The Inner Meaning Of The Ratha-Yatra Festival

THE INNER MEANING OF
THE RATHA-YATRA FESTIVAL

(Birmingham, England, June 26, 2001, pm)


Tad viddhi pranipatena pariprasnena sevaya. By approaching a realized spiritual master, inquiring of him submissively, and serving him, everything is reconciled. By this process you will realize everything automatically. Your mental speculation will not suffice. You may be a learned person, but your learning will also not help you; it will betray you.

Yesterday I explained the mood of the gopis, as well as Krsna's statements to them at Kuruksetra. You can read this subject matter yourselves, but to go very deeply into it is very rare. I gave an example from a sloka in Radha-rasasudhonidhi.

yo brahma rudra suka narada bhisma mukhyair
alaksitona sahasa purusasya tasya
sadyo vasikarana curnam ananta saktim
tam radhika caranarenum anusmarami

Brahma, Rudra (Sankara), Bhisma, Narada, and others like them are very advanced jnani-bhaktas. They are all aptakama and atmarama (fully satisfied internally and externally). Yet, even they can rarely have the darsana of Krsna, and what to speak of the darsana of Radhika. They came during Krsna's rasa-lila, but they saw only Krsna dancing and singing. They did not see the gopis. On the other hand, their wives saw Krsna with the gopis and fainted. The author of this prayer, Sri Prabodhananda Sarasvati, says that if anyone has a minute dust particle of the lotus feet of Srimati Radhika, and if Krsna knows that fact, He will wholly and soley give Himself to that devotee.

Devotees like Brahma, Rudra, Suka, Narada, Bhisma, and Sanaka, Sananda, Sanatana and Sanat-kumara are all very elevated and they are prominent among the twelve mahajanas. Still, they cannot control Krsna.

Churnam ananta saktim. The dust of the lotus feet of Radhika is so powerful that it can very easily control Krsna. Krsna may be happy and satisfied with the love and affection of these other devotees, but He is not controlled in the slightest degree.

If one wants to control Krsna, he must try to collect or search for the foot dust - even one particle of the foot dust - of Srimati Radhika. In other words, he must accept the guidance of Sri Rupa Gosvami, Sri Sanatana Gosvami and Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, who are Rupa Manjari, Lavanga Manjari, and Rati Manjari. If Krsna knows, "These are the maidservants of Radhika," He will at once be controlled. Otherwise, no one can control Him. Therefore, you should try to become a particle of dust of the lotus feet of Radhika.

Brahma went to Vrndavana, he saw the pastimes of Krsna, and he has personally prayed:

sri-brahmovaca
naumidya te' bhra-vapuse tadid-ambaraya
gunjavatamsa-paripiccha-lasan-mukhaya
vanya-sraje kavala-vetra-visana-venu-
laksma-sriye mrdu-pade pasupangajaya
(SB 10.14.1)

["Lord Brahma said: 'My dear Lord, You are the only worshipable Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and therefore I offer my humble obeisances and prayers just to please You. O son of the king of the cowherds, Your transcendental body is dark blue like a new cloud, Your garment is brilliant like lightning, and the beauty of Your face is enhanced by Your gunja earrings and the peacock feather on Your head. Wearing garlands of various forest flowers and leaves, and equipped with a herding stick, a buffalo horn and a flute, You stand beautifully with a morsel of food in Your hand."]

Regarding Suka, he is a special parrot of Srimati Radhika. He always sits on Her hand, and She caresses him, feeds him pomegranates, and teaches him to chant, "Krsna, Krsna," "Govinda," "Vrajanatha," and "Prananatha." Suka always remains in the association of Radha and Krsna, and he may even be there to awaken Them during their pre-dawn pastimes of nisanta-lila. That Suka became Sukadeva Gosvami, and yet in the verse of Sri Prabodhananda Sarasvati it has been said, 'purusasya tasya.' Even he cannot control Krsna. He can serve, but Krsna can only be controlled by the party members of Srimati Radhika.

Who is Narada? Narada went to Vrndavana, to Gokula, and he thought, "Krsna has just descended to this world, and therefore Radhika may also be somewhere." He thus went to Raval and discovered Her there. After that he performed severe austerities at Narada-kunda and he became Naradi-gopi. Still, even Naradi-gopi cannot control Krsna.

Someone told me that Sanat, Sanaka, Sananda, and Sanatana became bumblebees, and in those forms they took darsana of Krsna. It may be true. Krsna Himself became a bumblebee and went to Nandagaon, and there He took darsana of Radhika when She was in mahabhava divyonmada. He could not know how deep was Her mood, however, and three desires thus came in His heart. He became intensely eager to relish how high was Her pranaya, loving, mood, how She relishes His sweetness, and what kind of happiness comes in Her heart at that time. Krsna could never go deep enough to fully understand the mood of Radhika in madana and modana mahabhava. Her highest mood of love, sva-samvedyadasa, never comes in Him, for He is the visaya. It only comes in the asraya, the reservoir of love.

In the form of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Krsna went to the bank of Godavari. There He was admitted in the school of Visakha, the personal secretary of Radhika, He took many instructions and He learned about Radha's mood, and then He went to Puri and realized and enjoyed those moods.

Srimati Radhika's party members, Her sakhis, can know all these moods somewhat, more so than Krsna. Krsna is akhilarasamrta-sindhu, the object of love, but He is not the container. The container or reservoir is the asraya-bhaktas.

It has been explained in the above-mentioned verse that even the four Kumaras, even Narada as a gopi, and even Sukadeva Gosvami as Radhika's parrot, could not control Krsna. Even though Uddhava also went to Vrndavana and had some association there, still he could not realize the moods of the gopis. That is why he prayed:

vande nanda-vraja-strinam
pada-renum abhiksnasah
yasam hari-kathodgitam
punati bhuvana-trayam
(SB 10.47.63)

["I repeatedly offer my respects to the dust from the feet of the women of Nanda Maharaja's cowherd village. When these gopis loudly chant the glories of Sri Krsna, the vibration purifies the three worlds."]

You should be very humble, hollow like a flute, and then go to Srimad Bhagavatam and Caitanya Caritamrta and pray. Then you will very easily realize something. You will realize that the gopis' mood are very high.

caitanya-gosanira lila-ananta, apara
'sahasra-vadana' yara nahi paya para
(Madhya 14.256)

["The pastimes of Lord Caitanya are unlimited and endless. Even Sahasra-vadana, Lord Sesa, cannot reach the limits of His pastimes."]

sri-rupa-raghunatha-pade yara asa
caitanya-caritamrta kahe krsnadasa
(Madhya 14.257)

["Praying at the lotus feet of Sri Rupa and Sri Raghunatha, always desiring their mercy, I, Krsnadasa, narrate Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, following in their footsteps."]

Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami has explained here that Caitanya Mahaprabhu's pastimes are ananta, unlimited, endless, and unfathomable, and even sahasra-vadana Baladeva Prabhu, with his unlimited mouths, for unlimited time, cannot explain them all. How deep they are! Although Krsna is an ocean of rasa, even He cannot know their depth. Anyone can easily know something of their depth, however, by taking shelter at the feet of Srila Rupa Gosvami and Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami. Rupa-raghunatha-pade yara asa.

In the beginning of the Ratha-yatra car festival, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu offers a prayer to Jagannatha-deva, not in the form of Lord Jagannatha or Vasudeva Krsna, but in the form of Vrajendranandana Sri Krsna:

jayati jana-nivaso devaki-janma-vado
yadu-vara-parisat svair dorbhir asyann adharmam
sthira-cara-vrjina-ghnah susmita-sri-mukhena
vraja-pura-vanitanam vardhayan kama-devam
(SB 10.90.48)

["Sri Krsna is He who is known as jana-nivasa, the ultimate resort of all living entities, and who is also known as Devakinandana or Yasodanandana, the son of Devaki and Yasoda. He is the guide of the Yadu dynasty, and with His mighty arms He kills everything inauspicious, as well as every man who is impious. By His presence He destroys all things inauspicious for all living entities, moving and inert. His blissful smiling face always increases the lusty desires of the gopis of Vrndavana. May He be all-glorious and happy."]

Caitanya Mahaprabhu is praying in the mood of Srimati Radhika meeting Krsna at Kuruksetra. The gopis are bringing that Krsna to Vrndavana, and by their mood they now decorate Him with flowers. They forcibly give Him the flute that He left in Vrndavana with Mother Yasoda, along with His peacock feather, as they whisper in His ears, "Don't say that Your father and mother are Vasudeva and Devaki. Don't say that You are from the Yadu-vamsa and that You are a Yadava. Say only you that You are a gopa."

Krsna replies, "Yes I will follow your instructions."

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu thus prays in this way: Jayati jana-nivaso devaki-janma-vado. There are so many profound meanings here. If Caitanya Mahaprabhu or Srila Sanatana Gosvami explain it, they will explain it with one hundred meanings, and each meaning will be deeper and more unfathomable then the previous one.

Jayati jana-nivaso. In this sloka, the whole Srimad Bhagavatam is present in its entirety, from beginning to end, and Sanatana Gosvami has quoted it in his Brhad Bhagavatamrtam. Jana-nivaso means, "You are always in the hearts of all as Paramatma." As Paramatma, however, Krsna cannot live in the hearts of the Vrajavasis. He must be in the form of Vrajendranandana Syamasundara there. Jana also means 'nija-jana,' near and dear, and therefore jana means Krsna's own personal associates.

All the Vrajavasis are Krsna's nija-jana. He is the life of Nanda, Yasoda, and all His friends. He is the gopis' jivana, life air. He is also Radhika jivanera jivana, the live of Radhika's life, and He always lives in Her heart. This relationship is reciprocal. As much as He is the life of the Vrajavasis, they are His life.

Devaki-janma-vado. Only Mathuravasis and worldly persons can say that Krsna took birth from the womb of Mother Devaki. This is only a 'saying'. Actually, He is the son of Mother Yasoda. She is really His mother.

Yadu-vara-parisat svair dorbhir. The Yadu-vamsis are the nija-jana of Dvarakadhisa Krsna. They are His associates. It seems that Vasudeva Krsna is being described here, and Arjuna and Bhima all others like them are like His arms. Vasudeva Krsna fought in the Mahabharata battle and here and there, and He fought with Paundraka Vasudeva and all other demons. It seems like all of Dvaraka-lila is described here, but actually it is Vrajendranandana Krsna who is being described. Krsna never killed anyone in Vraja. Maha-Visnu and all incarnations are within His body, and it was they who fought with and killed the demons. Vrjina-ghnah sthira-cara. In Vrndavana, simply by His smiling face and flute, He used to take away all kinds of problems and suffering. What was the suffering of those in Vrndavana? It was only their separation mood. They had no other problems at all.

Here in this verse, the pastimes of Gokula, Vrndavana, Radha Kunda, Syama Kunda, rasa-lila and all others are included. Sthira-cara-vrjina-ghnah susmita-sri-mukhena vraja-pura-vanitanam vardhayan kama-devam. In this connection Kamadeva does not mean lust. It means prema. What kind off prema? Sneha, mana, pranaya, raga, anuraga, bhava, and mahabhava. The gopis tell Krsna, "You are that person." In this way, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is offering pranama, taking the whole Srimad Bhagavatam in that sloka, as well as all the pastimes of Krsna, and praying.

As I explained before, it is very rare that Mahaprabhu will see Jagannatha, Baladeva and Subhadra. When He sees them He at once enters a very intense separation mood and prays, "After a long time I am meeting with my most beloved, for whom I was burning in the fire of separation." He addresses Jagannatha as Gopi-bhartuh and prays, "Pada-kamalayor dasa-dasanudasah." The word Gopi-bhartuh reveals Krsna's relationship with the gopis. Gopi-bhartuh means the gopis' most beloved, or He who is always controlled by the gopis. Mahaprabhu concludes, "I want to be the dasa-dasanudasah of that Krsna."

At the beginning of the car festival, Prataparudra-raja, the Emperor of Orissa, began sweeping the road. He wore the dress of a devotee and looked very simple, like a beggar. He swept with an ordinary coconut stick broom mixed with gold, and with his own hands he watered the ground with fragrant substances, like rose water and kiori, so that the dust on the road would not rise up. This is the job of a sweeper.

The tradition of the kings of Orissa sweeping the road at the commencement of the Ratha-yatra festival is an old one, and therefore, many years before, the King who preceded Maharaja Prataparudra, Purusottama Jana, also swept the road every year for Jagannatha-deva.

Purusottama Jana had made an arrangement with the King of Kataka Nagara that he would marry the King's daughter. The two Kings had been communicating with each other through messengers, and by that means the King of Kataka Nagara informed Purusottama Jana that he would come to meet him in person. He did not specify a date, however, and later, unannounced, he went to see with his own eyes how beautiful, wealthy and qualified he was. At that time, fortunately or unfortunately, it was the first day of the car festival, and, disguised as a sweeper, King Purusottama Jana was brooming the road for Jagannath-deva. Seeing this, the King of Kataka Nagara became very upset, and he felt some disgust toward him. He thought, "This King is supposed to be so wealthy and qualified, and still he is brooming? I cannot give my daughter to this sweeper." He thus returned home.

A few days after the festival was over, King Purusottama Jana remembered the agreement and wondered what had happened. He thought, "The King of Kataka Nagara wanted to give his daughter in marriage to me. But there has been no news at all." He then discovered through his spies that the King now felt had some hatred for him because he had been brooming, and he was no longer going to give his daughter to him in marriage. Because of this, King Purusottama Jana declared war on the King of Kataka Nagara and invaded his kingdom.

The demigod Ganesh was somewhat favorable towards that King, and therefore he defeated Purusottama Jana, who became upset and returned to Puri. Purusottama Jana then went to the temple and told Lord Jagannatha, "I am serving You, and yet You are not helping me? I was defeated because Ganesh helped him. I remembered You but You would not help me. I will die here. I will not eat or drink anything and I will die here, before You, in Your temple."

Later that night King Purusottama Jana saw a dream in which Jagannatha-deva told him, "Don't worry. Go again and invade that King's territory. Baladeva and I will personally go there, and somehow you will be aware of this. You will defeat that King, Ganesh, and all others.

On the next day the King called his army and his generals, and again he started on his way. By the time he was about to approach Chilka Alalanatha, there were two young and very beautiful boys riding on white and red horses considerably ahead of him. Those boys asked an old village woman who was carrying a very big pot of buttermilk on her head, "Can you give us some buttermilk?"

She replied, "Can You pay? If You pay, I will give You some buttermilk."

One of the boys said, "I can pay. We are soldiers and we are on the way to fight. My King is coming and he will pay you when he reaches here."

"How will he know that You have taken this buttermilk?"

"We will give you some proof. You can show the King that proof and then he will pay."

That village lady gave Them her whole pot, and They drank all the buttermilk and felt very satisfied. Krsna, who was on the red horse, gave His very beautiful ring and told the vendor, "Give this ring to the King and tell him, 'The owner of this ring has gone forward and said you would pay for His buttermilk.'"

The boys left to move onwards, and after that the King approached with his great army. When he reached there, the old lady began to search for him. She inquired "Where is the King? Where is the King? "

The soldiers replied, "The King is there."

She then walked up to the King and said, "Your two soldiers have gone ahead. They have taken my buttermilk and totally finished my whole pot. They told me, 'Our King will pay.'"

The King told the old lady, "None of my soldiers have gone before us."

She replied, "Yes they have. There were two young, very beautiful and energetic soldiers who went before you."

The King wanted to see some proof, and therefore the old lady produced two finger-rings. He saw on the rings the names Jagannatha Singh and Baladeva Singh (Singh means 'lion') and thought, "These are the two rings I had made by a goldsmith, after which my wife presented to Krsna and Baladeva. These are the same rings! Krsna and Baladeva have done this for me so that I would know They are with me. This time surely I will defeat that King." He then became very happy.

He then invaded the kingdom of his 'enemy,' and there he defeated his entire army. He forcibly took the daughter of that King, along with a very costly, golden mora singhasana (peacock throne) and Vanda (cheater) Ganesh. He arrested that King, and then mercifully left him and said, "I shall not kill you." He also conquered Vidyanagara, and with the permission of the Deity Saksi-gopal, he brought Him to Kataka.

The King then brought that girl to Puri, thinking, "I will not marry her. I will give her to my sweeper." Later, when he was ready to give her away, all of his ministers, who were very kind, saw her crying, "He will give me to a sweeper." They pacified her, and they also told the King, "Don't worry. At the right time, during the next car festival, you can give this girl to your sweeper."

The next year the car festival again took place, and again Purusottama Jana was brooming. At that time all his ministers inspired the girl to go to him and say, "I want to marry this very sweeper." The King's ministers and his guru then approached him together and said, "This is very good. You are a sweeper, and this girl will be the wife of a sweeper. We agree with this." The girl began to weep, the King was thus bound to accept her as his wife, and his son became King Prataparudra.

These are very good topics.

King Prataparudra was a high class of devotee. He wanted to take darsana of the lotus feet of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, but Mahaprabhu told His associates, "I cannot give him darsana. Because he is a king, he is like a black serpent."

Mahaprabhu has also said that a wooden statue of a lady can attract even a muni. Dharu vigraha hare munir apiman. Muni means one who is renounced and realized, like Visvamitra Muni and Narada Muni. (To set an example for us, to teach us how careful we must be, they each performed a pastime in which they were under the spell of illusion.) We should be very careful regarding the association of ladies and men, because they are like kamadeva for each other. When they are together, they cannot control their senses or heart. I therefore request my disciples and friends to be very careful. Although you are independent, always remember these principles.

Although that King was a very advanced devotee, still Mahaprabhu did not give him His association. He was very strict. When Nityananda Prabhu, Advaita Acarya, Raya Ramananda, and Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya requested Mahaprabhu to see the King, He told them, "I am leaving Puri and going to Alalanatha or somewhere else. I will not remain here. You should remain here with him." Caitanya Mahaprabhu is here, there, and everywhere. He looks into our hearts, and if we have some immoral association there, He cannot tolerate it.

Because Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu would not agree to see the King, Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya, Raya Ramananda and other associates told him, "Your beautiful son went to Mahaprabhu, who embraced him and said, 'You should come and meet Me daily.' Somehow, you have half-taken His darsana and He has shown you mercy. Especially because you are a very simple person, engaged in the service of a sweeper, Mahaprabhu is very much satisfied and pleased, and He has given so much mercy to you. If you want to have His darsana directly, however, then, being very simply dressed, go to the Ratha-yatra festival at the time Mahaprabhu becomes tired from dancing in seven parties. He will be in the mood of Radhika, continually lamenting, and at that that time you can go to Him and sing the very sweet Gopi-gita:

gopya ucuh
jayati te 'dhikam janmana vrajah
srayata indira sasvad atra hi
dayita drsyatam diksu tavakas
tvayi dhrtasavas tvam vicinvate
(SB 10.31.1)

["The gopis said: 'O beloved, Your birth in the land of Vraja has made it exceedingly glorious, and thus Indira, the goddess of fortune, always resides here. It is only for Your sake that we, Your devoted servants, maintain our lives. We have been searching everywhere for You, so please show Yourself to us."]

tava kathamrtam tapta-jivanam
kavibhir iditam kalmasapaham
sravana-mangalam srimad atatam
bhuvi grnanti ye bhuri-da janah
(SB 10.31.9)

["The nectar of Your words and the descriptions of Your activities are the life and soul of those suffering in this material world. These narrations, transmitted by learned sages, eradicate one's sinful reactions and bestow good fortune upon whoever hears them. These narrations are broadcast all over the world and are filled with spiritual power. Certainly those who spread the message of Godhead are most munificent."]

These slokas are some of the most valuable diamonds in the Srimad Bhagavatam. First comes purva-raga in Venu-gita, then this Gopi-gita, and then Yugala-gita, Bhramara-gita and Pranaya-gita. These most precious jewels and are called panca-prana-vayu, and entering the deep truths of these gitas is our main objective. If you can realize these topics, these highest truths, particularly with the commentaries of Sri Sanatana Gosvami and Sri Jiva Gosvami, and more so with that of Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, your life will be successful. Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura has especially explained these slokas in a marvelous way. There are many commentaries on Srimad Bhagavatam, more than one thousand, but the moods of Caitanya Mahaprabhu are expressed by the commentaries of our Gosvamis.

By the Kings brooming, Caitanya Mahaprabhu had become very pleased and satisfied. Therefore, when He was dancing simultaneously in seven groups, by the influence of His Yogamaya-sakti the King told Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya, "What am I seeing? This is very wonderful. There is one Caitanya Mahaprabhu dancing in each party." Sarvabhauma replied, "This is His mercy. You broomed like a street beggar, and He is now pleased with you. Not everyone sees this as you do. Others think, 'He is only in our party.' Because you have received His mercy, what else remains? Just dress as a very simple devotee and wait for the time when He will take rest in the garden.'"

If you give up all your opulence and the conception that you are intelligent and qualified, if you become like King Prataparudra who had a heart as hollow as a flute that could be played upon by Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and if you serve your Gurudeva and Radha-Krsna in this way, then Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu will sprinkle His mercy upon you. By His mercy you can know His opulence, and you can also know everything about His love and affection.

Midway between the Jagannatha temple and Gundica, Caitanya Mahaprabhu and the Ratha-yatra car stopped. The lakhs and lakhs of devotees present offered many coconuts from where they stood. They threw their coconuts towards Jagannatha, thousands and thousands at a time, and He was accepting the essence of the offerings by His eyes. They offered so many very sweet and tasteful preparations, from one or two miles distance, and He ate them with His eyes.

In the meantime, Caitanya Mahaprabhu took some rest along with Nityananda Prabhu, Advaita Acarya, Svarupa Damodara, Vakresvara Pandita, Pundarika Vidyanidhi, Paramananda Puri, and other exalted associates. He went inside the Jagannatha-vallabha garden at Aitota in a mood of great separation, and His heart was melting as tears flowed from His eyes. He laid His head on the root of a tree and cried, "Where is my Prananatha? Where is My Krsna?"

In the meantime, the King offered pranama to all the devotees, and, wearing only a dhoti, he approached Mahaprabhu, took His lotus feet in his hands, and very gently and sweetly began to massage them and sing:

jayati te 'dhikam janmana vrajah
srayata indira sasvad atra hi
dayita drsyatam diksu tavakas
tvayi dhrtasavas tvam vicinvate

Caitanya Mahaprabhu cried, "Who is giving such sweet nectar to my ears? Go on, go on." He had been sleeping, but now He sat up and said, "Go on, go on. Give this nectar to Me."
The King continued:

tava kathamrtam tapta-jivanam
kavibhir iditam kalmasapaham
sravana-mangalam srimad atatam
bhuvi grnanti ye bhuri-da janah

Mahaprabhu could not control Himself. He embraced the King and asked, "Who are you? Who are you?"

King Prataparudra told Him, "I am the dasa of the dasa of the dasa of Your dasa."

Mahaprabhu was satisfied and said, "I am a street beggar. I am a niskincana sannyasi. I have nothing to give you. I have no pocket at all. I shall therefore give you my only wealth, and that is My embrace." Mahaprabhu embraced the King from heart to heart, both hearts mixed, and His moods were somewhat transferred to the heart of the King. He empowered that King's heart and satisfied him.

All the slokas of Gopi-gita have beautiful meanings, and they all have connection with each other. Janmana vrajah means, "You took birth in Gokula Vrndavana, in Vraja, and for this reason Maha-Laksmi is sweeping and serving here and making Vrndavana is so beautiful. It is the best place for Your sweet pastimes."

There are so many hundreds of meanings for 'tava kathamrtam tapta jivanam,' but I will tell you two meanings in brief. The first is general and the second one is somewhat deep. The gopis tell Krsna, "Tava kathamrtam. O, Your sweet pastimes are the life and soul of those who are facing many difficulties, sorrows, and sufferings in the endless chain of birth and death in this world. Your pastimes are like nectar for them. If one hears Your pastimes, then You Yourself, in the form of hari-katha, comes in his heart."

srnvatam sva-kathah krsnah
punya-sravana-kirtanah
hrdy antah stho hy abhadrani
vidhunoti suhrt satam
(SB 1.2.17)

["Sri Krsna, the Personality of Godhead, who is the Paramatma in everyone's heart and the benefactor of the truthful devotee, cleanses the desire for material enjoyment from the heart of the devotee who has developed the urge to hear His messages, which are in themselves virtuous when properly heard and chanted."]

For those who very carefully hear these pastimes of Krsna, Krsna Himself enters through their ears into their hearts as a bandhu, a bosom friend, and He clears away their lust, anger, worldly desires, and problems. All impediments are quickly swept from their hearts and made clear, and Krsna comes to live there. If one is being tossed in the ocean of problems and is always unhappy, he will become happy by hearing hari-katha.

Pariksit Maharaja was to die in seven days from the bite of a poisonous snake, and no one in this world was qualified to save him. Therefore, for seven days he remained on the bank of the Ganges, giving up all food, water, and sleep, and during that time he heard from Sukadeva Gosvami.

Nivrtta-tarsair upagiyamanat. Sukadeva Gosvami had no worldly desires at all. If such a person as he, a rasika tattva-jna devotee, speaks hari-katha, that hari-katha is the maha high class of medicine for you. You will be cured. Snakebites and other calamites will quickly disappear along with all desires and lust and anger. Don't have any doubt in this.

Tava kathamrtam tapta-jivanam. If any self-realized devotee explains the sweet pastimes of Krsna, his hari-katha will pacify you and you it will become calm and quiet. Kavibhir iditam. Kavis (poets and writers) like Brahma, Sukadeva Gosvami, Valmiki, and the most high class of kavi, Krsna Dvaipayana Vyasadeva, have all said, 'kalmasapaham.' All kinds of sins and past fruitive karmas will disappear very soon. Sravana-mangalam. If you do nothing but hear, all kinds of auspiciousness will come to you. Srimad atatam. By this your sri, that is, your opulence, wealth, beauty, and fortune will spread over the world.

Srimad atatam. One who purely gives hari-katha will be famous throughout the world. For example, before taking sannyasa and coming to the West, Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja was not a very popular speaker. Although he was very learned, not many people came to hear him and his wife and children rejected him. Then, after taking the renounced order and reaching America, a miracle occurred. In a moment he established many centers all over the world, and he made lakhs and lakhs of devotees. We cannot count the number; so many became his servants and his disciples. This was is a miracle. And, although I am like a dry straw, I am also realizing something of this.

Those who explain sweet hari-katha under the guidance of Srila Sukadeva Gosvami, Srila Rupa Gosvami, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, my Gurudeva and Srila Swamiji Maharaja, are the greatest donors in this world. Bhuvi grnanti ye bhuri-da. They glorify Krsna, and by this they benefit the whole world. There are so many donors who can give thousands and thousands of pounds or dollars, and rich persons can give their whole kingdom or the opulence and wealth of the whole world, but they are not bhuri da. The greatest donors are those who give these sweet pastimes to others.

This is a general understanding of that sloka, tava kathamrtam, and it is clearly a glorification. Perhaps this is Candravali speaking and praying. Srimati Radhika, on the contrary, is in an angry mood, and She says, "Tava katha mrtam. Your katha is not amrtam, nectar. It is poison. What type of poison? Deadly poison. There is no need to even drink this poison. One can be far away from it. As long as one smells it he will die, and no one will be able to save him. Those who hear Your pastimes must die. They die like flapping fishes. First they will flap, and then they will die.

Tapta-jivanam. Gopis like Radhika say, "We are the proof of this. We were extremely happy in our family life, but then Krsna came and created so many problems, and now we are helpless. He made us street beggars, and now we have no place to stay and we are on the edge of death. If one wants to be happy with his family, he should never hear the pastimes of Krsna.

"Kavibhir iditam. Kavis will glorify even a paper horse. They will say, 'It is very strong, and it runs faster then the air and mind.' There is no substance in their words. Similarly, such kavis have said, 'By hearing hari-katha you will be very happy.' This is a bogus idea. It is not true. When we heard this sweet katha we became street beggars with no place to live. Krsna cheated us and His hari-katha also cheated us.

"Now we are intelligent, however. We don't believe in hearing these pastimes anymore, and we are warning everyone never to hear them. If a lady hears these pastimes, she will forget her husband and children, she will become like a bird without any place to live, and she will always weep.

"If you don't want to be like this, then don't hear the pastimes of Krsna, especially from the mouths of cheaters. They will come to you with a book under their arms and say, 'Come here, come here. I will tell you the sweet and beautiful pastimes of Krsna and I won't charge any donation at all. Don't worry that you will have to give a donation. There is no cost. Simply hear.' Such kavis will sing in a beautiful tune like a suka parrot. They will charm you and then they will at once kill you with a very sharp knife. They are Bhuri-da janah, which means they will take all your worldly happiness, get you in trouble, and make you like a beggar. So don't hear from them.

"Sravana-mangalam. Hearing Krsna's pastimes seems to be very sweet, but it is actually like poison or a sharp knife. Krsna is very tricky, and He will ruin your life forever. So don't hear His topics and don't chant His name."

Once the gopis were greatly lamenting to Krsna, "Without You we cannot maintain our lives."

Krsna said, "Then why don't you die? Why are you still not dead? I am separated from You, but I see that You have not died."

The gopis replied, "Do You know why we are still alive? You and Your friend Brahma, the creator, are very cruel. You both want to give suffering to others. If you see that anyone is suffering, You become so happy. If we die, how will You be able to give suffering to others? We are the best recipients and best candidates for those suffering due to You, and You will never find anyone like us. We tolerate so much. If we die, to whom will You give suffering? How will You be happy? Your friend is also like You. He also wants to see us suffering. That is why Your very cruel creator-friend gave our life to You, and that is why we don't die. Our soul is not here within us. It is in You and it was Brahma who created us like this. If our souls were with us, we would have already died long ago."

The gopis lamented and wept in this way. "Why do we remember You, hear so much about You, and chant Your name?"

mrgayur iva kapindram vivyadhe lubdha-dharma
striyam akrta virupam stri-jitah kama-yanam
balim api balim attvavestayad dhvanksa-vad yas
tad alam asita-sakhyair dustyajas tat-katharthah
(Bhramara-gita)

["Like a hunter, He cruelly shot the king of the monkeys with arrows. Because He was conquered by a woman, He disfigured another woman who came to Him with lusty desires. And even after consuming the gifts of Bali Maharaja, He bound him up with ropes as if he were a crow. So let us give up all friendship with this dark-complexioned boy, even if we can't give up talking about Him."]

We don't want to have any love and affection for You. What can we do about it? We cannot do anything. We want to forget You, but Your pastimes are always coming in our remembrance."

The gopis are anupama, incomparable. No one in this world can compare with them. You should hear their pastimes and try to remember them. They will give you so much energy and strength that all your unwanted, bad habits and anarthas will disappear very soon.

It is better to forget your jobs and everything else. There is no harm in that. Yogamaya will arrange everything for your maintenance. Krsna has given an order to Yogamaya, and I, myself, will also manage everything for you. Don't worry that you will have to go to your job and perform so many other duties. I have no job. Who is managing all my affairs? I have thousands and thousands of servants who always help me. They worry about me and think, "I should give something to Maharaja." Who is behind this? It is Krsna Himself. Have strong faith in Krsna. Don't worry about your maintenance. Chant and remember more and more.

Don't worry and wonder, "Who will look after me? After Maharaja leaves this world, what will become of me? This is a very big problem." Actually there is no problem at all. Chant and remember. By Krsna's order, Yogamaya will always help you, and Krsna's cakra will always save you from danger. Don't be worried. This is the message in this car festival and this meeting. When you return to your homes, keep this valuable jewel in you hearts and chant and remember.

These are not my teachings. They are the teachings of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Srila Rupa Gosvami, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and all others like them. I have brought their message to you like a postman. Take it and return to your homes and be happy. Try to help each other and be happy.

Gaura Premanande Hari Haribol.



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