Sri Kusumanjali - Srila Bhakti Raksaka Sridhara Deva Goswami MaharajaŚrī Kusumañjalī (An Offering of Flowers)
By Published On: September 23, 2022Tags: 19.8 min read

In this week's commentary to Prema Dhāma Deva Stotram, the transcendental beauty of Śrīman Mahāprabhu is discussed, the beginning of His travels to South India, and His meeting with Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya on the banks of the Godāvarī River.

Prema Dhama Deva Stotram – Verses 21-24

Verse 21
prema-dhāma-divya-dīrgha-deha-deva-nanditaṁ
hema-kañja-puñja-nindi-kānti-candra-vanditam
nāma-gāna-nṛtya-navya-divya-bhāva-mandiraṁ
prema-dhāma-devam eva naumi gaura-sundaram

Word for Word

prema-dhāma – the abode of prema; divya – divine; dīrgha – slender; deha – form; deva – the Devas; nandita – bliss; hema – golden; kañja – lotuses; puñja – multitudes; nindi – reproaches; kānti – effulgence; candra – moon; vandita – praised; nāma – the Holy Name; gāna – singing; nṛtya – dancing; navya – ever new; divya – divine; bhāva – emotions; mandira – embodies; prema – love of Kṛṣṇa; dhāma – abode; deva – divine; eva – indeed; naumi – I offer respects; gaurasundara – Gaurasundara.

TRANSLATION

I offer my respects unto Śrī Gaurasundara, that Divine Personality who is the abode of pure prema. The Lord’s slender figure, which is the divine abode of prema, gives pleasure to all the Devas. His moon-like effulgence is praised as mocking multitudes of golden lotuses, and He is the embodiment of ever-new divine emotions, as He dances while chanting the Holy Name.

Commentary

Before describing the Lord’s travels in South India, Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja again reminds us of the Lord’s transcendental beauty. Firstly, he describes Mahāprabhu’s figure as dīrgha (slender) and premadhāma (the abode of prema), and how His body is so beautiful that it increases the bliss of the Devas (deva-nandita). Considering that the beauty of the Devas themselves defeats anything in the world of our relative experience, we can scarcely imagine the inconceivable beauty of Śrī Caitanyadeva.

Next, Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja describes how the Lord’s effulgence defeats that of multitudes of golden lotuses. There are yellow lotuses that grow in this world (Nelumbo Nucifera) which are indeed beautiful, and in the celestial planets there are golden lotuses known as hemāmbhoja. However, the beauty of millions of these flowers together pale in comparison to Mahāprabhu’s effulgence, which is described as kānti-candra (moon-like). In this regard Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī writes:

hiraṇyaṇaṁ lakṣmī-bharam abhibhavann aṅgika-ruca

(“The effulgence of His form eclipses the beauty of gold.” – Prathama Caitanyāṣṭakam 4)

Finally, Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja writes how Mahāprabhu is navya-divya-bhāva-mandira (the embodiment of ever-new divine emotions). The word divya (divine) is important because it differentiates between the mundane emotions of this world, and the divine emotions experienced by Mahāprabhu. We find examples in mundane literature of various types of bhāva between lovers, friends, family members etc. Those persons who are in ignorance consider all these bhāvas to be the foundation of happiness in this world. However, upon proper analysis, we find that all these sentiments terminate in suffering and pain because all relationships in this world are destined to end in death. However, divya-bhāva, or divine emotions, are aprākṛta – they are experienced by the ātmā and not through the physical mind and senses.

The phrase navya-bhāva should be understood in two ways. Firstly, at different times, various bhāvas would manifest in Mahāprabhu’s heart, and as He would become absorbed in one type of bhāva, suddenly a new bhāva (navya-bhāva) would suddenly overcome Him. In this way, waves of ecstatic emotions would constantly flood His heart, one after the other. Secondly, such unique emotions, known as mahā-bhāva, are only found within Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī and Śrī Caitanyadeva. This mahā-bhāva is the sole wealth residing in the innermost chamber of Śrī Rādhikā’s heart. Similarly, Śrī Caitanyadeva, being rādhā-bhāva-dyuti-suvalita (characterised as the personification of Śrī Rādhā’s bhāva and golden effulgence), also naturally possesses this unparalleled mahā-bhāva. Because this māhā-bhāva had never been seen in this world before the advent of Mahāprabhu, it may also be referred to as new, or navya-bhāva. Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja states that Mahāprabhu is the embodiment (mandira) of this navya-bhāva.

Verse 22
kṛṣṇa-kṛṣṇa-kṛṣṇa-kṛṣṇa-kṛṣṇa-nāma-kīrtanaṁ
rāma-rāma-gāna-ramya-divya-chanda-nartanam
yatra-tatra-kṛṣṇa-nāma-dāna-loka-nistaraṁ
prema-dhāma-devam eva naumi gaura-sundaram

Word for Word

kṛṣṇa – Kṛṣṇa; nāma – the Names; kīrtana – performing kīrtana; rāma – Rāma; gāna – singing; ramya – beautiful; divya – divine; chanda – tune; nartana – dance; yatra-tatra – here and there; kṛṣṇa – Kṛṣṇa; nāma – the Holy Name; dāna – gave; loka – people; nistara – deliver; prema – love of Kṛṣṇa; dhāma – abode; deva – divine; eva – indeed; naumi – I offer respects; gaurasundara – Gaurasundara.

TRANSLATION

I offer my respects unto Śrī Gaurasundara, that Divine Personality who is the abode of pure prema. He would perform kīrtana chanting the Names, “Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa” and in a beautiful divine tune, He would sing “Rāma Rāma” while dancing. Wherever He travelled, He would deliver the people by distributing kṛṣṇa-nāma.

Commentary

In the month of Vaiśākha (April/May) in 1510, Śrī Caitanyadeva began His tour of South India. This is narrated in Kavirāja Gosvāmī’s Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā Chapters 7-9. As He travelled, He felt great ecstasy chanting the Names of Kṛṣṇa and Rāma.

matta-siṁha-prāya prabhu karilā gamana
premāveśe yāya kari nāma-saṅkīrtana
kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! he
kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! he
kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! rakṣa mām
kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! kṛṣṇa! pāhi mām
rāma! rāghava! rāma! rāghava! rāma! rāghava! rakṣa mām
kṛṣṇa! keśava! kṛṣṇa! keśava! kṛṣṇa! keśava! pāhi mām

(“The Lord walked like an intoxicated lion, full of divine prema, performing nāma-saṅkīrtana. He chanted, ‘O Kṛṣṇa! Protect Me! O Kṛṣṇa! Maintain Me! O Rāma! O Rāghava! Protect Me! O Rāma! O Rāghava! Maintain Me!’ – Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 7.95-96)

A question may be raised, “Mahāprabhu came to give kṛṣṇa-prema, and the Name of Rāma, in the highest conception of the Mahā-mantra, refers to Rādhikā-ramaṇa Rāma (Kṛṣna who gives pleasure to Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī) – so why did Mahāprabhu chant the Name of Śrī Rāmacandra when He was in South India?”

Firstly, ontologically there is no difference between Śrī Kṛṣṇacandra and Śrī Rāmacandra. Both of Them are para-tattva (the supreme truth). There is no differentiation in viṣṇu-tattva except as regards rasa. Since Kṛṣṇa is Svayaṁ Bhagavān and akhila-rasāmṛta-mūrti, the embodiment of all rasas, the five primary rasas (śānta, dāsya, sakhya, vātsalya and mādhurya) as well as the seven secondary rasas (hāsya, adbhūta, vīra, karuṇa, raudra, bībhatsa and bhaya) are all accommodated in Him and His various avatāras. Unlike kṛṣṇa-līlā, most of the pastimes of Śrī Rāma occurred in South India, especially after Śrī Rāma was exiled for fourteen years. Thus, being in South India reminded Mahāprabhu of rāma-līlā.

There were many devotees of Śrī Rāmacandra in South India, and even amongst Mahāprabhu’s own associates, Anupama (the brother of Rūpa and Sanātana) and Murārī Gupta were primarily rāma-bhaktas. Any devotee who has such exclusive niṣṭhā for their prāṇa-nātha (the Lord of their heart) should be given great honour. Essentially, those who take shelter of the Gauḍīya sampradāya cultivate an attraction for kṛṣṇa-līlā and gaura-līlā, but we never find our ācāryas disrespecting those who have spiritual attraction for other avatāras of the Lord. Only a kaniṣṭha-adhikārī will show disdain for such devotees and this can lead to a serious offence. Exclusive attraction to a particular form of Kṛṣṇa and a specific rasa generally manifests after the stage of anarthanivṛtti. Otherwise, while we are still full of anarthas, our attraction may still be on the mental platform only and oscillate from one to another. At the stage where we are still overcoming anarthas, we should be content with the understanding that we are fundamentally kṛṣṇa-dāsa.

In the third line of this verse, Śrīla Śrīdhara Deva Gosvāmī writes, yatra-tatra-kṛṣṇa-nāma-dāna-loka-nistara (Wherever the Lord travelled, He would deliver the people by distributing kṛṣṇa-nāma). This is also collaborated by Śrīla Kavirāja Gosvāmī:

ei śloka paḍi pathe calilā gaurahari
loka dekhi pathe kahe bala hari hari
sei loka prema-matta hañā bale hari kṛṣṇa
prabhura pāche saṅge yāya darśana-satṛṣṇa
kata-kṣaṇe rahi prabhu tāre āliṅgiyā
vidāya karila tāre śakti sañcāriyā

(“As Gaurahari chanted this verse [‘Kṛṣna! Kṛṣna!’ etc], and saw somebody on His way, He would tell them, ‘Chant Hari Hari!’ Hearing Him chant, ‘Hari!’ and ‘Kṛṣṇa!’ those persons would become intoxicated with prema, and being extremely eager to associate with Him, they would follow behind the Lord. After some time, the Lord would embrace them and bid them farewell, having empowered them with His potency.” – Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 7.97-99)

In this way, Mahāprabhu distributed kṛṣna-nāma to the people of South India and empowered them with His hlādini and samvitśakti which combines as bhaktiśakti.

Verse 23
godavarya-vāma-tīra-rāmānanda-saṁvadaṁ
jñāna-karma-mukta-marma-rāga-bhakti-sampadam
pārakīya-kānta-kṛṣṇa-bhāva-sevanākaraṁ
prema-dhāma-devam eva naumi gaura-sundaram

Word for Word

godavarya – of the Godāvarī River; vāma – left; tīra – bank; rāmānanda – Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya; saṁvada – discussion; jñāna – dry knowledge; karma – pious deeds; mukta – free; marma – essence; rāga-bhakti – spontaneous bhakti; sampada – wealth; pārakīya – the mellows of paramour love; kānta – lovers; kṛṣṇa – Śrī Kṛṣṇa; bhāvasevanākara – engaged in spontaneous loving service; prema – love of Kṛṣṇa; dhāma – abode; deva – divine; eva – indeed; naumi – I offer respects; gaurasundara – Gaurasundara.

TRANSLATION

I offer my respects unto Śrī Gaurasundara, that Divine Personality who is the abode of pure prema. On the left bank of the Godāvarī River, He discussed with Rāya Rāmānanda how rāga-bhakti, which is free from jñāna and karma, is our essential wealth, and that one must engage in pārakiyā-rasa bhāva-sevā in the mood of the lovers of Śrī Kṛṣṇa.

Commentary

The Rāmānanda-saṁvāda (Conversation with Rāmānanda Rāya) found in Chapter 8 of the Madhya-līlā could be said to be the most important portion within the entire Caitanya-caritāmṛta. In this section of Kavirāja Gosvāmī’s composition, we find an ontological progression beginning with varṇāśrama-dharma and concluding with the highest plane of premabhakti.

During His travels in South India, Mahāprabhu met with Rāya Rāmānanda on the banks of the Godāvarī River. Nothing in the Lord’s līlā happens by chance, and it was by no means a coincidence that they met at the Godāvarī. The general etymological meaning of the word godāvarī is “the main source (varī) that gives (da) water (go).” However, another explanation is “where the highest conception (varī) of the Vedas (go) was given (da).” The word go also refers to Kṛṣṇa (as in Govinda), so godāvarī can also be translated as “where the highest conception of Kṛṣṇa was given.” Go also refers to the senses, and vari means liquid, or rasa. Therefore another explanation of godāvarī is “That which gives (da) rasa (varī) to the spiritual senses (go). Thus, the significance of the setting where this dialogue between Śrī Caitanyadeva and Rāya Rāmānanda took place cannot be ignored.

Knowing that Rāmānanda was well-versed in the nuances of kṛṣṇa-bhakti and a stalwart practitioner, Mahāprabhu proceeded to extract from him a progressive conception of the various stages of devotion. First, the Lord asked Rāmānanda to recite a śloka explaining the ultimate goal of life, to which Rāmānanda quoted a verse from the Viṣṇu Purāṇa stating how Viṣṇu is worshipped by the proper execution of duties according to varṇa and āśrama. Mahāprabhu however rejected this as external and asked him go further. Rāmānanda then quoted the Gītā (yat karoṣi yad aśnāsi) explaining how one must offer the results of one’s actions to Kṛṣṇa (karma-miśra-bhakti) Again, Mahāprabhu rejected this and asked Rāmānanda to continue. Then Rāya Rāmānanda gave the conclusive verse of Bhagavad-gītā (sarva-dharmān parityajya) that declares that one should fully surrender to Kṛṣṇa, yet Mahāprabhu still considered this to be superficial. Rāmānanda then proposed bhakti mixed with jñāna (jñāna-miśra-bhakti) and quoted the verse brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātma. This was also rejected by the Lord. Then Rāmānanda came to the path of jñānaśūnyabhakti (bhakti devoid of jñāna), citing Brahmā’s prayer from the Bhāgavata (jñāne prayāsam udapāsya). This is the stage where pure bhakti begins. In this verse, Śrīla Śrīdhara Deva Gosvāmī has summarised this in one line – jñāna-karma-mukta-marma-rāga-bhakti-sampada (rāga-bhakti, which is free from jñāna and karma, is our essential wealth). This is also confirmed by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī:

anyābhilāṣitā-śūnyaṁ jñāna-karmādy-anāvṛtam
ānukūlyena kṛṣṇānu-śīlanaṁ bhaktir uttamā

(“Superior bhakti is that which is favourable to the cultivation of service to Kṛṣṇa, which is free from other desires and not obscured by jñāna, karma etc” – Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.1.11)

Here, Śrī Rūpa applies the word uttama rather than simply using the word bhakti. He has specifically used uttama to imply that there are other categories of bhakti that are not uttama (superior) but are in fact adhama (inferior). Bhakti can also be miśrabhakti, or contaminated with jñāna, karma, yoga etc. When bhakti is free from all impurities, it is śuddhabhakti. And the highest level of śuddha-bhakti is rāgabhakti.

Rāga-bhakti refers to that type of devotion where the object of one’s spontaneous attachment is Vrajendra-nandana Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Rāga refers to total absorption in one’s beloved Lord. One then engages in bhāva-sevā, or spontaneous service to Kṛṣna offered with love. At the stage of vaidhi-bhakti, one offers service to the Lord in His Deity form, based upon duty, following the rules of the pañcarātra-āgama. At the stage of rāga-bhakti, one is no longer confined by the instructions of śāstra and performs sevā with bhāva, loving sentiments. The highest stage of rāga-bhakti is found in pārakīya-rasa amongst the gopīs of Vraja-bhūmi. There are two categories within mādhurya-rasa – those who follow svakīyabhāva and those who follow pārakīya-bhāva. Svakīya refers to those who are lawfully wedded to Kṛṣṇa, such as the queens of Dvārakā. Pārakīya is described as paramour rasa, or that love which is unlawful. This is exclusively found amongst the gōpīs of Vraja. This will be described in more detail in the next verse.

Verse 24

dāsya-sakhya-vātsya-kānta-sevanottarottaraṁ
śreṣṭha-pārakīya-rādhikāṅghri-bhakti-sundaram
śrī-vraja-sva-siddha-divya-kāma-kṛṣṇa-tatparaṁ
prema-dhāma-devam eva naumi gaura-sundaram

Word for Word

dāsya – servitorship; sakhya – friendship; vātsya – parental affection; kānta – conjugal; sevana – serving; uttarauttara – higher and higher; śreṣṭha – topmost; pārakīya – paramour love; rādhikā – Śrī Rādhikā; aṅghri – feet; bhakti – devotion; sundara – beautiful; śrī vraja – Śrī Vraja-maṇḍala; sva-siddha – achieves perfection for oneself; divya – divine; kāma – aspiration; kṛṣṇa – Śrī Kṛṣṇa; tatpara – meaning: prema – love of Kṛṣṇa; dhāma – abode; deva – divine; eva – indeed; naumi – I offer respects; gaurasundara – Gaurasundara.

TRANSLATION

I offer my respects unto Śrī Gaurasundara, that Divine Personality who is the abode of pure prema. In the course of their conversation, they discussed the gradual progression of service in dāsya-rasa, sakhya-rasa, vātsalya-rasa to the highest conjugal mellows, culminating in the topmost pārakīya-bhāva, which is the most beautiful form of bhakti, serving at the feet of Śrī Rādhikā. One achieves perfection when one understands that such a divine aspiration has its fullest meaning in Śrī Kṛṣṇa of Vraja.

Commentary

This verse describes the progressive development of rasa-tattva from dāsyarasa to pārakīya-mādhurya-rasa. After having discussed varṇāśrama-dharma, karma-miśra-bhakti, jñāna-miśra-bhakti and jñāna-śūnya-bhakti following the path of vaidhi, Rāya Rāmānanda then broached the subject of prema-bhakti, or spontaneous love for Śrī Kṛṣṇa.

First, Rāmānanda described dāsya-prema, that love which is experienced by a servant towards his master. The dāsya-rasa of Vaikuṇṭha and the dāsya-rasa of Vṛndāvana are not identical. The dāsya-rasa of Vaikuṇṭha is aiśvarya-pradhāna (exclusive reverence) and the viṣaya, or object of veneration, is Nārāyaṇa and the viṣṇumūrtis. The dāsya-rasa of Goloka Vṛndāvana is not exclusive dāsya-rasa because it is mixed with the sweet mellows of vraja-rasa and the viṣaya is Śrī Vrajendra-nandana. In Vṛndāvana, dāsya-rasa devotees are headed by Raktaka, Patraka, Citraka etc.

The inherent ingredients of dāsya-rasa are mamata (possessiveness) and gaurava (respect). When mamata and gaurava give way to viśrambha (friendly intimacy) and praṇaya (deep affection), then that is sakhya-rasa, or the mellow of friendship. In this particular relationship, the mood of fraternal confidence is enhanced instead of veneration. In this mellow, one follows in the footsteps of Śridāmā, Sudāmā, Subala etc.

When the ingredients of sakhya-rasa are combined with sneha (affection with tenderness) and anukampā (compassion), this becomes vātsalya-rasa, parental affection. Vātsalya-rasa is headed by Yaśodā, Nanda and the elder cowherd men and women of Vraja.

When kānta-bhāva (conjugal desire) combines with all the qualities of vātsalya-rasa, this becomes śṛṅgāra-rasa, or mādhurya-rasa. At this stage, all the aforementioned emotions mingle with māna (jealous anger), rāga (attachment), anurāga (greater attachment), and mahābhāva (supreme ecstasy). Due to its all-inclusive nature, mādhurya-rasa is considered the ādi-rasa, or primary rasa, which all other rasas serve. This is confirmed by Śrīla Kavirāja Gosvāmī:

śānta-dāsya-sakhya-vātsalyera guṇa madhurete vaise

(“The qualities found in śānta-rasa, dāsya-rasa, sakhya-rasa and vātsalya-rasa manifest in madhura-rasa.” – Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 8.86)

Therefore, Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja uses the phrase śreṣtha pārakīya, indicating that pārakīya-mādhurya-rasa is the topmost rasa. This highest conjugal mellow is headed by Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, who is assisted by Her intimate associates Lalitā, Viśākhā, Campakalatā, Sudevī etc.

Even after Rāmānanda presented evidence from the śāstra glorifying the topmost position of conjugal rasa, Mahāprabhu was still not satiated and wanted to hear more. Rāya Rāmānanda then said:

iṅhāra madhye rādhāra prema sādhya-śiromaṇi
yāṅhāra mahimā sarva-śāstrete vākhāni

(“Amongst these, the prema of Rādhā is the highest perfection, which is described by all the śāstra.” – Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā 8.98)

Rāmānanda then presented verses glorifying the unique position of Śrī Rādhā. Because Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇi is the Kṛṣṇa’s internal pleasure potency (hlādinī-śakti), She is the only one that is capable of fully satisfying Him. All other gopīs are Her direct expansions that assist Rādhikā in Her service to Kṛṣna. In this verse, Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja uses the phrase, rādhikāṅghri-bhakti-sundara (‘that beautiful devotion to the lotus feet of Rādhikā’). How does one achieve such a high plane of service to Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī? This is explained by Prabodhānānda Sarasvatī:

yathā yathā gaura-padāravinde
vindeta bhaktiṁ kṛta-puṇya-rāśiḥ
tathā tathotsarpati hṛdy akasmāt
rādhā-padāmbhoja-sudhāṁśu-rāśiḥ

(“According to how many great acts of puṇya one has performed, to that extent one may attain bhakti to the lotus feet of Gaura. Then, to the same extent the ocean of nectar stemming from the lotus feet of Śrī Rādhā will arise within one’s heart.” – Caitanya-candrāmṛta 89)

Thus, only by sincere dedication to the teachings of Gaurāṅga Mahāprabhu can one attain the grace of Gauraṅgī Rādhikā. Then, through Her confidantes, She will engage us in the service of Kṛṣṇa. Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja writes, śrī-vraja-sva-siddha-divya-kāma-kṛṣṇa-tatpara (‘One achieves perfection when one understands that such a divine aspiration has its fullest meaning in Śrī Kṛṣṇa of Vraja’). For the jīva, service to Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa in Vraja-dhāma is the highest aspiration. Śrīla Raghunātha Dāsa Gosvāmī has explained how this is achieved:

samaṁ śrī-rūpeṇa smara-vivaśa-rādhā-giri-bhṛtor
vraje sākṣāt-sevā-labhana-vidhaye tad-guṇa-yujoḥ
tad-ijyākhyā-dhyāna-śravaṇa-nati-pañcāmṛtam idaṁ
dhayan-nītyā govardhanam anudinaṁ tvaṁ bhaja manaḥ

(“O mind, in order to attain the direct service of Rādhā-Giribhṛta who are intoxicated with amorous desire in the association of Their associates in Vraja, you should eternally drink, as prescribed by Śrī Rūpa, pañcāmṛta in the form of worshipping Them, chanting Their Names, meditating upon Them, hearing about Them and offering Them obeisance. You should also perform bhajana of Govardhana daily.” Manaḥ Śikṣā 11)

Thus, Śrīla Dāsa Gosvāmī has prescribed the process of śravaṇa (hearing), kīrtana (chanting), smaraṇa (remembering), vandana (offering obeisance) and arcana (worship). Of all these processes, the method of kīrtana is described as the most effective in the age of Kali. Thus, in his Bhakti Sandarbha (273), Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī Prabhu quotes the Vaiṣṇava Cintāmaṇi:

aghacchit-smaraṇaṁ viṣṇor bahv-āyāsena sādhyate
oṣṭha-spandana-mātreṇa kīrtanaṁ tu tato varam

(“Remembrance of Viṣṇu destroys vice, but it is attained through great effort. Greater than this however, is kīrtana, which is accomplished simply by moving the lips”).

Other forms of bhakti may require purity and qualification, yet kīrtana can be performed even by an unqualified impious person. In Kali-yuga, all other processes depend upon kīrtana. Thus, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu came to give this process which ultimately leads to prema-sevā to Rādhā-Kṛṣna in Vraja.

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About the Author: Swami B.V. Giri

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