Tridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami MaharajaNovember 22, 2009 - January 4, 2010MauritiusWritten by Madhuvrata dasa brahmacari
On November 21, 2009, after an enthusiastic farewell from the devotees at Sri Raman-Bihari Gaudiya Matha in Delhi, Srila Gurudeva departed from India for his thirty-first world preaching tour. He arrived on the island of Mauritius on November 22. Visa problems had delayed his departure from India by a few days, but this proved to be Sri Krsna’s perfect arrangement as this created the opportunity for Srila Gurudeva to bless the high commissioner in India for Mauritius, Mr. Mookhesshwur Choonee, with his association.
Krsna also arranged that on the same flight with Srila Gurudeva was Sripad Krsna das Maharaja, a sannyasi in Iskcon, and they shared cordial exchanges before boarding. Srila Gurudeva arrived at the Mauritius airport to the sound of ecstatic kirtana, which was the welcoming committee waiting for Krsna das Maharaja. Those in the kirtana party were extremely happy to receive Gurudeva’s darshan.
Sripad Rupa-Raghunatha prabhu and his wife Srimati Vraja devi arranged first-class accommodations for Srila Gurudeva, who arrived there at 4.30 in the evening and who was very pleased when he saw that his new bhajana kutir was situated on the shore of the ocean with a wonderful view and fresh tropical ocean breezes.
After a couple of days rest, Srila Gurudeva was visited by Mr. S. Nunkoo (Radha Mohana dasa Adhikari) of the Prime Minister’s office, and his wife and two children were also present. He spoke at length to them on various topics, including Hiranyakasipu’s instructions to the grieving descendents of his brother, Hiranyaksa, regarding why we should not be bewildered by death; and he also related the history of Citraketu Maharaja.
Radha Mohana dasa was keenly interested in Srila Gurudeva‘s hari-katha. He expressed surprise that such a great saint was staying on the island and that no one knew about this. Subsequently he invited Srila Gurudeva to speak at a prestigious Gita-Jayanti festival, which would be taking place the following Saturday.
On Saturday November 28th, on the auspicious day of Ekadasi, Srila Gurudeva attended the International Conference on Bhagavad-gita and Sri Gita Jayanti held at the Rabindranath Tagore Institute. Inside the auditorium he was introduced to many high-profile persons including government ministers and pandits from Mauritius. After the welcome address and a speech by The Hon. Mr. Anil Bachoo (minister of infrastructure, transport, and shipping), Gurudeva was invited to speak. He honored all present to hear him, received flower garlands and gifts, and then gave the following lecture. The transcription of this lecture was kindly translated from Hindi by Sriman Acyutananda brahmacari:
“I am experiencing great happiness that I have been invited to speak a few words in this assembly of scholars on the occasion of Gita Jayanti. I have been allotted a very short time, only fifteen minutes; regardless, I will try to speak something. Especially here, the majority of residents of Mauritius are related to the part of India known as Bhojpur (Bihar). My birth and early education took place in a village on the banks of the Ganga in this same region of Bihar. I am especially happy that although I am speaking Hindi you will all be able to understand.
“The incarnation of Bhagavan, the guru of the entire universe, Srila Krsna-dvaipayana Vedavyasa, is the propagator and composer of a large book entitled Mahabharata. In that Mahabharata, at the beginning of Bhisma-parva 42nd chapter, Bhagavad-gita is gloriously situated in eighteen chapters.
‘Why did the Gita become manifest? Gita is one of the Upanisads; in other words the essence of all the Upanisads has become this Gita.
“sarvopanisado gavo dogdha gopala nandanahpartho vatso sudhira bhokta gitamrtam mahat
“All the Upanisads are likened to cows, and the milkman of these cows is the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself, Sri Krsna. Partha (Arjuna) has taken the form of a baby calf. To benefit the entire universe, this Gita, which is equivalent to nectar, has thus become available for the benefit and auspiciousness of the entire universe.
“One special matter: Arjuna is an eternal associate of Krsna; he can neither be enchanted by the illusory energy nor have any doubts. But Krsna, in order to give us this transcendental knowledge and to give devotional love of God, inspired Arjuna to ask questions regarding auspiciousness for the universe.
“Just now, a previous speaker explained that the first and foremost subject in spirituality is to understand that we are not the body. The body, either today, tomorrow, or the day after will eventually become old. Not even the entire world's doctors and scientists will be able to stop this for even one minute, and in the end there will be death.
“But understand this: Death happens to whom? Not to the spirit soul. We are the spirit soul, a part and parcel of the Supreme Lord.
“mamaivamso jiva-lokejiva-bhutah sanatanahmanah-sasthan indriyaniprakrti-sthani karsati
“‘The living entities in this conditioned world are My eternal fragmental parts. Due to conditioned life, they are struggling very hard with the six senses, which include the mind.’ (Bhagavad-gita, 15.7)
“The living entity is the separated part of the Supreme Lord and can never become one with Him. Rather, having attained knowledge and love for Him, the jiva will eternally serve Him in Goloka Vrndavana. The jiva will go to such a place where having once gone shall never return.
“na tad bhasayate suryona sasanko na pavakahyad gatva na nivartantetad dhama paramam mama
“’That supreme abode of Mine is not illumined by the sun or moon, nor by fire or electricity. Those who reach it never return to this material world.’ (Bhagavad-gita, 15.6)
“This is the original meaning of the Gita.
“Especially, I want to say one thing. The scriptures have proclaimed that if the Bhagavad-gita is to be understood, one must first of all become fixed in the understanding that Krsna, the speaker of this Gita, is the Supreme Lord Himself. Whatever He has said, that is the highest truth; there is not even the slightest fragment of untruth in His words. Those who follow His instructions after having heard them, and inspire others to do the same, will attain the ultimate benefit. They will obtain eternal perfection.
“Krsna Himself has said:
“mattah parataram nanyatkincid asti dhananjayamayi sarvam idam protamsutre mani-gana iva
“’O conqueror of wealth, there is no truth superior to Me. Everything rests upon Me, as pearls are strung on a thread.’ (Bhagavad-gita, 7.7)
“Everything emanates from Krsna. Sri Rama, Nrsimha, Kalki, Vamana, and all other avataras emanate from Him. Evidence for this is found in the Srimad-Bhagavatam:
“ete camsa-kalah pumsahkrsnas tu bhagavan svayamindrari-vyakulam lokammrdayanti yuge yuge
“’All of the above-mentioned incarnations are either plenary portions or portions of the plenary portions of the Lord, but Lord Sri Krsna is the original Personality of Godhead. All of them appear on planets whenever there is a disturbance created by the atheists. The Lord incarnates to protect the theists.’ (Srimad-Bhagavatam, 1.3.28)
“Therefore, please first understand that Krsna is the Supreme Lord, and His speaking to Arjuna was the means for propagating His philosophy. The Gita is not only for one specific time period; it is for all times. It is beginningless, endless, and eternal. As many problems as are possible in the cycle of birth and death, their solutions are to be found in the Gita.
“In our land of India and outside as well, the Bhagavad-gita is very well respected. Sri Sankaracarya, Ananda Giri, and Madhusudhana Sarasvati have written famous commentaries on it. In addition, Sri Ramanujacarya, Sri Madhvacarya, and Sridhar Svami have written commentaries.
“In the commentaries of Ananda Giri and Sankaracarya, the truth has been concealed and the monistic doctrine is prominent. Misinterpreting such Vedic statements as sarva khalvidam brahma, aham brahmasmi, and prajnanam brahma, they explain that the living entity is himself brahma, Having ripped apart the meaning of the Gita, they, as well as others from their sampradaya, have attempted to establish monism. However, Sri Ramanujacarya, Sri Madhvacarya, and Sridhar Svami have explained that the Gita propounds devotional service.
“There is one special thing to note: Following in the footsteps of our acaryas, we accept the philosophical doctrine of acintya-bhedabheda. I am speaking from the commentaries of the acaryas in our tradition, who propounded acintya-bhedabheda tattva, such as Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura and Sri Baladeva Vidyabhusana.
‘This Gita, as I have previously mentioned, is spoken by Krsna Himself, who says:
‘daivi hy esa guna-mayimama maya duratyayamam eva ye prapadyantemayam etam taranti te
“’This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is very difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it.’ (Bhagavad-gita, 7.14)
“Those who perform worship of Me, will be delivered.
‘a-brahma-bhuvanal lokahpunar avartino 'rjunamam upetya tu kaunteyapunar janma na vidyate
“’From the highest planet in the material world down to the lowest, all are places of misery wherein repeated birth and death take place. But one who attains to My abode, O son of Kunti, never takes birth again.’ (Bhavagad-gita, 8.16)
“Those who will surrender to Me will attain the highest good.
‘sarva-dharman parityajyamam ekam saranam vrajaaham tvam sarva-papebhyomoksayisyami ma sucah
“’Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear.’ (Bhavagad-gita, 18.66)
“Why has ‘mam ekam’ been stated three times? Just as the phrases in the verse ‘harer namaiva herer kevalam, kalau nastyeva nastyeva nastyeva’ have been told three times to emphasize the point, so it is with this Gita verse. In this verse Krsna has said ‘mam ekam,’ ‘ma sucah.’ And ‘aham tvam.’ The firm absolute truth is this.
“In Gita four types of knowledge have been explained: guhya, ordinary knowledge; guhyatara-jnana, confidential knowledge; guhyatama-jnana, more confidential knowledge; and sarva-guhyatama-jnana, most confidential knowledge. Ordinary knowledge is atma-jnana – ‘I am the spirit soul. I am eternal. My birth and death never actually take place.’ Guhyatara-jnana is brahma jnana – ‘I am a brahma-jatiya vastu (an object of the same quality as brahma). But I am only partly equivalent to brahma. Guyatama-jnana refers to paramatma-jnana, which means to know the Supersoul existing in everyone's heart. Sarva-guhyatama-jnana refers to Bhagavad-jnana, knowledge that Sri Krsna is the Supreme Lord:
‘ete camsa-kalah pumsahkrsnas tu bhagavan svayamindrari-vyakulam lokammrdayanti yuge yuge
‘isvarah paramah krsnahsac-cid-ananda-vigrahahanadir adir govindahsarva-karana-karanam
“’Krsna, who is known as Govinda, is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He has an eternal, blissful, spiritual body. He is the origin of all. He has no other origin and He is the prime cause of all causes. He has no origin.’ (Brahma-samhita, 5.1)
“aho bhagyam aho bhagyamnanda-gopa-vrajaukasamyan-mitram paramanandampurnam brahma sanatanam
“’How greatly fortunate are Nanda Maharaja, the cowherd men and all the other inhabitants of Vrajabhumi! There is no limit to their good fortune, because the Absolute Truth, the source of transcendental bliss, the eternal Supreme Brahman, has become their friend.’ (Srimad-Bhagavatam, 10.14.32)
“Krsna is the complete brahma (Spirit Whole), as proclaimed by all the scriptures. Not only the scriptures; Devarsi Narada, Asita, Devala, Vyasadeva, and Sukadeva all consider Krsna to be the Supreme Lord.
“Therefore the Gita, which is told by Krsna, gives auspiciousness of the entire universe. Having heard it, people may cross over the ocean of birth and death. Time is short, and therefore I am speaking in brief.
“Now, sarva-guhyatama-jnana, the topmost confidential knowledge, has been explained in this verse:
“man-mana bhava mad-bhaktomad-yaji mam namaskurumam evaisyasi satyam tepratijane priyo 'si me
“’Always think of Me, become My devotee, worship Me and offer your homage unto Me. Thus you will come to Me without fail. I promise you this because you are My very dear friend.’ (Bhagavad-gita, 18.65)
“Man mana bhava’ means, ‘Give your mind to Me; absorb your mind in Me.’ Our commentators have given an example. In Vraja, a young cowherd girl was newly married and had come to Nandagaon. She has heard a great deal about Krsna and His wonderful pastimes, but she had not yet seen Him. She wanted to see Him up close.
One day Krsna was taking the cows and calves grazing. Because He resides in everyone's heart, He was aware of the girl’s desire and considered, ‘This cowherd girl wants to see Me from close by. He grabbed the tail of a calf and it ran, followed by Krsna Himself, right up to where she was standing. He then touched His flute to her chin and left.
“Prior to this her in-laws were asking her, “Where are you going?” She replied, “To see Krsna.” They told her, “Don't go, otherwise a black snake will bite you.” She replied, “Why should I not go? You yourself, your daughter, and others from here are going. Somehow I must also go there.”
She did not listen to them. She came to see Krsna, Krsna stole her heart, and she became ‘man mana bhava.’ She completely stopped thinking about herself and simply continued standing there.
“Some time passed. Her mother-in-law approached her and said, ‘Didn't I tell you that the black snake would bite you? You did not listen, and finally He bit you.’
“Now her mother-in-law placed upon her head a clay pot, on top of that another, and on top of that one more. This is the pastime of Vraja wherein women take two or three clay pots on their head to fill them with water for their houses. In one hand the girl carried a rope to place around the clay pot for fetching water, and she was given a small baby to take along with her. She was told, ‘Go and fetch water from the well.’
“She went to the well with the pots and the rope, and the child. Her mind was not present with her, so she wrapped the rope around the neck of the child instead of the pitcher, and began to lower the child into the well. Alarmed, others standing nearby exclaimed, ‘Has a ghost stricken this girl? She has put the rope (for the pot) around the child!’ Someone said, ‘Bhuta nahi, bhuta nahi, Nanda Ji ke putra’ - No, it is not a ghost; it is the son of Nanda. He has entered her in such a way that none of her sense has remained!’ Thus, they stopped her from lowering the child in the well. This is man mana bhava.
“Further explanation will become long; therefore I have kept my presentation brief.
“’Mad yaji’ means ‘perform My worship.’ Arjuna told Krsna, ‘I cannot worship You when I have to concentrate on the war. Please make it easier for me.’ So in the end Krsna said, ‘Namaskuru’ – one time offer your obeisances to Me. What does it mean to offer obeisances? ‘Na’ means ‘without,’ ‘mas’ means ‘false ego,’ and ‘kara’ indicates ‘offer pranamas to Me.’
“Much time has passed, and for that I ask your forgiveness. Today I will end my speech here.
“vancha kalpa tarubhyas ca krpa-sindhubhya eva capatitaman pavanebhyo vaisnavebhyo namo namah
I offer pranamas unto the Vaisnavas, who are just like wish-fulfilling desire trees, who are an ocean of mercy, and who deliver the fallen, conditioned souls.”
When Srila Gurudeva completed his hari-katha, he presented the chairman of The Mauritius Sanatan Dharma Federation and Hindutva Movement, Mr Somduth Dulthumun, with a picture of Sri Krsna and Arjuna in Kuruksetra, which had been painted by Syamarani dasi under the guidance of Srila Gurudeva himself. All present conveyed their appreciation of Gurudeva’s lecture.
Every morning Srila Gurudeva goes out in the beautiful local surroundings to chant harinama and perform his morning walk. The morning sun shines through the trees and many tropical birds sing, thus creating a very favorable atmosphere.
Every day after Gurudeva honors breakfast prasadam and takes a brief rest, he begins writing. The main purpose of this retreat is to allow him to continue his writing without being distracted by many other responsibilities. At the present time he is working on Sri Vedanta-Sutra and Srimad-Bhagavatam with complete absorption.
The Island of Mauritius is extremely favorable for devotion, being a predominantly Hindu island whose government follows the precepts given in Sri Ramayana and other Vedic scriptures. Most of the residents are of Indian descent, whose ancestors moved here as indentured laborers. The climate is very conducive for maintaining good health, the weather is warm and the ocean is very calm – calm enough for Srila Gurudeva to take his bath there almost every day. All types of fruits and vegetables grow here, including pumpkin, lauki, many types of spinach, papaya, very large coconuts, and mangos. Jackfruit and banana flowers, which are two of Gurudeva’s favorite types of subji, are also easily available from the generous local people. Srimati Tulasi-devi also grows here, naturally and abundantly.
On December 5th, the disappearance festival of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada was celebrated by Gurudeva and his entourage. After offering arati, puspanjali and bhoga to Srila Prabhupada, he spoke for ten minutes about his glories. Sumptuous prasadam was then prepared for midday, including coconut dahl, jackfruit subji, kitchari, and sweet rice. Gurudeva told us that these are all the favorites of Srila Sarasvati Thakura.
A few days later, on December 10th, Gurudeva honored the appearance day of Srila Bhaktivedanta Vamana Gosvami Maharaja with arati, puspanjali, and bhoga offering. Sripad Madhava Maharaja prepared delicious items for His Guru Maharaja (Srila Vamana Gosvami Maharaja) including jackfruit and chickpea subji, banana-flower subji, pumpkin-flower pakora, and poppy seed patties. Srila Gurudeva was happy to honor the maha-prasadam.
Gurudeva was invited to attend more programs before his departure on January 4th, and we will endeavor to keep you posted on those events.