Heart of a Vaishnava revealed

Hare Krishna Dear devotees,

We often read and hear, how being a devotee, our heart should be soft, full of humility and compassion for others. Sometime we are not even sure where to draw the final line as there are different instructions for devotees at different levels of consciousness. We do not even know what is true humility and many a times wonder how a pure Vaishnava thinks, what are his emotions and how does he acts?  

Caitanya Mahaprabhu quoted the below verse, from Mahabharat, to a brahmana during his visit to Mathura

tarko ’pratiṣṭha śrutayo vibhinnā
n
āsāv ṛṣir yasya mata na bhinnam
dharmasya tattva
nihita guhāyāṁ
mah
ājano yena gata sa panthāḥ

‘Dry arguments are inconclusive. A great personality whose opinion does not differ from others is not considered a great sage. Simply by studying the Vedas, which are variegated, one cannot come to the right path by which religious principles are understood. The solid truth of religious principles is hidden in the heart of an unadulterated, self-realized person. Consequently, as the śāstras confirm, one should accept whatever progressive path the mahājanas advocate.’

(CC Madhya 17.186)

There have been innumerable great devotees whose example we can take, Srimad Bhagavatam also mentions names of 12 mahajans. So which mahajan should we look up to?

Interestingly, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has stated that for us,  Gaudia Vaishnava , the followers of Mahaprabhu are the modern mahajans. We should follow them.  He writes :

The åñis and mahätmäs who have taught conduct before the appearance of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu are counted among the previous mahäjanas. The conduct seen in the mahäjanas after the appearance of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is the conduct of later mahäjanas. The conduct of the later mahäjanas is superior and should be adopted. The conduct of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His followers is meant to teach people, so that conduct should be followed in all respects.

So let us hear about the thinking, feeling and acting of one of such mahajans, Srila Haridas Thakur, whom Caitanya Mahaprabhu declared to be Namacharya of our sampradaya. So he is definitely qualified to be one of modern mahajans. Let us find about the condition of his heart from Caitanya Bhagavat, may be we feel inspired to have a re-look at our own heart. 

Background

Srila Haridas Thakur was born in a muslim family in a village called Buron, and because of his presence there, many people became purified and took up the chanting of the holy name. After some years he left his village and travelled to a place near the river Ganga. He finally settled in the village of Phulia near Santipura.

He  passed his time wandering on the banks of the Ganga chanting the name of the Supreme Lord Krishna. It was common to see him dancing while he sang the glories of Lord Krishna’s name. People would gather around him just to see the unrestricted tears of love of Godhead that flowed profusely from his eyes, drenching his entire body. Even the strictest atheists marvelled at his behaviour.

The Circumstances

The local Qazi became envious of Haridas Thakur’s popularity and reported to the Nawab, “This man is acting like a Hindu; arrest him and punish him appropriately.” Thus Haridas Thakura was arrested.

In the court he was accused of practicing Hindu religion despite being a muslim. When Srila Haridas Thakur replied that God is one and the difference between Hindu God and Muslim God is in Name only, he was sentenced by the Nawab to be lashed in 22 market places until he dies.  

He was then dragged by the soldiers from one market place  to another, lashing him mercilessly. By the grace of Lord Krishna, Haridasa felt little pain in his body. Just like Prahlada in the Srimad Bhagavatam who was tortured by demons, Haridas never suffered at all. Not only was Haridas freed from his pain, whoever remembers this story of Srila Haridas will also be saved from the miseries of life. Throughout his ordeal, Haridasa’s one emotion was pity for the sentries. “O Lord Krishna, please be merciful upon these poor souls so they may not be punished because of me.”

(What would be our reaction if  someone were to give us a humiliating public chastisement, or God forbid, a tight slap, for no fault of ours?) 

What Krishna will not do for His pure devotee !

During Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s mahaprakash pastime, He called for Haridas Thakur and shared that when Haridas Thakur was being beaten how Lord wanted to kill all the soldiers but He could not do so because Haridas Thakur himself was praying for those very soldiers!

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu revealed:

I hesitated in My heart to punish them for it will disturb you, knowing your compassionate nature.

My Sudarsan disc weapon was rendered impotent. I could not strike those men because you were determined to forgive them and so unable to see your misery I protected you from their lashes by placing My back on your back.

“I accepted all those lashes meant for you on My back, see the marks on my back.

Haridas Thakur’s glorification of Mahaprabhu

When Haridas heard about the Lord’s magnanimous deed he fell swooning to the ground. He lost all external consciousness and was immersed in an ocean of ecstasy.

Thakura Haridas said, “O Lord Visvambhara! You are the Lord and Protector of the Universe, now the responsibility of delivering a lowly fallen wretch like me rests on You, My Lord. How can I describe Your transcendental glories as I do not possess any good qualifications, I am sinful, and I am not even within the Vedic society.

(We all have many demoniac propensities but how do we see ourselves in the mirror every day?)

Just seeing me makes a person vulnerable to sin, and touching me makes one so contaminated that he must bath immediately; how can I say anything about Your divine pastimes?

(Whereas our mere touch or at least our power of speech is capable to turn any non-devotee into a devotee, God’s gift to mankind, only if others were to follow my instructions, or better, hear my pastimes!)

There is one fact that You yourself have stated, anyone remembering your lotus feet, be he an insignificant and fallen as an insect, is never forsaken by You. Whereas even a mighty king falls from grace if he disregards Your lotus feet. I am incapable of remembering You although I know you shelter the most impoverished soul if he simply remembers You.

(Remember Haridas Thakur would daily chant 300,000 names or 192 rounds every day. What most of us chant in 12 days!)

The evil Duryodhana and Suhsasana dragged the righteous Draupadi into the palace court wanting to disrobe her. Confronted with the danger of disgrace she remembered You, Krishna. And because of this You made her sari endlessly long by Your mystic potency. Yet the evil doers could not perceive Your hand in this.

I am so sinful that I cannot remember such a magnanimous Personality as You; O Lord! please therefore give me shelter at Your lotus feet.

The demon Hiranyakasipu inflicted all varieties of treachery and brutal methods trying to kill Prahlad like poisoning, hurling down from the mountain, throwing in boiling cauldron of oil etc. Yet throughout his tribulations Prahlad meditated upon Your lotus feet and was saved from each and every calmity. In this way You humbled many of his enemies and took away all their vitality and strength: finally You appeared in Person due to Prahlad’s meditation.

Once the five Pandavas were in grave dilemma fearing the wrath of Durvasa Muni, but by remembering You, You appeared personally and saved them. You calmed Yudhisthira Maharaja with your assuring words, see I am already here, you just sit down and relax and I will take care of Durvasa Muni and his army of disciples.”

Only the shred of vegetable left stuck to the side of the pot after the Pandavas had eaten was taken by; Lord Krishna relishing the thought of coming to His devotees aid. The sage with his disciples meanwhile bathing in the river suddenly felt full in the belly like having eaten a sumptuous meal” ashamed and tearful they fled.

The miraculous benefits of remembering Your lotus feet was amply demonstrated by the Pandavas in this incident. The path of true devotion for everyone is to remember You; You perform Your super excellent activities to rescue Your devotees.

(My own pastimes spontaneously start floating in my mind when I am chanting, for some strange reason happenings in my own life seems to be more interesting then Krishna’s pastimes)

“O Lord! I am such a destitute that I do not even possess the sweetness of Your memory and yet You have not forsaken me. Although I am unfit to see You, You are present before me in person. I am praying to You now for only one benediction.”

(Why is Krishna taking so much time to reciprocate? I am almost ready to join the boys!)

Lord Chaitanya replied, “Say all that you want to say, there is nothing that I do not want to give you.

Haridas spoke to the Lord with folded hands, “O Lord, I have known only misfortune yet You give me so much hope. Just allow me to partake of the remnant of foodstuffs of Your devotees totally surrendered to Your lotus feet. Let this activity be my permanent and most prominent service life after life. My sinful birth and existence is miserable, without remembering You, but now please make my life successful by granting me the remnant of Your servitors.

(What! Not to become a gopi? Not even a gopa or even a simple servant of Krishna. We can close our eyes and consider what will be our reply if Krishna decides to manifest in front of us and says ‘Ask Me anything you may desire’)

I feel within my heart that I have committed a grave offense by asking of You to situate a elevated status of that of a Vaishnava, although I am grossly unfit.

( He is considering it an offense that he even asked or desired to come to the level of a Vaishnava!)

O Lord! my master, Protector and the maintainer of the entire creation, I am spiritually lifeless, therefore kindly forgive my ignorance.

(After joining ISKCON I have gathered so much information!)

O Lord Visvambhara, the beautiful son of Mother Saci, You are my master, so be merciful to me and keep me as a dog in the house of a Vaishnava.”

( Not even a cow ! who is at least tied within the boundary of the home. A dog is not even allowed inside a cultured Vaishnava’s home)

Haridas Thakur was overwhelmed by feeling of ecstatic devotional emotions and he repeatedly petitioned the Lord, his desire for humility and devotional service unfulfilled.

( We are feeling morose simply by reading what all is Haridas Thakur requesting from Mahaprabhu!)

Caitanya Mahaprabhu reveals His heart

Lord Chaitanya replied, “Listen My dear Haridas, you are a highly elevated Vaishnava, if anyone spends a day in your services and association or you kindly speak to someone for a short time, that person certainly achieves Me, there is no doubt about this. Whoever respects and serves you does so to Me also, for I perpetually reside within you.

As my servitor Your position is unique, you have therefore imprisoned Me within your heart eternally. I bless you that since you are crowned already with a faultless character that you will always continue to worship and serve Me and My devotees without a single deviation or offense.”

A tumultuous sound of joy from the Vaishnavas greeted Lord Chaitanya’s boon to Haridas Thakur. High birth, caste, fruitive activities or wealth are worthless commodities to achieve love of Godhead only the intense loving desire for Krishna can bring one to the lotus feet of Krishna.

Where do I go from here, I definitely have a long way to go!

In the spiritual matters there is no loss or anything disheartening everything has a positive outcome. Please rejoice as we read below the benediction of just hearing the above chapter from Caitanya Bhagavat, Madhya Lila, chapter 10.

One who hears this pastime of the Lord and Haridas Thakur with proper faith will certainly enjoy the fruit of Lord Krishna prema. These words are not my concoction but the bold declarations of all scriptures. One is sure to experience the bliss of devotional service to Lord Krishna if one hears the transcendental activities of the pure devotees of the Supreme Lord. All glories to Haridas Thakur, a giant amongst the Vaishnavas, remembering him one is freed from all sinful reactions.

Where to read: ISKCONDESIRETREE E BOOK

Where to hear :  Audio book format in Android mobile app

Now it is upon us to see whether we even have a desire to enjoy the fruit of Krishna prema or not!

 

All glories to heart of a Vaishnava.

All glories to Srila Haridas Thakur.

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

 

Your servant,

Giriraj dasa

Caitanya Mahaprabhu

Hare Krishna dear devotees,

Today is the most auspicious Gaura Purnima, appearance day of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabu.

Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita 4.9

janma karma ca me divyam evaṁ yo vetti tattvataḥ
tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti mām eti so ’rjuna

One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna.

So Krishna is saying that if we know Krishna, or His actions, in tattva then we will not take birth again. The dictionary meaning of tattva is ‘principle’, ‘reality’ or ‘truth’.  It sounds too simple but it is a very deep topic. Those who do get to understand Krishna in tattva their life completely changes, their consciousness and the very purpose of being will change. As this has not happened to many of us, specially true for my own poor self, that would imply that we do not know Krishna in tattva. That is why Srimad Bhagavatam first introduces all the incarnations so that step by step we will reach towards Krishna and then understand His position, His pastimes in tattva. Now if this is true for Krishna then we can understand how difficult it is to understand the position of Mahaprabhu. He is described as a ‘channa avatara’, hidden incarnation, in the scriptures. But if we do become fortunate to understand Mahaprabhu in tattva then as per the above Bhagavad Gita verse we will not take a birth again because there is no difference between Krishna and Mahaprabhu.

So in this auspicious day I am sharing some part of ‘Gaura Tattva’ from a book called Gaudiya Kanthahar which is a compilation of choicest verses from various Upanishad, puranas, Mahabharat, etc. on topics like Guru tattva, Krishna tattva, jiva tattva , maya tattva, etc,  by Sri Atinddriya Das Adhikari a disciple of Srila Bhaktisidhanta Saraswati Thakura. His compilation was mainly from the writings of his guru maharaj  Srila Bhaktisidhanta Saraswati Thakura, who, when presented with this book, was extremely pleased with this compilation. I hope this will nurture our devotional life and help us understand Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in tattva.

Gaura-tattva

The Evidence From Sruti for Lord Caitanya

mahan-prabhur vai purusah sattvasyesa pravarttakah

surnimalam imam santimisano jyotiravyah

The Personality of Godhead, Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, is brilliantly effulgent and imperishable like molten gold. He is the Supreme Controller. He controls the mode of goodness and through saokirtana bestows spiritual intelligence on the living beings. In the guise of a sannyasi, He is the source of spiritual purity and of liberation. He is therefore known as “Mahaprabhu”. (Svetasvatara Upanisad 3.12)

yada pasyah pasyate rukma-varnam kartaram isam purusam brahma-yonim

tada vidyan punya-pape vidhuya niranjanah paramam samyam upaiti

When one realizes the golden form of Lord Gauranga, who is the ultimate actor and the source of the Supreme Brahman, he attains the highest knowledge. He transcends both pious and impious activities, becomes free from worldly bondage, and enters the divine abode of the Lord. (Mundaka Upanisad 3.3)

Evidence From Bhagavatam for Lord Caitanya

 krishna-varnam tvisakrishnam sangopangastra-parsadam

yajnaih saokirtana-prayair yajanti hi su-medhasah

In the age of Kali, Krishna appears in a golden form, chanting the two syllables krs-na. He descends along with His weapons, limbs, saktis, and eternal confidential associates. Those with intelligence worship Him with the saokirtana yajna. (Bhag. 11.5.32)

‘krishna’ ei dui varna sada yaora mukhe athava, krishnake tioho varne nija sukhe.

krishna-varna-sabdera artha dui ta pramana krishna vinu taora mukhe nahi aise ana.

deha-kantye haya teoho akrishna-varana akrishna-varane kahe pita-varana.

The two syllables krs-na are always in His mouth, or He always describes Krishna with great pleasure. These are two meanings of the words “krishna varna.” Indeed, nothing but Krishna issues from His mouth. If someone tries to describe Him as blackish, the next adjective, tvisakrishnam, immediately restricts him. His complexion is certainly not blackish. Indeed, His not being blackish indicates a golden complexion. (Cc. Adi 3.54,55,57)

asan varnas trayo hy asya grhnato ‘nuyugam tanuh

suklo raktas tatha pita idanim krishnatam gatah

This boy, Krishna, has three other colors: white; red, and yellow, as He appears in different ages. Now, in this Dvapara-yuga, he has appeared in a transcendental blackish color. (Bhag. 10.8.13)

 

ittham nr-tiryag-rsi-deva-jhasavatarair lokan vibhavayasi hamsi jagat-pratipan

dharmam maha-purusa pasi yuganuvrttam channah kalau yad abhavas tri-yugo ‘tha sa tvam

 [Prahlada said] O Krishna, in this way You appear in various incarnations: as a human being, an animal, a great saint, a demigod, a fish, or a tortoise, thus maintaining the entire creation in different planetary systems. In this way, according to the age, You protect the principles of religion, but, O Mahaprabhu, in the age of Kali, You do not assert Yourself as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Because Your incarnation is hidden in the age of Kali You are known as Triyuga, or the Lord who manifests His supremacy in only three ages. (Bhag. 7.9.38)

Evidence From Mahabharata for Shri Caitanya

suvarna-varno hemango varangas-candanangadi

sannyasa-krcchamah santo nistha-santi-parayanah

When Krishna appears as Lord Gauranga, in His early pastimes His complexion is golden (suvarna-varna), His limbs are the color of molten white gold (hemanga), His body is extremely beautiful (varangas), and He is decorated with sandalwood pulp (candanangadi). Shri Caitanya accepts sannyasa (sannyasa-krt), and shows equanimity (sama). He is peaceful (santa). His mind is always fixed on Krishna, and thus He is nistha, or fixed, in performing the great sacrifice of the holy name of Krishna. He silences the non-devotees and impersonalists who are opposed to the service of the Lord, by promoting the cause of devotion. Thus He distributes real peace. He is therefore an abode of the highest spiritual peace and devotion. (Mahabharata, Dan-dharma ch.149)

 

The Version of the Gosvamis

antah krishnam bahir-gauram darsitangadi-vaibhavam

kalau saokirtanadyaih smah krishna-Caitanyam-ashritah

I take shelter of Shri Krishna Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who is Krishna Himself, thinking of Himself. He is internally Krishna blackish but externally, he appears in golden complexion. In this age of Kali, Krishna appears as Krishna Caitanya, simultaneously manifesting His eternal associates, opulences, expansions, and incarnations. In this way, he preaches the process of Krishna consciousness by performing saokirtana. (Tattva-sandarbha 2)

 

Sri Gauranga is the Source of all Avataras

sutiya acchinu ksira-sagara-bhitare

mora nidra bhanga haila nadara huokare

[While sitting on the altar of Vishnu in the house of Shrivasa, Lord Caitanya said] Lying within the ocean of milk, My transcendental slumber broke, as I awoke to hear the loud cries of My devotees, thus I [Lord Vishnu] have come [as Lord Caitanya]. (Cb. Madhya 22.16)

 

Lord Caitanya’s sixfold Nature

sakala vaishnava, suna kari’ eka-mana Caitanya-krsnera sastra-mata-nirupana.

krishna, guru, bhakta, sakti avatara, prakasa krishna ei chaya-rupe karena vilasa

I advise all my Vaishnava readers to read and hear with rapt attention this narration of the pastimes of Lord Krishna Caitanya as inculcated in the revealed scriptures. Lord Krishna enjoys His pastimes by manifesting Himself as the spiritual masters (guru), His devotees (bhakta), His diverse energies (sakti), His incarnations (avataras) and His full expansions (prakasa). (Cc. Adi 1.31,32)

 

Lord Caitanya is the Jagad-guru

caudda bhuvanera guru Caitanya-gosani

taora guru anya, ei kona sastre nai

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is the jagad-guru, the spiritual master of the fourteen worlds. No other guru can compare with Him. (Cc. Adi 12.16)

 

Lord Gauranga is the Best of all

saundarye kama-kotih sakala-jana samahladane candrakotir

vatsalye matrkotis tridasavitapinam kotir audarya-sare

gambhirye ‘mbodhi-kotir madhurimani sudha-ksira-maddhavihvika-kotir

gaurodevah sa jiyat pranaya-rasapade darsitascarya-kotih

Caitanya Mahaprabhu is lovelier than millions of cupids. He is mellower than millions of moons, dearer than millions of mothers, kinder than millions of wish-fulfilling trees, deeper than millions of oceans, and sweeter than millions of nectarean drinks. All glories to Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the Supreme Lord, who displays millions of amazing sentiments of madhurya-bhakti, the most exalted mellow of pure love of Godhead. (Caitanya Candramrta 101)

 

Gauranga’s Tattva, Nama, Rupa, and Lila

namo maha-vadanyaya krishna-prema-pradaya te

krishnaya krishna-Caitanya-namne gaura-tvise namah

His nature (tattva) is that He is Krishna Himself. His name (nama) is Krishna Caitanya. His form (rupa) is golden. His quality (guna) is that He is the most magnanimous of all incarnations. His pastime (lila) is to distribute the highest love of Godhead krishna-prema. I offer my obeisances unto that most generous Lord, Shri Krishna Caitanya Mahaprabhu. (Cc. Madhya 19.53)

 

Gauranga Delivers All by Distributing Nama

saokirtana-pravartaka shri-krishna-Caitanya saokirtana-yajne taore bhaje, sei dhanya.

sei ta’ sumedha, ara kubuddhi samsara sarva-yajna haite krishna-nama-yajna sara

Caitanya Mahaprabhu inaugurated the saokirtana movement. One who worships Him through saokirtana is fortunate indeed. Such a person is truly intelligent, whereas others, who have but a poor fund of knowledge, must endure the cycle of repeated birth and death. Of all sacrificial performances, the chanting of the Lord’s holy name is the most sublime. (Cc. Adi 3.77,78)

Gauranga is the Giver of Krishna-prema

uchalila prema-vanya caudike vedaya stri, vrddha, balaka, yuva, sabare duvaya.

saj-jana, dur-jana, pangu, jada, andha-gana prema-vanyaya dubaila jagatera jana

The flood of love of Godhead distributed by Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu swelled in all directions. Young men, old men, women, and children were all immersed in that inundation. The Krishna consciousness movement begun by Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu will inundate the entire world and drown everyone, whether one be a gentleman, rogue, lame, invalid, or blind. (Cc. Adi 7.25,26)

patrapatra-vicara nahi, nahi sthanasthana yei yanha paya, taoha kare prema-dana

lutiya, khaiya, diya, bhandara ujade ascarya bhandara, prema sata-guna bade

In distributing love of Godhead, Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His associates did not consider who was fit and who was unfit, nor where such distribution should or should not take place. They made no such conditions. Rather, wherever they got the opportunity, the members of the Panca-tattva distributed love of Godhead. Although they plundered the storehouse of love of Godhead, ate and distributed its contents, there was no scarcity, for this wonderful storehouse is so complete that as the love is distributed, the supply increases hundreds of times. (Cc. Adi 7.23,24)

 

One can Know the Conclusion of Scripture by Shri Gauranga’s Mercy

shri-Caitanya-prabhum vande balo ‘pi yad-anugrahat

taren nana-mata-graha-vyaptam siddhanta-sagaram

I offer my obeisances unto Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, by whose mercy even an ignorant child can swim across the ocean of conclusive truth, which is filled with the crocodiles of various theories. (Cc. Adi 2.1)

 

Lord Gauranga’s Preaching Pastimes

sannyasi pandita-ganera karite garva nasa

nica-sudra-dvara karena dharmera prakasa.

‘bhakti’, ‘ prema’, ‘tattva’ kahe raye kari’ ‘vakta’

apani pradyumna-misra-saha haya ‘srota’.

haridasa-dvara nama-mahatmya-prakasa

sanatana-dvara bhakti-siddhanta-vilasa.

shri-rupa-dvara vrajera prema-rasa-lila

ke bujhite pare gambhira caitanyera khela?

To vanquish the false pride of so-called sannyasis and learned scholars, He spread real religious principles, even through a sudra. Lord Caitanya preached about devotional service, ecstatic love, and the Absolute Truth by making Ramananda Raya, a grhastha from a low family, the speaker. Then the Lord, an exalted brahmana sannyasi, and Pradyumna Misra, the purified brahmana, both heard from Ramananda Raya. The Lord exhibited the glories of the holy name of Krishna through Haridasa Thakura, who was born in a Muslim family. Similarly, He exhibited the essence of devotional service through Sanatana Gosvami, who was almost converted to Islam. The Lord also fully exhibited the ecstatic love and transcendental pastimes of Vrndavana through Shrila Rupa Gosvami. Considering all this, who can understand the deep plans of Caitanya Mahaprabhu? (Cc. Antya 5.84-87)

vraje ye vihare purve krishna-balarama koti-surya-candra jini doohara nija-dhama.

sei dui jagatere ha-iya sadaya gaudadese purva-saile karila udaya.

shri-krishna-Caitanya ara prabhu nityananda yaohara prakase sarva jagat ananda.

surya-candra hare yaiche saba andhakara vastu prakasiya kare dharmera pracara.

ei mata dui bhai jivera ajnana-tamo-nasa kari’ kaila tattva-vastu-dana.

yaohara prasade ei tamo haya nasa tamo nasa kari’ kare tattvera prakasa.

surya candra bahirera tamau se vinase bahir-vastu ghata-pata-adi se prakase.

dui bhai hrdayera ksali’ andhakara dui bhagavata-sange karana saksatkara.

Krishna and Balarama, who formerly appeared in Vrndavana and who were millions of times more effulgent than the sun and moon, have arisen over the eastern horizon of Gauda-desa, being compassionate on the fallen state of the world. The appearance of Srri Caitanya and Nityananda has surcharged the world with happiness. As the sun and moon drive away darkness and reveal the nature of everything, these two brothers dissipate the darkness of the living beings ignorance and enlighten them with knowledge of the Absolute Truth. By the grace of Sri Caitanya and Nityananda, all darkness is removed and the truth is brought to light. The sun and moon dissipate the darkness of the external world and thus reveal material reality, but these two brothers dissipate the darkness of the inner core of the heart, and thus help one to meet the two kinds of Bhagavatas. (Cc. Adi 1.85-89,95,97,98)

Shri Gauranga is Like a Lion

Caitanya-simhera nava-dvipe avatara simha-griva, simha-virya, simhera huokara

sei simha vasuk jivera hrdaya-kandare kalmasa-dvirada nase yaohara huokare

Thus the lion-like Caitanya Mahaprabhu has appeared in Navadvipa-dhama. He has the shoulders of a lion, the powers of a lion, and the loud voice of a lion. May that lion be seated in the core of the heart of every living being and with His resounding roar, may He drive away their elephantine vices. (Cc. Adi 3.30,31)

Shri Gauranga’s Eternal Reason for Appearing

anarpita-carim cirat karunayavatirnah kalau

samarpayitum unnatojjvala-rasam sva-bhakti-shriyam

harih purata-sundara-dyuti-kadamba-sandipitah

sada hrdaya-kandare sphuratu vah saci-nandana

May that Lord who is known as the son of Shrimati Sacidevi be transcendentally situated in the inner-most chambers of your heart. Resplendent with the radiance of molten gold He has appeared in the age of Kali by His causeless mercy to bestow what no incarnation ever offered before the most sublime and radiant spiritual knowledge of the mellow taste of His service. (Cc. Adi 1.4)

Lord Gauranga’s Confidential Reason for Appearing

shri-radhayah pranaya-mahima kidrso vanayaiva-

svadyo yenadbhuta-madhurima kidrso va madiyah

saukhyam casya mad-anubhavatah kidrsam veti lobhat

tad-bhavadhyah samajani saci-garbha-sindau harinduh

Desiring to understand the glory of Shrimati Radharani’s love, the wonderful qualities in Him that she alone relishes through Her love, and the happiness she feels when she realizes the sweetness of His love, Lord Hari, richly endowed with Her emotions, appears from the womb of Sacidevi as the moon appears from the ocean. (Cc. Adi 1.6)

Internally He has the Mood of Shri Radha, Externally He Preaches the Holy Name

sei radhara bhava lana Caitanyavatara

yuga-dharma nama-prema kaila paracara

Lord Caitanya appeared with the sentiments of Shri Radha. He preached the dharma of this age, the chanting of the holy name of Krishna, and pure love of Godhead (Krishna-prema). (Cc. Adi 4.220)

Gauranga Appears as His Holy Name and as His Deity

ara dui janma ei saokirtanarambhe haiba tomara putra ami avilambe

mora arca-murti mata, tumi se dharani jihvarupa tumi mata, namera janani

ei dui janma mora saokirtanarambhe dui thani tora putra rahu avilambe

[Lord Caitanya told Saci] Birth after birth you are My mother. Again, in this birth, I have come to begin the saokirtana movement, and so I have become your son. My appearance in this world is twofold: I appear as the arca-murti and as the holy name. In this way I appear upon the tongue in the form of sound, and as the Deity made from the elements drawn from the earth. In both these forms I am worshiped, and in these two features I have appeared in order to spread the saokirtana movement. (Cb. Madhya 27.47)

Gauranga’s Teachings in a Nutshell

aradhyo bhagvan brajesa-tanayas-tad-dhama vrndavanam

ramya kacid-upasana vraja-vadhu-vargena ya kalpita

shrimad-bhagavatam pramanam-amalam prema pumartho mahan

shri Caitanya mahaprabhur-matam-idam tatradaro nah parah

It is the conclusive opinion of Lord Caitanya that Shri Krishna, who is Vrajendra-nandana, is the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself, the topmost worshipable Deity; Vrndavana-dhama which is an expansion of Krishna and is nondifferent from Him is the highest worshipable abode; the gopis are the highest example of the worship of Shri Krishna; Shrimad-bhagavatam is the spotless evidence for knowing the absolute truth; krishna-prema is the fifth and highest goal of life. These are the teachings of Shri Caitanya in a nutshell. (Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura)

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Your servant,

Giriaj dasa

 

Let’s progress firmly in Krishna consciousness

Hare Krishna.

7th Feb, 2016. Vrindavana.

Radha Govind Devji Jaipur

Sambandh, abhidheya and prayojana.

“The Vedic literatures give information about the living entity’s eternal relationship with Kṛṣṇa, which is called sambandha. The living entity’s understanding of this relationship and his acting accordingly is called abhidheya. Returning home, back to Godhead, is the ultimate goal of life and is called prayojana.
 
“Devotional service, or sense activity for the satisfaction of the Lord, is called abhidheya because it can develop one’s original love of Godhead, which is the goal of life. This goal is the living entity’s topmost interest and greatest wealth. Thus one attains the platform of transcendental loving service unto the Lord.
 
“When one attains the transcendental bliss of an intimate relationship with Kṛṣṇa, he renders service to Him and tastes the mellows of Kṛṣṇa consciousness.

                                                                                                                                                          — CC Madhya 20.124-126

The whole Vedas are divided into three states. Sambandha: what is our connection with God? That is called sambandha. And then abhidheya. According to that relationship we have to act. That is called abhidheya. And why do we act? Because we have got the goal of life, to achieve the goal of life. So what is the goal of life? The goal of life is that to go back to home, back to Godhead. That is goal of life.

                                                                                                — Srila Prabhupada, Lecture, Madras, 2nd  Jan, 1976

..the Vedānta-sūtra consists of four chapters. The first two chapters discuss the relationship of the living entity with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is known as sambandha-jñāna, or knowledge of the relationship. The third chapter describes how one can act in his relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is called abhidheya-jñāna. The relationship of the living entity with the Supreme Lord is described by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu: jīvera ‘svarūpa’ haya kṛṣṇera ‘nitya-dāsa’. “The living entity is an eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme God.” (Cc. Madhya 20.108) Therefore, to act in that relationship one must perform sādhana-bhakti, or the prescribed duties of service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is called abhidheya-jñāna. The fourth chapter describes the result of such devotional service (prayojana-jñāna). This ultimate goal of life is to go back home, back to Godhead.

                                                                                                                                                              — CC Adi 7 106p

I was hearing a lecture by HH Bhakti Vidyapurna Maharaj on the same topic and Maharaj explained  these three terms in a simpler way as well the relation between them.

Sambandha : attraction, what draws the mind.
Prayojana : attachment.

Both the above are moods, they create feelings but there is no activity.

Abhidheya : This is the actual expression of the above two.

So we become attracted towards Krishna and then due to that attraction we become attached to Krishna and then we want to do something. The real meaning comes with service.

We say mind has three functions: thinking, feeling and willing.

If something is attractive we think about it,  if we are not attracted then we won’t think about it. Feeling is when we get attached to it. Then..willing.. we actually do something about it. So we see Krishna, we become attracted to Krishna then we become attached to Krishna and then we finally want to serve Krishna.

So it is in abhidheya that we understand the knowledge, contemplate on it and then practice that knowledge. It is application. How we are related to Krishna and what we want to achieve, what is it’s purpose.

Abhidheya is the most important and critical part among the three and I am sharing some nectar, which I heard in last few months, on how we, as aspiring devotees, can traverse this wonderful and exciting journey,  making it more enriching and less painful (for us and those around us!)

Who am I and what is my eternal duty?

My real identity is that I’m a servant of Krishna and my duty is to serve Krishna.

My current role as a father, mother, husband, wife, daughter, doctor, businessman, artist, etc. is the ‘service’ Krishna has given me. I have to perform all these ‘services’ but I’m none of these.

jīvera ‘svarūpa’ haya — kṛṣṇera ‘nitya-dāsa’

“It is the living entity’s constitutional position to be an eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa.”

                                                                                                                                         — CC Madhya 20 108

As aspiring devotees we  must drill it in our head that

Krishna is the controller and Krishna is the supreme enjoyer.

Hence, I am not the controller, I am not the enjoyer. (we should practice to remember this when we face challenging situations at home, and everywhere else in our life)

And I’m not even the doer. I can only desire. And Krishna may or may not fulfill all my desires, knowing well what is good for us at this stage.

More importantly, as an aspiring devotee, I should be very conscious of what are my desires ( at least my conscious desires, I have no control at our stage on my subconscious desires, but those too are are changing while I sincerely practice Krishna consciousness). I should daily read scriptures like Bhagavad Gita, Bhagavatam, Caitanya-caritāmṛta or vaishnava prayers and then note down on a piece of paper or a writing pad what should be my desires.

I should then practice to pray for these right kind of desires. It is a very nice sublime and enriching practice to speak and express such desires in front of our deities at home. It is an amazing experience. It also brings a lot of humility as we regularly (if not daily!) realise our helplessness as we fail despite our best intentions. It also acts as a catalyst for urgency and significance of  mercy from above. We realise the minuteness of everything we thought will hold us good in this world, my intelligence, my willpower, even my good intentions…

I can also practice to be more sensitive and contemplate regularly what is happening around me (my circumstances)  and then sincerely beg Srila Prabhupada and Krishna for guidance as to what I have to learn from changing, and challenging, circumstances in my life. This may help me learn without Krishna having to put a bomb under me to wake me up ! Become a conscious cooperator. And I should  be ready to ‘walk the talk’ and face any kind of ‘music’ which may crop up to get me out of my present groove.

Chanting attentively, which means trying to chant Nama conscious and Nama pleasing rounds, will ensure that I am sincerely seeking shelter of the spiritual energy of the Lord.

And in the meantime, whatever be my present ashram or situation, I have to sincerely try hard to practice the culture of Love, and not culture of lust. Every single challenge is training ground for us to progress in Krishna consciousness. I have to aspire and live the ‘madhyam’ culture in my daily life.

All this would definitely be a big struggle but this struggle for Krishna will help me develop my ‘weakened’ spiritual muscles. And this struggle is a very sweet struggle because I’m struggling for Krishna. And there is reciprocation in this struggle, it is NOT one sided, with me acting merely like a puppet. It is a dynamic relationship. It takes two to tango, ashraya and vishaya, subject and the object.

The whole journey is like a child who is learning to walk. He falls down and trips and sometimes gets hurt too. But the child remains enthusiastic, determined and endeavors hard to learn how to walk. And His parents are there to help him. The child too has the confidence that they will protect him. Yet sometimes to a child it may look cruel that even as he is trying hard to walk, the child tries to hold on to a support, struggling to even stand properly, the parent pushes that support a little further away from him. In reality the parent do that because they know it will help the child to learn to walk and gain some confidence in his own ability, even at a slight risk of child falling down on the ground and getting hurt a bit, but they are always next to the child to protect him. As a grown up, the child will always look back and be nothing but grateful to his parents for all their patience to help him walk, realising that they had no selfish interest other than his own benefit.

Same is the case of the beautiful relationship that develops between an aspiring devotee and Krishna. And it is just the beginning of the sweetest relationship a soul can ever taste.

A Note of caution. All these words may help me’understand’ it all this a bit but I will ‘realise’ it only when I practice it in my daily life, this knowledge is for application. And the best time to start practicing is… TODAY!

( As we struggle to implement all the above steps in our life it might be good idea to take shelter of Srila Rupa Goswami (by praying to him, reading his books & going to his samadhi) and praying to Sri Govind Devji (picture above), our acharaya and Deity of abhideya respectively)

Here is a short video of one of the most sweet mangal artis I have ever attended, at Radha Govind Devji temple, Jaipur.

Radhe Govind… Bhajo Radhe Govind, Paar Lagaa Dey Govind,

Jay Sri Radhe Krishna, pyaare Krishna…

राधे गोविन्द  भजो राधे गोविन्द  पार लगादे गोविन्द !!

जय श्री राधे कृष्णा प्यारे कृष्णा…

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

Power of prayer.

Hare Krishna.

25th December, 2015. Gurgaon

Pray to Krishna

It is simply amazing what incredible result our simple prayers can produce. We need nothing but a sincere cry from our heart. Let me share a recent experience.

I was fortunate to get the association of a very senior devotee sometime back. After meeting this devotee a couple of times my heart longed to get some opportunity to serve this amazing devotee. There didn’t seem to be any chance for me as the needs of this particular devotee are very few and on top of that this devotee is being served very well by a set of senior devotees. Still, I would pray regularly for some chance of service.

Few days back, after some gap, I again got an opportunity to meet this devotee. Before leaving home I prayed with all my heart in front of my altar, begging Lord to grant me some opportunity to serve this amazing devotee. I have Jagannath and Gopal deities at home and I literally rubbed my nose on the ground praying to Them.  The chances, as I mentioned, were bleak if not nil, still the desire in my heart to serve this devotee remained very strong, in fact it only grew stronger with the passage of time.

So I met this devotee and after our meeting was over, this devotee asked a senior devotee and myself to stay back for 5 minutes. As everyone left and the words came out of the mouth this devotee my jaw dropped! I was getting a service!! And that too a service which I could not even dream about! This devotee was observing my face and asked me why I suddenly have this strange look on my face. I shared how I have been praying to get some service and today I prayed with a little more heart and here I am receiving one! It was nothing short of a miracle for me. I was over the moon, I thought I had suddenly developed two wings!

The point I wish to emphasize here is that our prayers to Lord have huge potency. The power is not in us but it is in the prayer itself. So many times we hear devotees say ‘Prabhuji please pray for me’, the point is how much we are praying for our own self? We should not think that other devotee’s prayers have more power ( they have their own place) so let me request others where as Krishna will not hear my own prayers. This is not the case.

It doesn’t matter whether we are a neophyte or a senior devotee, initiated or not initiated, what matters is the sincerity of our prayer. Looking at my own self I would even dare add that even a contaminated heart is no disqualification, rather by the mercy of Gaura Nitai, this very disqualification has become our qualification to seek mercy from the Supreme Lord.

I will share another experience. During the recent Kartik, at one of the home programs I would stress the need to pray almost in every single class. Then after Kartik I requested all the devotees to share their experience of Kartik. One devotee, who attends all the classes diligently, shared how his chanting actually went down during this period, I was very surprised. Then I asked the Prabhuji did he pray before or even during the Kartik to help him chant better or help him overcome whatever challenge he was facing due to which he could not get time to chant, the reply … No.

This is our condition, rather this is my own condition, and not some just some ordinary condition but an unfortunate condition.

durdaivam idrisham ihajani nanuragaha

Lord, and His devotees, have given us so many ways to approach and seek help yet I am so unfortunate that I do not have time to pray and seek their intervention. Actually my condition is very fortunate because having come into Krishna consciousness there are so many means and methods but I am myself making my condition unfortunate by ignoring most of them.

As I looked back I could suddenly see so many means by which Krishna, and His devotees, are willing to help me but I am so unfortunate that I am completely blind to them. In my case, many a times, I am even uttering these prayers or verses but with no understanding or heart in it, this is my ‘durdaivam’.

I am copying some examples, which come to my mind right now, and the benedictions associated with them in Q&A format, along with the reference, from which everyone take benefit.

1. Do I have a desire to attain eternal residence in Vrindavan?

Daily recite Sri Vrinda-devi Ashtakam to Tulasi Maharani

Whoever hears or recites these eight prayers in glorification of Sri Vrinda Devi, becoming just like a bumble bee that is always anxious to taste the sweet nectarine lotus feet of the Divine Couple (the Lords of Vrindavan) – such a person verily attains eternal residence in Vrindavan. Having finally achieved the supreme goal of life, one thus remains situated in the ecstatic loving service of the Divine Couple Sri Sri Radha- Madhava.                                                                                                                                            —  Vrindashtakam verse 9

2. Do I have a desire to realise what is Love of God?

Read chapter 23 of CC Madhya lila regularly.

Whoever hears these instructions given to Sanātana Gosvāmī by the Lord comes very soon to realize love of God, Kṛṣṇa.                                                                       — verse 126 CC Madhya 23

3. Am I facing obstacles on the path of bhakti?

Take shelter of the six goswamis (and by sincerely reading Sri Shad Gosvamy Ashtaka daily).

ei chay gosai kori carana vandan  

jaha hoite bighna-nas abhista-puran

(I offer my obeisances to the feet of these six Gosvamis. By offering them obeisances all obstacles to devotion are destroyed and spiritual desires are fulfilled)

4. Do I have a sincere desire to understand the confidential truth of Sri Caitnaya Mahaprabhu?

Read chapter 8 of CC madhya lila regularly.

 The author requests every reader to hear these talks with faith and without argument. By studying them in this way, one will be able to understand the confidential truth of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. 

                                                                                                                     — verse 308 CC Madhya lila chapter 8 

5. Do I even have a remote desire to one day serve Sri Radha Krishna directly? 

Here is one clue:

These eleven excellent instructions to the mind grant all spiritual benedictions. A person who stays with the devotees, follows Shrila Rupa Gosvami, and with a sweet voice loudly sings these eleven verses will attain the matchless jewel of direct service to Shri Shri Radha-Krishna in the forest of Gokula.  verse 12 Sri Manah Shiksha

I am sure that there are hundreds of others benedictions given by our acharayas which may be relevant to us at  different stages of our spiritual journey. What is really needed for us is to sincerely seek them, understand their essence by carefully studying them (by always taking shelter of a senior devotee) and finally serve these prayers by reciting them sincerely from our heart.

As an aspiring devotee it will be very beneficial for us if we inculcate a prayerful mood. It will produce miraculous results.

I will grateful if devotees can share their own experience of results of their own prayers to Krishna or having taken shelter of a particular prayer. I will be very happy to share it on this blog or keep it private, whatever way you may desire. Please mail them to giriraj.bcs@gmail.com

All glories to Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Top five limbs of devotional service

Hare Krishna

17th Jan, 2015, Gurgaon.

lord-chaitanyas-instruction-to-srila-sanatana-goswami

More than a year back, HH Gopal Krishna Goswami Maharaj came to ISKCON Gurgaon centre and spoke a verse from Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta which somehow slowly, yet firmly, got settled inside my heart. Maharaj instructed everyone to memorise this wonderful verse. The verse was

sādhu-saṅga, nāma-kīrtana, bhāgavata-śravaṇa
mathurā-vāsa, śrī-mūrtira śraddhāya sevana

“One should associate with devotees, chant the holy name of the Lord, hear Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, reside at Mathurā and worship the Deity with faith and veneration. (cc.madhya.22.128)

In this powerful verse from madhya lila Mahāprabhu describes the process of devotional service to Sri Sanatana Goswami. In the beginning He describes the truth about the living entity and the super excellence of devotional service. He then describes the uselessness of mental speculation and mystic yoga. In all circumstances the living entity is recommended to accept the path of devotional service as personally explained by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. The speculative method of the so-called jñānīs is considered a waste of time, and that is proved in this chapter. An intelligent person should abandon the processes of karma-kāṇḍa, jñāna-kāṇḍa and mystic yoga. There are sixty-four items listed in regulative devotional service, and out of these sixty-four the last five are considered very important.

CC Madhya 22.129: “These five limbs of devotional service are the best of all. Even a slight performance of these five awakens love for Kṛṣṇa.

Prabhupada writes the below verse from the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, in his purport

aṅgānāṁ pañcakasyāsya pūrva-vilikhitasya ca
nikhila-śraiṣṭhya-bodhāya punar apy atra śaṁsanam

The glorification of these five items [association with devotees, chanting the holy name and so on] is to make known the complete superiority of these five practices of devotional service.”

CC Madhya 22.130: “‘With love and full faith one should worship the lotus feet of the Deity.

CC Madhya 22.131: “‘One should taste the meaning of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam in the association of pure devotees, and one should associate with the devotees who are more advanced than oneself and who are endowed with a similar type of affection for the Lord.

CC Madhya 22.132: ‘One should congregationally chant the holy name of the Lord and reside in Vṛndāvana.’

CC Madhya 22.133: ‘The power of these five principles is very wonderful and difficult to understand. Even without faith in them, a person who is offenseless can awaken his dormant love of Kṛṣṇa simply by being a little connected with them.’

CC Madhya 22.134: “When one is firmly fixed in devotional service, whether he executes one or many processes of devotional service, the waves of love of Godhead will awaken.

CC Madhya 22.135: “There are many devotees who execute only one of the nine processes of devotional service. Nonetheless, they get ultimate success. Devotees like Mahārāja Ambarīṣa execute all nine items, and they also get ultimate success.

What is most amazing is if we analyse how Srila Prabhupada made the structure of ISKCON.

In one of his lectures HH Bhakti Charu Swami says ‘Prabhupada actually designed ISKCON in such a way that anyone who is engaged in Krishna consciousness in ISKCON is automatically performing these five activities. The first aspect is sadhu sangha, anyone who is in ISKCON is getting the association of the sadhus. Similarly anyone who is in ISKCON must attend the Bhagavatam class and at least read for some time every day, so this is how one is reading scriptures. Anyone who is in ISKCON worships the deity, although not all of us worship the deity directly but by attending mangala-arati and the morning program we automatically do that. Then comes residing in the holy dhama, all temples of Krishna are non-different from Goloka Vrindavana. Therefore, those who are living in the temple, or those whose consciousness is in the temple, are actually residing in Mathura. In this way Prabhupada has given us the simple process for Krishna consciousness.’

Now I realise why so many senior devotees always stress that we have to remain in ISKCON, serve the local temple, do our sadhna bhakti and we will surely make progress in our spiritual life.

vande śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya-devaṁ taṁ karuṇārṇavam
kalāv apy ati-gūḍheyaṁ bhaktir yena prakāśitā

I offer my respectful obeisances unto Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. He is an ocean of transcendental mercy, and although the subject matter of bhakti-yoga is very confidential, He has nonetheless manifested it so nicely, even in this Age of Kali, the age of quarrel.
(CC Madhya 22.1)

All glories to Sri Guru and Sri Gauranga.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.