WHAT HAPPENED WHEN RUPA GOSWAMI COMPARED RADHARANI’S HAIR TO BLACK SNAKES?

WHAT HAPPENED WHEN RUPA GOSWAMI COMPARED RADHARANI’S HAIR TO BLACK SNAKES?

Once, Sanātana Gosvāmī came to meet with Rūpa Gosvāmī as he was writing about the swing pastimes of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. In his writings, he was explaining how Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, along with the sakhīs and mañjarīs, engage in swinging pastimes. He explained how, when Rādhārānī becomes frightened on the swing, she holds onto Kṛṣṇa tightly. He wrote several expositions, and Sanātana Gosvāmī relished this for many hours. Then he read a part where Rūpa Gosvāmī described Rādhārānī’s hair as being like a black snake coming up from Her waist, with hoods expanding over the top of Her head.

Sanātana Gosvāmī said, “Oh, everything you have written is excellent, but Rādhārānī is very soft and sweet. Why have you said that Her hair is like a black snake? This seems improper.”

Rūpa Gosvāmī humbly replied, “O brother, please correct this with an analogy you find appropriate.”

“I will consider it and will write something tomorrow,” Sanātana Gosvāmī said.

Sanātana Gosvāmī then left for his own bhajana-kuṭīra. On the way he saw many small kiśorīs playing and dancing. One of the girls was seated on a beautiful swing. “How wonderful,” he thought, “this reminds me of the sweet description I have just read.” He saw the little girls pushing their sakhī back and forth very happily. Suddenly he noticed a hooded snake rising above the swinging girl’s head, as if ready to strike. He ran forward and called, “O kiśorī, be careful! A snake is about to bite you! There are many snakes, all you girls are in danger!” But as he approached, the scene suddenly disappeared and he found himself alone. He then understood, “This was a vision of Śrīmatī Rādhārānī’s swing pastimes. Anything Rūpa says is absolutely true. There is no cause for doubting his descriptions.”

Śrī Guru is eternal and his vāṇī is also eternal. Whatever Śrī Guru says is truthful. Therefore never doubt the conclusion of your Gurudeva.

Sometimes Sanātana Gosvāmī and Rūpa Gosvāmī would meet at Ṭera-kadamba; they had many wonderful interactions there. Every day Śrīmatī comes from Yāvaṭa to Nandagrāma with Her sakhīs and mañjarīs and She cooks there with Her own hands. She is very young and delicate, and yet, She is svarūpa-śakti, the root source of all energy and She easily carries heavy clay pots full of honey, milk, yogurt, and other ingredients. When She has completed Her cooking pastimes, She returns to Yāvaṭa and goes to worship the sun. At that time Rūpa Mañjarī and the other mañjarīs decorate the pathway with rose and lotus petals.

Ṭera-kadamba is between Nandagrāma and Yāvaṭa. Rūpa Gosvāmī Prabhu performed bhajana there, continuously engaged in devotional service. Sanātana Gosvāmī stayed at Pāvana-sarovara and sometimes came to speak with Rūpa Gosvāmī. They would speak morning to evening, drinking the transcendental nectar of hari-kathā and would not even notice the day pass into evening, nor did they feel any hunger or thirst. As the rest of the world mulled around in mundane activities, they manifested the books that we continue to honor today.

At around four o’clock one afternoon as Rūpa and Sanātana were rapt in hari-kathā, a young girl approached and said to them, “O Bābā, you did not do mādhukarī today, so my mother has sent me with this milk. Please drink it.” But they did not answer or even notice Her; such was their absorption.

“Bābā,” the girl said, “shall I boil the milk for you?” Not receiving a reply, She said, “I will make some kṣīra, then you can offer bhoga and have some.” She collected some dry cow dung and leaves, in the same way that She arranges everything for Kṛṣṇa when He is in the forest, and then She started a fire and cooked kṣīra. Afterward She said, “O Bābā, I am finished cooking; offer this and then take some yourself. Now I must go.”

In the evening Rūpa Gosvāmī asked Sanātana Gosvāmī, “You have not eaten all day. What can I give you? We have not done mādhukarī today.”

Then Rūpa Gosvāmī saw the pot of hot kṣīra and, recalling the episode with the young girl earlier in the day, said, “Ah yes! A girl came today and made this kṣīra.”

They had no clay pots or metal plates, so they brought lotus leaves, cooled the kṣīra down and offered bhoga. Rūpa Gosvāmī then gave some of the prasāda to Sanātana Gosvāmī, and they took it together. Upon tasting the exceedingly divine kṣīra their hearts melted in ecstasy. This is called rasamayī-sevā; if our hearts have no softness, and we do everything out of a sense of duty like an ordinary karmī, then how will the heart ever melt? Śrīmatī Rādhārānī cooked this kṣīra Herself and gave it to Rūpa and Sanātana. Why? From morning to evening they were engaged in hari-kathā and rasamayī-sevā.

chāpanna daṇḍa rātri-dine

jāne nā rādhā-govinda vine

They knew nothing but Rādhā-Govinda throughout the day and night, always being absorbed in transcendental service and nothing else.

Sanātana Gosvāmī understood that the kṣīra must have been cooked by their Svāminī and so he questioned Rūpa, “Did you pray for anything while we were speaking?”

“Actually,” Rūpa admitted, “I was thinking that I had nothing to offer you as prasāda…”

“Alas! Just see what you have done!” Sanātana said. “Because of your desire, our Svāminī Herself came and cooked for us.”

Once there was a self-acclaimed sādhu living in Vṛndāvana named Khanja Kṛṣṇādāsa. We should know that wearing tilaka, shaving our head, keeping a śikhā, and dressing like a Bābājī does not make us sādhus. We must have the qualities of a sādhu, which are described elaborately in scripture. However much oil you rub on a dog’s tail will not straighten it. Khanja Kṛṣṇādāsa heard many other sādhus praising Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, so he went one day for his darśana, thinking, “I will go see this Rūpa Gosvāmī everyone is glorifying to be the best of sādhus.” Khanja Kṛṣṇādāsa was a cripple who walked in a crooked manner with the help of a stick. As he approached Rūpa Gosvāmī, he saw him laughing heartily, and thought he was laughing at him. He turned around angrily and returned to his hut. Although he went to see the sādhus and become purified, he only became more contaminated, because he could not understand the nature and position of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī. Wherever a sweeper goes, he only collects refuse. He has relation only with that. Khanja Kṛṣṇādāsa went to see the pure devotee, but rather than his heart becoming cooled and filled with good qualities, he burned in anger, unable to forget the image of Rūpa Gosvāmī apparently laughing at him. He did not know that Rūpa Gosvāmī was absorbed in the pastimes of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. To bestow mercy on Khanja Kṛṣṇādāsa, who had come with some good intention, Śrīmatī Rādhārānī blocked the flow of Rūpa Gosvāmī’s aṣṭa-kaliya-līlā-smaraṇa. (see more)

Glories of Madhvacarya

Glories of Madhvacarya

Madhvācārya preached by speaking hari-kathā, distributing mahā-prasāda, and serving the Vaiṣṇavas. These three things are very important.

Now people think, “There are no Vaiṣṇavas. All are ordinary karmīs.” This is a bogus idea. If anyone came to serve God, and God and Gurudeva accept that person and give him the holy name and that person performs kirtana and engages in bhajana, then he is a Vaiṣṇava. If you desire to progress in your life, respect and serve the Vaiṣṇavas, chant harināma, listen to hari-kathā, and honor mahā-prasāda. There is no need of anything more. By this process you will become free of anarthas. But if you have no respect or faith for Vaiṣṇavas, you will never advance.

Therefore Prabhupāda Sarasvatī Ṭhākura called all Prabhu. Our Lord is Mahāprabhu, and all His followers are Prabhu. They are masters in this world. They teach and help the jīvas. If you don’t respect those Vaiṣṇavas, how can you progress? If you think they are ordinary, how can you progress?

ārcye viṣṇau śilā-dhīr guruṣu nara-matir vaiṣṇave jāti-buddhir
viṣṇor vā vaiṣṇavānāṁ kali-mala-mathane pāda-tīrthe ‘mbu-buddhiḥ
śrī-viṣṇor nāmni mantre sakala-kaluṣa-he sabda-sāmanya-buddhir
viṣṇau sarveśvare tad-itara-sama-dhīr yasya vā nārakī saḥ

[One who thinks the worshipable Deity form of Lord Viṣṇu is a stone, the bona-fide spiritual master an ordinary man, the Vaiṣṇava belongs to a caste in the varṇāśrama system, the water that has washed the feet of Lord Viṣṇu or the Vaiṣṇavas, and that actually removes the sins of the Kali-yuga, is ordinary water, the name of Lord Viṣṇu, which is a sacred mantra that removes all sin, is an ordinary sound, or the Supreme Lord Viṣṇu is the same as other persons, is a resident of hell.]

If you think God’s Deities are stone and Vaiṣṇavas belong to a caste, you destroy your own life. Vaiṣṇavas have no caste. They are God’s direct family members. They are beyond the castes and jurisdiction of this world.

Madhvācārya went to Dharmastalam where many so-called followers of dharma were. He changed everyone into Vaiṣṇavas, taught them to serve the devotees, take mahā-prasāda, and follow the rules and regulations of bhakti. From that time, people would not eat anything other than mahā-prasāda, and would not pass a single day without singing kirtana and serving the Vaiṣṇavas.

Now people think, “I am a Vaiṣṇava, my disciples are Vaiṣṇavas, and especially my lady disciples are Vaisnavis, but no others are Vaiṣṇavas. I will not share anything with anyone else.”

What is this? How can people progress? Respect and faith is most important. Ordinary conditioned souls always look, “Who is my footstep follower? Who licks my toes? Who is my slave?”

This is not Vaisnavism. Vaiṣṇavas are neutral. They are respected and they respect God’s followers.

Prabhupāda Sarasvatī Ṭhākura said, “I will expend hundreds of gallons of blood to save one person from bondage in material existence.”

Madhvācārya always worshipped God’s Deities. He did not pass a single day without worshipping the Lord. In his temples, he gave duty to his sannyāsīs to serve Thakuraji there. They come in the morning, bathe, shower, chant mantra and then offer 1008 Tulasī leaves with kṛṣṇa-mantra at Gopāla’s feet. Then they do ārati every hour on the hour. The sannyāsīs also cook with their own hands and offer bhoga to Gopāla.

Paid or ordinary cooks will think, “I will take some extra paneer, and will hide ten, twenty pieces of rasa malai for my lover.”

Such a mentality is like boarding the railway express to hell. One should be solely dedicated to the service of God without any selfishness.

Madhvācārya taught the meaning of śāstra to his disciples and wrote many commentaries. He preached all over India, in all directions, making many disciples and converting followers of Śaṅkara and Buddha. He established everyone in their true identity and gave them qualification for eternal service.

HOW DID SANATANA GOSVAMI BUILD THE MADAN MOHAN TEMPLE? AND WHAT WAS HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH THE DEITY?

HOW DID SANATANA GOSVAMI BUILD THE MADAN MOHAN TEMPLE? AND WHAT WAS HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH THE DEITY?

One morning in Mathurā, Sanātana Gosvāmī came across a brāhmaṇa lady, who was cooking in a most unusual manner. While she brushed her teeth with a neem stick, she used the other end to stir the porridge.

After cooking, she would say, “Madana and Sadana, come and eat.”

Sanātana Gosvāmī witnessed Madana descend from the altar and eat with great relish, as a young boy, along with the son of the brāhmaṇi. Sanātana Gosvāmī witnessed these exchanges everyday.

One day, he said, “Mother, you cook everyday for your children. Why do you bathe after cooking and cleaning the pots? And why do you use the same twig to brush your teeth that you use to stir the khicari. This is not proper.”

“What can I do? The children are very hungry. I don’t have time to bathe before I cook.”

Sanātana Gosvāmī then went on his way to do Govardhana parikramā. When he came again the next day, he saw that the boys were crying while their mother was just preparing to cook. The boys said, “Bābā! You are old and cannot digest what you eat. You don’t suffer from hunger. But we are children.
Why did you disturb our mother? Now she is cooking very late. Why don’t you arrange something for us to eat!”

The boys caught hold of Sanātana Gosvāmī’s hands and began crying. Sanātana Gosvāmī requested the brāhmaṇi, “Please continue what you were doing before. I have committed a fault. I will not say any­thing. The Vrajavāsīs have natural love. Bhagavān is happy by your service. Kṛṣṇa cannot be attained without such love.”

Kṛṣṇa is only controlled by love. The brāhmaṇi would always do kīrtana and thus bring great joy to Madana-mohana.
She would weep and sing. When Madana and Sadana would play gilli-daṇḍa, they would make a wager that the loser would have to carry the winner on his shoulders. Although Sadana would carry Madana when he lost, Madana would not do the same. When He lost, He would run onto the altar and assume His deity form.

Sadana would angrily say, “I carried You when I lost.
But why are You not carrying me? You are a great cheater!”

The pūjārī would chastise Sadana and say, “Where are you going? Why are you shouting at Ṭhākuraji?” He didn’t have the eyes to see. Madana would gleefully laugh while their mother would cook and do kīrtana. Sanātana Gosvāmī saw how these two boys were playing with each other.

One day, Madana told Sanātana Gosvāmī, “I will go with you.”

“Where will You go? I reside under a different tree every night.”

“Still, I will stay wherever you stay.”

“I have nothing nice to eat.”

“I will eat your mādhukarī.”

“The people of Mathurā will be very angry with me.”

“I am present here as a Deity. So carry Me on your shoulders.”

“I cannot.”

“I am a Deity, how can I walk?”

“If You can talk, then You can walk as well.”

Thus Madana-mohana came with Sanātana Gosvāmī to Vṛndāvana. They stopped near Dvādaśa-Ṭīlā. Sanātana Gosvāmī bathed the Lord with Yamunā water and begged for some flour.
With this, he would make dough balls, cook them in coals, and offer it to Madana.

After a few days of such bhoga, Madana began to plead with Sanātana, “There is no salt, sabjī, butter, or sweets. How can I eat just this dough ball?”

“Even Yaśodā Māiyā could not satisfy You,” Sanātana Gosvāmī replied. “Neither could the gopīs, although they would prepare more then 56 items daily for You. You still ran away from Vraja. So how will I ever satisfy You?”

“Can I make My on arrangements then?” Madana asked.

“Certainly,” Sanātana replied with a smile.

In the meantime, a ship was traveling from Āgrā to Delhi along the Yamunā. The merchant was startled when the ship became stuck on the riverbed. He came and pleaded to Sanātana Gosvāmī, “Bābā! Do something! My ship is stuck. I will donate as much wealth as I can if the ship is let loose.”

“I will ask Madana.”

By the desire of Madana, the ship broke free, and the merchant was able to make a large profit selling his goods. He soon returned, wanting to render some service. Over time, he sponsored the construction of a large temple for Madana-mohana, with full time priests to serve the Lord.

Madana-mohana, offering him delicious items, said to Sanātana, “Bābā, take this prasāda.”

“No, I am leaving,” Sanātana Gosvāmī replied. “Staying only under the guidance of Rādhikā, I will live in Vraja. I only want to serve with the Vraja-devīs under Her guidance.”

Sanātana Gosvāmī traveled on darśana of Vraja, while calling out the names of Śrīmatī Rādhikā and the gopīs.
He would come regularly for darśana of Madana-mohana and there would read Madana-mohan his writings. (see more)

“Rasik Mohan Das and the Bhaktabandhav team are doing an invaluable service publishing the hari-katha of Sripada Premananda Prabhu, Srila Gurudeva B.V. Narayana Gosvami Maharaja, and the books of the acaryas. Books like Sri Guru Darsana, Krsna-karnamrta, Radha-rasa-sudhanidhi, and so on, provide a wealth of information and purification: these volumes make one feel as though they are in Gurudeva’s presence, imbibing pure bhakti as only he could provide it.”

— Steven J. Rosen, Satyaraja Dasa (acbsp), author of 30 books on Gaudiya Vaishnavism, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Vaishnava Studies, and associate editor of Back to Godhead