Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:
Sri Vyasa Puja
Lambasa, Fiji: January 17, 1999

Sri Vyasa PujaAccording to the principles of sanatana-dharma, guru-parampara comes from Krsna Himself. Real sanatana-dharma is also known as Vaisnava-dharma, Bhagavad-dharma and Vedic-dharma, and all of these are the same. So there is only one real sanatana-dharma. Sometimes there is a reflection, but real sanatana-dharma is one, and it is coming from Krsna Himself. Krsna inspired this dharma in the heart of Brahma, who inspired it in the heart of Narada Rsi. Narada inspired it in Vyasadeva, who inspired it in the heart of Sukadeva Gosvami, who inspired it in the heart of Suta Gosvami. Vyasadeva also inspired it in the heart of Sripad Madhvacarya.

In Kali-yuga there are four sampradaya acaryas: Madhvacarya, Ramanujacarya, Vishnusvami and Nimbaditya. Among them, Vyasadeva manifested this dharma in the heart of Madhvacarya. In Madhvacarya's disciplic order Madhavendra Puri appeared, and he is called the root of the desire tree of prema (love and devotion for Krsna). He inspired this dharma in the heart of Isvara Puripada, the spiritual master of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Then it descended from Caitanya Mahaprabhu to Svarupa Damodara, Raya Ramananda, Rupa Gosvami, Sanatana Gosvami, Krsna das Kaviraja Gosvami, Bhaktivinoda Thakura, jagat guru nitya lila pravistha om visnupada Sri Sri Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Gosvami Thakura, and our gurudeva, Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja, who gave sannyasa to Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja. Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja was a disciple of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami, and he spread this sanatana-dharma throughout the world. This dharma continues to flourish as our sanatana-dharma family expands into millions of branches.

A guru who preaches is a representative of Vyasadeva. What is the actual meaning of Vyasa? If a circle is drawn and divided into two half circles through a line connecting the center point and the circumference, this line (diameter) is called ardha-vyasa. Vyasa represents the whole, so ardha-vyasa represents the straight line which touches these points. Similarly, Srila Vyasadeva touched all the glories of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Krsna, who is the center of existence, and brought those glories everywhere.

Vyasadeva divided the Vedas into four parts: Rg Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda and Atharva Veda. These Vedas, however, are very difficult to understand, so Vyasadeva mercifully made the teachings more simplified by writing the Puranas. The Puranas are condensed explanations of the Vedas. Without the Puranas, most people would not be able to understand these teachings. He then made the Puranas especially easy to understand by writing the Mahabharata. By this, those who usually do not understand can comprehend the teachings easily. These Vedic texts were created for all to read and understand.

In the various scriptures Vyasadeva wrote many things, including how to worship various deities, such as Durga or Kali. In other scriptures he wrote how Ganesh should be worshiped. In another, he described not only worship of Sankara (Siva), but also Sri Krsna and Lord Rama. Why has he written this way? He has reconciled all this in the Srimad-Bhagavatam.

Those who preach from the seat of Vyasadeva are manifestations of the original Vyasadeva. Baladeva Prabhu and Nityananda Prabhu are the manifestation of Krsna, and they manifest as the acaryas; so the worship of all the acaryas – beginning from Krsna to all acaryas – is called Vyasa-puja.

If one flower is removed from a garland, that whole garland is rendered useless. All flowers in the garland are connected to the whole. Similarly, if we deny, disobey, or do not worship the gurus in our disciplic succession, then our guru-puja is rendered useless. So today, on this Vyasa puja day, the guru, who is on the seat of Vyasa, must worship his gurudeva and the whole guru parampara.

If a guru, on his appearance day, accepts the worship of his disciples but does not worship his gurudeva, his guru-parampara, Krsna, Mahaprabhu and Ramacandra, then he is not a bona fide guru. He is simply taking flowers from his so-called disciples. Nowadays we see that many so-called gurus only accept money on their birthday. Many of these so-called gurus are not satisfied when sincere disciples offer flowers and their hearts. They are greedy for personal material gain.

All bona fide gurus honor all god-brothers, all Vaisnavas, and especially worship their own gurudeva and the entire guru-parampara up to Krsna. Our Guru Maharaja used to worship Krsna-pancaka, Vyasa-pancaka, Acarya-pancaka, Panca-Tattva, Guru-pancaka, and so on. There are seven pancakas [See endnote 1].

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura introduced and followed all these practices as well. He discovered and used a book from Madhava-sampradaya in Udupi. Prabhupada Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura and our gurudeva also followed these tenets completely

We should know that any acarya, on his birthday, honors all Vaisnavas. He will do guru-parampara puja all the way up to Krsna. This is the actual meaning of Vyasa-puja. However, it is not enough to just do arcana and offer garlands to the neck of Sri Krsna and our gurudeva. Real Vyasa-puja also includes explicitly obeying and following guru's orders. On this day, the guru sees whether or not the disciple is following the orders of his gurudeva in the line of the guru-parampara, Gita, Bhagavatam, Ramayana, and Vedanta.

We should also know that some advanced devotees may not follow all the rules and regulations of sanatana-dharma. For example, Sukadeva Gosvami never wore a garland. He was naked. It has been written in scripture that one should not be naked in public, but Sukadeva Goswami used to do this. Should we think that he is not following sanatana-dharma? Never. He was at the highest stage of bhakti. He had neither bodily remembrance nor material conceptions of life. In addition, our sanatana-dharma says that we should not give up our wives, but Caitanya Mahaprabhu gave up His wife. Is that outside sanatana-dharma? Sukadeva Gosvami also left his father and mother to serve Krsna totally. So, if a man (from any varna, caste, including brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya and even sudra) takes the renounced order of life (if he is genuinely qualified), there is no harm, even in Kali yuga.

If one is on the highest platform, and he is offering pranama to Sri Ramacandra and all others, but he especially serves Radha and Krsna in his heart like Hanuman always serves Rama, that is called ananya-bhava, Is there any harm in that?

Once, Tulsidasa (the author of Sri Rama-carita-manasa) went in front of the deity of Krsna and told Him that he would only offer pranam if Krsna would carry bow and arrows in His hand. At once Krsna took the form of Lord Rama holding His bow and arrows. When Hanuman went to Dvaraka and Krsna told Satyabhama, "I am going to become Rama and you will become Sita." Satyabhama replied, "I cannot, I cannot." Rukmini overheard this and said that she would become Sita; so Rukmini became Sita, and Krsna became Rama. Then Hanuman payed his obeisances. There is no harm in this.

Mira sang, "Mere to Giridhar Gopal, dusaro na koi... Mere to Giridhar Gopal, dusaro na koi..." She left all shyness and consideration of the society's criticism, and sang, "Giridhari Gopal is mine; no one else is mine." Mere nainan me baso Nandlal. "May Krsna always reside in my eyes." This one-pointed mood should be there.

Today I have briefly explained all these truths. Now we will do puja of our guru-parampara. In India we use kalash, pitchers, and perform puja of the entire parampara and pancaka. I will do arati and you will sing some kirtana.

[Srila Gurudeva performed arati and puspanjali to the entire guru-parampara. He personally offered garlands to the disciples of Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja and embraced them. Then, senior devotees bathed, performed arati, and offered flowers at his lotus feet. Srila Gurudeva then recited the jaya-dhvani prayers:]

Jaya caro sampradaya ki jaya
Sri Ramanujacarya, Madhvacarya, Visnu Svami, Nimaditya caro acaryavarga ki jaya
Gopesvara Mahadeva ki jaya
Vrndavana-dhama ki jaya
Yogamaya Paurnamasi devi ki jaya
Vrnda devi ki jaya
Sab Caitanya Mahaprabhu parikara (associates) ki jaya
Sri Krsna Caitanya, Prabhu Nityananda, Sri Advaita, Gadadhara, Srivasadi Sri Gaura Bhakta-vrnda ki jaya
Sri Isvara Puripada ki jaya
Sri Madhavendra Puripada kia jaya
Sri Madhavacarya ki jaya
His parampara ki jaya
Srila Sukadeva Gosvami ki jaya
Sri Krsna Dvaipayana Vedavyasa ki jaya
Sab VedaVyasa parikara ki jaya
Sri Narada Gosvami ki jaya
Catur-mukha Brahma ki jaya
Adi-guru Sri Krsnacandra ki jaya
Harinama Sankirtana ki jaya
Samagata Bhakta vrnda ki jaya
Vyasa puja ki jaya
Especially Nityananda Prabhu ki jaya
Baladeva Prabhu ki jaya

We should note down in our hearts to always honor all Vaisnavas, just as Srila Raghunatha das Gosvami has told his mind:

gurau gosthe gostalayisu sujane bhusura-gane
sva-mantre sri-namni vraja-nava-yuva-dvandva-sarane
sada dambham hitva kuru ratim apurvam atitara-
maye svantar bhratas catubhir abhiyace dhrta-padah

["O my dear brother, my foolish mind! Taking hold of your feet, I humbly pray to you with sweet words. Please give up all pride and quickly develop sublime and incessant rati for Sri Gurudeva, Sri Vraja-dhama, the residents of Vraja, the Vaisnavas, the brahmanas, your diksa-mantras, the holy names of the Supreme Lord, and the shelter of Kisora-Kisori, Sri Sri Radha-Krsna, the eternally youthful divine couple of Vraja." (Sri Manah-siksa, verse 1)]

Always try to honor all the Vaisnavas, especially Sri Guru. All Vaisnavas are really our gurus, but especially two gurus – diksa-guru and siksa-guru. There is no difference between these two. Sometimes diksa-guru may be more advanced and sometimes the siksa- guru may be more advanced. There is no harm; both are the same.

Then we should honor those who are living in Vrndavana: Yasoda-maiya, Rohini-maiya, Krsna Kanhaiya, Dau Bhaiya, Nanda Baba, Baladeva Bhaiya, and after that Lalita, Visakha, and all the gopis, all the cowherd boys, cows, calves, all the inhabitants of Vrndavana, peacocks, and pehens, and all the birds. All are transcendental, sat-cid-ananda-tattva (eternal, full of unlimited bliss and full of unfathomable knowledge). And after that Sri Rupa Gosvami, Sanatana Gosvami, and all the Vaisnavas who are living in Vrndavana.

We should also honor all the Vaisnava acaryas who are not in our guru-parampara but are in Vrndavana like the disciples of Sri Ramanujacaraya, Madhvacaraya Vishnu Svami, Ramananda, Nimbaditya, or Vallabhacarya and so on. We should honor them all.

If you want to do bhajana, do not neglect anyone. Especially, have very high honor for the mantras your gurudeva has given. The term 'mantra' refers to gopal-mantra or any mantra that your guru has given. Do your mantra daily with due respect, with love and honor, in a proper manner, and in a proper way. Don't forget this.

If you do not have a guru, then at once accept a transcendental guru. The symptoms of a bona fide guru have been mentioned in the scriptures. Receive mantras from him and then chant those mantras.

Then, 'maha-mantra:' Anyone can chant maha-mantra, the embodiment of Krsna. The names of Krsna and Rama are even more merciful than They are. This is available to all. There is no cost.

Always keep Radha-Krsna in your heart. We must detach from any false ego or thoughts that "I am so qualified!" There is no value of having this ego. Try to follow:

trnad api sunicena
taror api sahisnuna
amanina manadena
kirtaniya sada harih

["Thinking oneself to be even lower and more worthless than insignificant grass which has been trampled beneath everyone's feet, being more tolerant than a tree, being prideless, and offering respect to all others according to their respective positions, one should continuously chant the holy name of Sri Hari." (Sri Siksastakam, verse 3)].

Decide, and fix your mind, upon your object, which to attain love and affection for Krsna. This is our goal. If anyone is helping us to achieve this goal, then he is actually our guru. If he is not helping, or he creates obstacles or distractions, then that person should be rejected. Mirabai, was seeking advice from Tulasidasa. "If anyone gives me problems or obstacles in performing my krsna-bhajan, be it my husband or anyone else, then what should I do?" Tulasidasa replied:

Jinike priye na rama videhi
Tajiye tahi koti bairi sam jadyapi param snehi
tajyo pita Prahlad ,Vibhishana bandhu Bharat Mahatari .
Bali guru tyajo, kant brij banitanhi, bhaye mud mangalkari
naate neh rama se maniyat suhrid susebya jahan lon
Anjan kahan aankh jehi phute bahutak kahau kahan lo
Tulsi so sab bhanti paramhit pujya pran te pyaro
jaase hoya saneha Rama Pada aito mato humaro .

"To those whom Rama and Sita are not dear, leave them, even if they are close and dear ones, as like they are equal to billion enemies. For the Lord, Prahlada disowned his father, Vibhisana his brother Ravana, and Bharat his mother. Bali renounced his guru, the gopis their husbands, and thus they all became the very source of bliss and auspicious. Our relationship towards our family members or loved ones should be in accordance with their love for Lord Rama. What good is the eye balm (relation with others) if it destroys the eyesight (love and relation with Rama). I have said enough; what more can I say? He who kindles affection for Lord Rama (the Supreme Lord) in you, is the most benevolent, venerable and should be more valuable than your life. This is my humble opinion."

Those who are very near and dear to us in our mundane relationships but who do not like Rama and Sita, Krsna and Srimati Radhika – we must give them up. They may be our son, our guru, our father and mother, our sister, our wife, our husband, or anyone – we must quickly give them up. Prahalad gave up his father because he was against Krsna. Bharat at once left his mother when she exiled Ramacandra. After that Bharat had no connections with his mother, nor affection for her. Bali Maharaja's guru created many problems when Bali Maharaja was serving Vamanadeva, so he left him. Bali Maharaj said "I don't need a guru like you. You are giving me trouble in my worship. I want to give everything to Vamanadeva, and you are telling that I should not give anything to Him.

Those gurus who say that we should not go to see Vaisnavas, that we should not associate with them, that we should not listen to their hari-katha – those gurus are bogus. We must give them up. Vibhisana gave up his own brother Ravana. He used to have so much love and affection and honor for Ravana, but when Ravana brought Sita to Lanka and Vibhisana told him that he should return Sita to Ramacandra, Ravana rebuked him. So he left and went to Rama. The gopis at once gave up their husbands, who were causing them trouble in their worship of Sri Krsna. Mirabai herself, when she received the letter from Tulsidasa, she left at once. Her husband, father-in-law, and other family began to fall at her feet. They begged her to excuse them, but she told them, "It is too late. I cannot return now." She then left for Vrndavana and Dvaraka where she entered the Deity of Dvarakadhisa. Dvarkadhisa mercifully accepted her.

Follow the instructions of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, especially the rules and regulations of Vaisnavism coming from Srila Rupa Gosvami and Sanatana Gosvami, and including what is written in Sri Caitanya-caritramrta. We must value all these instructions. Even for devotees who are kanishtha – if they are chanting and remembering Krsna and guru, if they are not offensive, then be very humble towards them; even if they are chanting less, no harm.

If we do not commit any offences, we will see that, very quickly, our Krsna consciousness will increase. Krsna consciousness coming from our guru-parampara. Try to follow all these principles. Chant and remember, and very quickly Krsna will be merciful. I pray to my gurudeva, my whole guru-parampara, to Sri Krsna, Srimati Radhika, Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Nityananda Prabhu, Baladeva Prabhu that they be merciful to all of you. As Sri Rupa Gosvami has said:

anarpita carim cirat karunayavatirnah kalau
samarpayitum unnatojjvala-rasam sva-bhakti-sriyam
harih purata-sundara-dyuti-kadamba-sandipitah
sada hrdaya-kandare sphuratu vah saci-nandanah

In the last line he has mentioned the word 'vah,' not 'me'. 'Vah' means all. He was not selfish. He was very magnanimous. He prayed for the entire world, "Alas Mahaprabhu, Alas Krsna, Alas Radhika, please be merciful towards the entire world." This is the symptom of a true Vaishnava.

We are also praying to our guru-parampara that they should be pleased with you all, that they should overlook all your offences and faults. They should be merciful to you all and give benediction for your all-auspiciousness. If the Lord would look at our faults, He will not find any good quality in us. We are filled with faults. If Gurudeva and Krsna or Mahaprabhu will see what offences we have made, then they will say "Oh he is made of offences." So we pray, "We are nothing. Please don't see our nonsense activities, our faults, and our wrong-doings."

I am not qualified to take all the things that have been offered to me today. I have taken all your offerings, and offered it at the lotus feet of my Gurudeva. He will give it to our guru-parampara, and gradually it will reach the lotus feet of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Sri Nityananda Prabhu, and Sri Sri Radha Krsna conjugal. I pray that They will be merciful to you.

Be fixed in your aim and object to attain Krsna-prema. Always endeavor for this. Don't hanker for money, reputation, or anything material. Don't look to see if anyone has offended or insulted you. Understand that this is like an itch; don't put your mind towards this. Instead, always be fixed at the lotus feet of our Lord.

Be ideal Vaishnavas; so that anyone can see that this line is ideal Vaishnavism. This is part of your preaching. If you are not following all these things, then simply wearing neck beads and tilaka will not do. It will never do. Try to accept the Vaisnava principles in your heart, so that Sri Krsna will quickly be merciful.

Gaur Premanandi Hari Hari Bol!

Endnote 1:)
guru-pancaka (Sri Guru, Parmaguru, Paramesthiguru, Paratparguru, Paramparatparguru); 2) acarya-pancaka (Sri Sukadeva, Ramanuja, Madhva, Visnusvami, Nimbaditya); 3) vyasa-pancaka (Sri Vedavyasa, Pail, Vaisampayana, Jaimini, Sumanta); 4) sanakadi-pancaka (Sri Sanak, Sanatkumara, Sanatana, Sanandana, Visvaksena); 5) krsna-pancaka (Sri Krsna, Vasudeva, Sankarsana, Pradyumna, Aniruddha); 6) upasya-pancaka (Sri Radhika, Krsna, Gaura, Gadadhara, Sri Gurudeva); and 7) panca-tattva (Sri Krsna Caitanya, Nityananda, Advaita Acarya, Gadadhara, Srivasa).

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