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by Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj

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Guru Tattva
Avatar and Avatari

Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj explains his view of his diksa and siksa Gurus.

Srila Swami Maharaj gave so much; Srila Guru Maharaj gave more than that. Srila Swami Maharaj arranged to preach Krishna consciousness to the general conditioned souls. He did many different things in many different ways. Over that, Guru Maharaj gave nourishment, very good nourishment, to those conditioned souls.

They are both my gurus. My conception is that one is avatar and  the other is avatari. Mahaprabhu came as a Yug-avatar and Srila Swami Maharaj preached like a Yug-avatar. Inside Mahaprabhu though was another form. In this way I see Srila Swami Maharaj and Guru Maharaj as non-different. Guru Maharaj gave the finest conception, you all know that. Swami Maharaj made all the receivers and all the arrangements so that they could receive Krishna consciousness. He prepared the field, planted the seeds, and gave a good chance to everyone. He did everything. Then Guru Maharaj gave very good nourishment to everyone.

That is my idea, one is avatar and the other is avatari. In this way I consider Swami Maharaj and Guru Maharaj as my siksha-guru and diksha-guru.

Every Vaishnav has their own feelings, and with them they try to do something good for others. Srila Guru Maharaj has his own line and Srila Swami Maharaj has his own line. They are, however, non-different actually.

Food is prepared in one way in the West. Food is prepared in another way in the East. Food in Southern India is prepared in another way and food is prepared in the Northern India in another way. Still, all food lastly goes into our stomachs.

There are differences in the ways of Srila Guru Maharaj and Srila Swami Maharaj. It is not possible for them to be the same. The nature of every jiva-soul and every maha-purush is not the same and cannot be the same. Every saint has their own sadhana and through that they try to do something good for others. So their ways are non-different but there are also differences between them.

That is an external matter though. Internally it is deeper. A few may have been deceived but for the most part everyone is getting and has got the wealth of Krishna consciousness. Now, all over the world, people are chanting the Hare Krishna mahamantra. Who knew about the mahamantra before Srila Swami Maharaj? Who knew about Chaitanyadev? Who knew about Nityananda Prabhu and the Pancha-Tattva? Who knew about Radha-Krishna? Before Srila Swami Maharaj and Srila Guru Maharaj, no one knew about these things actually.

Guru Maharaj used to always sing one song of Vasudev Ghosh:

yadi gaura nā ha’ta,    tabe ki ha-ita,
      kemane dharitām de
rādhāra mahimā    prema-rasa-sīmā
      jagate jānāta ke?

“If Gauranga Mahaprabhu had not appeared in this mundane world, then how could anyone have understood Radha-Krishna and Their prem?”

We could not have understood Their supreme love and beauty. We are so fortunate that we have now got that conception. Maybe not fully, but some percentage we have got and that is enough. Eka-bindu jagat dubaya (Cc. 3.15.19), “One drop can overflood the world.”

Srila Swami Maharaj and Srila Guru Maharaj have given that type of mercy and that type of Krishna-prem. By their mercy we are enlightened and trying to practise Krishna consciousness.

There is a deep, a deeper, and a deepest conception of Godhead. There are many conceptions, but Sri Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. His love, beauty, and effulgence are supreme. Srila Guru Maharaj and Srila Swami Maharaj have given that Krishna to this world.

I am very fortunate that I have got their mercy; since my youth they have always been very merciful and affectionate to me.

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Gurudev's Drop of Mercy

Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj explains the importance of praying to Sri Guru for the power to follow Sriman Mahaprabhu’s prescription: humility, tolerance, and honouring others.

tṛṇād api sunīchena taror iva sahiṣṇunā
amāninā mānadena kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ

[“The Lord’s Name is always to be chanted with more humility than a blade of grass, tolerance like that of a tree, respect for everyone, and without desire for respect from anyone.”]

Mercifully Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur explained this verse in his song Gurudev! kripa bindu diya. Through this song we can understand how to practice Krishna consciousness. Real devotion means fully surrendering to Krishna and engaging in devotional activities for the purpose of serving Sri Krishna under the guidance of our Gurudev.

gurudeva!
kṛpā-bindu diyā,    kara’ ei dāse,
    tṛṇāpekṣā ati hīna
      (Sharanagati: Bhajana-lalasa, 11.1)

Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur showed us how to pray to our Gurudev: “Please mercifully give me the power to be humble, to be tolerant, and to honour others.”

Humility gives us the strength needed to practice Krishna consciousness. Tolerance gives us the ability to adjust with the environment. Honouring others is the main way that we can avoid pratishtha. If we attain these powers by the mercy of Gurudev, then we can properly chant the Hare Krishna mahamantra.

tabe ta’ gāiba,    hari-nāma sukhe,
    aparādha ha’be hata
      (Sharanagati: Bhajana-lalasa, 11.1)

Only if we get the three powers of humility, tolerance, and honouring others can we chant the Lord’s Name without offence.

Gurudev mercifully gives these powers to us. But when Gurudev serves his Lord, he also prays for these powers. That is called disciplic succession. Our succession comes down from Krishna through Brahma, Devarshi Narad, and Vedavyas down to Madhavendra Puri and Ishvar Puri. Every Guru in our disciplic succession prays for these three qualities.

Why do we say disciplic succession? Guru Maharaj always gave the example of a telescopic system. When we look through a powerful lens we can see farther than we can with our eyes, but when we look into the night sky through many powerful lenses that are adjusted to each other, then we can see the position of the planets and many other things in the sky.

We receive Krishna’s mercy through the disciplic succession. When you worship your Guru, he digests everything you do. That is a mundane matter we can say, but when your Guru also sends everything you offer him on to his Guru, then your Guru also becomes clear and receives mercy from his Guru.

Our Guru system is a servitor’s line, and we see Radha-Krishna’s lotus feet through our disciplic succession of Gurus. The system works according to a principle called shata-patra-vedha-nyay. If we poke a needle through a bunch of 100 leaves, the needle passes through them all immediately, yet it also pass one by one through each leaf. We send our devotional activities to Srimati Radharani and Lord Krishna in this way.

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Ever-Merciful Gurudev

Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj describes how a dis­ciple whole­heartedly takes shel­ter of Sri Gurudev.

Gurudev always distributes mercy.

Mukunda Datta once brought Gadadhar Pandit Goswami to see Pundarik Vidyanidhi. When they met, Gadadhar Pandit saw that Pundarik Vidyanidhi had paraphernalia around him that was like a that of a bhogi [enjoyer], a householder. Gadadhar was a renunciant and did not like this. He thought, “What kind of Vaishnava do I see before me? He is eating very opulent prasadam and has very luxurious paraphernalia around him.”

Gadadhar want not happy. Mukunda understood that Gadadhar did not like Pundarik Vidyanidhi’s appearance and activities. To remove the illusion from Gadadhar’s eyes Mukunda sang a verse from the Bhagavatam.

aho bakī yaṁ stana-kāla-kūṭaṁ
jighāṁsayāpāyayad apy asādhvī
lebhe gatiṁ dhātry-uchitāṁ tato ’nyaṁ
kaṁ vā dayāluṁ śaraṇaṁ vrajema
  (Srimad Bhagavatam: 3.2.23)

[“Oh! Even though the wicked Pūtanā nursed Kṛṣṇa with her poison-smeared breasts, intending to kill Him, Kṛṣṇa granted her a position befitting His mother! Of what merciful Lord shall we take shelter other than Him?”]

When Pundarik Vidyanidhi heard this verse, he became like an intoxicated man. He began to act wildly and cry out to Krishna, “Where is Krishna, who is so merciful? I am not worshipping Him. I am not serving Him.”

As he cried out to Krishna in an intoxicated mood, Gadadhar saw, by Mukunda’s mercy, that Pundarik Vidyanidhi had real devotion, and that his cries were not any sort of imitation. Gadadhar felt very shy and then said to Mukunda, “I have greatly offended Pundarik Vidyanidhi.”

Mukunda asked, “Why?”

Gadadhar replied, “When I first saw him I thought Pundarik Vidyanidhi was a very ordinary Vaishnava, but now I see that he is the greatest Vaishnava. I have offended him, and I want to remove that offence. If I take diksa [initiation] from him, then my offence to him will be removed. This is the only way.”

Only Gurudev can mercifully relieve one from all offences, so I want to take diksa from Pundarik Vidyanidhi. Gurudev must be merciful to his disciple. Gurudev can do anything for his disciple. For the benefit his disciple’s transcendental devotional life, Gurudev does everything. Pundarik Vidyanidhi must be merciful to me and disregard my offence if I accept him as my Guru.”

First a Vaishnava gives mercy so that one can understand Gurudev. Then Gurudev mercifully ousts all darkness from the heart of the devotee, and manifests the light of Krishna there. Here Gadadhar Pandit shows us this process. Krishna consciousness comes down through the disciplic succession in this way.

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Spiritual Ego

Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj explains how to rid one­self of false ego.

All activity in the illusory environment is done with ego. It is first necessary to avoid ego. Another name for ego is emotion. Sometimes we speak emotionally. That is one kind of ego. It is not so harmful, but our real ego is that we are jiva-souls. “I am a jiva-soul and servant of Krishna.” This is ego, but good ego, because it is our actual position.

jīvera ‘svarūpa’ haya—kṛṣṇera ‘nitya-dāsa’
  (Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita: Madhya-lila: 20.108)

“I am this body. I am the proprietor of this house. I am the proprietor of this business. I am the master of my wife, daughters, and sons.” This type of ego is bad ego. It is illusory. If I see that everyone is a servant of Krishna, that I am also a servant of Krishna, and that Krishna has given me the chance to serve Him in the company of His other servants, then I will have a proper ego. Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur very mercifully composed many songs to show us how to serve Krishna, Guru, and Vaishanva.

When Srila Krishna Das Kaviraj Goswami started Chaitanya-charitamrita, he wrote,

granthera ārambhe kari ‘maṅgalācharaṇa’
guru, vaiṣṇava, bhagavān—tinera smaraṇa
tinera smaraṇe haya vighna-vināśana
anāyāse haya nija vāñchhita-pūraṇa
  (Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita: Adi-lila: 1.20–21)

[“At the beginning of this book I made an invocation of auspciousness by remembering Guru, Vaishnava, and Bhagavan. Remembering them destroys all obstacles and easily fulfils one’s desires.”]

If we serve Guru, Vaishnava, and Bhagavan, then all bad ego, illusory ego, will leave us. Then we will be able to see what is what: the position Krishna, maya, myself, and others. That is called sambandha-jnan.

Sriman Mahaprabhu taught sambandha, abhidheya, and prayojan. Sambandha means our relationship with Krishna. Who is Krishna? What is Krishna’s abode? What is His paraphernalia? Who are His associates? Sambandha-jnan explains all these things and how they are connected. Abhidheya is the way in which we can satisfy Krishna and His associates. Prayojan is what we need: Krishna-prem, unalloyed devotion and love for Radha-Krishna. Prayojan is our supreme necessity, our destiny we can say. How do we reach it? By bhakti, devotional activity. There are many kinds of bhakti, but ananya-bhakti [unalloyed devotion] is necessary to serve in Vrindavan. We can get ananya-bhakti only through the servitors of Radha-Krishna. Radharani is the supreme servitor of Krishna. Her mercy comes down through Gurudev. If we receive Her mercy through Gurudev, then we can go to Goloka Vrindavan to serve Krishna under Her guidance. That is the highest thing.

Still primary education is necessary: we are in the illusory environment, and first of all it is necessary to come out from that. Then secondary education: we must understand our duty and do it properly. Our duty is service to Krishna, but we do not know what Krishna likes and does not like. Thus we need Gurudev’s guidance: Gurudev gives us the guidelines to understand what service is suitable for us to do. In this way we are get all our transcendental food and benefit from Gurudev, who is always distributing mercy.

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Vaishnava Tattva
My First Lesson

Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj explains the import­ance of avoid­ing Vaishnava-aparadh and the asso­ci­ation that leads to it.

A good Vaishnava’s asso­ci­ation is very rare in this mundane world. We may see that every­one has some devo­tion, but we do not know how much devo­tion every­one has, and in some per­sons’ asso­ci­ation we may lose our devo­tional men­tal­ity by mak­ing Vaishnava-aparadh.Someone may be very enthu­si­astic about, and obed­i­ent to, one Vaishnava but not to oth­ers. I can say that there are some blind fol­low­ers of vari­ous Vaishnavas. The blind fol­low­ers of dif­fer­ent Vaishnavas must fight with one another, and Vaishnava-aparadh will ensue.

We must avoid Vaishnava-aparadh. This is my first les­son. My first les­son is avoid Vaishnava-aparadh. Because of asso­ci­ation someone may fall down, and in the asso­ci­ation of such a per­son, we will also fall down. We should always avoid any situ­ation in which there is hazi­ness. If you ask me for my advice, this is what I will say. It is not neces­sary to make any offences to Vaishnavas. Groupism some­times gives us a very bad result.

We learned very mira­cu­lous things from Srila Guru Maharaj, Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj. We learned things you will not get any­where else. One group of Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur’s dis­ciples was in Mayapur, and one was in Bag Bazaar. They were fight­ing. A third group, led by Guru Maharaj, kept them­selves out­side of Bag Bazaar and Mayapur. Members of the two groups would come to see Guru Maharaj, and I saw that Guru Maharaj would serve and act very friendly to all of them. Guru Maharaj had no envy or anger towards either party. He always had an affec­tion­ate devo­tional mood.

After some Acharyas from another soci­ety made some offences to Guru Maharaj, after they abused him some­what, in order to main­tain their Mission, they under­stood, “Sridhar Maharaj is not our enemy. Sridhar Maharaj is really our Guru and friend.” Lastly they came to Guru Maharaj to apo­lo­gise. At that time I saw that Guru Maharaj cried and said, “You are my boys. Why are you stay­ing far away from me?” He spoke in this way and embraced them. I saw this. He did not men­tion that they made any offences. He only said, “Why are you stay­ing far away from me? Come close” and embraced them. He also glor­i­fied each of them.

This is Guru Maharaj, and we were trained by Guru Maharaj. So, we have no envy when we see the big pos­i­tions of oth­ers. We are happy when we see that our god­brother is glor­i­ously preach­ing Guru Maharaj’s con­cep­tion. We are not envi­ous. Really, we must try to help our god­broth­ers more and more. What do we need? We need the preach­ing con­cep­tion of Srila Guru Maharaj. We need that. And if any­one tries to preach it, we must try to help him. By any means we must try to help him. We should not dis­cour­age him; we should always encour­age him.

Anyone who reads the let­ters I write will never say that I dis­cour­age any­one. I always encour­age every­one. Someone may be act­ing wrongly, and I may know he is act­ing wrongly, but I still encour­age him in some way, believ­ing he will grow up in his devo­tion life. That is good­ness, and it’s com­ing only from Guru Maharaj. We can say that.

We have seen Guru Maharaj, and we have seen so many great per­sons, like Goswami Maharaj, Bon Maharaj, Tirtha Maharaj, Giri Maharaj, and many of Srila Saraswati Thakur’s other sannyasis, come to Guru Maharaj. Six great author­it­ies took sannyas from Guru Maharaj. In this way we can see Guru Maharaj’s example, and we shall try to run in that way.

Tags: HonourHumilitySrila Govinda MaharajSrila Sridhar MaharajVaishnav

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Inspiring Association

Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj explains the import­ance of hav­ing a source of inspir­a­tion in spir­itual life: sadhu-sanga.

Inspiration is necessary in our lives. A devotee who can inspire us throughout our whole life in our best friend. We may see that we have many friends in this mundane world, but actually our bondage within this world comes through them. Liberation from the mundane world is first of all necessary, and that comes to us through devotees. Devotees maintain their lives in this world, but they do so in the plane of liberation.

bhaktis tvayi sthiratara bhagavan yadi syad
daivena nah phalati divya-kisora-murtih
muktih svayam mukulitanjalih sevate ’sman
dharmartha-kama-gatayah samaya-pratikshah
  (Krishna-karnamrita: 107)

A devotee prays, “O my Lord, if I can maintain my devotional life steadily, I will see Your presence within my heart. Then mukti [liberation personified] will ask me, ‘How can I serve you?’ and dharma, artha, and kama [religion, wealth, and enjoyment personified] will await my orders.”

It is necessary to maintain our devotional life. The best thing for this is to get the real association of a good devotee. If we get this then we can say that we are very fortunate. The main thing is association. Association gives us everything: goodness, or badness, or madness. If you associate with a good man, you will be good in the future. If you associate with a bad man, you must become bad in the future.

We always need inspiring association. We must find inspiration to continue our practicing life.

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A Real Vaishnava

Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj recalls a story which illus­trates the import­ance of hon­our­ing all devotees who are dear to Sri Guru.

Once I was with Srila Guru Maharaj, Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj, and a pil­grim­age party in the Mathura Railway sta­tion. We had a group of about sixty-five people with us and were trav­el­ling in a reserved train car­riage. At that time I saw on the plat­form the leader of the Mayapur party of devotees, Srimad Bhakti Vilas Tirtha Maharaj, who was Prabhupad Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur’s sec­ret­ary. He also had a pil­grim­age party with him, and it was big­ger than ours. He had per­haps one hun­dred people with him, and he also had a reserved car­riage on the same train.

I saw Tirtha Maharaj and his party not far from our party. No one from our party went over to their party, and no one from their party came over to our party. When both parties were depart­ing the sta­tion to go and visit the Yamuna and the temples in the area, I was walk­ing with Srila Guru Maharaj, Paramahamsa Maharaj, and oth­ers. I could see Tirtha Maharaj walk­ing and talk­ing with five or six devotees.

At that time I said to Srila Guru Maharaj, “I want to go over there.”

Guru Maharaj asked, “What for?”

I replied, “Only to offer my obeis­ance. There on the plat­form is Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur’s sec­ret­ary. I can see him from here, but I am not offer­ing my obeis­ance to him. I do not think this is good. But I will fol­low whatever you order.”

Guru Maharaj was very happy to hear my answer and he said, “You can go. You have the right to do so. So go.”

Then I went over to offer my obeis­ance to Tirtha Maharaj. When Tirtha Maharaj saw me, he was sur­prised, “Govinda Maharaj, Sridhar Maharaj’s sec­ret­ary, has come to offer his obeis­ance to me?!” Then he said to his fol­low­ers, “You see Govinda Maharaj: he is a real Vaishnava.” I was very shy to hear this. He asked me, “How is your Guru Maharaj? Where are you going from here?” and other ques­tions. Two or three times dur­ing our con­ver­sa­tion he remarked, “Govinda Maharaj is a real Vaishnava. His heart is always inclined in a devo­tional way. Do you see this?”

I was very shy dur­ing our con­ver­sa­tion, and after­wards I offered my obeis­ance to him again. I talked with the other devotees with him a little bit, and then I returned to Guru Maharaj. Guru Maharaj asked me, “What did Tirtha Maharaj say to you?”

I explained what he said, and Guru Maharaj replied, “I also think that [I also think that you are a real Vaishnava]. When you wanted to meet him, remem­brance of my Gurudev came to me. He was Prabhupad’s sec­ret­ary, and you saw him walk­ing nearby. I think that it was neces­sary for you to offer your obeis­ance to him, yet I can­not boldly say to you, “Go there and offer your obeis­ance.” Also, it was not neces­sary for our whole party to do that.  If any one goes over to that group, they may be con­ver­ted. So restric­tion is neces­sary for them. But that group can­not con­vert you. You wanted to go over to offer your obeis­ance to him and I am very happy.”

Our asso­ci­ation with Srila Guru Maharaj was very nice. Guru Maharaj had no envy or anger towards any­one from any party. He always lived with an affec­tion­ate devo­tional mood, and I am trained by him in that.

Tags: HonourHumilitySrila Govinda MaharajSrila Sridhar MaharajVaishnav

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Jewel in Hand

On Sri Krishna Janmastami Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj describes how Krishna is revealed to the world by His intim­ate devotees.

govindāb­hid­ham indirāśrita-padaṁ hastastha-ratnādivat

tat­tvaṁ tattvavid-uttamau kṣiti-tale yau darśayāñ chakratu

Sanatan Goswami shows Krishna to this world the way one takes a jewel in hand and shows its facets to oth­ers. When a jew­eller shows someone a dia­mond, he turns it over in his hand to show its top, bot­tom, front, back, and sides. Similarly, Sanatan Goswami shows us Govinda. Indirashrita-padam, Indira, Laksmi Devi, is sheltered at Govinda’s feet and always serves Him. So Govinda is the pro­pri­etor of all wealth, of all jew­elry (laksmi), yet Sanatan, like jew­eller, shows us that pro­pri­etor of all jew­elry, Govinda, like a jewel in His hand.

Tags: KrishnaSrila Govinda Maharaj

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Radha Tattva
Vishuddha Tantra

Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj explains the Gaudiya Vaishnavas’ line of devotion.

Sri Sri Radha-Krishna’s Pastimes are not ordinary human activity or ordinary interaction found within the material environment. They are called lila, they are not in any way materially connected; they are the transcendental, playful Pastimes of the Supreme Lord. Radharani is the super power of Krishna, His para-sakti, who is also known as His hladini-sakti. ‘Hladini’ means that She always gives joy to Krishna, that all of Her activities create so much joy and ecstasy in the heart of Sri Krishna. That is the meaning of hladini-sakti. Srila Krishna Das Kaviraj Goswami supremely explained,

hlādinīra sāra ‘prema’, prema-sāra ‘bhāva’

bhāvera parama-kāṣṭhā, nāma—‘mahā-bhāva’

mahābhāva-svarūpā śrī-rādhā-ṭhākurāṇī

sarva-guṇa-khani kṛṣṇa-kāntā-śiromaṇi

  (Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta: Ādi-līlā, 4.68-69)

“The essence of ecstasy is love; the essence of love is heart; and the acme of heart is called ‘mahabhav.’ The personality of mahabhav is our Queen, Sri Radha Thakurani. She is the mine of all good, the jewel of Krishna’s beloveds.”

All quality and qualifications, all beauty, love, charm, ecstasy, and everything; all the wealth of service, is in the hand of Radharani. With that She satisfies Krishna and Krishna is fully satisfied with Her.

Radharani’s Names have special quality and beauty. We know one very beautiful and very sweet sloka about Radharani’s Names.

devī kṛṣṇa-mayī proktā rādhikā para-devatā

sarva-lakṣmī-mayī sarva-kāntiḥ sammohinī parā

  (Bṛhad-Gautamīya-tantra)

This is a Sanskrit sloka and Krishna Das Kaviraj Goswami has given an explanation of it in Bengali:

kṛṣṇa-mayī—kṛṣṇa yā̐ra bhitare bāhire

yā̐hā yā̐hā netra paḍe tā̐hā kṛṣṇa sphure

  (Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta: Ādi-līlā, 4.85)

“Radharani’s Name is Krishna-mayi because Her within and without are Lord Krishna and because She sees Lord Krishna wherever She casts Her glance.”

Kaviraj Goswami also explained that Her Name is Radhika because She satisfies all of Krishna’s senses with Her worship, sarvendriya diya kare Krishnera aradhana. Because all administration and everything within the transcendental service world is supremely in Her hand She is known as Para-devata. Because She is the wholesale proprietor of everything for Krishna’s service She is known as Sarva-lakshmi-mayi. And because She can enchant Krishna with Her mood and divine form She is Sammohini. But,

‘devī’ kahi dyotamānā, paramā sundarī

kimvā, kṛṣṇa-pūjā-krīḍāra vasati nagarī

  (Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta: Ādi-līlā, 4.84)

Here Srila Krishna Das Kaviraj Goswami miraculously revealed the meaning of the Sanskrit word devi. Normally we think the word ‘devi’ refers to a beautiful heavenly goddess. But Srila Kaviraj Goswami explained that ‘devi’ comes from the root div, which means ‘play’, div dhatu kridayam. So he explained that devi means, “She in whom there is the full play, krida, of Krishna.” Because Krishna is satisfied by the full existence of the full form of Radharani, because Krishna is fully satisfied with His play in madhura-rasa-lila with Radharani, She is called devi. No one could conceive of this meaning of the Sanskrit word devi but Srila Krishna Das Kaviraj Goswami revealed it.

The divine play of Sri Sri Radha-Krishna is eternally going on in Vrindavan Dham. Everything in Vrindavan exists to give joy to Krishna. There Radharani distributes Her power to everyone and then Krishna enjoys with everyone and Krishna tastes divine love through Radharani. Bhaktivinod Thakur very simply expressed this in his song.

rādhā-bhajane yadi mati nāhi bhelā

kṛṣṇa-bhajana tava akāraṇe gelā

  (Gītāvalī: Rādhāṣṭakam, 8.1)

“If you do not worship Krishna under the guidance of Radharani everything you do will be lost. You will not get any ecstasy from the Emporium of all ecstasy—you will not taste anything. Akarane gela, you can worship Krishna, but no benefit will come to you if you do not worship Krishna under the guidance of Radharani.”

If someone worships Krishna alone without Radharani, Krishna gives them something, maybe He gives them five percent. But if you serve Krishna under Radharani’s guidance then you get everything. Lord Krishna Himself has openly confessed,

na pāraye ’haṁ niravadya-saṁyujāṁ

sva-sādhu-kṛtyaṁ vibudhāyuṣāpi vaḥ

  (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam: 10.32.22)

“I cannot equally return the love and affection that I have received from Radharani.”

So, when Krishna sees His devotee’s devotees serving Radharani, He fully enriches them with His full mercy.

Radharani supremely manages and distributes all service to Krishna. All the Pastimes of Krishna happen through Her power. Her hladini-sakti is the source of all of Krishna’s pleasure and Her potency form of Yogamaya manages the whole environment of the transcendental world.

Once when Srila Guru Maharaj was explaining this point someone said to him, “Then you are actually tantrics. You are always saying, ‘Under the guidance of Radharani you are serving Krishna’ so you are following the conception of prakriti-vada, worship of energy.”

Srila Guru Maharaj replied, “Yes. We are tantrics. But we are visuddha-tantrics, pure unalloyed tantrics. ‘Under the guidance of Radharani,’ means that under the guidance of Her mystic transcendental energy we are serving Krishna. Our service directly goes to Radharani, not to Krishna, and Radharani arranges everything for the satisfaction of Krishna with our service energy. So our service is present as Radharani gives full nourishment to Krishna and in that way we complete the most important necessity of our existence—purely satisfying Krishna.”

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Nityananda Tattva
Baladev’s Form

Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj explains his favourite pranam-mantra for Balaram on Baladev Purnima.

Balaram has a pranam man­tram. Only in Garga-Samhita have we found this very nice glor­i­fic­a­tion of Balaram:

sphurad-amala-kiritam kinkini-kankanarham

chalad-alaka-kapolam kundala-sri-mukhabjam

tuhina-giri-manojnam nila-meghambaradhyam

hala-mushala-vishalam kama-palam sam­ide

  (Sri Garga-samhita: 8.2.13.4)

Sphurad-amala-kiritam: Baladev’s crown is dec­or­ated with many jew­els and looks very beau­ti­ful. When Baladev is first seen, the beauty of His crown is noticed first. He always wears many orna­ments, and all of these orna­ments are also dec­or­ated with jew­els. Chalad-alaka-kapolam kundala-sri-mukhabjam: His curl­ing hair is very beau­ti­ful. It is not prop­erly organ­ised, and some it cov­ers part of His face. But He appears more beau­ti­ful because of that. Guru Maharaj called it, ‘agree­able neg­li­gence’. Tuhina-giri-manojnam, His col­our is bright white like ice. Nila-meghambaradhyam, He wears exal­ted pea­cock blue col­oured cloth. Hala-mushala-vishalam: His weapons are the plow and club; these two weapons are in His two hands. They are mantra-puta, empowered by spir­itual energy. Baladev can des­troy any­thing with them. If He simply touches His plow to some­thing, fire or elec­tri­city can come out and des­troy that thing. When He thinks His plow needs to be a little smal­ler, it becomes smal­ler. When He thinks it needs to be big­ger, it becomes big­ger. His plow can do any­thing He desires. And lastly His Name was Kama-pal—He can ful­fill all the desires of Krishna and all the desires of Krishna’s devotees.

Tags: BalaramSrila Govinda MaharajTemple of Love and Affection

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Krishna Tattva
The Rising of the Divine Sun

Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj explains the tran­scend­ental nature of Krishna’s appear­ance within this world.

Krishna Himself appeared in His human-like form here in this mundane world like the other Avatars. But Krishna’s divine form as Reality the Beautiful is also always present eternally in the spiritual realm of Goloka Vrindavan. In Srimad Bhagavad-gita Krishna said to Arjuna,

janma karma cha me divyam evaṁ yo vetti tattvataḥ

tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti mām eti so ’rjuna

  (Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā: 4.9)

“Arjuna, My birth and death in this world are not like the birth and death of ordinary human persons. I show Myself to be like them when I appear but actually My appearance and disappearance in the material world are like the rising and setting of the sun. I existed before I appeared and continue to exist after I disappear. My personal form and appearance are divyam, divine.”

Divyam means aprakritam. Aprakritam means that Lord Krishna’s divine form appears like an ordinary man’s form but it is actually not made of anything mundane; it is a transcendental form which is perfect, positive and eternally existent in Goloka Vrindavan, the highest plane of Vaikuntha-loka. Anyone who understands Lord Krishna’s divine form and appearance in this way will be liberated from birth and death. So it is necessary to properly understand that His appearance and disappearance are not like the birth and death of mankind. They are actually like the rising and setting of the sun. The sun does not die when it crosses the horizon, it is simply removed from our vision temporarily. Anyone who understands Krishna’s divine appearance and disappearance in this way not only is liberated, he also attains the service of Lord Krishna in the transcendental world. Krishna Himself gave this knowledge to the world in Srimad Bhagavad-gita.

By the grace of the Scriptures, the Gurus and the sadhus we must think, “The birth and death of Lord Krishna are not like that of an ordinary human. They are transcendental and His divine form is also transcendental and eternal. Īśvaraḥ Paramaḥ Kṛṣṇaḥ Sach-chid-ānanda-vigrahaḥ. We must think, “Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He is the Creator of all creation and He has an eternal divine form.”

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Dham Tattva
The Transcendental Dham

Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj describes the tran­scend­ental vis­ion of the Dham (An excerpt from The Divine Servitor).

Bhaktivinod Thakur said that we see Nabadwip Dham as though it is the mundane world. Many thorn trees used to be at Ishodyan and also on the land in Mayapur where the Mayapur Chandradoy Mandir is now. But Bhaktivinod Thakur said, “You are only see­ing many thorn trees. When you see Mayapur proper, you will see here many tran­scend­ental things; I am see­ing those.” Here there are many flower gar­dens and many nice tran­scend­ental build­ings. Everything is tran­scend­ental here. The dust of Mayapur is tran­scend­ental; the grass also. Everything here is eager to serve Mahaprabhu. It is all very nice and con­tinu­ally serving Him. Mahaprabhu is com­ing here and per­form­ing His lila, chant­ing with His asso­ci­ates and devotees, and every bathing ghat on the Ganges here is built out of mani, manikya, ratna, etc. (invalu­able spir­itual gems, jew­els, etc.). Everything is tran­scend­ental. But we are liv­ing inmaya so we can­not see in that way at present. Therefore it is neces­sary for us to open the door to the world of consciousness.

Bhagavan Sri Krishna says in Srimad Bhagavad-gita:

daivī hy eṣā guamayī, mama māyā duratyayā

m eva ye prapady­ante, māyām etāṁ taranti te

  (Bhagavad-gita: 7.14)

Everything here is hap­pen­ing with the com­bin­a­tion of maya and the jiva soul. The soul is get­ting hap­pi­ness, sad­ness, and many things, but with the con­nec­tion of maya. When maya leaves us, then our mater­ial ego will also leave and then we shall be able to see the tran­scend­ental world; and we will get our pos­i­tion in the ser­vice of our Supreme Lord, our Supreme Godhead. We are wait­ing for that day. Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur has writ­ten many things in his songs in this regard, includ­ing the following:

kabe gaura-vane,    suradhunī-taṭe,

    ‘hā rādhe hā kṛṣṇa’ bale’

kā̐diyā beḍāba,    deha-sukha chhāḍi’

    nānā latā-taru-tale [1]

[When will I aban­don all bod­ily pleas­ures and wander along the banks of the Ganges beneath the trees and creep­ers of the forests of the land of Sri Gaurasundar, cry­ing and call­ing out, “Oh Radha! Oh Krishna!”?]

śvapacha-gṛhete,    māgiyā khāiba,

    piba saraswatī-jala

puline puline,    gaḍā-gaḍi diba,

    kari’ kṛṣṇa-kolāhala [2]

[Then I will eat by beg­ging food from the houses of dog-eating out­casts and drink the water of the River Saraswati. I will roll about on the banks of the Ganges and uproari­ously call out, “Krishna!”]

dhāma-vāsī jane,    praṇati kariyā,

    māgiba kṛpāra leśa

vaiṣṇava-charaṇa-    reṇu gāya mākhi’,

    dhari’ avadhūta-veśa [3]

[I will bow down before the res­id­ents of the abode of Sri Gaurasundar and beg for a particle of their mercy. I will wear the garb of an avadhut and smear my body with the dust of the feet of the devotees.]

gauḍa-vraja-jane,    bheda nā dekhiba,

    ha-iba varaja-vāsī

dhāmera svarūpa,    sphur­ibe nay­ane,

    ha-iba rād­hāra dāsī [4]

[I will see no dif­fer­ence between the res­id­ents of Gauda and the res­id­ents of Vraja and I will become a res­id­ent of Vraja. The true nature of the Lord’s abode will mani­fest before my eyes and I will become a maid­ser­vant of Sri Radha.]

He says that, when we can see that tran­scend­ental form of Nabadwip, we will under­stand where we are. Then we can say con­fid­ently, “We are liv­ing on Gupta Govardhan now!” Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur said that this place Koladwip—where this Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math is situated—is Gupta Govardhan, and that it is aparadha bhan­jan pat in Mahaprabhu’s lila. That means that if we live here with full faith for one night all our sins and offences will go. Also in the holy book Bhakti-ratnakar it is given that this place, Koladwip, where we are liv­ing isaparadha bhan­jan pat. When that day will come to us—when maya and our ego leave us—then we will be able to see everything includ­ing our Lord’s mani­fest­a­tion in the form of the dham.With our tran­scend­ental body we will be able to serve our Lord in many ways: shanta, dasya, sakhya, vat­salya and up to the highest, madhura.

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Place of Our High Ideal

Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj explain­s the exal­ted pos­i­tion of Govardhan (An excerpt from Divine Guidance).

vaikuṇṭhāj janito varā madhu-purī tatrāpi rāsot­savād

vṛndāraṇyam udāra-pāṇi-ramaṇāt tatrāpi gov­ard­hanaḥ

rādhā-kuṇḍam ihāpi gokula-pateḥ premāmṛtāplāvanāt

kur­yād asya virā­jato giri-taṭe sevāṁ vivekī na kaḥ

  (Sri Upadeshamrta: 9)

At first we can see Vaikuntha Dham as being a very high place, but above that, the more import­ant place is Mathura—janito vara  Madhu-puri. Why? Because Krishna Himself is born there, that is His lila there. Narayan, though, does not take birth. He has no birth, He has no father and no mother, but Krishna has His father and mother—that is within His lila. And,Vaikunthaj janito vara Madhu-puri tatrapi rasot­savad, bet­ter than Mathura is Vrindavan, where Krishna has His Pastimes with the gopis. And over that place, is the highest place, Sri Govardhan—Srila Prabhupad Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur says: Giridhari-Gandharvika yatha krida kaila.

The most wor­ship­ful place, at the foot of Govardhan, is Radha Kunda; there Krishna and Radharani have Their highest Prema-lila. …

… we will stay at the lotus feet of Govardhan and pray to Krishna, or rather, Srimati Radharani. All the group at Govardhan are serving Radharani—they actu­ally have no con­nec­tion with Krishna. From Govardhan they go to Radha Kunda and Shyam Kunda and arrange many things. The ashtakaliya-lila hap­pens there, not else­where, and one who exclus­ively wants to serve Radha-Krishna will think about these Pastimes. But we shall not think of such things now—with our mundane body and mind we can­not think about that.

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Seva in Gupta Govardhan

Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj explain­s how the Nat Mandir in Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math was decorated to demonstrate the line of worship practiced in the Math.

When I wanted to make a diorama express­ing Srila Saraswati Thakur’s siddhanta on the front of our Math in Nabadwip, I used the fol­low­ing shloka. However I changed one of the lines in the shloka with the per­mis­sion of Srila Guru Maharaj. Through Srila Guru Maharaj we can under­stand the desire of Srila Saraswati Thakur and for preach­ing pur­poses I changed thisshloka to make it more under­stand­able to gen­eral people. I engraved these two lines on our nat-mandir:

mātala hari-jana kīrtana raṅge

pūjala rāga-pātha gaurava-bhaṅge

Later, I also pos­ted this expres­sion on the wall of my ver­anda so I could see it every day. Srila Saraswati Thakur’s phrase vishaya-range is very deep. To say that work and activ­ity, which may appear com­pletely mater­ial, are actu­ally com­pletely tran­scend­ental is not easy for the pub­lic to under­stand. I wanted to show in the diorama that it is through Mahaprabhu’ssankir­tan that we must wor­ship Radha-Krishna in kali-yuga. So I used this phrase, matala Hari-jana kir­tana range. It means that devotees are intox­ic­ated with the prac­tice of Mahaprabhu’ssankir­tan—they are hear­ing and chant­ing the Holy Name and the glor­ies of Mahaprabhu—and through that they are serving and sat­is­fy­ing the Divine Couple Radha-Krishna, Whose non-different form is Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. In the formal pos­ture (gaurava-bhange) of Mahaprabhu’s sankir­tan the devotees are giv­ing their puja, their offer­ings, and everything, to Radha-Govinda and Their intim­ate servitors.

At present we do not live in the domain of Radha-Krishna and we are not try­ing to force­fully enter that abode. Rather we are try­ing to hon­our that abode through our life in kali-yugaunder our proper shel­ter in the prac­tice of sankir­tan at the lotus feet of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. So we are pro­ceed­ing sys­tem­at­ic­ally towards the goal of our lives, the ser­vice of Radha-Govinda, under the guid­ance of Their intim­ate asso­ci­ates headed by Srila Rupa Goswami Prabhu.

Our Math is loc­ated in Gupta-Govardhan, Hidden Govardhan, in Sri Nabadwip Dham and Govardhan is the primary place of raga-marga wor­ship of Radha-Krishna.

pramada-madana-līlāḥ kandare kandare te

rachay­ati nava-yūnor dvand­vam asminn aman­dam

iti kila kalanārthaṁ lag­na­kas tad-dvayor me

nija-nikaṭa-nivāsaṁ dehi gov­ard­hana tvam

  (Sri Govardhana-Vasa-Prarthana-Dashakam2)

Giriraj Govardhan is the highest, most wor­ship­pable place of Radha-Krishna’s Pastimes, and Radha-Krishna’s highest lila hap­pens in the kun­jas, groves, around Govardhan Hill. Radha Kunda, Syama Kunda, Govinda Kunda, Kusum Sarovar and many many kun­jas sur­round Govardhan, and Radha-Krishna’s kunja-lilas hap­pen at dif­fer­ent times and dif­fer­ent places all around Govardhan.

Radha-Krishna enjoy Their intim­ate Pastimes there around Govardhan as all the sakhis andman­jaris busily serve Them day and night. Chiefly Lalita Devi organ­ises all the ser­vice of Radha-Krishna and she gives the highest ser­vice to the group of Rupa Manjari. Gokula-pateh premam­rita­plavanat, in this way the nec­tar of Krishna-prem over­floods every­one, every­where, all around Govardhan Hill.

We presen­ted our diorama on the front of our Math to show every­one that through thesankir­tan of Mahaprabhu we can prop­erly hon­our the most wor­ship­pable plane of raga-margaser­vice of Radha-Krishna—Govardhan—and that we will auto­mat­ic­ally enter there when we become qual­i­fied through our sin­cere prac­tice of sankir­tan. Srila Guru Maharaj accep­ted everything, all of my ideas, and in that way we dec­or­ated our temple and adjus­ted Srila Saraswati Thakur’s expression.

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Sharanagati
Faithfully Rocketing to the Spiritual World

Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj explains the found­a­tion of sur­render and devo­tion to the Lord.

Devotee: What is the starting point of sharanagati?

Srila Govinda Maharaj: Sharanagati, surrender, starts from the point of shraddha, faith. The mood of perfect surrender will come to us through shraddha.

‘śraddhā’-śabde—viśvāsa kahe sudṛḍha niśchaya
kṛṣṇe bhakti kaile sarva-karma kṛta haya
  (Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita: Madhya-lila, 22.62)

Shraddha means confident, firm faith that everything will be fulfilled, and everything impossible will become possible, through the service of Krishna.”

What is what, who is who—everything—is determined by our faith. Faith is the basis of all religions, not only the Vaishnav religion, because faith is the jiva-souls’ true and best property. Faith is always the friend of everyone and if we have faith in Krishna consciousness we will be able to adjust everything.

sakala chhāḍiyā bhāi,    śraddhā-devīra guṇa gāi,
  yā̐ra kṛpā bhakti dite pāre
      (Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur)

“So giving up everything, sing the glories of Shraddha Devi, faith, by whose mercy we can feel the presence of bhakti, devotion, in our hearts.”

Faith is our main property; we should never lose our faith. And our faith must also grow, it must become stronger and stronger until it reaches an unshakable position. Our faith must be transcendental, sincere and chaste. You cannot throw a rocket from anywhere, you must have a substantial foundation. When your faith becomes firm and unshakable and you understand the fundamental position of surrender and devotion to Krishna then you will be worry free and sharanagati, your mood of surrender, will protect you. You will have an unshakeable launching pad and from there you will be able throw your rocket across the illusory environment to Goloka Vrindavan.

The spiritual world exists entirely within the plane of faith, and anyone whose faith is very strong will get that highest property when his faith takes on a transcendental form and is successfully activated in his heart. Everything will be revealed to him.

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Devotion is Awakened by Devotion

Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj explains how shar­anagati devel­ops within the heart of the soul.

To have 100 per cent faith in Lord Krishna is not easy. We live in the mundane world and deal with many material things so our faith is naturally influenced by our impressions of this world.

prakṛtibhyaḥ paraṁ yach cha tad achintyasya lakṣaṇam
  (Mahabharata: Bhishma-parva, 5.22)

“Krishna is achintya and beyond our mundane experience.” So how can we develop faith in Him and His divine service?

Krishna’s causeless mercy is always flowing throughout this mundane world and if any conditioned soul is touched by that merciful wave then he will receive some nitya-sukriti, spiritual fortune, which will bring him faith.

General pious activities like feeding people can bring good fortune to people but that is only anitya-sukriti, temporary merit. Nitya-sukriti, eternal fortune, is gained by being connected with the Lord’s affairs, so nitya-sukriti is received by rendering some service to the Lord’s devotees, or to the Lord’s temple or anything connected with the Lord.

When a conditioned soul mercifully receives the opportunity to serve the Lord in some way and he collects sufficient nitya-sukriti, then sraddha, faith, develops in his heart automatically by the mercy of the Lord. As nitya-sukriti develops into sraddha within his heart the conditioned soul can begin to associate with sadhus. Before the conditioned soul can associate with sadhus properly he first needs some faith in them. This comes to him through nitya-sukriti. And once the conditioned soul has a little faith in sadhus then his faith will become stronger and stronger through the sadhus’ association.

The illusory environment will not be able to attack the conditioned soul in any way if he tries to proceed in his spiritual life faithfully under the guidance of sadhus. ‘Sadhu’ does not only mean someone wearing saffron cloth, a sadhu may be a grihastha, a brahmachari, or vanaprasthi. If anyone is a sincere devotee of Lord Krishna then he must be considered a sadhu.

kṛṣṇa-bhakta—niṣkāma, ataeva ‘śānta’
bhukti-mukti-siddhi-kāmī—sakali ‘aśānta’
  (Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita: Madhya-lila, 19.149)

Anyone who serves Radha-Govinda twenty-four hours a day without selfish interest under the guidance of his guru is a real devotee and real sadhu. His association will always be good and give everyone good nourishment in their spiritual life. In the association of such a real sadhu who is always trying to serve Radha-Govinda twenty-four hours a day the conditioned soul’s faith and service attitude will increase more and more and this is the advice of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu as well as Srimad Bhagavatam and all the scriptures. Bhaktyā sañjātayā bhaktyā (Srimad Bhagavatam: 11.3.31), “Devotion is awakened by devotion.”

In exclusive devotional practising life only the process of the practice and the mercy of the real practitioner, the sadhu, will give the conditioned souls more and more faith, enthusiasm and inspiration to serve their Lord. So under the guidance of a proper sadhu the conditioned souls will collect more and more devotional property in their heart, that is, faith and real hankering to serve the Lord, and their spiritual practising life will develop.

When someone has full faith that, “Krishna is the supreme for me, He is my life and soul and His service is my life’s only goal,” then we can say he is a sharanagata, a soul surrendered unto Lord Krishna. This is the natural position and religion of all jiva-souls even though it may be very difficult for conditioned souls to follow.

The conditioned souls suffer so much in the illusory environment of Maya. Through their karma they experience so much sadness, confusion and unsuccessfulness. But Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has taught that when the conditioned souls become established in Krishna consciousness, when they are established in the transcendental service world of dedication to Lord Krishna through faith, chastity and sincerity, they can very quickly cross over the illusory environment. And there is no other way to do this than through sharanagati, surrender.

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Shiva’s Illusion, Krishna’s Smile

Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj reflects on how he left home at a young age and surrendered himself to Sri Guru.

Our Maṭh’s brahmāchārī went to preach in Nadan Ghāṭ and I am met with them and mixed with them. One brahmāchārī named Sudarśan Brahmāchārī, he made much illusion over me and I was convinced. Now I am thinking, how was it possible to happen? It is the grace of Lord Kṛṣṇa. I was attracted with Lord Śiva but Kṛṣṇa was my heart and soul, Śrī-Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. That was our family tradition and also my lifestyle. But Lord Śiva was in the middle, I think he was like Guru. At present I think that.

That time I did not have so much consciousness but now I think I was illusioned by that brahmmāchārī, Sudarśan Brahmāchārī. There were five or six brahmāchārīs in a group for preaching in Nadan-ghāṭ and I was attracted to their preaching matters. But that brahmāchārī made me temporary renounced from worldly affairs and I became liberated. And leaving everything, I went to Nabadwīp to Śrīla Guru Mahārāj. Finally I think it was the mercy of Lord Kṛṣṇa and Lord Śiva. Before I was born my father promised to Śiva, “If you give me this one boy child, I shall make him your sannyāsī when he is sixteen years old.”

I heard that this was his promise but I did not remember anything [about that at that time], I was in the illusion of Sudarśan Prabhu. Later I remember everything but that time I was very much effected. Sudarśan Prabhu told me one śloka from Śrīmad Bhāgavat,

gurur na sa syāt sva-jano na sa syāt

pitā na sa syāj jananī na sā syāt

daiva na tat syān na patiś cha sa syān

na mocayed ya samupeta-mtyum

  (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 5.5.18)

[“A guru, relative, parent, husband, or demigod who cannot save us from repeated birth and death should be abandoned at once.”]

What I understood I do not know. But I was very attracted. And which way I came away from the material illusion, that also I do not know. I cannot feel what was the cause. But finally I understand that this was Lord Śiva’s illusion. And Lord Kṛṣṇa was smiling to see that. And Śrīla Guru Mahārāj, he gave shelter to me finally.

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Abandon All Religions!

Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj’s explains the fun­da­mental theme of Srimad Bhagavad-gita.

Question: I read in Srimad Bhagavad-gita that Krishna says, “Abandon all reli­gions and come to Me.” Can you cla­rify the mean­ing of this?

Srila Govinda Maharaj: Yes. All reli­gion is actu­ally one—the jiva–souls must be attrac­ted to their Lord who is like an all-attractive mag­net. The pur­pose of all the dif­fer­ent kinds of reli­gion prac­tised within this mater­ial world is to give the jiva–souls con­scious­ness about this, their main reli­gion, their nat­ural religion—divine attrac­tion and ser­vice to their Lord.

So we are not actu­ally Hindu, we are not Muslim, we are not Christian or any­thing. We are all actu­ally jiva–souls who are covered by the illus­ory envir­on­ment. As jiva–souls we have the capa­city for think­ing, feel­ing and will­ing. And when our nat­ural con­scious capa­city will come into its own clean, tran­scend­ental pos­i­tion then we will auto­mat­ic­ally feel attrac­ted by the divine form of the Lord and be inspired to engage in His ser­vice. That is the main and real reli­gion of all jiva–souls and in remem­brance of that eternal, spir­itual reli­gion Krishna said to Arjuna,

sarva-dharmān par­ityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja

ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śuchaḥ

  (Srimad Bhagavad-gita: 18.66)

“I shall give you the supreme in life if you take shel­ter of My lotus feet. So give up all forms of reli­gion and sur­render exclus­ively to Me. I will lib­er­ate you from all sin, have no fear.”

What Krishna means is that the dif­fer­ent kinds of reli­gion prac­tised in this mater­ial world are not per­fect forms of religion’s actual iden­tity, and that actual reli­gion is to sur­render to the lotus feet of the Lord and engage etern­ally in His ser­vice.

So Krishna is teach­ing the con­di­tioned souls, “You are non­sense. You are tiny, insig­ni­fic­antjiva–souls. You can­not under­stand what is what, what is good, what is bad, etc. You should always avoid irre­li­gion, that is never wor­ship­pable. But not only that, even your own good know­ledge, even your under­stand­ing of reli­gion, even your idea of proper reli­gious life for peace and har­mony in this world, that you should also leave behind.

“Just sur­render to Me. I am the Supreme Personality of Godhead and I con­trol everything. I will take care of everything for you as well as every­one else. I will take care of the res­ults of all your activ­it­ies whether they are reli­gious or irre­li­gious, good or bad. So you have noth­ing to fear. I give you this assur­ance and you should not be fear­ful. Just sur­render to Me. Because you are very dear to Me I am advising you in this way. I am only the Person who can give everything to you. So sur­render to Me and act accord­ing to My dir­ec­tion and in that way you will be fully sat­is­fied with your ser­vice.”

The Lord Himself knows how He will take the sur­ren­der­ing souls back to the tran­scend­ental world. He knows how He will pro­mote them from the mater­ial world to the spir­itual world. And the sur­ren­der­ing souls will feel that, they will feel the Lord’s guardianship.

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The Ocean of Sin

Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj’s explains the meaning of Krishna’s final instruction in Srimad Bhagavad-gita.

sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja

ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śuchaḥ

(Srimad Bhagavad-gita: 18.66)

“Abandoning all forms of religion, surrender exclusively unto Me. I will liberate you from all sin. Do not despair.”

Only the Lord, Krishna, can say this and it is a very serious matter. When Krishna says, Ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo mokṣayiṣyāmi, “I will liberate you from all sin,” He means that He will take full charge of the surrendering souls. It is actually the Lord’s duty to mercifully accept the surrendered souls who fully realise their eternal spiritual position and offer themselves to Him. He must say to them, “Yes, I am your Lord, and I am taking your whole charge.” Krishna promises the jiva-souls,

samo ’haṁ sarva-bhūteṣu na me dveṣyo ’sti na priyaḥ

ye bhajanti tu māṁ bhaktyā mayi te teṣu chāpy aham

  (Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā: 9.29)

“I do not interfere with the freedom of any jiva-soul. But if any jiva-soul will surrender to Me and worship Me then I will take special interest in him, I will take his charge. I will look after everything for him and satisfy him.”

ananyāś chintayanto māṁ ye janāḥ paryupāsate

teṣāṁ nityābhiyuktānāṁ yoga-kṣemaṁ vahāmy aham

  (Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā: 9.22)

“If any jiva-soul will fully surrender to Me and serve Me with all his energy then I will give full satisfaction to him and I Myself will supply him with food, lodging and all his necessities (yoga-kṣemaṁ). It will not be necessary for him to think about his material life but only to engage in My service.”

The Lord Himself knows how He will take the surrendering souls back to the transcendental world. He knows how He will promote them from the material world to the spiritual world. And the surrendering souls will feel that, they will feel the Lord’s guardianship.

But when Krishna tells the conditioned souls, “Leave not only your irreligion but your religion also,” then a conditioned soul may ask, “If I leave behind my pious activities which are good for everyone in this world then only my sinful activities will remain. So will I be left in a sinful position with nothing good to show for myself?”

This question can be answered by understanding that the whole material world where the conditioned souls live is actually an ocean of sin, it is a world constructed for the sinful souls who are averse to the Lord (Kṛṣṇa bhuli’ sei jīva anādi-bahirmukha). Generally we know what pap, sin, is. It is a very simple thing: a sin is something unlawful in this material world. But here in Srimad Bhagavad-gita Krishna teaches a deeper idea. Krishna teaches that sin actually means anything not done for the Lord’s satisfaction. He is teaching that even pious activity is actually sinful if it is not done for the Lord’s satisfaction.

What the jiva-souls do in the material world is very simple: they eat, sleep, fear and enjoy (āhāra-nidrā-bhaya-maithunaṁ cha). This is the simple summary of all the conditioned souls’ activity. These activities can be done very piously by conditioned souls. But Krishna’s final teaching in Srimad Bhagavad-gita is that if these activities are not done with Krishna consciousness, if they are not done for the satisfaction of Krishna, then they are actually pap, sin. Although they may be done in a way that is harmonious externally within the material world, they are actually the cause of bondage in the illusory environment.

It is written in the Vedas, Vedanta, Upanishads, etc. that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. And in Srimad Bhagavad-gita Krishna Himself says this. Nowhere else, in no other Scripture, will you hear anything like that. Many times in Srimad Bhagavad-gita Krishna Himself gives us His own identification as the Lord. He Himself declares,

ahaṁ hi sarva-yajñānāṁ bhoktā cha prabhur eva cha

na tu mām abhijānanti tattvenātaś chyavanti te

  (Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā: 9.24)

“I am the Lord, I am the Supreme Personality of Godhead, I am the rightful enjoyer of everything. The conditioned souls who do not recognise Me fall into the bondage of maya.”

So when Krishna says, “Ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo mokṣayiṣyāmi, I will liberate you from all sin,” He is saying that He will liberate you from the sinful world of maya, from the world where it is a sin just to exist. In this way Krishna shows the conditioned souls that all of their activity, even pious or generally religious activity, is actually sinful if it is not done as surrendered service to His lotus feet. And He also shows the conditioned souls that if they consciously enter the platform of transcendental service then they can play there happily with no fear, ma śuchaḥ. So only when the jiva-souls will surrender to Krishna and serve Him with their full energy, Man-manā bhava Mad-bhakto, Mad-yājī Māṁ namaskuru, will they find proper adjustment in life, that is, true yoga.

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Dive Deep Into Sharanagati

Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj explains Krishna’s internal sentiments as He gives His final instruction to Arjuna in Srimad Bhagavad-gita.

Srila Guru Maharaj also explained that after Krishna declared, “Sarva-dharmān parityajya, Mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja, abandon all varieties of religion and surrender unto Me,” His battlefield mentality was damaged and He needed to end His conversation with Arjuna.

When the word ‘vraja’ came from His mouth His mood softened. The sound of the word ‘vraja’ brought Krishna’s consciousness to Vraja Dham, Sri Vrindavan Dham. If anyone says, “Vraja, vraja, vraja,” their mind will think of Vraja Dham. So why would Krishna not also think of Vrindavan when He said, “Mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja”? When Krishna remembered Vraja Dham at this time He thought, “What is sharanagati? What is surrender? That exists in its supreme form only in Vraja Dham.”

The word vraja actually means gaman kora, gachchha, ‘move’, ‘go’. Srila Guru Maharaj explained that ‘vraja’ means, “Dive deep into Reality, dive deep into the reality of sharanagati.” When Krishna remembered Vraja Dham and the surrendered devotees of Vraja Dham in this way, His mood changed and He ended His conversation with Arjuna. He even forgot Arjuna actually.

After His shloka, sarva-dharmān parityajya, Mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja, He thought, “Enough! What I have explained is sufficient and it is not necessary for Me to explain anything more at this time.” So He concluded by telling Arjuna,

idaṁ te nātapaskāya nābhaktāya kadāchana
na chāśuśrūṣave vāchyaṁ na cha māṁ yo ’bhyasūyati
  (Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā: 18.67)

“Do not give this consciousness I have given to you to an ease-lover, to someone who is not My devotee, to someone who does not engage in My service or to someone who is envious of Me.”

Krishna told Arjuna, “Yathechchhasi tatha kuru, Now you can do as you like; I have told you enough of what is necessary for you and it is not necessary for Me to say anything more. I am finishing our conversation and you can now do as you like.”

Arjuna was Krishna’s intimate friend and he understood that if he said anything more it would give pain to Krishna. So Arjuna immediately surrendered and said,

naṣṭo mohaḥ smṛtir labdhā tvat-prasādān mayāchyuta
sthito ’smi gata-sandehaḥ kariṣye vachanaṁ tava
  (Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā: 18.73)

“You have undoubtedly been so merciful to me and my illusion is now gone. I am now firmly situated in my real consciousness and all my doubts are gone. I shall now follow Your instructions and do my duty.”

Then Krishna said, “Start the fighting!” And Arjuna said, “Yes. This is my job as You have given it to me, so I shall finish it as soon as possible, and then You will get some relief.” This is Krishna consciousness—acting fearlessly for the satisfaction of Krishna.

Krishna is so beautiful and so merciful. We can see that all charm, ecstasy, love and harmony exist within the Krishna conception. So, kaṁ vā Dayāluṁ śaraṇaṁ vrajema, who shall we surrender to other than Krishna? Everything is present wherever Krishna is.

In the final shloka of Srimad Bhagavad-gita Sanjaya said to Dhritarashtra,

yatra yogeśvaraḥ kṛṣṇo yatra pārtho dhanur-dharaḥ
tatra śrīr vijayo bhūtir dhruvā nītir matir mama
  (Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā: 18.78)

“Oh foolish King, you are asking me so many things. How can you again ask me who will be victorious in the battle of Kurukshetra? You must understand that victory will always be wherever Krishna is.”

What can I say more than, “Take shelter of the lotus feet of Lord Sri Krishna!”

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Total Abandonment

Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj’s explains Krishna’s instruc­tions to Uddhava about shar­anagati that shed fur­ther light on His instruc­tion to Arjun sarva-dharman par­ityajya mam ekam sharanam vraja.

Krishna first gave a clue about His own revolu­tion­ary teach­ings to Arjuna at the end of Srimad Bhagavad-gita with His shlokasarva-dharmān par­ityajya, Mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja. But Srimad-Bhagavatam begins from that stage. Srimad-Bhagavatam begins from Krishna’s own teach­ing not of a sub­ject­ive evol­u­tion of con­scious­ness but a sub­ject­ive revolu­tion of con­scious­ness. And in Krishna’s instruc­tion to Uddhava in Srimad-Bhagavatam we find Krishna’s revolu­tion­ary teach­ing from the con­clu­sion of Srimad Bhagavad-gita expressed more clearly,

tas­māt tvam uddhavotsṛjya chodanāṁ pratichodanām

pravṛttiṁ cha nivṛttiṁ cha śrota­vyaṁ śrutam eva cha

mām ekam eva śaraṇam ātmānaṁ sarva-dehinām

yāhi sarvātma-bhāvena mayā syā hy akuto-bhayaḥ

  (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam11.12.14–15)

Krishna’s first con­di­tion in His instruc­tion to Uddhava was, “Uddavotsṛijya! Uddhava! Whatever rules and reg­u­la­tions that were given by the Vedas, everything that was given for the spir­itual evol­u­tion and uplift­ment of the con­di­tioned souls to the tran­scend­ental abode in the Vedas, all of that you should avoid! And not only avoid, if it hap­pens to come to you, throw it away!” Prabhupad Srila Saraswati Thakur explained the word utsṛijya in this way. I heard from Srila Guru Maharaj that Srila Saraswati Thakur used a word in the Oriyan lan­guage, phaphad­iba, that meant, “You throw it away!” And what is being avoided and thrown away?

Krishna says, “Chodanāṁ pratichodanām, the inspir­a­tion given in the scrip­tures for fol­low­ing the per­fect evol­u­tion­ary vedic line, both the sruti and the smriti, that is to be avoided. Andpravṛttiṁ cha nivṛttiṁ cha, both your attach­ment and your detach­ment, leave them both. If you have attach­ment for some type of food, leave that type of food. If you have detach­ment from wealth, you leave behind that men­tal­ity also so whether wealth comes to you or not, you won’t care for that. Śrota­vyaṁ śrutam eva cha, what you have heard before, śrutam, and what you will hear in the future, śrota­vyam; what know­ledge you have gathered before and whatever know­ledge you may col­lect in the future—you should avoid all of it. Anything that you have heard or will hear other than the con­scious­ness of eternal ser­vice to Me, that you must leave behind and avoid.

“And what should you do? What should be your mood? Mām ekam eva śaraṇam Ātmānaṁ sarva-dehinām, sur­render to Me! Who am I? I am the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the Emporium of all rasa, an ecstatic ocean of rasa. All your neces­sity, everything, will be ful­filled when you come to Me, take shel­ter of Me and sur­render to Me, Mām ekam eva śaraṇam. And actu­ally you will not lose any­thing by that because I am all-in-all—I live in the heart of every­one. Not one jiva–soul can exist alone without My power, without Me.”

dvā suparṇā say­ujā sakhāyā

samānaṁ vṛkṣaṁ pariṣasvajāte

  (Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad4.6)

“I live with all the jiva–souls like a bird next to them on a tree branch and I watch all of their activ­ity. Ātmānaṁ sarva-dehinām yāhi sarvātma-bhāvena, so sur­render to Me! That means you will be fully occu­pied by Me. I am so power­ful. Sarva-kāraṇa-kāraṇam, I can do any­thing, everything, some­thing and nothing—all power is within Me, so you have noth­ing to fear.”

In this way Krishna expressed His revolu­tion­ary advice, “The laws, rules and reg­u­la­tions, the pro­ced­ures bene­fi­cial in the lives of prac­ti­tion­ers given in the Vedas, you can ignore all of it and come exclus­ively to My chan­nel, that is, sur­render to Me and serve.”

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Pure Sharanagati

Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj explains Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj’s defin­i­tion of shar­anagati given in Sri Sri Prapanna-jivanamritam.

The qualities of sharanagati have been identified in the scriptures,

ānukūlyasya saṅkalpaḥ, prātikūlyasya varjanam
rakṣiṣyatīti viśvāso, goptṛtve varaṇaṁ tathā
ātma-nikṣepa-kārpaṇye, ṣaḍ-vidhā śaraṇāgatiḥ
  (Sri Satvata-tantra: 73)

““Accepting everything favourable, rejecting everything unfavourable, being confident that Krishna will grant His protection, embracing Krishna’s guardianship, fully offering one’s self to Krishna, and feeling oneself to be lowly are the six aspects of sharanagati.”

Srila Guru Maharaj composed his Prapanna-jivanamritam according to these procedures for surrender that are given in the scriptures. I have read so many things about these qualities of sharanagati from so many places but what Srila Guru Maharaj has given is supreme. And in a shloka from his Prapanna-jivanamritam he has given us a very nice, clear explanation of sharanagati that is a perfect jewel you cannot find anywhere else. It is the most essential prescription given anywhere for everyone to enter the transcendental service world. If you can memorise just this one sloka and put it in your heart then you will receive everything ever given in any scripture.

bhagavad-bhaktitaḥ sarvam ity utsṛjya vidher api
kaiṅkaryaṁ kṛṣṇa-pādaikā-śrayatvaṁ śaraṇāgatiḥ
  (Sri Sri Prapanna-jivanamritam: 1.35)

Here Srila Guru Maharaj expressed that sharanagati means faith that Bhagavad-bhaktitah sarvam, that through devotion to Bhagavan, Krishna consciousness, you will get everything. Bhagavan means the Supreme Personality of Godhead Krishna who possesses all worshippable qualities—the Akhila-rasamrita-murtih, the Emporium of all rasa. So everything you want and need—rasa, ecstasy, joy, full nourishment, etc.—will automatically come to you through His service. Your life will be glorious, successful and perfect through devotion to Lord Krishna. And not only will you receive everything you need internally, but full facility to serve Krishna will also come to you.

vāsudeve bhagavati bhakti-yogaḥ prayojitaḥ
janayaty āśu vairāgyaṁ jñānaṁ cha yad ahaitukam
  (Srimad Bhagavatam: 1.2.7)

Automatically renunciation from this material world will come to you and spiritual knowledge will be revealed in your heart.

bhaktis tvayi sthiratarā bhagavan yadi syād
daivena naḥ phalati divya-kiśora-mūrtiḥ
muktiḥ svayaṁ mukulitāñjali sevate ’smān
dharmārtha-kāma-gatayaḥ samaya-pratīkṣāh
  (Sri Krishna-karnamrita: 107)

Moksha, liberation, will come to you with folded palms and ask, “What service shall I do for you?” Dharma, artha, and kam will wait by her side to assist you in your service of the Lord.

Through a mood of submissive surrender and devotion to Krishna everything will come to you. The Lord’s divine form and the prapanna-jivanamritam, the full nectar of a life of surrendered service, will appear in your heart. In this way we must understand that devotion for Krishna is all-in-all (Bhagavad-bhaktitah sarvam).

Then Srila Guru Maharaj said, ity utsrijya vidher api kainkaryam, even if we cannot follow so many rules and regulations written in the scriptures for the guidance of conditioned souls, even if we cannot follow the standards of vidhi-marga but we are surrendered to the Lord, then our devotional mood will purchase the Lord and we will get a good result.

This is one way of explaining Srila Guru Maharaj’s expression and it gives us much hope. But ity utsrijya vidher api kainkaryam also means that we must leave everything for Krishna. We must leave all of our mundane activity no doubt, but to exclusively worship Lord Krishna wholeheartedly we will also have to ignore the general rules and regulations given in the Vedas. We must fully surrender to Him: “I will utilise my full energy for Your service.” We must leave the service of all gods, demigods, demigoddesses, etc. Our only service target must be Krishna. When we can finally go beyond all types of formal religion and fully offer ourselves to Krishna He will give us entrance into such exclusive devotional life by giving us inspiration in our hearts.

yadā yasyānugṛhṇāti bhagavān ātma-bhāvitaḥ
sa jahāti matiṁ loke vede cha pariniṣṭhitām
  (Srimad Bhagavatam: 4.29.46)

“When the Lord affectionately bestows His causeless mercy upon His surrendered devotees they naturally give up all mundane activity and ignore vedic religious practices to engage in His service.”

bhagavad-bhaktitaḥ sarvam ity utsṛjya vidher api
kaiṅkaryaṁ kṛṣṇa-pādaikā-śrayatvaṁ śaraṇāgatiḥ
  (Sri Sri Prapanna-jivanamritam: 1.35)

So when a jiva-soul comes to this strong position of taking exclusive, unconditional shelter at the Supreme Personality of Godhead Krishna’s lotus feet with full chastity and sincerity, then he will be a pure sharanagata.

This is Srila Guru Maharaj’s explanation of pure sharanagati: Krishna-padaikasrayatvam, when a jiva-soul accepts Krishna’s lotus feet as his one and only shelter having faith that everything will be successful and fulfilled by His grace, and abandoning the shelter of vedic religion, demigods, selfish activity, etc., then he will be firmly surrendered.

So we must fully surrender to Lord Krishna and believe it! With that we will get super-benefit in our lives.

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I am Yours

Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj explains the sig­ni­fic­ance of offer­ing one­self unto the Lord whole­sale.

We can understand the seriousness of the mood of a genuine surrendered soul through the story of Vibhishan in the Ramayana. During the battle between Lord Ramchandra and Ravan, Vibhishan, the brother of Ravan, came to take shelter at the lotus feet of Lord Ramchandra. He prayed to Ramchandra, “I am here to take shelter at Your lotus feet, please accept me as Your own. I am Yours.”

Hanuman and other associates of Ramchandra were very angry when they heard this and heavily chastised Vibhishan. They thought that Vibhishan was a spy coming to harm Lord Ramchandra and they told Ramchandra, “Don’t give him shelter at Your lotus feet, he cannot be trusted.”

Then Ramchandra took a vow in front of everyone. You will find His vow expressed in this shloka from Prapanna-jivanamritam in the section on atma-nivedana, self-surrender.

sakṛd eva prapanno yas tavāsmīti cha yāchate
abhayaṁ sarvadā tasmai dadāmy etad vrataṁ mama
  (Ramayana: Yuddha-kanda, 18.33)

Lord Ramchandra vowed, “If anyone comes to Me and once says, ‘My dear Lord, I am Yours, I am taking shelter at Your lotus feet,’ I promise for all time to come that I will never leave him.”

Here Lord Ramchandra removes all possible fear from the hearts of the surrendered souls. He gives them 100% confidence and assurance that He will accept them as His own and never abandon them. He gives them the faith that He will forever take their charge.

So we can have full faith that if anyone will sincerely take shelter of the Lord He will never abandon them. Any and all circumstances may come to them but if they once sincerely surrendered to the Lord then they are permanently in the Lord’s charge. This is a very heavy thing.

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Krishna—Our Sole Proprietor

Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj describes the all-important role of Krishna in the life of a devotee.

It is Krishna Himself who gives us life and takes our life. No one else can give or take our life. So we do not need to be so fearful of our environment and association. How much can we actually protect ourselves? We have seen that Indira Gandhi was shot by her own bodyguard. Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated though he was a very pious man and dear to nearly everyone. So the only saviour of anyone’s life is Krishna. If Krishna wants us to be saved we will be saved, and if Krishna wants us to die then we will die. There is a saying in Bengali, rakhe Krishna mare ke, mare Krishna rakhe ke, “When Krishna protects you no one can kill you but when Krishna wants to kill you no one can protect you.” So the mood of the surrendered soul is,

mārabi rākhabi yo ichchhā tohārā
nitya-dāsa prati tuyā adhikārā
  (Sharanagati: 11.3)

“Krishna, You may kill me or protect me as You wish. You are the sole proprietor of Your eternal servant.”

This kind of submission and dedication is very valuable. Our real safety is found only in surrender and devotion. What Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur has explained is very serious; it is not easy to quickly catch this conception of full dedication to the Lord and full dependence upon His mercy. So we are considering some percentage in our devotion, someone may be 10% devoted, 20% devoted, 50% devoted, or 100% devoted.

The only obstacle to surrender and dedication is ego. If someone has no mundane ego they can easily connect with the transcendental plane and leave behind their mundane attachments. Everything mundane—our body, our possessions, etc.—is part of Maya’s illusory environment. It is temporary and does not belong to us. When our ego is bewildered by the illusory environment then our proper knowledge and consciousness of Krishna’s eternal service is covered by mundane attachment and that egotistic attachment creates a great obstruction between us and the Lord.

ahaṅkāra-nivṛttānāṁ, keśavo nahi dūragaḥ
ahaṅkāra-yutānāṁ hi, madhye parvata-rāśayaḥ
  (Brahma-vaivarta Purana: 3.9.9)

The scriptures explain that mundane ego is like a great mountain that blocks our contact with Krishna and His transcendental abode. But when our ego will disengage from the mundane then it is very easy for us to contact with the transcendental abode and feel the Lord’s guardianship. Tad dure tad v antike (Sri Isopanishad: 5), “The Lord is very far from us if we are not surrendered and dedicated. But the Lord is very to near us if we are surrendered and dedicated.”

Krishna is always with us, He lives in our heart in the form of Paramatma. From within our heart He observes everything we do and all the reactions we create for ourselves. Whenever we consciously surrender to Him and act according to our nature as His eternal servants He removes all of our karmic reactions, fills our hearts with happiness, joy, and beauty and gives us entrance into the ecstatic world of Goloka Vrindavan Dham.

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Mother Yashoda’s Surrender

Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj describes an ideal example of sur­render to Krishna.

Devotee: I have heard of two different analogies for surrender, marjjara-kisora-nyaya, the surrender of the kitten who is carried by his mother, and markata-kisora-nyaya, the surrender of the baby monkey who holds on to his mother. Which is the perfect example of surrender? Which example is the proper conclusion in the line of Krishna consciousness?

Srila Govinda Maharaj: Neither of these are perfect examples of surrender. We have seen cats carrying their kittens but we have also seen monkeys carrying their babies when they are sick. A baby kitten and a baby monkey are not actually surrendering to their mothers, they are simply continuing their lives in a natural way. A baby monkey naturally holds on to his mother and a mother-cat naturally protects her kitten. In these examples there is no consciousness, the baby and mother are simply living in a natural way.

We must surrender to the Lord with consciousness. A mood of surrender is what is actually necessary for us. We must always be consciously dependent on Krishna and fully surrendered to Him. And according to our understanding we must always try to satisfy Him with all of our energy.

Prabhu’s question actually is, “Who is responsible, the Lord or the jiva-soul?” The full responsibility is actually ours but when we try to approach Krishna He will also see us and help us.

Krishna has given us freedom and we have misused that, we have come into great difficulty and become bound by Maya. So it is now necessary for us to stop misusing our freedom and surrender wholeheartedly to Krishna. When Krishna sees that we are fully surrendered to Him He will be eager to take us out of our very low position, bring us to a high position and give us His service. If we sacrifice our freedom and surrender at His lotus feet then Krishna will see that and help us.

kṛṣṇa āmāya pāle rākhe jāna sarva-kāla
ātma-nivedana-dainye ghuchāo jañjāla
  (Śrī Prema-vivarta: 7.7)

Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur explained that if we humbly and fully surrender to Krishna with the mood that, “Krishna will always protect me,” then all obstacles and other obligations will be ousted from us by the grace of Krishna. We need this mood of perfect surrender.

The jiva-soul’s duty is to be active for the service of Krishna in a surrendered mood. Here is a perfect example of how Krishna bestows His mercy upon a surrendered soul:

sva-mātuḥ svinna-gātrāyā visrasta-kabara-srajaḥ
dṛṣṭvā pariśramaṁ kṛṣṇaḥ kṛpayāsīt sva-bandhane
  (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 10.9.18)

“When Krishna saw His mother was trying so hard to bind Him and becoming exhausted, when He saw that the flowers in her hair were falling down and her whole body was covered with sweat, He became merciful to her and allowed her to bind Him.”

Mother Jashoda tried so hard to bind Krishna with a rope, she tried many times and collected more and more rope each time but her rope always ended up two fingers too short and she failed to bind Krishna. Only after she tried so hard and became very tired did Krishna finally allow her to bind Him.

This is a perfect example. The jiva-souls will try as far as possible by them to satisfy the Lord and when even with their full eagerness they are not successful, then Krishna will come to help them. Krishna wants to see how much you will give of yourself to Him. He wants to see that you start out with a pure desire to satisfy Him, then He will respond to you. Depending upon how perfectly you start your approach to Krishna with a pure mood of surrender He will bestow His mercy upon you. In this way we can understand the process of surrender, sharanagati, in the line of Krishna consciousness.

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The Festival of His Lotus Feet

Srila Govinda Maharaj explains the final verse of Sri Sri Prapanna-jivanamritam, which joyfully expresses the heart of the surrendered soul.

Śrīla Guru Mahārāj composed a śloka that beautifully explains how we connect with the Lord and His service through the sādhu. This śloka is the very, very dearest and highest śloka for me in life. Still so much light comes to me from this śloka and I am fully satisfied with this śloka.

śrī-śrīmad-bhagavat-padāmbuja-madhu-svādotsavaiḥ ṣaṭ-padair

nikṣiptā madhu-bindavaś cha parito bhraṣṭa mukhāt guñjitaiḥ

yatnaiḥ kiñchid ihāhṛtāṁ nija-para-śreyo ’rthinā tan mayā

bhūyo-bhūya ito rajaṁsi pada-saṁlagnāni teṣaṁ bhaje

  (Śrī Śrī Prapanna-jīvanāmṛtam: 10.14)

When Śrīla Guru Mahārāj composed and finished his Prapanna-jīvanāmṛtam he wrote this śloka confessing, “What I have presented in Prapanna-jīvanāmṛtam is not my own property. I have actually only collected this ecstatic property from the devotees.”

His expression is: “Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who is the Sarva-kāraṇa-kāraṇam, the cause of all causes, who is the Parameśvara, the Supreme Controller, who is the Anādi-ādiḥ, the Origin who has no origin, and whose Name is Govinda—the super devotees are like bees always tasting the ecstatic, honey-like nectar of the lotus feet of that Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa.

“Just as a lotus is always full of nectar, the bee-like devotees are always collecting the nectar from the unlimited ocean of nectar that is the Lord’s lotus feet and tasting that through their super mood of devotion. As they taste that nectar they sing the glories of that nectar and they sing the glories of their Master Lord Kṛṣṇa. If anyone will taste honey and also sing at the same time, then naturally a few drops of honey must fall down from his mouth as remnants. So the devotees who ecstatically glorify their Lord, who are always drinking, drinking, drinking and intoxicatedly glorifying their Lord—so, many drops of nectar must fall from their mouths in all directions as they dance, drink and sing.

“Here in this book, Prapanna-jīvanāmṛtam, I have collected those many drops of eternal, transcendental ecstasy that are falling from the mouths of the Lord’s devotees as their mercy. For both myself and you all I have collected those falling drops of nectar and made a nice plate for everyone who has a tasting mood to taste that nectar and be supremely benefited. I am so grateful and indebted to all the devotees who glorify their Lord and taste the nectar of His lotus feet that here at the conclusion of my work, Prapanna-jīvanāmṛtam, I now bow down to all of them again and again.

“Bhūyo-bhūya ito rajaṁsi pada-saṁlagnāni teṣaṁ bhaje, again and again I glorify the lotus feet of all of these devotees: the devotees who collect nectar directly from the Lord’s lotus feet, the devotees who drink the nectar collected from the Lord’s lotus feet, the devotees who catch and distribute the drops of nectar which fall from the mouths of the devotees drinking the nectar collected from the Lord’s lotus feet, and the devotees who accept that nectar which is offered to them after it has been collected, tasted, dropped, caught and distributed. I take upon my head the dust of the feet of all of these devotees who are sincere and whose hearts are filled with divine hankering.”

In this way Śrīla Guru Mahārāj finished his composition, Śrī Śrī Prapanna-jīvanāmṛtam. More explanation of this śloka is possible, but shortly I have explained something. Through this you can understand the explanation of śaraṇāgati Śrīla Guru Mahārāj has given in his book as well as the conclusion of Śrī Chaitanya Mahāprabhu in His conversation with Rāmānanda Rāy—jīvanti san-mukharitāṁ bhavadīya-vārtām—that surrendered devotional life means always living on the remnants of the devotees who themselves live on the remnants of the Lord; always living on the mercy of the devotees who live on the mercy they receive from the Lord.

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Bhakti Tattva
Transcendental Service World

Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj’s encap­su­lates the essence of our teach­ings and high­lights the most import­ant guidelines for our prac­tising life (first pub­lished in Sri Gaudiya Darshan, 1995 Ratha Yatra Edition).

Our mater­ial life’s root is exist­ing in mis­con­cep­tion and through mis­con­cep­tion we are now suf­fer­ing in this mater­ial world, within the wave of death and birth.

Actually, everyone’s spir­itual form as ‘atma’ is very clean, and in that clean pos­i­tion his only duty is to serve in the tran­scend­ental ser­vice world to his dear­most Lord Krishna. There the ser­vice duties exist in vari­et­ies of ways. By the grace of hladini-shakti and through his earn­est, clean desire he gets a spe­cific ser­vice as appro­pri­ate for his devo­tional mood. That ser­vice comes within five forms of rela­tion­ship with his dear­most beloved Lord. That is the real and nor­mal pos­i­tion and ser­vice duty. Through that duti­ful mood, his eternal caste and creed auto­mat­ic­ally mani­fests within him. Actually all the healthy jiva souls are exist­ing within that tran­scend­ental devo­tional ser­vice plane, whereas the jiva souls here are liv­ing within the soci­ety of mis­con­cep­tion and need to take the oppor­tun­ity to render some ser­vice to Guru-Gauranga.

Attachment to Krishna can­not grow auto­mat­ic­ally within us and no one who is bound within mis­con­cep­tion can give it to us. Then, your activ­it­ies must be for increas­ing your mood of devo­tion, and to do that you must fol­low the nine kinds of devo­tional pro­cesses (sravanam,kir­tanam…) and also try to engage your self and mind for the sat­is­fac­tion of the Vaishnavs.

The nature of the mundane world is: tak­ing birth, suf­fer­ing in so many ways, death; birth, suf­fer­ing, and death—repeatedly. It is only pos­sibly to leave this mis­con­cep­tion by get­ting the good devotees’ mer­ci­ful con­nec­tion and through that ‘elec­tri­city’ we will get our real bene­fi­cial exal­ted ser­vice life. This is the main thing, and all scrip­tures show this. What more can I say!

The Srimad Bhagavatam said that we can­not be suc­cess­ful through our own endeav­our, it is only pos­sible through the sadhus’ grace and the grace of Sri Gurudev. For that pur­pose and by the Lord’s grace He appears in the form of Sadhu-Guru for uplift­ing the con­di­tioned souls. For the Lord’s con­nec­tion we will con­nect with His agent in the form of sadhu and guru.

Here all the duties, like the rivers’ flow, must be dir­ec­ted to flow into the ocean of ecstasy  to Krishna—this is the main thing.

Srila Rupa Goswami, in his Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu (Purva-vibhaga, 2.125), gave:

anā­sak­tasya viṣayān yathārham-upayuñjataḥ

nirb­andhaḥ kṛṣṇa-sambandhe yuktaṁ vairāgyam uchy­ate

Try to detach your­self from mundane affairs and mater­ial neces­sit­ies. Living within this mundane envir­on­ment some neces­sit­ies and require­ments will come; take them in a har­mon­ising way for the peace and main­ten­ance of your body and mind. To become detached try to see everything in rela­tion to Krishna and use everything for His ser­vice. Make the focus of all your activ­it­ies ser­vice to Sri Krishna—that is sadhana.

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Bhakti: The Essence of Yoga

Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj’s explains the fun­da­mental theme of Srimad Bhagavad-gita.

Everything about yoga and spiritual life is concisely explained in Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā. In Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā Kṛṣṇa took the form of a Jagad-Guru, universal teacher, and gave transcendental knowledge to the whole world.

In the beginning of Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā Arjuna surrenders to Kṛṣṇa wholeheartedly. He prays, “My Lord, I am fully surrendering to You now. I do not know and I cannot understand what is good or what is bad for me. Please reveal transcendental knowledge in my heart.”

Then Kṛṣṇa took His chair as Arjuna’s Guru and enlightened Arjuna with transcendental knowledge in a very clear and broad way. In the 700 ślokas of Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā everything is explained; all types of knowledge and yoga are explained by Kṛṣṇa Himself in His form as Jagad-Guru.

The Scripture Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā is Vedavyās’s record of Kṛṣṇa’s instructions to His dear-most friend Arjuna. But Arjuna was actually an instrument used by Kṛṣṇa to express the essence of yoga and transcendental knowledge to the whole world. Kṛṣṇa actually spoke Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā for the benefit of the conditioned souls of this world and we see now how famous Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā is all over the world.

If anyone will read Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā and try to follow Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s advice and instructions as though Kṛṣṇa is his own Guru then he must be benefited. If anyone fully surrenders to Kṛṣṇa in this way Kṛṣṇa will never cheat him. Rather, Kṛṣṇa will always be merciful to him, and all obstacles will be removed from his spiritual life.

In the early portion of Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā Kṛṣṇa explains that yoga means practices for progress in life, practices for sympathetic and harmonious dealings with nature. Kṛṣṇa begins His explanation of yoga by giving inspiration to everyone to avoid selfish karma and instead take up yoga. Kṛṣṇa says,

dūreṇa hy avaraṁ karma buddhi-yogād dhanañjaya

buddhau śaraṇam anvichchha kṛpaṇāḥ phala-hetavaḥ

  (Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā: 2.49)

‘“You are an eternal jīva-soul, you have natural capacity for thinking, feeling and willing and you cannot avoid those aspects of your existence. If you use your natural conscious property to wrongly exploit the material nature you will not be fulfilled by that; you will be a miser destined to suffer helplessly in material existence. By your nature you are always active, so do something positive, otherwise you will always be the cause of harm to yourself and others.”

In this śloka Kṛṣṇa encourages everyone to do something positive by taking up buddhi-yoga, the yoga of wisdom. Buddhi-yoga is the first form of yoga mentioned in Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā and buddhi-yoga is the basis of all the forms of yoga Kṛṣṇa goes on to describe in Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā: karma-yoga, jñāna-yoga, haṭha-yoga, dhyāna-yoga, abhyāsa-yoga, bhakti-yoga, etc.

Kṛṣṇa explains,

buddhi-yukto jahātīha ubhe sukṛta-duṣkṛte

tasmād yogāya yujyasva yogaḥ karmasu kauśalam

  (Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā: 2.50)

“A wise person engaged in buddhi-yoga abstains from both good and bad actions in this world and simply engages in yoga because, yogaḥ karmasu kauśalam, yoga is the art of all activities.”

So buddhi-yoga is a very wide idea, it is the basis of yoga itself and all other forms of yoga are expressions of buddhi-yoga.

Krishna gave His guid­ance to the con­di­tioned souls in dif­fer­ent stages through­out Srimad Bhagavad-gita. Krishna presen­ted all know­ledge, from karma-yoga, to jnana-yoga to ashtanga-yoga, to bring all the dif­fer­ent jiva–souls whose minds and men­tal­it­ies are attrac­ted in dif­fer­ent ways, to the devo­tional plat­form. But finally He showed His greatest mercy in His very nice and very happy con­clu­sion. He said,

sarva-guhyatamaṁ bhūyaḥ śṛṇu me paramaṁ vachaḥ

iṣṭo ’si me dṛḍham iti tato vakṣyāmi te hitam

  (Srimad Bhagavad-gita18.64)

“Because you are so dear to Me I will now tell you the most hid­den treas­ure of all I have to share with you. Hear My advice with full faith and determ­in­a­tion and you must be super-benefited.”

man-manā bhava mad-bhakto mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru

mām evaiṣyasi satyaṁ te pratijāne priyo ’si me

  (Srimad Bhagavad-gita18.65)

“Because you are very dear to Me I am telling you very clearly, ‘I am the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Whatever you do, do it for Me. Think of Me always, devote your­self to Me, wor­ship Me and bow to Me, and surely you will come to Me; your whole account will come to Me. I prom­ise you this, because you are dear to Me. Other prac­tices will not be truly fruit­ful for you. But the prac­tice of bhakti-yoga must be fully fruit­ful for you and that fruit will give you supreme benefit.’”

Within bhakti-yoga all the rules and reg­u­la­tions of the vari­ous forms of yoga merge together for the sat­is­fac­tion of Krishna. In bhakti-yoga the action, the res­ult, everything, goes to Krishna. Here we find the full mean­ing of buddhi-yoga, the yoga of wis­dom, and yogaḥ karmasu kauśalam, “Yoga is the art of all activ­ity.” That is, through bhakti-yoga, everything is per­fectly adjus­ted for the sat­is­fac­tion of Krishna.

There are eight­een chapters in Srimad Bhagavad-gita and extern­ally they are named Karma-yoga,Jnana-yoga, etc. But what is actu­ally inside those chapters? We see that within all eight­een chapters of Srimad Bhagavad-gita the fully enlightened form of Krishna con­scious­ness expressed as bhakti-yoga is present. All the other forms of yoga—karma, jnana, etc.—are actu­ally depend­ent on bhakti-yoga.

ei saba sadhan­era ati tuchchha bala

krishna-bhakti vina taha dite nare phala

  (Sri Chaitanya-charitamritaMadhya-lila22.18)

“Without the pres­ence of devo­tion, that is, Krishna-bhakti, the prac­tices of karma, jnana, etc. will not be fruit­ful. They have no real power to act alone.”

In every chapter of Srimad Bhagavad-gita Krishna con­nects the jiva–souls’ activ­ity within the dif­fer­ent forms of yoga with bhakti, devo­tion. And the res­ults the jiva–souls may get from the vari­ous lower forms of yoga—karma-yoga, jnana-yoga, etc.—are actu­ally pro­duced by the pres­ence of bhakti within those prac­tices. So the prac­tices of karma-yogajnana-yoga, etc. are actu­ally mixed with bhakti-yoga.

The main heart of all the jiva–souls’ spir­itual activ­ity is always bhakti-yoga. Everything Krishna explained in Srimad Bhagavad-gita from begin­ning to end, is actu­ally about bhakti-yoga. This also means that noth­ing within Srimad Bhagavad-gita can be ignored, every chapter is import­ant for every­one, includ­ing those who prac­tise bhakti-yoga.

I have been read­ing Srimad Bhagavad-gita all my life as well as prac­tising bhakti-yoga, and through that I have under­stood that everything within Srimad Bhagavad-gita is import­ant for every­one. I have read Srimad Bhagavad-gita so many times and every time I read it new mean­ing comes to me. But the gen­eral mean­ings of the slo­kas do not become sup­pressed either, rather more and more mean­ings con­tinue to over­flow, and I am so sat­is­fied with that. From deep to deeper to deep­est, everything is presen­ted in Srimad Bhagavad-gita. It is neces­sary for every­one to read Srimad Bhagavad-gita every day attent­ively. Day by day I am more and more enthu­si­astic to preach the con­cep­tion taught in Srimad Bhagavad-gita because it is very essen­tial for the primary reli­gious edu­ca­tion of all people.

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Rare Dedication

Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj describes the atti­tude of a pro­gress­ive practitioner.

When you feel, “I am not making any progress,” then we can say that you have something. If you have not made any progress, you could not have expressed this. To express that you have nothing shows that you have some property, that you have some understanding of what you are trying to attain. What is Vaishnavism? Sriman Mahaprabhu showed its highest position,

na prema-gandho ’sti darapi me harau
krandami saubhagya-bharam prakasitum
  (Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita: Madhya-lila, 2.45) 

“I do have not even a little bit of Krishna-prema. I have no Krishna-prema, yet sometimes I cry. Why? I cry to show others how much love for Krishna I have. Actually I have no attachment to Krishna.”

Prema means the deepest form of attachment. One who can feel it, who has it, can say, “I have nothing.” That is, he can understand what is what: what is illusion, what is chaos, and what is smoke. One who has knowledge of what is real can say what is smoke and what is chaos. So you must have some knowledge if you can say, “I have nothing. I have made no progress.”

To hear such expressions is good news. Guru Maharaj sometimes told the devotee this.

Everyone will not be perfect. It is the truth. In Bhagavad-gita it is said,

bahunam janmanam ante jnanavan mam prapadyate
vasudevah sarvam iti sa mahatma sudurlabhah
  (Srimad Bhagavad-gita: 7.19)

“Amongst millions of people it is very rare to find one with Krishna-prema.”

Still, it is necessary to try: to try, and try again. What else is there to do? All other pursuits in the mundane world are meaningless. Everything is nothing here. That is why it is called maya. Maya means ‘no-thing’. Everything we see in the mundane world is illusion.

Illusion is one of Krishna’s powers. Krishna power of illusion is called maya. Conditioned souls are attacked by maya, but Krishna also tries to help them with His advice. If we follow that, we must arise from maya.

When someone sees his friend fighting with a dacoit or tiger in a dream, he tries to awaken his friend. Then his friend sees, “Yes. It was a dream. There is no danger.” Krishna’s advice for us, as found in Srimad Bhagavad-gita and other scriptures, is like this.

Everyone must try follow it. There is no other way. Srila Rupa Goswami explained how to try in one of his verses, which I put on Srila Guru Maharaj’s temple.

virachaya mayi dandam dina-bandho dayam va
gatir iha na bhavattah kachid anya mamasti
nipatatu sata-kotir nirmalam va navambhas
tad api kila payodah stuyate chatakena
  (Stavamala)

“The chataka bird waits from rain drops from the clouds. It does not drink any other water. I am waiting like a chataka bird for You to be merciful to me. I will not accept medicine or food or anything from anywhere else. I shall wait for Krishna to be merciful to me; I do not want anything else. Many things may be very valuable, but I do not want them. Both rain and lighting bolts can come from the sky; I shall wait for rain even if there is the danger of lightning. Like a chataka bird, I am looking for only the ecstasy of Krishna‘s mercy.”

We shall try in this way. We do not want anything else; we want only the Lord’s mercy.

Birth after birth we are running in this mundane world, and running after illusion. When we have got some sense in this life, we must try to keep ourselves apart from the illusion. That is our only duty now. Still, it is necessary to maintain our mundane life. So we shall do so only for that cause. Why we are living? Why are we alive? For Krishna’s service. That is why we are alive. Otherwise, it is not necessary to live in this world.

yajna-sishtasinah santo muchyante sarva-kilbishaih
bhunjate te tv agham papa ye pachanty atma-karanat
  (Srimad Bhagavad-gita: 3.13)

If we do anything for ourselves, those actions will be sins. Only what we do for Krishna will be service and devotion. So we must maintain ourselves for Krishna’s service. We must try to maintain our lives in that way.

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Viraha
The Extremes of Separation

Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj explains the depth of Srila Madhavendra Puripad’s final verse.

Srimati Radharani’s most extreme mood of vipralambha is expressed in this shloka,

ayi dīna-dayārdra nātha he

mathurā-nātha kadāvaloky­ase

hṛdayaṁ tvad-aloka-kātaraṁ

day­ita bhrāmy­ati kiṁ karomy aham

  (Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita: Madhya-lila, 4.197)

Her mood here is like someone who was extremely wealthy but lost all of Her wealth and now has no prop­erty at all. Ayi dina-dayardra Natha he, She can­not feel Her own prop­erty and is call­ing out to Krishna as though She is very, very poor.

devī kṛṣṇa-mayī proktā rād­hikā para-devatā

sarva-lakṣmī-mayī sarva-kāntiḥ sam­mo­hinī parā

  (Brihad-Gautamiya-tantra)

Radharani is the supreme pro­pri­etor of everything—all love, beauty, charm, attach­ment, wealth, and so on. But in sep­ar­a­tion from Krishna She feels She has noth­ing. She can­not feel Her own wealth due to the intens­ity of Her feel­ings of sep­ar­a­tion from Krishna.

She gives up everything, express­ing Her feel­ings to Krishna: “You are My dear­most and I can­not tol­er­ate Your sep­ar­a­tion. But I can­not say that fully, because I am not get­ting any hope from You. My dear friend, You have not given Me the wealth of any hope. Ayi dina-dayardra Natha, You are so mer­ci­ful to who­ever is very poor. Can’t You see Me in front of You? I am very, very poor!

“He Mathuranatha, before, You were Vrindavaneshvar, You were Raseshvar, You were Radha Raman—You were the Lord of Vrindavan who filled My heart with joy in our intim­ate rela­tion­ship. You were whole­sale part of Vrindavan-lila with Myself and all the Vraja-gopis. But now You have left and become the king of Mathura Mandal. Now You are Mathuranath, the Lord of Mathura; not Vrindavananath, the Lord of Vrindavan. What can I say? Kadavalokyase, I want to see You. At least I want to see You. Hridayam Tvad-aloka-kataram, not see­ing You has given so much pain to Me, so much pain in My heart. Dayita bhramy­ati kim karomy Aham, what shall I do now? I do not know; I feel there is noth­ing I can do. But I also can­not tol­er­ate Your sep­ar­a­tion. Feeling such extreme sep­ar­a­tion from You, I can­not leave My body, but I also can­not stay within My body.”

This shloka is the heart-expression of Radharani.

mahābhāva-svarūpā śrī-rādhā-ṭhākurāṇī

sarva-guṇa-khani kṛṣṇa-kāntā-śiromaṇi

  (Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Adi-lila, 4.69)

“Radharani is Mahabhav Herself, She is the supreme ser­vitor of Krishna.”

Who can express what is in Her heart? Who can feel and express Radharani’s deep­est, hope­less mood of separation?

ei śloka kahiyāch­hena rādhā-ṭhākurāṇī

tā̐ra kṛpāya sphur­iyāchhe mādhavendra-vāṇī

  (Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita: Madhya-lila, 4.194)

Only She Herself could reveal the full depth of Her mood of sep­ar­a­tion from Krishna. And by Her grace only, Her heart’s expres­sion mani­fes­ted in this world through the heart of Madhavendra Puri. Madhavendra Puri tasted Radharani’s ecstatic mood of sep­ar­a­tion through this shloka, ayi dina-dayardra Natha he, as he depar­ted from this world.

śeṣa-kāle ei śloka paṭhite paṭhite

siddhi-prāpti haila purīra ślokera sahite

  (Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita: Madhya-lila, 4.196)

When Madhavendra Puri was leav­ing his body he con­stantly recited this shloka and expressed its mean­ing. Later, Mahaprabhu Sri Chaitanyadev tasted Radharani’s heart-expression through this shloka of Madhavendra Puri.

In Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita it is described that when Mahaprabhu vis­ited the temple of Gopinath in Remuna He was over­come with the mood of vipralambha expressed in this shloka.He recited this shloka only once or twice and then was unable to speak any further.

‘ayi dīna, ayi dīna’ bale bāra-bāra

kaṇṭhe nā niḥsare vāṇī, netre aśru-dhāra

  (Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita: Madhya-lila, 4.201)

He could only say, “Ayi dina! Ayi dina! I am so poor, I have noth­ing!” Over and over again this was all He could say. Then, cry­ing in this mood of vipralambha, He fain­ted and fell to the floor in the temple of Gopinath.

kibā gaur­achandra ihā kare āsvādana

ihā āsvādite āra nāhi chauṭha-jana

  (Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita: Madhya-lila, 4.195)

“Mahaprabhu tasted the mean­ing of this shloka and in that way opened the door of Krishna-prem. But no fourth man in this mundane world has tasted this shloka like that. Only Radharani Herself, Madhavendra Puri, and Mahaprabhu Sri Chaitanyadev have tasted the mean­ing of this shloka.”

This shloka and the descrip­tion of its mani­fest­a­tion in this world is expressed by Srila Krishna Das Kaviraj Goswami in his Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita. So we can also say that Krishna Das Kaviraj Goswami him­self has given us this shloka. Through his Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita we are get­ting this shloka and he him­self is telling us that no one else can under­stand this shloka’smean­ing. Kaviraj Goswami means that the deep­est mean­ings of this shloka can­not be opened by anyone.

But Kaviraj Goswami him­self opened a door to this shloka for us through His Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita. He did not open every door though; He opened one door and gave some nour­ish­ment to oth­ers through that. There are many other doors to this shloka and he said, “Now I am not telling any more, and what will be will be.” So we can say that he knows the mean­ing of the shloka per­fectly and that he is the fourth man who can taste it, because he knows and is telling us that no one else can taste its meaning.

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Karma
Rebirth

Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj describes the exper­i­ence of being reborn and Maya’s power over the soul.

When a departed soul’s karma is finished he must again take birth. This is the law. He will not be able to avoid it. It will happen suddenly as though in the meantime. The waves of janma-mrityu, birth and death, will come and take him forcefully to his birth. He will be knocked senseless and forced down to the ground of the earth. Unconsciously he will take on the form of a tree or plant and then a fruit. From the fruit he will move into the body of a human, or animal, or insect according to the reactions of his karma. If his next body due is a human body he will take the form of some rice or some food, and in this way move into the body of his future father. From his father’s body he will move into the womb of his mother’s body.

Sometimes when a jiva soul is in the womb of his mother his consciousness will suddenly come back to him and he will see his own form as an atma, soul, and he will see that the Paramatma, Supreme Soul, is living with him. Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur has expressed this experience and feeling of such a jiva soul within the womb.

 jananī-jaṭhare,                chhilāma yakhana,

                    viṣama bandhana-pāśe

eka-bāra prabhu!            dekhā diyā more,

                    vañchile e dīna dāse

      (Sharanagati: 2.2)

“While I was bound in the terrible confines of my mother’s womb, You once revealed Yourself to me, oh Lord! Yet since then You have deprived this poor servant.”

Not everyone receives this consciousness or feeling in the womb but Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur has expressed it in one of his songs.

When the jiva soul is living in the womb of his mother he has some general consciousness and feelings. When the jiva soul’s body and senses form within the womb, his awareness begins to come back to him, though it is not so strong, after being knocked senseless by the waves of birth and death. But when he is born and comes out from his mother’s womb he forgets everything. His next life begins from that moment. After birth, the jiva soul loses all memory of his previous experience, and his karma provides him with opportunities in his future in this life.

In this way the waves of janma-mrityu, birth and death, are always flowing throughout this mundane world and the jiva souls revolve through the passing show of material existence.

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Entering Transcendental Time and Space

Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj explains how engaging in Hari-katha liberates one from the bondage of time and karma.

Time is infinite, and in this mundane world we see that time does not wait for any one. It is always passing. In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam we find,

āyur harati vai puṁsām udyann astaṁ cha yann asau

tasyarte yat-kṣaṇo nīta uttama-śloka-vārtayā

  (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 2.3.17)

“The rising and setting of the Sun decreases duration of everyone’s life, except those who utilise their time by dedicating themselves to the message of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”

Every day the sun rises and the sun sets. It is not a happy thing. We want to enjoy with the Sun and enjoy with the moon, but we cannot. They are simply a passing show. Each day they pass by us, and a day from our lifetime is subtracted. The meaning of the Sun rising and the Sun setting is that another day has been stolen from our lifetime. We cannot control Time, and day by day our lifetime passes, day after day is withdrawn from our lifetime’s account. If our son turns six years old, that means that six years have been subtracted from his lifetime.

Time is always passing in this way and does not wait for us. So, we can understand that this world is a passing show. Everything that happens is taken by Time and will never come back. This means we cannot wait, and it is best if instead we try to do something with our time. Whenever we get an opportunity must try to do something.

Time is known as samaya, but Time is also known as Kāl, the Lord of Time. And other names of Kāl are Yama, Yamarāj, the Lord of Death, and Dharmarāj, the Lord of Justice. All time is recorded in the office of Yamarāj. What I am doing at every second is recorded there. Now we can record things with computers, but Chitra-Gupta’s kāthā, the account book of Yamarāj, automatically records everything—what millions and billions of jīva-souls are doing at every moment. Yamarāj’s account book records everything we do and everything we do not do. According to that record we receive the results of our activities. Depending on our activities, the results sometimes come to us very quickly and sometimes later, but in no way can we avoid our karma.

Yet here Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is said,

tasyarte yat-kṣaṇo nīta uttama-śloka-vārtayā

  (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 2.3.17)

This means that all time is counted in Chitra Gupta’s account-book except the time which we spend in the service to Śrī Śrī Guru-Gaurāṅga Gāndharvā-Govindasundar, in the service of the Lord and His beloved devotees. That time is not stolen by Kāl, the Lord of Time. We do not lose that time. Rather we get transcendental benefit by using it in the Lord’s service. That time is not taken into account by Yamarāj. It is registered in the account of Vaikuṇṭhaloka, the spiritual world. And once that time is recorded there the results of that time come to us in a transcendental way and take us from the jurisdiction of Yamarāj to Vaikuṇṭhaloka. At that time the whole account Yamarāj has for us becomes insignificant. So transcendental service is the perfect use of our time. When we listen to Hari-kathā (the glorification of the Supreme Lord) immediately our whole account here is closed and everything goes into the account of Vaikuṇṭhaloka.

In another place in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is it written:

tāvat karmāṇi kurvīta na nirvidyeta yāvat

āmat-kathā-śravaṇādau vā śraddhā yāvan na jāyate

  (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam: 11.20.9)

Until the time when we fully dedicate ourselves to the service and glorification of Lord Hari we will do karma in this mundane world. Tāvat, ‘until that time’, means until that time when we engage ourselves attentively to hear Kṛṣṇa-kathā. Only then will all the karma we do in this mundane world be demolished. Then our account will merge with the Lord‘s account. Transferring ourselves into the Lord’s jurisdiction is known as bhakti-yoga.

Devotees have no personal account with Yamarāj, yet they do keep an account for themselves, “I am doing this, I am doing that,” like a progress report. “How much of the time within the last twelve hours have I spent for the service of Kṛṣṇa? And what kind of service have I done?” The devotees keep this type of account for themselves. But actually their account merges into the account of Kṛṣṇa and no reaction comes to them for their service.

tasyarte yat-kṣaṇo nīta uttama-śloka-vārtayā

  (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 2.3.17)

It is necessary to spend our time for the service of Guru-Vaiṣṇava in this way. That is the advice of all the Scriptures, saints, Vaiṣṇavas, Gurus, and finally Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself. Time cannot take away what we use in the service of Kṛṣṇa’s dearmost eternal servitor—Śrī Gurudev. No one can take that time away from us, not the Sun, or the moon, or anyone, and that time can give us the super-benefit of our life. So, our time is that type of chance in front of us.

āyur harati vai puṁsām udyann astaṁ cha yann asau

tasyarte yat-kṣaṇo nīta uttama-śloka-vārtayā

  (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 2.3.17)

Thus, time is passing, shortening the life of everyone, but one who dedicates themselves to the service of Kṛṣṇa under the guidance of Guru-Vaiṣṇava (Uttama-śloka-vārtayā) transcends the bondage of time and realises the perfection of life.

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Srila Rupa Goswami Prabhu
The Way

Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj explains the application of Srila Narottam Das Thakur’s Sri Rupa Manjari Pada to the practice of Guru-bhakti.

We have got our divine master … that is our great fortune. Mercifully Narottam Ṭhākur has given this clue to us:

 

śrī rūpa-mañjarī-pada,      sei mora sampada,

      sei mora bhajana-pūjana

sei mora prāṇa-dhana,      sei mora ābharaṇa,

      sei mora jīvanera jīvana

        (Prārthanā: 16.1)

We cannot believe how dependent the disciple is upon his Gurudev. We can understand the position of Gurudev through this song. Narottam Dās Ṭhākur has actually showed us the way, the path of our line and life. That is, if we are surrendered to our Guru, everything will be set right and we will get everything by his divine mercy.

 

śrī rūpa-mañjarī-pada,      sei mora sampada

      sei mora bhajana-pūjana

This is Narottam Ṭhākur’s supreme song and supreme expression. Through this song, he has given us the indication, “Go that way.”

It is always necessary to remain under guidance of Śrī Gurudev. All the Āchāryas in our sampradāya have shown us this process. Specially, Śrīla Narottam Dās Ṭhākur has very clearly given this instruction. And he has not only given it, he has shown his own position also—that without the mercy of Rūpa Goswāmī he has nothing to get from Rādhārāṇī or Kṛṣṇa. He told that Śrī Rūpa-mañjarī is the leader of all the mañjarīs and if Śrī Rūpa-mañjarī is merciful to us then we will get everything in the service world. This is the situation.

Śrī Rūpa-mañjarī is a very close servitor of Lalitādevī. She is junior to Lalitādevī and she is very very dear to Lalitādevī. She does not know anything except Lalitādevī. Without the consent of Lalitādevī she does not do anything for Rādhārāṇī’s service.

We can understand this type of chastity through Narottam Ṭhākur’s song about Rūpa Mañjarī.

 

śrī rūpa-mañjarī-pada,      sei mora sampada,

      sei mora bhajana-pūjana

The gist of Narottam Ṭhākur’s expression is, “My everything, my existence, is the service of Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī. I can leave everything, but I can never leave the lotus feet of Rūpa Goswāmī.”

 

Śrī Rūpa-mañjarī-pada, sei mora sampada, sei mora bhajana-pūjana: the lotus feet of Rūpa Mañjarī are my wealth, my service, my worship. I worship Rūpa Mañjarī’s lotus feet, not Rādhārāṇī, not Kṛṣṇa. Sei mora prāṇa-dhana, sei mora ābharaṇa, sei mora jīvaner jīvan: the lotus feet of Rūpa Mañjarī are my ornament, the life of my life. Sei mora rasa-nidhi, sei mora vāñchhā siddhi, sei mora vedera dharam. Sei vrata sei tapa sei mora mantra jāpa: the lotus feet of Rūpa Mañjarī are  my vow and my religious austerity. They are my mantram: “I shall worship the lotus feet of Rūpa Mañjarī.” Anukūla habe vidhi se pade haibe siddhi: by the grace of my fortune, I shall join with those lotus feet. This is the expression of that song.

 

Śrī Rūpa-mañjarī-pada is the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava Sampradāya’s chief, most honourable song and it is very very dear to the devotees because every devotee wants to serve Lalitā Devī under guidance of Rūpa Mañjarī and be engaged by Lalitā Devī and Rūpa Mañjarī in the service of Rādhārāṇī.

Our Param Gurudev, Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākur, always follows the line of Rūpa Goswāmī, the order of Rūpa Goswāmī and focuses on the satisfaction of Rūpa Goswāmī. The target is Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa’s service, but service exclusively under the order of Rūpa Goswāmī Prabhu and with the full consent of Lalitā Devī. That is our line.

 

śrī rūpa-mañjarī-pada,      sei mora sampada,

      sei mora bhajana-pūjana

Who knows the meanings of this song, he can understand what is inside there. There is given all the property of devotion in madhura-rasa. If we want to enter in madhura-rasa then must we follow the proper guidelines and Śrī Rūpa-mañjarī is giving that to us. And without Rūpa-mañjarī’s mercy, we will not get it, Narottam Ṭhākur has told us.

That is the main preceptorial line of Śrī Chaitanya Mahāprabhu. Mahāprabhu established Rūpa Goswāmī in His big assembly in the presence of Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭāchārya, Advaita Āchārya, Svarūp Dāmodar, Rāmānanda Rāy, Sanātan Goswāmī, etc. So many qualified principle pillars were there, the Pañcha-Tattva, etc. There in front of everyone He blessed Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī. It is written in Chaitanya-charitāmṛta, you will see it. He Himself blessed Rūpa Goswāmī no doubt, but He also told the others, Svarūp Dāmodar, Rāmānanda Rāy, and the other Vaiṣṇavas who were His extreme followers, Mahāprabhu said to them, “You all give your blessings to Śrī Rūpa.”

In this way Rūpa Goswāmī became enriched with Mahāprabhu’s property, principle conception, and everything. Rūpa Goswāmī Prabhu gave everything to Jīva Goswāmī and others. In this way the preceptorial line came down up to Śrīla Guru Mahārāj and we are all followers of Śrīla Guru Mahārāj. So we are so fortunate. This is the super position in spiritual life. And when you all will read or you all will hear from qualified Vaiṣṇavas, you will understand that. You are newcomers at least I can say, but with the association of Vaiṣṇavas you will become more qualified day by day and your faith, attachment, love and dedication will increase day by day. This is the principle of Śrī Chaitanya Sāraswat Maṭh.

Our preceptorial line is the Rūpānuga line. We are all so fortunate that we have got connection with Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī, Śrī Rūpa Mañjarī in Kṛṣṇa-līlā, through Śrīla Guru Mahārāj and Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākur.

When Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākur was going to disappear, before that he gave us this property of the devotional world, this property in the line of pure devotion, by ordering Śrīla Guru Mahārāj to sing Śrī Rūpa-mañjarī-pada sei mora sampada. Before joining into the Pastimes of Kṛṣṇa, Prabhupād Saraswatī Ṭhākur wanted to remember very clearly his position in those Pastimes. For that he asked Śrīla Guru Mahārāj to sing and he was very happy to hear Guru Mahārāj sing that song.

Through that song Śrī Rūpa-mañjarī-pada, sei mora sampada Prabhupād Saraswatī Ṭhākur transmitted his power to Śrīla Guru Mahārāj. Later Śrīla Guru Mahārāj himself would sing that song every year and when he could not sing, he would order me, “Govinda Mahārāj, you sing this song.” That is my good fortune no doubt and I am feeling blessed by him through this song when we are singing this song every year. Today is a very special day for singing Śrī Rūpa-mañjarī pada. I am singing by the order of Guru Mahārāj every time in Chaitanya Sāraswat Maṭh year after year and today also I want to sing that song with you all and try to satisfy Śrīla Guru Mahārāj, Oṁ Viṣṇupād Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣak Śrīdhar Dev-Goswāmī.

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Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur
The Worship of Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur

Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj explain­s Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur’s con­nec­tion with Srila Gadadhar Pandit and his wor­ship of Sri Sri Gaura-Gadadhar in Nadia-lila.

Today is the dis­ap­pear­ance day of Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur and I will try to glor­ify Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur a little. When Srila Guru Maharaj was in Sri Gaudiya Math, some years after he took sannyas, he com­posed a Sanskrit poem in remem­brance of Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur, the Bhakti Vinod Viraha Dashakam. Srila Guru Maharaj did not first com­pose any­thing about Srila Saraswati Thakur. He wanted to attract Srila Saraswati Thakur, so he first com­posed some­thing about Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur. He offered his poem to the hand of Srila Saraswati Thakur, and Srila Saraswati Thakur began scru­tin­ising the poem very closely. But after read­ing three or four verses, Srila Saraswati Thakur for­got his scru­tiny and said, “It is writ­ten in a very happy style.” After read­ing the whole poem Srila Saraswati Thakur very hap­pily respon­ded, “After me there will be someone in this world who can per­fectly carry Mahaprabhu’s flag in the line of the Rupanuga sampra­daya. Seeing this, I am very happy.” From that day Prabhupad Saraswati Thakur changed his vis­ion of Srila Guru Maharaj whole­sale and later he examined Srila Guru Maharaj many times. Srila Saraswati Thakur was very happy to see that the line of the Guru-parampara would continue.

In the Bhakti Vinod Viraha Dashakam Srila Guru Maharaj expressed everything about Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur in a very con­cise way. Later, Srila Guru Maharaj said, “This poem was the reason I was given charge of the Rupanuga sampra­daya.” The last verse is very nice.

kva­ham manda-matis tv ativa-patitah kva tvam jagat-pavanah

bho svamin krpayaparadha-nichayo nunam tvaya ksamyatam

yache ’ham karuna-nidhe! varam imam padabja-mule bhavat

sarvvasvavadhi-radhika-dayita-dasanam gane gan­yatam

  (Srimad Bhakti Vinod Viraha Dashakam: 10)

“Who am I? I am a very unfor­tu­nate con­di­tioned soul. I am a very fallen soul but you are a Patit Pavan, a Vaishnava Thakur [a great Vaishnava who is a saviour of the fallen]. If I have made any offences in com­pos­ing these verses, please for­give me. I pray at your lotus feet for the boon that I will have the strength needed to fol­low your dear­most, Srila Saraswati Thakur, and carry out his orders as his dear asso­ci­ate. In this way I pray that you count me as a mem­ber of your sampradaya.”

Srila Guru Maharaj said that as Prabhupad Saraswati Thakur was read­ing this verse he first noticed that Srila Guru Maharaj was ask­ing Bhakti Vinod Thakur for a boon in the con­clu­sion of his poem (yache ’ham karuna-nidhe! varam imam). Srila Prabhupad thought, “What kind of boon is he going to ask for? Is he going to make a mas­sacre here at the end?” But when Srila Prabhupad saw his name there, Varshabhanavi Dayita Das (Radhika-dayita-dasanam), and under­stood that Srila Guru Maharaj was pray­ing only to be engaged in his ser­vice, he was very happy. He accep­ted and appre­ci­ated Srila Guru Maharaj’s prayer. In this way Srila Guru Maharaj com­posed many verses about Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur.

There is a very fam­ous verse about Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur,

namo bhakti-vinodaya sach-chid-ananda-namine

gaura-shakti-svarupaya rupanuga-varaya te

“I offer my obeis­ance to Srila Sachchidananda Bhakti Vinod Thakur. He is Gauranga Mahaprabhu’s divine love per­son­i­fied and is the greatest Vaishnava in the Rupanuga sampradaya.”

Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur did so much seva for the sampra­daya of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur appeared when the sampra­daya was in a very pre­cari­ous pos­i­tion. He was born in the Nadia dis­trict of West Bengal, in Ula, near Krishnanagar and Phulia, where Haridas Thakur’s bhajan-kutir was loc­ated. Later Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur revealed him­self to be a great devotee of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. In the Name of Mahaprabhu Bhakti Vinod Thakur tried to estab­lish real Krishna con­scious­ness, and he tried to clean up the sampra­daya of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He lived dur­ing a very heavy time period.

aula, baula, kart­abhaja, neda, dara­vesa, sani

sahajiya, sakhib­heki, smarta, jata-gosani

ativadi, chudadhari, gauranga-nagari

tota kahe, ei tera’ra sanga nahi kari

  (Tota Ram Das Babaji)

At that time the apasampra­dayas [devi­ated sects, so-called fol­low­ers of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu] were very strong. The aula, baula, and the kart­abhaja sampra­dayas were espe­cially very strong in Ula. From his child­hood Bhakti Vinod Thakur saw the nature of their activ­it­ies and was deeply opposed to them. So when he showed his form as a devotee of Mahaprabhu, he first tried to cor­rect the errors of the apasampra­dayas and estab­lish the real sampra­daya of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Earlier Tota Rama Das Babaji had recog­nised and rejec­ted those apasampra­dayas but  Bhakti Vinod Thakur appeared and exhib­ited the true nature of a per­fect devotee in the line of the Rupanuga sampra­daya. He acted in so many ways to remove the activ­it­ies of the apasampra­dayas, but he did so in a very sober way, never in an overly com­bat­ive way.

There are many examples of this in the life of Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur. When he was in Jagannath Puri one very big yogi named Visakishan, a mem­ber of the ativadi apasampra­daya, declared that he was Krishna Himself, and that he had appeared in the form of Visakishan to fight with the British gov­ern­ment. He declared that on the four­teenth day in the month of Chaitra, he would start a revolu­tion. He was doing many immoral things in rural vil­lages at that time, and the British gov­ern­ment gave charge to Bhakti Vinod Thakur to decide what to do with him. Bhakti Vinod Thakur went to see him. Visakishan was a very big yogi, and after see­ing Bhakti Vinod Thakur he said, “Oh, I know the pur­pose for which you have come. But you are one of my great devotees, I will not do any­thing against you. You can take shel­ter at my feet.” Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur said, “If you know everything, then what is your idea about Chaitanya Mahaprabhu?” Visakishan said, “Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is one of my great devotees.” After hear­ing this Bhakti Vinod Thakur decided Visakishan was a cheater. Bhakti Vinod Thakur meas­ured his qual­i­fic­a­tion through this ques­tion and con­cluded that he was a great cheater show­ing a bluff. Bhakti Vinod Thakur knew Visakishan did not have any real consciousness.

Then Bhakti Vinod Thakur threatened him, “If you start your revolu­tion I will arrest you.” Visakishan became very angry but Bhakti Vinod Thakur con­tin­ued, “I am giv­ing you twenty-four hours; if you do not change your mood within that time, I will arrest you.” The next day Bhakti Vinod Thakur returned and Visakishan showed many vibhutis [magical powers] but Bhakti Vinod Thakur force­fully arres­ted him and had him put in jail. The British gov­ern­ment gave charge to Bhakti Vinod Thakur to decide his case. Visakishan per­formed many mir­acles while in jail and in the courtroom as well. Bhakti Vinod Thakur gave him three chances to change his mood or face pun­ish­ment but Visakishan attacked Bhakti Vinod Thakur.

The day before the final judge­ment of his case, Visakishan threatened Bhakti Vinod Thakur, “Tomorrow you plan to give your judge­ment, but you will not be able come to the courtroom tomor­row.” Bhakti Vinod Thakur replied, “I will see you tomor­row.” When Bhakti Vinod Thakur returned to his house he saw that his sons and daugh­ters, his whole fam­ily, was suf­fer­ing from very heavy diarrhea. He called a doc­tor who relieved them with some medi­cine but then he him­self began to feel fever­ish and pained in his body. The next morn­ing he could not walk or even move from his bed. Still he said, “I will go to the courtroom today and give my judge­ment. I must go. Call a palan­quin and carry me.” He had a fever of one hun­dred and six degrees and he felt great pain through­out his whole body, but he said, “Today I must give my judge­ment to that yogi.” When he crossed through the door­way of the courtroom his fever and pain com­pletely dis­ap­peared. He sat in his chair and told Visakishan, “What are you going to do? Will you change your mood?” Seeing Bhakti Vinod Thakur, Visakishan said, “Oh, you still can­not under­stand who I am? What happened to you yes­ter­day? And what happened to you today? You still can­not under­stand who I am?” Bhakti Vinod Thakur said, “I can under­stand who you are. From the day that I asked you about the pos­i­tion of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu I have under­stood who you are.” Then Visakishan threw fire from his hair in the middle of the courtroom. Bhakti Vinod Thakur said, “I am giv­ing six months impris­on­ment to this man. Take him to the jail, and before that, cut off his hair.” He gave this order, but who would cut his hair? No one was will­ing to touch Visakishan after they saw him throw fire from his hair. Then Bhakti Vinod Thakur called for a sahib, a Western man, and said, “You can touch him; cut off his hair.” When that Westerner went to touch him, Visakishan greatly threatened him but the man did not care. He took Visakishan’s hair and cut it off. Then Visakishan was put in jail. While there, Visakishan fas­ted and finally Bhakti Vinod Thakur per­son­ally went to the jail and reques­ted him, “I will arrange for you to be released within six months; you can leave here and lead a nor­mal life again, if only you will change your con­cep­tion.” Visakishan would not listen to him and lastly died of star­va­tion while still in jail. That is the his­tory of Visakishan.

That time period was a very hard time. The sahajiya sampra­daya and the jati-gosani sampra­daya had conquered the whole of Bengal, even the whole of India, you could say. When Srila Saraswati Thakur was a twelve-year-old boy, Charan Das Babaji, a fam­ous ‘siddha-maha-purush’ [a so-called per­fec­ted soul] would come to see Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur from time to time. There were two reas­ons for this. One, Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur’s fame was unlim­ited. Even Gaura Kishor Das Babaji Maharaj, who was a true siddha-maha-purush and very renounced, would come to see Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur and hear his explan­a­tion of theSrimad Bhagavatam. Secondly, Bhakti Vinod Thakur showed him­self to be a very faith­ful deputy magis­trate and gov­ern­ment officer. In both of these ways Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur’s pos­i­tion was highly exal­ted and because of that Charan Das Babaji would visit Bhakti Vinod Thakur for his own bene­fit. Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur would not dir­ectly tell him, “Do not come to see me,” but he would tell him, “What you are doing is wrong.” Even after hear­ing this, Charan Das Babaji would still come to visit Bhakti Vinod Thakur.

One day Prabhupad Saraswati Thakur saw that Charan Das Babaji had come to see Bhakti Vinod Thakur and that they were talk­ing together. From very far away Srila Saraswati Thakur offered his dan­davat pranam to Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur. He did not go near Bhakti Vinod Thakur to offer his dan­davat, but offered it from far away. At that time he was only a twelve-year-old boy. Charan Das Babaji saw Srila Prabhupad do this and said to Bhakti Vinod Thakur, “Who is that boy? He is a very nice-looking boy. Why isn’t he com­ing over to us? Why is he offer­ing his dan­davat from so far away?” Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur said, “Oh, this boy is my son, but he is very firmly estab­lished in the line of Krishna con­scious­ness and he always very care­fully avoids sahajiya­ism. He has made a vow to stay fifty metres away from any sahajiya, and you are a pakva [model] sahajiya.” Hearing that, Charan Das Babaji felt ashamed. Bhakti Vinod Thakur con­tin­ued, “Every day he comes here to offer his dan­davat to me. But today you are here so he is avoid­ing a sahajiya in this way. He is a very young boy.” Charan Das Babaji was the head of the sahajiya sampra­daya and from that day he, and the whole sahajiya sampra­daya, knew that in the future Srila Saraswati Thakur would become a great Acharya in the Rupanuga sampradaya.

Later Srila Saraswati Thakur very strictly fol­lowed Srila Jiva Goswami and tried to smash sahajiya­ism and the other apasampra­dayas. Srila Prabhupad wanted to estab­lish the real Krishna con­cep­tion, Krishna con­scious­ness in the line of Srila Rupa Goswami. He hated sahajiya­ism very rigidly. Prabhupad Saraswati Thakur taught that Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur was Gauranga Mahaprabhu’s par­shad [eternal asso­ci­ate] and that no one can estim­ate how exal­ted the con­cep­tion that he gave is.

Bhakti Vinod Thakur com­posed many books: Krishna-samhitaBhagavat-arka-marichi-mala,Chaitanya-shikshamritaJaiva-dharmaDatta-kausthubha, and so on. But we can say that his spe­cial gift is in his songs. He com­posed many songs in his col­lec­tions SharanagatiGitavaliKalyana-kalpa-taruGiti-malaYamuna-bhavavali, and oth­ers. Through his songs we will get the gist of all the scrip­tures. If all the scrip­tures dis­ap­peared from this mundane world but Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur’s songs remained, we would still get everything. We can get everything through his songs.

Fortunately, at the time that I joined Srila Guru Maharaj, he gave me thirty-two songs fromSharanagati to mem­or­ise. Srila Guru Maharaj always wanted to hear Bhakti Vinod Thakur’s songs. In Chaitanya Saraswat Math only a few songs of Srila Narottam Thakur, one or two songs of other Vaishnavas, and one song of Vidyapati, are sung. But all the songs of Bhakti Vinod Thakur are chanted in Chaitanya Saraswat Math, because everything is within his songs. Srila Guru Maharaj said that you will get everything from the songs of Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur.

Devotee: Srila Maharaj, the other day you men­tioned that Srila Saraswati Thakur estab­lished the wor­ship of Nimai Pandit but not the wor­ship of the Yuga-avatar Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. I have also heard of a Gauranarayan-avatar. What is the dif­fer­ence between these forms of the Lord and why do we wor­ship in this way?

Srila Govinda Maharaj: It is not Gauranarayan actu­ally. This type of ques­tion is only com­ing from the Western devotees’ circle. I praise the Western devotees for this because they are inquir­ing in so many ways. But it is a high ques­tion, a very high question.

In the heart of Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur Mahaprabhu’s full lila appeared and he always remembered this lila. Still, Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur was very much attached to Mahaprabhu’s Nadia-lila. He espe­cially liked it. He liked all the lilas of Mahaprabhu but his favour­ite lila to wor­ship was Mahaprabhu’s Nadia-lila. We dif­fer­en­ti­ate three forms of Krishna: the Krishna who plays in Dwaraka, the Krishna who plays in Mathura, and the Krishna who plays in Vrindavan. We are wor­ship­pers of Vrindavan Krishna, not Mathura or Dwaraka Krishna. Why? There are dif­fer­ent rasas and dif­fer­ent beha­viours within the dif­fer­ent forms of Krishna.

Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has dif­fer­ent forms within His lila just as Lord Krishna does. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu appeared in this mundane world and enacted the Pastimes of res­cuing the jiva-souls and dis­trib­ut­ing Krishna-prema. That is the Yuga-avatar lila of Mahaprabhu. Actually Mahaprabhu is Sri Sri Radha-Krishna’s non-different form. Krishna took the bhava and kanti of Srimati Radharani, appeared in the form of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and tasted the ser­vice mood of His supreme ser­vitor, Srimati Radharani. So when Mahaprabhu per­formed His Nadia-lila we find a spe­cial form of the Lord. Up to the age of twenty-four Mahaprabhu exhib­ited His grihastha-lila in Nabadwip. That Nadia-lila of Mahaprabhu is the Gupta Vrindavan-lila of Krishna. Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur very hap­pily loved and wor­shipped that lila.

Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur and other devotees are very attached to the Pancha-Tattva’s Nabadwip lila. There Nityananda Prabhu, Adwaita Prabhu, Gadadhar Pandit, Srivas Pandit, and all the devotees are play­ing along with Mahaprabhu. Sometimes early in the morn­ing Mahaprabhu would go to bathe in the Ganges with all the devotees. They would walk along the banks of the Ganges, very hap­pily wan­der­ing about, dan­cing and chant­ing the Hare Krishna maham­an­tra. Then the Lord would go to Ishodyan with His devotees and per­form sankir­tan. Every day there would be new flowers and fruits in the garden and a feast at noon­time. The Lord would eat in the garden with all His devotees. Every even­ing the Lord would go to Srivas Pandit’s house for kir­tan. The devotees would per­form kir­tan all night and Mahaprabhu would dance among them, show­ing them His mahabhava. In this way the Lord per­formed many lilas in Nabadwip.

When Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was twenty-four He took sannyas and left Mayapur. In Mayapur every­one could hap­pily serve the Lord. Before He took sannyas His exclus­ive devotees were always get­ting His intim­ate asso­ci­ation. After He took sannyas the devotees of Nadia no longer got His close asso­ci­ation. They could not asso­ci­ate with Him intim­ately as they did dur­ing His grihastha-lila. The devotees of Mayapur were always serving the Lord and offer­ing Him food. Even very poor men could serve Him. In Nadia-lila the Lord was in a very very happy mood—He was always full of joy while chant­ing the Hare Krishna maham­an­tra with His devotees.

Mahaprabhu’s sannyas-lila is filled with aus­ter­ity. He showed this aus­ter­ity to His devotees and to the world. He fol­lowed fully the cour­tes­ies and cus­toms of a sannyasi for that time period. He did not use a bed, He never used oil, and so on. His devotees were always very unhappy to see Him observing such aus­ter­it­ies. Jagadananda Pandit espe­cially could not tol­er­ate Mahaprabhu’s sannyas-lila. Like Jagadananda Pandit, Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur could not tol­er­ate see­ing the Lord observing such aus­ter­it­ies dur­ing His sannyas-lila.

When Mahaprabhu returned from Nilachal to Koladwip in Nabadwip after five years of sannyas He stayed in the house of Vidya Vachaspati Mishra, the elder brother of Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya. Mahaprabhu did not go to His home vil­lage, Mayapur. He went to Kuliya in Koladwip where our Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math is at present. He did not go to the other side of the Ganges to visit Mayapur. The res­id­ents and people of Mayapur came to see Him in Koladwip, but they did not actu­ally get His asso­ci­ation at that time. Mahaprabhu stayed there for only two or three days and thou­sands and thou­sands of people gathered there to see Him at that time. To pro­tect Him, Mahaprabhu was highly guarded while He stayed there. Everyone who came wanted to enter the house of Vidya Vachaspati to see the Lord, and if every­one had been allowed to enter freely, they would have eas­ily des­troyed the house because there were so many people. Thus the res­id­ents of Mayapur could only get the Lord’s dar­shan from a great dis­tance. From very far away they offered their dan­davats to the Lord and returned home.

Remembering this Pastime and Mahaprabhu’s Pastimes in Mayapur, Bhakti Vinod Thakur com­posed one verse express­ing his heart’s desire to take Mahaprabhu back to Mayapur. I engraved this shloka on the Samadhi Mandir of Srila Guru Maharaj.

ami chai gaur­achandre laite mayapure

yathaya kaishora-veshe sri-angete sphure

yathaya chan­chara kesha tri-kachchha-vasane

ishody­ane lila kare bhakta-jana sane

  (Sri Nabadwip-bhava-taranga: 70)

“Mahaprabhu may be so great, Mahaprabhu may be Bhagavan Himself, Mahaprabhu may be the Yuga-avatar, Mahaprabhu may be any­thing, but what will I do if I do not first get the ser­vice of Mahaprabhu? First, I need His ser­vice. I am feel­ing great pain to see Mahaprabhu with no hair dressed as a sannyasi. I do not like to see His sannyas-vesh. I need to wor­ship Mahaprabhu in His form of Nabadwipchandra [the Moon of Sri Nabadwip Dham], not Sri Chaitanyadev the sampra­daya sannyasi. I want to bring Mahaprabhu back to Mayapur where His devotees can see His long curly hair and His divine form shin­ing in His beau­ti­ful gar­ments dur­ing Pastimes in the garden of Ishodyan.”

In this way Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur wor­shipped Mahaprabhu’s eternal lila hid­den in Sri Nabadwip Dham. It is said that Krishna never takes a step out­side of Vrindavan, that Krishna etern­ally lives in Vrindavan. Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur wor­ships the Nabadwip-lila of Mahaprabhu, which is like the Vrindavan-lila of Krishna, with this con­cep­tion. Mahaprabhu’s sannyas-lila is com­pared to Krishna’s Kuruksetra-lila. The heart of Bhakti Vinod Thakur was attrac­ted to the Lord’s Pastimes in this way. This is very high siddhanta.

Srila Saraswati Thakur exclus­ively fol­lowed the line of Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur. Srila Saraswati Thakur never mani­fes­ted a Deity form of Mahaprabhu as a sannyasi. In every one of the sixty-four Maths Srila Saraswati Thakur foun­ded, Mahaprabhu’s Deity form was always revealed as His gri­hastha form of Nabadwip-lila. This was for the sat­is­fac­tion of Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur. In his first Math, Sri Chaitanya Math in Mayapur, Srila Saraswati Thakur installed the Deities Sri Sri Guru Gauranga Gandharvika Giridhari. In maybe fifty of his other Maths Srila Saraswati Thakur gave the Deities’ Names related with the word vinod: Sri Gaura Vinodapran, Gaura Vinodananda, and so on. Prabhupad Saraswati Thakur was enlightened with the con­cep­tion of Bhakti Vinod Thakur and he estab­lished Mahaprabhu’s Deity forms in his Mission in this way.

For many years in deity shops you would never see a sannyas form of Mahaprabhu. You would see many dif­fer­ent forms of Mahaprabhu but never the sannyas form. Now, how­ever, the artists are mak­ing some sannyas forms of Mahaprabhu. Ten or fif­teen years ago you would not see this any­where. Maybe fif­teen years ago I first saw Mahaprabhu’s sannyas form in a medi­cine shop in Porama Tala. All my life I had never seen any Deity of Mahaprabhu in His sannyas form. Now the idea seems to be spread­ing and the artists are mak­ing Mahaprabhu’s forms in many ways but they do not know the mean­ing of their work on the plane of devotion.

Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur was a very exclus­ive devotee of Mahaprabhu and he is a very spe­cial kind of devotee. He spe­cific­ally wor­shipped Deities of Sri Sri Gaura Gadadhar. Everyone praises the wor­ship of Gaura Gadadhar but almost nowhere do you see such wor­ship. Always you see Nitai Gaura or Gauranga Mahaprabhu alone. Only in two or three places can you see Gaura Gadadhar Deities. One is in Champahatti in the temple of Dvija Vaninath and another is in Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur’s temple in Godrumadwip. The wor­ship of Gaura Gadadhar involves a very hid­den and deep con­cep­tion. It is the deep­est con­cep­tion of Gauranga-lila, and is wor­shipped only by deeply attached, exclus­ive devotees.

Gadadhar Pandit Goswami was always very peace­fully and quietly present in Nabadwip-lila with Mahaprabhu and His devotees. He stayed like a shadow of the Lord, silently present in the dis­tance. But he had full-hearted affec­tion for Mahaprabhu. All of the Lord’s devotees knew he was fully devoted to Mahaprabhu. When Mahaprabhu returned from Gaya Dham after tak­ing ini­ti­ation from Ishvar Puri, His mood had changed and He began des­per­ately search­ing for Krishna. He cried before the devotees, show­ing His full mahabhava, “Where is Krishna?! Where is Krishna?!” Once Mahaprabhu was cry­ing in this way at the house of Srivas Pandit in the com­pany of Mukunda, Sanjay, and all the devotees. Mahaprabhu heard someone else cry­ing inside another room of the house. He asked, “Who is cry­ing inside that room?” The devotees said, “Your Gadadhar is cry­ing.” Then Mahaprabhu praised Gadadhar, “Gadadhar, you are so for­tu­nate! You have been a great devotee of Krishna since child­hood. I have never had the Krishna-prema that you have!” In this way Mahaprabhu praised Gadadhar and gave affec­tion to him as though Gadadhar was His brother. Even at times when all the devotees would be very con­fused, Gadadhar would have a very steady mood and silently try to serve and nour­ish Mahaprabhu. Sometimes he would give Shachi Mata advice, “Mahaprabhu wants this,” or, “this is Mahaprabhu’s heart desire.”

Srila Guru Maharaj com­posed one very nice verse explain­ing the real activ­ity of Srila Gadadhar Pandit Goswami.

nilambhodhi-tate sada svaviraha ksep­an­vitam band­hvam

srimad-bhagavati katha madiraya sanjivayan bhati yah

srimad-bhagavatam sada sva-nayanashru-payanaih pujayan

gosvami-pravaro gadadhara-vibhur bhuyat mad-eka-gatih

In Puri, Mahaprabhu was heav­ily intox­ic­ated with Radharani’s mood of sep­ar­a­tion from Krishna. Mahaprabhu was like a mad­man search­ing every­where for Krishna, “Where is Krishna?!” He was always in the mood of extreme sep­ar­a­tion, tast­ing the mahabhava of Radharani. Gadadhar Pandit always fol­lowed Mahaprabhu but also always remained at a dis­tance from Him. Gadadhar Pandit would invite the Lord to his Tota Gopinath temple. Gadadhar Pandit lived there in a garden and wor­shipped his Deity of Gopinath. Every day Mahaprabhu would come there with His devotees to hear Srimad Bhagavatam. In Jagannath Puri Gadadhar Pandit’s only real activ­ity was giv­ing nour­ish­ment to Mahaprabhu by read­ingSrimad Bhagavatam for Him. Sometimes wine or intox­ic­a­tion is sup­plied to a someone who can­not tol­er­ate being sep­ar­ated from a dear friend. Mahaprabhu could not tol­er­ate the deep sep­ar­a­tion He felt from Krishna, and Gadadhar Pandit Goswami gave nour­ish­ment to Mahaprabhu by read­ing the Bhagavatam. He sup­plied the Bhagavatam to Him like an intox­ic­ant. Mahaprabhu tasted the Bhagavatam in this way and got much nour­ish­ment from Gadadhar Pandit. Supplying ecstasy to Mahaprabhu, Gadadhar Pandit him­self was also always cry­ing. Gadadhar Pandit cried to see the mood of Mahaprabhu and wor­shipped Mahaprabhu with his explan­a­tions of Srimad Bhagavatam and his tears.

Krishna took Radharani’s heart and halo, and appeared as Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to taste Radharani’s ecstatic ser­vice mood. Radharani then became like an empty ves­sel, Her bhava taken by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and She showed Her form in Gaura-lila as Gadadhar Pandit. Gadadhar Das, who was an asso­ci­ate of Nityananda Prabhu, fur­ther rep­res­en­ted Her kanti [halo]. But Gadadhar Pandit rep­res­en­ted Her main form for he was like an empty ves­sel. He was quiet and sel­dom spoke any­thing about Krishna, but his heart was always full of Krishna. Internally Mahaprabhu is Krishna, and Gadadhar was always feel­ing sep­ar­a­tion from Mahaprabhu as well as Krishna. Not every­one could under­stand the pos­i­tion of Gadadhar. Only the very close and intim­ate devotees could under­stand the bhava of Gadadhar. The closest and most intim­ate devotees knew that Gadadhar Pandit was the Avatar of Srimati Radharani.

Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur’s wor­ship of Gaura Gadadhar mani­fes­ted in Sri Godrum Dham. There he would wor­ship Gaura Gadadhar and med­it­ate on the Pastimes of Radha-Krishna. In one song he wrote,

dekhite dekhite    sri-radha-madhava

    rupete karibe ala

      (Sri Kalyana-kalpa-taru: 3.2.10)

“As I gaze upon Sri Sri Gaura-Gadadhar of audarya-lila, before my eyes They have mani­fes­ted as Sri Sri Radha-Madhava of Vrindavan-lila.”

He would not have guessed that while he was med­it­at­ing Gaura-Gadadhar would trans­form them­selves into Sri Sri Radha-Krishna. Seeing  Gaura-Gadadhar appear as Radha-Madhava, he fain­ted. When he regained con­scious­ness everything was just as before.

Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur chose to dis­ap­pear on the same amavasya, dark moon day, as Gadadhar Pandit: Gadadhara dina dhari’ paiy­achchhe Gaurahari. Today is that day, Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur’s tirobhav tithi. Many things happened in the life of Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur. Maybe you have read how Mahaprabhu’s birth­place was dis­covered, how Nabadwip Dham parikrama began, or how Mahaprabhu’s mis­sion was estab­lished. Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur tried to do many things in many ways. Lastly, his supreme gift was Srila Saraswati Thakur. He  estab­lished Srila Saraswati Thakur so that in the future he would carry the sampra­daya of Mahaprabhu. Finally, Srila Saraswati Thakur suc­ceeded in this and ful­filled the desires of Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur. Srila Guru Maharaj com­posed many verses about the glor­ies of Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur. In gen­eral he prayed, “I bow down to the lotus feet of Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur and pray that his desires may be ful­filled by his dear­most asso­ci­ate Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur and his disciples.”

One hun­dred years ago Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur wrote in one of his books that within a short time 50,000 devotees from all over the world would make the world mad with love for Krishna, and come to India and dance and chant with the Indian devotees, embra­cing them with tears in their eyes. This was the pre­dic­tion of Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur and already it is hap­pen­ing. Many of the devotees from the Western world are join­ing in the mis­sion of Mahaprabhu, chant­ing the glor­ies of Mahaprabhu, and dan­cing in the Name of Mahaprabhu. And many of them are attached to our Math. By the mercy of Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur we must get the mercy of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. We have no doubt about this.

vanchha-kalpa-tarubhyas cha kripa-sindhubhya eva cha

pat­i­tanam pavaneb­hyo vaish­naveb­hyo namo namah

Srila Sachchidananda Bhakti Vinod Thakur ki jaya!

Tags: Srila Bhakti Vinod ThakurSrila Gadadhar PanditSrila Govinda Maharaj

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Srila Gadadhar Pandit
Divine Wine

Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj explains Srila Gadadhar Pandit’s service to Sriman Mahaprabhu.

Today is a very good day, it is the appearance day of Mahaprabhu Chaitanyadev’s dearmost associate Srila Gadadhar Pandit Goswami. It is a very auspicious for everyone because Gadadhar Pandit Goswami is an Avatar of Radharani after Mahaprabhu took Her mood of service for His own satisfaction.

I can remember one verse our Srila Guru Maharaj composed for Gadadhar Goswami. This verse is very famous and its meaning is so exalted.

nilāmbhodhi-taṭe sadā sva-virahā kṣepānvitaṁ bāndhvaṁ

śrīmad-bhāgavatī katha madirayā sañjīvayan bhāti yaḥ

śrīmad-bhāgavataṁ sadā sva-nayanāśru-pāyanaiḥ pūjayan

goswāmī-prabaro gadādhara-vibhur-bhūyāt mad-ekā-gatiḥ

  (Srila Bhakti Rakshak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj)

Krishna wanted to take Radharani’s divine form to understand how Radharani tastes Her prem for Him. In this way Krishna became Mahaprabhu and felt so much separation from Himself. Union-in-separation was Mahaprabhu’s target. When He would feel great separation all the symptoms of mahabhav would become visible in His divine form—sveda, kampa, stambha, ashru, pulaka, vaivarnya, and so on. Lastly He would faint.

During those times Gadadhar Pandit served Mahaprabhu near the bank of the ocean by chanting the Bhagavatam for Him. If someone has a friend who is very sad and feeling a mood of separation, they sometimes give their friend wine. Similarly, Gadadhar Pandit Goswami supplied the wine of Srimad Bhagavat-katha to Mahaprabhu to nourish Him. Mahaprabhu would cry and Gadadhar Pandit would also cry with Him. As Gadadhar would recite Srimad Bhagavatam and cry, his tears washed away the words of the book. In this way He would give full nourishment and heartfelt joy to Mahaprabhu.

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Srila Vrindavan Das Thakur
Vyas Avatar

Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj explains the pranam mantra he com­posed for Srila Vrindavan Das Thakur.

When I wrote an intro­duc­tion to Sri Chaitanya-bhagavat I thought, “Both Krishna Das Kaviraj Goswami and Vrindavan Das Thakur are Vedavyas but one is vyakta, mani­fest, and the other is avyakta, or gudha, con­fid­en­tial. Krishna Das Kaviraj Goswami is the vyas of Mahaprabhu’s gudha-lila;  he revealed Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s hid­den Pastimes. Vrindavan Das Thakur described Mahaprabhu’s Pastimes in Nabadwip and Jagannath Kshetra; these are His vyakta-lila, pub­lic Pastimes.”

Thinking in this way, I com­posed a pranam man­tra for Vrindavan Das Thakur and Kaviraj Goswami. That man­tra is my heart’s expres­sion and I am so sat­is­fied with it. It has been revealed by the mercy of Vrindavan Das Thakur and Krishna Das Kaviraj Goswami. They are so mer­ci­ful to us.

dāsa-vndāvana vande kṛṣṇa-dāsa-prabhu tathā

chhannāvatāra-chaitanya-līlā-vistāra-kāriau

dvau nityānandapādābja-karuāreu-bhuitau

vyakta-chchhannau bud­hāch­intyau vāvande vyāsa-rūpiau

When I com­posed this verse I real­ised that Vrindavan Das Thakur is the first Vedavyas for Chaitanya-lila but that Chaitanya-lila has two forms, a mani­fest form and a chhanna, hid­den, form. In Srimad Bhagavatam where there is a ref­er­ence to the Lord’s Avatar in Kali-yuga, the word chhanna is used.

ittha n-tiryag-ṛṣi-deva-jhaāvatārair

lokān vibhāvay­asi hasi jagat pratīpān

dharma mahā-purua pāsi yugānuvt­ta

chhan­na kalau yad abhavas tri-yugo ’tha sa tvam

  (Srimad Bhagavatam: 7.9.38)

In the Kali-yuga Lord Krishna mani­fes­ted in a chhanna, hid­den, form and tasted Radharani’s supreme mood of devo­tion. Without that mood, Krishna could not taste Himself fully. For this reason He is called the hid­den, chhanna, Avatar. The Lord is called Triyuga is this verse from Srimad Bhagavatam: He who appears in three ages. This is because His Avatar in in Kali-yuga is not openly indicated.

Elsewhere in Srimad Bhagavatam, how­ever, there is an explan­a­tion of the Lord’s hid­den Avatar.

kṛṣṇa-vara tviākṛṣṇagopāgāstra-pāradam

yajñai sakīrtana-prāyair yajanti hi su-medhasa

  (Srimad Bhagavatam: 11.5.32)

“The Lord will always chant the Name ‘Krishna’ and His form will be golden. With His asso­ci­ates, He will propag­ate the sac­ri­fice of sankir­tan to the people in general.”

In this way it is proved in the Scriptures that Krishna appears in the Kali-yuga in a hid­den form to dis­trib­ute Himself.

Srila Rupa Goswami also wrote,

anarpita-charī chirāt karuayāvatīra kalau

samarpay­itum unnatojjvala-rasā sva-bhakti-śriyam

hari puraa-sundara-dyuti-kadamba-sandīpita

sadā hdaya-kandare sphuratu va śachī-nandana

(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita: Adi-lila, 1.4)

“Hari Himself, in a efful­gent golden form, is intox­ic­ated with His own Name and dis­trib­ut­ing to the masses the super-excellent devo­tional mood, madhura-rasa. He is dis­trib­ut­ing it to who­ever desires it. May that Lord, Sri Sachi Nandan, reveal Himself in your heart.”

Rupa Goswami Prabhu com­posed this shloka as a bless­ing to his readers.

Krishna Das Kaviraj Goswami is the chhanna-vyas-avatar and Vrindavan Das Thakur is the vyakta-vyas-avatar. This feel­ing came to me and then I com­posed my pranam man­tra for them. After hear­ing this verse all the Vaishnavas who are qual­i­fied in Sanskrit praised it greatly and blessed me. This is very good for our soci­ety. All credit goes to the devotees though. It is neces­sary to get Mahaprabhu’s devotees’ mercy, then one will under­stand Mahaprabhu’s divine form and gift. By the devotees’ mercy I am inspired and then I give inspir­a­tion to oth­ers. Everything is the wealth of the devotees, noth­ing is my per­sonal wealth.

Tags: Sri Chaitanya-bhagavatSri Chaitanya-charitamrtaSrila Govinda MaharajSrila Krishna Das Kaviraj GoswamiVrindavan Das Thakur

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Ramachandra
The Ideal of Perfect Religion

Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj explains the gist of Sri Ramachandra’s character.

There are many stories about Ramchandra in the Ramayan and the Ramayan is so long. It is not possible to explain everything about Ramchandra in a short time. Everything, however, is explained about Ramchandra in gist form in His pranam-mantra.

rāmaṁ rājīva lochanaṁ raghu-varaṁ sīta-patiṁ sundaraṁ

kākuthsaṁ karuṇā-mayaṁ guṇa-nidhiṁ vipra-priyaṁ dhārmikaṁ

rājendraṁ satya-sandhaṁ daśaratha-tanayaṁ śyāmalaṁ śānta-mūrtim

vande lokābhirāmaṁ raghu-kula-tilakaṁ rāghavam rāvaṇāriṁ

Ramam Rajiva-lochanam Raghu-varam, Ram was born in the Raghu dynasty and His eyes are like lotus petals. Sita-Patim, He is the husband of Maha-Laksmi, Sri Sita Devi. Sundaram, He is very beautiful looking. Kakuthsam, He is very respectable. Karuna-mayam, He is very merciful to everyone. Guna-nidhim, we cannot say how many beautiful qualities He has. Vipra-priyam, all the brahmans give great respect and affection to Him. Dharmikam Rajendram, He shows the ideal of perfect religion and He is the king of kings. Satya-sandham, He does whatever He thinks, that is, everything He thinks and does is truthful and honest. Dasaratha-tanayam, He is the son of Raja Dasarath. Shyamalam, His complexion is a beautiful shyama-varna. Krishna is tamala-shyama, bluish black, but Ramchandra’s complexion is greenish like a lotus leaf. Shanta-murtim, His mind is always peaceful. Whether He is facing many disturbances or He is feeling great happiness, He always remains peaceful like an ocean. Lokabhiramam, everyone likes to see Him and everyone respects Him. Raghu-kula-tilakam Raghavam, He is the jewel of Raghu family and is thus called Raghav. Ravanarim, He is the enemy and rescuer of Ravan.

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Sri Nandotsav
Festive Distribution

Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj explains why Krishna sent Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad to appear in the world on this day.

You know that Prabhupad Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj, appeared on this day of Nandotsav, the day after Krishna’s appearance day. After Kṛṣṇa’s appearance last night, today Nanda Maharaj makes a festival and all the Vraja-vasis—the cowherd men, boys and ladies—assemble in the house of Nanda Maharaj.

“After so long Nanda Maharaj has gotten a son. And He is unbelievably beautiful.” Hearing this, all the Vraja-vasis come with ingredients like milk, curd, ghee, butter, some ornaments, flowers, and various other things as presents. With all of these things they come to the house of Nanda Maharaj. And their tradition is to dance and sing. So they dance, sing and throw butter, cheese, and other items about in an intoxicated way. We have seen in the villages of Bengal people still celebrate festivals in this way.

The priest of Nanda Maharaj, the very famous Garga Muni, also came to the festival and he gave the Name ‘Krishna’ to the son of Nanda Maharaj. From this day the son of Nanda Maharaj became very famous and Garga Muni told everyone the boy had the power to become the controller of  the whole universe. Garga Muni did not say the son of Nanda Maharaj was the Supreme Lord but he saw and felt that He was and considered that everyone else would see His Pastimes in future.

There is very nice song about the Nandotsav:

nander mandire re go-wala gāi re

hāte narī kande bhāva nāche dheye dheye

śiva nāche brahmā nāche āra nāche indra

gokula go-wala nāche paiye govinda

These verses mean that Lord Siva, Lord Brahma, Lord Indra, and all the demigods in the form of cowherd men join in the festival and celebrate the appearance of Kṛṣṇa.

Krishna very mercifully sent His dearmost devotee, Prabhupad A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, to this mundane world for the super benefit of our spiritual lives on this day. Krishna sent him on this day, this festival day, the of His own birthday festival, saying, “Go and distribute! All the cowherd men are distributing ecstasy here at My birthday festival and you should go and distribute My Name all over the world in this festive way.”

Everyone has seen what happened after Śrīla Swāmī Mahārāj came to the Western world. Within twelve years he performed a great miracle and all over the world people began dancing and chanting the Hare Krishna Mahamantra. Now in Hungary, in Russia, in previously communist countries, people are chanting the Hare Krishna Mahamantra. Now the whole world knows the name of Kṛṣṇa and something about Kṛṣṇa consciousness. If you say the name of Srila Prabhupad anywhere almost everyone will understand. And anywhere when people see someone with saffron cloth, tilaka and a sikha they ask, “Are you ISKCON?” So how famous is the preaching of Prabhupad? You all know the glories of Prabhupad. If Prabhupad had not appeared, who would have distributed the Hare Krishna Mahamantra all over the world? Prabhupad has given that transcendental substantial wealth to everyone. And through that  also, many of his followers are now doing very nice things all around the world.

Actually we have entered the Western world by the grace of Prabhupad and I know only one society, that is, the world Vaishnava society, and we are members of that society by the grace of Srila Swami Maharaj. By this I mean the pure Vaishnava society. There are many people living in the Vaishnava society of India, but the pure Vaishnava society in the line of Guru Maharaj has been spread all over the world by Srila Swami Maharaj. Everyone knows Srila Guru Maharaj holds the pure line of Rupa Goswami. And in a non-different way Srila Swami Maharaj and Guru Maharaj have tried to spread that consciousness to everyone. One is my Siksha-Guru, one is my Diksha-Guru. They are both in the pocket of my heart. And another pocket of my heart is full of all my friends. I am running on alone now after Guru Maharaj and Swami Maharaj but the pocket of my heart is always full.

I am feeling so fortunate that Srila Swami Maharaj Prabhupad’s mercy is still flowing all over the world and we are floating within that.

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Vasanta Panchami
Vasanta Rasa

An excerpt from Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj’s lecture on this day in 2009.

Today is a very auspicious day. In the time of Srila Guru Maharaj we would always discuss the qualities and Pastimes of all the devotees who are honoured on this day. And today is specially Vasanta Panchami; Krishna performs His Vasanta rasa dance today.

Last night Srutasrava Prabhu and I were discussing one shloka about this. This shloka was composed by Jayadev Goswami and is found in his Gita-govinda; it is a very famous shloka. Mahaprabhu Sri Chaitanyadev would taste this shloka and the other poems and prayers within Gita-govinda.

viśveṣām anuraṣjanena janayann ānandam indīvara-

śreṇī-śyāmala-komalair upanayann aṅgair anaṅgotsavam

svachchhandaṁ vraja-sundarībhir abhitaḥ praty-aṅgam āliṅgitaḥ

śṛṅgāraḥ sakhi mūrtimān iva madhau mugdho hariḥ krīḍati

  (Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita: Adi-lila, 4.224; Sri Gīta-govinda: 1.11)

This shloka describes that Krishna is performing rasa-lila and attracting everyone, drawing everyone near to Him. He is taking them, embracing them, dancing, and singing. So much ecstasy is overflowing all around Him and the whole world is becoming happy. The shloka described Krishna as the concentrated, condensed form of all ecstasy, all ananda, all rasa, specially sringara-rasa. That means madhura-rasa. Sringara-rasa sakhi murttiman means that Krishna is the fully concentrated, condensed divine form of madhura-rasa. When Krishna sees Himself in the mirror His heart melts and He embraces the mirror. Krishna is so beautiful that even He is mugdha, astonished and melted, to see Himself.

Today is Vasant Panchami and that Sri Krishna performed rasa-lila today. We are not reading that chapter in Srimad Bhagavatam though because we are afraid. Vedavyas described everything beautifully but we live within this mundane world. Our senses are always controlled by Maya and we cannot feel things properly. We feel the opposite of transcendental feelings and that destroys our devotional mood. Therefore we are trying to become qualified first, we are not reading the rasa-lila. But sometimes we are hearing something from a qualified, expert Vaishnav.

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