Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja

Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
20 June 1996

Listen to the lecture here.

First of all, I bow down to the lotus feet of my spiritual master, nitya-lila-pravishta om vishnupada ashtottara-sata Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja, and then at the lotus feet of my siksha-guru, Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja, and to all the devotees.

When I heard from Raghunatha Prabhu, he reminded me of Svami Maharaja's pastimes from his early days until the time of his divine departure. Raghunatha Prabhu especially explained some heart-touching incidents which touched my heart. He spoke from the core of his heart, and he should realize what he has just spoken. Svamiji was so humorous, God-minded and liberal. He loved anyone who approached him with all his heart, even a little boy.

Once, the learned and famous president of India, Radha-Krishna Menno, said in his commentary of the Gita, or in one of his lectures, "There is a difference between Krishna and His soul." I don't remember the actual words, but he was saying that Krishna's soul and body were different. Upon hearing this fallacious claim, Svami Maharaja immediately wrote an article addressed to the President and sent many copies of his letter to the members of the parliament. The article was published in our Gaudiya Patrika and Bhagavata Patrika. The publishing house Sri Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti was established by my Gurudeva. My Gurudeva also established Gaudiya Vedanta dispensary and Gaudiya Vedanta library. He prefixed all the names of his sannyasis with the word 'Bhaktivedanta.' He always used the word 'vedanta' as a suffix to all the activities of his preaching mission. The article Svamiji penned was very strong. He supported his letter with references from the Vedas and Upanishads. He challenged the President telling him that if he had any argument he could write back. The President's secretary received the letter, but he never replied. He could not reply. Our message is very strong.

I know of many such instances when Svamiji was staying in our Sri Kesavaji Gaudiya Matha. When our Gurudeva established Gaudiya Vedanta Samiti, Svamiji, known then as Abhaya-caranaravinda Prabhu, was also invited and he spoke about Vedanta philosophy and other topics.

It was near the end of 1946 when I had just joined my Guru Maharaja's mission, and I could see that Svamiji was a very good writer. He wrote in Hindi, Bengali, and especially in English. He wrote several articles for our Gaudiya Patrika. My Guru Maharaja appreciated his articles so much. Svamiji wrote many articles opposing the preaching mission of certain societies, which Guru Maharaja appreciated. However, some godbrothers of Svamiji and Guru Maharaja did not want the articles to be published because the many loopholes, transgressions, and erroneous conceptions of certain preaching missions would be exposed. But our Guru Maharaja and Svamiji wanted these transgressions to be exposed because once they are exposed, they can be rectified and corrected. We should be of the same attitude. If transgressions have taken place in preaching society, we should at once try to remove it, just how Svamiji wanted. But now, at the present time, these hindrances to our true well-being are overlooked.

If we are simply in physical proximity to Gurudeva, we should not consider that we are actually near him. We cannot be near Gurudeva only by physical proximity. We will have to realize what our Gurudeva wants. Gurudeva said, "Everyone should serve my Gurudeva and my ishta-deva Sri Radha-Krishna and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu."

Every being in this whole world is Their servant. My Gurudeva would always quote this sloka:

labdhva sudurlabham idam bahu-sambhavante
manushyam artha-dam anityam apiha dhirah
turnam yateta na pated anu-mrityu yavat
nihsreyasaya vishayah khalu sarvatah syat
Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.9.29

[This human birth is extremely rare and is only obtained after many births. But although this birth is temporary, it can bestow spiritual perfection. Therefore an intelligent person does not delay even for a moment to endeavour for the ultimate auspiciousness before death.]

He used to tell us this important sloka quite often. I have heard this sloka from my Gurudeva many times. It is an important sloka of Srimad-Bhagavatam.

Labdhva sudurlabham idam bahu-sambhavante: We have obtained this human body after such a long time. We have not done anything meritorious to get this body, but Krishna is so merciful—He has given us this human body out of His causeless mercy. Only in this human body can we have artha-dam—understanding of spiritual knowledge. We will realize how to serve Krishna, how to be happy, only in this human body. We cannot have a guru in any other body. All beings are karma yoni—they can only taste the fruit of their karma created in their human form of life. In one minute we can create lakhs and lakhs of karma. We don't know that in one minute, when air goes through our nose, lakhs and lakhs of jivas are smashed. When we walk on the ground, so many living entities are killed. We are engrossed by thoughts of committing violence and other unfavourable activities to another, and sometimes we think of doing good activities to others. All of these activities generate fruits of karma, which you will taste in due course of time.

In the human body, we will taste the fruits of our previous karma, and, of course, we can continue accumulating karma—or we can choose to engage in bhakti. By engaging in bhakti, new karma will not be created. A devotee will only have to taste the fruits of his previous karma. If a serpent happens to bite us, we should not try to take revenge, as we must have done something that made it bite us. But if we beat and kill the snake, then new karma is made.

While we suffer the fruits of our previous lives' karma, we also have the freedom to utilize our independence and engage in bhakti. We have the freedom to do bhakti—to serve our holy master. This is not possible in any other body. By good fortune, we have gotten this human body. In this body we can associate and engage in service to our holy master; we can proceed on the path of bhakti. We cannot do this if we were in the body of a goddess or even Brahma's body. We don't know what will happen the next moment—if we will die or if we will live.

Svamiji and our Gurudeva would always quote this sloka from Srimad-Bhagavatam.

labdhva sudurlabham idam bahu-sambhavante
manushyam artha-dam anityam apiha dhirah
turnam yateta na pated anu-mrityu yavat
nihsreyasaya vishayah khalu sarvatah syat

Most human beings are engaged in the same activities as animals: sleeping, begetting children, being fearful, and eating. From this perspective, there is no difference in the activities between animals and human beings. But I think there are more problems in the human body than in other forms of life. Animals need not cook, they have nothing to do, yet they always have very tasteful and fresh food to eat. There is no need to explain about the 'freshness' of this food.

In India it is very difficult to divorce. But nowadays, a contagious wind from the West is blowing on India, and the Indians are falling prey to it. Here [in UK], a lady or a gentleman can divorce 10 or 20 times. Even at the age of 100, if he wants, a man can marry. But hogs and dogs can breed with 1,000's of mates. We can yield one child at a time, but they can make hundreds and hundreds of children at a time—like a tortoise. A snake can make hundreds of children at a time. A hog begets not less than 16 children at a time. Dogs also make not less than eight. So, they are much more advanced than us in this regard—so much more advanced.


We have to support our children and we have to provide everything for their marriage. In India, if a man has daughters, then he has to sell everything for their marriage. But the animals don't have to do like this.

We always have fear. I see that even after coming in spiritual life, after accepting a bona fide guru, we fear. Why do we fear? If we have surrendered to Gurudeva or Krishna, why should we fear?

In Srimad-Bhagavatam it is written:

bhayam dvitiyabhinivesatah syad
isad apetasya viparyayo 'smritih
tan-mayayato budha abhajet tam
bhaktyaikayesam guru-devatatma
Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.2.37

[Fear arises when a living entity misidentifies himself as the material body because of absorption in maya—the external, deluding potency of the Lord. When the living entity thus turns away from the Supreme Lord, he also forgets his own constitutional position as a servant of the Lord. Therefore, an intelligent person should engage unflinchingly in the unalloyed devotional service of the Lord, under the guidance of a sad-guru, whom he should accept as his worshipable deity and as his very life and soul.]

When someone is bereft of full-fledged faith in Krishna or his spiritual master, he will fear—he has to. Those who have fear are not fully surrendered to the lotus feet of their spiritual master or to Krishna. Otherwise, they should have no fear. By accepting shelter at the lotus feet of Gurudeva, there will be no need for a devotee to fear. Why will he fear? But we see now everyone is plagued by fear. If you see a new devotee you will fear and think, "Why has he come? He will make a hole and trespass." We fear so much.

Once in India, in Vrindavana, a devotee told me, "I have initiated a devotee, but now a certain guru enters my field of preaching. I have made a very good preaching field, but this guru trespasses and enters my area. What should I do?"

I very politely replied, "You are helping people of your area become Krishna conscious. If this guru, who you accuse of trespassing, is helping you in your preaching, then why are you fearful of him? There is nothing to fear at all..." (to be continued)

20 June 1996, UK (pt.2)

We should be very liberal. We should be indebted to the devotee who has helped us without any prior motivation or invitation. Prabhupada called me and said, "Oh come on! Come on and help me." He did not fear of another person entering his preaching field.


Has he told you, "None should enter my territory or boundary?" Some people think that the whole world is their territory and no one should enter it. Do you know dogs?


If a new dog comes, he starts barking, "Don't come near me." Svamiji has written of how the visa system is similar to the barking of the dogs. All the countries think, "This is our own country." All their forefathers have died, but they still think that the place of their birth is their rightful possession. They are of the mentality, "No one should enter our territory." For this end they have manufactured visas and various rules and regulations that make it cumbersome for a person to enter another country. If you are of a similar mentality how can you be a devotee? If a devotee is helping us and is of the conviction, "Everyone should be pure devotee," then how can he be opposed? If any worldly gain or loss is considered upon a devotee's arrival in your 'field' then fear will arise—surely it will come. If there is fear you should know that you have not become a true devotee—something is lacking in you.

The Srimad-Bhagavatam states:

labdhva sudurlabham idam bahu-sambhavante
manushyam artha-dam anityam apiha dhirah
turnam yateta na pated anu-mrityu yavat
nihsreyasaya vishayah khalu sarvatah syat

At once! Don't procrastinate. Don't think of engaging in bhakti later—like tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. We should not think that, "It's alright to not perform bhakti now since our life is so long." Ravana wanted to build a staircase to heaven; he proposed to build it on the same day he was going to fight with Ramacandra. The war between Ramacandra and Ravana was fought for many days, and only one day remained for the war to be finished. So Ravana wanted to build a stair-case to heaven, where anyone, regardless of any prior qualification or merit could climb the staircase and enter heaven. But the next day, on the last day of war, he had no time at all. The monkeys attacked and Rama came before Ravana and a big fight ensued and Ravana was killed. In India it is said: kala kare so aja kara, aja kare so ab. This means: 'What you want to do tomorrow you should do now."' There is no guarantee regarding your life span. Turnam, at once, you should give up your bad habits like smoking. You should not think of waiting for tomorrow. You should give it up this very moment. And you should try to chant harinama starting today, not tomorrow or any other day. You should not think, "Oh, I will gradually give these things up." You should start to engage in bhakti at once. Who knows what will happen tomorrow? Turnam yateta na pated anu-mrityu yavat. Before we die we should try to go to a bona fide guru.

We are not qualified to recognize a bona fide guru. We should pray to Krishna to bestow His mercy on us so that we can find a bona fide guru. Krishna knows everything. We should start searching for a bona fide guru from this very moment and be surrendered to him because we have found him by Krishna's mercy. We should be surrendered to Gurudeva first, then to Krishna. Otherwise, by only serving Krishna, our services will be fruitless.

There was a king called Khatvanga Maharaja. He was very strong. When a war was being fought between the demigods and the demons, he was called to heaven to take part in the war. He was the leading general of the demigod's army. At last, the demons were defeated. The demigods told Khatvanga Maharaja, "You can ask us for any benediction."

Khatvanga Maharaja replied, "I want to cross the ocean of birth and death. I want salvation. I want to only serve Krishna."

The demigods said, "We cannot give this benediction. None can give this benediction. Only Mukunda can bestow this mercy." 'Mukunda' means: one who can give mukti. Only Krishna can give this.

Then he said, "Let me go to Vrindavana of the earthly realm."

The demigods fulfilled his request at once and Khatvanga Maharaja came to earth. Once in Vrindavana he began to chant, "Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare." At once, four messengers of Vishnu came and took him to Vaikuntha. This pastime is written in the Srimad-Bhagavatam.

So, we should know what guru has given us; we should try to keep it carefully in our heart. He has given us the seed to serve Krishna. This seed is called bhakti-lata— the seed of the creeper of devotion. He also gives us the water to nourish the seed. What is that water? It is sravanam-kirtanam (hearing and chanting). Unfortunately for us, and not for him, he was called by his Supreme Master for the direct association of his Prabhu; he is engaged in serving in more intimate, essential, and confidential ways. Some seeds he has sown in the hearts of devotees have not sprouted, some seeds have sprouted, but they need more water. Some water has been given, but it wasn't enough. The seeds need more water. So, Svami Maharaja requested me to water the seedlings and sprouts.

He told me, "Take this water; I am going to be engaged in another service. You should go and give this water." What is that water I was told to give? The water is what I have heard from Svamiji, from my spiritual masters, and from what I have gained from Srimad-Bhagavatam and Sri Caitanya-caritamrita—this is the water. I have come for this purpose; to obey his orders—his divine orders. The devotional plants have grown, but they need more water. They have been neglected. Svamiji specifically told me to water these plants. Otherwise, they may wither. And those whose seed of devotion hasn't yet sprouted, they should also take this water. I want to perform this service that Svamiji has entrusted to me. I pray that Svamiji will be glad with my service. Also Krishna and His associates are very merciful; I pray that they bestow their mercy on me so that I will be able to perform the service that Svamiji has entrusted me with.

My mission is to help everyone, especially those devotees who have been neglected so much and who are on the verge of giving everything up. Some have been given harinama and diksha, but they have given up and gone to other sampradayas like the Nimbarka Sampradaya in India. I know them all. Some have gone to astrologers in their search for fulfilment. Some have gone to the Ramanuja Sampradaya. And some have gone to Radha-kunda and have become sahajiya Babajis. Svamiji never wanted this to happen. I requested him to bring them back again with more love and affection. They cannot be controlled otherwise. We cannot control even an ant, what to speak of controlling devotees?

Svamiji has never controlled or ordered anyone, as far as I know. They were controlled by his love and affection. We should control devotees with love and affection so they do not give up their holy master's lotus feet. Those who have left should be brought again to their holy master's feet and given energy to serve their holy master's lotus feet with renewed vigor and confidence. By doing so they will break the chain of birth and death and will surely have the service of Radha and Krishna conjugal, or Gaura-Nityananda Prabhu, or the service of Jagannatha. We will have to serve Jagannatha first because He is in this jagat, and then gradually we will advance and direct our services to Radha and Krishna. Or if it is convenient, at once you can have a relation with the Divine Couple—Sri Sri Radha and Krishna and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, both are the same. By serving Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in Navadvipa with dasya-bhava, we will see that—when we jump in the Ganges from the Jagannatha-ghata (bathing place) or from Nagariya-ghata in Navadvipa where Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu used to take bath—when we dive into the waters of the Ganges with the words 'Sacinandana Gaurahari' dancing on our tongues we will see that in less than a moment we will have arrived at Kesi-ghata in Vrindavana with the words 'Radhe Krishna, Radhe Krishna' dancing on our tongues.

Do you understand? I cannot fully express myself, but the gist of what I am saying is that anyone who dives in the waters of the Ganges in Navadvipa from the ghata (bathing place) where Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu used to take bath or from Nidaya-ghata, he will find himself in Vrindavana. Do you know Nidaya-ghata? It is the ghata where Mahaprabhu jumped into the waters of the Ganges and swam across the river. Once He crossed the river He accepted sannyasa at Kantaka-nagari. Mahaprabhu renounced His wife, mother, and everyone. He also shaved His beautiful curly hair. Thus, this ghata from where Mahaprabhu mercilessly left everyone to take sannyasa, is called 'Nidaya-ghata' (ni-no daya-mercy = merciless). Mahaprabhu left Vishnupriya, a young lady who had no children. He also left His aged mother, who had nothing to support her. Renouncing them, Mahaprabhu became nirdaya and jumped into the waters of the Ganges. It was the winter season at that time and the waves of the Ganges were crashing against each other. Mahaprabhu did not hesitate. He dove into the waters of the Ganges while chanting, "Haribol! Haribol!" He walked to Kantaka-nagari and accepted sannyasa from Sri Kesava Bharati.

When we will dive into the waters of the Ganges from the ghatas of Navadvipa, we will emerge from the waters of the Yamuna in Vrindavana. We will see that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is in the form of Sri Sri Radha-Krishna. We will see the Divine Couple sitting at Seva Kunja or at Vamsi-vata. We will see how Krishna is playing on His flute and is calling us from the corner of His eyes with the most bewitching smile adorning His face.

We cannot repay our Gurudeva. Don't think that we can repay him by any of our actions. We cannot repay him by distributing books or even by serving him personally. There are no actions by which we can we repay Gurudeva. Krishna told the gopis:

na paraye 'ham niravadya-samyujam
sva-sadhu-krityam vibudhayushapi vah
ya mabhajan durjara-geha-srinkhalah
samvriscya tad vah pratiyatu sadhuna
Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.32.22

[I am not able to repay My debt for your spotless service, even within a lifetime of Brahma. Your connection with Me is beyond reproach. You have worshiped Me, cutting off all domestic ties, which are difficult to break. Therefore, please let your own glorious deeds be your compensation.]

Krishna told the gopis, "I cannot repay you for your spotless service." In the same, way we cannot repay our Gurudeva, our holy master, because he has sown the seeds of krishna-prema in our hearts. But we have forgotten this most magnanimous act of Gurudeva's and we have forgotten the seed of krishna-prema that he has sown. Regardless of our consideration, the seed of krishna-prema has been sown by him in our hearts. Instead of trying to repay Gurudeva by our actions, we should always serve him by following his orders. We should offer our life and soul in carrying out Gurudeva's order.

I will stop my lecture here. I think my English is not as good as Raghunatha Prabhu's. [Laughter]

In Hindi I can explain better. I will have to understand what Raghunatha Prabhu has fully said. I will ask him to explain to me again. Raghunatha Prabhu perhaps used a lot of colloquial and ornamental English in his speech?

Devotees: Very much.

Sripada Madhava Maharaja: He also spoke very fast.

Srila Gurudeva: But I have to take so much time to understand his colloquial and ornamental English.


Please excuse me if I have spoken anything wrong. I want to serve Svamiji's mission more and more. This is the same mission of my Gurudeva, our disciplic succession and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. By this service, we can serve Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and in no time we will see that our hearts have been changed and become immaculately pure. We will then be qualified to serve Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

Gaura Premanande! Haribol!