Śrī-Śrī Rādhā Gokulānanda –Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur Disappearance Day- HG Śītalā Mataji – Lecture Part 2; Indradyumna Swami’s Parikrama -2015

Spiritual Warrior’s Battle Strategies, Part 2

(From Life of Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur)

– By Her  Grace Śītalā Mataji

Hare Kṛṣṇa. We are talking about environmental scanning. I say everybody is pretty much in bliss doing an environmental scan here [Laughter]. We will just talk a little bit more about what happened after Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur went on his pilgrimage. While he was doing that pilgrimage he was of course—seeking blessings, but he was also doing an environmental scan.  As he traveled around, he was seeing, “What is going on with all of the devotees?” He saw that there were quite a variety of things going on. That is what a preacher does, wherever he travels he looks around and he sees, “What is going on with the people and what can I do for them?”

Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur, as he was traveling from one place to another he was seeing all theses associates of Mahāprabhu that were hardly able to breathe or speak due to the incredible separation that they were feeling from Mahāprabhu. Of course we have to understand that, the separation they were feeling, it’s nothing like mundane depression. It’s not that, as Mahāprabhu left they were miserable and in a mundane way that they become depressed and unhappy. No, it was a very different thing that they were feeling and it’s a very elevated spiritual emotion. The intensity of their separation was increasing their ecstasy of love. But Narottama saw that it was like they were burning in this fire, they were just missing Mahāprabhu so much. Thus he wanted to bring them all together.

Then he also saw that there are many lesser advanced devotees that were experiencing difficulty. In the absence of Mahāprabhu, a variety of different types of moods and even philosophies were cropping up. Especially because all these devotees that were in Bengal, they were completely separated from what was going on in Vṛndāvan, where you know the Gosvāmīs were writing all their books. But they didn’t really know so much about what was happening there, so there was a kind of disconnect. The devotees in Bengal primarily were meditating on Mahāprabhu and they grew up with Him and they were thinking of Him as their friend. The devotees in Vṛndāvan on the other hand, the Six Gosvāmīs have been writing all these books and explaining Rādhā Kṛṣṇa Līlā. There was a difference in mood in these two places but they are all the followers of Mahāprabhu.

So there was some confusion and Narottama saw that all the devotees need to come together. He needs to bring them all together and inspire them to become one unified group to glorify Mahāprabhu. He had done, so to speak, his environmental scan and now he had to make his strategy. He decided that he wanted to bring everyone out, all these devotees who had been in different parts of Bengal and around the surrounding areas. He wanted to bring all of them together for a big festival and he wanted to do that on the appearance day of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. This is quite a number of years after Lord Caitanya had left, but this was going to be the first Gaur-Pūrṇimā festival;  so this required a huge plan. It’s not like now. We just make a website and then everybody clicks into it, and we say this is where it’s going to be, this is what we are going to do, everybody come. Then you get on your plane, get on your train. It was a very difficult task to organize a Gaur-Pūrṇimā festival at that time. He had to convince first of all, all of the associates who can barely move out of intense separation from Mahāprabhu, that they should get up and go a long way for this festival.

It required a lot of effort, so Narottama got in touch with Śrinivāsa Ācārya and Śyāmānanda Paṇḍita, his old friends from Vṛndāvan, and he asked for their help. He said like, “I want to do this big massive festival. I want to bring everybody together, and we are just going to all come together and push forward Mahāprabhu‘s mission.” It was difficult; it was a really difficult thing to do. Even Śrinivāsa Ācārya was dubious. He was like, “How are we going to do this?” Especially Narottama wasn’t really an organizer, but Śrinivāsa Ācārya was. They decided to dig in and support Narottama and really try to do this MahāMahotsava festival—Gaur Pūrṇimā festival. Now just imagine if he didn’t have that inspiration, where would we be? Just think of having no Gaur Pūrṇimā festival; it’s horrible!

By the mercy of Narottamas inspiration, we have this festival every year. Because he saw these devotees are suffering all over the place, many of them are alone, many of them don’t have enough association; and he wanted to bring them all together. Following in the footsteps of Narottama Dāsa ṬhākurŚrīla Prabhupāda was very adamant about having these GuarPūrṇimā festivals every year, where devotees will come together, they will get inspired, and then they can go out and preach.

So for Narottama the strategy was to bring everybody together and it required a massive effort to make this happen; but everybody went for it. The inspiration spread everywhere and the devotees got very inspired, “We are all going to Kheturī!Kheturī is the first place of this festival. Narottama and all the others had to make so many arrangements to bring the devotees into the house. The whole of Kheturī; everyone was just busy to accommodate and to make Prasāda. These descriptions of arrangements indicate it was a most incredible festival that was organized. It’s said that there were so many devotees coming that the Padmāvatī River was black with boats, you could hardly see the river. Narottama, Śrinivāsa, Śyāmānanda—all the devotees are on the bank waiting to greet all these boats as they come in. This is the first GaurPūrṇimā festival. That’s why we can thank Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur for that wonderful experience of celebrating the GaurPūrṇimā festival that we have every year.

Narottama was making his own preparations and his preparations were to go very deep into his Kīrtana that he established. He knew that he had to bring these two camps of people together; there is the Vraja mood and the Bengal mood. He had to bring these devotees together so that they would become united in the mission of Mahāprabhu. You know so much could be said about that festival;—it’s so amazing in itself that we could talk for a long time, but suffice it to say it was something that had never happened before: that kind of confluence of so many wonderful devotees. There were so many preparations that were required. Like you know when you have these big festivals, what it takes to put it on, to feed everybody—so much had to be done. But the real preparation that was going on was going on in Narottama‘s heart. That he was developing his style, his mood and his emotion of the Kīrtana that would bring the presence of the Lord. The real success of the festival wasn’t that there was fantastic Prasāda, and everybody had great accommodations. The real success of that festival was that, when Narottama began to sing, it was so potent and it was so powerful that the Supreme Lord Himself and all of His associates appeared before everyone—non-devotee and devotee.

That was the real purpose of the festivalto transport everyone to the spiritual worldand he achieved that; and that is the purpose of our Parikramās and that is the purpose of our festivals. The purpose of all these things that we do is to actually leave the material realm and enter into the spiritual realm. You don’t have to go somewhere; it is here all the time, it’s just our consciousness is not there. Lot of amazing things happened at that festival. The establishment of the Caitanya Caritāmṛta as the biography, and the philosophy to be followed for all times, that was one thing. Of course because so many devotees were separated from one another—they didn’t have internet, they didn’t have telephone—as they were separated, so varieties of different types of philosophies had cropped up. That was the purpose; Narottama wanted to bring everyone together to clarify a lot of things, to increase the service to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Even though there were so many wonderful things at the festival that were inspirational, the real inspiration is that Pañca-Tattva appeared there and everyone saw Them. In Their company and in Their presence there was no need of saying anything, everyone was just in ecstasy. All differences of opinions, they just dissipated. I remember that used to happen sometimes in Śrīla Prabhupāda’s presence.

One time Prabhupāda was in New Māyāpura and he came out on a morning walk. And it was a bit of a problematic time in that Yātrā. So Prabhupāda sat down on the grass and he looked around at all the devotees and he said, “So what is the problem?” Then I was thinking, “Wow, now we can tell him, you know, so many problems”; and then I was looking around and everybody is just smiling and beaming at Prabhupāda. I was like, “Isn’t anybody going to say anything? We are having so many problems and we are so fried” [Laughter]. I was just scanning the crowd, everybody is just smiling looking at Prabhupāda, totally happy and I thought, “Well, maybe I should say something”. And then I thought, “What about this thing and that? Oh, that’s nothing, that’s not important.” Then I concluded, “Ah, there is no problem!” [Laughter].

And then, Prabhupāda said, “Yes, there is no problem; whenever we are in Kṛṣṇa Consciousness: No problem!” That’s the caveat; when we are Kṛṣṇa Conscious. This is the thing that Narottama wanted to bring everybody together, because he saw all the differences of opinions.  All those everyday problems, just like [Poof!] gone; when everyone is in the presence of Pañca-Tattva. There is Lord Caitanya, Nityānanda—all the associates, the Six-Gosvāmīs,  and everybody is dancing and chanting:



So where is the problem? That’s what Prabhupāda said, “Where is the problem? No problem, just we are not Kṛṣṇa Conscious so we think we have problems”.  But the potency of the Lord appearing through the pure chanting of the Holy Names is when the Lord appears: no problem. This is just to get some understanding of the heart of Śrīla Narottam Dāsa Ṭhākur. His chanting was so pure and so imbued with love that the entire Pañca-Tattva and all Their associates appeared right in their Kīrtana. Everybody could see them; everybody—even unqualified people they were able to see, “Wow!” We can only imagine, “What a Kīrtana! What a Kīrtana!” Every year on Parikramā in Māyāpura, Jayapatākā Mahārāja always goes and says, “Maybe this year—They will come, if we have a really good Kīrtana and we will all see Them [Laughter]”, and it’s possible; it happened and it’s not a fairy tale. But it requires the purity of heart; so this is the heart of Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur; imagine he called all the associates to be present.

I was considering, what were the elements of his consciousness?—that he was empowered and capable of doing such a remarkable thing. I mean, he was a musician, so is it the style of his Kīrtana? There are so many elements to Kīrtana; but there are many elements to the consciousness of Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur that qualified him to such an extent to be able to call the Lord and all of His associates into everyone’s presence. Just to name some of those elements because we are all trying to learn: “How to do this right?” We are all trying to learn: “How to do Kīrtana; How to be a devotee?” There are these elements that we have to add to whatever we are doing right now.

One of the ingredients in Narottama’s Kīrtanas is his intense love of the Devotees. He showed so much  love in his songs; you hear his songs and how he is talking about his friends? You know “Rāmcandra Sang…”— all these things we sing everyday; that’s him glorifying his friends, whom he loves. He had this mood of always intense hankering for perfection—that even though he had so much incredible experiences, which hardly anyone in history ever had. He never had the mood that, “Okay, I have arrived”. I mean if you look in some of his song books, there are whole big sections that are just about songs in which he is hankering for perfection. I mean, Lord Caitanya entered into him; so he is perfected, but he doesn’t feel perfected. That’s the nature of a devotee.

Also he had this constant mood of humility; if you read his songs, it’s 80% just this expression of humility and unworthiness.  There are so many elements to his Kīrtana that made it that powerful and studying that and thinking about that is very important for all of us. They have these famous books now for Managers—“7 habits of highly successful people”. Similarly for us Narottama is showing 10, 20, 40 “Habits of highly advanced Devotees”—that we should look at, we should study. After that Kheturī festival Narottama became famous everywhere and with fame comes opposition. At another time we can talk about that opposition, but we have run out of time today.

But on this, his disappearance day we can meditate on the only person I have ever heard of in my life whose heart melted in love of God and then his entire body melted in love of God. There was no body of Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur left existing, only a pot of milk. Such a personality, that we have any association with—simply miraculous.

By the mercy of Śrīla Prabhupāda we are receiving inconceivable blessings. We are supposed to leave the hall so we will have to end there.

Jaya Śrīla Narottam Dāsa Ṭhākur ki Jaya!

HG Baḍa Hari Prabhu:  Śītalā Mātājī ki Jaya”

HH Indradyumna Swami: “Once again informing you all; Prasādam is at 1 o’clock at Fogla ashram. We leave at 4.30 tomorrow morning for Govardhan. Prasādam, Lunch Prasādam will be served at Rādhā Kuṇḍa around 1 O’clock. Don’t forget to go on facebook and see all of Ananta Vṛndāvans amazing videos about this Parikramā. We have just put up a video five minutes ago; it’s called ‘A Visit to Mathurā’, —very nice video. So that is on my facebook page. Please visit and see the wonderful work of Ananta Vṛndāvan.


Śrī Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur ki Jaya!,

Giriraj–Govardhana Parikramā ki –Jaya,

Śrīla Prabhupāda ki-Jaya!

Kārtik Parikramā 2015 ki – Jaya!

Jaya-Jaya Śrī Rādhe ………………… Śyāma! ”

Śrī-Śrī Rādhā Gokulānanda –Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur Disappearance Day- HG Śītalā Mataji – Lecture Part 1; Indradyumna Swami’s Parikrama -2015

Spiritual Warrior’s Battle Strategies, Part 1 (From Life of Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur)

– By Her Grace Śītalā Mataji

Hare Kṛṣṇa! It’s so nice; it feels just like a few seconds that we were all here together last time. Yesterday I was flying here on the plane and just was glancing at a newspaper, and I was seeing all the horrific things going on in the world. You know hundreds and thousands of people migrants struggling across Europe. It’s just so much that one headline after another that are the horrible situations that people in this world are experiencing. Then you look at our situation here and literally, not exaggerating, I think we must be the most fortunate people on the planet.

We are here in this most sacred of places. Śrī Vṛndāvan Dhām, of course is the most sacred but even more sacred are certain particular spots here, that because of the Bhajan of great, great souls, they become even more amazing spots. So apparently this is like the second most favorite spot of the six Gosvāmīs that they would come here and discuss KṛṣṇaKathā together.

The environment that we are in , with just a few hundred people, we have this experience that we are just so fortunate and need to be very, very, very grateful. We have nothing possible to complain about. So for that blessing and that mercy and that fortune that we really don’t deserve, I really want to thank Śrīla Prabhupāda who is the personality who opened the door to Vṛndāvan to the entire world; and to thank Indradyumna Swami and his amazing crew for continuing to bring us here year after year to really experience some miracles in our lives; And thanks for Bada-Hari’s and Mādhavas amazing Kīrtanas; that I was feeling very dull and covered by the modes as I was coming in here; but you know once you sit through a Kīrtana by Baḍa-Hari all of a sudden everything becomes light and blissful.

I was trying to think what to talk about. There are so many wonderful aspects of Śrīla Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur that we can talk about and we do talk about every year. I find that sometimes, I wind up only talking about the early life of Narottama. Because his young life was just so fascinating, it’s so amazing, and then usually it winds up taking so much longer, and we don’t get into the middle of his life and the later part of his life.

So today I thought I want to focus specifically on Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur as the innovative, creative, dynamic preacher—what he did as a preacher. Because after all that is really what we are all here for! Śrīla Prabhupāda created this organization, ISKCON, for the specific purpose of preaching Mahāprabhus message all over the world. Because each of our Ācāryas did amazing things, so it’s very relevant and very pertinent for us to look at what our Ācāryas did in this area. How did they preach? How did they knock down the walls of the material energy? How did they go about it?!

None of our Ācāryas became incredibly successful by just doing the routine casual stuff. They really had to become spiritual warriors. That’s a preacher: spiritual warrior. That means you are waging war on the misconceptions of the mass population and those misconceptions that block their vision from Kṛṣṇa. A spiritual warrior has to figure out the ways and the means that he can break down those walls so that people can glimpse the beauty of Kṛṣṇa.

Anyone who is going to attempt to do something like that, generally they will first do what you will call an environmental scan. Even in businesses, people do it. They take a look, “What’s going on? What do the people like? What do they not like? What are the challenges? How can I touch them?”

Actually anybody who is a book distributor—they know—they do that environmental scan every time they see somebody; how to touch this person? Actually  someone said once to Śrīla Prabhupāda that, “Oh, you weren’t really doing so much in your first year or two when you arrived in the United States?”

Prabhupāda said: “What? I was doing so much”. The devotee: “Well, what you were doing?” and he (Śrīla Prabhupāda) said, “I was studying the American people”.  Prabhupāda made his strategies on the basis of what he was seeing before him.

Every preacher has to do that, make a strategy. Every soldier, every warrior has to make a strategy for the particular social context. Like say in World War 1, the strategy was to fight in the trenches, and that kind of strategy worked pretty well. But in World War 2 when they started to do that, it was a disaster. Because then they had airplanes, so the trenches just became the graveyards. Thus to be dynamic preacher you have to know, you have to think, you have to make strategies. Every single one of our Ācāryas had to consider the environment and the social situation that was going on at their time and make their battle plan.

Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur had to do this, make a strategy; and actually everyone—if you look at Śrīla Bhakti-Vinod ṬhākurŚrīla Bhakti-Siddhānta Sarasvatī all down the line, Lord Caitanya Himself; each one of them made plans for preaching. What did they emphasize? What was their battle strategy? Like Śrīla Bhaktivinode Ṭhākur, at his time Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism had fallen to such disrepute, that he had a herculean task of trying to start preaching. One of his strategies was to pray, for a ray of Vishnu. “I’ve got something to do here that’s impossible; I need a ray of Vishnu”. That ray of Vishnu of course was Śrīla Bhakti-Siddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākur, who came into the world into a situation that was very complex. Things were going on in the world and especially in India and especially in Bengal that had never happened before. It was a time when the values and the rational thought and the scientific thought of the westerners were pouring into India, with their missionaries and their condescending attitude towards everything Indian. The people of India, they began to question their own belief system. This ushered in what was considered to be the Bengal renaissance. It was a period when they tried to modernize Hinduism so that it wouldn’t seem so freaky to the intelligent westerners.

That gave rise to a group of what was called the bhadra-loka, or like the so-called intelligentsia, the intelligent Bengal people who really were trying to go along with the western viewpoint. They wanted to get rid of the idols, and all the Deities, because it looked bad to the westerners. There were reformists like Vivekānanda and Rāma Mohan Rāya who were pushing back especially Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism, anything with any Bhakti or devotion and bringing forward this Advaita philosophy. Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism was just kind of relegated to obscurity; it was just not cool.

That was the situation which Śrīla Bhakti-Siddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākur had to face. So what was he going to do? He had to make a strategy. It was the first time that they had to interact with modernity— with the modern world. How was he going to spread Kṛṣṇa Consciousness in this environment, even to the West? One of the things that is acknowledged as his key to success was his attentive awareness of the social and cultural and political environment. He really knew what was going on.

I am going to get to Narottama soon [laughter], but Śrīla Bhakti-Siddhānta Sarasvatī is so amazing also to talk about. Because he actually knew all philosophies, he studied everything, and when he got together with his friends, he debated. Think about what we talk when we get together with our friends? So he would argue everybody’s point of view. He was a very strategic thinker, so he made a radical battle plan; he had various ideas for the intelligent class, the general mass of people, the westerners, and his own devotees.

He had all different strategies, very clear. The first thing was to mass distribute—mass produce so many books. This was not common then; now we are used to it. But it wasn’t common then; Thousands of books, thousands of magazines, and just mass distributing—that was a new thing. As you know, the way that he spoke, the way that he wrote was so erudite, that the idea was to beat the English, at their ‘own game’. They think they are so smart [laughter]. But you can hardly even follow Śrīla Bhakti-Siddhānta Sarasvatī; he knew English better than the English. Apparently his Bengali works are not such high language; so it was a strategy.

The other thing that he emphasized was Yukta Vairāgya—that was also a new thing. He rode in cars and wore clothes and used the printing press, and went overseas; all these things were radical. Even wearing a wrist-watch at that time for a Sādhu was like way out there. He had a strategy with the British that he would go to practically any lengths to treat them according to their culture and to their customs and to serve them in a way that they would have to be touched. To gain strength, another part of his strategy was to unite with the other Sampradāyas; so he published Rāmānuja, Madhvācārya; he tried to get the Vaiṣṇavas together, to fight against this modern influx.

Then for the general mass of people he did these massive theistic displays, using dolls and mechanized devices. This is all just like totally radical at that time; nobody had done anything like that before. He developed Māyāpura, started Parikramās, there was no such thing. We just assume there have always been these things, but ‘No!’, somebody started everything. We are doing this today, because Śrīla Bhakti-Siddhānta Sarasvatī had a strategy and that was to do massive Parikramās. He was doing incredible Parikramās of Vṛndāvan and Māyāpura.

Then amongst his devotees he introduced so many strategies. He introduced Sannyāsa as we know it today. We just think, “Well, these things were always there”, — “No!” He established GBC, and even his own followers thought that was just so radical that they couldn’t keep it after he left. He initiated by quality and not by caste. We just think all of these things are normal now, but somebody before us just pushed and pushed to bring these things, so that we now have what we have. He focused his western preaching to westerners on Lord Caitanya and not on Kṛṣṇa. He subordinated Rāgānugā and encouraged Sanātana Śikṣā. You know he brought forward more not the Rāgānugā mood, but the mood of following the instructions of Sanātana Gosvāmī. He created a hard institution; I mean prior to that, Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism was existing just softly. I am sorry; I am saying so much about him; I don’t know if this is the day;  but I think it’s important to understand these things. These are al, the battle strategies of our Ācāryas so you could go through each one of them. I am just focusing on Śrīla Bhakti-Siddhānta, because he is just so amazing. Each one of them had to consider, “How are we going to get the mercy out there, to the people!”He was the first to create really a hard institution and at the same time, he warned against what could be the problems of a hard institution. It’s possible that it could cramp the flow of Bhakti. Nowadays they call that the ‘routinization of charisma’; that you know, you create an institution so that you can get out to people, but it could just turn inwards and lose the spirit. He emphasized the importance of keeping a very-very strong preaching spirit; that is actually the purpose of the institution, so that you can spread and teach and benefit the world. It should never just become mechanical. If you study each one of our Ācāryas, they studied the environment that they were living in and the people around them and the challenges and then they made appropriate strategies. War-strategies: “How are we going to break through here?”

Even Lord Caitanya Himself adopted strategies. It was a strategy that He took Sannyāsa from a Māyāvāda or impersonalist line. Gopala Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī, he had to make things acceptable for the smārtas. So the point is they were in touch with what was going on in the world and how to make Kṛṣṇa Consciousness accessible to the people of their time.

Of course, Śrīla Prabhupāda had strategies; what he did was as a creative, innovative, amazing preacher. He was initiating what were considered Mlecchas; he was putting ladies as Pūjāris on the altars; he was introducing book distribution, introducing RathaYātrā all over the world; he was opening up the Dhāma to the whole world, I mean opening the KṛṣṇaBalarāma Mandir.

These are all radical amazing battle strategies by great-great preachers. This is what preachers think about, “How are we going to get out to the most people?” We Neophytes think, about ‘I-me-mine’ like, “How am I going to feel better? How will I be happier?” That’s not how preachers think. The preachers are constantly thinking about, “How to touch as many hearts as is possible? How to give love to people?” Every successful preacher has made a battle strategy. You don’t win wars without a strategy; I mean you have got to figure out,”How am I going to get out there?”

Actually I am remembering the first time I went on Indradyumna Mahārāja’s festival tour in Poland. My daughter wanted to go and she was too young to go on her own, so I thought well, I will just go and take her there and then I will leave. I was going to stay a few days. I was sitting, waiting for the first bus to go out on Saṅkīrtan; and Mahārāja was showing me and he was so enthusiastic about how, “We are just starting the new tour,” and he said, “Look, I got these new flags, and we have got all these new things; we have all these balloons on a stick”. I was thinking, “My God, what is this?—a circus?” [laughter] Then I saw all the ladies were dressing all pretty and everything, and I was just sitting there and thinking, “God, I am like a dinosaur from a previous Yuga.” I thought, “I got to get out of here as soon as possible”. So then we get out there and it was the most amazing experience. I said “See, Oh my God!—this is a battle strategy, that somehow or other you bring the spiritual world out to the people; all this color, and bliss, and fun, and everybody just gets sucked right in. What a strategy!”

Thus every preacher, every devotee has to make some strategy; they have to do their environmental scan and see, “How do we go about this? How do we touch people’s hearts at this time in this place?”

Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī as also a most incredible strategically minded person is thinking “Well, how are we going to take out from Vṛndāvan now, all that we have been acquiring, all these books being written?” Jīva Gosvāmī—what a strategic thinker! He thought, “So here is this student, Narottama Dāsa and he is the son of this wealthy Zamindar who is a very powerful person; so we should send him out preaching”. This was a big shock to Narottama Dāsa.

You imagine—he, living in Vṛndāvan as a perfected devotee; it’s quite different from living here as a neophyte devotee. The first thing of becoming a preacher is that you have to be ready for sacrifice and austerity. Here is Narottam Dāsa Ṭhākur, who has been living in Vṛndāvan as a perfected devotee and associating with the greatest persons existing on this planet at that time; I mean he was actually living in Vṛndāvan. Most of us are here little bit on the covering, but Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur, Śrīnivas Ācārya, Rāmcandra as best friends, studying under Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī—they were in ecstasy here in Vṛndāvan. They were really seeing Vṛndāvan. When Narottama and Śrīnivas are doing Govardhan Parikramā, they heard Kṛṣṇa‘s flute. That’s a real Govardhan Parikramā. Try it tomorrow—right? [laughter]. They heard the sound of Kṛṣṇa’s flute, Kṛṣṇa appeared to them when they were doing Parikramā. This is how Narottama was living in Vṛndāvan. He wanted to continue with that life in Vṛndāvan forever. It was quite a shock to him when it was announced that he was going to Bengal.

Narottama had to go along with this battle strategy that he had to leave all of these beloved devotees: Raghunātha Dāsa GosvāmīŚrī Jīva Gosvāmī, his beloved Spiritual Master—Lokanātha Gosvāmī. He had to say, “Good-bye.” He took his last Parikramā around Vṛndāvan and saying good-bye to all the residents of Vṛndāvan. That is really some incredible Parikramā for a realized soul.

Narottama with great heart, I mean it was a very-very heavy heart, but at the same time with very great excitement; because he was about to fulfill the mission of the Lord. Narottama took this journey which was actually a very difficult journey to take all these books that have been stock-piled for years and years in Vṛndāvan—all the writings of Rūpa Gosvāmī, Sanātana Gosvāmī, Jīva Gosvāmī. It was so amazing, like a treasure chest of gold he was taking to the other side of the country. You can only imagine the scene—that when, I think it was in front of Govindajī Mandir where they packed all these books. Everybody in Vṛndāvan came to watch this amazing scene; all those years that these great, great, great devotees had been compiling all these works. When you think of all the Bengali devotees they didn’t know about any of this. They didn’t know, they didn’t have these works and Jāhnavā Mātā was writing from that side of Bengal to Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī, “Please send them!“, because it was a very difficult situation over there in Bengal. All those devotees were just remembering “Mahāprabhu, Mahāprabhu”—they were just remembering His presence there. But they didn’t have these books that had been compiled and were empowered by Mahāprabhu, who gave the instructions to Sanātana and Rūpa. He gave all the seeds from which they were to unpack into all these books. All these devotees in Bengal they didn’t have any of it.

This was Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī’s incredible strategy that “Okay—book distribution is going to happen now”. All these amazing, jewel-like manuscripts are carried like priceless gemstones, put into the boxes to seal them and to send them out.

What a journey and what a mission that Narottama, Śrīnivas and Śyāmānanda had! What a mission!, to take all the realizations, all the jewel-like, most valuable realizations of all the Gosvāmīs and take them across the country. That journey and all that happened there, I won’t go into that detail, but it was an arduous journey and many traumatic things happened along the way. But eventually Narottama did arrive in Kheturī which was the area given to him by Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī as his Prabhu-datta desh. “You are the wealthy son of a very influential Zamindar and so people are going to listen to you. You are going to have some influence in this area!” It was somewhat radical, because Narottama as a renunciate to go back to his home-town, that was difficult. He was going to have to meet all those old friends and relatives, who all thought of him as Rajakumar Narottama and they all loved him. There are two different versions; some say that his mother and father were still there when he returned, some say that they were not.  But in any case, many relatives and many people who knew him and loved him as a little boy were there.

That was going to be his first challenge that he had to re-enter this place where everyone saw him differently. They really loved little Naru. He was like the talk of the town. He was the only son, and so everyone, “Little Naru, he’s coming back”. Everyone came rushing out, “Narottama, Narottama is here”. Everyone was so excited.

But when they got in front of him—of course, they want to run and embrace him—but when they see him: “Whoa, this is not our little Naru. This is some great Vairagi”. There is Narottama with his thin body and as a Sādhu with his little water pot. So everyone just froze. All the village people are rushing, everyone is running from everywhere, “Narottama is here, Narottama!” They are all rushing out to greet him and then they all just freeze, “Oh my God, what is he now? Where is Naru?”

Narottama had to deal with the situation. As a preacher, he had to know how to not discourage them but at the same time they have to get the point that he is not their little Naru anymore. Because first thing that happens is his cousin-Santosh, who has taken over the kingdom that Narottama is actually supposed to be running. He said, “Oh Narottama, I was just taking care of it until you came back; take it.” Narottama as a preacher he had to make it very clear, “No one even talk about politics, or position, or anything. I am now something else. Anyone who talks about those things, or expects me to behave in those ordinary ways, I will be gone”. So everyone was just frozen that they just don’t want him to leave again. They love him so, “We will just do whatever you want, Naru”. He made it very clear, “No, I will not go into my former home. Now I will be very happy to just stay out here in the Chandi-Mandap somewhere near the temple.” Then he began his strategy for preaching and he saw most of the people at that time are fairly pious but not very intellectual, not really comprehending deeply about spiritual subject matters. So Narottama’s battle strategy was what?—It was, “I am going to write songs; songs that anybody can understand.” Because now we just take it for granted, we sing all these philosophical songs and we just think they were always there forever; well, they were not. The brahmanical class actually had a very powerful control over spiritual knowledge. They were in control of giving it out and doing Saṁskāras for people; they had a system.

This idea of writing songs with very-very deep subject matter, that will be sung in the way that people sing their village songs— this is a battle strategy. So Narottama began his work. He made a strategy but at the same time, he was feeling that he was not fully empowered yet, and so he had this very strong desire. He had never actually been to Navadvīpa, he had never been in all the sacred places on that side of the country.  He felt that, in order to do the preaching that he was meant to do, he needed the empowerment to do it and that he needed to go and get the mercy of the Dhām and the mercy of the devotees, in order to really launch his mission. This is a common strategy that you will find most of our Ācāryas planned; they also did this at some point in their life, like Śrīla Bhakti-Siddhānta Sarasvatī did this. Śrīla Bhakti-Siddhānta Sarasvatī felt that what he had to do was so complex and such difficult work that he really needed special empowerment. So he went to the Dhām. He went to Māyāpura Dhām to do a Vrata, and that Vrata was done with the purpose of understanding, “How to spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness?”

Śrīla Bhakti-Siddhānta Sarasvatī actually took a vow to chant a billion names and he went into seclusion to do this. He stayed in a hut and slept only on the floor. He used no footwear or chadar. He ate only rice once a day, and not that he was only doing that; he also did some preaching activities during this Vrata. But you imagine: this took nine years. I mean that is very serious preaching preparation. Even he did that again another time, after the departure of Śrīla Bhaktivinode Ṭhākur and his spiritual master—Śrīla Gaur Kishor Dāsa Bābāji. At that time he also went into another state of intensive Bhajan to get empowerment to preach. It’s not an easy task in this world. Probably there is nothing more difficult than to push back the material energy and bring in the spiritual energy. It requires empowerment; you can’t just decide to do it. You do these things not because the austerities bring you something, it’s because you get the blessings of the previous Ācāryas.

At the end of his (Śrīla Bhakti-Siddhānta Sarasvatī) intensive Bhajan for quite a long period of time, in preparing  to actually manifest his mission, he finally got a most extraordinary confirmation and empowerment from all the previous Ācāryas. He had a vision and in that vision he saw the PañcaTattva, he saw the Six Gosvāmīs, he saw his own spiritual master, he saw his father. In other words, everybody came and he saw them and then he heard from them, “Begin the task of spreading Śuddha Bhakti. You will get unlimited support. The support of people, opulence, scholarship—it’s all waiting to serve your mission and everything will manifest when it’s required. With full strength, you push forward. Distribute PremaDharma to the whole globe. There will be no hindrance because we will forever be with you”. So how about that realization and blessing he got for results of his Vrata? Amazing!

This is the mood of the preacher, that he comes to the Dhām for this purpose, to pray and to get empowerment. We don’t come to have a good time and to just socialize, meet new people. The devotees really come for empowerment and for realization. Śrīla Prabhupāda also went to the Dhām before he got on the boat. He went to Śāntipura and he begged the mercy of AdvaitaĀcārya there at the house of AdvaitaĀcārya. Of course he spent years in front of the Samādhi of Rūpa Gosvāmī to get the empowerment to do what he did. We also see, of course Indradyumna Mahārāja is such a great example. When we go on our Parikramās, sometimes he shares that, this is what he is praying for when he goes to Sanātana Gosvāmī’s Samādhi and in front of Govindajī—he said, “I am praying for the empowerment to go out and spread Kṛṣṇa Consciousness. I am not just coming here to have fun. Yes, Kṛṣṇa Consciousness is fun, but really there is a big task, there is a big war that we are meant to be fighting.”

So Narottama was feeling this way, he was feeling, “I need the mercy of the Dhām and I need the mercy of all these personalities in order to really become a preacher.” So Narottama went to Navadvīpa, where he had never been before. He began his pilgrimage in Māyāpura. For him it’s said,—every day, every moment his heart was pounding, because he was in such a state of separation and union simultaneously. He is meeting all the devotees that are left, that were there who were with Mahāprabhu. He is in the places where Mahāprabhu lived and played and yet he is seeing and he is not seeing, so he is torn constantly. Sometimes he is in a mood; he is just crying “How was I born late? How did I miss this? How come I wasn’t there?” Maybe some of you feel that sometimes when you think, “Why wasn’t I there when Prabhupāda came, just a few years back?” But this mood of, “Why did I miss? Where are you? I want to see you”; that brings one into the presence of that person whom you are missing. So there is union and separation going on. Like some of you probably sometimes think, “Oh, I wish I would have been there when Prabhupāda was there”, and to the degree that you have that feeling of separation, that desire, then somehow or another Prabhupāda becomes present. It’s not like a few people only know PrabhupādaPrabhupāda is interacting with everyone.

This was Narottama‘s experience that sometimes he would just be burning and burning in this mood, “How did I miss this? Why wasn’t I here?” He is in all the places; he is in the house of Lord Caitanya, but Lord Caitanya is not there. But with that mood suddenly the Lord would appear, and he would be in union. For the devotees who were dying in separation from Mahāprabhu and were seeing Narottama, then suddenly they felt union again, because he just reminded them so much of Mahāprabhu. In this spirit, Narottama traveled from Māyāpura and Shantipur and Ambika Kalna, Kardaha and he met Jāhnavā Mata and he met all these devotees who had met Lord Caitanya.  Then eventually Narottama makes his way to JagannāthaPurī and there in the house of Gopīnātha Ācārya, one evening he has a revelation; it’s not a dream exactly, it’s a revelation. I am going to read, it’s from BhaktiRatnakar about what Narottama experienced in that revelation. So suddenly Narottama finds himself standing on the grand road where the RathaYātrā comes down and he sees the RathaYātrā cart coming towards him as he is standing on the side of the road. Then he sees Caitanya Mahāprabhu and all His associates are dancing in front of that RathaYātrā cart coming towards him; so Narottama stood transfixed, just trying to take in every aspect of this extraordinary scene.

He watched Lord Caitanya dancing in such a spirit of love and all the devotees were simply gazing upon Him, dancing in utter joy.  Huge crowd of pilgrims pushed forward just to get a glance of this beautiful dancing. The demigods were showering flowers and other demigods were disguised as humans joined into the ecstatic festival of the Holy Name. Even lame and blind and deaf, they all forgot their handicaps; they forgot, “I am not supposed to be able to walk, but I am walking”. They all hurried to join the Kīrtana. Even the stone-hearted people, they started just weeping in joy. They are hearing this melodious chanting of the Lord’s Holy Names and everyone was just dancing in ecstasy. Even the animals and the birds were all stunned watching and Narottama was just standing at the side of the road watching this scene. He is just silently weeping in joy.

Then Lord Caitanya left the Kīrtana and He came right to where he was standing and he took hold of Narottamas hand and embraced him. Hare Kṛṣṇa! He said, “Narottama, you should go back to Kheturī. It is my desire, you establish a new type of Saṅkīrtan. Through your Kīrtana, you will reveal My teachings and My mission and My pastimes to the world. I will empower your Kīrtana to mesmerize the hearts of all who hear it. Those fortunate to take shelter of you will receive the most precious wealth of love of God. Now go back to Bengal, establish the Saṅkīrtan of the Holy Name. Go deliver souls, Narottama, and bring them into the Sampradāya of love of God and know that I will always be with you and will protect you”. Narottama fell at Lord Caitanya’s feet, bathing them with his tears. Then each of all the devotees that were there all came and embraced Narottama and they encouraged him to fulfill his mission. That was the real result of Parikramā. This is the real thing—real devotees—that’s what happens to them.

Then Narottama continued on Parikramā; he went to Katwa and Śrīkhanda and then he went to Ekachakra, on his way back to Kheturī, he went to these other places. Then again in Ekachakra he had some extraordinary experience. He met an old very elderly brāhmaṇa who wanted to take him around and show him the holy places. That is a whole story in itself, so I won’t get into that, but eventually what Narottama found was that the old brāhmaṇa was Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu Himself.  This was the result of Narottamas pilgrimage. We are all here on pilgrimage; I don’t know what we will take back with us. This is what Narottama took back with him. Of course during that time he had been everywhere; he had met everybody; he had taken the pulse of what was going on. He had done an environmental scan, and he got the blessings to do what he needed to do. So you might do the environmental scan, but without the blessings you don’t have the Śakti. Narottama was really ready now to launch his mission.

I am wondering if we should stop there. Yeah, we should stop there.  Haribol [clapping]

HH Indradyumna Swami: “Sadbhih!  So we are not actually going to stop; we are just going to take a break. You can take a little Prasādam now. It’s okay, it’s Narottamas disappearance day. So on these days you can take some Prasāda. So you have your breakfast now—25 minutes for breakfast—till 10 o’clock and then from 10 to 11, Mādhava is going to lead Kīrtana and then from 11 to 12, Śītalā will finish her discourse, if you would like?”

Haribol [clapping…]

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!