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Shrila B.V. Narayana MaharajShrila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami (birth name: Narayana Tiwari, February 16, 1921, Tivaripur — December 29, 2010, Puri) is a Hindu Vaishnava religious figure, theologian, writer, senior student and successor of Shrila Bhaktipragyana Keshava Gosvami (1898-1968); founder of the "International Pure Bhakti Yoga Society." Being in old age Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami traveled around the world more than 30 times, having been preaching Gaudiya Vaishnavism in many countries of the world. According to data for 2002, the Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami had more than 40,000 students.

Шрила Бхактиведанта Нараяна Госвами (имя при рождении — Нараяна Тивари; 16 февраля 1921, Тиварипур — 29 декабря 2010, Пури) — индуистский вайшнавский религиозный деятель, богослов, писатель, старший ученик и преемник Шрила Бхактипрагьяна Кешавы Госвами (1898-1968); основатель «Международного общества чистой бхакти-йоги». Пребывая в преклонном возрасте Бхактиведанта Нараяна Госвами объехал вокруг света более 30 раз, побывав с проповедью гаудия-вайшнавизма во многих странах мира. По данным на 2002 год, у Бхактиведанты Нараяны Госвами было более 40 000 учеников.

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England96-9-.jpgMurwillumbah, Australia; Feb. 15, 2002
Tridandiswami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja

[Srila Narayana Maharaja visited Murwillumbah, Australia from February 12-19. As he did in Germany two months earlier, in Murwillumbah he was giving nightly classes on Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's Jaiva Dharma. The following is the introduction he spoke before beginning his February 15th discourse.]

Why have I come here, and why am I travelling here and there? Why have I invited everyone to come here, and why am I touring throughout the world? What is my mood and mission, and why I am journeying in this old age?

Because not all of you can go to Vrndavana to meet me, I have come to you. Local persons and foreigners, children, girls, boys, and old persons, are all coming here to meet me. If I do not come, all will be weak. Everyone will be engaged in sense gratification, and they will give no importance religious topics and activities. They will forget all these things.

Sometimes, therefore, Krsna sends His many associates. For example, Narada Rsi is always touring here and there, and this is the tradition of our guru-parampara. This is why I have come.

Don't sleep. Maya is everywhere, like a tiger, to swallow you. Try to know all the spiritual truths, and go on chanting and remembering. This will save you. Your money and worldly qualifications can never help you. We have come to remind you of this.

Sri Nityananda Prabhu used to go with Srila Haridasa Thakura to tell everyone, "You should chant the holy name, and you will very easily cross the ocean of birth and death. Everything will be okay and all problems will vanish. If you do not get this result, I am responsible." I am also telling you the same thing. Chant, and all responsibility will be on me if you are not happy. If you chant in the correct process, in the process I have been explaining to you, you must be happy.


Shrila Prabhupada's Legacy

Shrila B.V. Narayana Maharaj

[The following is a translation of the Bengali conversation between Shrila Prabhupada and Shrila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaj, which transpired on Oct. 8, 1977. This conversation took place just before Shrila Prabhupada's departure from this world on Nov.14. The Bengali tape from which the translation was made was kindly given by the BBT Archives. Credit for the translation goes to the sincere efforts of  Shripad Tanmoy and Shrimati Bindu Chakravarty, Shripad Krsna Kanthi dasa brahmacari, Shrimati Uma devi dasi, Shrimati Mulaprakrti devi dasi, Shrimati Brajanaika devi dasi, Shrimati Jadurani devi dasi, and finally Pujyapada Madhava Maharaj. Due to the deep richness of the Bengali language, it cannot be fully  transmitted in the medium  of English]

Shrila Prabhupada: I have realized from my experience that if we are not independent, but rather meet and preach together, then we will be successful.  Mahaprabhu has told, "Prithivite ache yata nagaradi gram. Sarvatra pracar haibe more nama". "All over the earth, in every town and village, my Name should be preached". There is a great possibility to fulfill the transcendental desire of Lord Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

Shrila Narayana Maharaj: Yes.

Shrila Prabhupada: I am in my last days. I hope you and all others will forgive and forget all of my offenses. During the time of preaching I have done some things which may have offended my godbrothers, some katha-kata-kati (argument, difference of opinion). I pray that you will save me from this aparadha, and when I leave this world you will all  help take care of my mission, which I have established with so many temples, etc.

Shrila Narayana Maharaj:  Yes, I will follow your order.

Shrila Prabhupada: Perhaps Panbandi is in jail. Please take care to save our honor. They did so much for my auspiciousness. You must take care of everything, including the court-case.  It is all under your responsibility.

Shrila Narayana Maharaj: Okay, I will see to it. I will obey your advice fully, because I consider you as my guru.

Shrila Prabhupada: Yes, I know it very well. Some wicked persons wanted to do some harm to the Mayapura Candradaya Mandira. In order to protect the temple some devotees were bound to use a gun, and for this reason there is a court-case. Some foreign devotees are in jail now.  The proposal  I gave. You must look at it. What do you think? Will they  honor this?

Shrila Narayana Maharaj: Very nice. What you have done is very beautiful. And it will be even more beautiful if everyone tries to protect it with good cooperation. You have taught your disciples to cooperate and try to develop the mission with the help of other respectable Vaisnavas. In that way everyone can help them, and in the future this movement will be a big transcendental organization to benefit the whole world.

Shrila Prabhupada: (in a very low, soft, and choked voice, as if whispering.) After my departure, you must take care so that what I have done will go on well. I have brought these vanaras, monkeys, like mlecchas and yavanas (those outside the Vedic varnasrama system). There is no one fully qualified among them.  I tried to teach them whatever I could, and according to their ability they have accepted something; but there is a lack of qualified persons among them who can train. Everyone should try together, because there is big big land, big temples, no want of money, and no scarcity of people- everything is there.

Shrila Narayana Maharaj: Yes, that is so very good. All should help them. More good will come of everything if the disciples treat all respectable Vaisnavas with humility. I will try my best to help them.

Shrila Prabhupada:  Yes.

Shrila Narayana Maharaj: When they call me for my suggestions or any kind of instruction, or if they want me to go anywhere, I will help them always according to what you have said. In whatever way is possible. I must certainly do that to the best of my ability. Although my qualification is limited, I will do my best to help them.

Shrila Prabhupada: Are any of my Godbrothers in Vrindavan now?

Shrila Narayana Maharaj: I think Shrila Vana Maharaj may be in Vrindavana now. And perhaps Indupati Prabhu from Shri Caitanya Gaudiya Matha. He comes and goes. At present these two; no more.

Shrila Prabhupada: Vana Maharaj?

Shrila Narayana Maharaj: Yes, Vana Maharaj.

Bhakti Caru Maharaj: Madhava Maharaj's matha?

Shrila Prabhupada: (to Shrila Narayana Maharaj) Please sit down. (to disciples) Someone go and ask Vana Maharaj and Indupati prabhu to come.

Shrila Narayana Maharaj: This is a very good proposal. In these last days this desire is very good.

Shrila Prabhupada: To argue with each other is not so good.

Shrila Narayana Maharaj: These are insignificant matters in such a substantial worldwide mission. A little something here and there is of no consequence. You have done this wonderful preaching work for the benefit of the whole world. There was no self-interest. You did everything only in  devotional service to Krsna—for benefitting all people at large.

Shrila Prabhupada: That is your blessing.

Shrila Narayana Maharaj: You have done a wonderful thing. It is necessary to care for and preserve this mission, and see that it is managed skillfully.

Shrila Prabhupada: Please tell this to them (my disciples). I cannot speak now. Please sit a little longer.

Shrila Narayana Maharaj: Yes, I am here. Don't worry. (He called over Shrila Prabhupada's senior disciples and instructed them in how to maintain and fulfill Prabhupada's desire in the future, and how to deal with each other.)

Shrila Prabhupada: Are you keeping good health?

Shrila Narayana Maharaj: It is so-so. All is going on. It is good that you are doing Bhagavat-smaranam, (remembering Krsna each moment). Many capable people are here to run things.

Shrila Prabhupada: But there is some disturbance. Recently some disruption was caused in Mayapura.

Shrila Narayana Maharaj: It will go away. This disruption was caused by those who create trouble for their own material gain. Everything will be all right. After some days those who are misbehaving will understand their own fault. Obstacles always come in any good work.

Shrila Prabhupada: Twenty thousand people gathered at a meeting. Have you heard anything about it?

Shrila Narayana Maharaj: I heard and I felt sorry. Some communists and other people created this trouble and have made a big mistake. They are doing so many illegal and offensive things. Now be free to peacefully remember Shri Radha-Krsna and Their sweet pastimes. Your people will take care of the necessities. All will be well by the wish of the Supreme Lord, Shri Krsna. No need to think about it at all.

Shrila Prabhupada: You are affectionate to me.

Shrila Narayana Maharaj: What affection can I have (as an equal)? I respect you as my guru.

Shrila Prabhupada: Yes, I know that very well. That is why I called you first. Please forgive any of my offenses.

Shrila Narayana Maharaj: You should forgive us in your heart if we have made any offenses. In this way  we can develop a taste for serving Lord Krsna's lotus feet. Please bless us this much.

Shrila Prabhupada: Sesasayi?

Shrila Narayana Maharaj: Sesasayi has come with me to receive  your darsana.

Shrila Prabhupada: Brahmacari?

Shrila Narayana Maharaj: Yes, Sesasayi brahmacari. When you were in Mathura, Sesasayi did some service for you, such as cooking, etc. Sesasayi, now you sing one kirtan. Shri Rupa Manjari pada sei mora sampada. Sei more bhajana pujana.  Very slowly, very clearly and softly, sing this kirtana so that Shrila Swami Maharaj can hear. Shrila Rupa Goswami is our heart and soul.

[Shripad Sesasayi brahmacari sings:  Shri Rupa Manjari Pada, by Shrila Narottama dasa Thakura:]

"The lotus feet of Shri Rupa-manjari are my dearmost treasure. They are the topmost object of my worship and inner devotional practices. Her lotus feet are the wealth and beautiful ornament of my life. They are the very life of my life. Her lotus feet are the storehouse of rasa. They bestow that topmost desire (precious service to Shrimati Radhika) and they are the conclusion of all the Vedas. Her lotus feet fulfill the goal of my vows and austerities, my harinama japa, my actions, and my spiritual practices-all performed with the aim to please Shri Rupa-manjari. When Mahaprabhu is pleased with me, then by his mercy I will attain perfection, and with these two eyes I will get the darsana of Shri Rupa-manjari's lotus feet. Her beauty is full of sweetness like the moon. Just as on a moonlit night the kumud lotus comes to full blossom, my heart will fully bloom night and day in the rays of her moon-like beauty. Your absence from my vision is like snake poison spreading throughout my body, gradually consuming my strength. For the rest of  my life my soul will be burning. Narottama dasa laments, "Alas, Prabhu. O Rupa Goswami. Please give me the shade of your lotus feet. There I am taking shelter."
Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
[Shrila Narayana Maharaj sings: Hari Hari, Kabe More Hoibe Sudina  (O Hari. When Will That Auspicious Day Be Mine?) by Shrila Narottama dasa Thakura:]

"O Shri Hari, when will that auspicious day be mine? Filled with prema, when will I worship Shri Radha-Krsna? As the sounds of the divine instruments mix and create the sweetest melodies, I will blissfully sing songs about Their forms and qualities. While singing "Radha-Govinda" I will weep loudly and my whole body will become soaked by the tears falling from my eyes. Be merciful now, Rupa Goswami and Sanatana Goswami. O my Raghunatha dasa Goswami. My life-giving Jiva Goswami. Be merciful now, O Lalita and Visakha. O Shridama, Subala, and all other friends in sakhya-bhava. Be merciful, all of you, so I may attain my deepest desires. Narottama dasa is always praying like this."
Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
[Jaya-dhvani prayers are recited]

Shrila Prabhupada: I have only these few bones left in my body and nothing else.

Shrila Narayana Maharaj: That is seen. It is very good that you came back to Vraja from the Western countries. This is very good.

Shrila Prabhupada: Yes, they took me to London and other places. I have seen so much opulence in London. The condition of my health is not good. I will leave soon. Please, tell them what their duty shall be after my leaving. (to disciples) You have consulted with Narayana Maharaj?

Tamal Krsna Gosvami: This morning Bhakti Caru Swami, Bhakti Prema Swami and Shridhar Swami went to see him, and Narayana Maharaj described the ceremony for the departure of a great Vaisnava sannyasi or guru.

Shrila Narayana Maharaj: I have instructed them about all the details. Whenever it is necessary, you can come to me. There is no problem. I will come to help in the final ceremony in any way that is needed.

Shrila Prabhupada: I have one special request-that you will put me in samadhi with your own hand. Where will the entrance gate of the samadhi mandir be?  Right side? Instruct them.

Tamal Krsna Gosvami: The entrance is on the left side. Entering- looking towards the Deity, on the left side. In other words, when you come into the temple there's a big open area. It's on the same side as the vyasasana.

Shrila Prabhupada: (lavan tavan) Tell them to arrange for the salt and other things.

Shrila Narayana Maharaj: I have given complete instructions. Everything has been arranged.

Shrila Prabhupada: On the left side?

Tamal Krsna Gosvami: It's on the same side as the vyasasana. Faces east.

Shrila Prabhupada: Yes. Will there be a Puspa samadhi in Mayapura?

Tamal Krsna Gosvami: Hmm. Yes. Flowers to Mayapura.

Shrila Narayana Maharaj: I have told them. Some flowers have to be kept there for putting in desired places.

Shrila Prabhupada: You please  stay and supervise this.

Shrila Narayana Maharaj: I will be here. Just inform me. (In English) You should call me, and I will come right away.

Tamal Krsna Gosvami: He described the entire ceremony in detail, Shrila Prabhupada.

Shrila Prabhupada: Yes, he is very expert and knows all  the Vaisnava ceremonies.

Tamal Krsna Gosvami: Yes.

Shrila Prabhupada:  Has Sesasayi taken sannyasa?  Yes?

Shrila Narayana Maharaj: No. He has not taken. He is still brahmacari.

Shrila Prabhupada:  Hmm.

Shrila Narayana Maharaj: You have completed all your life's work. Everything has been fulfilled. Do not worry.

Shrila Prabhupada: It is all your blessings.

Shrila Narayana Maharaj: You have no task left in this world. (In English) You have fulfilled all; everything is done.

 Shrila Prabhupada: Hmm.

Shrila Narayana Maharaj: Please give some advice and instruction that they (your disciples) should not fight and quarrel with each other for their own self-interest. Their only goal should be to try to fulfill your heart's desire, and proceed purely for the mission.

Shrila Prabhupada: (English) Don't fight amongst yourselves. I have given directions in my will. Execute it properly.

Tamal Krsna Gosvami: Yes, Shrila Prabhupada.

Shrila Prabhupada: (bells ringing.) Is today Ekadasi?

Shrila Narayana Maharaj: Yes, Ekadasi.

 Shrila Prabhupada: The service of Shri Mahaprabhu is going on well? Yes? Mahaprabhu of Jhansi?

Shrila Narayana Maharaj: Yes, Your Mahaprabhu, that Mahaprabhu who is a gift from you, is with me in our Kesavaji Gaudiya Matha; and His service in going on well.

Shrila Prabhupada: Has he been with you all along?

Shrila Narayana Maharaj: Yes, Mahaprabhu has been with me. His seva is going on very beautifully, after having applied new color (angarag) on His body, decorated Him and doing other things for Him.

Shrila Prabhupada: I had a good chance to start a temple and serve Him in Jhansi. Then I realized that Krsna wanted a much bigger service from me.

Shrila Narayana Maharaj: On a very big scale. That's what happened.

Shrila Prabhupada: We had a fair plot of land.

Shrila Narayana Maharaj: Yes. Why would you remain preaching only in Jhansi? Krsna desired that you preach throughout the entire world, and that has been fulfilled.

Shrila Prabhupada: I had wished to reside in Vrindavana. I wanted to pass my life as a niskincana devotee, without material desires, and do sadhana-bhajana. But Bhagavan did not accept this. He inspired me at the age of 70 years to go outside to the Western countries, all alone, to preach—with only 40 rupees. Virata—very boldly. Then it took a grand shape.

Shrila Narayana Maharaj: Shrila Rupa Goswami's special mercy is bestowed upon you. And also that of Shri Shri Radha Damodara. Thus you have been able to fulfill the transcendental desire of Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

Shrila Prabhupada: All this is also vidamvana (distraction, tribulation). Order them to do kirtana. (Devotees sing  'Shri Guru Carana Padma'.) 

Shrila Narayana Maharaj: Do you have any physical difficulties?

Shrila Prabhupada: A little cough, and wind is there. The only difficulty is in speaking. I have already given up eating.

Shrila Narayana Maharaj: (In Hindi) If he asks for water, keep caranamrta for him. You can put some tulasi under  his head. That's right. Very good.

Shrila Prabhupada: They should give me caranamrta.  There is one sloka in Caitanya Caritamrta which states, "yei bhaje sei bada abhakta hina chara, krsna bhajane nahi jati kuladi vicara." "One who worships the lotus feet of Krsna is exhalted. There is no distinction of caste, color and creed. However, non-devotees, though  born in a high caste, are condemned and abominable. Their life has no value." So do not have disdain for those who were born in the West but have taken shelter of the lotus feet of a bonafide spiritual master and under his guidance worship the lotus feet of the Divine Couple. Never hate them.

Shrila Narayana Maharaj: No. Not at all. Anyone who is engaged in one-pointed bhakti is sarvanuttama,  the best of all. In Shri Bhagavad Gita it is said, "Api cet sudaracaro bhajate mam ananya bhak. Sadhur eva sa mantavya samyag vyavasito hi sa." (Bg. 9:30) "Even if one has performed sinful activities, if he has given up the worship of demigods and is detached from material activities and knowledge, and he unconditionally surrenders only to My lotus feet and worships Me, he is a sadhu." Everyone must respect him because he has determined that Shri Krsna is the Supreme Lord. If one has this kind of devotion to Radha-Krsna, one will be considered a sadhu, in spite of his having other drawbacks.

(Indupati prabhu, Vana Maharaj and others enter the room. ) Hare Krsna. Please come.

Shrila Prabhupada: Has Vana Maharaj come? The reason I have called you is that Narayana Maharaj has come. He will tell you my message. Please listen.

Shrila Narayana Maharaj: You are feeling difficulty in talking. (To Vana Maharaj and others). He is requesting that we  look after his disciples in his absence— so that his mission will remain successful.

Shrila Prabhupada: (Addressing his godbrothers) Apanara amar saba aparadha ksama korben, kenona ami iccha kore kokhano aparadha karo chaini kintu prachar karte gele kicchu katha katakati. Haya. Tai apani amar aparadha ksama korben. Please, I wish to ask you to forgive my offenses. I never intended to offend anyone. During the course of  preaching there arose some difference of opinion, some argument, which resulted in some offensive statements. Kindly forgive me for that.

Shrila Narayana Maharaj: He is asking for  forgiveness for any harsh words which may have been spoken while preaching. He is asking forgiveness from all; so you please forgive him.

Shrila Prabhupada: (to Godbrothers) Will you?

Shrila Narayana Maharaj: Maharaj, we do not consider that you have committed any offense. Please give us your mercy. You could never commit an offense to anyone. He who takes offense is at fault.

Shrila Prabhupada: Hmm. (Voices heard. To Shrila Narayana Maharaj) What are  you saying?

Shrila Narayana Maharaj: He (Vana Maharaj) is saying that you just came back from London.

Shrila Vana Maharaj: You travelled in this state of health?

Shrila Narayana Maharaj: Anyway, whatever has happened has been good.  You have come back to Vraja by the Lord's desire.

Shrila Prabhupada: Going to London it was like a world tour. My health further broke down, just after reaching there.

Shrila Narayana Maharaj: I will convey all of your instructions to all of Shrila Prabhupada's (Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura's) disciples, to those who are here present and to those who are not present. They should all give nidesh (direction) and adesh (instruction) to your disciples, so that they may lead good lives (susta) and stay on the decent path. I will tell this to all, and with your blessings everything will be all right.

Shrila Prabhupada: Yes.

Shrila Narayana Maharaj: Please do not worry. Just go on remembering the lotus feet of the Divine Couple.

Shrila Prabhupada: Also, tell them that this matha (Iskcon temple) will bear the cost of the festival (for departure to the spiritual world) performed in each matha according to status. Please provide us with a list of those (mathas).

Shrila Narayana Maharaj: (speaks in Hindi to Shrila Prabhupada's disciples) Did you all understand what he said?

Bhakti Caru Maharaj: Yes. I did.

Shrila Narayana Maharaj: Has Indupati Prabhu heard this? I will explain it again. Prabhupada is telling that some money will be given for a festival in every matha. You please attend to this matter and collect the funds. (To Shrila  Prabhupada)  I have one request to you. Please  give up any more thoughts on this matter. They (your disciples) are competent. Moreover, they now know and understand all your wishes. Just continue  your rememberance of Shri Shri Radha-Krsna.

Shrila Prabhupada: Mmm.

Shrila Narayana Maharaj: Please do not worry. They will arrange everything. The way you have "Krsna-ized" (made intoxicated with Krsna) the whole world—this will continue by itself. (silence)  Now we shall go?

Shrila Prabhupada: Take a  little prasad.

Shrila Narayana Maharaj: Yes, we will take.

Shrila Prabhupada:  (To disciples) Bring some prasad for them. (To Shrila Narayana Maharaj) Please take it  in my presence.

Shrila Narayana Maharaj: Yes.

(Kirtan is heard in the background: "sri guru carana padma, kevala bhakati sadma".)


For the Appearance Day of Shri Shri Radha Raman

Shrila B.V. Narayana Maharaj

radharaman2.jpgShri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaj
Oct 23, 1996

[April 29 and 30 around the world is the divine appearance day of Shri Shri Radha-Ramana Deity. For  this sacred occasion, we are sending a lecture given by Shrila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaj, given in honor of Shrila Gopal Bhatta Gosvami, for whom Shri Shri Radha-Ramana self-manifested. To hear the soundfile: Shri Radha Ramana Lecture:]

First let us glorify Gopal Bhatta Gosvami. During Caturmasya-vrata Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu went to South India, to the Ranganathji temple. He began to dance and perform kirtana there, and all were attracted. The members of a very holy family met Him there, and they requested Him, "Please stay at our residence for these four months of Caturmasya, and after that You can go anywhere else."

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu accepted their invitation, and thus stayed for four months in the separate room they had arranged for Him on the bank of the Kaveri River. The head of the family was Trimalla Bhatta, and he had two younger brothers, namely Prabhodananda Sarasvati and Venkata Bhatta, who was the father of Gopala Bhatta. The three brothers had taken initiation in the line of Shri Ramanuja in the Shri Sampradaya, and they were known throughout South India to be very learned persons.

Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu performed kirtana at the home of Venkata Bhatta, and also spoke hari-katha to the family members, and in one month they were all totally changed. At first they were worshippers of Laksmi and Narayana, but by the association of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu they became Gaudiya Vaisnavas, worshippers of the divine couple Shri Shri Radha and Krsna. The history is so long – how he and his family became Gaudiya Vaisnavas.

This boy, Gopal Bhatta, served Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in many ways during Mahaprabhu's visit. When Mahaprabhu would go to take bath in that sacred Kaveri River, Gopala Bhatta used to go with Him, holding His cloth, dor and kaupin. Then, after Mahaprabhu took bath and returned to His residence, Gopala used to take His wet clothes to clean and dry. He would cook for Mahaprabhu and render many other services. He served day and night, and Mahaprabhu became so pleased with him.

Gopal Bhatta was not only an excellent servant of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, but he was also a vastly learned person, because he had been taught by his uncle, Prabhodananda Sarasvati, who was one of the greatest learned persons of his time. Prabhodananda Sarasvati knew all the Vedas, Upanisads, Vedanta-sutra, and especially Shrimad-Bhagavatam, and he had written many books. Moreover, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had made him a great rasika Vaisnava (a self-realized soul and taster of transcendental mellows), and thus he was able to write books like "Shri Radha-rasa-sudhanidhi, a brilliant jewel-book.

On His journey in South India, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu discovered the books "Krsna-karnamrta" and "Brahma-samhita." But then there was a third book, which became so prominent that our disciplic acaryas have regularly referred to its Sanskrit verses. "Krsna-karnamrta" is somewhat inclined towards Krsna, and it shows that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but "Radha-rasa-sudhanidhi" is more rasika [with relation to the mellows of madhurya-rasa, or transcendental amorous love], wherein Prabhodananda Sarasvati prays to Radhika as the master of Krsna.

Krsna always wants to serve Shrimati Radhika, and Prabhodananda Sarasvati also prays to be Her dasi. This is the highest topic of the Gaudiya Vaisnavas. Shrila Rupa Gosvami, Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, and Shrila Gopala Bhatta took his view –'Radha dasi' and not anything else – they want that Krsna should serve Shrimati Radhika.

We see in rasa-lila in Vrndavana that the gopis are all weeping, rolling on the earth, always searching for Krsna, "O Krsna, Krsna, where are You? Without You we will die." On the other hand, Prabhodananda Sarasvati has written in "Radha-rasa-sudhanidhi," "Why should the gopis cry and weep for Krsna? Krsna should weep, rolling down on the earth and lamenting, 'O Shrimati Radhika, where are You? I'm dying without You.' Krsna should search here and there, in all groves and mountains. He should desire to meet with Radhika and take Her foot-dust." This is the highest topic given by our Gosvamis in their books, especially in Chaitanya-caritamrta.

Gopal Bhatta learned all these topics from Prabhodananda Sarasvati, and therefore Prabhodananda Sarasvati is his guru-pada-padma (guru). You can imagine how beautiful and how rasika and bhavuka (full of transcendental emotions) and learned was Gopal Bhatta Gosvami.

After Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu left Shri Rangam, Gopala Bhatta became mad to meet with Him and to serve Him. But Mahaprabhu told him, "You should serve your father, because he's not only your father but he is your guru." [All three brothers were acaryas in the Ramanuja sampradaya, all three greatly learned, and all three trained Gopala Bhatta. Thus, his father was his siksa-guru. -ed] You should serve him, but after that you should come to your elder brothers Rupa and Raghunatha in Vrndavana and remain with them.

After the disappearance of Venkata Bhatta, Prabhodananda Sarasvati left his home and came to Vrndavana. He lived in Kamyavana and in all the twelve forests of Vrndavana, in a separation mood used to call out, "O, where is Shrimati Radhika? Lalita, Visakha, where are you?" He was always weeping and rolling down on the earth.

So Gopal Bhatta thought about where he himself should live, and how to attain Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's lotus feet. So he also left. He wanted to go to Puri, but he could not go, because Mahaprabhu had ordered him to stay home and look after his parents, and after they would leave their body, he should go to Vrndavana – to the lotus feet of Shrila Sanatana Gosvamipada and Shrila Rupa Gosvamipada.

He was now searching how to reach Vrndavana. On his journey he went to the Himalayas, where the Gomati River flows. As he was bathing in the river, he saw that a large salagrama was following him. It was automatically coming, and it seemed to be telling him, "I will take your service. Please serve Me." He therefore picked up that salagrama in his arms, sometimes keeping Him on his head, sometime on his eyes, and sometimes on his heart. He took the saligrama to Vrndavana, where he met Rupa and Sanatana. Rupa and Sanatana now embraced this very pure rasika Vaisnava, Gopal Bhatta Gosvami.

In the meantime, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu disappeared from this world. [To read more about Gopala Bhatta Gosvami's separation feelings for Mahaprabhu, you may like to read the book "Bhakti Ratnakara" -ed]

In Vrndavana, one day Gopala Bhatta Gosvami went to Radha-Ramana-ghera, near to Seva Kunja in the area of Nidhuvana – a very sacred and very secret place of Radha and Krsna. There he began to think, "How can I serve this salagrama?" He wanted to see the Lord's eyes, face, and arms, His three-fold-bending form, and His lotus feet. He wanted to decorate Him at the time of Jhulana (the swing festival).

During the night he was so much worried, thinking, "How can I serve Him? If He would have a very beautiful three-folding form and a smiling face with flute, this would be very, very good for rendering service to Him." Then, at midnight, the salagrama spoke to him, "O Gopala Bhatta, just see how beautiful I am."

Gopala Bhatta got up and went to the Deity, and he saw, "O how beautiful! Radha-Ramana!" He had the face of Gopinatha, the chest of Govindaji, and the feet of Madana-Mohana. So, Govinda, Gopinatha and Madan Mohan appeared in Him – three in one, in Radha-Ramana. Gopala Bhatta Gosvami was so delighted to see this. He called all the Gosvamis, who became amazed, thinking how glorious his bhakti was that the salagram had changed into Radha-Raman.

You can imagine what a first-class Vaisnava he was. He was not only a Vaisnava, but very dear and near to the Divine Couple Shri Shri Radha and Krsna. He is Guna Manjari in Krsna's pastimes. By his prayers, the salagram became Radha-Ramana.

He was not only a bhavuka and rasika-bhakta, but as I mentioned before, he was vastly learned. He had all the Vedas and all the scriptures of Ramanuja in his throat. [this is because, previous to his hearing from Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in his youth, he was a follower of the Ramanuja sampradaya and had been well trained by his father and uncles.]

Shrila Sanatana Gosvami told him some rules and regulations according to Vaisnava etiquette by which one can become eligible to worship Radha and Krsna (or any Visnu-tattva Deity) – how to take sannyasa, how to take diksa, how to take mantra, what are the qualifications of a disciple, and what are the qualifications of guru. It is not that everyone can be guru, neither can everyone be a disciple. Only those who are detached from worldly desires and sense gratification, those who are learned in all the Vedas and Vaisnava scriptures, and those who have some realization of service to both Radha and Krsna can be guru, regardless of caste or creed.

kiba vipra, kiba nyasi, sudra kene naya
yei krsna –tattva veta , sei 'guru' haya

(Shri Chaitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila 8.128)

If anyone knows krsna-tattva, the science of Krsna, he is guru. Those who know who is Krsna, who is Shrimati Radhika, who they themselves are, what is the service of Radha and Krsna – and who is loving Them, performing prema-seva, not only worship, they are gurudeva. Those who are doing not less than one lakh (64 rounds) of harinama daily, and who have controlled Krsna in their hearts – they are guru. Those who can take Krsna and place Him in the disciples' hearts – they are guru. So, you can imagine the glorious symptoms of a bona-fide guru. If any person has a guru like this, he is so, so lucky.

We are lucky that we are direct disciples of our guruji, who was a direct disciple of Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. Also, those who are disciples of Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaj are so lucky. To have a qualified guru is a great fortune.

Gopal Bhatta wrote a book with all such directives, and it was called "Hari-bhakti-vilasa." The title of this book has a very beautiful, wonderful meaning, "Hari-bhakti-vilasa." In the full bloom of youth, Krsna is always relishing prema. He is always enjoying loving pastimes (vilasa). "Hari-bhakti-vilasa." Hari means Krsna who takes the heart of Shrimati Radhika, and He is Hari who is always dancing and singing in the hearts of Shrimati Radhika and the gopis. He is Hari.

At first Sanatana Gosvami gave him some points, based on which he collected all the proofs of scriptures such as the Puranas and nigama and agama and presented his manuscripts to Sanatana Gosvami. Shrila Sanatana Gosvami guided him in selecting those scriptural references that were in accordance with Mahaprabhu's teachings, and then Gopala Bhatta Gosvami further refined his work and compiled "Hari-bhakti-vilasa."

Some people are in doubt as to whether this book is written by Sanatana Gosvami or by Gopala Bhatta. Actually, this book was manifested by Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in both their hearts. He gave them both the inspiration to write it. In this way Gopal Bhatta Gosvami wrote "Hari-bhakti-vilasa," "Sat-kripa-sar-dipika," [A Lamplight on the Essence of Rituals to be Performed by Devotees] and assisted in the publication of Shrila Jiva Gosvami's "Sat Sandarbha." [He also wrote a commentary on Shrila Bilvamangala Thakura's Shri Krsna-karnamrta]

We should try to follow his guidelines on how to establish temples and install Deities, how to give diksa and mantra. The names of the various aspects of initiation are not actually called 'first initiation,' 'second initiation,' and 'third initiation.' There is only one initiation – which comes first as harinama and then as diksa. Out of his causeless mercy, Shrila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaj has made 'easy grammar' for this, and therefore he gave the nomenclatures 'first initiation,' etc. The process of diksa is given in order to make one's harinama more bona fide.

Diksa [named 'second initiation'] is essential. Some persons think that diksa is superior to harinama, the Hare Krsna mantra, but you should know that harinama is superior. "Parama vijayate sri krsna sankirtanam." The holy name is Krsna Himself. By the diksa-mantras one develops detachment from the world; attachment from the world is cut by this mantra. This mantra also manifests one's relation to Krsna. For this reason, gurudeva gives his disciple harinama, and then diksa, which enables the disciple to chant the holy names with a relation to Krsna and Shrimati Radhika. The disciple's holy name chanting then becomes so pure, and finally manifests as Radha-Krsna Conjugal, the divine couple.

All these activities and principles have been taught in "Hari-bhakti-vilasa," and also in "Sat-kriya-sar-dipika."

Anyone who is taking shelter of Shri Shri Radha-Krsna and pure Vaisnavas should not worship demigods. Rather, they should worship and serve Rupa and Sanatana, Yamuna, Govardhana, Radha-Kunda, Syama-Kunda, Vrnda-devi, Lalita and Visakha, and others of their caliber. They should avoid even the worship of Rukmini-Ramana, Satyabhama-Ramana, and Mathuresa Krsna; otherwise they will not develop the qualification to enter Krsna Vrndavana. Shrila Gopal Bhatta Gosvami has explained how to follow all these principles.

Marriage ceremonies should be performed according to Shrila Gopala Bhatta Gosvami's "Sat-kriya-sar-dipika" – not worshipping Ganesh and other such deities. His book also explains everything regarding how a departed Vaisnava sannyasi should be given Samadhi, and he also clearly explained the ten samskaras (reformatory processes).

We are very fortunate to come in the line of Shrila Gopal Bhatta Gosvami. We are indebted to him, and to Shrila Sanatana Gosvami and Shrila Rupa Gosvami.

Editor: Syamarani dasi



2685670022_27eb86f473.jpgTridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
May 10, 1998
Wales, UK

Lord Nrsimha's Mercy

Ito nrsimhah parato nrsimho, yato yato yami tato nrsimhah
bahir nrsimhah hrdaye nrsimho, nrsimham adhim saranam prapadye

Ito Nrismhah parato nrsimho. Nrsimha is here, Nrsimha is there; above, below, in front, in back, in all corners, and everywhere else. Wherever I go, wherever I walk, and travel, I see Nrismha everywhere. He is in our heart, He is in the creepers and plants, and everywhere else. There is not a single place – even an atom – where He is not present.

Since He is everywhere, if you pray to Him to save you, He will come at once and save you as He saved Prahlada Maharaja from Hiranyakasipu. He will take away all of your problems, as He took away all the problems of Prahlada Maharaja. He quickly destroyed Prahlada's demonic father, Hiranyakasipu, who had been given a boon of immortality. Hiranyakasipu was strong like iron. He was blessed not to die in the sky, by weapons, demons, humans, animals, fire, poison, or any other force of this world. Still, Nrsimhadeva killed him very quickly.

Nrismham adhim saranam prapadye. We take shelter of Nrsimhadeva.

If you experience any difficulty or danger in your life, you can chant this mantra. Lord Nrismha surely will save you; He has come only to save you. You can test this. If you are very faithful to Him, as Prahlada Maharaja was faithful, He will take away all your difficulties in chanting, remembering, and becoming a pure devotee. He has come as the embodiment of Krsna's mercy. So chant this mantra, especially today, and He will protect you from everything inauspicious.

[Srila Gurudeva sang the mantra again, along with the assembled devotees, and proceeded to sing with them the mantra below.]

Prahlada jaya jaya. Nrsimha jaya jaya, Nrsimha jaya jaya, Prahlada jaya jaya,

Nrsmadeva is always greedy to help us. He wants to help us, but we don't want His help.

Prahlada's Mercy

It is rare to find anyone who has such faith, and love and affection, for Krsna, as Prahlada Maharaja. Prahlada tried to teach his demonic father this beautiful truth.

naisam matis tavad urukramanghrim
sprsaty anarthapagamo yad-arthah
mahiyasam pada-rajo-'bhisekam
niskincananam na vrrnita yavat

(Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.5.32)

["Unless they smear upon their bodies the dust of the lotus feet of a Vaisnava completely freed from material contamination, persons very much inclined toward materialistic life cannot be attached to the lotus feet of the Lord, who is glorified for His uncommon activities. Only by becoming Krsna conscious and taking shelter at the lotus feet of the Lord in this way can one be freed from material contamination."]

Prahlada told his father that those in material consciousness are blind, and they are like dogs. Dogs think that they are intelligent, but they are not.

sri-prahlada uvaca
matir na krsne paratah svato va
mitho 'bhipadyeta grha-vratanam
adanta-gobhir visatam tamisram
punah punas carvita-carvananam

(Srimad-Bhagavatam, 7.5.30)

["Prahlada Maharaja replied: Because of their uncontrolled senses, persons too addicted to materialistic life make progress toward hellish conditions and repeatedly chew that which has already been chewed. Their inclinations toward Krsna are never aroused, either by the instructions of others, by their own efforts, or by a combination of both."]

Some dogs once found a dry bone, which had absolutely no juice. One of the dogs approached that bone, quickly grabbed it with his teeth, and ran away. He then looked back towards the other twenty dogs, who now began to pursue him in order to take that dry juiceless bone away from him. At last they all caught hold of him and began to viciously attack him.

That dog, now full of injuries and blood, gave up that bone. His tail going inside his legs, he watched from the sidelines as another dog, while trying to relish the bone, was also violently attacked.

We are like this. Our fathers and forefathers have tried to take the juice of material enjoyment from this world, tasting only dry bone. If you ask your grandfathers, who are eighty, ninety, or a hundred years old, if they are happy with their life's accomplishments, they will all say, "No." When you ask, "Why not?" they will reply, "I am now old. I can no longer enjoy the taste of wonderful foods because I cannot digest anything I eat. I am going to die. I am not happy."

Ironically, their children consider, "Doing what we have seen our fathers and grandfathers do, we will now be very happy."

Suppose a man thinks, "I will drink a great quantity of wine;" what will happen to him? He will become like a madman. He will faint and fall in a drain, at which time he will think, "I am sitting on a golden throne. I am the monarch of all." Dogs will approach him, smell his body, and think, "What a good smell!" They will taste him with their tongues and thus wash his face. Thus, there is no real pleasure in worldly objects of enjoyment.

Prahlada Maharaja explained this truth to Hiranyakasipu, hearing which, Hiranyakasipu became furious and decided to kill him. Hiranyakasipu tried several methods to kill him, which all subsequently failed, and he concluded, "I cannot kill him. I fear that my death will come from him. It is I who will die."

In the meantime, his very dear sister named Holika approached him and said, "My dear brother, why are you so anxious and worried? Can I help you?"

He replied, "No one in this world can help me."

Holika then said, "I can help you. What do you want?"

He said, "I want my son to be killed."

She said, "I can do this very easily. I performed severe austerities and received a benediction that I will not burn in fire. I now have this power, so I will bring that boy into a fire and he will burn very easily."

Hiranyakasipu began to laugh and said, "O sister, you have saved me."

Holika replied, "Yes. Tomorrow, you should arrange a heap of dry wood. I will then take that boy on my lap and sit on the heap of wood. Some ghee and oil should be poured on the wood, and at once the fire will go so high that in a minute he will be burned. I will then come out of the flames."

The next morning, a very big heap of dry wood was brought and abundant ghee poured on it. Holika took Prahlada and said, "My dear nephew, nephew, nephew; please come and sit on my lap. I will give you much milk to drink." She then sat comfortably in the midst of the dry wood, and took Prahlada Maharaja on her lap. At once a fire was started all around, and the flames very quickly created a great sound and began to touch the sky.

All the spectators watched as both Holika and Prahlada were covered by fire, and considered that they must both have been burned to death. Hiranyakasipu was quite satisfied, thinking that his sister would come to him laughing, and that Prahlada would be finished.

However, everyone present very soon saw Prahlada Maharaja walk out of the fire. Holika, on the other hand, was burned to ashes, never to return.

Hiranyakasipu asked Prahlada, "How were you saved?"

Prahlada replied, "When I was sitting there, I saw my aunty burn within a moment. At the same time, someone came to me and clothed me in an ice-like covering. I was easily saved, but I was so worried for my dead aunty." Hiranyakasipu's fury rose.

Prahlada's teachers, the two sons of the depressed Hiranyakasipu's guru, drew near Hiranyakasipu and asked him, "Why are you worried? You have conquered the entire world. You have conquered air, fire, all five elements. You can easily fly in the air, and you can take a thunderbolt and defeat Indra. So why are you worried? Wait a little. Our father will soon come and solve this problem.

Prahlada was again sent to school. Then, one day the teachers, desirous to engage in some household jobs, told him, "Prahlada, you should be the monitor and see that the other children do not do anything wrong. The boys can be somewhat naughty, so you must control them. We will return soon."

Prahlada's Teachings

Prahlada began teaching his fellow students about Krsna consciousness, but the boys initially resisted with the excuse that they would take up Krsna consciousness in their old age. They told Prahlada that now was the time to play.

Prahlada replied, "We may die at an early age. We may even die when we are seven, eight, nine, or ten. If you die at a young age, you will not become old."

"In order to marry and become happy with family, and in order to nourish and support one's children, a person thinks, 'I will build a first-class house and make a very beautiful garden. I will have strong, beautiful dogs, and I will enjoy.'"

"This is a waste of time. We don't want to suffer, but suffering comes to us by our past births' impressions. We don't want to become old, but old age also comes. If you have performed any pious activity in the past, your present happiness will come automatically. Maintenance of your life, your good wife, good children, and everything else will come automatically. Since happiness comes automatically as a result of our past lives' activities, why are you making so many efforts to become happy? Why not chant Krsna's name and remember Him from the beginning of life?"

Prahlada continued, "Now you are boys of three, four, five, six, and seven years of age. Now you are free from worldly entanglements and your hearts are like plain sheets of paper, without anything written there. Later, when you mature, you may marry a beautiful lady. At that time, if you want to leave this world to perform bhajana, she will weep. How will you be able to give up such a beautiful, qualified wife?"

"Moreover, if you also have some children, beautiful sons or daughters, you will be engaged in serving them. Even if you try to give them up, you will not be able to do so. If the children call out to you in their sweet voices and broken language, 'Father, Father, Father,' how will you ever be able to give them up? You will think, 'I must support all these children. They are babies and cannot do anything. If I give up my household life, they will all die.' You may also lament, 'Oh, my beautiful dog and cow can't live without me.' Suppose you make a good garden with many trees and flowers, and later you decide to give it up to associate with devotees to chant and remember Krsna. You will then consider, 'Who will take care of this garden if I leave? All the flowers will die.' You will not be able to leave."

Prahlada continued, "It is better that you chant and remember Krsna from childhood, when you are free from all these worldly entanglements." All the students were inspired, but at the same time they had some doubt.

"We accept that what you are telling is true," they said. "Now we have great faith in you; but we want to know where you learned all these truths. You always remain within the palace, where it is very difficult to associate with any great personality."

Prahlada Tells His History

With a view to removing the doubts of his classmates, Prahlada said, "Some time ago, when my father was angry with Lord Visnu for killing his brother, Hiranyaksa, He began to consider, 'My brother has been killed by Varahadeva, an incarnation of Visnu. If I take revenge against Visnu now, he will surely kill me. So, I should first become immortal.' He began to perform severe austerities at Mandaracala Mountain, where he fully fasted from eating and drinking. He fasted even from dry leaves, and even water and air, for 60,000 years. He entered into a trance, and was thus oblivious to the fact that his body had been eaten by ants and only his bones remained."

In Satya-yuga, one's life could reside in one's bones, without the rest of the body. Nowadays, if we do not eat anything we will die in two or three days, but at that time it was different.

"In the meantime the demigods became worried. In Hiranyakasipu's absence, therefore, the demigods, headed by King Indra, made an attempt to subdue all the demons in warfare. A great battle ensued between the demons and demigods, wherein the generals of Hiranyakasipu were smashed. The victorious demigods plundered my father's palace and destroyed everything within it. Then Indra, King of heaven, arrested my mother, the Queen, planning to take her to a heavenly planet."

The demigods considered that Prahlada was probably a demon, like his father, so they planned to kill him as soon as he would take birth from his mother's womb. In the meantime, the sage Narada was coming from heaven and asked them, "Why are you doing such nonsense? You are demigods and you are taking a lady in this way? She cannot fight with you, so why are you taking her? Moreover, there is a great devotee in her womb."

Prahlada continued, "When the great saint Narada Muni spoke thus, King Indra immediately released my mother. Because of my being a devotee of the Lord, all the demigods circumambulated her. Then, after they left for their celestial kingdom, Narada brought my mother to his asrama, assured her of all protection, and taught me, within her womb, the truths of bhakti."

Further Teachings of Prahlada

Prahlada continued: "We can never be happy by our material activities. No one has ever become happy by such engagement. If you want to be happy in life, go to an expert guru and at once take initiation and a spiritual name from him. Then, under his guidance, try to follow the rules and regulations of devotion."

guru-susrusaya bhaktya
sarva-labdharpanena ca
sangena sadhu-bhaktanam
isvararadhanena ca

sraddhaya tat-kathayam ca
kirtanair guna-karmanam

(Srimad-Bhagavatam, 7.7.30-31)

["One must accept the bona fide spiritual master and render service unto him with great devotion and faith. Whatever one has in one's possession should be offered to the spiritual master, and in the association of saintly persons and devotees one should worship the Lord, hear the glories of the Lord with faith, glorify the transcendental qualities and activities of the Lord, always meditate on the Lord's lotus feet, and worship the Deity of the Lord strictly according to the injunctions of the sastra and guru."]

The boys told Prahlada, "This seems very difficult. We cannot do these things."

Prahlada replied:

sarvesam api bhutanam
harir atmesvarah priyah
bhatair mahadbhih sva-kataih
krtanam jiva-samjnitah

(Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.7.49)

["The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, is the soul and the Supersoul of all living entities. Every living entity is a manifestation of His energy in terms of the living soul and the material body. Therefore the Lord is the most dear, and He is the supreme controller."]

Prahlada assured his classmates, "There is nothing difficult in chanting Krsna's names, remembering Him, and engaging in devotional activities for His pleasure. We are eternal servants of God, Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and therefore devotional service is our natural activity. We must accept that Krsna is our holy master, father, mother and all other relations. After going to a guru and receiving initiation, we then begin to learn spiritual activities and develop to the exalted stage of uttama-bhakti (the topmost pure devotion). Guru will tell us everything about how to advance in devotion."

Guru will tell us that there are sixty four kinds of bhakti, among which nine are prominent:

sri-prahlada uvaca
sravanam kirtanam visnoh
smaranam pada-sevanam
arcanam vandanam dasyam
sakhyam atma-nivedanam

iti pumsarpita visnau
bhaktis cen nava-laksana
kriyeta bhagavaty addha
tan manye 'dhitam uttamam

(Srimad-Bhagavatam, 7.5.23-24)

["Hearing and chanting about the transcendental holy name, form, qualities, paraphernalia and pastimes of Lord Visnu, remembering them, serving the lotus feet of the Lord, offering the Lord respectful worship with sixteen types of paraphernalia, offering prayers to the Lord, becoming His servant, considering the Lord one's best friend, and surrendering everything unto Him (in other words, serving Him with the body, mind and words) – these nine processes are accepted as pure devotional service. One who has dedicated his life to the service of Krsna through these nine methods should be understood to be the most learned person, for he has acquired complete knowledge."]

Among these nine kinds of bhakti, five are most important:

sadhu-sanga, nama-kirtana, bhagavata-sravana
mathura-vasa, sri-murtira sraddhaya sevana

(Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya-lila, 22.128)

["One should associate with devotees, chant the holy name of the Lord, hear Srimad-Bhagavatam, reside at Mathura and worship the Deity with faith and veneration."]

Amongst all devotional activities, if one is not committing offenses and is touched by any of the five limbs – chanting the holy name, being in the association of a qualified Vaisnava or guru, worshiping the Deity very faithfully, living in a holy place like Vrndavana, and hearing Srimad-Bhagavatam – he can attain all success.

sakala-sadhana-srestha ei panca anga
krsna-prema janmaya ei pancera alpa-sanga

(Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya-lila, 22.129)

["These five limbs of devotional service are the best of all. Even a slight performance of these five awakens love for Krsna."]

Most important among all the limbs of bhakti, which is also the root of bhakti, is harinama-sankirtana.

tara madhye sarva-srestha nama-sankirtana
niraparadhe nama laile paya prema-dhana

(Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Antya-lila, 4.71)

["Of the nine processes of devotional service, the most important is to always chant the holy name of the Lord. If one does so, avoiding the ten kinds of offenses, one very easily obtains the most valuable love of Godhead."]

Prahlada told the boys, "We should begin harinama-sankirtana today."

The boys asked, "How can we do this? Do we have to be expert in playing musical instruments Do we have to bring any instruments?"

Prahlada replied, "There is no need. Krsna has given us the very beautiful karatalas (hand cymbols) of our hands. We can clap our hands. Krsna has also given us our tongue and mouth to sing in a sweet voice."

Prahlada Maharaja then instructed them, "Repeat after me. 'Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare,'"

The boys told Prahlada, "We are tired. We want something easier. This is so long. We want an easy kirtana."

Prahlada told them, "Repeat after me again: 'Haribol, haribol, haribol.'"

The boys all blissfully engaged with Prahlada in harinama sankirtana.

Hiranyakasipu's Last Try

After some time Hiranyakasipu overheard what was taking place. Grabbing Prahlada's hands, he demanded:

sri-hiranyakasipur uvaca
he durvinta mandatman
stabdham mac-chasanodvrttam
nesye tvadya yama-ksayam

(Srimad-Bhagavatam, 7.8.5)

["O most impudent, most unintelligent disruptor of the family, O lowest of mankind, you have violated my power to rule you, and therefore you are an obstinate fool. Today I shall send you to the place of Yamaraja."]

Hiranyakasipu said, "What nonsense are you doing?! You are so disobedient! You are like a dull stone, with no intelligence at all. I am from an aristocratic dynasty. You have become like the handle of an axe that is trying to chop down my entire dynasty. I will teach you a lesson! I am now going to kill you! Let us see who will save you now!"

["My son Prahlada, you rascal, you know that when I am angry all the planets of the three worlds tremble, along with their chief rulers. By whose power has a rascal like you become so impudent that you appear fearless and overstep my power to rule you? (Srimad-Bhagavatam, 7.8.6)]

["Prahlada Maharaja said: My dear King, the source of my strength, of which you are asking, is also the source of yours. Indeed, the original source of all kinds of strength is one. He is not only your strength or mine, but the only strength for everyone. Without Him, no one can get any strength. Whether moving or not moving, superior or inferior, everyone, including Lord Brahma, is controlled by the strength of the Supreme Personality of Godhead." (Srimad-Bhagavatam, 7.8.7)]

Hiranyakasipu asked Prahlada Maharaja, "Where is your Lord? Is He present in this pillar?"

Prahlada Maharaja fearlessly replied, "Yes, my Lord is present everywhere."

satyam vidhatum nija-bhrtya-bhasitam
vyaptim ca bhutesv akhilesu catmanah
adrsyatatyadbhuta-rupam udvahan
stambhe sabhayam na mrgam na manusam

(Srimad-Bhagavatam, 7.8.17)

["To prove that the statement of His servant Prahlada Maharaja was substantial – in other words, to prove that the Supreme Lord is present everywhere, even within the pillar of an assembly hall – the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, exhibited a wonderful form never before seen. The form was neither that of a man nor that of a lion."]

To convince Hiranyakasipu that the statement of Prahlada Maharaja was unmistakably true, the Lord appeared from the pillar, with flames emanating from His mane. By manifesting His form as Nrsimhadeva, the Lord also preserved the truth of Lord Brahma's promise that Hiranyakasipu was not to be killed by any animal or any man. The Lord appeared in a form that could not be said to be fully a man or a lion. He was extremely angry, and no one could pacify Him. Brahma, Sankara, and all other demigods present became worried regarding how to pacify Him.

After offering Him their beautiful prayers of glorification from a little afar, they requested Laksmi-devi, "Please go and pacify your husband."

She replied, "Today I am afraid to go. He may also kill me."

Next they requested Brahma, "You should go; He is like your father."

Brahma replied, "Today, I cannot go."

Then they told Lord Siva, "You are a friend of Krsna. You should go." Siva replied, "Today we are not at all friends."

Finally, Brahma requested Prahlada, "You should go. He is like your father."

Prahlada Maharaja immediately went to Lord Nrsimhadeva and jumped upon His lap. Nrsimhadeva at once became pacified and tears fell from His eyes. He had been so angry; but now, in a moment, He was fully pacified. He began licking Prahlada Maharaja, as animals do, and said, "I came so late, and I am upset about that. I want to give you a benediction."

Prahlada replied, "I am not a businessman. I do not perform devotional service to You in order for You to give me something in return. This is business. If any desire is hiding somewhere in my heart, please remove it so that I can become your pure devotee. You have asked me to take a benediction. That makes me think there may be some material desire hidden in my heart – but I don't know where it is hidden."

Lord Nrsimhadeva said, "I know that you are pure; you never require anything. Still, I desire that you take any benediction."

Prahlada Maharaja replied, "If You insist that I take a benediction, I desire that You deliver my father. He has offended You and me, and he has given great troubles to all the devotees. He has cut down all the green trees so that no one would be able to get any wood or fruit. He killed many cows so that no one would be able to get milk, ghee, and butter to be used for devotional activities like hommas, fire sacrifices, and offering of bhoga to the Lord. He has also killed so many brahmanas, and in this way he has committed innumerable sins. Please forgive him."

Lord Nrsimhadeva said, "Don't worry about this at all. Your father has already been liberated. In fact twenty-one generations of your forefathers will be liberated."

For the uttama-adhikari, twenty-one generations – forward and back – will be liberated. Regarding those who are madhyama-adhikari, who are always chanting, remembering and performing devotional activities, their relatives of fourteen generations will be liberated. Regarding those who are kanistha-adhikari, who are chanting, and remembering, who have taken initiation and are trying to engage in pure harinama and other devotional activities but cannot properly do so, seven generations of their relatives will be liberated.

"I want to give you a benediction. My darsana should not go in vain."

Prahlada replied, "All these conditioned souls, who have forgotten You and who are engaged in many sinful activities are greatly suffering. I cannot tolerate their suffering. I desire that my pious and devotional activities be given to them, so that they may be liberated and become devotees. I want to take all the fruits of their sinful activities and suffer for them for millions of births."

Nrsimhadeva said, "In this conversation, you have won and I am defeated. I am giving you the benediction that all persons who hear the hari-katha about Myself and yourself – the pastimes of Prahlada Maharaja and Nrsimhadeva – will be quickly liberated. They will not have to suffer."

Those who hear, chant, and remember the sweet and powerful hari-katha of Prahlada Maharaja and Lord Nrsimhadeva, who participate in today's Appearance Day festival and performs abhiseka  will all be liberated by Lord Nrsimhadeva. He promises to take away all their suffering and sorrows, and He will surely fulfill His promise. We can have very strong faith that He will not cheat us. Whatever He promises to do, He will surely do. Have strong faith that He will be merciful to us, that we will gradually develop our Krsna consciousness, and that He will give us inspiration to accept the path of pure bhakti.

Now let us first perform sankirtana, and then perform the abhiseka (auspicious bathing ceremony) of Lord Nrsimhadeva.



gd4aksaya.jpgSri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
May 6, 2000 - Hawaii

[Respected Harikatha Readers, Please accept our humble obeisances. All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga. This year, 2018 , April 18th & 19th (see calendar for your location) is Aksaya-tritiya, (an auspicious day to start new projects), Candana-yatra of Lord Jagannatha, the anniversary of the inauguration of Sri Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti,  and the opening of the doors of Sri Badrinarayana.

Today is a very auspicious day – Aksaya-trtiya. We will observe it tomorrow, however, because today there are three tithis (lunar time period) touching one day. Today the door of Bhadri-narayana will be open, and therefore a festival will be observed in Puri with Lord Jagannatha. Candana-yatra will also begin on this auspicious day.

Especially, anyone who will begin anything on this day, that endeavor will be successful. Aksaya means ‘not perishable.’ If you are sincerely taking diksa initiation today, your bhakti will be very successful.

Today, on Aksaya-trtiya the universe was created by Brahma. The universe took its shape today, so today is the first day of Creation. Also, Brahma created barley, which is like a medicine, and which is the root of all the corn and other foodstuffs. Barley is given today to Krsna.

Today is the birthday of our Gaudiya Vedanta Society. On this day Sri Abhaya Carana Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja became one of the founder members of Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti.

Devotee: Not many devotees realize this.

Brajanath dasa:  The Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti was founded by Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja in 1941. Srila Prabhupada was present there.

Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja: He was one of the founding members. Krsna Consciousness and Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti are the same thing. This Krsna Consciousness movement is actually coming from Brahma, Narada, Vyasa, and Sukadeva Gosvami, who are all members of ISKCON. To serve Krsna is ISKCON. Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja is not the establisher of ISKCON, but the re-organizer. He himself has said this. *(See endnote)

ISKCON is transcendental. All Those who serve Krsna, and all those who wish to serve Krsna, are ISKCON. So, we are all in ISKCON.

[Endnote: “Thus Brahma was initiated by the Krsna mantra, by Lord Krsna Himself, and thus he became a Vaisnava, or a devotee of the Lord, before he was able to construct the huge universe. It is stated in the Brahma-samhita that Lord Brahma was initiated into the eighteen-letter Krsna mantra, which is generally accepted by all the devotees of Lord Krsna. We follow the same principle because we belong to the Brahma sampradaya, directly in the disciplic chain from Brahma to Narada, from Narada to Vyasa, from Vyasa to Madhva Muni, from Madhva Muni to Madhavendra Puri, from Madhavendra Puri to Isvara Puri, from Isvara Puri to Lord Caitanya and gradually to His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, our divine master.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam, 2.9.6 Purport by Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja)

In another verse, Rupa Gosvami says, krsna-bhakti-rasa-bhavita matih kriyatam yadi kuto 'pi labhyate. (I have translated the words Krsna consciousness from krsna-bhakti-rasa-bhavita.) So here Rupa Gosvami advises, "If Krsna consciousness is available, please purchase it immediately. Don't delay. It is a very nice thing." (Journey of Self Discovey, by Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja)]


pancatattva3.jpgTridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
An Excerpt of His Glories
Badger, Jun 1st, 2002

[March 9 and 10, 2018  is the appearance day of Srivasa Thakura, who is the intimate associate of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and who is Sri Narada Muni in krsna-lila. Srila Gurudeva spoke on a drop of his glory on June 1st, 2002,  and we are enclosing his words of wisdom herein. The main topic of Srila Gurudeva's class was the subject of ruci, or taste for krsna-bhajana, and he gave Srivasa Thakura as an example of a pure devotee who had no taste in material affection due to his taste for bhajana. ]

Vamsi dasa Babaji was always in a mood of intimacy with Caitanya Mahaprabhu. You, on the other hand, are always engaged in maintaining your life. Sometimes business is very good, and you think, "Oh, this is very good." And sometimes it is down and you think, "What to do? What to do? What to do?" You forget to chant and you forget to worship. This is not ruci (taste for bhakti). If you are in the stage of ruci, all items for your maintenance will come to you automatically. If anything is not coming for your maintenance, like money, food, or anything else, you will not worry.

When Srila Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji Maharaja was residing near Govinda-kunda, he saw that many persons were engaged in eating very delicious food at a picnic. He thought, "I should also have some delicious food." And then he replied to himself, "You want delicious food? Very good. I will arrange that right away." He took some very bitter neem leaves, ate them, and told himself, "Take this and be satisfied." Sometimes he used to eat the mud of the kundas (ponds) and thus he became blind, but he didn't care. He was simply absorbed in chanting, "O Radhe! Radhe! Where are You?"

premamayi radhe, radhe, radhe
vrndavana vilasini, radhe, radhe
vrsabhanu-nandini, radhe, radhe
kanu-mana-mohini, radhe, radhe
astasakhira siromani, radhe, radhe

He prayed, "Tomara kangala tomaya dako, radhe radhe. I am a very poor beggar, begging Your darsana." He was always chanting, "O Radhe, O Radhe," and he was always in a mood of separation from Her. If you, on the other hand, are worried for your maintenance, thinking, "Today there is no food!" "Our business is down!" "My relative has died!" and you are busy in those thoughts, how will you attain krsna-prema?

You should follow Srivasa Pandita. During kirtana one day, his only son died and his wife and relatives began to weep. He told them, "If you disturb the kirtana, I will jump in the Ganges at once." Mahaprabhu had also been participating in that kirtana, and when He understood what happened, He entered the son's room and told that dead boy, "Why are you sleeping? Wake up." The boy then opened his eyes and began to speak. He said, "I am doing very well in the place where I have just taken birth. It is favorable for doing bhajana there, and here it is not." Mahaprabhu then told him, "Yes, go there."

In this world, it is essential to maintain our life. Without this, we can't do our bhajana. But don't be worried about this. Your maintenance will come automatically, according to your previous activities. If something comes, that is okay, and if something that you have collected is lost, still, don't worry.

Suppose you have deposited many thousands of dollars in a bank, but somehow your business failed and your money was lost. Don't worry about that. You cannot achieve krsna-prema, or anything else, by money. You cannot eat your bank money. You can only eat two capatis or two slices of bread – nothing more. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura quotes in his Bhajana Rahasya:

alabdhe va vinaste va
aviklava-matir bhutva
harim eva dhiya smaret

(Padma Purana)

"The mind of one who has taken shelter of the holy name is undisturbed even if food and clothes are not easily obtained, or if they are obtained but then lost. Leaving behind all material attachments, he takes complete shelter of Govinda."

Chant Hare Krsna without any worry. Remember Srivasa Pandita and his four brothers, who chanted throughout the night, "Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare," and "Hari haraya nama krsna yadavaya namah."

There was nothing to eat in Srivasa Pandita's house, and Mahaprabhu told him, "You chant Hare Krsna day and night, but you should also try to maintain yourself. Make some money by working or by begging. Somehow or other you should maintain yourself and your family."

Srivasa Pandita replied, "We will not do so. We will only chant." Then he clapped three times as he said, "One, two, three." Mahaprabhu asked, "What are you doing?" Srivasa Pandita replied, "I will wait one day, and if there is no food, I will wait for another day, and then for a third day. Then, if nothing comes by the third day, I will jump in the Ganges. I will say 'Hare Krsna' and jump."

Mahaprabhu then told all the devotees, "Those who have sincerely taken shelter of the holy name and are sincerely chanting will never have to beg. Laksmi, the Goddess of Fortune herself, may beg, but My devotees will never have to do so. I will take responsibility for the maintenance on My own head, and I will arrange everything for them. I will maintain them; this is My promise." Have strong faith in this.

Devotee: Gurudeva, you described some of the glories of Srivasa Pandita. You said he was not even concerned when his little son died during the kirtana. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu told the boy to come back, but he said, "No, I am in a better place now." My question is: what better place could he be in? He was already in Mahaprabhu's kirtana with Srivasa Pandita.

Srila Gurudeva: Krsna had called him to participate in the pastimes He was performing in prakata Vraja in one of the universes. He was playing with Krsna and His associates there, and he was very happy. He therefore told Mahaprabhu, "Let me stay here; I am very happy here." It may be that due to his sadhana-bhajana he had become a gopi and he was residing with all the gopis. He may have been with Sri Rupa Manjari, so why would he want to return? His new situation was the fruit of his serving Caitanya Mahaprabhu.


The Post and the Person

lord-shiva.jpgTridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
02 July 1997

[Dear Readers,

Please accept our humble obeisances. All glories to Sri Sri Guru and Gauranga. This year, 2018, Siva-ratri is on February 14.  Please accept this lecture spoken by Srila Gurudeva in Holland, 1997. Also, please visit this link to hear more about Gopesvara Mahadeva.]

Sri Narada desired to proclaim the glories of Lord Siva. As previously described, he praised Siva as the greatest devotee of Lord Krsna and most dear to Him, and Lord Siva became upset by hearing those praises. Siva then related a number of incidents which, according to him, were evidence that he was not dear to Krsna at all.

Now Lord Siva compares himself to Sri Prahlada Maharaja, (*See Endnote 1) the famed devotee of Lord Nrsimhadeva described in Srimad-Bhagavatam. He told Narada, "Sri Prahlada Maharaja is superior to me, and it is he who is the dear devotee of the Lord." Even though Lord Siva is superior to Prahlada Maharaja, he told Narada that Prahlada Maharaja is superior. Why? He said this to encourage people to follow Prahlada Maharaja's ideal character and teachings.

However, Prahlada Maharaja cannot enter Sri Krsna's transcendental abode, Vrndavana, whereas Lord Siva resides there eternally as Gopisvara. Siva serves Sri Krsna personally in numerous ways. He and his wife Parvati-devi meditate on asta-kaliya-lila, Lord Sri Krsna's confidential eight-fold daily pastimes. These secret pastimes are very confidential, yet both Siva and Parvati are able to meditate upon them. Siva is hundreds of thousands of times superior to and more worshipable than Sri Prahlada Maharaja, and yet the artful Siva declared Prahlada Maharaja to be superior. Why did he do so? In one sense Prahlada Maharaja is superior, and in another sense he is not.

We can reconcile this by considering the two perspectives from which to understand the identity of Lord Siva: We can see Siva from the point of view of his post, and also from the point of view of his personality. As a personality, separate from his post, he appears as an associate of the Supreme Lord, such as Gopisvara, Hanuman and Bhima. As Gopisvara he resides eternally in Vrndavana. As Hanuman he always associates with and serves Lord Rama. As Bhima he always serves Lord Krsna. And, when Hanuman and Bhima combine together in this present age of Kali-yuga, they become Madhvacarya, our Sampradaya-guru. (*See Endnote 2)

From the point of view of Lord Siva's function as the god of annihilation, and also that of Brahma as the secondary creator of the universe, Siva and Brahma are actually posts. Lord Brahma and Lord Siva are not ordinary human beings, but their posts are like that of the president or prime minister of a nation, wherein the man representing the post has to perform a certain defined job.

Both as the post and the person, Siva is superior to Brahma. Lord Siva is an expansion of Lord Visnu, but sometimes a jiva may become Siva's expansion known as Rudra. If a man purely performs the duties of varnasrama for one hundred births, he may become Brahma.6 In other words, he may attain the position or post of Brahma. In turn, when a person in the post of Brahma carries out his function expertly for one hundred births, he becomes qualified to perform the function of Siva in his manifestation as Rudra. Siva's post is therefore superior to that of Brahma, and this is also evidence that Siva is more powerful than Brahma.

The Duty of Destruction

What is the function of Lord Siva's post, and why is it superior to that of Lord Brahma? One reason is that Brahma cannot execute pralaya, the complete destruction of the universe - a very dangerous thing, whereas Siva can do so.

Siva's function as destroyer is similar to that of a farmer who plants and cultivates a large area of wheat. The farmer carefully waters and nourishes the crop, guarding it from animals, and after five or six months the wheat matures and ripens. Then, either by hand or a machine, the farmer harvests the plants and carefully removes the grains from their shafts. The rest of the plant-matter becomes refuse, subject to rotting and attracting disease, vermin, and snakes. Therefore, the farmer sets fire to it and burns it.

Just as the farmer extracts the grains from the plants, Lord Siva extracts the eternal spirit souls from their material bodies and from the world. At the time of annihilation he creates an inferno, setting the entire universe on fire, but the spirit souls are not destroyed.

There are two kinds of universal devastations: one at the end of Lord Brahma's day and one at the end of his life. At the end of his day (4,320,000,000 solar years) he rests in a mystic sleep within the body of Garbhodakasayi Visnu, and all the conditioned living entities enter as well. (*See Endnote 3)

While the entire universe is submerged in water, the living entities rest in their subtle bodies within the transcendental body of Garbhodakasayi Visnu. They await the start of the next day of Brahma, the next material creation or manifestation. Some of them become liberated, and others do not.

When Lord Brahma completes the one hundred celestial years of his life, Lord Siva again performs this duty of destruction. At that time all the spirit souls enter into the body of Karanodakasayi Visnu or Maha Visnu. At the end of each day of Lord Brahma, all souls enter Garbhodakasayi Visnu, and at the end of Brahma's life, even the millions of manifestations of Garbhodakasayi Visnu enter Karanodakasayi Visnu (*See Endnote 4) along with the spirit souls. At the time of creation, Karanodakasayi Visnu generates innumerable manifestations of Garbhodakasayi Visnu, and at the time of complete annihilation, they enter back into his body. (*See Endnote 5)

Lord Siva is not a living entity, but he is also not in the category of Lord Visnu. He is much more powerful than any living entity, even up to Lord Brahma. However, he is not equal to Lord Visnu. Because he is almost as good as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he can see the three phases of time: past, present, and future. One of his eyes is like the sun and another is like the moon. He also has a third eye, located between his eyebrows. It is from this third eye that he generates fire and employs it at the time of the universal destruction.

Seen from this perspective - the destroyer - Lord Siva cannot serve Sri Krsna directly, because he is engaged at his post. Those souls who are liberated after hundreds of thousands of lifetimes of devotional practice, having renounced all responsibilities and concerns of the world - including occupations like that of Brahma and Siva - and who constantly hear about, glorify, and remember Lord Krsna, take birth in this world as pure devotees like Prahlada Maharaja. This was told by Lord Siva to Sri Narada.

Prahlada Maharaja has nothing to do with this world; nothing to create or demolish. He rejected all such affairs as insignificant. Although he had inherited a large kingdom, it was controlled and governed by his ministers. His senses were totally absorbed in the transcendental loving service to the Supreme Lord. He was always engaged in hearing the name and glories of the Lord, singing and speaking about his glories, remembering and meditating on him, offering prayers, carrying out the his orders and fully surrendering to him.

Devotees in Prahlada's category have no need to approach Lord Krsna's manifestations like Lord Nrsinhadeva and Lord Rama, for the Lord personally comes to them in these forms. Lord Siva told Sri Narada that because he is always engaged in the post of controlling the universe, he can neither see nor offer services to the Lord daily, as Prahlada Maharaja sees Lord Vamanadeva or Lord Nrsinhadeva. Vamanadeva and Nrsinhadeva are both manifestations of the same Lord, who regularly gives Prahlada his divine association and the opportunity to serve and offer obeisance at his lotus feet.

Although both Brahma and Siva are actually superior in bhakti to Prahlada Maharaja, their posts involve contact with the three gunas, or modes of material nature, namely goodness, passion, and ignorance. The role of Lord Brahma is creation and procreation in raja-guna, the mode of passion. Lord Siva's role of demolition and dissolution is in tama-guna, the mode of ignorance. It is for this reason that they are called guna-avataras, incarnations of the material qualities.

Prahlada Maharaja is nirguna, transcendental to the three modes of nature. He has nothing to do with activities in material goodness, passion, and ignorance, by which this world is shackled. Lord Siva is also beyond the three modes of nature, but he adopts the mode of ignorance (tama-guna) to efficiently perform his function.

The Personal Associate

Regarding Lord Siva's glorification of Prahlada Maharaja, now consider Lord Siva's identity as a transcendental personality - separate from his post.

Sometimes senior Vaisnavas express sincere recognition of the novice, inspiring him or her on the path of devotion. The Vaisnava may say, "Oh, you work so hard and earn money, and with that money you support and nourish me. I have no means at all. I do nothing but visit for a short while, eating, and sleeping at your expense. I would not be able to speak the glories of Lord Krsna at this festival if you had not arranged for the management of all the activities here, so you are superior to me."

Out of sincere humility, gratitude and affection, liberated souls speak in this endearing manner, and at the same time they are fixed in the realization that they are always being personally maintained by the Supreme Lord. The senior Vaisnava has the disciple's personal benefit in mind.

However, Lord Siva was not speaking for Prahlada Maharaja's benefit, but to acquaint aspiring devotees with the stages of devotion. His desire was to facilitate the service of Sri Narada Muni and Srila Sanatana Gosvami (*See Endnote 6), whose mission was to establish in the world the sequence of the grades of devotion and ultimately establish the glories of the gopis. Try to understand all these truths, and seek to gradually become firmly situated in bhakti.

Imagine that you are in a market in which there are thousands of varieties of shops. In some of those shops there are products made of iron, in some shops there are products made of gold, in some there are jewels, and in others cintamani (wish-fulfilling stones). An expert is guiding you through all the shops, pointing out different products and revealing which are superior.

If there are a thousand pounds of iron and only one ounce of gold, the gold has more value. On the other hand, many pounds of gold will not amount to the value of one Kaustubha-mani or a similarly precious stone. Millions of such precious jewels cannot compare with a tiny quantity of cintamani, and even millions of cintamani stones cannot compare with one holy name of Lord Krsna.

Now suppose someone is chanting the name of Lord Krsna alone, and another is absorbed in the name of Radha-Ramana. The name Radha-Ramana, meaning Sri Krsna, the enjoyer of pastimes with Srimati Radharani, has more transcendental taste (rasa) than the name Krsna alone. The person absorbed in that holy name will therefore experience a greater spiritual pleasure.

Regarding the analogy of the shops in a market, that expert tells you, "This shop is good, that shop is better, and this one is the best. Similarly, in his Sri Brhad-bhagavatamrta, Srila Sanatana Gosvami establishes the gradations of excellence of various devotees and their devotion, in order to help his readers determine their spiritual path.

The history of Narada Muni's coming to the abode of Lord Siva and glorifying him was first narrated in this Sri Brhad-bhagavatamrta. Like Srila Sanatana Gosvami, Narada is also that expert described above. He desired to establish pure bhakti in the world, and therefore he played the role of searching for the greatest devotee and recipient of Lord Krsna's mercy. His search had taken him first to the "shop" of a brahmana in Prayaga, and after that to South India, to the shop of a king. Then he traveled to heaven, where he entered the shop of King Indra, and Indra sent him to the shop of Lord Brahma. Brahma sent him to Lord Siva, and Lord Siva is now sending him to Prahlada Maharaja. Gradually, Sri Narada will bring us to the greatest recipients of Lord Krsna's mercy, the gopis. In the form of Gopisvara, Lord Siva is the beloved servant and associate of those gopis.

Once, the great sage Narada Muni traveled to the abode of Lord Siva and began to glorify him, saying, "You are very near and dear to the Supreme Lord Krsna. Not only that, you are Krsna's manifestation; you are non-different from Him. You can give liberation and also krsna-prema, the rare jewel of transcendental love for Krsna." Hearing Narada glorify him in numerous ways, Lord Siva became angry and said, "Your glorification of me is false. I am not at all dear to Sri Krsna."

Lord Siva is actually most dear to Sri Krsna, and therefore Krsna can give him services which He cannot give anyone else. When the demigods and demons were churning the Milk Ocean in order to obtain the nectar of immortality, the first substance produced was a powerful and dangerous poison, burning the entire world. The demigods appealed to Sri Krsna, and He advised them to request Lord Siva to drink the poison. Thus, they worshiped Lord Siva and prayed, "Please save us! Only you can protect us!" Lord Siva collected the poison and took it in his mouth, but he hesitated to swallow it, considering, "Lord Krsna is in my heart. The poison will affect Him." He therefore kept the poison in his throat, which was burned, and his neck turned the color blue.

Now, out of genuine humility, Lord Siva told Narada: "I want to be His beloved devotee, but actually I am not. You know that I always wear ashes from the burial grounds, and a garland of skulls. All my associates are ghosts and witches, so I am not qualified to be Krsna's dear devotee. If I am so dear to Him, why would He have ordered me to engage with the mode of ignorance in the terrible function of destroying of the universe? If I am such a great recipient of His mercy, why would he have ordered me to become Sankaracarya and preach a philosophy that is adverse to Him?"

Actually, although he expressed otherwise, it was because Siva is so dear to Krsna that Krsna was able to give him the difficult task of appearing as Sankaracarya. (*See Endnote 7) Many people had been worshiping the Supreme Lord only to fulfill their selfish purposes, thinking, "Simply by our worship of God, He will be pleased with us and satisfy all our worldly desires." They worshiped Him only so that He would rapidly arrange for all of their needs, not to please Him. Lord Krsna thought, "This is very dangerous." He called Lord Siva and instructed him, "Such false devotees will create great disturbances, so keep them far away from Me. Create a philosophy which teaches, ‘brahma satyam jagan mithya - the Absolute is true, this world is false.' You should preach, ‘All souls are Siva; all souls are Brahma; all are one. You are brahma, the impersonal Absolute. There is no need to worship any other God; you are the Supreme God.' " Reluctant, Lord Siva asked Krsna, "Can you please tell someone else to do this? I am not qualified for this service." Krsna replied, "No, you will have to do this. In the entire world, I see no one else who is as capable."

Feeling ashamed, Lord Siva now told Narada, "At last, I had to agree to follow His order. Appearing as Sankaracarya I preached everywhere, ‘You are brahma, you are brahma, you are the impersonal brahma. The entire world is false.' I am so much regretting this. I know I have committed a great offence by causing so many people to be averse to Lord Krsna. Still, to carry out His order I spread this doctrine. It is clear by the fact that He sometimes gives me such orders that I am not His dearest one."

Cheating the Cheaters

Lord Siva also expressed to Narada his regret in having given benedictions to Lord Krsna's enemies. To fulfill his Lord's desires, he had given benedictions to demons like Ravana, Vrkasura, Salva and Jayadratha, and thus he had performed many activities that were seemingly opposed to Krsna and krsna-bhakti.

Narada Muni said, "Master, please don't try to mislead me. I know that whatever you do is to please Lord Krsna and to assist Him in His pastimes, for the benefit of all beings. You told me that you have many times given benedictions to His enemies. I know that His enemies, as well as the enemies of His devoted cousins, the Pandavas, worship you for ill-motivated benedictions. I also know that you grant them benedictions. But those benedictions are not foolproof; they always have some loophole. Actually, you cheat these beneficiaries in order to please Lord Krsna. You are undoubtedly His dearest friend."

Siva and Narada continued to discuss some historical incidents which, according to Siva, proved that he was not dear to Krsna - but according to Narada, proved the opposite.

A Loophole

The great epic Mahabharata tells of King Jayadratha, one of the many demons who received such a clever benediction from Lord Siva. Duryodhana, the paternal cousin of the five Pandava brothers, had given his sister Dushala in marriage to King Jayadratha, and therefore the king had also become like a brother-in-law of the Pandavas. Once, Jayadratha tried to kidnap the Pandavas' wife, Draupadi, desiring strongly to make her his own wife. As he forced her onto his chariot, she admonished him, crying, "I am the wife of the Pandavas. When they catch you, they will punish you and kill you!"

Jayadratha's arrogance prevented him from hearing her, and he continued his abduction. Meanwhile, the sage Narada approached the Pandavas and informed them, "Oh, I saw Jayadratha taking away Draupadi, and she was weeping!"

Two of the Pandavas, Bhima and Arjuna, immediately chased after Jayadratha. Bhima dismounted his chariot and ran faster than Jayadratha's horses. With his bow and arrows, Arjuna created a fire that surrounded the chariot of Jayadratha, who was then captured and could not move. Severely beaten by Bhima and arrested by Arjuna, Jayadratha was bound to the chariot and taken to where Yudhisthira Maharaja had been staying with Draupadi.

Bhima and Arjuna spoke to Yudhisthira, their respected senior brother. Bhima urged him, "I want to kill Jayadratha. Please order me to kill him."

In support of Bhima, Arjuna said, "Jayadratha has performed a heinous act and should be killed."

King Yudhisthira replied, "The offense was committed against Draupadi. We should take the case to her, and we will do whatever she orders."

When Jayadratha was brought at the feet of Draupadi, she mercifully told her husbands, "Don't kill him; forgive him. He is our brother-in-law. If you kill him, your cousin-sister will be widowed and she will weep for the rest of her life."

Bhima and Arjuna then approached Lord Krsna and appealed to Him: "What should we do? We have vowed to kill Jayadratha, and now Draupadi tells us to forgive him."

Krsna replied, "For one who has been honored, dishonor is worse than death."

Arjuna then shaved King Jayadratha's head, leaving five patches of hair, and he shaved one side of his face, leaving the other side unshaven. Jayadratha felt humiliated, and after being released by Bhima and Arjuna he considered it better to have died. He thought, "I will somehow take revenge." Thus absorbed, he went to Gangotri in the Himalayas and undertook a severe type of penance to please Lord Siva.

After some months he gave up all food, water, and bodily activities, and was about to die. At this point Lord Siva came before him and asked what boon he wanted as a result of his austerity. Jayadratha replied, "I want revenge against the Pandavas. I want to defeat and kill all of them." Lord Siva told him, "You can defeat the Pandavas, but only Yudhisthira, Bhima, Nakula and Sahadeva; not Arjuna." Jayadratha said, "If you cannot benedict me to my full satisfaction, then please grant that neither Arjuna nor anyone else will be able to kill me." Lord Siva replied, "I can grant you this: if your head is severed and falls on the ground, the person who caused this will die immediately. Your life will be saved and your head will rejoin your body. You may be ‘killed' hundreds of thousands of times, but you will not die. On the other hand, if your severed head falls into your father's hands and he throws it on the ground, then you will die." Jayadratha was satisfied, thinking, "My father would never do this."

When the battle of Kuruksetra began, Jayadratha took the side of the Pandavas' enemy, Duryodhana. One evening during the battle, as the sun was setting, Jayadratha's father was absorbed in prayer and making an offering of water to the Sun-god. Arjuna saw this opportune moment. With the skillful release of an arrow, he severed Jayadratha's head from his body and caused it to fall into the hands of his meditating father. Startled and without thought, Jayadratha's father tossed the head on the ground. Then, opening his eyes he exclaimed, "What was that wet thing?" Seeing that he had just thrown his son's head, he began to cry, "Oh my son! Oh my son! You are dead now!"

A Clever Benediction

Envious of Krsna and with a desire for the strength to destroy him, the demon Salva also took shelter of Lord Siva. He performed a severe type of austerity and ate no more than a handful of ashes daily. After one year, Lord Siva became pleased with him and asked him to beg for a boon.

Salva begged from Lord Siva the gift of an airplane, saying, "This airplane should perform as I wish; it should be operated by my mind. On my order it should go to heaven or anywhere I desire. In summer it should be air-conditioned. If there are only two men, there should only be two seats, and if I want to travel with hundreds of thousands of persons, many seats should manifest. It should never crash due to mechanical difficulty, and it should be equipped with all varieties of weapons. It should be dangerous and fearful to the Yadus."

Lord Siva agreed, and Salva was helped by the demon Maya Danava to manufacture a mystical airplane that began to destroy Dvaraka, Lord Krsna's abode. Salva personally attacked from above, and his soldiers attacked on the ground. Headed by Pradyumna, the Yadu dynasty warriors fought with Salva and his army, but they could not defeat him.

Finally, Lord Krsna personally appeared on the battlefield, and after much intense fighting on both sides and many mystic displays by Salva, the Lord took up His disc, cut off the demon's head, and gave him liberation.

In this way, the benedictions given by Lord Siva to the enemies of Lord Krsna always have a weak point - a loophole. Lord Siva is extremely clever, and he is always serving his Lord, Sri Krsna. Narada knew this fact, and he wanted to publicize Lord Siva's glories. Siva is very near and dear to Krsna, and non-different from Him. Try to always honor him, for he is Krsna's greatest devotee.

nimna-ganah yatha ganga
devanam acyuto yatha
vaisnavanam yatha sambhuh
purananam idam tatha

[(Just as the Ganga is the greatest of all rivers, Lord Acyuta the supreme among deities and Lord Sambhu the greatest of Vaisnavas, so Srimad-Bhagavatam is the greatest of all Puranas. (Srimad-Bhagavatam (12.13.16)]

The Principle of Siva

The principle of Siva - Siva-tattva - is extremely complex. The principle of Brahma is not as complicated, because Lord Brahma is always a jiva, a finite spirit soul. Sometimes, when there is no qualified jiva, Lord Visnu (Krsna's expansion) personally takes the post of Brahma, but that is rare. Lord Siva is not like that; he is not a finite soul.

After passing through the eight material coverings, and after crossing the Viraja (the river that divides the material world and the spiritual world) and the planet of Lord Brahma (the highest material planet), one comes to the planet of Siva. There he is known as SadaSiva, a manifestation of Lord Visnu.

Siva-tattva can be understood by the analogy of yogurt and milk. Yogurt is nothing but a transformation of milk. Milk can become yogurt, but yogurt cannot become milk. This analogy is found in Sri Brahma-Samhita and elucidated in Srila Jiva Gosvami's commentary: "Just as milk is transformed into yogurt by contact with a transforming agent, Sri Govinda, Lord Sri Krsna, similarly accepts the form of Sambhu (Siva) in order to accomplish a specific purpose. The example of yogurt is actually given in order to convey the idea of cause and effect, not the idea of transformation. Sri Krsna is reality and cannot be transformed, so it is not possible for Him to undergo any kind of distortion. A wish-fulfilling gem manifests many things according to one's desire, yet its constitutional nature remains untransformed." (*See Endnote 8)

Ramesvara Mahadeva

When Sri Ramacandra was making the bridge to Lanka, he established a Siva-linga (deity form of Siva) called Ramesvara. All the common people began glorifying Lord Siva, shouting, "Ramesvara ki jaya! You are Rama's isvara: you are the lord of Rama." The demigods were unsatisfied by this and announced through an arial voice, "Ramas ca asau isvarah: Rama is God, and Sankara is also God; they are the same." Hearing this, the Siva-linga broke. Lord Siva emerged from the linga and told them all, "You are all foolish; you do not know my tattva, the established truths regarding my identity. Rama is my beloved and my God, and that is why I am called Ramesvara."

Granting Perfect Love

Lord Siva eternally resides in Lord Krsna's abode, Vrndavana, where he manifests many forms to render devotional services to Him. The form of Gopisvara Mahadeva (*See Endnote 9) was manifested by Lord Krsna's desire. When Krsna desired to perform His rasa dance, Srimati Radhika, the embodiment of His pleasure potency, manifested from His left side and Gopisvara Mahadeva manifested from His right side. The form of Siva who lives in Kasi or Kailasa in the material world is a partial manifestation of the original Sadasiva in Vrndavana. The many other commonly worshiped forms of Lord Siva are expansions of Sadasiva. They are not the original. Partial expansions such as Pippalesvara Mahadeva, Bhutesvara Mahadeva, Rangesvara Mahadeva and so on cannot award the benediction that can be attained by the mercy of Gopisvara - the highest perfection of love, namely vraja-prema.

Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami has composed a prayer in his Vraja-vilasa-stava:

muda gopendrasyatmaja bhuja parisranga nidhaye
sphurad gopirvrndair yam iha bhagavatam pranayibhih
bhajadbhistair bhaktyas vamabhilasitam praptam acirad
yamitire gopisvaram anudinam tah kila bhaje

I daily worship Gopisvara Mahadeva, who is situated on the bank of Yamuna. That very Gopisvara was worshipped with deep devotion by the gopis, and he quickly fulfilled their desire to attain a supremely precious jewel in the form of the embrace of the son of Nanda Maharaja .

Srila Sanatana Gosvami, the great Vaisnava saint who resided in Vrndavana near the old Sri Madana-Mohana temple, would go daily to see Sri Gopisvara Mahadeva at his temple. Once, in his older years, Sanatana Gosvami had a dream wherein Gopisvara Mahadeva appeared and instructed him: "Now that you are old, please do not go through so much trouble to see me." Sanatana Gosvami replied, "I will continue to come. I cannot change this habit." Gopisvara Mahadeva said, "Then I will come and stay very near to your residence, manifesting in Bankhandi." The very next day, Sri Gopisvara Mahadeva appeared in Bankhandi, halfway between his orginal temple and Srila Sanatana Gosvami's residence. Seeing this, Sanatana Gosvami became overwhelmed with transcendental ecstasy, and from that day on he visited Bankhandi Mahadeva every day.

Wherever he was, Srila Sanatana Gosvami could not live without his beloved Lord Siva - Gopisvara Mahadeva and Bankhandi Mahadeva in Vrndavana, and Kamesvara Mahadeva in Kamyavana forest. In Govardhana he would stay near his very dear friend, Cakresvara Mahadeva, who acquired the name when he served Govardhana Hill and the Vrajavasis by holding up his trident like a cakra, protecting them from the torrential deluge sent by King Indra.

Prior to this, Lord Siva had asked Sri Krsna for the boon to witness His childhood pastimes. Krsna ordered him to situate himself in Nandagaon in the form of a hill. Siva followed this order and became Nandisvara Hill, and he thus became known as Nandisvara. (Lord Brahma became Brahma-parvata, the mountain in Srimati Radhika's birthplace, Varsana. Because Brahma is so near to Radhika, he is also our Gurudeva.)

We honor Lord Siva as a great Vaisnava and as Guru. We do not worship him separately. We observe Siva-ratri, Lord Siva's appearance day, and we glorify him in connection to his relationship with Sri Krsna. Srila Sanatana Gosvami has written in his Hari-bhakti-vilasa that all Vaisnavas should observe Siva-caturdasi (Siva-ratri). Lord Siva, in whom all good qualities reside, should certainly be honored by the observance of this day.

We offer obeisance to Lord Siva with prayers like this:

vrndavanavani-pate! jaya soma soma-maule
gopisvara! vraja-vilasi-yuganghri-padme
prema prayaccha nirupadhi namo namas te

(Sankalpa-kalpadruma 103)

O Gatekeeper of Vrndavana! O Soma, all glories to you! O you whose forehead is decorated with the moon, and who is worshipable by the sages headed by Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatana and Narada! O Gopisvara! Desiring that you bestow upon me prema for the lotus feet of Sri Sri Radha-Madhava, who perform joyous pastimes in Vraja-dhama, I offer obeisances unto you time and again.

By Siva's Benediction

A brahmana in Kasi Varanasi once prayed to Lord Siva, "I want to give my daughter in marriage, but I have no money. Please give me money." Lord Siva told him, "Go to Vrndavana and meet with Srila Sanatana Gosvami. You can ask him to give you some wealth for your daughter's marriage." The brahmana went to Vrndavana, by foot, and there he asked the villagers there for the whereabouts of a person named Sanatana Gosvami. As they all knew him, they pointed out his residence.

Srila Sanatana Gosvami was practicing bhajana near the Yamuna River at Kaliya-hrada, the former abode of the very poisonous snake named Kaliya. Kaliya-hrada was close to the Yamuna, and therefore its surrounding area was full of sand. Srila Sanatana Gosvami wore only a loincloth. He used to go begging door-to-door for a small amount of prasada (Krsna's food remnants), and would take as his meal only one dry chapatti (flat bread), with no salt.

The brahmana arrived at his cottage and told him, "I went to Sankara Mahadeva, Lord Siva, and he told me to meet you. He said you will give me some wealth for my daughter's marriage." Sanatana Gosvami replied, "I have no possessions. You can see that I have nothing but a loincloth." Then he thought, "Oh, Siva cannot tell a lie. He is my bosom friend." Thinking of Lord Siva and contemplating further, he remembered a touchstone he had once disgarded and then forgotten. Now he told the brahmana, "Go to the Yamuna and remove some of the sand, and there you will find a touchstone. It is somewhere in the sand, though I don't remember where."

The brahmana found the jewel, touched it to iron, and the iron turned into gold. He was very, very happy that Lord Siva had told him to come to Vrndavana, and thought with gratitude, "My prayer has been answered by him." On the way home, however, his greed for money increased and he began thinking, "Why did Sanatana Gosvami keep the touchstone in the sand? It had no use there. He must have still more valuable jewels."

He thus returned, and Sanatana Gosvami asked him, "Why have you come back?" He replied, "I've come because I know that you have more valuable jewels than this." Sanatana Gosvami then said, "Go and throw the touchstone in the Yamuna. The brahmana did so with all his power, and then Sanatana Gosvami told him, "Come here. Come here." He gave him the mantra, "Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare" and said, "I do not have worldly jewels, but I have transcendental jewels. The jewel of Lord Krsna and Sri Radha will come to you in a very short time. So remain here. Your daughter's marriage will take place automatically. Stay here and chant Hare Krsna." That brahmana followed his instruction and became a very elevated saint.

*[Endnote 1] In the hermitage of Sri Narada Muni, Prahlada Maharaja heard the message of Srimad-Bhagavatam while within the womb of his mother. From his birth, Prahlad was fixed in transcendental realization of the all-pervading presence of the Supreme Lord, and he preached love of God to his schoolmates at the tender age of five. Despite efforts by his atheistic father to change his nature - efforts that culminated in repeated attempts to kill him by means of administering poison, putting him in boiling oil, tossing him from the top of a cliff and so on - Prahlada continued to experience great joy by remembering Lord Visnu and chanting his holy names. Prahlada was protected by the Supreme Lord in every situation. Finally, Lord Visnu appeared in the form of a half-man, half-lion and killed his demonic father. When offered a benediction by the Lord, Prahlada simply asked for the liberation of his father, as well as that of all conditioned souls. He is honored in this world by all pure devotees.

*[Endnote 2] "Srila Madhvacarya is the original acarya for those who belong to the Madhva-Gaudiya-sampradaya."(SB 6.1.40.purport) "This Madhva-Gaudiya-sampradaya is also known as the Brahma-sampradaya because the disciplic succession originally began from Brahma. Brahma instructed the sage Narada, Narada instructed Vyasadeva, and Vyasadeva instructed Madhva Muni, or Madhvacarya." (Krsna Introduction).

*[End note 3] "The Vedas say, ‘svadharma-nisthah sata janmabhih puman virincatam eti - One who strictly follows the principles of varnasrama-dharma for at least one hundred births will be rewarded with the post of Lord Brahma.' " (Srimad-Bhagavatam, 5.20.33 purport)

Varnasrama-dharma - the institutions dividing society into four divisions of social life and four occupational divisions of castes.

*[Endnote 4] "At the beginning of Brahma's day, all living entities become manifest from the unmanifest state, and thereafter, when the night falls, they are merged into the unmanifest again. Again and again, when Brahma's day arrives, all living entities come into being, and with the arrival of Brahma's night they are helplessly annihilated." (Bhagavad-gita 8.18-19)

"At the end of the day, under the insignificant portion of the mode of darkness, the powerful manifestation of the universe merges in the darkness of night. By the influence of eternal time, the innumerable living entities remain merged in that dissolution, and everything is silent." (Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.11.28)

"The dissolution of the three worlds is effected by the incarnation of darkness, Rudra, represented by the fire of eternal time which blazes over the three worlds. These three worlds are known as Bhuh, Bhuvah and Svah (Patala, Martya and Svarga). The innumerable living entities merge into that dissolution, which appears to be the dropping of the curtain of the scene of the Supreme Lord's energy, and so everything becomes silent." (Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.11.28 purport)

"It is said that the blazing fire from the mouth of Sankarsana rages for one hundred years of the demigods, or 36,000 human years. Then for another 36,000 years there are torrents of rain, accompanied by violent winds and waves, and the seas and oceans overflow. People forget all these devastations of the worlds and think themselves happy in the material progress of civilization. This is called maya, or ‘that which is not." (Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.11.31 purport)

"Thereafter, at the end of the millennium, the Lord Himself, in the form of Rudra, the destroyer, will annihilate the complete creation as the wind displaces the clouds. This creation is very appropriately compared to clouds." (Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.10.43)

*[Endnote 5] "There are two types of dissolution of the manifested cosmos. At the end of every 4,320,000,000 solar years, when Brahma, the lord of one particular universe, goes to sleep, there is one annihilation. And at the end of Lord Brahma's life, which takes place at the end of Brahma's one hundred years of age, in our calculation at the end of 8,640,000,000 x 30 x 12 x 100 solar years, there is complete annihilation of the entire universe, and in both the periods both the material energy called the mahat-tattva and the marginal energy called jiva-tattva merge in the person of the Supreme Lord." (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.10.21 purport)

*[Endnote 6] "Karanodakasayi Visnu is the first incarnation of the Supreme Lord, and he is the master of eternal time, space, cause and effects, mind, the elements, the material ego, the modes of nature, the senses, the universal form of the Lord, Garbhodakasayi Visnu, and the sum total of all living beings, both moving and nonmoving." (Srimad-Bhagavatam 2.6.42)

*[Endnote 7] Lord Siva was referring to the long history in relation to Sripad Sankaracarya's propagating the concept of the living entities' oneness with God in all respects. Before the appearance of Sankaracarya fifteen hundred years ago, voidist Buddhism, which rejects the Vedas, was prominent in India. Sankaracarya is an incarnation of Lord Siva, the topmost devotee of the Lord. However, in order to drive away Buddhism and re-establish Vedic authority, he had to compromise with the atheistic Buddhist philosophy and preach a non-devotional doctrine.

*[Endnote 8] "In this case the special transforming agent is constituted of a mixture of maya's aspect of the mode of ignorance, the minuteness aspect of the marginal potency, and a slight degree of the combined knowledge (sahvit) and bliss (hladini) aspects of the transcendental potency. The effulgent subordinate controller in the form of Sambhu-linga, being united with this special transforming agent, is constitutionally the semblance of God's expansion." (Brahma-samhita commentary by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura)

*[Endnote 9] In his original and most pure form, Siva is eternally Gopisvara Mahadeva. Yet, he performed the following human-like pastime in which he ‘became' Gopisvara:

"Lord Siva wanted to become a gopi. He performed austerities, and when Paurnamasi Yogamaya became pleased and appeared before him, he prayed to join Krsna's rasa-lila. Paurnamasi mercifully assisted him in dipping in Brahma-kunda, and he immediately assumed the form of a teenage gopi. He then went to the place where rasa-lila was being performed, and hid there in a grove.

"Krsna and the gopis sensed that someone of a different mood had come. They asked each other, ‘Why are you not so happy today? What is the matter?' After searching, they discovered the new gopi and asked ‘her', ‘Who are you? What is your name? Who are your parents? What is your husband's name? Where is your in-laws' house?'

"When Siva could not reply, they began to slap her so much that her cheeks became swollen and she began to cry, ‘Yogamaya, Yogamaya. Save me. I will never again come to Vrndavana, and I will never dare take part in rasa-lila.' Paurnamasi arrived, and she requested the gopis to show Lord Siva mercy. ‘She is the object of my mercy,' Paurnamasi told them. The gopis then accepted her as a gopi and Krsna named her Gopisvara (she whose isvaras, controllers, are the gopis). He blessed her to become the guard of the rasa-lila and said, ‘Without the sanction of Gopisvara, no one will be able to enter the rasa-lila.' " (Pinnacle of Devotion)


ramanuja.jpgTridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
North Shore, Hawaii: January 26, 2007

[[Respected Harikatha Readers, 

This year, 2018, Sri Ramanujacarya’s disappearance day is January 27th (in India). The following is a transcription of Srila Gurudeva's informal darsana, given in North Shore, Hawaii, on January 26, 2007. That informal darsana took place with only the devotees in his traveling party, so we especially thank his personal cook, Madhuvrata dasa brahmacari, for sending us the sound-file. Srila Gurudeva's talk in Hawaii was brief, and therefore we have included excerpts from his lecture given in Mathura, in 2000, in brackets, to fill out the history. To hear the soundfile of this class, please click on this link:  20070126-Hawaii-Ramanujacarya ]

Sri Ramanujacarya was born in South India. He is an incarnation of Laksmana. The word ‘anuja’ means ‘younger brother’. Rama-anuja refers to the younger brother of Lord Rama; therefore, he is Ramanuja. In Kali-yuga, he is the acarya of the Sri (Laksmi) Sampradaya. He is the disciple of Yamunacarya.

As a boy, he was exceptionally intelligent. At a very young age, he knew all Sanskrit grammar (vyakarana), literature (sahitya), and all the deep conclusions of the Vedic scriptures.

[Sri Ramanujacarya is an incarnation of Laksmana (Lord Rama’s younger brother), and he accepted the Sri Sampradaya. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada took many teachings from him, such as the duties of the sannyasi, the duties of the disciple, and the etiquette of the Vaisnava. He utilized one-hundred eight teachings. We follow these teachings, and we have also published them in our Bhagavata Patrika and Gaudiya Patrika (Hindi and Bengali Magazines).]

His teacher, Yadavacarya, was a follower of the Mayavada (the theory that all variety and individuality are illusion) and Advaitavada (the theory that the only truth is impersonal undifferentiated oneness) philosophies. One day, his teacher began to explain his understanding of the beauty of Sri Krsna’s eyes. In this regard Chandogya Upanisad uses the word ‘kapyasam.’ Yadavacarya explained that ‘kapi’ means ‘monkey’, and that the monkey’s rear-end (kapi-asam) is reddish on both sides. He concluded that Krsna’s lotus eyes are like a monkey’s rear-end. Hearing this, Ramanuja began to weep.

Later, when Ramanuja was massaging Yadavacarya, he told him, “The explanation you have given for kapyasam is wrong. ‘Kapi’ can be understood to mean ‘that which takes water from everywhere’. Who takes water? The sun. The word ‘asam’ also means ‘to blossom’, so the word ‘kapi-asam’ can be understood as ‘that which blossoms under the sun,’ or, in other words, ‘the lotus flower’. Thus, we can understand the verse to mean that the Lord’s eyes are as beautiful as the lotus flower.”

[Sri Ramanujacarya took birth in a simple family. His mother and father were not very wealthy, but they were of a high brahmana caste and they were very learned. Ramanuja was an outstanding boy from his childhood. While under the guidance of a Mayavadi guru named Yadavacarya, he was very careful in his studies. One day, when his guru was giving an impersonal explanation of a verse that contained the word kapyasana, he compared the lotus-eyes of the Lord to the hind part of a monkey which is reddish near its tail. Hearing this from his gurudeva’s mouth, Ramanuja began to cry in great pain. He felt grief in his heart that his gurudeva had used such a bad analogy for describing the lotus-like eyes of the Lord. After collecting himself, he very politely asked if he could say something about the verse. Yadavacarya assented, and Ramanuja very nicely gave many explanations according to Sanskrit grammar. He said that the term kapyasana actually means one who brings water, and that is the sun. The lotus blossoms by the potency of the sun, and therefore the Lord’s eyes are compared to the lotus, not the monkey.]

Ramanuja’s teacher became astonished, thinking, “If this boy is so knowledgeable at such a young age, what will he do when he is grown up? If he remains alive, this Mayavada teaching will be finished.” His teacher then planned to murder him.

[When Yadavacarya heard this, he thought, “This boy is dangerous. He is very expert and is giving such nice explanations. In the future he might uproot all the impersonal teachings from the Vedas, and so I must kill him.”]

Thinking to trick Ramanuja, Yadavacarya told him that he was going to travel with all his students to do some preaching, and that Ramanuja should also accompany them. Ramanuja was a very sincere and innocent boy, so he didn’t understand his teacher’s intentions.

Then, when they were all in a very deep forest, they decided that this would be the time to murder him. Govinda, his cousin-brother, told him of their plan, and urged him to quickly flee from there. Therefore, in the middle of the night, Ramanuja told them that he was going to the toilet, and he ran away.

Now alone, he suddenly saw a hunter, along with his wife, holding a hurricane light. The man asked him, “Where are you going?”

Ramanuja answered, “I am going to Kancipuram.”

The man replied, “We are also going there, so come with us.”

When he arrived at Kancipuram, his own village, which was very far away, those persons disappeared. Ramanuja then began to weep. He understood that it was certainly the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Narayana Himself, along with His eternal consort, Laksimi-devi, who had saved his life.

[Throughout the day and night, he passed through the dense forest. It was difficult for him to discern his way, especially at night. The Lord, seeing His dear devotee in such a state, then appeared in the form of Bharadraja and, holding a lantern in His hand, showed Ramanuja the way. Thus, within no time at all, Sri Ramanuja crossed the entire distance of the forest and found that he was standing outside his village.]

Sometime later, Ramanuja’s teacher returned to the village. He had been thinking that perhaps a lion or tiger had eaten Ramanuja, and he was very happy. However, when he arrived, he saw that Ramanuja was alive. He called him and told him to forget everything that had happened, Ramanuja again resumed his Sanskrit studies with Yadavacarya.

[After some days, out of compassion for Yadavacarya and with a desire to deliver him, he again began studying under his guidance. After some years, Ramanuja converted Yadavacarya to Vaisnava philosophy, whereupon his teacher became his disciple. At one point thereafter, Ramanuja began hearing of the qualities of a great Vaisnava guru in South India by the name of Sri Yamunacarya, and he eventually became Sri Yamunacarya’s disciple.] 
Later he married. After his marriage, he began to teach boys in a Sanskrit school, and all the students liked him. 
[Later on he married, and his wife was very quarrelsome. Her behavior was discourteous and uncooperative, and incidents would often take place which he would somehow have to tolerate.]

One day, a disciple of Sri Yamunacarya named Kancipurna came to the house of Ramanuja. He was from a very low-caste family, but he was a very high-class devotee. He came there along with his wife by the order of his Gurudeva, and he now began to give his association to Ramanujacarya.

[A disciple of Sri Yamunacarya and elder god-brother of Ramanuja named Kancipurna came to Ramanuja’s village along with his wife. Ramanuja accepted Kancipurna as a siksa-guru.]

One day, when Ramanujacarya’s wife was drawing water from the well, Kancipurna’s wife was also there drawing water. Some water from the bucket of Kancipurna’s wife fell into Ramanuja’s wife’s bucket. She immediately became very angry and started to insult the wife of Kancipurna with abusive language. When Kancipurna returned, his wife told him of the incident at the well, and he immediately left the house of Ramanujacarya. Upon hearing the reason why his siska-guru had departed, Ramanujacarya began to think, “I should not be with this lady. Somehow, I should give her up right away.”

[One day, when Kancipurna’s wife was taking some water from a well, she met Ramanuja’s wife, who had also come to the well for drawing water. It so happened that while taking the water out of the well, some water from the pot of Kancipurna’s wife spilled into the pot of Ramanuja’s wife. Although this was a small accident, Ramanuja’s wife became furious and insulted Kancipurna’s wife with abusive language. Kancipurna became hurt when he later on heard about this, and, without informing Ramanuja, he and his wife left that place and went to Sri Rangam. When Sri Ramanuja came to know that his wife’s behavior had offended a Vaisnava, he felt very bad and thought, “She is committing vaisnava-aparadha; she has such an offensive mentality. I must do something about this.”]

Later, Sri Yamunacarya sent Purnacarya to bring Ramanuja to him in Sri Rangam. However, Yamunacarya was very sick at that time, and, by the time Ramanuja arrived in Sri Rangam, he had departed from the vision of the world. Purnacarya, was sent there to bring him to Sri Rangam. Ramanuja used to give him so much honor – always offering him obeisances and treating him like his siksa-guru. While living with Ramanuja, Purnacarya began to impart the instructions he had received from his Gurudeva, Sri Yamunacarya.

One day, when Ramanuja was teaching at the school, a hungry brahmana came there. Ramanuja told him, “If you go to my house to beg, my wife will give you something.” However, when the brahmana went there, Ramanuja’s very cruel wife said, “I can’t give you anything. Go! Get out of here!” The brahmana returned to Ramanuja, who then told him to go back to his house and tell my wife, “I am coming from the house of your father. He sent me to you, so please take this letter from him.” Ramanuja personally wrote the letter he gave to the brahmana to deliver to his wife. The letter stated, “Your brother will marry very soon, so you must come to your father’s house.” After reading the letter, Ramanuja’s wife began to honor that brahmana, and she gave him a large quantity of delicious prasadam.

[One day, a hungry brahmana came to Ramanuja, asking for some food. Ramanuja sent this brahmana to his wife, telling him, “Go to my home and tell my wife that I sent you. She will give you some food.” When that brahmana came to Ramanuja’s wife, she boldly insulted him again and again. She told him he should get out of there, and that there was no food for him. Returning to Ramanuja, the brahmana reported what had happened, and Ramanuja replied, “Wait here for a few minutes.” He left and wrote a letter to his wife, as though it was written by her father, stating, “O my dear daughter, I am arranging the marriage of my son, your brother. So you should come. Please bring your husband with you.”

Writing these words very nicely, he folded that letter and tied it with colorful threads. And, along with that, he sent a coconut and other auspicious items. He then gave that letter to the brahmana and said, “Now go again to my wife. She will welcome you nicely this time. The brahmana went again. After reading the letter, Ramanuja’s wife’s behavior completely changed. This time she welcomed him warmly and sweetly, and offered him all kinds of palatable food and sweets. When Ramanuja came home, his wife told him about the marriage. She cited her father’s request for both of them to come, and requested him to please come along.

Ramanuja said, “No, I cannot come, for I am very busy; you may go now with this brahmana. Don’t be late.”]

When his wife left to go to the house of her father, Ramanuja also left that house. He went to Sri Rangam to meet his Gurudeva, Sri Yamunacarya, but Yamunacarya had left his body just before Ramanuja arrived. Ramanuja saw that many devotees were walking with the transcendental body of Yamunacarya. All of his disciples were weeping as they carried his body to be placed in samadhi.

[After his wife left with that brahmana, Ramanuja locked the door of his house and went to Sri Rangam to meet his Gurudeva, Sri Yamunacarya. He wanted to take sannyasa from him, but when he reached Sri Rangam, he found that Sri Yamunacarya had just passed away and his disciples were walking in procession with his divine body. Ramanuja felt very disheartened and sad.]

He told them, “I have accepted Yamunacarya as my Gurudeva. I want to see his face.” Yamunacarya’s disciples stopped and lifted the cloth from his body. Ramanuja could see that three of Yamunacarya’s fingers were folded.

[He asked them to stop for a moment. He wanted them to uncover the transcendental body so that he could take darsana of his Gurudeva’s divine form. He observed that all the fingers on one of his Gurudeva’s hands were open, and on the other, three fingers were closed. He inquired from the disciples all around as to why this was, and he wanted to know when it happened. No one could answer. They said, “We didn’t notice it before; it must have happened just now.”]

He promised in front of all present, ‘I will write the Sri-bhasya commentary on the Vedanta-sutra.” One of the fingers immediately became straight. He then said, “I will take sannyasa,” and the second finger relaxed. Lastly, he said, “I will preach the mission of my Gurudeva, Yamunacarya”, at which time the last finger relaxed and became straight. Seeing this, everyone present became astonished.

[Ramanuja became silent, and after some time he spoke, addressing Sri Yamunacarya’s transcendental body. He said, “Now, I will first of all write a Vaisnava commentary on Vedanta, and I will preach that Vaisnava commentary throughout India.” One finger opened, and Ramanuja spoke further, “I will take tridandi-sannyasa right now, and I will preach the message of vaisnava-dharma and your teachings.” When Sri Yamunacarya heard that, his second finger opened. Ramanuja then said, “I will systematically write about Vaisnava etiquette, explaining the behavior required to execute pure devotional service, and what precautions should be taken. I will also preach this throughout India.” After uttering this third statement, Sri Ramanujacarya observed, along with all present, that three of Yamunacarya’s fingers had now opened. Then and there, Sri Ramanujacarya formally accepted tridandi sannyasa from Sri Yamunacarya.]

After Yamunacarya was given Samadhi, Ramanujacarya was elected to become the next acarya, as Yamunacarya’s successor. He immediately said, “I will not become the next acarya right away. Give me time. Give me two years.” He then spent some time with each of the prominent disciples of Yamunacarya. He served them and heard from them what they had learned from their Gurudeva. Only after hearing from them for two years did he accept the post of acarya.

[Sri Ramanujacarya had now formally taken sannyasa initiation from Sri Yamunacarya. Afterwards, all the disciples of Sri Yamunacarya, who were great scholars and who had served their Gurudeva for so many years, came together. Having seen the extraordinary characteristics and personality of Sri Ramanujacarya, they collectively decided that he should be appointed as the next acarya after their Guru, and they honored him with the acarya seat in Sri Rangam. Sri Ramanujacarya accepted the orders of his god-brothers, but before sitting and acting as the acarya, he went to each of his god-brothers, for two months, four months, six months, or one year, and served each of them. He thus formally endeavored to understand the teachings of Sri Yamunacarya, since he had not gotten the opportunity to spend much time with him. After serving and satisfying them, he commenced his role as acarya of the Sri Sampradaya in Sri Rangam.]

Later, the ruler of that country, King Koluttunga II, heard that Ramanujacarya was very strongly preaching his philosophy. Koluttunga II wanted him killed, fearing that if he remained alive, the Saiva Sampradaya (comprised of so-called devotees of Lord Siva) would be finished. He sent a message telling Ramanujacarya to come at once for a debate.

Ramanujacarya and all his associates knew that the king wanted to kill him. His disciple Kuresh told him, “Gurudeva, please do not go. I will go in your place. Please give me your danda and sannyasa cloth.” Insisting, Kuresh took them from him and gave him his own white cloth. He told Ramanuja to leave that place at once. Then, having taken his Guru’s sannyasa cloth and danda, Kuresh went to the palace of the king.

In the palace there was a great debate, during which Kuresh defeated all the king’s pandits. However, Kuresh was alone, so the king’s pandits told everyone that he had been defeated. They forcibly detained him, and only released him after blinding him by plucking out both of his eyes. He then began to search for his Gurudeva, who was now very far away. Fortunately, after some time, he came to the same village where Ramanujacarya was residing.

Within that village there were two disciples – one very rich and one very poor. Ramanujacarya told his disciples to go to the house of the rich devotee, because his group was more than fifty in total, and ask him to prepare prasadam and a place to stay for all of them.

Two of Ramanuja’s disciples went to the rich man’s house and gave him this message. The rich man felt extremely happy and became totally absorbed in preparing for the arrival of Ramanujacarya and all of his devotees. However, he didn’t come back out to share these plans with his two god-brothers at the door. After waiting for some time, those disciples went back to Ramanujacarya and told him that they had gone to the house of that rich devotee, but he had left them waiting and had not come back to them. Ramanujacarya replied, “Oh, then we will all go to the house of that poor man.”

That very poor brahmana used to go and beg for ingredients so that his wife could cook prasadam. He had only one piece of proper cloth, which his wife used, so when he would go begging, he would take the cloth of his wife.

On that particular day, after midday, he could not collect any more, and he decided to return home. In the meantime, before his return, Sri Ramanujacarya, with all of his disciples, suddenly came to his house. His wife was very happy to see her Gurudeva, but she also felt very ashamed because she had no proper cloth to wear. Sri Ramanuja understood this, and he gave her his own chadar. She wrapped this around herself and came in his presence.

After she gave a mat for her Gurudeva and his followers to sit on, she began to wonder, “How shall I arrange prasadam for everyone?” She remembered that one of her neighbors, who was a rich businessman, was very attracted to her and had lusty desires toward her. He had previously told her of his desires, but she was very chaste and had always rejected his proposals. However, in her current predicament, she went to that man and told him that she would fulfill his desire.

She was thinking, “What is the use of my chastity if I cannot serve my Gurudeva? For my Gurudeva, I should be prepared to do anything.” She told that rich man, “I am ready to do what you want, but in return I want you to arrange many ingredients so that I can cook and give prasadam to my Gurudeva and all of his disciples.” Hearing this, the rich man became very joyful and gave her more than what she wanted. Taking all that he gave her, she prepared very good prasadam for all the devotees, and everyone was happy.

While Ramanujacarya and all the devotees were resting after prasadam, her husband returned home. He asked her, “Gurudeva and all his disciples have come. How are we going to arrange for their needs?”

She replied, “I have done everything. There is nothing to worry about. They have all taken prasadam and are resting now.”

Her husband asked, “How did you make all those arrangements?”

She began to tell him the story about the lusty neighbor. She said, “I was thinking that my Gurudeva has come; if I cannot serve him, then what is the use of my chastity? So I went and told that lusty man that if he would give me all the ingredients to make very nice prasadam, then I would offer myself. He did as I asked, so now that it is night I must go to him.”

Her husband told her, “I will come with you.”

It was raining at that time, so they took an umbrella and went to the house of that rich person along with the mahaprasadam. The wife entered his home alone, and the man became very happy. The man asked her, “It is raining heavily tonight, and it appears you have come all alone. Didn’t anyone bring you?” She told him, “My husband came with me,” and she gave him the prasadam remnants of Ramanujacarya. The lusty man took those remnants and became totally transformed. He fell flat at the lotus feet of that lady and begged her, “Excuse me. Excuse me.”

The lady and her husband then returned to their house. The next day, their neighbor came to Ramanujacarya and prayed to him, “I want to be initiated by you.” Ramanujacarya then initiated him.

In the meantime, Kuresh arrived in the village of the poor devotee couple where Ramanujacarya was staying. Seeing Kuresh, Ramanujacarya called out his name. Kuresh went to his Gurudeva and wanted to take his darsana, but he had no eyes. Ramanujacarya put his hand over Kuresh’s wounds and two eyes at once manifested. He could see again.

Afterward, Ramanujacarya went to North India. After traveling for a long time, he eventually arrived in Kashmir. He went to Sarada-pith, the place of Sarada-devi, where he came across the Bodhayana-bhasya (commentary) of Vedanta-sutra. This Bodhayana commentary contained Vaisnava philosophical conclusions, not Mayavada theories. In the library at Sarada-pith he read that commentary, and in the night he took that book. and escaped with Kuresh

They fled from there, but the Kashmiri pandits followed them. Finally, the pandits took the book and returned to their own place. Ramanujacarya was very unhappy, but Kuresh told him, “Gurudeva, do not be unhappy. I have also read that book, and I remember all its contents. I will write them down.” Later he did this, and he gave the writings to Ramanujacarya. Ramanujacarya then wrote his Sri-bhasya on Vedanta-sutra [* See Endnote] and fulfilled the three desires of his Gurudeva, Yamunacarya.

[When Sri Ramanujacarya officially became the acarya, he began very strongly preaching the cult of Sri Yamunacarya. In South India, two impersonalist sects are very prominent: Saiva and Sankaracarya. Sankaracarya’s followers subscribe to the Vedanta sutras like "sarvam kalvidam brahma" and "tat tvam asi." They think themselves impersonal brahma (God), and they think everything comes from brahma. The Saiva School considers Lord Siva to be the ultimate truth, and they want to merge into him. This is the basic difference between the two. Sri Ramanujacarya refuted and defeated all impersonalism by his very strong and effective preaching.]

Gaura premanande

[*Endnote: Sri Ramanujacarya has also refuted the arguments of Sankara in his own commentary on the Vedanta-sutra, which is known as the Sri-bhasya: "Sri Sankaracarya has tried to equate the Pancaratras with the philosophy of the atheist Kapila, and thus he has tried to prove that the Pancaratras contradict the Vedic injunctions. The Pancaratras state that the personality of jiva called Sankarsana has emerged from Vasudeva, the supreme cause of all causes, that Pradyumna, the mind, has come from Sankarsana, and that Aniruddha, the ego, has come from Pradyumna. But one cannot say that the living entity (jiva) takes birth or is created, for such a statement is against the injunction of the Vedas. As stated in the Katha Upanisad (2.18), living entities, as individual spiritual souls, can have neither birth nor death. All Vedic literature declares that the living entities are eternal. Therefore when it is said that Sankarsana is jiva, this indicates that He is the predominating Deity of the living entities. Similarly, Pradyumna is the predominating Deity of the mind, and Aniruddha is the predominating Deity of the ego.

"It has been said that Pradyumna, the mind, was produced from Sankarsana. But if Sankarsana were a living entity, this could not be accepted, because a living entity cannot be the cause of the mind. The Vedic injunctions state that everything-including life, mind and the senses-comes from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is impossible for the mind to be produced by a living entity, for the Vedas state that everything comes from the Absolute Truth, the Supreme Lord.

"Sankarsana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha have all the potent features of the absolute Personality of Godhead, according to the revealed scriptures, which contain undeniable facts that no one can refute. Therefore these members of the quadruple manifestation are never to be considered ordinary living beings. Each of Them is a plenary expansion of the Absolute Godhead, and thus each is identical with the Supreme Lord in knowledge, opulence, energy, influence, prowess and potencies.

“The evidence of the Pancaratras cannot be neglected. Only untrained persons who have not genuinely studied the Pancaratras think that the Pancaratras contradict the srutis regarding the birth or beginning of the living entity. In this connection, we must accept the verdict of Srimad-Bhagavatam, which says, `The absolute Personality of Godhead, who is known as Vasudeva and who is very affectionate toward His surrendered devotees, expands Himself in quadruple forms who are subordinate to Him and at the same time identical with Him in all respects.' The Pauskara-samhita states, `The scriptures that recommend that brahmanas worship the quadruple forms of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are called agamas .' In all Vaisnava literature it is said that worshiping these quadruple forms is as good as worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead Vasudeva, who in His different expansions, complete in six opulences, can accept offerings from His devotees of the results of their prescribed duties.

“Worshiping the expansions for pastimes, such as Nrsimha, Rama, Sesa and Kurma, promotes one to the worship of the Sankarsana quadruple. From that position one is raised to the platform of worshiping Vasudeva, the Supreme Brahman. In the Pauskara-samhita it is said, `If one fully worships according to the regulative principles, one can attain the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vasudeva.' It is to be accepted that Sankarsana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha are as good as Lord Vasudeva, for They all have inconceivable power and can accept transcendental forms like Vasudeva. Sankarsana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha are never born, but They can manifest Themselves in various incarnations before the eyes of pure devotees. This is the conclusion of all Vedic literature.

“That the Lord can manifest Himself before His devotees by His inconceivable power is not against the teaching of the Pancaratras. Since Sankarsana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha are, respectively, the predominating Deities of all living entities, the total mind and the total ego, the designation of Sankarsana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha as `jiva,' `mind' and `ego' are never contradictory to the statements of the scriptures. These terms identify these Deities, just as the terms `sky' and `light' sometimes identify the Absolute Brahman.

"The scriptures completely deny the birth or production of the living entity. In the Parama-samhita it is described that material nature, which is used for others' purposes, is factually inert and always subject to transformation. The field of material nature is the arena of the activities of fruitive actors, and since the material field is externally related with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, it is also eternal. In every samhita, the jiva (living entity) has been accepted as eternal, and in the Pancaratras the birth of the jiva is completely denied. Anything that is produced must also be annihilated. Therefore if we accept the birth of the living entity, we also have to accept his annihilation. But since the Vedic literatures say that the living entity is eternal, one should not think the living being to be produced at a certain time. In the beginning of the Parama-samhita it is definitely stated that the face of material nature is constantly changeable. Therefore `beginning,' `annihilation' and all such terms are applicable only in the material nature.

"Considering all these points, one should understand that Sankaracarya's statement that Sankarsana is born as a jiva is completely against the Vedic statements. His assertions are completely refuted by the above arguments. In this connection the commentary of Sridhara Svami on Srimad-Bhagavatam (3.1.34) is very helpful."

For a detailed refutation of Sankaracarya's arguments attempting to prove Sankarsana an ordinary living being, one may refer to Srimat Sudarsanacarya's commentary on the Sri-bhasya, which is known as the Sruta-prakasika. (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Adi-lila, 5.41 purport by Srila Prabhupada Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja)]



tn Gurudeva navGurudeva-nav.jpgIn Govardhana, at the end of Sri Vraja-mandala Parikrama 2010, Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja personally invited all of us to attend Sri Navadvipa-mandala Parikrama in the holy land of Sri Navadvipa-dhama, for the rest of our lives. On his behalf, we therefore humbly invite you to attend Sri Navadvipa-dhama Parikrama 2018...


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Trindandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
Hilo, Hawaii: January 1, 2007

I wish you all a happy New Year. The New Year we are now celebrating is according to Western calculation. This mainly affects our physical body and mind, because those in the Western world are very concerned about their physical health and mind – not more than that. Very few persons in the Western world know about the soul. They don't even know where they will go after death. They work at jobs, but they don't know of their goal after retirement, and they become crazy.

We have to celebrate the New Year in such a way that our devotion will increase day by day. We have to know that we are not this gross or subtle body – our mind, ego, and intelligence. We are beyond all these things; we are spirit souls, part and parcel of the Supreme Lord. We have to leave what happened last year, and start anew this year. Our devotion must increase.

The question may arise: "If my devotion must increase, how will I maintain my life?" For maintaining your life, you will continue what you are doing. Whether you want to or not, you must perform some karma.

Bhagavan Sri Krsna told Arjuna in the Gita (3.5):

na hi kascit ksanam api
jatu tisthaty akarma-krt
karyate hy avasah karma
sarvah prakrti-jair gunaih

["Everyone is forced to act helplessly according to the qualities he has acquired from the modes of material nature; therefore no one can refrain from doing something, not even for a moment."]

No one can stay alive without performing some activity. Whether you want to or not, you have to breathe. Whether you are breathing, or holding your breath, this is also karma. If you are standing, sitting, walking, or talking, all these are in the category of karma. So, to maintain our lives, we are forced to engage in some karma.

But this will not give you eternal happiness, or peace and tranquility of mind. For happiness, you must engage in some devotional service, and to cultivate devotion successfully, you must first of all surrender at the lotus feet of a bona fide guru. In good association, under the guidance of Gurudeva, you can progress in devotional life. If you do this, your New Year's celebration will be successful.

In this world there are eight million four-hundred thousand species of life, and among them four-hundred-thousand are human beings. Most of the human population does not know about God. They think they know God, but who is God? What are His qualities? What is His form? They do not know at all. They only want to say "God;" that is enough for them. They don't know more than this. In America the government writes on its dollar bill "In God we trust," but they do not have any conception of God. So, who is God? G is for generator, He who can create this world. O is for operator, He who can nourish and protect us. And D is for destroyer. He who is the owner, creator, and destroyer is Bhagavan, or God.

It is mentioned in the Vedic scripture (Srimad-Bhagavatam, 1.3.28), "Ete camsa-kalah pumsah, krsnas tu bhagavan svayam." Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead; so, we must serve Him, taking a vow from this very day, the New Year's Day. Whatever happened happened . We have to forget all these material things and start afresh our Krsna consciousness. Then our celebration of New Year's Day will be successful.

nr-deham adyam su-labham su-durlabham
plavam su-kalpam guru-karnadharam
mayanukulena nabhasvateritam
puman bhavabdhim na taret sa atma-ha

(Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.20.17)

The human body, which can award all benefit in life, is automatically obtained by the laws of nature, although it is a very rare achievement. This human body can be compared to a perfectly constructed boat having the spiritual master as the captain and the instructions of the Personality of Godhead as favorable winds impelling it on its course. Considering all these advantages, a human being who does not utilize his human life to cross the ocean of material existence must be considered the killer of his own soul.

Nr-deha means the human body. We have received a human body, which is very rare, and now it is easy for us to do bhajana. However, we can see that other living entities do not create weapons of mass destruction, so many arrangements to maintain their lifestyle. If anything happens they will quarrel with each other by their claws and teeth, but at the next moment they forget their quarrelling. But we humans take revenge, and we become more ferocious than the tigers, bears, lions, and other wild animals. Nowhere in the world do we see problems in other living entities. Only humans have problems.

How can we become calm and quiet and peaceful with each other? It is possible only if we do bhajana. So, nr-deham adyam su-labham su-durlabham, plavam su-kalpam guru-karnadharam. This human body is like a boat going from one place to another, in one direction or another. A captain is needed for the boat. Who is that captain? The bona fide guru is the captain of this boat – this human body. We are situated by the ocean in Hawaii. We see every day there are some boats floating on the Pacific Ocean. These boats have sails, and when the sails catch the wind, the boats move very fast. In the same way, sadhu-sanga is the favorable wind. By sadhu-sanga we can advance very quickly in Krsna consciousness. Then our lives will be maintained very easily, and we can be calm and quiet and in harmony with each other. Then our celebration here will be successful.

Generally, people understand the meaning of happiness in terms of the body and mind, health and money, and good sons and daughters. They consider that if they have these, they will be happy. But everyone becomes unhappy in spite of having these things. For a long time – since the creation of this world – we have been coming and going, taking birth and dying, but still we are not happy.

We have forgotten Krsna. We are part and parcel of Krsna, and we have forgotten Him. That is why His illusory maya took us and threw us into this world, and covered our constitutional body, form, and qualities with two bodies – the physical body and the subtle body.

We are trying so hard, here and there, to be happy, but really everyone is unhappy. Only a truly qualified guru can teach us by what process Krsna's service can be achieved. Then, by practice and maturity of bhakti-sadhana, we will become happy.

My blessing is that I am praying to Krsna that He will sprinkle His mercy upon you all, so that you will be happy in every way – by body, mind, and soul.

Are there any questions?

Haladhara dasa: What is the meaning of the name Radha, or Radharani?

Srila Gurudeva: Radha means 'always serving Sri Krsna.' Radha means 'to please Krsna.' Also, She is pleased by Krsna. Radha means 'She runs towards Krsna to serve Him.' Radhika means 'Krsna searches for Her and pleases Her.' Also Krsna means 'very beautiful, with having so many good qualities.' Rupa-madhuri: He is very, very beautiful. Venu-madhuri: His flute playing is very, very sweet. Guna-madhuri: He is full of very sweet qualities. Lila-madhuri: His pastimes are so sweet. By these qualities Krsna attracts all beings in the world and delivers them. All living beings, namely birds, animals, and all other creatures, are attracted to Him, and therefore He is Krsna.

Krsna is the ocean of rasa, the ocean of transcendental relationships, and Radha is the main power of Krsna and the embodiment of maha-bhava. By sweet service to Krsna, She attracts Krsna and controls Him. Though Radha and Krsna are not two bodies, only one, Krsna is the one Supreme Person and Radha is the sakti, or power, within Him. For lila-vilasa, or sweet pastimes, They have become two bodies, but They are one soul.

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