Pastimes of Govindajī
– By His Holiness Śrīla Indradyumna Swami
Before we begin I’d like to introduce you to two very wonderful disciples of Śrīla Prabhupāda who’ve joined us this morning. They’re going to be with us for a few days. My dear Godbrother, HG Batu Gopāla Prabhu, whom I originally met in New York. He used to preach to me; he helped make me a devotee. He used to engage me in helping him paint the temple when I was a new Bhakta— Bhakta Brian. I still remember his classes on Īśopaniṣad and I still remember going out on the streets of Detroit with a bright white head just shaved up and new crisp white dhoti and he was leading, playing mṛdungas, “Oḿ pūrṇam adaḥ pūrṇam idaḿ pūrṇāt…”
In time we went our separate ways, I was always so inspired. I always considered him light years ahead of me in Kṛṣṇa Consciousness and with his wonderful wife, they raised two beautiful daughters, pure devotees of the Lord already in their young age in Kṛṣṇa Consciousness. And he’s come to Jaipur for his first time, so we get to serve him now and show him the wonderful sights of this beautiful city. So please offer him all the help he may need while he’s with us on our Parikramā, offer him all the respect and adoration that he deserves. If it wasn’t of him I might not be sitting here. Batu Gopāla Prabhu ki Jaya!!!
Another devotee maybe doesn’t even need an introduction, a very, very famous devotee who did so much personal service for Śrīla Prabhupāda. You see her in many of the old photos with Śrīla Prabhupāda. She was here in Jaipur cooking for Śrīla Prabhupāda when he visited here: Mother Malati Prabhu. She had so much personal association with Śrīla Prabhupāda. She will share some of the wonderful pastimes she had with Śrīla Prabhupāda here in Jaipur a little later. She’s done many wonderful services. We could go on for many hours. She’s a member of the GBC, watch out! And of course she’s joined with her beloved Godsister, my Godsister, Śītala Devī Dāsī. She came all the way from Vṛndāvan down with us here; she made it. I was praying to Kṛṣṇa and all the incarnations that she would make it, especially Dhanvantari. And Manyu Prabhu came down with us from Vṛndāvan, as well, with his son. And Kalasamvara Prabhu is here. Caturātmā Prabhu is here. Did I get everybody? Ah, Baḍa-Hari Prabhu. Well, you know Baḍa-Hari Prabhu. I think I’m here, too. All us old guys are having senior moments. We’re forgetting everything! And Uttamaśloka, my favorite translator, has joined us from Vaikunthaloka.
[oṁ ajñāna-timirāndhasya …prayers]
I will start speaking without further ado, because it’s going to get pretty hot in about 45 minutes or an hour; and we want to take a little Prasādam and our plan is later in the morning to go over to the Rādhā Govinda temple, or the Rādhā Gopīnātha temple. We have come to Jaipur. The name Jaipur literally means the “City of Victory”. Why this very beautiful city was given this name we will reveal later on in our talk this morning. But for the moment, for now, I’d like all of you to meditate on exactly where we are in the middle of this very beautiful garden, this very beautiful complex here at the famous Rādhā–Govinda temple.
If you could go up in the air, well you can with our drone, if you go up in the air and look down, you would see this temple more or less is situated exactly in the middle of this big city. There’s a reason for this. The reason is that for the people of this city, Jaipur, the most important Person in the city, the most important Person in the country, the most important Person in the world, the most important Person in the creation, lives here with His eternal consort. Can you guess who the most important Person in creation is and who is His eternal consort?—The most important Person in the material creation and the most important Person in the spiritual world is Śrī–Śrī Rādhā–Govinda and His eternal consort, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī.
It was planned in exactly that same way. This city had a specific plan about 300 years ago. The king himself actually became the architect of this city and he started on this big blank page and the first thing he did was put the temple of Govindajī right in the center of the city, and he put his quarters right beside the temple. Every morning when he’d wake up, the first Darśana he’d have would be the lotus feet of his Iṣṭa–deva, Govindajī. In other words the city of Jaipur was planned with the worship of Govindajī in mind. There’s a saying in the West, in Europe, in Italy: “All roads lead to Rome.” You could say here in Jaipur, “All roads, all hearts, all minds lead to this beautiful temple of Rādhā–Govinda.”
How this all came about?—This history which all Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas just love to recount and to hear, I’ll explain this morning in summary, because I gave a similar talk a few years ago. It was actually when I looked in my notes, it was 47 pages, so I reduced it to nine. But we will get the essence, and that’s important about the history of Govinda. Actually here they say Govindajī, and those of you are Indian know that “ji” is affectionate. Kṛṣṇa in Vṛndāvan is very easy to approach, He is very loving, He has Rasa with His devotees, so there is an intimate relationship, so we are allowed to call the Lord “ji”, Govindajī, the locals call Him Govindajī.
This history of Govindajī goes back 5,000 years just after the departure of Lord Kṛṣṇa from this planet back to the spiritual world. Kṛṣṇa’s departure from the Earth is called Mauṣala–Līlā. Actually, many of you are maybe just hearing this word, this phrase for the first time: Mauṣala–Līlā. How many of you are familiar with this term, Mauṣala–Līlā? One devotee! Probably, because he reads the Eleventh Canto of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. Kṛṣṇa’s departure from this Earth planet is called Mauṣala–Līlā and is described in the first few chapters of the eleventh canto of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. We don’t hear much about Kṛṣṇa’s departure. Of course, Śrīla Prabhupāda does touch upon it in various purports throughout the Bhāgavatam, because it is a Līlā of Kṛṣṇa. But you very rarely if ever hear our Gurus, our Sannyāsī or esteemed Bhāgavatam speakers lecturing about it or what to speak extensively about Kṛṣṇa’s leaving this world. On our Vaiṣṇava calendar, there’s never, I’ve never seen a disappearance day festival for Lord Kṛṣṇa.
His appearance is celebrated in a magnificent way, but you never say, “Oh, today is Kṛṣṇa’s disappearance. Let’s have a festival.” Never mentioned. No one even talks about it. We sometimes celebrate the disappearance day of great devotees, but we never celebrate the disappearance of the Lord. Why? Well, at present we’re all so busy trying to revive our lost relationship with Kṛṣṇa, what to speak, you know, we don’t want to think about Him leaving our lives. We’re trying to reconnect with Him. The word religion comes from the Latin word ‘religiō’ which means to literally reconnect. To reconnect to what, with God, with Kṛṣṇa.
Prabhupāda says the word “yoga” has the same connotation, the same meaning, to connect with the Absolute Truth. So generally, we don’t like to talk about Kṛṣṇa’s departure. We’re meditating all the time on meeting Him again: ‘Jagannātha svāmī nayana pathagāmī bhavatu me’.…Oh Lord of the Universe, kindly be visible to me. So we’re just aspiring devotees and we think in this way; imagine if you’re an advanced devotee, you’ve had Kṛṣṇa’s association, and He disappears from your life. What is that like? Logic tells us that as much as you’re attached to something when you lose that thing, to the same degree you feel separation.
A mundane example, you know, if you lose your Gamshā —it’s okay; but if you lose your watch in the bathroom, then “Woah!” You know, the separation is more intense, because of the attachment. The advanced devotees, especially the devotees on the highest platform, Uttama-Adhikārīs, pure devotees of the Lord, who have Kṛṣṇa–Prema, how do they experience the separation of the Lord? It’s no mystery; it’s described by Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu in His Śikṣāṣṭakam prayers. Something He is preparing us for at some point in our progress in Kṛṣṇa Consciousness. “Oh Govinda, feeling your separation, I am considering a moment to be like twelve years or more. Tears are flowing from my eyes like torrents of rain. I am feeling all vacant in the world in your absence.”
One time Śrīla–Prabhupāda was giving Darśana on the grass at New Māyāpura in France. And he was speaking on the subject matter about how the pure devotee, he just sees Kṛṣṇa everywhere. He sees Kṛṣṇa in everything, he’s always with Kṛṣṇa. Oh, he was elaborating, giving analogies, examples and then about 45 minutes later, he finished and said, “So are there any questions?” So I just wanted to get Prabhupāda’s attention, so I thought up a question. I said, “Prabhupāda, you—” I raised my hand, he said, “Yes”—I said, “Your speaking how the pure devotee sees Kṛṣṇa everywhere, but in His Śikṣāṣṭakam prayers, Lord Caitanya says that He’s feeling separation from Kṛṣṇa, He doesn’t feel the Lord’s presence. He’s suffering in that way, how do we—it seems contradictory.” So Prabhupāda looked at me for a moment and [acting out Prabhupāda]. He started to explain, he said, “Yes, the Lord goes away to make His devotee mad for Him.” And then he paused and looked at me a little closer and said, “But anyway these things you will understand one day when you are very advanced. We will not discuss this anymore.”
This is a subject matter for very elevated devotees, but we can appreciate that the residents of Vṛndāvan in particular because they were so attached to Kṛṣṇa, when He left, they felt so much separation. There were devotees all over India, all over the planet, there were devotees in Dwarka, devotees in Mathurā, devotees in Vṛndāvan but they all had a common trait amongst them: that was they all loved Kṛṣṇa more than anyone’s ever been loved before.
When Kṛṣṇa left, we can hardly imagine their pangs of separation. So the ruler of Vṛndāvan, the executive king of Vraja Maṇḍala, of that area of India, of the surrounding areas, was actually Kṛṣṇa’s grandson at the time that Kṛṣṇa left this world. His name was Vajranābha. So as a ruler he was very concerned for his people, the ruler has to take care of the material needs and the spiritual needs of the population and he was a devotee, so he was feeling “How will all these devotees that are literally dying in separation, what can I do to appease them, to satisfy them? Our beloved Lord has left. What can I do? They’re just crying. No one’s doing any service, no one’s moving, no one is hardly even breathing. They’re just crying.”
Fortunately, for them and for us and for the countless generations that will come in the future, he came up with a great idea. He decided to supervise the carving of and the installation of different Forms of Kṛṣṇa according to different places where Kṛṣṇa performed His pastimes throughout Vṛndāvan. This is a good idea, because as we know, the Deity form of the Lord is non-different from the Lord. As the young brāhmaṇa said to Sākṣi–Gopāla when he met Him in Vṛndāvan, he said, “My dear Lord, you are not a statue. You are directly the son of Mahārāja Nanda.” Any devotee who approaches the Lord sincerely, and engages in service to the Arcā-vigraha, the Murti of the Lord, then by His mercy, by the mercy of Guru and Gaurāṅga, even in the neophyte stage that devotee feels or experiences His presence.
Vajranābha, he personally supervised the carving of eight Deities. Now bear in mind he was the grandson of Kṛṣṇa, he knew what Kṛṣṇa looked like. So he personally supervised the carving. That’s better than a photograph. He personally was with the Lord, he knew the mood of the Lord, he knew the Līlās of the Lord, he knew the countenance of the Lord, everything about the Lord, so he watched the carving of each Deity. He sat and, “No, no, move that there—okay, ah, perfect! Place that Deity at Govinda–Kuṇḍa, place that Deity at Vaṁśīvaṭa, place that Deity at Sevā–Kunja”, like that. Whatever the mood of the Lord was in a particular Līlā, he established the Deities there. All, these eight Deities were around Vraja.
He supervised the beautiful carving of :
- Harideva, which is the Deity worshipped at Govardhana Hill;
- Baladeva–Daujī, which is another Deity, we passed on our Parikramā on Govardhana Hill;
- Keśava, a Deity who has unfortunately disappeared;
- Śrī Gopāla, who Madhavendra Purī found also at Govardhana, is now worshipped as Śrīnathaji;
- Sasksi–Gopāla, I mentioned briefly;
- Madana-Mohana, we visited that temple of Madana-Mohana; and
- Gopīnātha—later in the morning, we’re going to go see Gopīnātha.
All these Deities were carved and the dresses were made and the ornaments were made and the installation was done and they were established very nicely, and different devotees who had different moods would come and worship the Lord in these different parts. Something was there: “Ah, okay, Kṛṣṇa has left but He is present here in His arcā-vigraha form.” They were appeased somewhat. Prabhupāda said in New Dvārakā when he was installing the little Rādhā–Kṛṣṇa Deities, “If you serve these Deities nicely according to all the rules and regulations,” he said in his lecture, “One day, these Deities will speak to you.” The devotees in Vraja–Maṇḍala, they would be somewhat appeased. Unfortunately, after the Lord disappeared, well you know what happened. The sun set so to speak. And the dark age of Kali–Yuga began. With the disappearance of the Lord, immediately the dark age of Kali Yuga began.
Foreign invaders began descending in India, plundering the wealth of this country, just destroying much of its heritage. In particular, Muslim invaders would destroy temples and Deities. So during this time, this dark time in Vaiṣṇava culture, devotees had to hide their beloved Deities. Can you imagine? Many of you have Deities. It came to the point where you couldn’t worship your Deities anymore because the invaders were coming plundering your town, breaking your temple. You had to go somewhere and hide your Deities and never know what the future would be. What would that be [like]?
These eight Deities were hidden by Their devotees, by their pujaris, and they hid Them in the bushes, in the jungle., Sometimes they placed Them in lakes or ponds, they’d submerge Them in the water. Sometimes, they’d dig big holes in the Earth and bury Them in the Earth and create a secret map and give it to somebody to keep, to some grandmother, you know, it was all very secretive. The Deities were hidden and after time went on, people pretty much forgot where the Deities were. So it looks like that’s the end.
But as we all experience in Kṛṣṇa Consciousness, or if you’re new to Kṛṣṇa Consciousness, you will experience in Kṛṣṇa Consciousness, no matter how sad the story is, in our lives, in our community, in our organization, ultimately there’s always a happy ending. Last year one of my dear God-brothers, Bimala–Prasāda, passed away and I was really lamenting. And one of my friends said, “No, he reasons ill who says that a Vaiṣṇava dies, when thou art living still in sound. A Vaiṣṇava dies to live and while living tries to spread the Holy Name around. Don’t lament for Bimala, he is in a better position now.” I went, “Haribol!” There’s always a happy ending in Kṛṣṇa Consciousness. This is a transcendental movement. If we’re sincere and we’re practicing nicely, eventually everything becomes auspicious.
In this particular case, this particular history where all these very famous Deities carved by—you could say installed by—Vajranābha and worshipped by the residents of Vṛndāvan, then hidden in lakes and ponds and under the Earth—They were rediscovered by the very plan of the Lord Himself. He felt it so important these Deities be rediscovered and worshipped for the benefit of the world. He made a plan Himself that They could all be rediscovered. Who is that Lord Who made this plan?
yajanti hi su-medhasah
Kṛṣṇa came in this age as Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. And part of His plan for spreading Kṛṣṇa Consciousness throughout India and eventually the world was initially to set up a spiritual headquarters in none other than Śrī Vṛndāvan–Dhām, to revive the glories of Vṛndāvan. Because 4,500 years into this inauspicious age of Kali Yuga, externally, to the external vision, Vṛndāvan had become just overgrown; it had become like a jungle, just a few old Bābās living there, chanting, but it was covered. Of course, it’s never covered. It’s always the spiritual world, but it appeared like that.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu called upon His most intimate disciples (the six Gosvāmīs of Vṛndāvan) to whom He revealed everything in various ways and gave them various service: “Go to Vṛndāvan! Write books on the science of Kṛṣṇa Consciousness. Rediscover the lost places of Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes. Build temples and install Deities.” He was building the framework for an international movement that we know eventually manifested from Prabhupāda’s heart as the International Society for Kṛṣṇa Consciousness.
Six Gosvāmīs of Vṛndāvan ki Jaya! ISKCON ki Jaya!
Those six Gosvāmīs: Rūpa, Sanātana, Jīva, Gopāla Bhaṭṭa, Raghunātha Dāsa, and Raghunātha Bhaṭṭa all made their way to Śrī Vṛndāvan–Dhām in due course of time. They didn’t all come together as a group. It’s a long history, but they all made it. So how they succeeded in this one particular instruction of reestablishing temples and Deity worship, actually it’s very mystical. Most of the time instead of finding these lost Deities, these Deities found them. I believe Caturātmā told the story of how Sanātana Gosvāmī found Madana-Mohan? We heard that pastime.
Jīva Gosvāmī received his Deity Dāmodara from the hand of Rūpa Gosvāmī. Rūpa Gosvāmī carved Rādhā–Dāmodara very intricately, very beautifully and gave that Deity to Jīva Gosvāmī. As all of you know famously, Gopāla Bhaṭṭa, one of his Śālagrām Śilās mysteriously, mystically manifested as Rādhā–Ramana. Madhu Paṇḍita, he was chanting japa near Sevā Kunja in Vaṁśīvaṭa where Kṛṣṇa would play His flute, and came, moving some brush aside, he found Gopīnātha, who had been hidden by the pujaris thousands of years ago, so it’s quite amazing.
All these Gosvāmīs, in one way or another established temples and worship. Only Govindajī had not revealed Himself yet to Rūpa Gosvāmī. It’s described that he would sometimes wander through different parts of Vṛndāvan, different villages, looking for Kṛṣṇa, looking for Govindajī. In his transcendental madness, he would ask the villagers or the Sādhus, “Have you seen Govindajī? Have you seen the Lord of my heart?” So time went on and Kṛṣṇa says in Gītā: “yoga-kṣemaṁ vahāmy aham—“For my devotee, I protect whatever he has, and I provide whatever he requires for his sevā, for his service.” So one day, the feelings of separation in the heart of Rūpa Gosvāmī caused the Lord to reciprocate fully with His devotee.
“All of them as they surrender unto Me I reward them accordingly.” If you surrender 25% to Kṛṣṇa, He’ll reveal to you 25%. 50%-50%, 100%-100%, He’ll give His very self to you. So one day not far from the Yamunā in a little Kunja, a little hilly area, Rūpa Gosvāmī came to the point of total desperation, “Govindajī! Govindajī! Govindajī”, crying, crying. Suddenly, a little boy appeared, a little cowherd boy, “Bābā, why are you crying? Are you hungry?” As Kṛṣṇa famously says to many Sādhus, “No one in my village goes hungry.” So Rūpa Gosvāmī looked up, “Your village? You’re a six-year-old boy. I have serious things to think about. Go play with your friends.” But the little boy, he insisted, he sat down next to Rūpa Gosvāmī, put his hand on his knees, “Bābā. Tell me why you’re so sad.” So for whatever reason, Rūpa Gosvāmī revealed his heart to that cowherd boy.
He said, “You know, all the other Gosvāmīs and so many Sādhus, they had fulfilled the instruction of Caitanya Mahāprabhu to establish worship of Deities here in Vṛndāvan, but I haven’t found my Govindajī, and I don’t know where he is.” The little boy said, “Bābā, I know where your Govindajī is.” So Rūpa said, “You know where my Govindajī is?” “Yes,” the boy said, “I know, because I sport in all these fields of Vṛndāvan. With my friends and with my cows, I go here, I go there, I go everywhere. I know Vṛndāvan very well. I know everyone in Vṛndāvan, I know every place in Vṛndāvan. I know everything about Vṛndāvan.” So Rūpa’s kind of like, “What?” But there was something special about this boy. In the Bible it says, “From the mouth of a child”—especially this child.
The boy said, “You know, Bābā, every time I come down here near the Yamunā I noticed on that little hill out there (there was a little hill there) every day one beautiful cow, like Surabhī cow, she comes and she walks up that little hill and she pauses for a moment and it appears that she becomes overwhelmed with intense emotion. And that Bhāva, that love, causes milk to pour from her utter into a hole in the ground at the top of that little hill. It seems almost like a pastime to me.” And then the boy walked away.
Well, this got Rūpa Gosvāmī thinking, “The little boy knows where my Govindajī is. What is the connection and what is the mystery behind the cow pouring milk?” He is most intelligent. Next day he went to that place and he went behind a tree and he watched that Surabhī cow and sure enough, she climbed up that little hill and at one moment, she emptied all her milk…Then she went away and so Rūpa Gosvāmī came. That whole area was soaked with milk. He noticed that in that hole there was a little protruding—it looked like a topknot on the head of a Deity. You see on the old Deities sometimes how they have a little topknot, like representing Kṛṣṇa’s hair tied up like that. If you look closely—I looked, I got to go in just this morning and I saw closely, Kṛṣṇa has a topknot. I was thinking, “That’s the same topknot that Rūpa Gosvāmī saw!” And he saw a topknot, and he kind of brushed away like that and he saw the beautiful beaming face of Govindajī and he fainted in ecstasy.
Govindajī found him in the form of the cowherd boy, Kṛṣṇa. So he immediately stood up, “Hey, everybody! I found Govindajī. Come help me get Him out of the ground.” He’s in the middle of the forest, there’s no one around. But Kṛṣṇa is in the heart of every living entity, He is especially dear to the residents of Vṛndāvan, so in the heart of the residents of Vṛndāvan, this message was transmitted and so many cowherd men came with their shovels, and their picks like this, and then very carefully, Rūpa Gosvāmī excavated this big Deity. You see how big He is? All these big strong men, they placed Him there. And Govindajī had been rediscovered by the Bhāva, by the love of Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī.
It’s so amazing. It’s so easy to love Him, just the mysterious transcendental way that He reappeared, His transcendental form. Even today, people are coming to the temple hundreds of years later, and having Darśana of Govindajī with the same enthusiasm as those villagers who rediscovered [him]—listen to that crowd! The same enthusiasm. He’s such an attractive Deity, such a powerful Deity, such a potent Deity. Even today, they’re crying their hearts out, “Govindajī, Govindajī!”
That spot where he rediscovered the Deity, that hole in the hill, that spot still exists. I was told that if you visit the Govindajī temple in Vṛndāvan—it’s there, it’s broken, we all pretty much know the history, it’s a little hill up—that temple, and you go inside, there’s a room in the basement area where they’re still worshipping an eight-armed form of Yoga-maya. And I’m told if you go and you ask the priest there to take you down the winding staircase which is in the basement; in the basement, there’s a staircase still going down, down, down, down. You’ll go down to that, the hill that the temple was built on and that spot, there’s the hole where Govindajī was discovered and you can take Darśana there.
Rūpa Gosvāmī wrote a letter to Lord Caitanya, just like he had previously written with Sanātana Gosvāmī when they’d first heard about the Lord, they wrote Him a letter introducing themselves, so again he wrote a letter and he told Lord Caitanya, “I have found Prānadhana he [the Lord of my heart], Govindajī. I’m going to begin His worship, as per Your instruction.” So Lord Caitanya received that letter. He was very happy and in that letter Rūpa had requested some help, so Mahāprabhu who was living in Purī at that time, I believe, He sent a very intimate follower of His—Kāśīśvara and He told Kāśīśvara, “You go help Rūpa and you be the pujari, the first pujari, for Govinda-Deva.”
When Kāśīśvara arrived, Rūpa had a ceremony to reinstall the Deity. It’s not that the Deity ever leaves His form, but these ceremonies are saṁskāras, they create impressions in the hearts of devotees. So to impress upon all these devotees that the Lord was there, Rūpa had an installation ceremony in February 1536. He personally presided over the installation of this Govindajī Deity and many devotees came. What was the next step? Build a temple; because they were worshipping Him in a grass hut. I won’t elaborate on anything from this point on. We have many more beautiful discussions about Rūpa Gosvāmī, Govindajī, Rādhārāṇī by Mother Śītala tomorrow.
How to build a temple for Govindajī? Sanātana is a Sādhu, a Sannyāsī—he had nothing. How is he going to build a temple for Madana-Mohan? So again Kṛṣṇa helped His devotee. It’s very obvious in the lives of pure devotees, it’s like so obvious, it’s amazing how some mundane scholars don’t get it. It’s just amazing how, it’s obvious how Kṛṣṇa intervenes and helps His devotees, like He helped Śrīla Prabhupāda. It’s obvious. So how did Kṛṣṇa help Rūpa Gosvāmī build a temple for Govindajī in Vṛndāvan? Here’s the story. This is the real news. In 1590, there was a very powerful emperor—Muslim emperor ruling most of India. His name was Akbar.
Akbar was a Muslim but he had made alliances with different Hindu groups which was his diplomacy. He said, “If you work with me, I won’t destroy you.” “Oh, we’ll work with you.” So many, many Hindus, many princes, and even some kings, were working with this emperor and expanding his kingdom. So one Hindu general in the Muslim army of Akbar, he was a very powerful general; his name was Mān-Singh, and he’d performed some very courageous activities in battle. So the word got out that Akbar wanted to meet Mān-Singh and give him maybe some money, maybe elevate him to a higher status, a bigger general, but the rumor was maybe Akbar would give Mān-Singh a grant of land and make him a small king.
Mān-Singh went from the area of Delhi where he had his troops go to Vṛndāvan and he fell at the feet of Govindajī. And in the presence of Rūpa Gosvāmī, he said to the Deity of Govindajī, “Lord, if you can make sure that I get a tract of land—a big tract of land—and I become a king, I will raise enough money to build you the most beautiful temple this world has ever seen.” So two days later, he had his Darśana with the emperor, so Akbar in the presence of so many courtiers and ministers and members of the public, he said to Mān-Singh, “My dear Mān-Singh, you have been fighting so nicely; you conquered so many dacoits. You have kept us safe. I grant you a very large piece of land, and you’re no longer a general, you’re a king, working under me, the emperor.” So Mān-Singh came out of that ceremony and thought, “Well, I have to raise some money now. I promised Govindajī I’d build Him a big temple.” And by his ways, he collected that money and came back to Vṛndāvan. He employed different people to start building that temple.
It’s an architectural wonder, even today it’s a protected heritage and it’s just a masterpiece of architectural skills. It took a long, long time to build actually, several decades, I think, to build that temple. But eventually the Lord was installed in that temple, Govindajī, and later, He was joined by His eternal consort, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, whom you see beautifully sitting on the throne here in Jaipur. Now that’s a class in itself how Rādhā came to Govinda. But that’s the pastime that Śītala’s going to share with us tomorrow. Unfortunately some centuries later, one very demoniac Muslim ruler again, by the name Aurangzeb, ordered the destruction of all the temples in Vṛndāvan.
The story is that he was sitting in his palace in Agra and he looked towards Vṛndāvan some distance away, and he saw that Govindajī’s temple was bigger than his palace. He told his troops, “Destroy it!” So by Kṛṣṇa’s mercy the word reached Vṛndāvan before the armies came and you know the major Deities were all taken and hidden very quickly, except for Rādhā–Ramana. Rādhā–Ramana didn’t have to leave Vṛndāvan. Because these were Muslim times and the builders who’d constructed that temple, constructed the Rādhā Ramana temple to look like a house, so when the soldiers, if the soldiers ever came to destroy temples, “Uh! That’s not a temple, that’s a house, let’s move on.” And that’s exactly what happened.
Most of Vṛndāvan’s Deities were moved out of Vṛndāvan, but what became one town’s loss became another town’s gain. Just like when we lose a devotee here amongst us, it’s our loss, but it’s the devotees’ in the spiritual world—it’s their gain. A couple more points. Initially Rādhā and Govinda when They were moved out of that temple, They went to Rādhā Kuṇḍa and They were hidden in a small house in Rādhā Kuṇḍa. Actually, they built kind of a temple inside the house and that spot, where that temple was is still called the Rādhā–Govinda temple. It’s right on the banks of Rādhā Kuṇḍa, we’ll visit there. But it was all very secretive, only a few devotees knew where They were.
When the Muslims became a little suspicious, they might go out there, then They were moved to another town. And after a couple years, They were moved to another town, and then They were moved to another town. All these Deities were moved all around, just to keep Them away from the Muslims who were searching for Them to destroy Them. In those villages there were some villagers—you know they’re like Vaishyas, but there was one called the Jat, they were like warriors really and many of them sacrificed their lives, fighting the Muslims to protect these Vṛndāvan Deities, as the Muslims went searching for Them. So that’s all happening up there in UP, one state, but down here in Rajasthan, this was like a Kṣatriya state, there are many powerful kings and warriors, and they’re always fighting amongst themselves. Very powerful, and one very powerful king down here, he heard this history and he was a devotee of Kṛṣṇa by nature, so he heard that these Deities are hiding and being moved. His name was Jaya Singh. so he thought, “Oh, I’m living here [in] Amer,” he said, “Let me build a city and bring the Deities of Rūpa Gosvāmī—Rādhā Govinda—put Them in my city and protect them from these Muslim invaders.”
Amer Palace is a big palace on the hill, that was where he lived, and that was his city, but he decided to move ship, everything to Jaipur, and he took out the map—this was a desert area, and he drew it. He said, “We’ll put a temple here and my quarters will be here and the businesses will be over here and the Go-śālās will be over here and the streets…” He planned the whole thing and the city was built; there was nobody living here, no Deities and what to do? How to get the Deities here? They’re hiding in some village somewhere. So through his spies, because kings have lots of spies, he learned that Rādhā–Govinda had moved very far South from Vraja, They’d actually come into Rajasthan. There were in one village which is now called appropriately Govindapur. I don’t know exactly how far away, this is maybe a hundred kilometers or something like that but he found out. They were there, so he made a plan that Rādhā Govinda were put in a bullock cart and covered with hay and a sleepy old guy with a big white mustache and a red turban, when he was under the cover of darkness, he’d just be driving his hay to the market in some village nearby one morning, but he’d just keep going and keep going and in the cover of darkness he’d just drive into Jaipur and then yeah—the Deities were here. But it didn’t work exactly like that.
Historians have related how it unfolded, you could actually make—Steven Spielberg could make a wonderful movie about this, the plot is perfect, as is always the case in Kṛṣṇa Consciousness. Everything else, all these other movies are perverted reflections. They could really put on wonders—to satisfy the hearts of all living entities by producing these cinemas about the pastimes of the Lord. So as the bullock cart was moving with a few farmers and a couple of ladies with babies, the word got out to the Muslim patrol, because the Muslim patrols were looking for Hindus not acting properly and they’ve always got an agenda: “If you ever find one of Those Deities, smash it!” Word got out, somehow or other, this is no ordinary bullock cart, that’s no ordinary driver, he’s a devotee, and those are the famous Deities that Aurangzeb wanted to smash. They’re almost at the gates of this big empty city.
This Muslim patrol of soldiers, they came charging down the road to intercept the bullock cart. So the bullock cart driver, he whipped them and the bullocks started running and the dust is coming up and the hay is coming off, and he is charging towards the town and people are up on the ramparts. The town has these walls, it’s called the pink city. The walls are actually saffron, but they say “Pink city” and there are the crowds up there cheering on the bullock cart. The Muslim patrols, with their horses and the soldiers with their swords raised, they’re charging behind and, “Are they going to make it?” The people are [saying], “Jaya! Rādhā–Govinda-Deva!” The Muslims are getting closer and closer. Now it’s morning time, the sun has risen. Everyone is seeing what’s happening. As I said, there’s always a happy ending in Kṛṣṇa Consciousness, so the bullock cart sped through the main gates of the city. They closed the gates, and the Muslim soldiers—they had to stop. Thus there was a big celebration in the city. When Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad-Gītā, “I am adventure,” He really is part of the adventure.
If you have an adventurous spirit, you can also help the Lord in His adventures. So we are part of a great and very glorious history and culture. We can have pride in that. We don’t want to be proud ourselves, but we can be proud of our Deities, we can be proud of their sevā, we can be proud of their service. Our hearts can swell with pride in that way, we’re part of a great spiritual heritage which is ultimately meant to deliver the whole world in Kṛṣṇa Consciousness.
I think if they made a movie like that, most movies people see maybe two or three times and buy the video and they watch it three or four years later. You could watch this video again and again and again and never be satiated. It’s transcendental Līlā. So it’s important to know the history, the philosophy, the mood of pastimes like that so next time or later this evening when we go before Rādhā–Govinda, you’ll look at Him in a different way. How will you look now? You’ll look with transcendental eyes and you’ll appreciate Him much more, because as I mentioned the other day, saintly people see with their ears, not through their eyes.
So it’s hot, it’s getting a little humid, there’s a few flies. It was a long bus ride yesterday, it was many hours, kept stopping, and there wasn’t enough prasādam when we first came, and it was too spicy and you didn’t get the room you wanted, you know. But all these difficulties are all worth it, when you get to sit in this transcendental abode. We’re at the lotus feet of Rādhā–Govinda in the association of so many wonderful devotees having wonderful Kirtans. It’s all worth it. Those things just kind of pass away when you can relish these special moments of your life and being here in a special garden of Śrī-Śrī Rādhā Govinda. We can tolerate those austerities. India is not an easy place, but the holy places make it all worthwhile.
So tolerate the austerities and relish the ecstasy. This beautiful place that we are now, you can say is non-different from Vṛndāvan. And it’s very nicely described in a spiritually poetic way by Śrīla Kṛṣṇadas Kavirāj Gosvāmī. He describes in Caitanya Caritāmṛta: “In a forest of desire trees known as Vṛndāvan is a golden mansion and in its midst is a jeweled throne at the place called Yogapitha. Seated thereupon is Śrī Vrajendra-nandana, Śrī Govinda-Deva, a veritable Cupid incarnate. He is served there as a King, bedecked with divine clothes, ornaments and other paraphernalia. And served incessantly by thousands and thousands and thousands of devotees.”
Śrī-Śrī Rādhā Govinda-Deva ki Jaya!
Śrī Vrajabhumi, Śrī Vṛndāvan-Dhām ki Jaya!
Śrī Jaipur Jaya!
Śrī Jaya Singh ki Jaya!
Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī ki Jaya!
Six Gosvāmīs of Vṛndāvan-Dhām ki Jaya!
Śrīla-Prabhupāda ki Jaya!
Worldwide ISKCON ki Jaya!
Back home, back to Godhead ki Jaya!
Jaya-Jaya Śrī Rādhe……
Jaya-Jaya Śrī Rādhe……
Jaya-Jaya Śrī Rādhe …………….. Govinda!
Thank you very much.