Mercy through surrender
The only qualification we have is the mercy of our acharyas
It is not by ordinary good fortune, even that which is attained by life times of austerities, highest activities, giving in charity; it is only by the causeless mercy of the spiritual master & lord Krsna that anyone could come to these holy places of Sri Vraja bhumi. If Srila Prabhupada had not sacrificed his life in his mission of divine compassion, if he hadn’t inspired his faithful servants to distribute his book & preach all over the world & beside of you people in India, no one would have know Vrindavan even exists. But by his great love we are gathered here together in this very special holy place Chira Ghat, as you see, it is very remote in the deep interiors of Vraja Dhaam, very rarely pilgrims ever come here. I know people who have been coming to Vrindavan, ten, twenty, thirty, fifty, sixty, seventy years never comes to this place. What is our qualification? If we think if we have qualification, that is our greatest disqualification. One time a devotee inquired from Srila Prabhupada, how is it, coming from backgrounds of mleccas & Yavanas…. we have Srimad Bhagvatam, the Hare Krsna Mahamantra, we are worshiping Sri Sri Radha & Krsna in Vrindavan; what was our qualification? We do not understand. Srila Prabhupada said you have no qualifications, I made your qualifications; simply because you accepted causeless mercy you are given the opportunity. In this spirit we can always remain humble. The causless mercy of the vaishanavas, the spiritual master, & the supreme personality of godhead is my all & all, everything else is an illusion. The false ego prevents us from entering into the mysteries of the nature of the soul. The soul is part of Krsna; within the soul is pure love for Krsna but it is covered since time immemorial by the cloud of illusion. There is no power within this world that any one has to remove that cloud; only the causeless of Krsna which descends through his devotees has that power.
The rainbow gathering of hippies
Chir Ghat in one sense represents the complete giving up of one’s egoistic designations. Before entering into this discussion of this divine Lila, I would like to share a very interesting & for many of you it may be controversial story. Have any of you ever heard of the rainbow gathering? One time a news paper reporter asked Prabhupada, what is your definition of a hippy? Prabhupada said, you know better than me. Then he paused & said something extraordinary, so rainbow gathering every year about fifteen or twenty thousands hippeies meet in a very deep forest in America. In the old days, when it would get hot they would just take off their clothes. One time a person came before Prabhupada naked & said, I am God. Prabhupada said, please accept my obeisances So that person’s heart actually melted & & Prabhupada preached to him & he became a wonderful devotee. So the grand finale, the end of this rainbow gathering everyone from all the camps of miles & miles around in this national forest they all meet in one place, & we had our own camp where oue everything was very to a large extent under control. But some devotees were leading the last day & the leader one of the big leaders who is Dénabandhu’s dear friend from past, his name is Fantoozee. In fact he claimed that he made Dénabandhu Prabhu a devotee but Dénabandhu claims that he made him a devotee. But naturally we believe the version of Dénabandhu Prabhu. So he said please you have to come, you are the most spiritual people here you have to come for this grand finale. So he took us by the hand & we came & were not many people there & all of a sudden thousands of people surrounded us & none of them were wearing any clothes. There were just two of us, myself, & dear godbrother, a very faithful disciple of Srila Prabhupada who just left his body a few years ago his name was Gadädhara Swami. At that time he was Gadhadhar Prabhu. So he was my older godbrother & I was looking down & I said what we are going to do, they don’t have clothes on. He said, I don’t know, we are surrounded we can’t leave now. So I said, well what we should do is, you give a introductory talk & you invited them, all you come to New Vrindavan & then I will lead the kirtan & we will get out of this place. So Gadadhar Prabhu began to speak some basic philosophy & he said that, the rainbow gathering is ending here today but it is continuing at New Vrindavan, so we would like to invite all of you to come to New Vrindavan. So one person spoke a very serious question, called out so loud everyone could hear; if we go to New Vrindavan do we have to wear clothes? I understood, if he said no, we would just be booed, nobody would dance in kirtan, and we would be utterly rejected. At the same time he said, if you say no you don’t have to then we will all just come naked. And I was thinking, what is Gadadhar Prabhu is going to say; he folded his hands & prayed to Prabhupada, please give me the words. He said, the eternal soul is completely pure, the soul’s nature is to know God, & love God but soul is covered with this material body & this material mind & all the illusion that come with it. According to Bhagavad Gita, this body, this mind & all the conception that we are thinking that we are this body; they are all like clothes covering the eternal soul. So we want you to take off all your clothes of your bodily designations, come to New Vrindavan dance & chant the holy names of lord Krsna, Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare Hare Ram Hare Ram Ram Ram Hare Hare. They were totally defeated. They all literally raised their arms & loudly chanted the holy name, Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare Hare Ram Hare Ram Ram Ram Hare Hare, & there was incredible kirta & thousands of people were dancing in ecstasy for hours. And we just left the kirtan left; I was looking at the grass during kirtan playing mridanga. And hundreds of people came to New Vrindavan all wearing clothes.
Worshiping demigods for Krsna favour
So it is true that all of these designations that I am man, I am woman, I am Indian, I am American, I am rich or poor, young or old these are all superfiacial artificial imposition on the true nature of the soul & if we want to actually surrender to Krsna we have to give up all these designations. Caitanya Mahaprabhu taught, I am not Brahman, shatriya, vaishya, Sudra, brahmachari, grahasta, vänaprastha, sanyasi none of these bodily designations. By eternal positions is that I am the servant of the servant of the lord of the gopis. The Vraja gopis they were young unmarried, they all desired to have Krsna as their husbands. During the first month of the winter season which is called Hemanta they all took a wow, they would worship the goddess Kätyäyané with a desire to attain the favour of Krsna. Srila Prabhupada explained that in Bhagavad Gita Krsna tells us,
kämais tais tair håta-jïänäù
That people who have materialistic consciousness they worship the demigods according to certain rules & regulations for material benedictions therefore Krsna condemns the worship of demigods. But how is it that the supreme most of all devotees, the Vraja gopis worshiping Kätyäyané another name of Durgä Devi. But Srila Prabhupada explained that they were worshiping for Krsna. If we worship for material benedictions that is condemned however if we worship for Krsna, whatever favourable for Krsna consciousness must be accepted; that is Krsna consciousness. And here in Vraja bhumi we see that people worship lord Shiva, sometime they worship Hanuman ji but they are all worshiping with a single intention; please remove our obstacle & give me pure unalloyed devotional service.
Stealing of Gopis clothes by Krsna
Every morning the gopis would meet & hold their hands & happily dance seeing the glories of Krsna to this place Chira Ghat. At that time where you are sitting was the Yamuna River. They would make with their own hands the earthen deities of goddess Kätyäyané just at the time of sunrise they would take their bath & Yamuna & begin to perform their worship, throughout the worship they continuously chanted one prayer, oh goddess Kätyäyané, please fulfil our prayer, let the son of Nanda maharaj be my husband. This was their constant absorption. The last day of their wow they were here just at the sunrise time taking the bath in Yamuna; at that time Krsna, the Son of Nanda he came with some of his friends. On this particular day he specially chose very small small friends only two or three years old because Krsna wanted to bring friends who looked old enough to know what is male & what is female. So Krsna & his little friends came here, the gopis were in Yamuna taking their bath, & offering their oblations they left their clothes on the bank. Lord Sri Krsna stole every set of clothes & climbed up upon this very Kadamba tree & then he began to laugh. He said please come & collect your clothes; I will not return your clothes until each & every one of you come one by one to collect them. I do not tell lies, I am not joking please come forward. And all the little boys were laughing & laughing, what good fun Krsna was having today. So gopis they began to glance one another & smile & laugh, they were very much embarrassed by the situation however they were utterly immersed in pure love. They were telling jokes to each other; one Gopi said to another, you go first & get your clothes I want to see what trick Krsna is going to do with you & then I will go later. The gopis, they said, dear Krsna we are upto our neck in water & we are shivering due to the cold, please do not be unfair, you are the respectable son of Nanda maharaj, you are very well honoured throughout Vraja bhumi, please give us our clothes back. We are your maid servants, we have given our lives exclusively for your satisfaction, please give us our clothes back; if you don’t it may be reported to the king. Lord Krsna laughed even more. He said, if you are actually my maid servant then you come with your innocent smile out of the water one by one to collect your clothes. I am not afraid of the king. So Vraja gopis understanding that it was actually the will of the lord to do so they all came out of the Yamuna, but due to their natural shyness with their hands & their arms they were covering the private parts of the bodies. Krsna said to them that, do you know what you did; you made a big aparädha to the demigod Varuëa, you bathed in Yamuna water without clothes. There is only one atonement for this, you must immediately fold your hands on top of your head & offer obeisances to me. But Srila Prabhupada tells us that Gopis were not afraid of Varuëa, however they really wanted to please Krsna so they followed his instruction. And then Krsna very happily gave each & one of them their clothes with a loving smile upon his moon like face. Gopis got dressed but while Krsna stole their clothes he also stole their minds & their love. They could not leave that place; they just stood there gazing at Krsna with pure unadulterated spiritual love. Krsna told the Vraja gopis that, I know the intentions of your worship of Kätyäyané & I promise you that your desire will be fulfilled in due course of time. Now you go back to the village of Vraja & we will soon enjoy in the night together. So the gopis returned home.
Perfecting our lives by selflessly serving others
After this wonderful past time lord Sri Krsna met Balaräm ji & the older cowherd boys & they were laughing & speaking so many nice things. It was very hot that day & Krsna called them to sit under the shade of a tree, he cried out, oh Krsna Sudama, Subala, oh Sridama, Vrishaba Ujvala, Gandharva come come under the shade of this tree; just see how these trees they simply live for the benefit of others, they tolerate the heat of the sun & give us shade, they tolerate cold of the winter & give us wood to keep us worm, they are even willing to give up their bodies so we have a place to love. These trees have perfected their birth because they simply live as a sacrifice for the welfare of other living beings. Krsna said it is the prime duty of every living being to act for the benefit of others with one’s life, one’s wealth, one’s intelligence, & one’s words. Krsna tells us in Bhagavad Gita that there is no one dearer to him that one who speaks my message to the devotees & ultimately everyone is potentially his devotee. Lord Caitanya said,
bhärata-bhümite haila manuñya janma yära
janma särthaka kari’ kara para-upakära
the majority of the assembly of devotees today happened to have the good fortune of having born in the land of Bhärata-varña & Caitanya Mahaprabhu gave an order to you become Krsna conscious & dedicate their lives to the ultimate welfare of others by giving Krsna consciousness to them.
Poverty means poverty of Krsna consciousness
You can feed the poor but the next day they are hungry, you can give them clothing, you can give them medical relief but they still gone grow old, get diseased & die. You can buy them houses all of these material type of welfare work have their value within this world but they do not touch the needs of the soul. When the soul is forgetful of Krsna it is in poverty, it is diseased. What are we doing for the poverty & disease of the soul that is unlimitedly more important than the body because the body is only a temporary designation covering the soul. But real charity, real welfare is to enlighten the soul, to bring the soul to its ultimate supreme friend, Krsna because only Krsna can save him. Krsna is suhådaà sarva-bhütänäà, he is the supreme friend of all living beings, & anyone who brings us to that supreme friend is actually a friend. So Krsna spoke that, the real duty of all of us is to preach Krsna consciousness with our life, with our wealth, with our intelligence & with our words that is compassion. Therefore we should pray at this place to be an instrument in the loving compassionate hands of Srila Prabhupada & the great acharyas.
We should also pray in this holy place that we can give up our egos. The gopis, their supreme qualification was they had absolutely no ego, they simply lived for the pleasure of Krsna, Caitanya Mahaprabhu told us that there is no spiritual realization higher than that of the love of the gopis. We are so conditioned, so habituated from time immemorial to pride in our particular temporary situation; we think we are learned, we think we are wealthy, we think we are expert at whatever we could do nicely, these are all impediments on the path of Bhakti.
Surrendering unto Krsna is foremost priority of human life.
These days’ people become very nationalistic but actually if an Indian in his nationalistic ways is always thinking in fear & hatred towards Pakistan; where do you think he is gone take birth? And vice versa. So we have to transcend these designations. Our beloved Srila Prabhupada was a follower of Gandhi when he met Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur. Ater Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur spoke to him for the first time; immediately he said you an intelligenet young man, you should take this message of Caitanya Mahaprabhu & distribute to the people of the world in an Engkish language. Srila Prabhupada said, India is a country that is subjaugated by the British, who will hear our philosophy? First most important priority is Independence. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur said, all these designations who is in control, who is in power, what nationalism we may be adapted to it is all an illusion it has nothing to do with the eternal soul, it has nothing to with the ultimate goal of life.
mäm ekaà çaraëaà vraja
ahaà tväà sarva-päpebhyo
mokñayiñyämi mä çucaù
Abandon all varieties of religions & just surrender to Krsna that is the only true principle of religion & how is that done?
man-manä bhava mad-bhakto
mad-yäjé mäà namaskuru
mäm evaiñyasi satyaà te
pratijäne priyo ‘si me
Always remember Krsna, become his devotee, worship him, & offer homage unto him; Krsna promises us he will take us back to the spiritual world if we simply live by these principles.
mäm ekaà çaraëaà vraja
There is no supreme most surrender than that of the residence of Vraja, because they know nothing but Krsna. Rupa Goswami explains we should follow in the footsteps of the residence of Vrindavan; if we imitate them we will fall into an abominable state of consciousness. We must follow in their footsteps we must live by the principles that they existed upon. No separate interest than the pleasure of Krsna, no purpose than the service of Krsna & to us this is what Chir Ghat represents & we should pray here. Lord Sri Krsna will certainly hear our prayers in this very very holy place; we should pray that we can forever relinquish our materialistic conceptions; our separatist desires to be an enjoyer & give our lives as the servant of the servant of the servants.
Nanda maharaj released from the clutches of Varuëa
Not far from here is a place called Nanda ghat, it is explained by Sri Sukadev Goswami that, the vrajavasis observed Ekadashi & on the early morning of Dwadashi Nanda maharaj & some of the gopas they came to Yamuna to take their bath. It was not yet light out, Nanda maharaj entered into Yamuna, a demoniac servant of the demigod Varuna considered that, Nanda maharaj was taking his bath too early therefore it was a great offence. He was transgressing the proper etiquette of Ekadashi, so he arrested Nanda maharaj & brought him to the abode of Varuëa. When gopas saw that, Nanda maharaj is disappeared in the Yamuna they became very much alarmed & what do the gopas do when any fear or danger comes into their lives… they loudly cried out the name of Krsna, Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare Hare Ram Hare Ram Ram Ram Hare Hare. This is what it means to follow in their footsteps. They cried out, oh Krsna, of Balaräm, Nanda maharaj is gone. So Krsna & Balaräm came & Krsna personally entered into the Yamuna & went directly into the kingdom of Varuëa. When he arrived, Varuëa Dev was Jubilant; the supreme personality of godhead has come to my kingdom, what a tremendous blessing! He said, now I have attained perfection; anyone who takes shelter of your lotus feet will never again have to fear the dangers of material existence. I surrender my life to you, oh Govinda please be merciful upon me. I am very embarrassed as one of my very ignorant foolish servants arrested your father. Krsna looked over & he saw Nanda maharaj was sitting on a beautiful golden throne. Varuëa understand the affection of Krsna for his father so he gave him the royal reception. He said to Krsna that, you are very affectionate to your father, please take him back, we beg your forgiveness. Then Varuëa dev with all the royal opulence of his kingdom he began to worship lord Krsna. Krsna took Nanda maharaj back to Vrindavan.
Vrajavasis gets the vision of spiritual world
Nanda maharaj was amazed because he was thinking, he is my little child, and he never saw such a mighty great demigod worshiping him. So he started telling all the other older Gopas; Varuëa gave me an ornamented golden throne just because I am Krsna’s father, this great great powerful demigod put his head on Krsna’s feet, he was weeping & crying & surrendering to him. He was offering his ärati & fine foods & jewels & everything else. So the Vrajavasis were thinking, Krsna is supreme personality of godhead & they began to think in their hearts, will he favour us by showing us his spiritual abode? Krsna is the paramatma in everyone’s heart, he knows everyone’s desires so he brought his devotees to Yamuna & submerged them in Yamuna. When he took them out he gave them the spiritual vision to see the vast unlimited brahma jyoti. The acharyas explains, Krsna bathe them in the light of the Brahma jyoti & them he revealed to them the supreme Vaikuntha planet of Krsna loka. They saw the spiritual world & how happy they were… they saw that the highest abode of the spiritual sky is exactly the same the Gokul they were living on here on this earth; same type of trees, same type of cows, in fact they saw the same people there, and they saw the same Krsna. So they were fully satisfied to their heart’s content. After seeing this vision, upon seeing the beautiful form of Krsna & Balaräm their parental affection erupted in their hearts to such an extent that they just completely forgot everything they had seen & they loved Krsna as their innocent child.
One cannot attain perfection by acting according to whimsy of mind
Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur describes in this regard what anartha this demon servant of Varuëa represents, how we should understand it, & how we should protect ourselves from that. On the path back home back to godhead that demoniac servant of Varuëa represents, one who thinks that they can make spiritual progress through taking intoxication. One time a devotees approached Srila Prabhupada, he said, Srila Prabhupada, last night you appeared to me in a dream & you told me that, I should take LSD that will help me become Krsna conscious. LSD is intoxication. Srila Prabhupada said, that was not me that was a ghost in disguise of me. You cannot become Krsna conscious by taking intoxications. Srila Prabhupada said, there are many devotees of Lord Shiva who drink the Bhang & use the chillum & smoke hashish & gaïjä, but that will not help them on their spiritual path. Its poison, intoxication is a type of poison. Unless they can drink the ocean of poison they should not imitate lord Shiva; they should follow what he says. You see the problem is we are all already intoxicated. The purpose of spiritual life is to become sober, to become normal again & in that normal state we are supremely intoxicated with transcendental love. When we dance & chant in kirtan sometime we become intoxicated that is natural that is the pure sentiments of the soul being awakened. But materialistic intoxication simply further cover & obscure the true nature of the soul. That servant of Varuëa, he was intoxicated, intoxicated by false ego. He was thinking he has power; he was a personal associate of such a great demigod; intoxicated by that power. He offended a great Vaishnava; this is one of the greatest of all dangers to our spiritual lives. We have some high position; we have some good skills…. Krsna gives us for some time some opulence & we become intoxicated by that. And we think we have a right to offend those who are dear to Krsna & inevitably we fall down. So we must guard against this propensity to be intoxicated by either liquor or drugs or false pride & the way to do that is to hold on very very tightly to the instructions of great spiritual master & the vaishnavas.
It’s the humility that empowers us to chant the holy name constantly
trinad api sunicena, taror api sahishnuna
amanina manadena, kirtaniya sada hari
If we follow the instructions of the great souls in that spirit; humble like a blade of grass, tolerant like tree, ready to offer all respect to others & expect none in return, then Krsna will empower us to constantly chant his holy names. Recently I was speaking to someone, that person was… let us say, representing a camp of people very much criticizing vaishnavas, very much trying to recruit in canvas vaishnavas to their side & he said, I am only speaking Siddhanta. So I was thinking that,
trinad api sunicena, taror api sahishnuna
amanina manadena, kirtaniya sada hari,
is a very very essential part of our Siddhanta & factually unless we live by this principle all the other Siddhantas will simply remain in our head, they will never enter our hearts. Unless there is respect, unless ther is etiquette, unless there is culture in our Krsna consciousness movement then all the philosophy in the world will simply inflate our false egos & cause to make offences. So we should study Srila Prabhupada’s divine books with our heart & soul & if we are really reading what he is saying; we will digest that message with the enzyme of this principle, to be humble like a blade of grass, more tolerant than a tree, ready to offer all respect to others & expect none in return in this state of mind let us constantly chant the holy name, Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare Hare Ram Hare Ram Ram Ram Hare Hare.
Sometimes guru’s instructions are inconceivable
I would like to tell one more story, it is very important. There was a great scholar who came to Vrindavan, very senior man & he desired to help Rupa Goswami to edit his Bhaktirasamritasindhu and he actually found a mistake. So Rupa Goswami, he was so humble, he told this devotee, you take this whole manuscript & correct it. He didn’t fight or challenge. But Jiva Goswami was the principle disciple of Rupa Goswami so what are you doing with my guru maharaj’s book, can you tell? He said I will correct it. But there is no fault in that. But he said no, I found this fault. So Jiva Goswami explained, actually on the basis of shastras & on the basis of principles of pure unalloyed devotion that everything that Srila Rupa Goswami said was correct. So this very senior acharya came back to Rupa Goswami with a big smile on his face & gave him his book back. Rupa Goswami said, why are you not going to help me? He said there is no problem in this book, your disciple Jiva Goswami, what a scholar, what a devotee, what love he has for you, he defeated me. So the next time Jiva Goswami came before him, Rupa Goswami chastised him; you are on the land of Vrindavan there can be no ego in Vrindavan, Vrindavan is a land of humility & devotion. He was a senior man, proper etiquette is to respect him but you wanted to show off your scholarship by defeating him therefore there is no place for you here in Vrindavan you should go. Jiva Goswami came to Nanda Ghat close by & he lived in a hole that previously was the residence of a crocodile & there he repented bitterly for his offence. He was weeping & crying & constantly chanting the holy name. One day Sanatan Goswami came by & he met Jiva Goswami, he took him out of the crocodile hole & brought him back to Vrindavan. The villagers were giving him some rotti flour & he was just mix it with Yamuna water & eat it a handful of day, so his health was very bad. Sanatan Goswami he approached Rupa Goswami & said I want to point out to you that one of the cardinal principle of Gauranga Mahaprabhu’s teachings you are not following properly. What do you mean? Rupa Goswami said, oh so many defects in my devotional service, please tell me how I can improve, which of the cardinal, principles I have violated? Sanatan Goswami said, you please tell me what the cardinal principles of Caitanya Mahaprabhu are. One is kirtan rasa, develop a taste for chanting of the holy name, another is Vaishnava seva, serving the vaishnavas, another is being compassionate to al loving beings, Jiva dayä. Rupa Goswami immediately understood that I should be more compassionate to Jiva Goswami. So he called him in & Rupa Goswami personally embraced him. There are so many deep lesson to e learnt from this story. Actually Jiva Goswami did not make any offence whatsoever, it is the duty of the devotee to defend the previous acharya what to speak of his own spiritual master. He was doing it as humble service & Rupa Goswami in the core of his heart actually appreciated it. However Rupa Goswami wanted to glorify the qualities of Jiva for the world to see. Even though Jiva Goswami was right by every standard when his Guru said he was wrong, he didn’t argue with him, he didn’t make excuses. In the core of his heart he deeply felt I am wrong, guru maharaj says, I am wrong, I am wrong. And he fasted & performed such severe penances to atone for that mistake he made that no one could possibly survive doing that today. He really repented, such humility, such faithful service. In the story Jiva Goswami is forever glorified & Srila Rupa Goswami is forever glorified for revealing to the world the insurmountable glorious qualities of a true Vaishnava.
Thank you very much.