Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
Mathura, India: September 29, 1992
[Dear Harikatha Readers,
Please accept our humble obeisances. All glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga.
Now that Srila Gurudeva Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja has entered his nitya-lila pastimes, his sincere followers realize that he is also with them – nitya – meaning forever. He is no longer 89 or 90 years old. He is all ages. There are no recent or old harikathas; they are all ever-fresh and new. The following is a transcription of one such ever-new darsana.]
Srila Gurudeva: There was a gopi, and at first she had had no association of Krsna's beloved gopis. Although she was a gopi, she had not seen Krsna nor did she know anything about Him. She was newly married, and by chance her marriage was performed in Yavata. She had recently come to her father-in-law's house, and there she met Visakha, Kundalata, and other gopis. These gopis always talked about Krsna, and she was now hearing from them about Him; who He is and how beautiful He is. Gradually she began to know something about Him. Seeing that the other gopis were always anxious to meet Him, talking about Him and nothing else, she gradually became like them.
A samskara (impressions on the heart due to previous lives' devotional activities) came, "How can I see Krsna?" She told Rupa Manjari and other sakhis, "I also want to see Krsna." They prohibited her, but she did not care for their prohibitions. Then, one day she saw Krsna with them and became maddened. This is 'samskara in raganuga bhajana.' *
By hearing the pastimes of Krsna and the gopis, a samskara comes that one only wants to hear and chant and immerse in this. That devotee has no taste in anything else; he has taste only in this process. This is samskara.
You are coming to me, and a samskara is going into your heart and giving pictures. That samskara will get stronger and stronger, and stronger, and then you will no longer listen to anyone's prohibition. Skillfully, in a hidden way, you will somehow have all these things.
The ISKCON leaders say, "Don't read these books," but you will somehow or other collect them. While reading one of these books, the ISKCON leaders will come and you will cover that book with another. Then, when they'll go, you will again put that book on top. This is all samskara.
Syamarani dasi: It is by samskara that we will be able to remember Krsna more and more? We forget so easily now.
Srila Gurudeva: Samskara comes by association and by practicing. Our utmost goal is gopi-prema, the love of the gopis for Gopijana-vallabha, and we have given our hearts for this. If we are not gradually advancing, it is our own fault. If we are advancing, if our heart is developing, then we can know that our sadhana-bhajana is going on properly. We can look and see whether or not kama (lust), lobha (mundane greed), and krodha (anger) is present within us. Are these contaminations gradually reducing? If they are developing instead of reducing, then we can understand that our sadhana-bhajana is wrong.
Syamarani dasi: Will it help us to repeat what we read and hear?
Srila Gurudeva: Time to time you can meet with others and discuss all these topics. Regarding Vrajanatha and Vijaya Kumara in Jaiva-dharma, someone asked me why one of them married and the other did not. Vrajanatha married and Vijaya Kumara left his married life and became a paramahamsa. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has given this point that whether one is married or not doesn't matter in regard to advancing in bhakti. Bhakti can be performed by both grhasthas and renunciants. In the end, though, we will have to leave. When one is advanced, no maya or sense of possessiveness will endure for worldly things. Do you understand? If a grhastha listens and performs bhakti in raganuga, in the end he will leave. If a man is not married, he will develop to the stage of paramahamsa. Whether one is married or not, he can advance, and at last he will only love Krsna.
Jagatarini dasi: We understand that everyone in the material world is controlled by sex desire, and this is what stops us from wanting to leave this material life. We also understand that this is a perverted reflection of our love for Krsna, because prema has become kama. If a jiva is in sakhya-rasa or vatsalya-rasa, he doesn't have a relation with Krsna in madhurya-rasa. What is his sex desire in its pure form?
Srila Gurudeva: Your question should be, "How can we receive bhakti?" "How will we attain bhakti?" In bhakti, these other questions will not be raised. Why these questions? We will have to leave all these things. The real question is, "How will we leave all these things?" Do you understand my view?
Jagatarini dasi: I am not asking about right or wrong. In the pure form of sakhya and vatsalya, how did they come...
Srila Gurudeva: What do you want? Don't ask for others. Think that "I want this," and then go on doing bhakti. There is no need to ask so many questions of the world and here and there.
Nanda Baba has a relation with Krsna. What is his relation to Yasoda?
Jagatarini dasi: Husband and wife.
Srila Gurudeva: How will it help you to know this? There are so many cowherd men, who live with their wives. What are their relationships with them?
Jagatarini dasi: I don't mean to ask in that way.
Srila Gurudeva: Simply ask, "How can I get what I want?" If there is no greed, then so many varieties of questions will arise. We should minimize this. Don't go here and there. I am only telling what is helpful for your bhakti. Actually, we are now qualified for vaidhi-bhakti; but somehow, some little greed has come, so we should make it stronger and stronger, going in one direction.
Syamarani dasi: Srila Prabhupada has a little book called, 'Perfect Questions, Perfect Answers.' You can have a book called, Mediocre Questions, Perfect Answers.
Srila Gurudeva: If a Vaisnava is perfect, he will give perfect answers. Try to have perfect questions.
Syamarani dasi: Vrndavana-vilasini didi wants me to ask you a question. Srila Prahupada said at the beginning of the movement in America that there are no dogs in Krsnaloka. In this translation of Radha-Krsna Ganodesa Dipika, it says that Vyagra and Brahmaraka are Krsna's pet dogs.
Srila Gurudeva: He has two dogs. The word vyagra means 'tiger,' so that Vyagra looks like a tiger. And the other dog is so black that it has the color of a bee (brahmara).
Jagatarini dasi: Are there more dogs, or only two?
Srila Gurudeva: Only two near and dear dogs. They always try to be with Krsna, and they are very helpful. They are liberated souls. They can call the gopis. They go to the gopis, and protect them so that they can come to Krsna.
Jagatarini dasi: Do they have hogs in the spiritual world?
Srila Gurudeva: Everything is there, but we don't think about all these things. Only think of the gopis.
Syamarani dasi: You have mentioned many times about the natya-sastra in your discussions. What is that?
Srila Gurudeva: Natya-sastra explains the skill of drama. There are also drama-sastras. There are Sangita-sastras, singing sastras, and so many other kinds of sastras. Drama sastra is a part of kala (the creative arts).
Lalit dasa: (From England): What is sambandha-jnana?
Srila Gurudeva: It is the knowledge and realization that "Krsna is my master and I am His servant." Do you understand sambandha-jnana?
Lalit dasa: Something.
Srila Gurudeva: After doing bhajana, Hare Krsna Hare Krsna, you will have realization and know only that, "I am Krsna-dasa."
Lalit dasa: What is the significance of Lord Nrsimhadeva?
Srila Gurudeva: He can protect us from the obstacles that come in our attempts to engage in pure bhakti. Krsna is Nrsimhadeva. When we pray to Krsna, "Please remove our obstacles," He comes in the form of Nrsimhadeva, as He did when He protected Prahlada Maharaja. This is our relationship with Him, not more than this. Always chant and remember Radha and Krsna.
Indulekha dasi (From England): When Nrsimhadeva was killing Hiranyakasipu, what ....
Srila Gurudeva: If you don't do bhakti, He will come and punish you as He punished Hiranyakasipu.
Lalit dasa: Some persons say that only brahmacaris and sannyasis can worship Nrsimhadeva. Is that true?
Srila Gurudeva: Everyone should pray to Nrsimhadeva, but worship only Radha and Krsna. If any Deity of Nrsimhadeva is present, then offer Him worship. Otherwise, only remember Him one time, or three times – Jaya Nrsimhadeva – and then do your Krsna-bhakti.
Lalit dasa: What about Lord Jagannatha?
Srila Gurudeva: You don't prefer and love Radha and Krsna? Why are you going here and there?
Lalit dasa: Because these things are there.
Srila Gurudeva: Has guru told you to do all these things?
Lalit dasa: No.
Srila Gurudeva: Then why are you doing so? Simply concentrate on Radha and Krsna. You have so many ambitions and desires?
Lalit dasa: No.
Indulekha dasi: We were just wondering about Lord Jagannatha's facial expression. Is it showing Krsna's separation from Vrndavana?
Srila Gurudeva: It may be. Do you have any more questions?
Indulekha dasi: We'll ask you afterwards.
Srila Gurudeva: No, ask now. I want to give you preference, because you say that you get no scope for questioning.
Lalit dasa: The gopis are serving and worshiping Radha and Krsna. When I think of 'worship,' I thinking of big, elaborate worship; and I wonder how to do this?
Srila Gurudeva: Do you serve me? How do you do so? To serve by heart is so many times greater.
As a man loves someone and renders service to that beloved, so the gopis serve in that way. They have given everything; their hearts, minds, bodies, souls, and all possessions to Krsna. They don't need any paraphernalia. Just by their gazing upon Krsna, He accepts their services. By His eyes, Krsna talks with the gopis, and they talk with Him and give everything, wholly and solely.
Kanistha-adhikaris can also do arcana , but they cannot give their heart and soul and everything they possess. The gopis give everything, although outwardly it looks like they're doing nothing. Kanistha and madhyama-adhikari devotees cannot imagine how they serve. You will misunderstand that they are abusing and offending Krsna, but they are rendering the most superior services.
Have all your questions been satisfactorily answered?
Syamarani dasi: Anything else?
Devotee: How should we meditate on prasadam when we offer it and take it?
You can chant:
visvaso naiva jayate
["Those who have very few pious activities to their credit can never develop faith in maha-prasadam, in Sri Govinda, in the holy name of the Lord, or in the Vaisnavas, which are all on the same platform." (Prasada-sevaya: Songs for Honoring Prasada)]
bhai re! sarira avidya-jala jadendriya tahe kala
jive phele visaya-sagare
ta'ra madhye jihva ati, lobhamaya sudurmati
ta'ke jeta kathina samsare
["Oh brother, this material body is a lump of ignorance and the senses are a network of paths leading to death. We have fallen into this ocean of material sense enjoyment – of all the senses the tongue is the most difficult to control and is always very greedy to taste things." (Prasada-sevaya: Songs for Honoring Prasada)]
krsna bada dayamaya, karibare jihva jaya
sva-prasada-anna dila bhai
sei annamrta pao, radha-krsna-guna gao,
preme daka caitanya-nitai
["But brother, Krsna is so merciful that He gives us His prasada, the remnants from His own mouth, to help us conquer the tongue. This prasada is full of nectar. Honoring this prasada, sing the glories of Radha and Krsna, and with love call for the help of Caitanya-Nitai." (Sarira Avidya-Jal, verse 2)]
Utter these slokas, meditating that prasadam is Krsna Himself, and then serve the maha-prasadam as Krsna.
Lalit dasa: How?
Srila Gurudeva: By heart. You can only hear now, continue to chant "Hare Krsna," and after some days you will understand all these topics.
Syamarani dasi: Regarding his question about prasadam, is there an explanation regarding how to see prasadam as Krsna? We don't want to 'chew' Krsna, so how do we see it as Krsna?
Srila Gurudeva: Krsna is so kind to us. He is sitting here and you are preparing the bhoga and offering that to Him. But can you guess whether or not He is glad to receive whatever you are offering?
Syamarani dasi: He doesn't need it. He wants the devotion. Is that what you mean?
Srila Gurudeva: You are offering maha-prasadam to Krsna; you are offering arati to Krsna. Can you realize that you are offering this to Krsna, and that by taking and tasting this, Krsna is so pleased? You are fanning Krsna; how do you know if He is pleased or not?
Syamarani dasi: How can we know? If He tells us?
Srila Gurudeva: How do you know that by your chanting, "Hare Krsna Hare Krsna," Krsna is pleased?
Devotee: By feeling something in the heart.
Srila Gurudeva: If your heart is so good and clear, He will give you some sign that He is pleased. He will not give any signs to ordinary persons.
Devotee: When we are chanting Hare Krsna, we try to think of pastimes, or we try to think of Vilapa-kusumanjali; feeling that desire to serve.
Srila Gurudeva: Can you utter any verse of Vilapa-kusumanjali in this regard?
Devotee: Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami prays to Srimati Radhika, "When will I wash the drains of Your house with fresh water and dry them with my hair in the early morning?" Are these the proper meditations while chanting japa? Is it that we can't really grasp the holy name without the pastimes and feelings of Raghunatha dasa Gosvami? It's not enough to hear the sound vibration of the holy names?
Srila Gurudeva: If it is with that bhava (mood), it is so good. If that bhava is not coming, then we should think, "O Harinama, you are personally Krsna and Radha. I am not realizing any mercy. I am so foolish, ignorant, and offensive. I am in the trap of maya, and therefore You are not manifesting in our heart. I am so foolish and ignorant that I cannot weep."
In the sixth verse of Siksastakam, Mahaprabhu prays:
vadanam gadgada-ruddhaya gira
pulakair nicitam vapuh kada
tava nama-grahane bhavisyati
["O Prabhu! When will my eyes be filled with a stream of tears? When will my voice choke up? And when will the hairs of my body stand erect in ecstasy as I chant Your holy name."]
Do you know this verse? Who has written it?
Devotee: Lord Caitanya.
Srila Gurudeva: What is He telling? "O Krsna, O Namadeva, You are Krsna. When I utter Your name, that name does not wholeheartedly reveal itself. No tears come at all, which shows that I must be so offensive. Worldly people weep bitterly at any news of peril to their children, any calamity, or the death of wife, husband, or children. I am so far away from You that I have no feeling for You. My heart is made of strong iron."
Try to offer prayers and weep. If the pastimes of Krsna really come it your heart, you will become very happy.
Devotee: Should we try to force them to come into our mind while chanting?
Jagatarini dasi: Can we force them? Is it possible to force Krsna?
Srila Gurudeva: This is sadhana. The mind is not desiring to accept this sadhana, but we should try again and again. This is called abhyasa, or practice.
Devotee: Does it matter which pastime of Krsna and the gopis we remember?
Srila Gurudeva: Try to think of the pastimes according to the time of day. This is best.
Devotee: Do you mean whatever pastimes are happening at the time of our chanting? Should I read the books in relation to that?
Srila Gurudeva: Read books, but also hear. Reading books alone will not suffice. Hearing will add to your understanding and realization. This is called sruti-vidya, or knowledge achieved by hearing.
Devotee: Hearing from you?
Srila Gurudeva: I'm not saying to hear from me. I'm saying to hear from any qualified Vaisnava. This will give you good impressions for many births; it will be remembered always.
Devotee: So, when you tell us a pastime, can we ask you what time of the day it took place in order that we can remember it at that time?
Srila Gurudeva: The time is fixed. There are fixed times for taking maha-prasadam, going cow-herding, sleeping, and evening and night pastimes.
[*Endnote: "As she was gopi, she was already perfected in raganuga-bhajana in her previous life. In this way, samskara came and she took birth in the land of Vraja. She came into contact with the nitya-siddha gopis, and then her previous mood awakened. When prohibition came, her bhakti to Krsna increased many times over, just as a river overflows when obstructions come in its way.
When the rsis of Dandakaranya saw Lord Ramacandra, a deep desire to unite with Him arose in their mind. Srila Rupa Gosvami gave another example regarding a newly-married lady whose father's house was far from Nandagram. As soon as she entered and put her foot on the ground of Nandagram, where her father-in-law's house was situated, she began to chant loudly, "Krsna, Krsna!" and became mad in krsna-prema. Srimad-Bhagavatam tells the history of Gajendra elephant, whose prayer to Lord Visnu when he was confronted with death was due to his previous life's austerity and bhajana. King Bharata gave up all material assets and people, performed bhajana, and entered the stage of bhava-bhakti. Although he fell down, he could remember everything of his previous devotional life. He led his next human life according to his previous samskara. Similarly, this particular gopi's one aim, one business, one desire – to see Krsna – came through samskara. (Sripad BV Tirtha Maharaja)]