smaratam hrdi vinyasya
atma-jyotir agat tatah
After completing the sacrifice, Lord Ramacandra, whose lotus feet were sometimes pierced by thorns when He lived in Dandakaranya, placed those lotus feet in the hearts of those who always think of Him. Then He entered His own abode, the Vaikuntha planet beyond the brahmajyoti.
Purport by His Devine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
The lotus feet of the Lord are always a subject matter for meditation for devotees. Sometimes when Lord Ramacandra wandered in the forest of Dandakaranya, thorns pricked His lotus feet. The devotees, upon thinking of this would faint. The Lord does not feel pain or pleasure from any action or reaction of this material world, but the devotees cannot tolerate even the pricking of the Lord’s lotus feet by a thorn. This was the attitude of the gopis when they thought of Krsna wandering in the forest, with pebbles and grains of sand pricking His lotus feet. This tribulation in the heart of a devotee cannot be understood by karmis, jnanis or yogis. The devotees, who could not tolerate even thinking of the Lord’s lotus feet being pricked by a thorn, were again put into tribulation by thinking of the Lord’s disappearance, for the Lord had to return to His abode after finishing His pastimes in this material world. The word atma-jyotih is significant. The brahmajyoti, which is greatly appreciated by jnanis, or monistic philosophers who desire to enter it for liberation, is nothing but the rays of the Lord’s body.
yasya prabha prabhavato jagad-anda-kotikotisv
tad brahma niskalam anantam asesa-bhutam
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami
“I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, who is endowed with great power. The glowing effulgence of His transcendental form is the impersonal Brahman, which is absolute, complete and unlimited and which displays the varieties of countless planets, with their different opulences, in millions and millions of universes.” (Brahma-samhita 5.40)
The brahmajyoti is the beginning of the spiritual world, and beyond the brahmajyoti are the Vaikuntha planets. In other words, the brahmajyoti stays outside the Vaikuntha planets, just as the sunshine stays outside the sun. To enter the sun planet, one must go through the sunshine.Similarly, when the Lord or His devotees enter the Vaikuntha planets, they go through the brahmajyoti. The jnanis, or monistic philosophers, because of their impersonal conception of the Lord, cannot enter the Vaikuntha planets, but they also cannot stay eternally in the brahmajyoti. Thus after some time they fall again to this material world.
Aruhya krcchrena param padam tatah patanty adho ‘nadrta-yusmad-anghrayah (Bhag. 10.2.32). The Vaikuntha planets are covered by the brahmajyoti, and therefore one cannot properly understand what those Vaikuntha planets are unless one is a pure devotee.
Emotion on the spiritual platform
In this narration from Srimad-Bhagavatam, Srila Sukadev Goswami is beautifully describing emotion on the spiritual platform which is not like the emotions on the bodily platform.In the illusion of maya we have feelings, we have these emotions but because they are attached to the misconception that we are this body. They are all simply a disturbance for our spiritual advancement. It is described in the Srimad Bhagavatam
yasyatma-buddhih kunape tri-dhatuke
that one who considers this material body made of material elements to be oneself, one who considers those who are near and dear, the family members, to be one’s own and one who goes to a holy place to bath in the river without associating with the great souls, his mentality is like an ass or a cow, sa eva go-kharah which means it is simply animal consciousness. In other words bodily conception of life is simply animal consciousness.
Janasya moho yamham mameti – we are all under this illusion that I’m this body and those things and those persons in relationships with body are mine. This is the greatest illusion. Of course the materialistic people treasure this great illusion; they live for it. They consider this great illusion to be all and all in life, the most important feature of the life. And therefore they even condemn the sadhus who present the scriptures to reveal to them that yes your life is an illusion. They think; what are you doing? You are breaking up everything that is precious in our life. But that is Narada Muni’s business. Narada Muni’s business is to cut through the illusion and all those great souls in the parampara.It is their business to cut through the illusion. It doesn’t mean that we should disturb our relationships in this world unnecessarily; but to destroy the illusion on the bodily conception of life. Therefore in the material world our emotions and our sentiments are deeply felt on the basis of this illusion. It causes great grief and suffering to the soul. We find the same type of emotions, the same type of feelings in Lord Ramachandra Himself and amongst his devotees. It is described here in purport that when Lord Sri Rama was walking through the forest with his bare feet even the grains of sand which seem very hard and very sharp when compared to the softness of His lotus feet, the devotees would cry, they would faint thinking that His lotus feet had to be subjected to touching this hard and sharp grains of sand. What to speak of the thorns that lie on the roadside and the rocks and the stones. Also the Gopis of Vrindavana they would cry rivers of tears thinking that Krishna’s lotus feet were being trampling on hard objects like stones and thorns. The Gopis were thinking their own breast which is softest part of their body, are too hard compared to the beautiful soft lotus feet of the Lord. So in this way we see the transcendental emotions of concern for the feelings of our beloved. But these types of transcendental emotions are born from a spirit of devotion not from the spirit of bodily attachment; that is the difference. We all know that these attachments towards the body, family, society and the senses, are all an illusion. So the jnanis, the impersonalist, philosophers and the Mayavadis say that you should be without emotions, without feeling, these things are all maya. And therefore they cannot understand how the devotee is weeping in separation from the Lord. They cannot see and understand how a devotee is crying tears upon hearing about the thorns touching the lotus feet of the Lord.As far as they are concerned ,all the forms are an illusion. So therefore they claim that the devotees are simply sentimentalist. They are still on the bodily concept of life.They have not entered into the realm of understanding transcendental emotions and transcendental sentiments.
It is described by Srila Narottama Das Thakura
visaya chadiya kabe shudh habe mana, kabe ami herbo Sri Vrindavana
Sridama in separation from Krishna
Vrindavana is the place of transcendental emotion, the place of transcended feeling and Narottama Das Thakura says only when I give up all connections and attachments to sense gratification will I be able to understand and perceive Vrindavana. As long as we are attached to illusions of this world, the transcendental spiritual emotions of the soul remains dormant, remains sleeping. Just like the day before yesterday in the morning when we were in Vrajadhama, it is in a very holy place called Bhandir Vana. There are many wonderful pastimes that took place there in Lord Sri Krishna’s Lila. One of the pastimes is when Krishna was going to leave for Mathura on the invitation of Akrura, Sridama who was one of the eight sakhas and one of the most loving friends of Lord Sri Krishna. He told Krishna,”If you leave Vrindavana, I’ll kill myself. I cannot live in separation. I’ll jump in Yamuna; I’ll drown myself, which will be an easy thing. But to live in separation from you I cannot do that, it is too painful to even think”. And Krishna told Sridama ,”No no you cannot do that, you just wait for me I’ll be back within one or two days.” Sridama said,” I’m going to stand under the Vamsi Vata tree in Bhandir Vana which is one of our favorite playgrounds. And I’ll stay here and I’ll not leave this place until you come.” Krishna said,”Yes I’ll come.” Sridama stood under the Vamsi Vata tree for one day, two days, three days, one week, two weeks, three weeks, one month, two months, three months, one year, two years, three years, four years, a hundred years, one century, two centuries, three centuries he is still there in his spiritual body, Sridama is still standing under the tree waiting for Krishna to return, but he is not simply waiting like we wait for a bus. His heart is grieved in separation. As Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu prays in Sikshastaka verses
yugayitam nimesena caksura pravisayitam
sunyayitam jagat sarvam Govind virhena mein
sunyayitam means zero, means nothing, means void. sunyayitam jagat sarvam that means this whole universe jagat sarvam is nothing but one empty void sunyayitam, Govind virhena mein bereft of the sight of Govinda. Sridama was enwrapped in this mood of utter separation, his heart aggrieved, constant tears flowing from his eyes, his body trembling unable to eat or sleep, simply waiting for Krishna. So knowing this wonderful bhava of Sridama, a beautiful murti of Sridama was installed long ago under the Vamsi Vata tree, just to commemorate that he is always here waiting for Krishna to return to Vrindavana.When Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was on his pilgrimage of Vrindavana he travelled to all the twelve forests. When he came to Bhandir Vana he saw the murti of Sridama. As you know Caitanya Mahaprabhu was non-other than Lord Krishna Himself. When he saw Sridama, He become so blissful, He ran and He cried out,” Sridama Sridama.. I have come at last after all these thousands of years, I have come, I have returned to Vrindavana just to see you!” And then Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu ,with tears of love flowing from His eyes went to that beautiful murti of Sridama and embraced him.
So these transcendental emotions, transcendental feelings are the treasures of the most precious qualities of love within the hearts of the great souls. We must learn to cultivate these types of feelings and these types of emotions and learn to become detached from the emotions and the sentiments that are springing from bodily concept, the illusory conception of life.
Sri Ramachandra in separation from Sita Devi
Here we find Lord Sri Ramachandra in separation from His wife, His eternal consort, Sita Devi. Sita Devi’s separation from the Lord is a beautiful pastime. She had two beautiful sons Lava and Kusa. After being banished from the vision of the Lord, she couldn’t tolerate the separation. Fixing the lotus feet of the Lord within her heart by her divine potencies the earth from which she was born again opened and she entered into the earth to perform the pastime of Her disappearance.
When Lord Sri Ramachandra heard this shocking news that Sita was no longer, it is described here that he was certainly aggrieved. Now here is Sukadev Goswami is glorifying Lord Rama for being certainly aggrieved due to attachment to Sita.
We know the story of Sukadev Goswami. He was completely detached from family affairs. His mother and father, Vyasdeva was father they had him as child, they were anxious to love him as child but he had no concern. He remained in womb for sixteen years thinking that this is all maya. And then finally he came out not for them but he came out only when he heard the glorious pastime of the Lord through Srimad-Bhagvatam being spoken by his father. So for the chance to serve Krishna, to surrender to Krishna he came out of the womb. And what did he do when he came out of the womb, just walked out of his house, started walking to the forest. His own father and mother were chasing after him come back home you are our son, please come back home. Sukadev Goswami just walked. It is described as he was walking he came to a pond, a lake where beautiful young girls were bathing with no clothes. And when they saw him coming they simply smiled they felt no shame or embarrassment. But when Vyasdeva who was old enough to be their grandfather, when he came running by looking for the son, they immediately became very disturbed and started covering their bodies. And Vyasdeva said why did you remain undisturbed, my son is of your age. You should be more shameful before him. And the young ladies they said,”No no because you are a grihastha, you must make distinction between what is male and female. Although you are a liberated soul still you have to come down to the platform of making distinction as a grihastha. But Sukadev he knows no difference between male-female, good-bad, happiness-distress, pleasure-pain. He is beyond all these bodily conceptions. He is beyond all the illusions.” So this same Sukadev Goswami such a great soul when he saw his father’s great attachment for him not wanting to involve in all such affairs describes in ninth canto of the Bhagavatam that he expanded himself to be an illusory Sukadev Goswami who went home with his father to get married and have children. But the real Sukadev Goswami just kept walking away completely liberated and free all of these designations. And as he was walking he was naked and he was not showing no regard whatsoever for any material emotions or any material forms of etiquette. So the people thought that he was crazy, he was a mad man. And they treated him like a mad man. People were throwing abominable substances on him. They were beating him, threatening him. He didn’t try to defend himself, he didn’t try to prove himself to be accepted by society. He was quite happy for people to be thinking of him like this. The ordinary people of the world could not understand, they condemned him, they thought he was crazy. He was only greatest of the sages who could recognize of his spiritual qualities. When all the assembled devotees of the Lord from all over the universe assembled to give knowledge to Maharaj Parikshit during his last seven days when Sukadev Maharaj entered into that arena they all bowed their heads and put him on the Vyas asana and asked him to speak.
So here is the great Sukadev Goswami who has shown by his example not simply by his words that he was totally aloof to the bodily conceptions of life. But here with love and devotion he is praising and glorifying Sri Rama for crying tears of love and separation from Sita, his wife, his consort. What does this mean? This means transcendental love affairs of the Lord and the transcendental love affairs between the Lord and his devotees. And even the love affairs between devotees and other devotees are completely transcendental. They are beyond material modes, lust and attachment.
Emotions for Spiritual Master
Spiritual emotions should be cultivated. Just like when the spiritual master is put into difficulty. The spiritual master whether he feels pain or no pain that is something we cannot understand, that is incomprehensible to us. How he is feeling pain when he is transcendental. But when the disciple sees the spiritual master in such a situation, it grieves his heart. He cannot tolerate seeing that. When Srila Prabhupada would become very ill, sometime he had to be hospitalized; sometimes he was not allowed to go anywhere. Devotees would ask why does Spiritual master become ill like this. He said,”To increase the love of his disciples.The disciples would develop more personal concern and care which would cultivate their love for him. So all the disciples should develop these spiritual emotions. These emotions are transcendental. Why? Because they are directed toward a pure spiritual personality.”
Maharaj Parikshit asked that what was so great about the raas leela. Krishna is dancing with girls, in the material world girls are also anxious to be with a handsome man. What is the difference? Sukadev Goswami said, “The only difference is that Krishna is God and other men are not.” That is the difference. The Gopis were having great fires of desire to be with Krishna, just like a young girl has great aspiration to be with young boy. The only difference is Krishna is the absolute truth, he is the Supreme Godhead.Whatever emotions and attachments are directed towards him ,would be the perfection of your life.
Ranchod- Prabhupad’s personal servant
Similarly the Spiritual master and the great sadhus try to develop within the disciple’s heart an attachment for them. Just like I remember I was speaking to one of Prabhupada’s earliest disciple. Her name is Malati; she is one of the really really dynamic servants in the earliest days of the Hare Krishna movement. She helped him start temple in San Francisco, she helped him start the temple in England. And she was one of the first devotees to come to India. She had a little daughter named Saraswati and there was one disciple of Prabhupada who was Prabhupada’s first secretary. I believe his name was Ranchor . And he was the one that flew on the airplane with Srila Prabhupada from Newyork to San Francisco which was the first airplane flight Prabhupada ever took in his life. It was quite an experience. Prabhupada was 71 years old, he took his first airplane ride, he was looking down and saying, “Just see ,we think that we are so big and we are just this high up and we understand how small we are and our whole civilization,the whole city is just like a little thing from this high. What to speak about Krishna He is so much higher, How does He see us? How insignificant we are He is having all these revelations and realization.” So in the Prabhupada Lilamrita is it described that Prabhupada said these astronauts did not really go the moon, and his servant he couldn’t accept it. He was arguing with Prabhupada that they had to go as it’s on TV . Prabhupada said this is all nonsense. According to scriptures they could not have gone. Shortly after that he left the movement. He was one of the first devotees to leave the movement although he was the personal servant of Srila Prabhupada. And it was the impression of many that he left because he could not accept this idea that they did not go to moon. But sometime later Malati met him and she was talking. He said ,”That’s not really the reason I left that’s not the reason at all I left. I’ll tell you secretly why I left the movement. Do you remember one day in England, do you remember the one day that your little daughter who was then only three or four years old, She came in and had a beautiful flower and offered it to Prabhupada. And Prabhupada took that flower and accepted it with great pleasure and then he took the same flower and he very playfully put it in Saraswati’s mouth and started to laugh and she ran away laughingly. When I saw that I lost all my faith in Prabhupada. He is such staunch Sannyasi playing with a child.This is not the way he should behave.” He left because of that, and of course we understand why Prabhupada did like this. Because a child cannot understand philosophy unless they are Prahlada Maharaja who could sit in the mother’s womb and very carefully and scrutnizingly study the Bhagavat philosophically of Narada Muni.He is a very rare soul, to say the least, the rest of us were grown man and we fall a sleep during the Bhagvatam class.Children are not philosophically inclined. They have no capacity really to concentrate on Holy name. So how do the great soul deal with such people. They know that the only way for the child to become Krishna conscious is to develop an attachment for a devotee. By behaving with the child in such a way that that child learns to love the Guru or learns to love a devotee, a sadhu. By loving the sadhu, she is loving Krishna, and that attachment will purify her heart and attract the mercy of Krishna.
So Prabhupada was compassionate to all living beings and he would deal with everyone according to that level and would bring them close to Krishna. So therefore feelings of emotions and love and concern on every level for the Supreme Personality of Godhead and those personalities who are representing Him, those personalities who are near and dear to Him are the means of awakening of our natural love of God.
Srila Sukadev Goswami ,the greatest of the stalwart and renunciate, is praising the devotees for their tears of love upon seeing the Lord’s feet being pricked by the thorns. We have to learn to dovetail our natural feelings and our natural emotions toward Krishna and his devotees,not be captured by our materialistic propensities. Here it is described that the same lotus feet Lord Ramachandra are placed within the hearts of His devotees. He ascended to His eternal abode the Vaikuntha which is beyond the Brahmajyoti. In other words when the Lord leaves He never leaves His devotees. He may appear in a physical way to leave but it describes here that those who remember Him installs His lotus feet within their heart always. This is the qualification. That we simply aspire to remember Him. If we sincerely aspire to remember the Lord, it is His promise
man-manā bhava mad-bhakto
mad-yāji mām namaskuru
mām evaisyasi yuktvaivam
Always think of me, become my devotee, worship me, offer your homage unto me in this way you will come to me without fail. When Krishna says you will come to me after death of course you will go to His eternal abode. But during this life you will always be with Krishna because He will always be manifesting within your heart. Therefore there is no question of separation.In remembering Krishna, His lotus feet are more reveled within our heart.Separation creates a deeper more intense form of remembrance, therefore the lotus feet of the Lord are more revealed in feelings of separation than they are in meeting. This is the transcendental mystery of science of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, vipralambha seva, that feeling separation from the Lord is the highest form of worship. And here it is explained exactly why. Ramachandra, for those who remembered Him, He installed His lotus feet in the hearts of those who always think of Him. And to the extent we think of Him to that extent His lotus feet are revealed to us. So the more intense our remembrance the more the feet of Lord are visible in our lives. So in feelings of separation when the remembrance is most severe the lotus feet of the Lord is most splendidly manifested. So therefore to cultivate these feelings of separation from the Lord is very important because these feelings of separation, these tears of separation will wash away all of our illusory material attachments to this world. A devotee is always kind, a devotee is always compassionate, a devotee is always the well wisher of every living being whoever they are. But at the same time he knows that the real welfare I can offer to another is by bringing him closer to God not simply by sharing their illusions. By trying to bring those person closer to the remembrance of the Lord by which His lotus feet will be revealed to them.
After manifesting himself in a most loving way to all of his devotees within their hearts Lord Sri Ramachandra returns to Vaikuntha. Here it is described by Sukadev Goswami
Which means his abode is beyond the Brahmajyoti. It is described in the Brahma-samhita that the Brahma-Jyoti is the effulgence that is emanating from the spiritual world. Just like the sun planet the sunshine is emanating from it. In a very similar way from the planets of Vaikuntha, from the planets of Goloka, the highest Vaikuntha, the Brahma-Jyoti, the light is emanating. In spiritual world everything emanates its own light. It is a place of brilliance. It is the place where the darkness cannot exist. It is explained that Krishna Himself, His effulgence that is emanating from His body is more bright than millions and billions of suns combined. So you can imagine his entire abode ,how it is so brilliant with luster. Braham-Jyoti is that luster which is emanating from Vaikuntha. And although most everyone in the land of India, their conception of perfection of life is Mukti or entering into the luster of the Lord. Devotees understand the beauty and attraction of the source of that luster, Sri Krishna. It is true that Brahma-Jyoti is all beautiful. Why is it all beautiful? Because it is coming from their perfect reservoir of all beauty Sri Krishna. And therefore to enter into His abode there is only one means
To aspire always to be on the path of bhakti
bhaktyā tv ananyayā sakya
aham evam-vidho ‘rjuna
jnātum drastum ca tattvena
pravestum ca parantapa
It is only through undivided devotion, pure bhakti that I can be understood as I am. (BG 11.54)
Then one can enter in my eternal abode. It is only by bhakti, the devotion to the Lord ,not by jnana, not by karma, not by yoga. These things only have value in the life of a devotee to the extent they are utilized in the service of bhakti devi. It is only the simple humble service of the Lord that one can enter into this transcendental position. It is not by magic tricks, it is not by tapasyā, it is not by celibacy these things can brings us at the most into the Braham-Jyoti. But it is the simple humble devotion to the servants to the servants to the servants of the Lord, unmotivated service that brings us at the point of entrance into Vaikuntha. Just like the wives of the Brahmans they were simple uneducated women their husbands were tapasavis, learned scholars, expert in rituals but the yajna-patnis knew how to cook and clean that’s all. But because in simple devotion they wanted to please Krishna more than anything else, they were even willing to leave their homes, leave their husbands, go completely against all the social principles, leave their father and father in-laws, leave their children to please Krishna. They knew nothing else, they had no other understanding except how to please Krishna. Where did they get this information? They would just hear about Krishna from different people who would sell vegetables on the roadside. But they had such an attachment for pleasing Krishna that they were allowed to enter into the eternal abode of Love whereas the husbands, they couldn’t because they had everything but that simple devotion. So let us aspire, let us aspire always on the path of bhakti by always remembering the Supreme Lord, Let us ever invite with grateful heart His lotus feet to manifest within us. Hare Krishna. And of course there is no more sublime and better way to remember the Lord than humbly chanting his name.
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
Sri Krishna alone is in Goloka, but those expansions who are worshipped in other rasas that do not include sakhya rasa, vatsalya rasa, madhurya rasa their abode is Vaikuntha. Goloka is only for those devotees who want to love the Lord in this madhurya rasa, sakhya rasa, vatsalya rasa. Those who love the Lord in shantya rasa and in owe and reverence for his aiswarya, they attain those spiritual planets where the Lord appears to attract their minds and their hearts in such a way. Therefore all of the incarnations of the Lord whether Narsimha, Varāha, Ramachandra, Vamandev all have their Vaikuntha planets to attract their particular devotee.
Question : Prabhupada’s first secretary was so intimate with Prabhupada, although he was so intimate in association with Prabhupada still his mind was so bewildered. Why?
Maharaj : He was not so intimate. Intimate doesn’t mean physical proximity. Intimate means faith. There are persons who never even saw Prabhupada physically, who just read his books were millions of times more intimate because they had faith in him. Intimacy with Guru is dependent on our faith not according to our physical proximity. Prabhupada was merciful to him, trying to give him what he needed to make him Krishna conscious but he had very little faith. He was trying to value according to his own material perspective, according to his opinion of what a sadhu is, not according to the truth of bhakti. Physical proximity is not at all necessarily a sign of intimacy. Sometimes the weakest of the people with the least faith, the Guru brings the closest to him to try to give him a chance somehow or other to develop that faith. I remember often times when somebody was having serious problems Prabhupada would call them Leaders of the movement, when they were having a lot of difficulties Prabhupada would call them to be with him , try to raise them up. So real intimacy comes through the faith in spiritual master and executing the order of the spiritual master not simply by sitting next to him. That is a wonderful opportunity. We should take advantage if the opportunity is there. But that is not necessarily the real thing.
Maharaj : Rupa Goswami explains we should accept those things favorable for devotional service, reject those things which are unfavorable. A simple formula we should ask,is this attachment increasing my enthusiasm to serve Krishna or decreasing. Is it distracting my mind away from Krishna’s service or is it increasing my attachment to serve Krishna’s service. How is this attachment helping me, How is this feeling helping me to increase my service to my Gurudev and increase my remembrance of Krishna. And how much is it distracting me from the actual goal of life.
Maharaj : We see the whole purpose of family life according to the scripture is to see that Krishna is at the center and everyone works together for Him. If Krishna is not at the center and everyone is not working for Him then the whole family is just a grand illusion. Spiritually, it’s a big zero. So our connection to all our near and dear ones should be to uplift them and bring them closer to Krishna. Otherwise there is no meaning. Sometimes we may have to come to their sentimental platform and certain social exchanges if that helps to bring them close to Krishna sometimes . It’s called tolerance, compassion. But we don’t do it simply to please them. We do it to please them so that they will be more open to come closer to Krishna not simply to make them happy. Happiness is an illusion, if it is not based on Krishna consciousness. If our feelings and emotions deepen our attachment to Krishna and his representatives then they are spiritual. If they distract our attachment from Krishna and his representative than they are material.