Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
[At his harikatha festivals this year, Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja gave discourses on the book Prema-vivarta, in Badger, California, in Italy, and then in Odessa. Although he discussed other topics as well in these three cities, the theme which he interwove throughout was Prema-vivarta:]
We will try our utmost to deliver narrations of Sri Krsna's sweet pastimes and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's sweet pastimes, which you should then carefully place in your pockets - in your hearts - and then return to your homes. I will give classes about a very prominent associate of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Srila Jagadananda Pandit Prabhu, who has explained the process by which we can develop prema-bhakti, and whose instructions are very, very useful for the success of our life. If we follow his instructions, we will be able to realize what is prema, or divine love; without his instructions, we cannot do so.
Although Sri Kavi Karnapura Gosvami has written in his Gaura-ganodessa-dipika that Jagadananda Pandit Prabhu is, in Krsna's pastimes, Krsna's principle queen Satyabhama, Jagadananda Prabhu has personally told something different in his book, Prema-vivarta. There he wrote, "I am a very intimate friend of Srimati Radhika. I am Her maidservant. I don't know why Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu wants to place me in the category of Satyabhama. I know what kind of sannyasi He is. He is actually Krsna Himself, covered by the mood and complexion of Radha. He wants to take Her away and serve Her alone. He does not want even Lalita and Visakha and other sakhis to have that service."
The word prema-vivarta refers to that love and affection which sometimes appears as anger, but which is not. It is actually the highest class of love and affection, which appears in the form of a sulky mood of transcendental loving anger (maan).
[Srila Maharaja now proceeds to describe the moods of Srila Jagadananda Pandit as he wrote. That same description had been given by Srila Maharaja three months earlier, on June 17th, in Badger, California. We have opted to place that Badger description here:]
Sri Jagadananda Prabhu contemplated, "When I remember Mahaprabhu, I weep, and at that time I cannot control my life, or my body, or my mind. Continuously weeping, I consider that I must write something about the mercy of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, to express the reason why I incessantly weep. Forgetting which of the Lord's transcendental pastimes came first, second, or last, I write whatever comes to my memory."
As he remembered, he began to write: "People call me ‘pandit' (intelligent scholar or poet) -Jagadananda Pandita - but actually I am devoid of intelligence. Still, I yearn to write about the very heart-rending pastimes of my very dear Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu."
In the meantime, Sri Svarupa Damodara approached him. Sri Svarupa Damodara is the beloved eternal associate of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He is Lalita-devi in Krsna-lila, so you can imagine how elevated he is. He asked, "Pandita, what are you writing and why are you also weeping?"
Jagadananda Pandita replied, "I am writing about He whom I love so much. Without Him, I have no life. I want to write, and I want to keep my writing with me in a hidden way; not showing it to anyone."
Svarupa Damodara replied, "Very good, very good. Thank you. Yes, write. Anyone who reads your writing will be greatly benefited."
Jagadananda then said, "I don't know what will benefit others. I am writing whatever I feel - whatever makes me happy." And he continued writing.
[Srila Maharaja now continues his Odessa class by discussing another topic:]
Before continuing our discussion of Prema-vivarta, I am going to speak from Srimad-Bhagavatam and its glorification of Bharata-varsa (India). In Bharata-varsa, before Sri Krsna appeared, Lord Ramacandra appeared as the son of Maharaja Dasaratha, along with His three brothers: Laksmana, Bharata, and Satrughna. The demigods are praying, "Lord, Your incarnation is not merely for killing demons." Sri Rama killed so many demons, such as Taraka, Kara and Dusana, Marici, Meghnatha, Ravana, and Kumbhakarna. But He has not come only to kill demons. He has come to teach others by His instructions and example. His character was most exalted. He was very chaste as He accepted only one wife, He always protected His devotees, He was very fond of brahmanas, and He gave great honor to superiors. To teach others He exiled Sita-devi two times; still, when she was kidnapped by Ravana, He was overwhelmed by feelings of separation from her. Asking even the Godavari River, deer, and ot her animals, "Where is My dear Sita?" He continually wept.
Sri Ramacandra is an incarnation of the Supreme Lord, so why did He weep? He knew, "My Sita is with Me; Ravana is not able to steal her." He knew that He had kept Her under the protection of Agni, the god of fire, but still He wept. Why? These are very sweet human-like pastimes.
He cannot send Sita into exile, but still He has done so. Why? Only for instructing others. What was His instruction? He taught that one is not dear to Him because of birth, beauty, or intelligence. Only those who have taken shelter of Him are dear to him. Hanuman said, "Rama has made friendship even with a monkey like me, and, as His friends, we helped Him in the battlefield and in His other endeavors." Neither Rama nor Krsna considers who is so intelligent or who has come in a high-class family. He considers who has offered themselves to Him.
In Bharata-varsa there are thousands of mountains, such as the Himalayas, and from them so many rivers filled with very sweet waters have come, like Ganga, Yamuna, Kaveri, Godavari, Veni, Reva, Sarasvati, and Gomati. If one simply remembers these rivers, one will be liberated.
Those who have taken birth in India are very fortunate, and even the demigods lament, "Why have we taken birth in the heavenly planets? We have performed austerities, given donations in charity, and we have thus come to the heavenly planet Svarga. But this is a place only to enjoy sense gratification." There is so much enjoyment in Svarga that you cannot imagine. If you have taken birth in America or European countries, there is no chance of doing bhajana; there is only engaging in sense gratification. Especially, ladies cannot remain without males and males cannot remain without ladies. Similarly, very beautiful demigods and demigoddesses are there in Svarga, always enjoying. They have no time to think about Krsna or Rama. Neither saintly persons like Sri Narada Gosvami and Srila Sukadeva Gosvami, nor God in the form of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Sri Ramacandra, Krsna or Baladeva perform Their pastimes there. Therefore, the demigods lament that they themselves have gone to reside in the heavenly planets.
What to speak of heaven, in Brahmaloka, where Brahma resides, the residents' duration of life is one kalpa (billions of years). Still, the demigods lament, "We do not want to reside in Brahmaloka. We do not want to reside in Brahmaloka or any of the heavenly realms."
The duration of human life is not certain. It may be one year, two years, one hundred years, or more; we may die at any moment. On the other hand, if we are in India for even one moment, our life may become successful. When Khatvanga Maharaja learned that he had twenty-four minutes left to live, he made his life successful by offering it to the lotus feet of Krsna. Thus he went to Goloka Vrndavana.
We are very fortunate that we have taken birth in India. Even if we weren't born in India, we want to be in Vrndavana, always speaking the Hari-katha of Vrndavana. You are also fortunate that you have a connection with Vrndavana. The core of your life should be to serve Vrndavana and the Lord of Vrndavana, Sri Krsna.
The origin of Hari-katha (narrations of the Lord's glories) is the sadhu or devotee. Devotees have no desire to live where there is no nectar of Hari-katha, even if that place is Brahmaloka, the heavenly planets, or anywhere else. We only want to be in Vrndavana, for even a moment.
In India there is varnasrama-dharma (the scientific division of prescribed work and spiritual status). Besides India, there is no varnasrama-dharma anywhere in the world. Varnasrama dharma was created by the Supreme Lord Sri Krsna, only to teach us how to perform His bhakti (devotional services and moods). The main object for all souls is to offer bhakti to Krsna and one day be liberated, but this is very hard to do in Western countries. If Mahaprabhu's instructions were not brought here - if Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja had not come here, if I do not come here - what would have become of these countries? Only sense gratification and nothing else. People here have no time to understand where they will go after death.
We are not this physical body. If we touch the knowledge of India coming from Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Krsna, then, at once, all this knowledge will come to you, pure bhakti will come, and you will be liberated.
By residing in Vrndavana, by taking birth in Vrndavana, or by having a relationship with Vrndavana, your life will be successful. If you have a favorable atmosphere for performing bhakti, such as a relation with Guru and Vaisnavas, but if you do not take advantage of this and thus do not develop bhakti under their guidance, than your life is in vain. Fie on those who are not advancing in krsna-bhakti. We should try to give up all kinds of sense gratification and perform bhajana of Krsna.
[Srila Maharaja led the devotees present in kirtana, after which he returned to his discussion of Prema-vivarta and Srila Jagadananda Pandit:]
I want to speak on Prema-vivarta, which is very interesting and favorable for your bhakti. I also want that, during this week in Odessa, other speakers discuss Srimad-Bhagavatam, guru-tattva, the life and character of Sri Narada Rsi, the conversation between Sri Narada and Srila Vyasadeva, the conversation between Jada Bharata and King Rahugana, and the histories of Ajamila, Ambarisa Maharaja, the witch Putana, the bewildering of Brahma (Brahma-vimohana-lila), and Sri Krsna's pastimes with the poisonous serpent Kaliya. These are very interesting topics, so the speakers should be prepared for that. First will be guru-tattva (the established philosophical truths regarding Sri Guru), and then other tattvas.
The essence of all this Hari-katha is to surrender to the lotus feet of Sri Guru. Without such surrender, we cannot progress even an inch in bhakti. Can you collect all the affection, love, and attachment that you have for your family, your wealth, your reputation, your very dear wife, very dear husband, and children - can you collect it and surrender it at the lotus feet of Guru? Have you dared to do this? If so, then you can go forward in bhakti. Without this, how can you develop your Krsna consciousness?
‘sadhu sanga, sadhu sanga' - sarva-sastre kaya
lava-matra sadhu-sange sarva-siddhi haya
["The verdict of all revealed scriptures is that by even a moment's association with a pure devotee, one can attain all success." (Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila 22.54)]
Who is actually a sadhu? One who has taken all his love and affection from his wife, daughter, son, and husband, and has surrendered this to the lotus feet of Gurudeva; and in turn Gurudeva has given that disciple's affection and attachment to the lotus feet of Sri Sri Radha and Krsna and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Such a person is really a sadhu. His relationship with his Gurudeva is this: "I am totally surrendering everything unto your lotus feet, Gurudeva. What you tell me to do I will obey, and never disobey."
In this world, sadhu-sanga is very, very rare. We think we are seeing so many sadhus in this world, butwho is actually a sadhu? Those who say they are sadhus should ask their hearts, "Are you really a sadhu or not? Have you fully given all your attachment to the lotus feet of Gurudeva? Are you obeying Gurudeva?" Ask this, and see what your heart replies. Such devotion is very rare.
I saw that my Gurudeva ‘took his life in his hands' (an expression meaning that he was prepared to give up his life) for his Gurudeva, his holy master; he never disobeyed him. If we cannot obey our Gurudeva, how can we obey Sri Krsna and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu?
Life is very short, and you do not know when it will end. Therefore, before your life is finished, fully surrender everything to the lotus feet of Guru, and through Guru to Krsna. Then in only twenty-four minutes, everything about your life will change. Such surrender has been explained in Srimad-Bhagavatam, ninth canto . Such surrender is very rare.
labdhva su-durlabham idam bahu-sambhavante
manusyam artha-dam anityam apiha dhirah
turnam yateta na pated anu-mrtyu yavan
nihsreyasaya visayah khalu sarvatah syat
["After many, many births and deaths one achieves the rare human form of life, which, although temporary, affords one the opportunity to attain the highest perfection. Thus a sober human being should quickly endeavor for the ultimate perfection of life as long as his body, which is always subject to death, has not fallen down and died. After all, sense gratification is available even in the most abominable species of life, whereas Krsna consciousness is possible only for a human being." (Srimad-Bhagavatam, 11.9.29)]
In this way he will attain his goal. I am requesting you to remember that this human life is very rare. In this human form of life we should determine the goal of our life. I have told again and again that our goal is Radha-dasyam.
Begin your bhakti by fallowing Upadesamrta:
vaco vegam manasah krodha-vegam
etan vegan yo visaheta dhirah
sarvam apimam prthivim sa sisyat
["A sober person who can tolerate the urge to speak, the mind's demands, the actions of anger and the urges of the tongue, belly and genitals is qualified to make disciples all over the world." (Nectar of Instruction, verse 1)]
Don't associate with any sense-enjoyer. Though sadhu-sanga is very rare in this world, Krsna will arrange it. You, my daughters and sons, are coming forward, but I want that, very soon, all of you should develop your bhakti. I desire that you can give up all of your attachments in this life. At the time of death you cannot take anything with you. Your mother, father, and wife cannot go with you. So keep this life only for Krsna-bhakti and nothing else - then your life will be successful forever.
This class is not only to hear, but to keep in your heart and practice, otherwise you cannot be free from cheating; otherwise you will be cheated forever.
Editorial advisors: Pujyapada Madhava Maharaja, Sripad Brajanath dasa, and Sri Prema Prayojana dasa
Transcriber: Vasanti dasi
Typist: Govinda Priya dasi
Proofreader: Krsna-kamini dasi
Editor: Syamarani dasi