another they came and were destroyed, like moths flying into a fire. In the end, Rāvaṇa came and stole Sītā-devī, not knowing that by doing so he was causing the destruction of himself and his entire dynasty. Therefore, ladies should not go out into forest. You should stay in your homes!”
Rādhārānī replied, “We will not stay in our houses. We will go for pūjā at Surya-kuṇḍa!”
“I don’t know if that is a good idea,” Kṛṣṇa said, “You should ask Your mother-in-law Jaṭilā. She and her daughter Kuṭilā are Your guardians. They will be sure to keep You safe.”
Śrīmatī Radarani immediately went to Yāvaṭa to prepare for sūrya-pūjā. When She arrived there She saw that Jaṭilā had already arranged the paraphernalia for worshipping the Sun. There were flowers, sugar, sweets, incense, ghee wicks and other things ready to bring to Surya-kuṇḍa.
“I will perform sūrya-pūjā today,” Jaṭilā said in great excitement. “The brāhmaṇas have told me that if a supremely chaste lady worships the Sun all the area will benefit! Also, the summer’s heat will not disturb her.”
“If the Sun is worshiped by an unchaste lady, the results will be very inauspicious,” Jaṭilā went on. “Therefore, I will go with You today. I am famous for being chaste in Vraja-maṇḍala. I never think of any man. Because, I am the most chaste woman in this land, the Sun will be very pleased by my worship and bring, wealth and honor to our family.”
“Oh,” Rādhārāṇī said. “This is very good. If you perform the pūjā today, the Sun will definitely give you benediction.”
The mantra for worshiping the Sun is brahma-gāyatrī. If anyone impure or dishonest chants the brahma-gāyatrī, they will be burnt and destroyed.
Once, a dog came to Śrī Rāmacandra crying for help. In his own language he complained to Rāmacandra, “You are the king, You give good judgment to all. I surrender to You. I am an orphan animal, please help me.”
Śrī Rāmacandra said, “Yes, I will try to help you. What is the difficulty? By your karma you received the body of a dog, but please tell Me what is wrong and I will help. “
The dog said, “I was lying on one side of a street and a Paṇḍita came by and beat me. He broke one of my legs. Now I cannot walk easily. I am suffering so much without any treatment. What can I do?”
Rāmacandra said, “Call the brāhmaṇa.” Rāmacandra never gave any judgment or punishment to the brāhmaṇas. He always respected them and followed this etiquette. If any judgement was necessary, He called his guru, Vaśiṣṭha. Vaśiṣṭha came and Rāma told Him, “Ask the Paṇḍita why he broke the leg of the dog.”
Vaśiṣṭha asked and the Paṇḍita replied, “The dog was lying in the middle of the road and did not give me any respect or go to the side so that I could cross easily.”
The dog said, “The road is very large, I was only sleeping on one side, without barking or doing anything, why did he beat me?”
Vaśiṣṭha asked, “What punishment do you want to give him?”
The dog said, “Give him the position of being the mahānta of the large and famous Kalinjara temple.”
The Paṇḍita began to dance in great joy thinking a great boon had come for him.
Rāmacandra asked the dog, “Why do you want him to have this post?”
The dog said, “I gave him this post because then he will not serve. He will be very greedy to enjoy. He will not serve God and he will be greedy to enjoy all the property that is offered to God. In my last life I was the ācārya of this Kalinjara temple and I stole everything. Now my tongue is always hanging outside and saliva is dropping from it. I was always greedy to eat the offerings for the Lord, and I would steal things before they were offered in the temple. Therefore I got this body as a dog. When the brāhmaṇa becomes a dog, he will understand his faulty nature.”
People come to the temple, to Guru and Vaiṣṇavas, the holy dhāma, Gaṅgā, Godāvarī, and the holy tīrthas, but they are very greedy for mundane things. They want name, fame, and they give announcements and want everyone to be in their group and to respect them. And if others don’t offer their respect, they are tormented. They have no love for God and God’s family; they only desire their own respect, name and fame. Will punishment come or not? Where am I?I am not really nearby God and the holy dhāma. Large fish live in the Gaṅgā. In the same way these people stay in the dhāma but can get no treatment. How can Guru, Vaiṣṇavas, and harināma help them? They fly in the sky like eagles but look down for dead bodies. Their attachment is with their own sense recreation. Then how can they cross māyā? They do not follow or give respect to Guru and Vaiṣṇavas. Their pride cheats them of Guru and Vaiṣṇavas’ blessings. How will their anarthas dissipate? People say, “Don’t go to any other Vaiṣṇavas, no one else is a Vaiṣṇava. Only hear from me. My group and disciples are Vaiṣṇavas, other guru’s disciples are not Vaiṣṇavas.”
This is not the nature and etiquette of bhakti and bhajana. Vaiṣṇavism means that one must offer himself to the Guru-varga, and any service, inspiration or instruction the Guru-varga give must be followed. One must continuously serve Śrīla Gurudeva.
Śrīla Gurudeva teaches the glory of the Guru-varga, God and the Vaiṣṇavas. If one really respects and has love for the Vaiṣṇavas, God and the holy dhāma, then such a person is a Vaiṣṇava.
Our ācāryas say that one who wears tilaka and neckbeads, and has a big śikhā showing everyone, ‘I am a great Vaiṣṇava and all should serve and follow me,’ is not a Vaiṣṇava in reality. Is one tṛṇād-api sunīcena or not? Mahat-saṅga helps everyone, but crooked cheaters are not mahat, and they are not honest. By going to a great personality one will automatically become cleansed. If one becomes impure at heart, has no desire for harināma and no tendency for service, then one should understand he is fallen and in bad association.
When one repents, knowing his own fallen position, and surrenders to Guru and Vaiṣṇavas, then they directly show one his own condition, like taking a picture of one’s own heart and showing how fallen, impure, and full of anarthas one is. Guru and Vaiṣṇavas show this and when people understand their own condition, they will repent at heart and pray deeply. When they cry sincerely, then Gurudeva bestows his mercy and purifies the heart. (more)
Thus, Suta Gosvami started speaking on the Bhagavatam to protect the Rsis from the faults of Kali Yuga. Presently, what is the main problem? Science has made so much advancement that even a new skull can be placed. We can go from one end of the earth to another within a very short time. Much advancement has been made from the kitchen to the development of atom bombs. It seems that earth can be held in one’s fist. If you want to go to India, then just sit in the airplane and you will reach by tomorrow morning. You can watch a cricket match or a football match in your house. All arrangements have been made. But these advancements have given birth to a problem that science is unable to solve.
How can a husband and wife love each other? Science has distanced their hearts; there is no love. A father and son do not love each other. Today, old houses are made for a person’s aged parents. Old people, who are neglected by their family members, stay in these old age homes. Why? A person can take care of a dog, but he cannot take care of his parents? So many such problems have come in this world. The bank balance of a wife is different from the husband’s. The bank balance of the children is different as well. Why is this? No one trusts each other. The qualities of the soul are disappearing. Man has now become like a machine. There is no peace and happiness in his heart.
When I go to Kolkata and Mumbai, I see that lakhs of people are on the streets. There is such a big crowd that people push each other and walk. But if one person falls on the ground, no one will pick him up. There is no love among people. Man has advanced so much; but where is the love? The main problem is that there is no love. If there was love, then this world would become Vaikuntha. But, it is very sad that there is no love between one another. People look after dogs because they trust dogs more than fellow humans. The dog will not betray them. If they call the dog, then wagging its tail, it will immediately come. But men don’t trust men. They don’t trust women also.
They think, “What if she leaves me and goes somewhere else?”
The women also think, “What if my husband leaves me and goes somewhere else?”
When a person cannot find solace anywhere, then he commits suicide. People don’t trust even God. This is the main problem of Kali Yuga. So, how will the Bhagavat help? The Bhagavat will help; just listen carefully. The Bhagavat will give what science cannot give. Science cannot answer the question, “Who am I?” Where does life go when the body becomes still and lifeless? Science does not have the answer to this question. If scientists become enlightened, then they will give the answer. The solutions to all forms of problems have been given in the Srimad Bhagavatam. The Bhagavat tells us how we can be happy and how we can love each other. Only by associating with each other in a loving manner, will we be happy in this world. Even donkeys and pigs eat food; but if there is no love, then all kinds of food will be tasteless.
Where will the soul go after leaving this body? Therefore, Suta Gosvami offered his obeisance to his Guru and started speaking on the Srimad Bhagavatam. Narada Rsi is a topmost sage. He knows past, present, and future. There is no place in the universe where he cannot go. He doesn’t need a spaceship to go from one planet to another. He can travel by his mind in less than a moment. He is omniscient; he knows what every person thinks. In the course of his travels, he reached Haridvara. Haridvara is a place that lies on the banks of the Ganga. It is the gateway to the Himalayas. Hence, it is called Haridvara. There, he met his elder brothers—Sanak, Sanat, Sanatana, and Sanandana Kumara. These sages are always five years of age. They are always naked. They don’t eat any food. They don’t need air to breathe also. They are always wandering and enlightening people. They are the repositories of transcendental knowledge. There is no such thing that they are not enlightened about. Just by their glance, a dead person will be brought back to life. Whatever they say is bound to happen.
When Narada met the four brothers, they asked him, “Oh Narada, why have come here? Your face has dried up? You seem engrossed in thought? Why is this? Why are you sad?”
Narada replied, “I am very sad.”
“Why? You are a great devotee and are very knowledgeable.”
“What can I do? After Krsna ended His Dvaraka lila, I was wandering on this earth. I saw many astonishing sights.”
“What did you see?”
“I see that the sadhus are not what they were. They speak the Bhagavat to earn money and not for the benefit of people. They do kirtan to earn money also. They want to build big palaces for themselves. But they don’t want to make people’s hearts into temples. Men have become very greedy. They have made women their maidservants. When they so desire, they make the woman leave home. They are only concerned with money. And how are the women? Women have love for their husbands, but it is little. They are only concerned with decorating their hair. There is no celibacy in this world. The King has become a dacoit. He is only engaged in daylight robbery. Even hari-katha seems empty.
“Thus, I went in all four directions and found myself becoming very sad. I then reached Vrndavana. There, I saw something very strange. I saw that there was a young lady who had two sons. These sons were very aged. Their hairs were white and they were lying on the ground unconscious. The young lady was crying bitterly. When I came to where they were, the mother became very happy on seeing me.
She asked, ‘Are you Naradaji? I am very sad.’
‘Why are you sad?’
‘I was born in South India. After taking birth I went to Karnataka. There, I gradually grew. After that, I came to Maharastra. Then I came to Gujarat. When I came there, I gradually became old. My hair turned white and my sons became old as well. All three of us became old.’
‘Why did this happen?’
‘We were wandering. Now my sons don’t speak. They are only sleeping. They don’t get up. I brought them along with me to Vrndavana. When I came to Vrndavana, I became a young lady. But my sons remain as they are. I have tried waking them up, but they refuse to wake up. I cannot understand why this is happening.’
‘All right. I will do something by which your sons will wake up.’
Bhakti-devi told me, ‘Don’t go anywhere. I feel so blissful in your presence. I cannot understand why I am so happy.’
‘I will make your sons healthy again,’ thus I became absorbed in thought on what could be done for Bhakti-devi’s sons.
I took her sons everywhere. I took them to Haridvara; I took them on the banks of the Ganga. I took them to Prayaga. I took them everywhere. I had them take bath at all holy places. On their behalf, I gave so much charity. I did everything. I took them to South India also. I had them bathe in the ocean at Kanya-kumari. I had them bathe in the Godavari also. But nothing happened. I took them to Gaya also, but nothing happened. So, what should I do my dear brothers?” Narada Rsi asked the Four Kumaras.
Previously, Narada Rsi had become absorbed in a meditative trance and remembered his Lord. An aerial voice told him, “You need only try and everything will be all right. Bhakti-devi’s sons will become young again.”
Narada told his brothers, “I know that they will become all right, but why am I not able to help them? What should I do? I am determined that I will become successful in my endeavors. So, I wandered everywhere and have now, come here to Haridvara. Seeing all of you, I am hopeful that you will show me the right way. Thus, these children will become young and happy again.”
The Four Kumaras told Narada, “You are a devotee; you know everything. You do know how the sons of Bhakti-devi will become all right. But, to increase our prestige, you are doing this. Okay. Listen to the essence of the Srimad Bhagavatam. By listening to the Bhagavatam for seven days, Bhakti-devi’s sons will become their younger selves again. And all her desires will be fulfilled.”
There is so much potency in the Bhagavat and in Bhagavan’s names. Even very notorious persons change. There is so much potency in the words of the Srimad Bhagavatam. The Four Kumaras started speaking on the Srimad Bhagavatam, and Bhakti-devi heard the recital for seven days. The form of Bhakti-devi became more effulgent and her two sons became normal again. They became youths and smiling, spoke to their mother.
How can a person in this world achieve perfection and a spiritual form in the transcendental world? The path of spontaneous love and affection, rāga-mārga, is the means to achieve this svarūpa-siddhi as described in our Gauḍīya scriptures, such as Rāga-vartma-candrika. By following the guidance and example of rāgānugā-bhaktas, we can transcend this world and our material karma, saṁskāras and form, and take birth in transcendental Vraja. By the association of the eternally perfect associates of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa in Vraja, we will imbibe all the processes of loving service.
Many people think they have no qualification to follow the rāgānugā-bhaktas or to even hear their teachings. This is like a meat-eater saying he cannot give up flesh and become a vegetarian because he will not have any strength. Or it is like a drug addict saying he cannot give up his addiction because it will drive him mad. We should not be afraid of giving up a lower path for a higher one. Some initial difficulty may be there, but in time, we will feel hundreds of times better than we did under the grip of our vices. Before the awakening of divine love, we are all under the spell of māyā. We are intoxicated by the illusions of material life. To become free of this, we must follow the footsteps of the rāgānugā-bhaktas on the rāga-mārga path.
Svarūpa-śakti Śrīmatī Rādhārānī sends Her dear associates to this world. They appear and illumine their teachings on the path of spontaneous love and affection. They are the ācāryas in the Bhāgavata-paramparā. We cannot cross māyā and enter Vraja without their help, mercy, and guidance. By following them, first an affectionate familial feeling towards the ācāryas and their associates develops. As we gradually develop in our affection and faith, we will realize, “My home is in Vraja.” And we will pray, “When I will be amidst the Vrajavāsīs in my own spiritual form?”
People come to Śrī Guru from many countries, but over time, they begin to consider themselves as members of guru’s family, giving up their own self-identification with their material family and nationalities. As their love increases, they feel that the Vrajavāsīs are their own family and friends. They forget all the relations of this world.
Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura prays (Prārthanā Song 12):
hari hari! āra ki emana daśā haba
kabe vṛṣabhānu-pūre āhīrī gopera ghare,
tanayā haiyā janamiba
yāvaṭe āmāra kabe e-pāṇi-grahaṇa habe,
vasati kariba kabe tāya
sakhīra parama śreṣṭha je tāhāra haya preṣṭha,
sevana kariba tāṅra pāya
teṅha kṛpāvān haiñā rātula caraṇe laiñā,
āmāre karibe samarpaṇa
saphala haibe daśā pūribe manera āśā,
sevi duṅhāra yugala-caraṇa
vṛndāvane dui-jana caturdike sakhī-gaṇa,
sevana kariba avaśeṣe
sakhī-gaṇa cāribhite nānā jantra laiñā hate.
dekhiba manera abhilāṣe
dūṅhu cāṅda-mukha dekhi’ juḍābe tāpita āṅkhi,
nayane bahibe aśru-dhāra
vṛndāra nideśa pāba doṅhāra nikaṭe jāba,
hena dina haibe āmāra
śrī-rūpa-mañjarī sakhī more anāthinī dekhi,
rākhibe rātula duṭī pāya
narottama dāsa bhaṇe priya-narma-sakhī-gaṇe,
kabe dāsī karibe āmāra
O Hari Hari! Will this ever happen to me that in Vṛṣabhanu-pura I will take birth as a daughter in the house of Ahirī Gopa? When will my hand be accepted in marriage at Yāvaṭa and when will I begin to reside there? I will serve the lotus feet of a parama-preṣṭha-sakhī for she is an intimate friend of Rādhā. Being merciful she will offer me into the service of Śrī Yugala’s lotus feet. My life will be successful, and all my aspirations will be fulfilled. In this way I will serve Their lotus-feet.
I will ultimately serve the Divine Couple surrounded by the sakhīs in Vṛndāvana. I will watch the Divine Couple to my heart’s content, surrounded by sakhīs with various instruments in their hands. Looking at the moonlike faces of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, my burning eyes will be cooled and tears will begin to flow. When will that day be mine when I receive Vṛṇda-devī’s order to approach Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa? Śrī Rūpa Mañjarī, seeing that I am alone without protection, will keep me at her reddish lotus feet. Narottama dāsa prays to the priya-narma-sakhīs, “When will you make me your maidservant?” The sādhaka prays in this way, “When will that day come that I will be born in the town of Vṛṣabhānu Mahārāja, in the home of the gopas. When will I be present in Yavata with Śrīmatī Rādhikā and Her sakhīs. When will they bestow upon me some small service? When will they shelter me and offer me at the lotus feet of Śrī Kṛṣṇa?”
While chanting harināma, we should pray, “Lalitā, Viśākhā, Rūpa, Rati, and Lavaṅga mañjarīs, and all the Vraja-devīs. Please help me, otherwise I will drown in māyā. Without your shelter and mercy, I will certainly be lost.” Pray for service from your Gurudeva.
prātaḥ śrīman navadvīpe dvi-netraṁ dvi-bhujaṁ gurum
varābhaya-pradaṁ śāntaṁ smaret tan nāma-pūrvakam
Early in the morning, chant Śrī-Gurudeva’s name, while meditating on him being situated in Śrī Navadvīpa or Śrī Vṛndāvana-dhāma, and having two eyes and two arms. He bestows fearlessness and is peaceful. (see more)
When a person wakes in the morning, feeling rested and refreshed, he completes his duties such as bathing and is soon ready for breakfast. Many people arrange their breakfast the night before. They have tea, snacks, drinks and ice cream ready to quickly take in the morning. But Kavirāja Gosvāmī says that this food and drink is not helpful. It is for the body but not the soul. If you do not give the soul nectar first thing in the morning then it will suffer and become dry. All dealings and experience the entire day will be bitter.
Tama, raja, and sattva—the three modes of material nature and any substance comprised of these qualities will disturb the soul. However, by accepting nirguṇa-tattva—by drinking līlā-rasa, the soul is nourished. Even a little of this can make the soul well, happy and strong.
This is called soul food and it is very necessary. Food for the body is not everything. Serving this body does not result in any eternal benefit. The body always has desires and demands satisfaction, but really, these desires are endless and their fulfillment can never be had.
We must give nectar to the soul. This nectar must be the drink we take upon the coming of each new day. Where can we collect this from? The guru-varga gives this soul nectar.
If you are connected to the flow of līlā-śakti then that flow will naturally continue from you to others. All souls that come in contact with līlā-śakti will be very pleased.
If you are connected to this flow, then the body will no longer disturb you. The body will know that you only give him or her nectar, and thus become peaceful.
Millions of lives have passed and millions more will pass in service to the body and mind. If we take from God but do not serve Him—if we simply take His gifts and use them to serve our body then we will suffer. This is why many our lives are full of diseases and pain. Unless one gets this special mercy of the guru-varga, all of this will not stop.
After being dressed and decorated, Kṛṣṇa and Balarama come for breakfast. They meet with the sakhās and together they sit in rows.
Yaśodā Mātā brings many golden cups and tells Citrā Devī, “First give them drinks.”
There is coconut water mixed with sugar cane juice as the first drink. If a person drinks this his throat becomes very smooth. This is followed by many fresh fruit juices and refreshing beverages that cool the stomach.
Śrīmati Rādhārānī and the Vraja-devīs have cooked so many preparations that it seem impossible to serve them all in one meal.
During breakfast, Rādhārānī looks to see if Kṛṣṇa is eating. She and all the sakhīs are very happy to see Kṛṣṇa eat. They give Kṛṣṇa rice with ghee and on the side they serve, ginger, neem leaves, jute leaves, some more ghee lemon, ginger and salt on the side.
Yaśodā Mātā says, “O Kṛṣṇa, this is very healthy prasāda, You should eat a lot.”
Kṛṣṇa says, “If I eat too much what will be left for my friends?”
As Yaśodā Mātā walks away a little Kṛṣṇa quickly distributed everything from His to His friends.
All the sakhās laugh, and Kṛṣṇa says, “Why are you laughing? Just eat.”
Yaśodā Mātā looks back and sees that Kṛṣṇa was not eating. Then Madhumaṅgala says to her, “Mother, Kṛṣṇa is not eating anything. He distributes anything you give Him.”
Śrīmatī Rādhārānī sends many kinds of laḍḍus that Ranga-devī and Citrā-devī serve from gold plates and distributed them.
Kṛṣṇa’s sakhās continue to joke with Him.
“Kṛṣṇa, You must be sick or something,” they say. “Why aren’t You eating these nice sweets? We’ll call the doctor. That will be good for You. We will tell Yaśodā Mātā to call a doctor who will give very bitter juice. Then will You be happy?”
“I’m not sick,” Kṛṣṇa retorts, “You are sick. You should drink neem juice!”
“Why don’t You eat then?”
Then Kṛṣṇa’s plate is re-filled and He eats something.
While breakfast is being served, sometimes Madhumaṅgala says, “Kṛṣṇa is very skinny. He cannot digest anything. He has no fire in His stomach. How can He eat rich foods like this, cooked with ghee, butter, and honey? How can He eat these sweets and drinks you are serving Him? These things are for His healthy sakhās like me.”
When Madhumaṅgala teases Him like this, Kṛṣṇa grabs handfuls of ghee rice from Madhumaṅgala’s plate.
Madhumaṅgala then cries out, “Hey! Kṛṣṇa is stealing all my breakfast! O Yaśodā Mātā, I’m so hungry. Give me something more.”
Then Vrajeśvarī piles Madhumaṅgala’s plate with more prasāda. Madhamangala becomes very happy, but he says, “Eating this rice and dāl is not befitting for brāhmaṇas. Where is the halavā, laḍḍu, barphi, rabaḍi and kṣīra?”
Why does Madhumaṅgala speak like this? He wants Kṛṣṇa to eat nicely. When these preparations come, he simply needs to tease Kṛṣṇa to make Him eat with gusto. If Kṛṣṇa is given these things calmly He will be uninterested. If someone gives Him a plate and says, “O Kṛṣṇa, please take this,” He will not want it. He will say, “I’m not hungry.”
Kṛṣṇa is given so many offerings by His millions and millions of affectionate devotees starting from even before the sun rises. Why would be hungry and thirsty for more? How much will He eat? Furthermore He is ātmārāma, self-satisfied, and āptakāma, without desires.
There is only one way to know Krsna. Go to the person who knows Krsna. If you want to study engineering, you should go to an engineering college and not to a college where literature is studied. If you want to become a doctor, go to a medical college. You should go to that college, which teaches what you want to study. Or else you cannot obtain that knowledge.
So, Naradaji told Vyasadeva, “Firstly, you should surrender by bhakti-yoga. You should think, ‘I don’t know anything.’ Thus, a guru will instruct you when you sincerely serve. You should do what he tells you to do.”
Once, a person learnt a little on how to play the harmonium. He approached a teacher and said, “Please instruct me how to play the harmonium better.”
The teacher replied, “I will take a hundred dollars for a month.”
At the same time, another boy approached the teacher. The teacher asked him, “Why have you come?”
“I want to learn how to play the harmonium.”
“Do you know at least a little how to play the harmonium?”
“I don’t know anything.”
“Okay, I will teach you for ten dollars.”
Why? It is very difficult to teach those, who think, “I am very knowledgeable. I know many slokas from the Veda-sastras.” No one can teach a person, who is more than sixty years of age. They have already supposedly learnt everything. A dry piece of wood will not bend. If you try bending it, it will break. But a raw piece of wood will bend. Similarly, the hearts of children are very simple. There is nothing written on their hearts. They will learn anything they see. Therefore, those who are of less age and who have not learnt much, will easily understand this. But it is very difficult to teach those who know something. A person who is pretending to sleep cannot be awakened. A man who is really sleeping can be easily awakened.
Hence, Narada told Vyasa, “Take shelter of bhakti-yoga. Offer yourself to the lotus feet of Krsna. Meditate on Him. Then Krsna will Himself come and show all His pastimes to you.”
After Naradaji left, Vyasa established himself in bhakti-yoga.
samyak pranihite ‘male
apasyat purusam purnam
mayam ca tad-apasrayam
—Srimad Bhagavatam 1.7.4
[Thus he fixed his mind, perfectly engaging it by linking it in devotional service (bhakti-yoga) without any tinge of materialism, and thus he saw the Absolute Personality of Godhead along with His external energy, which was under full control.]
Vyasa saw Srimati Radhika, Krsna, and all His saktis like Lalita, Visakha, and everyone. He also saw Nanda Baba and Yasoda. He saw all the pastimes of Vraja from the beginning. He had darsana just as you see a cinema on the television. He saw all the pastimes. He also saw that those who have forgotten Krsna, who don’t render service to Him, and who don’t remember Him have fallen into maya. They are entangled in the material world of birth, temporary happiness, sorrows, and death. We have been searching for happiness even before creation. If wealth would give us happiness, then why do the wealthy continue earning money? A wealthy man’s grandfather and father have died. And even though he is also becoming old, his greed to earn money doesn’t subside. So, if he has not obtained happiness, will you obtain it by trying to becoming wealthy? Remember that the entire wealth of the world cannot prolong the existence of a man for a single minute. You should also remember that nothing of this world will go with you after you leave your body.
Hence, Vyasaji saw that the conditioned souls have forgotten Bhagavan Krsna and are entangled in the cycle of birth and death. And those, who remember Krsna and chant His names like Ajamila and Valmiki did, will easily cross over this ocean of birth and death. So, Vyasa saw this. He saw how Krsna was born. He saw how Krsna started to grow. He saw how Krsna stole from the homes of the gopis. He did not steal just butter; He stole their hearts. He saw how Krsna danced at every step He took. Krsna’s gait is sweet; His words are sweet; His Vamsi is sweet; His form is sweet; His eyes are sweet; His glances are sweet; His pastimes are sweet; His mother is sweet; His sakti—the gopis are sweet; everything about Him is sweet. Thus, Vyasadeva had darsana of Krsna.
He saw the Lord and explained His pastimes and this compilation of His pastimes and the pastimes of His incarnations is called Srimad Bhagavatam. This is the final book of Vyasaji. He compiled this book after realizing it in his samadhi. What is samadhi? Samadhi is of many kinds. Presently, people practice hatha-yoga and think they are in samadhi. But hatha-yoga will not do. The principle of hatha-yoga is, “I will not see this material world.” But, Bhagavan has given you eyes, so why will you not see? He will try to control his mind. It may be possible to control the air, but it is not possible to control the mind. Can you sit still for a minute and control your mind? Thoughts from all directions will enter your mind. Your mind will not be controlled. If you have prema, bhakti for Krsna, then your mind will be controlled. Vyasadeva has stated in the Bhagavat regarding how to control the mind. The dharma of every being is to love Krsna. This is the constitutional nature of every being. Krsna is the only friend of everyone. He is everyone’s Prabhu. He is everyone’s prana-priyatama; the beloved of everyone. Today, you consider one lady to be your wife; but after you die, will she still be your wife? You consider one man to be your husband, but what is to be after you die? Relationships keep changing. A soul may be a lady today and become a man in his next life. The soul will take birth in his next life according to the thoughts that occupy his mind at the time of death.
Krishna and Baladeva then went to Yama-loka. When the two brothers entered Yama-loka, Dharmaraja was greatly surprised. He performed an arati and abhiseka of Krishna and Baladeva Prabhu. As soon as Krishna and Baladeva Prabhu entered Yamaloka, the entire hellish region became peaceful. Hell became very quiet and everyone was very happy. The guilty were not beaten, shot at, or burnt. Neither were they thrown in boiled water or oil anymore. The guilty were not cut in pieces anymore. The hellish dogs and crocodiles stopped eating their victims. Snakes stopped drinking the blood of the guilty. Hell was now free of pain and carnage.
Before Krishna and Baladeva Prabhu came, the punishments meted out in hell were unspeakable. People who had committed many sins were now being punished and rectified. Iron rods were heated and the guilty were to made to embrace these iron rods. Then they were beaten by whips. The people who committed many wrongs were now going through untold suffering. Everyone was wailing and screaming out of pain. It seemed that they would die, but they would not. Someone who smoked a lot would have fire placed inside their mouths.
Placing the fire in their mouths, the servants of Yamaraja would tell the sinful, “Smoke all you want now! You want more ganja?”
But as soon as Krishna and Baladeva Prabhu entered hell, everyone became peaceful and happy. Everyone wondered in amazement and thought, “Why are we happy and peaceful? Why are we not being punished anymore?”
The guilty looked around and saw that no one was being cut into pieces. The dogs had stopped their vicious biting. The snakes had stopped their venomous attacks. They were surprised.
The guilty requested and pleaded to Krishna and Baladeva Prabhu. They asked, “Who are You? From where have You both come? What are Your names? After the both of You have come, we are so happy. Please give us more of this happiness. Please take us out of hell and give us shelter at Your lotus feet.”
After duly worshiping and praying to Krishna and Baladeva Prabhu, Yamaraja offered Them seats. Krishna then asked Yamaraja, “Why are everyone here loudly shouting and wailing? I have become very restless on coming to this place. What have they done?”
Yamaraja replied, “You don’t know Prabhu. You gave me the duty to punish them. So, what can I do? To discipline them is my duty. All over the world, most people are engaged in committing sins. But, I give them many chances to correct themselves. If they still don’t purify and change themselves, then I am bound to resort to this means of rectification. By trick or force, I make them quit their gross bodies. They come here bound by their subtle bodies and are made to suffer for the many sins they have committed. Here, I have them severely punished.
“You severely punish them?”
“How do you punish them?”
Then Yamaraja showed the many means of punishment to Krishna and Baladeva Prabhu. Many woks containing boiling oil were shown to Krishna and Baladeva Prabhu. Blazing fire pits were also shown. Ponds of urine and blood were shown. Many fierce animals were made to bite and eat the guilty. The jivas suffered greatly.
Krishna told Yama Maharaja, “You punish them in such a strong manner?”
Krishna is very kind. He asked all the suffering souls, “Why have you all committed much sins in your previous life?”
The suffering souls collectively replied, “Prabhu! We will not commit sins anymore. Now, give us Your shelter.”
Some souls told Krishna, “O Prabhu! Our minds are very weak. We did not wish to commit sins, but by the effect of asat-sanga, we were forced to commit sinful acts in our lives. Now what can we do? Prabhu please save us!”
Krishna’s heart melted on hearing these words of the residents of hell. He is very magnanimous. At the same moment, a deity manifested from Krishna.
The deity asked Krishna, “Prabhu, why have You called me? What is my service and duty. How can I follow your orders? What do you like? Please give me some services.”
Krishna told the deity, “Nobody is there to help the jivas. They lack sat-sanga and good advice. Their parents, siblings, and relatives try to make them their own. They enjoy them, and make them wounded and hopeless. They may even shoot, disturb, and steal their time and life. All are ready to exploit them. . But, there is nobody to help them. I cannot find anyone in this world who offers pure help.” If the demigods are not served, they might curse the jivas. The parents will be angry with their children if they don’t receive any help from their children. If one doesn’t help his wife or husband, he or she will be rejected by their spouse. Even brothers who don’t help each other, stop talking to each other. If you don’t use your body to perform ordinary work and to cheat others; then no one will like you. On not being liked by anyone, you will suffer. Therefore, for the happiness of others, you perform many actions. But ultimately, only you will suffer for the sins you have committed through certain actions. No one will come forward and suffer for you. Being sinful, you will suffer greatly.
Therefore, Krishna told Ekadasi-devi, “This is very dangerous for the fettered souls, so Ekadasi-devi, testifying to the glories of your name, you must help the eleven senses of the conditioned souls. This is My order to you. If anybody comes near you, you must definitely help them.
Śrī Jīva did not want to leave the Lord’s company, and thus fell senseless in the pain of expected separation. When Jīva woke, Nityānanda Prabhu said, “Your uncles Rūpa and Sanātana are in Vṛndāvana. They require your help. They have begun the task of manifesting many books. Your service is to assist them.”
“If you don’t go, Jīva,” Nityānanda Prabhu said, “to whom will they pass on these books and the knowledge contained within them? When they leave, the books will also be lost. Therefore, go and protect these granthas. You must copy them and distribute them. Many people will be inspired to help and follow you.
“Do not worry. Everything will be favorable. Just go to Vṛndāvana. These granthas will spread all over the world. You must go and protect them. Without these granthas everything will be lost.”
Nityānanda Prabhu then said, “You will also write books yourself. The first book you will manifest yourself is a Sanskrit grammar book based on Bhagavān’s names. By studying this presentation of grammar, people will understand what is akṣara and paramākṣara and they will thus become connected
to Śrī Hari.”
Saying this, Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu placed His lotus feet on Śrī Jīva’s head and empowered him with transcendental potency. Overwhelmed by prema, Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī lost consciousness.
Upon regaining external awareness, Śrī Jīva prayed to the Vaiṣṇavas and offered them his obeisances. He approached Śacī Mātā and asked for her blessings, before departing to Vraja. She let Śrī Jīva take the dust of her lotus feet on his head. Blessing him, she bade him farewell.
Weeping and calling out, “O Gaurāṅga! O Gaurāṅga!” Śrī Jīva crossed the Gaṅgā and left Navadvīpa-dhāma.
Offering his daṇḍavat-praṇāmas to Navadvīpa-dhāma, Jīva set out toward Śrī Vṛndāvana. At that time, Vraja-dhāma, Yamunā, and Śrī Rūpa-Sanātana manifested in Śrī Jīva’s heart.
Along the way, Caitanya Mahāprabhu came to him in a dream, and said, “Go to Vraja. Rūpa, Sanātana, and you are very dear to Me. All of you work together to manifest devotional scriptures. May sevā to Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa be your life and soul, and may you continuously witness the pastimes of Vraja.”
Seeing the dream, Śrī Jīva became overjoyed and swiftly traveled toward Vraja-dhāma.
In due course, Jīva Gosvāmī arrived at the holy city of Vārāṇasī, which was blessed by Mahāprabhu’s lotus feet. Madhusūdana Vacaspati, the disciple of Śrī Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya, lived there.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu heard Vedānta for seven days from Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya, and thereafter Mahāprabhu spoke the real essence of Vedānta. Madhusūdana Vacaspati was present at that time. Mahāprabhu ordered Vacaspati to go to Kaśi and teach there. He studied all the commentaries of Vedānta, such as Śaṅkarācārya’s Śārīraka-bhāṣya, and Rāmānuja’s Śrī-Bhāṣya under Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya. He especially focused on learning Vedānta as Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu taught. After Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya disappeared, Madhusūdana Vacaspati went to Vārāṇasī, and instructed the Māyāvādīs there about the real meaning of Vedānta. Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī and the thousands of sannyāsīs and disciples in the Śaṅkarācārya sampradāya had met with Mahāprabhu in Vārāṇasī and received transcendental knowledge from Him.
Madhusūdana Vacaspati further spread the teachings of Mahāprabhu there. Jīva Gosvāmī performed the pastime of studying bhaktivedānta and all scriptures from him. He studied the commentaries of Rāmānuja, Madhvācārya, Viṣṇusvāmī, and Nimbādityācārya. He also studied the Śārīraka-bhāṣya of Śaṅkarācārya, so that he could be able to refute it later.
After completing his studies with Madhusūdana Vacaspati, Jīva Gosvāmī continued on his way to Vṛndāvana. (more)