SB 8.3.1

çré-bädaräyaëir uväca

evaà vyavasito buddhyä

samädhäya mano hådi

jajäpa paramaà jäpyaà

präg-janmany anuçikñitam


çré-bädaräyaëiù uväca—Çré Çukadeva Gosvämé said; evam—thus; vyavasitaù—fixed; buddhyä—by intelligence; samädhäya—for concentration; manaù—the mind; hådi—in consciousness or in the heart; jajäpa—he chanted; paramam—a supreme; jäpyam—mantra he had learned from great devotees; präk-janmani—in his previous birth; anuçikñitam—practiced.


Çré Çukadeva Gosvämé continued: Thereafter, the King of the elephants, Gajendra, fixed his mind in his heart with perfect intelligence and chanted a mantra which he had learned in his previous birth as Indradyumna and which he remembered by the grace of Kåñëa.


Such remembrance is described in Bhagavad-gétä (6.43-44):

tatra taà buddhi-saàyogaà

labhate paurva-dehikam

yatate ca tato bhüyaù

saàsiddhau kuru-nandana

pürväbhyäsena tenaiva

hriyate hy avaço ‘pi saù

In these verses it is assured that even if a person engaged in devotional service falls down, he is not degraded, but is placed in a position in which he will in due course of time remember the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As explained later, Gajendra was formerly King Indradyumna, and somehow or other in his next life he became King of the elephants. Now Gajendra was in danger, and although he was in a body other than that of a human being, he remembered the stotra he had chanted in his previous life. Yatate ca tato bhüyaù saàsiddhau kuru-nandana. To enable one to achieve perfection, Kåñëa gives one the chance to remember Him again. This is proved here, for although the King of the elephants, Gajendra, was put in danger, this was a chance for him to remember his previous devotional activities so that he could immediately be rescued by the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

It is imperative, therefore, that all devotees in Kåñëa consciousness practice chanting some mantra. Certainly one should chant the Hare Kåñëa mantra, which is the mahä-mantra, or great mantra, and also one should practice chanting cintämaëi-prakara-sadmasu or the Nåsiàha strotra (ito nåsiàhaù parato nåsiàho yato yato yämi tato nåsiàhaù). Every devotee should practice in order to chant some mantra perfectly so that even though he may be imperfect in spiritual consciousness in this life, in his next life he will not forget Kåñëa consciousness, even if he becomes an animal. Of course, a devotee should try to perfect his Kåñëa consciousness in this life, for simply by understanding Kåñëa and His instructions, after giving up this body one can return home, back to Godhead. Even if there is some falldown, practice of Kåñëa consciousness never goes in vain. For example, Ajämila, in his boyhood, practiced chanting the name of Näräyaëa under the direction of his father, but later, in his youth, he fell down and became a drunkard, woman-hunter, rogue and thief. Nonetheless, because of chanting the name of Näräyaëa for the purpose of calling his son, whom he had named Näräyaëa, he became advanced, even though he was involved in sinful activities. Therefore, we should not forget the chanting of the Hare Kåñëa mantra under any circumstances. It will help us in the greatest danger, as we find in the life of Gajendra.

Lecture begins

This purport our beloved Srila Prabhupada is casting light on the quality of Krishna’s gratitude. Gratitude is a primary virtue for any real spiritual progress. Even if the guru or the great souls place the perfect seed of self realization of Bhakti within the heart, the field of the heart must be fertile in order for that seed to take root and grow and there will be many storms and impediments unless the roots go deep, it could be seriously harmed. Cultivating gratitude, humility and a genuine disposition of service is what tills the heart, makes it fertile and soft, wherein the seed of Bhakti could take root and grow. When we chant the holy name it is like pouring water on the seed of devotion. Even if the water is perfect and seed is perfect still the soil must be proper. Therefore Caitanya Mahaprabhu has taught us the disposition that we must cultivate while chanting the holy names. “Trinad api sunicena taror eva sahishnuna  amanina maan dena kirtaniya sada hari” If you want to really taste the holy name, for that name to really penetrate through the senses and the mind and go right into our heart , We must be grateful, humble, tolerant and forgiving, eager to offer all respect to others without expecting ourselves. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said that this verse should be worn on the string of the holyname and constantly placed over our heart.

“Janmady asya yatah”. Everything emanates from the absolute truth. Whatever good qualities anyone has in this world is only a spark of the divine qualities of God. That beautiful verse from Bhagavatam – yasyasthi bhaktir bhagavati akinchana – If you surrender to Krsna, simply by that act, the qualities of Krsna, the qualities of the devatas, the qualities of the great sages – all become ours. Actually they are not ours, they are Krsna’s. When we surrender to Krsna, Krsna’s qualities begin to shine through us. Krsna is supremely grateful. Whatever gratitude, whatever forgiveness, whatever humility, anyone could possibly display in this world is only an infinitesimal little particle of Krsna’s unlimited qualities. Isvara sarva bhutanam hrid desearjuna tisthati. Krsna never forsakes us, whoever we are, whatever we have done, He remains always seated in our heart – Just waiting for us to turn to Him. Krsna wil not interfere with our freewill. But however offensive, however violent, however cruel, even those who are the greatest enemies of God, publicly, privately, in any way, still, the Lord never leaves the heart. Isvara sarva bhutanam hrid deserjuna tisthati. As the paramatma, Krsna is always within our heart, as the closest nearest friend, never abandons us. Who in this world is so faithful? And how patient! Even after millions, may be billions of births, radically rebelling against God, still, right there, beside us – lovingly waiting.  And anything, anyone ever does, with some sincerity, to please Krsna, Krsna will never forget. Even if that person does all kinds of horrible things afterwards, you have to go through the karma for all those horrible things. You can’t get away with anything. That’s also Krsna’s mercy. If we get away with things, we would never become perfect. So, the laws of karma are for purification. But, despite that, Krsna still remembers even one little thing you have done. If you once chanted Krsna’s name sincerely, if you once appreciated a devotee, even if it is 10 million births ago, Krsna remembers. And He is just waiting to give you the results, as soon as we are just ready to accept it. That is Krsna’s gratitude.

We can be very judgmental in the name of God, but we have to balance it, by understanding God’s nature. The laws of karma may appear to be judgmental, but the essence that supports everything else is His mercy, is His love. It’s all meant to simply bring us back to His eternal loving service. That’s Krsna!!! And when we really turn to Krsna, Krsna is there – always. Here we find Gajendra, as we described yesterday. He was a king. He left everything for the purpose of self realization. But he was cursed by a sage. Not only was he cursed, he was strongly criticized, he was called horrible names and he didn’t try to defend himself. He just accepted, that somehow or other even if i didn’t do anything wrong, if he’s accusing me of doing something wrong, i must have done something wrong in the past. And therefore, I am getting it now. Sometimes we do something right, we get accused for doing something wrong, we think I am innocent. We may be literally innocent now, but you may have gotten away with something that you did wrong in the past and you thought you got away with it and now it’s coming back to you. Our tendency is we want to take credit we don’t do and we want to give blame to others for what we do do. That is human nature. “Prakriteh Kriyamanani gunai karmani sarvashah” The Bewildered soul thinks him or herself to be the doer of the activities, but actually it is done by Krishna.

Yesterday GauraVani prabhu, our very dear special guest, He was saying that the performance that he did, at that beautiful auditorium, the other night, He said, “It was one of the worst performances that they have done, from their side.” What do you say that it was 30% lesser than their normal performance? Something like that. But yet entertainers, people who are kind of pursuers of art and music, they simply loved it, they were praising it like anything. What does that mean? It’s not about what we could do. If we are just serious, even if we try our best and do it all wrong, Krishna could manifest through that and still transform peoples’ hearts. And it could have a better effect than when we do it 30% better than we have ever done it before. Because of things we always keep it rational that i did it right and therefore it had a good effect, then we would think that I am the doer. But Krishna is the doer. Krishna could manifest through us in certain ways. We have seen, sometimes, the worst most spaced out SB class we ever give people come afterwards and surrender to Krishna saying that changed my life. Meanwhile we are telling the ministry that please don’t release that tape. It’s not about us, it’s about Krishna. Krishna simply, if he sees that if we are sincere, he could manifest his mercy and touch peoples’ heart through that effort of sincerity.

So Indradyumna Maharaj, he understood, “I may have been innocent, but somehow or other I deserve this, how and why Krishna knows.” And he graciously accepted the life of an elephant. Citraketu similarly he was trying to praise Lord Shiva, but Lord Shiva’s wife, Parvati she interpreted it as a criticism and she cursed him to become a demon. Now Citraketu had already been through so much in his life, he longed for a son, finally he had a son and was so happy and his wife was so happy and the whole kingdom was so happy. But some other people were envious and they poisoned the child and killed it, and he was so devastated. But then by the grace of Narada Muni, he was given self realization. It took at being at the very bottom point of suffering and misery for him to take the words of the great sages seriously, when he was longing for something he didn’t have, he couldn’t hear what they were saying. They gave him the same instructions, but he couldn’t hear. When he had it all and he was happy he couldn’t hear it but when he lost everything that gave his heart fulfillment. When he was practically emotionally paralyzed then he could hear and he became self realized, he became perfect. In that perfect state he is ready to go back home back to the spiritual world. He was right there, just on the verge of going back to godhead then he just happened to say something a little jokingly about lord Shiva with all innocent motivation and when he was about to go back to Vaikuntha he gets cursed to become a demon. And how did he respond? Did he say Paravati wake up, you’re suppose to know about all these things, I was praising your husband, I like your husband, don’t you understand. He didn’t try to explain himself, no argument. He just bowed his head and said actually I didn’t mean to do anything but certainly your curse upon me I accept with gratitude. Now with your permission I will become as a demon. Because of that attitude, even as a demon he was a great devotee, he was preaching to Indra about pure Devotional Service and he was one of the greatest sages of the Bhagavatam, even in that form.

So Gajendra in the body, the nature of material existence is when we become, when we identify with the body, the tendency is to forget everything else except our identity with that body. People ask if I had previous life why don’t I remember them. You could if you were not so attached to this body, but we are so thoroughly immersed in thinking, janasya moho…that I am this body and everything related to this body are mine, the ego clings so strongly to that, that all things from our past life are forgotten. There, within our minds but they are forgotten. So Gajendra was so thoroughly convinced, he was an elephant, there was no other Identity. Everything was just so right in his life. He was living in the most heavenly abode, most wonderful family, everyone respected him, he was a king unparallel, but the nature of this world. Abarahmannnha…whether you are in the higher planets, lower planets or the middle planets, where ever you are, something can always happen. Suddenly while he was enjoying water sports in the crystal clear lotus filled lake, a crocodile bite him and wouldn’t let go. He was on the verge of death. He had no power to defend himself. In that state with all else failed, his strength, his own intelligence, all of his friends and people around him, when nothing else could help, in the moment of the greatest need Krishna in his heart reminded him of the mantra he chanted in his past life. Krishna was just waiting. And he didn’t just chanted in a ritualistic way, he chanted from his heart of heart. And within seconds God manifested right before Gajendra and gave him the highest perfection of liberation.

Now in this world there are many crocodiles everywhere, infact here in Bombay, now this crocodile was a big crocodile that attacked Gajendra, with sharp teeth and really really strong. But here a mosquito, a single little mosquito can have the same effect in your life as the crocodile did to Gajendra. That’s material nature. Atleast you can see a mosquito, you know mosquitoes they don’t have teeth like crocodiles, you don’t even know they are biting you. But they could have the same effect. Or some virus, you don’t even see the virus. Someone across the room coughs and everybody is just looking around thinking “oh! so nice”. But there is this little thing going through the air and you are just breathing like any other day and the viruses go through, it could have the same effect as the crocodile. Could put you on your back, could kill you! Yes? People were so much afraid of the swine flu. In fact devotees from Pune were not even allowed  in our temple. People were so much afraid of something that they could not even see, something that might be invisible in the air that just goes. So there are so many forms of the crocodile in this world that at any moment, no matter who ever we are no body is spared, ultimately from the crocodile of time. But when we are aware of things we take it more serious. Speaking of crocodiles, some years ago we had a yatra to Kishkinda Kshetra also known as Humpi, how many of you were in that yatra please raise your hands…seems like we are over due to return there. But we came to Pumpa Sarovar, and I was saying so many stories about Pampa Sarovar from Sri Ramayan. Beautiful place! It’s the place that Hanuman first met Ramacandra and Lakshman. And there at Pampa Sarovar, Hanumanji put Ram & Lakshman on his shoulders and jumped upto Rsiyamukhya Mountain to meet with Sugriva, very very holy place. It’s praised in the Holy Scriptures. So we arrived there and there was still light out, but I wanted the devotees to take a bath there and have a full experience of what Pampa Sarovar is while they were bathing. So I started speaking the glories of Pampa Sarovar. I think I spoke an hour or two, by the time I ended the Katha it was pitch dark. So I said now we will go bathe. It was then that a local person approached us and said “you should bathe in this place, because there are man-eating crocodiles, living inside of it”, remember? So I announced that “while you are bathing please be careful of the crocodiles”. But the problem was because it was pitch dark, no one could see if there were crocodiles. Atleast Gajendra was in broad daylight. And he saw the crocodile, but here the crocodile could be going…you know how they swim? And you don’t see. So we gave everyone the choice, yes Vishakha Priya do you remember? We gave the choice, if you don’t want to bathe, you don’t have to, but the people say that there are crocodiles here and people get eaten.  So devotees went into that Pampa Sarovar and I went in too and it was probably the most holiest bath as far as our consciousness. It wasn’t just a refreshing holy dip, devotees were really chanting. Some people had little flash lights or torches and they were trying to search around and I saw devotees they were really praying to Hanuman, praying to Lord Ramacandra, some may have been praying to Gajendra, but it was really intense to really take shelter, becasue it was a reality, at any moment we could be eaten by crocodiles. So when we are aware of the reality of material existence, we take shelter.

That’s the beginning of the story, we came out of Pampa Sarovar. People were really purified, not only by the holy waters but by chanting the holynames in desperation. And then we went into Sabari’s caves….do you remember? There I told the story of Sabari in the cave. Everybody had heard of Sabari. Those caves are really big, you have to crawl. Because from the floor to the ceiling is very short, you could sit but not stand. There were 100s of devotees with us so we had to go deep in the cave for everybody to come. So we went deeper and deeper, we really didn’t know where we were because it was pitch dark because we could not see anything. So we were somewhere in the middle of this cave which goes deep in the mountain. And all the devotees were gathered in this cave. And then I remembered that somebody asked “Is there snakes in this cave?” And I said “Well, I didn’t see any, but it is pitch dark.” And then I heard people chanting Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. And we were sitting there for a katha. Because Srila Prabhupada said we should see through our ears, so we couldn’t see anything but could hear. There was actually good acoustics in the cave. And I started telling the story of Sabari and I was very enthusiastic because she lived in this cave. And as I started telling the story these insects started biting everybody. But nobody could see what kind of insects it was. But it was biting everyone. Somebody asked what king of insects are these, nobody knew. So many insects biting. It was really painful bites. As we were getting bitten by some unknown creature, and at any moment some snake might strike and it is pitch dark and it is really hot. We were in this cave and I spoke this story. Even though I could not see anybody, I knew 100% sure that no body fell asleep. It is very rare when I give a class. Devotees were really very intense. And when we came out of the cave, it was like we really attained Vaikuntha.

When there is an intense situation we really take shelter from our hearts. The story of Sabari is very similar to Gajendra. Gajendra was an elephant, but yet he attained self-realizaiton because he took shelter of the Lord. When Rama and Lakshman came to Pampa sarovar, they were greeted by Sabari. She was a very very old ascetic woman. As far as her caste, she was an outcaste. But somehow she became a disciple of Matanga Rsi. And she lived with her Guru. Her guru and her seniors. Everyone was her senior. And she would serve them and practice yoga with them. And Matanga Rsi and all of his disciples had perfected yoga and jnana and achieved prema, and they all went back to Spiritual world. But she wasn’t qualified. So Matanga Rsi said, you haven’t achieved perfection in yoga or jnana. So you should just stay back here. She remained there all alone for years and years and years. “Yasya deve para bhaktir” One who has faith in Guru and Krishna all the imports of the knowledge of the Vedas is revealed from within the heart, the essence. So she patiently with complete faith in the words of her Guru, just waited . Now it takes a lot of faith. Decades passed, years and years passed.  And he said that Ram is going to come. So She was just preparing every minute everyday, year after year after year she was just preparing herself for Ram’s arrival. Every day she would pick fruits and make a nice little seat for Ram and Ram came and she had matted hair, and her flesh was all shriveled from living such an austere life,living in a cave. She was just rejoicing, and Ramchandra told her because you had such faith in your Guru and because you had such enthusiasm, Your enthusiasm never died to serve and you had such patience.

Rupa Goswami explains   these are two key features of surrender, enthusiasm and patience. No matter how long it takes, on the basis of the faith we receive from the words of Guru and Krishna and the holy scriptures we carry on with enthusiasm. Mukund Dutt was told by Lord Caitanya “I will never allow you to see me” and he was weeping crying, begging, “Won’t I ever be able to see you”. “Won’t I ever be able to see you” and the Lord said tell him “I will see him after ten million births”, And Mukund Dutt started to dance in ecstasy, “I will see the Lord in ten million births, how fortunate I am” such patience. If takes ten million births we should be willing to give our full enthusiasm, every minute for those ten million births. So small price to see God. So Sabari what was her qualification? She had that enthusiasm and patience based on faith in her Guru. Yes! Ram will come, I will see him. And she served and served and served all alone. She had no qualification except that and Ram came, and she was so unqualified from material perspective that she was putting the fruits in her mouth and taking bites out of them and giving Ram the ones that tasted sweet. Now how many of you have ever made an offering like that? You are not supposed to. If you do it, there will be reactions. But she was doing it just because she didn’t know better. She just didn’t know any better. She was just a very very simple uneducated person. But she had just sincere devotion, she just wanted to please Ram so bad, Bhakti! And Rama was so pleased with her, that He told her, “Today, join your guru, go back home, back to Godhead. I will send you. I have accepted your offering; I have accepted your love.” She lit a fire. She had such faith; she jumped right in the fire. That’s faith. “I will send you back to Godhead! Go in the fire.” She had absolute faith. She went in the fire, and within… immediately she had spiritual body. From the fire, came a beautiful, youthful, golden complexioned resident of the spiritual world, ornamented in celestial jewels, and she offered obeisances to Rama and went back to Vaikunta.

So, this beautiful story of Gajendra is the story of Bhakti. Real Bhakti is taking shelter sincerely, with faith and with real gratitude. Gajendra, he tried to save himself from that crocodile by every possible means. Like all the rest of us, eventually we are in a predicament where nothing can help us. The jaws of death will conquer us. There is no difference. In that state, Gajendra did not ask in his prayers, “Lord, please save me”, He just gave his heart, his life to the Lord, “I am yours.” It was in that type of an emergency situation, Draupadi threw up her arms, as Dussasana was pulling her sari, and she cried out Krsna’s name in that sprit, “Krsna, I am yours!” If one time we can do that, with all sincerity, our life is perfect at that moment. We are practicing this chanting this holyname, in such a way so that some day we can chant with that sincerity. Krsna sees our sincerity. And all the rituals, and all the pujas, and all the sadhana, and everything else we do, is ultimately to cultivate that sincerity. Because, when we approach Krsna with that sincerity, Krsna is there to give us everything. And even if we fall down, Krsna will deliver us in due course of time.

Prabhupad compared Gajendra to Ajamila. Ajamila was a very sincere devotee when he was young. His father taught him to chant mantras, to worship Lord Narayana. But somehow or other, due to circumstances of this world, he became… What does Prabhupad say about Ajamila. Prabhupad is quite graphic. Shall we read, “Ajämila, in his boyhood, practiced chanting the name of Näräyaëa under the direction of his father, but later, in his youth, he fell down and became a drunkard, woman-hunter, rogue and thief.” (PURPORT). Hare Krsna! And he had to suffer for all that stuff. He really did have to suffer. He had to see the yamadutas face to face. It took that much to get that rascal to turn to Krsna again. He saw the yamadutas face to face and he cried out for his son, Narayana; and when he chanted the name of Narayana, Narayana was right there, waiting for him. “Yes! Finally, you remember Me, even as indirect. Now it will become direct. That is the Lord’s love for His devotee. And He sent the Visnudutas, and seeing the gratitude, the love and kindness of the Supreme Lord, Ajamila then went to Haridwar, and spent the rest of his life chanting the holyname with love and attained perfection.

So, Prabhupad has told us, in this very life, if you are just sincere, you will go back to Godhead. If we just practice sincerity with that faith, and cultivate the pure chanting of the holy names of the Lord, then it is guaranteed. Manmana bhava mad bhakto, Krishna says, “Always think of me, become my devotee, worship me, offer your homage to me, in this way you will come to me, without fail, this is my promise.” And Krishna came as Lord Caitanya to teach us. We could do all of those things, worship Krishna, always remember Krishna, become Krishna’s devotee. Everything combined is fulfilled, if we sincerely chant the holy name, “Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.” So with that faith, faith in the word of God. Mahaprabhu has promised, Krishna has promised, our Gurudev has promised, just chant sincerely, with this humble service attitude, try to always remember Krishna by purifying our hearts through his holyname. And understand that the crocodiles and the mosquitoes and the snakes and the atomic bombs and everything else they can strike at any moment.

Don’t be afraid, just be aware, “I need Krishna’s shelter now! Not tomorrow.” It’s not that some messenger of the mosquitoes will say, “September 22nd, you are going to get bit and get malaria.” You may have been bit this warning. Are you awake in that class you don’t know. So many things can happen at any moment, earthquakes, and tsunamis. Material nature is like that. It’s not that we are supposed to be afraid. It’s that we are supposed to be aware, that all of these dangers are actually blessings. Because the body dies, today, tomorrow, anyway. But if we can once take shelter of Krishna and sincerely cry out his holynames, the soul is delivered. We can achieve our eternal spiritual form in Goloka, if we can just take shelter of the holynames. The whole material existence, is especially designed to give us the optimum scenario in which we can really, seriously from our hearts, following in the footsteps of Gajendra cry out, Krishna’s holy names, “Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.” Much louder please, “Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.” Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, “Do two things, I will take your back to Godhead. Don’t criticize others, don’t make aparadhas and chant the holynames with great feeling.” That’s the Lord’s love. Let’s reciprocate and accept that love. Thank you very much. We will end here,

Srila Prabhupada ki jai,

Sri Radha Gopinath ki Jai.

Written by

Radhanath Swami

H.H Radhanath Swami is one of today’s most beloved and respected spiritual teachers. A Bhakti Yoga practitioner for 40 years, he is a guide, community builder, philanthropist, and acclaimed author.Born and raised in Chicago,at the age of 19 he discovered India's Mystical devotional tradition and now spread his message of compassion and love around the world.

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About Me

Radhanath Swami

H.H Radhanath Swami is one of today’s most beloved and respected spiritual teachers. A Bhakti Yoga practitioner for 40 years, he is a guide, community builder, philanthropist, and acclaimed author.Born and raised in Chicago,at the age of 19 he discovered India's Mystical devotional tradition and now spread his message of compassion and love around the world.