[Excerpt from Srila Gurudeva: Around the World,
U.K. (19 May 1996), the second book in a series of volumes on Srila Gurudeva’s world preaching tours.]
Sri Nandotsava and the Appearance of Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja
What is the meaning of this celebration? This question arises. Actually, the birthday, and the disappearance day of any devotee brings us nearer to that devotee. On those occasions, we can fully remember who he was and what his divine character and teachings were. We can glorify him while remembering all these things—how he preached, how he conquered our hearts, and how he engaged us in the service of the Divine Couple. He taught us who his Istadeva is. He taught us who Radha-Krsna are and what his relation with Gaura-Nityananda Prabhu is. He taught us what he did for the souls who have been covered by illusory maya. So if we remember all these characteristics of him during these days and if we try to follow all his teachings heartly, then we can celebrate this centennial ceremony.
This is the centennial celebration. We know that Prabhupada is not here. But we know that he is eternal. Once, at the disappearance day of Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, our Guru Maharaja was speaking something. He was so overwhelmed that he began to weep loudly. His voice choked. After that, he began to speak. He said, “Why is the disappearance day of our holy master celebrated as a festival? A festival means an occasion where there is so much joy. But the disappearance day is not meant to be a joyous occasion. So how did the day become a joyous occasion?”
Then Guru Maharaja spoke the story of Rama and Sita. Rama had left Sita forever and she went to Valmiki’s asrama. Lava and Kusa took birth there. When they became about ten or twelve years old, they were so good and beautiful. They remembered all of Valmiki’s Ramayana. They didn’t know that Rama was their father and that Sita was His wife. By the order of their Gurudeva—Valmiki, they used to sing Valmiki Ramayana. Once they went to Naimisaranya where Rama was doing a Rajasuya yajna. And lakhs and lakhs of His followers were there. Rama’s mothers like Kaikeyi, Kausalya, Sumitra and His devotees like Hanuman, Sugriva, Bharata, Laksmana, Shatrugna, and lakhs and lakhs of persons were there. In the meantime when the sacrifice was stopped, all had gathered after their dinner and the two boys were singing Valmiki Ramayana. On listening to the boys sing, everyone became so upset. Everyone began to weep—even Rama, Laksmana, and Hanuman.
When Rama, Sita, and Laksmana were going to the forest to reside there for fourteen years, the scene was so pathetic. When it was so late, and when the boys returned to their mother, they found her waiting anxiously for them. They came and Sita took her two sons on her lap. She began to kiss them. She told them, “Why are both of you so late? I was so worried for both of you.”
The boys replied, “Mother, we had gone to the royal assembly of a King named Rama. There, we were singing the Ramayana and all were weeping. Also, Rama, His mothers, brothers, and everyone were weeping. We don’t know why they wept so much. And we saw a very wonderful thing. There was a golden statue of any lady and we saw that there is no difference between you and that lady. The only difference was that you are speaking but the statue of that lady doesn’t. So, we wondered, ‘Who was she?’”
Listening to her son’s words, Sita began to weep. Tears rolled down her face. The boys wondered, “Why is our mother weeping so much?” And with their chadar (a cloth) they began to wipe the tears of their mother. Sita could not tell her sons that “Rama is my husband and He has left me.” So, she was crying bitterly. Valmiki came and consoled her. He told her, “You should not cry. A good day will come very soon.”
Rama ordered Valmiki and said, “I know that Sita is with you. You should bring Sita; I want to meet Sita.”
On another day, Sita was called. And she came while following Valmiki from behind. Sita also held the hands of her two sons. She had covered her face with a veil. When she reached Rama, Rama told her, “I know you are pure. But you lived for so much time in Lanka in Ravana’s garden. And you are pure. But I want you to prove again that you are a pure and chaste lady.”
Sita replied, “You want me to prove my purity again? You have no faith in Your father’s words? You have no faith in the fire-god? You have no faith in the wind-god? You have no faith in anyone? And you are asking for a proof again? I take an oath. ‘Oh mother! O Prithvi-devi! O Bhudevi! You should at once come out and take me with you. I don’t like to be in this world.’”
Then the earth at once divided into two parts and a very golden chariot came. And Bhudevi was there. She took Sita on her lap and the earth closed again. Everyone was so wonderstruck and they began to cry and say, “Site! Site!” Rama took His hands up and began to cry. He said in great despair, “Site! Site! I cannot live without you.”
He ordered Prithvi-devi, “Bring My wife. You are My mother-in-law; but yet, I can punish you with My one arrow. Then you will be nothing. Bring My wife at once.”
Everyone was weeping—Rama, Sita, Lava, and Kusa. So this is the pathetic scene. But, if this drama is going on anywhere on another day, everyone will gather to see and to hear this. We also weep, but we want to see again and again. So, at the birthday or the disappearance day of Gurudeva, everything comes in our hearts. And we should try to remember and follow his instructions, character, teachings, and his everything. So it is like an utsava, festival. Although the disappearance of Sita is so pathetic; yet, we want to see this drama. This drama is enacted all over India and lakhs and lakhs of people gather to see this. If it is sorrowful, painful then why do people gather to see?
So in this year we are going to celebrate the appearance, disappearance, and everything of Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja. We will be so close to him. If we will be in a well-organized way, this will be possible. We will always be thinking about him. We will always be glorifying him. We will always glorify his teachings, and character. He was so near and dear to Krsna and Mahaprabhu. He was Their associate. How beautifully and wonderfully; in a very short time, he turned the whole world like magic. So, you should remember him. And we should be in that line; he was so generous and wise. So he was kind to all beings. There was no “wall” in his kindness.
He never thought, “This should be given to this person.”
His mission was for everyone; like Caitanya Mahaprabhu. There was no differentiation. Caitanya Mahaprabhu took Haridasa Thakura, Jaghai, Madhai, and all others. Svamiji did a greater miracle than this i.e. he changed those who were taking cows’ flesh, eggs, and wine. They were engaged in the conception of eat, drink, and make merry. He changed everyone. So we should remember him. If you are not remembering him, then you are not doing his centennial ceremony. And if you are doing so; then it is proper. I remember some characteristics and I want to glorify his everything. I want to glorify his every action—how he would smile, and how he would love children so much. At that time, he used to be a child when he was with children. Among very learned persons; he was the most learned. He was so learned that anyone could come and bow down to his lotus feet. He was like our Gurudeva and Srila Prabhupada. He was in the same line. Some devotees don’t want to glorify him because they are not so qualified. So, they want to glorify in their way.
There was an old lady in distress. The governor of that place came to that village and he helped that lady. The lady was so glad. And she blessed him that “You should be a sub-inspector of police.” Because she thought that the post of a sub-inspector was the highest post in government service. She thought a sub-inspector is more than a king and he can control anyone. So she told the governor, “You should be a sub-inspector.” She thought that the post of a sub-inspector is more than a governor’s post. But the governor’s post is much higher.
Similarly, someone says, “Our Gurudeva was in sakhya-rasa by svarupa.”
And they think, “We are glorifying him this way.”
But I think this is not so much glorification. If he was of sakhya-rasa…his Gurudeva gave him Gopala-mantra. He has also given all of you the Gopala-mantra. What is the Gopala-mantra?
What is the meaning of Gopi-jana-vallabha? More than Gopinatha.
[Break of audio]
That it is contradicting. Gopi-jana-vallabha and where is sakhya? He has taken the renounced order. What is the mantra of that renounced order? I may explain but I will not tell the actual mantra.
The meaning of the mantra is, “You are taking the mood…I am giving the mood.” Guru says, “I am giving the mood of the gopis. And in the mood of the gopis, you can serve.” What gopis? Not Yasoda gopi. Krsna is not the vallabha of Yasoda. He is the son of Yasoda. So what was his relation to Krsna? As Gopi-jana-vallabha. So he may not be confined to only sakhya-rasa. In madhura-rasa, santa, dasya, sakhya, and vatsalya are included. So, he may write some poems like a friend. When he was going to America in the ship, he may have written this. But it doesn’t prove that he was confined to sakhya-rasa. Sometimes, Srimati Radhika and all the gopis are in the same turn like sakhya; sometimes they are in vatsalya-rasa; sometimes they may be in dasya-rasa. Sometimes they may be in a very angry mood.
They will tell Krsna, “Oh go away from here. Get out! Get out!”
We should know all these things. So I told them.
So, he was not only confined to sakhya-rasa. I said this but they thought, “Oh he is not glorifying him.” But actually they don’t know all the siddhanta. That is why they tell this. Once, a devotee came to me and told me, “Svamiji has written that Krsna was the adopted son of Yasoda.” He has written this anywhere.
I said, “What harm is caused by this?”
He replied, “You say that Krsna was the son of Yasoda.”
I said, “No harm. Why? You should listen.”
I told him that he has written somewhere that Krsna was the adopted son of Mother Yasoda. Sukadeva Gosvami has said like this to only please Pariksit Maharaja. Pariksit Maharaja was related to Dvarakadisa Krsna. He was not related to Vrajesa-Krsna because Pariksit Maharaja was the son of Abhimanyu. Abhimanyu was the son of Arjuna and Arjuna was married to the sister of Krsna. And, Abhimanyu was the son of Subhadra. So, he was related to Dvarakadisa-Krsna. At first, in the beginning, he told Pariksit Maharaja this to please him.
Sukadeva Gosvami thought, “Thus, Pariksit Maharaja will have much more faith and then, I will tell the real thing.”
And as he was describing the appearance of Krsna in the jail of Kamsa, he said that Krsna appeared there. The word, “Avirbhutah” was used. Avirbhuta means to appear; it doesn’t mean to come from the womb. And He was sixteen years old at that time. He had long, curvy hair. He was adorned by many necklaces, diamonds, and bangles. He had one Pitambara and He was four handed; He was not two handed. This is a sign of Narayana-Vasudeva. He did not come from the womb of Devaki; He at once appeared. And Devaki and Vasudeva began to offer many prayers. At the same time, Krsna came from the womb of Yasoda in Gokula. Where has this been written? Svamiji has spoken of Vasudeva-Krsna when He appeared in the jail of Kamsa.
He said, “He is the son of Devaki-Vasudeva.”
But when he was describing or explaining the fifth chapter of tenth canto, he explained the sloka:
nandas tv atmaja utpanne
–Srimad Bhagavatam 10.5.1
Svamiji has explained the meaning of this sloka. You can read it. Nandas tv atmaja utpanne; atmaja utpanne means Nanda Baba was the father of Krsna. And from him, Krsna went into the womb of Yasoda in the worldly process; but not worldly. Because nara-lila (human-like) is as such. And He does it in Goloka-Vrndavana and not in Vaikuntha, and not in Dvaraka. And He has come from Goloka-Vrndavana. So, He came from the womb of Yasoda.
nandas tv atmaja utpanne
“Atmaja,” means He entered the womb of Yasoda from Nanda Baba. He has taken birth from her womb because the second line tells us that Nanda Baba did jatah-karma. What is the meaning of jatah-karma? You can see this in the explanation of Svamiji. When any child is born, the umbilical cord is attached between the mother and the child. In India, the umbilical cord cutting ceremony is called jatah-karma. And so many priests and Brahmins come and they do so many things. And this is jatah-karma. There was no jatah-karma in Mathura. There was no sign that Devaki had delivered a boy. And actually, there was no delivery there. But in Gokula, everything took place in a worldly manner. So, the umbilical cord cutting ceremony was performed. Many Brahmins were given so many cows. They were given much wealth and gold. Nanda Maharaja kept nothing in his house for the evening. Brahmaji is our Guru. He said:
naumidya te ‘bhra-vapuse tadid-ambaraya
laksma-sriye mrdu-pade pasupangajaya
–Srimad Bhagavatam 10.14.1
[Lord Brahma said: My dear Lord, You are the only worshipable Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and therefore I offer my humble obeisances and prayers just to please You. O son of the king of the cowherds, Your transcendental body is dark blue like a new cloud, Your garment is brilliant like lightning, and the beauty of Your face is enhanced by Your gunja earrings and the peacock feather on Your head. Wearing garlands of various forest flowers and leaves, and equipped with a herding stick, a buffalo horn and a flute, You stand beautifully with a morsel of food in Your hand.]
Krsna is pasupangajaya, meaning He has come from Nanda and Yasoda. This has been stated so many times. And at last, he has made a conclusion that Krsna was not the son of Devaki. It is janma-vadau i.e. there is some doubt there. There is no difference like Sukadeva Gosvami has said. He has said that Krsna was the son of Devaki for the Mathuravasis. So, we should have a proper understanding; we should reconcile. He cannot say anything against any sastra and our disciplic order. So, he has not done anything wrong. Anyone cannot say anything wrong. We will have to reconcile and see this. I remember so many things when I was in Mathura and Vrndavana with him. I was also in Delhi with him. I was also with him when he returned to India. I was with him on many occasions. I was most fortunate to serve him in so many ways. So, I think we can glorify him by all these aspects. He was an associate of Krsna. He has so much affection for the last aim. Do you understand?
He was surely a follower of Srimati Radhika. He was a follower of Rupa Gosvami. The mood of Rupa Gosvami is in him. This is the best glorification because Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura has said, “We want to be the foot dust of Rupa-manjari.”
I know that Svamiji has ordered so many times for the kirtana, “Sri Rupa-manjari pada” to be sung.
sri-rupa-manjari-pada sei mora sampada
sei mora bhajana-pujana
sei mora prana-dhana sei mora abharana
sei mora jivanera jivana
–Srila Narottama das Thakura
[The lotus feet of Sri Rupa Manjari are my real wealth. They are the object of my bhajana and puja, the treasure of my heart, and they are my ornaments and the very life of my life.]
If Rupa Manjari was not the life and soul of Svamiji then why has he ordered for this kirtana to be sung? So I know from very near. So I think that I am so fortunate to come near him. So we should try to celebrate his centennial ceremony in this way. We should glorify him more and more. I remember one incident from Mathura that happened this very year. ISKCON leaders were celebrating this day. They did not invite me. If I was there..I don’t care for an invitation. But I came two days late there. They invited tripundadhari persons, mayavadis. A tripundadhari has three lines on his forehead and he wears a very big rudraksa mala. On his beads, he chants, “So ham. So ham. So ham!” And he was the president in that meeting. Svamiji has struggled for his life in defeating the conceptions of such mayavadis. In every book, he has spoken against such persons.
Not only he, even Jiva Gosvami, Mahaprabhu, and Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura have said, “If mayavada is present in this world, then it is an obstacle to bhakti.” And, he came and presided. How did they do this? And he told against bhakti there. I also saw that a very famous cinema actress came. She was chewing betel-nuts. What does she know about Srila Prabhupada-Bhaktivedanta Svami and bhakti? She sang a worldly song. And a thousand people came to see her. They wanted to see how beautiful she was. And she said something that I don’t know. Karmis, jnanis, and all others were invited there. Do you know who karmis and jnanis are? Jnanis worship Durga, Kali, Chandi, Ganesa, and all others. They are not one-pointed in anyone’s worship. They don’t know Krsna. And they were called. And they also gave speeches. We were very near to there.
I told Gopala Krsna and others, “I think this is not the centennial celebration of Svamiji’s appearance. How are you doing so?”
So we should not do like this. I felt so much pain. If I knew that any celebration was going on near our Matha in Mathura, then I wouldn’t have cared whether they had given an invitation or not. I would have surely joined. And I would have glorified him. This is no good way to celebrate these functions. I have served Svamiji from my boyhood. I have known Svamiji for more than fifty years. I think that perhaps they have forgotten that I have served Svamiji with my life and soul. I have served Svamiji so much in helping him come to the Western countries. They can call all bogus persons who are dead against Prabhupada; such persons can come, celebrate, laugh, and make merry.
They (the leaders of ISKCON) thought, “We are not inviting him (Srila Narayana Maharaja). We are perhaps insulting him.”
So we should pray to glorify Svamiji, his actions, loving moods, and istadeva who are Gaura-Nityananda Prabhu and Radha and Krsna. We must glorify how he preached this mood of love and affection to all. So, they should think about this and they should do all these things in a good way. Then it is certainly a centennial celebration. So, I pay my respects to Svamiji and to the devotees who are following him with their soul and heart. And he should be merciful to us; to give his real blessings i.e. a mood to serve him. Thus, we will be out of the influence of anarthas and offenses and we may be qualified to serve him. This is our prayer. They should think very broadly. They should pray that those who have left the line of Prabhupada and Bhakti should come again. They should be embraced again. They should bestow the mercy of Prabhupada to all. And those who are not in this line should also be given a chance to come and serve Prabhupada in this line. Then it will certainly be a centennial celebration. Otherwise, it will be a bogus thing, which is against the principles of Svamiji. So, I pray to him that he should bestow his profuse mercy by which we can celebrate this festival in the real sense. And we should also participate.
Gaura Premanande! Hari Haribol!
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