Radhanath Swami says Simple means to find Eternal Joy
It is our pleasure we welcome all of you to Pune Yatra. This is a great blessing of the Supreme Personality of Godhead to have this most precious opportunity to come together in the assembly of so many sincere vaisvanas to hear and chant the glories of the Lord. The purpose of life as Srila Prabhupada explained Athäto brahma jijïäsä is to inquire and pursue the highest truth and Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu practically demonstrated how within the society in the age of Kali Yuga we could all achieve the highest truth Premä pumartho mahän and he declared that the highest truth is unmotivated, uninterrupted love for the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna. People are chasing after the mirages of this material world trying to find happiness where there is only pain, trying to create solutions which only intensify the problems. This vicious cycle of cause and effect action and reaction is keeping everyone helplessly bound to the repetition of birth and death. But the soul is longing and seeking for eternal joy and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has given us the simple means by which we can find that eternal joy, the eternal joy of our own eternal soul, which is part and parcel of Krishna, which (Cc. Madhya 22.107)
nitya-siddha krsna prema ‘sādhya’ kabhu naya
śravanadi-śuddha-citte karaye udaya
By nature the soul loves Krishna but we have forgotten that love because we have misdirected that propensity toward the temporary fallible objects of this modern world and in this age of Kali Yuga the forgetfulness or as Srila Prabhupada would explain this dream that I am this body, this dream that I belong to a particular family or particular caste or particular nation, or particular specie is so strong that it is practically impossible to wake from this dream. There is only one way (Cc. Adi 17.21)
the chanting of the holy names of the Lord.
Radhanath Swami says “Humbly serve Vaishnavas and Krishna will be pleased with you
This age of Kali is an ocean of faults, but there is one benediction and how to chant the holy names of the Lord, this is the most important of all questions which a devotee should be asking. Lord Caitanya taught (Cc. Adi 17.31)
trnadapi su-nīcena taror iva sahisnunā
amāninā māna-dena kīrtanīyah sadā harih
We should chant the holy names in a spirit more humble than the straw in the street, more tolerant than the tree, ready to offer all respect to others and expect none in return. In this way we can constantly chant with a grateful and pure heart the holy names Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. This is a very difficult state of consciousness because we are trained throughout our lives to be building, developing, strengthening our false egos, defending our prestige. But Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu is saying “Kick it out”. Learn to be a humble devotee, the servant of the servant of the servant of the servant of the Lord and the process he has given is very simple by learning the process of serving the vaishnavas sincerely, Krishna will give us that power by which we can actually be humble. If we act humble, if we tolerate our egoistic ideas by putting the needs and the wants of other vaisnavas before our own, by serving them in all ways by all means, to please them, to encourage them, to help them whatever there is required, this activities will make us very dear to Krishna because ultimately, trnadapi su-nīcena taror iva sahisnunā, this state of consciousness it is only possible by the grace of Guru and Gauranga and that grace comes in proportion to our sincere desire to serve the devotees and chant the holy names, hear the glories of the Lord.
Radhanath Swami describes how disciples of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu serve each another
Every year Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu would have wonderful festival in Jagannath Puri. He had disciples, devotees of all ashrams we cannot say one was better than the other because in the world of vaisnavism the varnas and the ashrams are always subordinate to the sincerity and the humility of a devotee. Swaroop Damodar Goswami was a great sanyasi, Gadadhar Pandit was also in the renounced order of life, Rupa Goswami, Sanatana Goswami, Raghunathdas Goswami, Raghunath Bhatt Goswami, Gopal Bhatt Goswami, Srila Jiva Goswami; they were the very crest jewels of the renounced order. There was also Nakula Brahmacari, Narasimha Nanda Brahmacari they were Brahmacaris and we may ask “are they superior to the grihastas”? When we find such grihastas as Lord Nityananda Prabhu who Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu personally instructed to marry, Advaita Acarya whose name is glorified as Sitanath, the husband of Sita his wife and we have Srivas Thakur and his wife Malini, we have Sivananda Sen. These women- Janava, Sita, Malini and these men in the grihasta ashram they were perfect devotees in every way, they were the most intimate loving associates of Lord Caitanya as well as those in the renounced order. So Bhaktivinod Thakur said gåhe thäko, vane thäko, sadä ‘hari’ bole’ òäko whether you are a grihasta or whether you are a sanyasi, brahmacari, vanaprastha, if you chant the holy names with a sincere heart, you will achieve the mercy of the Lord and be free from all of the dualities of this material existence.
Radhanath Swami clarifies that Yatra is for Transformation
So every year Lord Caitanya would call everybody and whatever they were doing they would leave it behind. Obviously, in Navadvipa, in Shantipur in so many places grihastas had so many children, occupational duties they left it all to come to be amongst the vaisnavas specifically and exclusively simply to serve one and another, to hear the glories of the Lord and to chant the holy names Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. This is a very essential part of the process of Krishna consciousness. Srila Prabhupada had so many centers throughout the world, performing so many activities of preaching for the welfare of humanity but he called everyone possible, every year to Vrindavan, Mayapur exclusively for one purpose only just to be amongst one another, to hear the glories of the Lord and to chant his holy names Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Srila Prabhupada and Sri Sri Nitai Gauracandra have called us all here for this purpose only and the gifts that we receive through this wonderful satsang will eternally remain within our heart. This gathering is meant for the transformation of our consciousness.
Radhanath Swami teaches the Etiquette at Yatra
So during these next 4 days there are certain rules which we live by:
1. No gossip or mundane talk
No gossip, no talking of anything of this material world, do not discuss your business, your occupation, your family responsibilities. These things all have their place in your Krishna consciousness but not here. We should only speak what enlivens and encourages the devotees in Krishna consciousness, we should only speak the names and glories of the Lord and in every way it is an austerity to be amongst many people. You may share your living quarters with so many and share your toilet with so many and our nature is we all want to run and be first but that is not vaisnava consciousness. The consciousness of vaisnavas is to be last, to push everyone else first. If everyone else is trying to push everyone else first then we will find ourselves in Vaikuntha – the Spiritual World. So we should really be anxious to please, to encourage, to help, to serve the devotees and for every event that is scheduled, we should be very much on time because that is service. If you are late your behavior is influencing others to be late. If you are late you are causing others to serve you in the form of waiting for you, so we should be extremely punctual as far as possible as service to the vaisnavas.
2. Be Enthusiastic
Next we should be very enthusiastic, I once asked Srila Prabhupada
“What if we do not feel enthusiastic”?
He said “You act enthusiastic, even if you feel nothing and by that sacrifice in the service of Guru, vaisnava and Krishna, Krishna will give you enthusiasm”.
First deserve then desire. This is the austerity for the next 4 days to be completely enthusiastic. That means during the classes we should be on the edge of our seats with our eyes open, listening very carefully; because if you are sleeping in class you are preaching. After all, the person giving class is not the only one preaching. Srimad Bhagvatam, Maharaj Parikshit was preaching practically as much as Sukadeva Goswami, just by his attentive hearing and because Maharaj Parikshit was hearing so attentively all the assembled sages were hearing so attentively. Srila Prabhupada said “If you dropped a pin in that assembly, it would cause a great commotion”. That’s how attentive and intensive everyone was to hear. And this enthusiasm to hear the glories and the message of the Lord is actually the price of attracting Krishna within our heart (S.B. 1.2.17)
çåëvatäà sva-kathäù kåñëaù puëya-çravaëa-kértanaù
hådy antaù stho hy abhadräëi vidhunoti suhåt satäm
If you are sleeping during class what you are doing is actually on a podium preaching to everyone else “Go to sleep, this class is such a bore. This philosophy is so boring, everyone please sleep”That is your message and during japa we should be very, very attentive, we should actually be working very hard. Japa is not just something that like some of the meditation teachers. They teach “just let your mind flow like the river”. That is alright, the only problem is your mind is flowing like the river toward the ocean of birth and death. In japa we want to keep our minds fixed on Krishna and his name (Bg. 6.26)
Krishna doesn’t say let your mind flow like a river. Krishna says whenever your mind wanders drag it back. We should actually be working harder when we are chanting japa. We work hard during our studies, we work hard in our occupational duty, we work hard to maintain our families we should work even more hard to perfect and purify our lives by chanting the holy names Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. And during the Kirtan Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, he taught us a wonderful process very loudly chanting the holy names, very attentively hearing that sound vibration and very gracefully and with much enthusiasm offering our body for the pleasure of the Lord in the form of dancing. So during the Kirtan after sometime your legs may be in pain, you may feel like going to sleep but the austerity is to transcend the modes of passion and ignorance, to transcend your own independent desires and surrender to the Kirtan by dancing very joyously, even if you don’t feel joyous you dance joyous for the joy of Krishna, for the joy of all the vaisnavas and for the joy of Gurudeva.
3. Sing and Dance During Kirtan
Srila Prabhupada started this movement by getting the devotees to dance in the Tompkins square park and he feels very happy. In fact so many years later sometimes he would look at Brahmananda and say “He was the first to dance”. 10 years, 12 years later when he would see Brahmananda he would say “He was the first to dance”. That’s how dear this dancing was to Srila Prabhupada because this dancing is actually an offering of every limb of our body to the Lord, by gracefully harmonizing it to the holy name. So the kirtans, we would like to be the most enthusiastic kirtans since the days of Sri Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s personal advent, this is our hope That even, the demigods in the heavens look down with great delight at Poona in Maharashtra and begin to sing and dance along with the devotees as they are chanting the holy names Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Srila Prabhupada taught us that the dancing should be very graceful like the Panca Tattva has demonstrated and if you are standing in the corner somewhere then you are preaching, you are preaching to everyone in the Kirtan, “This dancing and chanting is a harassment, come stand in the corner”, because action speaks louder than words. So whether you are a new bhakta or whether you are a sanyasi talking to myself obviously, let us really make a wonderful, wonderful sacrifice to enthuse and inspire and encourage the devotees to take shelter of the holy name, because when all the devotees are in this mood of service and sacrifice to one another, the combined harmonious singing of such devotees creates a sound vibration that is so pure that it could liberate the universe. It is so sweet that it charms and captures the heart of Sri Sri Nitai Gauracandra, Sri Sri Radha Gopinath and all the previous acarya. So we have come for this purpose.
Radhanath Swami Welcomes Malati Devi
Four days of hearing Krishna’s glories and chanting Krishna’s names and humbly serving Krishna’s devotees and everything else, it will wait. Let us concentrate only on these 4 principles and 5 eating Krishna’s Prasad. Chanting, dancing and feasting, the wonderful process that Lord Caitanya and Srila Prabhupada has given to the entire world. And this year the Lord has given us very, very special blessing in the form of some of the most exalted worshipable devotees in the entire world, so we would like to welcome these devotees. First of all there is senior most amongst us- Malati Devi Prabhu who was one of the original devotees to assist Srila Prabhupada in establishing this movement throughout the world, she helped to establish the 2nd temple in San Francisco, she helped to establish the temple in London, she helped to establish temples in India, she was Prabhupada’s personal cook for many years, she gave birth to the first child in the Hare Krishna movement, she was and she always will be one of the most intimate beloved daughters of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. The service that she has rendered cannot be ever properly glorified. Somehow or other by her kindness she has come to be with us during this yatra. So let us all welcome Malati Devi ‘Haribol, Haribol, Haribol’.
Radhanath Swami Welcomes His Holiness Jayadvaita Swami Maharaj
And we have His Holiness Srila Jayadvaita Swami Maharaj who is also one of the senior most devotees of the Hare Krishna movement. Malati Devi came I think in 1967, you came in 1968? In the early days New York was the largest most powerful temple in the world and everyday Jayadvaita Maharaj would give class and people from all over the world would come to learn from him. He is famous and loved for his renunciation, his simplicity, his steadfastness, his complete dedication to guarding and preserving the original teachings and mood that Prabhupada established, for this reason we have to be very careful during this Poona Yatra. He was also one of the chief editors of Srila Prabhupada’s books and at this particular time he is the editor of ‘Back to Godhead’ Magazine, the very publication that Srila Prabhupada bought himself personally wrote and edited at the very beginning of his preaching movement at the mid 1940’s. So we are very much happy that Srila Jayadvaita Maharaj is kindly come to bless us with his holy association, let us welcome him. ‘Haribol, Haribol, Haribol’.
Radhanath Swami Welcomes His Holiness Dhanurdhara Swami Maharaj
We have His Holiness Srila Dhanurdhara Swami Maharaj, who is very, very senior sober and sincere disciple of Srila Prabhupada, he had for many, many years, since the time of Srila Prabhupada lived in Vrindavan and there he was one of the building blocks of the Gurukul system within the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. He has trained hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of young children in the science, in the life of Krishna consciousness and he is very well loved and known for his vaisnava characteristics and his very analytical study and presentation of vaisnava philosophy. He is actually a very wonderful scholar of our spiritual heritage and he has become a Vrajvasi by his wonderful love for Vrindavan dham and all the devotees. So we are very much grateful to him for coming today and also some of his disciples have come. One is Vraja kishor Prabhu, can you stand? Vraja kishor is in a band, a musical band called ‘108 ‘ and in America and Europe they sing pure Krishna consciousness philosophy through their songs and hundreds’ and -hundreds and hundreds sometimes thousands of young people come and literally, thousands of young people in America are chanting ‘Hare Krishna’ and living according to the 4 regulative principles and accepting Prabhupada’s teachings through this very unique and incredible preaching effort of Vraja Kishor and some of the other disciples of His Holiness Dhanurdhara Maharaj. It is creating a renaissance of Krishna consciousness in the Western world. So let us welcome these great souls Dhanurdhara Maharaj and Vraja Kishor Prabhu ’Haribol, Haribol, Haribol’.
Radhanath Swami Welcomes His Holiness Candramauli Swami Maharaj
We also have the gracious presence of His Holiness Candramauli Maharaj who is a wonderful devotee. He came in 1973 to New Vrindavan and has been such a steady wonderful devotee for so many years. He is willing to do any service at any time for the pleasure of Krishna and vaisnavas. Over the years we have seen him making butter, we have seen him cleaning pots, we have seen him distributing Prabhupada’s books, during sankirtan we have seen him doing wonderful preaching, he has demonstrated to us that all of these activities they are all of the same exalted nature if they are done in a sincere mood of pleasing guru and pleasing Krishna. He is a man who has given his life and soul his everything in the service of Srila Prabhupada. Let us welcome Candramauli Maharaj ‘Haribol, Haribol, Haribol’.
Radhanath Swami Welcomes Sankirtan Prabhu
Then there is Sankirtan Prabhu, he is wonderful grihasta vaisnava, along with his wife Ruchi Devi. Ruchi Devi is the very personification of going on with her service with or without any attention or prestige. She has been a teacher in the school, silently, steadily performing this service for decades and although, she may be sitting in the background as far as the public she is right in the forefront in Krishna’s vision and Sankirtan Prabhu has so many preaching programs he has done over the years, but he is most noted for his acting, for long, long time he has travelled all over the world presenting wonderful Krishna conscious dramas and plays and stories and on Saturday night the most famous and loved of all of his dramas he is going to perform for our purification. So let us welcome Sankirtan and Ruchi Devi ‘Haribol, Haribol, Haribol’.
Radhanath Swami Welcomes Gaur Shakti Prabhu
Gaur Shakti Prabhu who is a very senior disciple of Srila Prabhupada. He lived in New Vrindavan for many years, he was the head of construction, so many of the wonderful buildings that were built there and it wasn’t to be an head of construction of New Vrindavan in those days means whether you have all facilities or no facilities your work must go on. It wasn’t because of money, it wasn’t because of skilled labor but it was because of the unflinching determination and faith in such devotees like Gaur Shakti that the community developed the way it did and at this time perhaps the most important project in the history of the Hare Krishna movement Srila Prabhupada’s dream which was the Vedic Planetarium and temple in Sri Dham Mayapur to make Lord Caitanya’s glories to the whole world. It is the most extensive project ever approached under Srila Prabhupada’s direct instructions and if everyone in the world of everyone in the universe Gaur Shakti is the Co-Director of the entire building of the Mayapur project and his good wife Tilakini Devi she is always been very merciful to the devotees in Bombay, providing so many wonderful services over the years, so steady in great difficulties her faith in Guru and Krishna has always shined like a million Suns. So let us welcome Gaur Shakti and Tilakini Devi ‘Haribol, Haribol, Haribol’.
Radhanath Swami Welcomes Vraja Bhumi Devi
From London Vraja Bhumi Devi has come and please welcome ‘Haribol, Haribol, Haribol’. And from Columbus so many devotees Jambavati, Lalita Gopi, Ashta Sakhi, Sita Priya, Gopalasya Priya Devi and Damodar Prabhu. Gopalasya Priya you all know her from so many years she comes. She is one of our God sisters initiated by Srila Prabhupada and I don’t know what to say, except that she’s like my own mother, she is always so kind to everyone, always so helpful to all devotees, willing to perform any austerity. During the New Vrindavan days she was on Sankirtan longer than any other devotees and collected more laxmi than any other devotee in history. And Damodar Prabhu very, very humble sincere soul, he is one of the Managers and Directors of New Vrindavan Community at this time and Mother Rupa Rameshwari is here? She is one of Srila Prabhupada’s disciples also, she is very well known for her dedication and hard work. We were explaining to the devotees the other day how when we decided to build that home for Srila Prabhupada, Srila Prabhupada’s palace nobody knew construction, nobody knew how to do any work, it just took people who were willing to surrender in the heat and in the freezing cold to just work hard lifting blocks, cutting wood, pouring cement, carrying rocks and Mother Rupa Rameshwari was famous as the hardest, steadiest worker putting in the most hours to build Srila Prabhupada’s home and now in her own way she is still working so hard to build that house, that Srila Prabhupada wanted the whole world to live. So let us welcome Rupa Rameshwari and Damodar Prabhu and Gopalasya Priya from New Vrindavan ‘Haribol, Haribol, Haribol’.
Radhanath Swami Welcomes His Holiness Giriraj Swami Maharaj
His Holiness Giriraj Maharaj will be coming sometime. He is usually very punctual, this is his seat. So we will welcome him when he is here. Many of his illustrious disciples have come to give us the precious association. All their names I cannot recall, there are so many. There is very sweet and beautiful relationship between Giriraj Maharaj and his disciples, something that has always inspired and encouraged all of our devotees. So let us welcome the disciples of His Holiness Giriraj Maharaj ‘Haribol, Haribol, Haribol’ and if we serve them nicely then you will achieve the most auspicious position of being the servant, of the servant of Giriraj Maharaj.
So with the association of these nice devotees the next 4 days will be filled with hearing, chanting and dancing and I pray to Srila Prabhupada in this year of his Centennial, the year of his 100th Anniversary of his appearance in the world that this 1996 Poona Yatra is specially auspicious and that His Divine Grace so mercifully flows into all of your hearts to empower you to do wonderful things for his mission.
Thank you very much, Hare Krsna.