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

Realizations, Nityananda Vat, Indradyumna Swami Parikrama 2015

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 Śrī Prahlāda. 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 Gokulānanda Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur’s Disappearance day, and then there was first Govardhan Parikramā 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 Cāṇūra, Muṣṭika, Kuvalayāpīḍa; 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 Parikramā, Darśana 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’s disappearance 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 Caturātmā prabhu]

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 Saṁskāra. Saṁskāra 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 – MlecchāDeśa, YavanaDeśa in 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 Śrīla Prabhupāda 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’s mercy. 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!]

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

Ter Kadamba. Indradyumna Swami 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 Dhām is 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—Sandhinī, Samvit 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 Dhām. Bhaum 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 devotee. That’s why we come to these Bhajan places. Although Vṛndāvan  Dhām is so special, even more special are these places where Bhajan by great souls like Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī have 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 it. Absorb 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 and Kṛṣṇa. 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 Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī’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 Kunjas are 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 Caitanya Mahāprabhu arrived in Rāmakeli and that was a major turning point in the life of Rūpa, Sanātana 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 Śrī Caitanya 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 Caitanya Mahāprabhu 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 Mahāprabhu gave 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 know Prabhupāda, 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 Bhajan that 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 Caitanya Mahāprabhu 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 Mahāprabhu showed 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 Mahāprabhu had 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 Caitanya Caritāmṛta 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 Purī, Rūpa 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 Hare Kṛṣṇa 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 Gosvāmī just 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 Bhaṭṭācārya and 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 Govinda. Thus 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 Abhidheya Ācārya 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 Bhāva, Mahābhāva, Prema, Sneha 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 Kadamba. Termeans 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 Rādhā, Rādhā.”

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.]

Dam, Śrīdāma, Vasudam, Indradyumna 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: “Lalitā, Viśākā, Champakalata, Citrā, Shardiya 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 Bābās efforts 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.

 

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

Kirtan at Ter Kadamba. Indradyumna Swami 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 Gosvāmīs are 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 Gosvāmī and Raghunātha Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī, ‘śrī-jīva’- Jīva Gosvāmī,  and ‘gopālakau’ – Gopāla Bhaṭṭa 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 & 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 is been given here. This is a wonderful place to pray for the mercy of Śrīla Rūpā Gosvāmī.

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

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

Temple at Javat, Indradyumna Swami 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 got this sweet cook, and she is the best sweet cook around. Whoever you know that makes milk sweet, she makes it 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 skills 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 & 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 pastime in Yavat here are comparable to this sweetest of Rasagullās, because they involve the sweetness of Rādhā & Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes, which be 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, makes 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 & Kṛṣṇa. We know, if there is something that you desire, and there is an obstacle put in front of that, will you going to try that much hard 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 & 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 as – Rasa. Yavat was built by King Vṛṣbhānu; it’s a wedding present for his daughter and the palace 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. Anyway he built the Yavat in such a way that, it was very spacious and very ecstatically 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 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 is also 15 specific Kuṇḍas that surround this area, that are related particularly to the pastimes of Rādhā & Kṛṣṇa here, at Yavat. There is one Kuṇḍa with a special selection of Kadamba trees there, indicating that the pastimes there are most sweet. There is also the spot in the 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 make 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 would 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 could get in, nobody could 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 the 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 Goloka Dhām. It takes place here for the sole purpose of facilitating the deep Bhāva of Parakīya Rasa. Rādhārāṇī never considers Herself married, neither does She gave Her heart to Abhimanyu. At best it’s just a facade of a marriage. Actually the marriage takes place during the onr year after Brahmā stole the cowherd boys & Kṛṣṇa has expanded Himself into all the different cowherd boys including Abhimanyu, so She actually married Kṛṣṇa. The real answer lies in the fact that, this relationship Svakiya Rasa – the wedded relationships is not considered the highest enjoyment. Instead it’s a Parakīya Rasa between the divine couple that is seen as the topmost pleasure. Personalities like Jīva Gosvāmī and many others have dealt into this with great details, 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 & 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 Rasa-Bhāsa; so therefore he arranges for the marriage of Rādhārāṇī to Abhimanyu. I mean after all She is a suitable young girl, who need a husband and he seemed to be a suitable husband.  In this way the rules of a so called marriage goes 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 “Don’t know about that”. But the reality as Gurudeva said earlier is that Abhimanyu is actually is 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 Devotion’ about 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. 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 a 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 dresses and knows the voices of all the animals, it’s not hard to imagine, 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 the dried up cow-dung paddy, there is no 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?” Jaṭilā called out, “Oh yes, you rascal, we will receive you properly.” As the confused Abhimanyu looked 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 you are doing? Don’t see you who I am?” “Yes we know who you are. You are big rascal. You are the debouche Kṛṣṇa, and we are going to punish you.” She threw more cow-dung balls down; so lying there on the ground, 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 know you would say that, that proves you are Kṛṣṇa”; “Splat! Crash!”

Abhimanyu concluded, “They have been possessed by the ghost”, and he went to Mathurā to 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 one 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, and he started to rebuke him in some very choice words. Here are couple of men who know how to use these choice words, but I think they had 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 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 & hide around someone who is half blind, can’t even see it; so that’s Jaṭilā.

Over 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, “Maa, what are you doing with this box? Why are you packing these things in here?” “Oh my little boy these are just some of presents, for someone very-very special and dear to me”. “What are you packing in it Maa? 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, Maa. 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 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 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 & 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 & sustains my life. This girl, the soothing camphor for my eyes, is the shelter of extra-ordinary 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 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 co-operative, so once He is inside, He has Dhaniṣṭhā to ensure to close the lock and secure it. Little later Yaśodā returned with Abhimanyu, presented him the box and gives him the following message, that he has to give it 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 100 times and with some difficulty he put this heavy box on his head and set on the long road back to Yavat. Now very strange things happened when Abhimanyu 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 goose bumps, 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 told Jaṭilā about this wonderful box that has been sent by Yaśodā for Śrī Rādhā. Jaṭilā 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 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 has 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, the Rādhārāṇī approaches the box and reaches out to touch it, a wave of amorous blissful desires completely engross 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 & down. 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 with 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 Yaśodā, Jaṭilā 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 is 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 & 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?” Kṛṣṇa said, “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 Gopīs, Kṛṣṇa and Lalitā and Rādhā they go back & forth, back & forth for some time playing different types of word games. Finally, all the Gopīs leave the room, leaving Rādhā & 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 – HH Śrīla Indradyumna Swami – Instructions

HH Srila Indradyumna Swami with Devotees on the way to Ter Kadambfrom Javat

Praying to kalpa-vṛkṣa: for pure devotion

– By His Holiness Śrīla Indradyumna Swami

This is the ancestral home of Abhimanyu, his mother Jaṭilā and his sister Kuṭilā. There are beautiful deities of Abhimanyu, Kuṭilā & 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 Kṛṣṇa. RādhāKānta 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-vṛkṣa trees 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-vṛkṣa tree 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-vṛkṣa tree.

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 Dāsī will 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!

Saubhari Muni Āśrama – HH Śrīla Indradyumna Swami – Lecture

Yamuna, Indradyumna Swami Parikrama

Yamunā – Daughter of the Sun God

– By His Holiness Śrīla Indradyumna Swami

RasikāŚiromani corrected me that we won’t be having breakfast this morning, because today is the half day fast, it’s the appearance of Śrīla Gaur Kiśora Dāsa Bābāji. So no breakfast, just more hearing and chanting, and you will so much more appreciate the lunch that comes later.

Once again we are blessed to be in another holy place during our 2015 Kārtik Parikramā. At this particular moment we find ourselves literally on the banks of the Yamunā River. If you could look through this little forest of trees you could see the Yamunā some distance away but previously she used to flow right next to this bank, next to this tree. Iit was the custom, it was the tradition in the past and even present and future that the Sādhus and sages and Ṛṣis they make homes, their temporary homes on the banks of such rivers. They know well the benefit of living so close to such a river and taking advantage of their transcendental waters.  Directly and indirectly, these rivers come from the spiritual world. That’s what makes them so special. Of course, you cannot prove that by science and technology but we understand the world through Guru, Śāstra and Sādhu.

We all know the pastime of Lord Vāmanadeva when He took His three steps. His big toe broke through the coverings of the material world into the spiritual world and some of the water of the spiritual worldliterally, the perspiration of Lord Viṣṇu–entered into this cosmic creation as mother Ganges.

In the heavenly planets the Ganges is known as ‘Bhāgīrathī’ and in the earthly planets she is known as the ‘Ganges’ and I believe in the lower planets she is known as ‘Mandākinī’.

Literally when you are touching mother Ganges, you are touching the body of the Lord, the perspiration of the Lord. How purifying is that? We get an idea how purifying it is to touch the body of the Lord. When we do deity worship, we become purified. The Lord is the supreme pure and by coming in contact with Him, we as conditioned souls become purified. That means: “ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanam”–that means all the unwanted qualities, the lust, the anger and the greed, they are washed away by the Lord’s mercy.

If anyone is fortunate to bathe in the Yamunā River in particular, one can attain Prema or love of God. Saintly persons understand these things. Their homes were simple homes, simple dwellings on the banks of such sacred rivers for thousands and thousands of years. Obviously hearing the glories of bathing in such rivers, they purify our hearts of sinful reactions, they destroy material desires, they awaken love of God. That’s the best place to live, a little grass hut on the side of the sacred river.

Such dwelling places are infinitely more valuable than living at Beverly Hills at Los Angeles. I don’t know if you know what Beverly Hills is? It is the high end district of Los Angeles, big palatial homes52 rooms. Bill Gates has 52 rooms in his house and he thinks this is wonderful. No! Here is wonderful.

By living in that house you get nothing but anxiety, “Who is going to rob me? Who is going to steal from me? How to keep all of this updated and painted?” But let’s be honest, we all are going home in a couple of days, so we can’t stay here, and I don’t know actually if we could live here so simply, we may not be so accustomed to that style of life. But, there is a consolation: by the mercy of these rivers, we can still keep in contact with these transcendental waters through the power of Mantra. Mantra brings everything transcendental within our grasp, within our reach. We can be in Moscow, we can be in Kiev, we can be in Alamaty, we can be in New York, and we can be in London and we can still be in contact with these transcendental waters through the power medium of transcendental sound vibrations, through Mantra. You take a little pot of water. Just imagine this bottle is a pot of water and then take your Gāyatrī thread and then you touch that water and you chant the following Mantra and all the sacred rivers are in your water pot. Please repeat.

[In call & response]

gange-ca yamune ca-iva godāvari sarasvatī
narmade sindhu kāverī jale-smin samnidhim kuru

What is the translation: “May the waters from the holy rivers Ganges, Yamunā, Godāvarī, Sarasvatī, Narmadā, Sindhu and Kāverī kindly be present before me.”

This is not some mythology. Prabhupāda said that this word ‘mythology’, it means some myth, something made up in the mind. But this is not mythology, Prabhupāda said [that] it’s actually fact!” By Śabda-Brahmā, transcendental sound, what to speak of the rivers the whole spiritual world can be present right before us. “Oh wow! Where is that?” That is described by Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur in one of his songs: “Golokera Prema-dhana, Hari-nāma-Saṅkīrtana”. By the process of Saṅkīrtan, glorifying the Lord by chanting His Holy Names, Goloka Premathe whole love of the whole spiritual world becomes present dancing at the tip of your tongue. “Golokera Prema-dhana, Hari-nāma-Saṅkīrtana”. Goloka becomes present and we often experience that, when we are on Saṅkīrtan even on the streets of New York, even in Moscow, Kiev, even on the Baltic Sea coast. All the tourists are there to enjoy but devotees are in the spiritual world because they are chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa, they are dancing in ecstasy, singing, dancing, twirling, and experiencing the highest bliss because Goloka has descended in the form of transcendental sound.

Never ever underestimate the potency of the Hare Kṛṣṇa Mantra. By chanting this Mantra attentively focused with as much devotion as we can muster at this early stage of Kṛṣṇa Consciousness, we have faith that one day the whole spiritual world will be revealed to us by the mercy of the Holy Name. In this way the things that are transcendental, are beyond the modes of nature, far beyond this creation, they can be present right before us in Mantra, including the sacred rivers. By chanting that Mantra this water which is here, described as Himālayan natural mineral water, is probably already transcendental [Laughter], but it becomes supremely transcendental through the Mantras. When you go home, “Oh no, I can’t live on the banks of the river.” No! You do your puja, you chant, and then you bathe in that water, I have taken bath in the Ganges, Yamunā, Godāvarī, Sarasvatī, Narmadā, Sindhu & Kāverī. Woah! Haribol! I am so purified”.

Of course there is something to be said by coming to the original source; that’s why although we have these opportunities all over the world, we make the effort and spend the money, to go and take some austerities to come to Vṛndāvan Dhām itself. There is some special mercy here for sure.  We are on the banks of the Yamunā River itself or better yet, let’s say herself. We must understand that such sacred rivers are not just bodies of water but are extensions of divine personalities, who serve the Lord through the medium of such sacred waters. Yamunā Devī you could say is the Yamunā River personified. Every sacred river has, of course, a corresponding personality and sometimes they emerge from these sacred rivers in their divine form so you can see them. There are a number of examples of this where the river stepped forward as a person.

For example, one time, the residents of Vṛndāvan heard from the visiting sage about the glories of the Ganges River that flows from the Himālayan Mountains in North India. This sage was saying, “Oh, the Ganges comes from the spiritual world and is flowing through the Himālayas; if you go there you will become purified, you will become great devotees of Lord Viṣṇu”. All the Vrajavāsīs, Nanda Bābā and Yaśodā, all the cowherd boys–Subala and Raktak, Balarāma all said, “Let’s go there. Let’s pack our bullock carts and go up to the Himālayas and bathe in the Ganges and become good devotees of Lord Viṣṇu”. There was only one person who objected, a little blue cowherd Boy, about this tall. He was about seven years old. He said, “Maiyā, Bābā, we don’t have to go to the Ganges to become purified. Here in Vṛndāvan, this is where all the holy places originate. All the holy places are originally here. What is outside of Vṛndāvan are only expansions of the holy places. Vṛndāvan has everything”.

And this is a fact. Deena Bandhu Prabhu has explained to us on many of his Parikramās, actually we do not need to go anywhere else. Sometimes devotees go here and there, but everything has its origin here in Vṛndāvan. All the 60 billion holy places that exist throughout the creation have their original status here in Vraja. Little Kṛṣṇa said, “We don’t have to leave Vṛndāvan, let’s just stay here”, so some of the boys said, “Where is the Ganges? We do not see the Ganges here anywhere?” They were herding their cows at Govardhan hill. They said, “Kṛṣṇa, we don’t see Gaṅgā here.” So suddenly, in front of everyone, Kṛṣṇa manifested the Ganges from His mind and that river became famously known as the Mānasi Gaṅgā. That river now appears like a lake and it’s there near the Govardhan Hill. We usually walk by it because we are going very fast on the Govardhan Parikramā so we do not have time to stop in and take advantage but that lake or that river is about half-way down the Govardhan Hill. Mānasi Gaṅgā, the Gaṅgā that manifested from the mind of Lord Kṛṣṇa.

Now, the residents of Vṛndāvan were really eager to go, toward [what] the sage [was] talking about, so some of the residents said, “Wow! This is pretty amazing; this lake just manifested here, and little Kṛṣṇa is saying it’s the Ganges. But he is just a boy; what does He know?” Everyone is sitting there and looking at this body of water and “Is this really the Ganges?”, and suddenly to everyone’s amazement this beautiful celestial woman emerged from the waters riding on a crocodile. You can’t imagine how beautiful and gorgeous she was; and that’s how mother Ganges appears–on a crocodile. Every divine personality has their carrier, so her carrier is the crocodile. As soon as everyone saw that, “Oh yeah, this is the Ganges! There is Mother Gaṅgā on a crocodile.” They all bathed there and were very happy and they did not have to leave Vṛndāvan.

That happens, quite often, but you have to be a divine personality to see all that. Just like Caturātmā Prabhu was lecturing on the pastimes of Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur every evening over at the MVT and he probably covered the pastime where Lord Caitanya deposited his Prema in the Padma river, so that later on a young boy called Narottama could come and bathe in the river and get that Prema in order to be empowered to spread the Saṅkīrtan moment. That moment actually came when the boy grew up and he went to bathe in the river and actually mother Padma, the river personified. She appeared with this golden pot of Prema and poured it over the divine body of Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur.

There are many examples of the river appearing in a personified form. The rivers are actually manifestations of them. The Śāstra describes the personality of Yamunā Devī as the daughter of Sūrya, the sun god. But she is not an only child; she has a brother as well. Every sister is proud of her brother and every brother should be proud of his sister. Sisters are very proud of their brother, so she had a very exalted brother. Sometimes she is a little embarrassed to introduce him but anyway. Who is the brother of Yamunā? “Oh, her brother is Yamarāja!” Sūryadeva, the sun god, he had two children: Yamunā and Yamarāja. There is an interesting note to say here, that when the sun god decided to have children he informed his wife and they determined a proper time to conceive the child. But the sun god’s wife became a little bit nervous, as she was considering that you know, “My husband by nature is very Hot and of fiery constitution, and if I get too close to him I will get burned up.” She thought, “ I don’t want to become too intimate with him because he is very hot, very fiery–Sūrya Bhagavān.” At the same time, she didn’t want to miss the opportunity to conceive a child. So she is a Devatā, she is a demigod, she is very intelligent, she came up with an idea or a sort of compromise. What compromise could there be for herself to come and conceive with her husband, what compromise? Send somebody else? No! She sent her shadow. Now these are demigods; this is something mystical, hard to explain by logic and reasoning. Cayā, she sent her shadow to conceive with her husband.

As the result of Sūrya conceiving with her shadow is very esoterical, the two children were born, the twins were born, Yamarāja and Yamunā, a little darkish by nature as shadows are dark. If you have seen a painting of Yamarāja, he is dark; he is blackish actually. Yamarāja is a blackish complexion; therefore he is a little fearful. But, his sister Yamunā, she is also darkish, but that darkish nature is very beautiful, just like our Kṛṣṇa. Our Kṛṣṇa is a darkish nature. He is bluish-black like a monsoon cloud but He is very beautiful, in that way. So Yamunā, her darkness is not like Yamarāja, fearful; her darkness is very beautiful. That explains why the Yamunā River has a darkish nature to it.

The Ganges in contrast has a whitish color to it. There are the MāyāpuraVāsīs and there are VṛndāvanVāsīs. The MāyāpuraVāsīs, they will tell you, “The Ganges has a much lighter color than those of Yamunā.” Therefore sometimes, often the Yamunā River is referred to as Kālindī, which means she is in a darkish color. Now, famously, whoever is telling the story of Yamunā, they always tell the following pastime. But ‘svādu-svādu pade-pade’–we like to hear these pastimes over and over every year.

One time a Gopī asked Kṛṣṇa, “Kṛṣṇa, why are you so dark? Why are you so black?” Kṛṣṇa was like, “Umm, well let me think, Umm, Umm…because I was born at midnight” [laughter]. Another Gopī she was standing nearby says, “That’s not right, why Kṛṣṇa is black. I know why He is black.” All the other Gopīs crowded around and that Gopī said, “He is not black because He was born at midnight.” [all other Gopīs:] “Then why is He black?” That Gopī said, “Kṛṣṇa is a dark color because Mommy Yaśodā feeds him milk from a black cow”. Another Gopī stood up and said, “I know why Kṛṣṇa is black”. All the Gopīs, “Oh you have the real answer?” [other Gopī:] “Yes I have the real answer. Kṛṣṇa is not black because He was born at midnight, He is not black because mommy used to feed Him milk from the dark cow” [other Gopīs:] “Then why is He black?” The Gopī said, “It’s obvious: because every day He bathes in the dark waters of the Yamunā River.” Then one very beautiful enlightened wise Gopī stepped forward. She said, “No, girls! That’s not why Kṛṣṇa is darkish in color. The real reason that Kṛṣṇa is blackish is because we young girls of Vṛndāvan, we Gopīs use this Kājal on our eyes to make our eyes beautiful for Kṛṣṇa; and you know, whenever we get that rare opportunity to see ŚyāmaSundara we capture Him with our glance, we catch Him with our glance and then we wrap Him up with the ropes of our love and we pull him with our eyes into our hearts. And when he passes through the vision of our eyes, because of the Kājal he becomes blackish. Then when He is in there in our hearts, hidden from public view we embrace Him to our fullest satisfaction”.  For all those reasons, take your pick; it’s okayany theory is alright. I like the last one about why Kṛṣṇa is black in color.

One reason was given because of the blackish waters of the Yamunā River.

Yamunā Māi ki – Jaya!  Kālindī ki – Jaya!

Actually Bhakti Siddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākur once said that with this material body, with these material eyes, we can’t really see the bluish-black color of Kṛṣṇa. We cannot really perceive spiritual things, spiritual personalities, spiritual objects and whatever spiritual with material senses. They give us an idea just like a photograph gives us an idea of the real person but the photograph is not the person. Just like analogies, Bhaktivinode Ṭhākur described analogies gives us an idea of what transcendental things are. He said [that] just like a dictionary gives an idea of what a horse is but it’s not really a horse; the word horse is not horse.  To really perceive Kṛṣṇa Consciousness, to understand it, to relish it, we have to purify our senses, we have to awaken our spiritual senses, and with the spiritual senses we render service to the Divine Couple. We should be very eager to purify our senses very quickly to have that Darśana of the Lord. That determination can be seen in the aspiring devotee’s chanting of the Mahā Mantra.

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

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

His Laulyaṁ, his greed to serve Kṛṣṇa is seen in the quality of how he or she chants:

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

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

In this way we can appreciate Yamunā, how she is a divine personality and by associating with a divine personality we become purified. That verse:

’sādhu-saṅga’, ‘sādhu-saṅga’—sarva-śāstre kaya

lava-mātra sādhu-saṅge sarva-siddhi haya

What is running around the Vṛndāvan and getting all this association in the form of dust, divine personalities, water, Deities, Śāstra, Kathā, like a sponge absorbing as much as we can; that’s Vṛndāvan. There are so many varieties of ways you become Kṛṣṇa conscious. Imagine if you lived here all year, like the locals, they take advantage of every moment, every tradition to get this mercy. You may have noticed if you were out on Parikramā down here by the Yamunā, two days after Govardhan puja, there is a special celebration that takes place on the banks of the Yamunā, lots of brothers and sisters are there. The first time I saw, a couple of days after Govardhan puja, as I was walking down, lots of brothers and sisters and they were exchanging presents and bathing and tying little red things and I thought, “What’s going on here?”

Bhakti Caitanya Swami explained to me. One time Yamarāja, the lord of death, he asked his sister Yamunā, “I am your older brother. I am meant to protect you and oversee you and make sure your life goes smoothly.” He said, “My little sister, ask me for a benediction.” Yamunā Devī in the true mood of a Vaiṣṇava, she asked for a benediction for others. I always quote that incident, where all the disciples said to Prabhupāda, “Prabhupāda, sometimes I just feel so much pain for seeing the suffering of so many living entities.”And Prabhupāda shot back, “Why sometimes?” [Laughter] Vaiṣṇavas are always feeling for the suffering of others and want to liberate them by preaching Kṛṣṇa Consciousness.

When the big brother asked his little sister, “I am Yamarāja. I am a powerful personality. I can give blessings. Ask me, my little sister, for a blessing.” She took it, “Okay, I will ask a blessing for others to get your mercy”. Would you like to hear the benediction she prayed for? [Yamunā]: “My dear big brother Yamarāja, please give the benediction that whenever brothers and sisters take bath in my waters, on a special day, two days after Govardhan Pūjā, they will become freed from your jurisdiction, because you are in charge of death; in other words, they will be liberated from your grasp”. Yamarāja said, “Well, let’s share, you know ‘ahany ahani bhūtāni gacchantīha yamālayam …’ – I take all these souls and throw them into the next birth. If that‘s what you want, my little sister, anyonebrothers and sisterswho bathe in your waters on that auspicious day, they will be liberated from death?–Tathāstu!–so be it”. On that day, two days after Govardhan Pūjā every year here in Vraja, if you go down to Kesi Ghat, it’s full of brothers and sister; and they are all bathing together. They lock on arms, bathe in the water and they come out and then there is an exchange of gifts and so on and so forth. It’s very nice and they get freed from the grasps of Yamarāja, which means ultimately you get Bhakti, because only Bhakti is real liberation. Bhakti gives you the opportunity to go back home, back to Godhead; and Kṛṣṇa says, “Having once gone you never return – ‘punar janma na vidyate’.”

But that is something really amazing, not so amazing but it’s interestinghow the mercy continues to flow in Kṛṣṇa Consciousness. Yamunā Devī, our Godsister, she calls that flow of mercy: “The Magic of Kṛṣṇa Consciousness”. It just continues to flow in the International Society for Kṛṣṇa Consciousness. She was always noting that, “the magic of Kṛṣṇa Consciousness”. What happened is, Yamarāja, he is a Vaiṣṇava too; he is one of the 12 Mahājanas, the great authorities in the science of devotional service. We have the authorities. Śrīla Prabhupāda said that this Kṛṣṇa Conscious movement is authoritative. It has authority. It is real, it works.

It has twelve authorities and one of those authorities is Yamarāja, so he is a great Vaiṣṇava. He showed his compassion, as well, in the following statement to his sister.  He said to Yamunā, “It’s very nice you made this arrangement for brothers and sisters, that on that day they can bathe and get the love of God, but what about if somebody doesn’t have a brother or sister? What about them? They are left out of your benediction. If you don’t have a brother or sister, some people are only children. What about them? You didn’t include everybody, Yamunā.”

Like a true Vaiṣṇavī, Yamunā was always concerned about the spiritual welfare of others, so she smiled, she thought for a minute. She said, “Well on that particular day, those people can accept someone temporarily as their brother or sister and bathe in my waters and get the exact same benefit.” On that particular day when I was down after Govardhan Puja walking down and met Bhakti Caitanya Mahārāja and his Parikramā party.  He said to me, “Mahārāja, they are all not all blood brothers and sisters, many of these boys and girls just found someone and said, ‘Can you be my brother for a day? Can you be my sister for a day?’ ‘Yeah sure, let’s go down’ and they went down and bathed in the waters. They got the same benediction”. This might be nice next year. On that day you can, “Can you be my brother? Can you be my sister?” and go down and afterwards, brothers give sweets and Sāris to the sisters, and sisters give coconuts to their brothers [Laughter].

Who wouldn’t want to become free from the grasp of Yamarāja? Yamarāja means that, in this material world there is birth, disease, old age and death, miseries. Who wouldn’t want to go through this very simple procedure? Kṛṣṇa Consciousness has been made simple by the mercy of the Lord and the devotees. Who would not take up this process of Kṛṣṇa Consciousness? Sometimes Prabhupāda would say like that, “Who would not accept the process of chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa?” Who with [their] right mind would not accept this process? He is happy in this world; what to speak of the next? Because Kālindī, Yamunā Devī, is such a powerful and compassionate spiritual personality, therefore Rūpa Gosvāmī includes her as one of the five personalities who we can approach to enter Vṛndāvan and to eternally reside in Vṛndāvan. Because really any progress we make in Kṛṣṇa Consciousness, it’s basically because of mercy, not so much what we do, but it is the mercy of these great souls that we can progress in our Kṛṣṇa Consciousness.

We know the five personalities. How many times we have invested everyone chanting their transcendental names? But really we have to include a sixth personality because we wouldn’t even know these five personalities existed unless for the mercy of Śrīla Prabhupāda. He is probably the most important part of the equation for all the members of International Society for Kṛṣṇa Consciousness (ISKCON) and Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī would not be disturbed if we included Śrīla Prabhupāda’s name in that list.

By coming here today even though it’s the fag end of our Parikramā, we have completed our appeal to these divine personalities.

  1. Very first day remember? Long, long ago, we started our Parikramā First we went to Kāmyavan, straight to the lotus feet of Vṛndā Devī, that beautiful reddish deity, personal deity of Rūpa Gosvāmī, straight to Vṛndā Devī, “Please accept me as your servant”.
  2. Lord Śiva. We also approached Lord Śiva many times, practically everywhere we go there is a Śiva-lingam just like here is a beautiful Śiva-lingam. We pray to Lord Śiva as Gopeśvara Mahādeva to “Please let us enter into the mood of Vraja”.
  3. We went on Govardhan Parikramā. Just to make sure, we did it twice. To show enthusiasm to Girirāja that, “We want to be eternal residents of His lotus feet.” The second time we ran around Govardhan hill. That probably was the fastest Govardhan Parikramā I ever did. I was just following Caturātmā. Actually I was following Baḍa Hari? [Laughter]. These are the miracles that happen in Vṛndāvan. When I got to Rādhā-Kuṇḍa he was there chanting “Hare Kṛṣṇa”. [He said:] “Where have you been Mahārāja? [Laughter] “Trying to keep up with you Baḍa Hari, as always”.
  4. [Dust of Vṛndāvan.]
  5. Now we have completed our appeal because we finally come to the banks of the river Yamunā and [are] making the same appeal to Yamunā Devī, so everything is complete.

Such a powerful personalitythe daughter of the sun god! But actually there are other reasons that Yamunā is powerful, not just because she is the daughter of the sun god. There are other reasons, deeper reasons revealed by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī. You all will be very, very happy to hear this. You can add it to one of the jewels of knowledge in your treasure chest of Kṛṣṇa Consciousness which you keep in your hearts. According to Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, Yamunā Devī is very powerful because she is the direct expansion of Viśākā Devī. Viśākā is one of the eight principle Sakhīs, the older girls who would attend to Rādhārāṇī: Lalitā, Viśākā, Tuñgavidyā, Citrā and others. There are eight of them. She is the Yamunā expansion of Viśākā. Rūpa Gosvāmī explains that just like Kṛṣṇa expands himself into different forms to enjoy pastimes with His devotees, and just as Rādhā expands Herself as Lakṣmī, or the Goddesses of fortune; for similar reason, interestingly enough, mysteriously enough, amazingly enough, devotees sometimes expand themselves into forms to enjoy with Him.

I once read that pure devotees can be simultaneously in the spiritual world with Kṛṣṇa at the same time, performing their preaching mission within the material world. This is very deep and esoteric. I am not qualified to comment on it. But as Prabhupāda said, “When we go higher and higher we will understand these things”. Kṛṣṇa Consciousness already is so nectarine, so satisfying, so wonderful. Just imagine what’s ahead? So never deviate from the path, stick to the straight and narrow path of Kṛṣṇa Consciousness and many wonderful things you will see.

This Sakhī, Viśākā she expands herself in a liquid form, liquid Prema as the river Yamunā to facilitate what we call Jala-Keli. I have one disciple, I gave him the name Jala-Keli, he said, “Guru Mahārāja that’s a very unusual name–Jala-Keli”, I said, “It’s a wonderful name. I would love to have that name Jala-Keli.” Jala means water and Keli means pastimes. Jala-Keli means it’s Kṛṣṇa’s water pastimes; He had lots of water pastimes. If you read Kṛṣṇa book, if you read tenth canto of Bhāgavatam, Caitanya Caritāmṛta, there it is mentioned. The residents of Vṛndāvan have so many water pastimes, Jala-Keli, with Kṛṣṇa.

I heard one devotee joke, he was giving class, he said, “Therefore you should learn to swim before you go back to the spiritual world” [Laughter]. There are the boating pastimes; there are the splashing pastimes; there are the dunking pastimes; there are so many water sports. In this way Viśākā is facilitating the loving pastimes by expanding herself as Yamunā Devī. It was for this reason that Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu offered a very beautiful prayer to the river Yamunā which we find in the Caitanya Caritāmṛta. [CC Madhya Līlā 3.28]: “O river Yamunā, you are the blissful spiritual water that gives love to the son of Nanda Mahārāja. You are the same as the water of the spiritual world, for you can vanquish all our offenses and the sinful reactions incurred in life. You are the creator of all auspicious things for the world. O daughter of the sun-god, kindly purify us by your pious activities.”

 While you are here, you can take advantage to bathe, at least take some drops of water on your head. Just that simple activity like we were on the boat ride, many devotees were splashing like this. “Don’t splash me!”, “Yes, splash him.” [Laughter]  It’s not cold water it is liquid nectar.

The Ādi-Varāha Purāṇa describes what happens when you get a few drops of Yamunā Devī on your head. I quote, “Yamunā River in Vṛndāvan is one hundred times more sacred that the Ganges. A person who bathes in the Yamunā’s waters becomes pure and able to control his or her senses.” But that’s not all. These things go deeper. Just like in the conversation between Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Rāmānanda Rāya, Caitanya Mahāprabhu kept saying to Rāmānanda Rāya, “Go deeper, explain deeper, explain deeper”.

We can further understand the glories of this great body of water by hearing from Viśvanāth Cakravārtī Ṭhākur. He writes about the River in his Braja Vṛiti Cintāmaṇi, and listen carefully, he writes, “The Yamunā River is like a blue lotus flower garland, a sapphire necklace or a blue sash worn by the Goddess of Vṛndāvan. Those who bathe in her waters, transform into pure devotees carrying Lord Kṛṣṇa in their hearts.” Wow! Who would not take advantage of bathing in the Yamunā?

Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī has revealed the same in greater detail in his glorification of the river Yamunā; and listen very careful because this is YamunāAṣṭakam.

[YamunāAṣṭakam]:

  • May Sri Yamunā, who is the daughter of Sūrya Deva, who saves one from having to enter the city of her brother Yamarāja, the sight of whom enables the most sinful of persons to cross the ocean of sin, and the sweetness of whose water charms the hearts of everyone, always purify me.
  • May Sri Yamunā, who is the daughter of Sūrya Deva, who decorates the great Khāṇḍava forest with a stream of pleasant waters, who is filled with lotus flowers and dancing birds, and who blinds the terrible sins of them who have desired to bathe in her, always purify me.
  • May Sri Yamunā, who is the daughter of Sūrya Deva, a drop of whose water destroys the sinful reactions of the people, who creates a great flood of confidential pure devotional service to Lord NandaNandana, and who brings auspiciousness to they who desire to live on her banks, always purify me.
  • May Sri Yamunā, who is the daughter of Sūrya Deva, who divides the seven oceans and seven continents, who witnessed many of Lord Mukunda’s transcendental pastimes and whose splendor rebukes a host of sapphires, always purify me.
  • May Sri Yamunā, who is the daughter of Sūrya Deva, who is decorated by the beautiful district of Mathurā, who expertly protects they who follow the path of loving devotional service, and who with the playful motions of the waves that her arms offer, offering respectful obeisances to Lord Padmanābha’s feet, always purify me.
  • May Sri Yamunā, who is the daughter of Sūrya Deva, whose charming shores are decorated with many loving cows, who is filled with many splendid and fragrant Kadamba flowers and who is delighted to have the company of Lord Kṛṣṇa’s devotees always purify me.
  • May Sri Yamunā, who is the daughter of Sūrya Deva, who is filled with the warbling of thousands of joyful Mallikaksha [Mallikaksha, that’s a nice name? Mallikaksha Dāsī–who would like to have that name? [Laughter], who is worshipped by the Vaiṣṇavās, Devās, Siddhas and Kinnaras and the slightest scent of the fragrant breeze moving on whose shores stops the cycles of repeated birth and death, always purify me.
  • May Sri Yamunā, who is the daughter of Sūrya Deva, who is the famous, splendid, spiritual river flowing through the Bhūḥ, Bhuva, Svāhā planets who burns away the greatest sins and who is fragrant, whose scented ointment from Lord Kṛṣṇa’s transcendental body, always purify me.
  • O lotus-eyed one, O daughter of Sūrya Deva, O rescuer from all sins, please flood with pure devotional service that person who, reciting these eight prayers with a cheerful heart [“Haribol!”], glorifies you, whose waves are pure and splendid and who is accompanied by all the demigods, may such a person be blessed by your mercy”.

Here we are on the banks of the Yamunā River,

Śrī Yamunā Devī ki Jaya!

Śrī Kālindī ki Jaya!

Śrī Kṛṣṇa Mai ki Jaya!

Śrīla Prabhupāda ki Jaya!

Jaya-Jaya Śrī Rādhe……………………………Śyāma!

‘Spasiba Bolshaya’ [Big Thank You]

Hare Kṛṣṇa!

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!

Vṛndā Kuṇḍa – HH Śrīla Indradyumna Swami – Lecture

Vrinda Kunda, Indradyumna Swami Parikrama 2015

The Mysteries of Vṛndā Kuṇḍa

– By His Holiness Śrīla Indradyumna Swami

 

Before we begin this morning, I would like to acknowledge our musical section. I don’t know if many of you noticed; it’s kind of a little bit in the background like it is supposed to be, but our musical section adds a lot to the mellow and to the mood and to the feeling of these wonderful Kīrtanas we are having every day. Of course Kīrtana doesn’t depend on musical instruments; it is the heart of the devotees when they are chanting. And it’s a wonderful addition.

As we were driving here today, one devotee sent me a photo of a Harināma party in Paris in 1972. And I looked at the photo and I thought, “Wow, everyone is in bliss.” And then, “Oh, I am there too!” I was actually leading the Kīrtana with one of those old clay drums. It must have been years old and there was tape on the head of it, because I remember we had broken the head there, so there was tape and, “Boom, Boom, Boom.” There were two pairs of karatāls and there was no sound system. Imagine no sound system!

I think from 1969 up to about 80, I don’t know, when did we start with a lot of the sound systems? In the early 90’s maybe. I don’t remember, maybe the 80’s. For many, many, many years we had no sound system. It was just the Kīrtana leader’s strong voice, just mṛdungas and karatāls. But it was wonderful; we actually pioneered the Saṅkīrtan movement in that way for many years. But later on I think Prahlāda was the first one to introduce that accordion. That is very nice with various musical instruments, and especially when they are played by talented musicians and whom are devotees of the Lord. It adds a very wonderful element to the Kīrtana. It helps us focus more on the chanting of:  

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

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

 Just like you have like a green emerald as the main jewel in the ring, but you have little tiny diamonds around it. So the diamonds accent the beauty of the emerald. Similarly our musicians, they accent the beauty and the focus on the Holy Names. So we are very grateful to all of them.

All right, here is Murari Kṛṣṇa from Kazakhstan [clapping], our Premānanda Kīrtana on the trumpet from South Africa [clapping], our Śeṣa-Dāsi on the flute from Croatia [clapping], and our newly initiated Gāndharvikā Sundarī—the girl from heaven [“Haribol!”, clapping].

 

oṁ ajñāna-timirāndhasya jñānānjana-śalākayā

cakṣur unmīlitaṁ yena tasmai śrī-gurave namaḥ

 

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

svayaṁ rūpaḥ kadā mahyaṁ dadāti sva-padāntikam”

 

jaya śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya prabhu-nityānanda

śrī-advaita gadādhara śrīvāsādi-gaura-bhakta vṛnda

 

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

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

 

Śrī Vṛndā Devī ki – jaya!

Śrī Vṛndā Kuṇḍa ki –jaya!

 

Last year, Mother Daivi Śakti gave an historic account of the history of this transcendental place. It was a very beautiful lecture about the glories of Vṛndā-Devī, so we cannot claim to come close even to that today. I have also heard one of my Parikramā Gurus—Dinabandhu Prabhu, very eloquently speak about the glories of Vṛndā-Devī many times. We can only pray for their mercy that we can say something glorifying Vṛndā-Devī today here at this Vṛndā Kuṇḍa. It’s only by some incredible good fortune that we find ourselves here today at—Vṛndā Kuṇḍa, where Śrīmatī Vṛndā-Devī lives. Again, she is one of the five transcendental personalities who allow us to enter this transcendental abode and perhaps one day to live in eternally in Śrī Vṛndāvan Dhām. By now, after so many lectures, you must know those five personalities very well—like your five fingers. You know your five fingers; you know the five personalities, but you can repeat their names after me. It’s a little tradition we have here repeating these transcendental names of the forests, the personalities.

 

  1. Gopeśvara Mahādeva,
  2. Govardhana Hill,
  3. YamunāDevī,
  4. VṛndāDevī,
  5. Paurṇamāsī, or sometimes it’s said— Vraja Reṇu, the dust of Vraja.

This is where Vṛndā-Devī resides and very early every morning Vṛndā-Devī, Paurṇamāsī and Nandamukhī—they meet here and they make plans for the pastimes of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa throughout VrajaMaṇḍala. Vṛndā-Devī is of course a very popular personality in ISKCON; her pictures are everywhere and there are even some deities of Vṛndā-Devī now. Of course, here, there is a very beautiful Deity of Vṛndā-Devī and she is of a golden complexion, and she wears a dress of a blue color. And she has a parrot. Probably you can hear it in the background. There are lots of green parrots here at Vṛndā Kuṇḍa. She has a pet parrot who is called Dakṣa and it’s her chief messenger. She is very busy in the affairs of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. So in the affairs of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa lots of messages are passed back and forth between Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa and the Gopīs. Even Gopās sometimes help in those pastimes. Lots of messages are going; so these are the parrots that carry the messages.

There is no internet in Goloka Vṛndāvan. There is actually no internet here in Vṛndā Kuṇḍa. I tried to go on the internet and it didn’t work so I thought to maybe get a parrot. This parrot Dakṣa, it’s on her left hand. His specific duty is to fly all over Vṛndāvan and gather information about—like what’s going on in Vṛndāvan. It’s like the original drone.  He sees what the Gopīs are doing; he sees what the Gopās are doing; what’s the news of Vṛndāvan; what’s the newest scandal going on? He comes back and reports all that information to VṛndāDevī, who assimilates that and uses that to facilitate Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes in various ways in different parts of Vṛndāvan.  Of course that’s a big job, so he doesn’t do it alone; he has one hundred thousand (100,000) parrot disciples.

Vṛndā-Devī herself, she has hundreds of thousands of goddesses who are helping her in her service of arranging the pastimes of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. Vṛndā-Devī herself works under the direction of Paurṇamāsī. Technically Paurṇamāsī is described in the Gosvāmī literature as the presiding Deity of the internal energy. She is referred to as Yoga-Maya, and she appears as an elderly Gopī, very old and very experienced and very wise. She is the Guru of Vṛndā-Devī, and Paurṇamāsī’s business is to oversee and supervise literally everything that happens here in Vṛndāvan. Things don’t go on by chance here. Everything is orchestrated to the iota to facilitate the loving exchanges between Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa.

 I was reading the other day, one Gosvāmī was describing that Vṛndāvan is the original and perfect love story. In loving dealings, to make the loving dealings exciting and relish-able there are all types of intrigues. There is politics; there is deception; there are sometimes spies. In the original, pure love story of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, this is particularly true. Paurṇamāsī, you could say everyday she writes the script for the day. How everything will evolve—that’s the choreography, meaning like the background and so forth and so on. That’s done by Vṛndā-DevīPaurṇamāsī,       Nandamukhī and Vṛndā-Devī—they meet here, they make the story for the day and then Vṛndā, she goes out and she starts choreographing, making like the stage scene for everything to happen.

 Just like you have the script, to the theater, then you have the people who are in charge of the stage preparations, like the background, “How the stage is going to look to facilitate the mood of the play?”—that’s the duty of Vṛndā-Devī. She is the choreographer of Vṛndāvan and many of you know of course that the Vṛndāvan forest was originally Vṛndā-Devī’s forest. The Gosvāmīs write that Vṛndā-Devī once performed penances for 60,000 years by the calculation of the demigods—here in Vṛndāvan, in this vana. It was just a vana then, just the forest, Vṛndāvan means—‘Vṛndā’s forest,’ but it was just a vana. To get the blessings of Kṛṣṇa she performed penance here for 60,000 years and then Lord Viṣṇu appeared before her and gave her a very wonderful boon that we all are benefiting from.

Lord Viṣṇu’s boon was that any penances performed here in this forest will quickly fructify and bear excellent results; so of course our process in KaliYuga is to abstain from sinful activity and what’s moreto sit and chant:

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

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

 The results of those, that activity of chanting will very quickly bear fruit and excellent results. You will very quickly achieve Prema or love for Kṛṣṇa. The word spread about the benefits of living in this forest, and everyone started calling it Vṛndā’s vana, it was Vṛndā’s forest. “You go to Vṛndā’s vana—Vṛndā’s forest; and whatever austerities you perform, excellent results will come very quickly.”

VṛndāvanVṛndā’s forest became very famous. But of course a devotee’s vision is that nothing belongs to him or her, everything belongs to the Lord. So we are very happy being the servants, engaging whatever we have in the service of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. The perfect example of that is Vṛndā-Devī who gave her beloved forest, her blessed forest to her mistress—Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī.

Giving gifts and accepting gifts is very much part of the process of devotional service, as described by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī in his Updeshamrta [NOI Verse 4: dadāti pratigṛhṇāti …]. Just like the other day at RādhāKuṇḍa one Bābāji gave me a very, very, very precious gift, some beads that have been handed down ancestrally from his forefathers that were worn by a Bābāji, called Madhusūdan Dāsa Bābāji,  who was the Veṣa Guru, or the Bābāji Guru of the Jagannātha Dāsa Bābāji. While we were discussing, I said, “Bābāji, these are extremely valuable, very spiritually potent.” He said, “Yes, that’s why I am giving them unto you.” This is the Vaiṣṇava. Prabhupāda told me personally one time, he gave me his dhoti to encourage me. He said, “A gift from a Vaiṣṇava is a very special thing.”

 

In the Bhakti-Rasāmṛta-Sindhu, Rūpa Gosvāmī describes that we should give gifts to the Deity. We shouldn’t just give something insignificant. We should give the best of what we have to the Deity because that’s a sign of love. Love means that you give the best to the beloved. It’s an expression that you give the best to your lover. For Vṛndā, what was most dear to her? She performed austerities for 60,000 years and she got the blessing of this forest, so she gave that forest to her beloved, her mistress Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī and then Rādhārāṇī became Queen of Vṛndāvan. That’s the history of this great forest within Vraja-Maṇḍala. This is the history of the forest. It was a gift of Vṛndā to Rādhā.

 Again Vṛndā-Devī has a service, when we are all servants of Kṛṣṇa, we are very happy to be the servant. We don’t want to be the master.  I heard Prahlāda say one time: we don’t want to become the sugar, we want to taste the sugar. We don’t want to be the master, we are very happy being the servant, and so we are begging for service every day—almost two hours a day:

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

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

 Essentially, what is it? “Please give me service. I am a servant. It’s my constitutional position; it’s my intrinsic nature to serve. I have been serving maya for so long, so please now give me service to your lotus feet.” All the liberated souls, they are servants and they have wonderful service. Vṛndā-Devī’s service is to choreograph the pastimes here in Braja. Because the setting facilitates the mood. Just like we heard the other day, when Kṛṣṇa  was to descend into this world 5,000 years ago, He asked Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī to come, but She wouldn’t come without the setting of Vṛndāvan, because you need that setting to facilitate the mood. [Rādhā:] “We need the Yamunā River, we need Govardhan Hill; we need the Vṛndāvan forest to facilitate our loving exchanges.” So the setting is very important.

Just like Varṣāṇā-Rāṇī, she purchased one of the apartments in that building near to where we live, and it’s empty now, but she is very carefully maintaining it. You know, she is going to Delhi a few times, and thinking about which furniture to have there. Which curtains? What the colors will be? It’s important for all of us to do that when we have a new house. We very carefully choose the setting that we want to live in, which reflects our mood. Just like where we are right now—isn’t this a wonderful setting for having Kīrtana and Kṛṣṇa Kathā? It’s better than being in some concrete building with no windows, no air, and no greenery. This is a perfect setting, so I think you get the point.

 Vry early before the sun rises, Paurṇamāsī, Yogamaya, and Nandamukhī and Vṛndā—they sit here and this is their sevā. They want to facilitate deep loving exchanges. Paurṇamāsī writes the script, “Okay, They will meet today here and then this Jaṭilā, she will come; Kuṭilā will come and the Gopīs have to turn away and Kṛṣṇa has to hide” and—like that, she is making the script. Then Vṛndā-Devī is thinking, “So, I think for that particular scene we will have this arrangement and the next scene, we will have that arrangement” and like this—they think. Then the sun rises and the whole thing unfolds and Vṛndā-Devī’s managing all the choreography until midnight. “What type of trees will be there? What type of flowering bushes will be there and where they will be and what perfume they will have? What scent they will have? When that scent will pass by the noses of the Divine Couple? What type of animals will enter the scene? When they will exit? What type of birds will be there? What songs they will sing? Which melody and which meter?” Just like you can see if you are sitting here, the musicians are playing music but I see them always talking and Śeṣā, she is always writing down, you know A, B, C chords, like this. They are always like changing in a way, looking at each other and smiling and making some gesture—and then “Boom”, nice music composition comes out, and as we chant that melody, we become enlivened. This is practice; we are participating in Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes eventually.

 “Which peacocks will dance? And how they will dance? Which bumblebees will take part in the pastime over here; another set of bumblebees there? How they will hum? How high they will hum? How low they will hum?” It  facilitates Mādhurya Rasa. In Vṛndāvan, there is the parental Rasa, there is friendship Rasa, there are various Rasas. Rūpa Gosvāmī says, “Actually all the Rasas although they are different, ultimately they all facilitate the Mādhurya Rasa—the loving pastimes of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa.” That is, the predominating mood in Vṛndāvan is Mādhurya Rasa.

 Some Gopīs are assigned to cook, so as soon as they get the order—boom!—right early in the morning they start cooking and then the younger Gopīs who are serving them, they get to take the refreshments to Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa at exactly the right moment, and then take it away. Everything is choreographed. This is Vṛndā-Devī’s service. Would you like to participate? Would you like to help Vṛndā-Devī? [“Haribol!”] Then you have to let her know, you have to let her mistress Rādhārāṇī know, you have to let Kṛṣṇa know. And how to let them know? By chanting:

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

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

As one of our speakers said the other day, “Chanting japa is not about finishing your rounds, it’s about actually begging for sevā, begging for service.” This is how we beg for service. My dear Lord, My dear energy of the Lord, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, please engage me in your service.” What does it mean? It means like this, the details of this type of VrajaSevā, this is what we are praying for. You have to focus, you can’t let your mind wander. If you are saying to someone, you know, [action/voice: showing laziness, sleepy state]: “Uh…Can I please … Uh … Can I please serve you?” They are not going to take you very seriously. But if you are begging, [pleading voice]: “Please, please can I render you some sevā? Please, I will do anything, nothing for me, everything for you.” “All right, come on.” Yeah, that’s japa, that’s Kīrtana, that’s Saṅkīrtan and if that is our practice, our Sādhana, then it will become natural to us. We are always begging, begging, begging for—so that one day Kṛṣṇa is going to say, “Okay.” Kṛṣṇa’s like—there is that song: “Knock, knock, knock on heaven’s door” [knocking sound]. Someone’s knocking on your door, okay—open the door, “What do you want?” “Sevā, service? na dhanaṁ na janaṁ na sundarīṁ kavitāṁ ….” It’s the mood that is important, the consciousnessKṛṣṇa Consciousness.

His Holiness Śacīnandana Swami often says especially during our japa, “The 3 p’s: posture, pronunciation and prayer—the mood of the chanting.” It’s very easy to capture that mood, to imbibe that mood in the atmosphere of Vṛndāvan, that’s why we come here and I am so impressed actually when I sit back here and watch many of you chanting with abandon. It means just with no ego, just calling out for mercy. I see you just absorbed, and it’s facilitated by the Kīrtanas of Mādhava and Baḍa-Hari Prabhu and Śrī Prahlāda of course and our expert musicians. But this mood here—just it is so easy to pray for mercy here, to pray for service. This is why we come to Vṛndāvan. I am watching you and you all are like this. This is the mood, and actually you can see it in the videos, Ananta Vṛndāvan’s videos, you see, he captures that moment, so many devotees just calling out. This is begging for service.

 

Our Śyāmala-Kiśorī, she is sitting there. I always look at her during the Kīrtanas, or during the classes. She is like sitting on the edge of her seat absorbing every drop of nectar. She is a nectar hound; she got that from her mom and dad. Thus we want to help Vṛndā-Devī even in the smallest way. The smallest service is more valuable than the biggest position in this material world. Just to show you how expert Vṛndā-Devī is in this choreography, I will give you an example [of] how she does it. Many of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes take place under the cover of darkness. They meet secretly in some particular place in Vṛndāvan and with the Gopīs and have Their transcendental amorous loving pastimes.

 

Of course there are many obstacles to overcome because They are not married, so it’s not allowed in Vedic culture. But it’s all transcendental of course. But there are many obstacles which make Their final meeting very fulfilling and very satisfying. One of the obstacles to the night-time meeting is the full moon. They are supposed to meet secretly, go away from home and meet secretly, but when the full moon [is out], everything is illuminated. This is an obstacle, so Vṛndā-Devī has to think, how are we going to overcome this obstacle? How am I going to choreograph this scene so They can facilitate Their loving exchanges? What she does is with her transcendental magic wand, Vṛndā-Devī makes the whole forest white. The trees are white, the leaves are white, the flowers are white, the ground is white, and she arranges that Rādhārāṇī has a beautiful full white outfit so as She is passing through this background of whiteness, you can’t see Her, you can’t perceive Her. And Kṛṣṇa is also dressed in white and so They meet. And this is how one is meant to use one’s intelligence in Kṛṣṇa Consciousness.

On the dark moon night, meaning when there is practically no moon. There is never “no moon” but it’s a very tiny sliver—everything is very, very dark. So if Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa were to wear those white outfits, they would stand out and they would be caught by Jaṭilā and Kuṭilā, Abhimanyu, or somebody. Thus Vṛndā-Devī arranges everything dark; she uses her transcendental magic wand, and then everything is very dark—the trees, the flowers, the ground, everything is very dark. Rādhārāṇī wears a very beautiful dark outfit and similarly Kṛṣṇa, and so like this. This is how she arranges everything and one of our Ācāryas, he said that just as Rādhārāṇī never cooks the same preparation for Kṛṣṇa twice, so Vṛndā-Devī never makes the same choreography for any particular pastime the same twice. Always new and always fresh—this is Vraja.

 

She is a very kind and compassionate personality, like Vaiṣṇavas are. She really embodies the mood of her supreme Rādhārāṇī by embodying, imbibing the same mood as Rādhārāṇī. The residents of the spiritual world actually want all created beings to participate in these pastimes. They are not thinking, “Oh, this is just for us and to hell with everyone else.” “No.” They are hoping that eventually everyone will come back to Godhead. Because the more, the merrier. It facilitates Kṛṣṇa’s enjoyment if all His sons and daughters are back home, back to Godhead. Just like Kavirāj  Gosvāmī describes in Caitanya Caritāmṛta, how Lord Caitanya is very anxious for the conditioned souls to become Kṛṣṇa conscious and go back to the spiritual world. Prabhupāda said, in a purport, “We should try to relieve the Lord’s anxiety by spreading the Kṛṣṇa Conscious movement,” so this is the mood of the Lord Himself, so certainly it’s the mood of His devotees, both those in the spiritual sky and those who find themselves here in this world.

 

Just like His Holiness Gaur Govinda Mahārāja, he once said that there are two types of liberated souls, meaning Vaiṣṇavas in the spiritual sky, who leave that place and come to this world. There is the one who out of his own feeling of compassion, leaves the spiritual world to come here to preach, and those special souls who are requested by the Lord Himself—those special ambassadors—the chosen sons, so to speak, like Prabhupāda who was asked by Kṛṣṇa to come to this material world to reclaim the fallen souls back home back to Godhead.”

My Godbrother Bhavānanda Prabhu told me that Prabhupāda told him personally, “I did not want to come to this nasty place; I did not want to come to this nasty place, but Kṛṣṇa told me, ‘You go, and write books on the science of Kṛṣṇa Consciousness and I will arrange everything for you’, and so it came to pass.”  The result is that all of us are sitting here today, so that was originally the desire of the Lord facilitated through the service and surrender of His pure devotee, Śrīla Prabhupāda. Although these great souls are fully immersed in this Nitya-Līlā, this means the eternal pastimes in a very intimate loving relationship with Kṛṣṇa are always expanding. It’s not just limited. The emotions are deepening and increasing, ad infinitum forever. Sometimes they leave that place and they come here to this world of darkness and ignorance.

 

What is that song that Patit Uddhāraṇa —my Godbrother wrote about Prabhupāda?

 

Oh Paramhansa of the nectar lake
Did You Your own True Love forsake,
Leaving His fresh and fragrant lotus breast
To come to this world of birth and death?

Or is this a helping hand You lend
While in this world of matter You transcend?
I am perplexed. Please, let it be known:
Have You come to take me home?

[Link: http://www.backtogodhead.in/Prabhupāda-by-patit-uddharan]

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

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

[Claps]

It’s not just some devotee, off to the side, who has some lesser service or insignificant service. Everyone has a very important service; everyone’s service is valued and essential to the loving pastimes of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. Any soul who leaves that world and comes to this world we must honor and give our lives for their service and their mission. Actually the truth is the greatest souls come, the greatest of the great.

śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya rādhā-kṛṣṇa nahe anya’

Who is Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who descended into this world 500 years ago? He is the combined form of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, and why have They come? For the purpose of delivering the souls of Moscow and New York and San Francisco and Chicago and Alice-Springs and you know—this is amazing.

Therefore it should not be surprising for us to learn, although we already know but, to just repeat the glories, that this Gopī Vṛndā-Devī who gave her forest, her Vana, i.e., Vṛndā’s Vana—to Rādhārāṇī and choreographs all the intimate loving pastimes of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, is busy every morning, making these plans and taking some of the information from Dakṣa her parrot. She also comes to this world of men to facilitate our deliverance not just back to Vaikuṇṭha, to the spiritual world, but specifically to Goloka Vṛndāvan to participate in these eternal pastimes. That is Vṛndā-Devī, who appears in this world as Tulasī Mahārāṇī—the Tulasī plant. At this point, it would be appropriate to have His Holiness Bhakti Viśvambhara Mādhava Mahārāja speak, because he is a strong advocate of worshiping the Tulasī plant. He is a friend of mine. We don’t meet often, but I call him, Avadhūta Mahārāja, he is totally Avadhūta. Very learned in scriptures, very expert preacher, Ślokavālā, and he has deep affection for Vṛndāvan and Tulasī, so much so that he called me up on the phone the other day. We were driving out somewhere and he chastised me. He said, “It’s Ekadāsī. You should be staying back in your Āśrama in front of a Tulasī plant chanting all day long:  

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

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

Ekadāsī is a day for making spiritual advancement. You should be honoring Śrīmatī Tulasī Devī and chanting your Japa all day.” “Okay, Mahārāja, sorry.” I said, “I can’t turn around—I have got six buses, 300 devotees.” He said, [in a scolding/jolly voice:] “Okay, but next time.” [Laughter] I said, “Yes, next time, Mahārāja! Avadhūta Swami, next Ekadāsī I will chant in front of a Tulasī plant all day long.” He said, [in a louder voice:] “All day long and all night!” [Laughter]

We all know the glories of Śrīmatī Tulasī Devī and the importance of taking proper care of the Tulasī plant. Śrīla Prabhupāda introduced the worship of Tulasī very early in our movement and she is central to our practices. Every morning, we are meant to worship the Tulasī plant and the best example of worshiping her was established by Haridāsa Ṭhākur, who we always see chanting his japa in front of TulasīDevī. Actually in the Caitanya Bhāgavata, it’s stated that whenever Lord Caitanya would chant japa, his disciples would make sure that a Tulasī plant was next to him. It’s also stated actually Mahāprabhu has quoted in Caitanya Bhāgavata, He used to say that, “Just as a fish cannot live when taken out of water so I cannot remain alive in separation from Tulasī Mahārāṇī.”

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu ki – Jaya!

Śrī Vṛndā-Devī ki –Jaya!

Tulasī Mahārāṇī ki – Jaya!

Golokera Prema-Dhan Harināma Saṅkīrtan Yajña ki –Jaya!

 

Of course, there is more to be said about any of these personalities, these places, these pastimes, but I am personally hankering for the Bhajan that’s coming up. Our beloved Baḍa Hari Prabhu is going to sing the Vṛndāṣṭakam —the eight prayers glorifying Vṛndā-Devī, glorifying Tulasī Mahārāṇī, as written, as coming from the heart of Viśvanāth Cakravārtī Ṭhākur.

But before we do that I would like to share with you one pastime that I recently read which shows how much Vṛndā-Devī’s involved in orchestrating all Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes—a very sweet pastime. Or if this talk is going on too long, I can save it for next year. How many of you would like to hear this pastime next year? [No one raises their hands and there is laughter] You can also hear it next year. There is nothing to be shy about. Raise your hands, you can hear next year, and it’s okay. Who would like to hear it two years from now?  Three years from now? [SB 1.1.19]: “svādu svādu pade pade”—the sages of Naimiṣāraṇya, “We never get tired of hearing this nectar.” But who would like to hear it now? [Devotees showed eagerness for hearing by loudly chanting, “Haribol!”]

Once upon a time—in reality, long, long ago—5,000 years ago to be exact, somewhere in the Vṛndāvan forest Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa were having Their pastimes. And Kṛṣṇa decided, He came up with an idea, He is going to tease Rādhārāṇī just to make Her a little angry and then try to make up with Her. Like this, Their loving sentiments become stronger in that way. He was sitting there very peacefully and chatting and so forth, so He came up with this idea, “How to increase the emotions?” Thus with full intention, He says to Rādhārāṇī, “My Dear Candrāvalī, Ah.” I probably shouldn’t even say it out loud here. [Laughter] Candrāvalī is the main Gopī in the rival group of Rādhārāṇī. There are two groups—left wing, right wing. Candrāvalī is Rādhārāṇī’s main rival, like They get really jealous. That’s a real “No, no” for Kṛṣṇa to even mention Candrāvalī’s name.

He said, “My dear Candrāvalī, ha-ha-ha.” He said, “Woah!” [Laughter] “Excuse me.” Rādhārāṇī said, “No way I am going to excuse you; no way.” She looked Kṛṣṇa straight in the eye and She said, “How is it possible that after hearing that name my two ears do not explode?” So Kṛṣṇa is pretending, and He looks, “Oh, I am so sorry.” He lifts Her veil, but She covers Her face again and She won’t let Him. He lifts Her veil again and He says, “My dear Rādhārāṇī, My dear radiant one, don’t misinterpret My affectionate words and sour the sweetness of our pastimes.” Rādhārāṇī would have nothing to do with that. She just slapped His hand, She got up and She started walking away. She walked by as far as that little tree growing there and She turned around, shook Her hand at Kṛṣṇa and said, [in an angry voice:] ”I will not remain here to be the puppet of a debauchee.” Kṛṣṇa comes like this and He kind of smiles. This is [like] all His pastimes, so He could go to Her and say He was sorry and She would say, “Okay, it’s alright.” This is a very common pastime here in Vṛndāvan.

How to appease Her anger … He gets Her angry and then He [says], “I am really, really sorry.” “Okay, I forgive you.” Something like that. The first part of His plan was successful. He made Her really mad. But He couldn’t fulfill His plan without some help. Thank God, He needs the help of His devotees, because our life would be so boring without devotional service, like those poor Māyāvādīs who have nothing to do eternally [laughter] and who say, “I am in the Brahman,” but they just glow like—Buzzzzzz.” [Laughter] He is thinking He needs some help, so He said, “Let’s see, who can help me? Aha—Vṛndā-Devī!” She was there in a split second, “Yes!” “I need some help.” “I am at your service.” He said, “I have this plan you know to increase our loving sentiments—Rādhā and I.” She said, “What can I do?” He said, “I want to dress up as a Gopī.” A lot of the time these pastimes are repeating. You know, Kṛṣṇa dresses up as a Gopī and then there is the Dāna-Ghāṭi, the tax pastimes. It happens at different places at different times. So again He wanted to dress up as a Gopī and approach Her as a Gopī. He told Vṛndā, “I want to masquerade as a young girl, so I need the appropriate clothes and cosmetics. Can you have the clothes and do you have some cosmetics?”

Now in their commentaries on this Līlā one of the Gosvāmīs says that Kṛṣṇa was asking the right person. Because Vṛndā-Devī has various cottages, small cottages throughout Vṛndāvan, where she stocks everything she needs for facilitating Rādhā’s and Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes. You know we are talking about the choreography, so you know she has something stashed over here, a little more stashed over there, so she has her—and her little servants, her Gopīs—they have these cottages all over Vṛndāvan. They store [items] in it. Immediately when it’s needed they run, they open up [the cottage] and they get out the paraphernalia to facilitate the pastime. It may be a Gopī-disguised outfit for Kṛṣṇa to wear and pacify the māna—the anger—of Rādhārāṇī, or Rūpa Gosvāmī says it may be bathing clothes for His water sports. Or, some of these cottages they are stock full of various fruits and vegetables, and honey and spices and utensils and ingredients for cooking up a quick feast. Whatever it is, whatever is needed— Vṛndā-Devī has it on hand. Now the question has been posed by the saints that, any of these desire trees in Vṛndāvan they could easily facilitate all these things, because that’s what desire trees do. They don’t just produce one particular fruit like mundane trees in this world—apples, oranges, bananas. But from any tree you can get any fruit, you can get any vegetable, you can get utensils, you can get cooking pots, you can get jewelry, you can get clothes—anything you want from a Kalpa-Vṛkṣa tree. The saints are saying, “Why not just use the Kalpa-Vṛkṣa trees?

The Gosvāmīs answer that question. Many of these services in Vṛndāvan, they are shared by the devotees, and what’s more, they enjoy sharing these articles and they enjoy sharing these services, and they enjoy sharing the experience of the services to Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. Just like we do. We like to cook together, we like to go on Harināma together, and we like to clean together. We like to share, and share our experiences, and our realizations. This is why the Kalpa-Vṛkṣa trees and the Gopīs with their cottages, they share the services of Vraja and we are being trained in the same mood.

Just like my dear Godbrother Bhakti Bringa Govinda Mahārāja, he trained me once. He chastised me and trained me one time in this principle. We were taking Prasādam, I think at a house near Balarāma Bābā’s Āśrama, and there were 10 or 15 Godbrothers and sisters. One of my disciples had made some Gulābjāmuns, like three or four Gulābjāmuns. She brought those and put those on my plate. So we were just finishing the meal. I went, “Mmmm oh,” I started eating them, and Mahārāja said, “Hey, Vedic culture—Vraja means you share whatever you have, so share those Gulābjāmuns, Indradyumna Swami, with everyone here.” [In a jolly voice:] “No…I got a little piece.” But I was trained like that. That way, we share our good fortune with others, beginning with our beloved Godbrothers and Godsisters and assembled devotees. That’s always the principle, “All for one and one for all.”

Kṛṣṇa had made Rādhārāṇī very angry. She had left, She refused to meet with Him. So Kṛṣṇa had this plan, “If I go disguised as a Gopī, I can meet Her and we can rectify the situation.” Vṛndā-Devī gave Him all the clothes and the cosmetics and she kind of helped Him arrange it like ladies do—I don’t know, but something like that, and then she ran off according to the plan Kṛṣṇa had to find Rādhā to persuade Her to meet this new Gopī. Actually, she later describes this Gopī as her sister, “Rādhārāṇī, you got to meet my new sister. She is really awesome!” Vṛndā-Devī went to try to find out where Rādhārāṇī was. But Rādhārāṇī was at Gaurī-kuṇḍa with Lalitā and Viśākā and some of the other Sakhīs and some Mañjarīs. And Rādhārāṇī was complaining to Lalitā and Viśākā, how Kṛṣṇa had mistreated Her and how She became very angry with Kṛṣṇa. Now usually Lalitā and Viśākā sympathize with Her, because they know how Kṛṣṇa deals with Her, how He teases Her. They don’t like that—especially Lalitā—she becomes very angry with Kṛṣṇa.

Rādhā is crying, “He just mistreated Me so much, He said that name—Candrāvalī. He said it with so much love and devotion.” But in this particular instance, Lalitā refused to sympathize with Rādhā, it was so unusual. She said, “No, no, no, no, no, wait a minute, Rādhā.” She said to Rādhārāṇī that, “Everyone knows that Kṛṣṇa cannot think of any other woman in your presence.” Then Viśākā spoke up and she said, “And now you have criticized Him,” so Rādhā became very morose, “Oh yeah, maybe I overdid it.” She is thinking,  “He lifted My veil and said that He loved Me and I slapped His hand and ran away and called Him debauchee.” Seeing that there was hope for some reconciliation and some deep, loving embrace after all of these anxieties, Lalitā said, “Well, I wonder where Kṛṣṇa is now? You have to find Him and put the Divine Couple back together. I just wonder where Kṛṣṇa is?”

According to the script that Paurṇamāsī had written that morning here at VṛndāKuṇḍa with Nandamukhī and Vṛndā-Devī, according to the script—just when Lalitā said that, “I wonder where Kṛṣṇa is,” Vṛndā-Devī, who is looking for Rādhārāṇī, walks in. “Hi, everybody! Oh, where is Kṛṣṇa? I know where He is.” So you know, Lalitā, Viśākā, “Oh, oh, where is He, Vṛndā? Where is He?” Vṛndā got a little kind of a sly smile. She said, ”Right now, He is pouring out His sorrows to Nikuñja-Vidyā.” “Nikuñja-Vidyā? Hmm.” The girls look at each other and they said in unison, “Who is Nikuñja-Vidyā? We never heard of anybody called Nikuñja-Vidyā?” Vṛndā, she puts her arms like this, “You girls don’t know who Nikuñja-Vidyā is? How ignorant you are! Nikuñja-Vidyā is the goddess of Bhāṇḍīravana and I have always been telling you. You don’t remember? She is my younger sister! Rādhārāṇī and Lalitā, all started scratching their heads, “Nikuñja-Vidyā? Did you ever hear of her?” “No, I never heard of her.” “Well.” Then Vṛndā says, “She is the protector of the treasure chest of Kṛṣṇa’s secrets.” So the girls were thinking, “Well, Kṛṣṇa is pouring His heart out to this Gopī. He must be missing Rādhārāṇī so much. Let’s go meet Nikuñja-Vidyā and maybe Nikuñja-Vidyā can facilitate Rādhā’s meeting with Kṛṣṇa again!”

Vṛndā says, “Just follow me, Gopīs.” So Rādhā, Lalitā, Viśākā all followed Vṛndā-Devī  to a nearby Kuṇḍa, where there is a beautiful Deity of some goddess, and there is this beautiful Gopī there. Really nice cosmetics, and nice dress and she is very absorbed making flower garlands [Laughter]. Very beautiful Gopī who is a little-little bluish, black like a monsoon cloud, very pretty Gopī and she is also making earrings from peacock feathers. Vṛndā says, “This is my sister Nikuñja-Vidyā and just a couple of hours ago, Kṛṣṇa was just pouring out His heart, how much He misses Rādhā, and doesn’t know how to make up to Rādhā. This is my sister Nikuñja.” Rādhā turns to Vṛndā and says, “Your sister is extraordinarily beautiful. Although we never met, I want to speak to her and see if she can help me meet Kṛṣṇa again.”

Vṛndā says, “All right, you have permission to approach my sister, Nikuñja-Vidyā.” So Rādhārāṇī goes, very slowly, hoping that Nikuñja-Vidyā will tie Her up again to Kṛṣṇa and she sits down right next to Nikuñja-Vidyā and says, ”Oh Nikuñja-Vidyā, knower of the groves, where is He who lives in the groves?”—meaning Kṛṣṇa. Nikuñja-Vidyā said [in a lady’s voice], “Well, I don’t really know. But maybe I can tell you.” [Laughter] And all the Gopīs thought, “That Gopī has a funny voice.” [Laughter].

Rādhā says, “But please, where is He, who lives in the groves? Where is my Kṛṣṇa?”  Nikuñja-Vidyā says, “Come a little closer”. So Rādhā gets right next to this new Gopī. But this new GopīNikuñja-Vidyā, she is just making her earrings from peacock feathers. Then Vṛndā says to Rādhā, “I think you have to show my sister some more affection for her to reveal her secrets.”  Then Rādhārāṇī says, “Nikuñja-Vidyā, oh goddess of Bhāṇḍīravana, please bestow your mercy upon me, so I may again meet and serve my beloved Kṛṣṇa.” Nikuñja-Vidyā keeps making her earrings of peacock feathers, and Vṛndā says [loudly], “Show my sister some more affection.” So Rādhārāṇī goes, “Well, whatever works.” She extends Her arms and gives a big loving embrace to Nikuñja-Vidyā and with that touch, the Gosvāmīs say Nikuñja-Vidyā suddenly became extremely responsive. Nikuñja-Vidyā, she responded by giving Rādhā a big loving hug as well and the two of them are embracing, and the Gopīs are going, “Wait a minute.” Suddenly Nikuñja-Vidyā lost control in the arms of Rādhā who controls Kṛṣṇa, and Nikuñja-Vidyā started kissing Rādhārāṇī all over Her face, and some of the Gopīs stood up and said, “Well, wait a minute —this goddess is going a little bit too far. That’s like how Kṛṣṇa kisses Rādhā; that’s not allowed—this girl can’t do that!”

Vṛndā is thinking, “This is not how Kṛṣṇa said the plan would unfold. He didn’t go as per plan, it wasn’t supposed to go this far.” Vṛndā stands up and she says, “Girls, don’t worry, such expressions of affection are not uncommon for goddesses.” And suddenly Rādhārāṇī looks at Lalitā and She says, “I have experienced this kiss before, Lalitā.” And they look at each other and they have suddenly figured out what was going on and Lalitā turns bright red. [Laughter] She was so angry, she couldn’t speak, and suddenly Rādhārāṇī pushes Nikuñja-Vidyā away and stands up and She says, [yelling voice:] “Deception! I have been deceived. This is deception.” Then She puts Her hands like this, and She looks at Nikuñja-VidyāKṛṣṇa—and She says, “A fine trickster You are, but I have achieved My desire and You have achieved Your desire,” and She embraces Kṛṣṇa again, and seeing this pastime with this perfect loving conclusion, all the Gopīs started laughing and laughing, and rolling on the ground, and laughing—at how Kṛṣṇa had again with His trickery won the heart of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī with the help of Vṛndā-Devī. These kinds of pastimes are going on everyday here in the Vṛndāvan forest, and we are foolishly missing out thinking we can somehow find happiness in this world of birth and death.

But by coming here to Śrī Vṛndāvan Dhām, on Parikramā, and coming out here to VṛndāKuṇḍa, in this very blissful, devotional atmosphere and chanting and hearing these pastimes, our desire, our original desire to serve Kṛṣṇa in such a way becomes aroused again. By the mercy of our Spiritual Masters, by the mercy of our founder ĀcāryaŚrīla Prabhupāda, we can actually approach such a personality as Vṛndā-Devī and request her very humbly that, “Maybe one day in the future by the mercy of Guru and Gaurāṅga, we will become qualified enough. If there is still some space left, there in the unlimited spiritual world, we could help her render some small service, in helping her choreograph all these pastimes in Śrī Vṛndāvan Dhām.” As we have experienced, over the last almost four weeks, every place has its special Bhāva, its special mood, its history, its personalities. We are just so fortunate this last month to be traveling to all these varieties of places and imbibing, somehow imbibing a drop of this, this mercy.

Here is the place to pray to Vṛndā and Rādhā and Nikuñja-VidyāKṛṣṇa. This is a place to pray for mercy because, prayer is one of the nine processes of devotional service. So before you go, embrace one of these desire trees and pray. Alternatively, you can roll in the VrajaReṇu, the dust of this place, and pray. You can bathe in the sacred waters of Vṛndā-Kuṇḍa and pray. You can sit and chant some japa in front of the numerous Tulasī plants that are here and pray. Or being most fortunate you can go before the beautiful Deity of Vṛndā-Devī with Dakṣa, her parrot, and personally offer your supplication, your prayers,and beg for mercy. if it’s difficult for you to think exactly how to pray, then you can simply repeat the words—the prayers from the heart of Viśvanāth Cakravārtī Ṭhākur and surely Vṛndā-Devī will hear you. Here are some beautiful prayers by such an Ācārya, that you can say to the Deity.

  • “Oh Vṛndā-Devī, Oh protectress of the moving and nonmoving living entities in Vṛndāvan, you are wealthy in the mercy of the Divine Couple, who enjoy pastimes in Vraja. Please also be merciful unto me. Please place me amongst Śrī Rādhā’s associates.”
  • “Oh Śrīmatī Tulasī Devī, Oh celestial Ganges, river of mercy, it is because I once placed my head at your lotus feet and drank some drops of water that washed your lotus feet, that these desires have arisen in my heart.”
  • “Oh Śrīmatī Tulasī Devī, how low I am!—My heart pierced by hundreds of offenses. How exalted and difficult to attain is my aspiration. Your causeless mercy is my only hope.  It is by your mercy that I, who am so fallen, can have these desires in my thoughts.”

Śrī Vṛndā-Devī ki – Jaya!

Śrī Vṛndā-Kuṇḍa ki – Jaya!

Tulasī Mahārāṇī ki – Jaya!

Śrīla Prabhupāda ki – Jaya!

Śrī Vraja-Bhūmi Śrī Vṛndāvan Dhām ki –Jaya!

Śrī Kārtik Parikramā – 2015 ki –Jaya!

Śrī Goloka Vṛndāvan Dhām ki – Jaya!

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

‘Spasiba Bolshaya!’ [Big “thank you”]

Hare Kṛṣṇa!

Rāvala – HG Śrī Prahlāda Prabhu – Lecture, Indradyumna Swami’s Parikrama -2015

Ravala, Indradyumna Swami Parikrama 2015

Kṛṣṇa in the mood of Rādhā

– By HG Śrī Prahlāda Prabhu

Vṛndāvanesvari Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī ki jay.

Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī ki Jaya!

Okay, so we are here at Rāvala Dhām. This is the birthplace of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī; and we got to do kīrtana together here. I would like to humbly “remind you to the present” as Baḍa-Hari Prabhu says. In Bhagavad-Gītā Kṛṣṇa told Arjuna, “When the mind wanders, bring it back.” He doesn’t say “If the mind wanders,” He says, “When the mind wanders,” assuming that it will. And so we can assume that, yes, all our minds wander. Yoga means to bring the mind back, so that there is connection between what we are saying and what we are meditating on with our mind. What we are feeling in our heart; all of these things are connected: the words, the mind, the body, the soul, all are connected with Kṛṣṇa. That is yoga. The best way to remain present and attentive is try to hear. When the mind wanders, listen. When your mind wanders then you remember, “Oh I should be listening.” But who should you be listening to? Listen to the other devotees chanting; listen to your own chanting. That way, you will find that you are listening to your chanting; that your chanting is going much, much deeper. You will find that you can actually become absorbed in chanting. You go deeper into your own heart as it opens up.

Śrīla Gurudeva was talking about Durvāsā Muni: a great yogi, meditator, great performer of austerities, and Gurudeva was saying how his austerities have made him very stern. Vairāgya can make the heart hard. Sense gratification also makes the heart hard. With sense gratification, we want to possess, and we want to have, and we want to control. As we struggle to possess and control we get envious of others. We hate others who are impediments to our control; and we start to think in terms of friends and enemies. Sense gratification makes the heart hard and then we may at some point realize, “Oh, I am so hard-hearted, so jealous, so selfish, so attached. Let me cut through this.” Then we go to the other extreme of great renunciation and that’s also very hard. We hate while we renounce and we also hate the material world. We are disgusted by the materialist and we dismiss others who are attached.

We flip to the other side. Attachment and the aversion, Bhoga and Tyāga, these are two sides of the same coin or extremes of the pendulum. In Bhakti there is no such attachment or aversion; everything is Kṛṣṇa’s and everything is for Kṛṣṇa’s service. How can we hate that which is Kṛṣṇa’s? How can we hate any other living entities? They are Kṛṣṇa’s. How can we hate Kṛṣṇa’s energies? We just want to serve. In Bhakti we take that which is Kṛṣṇa’s and we are given the opportunity to offer that to Him.   He says, “I will be pleased even if you offer me with love a leaf or flower or fruit or some water.”  Now that’s not ours, but Kṛṣṇa gives us the opportunity. He says, “Oh yeah, you can take those things that are already mine, but you can take them and offer them to Me and I will accept; I will accept that as an offering of love.” Bhakti is about taking everything that is already Kṛṣṇa’s and offering that to Kṛṣṇa. Bhakti is about loving service.

Yesterday one devotee received the name, “TadīyāSevā”: service to that which is connected to Kṛṣṇa. Pārvatī asked Lord Śiva, “What is the most exalted object of worship?” Lord Śiva replied, 

ārādhanānāṁ sarveṣāṁ viṣṇor ārādhanaṁ param

tasmāt parataraṁ devī tadīyānām samarcanam

Arādhānā means to worship. Looking to that word Arādhānā, do you hear a Divine Name in that word: Rādhā? Arādhānā means to worship. Rādhā is She who pleases Kṛṣṇa or worships Kṛṣṇa the best.  Lord Śiva told Pārvatī that, “Of all worship, worship of Vishnu is best. But even superior to the worship of Vishnu is to worship that which is connected to Him–Tadīyā. Everything is connected to Kṛṣṇa, that’s what the Bhakta understands. Everything is Kṛṣṇa’s, everyone is Kṛṣṇa’s. The devotees particularly; they know that they are Kṛṣṇa’s.

And Kṛṣṇa says in the Gītā that He is equal to everybody.

[Kṛṣṇa:] “samo’haṁ sarva-bhūteṣu na me dveṣyo ‘sti na priyaḥ [BG9.29]: I am equal to everyone, I don’t favor anybody, But ..

Somebody says ‘But’ means He is going to contradict Himself or at least offer some clarification.

[Kṛṣṇa:] “But, ‘ye bhajanti tu māṁ bhaktyā, mayi te teṣu cāpy aham’—My devotees, they offer themselves to Me and so they are particularly dear.”

In Bhakti yoga, we respect all living entities and we offer service to Vaiṣṇavas because we know that they are so dear to Kṛṣṇa. We don’t try to approach Kṛṣṇa directly – we say Hare KṛṣṇaRādhā Kṛṣṇa, RādhāGiridhārī, RādhāŚyāmsundara. We always approach Kṛṣṇa through His devotees. This attitude of service makes the heart of the devotee very soft. We ask you to chant from your soft hearts. Chant with attention. Chant and listen—Śravanaṁ and kīrtanam and remember Arādhānā—this is a place of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī; it is a place of service, so chanting is great service. This is the path of bhakti. We will chant a little and then someone has been instructed to complete the pastime from Barṣāṇā, from Pili Pokhara. 

[1 hour Kīrtana]

Okay, the Prasādam is on its way, it will be here shortly. It gives us a few more minutes to hear about the glories of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. Today, Gurudeva told us the story of how Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī received a blessing, a benediction from Durvāsā Muni: that whatever She cooked would taste like nectar and anyone who tastes Her cooking would get strength and longevity. Gurudeva mentioned how mother Yaśodā heard this news and she thought it a great opportunity to ensure Kṛṣṇa’s strength and longevity. She is always very worried about her darling son, “Every day He goes out into the forest, herding cows and every day since His childhood the evil King Kaṁsa has been sending demons to kill Him. When He was a baby, Kaṁsa sent Pūtanā; he sent the whirlwind demon Tṛṇāvarta; he sent a cart demon Śakaṭāsura. Somehow or other, by the grace of Lord Nārāyaṇa, Kṛṣṇa was protected from all these demons.” That’s how mother Yaśodā thinks; she thinks that it’s her prayers and Nārāyaṇa’s blessings that somehow or other have allowed Kṛṣṇa to escape with His life from all these great tragedies, the calamities. She doesn’t think it’s because of Kṛṣṇa’s own strength and divinity. “Him? No! He is just a little boy. He is a cute little boy, but little boy, nonetheless. What can He do against big demons?”

When she heard of this blessing by Durvāsā, she thought, “I have to get little Rādhā somehow into my kitchen, so that She can cook Kṛṣṇa’s breakfast each morning before He goes out into the forest.” Somehow or other she was able to convince Rādhā’s mother Kīrtidā that, “That was a good idea!” Yaśodā, Kīrtidā; their names are synonyms, actually.  Yaśa—means glory and Yaśodā means to bring glory. Kīrti— means fame, Kīrtidā means to bring fame. So Yaśodā, Kīrtidā they have the same names. They are both queens of kings of the clans of Vraja; and so somehow or other Yaśodā was able to convince Kīrtidā, “Your daughter will come to my house each day and prepare my son’s breakfast.” Of course, for Rādhā this is the perfection of all benedictions, to be able to cook for Kṛṣṇa, and for Kṛṣṇa as well. It is His greatest pleasure to have the food prepared by Śrī Rādhā’s own hands, although He doesn’t always show that.

Sometimes, when they are serving the breakfast, Kṛṣṇa is looking to see which preparations had been prepared by Śrī Rādhā. He knows Her, He knows Her craft, although She never cooks the same preparation twice. Still, everything She prepares has a special quality. The Lāḍu gets put on His plate, Lāḍu prepared by Rādhā Herself, and Kṛṣṇa bites it and He makes the most sour face and spits it out, back on the plate. Rādhā’s rivals, they become very happy, “Hah, just see He didn’t like it.” Rādhā’s friends like Lalitā and Viśākā, they feel that a javelin has been stabbed into their hearts. But Dhaniṣṭa, Kṛṣṇa’s very clever house servant, she makes all the arrangements in Kṛṣṇa’s home. She knows what’s going on, she comes fast serving another item, takes up that Mahāprasāda that Kṛṣṇa spat out, wraps it nicely and sneaks it to Rādhārāṇī, “Mahāprasādam from Kṛṣṇa Himself. He gave it for you.”  Like this, there are lots of tricks. Kṛṣṇa can press one of Dhaniṣṭa’s toes and that means, “We are meeting in such and such a place.” As Rādhā would come to prepare delicious preparations in Yaśodā’s kitchen everyday, She became dearer and dearer to Yaśodā’s heart and she would think, “Wouldn’t be it wonderful if She were my daughter-in-law? She is so qualified, She is like a goddess. Who else could marry Her other than my son Kṛṣṇa? Similarly, who else is qualified to marry my son Kṛṣṇa other than Rādhā?” Like this Rādhā became closer and closer, dearer to Yaśodā’s heart. With each passing day her motherly affection grew for Her.

One day she called Rādhā to her as Rādhā was leaving. She said, “Darling, you are getting older, one day you will need to get married. Have you ever thought about that?” “No, I am still very small.” “One day you will need to take on some responsibility and be someone’s wife.” Rādhā, “Then I will lose all my freedom. I won’t be able to play with my friends.” “Playing with friends, that’s good, but that’s for little girls. Now you are becoming a big girl.” Then Yaśodā took some turmeric, Haldi and she put it on Rādhā’s hands and She said to Her, “Do you know what this means?” “No, you put turmeric on my hands.” “That means I am making a proposal. When You go home, Your mother, she will see Your hands and she will know what it means.” She will ask You, “My daughter, who has put this turmeric on your hands?” And You will tell her it was Yaśodā-Maiyā. She will know that it is a marriage proposal and then Your parents will respond. They will send the gifts to say that they have accepted the proposal.” Rādhā was feeling more and more embarrassed, She wanted nothing more than to be with Kṛṣṇa. But all of this talk of marriage and proposals and gifts, it was all very complicated and confusing; a little bit scary and a little bit embarrassing.

She walked out from Yaśodā-Maiyā’s palace; Her friends were waiting for Her. “Hey, Rādhā, what You have on Your hands?” “Oh it’s nothing; I was cooking in the kitchen today. I used quite a bit of turmeric.” “Come, come! Tell us, why so shy?” “No, no, it’s nothing.” Then She held Her hands and said, “It’s very embarrassing. How will I play with My friends with turmeric all over My hands.” (Slowly) “Yaśodā wants Me to get married.” “Married, Aha!” All the girls giggled. “That’s so funny, You will get married.” Rādhā was getting more and more embarrassed. “What am I going to do?” “Well, get married of course.” “Oh, stop playing, help Me! When I go home My mother is going to see this and I won’t be able to play with you anymore. I will be in a house somewhere, married.” “Hmm, this is serious; we have to think of something.” Lalitā said, “Well, how about we go. There is a pond nearby; You can just wash Your hands quickly and go home and don’t say anything. Nobody would know anything.” “Oh, that pond on Pili Pokhara, are you saying about that one? Oh, that’s on the path where Kṛṣṇa often goes to herd His cows. If we go home that way, maybe we will see Him.” “Yeah, but wash Your hands first.”

They walked that way past Pili Pokhara. Rādhā came close to the water and She stepped inside. There were many birds, squirrels and other creatures; they were watching. “What is Gaurāṅgī doing in this pond, a beautiful golden form?” She bent down to wash Her hands, and as She was washing Her hands, She was thinking of Kṛṣṇa, that charming son of Nanda Mahārāja, that cowherd boy. She washed Her hands, and as She washed Her hands, She not only put the turmeric into the lake, but all of that love that She was feeling for Nanda-Nandana also went into the lake at the same time. She was washing Her hands thinking of Kṛṣṇa Śyāmsundara, His beautiful smile, His black and bluish complexion, His dancing, His eyes dancing as He looked upon Her, stealing glances to see Her. And that lake, it became golden. Rādhā’s love, it is golden in complexion and as She left that lake, yes, the turmeric had made it yellow, but Her love had made it yellowish golden. She stepped out of the lake. Her friends were, “Hey, Rādhā! Come on, what’s taking so long?” “Oh yes-yes, no, I am ready,” and they went off on their way.

Sometime later a cowherd boy happened to be passing that way. He was looking for one of His cows that had gone astray. He wasn’t just any cowherd boy, it was Śrī Nanda-Nandana, the son of Mahārāja Nanda. As He came to that place, He looked at the lake and He said, “This looks most unusual, something is different. The lake itself has a wonderful golden color. Such a magical land is this, Vṛndāvan. How this lake shimmers and shines and attracts Me, draws Me to it.” Kṛṣṇa, He stepped into that golden water and His whole body became thrilled. It’s like a shock that went through His body, thrilled with a wave of bliss. He wanted more, He stepped deeper into that lake and that thrill became more intense. He said, “I will fully immerse myself to experience this bliss,” and so He went under water. All that was sticking out was a peacock feather. As He moved through the water the peacock feather was an indicator of where He was. He stayed under there for some time, because it was so wonderful.

When He came out of that lake He was feeling something that He had never felt before; something wonderful, something bewildering, but enthralling. That is mysterious. He felt intense love for Kṛṣṇa. As He looked down into the water at His own reflection, He saw that His color had changed. That He himself had assumed a golden complexion. His beauty, that is His complexion and His Bhāva—His mood had changed to that of Śrī Rādhā. He came out of the water with an intense longing to see Kṛṣṇa. “Oh Kṛṣṇa, Lord of My life, Oh Prāṇanātha, when will I see Your blackish, bluish complexion, dressed so artistically in yellow silken garments, the peacock feather—so beautifully decorating Your hair?” He went wandering, wandering through the forest, looking for Śyāmsundara. He was completely overwhelmed with love for Himself. He experienced this as the most intense feeling that He had ever experienced. This love for Kṛṣṇa is so wonderful and loving Him is the perfection of that emotion. The poets write about the romantic songs to experience some love, but that always ends in some kind of tragedy in the material world. The more wonderful the object of that love, the more intense that experience of love can be; and there is no greater object of love than Kṛṣṇa Himself. As Kṛṣṇa took on Rādhā’s mood He got to experience that love for Kṛṣṇa and He became completely overwhelmed by that.  

Some of the qualities of bhakti described by Rūpa Gosvāmī; sāndrānanda-viśeṣātmā, that it gives the most intense experience of joy. But the most significant effect of bhakti is Śrī Kṛṣṇa Ākarṣiṇī; that it has the power to bewilder Kṛṣṇa, to attract and control and subserviate Kṛṣṇa. That’s what happened. He came completely under the spell of this love for Himself. Like a mad-man, He went running through the forest of Vṛndāvan calling out Kṛṣṇa’s name, hoping to see Him behind every tree, or just over each ridge, maybe down by the river or the lake, and He is wandering, running here and there in search of Kṛṣṇa.

Gradually, slowly, the influence of that experience in that lake wore off, like a magical spell gradually loses its power and Kṛṣṇa regained His color and His own self-awareness, but His heart was still bewildered. What is this love for Kṛṣṇa? What is this experience that Rādhā has in loving Kṛṣṇa? What is the bliss She experiences? What is the nature of Her love? These questions remained in His mind. Although He is sarvāgyata, that is—omniscient, He knows everything. There is nothing unknown to Him. These questions remained with Him and so He appeared as Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu with the Bhāva and the beauty of Śrī Rādhā. He tries to get some sense of Her experience: what is it like to love Kṛṣṇa? What is the nature of Rādhās love? What does She feel in loving Kṛṣṇa? In appearing as Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu He also repays a debt—putting Himself in Her skin, so to speak. He feels Her joy, but He also feels Her pain. Although He cannot repay His debt to Her, He shows He at least makes an effort by experiencing Her pain and Her strong empathy. He told the Gopīs, “na pāraye ‘haṁ [SB 10.32.22]: I cannot repay you. Please just be satisfied by this love.” Although He says that, He makes an effort to repay them by sharing the pain. But don’t think that this pain is like anything in the material world. It’s not like the pain of stubbing your toe, it’s not like the pain of losing your job. This pain of loving separation; it is painful but blissful at the same time. It is painful and at the same time sublime and uplifting. It is difficult to express these things in words, particularly for one who has meager realization on these topics. We just take the hints. Bhakti-Śāstra, Ācāryas, they just give us the hints, but it can only be realized through sincere Sādhana, through Divine grace. Through the practice of Bhakti, gradually Prema is awarded.

Here we are in RāvalaLet us offer our prayers to Śrī-Śrī Rādhā Śyāmsundara that:

  • We may please our Spiritual Masters,
  • We may attract their Divine grace,
  • We may have the opportunity to chant with sincerity,
  • We get some taste, some relish for the Holy Name,
  • We can also contribute to the efforts of our Ācāryas and our Sampradāya by sharing that with others as well; let that be our prayer in this sacred place.

Vṛndāvaneśvarī Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī ki – Jaya!

Śrī Rāvala Dhām Ki – Jaya!

Śrī-Śrī Rādhā Śyāmsundara ki – Jaya!

Śrī-Śrī Rādhā Govinda ki – Jaya!

Jaya-Jaya Śrī Rādhe……………………. Śyāma!

Śrīla Indradyumna Swami Mahārāja: Let’s give Prahlāda a big round of applause.

Haribol ………………….(Applause) 

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!