Navadvīpa is considered by the high devotees to be the highest place of theism, of Absolute Love. Śrī Rādhikā and Govinda combined Themselves together, and They are avowed to give their dearest thing to the public. As Śrī Gaurāṅga Mahāprabhu They came here with this idea. Both parties have the best wealth, and They have come to distribute that for the benefit of the public: “Come this way, you will get the highest thing that We taste Ourselves. The same dish you can have. O people, you can have a taste of the same dish that We relish. It is the play of the highest order.”
Raso vai saḥ – the Upaniṣads say that sweetness – rasa, ānandam, sundaram is really controlling the whole creation. Everyone wants rasa, none can say otherwise. From the atheist to the highest order of theist, everyone wants rasa.
If we can develop the eye to see, then every atom of Gaura-dhāma will charm us to the utmost. Only the eye is necessary. By charm every atom is sufficient to engage us fully and accommodate us wholesale. One particle of dust can give us the fullest engagement because all is infinite and of the most generous type here. All the dust is of the most generous type and promising for Kṛṣṇa.
Every particle of dust promises to give us Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, so what more do we need? They all promise, and this is the outcome of Gaura-dhāma. No other nature can be traced in them. They are all helping to take us to our highest attainment. It is their nature. Externally, according to our anarthas, it may produce so many tests and examinations, but with the least test and least trouble, they are ready to give our highest goal – the connection of Mahāprabhu, and the eye to see who Mahāprabhu is. The angle of vision is the most important thing – the angle of vision to look upon the environment.
In Vṛndāvana there are apparently so many demons such as Aghāsura, Bakāsura, Dhenuka, Vyoma, Ariṣṭa, Keśi and Kaṁsa, but they are all on the surface, whereas Kṛṣṇa is everywhere. There is the superficial vision and the real vision. Similarly there is the internal self, and the necessity of that internal self – the soul’s necessity – avoiding the superfluous, the surface. The surface is for our physical senses, and for the mind there is also a mental layer of different types of religionists, including so many other religions. But on the layer of the soul, when we come to appreciate assistance from others, then we will come to appreciate how beautiful and how magnanimous is the connection of Gaurāṅga here in Navadvīpa. How it can enrich our soul! It is our soul’s necessity.
We only have to pierce through the surface and dive deep within the inner Navadvīpa, the Navadvīpa of Gaura-Nitāi. Externally we may find Jagāi and Madhāi, Kṛṣṇānanda Āgamavāgīśa, Cāṅda Kazi etc. but if we dive a little deeper, we shall find what is there, what is real. Take this gift of Navadvīpa-dhāma to the market and all other merchandise will be of less value with no charm. All will be like trash in comparison. The gift of Navadvīpa is so high. Even Vṛndāvana will not be able to stand in competition!
Although we are preaching about Vṛndāvana, Vṛndāvana lacks something. If we close the door then what valuation will you have? Nityānanda Prabhu is dragging Baladeva from the throne. Once, Śacī Devi had a dream – “I had a dream that Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma were on a throne and Nityānanda was catching hold of Balarāma and He was drawing Him away saying, “Your age has finished! Now the age of My Lord Gaurāṅga has come. You must come down from the throne. In this age of Kali, if there is no canvasser, then what is the value of the property? You are all confined in a room and you simply eating lavishly. You are confined in Vṛndāvana! But our Navadvīpa – we are throwing to the length and breadth of the world.”
In Vṛndāvana Rādhā-Govinda are separate and here in Navadvīpa They are combined. More power! Combined! And They had made their mind up to loot – “Take as much wealth as you can. We are giving it to you all.” This is impossible! impossible! What does Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī say?
kaivalyam narakāyate tri-daśa-pūrākāśa-puspāyate
viśvaṁ pūrṇa-sukhāyate vidhi-mahendrādiś ca kīṭāyate
yat-kāruṇya-kaṭākṣa-vaibhavavatāṁ taṁ gauram eva stumaḥ
Kaivalyam narakāyate – if one can get a taste of the dish that is distributed in Navadvīpa, if one can get a slight taste of that dish then, kaivalyam narakāyate – permanent emancipation will seem to him to be like hell which has been so much preached and admired in so many śāstras. Kaivalya-mukti means eternal emancipation from this world of exploitation. The trouble is the tendency to exploit – that is the trouble found by the experts of those areas. What is the trouble? The exploiting tendency forces us to connect with the environment and we have to suffer severely from the reactions. So how to successfully get out of the action-reaction problem? Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī says, “Oh, you talk so much about kaivalya that you will have no possibility of coming into connection with the exploiting tendency, action-reaction – that is like hell to those that come to see Śrī Gaurāṅga-deva’s lotus feet.”
Tri-daśa-pūrākāśa-puspāyate – you talk so much about heaven, but that is just like akāśa-puṣpa – an illusory conception, a flower which is produced from the sky. That is the most negligible type of imagination. Your heaven is just like a flower in the sky – it is impossible!
Durdāntendriya-kāla-sarpa-pațali protkhāta-damstrāyate – when you feel so much difficulty from your senses, they become your master and force you against your will to do so much mischief. Durdāntendriya-kāla-sarpa-pațali – like so many serpents that cannot be controlled. Your senses are like venomous serpents and they are running hither and thither and the reaction is that the poison is coming and making you suffer. But don’t be afraid. Protkhāta-damstrāyate – the venomous teeth have been broken off. The senses will become like that. All your senses will play like so many serpents whose venomous teeth have been removed – so no apprehension from them.
Viśvaṁ pūrṇa-sukhāyate – whatever you will see, hear or touch in the whole environment will only carry waves of happiness to you. Every incident will carry some good news to you always. All the waves from outside will only carry good news to you.
vidhi-mahendrādiś ca kīṭāyate – are you afraid of Brahmā the creator and Śiva the wholesale destroyer of this world? Are you afraid of them? For you they will become like an insect or a worm. Their power and authority against you will not be of any use. Your position will be unassailable if you attain Mahāprabhu’s merciful glance.
yat-kāruṇya-kaṭākṣa-vaibhavavatāṁ taṁ gauram eva stumaḥ – Mahāprabhu is very benevolent, very magnanimous. If you get His kaṭākṣa, His glance – even if you get a glimpse from that glance, if you can attain a point of a ray of the glance of that magnanimous Lord Gaurāṅga, then you will get such a position in the world. This has been described by Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī.
Gaurāṅga is such – all joy, ecstatic joy. There is no problem –His mercy is of such a type. All difficulties will go far, far away. You will be in the zone of ecstatic joy. No, do not complain! You are in a normal position. Everything else is more or less suffering from the influence of an abnormal stage. You are at such a high degree of normality – you have attained a normal existence to the extreme. More or less all outside is abnormal – so how can it venture to approach you? You have attained the full surrendered stage of Kṛṣṇa Consciousness to Rādhā-Govinda and Mahāprabhu. You need not care for anything in this world. No apprehension. Such is the thing we have to conceive and we have to have.
Devotee: In Bṛhat-Bhāgavatāmṛta, Sanātana Gosvāmī shows the travels of Gopa Kumāra as he is going through different stages of realisation. But is that necessary for everyone?
Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: Not everyone. Of course, you will have to pass through those stages unconsciously – Virajā, Brahmaloka, Śivaloka, Vaikuṇṭha – but there is no stopping at any station. You will quickly go towards the destination. You may go anywhere unconsciously, passing through various stages to reach there. Very quickly you can pass unknowingly and unconsciously. If there is any special attraction to any stage, one may have to stop. But if our guide is strong enough he will tell us, “No, no! No stopping here! Come! No charm is here. What you see here is already known and that is only a distraction – no bhakti. Come!”
Devotee: There is one train here called the ‘Vṛndāvana Express Train.’
Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja: An express train also stops at the main stations. But there is a special train – there is also the ‘Navadvīpa Special’ and that is considered to be above Vṛndāvana and we are there. For appreciation, realisation is necessary. Why is it so? Why is Vṛndāvana superior to every stage of life and why is Navadvīpa also considered as such?
We are poor, we have got no money, but with the least capital we can get into Navadvīpa, which is in Vṛndāvana. It is difficult to understand. The highest power of the Positive and Negative combined is giving something. Rasarāja-mahābhāva dui eka-rūpa – it is the Sweetness and the Taster of the sweetness in its highest degree and they have combined to distribute Themselves. If you can give up all religious prejudices and concentrate upon the naked truth, that rasa and sympathy towards Him, then you shall be able to understand how both combine together – both the parties – Giver and Taker. The greatest Giver and the greatest Receiver – both combine to distribute Themselves to the ordinary people. That is on the unlimited subject to the qualified circle, and here, ordinary mass can have entrance and in no time they may be given a ticket to that high, high position.
The achievement of Kṛṣṇa’s service may also be found with the Nimbārkas, Vallabhas and others. But their conception of Kṛṣṇa is also different from the conception of Mahāprabhu in some respects. The Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava school has understood the real position of Kṛṣṇa. If we can approach Kṛṣṇa through Mahāprabhu, we will achieve the highest and fullest attainment – not a partial attainment of Kṛṣṇa. We have to clearly understand for ourselves what is the difference between the Kṛṣṇa-conception of the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava school as opposed to Nimbārka and others conceptions of Kṛṣṇa.
We have to give more stress towards Rādhārāṇī – that is the peculiarity of the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava school. There may be sweets, but with the absence of a tongue, their taste is nothing to me. Without a tongue there is no meaning to sweetness. Without ears there is no meaning to music.
One who tries to contact Kṛṣṇa independent of Rādhārāṇī will be the loser. In the service of Rādhārāṇī, we get the highest quality of Kṛṣṇa realisation because so much high sweetness and so much intense realisation of Kṛṣṇa is not possible anywhere else, and that quality I can have if I participate in Her line. The highest quality can only be drawn from that rasa, that ecstasy, by Her alone, and that type of quality I can expect to have in Her line. So much so that one who can understand the taste of that quality, then any other current becomes quite tasteless, to them. The rasa may come through other channels, but that will be tasteless to the tongue that has tasted that rasa coming through Rādhārani. That is rādhā-dāsya, kaiṅkārya.
When I came first to Navadvīpa, some explanation was called for from me from one professor – “Why have you joined that nasty sampradāya of Caitanyadeva? Now all the outcastes of society they have been accommodated there. Their status is very low in the society, and you have entered that camp?”
I replied that, “Reading the Bhagavad-gītā and the Bhāgavatam, I have clearly understood that varṇāśrama-dharma culminates in Vaiṣṇava dharma and this conception of Śrī Caitanyadeva’s Vaiṣṇavism is of the highest. In Gītā and Bhāgavatam we can find it clearly. What Caitanyadeva gave, that is the highest thing.”
“No, no! We can’t – ”
“I shall show! The śāstra says that.”
So I published Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu here and I sent it to that gentleman.
Actually, this place, Navadvīpa, is very anti-Vaiṣṇavite. The mṛdaṅga was broken here several times when the saṅkīrtana party was led through this place. Kṛṣṇānanda Āgamavāgīśa was a contemporary of Mahāprabhu in Navadvīpa. He was a great tantrika, and created the concept of rasa for Śiva, Kālī, Durgā – no Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. The rasa of Vṛndāvana is famous, but the Śakta section introduced śiva-śakti-rasa here in this invulnerable place.
Once, our Prabhupāda (Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura) was delivering a lecture here in Paramatalla and he was attacked by one gentleman who threw a book at him. Later, when I came here, I had a festival and that very same gentleman, who was the chairman of Navadvīpa town at that time and an orthodox Smarta, approached me and said, “I am dying, I want some prasādam from Prabhupāda because I committed some offence by throwing a book at him.”
Our godbrother, Sakhī-caraṇa Bābu, had a house in Navadvīpa and he knew the history of this town from long ago. He told, “That man who committed such an offence against Prabhupāda is now so repentant and desperate? He is desirous of having the prasādam of Prabhupāda?” With much earnestness he took that prasādam to him.
Sakhī Bābu also remarked that, “Prabhupāda preached the doctrine of Mahāprabhu throughout India and abroad, but this Navadvīpa town – that was kept for you. You have preached in this area.”
The area of Tegharīpāra in Navadvīpa gave the greatest opposition to Vaiṣṇavism. From the time of Mahāprabhu, Kṛṣṇānanda Āgamavāgīśa and his party were preaching against Mahāprabhu’s movement. Now that is dissolved. I continued for one month preaching Bhāgavatam in this area. Many people came with so many questions and I tried to answer them and they could not defeat me.
Our Kṛṣṇamayī also comes from a most respectable family from Tegharīpāra. Satish Prabhu is also there. He once told, “When I went to Cāmpāhāṭī to Māyāpura through Tegharīpāra, my heart was always shaking that some big vessel would be thrown on my head. I was apprehending every moment that some attack was coming. But now I go through the area with my breast full of pride. With a proud gesture I move through the town. Tegharīpāra is not an enemy now, but it is subdued and they are having a friendly attitude towards us.”
So this Navadvīpa was very anti-Vaiṣnava and the caste-gosvāmīs were suppressed by the Śakta and Smarta sections here in Bengal. Somehow their section was oppressed by the society in general, but the preaching of the Gauḍīya Maṭha raised their standard. By the preaching of the Gauḍīya Maṭha, their dignity increased and it was understood that those who preach about Śrī Caitanyadeva, their position is unique. This was preached by Gauḍīya Maṭha. Otherwise the caste-gosvāmīs were living in a cave. Now they can stand with their heads erect due to the preaching of the Gauḍīya Maṭha, that Mahāprabhu gave the highest thing. All others are false or they are of a lower rank.
Once, when I went to deliver a lecture here, one of the leaders of the anti-party openly confessed, “First we could not understand Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Prabhu. We commented against him in endless ways and tried to subdue him. But now it is clear that we did wrong and what he did was right. He took sannyāsa and we commented that, rakta-vastra vaiṣṇavera paḍite nā yuyāya (‘red cloth is not fitting for a Vaiṣṇava to wear’). Why he has taken that red cloth? The Gosvāmīs already discarded it. He preached in a European style and we wondered why he is not of the style of the old Indian ṛṣis? But he showed us why he indulged in the European style and doing so, he took the flag of Mahāprabhu to the whole of Europe and America. And he gave the sacred thread to those who are real devotees of Kṛṣṇa. He also proved that brāhmaṇas are by qualification (guṇa-karma vibhāgasa) not by birth. By occupation and mental nature one becomes a brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya or śūdra. So we criticised him severely, but now we understand that you are right and we were wrong.”
The flag of Mahāprabhu is now fluttering in the so-called civilised world that has captured everyone. The civilisation of Europe has a charm to the Indians, so if Guru Mahārāja couldn’t conquer the European people, then the Indian conversion would not stand. That European style of life, which is coming here and capturing everything, should be attacked. We must break its pride, then we will be able to preach the doctrine of Mahāprabhu all through the world.
Rabindranath Tagore and others tried to mix Indian and European thought together – “Ours is good, theirs is also good. Give up the non-important portions and combine the important ones.”
But our Guru Mahārāja said that everything that Mahāprabhu has given should be taken wholesale and all other concepts must be attacked and finished! “What Mahāprabhu has given is perfect and no addition is necessary to that. It is coming from the eternal, absolute quarter, and no addition, no reformation is necessary there.”
That was our Guru Mahārāja’s point. So we must accept that in-toto. It is coming from Goloka, the highest quarter of existence. It does not need any addition or dilution. That is full in itself and perfect. Gaura-hari! Gaura-hari! Gaura-hari!