H.H. Radhanath Swami

By the causeless mercy of our beloved guru-deva Śrīla A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, and the merciful ācāryas, we have received an inconceivable form of causeless mercy. We have been allowed entrance into the eternal home of Śrī Vṛndāvaneśvari, the Queen of Vṛndāvana, the supreme reservoir of compassion—Śrīmati Rādhārāṇī. In the age of Kali, one of the great misfortunes that people suffer is that they do not understand what is truly of value. In fact in Kali-yuga, what is utterly unimportant, we consider of great value and what is of supreme importance, we take as ordinary. And that is really the difference between a devotee and a person bereft of good fortune. Actually the only real fortune is to understand the mercy of the Lord and to reciprocate. To the degree we make spiritual progress, our hearts become pure: we can recognize and with a grateful heart appreciate mercy, when it comes upon us. We come to Śrī Vṛndāvana dhāma in association of devotees, with the blessings of Śrīla Prabhupāda and all the great ācāryas, the six gosvāmīs. It’s a fortune that is so high that human intelligence cannot even begin to grapple[??] its significance.

Śrīla Prabhupāda explained that one cannot really enter Vṛndāvana simply by plane or by any other type of motor-vehicle, or even by foot. One can enter Vṛndāvana in a state of consciousness of deep humility and appreciation. Śrīla Prabhupāda taught[??] that Akrūra gave an example, when he just came into the precincts of Śrī Vṛndāvana… actually even on his way… his heart was trembling with eagerness for the darśana of Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma. His mind was immersed intensely in that remembrance—remembering the Lord’s names, remembering the Lord’s pastimes and especially hoping for the Lord’s mercy. In this way by the time he actually came to the precinct of Vṛndāvana, he was so very much fertile in his heart to receive mercy. When he saw the cows and heard the milking of the cows, and saw the trees and the flowers, the creepers of the forest, he was [??] of ecstasy and when he saw the lotus footprints of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa in the soft sands, he literally fell from his magnificent chariot and rolled in the dust, weeping tears of grateful joy. That is not artificial.

We have come to Barsānā, the place where the Supreme Goddess of Fortune, Śrī Rādhārāṇī resides eternally and performs memorable pastimes with Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa and the sakhīs, gopīs, gopas—it is not an ordinary friendship. So let us really pray earnestly that we can gain an appreciation and gratitude because when we are truly grateful when we receive mercy, then Kṛṣṇa reciprocates and showers more and more and more and more mercy. But if we take it to be ordinary, if we become neglectful, or even complain because the mercy is not what we expect or what pleases our senses or mind, then Kṛṣṇa reciprocates with that, and withholds our ability to even understand the fortune we’re given. But Śrīla Prabhupāda explains to us that an essential qualification to be Kṛṣṇa conscious is our sincerity. Sincerity can be understood as something very real, the cultivation of the desire to the proper desire without superficiality, without desire of material gain or benefits either in the form of wealth or position, prestige. But an actual desire or an actual wanting for the true essence of life—pure devotional service, and an honest, determined will to follow the principles of devotional service carefully under the guidance of the great souls. That is the way of expressing our sincerity.

What is valuable in this world? Is it wealth? Is it power? Is it prestige? The Lord teaches the world through great personalities. Let us take for example, Lord Brahmā. Lord Brahmā is the wealthiest man in the universe. He lives in Brahma-loka, a place millions of times more beautiful and opulent even than the abode of Indra, in happiness. Very difficult to attain Brahma-loka. He lives three hundred and eleven trillion (311,000,000,000,000) years. He is the father of all living beings in the universe. He has such power. Even the demigods turn to him when difficulty comes. But Lord Brahmā, according to Varāha Purāṇa and Padma Purāṇa he performed tapasyā, and he prayed to Kṛṣṇa for a benediction. He wanted to assist the Lord in the most humble way in His transcendental pastimes when the Lord appears on earth. Kṛṣṇa knew his heart—Brahmā wanted to serve the Lord in such a way that the dust of the feet of not only the Lord but of all His devotees would always be upon his head. In fact at this very moment all of us have been dancing for the last couple hours on the heads of Lord Brahmā, and right now, believe it or not, the father of the universe, the original spiritual master, you are all sitting on his head. And there is nothing you can do about it. He finds greater pleasure with the devotees walking on the top of his head, sitting on his head, dancing on his head, and I will tell you what else the Vraja-vāsīs do on his head. Yor feet, that’s for walking. Brahmā performs tapasyā to leave his abode, to become the mountain of Barsānā. Kṛṣṇa [??] —“When I descend, you will be a four headed mountain at the very home of Śrī Rādhārāṇī.” So this is something that is really valuable. na dhanaṁ na janaṁ na sundarīṁ kavitāṁ  vā jagadīśa kāmaye, mama janmani janmani īśvare bhavatād bhakti ahaituki tvayi. Caitanya Mahāprabhu prays, “I do not want wealth.” The world is mad after wealth. Family members become bitter enemies fighting over wealth. People give up their ethics and their morality and glide to the darkest regions of hell, in lust for wealth. People live lives where they have to live in crazy places that they hate, work with horrible people that they can’t [??], out of the necessity for wealth. Mahāprabhu says, “I do not want wealth. I do not want the association of beautiful women—which means the opposite sex. I do not want prestige.” Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura called prestige the stool of a lowly boar, but yet due to our conditioning like hogs, we are so hungry for that stool. A big honour of having a high position… [unclear words](05:18). Mahāprabhu said, “I don’t want that stool—prestige. And I don’t want to be known as a kavitā, as a great poet, a scholar.” Previously as Nimāi Paṇḍita, He happened to be the greatest scholar in the universe. Yes? Bṛhaspati is the guru of the demigods. No one on earth is a better scholar than him. But Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, He totally defeated the incarnation of Bṛhaspati who is Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya. But Lord Caitanya did not want that distinction, “I don’t want this. I don’t even want liberation.” Liberation means freedom from suffering.

Can anyone here honestly say that, “I do not want liberation from suffering”? ādhyātmika, ādhi-daivika, ādhi-bhautika, miserable diseases and old age. The  sufferings of dying, the suffering of broken hearts, the sufferings of betrayed. Innumerable sufferings. Actually most of the world’s expenditures are for the purpose of trying to prevent or alleviate suffering or potential suffering, for ourselves and others. Mahāprabhu says, “I don’t want liberation from suffering. I only want one thing—causeless, unconditional, devotional service to you birth after birth after birth. That benediction is truly valuable. Rūpa, Sanātana, Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmīs, they gave up all the fortunes and the opulences of the world to sleep in the dust of Vraja, in the hot summers and winter, under trees. They were intelligent. They gave up their magnificent palaces in Rāma-keli, and all the comforts, and they understood that every single tree of Vṛndāvana is billions and trillions of times more opulent than their palaces. In fact, all the wealth of all the heavenly worlds of this world and all the opulences of Vaikuṇṭha, do not equal in value one particle of dust in Śrī Vraja-dhāma. And yet, we have this dust in our hair, we have this dust in our lungs, this dust is flying everywhere around us today, and we don’t even notice it. We don’t even recognize its value. Lord Brahmā, he gave up his abode. Rūpa and Sanātana gave up their abodes to take the humblest positions in Śrī Vṛndāvana dhāma Uddhava prayed to leave his most magnificent services—Kṛṣṇa’s best friend in Dvārakā—to become a small clump of grass or a creeper on the ground where the maidservants of the gopīs may step on his head. This is the awareness and greatness in devotional service.

Unalloyed devotional service is so rare and so precious, because it is the only thing that pleases God. Kṛṣṇa is not impressed by our wealth, by our knowledge, by our austerity; He’s only impressed by our humility and our devotion. The natural question is “Why?” That most secret of all mysteries is revealed through guru, sādhu, and śāstra, because the reservoir of all bhakti, Śrī Rādhārāṇī, the hlādini śakti—the pleasure potency of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa… māyā is very strong, very difficult to overcome—daivi hy eṣā guṇa-mayī mama māyā duratyayā [Bhagavad-gītā 7.14]. Kṛṣṇa Himself tells, it is very difficult to overcome these three modes of material nature—goodness, passion and ignorance. Viśvāmitra muni, through his tapasyā, he attained such immense state of liberation. Just thinking about and talking about the tapasyā of Viśvāmitra muni is inconceivable. But yet, by the tinkling of the anklets [ankle bells?] of Menakā, kandarpa deceived and conquered Viśvāmitra. Kṛṣṇa tells in Gītā that one can only overcome the three modes of material nature by taking shelter of Him, because—mayādhyakṣeṇa prakṛtiḥ sūyate sa-carācaram [Bhagavad-gītā 9.10]—the modes of material nature are working under His direction. He is the supreme controller of all controllers, but yet when Śrīmati Rādhārāṇī glances from the side of Her lotus-like eyes in the direction of Śyāmasundara, His heart is conquered. Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī explains that simply by the side-long glance of Śrīmati Rādhārāṇī, Kṛṣṇa becomes so infatuated by her love that He drops His flute; His crown and peacock-feather fall to the ground and He doesn’t even know it. Kṛṣṇa is conquered only by love, and whatever love is there in the heart of any living entity, we should understand that it is infinitesimal part and parcel of Śrīmati Rādhārāṇī’s love. And even that infinitesimal, little part and parcel has the power to conquer Kṛṣṇa. So the full fledged ultimate source of all love—Śrīmati Rādhārāṇī—what is Her power? Her power is manifested in this world in the form of Her compassion, and that is why we have come to Barsānā today. To pray at the lotus feet of Śrī Rādhārāṇī of her compassion. Caitanya- caritāmṛta explains so nicely that even Kṛṣṇa cannot understand the love of Śrī Rādhā. He is thinking in His own heart that, “I am the reservoir of all pleasure, I am Rasa-rāja, but yet, the happiness that Śrīmati Rādhārāṇī experienced when She sees Me is tens and millions of times greater than My own happiness.” So this was His mystery. He appeared as Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu—Kṛṣṇa with the complexion and emotions of Śrīmati Rādhārāṇī—for three principal purposes: 1) To understand the nature of Rādhārāṇī’s love; 2) To understand the wonderful sweetness of His love that She tastes; and 3) To understand the joy She experiences when She tastes the sweetness of His love.

There is a beautiful story told by our Gosvāmīs, how Kṛṣṇa was trying to fathom this mystery. He wanted to understand, “what is this happiness that You experience, Śrīmati Rādhārāṇī when You taste the sweetness of My love?” Śrī Rādhārāṇī, She explained, “You cannot understand. It is not possible… unless You take My position. Therefore for You to get a glimpse of the happiness I experience in tasting Your love, I will accept Your form and You should accept My form.” [??] went to kuñja,  and Lalitā, Viśākhā dressed Her exactly like Kṛṣṇa, and Kṛṣṇa assumed a form of Rādhārāṇī. And then Śrīmati Rādhārāṇī in the form of Kṛṣṇa played Her flute. How sweetly She played Her flute. It was a full moon night and the [??] (28:51) melody which was emanating from the love[?] of Her heart was pouring through the holes of Her flute in [??](unclear). And the full moon practically fell from the sky. Meanwhile Kṛṣṇa in Rādhārāṇī’s form, when He heard… or when She heard this fifth note of veṇu, the flute of Kṛṣṇa, He just abandoned everything, just left everything—all material and spiritual worlds, and went running, running, running, running, running to where Rādhārāṇī was playing His flute, and then Rādhārāṇī in the form of Kṛṣṇa said, “Oh, You have come into the beautiful, moonlight forest of Vṛndāvana, You have seen the nice moon shine, and the mālati and the mallikā flowers blooming, and You’ve seen the nice tamāla, kadamba and bakulā trees, and now You are seeing Me also. I am very pleased. Now You should go home.”

And Kṛṣṇa in the mood and form of Śrī Rādhārāṇī began to draw curved lines in the dust of the ground with His toes and bashfully looking down, weeping tears, praying, “No! You cannot send Me home. Please, You cannot send Me home. I want be here with You only. I am not going to go home.” And She explained, “You are the life of our lives. By surrendering to you I have abandoned everything just for Your pleasure.” And then Kṛṣṇa… or Rādhārāṇī in the form of Kṛṣṇa began to dance, with Kṛṣṇa in Rādhārāṇī’s form and They danced so nicely, and then Rādhārāṇī in Kṛṣṇa’s form disappeared. And Kṛṣṇa was roaming through the forests of Vṛndāvana, “Where is Kṛṣṇa? Where is Kṛṣṇa?” She was asking the trees, and She’s asking the deers and She’s asking the insects, everywhere… She’s asking the sky and the moon, “Where is Śyāmasundara? Where is Śrī Nanda-nandana?” And then Rādhārāṇī appears in Kṛṣṇa’s form, and then They dance. And then Rādhārāṇī said, “Now do You get some understanding?” So this is Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Kṛṣṇa [??] eternally and experiencing the sweetness of Rādhā’s form. But why did He do it on this earth planet, in this mundane, material universe? Because, actually, he is also doing it in the spiritual world. There is a place in Kṛṣṇaloka where there is Navadvīpa, where the Lord is eternally performing this pastime. But once in a day of Brahmā, He comes in this spirit, not only to taste the sweetness of pure love, but to distribute it. So Lord Caitanya is Kṛṣṇa with the mood of Rādhārāṇī, with the mood of Her compassion. Pañca-tattva broke open the treasure house of love of God, tasted the contents and distributed it profusely. Yes, there is no other way of going beyond the clutches of māyā and entering into the realm of pure devotion, except through causeless mercy. And that causeless mercy—the ultimate source is Śrīmati Rādhārāṇī.

Prabhupāda said when Rādhārāṇī tells Kṛṣṇa that, “This devotee is very nice. He is so humble,” She would say, “he’s better than Me.” When Rādhārāṇī appeals for a fallen devotee, “he’s serving My devotee so nicely. Please accept him,” Kṛṣṇa will accept. So how to attract the mercy of Śrīmati Rādhārāṇī? That is the most important question in all of existence, that you understand this—Rādhārāṇī has appeared as Lord Caitanya to explain it so simple and nice and so perfectly. Lord Caitanya identified Himself: gopī-bhartur pada-kamalayor dāsa dāsa dāsānu-dāsa—as the servant of the servant of the servant. Lord Caitanya taught us that in this age of Kali, harer nāma harer nāma harer nāmaiva kevalam / kalau nāstyeva nāstyeva nāstyeva gatir-anyathā—there is no other way except the chanting of the holy names. Contemplation, meditation—all of these things—are only really possible for one who is offenselessly chanting the holy names. And Lord Caitanya taught us how to chant the holy names, He gave us a particular instruction and told, “take this instruction, put it on the string of the holy name and wear it always.” This is very important. This we [??] (36:02) that this particular instruction is utterly inseparable from properly chanting the holy name. Put this instruction on the string of the holy name and wear it on your heart always. And what is that ornament? The ornament that will have Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa to reciprocate with our chanting of the names—tṛṇād api sunīcena taror iva sahiṣṇunā, amāninā māna dena kīrtanīya sadā hariḥ. Unless we understand this, all the other higher subjects of bhakti will remain theoretical and superficial.

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu in His Śikṣāṣṭakam has progressively explained the higher understanding of the Lord. But to enter into those higher understandings, first we have to pass through the gateway of the [??], to be humble like a blade of grass, tolerant like a tree, ready to offer all respect to others and expect none in return. In that state of mind, Kṛṣṇa will be pleased to empower us to chant the holy names of the Lord constantly. What does that mean?… ‘to chant the holy names constantly’… you can’t chant the holy name constantly unless you have ruci—nāma ruci, unless you really have a taste for chanting. You can’t do it just as an austerity. If you’re chanting a hundred thousand or two hundred thousand, or three hundred thousand names everyday as a matter of discipline… even if you’re chanting, your mind will be somewhere else… and as soon as there is a slightest break, your mind will go somewhere else—that is not chanting constantly. When Kṛṣṇa reveals Himself in His name and you taste the sweetness of the name, you can’t stop chanting. How many of us have come to that platform? And yet we dare to think that we are great devotees. For our heart to be fertile, for the seed of the holy name to really take roots and grow into the fruit of love of God, this is the requirement—humility like the grass, tolerance like a tree. Eager to offer all respect to other and expect none in return. We have heard this instruction many times, but we should hear this instruction hundreds and millions and millions of times because it is actually very difficult to understand. In this world people are so much motivated and impelled by false ego… even amongst devotees, we have this previous conditioning. We want a higher position, we want respect, we want prestige, we’re envious of somebody else, we’re competitive. Competition, to inspire one another in a spirit of service and well-wishing is very healthy. But when competition is based on the false ego, or envy, it is destructive.

This verse is very inconceivable. It completely contradicts material existence, and the entire fiber of the society that we live in today. But yet is Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s order… and it is our only hope. Therefore a devotee holds this order as a highest aspiration and goal. Because through acquiring this consciousness, we become receptive to the causeless, inconceivable mercy of the holy name as we chant Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Hare Hare / Hare Rāma Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma Hare Hare. (41:42) So we’ve come to Barsana and we hear nice stories, beautiful stories about the enchanting pastimes of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. It is not meant simply as a form of entertainment where we smile and we laugh. That is nice. but actually our purpose—Kṛṣṇa and Rādhārāṇī perform Their līlā on this earth. To deeply penetrate our hearts through the sound vibration . To transform our consciousness. And that is only possible when we take very, very seriously this order of the Lord. To be humble like the blade of grass, tolerant like the tree, ready to offer all respects to others and expect none in return. And thus constantly chant the holy name— Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Hare Hare / Hare Rāma Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma Hare Hare.

So as we are roaming through the beautiful forests of Barsana, we should be praying for the dust of the lotus feet of Śrī Rādhā and Her devotees. This is the spirit. In Vṛndāvana, no one can understand what is Vṛndāvana when there is false ego. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī [??] just to show an example to the world… Jīva Gosvāmī just did some nice service by protecting the reputation of Rūpa Gosvāmī by defeating one Balava in… also one Rūpa-Nārāyaṇa in debate. But Rūpa Gosvāmī told him that, “You did this [??]. You wanted to defeat someone.” Can you imagine how subtle bhakti is? Where is [??] (unclear) [??] people.(44:52) But even if we take pride after we defeat them, we could fall down! Haribol! We are told to go out and defeat Māyāvāda and defeat materialism, and defeat atheism; and the only possibility of doing it is if we are empowered to do so and even if we’re empowered to do so and we do it and if we take any credit and become proud, we become just [??]. (45:20) Rūpa Gosvāmī says Vṛndāvana is not a place for anyone who has even a single particle of pride in their heart. Hare Kṛṣṇa. How many of you feel you are worthy of living in Vṛndāvana? Hare Kṛṣṇa. Living in Vṛndāvana… the qualification isn’t to have enough money to buy some land and build a house. That’s not living in Vṛndāvana. Living in Vṛndāvana is a state of consciousness. Rūpa Gosvāmī said, “To actually be living in Vṛndāvana there cannot even be a speck of false pride in the heart.”

tṛṇād api sunīcena taror iva sahiṣṇunā

amāninā māna dena kīrtanīya sadā hariḥ

If we have this consciousness and we are chanting the holy names, we could be in Vṛndāvana anywhere we are in this world. But we come to Vṛndāvana to gain that inspiration, in the association of devotees, in this most holy dhāma where everything is cintāmaṇi, where every tree is kalpavṛkṣa; in this land we are praying and yearning and longing for thay consciousness which we can offer to Śrī Śrī Rādhā Śyāmasundara, and give Them pleasure. [??] Śrīmati Rādhārāṇī is the very embodiment of selfless service and this is what She will bestow upon Her devotee which will show our genuine sincerity. Śrī Rādhārāṇī appeared in this world in Raval, mukhya-ravali[??]. In some purāṇas it describes Vṛṣabhānu was ploughing his field and She came out from the ground, and he took Her home and offered to his wife Kīrtidā, but Śrī Rādhārāṇī was appearing to be blind, and deaf and dumb. She would not respond to anything, She would not open Her eyes, or even make a single sound. Actually, previously, Vṛṣabhānu was living in Barsana, and Nanda Mahārāja was in Nanda-gāon. But Nanda Mahārāja had no children, so they relocated to Gokula mahāvana to be close to Yamunā, and at that time,  Vṛṣabhānu—always wanted to be close to Nanda Mahārāja—moved to Raval, and then Gopāla appeared through Nanda and Yaśodā, and Śrīmati Rādhārāṇī appeared. Nārada muni came and worshipped Her, and She first opened Her eyes only when the beautiful form of Gopāla was before the pathway of Her glance, and then She cried in ecstasy.

For three years and four months, Nanda Mahārāja lived in Mahāvana, but so many demons came—Pūtana, Śakaṭāsura, Tṛṇavarta… arjuna trees were falling down… so they moved to Vṛndāvana, and then to Kāmyavana,  Kelamvana[??], and similarly Vṛṣabhānu Mahārāja with Śrī Rādhārāṇī and family was moving, and ultimately Nanda Mahārāja moved back to Nanda-grāma and Śrīmati Rādhārāṇī and family came back to Barsānā. On the day of Rādhāṣṭami, actually the biggest celebration in all of Vraja is in this very temple where we are sitting today. I’ve gone to Raval on Rādhāṣṭami and it’s not a very big celebration. All the vraja-vāsīs by the hundreds and thousands, come to Barsānā. It is so very dear and so very sacred to all of the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana. Śrīla Prabhupāda explains the inhabitants of Vṛndāvana, they are always chanting the names of Rādhārāṇī. Because they know that this is the real essence of perfection. Śrī Rādhārāṇī is “Hare”—She can conquer the heart even of Hari, who conquers everyone. Kṛṣṇa is Hari—He steals away all inauspiciousness, steals away all of our attachments and ultimately steals our heart when it becomes soft like the butter of the gopīs, but Śrīmati Rādhārāṇī steals the heart of Hari, so She is Hare. Thus Śrī Caitanya recommended this mahāmantra. The most profoundly powerful way of approaching Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa in this age if Kali is chanting with great feeling, very loudly, for the benefit of all living beings… Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Hare Hare / Hare Rāma Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma Hare Hare.

Now we will offer our prayers that we can overcome egoistic contaminations, that we can overcome superficiality, artificiality that is born of the false ego, and we can genuinely, earnestly and honestly pray to be the servant of the servant of the servant of the Vaiṣṇavas, because that gentle and sincere desire will attract the mercy of Śrī Rādhā Śyāmasundara. Thank you very much. jaya jaya Śrī Rādhe…  … Śyāma. Now we will have kīrtana procession to our next destination. Hare Kṛṣṇa.


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.