The following verse continues our presentation of the verses from the Temple of Love and Affection on the theme of Hari-kathā. Having first presented verses glorifying Hari-kathā in general and then presented verses glorifying Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, we now present a verse directly glorifying the narrations of the Pastimes of the Divine Couple. The Temple of Love and Affection Verse 8 vikrīḍitaṁ vraja-vadhūbhir idaṁ cha viṣṇoḥ śraddhānvito ’nuśṛṇuyād atha varṇayed yaḥ bhaktiṁ parāṁ bhagavati pratilabhya kāmaṁ hṛd-rogam āśv apahinoty achireṇa dhīraḥ (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 10.33.40) “A sober soul, one who faithfully hears about and then describes Viṣṇu’s play with the Vraja-gopīs, quickly attains perfect devotion to the Lord and simultaneously leaves behind the heart disease of material desire.” This verse has been discussed at length by our Guru-varga, and we will present various comments they have made about this verse in a series of upcoming posts. To begin, we are presenting an excerpt from a recorded conversation with Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣak Śrīdhar Dev-Goswāmī Mahārāj published in Centenary Anthology wherein His Divine Grace recounts an instance in which he cured the heart disease of a conditioned soul with this verse.
I collected funds from the Rāja of Jeipur [Orissa] for the Madras Temple. That is also a history. Their new I.C.S. was Mr. O. Pulla Reddy. He was appointed ‘Dewan’ [government official] of Jeipur. Because that is an ādivāsī [indigenous peoples] area, a special sort of rule was introduced there by the British. The Dewan is more powerful than the King. We came from Madras with some recommendation from the Chief Justice, Mr. Rameshan, to meet the Raja of Jeipur. Then, the Raja promised to pay the cost of the Madras Temple, but he kept requesting us, “Approach the Dewan, and he, and not I, will give you the money. So go and consult the higher. I am only giving my sign of approval, but the money will be paid by him. So meet him.” I had heard that he was a half-atheistic man, so I was hesitant to approach him. I said, “No, you are King, you are master, so it is better that you will give the money”, and so on, but he insisted again and again. “No. You will have to meet the Dewan.” But when I met the Dewan, it was just the opposite. The Dewan said, “Oh, I’m the last man to pay you this amount, ten thousand, to build the temple at Madras. If you would be building it here, then I could have some consideration; people here would have some recreation in the temple. But these poor people, half-fed and half-clad, if we get any money in excess, I must give an order for their help. Funds must be used for that cause, not for this luxury of constructing a temple; and that, too, is in Madras town. Go there and collect funds to construct your temple.” Then I thought this is a hopeless case, so drastic medicine must be applied. So I came out with this śloka of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam: vikrīḍitaṁ vraja-vadhūbhir idaṁ cha viṣṇoḥ śraddhānvito ’nuśṛṇuyād atha varṇayed yaḥ bhaktiṁ parāṁ bhagavati pratilabhya kāmaṁ hṛd-rogam āśv apahinoty achireṇa dhīraḥ I said to him, “You want to help the ādivāsīs, and I also want to help them. But your help is in a particular way, and my help is in another way. It has been told in the Scriptures that to hanker for something [in this world] is a heart-disease. It is mentioned in Bhāgavatam by Śukadev Goswāmī, ‘kāmam hṛd-rogam.’ “‘I want this, I want that, I want thousands, I want millions—that is heart-disease, and not real. When I was a hog, I devoured a hillock of stools, but hunger is not appeased. When I was an elephant I finished a whole forest, but hunger is not finished.’ So hunger can never be finished in this way. “There are so many who have amassed millions, still they say, ‘No, this is very little, I want more, more.’ So this is heart-disease, and in the Bhāgavatam Śukadev Goswāmī has given the medicine for this. Vikrīḍitam…when you can accommodate the Absolute to have His full, unrestricted play, and use His ownership with everything, every atom in the creation—if you can accommodate such a conception of the Absolute with the environment, then you can get out of this heart-disease. There’s no other way.” The man was impressed. Tears fell from his eyes. “Swāmījī, I believe in God.”