Durvāsā Muni Āśrama – Śrīla Prabhupāda Disappearance Day- HH Śrīla Indradyumna Swami – Lecture

Śrīla Prabhupāda’s Mercy

– By His Holiness Śrīla Indradyumna Swami

 

Today is a very special day. It’s the departure day of the Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Kṛṣṇa ConsciousnessHis Divine Grace Om Vishnupada Paramhansa Parivrajakacharya Ashtottar-Shata Śrī Śrīmada Śrīla A.C. BhaktiVedanta Swami Śrīla Prabhupāda. I have chosen not to speak today. This is always for me, this is a difficult day. I have asked Mother Śītalā to speak today. Has Mother Śītalā arrived? Oh, okay, Mother Śītalā is here, so she will be speaking today.

This is a very beautiful setting that we are in. This is the Āśrama of Durvāsā Muni in Vṛndāvan. Actually we have mentioned Durvāsā Muni a number of times during our Parikramās here in Vṛndāvan through the years. He is a Muni; he would travel to different holy places, but this was his ashram in Vraja, right here on the banks of Jāmuna. Fortunately, it still remains much as it was for the last hundred years. It still has that old Vraja feeling to it. Under this Banyan tree, literally on the banks of the Jāmuna river, and in the past years, we have discussed the particular pastimes that have taken place here.

But we won’t touch on that today, because this is Śrīla Prabhupāda’s disappearance day, so that will be the theme of today’s visit, and in coming years we will recount again the pastimes of Durvāsā Muni here. I always like to come here and bring the devotees here, because of its special atmosphere—it’s kind of like what you would have imagined SatyaYuga would be like.

Of course, our old friend Bābāji is here. He is not so old; he is in his thirties, but he is a Pakka (fixed-up or determined) Brahmacārī, Pakka Sādhu. He stays here all year long despite whatever austerities may be. He is very fixed in his vows and in his practices in spiritual life. You can see he is very simple in his living style. He leaned over today, and he said to me, quietly said, “After so many years I have conquered hunger.” Kṛṣṇa glorifies Arjuna in the Bhagavad-Gītā for conquering sleep—Guḍākeśa, so these things: conquering sleep, hunger, senses—these are not easy things to conquer. He confidentially said, “Mahārāja, I have conquered hunger.”

I remember last year I said to him, “In my next birth I want to be just like you.” He said, “No, you are doing the best work. You are preaching Bhagavad-Gītā.” Then he quoted the verse in Sanskrit where Kṛṣṇa says that, “There is no one more dear to Me than those who are preaching this message.” He said, “You do what you are doing, so I am doing what I am doing; you do what you do. We will both go on.”

Of course, all of this is for us. It’s all due to Śrīla Prabhupāda’s mercy that we get to come to Vṛndāvan Dhām, take boat rides down the Jāmuna river, touch the sacred water of the Jāmuna, come to secluded holy places like Durvāsā Muni’s ashram, meet the Sādhus who are living here; chant ‘Hare Kṛṣṇa’ in the association of so many wonderful devotees in a holy place. Just one of these things is great fortune, so we can hardly imagine how fortunate we are, and what to speak of fortune that we are everyday going out into Vṛndāvan and experiencing all this.

This is all because Śrīla Prabhupāda left this holy place and went to mlecchadesh, went to the west to spread the glories of Vṛndāvan. Had he not done that, none of us would be sitting here today.

In the Skandh Purāṇa there is actually a very strict warning, that a person who is interested in his deliverance from the repetition of birth and death, of achieving mokṣa —liberation; that person should not cross beyond the boundaries of Bhārata or India, because everything becomes more and more inauspicious, the further you go from Bhārata. Just like a lamp is burning and it’s very bright around the lamp, but the further you go from the lamp, the darker it becomes. Sādhus were forbidden to leave India because of the bad association, sinful activity that exists in another part of the world; but Prabhupāda took that risk for all of us.

Of course, in Śrīla Prabhupāda’s case there was no risk, because he told us one time: “There was never a time I forgot the lotus feet of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa.” He said, “Never a moment I ever forgot the lotus feet of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa.” And he said, “In my life-time, I did not know what sinful activity was. I never experienced what was sinful activity.”

Taking upon his head that great responsibility of carrying Lord Caitanyas desires to spread Kṛṣṇa Consciousness all over the world, he was fully protected by Guru and Gaurāṅga. But that doesn’t mean he didn’t have to endure so many hardships  and so many austerities, and so many difficulties in establishing Kṛṣṇa Consciousness in the west. One time he told us, someone asked, “Well, what was the first year for you like in America?” Prabhupāda said, “You will not believe the difficulties I underwent that first year.” He never really revealed how he struggled that first year. But history has shown the great success that was there and after a few years. After the movement was somehow established in the west, Prabhupāda came back here to Vṛndāvan with a desire to establish a temple: KṛṣṇaBalarāma Mandir, so that Westerners could come and get the Vṛndāvan experience, which is so important to our evolution or progress in Kṛṣṇa Consciousness.

By his invitation, by his arrangement the facilities are there; we are here by Śrīla Prabhupāda’s grace so we should honor him today as best we can on his disappearance day in Vṛndāvan. Not just this day but everyday; we should remember his lotus feet and by his good fortune we came to Kṛṣṇa Consciousness. We are existing in Kṛṣṇa Consciousness, and we will achieve perfection in Kṛṣṇa Consciousness by Śrīla Prabhupāda’s mercy

We will begin with, as we always do, to create that wonderful atmosphere of auspiciousness and our ability to focus on all these transcendental subject matters. We will have Mādhava Prabhu leading us in a very melodious, beautiful, and deeply devotional Bhajan, and then one of His Divine Grace Śrīla Prabhupāda’s most senior and beloved disciples, Ṭhākurāṇī, will speak about some of the glories. How much can you speak about Prabhupāda’s glories? They are unlimited, but she shall speak on the glories of our Spiritual Master.

Then Baḍa-Hari Prabhu will lead us in Gurupujā; then we will sing “Ye anilo prema-dhana”………….. [Voice of His Holiness Śrīla Indradyumna Swami Mahārāja choked in deep separation and remembrance of Śrīla Prabhupāda. [Tears rolled down his cheeks and he excused himself from the announcements and went into seclusion for a few minutes.]

Barsānā – HG Śrī Prahlāda Prabhu – Lecture; Indradyumna Swami’s Parikrama -2015

Kṛṣṇa-Kuṇḍa,Barsana, 2015 Kartik Parikrama with Indradyumna Swami

Rādhā: Tattva, Rasa, and Kṛpā  

– By HG Śrī Prahlāda Prabhu

We are so fortunate to be gathered here at KṛṣṇaKuṇḍa in Varṣāṇā. By what good fortune, what pious activities have we done to find ourselves in this situation? What austerities have we performed? Maybe we gave lots of charity. Actually none of these activities can award us the great opportunity, the great benediction that we are experiencing at this moment. It’s only by the mercy of the Vaiṣṇavas. Bhakti is the most valuable treasure and no amount of piety, no amount of austerity, no amount of charity can award one this treasure. There is nothing we can do to make ourselves eligible. How then is it ever received? – Only by the mercy of compassionate, kind-hearted devotees!

Kṛṣṇa’s mercy extends down into this world of Saṁsara and by the mercy of Vaiṣṇavas, our free will is interfered with, such that we do not receive the juice of our karma, instead we receive something much more. We receive the seed of Bhakti and so that is all our great fortune. These great devotees who share this mercy, these seeds of devotion, they represent Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. She is called Karuṇāmayī, that is She is most kind and compassionate. It is by the grace of Karuṇāmayī Śrī Rādhā that we find ourselves in Her abode.

This morning, we will share some realizations about Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. We will begin by speaking some Tattva. Tattva— means truth, this can be a little dry but it is important. It is important that we have a foundation of Tattva and on the basis of that then we will discuss some RasaFinally, we will also discuss Kṛpā—we will discuss mercy.

We will discuss:

  1. Rādhā Tattva—truth of Rādhā’s ontology;
  2. Rādhā-Rasa that is some understanding of Her mellows of loving exchange;
  3. Rādhā Kṛpā—some discussion on how we might try to gain Her mercy, Her grace.
  4. Śrī Kṛṣṇa—He is SarvaŚaktimān. He is the source of all energies. He is Ātmārām; He is self-satisfied; He is aptakama—without any unfulfilled desire. Yet He decides to expand His bliss, and He does this by interacting with His potencies. Kṛṣṇa’s potencies, they are unlimited but we categorize them as primarily as three. This is the Bhāgavata understanding, — three categories of truth; three categories of Tattva. In the Bhagavad-Gītā, we are told by Śrī Kṛṣṇa to approach a Guru. He says we should approach this teacher with humility and we should render service. He also describes the quality of such a Guru that we should approach. This Guru should be Tattva-Darshi—one who has seen Tattva— “jṣāninas tattva-darśinaḥ” [BG 4.34]. Kṛṣṇa is telling us to approach a Spiritual Master who has seen Tattva, who has seen truth. Where to find such a Guru who has seen truth?

Śrīla Vyāsadeva is such a teacher. When Śrīla Vyāsadeva wrote the Vedas and the Purāṇas, the Mahābhārata, it was a great endeavor that he engaged in for the benefit of the people of Kali who are short-lived, and with a short attention span and a short memory. It was important to write these things down. After doing this great work, he felt depressed and couldn’t understand —why? His Guru came to visit him. He heard the strumming of the Vīṇā. He heard the chanting of the Holy Names of Rādhikā and Ramana. He understood his Gurudeva Nārada Muni had come to visit him. Nārada diagnosed Vyāsa’s condition. “You have done a great work. But you have not given one text that exclusively describes Bhakti. That’s what you must do”.

Vyāsadeva, he sat down in a meditation with his new mission from his Spiritual Master, and in that meditation he had a vision. He saw the truth, He saw Kṛṣṇa, and before Kṛṣṇa to the side and looking down in shame, he saw personified material nature. To the side then, between them he saw the living entities. Material nature, her shame was that she was bewildering these living entities causing them to forget Kṛṣṇa. On seeing this vision—these three categories of truth, Vyāsa knew what he had to do. He had to write a scripture, a text that describes the eternal relationship between living entities and Kṛṣṇa, this relationship of love. He had to describe these things so that the conditioned souls would be able to wake up from their illusion and be reminded of this eternal relationship, and so he wrote Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. This is the most elevated, the cream of all Vedic literature; exclusively focused on devotion to Kṛṣṇa. The cure, the medicine for the people of Kali is hearing Kṛṣṇa-Kathā.

These three categories of truth that Vyāsa saw; they are explained by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu as Antaraṅgā Śakti Tattva, the Bahiraṅgā Śakti Tattva and Taṭasthā Śakti Tattva that is Jīva.

  1. The Antaraṅgā Śakti Tattva means the internal potency of Kṛṣṇa;
  2. The Bahiraṅgā means the external potency of Kṛṣṇa; that is the material nature. Material nature has three categories— goodness, passion and ignorance. They are personified by the Deities Lakṣmī, Sarasvatī and Durgā. Their masters are Viṣṇu, Brahmā and Maheśa.

It also has three divisions or categories. They are Sandhinī, Samvit and Āhlādinī.

  1. The Sandhinī Śakti—that is the principle of eternity which is the stuff which the spiritual world made of. It is personified by Baladeva. Baladeva expands as the Holy Dhām. He expands as Kṛṣṇa‘s paraphernalia.
  2. The Samvit Śakti—that is the cognizance potency that makes this—everything in the spiritual world conscious or aware.
  3. The Āhlādinī Śakti—that is the bliss potency of Kṛṣṇa. It is personified as Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. She expands Kṛṣṇa‘s bliss, with so many loving pastimes and for us She is like as the mother of devotion.

When Kṛṣṇa enters into any other Dhām, then Baladeva and Śrī Rādhā also expands with Him. In Dvārakā­, Baladeva is present as Saṅkarṣaṇa and Rādhā as so many queens—16,108 queens they are all expansions of Śrī Rādhā. In VaikuṇṭhaBalarāma expands as the throne—the Anantaśeṣa that Nārāyaṇa sits upon, and Śrī Rādhā expands as so many Lakṣmīs. When Kṛṣṇa appears in this world as so many incarnations/Avatāras, Baladeva is also always present as His paraphernalia and Lakṣmī, She always expands with Him as His consort. In the pastimes of Śrī Rāma, then Baladeva and Rādhā, they are present as Lakṣmaṇa and Sītā.

For the souls that wish to become free from their conditioned nature, they must do so taking shelter of ĀdiGuru—Lord Balarāma, who comes, who is manifest on earth as the Dīkṣā Guru. As we become more mature in our spiritual understanding, then we take shelter of Śrī Rādhā as our Śikṣā, represented by the Śikṣā Guru. Dīkṣā Guru & Śikṣā Guru, they might be the same person or they might be different persons.

Five thousand years ago, that same Rādhā appeared here in Vraja Dhām, whether in Rāvala or Barṣāṇā. There are different views. The understanding of the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas is that She appeared in this most recent pastime in Rāvala, and in previous pastime she appeared here in Varṣāṇā. In Varṣāṇā, She performed Her childhood and youthful pastimes, that gave perfection to Kṛṣṇa’s own childhood and youthful pastimes. How?      

To understand this, we must understand little bit more about Śrī Rādhā’s supreme position. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, in his Upadesāmṛta (NOI), he tells us that:

karmibhyaḥ parito hareḥ priyatayā vyaktiṁ yayur jṣāninas

tebhyo jñāna-vimukta-Bhakti-paramāḥ premaika-niṣṭhās tataḥ

tebhyas tāḥ paśu-pāla-paṅkaja-dṛśas tābhyo ‘pi sā rādhikā

preṣṭhā tadvad iyaṁ tadīya-sarasī tāṁ nāśrayet kaḥ kṛtī

He says, out of many millions of unlimited living entities, most are just interested in fruitive work, they are just interested in sense gratification. Amongst them, some maybe interested in piety and so they follow the Vedic prescriptions for pious work to get pious rewards. Amongst them, few will be actually interested in spiritual understanding, becoming liberated from the cycle of birth and death, Rūpa Gosvāmī refers to those as—Jñānīs. Amongst them few will actually take to devotional service. How rare it is! Amongst them, amongst the devotees, those who have taken devotional service—Rūpa Gosvāmī says the best are the Vrajavāsīs, because they love Kṛṣṇa not because He is God, they loved Kṛṣṇa because He is Kṛṣṇa—because He is the most wonderful of all-attractive personality, and they will give everything for Him. Rūpa Gosvāmī says amongst the Vrajavāsīs then the Gopīs, their love for Kṛṣṇa is the most intense. Amongst those thousands of Gopīs, Rūpa Gosvāmī says Śrī Rādhā stands supreme.

Śrīla Prabhupāda explains in his commentary on this verse that the Mādhurya Rasa of the Gopīs is most pleasing to Kṛṣṇa. It is the most intense expression of love for Kṛṣṇa. He compares it to earth as an element which contains the qualities of other more subtle elements. Ether contains the quality of sound, air contains the additional quality of touch; if you blow some air over your face, you will be able to feel that. Some of you are already doing that because it is a little bit hot. We can feel the air. Fire contains the additional quality of sight. Water contains the additional quality of taste; in the GītāKṛṣṇa says, “raso’ham apsu kaunteya…” [BG 7.8] I am the taste of water. Finally earth, it contains the additional quality of—all of them? Yeah, but it has one unique special quality—smell—aroma.

In the same way, Prabhupāda explains, “Mādhurya Rasa, it contains the qualities of love found in other Rasas. That love that is there in Dāsya Rasa or servitorship, that love that is there in Vātsalya Rasa, or parental affection, or Sākhya Rasa—friendship; it is all contained within this relationship of Mādhurya Rasa or conjugal affection. Therefore Rūpa Gosvāmī’s statement is that of all the Vrajavāsīs the love of the Gopīs is most intense and pleasing to Kṛṣṇa.

But we can further analyze this. Within Mādhurya Rasa there are two categories. There is Svakiya and Parakīya.

  • Svakiya means married love, and
  • Parakīya means unwedded love. The affection in Parakīya Rasa or unwedded love is more intense than in Svakiya. Because there is more uncertainty, there is more risk, greater sacrifice is made and the uncertainty makes it very exciting. People watch sports,—there is great excitement seeing two teams competing against each other. The excitement is that you don’t know which way it will go.

In Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes with the Gopīs, it is always uncertain, “Will they meet or not? Will Kṛṣṇa be able to enter Rādhā’s house or will He spend the night in a tree? Maybe He will make it to meet Rādhā, but She will be upset and they will not be able to have any pastimes together.” Like this there is an ongoing uncertainty.

Now this Parakīya Rasa can be further analyzed. That is, there is the mood of submissiveness, and the mood of contrariness, that is Dākṣiṇya-Bhāva: or the right wing mood, and Bāmya-Bhāva: or the left wing mood. Amongst the Gopīs there are these two main parties, two main groups:

  1. There is the right wing group of Gopīs; we will not speak the name of leader of this group in this place.
  2. Then there is the left-wing group that is headed by Śrīmatī RādhārāṇīKṛṣṇa finds the company of this left-wing group, so much more satisfying, once again because it is most uncertain. Generally whatever Kṛṣṇa wants then Rādhā and Her friends, they will say the opposite. Kṛṣṇa would say, “Come,” and they will go away. Kṛṣṇa would try to approach them and they will say, “Don’t touch us, you debauchee!” They will call Him names; makes it so much more exciting for Kṛṣṇa. Amongst these Gopīs, then Śrī Rādhā is the leader, and so Kṛṣṇa, He desires Her company more than anything else. Her love in fact makes Kṛṣṇa mad.

Okay, so we will speak some of the pastimes that are enacted between Śrī Kṛṣṇa and Śrī Rādhā in this place, where you will see Śrī Rādhā’s contrary nature expressed and how delightful that is to Kṛṣṇa. Churning the ocean of Rasa, of loving exchange! When we were coming here, we came through a narrow passage. That place is called Sāñkari-khora and we were obstructed by tax collectors; they were re-enacting Kṛṣṇa’s own pastime of collecting tax in this place. Rādhā’s resistance to Kṛṣṇa’s tax collection gave Him great delight. One of Her names is GovindaĀnandinī. GovindaĀnandinī—that is She who brings ānanda or bliss to Govinda; not only brings, She is His bliss. Another of Her names is GovindaMohinī. These are names glorified by Kṛṣṇa Dāsa Kavirāj Gosvāmī – [CC Ādi 4.82]

govinda-ānandinī rādhā, govinda-mohinī

govinda-sarvasva, sarva-kāntā-śiromaṇi

“She is the bliss of the Govinda, She has bewildered Govinda, She is His everything, She is the crest jewel of all of Kṛṣṇa‘s lovers.”

In the Sāñkari-khora we see how Rādhā brings bliss or delight to Kṛṣṇa. He establishes a toll station. As Rādhā and Her friends try to come from the palace in Varṣāṇā to the market to sell, by transporting their yogurt, butter, ghee and milk. For some reason, they choose this very difficult pass. There is actually a more direct route. But they choose this very difficult path, hoping that someone might be there and very often He is with His toll station. “Oh, you are going to sell these commodities on the market, but you must pay tax to cross this border.  I am appointed by whom?—By King Cupid”. He is demanding, “I need tax for this yogurt, I need tax for this butter, I need tax for this ghee. You are going to make a profit from them and so it’s appropriate that you pay tax at this point.

Sometimes He also wants to charge a tax for the beauty of Śrī Rādhā. Not just the products that they carry, but also She is very beautiful that should be taxed as well. [Gopīs:]“Well, what type of payment are you expecting?” [Kṛṣṇa :] “Mmmm, okay, let me calculate! Her eyes are more beautiful than millions of blue sapphires, it’s like they have stolen the beauty of the sapphires. The sapphires themselves have no beauty anymore after seeing Her eyes. So I will need a million rupees—a million sapphires for those eyes.” [Gopīs:]“Oh, what else?” [Kṛṣṇa :]“Her teeth—they have robbed the beauty of the pearls. I will need the million pearls for those teeth. And those lips, they have stolen the luster of rubies. Her luster—it has stolen the beauty of gold.” And like this, Kṛṣṇa composes a most beautiful love poem glorifying all the features, the limbs, and the aspects of Śrī Rādhā’s beauty.

Śrī Rādhā blushes with pleasure. But She pretends to be angry. “Enough of this nonsense!”, and tries to barge Her way through and there is a scuffle between them, there is some jostling, pots of yogurt get broken, that makes the Gopīs even more angry. “Now you see what you have done, troublemakers —stay away from us!” Kṛṣṇa and His friends, they decide to eat that yogurt and butter.

In this place Sāñkari-khora, the Gopīs they decided one day to get some revenge; and so early in the morning, Lalitā arrange for thousands of Gopīs to hide behind the different bushes and rocks, in caves. Later in the morning Kṛṣṇa came and set up His toll station with His cowherd friends. Then at the usual time, Śrī Rādhā and Her friends they started to travel along that pass carrying yogurt and butter and so forth. Kṛṣṇa became very excited when He heard them coming. “Oh, oh here they come again. We will have some fun.” Kṛṣṇa didn’t know that He was about to be ambushed. He was sitting in a trap. When the Gopīs approached Him and He began to harass them, Lalitā gave the signal and a thousand Gopīs came out of the mountain side and there are three, four, five Gopīs for capturing each boys, tied their hands with garlands. Took them and tied their hair to the tree branches; and with their lotus hands slapped their faces, so that their cheeks were made red, “You rascals, you nonsenses!”

Madhumañgala, his shikha was tied up to a tree branch; and he was saying, “I am a Brāhmaṇa, I would never do anything wrong. I was just very-very hungry and I happened to join the company of these Vaiśya boys. What a big mistake it was. I will never associate with them again. Just let me go”. But the main target was Kṛṣṇa; He was to be punished personally by Śrī Rādhā, Lalitā, Viśākā. They bound His hands, tied His hair to tree branch, and then they dressed Him as a girl. They put a Gopī skirt on Him, they put a blouse on Him—a veil and they balanced a pot of yogurt on His head. “Oh pretty girl, where you are going with that pot of yogurt?” Kṛṣṇa was hanging His head, and He was so embarrassed. Lalitā held His chin, “Keep your head up!” Gave Him some slaps. “Don’t look down, look at us.” They were taunting Him, “You have to pay tax for that yogurt, You have to pay tax for Your beauty. You are such a pretty girl” [Laughter] Kṛṣṇa, He was silent. “So what—you are not going to pay anything?” Lalitā she took a rock, she took very careful aim, threw it at that pot balancing on His head and it broke and Kṛṣṇa was covered in yogurt. All of the Gopīs were laughing and laughing. It was the funniest day ever; the day they got back at Kṛṣṇa and His friends.

But Madhumañgala, he was quite distressed and he was still using his being a Brāhmaṇa, as the argument for why the Gopīs should not have treated him that way.  He was warning them, “Very bad things going to happen now that you have offended a brāhmaṇa. You have to try to win back my favor.” So the Gopīs said, “Well, what do you want Madhumañgala? If we give you some Lāḍus, would you be happy? “Oh yeah, that would work”. They brought him here—at KṛṣṇaKuṇḍa. They sat him on a throne. They piled up lots of Manohara Lāḍus. And Madhumañgala ate and ate and ate until his belly became bigger and bigger such that he could not eat anymore and he was very pleased, and he blessed all of those Gopīs that they would achieve their greatest fortune.

Up from here is Mora kutir and Mora means peacocks. That is a place where there are many peacocks. All along these mountainsides are peacocks. Once Śrī Rādhā and Śrī Kṛṣṇa; They went to the top of that mountain and it was monsoon. The monsoon clouds, they were blackish, they were filled with so much water and there was lightning flashing in those dark clouds. Śrī Rādhā, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, They sat up there to watch these big beautiful clouds with a lightning streaks through them. When the monsoon clouds saw Kṛṣṇa, how beautiful He was with His darkish, blackish, bluish complexion, they felt very ashamed and the lightning saw Śrī Rādhā with Her beautiful golden complexion, it also felt very ashamed.

The clouds they cried tears of shame and turned whitish and they began to rumble thunder. When the peacocks heard the thunder rumble, they started to dance, and Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa were observing the peacocks dancing, the peahens dancing; and then they also became inspired to dance. As the peacocks saw Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa’s dance they became more inspired to dance ever new dances, which inspired Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa’s own dance. Like this, each was inspiring the other and they were performing other new dances. Today you can see a painting of that dance in that very place, painted by a blind Sādhu who was doing Bhajan at that location. Śrī Rādhā appeared in his meditation and said, “I would like you to paint this Līlā”. “Paint the Līlā? I can’t see—I am blind. How will I paint anything?” She said, “You just paint and your hand will be guided”; and so he did, even today we can see that painting—a painting of the peacock dance of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa.

Let’s meditate on this name Govinda Sarvasva It says that Śrī Rādhā is everything to Govinda. There was a brāhmaṇa, an elderly brāhmaṇa, near to Varṣāṇā, and he heard – from the village, he heard sounds of a wedding celebration. Generally we might see a wedding or hear a wedding and we might become a little bit enlivened, “Oh! A wedding; how nice!” You might give your blessings, best wishes to the bride and the groom—to create auspiciousness for them. This brāhmaṇa started crying loudly wailing—“Oh!” He is the hearing the wedding music and crying. Kṛṣṇa asked him, “Dear brāhmaṇa, why are you crying? How can I help you?” “Oh! I am an old brāhmaṇa, I am very poor and I have a daughter that I am unable to marry because I don’t have any wealth. You can help me by giving me some wealth that I might get my daughter married”.

Well, Kṛṣṇa was in the forest, with the Gopīs, with Rādhā. He didn’t have any gold treasure with Him that He could give to that brāhmaṇa.  He was looking around. “What treasure can I give this brāhmaṇa?” and He thought, “Here is My greatest treasure—Śrī Rādhā Herself.” “Dear brāhmaṇa, I will give you My greatest treasure—It is my Pyāri Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī”. This brāhmaṇa, he began to cry even louder. Kṛṣṇa said, “What’s the matter now?” He said, “You have doubled my troubles. I had one daughter to marry and that was a problem and now I have two daughters that have to get married. You didn’t help at all. You have just increased my distress”. Kṛṣṇa said, “I am so sorry. Dear brāhmaṇa, I will fix this”. He took a rope and threw it over the branch of a tree. He tied a stick at one end and at the other end He tied a cow’s blanket. He had Rādhā sit on that stick like a swing and on the other side in that blanket He took off His bangles; He took off His anklets and He told the Gopīs, “You take off your jewelry—whatever you have and throw it into that blanket”. When that blanket filled with gold and jeweled ornaments equal to Śrī Rādhā’s weight, then He took that blanket and He gave it to the brāhmaṇa and He said, “Here, this is Śrī Rādhā’s weight in gold. You give Her back to me. I will give you all of these jewels and gold and you will get your daughter married.” That brāhmaṇa, although he was very old, he was very enlivened, he was able to lift that blanket, go off to his village very enlivened. Many years later, he had a realization like Dhruva Mahārāja, “I was with Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa and I asked for material things,—what a fool I am”, and he completely surrendered to RādhāŚyāma.

We glorify Kṛṣṇa as the all-attractive. He has sad-aisvarya—six opulences. Well, His opulences are unlimited but six principle opulence are prominent. Our Ācāryas explain, how in fact these opulences are made complete because of Kṛṣṇa’s association with Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. Yes, Kṛṣṇa is beautiful, but He is most beautiful when He stands next to Śrīmatī RādhārāṇīKṛṣṇa on His own is not nearly as beautiful as when He stands with Śrī Rādhā. Yes Kṛṣṇa is famous, but He is most famous because of His pastimes with Śrī Rādhā; most famous as RādhāRamana, RādhāKānta, Rādhā-Vallabha—all these wonderful names that is His fame. Yes, Kṛṣṇa is strong, but His real strength is His ability to attract Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. His real wisdom is in how He resolves the dilemma that arises in Their relationships. His real renunciation is perfected in the Rasa dance where He walks away from millions of Gopīs just to be with Śrī Rādhā. She is His everything—Govinda Sarvasva.

I would like to speak about this name of Rādhā, GovindaMohinī—She who bewilders Kṛṣṇa. Her love is so great that She causes Kṛṣṇa to forget Himself. When we leave from here later today, we will go to another lake— Pili Pukur. I won’t tell you all the details of that pastime. Oh, we will wait for one week to arrive at that place. But let me tell you this much, at that place Kṛṣṇa became completely bewildered as to His own identity. He became completely bewildered by Rādhā’s Prema for Him and temporarily He assumed Rādhā’s own complexion, Her duty, and Her mood—Her Bhāvana. You will have to wait to find out how that happened; there is a cliffhanger for you. Yeah, you are going to wait in anticipation for those details. Let’s suffice to say that Kṛṣṇa became bewildered. He merged in Rādhā’s mood and complexion and He left that lake wandering through the forest of Varṣāṇā saying, “Hey Kṛṣṇa, where are you?” A golden-colored Kṛṣṇa calling out for Himself; Looking for Himself. Rādhā’s love so bewilders Kṛṣṇa. He is unable to comprehend its breadth and its depth.

That He appears in this world as Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu to answers three questions:

  1. What is Rādhā’s Prema—what is the nature of Rādhā’s love?
  2. What is it about Kṛṣṇa’s sweetness that attracts Rādhā?
  3. What is the bliss that She experiences in loving Him?

To answer these questions, Kṛṣṇa who is blackish in complexion, He appears in a golden form as Gaurāṅga. Internally, Kṛṣṇa—externally like Śrī Rādhā in mood and complexion and mad with love for Śrī Kṛṣṇa, He tastes the nectar of Kṛṣṇa Prema. Day and night He chants Kṛṣṇa‘s name feeling intense pangs of separation from Kṛṣṇa. That is Vipralamba Bhāva or Love in separation; and in this intense mood of loving separation from Kṛṣṇa, His experiment is to understand, get responses or answers to these questions that bewilder Him. In this, He very mercifully, very kindly distributes that very love to anyone who will take it. He is Mahāvadanyāya Avatāra—that is the most munificent incarnation. Kṛṣṇa has so many incarnations, but in this incarnation of Caitanya Mahāprabhu, He is Mahāvadanyāya, the most merciful, because He is in the mood of His own devotee —Śrī Rādhā

Generally we have to be qualified to get Kṛṣṇa’s mercy. But when Kṛṣṇa is drunk with love; He is drinking the nectar of that love, and it’s falling around Him. He is not discriminating who will taste that nectar with him. If the king decides to give away the most valuable treasures in his treasury; If the King becomes drunk and decide to give away valuable jewels from the treasury, who can stop him? When Kṛṣṇa becomes immersed in a mood of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī and freely gives this love, who can stop Him?

That is Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the most kind, the most merciful incarnation of Godhead; so if we want to approach Kṛṣṇa, if we want to enter His eternal pastimes in Vrajadhama, we approach Him through Caitanya Mahāprabhu, we approach Him through Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī and Her maid-servants.

 Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī explains,

tan-nāma-rūpa-caritādi-sukīrtanānu-

smṛtyoḥ krameṇa rasanā-manasī niyojya

tiṣṭhan vraje tad-anurāgi-janānugāmī

kālaṁ nayed akhilam ity upadeśa-sāram

The essence of all advice is to hear Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes and glories, to chant them, to engage our mind on meditating on them, and gradually, to become immersed in this Kīrtana, Śravaṇa and Smaraṇa. But to engage in this Sādhana under the direction or under the guidance of Kṛṣṇa’s eternal devotees—that is called ‘janānugāmī ‘ –to follow in the footsteps, to follow in the mood of residents of Vṛndāvan. Anurāga—means follow in their mood. We want to approach Kṛṣṇa; so we are advised to approach Him in the mood of the residents of Vṛndāvan —as Caitanya Mahāprabhu did. We are advised to approach Kṛṣṇa for cultivating that mood of His eternal associates—always with guidance and in this process as a servant of the servant of the servant we will be able to enter; we will be granted entry.

The famous story of Lakṣmī is that She performed great penance and austerities to enter into the RasaLīlā. Kṛṣṇa appeared and asked, “What can I do for you?” “I would like to participate in your Rasa dance.” “That’s very nice, but this isn’t the process. Penance and austerity will not give you entry into the Rasa dance.” “Well, what is the process?” “The process is to follow my eternal devotees who are participating in the Rasa dance;  — to follow in their mood, to take up their service, to receive their mercy.” Lakṣmī—She is a goddess, born from the ocean of milk, so She didn’t take to this very advice and So Kṛṣṇa said you can be a golden line on my chest. But you can’t enter into my Rasa dance; so She didn’t follow that process. We are therefore advised that we must follow this process of following in the footsteps of servants of the servants of the servants of the residents of Vṛndāvan.

Caitanya Mahāprabhu prayed: Gopī-bhartuḥ pada-kamalayor dāsa-dāsānu-dāsa” – I am the servant of the servant of the servant of the lotus feet of the Gopīs of Vṛndāvan. As followers of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, we are followers of Rūpa Gosvāmī, i.e. Rūpānuga – followers of Rūpa Gosvāmī, who is Rūpa Mañjarī, the maid-servant of Śrī Rādhā. All of our Ācāryas in the line of disciplic succession, they are in the spiritual identity—they are servants maids of Rūpa Mañjarī. Thus we followers of Rūpa Gosvāmī, followers of Bhakti-Siddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākur, followers of Śrīla Prabhupāda, we aspire to the service of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī under the guidance of Rūpa Mañjarī. That is our aspiration. That is our highest objective. It is our invitation as well. The opportunity to visit Varṣāṇā, to chant here, to associate with devotees under Gurudeva’s guidance here, the opportunity to visit so many holy places in the month of Kārtik,  it is a great opportunity for all of us, who despite of our lack of qualifications, somehow or other find ourselves here by the mercy of the devotees. Somehow or other, by this special mercy, as we express our eagerness and our sincerity, then that mercy will deliver to us unto, what is apparently impossible to achieve.

By Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī’s grace, we can be given a place in service in the spiritual world, and as a servant of the servant of Śrī Rādhā and Her associates.

Kṛṣṇa says in the Gītā that He reciprocates with everyone according to their devotion. Karmīs approach with material desires, and He gives them material rewards; Jñānīs approach desiring liberation and He gives them that. Devotees approach desiring devotion and He reciprocates. Like this according to devotion of devotee Kṛṣṇa manifests Himself. Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, She loves Kṛṣṇa the most and so the highest manifestation of Kṛṣṇa—that is the most loving and affectionate Kṛṣṇa is manifest only before Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. Can we ever hope to see that Kṛṣṇa? It is possible. We can never love Kṛṣṇa as Śrī Rādhā does with the same intensity. In principle, we would never see that Kṛṣṇa. But we can stand behind Śrī Rādhā; we can stand behind Her servant and Her servant, Her servant’s servant’s servant ; somewhere standing behind the servants of Her servant, standing behind our Spiritual Masters,—we can actually see that Kṛṣṇa. That Kṛṣṇa who takes delight in Śrī Rādhā— ‘Govinda Ānandinī’, that Kṛṣṇa for whom Śrī Rādhā is everything— ‘Govinda Sarvasva’, that Kṛṣṇa whom Śrī Rādhā has bewildered—‘GovindaMohinī’, that Kṛṣṇa we will be able to see and serve by following as a humble servant of our Spiritual Masters. Only by Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī’s mercy!

Vṛndāvanesvari Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī ki – Jaya!

Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī ki – Jaya!

Śrī Varṣāṇā Dhām ki – Jaya!

Vrajendra-Nandana Kṛṣṇa ki – Jaya!

Govinda-Mohini Rādhā ki – Jaya!

Govinda-Ānandinī Rādhā ki – Jaya!

Govinda-Sarvasva Rādhā ki – Jaya!

Śrīla Prabhupāda ki – Jaya!

Nitai Gaura Premanande – HARIBOL!

Jaya-Jaya Śrī Rādhe…………………..Śyāma!

Barsānā – HH Śrīla Indradyumna Swami – Lecture

The Glories of Barsānā

– By His Holiness Śrīla Indradyumna Swami

The palace servants over here, they are inspired by the kind of bliss that is unknown to the inhabitants of NandaGram. Rūpa Gosvāmī gives a very poetic description. He says “The concert of Rādhā’s laughter mixed with the tinkling of Her ankle bells and the song of Her Vīṇā defeats even the vibration of Kṛṣṇa’s flute.” This is the place of many of Her youthful pastimes, especially with Her girlfriends; they would roam this particular area, selling their milk products.

Sometimes they would meet the cowherd boys and there would be confrontations. The particular hill that we are sitting on now, this is one of the four Brahmās heads in Varṣāṇā—be careful. This is called Vilāsa-Gad. Vilāsa means pastimes, so this is the hill of pastimes. Very briefly, one Śāstra describes that at one time during the Srāvaṇa season during the month of July, Rādhārāṇī and Kṛṣṇa got into a really heavy argument.

The result of that argument was that Rādhārāṇī became very angry at Kṛṣṇa. Now generally when Rādhārāṇī gets angry, Kṛṣṇa has to make it up to Her. He has to give Her some gifts, some sweet words, try to appease Her. But in this particular instance, Rādhārāṇī would have nothing to do with the gifts, the sweet words of Kṛṣṇa. She came up here on the hill, sulking with Her girlfriends.

Now Kṛṣṇa tried to come up that same hill you walked up; you saw it’s a little difficult. He tried to come up here to appease Her, but Rādhārāṇī had Her Gopīs and Sakhīs there and they wouldn’t let Kṛṣṇa come up, “No way You are going to come up here. Stay away. You offended our Mistress.”

Especially Lalitā, she is very protective of Rādhārāṇī. So she said to Kṛṣṇa, “Rādhārāṇī doesn’t want to speak to you, She doesn’t want to see you—forevermore.” Kṛṣṇa was totally devastated. He sat down with all His cowherd boyfriends, “How am I going to get up on the hill and say I am sorry?” So all the boys were saying, “Just forget about Her. She is just a girl. Let’s go play.”

Kṛṣṇa said, “No, no, I have to go tell Her I am sorry. I have an idea.” Kṛṣṇa said, “I will trick those Gopīs who are guarding over there by the hill. I will trick them. I will dress up as a girl and I will get through. I am going to dress up like a girl with a sāri and jewelry and makeup and they won’t even notice me and I will get in there to see Rādhārāṇī.”

All the boys went, “Oh no! You are not going to dress up like a girl, Kṛṣṇa! We don’t like this idea.” But Kṛṣṇa was very determined and he said to his boy friends, “Dress me as a girl.” “Oh, Okay.” You can just imagine.

So they went through the villages here and somehow they got a sāri, they got some kājal, they got some jewelry. And they dressed Kṛṣṇa as best they could. Balarāma was saying, “Do you really want to go through with this? I mean it’s so demeaning if you dress like a girl.”

Madhumañgala—he was just in the back laughing and laughing. He couldn’t control it. He didn’t participate, and he was just laughing and laughing. Then Kṛṣṇa said, “All you guys stay here and I am going up,” and He walked up the hill as femininely as He could and He came to that group of Gopīs who were guarding there and He said, in a very sweet feminine voice, “I am from this village, this is my name, I have come to sing for Rādhā.” “Oh, you have come to sing for Rādhā. Please go by. She is just up here.”

This young Gopī came and she sat down and she just started singing the glories of Rādhārāṇī. Who could sing the glories of Rādhārāṇī better than Kṛṣṇa? That very sweet voice of Kṛṣṇa was filled with so much Prema, so much RādhāBhāva, love for Rādhā, which captured the attention of Rādhā and she said to Lalitā, “I have never heard any of my Mañjarīs or Sakhīs sing so sweetly. Who is this new girl?”

So Lalitā again (she is very protective) said, “Yeah, it’s nice but there is something off here. I mean, it’s just that the voice is not exactly so feminine and look how she is dressed.”

As Kṛṣṇa (dressed as a Gopī) is singing, Lalitā is staring at Him and Kṛṣṇa starts to perspire. Viśākā said, “Why is this young Gopī perspiring? It’s not warm up here. This is the autumn season. What’s up?”

Lalitā whispers into Rādhārāṇī’s ear, “Let’s have an Iṣṭa-goṣṭhī.” The Sakhīs—they are the elder girls that are very close to working with Rādhā—they said to the Mañjarīs, “You just sit here,” and they went and they had an Iṣṭa-goṣṭhī, and they are talking and talking and they come up with some plan.

Meanwhile, you know Kṛṣṇa is singing the glories of Rādhārāṇī and perspiring and wondering, “What’s going on?” So Rādhārāṇī comes back and the girls sit there and they listen a little bit longer and Rādhārāṇī raises Her hand, “Okay, stop.” [Tells Kṛṣṇa to stop singing]. “My dear Mañjarī, you are such a beautiful singer. I want to reward you.”

This is very natural, Rādhārāṇī of course is BhaktiDevī. She is in charge of devotional service and when She sees that some aspiring devotee is very serious about Kṛṣṇa Consciousness, She rewards that devotee with devotional service. We are always praying to Her:

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

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

“My dear Kṛṣṇa, my dear Rādhārāṇī, please engage me in Your devotional service.” So it’s Rādhā who engages us in the service of Kṛṣṇa. She said to this Gopī, “You are expressing so much devotion; I want to give you a reward.”

Kṛṣṇa is thinking in His mind, “Oh, maybe She will hug me.” You know, Rādhārāṇī hugs Her Mañjarīs, gives them a little kiss. “Maybe She will kiss me.” Kṛṣṇa stopped singing and He says, “Well, yes, what is the reward you would like to give me, your young Gopī?”

Rādhārāṇī looks at Viśākā and She looks at Lalitā and She smiled. She said, “We want to give You a new set of clothes. I mean, where did You get those clothes? Like, You must have really been in a hurry to dress Yourself, because you know it’s a little disturbed. So we are going to give You a new set of clothes and all of My Mañjarīs are going to dress you.”

Kṛṣṇa said, “No, no, no, no, no—these clothes are very nice. They are hand-me-downs from my Mom and they are very special and I took a lot of care. I was in a hurry to dress, but it’s okay. These clothes are fine. No!” All the Gopīs are coming forward with a set of clothes to dress: “No, no, no, no, no, it’s fine, fine. Thank you. Give me something else.”

“No, we are going to change your clothes.” But Rādhārāṇī said, “Girls, dress this new Gopī.” Well, they came and they take off the top little piece that they put there, whatever you call it, and they remove the sāri and then some of the Gopīs undo the choli, and as they undo the choli, two big kadamba flowers pop out!

All the younger Gopīs, they didn’t know what was going on. They started laughing. “Oh, this is Kṛṣṇa!” Kṛṣṇa, He was so embarrassed, He turned bright red. He is blue, but He turned bright red, and they are all laughing and Rādhārāṇī, by this act of trying to come up and win Her favor, She was appeased by Kṛṣṇa’s trick.

She welcomed Kṛṣṇa back and He dressed in His normal clothes and then Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, They sat on the beautiful swing here and They had Jhulan Yātrā, and all the Gopīs and Mañjarīs were fanning Them. This Jhulan Yātrā is a popular festival, and it takes place in different parts of Vṛndāvan, but this is one of the favorite places of the Jhulan Yātrā, the swing festival which commemorates those two Kadamba flowers that popped out of Kṛṣṇa’s choli, as He was trying to dress as a Gopī and appease His beautiful Rādhā which He did.

This is the VilāsaGad, the place of pastimes, one of the four heads of Brahmā. He very much desired at the beginning of creation, “Oh, let Kṛṣṇa’s Vṛndāvan pastimes happen on my head,” so they happened here. There is the beautiful palace which Rādhā lived in with Her family, and you see another beautiful palace right here, isn’t it? This is called the Jaipur palace. One king in Jaipur, of course we heard about the Jaipur kings, how pious they were. The Kṣatriyas wanted to protect Kṛṣṇa; RādhāGovinda went there. These kings often came here to Vṛndāvan. So one king he wasn’t very impressed with this old palace, so he built what he thought was a better palace architecturally and he invited the Deity that is worshipped, this Deity of Rādhārāṇī that is worshipped in this palace to come over here. They tried to bring Her, but She wouldn’t leave that palace to come to this palace. So this palace has been empty ever since it has been built. It is just used for Sādhus, and tourists sometimes stay there. She had Her desire to stay in the palace of Her father.

So a very brief introduction to Varṣāṇā, just one or two of the unlimited pastimes that take place here daily. You can appreciate where you’re sitting. Every day we’re sitting in another very special place and imbibing the mood and the pastimes of that particular place. On this very beautiful autumn morning, I don’t think it’s going to get very hot here. The season’s getting a little cooler so this is a perfect place to come.

We will have Kīrtana now. Sit and just enter deeply into the chanting of:

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

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

We have nothing else to do, nowhere else to go, we are in the perfect spot doing the proper thing.

This is the best way to see Vṛndāvan through Śravaṇaṁ, kīrtanam. Then Śrī Prahlāda will enlighten us about the glories of this divine personality, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. Then we will have breakfast, and then we will have another Kīrtana. Why should we go anywhere else? We have come to the perfect place after many, many lifetimes. Then we will walk the traditional route around Varṣāṇā. We are not going to stop and have any more Kathā or Kīrtana. We will just walk, walk, walk, walk, walk; and we will go to the palace, and have darśana of the Deities of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. Then we will walk down the hill. We will go to Pili Pokhar. We will hear that pastime later where Rādhārāṇī washed her hands and we will have lunch Prasādam there.

So relish every moment of your stay here in Varṣāṇā and that will not be difficult with Mādhava’s Kīrtana.

Vṛndāvanesvari Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī ki—Jaya!

Vilāsa-Gad ki—Jaya!

King Vṛṣbhānu ki—Jaya!

Kīrtidā-Sundarī Devī ki—Jaya!

Jaya-Jaya Śrī Rādhe……….. Śyāma!

Tālavan- HH Śrīla Indradyumna Swami – Instructions

Praying to Daujī

– By HH Śrīla Indradyumna Swami

This is Tālavan, one of the 12 forests. Sometimes the boys would bring the cows to the forest. The little cows would graze on the soft grasses and because you don’t have to watch the cows all the time, the boys would have their pastimes. They would wrestle and would swim in the waters, and they have lunch and they tell jokes and things. And then in the evening, they take the cows back to Nanda Mahārājas Go-śālā. But this particular forest, it was all off-limits. The other 11 forests, they can pick and choose, but this forest was off-limits. You couldn’t come here. Just like as a young boy or girl we had the perverted reflection of the Purāṇas, in the forms of Grimm’s Fairy Tales from Germany. We heard these fairy tales. We always heard of these dark dangerous forests in Germany where the witches live and also the half–goblins. We read the stories and were scared, “I will never go there—the dark forest of Germany.” [Laughter]

Similarly the cowherd boys, they would rarely even mention the name–Tālavan because this was the scariest place. Why? Because of Dhenukā. Dhenukā means ass. Dhenukāsura–ass-like demon. This is where he lived, and you just didn’t come here because he was a man-eater. He was not just any ordinary demon, he was a Rākṣasa. He loved eating men and he found that children would be particularly delicious. He loved the little boys; so cowherd boys wouldn’t even in their jokes mention Tālavan, because Dhenukāsura lived there.

One day they were in Mahāvana, which is the next forest over. While in Mahāvana, they were taking rest and a breeze came which carried the sweet smell of the Tāla fruit, which grew on the trees. There were lots of Tāla fruits. Nobody came here to eat them, only the Dhenukāsura and his other ass friends would eat that. But there was so much they couldn’t eat. As the scent came through, the boys woke up, “Mmm, Mmm,” and they wanted some of those fruits. And we will continue the story after the Bhajan [Laughter]. But this is the place where Balarāma killed His first demon. Kṛṣṇa was killing all the demons as before and Balarāma didn’t have a chance. This is a very, very special place, because Balarāma chased a lot of demons, but this was the place He killed His first demon—Dhenukāsura.

Like this, every place in Braja, which of the 60 billion holy places, has its special pastimes and special devotees, special characteristics, special Rasas, special mood. When we come to each of these individual places, we absorb ourselves in all of those specific characteristics of that holy place. Kṛṣṇa is called Manohara, one of His unlimited names. Manohara means who attracts the mind. The yoga process, including Bhakti yoga, means to control the mind. The mind is very restless, slipping off over all these material subject matters and things. We control our mind by fixing it on hearing in Vṛndāvan of the beautiful pastimes of the Lord. This is the best way to control the mind.  One day our minds and our hearts will be spontaneously attracted to all these wonderful pastimes of Kṛṣṇa. If we think of them day and night, then in that mood we will eventually follow one of the residents of Vṛndāvan in a particular mood, in a particular service. We will follow that and we will practice that and we become perfected, so in this way we will enter one day into the eternal pastimes in Śrī Vṛndāvan Dhām.

We control our mind also through deity worship, and we are very fortunate that here in Tālavan the presiding deity is Lord Balarāma. You can see Lord Balarāma here; He is in a blackish form. We think about, we always have our deities in ISKCON that are white but throughout Vṛndāvan generally, I see that the deities of Balarāma are also a dark color—black. Here is Balarāma and on His left, all white, is His wife Revatī, His girlfriend.

Balarāma means the source of unlimited strength, unlimited spiritual strength. You can pray to Daujī, Balarāma for unlimited spiritual strength to advance in Kṛṣṇa Consciousness because:

‘daivī hy eṣā guṇa-mayī mama māyā duratyayā’

[BG 7.14]

Even Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa admits that, “This material energy of mine is very difficult to overcome.” By the mercy of Balarāma we can overcome this powerful material energy.

Daujī means older brother, so on Daujī’s left is a little Deity of Kṛṣṇa playing His flute. This is a Kṛṣṇa Balarāma temple, much like the same mood we have in the ISKCON temple in Vṛndāvan. Prabhupāda chose to place Kṛṣṇa Balarāma at the center of our temple, because that is Ramaṇ Reti—the soft sand of Ramaṇ Reti where Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma also have many of Their transcendental pastimes. As I look at the crowd I can see you are becoming veteran Parikramis now. Devotees on Parikramā you all look very seasoned after several weeks: breathing in the dust of Vṛndāvan, walking on the dust, riding on the buses, getting a little sick, still coming out and relishing these pastimes. You look like seasoned Parikramā devotees now. Congratulations!

Do you know how to relish these Parikramās? We just engage in Śravaṇaṁ, Kīrtanaṁ, Kṛṣṇa Smaraṇaṁthat means by hearing and chanting we absorb ourselves in these Līlās of Kṛṣṇa, which is the essence of Vṛndāvan. Please relish every moment of this day here in the Tālavan forest. As we always do, we enter into the mood through a Kīrtana. Mādhava Prabhu will lead another one of his amazing kīrtanas and bhajans, and then we will have more kathā about Tālavan.

Tomorrow we have changed the schedule a little bit. Again, variety is the spice of life. Tomorrow we are going to Barśānā. You don’t want to miss that one. In Vilasgad, I have asked Śrī Prahlāda to give a lecture on Rādhārāṇī and her pastimes at Barśānā.

The next day actually is Prabhupāda’s disappearance day, but we are going to have a little special program ourselves, like we do as a little family here. So our Parikramā family will be going to the ashram of Durvāsā Muni and speaking the glories of Śrīla Prabhupāda, because it’s a very quiet, clean atmosphere next to Yamunā. I have chosen to take all of you on a boat-ride down to Durvāsā Muni’s ashram. There, we will speak the glories about our beloved Founder-Ācārya Śrīla Prabhupāda.

Not going too far ahead, next we will be going to Yavat and Caturātmā Prabhu will speak about the pastimes of Yavat and then we will walk to the beautiful fields of Vṛndāvan to Tera Kadamba and Ṭhākurāṇī is going to speak about the glories of Rūpa Gosvāmī. The next day we will be going on Govardhan Parikramā again. Haribol!

Girirāja Govardhana Bansi-vala ki–Jaya!

If you want a preview, there is a video up on my Facebook page and YouTube about the first GovardhanParikramā there, made by Ananta Vṛndāvan and it got so manyaround 20,000views. The next day is a very sad day, a very sad daya day for crying only. It’s a break day! [Laughter] No Parikramā. “Kṛṣṇa PAMAGI IIIII…..” [Russian word] [Laughter]. The next day we will be going to Gokula. We can have initiations, first and second and then Baḍa Hari Prabhu will give the initiation lecture. I asked, “Will you do the initiations?” But he said, “No!” [Laughter] I will stop there. There are still five or six more places, but we will just relish all the nectar up until that point. Okay, so let’s have a kīrtana in front of Daujī Kṛṣṇa–more nectar at Tālavan.

I want to mention one of my special friends came from Surat–one of my very best and closest friends in life. I remember when she was just a little girl. Now she is a big girl. Today is her birthday. She has come with family all the way here to Vṛndāvan on her birthday. Her family is coming to my house for a lunch. We are going to have a big chocolate cake for her birthday. So Vṛndā please stand up; give her a big round of applause on her 15th birthday. [Clapping, “Haribol!”]. Happy Birthday, Vṛndā! My gift to you, my prayers, and my blessing to you is that this will be your last birth in the material world and at the end of your life, you will go back to Goloka Vṛndāvan and be a Gopī.

Samādhi of Brahmānanda Prabhu – HH Śrīla Indradyumna Swami – Memories

Remembrance of Brahmānanda Prabhu

– By His Holiness Śrīla Indradyumna Swami

[Opening prayers…]

I thank Pañca-Gauḍa Prabhu and Gargamuni Prabhu for giving me the opportunity to speak so early in this ceremony. There is a common saying in society that, “You can judge the greatness of a person by how many people—or more important, who— attends their funeral or memorial service.” So as I look around here at this august assembly of Vaiṣṇavas and Vaiṣṇavīs, it’s very apparent what a wonderful and great devotee Brahmānanda Prabhu was and he has certainly earned this epitaph which is on his Samādhi: “Indisputably the favorite son of His Divine Grace ŚrīlaA.C. Bhakti-Vedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Kṛṣṇa Consciousness.”

We all have our personal stories of association with Brahmānanda Prabhu. For me, I see him as my Vartma-Pradarśaka-Guru. Gargamuni Prabhu remembers that in 1970 I was working at the University of Michigan—in Michigan, Detroit. I was wandering through the grounds and I came across a Kīrtana party of four very effulgent personalities: Viṣṇujana Swami, Subala Swami, Gargamuni Swami at the time, and Brahmānanda Swami. This is what it took to make me a devotee. [Laughter]. I am going to get to that. I was just swept up with their love and their devotion to Śrīla Prabhupāda more than anything else. Viṣṇujana Swami was giving a talk to the students when we walked up and then he asked for questions, and some of the students were arguing, as it was an intellectual university. But he defeated them one by one and they all went away, and just myself and my former wife were standing there, so Viṣṇujana Mahārāja said, “Come, and I will tell you about my spiritual master, Śrīla Prabhupāda.”

We sat down. He spoke for about a half an hour. And he said, “What do you think?” I said, “He is also my spiritual master now.” They were so potent, so powerful. Then, Brahmānanda was speaking to me, preaching to me, convincing me very quickly to become a devotee and he said, “Now, do you know where we can stay tonight?” So I said, “Well, we are staying in an apartment building that’s going to be condemned soon. People are living in a few apartments there, and there is an apartment next to us. You can stay there.” Then Brahmānanda Mahārāja said to Viṣṇujana Swami, “This nice young couple has invited us to stay with them, so we will stay there.” Then Mahārāja said, “What do you think?” Brahmānanda Mahārāja said, “Well, if we can have a nice feast, some nice Prasādam, we can stay with them.” [Laughter]

I said, “Okay, guys”—excuse me for my language, but that’s what I said—“Let’s go back to my apartment.” On the way, Brahmānanda looked at me and he said, “So do you have any money?” [Laughter]. I had just gotten my paycheck for working as a gardener at the University. I think it was around $455, so I said, “Yeah.” He said, “Give it to me.” He showed Gargamuni and Gargamuni nodded his head, so Brahmānanda said, “Sign the check.” I signed the check and then they cashed it at the supermarket and they spent every cent—every single penny of that paycheck—on the bhoga for the feast they were going to cook at our apartment. They cooked it and I think Gargamuni was cooking and Viṣṇujana Mahārāja was cooking and Brahmānanda Prabhu was waiting.

We sat down to take Prasādam, and me and my former wife—we had been on a fast for 20 days, because in those days, you know, spiritual life meant fasting and meditating and everything. I am thinking “How I am going to eat this feast?” Now it’s cooked, it’s offered, and everyone is sitting down there. I said, “No-no, we are fasting.” Brahmānanda Prabhu said, “No, you are not.” [Laughter]. If you knew him, he could be very heavy. I sometimes remember him as you know, strong as a thunderbolt and soft like a rose. For myself, he was always very soft like a rose, but this one occasion, he just pulled me into Kṛṣṇa Consciousness. He said, “No, you are going to eat.” And I broke a fast—a 20 day fast—with a huge feast.” And I survived. [Laughter].

As we were taking Prasādam, I noticed that in the time it took me to eat one plate, he ate five plates. [Laughter]. In the end, he looked at me and said, “This is Kṛṣṇa Consciousness.” [Laughter].

You know, with Gargamuni’s management, and Subala’s serving everything, and Viṣṇujana’s lectures, and Brahmānanda’s brotherly love, I became a devotee, so he is one of the persons who showed me the path of Kṛṣṇa Consciousness. I can honestly say I would not be here today without his and those other Prabhus’ mercy so this is why I have come to offer my gratitude to Brahmānanda Prabhu. Through the years, we would meet, from time to time.

A couple of years ago, I came here to the temple and I came in just before the Bhāgavatam class had started, and Brahmānanda Prabhu was giving the class and as I walked in he said, “Oh, Indradyumna Swami has come.” And he stood up and he sat down on the floor, and he said, “You give the class.” I was so embarrassed, because here is the person who had made me a devotee, who convinced me to give up material life, to take shelter of Śrīla Prabhupāda, and although he was a well-known personality and deserves so much respect, he showed genuine humility by stepping down and asking me to give the class. He was instructing us in so many ways. Another wonderful attribute that I remember about Brahmānanda Prabhu is his deep love and deep affection for Śrīla Prabhupāda. I think in all our minds this is what stands out probably most. That was demonstrated without exception, whenever Brahmānanda Prabhu would give a class about his memories of Śrīla Prabhupāda. Inevitably, sometime during the speaking he would cry. Tears would come to his eyes. This of course you know is the perfection of Kṛṣṇa Consciousness, when we can feel some deeper emotion and actually tears can come to the eyes, expressing our love for Hari, Guru, and Vaiṣṇava.

As Brahmānanda Prabhu would cry whenever he would speak about Śrīla Prabhupāda and it was never sentiment, it was based on deep realization of who Śrīla Prabhupāda was; it was based on the purification he had achieved as the result of serving Prabhupāda. They were genuine tears of spiritual love for Śrīla Prabhupāda. In the same way, love is always reciprocal. It’s never a one-way street, it’s always reciprocal. It brings to mind one pastime of Śrīla Prabhupāda when he was flying somewhere with one of his secretaries. I forget who the secretary was, he told me the story, but old age affects our memory. Prabhupāda’s secretary told me that he was flying with Śrīla Prabhupāda somewhere in the world and he was opening Śrīla Prabhupāda’s mail and reading it to Śrīla Prabhupāda, as was the custom or the tradition. One of the letters he opened was from Brahmānanda Mahārāja who at the time was preaching in Africa of all places. What a challenge to go to Africa and spread Kṛṣṇa Consciousness!

But along with the instruction of the spiritual master comes the ability to fulfill it, so because he was such a surrendered soul to Śrīla Prabhupāda he was successful against all odds in Africa. Prabhupāda understood this and as Prabhupāda’s secretary was reading Brahmānanda Prabhu’s report about his preaching, the secretary told me Prabhupāda started crying; tears. At the end of the reading, he said, “Brahmānanda has done so much for me. He has sacrificed his very life for me.” Prabhupāda was crying. So this is love, and the love is demonstrated, the genuine symptoms are there. As Brahmānanda cried out of love for Śrīla Prabhupāda, Śrīla Prabhupāda would cry out of love for his disciple. This gives us a glimpse of how deep is the relationship.

When he passed away, naturally in our community, devotees asked the question, “Where did he go?” We can’t speculate like that, but:

yaṁ yaṁ vāpi smaran bhāvaṁ

tyajaty ante kalevaram

[BG 8.6]

“Our next destination is determined by our Consciousness at the moment of death.” No one can doubt where Brahmānanda Prabhu’s consciousness was when he passed away. It’s where it always was—at the lotus feet of Śrīla Prabhupāda. Wherever Śrīla Prabhupāda is, whether he is continuing his preaching mission somewhere in this material world or he is engaging in his NityaSevā in the spiritual world, I have no doubt and I am sure none of you have any doubts, that’s where Brahmānanda Prabhu is. So our loss is their gain. As Gargamuni Prabhu was saying, these ceremonies are simultaneously emotionally difficult, but very joyful as well. As Bhaktivinode wrote that famous verse which is on the Samādhi Mandir of Haridāsa Ṭhākur in Purī: “He reasons ill who says that Vaiṣṇavas die, when thou art living still in sound! A Vaiṣṇava dies to live and while living tries to spread the Holy Name around!”

I am convinced that Brahmānanda Prabhu is with Śrīla Prabhupāda; it can only be because that’s where his heart always was, so that is very joyful. We miss his association. For so many years now, we have been coming to Vṛndāvan, we would always come to his talks in the evening at the temple, and he would recount about Prabhupāda.

We miss him, but we hope that we can become as qualified as he was, as wonderful a servant of our spiritual master as he was, have as much love for his spiritual master as he did, and be as capable of rendering incredible service, like Africa and pioneer preaching in New York, etc., etc. I think we can truly give him another epitaph; this is one here, but I think for any ISKCON devotee, probably the most important title we could ever give a devotee, we can give it to Brahmānanda Prabhu: “He was definitely a Prabhupāda Man.”

Brahmānanda Prabhu ki Jaya!

Śrīla Prabhupāda ki Jaya!

Worldwide ISKCON ki Jaya!

Gaura-Premanande Hari Haribol!

Kurukṣetra – HG Śrī Prahlāda Prabhu – Lecture; Indradyumna Swami’s Parikrama -2015

BhagavadGītā Overview

– By HG Śrī Prahlāda Prabhu

[Opening prayers…]

We are the most fortunate to be here in Kuru-Kṣetra Dhām, also called as DharmaKṣetra. The first verse of the Bhagavad-Gītā, Dhṛtarāṣṭra speaks:

dharma-kṣetre kuru-kṣetre

samavetā yuyutsavaḥ

māmakāḥ pāṇḍavāś caiva

kim akurvata sañjaya

“My dear Sañjaya, at that place of Dharma, place of spirituality, at that place of the Kurus, when my sons and the sons of Pāṇḍu assembled, what did they do?”

Prabhupāda explains in his commentary that Dhṛtarāṣṭra is afraid. He is afraid because he knows that his sons headed by Duryodhana are most sinful. They have violated the codes of Dharma in so many ways. They have stolen the kingdom of the Pāṇḍavas, they have cheated in a gambling match. They have tried to assassinate the Pāṇḍavas in so many ways; by feeding them poisonous food, trying to have them burnt alive in a palace of lak. They are most accustomed to adharma, and this battle will be fought in a place of Dharma. The opposing side, the Pāṇḍava army, is led by Yudhiṣtira Mahārāja—otherwise known as DharmarājaDhṛtarāṣṭra is afraid; this holy place it will give benefit to Dharmarāja Yudhiṣtira Mahārāja and it will act against the victory of Duryodhana and his sons.

We are here at this DharmaKṣetra. We are all trying to practice BhagavataDharma, and the influence of this place will be such that our proclivity, our ability to or inclination to practice Dharma will be further increased. Because we are all aspiring Bhaktas, we are all aspiring devotees, and so the effect of this place will be such that it will nurture our Bhakti, this DharmaKṣetra. Kṛṣṇa visited this place twice that we know, as recorded in the Śāstras. Maybe He visited more times as well, but in His pastimes 5,000 years ago we have the record of the Śāstra that He made two visits. One was for the famous Kurukṣetra war that we have been discussing, when He spoke the Bhagavad-Gītā, or we should better say, sung the Bhagavad-Gītā. That is the Song of Bhagavān.

The second time He visited with the Yadus, to bathe in these holy lakes during the solar eclipse. Whatever the chronology of these events, whether one happened before the other, I would like to discuss both in that order, Kṛṣṇa is speaking the Bhagavad-Gītā and Kṛṣṇa is coming here during the solar eclipse and meeting with Vrajavāsīs.

In both of these events, the external purpose is fighting the war or escaping the effects of an inauspicious solar eclipse. These are external reasons. The real purpose of Kṛṣṇa’s coming to this place is to engage in loving reciprocation with His devotees; to also demonstrate to us those loving relationships, as our invitation—“Would you like to join Me in these loving relationships?” That’s Kṛṣṇas invitation to all of us. In the Bhagavad-Gītā, this great song of Bhagavān, Kṛṣṇa so mercifully and kindly distills for us the essence of the Veda. There are many ways of analyzing the Bhagavad-Gītā. For today I would like to emphasize one specific point that Kṛṣṇa makes in the Bhagavad-Gītā, wherein He says:  ‘vedānta-kṛd veda-vid eva cāham’, that “Indeed, I am the knower, the compiler and the goal of the Veda.”

The Veda is very vast. It consists of thousands and thousands of verses, and they are quite abstract, difficult to understand particularly because they have quite contradictory messages, which lead to debates amongst Vedic scholars, as to the purpose, meaning and teaching of the Veda.

In the Bhagavad-Gītā, Kṛṣṇa so mercifully and beautifully, comprehensively synthesizes all of these apparent contradictory ideas; and demonstrates that they have in fact one essential teaching, one conclusion, one message that we will take from them: love of Kṛṣṇa. That’s it, so let us analyze a little how Kṛṣṇa does this.

We can divide the Vedic literature into six schools; these are the six schools of Vedic knowledge. These can further be divided into—well, summarized into pairs, so we get three divisions. We have the Nyāya and Vaiśeṣika schools of Vedic knowledge. Nyāya means logic given to us by Gautama Ṛṣi. Vaiśeṣika is a method of analysis, bringing things down to their smallest component parts, trying to understand the essence of things by distilling them to their essence, their fundamental components. Then we have Sāṅkhya and Yoga as another pair. The Sāṅkhya system of Vedic understanding describes the world in terms of interactions between Consciousness and matter, or Puruṣa and Prakṛti. The (Aṣṭāṅga) Yoga system is a mechanical system for pacifying the mind, given to us by Patañjali.

Finally, we have the Uttar and Pūrva Mīmāṁsaka Schools. The Pūrva Mīmāṁsaka school is focused on the Veda Saṁhitā, that is the Ṛg, Sāma, Yajur, and Atharva Vedas; they describe sacrifice to the Puruṣa. The Uttara Mīmāṁsaka consists of the Upaniṣadas that is focused on renunciation and meditation on Brahman. Okay, there are the six systems. Let’s now turn to the Bhagavad-Gītā and see how Kṛṣṇa harmonizes these schools into one comprehensive method or application of Vedic knowledge.

We begin with Nyāya and Vaiśeṣika, remember that Nyāya was about logic. Kṛṣṇa doesn’t give us a method of logic in the Bhagavad-Gītā by explaining, these are the different schools, these are the different fallacies, as Gautama does. But the Bhagavad-Gītā is sometimes described as a Nyāya text; because Kṛṣṇa uses a very logical approach to teach His disciple Arjuna. The objective of Nyāya is to overcome faulty thinking or faulty reasoning, and Kṛṣṇa does that. He cuts through Arjuna’s faulty thinking, faulty logic. In that sense Bhagavad-Gītā is described as a Nyāya śāstrā. Let us go to Sāṅkhya and Yoga.

Remember, Sāṅkhya is a system that describes relationship between Puruṣa and Prakṛti. The thirteenth chapter of the Bhagavad-Gītā is where we have Kṛṣṇa presenting a theistic Sāṅkhya philosophy, thirteenth, fourteenth, fifteenth chapters. Arjuna asks questions about the field—that is material nature, and the knower of the field—the living entity—who tries to enjoy the material nature.

Kṛṣṇas explanation is very much similar to teachings of Sāṅkhya. Sāṅkhya philosophy describes how material nature, Prakṛti, is activated by Consciousness and becomes dynamic. And from this, it creates what is described as Mahat-Tattva—that then interacts with the modes of material nature, so Consciousness interacting with Tamas, it creates the sense objects—earth, water, fire, air, ether. Then Consciousness interacting with the mode of goodness, it creates the knowledge acquiring senses: our eyes, our ears, our nose, our sense of tongue, touch; that is our ability to engage with the sense objects, as well as the working senses. The mind, as well, is created in this interaction of Consciousness with the Mahat and Rajas. Like this in the thirteenth chapter of the Gītā, Kṛṣṇa describes 24 material elements. But He tells us something more. He says, “ahaḿ bījapradaḥ pitā —I am the seed-giving father. It is Me who impregnates the material nature. It is Me who generates or activates this material cosmic manifestation. Everything comes from Me, everything depends on Me, like pearls are strung on a thread.” Sāṅkhya philosophy doesn’t give us that higher understanding, Kṛṣṇa gives it to us.

He also tells us about the material modes of nature in chapters 14 and 15. We get a great topography, a great system for understanding all things around us. Kṛṣṇa says, “Food can be categorized according to sattva, rajas, and tamas—goodness, passion, and ignorance. Work can be classified that way. Happiness can be classified that way. Everything can be classified according to these modes of nature. They have different results; Tamas leads to further distress, Rajas leads to a temporary happiness and then distress, Sattva leads to a sustainable happiness.” But Kṛṣṇa doesn’t want us to remain in the modes of nature. He wants us to transcend them. That’s His teaching about the modes in Bhagavad-Gītā that we can transcend the modes of nature by His grace.

daivī hy eṣā guṇamayī, mama māyā duratyayā

This material nature is difficult to overcomes, these gunas are very difficult to overcome but by My mercy, you can do it very easily.

Kṛṣṇa teaches about Yoga in the sixth chapter and eighth chapter of Bhagavad-Gītā. Patañjali’s Yoga system, it’s an eight-fold system. He has given a system to help address the issue of the ‘Citta-Nirodha’—the turnings of the mind, that is the agitated and disturbed mind. He says this can be overcome; Patañjali explains, this can be overcome through an eight-fold process. Yama, Niyama, you practice rules that are prescriptive and restrictive rules, do’s and don’ts. You should be kind, you should be compassionate, you should be forgiving, and you should be charitable. These are rules of right conduct. Niyama, the things you shouldn’t do: don’t steal, don’t lie, don’t kill, and so forth.

Patañjali next describes āsana. Generally in today’s time, people talk about āsana as practicing different Yoga poses; like Vṛkṣāsana, standing like a tree, Virāsana, like a warrior and so on and so forth. When Patañjali describes āsana, it’s about sitting in meditation and that’s how Kṛṣṇa describes āsana in the Bhagavad-Gītā; “Sit in a solitary place, with your spine straight, with your gaze at the tip of your nose.” The next stage Patañjali describes is Prānayama—to regulate the breathing. Kṛṣṇa describes that we should also regulate our breathing in this Yoga practice. Today’s science tells us that the best way to pacify the mind is with extended outward breaths. It tells the body, “You are safe.” When we are afraid, we have very quick breaths and our body knows “Oh, I am in trouble; I am in danger.” When we are feeling safe and satisfied, then our breathing extends. Patañjali teaches this system for pacifying the mind. The next stage is Dhāranā—to hold the mind, fix it. Pratyahāra—withdraw from the external environment—then you can practice Dhyāna—meditation, which will lead to Samādhi, complete absorption. Complete absorption in what? Iśvara Paridhāna, focus on Iśvara, the Supreme.

In the Bhagavad-Gītā, Kṛṣṇa teaches a similar system in the sixth chapter of the Gītā. Arjuna actually rejects it, he says “It’s too hard, Kṛṣṇa. I can’t do that. Fixing the mind in one object is very difficult.” Kṛṣṇa says, “Never mind. It’s just a technique, it’s just a method. The main thing is to think of Me, to love Me, that’s the real purpose of Yoga.”

yoginām api sarveṣāṁ

mad-gatenāntar-ātmanā

śraddhāvān bhajate yo māṁ

sa me yuktatamo mataḥ

[BG 6.47]

Of all the yogis, the best one is the one who always thinks of Me, who has faith in Me, who worships Me, that yogi is Yukta—is connected with Me in love.

That’s the real purpose of Yoga. Patañjali doesn’t teach that. But we learn it in the Bhagavad-Gītā. Let’s move to Uttara and Pūrva Mīmāṁsā, the third pair. Pūrva Mīmāṁsā relates to the Veda; the Veda SaṁhitāṚg, Sāma, Yajur, and Atharva. The Ṛg is the first of these Saṁhitās and the most famous section of the Ṛg Veda is the Puruṣasuktā. It describes the essence of the Veda, the Veda Saṁhitā’s teachings. It describes the person, the Supreme Person, Puruṣa. How is He described?

sahasra’śīrṣā puru’ṣaḥ 

sahasrākṣaḥ sahasra’pāt

sa bhūmi’ṃ viśvato’ vṛtvā

[atya’tiṣṭhaddaśāṅguḷam]

He is described as having thousands and thousands of faces, in all directions. How His faces are? How He has expanded Himself in all directions? How He has expanded as the world, as the universe? This universe is described, as different features, or aspects, of the Puruṣas form, even society.

brāhmaṇo’sya mukha’māsīt The brāhmaṇas are His face.
bāhū rā’janya’ḥ kṛtaḥ His arms, they are the kṣatriyas.
ūrū tada’sya yadvaiśya’ḥ The merchants, they are His thighs.
padbhyāgṃ śūdro a’jāyataḥ The sudras are His feet.
candramā māna’so jātaḥ Now the planets, the demigods, the moon is His mind. 
cakṣoḥ sūryo’ ajāyata His eyes, that is the Sun.
Mukhād Indra’ścāgniśca’ Indra is His mouth.
prāṇādvāyura’jāyata And Vayu is His breath

Like this, the Veda describes the universe as an expansion of Kṛṣṇa, the Puruṣa. So then what are we going to do with that information? We must engage in sacrifice to the Puruṣa. That is the teaching of the Veda. What should we sacrifice? Everything is the Puruṣa. You take the Puruṣa Himself and sacrifice the Puruṣa unto Himself. Why would you do that? Well, actually, human society will derive benefit by doing so. The demigods have rulership over the different aspects of the universe. When human society takes these resources and offers them in sacrifice, it creates a cycle of prosperity. That is the essential teaching of the Veda Saṁhitā.

In the Bhagavad-Gītā, we get to meet this Puruṣa. In Chapter 10, Kṛṣṇa starts telling Arjuna about his vibhuti—about His opulence:

 “I am the strength of the strong. Of bodies of water, I am the ocean. Of aquatics, I am the shark. Amongst people, I am the monarch, the ruler”  and so on and so forth.

When we meditate on this universe as different aspects of Kṛṣṇa, we can actually become detached. We can appreciate Kṛṣṇa in the universe and become detached from thinking of it as something we can own and possess for ourselves. Rather we feel, “Let me surrender to Kṛṣṇa.” At the end of the tenth chapter, Arjuna says, “You have told me so many wonderful things about Yourself. I would like to see that. Can I see this?” Kṛṣṇa says, “Well, you don’t really have the eyes, the divine eyes necessary to see this divine form of Mine. But I will give you that Divya-Cakṣū—I will give you these divine eyes. Behold My mystic opulence.” What Arjuna saw filled him with wonder. He saw thousands and thousands of faces spread out everywhere. Some of them were benign (means kind), and some of them were very fearful. Arjuna became very afraid. Every face that has existed in this cosmic manifestation is there in the Virat-Rūpa. If you were to look at a painting, you can see the many, many faces. If you could look with a magnifying glass, you could even see your own face there. That’s right. We are all part of this Virat-Rūpa, this universal form of the Lord.

 Arjuna saw time—past, present, and future and he became overwhelmed. He realized that Kṛṣṇa is the Puruṣa, described in the Veda. He kind of knew it before, but now that he was seeing this, he was overwhelmed with Kṛṣṇa’s majesty. He offered prayers and he offered apologies, “Kṛṣṇa, please forgive me. I called You ‘friend’. How dare me! I sat on the same bed as You, I joked with You, I called You Yādava, thinking of You as part of a lesser family as my own. Forgive me my arrogance, and accept my humble obeisances from the front, from behind, from the side, I offer You my humble obeisances.” Eventually he asked Kṛṣṇa, “Can You, please, withdraw this form? I can’t behold it any longer. I want to see Your two-handed form, Your form of sweetness.”

The Puruṣa described in the Veda is revealed in the Bhagavad-Gītā to be none other than Kṛṣṇa. What about this idea of offering sacrifices? Kṛṣṇa talks about how we can actually offer sacrifice by doing whatever we do as an offering to Him. Not necessarily that we have Yajñaśālā with ghee and wood and fire and so forth. But that we make this sacrifice consciously in our endeavor to offer all that we do to Kṛṣṇa. The Vedas also describe this ongoing battle between the Devas and the Asuras—the gods, the demigods and the demons. Demigods are responsible for the resources of the universe, they follow Dharma and protect Dharma; and the Asuras, they want to appropriate all of this for themselves, who don’t care for Dharma, but only for power.

In the sixteenth chapter of the Gītā, Kṛṣṇa describes the same conflict; but as something that takes place within us, the divine and the demoniac natures. Not that there are not Asuras and demons, but that as conditioned souls we have these two inclinations.  Which one will win? Depends on which one we nurture. We can cultivate or nurture our demoniac nature, wanting to dominate and control and possess, to be superior to all others. Or we can cultivate or nurture our divine nature—and that’s what Kṛṣṇa encourages us to do in the Bhagavad-Gītā.

 Okay, we finally come to the Uttara Mīmāṁsā. Now we are at our sixth. I explained that this is generally the teachings of the Upaniṣadas, about a focus on Brahman, renouncing the material nature, understanding the fallacy of identifying with a material body, taking to a spiritual practice, meditation. Right there in the second chapter of the Bhagavad-Gītā, Kṛṣṇa gives these very same teachings. Second chapter of the Bhagavad-Gītā, He explains to Arjuna that, “You are not the body; you are a soul transmigrating from one body to the next.” The second chapter of the Gītā in fact contains many, many verses that are verbatim from the Kathā Upaniṣada.

In chapter four, as well, Kṛṣṇa explains the significance and importance of this transcendental knowledge. As a whole, what do we have in the Bhagavad-Gītā? This incredible synthesis of the entire Vedic knowledge, but it gives us something more. Don’t forget chapters 9, 12, and 18, where the focus is Bhakti. Kṛṣṇa tells us about His loving relationships with His devotees. How He is equal to everybody, but He has special affection for His devotees.

samo ‘haṁ sarva-bhūteṣu

na me dveṣyo ‘sti na priyaḥ

[BG 9.29]

“I am equal to everyone but those devotees that surrender unto Me, they are Mine, I am always within them; they are always within Me. They will never perish, those devotees of Mine, even if they make a mistake, they are still Sādhus, because I declare it so.”

He tells us of how His devotees, they are always thinking of Him. They worship Him. They surrender everything to Him and He delivers them. He brings His devotees out of this material world to join Him in the spiritual world, where life is eternal. He brings them to a place from where they will never return to this material world again. He gives us the Veda and more in the Bhagavad-Gītā and in such a concise and consistent manner, just 700 verses in eighteen chapters. This knowledge should inspire us, that we have nothing to do but surrender to Kṛṣṇa, to love Kṛṣṇa. This knowledge of Kṛṣṇas divinity, as the source of all that is, including us, should lead us to surrender to Him.

Yet, in the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, we are given something even deeper still. That is, we are introduced to different types of devotees: devotees who worship Kṛṣṇa and reciprocate with Kṛṣṇa in different ways. He reciprocates with devotees as Kūrma-avatar, helping them to churn the ocean of milk; as Varāha, who helps them by rescuing the earth that has fallen into the depths of the Garbhodaka Ocean; as Matsya, who helps Satyavrata to rescue and preserve the herbs and other species through the great floods of partial inundation. These relationships, they deepen in the later cantos of the Bhāgavatam.

Narasiṁha, He has much parental affection for His devotee, Prahlāda. Śrī Rāma, in the ninth canto, shows even more loving relations with His devotees, as the ideal son, ideal friend, ideal husband, disciple, king, and in the ninth and in the tenth canto of the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, we are introduced to Kṛṣṇa. He lives in Vṛndāvana, where He interacts with devotees who don’t even know He is God, who love Him more than anything, even so. Their impetus for loving Kṛṣṇa is not knowledge of His divinity; their impetus for loving Kṛṣṇa is Kṛṣṇas own sweetness. Even when they see indications of His divinity, they still don’t get it. Sometimes when Kṛṣṇa returns from the forest to enter into the village of Gokula, and the demigods, they are gathered above in the heavens to witness this beautiful procession of Kṛṣṇa’s return from the forest with His friends. The cows, they are mooing, the boys are playing bugles and flutes, and in the center of it all is Kṛṣṇa. The boys see the demigods, and they think, “Kṛṣṇa is so incredible; He is so amazing, that look—even the demigods have come to see Him. Why wouldn’t they? He is the most handsome, He is the most expert dresser, He is the best flute player; and so despite seeing the demigods, they don’t connect the dots to understand that He is God.

When Kṛṣṇa runs away from the Gopīs, and decides to play a prank as they search for Him in the forest, by standing before them as Lord Nārāyaṇa, they come to Him and they say, “Namo Nārāyaṇa! Have you seen Kṛṣṇa; the son of Mahārāja Nanda, with a peacock feather in His hair, a yellow silken garment that He ties around His waist so expertly? He left us and came somewhere in the forest and we are looking for Him everywhere.” Hello, you are speaking to the Supreme Godhead! Their only interest is Kṛṣṇa.

When Rādhā comes before that same Nārāyaṇa, Kṛṣṇa is unable to maintain His pretense. Her love for Him is so great that He is unable to maintain those four arms. He changes back into His two-armed form of sweetness, because as His devotee looks upon Him, He reciprocates accordingly. When Kṛṣṇa left Vṛndāvana and goes to Mathurā, and finally to Dvārakā; the residents of Vṛndāvana were swept up in these pools of separation; and when they heard He was coming nearby to Kurukṣetra during the solar eclipse, they felt that they were having a second lease on their lives. They finally got to meet Kṛṣṇa. But He didn’t look like that sweet boy that they remembered from Vṛndāvana. In the place of His flute, well instead of His flute, He was holding weapons.  Instead of His cowherd’s turban with the peacock’s feather, He had a royal crown on His head. Instead of a procession of cowherd boys with their ropes and their bugles and their sticks for herding cows, He was surrounded by many soldiers, protecting armor. Their hearts were pining to be with that Kṛṣṇa from Vṛndāvana.

The Gopīs finally got to meet with Kṛṣṇa, and He gave them some advice to console them. He said, “In fact, I am the Supreme Godhead. Hence, I am present everywhere as the Puruṣa. I am the Supersoul within the hearts of all living beings, and the yogis meditate on Me, and they feel that they are always with Me. They become Ātmārām —self-satisfied in meditating on Paramātmā.”

When the Gopīs heard these words, they were becoming angrier and angrier. [Gopīs]: “What nonsense He is speaking! Is He the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Supreme Truth? What lies He speaks! He said He would come back to Vṛndāvana, and we have been waiting for so many years! How He stole butter in His childhood? What about the time that He stole our clothes?—The Supreme Absolute truth, telling us to meditate on His feet like yogis?”

They spoke to Him, they gave their reply, “Our dear Supreme Godhead, the great Yogis, they are able to meditate on Your transcendental feet. The Jñānīs, they have this understanding of Your supreme position. We are unfortunate village girls; we do not know such things.”  When you read the text, it looks like some glorification. Our Ācāryas they tell us of the tone in which these verses, these words are spoken. They are words of sarcasm. They are making jest of this Jñāna that Kṛṣṇa is trying to teach them. [Gopīs]: “You want us to remember Your feet like Yogis; and remain satisfied? We can’t forget Your feet! We are trying to forget You! We cannot forget You! We cannot get You out of our minds. If You can teach us the technique for forgetting You, we would be more interested. All we can do is take You in our hearts and beg You; beg You, please, always stay there with us.” The Gopīs’ hearts are non-different from Vṛndāvana. They want Kṛṣṇa to come with them to Vṛndāvana.

Caitanya Mahāprabhu, He took great relish in remembering this pastime during the Ratha-Yātrā festival. He was dancing in front of Jagannātha’s chariot and He was thinking that He is taking Kṛṣṇa from Kurukṣetra to Vṛndāvana. Sometimes He would go behind Jagannātha’s chariot just to see what Jagannātha will do. Jagannātha’s chariot would become immobile. They would pull with all of their strength and the chariot would not move. The king would bring his elephants and soldiers to pull that chariot, and then Śrī Caitanya would go and start dancing in front of that chariot and then Jagannātha’s chariot would start moving again. As He sung and He danced, tears flooded from His eyes like rain. His hair on His body was standing erect and He was singing a poem. This poem caused great confusion to the people who were observing Caitanya’s dancing. It was a secular love poem, nothing from any Śāstra. It was a love poem that said, “You are the same boy; I am the same girl. These are the same moonlit nights in the month of Caitra. But My heart is not happy. Oh, how I long to return to the bank of the Revā, under the Tulasi tree.” This is the song Caitanya was singing.

People were very confused; the Sannyāsī is singing a love poem that has nothing to do with transcendence. Yeah, you might hear some song on the radio, and you like the line, you like the words and if you were singing it in the Ratha-Yātrā, people would think it’s odd. Right? It would be strange. That’s what Caitanya was doing and people were a bit confused. The next day Caitanya went to visit Haridāsa Ṭhākur. Haridāsa Ṭhākur’s Bhajan kutir had a thatched roof and as Caitanya was entering, He saw a piece of manuscript—that is a palm leaf pushed into the thatch. He pulled it out and He read it. It said, “Oh my friend, He is the same Kṛṣṇa. I am the same Rādhā. These are the same moonlit nights. Now we are here in Kurukṣetra. Oh, how I long to return to the bank of the Yamunā River. Oh how I long to be with Him there under the Kadamba trees.” When Caitanya read this, He experienced ecstasy and He asked, “Who has understood my Mind? Who has written this?” The devotees said it was Rūpa Gosvāmī. Caitanya was so pleased with Rūpa. He had Him come to sit amongst His associates, He showed them the verse, and He asked, “How is it possible that he has understood My mind?” They said, “Surely, it must be that you have empowered him to reveal the treasures of Your heart.” These very high spiritual truths of loving Kṛṣṇa, they are difficult to express in philosophical terms and so Caitanya borrowed the language of poetry; and following in His footsteps, Rūpa borrows the language of poetry to express these very intense spiritual feelings. His Bhakti-Rasāmṛta-Sindhu—borrows the aesthetics of the language of poetics to explain the science of Bhakti.

Here we are in Kurukṣetra, we are remembering Kṛṣṇa speaking the Bhagavad-Gītā, and we should pray. We need that understanding of Kṛṣṇa’s divinity. Let us pray that those teachings become manifest in our heart, that we can become attached to Kṛṣṇa and detached from the material nature. But let’s also pray simultaneously that our Bhakti not be stifled or inhibited, that our love not be inhibited at higher levels by our knowledge of Kṛṣṇa’s divinity. But that we might join the residents of Vṛndāvana who have forgotten of Kṛṣṇa’s divinity and in whose company Kṛṣṇa Himself has forgotten His own divinity and is swept up in love. We need both. We need to know of Kṛṣṇa’s divinity; we also want to be able to forget it in the right way. As followers of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu we will be given both. If we pray, if we follow Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and the process that He has given us—that is the invitation we have. Both invitations have been made: Kṛṣṇa has extended both invitation with His both pastimes here in Kurukṣetra; both opportunities are there for us. It’s up for us to be eager to take those opportunities. Okay, we will conclude there. Thank you very much.

Śrī Kurukṣetra dHama ki—Jaya!

Śrī Vrajendra Nandana Kṛṣṇa ki—Jaya!

Bhagavad-Gītā As It is ki—Jaya!

Śrīmad Bhāgavatam ki—Jaya!

Vṛndāvanesvari Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī ki—Jaya!

Śrīla Prabhupāda ki—Jaya!

Nitai Gaura Premanande!—Haribol

Kurukṣetra – HG Baḍa Haridāsa Prabhu – Lecture; Indradyumna Swami’s Parikrama -2015

Importance of studying BhagavadGītā

(At Bhagavad-Gītā Appearance Place)

– By HG Baḍa Haridāsa Prabhu

Hare Kṛṣṇa,

Indradyumna Mahārāja asked me to say a little something about Bhagavad-Gītā. There is actually so much to say about Bhagavad-Gītā. One time Śrīla Prabhupāda—in one of his writings, before he came to America, in some works that were compiled called “Vairāgya Vidyā”—he made a very interesting statement. He said that this Saṅkīrtan movement of chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa inaugurated by Lord Caitanya; this movement could be very well established and spread on the philosophy of Bhagavad-Gītā. We are saying “namas te sārasvate deve gaura-vāṇī-pracāriṇe” and that is Prabhupāda.  It’s his own description of being established in his mission. He described himself as servant of Bhakti Siddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākur. His mission was to preach the words of Lord CaitanyaGaura Vāṇī. If we see practically, Śrīla Prabhupādas preaching was based almost entirely or at least strongly on Bhagavad-Gītā. He would again and again recite Bhagavad-Gītā. One time he said, “So this is the perfect lecture!” Here all preachers are here. Do you want to know what Prabhupāda said the perfect lecture was?

[Devotees:  “Yes, yes, yes!”] Quite a lot of you said yes.

He said, “Point 1: You are not that body. Bhagavad-Gītā and (Point 2) Lord Caitanya came to teach us to chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. So if you include these two things, then the lecture is perfect.” This Bhagavad-Gītā is so important. I remember I was in the Los Angeles temple during the time when Bhagavad-Gītā was actually minimized. It was the time of the GopīBhāva Club. Anybody heard of that? Somebody heard. Okay. If you haven’t, that’s great [laughter]. We will keep it that way. Anyway, the idea is that there was a bunch of devotees, who were saying that we just have to hear very, very high topics. They didn’t consider Bhagavad-Gītā worthy of their hearing, and when ŚrīlaPrabhupāda came to hear of this, he really chastised very heavily.  He said that these people should be stopped, and if they don’t stop, they should leave our movement. He said this kind of speaking will stop the preaching work. Śrīla Prabhupāda again and again quoted from Bhagavad-Gītā in lectures. He made it the basis of the philosophy that he gave us, and he really, really, really wanted us to understand Bhagavad-Gītā. We may read many books, but Bhagavad-Gītā should be our life and soul. As Prabhupāda said, we should know Bhagavad-Gītā as a lawyer knows the law books. We study it again and again, and again and again. To point out the very first instruction Kṛṣṇa gives to Arjuna, it’s that, “You are not that body, you are spirit soul.” So we can ask ourselves, “Have we understood that? Have we realized that instruction?” If not, we should keep studying Bhagavad-Gītā.

Actually so much is there in Bhagavad-Gītā; it is an untapped gold mine. The more we study deeper, the deeper our realizations go. Just consider how much trouble the Lord Himself went to speak Bhagavad-Gītā. Actually this whole elaborate history of Mahābhārata and the war of Kurukśetra; practically speaking, all these different things were arranged, so that in the middle He could speak Bhagavad-Gītā. Just like His Holiness Indradyumna Mahārāja puts on the festival of India, and we have dancers, and we have martial artists, and it’s a whole circus. It’s a whole carnival. But, practically considering, the whole thing is orchestrated just to get people to hear a little about the Bhagavad-Gītā. It’s a very elaborate arrangement, just to make people hear Bhagavad-Gītā and hear the Mahāmantra.

Kṛṣṇa did a similar thing when He appeared here 5,000 years ago. There was a huge battle. So many different considerations, so many different personalities and Arjuna was there as Kṛṣṇas best devotee. Kṛṣṇa put him in illusion, just so that He could speak to him, and He wanted to deliver him from ignorance, but that actually was not necessary. More importantly He wanted to deliver us from ignorance and suffering—fear, illusion and anxiety. He wanted to deliver us from the ocean of suffering. How merciful is Kṛṣṇa? Just try to understand how merciful Kṛṣṇa is. This book Bhagavad-Gītā is our book. It’s really our book; it’s just for us.

There are many other Vedic literatures that we certainly should read and try to understand. But especially Bhagavad-Gītā is meant for conditioned souls to free us from illusion, anxiety, lamentation and suffering. He spoke this knowledge to relieve us from suffering. How much we should take shelter of Bhagavad-Gītā? Unfortunately many times when we are suffering, we take shelter of everything else. We take shelter of psychiatrists and so many things, but actually we can take shelter of Him. Bhāgavatam says [SB 2.1.4]:

dehāpatya-kalatrādiṣv ātma-sainyeṣv asatsv api ….

There are various fallible soldiers which generally we take shelter of. Do you know what they are? Deha or body; we want to become strong—well, sometimes. Dehāpatya: family members, wife. Then, maybe we want to take shelter of a strong nation, a military force. But these things can’t actually protect us. There is a famous recording. Śrīla Prabhupāda was in his quarters in Los Angeles and just across the highway there was a karate studio. Prabhupāda was sitting there, and he was listening to all these karate guys going, “Hi-yah! Hi-yah!” Prabhupāda said, “What is this?” So devotees explained to him, and then he said, “This Hi-yah!’–will not save you at the time of death.”

We need to have faith in the immortal words of Bhagavad-Gītā.  It’s not something to read when we have some spare time or something to speculate on. But it’s actually a shelter. It’s a shelter for our soul, and if we take it seriously, like that, as our life and soul, then when we read Bhagavad-Gītā, Kṛṣṇa will speak to us. This is the mystery of Vedic literature.

Some might say, “Well, but Kṛṣṇa doesn’t talk about RasaLīlā. He doesn’t talk about the spiritual world; He doesn’t talk about our SiddhaSvarūpa. He is just speaking basic things.”  But the point is—Kṛṣṇa is there speaking, and if we hear from Him repeatedly, He can reveal everything to us. It’s not just a book with some facts and figures, it’s Kṛṣṇa speaking. So if we read in this way, then we will find great shelter and repeated realizations in Bhagavad-Gītā. As Kṛṣṇa says Himself [BG 18.58]:

mac-cittaḥ sarva-durgāṇi

mat-prasādāt tariṣyasi

atha cet tvam ahaṅkārān

na śroṣyasi vīṇāṅkṣyasi

 

mac-cittaḥ—“You just become conscious of Me.” We need to become conscious of Kṛṣṇa. That’s the purpose of the International Society for Kṛṣṇa Consciousness, we could say. We can be traced to different sources, but this is also the one source. Kṛṣṇa is saying, mac-cittaḥ: “Become conscious of Me” and what will happen—”Sarva-durgāṇi mat-prasādāt tariṣyasi”—you will cross over all obstacles, every obstacle you will cross over, mat-prasādāt—by My grace. It’s the grace of Kṛṣṇa.

If we read Bhagavad-Gītā, we become conscious of Kṛṣṇa. Then by His grace, He helps us. Not by our own strength. Then He says, “atha cet tvam ahaṅkārān”—What is the alternative to doing this? You will be lost by  acting according to your false ego. It’s very interesting actually. He uses this word, “na śroṣyasi”—if you don’t hear from Me, then you will be lost. Our spiritual life very much depends on repeatedly hearing; repeatedly hearing the Mahāmantra:

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

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

And repeatedly hearing the Bhagavad-Gītā, and then Kṛṣṇa will speak to us. Actually everything is there in the Mahāmantra. Rādhārāṇī is there, the spiritual world is there. It’s just a question of freeing our hearts of anarthas and then everything is revealed by the grace of the Lord. Śrīla Prabhupāda placed so much emphasis on this Bhagavad-Gītā, and he was always preaching Bhagavad-Gītā.

I was thinking that just as Arjuna fought here 5,000 years ago, Śrīla Prabhupāda also came here and fought. Do you know that? Śrīla Prabhupāda fought a battle here. This was in 1974, and he actually was recovering from very, very serious illness—very serious. Devotees around the world were performing 24 hours Kīrtanas for his welfare.

He was just barely recovering from his illness and he got an invitation to come here to Kurukśetra, because they were having Gītā-Jayanti. First of all celebrating Bhagavad-Gītā. So he was still very ill and he asked the devotees, “Should I go?” He would do it sometimes. The devotees all consulted and said, “No, it’s too hard to drive.” “It’s a hard drive—you agree, right?” “And you are still too ill.” Then he said, “Okay.” But later he called all the devotees, and he said, “We are going to Kurukśetra, because we must go and speak on Kṛṣṇa Consciousness.” You all read in Śrīla-Prabhupāda-līlāmṛta­ that many times he had to defend Kṛṣṇa. He had to fight for Kṛṣṇa and defend Bhagavad-Gītā.

In Indor when Śrīla Prabhupāda went there, they were speaking so many different strange philosophies in the name of Bhagavad-Gītā. In an introduction to Bhagavad-GītāŚrīla Prabhupāda says that when they asked, “What’s the need of for another Bhagavad-Gītā, when there are already hundreds of Bhagavad-Gītās in English?” He said that, “I actually haven’t found even one Bhagavad-Gītā that presents Kṛṣṇa’s message. They are all presenting somebody else’s opinions.” That’s the idea. Kṛṣṇa wanted to tell us something. He had a point; He wasn’t just like talking casually. He had something He wanted to communicate. But Prabhupāda could see, in course of time, that what Kṛṣṇa wanted to actually tell us— no one was saying that. They were using Bhagavad-Gītā to say what they wanted to say. So many different strange philosophies, you are probably familiar with some of them. One of them was that when Kṛṣṇa says, “Surrender unto Me,” they say, ”It’s not to Kṛṣṇa that we should surrender, but to the unborn within Kṛṣṇa”—very tactful. In other words, what they are saying is, “You don’t have to surrender. You don’t really need it.” Another said, “This is just an allegory.” We were discussing in the car, “Well, this is not an allegory.” Kurukśetra is a real place, and here we are. The real battle took place here. It’s not an allegory.

Anyways, ŚrīlaPrabhupāda was invited to speak at Kurukśetra, and he was sitting there listening to these different Sādhus, saying so many things. They were speaking about peace and love, and how we should cooperate, and no one was speaking about Kṛṣṇa. Actually, before I came in contact with the Kṛṣṇa Consciousness Movement, I read a Bhagavad-Gītā that didn’t mention Kṛṣṇa or Arjuna—wow! [Laughter] Small oversight! It’s one little tiny detail.

Anyway, they were talking, and no one was speaking about Kṛṣṇa. Śrutakīrti Prabhu describes that Prabhupāda was becoming angrier and angrier. His foot was tapping, and his jaw was clenched, and at one point without any introduction he just stood up and roared. It was in Hindi, so the devotees couldn’t actually understand what exactly he was saying. But Prabhupāda was just roaring like a lion. They understood one part of what he said, “sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja”—like this. Afterward, he was asking the devotees, “Did you understand what I was saying?” and they said, “Not exactly, but we think we got the point.”

Okay, anyway, we can understand that Prabhupāda fought for Kṛṣṇa and fought to give us Kṛṣṇa’s real message. But let’s understand truly what Kṛṣṇa wanted to tell us. We are so fortunate to have Bhagavad-Gītā. We are fortunate to get pure knowledge. It’s so rare in this world to get pure spiritual knowledge, and this knowledge even becomes sweeter by the purports of Śrīla Prabhupāda. When we read Bhagavad-Gītā, we are also associating with Śrīla Prabhupāda. He said that these purports are his devotional ecstasies, so we should desire to read Bhagavad-Gītā again and again and again.

Please, please, I am begging you. Please, understand Bhagavad-Gītā. Most of the time, when we have difficulties in our life, in all honesty, it’s just because we haven’t understood the Bhagavad-Gītā. Really. Really. Anyways, Hare Kṛṣṇa!

We should read this again and again, and I will conclude. This is Śrīla Prabhupāda’s conclusion to his introduction to Bhagavad-Gītā, and he is quoting another work called GītāMāhātmya which glorifies the Bhagavad-Gītā. He says, “In conclusion, Bhagavad-Gītā is a transcendental literature which one should read very carefully. Gītā-śāstram idaṁ puṇyaṁ yaḥ paṭhet prayataḥ pumān. If one properly follows the instructions of Bhagavad-Gītā, one can be freed from all miseries and anxieties of life .… bhaya-śokādi-varjitaḥ [Gītā-Māhātmya 1]”

So bhaya means fear, śokā means lamentation and so on. Varjitaḥ—one becomes free from these things. Sound good? Have you heard any advertisement on TV for a product that gives this kind of claim? It’s bogus; other claims of these products are not bold enough. Understand: one will be free from all fears in this life and one’s next life will be with Kṛṣṇa.

[BG Intro:]

gītādhyāyana-śīlasya

prāṇāyāma-parasya ca

naiva santi hi pāpāni

pūrva-janma-kṛtāni ca

“If one reads Bhagavad-Gītā very sincerely and with all seriousness, then by the grace of the Lord, the reactions of his past misdeeds will not act upon him.” (Gītā-Māhātmya 2). Again we have to understand that our problem will be solved, Kṛṣṇa gave us the solution.

Then Prabhupāda quotes the, “Sarva-dharmān parityajya …” verse.

[BG Intro:]

mālā-nirmocanaṁ puṁsāṁ

jala-snānaṁ dine dine

sakṛd gītāmṛta-snānaṁ

saṁsāra-mālā-nāśanam

“One may cleanse himself daily by taking a bath in water, but if one takes a bath even once in the sacred Ganges water of Bhagavad-Gītā, for him the dirt of material life is altogether vanquished.” (Gītā-Māhātmya 3) – Jaya!

gītā su-gītā kartavyā

kim anyaiḥ śāstra-vistaraiḥ

yā svayaṁ padmanābhasya

mukha-padmād viniḥsṛtā

“Because Bhagavad-Gītā is spoken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one need not read any other Vedic literature.”  This is “kim anyaiḥ śāstra-vistaraiḥ“ that indicates, “What’s the need for any other book?”

 “This one book, Bhagavad-Gītā, will suffice, because it is the essence of all Vedic literatures and especially because it is spoken by Kṛṣṇa Himself.” (Gītā-Māhātmya 4).  I am skipping ahead.

“This Gītopaniṣad, Bhagavad-Gītā, the essence of all the Upaniṣads, is just like a cow, and Lord Kṛṣṇa, who is famous as a cowherd boy, is milking this cow. Arjuna is just like a calf, and learned scholars and pure devotees are to drink the nectarean milk of Bhagavad-Gītā.” (Gītā-Māhātmya 6)

This is the cow of Bhagavad-Gītā. We should repeatedly drink this wonderful milk which is milked by none other than Kṛṣṇa Himself.

He concludes, “ekaṁ śāstraṁ devakī-putra-gītam”: there should only be one scripture: the Gītā spoken by the son of Devakī and “eko devo devakī-putra eva”: there should be only one God:

īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ

sac-cid-ānanda-vigrahaḥ

anādir ādir govindaḥ

sarva-kāraṇa-kāraṇam

[Brahma-Samhita 5.1]

This is the one Supreme Lord—Kṛṣṇa“eko mantras”: there should be one mantra, tasya nāmāni yāni”: His names:

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

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

“karmāpy ekaṁ tasya devasya sevā”: and there is only one workto engage in the devotional service of Lord Kṛṣṇa.

So we are very, very, very, very, very, very, very fortunate. [Laughter] 10 times fortunate. I was just considering my birth in this world, and I don’t know how I am here chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa and at Kurukśetra. It’s inconceivable! It’s causeless mercy. We should take advantage, and we should also think, “Why we are here?” We can pray to Lord Kṛṣṇa and to Arjuna to understand deeply this message that Kṛṣṇa gave him.

This message of Bhagavad-Gītā will enter our hearts and enlighten us. Actually Śrīla Prabhupāda said, “Arjuna managed to find time to hear Bhagavad-Gītā in the middle of the battle…” Well. “…So what Arjuna’s business do we have that we can’t hear Bhagavad-Gītā?”

Jaya- Śrīla Prabhupāda ki – Jaya!

Śrī Kṛṣṇa Bhagavān ki –Jaya!

Pārtha-sārathi ki –Jaya!

Śrīmat-Bhagavad-Gītā ki Jaya!

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

Hare Kṛṣṇa!

Kurukṣetra – HH Śrīla Indradyumna Swami – Lecture

The History of Kurukṣetra

– By His Holiness Śrīla Indradyumna Swami

 

[Prayers …]

When Śrī Prahlāda started to sing that particular melody, it brought back a lot of memories and emotions and realizations. Unknown to much of ISKCON devotees, many of the melodies we sing today that are favorites amongst devotees, especially on Harināma, came from the heart of Śrī Prahlāda. One time Prabhupāda described that the melodies that we sing, particularly the melodies we were singing when Prabhupāda was here—the Bengali melodies in particular, Prabhupāda said, “These melodies, they come from the spiritual world.” Later on one of the devotees kind of complained to Śrīla Prabhupāda that my Godbrother Viṣṇujana Swami who was a legend now for his Kīrtanas, he also used to produce melodies; and someone said “That is not correct.” And Prabhupāda said, “No, he can. He is an expert musician.” Prabhupāda said, “And a devotee. He can come with different melodies.” Prabhupāda sanctioned it.  

When we were traveling together for so many years, sometimes Prahlāda would just start the Harināma with a new melody—and everybody would just go, “Wow!”, and even the people, they would love it. He’s gifted like that. The reason I am bringing this up is because this particular melody, we had a name [for it]. We used to name melodies; I would say, “Well, there are so many melodies; we should give them a name!” We would drive in the car and people would suggest names. So this melody was called, ’The feelings of the pangs of separation.’ As Prahlāda started to sing it, I didn’t have to look at him; I knew the reason he was singing this is because this is how we were thinking and this is a very appropriate mood, actually for Kurukṣetra—the place of the big battle.

Amongst many things, many historical events took place here. But paramount of all of them is the Gopīs’, particularly Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī’s feeling of separation, meeting Kṛṣṇa here after so many years, or you could say lifetimes. Her Bhāva of separation from Kṛṣṇa, Her Vipralamba Bhāva, went to the highest state that it could go here at Kurukṣetra, so I was thinking, “Well, that’s an appropriate melody.”  

But we will come to that a little later. Again many of us think appropriately that this is where the great Kurukṣetra war took place between the Pāṇḍavas and the Kurus, and Kṛṣṇa took the opportunity to enlighten the Arjuna and thus all of mankind with His words of wisdom. Gītā means “song” and Bhagavad means “Kṛṣṇa.” So the song of God was spoken here, at Kurukṣetra. As Śrīla Prabhupāda comments I believe in a purport in Bhagavad-Gītā, that the Pāṇḍavas chose to have the battle fought here strategically, because it was a pious place and the pious, sanctified atmosphere would act to their advantage in defeating the enemy, because the enemies were demons and they were Devotees. Having the battle in a holy place gave them some advantage. Being a very famous holy place, since really you could say time immemorial—that’s why when that big solar eclipse came, Kṛṣṇa and the residents of Dvārakā came here to take shelter, because contrary to what modern scientists and the population think, eclipses are very inauspicious things.

Practically speaking, eclipse means the demon Rāhu is eating up the Sun or the Moon, trying to gobble him up. My dear Godbrother, Śrīkara Prabhu, is sitting over here. He could probably elaborate on this for many hours. He is a very famous astrologer, [now] retired. Now in his retired life, he is traveling to the various holy places of India with his nice wife, Jyotikā. We are honored that Śrīkara Prabhu has joined us for this Parikramā. Please give him a big round of applause. [Clapping] Śrīkara Prabhu ki Jaya!

When there is an eclipse, people either stand aside, so they don’t get the inauspicious rays or they will bathe in a holy river. There was an eclipse when Mahāprabhu appeared, so everybody was bathing in the river and to create auspiciousness everyone was chanting:

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

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

The Lord took advantage of that chanting of the Holy Name to make His appearance, because He was the incarnation to introduce the Yuga Dharma of chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa. To get away from the inauspiciousness, people will come to a holy place like Kurukṣetra. Kṛṣṇa and all the Dvarakavasis, they came here during the solar eclipse and as I mentioned earlier, this was the main holy place in SatyaYuga. Now SatyaYuga lasts a long time, so if you wanted to go on pilgrimage in SatyaYuga this was the place to come, where you are sitting right now. Similarly then, Puṣkara, in TretāYuga and Naimiṣāraṇya in DvāparaYuga and NavadvīpaMāyāpura during the KaliYuga, are the prominent pilgrimage places.

Now when Lord Brahmā was creating all the diversity in this universe; when it came time to create planet earth, Brahmā came here and He sat in the middle of this lake behind us. That’s why it is called BrahmāSarovara. He saw a lotus flower and He created the planet earth from this spot right here. This is the center of the earth. One of the most amazing things I discovered is that, it is here in Kurukṣetra that Bali Mahārāja gave the entire universe to Vāmana Deva when the Lord begged that king to give him three steps of land. This is where the pastime took place, right here!

Lord Vāmana Deva ki — Jaya!

As we know also, from the study of the Bhāgavatam, Lord Paraśurāma, He killed 21 generations of impious Kṣatriyas.  

evaṁ paramparā-prāptam

imaṁ rājarṣayo viduḥ

That this knowledge of Kṛṣṇa Consciousness comes down through a disciplic succession the saintly kings understood and implemented it. In that way, the Kṣatriyas have a very important role in Vedic society. They make sure that there is material prosperity and most importantspiritual prosperity. So if they are acting improperly, there are great obstacles to the goal of life. These Kṣatriyas, 21 generations, Paraśurāma took His chopper, [sound of chopping] ‘Chuk, Chuk’ ‘Chuk, Chuk, Chuk’—wiped them out. So then He collected all their blood. This is the gory part of the story. He collected all their blood and made these five lakes. These lakes are the blood of those 21 generations of Kṣatriyas. One may so much think, “I am not going to bath there!” But just like when Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva touched the body of Hiraṇyakaśipu, he became purified to the point where he went back to the spiritual world, so when Paraśurāma killed these generations of Kṣatriyas, their blood was purified. So you can take bath. Just bring a good towel, so you get all the blood off [laughter].

There is one big lake and kind of four smaller lakes, so they are called Samanta-Pañcaka, these five lakes. You will see the big one, but I think when we do our Parikramā, you will see the other four as well. This is also the place where Lord Paraśurāma performed His penances for killing all those Kṣatriyas. Lord Vāmanadeva, Lord Paraśurāma, there are a lot of things that took place here. Kṣetra means a large area, large piece of land, it’s not just this little village. It’s like VrajaMaṇḍala. Maṇḍala means the greater area of Vṛndāvan, not just Loi bazaar. Similarly this Kurukṣetra is a very big tract of land.

In days of yore, it went through different names. Through different epochs of history, it had different names but how it became known as Kurukṣetra is interesting. It’s named after King Kuru who was the forefather of the Pāṇḍavas and the Kauravas. He was a great king, and being a Rājarṣi, interested in spiritual life, he also himself practiced penance and austerities to become purified to do his sevā for Kṛṣṇa.

At one time in the history of the world, the Sarasvatī River used to flow by here. Now, she has gone underground; she is unseen. The Gaṅgā, the Jāmuna are seen, but Sarasvatī is not seen, but she used to flow right here. Mahārāja Kuru came here on the banks of the Sarasvatī to perform penance and then the Śāstra says that he took a golden plow, and he tilled the ground of the whole Kṣetra. It didn’t yield just corn and wheat, but it’s very mystical. These are historical facts; we shouldn’t doubt them. When he tilled this sacred ground, it yielded eight virtuous qualities. Things that are very dear to our heart. As aspiring transcendentalists, we want to get rid of the bad. What are the bad things? You know—the lust—‘shuu’ [sound indicating fleeing away], the greed—‘go away’, anger —‘shuu’ [sound indicating fleeing away]; and we want to evoke or bring forth Maha—virtuous qualities. We like to hear, “Well, what are these things I am trying to attain?”

He is plowing this land with a golden plow and what does he produce—truth, yoga, kindness, purity, charity, forgiveness, austerity and celibacy.

Lord Kṛṣṇa, He appreciated this so much, He gave King Kuru two blessings:

  1. Number one, that this particular Kṣetra—this land would always be known after him and instead of just being a Kṣetra, it would be known as Kurukṣetra.
  2. Kṛṣṇa gave King Kuru a second blessing that anyone who died in this Kṣetra regardless of how, whatever, however horrible a sinner he was, if he died in this Kṣetra, he would immediately attain Mokṣa—liberation.

Hearing the glories of this Dhām is very important. I am just giving a short summary, scratching the surface. Saintly persons, great Sādhus, Ṛṣis, they used to come here all the time to perform their spiritual activities. Just like mundane, sensuous, wicked people, they congregate in places like brothels, bars, and gambling casinos and things like that; e.g., Las Vegas [laughter]. But Sādhus, they come to Kurukṣetra, so we welcome all of you—Sādhus and Sādhvīs. In particular, this was one of the favorite places of Sādhus. We all have our favorite places, right? There are Māyāpuravasis, Vṛndāvasis. Some devotees like Purī; there are Govardhanavasis. Similarly this was one of the favorite places of Pulastya Muni. He gives advice to all transcendentalists, all aspiring transcendentalists. He says, “Go to Kurukṣetra!” Why?—

  1. Because it fulfills all deep spiritual desires.
  2. Just by seeing that place, all living entities are liberated from their sins.
  3. Whoever merely says, “I will go to Kurukṣetra,” is free from sin. Who would like to become free from all sinful reactions? Then repeat after me [loudly—everyone together]: “I will go to Kurukṣetra.” You are here [Laughter]. You are all sinless.  
  4. Then he says, “If the dust of Kurukṣetra raised by the wind, touches a great sinner, then free from his sins, he attains the highest abode.”

Śrī Kurukṣetra Dhām ki – Jaya!

Śrī Pulastya Muni ki – Jaya!

It’s described here in the last Yuga, the DvāparaYuga, Kurukṣetra was not only spiritually potent but it was also extremely beautiful. You came on the bus through the industrial area that we passed through, you wonder, “Wow.” But before, there were green groves, lotus filled lakes and fertile pastures here in Kurukṣetra. There used to be a mantra, not official mantra, but I mean in the sense of what people would say. They would say, “One who lives in Kurukṣetra lives in heaven.” These are some of the glories of Kurukṣetra. How can even we count the glories of such a place that existed since SatyaYuga? Just like Vṛndāvan, we have been having our Vṛndāvan Parikramā, for five or six to seven years now, and we still don’t run out of things to say, because in Vṛndāvan there are 60 billion holy places. We have just started, Prabhus. We are going to have to take birth after birth after birth to see and benefit from all these holy places in Vraja.

But for us, in our particular tradition, what we hold dear to our hearts, of course, is the immortal wisdom of Bhagavad-Gītā, the ABCs, the foundation of the philosophy of the International Society for Kṛṣṇa Consciousness. Another fact is that Kṛṣṇa came here with the residents of Dvārakā on the occasion of the solar eclipse. The important thing is that the residents of Vṛndāvan, they also came—apparently for the same reason. They all said, “Oh, well there is an eclipse, let’s go to Kurukṣetra.” “Okay, let’s go.” But like many things in Kṛṣṇa Consciousness, there is a different level of depth and there is a deeper reason for their coming. They came here to see Kṛṣṇa. Not just to see Kṛṣṇa, they came here to convince Kṛṣṇa to come back to Vṛndāvan. Does someone here know how many years Kṛṣṇa was gone?—But you have to magnify that in a transcendental way, because we know in separation from Kṛṣṇa, pure devotees of the Lord they feel even one second to be like twelve years, —“Oh Govinda, feeling your separation, I am considering a moment to be like 12 years or more and tears are flowing from my eyes like torrents of rain”—this is the sentiment, the emotion of advanced devotees when Kṛṣṇa is not around.

We touched on this subject in a lecture the other day that as much as you are attached to something, when you lose it, you have that much separation from that object or that person. And how much do the residents of Vṛndāvan love Kṛṣṇa? We can hardly imagine. They loved Kṛṣṇa more than anyone has ever been loved before. Unlike material relationships that after some time diminish—perhaps after someone is gone because of whatever—the memory begins to fade and maybe the detachment starts. But this is not the case in spiritual life, where everything is always increasingĀnandāmbudhi-vardhanam. In the spiritual world, it’s not that you attain a certain level of love for Kṛṣṇa and then it stops; but it’s just ever increasing, Ad infinitum, forever. We can’t imagine what it is like. How much the people of Vraja felt separation from Kṛṣṇa. He promised them He would come back. But He didn’t come back.

LotāBābā, he is still waiting. He’s one cowherd boy, waiting around the southern end of Govardhana Hill, where we went on Parikramā. It is near the Nṛsiṁha temple, we didn’t go a little further, but [if we had] there is a Deity of Lotā Bābā. He is a cowherd boy and Kṛṣṇa promised him,  “I am just going to go to Mathurā. I will be back in a few minutes.” Lotā, he is still waiting. The cowherd boy is still there. “No, let’s not go. He is going to come back. We don’t have to go home; He is going to come back.” He is still thinking like that.   

When the residents of Vṛndāvan heard that Kṛṣṇa was coming here to Kurukṣetra, they left Vṛndāvan immediately. There was no discussion and no planning; only the cowherd boys had to stay back to milk the cows, but everybody else left. You couldn’t leave the cows un-milked so Viśvanāth Cakravārtī Ṭhākur says, “The cowherd boys had to stay back because somebody had to milk the cows. Everybody else dropped everything—whatever they were doing, just like the Gopīs when Kṛṣṇa calls them in the forest with His flute at the Vaṁśī-Vata, they dropped everything. Vṛndāvan just became vacant in a moment. Everyone headed for the North to Kurukṣetra. There was this long caravan of Vrajavāsīs coming towards the North, to Kurukṣetra.

Now one of the favorite activities, especially of the young girls in Vṛndāvan is to always sing songs about Kṛṣṇa. That’s how they deal with their feelings of separation; they sing songs because Kṛṣṇa is present in that transcendental sound vibration. But that particular time, they were so overwhelmed with the possibility of seeing Him again after so many years, they were unable to sing.  Just try to imagine, Viśvanāth Cakravārtī Ṭhākur, who gives us an even deeper understanding of these pastimes in his writings, he says, “Their teeth clattered [kad kad kad: sound of the clattering] and their voices choked, so they couldn’t sing.” They were just so excited, “We are going to see Him again.” Even if a few of the Gopīs were able to sing something, the words came out all garbled, like all mixed up, because their minds were so overwhelmed, so blissful—they are going to see Kṛṣṇa again after a long time! They were so transfixed on this opportunity that was coming to them again, they forgot to eat and they forgot to sleep. The Ācāryas say that by the time they arrived at Kurukṣetra, they were all emaciated. Now that reminds us that the six Gosvāmīs of Vṛndāvan, they themselves were so much involved in devotional activity, with the expectation of having Kṛṣṇa’s Darśana. Prabhupāda says they were also sort of emaciated. They didn’t look big, healthy, and strong, because they didn’t take time to eat or sleep. They wanted to utilize every second in chanting, the Lord’s Holy Names:

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

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

Viśvanāth, he described it as sort of a pitiful scene, these bullock-carts are coming North and there are these young girls kind of draped over the rails and kind of laying down. Someone seeing this scene without any knowledge of the transcendental position of these Gopīs and what was actually taking place, they would be mortified: “Look at those girls, they are not eating, they are not sleeping.” But as soon as they approached Kurukṣetra, they smelled the aroma of Kṛṣṇa’s transcendental body, and they came back to life. Not only did they come back to life, they went mad with Kṛṣṇa-Prema, mad with love for Kṛṣṇa. You couldn’t hold them down in the bullock carts, just smelling the transcendental scent of Kṛṣṇa’s form.

This transcendental aroma of Kṛṣṇa’s transcendental body—“sac-cid-ānanda-vigrahā”—sometimes poses problems for Him like, there is a pastime out near Yavat where, Kṛṣṇa was secretly meeting the Gopīs and Kuṭilā was sent by Jaṭilā to find where Rādhārāṇī was. Then as Kuṭilā was coming, some of the Gopī messengers who were posted as guards, they [whistle sound]; they made a little noise like that. The Gopīs knew that, so then Kṛṣṇa hid in the forest and the girls pretended nothing was happening. But when Kuṭilā came, she said “I know Kṛṣṇa was here, I can smell Him.” [Laughter] So it can cause a problem sometimes—not for us, we wouldn’t mind.

Finally when the residents arrived, they kind of went to their various hotels—their Dharma-śālās, the places where they were staying—[and] prepared themselves, and then Kṛṣṇa agreed to meet them in different groups. First He met with Nanda and Yaśodā, and of course Kṛṣṇa this time, He was a King. He was ruling over Dvārakā­, and He was fighting many demoniac armies and so forth, and so when He came like a Kṣatriya and when Yaśodā saw Him, she got bewildered. “This is my Lala? My little boy?” She refused to see Him in His Aiśvarya Bhāva, in His mood of great opulence, so she took Kṛṣṇa, a grown-up boy—man—and she placed Him on her lap and milk began to flow from her breasts out of motherly affection. This is her relationship with Kṛṣṇa. They just saw Him as a young child. Even Kṛṣṇa was appearing with some of His various opulences—the residents of Vṛndāvan, their eyes are covered, blinded by this Vraja-Bhakti. They don’t see Him like that, but they always see Him in their particular Rasa. Even if He is God, they never recognize that and therefore it is said, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” They see the beauty of their intimate spontaneous loving relationship with Kṛṣṇa.

Then some of the older cowherd boys like Raktak, Sudāmā, Subala; they were allowed to come, and they kind of said, “Well, let us wrestle, Kṛṣṇa.” Kṛṣṇa kind of hesitated because, the Dvārakā-vasis were there. To see the King wrestle with some boys? It wasn’t appropriate. Kṛṣṇa had to control His emotions, because emotions were—He did want to engage with the Vrajavāsīs—they are His favorites because of their pure love, but He had to control Himself. So He didn’t wrestle with the boys.

Like the King, He gives council, He gives time for people to come forward and meet Him. Kṛṣṇa finished it for the day, but He hadn’t met the Gopīs yet. But He didn’t want to meet the Gopīs with everyone around because it was quite confidential. So He arranged to meet the Gopīs at some secluded place. I am not sure where it is here. But there is some place just like out at NandaGram, there is a place where, Dinabandhu Prabhu, my Parikramā Guru, he takes the devotees there where Kṛṣṇa met the Gopīs secretly. Here also there’s some place, maybe we will find that place and there, after a long time the Gopīs finally had Darśana of Kṛṣṇa.

One time Prabhupāda, he helped us understand the love of the Gopīs by saying in a very simple way that the Gopīs, they never ask Kṛṣṇa for anything, always wanted to serve Kṛṣṇa. What’s more? They were ready to sacrifice anything for Kṛṣṇa, even their reputations. You can sacrifice many things but, reputation—Kṛṣṇa mentions in Gītā, “For one who has been honored, dishonor is worse than death.” Thus reputation is an important thing, but for the Gopīs, “Let it go to hell, if we can please Kṛṣṇa.” This is how exalted devotees of the Lord they are. These are the subject matters which we are—obviously not qualified, even to speak on. But because we are here, and because these pastimes happened here, we must say something and by hearing these things, our hearts do become purified.

Kṛṣṇa, when He met the Gopīs here, He expressed His undivided and unalloyed love for the young girls of Vṛndāvan. So what was their response? “Then come back to Vraja. You are saying you love us; your love for us is so deep. Then please, accept our request.” Love is something reciprocal. Isn’t it? You reciprocate with your lover; it’s never a one-way street. It’s always reciprocal. The Gopīs said, “Then prove it. Come back with us to Vṛndāvan because that’s the atmosphere, where we can exchange in a very intimate loving way. Not here in a battlefield. You are dressed like a King, what’s this? We are restricted here, but when were we restricted in Vṛndāvan? Please come back”. Kṛṣṇa started thinking, “Hmm, what to do?”

For those few moments that Kṛṣṇa was contemplating their request, the Gopīs turned to Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī and they said, “You be our spokesman. You ask Him. He can’t refuse you.” Why can’t he refuse Rādhārāṇī? Because She is Vṛndāvanesvari, She is the controller of Vṛndāvan. She is Madana-Mohan Mohini, She’s the controller of the controller of cupid. Kṛṣṇa is controlled by Her pure devotion.

The Gopīs were thinking, “Surely if Rādhikā asks, Kṛṣṇa can’t say ‘No’ to Rādhārāṇī.” They are shy, young girls, they are trained in Vedic etiquette, so Rādhārāṇī felt a little uncomfortable just walking up to Kṛṣṇa in front of everybody and saying, “Come.” She used the technique, She spoke to Lalitā—and in a loud voice because Kṛṣṇa was just there nearby so Kṛṣṇa would overhear Her speaking to Lalitā—the following verse which is dear to the heart of every Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava. Is there any verse which is dearer to the hearts of Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas? The following verse or Rādhārāṇī speaking Her heart to Lalitā and indirectly speaking to Kṛṣṇa.

Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī later on, Prabhupāda says 500 years ago used this verse in describing the mood of Caitanya Mahāprabhu during Their pastimes together in Jagannātha Purī. That’s another pastime. Rādhā is speaking to Lalitā, revealing Her heart to Kṛṣṇa, “My dear friend, now I have met My very old and dear friend Kṛṣṇa on this field of Kurukṣetra. I am the same Rādhārāṇī and now We are meeting together. It is very pleasant. But I would still like to go to the bank of the Jāmuna, beneath the trees of the forests there. I wish to hear the vibration of His sweet flute playing the fifth note within the forest of Vṛndāvan.”  This is Her plea to Kṛṣṇa to please come back to the atmosphere of Vṛndāvan for their transcendental pastimes. Very famous, important verse. Actually Kṛṣṇa wanted to go back to Vṛndāvan. Kṛṣṇa actually says in Gītā, “All of them as they surrender unto Me, I reward them accordingly.” But the Ācāryas say, first He had to consult with Vasudeva and Devakī, to get their permission because He was associated. They are His parents also, so He had to get their permission to leave Dvārakā­ to go back to Vṛndāvan. That’s one layer: ask your parents. But in the weeks that followed, at nights He would secretly have the Rasa dance with the girls.

After some time, three months had gone and by that time, the solar eclipse had only lasted a day but, everybody kind of hung around, because Kṛṣṇa was there. But after three months because of the respective duties, different Devotees in different categories, they started to go back to different places. But the Vrajavāsīs, they didn’t go anywhere, they stuck to Kṛṣṇa like glue. They were always engaged in His service and they kept asking Kṛṣṇa, “So you have made up your mind? You are coming back to Vraja?” “Uh, I haven’t fully decided yet!” Finally considering all things, Vasudeva consulted with Devakī, but the word came from Vasudeva. He said, “So Kṛṣṇa you are free to go back to Vraja, but only after you kill one or two more demons.” The Gopīs, when they heard that, “Oh, only one or two more demons, Kṛṣṇa killed so many demons when He was in Vṛndāvan. That will be easy. He will be coming home very soon.” To prepare for Kṛṣṇa’s arrival back in Vṛndāvan, they immediately got back in their chariots and sped back to Vṛndāvan to get everything ready for the grand arrival of Kṛṣṇa, to have Him back home in Vraja. But they knew Kṛṣṇa better than anyone else and they all knew when they were leaving, “Actually, it’s going to take a long time for Him to come back. He promised us before and He stayed away so many years.” They were going there with some hesitation, and especially Rādhārāṇī.

As the Gopīs are leaving this place Kurukṣetra, actually Kṛṣṇa went out a little bit to escort them out for some distance. Kṛṣṇa was coming back from Kurukṣetra into Dvārakā­ and Rādhārāṇī and the Gopīs were going to Vṛndāvan. Rādhārāṇī was actually standing on Her horse cart like a statue staring into the clouds of dust behind Her, knowing that Kṛṣṇa was traveling in the opposite direction to Dvārakā­ and tears were rolling down Her cheeks. She knew what was happening. Kṛṣṇa is going that way and She is going this way. That’s not what She wanted. Standing like a statue and just seeing these clouds of dust, as Kṛṣṇa’s chariot was going away, the tears are rolling down.

Actually the essence of that verse, “Oh Govinda, feeling your separation, I am considering a moment to be like 12 years, and tears are flowing from my eyes like torrents of rain.” This is the exalted stage of pure devotional service. Lalitā stood up and made Rādhā sit. “You are not supposed to stand on these chariots, you sit down.” She confronted her by the following words, “Oh Rādhārāṇī, Oh beautiful friend, do not lament! For it is well known that sacred Kurukṣetra fulfills all desires. The great King Kuru tilled this land and made it fertile with his piety. Now Kṛṣṇa has planted the seed of His promise there, a seed that will sprout and bear fruit by the time we arrive in Vṛndāvan. Rest assured that He, for Whom we came to Kurukṣetra giving up our home and lands will soon be tapping on your window, begging you to join Him in a grove, on the shore of the river Yamunā.”

Bhaktivinode Ṭhākur says that because of these particular pastimes, there are two transcendental moods that permeate Kurukṣetra, and he says it in a very nice way that outshines all other influences here:

  1. Number one is the pain of being separated from Kṛṣṇa once again, because they came and now they have to go back and experience it all over again.
  2. Number two, the mood here is the great hope that, ‘Kṛṣṇa will come back to Vṛndāvan again.’

These are the two moods that just permeate this Kurukṣetra. The question has been discussed and debated, and churned you could say through the centuries by various devotees. It’s always on their minds, “Did Kṛṣṇa ever go back to Vraja?” It’s very esoterical and we have already been speaking for forty minutes, but do try to pay attention because—this is the bliss; this is the real news. What’s happening, Prabhu? This is the “real” what’s happening. This is the essence of life, this is the life of our life: what Kṛṣṇa does. Did He ever go back to Vṛndāvan?

Jīva Gosvāmī says He did go back in Aprakaṭa-Līlā, means that—there is the unmanifest pastimes. When Kṛṣṇa left to go back to the spiritual world, the pastimes are still going on, even right now in Vṛndāvan but they are unmanifest. Kṛṣṇa would go back from time to time in Vṛndāvan, but they were all Aprakaṭa Līlā—unmanifest, only the most, you know the real Vrajavāsīs, they were experiencing Kṛṣṇa’s association and dancing with Him and singing with Him. But in PrakaṭaLīlā, the manifest pastimes, does He go back? —No, He didn’t. The Ratha-Yātrā—the pastime of taking Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma back to Vṛndāvan, that’s like a wish pastime. It’s the hope, the aspiration, the desire to bring Kṛṣṇa back. But, Kṛṣṇa didn’t go back. How can He be so cruel? There are two answers again:

Whenever Kṛṣṇa is gone, His devotees feel His separation and in separation their love increases. Like we have that saying, “Separation makes the heart grow fonder.” It’s just one of those transcendental tricks. It’s not that they are really suffering, it’s not that they are lamenting, it’s not like crying like we would do on losing something material. It’s something we will understand when we are more advanced.

Once again, I will quote my short inquiry of Śrīla Prabhupāda.

[Me]: “Śrīla Prabhupāda, you have mentioned several times in recent lectures that a pure devotee can see Kṛṣṇa everywhere, that He is never out of your vision. And at the same time in Śikṣāṣṭakam prayers, Lord Caitanya explains, ‘Oh Govinda, I am feeling your separation to be 12 years or more. I am feeling all vacant in this world in your absence.’  Can you explain this?”

[Śrīla Prabhupāda’s reply]: “Yes. He is explaining how you can become mad without seeing Kṛṣṇa. That is the higher stage. It cannot be explained. But when you go higher and higher, you will understand.”

Like that, in separation, one becomes more attached to Kṛṣṇa — and that’s our goal.

Now there’s a second reason Kṛṣṇa didn’t go back to Vṛndāvan and that was noted by Vasudeva when Kṛṣṇa asked his permission to go back. He said, “Okay, you can go back, but you have to kill one or two more demons first.” This actually was one of Kṛṣṇa’s main concerns, one of the main reasons He decided not to go back, because there were still a lot of demons out there. That was one of the three principle reasons that Kṛṣṇa appeared on this planet—to:

 

Deliver the pious,

  1. Annihilate the miscreants and
  2. Reestablish the principles of Dharma—religion.

As Prabhupāda puts it so poetically in His Kṛṣṇa Book, which is the summary of the tenth canto of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, he says that the earth was overburdened by the unnecessary defense force of demoniac rulers. There were lots of demoniac kings, not just Kaṁsa, there were plenty, and they were a force to be reckoned with. They were naturally against the pious, naturally against Devotees of the Lord. Baladeva Vidyābhūshaṇa says that Kṛṣṇa was afraid if He didn’t kill these demons, they would attack Vṛndāvan.

Kṛṣṇa was especially wary of Jarāsandha. Why Jarāsandha? Because Kṛṣṇa had killed Kaṁsa, and Kaṁsa had two wives, Asti and Prāpti, who were the daughters of Jarāsandha. Jarāsandha gave His two daughters to Kaṁsa. Daddy’s little girls, he gave them to Kaṁsa as his wives, and after Kṛṣṇa killed their husband, Kaṁsa, the two wives went back to daddy, to Jarāsandha, and they complained, [crying]: “Hey Daddy, this Kṛṣṇa killed our husband.” Jarāsandha said, [gravely]: “Yes, I have heard.” “No but Daddy, you don’t know all the details. The Vaiṣṇavas are not giving the real story. Our husband, Kaṁsa, was so sober and so sweet. We know—we are his wives. He was very sober, very sweet. He was simply sitting and watching Kṛṣṇa play with the wrestlers and somehow Kṛṣṇa just kind of overdid it and the wrestlers died. Then without any reason at all, Kṛṣṇa dragged our husband Kaṁsa down from His throne and killed Him and then dragged him around the wrestling arena. Because Kṛṣṇa was his nephew, our husband Kaṁsa, he didn’t fight back. They say that generally an uncle does not even slap his nephew. Therefore, our very sweet and sober husband did not protest when Kṛṣṇa was beating him, because uncles don’t protest when the little nephews get upset. Our husband was defenseless.” And then they started to cry.

Now, any of you have daughters? Śrīkhara? When they start to cry, you ask, “Okay, what do you want?” Right? Caturātmā? He is just laughing here in total self-realization [Laughter]. Jarāsandha took their story to heart and he  took up a vow. His vow was “I will go to Mathurā and Vṛndāvan and kill them all.” He started with Mathurā, and He attacked Mathurā 17 times. Sometimes devotees ask, well, why 17? Why didn’t Kṛṣṇa just kill him in the first battle but, actually Balarāma asked that question to Kṛṣṇa. Like you know, “10, 11, 12—what’s going on?” Kṛṣṇa says, “No, he has assembled a great army of the demons. Let more and more demons come. We will kill them all and in the final battle, we will kill Jarāsandha.” So Kṛṣṇa was a great strategist as a king.

Someone inquired from Kṛṣṇa that, “Well, you killed a lot of demons in Vṛndāvan. Just go back to Vṛndāvan and you can kill them when they come there,” and Kṛṣṇa just laughed. He said, “These Vrajavāsīs, they don’t have weapons and swords. They just have sticks for herding the cows and a few bugle horns. How are we going to deal with these great demons like Dantavakra, Kālayavana and Jarāsandha? We have to meet them on the battlefield—not Vṛndāvan.” But then someone brought up the point, “No! You know, Pūtanā, Tṛṇāvarta, Dhenukāsura—these were powerful Asuras and Kṛṣṇa  killed them. He as a little boy was a big demon killer. Surely, it’s not a problem for Kṛṣṇa to kill these.” But then Viśvanātha Cakravārtī Ṭhākur, he counters, he says, “Actually, Kṛṣṇa didn’t really fight with the demons that Kaṁsa sent to Vṛndāvan. He only played with them.”

He says, “Technically, He didn’t killed Pūtanā, He only sucked her breast a little too hard. He was just playing with these demons like sometimes a cat gets a mouse and you know, the cat is not really hungry, so she just bashes the mouse around a little bit, playing and ‘OOPS’ killed it, sorry.” [Laughter]. Kṛṣṇa was a cowherd boy. He was very playful, He wasn’t killing these demons. He was playing with them; but because He is God, they got the worse end of the stick [Laughter].

Viśvanāth said, “Kṛṣṇa didn’t actually killed Tṛṇāvarta; He only wanted to play in the sky.” When the demon came in the form of a whirl-wind, Kṛṣṇa grabbed on, “Woo-hoo! I get to go high in the sky.” But He was so high in the sky, He got a little afraid so He was like really holding on.

Viśvanāth Cakravārtī Ṭhākur says, “And because He was holding on, He is God—He is very heavy, Tṛṇāvarta crashed to the ground, but that wasn’t Kṛṣṇa’s intent” [Laughter]. He was just playing, and sometimes the cat plays with the mouse and the mouse dies.

Then Dhenukāsura and the ass demons—Viśvanāth Cakravārtī Ṭhākur said that just like little boys, they just throw rocks, “Look at me, I can throw!” Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma were just throwing the demons like that into the trees. They weren’t going to kill, but were just playing, “Watch this—woo hoo—Wow! [Sound of ass demons falling onto trees] [Laughter]—But they all died.” [Laughter]. He also mentions Aghāsura. Aghāsura of course opened his mouth and the cowherd boys went in and then when Kṛṣṇa went in, Kṛṣṇa’s body became burning like fire and then that killed Aghāsura. But His body became burning like fire because of the digestive juices inside the snake’s stomach. It wasn’t that He planned to kill him but the digestive juices are like fire, so they made Kṛṣṇa very hot, and Kṛṣṇa became so hot the demon died, so it was all play.

Vṛndāvan is all play; it’s all play. All the demons are killed by the Vishnu expansions outside of Vṛndāvan, so the real demons like Jarāsandha, Kālayavana, Dantavakra, many of them were still there, and they were intent. Jarāsandha had taken a vow, “I will go to Mathurā to avenge his wives whose husband is gone. I will go to Mathurā, Vṛndāvan, I will kill them all.” For Kṛṣṇa, there is no way He is going to go back—He is going to face these demons and then when He kills them, then He will go back to Vraja.  

These are the two reasons He didn’t return: to protect the Vrajavāsīs, and on a deeper level to increase their feelings of love. Therefore Bhaktivinode Ṭhākur once stated that, “Kurukṣetra is the highest place, because the Gopīs’ feelings of separation reached their highest level.” There is an English maxim, “So close, yet so very far away.” Therefore Bhaktivinode Ṭhākur said one time that this was the place he actually wanted to leave his body. I will quote Śrīla  Bhakti-Siddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākur. Śrīla Bhakti-Siddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākur once surprised his audience by saying that shallow thinkers appreciate Vṛndāvan, but a man of real Bhajan, real divine aspiration, will aspire to live in Kurukṣetra.” He noted that Bhaktivinode Ṭhākur after visiting many different places of pilgrimage remarked, “I would like to spend the last days of my life in Kurukṣetra.” So these are some things to contemplate while we are in this very sacred abode.

Let us appreciate our good fortune in being here. Take full advantage. What does it mean to take full advantage? To spend the maximum amount of time in:—“Śravaṇaṁ kīrtanam viṣṇoḥ smaraṇam”—hearing and chanting the glories of the Lord. Associating with Devotees, visiting these actual places where these pastimes took place—that’s very purifying. We will hear more from other speakers as well, but we are not going to take a break and just rest and go to sleep. We are going to jump into action. We are going to get on the buses and we are going to go out to the actual place where Kṛṣṇa stood on the chariot and spoke the immortal wisdom of Bhagavad-Gītā to Arjuna. We are going to that exact place. There is a big tree there [“Haribol!”]. We can have Kīrtana; we can read from Bhagavad-Gītā, have some commentary.

We can come back and take Darśana of the five lakes here, the lakes of blood. Especially this big lake and meditate how Brahmā created the earth while sitting on a lotus flower in the middle of that lake. Nice meditation. Then we will have lunch and then I think what I am going to do this afternoon is just sit on the banks of that lake and chant japa and get back to the basics and read Bhagavad-Gītā. Then this evening, we will go on Harināma around the five lakes and then tomorrow morning, we will have another morning program. Somehow we will tear ourselves away from this sacred abode around 12 or 1 o’clock and go back to our beloved Vṛndāvan Dhām. We have two more weeks of Parikramā. So much nectar! We have experienced so much nectar; we have so much nectar ahead of us. All these austerities we have to undergo, they are just paling in comparison; we don’t even think about them anymore.

Śrī Kurukṣetra Dhām Ki – Jaya!

Śrī Bhagavad-Gītā as it is, Ki – Jaya!

The Vrajavāsīs, the Residents of Vṛndāvan, ki – Jaya!

Śrī Vṛndāvan Dhām ki – Jaya!

Śrīla Prabhupāda ki – Jaya!

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

Hare Kṛṣṇa!

Thank You! [clapping, “Sādhu-Sādhu”]

Kurukṣetra – HH Śrīla Indradyumna Swami – Instructions

Being Tolerant

– By His Holiness Śrīla Indradyumna Swami

I’d like to extend a very warm welcome to all of you to the very holy and sacred place of Kurukṣetra. We’ll be elaborating on the many glories of this holy place as the morning proceeds. Actually there is much to be said about Kurukṣetra. It is described in the Skandh Purāṇa that Kurukṣetra was the main holy place in the SatyaYuga. In the Treta-Yuga the main holy place that people assembled for spiritual progress was Puṣkara. And in DvāparaYuga the main place that the Sādhus would go to for spiritual enlightenment was Naimiṣāraṇya. And in the Skandh Purāṇa which is of course ‘Purāṇa’ means very ancient, very old; it’s described now that the holy place in Kali-Yuga is Navadvīpa

So my point is that, you know when we think of Kurukṣetra you usually think of the big war here, the battle that took place. And of course most significant for us actually the whole world, the whole creation is that, Prabhupāda said one time—our Lord Kṛṣṇa, He spoke Bhagavad-Gītā here, the eternal wisdom of Bhagavad-Gītā. The song of God for the eternal welfare of humanity past, present, and into the future was spoken here at Kurukṣetra. So we’ll be elaborating more on this again as the morning goes on, the glories of this holy place because you know from SatyaYuga down to the present day there’s a lot to be said about Kurukṣetra. But due to the limitations of time I’ll take a particular angle because we’re Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas and speak about when the Lord came here with the residents of Dvārakā­ because of a solar eclipse, and the residents of Vṛndāvan took the opportunity to come and meet Kṛṣṇa here after a very, very long time. We’ll speak about that pastime in particular.

I would like to apologize for any inconvenience caused by the long trip in the buses here yesterday. Some of you rode 7-8 hours. [The] situation is that for whatever reason it’s India, and you can never plan things perfectly. Some of us are living in Svarga-Loka. Although Caturātmā Prabhu informed me last night that everybody’s room in this hotel except mine only, there’s cold water. So I’m the only person here in Svarga-Loka who has hot water. He came to my room and told me that. “You’re the only one with hot water.” “Oh!” [Laughs]

And Prabhupāda has pointed out, although Svarga-Loka is Svarga-Loka, it’s not perfect. He said the problem in Svarga-Loka is—oh there’s practically no birth, no disease, no old age, no death, practically, almost like that, he said. The problem is people are always worrying when are the demons going to come and try to take over. And some of the hotels are like the earth planet: a little good, a little bad,  mixed you know—maybe some warm water. [Laughs] I don’t know. And some of the hotels are like the subterranean planets like Pātāla-Loka I heard. So…I am very sorry. What to do?  Prabhupāda said sometimes we live in a fancy palace, sometimes we live under a tree. That’s the nature of traveling especially in India. You have to be very tolerant here, but the rewards for such tolerance you could hardly measure. The rewards of coming to a holy place like Kurukṣetra.

So let us not fall prey to thinking about the austerities, the difficulties, the inconveniences. Let’s come above that platform, and realize, meditate on where we actually are; somehow or other we got here. And for most of us this will probably be the only time in our life that we come to Kurukṣetra. Because you know, generally we’re in Vṛndāvan, we’re in Māyāpura, sometimes Purī, sometimes Devotees go here and there. But in my 45 years as a Devotee this is my first time in Kurukṣetra. And let’s try to see everything here, experience everything here through the eyes of Guru, Śāstra and Sādhus. As I’ve said before, a saintly person, he sees through his ears, he sees the world through his ears, from Guru and Gaurāṅga—not from these imperfect eyes. And let’s relish every moment, every precious moment. We’re only here a day and a half. That’s nothing out of your life. Let’s relish every moment that we’re in this sacred abode of Kurukṣetra, the place where the Lord chose to speak the eternal wisdom of the Bhagavad-Gītā which is guiding us back to the spiritual sky.

After the morning program we’re going to go to the tree. I heard that Kṛṣṇa spoke the Gītā under a tree. We’re going to visit that place today. Right, Rasikā? We’ll go out there. Yeah. And this big lake here, I’ll be speaking about that later, very sacred lake. The government, I’m surprised how well managed everything is here. There’s this beautiful circular path that goes around those holy lakes. We’ll go on a Harināma party this evening around the sacred lake.

But for now let me introduce you all to a very close, intimate, loving, eternal friend of mine: Śrī Prahlad Prabhu. Prahlad and I were together for many, many years, I think over 15 years traveling the world together preaching Kṛṣṇa Consciousness. Now Prahlad lives in Sydney with his wife, Gāndharvikā. He’s a professor at the University of Sydney. And most important, he’s very much involved in the Kīrtana/Bhajan scene throughout the country. He’s famous for his Kīrtanas and for preaching Kṛṣṇa Consciousness to many of the young people of that country, as well as giving classes in the temple and counsel to Devotees, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. And we take time out every year to go to some transcendental place together. The Bhṛgu Muni, we went to a Bhṛgu, he once said that, “You’ll be separated after some time, but you’ll always come together time after time throughout your lives visiting the transcendental LīlāSthānas of Lord Kṛṣṇa.”

So here I have met my old friend here at Kurukṣetra. I’m not going to quote the verse, but…There’s a verse like that [Laughter]. So we’ll ask Śrī Prahlad to open the morning program with a beautiful Bhajan.

I think some of you, many of you are new to Kṛṣṇa Consciousness. You never heard of Śrī Prahlad, you never heard of his Bhajans. That’s how old we’re getting, Prahlad. But if you are in that category, you’re in for a pleasant transcendental surprise. Prahlad can sing for about 45 minutes and then we’ll speak about the glories of Kurukṣetra.

Śrī Kurukṣetra Dhāma ki—Jaya!

Bhagavad-Gītā as it is ki—Jaya!

Śrīla Prabhupāda ki—Jaya!

Kārtik Parikramā 2015 ki—Jaya!

Gaur Premanande Hari Haribol!

Jaya-Jaya Śrī Rādhe …………….Śyāma!

Śrī-Śrī Rādhā Vinod Temple, Jaipur -HG Śītalā Mataji – Lecture; Indradyumna Swami’s Parikrama -2015

Life Story: Baladeva Vidyābhūshaṇa

– By Her Grace Śītalā Mataji

[Prayers …]

Hare Kṛṣṇa! What a wonderful combination is Baḍa-Hari Prabhu’s Kīrtana and being in the presence of the most ancient Deities of our six Gosvāmīs of Vṛndāvan! We are here at RādhāVinodilal temple, they call Him Rādhā Vinod. We won’t talk about RādhāVinod today, but just some of you maybe haven’t been here before; so for their information, these are the Deities of Lokanātha Gosvāmī. Lokanātha Gosvāmī was the beloved Spiritual Master of Śrīla Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur. Although we don’t hear so much about Lokanātha Gosvāmī, it is just because he was such an incredibly humble soul that he didn’t want anything to be talked about him.

But he is sometimes referred to as the Seventh Gosvāmī, because actually he and his very good friend BhūgarbhaGosvāmī were the first to go to Vṛndāvan. I better not get into that story, because that’s a long one. But just so you know that this Deity RādhāVinod actually appeared to Lokanātha Gosvāmī as he was doing Bhajan in the forest of Vṛndāvan near a village named Umrāo. He was just sitting doing his meditation, and suddenly this Deity appeared to him. He had a desire for the Deity and this RādhāVinod just appeared before him. There are two stories: One is that a little boy arrived holding the Deity and just placed it down and ran away, and the other is that the Deity just opened his eyes from his japa and he saw the Deity standing before him.

Then Lokanātha looked around and wondered, “Who brought this Deity?” Then RādhāVinodilal said to him, “I have brought Myself.”  This Deity, if you see Him, is fairly small, so Lokanātha Gosvāmī made a bag, and he wore the Deity around his neck.

[Śrīla Indradyumna Swami Mahārāja arrived]

“Do we have a seat for Mahārāja? Okay.”

So we won’t go into the details, but just so that you know where we are and who these Deities are, so I just wanted to bring that point up.

Indradyumna Mahārāja: “Too Far!”

Śītalā Mataji [Jokingly]: “Okay, Mahārāja likes to embarrass me. It’s a Rasa, Brother–sister Rasa.” [Laughter] “Difficult!”

I thought I would talk today a little bit about giving a broader picture on what  Indradyumna Mahārāja spoke so wonderfully and explained to us regarding: “Who is Rādhā Govindajī and how He appeared. How He came; how He landed up in Jaipur?” But, on the altar, there are also other personalities; so to round out our understanding of Who’s  all there at that temple, I would like to talk a little bit about Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī and the Deities that were brought by Kāśīśvara Paṇḍita.

As Mahārāja mentioned yesterday, when the GovindaDeva Deity was found, this was a source of great ecstasy for Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. His first immediate desire was to send the best man to take care of this Deity.  So immediately  he thought, “Kṛṣṇa has appeared in His Deity form, so who is going to take care of that Deity there?” It’s very important that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu Himself arranged for it. Mahāprabhu had a servant called Kāśīśvara Paṇḍita, and Kāśīśvara was actually His Godbrother. That Kāśīśvara Paṇḍita and Govinda, the personal servants of Mahāprabhu, were originally personal servants of Īśvara Purī, the Spiritual Master of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. When Īśvara Purī was about to leave this world, he had these two beloved disciples, Govinda and Kāśīśvara, who personally served him. So before his departure, he said, “After I leave, I want you to go  and serve Caitanya Mahāprabhu in the way you have served me.”

At this time, Lord Caitanya was travelling in the south and he very soon arrived back to Purī, and so Kāśīśvara and  Govinda made their way to Purī. They came and made their full dandavats at the feet of Mahāprabhu.  Mahāprabhu was extremely upheld and upset at the idea that His Spiritual Master had sent His own Godbrothers, to be His personal servants. He said, “No, no, no. I can’t take service from my Godbrothers!” But they were determined. They said, “But this is the order of your Spiritual Master, that we come here, and we do this service for you.” So to solve this dilemma, they went to Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya. Mahāprabhu explained, “I can’t take service from My Godbrothers!” And Kāśīśvara and Govinda Paṇḍita said, “But we have been ordered to do this service and we want to do this service.”  Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya solved that. He said, “Now, the order of the Spiritual Master supersedes any social etiquettes.” From that time onwards, Kāśīśvara Paṇḍita and Govinda were Mahāprabhu’s personal servants. You can imagine that service: until Lord Caitanya got this news that Govindajī had now appeared in Vṛndāvan. He took Kāśīśvara Paṇḍita to a secluded place and he revealed his mind that, “I want you to go to Vṛndāvan, leave my service. Go to Vṛndāvan and take care of the Govindajī Deity.”

Just to know little bit of the past of Kāśīśvara. He was a very powerful man physically. He used to always go in front of Caitanya Mahāprabhu and move away the crowds and keep everything peaceful, like some of the devotees are organized to do that here; keep everybody back, and that’s what Kāśīśvara Paṇḍita did.  He was always there right next to Lord Caitanya. He was also the Prasādam server, the organizer serving Prasādam by Lord Caitanya’s order. Thus he had very important service there, and service that he must have loved so much. Now he is being sent away to Vṛndāvan to take care of Govindajī. But it is interesting to note, Lord Caitanya wanted to send His best man to take care of the Deities. We also, in our movement, should think in this line of Caitanya Mahāprabhu, that our best people, our most elevated people, should be caring for our Deities.

Kāśīśvara Paṇḍita, he didn’t really like that idea, he was lamenting piteously. He just couldn’t bear the thought of leaving the service of Mahāprabhu—very difficult to ask. He actually said, “How can I leave You? How will I be able to maintain my life? If I leave You, how would I live?—I would die!” Thus Lord Caitanya gave to Kāśīśvara Paṇḍita a very special Deity called GaurGovinda, which is Govinda and Gaur in one Deity. And He said, “I am going with you, and I am always going to be with you in the form of this Deity.” He gave him instruction: how to worship that Deity and He said, “Whenever you offer bhoga to Him, you will just see how I am eating.” So with great difficulty Kāśīśvara Paṇḍita had to leave the association of Mahāprabhu with his GaurGovinda Deity and travel to Vṛndāvan. He placed that Deity at the feet of GovindaDeva and then for the rest of his life, he dedicated himself fully to the service of Govindajī and GaurGovinda. It’s important by the power of his love, for the first time, Mahāprabhu came to this side of India in the form of a Deity. You probably wouldn’t have noticed, but that Deity is there on the altar of the temple of RādhāGovinda.

Also to just round out the whole picture of all the Deities on the altar, then we will talk a little bit about how Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī wound up there. When Govindajī and Madana-Mohan appeared, They appeared by Themselves, not with Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. So for some time, They were worshiped alone. But the son of Mahārāja Pratāparudra in Purī named PuruṣottamaJana had a very strong desire— he wanted to send Rādhārāṇī to Govinda and  Madana-Mohan. He arranged that two Deities of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī were made, and they were sent to Vṛndāvan in a very elaborate procession and very carefully brought to Govindajī and Madana-Mohan. When these two Rādhārāṇī Deities arrived in Vṛndāvana, they had a great welcome festival. But before They were installed, the Pūjāri at Madana-Mohan temple had a dream, and Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī appeared to him and said, “One of these deities is Me (Rādhārāṇī), but the other one is Lalitā; so you install Me next to Madana-Mohan and also Lalitā next to Him.” So interestingly that dream was just accepted by everyone. Thus, that left Govindajī without Rādhārāṇī. So PuruṣottamaJana heard about this later that he sent these two Rādhārāṇīs, and apparently in the dream, Rādhārāṇī said, “That person who sent us—he didn’t know I was there, but also Lalitā is there. He didn’t know.”

PuruṣottamaJana still had a desire and wanted to send Rādhārāṇī to Govinda. He tried again many, many times  to make a Deity, but somehow or another, it just didn’t happen, until he had a dream. Everything is based on dreams in those days, and Rādhārāṇī came to him and said, “I am in the Jagannātha Temple. Actually, the Deity that they are worshipping there as a Lakṣmī is actually Me, and I want to go to Vṛndāvan and be with Govindajī. I won’t be Lakṣmī anymore.” PuruṣottamaJana woke up and he was very excited, and he rushed to the Jagannātha temple and went before this LakṣmīDevī and he saw, “Oh, this is Rādhārāṇī!” So then he inquired, trying to get to the root of this, “How did Rādhārāṇī become LakṣmīDevī here in the Jagannātha temple?” He found out that long, long ago She had been brought from Vṛndāvan to a place called Rādhānagar in Orissa.

Now I don’t know—there is no history of who brought Her and why did he only bring Rādhārāṇī. But somehow or other, that place Rādhānagar became named Rādhānagar after Rādhārāṇī came. But somehow, She actually originally came from Vṛndāvan to this place in Orissa. There was a very, very pure devotee there in Rādhānagar whose name was Bṛhadbhānu. He was a very, very pure devotee, very rare soul, and he worshiped this Rādhārāṇī Deity like his daughter. So a very, very highly elevated devotee. He worshiped Her in a mood that if he didn’t have a sight of Her even for a few minutes, he would be in an unbearable separation. So that’s the kind of devotee he was. He was famous for his love for Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. When he expired, even the king wondered, “What are we going to do now with this Rādhārāṇī Deity? This great soul has gone, now there is this Rādhārāṇī Deity.” The king himself at that time went to Rādhānagar and got this Rādhārāṇī Deity.  Now we are talking about the Deity that’s on the altar there that we are going to see every day.

He went to see this Deity of Rādhārāṇī and he was trying to figure out, “What we should do now? What should we do with Her?” While he was there he had a dream and Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī appeared to him. Apparently, She likes to appear in dreams to people. We haven’t had that good fortune, but it’s something we can look forward to, maybe in some lifetime. Thus, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī said, “Take Me to the Jagannātha Temple.” He was very happy to follow those instructions and He brought Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī to the Jagannātha Temple. But over the course of time, many, many years, people started to just see Her as Lakṣmī. Somehow the history got lost and people started worshiping Her as LakṣmīDevī and She reciprocated according to their devotion. PuruṣottamaJana was very, very happy to find out that this is the Rādhārāṇī that should go to Vṛndāvan and that should be with Govindajī. So She was brought to Vṛndāvan all the way across the country in a great procession, and all the devotees in Vṛndāvan received Her with great ecstasy. Then we know, as Mahārāja described the history from thereon out, that Rādhā and Govinda were united in Vṛndāvan, and then eventually, the disciple of RaghunāthaBhaṭṭa, MānaSingh built a glorious temple for them, the best temple in Vṛndāvan. As Mahārāja described, the Deities were in Vṛndāvan until the nasty Aurangzeb started to attack temples, and then the Deities were brought here.

Really, I think we can feel how wonderful it is to be in Jaipur, where so many of the principal Deities of Vṛndāvan are situated. It’s just so powerful to be in Their presence and to be in these temples and have these beautiful Kīrtanas in such a historical place. We tell these stories not just to entertain or just to tell a story, but so that we understand our heritage and how amazing is the history and how glorious is what we have entered into. It becomes so much more meaningful when we go to the temple of RādhāGovindajī, and then we see, “Oh there is GaurGovinda, the Deity that Lord Caitanya Himself gave that came all the way.” It becomes very meaningful. We don’t just look at the altar with a blank look. You know, we experience, “Wow, this is very interesting, exciting, amazing!” It was a very glorious time when they started to build the beautiful temple for RādhāGovinda here, and it was a very glorious time for Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas. All these Deities were now nicely protected. But as usual, when there is some kind of success, some pushing forward, there is also pushing back by the material energy there, and challenges, and things which come after that. Not everyone was completely in ecstasy about Govindajī’s arrival here in Jaipur.  As with anything, there is always somebody who is unhappy about things.

What was going on here at that time for many generations was that Rāmānandī Vaiṣṇavas had been very prominent. They were favored very much by the queen. I believe they were worshipers of SītāRāma, so that was the primary Deity at that time. The queen, she loves SītāRāma and she loves all these Rāmānandīs, and then all of sudden this Govindajī appeared. As with every situation, there is always a political side, a power issue. There are many factors to everything apart from just devotion. The Rāmānandīs saw, “Wow, Jai-Singh, the King, he has so much attraction, affection and attachment to this Govindajī Deity. What is going to happen to us?” There is always a power and a prestige issue and financial backing and so many things that these Rāmānandīs had been given for generations because of the favor of the queen.

But now the king had such a strong affiliation with Vṛndāvan and with the Deities of Vṛndāvan. For Jai-Singh, this arrival of Govindajī was a major turning point personally in his spiritual life. Unfortunately, many of the spiritualists are not always the true spiritualists which they should be. So those Rāmānandī Vaiṣṇavas, they were quite upset that, “Now the King’s attention and affection and now, probably, finances, and so many other things are going in the direction of RādhāGovinda.” They waged war against Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas basically and it was a very difficult time.

Now to give you a little background to the story that will develop, we’ll have to tell a little bit about the history of an extraordinary devotee who saved the name of Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism here in Jaipur, and that devotee is called Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa. We don’t even really know what his original name was. Vidyābhūshaṇa was the name given to him later, an honorary title. Not much is known about his lineage, because again, like Lokanātha Gosvāmī, he is a pure devotee and therefore devoid of false prestige. So he just never talked about himself. We don’t know much about it, but we know that, although he came from a merchant family, he had no inclination for that particular cast. He was born in Orissa, in a town near Remuṇā. From a young age, he had the desire that he wanted to be a teacher. He didn’t want to be a shop-owner. Those days actually it was very, very common that whatever family you were brought into, you just do what your dad did, and it just goes on like that for generations. But he didn’t have any inclination. He wanted very strongly from a very early age to be a teacher of divine wisdom. That means he had to study extra, extra hard, because he wanted to break out of his normal cast to do something that wasn’t really expected of him. He became a very, very learned young boy. He studied cosmology, logic and medicine, all kinds of topics he became expert in.

At young age, as soon as it was possible, he went on pilgrimage and he was seeking his Spiritual Master. So traveling in the south, he came across the Tattvavādīs or the followers of Madhvācārya, and he studied very hard there, and he became a master of debate. Then he again traveled, and actually he was a very powerful exponent and a preacher. Eventually he arrived to JagannāthaPurī in his travels, and there he met a devotee named Rādhā Dāmodara, who was a grand-disciple of Rasikānanda, who is coming in the line of Śyāmānanda Prabhu. Rādhā Dāmodara became his Shiksha Guru, and he explained to him everything about Caitanya and the six Gosvāmīs. He totally captured the heart of Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa. The natural thing to do next would be to go to Navadvīpa. So he went to Navadvīpa, and he began studying TattvaSandarbha and all the other Sandarbhas actually of Jīva Gosvāmī. In Navadvīpa, everyone was telling him the same thing, “Actually, you should go to Vṛndāvan. If you really want to study Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism, then you should go to Vṛndāvan and study under Viśvanāth Cakravārtī Ṭhākur, because he is the best.”

When Baladeva arrived in Vṛndāvan to take shelter of Viśvanāth Cakravārtī, a lot of the glory of Vṛndāvan had already been diminished. As Mahārāja described yesterday, how there were all the Mughal attacks, and Vṛndāvan was in incredible turmoil for a long time. He started studying under Viśvanāth Cakravārtī, and during this time, now Govindajī had arrived here in Jaipur, and the Rāmānandīs were beginning to wage their war on Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas. The first attack of the Rāmānandīs was to question the legitimacy of the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava line. They are saying, “There are only four Sampradāyas, so who are these Gauḍīyas? Where have they come from? They are not in those Sampradāyas.” They made this challenge, and, of course, the king, although he favored Govindajī and the Gauḍīyas, he has to be fair as a King. He had to show that this is legitimate. Apparently at that time to be legitimate you have to have a commentary on the Vedānta-Sūtra. You have to show what you are doing is in line with tradition. Jai-Singh was very concerned about this, but he had to deal, he had to be fair as he is the king. He wrote to Mahānts in Vṛndāvan, and he said, “Look, you have to help me. I don’t know what to tell them about, “How are you legitimate? How is your Sampradāya? How are you going to explain this?  Of course, our Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism begins with Mahāprabhu, and Mahāprabhu who is He? He is God Himself, so how much more legitimate can it be? God Himself is the head of our Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism. The Rāmānandīs were saying, “No way, we will not accept that argument. We want to see your commentary on the Vedānta-Sūtra.” Then, the answer to that was that, “The Śrīmad Bhāgavatam is the natural commentary on Vedānta-Sūtra.” That’s the way we accept it. There is no need for a commentary on Vedānta-Sūtra, that’s Bhāgavatam.

Suffice it to say, they didn’t accept that argument even. Jai-Singh was a very spiritual person, and he really just wanted everybody to get along. He studied everyone; he studied the work of the Gosvāmīs; he studied the works of the Rāmānandīs. I mean that is a really cool king; he just made a comparison. Nowadays with the politicians that we have, it’s never possible! Here he is a king, and he really wants to get to the philosophical roots, and he wants to be fair, and he wants to guide this spiritual development in his kingdom; so he actually compiled a book called Brahmā-Bodhinī. Jai-Singh himself compiled a book, and he read everything, and then he thought, “Well, let’s just unify these all, and everybody can be happy.” But it didn’t worked so the Rāmānandīs were still unhappy. Then to up the ante, they started to attack the method of worship of the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas. They said, “You shouldn’t worship Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa together, this is completely bogus.” The Rāmānandīs had some understanding up to the point of Aiśvarya Bhāva. But that was it, that’s where it ended. You imagine our fortune. It’s actually very rare to understand these things, Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī: who is She? People simply didn’t know. Jai-Singh again wrote to the Mahānts of the Gopīnātha Mandir in Vṛndāvan and said, “Please, I am trying everything to defend you.” He said that, ”You have to silence these people; you must silence them or because as a king, I am going to be forced to remove Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī from GovindaDeva.”

This was pretty serious, can you imagine your Deity, RādhāGovindajī, and now you’re going to take away Rādhārāṇī, who traveled all the way from Orissa, went to Vṛndāvan, and then came here. Now, they are threatening that, “You have to take this Rādhārāṇī off the altar here because this is bogus.” So this is very serious. All the four temples in Vṛndāvan, major temples there, the Mahānts got together. They wrote something about how both Parakīya and Svakiya Bhāva, married love and unmarried love, how Deities can be worshiped in both ways. Then again, the Rāmānandīs, “No, no, we don’t accept his arguments.” Now apparently Jai-Singh actually did remove Rādhārāṇī from the altar for some period of time. Now just picture that, just picture going in to see Rādhe Shyam in Vṛndāvan and Rādhārāṇī is not there. I mean, how horrifying? How shocking? Then the Rāmānandīs become even more forceful. They said, “But why are you not worshiping Nārāyaṇa first?” Apparently that’s the tradition in some lines.

It was getting very, very difficult and very worrisome for, what was going to be the future of the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava line? I mean, we wouldn’t be here if somehow they didn’t keep the Gauḍīya line going strong and prove its authenticity. Someone had to do that. It became an actually desperate situation where Viśvanāth Cakravārtī was keeping in touch with all of this fighting that’s going on in Jaipur and thinking that, “I have to do something as the leader of the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas at the time.”  Baladeva Vidyābhūshaṇa had been studying under Viśvanāth Cakravārtī, and he was an incredibly knowledgeable person who was expert at debate. If you remember, he was trained under Madhvācārya’s group, so he was very well versed in all arguments. Viśvanāth Cakravārtī Ṭhākur sent his student Baladeva Vidyābhūshaṇa here, to Amber, to defend the name of Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas. At that time, the center was in Amber; the Jaipur city had not been built yet. Baladeva Vidyābhūshaṇa arrived as a young devotee that nobody knew. He wasn’t famous. He was a very young man and unknown to everyone here, but in him was a philosophical giant.

 

Because he was unknown, it was even difficult to get an audience with the king. But eventually he did see the king and he said that, “I am here to defend the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas.” So they accepted. He made the challenge, “Here I am going to do it. I am going to explain you why we are legitimate.” He said, “I have come to resolve this issue.” The Rāmānandīs were kind of thinking, “Who is this new kid on the block?” But since he was making the claim, they said, “Okay, you go ahead, but we don’t want to hear what you want to say. We don’t care what you have to say. We just want to see your commentary on Vedānta-Sūtra and nothing else will be satisfactory.” Just as a side note, formerly during the time of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu; well actually, when Jīva Gosvāmī was going on Parikramā with Lord Nityānanda, Jīva Gosvāmī had the idea to write a commentary on Vedānta-Sūtra at that time, and Lord Nityānanda told him that, “There is no need to write this commentary now, later on Gopīnātha Ācārya is going to take birth, and he will write that commentary.” So it was many, many years later, and it was Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa who was the reincarnation of Gopīnātha Ācārya.

This was a very, very difficult task. I mean we couldn’t have really understood what is this task—to write a commentary on Vedānta-Sūtra. But, suffice it to say, it is extremely difficult, and it takes a very, very long time. Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa had an impossible task before him, so as an exalted devotee, of course, what did he do? He went to Govindajī, and he said to Govindajī, “I can’t do this. This is too difficult. Help. But you are the Divine Puppeteer. Please move my pen.” This is the mood of a devotee to be empowered, to do something that is difficult or even impossible. He just surrenders, “I am a puppet, please, do something with me, move my pen, move my hands, and move my body.” Because in truth we can do nothing, we can’t even blink our eyes without the mercy of Kṛṣṇa. We see how this was the mood of Śrīla Prabhupāda when he arrived in America, and when he was on the boat, he wrote that poem. He called out to the Lord in the same mood as Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa, and he wrote that song which said, “Please, I have come here. What can I do? Let me just be a puppet in your hands and, please, make me dance, make me dance, make me dance.” So that’s the formula of success for even the impossible tasks. Just fully surrender to the Lord that, “I can’t do anything, and, please, use my body, use my hands, use my mind, use everything in your service. I can’t do it.”

Then Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa had a dream, and in that dream, Govindajī Himself said, “You write this, and I will move your pen. I will compose it, and no one will be able to defeat you.” Next day, Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa woke up as a very happy man. He began to write with great, great enthusiasm and happiness.  Some say it took non-stop for seven days, and some say it took a month. But however long it took, it was a miraculous task.  What he wrote, became known as “Śrī Govinda-Bhāṣya—the words of Govinda. He came before everyone much to the shock of the Paṇḍitas and the nobles. Everyone came together and that’s how they resolved issues in cultured society. There are no nasty emails flying back and forth: “No, I think this. No. I think that.” They get the smartest people together that are the Paṇḍitas, the devotees, the nobles, the Kings. And they have an open mind. They wanted to hear the arguments; they don’t want to fight. They just wanted to hear—what’s right? Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa came before this large gathering of people, royal people and all the Paṇḍitas. He spoke so eloquently and so exhaustively on each one of the points. He made it very, very clear each argument that had been set forward. He made it very, very clear to explain our Gauḍīya Siddhānta.

I would like to read from the beginning of the very beautiful introduction that ŚrīlaBaladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa spoke there in the GovindaBhāṣya. He writes, “May Śrī Govinda be all glorious. By His mercy He revealed this commentary to me in a dream. The commentary revealed by Him is especially appreciated by the highly learned, and as a result of this, I have been given the name Vidyābhūṣaṇa, but it is Śrī Govinda who deserves all the credit. May that Śrī Govinda who is the most dear life and soul of Śrī Rādhikā be all victorious!” It was so beautiful, and so eloquent, and so convincing that there was no more arguing. He completely establishes the Gauḍīya Siddhānta and thus Rādhā and Govinda were united again. [“Haribol!” Applause]

Jai-Singh was so happy that he built a temple of victory. I think it’s at Galtaji. We went there last year. That’s where the debate took place. He then installed the Deity called Vijaya Gopāla, so such a glorious victory.  Just to bring it down to our practical level of how this applies to us: We can know that there is always going to be challenge. Fortunately, there was an amazing devotee who was able to uphold the name and the legitimacy of Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism at that time. But it’s not like, ‘’Oh, okay! Well, he did the job and now it’s all over.” There is always going to be more challenges that come our way in the course of devotional service. Devotees have to be prepared to defend who we are, what we are, what we stand for, how it’s right, how it’s bonafide.” Because these kinds of things happened in the past, and they are happening now and will happen in the future—where we are really having to be able to explain, how we are legitimate.

As I was talking the other day about Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur, that he had made a strategy of how to do his preaching, and so he had called everyone together and had that incredible festival called Kheturī Mahotsava. It was so successful, and his name spread far and wide, and he really uplifted the whole of Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism at that time. But there is always somebody that’s going to challenge. Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur was challenged in similar ways to what happened in Jaipur.  Because after the Kheturī festival Narottama made so many disciples, who were very elevated Brāhmaṇas, Paṇḍitas—very influential people. Just like the Rāmānandīs here became concerned, so in the same way, many Paṇḍitas in the area where Narottama was preaching also got concerned, “Oh, he is getting so powerful, this Narottama.” They made a challenge, because Narottama was also initiating people who were non-brāhmaṇas, and this was very controversial at that time.

A whole band of Paṇḍitas decided to come and have debate with Narottama, “What you are doing is not right. This is not bonafide.” Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur, he really didn’t like debates. He didn’t really like to argue with anyone. His disciples knew that, so they made a plan that they would hand off these Paṇḍitas before they arrived to argue with Narottama. That’s a whole story. I won’t tell all of that, but just briefly, GaṅgāNārāyaṇa Cakravārtī and Rāmacandra Kavirāj, they dressed themselves up as pot sellers: clay-pot seller and a pan-vala. They dressed, sitting at their shops, and then these Paṇḍitas came in to buy their bhoga and things for the Pūjā, and stuff, and they hear these two shop-valas speaking in eloquent fluent Sanskrit, like “Wow!” The Paṇḍitas were completely shocked, “What kind of town is this? If even the shop-valas speak eloquent Sanskrit, then what are the Paṇḍitas here?” They got a little nervous.

[Paṇḍitas]: “You are just a clay-pot seller; and how do you speak Sanskrit  like that?”

[Disciples]: “Oh, you know, we are just humble servants of our Guru Mahārāja. Oh, we all know this stuff.”

{Paṇḍitas]: “Oh, well who is your Guru Mahārāja?”

[Disciples]:“Oh, Śrīla Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur Mahāśaya.

The Paṇḍitas were like, “Wow, we are going to debate with Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur, but we can’t even defeat his disciples, we better get out of here. Forget it.” This ability to defend your spiritual position and to have this strength to be able to do that is required. That’s going to be required for everybody in some small way or maybe in some very big way. Already in our movement we have got so many situations where devotees have to figure out how to defend our position.

Like when I first joined, I came to the temple to live in a temple after Janmāṣṭamī in 1970 in Detroit. I think that, probably at that time, was one of the first major difficulties that happened in the movement. I didn’t know what was really going on. I was just a plain new devotee. But all the devotees just came back from the Janmāṣṭamī festival in New Vṛndāvan and there, four senior Sannyāsīs had been propagating an inappropriate philosophy. In a nut-shell they were saying Guru is God. Many devotees that were there at the festival were really in anxiety, because they knew that what they were saying was wrong, but they didn’t know how to defeat it. So it was a real major problem. The devotees were so disturbed by what they were hearing. They knew that, “That doesn’t sound right. That’s not our philosophy.” But they didn’t have the Śāstric reference, and they didn’t have the maturity to really defeat them.

So I remember that all went to Prabhupāda and eventually everything got resolved. But as a result of that, we all realized that, “We just don’t know enough. We should have been able to say these things.” Thus, we did as a radical thing as, “We have got to study whole lot more.” We decided we have got to study the whole day long one day., But when you are going to do Sankirtana?—For the whole next day. It’s like a 48 hour schedule, so we can cram everything in. We made a schedule where we had Bhagavad-Gītā, Śrī Īśopaniṣad and Nectar of Devotion and then an all-day schedule of classes. Because we realized we weren’t capable, we were not able to rise to the challenge. So we needed to learn more. As you can imagine, devotees sitting for 6 or 7 hours a day studying, and then everyone was in sound sleep within two hours. When it came to Śrīla Prabhupāda, he nixed it immediately, “This is not necessary, Śrīmat Bhāgavatam in the morning, Bhagavad-Gītā in the evening. Chant Hare Kṛṣṇa and go on Sankirtana. Don’t be fanatics!” Then there are other things we had, a Gopī Bhāva club thing that we had to deal with. So many things, and if you don’t know the philosophy of Kṛṣṇa Consciousness, you are just sentimental, how to deal with it? You don’t know, “Oh, God, what are we going to do?”  We had huge problems with brainwashing things at some point, so there are always problems that you have to come forward, to be able to defend our tradition. Even after Prabhupāda left, we still now got on-going with the problems like Ṛtvik ideas, origin of Jīva issues, so many things. They are always going to be there. We have to become knowledgeable and devoted to keep Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism alive, in the mood of Śrīla Prabhupāda who said, “I will fight till my last breath. I will preach, preach and preach,” which he did. 

Just going back to Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa, maybe you have noticed that Śrīla Prabhupāda dedicated the Bhagavad-Gītā to him. I always wondered why. Because I never knew much about Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa, I wondered, “Why did he dedicat it to him?” But now when you hear the story, you can get it. Just imagine, Baladeva uplifted the whole of Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism, he kept Rādhā and Govinda together—amazing; of course, Śrīla Prabhupāda dedicated it to Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa.

After that, Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa returned to Vṛndāvan, and he became like a ruling Mahānta in Vṛndāvan after Viśvanāth Cakravārtī Ṭhākur. He is like a warrior, like a great hero coming back from battle. I mean, you imagine devotes were applauding like, “Yeah!” when he returned to Vṛndāvan. He became the Mahānta of the Rādhā Śyāma Sundara temple. He did his Bhajan there; you can see his cave. There is a little cave when you go down in the temple courtyard where he did Bhajan and lived there for 25 years or so.  He wrote many, many more commentaries, and actually he brought a special stone from Orissa to have the Rādhā Śyāma Sundara Deities carved there. What an amazing personality! He was Gopīnātha Ācārya, the brother-in-law of Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya in a previous life, and in Vrajalīlā he was Ratnāvalī Devi—so what a personality!

With that, I hope we have more appreciation of Who is there on the altar at Rādhā Govindadevajī Temple. “Who are those Deities or personalities? How They came to be there? Then, how we have came to be here?” These are all miracles, and we are just part of all these miracles that are happening. By the grace of Śrīla Prabhupāda, all this is possible to us.

Jaya! Śrīla Prabhupāda ki –jaya!