A very beautiful, inspired, and flowing discourse by our Gurudev, Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Deva-Goswami Maharaj, speaking on the divine appearance day of Srila Bhakti Rakshak Sridhar Deva Goswami Maharaj in Soquel, California, 3 November 2007. Continue reading “Divine appearance day of Srila Sridhar Maharaj”
by Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Deva-Goswami Maharaj. Speaking on 16 January 2006 from Sri Nabadwip Dham.
“For two or three days I have been thinking of how I can say this to the devotees: I am trying as possible, and they must also try as possible; but the cheṣṭā, the trying attitude, must be perfect, otherwise we will cheat our own selves.”
We cannot say that we are always expert and firm in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, but we are trying. That is the nature of the Vaiṣṇava. The Vaiṣṇava is always saying, “I want to be a servant of the servant of the servant.” It is necessary to be more and more conscious about this matter. For two or three days I have been thinking of how I can say this to the devotees: I am trying as possible, and they must also try as possible; but the cheṣṭā, the trying attitude, must be perfect, otherwise we will cheat our own selves. This is very exclusive, but important for everyone.
What is religion? This is the first thing. Religion has so many forms, because people have so many natures. Not only humans, but dogs, cows, elephants, lions, tigers, jackals—everyone has some nature, and the jīva-soul is living everywhere. But religion is one for everyone. That is very important to consider.
We cannot get the human body easily.
bahūnāṁ janmanām ante jñānavān māṁ prapadyate
vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti sa mahātmā sudurlabhaḥ
(Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā: 7.19)
Bahūnāṁ janmanām ante: so many births have passed before, and then by sukṛti, by good fortune, by the mercy of the servitors of the Lord, the Vaiṣṇavas, by the mercy of Guru—through so many channels the merciful rain has come to us, and we have got this human body.
There are 400,000 species of humans; but Mahāprabhu said,
bhārata-bhūmite haila manuṣya-janma yāra
janma sārthaka kari’ kara para-upakāra
(Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta: Ādi-līlā, 9.41)
[“One who has taken his birth as a human being in the land of India should make his life successful and work for the benefit of all other people.]
Everywhere in this world there are many species of humans, but that is not sufficient: who has taken birth in Bhārat [India], where the earth is fertile for religion, where the Veda, Vedānta, and Upaniṣads appeared, where āmnāya—the knowledge that descends from the transcendental world through some particular qualified soul—appears, and where God, Lord Kṛṣṇa Himself, appeared in different incarnations; who receives the manuṣya-janma, the human body, here, has more fortune. Mahāprabhu clearly told this to us.
We see that in India there are so many religious ideals: māyāvad, viśiṣṭādvaitavād, Vaiṣṇavism, Madhvāchārya, and so on—so many. Jungle religion, village religion, and city religion take different forms in India, but the pure religious ideal is given in the Vedas, Vedānta, and Upaniṣads, and in a historical form in the Mahābhārata. There is an expression: yā nei Mahābhārate tā nei Bhārate, yata āchhe Mahābhārate sakala-i āchhe Bhārate. “What is not in Mahābhārata, that is not in India, and what is in Mahābhārata, that is all in India.” Then, we can believe that religion is full-fledged in Mahābhārata.
Who has given that to us? We have got some consciousness about different ideals of dharma, religion, but the giver is Vedavyās. Through Vedavyās we have got the knowledge of the Veda, Vedānta, Upaniṣad, and so on. Finally, however, Vedavyās was not happy, because Vedavyās knew, “What I am giving is not palatable for everyone; it is the medicine for sick men, medicine for poor persons, but not medicine for healthy persons.” He did not know how to give this, and for that reason he was very unhappy. “I have given everything. I have given Mahābhārata: inside of that is Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā, and we can say that the gist of Mahābhārata and the gist of knowledge is within Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā. That has also been given.” But it was not given in a full-fledged way. In the battlefield you cannot say how the gopīs played with Kṛṣṇa! He indicated that as it was possible, but he knew it was not sufficient. He was thinking about this and then through telepathy his Gurudev Nārad Goswāmī came in front of him and asked,
“How are you?”
Vedavyās said, “Well, Prabhu, I am just thinking about your lotus feet, because I am not happy. I am not well. Physically I have no disease, but mentally I am unsatisfied.”
And Nārad Goswāmī said, “I understand that. For that reason I have come to see you, to give some nourishment to you.”
“What, Prabhu, you know my situation?”
“Yes, I know!”
jugupsitaṁ dharma-kṛte ’nuśāsataḥ
svabhāva-raktasya mahān vyatikramaḥ
yad-vākyato dharma itītaraḥ sthito
na manyate tasya nivāraṇaṁ janaḥ
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 1.5.15)
[The people in general are naturally inclined to enjoy, and you have encouraged them in that way in the name of religion. This is verily condemned and is quite unreasonable. Because they are guided under your instructions, they will accept such activities in the name of religion and will hardly care for prohibitions.]
“What can I say to you? You have given everything, but it has not properly manifested, and it will not enter into the heart of everyone, because they do not even know where they are living! You need to settle them; they need to stand in their own land, and then you can give them everything else. They have no land, they are refugees here; you have given them some food, some dress, etc. but they have not got proper accommodation.
You have given,
naiṣkarmyam apy achyuta-bhāva-varjitaṁ
na śobhate jñānam alaṁ nirañjanam
kutaḥ punaḥ śaśvad abhadram īśvare
na chārpitaṁ karma yad apy akāraṇam
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 1.5.12)
[Knowledge of self-realisation, even though free from all material affinity, does not look well if devoid of a conception of the Infallible [God]. What, then, is the use of fruitive activities, which are naturally painful from the very beginning and transient by nature, if they are not utilised for the devotional service of the Lord?]
When he received these special teachings from Nārada Goswāmī, Vyāsadev meditated; Nārada had also told him, “I am giving this mantram, this knowledge to you, and if you meditate on it, it will reveal itself to you.” Then Vyāsadev meditated and he saw,
bhakti-yogena manasi samyak praṇihite ’male
apaśyat puruṣaṁ pūrṇaṁ māyāṁ cha tad-apāśrayām
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 1.7.4)
[Thus he fixed his mind, perfectly engaging it by linking it in devotional service [bhakti-yoga] without any tinge of materialism, and thus he saw the Absolute Personality of Godhead along with His external energy, which was under full control.]
Vyāsadev saw the position of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, His paraphernalia, His devotees, His chit-śakti, His jīva-śakti, His māyā-śakti—everything. Then by the grace of his Gurudev Nārada Goswāmī, he composed the Śrīmad Bhāgavat. ‘Composed’ means that he explained what knowledge he received from Nārada Goswāmī. Then he wanted to distribute that knowledge to others, but he considered: previously he gave so much knowledge to everyone, and now he wanted to give something new, some correction, so who, better than him, could present this knowledge? Then he remembered Śukadev. Only that boy, strī-pum-bhidā na tu sutasya vivikta-dṛṣṭeḥ [“who is so pure that he does not distinguish between male and female bodies” SB: 1.4.5], only that boy can give it. Then he searched for his own boy, Śukadev.
Śukadev had forgotten everything. Pariniṣṭhito ‘pi nairguṇye: he was always existing on the platform of transcendental knowledge. But Vedavyās searched for him and gave him that knowledge, and Śukadev Goswāmī distributed that knowledge in Parīkṣit Mahārāj’s assembly; then Sūta Goswāmī spoke that at the meeting of 60,000 ṛṣis. Vedavyās then composed the full history of Kṛṣṇa-līlā, of that divine abode, and so many beautiful things. Vyāsadev collected everything and gave it to Śukadev; Śukadev gave everything; and then Vyāsadev composed everything and gave it to us, in the divine form of Śrīmad Bhāgavat.
Vyāsadev mentioned that Śrīmad Bhāgavat is the divine form of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead: padau yadiyau prathama dvitīyau (“The first and second cantos are His two feet.” —Padma-purāṇa), and so on.
kṛṣṇe sva-dhāmopagate dharma-jñānādibhiḥ saha
kalau naṣṭa dṛśām eṣa purāṇārko ’dhunoditaḥ
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 1.3.43)
[“After Lord Kṛṣṇa departed for His abode along with religious principles and transcendental knowledge, this Purāṇa, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, has arisen like the sun in this Age of Kali to enlighten those who have no spiritual vision.”]
These are all historical matters, which you know already. What I want to say, what I have been thinking about how to present to you all for two or three days—and it is necessary to follow what I shall say now, that will be so important and so good for my friends—that is, dharma, what I started with: what kind of dharma are we practising?
dharmaḥ projjhita-kaitavo ‘tra paramo nirmatsarāṇāṁ satāṁ
[Here, the highest dharma, in which cheating is utterly rejected, is given for the sadhus who are free from envy.]
That religion: we are the practitioners of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, that divine form of religion. That is dharma. Projjhita-kaitavo: we have been given so many explanations from our preceptors, but the main thing we must avoid is kaitava, cheating. And, paramo nirmatsarāṇāṁ satāṁ: we must not be envious. This is the vital point. Paramo nirmatsar: be that kind of sādhu, that kind of practitioner. Envy is very bad.
We are searching for our spiritual life, which is clean from jñāna-karmādy anāvṛtam [the coverings of jñāna and karma]. Ānukūlyena Kṛṣṇānuśīlanaṁ bhaktir uttamā [“The highest type of devotion is cultivated according to Kṛṣṇa’s satisfaction.” Brs: 1.1.11]. We want to worship our Lord with love and affection. With love and affection: this is the very vital point, because otherwise we cannot be engaged fully, and that is necessary. This is the first thing. And the second thing is: do not be envious. It is harmful for our spiritual movement, our spiritual life. It is very harmful and you must avoid that.
You are all very qualified and very clean-hearted personalities, born in the Western world, because you do not know what is what but you have joined by your sukṛti. Your good fortune is behind you, pushing you, and you have joined in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Kṛṣṇa consciousness can reveal everywhere and you have all had this opportunity. But the obstacle is envy, so do not be envious of others, and always be affectionate and loving. Have a ‘loveful’ heart. Mahāprabhu said everyone should be merciful. Jīve doyā, Nāme ruchi, Vaiṣṇava-seva: serve the Vaiṣṇavas, chant the Holy Name of Lord Kṛṣṇa with love and affection, and be merciful to everyone. In this way proceed in the line of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That is the real religion of the jīva-soul.
Vedavyās said it! Projjhita-kaitavo ’tra paramo nirmatsarāṇām. This gives us the opportunity to receive more and more promotion from this environment. We can very easily cross the specific gravity of the illusory environment. Everywhere there is some specific gravity and we can avoid that specific gravity and that illusion.
Dhṛ dhātu man dharma: dharma can hold us and give us firmness. Holding is necessary for any substance. Our position must be substantial, and that will develop if we can practise Kṛṣṇa consciousness with love and affection. Submission is the first condition and that is the launching pad from where we will throw ourselves. That launching pad must be substantial.
‘śraddhā’-śabde — viśvāsa kahe sudṛḍha niścaya
kṛṣṇe bhakti kaile sarva-karma kṛta haya
(Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta: Madhya-līlā, 22.62)
[Sraddha means confident, firm faith that all activity is fulfilled through devotion to Krishna.]
This is necessary.
When I hear that other institutions are getting some joy in the line of preaching Kṛṣṇa consciousness, I feel a joyful heart, and through that I think I have got some more nourishment from this world. Otherwise how is it possible that our Mission is spreading around this world, especially to some of the atheistic countries, like Russia, like Hungary, like China, like Poland?
My days are passing and I see and feel that I will leave very soon. All my friends and family and the devotees of Śrīla Guru Mahārāj are proceeding, but I want them to be very serious about their practising life. Within this religion that they have taken, Mahāprabhu’s three directives are living and they must follow these. There is no other way!
tṛṇād api su-nīchena taror iva sahiṣṇunā
amāninā māna-dena kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ
[“The Lord’s Name is to be always chanted by one who is more humble than a blade of grass, tolerant like a tree, free from desire for respect, and who offers respect to others.”]
Hari-kīrtan is most essential. It is not necessary for us to capture a Ganges full of scriptures in our brain. At present Mahāprabhu has given us Hari-nām.
nāmaikaṁ yasya vāchi smaraṇa-patha-gataṁ śrotra-mūlaṁ gataṁ vā
śuddhaṁ vāśuddha-varṇaṁ vyavahita-rahitaṁ tārayaty eva satyam
[If a devotee once utters the Holy Name of the Lord, or if it penetrates his mind or enters his ear, which is the channel of aural reception, that Holy Name will certainly deliver him from material bondage, whether vibrated properly or improperly, with correct or incorrect grammar, or properly joined or vibrated in separate parts.]
If we proceed with offence then the result will not come quickly, but if we will proceed in our line without offence we will get the result very quickly. Rūpa Goswāmī Prabhu said this. Then we will try as much as possible.
Our religion is Bhāgavat-dharma, Vaiṣṇava-dharma, jaiva-dharma. That is our religion. There are eighty-four hundred thousand species in this world; we are one of those species and we have received a super-chance, because we have the lotus feet of Śrī Chaitanya Mahāprabhu, who is the nondifferent form of Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. At least we heard the name of Śrī Chaitanyadev!
We have this opportunity, and you are present here in Nabadwīp Dhām, so you must try to observe the mood of devotion of Śrī Chaitanya Mahāprabhu, His teachings, His divine mission, and activity.
pṛthivīte āchhe yata nagarādi-grāma
sarvatra prachāra haibe mora nāma
(Śrī Chaitanya-bhāgavat: 4.126)
[“My name will be spread in every town and village in the world.”]
Now that is happening: everywhere, in every country, people are chanting and dancing. When I see the list of our ashrams worldwide I am surprised. You are all so fortunate and great, because Kṛṣṇa Himself has entered into your heart, and He will not leave you. You also cannot leave Him, whatever situation will come in your life. But you must be merciful to everyone and continue your spiritual life.
A radio interview with Sripad Srutasrava Prabhu in Brazil, 2 August 2006.
The practice of Bhakti Yoga is the progress from the beginning stages of devotion to the final stages of pure love of God. Most religious processes advise us that we should love God, which is certainly wonderful advice, but few religious processes tell us how to love God. We have lovers, we have children, we have parents, we have pets, we have friends, we have so many things with whom we exchange affection, so how do we exchange that same affection with God? Love of God is possible, and in what form it’s possible, and how that love will be exchanged, are all encompassed in the teachings of bhakti yoga.
So much more information exists about God and it’s necessary to disseminate that information for the happiness of the people. We’re familiar with the frightening aspects of the omnipotence and omniscience of God, but less with the infinite kindness, beauty, sweetness and beauty of God.
In the Eastern tradition one of God’s infinite names is Krishna. Krishna means all-attractive. Many things in this world attract us: beautiful sunsets and beautiful sunrises, beautiful scenery, beautiful objects, beautiful people. So if we accept the existence of God then he must be infinitely attractive: everything that is attractive must exist in him to an infinite degree.
The practice of Bhakti yoga is to open our heart. It is is the yoga of the heart, so the topmost requirement is to have a heart. It is not dependent on language, country, or culture. It’s for every living entity.
The advancement of bhakti yoga means advancement in the relationship with the supreme being, and someone who has a relationship with the supreme being must naturally become filled with all good qualities.
Suhrit is one Sanskrit word for friend. When someone’s heart is so filled with good feelings towards you that person is called suhrit. Krishna says, “Suhrdam-sarva-bhutanam: I have that feeling towards every living entity.” (Bhagavad-gita, 5.29) And somebody who is developed in the process of bhakti yoga naturally will share that feeling towards every living entity.
In modern society we’re bewildered by the media to believe that our quality of life will come from accumulation but the real quality of life comes from the heart.
The Bhagavat-purana says that the best process for all living entities is that process by which we can develop love for God. What makes that process extremely practical is that it is ahaituki. The meaning of ahaituki is that there is no material cause for this thing. And the other side of that is apratihata: nothing material can stop the progress of bhakti.
Many other processes require some physical, intellectual, or mental ability, but we can practise bhakti in any condition: when we’re up, when we’re down, when we’re rich, when we’re poor, when we’re sick, when we’re well, and that makes it universally applicable. We can practise at all times, in all places, under all circumstances.
Hearing and chanting are the most important practices of bhakti. If we lend a submissive ear to divine sound we will be purified. At the present time, with the use of devices such as cell phones, it is not so difficult to understand the power of sound. We see the power of mundane sound all around us. What about divine sound? Divine sound can transport us to the divine plane. The sweet name of Krishna has come into this world with its own desire to benefit us.
God is not the cause of suffering or misery; he is akhila-rasamrta-murti, the fountainhead of all ecstasy and pleasure. Srnvantu visve amrtasya putrah: we are all children of the nectarean ocean and we are meant to dive deep into that ocean.
Without seeking something spiritual, life comes to zero. In every country there’s an expression, “You can’t take it with you when you go.” Is it possible to get something from life that we can take when we go?
As we develop in consciousness we’ll see the beauty in God, we’ll see that beauty reflected in other living entities, and we’ll realise that He is not for one type of people but he is for everyone.
Srila B.R. Sridhar Deva-Goswami Maharaj discusses the importance of developing a clear and systematic understanding of the nature of reality and the path chalked out by our Gurus.
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In a scrutinising way we are to find the differences between the layers of knowledge. They are, Bhū, Bhuvah, Maha, Jana, Tapa, Satya, Virajā, Brahmaloka, Vaikuṇṭha, Goloka. These are the layers of different position and different planes of charm. Ultimately we are charmed by something and become a slave to that. Everything has got its own specific charm, and we are to compare and to dismiss and accept, eliminate and accept. We are to understand what is the peculiarity of Bhūloka, and then what is Bhuvaloka, Mahaloka, Janaloka, Tapaloka, and Satyaloka within the jurisdiction of exploitation. Gradually exploitation is being lessened, decreased. In Satyaloka there is a slight attraction for pleasure, for exploitation. There is the least exploitation in Satyaloka. There is more concern for the eternal position of the soul, independent of material acquisition and enjoyment. They do not like the enjoyment of these material things; they are more self-sufficient. They are ātmārāma: they find more pleasure in the perception of their own self. Ramanti means the fixed pleasure, and where? In their own soul. More or less they can find the nature of their own soul, and they are satisfied with that. They are ātmārāma, self-satisfied. That is found in Satyaloka mostly. They can realise the position of their own soul, so they have no material body. No exploitation is necessary to preserve this material body, and they are charmed by the beauty of their own soul and more or less engaged there. Ātmārāma: who is finding pleasure in their own self, their eternal self. Then:
ātmārāmāś cha munayo nirgranthā apy urukrame
kurvanty ahaitukīṁ bhaktim ittham-bhūta guṇo hariḥ
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 1.7.10)
[“Those who are self-satisfied and unattracted by external material desires are also attracted to the loving service of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, whose qualities are transcendental and whose activities are wonderful. Hari, the Personality of Godhead, is called Kṛṣṇa because He has such transcendentally attractive features.”]
Those that are self-satisfied, that are found in the last extremity of this exploiting world, who are not dependent on the exploitation of this material world, they have got some charm over their plane, and they find Hari there. Hari is such that can attract the attention of those that are self-satisfied. Ātmārāma is a conception of liberation, liberation from the exploiting tendency of the environment. If they feel attraction for some other thing, then that thing must be superior to the human self; otherwise how is it that the attention of those that are self-content can be drawn to something else? That must be finer. So it is a proof that Hari is not this side of the world, but on the higher side. They feel causeless attraction for Hari. Then the ecstasy which we can get in association with Hari must be of a higher degree than what we find in our own self.
prāyeṇa munayo rājan nivṛttā vidhi-ṣedhataḥ
nairguṇya-sthā ramante sma guṇānukathane hareḥ
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 2.1.7)
[“O King Parīkṣit, mainly the topmost transcendentalists, who are above the regulative principles and restrictions, take pleasure in describing the glories of the Lord.”]
These are the proofs that Hari is not this side, within the natural production, as the Śaṅkarites, māyāvādīs say. It is nirguṇa, it is beyond this world. They do not care for satya, raja, tama [the modes of goodness, passion, and ignorance]. They are posing as such, and still they find satisfaction in the discourse about Hari. So Hari must be on the higher side.
antar-gataḥ sva-vivareṇa chakāra teṣāṁ
saṅkṣobham akṣara-juṣām api chitta-tanvoḥ
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 3.15.43)
The scent of the tulasī which has contact with the holy feet of Nārāyaṇ disturbed these peoples who are ātmārāma, the chatuḥsan [four kumāras], who are self-sufficient, self-satisfied. Their attention is attracted by the sweet scent of the tulasī which has got contact with the holy feet of Nārāyaṇ. That snatched away their attention, so that must have some superior position. In this way it is proved within reason that Vaikunṭḥa is over Brahma, and not this side of Brahma, as the Śaṅkarites, māyāvādīs, argue.
Śukadev also says:
pariniṣṭhito ’pi nairguṇya uttama-śloka-līlayā
gṛhīta-chetā rājarṣe ākhyānaṁ yad adhītavān
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 2.1.9)
“Oh Mahārāj Parīkṣit, you all know that I am well established in nirguṇ Brahma. My position has proved that I am beyond the charm of this mundane world. Cent per cent I have no charm for any material temptation, and still I have some special charm to hear about the līlā of Kṛṣṇa, Vṛndāvan. My attention was forcibly snatched towards that, so that must be on the other side, on the higher side of this world. That is not among the pleasing attractions of this mundane world. This is the sweetness, the elegance, of that Kṛṣṇa-līlā: it is aprākṛta [appearing humanlike, yet divine], it is adhokṣaja, transcendental. This is the proof: that those that have got no charm, the least charm for this mundane pleasure, are reverentially attracted towards those similar things that are very high on the other side of the Brahma, Parabrahma world, and not this mundane world.
Hallucination is dangerous: it may draw our attention to any side and every side. These are the sound calculations towards the transcendental līlā of Kṛṣṇa and we must strictly stick to this sort of judiciousness and judgement. Otherwise we may be misled, misguided. Who is Christ, who is Mohammad, who is Śaṅkara, who is Rāmānuja, and who is Chaitanya? What is their position and what are their subtle differences? We are to measure by these standards of subtle knowledge.
With great scrupulousness and discrimination we are to follow and examine all these specialties of these different layers or planes of existence. Otherwise, puzzled and perplexed, we shall accept anything and everything in the name of anything and everything, We must make a strong, systematic, study, and the differences between the different layers of thought must be very accurately understood, improved, and followed. Otherwise we are in danger. At any moment anyone may say, “Oh I have finished all these things, it is all nothing! What Charvak says, that is well and good.” This reaction may come.
Generally, we must try to understand the nature of three planes: the plane of exploitation, the plane of renunciation, and the plane of dedication. Then we are to calculate. If you understand the proper evaluation of these planes in general, then in fine points you can also try to calculate how much renunciation, how much exploitation, how much dedication is mixed with it, and then make an evaluation. We must be well versed in the intrinsic knowledge of these three planes first, and then understand the gradation, and how the development is possible, in a mathematical way. Then we cannot be removed from our present fixed position. Otherwise, if we are uncertain, anyone may try to convince us and we will fall prey to their whimsical representation. No stability: today I am a Chaitanyite, the other day I am a Śaṅkarite, the other day I am a Buddhist, another day a Muslim, and another day I am an atheist.
His Divine Grace speaking on the day before Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj’s appearance day in 1988, just a few months after his departure from this world.
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dhyāyech chhrī-guru-pāda-padma-nikaṭe sevotsukañ chātmanaḥ
I am ever-ready to carry out the order of Srila Guru Maharaj. This is my position. This is my dhyan, meditation. What meditation shall we do before worship? This type of meditation. My svarup, my form, is very nice: with a clean and pure heart I am always waiting beside Srila Gurudev for his order. This is my svarup.
vimalatāṁ nityaṁ vahantīṁ tanuṁ
dhyāyech chhrī-guru-pāda-padma-nikaṭe sevotsukañ chātmanaḥ
এইভাবেতে সেবা করার বিধি শাস্ত্র এইটা বলেছেন । [In this way the scriptures have stated the rule for engaging in service.] In this way we can worship the Deities or do anything ordered by our Sri Gurudev.
Tomorrow is a very auspicious day. We have come here from so far for worshipping our beloved Srila Guru Maharaj. It is necessary to make ourselves ready in this way: “I can do everything for my Gurudev; I am ever-ready to carry out whatever order he may give.” This mentality gives us our destiny.
এ রকম মনোভাবই আমাদেরকে ভগবানের সেবার দিকে টেনে নিয়ে যেতে পারে । নিজের ধ্যানটা ভূতশুদ্ধিটা সেইটি হচ্ছে গিয়ে সর্ব্বাগ্রে দারকার । এই ভূতশুদ্ধি করতে গেলে যে preparation-এর দারকার হয় সে preparation আমাদের গুরু মহারাজ পরম কৃপা করে প্রথম থেকে আমাদেরকে জানিয়ে দিয়েচ্ছেন । সেইটা কি ? সেইটা হচ্ছে গিয়ে first preparation হচ্ছে গিয়ে শরণাগতি: surrendering mood, not challenging mood । আমরা গুরু মহারাজকে সাক্ষাৎ ভাবেতে যেটা দেখি সেটা কিন্তু তাঁর শুদ্ধ স্বরূপ আমরা অনুভব করতে পারি মুখে বলে যতই বলে না কেন যে,
[This type of mentality can lead us to the Lord’s service. Self-meditation, self-purification (bhuta-suddhi), is first of all necessary. Our Guru Maharaj most mercifully taught us from the beginning the preparation that is necessary when we go to perform such self-purification. What is that? That first preparation is saranagati, the mood of surrender, and not the mood of challenge. What we see directly of our Guru Maharaj is him, but we cannot perceive his pure form, regardless of whatever we may say or not.]
uktas tathā bhāvyata eva sadbhiḥ
kintu prabhor yaḥ priya eva tasya
vande guroḥ śrī-charaṇāravindam
Bhagavan Himself has come very mercifully in this world in the form of my Gurudev. If I can take this conception closely in my heart, then I must be satisfied and successful.
Tomorrow we want to worship our Guru Maharaj, but for that we must peform bhuta-suddhi (self-purification), and then we can properly worship our Guru Maharaj. How is it possible? By the grace of Guru Maharaj, we have got so many books, we have got so many instructions from our Guru Maharaj’s tapes, and we have the living source of Guru Maharaj, the devotees who are always engaged twenty-four hours a day worshipping according to Guru Maharaj’s order. We can have some association, and we can understand and properly worship our Guru Maharaj in this way.
Srila Guru Maharaj wants to offer us to his worshippable beloved Gurudev, and in that way everything goes to the service of Sri Sri Radha-Krishna. But if we cannot maintain saranagati properly, then we also cannot worship Sri Gurudev properly. In the Gaudiya sampradaya we can see the highest example of saranagati, the surrendering mood. Before Mahaprabhu, we can also find the proper saranagati mood in the Ramanuja sampradaya. We can see that saranagati is very exalted there, and our Guru Maharaj quoted many slokas of the Acharyas of the Ramanuja sampradaya, like Yamuna Acharya and Kulasekhar Acharya, in the Prapanna-jivanamrtam scripture. Srila Thakur Bhakti Vinod also included their expressions about saranagati in his songs.
In Srimad Bhagavad-gita (18.66), Bhagavan Sri Krishna has glorified saranagati and given us super hope with the verse,
sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja
[“Abandon all duties and surrender to Me.”]
yat karoṣi yad aśnāsi yaj juhoṣi dadāsi yat
yat tapasyasi kaunteya tat kuruṣva mad-arpaṇam
(Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā: 9.27)
[“Whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you sacrifice, whatever you give away, and whatever austerity you perform, do that as an offering to Me.”]
Saranagati is the highest thing in our life. Guru Maharaj always told us, “If you can surrender yourself properly, you must get the feelings and seva of your worshippable Deities. Then it is necessary to think today that we must make some preparation for worshipping our Guru Maharaj, and we can do that by being ready to carry out his order. The only thing that he wants is the spreading of Krishna consciousness all over the world. We can also attain our auspicious fortune if we try to fulfil his order and serve him through his paraphernalia present here in Nabadwip Dham, Koladwip. We must be the gainer.
When Guru Maharaj was present, the final result of all the service in the Math would come to me. The devotees would report something had happened, and Guru Maharaj would think, “Govinda Maharaj has done it.” When I would express that I had not done it, but it was done by Hari Charan Prabhu, or Krishna Saran Prabhu, or another devotee, Guru Maharaj would say, “Oh yes, yes, you have done it!”
In this way I was sometimes very fortunate, and sometimes I was very unhappy. Another devotee did so much, but the pratishtha, the fame, would come to me. At that time I could not understand that Guru Maharaj had one line, and he wanted everything to go through me: “If Govinda Maharaj said it is okay, then it is okay.” If any devotee wanted to start something, Guru Maharaj would tell them, “Ask Govinda Maharaj.”
In this way Srila Guru Maharaj gave me an opportunity to do some seva, but at that time I was not fully conscious because I felt that Guru Maharaj was doing everything and we were his instruments. Now a heavy duty has come to us; we cannot say anything wrong now. At that time everything we said was right; everything belongs to Krishna, and everything was going to Guru Maharaj, and he would manage everything. He was my caretaker and everyone’s caretaker.
We had no fear at that time, but now we must be very conscious about our position in our transcendental Krishna conscious practising life. This is necessary, and we think that it is for this reason that Guru Maharaj disappeared. If Guru Maharaj is always present in front of us, then we are always depending on Guru Maharaj. Now Guru Maharaj wants to hiddenly see our activities. This is the thinking that has come to me now. Guru Maharaj gave me some charge, and he wants to see what I am doing now, and what is my progress report. This is not only for myself, but it is for everybody. He wants to know what our progress report is. He is hiddenly waiting.
If we can see Guru Maharaj properly, then we can see that he is present everywhere, in the form of his devotees, in form of his disciples, in form of his paraphernalia, and also in the form of my disciples. In this way he is looking to see how my progress report is going. This is the feeling coming to us in the absence of Guru Maharaj, and I think that it is a very correct and good symptom.
Good symptoms must come to us. It is very hopeful. Guru Maharaj was always in Krishna consciousness and Krishna Himself came for our benefit in the form of Guru Maharaj, but his whole life he practised Krishna consciousness in order to teach us. Then, when we were not fully conscious, he disappeared, and he wants to see what we learned from him. He left many things for our practising of Krishna consciousness. One thing is enough for us, but he has done many things for our devotional life. It is necessary to go forward very consciously now.
Guru Maharaj is always with us. When I was feeling very great separation from Guru Maharaj, the news came that the London Math was in some trouble. The London Math was Guru Maharaj’s Math: he did not claim any Math, but his Guru Maharaj ordered him to preach in London, so when an opportunity came for a centre in London, he thought, “This is my place; something must be there in my name.” In this way he felt, “The London Math in my Math.” Then when some difficulty came there, my mind was diverted from feelings of separation to the London Math. I could understand that this was Guru Maharaj’s policy: when I was feeling the deepest separation, I could not do anything and was only thinking, “Guru Maharaj is not here, Guru Maharaj is not here!” At that time Guru Maharaj said, “Guru Maharaj is not here? Guru Maharaj is always with you all. You think for seva.” Then Guru Maharaj created that seva. If we have this vision, then we can see everything as the mercy of our Guru Maharaj.
Guru Maharaj has given so many engagements to us. We are trying to fulfil his desire in Chaitanya Saraswat Math, in the Kolkata Math, in the Hapaniya Math, in the Puri Math, and now he has given us another duty for his Union in Separation Temple, his Samadhi Mandir. In this way Guru Maharaj is trying to develop our faith, and our transcendental thinking and practising life. He wants it to grow, and it must grow in this way. We are so fortunate if we can see the mercy of our Guru Maharaj in this way.
We have puppy brains: our nature is that we begin practising Krishna consciousness very fast, and then immediately come back and go in another direction. This is the position of our minds. From that position Guru Maharaj wants to take us for his seva and for our destiny, and for that reason he has given us his separation; but through his paraphernalia, through his Deity, through his disciples, and through his godbrothers, we can always feel union with him. If we try to see properly, then we can see this by the grace of our Guru Maharaj.
vāñchha-kalpa-tarubhyaś cha kṛpā-sindhubhya eva cha
patitānāṁ pāvanebhyo vaiṣṇavebhyo namo namaḥ
Spoken on 31 October 1988.
divyaṁ śrī-hari-mandirāḍhya-tilakaṁ kaṇṭhaṁ sumālānvitaṁ
vakṣaḥ śrī-hari-nāma-varṇa-subhagaṁ śrī-khaṇḍa-liptaṁ punaḥ
pūtaṁ sūkṣma-navāmbaraṁ vimalatāṁ nityaṁ vahantīṁ tanuṁ
dhyāyech chhrī-guru-pāda-padma-nikaṭe sevotsukañ chātmanaḥ
“Meditate that the Lord’s Temple (your body) is decorated with shining tilak, your neck bears a beautiful tulasī-mālā, your chest is adorned with the Names of Śrī Hari and sandalwood paste, you are wearing fine, new, clean cloth, and in your pure, eternal form, you are at the lotus feet of Śrī Guru, eager for service.”
A complete transcript and audio file of this talk can be found here
Why do we chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahāmantra? We cannot chant, but if I say you cannot chant, you will be hopeless. If you see one śloka then you will understand what you can do and what you cannot do. This is the vital and main śloka about Harinām-saṅkīrtan:
ataḥ śrī-kṛṣṇa-nāmādi na bhaved grāhyam indriyaiḥ
sevonmukhe hi jihvādau svayam eva sphuraty adaḥ
(Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu: Pūva-vibhāga, 2.234)
[“Although Kṛṣṇa’s Name, Form, Qualities, and Pastimes cannot be grasped by the material senses, through the spirit of dedication they manifest themselves on the tongue and to the other senses.”]
You cannot chant, because your tongue, your lips, and your body is mundane. Nāmādi means Nāma, Rūpa, Gūṇa, Līlā—Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s Name, Form, Qualities, and Pastimes: They are all transcendental, and your tongue is mundane. Nām nāmī abheda, Kṛṣṇa-nām and Kṛṣṇa are nondifferent: Kṛṣṇa is transcendental and Kṛṣṇa-nām is transcendental. This śloka mentions, na bhaved grāhyam indriyaiḥ: indriyaiḥ means senses. Pañcha indriyaiḥ are the five senses: eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and skin. Through these five senses you cannot contact the Name. Then how will you chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahāmantra, can you tell me? You are chanting, ‘Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Hare Hare‘ through your tongue, and your tongue is mundane, but Kṛṣṇa is transcendental and Harinām is nondifferent from Kṛṣṇa. Na bhaved grāhyam indriyaiḥ: and the scriptures say that you cannot chant, because you have no transcendental tongue. You can immediately understand through this śloka that you cannot chant.
Then what will you do? Will you stop chanting? What is the solution? Sevonmukhe hi jihvādau Svayam eva sphuraty adaḥ: you do sevā, and chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa is also one kind of sevā, because that order was given by your Guru. If you do sevā of Hari-nām in this way, then Hari-nām will appear in your heart. Then, as much as possible, you must try to chant. This is the main thing.
prabhu kahena, —’kṛṣṇa-sevā’, ‘vaiṣṇava-sevana’
‘nirantara kara kṛṣṇa-nāma-saṅkīrtana
(Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta: Madhya-līlā, 15.104)
Mahāprabhu said, “Service to the Vaiṣṇava, service to Guru, can give you that transcendental form, and through that you can chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahāmantra.” Then, it is first necessary to give your service to Guru–Vaiṣṇava, and through that you will get everything. Your form will become transcendental.
We also see in the scriptures, in Chaitanya-charitāmṛta,
dīkṣā-kāle bhakta kare ātma-samarpaṇa
sei-kāle kṛṣṇa tāre kare ātma-sama
sei deha kare tāra chid-ānanda-maya
aprākṛta-dehe tā̐ṅra charaṇa bhajaya
(Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta: Antya-līlā, 4.192-193)
[“At the time of initiation, when a devotee fully surrenders unto the service of the Lord, Kṛṣṇa accepts them to be as good as Himself. “When the devotee’s body is thus transformed into spiritual existence, the devotee, in that transcendental body, renders service to the lotus feet of the Lord.”]
Then, nobody has received initiation from their Guru: the meaning can come this way. Dīkṣā-kāle bhakta kare ātma-samarpaṇa: when you take initiation from your Gurudev you surrender, ātma-samarpaṇa, and immediately Kṛṣṇa in the form of your Guru takes you and makes your body transcendental, and through that transcendental body you can worship Kṛṣṇa. This is the meaning.
Where is that consciousness? Everything depends upon the mood of service. You can chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, but service is essential for Guru–Vaiṣṇava and Harinām, and service to Guru–Vaiṣṇava is more essential and more effective. Where is the proof for that?
In the scriptures we can see that Kṛṣṇa Himself said,
ye me bhakta-janāḥ pārtha na me bhaktāś cha te janāḥ
mad-bhaktānāṁ cha ye bhaktās te me bhaktatamā matāḥ
“Who is My devotee may not be My devotee, but who is My devotee’s devotee must be My devotee. They are My devotee, I have no doubt. Ye Me bhakta-janāḥ Pārtha na Me bhaktāś cha te janāḥ: who is My devotee is not really My devotee, but who is My devotee’s devotee, they are My devotee, of that I am two hundred percent sure.”
Why is Kṛṣṇa saying that? Kṛṣṇa wants to satisfy His devotee. That is, the devotee is twenty-four hours a day trying to give satisfaction to Kṛṣṇa through their service. That is the nature of the devotee, and Kṛṣṇa naturally wants to give return to them. The rules in the mundane and transcendental world are the same: to every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. When Kṛṣṇa will take, Kṛṣṇa must give return; Kṛṣṇa will not digest that. But how will Kṛṣṇa give return to His devotee? The devotee is engaged twenty-four hours for the service of Kṛṣṇa Himself, and so Kṛṣṇa does not get a chance to give return to His devotee. Automatically Kṛṣṇa is feeling indebted to His devotee, and so He is in a hopeless position, “They are giving so much, they are giving all to Me, and I cannot give anything in return to them.” And what He is trying to give in return, that is coming in a double way return to Kṛṣṇa. So, who is serving the devotee of Kṛṣṇa gets the chance to serve Kṛṣṇa in that way, and Kṛṣṇa gives much encouragement to the devotee’s devotee, “Oh, what I cannot do, you can do that! Then really you are doing My job. What I want to do, you are doing that. Then I am your slave.”
Na pāraye ‘haṁ niravadya-saṁyujāṁ, this śloka is in Śrīmad Bhāgavat (10.32.22), and if you discuss it, then you can understand this immediately: here Kṛṣṇa Himself says, “I cannot repay My debt to My devotee. But My devotee’s devotee is always serving My devotee. Then service to Harinām, service to the devotee’s devotee, is very essential, and Prabhupād Saraswatī Ṭhākur organised that in a very broad way. Saraswatī Ṭhākur gave much attention for the service to Vaiṣṇava, for the service to Guru.
Etat sarvaṁ gurau bhaktyā puruṣo hy añjasā jayet (“Everything can be automatically done if one engages in the service of the spiritual master with faith and devotion.). This is in Śrīmad Bhāgavat, and also:
tasmād guruṁ prapadyeta jijñāsuḥ śreyah uttamam
śābde pare cha niṣṇātaṁ brahmaṇy upaśamāśrayam
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 11.3.21)
[“Therefore (because there is no lasting fulfilment in the material world), those who are in search of the highest good should surrender to a Guru who is adept in Sabda-brahma (revelations of the Divine, the scriptures) and Parabrahma (direct experience of the Divinity), and who is an abode of tranquility (unaffected by anger, greed, etc.).”]
tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum evābhigachchhet
samit-pāniḥ śrotriyaṁ brahma-niṣṭham
[“To understand these things properly, one must humbly approach, with firewood in hand, a spiritual master who is learned in the Vedas and firmly devoted to the Absolute Truth.”]
Through that sevā we can chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahāmantra. There is no other way.
We cannot stop to chant, however: that is also one kind of sevā. You can do sevā through your hand and through your mind, but you can chant Hare Kṛṣṇa everywhere and all the time. Also, if you do not follow some minimum rules and regulations, then you will forget the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahāmantra, and the tulasī beads will fast every day. You will try to make some excuse, “Oho, I cannot chant today because I have so much sevā!” For that reason Guru Mahārāj said, “You can chant a minimum of four rounds.”
Srila B.S. Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj, speaking in Miami, USA, on 16 July 1992 during His Divine Grace’s first world tour.
This excerpt is in response to the following question:
Devotee: I would like to hear something from your lotus lips on a controversial topic: it is said that Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākur asked his disciples to chant sixty-four rounds, and then sometimes we heard that it was down to thirty-two. Then our Swāmī Mahārāj Prabhupād said you should try to chant at least sixteen rounds. Now you are saying a minimum of four rounds. And I can see that these rules of the chanting is one thing, but you are stressing love and affection; not ignoring the rules, but indicating something above the rules. Maybe you can give us some understanding on how this all can be harmonised.
A complete transcript and audio file of this talk can be found here
An audio file and full transcript of this talk can be found here.
Devotee: You told us an example of Gaura Kiśor Dās Bābājī, about the pregnant woman and a woman who’s not really pregnant but just imitating.
Śrīla Śrīdhar Mahārāj: Imitation. Imitation is not realisation. We are to know it as a general thing that imitation, the outward imitation, is not proper realisation. One who takes the dress of a sannyāsī is not a real sannyāsī, but it is a mockery. That is rather offensive: to take a particular position without having realised it. If I take the dress of a king or a police officer I will be punished. If I take the dress of a police officer or anyone else to deceive the public I should be punished. In the spiritual world no such punishment is seen from this plane, but punishment asserts there on the higher plane. But now there are agents who make us careful about the imitationists: “Don’t mix with them. Try to understand what is the real symptom of a real thing. Don’t approach the sham, the adulterated goods. Don’t approach to purchase the adulterated things. All that glitters is not gold. Glittering is not the only qualification of gold, there’s something more.” Something like that. Do you follow?
Śrīla Śrīdhar Mahārāj: It is a general thing, but it is very difficult to understand the highly valued things. There is every possibility of there being imitation. Imitation comes in the market, why? To get more money. Highly valued things will have most, greater imitation; and the imitationists are more dangerous than the ordinary exploitationist.
You know of the Rāma Rāvaṇ Yuddha [battle between Lord Ramachandra and the demon Ravan]? Have any of you heard of Mahirāvaṇ? When Rāma was engaged in fighting with Rāvaṇ in Laṅkā, many of the heroes of the Rāvaṇ group had been killed, and then Rāvaṇ, disappointed, remembered that one of his sons was living underground in the lower world, a subterranean world. The son, Mahirāvaṇ, was informed of his father’s desire and he came to see Rāvaṇ and heard, “So many things have happened. Almost all the stalwarts are killed in the battle with Rāma.”
After hearing everything, Mahirāvaṇ also went to advise Rāvaṇ, “Why have you engaged yourself in this unfortunate battle? There is still time. You may be saved if you respectfully return Sītā Devī, His beloved wife, the only wife He has got. Generally the kings have got any number of wives, but He has got only one wife. How beloved She is to Him, and you have taken Her. It is very deplorable, father. You give Her back to Rāma and make a truce with Him.”
But Rāvaṇ was enraged, “What do you know? I have called you only to help me, not to instruct me.”
“Then of course, if you desire so, I am ready to sacrifice my life.” Mahirāvaṇ was a highly qualified magician and he planned to carry Rāma-Lakṣmaṇ to his subterranean palace.
Vibhiṣan, the brother who had sided with Rāmachandra, cautioned Rāma: “The most dangerous mystic hypnotist, magician, a son of Rāvaṇ, has come, and something inconceivable is going to happen. You, Hanumān, Sugriva, keep Rāma-Lakṣmaṇ in a very guarded position. I suppose he will try his best to steal Rāma-Lakṣmaṇ from our midst. I think his plan will be such, so guard Them in every way, especially in the night when They will sleep.”
Then with Hanumān they constructed a temporary room and Hanumān was guarding: he was on night guard always.
And Vibhiṣaṇ was surveying the whole battle position of the army and patrolling, and now and then coming: “Hanumān, are you ready? None have entered?”
“Yes. Some came to enter. One came in the form of Kauśalyā, Rāma’s mother: ‘I can’t see Rāmachandra. I can’t keep my life any more. Please show my affectionate son, Rāma.’ In this way I dismissed her: ‘No. Where has Kauśalyā been for so long, and only today you have come? I don’t believe in you.’ Then someone came as Rāmachandra’s father-in-law, Janaka; and in this, that, in so many forms.”
“Be very careful, even if your father comes don’t allow him to enter. Guard very strictly.” In this way Vibhiṣaṇ was warning, and patrolling the whole position.
Then, when so many had attempts failed, that Mahirāvaṇ had a new plan. He took the figure of Vibhiṣaṇ himself, and came, “Hanumān, are you looking very carefully? Very careful you should remain. If your father himself comes don’t allow him to enter.”
“But are They safe? Are you sure?”
“Yes, They are safe.”
“Let me go inside and see whether They are in safe order or not.”
Hanumān thought, “Vibhiṣaṇ is my guide. He told about this mischievous plan and he is the most interested person.” He allowed him to enter.
Then Vibhiṣaṇ again came in his patrol, “Hanumān, are you alert?”
“What is this? Just a minute ago you entered the room and told—”
“Oh, we are finished, Hanumān, finished!” They went: no Rāma-Lakṣmaṇ there. “The demon has taken away those sleeping masters of ours. What to do, Hanuman? But there is the door, there is a hole, and if you can go there, there is a subterranean town.” And Hanumān went, and there is a story how he killed that demon and took out Rāma-Lakṣmaṇ on his shoulders here.
That Vibhiṣaṇ’s imitation: we want to aspire after the highest thing, but if imitation is there, what loss can be effected on us, on our fortune. So we must be careful about the imitation. And Bābājī Mahārāj has warned in a plain way that śuddha-bhakti is very rare, it is not very cheap. What we have come after by our inconceivable great fortune, it is not so cheap. We must try to follow, to be acquainted with the steps: Bhūr, Bhuvar, Svar, Maha, Jana, Tapa, Satya, Virajā, Brahmaloka; then Vaikuṇṭha, Paravyoma, then Goloka, in this way. We must not omit the steps, and must try to know something about the nature of those steps. Then, when the sound is coming we can recognise, “Oh, it must have come from that plane: it is a vibration which can only be produced from that plane.” In this way we must acquaint ourselves. The Name, the mantram, it may be everywhere, even in a book you can find, but why the sound comes from a Guru? Who is living in that plane, the sound of that plane will come from them, and that will come within us and awaken us. Just as with homoeopathic globules, externally they are all one and the same, but, nāmākṣara bahiraya batu nāma kabhu naya (“The Name does not appear within the letters of the Name”—Prema-vivarta). The meaning must have such depth which when it will exert, it will take me to Goloka.
brahmāṇḍa brahmite kona bhāgyavān jīva,
guru-kṛṣṇa-prasāde pāya bhakti-latā-bīja
[“Wandering throughout the material universe, the very fortunate living entity who receives the grace of Guru and Kṛṣṇa receives the seed of the creeper of devotional service.”]
mālī hañā kare sei bīja āropaṇa,
śravaṇa-kīrttana-jale karaye sechana
[“When a person receives the seed of devotional service, he should take care of it by becoming a gardener and sowing the seed in his heart. If he waters the seed gradually by the process of śravaṇ and kīrtan, the seed will begin to sprout.”]
upajiyā bāḍe latā ‘brahmāṇḍa’ bhedi’ yāya
Bhūr, Bhuvar, Svar, Mahar, Janar, Tapar, Satyaloka, brahmāṇḍa.
virajā,’ ‘brahmaloka,’ bhedi’ ‘paravyoma’ pāya
Vaikuṇṭha Paravyom, Nārāyaṇ’s domain.
tabe yāya tad upari ‘goloka-vṛndāvana’,
‘kṛṣṇa-charaṇa’-kalpavṛkṣe kare ārohana
(Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta, Madhya-līlā, 19.151–4)
[“The creeper of devotion is born, and grows to pierce the wall of the universe. It crosses the Virajā River and the Brahman plane, and reaches to the Vaikuṇṭha plane. Then it grows further up to Goloka Vṛndāvan, finally reaching to embrace the wish-yielding tree of Kṛṣṇa’s Lotus Feet.”]
The creeper of devotion will grow and pierce through the different planes, atmosphere, and go direct to Kṛṣṇa-pāda-padma, Kṛṣṇa conception of Godhead, and there it will take its place and that will surround him. His holy feet, generally, at His feet means His own paraphernalia. And gradually Kṛṣṇa will locate him in a proper serving school and then give him engagement fully in His holy service. That is sambandha-jñāna.
Sambandha, abhidheya, prayojana: in three groups we are to understand the thing. Sambandha: place, purpose, position, all these things; and destination, prayojana; and abhidheya means the means to attain the goal. We are to understand under these three heads. Sambandha-jñāna, and prayojan, and abhidheya: under these three classifications we are to understand, we are to realise the nature of the whole thing which we aspire after.
Spoken by our Param Gurudev Srila B.R. Sridhar Deva-Goswami in Sri Nabadwip Dham, on 9 January 1982.
Srila Gurudev speaking on the first day of Kartik, 14 October 1989.
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It is my duty to serve the devotees. I can do that properly or improperly, but I must try to serve. Service is our life. Without service we cannot maintain our spiritual life. Srila Guru Maharaj gave us that responsibility, and then he disappeared. ‘Disappeared’ means that he is present within us, looking to see what we will do, if we will wholeheartedly try to maintain our spiritual life and try to practise proper Krishna consciousness. In the scriptures we can see many things for practising Krishna consciousness and one of the most valuable things is this month of Kartik. During this time we will try to closely engage ourselves twenty-four hours a day with our service and the program as given in the scriptures.
This month is called niyam-seva, which means that we will try to serve Kartiki Devi, and Damodar Sri Krishna and Radharani with their associates and paraphernalia with rules and regulations. This month is also called Damodar-vrata. We will try to offer one month of regular service to Guru Gauranga Gandharva Govindasundar, with time to time bhoga, time to time worshipping, and taking our prasad in a regulated way.
śrāvaṇe varjayech chākaṁ dadhi bhādrapade tathā
dugdham āśvayuje māsi kārttike chāmiṣaṁ tyajet
(Sri Hari-Bhakti-Vilasa 117.15, from Skanda Purana, Nagara Khanda)
[(While following chaturmasya) one should give up eating leafy vegetables in the month of Sravana (July-August). In the month of Bhadrapada (August-September), one should give up yogurt. In the month of Asvina (September-October) one should give up milk and in the month of Kartika (October-November), one should give up eating white dal.]
These are the rules of chaturmasya very shortly, but in Kartik month there are some special regular worshipping instructions in the scriptures, and you know that: we must wake up at 4 o’clock, 4.15 we start the arati, kirtan, bhajan, parikrama, etc. And we must regulate our principal diet, prasadam. Without prasad the devotee is not taking anything, but that is also regulated this month. But what is the regulation for? It is because the devotee does not want to spend much time for themselves: they mix dal and vegetables in a pot, boil, they are offering to the Deity and taking that. If we can maintain this nicely for the whole month it is very good, but our service to Guru and Gauranga and also Radha Govindasundar is always leading us and so sometimes we cannot properly maintain the whole month; and also in raga-marg that is excusable. But when something is excusable then always we want an excuse from the Deity, and that is not good. We shall try our best, but if it is not possible then it will be excusable.
In niyam-seva mas, the month of niyam-seva, we will always remember Damodardeva, Krishna, and the service of Radharani. The higher devotees are especially remembering the asta-kaliya-seva this month. The higher devotees are always remembering and trying to serve that way, but in this month they are especially trying to remember. And we heard from Srila Guru Maharaj that in his last days Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur spent this month in Jagannath Puri and every day would hear the asta-kaliya-lila. That is for the higher devotees, not the ordinary devotees like ourselves. Our duty will always be what Guru Maharaj wants, in that way.
We can only see twenty-four hours engagement in spiritual life in Vaishnavism. They have no other engagement: they are always trying to serve the Lord and the associates of the Lord and also the Vaishnavas. Mahaprabhu gave a very simple instruction to us: anything you do, you must do with Krishna-sankirtan, with the mahamantra, and that seva will be fulfilled.
We can also see in the vidhi-marg that when we are doing sacrifice, a fire sacrifice or another program in vidhi-marg, then lastly we are praying this way:
yadāsaṅga kriyā karma jānatā vāpy ajānatā
pūrṇaṁ bhavatu tat sarvaṁ śrī-harer nāma-kīrtanāt
[May whatever offences I have knowingly or unknowingly committed be completely absolved by chanting the Holy Names of the Lord.]
“I do not know whether I have done this properly or not, but it must be fruitful if I chant the Hare Krishna mahamantra.” And the priest, or whoever is doing the sacrifice, will lastly chant the Hare Krishna mahamantra and then consider that it is fully satisfied. Everything that we do, we will do with Krishna Nam-sankirtan.
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
With this mantram whatever we do will be fulfilled and satisfying to Krishna and Guru–Gauranga.
We are conditioned souls, and so our practice will start from a lower stage and go to a higher stage. This month, however, gives us the special facility to follow the higher devotees’ program. We are praying and we are chanting many things in this month: Radharani’s glorification, Krishna’s glorification, the glorification of Guru Gauranga, etc. The way in which the higher devotees are worshipping Radha–Krishna, we are singing that during this month. We are chanting the songs that Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur wrote that are related to this month. We are not always singing this song Radhe jaya jaya Madhava dayite, or Deva bhavantam vande, but in this month we are getting that facility, by the blessings of Guru, Vaishnava and Bhagavan. There are also many hidden lila of Radha–Krishna, which in this month we are getting a chance to chant. When we are getting the chance we must be cautious about that, otherwise sahajiyaism can attack us. Sahajiyas are always singing about Radha–Krishna lila; they are not very interested to sing the Vaishnava prayers, and are only interested to sing the Radha–Krishna lila, but that is pushing them to hell, not to heaven. In this way Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur preached to all the conditioned souls, “If you want to try to follow proper Vaishnavism, you must follow a good Vaishnava who is practising properly according to the guidelines of Vaishnavism. We cannot ignore the vidhi-marg, and ignoring the vidhi-marg is not good for the conditioned souls; but when the conditioned souls by blessings and mercy have fortunately received the qualification to worship the higher Vaishnavism, then they are doing that; and this month is giving that chance, to see and cautiously follow that higher Vaishnavism.
We must try to follow the vidhi, but Krishna’s nature is that he wants to break the vidhi, and this play goes on between the devotee and Krishna. In this mundane world that shadow is going: somebody wants to maintain vidhi-marg, and somebody wants to break that vidhi-marg. Krishna’s nature is that he always likes the raga-marg and he is the worshippable Deity of raga-marg. He doesn’t say “Don’t follow the vidhi”; Krishna is always telling “Follow the vidhi-marg”, but showing the raga-marg. For the conditioned souls it is very helpful to follow the vidhi-marg, but if we engage ourselves in vidhi-marg that may close our raga-marg future. Then, we shall follow our Guru and Mahaprabhu’s real followers, and then our activity must be perfect.
From this day we will start continuously worshipping and offering bhoga under our guardian, and guardian’s rules for worship to Guru Gauranga Radha Govindasundar and we shall cautiously maintain the proper intensity for that. After seven days Guru Maharaj’s appearance day is coming and we are expecting many devotees will come. We shall try to do some program every day.
This is the starting day of Kartik-vrata. In the time of Guru Maharaj we heard and we are always following this Kartik-vrata from purnima to purnima [Ed: full moon to full moon; some persons follow from ekadasi to ekadasi.]. And bhog tyag, tyag tyag; tyag means renunciation, the order of renunciation. For ourselves we must do some tyag in this month and that time we must engage for the service of our Lord and Guru Gauranga Gandharva Govindasundar.
We are singing many songs this month but it is necessary to carefully do that. I have seen the tendency within a few devotees that they want to know everything within one day. They are very eager to know everything. I do not know if you will believe it or not, but until now I have not read Ujjvala-nilamani, or Govinda-lilamrita, which are our worshippable books. I am in the position of an acharya, and it is necessary for me to read them, but I am afraid.
I was in a village where there were always many men discussing Radha–Krishna-lila, and so I know something about that from them. But when I joined Guru Maharaj’s mission, Guru Maharaj said it will come gradually in your heart, don’t try to forcefully catch it. If you do that you will not see the real thing, you will be cheated. We shall try to wholeheartedly practise our Krishna consciousness in a very humble way, and try to follow what guidelines our Guru Maharaj gave us, and we must be successful, with his blessings and mercy.
Today is a very auspicious day: it is also the disappearance day of Murari Gupta, Sharadiya Rasa Yatra, and also shonibar [Saturday], Mahaprabhu’s birthday. Then we must follow the guidelines of our Guru Maharaj, and every day wake up in the morning, early in the morning and worship, chant Hare Krishna mahamantra and engage in Nama-sankirtan.
This audio file was originally published on scsmath.com
If Srila Swami Maharaj had not come to this world, where would we be?
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Talk by our Gurudev, His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Deva-Goswami, on Nandotsav day, August 1988.
Today is the avirbhav day of Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj, and also Nandotsav. Bhagavan Sri Krishna appeared in this world yesterday night with his paraphernalia.
śrī-kṛṣṇa-chaitanya prabhu jīve dayā kari’
svapārṣada svīya dhāma saha avatari
[“Being merciful to the souls, Śrī Kṛṣṇa Chaitanya Mahāprabhu descends with His associates and abode.”]
“When Bhagavan comes to this world for the fallen souls, he brings his paraphernalia with him.”
You have seen that book, Loving Search for the Lost Servant: this is the main reason for Bhagavan Krishna Chandra’s appearance in this world, and in Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu we can see that in a full-fledged form in this world. Mahaprabhu is patit-pavan avatar.
In Chaitanya-charitamrita Srila Krishna Das Kaviraj Goswami gives two reasons for Mahaprabhu’s descent: one is external and one is internal.
অনর্পিতচরীং চিরাৎ করুণয়াবতীর্ণঃ কলৌ
সমর্পয়িতুমুন্নতোজ্জ্বলরসাং স্বভক্তিশ্রিয়ম্ ।
সদা হৃদয়কন্দরে স্ফুরতু বঃ শচীনন্দনঃ
anarpita-charīṁ chirāt karuṇayāvatīrṇaḥ kalau
samarpayitum unnatojjvala-rasāṁ sva-bhakti-śriyam
sadā hṛdaya-kandare sphuratu vaḥ śachī-nandanaḥ
[“He mercifully descended in the Age of Kali to distribute in full His own wealth of bhakti, the most splendid and exalted rasa (madhura-rasa) which had never been distributed before. May Hari, abundantly radiant with beautiful golden lustre as the son of Śachī, shine forever within the core of your heart.”]
“My obeisance unto the lotus feet of Sri Sachinandan who appeared in this world to give Krishna-prema.”
This is the external cause for his appearance. And the inner cause:
শ্রীরাধায়াঃ প্রণয়মহিমা কীদৃশো বানয়ৈবা-
স্বাদ্যো যেনাদ্ভূতমধুরিমা কীদৃশো বা মদীয়ঃ ।
সৌখ্যঞ্চাস্যা মদনুভবতঃ কীদৃশং বেতি লোভা-
ত্তদ্ভাবাঢ্যঃ সমজনি শচীগর্ভসিন্ধৌ হরীন্দুঃ
śrī-rādhāyāḥ praṇaya-mahimā kīdṛśo vānayaivā-
svādyo yenādbhuta-madhurimā kīdṛśo vā madīyaḥ
saukhyaṁ chāsyā mad-anubhavataḥ kīdṛśaṁ veti lobhāt
tad-bhāvāḍhyaḥ samajani śachī-garbha-sindhau harīnduḥ
(Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta, Ādi-līlā, 1.6)
[“‘What are the glories of Śrī Rādhā’s love? What sort of astonishing sweetness of Mine does She relish? What sort of happiness arises in Her alone through experiencing My sweetness?’ Ardently desiring to fully appreciate these three mysteries, Śrī Krishna, enriched with Śrī Rādhā’s devotional mood (bhāva), appeared like the moon from the ocean of Śachī Devī’s womb.”]
These are the two causes, one inner and one outer.
pṛthvīte āche yata nagarādi-grāma
sarvatra prachāra haibe mora nāma
(Śrī Chaitanya-bhāgavata, 3.4.126)
[“My name will be spread in every town and village on earth.”]
Village after village in this world, everybody will chant the Hare Krishna mahamantra. This was Mahaprabhu’s desire and prediction. And it has happened now: Mahaprabhu’s followers are going door to door in this world, and already everyone is chanting the Hare Krishna mahamantra. Five hundred years ago Mahaprabhu appeared in this world with His dham and parsad, paraphernalia. And at that time He said that the whole world will chant the Hare Krishna mahamantra in the near future. We are so fortunate that we are seeing that and hearing that: all over the world the Hare Krishna mahamantra is spreading like thunder in this world. And through this mahapurus, Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, Mahaprabhu has done it.
You have seen the face of our Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj. I heard from him that one psychiatrist told him that he is very brave and fearless. That is, he doesn’t care about anything: where is Krishna consciousness, he gave his blessings there; otherwise he does not care about anything.
From my childhood we have seen his lotus feet, at 6 and 7 Sitakanta Banerjee Lane. We were living together with Swami Maharaj for eight or ten years in his house. He has much love for our Guru Maharaj, and he liked our Guru Maharaj. At that time Swami Maharaj was living grhastha life and he wanted to preach. But the Indian style is that they like sannyasis, and for that reason he would take Guru Maharaj with him and go many places for preaching.
In Bombay he also took Guru Maharaj and his party—Bon Maharaj, Goswami Maharaj, and others. Door to door he tried to preach in his grhastha life, household life. After that, wanting to fulfil the desire of his Gurudev, Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Thakur, who is our Param Gurudev, he took sannyas, and alone he went to the West.
Prabhupad Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur wanted to send our Guru Maharaj to the West but Guru Maharaj was hesitating at that time: he could not follow the accent of English men, and because he comes from a brahman family, he could not mix with the mlechchha society. Guru Maharaj was therefore hesitating and told Srila Prabhupad, “I am feeling very unfit for that. If you order me I must go, but it will be good if you send someone else to the West. Your preaching must be nicely spread in the West.” Prabhupad understood and knew Guru Maharaj’s nature as a ‘back pusher man’; so he did not give pressure to Guru Maharaj, and sent Aprakrita Bhakti Saranga Goswami Maharaj instead. He was a grhastha Vaishnava at that time.
Prabhupad’s desire was very clear: he wanted to spread Krishna consciousness door to door in this world, and when he saw anybody enthusiastic, he ordered him, “You are a qualified man, you can preach Mahaprabhu’s message to English men.” When Swami Maharaj first met him, at that time Prabhupad also told him, “Abhay Babu, you are a qualified man, a very qualified man, you can try to preach in the West and to Western people.”
Swami Maharaj always remembered this, and he was always very enthusiastic, very, very enthusiastic. We have seen this. He had no money, but whenever he got some money he would use that money for preaching. For that reason he could not maintain his business nicely. Whenever money would come he would spend it for Krishna consciousness. He would use that money, and his business went down. This was his nature. Lastly he thought, “I shall preach and this will be good for my life.”
He came to Guru Maharaj and asked Guru Maharaj for sannyas; but Guru Maharaj was very close with his family, and so Guru Maharaj hesitated, “If I give you sannyas, your wife and children will come and blame me. Immediately it is not good for you. You wait sometime: go to Vrindavan and wait six months or one year. Then you can take sannyas and go anywhere, and blame will not come to me.”
Swami Maharaj said, “No Maharaj, it is not possible for me to wait. I want immediately to take sannyas. And I shall go out from India.” Then Guru Maharaj said, “It is very difficult for me: Madan’s mother, your sister, will think it is wrong, and your family will also think something is wrong. You go to Keshav Maharaj: I gave sannyas to Keshav Maharaj, and you can take the mantram from there. Your desire will be fulfilled and I will be in a clear position.”
Then Swami Maharaj went to Keshav Maharaj. Guru Maharaj had given the title ‘Bhaktivedanta’ before to Swami Maharaj. After taking sannyas from Keshav Maharaj he went to Vrindavan. In Vrindavan he stayed at the Radha Damodar Temple, writing. He had previously written his Srimad Bhagavad-gita translation, while in Sita Kanta Banerjee Lane. Guru Maharaj had told me, “You go to Abhay Babu and every day hear Srimad Bhagavad-gita from him.” He was my master and I read Srila Swami Maharaj’s Srimad Bhagavad-gita in my childhood.
After taking sannyas Swami Maharaj thought, “I must go to the West.” And Krishna gave so much trouble to him. Krishna tried to examine him: “how much anxiety does he have for Myself, for spreading My Name and My fame in this world.” He wanted to know, for his lila. But Swami Maharaj was very determined, and without money, without his future maintenance, he started to go to the West. You know the history after that of Swami Maharaj; you have also read from his books, and you have seen so many of the preaching results of Srila Swami Maharaj.
When Swami Maharaj wanted to come back to India, everybody thought, “What will he preach? What he has already preached may also not be correct.” None of his godbrothers were enthusiastic to receive him nicely. Then he wrote a letter to me, “Govinda Maharaj, I want to go to India, and want to stay with Sridhar Maharaj in Nabadwip. Can you arrange it?” I told Guru Maharaj, and Guru Maharaj was very happy. Guru Maharaj told me, “You write immediately: he will come here and he will stay in this Math, in that Blue House. I am making the Blue House ready for him.” And when he came here Guru Maharaj was very happy. He came with two disciples, Achyutananda and Ramanuja. Many more disciples were in America at that time. He told the history of his preaching life, and Guru Maharaj was very happy. Guru Maharaj told me, “Can you arrange here a reception from the town people in Nabadwip?” I said, “Yes Maharaj, I shall try.” And I gave the first reception for Srila Swami Maharaj in this town hall of Nabadwip.
Then all of his godbrothers came. Every godbrother had some special affection and regard for Guru Maharaj, and when they saw that Guru Maharaj was praising Swami Maharaj then they also came to praise and give honour to Swami Maharaj.
Day by day Swami Maharaj continued spreading Krishna consciousness in this world. And you know how successful he was: now all over the world everyone is chanting the Hare Krishna mahamantra. Who does not know Hare Krishna, what Hare Krishna is, they are also telling ‘Hare Krishna’. When people see the tilak, mala, and shaved head, then they are chanting ‘Hare Krishna’. When people see us in the road when we are going from Nabadwip to Calcutta, they are telling us ‘Hare Krishna’.
yāṅhāra darśane mukhe āise kṛṣṇa-nāma
tāṅhāre jāniha tumi ‘vaiṣṇava-pradhāna’
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta, 2.16.74)
[Śrī Chaitanya Mahāprabhu said, “A first-class Vaiṣṇava is one whose very presence makes others chant the holy name of Kṛṣṇa.”]
With the blessings of Swami Maharaj, everybody is now Vaishnava-pradhan! This is the blessings of Swami Maharaj. Guru Maharaj said that Swami Maharaj is not an ordinary Vaishnava, and not an ordinary man, but he is avatar-purus, and Bhagavan Nityananda Prabhu is spreading Krishna consciousness in this world through him. Guru Maharaj said, “Swami Maharaj is Saktyaves-avatar.” Who is Saktyaves-avatar? Vedavyas. Vedavyas is Saktyaves-avatar and spread Krishna consciousness in this world. After that Saktyaves-avatar we heard from Guru Maharaj that Swami Maharaj is Saktyaves-avatar. Some think it is a very low position; but they do not know what is the position mentioned here. You know Bhagavan Vedavyas; Vedavyas is Saktyaves-avatar. He made so many books for the jiva-souls, and glorified Bhagavan’s nama, rupa, guna, lila etc., and Swami Maharaj has also done that in this world. And Mahaprabhu said,
pṛthvīte āche yata nagarādi-grāma
sarvatra prachāra haibe mora nāma
Through Swami Maharaj it is spreading, by Lord Krishna. Here there is no doubt.
Today is a very auspicious day for us. We have got our real path; we have got the consciousness of Krishna Chandra and Mahaprabhu, Nityananda Prabhu, and Pancha Tattva etc, and we have got this through Srila Swami Maharaj. This day is that day, his appearance day. If Srila Swami Maharaj had not come to this world, where would we be?
One day when Swami Maharaj was staying in the Blue House here I was serving breakfast to him, and Swami Maharaj told me, “No, no, you also will be seated here, and Hari Charan will serve you.” Hari Charan Prabhu was there, and he was also distributing the prasadam: luchi, aloo bhaja, begum bhaja, some pakori, etc. I was there, and one table was there with Swami Maharaj, Achyutananda, and Ramanuja. But I was hesitating: I was thinking Swami Maharaj is a big Acharya, Swami Maharaj is a world Acharya, so how can I take at the same table as him? I was hesitating. Then Swami Maharaj told me, “You are thinking you will become mlechchha?” “No, no!” I told Swami Maharaj. “No, Maharaj. I can take the prasad of Achyutananda also, that is not the cause here. The only cause is that you are a big Acharya, and I am a very fallen soul. Then I cannot take with you at the same table. That is why I am hesitating.” Swami Maharaj said, “No problem, you take!” And I took the prasadam there. At that time the Indian mind was like that.
On one occasion some of Swami Maharaj’s godbrothers refused to take prasadam served by his western disciples at the Chandroday Mandir in Mayapur. When Guru Maharaj heard of this he said, “I shall take prasadam at the Iskcon temple in Mayapur. And who will go with me?” At that time Paramahamsa Maharaj was here. And Guru Maharaj said, “Maharaj, you want to go with me, to have prasadam, to Iskcon?” Paramahamsa Maharaj said, “Yes, if you go I shall go.” Krishna Das Babaji Maharaj was also there, and he said, “Yes, I shall go.” So Guru Maharaj, Krishna Das Babaji Maharaj, myself, Paramahamsa Maharaj, and one boy, Gautam, who you have seen here, all came. There is a photograph of that printed in a book of the life history of Swami Maharaj. And when Guru Maharaj took prasadam at the Iskcon Math then everybody thought, “It is okay, no problem, we also can take.” Guru Maharaj had this kind of relationship with our Swami Maharaj.
Today is very fortunate for us, Swami Maharaj’s appearance day. And on this Nandotsav day Nanda Maharaj held a great festival in his house. The day after Krishna’s appearance, on this day we are celebrating Swami Maharaj’s appearance with great joy in our hearts.
vāñchhā-kalpatarubhyaś cha kṛpā-sindhubhya eva cha
patitānāṁ pāvanebhyo vaiṣṇavebhyo namo namaḥ
[“Again and again I offer my obeisance unto the Supreme Lord’s devotees, who are saviours of the fallen, oceans of mercy, and wish-fulfilling trees.”]
The Vaishnavas are wish-fulfilling trees, they know our heart. We cannot properly express our heart, but the Vaishnava knows everything, and he must be merciful. I am so fortunate because Swami Maharaj said in his lecture, “Govinda Maharaj is like my son.” This is my fortune.
This beautiful collection was produced by our Australian community from recordings of Srila Gurudev made during one of His Divine Grace’s visits to Australia during the 1990s.
Sri Guru Arati Stuti
Sri Krishna Chaitanya Prabhu doya koro more
Bhaja bhakata vatsala
Bhaja hu re mana
Jaya Radha Madhava