Follow the Angels – The Path of Dedication
Part 3 – Higher Talks
With the stirring of the soul from its identification with the body and the mind, the proper understanding will come gradually in one’s spiritual development. As we advance beyond the tendency for renunciation into devotional service, the first decision is whether to aim for Vaikuṇṭha or Goloka. First we must decide that. If we are not satisfied after staying some time in Vaikuṇṭha, we will get the connection of the higher sādhu, Kṛṣṇa’s agent. And we will be taken on to the higher sphere.
This is clearly depicted in Bṛhad-bhāgavatāmṛta. Gradually one will continue on the way to Ayodhyā, and from there to Dvārakā, and on to Vṛndāvana. According to one’s stirring in the heart, the current environment will become gradually tasteless.
In line with one’s sukṛti and inner adaptability, awakening is accomplished by circumstantial influences. With that stirring, the inner soul derives some taste, and according to that taste one adjusts to the environment. In keeping with the internal taste, we recognize our own – this paraphernalia, these friends, this type of service. These seem to be our own. It is very attractive – very, very attractive. Our appeal is according to taste. In this way we feel attraction for some sort of nourishment.
The awakened souls will be able to select the proper environment. Inner taste will guide us. This is very charming and attracts our hearts. We always seem to be helpless. We can’t control ourselves. We feel so much attraction for that particular goal. In that way, we will be directed. Intuition will direct us. That will come to us for selection, for acceptance – elimination and acceptance. With the sādhana, with the process of realization, elimination and selection will come gradually.
Why have we come to Kṛṣṇa? For what reason have we come? Why has Kṛṣṇa consciousness attracted our soul, our inner heart? Formerly, we had some conception of religion. But why did we leave that, so many formalities, such association, so many friends within that circle? Why did we leave? Who is to take care of us here in Kṛṣṇa consciousness? Why have we come, taking some risk? The country, the society, the religious conception, why have we left them and come forward for Kṛṣṇa consciousness? That same tendency will again drive us to select different departments of service in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
That inner tendency, the inner hankering, this sort of service is very pleasing. We can’t but associate with this sort of service. That will be the guide: cooperation with caitya-guru, the guru inside, the dictator inside. Our guru is outside and inside. When we cannot catch the dictation of the internal guru, we want some guidance from the external mahānta-guru and the scripture. And when we reach a certain stage, from there our ruci (taste) may guide us. Our inner dictating tendency may guide us, as birds and other creatures are guided by intuition.
Higher Vision of Guru
Although Prabhupāda took initiation from Gaura-kiśora Dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja as suggested by Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, still he held Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura as his real guru. He took Gaura-kiśora Dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja as Gurudeva only by the order of Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura. Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura selected for him.
We have seen that Prabhupāda took Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura as guru from the internal consideration. His outside and inside was filled with Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, not in the physical sense, but in the spiritual sense. He installed Deities of Vinoda-Vilāsa, Vinoda-Rāma, Vinoda-Ānanda, and Vinoda-Prāṇa in many maṭhas. We saw his attempt also through his Gurudeva, Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, to approach Rādhā-Govinda and Mahāprabhu. It was inconceivable, not possible without Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura’s influence in him.
Once I attempted to write something about Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, and that became the key to his affection for me. Because I tried to express publicly in a systematic way the greatness and character of Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, his attention was drawn to me. It is my own feeling that Prabhupāda will give everything to that lofty spirit who is a little attached to Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura.
Prabhupāda Sarasvatī Ṭhākura saw Rādhārāṇī and Gadādhara in Bhaktivinoda, the highest ideal of guru-tattva – Gaura-Gadādhara in mādhurya-rasa, and Rādhārāṇī in kṛṣṇa-līlā. Prabhupāda said that if we raise our head a little higher and look up, then we shall find Rādhārāṇī and Gurudeva. It is Rādhārāṇī who is instrumental in accomplishing the function of Gurudeva from behind. The source of grace for the guru is coming from the original source of service and love. He used to see Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura in that light.
Sākṣād dharitvena samasta śāstraiḥ – we are asked to see Gurudeva not as opaque but as transparent, to such a degree that through him the highest conception of service, the first conception of service can be seen. It can be obtained there. If we are earnest then we shall find the highest link from the original source. We are requested not to see guru as limited in his ordinary personification, but as the transparent mediator of the highest function in his line. If only our vision is deep, we can see that according to the depth of our śraddhā, our vision, guru-tattva is very peculiar, very noble, very broad, wide and very deep.
We are warned against thinking that Gurudeva has mortal qualities. Prabhupāda in his ideal conduct has shown this to us, how much earnestness one may have for Gurudeva. We have seen this in his practice, in his ways and advice. Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura was completely awakened within him – everything for Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura.
What high kind of realized conception Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura has given us! We should not think that he acquired this knowledge in one lifetime. It may seem, from the ordinary events of life, that this was the natural development of jñāna-śūnya-bhakti. In his youth, Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura had some other tendencies. He married twice. Still, that does not negate that he is an eternal servitor of the Lord. Otherwise such intensity and such depth of feeling cannot come abruptly. Prabhupāda saw him as the representation of Gadādhara Paṇḍita. He saw Gaura-kiśora as Svarūpa Dāmodara and Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura as Gadādhara Paṇḍita.
The advent day of Gadādhara Paṇḍita is on amāvasyā, on the new moon, the night of the dark moon. Mahāprabhu came in the full moon, pūrṇimā, and He drew the entirety of internal wealth from Gadādhara Paṇḍita. Mahāprabhu made him quite empty. He sent Gadādhara Paṇḍita on a black night in the hot summer season. In Mahāprabhu’s case, He descended on the night of the full moon during a very good season. Kṛṣṇa descended in the middle of the lunar period. Rādhārāṇī also appeared in the middle. When They combined as One, They appeared under the full moon. But Gadādhara Paṇḍita appeared under the blackest night.
Gadādhara Paṇḍita appeared and disappeared during the summer season, under the new moon. Mahāprabhu took the fullest advantage from Gadādhara, and sent him to the most negative position. Gadādhara Paṇḍita gave himself voluntarily to Him. His very heart was drawn by Mahāprabhu, bhāva-kānti. And he, just like a shadow, gave the entirety of his wealth to Mahāprabhu. Gadādhara Paṇḍita was a shadow, running after Him as if his heart had been stolen. This Person stole all his wealth, and he was fully dependent on Him. Like a shadow, he is moving after Him.
Rādhārāṇī has two corresponding moods: She is Rādhā in kṛṣṇa-līlā, and in gaura-līlā, the mood of distribution, She is Gadādhara. In gaura-līlā, Kṛṣṇa Gaurāṅga appears with the bhāva-kānti of Rādhārāṇī as Gadādhara, the man standing by His side like niṣkiñcana, one who has lost everything. He is standing there just like a facsimile, only a carcass, only the form without the spirit.
But Gadādhara has so much inner attraction for Mahāprabhu that it surpasses all of His other associates. In Gadādhara we find personified love for Gaurāṅga. No such degree of love for Gaurāṅga can be found anywhere else. Next in affection is Svarūpa Dāmodara. Then comes Rūpa and Sanātana, in the mādhurya-līlā connection – then Nityānanda, and Śacī-mātā in the vātsalya connection. Advaita Prabhu and Śrīvāsa Paṇḍita also have love for Mahāprabhu, but their devotion is of another type. It is not so deep from the point of view of love, but a respectful attachment.
Gadādhara Paṇḍita tolerated injustice his whole life. All wealth was plundered from his heart. As with Rādhārāṇī, everything is ransacked by Kṛṣṇa to enhance His līlā. And the real owner, he is treated as if he were bankrupt. Gadādhara is bankrupt in his own wealth – that is his position.
He is wholly dedicated to Mahāprabhu. Gadādhara Paṇḍita’s position, the part he played, was something like that of Rādhārāṇī – Her heart stolen by Kṛṣṇa, the empty body still standing. Rādhā-bhāva-dyuti-suvalitaṁ naumi kṛṣṇa-svarūpam – he was fully engrossed in the conception of Śrī Gaurāṅga. Gaurāṅga took everything from him, so he had no other alternative – he was fully absorbed, captured completely by Him.
We find his activity throughout his whole life was like this. Of the other devotees, some were ordered to go to Vṛndāvana, and some were allowed to go there, but though Gadādhara Paṇḍita wanted to visit Vṛndāvana with Mahāprabhu Himself, he was denied. When Jagadānanda Paṇḍita asked to go there, Mahāprabhu, with hesitation, granted him permission, “Yes, go there, but move always under the guidance of Rūpa and Sanātana.” He also gave him some special instructions. But Gadādhara Paṇḍita was not allowed to go there.
He was the expansion of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī Herself, yet his peculiar position was such – the Queen of Vṛndāvana, but now transferred to Navadvīpa. His position had become just the opposite – he could not enter Vṛndāvana! He prayed for permission, but Mahāprabhu did not give it. He said, “No, stay and live here.” And he had to do so. Śrī Gadādhara Paṇḍita represents the Predominated Moiety of the Whole. The Whole consists of Predominating and Predominated Moieties, and he represents the Predominated half. He is one half of the Absolute Truth.
Halo of Rādhāraṇī
Gadādhara Dāsa represents the halo of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, but Gadādhara Paṇḍita represents Her mood, Her nature, Her heart. Gadādhara Dāsa is accepted as kānti, bhāva-kānti. Rādhā-bhāva-dyuti-suvalitaṁ. Rādhārāṇī is conceived as divided into two – the inner mood and the outer luster. So Dāsa Gadādhara is conceived as the outer luster, and Paṇḍita Gadādhara is seen as the inner mood. Mahāprabhu has actually assumed both, and the remaining shadow is represented in them.
Dāsa Gadādhara used to stay near Calcutta, in Eṅḍiyādaha. He was a simple and straight-minded man. One day he approached the Kazi (Muslim Governor), “You Kazi, you must take the Name of Kṛṣṇa!”
“Why? I am a Muslim. Why should I take the Name of Kṛṣṇa?”
“Oh, you have taken it already! You have taken the Name of Kṛṣṇa!” And he embraced him. “Yes, you have taken.” The Kazi was friendly to him.
We find something more important in Gadādhara Dāsa and in his last days he came to take charge of that place in Katwa where Mahāprabhu took sannyāsa, and he opened a temple there. Those who are at present in charge of that temple are in the disciplic line of Dāsa Gadādhara. His samādhi is also there.
Gadādhara Paṇḍita as Rukmiṇī
We may look to the outer aspect of Gadādhara – his bhāva has been taken, emptied. Rukmiṇī means dakṣiṇa, not vāma. The vāma nature is a little aggressive, and fights with the lover. Dakṣiṇa tolerates everything, whatever comes, only with a defensive attitude. That is dakṣiṇa, that is the mood of Rukmiṇī. So when Mahāprabhu plunders the spirit of Rādhārāṇī, the rebellious vāma nature, what remains is comparable to Rukmiṇī – a passive seer, without any power to assert, only an onlooker. An onlooker, tolerating everything, a very pitiable condition that elicits kindness and sympathy from everyone.
Just see what He is and what She is, and what is Her position now. See how Her lover has taken everything from Her, looted everything from Her, leaving Her as a beggar wandering in the street. Rādhārāṇī, when ransacked to such a degree by Kṛṣṇa, becomes Gadādhara, the pitiable figure. But Her wealth cannot abandon Her forever. She is the proprietor – the owner cannot be far off. After a long time, all must come to Her again, someday. And those who serve Her in Her day of distress will receive a great remuneration when She recalls Her property.
Gadādhara is the āśraya (shelter) and Gaura is the viṣaya (enjoyer). But viṣaya has taken the mood, the nature of āśraya. That is Gaura, both shelter and enjoyer combined. When Kṛṣṇa assumes the characteristics of Rādhikā, He is Gaura. The inaugurator of nāma-saṅkīrtana is Gaura-Nārāyaṇa. He is viṣaya-avatāra, the incarnation of enjoyment. Gaurāṅga is Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa combined – He is Kṛṣṇa in the mood of Rādhikā. He has accepted the nature of Rādhikā.
When He is searching after Himself, trying to taste what sort of ecstasy is in Himself, that self-searching Kṛṣṇa is Gaurāṅga. He is trying to understand Himself, what sort of ecstasy is within Him. Kṛṣṇa in the mood of His devotee, that is Gaurāṅga – introspection, self-seeking, searching for His own wealth.
He is also distributing it to others. He is inquiring about Himself and distributing that personally to the public. That is Gaurāṅga, showing how He should be served by serving Himself. He is demonstrating to the public how He should be served. And for that He took the mood of Rādhārāṇī, to search after Himself. What is there? Why should others come to Him, what is He that so attracts them? And then He is giving Himself to others. Kṛṣṇa is guru. When Kṛṣṇa Himself is guru, then He is Gaurāṅga.
nityam naumi navadvipe, nāma-kīrtana-narttanaiḥ
I continuously sing the glories of Gaurāṅga, who is the Supreme Lord Śrī Hari, embraced by the heart and halo of Śrī Rādhikā, and who has descended as Śrī Guru. In the holy abode of Śrī Navadvīpa-dhāma, He is absorbed in the pastimes of profusely chanting the Holy Names, dancing in ecstasy. (Prapanna-jīvanāmṛtam 1.3)
Gadādhara Paṇḍita is rādhā-bhāva-dyuti-suvalitaṁ. The entire wealth of Rādhārāṇī’s feelings, Her sentiments, mood, and even Her luster were taken by Kṛṣṇa. Rādhārāṇī voluntarily gave all these things. “I can’t allow You to roll on the earth with Your body. I shall enfold You.” That emptiness we find in Gadādhara Paṇḍita – he is running after Mahāprabhu as His shadow. But he is not poor. It is his wealth that has given Mahāprabhu such a dignified position. Some even think that He is superior to Kṛṣṇa Himself, that magnanimous Gaurāṅga, the public deliverer of Kṛṣṇa. For our interest, on behalf of the fallen souls, Gaura has come to us for general relief work.
We cannot but think that He is greater than Kṛṣṇa. And Gadādhara Paṇḍita’s contribution is there in Him. In the high summer, in the darkest night, Gadādhara Paṇḍita appeared. But that does not mean that we should underestimate him. What is his reality, his nature as Rādhārāṇī, we have to inquire, understand, and realize.
Gadādhara Paṇḍita disappeared on amāvasyā, during the dark moon. Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura also passed away under the dark moon. Prabhupāda has written, gadādharera dina dhari pāiyācche gaura-hari. Prabhupāda noted something common to Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura and Gadādhara Paṇḍita, that they disappeared on the same day. In this connection Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura received the grace of Śrī Gaurāṅga. Bhaktivinoda is a favorite of His – Prabhupāda has revealed this.
In another place he wrote that the eternal pastimes are always going on in Navadvīpa-dhāma. Sometimes they are underground, invisible to us, and sometimes on the surface. Nitya-līlā always is invisible to us. Now, suddenly, these two personalities have come to the surface, Gadādhara Paṇḍita and Svarūpa Dāmodara. Both have come. Svarūpa Dāmodara came as Gaura-kiśora and Gadādhara Paṇḍita came as Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura. This is not to be given expression in any and every place. This is concealed truth, not to be expressed everywhere and anywhere. This is the fact – they are always here, continuing their own function, their participation in the līlā of Gaurāṅga. Sometimes it is underground, sometimes over-ground, but it is always difficult to recognize them.
Prabhupāda wrote, “I suddenly found Svarūpa Dāmodara as Gaura-kiśora, and Gadādhara Paṇḍita as Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura – they most graciously gave me that sort of vision. I could see them as two pārṣadas, the eternal companions of Gaurāṅga. I found that.” It is mentioned in the conclusion to his Caitanya-caritāmṛta Anubhāṣya, “Here, in Navadvīpa-dhāma, the eternal pastimes are going on continuously – only those who have got that deep vision can perceive it.”
gadādhara mitra-vara, śrī svarūpa-dāmodara
sadā kāla gaura-kṛṣṇa yaje
jagatera dekhi’ kleśa, dhariyā bhikṣuka-veśa
aharahaḥ kṛṣṇa-nāma bhaje
śrī gaura icchāya dui, mahimā ki kava mui
prakaṭa haiyā seve, kṛṣṇa-gaurābhinna-deve
aprakāśya kathā yathā tathā
Prabhupāda says, “It is very difficult to perceive the sweet will of Śrī Gaurāṅga, but if we can lift ourselves to that level, we see that Svarūpa Dāmodara Gosvāmī and Śrī Gadādhara Paṇḍita are always engaged in their service here in Navadvīpa. Sometimes it is suppressed and sometimes it is appearing on the surface. In that plane all is going on by the sweet will of Śrī Gaurāṅga, without any restriction. But now I find that those two have appeared on the surface as Śrīla Gaura-kiśora Dāsa Bābājī and Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura. I have seen it with my own eye of divine service. But this is not to be advertised, not to be given publicity anywhere and everywhere – people will laugh at it. But this is my heartfelt conclusion.”
We are the children of a limited soil, we are children of the limited aspect of the world. Many things are impossible for us. We are accustomed to think that everything is impossible. Only that with which I have acquaintance in my little experience is possible, other things are all impossible. We are trained to think like that. But if we think about the Infinite, it is just the opposite. Anything and everything may be possible, bad or good. In the transcendental world, the goodness, the sweetness has no end. And there are different gradations.
Progress by Grace of the Higher
In this we have to make advancement, progress. That thought comes – pratyakṣa, apratyakṣa, adhokṣaja, aparokṣa, and aprākṛta. These are the five layers of knowledge. Pratyakṣa is where we are awake now. In parokṣa, we consider the sense experience of others as part of our knowledge. Aparokṣa is independent of all our experience, and there we faint. That is samādhi. We cannot feel our low environment, but only our personal consciousness in slumber, deep slumber. Only personal consciousness is present, without any conception of the environment.
And then, by the grace of the higher world, when they take us in there, we wonderfully have some experience of the transcendental world. It is by their grace, by their mercy, not as a matter of right. That is the highest stage, aprākṛta, very similar to this, my world of experience, but it will hold the highest position of existence and sweetness in every way – harmony and ecstasy.
“I shall feed you amply – you won’t be able to taste it all. Such sweetness is there in an unlimited way. I can say very easily, give up everything you have. What do you have? Nothing. Your experience and the wealth you have, janma mṛtyu jarā vyādhi, birth, death, old age and disease – all will pass, they will leave you. They will disappoint you in the next moment. So, you have nothing. Give up the attraction for the present environment. Come, jump desperately to come near Me, and I shall give you shelter. You will be compensated amply.” This is the call of Kṛṣṇa in Bhagavad-gītā. Mahāprabhu instructed also, “Give up everything, take the Name of the Lord and prepare yourself to go to home. You were not created for trifling in this dishonorable life – your home is there. You are in the midst of the cremation ground and if you like, you can go there, to that honorable land. Save yourself and try to attain your inner fulfillment and the worth of your existence there.”
Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura was fond of Gaura-Gadādhara worship. They are there in his samādhi in Godruma and also in the Narasiṅgha mandira at Yogapīṭha, Māyāpura. Gaura-Gadādhara are established in two places. Prabhupāda also installed Gaura-Gadādhara in Gadāi-Gaurāṅga Maṭha at Baliyati, Dacca. Prabhupāda established Their worship there.
Gaura and Gadādhara represent a complete mādhurya conception and more. In Them there is separation, union in separation – Gadādhara Paṇḍita has Rādhārāṇī’s bhāva. Although he was the possessor of that wealth, Mahāprabhu took it and he stood empty, plundered, following Mahāprabhu as if his heart had been stolen. Yet, he cannot shun Him, nor leave Him. Wherever Mahāprabhu goes, Gadādhara Paṇḍita runs after Him like a poor man. All his wealth has been stolen. With an empty bag, without any vanity, with a vacant heart he is running in pursuance of Mahāprabhu. That is his position.
Prema-vaicittya, separation in union, union and separation. It is like mādhurya–rasa, but a vow has been taken. In the temple, both husband and wife may be engaged in the worship of the Lord. Though both of them are present, wife and husband together, some vow is taken so they cannot enjoy. What is their attitude? They do not act as husband and wife, but one is engaged in worship, and the other is supplying the materials for worship. They are separated, but still Gadādhara stands in the position of Rādhārāṇī. They have taken a vow together. That sort of sambhoga is present, spiritual separation in physical proximity. The highest purity is there, without any enjoyment. Still, it is līlā-vilāsa, the amorous pastime. It is like that – that is Gaura-Gadādhara.
Sometimes in the case of Rādhārāṇī and Kṛṣṇa, They experience prema-vaicittya. They are standing closely together, yet still experience some feeling of separation. So intense is Their feeling. Even though They are together, They are feeling the pain of intense separation. That is prema-vaicittya. A pastime is mentioned wherein Kṛṣṇa, Rādhārāṇī, and sakhīs are present. Rādhārāṇī sees Her image in the body of Kṛṣṇa. It is so transparent, the body of Kṛṣṇa. Rādhārāṇī’s image is reflected there, and Rādhārāṇī thinks, “Oh, there is another lady with a golden coloured body.” She is very much engaged in jealousy. And Lalitā comes and explains that the reflection of Rādhārāṇī is not another sakhī, “That is your reflection on His body.” Then She is satisfied.
We are told that service offered when They are in separation has a greater importance than when They are united. When They are separated, They feel great pain, and service at that time is an utmost necessity. Where do we find this greatest necessity? In Gadādhara Paṇḍita, in Rādhārāṇī. Her bhāva is plundered by Mahāprabhu and She is bereft of all Her property. Like the poorest of the poor She is standing. It is so pitiable and pathetic that it demands service. Service here will be of the greatest value. In that state, our service will attract the greatest remuneration – even a little service will earn much of the divine compensation.
Vṛṇdāvana is for the Shallow Thinkers
In this connection, our Guru Mahārāja once surprised us greatly, “You all know that only the bogus, hollow people and men of shallow thinking like Vṛndāvana.” I was very much perplexed to hear this. I had been told that Vṛndāvana is the highest place of spiritual perfection. I had heard that one who has not mastered his senses cannot enter Vṛndāvana. Only the liberated souls can enter Vṛndāvana and have the opportunity of discussing Kṛṣṇa. Vṛndāvana is for the liberated souls. Those who are not liberated from the demands of their senses may live in Navadvīpa, but only the liberated souls may live in Vṛndāvana. Now Prabhupāda was saying that the shallow thinkers appreciate Vṛndāvana, but a man of real bhajana, real divine aspiration, aspires to live in Kurukṣetra. Hearing this, I felt as if I had fallen from the top of a tree. “What is this?” I am a very acute listener, so I was very keen to catch the meaning of his words. The next thought he gave us was that Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, after visiting many different places of pilgrimage, remarked, “I would like to spend the last days of my life in Kurukṣetra. I shall construct a cottage near Brahma-kuṇḍa and pass the rest of my life there. Kurukṣetra is the real place of bhajana.”
Why? Service is more valuable according to the intensity of its need. Shrewd merchants seek a market in wartime because in that dangerous situation, money is spent like water, without any care for its value. They can earn more money during war. In the same way, when Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī’s necessity reaches its zenith, service to Her becomes extremely valuable. According to its necessity, service is valued. And in Kurukṣetra, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī is in the highest necessity because Kṛṣṇa is so close, but Their vṛndāvana-līlā is impossible.
In a game, if the ball is just inches from the goal, but is driven back, it is considered a great loss. In the same way, after a long separation, Kṛṣṇa is there in Kurukṣetra. The hankering for union felt by His devotees must come to its greatest point, but because He is in the role of a king, they cannot meet intimately. The circumstances do not allow the vṛndāvana-līlā to take place. So at that time, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī needs the highest service from Her group, the sakhīs.
Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura says that in that situation, a drop of service will attract the greatest amount of prema, divine love. In the pastimes of Rādhā-Govinda, there are two aspects – sambhoga, divine union, and vipralambha, divine separation. When Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa are very near to each other, but can’t meet intimately, service at that time can draw the greatest gain for the servitors. Therefore, Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura says, “I shall construct a hut on the banks of Brahma-kuṇḍa in Kurukṣetra and contemplate rendering service to the Divine Couple. If I can achieve that standard where the prospect of service is so high, then there is no possibility of returning to this mundane plane at any time.”
Rūpa Gosvāmī wrote two books about Mādhava Kṛṣṇa – one is Vidagdha Mādhava, the other Lalitā-mādhava. Vidagdha Mādhava Kṛṣṇa lives in Vṛndāvana – He is a very clever Mādhava, very clever. And Lalitā Mādhava Kṛṣṇa is very submissive, very playful. Lalitā Mādhava went to Mathurā and then to Dvārakā, and Rūpa Gosvāmī writes that although externally we find Rādhārāṇī and Candrāvalī and Their circle of friends, there they are inconceivably transformed into different forms.
Rukmiṇī and Satyabhāmā, the mahiṣīs (queens), they must have their original svayaṁ-rūpa in Rādhārāṇī, Lalitā, Candrāvalī. That is Śrī Rūpa’s feeling. They are not independent, their origin is in Rādhārāṇī. And when they come into lawful relation with Kṛṣṇa in mādhurya–rasa, they assume a partial form. The fullness is in Śrī Rādhikā, and the partial expansion in all these mahiṣīs. Rādhikā and all the other gopīs are represented only partially in Dvārakā.
It is peculiar to think that the pradhāna-mahiṣī, the principal queen, is Rukmiṇī. How could she come from Candrāvalī? And the secondary position represents Śrī Rādhikā, Who is the highest in Vṛndāvana, in mādhurya-rasa. This is a peculiar thing, and we are to follow in this way. Feeling holds the highest place, the highest value, and in a little lower layer, intelligence gets the better hand.
Candrāvalī’s special capacity was her intelligence and patience, along with other general qualifications. Rādhārāṇī’s capacity is more emotional. So, in the secondary līlā, She obtains the secondary position. Satyabhāmā represents Rādhārāṇī, and Candrāvalī, Her main opposition, has the first class position there in a little lower strata. These things are very abstruse and difficult to understand.
Rādhārāṇī and Rukmiṇī are of the same line, and that was represented by Gadādhara Paṇḍita in gaura-līlā. In gaura-līlā the peculiarity is this – the bhāva, the sentiment, the mood, the emotion of Rādhārāṇī was taken by Mahāprabhu Himself, Kṛṣṇa Himself. So, Gadādhara Paṇḍita is Rādhārāṇī, who was emptied of feeling. His mood is drawn from Him, so only a carcass is left. Gadādhara Paṇḍita holds a shadow-like position in gaura-līlā.
Rukmiṇī’s characteristic was maintained there in Gadādhara Paṇḍita. Sober, considerate, patient – all these things, all these qualities remained there in him. Therefore, sometimes it is said that he is the avatāra of Rukmiṇī. But really, his position was that of Rādhārāṇī, who was plundered by Kṛṣṇa, and both combined became Mahāprabhu. That is the peculiar position he holds. Just like a shadow, he cannot leave Śrī Gaurāṅga. Wherever Śrī Gaurāṅga goes, he follows from a distance. He does not know anything but Gaurāṅga. Still, he is not seen to come forward – he is always in the background. In this way he played his role as Gadādhara Paṇḍita.
The Highest Position of Sacrifice
Kṛṣṇa and Rādhārāṇī were born between the new moon and the full moon. But Mahāprabhu took His birth under the full moon, and Gadādhara Paṇḍita under the new moon. New moon means no moon. The full moon was taken by Mahāprabhu, and the new moon was taken by Gadādhara Paṇḍita. He is master of everything, but he has given everything to his Master, and he is empty. He is empty, he is playing in such a way his part, Gadādhara Paṇḍita. He stands in the highest position of sacrifice. This is the ontological perspective.
The Life of Gadādhara Paṇḍita
From the historical perspective we find that he was born in a brāhmaṇa family in the place known presently as Bhāratapura. At that time many gentlemen had their homes in the capital, as Navadvīpa was a famous town for the brāhmaṇas to cultivate their learning. So they had a home in this place, where Māyāpura is located at present. Mādhava Miśra was the name of his father and Ratnāvatī was his mother’s name. They lived here, and he was a student. Gadādhara Paṇḍita was a very meek and modest student, and from his childhood he was devoted to Nārāyaṇa, Kṛṣṇa.
Nimāi Paṇḍita, Śrī Caitanyadeva, manifested His character as an impertinent aggressor, and extraordinary genius. Gadādhara Paṇḍita was very much just the opposite. But Gadādhara Paṇḍita had some natural inclination and submission towards Nimāi Paṇḍita. And Nimāi Paṇḍita also had some special attraction for Gadādhara. Gadādhara Paṇḍita could not face Nimāi directly. He felt some sort of shyness around Nimāi Paṇḍita. And when Nimāi saw that he was trying to remain aloof, He would not let him go, but was always asking him perplexing questions.
Nimāi Paṇḍita returned from Gayā as a changed man, as a devotee. Meeting Gadādhara Paṇḍita, Nimāi addressed him, “Your life is fulfilled. From childhood you are devoted to Nārāyaṇa, to Kṛṣṇa, but My whole life is spoiled. I passed My early days in ordinary topics, not cultivating devotion for Nārāyaṇa. I did not know devotion to Kṛṣṇa, to Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa – I passed My whole life uselessly. But you, Gadādhara, from the very beginning you were a pure devotee of Kṛṣṇa. You are fortunate enough. I want your grace, so that I may pass My future days in devotional activity.”
Gadādhara Paṇḍita, after taking permission from Nimāi Paṇḍita, took initiation from Puṇḍarīka Vidyānidhi, who is acknowledged to be Vṛṣabhānu Rāja, the father of Rādhārāṇī. This Puṇḍarīka Vidyānidhi was a very great devotee of a higher order. Mahāprabhu gave him the name Premanidhi, instead of Vidyānidhi. Mukunda Datta took Gadādhara Paṇḍita to Puṇḍarīka, and he received initiation there.
When Mahāprabhu took sannyāsa, Gadādhara Paṇḍita followed Him. He could not live in Navadvīpa without Nimāi Paṇḍita, who was Kṛṣṇa Caitanya. He was so much attached that when he found that Nimāi would settle permanently in Purī, he took kṣetra-sannyāsa there. Kṣetra–sannyāsa is a type of renunciation in which the sannyāsī takes the vow of not leaving a particular place for his whole life. So, Gadādhara Paṇḍita came to know that Nimāi Paṇḍita would pass the last days of His life in Jagannātha Purī, then he took kṣetra-sannyāsa there.
Sometimes it was seen that Nimāi Paṇḍita was invited to his āśrama, where he had installed Gopīnāthajī. He engaged himself in the worship of Gopīnātha. Nityānanda Prabhu went there also, and was intimately connected with him. Whenever He went to Purī, Jagannātha-kṣetra, He used to stay there.
Gadādhara Paṇḍita used to read the Bhāgavatam daily upon the request of Mahāprabhu, Who along with His followers used to hear it from his lips. Mahāprabhu asked Gadādhara Paṇḍita to teach the Bhāgavatam to Śrīnivāsa Ācārya, and by His will, Śrīnivāsa Ācārya became the highest exponent of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura is of the opinion that when Mahāprabhu disappeared, He sat on the āsana of Gadādhara Paṇḍita and became one with Gopīnātha, whom Gadādhara worshiped daily.
So, this is what we know about Gadādhara Paṇḍita, who had a most intimate relationship with Mahāprabhu. Svarūpa Dāmodara, Rūpa and Sanātana, Kavirāja, Raghunātha Dāsa, all of them, they could see both Rādhārāṇī and Rukmiṇī in him, in his personality. According to that we can try to understand him, and we shall pray to him.
Mādhurya in Other Vaiṣṇava Schools
Vallabhācārya was a worshiper in vātsalya-rasa. But when he came in contact with Mahāprabhu’s party, he could recognise that mādhurya-rasa is the highest devotional disposition. So, he proposed to Gadādhara, “I do not have mādhurya-rasa dīkṣā – please give it to me.” And Gadādhara, who was subordinate to Mahāprabhu, said, “I’m not independent – you must propose this to Him, and by His order I may give you the mantra.”
Vallabhācārya did so, and getting permission from Mahāprabhu, he took initiation into mādhurya-rasa. He attained the service of Kiśora-Kṛṣṇa from Gadādhara Paṇḍita. Nowadays, the party of Vallabhācārya does not admit this. They claim to be independent – worshipers in vātsalya-rasa. In this way, their movement follows in that line. And when they come to mādhurya-rasa, they give preference to Candrāvalī – they are opposed to Rādhārāṇī.
The Vallabhācārīs are generally worshipers of Gopāla. Gopāla means boy-Kṛṣṇa, who is served in the vātsalya-rasa by Nanda-Yaśodā. That is their acme of realization. But they do not deny that He has some connection as a consort to the small gopīs, and this Candrāvalī is prominent among them. They do not like Rādhārāṇī. This is the position of the Vallabha school. Vallabhācārya was actually a follower of Gadādhara Paṇḍita. This connection with Candrāvalī came later. That sort of deviation is found in many places in their succession.
The Nimbārka school prefers to worship Rādhā-Govinda, in svakīya-rasa, as married husband and wife, not in parakīya-rasa, as paramours.
Mādhurya and Audārya
Devotees of Gaurāṅga have a twofold internal characteristic: one is participating in kṛṣṇa-līlā, another in gaura-līlā – one in mādhurya, another in audārya. One is confined in their own līlā with Kṛṣṇa, another with the idea of distributing that to the public. Amongst those fortunate souls, pārṣadas, servitors, there are three gradations. One is more attracted to kṛṣṇa-līlā, another to gaura-līlā, and some are in the middle position.
When one is in gaura-līlā and a hankering comes to have the darśana of kṛṣṇa-līlā, then Gaura-Gadādhara appear as Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. And when participating in rādhā-kṛṣṇa-līlā, if one sometimes has any desire for gaura-līlā, Rādhā-Govinda are transformed into Gaura-Gadādhara. In this way, when one has a hankering for service in a particular līlā, the Lord manifests Himself with that paraphernalia, that nature, to satisfy the inner will of the devotee, giving facility to that sort of service. A peculiar tendency of service arises at times in the heart of the devotee, and the Lord appears in a way to receive that service.
Sometimes a servant sees his master in a plain dress. Suppose he has some desire to see his master in a gorgeous dress. Then the master, when he comes to know of this desire, will appear before him in a grand and gorgeous dress. Sometimes He may appear as a king, as a lover, as a friend, according to the demand, according to the circumstance and the paraphernalia. But everything is eternal, there is only a change of pace. Some devotees see in one way, others in another way. Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura says that They are Gaura-Gadādhara and Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. Another devotee standing by the side, he may not see that.
To satisfy the inner hankering, the opposite, the relative side also participates. Rāmānanda Rāya wanted Mahāprabhu to show His true self. Observing the nature of Śrī Caitanyadeva’s inquisitiveness, Rāmānanda Rāya had some mystic idea in his mind. “Who is He? He is not an ordinary person or sannyāsī or a scholar, but something more. Where are these inquiries coming from? His high inquisitiveness is most rare. He must be Kṛṣṇa Himself. All these subtle points are arising in my mind and forcing me to relate all these things.”
Then Rāmānanda stated, “Who are You? I don’t think You are an ordinary sannyāsī scholar. Tell me who You are. You are Kṛṣṇa Himself. I have a great impression, an inspiration like that. You must not hide Yourself from me. First I saw You as an ordinary sannyāsī, preaching about devotion to Kṛṣṇa, but gradually as You rose in a gradual ascending process in Your inquiry, doubt arose in my mind.”
“You have come to me. I have not gone to You. You have kindly come to me to purify this nasty person. And now You conceal Yourself from me. I can’t understand. But whoever You may be, I am sure that what You are inquiring after, You are that thing. Gradually my vision, my estimation of You is changing, changing, changing. First I saw You as a sannyāsī, a brāhmaṇa, a devotee. Gradually I am of the opinion that You are śyāma-gopa-rūpa, that cowherd boy, the Absolute in the garb of a cowherd boy. What is the peculiar thing I am seeing? That a golden figure is just standing by Your side and the grace of that Lady has covered Your body. I see like that. What is this? What is the mystery? Please divulge it to me. With folded hands I ask You.”
Then Mahāprabhu told Rāmānanda that His colour is not golden, but by Rādhārāṇī’s touch it appears like molten gold. “Her grace has covered Me, and She never touches anybody but Her Lover, the cowherd Kṛṣṇa. So who am I? Now you see and know for yourself. Rasarāja, the highest ecstasy personified and the highest appreciator of that ecstasy, combined together.”
Rāmānanda could not stand any longer there, he could not retain his normal position. Then he again saw that sannyāsī, that golden sannyāsī sitting in front of him. After a pause, Mahāprabhu said, “Now it is late, I am going.” Rāmānanda fainted there and Mahāprabhu went away to the brāhmaṇa’s house. Only once did Mahāprabhu show Himself in this way to Rāmānanda, and never anywhere else in His whole līlā. There He expressed Himself, showed Himself in that form, “Who am I? Who am I?” Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura related this.
Rāya Rāmānanda is more known to us as Viśākhā-sakhī. But superficially he had some aspect of Arjuna, and Mahāprabhu could detect that. Bhāvānanda had five sons, Kalānidhi, Sudhānidhi, Vāṇīnātha, Gopīnātha, and Rāya Rāmānanda. Mahāprabhu told him, “You are My eternal friend. Bhāvānanda is Pāṇḍu and his five sons are the Pañca-Pāṇḍava.” Rāmānanda is a very close and intimate friend, like Arjuna. That external impression of Mahāprabhu was given, but Rāmānanda’s internal mood is really that of Viśākhā. To see Rāmānanda as Arjuna is temporary and external, a fleeting sentiment of Mahāprabhu. Arjuna is in sakhya-rasa. Outwardly Mahāprabhu dealt with Rāmānanda a little respectfully. Outwardly He used to see him with some respect, some deference.
But internally He saw him as a sakhī. Svarūpa Dāmodara and Rāya Rāmānanda both would console Him when the great inevitable flow of love in separation arose in the heart of Mahāprabhu, ostentatiously disturbing Him. These two friends tried their best to console Mahāprabhu. Diverting His mind towards different directions, they would read from śāstra according to the circumstance, sometimes giving impetus to His own line of thought and sometimes taking Him towards other directions. They tried their best to give Mahāprabhu relief from His outwardly painful gestures and movements. For twelve years, continuously they did this.
A Mystic Poem
Advaita Prabhu almost dismissed Mahāprabhu. “No longer is there any necessity for You to stay in this world.” Advaita Prabhu declared to Mahāprabhu:
bāulake kabiha loka haila bāula
bāulake kabiha hāṭe nā vikāya cāula
Please inform Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who is acting like a madman, that everyone here has become mad like Him. Inform Him also that in the marketplace, rice is no longer in demand. (Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Antya-līlā 19.20)
In this mystic poem Advaita sent this message to Mahāprabhu through Jagadānanda Paṇḍita. Mahāprabhu read it and became disturbed. Svarūpa Dāmodara, the knower of everything, wondered what was the real meaning of this poem. Mahāprabhu answered in an indirect way, “I don’t know what is the real purport of this poem, but I will venture a guess. Advaita Ācārya is very conversant with the ways of the śāstra and the conduct of worship of the Deity. In worship we first invite the Deity with an invocation, then for some time the Deity remains to receive our service, and when that is fulfilled, the Deity departs. We cannot keep Him forever. When the purpose for which He descended is accomplished, it is best that He retire. I don’t know what is the real meaning, but I guess it is something like that.” Then Svarūpa Dāmodara was disturbed. “Advaita Ācārya is bidding adieu to us all.”
After that, Mahāprabhu stayed for twelve more years and His mood was not approachable by the ordinary public. Such was the high mood of separation from Kṛṣṇa – to the greatest degree, different manifestations were displayed, physically and mentally. For twelve years He burned continuously like fire. He exhibited the fire of separation.
That is not found elsewhere, such intense feeling of separation from God. It was not known in this world that the spirit of separation from God could be so intense, that it could produce so many symptoms in the body and the mind. We will only find an acquaintance with this in the life of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. But there also we do not find such a complete manifestation of the pangs of divine separation. Such a degree of evolution we do not find anywhere, at any time – continuous, high intensity of divine love, so much sacrifice.
He manifested such intense sacrifice at the altar of the All-beautiful. Such appreciation for the Absolute beautiful, such deep attraction has never been seen anywhere in the history of the world, not even in scripture. No mention is found in any of the oldest scriptures. That was exhibited just the other day, only five hundred years ago. And it is written in the books, it is verified by so many genuine persons, men of standard thinking. There were witnesses: Rūpa, Sanātana, Raghunātha, Svarūpa Dāmodara, Rāmānanda, and so many others – all so many eye witnesses.
Mahāprabhu’s relationship with Viṣṇupriyā Devī and Lakṣmīpriyā Devī as wedded consorts is in the mood of Gaura-Nārāyaṇa, in Vaikuṇṭha mood. That concerns the yuga-avatāra, not Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. It is not of that layer, not of that plane. It is connected with the yuga-avatāra, externally. Gadādhara represents the higher plane, while they represent the potency of Vaikuṇṭha. Gaura-Nārāyaṇa is the yuga-avatāra, but with a connection with that higher plane. It is mostly in the Vaikuṇṭha conception, His consorthood with Lakṣmīpriyā and Viṣṇupriyā Devī.
So the practice of gaura-nāgara is not accepted by the bona-fide school of Śrī Caitanyadeva’s followers. There is a controversy. Gaura-nāgarīs think that we should see Gaurāṅga as Kṛṣṇa, as He is given in the Bhāgavatam. But Vṛndāvana Dāsa Ṭhākura, Kavirāja Gosvāmī, the Gosvāmīs and others have rejected this idea about Gaurāṅga.
The brāhmaṇa, the ācārya, has come to do the work of a preceptor, not of a nāgara, an enjoyer of girls, as we find in Vṛndāvana. It cannot tally – it cannot be proper. There is a hitch. He has taken the position of an ācārya, and at the same time He is to play the part of a debauchee? That cannot come together. The law of rasa won’t allow that.
When a man enters the temple to worship the Deity, he may go there with his wife to help in serving naivedya (to prepare offerings) and other things, to assist in the worship. But she may not banter lightly with her husband in the temple. That will be rasābhāsa, incompatible. There is a particular mood. When the husband is engaged in worshiping the Deity in the temple, the wife may go there and help him with the materials and other necessary things, but she won’t share any light conversation with her husband. No merrymaking is possible there.
Similarly, Mahāprabhu has come in a serious mood to distribute divine love to the world, and with the Holy Name of the Lord He has spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness. He has taken the position of a preacher, a reverent position. So these two things cannot go together.
Bona-fide Moods of Devotees
There are three sections amongst the devotees. One is charmed more by kṛṣṇa-līlā, another more by gaura-līlā, and another keeps a balance. The school of Narahari Sarakāra is fonder of kṛṣṇa-līlā. They do not recognize Mahāprabhu as a sannyāsī. They see only that Kṛṣṇa of Vṛndāvana. He may have put on the garment of a sannyāsī, but it is just an external aspect. They don’t like this forced identity, and they do not admit it. That is their temperament. Rather they feel great pain. “What is the necessity of practicing penance as a sannyāsī, enduring so many hardships, not taking proper food and rest?” Their heart is aching. How can they tolerate all these things? That is the nature of their complaint to Mahāprabhu.
Jagadānanda Paṇḍita has the mood of Satyabhāmā, which is in the Dvārakā conception. In those days it was three hundred miles from Navadvīpa to Purī. He brought a big waterpot filled up with sandalwood oil, which is generally applied on the head to keep the brain cool. He brought the sandalwood oil from Bengal to Purī and offered it very modestly to Mahāprabhu, if He would graciously accept it. He appealed to His servant Govinda, “Govinda, keep it there and at times apply this oil to His head. Mahāprabhu cannot sleep, and He talks like a delirious man. This oil will help Him a great deal. I have taken it from Śivānanda and it is a genuine thing.”
Govinda told Mahāprabhu, “Jagadānanda Paṇḍita has brought a full pot of candana oil, and his request is that You should take it now and then, smear it on the head, then You will have a sound sleep and this may help Your health.” “No, no, no. This sandalwood oil will emit a good scent and the people will remark that this sannyāsī consorts with a woman. He applies good scented oil to His head. I can’t do that. Rather it is My advice that you take it to the temple of Jagannātha and there it will burn, the light will burn with this scented oil and Jagadānanda will receive much benefit thereby. Govinda, remove it from My room.”
After Govinda gave it up, Jagadānanda Paṇḍita took it and directly in front of Mahāprabhu smashed it on the floor. All the oil spread there. Then he went straight to his room and took to his bed for three days. After three days, Mahāprabhu heard that Jagadānanda was fasting continuously since breaking the pot. After the fourth day, Mahāprabhu Himself went to him. “Jagadānanda, Jagadānanda, rise! Open the door. Today I shall take prasādam cooked by your own hand. I will not take any prasādam elsewhere. I shall return at the proper time and I shall take My food here today, cooked by your own hand.”
What could he do? Jagadānanda had to get up. So he cooked, and Mahāprabhu came with Govinda at the proper time and took prasādam. He remarked, “Oh, they are very sweet. Today the dishes are very, very sweet. Cooking with a hot temper makes them sweeter.” He remarked like this, “You take your food now, before I go. Before I leave the place, I want to see that you have taken food.” “No, no, no, Prabhu, You may go, then I shall take food. Of course, I must take food.” Then Mahāprabhu said, “Govinda, you take your seat there and when he has finished eating you will inform Me. You sit there, I am going.”
That is the vāma-bhāva of Satyabhāmā. Gadādhara Paṇḍita is just the opposite. When Svarūpa Dāmodara tried to incite him by saying that Mahāprabhu was enraged and making harsh remarks about him, Gadādhara said: “No, no, no, how can I react? He is my Lord – toleration would be better for me. I can’t venture to react in the same manner. It is not good, and I do not like that. It would be bad to assert myself, to make some remark against the advice and the consideration of Mahāprabhu. I can’t do that.” In spite of Svarūpa Dāmodara’s incitement, Gadādhara Paṇḍita did not dare chastise Mahāprabhu.
Lalītā Devī and Svarūpa Dāmodara
Svarūp Dāmodara is the constant companion of Mahāprabhu in Purī. He is a scholar of the highest class and also a very good singer. Without consideration of his elevated social position, he will perform the simplest service. Svarūpa Dāmodara is there always, everywhere with Mahāprabhu. When Mahāprabhu was lost, the devotees inquired after Him the whole night and Svarūpa Dāmodara was there with a lantern, moving along the seashore, looking for Him. In kṛṣṇa-līlā Svarūpa Dāmodara is Lalitā Devī.
yāṁ kām api vraja-kule vṛṣabhānu-jāyāḥ
prekṣya sva-pakṣa-padavīm anurudhyamānām
sadyas tad iṣṭa-ghaṭanena kṛtārthayantīṁ
devīṁ guṇaiḥ su-lalitāṁ lalitāṁ namāmi
I offer my respects to charming and virtuous Lalitā Devī. If Lalitā meets any person in Vraja and perceives that they are favorable towards Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, she immediately requests Rādhārāṇī to accept that person in Her camp. Rādhārāṇī obeys Lalitā and fulfills the desires of such a fortunate person. (Lalitā-praṇāma Stotra 7)
Whoever Lalitā Devī meets in Vraja-dhāma, she requests them to join her own party. And when they come, “Yes, come with me.” At once she is giving admission. “Come! Join the service of Rādhārāṇī.” She is canvassing to look after the interests of Rādhārāṇī. Such intense attention to the service of Rādhārāṇī is never found anywhere else. Lalitā Devī sometimes even chastises Kṛṣṇa boldly. She takes risks by reproaching Kṛṣṇa, “You do not know the dignity of my Mistress.”
Sometimes Rādhārāṇī feels ashamed within Her mind. She thinks, “What does He say about Me?” Lalitā Devī replies, “This shame is very bad. You just sit quietly. You do not know Your own interest. I know what is Your interest, Your position. I cannot tolerate that Your dignity should be minimized in any way, ever.” That is the spirit of Lalitā Devī.
Rūpa Gosvāmī composed one stanza in praise of Lalitā Devī:
devīṁ guṇaiḥ su-lalitāṁ lalitāṁ namāmi
I offer my respects unto the charming and virtuous Lalitā Devī, who worships the perspiration from Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Mukunda’s feet, and who, out of great love, is very bold and stubborn. (Lalitā-praṇāma Stotra 1)
Rūpa Gosvāmī has explained how she is. Rādhā-mukunda-pada-sambhava-gharma – Lalitā Devī is a little aggressive in nature, pushing and meddling in the affairs which are connected with Śrī Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. She interferes with anything and everything in connection with Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, thinking that the affairs connecting Them are her responsibility. She is very aggressive in nature and also intolerant. But Rūpa Gosvāmī has justified her character. How? He writes, rādhā-mukunda-pada-sambhava-gharma-bindu-nirmañchanopakaraṇī-kṛta-deha-lakṣām – what is the high standard of her love and sacrifice for Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa? Lalitā Devī says that if even a drop of sweat is found on the foot of either Rādhārāṇī or Kṛṣṇa, rādhā-mukunda-pada-sambhava-gharma-bindu – if she finds even a drop of sweat on the foot of any one of Them, she will come as if with millions of bodies. With such eagerness she will jump to remove that drop of sweat. Lalitā Devī feels such affection for the Divine Couple.
At the source of her aggression and interference in the affairs of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa we find a great and deep affection. This justifies all her activities as the leader accepted by the associates of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. She always veers towards that Couple with such a standard. She can’t tolerate a drop of sweat on the foot of the Divine Damsel.
On that level she works, as if with millions of bodies she wants to correct it, to remove that drop of sweat. She can’t tolerate any trouble, not the least trouble. She is very aggressive and talkative, and goes forward to do anything and everything as if she is mad with leadership. But at the source is her great concern for Them – this justification is there.
Sometimes she chastises Rādhārāṇī Herself, “You do not know how to behave with Kṛṣṇa. I will teach You what to do. Don’t make Yourself available to Kṛṣṇa so cheaply. You must be careful of Your own dignity.” Though a little younger, Lalitā takes the position as caretaker of Rādhārāṇī, always first to look after the cause of Rādhārāṇī, to espouse the cause of Rādhārāṇī. And she is always thinking herself responsible for all the affairs concerning Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa.
Sometimes she goes to chastise Kṛṣṇa also, “You don’t know the dignified position, what dignified love my friend has towards You. You undermine that. I cannot allow it.” From our mundane plane of experience it is not an understandable thing.
We are creatures of the plane of lust. Although similar, the difference between the two is great. One is the perverted reflection of the other, the opposite. One is prema, the highest sacrifice, and the other is this lust, gross sense pleasure. It is like the North Pole and the South Pole, the distance is like that – just the opposite.
We are creatures of this plane of lust, but such madness is only perverted. In the original position it is a noble thing. It is self-forgetfulness, sacrifice, reckless sacrifice for the satisfaction of the Prime Cause, the Autocrat whose extent cannot be calculated. It is noble. Such intensity can never by calculated, it cannot come into our calculation here in this plane. Renunciation, liberation, salvation – these are only the negative aspects of lust. But the positive life, the life of sacrifice, the acme is found only there.
Guardian of the Līlā
Lalitā Devī thinks herself the guardian of Rādhārāṇī. “I am Her guardian, I cannot allow anyone to minimize this great divine love and sacrifice of Rādhārāṇī.” Lalitā Devī stands as guarantor, even to Kṛṣṇa, what to speak of other ordinary persons. To Kṛṣṇa this is most valuable and rare – such is Rādhārāṇī’s sacrifice in love, the highest intensity and utmost dignity.
It is unthinkable, unknown and unknowable. We may only conjecture as to this ideal. But if we think that we have obtained that position, if we think that we are the masters of that ideal, then it is finished – we have obtained something else. It is such an inconceivable thing, it is adhokṣaja. It can never be caught by any force of our mind, or intelligence – avāṅ-manaso gocaraḥ. Its existence transcends our mental speculation and logical considerations. But still it exists. And Lalitā Devī is of that special temperament; she has a unique importance in the līlā of Kṛṣṇa, as the guardian of the līlā.
There are other friends of Rādhārāṇī. Some are neutral towards Kṛṣṇa and Rādhārāṇī, some are a little partial towards Kṛṣṇa, but Lalitā Devī is cent-percent partial towards Rādhārāṇī’s cause. This is Lalitā Devī. Her birthday, the day of her appearance, is just before that of Rādhārāṇī.
The First Meeting
We are told that Rādhārāṇī was found floating in a lotus. Her father, Vṛṣabhānu Rāja, was childless. He was a gopa chief, the cowherd king, the chief cow-keeper. But he did not have any children. Then one day he found a beautiful girl in a lotus flower on the lake. He found Her and took Her home. The girl was very beautiful, perfect, but Her eyes did not open.
Vṛṣabhānu Rāja had a friendship with Nanda Mahārāja. Through Nanda Mahārāja, Yaśodā heard that her friend Kīrtidā, the wife of Vṛṣabhānu Rāja, had found a girl of exquisite beauty in a lake somewhere, but She was blind. She went to visit her, to congratulate Kīrtidā.
Going there, Yaśodā took Kṛṣṇa with her. The ladies were talking and Kṛṣṇa went up to this beautiful girl. Suddenly She opened Her eyes and saw the boy Kṛṣṇa first. The story is told like that: when She first opened Her eyes, Rādhārāṇī saw Kṛṣṇa. This is līlā, eternal incidents, events which are repeated in a particular way, like a drama. One drama is repeated many times in the eternal quarter. By Kṛṣṇa’s will, some glimpse comes to the current mundane brahmāṇḍa as an exhibition, to attract the people of this age. It was in that way. The children’s union, interchanging their vision.
Afterwards Vṛṣabhānu Rāja came and Kīrtidā began to nurture the baby girl until She was grown up. Vṛṣabhānudadhi nava śaśi lekhe – Rūpa Gosvāmī describes that the family of Vṛṣabhānu is compared to the milk ocean and from this, the moon has arisen as Rādhārāṇī. So beautiful a comparison – as the moon, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī has come from the ocean of Vṛṣabhānu’s fortune. The fortune of Vṛṣabhānu is compared with the ocean, and from there sprung up Vṛṣabhānu-nandinī Śrī Rādhikā.
Gradually, Rādhārāṇī grew up and the time came to marry. The marriage was performed ostentatiously. There are different angles of vision about Her marriage. Some say that one day Lord Brahmā married Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa in a jungle. Some say that They were married according to social customs. In different kalpas, various versions are known. But Mahāprabhu accepted parakīya to be the highest attainment. They are not married, but each other’s heart did not know anyone else as Their lover. Their hearts automatic connection was full. It is not chance coincidence, but rather fulfilled a necessity. Free love, recklessly crossing the directions and the influence of society and the scriptures, crossing the conceptions of religious sentiment, taking so much risk for the union with Kṛṣṇa, this holds the highest position.
There are two very fine points here. One is that it is very rarely possible, it is very hard to get that favorable situation. Another is that at this stage one is taking the greatest risk possible, without caring for anything. This is given the supreme-most position, parakīya-mādhurya-rasa. In mādhurya-rasa these parakīya circumstances are necessary to increase the rasa to its fullest and most intense capacity. The highest intensity can be produced by such artificial dearth. If we hide the rice or wheat underground to create a shortage of food, then food becomes very valuable. So also the dearth, the rareness, the impossibility of union has been created in parakīya-rasa. To facilitate this relationship, such adjustment is necessary between the two – among the Divine Couple. They are crossing all sort of conceptions of religious sentiments. This is the highest limit. There is no consideration of anything when They meet – at all cost, at all risk They are going to serve each other. The intensity becomes as high as possible. It is managed by Yogamāyā to raise it to the highest level. Yogamāyā manages in such a way that the union will be most fruitful and pleasing. It is necessary to manage in such a way to maximize Their pleasure.
Understand from the Plane of Sacrifice
In vātsalya-rasa, Yaśodā is arranging everything, but child Kṛṣṇa does not find satisfaction there. He is satisfied only in stealing foodstuffs. Yaśodā has reserved the very finest stock to feed her child, but He is not satisfied with this. He wants to stealthily take and to feed others also. There He finds great satisfaction. He does not find satisfaction in the ordinary state. His mother is calling, “Come, my boy, take Your seat here. I have kept many valuable dishes for You. I am serving all these things. You please take.” Ordinarily Kṛṣṇa does not find pleasure there – He can’t relish it. So stealthily He will go and snatch things and throw them to the monkeys or to some other boys. That is His boyish nature. His satisfaction does not come in the ordinary way.
In vātsalya-rasa the Lord is showing autocracy, the autocratic nature of exacting affection from the environment. And autocratic nature is also there extracting the highest form of love from the consort group, in mādhurya-rasa. We are to understand all these things in a scientific way.
Everything belongs to Kṛṣṇa. Yaśodā prepares everything for satisfying Kṛṣṇa, to make Him eat, to feed Him. But He is not satisfied to take in that way. Everything belongs to Him – He is the enjoyer of everything, the Absolute. But still, aher iva gatiḥ premṇaḥ svabhāva – just as a snake naturally moves in a crooked way, so the crooked movement of the waves of love is natural.
We are to approach it in this way. If we understand these relationships step by step in a scientific way, then we’ll be able to answer any questions that may generally come. “What is the ideal of God, that He is a debauchee? He is stealing! How can such things be adjusted with the ideal of the holiness of God?”
Generally people will come and attack in this way. But they forget that they cannot understand – they cannot follow that first this must be understood from the plane of sacrifice, not from the plane of enjoyment or exploitation. It is beyond renunciation and sacrifice – it is dedication. He is the owner and consumer of anything and everything. He can take it in any way. Everything is for Him. And no one has been given a position to comment on this. It is eternal and irresistible – it is the flow of the divine plane. The highest fundamental flow, the flow of the fundamental plane is of such nature. There is no question of morality, because there is not a second party present there. He is the only party. His movement is such. None may question. It is such by nature.
Prepare Yourself for the Absolute Līlā
We have come to rebuke God, but who are we? What is our position that we have become jealous of His activities, which are advaya-jñāna, Absolute? We are culprits – nirmatsarāṇāṁ satāṁ. In the beginning Vedavyāsa says, “What I am going to say here is not meant for malicious people, for the jealous. Such foolish, jealous and malicious people have no entrance into this līlā of Kṛṣṇa, which I will describe. Only the sympathetic, the innocent, those who understand His position, what He is, only they may enter.” He cannot be questioned. If we question the Absolute movement, then He is wrong. But the Absolute līlā can never be wrong. It is causeless and irresistible. It is the sweetest and the purest.
And we, jealous contrarians, will we rebuke Him? We are culpable and are to be punished for that. The universal wave is such. He is the Autocrat. Everything is for Him. He is for Himself. He is not accountable to any person, nor is He required to give explanations to anyone. If that were to be the case, then His Absolute characteristic would be compromised. The Absolute wave is such – it cares for none.
We are represented there. If we can appreciate this, we can have entrance there. In this way we can have a taste of that finest quality of sweetness. We are allowed. If we can adjust, if we do away with all jealousy and maliciousness, we will find in our hearts that it is of the nature of the Absolute sweetness. And then we will be considered bona-fide participants in that līlā. We will find that we will attain the highest ecstasy in our hearts. We are to prepare ourselves for the Absolute līlā.
This is what is necessary for us. We must be open to receive the Absolute wave of sweetness that comes to us – try to understand. Through the divine agent we can prepare ourselves to find this plane of sweetness. This is the background of the līlā of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. Śrīmad Bhāgavatam and Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu gave this for us, such a beautiful thing.
We must be selfless to the extreme. This is the standard of selflessness, self-effacement, self-forgetfulness, self-surrendering. Then we will be able to participate. The universe, the characteristic, the movement, the sweetness of the Absolute wave, the wave of sweetness Absolute – that is irresistible. It can never be opposed by any force. The ultimate existence of the reality is of such nature. It is not equipoised – it is dynamic. The ecstasy, the happiness is dynamic, and its movement is in such a way.
We can participate if we simply remove all our selfishness, crookedness, and jealous temperament. Then we will be considered fit to connect with that most fundamental wave of Absolute sweetness. This is the background of Rādhā-Govinda līlā. We must prepare ourselves in such a way if we wish to approach that highest plane of divinity. This is Vṛndāvana, the characteristic of Vṛndāvana. Mahāprabhu and the ācāryas, Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura and Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura came with this fact, to give it to the world.
What will scientific discovery and invention, or any other partial religious conceptions do for the world? Svāmī Mahārāja took this highest conception to the length and breadth of this world. The world is to come to this thought, at last. To reach there, this is the goal. Svāmī Mahārāja has prepared the groundwork – he called the world to come and see. “This is not un-scientific. It is the most scientific, the most logical, the most obvious, and the happiest goal of our life. Come, all come.”
Mahāprabhu came to tell us of this success in life. Know what is our prospect, that our life can come to such a high level. Try to understand what it is. What is it? Generally we are captured by the lust here, even the animals. Everywhere we find that there is a sort of pleasure that can attract us, but what is that? Try to analyze that. And when the outer malicious defective covers are broken and separated, then we shall find prīti. Originally it is that great thing, the divine love, and the perverted reflection of the divine love is acting in this world. Even the animals and the trees are mad for this satisfaction. What is at the source, the ideal of this charm – try to understand that. In the highest play it is so sweet, it is so pure, it is so desirable – and it is the real fulfilment of us all.
It includes the entire animated world and its parts. It is there, the cause and the divinity is there. The perverted reflection is capturing and giving reaction, giving troublesome reaction to this sense pleasure here. But in the original form it is very wholesome. Return home. Home is sweet. The sweetness, the charm of the home is there. In this way it has been described in Bhāgavatam and by Mahāprabhu and Gauḍīya Maṭha, and it is given to us as a general call to understand our own fulfillment. We must fulfil our fate and attain the highest fortune.
Beauty Above Power
Power is not the ultimate controller – it is beauty. The control of beauty is very sweet, normal, and natural. Power, awe, reverence, grandeur, these have all become stale when Bhāgavatam has presented the Kṛṣṇa conception of Godhead. The Nārāyaṇa conception has become stale. Beauty, and love, and harmony – nothing higher was ever discovered.
Śrī Caitanyadeva gave us that, Vṛndāvana has given us that – Śrī Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Our Guru Mahārāja and Svāmī Mahārāja widely have given it, announced to the wide world that Kṛṣṇa conception – the conception of beauty, harmony, and love. That is at the source, the universal cause, the conception of the Absolute, not anything else. With that fundamental conception we may find relief. We may feel that we are out of danger, we are no longer going to be victims of power.
Affection, beauty, love, and harmony are the highest things ever to come in a conception of this world. In the last scripture of Vyāsadeva, he gave it to the world. The very gist, the highest goal of life is here – connect with the Kṛṣṇa conception of the Absolute. For those who realize that things are of such a plane, to them even the servitors of Nārāyaṇa in Vaikuṇṭha seem to be of a very lower status.
Thrown Down to Vaikuṇṭha
Raghunātha Dāsa Gosvāmī is called the ācārya or distributor of prayojana-tattva, the summum-bonum of life. The highest attainment or prayojana is supreme. And he is the authority in that department. He said that if we have too much affinity towards scriptural service, then we will be thrown down to Paravyoma. We won’t be allowed to take our position in the land of freedom, where spontaneous love is the queen and regulates all. The queen of love will throw us down to Vaikuṇṭha. “Go there, do your duty according to scripture, according to calculation, according to the new excitement created by grandeur, awe, reverence, all these things. Go there.”
Only the simple, the plain, the spontaneous service, the hearty service of the Lord reigns here, and we are in the midst of that plain thing. We do not care for any other thing, but only for the object of our love. That is our guide, that is our śāstra, that is our everything. We do not know anything else, and we do not want to know anything more.
The subtlest power, the power of affection, the power of love, the power of service, that is considered the highest power ever known to the world. We must give up our legal power or any physical power – we should not care for that. Śakti is such. An example is given of Asutosh Mukherjee, a famous Bengali gentleman. He was asked by the government to go to England several times, but his mother did not allow it. So many instances are there – the mother controls the son. Taking the dust of the mother’s feet, he can do anything and everything. He feels like that. Affection and love reign – power fails.
Mahāprabhu says that to give this and that to God is self-deception. Give love, love of Kṛṣṇa, prema. That is anything and everything – that is all in all. Instead of spending money, giving our physical force, all these things, love is the real essence of any existence. Offer that to the Lord. Through that, come to the plane of love, the plane of love that Kṛṣṇa has created around Him.
God takes the form of Kṛṣṇa in the plane of love, and that is the most fundamental and most subtle plane. It is behind all this apparent creation of different nature. Come to that plane. Try to penetrate into that plane, where God is Kṛṣṇa and the paraphernalia is Vṛndāvana. Try to have admission there in that plane. The happiest form of life we will find there. Mercy is more beautiful than justice. We cannot blame justice. Justice is justice. We cannot think of blaming the spirit of justice. How can we blame that?
Here, there is mercy over justice. We cannot deny that. Who can extend mercy over justice? He must have such power that He can compensate the demands of justice. He has the power of compensation – therefore, He can give mercy. Such an aspect of the Lord comes through love and affection. We want to live there.
The Emperor is Love
Love is above everything. Love is the only wealth in this world. Dharma, artha, kāma, mokṣa. Dharma is duty, our service to society and the environment, without any remuneration. It is like depositing something in the bank, accumulating it for later use, perhaps in the afterlife. We deposit in the bank, then use it all for sense pleasure, nothing else. Artha is wealth, which can make sense pleasure possible, and allow us to distribute it to others. In the lowest sense kāma, sense experience, is the wealth that everyone is running after – kāma, sense pleasure.
Dharma, artha, kāma, and the fourth is mokṣa. We know that this wealth is not real wealth – it is only fascination. It is only progress in the wrong way. So we must try our utmost to get out of this game. We are playing in the hand of Māyā, who is fascinating us with these lower things, all this sense pleasure in different forms. We must get out – that is mokṣa, liberation.
The power infinite and love infinite, attracting love, self-surrender, that is the highest expression of the Infinite. And that is Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, the all-attractive Couple – in the words of our Guru Mahārāja, the Predominating and Predominated Moieties. Positive and negative, They may be called. Attraction is the most fundamental element everywhere. All else can be eliminated, ignored, and forgotten, if we come in contact with attraction, love. Everything can be ignored if we are in connection with love.
The fulfillment of our existence, all the existence, everything is love. Love is the principle in the centre – it is the only fulfillment of everything, every existence. The very gist of existence is there – it can’t be ignored or challenged by any other form or aspect of our substantial existence. Unchallenged and absolute, the king, the absolute, the emperor is love. None can stand in comparison with that. All will have to accept defeat coming in opposition with the principle of love.
Mahāprabhu pointed out that this is the most substantial thing in this world. Whatever we see and find and experience and come in connection with, love is the most central necessity and fulfillment. Śrīmad Bhāgavatam extracts the essence from the whole of the revealed scriptures and says that the most desirable and original thing is love divine. We must not allow ourselves to run hither and thither searching for a base fulfillment. Forcibly focusing our attention, we must concentrate in this direction. This is the highest substance in the creation, meant for us throughout eternity.
Risk Enhances the Mood
Give up your wild goose-chasing habits. Collect and concentrate all your might to progress in this direction, to try to go to the temple of love divine: āsām aho caraṇa-reṇu-juṣām ahaṁ syāṁ. Risk – the background of risk enhances the mood. A necessary part of the highest form of love is to risk the worldly achievement. Risk the so-called purity found in this world for the quest of love divine – that commands the highest position. Very carefully that should be taken.
Newton, the greatest scientist, said “I know nothing.” That is the way. The more one is in the midst of purity, the more he thinks that he is impure. That is the nature of infinite measurement. Because the charm is so infinite, it cannot but be estimated in that way. The more they achieve, the more they thirst for more. Realization towards the Infinite is of that characteristic. The more we can advance, the more we think we are helpless to go further. It does not come into the plane of measurement.
One should understand that love is the real essence of life – without that we should not exist. Love is such a precious innate wealth that we would deny our very life if we do not have that most precious inner wealth – love for Kṛṣṇa, for the Absolute.
Search For Kṛṣṇa
Give the widest shape to your inquiry. Where are you? Who are you? How are you to advance? This is our dire necessity for our own purpose. We can’t avoid it. We can’t predict the level of thought of that inquiry – Brahman, Paramātma or Bhagavān. Inquiry regarding Bhagavān is the highest, the search for Śrī Kṛṣṇa, Reality the Beautiful. It is a natural necessity within us, for our own interest – we can’t avoid it. A sane man, a man who does not want to deceive himself, can’t avoid the search for Kṛṣṇa, for his own benefit, his most general necessity.
Search for happiness – raso vai saḥ. Search for the best comfort. This is the general question. This should be the only question of the whole world. Search for Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Search, search for love, ecstasy, the highest form of ecstasy. Read and cry. What have I done? What is my necessity, and how am I passing my days? Repent, cry! I have passed my days uselessly – I am a traitor to my own self, I am committing suicide.
Complain against yourself and your so-called friends. We have nothing to do here. Read and cry, do or die! Progress in the right way, or you are inviting your death. The general tenor of life, of all existence will be this. In the most scientific way, search for Śrī Kṛṣṇa, Reality the Beautiful. That is the highest goal of humanity. All problems are solved here. They are all harmonized. There can be no complaint against this attempt. No complaint against this attempt can be normal. Deviation from this general instruction, the general call, is false, unnecessary and injurious. This is the truth, the necessity of everyone, wherever there is life.
The most generalized movement, the most grand and extensive and friendly call is this: ‘March towards Kṛṣṇa!’ All else should be silenced. All other topics should be stopped, and only if this call remains, the real welfare of the world remains. It is a comprehensive call, a non-sectarian call. It is considered sectarian by aberrant persons, but every normal thinking individual understands that this is the most universal ideal.
Search for Śrī Kṛṣṇa, march towards the divine domain – join the universal march towards the divine domain. Free yourself to go back home, back to God, back to Godhead. We are quarreling in a foreign land for fictitious gain. Save them, and take them all home. Only by the grace of that Absolute is it possible. The wave is coming from there to take us home. Only one who knows our home can give us such news, and can take us there. The call comes from home – it originates from home.
In Vṛndāvana we will find that our thirst for any higher change of the environment, any change of association, need no longer be quenched. There is thirst, an eternal thirst for a closer relation with Them. There is no possibility of any higher change of the environment. The only remaining question is how to come into closer connection with that environment. And that becomes the initiative of our movement there, more and more intimate connection with that environment. The environment is eternal, but in the intimacy of connection with the competition, there is movement. And guidance is given according to that. In this way there is progress. There is some sort of necessity by which the service is moving. And there is repetition, a kind of repetition, but it is ever-fresh and ever-new! In that plane, there is movement of time, but it is eternal. It is managed by Yogamāyā.
And finally, when we come to that plane, we will attain the fullest satisfaction of all the inner parts of our system, the wholesale satisfaction of every atom of every constituent part of our spiritual body. Prati aṅga lāgi kānde, prati aṅga mora – “Every part of every limb cries for union with the corresponding part of every limb of the other side.” The sambandha (relationship) with the environment may come to such a stage, that every atom constituting our spiritual body and mind, will aspire after union with every corresponding part of the environment.
In this way, in such a friendly way, so many are moving there, and it is adjusted accordingly by Yogamāyā. This is the highest conception. Prati aṅga lāgi kānde, prati aṅga mora – “Every atom of my existence is in loving correspondence with the environment, and that is Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa consciousness has surrounded me. From all sides it has embraced me. I am lost in the world of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Every atom is feeling as if it is experiencing a separate pleasure in His embrace.”
Source of All Other Rasas
This is possible only in the consorthood relationship, where every atom has been embraced and captured, by coming into the most intimate connection with Him. It is called ādi-rasa, or mukhya-rasa. It is the most original and the source of all other rasas. Mahāprabhu came with this gift – mādhurya-rasa. It is anarpita carīṁ cirāt – that which was never distributed before.
If Mahāprabhu had not appeared in this Kali-yuga, how could we tolerate our life, how could we sustain our very life? What He has given, it is the very gist of life, the very taste, the charm of life. Without that we think it is impossible for anyone to live in this world. Gaurāṅga has revealed such a thing to us. If He had not come, then how could we live? It is impossible to live devoid of such a holy gracious thing as love divine. How could we know that Rādhārāṇī stands above all in the world of love divine? All things we have obtained from Him, and now we think that life is worth living. Otherwise, living was suicidal.
In this human life we have some sort of connection with that, but still we are passing our days in wild goose-chases. How much of our time can we devote for the quest? Many things of scarce importance are encroaching on our time and energy, and we can’t concentrate on this holiest prospect. We are not to be blamed any less than those that have no clue. They have their solace – they do not know. But we are more culpable.
Knowing more, we are more responsible. What explanation do we have to give our masters? We knew to a certain extent, but still we used our energy defectively, we wasted our energy. How will we explain? We are more condemned. To serve those that can serve Her, that is the way to approach Her, serving Her servants’ servants. Our future is insured if somehow we can be counted in the group of the servitors of Śrī Rādhikā.
Rasa – The Positive Conception of Liberation
For the Vaiṣṇavas, the students of the Bhāgavata, the followers of Mahāprabhu, our fate is sealed in search of Kṛṣṇa. We don’t want anything else but Kṛṣṇa. The Bhāgavata has been described as the ripe fruit of the tree of the Vedas. The Vedas have produced the fruit out of its own accord. What is that? Rasa. Svayaṁ-bhagavān Kṛṣṇa Vrajendra-nandana. That is the ripened fruit of the tree of the Veda. Veda means the embodiment of revealed truth, and this inner current is producing the fruit. And the fruit, when it is ripe, is the Bhāgavatam.
But out of our own prejudice, we try to get something from the Veda, the tree. The animals try to chew the leaf, someone will cut the root, but the natural product of the Vedas, the highest revealed truth is Kṛṣṇa. Śraddhāmayo’yam lokaḥ – raso vai saḥ. Through our faith we can get that rasa of the highest order. That is the gift of the highest order. That is the gift of all the Vedas.
Veda-mātā gāyatrī – she also aims at that pleasure object. I have tried my best to show that sort of meaning from gāyatrī. Gānat-trāyate – that which by chanting produces liberation. And what is the definition of liberation? Svarūpeṇa vyavasthitiḥ – to engage ourselves in our innermost duty. Gāyatrī is directed towards that goal.
The Ripened Fruit
Kṛṣṇa’s vaṁśī, His flute, is also doing the same thing. In the highest place we find proper adjustment for our service. That is the sound. And Kṛṣṇa’s vaṁśī is also doing this through its sound. The sound gives impression, inspiration to anyone and everyone. “Come to my sweet service, engage yourself in my sweet service.” That is the call of the flute of Kṛṣṇa, and of gāyatrī, veda-mātā. There in the Veda the same thing is said, and that is in the flute. What is in the Veda, is in the flute. And in the middle there is also the Veda, Śruti, Vedānta, Bhāgavatam.
nigama kalpa-taror galitaṁ phalaṁ
pibata bhāgavataṁ rasaṁ ālayaṁ
muhur aho rasikā bhuvi bhāvukāḥ
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 1.1.3)
Nigama kalpa taror galitaṁ phalaṁ – Vyāsadeva says in his introduction to Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. What is the necessity of this new book? This is nigama kalpa-taror galitaṁ phalaṁ. Nigama means Veda, and it is compared to a tree. And this Bhāgavatam, the natural ripened fruit, comes of its own accord. It is not forced. Of its own accord, the tree gives fruit, and the fruit is ripe, and it is Bhāgavatam. So, we drink the juice – bhāgavataṁ rasaṁ ālayaṁ muhur aho rasikā bhuvi bhāvukāḥ.
If we have real thinking capacity, this normal hankering, we must come to drink this rasaṁ. This is the natural product of the Veda–kalpa-taru. If we chant the gāyatrī mantra we will be liberated, emancipated. The positive conception of liberation is svarūpa-siddhi, self-determination. And in self-determination we must come in contact with Kṛṣṇa in different rasas to get our assured and attached service. And thereby we can imbibe the real juice to make our life fulfilled. Our fulfillment is there. Otherwise, all our attempts are fruitless labor. We must only utilize our energy in the proper way, to make our lives successful.
This advice from the revealed scriptures is meant for all of us. Śṛṇvantu viśve amṛtasya putrāḥ. “Oh, you sons of nectar, please listen. You are born for amṛta – you were born to taste nectar. And you must not be satisfied with anything but amṛta. Awake, arise! Search for amṛtaṁ, that nectar, that satisfaction. Oṁ! A big yes! Yes! What you seek, it exists! Don’t be disappointed! The revealed scriptures say that it exists. Your thirst will be quenched. You are meant for this by nature – you deserve it. Don’t be afraid. Don’t be cowed down. In your real being, it is already given, it is there. You can never be satisfied anywhere else. Prepare yourself to receive the result of your long search, the long missing amṛtaṁ in the full form, in full quality. We should have no other business, no other engagement, but kṛṣṇānusandhāna.”
When I was in Madras, Prabhupāda’s Vyāsa Pūjā took place at the Caitanya Maṭha in Māyāpura. Professor Sanyal wrote an article in English for the occasion. He wrote, “I do not know Kṛṣṇa, but because you tell me that I am to worship Kṛṣṇa, I do it.” I could not understand the meaning of this statement, the internal meaning. I could not help but wonder why he had said this. Three or four years later, an incident occurred at Rādhā-kuṇḍa that helped me to understand.
Paramānanda Brahmacārī came to Prabhupāda and reported that the Diwan of Bhāratpura State was circumambulating Rādhā-kuṇḍa by prostrating himself on the ground and slowly advancing by measuring the length of each successive prostration. Paramānanda Prabhu told Prabhupāda with much ardor, “They have so much esteem for Rādhārāṇī!” Prabhupāda then came out from his inner quarters and said, “Yes, but their concern for Rādhārāṇī and our concern for Rādhārāṇī are quite different. They come to Rādhārāṇī because She is Kṛṣṇa’s favorite – but our position is the opposite. We worship Kṛṣṇa because He is Rādhārāṇī’s favorite. Our interest is in Rādhārāṇī, and Kṛṣṇa is Her favorite. And only because She wants Kṛṣṇa do we have any connection with Him.”
At that time I could not understand what Professor Sanyal had written. Then later I read that some jīvas are born out of Baladeva’s aṅga-jyoti, the brahma-jyoti, the non-distinguishable divine effulgence. That is the source from whence some of us are born. Some have connection with Baladeva’s aṅga-jyoti, but others originate from the halo of Rādhārāṇī and Her group. These souls have a direct connection with Rādhārāṇī. She is their Mistress and they necessarily follow whatever She does.
Prabhupāda told us that we are really Śāktas, worshipers of God’s potency – not Śāktas like the worshipers of Durgā, but Śuddha-Śāktas. The real, original potency, Kṛṣṇa’s dedicating Moiety, is in Vraja. Both direct and indirect connections with Kṛṣṇa come through Her. This is Rādhā’s position. We heard all these things from Prabhupāda.
This is also the significance of the sannyāsa–mantra. In ordinary mantras, a direct connection with Kṛṣṇa is established, but in the sannyāsa–mantra, our spiritual connection is shown to be with the gopīs. That is rādhā-dāsyam, the service of Rādhikā. It is above kṛṣṇa-dāsyam. The purport, the gist of the sannyāsa–mantra, is gopī-dāsyam.
Meeting at Kurukṣetra
In both Navadvīpa and Vṛndāvana, the background is similar. In Navadvīpa, to gain victory over the opposition party, Mahāprabhu left His household life. And in vṛndāvana-līlā it is also similar. The opposition in vṛndāvana-līlā came from Mathurā in the form of Agha, Baka, Pūtanā, Tṛnāvarta, and other demons who were sent by King Kaṁsa. To uproot the opposition, Kṛṣṇa had to go to Mathurā. And when He went there, He found that the opposition was widespread. Kaṁsa’s father-in-law, Jarāsandha, Kālayavana, Śiśupāla, Dantavakra, and many others were inimical to Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa promised the gopīs that after finishing His enemies, He would return to Vṛndāvana to play peacefully with them. To uproot the opposition party, Kṛṣṇa had to go away. And He told the gopīs in Kurukṣetra, “I have some other enemies – after finishing with them, I will be reunited with you.” That sort of hope was given to the gopīs in Kurukṣetra. At Samanta-pañcaka in Kurukṣetra, Kṛṣṇa met the residents of Vṛndāvana after a long separation, perhaps a hundred years. The gopīs prayed to Kṛṣṇa, “We are not yogīs that will be satisfied with abstract thinking about You. Do You think that we are yogīs that will be satisfied with our imagination? We are not a party to that. Neither are we karmīs, incurring so much debt from nature. Shall we come to Your door to get relief? We do not belong to any of these two sections. We want to live with You as a family – not to use You for any other purpose. We want to have a direct family life with You. Don’t You know that? And You came first by Uddhava and now You have avoided us for so long. Are You not ashamed?”
This is their inner meaning. Mildly they are making the case that they won’t be satisfied by anything else. “You know it for certain, You know it better. If You kindly come, if we had You completely in our midst, our prayers would be answered. We are not satisfied with anything less than that. Anything less than that cannot satisfy us. We are not talking of abstract thinking, nor do we wish to utilize You to relieve us from the entanglement of this material nature. We have no conception of bodily consciousness. We do not want relief from the reactionary suffering of this material life. We don’t care for that. We are unconscious of that. What is our real need? We want to serve You directly in our loving relationship. Please try to do that.”
And Kṛṣṇa’s answer to them also has an inner meaning: “You know all the people want Me. Through devotion, they want Me to help them to acquire the highest position in the eternal world, the world of eternal benefit. If they attain such a connection with Me, they consider themselves fortunate. But I consider Myself fortunate because I have your affection. I have such valuable affection, which I found in your heart. I consider Myself fortunate.”
Rādhārāṇī could see the inner meaning of Kṛṣṇa’s answer. She became satisfied. Wherever He may be in the physical sense, at heart He is Hers alone. Very soon He cannot but come to join Her party again. Kṛṣṇa is coming closer to Rādhārāṇī, coming near the gopīs, after such a long separation. He finds Himself very culpable; He has committed a great crime.
Coming to the gopīs and remembering their qualities of love and surrender, Kṛṣṇa feels most criminal. He bends His body to touch the feet of Rādhārāṇī. Kiṁ pādānte luṭhasi vimanaḥ. One poet has represented this scene in this way, and that poem was collected by Rūpa Gosvāmī in his Padyāvalī. Kṛṣṇa is coming in touch with the atmosphere of Vṛndāvana. He is a king, a paramount king in the whole of India, but when He came in contact with the gopīs, He found Himself a criminal.
Kṛṣṇa fell at Her feet: “Your position is so high, so very high. For so long I was away from You, increasing My duties. Without trying to satisfy You, I engaged Myself in different duties.” Bending His body, He was about to touch the feet of Rādhārāṇī. Stepping back, She remarked in this way:
kiṁ pādānte luṭhasi vimanāḥ svāmīno hi svatantrāḥ
kiñcit kālaṁ kvacid abhiratas tatra kas te ‘parādhaḥ
āgas-kāriṇy-aham iha yayāäjīvitaṁ tvad-viyoge
bhartṛ-prāṇāḥ striya iti nanu tvaṁ mamaivānuneyaḥ
“Why are You coming to touch My feet? I think You have lost the balance of Your mind. You are master of the situation; no explanation can be called from You. You are as pure as anything. You have not done anything wrong. You are svāmī, You are My husband, You are My Master, and I am Your maidservant – svāmīno hi svatantrāḥ.” This is the arrangement of the Vedic scripture. We find in the scriptures that the male has such freedom, but not the female. Kiñcit kālaṁ kvacid abhiratas tatra kas te ‘parādhaḥ – “There is no offense in leaving Me to attend to so many duties. For some time You were engaged in some other quarter, what is the harm? What is the fault in You? That does not matter, this right is given to You by scripture and by society. There is no crime, no sin. Already You have that liberty, so You have not committed any wrong. You have so many duties to discharge, but I am only for Your service. I could not keep up the standard.” Āgas-kāriṇy-aham iha yayāäjīvitaṁ tvad-viyoge – “I am really the criminal, the culprit. The meanness is with Me, the defect rests with Me entirely.
“You are not responsible for this separation. Why do You consider that You are at fault, that You have committed wrong? Jīvitaṁ tvad-viyoge – the positive proof is that I sustain My life. So great an affection I have experienced, and yet I am still alive. I did not die from the pangs of Your separation. I am showing My face to the world, but I am not faithful to You. I could not uphold the standard of faith that I should have maintained for Your love. Therefore, I am a criminal, and You are not so.”
Bhartṛ-prāṇāḥ striya iti nanu tvaṁ mamaivānuneyaḥ –“It is written by the saints in all the scriptures that the wife should be thankful and exclusively devoted to the husband as her lord – bhartṛ-prāṇāḥ striya. In this meeting, I should fall at Your feet and beg for Your forgiveness, because I really have no love for You. I am maintaining this body, and showing My face to the society. I am not a proper partner for You, so please forgive Me. But You are doing the opposite. Don’t touch My feet!”
This is the ideal of our affection towards Kṛṣṇa. We, the finite, should have this attitude in our connection with the Infinite. Whatever little connection or attention we may have at any time, we should be all attentive towards Him. There is no other alternative. Mahāprabhu says, ekāgra-bhakti – exclusive devotion towards the Autocrat Kṛṣṇa, the Absolute good. Absolute love is autocratic, and our disposition must be of this kind, being so small. If we want such a great thing, then this is not injustice, that our demand should be like this. Our prospect, our adjustment, our understanding must be of this type. Such was the meeting at Kurukṣetra.
No Love for Kṛṣṇa
Mahāprabhu also said something similar:
na prema-gandho’sti darāpi me harau
krandāmi saubhāgya-bharaṁ prakāśitum
bibharmi yat prāṇa-pataṅgakān vṛthā
(Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 2.45)
“I do not have an iota of divine love for Kṛṣṇa. Why am I shedding tears profusely, day and night? Why am I shedding tears for Kṛṣṇa? For show – to pretend that I have kṛṣṇa-prema, divine love for Kṛṣṇa. Only for show, to get some fame as a servant of Kṛṣṇa, to deceive the people. I am a hypocrite. The positive proof is here. I’m still alive. I did not die. If I had real love, in this separation I should have died. That is the positive proof that I don’t have even the scent of kṛṣṇa-prema in Me.”
Kṛṣṇa-prema is so high, so attractive, that once in contact with that, none can maintain his life without further connection. It is impossible. It is so high, so enchanting, so attracting, so beautiful, and so heart-warming. It is impossible. That divine love for Kṛṣṇa is not to be had in this mundane world. It is impossible that a human being can come in contact with that sort of divine love. If anyone by chance comes in contact with that, no separation from it is possible. He can’t forget that. He cannot live separately without that connection.
If by chance there is any contact followed by separation, one will die instantly. It is so attractive, so high, one will die instantly, being without that vital devotion of the higher, noble life. It is so great, so noble, so beautiful, so magnanimous. We are out to search for that goal in the world. Mahāprabhu came to inform us that there is such a vital thing, the life of our life. It is impossible to go on living without that love. There is such a prospect for us all. Mahāprabhu came to distribute it to the world.
The month of Kārttika is known as niyama-sevā māsa. During this period the devotees try to follow some fixed program to enhance their devotion. Slothfulness is not encouraged. We have to fix a particular program of devotional attempts like reading the śāstra, doing some kīrtana or some particular devotional activity that may be useful for advancement towards our goal. Niyama means to regulate our life to a particular schedule of service. We must regulate sevā, leading to aṣṭa-kālīya-sevā, the twenty-four hour service to the Lord. During all times this should be the tenor of our disposition, especially in Kārttika, and Kṛṣṇa will be very pleased. If we do this in connection with Rādhārāṇī, it will be much favored by Kṛṣṇa Himself, because it is harmonised with His highest beloved. Kārttika-vrata is popular among the Vaiṣṇavas, and especially the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas, whose ultimate goal is rādhā-dāsyam. They observe this month conscientiously. Whatever has been mentioned in the śāstra, we observe it. Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas have much regard for kārttika-vrata, the vow of special service during the month of Kārttika.
There are many rules and regulations mentioned in the scriptures, and those who are very much fervent in this matter follow those rules and customs, cultivating the favor of Rādhārāṇī. She is pleased with this kārttika-vrata. Some restriction should be there in our daily movement. Drawing all of our energy to one point, we should try to cultivate some affection for Her, Who is Kārttikī.
In Navadvīpa we generally recommend the chanting of the aṣṭottara-śata-nāma of Mahāprabhu and Kṛṣṇa, Their hundred and eight Names. Their whole līlā is given there. One can come in touch with the whole līlā of Mahāprabhu as well as Kṛṣṇa. Morning and evening, repeat the eight ślokas of Mahāprabhu. Our Guru Mahārāja used to make us sing aṣṭa-kālīya-līlā. The day is divided into eight periods, and we chanted about the līlā during those eight times. Aṣṭa-kālīya-līlā – it has been recommended in Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura’s song, to come in connection with the entire līlā.
The eight ślokas of Mahāprabhu, the Śikṣāṣṭaka, contain all the developed ideas in a nutshell. Bhajana, the whole of kṛṣṇa-līlā is covered in these eight ślokas. Especially in his Bengali translation, Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura has composed certain songs giving deeper meaning, which bring us into close touch with those lofty ideas for our highest realization.
Kārttika is a special month in which we try our best to cultivate all of our feelings and regulate them for the attainment of our intimate connection with Kṛṣṇa. By investing our energy even in a small way during the kārttika–mahinā, we can get better results, just as in times of war capitalists may find more opportunity for earning profit. In a short time they can earn more – that sort of arrangement is everywhere. Here also there are particular points of time, when using our energy in a focused way can be more beneficial. Such is the time in kārttika-mahinā (month of Kārttika). Purity of purpose is almost guaranteed, because the object is to satisfy Rādhārāṇī, the Divine Potency.
In his last years, our Guru Mahārāja used to pass the Kārttika month sometimes in Vṛndāvana and sometimes in Purī, with a special group of devotees. In his last year he observed this month in Purī. We were with him. Previously he was in Vṛndāvana, and from Purī he came back and that year he disappeared in the month of Māgha. We passed this last month in Purī with him, in 1936. On January 1st, 1937 he disappeared.
Svayaṁ-bhagavān and Svayaṁ-rūpa
Svayaṁ-bhagavān is always with Rādhārāṇī, and others are of lower order. Svayaṁ-bhagavān is always with Svayaṁ-rūpa. Svayaṁ-bhagavān and Svayaṁ-rūpa, Rādhārāṇī. In rasa, Svayaṁ-bhagavān is always by the side of Rādhārāṇī, and Svayaṁ-prakāśa is by the side of the other gopīs. It is the first-class double, or facsimile, of Kṛṣṇa. There is first-class double, then second-class double, and so on.
In rasa, only Svayaṁ-bhagavān is at the side of Rādhārāṇī, and at the side of other gopīs is Svayaṁ-prakāśa. In this way the gradation is there. So, rādhā-kiṅkara has been settled for us to be the highest achievement. Through Rādhārāṇī we can taste the service of Svayaṁ-bhagavān. Svayaṁ-bhagavān and Svayaṁ-rūpa. The qualitative current that passes among Them, that we want. Our maximum, highest proyojana is there.
When Svayaṁ-bhagavān and Svayaṁ-rūpa are connected and performing līlā, that is of the highest order. However minor the contact, we want that quality only, rūpānuga-dhara. That is available in quantity to those younger devotees, the mañjarīs. They have free entrance to the deepest līlā. The more mature friends, the sakhīs, cannot approach. They may not approach, but the Rūpa Mañjarī class may do so freely. These are very high talks. We are not eligible to speak about all these things.
You are helping me to take out from my inner heart so many beautiful and valuable things. It is through your help that these old memories are coming again fresh to me. I am forced to take out those things of the inner nature of my previous life that I received from my Gurudeva as wealth. Again I have the chance of seeing that treasury. I am given the opportunity by this recapitulation of what I heard at the divine feet of Gurudeva. I just sincerely repeat it to you. It is such. This is our education, what I received from the divine feet of Gurudeva.