Sriman Mahāprabhu instructs, “In this world there are two types of jīvas, one is the conditioned soul and one is a sādhaka. Sādhakas are of two types, one is vaidhi-marga follower and one is rāgānugā.
The sādhaka of vaidhī is like a prisoner; by force they follow the government’s rules. But they desire to break out of the jail and go out of the rules and regulations. In vaidhī there is no love, it is only like duty where they follow by force and after duty run to māyā. In the rāgānugā-mārga there is anurāga, deep love, and it is natural affection.
Mahāprabhu stayed in siddha pīṭha Gambhīrā where the gurus worshipped Jagannātha with deep love. Not only with mantra and paraphernalia, not only with instruments, but they offered their own hearts to Jagannātha, served Jagannātha, and had a strong relationship with Jagannātha.
Once King Indradyumna prayed to Jagannātha for a boon, “Whoever becomes Jagannātha’s head pūjārī will have no attachment for wealth and no greed and won’t steal anything. I also pray that his generation will never run on. He will never have any children. He will never be divided. If he has children and family then his heart will go into pieces.”
Bringing the heart back and offering it to God only partially is not sweet. Mahāprabhu stayed in this Gambhīrā endeavoring to give all svarūpa-siddhi, but not only this, he gave entrance into soul service and He gave strength, sweetness and affection. He gave svarūpa-siddhi and attachment for soul service. Is this enough? How does the disconnected jīva get relation and from where does connection come from?
Jagannātha Purī has two sides. One side is Dvārakā and one side is Vṛndāvana. Mahāprabhu says, “You came to Jagannātha Purī; now don’t look at the Dvārakā queens.” There is Ānanda Bazaar, a big market with of mahā-prasāda, and one side there is a garden and flowers. On the other side there are all demigods and naked pictures on the four sides of the temple. What will you choose? One side is Mahā Lakṣmī. She is cooking and arranging Jagannātha’s service with her followers. That area is Dvārakā Purī.
But at the Gambhīrā, a little ways away, by Jagannātha’s desire,
Kāśī Miśra and Dhyāncandra Gosvāmī, Gopāla guru Gosvāmī, Mahāprabhu and His followers, worship Jagannātha under guidance of the Vraja-devīs.
Serve Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa 24 hours a day. Not one minute or two, not one or two hours and not one or two days. Serve Them from morning to evening every day of your life. This is the teaching of Mahāprabhu.
How will this nature and habit come? Mahāprabhu gave one small Giridhārī-śīla to Ragunātha dāsa Gosvāmī. He gave the order to worship Girirāja with Tulasī and a clay pot of water. Why didn’t He say to use so much paraphernalia and opulence? If one goes to the side of Dvārakā and opulence, then the heart will become hard like a rock. The heart will also become divided. Completely follow the Vrajavāsīs and vraja-sevā. By serving in the mind, following the footsteps of the Vraja-devīs, their mercy will come and make the heart soft and naturally all nectarful service tendency will come to one.
Mahāprabhu is there to help and serve all. How does He help?
At the time of cāturmāsya many bhaktas would come for Ratha-yātrā and after stayed in Jagannātha Purī for four months. They brought many presentations to Mahāprabhu. They gave to Govinda all the preparations they had brought and everyday different devotees would arrange to give Mahāprabhu bhikṣa. They would arrange Jagannātha’s mahā-prasāda and also cook themselves and they would thus serve Mahāprabhu.
Mahāprabhu was very clever, He said, “I will accept the bhaktas invitation for lunch on one condition. They must be a lākhapati.”
Lākhapati is generally a word used to describe someone who is wealthy. All the bhaktas were disturbed thinking that they were all very poor. Then Mahāprabhu said, “They must chant one lākha of harināma and then I’ll take prasādam from them. Otherwise I won’t touch anything.”
The bhaktas thought, “When will we have time to chant 64 rounds and after perform all our services?” There would be no time to go and address anybody and no time to talk uselessly; there would be no time to waste a moment. Then after chanting, they would cook and offer and serve Mahāprabhu. Why did Mahāprabhu give this instruction to chant 64 rounds? While chanting, devotees could always pray to Śrī Rādhārānī and the Vraja-devīs. By remembering and praying to them for six to eight hours daily, their mercy would easily be attained and then strong energy and taste comes. Then when they cook or offer any bhoga, those foodstuffs will be like the cooking of the Vraja-devīs and their mahā-prasāda. Otherwise one who does not follow, remember and pray to the Vraja-devīs, anything offered independently to Kṛṣṇa will not be accepted.
Kṛṣṇa and Mahāprabhu say, “If you have no relation with the Vraja-devīs, if you are not praying and requesting them for relation and shelter, then I will not be related to you.”
In Dvārakā they chant, “oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevaya, śrī-kṛṣṇa śaraṇam mama.”
But they don’t chant, “Rādhe Rādhe! Prāṇeśvarī Rādhe! Madeśvarī Rādhe!” They only go to the side of Kṛṣṇa; therefore, Kṛṣṇa does not accept them.
Mahāprabhu instructed all bhaktas to chant daily 64 rounds of harināma with the aim and object fixed on serving Śrī Vraja-maṇḍala and the Vrajavāsīs. And if they do not think about Vṛndāvana, then they are very far from Kṛṣṇa and Mahāprabhu and They won’t accept anything.
From the day Mahāprabhu instructed the devotees to be lakhapatis, they seriously chanted 64 rounds daily and after came to the Gambhīrā near Mahāprabhu and invited Him to take prasādam and bhikṣa.
This is called vraja-sevā and svarūpa-siddhi. If you think, “I will do everything! All work!” If you are not under guidance and shelter of the Vraja-devīs then everything you do will be karma. Karma and sevā are very different. Karma is anything done independently. If you work for 24 hours a day with an independent doer mood, only material results will come.
Mahāprabhu instructed, “Chant 64 rounds daily while remembering the Vraja-devīs and Vrajavāsīs, and practicing internal mānasī-sevā. Otherwise the mind will go restlessly here and there. Pray for the service of the Vrajavāsīs. Pray, “Please accept me!” While chanting, always pray.
If there is no prayer, then chanting is only dry practice, like a tape recorder or parrot. Once, a person taught a parrot to chant, ‘Rāma Rāma, Rādhe Syāma.” The parrot chanted over and over and all people came and said, “Bah! Very good parrot.” After some time a cat came. The parrot forgot Rāma’s name and started shrieking, “Kaw, kaw, kaw, don’t kill me!”
Mahāprabhu said, “Chant 64 rounds of harināma while praying and remembering the holy names of the Vraja-devīs. ”After, when one goes for any task or service, then the practical mood will come and one will continue to pray and if anything goes wrong, the vraja-devī’s
will be your guardians and will protect you. Otherwise, one’s service will
be improper and not connected. Chanting does not mean austerity; it is the process to build relation with God and His associates. Therefore pray, “I’m very wicked and useless, please accept me and give me your eternal service. I’m waiting for this only, I will take nothing else.”
Now the mind is restless and there is no desire or taste for any service. By force we do anything, and if any disturbance comes, like a volcano we erupt in anger.
Gambhīrā means deep and grave. These instructions of Mahāprabhu are very important and serious. In this world all give instructions for material acquisition. From the beginning of life parents train their children, “mama, pāpa, uncle, auntie.” Then they send them to school where teachers teach business and atheistic philosophy. Sad-guru and vaiṣṇavas teach paramārtha, spiritual truths and treasure. They bring us to the transcendental path. No one else teaches this. Materialists hear the instructions of sādhus and tell their relatives; “Don’t listen to these crazy fools!”
Worldly people always teach about material sense enjoyment for the dead physical body. But no one is merciful and teaches about the real life of the soul. No one helps to break attachment and bring one to the God’s lotus feet. They know this world and mortal life is temporary but without sense enjoyment their minds are not happy.
Mahāprabhu told all the bhaktas that He would not accept or have any relation with a devotee who did not chant one lakh of harināma daily. Haridāsa Ṭhākura chanted three lakhas daily, and therefore, Mahāprabhu sent mahā-prasāda for Him daily. One day Govinda Prabhu went to give Haridāsa Ṭhākura mahā-prasāda but he wouldn’t accept saying, “Now my body is not helping or allowing me to complete my vowed number of holy names; therefore, I won’t give it any help with this prasādam. If this body doesn’t serve God, it is worse than useless.”
Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja taught all his disciples to first chant sixteen rounds after maṅgala-āratī without distraction and then perform any other activity. The minds of those who have no relation with Śrī nāma will never be purified.
madhura-madhuram etan maṅgalaṁ maṅgalānāṁ
sakṛd api parigītaṁ śraddhayā helayā vā
bhṛguvara nara-mātraṁ tārayet kṛṣṇa-nāma
“Kṛṣṇa-nāma is the sweetest of the sweet and the most auspicious of all that is auspicious. It is the flourishing creeper and eternal, fully-ripened fruit of the all the Vedas, and the embodiment of divine knowledge, cit-śakti. O best of the Bhṛgu dynasty! If someone chants the holy name only once, be it with faith or contempt (helā), he is immediately delivered from this ocean of birth and death!”
When Śrī harināma enters a person’s ears, then whether one is pure or impure, Śrī nāma gives liberation to all. Those who take shelter of
Śrī Nāma Prabhu obtain svarūpa-siddhi and relation with the Vrajavāsīs and Vraja-devīs and their mercy and shelter, than God accepts anything they offer. Otherwise Mahāprabhu will not accept anything. God will not accept things offered with material natures of passion and ignorance. Mahāprabhu gave everybody adhikāra to serve in Vraja. Mahāprabhu didn’t distribute anything for mundane health and wealth, He only distributed for soul health and wealth. He did not give nice food and drinks, He gave the ambrosial nectar drinks of Rāsa Pañcādhyayi. This nectar is sweeter million times more than mango lassi and icecream. This ambrosial nectar grants immortality.
Mahāprabhu always drunk this nectar and was never hungry or thirsty for anything else, only this pure and sweet love of the Vrajavāsīs. Mahāprabhu taught devotees how to spend their time together performing hari-kathā. Mahāprabhu met with Svarūpa Dāmodara and others, Govinda Prabhu became disturbed, “Oh, the time is over, it is late at night! Please come and take mahā-prasāda.” But Mahāprabhu would not eat, He only wept and His tears filled up the room. He smashed His face along the walls and bled from all His limbs.
Śrīla Gurudeva said, “Who can understand this loving separation in the pastimes of Mahāprabhu?”
Mahāprabhu would weep and roll on the ground. Govinda Prabhu was praying, “Why have Svarūpa Dāmodara and Rāya Rāmānanda come here and make Mahāprabhu restless and crazed like a madman. What do they talk about that makes Him so?
Govinda Prabhu desired to calm Mahāprabhu, massage and give Him mahā-prasāda. But Mahāprabhu only wept. Govinda Prabhu requested Svarūpa Dāmodara and Rāya Rāmānanda not to come to the Gambhīrā. They stopped for some time, and Mahāprabhu wept, “What is my fault, why haven’t they come today? O Govinda, send someone to inquire why Svarūpa Dāmodara and Rāya Rāmānanda haven’t come. My heart is broken without them. They are my nearest and dearest friends, my heart and soul.”
Govinda Prabhu said, “But when they come You don’t eat or rest.
You only cry and cry, smashing Your face against the walls. You never sleep. How is this happiness? Why do You enjoy their company?”
Mahāprabhu said, “No Govinda, call them. Don’t act independently. If You want me to stay alive for another day, quickly call them to come. If I can’t meet with the Vrajavāsīs then this life is useless and I will give it up.”
Mahāprabhu saw that everything was dry in all directions without the association of His intimate pariṣada. Govinda Prabhu was upset that Mahāprabhu would not eat regularly when meeting with Svarūpa Dāmodara and Rāya Rāmānanda. Jagannātha mahā-prasāda is good, but one must not neglect the nectar of hari-kathā and navadhā-bhakti. The mahā-prasāda of Jagannātha is annam-brahma, or God in the form of grains and it is very helpful, but if we only take that without taking the nectar of hari-kathā of the nāma, rūpa, guṇa and līlās of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, then only a Brahma mood will come. One will become dry and impersonal. Stay under the association anurāgagī–vaiṣṇavas and relish the nectar of hari-kathā.
nigama-kalpa-taror galitaṁ phalaṁ
pibata bhāgavataṁ rasam ālayaṁ
muhur aho rasikā bhuvi bhāvukāḥ
O expert and thoughtful men, just drink the nectar of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the mature fruit of the desire tree of the Vedas. Although this nectarean fruit was already relishable by all souls, it has become even more tasteful, having come from the lips of Śukadeva Gosvāmī.
Without drinking the nectar of hari-kathā one’s soul will never blossom—śreyaḥ kairava candrika vitaraṇam. If anyone drinks God’s glories than everything else in the world will taste bitter and poisonous.
Govinda Prabhu wanted to make Mahāprabhu take mahā-prasāda first and then meet with Svarūpa Dāmodara and Rāya Rāmānanda. But Mahāprabhu would not take anything without them. Govinda Prabhu went and called them and they came and sat with Mahāprabhu and took mahā-prasāda, smiling and speaking sweetly. Govinda Prabhu requested, “First take mahā-prasāda and then speak hari-kathā.” How could Govinda Prabhu understand what is real food and nourishment to the soul.
Mahāprabhu lived for eighteen years at the Gambhīrā in a very small room. The garden outside was large and daily the servants of Jagannātha brought His finest mahā-prasāda to distribute to Mahāprabhu and His bhaktas. They knew that Jagannātha would never be pleased unless Mahāprabhu and the devotees were served nicely. Jagannātha Himself would stop taking anything if they didn’t give prasāda to the devotees. Jagannātha feeds the whole world by taking 56 offerings daily.
When God is satisfied, the whole world is satisfied and if God isn’t satisfied, no one can be satisfied.
When Śrīla Gurudeva stayed in the Puruṣottama-maṭha, devotees would arrange to bring the mahā-prasāda of Jagannātha and Mahāprabhu. It filled the whole temple with fragrance like heavenly flowers of the demigods. The cooking of Mahā Lakṣmī is incomparable in its taste, sweetness and fragrance. However, during the time of Ratha-yātrā, Lakṣmī doesn’t cook, the Vrajavāsīs come from Vraja-maṇḍala and cook for their nearest and dearest beloved Kṛṣṇa. They have a transcendental competition then to see whose cooking is the most excellent.
When Mahāprabhu was staying in Gambhīrā, He would pray:
mat-samo nāsti pāpātmā nāparādhī ca kaścana
parihāre ‘pi lajjā me kiṁ bruve puruṣottama
O Puruṣottama, there is no one as sinful and offensive as I am.
How can I describe myself? I am embarrassed to admit my sins, and I am hesitant to give them up.
Mahāprabhu said in separation and feelings of great humility,
“O Puruṣottama, there is no one so sinful as Myself! If you search and search you can never find anyone as sinful. But I can’t leave My wicked nature!”
Mahāprabhu also prayed:
yuvatīnāṁ yathā yūni
yūnāṁ ca yuvatau yathā
mano ‘bhiramate tadvan
mano me ramatāṁ tvayi
Just as the minds of young ladies take pleasure in thinking of young men, and the minds of young men take pleasure in thinking of young women, kindly let my mind take pleasure in You alone.
As one girl who has a heartfelt loving relation with a lover, when he is distant, she cannot think of anything but him day and night.
While eating, sleeping, walking, talking, at all times and in all circumstances she thinks of her separated lover. If she hears one sound approaching, she thinks it must be her lover. Similarly, when will such a day come that we have such anurāga, loving attachment for Kṛṣṇa?
May Mahāprabhu’s place of residence, Śrī Gambhīrā, give mercy to us, so that our hearts polluted by worldly relations will be cleansed of the material filth. May we always stay under the shelter of Mahāprabhu and His associates and attain the shelter of the Vraja-devīs and Śrī Vraja-maṇḍala. Mahāprabhu came in kali-yuga to give the wealth of this vraja-bhāva and anurāga. He tasted these moods in the Gambhīrā and from there spread it all over the world.
Śrīla Gurudeva sat for many hours and hours in the Gambhīrā speaking all these deep truths and singing kīrtanas favorable to the grave moods of loving separation. He bathed all devotees in the nectarful flow of his love. Mahāprabhu was certainly there also eagerly listening to Śrīla Gurudeva speak hari-kathā and sing kīrtana in his sweet voice.
Go to the Gambhīrā on parikramā, either by mind or physically and sit there and pray deeply. Don’t run fast like a horse race. If there is no prayer, parikramā becomes as if useless. There is no other process to collect this vraja-prema. This vraja-prema was spread all over the world from the Gambhīrā by Mahāprabhu.
Once, Mahāprabhu was going to pass while holding His tongue.
A small boy named Gopāla asked, “O Mahāprabhu, why are you holding your tongue?”
Mahāprabhu said, “My tongue is very restless and incessantly chants harināma. But it would be offensive to chant while passing, therefore,
I hold My tongue to make it stop.”
Gopāla said, “O Mahāprabhu, what about when someone is dying or very sick, at that time, their bodily functions are uncontrolled and they pass stool and urine, should they not then chant harināma at the time of their death? Isn’t harināma transcendental and passes beyond all material constraints.”
Mahāprabhu said, “Yes, you are not small Gopāla, you are My guru. Harināma is always auspicious and there are no rules according to time, place and circumstance, purity or contamination.”
Mahāprabhu stated this in His Śikṣāṣṭaka:
nāmnām akāri bahudhā nija-sarva-śaktis
tatrārpitā niyamitaḥ smaraṇe na kālaḥ
etādṛśī tava kṛpā bhagavan mamāpi
durdaivam īdṛśam ihājani nānurāgaḥ
O Bhagavān, Your names bestow supreme auspiciousness upon the jīvas. Therefore, for their benefit, You are eternally manifest as Your innumerable forms with names such as Rāma, Nārāyaṇa, Kṛṣṇa, Mukunda, Mādhava, Govinda and Dāmodara. You have invested all Your śakti in those names and out of Your causeless mercy, You have not even imposed any restrictions on the remembrance of these names (as is the case with certain prayers and mantras that must be chanted at specific times). Although you have made such a merciful arrangement, O Lord, it is my great misfortune that I have no attraction to chanting these names.
There is no ban, one can chant at any time. Kṛṣṇa is our beloved Lord, the Supersoul of all our souls.
Mahāprabhu let go of His tongue and Gopāla later became known as Gopāla Guru Gosvāmī.
Mahāprabhu instructs, “If anyone takes this vraja-rasa, his soul will get health and real birth.” Therefore, always pray and pray to Mahāprabhu for His mercy and pray to Śrī Gambhīrā for blessings and relationship to Vraja-bhūmi.
Mahāprabhu was continuously following and worshipping Kṛṣṇa with the moods of the Vraja-devīs while staying in the Gambhīrā. Śrīla Gurudeva taught that all his disciples must follow the verse of Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura which is the essential teaching
ārādhyo bhagavān vrajeśa-tanayas-tad-dhāma vṛndāvanaṁ
ramyā kācid-upāsanā vraja-vadhū vargeṇa yā kalpitā
śrīmad-bhāgavataṁ pramāṇam amalaṁ premā pumartho mahān
śrī caitanya mahāprabhor matam idaṁ tatrādaro naḥ paraḥ
“Vrajendra-nandana Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the supreme worshipful Deity.
Śrī Vṛndāvana-dhāma is worshipful like Kṛṣṇa, because it is the place of His pastimes. Amongst all forms of worship, the gopīs’ worship of Kṛṣṇa is supreme. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam offers the supreme, flawless evidence of this truth. This is the teaching of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.”
This is the essential teaching of Śrīman Mahāprabhu. Always pray and cry like a small baby for its mother. If you have no relationship with the Vrajavāsīs, than you will be attracted by the allurements of māyā and will go far away from bhakti. Therefore, pray for relationship with Mahāprabhu and Vraja-maṇḍala, then you can cross māyā maṇḍala.
Srila Gurudeva ki Jaya! (Excerpted from the Bhaktabandhav book publication, “Sri Guru Darshan”. Available from: firstname.lastname@example.org )