[A lecture on Rama Navami] San Francisco: May 23
Tridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja
[Every year, on every tour, in
practically every country, Srila Narayana Maharaja discusses the five
kinds of bhaktas and their five kinds of bhakti. He does this in
order that his audiences understand what is real bhakti, what kind
of bhakti they should choose, and what they will have to do and
give up to attain it. In San Francisco, On May 23, 2003, his
discourse concentrated on the glories of Hanuman, the perfect
example of a premi-bhakta. You are receiving this lecture today,
because of Rama-Navami.]
Now we are coming to our
subject where we left off in Badger. Why do we prefer Ambarisa
Maharaja over Prahlada Maharaja? Prahlada Maharaja is a
siddha-bhakta and parama-mahabhagavata (a perfected devotee
situated at the stage of prema, love of God), and Ambarisa
Maharaja is a sadhaka-bhakta (a practitioner at the stage of
bhava-bhakti) So why do we want to follow Ambarisa Maharaja?
Prahlada Maharaja serves Lord Nrsimhadeva, an expansion
of Krsna, whereas Ambarisa Maharaja was serving Krsna Himself. He
was serving Krsna, but in the form of a deity. He used to do pranama
to the deity. He used to travel in Vraja-mandala when Sri Krsna
was not there. It is very rare to see Sri Krsna playing in
Vrndavana. He told Sri Narada Muni, "Hanuman is superior to me
much more superior. If you want to see a high class recipient of
Sri Krsnas mercy you should go to Hanumanji. You can see him in
Sanket, , Ayodhya. So please go there." The following verse is the
barometer of bhakti.
"Uttama-bhakti, pure devotional
service, is the cultivation of activities that are meant exclusively
for the pleasure of Sri Krsna, in other words, the uninterrupted
flow of service to Sri Krsna, performed through all endeavors of
body, mind, and speech, and through expression of various
spiritual sentiments (bhavas). It is not covered by jnana
(knowledge of nirvisesa-brahma, aimed at impersonal liberation) karma
(reward-seeking activity), yoga or austerities; and it is
completely free from all desires other than the aspiration to
bring happiness to Sri Krsna." (Sri Bhakti rasamrta-sindhu
The symptoms of pure bhakti explained in
this verse will be applied everywhere in the case of Dhruva
Maharaja, in the case of Prahlada Maharaja, and also in the same way
for Ambarisa Maharaja. This verse is the barometer, and we can
judge the supremacy of any devotee by it. You should know the
meaning of "anukulyena krsnanu silanam". There should be no
worldly desire. Bhakti should not be covered by any jnana or
karma. Our bhakti should be continuous, like honey flowing, and under
the guidance of any exalted Vaisnava. "Anukulyena" it should be
without pratikula-bhava, an unfavorable mood. "Silanam" it is
performed by all endeavors of the senses, mind, body and more
over, mood the mood of bhava, sneha, mana, pranaya, raga,
anuraga, and so on. Anu means under guidance of pure
Now we may see what Hanuman is doing.
We may see whether or not his bhakti is covered with jnana (knowledge
aiming at impersonal liberation) or karma (fruitive activity).
He never has any worldly desire. His only desire
is to serve Lord Sri Rama. His activities therefore, are
uttama-bhakti. He cannot forget Sri Rama for even a moment. Which
high class Vaisnava is he under guidance of, in his performance of
all his services to Sri Rama? Can you decide? Hanuman is the
incarnation of Sankara, Lord Siva, and Sankara always worships his
Istadeva (worshipable deity), Sankarsana. Do you understand this?
Sankarsana is Balarama, and in rama-lila Balarama appears as
Laksmana. So Hanuman is always serving under the guidance of
How can you understand that he is
always in the guidance of Laksmana? Is there any pastime to give
evidence for this? There are so many. He took Lord Ramacandra on
his shoulders, and he also served Laksmana in the same way, on
When Lord Rama was looking for
Sita devi, Hanuman disguised himself as a brahmana, and by
questioning both Rama and Laksmana and thus realizing their
identities, he told them both, "Come and sit on my shoulders. I
will take you to Kiskinda, there Sugriva is very upset. I think it
will be very important for you to be friends with him. He told Rama,
Sugriva will discover your Sita and somehow bring her to You, but
you will have to kill his enemy who has taken his kingdom and
very beautiful wife.
Another time, when a sakti weapon
was thrown by Meganatha at Laksmana and Laksmana became
unconscious, as if he was dead, it was Hanuman who brought
sanjivani (a powerful life-returning herb). While looking for that
plant, Hanuman could not recognize it. He had been told that he
would be able to recognize it because it would be situated on a
certain mountain and was illuminated like light, but it so
happened that the demons made all the plants in that mountain
illuminate. He therefore took the entire mountain on his head and
returned to Laksmana on the very same night.
Ravana's ayurvedic doctor and he was not willing to come to help.
Therefore, Hanuman lifted up his whole house, brought him there,
and convinced him to serve. He told the doctor, "Your business is
to serve all, without any prejudice. For a doctor there is no
consideration of enemy or friend. If an enemy comes to you, you
should help him. So you should cure Rama." And he did so.
Once, Sri Rama and Laksmana were bound by naga-pasa
(snake-ropes). They had fallen unconscious and were about to die.
By the instruction of Narada Rsi, Hanuman brought Garuda from
Vaikuntha. When Garuda arrived, just by smelling the scent of his
body, all the snakes fled. Garuda then had a doubt. He thought,
"Who is this person? Can it be Rama, the Supreme Personality of
Godhead? No, this person can never be Rama. I'm the servant of
Lord Rama. By the mere glance of Rama those snakes would have all
left immediately. They would not be able to even come to Rama, yet
they were binding this person. When I came, by my influence, they
quickly gave up this person. So who is He?"
Garuda went to his Gurudeva, Sankara, but his Gurudeva told him,
"I have no time; I'm going just now. You should go to
Kakabhusundi. You are the king of birds, so you should go to the
most wretched among all birds a crow. You should go there."
Sankara gave this instruction in order to remove
Garuda's pride. Garuda approached Kakabhusundi. He heard from him
the glory of Sri Rama for many years and all kinds of doubts went
away. This was only due to Hanuman.
was doing "anukulyena krsnanu-silanam." As honey flows from a jar
without obstruction, Hanuman served Lord Rama day and night. We
should learn how to serve from him.
Maharaja was serving Sri Krsna, but in the form of a deity not
directly. A deity will not say to His worshipper, "Oh, you should
bring water." In some rare cases in the case of a high class of
devotee like Srila Rupa Gosvami or Srila Sanatana Gosvami, He may
say, "I am very thirsty, or anything like that. But He will not
generally say anything.
Sita devi, Bharata,
Laksmana and Satrughna are all servants of Lord Rama. Sita devi is
His wife and the others are His brothers. They had a meeting and
complained to each other, "Hanuman is always serving Rama, from
the beginning of the day to the end of the day. He gives no time
for us to serve. He is fanning with a camara, massaging, bringing
food, and performing a multitude of other services. When can we
serve? We four, combined together, should take over all of Ramas
services, day and night Hanuman should have no time to even enter
the palace." Thus they divided all Rama's services amongst
They decided that at night time, no
one would be allowed to approach Rama, for that was Sita devi's time
to serve. In the daytime sometimes Bharata, sometimes Laksmana,
and sometimes Satrughna would serve. In this way they divided all
the services of the eight yamas (parts of the day).
Hanuman began to weep, and prayed to them, "Please don't do
this to me. Please give me any insignificant service otherwise I
cannot survive. I will die." Can you be like Hanuman, thinking that
without service you will die? When you think like that you will
actually be a servant of Sri Krsna. Hanuman was always meditating,
always performing kirtana, always hearing hari-katha from the
gandharvas, and always offering pranama.
"Maharaja Ambarisa always engaged his mind in
meditating upon the lotus feet of Krsna, his words in describing the
glories of the Lord, his hands in cleansing the Lord's temple, and
his ears in hearing the words spoken by Krsna or about Krsna. He
engaged his eyes in seeing the Deity of Krsna, Krsna's temples and
Krsna's pastime places like Mathura and Vrndavana, he engaged
his sense of touch in touching the bodies of the Lord's devotees, he
engaged his sense of smell in smelling the fragrance of tulasi
offered to the Lord, and he engaged his tongue in tasting the
Lord's prasada. He engaged his legs in walking to the holy places
and temples of the Lord, his head in bowing down before the Lord,
and all his desires in serving the Lord, twenty-four hours a day.
Indeed, Maharaja Ambarisa never desired anything for his own sense
gratification. He engaged all his senses in devotional service, in
various engagements related to the Lord. This is the way to
increase attachment for the Lord and be completely free from all
material desires." (S.B. 9.4.18-20)
was doing the same thing as Hanuman, but Hanuman was doing it in a
superior way. Maharaja Ambarisa was traveling throughout Vraja,
doing parikrama; and what was Hanuman doing? He was jumping over
the ocean to bring Sita devi back to Lord Rama. He burned Lanka.
He did everything needed. He engaged his mind, his body, his soul,
his senses and his moods. He was directly serving not serving a
deity as Ambarisa Maharaja was.
Sita, Laksmana, Bharata and Satrughna, "Please give me any
service. It may be a third class bogus service, but I want it."
They thought, and they discussed amongst each other, "What service
can we give him?" "Nothing," they decided. Then he said, "I have a
suggestion. Sri Ramacandra has never yawned but it may come. I will
stay outside his room, and when He will yawn I will snap my
fingers. This service should be given." Snapping of fingers when a
person yawns is a message to "take care" and to remember Krsna.
The four discussed Hanuman's proposal and decided that, since in
His whole life Ramacandra had never yawned, there would be no harm
in Hanuman taking that service.
sitting on the outside of the house. He sang, "Jaya Rama, Jaya
Rama, Jaya Jaya Rama," and snapped his fingers continuously. Lord
Ramacandra then began to yawn only yawning throughout the entire
day and night and all services by Sita, Laksmana, Bharata and
Satrughna had to be stopped. They began thinking, "What to do now?
This Hanuman is the root of all evil." They went to Rama, and Rama
advised them, "Oh, please give him service; otherwise he will not be
able to remain alive."
We should try to be like
Hanuman always serving. You cannot directly serve Sri Krsna or
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. You can serve Them in Their deity forms,
but not directly. Fortunately, however, Krsna has appeared in the
form of Sri Guru, in the form of the most elevated devotee. He
appears as the bona fide diksa- and siksa-gurus. The symptoms of
Sri Guru are told in Srimad Bhagavatam and other sastras. Why we
should not always serve them?
Don't be like a pendulum Never
give more importance to your jobs and money than to bhakti. During
a discussion at a devotee's house earlier today, I asked another
devotee, "What job do you do?" He said, "I have such and such
job." "What is your income monthly?" "At least $1000." "What do
you do with this money?" "I give some money to pay the rent of the
house, some to support my children and wife and others, some for a
car, and some for here and there." "How much do you save?" "Oh,
hardly anything." "But can they help you? Can they make you happy?
They can never do so. Even if you can collect millions of dollars
for them, are they able to help you and make you happy? No."
Then I asked him, "What is the aim of your life?"
"Krsna-bhakti," he replied. "Then how much are you spending out of
each thousand dollars for Guru and Vaisnavas, and for bhakti?" He
began to think, and replied, "Nothing." "You are giving so much
importance to your job. Because of your job you cannot come to
Badger to hear harikatha, and you are not even coming here. You
are not spending even a part of one penny for Krsna. You are
giving importance to your worldly relatives not to bhakti,
bhaktas, or Krsna. Are you doing something for Krsna?" "Oh, I am
remembering." "But what are you doing with that money? Are you
even spending a single penny in His service?" So you should also
see what you are doing.
Hanuman was a brahmacari
from the beginning of his life. He never married because he
thought, "My energy will then go towards family members. Why
should I not serve Lord Rama from the beginning?"
Once he saw Sita devi, whom he considered to be "Mother Sita,"
when she was in the dressing-room. She had already bathed, and now
she was decorating herself to prepare for entering the assembly of
Sri Rama. She had put on all of her ornaments, and now she was
placing sindu (vermilion) powder on the part of her hair. This is the
symptom of a chaste lady whose husband is alive, and this is
considered a very fortunate condition for a woman. Hanuman said,
"Mother, I was searching for you. What are you doing here? What is
this red color, and why are you anointing your head with it?" She
replied, "I am wearing this so that your Prabhu, my husband, will be
always glorious, have a long life and always be happy. By this he
will surely be benefited."
Sita devi then left
and Hanuman entered in the dressing-room. He took all the red
powder, mixed it with oil, and colored himself from top to bottom.
When he reached the assembly of Lord Rama, all those present
laughed when they saw him.
Lord Rama asked him,
"What have you done?" Hanuman replied, "Oh Prabhu, I have done
this because, if by Mother Sita keeping a small amount of this
reddish powder on her hair You will be happy and have a long life,
then I should put it everywhere on my body." This is how he serves
He also becomes the chariot of Rama.
He creates a fort by his tail and no one can enter the gate. He sits
as a heroic guard, protecting Rama. He brings fruit and everything
else required by Rama, Laksmana and Sita devi. Thus, in all ways,
he is Lord Rama's most obedient servant and he can give his life
for Rama. He is therefore an even greater servant than Ambarisa
By his hands, Hanuman massages and
brings Rama whatever he requires. By mind he always remembers Sita
and Rama. By his tongue he always sings kirtana of Rama, and by
his ears he hears Ramas glories. Moreover, by feet he jumps here
and there and serves in that way. He hears the very sweet words of
the gandharvas, the celestial demigod singers, and watches their
many drama plays. Those gandharvas are far less than him in
bhakti; nevertheless as a father and mother hears from her child,
Hanuman hears from the gandharvas.
came in Dvarapa-yuga as Svayam Bhagavan Sri Krsna in Dvaraka, all
the princesses of Janaka-puri became gopis and queens like Rukmini
and Satyabhauma. There, Hanuman, in the form of Bhima, is serving
in a still greater way. Therefore, when Sri Narada Rsi came to
Hanuman to glorify him as the greatest devotee of the Lord, Hanuman
denied the glorification and sent him to the Pandavas in
Do you understand why I am telling you
all of these truths? It is so you will know what is devotional
service, what is the meaning of the verse "anyabhilasita sunyam jnana
karmadi anavrtam," and what is the special gift Sri Caitanya
Mahaprabhu brought to this world.
advisors: Pujyapad Madhava Maharaja and Sripad Brajanatha
Editor: Syamarani dasi
and assistant editor: Kanta dasi