First of all I would like to thank Goswamiji for making these very wonderful arrangements for us to be together in this very holy place. Let us thank Goswamiji by loudly chanting – Hari Bol. Our beloved Guru Maharaja Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada declared Radha Damodar Temple to be the center of the spiritual world situated in the heart of the Seva Kunj where Sri Sri Radha Govinda’s sweetest most beautiful pastime take place eternally. I would like to speak briefly something about the temples, we have visited earlier today, and then speak about the center of the spiritual world, the home of Sri Rupa Goswami and Sri Jiva Goswami.
We first visited Sri Madan Mohan Mandir. Sanatan Goswami was the highest minister of the King of Bengal – Navab Hussain Shah. He and his brother Rupa Goswami who was also High Minister and Anupam their younger brother, they performed such valuable service to the king that the king, although he was malecha from the Mohamed religion who hated Hindus, he considered Rupa and Sanatan Goswami to be like his own brother. He gave them the tiles – Sakar Mallik and Dabir Khas and he shared his kingdom with them by granting them fabulous wealth. They resided in Ramkeli near the bank of river Ganges, in Bengal just close to the border of Bihar.
Rupa and Sanatan Goswamis, as Sakar Malic and Dabir Khas, they had beautiful palaces, incredible bathing places, but they were always absorbed in Krishna. They made their gardens into Nava Vrindavans – into a New Vrndavan. They had beautiful forests where they grew Kadamba trees, Tamal Trees and they even excavated Radha Kund and Shyam Kund. In this way there were trying to completely absorb themselves in the spirit of Vrndavan. They did not want to take this position as ministers but they were forced to do so, because if they didn’t, the vaisnavas would have been persecuted in a very violent and terrible way. They wrote letter after letter to Lord Caitanya asking Him what to do. And He didn’t answer letters. Finally they received reply. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu wrote, something like, if a woman loves someone other than her own husband, she will serve her husband specially and carefully, within her heart she would be thinking of that another person. Hare Krishna. Now that is not meant for ladies. But they understood what He meant. That they should perform their duties but in the heart of hearts they should always be remembering Sri Radha and Krishna and doing seva for Them. When Lord Caitanya first attempted to go the Vrndavan, He took a very indirect route in which He came to Ramkeli, with millions of people following Him, performing sankirtan, filling the entire creation. Can you imagine millions of people in one sankirtan being led by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Nityanand Prabhu was there, Haridas Thakur was there. All the devotees loudly chanting ‘Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Hare, Hare/ Hare Ram, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare, Hare’.
What is the use of being 2000 people if that as louder you can chant. Whatever we have, we must use in Krishna’s service to its capacity. That is yukta vairagya Rupa Goswami has taught.
So there Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu performed beautiful kirtan and late at night Dabir Khas, Sakar Mullick and Anupam, they with incognito secretly went to Sri Caitanya. That meeting place is still at Ramkeli where there is Tamal tree and the Kadamba tree side by side. Their Rup and Sanatan Goswami expressed their utter humility. To be Rupanuga which means to follow in the footsteps of Rupa Goswami is the path of perfection amongst Godia Vaisnava. Simply to study his very high elevated literatures is something very wonderful. But prerequisite the understanding any of that, we have to follow in the footsteps of how he approached Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. It is described by Sri Krishnadas Kaviraja Goswami that there were four particular associates of Sri Caitanya who demonstrated essential characteristics that everyone must follow. But they did so to such an extreme that no one can imitate it.
Haridas Thakur demonstrated tolerance. He was beaten to 22 market places severely and he was simply praying the whole time for the deliverance of the people trying to murder him. Praying to Krishna give them bhakti, forgive them, in constantly chanting the holy name without cessation.
Ramanand Rai, he could be with beautiful young ladies, teaching them to dance and even preparing them for the dance for the pleasure of Lord Jagannath, without even being the slightest materially disturbed in mind. It was as if he was looking and touching pieces of wood. Ramananda Rai exhibited the extreme of self control of the senses. If you imitate him, you will fall to the lowest regions. We must understand how he had the total control of his senses.
Damodar Pandit was so simple, so honest, so straightforward that he would even chastised Lord Caitanya. Simplicity is one of the most import qualities of the Vaisnava. Simplicity means no duplicity, no hypocrisy – honesty.
Rupa and Sanatana Goswamis demonstrated quality of humility. They considered themselves, from their heart they were speaking, not just some diplomatic presentation, from their heart they revealed. They felt to be the most fallen, the most sinful, the most unqualified people in the entire universe. More fallen than Jagai and Madhai. Jagai and Madhai, they said, they may have been addicted to every type of abominable activity, but they never served Malechas. We are servants of people like that. That makes us lower than Jagai and Madhai. To deliver us is very difficult. Rupa, Sanatan and Anupam said “for us to even expect your mercy is like a little dwarf to touch the moon. But we have no other hope because You are Patit Pawan. You are the deliverer of the most fallen. So please extend Your kindness to us otherwise we have no hope, we are helpless. Now Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu is the source of Paramatma within our heart and He is living in the heart of His devotees. He knows what is our intention.
Srila Prabhupada explained in one beautiful purport that the Lord accepts the purpose in which everything is offered to Him. The world may see that you are doing something very glamorous in devotional service, and they may bow down and may write pranam mantras for you, but the Lord sees what your intention is. What is your purpose. You cannot fool Krishna. So Lord Caitanya understood the genuine humility of Rup and Sanatana. Their humility was so deep that Lord Caitanya began to weep tears. The Supreme Personality of Godhead was crying. He said “stop speaking in this way”. Your humility has melted My heart. He embraced them, lifted them up and accepted them as His own. They surrendered their body, mind, words and life at the feet of Ciatanya Mahaprabhu and Mahaprabhu accepted it and embraced them. And then He placed His lotus feet on top of their heads, and gave them the names: Rupa Goswami, Sanatana Goswami and Anupam who was previously Sri Vallabha. It is described that during that meeting Sri Jiva Goswami was very small boy, the son of Anupam. And he was just a little behind watching his father and uncles in the association of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Seeing the mercy that they were receiving even his heart was transformed. So Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, He directed Rupa and Sanatana Goswami to resign from their government services and go to Vrndavan. He gave them four specific instructions that He wanted them to achieve: to exhibit by their behavior the ideal example of a vaisnava, especially those in the renounced order of life; to extract the essence of all the scriptures, pure devotional service, following the footsteps of residence of Vrndavan and write books to fill the world with Vrndavan Bhakti. Unconditional devotional service. To establish temples and the worship of the Deities. And to discover and excavate the holy places of Sri Sri Radha and Krishna’s pastimes in Sri Brajdham.
Rupa and Sanatana Goswami left everything behind. Sanatana Goswami just brought a large library of books – holy scriptures. Other than that they really brought nothing. They left a fortune of hundreds and hundreds of millions, thousands of millions of Rupees worth of property without even a concern. In fact Sri Sanatana Goswami, he had to go to prison for some time. But that was a small price to have the privilege to renounce everything for the service of the Lord.
On the way to Vrndavan, Caitanya Mahaprabhu was returning from His trip to Vrndavan. At the time of Magh Mela in Prayag He visited there to take His holy bath at the confluence of Yamuna, Ganga and Sarsvati. He was having wonderful kirtan at Bindumarga Temple. It was at that time that Rupa Goswami again met Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He saw Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has converted hundreds and thousands of people in a matter of days to vaisnava. There were hundreds and thousands of people with their arms raised loudly chanting the holy name. it was at the time that Rupa Goswami composed that illustrious prayer identifying the true mission of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
“namo maha vadanyaya krsna prema pradaya te
Krisnaya krsna caitanya namne gaura tvise namah”
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was Krishna Himself. But in this particular incarnation He is more merciful, more munificent than any other incarnation, because He is giving Krishna Prema freely for anyone who is just willing to accept it with faith. For 10 days at the Dasasvamegha ghat, Sir Caitanya Mahaprabhu instructed Sir Rupa Goswami and sent him to Vrndavan.
Then when the Lord arrived in Varanasi, He met Sanatana Goswami who had just escaped from prison in a very creative way. Sanatana Goswami, when he approached Lord Caitanya, he approached with such humility that “I am so sinful, I am so lowly, I am so fallen, yet people call me a learned scholar and I am so bad that I believe them”, I have no hope, I fall at Your feet and beg you, please instruct me. Who am I, where am I coming from, why am I suffering the three-fold miseries of material existence? Who is God? What is my relationship? Lord Ciatanya was so moved by the humility of Sanatana Goswami.
“tad viddhi pranipatena
Upadeksyanti te jnanam
Jnaninas tattva darsinah”
If you want to be receptive to the message of guru, first we must …….. ourselves. Following in the footsteps of Sanatana Goswami who happen to be one of the greatest scholars in all creation of the holy scriptures. But he did not present himself, he presented himself as totally ignorant. In that state your heart is a fertile field for knowledge to actually be assimilated, absorbed. Sri Caitanya said to Sanatana Goswami “you are fit to be My guru, you are so learned and so advanced, but just for the sake of strictness you are speaking like this”. But since you have asked I will explain. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu instructed Sanatana Goswami for two months on the bank of river Ganges in Varanasi, and then sent him to Vrndavan. As Sanatana was going one way, Rupa Goswami was coming back the other way. Actually Rupa Goswami stopped in Bengal for the purpose of settling all of his family affairs once for all. But while he was in Bengal his younger brother Anupam left the world, went back home back to Godhead. Rupa Gowami met now Caitanya Mahaprabhu in Jagannath Puri, where he stayed with Him for many months. At that time Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu revealed to the whole world the greatness of Rupa Goswami and his intimacy with the Lord. There is that famous incident where Rupa Goswami saw Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu dancing before the chariot of Jagannath, and Lord Caitanya in the mahabhava – the ecstatic love of Smt. Radharani – was offering beautiful prayers. The prayer that Radharani spoke when she met Sri Krishna after long long time in Kuruksetra. But nobody could understand what Lord Caitanya was saying because it was in a special type of language that seemed like ordinary romantic expression. Rupa Goswami on a palm leaf, while he was living in Sidha Bakula – the bhajan kutir of Haridas Thakur, he wrote a verse which was like his commentary of Lord Caitanya verse – “I am the same Radha and you are the same Krishna and we are meeting on the same moonlight night, but I long to see You with the peacock feather in Your hair on the banks of the river Yamuna under the Kadamba trees”. For Smt. Radharani and the Gopis, to see Krishna as a Royal Prince, was heart breaking for them. They wanted to see Him as a cowherd boy in His madhurya rupa not as ashvarya rupa. He wrote this beautiful prayer and put it in the roof of the thatched hut of Haridas Thakur and then went to the sea to take bath. At that time Sri Maharabhu came and He happened to see no one was at home but He read palm leaf. He was astonished. He brought that palm leaf with Him and showed to Swarupa Damodar and said “how is it possible that Rupa Gowami has perfectly understood the inner most feelings of My heart”. Swarupa Damodar Goswami replied “it is only possible because You have bestowed Your full causeless mercy upon him”. And Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said “yes, I have”. Lord Caitanya told all the assembled devotees the same thing.
Sri Ciatanya Mahaprabhu once came to Haridass Thakur’s bhajan kutir and He saw this beautiful prayer that Rupa Goswami had composed, glorifying the holy name ‘I do not know how much nectar the two syallables name Krishna have produced, when the holy name of Krishna dances upon my tongue, I desire many, many, many tongues. When it enters into the holes of my ears, I desire millions and millions and when it enters into the courtyard of my heart, my heart, my mind, my senses, everything is conquered. Mahaprabhu was very pleased.
(We should feel separation from Krishna as that monkey is feeling separation from mother).
In an assembly of devotees Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu had Rupa Goswami read his writings; Ramananda Rai, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharys, Nityanand Prabhu, Haridas Thakur, all these very very great devotees. And they all unanimously agreed that no one is more qualified than Srila Rupa Goswami to present the message of Sri Caintanya Mahaprabhu to the world. They were astonished. Ramananda Rai said “this is not poetry, this is showers and showers of ambrosial nectar”. And Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said “yes, when I met him at Prayag I understood his humility, his sincerity and his devotion and therefore I placed the love of My heart within his heart”. Lord Caitanya empowered Rupa and Sanatana to establish principles of His mission to the whole world. And thus they lived together here in Vrndavan.
Meanwhile, little Jiva Goswami, he was living at home with his mother but he had deities of Krishna Balarama and they were his constant companions. Even when he was a very small child, he would not play cricket like almost every other boy in India, he would just do puja for his deities. He would spend his day collecting flowers making garlands and offering, nice worship and collecting some food stuff and making offerings. He would sing for the deities of Krishna Balarama. He would dance for the deities. He would embrace the Deities, 24 hours a day. He went to sleep embracing Krishna Balarama. He could not give up Their association. They were his love, his friends everything. One day Lord Krishna manifested the form of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and his Deity of Balarama became Nityanand Prabhu and They blessed him supremely. Then he understood, not just theoretical but with complete confidence what Narottam Thakur has prayed ‘Brijendra nanadan jai saci suta hoilo sai, Balarama hoilo Nitai. Son of Sri Nanad Maharaja has appeared as the son of Suci and Balarama has come as Nitai. From that day on he was in ecstatic love. He would weep and he would and cry. He longed and longed and longed to follow in the footsteps of his father and uncles and go to Vrndavan. That is how he spent his life. At the same time he became a profound scholar of all subjects, especially the scriptures. When he was a very young man he left his home and went to Navadwip and there he met Nityanand Prabhu. Nitya Nand Prabhu personally took him on parikrama of all the nine islands of Navadwip and explained confidentially Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s lilas and the history of those places. In fact by the mercy of Nityanand Prabhu, in several places Jiva Goswami was allowed to actually sea Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and all of His devotees performing Harinama sankirtan in the holy places. Sri Nityanand Prabhu instructed Jiva Goswami that Lord Caitanya has given Vrndavan to your family. You should go there and assist your uncles – Sri Rupa Goswami and Sanatana Goswami in the mission of Mahaprabhu. But first go to Varanasi and gain further study of the scriptures from a very great scholar, disciple of Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya of the name Madhusudan Vacaspati. So Jiva Goswami went to Varanasi and studied under this great saint. And soon his incredible intellect, humility and deep oceanic devotion brought great fame to his name. Even he was young, he was considered to be the greatest scholar on earth. And after completing his studies he came here to Vrndavan, where he fell at the lotus feet of Rupa Goswami and Sanatana Goswami. The eldest of his uncles Sanatana Goswami, he asked for initiation. Sanatana Goswami in his humility, instructed Rupa Goswami to initiate, which he did.
Sanatana Goswami was travelling to various places. It is described that Advait Acharya the Avatar of Mahavisnu and Sadasiva, he was living in Vrndavan for some time.
Did you all see that Banyan tree on the way here, it is called Advait Vraksh, we passed straight by it. Sacisuta Prabhu is telling everyone about it. Because he has by nature a very loud voice, we tried to dovetail his propensity.
So it was at that place that Advait Prabhu was performing his bhajan, and one of the original deities of Vrndavan, Madan Gopal appeared to him. Krishna’s great grandson Vrjranabh was coroneted as the king of Mathura by Maharaja Yudhisther at the time when he made Maharaja Priksit the king of Hastinapur which was the capital of the world. So Vrjranabh was requested by the great devotees to restore the glory of Vrndavan, so that people could come, understand and benefit from Krishna’s presence. So he uncovered many many holy places here. And also got carved deties. Visvakarma personally carved some of these deities. And three of them we will speak of today : Madan Mohan, Govind Dev and Gopinath. These three deities are supremely worshiped by Godia Vasinavas. Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami explains so nicely that Lord Caitanya told that all the Vedic literatures are discussing three topics in essence:- Sambandha : establishing our relationship with Krishna. How is it that we have lost our relationship with Krishna. We all are His eternal servants, His part and parcels, we can never be separate from Krishna. But we have forgotten. Separation from Krishna means forgetfulness of Krishna in the sense of the conditioned soul. And why we are forgetting Krishna? Because Madana, the force of the material energy, this Madana is one of the most influential people that have ever lived. He keeps the entire creation spell bound by the illusion that I am this body. What is in relationship to this body is mine, and I am the enjoyer, I am trying to be, as far as I can, the controller. Krishna is the supreme controller, He is the only enjoyer, we all are his eternal servants. We are made to be enjoyed by Him, that is our eternal nature. But it is this Madana that puts us in this crazy insane spell of illusion that I am the enjoyer. Had any of you ever had that impulse, since time immemorial, and it is so hard to escape that prison of cupid crutched. Therefore, we approach the Supreme Lord and establish ourselves that I am not this body, nothing is mine, I am the eternal servant of Krishna. And we begin the path of bhakti to actually act according to our real nature by engaging in the nice processes of devotional service, beginning with hearing about the Lord and chanting His holy name.
How many of you suffering in this sunshine. There is a couple of honest people, I see.
Anyways, Krishna is more effulgent than millions and millions of suns. And any situation in Vrndavan is a benediction. When we were at Radha Shyamsunder temple, I was going to give a lecture there when everybody assembled. So I asked Radhakrishna Prabhbu, Abhiram Prabhu who are the coordinators of the managerial side of this Yatra. They have this whole system of walkies talkies and cellular phones, I don’t know what they do. For me it is all sort of some mystic sidhis. We were in Shyamsundar temple. There were probable 400/500 people in Shyamsundar Temple and they told me “let the unbroken line come into Shyamsundar temple. There are still devotees in line walking up the steps of Madan Mohan at the back of the line, and in the front of the line we were having kirtan in the Shyamsundar temple. So I am very sorry, some of you have to stand in lines like this. But take it in this way. That to be standing in line to see the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His eternal abode of Vrndavan is not an inconvenience. Consider it has taken you millions and millions of births to see the face of the Lord in His holy abode. Standing in line for a few minutes, should be grateful. And when standing in line in Vrndavan, breathing the air of Vrndavan, being purified by the dust of Vrndavan, hearing the holy names and standing in lines with devotees, it is not like Railway Station. We are actually behind the devotees. Thousands and thousands of devotees are in front of us and we are actually patiently waiting for all of them to offer their prayers and darshan of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, chanting the holy names in the holy land of Vrndavan under Kalpavriksha tree. What a tremendous benediction? Hope this will give you some solace when next time you stand in line. But it is reality. Life is our consciousness. I am not sad. The mind is such a thing it can make hell into heaven and heaven into hell. A devotee whose mind is Krishna conscious, makes every situation into the spiritual world by seeing the positive opportunity to purify ourselves, to enrich ours devotional service and to remember Krishna.
So Advait Acarya, he discovered the deity of Madan Gopal who is the sambandh murti of our sampradaya. We worship Madan Mohan to reestablish our eternal relationship with Krishna and act according to that relationship.
Then Lord Caitanya said “the second subject of the Vedas is Abhidaya”. Abhidaya means to positively, actively engage in the processes of devotional service with very deep attachment. The worshipable deity of Abhidaya is Sri Govinda Dev.
Madan Mohan is He who attracts even the mind of Cupid. By hearing about, by worshiping, by chanting the holy names and by serving Sri Madan Mohan, He will steal our hearts away from the confines and captivity of the prison of Durga – Cupid – material nature.
Govind means one who gives pleasure to the cows, the lands and enses. The path of bhakti is so glorious. With the same very senses that we have now, our eyes, our nose, our ears, our tongue, our sense of touch, we can become perfect by just utilizing them under the instructions of guru and Krishna in devotional service, by hearing about Krishna, by tasting his prasada, by speaking and chanting His names and glories, by using our limbs to perform devotional service, by smelling the tulsi leaves, the flowers and the ……that are offered to the Lord. By engaging ourselves with great endeavor and enthusiasm we become supremely purified, and gradually then we can worship the Pariyojan murti, the ultimate perfection of life – Sri Gopinath.
Gopinath is the Lord of Gopis. Through the path of bhakti, purification and spiritual development by the mercy of Sri Radharani and the Vaisnavas we can follow in the footsteps of the Gopis of Vrndavan and enter into the eternal pastimes of Radha Shyamsunder.
So Sanatana Goswami, how he found Madan Gopal is a very wonderful story. It is explained that Advait acarya worshiped Madan Gopal. When he left he turned it over to one Brahman in Mathura named Purshotam Chobay and he worshiped Madan Gopal. He had such ecstatic love that he worshiped Madan Gopal like his own son. But Madan Gopal told Purshotam Chobay that he wanted him to entrust the care of deity to Sanatana Goswami. Bhakti Ratankar explains, for some time Sanatana Goswami was living in Mahavan (we are going tomorrow in case you are interested).
One day Sanatana Goswami was roaming around bank of Yamuna and he saw some little boys playing. One of those little boys was so beautiful, so charming in every way, he absolutely just inflows in Sanatana’s heart. So Sanatana Goswami couldn’t give up his association. From a distance he was just watching this little playing. And who is this little boy playing with? Just with local brijwasi children. When they finished their playing in the evening, the boy was returning home and Sanatana Goswami was following him just from a distance. He followed, followed and followed. The boy went into the temple of Madan Mohan. There was no body in the temple. Sanatana Goswami went and there was nobody there except the deity. Then he realized that Madan Mohan was taking a human like form and playing with the Brijwasi children in His eternal abode in Vrndavan. Sanatana Goswami had nothing. When the Deity was entrusted to him at ………. Where he was living (where went there this morning), he didn’t have a house. He was living under a tree every night. He was doing madhukari – begging. So when Madan Gopal came to him, he was worshiping Him under a tree with great love and devotion. Begging for some coarse wheat flour, rolling in with water from Yamuna and putting it in fire and offering that. There is a famous story when Madan Mohas says “dear Sanatana can you give Me little salt with this roti”. Sanatana said “I am giving you everything I have”. But at that time there was a merchant Krishnadas Kapur who was travelling from the Northern Provinces of India to Agra with all of his wealth and all of his goods he was going to sell in Agra to make lots of wealth. His boat got stuck in the mud right in Yamuna. Actually when we were crossing Kesighat, we had this little boy who was rowing boat and he got stuck in mud. So I was thinking this is very auspicious. So he was helpless. Boat is stuck in mud in the middle of a forest. At that time there were no temples here. Vrndavan was just a dense forest. There were lions and tigers and the six Goswamis. Madan Mohan took the form of a little boy and instructed this desperate merchant – go up on the top of the hill, there is a good sadhu up there. So he met Sanatana Goswami. There are four types of people who approach Krishna; one is in distress. He was too much in distress. His entire life’s earning was on that boat and the boat was stuck in the middle of a jungle – very serious situation. But Sanatana Goswami taught him the principles of pure devotional service and taught him how to love Madan Mohan with his heart. He became a devotee. That is the power of the association of such a vaisnava – Sanatana Goswami. What a fortune. His boat was freed and by that time he was a devotee who owed everything to Sanatana Goswami. He sold everything he had and came back and offered it all to Sanatana Goswami. Sanatana Goswami, he had thousands of times more than this and he gave it up. What does he want this stuff for? He said “if you want to do something, I am going to continue living under a trees and doing madhukari, whatever. But Madan Mohan is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu wants Him to live in beautiful temple, so build temple for Him. So that is how Madan Mohan temple was built. It was the first major temple built in Vrndavan. And even today all over the world it is a symbol of Vrndavan – the Sambandha Murti. And it is most proper to begin yatra by first submitting our hearts and our lives at the lotus feet of Sri Madan Mohan.
Rupa Goswami, we will discuss this evening before we go to Sri Radha Govind temple. But I would like to tell one story. He was living here. On this side is Sri Rupa Goswami’s bhajan kutir and on this side is Sri Rupa Goswami’s Samadhi mandir.
Rupa Goswami would perform his bhajan here in the heart of the Seva Kunj in Vrndavan forest. Sri Rupa Goswami wrote so many of his divine literatures here. He would speak from the Srimad Bhagvatan here. The Goswamis will come, all of them, Sanatana Goswami, Raghunath Goswami, Raghunath Bhatt Goswami, Jiva Goswami; they will meet him in this very courtyard where we are sitting today, and in ecstatic love discuss the teachings and pastimes of both, Sri Sri Radha and Krishna and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. They would take prasada together here. In this very courtyard the six Goswamis would have prema-sankirtan – chanting the holy name.
Jiva Goswami took initiation here from Rupa Goswami. But Rupa Goswami, before giving him initiation, engaged him in very simple menial service. For one year Jiva Goswami, who had already having studied under Madhusudan Vacaspati, he had such an immense reputation as a great great scholar, but Rupa Goswami had him doing very simple seva. Jiva Goswami would collect leaves and prepare them to be the place where Rupa Goswami would write the text of his books. He would wash the utensils of Rupa Goswami. He would massage the feet and the legs of his gurudev. He would go and pick flowers for Rupa Goswami to assist him in his puja. Menial service and how grateful he was. Yes, if we want to follow in the footsteps of these six Goswamis we should understand this principle, however big we are, however great we are, however learned we are, however advanced we are, we should never see ourselves anything more than the most humble menial servant of the servant of servants – that is vaisnava. That is the consciousness that attracts the mercy of Sri Radha Damodar. Rupa Goswami initiated him and tested him in various ways. When that one Digvijaya Pandit came to Vrndavan, he was having all the Goswamis signed a statement that they were defeated by him. He challenged Rupa and Sanatana to debate. Rupa and Sanatana said “why should we debate you, you are more qualified than us, you will defeat us, it is a waste time to even try to debate you”. O you believe that, yes, then sign. So they signed. That was the humility of Rupa and Sanatana. They didn’t care about worldly reputation. For them it was just a material waste of time. But when he showed Jiva Goswami Rupa Goswami’s sign, Jiva Goswami said “I will debate with you”. It took about seven days or more and he defeated him. Only for the purpose of protecting the integrity of Rupa and Sanatana’s reputation in the world. Rupa Goswami knew that but he wanted to show the world the greatness of Jiva Goswami, because the six Goswamcis were sent to Lord Caitanya with the special ……..mission to show the world ‘what is the characteristic of a vaisnava. There is a very important characteristic here. Although Jiva Goswami was absolutely correct in what he did, Rupa Goswami said that you have debated this person because you have false pride. And Vrndavan is a place where no one could live who even has a single speck of pride in their heart, therefore you must leave Vrndavan. Jiva Goswami accepted, I am so proud, I am so sinful, my Gurudev is trying to help me and he left. Went to a lonely place and performed severe austerities to atone for his false pride. And ultimately Sanatana Goswami found and brought him back, and Rupa Goswami personally ……………. But in the process showed how great a vaisnava is – doesn’t argue with guru but accepts so lowly humble position. Rupa Goswami loved Jiva Goswami so dearly. With his own hands Rupa Goswami carved a deity and named that deity Radha Damodar. In the year 1542 Rupa Goswami installed that deity personally and worshiped Him and then entrusted the care of Sri Radha Damodar to Jiva Goswami. Sri Jiva Goswami worshiped Sri Radha Damodar with such deep love and attachment. The Bhakti Ratankar explains a few incidences of the nature of Jiva Goswami’s love.
Damodar was so pleased with Jiva Goswami’s devotion, he would speak to Jiva Goswami. He would say “please give me bhoga I am hungry”. Now for us, we understand the time when the bhoga is supposed to be offered. And we do it by the clock knowing that Krishna is expecting it. For Jiva Goswami, because of his love, Damodar, when it was coming close to the time, he would actually tell (I guess there wasn’t clocks in those days, but they would understand quite precisely when offering is to be made), but Damodar would say “I am hungry Jiva please feed me bhoga”. And he would personally prepare the bhoga and offer with his own hands with love and devotion, and by Damodar’s mercy, Jiva Goswami with his own eyes, would see Damodar eating the bhoga.
One time Jiva Goswami heard a flute playing and then Damodar called him and said “Jiva come, I am playing the flute for you”. And Jiva Goswami came to the alter and there he saw the Deity of Damodar dancing in His three-fold bending form, playing upon His flute beautiful sweet music for the pleasure of His devotee. When Jiva Goswami saw the beautiful form of Damodar whose eyes were like lotus flowers, playing sweet sweet maladies with flute, His head decorated with peacock feather, beautiful forest flowers around His neck and lovely ornaments, dancing and singing and playing His flute for His devotee. Jiva Goswami fell unconscious in ecstasy. But when he came back to consciousness he could only weep, cry in ecstatic love. These were some of the pastimes that Sri Jiva Goswami performed with Sri Damodar who is worshiped here.
The six Goswamis of Vrndavan are eternally performing their bhajan, their puja and their pastimes here in the courtyard of Radha Damodar Temple.
Sri Sri Radha Gopinath are eternally performing their sweet Rasalila in the courtyard of Radha Damodar Temple. Srila Prabhupada said “it is the center of the spiritual world”.
When Rupa Goswami disappeared from this world, it was a heart breaking sad event for all the Goswamis of Vrndavan. Jiva Goswami personally arranged for this place that we are sitting at, to be the smadhi of Sri Rupa Goswami.
Jiva Goswami in his life wrote over 25 books, over 100,000 sanskrit slokas, and they were all based on the teachings of Rupa and Sanatana. Rupa Goswami through Upadesh Amrit, Bhaktirasamrit Sindhu, established not only the essence of that sidhanta of Lord Caitanya’s teachings, but also the practical way in which we can follow and achieve ultimate perfection. Jiva Goswami established an incredible library of all the Goswamis literature. Then lateron right here in this courtyard Narottam Das Thakur, Srinivas acarya and Shyamanand Prabhu, they all studied under Jiva Goswami – such holy place.
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Prabhupada, he renounced his family life to become vanaprastha, and came to Vrndavan. First he was living at Bamsi Gopal Temple near Yamuna close to Kesi Ghat. In 1959 his long cherished desire was fulfilled to have his residence at the Radha Damodar Temple. Where we are sitting, these two windows were the kitchen of Srila Prabhupada, and just across a little courtyard, only a few steps, Srila Prabhupada’s bhajan kutir. Srila Prabhupada lived in these rooms for six years. His gurumaharaja, Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Sarasvati Thakur instructed him at his first meeting at Ultajanga Junction Road in Calcutta, that you are a young man, intelligent, take the message of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and spread it throughout the world in the English language. Bhakti Siddhanta Sarasvati Thakur saw the heart and the eternal relationship he had with Srila Prabhupada. Prabhupada came to Vrndavan not like most people, although he was of old age, he didn’t come here to retire. He came here to prepare himself for his life’s mission. In Vrndavan he lived a very simple life. The Goswamis here, they witnessed Prabhupada’s simplicity and devotion. He was writing ‘Back to Godhead’. Although Vrndavan is his eternal home, he would have to take train all the way to Delhi on a regular basis to get the ‘Back to Godhead’ printed; and then he would go in the streets of Delhi to distribute them with his own hands, and then come back. But few devotees told him that if you really want to establish very strongly, you should publish books. And that reminded him of what Bhakti Siddhanta Sarasvati Thakur ordered him at Radha Kund – Print books, distribute books. It was in these rooms of Sri Radha Damodar that Srila Prabhupada wrote the translations and Bhakti Vedanta purports to the three volumes of the first canto of Srimad Bhagvatam. Prabhupada told us that his purports were his spiritual ecstasies that he is sharing with the world. Srila Prabhupada daily would offer his obesiances, his prayers and his life at the samadhi of Rupa Goswami who is our sampradaya acarya. He prayed, prayed and prayed for his mercy.
In 1965 Prabhupada had completed the first canto of Bhagvatam and it was published. And he told some devotees that in his bhajan kutir Sri Rupa Goswami appeared to him and gave him his blessings to go to the west and spread his message. The time that Srila Prabhupada lived here, such a simple life, immersed in prayer at the feet of Srila Rupa Goswami, Jiva Goswami and his gurudev. Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Sarasvati Thakur’s pushpa smadhi is also behind in the courtyard. It was so deep and so intimate that even when he was in the west, he was sending whatever he had to maintain these rooms. He told the devotees ‘no matter what, please keep these rooms”. Prabhupada said “I am eternally living in my rooms at Radha Damodar temple.
In 1965 Srila Prabhupada left with 40 Rupees and a box of books. Left Vrndavan, got a ticket in Bombay with tremendous trouble, took the blessing of the Goswamis and all the deities of Vrndavan, and then to the smadhi of his gurumaharaja in Sri Mayapur Dham, and from Calcutta went to the west. There is a beautiful prayer which Prabhupada writes in his diary, not actually a prayer. When Prabhupada wrote his diary, he was not writing for anyone except Krishna. He had no followers, he had nothing except love and compassion. In the Arabian Sea after his heart-attacks, he wrote beautiful entry, where he expressed how deeply he was feeling separation from Sri Vrndavan Dham. Vrndavan was his home. He said “here I am in the middle of the sea so very very far away from Vrndavan Dham where I am feel such deep separation from Radha Damodar, Radha Madan Mohan, Radha Govinda, Radha Gopinath”. But it is the order of my gurumaharaja so I am happy to do so. All devotees who are descendents of Sri Prabhupada’s mercy, for us Sri Radha Damodar Temple is a most exalted and holy place where we can offer our gratitude and our lives at the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada. Prabhupada so deeply wanted to bring devotees to Sri Vrndavan. Even when he was in New York and there was one crazy person who started taking interest in Krishna consciousness, he wrote to his god-brothers that this boy is taking interest, I want to send him to Vrndavan, where all of you can train him. By inconceivable of Sri Radha Damodar, Sri Gaur-Nitai, Prabhupada was empowered to do what no acarya had ever done – take the message of Lord Caitanya and spread it throughout the world. Practically every continent, not just giving a lecture and getting an applauds and name in the paper like some Indian sadhus who went and became very famous. He actually went right into the ghettos of the most degraded city of New York and transformed people’s hearts. And then travelled around the planet 13 times making ten and thousands of people devotees, tens and millions of books, revealed the glories of Rupa Goswami’s teachings………………… and the seed of that glorious … of Srila Prabhupada’s life is right in these rooms and right in this courtyard of Radha Damodar Temple. Even in 1965 Prabhupada was dreaming of bringing people from the west to Vrndavan.
By 1972 his movement was quite well established. There weren’t that many devotees but it was established. At that time Prabhupada invited his disciples from all parts of the world to come to Vrndavan for one month, the month of Kartik. This was such a deep fulfillment of his inner heart’s desire to sit right here where we are sitting here today in the courtyard of Radha Damodar between the bhajan kutir and smadhi of Rupa Goswami, Srila Prabhupada spoke for one month in the mornings and evenings on the Nectar of Devotion (Sri Bhaktirasamrit Sindhu) to devotees from all over the world. What a loving and intimate offering that was to Rupa Goswami and his gurudev. And Srila Prabhupada prays the good fortune of all of these devotees that they had come to Vrndavan to hear Rupa Goswami’s teachings in the very center of this spiritual world.
Srila Prabhupada ki jai.
So here in the temple of Srila Rupa Goswami, Jiva Goswami, Srila Prabhupada in the temple of Sri Radha Damodar, we offer our sincere and deep prayers that we can truly follow in the foot prints of Srila Rupa Goswami by being faithful dedicated followers of Srila Prabhupada; praying to be the dust at the feet of the servants of Srila Prabhupada, praying for the taste to chant the holy names, to hear the glories of the Lord and to serve the vaisnava because that taste will wash away all mundane attraction; and water the seed of pure unalloyed bhakti. Let that be our prayer. Prayer of gratitude to Srila Prabhupada for so perfectly and beautifully presenting the mercy of all the previous acaryas and showering us with that blessing.
On this side of the courtyard is the smadhi mandir of Ugarva Goswami. Ugrava Goswami, disciple of Gadhadar Pandit of the Panch Tattav. He came to Vrndavan and was very very dear and intimate friend of Loknath Goswami. They wondered through the 12 forests together, performed very very lovingly devotional service to Radha Govinda.
Also Samdhi mandir of Krishnadas Kaviraja Goswami, Bhakti Siddhanta Sarasvati Thakur are here in this vicinity.
We also went this morning to Radha Shyamsundar temple but we will discuss that later today afternoon.
I wish to thank you all very very much. Let us offer this prayer very loudly
“sri caitanya mano bhistam sthapitam yena bhu tale
Svayam rupah kada mahyam dadati sva-padantikam”