Praying to Daujī
– By HH Śrīla Indradyumna Swami
This is Tālavan, one of the 12 forests. Sometimes the boys would bring the cows to the forest. The little cows would graze on the soft grasses and because you don’t have to watch the cows all the time, the boys would have their pastimes. They would wrestle and would swim in the waters, and they have lunch and they tell jokes and things. And then in the evening, they take the cows back to Nanda Mahārāja’s Go-śālā. But this particular forest, it was all off-limits. The other 11 forests, they can pick and choose, but this forest was off-limits. You couldn’t come here. Just like as a young boy or girl we had the perverted reflection of the Purāṇas, in the forms of Grimm’s Fairy Tales from Germany. We heard these fairy tales. We always heard of these dark dangerous forests in Germany where the witches live and also the half–goblins. We read the stories and were scared, “I will never go there—the dark forest of Germany.” [Laughter]
Similarly the cowherd boys, they would rarely even mention the name–Tālavan because this was the scariest place. Why? Because of Dhenukā. Dhenukā means ass. Dhenukāsura–ass-like demon. This is where he lived, and you just didn’t come here because he was a man-eater. He was not just any ordinary demon, he was a Rākṣasa. He loved eating men and he found that children would be particularly delicious. He loved the little boys; so cowherd boys wouldn’t even in their jokes mention Tālavan, because Dhenukāsura lived there.
One day they were in Mahāvana, which is the next forest over. While in Mahāvana, they were taking rest and a breeze came which carried the sweet smell of the Tāla fruit, which grew on the trees. There were lots of Tāla fruits. Nobody came here to eat them, only the Dhenukāsura and his other ass friends would eat that. But there was so much they couldn’t eat. As the scent came through, the boys woke up, “Mmm, Mmm,” and they wanted some of those fruits. And we will continue the story after the Bhajan [Laughter]. But this is the place where Balarāma killed His first demon. Kṛṣṇa was killing all the demons as before and Balarāma didn’t have a chance. This is a very, very special place, because Balarāma chased a lot of demons, but this was the place He killed His first demon—Dhenukāsura.
Like this, every place in Braja, which of the 60 billion holy places, has its special pastimes and special devotees, special characteristics, special Rasas, special mood. When we come to each of these individual places, we absorb ourselves in all of those specific characteristics of that holy place. Kṛṣṇa is called Manohara, one of His unlimited names. Manohara means who attracts the mind. The yoga process, including Bhakti yoga, means to control the mind. The mind is very restless, slipping off over all these material subject matters and things. We control our mind by fixing it on hearing in Vṛndāvan of the beautiful pastimes of the Lord. This is the best way to control the mind. One day our minds and our hearts will be spontaneously attracted to all these wonderful pastimes of Kṛṣṇa. If we think of them day and night, then in that mood we will eventually follow one of the residents of Vṛndāvan in a particular mood, in a particular service. We will follow that and we will practice that and we become perfected, so in this way we will enter one day into the eternal pastimes in Śrī Vṛndāvan Dhām.
We control our mind also through deity worship, and we are very fortunate that here in Tālavan the presiding deity is Lord Balarāma. You can see Lord Balarāma here; He is in a blackish form. We think about, we always have our deities in ISKCON that are white but throughout Vṛndāvan generally, I see that the deities of Balarāma are also a dark color—black. Here is Balarāma and on His left, all white, is His wife Revatī, His girlfriend.
Balarāma means the source of unlimited strength, unlimited spiritual strength. You can pray to Daujī, Balarāma for unlimited spiritual strength to advance in Kṛṣṇa Consciousness because:
‘daivī hy eṣā guṇa-mayī mama māyā duratyayā’
Even Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa admits that, “This material energy of mine is very difficult to overcome.” By the mercy of Balarāma we can overcome this powerful material energy.
Daujī means older brother, so on Daujī’s left is a little Deity of Kṛṣṇa playing His flute. This is a Kṛṣṇa Balarāma temple, much like the same mood we have in the ISKCON temple in Vṛndāvan. Prabhupāda chose to place Kṛṣṇa Balarāma at the center of our temple, because that is Ramaṇ Reti—the soft sand of Ramaṇ Reti where Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma also have many of Their transcendental pastimes. As I look at the crowd I can see you are becoming veteran Parikramis now. Devotees on Parikramā you all look very seasoned after several weeks: breathing in the dust of Vṛndāvan, walking on the dust, riding on the buses, getting a little sick, still coming out and relishing these pastimes. You look like seasoned Parikramā devotees now. Congratulations!
Do you know how to relish these Parikramās? We just engage in Śravaṇaṁ, Kīrtanaṁ, Kṛṣṇa Smaraṇaṁ—that means by hearing and chanting we absorb ourselves in these Līlās of Kṛṣṇa, which is the essence of Vṛndāvan. Please relish every moment of this day here in the Tālavan forest. As we always do, we enter into the mood through a Kīrtana. Mādhava Prabhu will lead another one of his amazing kīrtanas and bhajans, and then we will have more kathā about Tālavan.
Tomorrow we have changed the schedule a little bit. Again, variety is the spice of life. Tomorrow we are going to Barśānā. You don’t want to miss that one. In Vilasgad, I have asked Śrī Prahlāda to give a lecture on Rādhārāṇī and her pastimes at Barśānā.
The next day actually is Prabhupāda’s disappearance day, but we are going to have a little special program ourselves, like we do as a little family here. So our Parikramā family will be going to the ashram of Durvāsā Muni and speaking the glories of Śrīla Prabhupāda, because it’s a very quiet, clean atmosphere next to Yamunā. I have chosen to take all of you on a boat-ride down to Durvāsā Muni’s ashram. There, we will speak the glories about our beloved Founder-Ācārya Śrīla Prabhupāda.
Not going too far ahead, next we will be going to Yavat and Caturātmā Prabhu will speak about the pastimes of Yavat and then we will walk to the beautiful fields of Vṛndāvan to Tera Kadamba and Ṭhākurāṇī is going to speak about the glories of Rūpa Gosvāmī. The next day we will be going on Govardhan Parikramā again. Haribol!
Girirāja Govardhana Bansi-vala ki–Jaya!
If you want a preview, there is a video up on my Facebook page and YouTube about the first Govardhan–Parikramā there, made by Ananta Vṛndāvan and it got so many–around 20,000–views. The next day is a very sad day, a very sad day–a day for crying only. It’s a break day! [Laughter] No Parikramā. “Kṛṣṇa PAMAGI IIIII…..” [Russian word] [Laughter]. The next day we will be going to Gokula. We can have initiations, first and second and then Baḍa Hari Prabhu will give the initiation lecture. I asked, “Will you do the initiations?” But he said, “No!” [Laughter] I will stop there. There are still five or six more places, but we will just relish all the nectar up until that point. Okay, so let’s have a kīrtana in front of Daujī Kṛṣṇa–more nectar at Tālavan.
I want to mention one of my special friends came from Surat–one of my very best and closest friends in life. I remember when she was just a little girl. Now she is a big girl. Today is her birthday. She has come with family all the way here to Vṛndāvan on her birthday. Her family is coming to my house for a lunch. We are going to have a big chocolate cake for her birthday. So Vṛndā please stand up; give her a big round of applause on her 15th birthday. [Clapping, “Haribol!”]. Happy Birthday, Vṛndā! My gift to you, my prayers, and my blessing to you is that this will be your last birth in the material world and at the end of your life, you will go back to Goloka Vṛndāvan and be a Gopī.