Tridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
October 20th & 21st, 1991
This year, 2017, the disappearance day of Srila Sanatana Gosvami is on July 8th and 9th (see calendar). The lecture below, on the sixth verse of Sri Vilap-kusumanjali, was given in Vrndavana in 1991. Although it may look to you like a published book, it is actually his lecture:]
apayayan mam anabhipsum andham
krpa ambudhih yah para-duhkha-duhkhi
sanatanah tam prabhum asrayami
vairagya—renunciation; yug—enriched with; bhakti—devotion; rasam—nectarean taste; prayatnaih—carefully; apayayan—made drink; mam—me; anabhipsum—unwilling; andham—blind; krpa—of mercy; ambudhih—an ocean; yah—who; para—of others; duhkha—misery; duhkhi—was sorry; sanatanah—Sanatana Gosvami; tam—him; prabhum—lord; asrayami—I take shelter.
I take shelter of my lord and master, Sri Sanatana Gosvami, who is an ocean of compassion and who always feels sorry for the suffering of others. Although I was unwilling and blinded by ignorance, he diligently made me drink the nectar of devotion laced with renunciation.
Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami has prayed to his diksa-guru, Yadunandana Acarya, in a general way, and to his raganuga siksa-guru, Srila Rupa Gosvami, in a more special way. From this we may infer that there are different types of gurus. If one's guru has not given one any instruction in raganuga, one may also have another guru, as did Raghunatha dasa Gosvami. However, if the guru has given instructions in both vaidhi and raganuga, there is no question of accepting another guru. We can understand that Raghunatha dasa Gosvami did not receive any instructions regarding raganuga from Yadunandana Acarya, because at that time he had no idea of raganuga bhajana. He learned from Srila Haridasa Thakura to chant "Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna," and from his diksa-guru he understood, "I am Krsna dasa" and "We should chant harinama. We should do bhakti." He had no opportunity to receive greed for raganuga from Yadunandana Acarya.
Still, it is a very, very important task to bring someone from the worldly side to Krsna's side. If the guru cannot do that, then the endeavor to approach raganuga, and rupanuga will be useless. The vaidhi-bhakti guru is certainly guru. Even if someone, without giving mantra or diksa, has endeavored to put us in contact with guru or Krsna, and has given some inspiration to worship Radha and Krsna in vaidhi-bhakti, we should be so grateful to that person. It is for this reason that Raghunatha dasa Gosvami has prayed to Sri Yadunandana Acarya.
In raganuga-bhajana, Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami is especially indebted to Srila Rupa Gosvami, and also to Srila Sanatana Gosvami. He was primarily associating with Rupa Gosvami, however, and he has taken all his ideas and ideals for raganuga-bhajana from him. Here in Vilapa-kusumanjali, He prayed to him only as Rupa-manjari, not as Rupa Gosvami, whereas he has prayed to Sri Sanatana Gosvami: Sanatanas tam prabhum asrayami. Rupa Gosvami gave him all the conceptions needed in raganuga and rupanuga for developing and supporting manjari-bhava, and Sri Sanatana Gosvami gave him all necessary instruction in vaidhi-bhakti and sadhana-bhajana aiming for raganuga.
When Raghunatha dasa Gosvami had first come from Jagannatha Puri, due to the intense pain of his separation for Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu he was of a mind to give up his life. He wanted to go to Govardhana, climb upon the hill, and, by jumping from there, end his life. If he had simply wanted to commit suicide, Raghunatha dasa Gosvami could have easily done so in Puri. Why did he not do so? While passing through the Jharikhanda forest, full of tigers and other wild beasts, dense forests, and high mountains, he could have easily died without anyone interfering. Why was he intent upon leaving his body at Govardhana?
He had some thoughts. "I must serve Radha and Krsna, if not in this life, then in another. Caitanya Mahaprabhu has given me the shelter of Govardhana, so I will go to Govardhana, and, if Govardhana allows, I will give up my life there. As Bhagavad-gita has said, 'Whatever a man thinks of at his last moment, he will attain in his next birth.' I will die at Govardhana with this ambition: 'O Giriraja Govardhana, please grant me a birth near you. Have mercy upon me so that I may serve Radha and Krsna, and especially Srimati Radhika.'"
In his Manah Siksa, sloka two, he has written:
na dharman nadharmam sruti-gana-niruktam kila kuru
vraje radha-krsna-pracura-paricaryam iha tanuh
saci-sunam nandisvara-pati-sutatve guru-varam
mukunda-presthatve smara padam ajasram nanu manah
O my dear mind! Please do not perform either the dharma or adharma mentioned in the srutis or Vedas. Rather, render profuse loving service to Sri Sri Radha-Krsna Yugala here in Vraja, for the srutis have ascertained Them to be the highest principle of supreme worship and the Supreme Absolute Truth. Always meditate on Sacinandana, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who is richly endowed with the complexion and sentiments of Srimati Radhika, as non-different from Sri Nanda-nandana. And always remember Sri Gurudeva as most dear to Sri Mukunda.
Now he was thinking, "To carry out the order of Caitanya Mahaprabhu is service to Him. Caitanya Mahaprabhu is actually Radha and Krsna. Therefore, if He is telling me to serve Radha and Krsna, that is also service to Him."
He was considering that if he would die in this consciousness, he would at least take birth as grass at Govardhana, as Uddhava did. He determined, "Then, at the time of abhisara, when the gopis go to meet with Krsna at night, their pure foot-dust will come upon my head. In this way I will be satisfied." He therefore decided to die at Govardhana, especially near Radha-kunda and Syama-kunda.
As soon as he arrived in Vrndavana, he approached Sri Rupa Gosvami and Sri Sanatana Gosvami and offered his obeisances. Caitanya Mahaprabhu had previously told him, "Always consider Rupa Gosvami and Sanatana Gosvami as your elder brothers," and therefore he came to them. Somehow or other Rupa Gosvami and Sanatana Gosvami understood that he had a wish to die at Govardhana. Sri Sanatana Gosvami was especially wise in understanding a person's heart.
Sanatana Gosvami was raja-niti-jna, in knowledge of politics, whereas Rupa Gosvami was very simple. Sri Sanatana Gosvami and other Gosvamis used tarka, logic, in their writings. To help common persons to understand anything, especially in vaidhi-bhakti and the methods of krsna-bhajana, some logic is very necessary. Vedanta itself stands upon sound logical principles.
Rupa Gosvami writes for those eager form raganuga-bhakti, "Don't take shelter of any logic. What I am explaining for entrance into the transcendental pastimes of Krsna does not depend upon logic. Such logic cannot help you in this realm. Only sraddha can give you entrance here." He has not used logic anywhere in his Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, Ujjvala-nilamani, Vidagdha Madhava, or Lalita Madhava. For preaching, of course, logic is essential, and for management raja-niti is essential.
If we examine Rupa Gosvami's books, we will see that he is simply telling lila-katha, topics regarding Krsna's pastimes, without touching upon logic or scriptural arguments at all. From the beginning of Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu and Ujjvala-nilamani, he has cited references from various scriptures regarding lila-katha, rasa (relationship with Krsna), and vilasa (playful pastimes). These books contrast Jiva Gosvami's Tattva Sandarbha, which has used logic and sastric evidences to establish his points.
vana-vipina-nikunje divya-divyair vilasaih
niravadhi rasamanan radhika-krsnacandrau
bhaja sakalam upeksya tavakah sastra-yuktih
Sri Sri Radha-Krsnacandra enjoy limitless, splendid transcendental pastimes in the secluded, blissful groves of Vrndavana forest. O friend, please abandon all contrary scriptural arguments and just worship Them with pure devotion.
In this verse, Srila Rupa Gosvami recommends that one should do bhajana of Radha and Krsna, always chanting and remembering Their nikunja-lila. He says here, "There is no need to adhere to sastra-yuktih, scriptural logic. Whatever logic has been given in Vedanta or other sastras, leave that aside; don't depend upon that. Logic is required in vaidhi-bhakti, and also for managing and preaching. For entering deeply into bhajana, however, only sraddha is of necessity." This poetry of Rupa Gosvami contains thirty-two slokas of nikunja lila, from Radha-Krsna's lila at the beginning of the night all the way to nisanta lila. "Leaving all logic and scriptural regulations aside, meditate on these confidential pastimes and do bhajana." This is the specialty of Rupa Gosvami's teachings regarding raganuga-bhakti.
By the expert employment of sastric and general logic, by politics, and by following carefully the example of our acaryas and especially Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Sri Sanatana Gosvami convinced Raghunatha dasa Gosvami to not give up his life. He related to Raghunatha dasa his personal experience, by telling him, "At first, in Jagannatha Puri, I was of the same opinion as you."
After traveling through Jharikhanda forest, Sanatana Gosvami had developed itching, oozing sores all over his body. Whenever Caitanya Mahaprabhu would see him, He would run towards him and embrace him. Sanatana Gosvami considered, "It is offensive on my part that Caitanya Mahaprabhu, being Krsna Himself, is embracing me to His chest and the moisture from these sores is touching His body. Rather than allow my offense to continue, I have made up my mind to give up my life at the time of the Ratha-yatra festival, under the wheels of the chariot."
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu could understand Sanatana Gosvami's heart, and said, "Sanatana, if a person gives something to another person, does he have any right to take that property back?" Caitanya Mahaprabhu did not order him directly, but cleverly and tactfully indicated His desire. He told him, "The first point is that if you have surrendered your body to Me, you no longer have the right to do what you like with it. Only I have that right. By taking what is rightfully Mine, you are committing an offense to Me.
"Secondly, if I had thought that by giving up My life I could attain the service of Radha and Krsna, I would give up My life millions of times. By giving up one's life, one cannot attain Radha and Krsna's service. This can only be had by bhakti-yoga. Try to understand this. Please give up your idea of ending your life. Increase your sadhana-bhajana, and you will very soon achieve perfection.'"
Sri Sanatana Gosvami told Raghunatha dasa, "By hearing the words of Caitanya Mahaprabhu I understood His desire, and I have thus tried to follow His order and serve Radha and Krsna. You should do the same. You have no right to give up your life, because you have already surrendered your soul to Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Svarupa Damodara, Raya Ramananda, and also to us brothers. Caitanya Mahaprabhu told you to come to Vrndavana and stay in our company, and therefore we will try to protect, support, and nourish you. Don't worry. Just stay at Radha-kunda, at Govardhana, and always chant harinama and perform bhajana."
In this verse of Vilapa-kusumanjali, Raghunatha dasa Gosvami is now remembering, "If I had left my body at that time, I would have never received instruction in raganuga and manjari-bhava. I would have never read Vidagdha-Madhava, Lalita Madhava, or Dana Keli Kumudi, nor would I have written any books. I am therefore so much indebted to Sri Sanatana Gosvami."
The words anabhipsum andham in this sixth sloka indicates, "I was unaware of raganuga-bhakti." Raghunatha dasa Gosvami is speaking in a mood of humility. Actually, he had received instructions in raganuga-bhajana from Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Svarupa Damodara. Still, he is saying, "I was andha, blind. I did not know anything about rasamayi-bhakti, Krsna, Radha, the gopis, or Vraja-bhava. I did not even have the desire for these things."
We also would be quite blind in these matters had we not come to our Gurudeva. At first we had nothing, and now we reflect on how obliged and indebted we are to him. Should we advance further, we will feel even more indebted.
Anabhipsum means 'unwilling.' Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami says, "I did not want that bhakti, but Sanatana Gosvami gave it by force." If a boy requires medicine and is not willing to take it, his mother will give it to him by force. She will forcibly open his mouth. Similarly, Raghunatha dasa Gosvami says, "I was not in the mood to take up this raganuga-bhakti, so he forced me."
Prayatnair means 'carefully.' When Raghunatha dasa Gosvami lived at Radha-kunda, Sanatana Gosvami used to go there from Vrndavana to do Govardhana parikrama. Sri Sanatana Gosvami is Lavanga Manjari. What was the need for him to do parikrama? Did he have anything to gain for himself?
yad yad acarati sresthas
tat tad evetaro janah
sa yat pramanam kurute
lokas tad anuvartate
Whatever action a great man performs, common men follow. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues.
People in general benefited by his example, but that was also not his real motive. Raghunatha dasa Gosvami is saying, "He used to go only for me." This is the inference by the word prayatnair.
I personally prefer to live in Vrndavana. Why, then, do I stay in Mathura? Is there some specific benefit for me to remain in Mathura? Is it for rupees, delicious food, or the affection of the residents of Mathura? Can it be that I will advance more in raganuga-bhakti and achieve the mercy of Srimati Radhika and the manjaris by being here? No, there is another reason. Srimad-Bhagavatam states:
bhavad-vidha bhagavatas tirtha-bhutah svayam vibho
tirthi-kurvanti tirthani svantah-sthena gadabhrta
My Lord, devotees like your good self are verily holy places personified. Because you carry the Personality of Godhead within your heart, you turn all places into places of pilgrimage.
This is a very important verse, told by Yudhisthira Maharaja to Vidura. Yudhisthira Maharaja was so glad to see Vidura, who had just returned to his palace after the great Battle of Kuruksetra.
Another sloka is also related to this point:
mahad-vicalanam nrinam grihinam dina-cetasam
nihsreyasaya bhagavan kalpate nanyatha kvacit
O my lord, O great devotee, persons like you move from one place to another, not for their own interests, but for the sake of poor-hearted grhastas. Otherwise, they have no interest in going from one place to another.
This sloka was spoken by Nanda Baba to Garga Rsi at Krsna's name-giving ceremony. Nanda Baba said, "I know you have not come here for a donation." Babajis and priests come to their patron only for his donations, and they remain at his home only until the donation is paid. It is certain that as soon as it is paid they return to their own residences. Here Nanda Baba is expressing, "Actually, Gargacarya, you have no personal reason to come here. You have no self-interest. You have come to my house only because I am a very wretched grhastha. You go to the homes of grhasthas only to give them krsna-bhakti. You are a bhagavata."
Who is a bhagavata? One who has bhakti for Svayam Bhagavan Krsna is a bhagavata. The symptom of a bhagavata has been recorded in various slokas. One symptom is that the wealth of the entire universe cannot influence the heart of a bhagavata, or change his ideas, what to speak of some donation.
Nanda Baba continued, "You have not come with any self-interest, but only for the benefit of a wretched grhasta such as myself who has fallen into the waterless well of householder life. You have come to give mercy."
Similarly, according to Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, Srila Sanatana Gosvami did Govardhana parikrama to give him his association. Raghunatha dasa continues, "You come here now and then, only to see how this orphan boy is doing. You come to tell me the pastimes of Krsna and to teach me how to serve Him."
Once, Raghunatha dasa Gosvami was sitting under the open sky and performing bhajana on the banks of Syama-kunda. Two tigers approached the kunda, drank water, and then went away. Sanatana Gosvami was watching this from a distance and became concerned. After the tigers left, he approached Raghunatha dasa Gosvami and instructed him, "O Raghunatha, please do not sit here like this. I will build a hut for you. By my special order you will have to live there and perform your bhajana there." Raghunatha dasa Gosvami could not refuse his order. Sanatana Gosvami made a hut, and from that time onward Raghunatha dasa Gosvami lived there, chanted harinama, and performed all other devotional activities.
Even though Rupa Gosvami and Sanatana Gosvami – especially Sanatana Gosvami – used to see Raghunatha dasa Gosvami as their younger brother, he always saw them as his gurus. Being the direct disciples of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Sanatana Gosvami, Rupa Gosvami, and Raghunatha dasa Gosvami were all god-brothers, and Sanatana Gosvami and Rupa Gosvami saw Raghunatha dasa as such; never as their disciple. On the other hand, he never saw them as god-brothers. He always saw them as his own gurus.
"Gurur kinkara haya manya se amar – the servant of the guru is always respectable for us." (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila 10.142) This is a statement by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. When Govinda came and met Mahaprabhu in Puri, he told Him, "Our Gurudeva, Isvara Puripada, has sent me to serve You." Mahaprabhu was thinking, "How can this be? He is my god-brother. I should respect him, but he wants to serve Me." It was only because his guru had ordered that Govinda serve Him that He accepted his service.
Thus, understanding that the servant of the guru should be deeply respected, Raghunatha dasa Gosvami always saw Sanatana Gosvami and Rupa Gosvami as his gurus. We should also have this behavior amongst ourselves, for that will create love between us. We may think, "I am guru. He knows nothing. He is not as good a servant of our Gurudeva as I am. He doesn't even know any siddhanta." If we think in this way, there will be quarrels among us, and now this is going on: "I am the only acarya and no one else is qualified." Where there is hating and similar mentalities, that place is kali-rajya, the kingdom of Kali.
Vairagya-yuga-bhakti. There are two types of bhakti; one is general and the other is bhakti with vairagya. Vairagya has two meanings; one is 'renunciation' and the other it visesa rupena raga, or anuraga, meaning 'great absorption and affection for Krsna.' The distinguishing feature of vairagya is raga or anuraga; this is a most important point. When anuraga is present, attachment for sense objects cannot remain. This is the true definition of vairagya.
One truly fixed in vairagya will have attachment only for bhakti and for the service of Radha and Krsna. One who has this special anuraga for Radhika's service will automatically leave all worldly attachments. Those who have not developed real vairagya may leave their worldly attachments for awhile, but after some time they will again become immersed in those things. Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami has this special attachment to the service of Radha and Krsna and Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and he glorifies Sri Sanatana Gosvami as the one who blessed him with this vairagya-yuga-bhakti, or renunciation enriched with bhakti.
In Caitanya Mahaprabhu's own life we see this vairagya-yuga-bhakti, and when He sees His followers performing bhakti with vairagya He becomes so pleased. He desires that every one of His devotees should be niskincana, thinking that their only possession is Krsna. We are not like this, and therefore we have so many problems. If we maintain any attachment for anything other than Krsna – to name and fame, wealth, women, or food – then bhakti will become very remote for us. It will be very, very remote.
It is stated in Sri Caitanya-caritamrita (Antya-lila 6.310):
sade sata prahara yaya kirtana-smarane
ahara-nidra cari danda seha nahe kona dine
Raghunatha däsa spent more than twenty-two hours out of every twenty-four chanting the Hare Krñna maha-mantra and remembering the lotus feet of the Lord. He ate and slept for less than an hour and a half, and on some days that also was impossible.
A complete day and night is eight praharas, and one prahara, three hours, consists of six or seven dandas. Our Gosvamis spent four dandas; that is, about one and a half to two hours, on eating, drinking, and sleeping. They spent the rest of the day and night, over seven-and-a-half praharas, doing asta-kaliya-lila smarana. Moreover, there were some days when they neglected to eat or sleep at all.
We sleep from eight to nine hours daily. Then, so much time is spent in oil massage, bathing, roaming here and there, general laziness, and thinking. The rest of the day passes as we talk about things other than hari-katha. Then, sometimes we feel sick, and at those times doctors must be brought and medicine administered. Our whole time goes in vain. Certainly, this is a situation of great hopelessness!
Krpambudhir yah. Sanatana Gosvami is a great ocean of mercy, the highest extent of mercy. He can also give Radha's mercy. He can pray, "O Srimati Radhika, please give Your mercy to this devotee."
Lalita-devi can also so this, and therefore we can pray to her:
yam kam api vraja-kule vrsabhanu jayah
preksya sva-paksa-padavim anurudhyamanam
sadyas tad ista-ghatanena krtarthayantim
devim gunaih su-lalitam lalitam namami
(Sri Lalitastikam verse 6)
I offer my obeisances to Srimati Lalita devi, who is the embodiment of all sublime qualities. When she approaches any young maiden upon seeing her in the vicinity of Vrndavana, and finds out after some clever questioning that she is inclined toward her mistress Radhika, she immediately fulfills her desires and satisfies her completely.
Lalita will ask any kisori moving within Vraja, "O, where are you going?" The young girl may reply, "I'm going to Varsana (or Javata, or Radha-kunda). "Why are you going there?" "I know it is very difficult to achieve, but I am going there with the hope that Srimati Radhika may keep me as Her palya dasi." When Lalita knows this, she at once tries to give that bhava. She will order – not pray, but order – Srimati Radhika, "Keep this girl as Your palya dasi. I'm writing her name in the register of Your palya dasis."
Srimati Radhika cannot disobey Lalita. She is bound to obey her order. If Lalita sees any sign at allthat one wants to become a palya dasi, she certainly arranges for it. At once she tells Radhika, and Radhika obeys her order.
This is krpambudhir, the ocean of mercy, and there is no mercy beyond this. Raghunatha dasa Gosvami therefore says krpambudhir yah. Sri Sanatana Gosvami, as Lavanga Manjari, is an ocean of mercy because he can distribute the mercy of Srimati Radhika.
Para duhkha-duhkhi – Sanatana Gosvami is always unhappy to see the unhappiness of any jiva. It is not that the jivas say to him, "Please have mercy upon me." Rather, he sees that they are pots, or vessels, for mercy, though they don't want it. He may go to a person and request, "Can you give me water to drink?" Why is he asking for water? He wants to give his mercy. He is creating their sukriti, and therefore he travels to every village contacting the sense enjoyers. In the grhasta's home he questions, "I have heard that your daughter is soon to be married." The grhastha may reply, "Her marriage has already been performed." "Oh, how is she?" Although he has no self-interest, Sanatana Gosvami will listen to all the news of the villagers. What is the need? He wants to give them bhakti by his association – somehow or other. He will instruct someone, "Your father is very ill. Try to chant 'Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna' and he will improve."
Thus, Sanatana Gosvami gives his mercy in any way he can. This is the symptom of para-duhkha-duhkhi. He has nothing to be gained for himself. Rather, he is simply unhappy to see the unhappiness of others.
Sanatanas tam prabhum asrayami. Raghunatha dasa Gosvami is addressing Sanatana Gosvami as Prabhu. Who is Prabhu? Mahaprabhu is Mahaprabhu, and Nityananda and Advaita Acarya are both Prabhus. A Prabhu is one who can give anything to any person. He should be master of all things.
I may ask you, "I want a son. Please give me a son." Can you fulfill my request? No, you cannot. But if I request you, "Give me five rupees," you can give that. What you have, you can give.
You cannot give what you don't have. Because Sanatana Gosvami can give anything we may desire, Raghunatha dasa Gosvami has addressed him as Prabhu. "O Prabhu, you have something in your treasury that you can supply to me. Please give me radha-pada dasya. You are the master of that. Prabhu asrayami – I am taking shelter of your lotus feet."
The question is raised: "We hear that Raghunatha dasa Gosvami prays to Sri Rupa-manjari, but does he not pray to Lavanga-manjari in the same way?" He has not prayed here in Vilapa-kusumanjali, but he knows that Sanatana Gosvami is Lavanga-manjari. He prays, but not everything can be written. In his mind he always prays. In fact, he has prayed to all the sakhis. He has prayed even to Saibya, Padma and Candravali, what to speak of Lavanga-manjari.
He has prayed to Sakhi-sthali, though it is not expected that he would do so. A man once brought buttermilk from there, and he became very furious [because as a maidservant of Radhika, Rati-manjari does not want any connection with the abode of Radhika's rival, Candravali]; yet, as Raghunatha dasa Gosvami he prayed to Sakhi-sthali. He has also offered pranama to Jatila and Kotila. If Jatila and Kotila were not present, there would be no rasa.
So, it must be that he also prays to Lavanga-manjari, but not everything can be given in writing. In Srimad-Bhägavatam we see the same thing. Only one day's rasa has been described, and only eight days' association of Uddhava has been given. It is stated that Uddhava stayed in Vrndavana for several months, but what took place and what conversations transpired have not been written.
We want to always remember all these topics, as well as the pastimes of Krsna – not for others, but with a wish to have a relationship.