Śrī-Śrī Rādhā Gokulānanda –Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur Disappearance Day- HH Śrīla Indradyumna Swami – Instructions

Narottam Das Thakur Samadhi

Opening Address

– By His Holiness Śrīla Indradyumna Swami

Today is the disappearance day of Śrīla Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur. We are blessed as BaḍaHari Prabhu is with us. We will be singing one of Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur’s songs to open the program: “Ye anilo Prema-dhana”, which we sing on the departure day of great Vaiṣṇavas. Mādhava Prabhu will be leading Kīrtana later on in the morning.

Of course as I was telling you, Ṭhākurāṇī is here—Śītalā Devī Dāsī—my dear Godsister. She will be speaking extensively on the pastimes, the teachings of Śrīla Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur. She has just joined our Parikramā from Māyāpura. You please give her a big round of applause—Mother Śītalā [Applause, Haribol!]. [Sound of monkeys jumping on rooftop]. They are also applauding in their way [Laughter]. She will be with us much of our Parikramā and she will be speaking on different Vaiṣṇava personalities at different times. We are very blessed to be here in Śrī Vṛndāvan Dhām. It’s a very auspicious day.

Just next to the Pushpa Samādhi of Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur is the full Samādhi of his Guru Mahārāja, Lokanātha Gosvāmī.   


We are very blessed that from Moscow, Russia comes BhaktiAnanta Kṛṣṇa Mahārāja to join us with his group today. Please give Mahārāja a big round of applause. [Applause, Haribol!].

I am sure that Śrīla Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur is very pleased with Mahārāja. The preaching he does is his Mahā, Mahā, Mahā, Mahā-Mahotsava—the festivals throughout the country of Russia. We are very much honored, Mahārāja, that you have joined us today.

Bhakti- Ananta Kṛṣṇa Mahārāja ki –Jaya.  

All Glories to Śrīla Prabhupāda.

We would like to ask the devotees to move forward, because we have many more devotees coming, so just take about two minutes, kind of stand up, and move as far forward as you can to give room for the other devotees.









Śrīla Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur ki – Jay!

Śrīnivas Ācārya ki – Jay!

Śyamānanda Paṇḍita ki – Jay!

Śrī Gaurāṅga Mahāprabhu ki –Jay!

Śrī-Śrī Rādhā-Madana-Mohan – HH Śrīla Indradyumna Swami – Instructions

HH Srila Indradyumna Swami chanting at Sri Sri Radha Madanmohan Temple

Spending Extra Time – Absorbed in Devotional Service

– By His Holiness Śrīla Indradyumna Swami

It is getting a little warm out here now and we don’t want to get over-heated. The sun can be quite strong here, so we are going to conclude our Parikramā. Actually in the Samādhi Mandir, there’s some construction going on there and not many devotees can fit in that area at the moment. So if you have a strong desire to take Darśana of Sanātana Gosvāmī  just go down the steps in front of the temple, then you turn right and turn right again. It is just on the side of here, you can go individually and take your Darśana.

We would like to thank Mādhava Prabhu for beginning our program today with such a beautiful Bhajan. We would like to thank Caturātmā Prabhu for giving us such an enlightened and scholarly discourse on the glories of Sanātana Gosvāmī and Madana-Mohan. We would like to thank Śrīla Prabhupāda for inviting us to Śrī Vṛndāvan Dhām. We will conclude our Parikramā here for the day.

Remember that tomorrow morning we are meeting outside KṛṣṇaBalarāma Mandir around 6 o’clock to start getting you off on the rickshaws down to RādhāGokulānanda temple. Those of you who don’t show up in time, just take a rickshaw to Rādhā-Raman, and Gokulānanda is just down the street. Please spend the rest of your day in a very Kṛṣṇa conscious way. Spend extra time chanting japa. It is one of the best things to do here in Vṛndāvan. Just find a sanctified place, a clean place, a holy place and just chant extra rounds. Take the time to take a favorite scripture and just sit under one kalpa-vṛkṣa tree and absorb the deep philosophy of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. If you can’t keep so still, you have to be a little busy, then go to the temple of some of your favorite Deities and just sit down in Their divine presence and beg for Their mercyPrabhupāda said, “If you have got time, chant Hare Kṛṣṇa”; so we have lots of time here in Śrī Vṛndāvan Dhām for these essential spiritual activities. Thank you all very much for coming today. I hope that this experience has deepened your appreciation for Vṛndāvan, for Sanātana Gosvāmī, Śrīla Prabhupāda and for Śrī-Śrī RādhāMadana-Mohan.

I will take your leave now. I’m going to go back and walk up the Parikramā Mārga back to my house. I would like to leave you with a very nice invitation. I have a very dear God-brother; his name is Bhakti Bringa Govinda Swami Mahārāja. He is one of my Śikṣā Gurus; he’s the one who gave me this infection for Vṛndāvan. Bhakti Caitanya Swami said, “Bhakti Bringa Govinda Mahārāja, when he cooks, it is like gold; when Govinda Mahārāja speaks, it is like gold; and when Bhakti Bringa Govinda Mahārāja sings, it is like platinum.”

Bhakti Bringa Govinda Swami Mahārāja ki Jaya!

Mahārāja has a house; just one house down from my little house, right next to where you registered when you first came to Vṛndāvan. Every night from now on, well at least for another week, Mahārāja has his Kīrtanas, these Bhajans at his house and he wanted me to invite all of you to come this evening at 7:30. How’s that for an invitation? So that means you can offer your lamp to Gaur-Nitāī, KṛṣṇaBalarāma, and Rādhā-Śyāmasundara. Then you can walk over and come down past Balarām Bābā’s place on the way to my house and just on the left is Govinda Mahārāja’s house. We can all sit and there are different Kīrtaniyās who are singing, but hopefully Govinda Mahārāja will sing tonight and we can enjoy a nice Kīrtana. Every night you are invited to come for this Bhajan at his house.

He can fit about 300 people in his patio. Now, our Parikramā is of 300 people, so you just do the mathematics. There are lot of devotees who come for Mahārāja’s Bhajans. We have a saying in English: “First come, first served.” You know when Prasādam is being served, some smart devotees, they run to the front of the line and they get the nice hot sumptuous Prasāda; so I would recommend if you would like to come to the Bhajan, you try to come early to get a space because it gets pretty crowded.  I am going to go see Mahārāja right now so I can report to him how many of you are coming, so raise your hand if you are coming. “Woahh!” It’s going to be a tsunami of our Kīrtana party. Okay, that is 7:30 pm at Mahārāja’s house and 7 o’clock tomorrow morning at RādhāGokulānanda.

Śrīla Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur ki Jaya!

Gaura Premanande Hari Haribol! Hare Kṛṣṇa!

Śrī-Śrī Rādhā-Madana-Mohan – HG Caturātmā Prabhu – Lecture; Indradyumna Swami’s Parikrama -2015

Life Story: Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmi

– By HG Caturātmā Prabhu


I should actually feel a bit intimidated; this is after all Vṛndāvan.  Vṛndāvan is the place for those who are qualified to speak about the pastimes of the Lord and that is certainly not myself but being requested by Indradyumna SwamiŚrīla Gurudeva, and actually on the order of Śrīla Prabhupāda I am going to speak. Many times Śrīla Prabhupāda would ask the devotees right in front of him, “You, give the class!” I never had that experience but I can imagine how intimidating that must be. But particularly this place is very confronting to me, because in 1977 when I came to Vṛndāvan on my own just to experience Vṛndāvan and to develop my relationship with Vṛndāvan, this is a place I came regularly and a place that I felt very connected with what I was learning about Kṛṣṇa Consciousness.

For Sanātana Gosvāmī, this was his place and because this is raised up above, because it’s a hill, it’s a little bit separated from everything going on below it. Also the fact that Yamunā River used to be just right below would have made it so much more beautiful during Sanātana Gosvāmīs time. It is our responsibility, our duty to appreciate and glorify Sanātana Gosvāmī, but the other Gosvāmīs also appreciated and glorified Sanātana Gosvāmī. I would like to start off with a very nice prayer from Raghunātha Dāsa Gosvāmī, whom we know was very, very exact in his renunciation, and he says this:

[Raghunātha Dāsa Gosvāmī]: “I was unwilling to drink the nectar of devotional service possessed of renunciation but Sanātana Gosvāmī out of his causeless mercy made me drink it, even though I was unable to do so. Therefore he is an ocean of mercy. He is very compassionate to the fallen souls like me and thus it is my duty to offer my respectful obeisances unto his lotus feet and to take shelter of him.”

I mean, how could we have written such a poem glorifying Sanātana Gosvāmī? This poem actually describes us, we are so fallen; yet Sanātana Gosvāmī is giving us the process of devotional service.

Kavi Karnapura gives a further indication, a little insight into the identity of Sanātana Gosvāmī. He says in his ‘Gaura Gonadesha Deepika’: “Rūpa Manjari’s closest friend who is known by the name Rati manjari appeared in the pastimes of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu as Sanātana Gosvāmī. He is considered to be a personal expansion of the body of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.” We know that when the Lord comes, whether it’s Kṛṣṇa Līlā or Gaura Līlā, He brings all of His associates with Him and they all take different roles. And through the association and engagement with these devotees He spreads the teachings of Kṛṣṇa Consciousness. It is said that the writings of Sanātana Gosvāmī are paralleled only by those of Rūpa and Raghunātha Dāsa Gosvāmī.

Now Jīva Gosvāmī has given a very detailed explanation of the ancestral history of Sanātana Gosvāmī and he traces the family line back into the late 1300s. We won’t go into all that detail especially since I have 39 pages reduced down to 25 pages; but we can suffice it to say that Sanātana Gosvāmī was very expert in leadership in the field of politics tempered with a deep expertise of all the Shastras. Sanātana Gosvāmī was not the first in his family line to be entangled in the leadership of the Muslim government. It was actually his grandfather that moved the family to Jaisore which we now know as Bangladesh and that’s when the involvement began. Sanātana Gosvāmī came from a big family. His father’s name was Kumar Dev and he had many sons and several daughters, and the three prominent ones were Rūpa, Sanātana and Anupama. As Gurudeva mentioned, Sanātana was the older of the two by about 5-6 years. They were all educated in all of the sciences of every field of knowledge. Of course these three were also the oldest of all the brothers so whatever they did the other brothers would follow and in this way it was a very educated and knowledgeable family.  Of course we refer to them as Rūpa and Sanātana, but their birth names were Amara and Santosha. We will see later how they get these names Rūpa and Sanātana.

The Muslim leader of Bengal at that time, Husain Shah, he had heard about these two pious men, Amara and Santosha, and how highly qualified they were. So he wanted to engage them in the activities within his government and at first they declined, “Not so much interested. Thank you very much!” But as we might say he made them an offer they couldn’t refuse: “You either serve in my government or I will make life for the Vaiṣṇavas very, very difficult.” At that time because they were serving in the Muslim government they accepted Muslim names and titles according to the service they were taking up. Sanātana, who was Santosha, was known as Sakar Malik and he was the private secretary to the Shah and then Rūpa became known as Dabir Khas and he was in charge of the treasury and the revenue. They even engaged Śrī VallabhaAnupama and he was the Superintendent of the Royal Mint (a treasure). The Shah was very appreciative of the service they were rendering and he rewarded them, paid them very, very satisfactorily.

Now according to strict Vaiṣṇava tradition and Hindu tradition, if a person associates with Muslims they become contaminated by their association. So Sanātana Gosvāmī, Rūpa Gosvāmī, they felt themselves very fallen due to this daily association they have. Of course, this is only due to their great humility as true Vaiṣṇavas. Sanātana’s father was a little bit of a fanatic. If he even saw a Muslim he would go and perform some type of atonement for that and here his eldest sons were serving in the Muslim government mixing with them every day. It’s described that Sanātana, Rūpa and Anupama had fallen into an ocean of humility, considering themselves to be the most fallen. In the BhaktiRatnākara it describes that this example of Rūpa and Sanātana was the tool that Lord Caitanya used to teach humility.

While serving in the government they made their headquarters in the town of Rāmakeli. And it was a good choice because Rāmakeli was the home of many famous devotees at that time also. They became very much respected and while they were there, Brahmins from everywhere, even far South India, would come to stay, and study with them, and converse with them. Even though they had this mixing with the government service they would do, they were considered to be the crest jewels of Vaiṣṇava scholars. Of course this is appropriate, because their teacher was the brother of Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya. This is when they were boys before they got this government post. VidyāVācaspati, he was the brother of Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya, and he is the one that taught them all the philosophy and Śāstra and everything else they understood. Even after they were adults and established themselves in Rāmakeli he would come and visit them and then continue with his teachings and they would have discourses.

We see that even from an early age they were very much absorbed in the mood of Bhakti, what to speak of during their government service time? They remembered Vṛndāvan in their residential area. They had planted a forest of Tamal trees and forest of Kadamba trees and of course many, many forests of Tulasi. And the ponds that they had there, they named Rādhā-Kuṇḍa and ŚyāmaKuṇḍa respectively, and they were quite well known for this activity. When there are some devotees in different places, doing some wonderful services/great activities, then (even before Interpol, internet and facebook, all these things,) a devotee’s word (glories) would travel around, so Mahāprabhu came to hear about all this. Of course they also heard of the activities of Mahāprabhu for sure and they desired very much to leave their services and go and spend time with Him, but an inner voice spoke to them, “You must be patient. Soon you will have Darśana of that Personality who is the savior of the fallen.”

When Sanātana was a young boy he had a very unusual dream. In this dream he saw a Brāhmaṇa approaching him and this Brāhmaṇa gave him a copy of the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. Upon receiving that copy of the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam from the Brāhmaṇa, his hairs stood on end and tears came to his eyes, and this caused his dream to break and he woke up and he looked around and saw there is no Brāhmaṇa, there was no Bhāgavatam. The next morning he rose as regularly and bathed and was sitting and doing his morning prayers and a Brāhmaṇa came at a distance and came before him and presented Śrīmad Bhāgavatam and said to him, “Take this Bhāgavatam, always study it and all perfection will be yours.” And the Brāhmaṇa went away, pretty amazing. When he received this treasure of Bhāgavatam, Sanātana’s satisfaction and ecstasy and devotional pleasure just knew no bounds.

From that day forward his only book of study was the Bhāgavatam. He did this because he understood that the Bhāgavatam is the essence of all scriptures and he didn’t need to study anything else. He even wrote one very nice verse, which is a nice verse for devotees to give classes particularly from Bhāgavatam to memorize and recite before they speak. “Oh holy Bhāgavata, you are my only company, my only friend and my Guru. You are my greatest treasure, my personal savior and the emblem of my highest fortune. You are the very form of ecstasy. I offer my obeisances unto you.” Nice prayers! Sanātana Gosvāmī is described by Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Sarasvatī as ‘Bhakti Siddhānta Ācārya’the most important teacher of the devotional doctrine.

After Mahāprabhu took His Sannyāsa He went to Purī and He did His tour of south India, then He returned to Purī again and decided to go and visit Vṛndāvan, by following the Ganges as it went through Bengal. Now whenever Śrīla Gurudeva tries to go anywhere, big crowds go around him; devotees all want to be there. Can you imagine the thousands of people that surrounded Mahāprabhu as He tried to go on pilgrimage? Everywhere He went, there was just chaos. In this way, He made His approach to the village of Rāmakeli. Now Rāmakeli is sometimes called GuptaVṛndāvan. Anybody knows what this word ’Gupta’ means? It means “hidden.” There is a list of five or six important things to be seen in Rāmakeli:

  • The Tamal and Kadamba tree under which Mahāprabhu is said to have sat with Rūpa and Sanātana respectively.
  • The temple of Madana-Mohan that they established there.
  • The different bathing Ghats of ŚyāmaKuṇḍa, Rādhā-Kuṇḍa, SurabhīKuṇḍa, and LalitāKuṇḍa.
  • A very large lake that Rūpa Gosvāmī personally excavated called Rūpa Sāgara and then of course another one called Sanātana Sāgara.

When the Shah saw all of these crowds of people coming, he thought maybe there was some kind of revolt or uprising or something. KeśavaKhatri knew what was going on and he assured the king, “No, no, no need to worry!”  He explained a bit about the character of Mahāprabhu, so that the king could understand that this is no political difficulty. Then His minister, Dabir Khas, also assured him of the wonderful qualities of Mahāprabhu and that there was no need to fear; but they sent a message to Mahāprabhu warning him that, “This king can’t be trusted and you should be a little cautious coming here with such a big crowd.” They more or less minimized Mahāprabhu’s importance as the Yuga Avatar to the king. But the king was very intelligent. He said, “I have been beginning to think that this person must be the Supreme Godhead Himself.” After this conversation and hearing the king think like that, Dabir Khas went back to his own residence. He and his brother decided that they would go incognito to visit Mahāprabhu. Of course first they met Nityānanda and Haridāsa, and then Nityānanda and Haridāsa took them in and introduced them to Mahāprabhu.

Caitanya Caritāmṛta gives some nice verses about this exchange. Rūpa and Sanātana said the following, “We two are millions of times more degraded, fallen and sinful than Jagāi and Mādhāi. We are of a more wicked birth because we are taking up activities that appear just like those of the Muslims. We constantly associate with people who are inimical to the cows and the Brāhmaṇas and because of this we are bound by the neck and thrown into a ditch filled with evil substances.” When Mahāprabhu heard this, he said “No, no, no! You two are my eternal servants. You should be known as Rūpa and Sanātana and I have come here to Bengal just to see the two of you. Know for sure that soon Kṛṣṇa will deliver you from your predicament.” Bhakti Siddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākur explains that this was the initiation of Rūpa and Sanātana as followers of Lord Caitanya. Suppose it’s your initiation ceremony and you want all your best friends there. Now listen to the list of those who were there when Rūpa and Sanātana received their names. Nityānanda Prabhu, Haridāsa Ṭhākur, Śrīvasa Paṇḍita, Gadādhara Paṇḍita, Mukund Dutta, Jagadānanda Paṇḍita, Murāri Gupta, Vakreśvara Paṇḍita and so many other Vaiṣṇavas who were travelling with Lord Caitanya.

The Lord gave all of His blessings to Rūpa and Sanātana and then Sanātana gave a bit of an advice to Mahāprabhu. Kind of a little unusual on your initiation, you say to Guru “Oh, I have one bit of advice for you.” But it was advice for His well-being. He said that, “Your business here is now finished, it would be better if you would leave now. Even though the Shah says he has faith in You, he is a ruler and a king and he cannot be trusted. Also for You to continue on pilgrimage to Vṛndāvan with such a large group of people is not in Your best interest. This is not the appropriate way to go to Vṛndāvan.”

Mahāprabhu was impressed by the wisdom and intelligence of Sanātana Gosvāmī and He returned back to Purī. Now after this time, Rūpa and Sanātana, it became almost impossible for them to continue on with their mundane mind-numbing service to the Shah. They had become Sādhakas of the first order and it just became so difficult to continue with anything other than that. Rūpa finally arranged to resign from his post in the government and he deposited 10,000 gold coins with one grocer, like a banker, to hold. He then took all the rest of the accumulated wealth [made] by him and he divided it up against the Brāhmaṇas, the Vaiṣṇavas and his family members. Then he sent two of his servants to go to Purī and find out where Mahāprabhu was, because he knew that Mahāprabhu was getting ready to travel to Vṛndāvan and he wanted to join up with him.

Now that was Rūpa, I mean he was the minister of the treasury, so a little easier for him to get away; but Sanātana was the personal secretary and private minister to the Shah himself, and the Shah treated him just like he was a brother and gave him all kinds of facilities and kept him very comfortably settled. Sanātana thought that, “This kind of affection from him is really a great source of problems for me. If I could get him angry at me, it would be easier for me to get out of service to him.” One day he sent a servant to the Shah and said, “Oh, I am sick, I can’t come to work!” Have any of you ever, maybe called in, “I am sick” when maybe you weren’t really sick? There may be one or two; none of you? [Laughter] I have done that; I wanted to go to Janmāṣṭamī, so I informed the office, “Oha, Oha [Coughing] I can’t make it in today! Oha, Oha.” So in this way Sanātana stayed home from work, from taking care of business with the Shah. For one day, two days, three days, and it’s a week he didn’t go in. So the Shah became very much concerned, “What’s going on with Sanātana? He is my main right-hand man. He is ill or unhealthy, something must be the problem.”

Sanātana in the meantime was sitting at home and just endlessly studying the Bhāgavatam. The Shah thought, “Now he is like my brother, so I should send the doctor to see how he is doing.” The doctor went to check on Sanātana and what did he find? He found Sanātana in perfect health, sitting and reading the Bhāgavatam with all his associates, having Kathā. “Oh! You are not sick?” “No, no, not really!” The doctor went back and told the Shah, “He is not sick; he is just studying the Bhāgavatam.” The Shah became a little surprised as to why Sanātana would lie to him. He went to see Sanātana personally and he spoke very sweetly to Sanātana, “You have to come back and taken up your ministerial duties. I need your assistance. I cannot run the kingdom without you. All of my affairs depend upon you and you are just sitting in the house with the Paṇḍitas and reading Bhāgavatam. If you do not come back, my kingdom will fall apart. You must return to your service.” Sanātana looked at him, folded his hands and said, “I will no longer be able to assist you in your governmental affairs. You will have to find somebody else; I quit.”

The Shah got so angry. He stood up and screamed at Sanātana, “First your brother left and now you are quitting. You are ruining all of my plans.” Sanātana very calmly said, “You are the independent ruler of Gauda; you can do whatever you want. You can see any mistake, and mistreat as you feel fit.” The Shah then threatened and said, “I need you because I am going to invade Orissa and take over that kingdom. If you do not assist me at this particular time I will put you in prison.” Sanātana said, “Your business is to give pain to the Deities and difficulty to Lord Jagannātha. I will not help you in this matter.”  Thus he was then sent to the prison. Actually the building that he was imprisoned in is still there. In my collection of memorabilia I have one piece of that wall, from the prison cell of Sanātana Gosvāmī. That alone is enough reason for you to come to Alachua to get the Darśana of that piece of wall.

In the meantime, Rūpa got the understanding that Mahāprabhu had gone and He was in the Jārikhaṇḍa forest on His way to Vṛndāvan. He and his younger brother Anupama decided to go and try to catch up with Mahāprabhu. But he decided first that he should send a letter to Sanātana. It was a specially composed Sanskrit verse. This is that verse: “Where has the Mathurā of the Lord of the Yadu’s gone? Where is the Kingdom of Koshala of the Lord of the Raghus? Contemplate these points and make your mind steady. This world will not last forever.” When Sanātana got this, he was able to understand the secret meaning of this verse sent to him by Rūpa, and what was the secret meaning? The secret meaning was indicating that Mahāprabhu had gone to Mathurā.

This was the conviction that Sanātana needed; he began to plan his escape from prison. Because he was very much aware of all of the activities of the kingdom, he knew the jail-keeper. He tried to convince him to let him go: “I want to make a pilgrimage to the holy land and if you give me this freedom, then Allah will be very pleased with you. The Quran says that if you free someone who has been unjustly imprisoned, you will get great benefit.” “Yah!” the jail keeper was a little bit interested, but after all, he feared for his life. So Sanātana said, “Okay, 5000 gold coins?” The jail keeper said, “I will get back to you on that.” The next day, he still hadn’t given any response, so Sanātana said, “Six thousand gold coins! Let me go.” The jail-keeper said, “I will get back to you on that.” The next day Sanātana arranged for the grocer to bring 7000 gold coins all in a pile right in front of the jailer. How strong your determination would be if someone puts 7000 gold coins right in front of you? His determination was not very strong, “All right! All right!” Sanātana told him, “You just tell him you took me to the Ganges to take care of some bodily business and I jumped in and drowned, and you don’t know what happened.”

Sanātana was the prime minister but, when he escaped from jail he didn’t have a penny to his name. He was able to arrange for one servantIshanthat he had to come with him. But this Ishan thought, “I can’t just go empty handed; I need to take care of him!” So he stashed eight gold coins. As they were traveling they went through one section of land where there was a very well known robber who controlled that area. And one astrologer palmist told him, “Oh, oh, some great fortune is coming your way, very soon some travelers will come and they have wealth, you should secure it.” When they came into his area, he received them very nicely and made arrangements for them, so they had a nice place to stay and good food and nice accommodation. He was really just a big rascal setting them up so that he could rob them. Actually we did this play one time when I was a younger devotee and I played this robber guy. I had a little beedi (cigarette) in my mouth, one of those sleeveless shirts that all the rickshaw-valas are wearing, a gamachā wrapped on my  head, so it was great fun.

Sanātana Gosvāmī was a prime minister, he was expert in politics, he knew something was up: “There is no reason for this man to be so nice to us. Something is not right here”. He went to Ishan and said “Ishan, I have one question. Have you brought something with you that you haven’t told me about? Maybe you have some private funds stashed?” Ishan hung his head and said, “Yes, my lord, I have brought seven gold coins.” How many gold coins did we say he had? Eight, but how many he told Sanātana he had? Seven. Sanātana said, “Why have you done this; you have put our lives in great peril. Give me the seven gold coins you brought.” [Ishan counting and giving coins:] “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, Um 8 (hidden)”, so he gave them and Sanātana Gosvāmī took those gold coins and went to the innkeeper, to the robber, to the landowner and he said, “I have a present for you. You have been very kind to me. Unknown to me, my servant has kept these gold coins. I would like to give them to you and you would do me a great service if you would take them.” The robber told them, “Actually I knew you had eight gold coins.” Sanātana counted that it was seven. The robber said, “Had you not given them to me, I would have taken them from you and plundered you. But now that you are offering them, I won’t even take them. You can keep them.” He (Sanātana) said, “No, no, you will do me a great favorplease, if you don’t take them, someone else will. Please you take them.” So the man accepted the seven gold coins, Sanātana and Ishan continued and they went over the mountain areas. After they crossed the mountain areas, Sanātana said one thing to Ishan, “Ishan, you have one more gold coin?” [Ishan replied:] “Yes, I do”. [Sanātana said:] “All right, you take that gold coin and you return home. You are not ready for renunciation, so you keep the gold coin and you return to your home.” In this way, he bid good-bye to Ishan and Sanātana continued on his way.

Now Sanātana got near one place called Patna, very famous place where they have big auctions for animals all the time. And remember what I said, Sanātana came from a big family. Well, one of his sisters married one devoteeŚrīkaṇṭhaand they lived there. When Śrīkaṇṭha said, “This is all your family, you stay here for a few days, be comfortable.” But Sanātana wanted no delays, “No, No I have to continue on.” [Śrīkaṇṭha said:] “But you have nothing. At least take this nice expensive comfortable Bhutanese blanket.” So Sanātana thought he could use this for sleeping, for staying warm, as his gamachā, for so many things, so he accepted it.

Finally he arrived in Banaras where Mahāprabhu was staying and when he arrived there he went to the home of Candraśekhara. Candraśekhara let him stay there, while the devotees went in and informed Mahāprabhu that he had arrived. As soon as Mahāprabhu understood Sanātana had arrived, He went in and quickly embraced him. It is described that in this anticipated meeting of these two wonderful devotees all of the different ecstatic symptoms manifested and what did Mahāprabhu do? With his own lotus hands, He began to dust all the dirt off the body of Sanātana Gosvāmī. Now Sanātana felt very uncomfortable with this happening. He said, “My dear Lord, pleaseNo, No! Don’t even touch my body.” Caitanya Caritāmṛta gives Mahāprabhus response: “I touch your body to purify myself. The devotional force in your body is so great that it can purify the entire universe. I look at you, I touch you, and I sing your glories and by doing so all of My senses reach their perfection.” The Lord repeated this again and again, that He was being benefited by touching the body of Sanātana and then He said to Sanātana, “Listen my dear Sanātana, Kṛṣṇa is an ocean of mercy. He saves the most fallen. He has delivered you from the greatest type of hell.” Now of course Sanātana wasn’t really in hell; he was an eternal associate of the Lord, but it was His pastime.

The Lord looked at Sanātana; Sanātana had been in prison for some time and living with the Muslims, serving there and traveling and he had his long beard and long hair, etc. He said to Sanātana, “Go and shave and get your hair cut and look respectable.” Generally speaking, Vaiṣṇavas are clean-shaven, no hair, no beard. Of course during the Cāturmāsya period many devotees don’t shave, do fasting and things like that. After being shaven and cleaned up, he came before Mahāprabhu. Mahāprabhu was very satisfied to see him. When he was taking his bath, and shaving up and all, his friend Candraśekhara came and wanted to give him some new cloth, “You should put on some new Dhotī, new Kūrtā, now that that one’s so old.” Now even though at one time in his life, Sanātana had been wealthy enough to give clothes to thousands of mendicants, now he only had one set of cloth. But he was just as happy with that one set of cloth and he did not want to accept any new clothes from Candraśekhara.

Now, there was one Maharashtrian Brāhmaṇa that lived with the devotees there and he invited Sanātana, “You please come for Prasādam today”. Sanātana said, “No, No, I am not interested. I am only doing Mādhukarī. Whatever I collect that’s all I eat.” Mahāprabhu was very happy with this.  As he would come before Mahāprabhu during his stay there, he would have on his little loincloth, his little shawl and that really nice Bhutanese warm blanket given to him by Śrīkaṇṭha. Whenever he would go in front of Mahāprabhu, he would see that Mahāprabhu kept looking at this blanket. Mahāprabhu never said anything; He would just look at this blanket. Sanātana could understand. He was a very intelligent man, familiar in the ways of subtle dealings. That day he went to the Gaṅgā to take his bath, and there was one old Bengali beggar with his old cloths that he had and some blanket and he was washing his clothes. So Sanātana said to him, “Can we trade? I will give you this and will take yours?” And the old beggar looked, he said, “The fact that I am poor and a beggar is not enough, you must tease me like this? You look to be a saintly person, but why do you make fun of me in this way?” “No,” Sanātana said, “I am very serious, you take,” and he put the blanket on his lap. So he took the old quilt and put it around his shoulders.

Then he went back that afternoon for Darśana of Mahāprabhu, and he had on his shoulder just a bare quilt. Mahāprabhu looked at it and looked at it again, looked at it for a third time and then smiled. He said, “I have been thinking about this. It seems that since Lord Kṛṣṇa is very kind to you, he has cured you of your disease for attachments to material enjoyments. Why would He then allow you to hold on fast to one last item?”

After restoring a patient to good health the physician does not let even one trace of the disease remain. It is quite contradictory to perform Mādhukarī while wearing a blanket worth five gold coins. You can imagine, someone comes to your door dressed in a very fine tuxedo with a big fine hat and the cane and the shave, “I am very poor, could you give me a little something?” Who’s going to believe him? So in this way Lord Caitanya said, “By giving this up you have increased your spiritual strength and refrained from becoming a laughingstock.” At this point, Mahāprabhu begins His opportunity of giving the teachings of Kṛṣṇa Consciousness to Sanātana Gosvāmī.

Sanātana Gosvāmī speaks first to Mahāprabhu, “Actually, I don’t even know how to inquire about the goal of life or the process for attaining that goal.” And then this famous verse which we all know, Ke āmi? Who am I?” Śrīla Prabhupāda actually quoted this verse many, many times in his lectures. It is one of his favorite verses to quote. It is mentioned that this is the first inquiry for one on the path to spiritual perfection. Because if we mistake what our true identity is, then all of the other knowledge will be based on a faulty conclusion. Śrīla Prabhupāda often gave an example, “If you add one and one and you get three, even if you master the most complicated calculus, you will have the wrong understanding.” So due to the fact we have limited time and due to the fact I have no philosophical understanding, we will just let it be up to you, to go to the Caitanya Caritāmṛta Madhya Līlā chapters 20 to 23 and read this conversation and the Lord’s instructions.  However, it’s interesting to note that when Mahāprabhu spoke to Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya, He gave 18 different explanations of the ātmārām verse. But when he spoke with Sanātana Gosvāmī he gave 61 different explanations of the same.

After this conversation with Mahāprabhu is finished he instructs Sanātana, “Now you go to Vṛndāvan”; and when Sanātana goes to Vṛndāvan the first person he meets is Subuddhi Rāya. Now Subuddhi Rāya made his living by just selling some dry wood for lighting fires. Despite this, Subuddhi Rāya was able to host whatever Vaiṣṇava came around. Sanātana spent some little bit of time there and he learned that Rūpa and Anupama had already returned to meet Mahāprabhu in Purī. He stayed in Vṛndāvan just long enough to visit the different 12 forests, just like we are doing.

Anyway, it took Rūpa and Anupama a little bit longer to return and of course, along the way back Anupama departed this world, but that is a whole other story. When Sanātana was going to Purī, he went through the Jārikhaṇḍa forest to stay off the main road and he developed some skin sores from the bad water. When he got to Purī, he didn’t want to go to see Mahāprabhu directly. He wouldn’t even go near the Jagannātha temple, afraid that the pujaris might bump into him and become all contaminated, because he was oozing pus and stuff. He thought, “I am such an unfortunate personality. It’s almost Rathayātrā; I just want to throw myself underneath the wheels of Jagannātha’s cart, and in this way, I will be crushed to death while I look at Mahāprabhu dancing in ecstasy.” He was thinking like this and Mahāprabhu came to see him and Haridāsa, since they were staying together. Once again, Mahāprabhu embraced Sanātana so firmly. Now he had these sores all over his body, and not just one or two, but everywhere, and Mahāprabhu embraced him very firmly and all this pus-stuff is going on Mahāprabhu’s body. Now we are making a face here hearing about it and Sanātana felt very badly about it, but Mahāprabhu was in ecstasy. He was very, very satisfied. Mahāprabhu then said to Him, “My dear Sanātana, if I could attain Kṛṣṇa by committing suicide then I would give up millions of bodies in a moment, but you cannot obtain Kṛṣṇa by falsely giving up your body. Besides, you have already surrendered your body to Me, it’s My property. Do you think you can destroy the property of another? Your body will be an important instrument in My establishing devotional principles”.

We are going to jump ahead a little bit to Sanātana being here in Vṛndāvan. There are so many nice stories but we are bound. This is an interesting thing about the difference between the material and spiritual worlds. In the spiritual world time is conspicuous by its absence and in the material world everything we do is governed by time. So Sanātana is living here in Braja in Mahavan and he has got a small grass hut that he stays in and he goes out every day for Parikramā and for begging Mādhukarī, like that. One day as he is walking, one little boythe boy’s name is MadanaGopālaruns up and grabs his hand:

[MadanaGopāla:]  “Bābā Bābā I want to go with you. I want to go; please take me with you”.

Sanātana looks at him, says: “Lala, why do you want to go with me?”

[MadanaGopāla:] “No, I want to live where you live!’

[Sanātana:] “And if you live with me, what will you eat?”

[MadanaGopāla:] “Bābā, I will eat whatever you eat”.

[Sanātana:] “But I only eat dry chapatis and a few handfuls of chickpeas.”

[MadanaGopāla:] “Then that is what I will eat also.”

[Sanātana:] “No, no, no, that won’t be enough for you. You are a young boy. You stay with your mother and father.”

[MadanaGopāla yells:] “No, Bābā no, I want to go with you.”

Sanātana explained nicely to the boy: “No, no, you can’t come with me. I have no way for you to stay with me. You stay with your mother, father.” Then he continued on his way to beg his chapatis.

Now, the Madana-Mohan Deity was residing in a home of one Brāhmaṇa named Dāmodara Choubey. This Deity was previously worshipped by none other than Advaita Ācārya and through the course of time, now came to the care of this Dāmodara and his wife Vallabhi and their son. Now the way they worshipped this Deity of MadanaGopāla, it’s a little bit unusual. It was filled with parental Bhāva and with deep friendship from the boy. They actually understood and took the Deity to be one of the family members and just like naughty brothers sometimes they do with each other, they would fight and blame the other and go run and tell the parents on each other, like that. Then the parents would sit them down together to feed them and when they are done, put them to rest together.

Sanātana Gosvāmī would periodically go by Choubey’s house and beg chapatis and he would see how they were worshiping the Deity Madana Gopāla. One day, he decided to instruct Vallabhi Mata, “What are the rules and regulations and the proper way to worship the Deity?” Now after doing this, the next time he came for chapatis he saw that Madana-Mohan and the son, they were sitting together and taking Prasādam side by side very happily. Upon seeing this scene it caused great emotions of ecstasy in Sanātana’s own body. Then he said to Vallabhi, “Forget what I told you. You worship the Lord in whatever way your heart feels.”

One night, Sanātana and Vallabhi had the same dream, Madana Gopāla comes to both of them and says “I want to go with Sanātana,” and then He turns to Sanātana and says “Bābā, I am coming tomorrow to stay with you and my name is Madana Gopāla.” So then he [Sanatana] woke up. Sanātana began to think, “What did I see? Such a beautiful boy and He resembled that little boy who tried to come with me previously.” Thinking in this way, he opened the door, he decided to go outside, and there was the Deity of Madana Gopāla. The entire courtyard was illuminated by the effulgence emanating from this beautiful Deity. He expected that any moment that Deity would say something to him, and finally with tears streaming down his face he fell and offered obeisances.

He constructed a little hut for Him and eventually he was able to get a few things together and perform an Abhisheka for the Deity. Rūpa Gosvāmī came to hear and he came and looked, took Darśana of Madana Gopāla. In this way he continued on with his writings and his little bit of service to the Deity. But that service was not very much. One day the Deity refused to eat. Sanātana said, “What is the matter?”  This is an interesting thing: he makes the offering and the Deity won’t take, so he has a conversation with the Deity. This is how advanced he is. He (Madana Gopāla) said, “All you are giving me are these dry chapatis, day after day same thingdry chapatis. Not even any salt. Can you at least give me some salt?” Sanātana Gosvāmī would beg flour, roll it with water, flatten it up and throw it in fire. That was it; and then being a good devotee, he would offer to His deity first and then he would eat. Madana Gopāla said, “That’s it! I am not going to eat any more. You have to give me at least some salt.” Sanātana says, “Salt? Today you want salt, tomorrow you may want ghee, the next day it’s a Sabzi. I don’t have time for all this. Mahāprabhu has given me the service to writes books. I don’t have time to take care of all these meals for you.”

A day or so later, there is one very wealthy Kṣatriya named Kṛṣṇadas Kapur, he was going to Mathurā for the purpose of engaging in some business and trade. But his boat became stuck on a sandbar just on a hill here. He came up to the hill, went to Sanātana and said, “Please help me sort this out and get my boat free.” Sanātana said, “I am just a renunciate; I am just writing books. You go talk to Madana Gopāla if you want something. He can arrange things, I can’t do anything.” Thus he went before Madana Gopāla and he made one prayer: “O my Madana Gopāla, if by Your mercy my boat is freed, then whatever profit I get from the sale of this cargo, I will give your Gosvāmī to be engaged in Your service.” That afternoon there was a rainstorm like you cannot believe! So much water that the river rose, the sandbar just disappeared, and the boat continued down to Mathurā. Kṛṣṇadas Kapur went to Mathurā, sold his goods, got a great profit, came back and gave it all to Sanātana Gosvāmī and became his disciple.

Oh, we have run out of time, but there’s one more really, really good story. What we will finish with is just the little description of the relationship between Sanātana Gosvāmī and all of the residents of Braja. He would go around and visit all the different houses of the Gṛhasthas and all the villagers. [Sanatana would ask:] “So how are you today? Is that daughter of yours married yet? And how’s your son’s education coming along? Have you settled that maybe land you were going to purchase; has that come through alright?” Or if a husband and wife were having some arguments, like they do sometimes, they would go to Sanātana and he would settle the dispute. In this way, he was just like an uncle to all of the residents of Vṛndāvan.

When Sanātana Gosvāmī passed away, two remarkable things happened. When a family member passes away, male family members (all the men in the family) shave their head. Every male resident in Vṛndāvan shaved their head on the departure of Sanātana Gosvāmī, and Rūpa Gosvāmī was so distraught at the departure of Sanātana, that he went into his Samādhi, stayed there and never came out. So we will finish there.

There are so many stories of Sanātana around the different places of Braja, but we will save those, when we go to those places in Braja. The sun is starting to come a little bit so we will have some Kīrtana and cool off our minds.  

Thank you very much for your attention.

Hare Kṛṣṇa. [Applause, “Haribol!”]

Indradyumna Swami Mahārāja:

Let us thank Caturātmā Prabhu again for his beautiful description of the life and teachings of Sanātana Gosvāmī. [Applause, “Haribol!”] I have adjusted the program a little bit. We are going to give you time to break out your Prasādam, and take a little breakfast here and then we will walk down to the Samādhi Mandir. It’s just down the main steps of the temple here. Behind there is the main entrance and then turn right and right again to go down, and we will meet at the Samādhi of Sanātana Gosvāmī. We will have our Kīrtana there and that will conclude the day.

You’ve got a lot to remember, a lot to absorb and to relish. While everyone is here, I would just like to remind you, tomorrow is a very special day. It’s the disappearance day of a great Ācārya that’s very dear to many of the devotees’ hearts in ISKCON. It’s the disappearance day of Śrīla Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur. Narottama, Śrīnivas and Shyamananda carried on the Saṅkīrtan movement after Lord Caitanya, along with the Pañca-Tattva, went back to the spiritual world.

Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur was a great preacher, and a great Rasikā devotee, who shared his realizations in many poems and songs. Traditionally every year in our Parikramā, we meet at the RādhāGokulānanda Temple for our program. So we’re just going to ask all of you that tomorrow you be at the RādhāGokulānanda Temple at 7 o’clock tomorrow morning. How many of you know where the RādhāGokulānanda Temple is? Okay, so it’s just a few meters away from RādhāRamaṇa Temple. How many of you know where RādhāRamaṇa Temple is? That beautiful little Deity of Gopāla Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī, Rādhā Ramaṇaji! Well, if you don’t know where RādhāRamaṇa is, you just tell a rickshaw-vala–“RādhāRamaṇa?” and I will be waiting for you at RādhāRamaṇa Temple from 6.30 on and will walk you to the RādhāGokulānanda Temple. Actually starting at 6 o’clock in the morning, devotees will start assembling outside the KṛṣṇaBalarāma Mandir, the main gate and we will be helping you on rickshaws to get down there. We will just grab a rickshaw, “Rickshaw? Rickshaw? Rickshaw?” We’ll throw you there and say “Rādhā Ramaṇaji, Rādhā Ramaṇaji, Rādhā Ramaṇaji!”

Okay, so 6 o’clock outside the KṛṣṇaBalarāma Mandir, if you miss the boat there, then just tell a rickshaw-vala–“RādhāRamaṇaji” and then Gokulānanda Temple is just down the road a little bit, down 50-60 meters.

We choose Rādhā-Gokulānanda Temple, because there is a Pushpa Samādhi of Narottama there. His Guru was Lokanātha Gosvāmī and his full Samādhi is there, and there is a beautiful hall that’s covered. By Kṛṣṇa’s arrangement, Śītalā Mātājī has come from Māyāpura today. She is the favorite of all the devotees, especially the Mātājīs, and she will be giving the lecture tomorrow at Gokulānanda temple there on Narottama. A terrible thing has happened, very terriblethe temple authorities asked Caturātmā Prabhu to give the temple lecture about Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur tomorrow morning. They kidnapped our Caturātmā. I can’t believe it, they asked him to give the temple lecture and now they stole our Caturātmā. But he will catch up with us later.  

Śrī-Śrī Rādhā-Madana-Mohan – HH Śrīla Indradyumna Swami – Lecture

HH Srila Indradyumna Swami at Sri Sri Radha Madanmohan Temple

Manohara: Attractor of Minds

– By His Holiness Śrīla Indradyumna Swami

We would like to welcome all of you to the beautiful temple of Madana-Mohan. Caturātmā Prabhu will go into great detail about how this temple manifested by the strong desire of Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī. Actually, it’s the first temple to be built by the six Gosvāmīs. Actually Caitanya Mahāprabhu very much wanted that the glories of Śrī Vṛndāvan Dhām be revived and manifest to the entire world. This is the place of Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes, Śrī Vṛndāvan Dhām but through the millenniums those glories became unmanifest.

HH Indradyumna Swami -Kirtan at Srila Sanatan Goswami Samadhi

Five hundred years ago actually Vṛndāvan externally just appeared as a very dense jungle so Caitanya Mahāprabhu asked his immediate followers/disciples—the Six Gosvāmīs to come here and perform three very important functions.

  1. To write books on the science of Kṛṣṇa Consciousness, which would later form the foundation of the –‘International Society for Kṛṣṇa Consciousness’. One time Prabhupāda said, “Kṛṣṇa Consciousness is authorized and the authorization is the ancient Vedic scriptures.” Lord Caitanya told the Gosvāmīs to come to this jungle and sit, research the Vedic scriptures, and write books on the science of Kṛṣṇa Consciousness.
  2. He also asked the Gosvāmīs to wander this transcendental land of Vṛndāvan/VrajaMaṇḍala which is quite big and rediscover the places where Kṛṣṇa performed his Lilas.
  3. Then he gave them the instruction to install Deities & temples here in Vṛndāvan so that in the future little people like us could come and be inspired. In general the Gosvāmīs didn’t ask the sculptors to carve the Deities and install the Deities. It is interesting, the history is that many of these Deities were hidden for many millenniums because of foreign invasion, so quite often the Gosvāmīs would discover their Deities in the jungle or under the ground here in Śrī Vṛndāvan and then establish their worship.

Caturātmā Prabhu will tell the story of how the Deity of Madana-Mohan appeared first of all to Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī. Actually Sanātana Gosvāmī is the elder brother of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī. Rūpa Gosvāmī considered him one of his spiritual masters. Madana-Mohan appeared but of course Sanātana Gosvāmī was a Bābāji, he didn’t have any money so how could he build a temple? So we will hear about that. But it is very appropriate that the first Deity that appeared to the Gosvāmīs was Madana-Mohan; and then Rūpa found Govindajī and Madhu Paṇḍita found Gopīnātha. Śrīla Prabhupāda describes in the Caitanya Caritāmṛta that, “Those who are aspiring to enter in and to reside eternally in Vṛndāvan, they approach the Lord in these three phases. By the mercy of our Spiritual Master we are first introduced to Madana-Mohan, then to Govindajī and then to Gopīnātha—this is the authorized path of entering into Vṛndāvan”. Why is that? – Because actually Madana-Mohan means the attractor of Cupid.

It’s a nice story, actually we were walking down the Parikramā Mārga and Kalasamvara Prabhu reminded me of that pastime that at one time Cupid came to Vṛndāvana. You know Cupid’s business, his thankless task is to shoot everyone in this material world with the arrows of lust to keep them bound up with material desires until they come up to their senses— “This is all useless. Let me become a devotee of Kṛṣṇa”. Actually Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad-Gītā, “It is lust only, Arjuna, which is the all devouring sinful enemy in this world”.

HH Indradyumna Swami on the way to Madan Mohan

So Cupid he flies around the creation and he takes his arrows of lust and he sees someone and “Phhht” [sound of shooting arrow]; he shoots those lusty desires into the heart. Everyone is bound up in material existence by these desires.  At one point in this business of Cupid he came to the point where everyone in creation had been inflicted with the material desires by his arrows. There wasn’t anyone left from Brahmā down to the insignificant ant; his arrows had entered into the heart of every living creature, so he was getting bored. “What do I do now? Everyone’s been afflicted with material desires”. He was kind of proud of his achievement. One Sādhu approached him and said, “Hey, there is one person you cannot inflict with material desires”. Cupid said, “How is that possible?” So that Sādhu said, “Because He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He is transcendental to this material creation and right now He is living in Vṛndāvan.” Cupid didn’t know about this Personality—Śrī Kṛṣṇa, so he took it as a challenge. He said to that Sādhu, “I will show you. I will go to Vṛndāvan and shoot my arrows into the heart of that Kṛṣṇa.”

HH Indradyumna Swami at Madan Mohan Temple

Thus Cupid had the good fortune to come to Śrī Vṛndāvan Dhām. When he got there he inquired from the sages, “Do you know this person called Kṛṣṇa?” He was surprised that every single resident in Śrī Vṛndāvan Dhām not only knew about Kṛṣṇa, they knew everything about Kṛṣṇa and they had given their hearts to Kṛṣṇa; they loved Kṛṣṇa. He asked the people of Vṛndāvan, “Where is this Kṛṣṇa?” It was evening time so they said, “Usually in the evening, Kṛṣṇa’s sporting on the banks of the Yamunā with his girlfriends.” So Cupid thought, “Oh He is with girlfriends? He is a good candidate for my arrows.” He didn’t understand that Kṛṣṇa’s relationship with His devotees, with His girlfriends is completely pure and transcendental.

It was just down the road a little bit Kalasamvara pointed out the particular place and Kṛṣṇa was there, having pastimes with the Gopīs on the banks of the Yamunā. Cupid came there and through the trees he could see Kṛṣṇa and he took his arrows like that and set his bow and he tried to take good aim so he could get right into the heart of this cowherd boy. You know, when you point your weapon at somebody you want to take a good aim so you don’t miss. You want to get the exact point, there are certain vulnerable parts in the body where you can shoot somebody and inflict them with your arrows or your bullets. So he is kind of looking at the form of this cowherd boy and going up and down from His feet, to His waist, to His chest, to His head, and then, “Let me see”— he is going back down. In this way, he is meditating on the transcendental form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. What happens when you meditate upon the form of the lord? It just melts your heart, because Kṛṣṇa is so beautiful. He is all attractive; especially when Kṛṣṇa is on the banks of the Yamunā with His devotees in His ‘Tribhaṅga-Sundara form.

Tribhaṅga-Sundara means He is in His three-fold bending form, like we see Him on the altar, His form is bent in three different places: His neck, His waist and His ankles/feet. He is playing His Vamsi/flute; and He is Keśava: He has long black curly hair, curling down to the sides of His shoulder. Very beautiful! Because as a young boy, He is growing, His skin is loose and He has got three lines on His neck; and in His ears, He has shark-shaped earrings dangling and shining with the brilliance of the sun. His eyes, beautiful lotus eyes, they actually extend all the way almost to His ears. Divine personalities, their eyes go almost to their ears.

Rūpa Gosvāmī describes the teeth of the Lord; they are lined up like beautiful pearls: a line of pearls on top and bottom. He is wearing yellow dhoti; and He is bluish-black like a monsoon cloud. The palms of His hands and the palms of His feet have a pinkish-reddish color; and on the bottom of His feet are different auspicious signs which delineate Him as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. There is a beautiful aroma emanating from the body of the Lord which is a combination of Āguru oil, musk, saffron and camphor; and He is wearing a garland called Vaijayantī Garland. Vaijayantī Garland means there are five kinds of flowers and the Vaijayantī Garland goes all the way to His ankles.  Because of the aroma, there are always these transcendental little bumble-bees flying around that garland to get the nectar. So like this Kṛṣṇa is so attractive. He is Manohara: He attracts the mind of all created beings.


Here is Cupid trying to figure out which part of the form of the Lord he will shoot his arrows, and at one point he is just meditating and he just drops his bows and arrows and says, “This Kṛṣṇa is so beautiful; he has captured my heart” and he runs over and falls at the lotus feet of the Lord, grabs them; and says, “Please let me become your servant!” So one of Kṛṣṇa’s unlimited names is Madana-Mohan—He who attracts even Cupid. Everyone in this world is controlled by Cupid. But Cupid is controlled by the beauty of KṛṣṇaMadana-Mohan.

We are aspiring to become devotees, because we don’t really consider ourselves devotees; we have humility so we consider ourselves we would like to become devotees. One time a devotee said to Prabhupāda, “Prabhupāda, you’re the greatest devotee.” Prabhupāda looked down, he said, “To become a Vaiṣṇava is a very exalted thing. I am just trying to become a Vaiṣṇava”. We admit we are devotees but we admit we still have some material hankerings for this world, because when we chant Hare Kṛṣṇa tears of love of God still don’t flow from our eyes; so we accept in a humble way we are aspiring devotees and we still have these material desires—lusty desires. So to conquer over these lusty desires we approach Madana-Mohan because He attracted even Cupid. If we can be attracted to Madana-Mohan we can conquer over Cupid—those lusty desires. 

HH Indradyumna Swami Kirtan at Sri Sri Radha Madan Mohan Temple

The deeper essence on this Parikramā is we are trying to enter Śrī Vṛndāvan; to enter into understanding the mellows/Rasas of Śrī Vṛndāvan Dhām. So it is very appropriate that at the beginning of our Parikramā we have come to the temple of Madana-Mohan.  We have come to the deity of Madana-Mohan to pray, “Please free us from Material desires so we can serve you purely without motivation.”

na dhanaṁ na janaṁ na sundarīṁ

kavitāṁ vā jagadīśa kāmaye.

mama janmani janmanīśvare

bhavatād bhaktir ahaitukī tvayi

“All I want is pure devotional service to your lotus feet unimpeded with any contamination in my heart”; so later when you take Darśana of the Deity you can pray like that.

HH Indradyumna Swami on the way to Madan Mohan

Actually the original Deity of Madana-Mohan was later moved because of the invasion of the Muslims to Karoli, a village in Rajasthan; and the devotees installed another Deity of Madana-Mohan that is called, “Pratibu”. Pratibu means another Deity, but identical with the first Deity, but there is not any difference. The Deity is in Karoli but this Deity is non-different from the Madana-Mohan in Karoli; so don’t think, “Oh, there’s some difference.” It is exactly—Pratibu: same Deity. Later on as our hearts get a little bit purified by approaching the Lord, chanting His Holy Names, associating with His devotees; then we approach GovindaDeva, the Deity of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī and we engage our senses in the service of Govindajī and our spiritual senses become purified. By engaging in the service, our spiritual senses become awakened and then at a more advanced stage of Kṛṣṇa Consciousness we approach Gopīnātha.“ Nātha” means Lord, so Gopīnātha means Lord of the Gopīs and we engage in higher Rasas of association in service to the Lord in His form as Lord of the Gopīs. Like this, Madana-Mohan, Govinda and Gopīnātha; this is the authorized process of entering into Vṛndāvan.

HH Indradyumna Swami Kirtan at Sri Sri Radha Madan Mohan Temple

You feel very fortunate, very blessed to be sitting here at this historic and amazing temple complex. Actually, the River Yamunā used to flow right along the path of Parikramā Mārga we were walking on; that was the original path of the Yamunā River. Here you get a beautiful Darśana of Yamunā Mai, the forests of Vṛndāvan and other temples as well. So we are at the right time, at the right place, doing the right thing. Many devotees around the world, they are very appreciative of you all coming on this Parikramā; because as we show the photos and the videos that Ananta Vṛndāvan is producing, people are feeling the same Bhāva, the same devotion that you are feeling by being here; so all the Vaiṣṇavas around the world are very grateful that you have all come here performing this great Parikramā.

This is our only business now for the next few hours. We just sit here; we are getting used to sitting and hearing and chanting; Isn’t it? I can see you are much more controlled; you are much more focused, you are hankering (Laulyaṁ) for this nectar. First couple days you were sitting down, I was noticing you were moving and looking around and falling asleep as many of you just got off the plane and jet lagged etc. Now everyone is getting used to the Parikramā; you are sitting there and focused.

Vṛndāvan is meant for Bhajan. Many years ago when Prabhupāda was here, because we were in the preaching mood, some devotees said to Prabhupāda, “Can we go out to Rādhā Kuṇḍa and open a preaching center and have Harināma all day and distribute books?” Prabhupāda said “No, Rādhā-Kuṇḍa is meant for Bhajan.” In that regard all of Vṛndāvan is meant for Bhajan. We come here in this sanctified atmosphere and we sit; engage in ‘Śravanaṁ’ (hearing) &‘kīrtanam’ (chanting), which brings – ‘Kṛṣṇa smaraṇam’ (remembrance of Kṛṣṇa).  We hear we chant, and have a little Prasāda; this is the mood of Vṛndāvan. This is the mood of our Parikramā 2015 here in Vṛndāvan.

Of course this ISKCON is a missionary movement. Prabhupāda left Vṛndāvan to go to the West to spread the glories of Vṛndāvan. But he expected us to come here; hear and chant become spiritually strong and then go back to the West to share our good fortune with others by preaching the glories of Vṛndāvan. So you should all be like transcendental sponges just absorbing the waters—-absorbing the nectars of Vraja—through Kathā, and Kīrtana and Saṅga-association.

Because of your strong desires Kṛṣṇa has sent very qualified devotees to give you this nectar. We are going to begin our program today with the nectarine very deep Kīrtana of Mādhava Prabhu. Devotees all over the world, they are hankering for the association and Kīrtanas of Mādhava Prabhu and we have him for one month on our Parikramā party. What better place to have Kīrtana than at the feet of Madana-Mohan?  Then Caturātmā Prabhu whose forte is speaking about the glories of our Vaiṣṇava Ācāryas, he is going to enlighten us on the glories of Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī. He said he had notes for eight hours about Sanātana Gosvāmī, I said, “Bābā, you have 90 minutes”. He will be speaking for about 90 minutes about Sanātana Gosvāmī, then we will have breakfast and after breakfast we will have another Kīrtana to get into the mood to go to the Samādhi Mandir of Sanātana Gosvāmī which is just behind the building here.To prepare us to take shelter of the lotus feet of Sanātana Gosvāmī we will call upon another great Kīrtaniyā, famous throughout the universe, Baḍa Hari Prabhu; to lead the Kīrtana. After that we go to the Samādhi of Sanātana Gosvāmī; and when we get there, you know what we’re going to do?

HH Indradyumna - Swami Kirtan at Srila Sanatan Goswami Samadhi Temple

harer nāma harer nāma harer nāmaiva kevalam

kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva nāsty eva gatir anyathā

More Kīrtana! But standing Kīrtana with Karatāls and Mṛdungas and dancing in great ecstasy before the sacred Samādhi of Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī.

HH Indradyumna - Swami Kirtan at Srila Sanatan Goswami Samadhi Mandir


There won’t be any lunch here. Lunch you will have at your homes or at the temple. A little preview: tomorrow is the disappearance day of Śrīla Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur; we will be having our program at the Rādhā Gokulānanda temple starting at 7 o’clock.  We will sing “Je anilo, Prema dhana”. That lecture will be given by Her Grace, Ṭhākurāṇī, Śītalā Devī Dāsī.

Please give a big round of applause for Mādhava Prabhu to lead us in an ecstatic Kīrtana to enter the mood of Śrī Vṛndāvan Dhām.

Mathurā – HH Śrīla Indradyumna Swami – Instructions

Best days of your life

– By His Holiness Śrīla Indradyumna Swami

Baḍa-Hari Prabhu ki—Jaya!

Mathurā Dhām ki—Jaya!e

Śrī-Śrī Rādhā Govinda ki—Jaya!

Lord Varāha-Deva ki—Jaya!

Kārtik Parikramā ki—Jaya!

Gaur Premanande! – Haribol!

Jaya-Jaya Śrī Rādhe………….. Śyāma!

Did you enjoy your pilgrimage Parikramā to the great city of Mathurā? [Applause, Haribol!]

Did you learn a lot of things about this transcendental abode? [Applause, Haribol!]

Has it left a deep impression in your hearts?  [Applause, Haribol!]

Did you like the pastime how Kṛṣṇa appeared as Varāha to the cowherd boys? [Applause, Haribol!]

And wasn’t it amazing the Darśana of the Deities? [Applause, Haribol!]

Tomorrow we’re going to walk to the first established temple in Vṛndāvan, Śrī-Śrī RādhāMadana-Mohan. That temple was established of course by Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī. And we’ll also be visiting his Samādhi Mandir, the Samādhi Mandir of Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī. It’s actually one of my favorite places in Vṛndāvan, his Samādhi. It’s his full Samādhi, means his transcendental body was placed in the dust of Vṛndāvan there and they built a beautiful Samādhi. And in that area there is also what’s called the Grantha Samādhigrantha means scripture; so there is a scripture Samādhi. All the books that were written by the six Gosvāmīs were placed inside that Samādhi for preservation. It’s about this big; it’s in the corner of the courtyard. And the instructions are to never open that Samādhi, because some of the books that were written by the Gosvāmīs are just too deep, too esoteric, too elevated for aspiring devotees to read or to hear.

The atmosphere in that area is very much like old Braja. In the early years we used to go and visit there, 72-73. We would go there and we would have long Kirtans and lots of Kathā, so it created a very deep impression in my heart as a young devotee and I always like to go back there and seek guidance and inspiration from Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī. We’ll sit at the foot of the Madana-Mohan temple. There’s a small little courtyard there. We’ll all fit there and tomorrow’s class will be given by His Grace Caturātmā Prabhu. He’s in shock so give him some applause.  [Applause: Haribol!]. He is very famous for speaking about the lives and the teachings of great Vaiṣṇava personalities. And Kirtans will be performed by Mādhava Prabhu, Baḍa-Hari Prabhu, and me. [Applause, Haribol!]

I just love to sing and dance in front of Sanātana Gosvāmī’s Samādhi. So we’re going to leave at seven in the morning. You can assemble on the road, the Parikramā Mārga outside my house there at Rāma Reti near Balarāma Bābā’s place, near my house, or [the] houses of BB Govinda Mahārāja, Girirāja Swami. You can all assemble there at seven o’clock. It means you can go to Maṅgala Āratī at KṛṣṇaBalarāma Mandir.

In that cool morning air of Vṛndāvan, we’ll all walk down to the Madana-Mohan temple, takes about 45 minutes. It’s a very nice walk, part of the Vṛndāvan Parikramā walk. Tomorrow we’ll give you time to have breakfast there. But there won’t be any lunch served tomorrow, because when we do the Vṛndāvan temples, you can come back and take Prasādam where you’re staying or you can take Prasādam at the temple, so we won’t serve lunch tomorrow. Okay, so remember we’re leaving a little later: seven o’clock, and if you’re late you can just come down to the Madana-Mohan temple and you’ll catch us there.

One point I know, I’m looking around, and devotees are quite sleepy. Remember I told you: in India it’s good to go to bed early. Actually, in Vedic culture, in village life, people would go to sleep when the sun went down, and they would wake when the sun got up. India has a very intense climate. You might not be able to see it or perceive it but the climate, the weather, everything is very intense here and you can’t move as quick and get as many things done as you can in the West. You may have started to experience that.

You can’t do everything. But you should do the main thing, which is come on the Parikramās. We’ve organized these Parikramās. We’ve invited these illustrious personalities, older devotees to accompany us, so you can get a real Vṛndāvan experience over the next month. So go to bed early. You need the rest. You need the rest more here than you do in the West. It also helps to take a nap in the afternoon. This is not deep philosophy, this is just how to live in India, how to survive the Parikramā. When you get back, don’t run down to Loi Bazaar to go shopping. There’ll be plenty of beautiful Sāris at the end of Kārtika, as well.  When you get back, take a nap, take a nap. And get up and chant some extra japa, read a little bit.

At most, you can go to the temple to offer your lamp and then go home and take rest. Don’t talk and chat till one—and then you get tired and you won’t be able to hear the Kathā or dance in the Kirtans and so this is good advice. You should be in bed by 8:30, nine o’clock. What? Yes! The early morning’s the best part of Braja. When you get up, it’s dark. You can chant Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa. These Parikramās are intensewalking, singing, in India. But these are some of the best days of your life. When you’re older you’ll look back and remember these Parikramās, and you’ll remember, “Wow, that was really amazing.”

Okay, early to bed and drink lots of water. We’re told to drink two liters, you know. In India you can drink four liters. It helps keep you hydrated. So tomorrow at Madana-Mohan temple up on that beautiful hill, I don’t want to see any of this [mimics sleeping]. You’re sleeping!

Okay, and before you leave today, please leave our pūjārī friend a nice donation. This pūjārī’s doing very Pakka Sevā and the Deities are very beautiful. They’re shining, there’s lots of Bhakti Bhāva. So this is setting such a nice example for the whole world taking very good care of Kṛṣṇa, so if you have some lakṣmī, please give it to the pūjārī. He has a beautiful long, long hair there—big Śikhā. So please give him a very nice donation. I’m just making a personal request because everything will go to the Sevā of RādhāGovindaji.

Ananta Vṛndāvan produced a beautiful video last night about the first days in Vṛndāvan. It’s called Entering the Dhām.” It’s on Facebook, my Facebook page. It’s three minutes long, beautiful song by Jahnavi, “Like the river flows to the sea”. So if you can get online, watch that video. He is posting photos, you can see yourself, “There I am in Mathurā!” Go online if you can and see the beautiful work of Ananta Vṛndāvan—the whole world’s enjoying it. All of ISKCON is relishing his artistic abilities.

We would love to share this with the whole world and inspire them to come to Vṛndāvan! [Applause, Haribol!] We’ll try to get a big screen maybe and show you as we produce them every day. Also everything’s going live on the internet, Vrindavan.tv. You can tell all your friends, your family members, they can see you, see the Parikramās and benefit from the Kārtik experience here on Vrindavan.tv live every day, the whole Parikramā. Okay, seven o’clock tomorrow morning outside my house. Madana-Mohan and Sanātana Gosvāmī lecture by Caturātmā Prabhu.

Mathurā Dhām ki—Jaya!

Mathurā Maṇḍala Dhām ki—Jaya!

Śrī Vṛndāvan Dhām ki—Jaya!

Lord Varāha – Deva ki—Jaya!

Śrī-Śrī Rādhā Govinda-Deva ki—Jaya!

Vṛndāvanesvari Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī ki—Jaya!

Gaura Bhakta Vṛndā ki—Jaya!

Kārtik Parikramā 2015 ki—Jaya!

Jaya-Jaya Śrī Rādhe…Śyāma!

I really hope Prasādam is here?. Prasādam is here, Wow! Rasikā Śiromani Devī Dāsī ki—Jaya! Govinda Carana ki—Jaya! She would like to make some announcements. “Announcements Dāsī!

[Announcement by Rasikā Śiromani Devī Dāsī]

Śrīla Gurudeva leads the devotees Prasādam prayers…







Śrī-Śrī Bhagavat Prasādam ki –Jay,

Mathurā Dhām ki—Jaya!

Rādhā Govinda-Deva ki—Jaya!

Lord Varāha-Deva ki—Jaya!

Kārtik Parikramā ki—Jaya!

Śrī-Śrī Rādhā Madana-Mohan Temple ki—Jaya!

Sanātana Gosvāmī ki—Jaya!

Gaur Premanande —- Hari Haribol!



Mathurā – HH Śrīla Indradyumna Swami – Lecture

The Glories of Mathurā-Maṇḍala

– By His Holiness Śrīla Indradyumna Swami

Let’s now please show our affection for Mādhava Prabhu for leading us in such a wonderful devotional Kīrtana. [Applause, Haribol!].

Usually Mādhava gets us going. Well, it’s very nice in the beginning, but usually crests at about an hour, an hour and a half, so this is austere for him: telling him to chant for only thirty or forty minutes.

Before we begin, I’d like to introduce two God-brothers of mine whom I have just met actually for the first time on this Parikramā: Manyu Prabhu, over here on my left, if you could stand up please.  He is a senior Prabhupāda disciple. He joined early in the movement, and he served in Southern California, and he was on the famous RādhāDāmodara traveling festival program. That’s his story; and I am sure he has done a lot of other devotional service, which he hasn’t shared with me yet, but in our association in the next month I will learn about and share with you.

Like me, he is probably in his sixties, so I asked him what he does and he said, “I am a retired teacher.” It’s not uncommon these days when I meet God-brothers or God-sisters, I ask, what is their profession. “I am retired ‘this’, I am retired ‘that’”. It just shows how old we are getting. And he has come here with his son Nimāi, and interestingly enough, they’re both visiting Vṛndāvan—India, for the first time. [Applause].

Another Godbrother, Ghoṣa Ṭhākur, are you here today? Where are you? There, sitting, Ghoṣa Ṭhākur. He is from Canada, Quebec, and he has also done lots of devotional service through the years. Actually he comes to Vṛndāvan, India quite often actually. He has got an attachment for Braja. And he will be with us for the entire month, as well. It’s very nice for me especially to meet God-brothers I have never met before after so many years. It’s kind of one of those special things that happens as you grow older.

I’d ask all of you to please give these older Prabhupāda disciples the proper respect when they are amongst us. Out of natural humility, they are sitting on one side and in the back of the temple room, but you should facilitate when everyone is sitting down; you should clear a path and you should make sure that they are sitting along with myself and Baḍa-Hari Prabhu and so forth, and they have nice cushions and they get garlands the same time we get garlands.

The disciple should offer the same respect to the Spiritual Master’s God-brothers as they offer to the Spiritual Master. So as you facilitate me, you please facilitate them, and honor them that they received the grace of a pure devotee, Śrīla Prabhupāda, and they’re active in his devotional service at the fag-end of their lives. That says a lot.

Manyu Prabhu and Ghoṣa Ṭhākur Prabhus ki—Jaya!

Śrīla Prabhupāda ki—Jaya!

Worldwide ISKCON ki—Jaya!

Vṛndāvan Kārtik 2015 ki—Jaya!

Gaur Premānande! Haribol!

Hare Kṛṣṇa!

oṁ ajñāna-timirāndhasya jñānāñjana-śalākayā

cakṣur unmīlitaṁ yena tasmai śrī-gurave namaḥ

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

svayaṁ rūpaḥ kadā mahyaṁ dadāti sva-padāntikam

jaya śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya prabhu-nityānanda

śrī-advaita gadādhara śrīvāsādi-gaura-bhakta vṛnda



At the moment we are actually sitting in one of the most holy places in creation: Mathurā Maṇḍala, the city of Mathurā. Of course, as you are walking down the street, you may not be able to perceive this is a spiritual abode. This is a big city. It’s falling apart: there’s garbage, there are pigs, and it looks like there are more monkeys in Mathurā than there are in Vṛndāvan.

But we accept that actually this is one of the most sacred places in the universe on the basis of Guru, Śāstra, and Sādhu. This is how we see Mathurā. We see Mathurā through Guru, through Śāstra, and through Sādhu. It’s said that a saintly person sees through his ears, not through his eyes. So we can take the opportunity to see, to perceive, to appreciate Mathurā, and let us say, through the words of a great devotee like Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī. He has written in his great BṛhadBhāgavatāmṛtam, “All glories to the Goddess Mathurā Dāsī, the best of all holy cities. She enchants the mind, she is most dear to the enemy of Kaṁsa, and she is decorated with the Lord’s birthplace. The city of Mathurā is glorified throughout the world for dispelling misery and bestowing liberation and devotion, what to speak of the various pastimes the Lord has performed in Mathurā.” Very beautiful verse describing Mathurā! In this verse, Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī points out that of all the holy cities in Bhārata, in India, this universe, and the creation, actually Mathurā is the holiest of all cities.

Actually in Vedic tradition, it’s accepted that here in Bhārata, there are seven principal holy cities; and like yesterday, you can repeat after I tell you what they are: There are Kashi, Kanchi, Avanti, Mathurā, Ayodhya, Hardiwar, and Dvārakā­. This is another set of details that you can imprint within your mind and think about. I visited a few of these holy places and they are quite amazing. Why is it that Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī says that of all these cities Mathurā is the most sacred? Because he took that information from the Skandh Purāṇa!

Actually Lord Caitanya told the six Gosvāmīs to come to Vṛndāvan and write books on the science of devotional service. So to do that, they researched so many ancient Vedic scriptures, and they presented the philosophy of Caitanya Mahāprabhu based on these scriptures. Why Mathurā is considered the most holy city of all is described in the Skandh Purāṇa. The verse is quite long so I won’t quote the Sanskrit, but the translation is:

“Among the holy cities like Kashi, Mathurā is most auspicious. Why? Because she awards liberation among human beings in four specific ways: by birth, by vows of initiation, by death, and by cremation.” That means she is very auspicious because if you take birth in this city of Mathurā, you can achieve perfection. If you have your initiation ceremony somewhere here in Mathurā, if your Guru Mahārāja decides he’ll do your initiation here in Mathurā, you can very easily achieve perfection.

Like Vṛndāvan, if you come here and you die somewhere in this city, within the boundaries of the city, you die in Mathurā, you achieve liberation. Actually Mathurā is so merciful that even if you don’t die here, let’s say you die in Delhi, but they bring your body here, and they cremate your body—your dead body (you’re gone, but your body’s cremated here), you also achieve liberation. Just think about that for a moment. By taking birth in Moscow, do you achieve liberation? By having your initiation ceremony in Buenos Aires, does it necessarily guarantee your liberation?

If you die in Auckland, New Zealand, does it guarantee your liberation? If they cremate your body in Kiev, do you necessarily achieve liberation? But just by doing those things here, just those acts alone, you get so much benefit.  But the real glories of Mathurā are described in the Padma Purāṇa. And that I’ll quote because it’s a short verse:

anyeṣu puṇya-kṣetreṣu

muktir eva mahā-phalam

muktaiḥ prārthyā harer bhaktir

mathurāyāṁ hi labhyate

“In other holy places, liberation is the greatest reward that one can achieve. But in Mathurā, one can gain what is prayed for by the liberated. What is that?—Pure devotional service to Lord Hari.”

You can get liberation by doing different things, but greater than liberation you should get pure devotional service, and that guarantees you go to Vaikuṇṭha or at best you go to Goloka Vṛndāvan. Pure devotional service of the Lord is better than liberation. What does liberation mean? Liberation from suffering, liberation from the process of repeated birth and death, or the best liberation can offer is that you appear to merge into the Brahman. That’s a very blissful state, but according to cosmic time, it’s also temporary, because although you merge into the Brahman, at some point you become dissatisfied because you’re not connected to Kṛṣṇa. Material desires appear again in your heart, and you fall back down to the Earth planets.

This city of Mathurā can offer more. Liberation is very nice, but Mathurā can offer more than liberation. She can offer you pure devotional service, which guarantees an eternal life of bliss and knowledge in the spiritual world. Understanding this, pious people or saintly people; they always search out a holy place to live, a holy place like Mathurā.

I was reminded of this last year when we were at Rādhā Kuṇḍa. There is one young girl there named Pūjā. She was about nine years old and as she was growing up so I said to her, “Well, when you finish school here at Rādhā Kuṇḍa, I’d be happy to pay for your education, college education in Delhi or Mumbai or if you’re a good student, I could even send you overseas. You could go to England and get a Master’s or Ph.D.” Because she is a very smart girl!

She started laughing. She said, “No way! No way!” I said, “Are you not interested in education?” She said, “I can read, I can write, I am never going to leave Rādhā Kuṇḍa.” I said, “No, you can get an education, some security for the future.” She said, “I have Rādhārāṇī’s blessings; what more do I need?” She’s nine years old. She said, “You can achieve all perfection just by living here on the banks of Rādhā Kuṇḍa.” So I [said], “No London? No New York?” “Nope, Rādhā Kuṇḍa.” She said, “I don’t even go to Aniyore.” (Aniyore is a little village further down the side). “I don’t even go to Aniyore; I just stay here on the banks of Rādhā Kuṇḍa.” I said, “Actually on the banks of Rādhā Kuṇḍa you spend a lot of time?” She said, “Yes, last year, I was going there every day. I was pouring milk into Rādhā Kuṇḍa, praying that you would get over your sickness, Mahārāja. When you were very sick in the hospital, every day, 12 Noon, I’d go to Rādhā Kuṇḍa and give her milk, and the flowers, and the waters, and I’d say prayers that you would get healthy again.”

Pious people, devotees, Sādhus, they like to live on the banks of the Sarasvatī River, the Yamunā, the Ganges, or a holy place like Mathurā, Vṛndāvan, because they know the benefits—that just living there, you get so much pious credit and devotional mercy. Such places have been existing since the beginning of creation. Just like there are materialist cities that have existed since the beginning of creation, so cities like Mathurā, Vṛndāvan, Ayodhya, they have also been existing. Because there are two classes of men: there are the divine and the demoniac. The demoniac, they go towards the sense gratification in the big cities and the devotees of the Lord, they migrate to the cities like Mathurā.

And we have come to the best of the best. There is a nice pastime that illustrates how Vṛndāvan, or how Mathurā Vṛndāvan is the best of the best. Sometime near the beginning of creation during the night of Brahmā when Brahmā was sleeping, a demon named Śaṅkhāsura defeated the demigods in heaven and stole the Vedas. It’s said that when Śaṅkhāsura stole the Vedas, the demigods who depend on those scriptures, they lost all their spiritual strength. We can understand that. We get our spiritual strength from ‘Śravanaṁ kīrtanam viṣṇoḥ smaraṇam’—from hearing and chanting. When we read Prabhupāda’s books, we get so much spiritual strength.

The demigods are all devotees. They’re also having Kīrtana, they’re also reading Śāstra. When the demon Śaṅkhāsura stole all the Vedas, the demigods felt, “Oh, now we have lost all our spiritual strength. Śaṅkhāsura stole it.” So the demigods approached the ocean of milk and they prayed to Kṛṣṇa again to intervene and save the situation. The Lord assumed the form of Matsya, a fish, and He killed Śaṅkhāsura in a great battle and rescued the Vedas. In this way, the demigods got back their spiritual strength; so Lord Brahmā considered this to be a great victory that the Vedas had been rescued.

He decided to hold a big celebration, a big Yajña, at another sacred place called Prayāga. Saintly persons from all over the universe, various demigods, all came and celebrated this great victory of Lord Matsya over this great demon in rescuing the Vedas. While that was all going on, Brahmā was looking around and thinking, “All these Sādhus have come and this is a very holy place because the three rivers, the Yamunā, Sarasvatī, and the Ganges meet here.” He said, “At this big Yajña, I’m going to declare that Prayāga is Tīrtharāja, the King of all holy places.”

He stood up during the Yajña and he said, “Everyone pay attention. I am declaring that of all the holy places in creation, Prayāga is the best. It shall be known as Tīrtharāja, King of all holy places.” Then Brahmā ordered all the holy places personified to pay dandavats, to bow down and offer prayers to Prayāga. So they did. But after the sacrifice was over, Nārada Muni, who was attending this great function, he was looking at Prayāga personified and he could see that because of this honor that was bestowed upon it, Prayāga was getting a little proud. He was getting a little puffed up, “Oh, I am Tīrtharāja, why everyone should bow down to me. I am more holier than thou.”

We don’t want to speak ill of Prayāga, it’s a very auspicious place, but if there’s a little pride that enters the heart of a devotee, the Lord arranges that devotee again becomes humble. Nārada Muni approached Prayāga personified and said, “You know, that’s a big Yajña, you have got the title now, Tīrtharāja.” Prayāga said, “Yes, everyone is bowing down to me.” Nārada said, “Not everybody is bowing down. There are two holy places, if you didn’t notice, who didn’t come to the ceremony and offer you tribute”. Prayāga was like, “Woah! What holy places didn’t come and honor me as Tīrtharāja?” Nārada Muni said, “Mathurā and Vṛndāvan. They didn’t come.”

Prayāga said, “Mathurā personified and Vṛndāvan personified; they didn’t come and honor me as Tīrtharāja. I’m going to complain to Lord Kṛṣṇa.” He is a special personality of course; he has special abilities, so he went to Vaikuṇṭha and met with Kṛṣṇa. At that Darśana he said to Kṛṣṇa, “Dear Lord, you witnessed my coronation as the King of all holy places. But did you know that Mathurā and Vṛndāvan chose to stay away from the ceremony? In this way, they have ignored yours and Lord Brahmā’s order to worship me. This is a great aparādha, this is a great offense. You should do something about it, Lord Kṛṣṇa.” Kṛṣṇa was silent for a while. Then he smiled and replied to the puffed up Prayāga, “My dear Prayāga, I agreed with Lord Brahmā that we could make you king of all holy places, but not the king of My home. Do not try to rule over My own personal residences of Mathurā and Vṛndāvan.” Prayāga was shocked, “Your personal?” Kṛṣṇa replied, “I always reside in Mathurā and Vṛndāvan.” He said, “My personal residence. You can’t rule over My residences.”

Kṛṣṇa said, “Just try to comprehend the glories of Mathurā.” And this following beautiful verse came from the lotus mouth of Bhagavāna Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself, glorifying the very city you are now sitting in.

Kṛṣṇa said to Prayāga:

mathurā maṇḍalam saksan

miderame parat param

lokatrayag param divyam

pilepina samhritam

Mathurā Maṇḍala’s My home. It is My transcendental abode, above the three worlds. It is not destroyed even at the time of cosmic devastation. Like Me, Mathurā is eternal.”

Well, the Lord is glorifying this transcendental abode which you are now sitting in. How fortunate we are, how blessed we are to be in this transcendental abode. The Lord’s own home, the glory of Mathurā is that Kṛṣṇa takes His birth here, He appears here in Mathurā, His Janmabhumi, here. When we celebrate Janmāṣṭamī, we are celebrating His birth in Mathurā.

When he was chastised by the Lord in this way with transcendental knowledge, Prayāga being a great devotee of the Lord immediately became very humble, and he knew Vaiṣṇava etiquette. We know, we have been trained that when we offend a devotee, the only way we can become free from that offense is to show some remorse and go and bow down to that devotee and ask for forgiveness.Prayāga said to the Lord, “May I be excused?” The Lord said, “Yes.” Immediately Prayāga came here to this MathurāMaṇḍala, this VrajaMaṇḍala and from a distance he saw Mathurā personified, Vṛndāvan personified. And he paid full Daṇḍavats on the dusty road. He begged for forgiveness and as soon as he asked for forgiveness— naturally, a devotee’s very benevolent—immediately he was forgiven by Mathurā and Vṛndāvan.

But he admitted, he said, “Because of my offense I still feel some contamination in my heart. Please tell me what to do that I can become free from any residue contamination in my heart for not respecting you for who you are?”

Do you know what Mathurā personified told him? How to become free from contamination? He said, “You go on Vraja-Maṇḍala Parikramā, Mathurā-Maṇḍala Parikramā, you visit all the holy places, and by going on Parikramā, all inauspiciousness within your heart will go away and Prema, love, for Śrī Kṛṣṇa will awaken.” This will be practically experienced by all of us. We’re just beginning our Parikramā now and by the end of the month you’ll feel so much purification, so many bad things will go from the heart, you’ll develop a little drop of PremaBhakti for Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. This Parikramā is a very powerful process in devotional service.

Something very interesting happened after that. Bhūmi Devī, whom we know as the personified Earth, Mother Earth, also began kind of questioning, “Why of all holy places on the planet are all the sages and ṛṣis saying that Mathurā and Vṛndāvan are the most sacred?”

Of course we should understand when these types of doubts appear in the minds of great devotees, it’s not really their doubts, Kṛṣṇa’s just allowing that to happen so that He can instruct them and by instructing them, He’s instructing us. Śrīla Prabhupāda explains very clearly in his classes on Bhagavad-Gītā that Arjuna had some doubts but he didn’t really have those doubts. Those doubts appeared by the mercy of the Lord, so the Lord could speak Bhagavad-Gītā to Arjuna but really He was speaking Bhagavad-Gītā to all of humanity, for all of time.

So Bhūmi had the same doubt as Prayāga, “Why Mathurā? Why Vṛndāvan? There are so many holy places.” The Lord being in the heart of every living entity and seeing this, He decided to teach Bhūmi Devī a lesson. But not immediately, He decided to wait till a particular moment, and that moment came when the first demon in the universe, Hiraṇyākṣa, took the planet Earth, took Bhūmi and threw her down to the bottom of the universe, in the water of the Garbhodaka Ocean.  

At that point the Lord appeared as Varāha, a great boar, to rescue Bhūmi from the bottom of the Garbhodaka Ocean. Why? Why did the Lord assume the form of Varāha? Because Prabhupāda explains, these boars, the boars we know here on the Earth, they go to filthy places and they lay there and they bathe there and they eat there, so the bottom of the universe is sometimes considered not the cleanest place, so the Lord took the appropriate form of a boar, a transcendental boar—not an ordinary boar—to rescue the Earth and put Bhūmi back in her natural orbit.

Lord Varāha fought with Hiraṇyākṣa, He killed him, he went down, He took the Earth on his tusks, the Lord has two white gleaming tusks, so He took Bhūmi Devī on His tusks and He flew into the air and they were pausing there in the sky for a moment, and Bhūmi’s resting on the tusks of Varāha.

At that point, Mother Bhūmi became anxious and she said to Lord Varāha, “Since everything is now flooded with water, where are you going to place me? Where are you going to place Mother Earth, everything’s flooded with water.” So Lord Varāha smiled and replied to Bhūmi. He said, “I will place you where trees still grow.” So Bhūmi repeated, “But all the trees and plants are all drowned in water now.” And again Varāha smiled at her and gave her some mystic vision. And with that mystic vision, she saw in the distance, a place with beautiful flowers, green trees, beautiful mountains and rivers and all types of animals, like deer, and cows, and sheep, and butterflies and soft winds. She saw so many—such a beautiful scene.

She was bewildered, she said to Lord Varāha while sitting on His tusks, “What is that place that hasn’t been touched by this devastation?” Varāha replied, “That is transcendental MathurāMaṇḍala, a part of the land of Goloka. It is a special place because it is never inundated with water when other parts of the universe are.” Mother Earth smiled and paid her obeisances to the city of Mathurā and the greater area of MathurāMaṇḍala. And she declared that of all holy places in the universe, Mathurā is the most holy. So through these pastimes, although they’re quite detailed, we can appreciate where we are right now.

If you were listening carefully, you’ll note that Lord Varāha plays a very important part in the glorification of Mathurā. And that is one of the reasons that two of the primary principal temples in this city, are temples where the Deity of Lord Varāha are worshipped. These are very ancient Deities that have been worshipped since the beginning of time. One is a black Deity of Varāha and one is a white Deity of Varāha. We are going to visit both those temples in about half an hour. Just so you can appreciate more of these transcendental Deities, the white Deity is called “Ādi Varāha” and He was first worshipped by Aditi. Lord Indra stole the Deity of Varāha from Aditi. When Indra had it, then Meghnatha took it from Indra, and then Rāvaṇa took this Deity from Meghnatha. Then when Lord Rāmacandra killed Rāvaṇa, He took this Deity and brought it to India, Bhārata. Then Śatrughna, Lord Rāmacandra’s brother, was the king of this Province so after getting the Deity from Rāmacandra, he established that Deity here in Mathurā.

You can remember these pastimes; remember the history of these Deities when you’re taking Darśana. These Deities have been worshipped for billions and billions and billions and billions of years. I’d also like to share with you a pastime of Lord Varāha personally in this greater area of MathurāMaṇḍala or VrajaMaṇḍala. When I was doing some research last night I was very surprised to find out that Lord Varāha actually appeared in Kṛṣṇa’s Vṛndāvan pastimes.

Did you know that? There’s a pastime of Varāha with the cowherd boys. So I’ll briefly tell that pastime. Well, one time the cowherd boys were getting ready to wrestle. Near the tail end of Govardhana, there are those two lakes, one’s called Apsarā Kuṇḍa. So the boys were getting ready to wrestle between each other. So they divided into two groups. Balarāma’s older, so Balarāma, on His side, there were the older cowherd boys. And all the younger cowherd boys were on Kṛṣṇa’s side. So when the boys wrestled like this, they first began by challenging each other. Each side challenges the other side, “We’re bigger! We’re stronger than you!” “No, we’re bigger, we’re stronger; you are going to see.” There’s a lot of shouting and arguing that goes on.


Balarāma and the older cowherd boys are making fun of the younger boys. “This Kṛṣṇa, He’s so much smaller than Balarāma. He always needs Balarāma’s help and He plays with the girls anyways, so what kind of boy is He? And we’ve beat Him up so many times,” and they’re making fun of Kṛṣṇa and Kṛṣṇa—that particular time, He couldn’t stand being ridiculed. So Kṛṣṇa stood up and He kind of came into the center where the two sides were yelling at each other and He said, “Actually, I’m stronger than anyone in the universe, what to speak of any cowherd boy.” When He said that, Balarāma started laughing and laughing so hard, He fell over. So now the younger brother, Kṛṣṇa’s becoming really, really angry and when you get angry what happens? You turn red. Right? Your eyes become red, your skin flushes, you become red. So Kṛṣṇa became very angry and His face became red with anger.

He said, “All right, my friend, you’re going to see what I can do.” Without further warning, He immediately changed His form into a gigantic, angry boar. In that form, He stood up on His rear legs, and He was as high as the clouds, He had huge fearful tusks and He began moving His tusks around and lashing out with His scary hooves at all the older cowherd boys.

He was black as a Tamal tree and His eyes were red like rubies and He started getting bigger and bigger and bigger and making the noise that boars make. Now I don’t know how they do that [mimics boar snorting]. Like that, but much louder! [More mimicry] So the birds flew away and the animals ran for shelter, so Lord Varāha began to speak to the boys in a very loud voice. He said, “So you think I’m weak. Do you? My dear brother Balarāma, my dear friends, now watch me lift this entire planet with my tusks.” Then Kṛṣṇa in the form of the boar put His two tusks in the dust of Vṛndāvan and started to pick up all of Vṛndāvan and the Earth and it started to shake and the cowherd boys were rolling down. They were like this. And the boys called out, “Kṛṣṇa save us! Save us! Please forgive us!”

But Kṛṣṇa, He wasn’t pacified. Kṛṣṇa, He didn’t like being ridiculed by the older boys so He started lifting the Earth more and more and the boys started rolling down, down, down. So the boys turned to Balarāma. They said, “Balarāma, what do we do?” Balarāma said, “Uh, uh, Madhumañgala, start reciting the Pūrussuktā.” Pūrussuktā’s recited by the Brāhmaṇas and Madhumañgala takes great pride in being a brāhmaṇa, but he was so nervous [mimics shaky voice of Madhumañgala reciting]. Balarāma said, “That’s not going to work.” So Raktak, one of the cowherd boys, he had a good idea and he whispers in Balarāma’s ear, and Balarāma said, “That’s a very good idea.” Raktak figured out how to save the situation so he whispered a secret into Balarāma’s ear. And Balarāma said, “Yes, that’s the way we’ll solve the problem.”

What did Balarāma do? He fell on the ground. He paid obeisances to His younger brother and said, “I’m sorry, please forgive us.” And all the cowherd boys [mimics sound of them offering obeisances], they all lined up and finally Kṛṣṇa said, “Alright, I forgive you. No more ridiculing me in the future.” So then Kṛṣṇa assumed His original form and He tightened His belt and put His flute back in there and His bugle horn and took all the dust from His hands like that and smiled at His friends who were still shell-shocked from seeing this great boar.

But then Viśvanātha says, “But soon the great fear of the boys disappeared and they were all filled with wonder, ‘How did Kṛṣṇa do that?’” And Subala patted Kṛṣṇa on the back, he said, “Very well done, my friend. How do you do such magic?” And one by one, all the cowherd boys embraced Kṛṣṇa. By this time they had forgotten, totally forgotten about the wrestling match. And they decided instead they would go to Surabhi Kuṇḍa for a swim and as they were going there, all the boys were imitating Varāha’s roar, his noise, Caturātmā is… [Caturātmā Prabhu makes sound]. And Viśvanātha says that although the boys had been impressed by Lord Varāha’s great display of strength, most of them were still convinced they could beat Kṛṣṇa in a wrestling match.

Because although the Lord displays these fantastic pastimes, in the end, the boys just think He’s one of them, He’s the best of them; they don’t see Him as God. So these are some, very few, of the pastimes of MathurāMaṇḍala, VṛndāvanMaṇḍala. We know that you know that Kṛṣṇa came here and killed the Kuvalayapida elephant, He defeated the wrestlers, He killed Kaṁsa, associated with the ladies of Mathurā, there are so many pastimes, so we could go on for hours.

But although it’s getting late, we have to visit the temples before they close at 11, and you’re a little tired, I’d just like to conclude with reading a few of the prayers of the Gopīs when Kṛṣṇa left Vṛndāvan to come to Mathurā.

Actually, Akrūra was a Minister in the government of Kaṁsa. He was actually a great devotee of Kṛṣṇa but somehow or other he was working with Kaṁsa, so Kaṁsa chose him to come to Vṛndāvan and take Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma to Mathurā for the purpose of killing them actually. So there are many significant points, but the most significant of course was the pastime of the Gopīs, their prayers in which they’re revealing their heart to Kṛṣṇa about the impending separation from the Lord.

At that point, that you know, Akrūra was putting Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma on the chariot and getting the horses ready to leave Vṛndāvan and come to Mathurā, the word spread very quickly throughout Vṛndāvan and the Gopīs all assembled around that chariot. And their prayers actually demonstrate the deepest, most loving, and touching sentiments that any living entity can have for God, can have for Kṛṣṇa.

And those feelings they had, those emotions, those sentiments, you know we as aspiring devotees are hoping one day to achieve that same mood. So I thought it would be appropriate to finish today just by reading the prayers of the Gopīs as Akrūra was about to take the boys here to Mathurā.

And some of you may know these prayers are found in the Tenth Canto of the Bhāgavatam, Chapter 39. We won’t read all of them. We’ll just read the prayers 19 to 26. They’re quite deep so you have to kind of sit up, sit properly and take a breath of air and listen very attentively.  Some of the essence of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam! The Gopīs said:

  • “O Providence, You have no mercy, You bring embodied creatures together in friendship and love and then senselessly separate them before they fulfill their desires. This whimsical play of Yours is like a child’s game.”
  • “Having shown us Mukunda’s face, framed by dark locks and beatified by his fine cheeks, raised nose and gentle smiles, which eradicate all misery, You are now making that face invisible to us. This behavior of yours is not at all good.”
  • “O Providence, though you come here with the name Akrūra, you are indeed cruel. For like a fool you are taking away what you once gave us—those eyes with which we have seen. Even in one feature of Madhudviṣa’s form the perfection of your entire creation.”
  • “Alas, Nanda’s Son, who breaks loving relations in a second, will not even look directly at us, forcibly brought under His control; we have abandoned our homes, relatives, children, husbands just to serve Him. But He’s always looking for new lovers.”
  • “The dawn following this night will certainly be auspicious for the women of Mathurā. All their hopes will now be fulfilled for as the Lord of Vraja enters their city, they will be able to drink from His face the nectar of His smile emanating from the corners of His eyes.”
  • “O Gopīs, although Mukunda is intelligent and very obedient to His parents, once He has fallen under the spell of the honey sweet words of the women of Mathurā and been enchanted by their alluring shy smiles, how will He ever return to us unsophisticated village girls?”
  • “When the Dāśārhas, Bhojas, Andhakas, Vṛṣṇis and Sātvatas see the son of Devakī in Mathurā, they will certainly enjoy a great festival for their eyes, as will all those who see Him traveling along the road to Mathurā. After all, He is the darling of the goddess of fortune and the reservoir of all transcendental qualities.”
  • “He who is doing this merciless deed should not be called Akrūra. He is so extremely cruel that without even trying to console the sorrowful residents of Vraja, he is taking away Kṛṣṇa, who is more dear to us than life itself.”
  • “Hard-hearted Kṛṣṇa has already mounted the chariot, and now the foolish cowherd boys are hurrying after Him in their bullock carts. Even the elders are saying nothing to stop Him. Today fate is working against us.”
  • “Let us directly approach Mādhava  and stop Him from going. What can our family elders and other relatives do to us? Now that fate is separating us from Mukunda, our hearts are already wretched, for we cannot bear to give up His association even for a fraction of a second.”
  • “When He brought us to the assembly of the rāsa dance, where we enjoyed His affectionate and charming smiles, His delightful secret talks, His playful glances and His embraces, we passed many nights as if they were a single moment. O Gopīs, how can we possibly cross over the insurmountable darkness of His absence?”
  • “How can we exist without Ananta’s friend Kṛṣṇa, who in the evening would return to Vraja in the company of the cowherd boys, His hair and garland powdered with the dust raised by the cows’ hooves? As He played His flute, He would captivate our minds with His smiling sidelong glances.”

So a small portion of the Gopīs’ prayers as Akrūra is taking Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma from Vṛndāvan to Mathurā. So today we tried to share with you some of the unlimited glories of this great city of Mathurā and this greater region of MathurāMaṇḍala, VrajaMaṇḍala.

Now we’re going to visit three or four of the temples in this little corner of the city. Two of those temples are the Varāha temples, the ĀdiVarāha and the big, black Varāha. We’ll have to ask you that the temples are small so when you go in, you have to pay quick obeisances and take a quick look because we have to put four hundred devotees in and out of these four temples, so it won’t be too easy. But as always, Rasikā has a plan; Rasikā and Govinda have a plan with Narottama.

So take quick Darśana of Rādhā Govinda, then we’ll assemble outside and we’ll send you to the respective temples. And afterwards, we’ll come back here to take Prasādam. Here’s one quick note: “Dear devotees, we are broadcasting our Parikramā through the internet and you can tell your friends and relatives to join us and see the Kīrtanas and hear the lectures every day on Vrindavan.tv. Yeah, Vrindavan.tv, everyone can watch. And also every day we’re posting on my Facebook page the photographs of the day before and very nice videos that Ananta Vṛndāvan is taking.

Śrī Mathurā Dhām ki—Jaya!

Śrī Mathurā-Maṇḍala ki—Jaya!

Śrī Vraja Bhūmi, Śrī Vṛndāvan Dhām ki—Jaya!

Kārtik Parikramā 2015 ki—Jaya

Śrī-Śrī Rādhā Govinda Deva ki—Jaya!

Lord Varāha Deva ki-Jaya!

Jaya-Jaya Śrī-Śrī Rādhe-Śyāma!  Hare Kṛṣṇa!


Kāmyavana – HG Caturātmā Prabhu – Lecture; Indradyumna Swami’s Parikrama -2015

Questions by Lord of Dharma

– By HG Caturātmā Prabhu

Alright so, Gurudeva opened the door that I wanted to continue to walk through a little bit, before I transition into this pastime. We are here because this is the Kārtik Parikramā program. And sometimes we forget that it’s named after the month that we’re observing: Kārtik. For most devotees in another part of the world, who are now here in Vṛndāvan, going around to different places every day, all kinds of vows, strict penances, and austerities are naturally performed.

But there are five prominent activities that are given by the Gosvāmīs that one should observe during Kārtik:

  1. Increase our hearing.
  2. Increase our chanting.
  3. Offer lamps.
  4. Worship Dāmodara, and
  5. Perform fasting: Now that fasting is different for each individual, but the concept is that during the month of Kārtik, we restrict our food intake. We restrict how we take food in and what we take in.

The points that Śrīla Gurudeva has made are very practical; so aside from him being the Spiritual Master of the lion’s share of devotees here, and that in and of itself being sufficient for you to follow those instructions, executing a Kārtik Vrata in Vṛndāvan during Kārtik also gives you the benefit as well. Actually not only the benefit—one thousand times the benefit! So like he says, when you see that tasty looking pakora or that nice little ice cream bar, just remember, “If I don’t do it, I get a thousand times benefit for not doing it, and I also please Śrīla Gurudeva.”

Alright, so, let’s dive into the nectar of the pastimes here at Kāmyavan a little more. I have a question for all of you. Raise your hands if you answer this. “Before today, how many of you knew that this was the place where Yudhiṣtira had the exchange of questions? How many of you knew that took place here in Kāmyavan? How many did not?” Most of us didn’t realize that this prominent pastime that we are all very familiar with, took place here right in Vṛndāvan.

As we were driving in our caravan of cars and buses, we asked directions, and the locals were like, “Okay, well which Kuṇḍa? There are so many Kuṇḍas, which one you want to go to?” One of the Kuṇḍas in this area is called DharmaKuṇḍa. Now we all know the five Pāṇḍava brothers: Yudhiṣtira, Arjuna, then Bhīma, then Nakula, then Sahadeva. These five, they were pretty much inseparable, especially when they were incognito or going out into the forest or any of these activities. They were always very close with each other. One day, four of the brothers:  Bhīma, Arjuna, Nakula, and Sahadeva, decided that they would go out for a walk into the forest, and Yudhiṣtira didn’t feel like going that day for some particular reason.

They went out walking in this Kāmyavan area, and as happens when you hike for a fair amount of time, you become a little thirsty. So the boys became a little thirsty and they came upon a Kuṇḍa, which was called Dharma Kuṇḍa. Then first Bhīma, he went to drink water and a voice in the sky said, “Stop! Before you can take this water from my Kuṇḍa, you must answer my questions.” Now we know Bhīma’s a pretty powerful, strong guy. He’s thinking, “You know, I am Bhīma, I just want a glass of water here, not even a handful, just a palm-full of water, I don’t have to listen to you.” So he took the palm-full of water— [sound of drinking water]fell over dead.

Arjuna came, he went to the lake, and he saw, “There is my brother Bhīma, he’s dead!” But he was also overcome by thirst, and he went to take water first before he investigated. And as he knelt at the lake and put his hands into the Kuṇḍa, the voice again came from the sky, “Stop! Before you can drink this water from my Kuṇḍa, you must answer my questions.” Uncharacteristically for Arjuna, he also just blew off the voice, took a palm-full of water; he also fell over dead. We have got two out of the five Pāṇḍavas no longer there.

Sahadeva then comes next. The same scenario repeats itself; he goes to take a drink, he’s told to stop, he takes it anyway, falls over dead. And finally the fifth of the Pāṇḍavas, Nakula comes also, the same exact scenario; sees that his brothers have fallen dead, goes to take a drink of water, is told to stop, takes the drink anyway, and also dead.

Now after some time, the four brothers have not returned to the house, so Yudhiṣtira, he’s the oldest; he’s kind of looking out for the rest of them, he becomes a little concerned. He goes out in search of his brothers, “Where are they? Why haven’t they come back?”  And he sees that “There are all four of my brothers lying side by side next to this Kuṇḍa. What possibly could have happened? They are the Pāṇḍava brothers!”

As he is pondering this question, the celestial voice again comes from the sky, “I own this Kuṇḍa, and your brothers tried to drink from this Kuṇḍa without following my request. I told them to first answer my question, then they could take water, but they did not obey, so they died. This is the suitable reaction for one who steals the property of another. But you, Yudhiṣtira, you’re the older, wiser brother, so I will ask you the questions, and if you answer them, I will revive your brothers.”

One hundred questions! Now Gurudeva did say we will sit here all day, right? Someone want to keep count? [laughs] There are ten that are very important, so I’ve taken those ten instead of the one hundred. You can go to the Mahābhārata on your own and read the one hundred questions; they are listed there.

1) The first question that Yudhiṣtira is asked, “Who makes the sun rise and ascend into the skies? Who moves around the sun? Who makes the sun set on the horizon? What is the true nature of the sun? And where is the sun established?”

Now if I were taking count, I’d say that’s about six questions right there. But because they all deal with the topic of the sun, the voice in the sky was able to present them as one question; and besides, if somebody’s got your brother’s lives in their hands, you’re not likely to argue fine points of topics with them. Yudhiṣtira gives the answer: “Brahmā makes the sun rise and ascend into the sky. The collection of gods circumambulates the sun. Dharma or truthfulness causes the sun to set. Therefore, truth is actually the sun and the sun is established only by truth.” So satisfaction was given, so the next question was asked.

2) “What instills Divinity in a Kṣatriya? What is the quality of virtuosity in a Kṣatriya? What is the human-like quality of a Kṣatriya? And what is the conduct that is akin to non-virtuosity in the person of a Kṣatriya?”

So Yudhiṣtira gives the following answers: “The Divinity of a Kṣatriya is the art of archery. The offering of oblations is the quality of virtuosity found in Kṣatriya. The only human-like quality found in Kṣatriya is fear. And abandoning people who are under the protection of Kṣatriya is the non-virtuous activity that a Kṣatriya can perform.  Alright, the answers are satisfactory, he moves on to the next question.

3) “What is that thing which is like a Mantra in a performance of a Yajña? Who is the performer of rites and ceremonies during the Yajña? Who accepts the offerings and oblations of the Yajña? And what is that which even the performance of a Yajña cannot transgress?” Yudhiṣtira thought and gave the following answers: “Breath is to be taken like a Mantra in the performance of a Yajña. Mind is the one that performs all the rites and activities of the Yajña. Only the ślokas accept the oblations of the Yajña. And the Yajña cannot be surpassed by the ṛṣis. [How do you say this? The transgression of this cannot be—you can’t surpass the potency of a Yajña except through ṛṣis]. Again, the answers were satisfactory, moves on to the next question.

4) “What is heavier than the Earth, higher than the heavens, faster than the wind, and more numerous than straws?” Yudhiṣtira had no problem answering this one, “One’s own mother is heavier than the Earth, one’s own father is higher than the heavens, the mind is faster than the wind, and only our worries are more numerous than the blades of grass. That’s a good one to remember, I see some of you writing it down, that’s the one you want to remember.

5) The next question: “Who is the friend of the traveler? Who is the friend of one who is ill and dying?” Yudhiṣtira thought for a moment: “The friend of the traveler is his companion. You need look no farther than Indradyumna Swami and BaḍaHari for that answer. The physician is the friend of one who is sick, and the dying man’s friend is charity.”

6) The next questions; “What is that which when it is renounced makes one lovable?” And what is it, which, if it is renounced, makes one happy and wealthy?” So what is it that we can renounce that makes us loved by all?

Yudhiṣtira gave a very good answer. “Our pride! By renouncing our desire, we become wealthy and by renouncing avarice, or bad attitudes towards others, we become happy.” That’s also a good one. “You will become loved by others if you give up your pride, you become wealthy if you give up your desire to attain things, and you become happy if you stop finding fault in others.”

7) Next question: “What enemy is invincible? What is an incurable disease? And what sort of man is noble and what sort of man is not noble?”

Yudhiṣtira was very quick to answer this question, as well: “Anger is the invincible enemy of everyone. Covetousness (To intensely desire, to hanker) is the disease that cannot be cured. That person is noble who considers the well being of all living entities  and that person is not noble who has no mercy on others.” When we think of someone who has the well-being of all living entities, can we not think of Śrīla Prabhupāda? I mean so much difficulty; he was living here in this wonderful place, and left it all just for our benefit.

8) Next Yudhiṣtira was asked, “Who is truly happy?” Which of us here feels they are truly happy? Who? [Devotees respond] Really? Only just like three or four of you feel that you’re truly happy? You are in the lap of Vṛndāvan in the association of the most exalted Vaiṣṇavas, chanting the Holy Names of the Lord, of course you are happy! But Yudhiṣtira gave a different answer.

“One is happy who has no debts. Not only financial but debts and obligations to anyone.”

So these are among the top-ten. Everybody’s got a top ten list, top-ten this, top-ten that; so these are the top ten questions. And this tenth one is one that as Gurudeva said earlier Śrīla Prabhupāda referred to many times in his lectures.

9] “What is the most amazing and wondrous thing?” Yudhiṣtira gave a very appropriate answer which Śrīla Prabhupāda liked to repeat many times in his lectures. It’s worded different ways according to the particular translation.

“Day after day, countless people die, yet those who are living wish that they would live forever. Is there anything that can be a greater wonder than that?”

This was the answer that the personality of this voice which we will soon find out was actually looking for. This was the big prize. It’s like the big bell went off; you won the big prize, and the bells ring, and the trumpets blare, and you are the winner, you got it all.

In this way Yudhiṣtira finally gets what? He gets to get a drink of water? All of this for palm-full of water? No, you have to remember that Yudhiṣtira had a better deal with the voice: that his four brothers would come back to life. So as the five Pāṇḍavas are standing there together on the banks of Dharma Kuṇḍa, the voice reveals to them who he really is. It is none other than the Lord of Dharma: Yamarāja Himself. And Yudhiṣtira of course is Yamarāja’s son. Yamarāja is so pleased with the cooperative agreeable nature of Yudhiṣtira’s approach to this that he gives his blessings to them. He said, “Since you have agreed to the laws of Dharma, Dharma will always protect you five brothers.” Then he gave an additional blessing which would be particularly useful to them, “During the period in which you would have to be incognito, hiding for fourteen years, no one would be able to recognize you.”

Because you may remember during that famous chess match when they lost, everything was gone and they were banished into the forest. The condition was, “Not only are you banished for fourteen years, but if anybody recognizes you in the last year, fourteen more years of banishment.” When you think about it, that’s really a pretty harsh punishment. I mean, the five Pāṇḍavas are like the most famous people of the time, everybody knows who the five Pāṇḍavas are. Of course we know that they were successful because they each had their own particular skill and their own particular way of taking advantage of curses they received, and qualities and characteristics they had by which nobody did recognize them.

This is a pastime also that happened here in Kāmyavan. Kāmyavan is known for the pastimes of the Divine Couple, and for the pastimes of the Lord’s devotees who have resided here, and for the pastimes of some particularly short-tempered long-haired sages [Durvāsā Muni].

Sometimes people, you know, later after this incident, Yudhiṣtira would be asked, “You know, a hundred questions. I mean, that’s like an A+.” Now we get this music [laughter at music in the background]. Anyway, Yudhiṣtira had a very good reply, you know. He would say that Dharma protects those who protect Dharma. If you uphold your Dharma, Dharma will in turn protect you. This is an important thing to remember, that we all have a particular quality, a particular religious responsibility as Vaiṣṇavas and if we embrace those qualities of Vaiṣṇavas and are very true to them then they will also protect us as we go about our life’s work. There is one of those thoughtful phrases you see posted in different places around and it says, “You know, your honesty is who you are when nobody is watching.”

So this is the important thing to remember that the qualities that we’re supposed to represent as a devotee; we should be embracing those, and then these same qualities will be our own strength. In this way, Yamarāja served a very interesting purpose with Yudhiṣtira; a purpose that’s benefited by all of us today.

Yamarāja is one of the twelve Mahājanas. These are the personalities that give us our understanding and our standards in Kṛṣṇa Consciousness. We can greatly benefit from that. Now for the non-devotee, for those not interested in their spiritual upliftment, Yamarāja has one purpose, he’s the lord of death. He’s feared by everyone who is not in their devotional position and he is the source of anxiety and stress when an individual who is not a devotee is leaving this world. But for those of us who are taking those instructions that he gives in our Kṛṣṇa Conscious development, he actually becomes our friend.

Aside from that, so many of the devotional practices we do daily protect us from Yamarāja. It is said that, “One who wears the Tilaka on the forehead, has the Tulasi beads on their neck, who sings the nice song of Tulasi, who waters Tulasi Devī, such a person never sees the lord of death.” This is why devotees don’t fear Yamarāja. They take him as an instructor. Now generally you wouldn’t go to the lord of death and seek instructions on your devotional practices. But because he serves the dual purpose as a Mahājana, his instructions, his directions are very beneficial to the living entities. Our Ācāryas, they give us a little bit of guidance, they say that there are actually three things that we can go to Yamarāja and ask for. Because he is a Mahājana, he’s capable and interested in giving us these three things. Do you want to know what those three things are? Get your pens and papers ready?

  1. The first one is that we can ask him for good Sādhana. Isn’t this what we all desire? I mean, we all have our standard of devotional service that we’re executing, but couldn’t it be a little bit better? Couldn’t I read just little bit more? Couldn’t I chant my Japa just little bit better? Couldn’t I be a little more attentive to only eating Kṛṣṇa Prasādam? Couldn’t I make more of an effort not to fault-find and criticize others? These are all practices of our Sādhana that we can ask Yamarāja, “Please help me develop these.”
  2. The second thing we can ask Yamarāja for: “Cleanliness.” Inside and outside. Outside, of course, you take Prasādam and wash your hands. It’s funny! I was just giving a class in Alachua to the children’s school. I go there weekly and speak about the Vaiṣṇava Ācāryas to the different grade levels of kids. I was talking about Mādhavācārya last week and how during the time of Mādhavācārya it was the latter part of the middle ages in Europe, and the one thing we have from the middle ages is the black plague. This comes about primarily because of the lack of cleanliness that existed at that time. When I asked the following question to each of the grade levels from the little five-year-olds to the fifteen-year-olds, “Which of you had a shower or a bath this morning?” every single one of the kids raised their hand. I said, “Which of you had a shower or bath yesterday morning?” and in all the grade levels, every single kid raised their hand. I said, “Which of you will have a shower or bath tomorrow morning?” and they all raised their hands. Then I told them, “The thing is that in the middle Ages in Europe, they bathed, oh you know, once every two weeks, once a month maybe?” They all had the same reaction, “Eeeeeee!” [indicating displeasure] That was it; they considered it to be a horrible thing! Śrīla Prabhupāda, if he would drink water, he would rinse his hands and mouth, so cleanliness outside. Cleanliness inside by being very thoughtful of what we’re thinking and where our mind is dragging our consciousness.
  3. The final thing that a Sādhaka is encouraged to ask from Yamarāja is for the ability to control our senses especially at the time of temptation. In this way we can be very, very thoughtful of these three points; and these are things that can help us in our devotional life; and this is part of the whole pastime that took place here in Kāmyavan at Dharma Kuṇḍa.


Okay, alright, so we’ll finish there. Thank you very much, and we can try and remember these things, as we have our Prasādam, how to be clean after we have our Prasādam. So that means that we want to leave the place very neat after you’re finished. Don’t leave a mess, we are Vaiṣṇavas, we have a reputation to take care of. Thank you for your tolerance, and your time, and I pray you give me your blessings.

Hare Kṛṣṇa!

Kāmyavana – HH Śrīla Indradyumna Swami – Instructions

Instructions with Indradyumna Swami

Mood & Precautions during Parikramā

– By His Holiness Śrīla Indradyumna Swami

It’s even getting more cloudy, which is nice because it’s even cooler than it was earlier. And the weather is going to start changing—that means it going to sometimes be hot, and sometimes even cold. This is not deep spiritual philosophical wisdom, it’s just kind of practical knowledge that you have to be careful not to get sick in the changing weather patterns.

I think when everyone goes out now, you should be wearing a sweater, some socks or maybe even a hat, because if it gets cold, you should be covered. You shouldn’t get sick, because once your immune system goes down, then you can get something more serious. And when it is sunny, be careful not to get too much sun. There’s a big difference between the sun in Russia—Moscow, Paris, and New York—and the sun in India. It’s a very intense sun here that can deplete you and make you sick. Well, you could get heat stroke or even sun stroke.

One golden rule in India is you should only drink bottled water and you never eat outside. When we come to places like this, we are providing nice Prasādam. When we’re back at the KṛṣṇaBalarāma Mandir, they have Prasādam every afternoon there. But don’t eat out at sweet shops.

‘vāco vegaṁ manasaḥ krodha-vegaṁ jihvā-vegam’

[NOI – verse 1]

Don’t eat out of the sweet shops. Don’t eat ice cream from those little carts they carry around. When they don’t sell it one year, they put it in the freezer and they bring it out the next year. They don’t sell—the next year’s ice cream is ten-twelve years old. [Laughter] I’m exaggerating, but be careful.

Don’t eat from the food stands, like when we’re at the bus stops on the way to Jaipur. Those little stands—they sell yummy samosas and pakoras and khachori. But you don’t know who cooked there, where it was cooked, what pot it was cooked in.

vāco vegaṁ manasaḥ krodha-vegaṁ

jihvā-vegam udaropastha-vegam

If you’re hungry—eat fruits. If you wash the fruits, it’s generally safe, especially fruits that have a skin on them like oranges or bananas. You can have them. You can eat extra fruits and nuts. You can get some nuts in packages, that’s pretty safe. But generally, we will be providing nice Prasādam at Noon. And at the temple they have Prasādam and many of you can cook where you’re staying. You have in your lodging or apartments, you can cook Prasādam there. I said this last year and then ten minutes after the talk, I walked outside, devotees were buying ice cream out of the little box, for five rupees or whatever. Be careful!

Be careful of the animals. I know the cows are really cute and especially the little calves, but every calf has a Mommy looking after that little calf. The Mommy may come and charge you. Respect the cows from a distance.

How many of you have ever been on the Polish festival tour in Poland during July and August? Oh, wow! [Polish word]. It’s intense, but this is ten times more intense. This is the first day, it’s real easy. But we get up quite early, we are driving, we are out, we are walking around everything. So when you get back, it’s good just to relax in the evening. Maybe you can go to the temple and offer the lamp, like that, and so forth, but be careful not to stay up too late. Don’t eat late at night.

Your main purpose in being here is going on Parikramā and hearing the Kathā and participating in the Kīrtana and seeing all these wonderful places. If you stay up at night and socialize, you’re walking and talking and sitting, looking around, then you go to bed late and you gradually become more and more tired, and you won’t be able to keep up with us.

We are speaking from many years of experience, like forty years of being in India, having survived. If you get sick, let my management team know. Rasikā Śiromani, she’s got nothing to do [Laughter]. You can tell her, we’ll find a doctor for you. We have the best doctors. If you get sick, take care of it immediately. Just let us know, and we’ll take care of you. If you get a little cut, you take care of it immediately. We have antibiotic creams you can buy over the counter here. In America, we come with “Neosporin”, it has antibiotics in it. You can also get something similar in all the pharmacies here. You get a cut, immediately put some antibiotic cream and a band-aid. Don’t let it go more than 2-3 days. Even a mosquito bite, if you scratch it, then it gets infected, so put on some antibiotic cream, put a band-aid on, you’ll be okay.

Another very intelligent thing to do while you are in India: we have this hand wash, the antibacterial hand wash they sell all over the world, you can even get it in India. Whenever I’m anywhere, I’m all the time just cleaning my hands with this liquid, because you don’t know what you’re touching when you’re going on, this and that, and the animals and the sides of the building. If you keep your hands clean with this disinfectant, and then when you touch your mouth, you won’t transfer a disease. I travel with this everywhere in the world. There are different kinds of it.

In the West, in Kṛṣṇa Consciousness, we follow the rule: eat to your full satisfaction. In India, we have a different rule: under-eat. Especially don’t eat too much at night. Don’t go to MVT, have a pizza, think, “I’m going to sleep really good.” And everyone’s going to probably get a little diarrhea. We’re being quite open here. Fast; just don’t eat anything for a few days, just drink water. Don’t eat, take a little yogurt; it will cool your system down.

And the monkeys are so cute. We heard how Kṛṣṇa’s playing with His monkeys here in Vṛndāvan. Rāma had a whole army of monkeys, but you’re not God. The monkeys, they just want to be rascals, and they will steal your bags, they will steal your glasses. I’ve had at least 26 pairs of glasses stolen in the last 40 years. Watch out for the monkeys! There’s one monkey, I see him, he has stolen six bananas in the last five hours here, and I don’t know where he is now. Also, always be respectful to the locals. Never argue with anyone: rickshaw-valas, never get in any arguments. One last point, as far as our Parikramā is concerned, always be on time. It all starts with getting up early in the morning. I know it’s not easy sometimes, but the buses are going to leave at 5:30 am, maybe ten or twenty minutes later. But it’s always good to be on time, as everything functions smoothly, and it saves everyone’s time.

All this is not as interesting as Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes, and stories about Durvāsā Muni, but it’s practical advice that will make your Parikramā experience much smoother, healthier and enjoyable. Now during my talk this morning, I committed a great offense. Without knowing it, I told the pastime that Caturātmā Prabhu was going to tell, about the boy that Durvāsā Muni cursed to be a crocodile. He has been waiting months to tell that story! So during Prasādam, he was practically in tears. I said, “What’s wrong?” He said, “You told my story!” Seriously!

So I said, “You will have nothing to say this afternoon?”. So I got my computer out, and I had one more story I was going to tell if I had more time, so I’m going to give him one more story that I had that he can tell. I actually gave him my notes on the computer and he has been memorizing them since Prasādam. But of course, it’s not my story; it’s a beautiful pastime which I touched on earlier, about the ten questions that Yudhisthira answered to Yamarāja. It’s a very important, instructive pastime and Caturātmā is an excellent preacher. He’s a very popular class-giver, so with great pleasure, we turn the program over to Caturātmā, who will tell this wonderful pastime. Because I just disappointed him and made him cry, please give him a big round of applause as he comes forward.

[Applause]. Caturātmā Prabhu kī Jaya!

Kāmyavana – HH Śrīla Indradyumna Swami – Lecture

Indradyumna Swami at Vrinda Devi Temple

The Glories of Kāmyavan

– By His Holiness Śrīla Indradyumna Swami

I think that Kṛṣṇa has been very kind to his devotees. It has been extremely warm here in Vṛndāvan Dhām for the last several months; and just last night on the first day of Kārtik it rained and it cooled things down. Thus instead of sitting under a blazing sun we are under clouds; although it’s a little warm but nothing like it was the last few months. This is the first day and it’s cooled down and I have seen kind of a cover of clouds in the sky. Kṛṣṇa says, yoga-kṣemaṁ vahāmy aham: For my devotee I protect what they have and I provide whatever they need; this can all be realized on the first day of our Kārtik Parikramā. Nothing happens by chance, not a blade of grass moves without the will of Kṛṣṇa.

I think that Kṛṣṇa has been very kind to His devotees. It has been extremely warm here in Vṛndāvan Dhām for the last several months; and just last night on the first day of Kārtik it rained and it cooled things down. Thus instead of sitting under a blazing sun we are under clouds; although it’s a little warm but nothing like it was the last few months. This is the first day and it’s cooled down and I have seen kind of a cover of clouds in the sky. Kṛṣṇa says, yoga-kṣemaṁ vahāmy aham: For My devotee, I protect what they have and I provide whatever they need; this can all be realized on the first day of our Kārtik Parikramā. Nothing happens by chance; not a blade of grass moves without the will of Kṛṣṇa.

We’re here in Kāmyavana. Kāmyavana doesn’t mean just this little courtyard that we are in. Vana means forest. Kāmyavana is one of the 12 forests that comprise Vraja-maṇḍala. Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī has given more details about the forests in Vṛndāvan. He says that there are five forests on the eastern bank of the Yamunā River. And there are seven forests on the western bank of the river Yamunā; so seven and five is twelve. The five forests on the eastern bank of the Yamunā are as follows; you can repeat:

  • Bhadravana
  • Bilvavana
  • Lauhavana
  • Bhāṇḍīravana and
  • Mahāvana.

Not my disciple Mahāvana but the forest Mahāvana.

And the seven forests on the western side of the Yamunā are as follows.

  • Madhuvana,
  • Tālavana,
  • Kumudavana,
  • Bahulāvana,
  • Khadiravana,
  • Vṛndāvana and
  • Kāmyavana.

These are the kind of details that make sense to memorize, we are in school and we have to memorize so many details we never use when we graduate. But here are some details that you can remember and will always remember.

Kāma means desire; so Kāmyavana means that forest where all your desires are fulfilled; Of course that doesn’t mean material desires, it means spiritual desires. We’re all very familiar with our material desires; they’re quite embarrassing. But by the mercy of our spiritual masters we’re beginning to learn what are the real desires of the heart? Our spiritual desires. Actually in His Śikṣāṣṭakam prayers, Lord Caitanya has helped us understand, what are the material desires that we want to reject? And what are the spiritual desires we want to awaken deep within our heart?

na dhanaṁ na janaṁ na sundarīṁ

kavitāṁ vā jagadīśa kāmaye.

mama janmani janmanīśvare

bhavatād bhaktir ahaitukī tvayi

“Lord I have no desire to accumulate wealth, I don’t want to enjoy beautiful women, I don’t want to be famous and have many followers. I don’t even desire liberation. All that I want is your causeless devotional service in my life, birth after birth.”

If you come here to Kāmyavana and you ask the Lord to please fulfill your spiritual desires that can be very easily achieved here in Kāmyavana. As we know, we’re struggling with material desires. And it’s very hard to awaken our Bhāva for Kṛṣṇa, our spiritual desire. But Sādhus they come to Kāmyavana because they know here it’s very easy to let go of their material desires. It means the spiritual atmosphere here is such that it [sound indicating sudden change—“poof!”]—you just don’t struggle with material desires in your mind, like: “OUT! Go away! Be rid of you!” No problem here in Kāmyavana. That BhāvaPrema towards Kṛṣṇa, which is there deep in our hearts in a seed-like form can be very easily  awakened by coming to Kāmyavana and chanting:




We often hear that when we go to a holy place like Vṛndāvan, whatever Sevā we do, whatever devotional service we do, the result we get from that activity is magnified a thousand times. So if you call your mom or dad or your brother and sister back home and they ask you, “How many rounds are you chanting every day?” You can say “16 thousand.” But be careful because offenses in the DhāmDhām aparādhās—the result of the offense is also magnified a thousand times. So be careful. When you look around, you may think, “Is this a spiritual place? Doesn’t look like what in my mind what I would imagine. Doesn’t look like the ISKCON paintings in the books of a spiritual place with flowers, lakes, swans and Kṛṣṇa.” But the difficulty is that we are seeing with material eyes. When our material vision is purified through the process of devotional service, one day we will see Kāmyavana; we will see Vṛndāvan like it really is.

This is very nicely discussed by Śrīla Bhaktivinode Ṭhākur. He wrote one book called Navadvīpa Bhāva Taraṅga. There he says, “One whose eyes are covered by material illusion; this is only a small house situated here, plus some ordinary earth, water and a few articles. But if Māyā becomes merciful and lifts her covering one can see a grand spiritual dwelling.” Then he continues, “The qualification for seeing the Dhām is something spiritual and is the combined mercy of Kṛṣṇa and His devotees.” He said, “Kṛṣṇa is very merciful but His devotees are even more merciful and out of compassion, the Sādhus bestow transcendental qualifications on other devotees. At the very moment that the living entity gives up material illusion, his eyes will behold the splendor of Śrī Vṛndāvan Dhām.” Then he says, “When, Oh when will that day be mine?”

It’s the devotees of the Lord who are even more merciful than the Lord Himself,  so we come here to receive Kṛṣṇa’s mercy and we are getting that mercy from His devotee, Vṛndā Devī. The glories of Kāmyavana are further described by our Ācāryas. Actually you can almost think, “Oh, the following must be some sort of exaggeration.” But no, this is not exaggeration. Our scriptures, the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava scriptures, describe that by visiting this forest, Kāmyavana, just one time, all of one’s sinful desires are destroyed. Not reactions, but all of one’s sinful desires will be destroyed. It’s from the desires that the reactions come, so whatever bad desires you have in your heart by coming here and sitting a few hours: ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanam—[sound indicating immediate change—Vroom!] Gone.

Now a special feature of this forest Kāmyavana is the number of things that are prominent by the number eighty four (84).

There are 84 prominent lakes in Kāmyavana.

There are 84 prominent thrones.

There are 84 prominent temples.

There are 84 pillars in every one of those 84 temples.


These are details. We want to fill our minds with details, things about the spiritual world. When you go home next—at the end of this month, and someone says, “Where did you go?” “I went to Kāmyavana.” “What was it like?”

 “Well, everything was 84 there! [Laughter] There are 84 temples, 84 pillars, 84 cows and some more facts. The center of the Kāmyavana forest is the ancestral home of Mother Yaśodā.” “Prabhuji, Do you know anything about mother Yaśodā?” “Yes, her grandparents lived in Kāmyavana.” “Oh, you are such a scholar. Where did you learn that?” [Laughter]

The Pandavas, when they had to go into exile for those whatever—12 or 14 years—this is one place they lived in exile. When Lord Caitanya came to Vṛndāvan exactly 500 years ago, out of the 60 billion holy places, He made a special point to visit Kāmyavana just after visiting Govardhan Hill and he did the whole Parikramā around Kāmyavana. He visited each and every holy place in this transcendental forest and Jīva Gosvāmī says he also bathed in all the 84 lakes. Mahāprabhu is teaching us how to go on Parikramā.

Now if you could go, take a drone, [buzzing sound of drone] you could see the video in the drone, you would see lots of lakes in Kāmyavana. I think one of the more famous, most prominent lake is called Vimala-Kuṇḍa.

You know Sādhus, when they go to holy places they very often reside on the bank of a river or next to a lake, because they need water for bathing and washing and doing puja.

In Satya-yuga, Durvāsā Muni came here. He resided on the bank of this lake called VimalaKuṇḍa. One day he took his bath and came out; he was sitting on the bank and he had very long dreadlocks. You know how the Sādhus sometimes they tie their hair like this; [action] it’s called a Jata. Big! His dreadlocks measured in length from here to the entrance of the temple. I actually met a Sādhu in Nepal whose hair was that long. One day he was drying it on the river bank. I went and saw, “Oh my God. That’s some pretty long dreadlocks.”

There were some local boys there. You know boys, they can be little rascals sometimes. One of the boys, he said to his friends, “Look at that man, his hair is 15 times longer than the length of his body! [Laughs] Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha.” They started making fun of Durvāsā Muni. We say in Polish “…Uważaj…” “Watch out!.” Durvāsā is like Śiva. Śiva is Āśutoṣa; he is easily pleased and he is easily displeased. Sādhus are often like that. If you please Durvāsā Muni you can get a wonderful benediction, if you displease him, watch out!


So Durvāsā Muni said to that boy, “Since you like to crawl around and make mischief, then become a crocodile and you can crawl around on the ground for the duration of four ages: Satya, Treta, Dvāpara, and Kali-yuga as a crocodile.” Who would like that curse—to be a crocodile for millions and millions and millions and millions of years?

But when we make a mistake the way we become free from the mistake or the offense—is to express some remorse, “Oh I am sorry, please forgive me.” The little boy; he was only nine but he was going to be a crocodile for a million years, he said, “Bābā, I am sorry. Please?” [Crying sound: “Uhn… Uhn…”].

Now when a sādhu or brāhmaṇa curses, just the nature of life, the way this world is constructed is: he can’t take back the curse. The brāhmaṇas, they would take their sacred thread and they would touch water and then “shuu…zz” [throwing curse]. But if they wanted to take it back, they can’t do it—that’s not the way things work. He couldn’t take the curse back, even if he wanted to. “Oops!” But they can decrease the potency of the curse somewhat; they can make some compromises. So Durvāsā said, “Come here, come here young man, sit next to me.” “Okay, this is Satya-yuga and we are in Kāmyavana and when the Lord of this forest Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa appears in Navadvīpa in Kali-yuga, as the son of Śaci, He will deliver you by NāmaSankirtana.” The boy had to wait four yugas until Caitanya Mahāprabhu appeared and then Durvāsā said, “When He chants,



then you’ll be freed from my curse. It’s a compromise but—well— you get to see Mahāprabhu!”

The boy immediately became a crocodile and he lived in a lake in GodrumaNavadvīpa, Māyāpura and he did what crocodiles do. He terrorized everyone around them—all the animals, the frogs and the fish and the rabbits that come to drink the water. When people came, he would eat them [sound of crocodile’s jaw] “CRAKZZ.” He was famous for eating people on the side of the bank. He was a very bad crocodile.


“kṛṣṇa-varnam tvisakṛṣṇam


yajñaih sankirtana-prayair

yajanti hi sumedhasah”

[Sound of descending from the sky to the earth: “Shuuuu–Tshuuoo!]

That means Caitanya Mahāprabhu came into this world and He appeared in Māyāpura. When He was a little boy He was called? Nimāi Paṇḍita. He was a boy but He was a great scholar and He would defeat all the other Paṇḍitas. He wasn’t just a Paṇḍita, He was playing the part of a human being so to speak and He had His childish activities like the rest of His friends. Just like Kṛṣṇa has His childhood pastimes as Dāmodara  in the month of Kārtik which melts the hearts of all the devotees.

One day Nimāi and His friends were playing in Godruma-dvipa and it was hot out and so Nimāi‘s friends said, “Let’s go down to that lake and take a bath.” There were some cowherd men who were herding the cows there and they overheard this conversation. They said, “Nimāi, don’t go down there! There’s this big crocodile and he eats human beings and he especially loves tasty little children. It’s a very dangerous place. Go home, go home to your Mother.”

Nimāi turned around and put His hands on His back and said, “Watch this!” Then He went down to the shore of the lake and He started wading in up to His waist and the crocodile appeared [sound of crocodile’s jaw] “CRAKZZ.” You could see in the waters big eyes and he is coming towards little Nimāi. All the cowherd men said, “Oh No! Nimāi is there! No No! The crocodile is going to eat Nimāi!” So Nimāi, He held His hands up like this,



Now that had a special effect. Because Kṛṣṇa is in His incarnation as Caitanya Mahāprabhu, one of His duties was to introduce the YugaDharma. What is the YugaDharma for the age of Kali? Chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa!

Dharmāṁ tu sākṣād bhagavat-praṇītam [SB 6.3.19]: Other than the Lord, no one else can introduce this system of religion. Now we have heard how when the pure devotee chants Hare Kṛṣṇa, something miraculous happens. When Prabhupāda would chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, all the drugged hippies and the sleeping people on 22nd, all wake up and dance in ecstasy, cry and be blissful.

Now imagine if you heard the Holy Name from the lips of the Yuga-Avatar, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, what effect that would have? So as soon as that crocodile heard the chanting of the Holy Names from the lips of Nimāi, he closed his mouth, and he very slowly swam up, took his nose down into the water and put it on the lotus feet of Nimāi Paṇḍita. By doing that, he easily assumed his Siddha deha, his original spiritual form and in front of everyone he came out of the water in his spiritual form and went back to? Goloka Vṛndāvan.

Śrī Nimāi Paṇḍita ki – Jaya!

Goloka Premadhana Harināma Sankirtana Yajña ki– Jaya! Hare Kṛṣṇa Mahamantra ki – jaya!

Kāmyavana ki – Jay!

It all started here in Kāmyavana in Satya-yuga; there are many pastimes here. I was mentioning the Pandavas lived in exile here. They actually lived right near here—not far from this very spot. At that time, it looked more like a forest. Now modernizations, they have cut on down all the trees, and they’re constructing buildings and making agriculture. But it used to be a forest so thick you could hardly see the rays of light come through the trees. One of my friends, a Godbrother and a deep friend of PrabhupādaViṣṇu Mārga Swami, he told us one time that when he came to Vṛndāvan in 1932, the road from Raman-Reti, where Kṛṣṇa-Balarāma temple is out to Govardhana Hill, it was so thick with trees that you could walk and not even see one ray of light between Raman-Reti and Govardhan Hill. Now there are hardly any trees. This is in 1932; now it’s becoming a concrete jungle.

So because it was so thick with trees, the Pandavas they hid here for some years during their exile. And you know, this is DvāparaYuga, Durvāsā Muni really likes this place for various reasons. So he came here with 60,000 disciples and they were hungry. They heard, “Oh, the Pandavas are living nearby here, and Draupadi is the cook.” You know the story, so Durvāsā Muni shows up, “Hey, Yudhiṣtira, hey Bhīma, Nakula, Sahadeva, Arjuna, How you all doing? We’re hungry, and your wife, she is a good cook! Cook for my 60,000 disciples.” So how is Draupadi going to cook for 60,000—Brahmacārīs? You know Brahmacārīs when they eat it’s like the plates are this big [demonstrating how big the plates are]. But it wasn’t a problem for Draupadi, because she had received a benediction from the sun god, Sūrya Bhagavān. Many of you ladies would like this benediction she got. The Sun god gave Draupadi a magical plate and with that plate she could feed as many people as she wanted—ten, a hundred, a thousand, ten thousand, ten billion people she could feed from that magic plate. Wouldn’t that be nice? You come home, cook dinner, and very easy [sound of plate filling up].

She could feed as many people as she desires. But the sun god told her, “Once you’ve taken Prasādam yourself and washed the plate, the potency of that plate is gone until the next sun-rise, the next morning.” No problem! She can feed Durvāsā Muni and 60 billion disciples. But that day, she had already taken Prasādam and was just cleaning the plate and Durvāsā Muni came. “Uh-Oh”, so she looked at Yudhiṣtira [Laughter] and Yudhiṣtira, “What do I do?” kind of connection going on. Yudhiṣtira is very intelligent, he is a Rājarṣi, so he said, “Okay, so look, why don’t you guys just go and take a bath—you know—because cleanliness is next to godliness; just go take your bath and when your bath is finished in VimalaKuṇḍa. Come back, nice Prasādam for all of you.” Thus, they all went away and Draupadi said, “Oh king, I have not only eaten off the magic plate, but I have also washed the magic plate. What do we do now?”

Yudhiṣtira thought for a moment, “What do we do?” He said to Draupadi, “We pray to Kṛṣṇa.” That’s how our Ācāryas have commented on Mahābhārata, different pastimes like this. One of our Ācāryas said, “Just like when we as devotees try everything, exhaust all our plans and nothing works, we turn to Kṛṣṇa and ask for His help,” and that way, sometimes difficulties, even tragedies, are mixed blessings from Kṛṣṇa because they cause the devotee to turn to Kṛṣṇa and really chant from the heart.



“Kṛṣṇa Pomóż mi” [“Help me” in Polish].

Actually Kṛṣṇa tells Yudhiṣtira in the 11th canto of the Bhāgavatam, “Hey, Yudhiṣtira, my first mercy upon my devotee, is that I take everything away from that poor fool, so he has no other recourse than to take full shelter of me.” So what did Draupadi do, she immediately folded her hands, started praying, “Kṛṣṇa, help, Kṛṣṇa help. Durvāsā Muni gets really angry, one time he cursed a little boy to be a crocodile [Laughter] for one million years.”

At that time, Lord Kṛṣṇa was in Dvārakā and He was resting on the couch with Queen Rukmini; and He heard the prayers of Draupadi. How did He hear? Because He is in the heart of every living entity He heard her prayers. One day, I was chanting with one devotee. He was chanting so loud, “Hare KṛṣṇaHare Kṛṣṇa.” I said, “You don’t have to chant that loud, you know.” He said “No, but Kṛṣṇa is in Goloka, I want Him to hear me.” “Do you know the philosophy? Kṛṣṇa is in Goloka, but He is all pervading by His energies and He is in the heart of every living entity. If you just whisper Hare Kṛṣṇa, He can hear you, He is right here. He is the closest thing to your soul as a Supersoul, Kṛṣṇa. Soul and Supersoul are like this.” “Hare Kṛṣṇa.” So he started chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa (softly).


Thus He heard her prayer although He was in Dvārakā­, lying down and having a casual conversation with Queen Rukmini, “Oh, what’s that? Draupadi’s calling. She needs help.” Viśvanāth Cakravārtī Ṭhākur said Kṛṣṇa arrived from Dvārakā­ to Kāmyavana in 2.5 seconds. Viśvanāth said He came so fast that His hair was all messed up, His clothes were not ironed. He was covered with perspiration out of anxiety for His devotee. Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa ki – jay. Draupadi got really surprised like she said to Kṛṣṇa, “Well, that was pretty fast Kṛṣṇa! [Laughter] Only 2.5 seconds?” Kṛṣṇa said, “Draupadi, give me the plate.” She said, “Lord, it’s already washed, my benediction doesn’t work.” So she gave the plate and Kṛṣṇa kind of looked amazed. One little tiny grain of rice stuck underneath the corner of the plate, and Kṛṣṇa took that grain of rice and He ate it with great greed. Why? Because the prasad was cooked by His devotee Draupadi with Bhāva, with Prema.

As the devotee is greedy to love KṛṣṇaKṛṣṇa is greedy, hankering, Laulyaṁ to love His devotees. Love is a two-way street, both ways. As God loves His devotee, the devotee loves God. Kṛṣṇa took one grain of rice and what happened? Viśvanāth says, “Because He’s the Soul of all souls, not only Durvāsā Muni and all the 60,000 sages immediately felt like they ate a big feast; but every created being in the material creation felt, “Oh—up to the neck—Oh, Oh. What can I do? I can’t eat one more bite.” Every living creature in creation was full. This is Yogeśvara, Master of mystic powers.

Thus Durvāsā and the 60,000 disciples, they are in the water, being satisfied “Oh”;  and Yudhiṣtira is saying [loudly], “If there’s anyone who can hear my voice, please come and take Prasādam,” and Durvāsā Muni says, “We got to get out of here!” [Laughs] “We don’t want to be offensive and not come and eat.”

If someone invites you to their house:

(Guest): Oh, I’m not so hungry. 

(Invitee): I cooked for five hours!

(Guest): Just maybe a glass of water.

(Invitee): Get out of my house!


Durvāsā Muni didn’t want to offend the Pandavas. He’s a Sādhu, so he very quietly left that place. Kṛṣṇa saved the day. Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa ki – jay!

Viśvanāth thus concludes, he says there are three lessons that we can learn from this pastime that happened here at Kāmyavana.

  • Kṛṣṇa is always ready to protect His devotee.
  • Kṛṣṇa is always satisfied with whatever is offered to Him in pure devotion.
  • When Kṛṣṇa’s satisfied, everyone is satisfied.

So many things happened here. Actually this is the famous place where four of the Pāṇḍava brothers drank the poisoned water and to revive them Yudhiṣtira had to properly answer ten questions from Yamarāja. I won’t tell that pastime today. But most of you know that pastime. The famous last question Yamarāja asked Yudhiṣtira [loudly], “Yudhiṣtira, what is the most amazing thing in this world?” Yudhiṣtira said:

“ahany ahani bhūtāni gacchantīha yamālayam ..”

[Mahābhārata, Vana-parva 313.116]

This is a famous shloka, which says, “At every moment, millions and billions of living entities are going to the kingdom of death but I think I am going to live here forever. What could be more amazing than this?”

Okay, one more pastime, then we’ll have breakfast. And then after breakfast, we will have another Kīrtana. Then Caturātmā Prabhu will tell a pastime and then we’ll have lunch. We are not going anywhere other than this place. We spent the millions and millions and millions and millions and millions of births to come here to Kāmyavana. Why then to become restless and want to go back somewhere else? You may think, “My mind is wandering; Mahārāja keeps talking and talking and talking. It is hot and I just got off the airplane.” [Loudly] ’vāco vegaṁ manasaḥ krodha-vegaṁ, jihvā-vegam udaropastha-vegam‘: We have to learn to control our mind and control our senses and fully focus on Kṛṣṇa.

As it’s the first day, it’s a little hard, but this is practice. We’re going to make you practice and practice and practice, so the last day you will be like this:  [Loudly] “More Kathā!” [Laughter]. I can speak 11 hours: “More Kathā.” [Laughter]. “I am fixed on your every word. More Kathā!” [Laughter]. Okay, we’ll tell a pastime of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. We told two pastimes of Durvāsā Muni, one from Mahābhārata and one from wherever; and because this is the place where many of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes took place, so we’ll now tell you one of those. Okay, are you ready? Sit properly. [Laughter] Prabhupāda said, “Sit properly.” Hands in the air, take a deep, deep breath. [Inhale, exhale].

[Loudly in call and response of 2 words]:

Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa-Kṛṣṇa Hare-Hare


Śrī-Śrī Rādhā Govinda Deva ki – Jaya!

Śrī Vṛndā-Devi ki – Jaya!

Śrī Kāmyavana ki – Jaya!

Gaur Bhakta Vṛndā ki – Jaya!

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

There is another lake here called Setu-Bandha Kuṇḍa and it was summertime when it gets really hot here. This is one place Kṛṣṇa does Rasa Līlā, He came with Gopīs and you know they were dancing and it got really hot and so they decided to relax on the shores of that lake, because the wind was being a cool breeze–cooling off. You will also see later if you walk around, there are lots of monkeys here. So Rādhā, Kṛṣṇa and Gopīs were watching the monkeys—you know, they come in the water and they kind of swim. They’re real cute and they jump and the babies are playing. Thus they are watching and enjoying the monkeys.

This is Vṛndāvan, so sometimes the monkeys would come out of the water and offer obeisances to Kṛṣṇa’s lotus feet. One little monkey really catches everyone’s attention. He jumped out, and he picked up Kṛṣṇa’s toes and put them on top of his head. This little monkey put his head under Kṛṣṇa’s feet and he was putting Kṛṣṇa’s toes down on his head, and all the Gopīs were laughing, “Oh how cute! He’s so cute, cute little monkey!” Lalitā said to Viśākā, “These monkeys, their friendship with Kṛṣṇa reminds me of Lord Rāmas friendship with the monkeys.” Then Viśākā replied, “But that Rāma, He was so great. He could inspire monkeys to build a floating bridge; that’s Rāma!” Kṛṣṇa was listening, He became a little jealous.


(Kṛṣṇa): “Hey, Hey wait, Hey girls, wait a minute. I’m Rāma. I am Rāma, I am the son of Dasharatha. I really am.” And the Gopīs, they just couldn’t stop laughing. They were just holding their stomachs rolling on the ground. (Gopīs) [Sarcastically]: “Yeah, sure, you’re Rāma! You’re just a cowherd boy.” (Kṛṣṇa): “No, No, I was also Rāma like last few years ago, I was Rāma—really.” (Gopīs): “Right. You are a cowherd boy. You play the flute. You know You run when Your mommy calls You. [Sarcastically] You were the great Kṣatriya Rāma? Get out of here, Kṛṣṇa.”

Lalitā said, “If You are actually the leader of the monkeys, Kṛṣṇa, then You have to take these monkeys and float a bridge across this little lake. Just do that, not the ocean. Take these monkeys, Kṛṣṇa, and build a bridge over this lake and then we will believe you are Rāma.” Now at this point, the Ācāryas comment that, “There were lots of monkeys. The monkeys, they’re not very submissive, they’re just into mischief, and they’re running here, and stealing that and jumping and doing all kinds of frivolous stuff. How is Kṛṣṇa going to get all these monkeys serious about building a floating bridge?”

The Ācāryas said, what Kṛṣṇa did is He took His flute—Venu, one of His favorite instruments, and He played a song that melted the hearts of all the monkeys in Kāmyavana. They become very submissive. Just like Kṛṣṇa can control the Gopīs by playing His flute; so all the monkeys, they became attracted. They lined up and they became very quiet and very submissive. Just like, you can just imagine children in the kindergarten and the playground and all of a sudden, they become very submissive to the teacher, they line up. Thus they said to Kṛṣṇa, “Our dear lord Kṛṣṇa, we are Your devotees, what would You like us to do?”

Kṛṣṇa gave work to the monkeys, “Bring as many stones as you can gather in Kāmyavana and place them at My lotus feet.” So you know children can be quieted down for a few moments and then again, they’re all mischievous. The monkeys were thus getting very active again and they said, “But okay, we can do that Kṛṣṇa but you have to play a flute song that inspires us to collect stones.” So Kṛṣṇa went, “I have got to think for a minute: a flute song to inspire monkeys to collect stones? Let me think for a minute.” But then [flute sound] he played, and they all ran around and brought all these stones to Kṛṣṇa’s lotus feet. Gopīs are watching and they’re laughing.

Viśākā, she takes a stone. She said, “Right, just like Rāma floated the stone; Right?” She takes a stone and throws it. It sinks to the bottom of the lake. Kṛṣṇa just looked at Viśākā and smiled. He put His lotus foot on one of the stones and touched it and told the monkeys, “Throw that in the lake.” The monkeys threw it and it floated. Gopīs got all red and embarrassed, “Oh, Kṛṣṇa defeated them!”

Thus  Kṛṣṇa touched all the stones with His feet and the monkeys had a good time, “Oh, throw, throw, throw!” [Laughter]. And they were throwing everywhere, but there were so many stones that eventually they made a floating bridge. The monkeys were very proud of themselves. They were running back and forth on the bridge, jumping up and down, shaking it, chattering, falling in the water, they were very proud of their achievement. The Gopīs were speechless. They didn’t know that they will be defeated by Kṛṣṇa. But Viśvanāth says that, “There is nothing wrong in that, because in loving pastimes one enjoys being defeated by the lover.” All the Gopīs stood up, they raised their arms, they looked at Kṛṣṇa and they said, ”Jay Śrī Rāma, Jay Śrī Rāma, Jay Śrī Rāma.”

Now Viśvanāth says, “When you know, you get an applause, the etiquette is when you are being glorified, you don’t say, “Yes, yes, I am a great person”—No! You become very humble and bow down.” So Kṛṣṇa did something very wonderful, He folded the palms of His hands and He went and He bowed at the lotus feet of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. Because She is Vṛndāvanesvari, She is the controller of Vṛndāvan and she is the controller of Kṛṣṇa: Madana-Mohan-Mohini.

The monkeys are engaged in their monkey business and then all the girls, they decided they wanted to make a victory garland for Rāma, so they went to the fields to collect flowers. So everyone was gone, monkeys were playing in the forest and Gopīs were collecting flowers. It was just Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa leftSo Kṛṣṇa took Rādhārāṇī’s hand and He said, “Let’s walk together over the bridge together.” They walked together over the bridge and had Their amorous pastimes on the other side.

Śrī Kāmyavana ki – Jaya!   

Śrī Vṛndāvan ki – Jaya!

Śrī-Śrī Rādhā Govinda Deva ki – Jaya

And we can conclude with a very, very beautiful verse by Raghunātha Dāsa Gosvāmī from his Vraja-Vilas-Stava. So he says,

yātrā kāmasara sākshada gopikā ramana sara

rādhā madhaviyor kṛṣṇam tada vanam kāmyavana bhajet

“Let me worship this forest of Kāmyavana, it is very dear to Rādhā and Mādhava, because it contains the Kāmya Sarovara lake, the place where the Gopīs and Kṛṣṇa enjoy Their loving pastimes.” 

Śrī-Śrī Rādhā Vṛndāvanesvari ki –Jaya!

Śrī Vṛndā Devi ki – Jaya!

The 12 forests of Vṛndāvan ki – Jaya!

Kāmyavana ki – Jaya!

Śrīla Prabhupāda ki – Jaya!

Gaur Bhakta Vṛndā ki – Jaya!

Kārtik Parikramā 2015 ki – Jaya!

Jaya-Jaya Śrī Rādhe……………………………….

Jaya-Jaya Śrī Rādhe……………………………….

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

Śrī Breakfast Prasādam ki – Jaya!

So please take your breakfast. Usually at breakfast you have to bring your own breakfast. If you didn’t bring your own breakfast, you can steal like the monkeys! [Laughter] We’ll take a little break. It’s 10:20 a.m., we can take a break until a quarter to 11. We’ll come back, have a little Kīrtana and then Caturātmā will continue the Kathā. And lunch Prasādam will arrive at 1 p.m.

Tomorrow, we’re going to Mathurā. We haven’t been to Mathurā yet as a Parikramā party. It’s a little difficult because the place we go in Mathurā, the streets are very narrow, and the temples, they’re very small. They can fit sometimes only five or six people. They built them very small in those days.  So I have never taken you there, because it’s just like, “How do you do it?” and I still haven’t figured it out, but I’m sure Kṛṣṇa will give us the intelligence. But it will be a little experimental. I know one temple we can have some Kathā, and maybe we’ll go in small groups and visit the other temples. Very ancient temples, beautiful Deities. I have been there many times myself. It’s a wonderful experience visiting the Mathurā temples. Okay.  

Śrī Bhagavata-Prasādam ki Jaya!  

[Prasādam prayers].

Sanket – The first meeting of Radha and Krishna – by HH Indradyumna Swami

The first meeting of Radha and Krishna

By HH Indradyumna Swami

01 Dec 2012

Radha Krishna - by Indradyumna Swami
Radha Krishna – by Indradyumna Swami

Again I want to note that I am not qualified to talk about such a holy place as Sanket. I feel my lack that I’m sitting here. There are many of my much more qualified Godbrothers who could discuss the games that are taking place here and this place. This is my first stay in Sanket for the last 40 years of visiting the dham. I’m surprised that we never came here. My first impression was that it was a small quiet Vrindavan village. It is located between Warsaw and Nandagram.

Here, as well as hundreds and thousands of years ago, are engaged in agriculture. Also my first impression was that the villagers are very friendly towards us. When we entered this village, they did not treat us as outsiders, they accepted us as members of their family, and greeted us with exclamations: “Jaya Radhe, Hare Krishna, Haribol!” Before the bus arrived, I wandered around the village in the search for a place where we could hold sat-sangu. First I went to the Sunqué devi-mandir – this is the biggest temple here. But there was not much room.

Sanket-devi is the embodiment of Yoga-maya. In this village she is present in the form of Durga.At the same time, it is considered non-different from the gopis called Vira-devi. As I understand, Vira-devi is one of the most important assistants of Vrinda-devi, who is responsible for organizing the most intimate games that take place here in Sanket. Then I reached Krishna-kunda, this is a large lake that is in the forest and there is nowhere to sit down. Then we proceeded to Julian Steel, where Radha and Krishna are swinging on a swing. Then we proceeded to a large mandala, it is now flat, it seems to want to be covered with marble, this is a mandala race where Radha and Krishna dance a dance of race.

Then the Lord sent us from the heart to the bhajan-kutiri Gopal Bhatta Gosvami. And we passed, I can not say that by chance, because nothing happens in Vrndavana, we passed the place where Radha-Sanketbihari Mandir stands, where there are wonderful Radha-Krishnabihari Deities, which means, He who enjoys. As soon as we stopped at this place, the residents greeted us very warmly and you can live here, you see many rooms here. Residents began to inspire us to look at the Deities, to spend kirtan. They immediately spread out the rugs. By the great mercy of Srila Prabhupada we are sitting today in this holy place.

Sanket is mentioned in the Puranas as one of the forests, such a small forest of Vrndavana. It is part of the large Sankat-van forest. Sanket means a meeting place, which is indicated by signals using mirrors. Gosvami Vrndavana described that Radharani being in Warsaw, and Krishna in Nandagram, they send signals to each other with the help of mirrors about the meeting. This meeting is called sambhog.

There are two moods of Radha and Krishna, one is called sambhog, this is the mood when they meet, and the other is vipralambha, love in separation. You remember that we visited the forest of Prema-van, this is a forest of love and in the middle of this forest there is a lake of love – Prema-Sarovar. Hardly we can forget a wonderful game, as this lake appeared. Radha and Krishna felt such a strong sense of separation that their tears mingled with each other and with the tears of the gopis and formed this wonderful lake. In Prema-vana Radha and Krishna are in a mood of separation, but here they meet in Sanketa-vana.

I found a beautiful quote from Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, where he writes that he believes that Sankata-van is the personification of the divine love of Radha and Krishna when They meet.We remember that there are 4 kinds of separation, which we discussed not so long ago and also there are 4 types of love meeting. This is the science of devotional service. Devotional service is not just some sentiments, it’s very deep emotions that are based on a solid philosophy, one might even say – in scientific philosophy.

Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura describes the Sabbah, the meeting that it consists of 4 kinds of meetings. The first kind is when Radha and Krishna just matured and developed a great sense of love for each other. The second kind is after Radharani calms down after his anger. Sometimes Radharani becomes angry with Krsna and after Krsna appeases her, they meet again. The third kind is when They meet after They have been separated for a while. This can be when Krishna is away for some time and they meet again. The fourth kind is a meeting when Krsna returns after a long absence. For example, Krsna comes back from Dvaraka or Mathura, or Hastinapura, ie. He was absent for some time, which seemed to be gopi for an eternity.

A good example of this is the meeting of the gopis and Krishna in Kuruksetra during the eclipse.They asked Krsna, “Krishna, you look different, where is your peacock feather, why are you dressed like a prince, why on your head is the crown, where is your flute, will you return with us to Vrndavana?” Krishna for as long as he did many things: He married thousands of princesses, He built the palaces of Dvaraka, took part in many battles and defeated them. After the gopis met Krsna, they were surprised that Krsna was walking with a weapon, wearing a helmet, they asked him to put on a yellow dhoti, because only then Krishna could become himself.

We can not imagine the feelings of the gopis, because Lord Caitanya in the “Siksastak” describes that even one moment of separation from the Lord seems to be an eternity for the devotee, therefore, if we combine these moments with each other, we can not even imagine, How happy the gopis were when they met with Krsna. Bhaktivinod Thakura describes Kuruksetra as one of the most sacred places for Vaisnavas, precisely because of these emotions.

Kurukshetra is now a very popular place, because the Bhagavad-gita was told there, many tourists come there, but we go there because we want to better understand the feelings of the residents of Vrndavana. Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gita that His devotee sees Him everywhere, but especially those who want to develop the mood of the bridzhabashi like to listen to all the pastimes of Krsna, but especially they seek to understand Krsna’s mood in Vrndavana.This is one of the deepest understandings of the Ratha Yatra festival, when we take Lord Krishna, Balarama and Subhadra back to Vrndavana after a whole eternity of separation from them. Devotees keep this in mind all the time, because it’s not just a feast, a meeting with friends, a big festival show, it’s a deep mood that we have to meditate on and then we can develop Krsna consciousness.

Advanced Vaisnavas try not to understand what is important, because it is an exalted subject, but to appreciate the mood of Lord Caitanya during the Ratha Yatra festival, because Lord Caitanya is the embodiment of Radharani’s love, and Lord Jagannath is Krishna Himself. During the Ratha-yatra, Lord Caitanya dances in ecstasy before the chariot, and between Him and the Lord there is a profound interchange of love, and sometimes because of this interchange, Lord Jagannatha stops his chariot, and no one can move it: neither city dwellers nor elephants, because there is an interchange of love between Radha and Krishna. No one knows these things better than Srila Prabhupada. He gave us this festival of ratha-yatra, as a preaching program.What is the significance of Sanket in the 4 sections of sambhogi?

Sanket is the very first place where Radha and Krishna met, when They only matured and developed a great transcendental desire for each other. The acaryas describe that although each meeting of Radha and Krishna is eternally fresh and inspiring, however, their first encounter was especially unique. So unique that Krishna forever remembered it. Sometimes He told His closest devotees, Svia, the first meeting with Sri Radha in Sanket.

One day Krishna told Visakha, “Oh, my friend, when I started joking with Radharani during our first meeting, She began to stutter.” Even in Dvaraka, where Krsna was playing games with His queens, whenever He began to describe His first encounter with Srimati Radharani, the grief of separation was so overwhelming to Him that He fell silent, unable to continue. Their first meeting, when they grew up a little, occurred during the rainy season. Why is such a unique event, like the first meeting, occurred during the rainy season? Because of the rain, the bridzhabasi was difficult to move around the village and Radha and Krishna used this to meet. Due to bad weather, it was easier for them to meet between Nandagram and Warsaw.

The acaryas describe that the night before Radharani and Krishna met, Radharani’s affection for Krsna, Her desire and anticipation of meeting Him was so strong that She could not sleep. She walked back and forth in her room to the surprise of Swich’s girlfriends. Mother Purnamasi, who organizes all meetings and games in Vrndavana, arranged so that the first meeting of the Divine couple took place on the night of the dark moon, when the Moon is just beginning to grow. All the signals were transmitted by mirrors, messages were transmitted through the gopis and through the cowherd boys, and before going out to the meeting, which was scheduled for about midnight, Radharani plastered her body with black musk. She wore a dark blue sari.

Govinda das Thakura describes: “O Radha, Your shining necklace, bracelets and clothes, they are all black. All lotus flowers, by which You passed, all the bumblebees that flew past You and even the night itself became darker. “ During the full moon, Radharani wears white clothes, takes a white lotus flower and even bees that curl around her – a white color. The question arises, how could Radharani see on a dark night?

When we go to parikramy in the evenings, it is generally difficult for us to see anything. Last night I went to the parikrama in Nityanandavat. When Lord Nityananda came to Vrndavana, He sat under this tree and sang holy names. We also went there and repeated japa there. We were 5-6 people and some of them walked barefoot, and I asked how they can walk barefoot on the rocks.When we went down to Kalia-ghat, where the asphalt begins, one devotee pushed me away and said that there was a deadly spider. We recoiled, and I saw a dark brown spider, the size of a bottle cap. There are many dangerous living beings in Vrndavana here. There are cobra, similar to a lizard, but it is 12 times more toxic than a normal cobra. I saw one such in the 70s. Madhura-bihari described that even the breath of this spider is enough to kill, but scientifically it is not proven, but if it bites, then in 5 minutes you will die and there is no antidote from his bite. And this spider just strolled, and we walked at night barefoot. Since there were many pilgrims, I began to push this spider away with my stick, but Madhura Bihari stopped me and said that this spider is a bridzhabashi, you can not treat him like that, he took a small twig, planted a spider on it and dropped it somewhere in side. And I saw a dangerous creature in this spider, and Madhura-bihari saw him as a bridzhabashi. Yesterday, when we were at Radha-kunda, I saw a snake in the water, and I thought that in the west the children would throw rocks at it, but here the children recoiled and they just shouted that the snake was in the water. Of course, if there is a risk of a snake bite, the villagers usually kill snakes in order to protect their families and animals.

Radharani goes out at night and the night is such that even though the eye is pierced. How does She find the way? Acaryas very poetically describe how She found the way to Sanket. They say that love itself, madhurya-rasa, as a compass pointed Radharani direction. And just as this embodied love led Radharani, she led to Sanket and Krsna Himself. Krsna came first. Krishna began to put the finishing touches on, although Vrinda-devi and Purnamasi had met in Vrinda-kunda, in particular the Gupta-kunda, in the morning, everything was discussed and organized, but Krishna did the last check, said something to the birds to arrange a worthy meeting of Radharani . With the finishing touches He adorned the beautiful kunja with beautiful ornaments.And what kind of decoration was it? It was the sound of the name Radha. The names of Radharani were sung everywhere, and this was the last ornament of the kunja.

And suddenly, although it was a quiet and peaceful night, the lightning flashed, and lit up all the kunja, and Krsna saw how Srimati Radharani and all his gopi friends enter the kunja. It was their first meeting at their age and They could not say anything because it was their first meeting, They just drank the nectar of beauty each other and the nectar of love for each other. The acaryas say that they simply exchanged loving glances. And They already began to approach each other, but then the Goddess of modesty stopped Them.

And under the influence of this Goddess of modesty, Laja-devi, Radharani became nervous and decided to escape. But Lalita caught up with Her and said that She would not go anywhere. Then one of the confidential servants of Srimati Radharani went to her and whispered to her in the ear: “Listen, dear friend! Today we all have a request to You. Please let Krsna enjoy Your arms at least once. If You will fulfill this request, we will never again ask you anything. “ Radharani smiled a little. But then another gopi approached her and began to whisper: “Oh, moonlight! Just look at this poor young man, He came here alone, through dangerous jungles just for You! Be compassionate to Him. Rid Him of anxiety and unrest. “

Inspired by His friends, Radharani went to Krishna, and Krsna came to Her, and They embraced in this very place. Then the gopis quietly left, leaving Radha and Krishna alone, and then I will not speak, because the depth of our awareness is not enough.

In Srimad Bhagavatam there is a wonderful verse that says that even if a person has material desires in the heart, in particular lust, then, by listening to these endless, wonderful games of Radha and Krishna, about games in which there is a so-called a lust that is absolutely transcendent, then these material desires are destroyed, so we must listen to these games, and for this there is no better place than Sanket, the place of the first meeting of the sabhoga. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu also visited Sanket during His parikrama in Vrndavana. He sat here under a large stone and listened to these games. As I mentioned, Gopal Bhatta Goswami lived here in Sanket in an underground cave for many years. It was not far from the big temple of Sanket Devi, there Gopal Bhatta was immersed in the games taking place here. Hare Krsna.

Nearby there is a place of Radha Nagari, it is not very well known, and not many devotees visit it.This secret place is named after the gopis, who are called Radha Nagari. Since this place is only 100 meters away, I also want to touch upon the games that were taking place there. I found this touching game and it shows how Radharani is merciful to His devotees.

We discussed how Radharani and Krishna met in Sanket. These games lasted all night. These games take place in different kunjas, in different places. At the end of the night, Radha and Krishna are sleeping peacefully, and one of the services of Vrinda-devi is to awaken the Divine Chet. After awakening, Radha and Krishna must quickly return to their homes so that their relatives will not notice their absence. When Radha returns home, many Her friends of the gopis follow her, who help her sneak into the house unnoticed. Then all these gopis go to their homes to also slip unnoticed. This gopi, Radha Nagari, when she returned home, was seen by her relatives and they began to think where she had been absent all night and the next day they forbade her to go and serve Radharani. And this young girl, who was excommunicated from her ministry, stood all day in her room crying. This is similar to the case when many gopis of their relatives forbade going on a beautiful autumn night to dance the race. The gopis, who were not allowed to enter Krishna, felt such a strong separation that some of them left their bodies and went to Goloka Vrndavana.

The next morning, Radharani went to prepare for Krishna, and all the gopis were with Her, but someone noticed that Radha Nagari is not with them and reported this to Radharani. They said that relatives suspected her of something, because she was out all night. Radharani immediately turned off the path, although She was preparing to cook for Krishna, but She turned to the house of Radha Nagari, and She had some weighty arguments to explain to Radha Nagari’s relatives of her absence from the night. Radharani told Radha-nagari’s family that yesterday she had a bad cold and Radha Nagari was so kind that she came and looked after her all night, she helped She, and at the end of the night Radharani sent her home, and so she returned so late .

Goswamis describe that when the relatives of Radha-nagari saw the innocent face of Srimati Radharani, they heard Her persuasive words, their hearts melted. And they allowed their daughter to go with the princess of Vraja to Nandagram.Since then, the name Radha-nagari has been associated with devotees who are the object of the special mercy and love of Srimati Radharani. Entering the circle of servants of Srimati Radharani is the rarest perfection. But to receive service from Srimati Radharani is a special favor, a special blessing, a special perfection that Radha Nagari received. Devotees who know about this game go to this place of Radha-nagari and pray to Srimati Radharani for special mercy, that She will take them to serve, that She will turn from her path and take care of them.

Radha-Nagari ki jay.

Vrindavaneshvari Srimati Radharani ki jay.

Shri Shyamasundar ki jay! Sri Radha-Shyam ki jay!

Sri Radha-Sunketbihari ki jay!

Sanket Kim Ki Jai!

Hare Krsna!