Śrī Guru appears in this world to bring the wayward souls home to God. Although immortal, he wears a uniform that appears to be a mortal body, so that he is approachable. The disciple will understand Śrī Guru’s truest form when he is in the eternal world with his own spiritual form.
Know that Śrīla Gurudeva is eternal, just as Kṛṣṇa is eternal. During Śrīla Gurudeva’s manifest lifetime, all activities of bhakti went on without difficulty. His disappearance is a test to see if his disciples will remain following bhakti. Many disciples think, “Alas! Śrīla Gurudeva is gone forever!” They thus become hopeless and are ready to commit spiritual suicide by jumping again into māyā. Such an attitude means they never had faith in the transcendental nature of Śrīla Gurudeva to begin with. Did Śrīla Gurudeva teach us this? Did he give up bhakti and jump into māyā after Param Gurudeva entered nitya-līlā? One who preaches that Śrīla Gurudeva is gone forever is an agent of Kali and will destroy himself as well as others.
Śrīla Gurudeva is looking on to see how his disciples continue. He will be happiest with those he sees following his footsteps, and remaining engaged in bhajana, sevā, hari-kathā, and kīrtana. As parents desire for their children to grow up to be educated and prosperous, Śrī Guru wants his disciples to become qualified and successful in bhakti. So we must increase our efforts in every respect, and we shall then receive Śrīla Gurudeva’s profuse blessings.
Śrīla Gurudeva is our eternal master. Don’t think all is lost. Have hope. Maintain your faith and enthusiasm. Everything should continue with the conviction that Śrīla Gurudeva is present everywhere. Never be hopeless, whatever the circumstances are. Whether you are worried that you are young and full of lust, or that you are weak and unenthusiastic, still, don’t become hopeless. We must follow the activities of bhakti, even in our old age when we have a hunched back and pain all over our bodies. Actually there is only one true pain—the pain of having no real friend. So make friendship with Śrīla Gurudeva and Kṛṣṇa. You will then realize the sweetness of that relationship and will deem your life successful. There are no real friends in this world, so don’t divide your love and self. Reserve your body and energy for the service of Śrī Guru and Kṛṣṇa.
Śrīla Gurudeva preached the glories of Vraja, the Vrajavāsīs, and Vraja-devīs all over the world. By this, thousands and thousands of people became inspired to attain vraja-bhakti. Gurudeva gave transcendental nectar and pulled people from all over the world to Vraja-maṇḍala. He never told them to make a palace in the West and dig their grave there. Gurudeva always wandered through Vraja-maṇḍala and called all devotees every year to Vraja-maṇḍala Parikramā.
On the order of his Guru Mahārāja and the request of Vaiṣṇavas, Śrīla Gurudeva published translations and commentaries on Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu-bindhu, Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi-kirana, Bṛhad-Bhāgavatāmṛta-kana, Mādhurya-kaḍambinī, and other books of the Gosvāmīs. Wherever Śrīla Gurudeva was, and within whatever he wrote, he glorified and distributed vraja-rasa; therefore, the Vrajavāsīs called him a rasika-ācārya. Śrīla Gurudeva spoke on so many spiritual subject matters, but he always concluded with the glories of the Vraja-devīs. This is his specialty. The wealth of Śrīla Gurudeva’s love will continue to spread and increase in this world.
Whatever has been revealed in the Śrī Guru Darśana series to this point has manifested by Śrīla Gurudeva’s mercy, as a result of constant remembrance of his lotus feet. Now, what I will describe is Śrīla Gurudeva’s dire samādhi-bhāṣya—as he spoke to me on Vṛndāvana-parikramā this morning (14 February 2015).
Śrīla Gurudeva would daily go on a morning walk—whether in the winter or the summer, in India or the West. Once, someone asked him, “Why do you always go on a morning walk?”
Śrīla Gurudeva smiled but did not respond. Later, Gurudeva told me, “These people do not understand why I go on a morning walk. I wake at two-thirty or three a.m. and prepare to serve in niśānta-līlā—Rādha-Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes at the end of the night. During niśānta-līlā, I rearrange Rādhikā’s misplaced śṛṅgāra. I wipe Her form with a damp cloth, redress Her, give Her a garland, decorate Her feet with alta, anoint Her with laka, and carefully hide the marks of Her love-play with Kṛṣṇa in the kuñja. After maṅgala-āratī, Kṛṣṇa goes to Nanda-bhavana and Rādhikā to Jāvaṭa. I walk with Rādhikā to Jāvaṭa, along with the sakhīs and mañjarīs, and once there, I serve Rādhikā with various paraphernalia as She prepares to depart for Nanda-bhavana to cook.
Śrīla Gurudeva continued, “When I am going on my morning walk, I am present with Rādhikā and the mañjarīs. My skirt is rose pink and my shawl and blouse are light yellow—the color of a campaka flower. People are seeing me on a morning walk in some place in this world, but this is only in my external form. Daily, at this time, I go with Rādhikā to Nanda-bhavana. I place the fresh butter made by Rādhikā in the hand of Yaśodā Mātā. Kṛṣṇa is sleeping in His bed. Yaśodā Mātā quietly enters Kṛṣṇa’s room. Kṛṣṇa opens His eyes slightly as Yaśodā Mātā washes His face with a warm, damp towel and places the butter with sugar-candy in His mouth. Kṛṣṇa takes the mākhana-miśri, and then closes His eyes and smiles, savoring the nectarean butter churned by the hand of His beloved. Yaśodā Mātā leaves His room and tells the boys and animals waiting outside the house, ‘Don’t make any noise; Kanhaiyā is sleeping.’
“Yaśodā Mātā then enters the kitchen,” Śrīla Gurudeva continued, “where I am cleaning the stoves and preparing ingredients—honey, ghee, rice, dāls, various grains and flours, vegetables and fruits—for Rādhikā to cook. While Yaśodā Mātā looks over the cooking, she sends me to fan Kṛṣṇa. She says, ‘Nīlimā, Kanhaiyā is still resting. Go fan Him and make sure no one disturbs Him.’ I enter His room and begin to gently fan Him. Kṛṣṇa sits up to see who is there and playfully tries to catch my hand, but I run out of His reach.
“Shortly after, the sakhās enter the room and, with them, Kṛṣṇa goes to milk the cows. When He returns, the cooking is complete and Śrīmatī Rādhikā says to Yaśodā Mātā, ‘We will bathe and dress Kṛṣṇa while you prepare His breakfast.’
“According to her bhāva, Yaśodā Mātā sees Kṛṣṇa as her small baby boy and Rādhikā and the gopīs as young girls. So, without hesitation, she arranges Kṛṣṇa’s morning meal in the kitchen, giving the kiśorīs a chance to intimately serve kiśora Kṛṣṇa. Śrīmatī Rādhikā bathes Kṛṣṇa with pitchers of fragrant water that I fill for Her. When Kṛṣṇa is touched by Rādhikā’s hand, He shivers uncontrollably in bliss. Vinoda Mañjarī, Nayaṇa-maṇi Mañjarī, Rūpa Mañjarī, Rati Mañjarī, myself (Nīlā Mañjarī), and other mañjarīs assist Rādhikā. Rādhikā sometimes is overwhelmed with ecstasy and I give Her a seat and continue to bathe and then dress Kṛṣṇa. I whisper to Kṛṣṇa, ‘Vinoda and Nayaṇa have told me that before going to Sūrya-kuṇḍa, we will meet You in a kuñja at Karehlā.’ Happy to hear this news of their intended mid-morning rendezvous, Kṛṣṇa, dressed as Naṭavara-Nanda-kiśora, goes to the prasādam hall and sits for breakfast with Nanda Baba and Baladāū.”
sevā kuñje vraje ramye govardhana girau sadā
rādhā kuṇḍe rasānande tat tat sevā pradāyakam
In this way, Śrīla Gurudeva gave a vision of his internal service to the Divine Couple. During his morning walk, in his internally manifest spiritual form, Śrīla Gurudeva arranges all kinds of service for Rādha-Kṛṣṇa. Those who are nearby him but who do not have entrance into his bhāva-sevā do not understand how he is busy in internal services. He walks quickly and then sometimes pauses and sits. Internally, he shows the ingredients he brought to Rādhikā.
When Śrīla Gurudeva returns from his morning walk, he offers puṣpāñjali to his altar, offers obeisance, takes caraṇāmṛta from the Deities, does parikramā of the temple sanctum, and then honors some breakfast prasāda.
In the meantime, internally, along with Vinoda, Nayaṇa, Bhānumatī and other gopīs, Śrīla Gurudeva serves hot malpuā, pūrīs, kacoris, samosā, bāṭī, urmā, laḍḍus, chutneys, and many more items to Kṛṣṇa, Nanda Bābā, the sakhās and other Vrajavāsīs who have sat for breakfast.
Thereafter, the sakhīs and mañjarīs depart: first to Jāvaṭa and then, on the pretense of leaving for Sūrya-pūjā, they go with Rādhikā to Karehlā, the place of Campakalatā-sakhī.
As Kṛṣṇa enters the forests of Vraja with the sakhās and calves, Śrīla Gurudeva prepares a kuñja for the meeting of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa aside from the pathway.
guruṁ nārāyanākyham tam vande ramaṇa preṣṭhakam
yat pāda smṛti mātrena damodāra prasīdati
Nīlā Mañjarī arranges for Kṛṣṇa’s ramaṇa, love-play, in the kuñja where Śrīmatī Rādhikā is waiting. Kṛṣṇa slips away from the sakhās and goes to briefly meet with Rādhikā in the prepared flower kuñja. He suddenly enters the secluded grove like a wild elephant-cub and embraces Śrīmatī. After a short tryst, Kṛṣṇa returns to His friends; Śrīmatī shakes like a slender banana tree in a gale. Nīlā Mañjarī and Vinoda Mañjarī get Rādhikā a seat. She is trembling by the effect of mahābhāva. Nīlimā and Vinoda serve to heighten Rādhikā’s mahābhāva. Using cooling sandal paste mixed with kuṁkum and karpura, they decorate Her chest with leaf designs where Kṛṣṇa’s nails scratched; they replace Rādhikā’s blouse and then continue with Her to Sūrya-kuṇḍa.
In the late morning, Śrīla Gurudeva arranges the midday meeting place of the Divine Couple at Rādhā-kuṇḍa and Sūrya-kuṇḍa. He picks flowers with the sakhīs and mañjarīs in the Kusumavana garden and makes a flower crown and vaijayantī-mālā for Kṛṣṇa. Gurudeva then dresses as a sakhā to bring Kṛṣṇa to the secret meeting place. Kṛṣṇa bathes at Sūrya-kuṇḍa, and then proceeds secretly to Rādhā-kuṇḍa.
govardhane trivikrama kusuma-vane nārāyaṇa
rādhā-kuṇḍe śrī vāmana gaurī-kuñje rādhā-ramaṇa
nitya-sevā prema-vilāsa nava nava svarūpa darśana
After the midday pastimes at Rādhā-kuṇḍa, Nīlā Mañjarī along with other mañjarīs endeavor to cover signs on Kṛṣṇa’s face and body of His meeting with Rādhikā before He returns to the sakhās. But, however much she tries to disguise or remove the marks, they become more evident. Recently separated from Rādhikā, Kṛṣṇa still feels Her embrace, and being touched by Her maidservants only increases His rapture in thoughts of His beloved. His whole form becomes suffused with golden effulgence; His own darkish radiance is eclipsed by the golden hue of Rādhikā—how can this sign be hidden? Each meeting with Rādhikā seems like a fleeting moment and a moment apart is like an age. But the time comes to return to Nanda-bhavana. Nīlimā and Vinoda, dressed as sakhās, usher Kṛṣṇa back to the company of His friends. There they dance, play, and joke with Kṛṣṇa, Madhumaṅgala, Subala and the other sakhās, in an effort to bring Kṛṣṇa’s mind to His present responsibilities. Gradually, Kṛṣṇa’s normal countenance returns and, leaving Him as He heads for Nandagoan with the calves and boys, Nīlīmā and Vinoda return to Śrīmatī Rādhikā, as She makes Her way back to Jāvaṭa.
Śrīla Gurudeva bestows service in the mood of the mañjarīs. One who is not wise in rasa-tattva, who is not present in his spiritual service, can never publish the rasamayī-granthas of the Gosvāmīs. Śrīla Gurudeva is the topmost of rasika and bhāvuka Vaiṣṇavas and is always serving as Śrīmatī Rādhikā’s maidservant. Therefore, he revealed the subject matter of mañjarī-bhāva-upāsanā in his books—this subject is essential for one who aspires towards the highest attainment of life.
sevā sādhaka-rūpeṇa siddha-rūpeṇa cātra hi
tad-bhāva-lipsunā kāryā vraja-lokānusārataḥ
The sevaka in his form as a sādhaka serves Hari, Guru and Vaiṣṇavas, and in his internal form is absorbed in bhāva-sevā to Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. Śrīla Gurudeva exemplified bhāva-mārga-sādhana in the eightfold daily pastimes of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, and revealed this process in his books.
Once while staying in Hawaii at the ocean-side home of Vṛndāvana Prabhu, Śrīla Gurudeva went outside to the lush garden and began plucking weeds and pilling up twigs. Not seeing Gurudeva inside, his sevakas thought, “Where has Guru Mahārāja gone?” They went to search outside and were surprised to see him, although advanced in years, squatting and tending the garden.
When his sevakas approached and spoke to him, Śrīla Gurudeva startled and returned to external awareness. He then returned inside. Internally, Gurudeva was with the sakhīs making sure there were no thorns on the pathway Kṛṣṇa would take through the forest.
Śrīla Gurudeva explained that when one enters the bhāva-rājya—the realm of ecstatic spiritual service—while in one’s physical body, it is like a wild elephant in a garden. In this example, the body is like the garden and the elephant is bhāva, spiritual ecstasy, that ravishes the physical body. For one’s mortal coil made of material elements cannot tolerate the awakening of transcendental rapture, like a bulb exposed to a higher wattage than it can conduct. A sādhaka who enters the stage of bhāva realizes all Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes in relation to his spiritual service and feels that Kṛṣṇa is calling him, nay, pulling him to Vraja to directly accept his service. One then experiences every moment in this world separated from Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa to be an age of agony. Worldly people cannot fathom this subject.
People think that Vaiṣṇavas suffer from strokes and different material illnesses. They cannot understand antara-daśā—internal awareness. What can help at that time? Only mahā-saṅkīrtana. Once when Śrīla Gurudeva was in Mathurā, at three-thirty or four a.m. he fell senseless. He would sleep on the veranda. Seeing Gurudeva senseless, we carried him into his room and called for a doctor. The doctor gave him many types of medicine. He said Gurudeva had suffered a stroke and gave medicine for him to recover. He also said Śrīla Gurudeva must be given complete rest without any disturbance and without speaking or meeting with anyone. So Gurudeva stayed in his room for three days. After three days, when Gurudeva had recovered, he asked the brahmacārīs, “Why did you stay outside the whole time?” We replied that the doctor had ordered us to do so because he said it was a very dangerous time. Afterwards, the doctor continued to get Gurudeva medicine for many months. When Śrīla Gurudeva spoke the evening of the third day after this incident, then he commented that when aṣṭa-sāttvika-bhāvas manifest in the body, the body cannot tolerate this and starts to fall apart. The bhāvas are like elephants trampling and ravaging a sugarcane field. People think, “The Vaiṣṇava has left this world from a stroke,” or they see any other sickness as the cause of the Vaiṣṇavas’ departure. But advanced Vaiṣṇavas do not pass away from any material cause; it is a transcendental condition. Material doctors have not taken any training in vraja-bhāva and have no relation with the soul. They cannot fathom these transcendental truths of the liberated souls.
The Guru-varga descend from transcendental Vraja to teach the fallen souls the process of vraja-sevā. One who incessantly chants harināma while internally engaged in service in Vraja will soon realize the spiritual form of his Gurudeva along with his own svarūpa and, under guidance of his guru-sakhī, he will become immersed in the bliss of sevā-rasa to Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Mādhava. In this way, absorption in nāma-rasa bears the nectar of the fruit of prema-rasa. Thus Śrīmatī Radhikā accepts one as Her maidservant and grants Her prema-sevā.
Our time as a sādhaka should mostly be spent engaged in harināma-kīrtana, in high-class sādhu-saṅga, while internally surrendered at Śrīla Gurudeva’s lotus feet, and always remembering him. Then, at the appropriate time, Śrīla Gurudeva will bring us to eternal Vraja and engage us in prema–sevā. One cannot attain perfection in sādhana while remaining in the association of materialistic people. One’s sādhana will remain lifeless; therefore, high-class sādhu-saṅga is essential. By the mercy of sādhus, one’s heart will be freed from miserliness and poverty of spirit, while spiritual enthusiasm and bliss will swell during the performance of bhajana.
Śrī Guru-pāda-padma is present in his eternal service to Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa; he comes to this world to show sādhakas the process to achieve Vraja and kṛṣṇa–prema. He is visible in one form in this world, but internally he is always serving in his spiritual form in Vraja. For those who, with a pure conception of his nature and glories, surrender completely to him, Śrī Guru gives darśana of his spiritual form and grants one entrance into Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa’s nitya–sevā.