Krsna becomes extremely happy when the jivas finally enter nirguna-tattva, and become pure servants and beloveds of His. He knows how the jivas have been previously suffering in endless maya. There is no better way to please Krsna than this. If your own children are suffering, then how can you be happy? To please Krsna we should help the jivas come back to Him. But what is the method to do this? Only through bhagavat-rasa can the jivas be satisfied and be completely nourished. Then they get atma-sata, which means their soul becomes established and it blossoms. They achieve their svarupa-siddhi, and enter the spiritual world. Without bhagavat-rasa and taking shelter of Bhagavan it is not possible.
Srila Vyasadeva began to think of how to distribute this bhagavat-rasa. Vyasadeva brought Sukadeva Gosvami back via the hunters, and because he was completely detached from the world, he thought he would be able to preach this bhagavat-rasa. Vyasadeva then began to speak the Srimad Bhagavatam to Sukadeva Goswami, and he was very happy hearing it.
Vyasadeva offered pranams to Sukadeva Goswami. Why? Because Sukadeva Goswami is *guna-tithi, completely free of maya. He is not an ordinary person. Vyasadeva said:
yaṁ pravrajantam anupetam apeta-kṛtyaṁ
dvaipāyano viraha-kātara ājuhāva
putreti tan-mayatayā taravo ‘bhinedus
taṁ sarva-bhūta-hṛdayaṁ munim ānato ‘smi (SB 1.2.2)
Sukadeva Goswami is the crest jewel of all Parivrajakas. ‘Parivrajaka’, means one who is always moving around. Bhagavan is Paramatma, present in the hearts of all. *Srila Sukadeva Goswami is also present in the hearts of all living entities. Vyasadeva glorified him like this. God is present in the hearts of all people, but we cannot have His darshan, only by the mercy of Srila Sukadeva Goswami can the jivas have the darshan of the Supreme Lord in their heart.
A TAMASIK MOOD AFFECTS PARIKSIT MAHARJA
After the bhagavat-katha kirtan, Sukadeva Goswami met with Pariksit Maharaja who was coming along the banks of the Ganga. Pariksit Maharaja had renounced his kingdom and had taken shelter of the Ganga. Why had he done this? Throughout Pariksit Maharaja life he had done many yajnas, given in charity and done many austerities. Besides doing so many vratas, he always respected the sadhus and would never disrespect anyone. Why then did he commit an offence to a sage?
When Pariksit Maharaja was travelling in the forest, he became thirsty and went to a sadhu’s ashram to ask for water. The sage there was absorbed in deep meditation and was unable to hear the kings request for water. Pariksit Maharaja being ignored by the sage, took a dead snake and wrapped it around the sadhu’s neck.
What influenced him to disrespect a sadhu like this? As long as a person is not established in nirguna-tattva (transcendental knowledge) then tamo-guna, rajo-guna, and sattva-guna, will always have influence over him. When we enter a tamasik or rajasik place, the influences of that location will enter within us. Besides why would there be a dead snake near a sadhu’s ashram? Did someone kill the snake and put it there? It’s not normal to find a dead snake in a sadhu’s ashram.
Nearby the sadhu’s ashram, in the forest, there were some very low class people living, and they would kill animals and keep them here and there. They would kill buffaloes, deer, cows, and snakes, then dry them, eat them, sell them, and use their leather. Pariksit Maharaja had been going through that area which was influenced by the tamasik nature of these people. This bad mood had entered and adversely affected him.
Ksatriya kings were known to hunt in the forest, and Pariksit Maharaja had been hunting in the forest when he entered that tamasik area of the forest. By being in the locale of these tamasik class of people, his mind became negatively influenced. When Pariksit Maharaja entered the Rsi’s ashram and asked for water, the Rsi’s son was playing on one side with his friends.
STORY OF DASARATHA MAHARAJA AND SRAVAN KUMAR
We see in the pastime of Sravan Kumar, how he served his parents so much. His father was Andak Muni. Both of his parents were blind and Sravan Kumar had loyally served them his whole life. Once they came to the bank of a river, and Sravan Kumar said, “Oh! My whole life I have been serving you and wasting my time. You have never given me a chance to be free, independent and enjoy, now I am leaving you here and rejecting you.”
The blind parents replied, “Oh, no problem dear son. Please just take us to the other side. On the other side we can live by taking the leaves of trees, eating whatever is found on the ground, and drinking the water from the river. No problem. You can then go and be free and enjoy your life.”
When Sravan Kumar brought them to the other side of the river, his heart changed and he began to lament saying, “Why have I done this? Why have I disrespected my parents? Why was my mind so contaminated? My whole life I have served both of you?” Parents should always be respected, and they were also great sages, even though they were blind and lame. They were established in brahma-jnana.
On thinking like this Sravan Kumar said, “Please punish me for my offence to you.” The parents replied, “Oh son it is not your fault. That place you were in was very impure. It was a very contaminated place. By going to that place your mind was completely contaminated, and therefore you spoke harshly to us, but we are not upset with you. You are our dear son and have served us so nicely. You are our son, but you are also like our disciple.
It is said if you commit a sin you will have to suffer the results of that. Speaking harshly to your elders, parents, or Guru is like a great offence and certainly a reaction will come from this.
One day later, when his parents were in an ashram, Sravan Kumar went to a river to bring them water and at that time Maharaja Dasaratha, the father of Lord Rama, (this was before Rama was born) was hunting in that area. It was evening time and Dasaratha Maharaja heard someone drinking water and he thought it was a deer, so he shot a sound arrow in that direction.
Dasaratha Maharaja had the power to shoot arrows just by hearing the sound. He shot the arrow and it struck Sravan Kumar, the beautiful son of the sages. When Dasaratha Maharaja heard the boy cry out, he realized he had made a great mistake, and had shot a person. Dasaratha Maharaja went there wondering what had happened, and he began to lament so much seeing that this boy was about to die.
Sravan Kumar said, “This is no problem, this is only a result of my own offences, but please at least take me to my parents and tell them what has happened, otherwise they will be very disturbed and worried. Dasaratha Maharaja then lifted up the dead body of Sravan Kumar, and he went to find his parents.
The parents heard someone approaching and asked, “Oh son, why were you so late bringing the water?” Dasaratha Maharaja replied shyly, feeling very ashamed, “Oh I accidentally killed your son and I have brought him to you.”
Andak Rsi and his wife replied, “Who can not change inevitable fate. We are not cursing you, but we will leave our bodies now, please perform our creation rite as our son cannot do it. You have killed our son, we are not cursing you, but we are just letting you know, you will also understand by karma, the pain of losing a very beloved son.
When they told him this, Dasaratha Maharaja, was actually overjoyed because he had been struggling for a long time to have a son. At first, he was overjoyed just like Citraketu Maharaja, who also could not have a son, and upon hearing the news that he would have a son, became so happy. Dasaratha Maharaja thought that he had been blessed to have a son, and felt that he had been given a boon. In this way Andak Rsi and his wife gave up their bodies, and Dasaratha Maharaja performed the last cremation rites for Sravan Kumar and his parents.
Later after Rama had been exiled to the forest by the request of Kaikeyi, Dasaratha Maharaja could understand everything. He had previously told the story of Sravan Kumar, but now he again told his wife Kausalya, “What I did I before, having killed Sravan Kumar, now I am suffering for this.” So, we see Dasaratha Maharaja lamenting, “Ha Rama, Ha Rama, Ha Rama” and giving up his life.
DO NOT GO TO CONTAMINATED PLACES
Therefore, we should be extremely careful not to go to contaminated places that are full of tamo-guna and rajo-guna. It is described in sastra that a place where there is prostitution, gambling, and intoxication, is a very tamasik place. We can see this mostly in big cities. When there is a temple of God, that is nirguna, a transcendental place. It is described that the forest is a sattvik place, where the mode of goodness will enter you. By going to villages and towns then the nature of rajo-guna will come. What does that mean? It means you will want to be a creator and progenitor. You will want to have many children and a big family. This is rajo-guna. If you go to places where there is intoxication, gambling, and illicit sinful activities, then the influences of tamo-guna will enter you.
PARIKSIT MAHARAJA CURSED TO DIE IN SEVEN DAYS
When Pariksit Maharaja was a child he played in the lap of Krsna, and received so much affection from Him. He was also protected by the Lord when he was in the womb of his mother Uttara. So why now, would he put a dead snake around the neck of a sage? When the sage came out of meditation and saw the dead snake around his neck, he was not disturbed. He thought, “Whatever happens by the will of God, will happen. Why should I be disturbed at someone else, when my own karma is affecting me?”
However, on seeing what Pariksit Maharaja had done, the son of the Rsi became very angry and cursed him to die in seven days by a snake bite. When the Rsi heard that his son had made a curse, he sent messengers to Pariksit Maharaja to tell that his son had foolishly cursed him. The Rsi was very upset saying, “Why did you curse him? He is the King and maintainer of everyone!”
THE ESSENCE OF SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM
Then Pariksit Maharaja began wandering on the bank of the Ganga and Sukadeva Goswami arrived there along with all the sages and began to speak this hari-katha of the Srimad Bhagavatam. What is the Srimad Bhagavatam? What is the essence of Srimad Bhagavatam? It is Sri Krsna’s pastimes with the Vraja Gopis.
SUKADEVA GOSWAMI SPEAKS BHAGAVATAM TO PARIKSIT MAHARAJA
Sukadeva Goswami said to Pariksit Maharja, “I will give you this transcendental nectar, this divine nectar. I have heard so many sweet pastimes from Srimati Radhika, Siva Thakur and Vyasadeva. You are the king of the world, and I know you are very dear to Bhagavan, like a father and maintainer to everyone. I am going to now give you this transcendental wealth of bhagavat-rasa.”
Brahmarsis, Rajarsis, and millions and millions of sages arrived at that place. Lakhs and lakhs of people came to hear the hari-katha. Why? Because Srimad Bhagavatam is the essence of all Vedanta, sastra, and knowledge. If you hear this Srimad Bhagavatam even once, and develop a taste for this bhagavat-rasa, you will lose your taste for everything else.
After the completion of seven days, the sages thought, “Where will we go?” They thought their lives were now useless without hearing this hari-katha. The Rsis prayed to Bhagavan, and Bhagavan sent his Sudarsana cakra, and said, “Follow this cakra and take shelter of it, wherever Sudarsana goes and stays, that place will become nirguna (transcendental). In that place bhagavat-katha and kirtan will always be going on.”
Sudarsana cakra then appeared and the sages followed behind the Sudarsana cakra, and it took them to a forest known as Naimisaranya. The sages worshiped Sudarsana cakra and Ganga devi appeared there. At that ashram, sitting on the bank of the river, the Rsis took bath, and performed acamana. Then Suta Goswami, along with Vyasadeva, and all the different sages, arrived.
Suta Goswami had been present as a young boy, when he heard Srimad Bhagavatam from Sukadeva Goswami. Many years later, he again spoke Srimad Bhagavatam at Naimisaranya to all the sages. The first time this Srimad Bhagavatam was spoken was by Siva Thakur to Suka (Sukadeva Goswami), then Vyasadeva to Sukadeva Goswami, then Sukadeva Goswami to Pariksit Maharaja, then by Suta Goswami to all the sages headed by Saunaka Rsi at Naimisaranya. After that, Srila Vyasadeva manifested the Srimad Bhagavatam in a written form as a scripture or grantha.
It is essential for there to be a qualified speaker of the Srimad Bhagavatam as well as a qualified hearer, and it should not be spoken in a tamasic, rajasik or sattvik location. It should be a nirguna place. Those speaking and hearing it, should both be in the nivrtta-tarsair line, being free of material desires, in the nivrtti-marga, path of material renunciation. They should be completely detached from worldly name and fame. They should be like Siva Thakur, having achieved complete renunciation from this world. As a sign of detachment, Siva Thakur would even put ashes from a cremation ground on his body. That person who is nivrtta-tarsair, free of attachment to this world, they can give this Srimad Bhagavatam and by becoming nivrtta-tarsair like them, we can become qualified to receive it. In Badrinath Ashram where Vyasadeva stayed, Sukadeva Goswami heard Srimad Bhagavatam from his father Vyasadeva.
MAHAMAYA & YOGAMAYA – EXTERNALLY THE SAME BUT INTERNALLY DIFFERENT
There is Mahamaya’s prison house, and then there is Yogamaya’s place which is where the devotees stay, and where Bhagavan is present. This is a transcendental place that is maintained by Yogamaya herself. Externally it may look the same, but internally they are completely different.
In this world, there are many manifestations of sense objects and things to enjoy. In Bhagavan’s place where the renunciants reside, we don’t see external renunciation, we see anuraga (trancendental love). Even though they are renounced and detached, they have even more things to enjoy. In such places there are even more bhoga-samagri, meaning enjoyable things. But what is it used for? Everything is used to serve Krsna. All the bhoga, (enjoyment), is used as an offering to Krsna, and then it is taken as His prasad. We are not seeing that Guru and the Vaisnavas have nothing, but everything is present there, and they only have this anuraga (trancendental love) for Krsna. They don’t have any attachment or inclination towards enjoying and exploiting the objects of this world.
Externally people may say the Vaisnavas have so many enjoyable things, by witnessing them having regular feasts and festivals. Householders can possibly do this one or two days a year, have a birthday festival, or cooking nicely for an anniversary feast, but we see the sadhus doing these feasts everyday. There is even more bhoga-samagri for sadhus, however not even one grain or a single part of it is for their own enjoyment, it is only for the Lord’s service.
We see in some peoples’ houses they cook one time and then put it in the fridge and eat it for three days, but sadhus can not be like that. Every meal they will make so many nice preparations, like halava from ghee, nice sweets, rabari, and thus they will make hundreds of things for Krsna. Every meal will be cooked with the best possible ingredients, and they will always be distributing these to everyone.
Where these activities are going on, that is the place of Yogamaya. In the material world where everyone is struggling just for a little bit of facility for ordinary things, that is the place of Mahamaya. Why? Because of being based on selfishness there will always be shortage and lacking there. Where there is selfless service and everything is being offered to God, then there will be no shortage of anything, and everyday you will see feasts and festivals going on. Even without devotees going outside to perform difficult work to make money, everything is being nicely distributed.
For materialistic people there will always be shortages. We sometimes see materialistic devotees say, “I am a Vaisnava, my wife is a Vaisnava, my child is a Vaisnava, but there is no other fourth Vaisnava.” There is a story of a father who brought back a ripe jackfruit and he gave it to his wife and said, “Tomorrow we will serve this to all the sadhus.” She said, “No! I am a Vaisnava, you are a Vaisnava, our son is a Vaisnava, so what need is there to do any more Vaisnava seva? We are Vaisnavas and our service to each other is Vaisnava seva, so let us eat this and enjoy.” But real sadhus are not like this. They do not think he is in my family, and that person is not in my family, and I will only feed those in my family. They serve everyone without any tinge of selfishness. Because of this selfishness, everyone in the world is fighting. Sadhus however, only have anuraga (pure love) which is always present in Yogamaya’s place.
Here in this first verse we are hearing that the Gopis are under the shelter of Yogamaya. Being under the influence of Mahamaya and Yogamaya are two completely different things. Without the blessings and shelter of Yogamaya, we cannot be connected to Krsna. Only through her mercy can we have a proper understanding of these things.
Therefore, we pray:
patim me kuru te namah
“Oh, Katyayani, Oh, Mahamayi, Oh, Maha-Yogini-adhisvari, Oh Nanda-gopa-sutam devi, people in this world are pati, they are controllers, protectors or guardians, please don’t make Mahamaya our pati, and don’t have samsari, worldly people as our pati. Please let us come under the shelter of Yogamaya, let her, Srimati Radhika and Krsna be our pati. Oh, Yogamaya-devi, please give me your mercy.”
When this anuraga comes then Bhagavan will appear in our heart. Parameswara, Parambrahma Himself, will directly come and appear.
The Rasa Pancadhyayi begins with the words tar ratri, at that night. The meaning of ratri does not just mean the night time. Ratra means pancaratra, Narada-pancaratra, it is a type of special knowledge or jnana. All kinds of pure knowledge and realization are given there in that ratra.
It is said in the Bhagavad-gita that when the sages are awake, ordinary people are asleep and when ordinary people are awake sages are asleep. It is said that night time for the sadhus is daytime for the materialists. And day time for the materialists is night time for the sadhus.
ya nisa sarva-bhutanam, tasyam jagarti samyami
Sadhus are awake for one thing. They are awake always eager to perform bhagavad-bhakti and materialistic people have no taste for that, for them it is like sleep. On the other hand, those materialistic people are always absorbed in materialistic affairs, for the sadhus it is like the deep sleep of ignorance.
KRSNA CALLS THE GOPIS AT NIGHT TIME
Krsna therefore called all the Vraja-devis, who are the highest sadhus, at night time. He called them for Saradiya-rasa-purnima. Candra Ma, had also appeared as a full moon. The breeze was flowing from the Malaya Hills where the fragrance of sandalwood is always present, and this breeze was flowing through all of Vraja.
Pavana deva, the god of the wind, brought the most beautiful fragrances to the air of Vraja. There the flowers were blossoming, many birds were present, and the forests of Vraja had become decorated like a beautiful young bride.
Krsna took His flute and began to play the bija-mantra through His flute. When the Gopis heard this special klim mantra, it entered deep into their hearts. As previously mentioned from the Bhagavad-Gita, sages are awake when ordinary people are asleep. At that time, whoever was not qualified to receive this fell asleep and those who were qualified, like the Gopis, the highest of sadhus, immediately left everything to be with Krsna. Regardless of whether they were cooking, cleaning, putting their children to sleep, putting on kajal, or dressing, they immediately left everything and without any consideration, ran into the forest.
For some of the Gopis however, their so-called relatives locked them in their rooms, and they couldn’t leave. Those gopis said, “Okay, you are so attached to this body, you think you are the master of this body? Then take it, but I will not stay here.” These Gopis then left their external forms and in their spiritual bodies immediately arrived before Krsna. Because they took shelter of Yogamaya, they were able to quickly enter the Saradiya-rasa-purnima with Sri Krsna. In this way, all the Vraja-gopis arrived before the Lord.
THE INNER MEANING OF KRSNA STEALING THE GOPIS CLOTHES
When Krsna stole the clothes of the Gopis and then gave them His darshan, the word ‘cira’, or cloth is used. What is the inner meaning of Krsna taking their ‘cira’ cloth? The outer cloth represents the gross body and the inner cloth represents the subtle body. We generally see people wearing more than one layer of clothes, so these are like the subtle and gross bodies. When Krsna took the Gopis cloth ‘cira’, it was like He was taking their gross and subtle bodies, and when He again returned them, He was giving them a transcendental body.
Tomorrow we will start from this point and we will hear from the commentaries of all our Acaryas, like Srila Jiva Goswami, Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakur, Sridhara Swami, and so forth. By hearing this we will gradually develop our faith, and in this way, we will be able to enter into these transcendental pastimes, and understand their secret meanings. Lastly, we must take shelter of Yogamaya, otherwise we will not be able to enter.
Srila Gurudeva ki Jaya! Guruvarga ki Jaya! (Excerpted from the up and coming Bhaktabandhav book publication, “Rasa Pancadhyayi”. For more info contact: firstname.lastname@example.org)