Verbania, Italy - June 25, 2004
Tridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja
In his commentary to his own book, Sri Brhad-bhagavatamrta, Srila
Sanatana Gosvami quotes the following verses:
athaitat paramam guhyam
su-gopyam api vaksyami
tvam me bhrtyah suhrt sakha
["My dear Uddhava, O beloved of the Yadu dynasty, because you
are My servant, well-wisher and friend, I shall now speak to you the
most confidential knowledge. Please hear as I explain these great
mysteries to you.I am telling you the most hidden knowledge."
na rodhayati mam yogo
na sankhyam dharma eva ca
na svadhyayas tapas tyago
nesta-purtam na daksina
vratani yajnas chandamsi
tirthani niyama yamah
sarva-sangapaho hi mam
In the 11th Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam, Lord Krsna tells Uddhava,
"O My dear Uddhava, you are very near and dear to Me. You are
My friend, commander-in-chief and advisor, and we have so many other
relationships as well. I am therefore going to reveal to you the most
important and hidden knowledge."
"O friend, the association of My most elevated devotees cuts
to pieces all desires for worldly sense gratification. That high-class
mahat-sanga, association of pure devotees, can control Me. On the
other hand, philosophical analysis, piety, yoga, chanting the Vedas,
accepting the renounced order of life, performing severe austerities,
giving in charity, non-violence, following instructions for discipline
in the practice of yoga, taking vows, visiting and bathing in holy
places chanting confidential mantras cannot do so."
You should also think like this. These activities cannot help you
anywhere near as much as mahat-sanga can help. Mahat-sanga is the
most favorable activity for advancement in devotion to the Lord. Controlling
the mind and senses – along with mahat-sanga it is ok, otherwise
not. If anyone has taken sannyasa but has no devotion or strong faith
in the self-realized guru, the above-mentioned pious activities are
all performed in vain. External activities alone cannot help you.
Performing Vedic fire sacrifices and developing gardens, children's
schools and areas for cow protection also cannot help you. Daksina
(bringing money to Gurudeva.) alone will not help. You will have to
serve internally, in pure devotee association, so that pure bhakti
will come to you. In that association you will learn how to control
Krsna in no time.
Otherwise, fasting on the holy day of Ekadasi, worshiping demigods
and even Deities of the Lord, chanting brahma-gayatri and other mantras,
and taking bath in Ganga alone will not help you. Lord Krsna has also
mentioned always telling the truth, not stealing, and being detached
from the world. They will also not help you. They will control and
attract you. Without mahat-sanga, even observing the Ekadasi fast
will be like reward-seeking activity. You will thus be controlled,
bound by the subsequent material pious results.
Mahat-sanga must be included in these activities in order for them
to be beneficial to you. If you neglect mahat-sanga and you also neglect
asat-sanga (association of materialists), even this will not be favorable.
If one neglects asat-sanga and at the same time neglects sat-sanga,
this is not only of no use, but it is dangerous. This is because one
will again be attracted by asat-sanga. In fact, that person is still
in asat-sanga, the association of his own polluted mind and heart.
Asancaya means not to collect anything, and Srila Raghunatha dasa
Gosvami is an example of a devotee who did not collect material paraphernalia.
If asancayah is done for bhakti or is a result of bhakti, and if it
is done in mahat-sanga, then it is okay. Otherwise it is nothing.
It is not okay. To collect paraphernalia is sancayah. Asancayah is
good in connection with bhakti. Then it is favorable. If it is not
for bhakti, it is not favorable. Brahmacarya (celibacy) will also
not be favorable.
Mauna is the practice of silence. To be silent among worldly persons
is somewhat good, but don't be silent in the assembly of Gurudeva
and Vaisnavas. Chant Hare Krsna, ask those pure devotees questions
with honor, and try to hear their harikatha. If you are always speaking
hari-katha, this is real mauna.
Mahat-sanga will control you and cut all bad worldly attachments.
Lord Krsna will come to you and you will be able to attain krsna-bhakti
Our acaryas have expressed their desire for pure bhakti in their prayers.
They prefer pure bhakti over going to Vaikuntha.
pasu-paksi ho'ye thaki swarge va niroye
tava bhakti rahu bhaktivinoda-hrdoye
[“Be my life in heaven or in hell, be it as a bird or a beast,
may devotion to You always remain within the heart of Bhaktivinoda.”
(Sri Siksastaka, Song 4)]
Our acaryas want bhakti and mahat-sanga. For them, without mahat-sanga
there is no need of heaven or even the spiritual world of Vaikuntha.
Suppose one person is hearing hari-katha in bona-fide mahat-sanga,
and another person is in Vrndavana with the monkeys, taking bath in
the Yamuna and performing parikrama of Govardhana – but is not
in mahat sanga. Who is better? The person in mahat-sanga is better.
A kanistha-adhikari, a neophyte devotee, cannot understand this fact,
but Sri Krsna Himself confirms it.
mad-bhakta yatra gayanti tatra tisthami narada:
"O Narada, I am present wherever My devotees are chanting."(Padma
It is for this reason that Krsna is saying, "Life is only successful
in the association of the mahat-purusa. It is only successful in mahat-sanga."
What more can I tell about this subject? What to speak of having their
association, even to hear the glorification of this kind of mahatma
gives the fruit of bhakti.
Vidura has said:
srutasya pumsam sucira-sramasya
nanv anjasa suribhir idito 'rthah
padaravindam hrdayesu yesam
["Persons who hear from a spiritual master with great labor and
for a long time must hear from the mouths of pure devotees about the
character and activities of pure devotees. Pure devotees always think
within their hearts of the lotus feet of the Personality of Godhead,
who awards His devotees liberation." (Srimad-bhagavatam 3.13.4)]
Scholars of the Spiritual science have established this tattva. We
must hear sastra, but in mahat-sanga; not here and there. Krsna takes
rest in the heart of His devotees. He is always present in their hearts’
glorification of Him; so go to these persons. By their association
you will attain devotion to Lord Krsna and your life will be successful.
Dhruva Maharaja prayed, "O Prabhu, to meditate on Your lotus
feet and to hear Your sweet pastimes, a rasika-bhakta attains so much
sa vai pumsam paro dharmo
yato bhaktir adhoksaje
["The supreme occupation [dharma] for all humanity is that by
which men can attain to loving devotional service unto the transcendent
Lord. Such devotional service must be unmotivated and uninterrupted
to completely satisfy the self." (Srimad-bhagavatam 1.2.60)]
That happiness cannot be achieved by brahman realization (realization
of the impersonal aspect of Krsna.) What more can I say on this subject?
The life of the heavenly demigods is finished after some time. Kala
(personified Time) cuts off their heads and they come to this world
again. However, those who are always serving in high-class association
will not fall down; they will not die. In this verse, beginning "Srutasya
pumsam sucira-sramasya…", Sri Vidura refers to "bhagavat
bhakta-sanga" and "tad-bhakta-sanga." One is
the mahat (self-realized pure devotee), and one is mahat-sangi sanga,
the self-realized associates of that mahat. The second is better.
Do you understand?
For example, Sri Caitanaya Mahaprabhu is mahat-sanga and Srila Rupa
Gosvami is mahat-sangi sanga. The association of Sriman Mahaprabhu’s
associate is superior, because that associate, His pure devotee, can
better give you what Mahaprabhu came to give; the most elevated service
In his commentary, Srila Sanatana Gosvami quoted verses from scriptures
like Sri Brahma-samhita, from so many Puranas, from the Upanisads
and Srutis, and especially from Srimad-bhagavatam. He proved that
pure devotee association is the root of all bhakti. By this, Lord
Krsna can be controlled forever.
The root mahat-sanga is Gurudeva – if he is really a qualified
and bona-fide Guru.
All the verses quoted by Srila Sanatana Gosvami in this regard are
called rasayana (the most pleasing elixir, the reservoir of transcendental
mellows), and at the end of his commentary on Sri Brhat-bhagavatamrta,
he gives fully thickened rasayana. He quotes the words of Srila Sukadeva
jayati jana-nivaso devaki-janma-vado
yadu-vara-parisat svair dorbhir asyann adharmam
vraja-pura-vanitanam vardhayan kama-devam
["Lord 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 Yasoda-nandana, the son of Devaki or 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!" (Srimad-bhagavatam
Editorial advisors: Sripad Madhava Maharaja and Sripad Brajanatha
Transcriber: Vasanti dasi
Typist: Anita dasi
Editor: Syamarani dasi