(Auckland, New Zealand, January 14, 2001 pm)
[The following is a summary translation of Srila Narayana Maharaja's Hindi class given at the Bharatiya Mandira in New Zealand.]
Mukti, liberation, means, "muktir hitvanyatha rupam." One realizes the rupa, or form of Krishna, and simultaneously his own form and the relationship between the two. This is the definition of mukti. Mukti must be in the affirmative. If you are in jail, and then somebody lets you out of jail, it does not mean something affirmative is taking place. It means you are freed from suffering-but there is no positive pleasure. If you go home to your relative's house and enjoy with them, by eating, talking, and laughing, then it is affirmative pleasure. That is real mukti. Real mukti is positive.
Sarva-dharman parityajyam mam ekam saranam vraja. This is also not positive. Krishna is saying, "Give up all varieties of bogus religion, material religion, and just surrender to Me. In return I will relieve you from all sinful reactions." Here again relief is offered, but nothing affirmative. This verse is therefore in relation to saranagati, the six limbs of surrender to Krishna, but it is only the door to bhakti. It is not bhakti.
The real definition of bhakti is not given in this verse. It is given in the verse, "anyabhilasita-sunyam jnana-karmady-anavrtam. With one's body, mind, discrimination, sentiments, and every aspect of himself-one tries to give Bhagavan pleasure. He has no material desires, and no desire for Svarga or mukti. He has no desire to be relieved from any suffering, and his whole being is dedicated to Krishna's pleasure."
The perfect example of those who exemplify this verse is the gopis. They even decorated themselves, only for Krishna to see them and be happy. Whatever Krishna wants they give. They are the best examples of bhakti, and another example is Mother Yasoda. She is making Krishna angry. When the pot of milk is boiling over, despite the fact that Krishna is clinging on to her with all His might, with both hands on her breast, His mouth on her breasts, and His legs around her waist like a monkey, still she is able to put Him down with one hand and order Him, "Be quiet. Sit down quietly." Although Krishna is crying, because her only desire is Krishna's welfare, her action is pure bhakti. She is thinking that the milk should not boil over because it makes so many nice sweets and other preparations for Krishna's growing up nicely. On the contrary, the activity of Carana and Mustika, the two wrestlers in the arena of Kamsa, although giving Krishna great pleasure in the mood of vira, heroism, is not bhakti. This is because their intention was to kill Him. Bhakti is understood by one's intention, and one who has that intention is able to control Krishna.
Mother Yasoda ran after Krishna to catch Him and punish Him for stealing butter, and she was able to catch Him. To catch Krishna is not an ordinary occurrence. Even Brahma and Shiva, even in their most intense samadhi, cannot even capture Krishna within their minds, what to speak of demons like Kalayavana. Kalayavana was running as fast as he could, trying to reach out and grab Krishna. Although Krishna was walking at a natural pace, Kalayavana could not catch Him. No one with any material inclination can touch Krishna, what to speak of capture Him. But Mother Yasoda was easily able to catch Him, and she was telling Him in a punitive but loving voice, "No one will save You now. I'm going to punish You." She has so much of this prema, this desire to please Krishna, that her prema is greater that His. And because it is greater, it attracts Him. Mother Yasoda's prema attracts Krishna, and therefore Krishna was pulled backwards, like a magnet. Although she was behind Him, she was able to catch Him because of that attraction. She was calling Him so many bad names: "O Bandara-buddhi. You have a brain like a monkey. O thief." These words attracted Him because she was using them with the aim that Krishna should grow up with very good behavior and character.
Krishna is so powerful that His part of a part of a part, Lord Narayana, manifests a part of Himself as Karanadakshayi Visnu, who breathes in and out all the universes. Still, because of Mother Yasoda's prema, she was able to tie Him up and make Him weep. Weeping, Krishna tells Yasoda, "O Maiya, I didn't steal any butter." "Well, then how did the butter-pot get broken?" "When you were quickly going back and forth, you didn't realize what you were doing, so your anklebells banged into the yogurt pot and broke it." "Don't say those things, I know You're a big thief." "No, there's no thief in my father's dynasty. Maybe there are thieves in your dynasty, but there aren't any in my father's dynasty."
[As Srila Narayana Maharaja was telling these stories he was laughing with great joy and his whole body was shaking as he laughed]
Narayana can't do this. He can't enjoy those blissful, childish, playful conversations. And even Dvarkadhish cannot do this. Before those pastimes, Krishna sent Putana to Goloka. This showed His great mercy. Not only is He sweet with childish pranks, enjoying the affection of His mother, but He is the only one who can be so merciful as to send a demon like Putana to Goloka. Narayana cannot be so dayalu, merciful. Ganesh and Sankara cannot be so merciful.
[Srila Maharaja is speaking in a temple where many Deities are worshipped. Day by day he is breaking his audience's misconceptions that all the Deities are equal.]
You may worship Sankara as God, because he is worshipped by Ramacandra Himself, but that is only because that is Rama's nara-lila. Actually Sankara wants to serve Rama. In order to do that he becomes Hanuman. Hanuman, although a great servant of Rama, is lakhs and lakhs inferior to Mother Yasoda. If he would see Mother Yasoda pulling on Krishna's ears and chastising Him, he would become angry and consider that an offense. Sivaji is far inferior to Mother Yasoda. When Krishna was a small baby, Sivaji came to Vrindavana, intensely desiring Krishna's darsana. Mother Yasoda kept refusing, and finally she agreed only when she knew that Krishna would be protected by her wrapping Him thoroughly in a black cloth and putting thick black kajal on Him. Then, she only opened that cloth for one second so that Sivaji could get her son's darsana. She thought, "That person is so ferocious. How can I let my baby see him?" Therefore, because he was so eager to see Krishna, he had to become like Mother Yasoda. He had to become a gopi. He became Gopisvara, so that he could enter Krishna's intimate pastime arena.
Lord Rama cannot show the favor of such intimacy with so many devotees. He had one wife, Sita, and when the princesses from Janakapura begged him to marry them, He said "No, in this incarnation I can have only one wife. When I appear as Krishna, I will marry all of you." Besides this, Sita, in her golden form, was sitting on the left side of Rama, and Rama and Vasista were performing prana-pratistha, meaning giving life to the murti and making that Deity actually present. Every year Rama performed this sacrifice and every year there was a new golden Sita. Later, when He was leaving to go back to Ayodhya, to His abode in the spiritual world, all those Sitas' wanted to be with Him. However, He said, "No. In this life I can only have one. When I come as Krishna I'll dance with you all and enjoy with you all." On the contrary, in rasa-lila all the gopis are expansions of Radharani, as manifestations of Her different moods. Therefore, Krishna is greater than Rama.
Mother Yasoda finally bound Krishna. Because of His being controlled by her love, she bound His belly with a simple little hair-band. Actually she wasn't really binding Krishna with her hair-rope; she was binding Him with her prema. In the same way, Krishna was not actually stealing the butter and yogurt of the gopis. The makhan, butter, actually represents the prema in the hearts of the gopis. Krishna was stealing their hearts. He is god, the supreme proprietor. He can say, "Everything is Mine. I am the owner and controller of everything." But there is not so much joy in that, in comparison to His taking everything that is already His in and indirect way-by stealing.
Actually He is stealing hearts by His all-enchanting nature. A heart can only belong to someone if he has stolen it. These hearts are taking the forms of different paraphernalia, so that Krishna can 'steal them', and thus have loving exchanges with His devotees.
Krishna is aptakama. He is fully satisfied with everything He already owns. So why is He stealing? Just to steal hearts. He eternally owns those hearts, so how is He owning them? By enchantment. He is atmarama; He only takes pleasure in Himself, He does not need to go outside of Himself. So why is He taking enjoyment from exchanges with others? Because they are Himself, manifestations of Himself. Srimati Radhika is His entire self and everyone else is coming from Her.
[Tattva is within lila, and therefore, two mornings earlier, Srila Narayana Maharaja said, "I will visit the temple, and it will be just like a kindergarten class. I will speak so much sweet lila that they will understand tattva from that."]
So actually, Mother Yasoda bound Krishna with her prema. Of all prema, the gopis prema is the greatest. Being bound by the greatest prema means that Krishna cannot understand how to become unbound. He has to continue being bound by indebtedness. If Krishna will ask the gopis, "How can I repay you?" they will reply, "Give us your service. We want to serve you." Then He becomes still more indebted. He remains indebted and says, "Na paraye 'ham. O gopis, your love for Me is so great. It is nirmala, completely pure. You have given up what nobody else can give up: the ties of society, friendship and love. Even if I have a lifetime of Brahma, I'll not be able to repay this debt. Your own activities will have to be your payment". If, therefore, one comes under the anugatya, the guidance of the gopis, one can then bind Krishna like them.