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Indradyumna Swami’s Parikrama 2018 in Vrindavan and Mayapur Dham with Bada Haridas

Indradyumna Swami Parikrama
Indradyumna Swami 2018 Parikrama in Vrindavan and Mayapur Dham
PART 1 : VRINDAVAN : OCT 24TH to NOV 8TH 2018

PART 2 : MAYAPUR : NOV 9TH to NOV 23RD 2018

Welcome to Indradyumna Swami’s Parikrama. Indradyumna Swami and Bada Hari Das will be taking devotees on a special journey of pilgrimage, in Sri Vrindavan dham and Sri Mayapur dham in the most auspicious month of Kartik 2018. Join them!

 

Registration – 2018

 Registration for Kartik Parikrama with Indradyumna Swami is now open!

nityananda-vata

Nityānanda vata – HH Indradyumna Swami & HG Caturātmā Prabhu – Parikramā Realizations

The Glories of Parikramā

– By HH Indradyumna Swami & HG Caturātmā Prabhu

HH Indradyumna Swami Mahārāja:

Mother Śītalā said the other day, when she was beginning her talk on the disappearance of Śrīla Prabhupāda; she began by saying, “This is going to be painful”. Like that it’s always hard to say good bye. Of course there is a famous quote from my good friend ŚrīPrahlāda. At the end of every festival program on Baltic-Sea cost, he would say that, “There is only one good thing about saying ‘Good bye’, and that is in the future, we can say ‘Hello’ again”.

In my mind I am already thinking of Kārtika 2016, for some new places to go; like Badrikāśrama way far out at the end of Vraja; some other forest, we haven’t visited and  some of those 60 billion holy places that we haven’t seen yet. How many of you would like to join us next year?

Also because of the internet we have all these videos posted and they are being shared everywhere and I think we are going to exceed even Rādhānātha Swami’s Parikramā party, by something like maybe 60 thousand people! [Laughter]

But for now we are sharing our memories and realizations. I take these events quite seriously, so this morning I was preparing a little bit by taking out this year’s itinerary. We have that itinerary on the website and I printed it out; all the different places that we visited from A to Z. I was thinking what days I would like to comment, what events I remember, what precious moments and so forth.

“Oh there was Kāmyavana!” I thought about that for a while, to make a few notes on Kāmyavana. Then there was Mathurā, all the temples I remember that and I want to talk about; then MadanaMohan temple up there on the hill; then the program at GokulānandaNarottama Dāsa Ṭhākur’s Disappearance day, and then there was first GovardhanParikramā that we walked— ran. Then all of sudden I realized that I had like 15 pages of notes, far too many to speak on today. At that moment I had a realization and my mind went back to polish festival tour on the Baltic Sea cost. At the end of every festival we have this big Kīrtana, where all the people, especially the children, dance in front of the stage. It’s kind of competitive, but at the end we invite all the kids to come up, which numbers around like 50 or 100 sometimes. The children come up and we give all of them presents; we give each girls a silk Sāri and they are like dumbfounded. They just love it and never forget it. You know it takes some time to give 100 little girls – Sāris and the boys – sweets. But you know in the mean time, the master of ceremony is interviewing each little child, so “Did you like the festival?” “Yeah!” “And what was your favorite part of the festival?” Like this 10, 15, 20 kids are interviewed before all the girls have their Sāris on; and then we conclude the show.

My Polish is as bit as my Russian— about 4 – 5 words.  So when we started this, they asked the little girls and all the kids were saying “Wszystko!” I keep on hearing this word “Wszystko” and after 4, 5 festivals I looked around and asked what this “Wszystko” mean? A devotee said, It means “everything”. The little girls when they were asked what did you like? They said, “Everything!”

As I had my notes of 15 pages I realized, I was writing down every single place we went, every single thing that happened, and every single thing that we said. I realized that about our tour this year, I liked “Wszystko!” – I liked ‘everything’. But we are supposed to share few outstanding moments, so I don’t want to take too much time, because there are many speakers. For me the main thing that stood out was:  On the first Parikramā we went to Kāmyavana, and that beautiful gorgeous all merciful compassionate red colored deity of Vṛndādevī, I just can’t get it out of my mind; because it was just an overwhelming experience to me, to see that historic deity of Rūpa Gosvāmī. It’s so big and so red and so merciful. I just remember her, I hope I shall remember her when I leave this body; I hope that Saṁskāra, that impression stays in our heart.

Then we went to Mathurā, and you know at Mathurā I was expecting to see Kṛṣṇa killing Kaṁsa and fighting CāṇūraMuṣṭikaKuvalayāpīḍa; but what I saw was Varāha. [Laughs] Because Varāha has a very intimate relationship with Mathurā, as we discussed, I won’t be talking about it again but, the big black deity of Varāha and the big white deity of Varāha–“Wow!” that was so amazing.

Then at MadanaMohan up on the hill there, I had many rounds to make up, so I was sitting back a little bit; and I couldn’t hear much more of what it was, but watching Caturātmā’s animated lectures, like Italians they speak with their hands; so I could understand everything he said by sign language. Then you know we kind of split up with some devotees and we moved unto Sanātana Gosvāmī’s Samādhi. I am now an old guy, I don’t play Mṛdunga so much anymore; but I picked up that Mṛdunga and I received so much enthusiasm, inspiration; so that’s one of my favorite places in Vṛndāvana and we had 2 hours Kīrtana there.  That Kīrtana at Sanātana Gosvāmī’s Samādhi was so wonderful!

Then we did the first Govardhan Parikramā, and at one point we were so enthusiastic we started running, literally running and it was captured by Ananta Vṛndāvana, put on that particular video at the end as one of the climactic scenes, in that everyone is running; he captured that running around Govardhan hill.

Also when we came here for the first time, and put Jīva Gosvāmī’s beads around my neck, I got to speak by wearing those beads.  I thought I was just garlanded by mercy, so I had to say something significant.

Then at Jaipur, when we went for ParikramāDarśana of the Deities, I tried to position myself so that I could watch all of you coming and see Govinda. I had a quick Darśana of Govinda but I wanted to see many of you who were there for the first time; I wanted to see your faces when you saw Rūpa Gosvāmī’s Govindaji and then, all the people chanting with so much love and so much devotion and that atmosphere was just like Goloka and just to see your spiritual senses come alive, it was so satisfying. And then the Harināma we had at the lake of blood –Kurukṣetra. Do you remember those lakes? That were created from blood of out of the 21 generations of disobedient Kṣatriyas that Paraśurāma killed. We decided to have a Harināma there and I was thinking, “Harināma! But there is like nobody out there.” So I said to Kālasamvara, “We can’t have Harināma with nobody?” He said, “No! There are 33 million demigods.” “Ok let’s go”, and that was such an ecstatic Harināma we had, Kālasamvara is leading, Prahlāda, for me that was a very memorable moment.

When we visited Tālavana that big beautiful deity of Daujī and telling that story about Dhenukāsura was so much fun. Śītalā’s lectures painful as it was on Śrīla Prabhupāda’sdisappearance day, actually I couldn’t stay but I was listening from the other side of the wall. But Prahlāda said, it was the best disappearance day lecture that he had ever heard.  Then Prahlāda gave some really good lectures, I mean everyone was outstanding, but my favorite was his lecture he had at Kṛṣṇa Kuṇḍa about Rādhārāṇī. How he started out with Tattva you know the basic elements of truth and expanded into the pastimes. Like you can see why he is one of the main professors now at the University of Sydney. He is a good speaker but that was saturated with so much devotion.

Then Caturātmā’s 44.43 minutes superfast lecture a couple of days ago at Yavat; He did it. He had prepared maybe a 2 and half hour lecture but he spoke so fast that he got all points included in 44.43 minutes.  On my watch I was actually keeping time, and he looked back and he smiled at me, “I did it”. [Laughter]

I want to give him a gift, not only for that but just you know for giving everything jolly and talkative and sharing all the fun that we had on this month; Because older devotees, god brothers— they are in charge of all of you, just to make sure that you have a good time in Kṛṣṇa Consciousness. I am especially indebted to the senior god brothers and god sisters; so I thought I would give him a really nice present and it’s not the Govardhan Śilā, he had enough of those. When I got this present from the Sādhu, these ancient wooden beads, he said, “I would like to have that”. Wow! That’s pretty bold. [Laughter] But as they say in the English, “fortune favors the bolds”. [Śrīla Gurudeva offered the neck beads to Caturātmāprabhu]

I really appreciate Baḍa Hari Prabhu’s initiation lecture. He has not realized it now because we were just moving so fast, 2 of us for the last 3 years and he doesn’t realize where it went. Actually for the last 3 years he has given all the initiation lectures. I ask, “Can you give an initiation lecture?” “Aha, Yeah OK.” But then I realized, I was having him do all of them because it’s so good. He also gives all the marriage lectures, I just sit back, I give my blessings, and I get the donations [Laughter].

It was really fun having my son Gaur Śakti, joined us for a few days; he is on facebook right now here looking at this lecture so you can all give him a big round of applause – Gaur Śakti!   [Claps-Haribol] I call him Śaktipāda, so he really enjoyed this and also said, he will be coming back again next year. He keeps reminding me when I say, “go to this place in India and that place”, he says, “Pita (father), why go anywhere else? Just stay in Braja, everything is in Braja.” So he has realized this. Haribol Śaktipāda!

Another indelible memory that etched in my heart is, how we start, how we set the stage. It is so important to set the mood properly to absorb the Dhāma, how Mādhava prabhu so expertly and devotionally and melodiously began each program with his Kīrtana every day. You all kind of moving and wrestling and as soon as his Kīrtana starts everyone is just focused on the mood of Braja. We are so indebted to Mādhava prabhu. [claps –Haribol]

All these things: the personalities, the places, the Kathā, the Kīrtana, they create the SaṁskāraSaṁskāra means a deep spiritual impression in the heart that just doesn’t go away. It’s just like, unfortunately when I was young and some of my god-brothers were young— we heard all these songs from the 60s & 70s, and you know sometimes they pop in the mind, “Oh No!” They are just like bubbles that come out of mud, they come to the surface of the mind, but they are material impressions. While spiritual impressions are much more powerful and much more important and if we keep going on Parikramā every year, we go back and we keep preaching, then these Saṁskāras, they will come to our mind again and again. Maybe when we leave this body— one of these holy places, one of these lectures or one of Baḍa Hari Prabhu’s Kīrtanas will then take us Back home back to god head; that’s Saṁskāra. So don’t forget. If you think of the past, then think of this last month, and in the coming year when things may be getting a little difficult, like some opposition in the preaching, you are alone in your apartment in a cold and dark – winter evening, or you are frustrated doing 5 hours of homework or you are on a long tedious plane ride, you are dealing with some family problem, some disciple problem- then remember all these moments of this month and you will get strength, inspiration and hope.

In conclusion because we want many devotees to speak I first in foremost would like to thank Śrīla Prabhupāda, by whose invitation alone, we are here today.  He could have easily stayed here; he took Sannyāsa and as a Sannyāsī he had right to retire to the Dhāma; he could have stayed here and just immerse himself in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, but he took it upon himself the order of spiritual master to leave this wonderful place, this wonderful world of Kṛṣṇa consciousness and go to hellish – MlecchāDeśaYavanaDeśain the West, to bring all of us back here, future generations as well. Therefore we are all indebted to Śrīla Prabhupāda.  Whenever you receive a gift you have to say – Thank You; and if you receive the greatest gift, you have to give the biggest ‘Thank You’. I think the biggest ‘Thank You’, the expression of gratitude that we can offer to ŚrīlaPrabhupāda is to go back and bring other people here, people who are suffering, who are in misery, who are bewildered, wake them up in Kṛṣṇa consciousness and whatever time that takes, bring them to this wonderful Dhāma so they can also have the Vṛndāvana experience; that’s the best way we can reciprocate with Prabhupāda’smercy. I would also like to thank specially my God-brothers & God-sisters who so much contributed to the Vṛndāvana experience:

  • Baḍa Hari Prabhu!  [Applause: Claps, Haribol!]
  • Madhumaṅgala (Caturātmā Prabhu)! [Applause: Claps, Haribol!] He looks pretty good with these beads on.
  • Ghoṣa Ṭhākur!  [Applause: Claps, Haribol!]
  • Manyu Prabhu! [Applause: Claps, Haribol!]
  • Gopa Swami Prabhu! [Applause: Claps, Haribol!]
  • Ṭhākurāṇī (Mother Śītalā Prabhu)! [Applause: Claps, Haribol!]
  • And best apple crumble maker in the whole universe- Mother Viśeṣa Prabhu! [Applause: Claps, Haribol!]
  • I am very much grateful to my disciples, Govinda Caraṇa & Rasikā for their super excellent management, what can I say! [Applause: Claps, Haribol!]
  • Our translators so that our translation would be understood, so Murāri Kṛṣṇa Prabhu, Uttama-śloka! Barsānā Rāṇī! Dulāli! [Applause: Claps, Haribol!]
  • The Sound Team, they have done wonderful job! [Applause: Claps, Haribol!]
  • The man who never sleeps, Ananta Vṛndāvana! [Applause: Claps, Haribol!]
  • We would like to thank Rāmāi Paṇḍita, Dhaniṣṭhā and Vṛndā for keeping my house the head quarter together during the whole show. [Applause: Claps, Haribol!]
  • And all the cooks who cooked wonderful Prasādam! Prasādam was pretty good this year right! The Prasādam that you had most of the days on the Parikramās! [Applause: Claps, Haribol!]
  • Thanks to Vṛndāvana TV  for airing our program for the greater Vaiṣṇava community. [Applause: Claps, Haribol!]
  • Once again to Mādhava & Baḍa-Hari Prabhu, they had just such amazing Kīrtanas,that took us to Goloka immediately[Applause: Claps, Haribol!]
  • To all the Vrajavāsīs in Vṛndāvana, past, present and future; who make this wonderful abode, what it is. [Applause: Claps, Haribol!] That includes the cows, the buffalos, the butterflies, the bees, the dogs even the pigs. [Applause: Claps, Haribol!] Even the monkeys! [Applause: Claps, Haribol!]
  • We would like to thank again the 5 personalities, who we spoke so much about to grant us entrance into and hopefully one day residence into Vṛndāvana. [Applause: Claps, Haribol!] These are Gopeśvara Mahādeva, Vṛndādevī, Paurṇamāsī, Govardhan Hill, and Yamunā.
  • I would like to give a special thank you once again to all of you without you it would be nothing! [Applause: Claps, Haribol!]

There is a saying in English, “We are all that we have”. We were on the Polish tour, I sometime mentions my favorite thing is to sit at the gate, you know the entrance to the festival, where people can’t really see me, and I just watch them coming with great expectation, and the looks on their faces when coming in to get their first experience of this wonderful world of Hare Kṛṣṇa’s, and to see them that is my greatest pleasure.   They are brand new, but they got a little taste on the beach of an invitation or Harināma and they are coming like, “Wow I want to experience this Hare Kṛṣṇa!” and thus watching them walk by, that’s the greatest joy of my life actually. Sometimes I actually feel like offering my obeisances to them. What would the festival of India be without them? Actually ultimately as George Harrison famously said, “Everyone is devotee of Kṛṣṇa, some realize it and some don’t”.  There is something special about the birth of the newborn baby, so there is something special about seeing the conditioned soul take their first infantile steps as unconscious as they are, unto the path of devotional service, Kṛṣṇa Consciousness.

Here in Vṛndāvana the other side of that experience is that 2 headed coin – preaching and the Vṛndāvana experience. Here my greatest pleasure was watching all of you awakened to the wonderful world of Goloka Vṛndāvana, right here centerfold in this holy abode of Vṛndāvana. I just loved watching your faces, how you were swaying in the Kīrtana and dancing and listening so attentively, just absorbing everything; for me that was my Vṛndāvana experience.

We can do this again next year and for many years to come, I will consider it my greatest honor to serve all of you in this way again. It is kind of hard to offer my obeisances to the people because they might see me, I have done that for few times; but I can easily offer my obeisance to all of you.

[Śrīla Indradyumna Swami offered obeisances to all of audience]

vāñchā-kalpatarubhyaś ca kṛpā-sindhubhya eva ca

patitānāṁ pāvenebhyo vaiṣṇavebhyo namo namaḥ

Gaur Bhakta Vṛndā ki – jaya!

Śrīla Prabhupāda ki Jaya!

Kārtik Parikramā – 2015 ki – Jaya!

Kārtik Parikramā – 2016 ki – Jaya!

Jaya-Jaya Śrī Rādhe ……………………………….Śyāma!

‘Spasiba Bolshaya!’ [Big Thank You]

Hare Kṛṣṇa!

[Applause: Claps Haribol]

 

HG Caturātmā Prabhu:

This is about appreciation and realizations and I had 2 particular groups of persons that I really felt in spite of everyone else having said so many things, that I have also wanted to give my appreciation to them; and that is once again our management team. I mean all of you who are experiencing your Vṛndāvana Parikramā only through this medium, you have no idea but everything was taken care for you so nicely; and so many endeavors and so much effort and so much arrangement and finagling was done just to make it such a wonderful experience for you. Having managed couple of temples and couple of Rathayātrās and festival of colors – big events like that, I know it can really be a headache working all that out.

Maybe you didn’t get the room partner that you wanted; maybe you didn’t like the particular bus you want; maybe Prasādam came a little later than you wanted that day;  but let me tell you, this management team of 5 or 6 people have done absolutely astounding Job. I take the dust of their feet on my head any day of the week.

Now all of you have your bag-pack, your little bag you are carrying with you every day, right? You know we all are dressed up nice & warm in morning and what you need in day you could shove in that bag and that bag gets little heavier. Well way before all of you get ready on the busses this group of men right here, they are at Gurudeva’s house shifting these equipments up & down from the roof every morning and every afternoon, endlessly just to get it here ahead of all of us.  Up the rocky hills of Barsānā, down onto the slopes of Kṛṣṇa Kuṇḍa, into the court yards of Gokula, anywhere we go by the time we get there, they have already got there and set everything up, so just like that. I am very grateful personally to all of you.

Realizations are of 2 kinds, those personal intimate realizations that motivates on our devotional service that we keep to ourselves and those realizations that are pertinent to the collective effort to become Kṛṣṇa conscious. 1st one I won’t speak about because it’s not the appropriate. But of the 2nd group there are 2 particular realizations I had this year. One of this I spoke about several times when devotees would ask me. How do we see Vṛndāvana? I mean I look around and I don’t really see the Vṛndāvana that we are reading about and hearing about in the Śāstras? But that’s the problem; we are trying to see Vṛndāvana with our eyes. We don’t see Vṛndāvana with our eyes. We don’t see, as Gurudeva says, as 60 million holy places with your eyes. See them through your ears. Because by seeing with the ears, which means as we hear about these places our heart becomes cleansed; and when the heart becomes cleansed then with the actual spiritual eyes, we began to see things in that perspective. This is how we see Vṛndāvana – ‘premāñjana-cchurita-bhakti-vilocanena’ [Bs. 5.38]. When our vision is quoted with love that comes from purified heart and that heart became purified by hearing from the saintly persons.  This is the essential understanding in coming to Vṛndāvana and trying to see these holy places.

The 2nd realization I had dealt with something equally profound things. In observing all of you and reading Ṭhākurāṇī’s manuscript that I share with many of you that comes in the evening – things about Narottam, I noticed one particular thing. Loving emotions and exchanges of friendship and appreciation and deep concern for each other, these are all real. These are not false sentiments that we give up as the materialistic concept and try to become, staunch in devotional service. The hearts and feelings of all of our Ācāryas, were genuinely soft and filled with love and compassion for each other. This is the type of relationships that we should have in our own dealings with each other. I am very fortunate to senior god brothers that are very much caring and loving with me like that. For me it was kind of nice, because it wasn’t just like, “Oh I am some sentimental old fool” and that just how I am; but I could see that this is actually how relationships between devotees and devotional service really are. So for all of you, I thank you very much for giving me that impetus and helping me get that realization; and I simply pray that the future of our lives is built upon this year after year after year after year. With your blessings I pray that, may I be able to come year after year after year after year. Thank you very much.

[Applause: Claps, Haribol!]

javat

Javat – HG Caturātmā Prabhu – Lecture, Indradyumna Swami’s Parikrama -2015

Rādhā & Kṛṣṇa’s Pastimes in Yavat

– By HG Caturātmā Prabhu

Just one thing before we start. Over the last month we have been together, I have seen the variety of tears during Kīrtana;  and all I can say is this—If we can’t cry here, where are we going to cry? Okay, so this place of Yavat, one of my absolute favorite places all over Braja; and there are unlimited pastimes to speak about what takes place here at Yavat. But as is the nature of this world we are governed by the time factor, particularly me. We will start off with this nice wonderful prayer. “Jaṭilā Devī is Rādhārāṇī’s mother-in-law, and Abhimanyu is Rādhā’s so-called husband. Kuṭilā Devī, who is always eager to find faults, is Rādhārāṇī’s sister-in-law. Abhimanyu doesn’t realize the value of the diamond he has in his care. Any ways Kṛṣṇa doesn’t care, neither does Rādhārāṇī.”

In Alachua we have this sweet cook, and she is the best sweet cook around. Whoever you know who makes milk sweets, she makes them even better. She takes fresh cow’s milk from her own cows, makes her own curd and then cooks easily the most wonderful squishy Rasagullās you have ever had. But the level of her skill is that she does one thing further than this. She takes a couple of unexpected ingredients and adds them to the Rasagullās, camphor and black pepper. Now camphor and black pepper are not particularly known for their sweetness, but when you mix them properly by an expert cook, the combination gives the most amazing flavor, and it makes sweetness even sweeter.

The pastimes in Yavat here are comparable to this sweetest of Rasagullās, because they involve the sweetness of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes, which are the sugar in the Rasagullā. But an added ingredient not so much thought of, namely, Abhimanyu actually makes it even sweeter. This so-called husband of Rādhārāṇī is the camphor, and black pepper which, when added in their proper proportions, make the whole pastime even sweeter. As followers of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, we always refer to Abhimanyu as the so-called husband. You will hear that phrase being used many times while discussing pastimes involving them. This is the place of the Līlā of Rādhārāṇī’s household life with that so-called husband Abhimanyu, and his ever attentive, and watchful mother Jaṭilā, and even more overbearing sister Kuṭilā. As Gurudeva said, these are three main obstacles to the enjoying pastimes between Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. We know, if there is something that you desire, and there is an obstacle put in front of that, well, you are going to try that much harder to fight it.

Now Yavat, like all of Braja that we have been visiting, looked a little different when these Līlās were taking place at that time. We are instructed that the truth of Yavat and the pastimes of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa are very sublime and are concealed from ordinary people. But by the good fortune of pure Vaiṣṇavas and those who are following them, we are able to enjoy these pastimes by speaking about them and hearing about them. Our Ācāryas,they describe the Yavat pastimes as RasaYavat was built by King Vṛṣbhānu; it’s a wedding present for his daughter, and the palace [is] for the son-in-law to be and to exist very happily. Of course, as a father, he desired that his daughter would live somewhere close in her married life, not so much far away like Australia [like Caturatma das’ daughter]. Anyway, he built Yavat in such a way that it was very spacious and very aesthetically pleasing. There are many wide alleys, very palatial buildings. It was beautifully decorated and every convenience that anyone would need was found here in Yavat. Now all of Rādhārāṇī’s girlfriends, who would also have been married, they all moved here and lived with all their husbands in Yavat as well.

The overall area of Yavat was blessed at that time with many banyan trees. There are also 15 specific Kuṇḍas that surround this area that are related particularly to the pastimes of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa here at Yavat. There is one Kuṇḍa with a special selection of Kadambatrees there, indicating that the pastimes there are most sweet. There is also the spot in Yavat where Rādhārāṇī planted a Pārijāta tree and watered it and nourished it till it grew and gave flowers and then took those flowers and made garlands for Kṛṣṇa. She would give those garlands to Him when He would sneak and see Her here in Yavat.

Another thing to know about Yavat, this is the place where the Gopāṣṭamī pastime takes place also. Yet, because Rādhārāṇī was forced to live here as the so-called wife of someone other than Kṛṣṇa, She saw it as a prison, a prison from which She was constantly trying to escape. Actually it was prison for both Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. She is always trying to get out, and He is always trying to get in, and, you know, if you have a really good prison, nobody can get in, nobody can get out. Every night, She would climb up to the moon tower. This tower here you can actually go up. There is a place with Her lotus feet, and she would look across the fields to Nandagrāma and pine, not knowing that Kṛṣṇa was also on a tower over there looking in this way and pining also.

Why would Vṛṣbhānu Mahārāja ask his daughter Rādhārāṇī to marry Abhimanyu? We do have to understand that this marriage takes place here in Gokula Dhām and not in GolokaDhām. It takes place here for the sole purpose of facilitating the deep Bhāva of ParakīyaRasaRādhārāṇī never considers Herself married, neither does She give Her heart to Abhimanyu. At best it’s just a facade of a marriage. Actually the marriage takes place during the one year after Brahmā stole the cowherd boys and Kṛṣṇa had expanded Himself into all the different cowherd boys including Abhimanyu, so She actually married KṛṣṇaThe real answer lies in the fact that this relationship, Svakiya Rasa, the wedded relationship, is not considered the highest enjoyment. Instead it’s a Parakīya Rasabetween the Divine Couple that is seen as the topmost pleasure. Personalities like JīvaGosvāmī and many others have delved into this with great detail, something that I am not qualified to do and won’t even attempt.

There is a second reason why Vṛṣbhānu had Her married. In his subconscious deeper understanding he wanted to facilitate the desire for Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa to be together, because this brings the highest happiness to Rādhārāṇī. As a father, he wanted unlimitedly Rādhārāṇī’s best happiness. But as a father to facilitate that is completely Rasā-Bhāsa, so therefore he arranges for the marriage of Rādhārāṇī to Abhimanyu. I mean after all, She is a suitable young girl who needs a husband and he seemed to be a suitable husband. In this way, the rules of a so-called marriage go on.

Abhimanyu has a variety of words that are used to describe him. None of them are very flattering: dull-witted, dumb, unappreciative of the real jewel he has, not knowing the value of the diamond in his care. Abhimanyus real wealth is from cows, so instead of spending most of his time with Rādhārāṇī, he spends most of his time in the barn with the cows. As a result, his wife, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī doesn’t get the type of attention She deserves. Some of you ladies maybe experienced husbands not paying close attention, like, “I know about that.” But the reality, as Gurudeva said, earlier is that Abhimanyu is actually the shadow of Kṛṣṇa. As you know, His expansion from when the cowherd boys were stolen. From the spiritual point of view, the wives are also shadows, so these cowherd men, they never actually touched their wives. They are touching the shadows, and in this way they are all saving themselves, and Kṛṣṇa is their only husband.

There is a real nice pastime which Śrīla Prabhupāda explains in the Nectar of Devotionabout Abhimanyu. One day, Abhimanyu was returning home from herding the cows, and he didn’t know Kṛṣṇa was already inside the house—something Kṛṣṇa always tried to do and occasionally was successful [in]. Seeing Abhimanyu coming, Kṛṣṇa quickly assumed the dress and the appearance of Abhimanyu, and he went to Jaṭilā and addressed his mother Jaṭilā looking like Abhimanyu and with the same voice as Abhimanyu, “My dear mother Jaṭilā I am your son Abhimanyu, but Kṛṣṇa has assumed my dress and is coming towards the house posing as me. This rascal is trying to gain entrance to our home. You should deal with Him. I am going to take Rādhā into Her quarters and close the doors from the inside and keep Her safe. In this way, I will protect Her.” As Kṛṣṇa is the most expert of dressers and knows the voices of all the animals, it’s not hard to imagine [that] he pulled this off really successfully. Jaṭilā was convinced that he is indeed the real Abhimanyu, so the anger she felt is now about to be taken out on her real son. First she got Kuṭilā and then locked the door from the inside. They climbed up to the roof of the house, and they collected several very, very large and soft balls of cow dung. Now, if you step on a dried-up cow dung paddy, this is not such a big deal, but if you step on a wet one, “Yahhhhha”—so big wet balls of cow dung.

Abhimanyu came to the house, went to open the door; door is locked, so he called out, “I am home, I am home. Can somebody open the door? Can I be received properly?” Jaṭilācalled out, “Oh yes, you rascal, we will receive you properly.” As the confused Abhimanyulooked up to see what his mother was talking about, “Splat! Crash!” [laughter]. Very big large soft cow dung balls sailed down from the top of the house and landed on top of his head. In confusion he thought, “Who is throwing these cow dung balls on me?” He looked up and saw it was his mother and sister, so he screamed, “Mother, what are you doing? Don’t you see who I am?” “Yes, we know who you are. You are a big rascal. You are the debauchee Kṛṣṇa, and we are going to punish you.” She threw more cow dung balls down, so lying there on the ground, it covered all of his nice clothing and his hair. Turban covered in cow dung, he looked up and he thought, “The women of this house have gone mad.” “Mother, Mother it is me, your son, Abhimanyu.” “We knew you would say that; that proves you are Kṛṣṇa!” Splat! Crash!

Abhimanyu concluded, “They have been possessed by ghosts,” and he went to Mathurāto get accessories so that they could be saved. At this point Jaṭilā came down and got one of those cleaning brooms, not one of those little soft ones that you use to sweep the floor, but the really hard stiff ones you use for scrubbing with. She opened the door and started to chase Abhimanyu. Now, when she first opened the door, he felt, “Okay, she returned to her senses. She is going to open the door and greet me and let me come in and clean up.” But instead, she comes out of the door with her broom raised, “You rascal, get away from our house.” She begins chasing him as he runs off to Mathurā to get an exorcist. Seeing this all, the girlfriends of Rādhārāṇī who were present began to smile, showing just a portion of their teeth. Nectar of Devotion describes this type of smiling as, hasita—smiling.

Now there was another time when Kṛṣṇa assumed the dress of Abhimanyu. This is something He does often, and unlike the jokes which I tell to Indradyumna Swami during our lunch-time, His dressing is always successful and it always produces a good laugh. Once Kṛṣṇa dressed as Abhimanyu, and His cowherd friend Raktak noticed this. Even from when I was a young Brahmacārī, Raktak was my favorite cowherd boy. He is green. Anyway, Raktak saw that Abhimanyu was there. What’s Abhimanyu doing mixing with us?[he thought]. And he started to rebuke him with some very choice words. Here are a couple of men who know how to use these choice words, but I think they have taken a vow for Kārtik and don’t use them. In this way, after a little bit of this he suddenly realized, “Wait, this is just Kṛṣṇa dressed as Abhimanyu,” and he began sweating a little uncomfortably. Prabhupāda describes in Nectar of Devotion that this type of sweating is brought on by fearfulness. Now, one thing to know about Jaṭilā; she has this big Jata. She has these matted locks on her head, all piled up really high. It is described like this because her mind is just like that, also completely entangled on top of her head. Plus, she is half-blind and this just adds to the enjoyable pastimes. You can imagine, trying to sneak and hide around someone who is half-blind, can’t even see you; so that’s Jaṭilā.

Over at Nandagrāma, early one morning, mother Yaśodā had one very large box, and she was packing this box with all kinds of beautiful ornaments and clothing and silks and perfumes and cosmetics. Kṛṣṇa went into the room and said, “Ma, what are you doing with this box? Why are you packing these things in here?” “Oh, my little boy these are just some presents, for someone very, very special and dear to Me.” “What are you packing in it, Ma? What are you packing? What’s going in the box?” Mother Yaśodā said, “O, why do You need to know? Just go out and play with Your friends.” “I really want to know, Ma. If you don’t tell me, I am just going to stand here and keep asking you until you do.” Being filled with love, but a little reluctant to tell Him the whole thing, Mother Yaśodā went ahead and told Him, “All right, if you must know, I am putting in the box, camphor, lotus, red kumkum, sandalwood sticks, and musk for making different types of perfumes. For making uncommonly beautiful dresses, I am putting in various ornaments that are made of tinkling bells, red lapis lazuli, gems, extremely valuable clothes, earrings, bangles, emeralds and pearls. Dear, are You satisfied now? Now go outside and play with Your friends.” “No! I want to know if this box is for Me or Balarāma?” “I have already packed two large boxes for You and Your brother.”

Kṛṣṇa then said, “Well, who besides Daujī and Me could be very, very special to you?” To this question, Mother Yaśodā then paused, closed her eyes thinking and then answered very nicely, “My dear son, as a result of past pious deeds and many austerities, providence has restored upon me a son like You and a girl who is powerful tonic and sustains my life. This girl, the soothing camphor for my eyes, is the shelter of extraordinary feminine qualities: good behavior, beauty, simplicity, humility. Before You ask me who this girl is, I will tell You. Her name is Śrī Rādhā and Her husband Abhimanyu is meeting Your father.” Now at this point, Yaśodā got distracted because the jeweler, who is making crowns for Kṛṣṇa, had come to the house, and she had to go and talk to him. So she turned to Dhaniṣṭhā and said, “You keep an eye on this box until I get back. You know in a little while Abhimanyu will come, and he will take this box with him when he is finished meeting with my husband.”

Upon hearing these final words, Kṛṣṇa devised a plan. As soon as Yaśodā left, He emptied all the contents of the box, and he climbed in the box. He entrusted the contents to Dhaniṣṭhā to hide them so they wouldn’t be found. Now you remember, she is very cooperative, so once He is inside, He has Dhaniṣṭhā to ensure to close the lock and secure it. A little later, Yaśodā returned with Abhimanyu, presented him [with] the box and gives him the following message that he has to give to Śrī Rādhā, “Oh, fame of Kīrtidā, I have sent You a box full of wonders. You should use these wonders to daily ornament Yourself and dress Yourself. May You forever be happy, radiant and fortunate with these gifts.” Abhimanyu thanked Yaśodā a hundred times and with some difficulty, he put this heavy box on his head and set out on the long road back to Yavat. Now very strange things happened when Abhimanyu was carrying this box. He finds himself filled with joy, a joy that he has not experienced from all the wealth that he has got. His body gets goosebumps, his eyes becomes moist with tears.  Well, of course, this is all because he is in the touch with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the source of all bliss, right there on his head. In the meantime, Kṛṣṇa, who is in the box, can barely contain His laughing at the fact that Abhimanyu is carrying Him to meet Śrī Rādhā.

Breathlessly, Abhimanyu finally enters the house and tells Jaṭilā about this wonderful box that has been sent by Yaśodā for Śrī RādhāJaṭilā was reflecting on the wealth that must be in the box, and there really is a wealth in this box. She thinks, “Oh, with this present, my daughter-in-law will finally be happy with my son,” so she instructs Abhimanyu, “Go ahead and take this to ŚrīRādhā’s quarters. She is in Her room sulking.” Abhimanyu carries this box up and finds indeed there is Śrī Rādhā in Her room sulking. Now an interesting thing happens, as he totters in the door almost losing his balance, leaning forward, this wave of bliss flows out from this box engulfing all the Gopīs in the room including Śrī Rādhā, and Śrī Rādhā Herself begins to twitch on Her left side.

It is described that this box, being placed in the room, was perceived by the Gopīs as if the Sun Himself had entered into the room. Rādhā turned to Lalitā and She said, “I feel my mother-in-law’s house is like a prison, but why do I suddenly feel happy and notice my left side is twitching? Just seeing this box brings Me great happiness. I can’t imagine how happy I will be when I open it.” All the cowherd girls, they clatter around the box and encouraged Rādhā, “Stop what you are doing and open the box right now.” It is described that as Rādhārāṇī approaches the box and reaches out to touch it, a wave of amorous blissful desire completely engrosses Her like a bolt of lightning coming from a rain cloud. As a result, She pulls Her hand back and is a little suspicious, “What is in there?” But all the girls are pressing Her forward, until She actually agrees, “Okay.” She unlocks the box and throws back the lid.

When She throws back the lid, the instant it’s opened, Kṛṣṇa whips up, standing up inside the box with His hands thrown into the air. Then He places His hands on His hips and looks around the room with His eyebrows dancing up and down. The Gopīs all exclaimed, “Hah! What is this?”  Extremely pleased with His own trickery, Kṛṣṇa jumps out of the box, revolves around the room, and kisses each one of the Gopīs. Having a rare opportunity to be inside of Śrī Rādhā’s quarters, He began to investigate everything in the room. Laughing in great pleasure, Lalitā repeated the loud message of Yaśodā and exclaimed, “Well, it is true, this is a glorious gift. But YaśodāJaṭilā and Your husband have all ordered You to wear this gift.” Rādhā began to blush, and all the Gopīs cheered at this, and then Rādhā got a little angrier. She began to wag Her finger at Kṛṣṇa. She was addressing the girls, chastising Kṛṣṇa, “This thief has stolen all of My gifts in this box, and before He could get out of the box, My husband has brought Him here. Go and get Jaṭilā and tell her about this.”  In great joy, Lalitā joins Her in the front. “You rascal, stealing Rādhā’s gifts. You are dedicated to ruining the chastity of all women on this earth. Have you no shame?” Kṛṣṇasaid, “No, no. This isn’t true at all. There was this nice empty box at Yaśodā’s quarters and it was all padded and I thought, ‘Oh, what a great place for a nap.’ So I climbed in and went to sleep and someone closed the lid, and here I am.” In this way, the GopīsKṛṣṇaand Lalitā and Rādhā they go back and forth, back and forth for some time, playing different types of word games. Finally, all the Gopīs leave the room, leaving Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa alone. That’s how they enjoyed their enriching pastimes of love here at Yavat.

I leave you with one prayer, “I bow to the marital home of Śrī Rādhā. The walls of this house kept Rādhā from meeting Kṛṣṇa. Therefore She considers it like a dungeon and every brick to be a source of misery.” So may we all keep these handfuls of pastimes eagerly in our hearts.

Śrī Yavat Dhām ki- Jaya!

Śrī-Śrī  Rādhārāṇī ki –Jaya!

Śrī Kṛṣṇa ki –Jaya!

Gaura Premanande – Haribol! [claps]

Being on time –ki [Laughs: Ha-ha-ha-ha]

javat

Javat – HH Śrīla Indradyumna Swami – Instructions

Praying to kalpa-vṛkṣa: for pure devotion

– By His Holiness Śrīla IndradyumnaSwami

This is the ancestral home of Abhimanyu, his mother Jaṭilā and his sister Kuṭilā. There are beautiful deities of AbhimanyuKuṭilā & Jaṭilā just over here. They are very unique personalities, they create lot of trouble for Kṛṣṇa, lot of obstacles for Kṛṣṇa, but it’s always in the mood of increasing the mellow of the Rasa for Rādhā and Kṛṣṇas pastimes; that is their Sevā. If there is some obstacle to the meeting, then when the meeting finally takes place, it’s even more relishable. That’s the theme in a lot of Rādhā & Kṛṣṇas pastimes. This will be elaborated on this morning by, His Grace Caturātmā Prabhu.

And there are also very beautiful Deities of Rādhā and KṛṣṇaRādhāKānta are the Deities’ names, RādhāKānta, very ancient RādhāKṛṣṇa Deities.

We talk a lot in Vṛndāvan about the desire trees. It’s an important part of the history in the culture.

cintāmaṇi-prakara-sadmasu kalpa-vṛkṣa-

lakṣāvṛteṣu surabhīr abhipālayantam

[BS 5.29]

In that verse from the Brahmā-Saṁhitā, we hear the name kalpa-vṛkṣa. The kalpa-vṛkṣatrees are personalities who live in Vṛndāvan, who fulfill the desires of devotees, who request various objects for use in the service of the Lord. You can approach a kalpa-vṛkṣatree and ask for some item that you can use in Kṛṣṇa’s service. As we were explaining the other day, the kalpa-vṛkṣa trees are very mystical, they don’t just give one object, like apples, or oranges, or bananas, they can give all types of fruits, all types of vegetables, all type of flowers. They can even give cooking utensils, clothes, whatever is required for the pleasure of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa.

It’s very much the tradition of those who go on Parikramā for the last thousands of years, when they come across a kalpa-vṛkṣa tree, especially a kalpa-vṛkṣa tree of this nature—this tree was here 5,000 year ago; actually, Kṛṣṇa climbed up unto this tree trying to get into the palace. This is a very special kalpa-vṛkṣa tree. Devotees, they hug the tree and you reveal your heart:

  • How you would like to serve Rādhā & Kṛṣṇa;
  • What you require to do that activity.

Whatever the spiritual desire that you have can easily be fulfilled by a kalpa-vṛkṣatree.

I recommend before you all leave today, you give this kalpa-vṛkṣa tree a big, warm, tight embrace and reveal your heart, and be careful not to mix material desires in it. That would be disastrous.

na dhanaṁ na janaṁ na sundarīṁ

kavitāṁ vā jagadīśa kāmaye.

mama janmani janmanīśvare

bhavatād bhaktir ahaitukī tvayi

We just pray for pure devotional service. This is a wonderful opportunity here at Javat, very sacred isolated place.

Actually this is the last day of our Parikramā. Tomorrow we cancelled the VṛndāvanParikramā because I am not that well and also I have lot of things to do before we leave Vṛndāvan. So this is actually our last Parikramā Day.

But of course we will be meeting on the 25th at Nityānanda Vat, the Śrīngāra Vata. We will have a fantastic program, and we will speak our memories and our realizations. Don’t lament, it’s not over. That’s a very special event as well.  That’s the 25th, day after tomorrow. We will leave from outside of my house on the Parikramā Mārga. So please relish every moment of this transcendental day. Mādhava Prabhu, who so kindly graced our Parikramā party this month, will sing Kīrtana, then Caturātmā Prabhu will speak about the glories of this place in detail.

Then that transcendental walk, through the BrajaReṇu, through the dust of Vṛndāvan, through the fields of Vṛndāvan to Ter Kadamba!  There Baḍa-Hari Prabhu will lead us in Ṣaḍ-Gosvāmī Aṣṭakam, the prayers to the six Gosvāmīs, and Ṭhākurāṇī Śītalā Devī Dāsīwill speak on the glories of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī. Who could ask for a better day than this? This way you have so many precious memories in your heart to carry with you throughout the year. If your memory is not so good, you can have that USB drive, with all of these 14 or 15 videos of Ananta Vṛndāvan; and there is always Kārtik 2016.

Śrī Yavat Dhām ki – Jaya!

Śrī-Śrī  Rādhā Kānta ki – Jaya!

Śrī Braja Bhūmi Śrī Vṛndāvan Dhām ki – Jaya!

Kārtik Parikramā – 2015 ki – Jaya!

Kārtik Parikramā – 2016 ki – Jaya!

Kārtik Parikramā – 2017 ki – Jaya!

Jaya-Jaya Śrī Rādhe ……………………………….Śyāma!

Hare Kṛṣṇa!

tera kadamba

Tera Kadamba – HG Baḍa Haridāsa Prabhu – Preface, Indradyumna Swami’s Parikrama -2015

Preface to Śad-Gosvāmī Aśtaka

– By HG Baḍa Haridāsa Prabhu

Hare Kṛṣṇa,

We are here at the very beautiful Tera Kadamba, where Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī wrote Bhakti-Rasāmṛta-Sindhu. Many wonderful pastimes happened here. We will hear more about those from Śītalā Devī. We want to sing these beautiful prayers to the six-Gosvāmīs, by Śrīnivas Ācārya! Anyone of you familiar with these prayers? Not so many. Okay, actually Śrīla Prabhupāda one time said, “By studying these prayers we can understand the internal mood of the Spiritual Master.” These are in Sanskrit, they are pretty long, but it’s not too hard to follow. You will probably recognize some of the words. We won’t go through all of the translations. We are going to give you just a little bit of an idea.

It begins: kṛṣṇotkīrtana, so this is actually three words: kṛṣṇa, uta, kīrtana. These Gosvāmīsare the greatest scholars that had ever lived. They were not dry scholars. They were loudly chanting the names of Kṛṣṇa; so ‘kṛṣṇotkīrtana gāna’—and they are singing and dancing— ‘nartana’; and ‘premāmṛtāmbho-nidhī’—they are just like an ocean of love of God, of Prema. Then ‘dhīrā and adhīra-jana’—dhīrā means sober or what you could say saintly people; and adhīra—just the opposite, strongly stated here is ruffians. Like the people you meet at Woodstock, they are in the adhīra category [laughter]. But even to these people ‘priyau’—the Gosvāmīs are very dear even to such people. That’s the nature of saintly people, that even kind of rough characters liked them. Why is that? ‘nirmatsarau’because they are not envious of anyone.

They were all trying to eradicate from the hearts the disease in the material world, which is envy. Saintly persons are free from this envy and so naturally everyone loves them. One time the devotees told Śrīla Prabhupāda, ”Śrīla Prabhupāda, everyone loves you,” and he said, “Yes, because I love everyone.”

Next ‘śrī-caitanya-kṛpā-bharau’—they are carrying a huge burden.  What is that burden?‘śrī-caitanya-kṛpā’—it means the mercy of Lord Caitanya. Are you familiar with that word—‘kṛpā’? Then ‘bhārāvahantārakau’—they are pleasing to everyone. They are fully blessed by Lord Caitanya.

Therefore, each line after glorifying the Gosvāmīs in various ways; the last line is concluded with ‘vande rūpa’—my obeisances to Rūpa Gosvāmī, ‘sanātanau’—unto Sanātana Gosvāmī, ‘raghu-yugau’—the two Raghus, meaning Raghunātha Dāsa Gosvāmīand Raghunātha Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī, ‘śrī-jīva’Jīva Gosvāmī, and ‘gopālakau’ GopālaBhaṭṭa Gosvāmī. So we can sing this line together:

vande rūpa-sanātanau raghu-yugau śrī-jīva-gopālakau

[Everyone in Chorus]:

vande rūpa-sanātanau raghu-yugau śrī-jīva-gopālakau

Hey, I think you know the tune already, but let’s do one more verse quickly.

Next ‘nānā-śāstra’—so what does śāstra mean? You’ve heard that word, right? Śāstra means scriptures, so ‘nānā-śāstra-vicāraṇaika-nipuṇau’—they are singularly expert, extremely expert at studying the scriptures.

Then ‘sad-dharma-saṁsthāpakau’—and they were ordered to establish ‘sad-dharma’ or true religion. They are ‘lokānāṁ hita-kāriṇau’—that means the well-wishers of the whole universe; and ‘mānyau śaraṇyākarau’—they are worthy of taking shelter of. Actually Prabhupāda said, “We are Rūpānugās”; so they are our shelter, especially Rūpa Gosvāmī.

Next: ‘rādhā-kṛṣṇa-padāravinda-bhajanānandena mattālikau’—they are always absorbed, just like mad in love for Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa.

Again I ask you, as we sing these songs try to kind of look at the translations, and understand what we are saying and connect to the feelings and then glorification which has been given here. This is a wonderful place to pray for the mercy of Śrīla Rūpā Gosvāmī.

[Kīrtana: Śrī-Śrī  Ṣaḍ-Goswāmi-Aṣṭaka]

tera-kadamba

Tera Kadamba – HG Śītalā Mātāji – Lecture, Indradyumna Swami’s Parikrama -2015

Life sketch of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī

– By Her Grace Śītalā Mātāji 

[Maṅgala Caraṇa Prayers]

Here we are in one of the most extraordinary places in whole world. Although it is a little bit late, and we have been going on, it would be very good if we could all try as hard as possible to be very present in this special place.

We are here in Śrī Vṛndāvan Dhām which is described by Śrīla Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur. He says that, the whole Dhām is Cintāmaṇi—it’s touchstone. It yields all desires. This Dhāmis full of knowledge and bliss and is completely spiritual. The water, the land, the trees—everything in the Dhām is spiritual, unlike the dull matter of this material world. Always present in the Dhām are Kṛṣṇas three spiritual energies—SandhinīSamvit and Āhlādinī. The Dhām acts eternally as a support for the Lord’s appearance and activities. All this is an action of the inconceivable energy of the Lord which is anti-material and completely transcendental. Just think of that, for a moment, being present in this situation where we are, and really deeply considering where we sit. Because in the Dhām, not only are we in this Cintāmaṇi Dhām, as described by Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur, but we are in a very, very special section of that Dhām.

It is actually described that there are five types of Dhām:

  1. Of course we know the original Goloka Vṛndāvan Dhām.
  2. And then there is Bhaum Vṛndāvan DhāmBhaum Vṛndāvan refers to when Kṛṣṇa was actually present here at that time; it’s absolutely non-different from Goloka.
  3. But after Kṛṣṇa leaves, then there is a Dṛṣyamān Dhām. This is a Dhām that most of us are a little more familiar with. It’s a Dhām that has a little filter over it, little covering. It’s the same Dhām, but depending on our consciousness, we may get some dim rays reflecting through that film that covers the Dhām.
  4. Another type of Dhām is where the pure devotee resides.
  5. And the fifth type of Dhām is the heart of a pure devoteeThat’s why we come to these Bhajan placesAlthough Vṛndāvan  Dhām is so special, even more special are these places where Bhajan by great souls like Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmīhave been performed. This is where Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī spent so much time and poured his heart, which is a Dhām, into his writings and into this whole environment here. It’s still here; it ripples through time and space and continues to touch our heart. This environment is so special.

People are really interested in cleaning up the environment nowadays, which is a good thing. But even if they got rid of every last bit of garbage in this world, it would still be a completely polluted place. Because of the sound vibrations and activities of the living entities that are permeating everywhere, especially now in these days when the internet is going on everywhere, and everything is contaminated even when it looks pretty. But here we should absorb in this environment because this is as clean as it gets. This pure environment where such a great saint performed his Bhajan, we need to just absorb itAbsorb the environment, let it go into ourselves so that we become clean inside and out.

Of course, it is not only the place of Bhajan, but it is a place of incredible, amazing daily pastimes of the Lord. It’s actually the first meeting place in the morning of Rādhā andKṛṣṇa. Every morning, this is still going on. This is it. Like in the old days, every morning the meeting happens first here. As we heard the other day, it was explained how Mother Yaśodā really wanted Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī to cook for her Kṛṣṇa, because of those special blessings and benedictions from Durvāsā Muni. Every morning, She passes this way with Her Sakhīs and Her girlfriends on the way to Pāvan Sarovara where She cooks Kṛṣṇa’s breakfast every morning. Meanwhile Kṛṣṇa wakes up and He comes out before breakfast with His cows and His cowherd friends. They come here to frolic and wrestle and milk the cows, and graze the cows—right here every day, in this beautiful area, under these trees here. This is a moment when it’s just the opportunity to get quick sidelong glances at each other.

Kṛṣṇa would be milking the cows, apparently oblivious to those ankle-bells that are starting to get louder and louder as they approach where He is. Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī and Her friends are feigning indifference. They just happen to be walking by, but glancing over—Lord Kṛṣṇa’s milking. Sometimes Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī notices there is a bit of a mischievous look on Kṛṣṇa’s face. But He is just milking, “Tush, Tush, Tush, Tush” [sound of milking], but He hears the ankle-bells closer and closer and just at the right moment turns the teat, “Tusheee….” [sound of sprinkling of milk], right on Rādhārāṇī’s face [Laughter]. As all the Gopīs start scattering, Kṛṣṇa takes the opportunity to jump up and plant a kiss on ŚrīmatīRādhārāṇī’s cheek that nobody sees; only the parrots are very happy. But Lalitā, she is saying, “You scandal!” These are the kind of things that go on here, every morning and also in the evening.

This is Ter Kadamba, so these beautiful trees here are Kadamba trees and all these Kunjasare here.  Kṛṣṇa comes here in the evening, and this is where He calls His cows. He has a name and He has a sound in His flute and He has a call for every single cow. He calls, and sees, “Are they there?” Every cow recognizes when Kṛṣṇa is calling just them, mooing, “I am here.”  This is available to every living entity. We each have a relationship with Kṛṣṇa and He wants to call us. He is calling us but we are silent—not listening. That’s why we have to try to hear more in Kīrtana—hearing and hearing and hearing and eventually we will wake up and we will hear Kṛṣṇa. He is always calling His cows and He is also always calling all of His living entities to come home, come to Him—Time to come home.

This is an extraordinary place, where Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes are going on every day; but we can’t focus on these pastimes. It is a bit over our heads, so better we hear more about Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, because through the mercy of these devotees, there is some slim chance that some lifetime we may actually understand something about Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. Every year we talk about these personalities and little by little, we start to feel affection, appreciation, and feel, “How awesome it is that we have any connection with such personalities!” It takes time to understand, because we are so covered. Just like even we were there with Prabhupāda and Prabhupāda was doing miracles and magic, but somehow as the time goes by we realize more and more, “Wow! Look what Prabhupāda did!” Similarly for these Gosvāmīs, as we hear about them, we become more and more amazed by what they have done and what that has done to our life.

Just to give a sense of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, the kind of family and culture that he came from: he came from a highly aristocratic extraordinary family. Their lineage goes way back—very exalted devotees. Both Rūpa and Sanātana, they were very highly qualified people in every field and in every way. Very highly educated, studied in music, in so many languages—Persian, Sanskrit, Bengali, Arabic, Urdu, so many languages. They were musicians, poets—just the list goes on and on. These people were so qualified and that is why Nawāb wanted them in his government.

At this time Bengal was two to three times larger than what it is now. It included Bāṅgālādesh; that was east Bengal. It was a very large area and so as a political move, the Muslim ruler, the Nawāb said, “These people are so respected and they are so smart and everyone really appreciates them, loves them. If I can get them in my government then I will have control over this huge Bengal.” To enter into this government, running the government—and that too for the Nawāb—this was a huge sacrifice for Rūpa and Sanātana. Yet some may wonder, “Why did they do that? Such highly qualified people, great devotees, so intelligent, what are they doing with Muslim government and becoming chief ministers?” But they did that because they wanted to protect all of the people in that area. This is an indication of their character just right from the beginning. Because they gave up their cast, they gave up all prestige, everything, to do this for protecting the people in that area. They gave up all respectability. I mean nowadays, we probably may not understand. We don’t have these kinds of systems, but understand what it means just to completely lose your high cast and your position in society. In India, this is the most important thing, “Save your cast, save your family prestige, your reputation,” but they gave it all up for the benefit of the people.

Of course they had been hearing about Lord Caitanya and it was their heart’s desire to live with Him. They sent a number of letters, but no reply. But eventually Śrī CaitanyaMahāprabhu arrived in Rāmakeli and that was a major turning point in the life of RūpaSanātana and also little Jīva. It was a very emotional meeting, and Mahāprabhu said, “Finally, I have found My eternal servants.” Apparently Śrī Jīva, the nephew of Rūpa and Sanātana was there as a very small toddler, but somehow he watched this meeting from a distance, and he saw how his father and his uncles were bowing and crying and loving ŚrīCaitanya Mahāprabhu. So even he was tiny, he was also finished at that point, “I want to be with Mahāprabhu”.

It was a matter of time before Rūpa Gosvāmī was able to, was the first one who was able to run away from all this political involvement. It was a big thing. I mean you imagine a president of some country just like runs or disappears and becomes a renunciate. It was a major event. It was Rūpa Gosvāmī’s desire that he could go with Caitanya Mahāprabhu to Vṛndāvan. That didn’t happen, but they met at Prayāg, and for ten days Śrī CaitanyaMahāprabhu instructed Rūpa Gosvāmī. There is a place there called Rūpa Shiksha Sthahli, the place that Rūpa received all his instructions for ten solid days by just sitting with the Lord and getting instructions.

There is some popular book nowadays with new age people: “Conversations with God”; but this is the real conversations with God. It was actually the very beginning of the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement, that Mahāprabhu was investing everything into Rūpa Gosvāmī. It was something like Kṛṣṇa talking to Brahmā at the creation or even more: Kṛṣṇa speaking to Arjuna on the battlefield. It was even above that. Rūpa received from Lord Caitanya the whole of Prema Dharma—what is that?  At the end of the ten days Caitanya Mahāprabhugave Rūpa Gosvāmī His mission and His instructions. A lot of people you know, hanker for you know, “I wish my Spiritual Master would give me some specific instruction or some mission.” But we have to be able to take it, if it comes. What Rūpa Gosvāmī got instructions about what to do in the future – Wow! It’s awesome.

Lord Caitanya told them four things. He wanted to do four things:

  1. First was to identify, “Go to Vṛndāvan and identify the lost places of pilgrimage and excavate them.”  Now just think what that means; how do you do that? He just left everything, gave all his wealth—everything, he has nothing left. He just goes as a mendicant and Vṛndāvan, too, is a very large place.  Lord Caitanya said, “So just find all those places”, but how do you find them? There was no science, there was no technology. How do you find [them]? This is so difficult.
  2. Then not only that, you have to find a second thing: “Find all these lost Deities that used to be there.” Again, I mean, just wandering around in the forest, how do you find these lost Deities?  Then, “Don’t just find Them but build temples for Them also.” He is a mendicant, he has given away everything. There is nobody here; Vṛndāvan was a desolate place, so pretty major instruction there.
  3. Third instruction, then, was to write transcendental literature. “Write the transcendental literature under these trees here.” No fans, no computers, no paper. How do you even write? Just think about the complications of each of these things. How difficult! How did they make the pens? How did they make that palm-leaf paper? As they live under the trees, where did they store these papers when it rained? How did they do these things? These are unbelievable, but they did it.  He was supposed to write, having heard all of this from Mahāprabhu, but not just write, as Mahāprabhu further said, “You should extract the essence of all scripture and establish pure devotional service.”  That means here under these trees. How does he extract the essence of all scriptures? Also, then firmly establish pure devotional service as a goal. These are very impossible, difficult tasks that he is being asked. Even just one of them. It would be hard for anyone to take up one of these things.
  4. The fourth thing that he had been asked: “Preach the glories of the holy name and flood everywhere with Prema.”

He really got major instructions there. But they say along with the instructions comes the ability to do so. There are different ways that people become empowered to do something. Like Mahārāja was explaining the other day, how Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur got empowered directly by Padmāvatī Devī, who gave him the Prema of MahāprabhuŚrīla Prabhupāda of course, he was empowered by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī himself, that he actually stayed in Rādhā Dāmodara and he looked out his window and He just meditated on Rūpa Gosvāmī day and night: “How to establish this movement? How to establish this movement?” He was empowered by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī to do so. My husband took the opportunity one time when he was with Śrīla Prabhupāda, he said, “You knowPrabhupāda, everybody says that Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī appeared to you and he empowered you. Is that true?” Prabhupāda just went on to say, “Oh, everybody knows that.” What a great mission they had!  Thus empowerment was necessary; without these instructions, it was impossible.

It is said that Caitanya Mahāprabhu empowered Rūpa Gosvāmī by entering his heart, because he had to assimilate all of these teachings and he had to remember everything. I mean I can’t remember what I said a second ago. He was sitting and listening for ten days and he was not taking notes. He had to assimilate and he had to remember everything and so Mahāprabhu entered his heart in order to make this task possible.

Then,  although Rūpa Gosvāmī didn’t want to leave Lord Caitanya’s sight, but Lord Caitanya said, “No! Now you go to Vṛndāvan,” and He was going to Purī. “You go to Vṛndāvan and then come and see me in Purī after some time.” It takes a few months to walk there and a few months to walk back, you know, it wasn’t a little thing. It was going to take some time before he saw Him again. But Rūpa Gosvāmī did go to Vṛndāvan for the first time, and really there was just Lokanātha Gosvāmī, Bhugarbha Gosvāmī and also there was a Subuddhi Rāya, and Subuddhi took Rūpa Gosvāmī around whatever they did know. Lokanātha Gosvāmī and Bhugarbha had been trying to find some places, some of the sacred places. Then Rūpa Gosvāmī went to see Mahāprabhu in Purī and while he was in Jagannātha Purī, he stayed with Haridāsa Ṭhākur. You picture that—what kind of Bhajanthat was going on there. Haridāsa Ṭhākur and Rūpa Gosvāmī living together! That’s also why the Siddha Bakul place is such an auspicious place to go, to chant and sit, because these two great souls were doing their Bhajan there. Although both of them were so elevated, neither one of them went to the Jagannātha temple. They were both so humble and they were just always, “We are so fallen! We won’t go!” They followed the social custom at that time. Thus, the Lord came out of the temple in the form of Śrī CaitanyaMahāprabhu and came to their house every day; so taking the humble position is never a loss, you are never the loser.

Indradyumna Mahārāja told this pastime maybe in the Kurukśetra, where Mahāprabhushowed the glories of Rūpa Gosvāmī when he found that leaf that was stuck into the roof at Haridāsa Ṭhākur’s house. It was after the Ratha-Yātrā celebration, when Mahāprabhuhad been singing the song. No one could understand [it], but Rūpa Gosvāmī understood and he wrote a beautiful verse that Mahāprabhu found. He said, “Oh! Who has written this? Who has understood My heart,” and Swaroop Dāmodara said, “Only You must have allowed him to understand Your heart.” Therefore, there is this verse:

śrī-caitanya-mano-‘bhīṣṭaṁ sthāpitaṁ yena bhū-tale

svayaṁ rūpaḥ kadā mahyaṁ dadāti sva-padāntikam

This verse is in glorification of Rūpa Gosvāmī, where ‘mano-‘bhīṣṭaṁ’ indicates, “He is the one that understood the mind, the heart of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.” In CaitanyaCaritāmṛta where this verse is found, there is a purport, Śrīla Prabhupāda writes something quite interesting that I would like to read.

Śrīla Prabhupāda said [CC Antya 1.117 Purport]:

“The special function of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī is to establish the feeling of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. These feelings are His desires that His special mercy be spread throughout the world in this Kali-yuga.

prithivite achhe yata nagarādi gram

sarvatra pracāra haibe mora nāma

The desire of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is that all over the world, everyone, in every village and every town, know of Him and His Saṅkīrtana movement.”

Here Śrīla Prabhupāda is making it very clear—what are these feelings? He further says, “These are the inner feelings of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī committed to writing all these feelings of the Lord.”

Then Prabhupāda further said, “Now again by the mercy of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu the same feelings are being spread all over the world by the servants of the Gosvāmīs.” So indirectly Śrīla Prabhupāda is telling us that the desires of Mahāprabhu came to Rūpa Gosvāmī, they came to Prabhupāda, and now he is distributing it. Prabhupāda went on to say that, “And devotees who are pure and simple will appreciate this attempt. As concluded by Kavirāj Gosvāmī however, those on the level of hogs and dogs never appreciate such a great attempt. Yet this does not matter to the preachers of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s cult, for all over the world they will continue to perform this responsible work, even if persons like cats and dogs do not appreciate them.

Anyway, from PurīRūpa Gosvāmī then went to back to Vṛndāvan to begin this extraordinary mission of these four things that he was supposed to do and this was a very huge task. There were no books, there was no successor, there was no institution, there was nothing. It was up to Rūpa Gosvāmī to start to give form and some shape to this HareKṛṣṇa mission and it was actually very miraculous. It was a very wonderful and glorious time in Vṛndāvan. It was a desolate area and in a short period of time it was trying to be a flourishing Vaiṣṇava center.

The writing began on this attempt to fill up what Mahāprabhu had taught into words.  Besides that, actually amongst the Gosvāmīs, when they were writing, they were really kind of writing for each other. They’d write something and then they’d show it to each other, “What you think?” It wasn’t that they were thinking now that, “There is going to be a printing press and we can go all over the world.” They were just following the instructions and sharing it with each other; that’s how it was there.

At one time Rūpa Gosvāmī gave his Vidagdha Mādhava to Raghunātha Dāsa Gosvāmī to read. There is so much a mood of separation in that book, that Raghunātha Dāsa Gosvāmījust couldn’t stop crying and being in this mood where he can hardly eat. He was already only taking a little pot of butter and now wasn’t even taking that. He was just immersed so much in separation that everyone became worried, so some devotees came to Rūpa Gosvāmī and said, “Please, you must do something, maybe Raghunātha Dāsa will die in separation.” Then Rūpa Gosvāmī took one of his other books, that book was more in a jolly spirit. Somehow he convinced Raghunātha, “Now I need to take that manuscript back, because I need to do little editing here. You can read this in the meantime.”

Apart from these four things that needed to be done there, actually Rūpa Gosvāmī had to do quite a few other things. The first thing that he had to do beyond those four things was to reveal the nature and the mission of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. It really wasn’t fully comprehended and understood amongst all the devotees: “Who exactly is Lord Caitanya,and exactly what is He doing here?” Because Lord Caitanya was just acting as a devotee, so anytime anyone would say anything else about Him, except Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācāryaand Rāmānanda Rāya, who tried to glorify Him as the Supreme Personality of Godhead—and He would always silence them immediately, “No, no, stop!” But he allowed Rūpa Gosvāmī to reveal:

namo mahā-vadānyāya

kṛṣṇa-prema-pradāya te

kṛṣṇāya kṛṣṇa-caitanya-

nāmne gaura-tviṣe namaḥ

[Cc. Madhya 19.53]

 

He said that, and Mahāprabhu was silent; so he allowed. He was the one, he had to show—who is Mahāprabhu?

And then of course, then an even more famous verse in which he reveals the purpose of Mahāprabhu’s descent. That’s now there in Caitanya Caritāmṛta:

anarpita-carīṁ cirāt karuṇayāvatīrṇaḥ kalau

samarpayitum unnatojjvala-rasāṁ sva-Bhakti-śriyam

hariḥ puraṭa-sundara-dyuti-Kadamba-sandīpitaḥ

sadā hṛdaya-kandare sphuratu vaḥ śacī-nandanaḥ

[Cc. Ādi 1.4]

“May the Supreme Lord who is known as the son of Śrīmatī Śacī-devī be transcendentally situated in the innermost chambers of your heart. Resplendent with the radiance of molten gold, He has appeared in this age of Kali by His causeless mercy to bestow what no incarnation has ever offered before: the most sublime and radiant mellow of devotional service, the mellow of conjugal love.”

That is one of the 14 seed verses of Caitanya Caritāmṛta. From those 14 verses, the rest of the Caitanya Caritāmṛta is elaborated. So Rūpa Gosvāmī came to reveal this, the nature and the mission of Caitanya Mahāprabhu. It was a big part that he played and he also was to reveal Rādhā Bhāva, to really give Her service to the world. Now think about that, “What if he didn’t do that? What if he didn’t have service to Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī?” Horrifying! Because although Rādhārāṇī was known, but not necessarily valued, appreciated. Even in that story we told in Jaipur, some of you know, the Rāmānandīs didn’t want Rādhārāṇī on the altar with GovindaThus Rūpa Gosvāmī has to reveal the Rādhā Bhāva and he has to act as the Abhidheya Ācārya; and that means, how to act in devotional service. It is the whole foundation of our movement“How to be engaged in devotional service?” We think these things are just like a no-brainer, but because they have been so expertly given to us. We say “Yeah of course, devotional service!” But this was established by Rūpa Gosvāmī.

He was so good at writing that he could put very difficult concepts into just very simple form; like just in one verse he explains, “What is pure devotional service?”

Śrīla Prabhupāda quoted this again and again and again and so it is one of his favorite verses:

anyābhilāṣitā-śūnyaṁ

jñāna-karmādy-anāvṛtam

ānukūlyena kṛṣṇānu-

śīlanaṁ Bhaktir uttamā

Perfect description of Bhakti: no karma, no jñāna, no material desires, just pure unalloyed uninterrupted service to the Supreme Lord. Apart from being the AbhidheyaĀcārya he also had to manifest the Abhidheya Murti which is Śrī Govinda-Deva. We heard that story in Jaipur, amazing story of how he found Govindaji.

He also wrote that famous verse which is one of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s favorites, about the beauty of Govinda. The verse said [that] if you have any material desire, if you want to enjoy family, society, love, then just don’t go and see that beautiful face of Govinda; just don’t go. Because you will forget all your material desires.” But fortunately although Rūpa Gosvāmī tries to warn us, but Indradyumna Mahārāja already took us there [laughter] and so we saw His face. So it’s too late for all of us, at least the lucky ones that went to Jaipur. They are permanently infected with a disease that can’t be cured.

Actually Girirāja Mahārāja told us a really nice story about himself, when he was young and was in Bombay. He got very ill and Prabhupāda told him, “You better go back to America, it doesn’t seem like you can sustain here.” He was really sick, so he went back to America and he went to his parent’s home. He stayed there for three days, and while he was there, his parents brought the psychologist to talk to him. She said, “Glen, when you were a young boy, did you feel your parents didn’t love you?” Glen said, “What parents, which parents? I had so many parents, so many lifetimes.” Like in this way, he answered all her questions. Then he overheard the psychologist telling the parents, “I really don’t think there is anything I can do,” and so then he went away and he told Prabhupāda about what happened. Prabhupāda was so pleased, and he said, “You can never be cured now. This is very good!”

I was thinking about also the first time that I came into the Hare Kṛṣṇa temple. I actually didn’t want to come so much, but if I wanted to get a ride to that pop festival, I had to stop there first, for the Sunday feast. So then I took lots of Prasāda. I loved the Prasāda, and I heard the chanting and then I went to the pop festival. When I got to the pop festival, everything was horrible. It sounded like all of the music was off and everything looked dysphonic and I couldn’t understand. I was trying so hard to have fun and I couldn’t have fun anymore. That’s the principle there; we are not into false renunciation, but we get a higher taste.

Apart from being the Abhidheya Ācārya and also bringing the Abhidheya Murti, he also was the Rasācāryaa specialist in Rasa. He did so many things; you can’t even get down to the bottom of the list. But this is important. I want to tell this about the term ‘Rasācārya’; that means he synthesized Vedānta with Rasa. He established the flavors of devotion. He brought the emotions in. In other words he really brought in the “love.” This is such a cheap word in our world today. People have no idea what that word is, what that means. In Sanskrit, there are hundreds of names for different levels of loving experience and this is what Rūpa Gosvāmī explains in Bhakti-Rasāmṛta-Sindhu, so many levels of real love. It’s said that the Vedas speak in the language of a king; and the Purāṇas speak in the language of a friend; and the Rasa-Śāstra, those Śāstras from our Gosvāmīs, especially from Rūpa Gosvāmīthey speak in the language of a lover.Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī really explains the whole science of love. A category of people have such shallow, gross, tiny—little concept of what love means. In this world, what they think is love? It’s just like nothing. Like when we look at a hog wallowing, we think why does he do that? But Rūpa Gosvāmī explains that we have much higher, much broader potential than what we are going for. We are settling for nothing, although the potential is so great. There is BhāvaMahābhāvaPremaSneha so many things. So why go for the cheap material pleasure; it’s nothing but imitation.

These writers like Rūpa Gosvāmī, they are explaining the concepts which don’t exist in any other language. Like that, I was told in Chinese, they don’t even have a word for God. They just have like “above the emperor.” That’s as far as the concept can go for them. In English, there is no word for Dhām, because they don’t really have the concept of “soul” or the nature of the soul, so how could you really translate that? But Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī has explained these things, concepts that are just way beyond what people know of, in this world. He can even put them into poems that turn into forms: lotuses, wheels—Inconceivable, what is the capacity? For you know, it’s just like in the spiritual world, you don’t have these restrictions, so even a poem can have taste, can have everything and much more, it’s not flat—one dimensional.

We better cut it short. These all are the reasons to understand why we are Rūpānugas. Of course we can’t go or I think we will offend the local people if we don’t say one last thing very briefly that happened here. While Rūpa Gosvāmī was performing his Bhajan here, he had a deep desire to serve his Spiritual Master, brother—Sanātana Gosvāmī—on his Vyasapuja day. But he had nothing, so sitting here under the tree he thought, “What can I give him?” Tears were flowing onto his manuscript making it wet, and Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī,understanding his desire, facilitated so that he could serve Sanātana Gosvāmī. She came in the very beautiful form of a little local village girl and she brought all the ingredients for a feast and said “Bābā.” “What?” “Why don’t you cook?” Rūpa Gosvāmī was so excited by the arrival of his ingredients, that he just quickly took the ingredients and started to cook, so that he could fulfill his desire to serve Sanātana Gosvāmī, who is living over in PāvanSarovara. Then when Sanātana Gosvāmī came, he was so surprised, “Wow! How did you get these ingredients?” Sanātana Gosvāmī took some taste of that feast—sweet rice.

[Mahānta at Ter Kadamba had prepared sweet rice for the pleasure of all the devotees, and he took it out.]

When Sanātana Gosvāmī tasted, he said, “I have never tasted like this before. I am feeling this great ecstasy.” When he tasted this sweet rice again he asked, “Oh, who is that lady who brought?” Sanātana Gosvāmī inquired from Rūpa, “Where did you get these ingredients? How did they come here? From which girl? From which village?  Who is this?” Talking together, they understood that that was none other than Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī.

Jaya-Jaya Śrī Rādhe………..

Drama by Mahānta/Bābāji of Ter Kadamba:

[Included translations of Bābāji]:

Jaya-Jaya Śrī Rādhe……………………. Śyāma!

The name of this place is Ter KadambaTermeans we call God from the heart; Kadamba means Kadamba tree, it is the form of Rādhārāṇī. So one of its names is Kṛṣṇa-Priya. For this there is one poem:

व्रज के लता पता मर्म न जाने कोई

डाल डाल पाथ पाथ राधे राधे होई

vraja ke latā patā maram na jane koi

dāl-dāl pāth-pāth rādhe-rādhe hoi

[Translation:] “The leaves and everything of the Kadamba tree, they all call RādhāRādhā.”

In the morning Kṛṣṇa goes to herd the cows. It was only forest everywhere. He comes from Nandagaon. You also please come to participate in the drama. Let’s have one minute of chanting and dancing—that’s it. You can also chant and dance but dance by sitting.

Now let us call to Kṛṣṇa for coming to have lunch.

[Bhajan in call and response:]

Govinda Jaya-Jaya – Gopala Jaya-jaya!

Govinda Jaya-Jaya – Gopala Jaya-jaya!

Rādhā Ramana Hari – Govinda Jaya-Jaya!

Rādhā Ramana Hari – Govinda Jaya-Jaya!

Jay Kṛṣṇa Balarāma, Jaya Kṛṣṇa Balarāma.

Bolo Rādhe Śyāma, Jaya Rādhe Śyāma.

Haribol…………..

Haribol…………..

Haribol…………..

[Drama begins with narration]:

Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma have come now. Not all of the cowherd boys have come yet. Kṛṣṇa is calling to all the boys. Kṛṣṇas mobile/telephone is the flute, but for this telephone there is no problem. The telephones that we possess have big problems, because we have to pay money first (pre-paid). We have to charge a phone; we have to recharge it; we have to repair it; we have to dial the number. With flute, there is no number; all numbers are zero indicated by the holes of the flute… Our hero is Kṛṣṇa.

Now Kṛṣṇa is going to call out to the boys. Assume Indradyumna Swami Mahārāja now be one cowherd boy. Here everyone is a cowherd boy. He is going to call the cowherd boys now.

[Mahānta plays flute.]

DamŚrīdāmaVasudamIndradyumna Swami, cowherd boys! I am Kṛṣṇa calling.” [Laughter]

“Please come soon.” He is calling all the cowherd boys.

All the boys are running and coming.

[Some action, laughter]

Indradyumna Mahārāja: take your lunch!”

[Laughter, clapping]

Bābāji: “Indradyumna Mahārāja (as cowherd boy) says “Now, no lunch time, early morning.” So all the kids they have their lunch with them, and they will not eat here because it is not the time for lunch.

Now everyone came for lunch, Kṛṣṇa is not yet arrived. So Indradyumna Swami Mahārāja—cowherd boy—is calling Kṛṣṇa, but no mobile connection like airtel, no reliance, no tata-indicom; not even  bansi (flute). But his telephone is his loud voice. Now let’s all call out, so that Kṛṣṇa must come. It’s only a five minute drama. Chant in loud sound. No problem!

Everyone is calling to Kṛṣṇa: (everyone together with Bābāji in loud and long response)

Kṛṣṇa…………………………………………………………………….”

Kṛṣṇa replied, “I am coming…………………………………”

Kṛṣṇa is now coming.

[Made one devotee act as Kṛṣṇa, with attire of a black blanket/kambal]

काली कम्बली वाले की, जय कन्हैया लाल की

‘kāli kambali vāle ki, jaya kanhaiyā lāla ki’

This is one type of Śrīngāra where they put a black shawl (kambali) for Kṛṣṇa.

Kṛṣṇa came and is sitting in front of everyone. So everyone is thinking they want to eat first. But Indradyumna Swami—cowherd boy—says, “No, I am first offering.” So Indradyumna Swami is taking his lunch bag.

“Very tasty food, prepared by my Mom, take.” Mahārāja offers it to Kṛṣṇa. [Action, laughter, applause].

“Does it taste good? “Yes.”

Kṛṣṇa is telling, “Your Mom has made very good food.”

One day, someone’s stomach is only half-full. Only when you eat butter it becomes full.

[Called one Mātāji]

What’s your name?—“Shardiya”.

Shardiya Gopī went early in the morning to make butter. “Kṛṣṇa come here!” Actually she offered him butter; Kṛṣṇa is very happy. On Gopāṣṭamī day, he doesn’t goes to Gopīs’house; so all the Gopīs are so sad on Gopāṣṭamī.

Kṛṣṇa is calling to Gopīs.  [Mahānta plays flute.]

Kṛṣṇa: “LalitāViśākāChampakalataCitrāShardiya Gopīs—my dear girlfriends, I am very hungry. Please come to this place.”

Then all these Gopīs said, “Okay, we are coming.”

Shardiya Gopī has come now. Kṛṣṇa is on that side of the forest, so [that] Gopī wanted to meet to Kṛṣṇa. But our Kṛṣṇa is looking angrily, with wide open eyes.

So one more time let us make a ‘Ter,’ which means call; calling loudly with pure hearts. All are ready? So let’s call one time.

(Everyone together with Bābāji in loud and long response)

Kṛṣṇa…………………………………………………………………….”

So Kṛṣṇa came. “Shardiya”.

Shardiya has to feed Kṛṣṇa now.

[Action, laughter].

“So tasty!” He wants more.

Jaya-Jaya Śrī Rādhe.

“We have a sacred code name called—’ATB bank’”.

“Do you know, what is ATB bank? ATB Bank means ‘ALL TIME BHAKTI’ bank.”

[Applause]. The ATM of this material world’s banks does not work properly many times and it has some limitations. But our ATB bank, anybody can come, take more and more, there is no limitation, no checking. Rūpa Gosvāmī who is a beautiful manager of this bank, had given facility to unlimited withdrawal of Bhakti, more and more, without any limits. But there is one little condition—one should purely chant the holy name of Lord which should be ‘lineless’ chanting (continuous, uninterrupted chanting). Why? Kṛṣṇa at a time calls—nine lakhs cows who then assemble near Him. So let us all together, one time, purely chant. Close your eyes; see in your heart Govinda and Guru sitting:

Hare-Kṛṣṇa-Hare-Kṛṣṇa-Kṛṣṇa-Kṛṣṇa-Hare-Hare

Hare-Rāma-Hare-Rāma-Rāma-Rāma-Hare-Hare

Haribol ……………………………………………………………..

It’s a blessing of Rūpa Gosvāmī on all of you.

Indradyumna Swami Mahārāja:

Bābā has been taking care of this place very nicely from many years. When I first came here, 30 or 40 years ago, it was in disrepair and for so many years, he has built up this beautiful property, made it very organized and very clean. Even in his old age, he is doing it so nicely. As a result, we can come here and have a very ecstatic time and hear the glories of Rūpa Gosvāmī and his writing of Upadeśāmṛta, etc. We must reciprocate with Bābāsefforts to preserve this place for many future generations and we should give some “Bakshish.” We should give some donations, so he can keep this place running nicely, so that we can come back year after year here with our Parikramā party. You can see he is keeping nothing for himself, living like a humble Sādhu. So whatever money you give will be used for the service of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī.

Saubhari Muni Āśrama – HH Śrīla Indradyumna Swami – Instructions

Indradyumna Swami at Saubhari Muni Ashram

True purport of Sannyāsa

– By His Holiness Śrīla Indradyumna Swami

We would like to welcome all of you to another very beautiful and transcendental place in Śrī Vṛndāvan Dhām. As our 2015 Kārtik Parikramā slowly comes to an end and the cold weather and the fog is setting in, and you can hear devotees coughing anywhere and everywhere. We don’t mind all these things—the fog, the cold, the sickness—because we are experiencing transcendence in this holy Dhām of Śrī Vṛndāvan. We have learned the art to rise above the modes of material nature through the very simple technique introduced very mercifully by Lord Caitanya, by hearing and chanting the glories of the Lord, specifically Lord KṛṣṇaRādhā and Kṛṣṇa.

Today we find ourselves at the very sacred Āśrama of one Muni, Saubhari Muni. His story is elaborated in the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam and Prabhupāda speaks about it in the Kṛṣṇa Book. We have spoken about Saubhari Muni several times over the past few years, so we won’t go into much detail today about his life. But very simply, he was a Sādhu living here and he had not yet achieved perfection; he had some material desires still in his heart. He wasn’t so strong, as he should be in his Sādhana, so he fell prey to sex desire and he gave up his celibacy and he married. Nothing wrong with that; Prabhupāda said that’s the safest Āśrama. Prabhupāda says in a purport in the Bhāgavatam that one should find that Āśrama where one feels most comfortable and continue on with his service, whether it be Brahmacārī, Gṛhastha, Vānaprastha or Sannyāsī. That’s not so important, what is important is our Sevā to Kṛṣṇa, that’s what purifies our hearts. Because of the strong influence in this age, 90-95% of those who are practicing devotional life will serve the Lord in the Gṛhastha Āśrama and we see that in the beginning and now middle of our society’s progress: it’s mainly the Gṛhasthas who have set up temples and preaching centers and programs. Therefore Prabhupāda very proudly said, “My Guru Mahārāja, he created an army of Sannyāsīs; I am creating an army of Gṛhasthas.”

This pastime is relevant that he situated himself and then after sometime, Saubhari Muni began making progress, making advancement; he left the Gṛhastha Āśrama and he again became a renunciate and achieved perfection. That’s the general path: Brahmacārī, Gṛhastha, Vānaprastha and Sannyāsa. The real definition of Sannyāsa is not necessarily change in the clothes but just ‘YuktaVairāgya’—seeing that everything belongs to the Lord and using everything in Kṛṣṇa’s service—this is the true purport of Sannyāsa. We are speaking like that because this is the pastime here and these are the lessons to be learned from the life of Saubhari Muni

We see here two altars:  here is Saubhari Muni—here he is alone. I don’t know if this is before or after his household life; and here he is with his two very beautiful wives, and over here, we have a beautiful ŚivaLiṅgam which the resident Tyāgis worship. The Sādhus who live here are part of the Rāmānandī Sampradāya, which is an off-shoot of the Rāmānuja Sampradāya. The Mahānta of this Āśrama is presently in Madhya Pradesh on some transcendental mission and the Sādhus who live here are on Vṛndāvan Parikramā, and they have opened their home to us. I mentioned the other day, if you went to Paris or London, Moscow or Kiev and just gave your keys to someone to just accommodate 300 people coming in your house—you know, no one would think like that. But this is the mood of the Vrajavāsīs. They like to share anything Kṛṣṇa conscious, so they have given us the keys, so to speak, the keys to the Āśrama and they are all gone. And here we are, so we have to thank them for being so generous and allowing us to come here year after year and hold our programs at this sacred place. Although they are not here, we can express our gratitude to the transcendental medium—this is how spiritual life works. Although they are very far away doing their Parikramā, we can show our gratitude to them by giving a big applause. [Applause].

Again, this place gives us an idea of what Vṛndāvan was even 30 or 40 years ago. When we came, much of Vṛndāvan was like this. We were walking on that dusty path on the way here. At one time the Vṛndāvan Parikramā— the 2.5 hour, 3 hour walk around Vṛndāvan— the whole path was just dusty like that.

There is a famous picture of Mother Śītalā and Bhogini and several devotees walking on that path—there are big smiles on their faces, japa beads, and you can see the dust is up to their ankles. That was just down somewhere near my house. So today you got a little bit of the Vṛndāvan experience just walking through the nature on the way to this Āśrama. That’s the VrajaReṇu that we talk about—the VrajaReṇu, the dust—one of the five personalities who grants us entrance and residence in Vṛndāvan. That’s the VrajaReṇu. Some devotees take little vials of that dirt home, put it in a little jar on their altar and worship it. We are very blessed to be here again, the Vṛndāvan experience, the Āśrama of Saubhari Muni. This is a secret place. As you see the pilgrims are going around Vṛndāvan, but no one took a left turn and came here, and even many ISKCON devotees are not aware of this place. So let’s keep it secret; part of our family for our Kārtik Parikramās 2016. We will keep it secret, okay? The Sādhus who live here are actually renounced, engaged in Bhajans. Sometimes I come here alone and I sit here and chant, so if ever I disappear and you want to find me, just come here, I will be with the Bābājis in a loin-cloth. Seriously, I may not leave today.

So yes, we are going to enter into the mood of Vṛndāvan once again through the beautiful Bhajan of Mādhava PrabhuThat’s the best way to enter into the mood, with the transcendental sound vibration of Kṛṣṇa’s Holy Name, which is one of the revealers of the Dhām. Then we are going to have a class on the Yamunā River, or rather the personality of Yamunā Devī. We have covered the other four personalities of the five important personalities, so as we come to a conclusion of our Parikramā, we will conclude with the glories of Yamunā Devī.

We are going to have breakfast after that, and then another Kīrtana with Baḍa Haridāsa Prabhu. It’s Ekadāsī today, another potent thing to consider and then there will be lunch Prasādam and then tomorrow we are going to Yavat. Yavat is where Rādhārāṇī lived when She was married. Her parents arranged for Her to get married to Abhimanyu who is actually an expansion of Kṛṣṇa; he is Kṛṣṇa’s shadow. Anyway, he created all kinds of obstacles for the meeting of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. Rādhārāṇī’s always trying to get out of that house to meet Kṛṣṇa and Kṛṣṇa’s always trying to get into that house to meet Rādhārāṇī; so many obstacles, the main obstacle is Jaṭilā.

[In a joyful voice:] Caturātmā is pulling on my chadar, “Please, don’t tell all the stories,” because tomorrow he’s the speaker. He has been studying for one year—my notes from last year’s lecture and Śivarāma Swamis books and Rādhānātha Swami and everybody’s lectures. So get ready for the lecture of the month. But that will be superseded a few hours later with the lecture of ṬhākurāṇīŚītalā Devī on the pastimes of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī at Tera Kadamba.

We will be leaving at what time, Rasikā? — 6:30 tomorrow, the buses will leave for Yavat and we will walk through the fields and the VrajaReṇu.

Śrīla Prabhupāda ki—Jaya!

Śrī Vraja-Bhūmi Vṛndāvan Dhām ki—Jaya!

Saubhari Muni Dhām ki—Jaya!

Jaya-Jaya Śrī-Śrī Rādhe————– Śyāma!

Mādhava Prabhu ki—Jaya!

Rāvala – HH Śrīla Indradyumna Swami – Lecture

Baby deity of Srimati Radharani at Raval

Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī’s Pastimes as a Child

– By His Holiness Śrīla Indradyumna Swami

“Good Morning, Dear Devotees!” as Śacīnandana Swami

would say, and welcome to Rāvala, where Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī made Her divine appearance. In the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam we hear how 5,000 years ago, the world was in a very distressed state of being. Actually, it has always been in a distressful situation, but this was particularly true 5,000 years ago. Śrīla Prabhupāda summarizes very poetically the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam’s descriptions of what the world was like at that time. He writes that, “Once the world was overburdened by the unnecessary defense forces of different kings who were actually demons, but were posing themselves as the royal order.”  

The Bhāgavatam goes on to describe how Bhūmi Devī, the predominating Deity of this Earth, went and complained to Lord Brahmā. Apparently, when there are some difficulties within this particular universe, the demigods have the right to go and complain to Lord Brahmā to somehow rectify the situation because he created them all. She, the personified earth, was feeling this burden on herself. She explained that all these demoniac kings are creating so much disorder. Then Brahmā went to the shore of the ocean of milk and he spoke to Lord Vishnu, Lord Kṛṣṇa, who eventually agreed to appear on this earth planet to rectify the situation. 

But, elsewhere in the Garga Saṁhitā, a little more detail is given. As Kṛṣṇa was preparing to descend towards the end of the Dvāpara Yuga: “yadā yadā hi dharmasya, glānir bhavati bhārata”, as He describes, He went to Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. He requested that She join Him in His earthly pastimes. Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī was considering His request that She come with Him to this earthly planet, but She eventually made a condition. Specifically Garga Saṁhitā quotes Her, Rādhārāṇī said to Kṛṣṇa, “My Dear Śyāma, wherever You go I must also be there. But how can I be happy when there is no Vṛndāvana forest, there is no Yamunā river and there is no Govardhan hill? If you want Me to come with You to the earthly planet, then We have to bring all of Vṛndāvana with us, especially the Vṛndāvana forest, the Yamunā river and the Govardhan hill.” Of course, Kṛṣṇa agreed and therefore shortly after that Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī made Her appearance here in Rāvala.

The last week or so we have been discussing a lot about Kṛṣṇa‘s appearance in Mathurā in the jailhouse of Kaṁsa, and yesterday how Kṛṣṇa was transferred by Vasudeva and Devakī over to Gokula under the care of Yaśodā and Nanda Bābā. He was in Gokula and then later Kṛṣṇa was transferred to Vṛndāvana and from Vṛndāvana later to Nanda-gram. The Śāstra says that, just as Kṛṣṇa enjoyed His childhood in Gokula and His youth in Nanda-gram, Rādhā enjoyed Her childhood here in Rāvala and Her youth in Barṣāṇā. Actually, if you look on the altar, when we were over there at the temple, there are very beautiful Deities of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa and, interestingly enough, on the right side there is a Deity of baby Rādhā. I have never seen that before. I was told that it was installed here three or four years ago but, yes, this is where She had Her baby pastimes. 

You can see as we are driving through the little village of Rāvala—it’s quite a village site, although it doesn’t look like the description we hear in the Śāstra: a very beautiful, gorgeous place, but what we are seeing here is a little bit more what it was like. This is because particularly in Kali-Yuga, there is a thin film of matter or Māyā covering Vṛndāvana Dhām.  One time a disciple inquired from Śrīla Prabhupāda, “Is this the Vṛndāvana Dhām that we read about in Kṛṣṇa book where everything is very idyllic? The weather is idyllic, the scenery is very idyllic.” The disciple further said, “Why is it so hot most of the time? Or why is it so cold most of the time in Vṛndāvana? Prabhupāda paused and thought for a moment and he said, “Oh! That’s to keep the Māyāvādīs away from Vṛndāvana.”

But Raghunātha Dāsa Gosvāmī gives a very beautiful description of Rāvala in his writings. He doesn’t refer directly to Rāvala; he calls it Mukyaravali, which means chief of all the other towns in Vṛndāvana. Just in the following prayer he describes the beauty of this place where we are seated and this is how we should see Rāvala, through his eyes. He actually describes it as a city. He says,

  • “In the city of Mukyaravali the precious jewel known as Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī took birth in the mind of Kīrtidā Devi’s womb, which is glorified by jubilant demigods, sages and human beings.”
  • I pray that when I enter King Vṛṣbhānu’s capital city of Mukyaravali populated by many Gopās, Gopīs and Surabhī cows, I may drown in a great flood of transcendental bliss and love.”

That is Raghunātha Dāsa Gosvāmī’s vision of this transcendental place.

Actually, when I was researching all night, I found out that some persons say that Rādhā’s birthplace is not Rāvala but actually Barṣāṇā. But at 1:30 am we discovered that both opinions are correct because in this millennium, She appeared in Rāvala and in another millennium, She appeared in Barṣāṇā. In a previous day of Brahmā, Her father King Vṛṣbhānu near Barṣāṇā found Her one morning as she was playing on a lotus in a lake called BhānuKuṇḍa.

  1. The scripture, or you can say more oral tradition, gives three versions of how She made Her appearance in this world either in Barṣāṇā or Rāvala: She made Her divine appearance from the ground,
  2. She made Her appearance on the top of a lotus flower as we mentioned and
  3. The third way in the womb of Her mother Kīrtidā.

As far as the ground version, I could only find a reference from Śrīla Prabhupāda, because he is quoting the local tradition. In that lecture Prabhupāda was describing how King Vṛṣbhānu was once plowing his fields with a golden plough and he found baby Rādhā buried within the earth and he picked Her up, brought Her to the palace and gave Her to his queen, wife Kīrtidā Sundarī – that’s one version. I was thinking how similar that is to a pastime of the father of Sītā Devī, Janaka Mahārāja finding his daughter in the ground when he was plowing the field as well.

The second version that is discussed and glorified here in Vṛndāvana is that Rādhārāṇī appears in the lotus flower in the water. In this version, Her father King Vṛṣbhānu is bathing in the river Yamunā and suddenly he looks up and he sees a thousand petal lotus flower floating down the river towards him. Imagine a 1000-petal lotus flower, and in the centre of that lotus flower sitting a very effulgent baby girl. As the lotus flower passed by King Vṛṣbhānu He lifted the smiling baby out of the lotus and embraced Her and when he did, he felt waves of transcendental ecstasy move through his body. The locals say that when he was lost in that ecstasy he could neither move nor speak. In this pastime, he also goes back to the palace and presents the baby girl to his queen Kīrtidā.

Now there is the 3rd version, that Rādhārāṇī appeared in the womb of Her mother Kīrtidā Sundarī, without having being impregnated by her husband and this is actually described in Śāstra. It’s described how as clouds floated very peacefully in the sky, Rādhārāṇī made Her appearance at noon on the 8th day of the bright fortnight of the moon, in the month of Bhadra which is August & September.

Thus you can meditate on any one or all three of those versions of Her divine appearance. Now, after that there is not a lot of information about Rādhārāṇī’s childhood like there is about Kṛṣṇa’s childhood. Kṛṣṇa’s childhood pastimes are of course recorded by Śrīla Vyāsadeva in the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam and our Gauḍīya Ācāryas also comment a lot about Kṛṣṇa’s childhood pastimes, they are written in that way. But Rādhā’s pastimes again are mostly oral tradition. You walk around Vraja and you talk to residents and, “Oh, My father told me, his grandfather told me, his grandfather …” –the oral tradition. But that’s also accepted.

There is a very beautiful oral tradition spoken from grandmother to mother to child about how Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa first met. There are actually a few pastimes but because of lack of time I chose just a couple that I thought were particularly interesting. I thought it would be interesting to share this pastime, how Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa met for the first time. It all begins with Nārada Muni; as he often facilitates these pastimes. So not long after Kṛṣṇa appeared and was transferred over to Gokula, Nārada Muni went to Gokula, where we were yesterday, to have Darśana of baby Kṛṣṇa. While he was there, having Darśana of baby Kṛṣṇa; in his heart he felt some type of message that the Lord’s ĀhlādinīŚakti, His pleasure potency Śrī Rādhā had taken birth nearby as well; he got some divine inspiration. But he couldn’t find her; He was actually going from village to village and door to door inquiring about the appearance of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. Finally, he came to Rāvala or some say to Barṣāṇā and he was greeted by King Vṛṣbhānu. After King Vṛṣbhānu respectfully received the great sage Nārada, he enquired to Nārada Muni, “It’s wonderful that you have appeared in my home, any particular reason you have come here?”

Nārada said, “Yes, some reason. I have a question: has a girl recently taken birth within your home?” A big smile came over Mahārāja Vṛṣbhānu’s face, he said, “Yes, by the grace of the Lord I have been blessed with a daughter who is divinely effulgent.” But then King Vṛṣbhānu became a little despondent. He looked down and he said, “But unfortunately this child has not yet opened Her eyes.” So Nārada Muni went, “Oh! She has not opened Her eyes?” King Vṛṣbhānu said, “Yes, therefore we do not know whether She is blind or if She is a celestial being who is unwilling to look at the imperfections of this world.” I thought that was particularly beautiful. He said, “We don’t know if She is blind or She is some celestial being, some higher being who is unwilling to look at the imperfections in this world?”

Nārada said, “Can I see Her?” King Vṛṣbhānu sent for the servants and they brought little baby Rādhā before him; and because of his deep spiritual insight he was able to perceive that this was no ordinary baby, but Lord Kṛṣṇa’s eternal consort Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. Then it was noted that it was only out of great difficulty that upon seeing Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī he was able to restrain his ecstatic emotions. But Her eyes were closed, so he said to King Vṛṣbhānu, “My dear King, Providence has surely blessed you! Quickly bring me the items that we can perform a purificatory ceremony. I will perform such a ceremony to ensure that in time this child blesses the world with the glance of Her dove like eyes.”

King Vṛṣbhānu was in ecstasy. By the power of this sage he would perform a ceremony by which She would open Her eyes and they could see that She was not blind. The Śāstric reference at this point is that, while Vṛṣbhānu was getting all the Pūjā paraphernalia, Nārada Muni knelt down before Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī and revealed his heart and made many, many beautiful prayers glorifying Her.  As he did so the little baby girl playfully wiggled Her hands, like little kids do. But knowing that Her devotee Nārada was actually eager to behold Her original form, Rādhārāṇī appeared before him as a fresh youth, as a young girl around 8 or 9 years of age and on either side of Rādhārāṇī was Lalitā and Viśākā. At this point you can just imagine, Nārada Muni became speechless, gazing upon this divine form of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. Suddenly from around the corner King Vṛṣbhānu appeared with the Pūjā paraphernalia, so immediately Rādhārāṇī became a baby again and hiding his ecstasies Nārada Muni performed the rituals for the child and then he departed.

But because of that special Darśana that Nārada Muni had with Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī he was left with a very deep and intense desire for more of Her association and even more so for Her Sevā, for Her service. He went to a particular place here in Vṛndāvana, some say it’s next to Govardhan hill called Nāradavana and he performed very severe austerities under the direction of Vṛndā Devī for a very long time. I thought it was interesting that he performed his austerities under the direction of Vṛndā Devī, because again she is one of the five personalities to grant us entrance and residence in Vṛndāvana. So, whatever austerity he did, he did it under Vṛndā Devī’s direction.  That’s another story we will tell that sometime, but eventually he was able to enter into Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes in the form of a Gopī; and some devotees say her name was Naradiya. Some say he simultaneously continues his travels through the universe, others say that he left that service as Naradiya Gopī to do his service of preaching; as Prabhupāda called him an ‘eternal space-man’ to travel and preach, but he never forgets the lotus feet of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī.

As a result of those pastimes the Garga Saṁhitā, from where much of this comes, states that he always has at the tip of his tongue a very special prayer as he is travelling and preaching; and I have often placed this prayer on my Facebook page. The prayer is as follows:

“I wander this earth, meditating on Her, who is a moon shining in the arena of the Rasa dance, who is a host of bright lamps in Vṛṣbhānu’s palace and who is the central jewel in the necklace of Goloka.”

Hare Kṛṣṇa.

Vṛndāvanesvari Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī ki Jaya!

Now Rādhārāṇī did not open Her eyes immediately after the purificatory ceremony that Nārada Muni performed. But King Vṛṣbhānu had great faith that whatever that sage said would come true. Next day PūrṇamāsīYoga Māyā, she also arrived to have Darśana of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī at the palace of King Vṛṣbhānu. When Pūrṇamāsī first had Darśana of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, very beautiful words came from Her mouth glorifying Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. She said to Mahārāja Vṛṣbhānu and Queen Kīrtidā, “This girl is not ordinary. Great personalities like Brahmā, Śiva and Nārada worship Her knowing that She can fulfill all their desires, material and spiritual, so please take good care of Her.” They were very joyful, hearing this blessing from Yogamaya Pūrṇamāsī, but at the same time they were concerned. They expressed their concern to Pūrṇamāsī, “Look, Her eyes are closed; we don’t know what’s going on? Why are Her eyes closed? Why doesn’t She open Her eyes? Is She blind? Of course, we know that Pūrṇamāsī, with her assistants like Vṛndā Devī, they just arrange all these different pastimes to increase the ecstasy. Pūrṇamāsī just smiled and said, “Don’t worry, it’s just Rādhā’s pastime.”

The next day the pastime unfolded even more because Nanda Maharaja and Yaśodā with baby Kṛṣṇa, they came to visit their friends – King Vṛṣbhānu and Kīrtidā Sundarī. They were kind of like, friends, so they both had babies. Nanda & Yaśodā brought their baby Kṛṣṇa over to show them to Kīrtidā and to Vṛṣbhānu and Vṛṣbhānu and Kīrtidā, they wanted to show their baby girl to Nanda and Yaśodā, so just guess what is going to happen?

When Nanda and Yaśodā arrived with Kṛṣṇa, Rādhārāṇī was sleeping in Her bedroom. Nanda and Yaśodā were met at the door by Kīrtidā Sundarī and king Vṛṣbhānu, and they were invited into like a living room; they all sat down, they started talking and baby Kṛṣṇa was on the lap of mother Yaśodā. While they were all kind of talking, Kṛṣṇa very silently climbs off of Mother Yaśodā’s lap and crawls towards the bedroom where Rādhārāṇī is sleeping. So, there is little Rādhārāṇī sleeping and baby Kṛṣṇa recognizes Her as His eternal divine consort, He reaches out and very gently baby Kṛṣṇa touches baby Rādhā’s eyes. The Śāstra describes that moment very nicely, that as soon as Rādhārāṇī felt the touch of Kṛṣṇa’s hands on Her eyes, She became aware that the Person for whom Her eyes were created was sitting beside Her; and casting off Her blindness She opened Her cloud blue eyes and smiled. All the parents just seeing that Kṛṣṇa wasn’t present began looking for Kṛṣṇa. They came into the room and there was Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa playing together like little children on the bed there, Rādhārāṇī’s eyes wide open and they were all very happy.

Again, there is not a lot about Rādhārāṇī’s childhood Līlās. But it is mentioned that when She turned 7 months old mother Kīrtidā Sundarī decided it was time to celebrate her daughter’s grain ceremony – that is Anna-prāśana. Those of you who are parents know that for 6 months or 7 months a child is taking the milk; then they start eating grains, so there is a ceremony. I have done it a thousand times. [In jolly mood:] Mahārāja comes and takes the sweet rice, gives to the baby and he gets the donation [Laughter]. Sometimes he gets the 100 dollars [Laughter], one of my favorite ceremonies [Laughter].

King Vṛṣbhānu and Kīrtidā Sundarī they made announcements everywhere, that their daughter Rādhārāṇī was going to take Her first grains. News spread to all villages and thousands of people came for the grain giving ceremony. Amongst the respected guests again were Nanda Bābā and mother Yaśodā and baby Kṛṣṇa. They were invited for this ceremony to see Rādhārāṇī get Her first grains. The Brāhmaṇas had made a big Yajñaśālā, big pit and there was a fire and they were chanting various Mantras and Kīrtidā Sundarī was sitting near the fire with Rādhārāṇī on her lap.

When Nanda Bābā and Yaśodā arrived; as Yaśodā is very good friend with Kīrtidā Sundarī, she came and sat next to Kīrtidā Sundarī, there next to the fire Yajña. Nothing much had actually happened yet, Rādhārāṇī had not received the grains yet and they are just chanting all the Mantras. But mother Yaśodā had brought a little bowl of sweet rice to keep Kṛṣṇa occupied, because Kṛṣṇa is a baby boy and is hungry, older than Rādhārāṇī and he already had his ceremony of grains. She brought along a little bowl of sweet rice to feed Kṛṣṇa just to keep Him calm.

At one point before Rādhā received Her grains from one of the Brāhmaṇas, She just spontaneously reached over onto the lap of mother Yaśodā and took some of the grains from Kṛṣṇa’s bowl and ate it. In this way She received Her first grains which were Kṛṣṇa Prasādam. When the brāhmaṇas saw that, they cancelled the ceremony [Laughter] because Rādhārāṇī’s first grains were Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s remnants. The Ācāryas comment that this spontaneous event strengthened the two mothers Yaśodā and Kīrtidā’s conviction that divine providence had chosen their children for each other.

I will describe one more pastime and then we will take breakfast Prasādam. After breakfast Prasādam Śrī Prahlāda will lead us in ecstatic Kīrtana. Then there will be lunch Prasādam and then tomorrow we will go to Vṛndā-kuṇḍa.

But one more childhood pastime of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī! By researching this one I found out so much nectar.  So sit properly, put your hands in the air:

Jaya-Jaya Śrī-Śrī Rādhe …………………………………… Śyāma!!

One day long, long ago when Rādhārāṇī was a young girl, I could not find Her exact age, but I could say something like a girl of 6, 7 or 8, she was playing with Her girlfriends just outside the door of Her house and suddenly Durvāsā Muni appeared. Scriptures describe that at this point Durvāsā Muni had already realized that Kṛṣṇa was Bhagavān, He was the Supreme Personality of Godhead. But he had heard from celestial beings that Kṛṣṇa’s eternal consort Rādhārāṇī had also made Her appearance in this world and was living in Vṛndāvana. So he wanted to have Her Darśana; actually he wanted to verify that this is actually true: that the divine girl has appeared in Vṛndāvana. The locals here in Vṛndāvana said, “Oh yes, yes She has appeared. She is living in the palace of King Vṛṣbhānu and Kīrtidā Sundarī. Go and see Her with your own eyes.” But he had some doubts, so he said, “Is that girl actually Rādhā? Is She actually the eternal consort of Kṛṣṇa?” “Yes, Yes, go and see Her.” “Really?” He wasn’t convinced. Rādhārāṇī and Her girlfriends were playing and he just appeared; and immediately all the little girls went away because, you know these sages; their appearance is sometimes very frightening. Like wild eyes and wild beards and they are chanting Mantras, fire is coming in, blessing and curses. All little girls screamed except for Rādhā. She didn’t run away. She stood up, “Welcome!” She said to the sage.  

The little Rādhā, She is only 7 or 8, but the reason that She wasn’t afraid. It was described; it was because Her parents were often entertaining great sages and yogīs at home. She was used to these scary guys being around, She wasn’t scared away like Her friends were. Again it’s described that She touched the sage’s feet and She put Her palms together and She said, “Svāgataṁ, Svāgataṁ! – Welcome Bābā!

Now Durvāsā Muni, He was amazed by the delicate beauty and aristocratic bearing and nature of this tiny girl. He is very tall and he is very big and so he bent over and very gently asked Rādhā, “Who are you little girl? And what games are you playing with all your little friends?” In a very steady voice She said, “My name is Rādhā, the daughter of queen Kīrtidā. My friends and I have been pretending to cook for Mahārāja Nanda’s son, the killer of Pūtanā and Tṛṇāvarta, Kṛṣṇa.” When She finished She pointed across the courtyard to a little make shift temple She had made with Her friends where there was a blue doll of Kṛṣṇa. It was a makeshift temple made of mud; She and Her girlfriends had decorated it with the flowers and leaves and bits of colorful cloth.

The Ācāryas describe that in the palace She was always hearing the glories of Kṛṣṇa, because that’s what Vrajavāsīs do, they talk about Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa constantly. She was always hearing about the glories of Kṛṣṇa, so She insisted Her mother to give Her a doll of Kṛṣṇa and She and Her friends worshipped the doll. The main daily activity of Her friends with Her was centered around dressing and decorating Kṛṣṇa’s image, cooking for Him – a little doll, offering Aratrik and tucking Him into bed at night while singing His glories. Isn’t it very interesting information? Just as young girls played with dolls; Rādhā and Her friends played with this doll of Kṛṣṇa.

She was explaining this all to Durvāsā Muni, who is a very serious sage, he is always doing penances and austerities, no sentiment, no unneeded emotions, he  is very strict in vows, so he kind of smiled. He has his big thick eyebrows, they go up and wider and he bends down and he said, “So little Lāli are you an attentive housewife?” Rādhārāṇī said, “I am not married Bābā.” [laughter] Then She continued She said, “But because Kṛṣṇa is well known to be very demanding, my friends and I try to serve this doll of Him in such a way that He would be satisfied with all of us.” Durvāsā Muni was like “What?” He was just like taken aback by Rādhārāṇī’s reply. He thought, “No ordinary girl of Her age could think such divine thoughts.” His doubts started to dissipate, He was thinking, “Yes, maybe what the Braja-vasis are saying is true. This is Rādhā – this is the Lord’s eternal concert. She has appeared here in this world.” He decided to test Her, he said, “Little Rādhā, yesterday was Ekadāsī and today I must break my fast. My request is that you please cook some sweet rice for your Kṛṣṇa and then you give me the remnants. In this way I will complete my Ekadāsī vow and I will test your skill as a good cook.” Little Rādhā became very ecstatic, “Oh, a chance to cook for Kṛṣṇa again!” and, “Yes, Bābā I will do.” She accepted his request and She sat him down on the branch, a low branch of a tree and asked him to be patient. She ran into the palace and said, “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy Kīrtidā, I got this new service. I get to cook for Durvāsā Muni” and everybody in the palace froze hearing the name Durvāsā Muni [Laughter] because, you know, when Durvāsā Muni comes it’s no small affair because he can be easily pleased and very easily displeased and he is famous for his curses. Mommy sort of froze – “No! My little girl…, Durvāsā Muni? Oh No!”  

But then some of the cowherd boys they have been watching all this, for them these little girls are just girls, what’s this?  They walked in and they said to Mother Kīrtidā Sundarī, “Ah don’t worry about it, Durvāsā Muni he is being very fatherly towards your daughter Rādhā.” Then mother Kīrtidā said, “Oh he is being very fatherly toward you – kind towards you, don’t worry.” Kīrtidā became pacified. But she told Rādhā, ”I am going to cook because you are just a little girl, we can’t make any mistakes here, so I am going to cook.” She started collecting all the ingredients.

Rādhārāṇī is playing under her Sāri, “No, I must cook. The great Yogī he asked me to make sweet rice for him.” Kīrtidā, “No, no, no, darling, I will cook and you watch.” Then Rādhā said, “No mother you don’t understand. Durvāsā Muni wants to taste my cooking.” It’s described that queen Kīrtidā, she could see the determined look on little Rādhārāṇī’s face and she had experienced that when her daughter wanted something She would persist and ultimately She would get Her way because that was Her contrary nature. Mother Kīrtidā, she stepped aside and some servants brought some little tables that little Rādhārāṇī could stand on to reach the fire and She started making the sweet rice.

Because She was cooking for Kṛṣṇa as She did every day for the little dolls, She did it very attentively with much devotion and added the ingredients little this and that, then made it – first class. And then with Her mother watching and all the palace attendants there She took that cooked sweet rice, put it into some nice clay pots and took it outside and bowed down before the doll of Kṛṣṇa and made the offering. Then She took that offering, with Her mother following Her. Durvāsā was sitting on that low branch of the tree and Rādhārāṇī said, “Bābā, I have cooked the sweet rice.” Durvāsā Muni took that cup of sweet rice, [sound of drinking] “tak tak tak tak”, he drank a little bit. Then he famously said, “Now I see how well you cook little Lāli and how much your hero Kṛṣṇa savors your cooking!” and he looked up with wide eyes and said to all the people who were watching, “Materially this food is perfect in its appearance, taste and texture. What’s more – spiritually it is mixed with prema from both Rādhā the cook and Kṛṣṇa the enjoyer.” Then he said, “Excuse me, I have to finish this pot of sweet rice.” That’s what he did and then scriptures describe, He relished every last drop of that sweet rice and as he did so, his bliss increased unlimitedly with each mouthful.

Everyone was watching him and as soon as he finished the pot he put it down and he was silent. Then he shook his head. He made a declaration publicly, “There is no doubt about it. The child who cooked this sweet rice must be the Supreme Lord’s eternal consort.” He said, “Call all the residents in the village to come here; I want to make a proclamation.” [Sound of conch blowing] – With bells ringing and the conch shells blowing everyone came to hear Durvāsā Muni’s proclamation, because that’s something significant. All of Braja, all the residents, Braja-vasis were there, and the animals, birds, butterflies, fish looking out of the water [Laughter], everyone was there to hear his eternal proclamation. He said to little Rādhā who stood before him with Her soft pink lotus feet and Her little soft palms folded in submission, he said to Her, “My dear child, you have served me with such devotion and given me a taste of your unmatched cooking skills. I must reward you. In the form of the following blessing, I shall share with you half of my austerities that I have gained through my life as a Yogī.”

Mahārāja Vṛṣbhānu he said, “Go forward, Rādhā, go forward. Stand a little closer to the Muni.” So She wiggled a little bit forward and this great formidable, austere tapasvi Yogī, who is capable of blessing and cursing the entire universe; tears started flooding his eyes, flowing down his cheeks as he looked at Rādhā. His hands were shaking, his hairs were standing on end, his voice was faltering. He said to little Rādhā, “I hereby declare that, whatever you cook will always taste like nectar. In addition, whoever tastes it will never see disease, defeat from enemies or bad fortune. My dear little Rādhā, for as long as the world turns you will be famous as the empress of all cooks and because everything you touch will turn to nectar you will be known by the name Amṛtapāni. OM TAT SAT!” [Haribol].

After hearing this wonderful blessing King Vṛṣbhānu, Kīrtidā and little Rāṇī they bowed down to the sage to offered their respectful obeisances and then suddenly Durvāsā Muni just disappeared. That’s how these sages are, they come into our lives, spend some time and then they just disappear and go unto some other pastime. This is one of the most wonderful pastimes of Durvāsā Muni.

Mother Kīrtidā Sundarī was like really happy and she grabbed little Rādhā and hugged Her and said, “Oh Rādhā, how fortunate we are? By the sage’s blessings perhaps even the Supreme Lord would insist on eating from your hands, just imagine?” When mother Yaśodā heard this blessing as referred before, she started thinking, “Can that little girl be a cook for my little boy Kṛṣṇa?” and that was arranged later on actually. As a result of Durvāsā Muni’s public blessing, all of Vṛndāvana resounded with this news that Rādhārāṇī’s cooking surpassed even that of Lakṣmī Devī.

Let’s conclude this morning  hearing the blessing of Durvāsā Muni to Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī at this holy auspicious place Rāvala where She appeared.

Vṛndāvanesvari Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī ki – Jaya!

Durvāsā Muni ki – Jaya!

Rāvala ki – Jaya!

Barṣāṇā Dhām ki – Jaya!

Śrī-Śrī Rādhā Śyāmsundara ki –Jaya!

Kārtik Parikramā 2015 ki –Jaya!

Jaya-Jaya Śrī Rādhe …………………

Jaya-Jaya Śrī Rādhe ………………..

Jaya-Jaya Śrī Rādhe ………………..  Śyāma!

OM TAT SAT! [Laughter]

Hare Kṛṣṇa! Thank you!  

Gokula – Dāmodara Līlā place- HH Śrīla Indradyumna Swami – Lecture

A simple life with Kṛṣṇa at the center

– By His Holiness Śrīla Indradyumna Swami

When Kṛṣṇa was born Vasudeva and Devakī were in great anxiety that Kaṁsa would come into the cell and kill their new child. Mysteriously in the jail, the jail opened, the cell opened and Vasudeva took baby Kṛṣṇa and crossed over the River Yamunā, which is just near here.

At that time, Mother Yaśodā and Nanda Bābā, they were living here; they weren’t living out at NandaGram. They were living right here, so the baby was brought here and given charge to Yaśodā and Nanda Mahārāja. They say that the ancestral home of Nanda Mahārāja is just down the road, maybe one kilometer down the road. There is a palace with one thousand black pillars. They say that’s where Kṛṣṇa grew up under the care of Nanda and Yaśodā.

All the pastimes we read at the beginning of Kṛṣṇa Book, the killing of Pūtanā and Tṛṇāvarta, and all those pastimes they took place here in Gokula. Of particular interest, of course, is the pastime where Kṛṣṇa was tied to the mortar by Mother Yaśodā, because He was naughty. I won’t elaborate on that story, that pastime, because Baḍa-Hari is going to be the main speaker this morning. But local tradition says that this is the place where Mother Yaśodā tied baby Kṛṣṇa to the mortar and just behind it there you can see that little shade—it’s actually a temple right behind you. They say there is the original mortar that Mother Yaśodā tied Kṛṣṇa to, so this is a very, very special place we are sitting right now.

That is the Dāmodara pastime and we are always singing the Dāmodara Aṣṭakam during this month. This is the month of Kārtik, or the month of Dāmodara, so what better place to come than Gokula during the month of Dāmodara. This is really the place to be during the month of Kārtik, so we finally made it. Then there is a very beautiful—one of my favorite Deities actually in Vraja—behind us is a very beautiful deity of Yamunā Devī. She is holding a garland of lotus flowers. She is a very, very old, very ancient Deity. They painted her so she looks a little modern. But actually she is a very ancient deity, so you can pray to her as well, because as we discuss many times here in Vṛndāvan, we are coming here for shelter. We are ultimately coming here for residence: that we want to live in Goloka Vṛndāvan forever. Again she is one of the five personalities who grant residence in Vṛndāvan. So you can say some special prayers to her today here in this auspicious place of Gokula, the land of pasturing grounds for cows.

This is Vṛndāvan as it was well five thousand years ago. And this is how we would like the whole world to be actually, back to an agrarian culture, taking care of the cows and cultivating the land—a simple life with Kṛṣṇa at the center. Without again going into too much detail, because Baḍa-Hari Prabhu has been preparing to speak for a few days now, I will just explain in short. This is also Gopāṣṭamī, this is the day that little Kṛṣṇa was given charge of the calves when He was young, because calves are not that difficult to deal with.

But when he got a little older, He got to be in charge of the cows. So today is the celebration that Kṛṣṇa takes charge of the cows. Now these are cowherd boy pastimes, involving Kṛṣṇa and His cowherd friends and the cows and the pasturing grounds, but somehow or other the Gopīs also got involved. The Gopīs are never far from Kṛṣṇa, wherever He is. In fact, Rādhārāṇī, She is called Anapāyinī, it means She is never separated from Kṛṣṇa. Just how the Gopīs got involved in this pastime of Gopāṣṭamī? I will save that for Baḍa-Hari, but I will mention the Gopīs did dress up as cowherd boys, so you can see we have some girls here who are dressed as cowherd boys. 

There we have a little cowherd boy, too, with a black turban and a peacock feather in her/his hair/head/turban following in the footsteps of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. Actually, all of you know this is the one day of the year, because Rādhārāṇī is playing the mood of a cowherd boy, so She doesn’t have Her sāri, She has a dhoti on. So this is the one day in the temples all around the world, you can see the lotus feet of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī

A perfect day to come to Gokula, the pasturing grounds of the cows on Gopāṣṭamī! Fantastic, amazing that we are actually here today! There are lots of nice cows here. Our Mahānta here takes very good care of this area throughout the year. He just finished his sixteen rounds; he chants sixteen rounds in the morning and sixteen rounds in the evening and the rest of the day, he takes care of Kṛṣṇa’s cows.

We will relish this day. This is a memorable month; this is a memorable day, a memorable place. Just take advantage of every precious moment that we are all here together in each other’s association. It makes it more appreciable, more understandable, more relish-able that we are all here together, our Parikramā family for the month of Kārtik 2015.

I always say that you will look back on these days, these moments as some of the most precious moments of your life. If your memory fades in your old age, when you are my age, 65 or 70, “Yeah, I remember when we were with Gurudeva way back in 2015 at Gokula—and I can’t remember, there was a big tree.” Then you can take out this little USB drive we are going to give each of you, with all of Ananta Vṛndāvan’s twelve or fifteen videos that he has worked so hard to produce and you can watch those videos and all the memories of this wonderful month will flood back into your hearts. I have counted how many hours he has slept in the last three weeks. He has slept about four hours—seriously.

He has only slept about four hours in three weeks. I think he is a mystic yogi. The important part of the world, Vaiṣṇava community, they are all watching these videos and they feel actually like they are here in Vṛndāvan. We are getting thousands and thousands of people inquiring, “We want to come next year, too!” This is a problem, because it’s going to be like Rādhānātha Swami’s yatra with 6,000 devotees! We want to keep it at 300, keep the family small, so I am not exactly sure what is going to happen, but anyway.

The stage is set for our wonderful experience, for our wonderful stay here in Gokula at the place where Kṛṣṇa dragged the mortar! How are we so fortunate to be here? It’s all by the mercy of Śrīla Prabhupāda, by his invitation we have come to Śrī Vṛndāvan Dhām. You can see we have a very nice Yajñaśālā here, even our pujari—priest of Emperor amongst the priests—MadhumañgalaCaturātmā Prabhu, even he is impressed by what Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur and Mañjarī have put together here this morning. 

Madhumañgala Caturātmā Prabhu ki—Jaya!

Narottama could you come take a bow, please. Take a bow. This is Narottama. Give him a big round of applause. But behind every great man is a woman, so this is Mañjarī, she is the real force behind it.

Behind them, that tall handsome boy, that’s Śaśi, he is getting initiated today. The whole family is here, everyone is here, so this is a big day for that family, and of course this is a big day for the 32 or so initiates who are going to be initiated here on this auspicious day in Śrī VṛndāvanDhām. I can’t imagine a better place to get initiated. 

As always I stayed up all night last night searching nice names for the boys and beautiful names for the girls, so if I fall asleep during the ceremony, just wake me up. It’s important to have a nice name because you are going to hear that name for the rest of your life. These are all names of Kṛṣṇa or Rādhā or holy places or pastimes with Dāsa or Dāsī affixed at the end—that we are the servant of all these great places, these personalities, these pastimes. 

Actually for the initiates this is the most important day not only of their lives, this is the most important day in their existence since they left the spiritual world. This is the ticket back home, back to Godhead, so this is really a day to celebrate. Generally, it is of course the spiritual master who gives the lecture at the initiation ceremony. But I think more important than that is that we are actually a family, with a greater family of Śrīla Prabhupāda within the big family of our GauḍīyaVaiṣṇava Sampradāya. So in the family, you share. I mean, in my family, my father always taught us to share. I can’t remember how many times he said, “Share with your brother! Share with your sister!” Today I have asked my illustrious, lovable, traveling companion Baḍa-Hari Prabhu to give the initiation lecture. This is brotherhood—real brotherhood. Actually he is more advanced than me anyways, so I think it’s appropriate that he speaks to my disciples and inspires them in Kṛṣṇa Consciousness.

And usually, I like to do the Yajña and how many times have I done that initiation Yajña in Moscow and St. Petersburg and Yekaterinburg, but again we are family and we share. We are all serving our father Śrīla Prabhupāda, so I have asked my illustrious Godbrother Caturātmā, ‘Madhumañgala’ Caturātmā Prabhu to do the Yajña today, to be the head-priest. 

We have many senior devotees, Prabhupāda disciples here. I don’t know who came, who didn’t come, I don’t know. Manyu Prabhu was sick and Ghoṣa Ṭhākur? Oh, Manyu is here. Glad you are better, back to health. Ghoṣa Ṭhākur. Where is Ghoṣa Ṭhākurji? Most welcome. Ṭhākurāṇī is here. [French statement]. That’s French. Mother Viśeṣa, just like we call Govinda, as Govindajī, so I call her “Na-Viśeṣa”, my Godsister Viśeṣa, she is here as well giving her blessing to all the initiates today. [French statement]. My good brother, Bonjour, Gopa Swami Prabhu is also here. He is very humble. I don’t know, where’s Gopa? See. He is a very advanced devotee. He is hiding back in the cowshed. I think he wants to be a cowherd boy or something.

No less important are all of you—Gaura Bhakta Vṛnda, we say Gaura Bhakta Vṛnda, all the devotees of Lord Caitanya, so thank you everyone for coming and making this the special day that I am sure it will be as it unfolds. 

Okay, I am going to step off center stage here and give the microphone to our most beloved, talented musician and singer who sings with lots of Bhāva, and he will be speaking today as well. Please give a big round of applause to Baḍa-Hari Prabhu, who will carry the program on from here. [Applause]

Śrī Gokula-Dhām ki—Jaya!
Dāmodara  pastime ki—Jaya!
Śrī Vraja-Bhūmi, Śrī Vṛndāvana Dhām ki—Jaya!
Yamunā Devī ki—Jaya!
Kārtik Parikramā 2015 ki—Jaya!
Jaya-Jaya Śrī Rādhe ……… Śyāma!

Durvāsā Muni Āśrama – Śrīla Prabhupāda Disappearance Day- HG Śītalā Mataji – Lecture; Indradyumna Swami's Parikrama -2015

The Glorious Departure of Śrīla Prabhupāda

– By HG Śītalā Mataji

[Opening Prayers]

This is going to be very difficult today. I need to see lots of smiling faces out there because it’s very easy to cry today. Mahārāja couldn’t even get through the announcements. I don’t want to look at any of my God-brothers and God-sisters. I will look out here at smiling faces. Because this is a festival and every festival has a kind of different flavor to it. In Āyurveda we learn that we are supposed to get all the flavors. Some festivals are very sweet and joyful. But this one is the bitter-sweet day, especially for people who were here with Śrīla Prabhupāda at that time, it’s a very, very—very bitter. But if we take that bitter, somehow it turns sweet. They say in Āyurveda that bitter, it increases your appetite; it’s important. This particular day, this festival, this is extremely important day for everybody not just for Śrīla Prabhupāda disciples, but for every single one of us.

One time I was attending the festival at the temple and I had to leave for a few minutes. It was very-very intense, listening to all the devotees talk about Śrīla Prabhupāda. But I had to run a home and answer the call of nature for a few minutes. I was running through the MVT and then suddenly I noticed that there were about 25 younger devotees that I know, and they were all just sitting and chit-chatting together. I was so shocked by their light-hearted mood as compared to mood from where I had been coming from; that I just blurted out, “What are you doing? Why aren’t you hearing?” They said, “Oh, you know, we don’t like to hear all the old devotees just crying about Prabhupāda, it’s just so sad”.  I was like, “What? What are you talking about? This is not like a bunch of old fogies sitting in their rocking chairs talking about the good old days when we were young.’”

Thus it’s important for us to know; every single one of us that, this is not about, “Oh, remember when—the old good days” —not at all. It’s about something Mahārāja spoken about, when we were in Kuruśetra. He was describing about—Vipralamba Bhāva and the mood of separation. Now of course we cannot compare our feelings with those of the Gopīs or Vipralamba Bhāva. But pure devotees, they come into the world to have relationships with us and to ignite some of these spiritual emotions, to give the seed for which we start to feel something real. It’s very, very important for all of us to feel some separation. If you look at the lives of Ācāryas like Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur; his whole life was just, “Oh I wish I had been there.” This is not mundane lamentation; this is very-very deep spiritual emotions. This is a day of going deep; this is a deep day; this is not a light day. This is going deeper and deeper into real spiritual feelings.

In the very early days, like 1968-69, many of those devotees, their lives just revolved around the personal association of Śrīla Prabhupāda. I mean basically, their spiritual life was just being with Prabhupāda, that’s what it meant. Then Śrīla Prabhupāda became ill and he had to return to India, and Janakī who is a sister of Yamunā and one of the first female devotees, she was really suffering when Śrīla Prabhupāda left and so she wrote to him to express her feelings, and she was begging, “Please come back”. Śrīla Prabhupāda replied to her, it’s a very important point that Śrīla Prabhupāda makes. He said, “Your eagerness to get me back in the States will surely be a success, because I am also eager to return. Tears for Kṛṣṇa are as good as associating with Him personally. In the spiritual world, separation is more valuable than meeting. Your feelings and tears of Kṛṣṇa Consciousness will make you more enriched in spiritual advancement.” These tears and these thoughts on these days, this is helping us to become advanced. Then after a bit later, Janakī’s sister, Yamunā also had some very profound realizations about this deep feeling of separation. I am going to read that, it’s from her book, because I think it’s very—very valuable for all of us. Because every one of us is going to have to deal with separation, in one way or the other at some point in our life; and we need to know how to do that.

This is about 1971 and Yamunā was noticing that things were dramatically changing in the movement. Prior to this time she was always very close to Śrīla Prabhupāda physically and spending time with him, cooking with him; and everything just around—revolved around his personal association. But then she saw “Oh, things are changing; our movement is getting bigger, another kind of mood is coming in.” She said she was terrified, “Maybe I won’t be ableto so close to Śrīla Prabhupāda anymore”. She asked Śrīla Prabhupāda, ”How many times were you with your Guru Mahārāja?” Without pause, Śrīla Prabhupāda said, “Since I met him I have never been away from him. Not for one second.”

[Yamunā]—“But, but how many times?”

[Śrīla Prabhupāda] –“Very few, five or six times I met him; but it’s very intimate to me. He used to walk and talk with me so many intimate things. Many big Sannyāsīs thought associating with the Spiritual Master personally was most important. But in some cases they were no better than mosquitoes on the lap of the King. And what is the business of a mosquito? It is simply to suck blood. So don’t think the only way to associate with the Spiritual Master is by his physical association. You try to hear”.

Yamunā says, “For me, this was monumental,—a life changing moment; up until then I couldn’t conceive of being separated from Prabhupāda. Neither could I bear the thought that he would ever leave us. But I realized from this exchange that there would be a point in the future when I would be physically separated from him; and I would have to learn to feel his presence through his Vāṇī, his instructions, and his example. Then looking at me with great feeling and love he [Śrīla Prabhupāda] said, ‘I am giving these lectures because you want to hear them so much. That person who is most favored by the Spiritual Master is one who follows his instructions; so do not think you are being separated from me‘—and again the floods of tears came to my eyes”.

Yamunā continues,  “So I could tell as early as January 1971, that from then on there was to be a seeming distance from the prior intimacy that I had with Śrīla Prabhupāda’s personal association and I was prepared for it. I knew that it was destined to come. Śrīla Prabhupāda had explained many times that in the early stages of association, the Spiritual Master is like a father. But he said that when the son matures, it is then the duty of the son to take care of the father. The father no longer has to spoon-feed the son. This was the maturing process in understanding my responsibility to my Spiritual Master and it began in this very small way on this very special day.”

So these are very-very big lessons for learning today. This is today’s lesson—union in separation. But most of us, I think probably 99.9% of us, were not so advanced as Yamunā. She was like the mature elder sister and we were very much like the children that were very dependent, that had no sense whatsoever that the parents can ever not be there.

Even when Śrīla Prabhupāda was in 1977 I was with him for a little while in Bombay and he was in his room most of the time. Of course, for any normal material perspective, anyone could see that Śrīla Prabhupāda was emaciated and very-very ill, but somehow we just couldn’t think, and didn’t consider that Śrīla Prabhupāda might be leaving. It was like Kṛṣṇa just didn’t allow those thoughts to go into your brain even though they were. It was such an obvious thing, but I think almost all of us, we just didn’t think about it.

Then in Bombay, one day Śrīla Prabhupāda, just announced. “Now I want to go to Vṛndāvan and I am going to leave my body there.” We were so shocked and we watched as Brahmānanda Prabhu carried Śrīla Prabhupāda. He was so weak and so frail, that big Brahmānanda, he carried Śrīla Prabhupāda in his arms from his room down the stairs, just like lovingly carrying a baby. Prabhupāda was so frail and I remember we all went to the train station to see Prabhupāda. They figured the train would be easiest way for Prabhupāda to travel and I remember standing at the bars and looking inside as Brahmānanda was carrying Śrīla Prabhupāda and laying him down on the bench in the train. I was like, “Oh God, couldn’t they at least get a first-class for Prabhupāda?” Pālikā said, “This is first class!” Then naturally everyone frantically, we would all been there; the hope was that the Bombay temple would open, I think in January, so a lot of devotees were there trying to accomplish this. But now that Prabhupāda made this announcement, then everyone, forget Bombay, forget everything; everybody there was just trying to get train tickets, plane tickets, bus tickets, “Anyway, by any means, let us get to Vṛndāvan”. Then  even though Śrīla Prabhupāda said that he was going there for that purpose, still we all, we were thinking, “No, it’s not possible.” Of course there were many; I won’t go into all these things as they are documented in many of the books about Śrīla Prabhupāda.

There was a time period there of many-many very sweet exchanges, while Prabhupāda was lying on his bed. Śrīla Prabhupāda is lying on his bed, and I always think of it like Bhīṣma was lying on the bed of arrows. The Kavirāj said that his body was so emaciated that the feeling would be as if his skin were on fire. But in such a condition what was Śrīla Prabhupāda doing?  

Laying on this, like bed of arrows, emaciated and he is speaking the Bhaktivedanta purports of ŚrīmatBhāgavatam; and you could barely hear his words; and Jayādvaita Swami had to keep his ears literally right to Śrīla Prabhupāda’s mouth and trying to record. It’s absolutely inconceivable how someone could have such presence of mind in such a state.

All of his God-brothers that came to visit, they were remarking in this way; they were amazed to see how Śrīla Prabhupāda was. One day, someone came running; I was living over at the Go-śālā and one devotee ran into the Go-śālā and said, “Śrīla Prabhupāda is leaving his body today”; so of course everyone dropped everything—whatever they were doing and ran to Śrīla Prabhupāda’s room. Now the doors were open; previously only a few people were in there with Śrīla Prabhupāda. But now the door was open and everyone could come in and sit and chant next to Śrīla Prabhupāda’s bed; so that was about 1:30 or 2 in the afternoon. Then there was everyone surrounding Śrīla Prabhupāda’s bed, just staring at Śrīla Prabhupāda and chanting in a way that never before or never since have I ever experienced. It was like being in a suspended animation—no past, no future—just now, was if it—for me. It was if my mind, it just stopped, there is nothing before, there is nothing after; there is just now and the Holy Name and there is Śrīla Prabhupāda laying there and there is the soft rise and fall of his chest and we just watched that chest for five hours [Pause … in remembrance] until there was no more rising and falling.

Then of course, there was madness. After this, it lost everyone in different states of madness. The inconceivable had happened and nobody knew what to do. I mean, of course there were those devotees, all glories to them, who actually had to do stuff, and they did the needful while the rest of us wandered. We were asked to leave the room and then I remember walking out and thinking, “Where do you go?”

I saw different devotees in varying degrees of madness basically; so I thought, “Well, I will go see Kṛṣṇa.” I remember walking in and looking at RādheŚyāma and seeing Kṛṣṇa smiling, and I thought “How could you smile?” Then after sometime, I saw that the Palanquín of Śrīla Prabhupāda was coming out from his rooms and this is how kind of state of madness we were in, —I thought, “No..! He didn’t go! He is coming out now”. 

I actually thought that; because we actually thought, “Prabhupāda—well, he can do anything; he is just teaching us a lesson. Now he is going to come out and now we will have his association again.” Then we saw, Prabhupāda looked so beautiful sitting on that Palanquín, and then they took that Palanquín and they started to circumambulate the temple. Then of course, somebody had to lead Kīrtana. There was one devotee, who was like dancing and singing like ecstatically, blissfully, and we were like, “Are you mad?” But the thing was that, there was just all different kind of madness at that moment.

Then they brought Śrīla Prabhupāda into the temple room on the Palanquín and placed the Palanquín on the Vyāsāsana. And then they just became utter silence. Like everyone was just standing, doing nothing, just staring at Śrīla Prabhupāda sitting on the Vyāsāsana in complete silence, and that was kind of when it actually hit, “Oh, it’s actually happened”; and then I remember that Śrīla Prabhupāda’s God-brothers, they took up the slack. We couldn’t even pick up a karatāl or a drum; so Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja, he stood up in that silent temple room, put his hands over his head and started to sing, “Je Anilo Prema Dhana ..”,  and at that moment, just everybody collapsed, – just crying, crying, and crying. Then, Śrīla Prabhupāda’s God-brother Kṛṣṇadas Bābāji, very-very elderly amazing devotee, was playing the Mṛdaṅga. I remember, he was just playing his heart out; —you would have never seen such Mṛdaṅga playing—all night long. We all just sat with Śrīla Prabhupāda all night as somebody was digging the Samādhi.

That night, somehow it became freezing cold in every way on every level. It was so cold and we just sat in front of Śrīla Prabhupāda and chanted all night long until 6 in the morning and we were just thinking of all the missed opportunities for personal service. As soon as the Sun started to rise, then we took Śrīla Prabhupāda off of the Palanquín and we started a procession to all the major temples in Vṛndāvan.

Actually all the Vrajavāsīs, so many had come and they begged, “Please we want a final Darśana”; so we went on this Kīrtana procession that was just unbelievable. People were coming out from everywhere and just doing full Daṇḍavats as Prabhupāda went by and many people were rushing out to offer Āratī, and to offer flowers and many people thought Śrīla Prabhupāda actually there and he was still present, because he looked so beautiful.

It was such an incredible Kīrtana because on one hand, we felt so proud of how glorious was this glorious event; and how glorious is Śrīla Prabhupāda that all the Vrajavāsīs are coming out! We stopped at every temple, and Pūjārīs came out and offered garlands and garlands and garlands upon Śrīla Prabhupāda’s body.

It was devastating, but it was beautiful. Then when we brought Śrīla Prabhupāda back to what’s now the Samādhi area; and so many things were done there.  Actually at that point I just couldn’t handle another second, after Śrīla Prabhupāda was put into the Samādhi. Devotees came forward and they were putting the dirt in and many other things happened and then there was a feast and stuff I am told, but I just couldn’t personally stand one more second of even just being conscious. I went to my room and I just lay down and went to sleep.

I will never forget the exact feeling I had when I woke up after that rest. There was a very-very strange feeling that I have never experienced before or after and it felt like there was just this vacuum in the universe, like this emptiness—like a void. Something had really happened to the world and you could really feel it—it was palpable. 

I think there is something like that in the Bhāgavatam when it describes Bhīṣmadeva’s departure; that there was just this silence as the universe respected this soul who has gone back to Godhead.

So then I felt, “What do we do now? What do we do now?” We hadn’t thought of anything. We had never thought of this happening as strange as seems. “What do we do now?” Then I remember I went down to the temple room and there were so many devotees there and they were just talking about Prabhupāda. I was, “Ah! This is what we do!” We just keep talking about Prabhupāda and so for three days, I think it was three days—pretty much throughout the whole day, we just—I mean nobody planned it, nobody—you know it wasn’t a program, it was just like—there was nothing else to do; we just all got together and we just kept telling story after story after story of Prabhupāda and as long as we were talking, we were happy.

Then we were getting this little hint of a new kind of experience that is there on the transcendental platform. After about maybe a week, then there was this idea that we would fulfill Śrīla Prabhupāda’s last desire which was to do Govardhan Parikramā. It was the first time that most of us had done Govardhan Parikramā. I mean we just didn’t do that in those days; we were too busy with our services. But this was a very new and strange experience that we were going with Śrīla Prabhupāda’Murti, so this was new. Now we could see Śrīla Prabhupāda in this Deity form. It was this most amazing and most incredible Parikramā we did with Śrīla Prabhupāda. We stopped at Rādhā-Kuṇḍa and bathed the Deity and somehow we were all so blissful, despite being utterly devastated.

Then I remember we ended our Parikramā at Kusuma Sarovara and I believe maybe it was BB Govinda—somehow had arranged that there was a big feast there.  They had big speakers and they had the Kṛṣṇakīrtana album. They had Prabhupāda playing out, blaring out over Kusuma Sarovara—“kṛṣṇotkīrtana-gāna ….”; and I just remember it was a moment of profound realization that Prabhupāda was so present; he was there, but yet he wasn’t there. These are beginnings of some real spiritual emotions; so through hearing, just like now we are sitting here; we are feeling the same thing. It’s not that you can’t feel these things; you are feeling them,—how come some of you are crying? You are feeling, because the presence is there.

I remember one VyāsaPūjā I was standing next to Śrīla Prabhupāda’s Vyāsāsana, just a few years ago, and I was like, “Prabhupāda just seems so alive and he seems so present,” and I was just like overwhelmed; and tears were in my eyes and I was so excited about this that “Prabhupāda is so present!”. I went home and I told my husband, “Wow! Did you see Prabhupāda today? Did you see how present he was?” And he was just like, “You were just paying attention today. He is always there.” You know, I was totally blasī about it; “Oh, yeah!” That’s actually how it is, everything is all there. I mean, Vṛndāvan is here, great devotees are here, but we are just not really paying attention.

I think this is something to really think on particularly on this day, ‘how Śrīla Prabhupāda is present for each and every one of us’. Prabhupāda once said that, “I called and you came”; so out of the billions of living entities in the universe somehow you all heard the call and here we are. You might say that, “We are all marked men”. When there was a plague in Europe, anyone that had been touched by the plague then they would put a mark on their door, so you would know. All of us somehow have been marked by the touch  of Śrīla Prabhupāda, regardless of your age, or when you joined, or whatever. Then all of us can realize in one way or another how Prabhupāda is alive and present in each of our lives.

Actually in Māyāpura we have started to have like four days of VyāsaPūjā celebrations, so everybody gets to speak. I went to the community VyāsaPūjā where, we old folks just sit and listen, to the younger generations speak about Prabhupāda and I was so moved, so touched, brought to tears by all the, you know expressions of all these second and third generation devotees, that they have as much love and as much relationship for Prabhupāda and they are alive in their relationship with Śrīla Prabhupāda. It’s not like Prabhupāda is just present for us; his disciples. Prabhupāda is present for all of us.

Actually, one devotee who is a younger devotee, but a very-very serious and very mature and very grounded second generation devotee, who is doing some very difficult and very serious service in America. She is under lot of pressure to do very big services; so she came to India to take a break and she went to Bombay, because she had this desire to go to Śrīla Prabhupāda’s rooms; and she was in Prabhupāda’s room and she said she was crying and praying and you know, “Please allow me to do my service,” and she had the experience that Śrīla Prabhupāda walked into the room where she was and offered her some advice. And I believe that she is a very sober lady. I am his disciple; I have never had such an experience.

So surely Śrīla Prabhupāda is there for all of us. What to speak of second and third generation, he is also there even for the most fallen devotees. He doesn’t forget service. Now there was an early devotee called Kauśalyā; she was a very, very nice devotee, but somehow or another she went away for a long time and then one night she had a dream and Śrīla Prabhupāda said very strongly, “Kauśalyā, where are your beads?” By that time she didn’t have any beads so next morning she was at the LA temple buying her beads; and many, many stories of devotees that are like as they are about to leave their bodies or whatever, —how Śrīla Prabhupāda comes even they have been away for many-many years; Prabhupāda never forgets service rendered.

I will just read a very beautiful letter Śrīla Prabhupāda wrote to one devotee, Umapati, who had fallen away for some time. This is what Prabhupāda wrote to him. He said, “When you left us, I simply prayed to Kṛṣṇa for your return to Kṛṣṇa Consciousness, because that was my duty. Any good soul who approaches me once for spiritual enlightenment is supposed to be depending on my responsibility to get him back to Kṛṣṇa, back home. The disciple may misunderstand a bonafide Spiritual Master being obliged to do so under pressure of Maya’s influence. But bonafide Spiritual Master never lets go of a devotee once accepted. When a disciple misunderstands a bonafide Spiritual Master, the Master regrets for his inability to protect the disciple and sometimes he cries with tears in his eyes”.

So how Śrīla Prabhupāda is there even for the fallen devotees and for the second and third and fourth generations and even for the parents of devotees? There are so many stories of how Prabhupāda has come to encourage the parents of devotees. There was a devotee in Alachua, who had decided to spend time and stay with his father till the last days, and the father was indifferent; he wasn’t really into Kṛṣṇa Consciousness at all. They made some practical arrangement, “You stay in that room, and maybe you will hear some bell ringing and things but you know somehow we will manage it”. Of course, they were feeding him Prasādam as much as possible and the chanting was going on in the house and then one day this devotee came in, and he saw that his father was beaming and smiling and looked so happy. And he was like, “Dad, what’s going on?” He said, “You don’t see him?” He was like, “See who?” “Your Prabhupāda, he is there at the end of my bed, you don’t see?” and devotee, ”No, you are so lucky Dad, I don’t see him!” Many stories like this. Prabhupāda was so kind, even to non-devotees.

There was a story in New-Vṛndāvan, of how one totally ordinary lady, who didn’t know anything, just was going on a tour through the palace. She went past the Vyāsāsana and she heard a voice that said, “Take my shoes”; and she was like looking around, “Who said that?” You know, there was just a Prabhupāda’s Murti was there. She was ignoring it like, “Aha, this is weird— this place is weird” Again and again, the voice was saying, “Take my shoes; take my shoes.” So she is like a really ordinary lady, she says, “I have never stolen anything in my life,” you know, and she sees the shoes are sitting there by Prabhupāda so she just slips them in her bag. And she took them home and she was like mortified, “What did I do at that crazy Hare Kṛṣṇa place, I have got these shoes”. She just put them in her closet and tried to forget about it. And then one day, she was in her house and she hears, “You can take my shoes back now”. [Laughter]

She said “Oh my God! How am I going to like—take these shoes back; [Laughter] without saying that I stole them?” She thought, “Well, you know, I better do it.” She takes the shoes back and she, very sheepishly said, “Well I brought these shoes back”. And she was like, “I don’t know why I took them and I don’t know why I just heard this voice and I don’t know understand—I am so sorry, I am so sorry”; and the devotees, “No—No, we understand; we know why you had taken them, we know why you brought it back; it’s very clear and wow, you are so lucky! Prabhupāda spoke to you twice! I never got to speak to Prabhupāda!” This was during a time when there was lot of difficulty in NewVṛndāvana and actually it was not part of ISKCON for some years; so this was that period of time. After some time, all of that got sorted out, and as it was sorted then, “Okay, bring my shoes back!”

In this way, I am just saying a few stories; just so that we can all understand that Śrīla Prabhupāda is very much present although this is the separation day. We also want to think about the union and how he is present for everybody, for the first generation, second, third, non- devotees, fallen devotees—everybody. It’s a day for each one of us to examine: “What is my relationship with Śrīla Prabhupāda?”

It’s different for everyone, it’s not all the same; we all have different kinds of relationships with Śrīla Prabhupāda. That relationship of course is through your Spiritual Master, and through Prabhupāda’s books, and through really everyday at the programs that we follow; everything we do is Prabhupāda’s arrangement. Our whole life—how we dress, everything we do—it’s all connected with Śrīla Prabhupāda. Infact, Śrīla Prabhupāda he is like— the whole fabric of our life. On a fabric there is the weft and the web; this is like two pieces of thread that make a fabric; so that is what Śrīla Prabhupāda is in our life.

It’s important on this day, especially this bitter-sweet day, to meditate on that relationship, so that we never feel alone. That we know that Śrīla Prabhupāda is here and what to speak of Śrīla Prabhupāda, the whole Guru paramparā is there for us.

Actually before Śrīla Prabhupāda left, he sent a letter and he said, “I maybe going, but my Guru Mahārāja and Bhaktivinode Ṭhākur are here. I have asked them to kindly take care of all of you—my spiritual children. The grandfather always takes care of the children much better than the father; so do not fear; there is no question of separation. The sound vibration fixes us up together, even though the material body may not be there. What do we care for this material body? Just go on chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa and we will be packed up together. You will be chanting here and I will be chanting there and this vibration will circulate around this planet.”

This is our day:

  • For remembering Śrīla Prabhupāda and trying to remember that we are never meant to forget him ever; his sacrifices and what he has given us, he has given us everything that’s of value.
  • To pray that we not just take from him like little children do, but we become mature sons and daughters; and we actually give back and do something for Śrīla Prabhupāda, whether in this life or next life or how many zillions of lifetimes it takes. We owe a very, very, very great debt.

Śrīla Prabhupāda—ki Jaya! Hare Kṛṣṇa!