The Pioneer Of Sankirtan

Our Param Gurudev discusses preaching as the essence of kirtan, and the spirit of self-giving as indispensable behind all devotional practices.
You can find a full transcript and audio file of this talk here.
Question: Guru Mahārāj, very humbly I’d like to ask you a question concerning your book which I had a good opportunity to read yesterday for the first time. In the book I was very much surprised to see that the emphasis for spiritual enlightenment was in preaching, primary to japa. Japa was secondary to the preaching, the potency of preaching. And this very much surprised me because my spiritual master says that japa is the potency, the potency lies in the chanting of the Holy Name. How should I approach this?
Śrīla Śrīdhar Mahārāj: You have heard that Mahāprabhu laid stress on kīrtan. He recommended five main practices for our sādhana:
sādhu-saṅga, nāma-saṅkīrtana, bhāgavat-śravana
dhāma-vāsa, śrī-mūrtira śraddhāya sevana
sakala sādhana śreṣṭha ei pañcha aṅga
(Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta: Madhya-līlā, 22.128129)
[“One should associate with devotees, chant the holy name of the Lord, hear Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, reside at Mathurā and worship the Deity with faith and veneration. These five limbs of devotional service are the best of all.”]
tāra madhye sarva-śreṣṭha nāma-saṅkīrtana
niraparādhe nāma laile pāya prema-dhana
(Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta: Antya-līlā, 4.71)
[“Of the nine processes of devotional service, the most important is to always chant the holy name of the Lord. If one does so, avoiding the ten kinds of offences, one very easily obtains the most valuable love of Godhead.”]
Nām-saṅkīrtan, kīrtan, means to preach. The real principle, the real underlying meaning of kīrtan is to preach, to propagate.
Kīrtan, and everything, whatever is done, any form of devotion, must be devotion proper; and that means sevā, service. So our Gurudev said,
ataḥ śrī kṛṣṇa-nāmādi na bhaved grāhyam indriyaiḥ
sevonmukhe hi jihvādau svayam eva sphuraty adaḥ
(Śrī Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu)
(“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.”)
We want a connection with the super-subjective area, so only our hankering, sincere hankering for Him, and our attitude of surrender to His cause can attract Him to our level. That is transcendental; how can I come in connection with the transcendental? When I offer myself for His cause, His service. Then He will care to come down to give connection to me. So whatever transcendental affairs we are going to connect ourselves with, the sevonmukhata, this sort of spirit, attitude, must be there. Otherwise it will be only a repetition of mundane feats. Sevonmukhata, to practise to dedicate one’s own self, is mainly necessary. Whether we do kīrtan, śravaṇ, smaran, or vandan, everywhere this common factor must be present: that I want to dedicate myself for the cause of the higher, and not that I want to use the higher principle for my lower purpose. This tenor must be observed first.
And kīrtan means to preach. Saṅkīrtana tāra madhye sarva-śreṣṭha (“Of all practices of devotion, saṅkīrtan is the best”): it is difficult to control the mind, the inner aspect, but when we challenge some other person’s conception, we cannot but be all-conscious; we cannot talk irrelevantly, so we can easily have concentration when we talk about Him. That is kīrtan. When engaged in japam, my mind may wander here and there, everywhere, but when I am engaged in kīrtan, I must be all attentive, so we can control the mind which is very difficult to capture and to utilise. So kīrtanaṁ tu tato varam. Oṣṭha-spandana-mātreṇa kīrtanaṁ tu tato varam (Vaiṣṇava-chintāmaṇi): special stress has been put on kīrtan by Mahāprabhu.
Kīrtan means to preach. The environment has come and is prepared to attack me, so I shall rather make ‘offensive for offensive’—I shall attack the environment. Kīrtan means that. The whole environment is surcharged with the spirit of offensive; they are coming and attacking me from different directions, through different ideas that are already like spies within us, their agents. So, I shall take the offensive and attack the environment with the power that I received from Gurudev. That power will generate within me, and I shall attack the environment with that. That is what kīrtan means.
We are told, we have heard from our Gurudev, Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī, in this way, and we are trying to preach that thing to others. This is the tenor of his preaching. Preaching means to attack the environment, not to lie down passively and allow others to attack. Japam is very feeble, a weak thing: you begin japam, and whenever you awake you will find that your mind is marketing in some other place. But when you are talking about Kṛṣṇa, Mahāprabhu, to others, you cannot but be all attention. You can’t talk irrelevantly; you can automatically control your attention when doing kīrtan, when preaching. That is the advantage of kīrtan.
Our Vṛndāvan Dās Ṭhākur has also given another point. One who is doing japam is feeding himself, but one who is making kīrtan is feeding so many others. And he will receive that reaction, so his cause will be enhanced more and more. In this way we have understood it.
This is the justification of what is told in Search for Kṛṣṇa about kīrtan. Now you are to choose. I gave my explanation.
Sevonmukhe hi: our Gurudev laid stress in practising what is sevā. One must not only be disinterested, but one must be Kṛṣṇa-interested, Guru-interested. Guru is the agent representing Kṛṣṇa’s cause, and setting aside all my tendencies within, I shall surrender to the dictation of Gurudev. I shall ignore my inner impressions, and their suggestions, and inviting only what is coming from high, through my Gurudev, I shall do that. That is to practise and acquire the habit of service: self-abnegation, and to invite some higher tendency to work within me. Thereby we can acquire, we can know, we can understand what is service proper, sevonmukhata. Self-abnegation, and inviting the higher tendency to work within me with all my efforts. Total transformation is necessary through the agency of the higher world, and with that attitude I shall take the Name. Whatever I shall do, that attitude, that life must be present there, of sevonmukhata: what I am doing is not for me, but for the centre, for Kṛṣṇa. And the guarantee is Gurudev, the agent. This is the explanation.
Devotee: So japa is rather a prayer that we want to do kīrtan.
Śrīla Śrīdhar Mahārāj: It is within. Japa is within, and the disturbance is able to attack. And also, others are not being benefitted there. What did Mahāprabhu do? He is the pioneer of saṅkīrtan, not of japam.

[antaḥ kṛṣṇaṁ bahir gauraṁ darśitāṅgādi-vaibhavam]
kalau saṅkīrtanādyaiḥ sma kṛṣṇa-chaitanyam āśritāḥ
(Bhāgavat-sandarbha, verse 2)
(“Śrī Kṛṣṇa Chaitanya is internally Kṛṣṇa Himself and outwardly golden. He has manifest in the Age of Kali in all His glory, accompanied by His entourage. We take shelter of Him by performing Hari-nām-saṅkīrtan and related devotional services.”)
kṛṣṇa-varṇaṁ tviṣākṛṣṇaṁ sāṅgopāṅgāstra-pārṣadam
yajñaiḥ saṅkīrtana-prāyair yajanti hi sumedhasaḥ
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 11.5.32)

(“In the Age of Kali, intelligent persons perform congregational chanting to worship the incarnation of Godhead who constantly sings the name of Kṛṣṇa. Although His complexion is not blackish, He is Kṛṣṇa Himself. He is accompanied by His associates, servants, weapons and confidential companions.”)
Mahāprabhu came for saṅkīrtan. Japam is sevā mānase karibe. In Mahāprabhu’s instructions to Raghunāth Dās Goswāmī he says,
[grāmya-kathā nā śunibe, grāmya-vārtā nā kahibe]
bhāla nā khāibe āra bhāla nā paribe

amānī mānada hañā kṛṣṇa-nāma sadā la’be
vraje rādhā-kṛṣṇa-sevā mānase karibe
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta: 3. 6.236–237)
(“Do not talk like people in general or hear what they say. You should not eat very palatable food, nor should you dress very nicely. Do not expect honour, but offer all respect to others. Always chant the holy name of Lord Kṛṣṇa, and within your mind render service to Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa in Vṛndāvana.”)
Vraje-sevā is not for the public. If you are in that stage, you will continue that within yourself, within your mind, and not publicly. And before we reach that stage, we shall do everything publicly. Amānī mānada [we shall give respect without expecting it in return]. And our nature will be the spirit of toleration, and also to avoid causing any unnecessary disturbance to the environment, as much as possible.
Devotee: So that means we are attacking the environment, but we can’t disturb the environment.
Śrīla Śrīdhar Mahārāj: But our attitude should be passive, cool, that of a master, a master-like attitude. We shall attack our enemy, but the process must be grand, not like a weak man.  We shall attack our enemy with dignity, with a dignified attitude. At heart we shall be well-meaning, “I want his good, and my cause is infinite, and he is within a teeny shell taking shelter.” We shall take a dignified position.
tṛṇād api sunīchena taror api sahiṣṇunā,
amāni[nā mānadena kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ]
(“The Lord’s Name may 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.”)
And my attack will be of such nature that it will invite universal force for my backing, support.
Rāmānuja had a discourse with a māyāvādī for fourteen days, a strong fight. But Rāmānuja could not crush him. Then he came and prayed to Varadarāja, “What is this? You have accepted me as the Āchārya of a particular group, and I cannot defeat that māyāvādī. So what will be, Varadarāja? It is a very insulting position that I have created for You. I am now nothing, nowhere.” Anyhow, the  engagement was there, Rāmānuja had to go and face his strong opponent; and as soon as he went, that māyāvādī fell at his feet, “Yes, I have recapitulated what you told in my mind, and that is true; and what I have told, that is false. I could understand.”
Our power is above. Varadarāja willed, and he at once fell at the feet. So, we must always be conscious of our Gurudev, Mahāprabhu. We are teeny persons, what power have we got? All our capital, the source of our success, is above our head with the Vaiṣṇava, with Guru. With this attitude we are to fight. Not to create our own egoism, to develop our own egoism; not for that, but for His cause. We are to go on in this way, with all sincerity.
When fighting with others, if I came to such a position that I couldn’t follow things properly, I used to ask myself, “Why am I here? What is my cause? Why am I supporting this?” Then I got my answer from within, “For this reason I am here.” So in that way, in many places, I could cross the layer of the oppositionist. “Have I come here with some ulterior motive, or with some sincere and higher motive?” Then if I analyse that, it will come out why I have come. “Why have I not gone to attend the māyāvādī school? Not the karmi school, not the patriots, nor others—why have I not joined them? Instead I have exclusively joined Mahāprabhu—why? What attracted me?” In this way.
Devotee: Now I have understood, but at the same time I’m much more in a turmoil, because I raised this point with my Gurudev and he said we are bhajanānandī, we are not goṣṭhyānandī…
Śrīla Śrīdhar Mahārāj: You may ask your Gurudev, and he may explain to you further, what is more private instruction for you: “I came to read this book, and there the stress is laid on the kīrtan, and the service, and you say japam. How can we harmonise, adjust?” You may ask him. And as he will tell, you do.
Devotee: There is one other question I would like to raise Mahārāj. When does one come to the understanding that one is serious? When do we come to the point when we are taking Harinam seriously?
Śrīla Śrīdhar Mahārāj: Harinam begins from the lowest position and goes up to the highest. Even the most fallen can get Harinam with only the connection of the sadhu. It is for all; at all possible stages, at all possible of fallen states, Harinam can help us. And at the same time, it goes to the highest position. But the meaning, the development in the Name, will change through the taker. By the devotee’s taking the Name of Kṛṣṇa, the whole nerve is getting jerked. And ordinary people, what will they get? They will wholesale will be attracted; it will draw the extract and take to Kṛṣṇa. The sound will squeeze our existence, our dedication, and take it to Kṛṣṇa. The result will be different depending on who is chanting, but anyone can take the Name. Rādhārāṇī is taking the Name of Kṛṣṇa. So many things may be: it is infinite. It is not finite, that we shall draw a line, “So far and no further.” It is all infinite: the sound is infinite, the figure, rūpa, colour. It is all infinite, different aspects of the infinite.
Rādhārāṇī says, “My life is sure to meet disaster and despair.” Why? She is saying to Her friends: “I have heard the Name of Kṛṣṇa, and I have surrendered fully there. I have seen the portrait of Kṛṣṇa and I have surrendered.”  She does not know, still now, that the Name of Kṛṣṇa and the portrait are one and the same. So She is representing it in this way: “I have heard the Name, and I surrendered completely there. Again I found a picture, and I surrendered to that picture. And another, I heard the flute sound, and I surrendered there. So I have surrendered in three places, My friends, how can I get peace in My mind? So My life is finished, gone. I am expecting a disastrous end, I am wholesale spoiled.”
But when those three come into one, the Name, and the flute, and the portrait, what degree of joy is there! The Name has attracted Her to be empty. So what is there and what is that Name to us? It is the degree of love and affection with which we do the work, do the Name, or do service to the Deity, or whatever form outside—the inner spirit will be the be-all and end-all, everything is there. With what attitude am I approaching? Self-giving, ātmā-nivedansarva-svātma-nivedane, is the very criterion: how far one has surrendered himself, to what degree, for the cause? All other functions will depend on this truth, with how much intensity he has dedicated to taking the Name, or to the service of Guru, or to the Deity, or whatever, to preach, whatever—but what is the intensity of the dedication for the satisfaction of the Lord.
The gopis are not engaged always in japam, or always taking the Name on the beads, but their every activity is attracting Kṛṣṇa towards them. So all our movements will be such that they will attract Kṛṣṇa; they will be meant only to satisfy Kṛṣṇa, and nothing else. We will not do with only the lip, or the mind, or the body, with all its limbs, but everything, wholesale transformation is necessary. We shall live and move for Him. Not for anything else. That is what is the desired end. We belong completely to Him, as His slave, and He can make or mar. He has got every right over me. He may play with me in any way He likes, as playdough. Our dedication towards Him will be so much, of such quality. We must reach there any how.

The Shelter of Faith

“The real beginning of the real life of a real devotee.”

Srila Sridhar Maharaj discusses the levels of theistic development presented in the Ramananda Samvad.
yat karoṣi yad aśnāsi yaj juhoṣi dadāsi yat
yat tapasyasi kaunteya tat kuruṣva mad-arpaṇam
(Srimad Bhagavad-gita: 9.27)
Whatever is within you, good or bad, must be thrown with the object of your service.
kāma kṛṣṇa-karmārpaṇe  krodha bhakta-dveśi-jane
lobha sādhu-saṅge hari-kathā
(Srila Narottam Thakur)
It may be adjusted in such a way: I have got anger, and that anger should be utilised in favour of the service of the Lord. Krodha bhakta-dveśi-jane: I may use my anger against those who have come to attack the devotees. The diplomatic knowledge I have got may also be utilised for service. So many tendencies are in my mind and from that stage, when I want a wholesale transformation within my mental system, I shall try to adjust them and utilise them in connection with divine service. In this way, to make the best of a bad bargain: whatever one has got he may try to utilise as much as possible for the service of the Lord, and that way he will be able to purge them out very soon and very easily.
yat karoṣi yad aśnāsi yaj juhoṣi dadāsi yat
yat tapasyasi kaunteya tat kuruṣva mad-arpaṇam

Sarva-dharmān parityajya is the next higher stage, and then to become one with chetan, soul: brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā. Brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā stage is jnana-misra-bhakti (devotion mixed with knowledge), and yat karoṣi yad aśnāsi is karma-misra-bhakti (devotion mixed with worldly activity). Sarva-dharmān parityajya is going from karma-misra to jnana-misra.
Then real bhakti begins with jñāne prayāsam udapāsya namanta eva: independent of any connection with karma and jnan, to only take the help of ruchi, taste. Whatever my condition may be, if I have got taste and I have got the connection of a sadhu, that will take me up very strongly and very safely in the right direction. Sadhu-sanga is all important, and my taste to hear from the lips of a real sadhu, where real God consciousness has begun. My taste for real God consciousness, Krishna consciousness, is the most valuable thing. That taste will take me upward and everything else will go away in no time.
Mahaprabhu says, “Here it is, this is the beginning.” From other stages we can fall back, but if we have got real taste in real Krishna consciousness we are safe. Eho haya, āge kaha āra: “Yes, it is. It is the real beginning of the real life of a real devotee.” It is here. The disciple has real taste and he is fortunate enough to have real relation with real God consciousness. All other qualifications and non-qualifications are ignored.
jñāne prayāsam udapāsya namanta, jīvanti san-mukharitāṁ
Now faith has given shelter to this disciple and he is safe. Faith has begun in its original form, its real form here, above calculation. Calculation, using our knowledge to draw a comparison of the goodness of this world and that world, is a very weak thing and not truly reliable, but faith is real, faith has got its real characteristic, and here Mahaprabhu sanctioned, “Yes, here it begins. The life of a devotee proper begins here. Yes, cross the line of danger, of maya.”
The calculation cannot be relied on and can’t help us to reach the proper place. Sukrti and sraddha, of the nirgun plane, are independent. Sakala chhāḍiyā bhāi, śraddhā-devīra guṇa gāi: firm faith is the most valuable thing to attain, not knowledge and not energy. Energy—this money, men, worldly wealth—and knowledge are both futile. Only sraddha, faith, which is our inner function, can help us. Why? Knowledge means doubt. Knowledge means that in the background there is doubt, suspicion, and through elimination and acceptance we want to calculate, “This is good, this is bad, this is the symptom for the badness and goodness.” It is not automatic. Knowledge has the possibility of suspicion on the background: “I may be deceived. I shall have to understand.” He is in the plane of a treacherous atmosphere, so he is suspicious and must calculate and find out what is true, what is untrue, all these things. He is living in the plane of suspicion, doubt. That is what knowledge means. But one who has faith has reached such a plane where no treachery is possible, where there is no room for any suspicion. In that country suspicion is not to be found; those living in that soil do not know what cheating or deception is. There are simple dealings there, in the plane of faith. There we have come to the real soil, such a safe plane where calculation is not necessary.
Sakala chhāḍiyā bhāi, śraddhā-devīra guṇa gāi, this connection is the happiest for the soul, when we have connection within us of faith, and also the genuine party, my Guru. Mahaprabhu says, “Yes, here it is, now go further.” Otherwise, before that, “Eho bahya, this is superficial, this is superficial, go ahead, go forth. Eho bahya, eho bahya, eho bahya, eho bahya—now here it is, go, make further progress!” Jnana-sunya-bhakti: that is sraddha. Sraddha cannot be exploited. Real sraddha, yo yach-chhraddhaḥ sa eva saḥ (17.3), will take us to a particular place. There is the guidance of the supreme. None can seduce one who has got real sraddha. Through faith, innate attraction, you will understand the real thing: “My heart feels very confident here.” He may be an illiterate, he may be a poor person devoid of all worldly resources, but the heart will select his company automatically. In the selection of a friend the heart will guide him surely; he may not know, but that company, that devotee will seem to be very congenial to him. Na hi kalyāṇa-kṛt kaścid durgatiṁ tāta gachchhati (Bg 6.40): that is the greatest solace for us, that ignorance—not ignorance proper but illiteracy or something like that—that cannot stand on our way.
yat karoṣi yad aśnāsi yaj juhoṣi dadāsi yat
yat tapasyasi kaunteya tat kuruṣva mad-arpaṇam
(Srimad Bhagavad-gita: 9.27)
“Whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer in sacrifice, whatever you give and whatever vow you may keep—do everything as an offering unto Me.”
sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja
ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śuchaḥ
(Srimad Bhagavad-gita: 18.66)
“Abandon all duties and surrender to Me alone. I will liberate you from all sin. Do not despair.”
 brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā na śochati na kāṅkṣati
samaḥ sarveṣu bhūteṣu mad-bhaktiṁ labhate parām
(Srimad Bhagavad-gita: 18.54)
“The joyful-hearted, enlightened soul who has attained his divine nature neither sorrows nor desires. Seeing all beings equally, he comes to attain transcendental loving devotion for Me.”
jñāne prayāsam udapāsya namanta eva
jīvanti san-mukharitāṁ bhavadīya-vārtām
sthāne sthitāḥ śruti-gatāṁ tanu-vāṅ-manobhir
ye prāyaśo ’jita jito ’py asi tais tri-lokyām
(Srimad Bhagavatam: 10.14.3)
“In whatever position they may be, those who give up the endeavour for knowledge, surrender to the sadhus, and dedicate their lives bodily, verbally, and mentally to their talks of the Lord, can conquer the Lord, who is otherwise unconquerable.”
kṛṣṇa-bhakti-rasa-bhāvitā matiḥ
krīyatāṁ yadi kuto ’pi labhyate
tatra laulyam api mūlyam ekalaṁ
janma-koṭi-sukṛtair na labhyate
(Srila Rupa Goswami’s Padyavali)
“Pure devotional service in Kṛṣṇa consciousness cannot be had even by pious activity in hundreds and thousands of lives. It can be attained only by paying one price — that is, intense greed to obtain it. If it is available somewhere, one must purchase it without delay.”
pārtha naiveha nāmutra vināśas tasya vidyate
na hi kalyāṇa-kṛt kaścid durgatiṁ tāta gachchhati
(Srimad Bhagavad-gita: 6.40)
“Oh Arjuna, there is no loss for the unsuccessful yoga practitioner as he is not denied the happiness of the heavenly plane in this world, nor is he denied the chance of the fortune to see the Supersoul in the transcendental realm. This is so, oh dear one, because a person who performs virtuous actions never suffers an ill fate.”
sakala chhāḍiyā bhāi, śraddhā-devīra guṇa gāi,
yā̐ra kṛpā bhakti dite pāre
(Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur)
“Casting everything else aside, oh my brother, sing the glory of Sraddha Devi, by whose grace we may receive devotion.”

Lord of the cows

“May that Lord of the cows be satisfied by us. Who is Indra when compared to Kṛṣṇa? Kṛṣṇa is the master of Indra. And yet He has appeared as the master of cows; the Supreme Absolute Truth has accepted a simple position as the keeper of cows. Superficially, He is a mere cowherd boy. But let that cowherd boy, who holds within Him the power of controlling the whole universe, be satisfied with us. We want to worship that Lord who has taken the humble position of the king of the cows.”

Excerpt from Loving Search for the Lost Servant by our Param Gurudev, His Divine Grace Srila B.R. Sridhara Deva-Goswami.
deve varṣati yajña-viplava-ruṣā vajrāśma-varṣānilaiḥ
sīdat-pāla-paśu-stri ātma-śaraṇaṁ dṛṣṭvānukampy utsmayam
utpāṭyaika-kareṇa śailam abalo līlochchhilīndhraṁ yathā
bibhrad goṣṭham apān mahendra-mada-bhit prīyān na indro gavām
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 10.26.25)
The very gist of the Govardhan-līlā, the very substance of the Pastime, is represented in this verse. The milkmen in Vṛndāvan used to observe a sacrifice to satisfy the king of heaven, Indra, at whose command the rain, clouds, and other subtle elementary powers move. The main wealth of the cowherd men is the cow, and the cow’s main food is grass. Only rain can produce grass, and so the cowherd men used to perform sacrifice to satisfy the subtle power who is supposed to be in command of natural substances like rain.
By satisfying Indra, favourable rains would come and there would be sufficient grass. The cows could then graze easily on the grass and generate milk profusely. The gopas, the cowherd men and their families, used to make different preparations from the milk, sell them in the marketplace, and in that way earn their livelihood.
As the grazing ground in one place was finished, they would move from one forest to another. Only for the purpose of obtaining grass for the cows, Kṛṣṇa’s father Nanda Mahārāj and the cowherd men would wander from one place to the next. In this way, they lived sometimes in Vṛndāvan, sometimes in Nanda Grām, and sometimes in Gokul.
Once, Kṛṣṇa wanted to assert Himself and modify the worship of Indra. He wanted to establish His own domain, Vṛndāvan, in its pristine glory.
Although He was only a boy, He was a boy of extraordinary capacity. He was only seven years old. But in the Padma-purāṇa, it is said that the development or growth of special personalities is one and a half times that of ordinary persons. Although Kṛṣṇa was only seven years old by ordinary calculation, He was eleven according to general calculation.
Kṛṣṇa said, “Why should we perform this sacrifice to Indra? We have a direct concern with Govardhan Hill and not Indra.” He announced this idea to the gopas, and somehow, willingly or reluctantly, the gopas submitted to the advice of Kṛṣṇa. Nanda Mahārāj was influenced by affection for his son, and, because he was the king, he told them, “This time we shall worship Govardhan Hill and not Indra.”
Indra insulted
And so the gopas, the milkmen of Vṛndāvan, followed Kṛṣṇa’s advice—some reluctantly and some willingly—and they began the sacrifice for Govardhan Hill. This news reached Indra, who thought to himself: “A boy of special capacity lives there. Now He has taken the leadership of Vṛndāvan and stopped this ancient sacrifice to me. For a long time it was the tradition of the gopas to perform sacrifice to satisfy me, and now one boy is the cause of stopping my sacrifice!” He was very much enraged. Indra ordered the clouds and the wind and the lightning to attack the residents of Vṛndāvan.
According to Vedic understanding, all the elements are personified. In ancient days, the Āryans and rājarṣis, elevated human beings and great sages, used to see everything as persons. They saw everything in a personal way. They thought of the creepers, the trees, and everything else in the environment as persons. They understood that they were all persons who, according to karma, are wandering through the different species of life.
Once, I was asked by a professor of biology about alternatives to Darwinian evolution. I advised him that evolution from consciousness to matter may be understood on the basis of Berkeley’s theory. Whatever we think of is really part of our consciousness. And consciousness means person. Everything that we may be conscious of is a person. We may think of the wind as an inanimate object, but it was thought of in the Vedic line as a person. Lightning, wind, clouds, and rain are all persons. Whatever we consider to be elementary matter, gross and subtle, was all considered by the ancient seers of the truth to be persons.
Indra commanded the wind, the clouds, and the rain to go and devastate the whole area of Gokul Vṛndāvan. “The residents of Vṛndāvan have insulted me!” He said. “They have rejected me, have stopped worshipping me, and are instead worshipping that mountain, that hill of Govardhan. I can’t tolerate this insult! Go and devastate them.” By the order and wrath of Indra, the master of all the higher subtle elements, heavy rain began to fall. And so thunder, hail, and rain simultaneously attacked the whole of Vraja Maṇḍal.
Consequently, all the residents of Vṛndāvan were thrown into a great disaster. Misery, pain, and sorrow afflicted the animals and the protectors of the animals, the gopālas. So, the helpless—the women, children, and animals of Vṛndāvan—had no alternative but to take refuge of Kṛṣṇa. They all came to Kṛṣṇa for relief. They cried, “O Kṛṣṇa! Now what are we to do? You influenced us to stop the sacrifice meant for Indra, and now Indra, being vindictive, has begun to afflict us in this very heavy way. How can we live? Please save us!” They all came to Kṛṣṇa for protection. Seeing this, Kṛṣṇa had much pity for them. Being merciful upon them, He smiled a little, thinking, “They have all come to Me for relief.”
At that time, with only one hand Kṛṣṇa lifted up the Govardhan mountain. For Him, it was a very easy thing; with only one hand, He uprooted the hill and lifted it up as a child lifts a toy ball. And holding up that great mountain, Kṛṣṇa gave protection to all those who were living in Gokul. The men, women, and children of Vṛndāvan brought the cows and all their worldly goods and took shelter beneath Govardhan Hill.
The whole cowherd society was given shelter under that hill. In this way, by lifting Govardhan Hill, Kṛṣṇa gave protection to the residents of Vṛndāvan, and crushed the pride of the lord of heaven, Indra himself.
And so Nanda Mahārāj prays in this verse, “May that Lord of the cows be satisfied by us. Who is Indra when compared to Kṛṣṇa? Kṛṣṇa is the master of Indra. And yet He has appeared as the master of cows; the Supreme Absolute Truth has accepted a simple position as the keeper of cows. Superficially, He is a mere cowherd boy. But let that cowherd boy, who holds within Him the power of controlling the whole universe, be satisfied with us. We want to worship that Lord who has taken the humble position of the king of the cows.”
From this verse of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, we can understand the position of the Lord’s Pastime at Govardhan. It is also described here that when the Vraja-vāsīs worshipped Him and engaged in sacrifice for His satisfaction, they saw Govardhan Hill as the Supreme Person, extending His hands, accepting the things offered to Him, and feeding Himself.
At that time, Kṛṣṇa pointed out, “You see! You thought that Govardhan Hill was only a heap of stone. No—it is living, it is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” At that time, Kṛṣṇa revealed Himself as Govardhan Hill and showed how it is also His extended self. According to authorities in our line, Rādhā Kuṇḍa is the extended self of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, and Govardhan is the extended self of Kṛṣṇa. And so we worship a stone from Govardhan Hill, a part of Giridhārī, as Kṛṣṇa Himself. We may understand from this that a part of the infinite is infinite. And yet so feeble is our ordinary vision that although Govardhan-śilā is a part of the infinite, and therefore also infinite, to our material vision it is only a piece of stone.
This Pastime shows that a thing may appear to be ordinary stone, but its possibility is infinite. In the general sense, Einstein’s theory of relativity has announced that anything we see is that thing plus something more. In his own scientific way, he explains that the reality of a thing includes its possibilities, its prospect—reality is not at a standstill.
Reality is not limited to what is seen or conceived by our senses. Our vision or estimation of anything may be limited, but unknown to us, its prospect may be unlimited. Everything has infinite possibility. We do not even know what infinite possibility a particle of sand may have. We do not know what sort of possibility may exist within a leaf of a plant. It may appear ordinary, but it may contain invaluable medicinal properties.
God the beautiful
A part of the infinite is also infinite. The Govardhan-śilā represents Kṛṣṇa as the master and keeper of cows. Within Govardhan is that mild and soft conception of God the beautiful. We beg for His mercy, His affection, and His gracious glance upon us.
That may save us from the negative influence of this material environment. When we try to put a stop to our material form of life and take our course towards Godhead, Kṛṣṇa consciousness, neglecting the imperative duties that are upon us, so many difficulties may come to trouble us, to trap us in our journey towards the ultimate truth. But if we stick to the order of Kṛṣṇa, He will protect us. Kṛṣṇa confirms this in Bhagavad-gītā:
sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja
ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śuchaḥ
He says, “Abandon all other conceptions of duty and just surrender unto Me. Have no fear. I shall protect you and free you from all sinful reactions that might arise from neglecting your ordinary duties.”
Different material tendencies and mental impulses may attack us—even Indra himself, the king of heaven and the controller of all ordinary activities, may attack us—but if we are attentive towards our goal, if we are careful to read the order of Kṛṣṇa, He will protect us in the shade of His lotus feet. He will give us shelter under the shade of Govardhan Hill, where no Indra will be able to touch our heads. And with full faith that Kṛṣṇa will give us protection, we should try to take shelter under Govardhan Hill and pray: “O Kṛṣṇa, give me protection from all the difficulties that may come to attack me because of my leaving behind my ordinary obligations.”
Although many anomalies may try to catch us, Kṛṣṇa will protect us. And in His representation as Govardhan Hill, that wonderful master of the cows will save us from all sorts of difficulties. How is this possible? God works wonders. His ways are unknown and inconceivable.

Die to Live

All the ideals, high ideals we have ever accumulated or come in association to will all be given up. Not only our physical acquisition but our mental acquisition, all our mental prospects ever acquired—all given up. Dissolution of the whole mind, body, and only soul, naked soul will be taken to that land, with the help of so many saints of that calibre.

You can find the full audio recording and transcript of this talk here
ā-viriñchyād amaṅgalam
One is to look, with very neglected dignity, at even the post of the creator of this world. Lord Brahma, who can create this world, but is in the relativity of this mortal, nasty, world. Who has created, and who is master of this world, but is in the relativity of this nasty world, his position is also condemnable, what to speak of the ordinary persons.
karmaṇāṁ pariṇāmitvād ā-viriñchyād amaṅgalam
[vipaśchin naśvaraṁ paśyed adṛṣṭam api dṛṣṭa-vat]
(SB 11.19.18)
[“An intelligent person should see that any material activity is subject to constant transformation and that even on the planet of Lord Brahmā there is thus simply unhappiness. Indeed, a wise man can understand that just as all that he has seen is temporary, similarly, all things within the universe have a beginning and an end”.]
You and I, what is our position? Meagre. Even the creator of this whole mundane world is also surrounded with the inauspicious, reactionary consequences of life.
Then, next is “Shivo ’ham, Shivo ’ham, Shivo ’ham”. After Brahma there is Shiva: “Shivo ’ham: I do not care for material comfort, but independent of material comfort as a soul I can live.” That temperament. “Shivo ’ham: I don’t care for any material achievement, I am sufficient in myself. Atmarama, I am self-sufficient. I don’t require any exploitation of this world or of any world.” That is the marginal position.
But the domain over the head of that Shiva is so high, and so charming: when he comes in connection with that, “Oh, I want to enter as a slave to that holy and magnanimous land. I want to be a member, the lowest member of that land. Even an ant’s position in that noble domain is something to be envied, in Vaikuntha. And then over Vaikuntha is Goloka, deeper, the most comprehensive and most subtle, all-pervading. Goloka: a solid circle. It is the highest and subtlemost plane ever found. That is the foundation of all different variety of planes we can experience. Goloka: that is beautiful, that is love. Beauty and love are similar things: they are sweet and beyond power and power-seeking.
This has been definitely brought down for us by Mahaprabhu, Nityananda, and Srimad Bhagavatam, the last treatise of Vedavyas, the giver of the greatest magnitude of revealed truth in this world. Revealed truth in different forms, in its greatest magnitude and detail, was given by Vyasadev, from Badarik Ashram. And the key to that, to the highest cabin, was given first to his son Sukadev. And Sukadev tried to impress the then scholars of India with that highest ideal in the whole theological world. Sukadev did that successfully, and next there was another sitting in Naimisaranya, where 60,000 brahman scholars met just before this Kali-yuga, the iron age. In the assembly of Sukadev there was one present who was srutidhar: having once heard, he could remember eternally. That is srutidhar: only once hearing it is recorded final. There was one such peculiar scholar present, Suta, Ugrasrava: Ugrasrava, whose aural reception was extraordinary, revolutionarily extraordinary. Once one impression was caught, it was final. That Ugasrava, sruti, whose hearing is of a very, very higher degree, the highest degree. He was present in that assembly and he caught it and distributed it to the sixty thousand brahmanic scholars gathered in Naimisaranya just before the beginning of this Kali-yuga, the iron age. That is Bhagavatam.
When these four sittings were completed—one Narad to Vyasa, second Vyasa to Suka, third Suka to Pariksit in the scholar’s assembly, and fourth from Ugrasrava-suta to Saunakadi Rsis—then with an introduction of three slokas, Vyasadev sent it to the market: janmādy asya yato ’nvayāt (1.1.1), dharmaḥ projjhita-kaitavo ’tra paramaḥ (1.1.2), and nigama-kalpa-taror galitaṁ phalaṁ (1.1.3). These three poems introduced Bhagavatam: one about sambandha-jnan, what is what; the second what is the means to the end; and the third, what is the proper conception of the end, of the destination. Where we are, who am I, where am I, what am I—in this way, sambandha-jnan. And second abhideya, what is the means to my end. And third, what is the conception of the proper end of life. Different from all other recommendations from different theological scriptures. This is the speciality of this book: mainly, after liberation, how one can live a dignified life. It is meant for them.
Nirmatsarāṇāṁ satām: they must be free from all jealousy, Vyasadev said. It is meant for those particular saints who are completely free from any trace of jealousy. Nirmatsar. Jealousy means who cannot tolerate that any other than he will be in a higher position. That is jealousy. That is the test. At every step you are to feel without prejudice that everything in your paraphernalia is holding a higher position than you. If you are jealous then you can’t advance a single step there. Jealousy is fully eliminated if you are ready to tolerate that everyone you come across is holding a higher position than you. And you should not mind anything from that. No reaction. If you can tolerate that everything, every dust of that plane is superior, holding a superior position to you, that all are Prabhu, and you are the slave; if you can accommodate yourself in such a way then you will have a very higher place where you can enter and live. But nirmatsarāṇāṁ satām, this is not for the ordinary saints. The jealousy must be exhaustively eliminated. “When you feel that everything is superior and that you are the lowest, then you can hope to come to study this and you will be able to understand what I say; then you can have everything there, you can progress, and you can freely live and move there. But that temperament is the minimum demand from you, and that finishes everything. This demand finishes everything.”
I told one sahajiya,
vaikuṇṭhera pṛthivy-ādi sakala chinmaya
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta: 1.5.53)
“In Goloka, and also below in Vaikuntha, everything is made of spiritual dust. All atoms are spiritual, and that is of higher quality than you, soul, who wants to enter there.”
So you are to enter into that domain, and then you can hope to get the company of the Narayan-bhakta, and then higher up in Goloka Vrndavan. It is not a matter of joke, a matter of luxury, so easy. So deserve, then have. No deserve, no having. It is only imitation here, plodding in the mud and thinking I am in the divine lake of Radha Kunda. Death means ‘Die to live’. Death means not only this physical, but mental death, and the death of all our ambitious aspirations. Death means, die to live. Living is also wonderful living. Living is also a wonderful, strange thing in comparison with the present living. There is living. Living along with all good, all high, all divine, all superior. How happy living. Wherever I am breathing, everything is of higher quality than my own self. How happy. How elevating. But have we such courage, boldness to live there, to die a wholesale death? To die a wholesale death of all our experienced life, to be severed from all the valuable things we ever gathered experience of?
Is it possible for us? It is not so easy. All the ideals, high ideals we have ever accumulated or come in association to will all be given up. Not only our physical acquisition but our mental acquisition, all our mental prospects ever acquired—all given up. Dissolution of the whole mind, body, and only soul, naked soul will be taken to that land, with the help of so many saints of that calibre. It is stranger than a dream. Reality is stranger than a dream, than fiction. Our standard of prospect should be raised so high.
If we can have some conception of the truth then we will feel that what we aspire after at present is all sinful, nasty. “Why should I be a master of so many?” We hate slavery, but we will be able to understand what a dignified position it is to be a slave to such wonderful goodness, to a wonderful master. It is possible, not impossible to peep into that higher position of truth. We will be eager to cast ourselves at the feet of those holy persons.
Mahaprabhu once told in Puri to Sanatan Goswami,
sanātana, deha-tyāge kṛṣṇa yadi pāiye
koṭi-deha kṣaṇeke tabe chāḍite pāriye
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta: 3.4.55)
“Sanatan, if it would have been possible that by giving up this body I can get Krishna, then in a moment I am ready to sacrifice this body crores [ten millions] of times. In a moment I want to invite, to welcome death crores of times, die to live, if by doing so I can get my Lord Krishna.”
What kind of standard: where is Krishna, of Mahaprabhu’s conception? Mahaprabhu says, “In a moment, ei kṣane, in this moment I am ready to die crores of times, if by the result of that I can get Krishna; but no, Krishna is not so cheap.” What benefit is there by physical death? This is to give up a dress, a flesh and bone dress. What charm is there? There is something more. Some positive life is there. It is not that by negative sacrifice of all that we possess we can go. It is not that if we can have a naked body we can go. No. Some positive attraction for that, that is the real thing. Sraddha, sadhu-sanga. Serving tendency: that is the visa. Not a passport. I can collect any number of passports but a visa is necessary. The sanction of that place is necessary. But they are very broadhearted, very generous, very loving, and infinitely resourceful. Infinite resourcefulness is there.
Now England is trying its best to oust the foreigners. For so long they were liberal, but now a party has raised that so many foreigners have come to live in England and they are making the original British people’s life intolerable. So there must be some check over the immigrants.
But there [Vaikuntha, Goloka] is infinite, and no such limitation is there: “All may come, but come with good will. With good will, with standard good will you should come. You are all welcome, it is infinite, but you are to give up all your anti-tendencies of this land, and to keep them outside. You come, you come for the interest of us; for the whole country, you come. For the Lord, you come. You are all welcome, very earnestly and affectionately welcome. He is Lord of all of us, he is not only the Lord of a particular section, but he is the Lord of all, a loving Lord, an infinite Lord. His love is infinite, his ways are infinite, everything is infinite. So there is no possibility that our portion will be lessened if you come and partake of the service. No. Come. We rather want more; if more may be engaged his service, we will be happy, more happy, more happy. But service, mind that; service must be for his satisfaction. That is the criterion. We are all seeking, searching for his satisfaction, not any one of us, and if we find that lacking there, then we will turn into your enemy. With this idea all can come.”
Spoken by Srila B.R. Sridhar Dev-Goswami, 2 January 1983
This post is a continuation of the article Paradise Lost
You can find the full audio recording and transcript of this talk here

Sri Vaishnava Toshani Vol 3 No 1

Sri Vaishnava Toshani, May–June 1994, Vol 3 #1 is presented here.
pdf edition
ePub edition
I Have Only One Successor
by His Divine Grace B.R. Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj 
I Am Your Unknown Friend
by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad
Safely On The Path Of Devotion
by His Divine Grace Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj
The Serving Mood
by Swami B.P. Janardan
The Path Of Divine Descent
by Swami B.A. Sagar
Religion Means Proper Adjustment
by Swami B.S. Tridandi
Response by Srutasrava Das
The Beauty Of His Smile
by Braja Mohini Dasi
Previous editions uploaded:
Jan–Feb 1992 Vol 1 No 1
March–April 1992 Vol 1 No 2
May–June 1992 Vol 1 No 3
Nov–Dec 1992, Vol 1 #6
May–June 1993, Vol 2 #2
Sept–Oct 1993, Vol 2 No 3

Paradise Lost

When Adam and Eve were in a surrendered position, no labour was necessary. Everything was automatic. The soul, the spiritual, eternal body, does not require any food to maintain itself. There is no necessity of any addition from the outside to keep up the vitality there, in the surrendered life of the pure spiritual soul.

You can find the full audio recording and transcript of this talk here
Satan’s opinion is that it is better to reign in hell than to serve in heaven. But it is just the opposite: it is better to serve in heaven than to reign in hell. It is the opposite of the satanic doctrine. ‘Paradise Lost’: because they lost their faith in sharanagati, surrender, in the truth of surrender. That was disturbed, and they came to live with their freedom and free judgement; Adam and Eve had to come down to the world of calculation of one’s self, of one’s individual free will, of their own responsibility. Then they had to earn and eat, enjoy. We have come to the world of ‘earn and enjoy’. Earn and enjoy, labour and live. It is the world of labour and live.
There [in heaven], without labour, sustenance is to come. When Adam and Eve were in a surrendered position, no labour was necessary. Everything was automatic. The soul, the spiritual, eternal body, does not require any food to maintain itself. There is no necessity of any addition from the outside to keep up the vitality there, in the surrendered life of the pure spiritual soul. When free choice came, instead of the surrendered stage, then they had to enter the world of labour and live. And Satan was at the back, “Why are you a slave?”
Srimad Bhagavat has discarded knowledge: “Don’t rely on your knowledge.” The fruit of the tree of knowledge was tasted by Eve first, and then Adam. The tree of knowledge is dangerous, and brought them down to the world of calculation here. But surrender brings one to the good man’s society, the higher society where there is no deception, no hypocrisy, no conspiracy. There, knowledge, calculation, good, bad, all these are meaningless there. There is an automatic flow of goodness in the atmosphere, and no doubt, no suspicion, no meanness to cheat one another. So there is no question of calculation.
That is in the lower part of Vaikuntha, and it is again higher in Goloka. In Goloka it is more beautiful, more loving, more sustaining, more sweet and ecstatic. We want to have practical faith in the charm of that sort of life.
sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaranaṁ vraja
In the Bible there is the history of the fall, and ‘going up’ is not very expressively presented there. The son of God has come to take them again up there, and that is vague. The fall of Adam and Eve is very clear. But that one man is taken from this plane to that plane is not such a very explicit or clear history.
Who is there like Christ, that has such full faith in God’s land, God’s action, God’s goodness that they can treat the wealth, the prosperity, the charm of this world of enjoyment as something to trample under their feet? “I resign all covetable posts in this world, whatever they may be: a kingship, a leadership, a lover like Romeo, a beloved like Juliet. All are dismissed. I am ready to dismiss all these things, for some higher, mystic unknown, for a sweet, sweet life and a sweet, sweet home. I have finished with everything else.”
Srila B.R. Sridhar Maharaj speaking on 2 January 1983, in Sri Nabadwip Dham.
You can find the full audio recording and transcript of this talk here
Photo: Domenico Cunego: The Original Sin and The Banishment of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. After Michelangelo’s fresco.

Vaishnava Toshani: Vol 2 No 3

You have come to fight as a soldier, to save your country, or your people, or your honor. What your environment is, that does not depend on your whim. It may appear in any way, but you have to face that. However complex the battlefield may be, as a soldier you are to approach that. Otherwise you have no real faith in your own cause.

Sri Vaishnava Toshani, Sep–Oct 1993, Vol 2 #3 is presented here.
pdf edition
ePub edition
Beyond All Rituals
by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
The Environment Is Your Friend
by His Divine Grace B.R. Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj
We Have Something Very Special
by His Holiness B.P. Janardan Maharaj
Mahaprabhu’s Divine Succession
by His Divine Grace B.S. Govinda Dev-Goswami, President Acharya
We Can Get Everything Through Love
by His Holiness B.S. Tridandi Maharaj
Our Saint From Above Visits Down-Under
by His Grace Mohanananda Das, World Tour Coordinator
Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Ashram Comes To Santa Cruz
by Sriman Hasyapriya Das
Sweet Distribution
by Sriman Mathuranath Das
Nourishing The Creeper
by Dinadhama Srutasrava Das
Previous editions uploaded:
Jan–Feb 1992 Vol 1 No 1
March–April 1992 Vol 1 No 2
May–June 1992 Vol 1 No 3
Nov–Dec 1992, Vol 1 #6
May–June 1993, Vol 2 #2

Sri Jagannathdev

The following article by our Param Gurudev Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj has been excerpted from the magazine ‘Counterpoint’, Vol 1 No 6 Spring ’94, which was published by Sriman Devashis Prabhu.
The full text of that edition can be found here in pdf format
and here in epub format
Braja-rasa in Dwaraka
Sometimes there is a conception amongst the Queens of Dwārakā that, “Although we have Kṛṣṇa as our husband, we feel that somehow He is not Kṛṣṇa in His fullness. He always seems absentminded, as if His heart is not wholly with us.” Pondering the cause of this, the Queens came to know that previously Kṛṣṇa had some very sweet connection with Vṛndāvan and the Gopīs there. Thinking this to be the key to Kṛṣṇa’s absentminded mood, they began searching for an opportunity to find out how Kṛṣṇa was living in Vṛndāvan. They wanted to know about His pastimes there with the Gopīs, and to hear the descriptions from His childhood. Balarām’s mother Rohiṇī had lived in Vṛndāvan during Kṛṣṇa’s childhood, and although she is situated in vātsalya-rasa (parental relationship), she had heard many things about Kṛṣṇa’s Līlā with the Gopīs. So meeting her privately the Queens requested her, “Please describe Kṛṣṇa’s mādhurya-līlā in Vṛndāvan to us.” Rohiṇī was unable to avoid the Queens’ sincere request, and so posting Kṛṣṇa’s sister Subhadrā to keep watch, she began to narrate about His Līlā with the Milkmaids of Vraja.
It so happened that at that same time, Kṛṣṇa and Balarām were taking rest in a nearby room, and as Rohiṇī was describing the Vṛndāvan-līlā, They became aware of what was taking place. Coming to the door where Subhadrā was standing guard, Kṛṣṇa and Balarām could hear the talk of Rohiṇī, and remembering Vṛndāvan, the Gopīs and all these things, a great intensity of feeling came over Them. A great change of feeling came over Kṛṣṇa and Balarām, so great that Their bodies also began to change; just as Mahāprabhu had shown when He fell at the gate of the Jagannāth Mandir and His arms and legs entered into His body. Such a change in the body is possible according to some particular feeling of ecstasy, and feeling the ecstasy of Vṛndāvan, Kṛṣṇa and Balarām were undergoing such a transformation. And Subhadrā, although She had not lived in Vṛndāvan, seeing Her Brothers in this way, She also experienced some sort of sympathetic transformation. Internally that feeling came to Her and externally She was also transformed. The cause of Their disfiguration was the Vṛndāvan statement of Rohiṇī. Remembering that Vṛndāvan-līlā and feeling that, such change came in Their bodies.
Suddenly the group of Rohiṇī could understand that Kṛṣṇa and Balarām were there listening to their talk, and so immediately they stopped. The Līlā thus suspended, the disfigured formation of Kṛṣṇa remained, and He fell into a trance. Nothing could be done to reverse the situation, and so in desperation Kṛṣṇa was taken to the Nava-Vṛndāvan; a replica of Vṛndāvan that had been created in Dwārakā by Brahmā for Kṛṣṇa’s pleasure. Although Kṛṣṇa was awake He could not come out of that mentality, that trance, until He could be taken to that Nava-Vṛndāvan. There in His trance He could only see Baladev, and all others present were eliminated from His vision. Seeing Baladev, Kṛṣṇa was happy that He was in Vṛndāvan. Then He saw Rohiṇī, “Oh yes, it is Vṛndāvan.” Mannequins of all the other residents of Vṛndāvan were also arranged there, and the Queens were following from a distance to see what will happen. After seeing Baladev, Kṛṣṇa sees His cowherd friends Śrīdām and Sudām are also there. In another part the Gopīs are there, and in one part Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī is standing. Seeing Her mannequin Kṛṣṇa ran and embraced Her, and when Satyabhāmā saw this, some disfigurement also came in Her body. While Kṛṣṇa was in this temperament, Baladev was able to go to Him and gradually he was able to bring Kṛṣṇa back to the consciousness of Dwārakā. The sudden stopping of His experience of Vṛndāvan caused His condition and only by a gradual process, His mentality was again taken to Dwārakā.
This sort of tale is there, and when Dwārakā and Vṛndāvan mix, that is Jagannāth. He is mainly in Dwārakā, but the posing of Vṛndāvan is there. He has infinite forms of Līlā, so what can we trace or know with our finite capacity? In Dwārakā-Saṁhitā we find that there was an arrangement of Rāsa-līlā in Dwārakā also. The Queens had heard that in Vṛndāvan there was the Rāsa-līlā and that it is most wonderful. So when on one occasion the whole Vṛndāvan party was invited to Dwārakā, they privately approached Kṛṣṇa and petitioned Him, “The Gopīs have come, and for a long time it is our hearts’ desire that you will show Your Rāsa-līlā to us. Will You request them?” Kṛṣṇa replied, “If they will give their consent then I have no objection.” The Queens made their request to the Gopīs and the Rāsa-līlā was arranged. When it was complete, all that saw it were astonished, and the Queens went to the camp of the Gopīs to express their wonder. “What we have seen is the most wonderful thing, it is impossible to conceive even. We cannot properly express such a thing.” And Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī made this statement in reply, “What have you seen? That was nothing — an almost dead representation. Where is the Yamunā?Where is the kadamba tree, the peacock, the deer, and all these things? There in Vṛndāvan that was a natural stage, and that was performed there in our youth. What you saw, that is nothing, a sham, a mere mockery.” Then the Queens began to reflect, “If what we saw is of such lower order, then what type of superior quality Līlā must be found in the Original? It is totally inconceivable.”
So the psychology of Vṛndāvan is all-important. The attraction for that Vrndāvan-līlā — when that was suddenly stopped the result was a great change in the physical plane. Of course it is not physical, but for the purpose of explanation we can say physical. That check caused the disfigurement of the external plane. It is something like when there is an earthquake. The internal movement of the Earth disfigures the surface, so the internal disturbance that was created by the recollection of Vṛndāvan-līlā, that caused a great transformation in the superficial appearance. And when that was suddenly checked, that appearance remained. That has been pictured and shown in Jagannāthdev. When the higher prospect is suddenly checked, then the reaction comes. So Jagannāth is a reactionary stage between Vṛndāvan and Dwārakā. The conflict between the emotion of Swayaṁ-Bhagavān and the Vaibhava-vilās of Kṛṣṇa. It is something like rasābhās. In higher ecstasy also, rasābhās is possible. The clash of two different waves of rasa. The train may be proceeding in a particular motion and the carriage along with it. But if suddenly the train should brake, then the contents inside the carriage will be thrown into a great disorder. It is something like that.
ādau yad dvāro ’plavate,
sindhuḥ pārer apauruṣaṁ
This verse says that the Jagannāth mūrti has been there from the very conception, from the most ancient time. So every Līlā of the Lord is eternal. Every part of the infinite is eternal. In the beginning of Mahābhārat there is “Dhṛtarāṣṭra-vilāp”, and there Dhṛtarāṣṭra is naming the main incidents of Mahābhārat, and lamenting that, “Because of this incident and that incident I know that my party must be defeated”. But at this stage of Mahābhārata none of these incidents had taken place. So how can Dhṛtarāṣtra speak of these incidents at the beginning of the narration? It is because it is nitya, eternal. The beginning of the Līlā and the end of the Līlā cannot be differentiated. It is in a cyclic order and it is eternal. That is a very difficult thing to understand. To adjust to the eternal. Everywhere beginning, everywhere end. Everywhere there is centre and nowhere is there circumference. This is the meaning of infinite. This is Nitya-līlā. Everywhere beginning, everywhere end, and all coexistent at the same time.
Kṛṣṇadās Kavirāj Goswāmī has represented this in a particular way He has given the example that the sunrise is to be found always in one place or another. Now it is here, now there, and so on in this way. So like the sun Kṛṣṇa-līlā is moving, the birth, the childhood, being shown here and then extended to another brahmāṇḍa, another universe. That is the aspect of Bhauma-līlā. And in another aspect, in Goloka, we find that every Līlā is also nitya. It is reflected here in this world and the reflection is revolving like the sun. It may be traced here, now here, now there — a question of space, but in Goloka, in the central place it is all there simultaneously. It is also no less in the heart of the devotees. When a devotee remembers a Līlā, it may be Vraja-līlā, and now Dwārakā-līlā, but what is reflected in the heart of a devotee, that is also true. So in this way it is coexistent and it is continuing always. Every Līlā and every part of Līlā is always present, coexistent. Succession and coexistence both harmonised.
Devotee: Maharaj, is Guru-paramparā also part of Līlā?
Śrīla Śrīdhar Maharaj: Of course. It is the Līlā of Kṛṣṇa. But not only that, Māyā and everything else is included in Līlā from His standpoint. It is His sweet will, His independence.
mayā tatam idaṁ sarvaṁ, jagad avyakta-mūrtinā
mat-sthāni sarva-bhūtāni, na cāhaṁ teṣv avasthitaḥ
(Srimad Bhagavad Gita: 9.4)
“Everything is in Me, yet nothing is in Me. I am everywhere and I am nowhere.”
Everything will come within this conception. He can even interfere with the free will of the jīva, but still He doesn’t. He is within and He can control, yet He does not. He may choose not to control. He has this independence. This sort of conception we shall have to indent. This is the conception of Śrī Chaitanya Mahāprabhu and this is what separates His conception from the Hegalian philosophy and the philosophy of Aurobindo. Māyā is not a necessary part of existence, and by Kṛṣṇa’s will Māyā may be finished, and if He so desires, again recreated.
koṭi-kāmadhenu-patira chāgī yaiche mare
ṣaḍ-aiśvarya-pati kṛṣṇera māyā kibā kare?
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita: 2.15.179)
He can make or mar. Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākur has written in his Tattva-sūtra that by His will, even the existence of the jīva-soul may be extinguished. This is not the general case, but still Absolute Power is with Him. Everything is designed and destined by Him, that is the expression of swarūp-śakti.
kṛṣṇa-līlāmṛta-sāra, tāra śata śata dhāra’
daśa-dike vahe yāhā haite
se chaitanya-līlā haya, sarovara akṣaya,
mano-haṁsa charāha’ tāhāte
(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita: 2.25.271)
Chaitanya-līlā is the Infinite sweetness from Chaitanya —whatever is within and whatever is coming from Him, that is all the high nectar of Kṛṣṇa-līlā and nothing else. Chaitanya-līlā means the centre from which Kṛṣṇa-līlā flows in different forms, oozing from all sides and even from every pore. Nothing but Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa-līlā, Braja-līlā embodied in Him, and coming out to help the public. The voluntary distribution of Kṛṣṇa-līlā of different nectarine tastes; that is Śrī Chaitanya Mahāprabhu. He has no separate existence from the Nāma, Guṇa, Rūpa, and Līlā of Kṛṣṇa, Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, and this includes Yaśodā and all others within the relativity of Kṛṣṇa. If one is there then all others must necessarily be there. So Kṛṣṇa-līlā means Kṛṣṇa with His group. Also Vṛndāvan — the water, the forest, the animals, the birds, all are included in Kṛṣṇa-līlā, Braja-līlā. And that and nothing else is all coming from Śrī Chaitanya. That is Rādhā Kṛṣṇa in self-distributing nature. Whatever comes from Him — that is all Kṛṣṇa. Even in Śrī Chaitanya’s childhood, when one could not trace anything of Kṛṣṇa, it was there, and in different ways He was creating the background for distributing Kṛṣṇa-līlā to others.
kṛṣṇa-nāma dhare kata bala
(Śrī-Nāma-Māhātmya — Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākur)
This sound “Kṛṣṇa”, what is its value? Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmi has explained that Kṛṣṇa has four unique, special qualities. Every jīva has fifty innate qualities. Certain devatās have fifty-five, the five additional qualities partially manifest in them. Śrī Nārāyaṇ has sixty qualities in full, and Kṛṣṇa has four more qualities not found in Nārāyaṇ. Those four qualities are: rūpa-mādhurya (sweet form), veṇu-mādhurya (sweet flute), līlā-mādhurya (sweet pastimes), and parikara-mādhurya (sweet associates). Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmi has established the speciality of Kṛṣṇa-līlā in this way. And this is only found in Vṛndāvan. Vāsudev-Kṛṣṇa has no flute, and it has been mentioned that even Dwārakeśa-Kṛṣṇa is charmed to search for the rūpa-mādhurya of Vṛndāvan-Kṛṣṇa, the sweet Lord of Braja, Reality the Beautiful.
Photo: By Dreamodisha – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Vaishnava Toshani: Vol 2 No 2

Intelligence has no meaning if it does not connect with fulfillment, or satisfaction, or happiness, or sweetness, prema, love. Everything is meaningless if that aspect is eliminated from life. Fulfillment is in love, in beauty, in sweetness, in charm

Sri Vaishnava Toshani, May–June 1993, Vol 2 #2 is presented here.
pdf edition
ePub edition
Fulfilment Is In Love
by His Divine Grace B.R. Sridhara Dev-Goswami Maharaja
Mahaprabhu’s Divine Mercy
by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad
Passport To The Abode Of The Lord
by Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj
Are We Elitists?
by Bhakti Pavan Janardan Maharaja
by B.A. Sagar Maharaja
Invaluable Friendship With A Saint
by Bhakti Sudhir Goswami
Spiritual Economics
by Sriman Rsabhdev Das
Adventures In Paradise
by Dinadhama Srutasrava dasa
Ramanuja’s Secret Mantra
by Sriman Mathuranath Das
Previous editions uploaded:
Jan–Feb 1992 Vol 1 No 1
March–April 1992 Vol 1 No 2
May–June 1992 Vol 1 No 3
Nov–Dec 1992, Vol 1 #6

The most secret power

Surrender is the most wonderful thing in the world, which makes it possible for the small to control the great, the smallest to control the greatest. It is only possible by this means: through love, through surrender.

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Devotee: Srila Guru Maharaj, in every activity there is a science, so I’m trying to
understand the science of faith.
Srila Sridhar Maharaj: What is the science of faith? The underlying principle of faith is this:
‘śraddhā’-śabde — viśvāsa kahe sudṛḍha niścaya
kṛṣṇe bhakti kaile sarva-karma kṛta haya

[“Sraddha means firm, confident faith that all duties are performed if one serves Krishna.”—Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta: 2.22.62]
“If I do my duty to the centre, everything is done.” That is faith.
yasmin jñāte sarvam idam vijñātam bhavati
yasmin prāpte sarvam idam prāptam bhavati
[“Enquire into that upon knowing which, nothing further remains to be known. Try to achieve that upon gaining which, nothing further remains to be gained.”—Upaniṣads]
Faith covers the whole by accepting one. Apparently accepting a part, he can cover the whole; that is the peculiarity there. “If I can capture one the whole can be captured; if I love one the whole is loved. If I know one the whole is known.” If anyone has got that sort of conception then that is the seed of faith and he approaches on that path of faith. By approaching the centre, all the branches, all that has sprung from Him, is approached. Pouring water into the root the whole tree is fed. Putting food into the stomach the whole body can be fed. If one gets the key he gets the almirah, the iron chest. It is something like that. Such sort of faith, confidence, trust, is sraddha. That is faith. And he approaches in that way, otherwise, being a part, how can I claim the whole? Our inner necessity is to have the whole, but how is it possible? It is possible only through the heart.
Once in Bombay our Guru Maharaj gave an example of this: that a poor girl has got nothing but if she is married to a prince who has plenty, then through that tie of affection she may think that all the properties of the prince belong to her. It is something like that. Krishna has everything under His control, and we have nothing. But if we can establish a connection with Krishna through affection, if we can establish an affectionate connection with Him, then we can have everything thereby through Him.
This is the idea: to get the whole. By getting one to get the whole. By capturing the fort we capture the country. Capturing the controller we capture the whole that He controls. Bhakti is such an astounding thing that through sraddha, through bhakti, the small can control the big, an atom can control the centre. It is the speciality of devotion, sharanagati, surrender. Surrender is the most wonderful thing in the world, which makes it possible for the small to control the great, the smallest to control the greatest. It is only possible by this means: through love, through surrender. The smallest part, the particle, can control the whole only through faith, through surrender. He is so kind, he has such kindness in His heart. By humility, by our incapacity: “I am the most wretched, most fallen, so attraction should come to me. I’m the most negative, I represent the most negative aspect, so the positive should have His greatest attention for this negative.”
So, so much praise is shown for bhakti in the scripture. Bhakti can do what is impossible: it can control the high to the lower. This is affection, this is devotion proper. Devotion proper has such a characteristic, that the high is controlled by it. Suppose a general after conquering a country has come home and his young child takes him by his finger and draws him and he is following. A great powerful general can be controlled by a child. Why? Through affection. Affection, or love, or faith, is a wonderful thing which can control the big for the low.
Such a wonderful thing cannot ever be, not only discovered but even thought of; none can think also of such things. This is the real nature of faith, or devotion, or affection. Where it is present the big is controlled by the small. Bhakti is to be traced there. Where it is not seen there is no bhakti. Bhakti means this, that the big is controlled by the small. The inner thread is that of devotion, affection, surrender, and love. That is the real characteristic of bhakti. What a wonderful thing it is, and how powerful a thing it is. Strange, strange, strange.
ahaṁ bhakta-parādhīno, hy asvatantra iva dvija
sādhubhir grasta-hṛdayo, bhaktair bhakta-jana-priyaḥ
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, 9.4.63)
The Lord Himself says: “What can I say, Durvasa?” Durvasa was a big yogi. “What can I say Durvasa, I am already surrendered, I am committed, to My devotee. I have no independence of My own. I am already committed to My devotees and I can’t back out from that claim. So you’ll have to go to that Ambarish; your appeal to Me is futile, useless. It won’t work at all, it won’t fetch anything for you. I am already committed to My devotees, so you will have to go back to My devotee and to beg forgiveness there.” This is spoken by Narayan and it is not hyperbole but wholesale truth. It is not merely a show or poetry, it is truth, cent per cent.
ahaṁ bhakta-parādhīno, hy asvatantra iva dvija
sādhubhir grasta-hṛdayo, bhaktair bhakta-jana-priyaḥ
“This is My nature. My very nature is such, Durvasa, that I am committed to My devotees. I have no independence. ‘Iva’: and this is My voluntary contribution, or acceptance, or commitment. Though I am the Absolute My voluntary commitment is such by nature. What to do?”
That is bhakti. So we are out to find the most secret wealth or secret power the world has ever conceived, by which the smallest can control the highest, the greatest. That sort of learning, or tact, or whatever you may say, is possible. Mahaprabhu came with that most valuable thing. “What are you doing? You make yourself busy for nothing, or busy for rubbishes? Try to acquire this, this most valuable thread. Try to get this magical wand. Nothing so valuable has ever been discovered in the world. Take to this subtlemost power by which the smallest can control the highest, the greatest. This is love, this is love, this is faith, this is affection. So cultivate, give up everything and cultivate about this, search for this, search for Krishna, search for love, search for devotion. Die to live. This is self determination to the highest degree. Self determination, self realisation to the highest degree is to acquire such position. By humility we may be master.
tṛṇād api sunīchena, taror api sahiṣṇunā
[amāninā mānadena, kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ]

[“One who is humbler than a blade of grass, more forbearing than a tree, who gives due honour to others without desiring it for himself is qualified to always chant the Holy Name of Krishna.”—Sri Siksastakam, 3]
We will be able to conquer the whole by that sort of qualification, and not by jumping and capturing and carrying and looting and fighting.
Spoken by Srila B.R. Sridhar Maharaj on 5 January 1983 in Sri Nabadwip Dham