Harināma-sankīrtana: the Most Precious Gift of Our Gauḍīya-Sampradāya

Lecture given on the occasion of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura’s disappearance day, October 2001, at Kṛṣṇa-BalaRāma temple, Vṛndāvana.

Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 10.29.10-11:

duḥsaha-preṣṭha-viraha-
tīvra-tāpa-dhutāśubhāḥ
dhyāna-prāptācyutāśleṣa-

nirvṛtyā kṣīṇa-mańgalāḥ
tam eva paramātmānaḿ
jāra-buddhyāpi sańgatāḥ
jahur guṇa-mayaḿ dehaḿ
sadyaḥ prakṣīṇa-bandhanāḥ

TRANSLATION

For those gopīs who could not go to see Kṛṣṇa, intolerable separation from their beloved caused an intense agony that burned away all impious karma. By meditating upon Him they realized His embrace, and the ecstasy they then felt exhausted their material piety. Although Lord Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Soul, these girls simply thought of Him as their male lover and associated with Him in that intimate mood. Thus their karmic bondage was nullified and they abandoned their gross material bodies.

PURPORT

Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī comments upon this verse as follows: “Here Śukadeva Gosvāmī speaks in a peculiar way: he presents the intimate object the gopīs attained as if it were an external idea, thus keeping its true nature secret from outsiders, while at the same time he reveals to the confidential devotees well versed in the scientific conclusions of devotional service the internal meaning that is his real purport. Thus to outsiders Śukadeva says that Kṛṣṇa gave the gopīs liberation, but to the confidential hearers Śukadeva reveals that when the gopīs experienced separation from their beloved there arose in them both immeasurable unhappiness and immeasurable happiness, and that they gradually achieved their desired goal.

COMMENT

The verse can be understood as follows: Because of their intolerable separation from their beloved, the gopīs felt terrible agony, by which they caused all inauspicious things to tremble. In other words, when people in general hear of the gopīs’ extreme agony in separation from their beloved, they abandon thousands of inauspicious things – things even as fearsome as the subterranean fires of millions of universes or the powerful poison swallowed by Lord Śiva. More specifically, those who hear of the gopīs’ love in separation give up their terrible false ego and, thinking themselves defeated, are shaken.

When the gopīs meditated on Lord Acyuta, He became manifest and personally came to them, and they experienced great joy by embracing His body, which was full of transcendental love for them. The gopīs also experienced great joy by exhibiting personal characteristics and a sense of identification appropriate to such love. That joy made all their good fortune, both material and spiritual, seem paltry by comparison.

The implication is that when other persons see how happy the gopīs became upon embracing Kṛṣṇa when He manifested Himself directly before them, these other persons feel that thousands of so-called auspicious objects are insignificant by comparison, including all the sense gratificatory pleasures found in millions of universes and even the supersensory pleasure of spiritual bliss (brahmānanda). Thus hearing of the gopīs’ distress and the joy that arose out of, respectively, their separation from the Supreme Lord and their union with Him, anyone can get rid of all the reactions of his past activities, both sinful and pious. Vaiṣṇavas certainly do not think that sinful and pious reactions can be destroyed only by being lived out, since, after all, neither separation from the Supreme Lord nor direct association with Him are in the category of karma. This kind of elimination of karmic reactions occurs in the stage of bhajana, for those who have come to the level of anartha-nivṛtti.

So, the gopīs thought of Kṛṣṇa – the paramātmā, the supreme worthy object of all love – as their paramour. Even though such a concept is ordinarily contemptible, the gopīs realized Kṛṣṇa in an even fuller sense than did Rukminī and His other queens, who thought of Him most respectfully as their husband. That thinking of the Lord as one’s paramour is superior to thinking of Him as one’s husband is proved by the fact that unbridled pure love is superior to domesticated love. This idea is borne out by Śrī Uddhava: yā dustyaja sva-janam ārya-patha ca hitvā. ‘These ladies of Vraja abandoned their families and their advanced religious principles, even though to do so is very difficult.’ (SB 10.47.61)

In His pastimes on earth, Kṛṣṇa often turns the most lowly things into the most elevated. As Bhīsma stated, Kṛṣṇa’s pastime of acting as Arjuna‘s chariot driver was even more elevated than the pastimes in which He acted as a mighty King of kings – vijaya-ratha-kutumba ātta-totre/ dhta-haya-raśmini tac-chriyeskanīye: ‘I concentrate upon the chariot driver of Arjuna, who stood with a whip in His right hand and a bridle rope in His left, and who was very careful to protect Arjuna‘s chariot by all means.’ (SB 1.9.39) Similarly, in the Lord’s appearance as Kṛṣṇa we see that the normally inferior conjugal rāsa becomes better than the normally superior mood of śānta-rasa, as also the attitude of loving a paramour becomes superior to the loving exchange between legitimate spouses, and lowly guṣjā necklaces, red oxide paste, and peacock feathers become better than the most excellent jewelled ornaments.

But, it may be objected, it is not fitting for the Supreme Lord to sport with women whose bodies have already been enjoyed by other men. This objection is replied to by the words beginning jahuh. The word deham is used here in the singular form to indicate unity of category, even though the gopīs are many. Some authorities say that by the power of yogamāyā these gopīs’ bodies disappeared in a way no one noticed, but other authorities say that the “body” referred to in this context is the inferior body, composed of the modes of material nature. Thus, by the prominence of the adjective guna-mayam, it is understood that before the gopīs heard the sound of Kṛṣṇa’s flute their bodies had been twofold, material and spiritual, and upon hearing the flute they gave up the material bodies, which their husbands had enjoyed.

We may analyze this as follows: When devotees begin prosecuting devotional service in accordance with the instructions of a bona fide spiritual master, they engage their ears and other senses in pure devotion by hearing of the Lord, chanting His glories, remembering Him, offering obeisances to Him, giving Him personal attendance, and so forth. Thus the devotees make the Lord’s transcendental qualities the objects of their senses, as stated by the Lord Himself: nirguomad-apāśrayaḥ.(SB 11.25.26) In this way the devotees’ bodies transcend the material modes. Yet sometimes the devotees may take as their sense objects mundane sounds and so on, and that is material. Thus a devotee’s body can have two aspects, transcendental and material.

According to one’s level of devotional service, to that degree the transcendental aspects of one’s body become prominent and the material aspects diminish. This transformation is described in the following verse from the Bhāgavatam (11.2.42):

bhaktiḥ pareśānubhavo viraktir
anyatra caiṣa trika eka-kāla
prapadyamānasya yathāśnataḥ syus

tuṣṭi puṣṭi kud-apāyo ‘nu-ghāsam

“Devotion, direct experience of the Supreme Lord, and detachment from other things — these three occur simultaneously for one who has taken shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, in the same way that pleasure, nourishment and relief from hunger come simultaneously and increasingly, with each bite, for a person engaged in eating.” When one achieves totally pure love of God, the material portions of the body disappear and the body becomes completely spiritual. Nonetheless, so as not to disturb the false opinions of atheists and so as to protect the confidentiality of devotional service, the Supreme Lord usually has His illusory energy exhibit the demise of the gross body. An example of this is the disappearance of the Yādavas during the mauala-līlā.

Sometimes, however, to proclaim the excellence of bhakti-yoga, Kṛṣṇa will allow a devotee to go back to Godhead in his selfsame body, as in the case of Dhruva Mahārāja. We can cite evidence for this point from the Twenty-fifth Chapter of the Eleventh Canto, Text 32:

yeneme nirjitāḥ saumya
guṇā jīvena citta-jā
bhakti-yogena man-niṣṭho

mad-bhāvāya prapadyate

“A living entity who conquers the modes of material nature, which are manifested from the mind, can dedicate himself to Me [Kṛṣṇa] by the process of devotional service and thus attain pure love for Me.” Here the Lord states that the defeat and destruction of that which is composed of the modes of material nature can be brought about only by the process of devotional service.

Therefore, what we should understand from the present verse of the Bhāgavatam is that the gopīs who could not go to see Kṛṣṇa had their inauspicious, material bodies removed or burned up, while their auspicious, spiritual bodies, far from being destroyed, simply grew more prominent because of the ecstasy the gopīs felt by embracing Kṛṣṇa in meditation. Thus their bondage was completely destroyed: by the help of yogamāyā they got free from ignorance and also from the prohibitions of their husbands and other relatives.

We should not make the mistake of explaining this falling away of the gopīs’ bodies as being a result of their dying. As the Lord Himself states (SB 10.47.37):

yā mayā krīḍatā rātryāḿ
vane ‘smin vraja āsthitāḥ
alabdha-rāsāḥ kalyāṇyo
māpur mad-vīrya-cintayā

“Some of those all-auspicious gopīs could not directly join Me in enjoying the rāsa dance on that night in this Vṛndāvana forest, yet still they achieved My association by remembering My transcendental pastimes.”

By using the word kalyānya in this verse, the Lord implies, “Even though these gopīs wanted to give up their bodies because of their husbands’ prohibitions and the torment of separation from Me, for them to die at the very beginning of the most auspicious festival of the rāsa dance would have been displeasing to Me and thus inauspicious. So they did not die.”

More evidence that the gopīs who were prevented from going to see Kṛṣṇa did not physically die is provided by a statement of Śrī Śukadeva‘s later in this Canto (10.47.38): tā ūcur uddhava prītās tat-sandeśāgata-smḥ. “Then they [the gopīs] replied to Uddhava, feeling satisfied because His message had reminded them of Kṛṣṇa.” Here we understand that the gopīs speaking to Uddhava were the ones who had not had the chance to participate directly in the rāsa dance because of being held captive in their homes. Thus, the conclusion is that they gave up their material bodies without dying. Parched by the intense heat of separation, their material bodies gave up their materiality and became purely spiritual, just like the bodies of such great devotees as Dhruva Mahārāja. This is the meaning of the gopīs giving up their bodies.

The following analogy illustrates the statuses of the various gopīs: By observing seven or eight ripe mangoes on a tree, we can ascertain that all the fruits on the tree are ripe. Then we can pick them all and bring them home, where in due course the sun’s rays and other agents will make them fine-looking, fragrant, and delicious – fit to be offered to the king for his enjoyment. When the time comes for the king to take his meal, a discriminating servant can choose those fruits ready to offer him. From the appearance of the fruits, the servant can tell which are still raw in the middle even though ripe on the outside, and thus not yet fit for the king. By the application of a special heating process, these remaining fruits will become ripe in two or three days, and then they too will be ready to offer to the king.

Similarly, among the muni-cārī gopīs who took birth in Gokula, those who completely gave up the materiality of their bodies and very early in life achieved purely spiritual bodies were able to remain untouched by any other man. Thus Yoga Maya allowed them to join the nitya-siddha and other advanced gopīs when they went to meet Kṛṣṇa. Other muni-cārī gopīs still retained some connection with the external material body, but even they, after being parched by the heat of separation from Śrī Kṛṣṇa, gave up the materiality of their bodies and assumed perfectly transcendental bodies, purified of all taint of contact with other men. On the night of the rāsa dance, Yoga Maya sent some of these gopīs out behind those who had already gone out; others, who Yoga Maya saw still had a slight amount of contamination, she kept back to further purify with the heat of separation, and then she sent them out on some other night.

After enjoying the pleasures of the rāsa dance and other pastimes with Kṛṣṇa, the muni-cārī gopīs who had participated went back to their homes when the night was over, as did the nitya-siddha and other advanced gopīs. But now Yoga Maya protected these muni-cārī gopīs from the material association of their husbands; in other words, these gopīs were devoid of any selfish attachment for husband, children, and so on. Since these gopīs were thoroughly immersed in the great ocean of love for Kṛṣṇa, their breasts dried up so that they could not feed their infants, and to their family members they appeared as if haunted by ghosts. In conclusion, it is not unseemly that the gopīs who were previously in material association joined in the rāsa dance. Some authorities, however, maintain that the gopīs who were kept back in their houses did not have children. According to them, whenever such words as apatya (“children”) are used in verses yet to come, these words refer to the children of co-wives, to adopted children or to nephews and nieces.

So, I am going to present various topics of discussion, which may seem relatively erratic due to my lack of preparedness. The subject matter is largely comprised of Bhaktisiddhānta’s own words, which I feel are appropriate for this time. But first I would like to just mention a few things. Pūrṇacandra Prabhu described how Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī is Nayana Mani Mañjarī in his Kṛṣṇa-līlā-svarūpa. Of course, many times different classes of Vaiṣṇavas want to deprecate the transcendental position of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, criticising him in various ways. This is mainly due to the fact that Bhaktisiddhānta would many times press on some pressure points in his preaching. There is a type of treatment called acupressure. Sometimes if you press on a point that needs the most attention, it is that very point which hurts the most, doesn’t it? So sometimes he would press on points that would hurt excruciatingly, and of course, in the immaturity of the development of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness of certain individuals, they would take this pain as a sign of malice. They did not understand that any good was to be gotten from the association of such a straightforward and honest sadhu, or preacher of the principles of Rūpa and Raghunātha.

Bhaktisiddhānta is also known as rūpanuga-apasiddhanta-dharani, isn’t he? He could not tolerate any apasiddhanta or any conclusions that would go against the conclusions of Rūpa Gosvāmī. Rūpa Gosvāmī, you must be knowing, is the gaura-līlā-avatara of Śrīmati Rūpa Mañjarī. The mañjarīs are the most intimate maidservants, or devotees, of Śrīmati Rādhārani, and thus it may also be said that they are the most intimate devotees of Śyāmasundara, Kṛṣṇa. Śyāmasundara shows unfathomable mercy and special attention to the devotees who are 100 percent surrendered to the services of Śrīmati Rādhārani. You may remember an incident at Rādhā-kuṇḍa when Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī and his disciples were visiting. He was also preaching there – he held some classes. I will read an exerpt from one of those classes later on. During that period of time, his disciples and he he were walking along the Rādhā-kuṇḍa parikRāma-mārga and saw the Mahāraja of Bharatpura and his nanny doing dandavat-parikRāma of Rādhā-kuṇḍa. So, one of Bhaktisiddhānta Prabhupāda’s disciples told him, “Oh, just see! They must be having great devotion for Rādhārani.” Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī, as Pūrṇacandra said, would sometimes surprise his disciples. So, he explained to his disciples that actually, they did not have so much devotion to Śrīmati Rādhārani. He said that there was a difference between their approach to Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa and our approach to Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. They worshiped Rādhārani because She happened to be the favorite girlfriend of Kṛṣṇa. So therefore, recognizing that fact, they had to offer a little regard to Rādhārani. But their focus was on their aspirations to serve the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa. But as far as we are concerned (I am paraphrasing a little bit because I cannot remember the quote exactly), we will only have anything to do with that rascal Kṛṣṇa (he did not say “rascal,” but I am saying “rascal”) – we will only have anything to do with that blackish boy, Kṛṣṇa, because He happens to be the plaything in the hands of Śrīmati Rādhārani. He said something like that. It so happens the He is the necklace around Rādhāranis’ neck. So it is only because we have everything to do with Rādhārani – inadvertently, you can say, subsequently, or happenstantially – that we have anything at all to do with that blackish debauchee Śyāmasundara. He expressed that it is our supreme abundant duty, you can say, transcendental duty, not a duty as per the principles of vaidhi. But it is not that the rāga-bhaktas are not dutiful. They are supremely dutiful. And the mañjarīs, out of all the rāga-bhaktas, the Mañjarī-maidservants of Śrīmati Rādhārani and particularly and especially the Mañjarī-maidservants of Śrīmati Lalita Devī, who has two principle maidservants. Rūpa Mañjarī is her mukhya-maidservant, and Ananga Mañjarī is her upa-mañjarī. So these two mañjarī-maidservants, to become the dāsī-dāsī-anudāsī of these in the matter of intimacy in the loving service of Śrī Śrī Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa is the highest essence of all dutifulness of the jīva. Although we will also read some things that will show Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī’s disposition toward the other devotees in other rasas he never disparaged, at the same time we have to recognize his own internal disposition, which very often comes out in his preaching to the extent that no one can go away not understanding that Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākur is one of the greatest, most intimate maidservants of Śrīmati Rādhārani. No one can go away with that understanding. But because some Vaiṣṇavas felt the pain of Bhaktisiddhānta’s pressing on certain needed pressure points in the matter of the goings-on in the Gauḍīya-sampradāya, they have the tendency to find fault with various aspects of Bhaktisiddhānta’s life and his way of presenting Kṛṣṇa consciousness. One of the things they claim, especially in certain babaji successions, is the all-importance of siddha-pranali-dīkṣā as the only process by which one can enter into the realm of Vraja and attain the services at the lotus feet of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, without which one can have no access. Therefore, they consider that some apparent branches of the Gauḍīya-sampradāya are useless, as they are not connected with the “powerhouse.”

We have a couple of answers to this question. First of all, in the matter of the cultivation of rāga-bhakti, it is preached; it is not mumbled privately to oneself in seclusion. The principles of sambhanda, abhideya, and prayojana must certainly be preached, because without preaching, without making it known, how will anyone understand that it is there to be had, at the feet of the ācāryas in our sampradāya? It is not that Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākur did not preach that topic of the rāga-bhajana and all these things. Certainly, he did. But it should be seen that for the most part, he presented Kṛṣṇa consciousness in a subversive way, in a way so as to undermine the materiality of the contaminated consciousness of persons of lesser eligibility who are actually incapable of appreciating and doing justice to the topics of the higher esoteric līlās of the Lord. We should understand that when the nitya-parikara of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa appear in this world, they do so by appearing in a disguised form. This is Mani Mañjarī’s disguise to appear within this world as an ordinary human being. She has appeared in her form, in her ācārya-svarūpa as Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākur. Those who have a little insight regarding these things, when they hear the kathās coming from the guru-mukha-padma of Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākur, they link that kathā. They see as if it was Mani Mañjarī’s intention to speak these words for the benefit of the fallen, conditioned souls as an agent of Śrīmati Rādhārani, who appeared in this world as Lord Gaurasundara to bless the fallen conditioned souls with the never-before attainable loving services at the lotus feet of Śrī Radhika. Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākur generally revealed to the world his siksa relationship, or bhāgavata relationship, with Rūpa Gosvāmī. This is to offer a sense of importance, to emphasize the importance of adhering to the bhāgavata-dharma. Because the followers of many sampradāyas, or apa-sampradāyas, as it were, claim siddha-pranali and all these things, but they resort to various activities, such as debauchery and intoxication of various sorts. So Bhaktisiddhānta’s main purpose in prominently preaching the importance of the dissemination of bhāgavata-kathā was to teach the importance of adhering to the principles of bhāgavata-dharma. What is the use of your so-called siddha-pranali if you do not adhere to the principles of bhāgavata-dharma as present by the topmost father of devotional service, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī? Without being Rūpanuga-Vaiṣṇava, really no one in the present day can claim to be a perfect Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava without following the principles of Rūpa and Raghunātha.

So Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Prabhupāda did not at the time reveal his dīkṣā-pranali, but rather gave stress to the importance, just as our Śrīla Prabhupāda has mentioned, that there are two mārgas, the pāñcarātrika-mārga and the bhāgavata-mārga. In the bhāgavata-mārga there are various rules, or vidhis, in the matter of cultivation. And in the pāñcarātrika-mārga there are also vidhis. But if we are to chose between one and the other, if we are forced to chose between the vidhis in the pāñcarātrika-mārga and the vidhis in the bhāgavata-mārga, we should relinquish the pāñcarātrika-vidhis. We should never relinquish the bhāgavata-vidhis. We should always remember that Mahāraja Parīkṣit was not the dīkṣā disciple of Śukadeva Gosvāmī. And Śukadeva Gosvāmī was not the dīkṣā-guru of Mahāraja Parīkṣit. But, in spite of that, it is mentioned by our Gauḍīya-ācāryas that Mahāraja Parīkṣit is the example of one who attained the highest perfection by hearing. And Śukadeva Gosvāmī attained the highest perfection by chanting. It is mentioned like that, although we understand that Śukadeva Gosvāmī is also the manifestation of Rādhārani’s pet parrot. But there was another Śukadeva amalgamated, another personality. In other words, just like in gaura-līlā, sometimes it is seen that in one svarūpa, many different persons may be amalgamated, meaning that they are all residing – the various tattvas, the various personalities who are manifestations of various śaktis of Kṛṣṇa, all reside within one svarūpa. We see that Drona and Dhara merged in the Nanda-Yaśodā svaRūpa to have experience of the bhāvas of Nanda and Yaśodā. So similarly, in a history that we are not going to get into, that there was an impersonal personality Śukadeva even though Rādhārani’s parrot was never impersonal. So it was an impersonalist – an impersonal person who was a brahmavadi, who was merged in that svarūpa – who attained perfection. So we can see as simultaneous sadhana-siddha and nitya-siddha.

Anyhow, the function of bhāgavata-dharma is of paramount importance. Therefore Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākur practically exclusively propagated bhāgavata-dharma. And as you see on even our altar here, because his principle was followed by our Śrīla Prabhupāda, the guru-parampara set up here is not our dīkṣā-parampara but our bhāgavata-parampara. Even in the matter of worshiping the Deity – the installation of our Kṛṣṇa-BalaRāma and Rādhā-Śyāma and Gaura-Nitāi – Prabhupāda said that the real installation was hari-kīrtana, harināma-sankīrtana. That is the real process by which They were installed. And in truth, it is the real process by which They are worshipped, the real process by which the Lord of all sacrifices, who has appeared as Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, is worshipped in this age of Kali. What is that process? Nāma-sankīrtana. Hari-nāma-sankīrtana – not any nāma, but hari-nāma-sankīrtana. Hare-Kṛṣṇa-nāma-sankīrtana especially.

kṛṣṇa-varnam tviskṛṣṇam
sangopangastra-parsadam
yajṣaih sankīrtana-prayair

yajanti hi su-medhasah
(SB 11.5.32)

Those who have good brain substance will understand that it is by this sankīrtana-yajṣa that the Lord of sacrifices – the yajṣa-purusa, the enjoyer, the bhokta, bhoktaram yajṣa tapasam, the sankīrtana-yajṣa, the enjoyer of the kali-yuga-dharma, nāma-sankīrtana – that He is satisfied by this performance of hari-nāma-sankīrtana. So therefore in our line we give deference to the bhāgavata-system, of which this harināma-sankīrtana is a part. At the same time, however, we should not be in the illusion, as some people are, that our dīkṣā-sampradāya is in any way discrepant or faulty. We do have our dīkṣā-sampradāya; we do have our siddha-pranali. And that dīkṣā-sampradāya is coming from Nityananda, Jāhnavā-Nitāi, down through Bīrcandra Prabhu, to Nimai Cand Gosvāmī, to Gaurakiśora dāsa Babaji Mahāraja, to Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī. We should note that sometimes just to simplify the explanation, and also it has its validity. But it is mentioned because Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākur, Bimala Prasād, was the son of Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākur; therefore, there would be some impropriety in the son taking the dīkṣā from the father. But actually, there is no real impropriety, because Narada took dīkṣā from Brahma. And there are many, many other examples of fathers giving the dīkṣā-mantras to their sons. When we say dīkṣā, it means mantra-dīkṣā. When we say dīkṣā-pranali, dīkṣā-parampara, or dīkṣā-sampradāya . . . without receiving mantra through a bona-fide sampradāya, the chanting of the mantra will bear no fruit. Nisphala – no fruit. Do you think this ISKCON movement is just making a show-bottle dīkṣā program to dupe the followers into thinking that they are getting something real so as to solidify their faith until they find out that it is not real from the babajis? Then everyone becomes disturbed in their faith by hearing from certain babajis. A few of them are there at Rādhā-kuṇḍa. They say that Bhaktisiddhānta’s sampradāya, or the sarasvata line, is invalid because they have no dīkṣā-sampradāya. If you look at the pictures on the altar, you will see that okay, legitimately speaking, we can say that we have taken our dīkṣā-mantra – and dīkṣā-mantra means gayatri-mantra, so we have received our gayatri-mantra from Śrīla Prabhupāda. Prabhupāda received his gayatri-mantram from Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākur. Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākur received his . . . Of course, there are some foolish people who enviously say that he also did not do even that, but we don’t care about how they write their “history” books, because our authorities were there to see, and we accept them. No need to listen to everyone. Our authority, Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākur, and our Śrīla Prabhupāda, state that on a particular day at Surabhi-kunja at Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākur’s place, Gaurakiśora dāsa Babaji Mahāraja came the very same day that he in jest threw dust in Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākur’s face, telling him, “For you, this is my dīkṣā.” You may not know, but Nitāi dāsa Babaji Mahāraja was present at that time and reported the incident to many of the Rādhā-kuṇḍa babas. They are all of this opinion, but it is just like if the king sends his three servants out to report to him what is a train and one sees the light coming down the track and then he runs back to the king. But he was not around long enough to see that later on, the train pulled into the station and then he could have gotten a clear idea of what was going on. So similarly, Nitāi dāsa Babaji Mahāraja saw this one incident and concluded that Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākur`s claim to take dīkṣā from Gaurakiśora dāsa Babaji Mahāraja was bogus because throwing dust in the face is not a bona fide process of giving dīkṣā. Dīkṣā means transmission of transcendental knowledge in codified form via the kama-gayatri and kama-bija particularly – the mantra which, when purely disseminated, enlivens the aspirant with prema-bhakti-śakti. When it is received from a powerful spiritual master, a mahā-bhāgavata, the reception of that mantra is dīkṣā.

So it is quite a fact that we are having bona fide dīkṣā to the extent that we are receptive; our dīkṣā is not farcical. And to the extent that we are empowered, to that extent we can say that we have the adhikara to give the bona fide dīkṣā, as the mantras are coming in an unbroken chain of disciplic succession from Lord Nityananda.

It is not only that Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākur just wanted to rectify an overstress on jati-sampradāya going on at that time. Jati-sampradāya means seminal sampradāya. There is the father who is born in the line of Nityananda, Nityananda-vaṁśa, that these people who have taken birth from he who has taken birth from he who has taken birth . . . this family line is called parivara. But we do not recognize that, although it may also be valid to the extent of the power of the mantra and the purity of the individuals coming in that line. The dissemination of mantram is not dependant on material time, place, or circumstance. Whether someone is a father or a son, that is immaterial. Whether he is father or son or not, the dissemination of mantram is what matters – just like Nityananda disseminated the mantra to his son, Bīrcandra. It is not that just because someone is the son of a Vaiṣṇava he cannot receive mantram from his father. The effort to reverse the overstress on family lines, the establishment of sampradāya as per seminal parivara, that was an external thing. The internal thing is the power, the śakti, the bhakti-śakti, coming in the form of the sabda-brahman, which is disseminated via mantra-dīkṣā.

But we should also note that it was not so much that reason why Bhaktisiddhānta was instructed to go to Gaurakiśora dāsa Babaji Mahāraja. Rather, there is another reason that in certain respects may be considered more important, which we will not discuss at this point. I hope that no one is angry at me for this. But Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākur one time . . . Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākur’s dīkṣā-guru, Vipina Bihārī Gosvāmī, came to Bhaktivinoda’s house and placed his feet, as the guru might do, on the head of Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākur.

Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī, then still known as Bimala Prasād, did not take that lightly. He, objected, “You do not know who this person is! He is not an ordinary person of this world but a nitya-parikara of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. He is not a sadhaka who requires your blessings.” He also noted that Vipina Bihārī Gosvāmī had said that because we are brahmanas and Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī is of the kayasta-class, he would have to take blessings from us. That did not go over very well with Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī; he did not appreciate it. Rather, he saw it as a discrepancy in devotional attitude, that there was some caste consciousness manifesting in the words of Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākur’s guru. He would be param-guru if he were to take the dīkṣā from Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākur.

Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākur understood Bimala Prasād’s lack of faith in Vipina Bihārī Gosvāmī. So he directed him to go to the feet of Gaurakiśora dāsa Babaji Mahāraja, because Gaurakiśora dāsa Babaji Mahāraja . . . you will find that it is a very useful point as far as the cultivation of the bhajana, disseminated by Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākur. Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākur, you can read in Navadvipa-bhāva-taranga and also in his Gita-mala, is Kamala Mañjarī, the eternal maidservant of her Supreme Goddess, Śrīmati Ananga Manajari. And it is Ananga Mañjarī who introduces her, Kamala Mañjarī, Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākur, to Rūpa Mañjarī, Rūpa Gosvāmī.

Kamala Mañjarī has two sampradāyas, as do we. We have our dīkṣā-sampradāya, and we also have our bhāgavata-siksa-sampradāya. Kamala Mañjarī, Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākur, also has his dīkṣā-sampradāya, coming from Nityananda through Rāmacandra Gosvāmī and down through Vipina Bihārī Gosvāmī. And he also has his bhāgavata-sampradāya, coming through Jagannatha dāsa Babaji Mahāraja, who was also his vesa-guru. In his writings you can see that he gives expression to this relationship in the culture of the mādhurya-bhajana – to the relationship he has with both Ananga Mañjarī and Rūpa Mañjarī. And as previously mentioned, Ananga Mañjarī is the upa-mañjarī of Lalita Devī and Rūpa Gosvāmī is the mukhya-mañjarī of Lalita Devī. Both of them are serving the lotus feet of Śrīmati Lalita Devī, who is the principle sakhi of Rādhā. Just as he shows in his teachings about the cultivation of this mādhurya-bhāva, which he propagates in his writings, similarly, it is quite appropriate for the mādhurya-bhaktas, coming in the sarasvata-line in any of its branches (ISKCON being one of them) that Gaurakiśora dāsa Babaji Mahāraja’s dīkṣā-line is, like Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākur’s, coming from Nityananda, Jāhnavā-Nitāi. Jāhnavā is Ananga Mañjarī. So similarly, Gaurakiśora dāsa Bababji Mahāraja’s dīkṣā-pranali is coming from Jāhnavā-Nitāi, not via the Rāmacandra-dhara or the flow coming from Rāmacandra but via the flow coming from Bīrcandra Gosvāmī. And similarly, we have our bhāgavata-sampradāya, coming from Rūpa Gosvāmī.

There are inter-supportive features of our sampradāya’s legacy. So we should also appreciate – just as the dīkṣā-guru and the siksa-guru are equal manifestations of the mercy of Kṛṣṇa, as instructed by Kṛṣṇadāsa Kaviraja Gosvāmī in Caitanya-Caritamrta – the beauty and power of our dīkṣā-relationship with Lord Nityananda and Jāhnavā Devī. Those mantram that we are receiving through our dīkṣā-pranali, namely the gopala-mantra and the kama-gayatri-mantra, are, as mentioned by Dhyānacandra Gosvāmī in his Gaura-govinda-arcana-smaran-padati, actually rāga-mayi-mantras. They have the power to transport our consciousness to the realm of Vraja, to the feet of Vrajendra-nandana Kṛṣṇa, Śyāmasundara, and to the nitya-sevas of the nitya-līlās, the asta-kaliya-līlās of Śrī Śrī Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa.

Viśvanātha Cakravārtī Ṭhākur realized this by the mercy of Śrīmati Rādhārani, who appeared to him in a dream and explained that the kama-gayatri-mantra was a mantra for worshiping Her. This is the mantra for worshiping Rādhā. But it is a mantra for worshiping Rādhā in Her relationship with Her Kṛṣṇa. So we receive the kama-gayatri-mantra in our disciplic line, from Śrīmati Jāhnavā Devī, who is none other than Ananga Mañjarī, the topmost maidservant of Śrīmati Rādhārani. She is the younger sister of Rādhārani and the topmost among all the mañjarīs, including Rūpa Mañjarī (Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī), Mani Mañjarī, and Guna Mañjarī. All these mañjarīs, along with Ananga Mañjarī, serve in the nikunja-sevas of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. Ananga Mañjarī is the mādhurya-svarūpa of adi-guru Śrī Baladeva. So these are the mantram we receive, especially the kama-gayatri-mantra and gopala-mantra, and also the gaura-gayatri-mantra – Jāhnavā Devī introduced these.

The gaura-mantra also includes the bija-mantra klim.” This mantra is described by Dhyanacandra Gosvāmī as being capable of fulfilling all desires. All the desires that one may have in the heart may be easily fulfilled by chanting of this gaura-mantra. So if one desires to eternally serve in the land of Vraja the lotus feet of Śrī Śrī Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, that desire can be easily fulfilled by the chanting of the gaura-mantra and also by the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra – Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare, Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare – which bestows the attainment of the Vraja-līlās. You cannot attain the Vraja-līlā without having a Vraja-svarūpa. By this nāma-sankīrtana one can easily cross beyond all the difficulties of material entanglement and attain the realization of the eternal intrinsic svarūpa in the land of Vraja. It is not such a difficult thing; we only have to cry out for the mercy of Guru and Gauranga.

Nayana-Mani Mañjarī, just as Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākur as Kamala Mañjarī, her Supreme Goddess is Ananga-Mañjarī. So similarly, Nayana-Mani Mañjarī’s Supreme Goddess is also Ananga Mañjarī. One time, in Calcutta, at the Bhaga-bazaar Math, Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākur was speaking to a group of scholars from the Calcutta university and began by explaining to them that our line of disciplic succession is very, very sublime. Our line is coming from Radhika to Lalita Devī. He was explaining this to some scholars. Our line is coming from Śrīmati Radhika to Lalita Devī to Ananga Mañjarī. And as soon as he said “Ananga Mañjarī,” incessant tears poured from his eyes and he became completely choked up, incapable of speaking; he just couldn’t control it. He said only, “Our line is very exalted” – like that. Then he just folded his hands and said, “Please excuse me” and got up, went to his room, locked the door, and did not come out for three days. He didn’t eat, sleep, or anything. So Śrīmati Ananga Mañjarī is also the life and soul of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākur. By her grace, he gained the feet of Śrīmati Rūpa Mañjarī.

So we should never underestimate this. We are graced by the power of our dīkṣā-pranali and also our bhāgavata-sampradāya. Both have their power. Both are equal manifestations of the mercy of Lord Caitanya and Lord Nityananda. We should never deprecate or disparage or in any way slight the power of our dīkṣā-sampradāya and the dīkṣā-mantram that we have received through that dīkṣā-sampradāya. Dīkṣā-sampradāya means that sampradāya through which the mantram have been passed from the mouth of the guru to the ears of the disciple, and successive disciples. This is called dīkṣā-sampradāya. And siksa-sampradāya, bhāgavata-sampradāya, is the sampradāya through which the bhāgavata-siddhanta has been preserved and disseminated intact. So in this way, we should understand.

Nayana-Mani Mañjarī, she is a beautiful kisori-gopī – twelve years, three months, and fifteen days old. That is her eternal age. She has a bodily lustre and is pinkish in color. Śrīla Prabhupāda also said that his bodily color, in his spiritual svarūpa, is gaura-rata – golden with a reddish hue, with reddish highlights. So bodily color, Perhaps this is why Bhaktisiddhānta turned vivarna, whitish and then reddish-pinkish, because it was coming out, shining through.

Nayana-Mani Mañjarī’s nature, like Ananga Mañjarī’s and all the mañjarīs’ in her line, is vama-madhyam. Vama means “contrary” and madhya means “intermediately so.” Prakara means “harshly so” and mrti means “very softly so.” Rādhārani is vama-madhya; She has the capacity to be a little harsh when She needs to be. And She can also be soft. That is the beauty of the madhya-position. Kamala Mañjarī – Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākur in his Mañjarī-svarūpa – and Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākur are also vama-madhyam, and by their grace, I hope that I may also become vama-madhyam so that I can sometimes be a little harsh when necessary!

And Nayana-Mani Mañjarī’s seva –we should know something about what seva she does, and by extension, Kamala Mañjarī, Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākur’s seva as Kamala Mañjarī, his antara-vraja-svarūpa – is karpura-seva. She makes camphor for the pleasure of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa.

And Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākur in his vraja-mādhurya-svarūpa as Nayana-Mani Mañjarī – what does he, or she, do? Alakatak-seva, painting the soles of the feet of Śrīmati Rādhārani with lacquer. Every maidservant of Śrīmati Rādhārani can do so many varieties of sevas, but that is her main seva, which she desires most. And her kuñja is meghambuja-kuñja. Her nivasa, her place of residence, is Yavat and alternatively Varsana when Rādhārani goes there. One time, Bhaktisiddhānta was with a group of his disciples visiting Varsana and explained to them, “This is my eternal home, Varsana.”

So in this way we can understand a little something about the power of our sampradāya. I would like to read something to you, just to balance the scales a little bit, a quote from Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākur. You can find this in Mahānidhi Swami’s Gayatri-Mahima-madhuri-book, which is a nice book with a lot of good things in it. The first section of Chapter 4, about the guru-gayatri, describes how the sadhaka may see his guru in various ways. We have heard about Bhaktisiddhānta, so I think it is essential that on this day we should also hear something from him, which can help us appreciate his feelings and moods.

“Śrī Guru is the daughter of Vṛṣabhānu.” Who is the daughter of Vṛṣabhānu? Śrīmati Radhika, in the mādhurya-rasa. This is very interesting, so perk up a little bit – you hear? “There are different ways in which different persons whose faculty of spiritual consciousness has been aroused judge about their own requirements.” I have read this before. I read it one time before on Śrīla Prabhupāda’s appearance day just so that it may be seen in relationship to our Śrīla Prabhupāda. But now we can also see it simultaneously in relationship to our Śrīla Prabhupāda and to our Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākur Śrīla Prabhupāda. You have a right to judge about your own requirements – this should be noted. “Every enlightened person is privileged to have a sight of Śrī Guru in accordance with his or her particular mode of judgment” – about one’s own requirements. “Śrī Guru is that real entity who thus reveals himself to the view of the enlightened soul in a variety of ways. Realized by the method of vatsalya-rasa, Śrī Guru reveals himself as Nanda-Yaśodā. In sakhya-rasa, Śrī Guru is Śrīdhama, Subala, etc. In dasya-rasa, the lotus feet of Śrī Guru” – now get this, what he is saying – “the lotus feet of Śrī Guru act as Citrak and Patrak. So the lotus feet of Śrī Guru is acting as Rādhā, is acting as Lalita, is acting as Rūpa, is acting as Ananga-Mañjarī, etc.”

According to the individual’s disposition, natural spiritual predilection, the lotus feet will respond reciprocally. Ye yathā māṁ prapadyante tāṁs tathaiva bhajāmy aham (BG 4.11) And also, because Śrī Guru is the representative of Kṛṣṇa, the original guru, and Kṛṣṇa is bhāva-grāhī-janārdana, He reveals Himself in accordance with the desired bhāva of any individual soul. The considerations of all these asrayas, or shelters, meaning of the viṣaya, Kṛṣṇa, arises in the heart while progressing in the service of Śrī Guru. So we should check to see whether or not we are progressing. In other words, our service to Śrī Guru should and really ultimately must be progressive. If we are not progressing in the service of Śrī Guru, then we may not see or place any importance on these topics of discussion. But if we are in fact sincerely progressing in the service of our guru, then we must come to grips with the necessity of recognizing his antara-svarūpa in the cultivation with our eternal relationship with Kṛṣṇa. Otherwise we are cheating ourselves and also cheating our guru. But especially, we are cheating ourselves. Or you can say that we are cheated by the illusory energy of the Lord. They arise – the consideration of all these various asrayas, as Radhika, as Nanda-Yaśodā, as Śrīdhama, Subala, as Citrak and Patrak – spontaneously in the consciousness of fortunate souls upon the appearance of the disposition for spiritual service of the Divinity. We have no other function – the jīva has no other function – than the service of Śrī Guru.

So that is quite an important point of discussion because sometimes we see that those who are better known as gopī-bhāvakas tend to try to cram the mādhurya-rasa down everybody’s throat without having any consideration for the fact that different devotees may be having different spiritual dispositions. That was one of the main faults that Prabhupāda saw in the gopī-bhāva club. In one conversation, he was saying: “What is wrong with Nanda-Yaśodā? What is wrong with Subala? Why only gopīs?” – as if this is the only that our sampradāya is offering. But it should be noted that this is the highest thing that our sampradāya is offering! It is not that we slight, as if we are boycotting the highest esteemed svarūpa of our sampradāya. But rather, sometimes it is shown, just to help the devotees appreciate that they can get the highest thing at the feet of our guru-parampara. If it is not shown, there may be some discrepancy on our part in the matter of followers losing faith and going hither and thither to fulfil their spiritual aspirations in various ways. So, when we hear these things, we should hear them as if they are special messages. To hear them as if the ācārya is presenting them is also good. But you can also hear them as if they are special messages, coming from the disguised form of Śrīmati Mani Mañjarī, who wants to enlighten us about our progress, to the perfection of our Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

Sometimes we hear that Bhaktisiddhānta lectured at Rādhā-kuṇḍa on Śrī Isopanisad. He lectured on Śrī Isopanisad, and all the babajis, they became a little nonplussed, so to speak. They thought, “Here is a great, highly elevated mahā-bhāgavata rasikavaiṣṇavaācārya in the Gauḍīya-sampradāya. We should be able to get some nectar from this man.” But instead, just to a kind of put them in the place, which was Bhaktisiddhānta’s style, he lectured on Śrī Isopanisad.

But there is something more, which is revealed in an exerpt from a lecture Bhaktisiddhānta delivered at Rādhā-kuṇḍa during his Vraja-mandala-parikramā in 1932. It was printed in the Gauḍīya in 1934. Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī said, “All these days, we have not spoken about līlā.” This will help clarify. It is very important to understand what Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī wanted to express to us. Here, he was speaking about Isopanisad – on and on, ad infinitum – sambandha-tattva-jñāna and all these things, so as to smash all the discrepant behaviors of various people who claimed to be rasika-vaiṣṇavas, etc. But now he was going to enter into something that we should all note: “Why all these days I have not spoken about līlā? Why? Because because this is our most confidential asset. This is our only sadhya. But one should not make the mistake of thinking that anartha-nivṛtti is the prayojana.”

Anartha-nivṛtti, in other words, is not the goal – that is what he is saying. Anartha-nivṛtti is an indirect means to the goal, in itself not the means to the goal. “One, thinking like this, will never enter into artha-pravṛtti. For this reason, I will begin speaking about asta-kaliya-līlā.” So please do not think that he never spoke about this. He spent so much time, until all those, who perhaps lacked the sincerity, drifted away. Then, he began speaking: “One, thinking like this, that anartha-nivṛtti is our only business, that our only goal of life is to become free of our anarthas – one who makes that as the goal of his life, he will never enter into artha-pavrtti. For this reason, I will begin speaking about asta-kaliya-līlā. I know that you are not ready to hear it.” Listen to him! “Still, I will begin to speak about asta-kaliya-līlā, even though you are not ready to hear it. We should know such a transcendental idea exists within the realm of devotion. This is why anartha-nivṛtti is essential. After the realm of anartha-nivṛtti is artha-pravṛtti, pure conjugal service to Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. This is transcendental reality. If we do not know of this transcendental realm, then all of our efforts may end in nirviśeṣa- vāda. You know what is Nirviśeṣa-bad? Impersonalism. If we do not know of this realm, if we do not know of the asta-kaliya-līlās of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, if we do not know of the pure conjugal service to Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, if we do not know this transcendental reality, then all of our efforts may end in nirviśeṣa- vāda. Do not let your days pass in trying for anartha-nivṛtti. Do not, do not let your days pass in trying for anartha-nivṛtti. Artha- pravṛtti is also necessary. Anartha-nivṛtti is necessary until artha-pravṛtti has . . .” – not perfected, but what is the word he uses? – “. . . until artha-pravṛtti has started.” Not until it is finished! Anartha- nivṛtti is necessary until artha-pravṛtti has started. When artha-pravṛtti is present, then anartha-nivṛtti becomes unimportant. Artha-pravṛtti becomes prominent.

So this goes along with the previous discussion that we had concerning the importance and the necessity, the gradual distinction, in the gradual evolvement in our bhajana to simultaneously not slacken our anartha-nivṛtti. But it becomes less important as the artha-pravṛtti becomes more important, more prominent. In other words, the indirect program of anartha-nivṛtti as per hearing of the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa killing the demons, etc., becomes less prominent as we make advancement to the perfectional stage of ruci, āśakti, bhāva, and then the niṣṭhā, starting with niṣṭhita-bhajana. Then the direct process of hearing about Kṛṣṇa’s nitya-līlās becomes more and more prominent.

Those who have chanted harināma for fifteen or twenty years should know such things. The beginners need not hear these topics; they may misunderstand. But those who have been chanting for fifteen or twenty years, they must hear, they must know. These topics are for certain audiences, not for all. Also, it is said, Apana bhajana kathā na kahibe jata tata. One should not reveal one’s bhajana here and there, to anyone and everyone. If we disregard this instruction of our previous ācāryas, there may be a permanent fall from the realm of devotion. By removing the clothes of the gopīs, Kṛṣṇa obtained happiness. This is Kṛṣṇa’s sense gratification. We cannot ask, “Why is He a sense enjoyer?” Let us see Kṛṣṇa display the behavior of controlling His senses. Kṛṣṇa will not become a slave to our desires. Kṛṣṇa, by His own will, can show us sense restraint, and did so in His form as Gaurasundara. He showed the highest degree of renunciation when He accepted the renounced order of sannyasa. He would not let women come even within fifteen feet to offer obeisances. In His previous form, He was dancing in rasa etc., but as Gaurasundara, as Mahāprabhu, He demonstrated to the world, “You think I am a debauchee, but see! Can you do this?” By that example, He is informing us that no one, except Kṛṣṇa, has the right to remove the clothes of the gopīs. Our duty is to cultivate devotional service. Do not think that asta-kaliya-līlā-smarana is the property of the sahajiyas. Actually, it is our affair. It has to be retrieved from the hands of the sahajias. Our Śrī Guru pada padma heard these things from Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākur. That is why he used to tell us various confidential things. We have heard the last instruction from our Gurudeva, Śrīla Gaurakiśora dāsa Babaji Mahāraja. He said, “Living in Rādhā-kuṇḍa would be pleasant if you [Bhaktisiddhānta] can deliver it from the hands of eleven immoral men.” That is what Gaurakiśora dāsa Babaji said. And Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākur continued. Now, perhaps 11 has increased to 108. And our humble selves may add that now 108 has perhaps increased to 1008.

So anyway, I am just going to read the first two paragraphs or so of Bhaktisiddhānta’s own speech on his own Vyāsa-pūjā day, because it is extremely beautiful and very powerful. Then I want to read a few paragraphs from an essay from Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākur with the title “What is Gauḍīya Math doing?” I hope we have time.

This is Bhaktisiddhānta speaking at his Vyāsa-pūjā: “We have taken upon ourselves the responsibility of welcoming this grave charge. Everyone in the audience has accepted an ordinary seat. I alone have been provided with a lofty sitting place. Everyone is being told in effect, “Have a look at a big animal from the zoo gardens. What arrogance! So foolish! So wicked! Have you ever seen such a big brute? Garlands of flowers have been put around his neck. What laudations, what bombastic long-drawn and hyperbolic adjectives! And how complacently, too, he is listening to the praise of his own achievements. How intently and with his own ears he evidently feels delighted in mind. Is he not acting in plain violation of the teachings of Mahāprabhu? Can such a big brute, so selfish and insolent, ever be reclaimed from such brutishness?

“I happen to be one of the greatest of fools. No one offers me good advice, on account of my arrogance. In as much as nobody condescends to instruct me, I place my case before Mahāprabhu Himself. The thought occurred to me that I would turn over the charge of myself to Him and see what He would advise me to do in the matter of accepting guru-puja or Vyāsa-pūjā. Then Śrī Caitanya Deva said to me, ‘Whosesoever you meet, instruct him regarding Kṛṣṇa. By My command, be guru. Deliver this land. In this, you will not be obstructed by the current of the world. You will have My company again at this place.’

“In these verses is to be found the proper explanation of the apparent inconsistency noticed above. He who is only teaching is humility greater even than a blade of grass said, ‘By My command, be guru. Save this land. Deliver the people from their foolishness. Now whomsoever would happen to hear these words, would naturally protest with folded palms joined, “But I am really a great sinner. How can I be guru? You are Godhead Himself, the teacher of the world. Only You can be guru.” ’ To which Mahāprabhu replies, ‘In this, you will not be obstructed by the current of the world. You will have My company again at this place.’ Therefore, in this case, in telling others about Kṛṣṇa, there is no risk of forgetting Him.”

So anyway, that is what I am going to read from that one, because there are only a few minutes left. But you can understand the drift? He who has the right to be guru is he who is 100 percent surrendered. And there is one other thing: who has right to be guru should also be taken into consideration here. These are Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākur’s instructions regarding the matter of nāma-initiation: “Only the mahā-bhāgavata, Śrī Gurudeva, is able to give the name of Śrī Kṛṣṇa which is non-different from Kṛṣṇa.

nāma cintāmaṇiḥ kṛṣṇaś
caitanya-rasa-vigrahaḥ
pūrṇaḥ śuddho nitya-mukto
’bhinnatvān nāma-nāminoḥ
Padma Purana (or CC Madhya-līlā 17.133)

“Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s name is directly Śrī Kṛṣṇa. It is a spiritual transcendental object full of liquid mellowness. The Divine Name arises or manifests itself upon the tongue of someone who is favorable towards devotional service.

“One might ask at this point, ‘How favorable is “favorable”? How favorable does favorable have to be before favorable is considered favorable enough?’ The glorification, kīrtana, fraught with spiritual offences to the divine name, done by those who are inclined toward enjoyment (bhukti) or renunciation (mukti) is not the pure divine name. The pure divine name, śuddha-nāma, in the stage of offences to the divine name, nāma-aparādhā, is not the same. The mahā-bhāgavata, who is free from spiritual offences to the divine name and who takes shelter in the glorifications of the pure name, is alone fit to bestow the name of Śrī Kṛṣṇa.

“Of course, that could be explained a bit. There are three classes of mahā-bhāgavatas, and not all of them are at the stage of sadhya, the outcome of the devotional practices. One class has two feet in the spiritual world, extending his hand to the material world. He is a nitya-siddha-avatar coming from the spiritual world to pull people up to that position. That is the highest order of mahā-bhāgavata.

“The second order is one who has one foot in the spiritual world and one foot in the material world. That means that he has attained perfection; it means svarūpa-siddhi. He has realized his sthayi-bhāva. He is a bhāvuka, or a premi-bhakta.

“And then the third type of mahā-bhāgavata, he can be called as the devotee who has attained the stage of aśakti, or ruci. He has the pure name, because śuddha-nāma comes at the stage of ruci. But he still may have some residues of attachment to the mode of goodness, as was the case of Narada in his previous life as the son of a maidservant. He is the example given in the Sandharbas as such a mahā-bhāgavata.

“In Kali-yuga, there is no other dharma except uttering the name of Kṛṣṇa. Taking the name in whatever place, whether eating or sleeping, irrespective of time, place, or person, all is fulfilled. Whomsoever thou meet, instruct him about Kṛṣṇa. By my command, be guru and save this land. There is no other dharma of the jīvas except kīrtana, singing the names of God. To the extent that one disbelieves in bhakti . . .” – so mind you; there are degrees of faith and disbelief – “. . . to the extent that one disbelieves in bhakti as denoted by kīrtana of the holy name,” – in other words, those who think that all wants cannot be fulfilled by doing harināma-sankīrtana – “to that extent such people are nastik or atheistic. The degree of help one gives to the propagation of bhakti as denoted by kīrtana of the holy name is the sole measurement, the sole measure of one’s belief in God. On the other hand, a man is a nastik, or disbeliever, to the extent that he obstructs kīrtana. As the name has to be taken at every moment, while eating or sleeping, as bhakti denoted by kīrtana of the holy name is the only dharma of the jīva, as there is no other dharma except this, where is the time for getting rid of flood or famine, or founding hospitals? Those who, claiming to be positivists” – materialistic positivists, with a positive outlook on the material world – “are forgetful of the greatest of all facts that is death. Those who, being fallen – the blind man led by the blind under the spell of enchantress – loiter about like travelers without an objective. It is such people that have time for work other than hari-kīrtana, singing the names of Kṛṣṇa. All other efforts are the cause of samsara,” – bondage to this cycle of repeated birth and death – “the road leading not to the east but in the opposite direction. All-time hari-kīrtana is turning away from any other direction to face the east, or journey homeward.

The Gauḍīya Math” – or we can replace “Gauḍīya Math” with “ISKCON” so we can see that it also applies to us – “is the missionary of this all-time kīrtana. The Gauḍīya Math begs every one of us to offer his all to Kṛṣṇa. The dhum-dham, or pomp and display, of the nice temples of the Gauḍīya Math” – or ISKCON – “is for the sole purpose of making all efforts of the world kṛṣṇa-para, having Kṛṣṇa as their goal. The offering to Kṛṣṇa comes first, and after the offering has been made, bhakti begins. The Gauḍīya Math says, “Make the offering to Kṛṣṇa first, and after that has been done, profess to be a bhakta, a devotee.” The Gauḍīya Math says, “Do not imitate the kīrtana-kari” – one who does kīrtana. “Dhang, burlesque” (where a lady gradually takes off one garment after another to entice the minds of lusty types of men of this world) – “is the other name of anukarana, imitating the activities of the kīrtana-kari without following the principles of the kīrtana-kari. By arraying oneself in the trappings of dhang or shang” – like a harlequin or court jester – “people can be deceived. In other words, by putting on the trapping, by show-bottle devotion, people can be deceived, but no good is done either to oneself or to others. It is those who follow the kīrtana-kari that are really their own benefactors, properly alive to self-interest and also benefactors of others, mindful of others’ interests. They are not blinded by considerations of undue personal advantage, nor do they cheat others. They are, therefore, truly disinterested. It is by kīrtana alone that the claims of self-interest, interest in others, and disinterestedness are simultaneously satisfied.”

So we will stop there. It that understood? By kīrtana alone, one can claim to be interested in his own welfare, interested in the welfare of others, and truly disinterested in the trappings or, you can say, the facilities, of this material cosmic manifestation which are meant for Kṛṣṇa’s pleasure. Hare Kṛṣṇa.

 


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