What You Cannot Even Imagine


India - March 7, 2004
Tridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja


[After Parama-Pujyapada Srila Narayana Maharaja and the assembled devotees completed the week-long Navadvipa parikrama in Vraja, they remained at the Sri Giridhari Gaudiya Matha another day. Srila Maharaja delivered the following class the night after Gaura Purnima.]

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was totally absorbed in prema. At night He was not able to sleep. In the company of Sri Raya Ramananda and Sri Svarupa Damodara, He would somehow spend his nights – with great difficulty – and those nights seemed to be very long.

yugayitam nimesena caksusa pravrsayitam
sunyayitam jagat sarvam govinda-virahena me

[“O sakhi in separation from Govinda, even a moment seems like a millennium. Tears begin to shower from my eyes like rain from the clouds, and this entire world seems void.” (Sri Siksastakam verse 7)]

One second for Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was like hundreds of thousands of millenniums in separation from Krsna. In His meeting, millions of millenniums seemed to be like a moment. This mood is also seen in the life of Srimati Radhika. Along with Sri Raya Ramananda and Sri Svarupa Damodara, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu spent his last days in the Gambira in Jagannatha Puri. There, in the mood of Radhika, He composed eight verses known as Sri Siksastakam.

ceto-darpana-marjanam bhava-mahadavagni-nirvapanam
sreya-kairava-candrika-vitaranam vidyavadhu-jivanam
anandambudhi-vardhanam prati-padam purnamrtasvadanam
sarvatma-snapanam param vijayate sri-krsna-sankirtanam

[“Let there be supreme victory for the chanting of the holy name of Sri Krsna, which cleanses the mirror of the heart and completely extinguishes the blazing forest fire of material existence. Sri-krsna-sankirtana diffuses the soothing moon rays of bhava which cause the white lotus of good fortune for the jivas to bloom. The holy name is the life and soul of transcendental knowledge, since Vidya (divya Sarasvati-devi) is Sri Nama Prabhu’s consort. It continuously increases the ocean of transcendental bliss, enabling one to taste complete nectar at every step. The holy name thoroughly bathes and cools the body, mind and soul.” (verse 1)]

These eight verses of Siksastakam correspond to Krsna's asta-kaliya-lila (pastimes performed in the eight periods of the twenty-four hour day). In the maha-mantra there are eight couplets: Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. Herein there are sixteen names with eight couplets. In these couplets both the moods of separation and meeting that take place during those pastimes are present. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has described this in Sri Bhajana Rahasya.

All of you should try to understand and realize this. There is no need to ask everyday, “Maharaja, two years, ten years, twenty years have passed. What is new?” Rather hear hari-katha more carefully. If you want to ask about the subject matter you may, but remain stable in chanting.

Both sadhya (perfection) and sadhana (the path to perfection) – everything – is available in harinama. What you cannot even imagine is present in harinama. Chant, and you will find everything there.

All the pastimes of Sri Krsna are present in His names:

suditastsrita-janarti-rasaye ramya-cid-ghana-sukha-svarupine
nama! gokula-mahotsavaya te krsna! purna-vapuse namo namah

[“O Krsna-nama, You destroy the suffering of those who take shelter of You. You are the playful embodiment of saccidananda (eternity, bliss and knowledge), You are the great festival of Gokula, and You are all-pervading. I offer my humble obeisances unto You time and again.” (Sri Krsna-Namastakam, verse 7)]

yasomati-nandana, vraja-vara-nagara,
gokula-ranjana kana
gopi-parana-dhana, madana manohara,
kaliya-damana-vidhana

[“Krsna is Yasoda Maiya’s beloved son, and the topmost lover in Vrajabhumi. As Kana (an affectionate name for Him) He delights Gokula and is the wealth of the life of the gopis. He is an inveterate thief, stealing the hearts of all, and He punished the Kaliya serpent.” (Yasomati-Nandana, verse 1)]

amala harinama amiya-vilasa
vipina-purandara,navina-nagara-vara
vamsi-vadana, suvasa

[“These spotless holy names are filled with all of Lord Krsna’s sweet pastimes. He is the King (purandara – Indra) of all the forests of Vraja. He is the ever-fresh and ever-youthful lover, always wearing very beautiful garments, attracting the gopis with His bodily fragrance, and holding the flute to His lips.” (Yasomati-Nandana, verse 2)]

vibhavari-sesa, aloka-pravesa,
nidra chadi’ utho jiva
bolo’ hari hari, mukunda murari,
rama krsna hayagriva

[“Night is over; the light of dawn is coming – Arise, O soul, give up your sleep! Chant the names of Hari! Mukunda! Murari! Rama! Krsna! and Hayagriva! Hari steals all our anarthas, sins and miseries. Mukunda easily gives liberation and more than that, prema-sukha. His smiling face is beautiful like the very fragrant white kunda flower. Murari killed the Mura demon‚ who represents all the bad things in our hearts. Rama – Krsna’s expansion as His elder brother Balarama. Krsna – the attractor of all living beings. Hayagriva – the incarnation of Rama and Krsna with the head of a horse who gave the Vedas and Upanisads. (Vibhavari-Sesa”]

All these are the truths of harinama. The pastimes, forms and features of Krsna implied by the above-mentioned names are present in the names themselves. The names themselves are the performers of the pastimes and the possessors of the forms. Everything is in harinama. We are praying for mercy when we utter each name.

harinama, tuwa aneka svarupa
yasoda-nandana, ananda-vardhana, nanda-tanaya rasa-kupa

[“O Harinama, you possess unlimited forms, such as Yasoda’s beloved son, He who increases the bliss of Gokula, the son of Nanda, and the deep well of rasa.”]

Chant these names with great love, under the guidance of Vaisnavas. Anugatya – anu means to always stay in the dhama, under proper guidance.

Ceto-darpana-marjanam – your consciousness will be cleansed and you will see your own spiritual form. All anarthas, such as nama-aparadha, guru-aparadha and vaisnava-aparadha, will be removed. Even laya (sleep), viksepa (distraction), apratipatti (indifference or disinterest in spiritual topics), kasaya (tendency towards bad habits) and rasasvada (taste for material enjoyment) will be removed. First, take shelter of a bona fide Guru. Guru should be of a high standard. Take harinama and diksa initiations from such a Guru, with full faith. After anartha-nvrtti (the stage of clearing of obstacles), the names chanted will become more pure, but namabhasa (that stage of chanting when offences are clearing and pure chanting is approaching) will not give perfection. Only fully pure chanting gives perfection. When offences lessen, bhava, transcendental emotions, will come.

nasta-prayesu abhadresu
nityam bhagavata-sevaya
bhagavaty uttama-sloke
bhaktir bhavati naisthiki

[“By regular attendance in classes on the Bhagavatam and by rendering of service to the pure devotee, all that is troublesome to the heart is almost completely destroyed, and loving service unto the Personality of Godhead, who is praised with transcendental songs, is established as an irrevocable fact.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.18)]

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura describes ceto-darpana-marjanam in Sri Bhajana Rahasya. When one serves a bona fide Guru, paramarthika (transcendental) sraddha (faith that simply by serving Krsna, all subsidiary activities are automatically accomplished) will manifest. When this faith becomes mature, nistha (steadiness) will come, and then ruci, taste. When you chant after ruci, then ceto darpana marjanam (cleansing the dust from the mirror of the heart) will manifest. Your soul will become uncovered from the dirt of materialism.

A woman has left her husband, a son gets married and leaves home, a husband and wife are fighting, someone is sick and cannot even walk, someone dies – so many obstacles come, and this is called mahadavagni (the great fire of material existence). This great fire is extinguished by harinama. Therefore, under the guidance of Guru and Vaisnava, perform bhajana.

Sri Prahlada Maharaja told his father:

sri-prahlada uvaca
tat sadhu manye 'sura-varya dehinam
sada samudvigna-dhiyam asad-grahat
hitvatma-patam grham andha-kupam
vanam gato yad dharim asrayeta

["Prahlada Maharaja replied: O best of the asuras, King of the demons, as far as I have learned from my spiritual master, any person who has accepted a temporary body and temporary household life is certainly embarrassed by anxiety because of having fallen in a dark well where there is no water but only suffering. One should give up this position and go to the forest (vana). More clearly, one should go to Vrndavana, where only Krsna consciousness is prevalent, and should thus take shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead." (Srimad Bhagavatam, 7.5).]

This will not happen automatically. In the material concept of life one is always thinking, "I have this problem or that problem. I have this sickness, etc." Someone told me today that they have not been able to get rid of their sickness even after fourteen years. If one chants with ruci, taste, there is not a single problem in this world that cannot be removed. Your destiny can be changed. What is written in your fate can change by chanting pure harinama, and this pure chanting comes by service to Guru and Vaisnava. Guru will change your fate.

As soon as you take birth you begin to die, but don’t be afraid of death or problems. Problems will come; but by chanting, when all the anarthas (obstacles caused by offences and past sins) are removed, the forest fire of this world will be cooled.

When a kumudini lotus flower gets beams of light from the moon, it blossoms. Similarly, by chanting harinama by the aforementioned process, the beautiful qualities that are dormant in you will blossom.

You should come to the platform of ruci, and then there will be no fatigue or laziness. There will be no anarthas to disturb you in your chanting.

Vidya means bhakti; vidya-vadhu means bride or consort in the form of bhakti. This attitude to serve Sri Sri Radha and Krsna is bhakti. Vidyavadhu jivanam – bhakti’s life and soul is Sri Krsna Himself. Then, anandambudhi vardanam – the stages of prema, from sneha, mana, pranaya and all the way up to a taste of madanakya-mahabhava, will devolop in your heart and you will feel so blissful.

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is sometimes absorbed in separation and sometimes in meeting.

evam-vratah sva-priya-nama-kirtya
jatanurago druta-citta uccaih
hasaty atho roditi rauti gayaty
unmada-van nrtyati loka-bahyah

["By chanting the holy name of the Supreme Lord, one comes to the stage of love of Godhead. Then the devotee is fixed in his vow as an eternal servant of the Lord, and he gradually becomes very much attached to a particular name and form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As his heart melts with ecstatic love, he laughs very loudly or cries or shouts. Sometimes he sings and dances like a madman, for he is indifferent to public opinion." (Srimad-Bhagavatam, 11.2.40)]

Why is Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu displaying such emotions as crying, laughing, and rolling on the ground? People of this world do not understand this. Nobody but a rasika devotee, a devotee who is tasting all varieties of rasas, can understand. Ordinary people may think He was simply crazy.

"Prati padam" means that this bliss increases with each and every step. It increases every day. Just like waves appear in the ocean, one will be tossed in the ocean of prema by the waves of ananda, and in the end he will drown in that ocean. Now he has complete perfection. He goes to Vrndavana and achieves the rasa for which he has aspired and practiced.

How will ceto darpana marjanam start?

namnam akari bahudha nija-sarva-saktis
tatrarpita niyamitah smarane na kalah
etadrsi tava krpa bhagavan mamapi
durdaivam idrsam ihajani nanuragah

[“O Bhagavan, Your holy name bestows all auspiciousness upon the living entities. Therefore, for the benefit of the jives, You eternally manifest Your innumerable names, such as Rama, Narayana, Krsna, Mukunda, Madhava, Govinda, and Damodara. You have invested those names with all the potencies of their respective forms. Out of causeless mercy, You have not even imposed any restrictions on the chanting and remembrance of such names. Nonetheless, I am so unfortunate due to committing offenses that I have no attachment for Your holy name, which is so easily accessible and bestows all good fortune.” (Sri Siksastakam, verse 2)]

Sri Krsna has so much power. In a blink of an eye, within one second, through the various Lord Brahmas He can create and destroy millions of universes. He is rasika, beautiful, sweet and causelessly merciful.

Harinama doesn’t consider any prohibitions, such as not chanting in the day or in the night, while eating or not eating, with or without having bathed, on japa beads or without, while walking or sitting. There are no rules. Harinama is so merciful, but it is my misfortune that I cannot chant. Durdaivam means offenses. You have no taste because you are diseased, and the disease you are suffering is like jaundice. Sweet candy tastes bitter to a jaundiced person. Chanting is the medicine of this jaundice of ignorance. Always chant harinama and pray to Lord Krsna; “Please help me.”

How will I become free from this offensive chanting? What is the remedy for this? There is a remedy:

trnad api sunicena taror api sahisnuna
amanina manadena kirtaniya sada harih

[“Thinking oneself to be even lower and more worthless than the insignificant grass which is trampled beneath the feet of all, being more tolerant than a tree, accepting no honor, but offering respect to all others according to their respective positions, one should continuously chant the holy name of Sri Hari.” (Sri Siksastakam, verse 3)]

If you have a desire to chant harinama and want to know how to achieve the stage of prema, then try to understand this:

ye-rupe la-ile nama prema upajaya
tahara laksana suna, svarupa-rama-raya

[“Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu continued, "O Svarupa Damodara Gosvami and Ramananda Raya, hear from Me the symptoms of how one should chant the Hare Krsna maha-mantra to awaken very easily one's dormant love for Krsna.” (Caitanya-caritamrta, Antya 20.20)]

Every day people ask me, “Tell me something fresh.” I tell them, "Open your heart. Hear from me with an open heart." You say, "I want to be like Maharaji,” but you won’t try to be." You must do some endeavor. Become trnad api – more humble than a blade of grass. If you step on grass it pops up. Be more humble than that. Be like a tree. If one hits a tree with a stone, it will give fruits. If one dries it, still it will not ask for water – and it gives shade. It will give whatever a person wants – leaves, wood, etc. Many diseases are cured by neem leaves, and from the barks of many trees varieties of medicines are made. A tree never says, “I won’t give this to you.” Animals will run away if you want their hair or eyes, but a tree will never run away if you go to take something from it.

Tolerate insults. Don’t become absorbed in this "itching" of problems. According to other's qualification give them respect, thinking that Krsna is in their heart. Fighting is caused by personal desire for respect. If someone insults Srila Sukadeva Gosvami, he will not fight. Even when Draupadi was attempted to be stripped naked, she did not say anything against her assaulters. Even if one has no good qualities, still the Lord is inside of him – so we should give him respect.

na dhanam na janam na sundarim
kavitam va jagadisa kamaye
mama janmani janmanisvare
bhavatad bhaktir adhaituki tvayi

[“O Jagadisa, I do not desire wealth, followers such as wife, sons, friends and relatives, nor mundane knowledge expressed in poetic language. My only desire, O Pranesvara, is that in birth after birth I may have ahaituki-bhakti unto Your lotus feet.” (Sri Siksastakam, verse 4)]

Na dhanam na janam – you should have no desires for followers, wives, relatives and friends. Sundarim kavitam – you should not think, "When I become learned, then I will chant." There is no need for going to a University. Rather, come to the school and college of Srila Haridasa Thakura. Some of Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada's disciples went to college, and all of those who did so destroyed their spiritual lives. There is no need for this. Whatever qualities you have, engage these in the service of Bhagavan, God. Some persons who were living in the matha went to learn various melodies and rhythms for kirtana and mrdanga, and after this they went out to teach professionally – only to make money.

You are very insignificant. Be humble. Think yourself just a small particle of dust at the lotus feet of the Lord, nothing else. Be attached to the dust particles at Lord Krsna’s feet. This dust is important. Don't think, "There is so much dust in the whole world, so why go to Gurudeva to take dust?" We want to be like that dust. Don’t be proud, thinking, "I know so much." Tomorrow you may die, but you do not know this. What will happen next? You don't know this. With full faith, therefore chant harinama under the guidance of Guru and Vaisnavas. Desire to be a dust particle – first of Sri Gurudeva’s lotus feet – and he will make you a dust particle of Sri Krsna’s feet.

Pray always for prema:

nayanam galad-asru-dharaya
vadanam gadgada-ruddhaya gira
pulakair nicitam vapuh kada
tava nama-grahane bhavisyati

[“O Lord, 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?” (Sri Siksastakam, verse 6)]

Always call out while chanting, “Alas Sri Krsna, Oh Sri Radha!” If tears do not flow from your eyes, then call out, “Oh Nityanada! Oh Haridas Takura! Alas, Sacinanda Gaurahari!” You have given mercy to so many non-devotees like Jagai and Madhai, and millions of devotees so please give mercy to me.

yugayitam nimesena caksusa pravrsayitam
sunyayitam jagat sarvam govinda-virahena me

[“O sakhi, in separation from Govinda, even a moment seems like a millennium. Tears begin to shower from my eyes like rain from the clouds, and this entire world seems void.” (Sri Siksastakam, verse 7)]

When will we reach the stage of separation of Govinda, when one second will feel like millions of millenniums, and millenniums will feel like a moment in His darsana. This can happen only when Srimati Radhika will be merciful.

aslisya va pada-ratam pinastu mam
adarsanan marma-hatam karotu va
yatha tatha va vidadhatu lampato
mat-prana-nathas tu sa eva naparah

[“Let Krsna tightly embrace this maidservant who is attached to the service of His Lotus feet, and thus make Me His very own. Or let Him break My heart by not being present before Me. He is a debauchee and can do whatever He likes. Even if He cavorts with other lovers directly in front of Me, He is still My Prananatha. I have no one other than Him.” (Sri Siksastakam, verse 8)]

At that time, when you will reach that stage, your bhakti will touch madanakya-mahabhava. This verse is of that stage.

In your present stage you must develop this mood with Sri Guru: "If you are satisfied in giving me sannyasa you can do so, or if you want me to be naked I will do so. But please don’t remove me from Your lotus feet. You can crush me or You can show me affection. You may not show me that you love me anymore. You may love somebody else more than me. But still, whatever you do, you are my master." Perform your bhajana like this. All of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s teachings are in these verses.

Now it is eight o'clock, we should stop.

Gaura Premanandi.

Editorial advisors: Pujyapad Madhava Maharaja and Sripad Brajanatha dasa
Translator: Akhilesa dasa
Transcriber: Vasanti dasi
Typist: Anita dasi
Editor: Syamarani dasi

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