Beyond the Veda

by His Divine Grace Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Deva-Goswami

jadi gaura nā ho’to, tobe ki hoito,
kemone dhoritām de?
rādhāra mahimā prema-rasa-sīmā
jagate jānāta ke?

(If Lord Gaura had not come, then what would have become of us? How could we have maintained our lives? If he had not come, then how could we know of the glories of Śrī Rādhā and the topmost limit of ecstatic love of Krishna?)

madhura vṛndā, vipina mādhurī,
praveśa chāturī sāra
baraja-juvatī, bhāvera bhakati,
śakati hoito kāra?

(Who would have had the capacity to render ecstatic devotional service, following the mood of the damsels of Braja? Indeed, the clever expertise of the Braja-gopīs is essential for entering the supremely sweet forest of Vṛndā, Śrī Vṛndāvan.)

Śrīman Mahāprabhu said that Śrīmad Bhāgavatam is the supreme gist of Śrīla Vedavyāsa. Śrīla Guru Mahārāj, Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣak Śrīdhar Dev-Goswāmī Mahārāj, expressed in his śloka,

yad amiya-mahimā-śrī-bhāgavatyāḥ kathāyāṁ
pratipadam anubhūtaṁ chāpy alabdhābhidheyā
tad akhila-rasa-mūrteḥ śyāma-līlāvalambaṁ
madhura-rasadhī-rādhā-pāda-padmaṁ prapadye

(Every word in Śrīmad Bhāgavatam glorifies Rādhārāṇī, but her name is not specifically taken there. Kṛṣṇa is the Akhila-rasāmṛta-mūrti, the emporium of all rasa, and Rādhārāṇī is Śyāma-līlāvilamba, the reservoir in which Kṛṣṇa plays and tastes the full ecstasy of madhura-rasa. Rādhārāṇī is the controller of Kṛṣṇa’s heart, the madhura-rasa adhikāriṇī. Her service is the source of all of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s madhura-rasa prema.)

The name of Śrīmati Rādhārāṇī is not directly mentioned in Bhāgavatam, but we can feel her glories there at every moment.

We can also find Radhārānī’s name indirectly in Śrīmad Bhāgavatam:

anayārādhito nūnaṁ bhagavān harir īśvaraḥ
yan no vihāya govindaḥ prīto yām anayad rahaḥ

(10.30.28)

(“Certainly this particular gopī has perfectly worshiped the all-powerful Personality of Godhead, Govinda, since he was so pleased with her that he abandoned the rest of us and brought her to a secluded place.”)

Śukadev Goswāmī did not want to take the name of Rādhārāṇī in the public meeting because it is the hidden treasure of Lord Krishna. Only Uddhava and that type of devotee can understand something. It is not for everyone and everyone cannot understand.

Bhagavān Krishna sent Uddhava as his own representative to Braja Dhām and Uddhava met with Braja-bāsīs there, and especially with the gopīs. Rādhārāṇī was present there and in the Brahmara-gītā (‘Song to the bumblebee’, SB 10.47) she expressed,

madhupa kitava-bandho mā spṛśaṅghriṁ sapatnyāḥ
kucha-vilulita-mālā-kuṅkuma-śmaśrubhir naḥ
vahatu madhu-patis tan-māninīnāṁ prasādaṁ
yadu-sadasi viḍambyaṁ yasya dūtas tvam īdṛk

[“O honeybee, O friend of a cheater, don’t touch My feet with your whiskers, which are smeared with the kuṅkuma that rubbed onto Kṛṣṇa’s garland when it was crushed by the breasts of a rival lover! Let Kṛṣṇa satisfy the women of Mathurā. One who sends a messenger like you will certainly be ridiculed in the Yadus’ assembly.”]

When Uddhava saw the prema of Rādhārāṇī and the Braja-gopīs, he was stunned, astonished, and very much surprised: “This is a hidden treasure in the heart of Krishna. No one knows of it but I am fortunate to understand something by the grace of Krishna.

Then he expressed,

āsām aho charaṇa-reṇu-juṣām ahaṁ syāṁ
vṛndāvane kim api gulma-latauṣadhīnām
yā dustyajaṁ sva-janam ārya-pathaṁ cha hitvā
bhejur mukunda-padavīṁ śrutibhir vimṛgyām
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 10.47.61)

This is a very famous śloka of Uddhava: “I want to be a small plant or blade of grass in Braja Dhām; if I get that chance I will feel that to be a super-fortune. The Braja-bāsins will walk on the grass, and so if I can stay in Braja Dhām in that plant form, if I can get a little bit of space to stay in Braja Dhām, then I shall get the foot dust of the Braja-gopīs on my head. This is my super hankering. I do not want to be a gopī but if I can get the feet dust of the gopīs I shall feel so fortunate.”

This is the conception of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam  that Śrī Chaitanya Mahāpabhu has given to us. As a guru Krishna gave advice to Uddhava. “Uddhava,

tasmāt tvam uddhavotsṛjya chodanāṁ pratichodanām
pravṛttiñ cha nivṛttiñ cha śrotavyaṁ śrutam eva cha
mām ekam eva śaraṇam ātmānaṁ sarva-dehinām
yāhi sarvātma-bhāvena mayā syā hy akuto-bhayaḥ
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 11.12.14–15)

“Leave everything. Whatever advice and ruling is given in the Vedas is not useful in this plane, in Braja Dhām, and you cannot practise it here.”

In the scriptures it is said,

śruti-smṛti-purāṇādi- pañcharātriki-vidhiṁ vinā
aikāntikī harer bhaktir utpātāyaiva kalpate
(Brahma-yāmala; Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu: 1.2.101)

“The rulings of the Vedas, the law of the smṛti and Purānas, and the rules and regulations given in Nārada-pañcharātra: everything is for the practitioner, for their practising life, and if someone does not follow that, and shows that he is devoted to Krishna, he is actually not devoted, and he is like garbage of the religious ground. Who will not follow the śruti, smṛti, Purāṇa, and show, ‘We are religious, pious men’ is actually not religious or pious at all.”

Krishna, however, showed another quality to Uddhava. “This is another quality that I am showing to you. They are all vanaukasām: they are living in the jungle, and they are not following the rules of the Veda or anything else; but no one can understand their devotional property and how deep it is. You go and see and come back and tell me. And that is another world. That is not adjoined with Vaikuṇṭhaloka, not adjoined with the other part of Paravyom.” That was Krishna’s preaching style to Uddhava.

Then Krishna said, “Do you believe me now?”

And Uddhava said, “Yes.”

“Then it is my advice to you to not to tell this to everyone. It is not for everyone. You leave all the rulings of the Vedas, smṛti, and Purāṇas, and surrender to me.”

Mām ekam eva śaraṇam; yāhi sarvātma-bhāvena means, “With your heart, with your name, with your friends, with your family, everything. And when I shall give shelter and assurance you will be fearless from the whole religious environment.”

We can see three stages of religion: śruti, smṛti, and Purāṇa. But the Vraja-prema to Krishna is beyond that.

bhidyate hṛdaya-granthiś chidyante sarva-saṁśayāḥ
kṣīyante chāsya karmāṇi mayi dṛṣṭe ’khilātmani
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 11.20.30)

The bondage of the heart with religion will be broken through this conception and all kinds of suspiciousness will go out. All questions will get proper answers through this conception. And all karma-bandhan, the binding law in this material world, the law that “to every action there is an equal and opposite reaction”, will not work within this zone. That law works everywhere but it will not work within this zone. Here there is no question of reaction. Here there is only action and that action is serving the Lord and for the satisfaction of the Lord. He is the only enjoyer and all are suppliers of enjoyment for that supreme sweet absolute. Everything there is for the glory of Lord Krishna, Rādhārāṇī and Mahāprabhu. This is the supreme direction of Śrī Krishna Himself.

Once Krishna told Nārada, “I am very much attacked by a headache.”

“Oh, you are the Lord! If you are suffering, you know what the remedy is.”

“Yes, I know the remedy, but whether you can collect that I do not know.”

“What is the remedy? I can collect it.”

“The only remedy for this is the feet dust of my pure devotees. If I can take some on my head then the headache will go.”

“Yes, Prabhu, there are so many devotees in this world and I will collect some now.”

 “No, it must be from a pure devotee, who is a perfect, 100 percent devotee.”

“Yes, I am going.”

Nārada went but everyone he approached said, “We do not know how much devotion we have, but we are not pure devotees in any way.”

Then Nārada come back. “It is rare, very rare. How are you feeling now?”

“Oh, I am the same as my previous situation. Did you go to Braja Dhām?”

“No.”

“Go to Braja Dhām, see there. There I have some pure devotees.”

Nārada went to Braja Dhām to the Braja-gopīs. Nārada thought that there must be some brāhmaṇs there but in Braja Dhām there are no brāhmaṇs except for Madhumaṅgal. No other brahman was there and so Nārada went to the Braja-gopīs. The Braja-gopīs said, “Yes, yes why didn’t you come here first? We do not know who is a pure devotee but we are devotees no doubt. You take our feet dust and give it to Krishna. There must be one pure devotee amongst us. Take it. Where is your bag, your plastic bag?”

Nārada was surprised. “You are not fearful? Do you know that Krishna is God?”

“Maybe your Krishna is God but our Krishna is not God. We do not feel that. He is,

vraje prasiddhaṁ navanīta-chauraṁ
janmanānāñ cha dukūla-chauram
bhakta-hṛdaya-sarvasva-chauraṁ
chaurāgragaṇyaṁ puruṣaṁ namāmi

(Śrīla Bilvamaṅgal Ṭhākur)

We know him as a thief, a famous thief. You may know he is a god but we know he is famous as a thief. He has stolen our hearts, stolen our clothes, and stolen our food. Supremely, he is stealing the hearts of all devotees. Then will we say he is God? But it is not necessary to talk now: you take the feet dust and go.”

Nārada was surprised to see that.

yathā yathā gaura-padāravinde vindeta bhaktiṁ kṛta puṇya-rāśiḥ
tathā tathot-sarpati hṛdya-kasmād rādhā-padāmbhoja-sudhāmbu rāśiḥ
(Śrī Chaitanya-chandrāmṛta: 88)

(As much as you surrender to the lotus feet of Śrī Gaurāṅga, you will find yourself safely situated in the service of Rādhā-Govinda. Do not try to approach Rādhā-Govinda directly; if you do, there may be some difficulty. But the lotus feet of Śrī Gaurāṅga will take you there safely.)

When Mahāprabhu went somewhere a loving, auspicious environment manifested there. Wherever Mahāprabhu put his lotus feet Rādhārāṇī’s divine, ecstatic lotus feet fully manifested in that place.

Where there is no Rādhārāṇī, there is no Krishna.

sarvasya chāhaṁ hṛdi sanniviṣṭho
mattaḥ smṛtir jñānam apohanaṁ cha
vedaiś cha sarvair aham eva vedyo
vedānta-kṛd veda-vid eva-chāham
(Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā: 15.15)

[“I am situated (as the Supersoul) within the heart of all souls, and from Me arises the soul’s remembrance, knowledge, and forgetfulness {according to his actions}. I alone am the Sweet Absolute to be known through all the Vedas. I am the revealer of the Vedānta—Vedavyāsa, and I am the knower of the Vedas.”]

Without Krishna, the Vedic knowledge is useless. With Krishna everything is beautiful, and without Krishna everything is useless. Without Rādhārāṇī, however, Krishna has no charming power or attraction.

śuka bale, “āmāra kṛṣṇa madana-mohana”
śārī bale, “āmāra rādhā vāme yata kṣaṇa”

Without Rādhārāṇī he is not Madan-mohan [the enchanter of Cupid], He is only Madan, Cupid; and when Rādhārāṇī is with him Cupid will faint to see his divine form.

śuka bale, “āmāra kṛṣṇa chūḍā vāme hele
śārī bale, “āmāra rādhā charaṇa pābe bale

[Śuka says, “My Krishna’s crown slants to the left. Śārī says, “To touch my Rādhā’s feet His crown is slanted so.”]

Śrīla Guru Mahārāj said about Mahāprabhu,

koṭi-kāma-mūrchchhitāṅghri-rūpa-rāsa-raṅgaraṁ
(Prema-dhama-deva-stotram)

Crores [tens of millions] of cupids faint at the lotus feet of Mahāprabhu when they see Him dance.

yākara charaṇa nakhara ruchi hera-ite murachhita kata koṭi-kāma
so majhu pada-tale dharaṇī loṭāyala pālaṭi na herinu hāma

This is a very deep expression of Rādhārāṇī: “If anyone will see Krishna they must faint. Krishna is so sweet, ecstatic, and beautiful that even crores of cupids cannot stand to see His divine form. And yet—He came to me and he took my feet and I did not look at him because I was angry with him. What nonsense I have done.” This is the meaning of this sloka.

Śrīla Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur simply told,

rādhikā-charaṇa-padma, sakala śreyera sadma

“What goodness have you seen within your religion? All goodness is colourless in front of Rādhārāṇī.”

rādhikā-charaṇa-padma, sakala śreyera sadma,
jatane je nāhi ārādhilo
rādhā-padāṅkita dhāma, vṛndāvana jār nāma,
tāhā je nā āśroya korilo

(The lotus feet of Śrī Rādhā are the abode of all auspiciousness, the supreme goal of life. One who in his life has failed to take shelter of that holy dhām named Vṛndāvan which is decorated by the lotus-like Rādhā,…)

rādhikā-bhāva-gambhīra, chitta jebā mahādhīra
goṇ-soṅga nā koilo jīvane
kemone se śyāmānanda, rasa-sindhu-snānānanda,
lobhibe bujhoho eka-mane

(…who in his life has failed to associate with the intimate of Śrī Rādhā who are deeply filled with Rādhā’s mood of devotion and who are greatly intelligent—how will such a person bathe in the rasa-sindhu, the ocean of ecstatic joy which is Śyāmasundar? You must single-mindedly understand this point.)

rādhikā ujjvala-rasera āchārya
rādhā-mādhava-śuddha-prema bichārya

(Śrī Rādhā is the exemplary teacher of the mellows of conjugal love. Pure ecstatic love for Śrī Śrī Rādhā Mādhava is what is to be considered and discussed.)

je dhorilo rādhā-pada parama jatane
se pāilo kṛṣṇa-pada amūlya-ratane

(One who holds tightly to the lotus feet of Śrī Rādhā with great care will certainly attain the priceless jewels of the lotus feet of Krishna.)

rādhā-pada binā kobhu kṛṣṇa nāhi mile
rādhāra dāsīr kṛṣṇa sarva-vede bole

(Without taking shelter of the lotus feet of Śrī Rādhā, one will never meet Krishna. All the Vedas say that Krishna belongs to the maidservants of Śrī Rādhā.)

choḍata dhona-jon, kalatra-suta-mita,
choḍata karama geyān
rādhā-pada-paṅkaja, madhurata sevana,
bhakativinoda paramāṇ

(Having given up wealth, followers, wife, children, family, and friends, material activities and intellectual knowledge, one should become absorbed in the divine sweetness of service to the lotus feet of Śrī Rādhā as one of Her maidservants in madhura-rasa. This is Bhaktivinoda’s solemn declaration.)

Actually, we do not know anything about the glories of Rādhārāṇī, and what little we heard from our Guru Mahārāj we also cannot express properly because it is necessary to have some quality and qualification for that, but we are very much unqualified. What we know and what we are telling—everything is useless in front of the proper conception. But what shall we do? I told many times: if I have five dollars I will make my business with five dollars. I will not cheat others. I am not doing a cheating business, and that is my satisfaction. With what I have, I shall try to do.

This is an excerpt from an informal talk of Srila Gurudev, speaking in Italy, September 2000, on the day of Radhastami.

Family life in Krishna consciousness

An enlightening interview with Gadadhar Pandit Prabhu, a faithful disciple of our Gurudev, Srila B.S. Govinda Deva-Gowami. Recorded as part of the introductory ‘Seeking the Essence’ video series.

 
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