Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja

Vrndavana: November, 1994

Syamarani dasi: You were saying during the parikrama that Krsna's associates, like Mother Yasoda and Sridama, are as powerful as Krsna.

Srila Gurudeva: They are more powerful than Krsna. They can support Krsna; they can give Him milk; they turn Him over because He cannot change sides on His own.

Syamarani dasi: When He is a baby.

Srila Gurudeva: When Krsna is a baby, Yasoda can give Him a slap, and He will cry, "O Mother, O Mother!" She can bind Him to a grinding mortar.

Syamarani dasi: Are the jivas who become perfect and go to Vraja similarly powerful?

Srila Gurudeva: Yes.

Syamarani dasi: In what way?

Srila Gurudeva: In every way. But, in order that they can serve Krsna, Yogamaya covers them. Otherwise, they would not be able to serve. Actually, Krsna has no need of service, because He is unlimited. He is purna (complete), atmarama (self-satisfied) and aptakama (all His desires are automatically fulfilled). At the same time, when He sees the affection and love of the gopis, and symptoms of their service, He develops an appetite and mood to be served.

His associates are as powerful as He is, but Yogamaya covers them and makes all circumstances favorable for their services. Narada cannot render personal service, and neither can Sanaka and Sanandana, because they know that Krsna is God and that He is self-sufficient, atmarama, and aptakama. Gargacarya cannot serve, and neither can Sandilya Rsi, because they know the tattva (philosophical truth) about Krsna. Mother Yasoda can serve Narada, and her son also.

Syamarani dasi: Yasoda can serve Narada?

Srila Gurudeva: Yes.

Syamarani dasi: How?

Srila Gurudeva: She considers that the foot-dust of Narada will protect her son Krsna.

Syamarani dasi: You have been singing the Damodarastakam prayers in the last days. Generally, as you have taught us, when we sing a prayer we remember the person who wrote the prayer and ask him to give us his mood. But the person who wrote Damodarastakam is Satyavrata Muni.

Srila Gurudeva: We sing Damodarastakam only because of the phrase, "Namo radhikayai tvadiya priyayai" (I offer my obeisances to Your beloved Radhika); otherwise, we have no need. This song is for the bhaktas of dasya, sakhya, and vatsalya., as well as for Gaudiya Vaisnavas who are just entering bhakti.

Syamarani dasi: Yet, you spend so much time daily singing all the other verses. Is that for the general people...

Srila Gurudeva: "Vrajangana-sunayakam, sadasukha-pradayakam, jagan-manah pralobhanam, namami nanda-nandanam." Vrajangana-sunayakam – We pray to Nanda-nandana only because of His connection with Vrajangana, the gopis.

makhesvari! kriyesvari svadhesvari suresvari
triveda-bharatisvari pramana-sasanesvari
ramesvari! ksamesvari pramoda-kananesvari
vrajesvari vrajadhipe sri radhike namo 'stute'

["You are the mistress of all kinds of sacrifices (especially of the topmost yugala-milana-yajna); of all actions (since You are the root of all potencies – mula-sakti-tattva); of the mantras uttered at yajnas and of the sacrificial offering presented to the demigods; of all the demigods; of the words of the three Vedas; of the enforcement of all scriptural principles; of Sri Rama-devi (the goddess of fortune); of Sri Ksama-devi (the goddess of forgiveness); and especially of the delightful kunjas in Vrndavana. When will You mercifully make me Your dasi and grant me the qualification to render service in Your amorous pastimes with the prince of Vraja? O Srimati Radhika, owner and maintainer of Vraja! I offer pranama unto You time and again."]

Syamarani dasi: In your Guru Maharaja's mangala-arati song...

Srila Gurudeva: You jump from one point to another.

Syamarani dasi: You can continue with the previous point if you like.

Srila Gurudeva: What is your question?

Syamarani dasi: Without having ever heard any explanation from you, it appears to me that in your Guru Maharaja's mangala-arati song, he's going back and forth between bhajana and arcana. What is it actually? Is it all bhajana because it is talking about Lalita performing arati? When your Guru Maharaja writes about the karatalas and mrdangas, does this refer only to the gopis' performance of arati?

Srila Gurudeva: Yes, yes, yes. But all the upakarana are of another type.

Syamarani dasi: What does upakarana mean?

Srila Gurudeva: It refers to the instruments of arcana and arati. Lalita's pradipa (lamp) is not an ordinary pradipa like that in the arcana of a kanistha-adhikari. She is offering her madhu-sneha (the affection of the left-wing gopis) in that pradipa. Do you know the meaning of madhu-sneha? *[see endnote 1]

Syamarani dasi: I haven't connected with it, but I have heard the name.

Srila Gurudeva: Candravali offers a grta-sneha pradipa, and the sakhis of Srimati Radhika offer a madhu-sneha pradipa. Madhu-sneha is situated in their eyes, like a pradipa. They are actually performing arati with their eyes.

Syamarani dasi: What about their karatalas and mrdangas? What are they made of?

Srila Gurudeva: This is a karatala .

Syamarani dasi: And mrdangas?

Srila Gurudeva: They also play on actual mrdangas, karatalas and other instruments, like vina, vasuri, venu, and so many others. The gopis especially play on vinas, and pakowaj, which is like a very sweet-sounding mrdanga. The sound of their mrdanga calls out, "Dhik (played with the left hand) tan! Dhik-tan! Dhik to those (fie on those) who are not doing bhajana of Krsna." *[see endnote 2]

Syamarani dasi: Also, regarding Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura's guru-parampara song, is it true that Madhavendra Puri is in madhurya-bhava, and previous to him, our acaryas were not?

Srila Gurudeva: Madhurya-bhava was present in Srila Jayadeva Gosvami's Gita-govinda, and Srimad-Bhagavatam is full of madhurya-bhava; why not? But there was no one to research all these things and to adopt this line. Up to Dvapara-yuga, everyone wanted to serve Krsna in dasya-bhava, and in Satya-yuga in brahma-bhava. When Caitanya Mahaprabhu came with the mood of Srimati Radhika, He taught all these topics to Srila Rupa Gosvami, who then wrote so many books; and then the world learned these facts.

Syamarani dasi: The acaryas who came before Madhavendra Puri were not in madhurya-bhava, though. Is that correct? They were in other rasas, like dasya-rasa?

Srila Gurudeva: In Treta Yuga, at the time of Lord Ramacandra, the sages at Dandakaranya were in the mood of gopis. Before that, in Satya-yuga, the personified Vedic mantras and Upanisads worshiped Krsna and Radhika with the kama-gayatri, and they were also in the mood of gopis. But these persons were very, very rare. You can see that since I am telling something about raganuga-bhakti and the gopis, all of ISKCON is against me. Are you seeing this?

At the time of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Prakasananda Sarasvati, Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya, and so many other persons, rejected Him. They rejected krsna-kirtana, what to speak of rasa. With the appearance of Raya Ramananda and his discussions with Mahaprabhu, everyone began to know something of Mahaprabhu's ideas. You are all so lucky that you are now hearing something about this sublime topic.

Syamarani dasi: Returning to the guru-parampara song, when we sing the song, what should our mood be towards Jnanasindhu and other spiritual masters like him?

Srila Gurudeva: You can think of it in this way: A tree manifests first as a seed, then as a sprout, then as the root, then two branches appear; and then hundreds of branches full with leaves. From the seed, sprouts, and branches, we cannot have a drop of rasa; in millions of years they will not be able to give any rasa.

Later, when the tree matures, some manjaris manifest, and then comes a very little green thing – the beginning of a fruit. Before the fruit becomes mature, its taste is sour, and when it further grows and ripens, its good taste and aroma manifest. Bees and cuckoos become maddened, and men also become maddened, when they smell and taste that sweet fruit. Moreover, if a cuckoo or parrot touches that fruit with its beak, the fruit becomes even more sweet. This is the nature of a fruit. One can fulfill his hunger by the fruit, not from trees or branches; but if there is no tree, there is no fruit at all.

The guru-parampara is like a tree. If one denies this tree, his fruit will not manifest. We should also honor this tree, giving water to the root of the tree, not to the fruits, so that the tree may give fruit. We should thus honor the spiritual masters of the guru-parampara such as Jnanasindhu, Madhvacarya, and all others.

Syamarani dasi: Is it important for us to know anything about these personalities?

Srila Gurudeva: Of the guru-parampara?

Syamarani dasi: Yes, the ones before Madhavendra Puri.

Srila Gurudeva: Yes, yes, yes; because tattva-jnana is easily attained in this way.

Syamarani dasi: It's important to know about their lives and contributions?

Srila Gurudeva: Brahma told Narada, Narada told Vyasa, and Vyasa told Sukadeva Gosvami. The knowledge is coming in parampara. By this we can know the real explanation of Srimad-Bhagavatam and the Upanisads, and that bhakti is the fruit of all the Upanisads, Vedanta, and so on. The guru-parampara has manifested this in this world, so you should know it. If you don't know all these things, then vraja-rasa-bhakti will not come to you.

Symarani dasi: It is important to know about the personalities themselves, or...

Srila Gurudeva: It is important to know a little. If you don't know the characteristics of a mango tree, then you may think a thorn tree to be a mango tree, and you will try to take a mango from that thorn tree.

By jnana, yoga, and karma, no one can realize all these truths – only by bhakti. "Bhakti-vasaù puruso – the Supreme Person is controlled by devotion" (Mathara-sruti). Bhakti is the last word in vidya (knowledge). Bhakti is the highest kind of vidya; it is tungavidya.

Syamarani dasi: What does 'tunga' mean?

Srila Gurudeva: It means 'topmost' or 'highest.'

Try to properly honor Vaisnavas, some people collect and preserve the kanti-mala (neck-beads), eye-glasses, nails, clothes, and all other remnants of their Gurudeva; whereas devotees like Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, Jiva Gosvami, Rupa Gosvami, and Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami collect their Gurudeva's prema and keep it in their hearts. There is so much difference in this.

Try to collect the moods of all Vaisnavas, keep them in your hearts, and do bhajana. I have collected only one external thing from my Guru Maharaja – his shoes in Mathura. I have collected all his moods and kept them in my heart. I have tried to collect this; nothing more.

It has been told in Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu: anyabhilasita-sunyam jnana-karmady-anavrtam anukulyena krsnanu-silanam bhaktir uttama. What is anyabhilasa? You will have to give up all desires – worldly desires, and desires all the way up to Vaikuntha. You will have to give up all desire for Svarga (Heaven), and so on.

The question arises in what way to do this. If we give up all desires, we cannot live in the world even for a moment. We should try to know all the fundamental truths about how to practice bhakti; otherwise we cannot be successful, and we will think that Krsna's dancing in rasa-lila and our dancing in a nightclub are the same. We will be bound to think like this. We must be anyabhilasa, without any kind of desire other than the desire to serve Krsna. Kama (lust), krodha (anger), lobha (greed), moha (illusion), mada (pride), and matsarya (envy) are material desires. Vaco vegam manasa krodha-vegam (the urges of the words, mind, and anger) jihva-vegam (the urge of the tongue) udaropastha-vegam (the urge of the belly and genitals) are all worldly desires.

Without karma (activity), we cannot live for a moment. We are bound to do some karma, or work, as long as we are in this body. We are bound to do so, but we should not perform any karma that will cover our bhakti. We cannot give up all karmas; we cannot leave sleeping, we cannot check the seeing of our eyes, our mind cannot be controlled; and we have to breathe air. Seeing, hearing, walking, eating, and drinking are also karma. How can we give these up? We cannot. Rather, we can engage in karma in such a way that it will not cover our bhakti. We will have to make all the karmas helpful to bhakti; then it will not be covered.

Similarly, we cannot live without jnana (knowing anything). We will have to make all our jnana 'tattva-jnana;' or 'bhakti-jnana;' or better yet, 'bhakti-tattva-jnana;' or best, 'prema-tattva-jnana' – then it will not cover our bhakti. Otherwise, without understanding these principles, we will not be able to achieve bhakti at any time. Since we cannot live without jnana and karma, how shall we engage in these things? We will have to think about these things and always associate with any qualified Vaisnava. He can change us; we cannot change ourselves.

Everyone is going towards Krsna. How are they going? Some have faith in objects of material nature, like a mountain, river, or any ghost. What are these objects? They are the vibhuti (material opulence) of Krsna, so somehow they are connected with Him. In this world nothing is separate from Krsna, but we have no realization of this. We are taking the right hand and going behind our head to touch the left side of the nose. What does this mean? It means that we are not serving Krsna directly.

Duryodhana told Krsna, "I know what is dharma, religion, but I have no taste for it. I know what is adharma, irreligion, but I cannot give it up. I know that I am a machine, and You are the director of that machine. Without You, a machine cannot work. You reside in everyone's heart as Antaryami, the Supersoul. It is You who give all of us inspiration to do anything, and then we engage in good or bad acts. So actually we are not doing anything; You are doing everything. Thus, if there is any sinful reaction, You should taste it, not me."

Ramacandra dasa: Duryodhana is saying, "You are inspiring my tendency for adharma. It is not my fault." This is his contention.

Srila Gurudeva: Duryodhana wanted to discover a way to cheat Krsna, and that is why he told this. Dharmic, or religious persons, do not tell lies. They serve their father and mother. They do some chanting to Krsna also, but for their personal benefit. This is also somewhat anukula (favorable) to bhakti. It is not pratikula (unfavorable).

Let us consider Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatana, and Sanat Kumara (the four Kumara brothers). They are rsis, or saints. Their activities are favorable to Krsna, but not as favorable as those of Brahma. Brahma is more favorable, but not as favorable as Sankara. Sankara can perform very heartfelt, intimate services to Krsna. He can obey whatever Krsna orders him to do, but Brahma cannot. That is why it was Sankara who Krsna told to preach Mayavada philosophy. No one else was qualified to do this duty, so he is more favorable. Dhruva is also favorable, but not like Prahlada Maharaja. Prahlada Maharaja has no worldly desires. He wants only that all creatures, all souls, go back to Godhead, and he is willing to taste Hell and all suffering for others' welfare. He is favorable to Krsna, but Hanuman is more favorable than Prahlada. Hanuman serves Rama in every way, but he is not as favorable as Laksmana. Laksmana can sit on the same throne with Rama, but Hanuman cannot. Still, Sita is more favorable (anukulyena krsnanusilanam) than Laksmana.

It is essential for us to understand all these things. Draupadi is more favorable than Sita. Sita is favorable to Rama, but Rama is a plenary expansion of Krsna whereas Draupadi is serving Krsna personally, as is Arjuna and the other Pandavas. Still, Uddhava is more favorable than the five Pandavas and Draupadi. Do you know how? He is Krsna's advisor, brother, servant, guru, and His all-in-all. Krsna could not send the Pandavas to Vraja to speak with the gopis, because the Pandavas would not be able to understand them, so He sent Uddhava.

Uddhava is the most favorable within the whole of Dvaraka and Mathura, but he is not qualified to be the dust of the gopis' lotus feet. Every gopi is more favorable than Uddhava. What to speak of the gopis, Yasoda is much more favorable to Krsna – many millions of times more favorable than Uddhava. What to speak of Yasoda, a peacock of Vrndavana, a cuckoo of Vrndavana, and a parrot of Vrndavana are more favorable than Uddhava. Uddhava is not qualified to be even the dust of Vrndavana.

asam aho carana-renu-jusam aha syam
våndavane kim api gulma-latausadhinam
ya dustyajam sva-janam arya-patham ca hitva
bhejur mukunda-padavim srutibhir vimrgyam
Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.47.61)

["The gopis of Vrndavana have given up the association of their husbands, sons and other family members, who are very difficult to give up, and they have forsaken the path of chastity to take shelter of the lotus feet of Mukunda, Krsna, which one should search for by Vedic knowledge. Oh, let me be fortunate enough to be one of the bushes, creepers or herbs in Vrndavana, because the gopis trample them and bless them with the dust of their lotus feet."]

Among all the residents of Vrndavana, Yasoda Maiya and Nanda Baba are the most revered, and more than them, any gopi. There are millions of gopis – sakhis, nitya-sakhis, prana-sakhis, and prestha-sakhis – and all are so much greater and more favorable to Krsna than Yasoda. Yasoda gives Krsna her breast milk and feeds Him, and takes Him in her lap to sleep, serving Him all the time. But sometimes Krsna thinks, "This is an obstacle." This makes it difficult for Me to be with the gopis." If He sees any gopi, He will somehow give an excuse to His mother and try to go there. So, how favorable are the gopis!

Amongst all the gopis, Radhika's eight sakhis are more favorable. Among them, Lalita and Visakha are more favorable, and among them, Lalita is still more favorable. Among all the sakhis, Srimati Radhika is the most favorable (anukula) to Krsna. Anukulyena krsnanusilanam bhaktir-uttama. The bhakti-anusilana of Srimati Radhika (the favorableness of Radhika's bhakti) is the best of all. We will have to decide this way.

Ramacandra dasa: Even this sloka (beginning anyabhilasita-sunyam jnana-karmady anavrtam) directly pertains to Radhika.

Gaura-priya dasi: Everything pertains to Srimati Radhika.

Srila Gurudeva: No one has heard these truths before. You will have to take these ideas.

[*Endnote 1 – (from Srila Gurudeva's lecture in Hawaii, 2002) Jealous of Candravali, Srimati Radhika told Lalita, Visakha and other sakhis, "Candravali does not know even the ABCs of love and affection. Since she has no real mana (transcendental loving anger due to jealousy), no sulky mood, how can she please Krsna? She will never be able to please Him."

The prema of Candravali is called grta-sneha. Grta means 'ghee;' which has the quality of being very soft and smooth, but not sweet. The prema of Radha is called madhu-sneha. Madhu means 'honey,' which is both soft and smooth, and also sweet. Even if Radhika abuses Kåñëa, or even if She is in mana, Her mood is very attractive and wonderful to Him. All become happy to see Her activities, and the love between Her and Krsna becomes more intense. Therefore, in all situations, Her madhu-sneha prema can be called soft and sweet.

Radhika continued, "Candravali is very soft in her dealings with Krsna. Even if she sees that Krsna has committed an offense to her lotus feet and is meeting with other gopis right in front of her, she will generally not become sulky. She may do so occasionally, but not often. Without this sulky anger, no one can serve Krsna or please Him. Candravali does not have a trace of love and affection, so I don't want to even hear her name. Never mention her name in My assembly."

Candravali likewise told her sakhis, "I don't want to hear the name of Radhika. I don't even want to hear the name of the star constellation called anuradha. Why not? Neither the experts on the subject of love nor the great sages and munis appreciate the mood of Radhika, nor do the yogis and rsis meditate on the mood of Radhika, nor do they appreciate Her name. Those rsis who always meditate upon Krsna's lotus feet never attract Radha to their hearts. Those who want to peacefully meditate on the lotus feet of Krsna become disturbed if they think about the moods of Srimati Radhika. In fact, Her name alone makes them tremble and become disturbed. That very same Krsna fell at the feet of Radhika, and still She rejected Him by saying, 'I don't want You here. O black Krsna, get out of My kunja.' So don't utter Her name, and don't even utter the word anuradha."

Although Radhika and Candravali both speak in this way, Radhika's love and affection is superior. The highest truths of Radhika's madhu-sneha prema have been described, in minute detail, in Srila Rupa Gosvami's Ujjvala-nilamaëi. They have not been disclosed in Srimad-Bhagavatam, nor in the books of Sri Jayadeva Gosvami, nor by previous acaryas. Only Srila Rupa Gosvami has revealed these intimate moods, in his Vidagdha-madhava, Lalita-madhava, and here in Ujjvala-nilamani.]

[*Endnote 2 – (from Srila Gurudeva's book, Sri Damodarastakam) a deep reverberating sound, dhik, like the large drum-head of a mrdanga and also a tapping sound, tan, like the small drum-head. Thus, the full sound was dhik-tan, dhik-tan. The meaning implied is that any soul who does not worship and remember Sri Radha-Krsna leads a life that is so dull (tan) that he is no better than an animal. Such a soul is condemned (dhik).]