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 Rādhā–Madana-Mohan. That temple was established of course by Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī. And we’ll also be visiting his SamādhiMandir, the SamādhiMandir 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 GranthaSamādhi—grantha 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 CaturātmāPrabhu. 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 MādhavaPrabhu, Baḍa-HariPrabhu, and me. [Applause, Haribol!]
I just love to sing and dance in front of SanātanaGosvāmī’s Samādhi. So we’re going to leave at seven in the morning. You can assemble on the road, the ParikramāMārga outside my house there at Rāma Reti near BalarāmaBābā’s place, near my house, or [the] houses of BBGovindaMahārāja, GirirājaSwami. You can all assemble there at seven o’clock. It means you can go to MaṅgalaĀratī at Kṛṣṇa–BalarāmaMandir.
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 LoiBazaar 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 intense—walking, 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 PakkaSevā and the Deities are very beautiful. They’re shining, there’s lots of BhaktiBhāva. 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 Rādhā–Govindaji.
AnantaVṛndāvan 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 AnantaVṛndāvan—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.tvlive every day, the whole Parikramā. Okay, seven o’clock tomorrow morning outside my house. Madana-Mohan and SanātanaGosvāmī lecture by CaturātmāPrabhu.
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 RasikāŚiromaniDevīDāsī]
Śrīla Gurudeva leads the devotees Prasādam prayers…
Let’s now please show our affection for MādhavaPrabhu 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: ManyuPrabhu, 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 Rādhā–Dāmodara 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, GhoṣaṬhākur, are you here today? Where are you? There, sitting, GhoṣaṬhākur. 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-HariPrabhu 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.
At the moment we are actually sitting in one of the most holy places in creation: MathurāMaṇḍala, 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 SanātanaGosvāmī. He has written in his great Bṛhad–Bhāgavatāmṛtam, “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 SanātanaGosvāmī 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 SanātanaGosvāmī says that of all these cities Mathurā is the most sacred? Because he took that information from the SkandhPurāṇa!
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 CaitanyaMahāprabhu based on these scriptures. Why Mathurā is considered the most holy city of all is described in the SkandhPurāṇa. 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 GuruMahārāja 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 PadmaPurāṇa. And that I’ll quote because it’s a short verse:
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 GolokaVṛndāvan. 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 RādhāKuṇḍa. 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 RādhāKuṇḍa, 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 RādhāKuṇḍa.” 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 RādhāKuṇḍa.” So I [said], “No London? No New York?” “Nope, RādhāKuṇḍa.” 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 RādhāKuṇḍa.” I said, “Actually on the banks of RādhāKuṇḍa you spend a lot of time?” She said, “Yes, last year, I was going there every day. I was pouring milk into RādhāKuṇḍa, 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 RādhāKuṇḍa 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 MathurāVṛndāvan 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, NāradaMuni, 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.NāradaMuni 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?” NāradaMuni 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 BhagavānaŚrīKṛṣṇa Himself, glorifying the very city you are now sitting in.
Kṛṣṇa said to Prayāga:
mathurā maṇḍalam saksan
miderame parat param
lokatrayag param divyam
“MathurāMaṇḍala’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 andbow 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 Mathurā–Maṇḍala, this Vraja–Maṇḍala 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 Prema–Bhakti for Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. This Parikramā is a very powerful process in devotional service.
Something very interesting happened after that. BhūmiDevī, 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 BhūmiDevī 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 BhūmiDevī 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 Mathurā–Maṇḍala, 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 Mathurā–Maṇḍala. 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 “ĀdiVarāha” 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 Mathurā–Maṇḍala or Vraja–Maṇḍala. 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 ApsarāKuṇḍa. 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 Pūrus–suktā.” Pūrus–suktā’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 Mathurā–Maṇḍala, Vṛndāvan–Maṇḍala. 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 ŚrīmadBhāgavatam! 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 Mathurā–Maṇḍala, Vraja–Maṇḍala.
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 Ādi–Varāha 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 RādhāGovinda, 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 AnantaVṛndāvan is taking.