Questions and Answers While Walking - Houston 2009

Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
A Morning Walk in Houston, Texas
May 28, 2009

09-Houston-May-26-033

Raghunatha Bhatta dasa: Gurudeva, I want to ask one question. Sometimes a disciple thinks that the guru cannot understand what is going on. Is this due to yogamaya (Krsna's spiritual desire potency)? Or, is guru testing the disciple?

Srila Gurudeva: If it is Yogamaya, then what will be the job of Mahamaya (Krsna's deluding material potency)? In this world there is no Yogamaya; there is only Mahamaya. There is no need of Yogamaya here. Yogamaya plays a part only in eternal, transcendental matters, like Krsna's pastimes, His associates, and His dhama. That very Yogamaya, when in the hands of Kamsa, became Mahamaya; and in the hands of Vasudeva Maharaja, Krsna's father, She remained Yogamaya.

Raghunatha Bhatta dasa: If the disciple thinks that the guru does not understand, then he himself is in mahamaya?

Srila Gurudeva: I don't think that all disciples feel this way. It may be that you do, but my other disciples don't think like this.

Kanhaiya dasa (a child): I have a question. In Vrndavana the devotees love Krsna a lot, and in Dvaraka they treat Him like a king. Is the love in Dvaraka a lot different from what it is in Vrndavana, or just a little bit?

Srila Gurudeva: By comparison, there is less love in Dvaraka. There in Dvaraka Krsna is a king, so He is beyond the reach of His subjects. His subjects offer Him pranamas from a distance, and they offer Him stutis, or prayers.

In Vrndavana the relationship is more intimate. Krsna's devotees embrace Him, and they play and joke with Him.

Atula-Krsna dasa: Gurudeva, thank you for coming to this planet.

Srila Gurudeva: Why thank me? Why not thank Krsna? Krsna sent me.

All devotees: Haribol!

Janardana dasa: Gurudeva, how many sets of clothes should a brahmacari have?

Srila Gurudeva: He should have the least amount possible; only two or three sets - two dhotis, two kurtas, and one cadar. Minimize all your personal possessions and don't engage in sense gratification. The more you can minimize your requirements, the better off you will be.

Ramacandra dasa (From California): Gurudeva, can you speak for a moment on the importance of book distribution?

Srila Gurudeva: By distributing books, Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja preached throughout the world. His books went house-to-house; to all cities, to forests, mountains, hotels, trains, bookstores, and practically everywhere else.

I want my disciples to distribute my books in the same way. My books should reach every house, and every part of the world. (To Ramacandra dasa) Thank you for distributing so many books.

Perhaps Ramacandra is the #1 distributer?

Brajanatha dasa: On the days he goes out to distribute books, he distributes more than one hundred.

Srila Gurudeva: So why not others? Others should also try.

Sivananda Sena dasa: Gurudeva, you have used an example comparing Krsna to a bumblebee. You said that the bumblebee sometimes visits a very fragrant flower and becomes intoxicated. He becomes so intoxicated by that one flower that even when he visits other flowers that are not as fragrant, he thinks they are also fragrant. You compared this example with Krsna visiting Kubja. [Krsna became so intoxicated by the sweetness of the gopis love that He went to taste even the selfish love of the hunchback Kubja. -ed]

Similarly Krsna is visiting you, who are very fragrant and full of love for Him. I am thinking that since we are close to you, maybe in Krsna's mood of love for you He will visit us also even though we are not so fragrant. Is that possible?

Srila Gurudeva: What is your question? There should be questions, not lectures.

Ramacandra dasa (from Delhi): His question is that when Krsna is visiting you, will He visit us?

Srila Gurudeva: He has no time.

Govinda dasa (translating for a Spanish Devotee): At which point can one consider that the jiva is liberated from vanity?

Srila Gurudeva: (To Padmanabha Maharaja) Did you understand the question? You can answer.

Sripad Padmanabha Maharaja: He is asking: At which stage of bhakti can the jiva be considered liberated from the false ego of identifying with his material body?

Govinda dasa: From vanity.

Sripad Padmanabha Maharaja: Vanity means false ego.

The answer is that when someone has reached the stage of bhava, he has no more identification at all with the body.

Srila Gurudeva: Even at the stage of bhava-bhakti there is some kasaya (obstacle); but when prema appears in the heart, identification with the body fully disappears. This is called atyantiki.

When the devotee attains prema, all kinds of anarthas are totally washed away, whereas the scent of some bodily identification may remain at the stage of rati or bhava.

Sripad Padmanabha Maharaja: But in the stage of bhava-bhakti, hasn't the devotee realized his svarupa (his constitutional spiritual form)?

Srila Gurudeva: What I have explained is written in Madhurya-kadambini. *

Sripad Damodara Maharaja: Is it true that among all incarnations, only Advaita Acarya manifested old age?

Srila Gurudeva: What about Nityananda Prabhu and Mahaprabhu?

Sripad Damodara Maharaja: They did not become old.

Srila Gurudeva: What do you consider the age of forty-eight to be? It is not kisora (teenage).

Ramacandra dasa (from Delhi): He was forty-eight years old, but did He look like forty-eight?

Srila Gurudeva: Only Krsna is always kisora - nava-kisora-natabara (the ever-fresh and youthful teenage dancer. This is the nature of His transcendental body.

Sripad Madhava Maharaja: When Krsna was in Kuruksetra during the solar-eclipse, still He appeared as a teenager. So, Mahaprabhu must be the same.

Sripad Damodara Maharaja: When Lord Ramacandra appeared, He also always had the form of a sixteen-year-old.

Srila Gurudeva: When His age was 11,000 years old, He looked like a full youth - not old, but not kisora.

Brajanatha dasa: Damodara Maharaja is saying that Advaita Acarya looks like an old man. So, what about other incarnations, like Vyasa?

Srila Gurudeva: Vyasa had the appearance of an old man. He had a long beard.

Mukunda dasa: As part of Lord Caitanya's pastimes, he brought the yuga-dharma for everyone in the world. We also understand from you that most people who come to Mahaprabhu's line are in madhurya-rasa, and sometimes in sakhya-rasa. So it appears that there is some conflict, or difference, in these two statements.

Srila Gurudeva: When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu came here from Goloka Vaikuntha the associates of Rama, Nrsimha, and all other incarnations descended with Him (within His body). Therefore, although most of His devotees were in madhurya-rasa, some were in other rasas. A few examples of this are Murari Gupta, Anupama, and Nrsimhananda Brahmacari; and there were so many more. However, those who actually followed the instruction of Caitanya Mahaprabhu regarding the gift He specifically came to give were all in madhurya-rasa.

Devotee: But we have also heard that Mahaprabhu came for the whole world. How can both principles be true?

Srila Gurudeva: Yes, both statements are true. Vatsalya (parental love), sakhya (friendship), and dasya (servitorship) are all included in madhurya-rasa (amorous love). For example, those who are attracted to dasya-rasa, due to having dasya as their constitutional form, attain dasya.

It is not that all rasas are equal. One can withdraw from the bank as much as one has in his account, and there are so many thousands of devotees who have a great deal in their account.

Mukunda dasa: Srila Gurudeva, in a class in Alachua, some discussion came up about svarupa-siddhi (internal realization of one' spiritual form) and vastu-siddhi (one's actual spiritual) regarding this verse:

duhsaha-prestha-viraha-
tivra-tapa-dhutasubhah
dhyana-praptacyutaslesa-
nirvrtya ksina-mangalah

tam eva paramatmanam
jara-buddhyapi sangatah
jahur guna-mayam deham
sadyah praksina-bandhanah

"For those gopis who could not go to see Krsna, intolerable separation from their beloved caused an intense agony that burned away all impious karma. By meditating upon Him they realized His embrace, and the ecstasy they then felt exhausted their material piety. Although Lord Krsna is the Supreme Soul, these girls simply thought of Him as their lover and associated with Him in that intimate mood. Thus their karmic bondage was nullified and they abandoned their gross material bodies." (Srimad-Bhagavatam, 10.29.10-11)

You've said that it is not that the sadhana-siddha gopis gave up their physical bodies. Does this automatically mean that those who go to Krsna?s prakata-lila are already in vastu-siddhi, or are they still in svarupa-siddhi until they have the association of nitya-siddhas and then achieve vastu-siddhi at that time?

Srila Gurudeva: I have already explained this.

Sripad Padmanabha Maharaja: Gurudeva said previously that they have begun vastu-siddhi.

Mukunda dasa: So automatically, by going there...

Srila Gurudeva: Bas. Bas, bas, bas.

Vrajendra-nandana dasa: Regarding those devotees who already have a relationship with Nrsimhadeva or Ramacandra, do they not taste the mood of Vraja when they come in Caitanya Mahaprabhu's association?

Srila Gurudeva: All incarnations, including Narayana, are present in the body of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

Brajanatha dasa: He is asking if Their devotees also taste the madhurya mood.

Srila Gurudeva: No, no, no. Never.

[*Endnote from Madhurya Kadambini, Shower Three: Now we shall talk further on the anarthas (unwanted desires) that crop up in the execution of devotional service. Unwanted desires tend to smother the natural growth of the creeper of bhakti. At first glance unwanted desires look like off-shoots from the bhakti-lata (the creeper of devotion), but in reality they are mundane desires for position, adoration, and opulence, which color and taint the practitioner's consciousness. Thriving in this way, these anarthas arrest the growth of the creeper of devotional service.

The four anarthas mentioned in the beginning of this chapter can be mitigated in the five following ways: i) eka-desavarttini (partially); ii) bahu-desavarttini (substantially); iii) prayiki (almost completely); iv) purna (completely); v) atyantiki (absolutely thoroughly).

The many anarthas stemming from aparadhas are partially destroyed in the final stages of bhajana-kriya (rendering devotional service under the guidance of a spiritual master). This is known as eka-desavarttini. When bhajana-kriya gains maturity it turns to nistha, or steadiness, in devotional activities. In this stage of development the mitigation of anarthas is substantial (bahu-desavarttini). Thereafter, on the platform of rati (attraction) the unwanted desires in the heart are almost completely absolved (prayiki). With the first awakening of prema, or divine love, these anarthas are completely removed (purna). Finally, the anarthas are totally uprooted (atyantiki) when the devotee receives the mercy and shelter of the Lord's lotus feet and is directly engaged in His personal service.]

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