Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja

Jagannatha Puri, India: August 7, 2004
Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja

Come with me to the bank of the Godavari River, where Sri Raya Ramananda and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu are about to have their confidential discussion.

Yesterday I explained that on his way to Godavari, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu instructed everyone He met to chant the names of Lord Krsna and to follow the teachings of Bhagavad-gita. Mahaprabhu gradually came to the temple of Jiyada-nrsimha and offered prayers:

sri nrsimha, jaya nrsimha, jaya jaya nrsimha
prahladesa jaya padma-mukha-padma-bhrnga

[“All glories to Nrsimhadeva! All glories to Nrsimhadeva, who is the Lord of Prahlada Maharaja and, like a honeybee, is always engaged in beholding the lotuslike face of the goddess of fortune.” (Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya-lila 8.5)]

ugro ’py anugra evayam
sva-bhaktanam nr-kesari
kesariva sva-potanam
anyesam ugra-vikramah

[“Although very ferocious, the lioness is very kind to her cubs. Similarly, although very ferocious to nondevotees like Hiranyakasipu, Lord Nrsimhadeva is very, very soft and kind to devotees like Prahlada Maharaja. (Caitanya-caritamrta 8.6)”]

He prayed, “Although you are very ferocious, you are very kind. You are ferocious towards those who give problems to your devotees, but you are very kind to your devotees. In that way, you are like a lioness.” A lioness is very affectionate to her cubs, and if anyone tries to harm them, she becomes like death personified. In the same way, Lord Nrsimhadeva cannot tolerate any disturbance to His devotees. When Hiranyakasipu was perpetrating atrocities against other people, Lord Nrsimhadeva did not appear. However, when he tried to torture Prahlada Maharaja, the Lord appeared and killed him – and Prahlada Maharaja prayed for his father’s deliverance.

Lord Nrsimhadeva protects anyone who will take shelter of Him. Sudarsana-cakra protects the devotees, and this cakra is Sri Nrsimhadeva himself. Therefore, worship of the cakra is performed by offering the prayers of Lord Nrsinghadeva. This is why weworship Lord Nrsimhadeva – because He gives protection to the devotees.

In Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Srila Krsna dasa Kaviraja describes that the pujari of Jiyada-nrsimha temple gave the maha-prasada garland of Lord Nrsimhadeva to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and then Mahaprabhu continued on His way. While traveling, Sriman Mahaprabhu did not accept alms from just anyone, because many people ate meat, fish, eggs, onions and garlic, and therefore they were not pure. He would only eat at the homes of those whose behavior was appropriate for pure Vaisnavas.

Nowadays, many persons who are born in brahmana families do not follow the rules and regulations meant for brahmanas and pure Vaisnavas. By accepting foodstuff from such persons, many obstacles will appear in our attempt to perform bhajana, and we will not be able to make advancement. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu would accept prasadam only from qualified persons – those who had properly prepared and offered the foodstuffs to their Deities. By His personal behavior and example, He taught many Vaisnavaprinciples to those under His guidance.

Before leaving any place, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu would tell the people there:

yare dekha, tare kaha ‘krsna’-upadesa
amara ajnaya guru hana tara’ ei desa

[“Instruct everyone to follow the orders of Lord Sri Krsna as they are given in the Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam. In this way become a spiritual master and try to liberate everyone in this land.” (Caitanya-caritamrta Madya-lila 7.128)]

Mahaprabhu instructed, “Tell whomever you meet the instructions of Krsna. On my order, become guru and deliver everyone you meet.” If anyone said, “I am not qualified”, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “No; ‘amara ajnaya’. On My order, if you follow My instructions, I will give you power and inspiration. You will not fall down into the waves of sense gratification.”

Continuing on His journey, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu came to the banks of the Godavari – absorbed in transcendental emotion. As stated in Sri Caitanya-caritamrta (Madya-lila 17.55-56):

vana dekhi’ bhrama haya ei – ‘vrndavana’
saila dekhi’ mane haya – ei ‘govardhana’
yahan nadi dekhe tahan manaye –‘kalindi’
maha-premavese nace prabhu pade kandi’

[“When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu passed through the Jharikhanda forest, Hetook it for granted that it was Vrndavana. When He passed over the hills, Hetook it for granted that they were Govardhana. Similarly, whenever Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu saw a river, He immediately accepted it as the river Yamuna. Thus while in the forest He was filled with great ecstatic love, and He danced and fell down crying.”]

Traveling here and there, whenever Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu saw a forest He would think, “This is Vrndavana.” When He would see a hill, He would actually experience, “This is Giriraja Govardhana.” If He saw a river like Godavari, he thought, “This is Yamuna.” In this way He was absorbed in maha-prema. This was also true when He was in Jagannatha Puri. There, when He saw Cataka Parvat, He thought it to be Giriraja Govardhana. Of course it was not Giriraja Govardhana, but He would see it in that way – by His mood. Everywhere He would look, at any hill, river or forest, they would remind Him of the pastime places of Lord Krsna like Vamsi-vata and Yamuna.

--> Also, thinking Himself to be Radha and the singer to be another gopi, He once went forward to embrace a devi-dasi who was singing “Mangalam-gitam”, and was stopped by His servant Govinda:

srita kamalakuca mandala! dhrta kundala! e
kalita-lalita-vanamala! Jaya jaya deva! hare

[“O You who take shelter at the breasts of sarva-laksmi-mayi Srimati Radhika! O You who wear fish-shaped earrings and a charming garland of forest flowers! Deva! Hare! All glories to You! (Sri Mangala-Gitam, verse 1)]

This behavior of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu cannot be imitated. When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu would do parikrama, He would have a direct vision of the pastimes of Srimati Radhika and Sri Krsna. So we cannot imitate Him. This stage will come naturally if we follow the process of bhakti. Do not try to jump over the stages in the progressive development of bhakti – sraddha, bhajana kriya, anartha nivritti, nista, ruci, asakti and bhava. In this way some realization will begin to come.

When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu went to Vraja Mandala for parikrama and He saw Giriraja Govardhana, He saw the pastimes of Sri SriRadha-Krsna.

pramada-madana-lilah kandare kandare te
racayati nava-yunor dvandvam asminn amandam
iti kila kalanartham lagnakas tad-dvayor me
nija nikata-nivasam dehi govardhana! tvam

[“O Govardhana, please grant me a dwelling near your side so that I can easily witness and serve the youthful lovers Sri Sri Radha-Krsna as They perform newer and newer secret, amorous lilas within your many caves where They become completely maddened from drinking prema. You are present and making everything possible.” (Sri Govardhana-Vasa-Prarthana-Dasakam, verse 2)]

He saw that Krsna was playing with His friends in all Govardhana’s caves and kunjas. He especially saw how Krsna would meet with Srimati Radhika. He saw all the pastimes described in the Srimad Bhagavatam, and many confidential pastimes that have not been disclosed by Srila Sukadeva Gosvami. All of our Gosvamis, including Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, Srila Rupa Gosvami, Srila Sanatana Gosvami and others – especially Srila Kavi Karnapura, in his book Ananda Vrndavana Campu and Srila Jiva Gosvami in his Sri Gopal Campu – have revealed many confidential pastimes that Srila Sukadeva Gosvami only hinted at.

Don’t waste your time trying to learn Sanskrit, because by associating with the bona fide guru and Vaisnavas, hearing and chanting under their guidance, all knowledge of Sanskrit and all the confidential meanings of the verses of Srimad Bhagavatam – which can never be understood by any amount of scholarship – will awaken automatically and naturally.

Those who follow the path of scholarship will think, “I have not completed my study. So I will have to study more.” And then later they will think, “I have still not completed my study – I will have to study more.” In this way, until they are old and their teeth are falling out, until their life is fully wasted without performing bhajana, they will go on studying. We should not be derailed by the allurement of maya (the illusory material energy), chasing after scholarship.

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu finally arrived at the ghat (bathing place), at the Godavari River, where many devotees were taking bath. He took His bath, sat down on the bank of the river, and began to chant.

Sometimes He was absorbed in the song “Sri Harinama-sankirtana”:

hari haraye namah krsna yadavaya namah
yadavaya madhavaya kesavaya namah

[“Krsna is Himself Hari and He is also Yadava. He is in the dynasty of both Nanda Baba and of Vasudeva; all are Yadavas, the dynasty of Yadu. So my dandavat-pranama to the lotus feet of svayam Hari who is Yadava-Krsna. Namah means giving up all kinds of worldly relations and offering our everything to the lotus feet of Krsna.” (Nama-Sankirtana, verse 1)]

gopala govinda rama sri madhusudana
giridhari gopinath madana-mohana

Sometimes He chanted:

krsna krsna krsna krsna krsna krsna krsna he
krsna krsna krsna krsna krsna krsna krsna he
krsna krsna krsna krsna krsna krsna raksa mam
krsna krsna krsna krsna krsna krsna pahi mam
rama raghava rama raghava rama raghava raksa mam
krsna kesava krsna kesava krsna kesava pahi mam

O Krsna! O Kesava! O Rama! Please protect me; please nourish me.”

Superior to this, and superior to all other mantras, is the maha-mantra: “Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.” Uttering Sri Krsna’s names, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu became completely absorbed in transcendental emotion. He was not absorbed in the mood as being Paramatma or God, the supreme omniscient controller, for He was performing laukika-lila, human-like pastimes.

Sri Raya Ramananda arrived there at that time. He was employed as a governor of Vidyanagara in the government of Sri Prataparudra Maharaja. He was not an ordinary person. He was coming to take bath, riding on a palanquin that was carried by many servants. He was also accompanied by numerous brahmanas, who were uttering the mantras of the Vedas, such as Purusa-sukta, Sri Sukta and others. He was also surrounded by many ministers, guards, soldiers and musicians. He was very powerful. Everyone would see him like a king, and he had the power of a king, to chastise and punish anyone.

When he arrived at the Godavari River, Ramananda Raya followed all the rules and regulations for visiting and bathing at a holy tirtha. The sastras enjoin that when one comes to a holy place (tirtha), one should shave his head, fast, bring a mala, wear pure cloth and take darsana of Thakurji (the Deities). After that one can take some maha-prasadam. When we come to a holy tirtha, we fill our belly, and then we go and have darsana of the Deities in the same clothes we were wearing the previous night. Sri Ramananda Raya, on the other hand, followed all the Vedic rules and regulations.

After bathing, Ramananda Raya distributed charity to the brahmanas, and then he noticed that a sannyasi was sitting and chanting on the bank of the river – as effulgent as the sun. That beautiful sannyasi was dressed in saffron cloth, and His body had all the symptoms of a maha-purusa or an incarnation of God.

ajanu-lambita-bhujau kanakavadatau
sankirtanaika-pitarau kamalayataksau
visvambharau dvija-varau yuga-dharma-palau
vande jagat-priya-karau karunavatarau

[“I worship the incarnations of mercy, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Sri Nityananda Prabhu, whose arms extend to Their knees, whose complexions are a resplendent yellow and very enchanting like the hue of gold, who inaugurated the sankirtana movement, whose eyes are large like lotus petals, who nourish the entire universe, who appeared in the families of exalted brahmanas, who protect the yuga-dharma, and who bestow the highest auspiciousness upon the residents of the material world.” (Sri Caitanya-bhagavata)

The sannyasi’s arms were very long, reaching down to his knees, His eyes were very broad like lotus flowers, and He measured three and half times the length ofHis lower arm. These are called nyagrodha-parimandala, the symptoms of a maha-purusa or an incarnation of God.

When Srila Raya Ramananda saw Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, he was thoroughly astonished by the Lord’s beauty. Approaching Him, he thought, “I’ve never seen anyone so attractive in my entire life.” When he arrived at His side, he very humbly offered obeisances to Him, following the regulations of Vedic culture. In Vedic tradition one must offer obeisances, even to one’s mother and father, and what to speak of a qualified person in the renounced order? Seeing Raya Ramananda offering obeisances, Mahaprabhu lifted him up and asked, “Are you Raya Ramananda?” Raya Ramananda replied, “I am simply your servant. I am a sudra. My intelligence and mind are dull. I am a despicable, fallen person.”

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu humbly inquired about Ramananda Raya’s identity, and Raya Ramananda very humbly replied. Pure Vaisnavas consider themselves to be most insignificant. When they meet together, their meeting is very sweet, like this.

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu then embraced Raya Ramananda, at which time all sattvika-bhavas — such as trembling, tears flowing from the eyes, perspiration, faltering of the voice and fading of the bodily complexion manifested on their bodies — and they both fainted.

This is called svabhavika-prema, natural love. Raya Ramananda is Visakha sakhi and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is Sri Krsna Himself. In this pastime they are meeting for the first time, but they are naturally overwhelmed with love. Natural love refers to that love which is coming out from ones heart due to ones constitutional position. Constitutionally, Raya Ramananda is the most beloved of Sri Krsna, and therefore their love naturally flowed. All other love is artificial.

When the brahmanas present saw Mahaprabhu and Raya Ramananda embrace and become overwhelmed, they were astonished. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was a sannyasi, who was meant to be very grave, and Ramananda Raya was naturally also very grave, and very learned in all sastras. Raya Ramananda was by caste a sudra, and this sannyasi was a brahmana. The brahmanas thought, “How is it that this sannyasi is embracing a sudra? And how is it that this sudra, who is very grave, is becoming overwhelmed with so many emotions?” Because the brahmanas were not pure Vaisnavas, they could not understand the appearance of sattvika-bhavas. They were not very close to Mahaprabhu and Raya Ramananda, and they had a somewhat unfavorable mood.

When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu composed Himself and His emotions subsided, He said, “I’ve come here just to meet with you; not for anything else.” He explained that He was sent by Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya, who had praised Raya Ramananda, and to that Raya Ramananda replied, “Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya considers me his servant. Therefore, in all ways, directly or indirectly, he always acts to bring about my welfare. He has sent You to meet with me for my welfare.”

If one has sadhu-sanga – if one is under the guidance of a sadhu – he will have some realization of krsna-bhakti and his life is successful. On the other hand, without having qualified association and guidance, one lives like an animal. He will also die like an animal, and in his next life he will become an animal, like a dog or a hog. His life is completely wasted. We should try to take shelter of a self-realized guru and harinama-sankirtana and gradually progress through the stages of sraddha (faith), anartha nivrtti (freedom from unwanted habits, nistha (steadiness), ruci (taste in bhajana), asakti (attachment to Krsna), bhava and prema, and thus make our lives successful.

Outwardly one may be situated in his social position and perform his many external duties, but the rest of the time he should be strongly engaged in doing bhajana, and gradually his life will become successful.

Raya Ramananda said, “I understand that Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya is so merciful to me, that he has sent You and You have embraced me.” He then uttered a verse from Srimad Bhagavatam:

mahad vicalanam nrnam
grhinam dina cetasam
nihsreyasya bhagavan
kalpate nanyatha kvacit

[“O my lord, O great devotee, persons like you move from one place to another not for their own interests but for the sake of poor-hearted grhasthas [householders]. Otherwise they have no interest in going from one place to another.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.8.4)]

This verse was previously told by Nanda Maharaja, soon after Lord Krsna was born. Vasudeva Maharaja had secretly sent Gargacarya from Mathura to Gokula, to perform the nama-samskara, (name giving ceremony) of Lord Krsna and Lord Balarama. At that time Nanda Maharaja met with Gargacarya, a great Vaisnava, and addressed him with this verse. He told him, “You are mahat”.

Krsna is the greatest of the great and the smallest of the small. He is greatest in all respects. Those who are the servants of that great personality are also mahat (great). Those great personalities wander here and there for the benefit ofthose who are attached to their household life and would otherwise have no opportunity to meet with a sadhu.

Nanda Baba is not an ordinary person. He is Lord Krsna’s father birth after birth — the eternal father of Krsna — yet he honored Gargacarya by these words. Such great personalities come to meet with those whose consciousness is very low, due to their being attached to temporary household life. Pure devotees go to their homes to meet with them. They have no desire for self-gain. They don’t come for any other purpose than to help the householders.

I have one request for all of you. Today, Lord Jagannatha andBimala Devi (Lord Jagannatha’s consort) have sent very delicious prasadam — rice, sweet dahl, dahlma, malpura, kichori and many other preparations. So today, if you do not honor that prasadam, you are most unfortunate. You should all take prasadam here. After evening arati you can immediately sit here, and prasadam will be served.

Gaura Premanande!

Transcriber: Ranga devi dasi
Typist and proofreader: Vasanti dasi
Editor: Syamarani dasi