In this booklet, a translation of a Hindi lecture spoken in 1964, Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja systematically guides us in understanding the actual nature of our soul. He begins with a captivating story from Vedic history in which two kings, the lord of the demigods and the lord of the demons, vie with each other for factual knowledge of the soul's identity. The contents herein provide a complete foundation for understanding all other devotional literature.
In Murwillumbah, January 1997, devotees eagerly gathered daily to hear Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja's enthralling descriptions of pure devotees' love for Kṛṣṇa, with a higher level of devotion being introduced each successive day. "Come with me," he would begin, and all sat in submission as he gradually presented the pinnacle of devotion: becoming an unalloyed maidservant of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. These classes, based on the fourth verse of Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta's Ādi-līlā, articulate the purpose of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's advent with inspiring precision, thus facilitating a clear understanding for all.
In his Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu-bindu, Śrīpāda Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura has briefly explained the path of rāgānuga-bhakti (spontaneous loving devotion). He has given a more detailed description of the same subject matter in this book, presented in two illuminations. In the First Illumination, he ascertains the paths of vaidhī and rāgānuga-bhakti.
The Second Illumination presents concepts in relation to Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s aspects of supreme opulence (aiśvarya) and consummate sweetness (mādhurya). Also described are the principles of Kṛṣṇa’s sarvajñatā (omniscience) and mugdhatā (quality of being charmingly oblivious and captivated), the concepts of svakīya (marital love) and parakīya (paramour love), the types of cherished eternal forms attained by rāgānuga devotees upon ascending to the realm of perfected divine love (prema), the authority of the Yogamāyā potency, and so on.
More than five hundred years ago, the Supreme Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu sat with His intimate devotee Śrī Rāmānanda Rāya on the banks of the river Godāvarī. For the benefit of all living beings, the Lord inquired from him about the ultimate goal of life, as if ignorant.
Śrī Rāmānanda’s initial response did not satisfy Lord Caitanya, who probed for a deeper answer. Again and again He rejected the goal Śrī Rāmānanda put forth, calling it external. Finally, when Śrī Rāmānanda touched upon the natural, eternal religion of the soul, the Lord was somewhat satisfied. His subsequent inquiries continued to depths that astounded and delighted His devotee, who replied wonderfully to each of them.
Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the spotless Purāṇa, the prema of Vraja permeating its every śloka. It is therefore natural to conclude that by hearing the Bhāgavatam from a person whose heart is similarly spotless, being suffused with that same prema, one will receive its true message and one’s own heart will effectively be transformed. It is with this purpose that we humbly present the series of classes given in Badger, 1999, on the secret truths of the Bhāgavatam – from the First Canto to the Tenth – culminating in the significance of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes in Vṛndāvana.
Issuing from the divine mouth of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the eight verses comprising this Śrī Śikṣāṣṭaka shine as the supremely radiant jewel of transcendental literature. They are the very essence of all the Vedas and a necklace for all Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas. This definitive edition, with the translation and commentary of Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja, features the soul-stirring commentaries of Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura and Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura.
"For the benefit of all living beings, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī churned the ocean of Śrīman Mahāprabhu’s instructions and extracted the essence in the form of this Śrī Upadeśāmṛta. Śrī Upadeśāmṛta gives indispensable instructions for practitioners of bhakti, the devotional path. Without following these instructions, entering the realm of pure devotion and especially following the intricate and elevated path of spontaneous devotion (rāgānug-bhakti) is not only difficult but impossible.” [Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja]
This book captures the wonderful interactive nature of a series of eleven classes given in Badger, California, 1997. The reader thus feels present in that assembly and thrilled to receive the combined instructions of Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja and Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja (Śrīla Prabhupāda) on Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī's Śrī Upadeśāmṛta. Anyone who wants to remember and practice these teachings will find an abundance of inspiration in the pages of this book.
This volume contains Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Gosvāmī Mahārāja’s appeal, inspiration, guidance and blessings in regard to the most essential practices that nourish our bhakti, namely śravaṇa (hearing, or reading) and kīrtana (chanting, or preaching).
Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, the very dear eternal associate of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, established Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s innermost desires in this world. He has compiled a scripture named Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi, which is replete with realization of the ultimate, most effulgent mellow of amorous love for Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the king of Vraja and the emporium of all rasa. Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura has taken the very essence of what was compiled by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī in Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi and presented it in very simple and easily understandable Sanskrit language, just like putting the entire ocean in a pot.
Page 3 of 4