In February 1999, Śrīla Gurudeva traveled to Holland and France, and from there, he went to Viareggio, Italy. On April 13, Śrīla Gurudeva recalled a poignant scene he had seen on the beach while on his morning walk, and described his mood to the audience.
As Śrīla Gurudeva spoke, he unsuccessfully tried to hold back his tears. In order to wipe his eyes as he was reaching the story’s end, he opened his arms to take hold of his upper sannyāsa cloth and slid it under his eyeglasses. He was wearing a very thin garland of small lavender flowers at that me. As he was opening his arms, his arms came between the two insides of the garland. The garland broke, and the lavender flowers softly flew out in all directions. That, combined with the fact that Śrīla Gurudeva was wiping his tears, brought his audience to tears.
Śrīla Gurudeva said, “Today I went to the seashore for a walk. I was chanting and remembering some pastimes of Sri Krsna, and I was especially chanting this verse:
jātānurāgo druta-citta uccaiḥ
hasaty atho roditi rauti gāyaty
unmāda-van nṛtyati loka-bāhyaḥ
‘By chanting the holy name of the Supreme Lord, one comes to the stage of love of Godhead. Then the devotee is fixed in his vow as an eternal servant of the Lord, and he gradually becomes very much attached to a particular name and form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As his heart melts with ecstatic love, he laughs very loudly or cries or shouts. Sometimes he sings and dances like a madman, for he is indifferent to public opinion.’
“I was thinking about the meaning of this verse, which applies to devotees who have developed their Kṛṣṇa consciousness up to rati. Rati is the first glimpse of prema; it is a semblance of prema. Those who have rati sing the names of their beloved: Govinda, Dāmodara, Mādhava, Rādhā-Govinda, Rādhānatha, and all the other sweet holy names of Lord Kṛṣṇa. They give up their shyness and become as though mad. With tears in their eyes, they fall down and roll on the earth, sometimes laughing without any reason and sometimes weeping bitterly.”
“Common devotees will generally think that such a devotee has become mad. They consider that for no reason he is laughing, for no reason he is weeping, and for no reason he is rolling on the earth. They cannot understand, and even Lord Brahmā and other demigods cannot understand why devotees even from the preliminary stage of love of God are behaving like this. Those who do not have very much attraction for Kṛṣṇa and have not served Him, those who have no love and affection like the gopīs, they cannot be like this. These are the symptoms of a most high-class devotee.”
Śrīla Gurudeva said, “So, while I was walking on the seashore, I was chanting and remembering the meaning of this verse. Just then, I saw a very pathetic scene which touched my heart. There was a dog on the road at the seashore. He looked like he was waiting for someone. He had tears in his eyes and mud on his face. He was a German Shepherd dog. When he was young he had been very beautiful and strong, but now he was old and neglected.
“He was searching for someone. He would look at all the cars passing by. He would run towards the people who passed by, looking at them with eyes full of expectation. Then again, he would run away in the direction of the sea, or sit down with very sad eyes.
“I asked Brajanātha and Līlā-puruṣoama Prabhu, ‘Is this dog waiting for his master, who is perhaps walking here and there?’ They replied, ‘No, no. Perhaps some cruel master saw that his dog was becoming old, or he thought that he didn’t want any dogs now. He left him in this area, during summer, when thousands of persons are at the seashore.’
“That master left his very dear dog, and now the dog is remembering, ‘Where is my master? He loved me so much. He used to wash me daily with soap—with his own hands—and he loved me so affectionately. But where is my master now? Perhaps he has lost me. But one day he will come and again take me in his car.’ Remembering the past love and affection of his master he is thinking, ‘How sweet it was,’ and he is sitting and weeping.”
Śrīla Gurudeva’s every word has meaning and purpose. As he continued, the audience realized the meaning of this anecdote. Srila Gurudeva continued, “Why did the gopīs lament for Kṛṣṇa? Why did Śrīdāma weep so bitterly? Why did Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī and the other Gosvāmīs weep? If a dog can weep, why can’t the associates of the Supreme Lord weep? Sometimes that dog thinks, ‘I should die.’ He walks towards the sea and weeps. He is about to enter the sea, but then he returns thinking, ‘My master may come. That is why I don’t want to die.’”
“The gopīs are like this. They want to die, but at the next moment they remember Kṛṣṇa’s words: ‘I will come back.’ The gopīs, or any devotees who weep bitterly for the Lord, also laugh sometimes because they perceive that their Lord has come. But this cruel master will never come because his love and affection has stopped. The love of the cruel master is mundane, but the love and affection of Lord Kṛṣṇa is transcendental. Kṛṣṇa may come and satisfy His devotees, saying, ‘I have come;’ but the cruel masters of this world will never return.
“This world is meant for our learning; is like a school or college. We can learn many things from this world—by examples such as this one about the abandoned dog. Today I was realizing why the gopīs lament and weep so much—and why they sing. We should realize these topics, but we cannot do so by speculation of the mind. Such realization is possible only by the association of high-class devotees of the Lord.
“That dog will die one day, and his cruel master will not return. But Lord Kṛṣṇa is always controlled by the love of His devotees, and they cannot die. When they weep like this they become mad—and from me to me Lord Kṛṣṇa comes and pacifies them. But they will say they have seen Him only in a dream. They will consider, ‘Perhaps I was mad and that is why I thought I saw Him; but I have not really seen Him.’ Actually they have seen Him and this increases their love for Kṛṣṇa.
“Lord Kṛṣṇa’s cowherd friend Madhumaṅgala wept bitterly, as did Mādhavendra Purīpāda. He prayed, ‘O Lord of Mathurā, O beloved, when will I see You? I am dying, so please come and give me Your darśana.’
“Śrīmatī Rādhikā, the crest-jewel of the gopīs, prays:
hā nātha ramaṇa preṣṭha kvāsi kvāsi mahā-bhuja
dāsyās te kṛpaṇāyā me sakhe darśaya sannidhim
‘O master, O My lover! O dearmost, where are You? Where are You? Please, O mighty-armed one, O friend, show Yourself to Me, Your wretched maidservant!’
“The gopīs all weep in this way. The cruel master will also die, but Kṛṣṇa and His devotees will never die. One day Kṛṣṇa is bound to give His darśana and service. We should be like those gopīs and the other associates of Vrajendra-nandana Kṛṣṇa.”
On April 20, Śrīla Gurudeva spoke before a large assembly of devotees in Miami, Florida. As customary, Śrīla Gurudeva first extensely glorified Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja and detailed his relationship with him and the services he rendered. Seeing the hundreds of devotees listening with rapt attention, Gurudeva said, “I never thought so many devotees would come and hear from me. I wonder at this. I know that learning is nothing, nothing. It brings false ego. I think that the school of Gaura-kiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja and the college of Haridāsa Ṭhākura is superior to lākhas and lākhas of universities like Oxford, Cambridge, and Harvard. These places cannot give anything. I think that those who were raised in the school of Svāmījī don’t need to go to any university. And if anyone is going, it means they have no belief in harināma and in their guru. This is a simple thing. Haridāsa Ṭhākura never went to any college. We should try to realize this. All beings have love. This is natural. There is no need of going to any college to receive love. Kṛṣṇa has given love to all. But you have to purify your love.”
Continuing, Śrīla Gurudeva said, “Śrī Guru awakens one’s relationship with Kṛṣṇa. If he fails to give this relation, then really he is not a guru. There are five kinds of relations: śānta, dāsya, sakhya, vātsalya, and mādhurya. We are related to Kṛṣṇa, but this relationship is covered by Mahāmāyā because we have forgotten Kṛṣṇa. A pure guru, qualified guru, sees the relationship with Kṛṣṇa in the heart of anyone he notices, and he can awaken this relationship in the heart of the sincere disciple.”
Later, Gurudeva said, “I have elucidated the definition of śraddhā many times—it is the desire to serve Kṛṣṇa. This desire has some symptoms. One will think, ‘Even if I am cut into so many pieces, I will never stop chanting harināma or hearing hari-kathā.’ If one is only chanting, reading books, doing arcana, and other practices, but has no taste in hearing hari-kathā, the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa, everything will be in vain. That person will give up his other spiritual practices. But those who have so much love, affection, strong belief, and honor for hari-kathā, then for them a taste for chanting harināma will come very soon and everything will be perfect. One who has taste in hearing hari-kathā, the sweet and powerful pastimes of Kṛṣṇa, will soon reject all impediments to bhakti. In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is written:
dharmaḥ svanuṣṭhitaḥ puṁsāṁ viṣvaksena-kathāsu yaḥ
notpādayed yadi ratiṁ śrama eva hi kevalam
‘The occupational activities a man performs according to his own position are only so mu useless labor if they do not provoke attraction for the message of the Personality of Godhead.’
“The first limb of navadhā-bhakti is śravaṇam,” Gurudeva said. “One must hear hari-kathā in high-class association. Simply reading books will not suffice.”
Thereafter, Śrīla Gurudeva described the sweet childhood pastimes of Kṛṣṇa, such as Dāmodara-līlā.
Upon his arrival in Caracas, Venuzuela, on April 28, Śrīla Gurudeva described his relationship with Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja and stated that being a Vaiṣṇava in ISKCON is not separate from being a Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava in the line of Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Śrīla Gurudeva stressed, “We are all in Gaura-parāra, Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s family. Also, Prahlāda Mahārāja is the disciple of Nārada, and Nārada is the disciple of Brahmā, and Kṛṣṇa Himself gave Brahmā the gopāla-mantra and kāma-gāyatrī. So, Prahlāda Mahārāja is also one of the ancient members of ISKCON. If you think that Prahlāda Mahārāja is not part of ISKCON, then really you are not in ISKCON; he is in ISKCON.”
“Many sādhakas feel weak because of a lack of high-class Vaiṣṇava association,” Śrīla Gurudeva continued, “and that is why so many in the renounced order, sannyāsīs and others, are falling down. But if they consider that we are all part of Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s family, and we associate and preach together again like in the time of Swāmījī, then we can stand. Otherwise, all will go down. Nowadays it is very painful that they are quarreling, and they don’t want high-class Vaiṣṇavas to preach. They think, ‘Our discples are our property.’ And that is why they want to enjoy them like their property, not to help them advance in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. So, we should be together as one family and not make distinction’s. If we are united in our efforts as members of Catanya Mahāprabhu’s movement and family, then we can preach all over the world successfully.”
During his stay in Caracas, Venuzuela, Śrīla Gurudeva discussed the mission and purposes of Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s advent, both external and internal, with emphasis on the introductory verses of Caitanya-caritāmṛta. Gurudeva also described the moods of Śrīmatī Rādhikā as expressed by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī Prabhu. Gurudeva told how Caitanya Mahāprabhu brought bhakti-rasa to this world; how, previously, Prahlāda Mahārāja had given some understanding of bhakti in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, but still, there was no bhakti-rasa. Bhakti-rasa was brought by Caitanya Mahāprabhu, and delivered by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī.
Over four days in Los Angeles in late May, Śrīla Gurudeva spoke on the rarity of kṛṣṇa-bhakti; the definition and nature of pure bhakti; the glories of Mahāprabhu; and an explanation of one of his favorite songs: Kṛṣṇa Deva Bhavantam Vande.
Śrīla Gurudeva then traveled to New Braja for a hari-kathā festal from May 31 to June 7 in his beloved community there. Every morning during his stay in New Braja, Śrīla Gurudeva visited a devotee’s home after his morning walk. The first day, Śrīla Gurudeva graced the residence of his dear followers Prāṇa-kiśora Prabhu and Campakalatā dīdī, across the road from the festival site. There, Gurudeva spoke to the large group of devotees who were packed within the house:
“We should try to be devotees. If you are renounced, then give up all things, like Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī, Rūpa, Sanātana Gosvāmī, and all other Gosvāmīs. And if you are a householder, then everything you have should be for Kṛṣṇa and for Mahāprabhu—not for yourself. You are not the owner; you are not the doer. But if you consider yourself the doer, having all false egos and so much attachment to your body, that, ‘I am this body,’ then you are not a follower of Caitanya Mahāprabhu—never, never.
“So, you should try to follow (according to your position). Those who are brahmacārīs and sannyāsīs should be like Rūpa-Raghunātha. And those in householder life should use everything for Kṛṣṇa, like the Pāṇḍavas and Śrīvāsa Paṇḍa. If you are like this, then you can have the mercy of Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa Conjugal, and your high-class Gurudeva. If you are not like that, then try to give up all false ego and use anything you have for the service of Hari, Guru and Vaiṣṇavas.
“When I was in Mathurā, penniless there, serving my Gurudeva, I wanted to publish some books. I wanted to repair Keśavajī Gauḍīya Maṭha and to make very good. At that time a devotee came and he sold everything he had: his car, his house, his utensils—everything—even the earrings of his wife—and he became like a beggar, going here and there. I think that this devotee made me famous in the whole world; and so now all devotees know me and come to me and hear. I repaired Keśavajī Gauḍīya Maṭha, and then in Vṛndāvana built the Rūpa-Sanātana Gauḍīya Maṭha. That devotee came to Mathurā. I was thinking that if any devotee came and helped then it would be possible to repair and build. Oh, this devotee came and promised ‘I will give some 10,000 rupees.’ I thought, ‘How is it possible for him? Oh, he will never give. He will go away.’ But Navīna said, ‘No, he may give.’ And then after six months, oh, I had never seen one lākha rupees at a time but quickly I saw that, oh, he brought three lākhas of rupees at a time! I thought, ‘Oh, am I dreaming?’ Then I began my preaching and also published books like Jaiva-dharma. And after that, that devotee became a beggar, going here and there, to Malaysia and other places with his wife and child. So, I kept his name as Prāṇa-kiśora Prabhu.”
The devotees enthusiastically shouted, “Haribol!”
Śrīla Gurudeva continued, “And his wife’s name is Campakalata, and his daughter’s name is Kiśorī.”
After the devotees applauded, Gurudeva said, “You should all try to maintain your life anyhow—poorly or anyhow. But don’t be so involved in material affairs. Try to develop your Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Always be hopeful; don’t be engaged in any problem. Try to keep your feet on the heads of problems. There is only one problem: how can we remember and serve Mahāprabhu, Nityānanda Prabhu, and Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa Conjugal? If this problem is solved, then all problems will be solved forever—forever! But if this problem is not solved, then there will always be newer and newer problems. Your mind will be disturbed. And if you are always concerned about how you can chant and remember Kṛṣṇa, then all your problems will serve you and be helpful for you. Even if the whole world is kicking and insulting you, you will think, ‘This is the mercy of Kṛṣṇa. I wanted to be solitary and chant always, oh, they have given this opportunity.’ ”
On the evening of June 2, Śrīla Gurudeva spoke on the reasons for Kṛṣṇa’s descent and on meditation of the Absolute Truth. At the end of the class, he said, “I am so happy to come here to New Braja. Also, from so many parts of so many countries, so many senior devotees are here; so, we are fortunate here. This is the month of Puruṣottama. Puruṣottama means Kṛṣṇa and this month is actually Kṛṣṇa’s month. Among all incarnations of Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa is Himself Supreme. So, this month is also Supreme among all months. We are also fortunate to be here in New Braja during this month: near Girirāja Govardhana, Śyāma-kuṇḍa, Rādhā-kuṇḍa, and all other places which remind one of Vraja. It is like Vṛndāvana has appeared here, with many peacocks, birds, gardens, and so forth. Here, we are all reminded of Vṛndāvana-dhāma.”
On the morning of June 2, Śrīla Gurudeva visited the New Braja Village School, and there heard the children recited verses from memory and afterwards questioned them.
Śrīla Gurudeva asked one student, “Do you know who is nāma and nāmī? Who is nāma?”
“Kṛṣṇa,” the student replied.
“Is there any difference between Kṛṣṇa and His name?”
“Ah! Only your offering of this sloka will not do. You should try to have strong faith in Kṛṣṇa’s name. Kṛṣṇa can give everything. Try to be like Prahlāda Mahārāja. He has faith. And that is why, when Nṛsiṁhadeva told him, ‘You should pray for a boon,’ Prahlāda replied, ‘I’m only chanting Kṛṣṇa’s name. I don’t want any boon.’ So, Kṛṣṇa’s name is like a desire tree—even more than that. You should always have strong faith. Guru comes to give this faith. If a guru cannot give this faith to his disciples, then there is something lacking in him, or something lacking in his disciple. Svāmījī wanted to give this faith to all, but everyone could not accept.
“We hope all the students from the beginning have very strong belief. And if their guru has this belief, and the teacher has belief, then all students can be like this. I think that your guru—your guru and guru’s wife, gurumāta—both are very qualified.
Another student then recited the verse bhajāmi rādhām aravinda netram.
“What is the meaning of this śloka that you uttered?” Gurudeva asked.
“That Śrīmatī Rādhikā is my only goal.”
“Do you think like this?”
“Very good,” Gurudeva said. “When you are uttering a prayer, try to keep the essence of that prayer always in your heart. This is the best śloka—superior to a prayer for Kṛṣṇa. If you pray to Kṛṣṇa, then Kṛṣṇa will tell Śrīmatī Rādhikā, ‘Oh, come on and give a boon to that person.’ Directly She will give. He will tell Śrīmatī Rādhikā, ‘Give this boon.’ So, this śloka is a very high-class prayer. You can all remember this śloka in your sādhana-bhajana. Thank you.”
Another student then recited
īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ sac-cid-ānanda-vigrahaḥ
anādir ādir govindaḥ sarva-kāraṇa-kāraṇam
‘Lord Govinda is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He has an eternal, blissful, spiritual body. He is beginningless and is the cause of all causes. He is the origin of all others.’
“You are telling that Kṛṣṇa is the cause of all causes?” Gurudeva asked.
“Kṛṣṇa has no origin. But we see that Yaśodā is the origin of Kṛṣṇa. He came from Yaśodā. How will you reconcile this?”
“Kṛṣṇa is. . .”
“Oh, you should ask your teacher,” Gurudeva said playfully.
Brajendra-nandana Prabhu said, “Kṛṣṇa is the origin of all, but in His līlā He has so many different relationships.”
“Is it līlā or reality? Līlā is like a drama play, so is He the origin of all, or is Yaśodā His origin?”
“In reality,” Brajendra-nandana Prabhu said, “Kṛṣṇa is the son of Mother Yaśodā. By His different expansions He also creates and destroys this material world. But He Himself, His personality, is Kṛṣṇa, and He lives in Goloka Vṛndāvana eternally.”
“As Brajendra-nandana,” Gurudeva said with a smile. The audience laughed.
“Dāsānudāsa,” Brajendra-nandana Prabhu said.
Śrīla Gurudeva then clarified; Isvarah paramah Krsna—does any being, human being, gopa, or gopī, admit this fact or not— that Kṛṣṇa is Isvarah paramah?”
“The gopīs, no,” devotees responded.
“And do the gopas know?”
“None of them know that Kṛṣṇa is Supreme. They all know that Kṛṣṇa is. . .”
“…a cowherd boy,” Gurudeva said, “Espcially the gopīs. And they are superior, the highest in knowledge. Do you know how many hands Nārāyaṇa has?”
“Four,” devotees responded.
“Four hands. And Nṛsiṁha has how many hands?”
“Then why aren’t They the original Supreme Lord? How can Kṛṣṇa be the original Supreme Lord? He is only a little boy. Nārāyaṇa should be Supreme and the origin of all manifestations. Kṛṣṇa should be a manifestation of Nārāyaṇa—but He is a little baby, Brajendra-nandana only (the son of the king of Vraja, Nanda Baba). Bhāgavata is not decided on the basis of opulence. Bhāgavata means. . .? “Godliness.”
“Godliness is not decided by opulence but by rasa. Nārāyaṇa cannot be a son of anyone— He can never be a son. And He cannot accept any wife other than Śrī-Bhu-Līlā—never. He cannot embrace anyone—never. But Kṛṣṇa is opposite. So, twelve kinds of rasas are in Kṛṣṇa, therefore He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thank you. Next.”
After each child recited a verse and received a comment or question from Gurudeva, he said, “My heartly blessings to you all. You should all be very qualified—very qualified. My heartly blessings to my dear children, students, and also to the teachers. I had a dream that in Badger there would be an ideal school. When I first came here, I saw that there was no school. Children were going here and there. Also, I saw in India, here and there, that devotees’ sons and daughters had no proper education. I wanted from the beginning that there should be a school. Prabhupāda Śrīla Bhaksiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Ṭhākura made so many schools—Sanskrit schools especially. And there was the Bhaktivinoda Institute in Māyāpura; still that school is running. Our Guru Mahārāja made the Gauḍīya Vedānta Catuspatis (a Sanrkrit school) and is still running. So, we should have an ideal school where children can have a proper education, not only for maintaining themselves; this is secondary, but more importantly, how they can be happy in this life. In this line I am saying that you can only be happy if you have a strong belief in God, and God is Kṛṣṇa. So, if these injections are given in childrens’ hearts, even when they are five years old, it will not wash out. But it should be done in a proper way. I know that Bhaktivedānta Vāmana Mahārāja was admitted in that school—Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura Institute, our Guru Mahārāja admitted him. He was also their teacher and manager of all things.
“It may be that some will not be qualified so much, but we should try that, from the beginning, our children should have a very strong belief in Kṛṣṇa, in worshiping Kṛṣṇa, in chanting Kṛṣṇa’s names. Also, they should be expert in language—English language or Sanskrit language, Hindi language—or what they are understanding. They should be qualified also to maintain themselves on their own.
“I think that gradually this will be an ideal school, and they are doing so well. Now I think that there are twenty-five children here, and all are doing well. I think that all the devotees here and there will send their children here to be admitted in this school, and we will have to make bigger and bigger, and give so many facilities here. I think that the dream of Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja may be successful. He wanted the whole world to become devotees of Kṛṣṇa. Just like Prahlāda Mahārāja wanted a boon from Nṛsiṁhadeva that, ‘I want to divide all my fortune to all jīvas and You should sprinkle Your mercy to all jīvas, so that they chant and remember and become ideal devotees of Kṛṣṇa. And I will go to hell for lākhas and lākhas of births, for unlimited time.’ Prahlāda Mahārāja wanted this. Nṛsiṁhadeva then said, ‘Oh, I have been defeated. Those who will remember you and I, they will be liberated. But those who will not accept all these things. . .then nothing.’
“Svāmīji desired the whole world to accept kṛṣṇa-bhakti. I know that he has been successful in this. I have only come to these places to remember Svāmīji—and to again inspire the devotees in kṛṣṇa-bhakti. Svāmījī planted the seed of bhakti in so many hearts: some were planted; some were in a rooted stage; some were with some leaves; in some, fruits were coming, but again they began to dry, after his departure. But now I am seeing that devotees are so inspired everywhere. There are those who left chanting and remembering, and who even left ISKCON, but now so many of those leaders are coming and joining, and again feeling inspired. I am praying to Svāmīji that he should sprinkle his mercy on us so that we realize that we are all in one family—in one family. You should see that we are all in one family; even those who are not disciples of Svāmīji. Disciples of Pūjyapāda Śrīdhara Mahārāja, Svāmī Mahārāja, and all others are in one family. We should respect even those who are not in the family of Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Ṭhākura.
And those who are accepting Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Nityānanda Prabhu, and are chanting and remembering, all are in our family and we should try to respect them. Always try to respect them with sweet words; don’t use any harsh words. I’ve heard that some devotees still now use very harsh words for others. You should try to control your tongue; this is the essence of the śikṣā of Upadeśāmṛta—vāco vegaṁ.
“If this boneless creature, the tongue, will be controlled, then everything will be controlled—there is no doubt. But it is very hard to control this tongue. We should try. If we are controlling the tongue, then sweet words will come. We should be very humble. Try to use very sweet words with everyone. This is the essence of all these things. If you are not honoring your superiors and not giving love and affection to your juniors, oh, then you cannot do bhajana—what to speak of preaching. In preaching we should be like that. So, I think that in this ideal school we should help all grow up and develop. We should give some facility to the teachers. We should try to make this school ideal. In the past, some teachers with bad characters came and spoiled everything. I think there should be a committee to select teachers: good teachers, ideal teachers, those with good character and also those engaged in bhajana. Then all children will be very, very qualified. My heartly blessings to all teachers and all students. Gaura-premānande!”
On June 4 in New Braja, Śrīla Gurudeva spoke about rāsa-līlā. He said, “Our Guru-paramparā has accepted that Śrīmad-Bhāgavata is amala-pramana (the immaculate evidence). And Śrīmad-Bhāgavata and all śāstra are telling, that all the gopīs are non-different from Kṛṣṇa. What śloka of Brahma-samhita? ‘ānanda-cinmaya-rasa-pratibhāvitābhis tābhir ya eva nija-rūpatayā kalābhih’ (Brahma-samhita 5.37). They are the rūpa of Kṛṣṇa. They are Kṛṣṇa Himself. Śrīmatī Rādhikā is Herself Kṛṣṇa, not different at all. Only for vilāsa, for pastimes, for tasting each other, Kṛṣṇa has divided into two.
“In Vṛndāvana, at Vaṁśī-vaṭa, Kṛṣṇa was there alone, and from His left side, His very beautiful parā-śakti, hladinī-śakti, in the form of Śrīmatī Rādhikā, came out. She ran towards Kṛṣṇa with rāga. Rāga means with anurāga and dhā means dhavati, running. So, with anurāga, with high-class ecstatic love and emotion She was running towards Kṛṣṇa calling, ‘Kṛṣṇa! Kṛṣṇa!’ Thus, She became Rādhā, and She was worshipped by Kṛṣṇa Himself, therefore Her name is also Rā—dhi—ka, one who is worshipped. And They are distinct but selfsame. You cannot comprehend these things, but śāstra says like this, so, we should accept.”
Elaborating further, Śrīla Gurudeva said, “What is Their love? Do you know about bhāva? Bhāva is not anything of this world. It is called śuddha-sattva, the essence of hlādinī, saṁvit, and sandhinī. The platform will be what? Sandhinī is the platform. Without sandhinī there will be no hlādinī and no saṁvit. They will meet on the platform of sandhinī. Why the name hlādinī? She is always giving hlāda (pleasure) to Kṛṣṇa. Her body is made of what? The highest class of mahābhāva: all Her organs, all Her moods, all senses, everything—Her hair, everything, eyes—all are made of mahābhāva. So, She is hlādinī.
“And what about the gopīs? They are manifestations—bodily manifestations—of Śrīmatī Rādhikā. So, they are one with Kṛṣṇa, all. You cannot imagine how they are one and how they are different. Their love is mahābhāva.
“Then what is mahābhāva? When Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa meet together, They forget themselves. They think: ‘Who am I? Who are You?’ Only ecstatic love is there. And love controls them both. Kṛṣṇa did not say that, ‘I am Kṛṣṇa.’ Kṛṣṇa is the object of love and Rādhikā is the container of love, the abode of love. So, this mood comes and She thinks: ‘Who am I?’ She forgets who Kṛṣṇa is and thinks: ‘We are one.’ Only She is thinking like that.
“Now thinking all these things, come to Vṛndāvana. Leave your body here, this mortal body—leaving all kinds of moods, all problems, everything—and come with me. Let us go to Vṛndāvana. Then you can realize something. Don’t remember anything worldly.”
Śrīla Gurudeva then mesmerized the assembly of devotees with a beautiful description of rāsa-līlā in Vṛndāvana. The next day, Śrīla Gurudeva explained the song Manasa–deha-geha, and he then spoke about how, in one form, Kṛṣṇa leaves Vṛndāvana.
Śrīla Gurudeva arrived in France on June 29, 1999. On the third day in France, after saying his maṅgalācaraṇa, Śrīla Gurudeva started class by addressing devotees making garlands, saying, “What are you doing? Stop making garlands. Try to make this garland in your heart. Your attention is not here. I have only come for four or five days, and this is perhaps the third or fourth day. You are losing your time. You can make garlands at night, after my class. Don’t even chant. You can chant when ordinary devotees like yourselves are giving class. At that me you can chant and remember. But don’t neglect any senior Vaiṣṇava who is on the level of a guru. Don’t chant or do anything. Your eyelids should not go down. You should continually drink his words, with both your eyes and ears, and also with your mouth. At that time Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī may come to you.That śloka is:
tat te ‘nukampāṁ su-samīkṣamāṇo
bhuñjāna evātma-kṛtaṁ vipākam
hṛd-vāg-vapurbhir vidadhan namas te
jīveta yo mukti-pade sa dāya-bhāk
Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 10.14.8‘My dear Lord, one who earnestly was for You to give Your causeless mercy upon him, all the while patiently suffering the reactions of his past misdeeds and offering You respectful obeisances with his heart, words, and body, will surely attain the highest stage of liberation.’
“Why are all the troubles, miseries, sorrows, suffering, and problems coming? Kṛṣṇa is not the cause. These conditions are the results of our past activities, and they are coming to purify us. Who is responsible? I am. I am responsible for whatever activities I have performed. By thinking like this, we can always be happy—even if we have lākhas and lākhas problems. Thinking in this way, a devotee offers praṇāmas and considers, ‘O Kṛṣṇa, You have sent this to purify me from all the results of my past activities.’
“The devotee always offers praṇāmas to Kṛṣṇa. If problems and sufferings are coming, then vidadhan namas te—he offers praṇāmas by folding his hands. Hrd means from the core of the heart, and vag means by speech: ‘O Prabhu, I am so guilty; I am worthless; I am stupid; and I am more of a rascal than Jagāi and Mādhāi. I am more nonsense than the worms in stool. You are merciful, so merciful, that You have invested Your whole power in Your name—and I can chant that name. I will very quilty be free of these impurities, and I will be able to have Your service. By having done this, You are creating the process by which I can very soon reach You and serve You.’ By rolling down upon the earth in appreciation of Kṛṣṇa’s mercy, a devotee can become the heir to His service. He can have prema. What type of prema? Vraja-prema. Kṛṣṇa will automacally give this. Even if a father has not written anything in his will, when he dies, everything automatically goes to his son.
“Now I will give an example. Try to hear patiently, and try to understand. If one is always in sādhu-saṅga, he will inherit prema-bhakti—otherwise not. Giving up sādhu-saṅga one may say, ‘I am proud that I have distributed so many books. I was number one on the list for this. I have done everything.’ Because of this false ego, such a person can easily give up this high-class association.
“If you want to inherit bhakti, then always try to be in good association. If it is not available, you can read Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta and associate with Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī, and all others like them. You can also associate with Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī by reading the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.”
To emphasize the importance of not using wealth for oneself, Śrīla Gurudeva related the story of how Bhīṣma-pitāmaha, one of the twelve mahājanas, instructed Yudhiṣṭhira and the Pāṇḍavas as he was lying on a bed of arrows. He said that, when Bhīṣma-pitāmaha began advising Yudhiṣṭhira, Draupadī burst out laughing and exclaimed: ‘Where was all your wisdom when I was being disrobed in the Kaurava court?’ Bhīṣma-pitāmaha replied, ‘At that me I used to take their meals, water, juice, and everything else. I was dependant on them, and therefore I did everything to please them. My intelligence at that time was covered.’
“If the Ford company gives us great amounts of money, and we try to enjoy that money by purchasing and eating fruits and delicious foods, what will become of our hearts’ devotion? It will quickly disappear. If one takes foodstuffs offered by a prostitute, his mind will become lusty like that of the prostitute. If one takes anything from a viṣayī, a sense enjoyer, his mind also becomes contaminated with the desire to enjoy matter. The word viṣayī also applies to a person who is chanting, remembering, worshiping, and reading the Bhāgavatam. Although he is worshiping, chanting, wearing tilaka and kānti-mālā, and performing other devotional activities, he is thinking, ‘Kṛṣṇa will be merciful to me. He will be pleased and He will give me so much money and wealth.’
“You should try to consider all these things. A person may try to collect money from a viṣayī in the name of guru and Kṛṣṇa. He will say to that viṣayī, ‘I want to collect something from you. Please give me something so I can serve my Gurudeva. We will serve Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa Conjugal. We will make many arrangements for preaching; so, please give something.’ If you take even one farthing, one pence, one fraction for yourself, not using everything properly in the service of Kṛṣṇa or guru, you will have to suffer so much. In that case you are also a viṣayī.”
Śrīla Gurudeva then told the story of a poor brāhmaṇī widow who had one young son. She also cared for Ṭhākurajī, whom she worshiped with devotion. One day her son met his end due to a snakebite while he was in the forest. A hunter found him and summoned the snake with a mantra. As the hunter prepared to kill the snake, the brāhmaṇī arrived and lamented at seeing her dead son.
Śrīla Gurudeva said, “When the hunter asked permission to kill the snake, the brāhmaṇī said: ‘O hunter, by killing and burning this poisonous serpent, will my son return?’ He could not reply.
‘Don’t kill ,’ she said. ‘If my son will not return by doing this, why should you kill ?’ He told her, ‘He will again attack a passerby without any reason.’ At that time the serpent interrupted, ‘Why would I do that? For years and years I was there, but I never bit anyone. Today I bit this boy, and was only because death came and told me, “You should bite him.” I’m innocent. Don’t kill me.’ Then, death personified—Yamarāja Mahārāja—came and said: ‘You say this is because of me? Why are you accusing me? I am not responsible for this. The boy is responsible for his own actions. In the boy’s previous life that serpent was in a human body, and the boy was also a human. They were fighting each other, and the boy killed that other person. That murdered person is now a snake and he has taken his revenge. The boy’s actions themselves were like those of a poisonous snake, therefore that snake bit him. I am not responsible, and neither is this serpent.’ ”
Śrīla Gurudeva continued: “If any problem comes in your life, means that you have done something wrong in the past, and now the result is coming. Why are you now afraid to taste the result? You must taste . If you are afraid and you don’t want the result to come, It will take place. You will have to taste all of your bad actions, and this is similarly true regarding your good actions. Don’t fear. Kṛṣṇa has arranged this situation. If you abuse anyone, Kṛṣṇa will abuse you. You cannot clap with one hand. In other words, you have done things in the past, and that is why this reaction is coming. If the widow had asked the hunter to cut and burn the snake, in her next life she would have had to take birth, and again the serpent would come as a human and take revenge. Hence, if someone is abusing you, don’t abuse him in return. If anyone is making problems and giving poison to you, be very careful. Be like Prahlāda Mahārāja and Haridāsa Ṭhākura. Although Haridāsa Thakura was beaten in so many market places, he was praying: ‘O Kṛṣṇa, be merciful and try to excuse them these beatings are the result of all my bad activities. Your mercy is coming in this way.’ Be calm and quiet, and chant:
Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Hare Hare
Hare Rāma Hare Rāma Rāma Rāma Hare Hare
“If you weep and pray to Kṛṣṇa, then He will give His mercy. By chanting, your heart will be melted and tears will come. If tears do not come you should think: ‘I have committed so many offenses. That is why tears are not coming.’ Always pray and chant: Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Hare Hare Hare Rāma Hare Rāma Rāma Rāma Hare Hare.”
Srila Gurudeva ki Jaya! (Excerpted from the Bhaktabandhav book publication, “Sri Guru Darshan”. Available from: [email protected] )