“There are three things that are inconceivable: the position of Lord Siva, hladini sakti, and, yes, guru-tattva.” (BR Sridhara Swami)
Among all the spiritual personalities the position of Lord Siva is unique. In one of my previous blog I shared how I used to worship lord Shiva. After coming into Krishna consciousness I still retain a special corner in my heart for lord Shiva and now when I read and hear more lectures from senior devotees about him, the fog of ignorance over his exact position unfolds layer by layer, year by year.
Since last one month I am hearing a most wonderful seminar by HH Tamal Krishna Goswami Maharaj on Sri Brahma Samhita, it’s a series of 20 lectures spoken by Maharaj at Mayapur, each lecture is between 1 hour- 1.5 hours long. I never got a better clarity on subjects like prakriti, maya, yogamaya and Lord Shiva. It is pure nectar and I am now hearing the whole series again, hoping that my dumb brain may retain some portions.
Most of us have heard the example of `milk being transformed into curd and similarly Krishna transforms into Shiva’. Maharaj said this particular verse tell us what actually happens. Who actually is Shambhu ? Maharaj said that we often hear that Siva is God but not God, we hear that he is sort of in between position and in this particular purport there is a very nice description given on how he is constituted, what makes Shiva both God and not God.
Let us read BS 5.45 verse
kṣīraṁ yathā dadhi vikāra-viśeṣa-yogāt sañjāyate na hi tataḥ pṛthag asti hetoḥ
yaḥ śambhutām api tathā samupaiti kāryād govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
Translation: Just as milk is transformed into curd by the action of acids, but yet the effect curd is neither same as, nor different from, its cause, viz., milk, so I adore the primeval Lord Govinda of whom the state of Śambhu is a transformation for the performance of the work of destruction.
Maharaj first read the first part of the purport which says ” God becomes a distinct personality by the addition of a particular element of adulteration. Maharaj questioned `So what is this adulteration principle by which Krishna turns into to Shiva ?’
Srila Bhaktisidhanta Saraswati Thakura writes in his purport `The nondistinction is established by the fact that just as milk treated with acid turns into curd so Godhead becomes a subservient when He Himself attains a distinct personality by the addition of a particular element of adulteration. This personality has no independent initiative. The said adulterating principle is constituted of a combination of the stupefying quality of the deluding energy, the quality of nonplenitude of the marginal potency and a slight degree of the ecstatic-cum-cognitive principle of the plenary spiritual potency…..He is the lord of jīva but yet partakes of the nature of a separated portion of Govinda.’
Maharaj patiently unveiled its meaning in a manner we can all understand. Maharaj earlier said that he spent close to 1000 hours researching on the purports of Sri Brahma Samhita!
So coming back to our analogy, what is this adulteration which after being added turns milk into curd ? Here it is :
1. Lord Shiva has some part of that stupefying or bewildering quality of Maya. Maya stupefies people, she makes people bewilder, so some part of that bewildering quality is present in lord Shiva. This is one part of the constituent which makes Shiva no longer Krishna. Krishna has none of it but Shiva has some part of it.
2. The quality of nonplenitude of the marginal potency. Marginal potency means jivas and nonplenitude means limited, the jivas are limited. Maharaj explained that we say nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam… God is the supreme eternal but he is unlimited, we are also eternal but we are limited. We are limited and He is unlimited. Similarly, Lord Siva is not unlimited.
Apart from the above two qualities lord Shiva also takes two more qualities from Ramadevi (spiritual potency), these are
3. A slight degree of `anand’ or bliss.
4. A little bit of the `cit’ or congnitive principle of the plenary spiritual potency.
So lord Shiva has some portions of `cit and `anand’ (sat-cit-anand) too but not in full.
What does Krishna has ? Full portion!
So now we have this amazing detailed explanation of how `milk turns into curd’. We can not only understand our own self but now also easily explain to others as to what is this difference in detail.
If we read the purport we can see how these four points are clearly mentioned still it takes a pure devotee to unveil to us.
So this is the difference between Krishna and Shiva. The last line of the purport says `He is the lord of jīva but yet partakes of the nature of a separated portion of Govinda’. It means that although Shiva is the Lord of the jivas yet he partakes the nature of jivas (because of the various qualities he takes on).
When I had read this book earlier, I had somehow managed to read it but without any great realisations (other than the first verse). I had hurriedly gone over most of the purports. For a dimwit like me, even with a dictionary in hand, everything was way over my head! At that time just finishing this booked seemed like a great achievement! In my heart I thought `hopefully I will not have to read it again’! And I love it now. It is only due to insistence of Guru Maharaj, via his lectures, that devotees must carefully read and study Sri Brahma Samhita that I somehow gathered courage to hunt for some lectures on it and found this gem. HH Tamal Krishna Goswami Maharaj made the whole book, and its challenging purports, seem not unlike a coconut- extremely tough from outside and difficult to break, but once broken inside is pure nectar ! I request all the readers to listen to the seminar by clicking HERE.
All glories to lord Shiva.
All glories to Sri Brahma Samhita.
All glories to HH Tamal Krishna Goswami Maharaj.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
This is in continuation of my last blog on Krishna’s flutes. I am sharing the below nectar from a lecture by HH Radha Govinda Maharaj on Venu Gita. We are all aware that the Venu Gita (Song of Lord Krishna’s Flute Play) is a compilation of twenty verses in the 21st chapter of tenth canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.
HH Radha Govinda Maharaj first recited the below verse.
gopyah kim acarad ayam kusalam sma venur damodaradhara-sudham api gopikanam
bhunkte svayam yad avasishta-rasam hradinyo hrishyat-tvaco ‘sru mumucus taravo yatharyah
Translation My dear gopis, what auspicious activities must the flute have performed to enjoy the nectar of Krishna’s lips independently and leave only a taste for us gopis, for whom that nectar is actually meant! The forefathers of the flute, the bamboo trees, shed tears of pleasure. His mother, the river on whose bank the bamboo was born, feels jubilation, and therefore her blooming lotus flowers are standing like hair on her body. (SB 10.21.9)
Maharaj said that in this verse Radharani is speaking about the flute and then quoted Srila Jiva Goswami who said that the gopis have Mahabhav prema in them and Radharani’s is topmost of them. As a result of the unmaad exhibited due to this Mahabhava prema, the gopis are feeling envious towards even a non-living entity like the flute ! And they are having false feelings that the flute is drinking the nectar of Krishna’s lips which is actually their property. Radharani says that some steal others property but this flute steals our property by challenging loudly to us – “Hey gopis, if you want to drink the nectar of Krishna’s lips, then give up all your shyness and religion and all the rules of the society and come here and take this nectar, or else I am not afraid of you all or anyone, I will continue to drink this nectar. I consider you gopis a bit because you also have the right on this nectar, but as for others, I consider them like a blade of grass.” Similarly Srila Sanatana Goswami says that `what to speak of the fortune of the sakhas, just look at the fortune of this neerasa, rasa-less bamboo which has no rasa in it.’
Maharaj said that the words Venu, murali, bansuri etc. are used for the flute. In Sanskrit dhaar means wife, dhaara also means wife. Similarly Vamsi, venu, murali all stands for female gender. But it is neither female nor male. But Radharani is having the bhava that this flute is a male. So she is saying that this flute even after being a male is drinking that which we females are supposed to drink. So she is thinking, oh why did I and all of you sakhis, take birth as a gopi, why did we not take birth as a bamboo !! What austerity has this flute done ? It is always in the hands of Krishna or on his lips or on his hips, never away from Him!
Maharaj then quoted Srila Vishvanatha Chakravarti Thakura, who wrote that Radharani is saying – what austerity did this flute do ? what charity did it do, to whom ? what sacrifices did it do ? Then we all will also do the same. The bamboo has no rasa, no fruits, no flower, still what austerity did it do ? In this birth, he has not done anything. May be in his previous birth he was a human and did something. Please find out, so that we can also do the same and achieve this fortune of drinking the nectar of Shyamsundar’s lips.
Maharaj next explained Why is the word ‘Damodar’ used in this verse, not any other name ? Maharaj quoted Srila Sanatana Goswami who says that Damodar word has the name Radha hidden in it – as in Radha Damodar. Also it shows the love that Yashoda maiya had by which she could tie him up. Also, Radha has also tied him up with flower garland. So it is Radha’s Damodara – this is the hidden bhava.
If Radharani would have said that Krishna’s lips are meant for females only, it would have been wrong. Because, there are females even on heavenly planets, earth, etc. But it is not meant for any of them. It is meant only for the gopis alone. That is why here in this sloka, Radharani is saying that it is meant for the gopis alone.
Radharani continues to say – This Shyamsundar never goes against the flute. He is always on his side. Sometimes Radharani finds no fault with the flute, and puts all the blame on Krishna like this. It is Krishna who is constantly keeping the flute on his lips. He could keep it on his waist, or in his hands, why lips ? He wants to enjoy the flute ! Radharani is saying – This flute drinks the nectar without leaving even a drop for us. We get only a taste of his lips. That’s all the flute leaves for us. We are getting the remnants of the remnants of the remnants of the flute.
Maharaj said that the gopis also complain that to play the flute, Krishna has to bend himself in three places then Krishna has to bend and bow down his head in order to play it! And Krishna has to massage it by his fingers in order to play it. Like this the flute is making Krishna do so much seva to play on it! The flute thus makes Krishna dance and makes all of us also dance in madness!!
Then came the final part. Maharaj said that we heard all these explanations in Sanskrit and Hindi. We are sitting here in Vraja, and it his desire to hear this in Vrajvasi language. Radha Krishna and gopa/gopis all talk in Vrajbhasha. Maharaj said let me sing a pada in vrajbhasha by Surdasji, where the gopis are blaming the flute, and the flute is replying to them :
Gvalini tum kathau rahana dena
Hey gopis, why are you blaming me ? What wrong am I doing ? If I am drinking Krishna’s adharamrit, then I have definitely done something to drink it, is it not ? Why are you blaming me that I have no right to drink and I’m forcibly drinking it !
Poochou jaayi shyamsundar ko , jahi dukh jurayo sanero
Go ask Shyamasundar, that after facing how much of distress I have received this love ? Got His association, after how much of austerities, how much of miseries, you ask Shyamasundar Himself!
Janamat hi te bhayi virat cit, tajou gaav gun geh
Do you know from when I am virakt? Right from birth I am in virakt from my family. I left my village, my twice born thread, everything. (When Bamboo takes birth, it stands all alone. If I have any leaves etc., I have not accepted it, I have given it up.)
Ek hi paav rahi ho thadi, him grishm sab ritu me
I have done my austerities standing on one feet, facing all the heat, cold, rain (you people are on two feet and you are more bothered about home, family and society than to meet Krishna!)
Tajou mool shaakha supatr sab, soch sukhani deh
I gave up my roots, branches, leaves everything. (to make a flute, all these has to be cut off. Can anyone imagine to have their hands cut off, legs cut off !) and then I have got dried up in the hot sun.
Agni salakat muri na tan man
In order to make holes in me chest, I was poked by the fire like iron, and I did not cry with my body or mind or words, and in this way 7-8 holes were made on my body. My body did not even turn or twist when this hole was made.
Why do you keep calling me – bansuri, baans wali…etc. and you people keep blaming me in tamo guni krodh ? You too do such austerities like I did, and take this right of His adharamrit, what is the use of talking ill about me? You cannot move me out of my place, by saying all this. I will not move from my place, it is my right. I will remain here only!
So in this most beautiful way flute gave a fitting reply to all the gopis!
In the end I can again only pray that after reading this nectar may all the readers, including my own self, develop the desire to glorify and serve Krishna’s flute and pray that one day every part of our body can also be somehow used in the service of all those servants who are serving Krishna, and His associates, with so much love and affection.
All glories to the Mahabhava of gopis.
All glories to Krishna’s flute.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
A few days back I heard the below verse from Sri Brahma Samhita and a brief commentary by HH Tamal Krishna Goswami Maharaj. The sweet description of Krishna’s flutes somehow inspired me to search more on it and write this blog for the pleasure of devotees. As I searched for the matter I became intoxicated with Krishna’s flute, I never knew such sweet pastimes happened because of it. Srila Prabhupada writes in Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 26, that “As far as Krishna’s flute is concerned, it is said that the vibration of this wonderful instrument was able to break the meditation of the greatest sages. Krishna was thus challenging Cupid by advertising His transcendental glories all over the world.”
veṇuṁ kvaṇantam aravinda-dalāyatākṣam-barhāvataṁsam asitāmbuda-sundarāṅgam
kandarpa-koṭi-kamanīya-viśeṣa-śobhaṁ govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, who is adept in playing on His flute, with blooming eyes like lotus petals with head decked with peacock’s feather, with the figure of beauty tinged with the hue of blue clouds, and His unique loveliness charming millions of Cupids. ( BS 5.30)
Krishna’s playing of flute is indeed very special and much has been written about it in various vedic scriptures and poems.
Krishna has different flutes and He plays different melodies for different purposes. There are three kinds of flutes used by Krishna (NoD chapter 26)
1) Venu : This is a very small, not more than six inches long, with six holes for whistling.
2) Murali: Murali is about eighteen inches long with a hole at the end and four holes on the body of the flute. This kind of flute produces a very enchanting sound.
3) Vamsi: The vamsi flute is about fifteen inches long, with nine holes on its body.
Krishna would play on any of these three flutes when they were needed. Krishna uses the Venu flute to attract to Gopis, like Venum kvanantam from the Brahma Samhita.
These flutes were sometimes bedecked with jewels. Sometimes they were made of marble and sometimes of hollow bamboo. When the flute is made of jewels it is called sammohini. When made of gold, it is called akarsini.
It said that Krishna plays different tunes
1) Demigods like Lord Brahma and Lord Siva’s meditation is broken and they forget everything in astonishment and Lord Anantadeva sways His head like in hypnosis.
2) Second tune makes the Yamuna flow backwards
3) Third tune makes the moon stop moving
4) Fourth tune makes the cows run to Krsna and get stunned listening to the flute
5) The 5th note attracts the gopis and make them come running to him
6) 6th Tune makes the stones melt and creates autumn season
7) 7th note manifests all seasons
8) 8th Note is meant exclusively for Srimati Radharani, it takes Her name and calls for Her, and She comes running to Him putting Her cloth wrong and mascara also.
Krishna has another flute named Mahananda, which is like a fishook that captures the fish of Srimati Radharani’s heart and mind. Another flute, which has six holes is known as Madanajhankrti. Krishna’s flute named Sarala makes a low, soft tone like the sound of a softly singing cuckoo. Krishna is very fond of playing this flute in the ragas gaudi and garjari. (Radha-Krishna-ganoddesha-dipika text 122,123)
In one of lectures HH Loknath Maharaj said that the interesting part of Krishna’s flute playing is that the sound can be heard only by the party for whom it is being played. If Krishna plays flute for the gopis, only gopis would be able to hear it, and no one else. If He plays flute for the cows, only the cows would be able to hear it, and no one else. We don’t have that potency, our music cannot be restricted for any one party but when the supreme Lord Krishna plays flute, He can choose and restrict His audience. For example, when the gopis hear the sound of Krishna’s flute, they abruptly leave their household chores in the middle and run out. Other family members can’t comprehend suddenly what happened to the gopis and where they are going. Sometimes the roti is cooked half way on the stove and the gopi hears Krishna’s flute. She runs out leaving the husband waiting for the roti to arrive in his plate. But the husband can’t hear the flute. Only Krishna can do this.
For cows, Krishna sits atop a tree and plays flute to keep a check on the number of 9 hundred thousand cows herding with Him. Before returning home, He calls each and every one of the cow by her name – through the sound of His flute. He calls all of them one by one – Chandrika, Dhavali, Ivali..When He playes flute for Chandrika cow, only Chandrika is able to hear her name through the sound of Krishna’s flute. She gets delighted to hear her name being called by Krishna and comes running towards Him. Then He calls Dhavli, Ivali and every other cow in the same way. Thus no cow is left behind.
Krishna is uniquely called Venugopal, Bansilal, Murali, Muralidhar, etc. based solely on His relationship with His flute !
Let me share two instances where the special taste of Lord’s flute is relished by Caitanya Mahāprabhu in Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta.
The first instance is from madhya Lila chapter 21 which is aptly titled `The Opulence and Sweetness of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa’. Mahaprabhu is explaining Sri Sanatana Goswami about the sweetness of Krishna’s face, His smile and then His lips and finally describes … His flute !
The sound of Kṛṣṇa’s flute spreads in the four directions. Even though Kṛṣṇa vibrates His flute within this universe, its sound pierces the universal covering and goes to the spiritual sky. Thus the vibration enters the ears of all inhabitants. It especially enters Goloka Vṛndāvana-dhāma and attracts the minds of the young damsels of Vrajabhūmi, bringing them forcibly to where Kṛṣṇa is present. (CC Madhya 21.141)
“The vibration of Kṛṣṇa’s flute is very aggressive, and it breaks the vows of all chaste women. Indeed, its vibration takes them forcibly from the laps of their husbands. The vibration of His flute attracts even the goddesses of fortune in the Vaikuṇṭha planets, to say nothing of the poor damsels of Vṛndāvana. (CC Madhya 21.142)
“The vibration of His flute is just like a bird that creates a nest within the ears of the gopīs and always remains prominent there, not allowing any other sound to enter their ears. Indeed, the gopīs cannot hear anything else, nor are they able to concentrate on anything else, not even to give a suitable reply. Such are the effects of the vibration of Lord Kṛṣṇa’s flute.” (CC Madhya 21.142)
The second instance one is in Antya lila chapter 16 titled `Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu Tastes Nectar from the Lips of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa’ ! One evening after honouring Jagannnath prasadam Mahaprabhu became ecstatic. In ecstatic love, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu ordered Rāmānanda Rāya to recite some verses. Thus Rāmānanda Rāya spoke as follows.
‘O hero of charity, please deliver unto us the nectar of Your lips. That nectar increases lusty desires for enjoyment and diminishes lamentation in the material world. Kindly give us the nectar of Your lips, which are touched by Your transcendentally vibrating flute, for that nectar makes all human beings forget all other attachments.’ Upon hearing Rāmānanda Rāya quote this verse, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was very satisfied. Then He recited the following verse, which had been spoken by Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī in great anxiety. (CC Antya 16.117-118)
‘My dear friend, the all-surpassing nectar from the lips of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, can be obtained only after many, many pious activities. For the beautiful gopīs of Vṛndāvana, that nectar vanquishes the desire for all other tastes. Madana-mohana always chews pan that surpasses the nectar of heaven. He is certainly increasing the desires of My tongue.’ After saying this, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was overwhelmed by ecstatic loving emotions. Talking like a madman, He began to explain the meaning of the two verses. (CC Antya 16.119-120)
“My dear lover,” Lord Caitanya said in the mood of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, “let Me describe some of the characteristics of Your transcendental lips. They agitate the mind and body of everyone, they increase lusty desires for enjoyment, they destroy the burden of material happiness and lamentation, and they make one forget all material tastes. The whole world falls under their control. They vanquish shame, religion and patience, especially in women. Indeed, they inspire madness in the minds of all women. Your lips increase the greed of the tongue and thus attract it. Considering all this, We see that the activities of Your transcendental lips are always paradoxical. (CC Antya 16.121-122)
“My dear Kṛṣṇa, since You are a male, it is not very extraordinary that the attraction of Your lips can disturb the minds of women. But I am ashamed to say that Your impudent lips sometimes attract even Your flute, which is also considered a male. It likes to drink the nectar of Your lips, and thus it also forgets all other tastes. “Aside from conscious living beings, even unconscious matter is sometimes made conscious by Your lips. Therefore, Your lips are great magicians. Paradoxically, although Your flute is nothing but dry wood, Your lips constantly make it drink their nectar. They create a mind and senses in the dry wooden flute and give it transcendental bliss. “That flute is a very cunning male who drinks again and again the taste of another male’s lips. It advertises its qualities and says to the gopīs, ‘O gopīs, if you are so proud of being women, come forward and enjoy your property — the nectar of the lips of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.’ (CC Antya 16.123-125)
“Thereupon, the flute said angrily to Me, ‘Give up Your shame, fear and religion and come drink the lips of Kṛṣṇa. On that condition, I shall give up my attachment for them. If You do not give up Your shame and fear, however, I shall continuously drink the nectar of Kṛṣṇa’s lips. I am slightly fearful because You also have the right to drink that nectar, but as for the others, I consider them like straw.’ “The nectar of Kṛṣṇa’s lips, combined with the vibration of His flute, attracts all the people of the three worlds. But if we gopīs remain patient out of respect for religious principles, the flute then criticizes us. (CC Antya 16.126-127)
“This flute is nothing but a dry stick of bamboo, but it becomes our master and insults us in so many ways that it forces us into a predicament. What can we do but tolerate it? The mother of a thief cannot cry loudly for justice when the thief is punished. Therefore we simply remain silent. (CC Antya 16.129)
Again Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said to Rāmānanda Rāya, “Please say something. I want to hear.” Understanding the situation, Rāmānanda Rāya recited the following words of the gopīs.
‘My dear gopīs, what auspicious activities must the flute have performed to enjoy the nectar of Kṛṣṇa’s lips independently and leave only a taste for us gopīs, for whom that nectar is actually meant. The forefathers of the flute, the bamboo trees, shed tears of pleasure. His mother, the river on whose bank the bamboo was born, feels jubilation, and therefore her blooming lotus flowers are standing like hair on her body.’ (CC Antya 16.140)
Upon hearing the recitation of this verse, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu became absorbed in ecstatic love, and with a greatly agitated mind He began to explain its meaning like a madman. (CC Antya 16.141)
“Some gopīs said to other gopīs, ‘Just see the astonishing pastimes of Kṛṣṇa, the son of Vrajendra! He will certainly marry all the gopīs of Vṛndāvana. Therefore, the gopīs know for certain that the nectar of Kṛṣṇa’s lips is their own property and cannot be enjoyed by anyone else.
‘My dear gopīs, fully consider how many pious activities this flute performed in his past life. We do not know what places of pilgrimage he visited, what austerities he performed, or what perfect mantra he chanted.
‘This flute is utterly unfit because it is merely a dead bamboo stick. Moreover, it belongs to the male sex. Yet this flute is always drinking the nectar of Kṛṣṇa’s lips, which surpasses nectarean sweetness of every description. Only by hoping for that nectar do the gopīs continue to live.
‘Although the nectar of Kṛṣṇa’s lips is the absolute property of the gopīs, the flute, which is just an insignificant stick, is forcibly drinking that nectar and loudly inviting the gopīs to come drink it also. Just imagine the strength of the flute’s austerities and good fortune! Even great devotees drink the nectar of Kṛṣṇa’s lips after the flute has done so.
‘When Kṛṣṇa takes His bath in universally purifying rivers like the Yamunā and the Ganges of the celestial world, the great personalities of those rivers greedily and jubilantly drink the remnants of the nectarean juice from His lips.
‘Aside from the rivers, the trees standing on the banks like great ascetics and engaging in welfare activities for all living entities drink the nectar of Kṛṣṇa’s lips by drawing water from the river with their roots. We cannot understand why they drink like that.
‘The trees on the bank of the Yamunā and Ganges are always jubilant. They appear to be smiling with their flowers and shedding tears in the form of flowing honey. Just as the forefathers of a Vaiṣṇava son or grandson feel transcendental bliss, the trees feel blissful because the flute is a member of their family.’
“The gopīs considered, ‘The flute is completely unfit for his position. We want to know what kind of austerities the flute executed, so that we may also perform the same austerities. Although the flute is unfit, he is drinking the nectar of Kṛṣṇa’s lips. Seeing this, we qualified gopīs are dying of unhappiness. Therefore, we must consider the austerities the flute underwent in his past life.’ (CC Antya 16. 141-149)
Such is the sweet nectar of pastimes based on Krishna and His flute ! I ended up gathering much more information on the sweet pastimes between Krishna and gopis over His flute than I could squeeze in a single blog. I also read how the flute once told the gopis what all he has gone through to achieve his unique position ! I will share the rest in a future blog.
Right now I can only wish and pray that may we all develop an intense desire to serve and glorify Krishna’s flutes and pray to the lotus feet of His flutes to kindly bless us that we can develop a mere drop of love and attachment which they have for Krishna and His devotees.
All glories to Krishna’s flutes.
All glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
I recently heard a very nice lecture by HG Vaisesika Prabhuji gave in Mayapur.
The symptoms of a sādhu are that he is tolerant, merciful and friendly to all living entities. He has no enemies, he is peaceful, he abides by the scriptures, and all his characteristics are sublime. (SB 3.25.2)
In his short lecture prabhuji was able to tell what is the result a vaishanava’s tapasya ? How a vaishanva is always compassionate on others and how should we see non devotees and finally how we can engage everyone in the service of Lord, all points were an eye opener for this shudra. In the purport Srila Prabhupada writes that the purpose of austerity is also to make our hear soft, this relates to what we recently heard from HH Bhakti Vijnana maharaj on making our soft, I always thought ( wrongly, this is not for a vaishanava) that austerity makes one’s heart hard !!
Prabhuji began `Although a Vaisnava has sufficient power in tapasya, he does not become angry when put into difficulty. If one undergoes tapasya but does not become a Vaisnava, however, one does not develop good qualities. For example, Hiranyakasipu and Ravana also performed great austerities, but they did so to demonstrate their demoniac tendencies. Vaisnavas must meet many opponents while preaching the glories of the Lord, but Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu recommends that they not become angry while preaching. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu has given this formula: trnad api sunicena taror api sahisnuna/ amanina manadena kirtaniyah sada harih [Cc. adi 17.31]. “One should chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking oneself lower than the straw in the street; one should be more tolerant than a tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige and should be ready to offer all respect to others. In such a state of mind one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly.” Those engaged in preaching the glories of the Lord should be humbler than grass and more tolerant than a tree; then they can preach the glories of the Lord without difficulty.
Prabhuji said In the prosecution of the Krishna Consciousness movement, practically everything can be used in the service of Krishna. Srila Prabhupada states in this verse about the kinds of austerities devotees perform. The result of those austerities is that their hearts become more forgiving.
Srila Prabhupada says in the purport that our austerity must make our heart soft. We must become more forgiving. What does it mean to be forgiving? Prabhuji said that there are three ways of seeing people:
A) One way is according to their past. This is the most conservative. Such and such has sinned in the past therefore they are not qualified. Basically we see people how they have behaved with us in their past, this is the judgmental mode and I fall under this category most of the times.
B) Prabhuji then added that someone more liberal might look at someone only in the present, they may say to forget the past. What is he doing now?
I once asked Shyamsundar Prabhuji on how to overcome this mentality of judging others. Prabhuji then shared how he once requested HH Vedvyasapriya Maharaj a cure for the same disease and Maharaj told him that the key to overcome is that we should see everyone with a `refreshed button pressed’ ! What does it mean ? It means that we should see everyone without remembering that person’s past dealing with us or what we heard about him from others, this is specially true with for those devotees with whom we are not on best terms or who may have even offended us in the past. We deal fresh, with no prejudice holding us back. I try to imbibe this wonderful instruction but mostly at the need of the hour I tend to forget it ! Still I push myself to imbibe it and whenever I have been able to apply this formula it works wonderfully well, equally surprising the other person and my own self.
C) Prabhuji said that the most liberal person sees the future potential of the living entity. Those who know the miracle of distributing the holy name and the literary kirtan of the holy name, written down on pages, to people all over the world, believe in the power of this literature and the names of God, therefore they become forgiving of what has been done in the past or even what they are doing right now.
This is one step further higher, what a wonderful way to see others, to look at their potential. I wonder that this must be how Srila Prabhupada would have seen all the hippies in USA, not what they done in their past or what they are doing now but what they could become ! This is a wonderful benchmark to copy.
Vaisesika Prabhuji said that `It is in using everything to connect these living entities with Krishna, that we perform our greatest tapasya.’ Sukadeva Goswami tells kirata, to believe it that anyone from any section of society, even the most degraded, can come to the topmost position because of the power of Lord Vishnu that comes through his devotees.’
Prabhuji ended his lecture with the below story.
In San Francisco, I went with a group of devotees to chant Hare Krishna and distribute books and prasadam downtown. It was the most busy day of the year, called Black Friday. If anyone’s heard of Black Friday, please say Haribol ! In a crowd of people coming down the street who were watching the Harinam Sankirtan, I saw a couple, a young man and a young woman together. They were dressed like the hippies of old. As soon as they saw the Sankirtan party they stopped, as if mesmerized. They just stared and did not move.
I went over and introduced them to the Bhagavad Gita. They were so interested that they sat down right on the sidewalk in the middle of the whole crowd. They began to go through the Bhagavad Gita. I suggested at one point that they keep the book and asked if they could give a donation. When someone gives some hard earned money in return for a book, it qualifies them to read the book.
They searched up and down the many pockets that they had in their clothes. They couldn’t find any money at all. The man pulled out a blue cigarette lighter and he looked at me and said, “You don’t want this.” I said, “Yes I do, give it to me.” It turned out that it was their most valuable possession. They needed it to.
I realized how important it was about a half an hour later when some of their friends came up to me. They said, “My friends are over there but they sent us over here because we need a light.” But it made me realize that they had given up something very important to them. So I took that blue lighter home. And I cleaned it more than I’ve ever cleaned any item before. I keep it with my puja paraphernalia. Every day when I light a ghee wick or an incense to offer to the Saligram or to Giriraja, I think of that couple. I pray that their service will be accepted.
Krishna gives us His final instruction in Bhagavad Gita in verse 18.65
man-manā bhava mad-bhakto mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru
mām evaiṣyasi satyaṁ te pratijāne priyo ’si me
Always think of Me, become My devotee, worship Me and offer your homage unto Me. Thus you will come to Me without fail. I promise you this because you are My very dear friend.
On each Valentine day we are all pushed to ‘show’ our love to a dear one. Many, or most of us, already know (or read or heard) that we have had innumerable past births. So today, not tomorrow, not after five years, can we take a vow to offer our heart to Krishna, just for this lifetime ! And then see what happens !
Krishna Himself says in verse 9.23:
‘kaunteya pratijānīhi na me bhaktaḥ praṇaśyati’
O son of Kuntī, declare it boldly that My devotee never perishes.’
Now as a choice between leading our current (remaining) life full of eternal bliss, and a promise (from none other than Krishna Himself) to forever get a break from the eternal cycle of birth & death, is giving our heart to Krishna for just one life time a bad ‘bargain’ ?
So just for this one life time let us give our heart to Krishna and experience on our own the sheer bliss Supreme Lord gives us in return for our heart. Else millions of future lifetimes await us in any case and there is no ‘loss’ for us.
I am copying few verses from Sri Brahma Samhita, just by reading them a dry and stone like heart like mine feels attracted towards Krishna.
īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ sac-cid-ānanda-vigrahaḥ
anādir ādir govindaḥ sarva-kāraṇa-kāraṇam
(Kṛṣṇa who is known as Govinda is the Supreme Godhead. He has an eternal blissful spiritual body. He is the origin of all. He has no other origin and He is the prime cause of all causes. )
(I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, the first progenitor who is tending the cows, yielding all desire, in abodes built with spiritual gems, surrounded by millions of purpose trees, always served with great reverence and affection by hundreds of thousands of lakṣmīs or gopīs.)
veṇuṁ kvaṇantam aravinda-dalāyatākṣam-barhāvataṁsam asitāmbuda-sundarāṅgam
kandarpa-koṭi-kamanīya-viśeṣa-śobhaṁ govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
(I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, who is adept in playing on His flute, with blooming eyes like lotus petals with head decked with peacock’s feather, with the figure of beauty tinged with the hue of blue clouds, and His unique loveliness charming millions of Cupids.)
śyāmaṁ tri-bhaṅga-lalitaṁ niyata-prakāśaṁ govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
(I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, round whose neck is swinging a garland of flowers beautified with the moon-locket, whose two hands are adorned with the flute and jeweled ornaments, who always revels in pastimes of love, whose graceful threefold-bending form of Śyāmasundara is eternally manifest.)
(I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, whose transcendental form is full of bliss, truth, substantiality and is thus full of the most dazzling splendor. Each of the limbs of that transcendental figure possesses in Himself, the full-fledged functions of all the organs, and eternally sees, maintains and manifests the infinite universes, both spiritual and mundane.)
(I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, who is Śyāmasundara, Kṛṣṇa Himself with inconceivable innumerable attributes, whom the pure devotees see in their heart of hearts with the eye of devotion tinged with the salve of love.)
I will be extremely grateful if devotee can share their own experience of offering the heart to Krishna and those special souls who vowed to offer their heart to Krishna today.
All glories to the most fortunate souls who have already offered their hearts to Krishna.
All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
After the last blog on `demons in Krishna Lila‘ I thought let me share more anarthas as described in detail in Madhurya kadambini, I also took the help of VIHE book ‘demons in Vrindavana Lila’ to write this blog. This topic also connects with the earlier blog How to change our heart.
At one level we hear that bhakti is causeless meaning that there is no cause for bhakti (like pious deeds, austerity, penance, etc.), bhakti is independent. I heard a beautiful analogy by HH Bhakti Vijnana maharaj, he described how in the material world everything is cause' andeffect’ and this is what science does it focuses on finding cause and it’s effect. Bhakti, on the other hand, not being from the material wold is `causeless’ !
But still in this causeless realm there is a way, described by Srila Rupa Goswami in his famous verse in Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.1.11, there are nine stages a devotee pass through as we advance in Krishna consciousness.
These stages are:
1. Shraddha — faith
2. Sadhu-sanga — association with devotees
3. Bhajana-kriya — trying to seriously take up the process of devotional service
4. Anartha-nivrtti — becoming free of all unwanted things
5. Nistha — steadiness in Krishna consciousness
6. Ruchi — a deep taste for Krishna consciousness
7. Asakti — attachment for Krishna
8. Bhava — ecstasy, the first rays of the sun of love for Krishna
9. Prema — pure love for Krishna
Out of all the above stages anartha-nivrtti is a very important and one of the most bumpy/bouncy/stormy stage to be crossed. There is relative calm before and after this stage but this stage is really choppy waters and troubles devotees most. This is a very important milestone in our spiritual journey and we must make all endeavour to cross it, it won’t happen `automatically’.
Srila Prabhupada wrote in the purport of CC madhya-lila 23.13: “Srila Bhaktivinoda Thaura summarizes this growth of love of Godhead as a gradual process. A person becomes interested in devotional service by some good fortune. Eventually he becomes interested in pure devotional service without material contamination. At that point, a person wants to associate with devotees. As a result of this association, he becomes more and more interested in discharging devotional service and hearing and chanting. The more one is interested in hearing and chanting, the more he is purified of material contamination. Liberation from material contamination is called anartha-nivrtti, indicating a diminishing of all unwanted things. This is the test of development in devotional service….. When one is freed from all material contamination, his firm faith awakens in devotional service. When firm faith develops, a taste arises, and by that taste, one becomes attached to devotional service. When this attachment intensifies, the seed of love of Krsna fructifies…”
Hence, once one has passed through the stage of anartha-nivrtti one is able to advance more quickly.
Srila Visvanath Chakravarti Thakura explains that there are four types of anarthas, recognized according to their origins:
Anarthas arising from previous sin
Anarthas arising from previous pious activities
Anarthas arising from imperfectly performed bhakti
Anarthas arising from offenses in devotional service
Anarthas Arising From Previous Sinful Activities:
Anarthas arising from previous sin are the five types of klesas, or material sufferings:
A. Avidya — ignorance (mistaking impermanent to be permanent etc.)
B. Asmita — false ego (bodily identification and the tendency to only accept sense perception)
C. Raaga — attachment (the desire for material happiness and the means to achieve it)
D. Dvesa — hatred (of unhappiness and the causes of it)
E. Abhinivesa — acquired nature (absorption in bodily existence, including fear of death)
Anarthas Arising From Previous Pious Activities:
Anarthas arising from previous pious activities are attachments to the enjoyments which arise from pious action.
Anarthas Arising From The Improper Performance Of Bhakti:
Anarthas arising from improper performance of devotional service are a little more subtle, Srila Visvanath Cakravarti Thakura says that, just as, along with the main plant, many weeds grow, similarly, by the cultivation of bhakti there appears acquisition of material wealth and other facilities, worship and respect by others, a comfortable position, fame etc. By their very nature, they have the power to influence the heart of the devotee, grow in size,and cover up the main plant intended for cultivation, bhakti. (these do not include seva aparadhas).
Anarthas Arising From Offenses:
Anarthas arising from offenses in devotional service are the ten offenses against the chanting of the holy names: These are standard 10 offenses against the Holy Name, which most of us read every day before starting our rounds. I am not writing them here to save the space.
Seva aparadhas do not fit into this category, because they are normally overcome in the course of the performance of one’s devotional service, due to the potency of the devotional activities. Some example of seva aparadhas are entering the temple with shoes, not offering the arti or bhoga in time to the deities, etc.
However, if one commits seva aparadhas knowingly, that becomes the seventh offense against the chanting of the holy names.
A person who commits nama aparadha loses the mercy of the Lord in the form of His name, and therefore suffers in many ways, but if such a person humbly takes the appropriate remedial methods for his offenses (there are recommended remedies for each of the ten types) then he is able to gradually get the mercy of the name again, and his diseased condition is relieved.
The last and the most damaging aparadh is vaishanava Apradha. I will write about it in a separate blog, it commands top position in apradhas, and can even destroy our bhakti.
On a positive note this is what Srila Prabhupada writes we should do when we cross the stage of anartha-nivrtti : `By His practical activity, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu informed us how to cleanse our hearts. Once the heart is cleansed, we should invite Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa to sit down, and we should observe the festival by distributing prasādam and chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu used to teach every devotee by His personal behavior. Everyone who spreads the cult of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu accepts a similar responsibility…The Lord was very pleased with those who could cleanse the temple by taking out undesirable things accumulated within. This is called anartha-nivṛtti, cleansing the heart of all unwanted things. Thus the cleansing of the Guṇḍicā-mandira was conducted by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu to let us know how the heart should be cleansed and soothed to receive Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa and enable Him to sit within the heart without disturbance.’
All glories to Srila Visvanath Chakravarti Thakura.
All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
If the maddened elephant of Vaishnava-aparadha enters the devotional garden, the creeper of bhakti will be uprooted and all its leaves will dry up. (CC 2.19.156)
Vaishnava-aparadha' is the last in the series of blogs based onMadhurya Kadimbini’ and the seminar I heard on the same topic by HH Bhanu Maharaj. It is said that amongst all the offenses that a soul can commit, there is no offense more severe than criticism of a Vaisnava. Therefore, I decided to write a separate blog on it.
It is written in the Srimad Bhagavatam (10.74.40):
nindam bhagavatah srnvams tat-parasya janasya va
tato napaiti yah so ‘pi yaty adhah sukrtac cyutah
“One who does not leave a place where the Lord or the Vaisnavas are being criticised looses all of their sukrti (spiritual fortune) and falls down.”
One meaning of this word could be understood as Apa means against and radha means devotion; so it is an act against devotion or an act that stops devotion.
Maharaj said that though all apradhas are somewhat offensive towards the Lord yet Vaishanava apradha specifically is very damaging. Maharaj added that sinful activity is indulging in sense gratification, sinful activities are NOT directly against Krishna or directly against devotees therefore they are not harmful in the same way as Vaishanava apradha ! Sin, maharaj said, can give us suffering in terms of karma but it doesn’t necessarily destroy bhakti where as Vaishanava apradha can do that because they are directly against bhakti, against supreme Lord and against His devotees. So apradha have devotional effect, they harm our faith whereas when we indulge in sense gratification it doesn’t necessarily decrease whatever faith we have attained. So of the two apradha is more harmful than sinful activities because it is directly against devotional items !
Maharaj said they such apradha may slow down our process of bhakti if we do it inadvertently or by accidents rather than deliberately. But When the attitude becomes hostile then it becomes apradha with capital A. Which is very destructive. It will not only slow down our bhakti but can also destroy bhakti. Hostility towards Vaishanava becomes quite destructive and it is very harmful. Maharaj quoted Caitanya Mahāprabhu `this apradha is like a mad elephant which can wipe out bhakti‘. I realised that as devotee I am much more careful toward committing any sinful activity than towards committing Vaishanava apradha hence hearing Maharaj was an eye opener for me. Maharaj said something we accrued from 20 lifetimes and get the faith (via ajnata sukriti) can go away very quickly, then we may have to start again from another 20 lifetimes !!
Maharaj explained that one of the reasons for such sever reaction is because Supreme Lord is very affectionate towards His devotees and gives away Himself to His devotees and it is He who empowers His devotee to be able to preach. Maharaj added that we may not be able to see Krishna directly but through His devotees we can get Him and His mercy. Krishna gives them the shakti to preach. Maharaj said we can take the example of a powerhouse, we may not be able to see voltage in a powerhouse but can see the light bulb glowing. Similarly we may not be able to see Krishna’s mercy directly but can receive it via His devotee.
I was later browsing through Caitanya Bhagavat reading the episode of Jagai and Madhai on Nityananada Troyodasi. Though I have heard this pastime many a times still I read it repeatedly as it somehow gives me a solace that I too have similar eligibility' of receiving Nityananda Prabhu's mercy and this particular episode is described in a very detailed manner in Caitanya Bhagavat. But this time I was was shocked to read it and my so calledeligibility’ too evaporated as I read the below lines carefully
`Although they committed every conceivable sin, they were still free from offence against Vaishanavas. They were just always intoxicated and had had no opportunity to criticise vaishnava (CB 1.2). This supplements what HH Bhanu Maharaj said that sinful activities means karmic reaction whereas Vaishanava apradha can even destroy our bhakti. A chill went down my spine as I read the above line multiple times. I don’t know if I can even count as to how many times I would have criticised Vaishanavas in my so called spiritual journey.
I flipped through pages and also coincidentally read another pastime in Caitanya Bhagavat where the incident about Lord Brahma’s son, Marici’s, six sons. Once, very surprisingly, Brahma was struck by Cupid’s arrow. Blinded with lust he chased his own daughter. The six young boys began to smirk and laugh seeing this scene, and this caused them to fall down instantly from their godly positions. Because they had ridiculed a great personality, they had to take birth in the family of the vicious demon, Hiranyakasipu, who had avowed to live by the sword and put everyone into subjugation. During the fight between the demigods and the demons, Indra vanquished these six with his powerful thunderbolt weapon. They died after much torment. Yogamaya then arranged for them one by one to be born as Mother Devaki’s sons.
Lord said Take heed, O Bali Maharaja, The consequences of ridiculing a devotee of the Lord are very severe. Even perfected yogis suffer heavily if they disrespect a Vaishnava, what to mention about lesser humans. A Vaishnava offender has to pay a heavy price life after life. <strong>I am delving on this subject for your benefit so you may learn from this and never insult a Vaishnava</strong>. If a person worships Me and chants My name, but offends a Vaishnava, he has to suffer severe setbacks in his devotional life. And as for those who love and respect My devotees, I make Myself easily available to them.' In the scriptures it says,There may exist some doubt about the success in attaining perfection by serving the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but there is no doubt whatsoever in achieving perfection by serving the pure devotees of the Supreme Lord'(Varaha Purana). Further, in another place it states, `Those who only worship Lord Govinda, Krishna, but do not worship and serve the Lord’s devotees, are highly insolent. They never receive the Lord’s blessings.’ Dear Bali, you are dear to Me and you are My servitor, hence I have revealed these esoteric meanings of the scriptures to you.”
In the end I will quote a letter Srila Prabhupada wrote to Gopala Krsna (He could be HH Gopala Krishna Goswami Maharaj but I am not sure) (April 21, 1970) `You are always alert to see whether you are committing some offense. This is a very nice attitude. In rendering service to Lord Krsna and His representative, the Spiritual Master, we should always maintain this fearful attitude which means careful attention. This attitude will advance you progressively in Krsna consciousness.’
I will pray for all the readers to Lord today to kindly save us from committing this most dangerous apradha. After writing this blog I too feel inspired (and fearful) to add it in my daily morning prayers, to beg the Lord to save me from committing Vaishanava apradha.
And if we overcome this offence then Caitanya Mahāprabhu declares that
I will personally deliver anyone who avoids criticizing others and once chants ‘Krsna! I vow that this is the truth.
All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
P.s. : I beg readers to kindly point any mistakes in myblogs. I was ashamed but very thankful to be pointed out by a merciful devotee that I wrote There is a soul inside my body' as the title of my recent blog. The incorrect title could have meant thatI am a body and there is soul inside me’. Thank you so much for pointing it to me Anand prabhuji, I’ve corrected the mistake. This shows that one need some bit of intelligence to do even simple `cut & paste’ job which I don’t seem to have developed inside my puny brain.
A very happy Nityananand Trayodasi to all the readers, I prayed to Lord Nityanananda for everyone today.
These days I am listening to multiple seminars on Sri Brahma Samhita by senior Vaishanavas. Listening to them is indeed a high point in my tiny devotional life so to speak, most surprisingly they match with whatever I am reading in Srimad Bhagavatam currently (canto 3). So many verses and their purports in Srimad Bhagavatam, and more so in Brahma Samhita, which I could not understand at all earlier, I can now appreciate them a little now. Brahma Samhita is indeed very profound, that’s the reason that it is sometimes said that the summary of all the vedas is in Vedanta Sutra and Srimad Bhagavatam is the natural commentary on Vedanta Sutras and Brahma Samhita is the summary of Srimad Bhagavatam ! It is a wonderful book.
While listening to these lectures on Brahma Samhita sometimes my mind and intelligence gets quite tired, specially after an hour or more of continuous listening of these heavy lectures gets too much for my puny mind and intelligence but still one part with in me wants me to keep on hearing it ! It was an astonishing realisation as it told me that there is something more of me than my mind, senses and intelligence…. soul. It was a unique experience, I never analysed like this ever before. So now when I read shastra my conviction is bit more strong.
I am ending the blog with a beautiful song called `Nagara Kirtana Song’ which Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura wrote and devotees sang today in the temple.
Nityananda Mahajana so mercifully opened a marketplace in Nadiya-Godruma for the welfare of the suffering souls. In that market place only the Holy Name is traded.
What is the price? sraddhavana jana he! sraddhavana jana he! Those who have faith in the Holy Name. This is the price! Faith! Sri Nityananda Prabhu requests the faithful persons, those who have developed faith in the Holy Name, to come and take it! Sri Nityananda Prabhu says, by the order of Lord Gauranga, O brothers, I beg these three requests of you: Chant “Krsna!”, worship Krsna, and teach others about Krsna.
Being careful to remain free of offenses; just take the holy name of Lord Krsna. Krsna is your mother, Krsna is your father, and Krsna is the treasure of your life.
Give up all your bad dealings, habits, and behavior and enter into krsna-samsara. The only relationship is with Sri Krishna, establish yourself in that relationship. Shower mercy on all the jivas seeing them as Sri Krishna’s and completely surrender unto the Holy Name of Sri Krishna. This is the essence of all dharma.
All glories to Nityananda Trayodasi.
All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.