Śrīla Gurudeva explained how rāma-sevaka Hanumān one day walked into the meeting hall of Lord Rāmacandra’s palace with his entire body covered in kuṁkuma. The whole assembly looked at the red-colored Hanumān and started laughing. Some were joking, others were clapping, and still others just questioned why Hanumān had come there like this. Lord Ramācandra felt very sad. How could He be happy while everyone was insulting, laughing, and joking about his sevaka? Lord Rāma thus asked Hanumān, “You look very happy today. You are not sad, even though all are laughing at you. Why have you colored your body completely in this red color?”
Hanumān became very happy and started dancing, thinking, “Oh, today my Lord Rāmacandra is giving me a lot of blessings! In front of everyone, He is talking to me and asking me a question!” He then said, “Prabhu, You know everything. You are antaryāmī, the Supersoul who resides in the heart of all living beings. Why are you asking me?”
Rāmacandra replied, “No, you should explain in front of everyone present here what the reason is for your strange appearance.”
Hanumān again started dancing and sang, “Jaya Sitā-Rāma! Jaya Sītā-Rāma!” He then said, “This morning, when I came to Your room, Mother Sītā was putting kuṁkuma and sindūra on her forehead and hair-parting. I asked Her, ‘Oh Mother, why do you apply this red color in your hair and put a red dot on your forehead?’ She answered, ‘This is my eternal sevā. I want to have anurāga, deep love and attachment, for Rāma. This kuṁkuma and sindūra are symbols of that anurāga. By applying them, I am expressing my desire. It is a sign of my chastity, honesty, and love for Rāma. And also, by wearing this kuṁkuma, Rāma will get a long life. He will be healthy, wealthy, and famous. He will never encounter obstacles and only good things will come to him. My attachment is only with Rāma. I am using this kuṁkuma for His welfare.’
“Mother Sītā then left the room, and I thought, ‘If Lord Rāma
gets a long life by putting just a little kuṁkuma on the forehead,
then imagine what will happen if I smear it all over my body! Rāma will get millions of very long lives, and in each life, I will be his best sevaka. My name will be Sītā-Rāma dāsa.’ ”
So Hanumān applied this red color of anurāga all over his body. If anyone wants to please Hanumān, they will color him red with kuṁkuma and sindūra. This makes him very happy. Śrīla Gurudeva says, “I am a sevaka of this Hanumān, the sevaka of Lord Rāma. Hanumān is our guru.”
In Kali-yuga, Hanumān again came to this world, combining together with Bhīmasena and Vāyudeva in the form of Śrī Mādhvācārya. When Madhva Muni took sannyāsa, he covered his whole body with the red color of anurāga, the color of sannyāsa. Our Brahma-Madhva Gauḍīya sampradāya is part of his line. When anyone in the Madhva paramparā departs from this world, a samādhi center is arranged for him. This is called vṛndā-vana. Vṛndāvana means ‘samuha,’ or ‘assembled.’ It is the place where all are gathered together, serving God. And all are wearing this kuṁkuma, this aruna-varṇa, or dawn-like reddish color.
Madhva Muni was the first to establish maṭhas (monasteries) all over India, and the color of all of these maṭhas is the red color of anurāga. But anyone who has no love, no anurāga, will use a blue, black, or white color, depending on whether his mood is rājasika (in passion), tāmasika (in ignorance), or sattvika (in goodness). Anurāga, however, is above these material modes.
All living entities have blood, and the color of blood is red. It is not possible to change the color of blood to white, blue, or black. The color of blood only changes when a living entity dies. Red blood means life. Everything in this world is God’s creation.
He gave blood the color of anurāga, and just as red blood is a symptom of the presence of life in a material body, anurāga for God is the symptom of a person who is truly, spiritually, alive.
Śrīla Gurudeva’s samādhi temple is like the present body, or the place of activity, of Śrīla Gurudeva and the entire guru-varga. Just like Hanumān explained to Lord Rāmacandra that a person who has anurāga will smear his entire body with kuṁkuma, it was Śrīla Gurudeva’s desire that his samādhi temple, or ‘body,’ would be colored in the same way. When Hanumān finished speaking, everyone in the meeting hall was silent. At first, people thought this monkey was mad, but after hearing Hanumān explain the rules and philosophy of love, they were surprised. They realized that none of them had anurāga for Rāma.
At the samādhi temple, the guru-varga is all the time engaged in teaching, training, and serving with anurāga. There is no sadness, darkness, fighting, quarreling, challenging, insulting or taunting. Rājasika and tāmasika things cannot enter, because that place is protected from the outside by this red color of anurāga, making it impossible for unfavorable things to enter. Dirty people remain barking outside.
Madhva Muni teaches that it is impossible for one without anurāga to please God. It is for this reason that the color of anurāga is our sign and symbol. A frog staying in a dark well cannot imagine what the world outside of that well looks like. By accepting this red, anurāga color for the outside of his samādhi, Śrīla Gurudeva is inviting us all not to be like frogs in a well, but to, instead, come to the guru-varga, who will show us this anurāga-vallarī, or creeper of anurāga. Whatever happens in this world only happens by the eternal desire of God and the guru-varga. But conditioned souls have a different conception. They think everything is useless.
The Himālaya mountains are very high and very deep. Inside these mountains, Himālaya is present in samādhi. He is performing meditation, and although his body is so big, he always respects and serves everybody. After serving in samādhi for a long time, Pārvatī-devī became his daughter. Desiring a daughter that would be even more qualified than Pārvatī-devī, the mountain Vindhyācala also entered in meditation for a long time. In this way he obtained Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇi, Śrī Lalitā-devī, Śrī Viśākhā-devī, and the other aṣṭa-sakhīs as his daughters. The hearts of Himalāya and Vindhyācala are filled with anurāga for their daughters. Because in their samādhi-yoga, they were fully absorbed in thinking of them, Pārvatī-devī, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, and the aṣṭa-sakhīs came out of their heart and appeared directly before them. So whatever we carry in our heart, if we absorb ourselves in that, it will manifest externally. If our heart is filled with good things, we will see good everywhere, and if bad things pervade it, we will only see bad all around us.
Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī later explained in his book Lalita-mādhava that Pūtanā kidnapped the new-born Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī and
aṣṭa-sakhīs, and carried them to Vraja-maṇḍala. Her intention was to offer them to Kaṁsa Mahārāja, but as she was flying over the land of Vraja, the babies, one by one, dropped from her bag. Lalitā-devī fell in Ūñcāgaon, Viśākhā-devī in Kāmaī, Citra-devī in Ciksaulī, and Tuṅgavidyā-devī in Karehlā. Raṅgadevī fell in Rangelī, Sudevī in Sunaharā, Indulekhā in Indraulī, Champakalatā
in Karehlā, and finally Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī in Vṛṣabhānupura.
When Śrī Kṛṣṇa disappeared from this world, His līlā-śakti left as well. After that, His pastimes in Vraja-dhāma were no longer externally visible. All the pastime places of Kṛṣṇa and the Vrajavāsīs became hidden samādhi centers. Places of samādhi are always very secret and hidden. If you go there, your nature will automatically change. These places will give you inspiration and power to meditate. They will give the desire to attain vraja-sevā, vraja-bhakti, and to establish a relationship with Vraja. In the same way, when Śrīman Mahāprabhu left Śrī Navadvīpa-dhāma, that place also became a secret and hidden samādhi place. There, anyone can very easily attain prema-bhakti.
Ordinary people only look at the external structure, figure, and form of Śrīla Gurudeva’s samādhi center, but they cannot enter inside. The red color on the outside reminds them of fire and thus they become afraid, thinking, “This fire will catch me, burn me, kill me! This is not good!” In reality, however, the fire is only present within them, not within the samādhi. They have been burning in their relationships with mundane family and friends, and because of this, their fire increases when they see this red color. But the samādhi is an eternal holy place. It is like a sweet and juicy, ripe fruit. Ripe fruit automatically attains a red color, whereas unripe fruit is green or black and its taste is sour or bitter. Why be afraid of this red color? Only those whose main experience in life is that of suffering will see this color and then conclude, “Oh, this place must be a place of suffering as well.” After the Mahābhārata war, the whole of Kurukṣetra turned red from the blood of those who had lost their life on the battlefield. When ordinary people see the red color of the samādhi, they may think, “Definitely, this red color must somehow be related to blood shedding.” But how can a samādhi center be related to dead bodies? Dead bodies of ordinary people are not placed in samādhi. They are burned in fire. Anyone who has fire within himself will try to burn others, but anyone who is above this fire, who is completely nirguṇa, above the material modes of nature, he will help and cool everybody.
God’s love is called anurāga. When anurāga enters the body, it gives life in the form of blood. That is why blood is red. Also, God Himself has many red signs on His body: the corners of His eyes, the palms of His hands, the soles of His feet, His lips, and His heart – these places are red because anurāga is present there. Brahmavādīs, bhogīs, karmīs, and yogīs are afraid of this anurāga. They think it will bind them, burn them and kill them, so they quickly run away, crying, “Save me! Save me!” Like this, they will run here and there.
In our Gauḍīya sampradāya, many preachers teach about dāsya-rasa (servitorship), sakhya-rasa (friendship), and vātsalya-rasa (parental love), but hardly anyone teaches about unnatojjvala-rasa (the highest love of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī) and madhura-rasa (the conjugal love of the vrajadevīs). Most preachers have no idea or conception of these things, and thus they will not distribute them. They become disturbed when madhura-rasa and sṛṅgāra-rasa are being discussed somewhere. They don’t like it themselves, and therefore tell others not to follow it either. But this anurāga, this deep love for God, changes everyone in just a moment. It attracts the soul, and once a jīva is drawn close by this anurāga, he will never be able to give it up. Śrīla Gurudeva’s samādhi center is distributing this rare unnatojjvala-rasa. If, by good luck and good fortune, anyone is greedy for this, he will realize and understand everything by coming to this samādhi-kuñja.
When Śrīla Gurudeva appeared in this material world, he came completely empowered to fulfill a special mission of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī and Mahāprabhu: to collect the lost souls drowning in māyā and reinstate them in their eternal position as servants of God; especially to distribute the opportunity for the highest attainment of spiritual wealth – service to the lotus feet of Śrī Rādhā under the guidance of Śrī Rūpa Mañjarī. For this purpose alone, Śrīla Gurudeva selflessly traveled everywhere, even at the sacrifice of roaming into very fallen places in the material world, very distant from his eternal residence at the lotus feet of Śrī Rādhā in eternal Goloka Vrṇdāvana. However, as he traveled and preached, he kept his Īśvarī, Rādhikā, present with him constantly in his heart and continued serving Her both here and in the spiritual world.
Upon entering into samādhi, Śrīla Gurudeva was finally able to fully reunite with the lotus feet of Śrīmatī-jī and resume his permanent direct service to Her, under the guidance of Guru Sakhī and Śrī Rūpa Mañjarī. This reunion was the sweetest of celebrations. Kṛṣṇa was very pleased by Śrīla Gurudeva’s service in this universe, how Gurudeva glorified the gopīs, mañjarīs, and His Śrīmatī Rādhikā everywhere. In honor of this service, and in celebration of their dear sevaka’s return to Śrī Rādhā’s lotus feet, the sakhīs and mañjarīs bathed Śrīla Gurudeva in his samādhi, fully covering him in the red kuṁkuma and altā coming from the lotus feet of his Prāṇeśvarī, Śrīmatī Rādhikā, smearing this red color of anurāga all over his body. They gave Śrīla Gurudeva abhiṣeka with the color of Śrīmatī Rādhikā’s lotus foot-dust and enveloped him in even more of Her special mercy. Thus we see Śrīla Gurudeva at his samādhi now, covered from head to toe in red anurāga, in the festival of the color of his Iśvarī’s lotus feet.
Srila Gurudeva’s Samadhi Center ki Jaya! (excerpted from the Bhaktabandhav book publication, “Sri Guru Darshan As It Is”. Available from firstname.lastname@example.org )