lunes, 20 de diciembre de 2010

Krishna Talk 113 - 120

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Hare Krishna Temple Phoenix


The new-ish Hare Krishna Temple in Phoenix, north of Durban. When we arrived it was cloudy, but after a wonderful meal, when we left the sky's were blue. There was a wedding on the go, hence all the cars.

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From: "Krishna Talk" <>
Sent: Tuesday, October 19, 2010 2:00 PM
Subject: Krishna Talk 113 - Mahaprabhu's Mudra

Krishna Talk 113 - Mahaprabhu's Mudra
 by Swami B.G. Narasingha

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Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu appeared in this world with a desire to bestow  the supreme benediction upon the conditioned living entities. Sri Krsna in  Vraja thought thus:

cira-kala nahi kari prema-bhakti dana
 bhakti vina jagatera nahi avasthana

For a long time I have not bestowed unalloyed loving service to Me upon the  inhabitants of the world. Without such loving attachment, the existence of  the material world is useless. (Cc. Adi 3.14)

sakala jagate more kare vidhi-bhakti
 vidhi-bhaktye vraja-bhava paite nahi sakti

Everywhere in the world people worship Me according to scriptural injunctions  (vidhi-bhakti). But simply by following such regulative principles one cannot  attain the loving sentiments of the devotees in Vraja-bhumi. (Cc. Adi 3.15)

aisvarya-jnanete saba jagat misrita
 aisvarya-sithila-preme nahi mora prita

Knowing My opulence, the whole world looks upon Me with awe and veneration.  But devotion made feeble by such reverence does not attract Me. (Cc. Adi  3.16)

aisvarya-jnane vidhi-bhajana kariya
 vaikunthake yaya catur-vidha mukti pana

By performing such regulated service in awe and veneration, one may go to  Vaikuntha and attain the four kinds of liberation. (Cc. Adi 3.17)

yuga-dharma pravartaimu nama-sankirtana
 cari bhava-bhakti diya nacamu bhuvana

I shall personally inaugurate the religion of the age – nama-sankirtana,  the congregational chanting of the holy name. I shall make the world dance in  ecstasy, realizing the four mellows of loving devotional service. (Cc. Adi  3.19)

apani karimu bhakta-bhava angikare
 apani acari’ bhakti sikaimu sabare

I shall accept the role of a devotee, and I shall teach devotional service by  practicing it Myself. (Cc. Adi 3.20)

yuga-dharma-pravartana haya amsa haite
 ama vina anye nare vraja-prema dite

My plenary portions can establish the principles of religion for each age. No  one but Me, however, can bestow the kind of loving service performed by the  residents of Vraja. (Cc. Adi 3.26)

Thinking in this way the time for the advent of the yugavatara (Narayana)  arrived and thus Lord Narayana entered the body of Sri Krsna as He descended  into the world at Nadia in the form of Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu. In His  youth the Lord performed many pastimes by which He flooded the world with the  nectar of bhakti-rasa (mellows of pure devotion). In the Lords later pastimes  He made the whole world fortunate by teaching about the name and fame of Sri  Krsna – sri-krsna janaye saba visva kaila dhanya.

anarpita-carim cirat karunayavatirnah kalau
 samarpayitum unnatojjvala-rasam sva-bhakti-sriyam
 harih purata-sundara-dyuti-kadamba-sandipitah
 sada hrdaya-kandare sphuratu vah saci-nandanah

May that Lord, who is known as the son of Srimati Saci-devi, be  transcendentally situated in the innermost core of your heart. Resplendent  with the radiance of molten gold, He has descended in the age of Kali by His  causeless mercy to bestow what no incarnation has ever offered before - the  most elevated mellow of devotional service, the mellow of conjugal love. (Cc.  Adi 1.4)

When the Lord appeared at Navadvipa He did so in the company of His eternal  associates and together they propagated the sankirtana movement. Sri Caitanya  Mahaprabhu only performs His sankirtana movement in the association of His  eternal associates and together they bestow the prime benediction on humanity  at large.

sva-bhaktebhyah suddham nija-bhajana-mudram upadisam

He instructs His own pure devotional service to His own devotees. (Cc.Adi  3.66)

Upadisam means instruction and the word mudra means a specific mark or  gesture. Thus the distinguishing characteristic always visible in Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is that He gives instruction to His devotees in the  matter of pure devotional service. If one approaches the Sri Murti of Sri Sri Gaura-Gadadhara one can see the right hand of Sriman Mahaprabhu in the  specific pose (mudra) of nija-bhajana-mudram upadisam – instructing the mellows of His own pure devotional service.

In the verse beginning with, anarpita-carim cirat, the  words,unnatojjvala-rasam sva-bhakti-sriyam (bestowing what no incarnation has
 ever offered before, the most elevated mellow of devotional service, the  mellow of conjugal love) are important. Indeed the mellow of conjugal love (madhurya-rasa) is the sublime gift which Mahaprabhu descended to bestow. It  is certainly the distinguishing characteristic of the Gaudiya Vaisnava sampradaya in that no other sampradaya offers access into this rasa.

This madhurya-rasa is the super-excellent rasa (mukhya-rasa) of Vraja because  it has as its constituents all the mellow characteristics of santa, dasya, sakhya, and vatsalya-rasa within it – therefore the madhurya-rasa is the  most sublime mellow of rendering pure devotional service.

The purpose of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s advent (to instruct the most  elevated mellow of devotional service, the mellow of conjugal love) has been confirmed by Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya in the following verse:

 siksartham ekah purusah puranah
 krpambudhir yas tam aham prapadye

Let me take shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krsna, who has  descended in the form of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to teach us real knowledge, His devotional service, and detachment from whatever does not foster Krsna  consciousness. He has descended because He is an ocean of transcendental mercy. Let me surrender unto His lotus feet. (Cc. Madhya 6.254)

Gaura-premanande hari haribol!

Krishna Talk 114 - Srila Sridhara Maharaja and the Gem of All Conceptions
by Swami B.G. Narasingha

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(On the occasion of the holy appearance day of Srila Bhakti Raksaka Sridhara Deva Gosvami Maharaja, we present a transcript of a class given by SrilaNarasingha Maharaja on Srila Sridhara Maharaja’s appearance day in Vrndavana at Sri Sri Radha-Damodara Temple on 12th October 2009.)

Today is Srila Sridhara Maharaja’s appearance day, and yesterday evening was the appearance of Radha-kunda. Radha-kunda is considered to be
non-different to Srimati Radharani and in terms of holy places, that place is considered to be non-different to Srimati Radharani. There is the lake and
the Deity. All of you have seen here at Radha-Damodara Temple the Deity of Srimati Radharani, and on the altar of our own temple at Govindaji Gardens
– that kunda and that Deity are non-different.

Srila Sridhara Maharaja appeared the next day after the appearance of Radha-kunda. Now let us remember Srila Prabhupada and the appearance of
Krsna. Krsna appeared at midnight and the appearance of Radha-kunda is also celebrated at midnight. Janmastami is at midnight and in the eternal,
transcendental, blissful arrangement of this world, Prabhupada appears the next day – the day after Krsna’s appearance. And the day after the
appearance of Radha-kunda, it is Srila Sridhara Maharaja’s appearance. Just see the ‘coincidence’. We do not believe in coincidences unless it
relates to ordinary people – that is different. These things are not coincidence. Of course, many people were born on that day. I am sure that
Prabhupada was not the only person in the world born the day after Janmastami. There were probably thousands of people born during that same
24-hour period in 1896 – and the same on Srila Sridhara Maharaja’s appearance day in 1895. There were probably thousands of people. But their
births on that day are all simply coincidence – it has no significance. It does not mean anything. Why? Because during the course of their lives, they
did not show any connection to transcendental reality., I would venture to say that no other living entities born on those days even entered devotional
service – except perhaps in Bengal or in India somewhere. But even if they did become devotees, they certainly did not manifest pastimes of being great
acaryas nor did they make such great contributions.

Srila Prabhupada was spreading Krsna Consciousness outside of India practically all over the world. He did not go to every single place, but what
he set into motion continued and he must be credited with that. Srila Sridhara Maharaja also spread something all over the world that people are
only very much aware of now – not the common man, but something the devotee community is very much aware of now. What is that? That is called
radha-dasyam – servitorship to Radharani. It was not a unique contribution of his own – it is the ‘Kohinoor gem’ of the Rupanuga sampradaya. It is
the crown jewel, the gem of all conceptions amongst various other conceptions – for example, there is the origin of the jiva, the marginal energy; what
is this marginal energy? Where does it come from? Where does it not come from? It does not come from the lila of Krsna. It comes from Krsna, who is
always in lila. But that marginal energy does not reciprocate with Him in lila and then falls into the material world. It comes from the plane of
tatastha. That is the conception of the origin of the jiva.

There is also the conception that Krsna is not an avatara; Krsna is the avatari – the origin of all avataras. Krsnas tu bhagavan svayam – this
means that Krsna is the avatari. This is a Gaudiya Vaisnava conception and it is not accepted by the Madhvas, the Ramanujas or almost anybody else. Only
the Gaudiyas accept this conception.

Then there is the particular conception and position of the guru-tattva in our sampradaya as the representative of Baladeva, or the manifestation of the
energy of Baladeva. But the guru conception does not have only one level – there are layers. Ultimately the guru-tattva represents more than just Krsna
or Baladeva. But this is not accepted by other sampradayas. This is unique to the Gaudiya sampradaya.

But none of these conceptions that I have explained are the crest-jewel of the wealth of Gaudiya Vaisnavism. That conception is known as radha-dasyam – servitorship to Srimati Radharani. That conception, and the domain that She presides over as Bhakti-devi, the origin of devotion, and the concept that no devotion passes to Krsna except through Her– that conception is found nowhere else except in our sampradaya. In contemporary times, Srila Sridhara Maharaja is credited with taking this gem from the wealth of Gaudiya sampradaya and showing it to the western world of Vaisnavism. We knew a little about Srimati Radharani – at least you would think that we understood that you should never worship Krsna alone, but some of Srila Prabhupada’s disciples never really understood what that meant and they did worship Krsna alone! Most devotees only knew that Radharani was the ‘Mother of devotion’, but what does that mean?

It is like in Mexico, they have Santa Maria, the mother of Mexico. But when I asked them what that means, they said, “She is the mother of Jesus, the
mother of our country.”

I asked them, “What do you get out of that?”

They replied, “Nothing – she is just our mother.”

It is an idea that has no conception behind it. So we may say that, “Yes, Radharani is the mother of devotion!” and run onto some other point. But
what did that mean? There was no depth of meaning there. We certainly did not grasp the understanding that no devotion can go to Krsna accept through
Radharani. That conception was missing. There were more subtleties – nothing to be afraid of, but something that we must pay close attention to
– how bhakti actually develops, where does it come from and what is love for Krsna – where does that come from? That was lying dormant. Of course,
you always have to protect those people who think that everything was in Prabhupada’s books. Yes – these things were there also, but they were
lying dormant and no one saw them for their true value.

There was also the sannyasa-mantra – the mantra that is considered to be the raga-marga mantra. Prabhupada gave it to fifty-nine sannyasis and none of
them knew what it was; none of them knew absolutely anything about it. There was never even any discussion about it. When they heard what it actually
meant, they objected! When they were told that this was a raga-marga mantra and that at its root was service to Radharani and that radha-dasyam was the
purport to the sannyasa-mantra they condemned it, “What is this Sahajiyaism? What is all this gopi-talk?” The words in the mantra are
'gopi-bhava' and they said that, “Gopi-bhava is maya!” They chant this mantra religiously three times a day because if they don’t, they think they
will go to hell – but when the meaning of it was brought to their attention, they ridiculed it and rejected it. So when I say that things were
lying dormant, I mean that these things were lying very, very deep in the catacombs!

Sridhara Maharaja brought us there, dusted off the chest, took the key out of our own pockets (which everyone had been looking for) and opened the treasure
chest. He is saying that, “Prabhupada has given you the key, now you have to open it and inherit the wealth of what he has come to give you.” But
most people ran out of the door, horrified that they might have to actually do something – such as get saved or surrender! There is this notion that
the guru will pull you up by your sikha – well, that isn’t going to happen! That is not what your sikha is for. The guru is not going to grab you
by the sikha and take you back to Godhead, but that has probably been quoted as the meaning of the sikha more than anything else, and many devotees
believe it. The other day, when I told one sannyasi that this isn’t going to happen, he was shocked. I told him that, “We are not Christians who
think that Jesus will come out of the clouds to save them. Prabhupada is not going to come here on the Day of Judgment to save us, and he is not going to
come the day that you die to pull you by the sikha back to Godhead. These things get lodged in people’s minds but they have no basis in reality.
There is a truth worth recognizing that the guru does drag us out of the material world, but not in that way.

I am sure that 90% of the people who receive our new publication of Upadesamrta, with the illuminations of Srila Sridhara Maharaja, will go to
the last verse first, because that is the highest sloka. That is the tendency nowadays. What does Sridhara Maharaja say about the highest thing,
Radha-kunda? This year, the controversy is already in the air – should you bathe your shaggy butt in Radha-kunda, or should you honor Radha-kunda and
just put a few drops on your unworthy head?

Sridhara Maharaja condemns those that think that they are on such an elevated platform when he says, “The scent of the beast is still in them!” He says
that they are claiming raga-bhakti, but raga-bhakti is a qualification. Raga means that you have realized your siddha-deha, your spiritual body, and with
the consciousness of such it is possible that you may bathe on that spiritual plane in Radha-kunda. That is called raga-marga. People who are doing that
are consciously, or subconsciously, claiming that they have raga-bhakti. He says that, “We consider them pests to the Vaisnava society!” Rats, mice, ticks, mites, mosquitoes – these are all pests. Sridhara Maharaja, the embodiment of harmony and love, says, “We hate them! And Gaudiya Matha has come to destroy them!”

Some people are saying, “He didn’t really mean that,” and some people say that, “Narasingha Maharaja simply arranged Sridhara Maharaja’s words that way.” If you can find that he ever said anything contrary to this, I will surrender whatever meager wealth I have – but don’t waste your time! He never said anything contrary to this; neither did his guru nor any of Srila Sarasvati Thakura’s bona-fide disciples.

Then Srila Sridhara Maharaja says, “Some of Svami Maharaja’s disciples have gone to that camp.” What camp is that? The beastly camp, the camp of the pests, the camp that we hate and the camp that it is our duty to destroy. Now, he is not talking about using sticks, knives and brass-knuckles – he is talking about preaching philosophy. The era has now come that the Sahajiyas can babble and vomit their misconceptions, but anyone who wants to preach the right conception should not do so because “that’s offensive.” If that atmosphere prevails, it is better that we all return to our jobs in the material world and live honestly. Better to live as honest materialists than as cheating spiritualists.

When those that wish to bathe in Radha-kunda read these words of Srila Sridhara Maharaja, most of them will not be pleased. Yesterday we checked our
‘illusions’ with Purnananda Prabhu, one of the closest assistants of Srila Sridhara Maharaja during his final pastimes. We asked him, “Do you
bathe in Radha-kunda?”

He replied, “Guru Maharaja would never, never, NEVER allow his disciples to do so.”

Then we told him, “Well, there is one sannyasi disciple of Sridhara Maharaja who was swimming in Radha-kunda.”

He shook his head and said that, “He is not following Guru Maharaja.”

He was very sad to hear that someone who has got connection with Sridhara Maharaja would behave in such a way.

But that is the world we live in today, my friends. Transgressions have become the norm. People want to throw everything away and lower the standard
just to get people to chant Hare Krsna. If you don’t have a philosophical mind then you will think, “ Yes, we should do that!” Then why follow the
four regulative principles? Serve a little wine at the Sunday feast and get everyone to chant! If there are filters on the cigarettes, then what is the
harm in sucking in a little smoke? Once you start to lower the principles, where do you stop? Well, you will find out that there is no stopping! We are
just at a particular level right now – we can bathe in Radha-kunda, and as a sannyasi you can hug your lady disciples. Well, in the Vallabha sampradaya
it denigrated so much that they fornicated with their female disciples also, and it was considered acceptable for the acarya to do that – until a
hundred years ago when the Vallabha sampradaya was taken to court and a legal injunction forced them to stop such immoral practices. That is what happened
just after the time of Vallabhacarya up till a hundred years ago. So, you start now by hugging your lady disciples – soon after, your disciples will
be taking them to bed!

We are up against a very formidable force and we cannot lower the bar and think that we are going to attain the ultimate goal of life. Certain things
should be fixed forever and bathing in Radha-kunda is one of them. Sridhara Maharaja is saying that, “Our Guru Maharaja did not do. We do not do. We do
not advise to do.” And who is doing? It is amazing. The adjustment in their minds is all very reasonable if they just push these words away and say,
“Narasingha Maharaja has invented all this!” When I receive such praises I am absolutely astounded. One person said that I wrote Follow The Angels,
not Sridhara Maharaja. I thought, “Oh my God, I feel so blessed that you think that I have such a capacity.” What they meant was that we manipulated
his words. I would like to see you take Sridhara Maharaja’s words and manipulate them in any other way. You would have to cheat by cutting out the
words ‘bathe’, from one place and ‘Radha-kunda’ from another place and finally cut and paste them together to construct a sentence that says,
“All the devotees should bathe at Radha-kunda.” That is how twisted you would have to be. So what did our evil editors do when they compiled Sridhara
Maharaja’s commentary on Upadesamrta? Nothing. They corrected the spelling and grammar. That’s all they did.

We preach and we print what we find to be the truth and people ridicule us for it. That is the life we lead and we are not giving it up. But that is not
our only platform. We have other preaching – preaching to people who have never even heard about Krsna. It is a big world. We have our preaching in
Mysore, Bangalore, Mulki, Brazil and Mexico. We are not a group of book-worms who cannot apply this knowledge that we have to the world. Our program is as dynamic as anybody else’s, but we do not compromise essential principles. That is the trick – how to preach and not compromise essential principles.
We are not to give up the wealth of the sampradaya to the whim of the neophyte; rather we must learn how to engage the neophyte in the Holy Name
and other devotional activities.

We are not to sacrifice the wealth of the sampradaya and the dignity of our acaryas. Sridhara Maharaja said, “I should have died a long time ago, but I
am living to give you these things.” And somebody will throw this away? Such a person cannot be my friend! Maybe I know such a person, but they are
not my friend.



In 1932, during the month of Karttika, while lecturing at Radha-kunda, Sri Siddhanta Sarasvati Thakura made the following comment.

"Those who are still attached to this body and mind can never attain the qualification to bathe in the kunda of our Vrsabhanu-nandini; I say this at
all times! But those who are not attached to this body and mind – they are eternally qualified. This body has been produced by our mother and father –
one who still deliberates upon this body or deliberates upon the mind cannot bathe in Sri Radha-kunda! Only one who is knowledgeable of his aprakrta body
and intrinsic internal nature can bathe there.

"We are fallen souls! These words should always remain in our ears. They will be most beneficial for us life after life. By hearing such words we will be
protected from offences."

The above quote was published in numerous books and periodicals of the Gaudiya Matha during that period [1932-33].

Further research into the topic of who takes a full body bath at Radha-kunda as opposed to those who simply put a few drops of water on their heads as a
reverential bath has revealed that only Sahajiyas, most of ISKCON and a few stray sannyasis with no authority actually take full body bath at
Radha-kunda. The vast majority of Gaudiya Vaisnavas, including all of the Gaudiya Matha and most respectable Gosvamis and even some Sahajiyas do not
take full body bath at Radha-kunda. YES – even some Sahajiyas say that Radha-kunda is too high and is always to be shown the greatest respect by not
bathing there. That being said, where does that leave those who neglect the caution given by Srila Sridhara Deva Gosvami and other acaryas.


Krishna Talk 115 - Dasa Gosvami and the Unique Position of Govardhana by Swami B.G. Narasingha

View online:

(The following is a transcript of a class given by Srila Narasingha Maharaja in Vrndavana at Sri Sri Radha-Damodara Temple on 18th October 2009, on the
occasion of Sri Govardhana Puja)

Today is Annakuta, the worship of Govardhana, commemorating Krsna lifting Govardhana Hill. However, I won’t speak about the actual pastime, but the
unique position of Govardhana Hill. We have been discussing about Radha-kunda because our Upadesamrta has been printed this year and that is where
Upadesamrta ultimately takes us. But this recalls something else – in the course of this whole Vrndavana experience there is what is called siddha-pranali. Along with siddha-pranali there is the asta-kaliya-lila. This translates into the eightfold pastimes of Krsna that are performed for twenty-four hours beginning to end. These are the full-fledged pastimes of Krsna. It is mentioned in some sastras that one should meditate upon the asta-kaliya-lila and this is also supported by our acaryas and Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura also supports this. Therefore it became the practice in his mission – which is very important for us because we are
coming out of his mission, we are not something born on the ground somewhere. We grew off another branch and we draw the life of our existence from the
same tree, the same root, and the same trunk. It is very important to know where we come from and what is the standard of our previous acaryas. So
Sarasvati Thakura recommended meditation on the asta-kaliya-lila, the eightfold pastimes of Krsna, and much to everyone’s surprise, they heard
that this meditation was to be performed every day during Karttika.

In the contemporary world of Vaisnavism there is much controversy, where some people are prone to delve into the details of, not only the common pastimes
such as Krsna taking breakfast and walking out to the fields with the cows, but also the details of the madhurya-rasa in the minutest detail. Then there
is another section of devotees that say that we should not do that. It is been pointed out that Sarasvati Thakura encouraged this meditation on the
asta-kaliya-lila and during his time songs were sung according to the eightfold pastimes every day during Karttika in the Gaudiya Matha, and they
still do. But what Srila Sridhara Maharaja called the ‘sentiment-mongers’ haven’t taken the trouble to find out is that meditation on the
asta-kaliya-lila is simply singing Krsna’s Names which pertain to that lila. There was no conversation about that lila and no details were spoken
of. Their meditation was through nama, through the Name of Krsna and that was related to the Siksastakam of Mahaprabhu. There were no detailed descriptions
given in the mission of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupada. No such things were allowed, particularly of the madhurya-rasa and even vatsalya-rasa. He never
allowed this and he never allowed class to be given from the Tenth Canto of Bhagavatam.

Krsna’s pastimes are meditated upon through His Name. This is the way of Mahaprabhu; this is the way of the Gaudiya Matha; this is the way of all our
previous acaryas; this is the way of Krsna Dasa Kaviraja Gosvami and so forth. There are more detailed descriptions and these are in books that are
bona-fide books, and these are to be read – like the Tenth Canto. I did not say that Srila Bhaktisiddhanta did not allow anyone to read the Tenth Canto.
Certainly he didn’t give it to the beginners – Krsna’s higher lilas and so forth. What he didn’t allow was for devotees to enter into discussions
about it – it can be heard and it can be read but it should be considered to be an advanced topic and one has to pass so many lower stages first. For
example, you should not pass Second Canto if you are not absolutely free from sex desire. This is written in the purports of the acaryas. Otherwise you
will carry something with you that is not good as you go forward. Srila Prabhupada also says in his writings that you should not go past any
particular verse that you do not understand. If you do not understand a verse, that is where you stop until you understand it, by the help of your
guru, or another godbrother, or another sastra – you don’t just continue reading.

Of course, there are combinations of these things. Each one of them is not absolute. There are sometimes discussions about Krsna’s pastimes, but it is
found that people tend to wish to discuss the intimate love pastimes of Krsna and not the asura-vadha pastimes, the pastimes when Krsna kills the demons.
Once some men in Jagannatha Puri came to see Prabhupada to get his blessings to stage a drama based on rasa-lila and they were from a classical Oriyan
dance troupe – very experienced and very rigorous in the classical form of Odissi style dance. So they came very humbly when Prabhupada was staying for
a couple of weeks in Puri back in 1976. Prabhupada said, “I cannot give my blessings.” And if you ever read that transcript, he says “No” about
fifty times – “No, no, no!” He refuses to give his blessings for a drama about the rasa-lila. He says that, “The common people will misunderstand.” Now that is another point of discussions – what is common? That may include us also in the sense that we may have a common understanding because we are not so surrendered – there is a lot of ‘common’ living in us also. Then these gentlemen said, “We will do everything according to sastra.”

He said, “No!” He kept saying, “No, no, no – I cannot give m yblessings for such a project.” It is one of the most amazing transcripts of
Srila Prabhupada I have ever read.

Then they say, “Ok – we will do vatsalya-lila, Mother Yasoda.”

“NO!” He said. “No, they will think Krsna is an ordinary baby and she is an ordinary mother.”Not even that – he would not give a blessing.

They were stumped. “What can we do?”

He said, “Bhagavad-gita – Kuruksetra!”

They were confused – “Bhagavad-gita? Kuruksetra? Nothing to enjoy there!” The real truth came out. They didn’t say it but that was what
they were thinking.

It is mentioned that, “One should understand the transcendental nature of Krsna,” and everybody says, “Got it! Saccidananda-vigraha!” Well, if
that were the only answer then there wouldn’t be any restrictions. It is very easy simply to say something like that. To actually understand the
transcendental nature of Krsna is not just simply repeating something we read somewhere. It is much, much more than that. But when that is said, everybody
says, “Got it! I’m qualified – I have my ticket now!” Then they rush in. What they don’t understand about Krsna’s transcendental nature is
that Krsna’s dancing is not for your pleasure. The seed of being an enjoyer is so deeply rooted within us, and we should hate it because it keeps us from
loving God. It is a point of selfishness. It may be very small, but that infection affects our relationship with God. At the beginning it sounds
almost cruel to us to say that ‘enjoyment is bad,’ but enjoyment is the root cause of suffering in the material world. Enjoyment seems great, you
have a good time but we do that at the cost of somebody or something.

The rasa-lila is on the highest platform of Krsna’s spiritual enjoyment and He is not doing that to please your material senses at the level of what you
might watch at the local cinema. It is not for our pleasure. Therefore, when the acaryas write, “One should understand the transcendental nature of
Krsna,” that is in fact saying that, “In your relationship with Krsna,
you are simply the servant and He is the Absolute Enjoyer.” That which is
the highest and most valuable is to be protected. How is that protected? By
not engaging in that without qualification. Would you engage in a sword-fight
with razor sharp swords if you had no idea about what you were doing? If you
did, you must be crazy because you would end up being hacked to pieces. We
must deal with those things that are potentially harmful with great care.

Of course, the rasa-lila is not harmful, raganuga-bhakti is not harmful –
what is harmful is our inability to deal with these subjects properly. Rather
than being seen as a respectful onlooker whose heart is full of reverence,
anticipation and love, you may be seen as an intruder who is trying to get
some enjoyment out of this, and when that happens you are pushed back and
tagged. “Beware of this person – he has not listened to all the acaryas,
who over the ages have given some caution about these things and have
dedicated their lives to showing him the right path. He has ignored those
warnings and is running down the wrong path.” Srila Sridhara Maharaja says
that then they will mark you as suspect. Then it will be even more difficult
to prove yourself again.

So, our mediation on the asta-kaliya-lila in our line is through the Name
that represents that lila One of those Names is Damodara. We are not to go
too much into discussion on these matters, and in some cases we should not
discuss anything about these things. Some discussion may be there – but not
in public for two or three hundred people! How can the highest thing that has
ever manifest in the theological world and in the history of humanity be out
there for everybody? Even if you put it out there, most people don’t
understand it. This is the case, not just in spiritual science, but even in
material science – the common people cannot understand advanced mathematics
and quantum theory. We see sometimes that in a documentary they may give a
small synopsis and state that, “scientists have discovered wormholes in the
universe”. But most people don’t really understand what a ‘wormhole’
is – it isn’t one of those things you find in an apple. If the scientists
really try to explain what a ‘wormhole’ is using scientific jargon, then
most people can’t understand. They get bored and think, “Hmmm…I think
I’ll watch that repeat of ‘I love Lucy’ or something!” Spiritual
science is also like that – the highest things are not meant for the
masses. If you want to study and understand the foundation of something, you
may do that. These things are there, but only for a limited circle and not
for public domain.

Govardhana Hill and Radha-kunda are very much in everyone’s mind at this
time because these places are host to Krsna’s pastimes. Many of Krsna’s
pastimes take place at Govardhana and Radha-kunda. Radha-kunda is considered
to be non-different from Srimati Radharani, and we were discussing recently
how Srila Bhaktisiddhanta, our Srila Prabhupada, Srila Sridhara Maharaja and
many other great personalities of the past never took bath there. They only
put a few drops of water upon their heads in order to set the example that a
bath in Radha-kunda is not a physical bath – it is a spiritual bath and you
are supposed to bathe there with your spiritual body. That stage is called
siddha-deha. Even those that have reached that stage often do not take bath
at Radha-kunda in order to set the example for the common people.

Nowadays the fashion is to buy land in Radha-kunda. One devotee bought land
in Radha-kunda thirty years ago and had the keys to a small hut there.
Prabhupada heard about that and was absolutely furious and that devotee never
returned to that property for the rest of his life. Many years later, he
tried to give the land to Govinda Maharaja, but Govinda Maharaja told him,
“No, no – we cannot live at Radha-kunda. We can live at Govardhana.”
Now we here so many people are buying land and living at Radha-kunda. Even
one devotee has written a book and is propagating how one must take bath at
Radha-kunda. “Oh, Prabhupada said don’t take bath, but that was long back
– you can take a reverential bath.” So we recently took a survey and
found out that basically some of the Sahajiyas take bath at Radha-kunda,
barren village women take bath at Radha-kunda hoping to get Radharani’s
blessings to give birth to children, and two deviant groups of our own
parampara that take bath. All the other groups don’t take bath at
Radha-kunda. When we told them about the devotees who bathe in Radha-kunda
and swim in Radha-kunda, they were shocked because the parampara standard is
three drops of water upon your head with great reverence. You are not to
touch Radha-kunda with your feet. Your shaggy backside, armpit hairs and
grizzly beard do not belong in Radha-kunda!

Srila Puri Maharaja gave a warning many times before he left this world, and
I was present two or three times when he said it. He said, “The tendency
for deviation wants to creep into the sampradaya. You must preach against
those deviations and not allow this. It is our duty to protect the sampradaya
and not allow it to be infiltrated by deceptive practices. ” Taking bath in
Radha-kunda is one of them.

Of course, many of us have made that mistake in the past due to misguidance.
In 1976 some devotees dived into Radha-kunda one day and they were doing
back-flips off the steps and it was crazy. I was in one corner chanting and
one devotee came leaping over me and landed in the water. One devotee almost
drowned there and they had to pull him out. It was chaos. The next morning
the message came – somebody had told Prabhupada what had happened and he
said, “You have kicked Radharani on the head! This is a great offence.”
The he clearly said, “ I don’t want anyone to bathe in Radha-kunda
again.” That went on for about five years then somebody thought,
“That’s old school – we can move ahead now because we know you should
do it respectfully.” Certainly bathing respectfully is better than
skydiving into Radha-kunda. However, the fact is that if you just look into
what is the example of our previous acaryas, you can understand that our
sampradaya keeps great respect for those things that are most sacred. Of all
the lila-sthalis, Radha-kunda is given the most reverence. Next is

Govardhana is non-different from Krsna, and this is seen in the pastime
itself when Krsna becomes Govardhana. Thousands of years later when
Madhavendra Puri conducted the Annakuta festival – which went on for a year
– many things were going on, brahmanas were chanting mantras, kirtana was
happening, but Madhavendra Puri saw that the Deity of Krsna was actually
eating. Nobody else could see this. Similarly, it could be seen that when the
Vrajavasis made their offerings to Govardhana, Krsna was non-different from
Govardhana Hill. At the same time, in the greater lila of Krsna, Govardhana
Hill is a santa-rasa bhakta. The trees, the rivers, the hills – all these
things are in santa-rasa. Govardhana Hill is a santa-rasa bhakta, but Krsna
becomes Govardhana. Govardhana holds a very unique position and similarly,
other personalities hold an equally unique position – the guru being one of
them. The guru is a jiva but he is not to be thought of as jiva-tattva. He is
to be thought of as guru-tattva, as Krsna’s representative. He is
simultaneously one and different. Govardhana is both Krsna and a devotee of
Krsna. Radha-kunda is non-different from Radharani. But we do not say that
Radha-kunda is Radharani and a devotee of Radharani – you cannot find any
prayer that says that Radha-kunda is a devotee. But Govardhana is
non-different from Krsna and also a devotee. Srila Sridhara Maharaja has
explained that Govardhana is a santa-rasa bhakta.

This brings us to the worship of Govardhana and the correct way of
worshipping Govardhana. That is something that we get form our
prayojana-acarya. Prayojana means ‘perfection,’ and the prayojana-acarya
is he who represents perfection. That is Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami – but he
is not the head of the sampradaya. The head of the sampradaya is Rupa
Gosvami, and Raghunatha Dasa has showed what is traceable in Rupa Gosvami’s
works. He makes that very, very clear. If you really want to know the value
of a good teacher, you should study his students. A teacher may know
something, but he may not have the ability to pass it on to others. In
teaching, he may have a limitation. He cannot pass that in to others. If he
cannot pass that on to others, why would you want him as a teacher? I point
this out to the Rtviks – they claim that nobody attained any level of
purity or perfection; only Prabhupada had it. He couldn’t give Krsna
consciousness in its entirety to anybody and all of the five thousand
disciples that tried failed. Therefore it’s quite arrogant to even try –
the last five thousand people failed dismally, but you are going to do it?
You must think you’re Rambo or Hercules! Five thousand people have tried to
take this examination and all failed. Why would you want to go to a school
where nobody ever graduated, nobody ever got a job and nobody ever got any
respect for going to that school in the first place? If you were smart, you
would first examine the school, see what kind of degrees they give and where
the graduates go. You wouldn’t want to go to a school that doesn’t even
give you a certificate – where you just sit there without learning anything
and you never graduate. So the Rtviks say nobody succeeded – I ask, “What
is success? Success means to become a pure devotee and to develop love of
God. If nobody’s done that, then it doesn’t exist. Then there’s a
defect in Prabhupada because that he couldn’t give it to anybody by any
means – even by causeless mercy. If you analyze the rtvik philosophy it is
a horrific offence against Srila Prabhupada. It’s saying that he was not
qualified. He had no causeless mercy and it suggests that he was an
inadequate teacher because nobody understood what he was teaching. Then the
Rtviks turn to the students and say that they are all a bunch of buffoons
because they were all miserable failures. Then that reflects back to
Prabhupada and ultimately to Krsna because He only sent Prabhupada miserable
buffoons. Somebody once said that to Prabhupada about Srila Bhaktisiddhanta.
They asked, “Are all your godbrothers rascals?” and Prabhupada on the
spot became so angry that he swung his cane and stopped it right in front of
that persons face and said, “My Guru Maharaja did not initiate rascals! You
cannot even think a bad thought about my godbrothers.” If you are saying
that the guru’s disciples are all rascals, fools and failures, then also
reflects on the position of the guru. There is one letter where Prabhupada
wrote that, “They will judge me by you.”

In the ultimate examination, the teacher is the student. Everyone knows the
position of Vyasadeva as the literary incarnation of Godhead. He has so many
disciples and his guru is Narada Muni – but everybody sits in front of
Sukadeva. There, Vyasa is a student. He has come there to hear. It was
Krsna’s arrangement. The point is that nobody was complaining, “Why are
we hearing from Sukadeva? His guru and his guru’s guru are here today! Why
are we listening to a sixteen year old? Narada, a disciple of Brahma, is
here. We have Vyasa, his disciple. Why are we listening to a kid?” No –
because they knew that the real proof of anything that Narada or Vyasa had to
be present within the disciple. This was the test. The test comes to the
disciple to represent the guru. We can’t just say, “Oh, my guru is
everything so I can’t do anything!” That is a copout. That is not
acceptable and it is not a proper glorification of guru.

Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami represents that which is within Rupa Gosvami. Rupa
Gosvami is considered to be the abhidheya-acarya – the middle plane, not
the perfect plane. Perfection is in him, but he dedicates himself to the
plane of engagement. Abhidheya means practical service engagement. That is so
important to us. Sanatana Gosvami, who Rupa considered to be his guru, is the
sambandha-acarya. Sambandha means the ABCs – what is the basic approach.
Rupa Gosvami takes it from there to proper engagement and the fruit of the
perfection of bhakti is shown in Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami and he takes us to
Radha-kunda. His prayers explain the concept of radha-dasyam, with such a
desperate plea for the mercy of Radharani that he says that, “Even Krsna is
of no use. What is the use of Govardhana? What is the use of Vrndavana? What
is the use of anything without Your blessing? Without your mercy I am
finished! Without You, none of these things are of any use.” That is a very
intense desire for the mercy of Radharani. This is the standard of the
Gaudiya Vaisnava sampradaya. We are trying to cultivate such an intense
desire by serving those who already have it. Dasa Gosvami brings this out and
he is serving who? Rupa Gosvami, who already has it.

It just so happens that Mahaprabhu gave Raghunatha Dasa a Govardhana-sila and
a gunja-mala. This is in the Caitanya-caritamrta. There is a funny mistake in
that section. The devotees who were doing the verse translations for
Prabhupada, translated gunja-mala as “small conch shells.” Most devotees
don’t know that Prabhupada didn’t translate the verses – that was done
by Nitai, Jaya Saci and a few others. There was a marathon and there was no
time to do any research by calling somebody in India. There was no internet
in those days and you could only mail a letter to ask somebody. I think that
mistake is still there. Gunja are red, white and black berries. These berries
are deadly poison also. Don’t ever eat one as maha-prasadam. They attack
your respiratory system and it can kill you. In fact, there is an
international ban from the early 1900’s on this berry and any jewelry made
from it because the Jesuits made rosaries from the bigger berries and sent
them to foreign countries. What happens is that if you pierce the bead with a
needle and you prick your finger, if the sap enters your blood stream that is
enough to kill you. Apparently a few nuns mysteriously died and they finally
figured it out. You can find this plant listed amongst poisonous plants in
Hawaii and some other places. Goats can eat it and they are unaffected. If
you boil it in milk, then apparently you can eat it – but I’ve never
tried and I don’t recommend it. But it is very interesting because this
berry represents Radharani. It is a very subtle thing. And in the eternal
lila of Krsna, the Gopis make jewelry from gunja for Krsna. It is said in the
sastras that He is decorated with ornaments made from gunja berries.

Mahaprabhu gave Raghunatha Dasa a sila from Govardhana, this little necklace
and some instructions how to worship Govardhana. So as time went on,
Raghunatha Dasa understood several things from this – one thing he
understood was that the gunja-mala represented Radharani. It is not directly
Radharani. Radha-kunda is directly Radharani – it is a mystical pond that
is non-different from the most mystical Deity of devotion, Radharani. The
pond and the Deity of Radharani are the same. The gunja-mala is not
Radharani. It is a representation of Radharani. It is just as the guru
represents Krsna, but He is not directly Krsna.

Raghunatha Dasa also understood that Govardhana is Krsna, so the worship of
Govardhana in our parampara must be performed with this mala. Then it is the
worship of Radha and Krsna. If the mala is not there, then Radharani is not
there and the worship is not correct according to how it was given by
Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

One more thing Raghunatha Dasa realized was that when Mahaprabhu gave him the
sila He was telling him that his eternal place of residence was at Govardhana
and that his service should be performed at Radha-kunda. You should remember
these two things – his place of residence was at Govardhana, his place of
service was at Radha-kunda and you read various statements of our
contemporary acaryas of the 20th century, this will begin to resonate with
what you read. This brings us again to the original point we began with about

Out in the world, siddha-pranali generally means that the guru sits you down
and gives you eka-dasa-bhava. He tells you which village you live in
eternity; he tells you what group of servitors you belong to; he tells you
your spiritual name in eternity – eleven points of your eternal identity.
Then he gives you a letter. So they say that he knows all these things so
he’s giving these things to you. In other words, he’s ahead of you.
He’s already in eternal lila so he knows who you are. This suggests that
your spiritual identity is eternally fixed, because if you haven’t got
there yet, how would the guru know? Now you would think that the guru would
only disclose such high things after some time – not after three days! But
that is what happens. You can go out there and get yourself this list, a
letter (diksa-patra) and eka-dasa-bhava in three days. Three days if you have
a little cash – otherwise you have to hang around and do some floor
cleaning until you tell the guru, “Oh, my visa’s running out. I have to
get back to Germany. Could I get that now?” Then you get it and you go. Of
course, we don’t get such a thing. When such people ask me, “Did you get

I tell them, “Yes. Did you?”

They say, “Oh yeah! So what’s your siddha-pranali?”

Then I tell them, “I don’t think you could understand.”

But you will understand if you are a sharp listener. Where is your home? I
just told you – in Gaudiya Vaisnavism, your eternal home is Govardhana,
your group leader is Rupa Gosvami, Rupa-manjari. That is the camp you belong
to. And there are a few other things of the nature of devotional service that
come to you. Then other things will be left to your realization. But they are
given. Out of the eleven things in eka-dasa-bhava, at least four things are
already there. Just understand them and cultivate that meditation and the
other things may come when you are fully liberated and you are ready to go
there and perform your eternal service. But getting it all on one big list on
a piece of paper after three days, three weeks, six weeks etc. and then
traipsing off somewhere? One person that we happen to know who went this way
was told he was a peacock. Some devotees happened to walk past his room and
they heard him imitating the noise of a peacock. They looked inside his room
and he was moving around like a peacock, flapping his arms and squawking.
Later, another Sahajiya said, “That is ridiculous! There are no peacocks in
our sampradaya!” The whole thing was ludicrous. But all those people who we
know in current times that went to that side, gave it up, went back to
school, became professors, got a reputable job and did something very
ordinary in the world.

We could parallel that with an example from the Bible – it is said that God
would speak to King Solomon. But somehow Solomon just couldn’t get it
together – he kept building pagan temples. How many times does God have to
talk to you before you get serious? If God Himself appears with angels in the
sky and trumpets and tells you to quit smoking – would you try and sneak
out the next morning for a quick smoke? You can’t find the will to stop
smoking when God Himself is talking to you? No, when God talks to you, you
are done with this world. You are on the fast track to success. It’s the
same case with siddha-pranali – the guru reveals to you something that is
supposed to be an absolute reality and then you just shelve it and go back
and get a degree in Sanskrit or Indology? How is that possible? That suggests
to me that whatever he gave wasn’t real. It is not a meditation that
becomes real. Somebody may argue, “Well, it is. It would have been real if
they had stuck with it.” But why isn’t anyone sticking with it? And if
you came in contact with such a high person who knows who you are in
eternity, how can you just shelve it so easily? One may think that is the
potency of maya. And I agree – the whole thing is maya! His giving it to
you, you meditating upon it, you giving it up – it’s all maya. I don’t
find that recommended by any of our acaryas. Meditation on Krsna’s
pastimes, particularly through the Holy Name, yes. Jiva Gosvami wrote his
Maha-mantrartha Dipika where he describes Radha and Krsna’s pastimes
through the maha-mantra, Bhaktivinoda has also done this. You don’t even
need to go to all the songs where there is a variety of Names – everything
is already there in the maha-mantra. In Bhajana-rahasya, the whole lila of
Krsna is packed in the maha-mantra, and Bhaktivinoda has separated that and
told us what is what. But we are not satisfied. We want to know more, but we
are not fit for the thing we want to know. The ‘knowing’ propensity
itself is a defect. Knowledge is good up to a point. After that, “I want to
know, I want to know” is not good. It has to become, “I want to serve, I
want to serve, I want to serve.”

Dasa Gosvami realizes this through the correct worship of Govardhana with
gunja-mala. He realizes his eternal place of residence and he is the
prayojana-acarya, therefore it is marked. It is also marked in this world
where we live that praudha-maya covers the eternal dhama. We don’t see
that. We only see what is visible with the eye. It is not Loi Bazaar, it is
not the cheap clothes; it is not the rickshaw-wallahs; it is not the
shopkeepers with Prabhupada’s photos hanging in their shops that actually
enthuse us spiritually. There is nothing that you can see with the naked eye
except the Deity that will do that. It is what is beneath all of this that is
seeping up which you cannot see – the eternal Vrndavana. That is enthusing
you. But Prabhupada writes that when the liberated souls come to Vrndavana
they do not feel enthused. They feel separation from the Lord. But we come
here from the west and we feel enthused. Prabhupada says that there is
contamination out there, even while preaching. When we come to Vrndavana we
want to be part of the big kirtanas, take lots of prasadam, meet our old
friends etc. but this is all very secondary in regards to why we are here and
what is to be gained here. What is to be gained here is coming from a much
deeper platform, and although we cannot see it, that is what is nurturing our
soul. It is on the substratum. Prabhupada wrote about the Radha-Damodara
Temple that he resides here eternally, Rupa Gosvami is here eternally, Jiva
Gosvami is here eternally – “All the great acaryas are here eternally and
whomever stays here must endeavor to associate with them and learn from

That doesn’t mean that you are going to see Rupa Gosvami walking around
here. But Prabhupada is saying that they are here and you must learn from
them here – this is not a visual thing; it is on the mystical side. Many
people here will claim, “When I chant I see Krsna and the cows etc” We
tell them, “Yes, you keep chanting and that will go away.” If they are
seeing Krsna, Srila Sridhara Maharaja says, “That is not the Krsna we are
looking for. We don’t know which one they saw, but that is not the one we
are looking for.” The common villager is having krsna-darsana, but that is
not the Krsna we are looking for. The one we are looking for is much deeper
and harder to find. He is much more rare than that. The disciples of Srila
Bhaktisiddhanta were not easily carried away by anything and, in one sense,
they were not appreciated by everyone.

Many devotees from various missions would come for the darsana, guidance or
shelter of Srila Bhakti Pramoda Puri Maharaja. Once, one of our godbrothers
from a big institution who was a GBC and guru went to see Srila Puri Maharaja
who was about one hundred years old at the time. He came and told him that he
was having trouble meditating on his gayatri and when he chanted he was not
able to concentrate. He asked, “Can you give me advice so that I can
concentrate properly again?”

Srila Puri Maharaja replied, “Yes, it’s easy. Stop initiating and stop
installing temple Deities – this is distracting you.”

Now in that devotee’s world, that was like being told to give up
bhakti-yoga. He was very respectful and he left, but he didn’t follow that
whatsoever. He didn’t understand that this person was not just playing with
his mind; he was not against him. He knew that what he was doing was not good
for his own devotion. He was doing all these things in the name of creating
neophyte devotees who will remain neophytes forever and it was bringing him
down to their level. This is not service to Mahaprabhu, so stop this!
Mahaprabhu says, na janam – this means do not be so eager to make
disciples. Don’t run after this. Prabhupada once wrote that, “Simply
increasing the number of neophytes is not service to guru. This is not real
guru-puja.” He wrote a poem here at Radha-Damodara Temple and made a
scathing comment about just increasing the numbers of neophytes. But someone
may say, “He made five thousand disciples!” He wasn’t increasing the
numbers of neophytes. We had five classes a day! We went out on hari-nama
eight to twelve hours a day in the street – there was training, training,
training, training…you couldn’t even take initiation unless you lived in
the temple. Now you can take initiation when you are three years old! You
can’t read, you can’t do anything! You have a house with no altar,
there’s no class, and you wake up every day at eight O’clock – no
problem! You can get initiated. That is increasing the numbers of neophytes
and whoever does that, their own bhakti will be disturbed little by little
and it may even be unperceivable to them. So this man perceived it and went
to Srila Puri Maharaja and told him, “What should I do to become more
focused?” And he was told, “Stop initiating and stop installing
Deities.” He couldn’t accept that. He didn’t leave the devotional path
but he’s probably not doing as well as he could have been.

The disciples of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta stood like lighthouses for the truth
and they did not want to compromise or minimize the truth for the sake of
wealth, for the sake of gaining many followers or for the sake of spreading
the mission. They wouldn’t do that. They preached a standard and a
qualification. At the same time they were very kind, very generous, very
merciful, very gracious but they would not give you anything that would do
you ultimate harm. It was much more different than it is today, In the name
of being merciful, we may get something that will actually put us in harms
way because we are not fit to receive such a high thing.

Srila Sridhara Maharaja was a guardian. He considered himself as a guardian
at the door. He said. “I have been given the position of a gatekeeper, but
I am not giving visa to everyone.” He was scrutinizing. That is our great
blessing that he is doing that. He is not allowing us to go forward unless we
have the right conception and the right attitude and we have developed the
right qualification. That is what happens when we place ourselves under the
guidance of a siksa-guru. He may stop us right where we are.

Krishna Talk 116 - Vikriditam Vraja Vadhubhir...
by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura

View online:

(This article was originally written by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati
Thakura Prabhupada and first published in the 8th volume of Dainik Nadiya
Prakasa on 29th October 1933 under the title, Rasa Yatra).

Today is Rasa-purnima. Many people have gathered in Navadvipa, Santipura,
Vrndavana, Puri and other holy places. The purpose of these pilgrims is to
take darsana of Sri Krsna’s rasa-lila. It is the opinion of those who are
knowledgeable of their spiritual identity that there is no other greater seva
than this, and in this respect there is no doubt that it is everyone’s duty
to endeavor to gain qualification for this seva. Without first climbing the
branch of a tree, trying to reach the fruits is a disturbance.

What tattva is Sri Krsna? What is our svarupa? What is the tattva of Sri
Krsna’s Gopis? What is our relationship with Them? Without knowing what is
actually rasa-lila, then in our attempt to attain darsana of that rasa, we
shall simply try to pursue our desire to enjoy. We will not pursue the real
thing. Sri Krsna is aprakrta-vastu (fully spiritual). We cannot comprehend
Him through material knowledge. Neither the physical senses nor the knowledge
acquiring senses are sufficient to attain knowledge of Krsna. Those
Vraja-Gopis with whom Krsna performs His rasa-lila, are just like Sri Krsna
in that they are inaccessible to material intelligence. So long as there
remains a fraction of lust in our consciousness, then we have no
qualification to take darsana of that rasa. Lust can never find a place in
the heart of a devotee of Sri Krsna who has eka-nistha-bhakti (one-pointed
exclusive devotion). If at any time a devotee of Krsna happens to think about
lusty affairs and starts to look at those, then by his good fortune a desire
will arise in him to spit. Therefore one mahajana has sung thus:

yad-avadhi mama cetah krsna-padaravinde
nava-nava-rasa-dhamany udyatam rantum asit
tad-avadhi bata nari-sangame smaryamane
bhavati mukha-vikarah susthu nisthivanam ca

"Ever since my mind became immersed in the light of ever-new rasas at
Krsna’s lotus feet, whenever I recall my previous association with women,
my mouth turns in disgust and I spit at the thought." (BRS 2.5.72)

It is especially observed that only the baddha-jivas are inclined towards
following the path of sensual enjoyment. Sri Sukadeva has told Maharaja

naitat samacarej jatu
manasapi hy anisvarah
vinasyaty acaran maudhyad
yatha ‘rudro ‘bdhi-jam visam

"One should not engage in these activities if he is not as powerful as the
Lord, not even in the mind. If one does so out of foolishness, then he will
be destroyed, just as drinking an ocean of poison would destroy someone
without Siva’s powers". (Bhag. 10.33.30)

Except for the Lord, these things (the rasa-lila etc.) should not be
practiced by anyone, even in the mind. Apart from Rudra, anyone else who
drinks an ocean of poison will only invite destruction. If by foolishness
someone tries to imitate the Lord’s lila, then he will be destroyed. We can
observe in Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s pastimes in Nilacala – He
performed nama-sankirtana only amongst His general associates and with His
intimate associates He tasted rasa. The aforementioned divine mellows are
complete and flourishing in rasa-lila and are meant to be relished internally
by confidential liberated devotees. Now, if we conditioned souls, under the
laws of material nature, run after the darsana of rasa-lila then whatever
proper or improper sadhana we perform will be reviewed by the highly advanced
and learned devotees.

All the materially conditioned people that run after rasa-lila darsana can be
divided into two classes – one class is the atheistic moralists, and the
other class are the immoral sense enjoyers. In order to show how the
aforementioned classes become entangled in difficulties after hearing about
the rasa-lila, Maharaja Pariksit, after hearing the rasa-lila from the divine
mouth of Sri Sukadeva, masquerading as such a person of that class, asked a
question. The inquiry was this:

samsthapanaya dharmasya
prasamayetarasya ca
avatino hi bhagavan
amsena jagad-isvarah
sa katham dharma-setunam
vakta kartabhiraksita
pratipam acarad brahman

"O brahmana, the Lord of the entire universe, has descended to earth in order
to destroy adharma and reestablish dharma. Indeed, He is the original
creator, follower and guardian of dharma. So how could He have violated them
by touching other men’s wives?" (Bhag.10.33.26-27)

Sri Krsna is the highest enjoyer, and the Gopis, His eternal maidservants,
cannot be enjoyed by anyone else but Him. They are only the medium of that
rasa, which is created by parakiya-bhava. As long as a desire to enjoy lusty
affairs remains in our heart and as long as we perform activities that are
unfavorable for krsna-bhajana, then even after having ceased relations with
our family or pretending that we have ceased, whatever the case may be –
until we understand that krsna-bhajana is our only duty in life then we
cannot realize such high realities about the Gopis and Krsna. Those spiritual
teachings that exist in the manifested pastimes of the Gopis cannot even
slightly enter the heads of atheistic moralists because in atheistic morality
there is nothing that passes beyond the knowledge of mundane chemistry that
is based upon the exploitation of material elements.

Maharaja Pariksit, though he was a bhagavata, asked the aforementioned
question because, due to their offensive tendency, atheistic moralists accuse
Sri Krsna of debauchery. The crest jewel of eternally liberated
maha-bhagavatas, Srila Sukadeva Gosvami, answered his query. We have already
mentioned the answer of Sri Sukadeva.

Immoral, licentious people go to hear the rasa-lila simply to satisfy their
personal dispositions. And the disciples of Kali, for a wage of two-paisa,
having obtained some material scholarship and a little knowledge of anusvara
and visarga, with lustful consciousness, pose as reciters of rasa-lila. In
a ‘fit of bhava’ they drench their breasts with a flood of tears.
Moreover it has been said, “When the recitation is over and the time comes
to accept donations of money, clothes etc, they suddenly regain their
consciousness!” All glories to Kali-yuga for such a performance!

During a stay in Nilacala at Purusottama Matha, the famous zamindar, the
pride of the Kayasthas, Rajarsi Sriyukta Saradindu Narayana Raya (MA),
Prajna-vedanta-bhusana Mahasaya of Dinajpur, once informed me about a recital
of the rasa-pancadhyaya by a particular famous reciter of the class mentioned
above, who had a beautiful voice. Explaining the gist of the sloka, naitat
samacarejjatu, I told him that a baddha-jiva such as myself had no
qualification to hear and speak about the rasa-lila. He informed the main
reciter of my words, and the reciter replied by quoting the following sloka
in order to establish that he indeed had the adhikara to speak and that his
audience was also qualified to hear him speak about the rasa-lila:

vikriditam vraja-vadhubhir idam ca visnoh
sraddhanvito ‘nusrnuyad atha varnayed yah
bhaktim param bhagavati pratilabhya kamam
hrd-rogam asv apahinoty acirena dhirah

"If a self-controlled person listens with faith to the confidential pastimes
of Sri Krsna with the damsels of Vraja, from the mouth of Sri Guru and
glorifies it at every second, then he immediately obtains transcendental
devotion towards the Supreme Lord and becomes capable of distancing himself
from the heart disease of lust without delay." (Bhag. 10.33.40)

Without meditating upon the actual meaning of this verse, if we are only
eager to hear about the rasa-lila for the sake of listening without
discretion, and if we attempt to enjoy the rasa-lila when we are afflicted by
a licentious consciousness, then we will fall into a state of severe

It was my misfortune to be introduced to this aforementioned reciter. He was
in babaji-vesa. One day I saw him at the Puri station with a nice pair of
fashionable shoes adorning his feet. Thereafter, I undertook a special
enquiry and discovered that he had two or three matajis. Naturally, while
visiting a disciple’s house, the matajis don’t accompany the babaji but
stay nearby at an akhra. The babaji is almost elderly. For many years he has
been reciting the Bhagavata – even so, why has the heart disease of lust
not subsided? Why has his state gradually come to resemble that of Yayati?

Reciters should take note of the word ‘dhira’ in the aforementioned
verse. The rasa-lila should only be heard and continuously sung by a
self-controlled person. It is not a subject matter for discussion by one who
is afflicted with lust. Except for the pure Vaisnava, others cannot be
considered to be dhira. Because their minds are running here and there for
the sake of worldly sense objects, they are adhira. Therefore, they have no
qualification to hear and preach about the rasa-lila.

  From whom does a completely self-controlled person hear about the rasa-lila?
Not from a person afflicted with lust, but from the lotus feet of Sri Guru
who is free from lust. And in front of whom does he perform kirtana? Not in
front of an unqualified person, but confidentially and individually to a
qualified person. For what purpose does he continuously glorify the topic of
rasa? Not for the sake of earning money, but out of love for Krsna. What is
the result? As regards the result, the self-controlled never pray for any
other result other than the pleasure of Krsna – and in his heart, even if
somewhere there is a small amount of lust hidden, then by the auspicious
desire of Sri Krsna it is removed and that excellent self-controlled devotee
stays absorbed in the pleasure of service.

Therefore, to gain qualification to see or hear the rasa-lila, one should
become dhira. Being self-controlled one should serve the lotus feet of the
sad-guru (bona-fide spiritual master) and should be patient to gain that
qualification. Without first climbing the branch of a tree, the fruits can
never be reached.

Krishna Talk 117 - A Thousand-Percent Difference
by Swami B.B. Vishnu

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(The following lecture was given by Sripada Bhakti Bhavana Visnu Maharaja on
Srila Sridhara Maharaja’s appearance day, at Rupanuga Bhajana Asrama in
Vrndavana, 1993)

I would like to mention some of the wonderful things Srila Sridhara Deva
Gosvami Maharaja has given us – how he has explained and given us the
proper conception of many points in Gaudiya siddhanta, many things that are
so important for us. The time that he became more well known amongst the
Western section, that I was part of, was a time of much tension and
difficulty and bewilderment on the part of many devotees. All of the
expressions, or you could say elucidations, of Gaudiya siddhanta that he gave
were very much necessary in those times. In particularly the classic book Sri
Guru and His Grace came out of many talks about the nature of guru – what
are the qualifications of a proper guru, what are the disqualifications, and
how to deal with so many things. The force of necessity drew down these
things from above, and they were very necessary at that time.

In Sri Guru and His Grace, Srila Sridhara Deva Gosvami Maharaja mentioned
what is called God Consciousness versus ‘Society Consciousness. The real
essence of this topic is realizing the superior importance of substance over
form. The formality, the society, the book is there to give us the essence
–– the substance is within the pages of the book or the purpose of the
institution is to unite us to serve, to have association, to partake in Krsna
consciousness and it is a vehicle to bring us to a higher point. Srila
Sridhara Maharaja emphasized this very much. If we don’t get the substance
from the form then the form can be left aside, and this was very much a
necessity also. The explanation of this provided the essential deeper
understanding by which many devotees could make decisions on a higher level.

Many other particular points of siddhanta were covered in great depth in the
seemingly endless talks of Srila Guru Maharaja, year after year. Sripada
Narasingha Maharaja once mentioned that everything that Srila Sridhara Deva
Gosvami Maharaja spoke was like a sutra. There was so much essential
substance in each word – packed as it was with deep realization reflecting
his thorough grasp of the siddhanta. Sometime back we published one book
called Words from the Guardian of Devotion. This book was composed of many
profound statements of one sentence or two from Srila Sridhara Maharaja, and
they were all taken from one book. The whole book was taken from a small
portion of one book, so we didn’t begin to touch them all. There were so
many more. And even a disciple who was staying more than thirty years in the
Sri Caitanya Sarasvata Matha, seeing one thing written there in this book
exclaimed, “Guru Maharaja said that?” The statement was, “Faith is the
halo of Srimati Radharani.” He was surprised that he had not heard this
even though he had been living in the matha with Srila Sridhara Maharaja for
so many years. But this is but one of many divine gems of wisdom that had
come down, had been drawn out in the 80’s when Srila Sridhara Deva Gosvami
Maharaja spoke so much to many of us.

Another point he spoke extensively on was saranagati – self-abnegation to
the extreme degree. He described what was called the ‘kama-rupa squad’,
those who have embraced the conception of ‘die to live’. They give
everything in the service of the Lord without any reservation. He spoke of
divine slavery, that you have no rights reserved! That you give up
everything. This is of course the last verse found in the Siksastaka. Krsna
may do as He likes, but nevertheless I am His devoted servitor. Srila
Sridhara Maharaja explained this conception in a very graphic way, that
emphasized that “Yes, I have no rights.” This is actually the meaning of
saranagati, surrender, the essence of Bhagavad-gita. That was another very
wonderful thing. And his wonderful book Prapanna-jivanamrta was a collection
of many writings of Srila Sridhara Deva Gosvami Maharaja and other verses
illuminating the proper conception of saranagati and other essential
devotional conceptions. Akincana Krsna Dasa Babaji Maharaja, his highly
esteemed godbrother, carried this book with him at all times and felt that
this was all he needed. Everything was contained within that book.

Another particular conception that was emphasized and distributed by Srila
Sridhara Deva Gosvami Maharaja in a profound way was that, “The environment
is friendly.” This comes from a particular Bhagavatam verse:

tat te nukampam su samiksamano
bhunjana evatmakritam vipakam
hrd vag vapurbhir vidadhan namas te
jiveta yo mukti pade sa daya bhak

The devotee accepts suffering as due to his own past misdeeds and has some
hope, some aspiration and some faith also that this divine mercy coming down
will mitigate his suffering and it will be stopped after some time. But one
must realize that this suffering is only due to one’s own misdeeds.
Sridhara Maharaja pointed out that those difficulties that we experience are
actually caused by our own wrongdoings. For example, he explained that it is
not that if some particular person is giving us some problem, then that
person is the cause of our problem. Actually it is due to our own misdeeds
that somehow it has been arranged that through that person we get our just
desserts, our karma. The environment is friendly, don’t look for the fault
in others, and don’t look for the fault in our situation wherever you are.
It is because of your own doings, that you are not properly situated or
properly qualified.

Srila Sridhara Maharaja was particularly known as a harmonizer – when there
were so many difficulties or problems amongst godbrothers he was usually the
cause of resolving them. His capacity for harmonizing in any circumstance was
unparalleled. He helped many times by pointing out and settling some disputes
amongst his godbrothers in regards to the grand preaching campaign of Srila
Bhaktivedanta Svami Prabhupada, our Guru Maharaja. This is well known to many
of us. Some statements were made and some criticisms were made and some
things were not very comfortable and Srila Sridhara Maharaja was able to
harmonize all of these things in a number of circumstances. In particular, a
leading Gaudiya Matha sannyasi who was actively preaching on a large scale
and had many disciples, took exception to our Guru Maharaja’s statement
that, “All my godbrothers are simply ringing the bell and eating and
sleeping.” Srila Sridhara Maharaja explained to that sannyasi that, “It
is such a grand preaching campaign, a great kirtana, so if you are given the
position of ringing the bell in that kirtana then your position is
glorious.” In this way he convinced his godbrother, ending the dispute.
Numerous other similar instances are also there.

Srila Sridhara Maharaja always took a neutral position, a higher position.
Even when he was criticized himself severely, at one point he said, “It is
all for the good. It is by the Lord’s arrangement. It is all for the
good.” He had this very high perspective on everything and when he was
approached on many very important questions he would always give so many
examples from sastra, then he would give the sastrika quotes which stated
what to do and he would relate many examples from the lives of great devotees
and he would ask questions of those who had come with important inquiries,
“What is the situation in your opinion?” He would ask for the
particularities – like this. And then revealing his real inner wealth, his
storehouse of realization and sastrika knowledge he would give some very
profound answer.

One time he said in a very humble way that, “I have studied all of the
literatures, the Srimad Bhagavatam, the Gosvami’s literatures and so many
commentaries of our acaryas.” And he was not saying it in a proud way but
we understand that essentially he was saying very humbly that “I have
realized all of that and now I am giving you the essence.” He didn’t say
it like that, but we took it like that, that he had understood all of this
and he was able to give us the essence. That was his particularity that he
gave us the highest thing, and as he said in the words of his Guru Maharaja,
he was “Distributing nectar on a golden plate.” He made it so relishable
and so reachable and so understandable to us – the highest thing given in
an essential and easily understandable way. But giving the highest thing, he
was always giving it in a very careful way.

For instance, he gave us the highest conceptions, but from the literatures of
the Gosvamis he gave us two verses from the Vilapa-kusamanjali:

vairagya-yug-bhakti-rasam prayatnair
apayayan mam anabhipsum andham
krpambudhir yah para-duhkha-duhkhi
sanatanas tam prabhum asrayami

"I was unwilling to drink the nectar of devotional service possessed of
renunciation, but Sanatana Gosvami, out of his causeless mercy, made me drink
it, even though I was otherwise unable to do so. Therefore he is an ocean of
mercy. He is very compassionate to fallen souls like me, and thus it is my
duty to offer my respectful obeisances unto his lotus feet."
(Vilapa-kusumanjali 6)

This means that the Vaisnava feels suffering only on the behalf of others.
And he also gave us the very, very high verse:

asa-bharair-amrta-sindhu-mayaih kathancit
kalo mayatigamitah kila sampratam hi
tvam cet krpam mayi vidhasyasi naiva kim me
pranair vrajema ca varoru bakarinapi

"O Radha, I am passing my days with great difficulty with an intense desire
to attain the ocean of nectar. If You do not give me Your mercy, then of what
use to me are my life, the land of Vraja and even Sri Krsna, the enemy of
Baka?" (Vilapa-kusumanjali 102)

This is Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami’s manjari-bhava meditation. His prayer to
Srimati Radharani is that, “I am hopeless without Your grace, in fact I
don’t even want Krsna without Your grace. It is shameless for me to say
this, but I can’t go on without Your mercy.” Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami is
praying that, “I don’t even want Krsna without Radharani’s mercy.”
This is the innermost, highest meditation of Raghunatha Dasa Gosvami and
Sridhara Maharaja gave us the understanding of the position of Raghunatha
Dasa Gosvami as our prayojana-acarya, who is showing the ultimate goal of
life. He did not give us so much description of this, but he gave us the
proper understanding and the aspiration that this is our line This is the
path upon which we are headed, that behind all of our activities and our
thoughts, we should have some divine aspiration goading us forward and
impelling us and we can think that, yes, this is a very high thing. To quote
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura – pujala raga-patha gaurava-bhange.
That is our most worshipable conception, we don’t take it in a cheap way,
as do the Sahajiyas, but we worship it and we understand that it is a very
high and very wonderful thing. Perhaps one day we will reach this plane of
reality. But Srila Sridhara Maharaja gave us some glimpse of these high
things and revealed the beauty and the charm and the sweetness of Krsna –
madhuram, sundaram and anandam. How wonderful Krsna is, that He is appearing
in such an ordinary way; so much opulence are there but he is running in the
forest in His bare feet with a laddu in His hand and capturing our hearts
with so many charming activities. That is the very incredible thing about
Lord Krsna –that He appears in an ordinary way as a cowherd boy running in
the forest. But His charm is capturing the hearts of even those who are
self-realized, as stated by the atmarama verse. That is because His pastimes
are amrta:

tava kathamrtam tapta jivanam
kavibhir iditam kalmasapaham
sravana mangalam srimad atatam
bhuvi grnanti ye bhurida janah

"The nectar of Your words and the descriptions of Your activities are the
life and soul of those suffering in this material world. These narrations,
transmitted by learned sages, eradicate one's sinful reactions and bestow
good fortune upon whoever hears them. These narrations are broadcast all over
the world and are filled with spiritual power. Certainly those who spread the
message of Godhead are most munificent." (Bhag.10.31.9)

In this verse the Gopis are saying how the nectar of Krsna’s pastimes is
the life and soul of those who are aggrieved in this world and those who
distribute this are the most munificent welfare workers. So Srila Sridhara
Maharaja often spoke of this welfare work. Those who came to him in search of
advice were told, “Yes, you have heard and been rejuvenated, now you must
go and do welfare work for others. Help those others who are aggrieved –
give them the proper conception; give them essential guidance.

The Brhat-bhagavatamrtam of Sanatana Gosvami is a most essential book. Srila
Sridhara Maharaja explained how the ontology of devotion is given in this
book. Srila Prabhupada stated also that this book is most essential for our
spiritual guidance. Srila Sridhara Maharaja gave explanation in Loving Search
For the Lost Servant of Gopa Kumara’s rise thru various levels to higher
and higher platforms. In this way he is revealing these things and ultimately
he is illuminating the highest summit of devotion as propounded by Raghunatha
Dasa Gosvami. That is our prayojana – that is the line of Sri Rupa in
radha-dasyam. We are actually followers of Srila Rupa Gosvami and that is our
position within the sampradaya, following in the line of Sri Rupa. Srila
Sridhara Deva Gosvami Maharaja gave us a very complete and in-depth
understanding of this subject.

These are a few of the points elucidated by Srila Sridhara Maharaja. I have
only touched on some of them, but his nectarean instructions were so
essential in our evolving spiritual life. We were in need of so many things.
We had been given so much knowledge from various sastras but to understand
the essence of it is a difficult thing. That is why all the sastras proclaim
the glories of sadhu-sanga, especially with the advanced Vaisnava. All
success comes from but a moment’s association. Srila Sridhara Deva Gosvami
is of great influence in our lives and of inestimable value. It has made a
hundred-percent, or to be more specific, a thousand-percent difference in our
lives. Therefore we are so grateful and so indebted.

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Krishna Talk 118 - Harmony – Real and Apparent
by Swami B.V. Giri

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Take a precursory look at the news and it is obvious that we live in a world
of discord. War, religious strife, terrorism, racism, social upheaval and
discrimination are everyday events and have been since time immemorial.
Whenever any of the above scenarios rear their ugly heads, it is not long
before a chorus of voices cries out for peace and harmony.

Even in the Vaisnava world today we hear calls for harmony. Due to various
reasons, the devotee community is divided into many, many missions – some
small, some large, some popular, some not so well known, some with one
acarya, some with many. Amongst these various groups there are some devotees
who desire to bring all these institutions together under one umbrella in
order to work harmoniously to spread Krsna consciousness. At first glance
such an idea seems very noble and laudable – but what is their concept of


Etymologically, the English word ‘harmony’ is derived from the Greek word
harmonia, meaning ‘to join’. Similarly, in Sanskrit the word for harmony,
samanvaya, also means ‘to join’. Samanvaya can be broken down into two
words – sam +anvaya. Sam means ‘to join together’ and anvayah means
‘to put things in an order.’ Another Sanskrit word that is frequently
used to denote harmony is samarasa, Samarasa literally means, ‘to have the
same taste’. Although samanvaya and samarasa may seem to be the same, they
are not. Samanvaya means to join together in order to methodically engage in
a common pursuit. Samarasa implies something of a non-discriminatory nature
and carries with it the connotation of accepting all points of view without

Harmony/samanvaya does not infer that one must abandon all discrimination.
Yet some advocates of harmonious Vaisnava dealings are prepared to throw
discrimination to the four winds and ignore all philosophical divergences,
only emphasizing the external aspects of Krsna consciousness that are common
to all. That is not samanvaya – that is samarasa.

Real harmony does not lie in homogenizing everything based upon the common
traits shared by all denominations of Vaisnavas. Real harmony does not mean
picnicking together or having a few bhajanas in the name of inter-Vaisnava
relations. To engage solely in these activities is not real harmony. Real
harmony lies in cultivating the correct understanding of Vaisnava siddhanta.
This was the reason why Sri Jiva Gosvami originally established the Visva
Vaisnava Raja Sabha at the Radha-Damodara temple in Vrndavana.

Sri Jiva attracted the most advanced souls of that time through the teachings
of Srila Rupa Gosvami Prabhupada. Radha-Damodara Temple was not a playground
for misconceptions and superficial pleasantries amongst divided dysfunctional
groups of devotees. The Visva Vaisnava Raja Sabha was an assembly of
exemplary devotees who taught according to the Sat-Sandarbhas of Sri Jiva and
the bhakti-sastras of Sri Rupa and Sri Sanatana.

In 1936, on the disappearance day of Thakura Bhaktivinoda, Srila
Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Prabhupada explained that the purpose of
the Visva Vaisnava Raja Sabha was to spread the message of the
bhaktivinoda-dhara (the philosophical line of Bhaktivinoda):

"The only way is through the bhaktivinoda-dhara. The bhaktivinoda-dhara must
be kept alive by the kirtana of srauta-vani (the instructions of the
scriptures and acaryas). If kirtana of the truth is stopped, then we will be
severed from the bhaktivinoda-dhara."

When Sarasvati Thakura reestablished the Visva Vaisnava Raja Sabha in 1919,
he did not extend an open invitation to all groups of Vaisnavas. The Sabha
did not include Vaisnavas of different sampradayas, nor did it include those
who were opposed to the teachings of Sri Caitanya, Mayavadis, Sahajiyas and
other such aparadhis. The Sabha only consisted of his own disciples and
followers. This was because the various Vaisnava societies at that time were
permeated with apa-siddhanta and did not represent the pure ideals of
Bhaktivinoda and the Visva Vaisnava Raja Sabha.

However, today the situation is very different and much more complex. Many
philosophical misconceptions have become deep-rooted and widespread within
some of the branches of our very own parampara. Therefore the need of the
hour is not to see how many Vaisnava groups we can get together under one
roof – the real necessity is to try to propagate the concepts of
Bhaktivinoda and Sarasvati Thakura within our very own line.

Such words may not be palatable to hear, but we are not advocates of satyam
bruyat priyam bruyat (speak the truth, but only speak it when it is
palatable). This maxim is for those that are worldly, not for those that
speak the absolute truth.

"According to social conventions, if you want to speak truth, you must limit
yourself to truths that are palatable and flattering. Don't speak unpalatable
truths. But we are not meant to merely follow social conventions. We are
preachers and servants of God." (A.C. Bhaktivedanta Svami Prabhupada, Bombay,
January 3rd 1977)

Rather, we should speak plainly. As Canakya Pandita says, spasta-vakta na
vanchakah (one who speaks plainly is not a deceiver). Srila Sarasvati Thakura
has clearly explained that a loyal servant of the truth must speak plainly,
even if his words create controversy:

"The truth (satya) is propagated in a twofold way – positively or by the
method of direct support and negatively by the method of opposition. The
truth cannot be made sufficiently known by the positive method alone. The
positive method by itself is not the most effective mode of propaganda in a
controversial age like the present. The negative method which seeks to
differentiate the truth from non-truth in all its forms, is even better
calculated to convey the directly inconceivable significance of the Absolute.
It is a necessity which cannot be conscientiously avoided by the dedicated
preacher of the truth if he wants to be a loyal servant of Godhead. The
method is sure to create an atmosphere of controversy in which it is quite
easy to lose one’s balance of judgment. But the ways of the deluding energy
are so intricate that unless their mischievous nature is fully exposed it is
not possible for the soul in the conditioned state to avoid the snares spread
by the enchantress for encompassing the ruin of her only too willing victims.
It is a duty which shall be sacred to all who have been enabled to obtain
even a distant glimpse of the Absolute." (The Harmonist, Vol. 29)


Some years ago, our Guru Maharaja was asked the question, “How can we unite
all the Vaisnavas?” His reply was thus:

"I am not for the Unitarian Krsna Conscious Church – I am for the church of
variagatedness and difference. Based on that, I choose my association. I
think that variagatedness breeds a very strong and healthy spiritual
environment. We are not followers of the ‘Rodney King philosophy’ –
there was a man in America called Rodney King who was beaten up and then
there was a riot in Los Angeles. So he went on TV and said, “Can’t we all
just get along?” Well the answer is, “No Rodney, we can’t!” We
can’t because there are differences. Everyone is not the same; therefore we
can’t all live the same. Why isn’t everyone wearing sannyasa-vesa?
Because everyone can’t do it. Or why is it that everyone isn’t a
brahmacari? Why doesn’t everybody become a householder? Because it is not
‘one thing for everybody’. There doesn’t have to be hatred in
diversity. There should be harmony and appreciation – but there is
diversity and we can’t erase that. There’s life in diversity. "(Hungary,
August 2nd 2006)

Diversity is at the very heart of Gaudiya Vaisnavism and that diversity is
called rasa. Within the spiritual realm there is unity and diversity – all
the denizens there are united in pleasing the transcendental senses of
Govinda, but in order to fulfill that, diversity is a prerequisite. There are
diverse rasas and within each rasa there are divisions, sub-divisions and
sub-sub-divisions. By nature, each division is diverse, but all divisions
share the common goal of serving Sri Sri Radha-Krsna. In this regard Srila
Sridhara Maharaja says:

"Yasoda is always afraid of Devaki and Vasudeva: “What? They’ll come and
claim our child as their own? How can that be?” And Radharani’s camp
thinks hat Candravali’s group are anti-parties. So in all rasas there is
harmony in discord. It is the necessity of the nature of lila. Bifurcation.
Thesis, antithesis and synthesis. Synthesis means there are many antitheses.
Harmony means many. Plurality must be there. In the Upanisads it is said
that, neha nanasti kincana – “There is no plurality.” But this means no
nana – not many, in the sense that all are harmonized into one common
interest. ‘Not many’ means not many different independent interests, but
rather that are all meeting for a common cause."


In order to achieve real harmony, fighting against misconception is
necessary. Yet some devotees will shun any type of philosophical discussion
in the name of retaining harmony. The kanistha-adhikari will shun any type of
controversy, thinking that such talks will create obstacles to their
spiritual advancement. This mentality goes against the advice of Srila
Kaviraja Gosvami:

siddhanta baliya citte na kara alasa
iha haite krsne lage sudrdha manasa

Do not be lazy in your mind when it comes to discussing siddhanta. Through
such discussions, your mind becomes firmly fixed upon Krsna. (Cc. Adi 2.117)

Srila Sridhara Maharaja was once approached by a despondent devotee who
lamented that he could not understand why there were so many differences
between different Vaisnava groups. Why couldn’t “they all just get
along?” Srila Sridhara Maharaja responded:

"So many things are to be understood. Krsna is the cause of Kuruksetra
fighting, do you know that? In His presence the whole Yadu-vamsa was finished
and He was a sightseer. What is that? Can you understand this? How can you
adjust? What is the difference between Krsna and Balarama? Why does Balarama
side with Duryodhana and Krsna sides with the Pandavas? Why? They are almost
one and the same! What is your answer? All is bogus?

Fighting is life! Fighting is life! I must turn and preach this. Until and
unless I can change my understanding, Physical oneness is not one. To
maintain physical peace is lack of vitality. We must be true to our own
understanding. You want to crush everything – jumble everything together
into one mass. But that is all stone, fossilized. Do you want to see a
fossilized unity? What is the conception of harmony? Harmony means
independent thinking.

There are different rasas – Krsna is not representing only one feature. He
is of infinite features to accommodate infinite possibilities. That is
Akhila-rasamrta-murti – there are different groups and in the same group
there are so many different arrangements. Radharani and Candravali are
fighting – two camps fighting to satisfy Him. We have to understand how it
is possible. With humility we have to try to follow how it is possible. The
opposition party is there in the parliament to enhance the work of the main
party. In this way direct and indirect makes everything complete. And if that
is distributed everywhere, then there will be no difficulty to understand the
differences there.

Sankara and Buddha preferred that the ultimate goal is undifferentiated,
unknown and unknowable. All harmonized into death. That is brahma-nirvana or
prakrti-nirvana. Their brain went so far, but the final piece – no
differentiation, no trouble – all bathed in eternal slumber. If you prefer,
you can follow that school. (Navadvipa, 28th May 1983)

We are not opposed to harmony, but harmony must be understood in the right
context and not as an external show of saccharine smiles, hugs and honeyed
words. Let the Vaisnavas be diverse in their approaches to preaching and let
them be united in siddhanta. If devotees truly desire real unity and harmony,
this can only be achieved through following bhaktisiddhanta-vani.

"Variety meets unity in different planes of movement. That is harmony. This
applies everywhere, including the plane of color and the plane of sound. Many
branches meet together in the trunk of a tree, the trunk harmonizes the many
leaves, this is the movement of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. We must see a common
master, and work around the will of that master or conductor." (Srila
Sridhara Maharaja)

As members of the sarasvata-parampara, the ‘common master’ that we all
share is Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada and it is our duty to
follow his will and his precepts attentively. Any other process we concoct to
unify the fragmented Vaisnava world will simply be temporary, superficial and
futile. If we neglect or adulterate bhaktisiddhanta-vani in the name of
harmony, we will “stop the kirtana of truth.” Then, in the words of
Sarasvati Thakura, “We will be severed from the line of Bhaktivinoda.”

Krishna Talk 119 - The Highest Ideal
by Advaita Acarya Dasa

View online:

There is no exact equivalent in the English vocabulary to explain the
Sanskrit term ‘rasa’ as used in the context of transcendental
relationships. The closest English word for rasa used by our acaryas in
rendering English translations of Sanskrit literatures is ‘mellow’.
Certainly, enough thought has been given before stopping at the word,
‘mellow’ for rasa. The origin of this word in English stems from the
sense of ‘ripe’, ‘sweet’, and ‘juicy’ and is used to define
something that is tempered by maturity or experience.

The taste and experience of a ripened mango can never be traced in a raw
mango, no matter how much it is artificially processed. In a similar way, the
experience of divine exchange of rasa between the Lord and His devotees
cannot be held within a heart tainted with perverted material crookedness.
Most of the spiritual experience is waiting on the other side of this
temporary world – after the death of this body. As long as we are embodied
within this sheath of flesh and bones, we are subjected to various material
miseries that by nature come without asking. The best thing we can do while
in this world is to develop strong faith in the words of the guru and the
sastra, in the Holy Name and become wise by cultivating detachment.

As per the instructions of Srila Sridhara Maharaja, in our present condition
the tendency to improve spiritually is laudable, but we should scrupulously
cultivate only those qualities that are beneficial for our spiritual health.
Srila Rupa Gosvami has given the most quintessential instructions for a
sadhaka in the eleven verses of Sri Upadesamrta. These verses, beginning with
the verse, vaco vegam manasah krodha vegam, should be the subject matter of
our introspection. Regularly pondering over these instructions we should
calibrate our sadhana and our ideal. The desire for reclusive smarana of
Krsna’s pastimes in a conditioned state is injurious, and will only produce
lust. Srila Sarasvati Thakura writes in his song, Vaisnava Ke:

kirtana prabhave smarana haibe
sei kale bhajana nirjana sambhava

Internal remembrance can occur by the power of kirtana, and only then is
solitary service possible. (Vaisnava Ke 19)

In the Gaudiya sampradaya more importance has been laid on congregational
kirtana of the Holy Names of the Lord than internal remembrance (smarana) of
His pastimes. The sankirtana-lila of Mahaprabhu has been compared directly to
the rasa-lila of Krsna in Vrndavana. But categorically, the sankirtana-lila
of Mahaprabhu is placed higher than the rasa-lila of Krsna in the sense that
the sankirtana-lila is both sweet (madhurya) and magnanimous (audarya),
whereas krsna-lila is sweet but limited to the internal (antaranga) devotees
of the Lord. The Lord taught this by His own example:

bahiranga sange kare nama-sankirtana
antaranga-sange kare rasa-asvadana

Amongst the ordinary devotees the Lord engaged in nama-sankirtana, and with
His intimate associates He relished rasa.

Mahaprabhu’s sankirtana-lila can accommodate anyone, no matter how degraded
they may be. There is no consideration of qualification; the only price is
sincere faith. In this age it is impossible to gain entrance into krsna-lila
without accepting Sriman Mahaprabhu, His associates and His teachings.
Mahaprabhu never recommended internal remembrance of Krsna’s confidential
pastimes for those in a conditioned state. On the other hand, He relished the
reading of Prahlada’s and Dhruva’s pastimes hundreds and hundreds of
times to set an example for everyone not to jump directly to the rasa-lila.

prahlada-caritra ara dhruvera-caritra
sata-vrtti kariya sunena savahita

The Lord attentively heard the pastimes of Prahlada and Dhruva hundreds of
times. (Cb. Antya 10.34)

The current of the ocean of material existence is certainly very difficult to
cross over, but for one engaged in kirtana under a bona-fide spiritual
master, the waves subside as if giving way. How can it be otherwise when the
sankirtana movement is the Lord’s own lila and the Maya potency is but His
servant? When the Kurma brahmana asked Mahaprabhu while He was leaving to
take him along, Mahaprabhu gave him two important instructions to help him
cross this ocean of nescience and simultaneously attain the association of
the Lord Himself:

yare dekha, tare kaha’krsna’-upadesa
amara ajaya guru hana tara’ ei desa

Instruct everyone you see to follow the orders of Lord Sri Krsna. Vecome a
spiritual master and try to liberate everyone in this land. (Cc. Madhya

kabhu na badhibe tomara visaya-taranga
punarapi ei thani pabe mora sanga

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu further advised the brahmana Kurma, “If you follow
this instruction, your materialistic life at home will not obstruct your
spiritual advancement. Indeed, if you follow these regulative principles, we
will again meet here, or, rather, you will never lose My company.” (Cc.
Madhya 7.120)

Every living and non-living entity in this universe has emanated from the
Lord Himself and is meant only for His satisfaction. Knowing this it is the
most intelligent and beneficial act to use everything here including
ourselves as an offering to the Lord’s service and to also encourage others
to take up this practice. As per Srila Sridhara Maharaja’s reading of the
sastra, intrinsically, above anything else, the duty (paro-dharma) of every
soul is devotion to the adhoksaja (Krsna) while anything done for selfish
ends (dvitiyabhinivesah) is unnecessary and dangerous (bhayavah). The true
dignity of the soul does not lie in earning wealth, prestige, and the
goodwill of those who have the same material disposition as ourselves. Only
by realizing one’s constitutional position as the servant of the Supreme
Lord and acting accordingly, is our true spiritual dignity reinstated.

Sri Sri Radha-Krsna hold the most glorious position in the transcendental
world of Goloka-Vrndavana and are eternally engaged in sweet pastimes,
untouched by material perverseness. Mahaprabhu, who is non-different than
Radha-Krsna, appeared in this world out of His overflowing compassion along
with four principle associates and hundreds of other associates just to
establish the superexcellent position of Sri Sri Radha-Krsna, Their Holy
Names, Their pastimes and Their devotees all over the world. From Him the
illustrious line of the Rupanugas, or the followers of Sri Rupa Gosvami, has
manifested just to uphold this great ideal. Rupanuga-cudamani Sri Srimad
Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura revitalized this ideal in the deteriorated
Vaisnava world and started a new era of Krsna Consciousness. May we mature
spiritually holding on to the ideal enshrined in the following verse by Srila
Sarasvati Thakura:

matala hari-jana visaya-range
pujala raga-patha gaurava-bhange

The servants of Hari are engaged in lavish affairs, handling material wealth
and engaging all manner of things in the Lord’s service. They worship the
path of spontaneous devotion with gaurava-bhange (in a mood of awe and
reverence) and to show that the raga-patha is above all (above our heads),
they remain as servants, being a little distant and below, praying for that
of a servant’s duty, not for that of a confidential nature — not to bring
that highest divine love down here, but to hold that upon their heads.

Krishna Talk 120 - Makara Sankranti
by Srila B.R. Sridhar Maharaja

View online:

(The following is an excerpt of a lecture by Srila Sridhara Deva Gosvami
Maharaja given on the occasion of Makara Sankranti, the day of Sri Caitanya
Mahaprabhu's acceptance of sannyasa, on January 14th 1984)

On this day, early in the morning, Mahaprabhu crossed the river by swimming
at three o’clock or so, and ran towards Katwa. It was winter season, but He
had no care for the cold. There was so much heat in His body and mind – on
one side by the viraha, separation of Krsna, and on another side by the duty
of preaching to the world about devotion to Krsna. The call of that duty
actuated Him to get out of Navadvipa and to distribute to the public love of
Lord Krsna throughout the length and breadth of the world. He cared for
nothing else, He was simply running, feeling vipralambha for Krsna. The call
of Krsna made everything else tasteless.

So much heat is created for the national cause. There are so many atomic
bombs, so many soldiers ready to sacrifice their life for the national
interest. How small is this mortal prosperity? What does it mean? It is
trifling; it is nothing. What sort of energy should we collect for our
eternal wealth? Such a high degree of welfare is to be distributed to all
– to get back to their own home – to take these misguided people towards
their sweet home. That call of duty arose in the mind of Mahaprabhu, “All
these vagabonds should be taken to their own home and their guardian.”

They all should be taken to their home. They are wandering like so many
beasts in the jungle without knowing what is good and what is bad, always
engaged in competition and biting one another. They say they are civilised?
Jungle animals are biting one another and trying to live at the cost of other
fellow members of the jungle – as humans, more efficiently, they are
following the same program. At the cost of other nations, they want to fight.
What is this? It is a civilized jungle! Then what is civilisation?
Civilisation loses its meaning. Civil means gentle, but is this gentleness?
They are proud that they are doing things as a body. If jungle habits can be
performed in the name of nationalism, then it is justified. It is all

A half-truth is worse than a falsehood. Misguided help is much more
dangerous. That means directing ones attention towards the wrong thing.
Vedasraya nastikya-vada bauddhake adhika – if we preach atheism in the
name of religion, that is more dangerous than an ordinary straight atheist.
So in the name of civilisation, we are doing things that are shameful to an
animal of the jungle. Is giving food, clothing and so-called education to the
public a very good thing? No! It is more important to take them home. That is
what is necessary. There is an expression, ‘home comfort.’ Home comfort
is very sweet. Home means our mother, father and so many affectionate
relatives – they know the real necessity of their child. The child may not
know, but the home knows what is his real interest.

Unconsciously the atmosphere will come render real help to us to guide us
towards our home; back to God and back to home. We are all wanderers in the
streets. It will collect us and to take us home. That was the duty of

By hook or by crook, by any means, take them home. The child may not know. He
may be crazy. He may run this way or that way but not towards home. And that
is the problem. That makes the case complex. Otherwise it would be very
simple. The responsibility is on the guide. And according to the guide's
capacity, the real effect comes to help him. That is a special capacity and
also the delegation of the Lord, both combined makes the specific
characteristic in the acarya.

‘Rank is but the guinea stamp, man is the gold.’ The rank is one thing
and the man is another. When his inner capacity and the delegation are
combined, that is effective. The combination of the personal characteristic
of the teacher and also the delegated power of the Lord produces the desired
result. Mahaprabhu recommended Rupa Gosvami to Svarupa-damodara, “He is the
fittest person to deal with the devotional scriptures. I have delegated My
ability to him.” He is requesting Svarupa-damodara also, “Whatever you
have got, please transfer to him. He is a very worthy person. He can manage
it and he can distribute it very well. He will produce it in a very befitting
way and he will prepare and distribute this devotional scripture."

So this day of the year was the last day that Mahaprabhu stayed with His
family. In the afternoon He met many of His friends and appealed to them
fervently to take to krsna-nama. “In every engagement, try to take Krsna
always with you. Eating sleeping, working – whatever you are physically
engaged in, go on with the consciousness of Krsna.

Then, by the end of the night, He left Navadvipa. After five years He came
back but did not enter His home. He only approached the front of His house
and cast a glance towards the door. We are told that Visnupriya-devi, wearing
a very dirty cover around her body, fell flat at His feet. Mahaprabhu Sri
Caitanyadeva could understand that it must be her and He took off His
sandals. “Try to remove your pain of separation with the help of these two
sandals." Then He went away. Those wooden sandals, we are told, are still on
the throne of this Visnupriya temple here in Navadvipa. Those very old wooden
sandals are still shown there and Visnupriya-devi used to worship them, five
years after He took sannyasa.

Then Mahaprabhu moved towards Vrndavana via Ramakeli, and after accepting
Rupa-Sanatana, He came back again to Santipura and from there traveled to
Puri. From Puri He went via Benares to Vrndavana.

This month of Pausa is extremely cold, but Mahaprabhu passed the whole month
in Vrndavana, visiting different places of krsna-lila. Then at the beginning
of the month of Magha, He came to take bath in Prayaga where he met
Svarupa-damodara and Sri Rupa. For nearly a fortnight He stayed there and
educated Rupa in raga-bhakti. Then Rupa asked to go to Vrndavana and he was
entrusted with some duties.

Then Mahaprabhu came to Benares and met Sanatana. For two months He lived
there and instructed Sanatana in an elaborate way. Benares was also the
capital of the Mayavadis, and He met their leader and converted him. Then
Mahaprabhu went back to Puri.

Twenty-four years of His life He was in Navadvipa, and for another six years
He toured different parts of India and the other eighteen years He stayed in
Puri. During the first six years in Puri He used to meet with so many
devotees, and then during the last twelve years He almost cut off His
connection with the public and engaged Himself deeply in the cultivation of
the mood of separation – vipralambha. For a full twelve years He engaged in
the different mental stages of Radharani – that deep and fiery separation
was depicted for twelve years. Ramananda Raya and Svarupa-damodara were His
very close assistants. All day and night Svarupa-damodara attended Him with
some of His other friends. Sometimes Mahaprabhu would rub His face on the
wall, “I cannot tolerate this separation!”

In this way, He would sometimes run to the sea, or He would sometimes jump
into a thorny plain in intense restlessness due to the separation from Krsna.
That was depicted in the last stages of His lila. Gaura-haribol!










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