Radhnath Swami explains how Lord is greatful to his devotee
The nature of a cultured and sincere person is that person is grateful. And once receiving anything from anyone that person is always grateful. But Krishna the Supreme Lord, He is the highest and most perfect in all qualities. Therefore, there is no one so gracious. There is no one with such a grateful heart as the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna. And if we have ever done anything in sincere devotion to Him, He will never forget it. And either directly or through His representatives, He will always be waiting and watching for the opportunity to bring us back, if for some reason we fall from the path. Generally when one takes to Krishna consciousness, if he remains in good association, that person will never fall down. But when somehow or other we connect to materialistic and worldly association, then there is every propensity to fall from the path. OR if we commit offences to the Lord’s devotees, then we fall down from the path.
TWO PRINCIPLE REASONS TO GO BTG BY RADHANATH SWAMI
These are the two principle reasons. If we want to remain steady in our continuity – back home back to Godhead, then these are the two most important things to avoid – association with worldly minded people, too much association, or offences against the devotees. And if we just remain humble, of course we will not commit offences, and we will understand how much we absolutely need the association of devotees. But when we become a little proud or little inattentive, then these dangers can come before us in our lives and divert us from Krishna consciousness. And here Srila Prabhupada is giving several examples.
BHARAT MAHARAJ’S ATTACHMENT TO DEER
Bharat Maharaj was a great devotee of the Lord. He was actually experiencing the preliminary stages of bhava – love of God, but somehow or other when he saw the little baby deer drowning in the river Kala-Gandaki, Bharat Maharaja, his sentiments as a natural compassionate devotee, was to rescue that dear and then take care of that dear and due to association with this little dear, somehow or other maya tricked him in becoming materially affectionate. He became like father to the dear. He had already given up the palace, the kingdom of the earth, he gave up all the royal luxuries, beautiful family, everything. But here he was living in the jungles and became attached to this deer. And due to this material affection, due to material association, obviously a deer is material association, he became so much overwhelmed with affection that the deer demanded so much of his time, so much of his energy, that he just did not have time to do his sadhana & his bhajana. And gradually he just forgot the whole purpose of his life. And everything was revolving around taking care of his beloved deer.
But because he was a devotee, Krishna gratefully never forgot that devotion. Nothing was lost. It was just put on hold for some time. During that time he suffered. He wasted immense amount of time. But in the end when he died thinking of the deer, he took the next birth as a deer, but Krishna gave him the remembrance of how he spoiled his life and he felt so guilty and so bad that in that form of a deer he meditated on Krishna and went to those places where the katha was taking place, of sadhu satsang. And in his next birth as Jada Bharat, we know the story, he was very very careful, not to commit any offence against anybody, not to associate with anything that will divert his attention away from Krishna. Even his own family members he would have nothing to do with them although he lived with them, he was like deaf and dumb. He would not talk to them, he would not relate to them. Although he was the most qualified person, he presented himself so totally unqualified that no one wanted anything to do with him, they just rejected him. And he was so happy because in this way he could always be remembering Krishna.
CITRAKETU – FALLS DOWN DUE TO OFFENDING SIVA
And Srila Prabhupada tells the story of Citraketu. Of course Bharat Maharaja later, he instructed King Rahuguna and he perfected his life. Citraketu Maharaja was also a very great devotee. He was a king. He became very attached to the idea of having a son, as so many husbands they want a son to carry on their good name, their dynasty. And he was lamenting terribly because he had no son. And when he was given a benediction by Angira Muni, he asked, “Please let me get a son.” “Yes,” ,he said “Harshshoka will be his name.” He will you give pleasure and pain. And after having son, it was very nice, he was so happy jubilant. But as the Gita explains, to the degree you enjoy something, you suffer in this world. He was so happy and his wife was so happy. But his other wives were envious, so they poisoned the child. So in this way he became completely devastated. But then when the son came back to life by the mercy of Narada and instructed him “You are not my father, this is an illusion, Krishna is the only father for everyone. aham bija pradah pita, which father? So many fathers are coming and going through so many species of life.” When Citraketu heard this he understood. Yes, in that utterly miserable condition his heart was like a fertile field with the seed of bhakti. Then under the instructions of Sri Narada Muni he became a great devotee, constantly hearing and chanting the glories of the Lord, serving the sadhus and using everything in his life for the devotional service. He became blissful, wonderful devotee.
But somehow or other, the bigger you are the more responsible you are. The more advanced you are the more responsible you are to conduct yourself. So in a joking way he spoke about Lord Siva. Lord Siva happened to be giving a discourse on renunciation to a group of sanyasis and sadhus. But Parvati, his beautiful – beautiful wife was sitting on his legs as he was speaking . So Citraketu was laughing, ‘what is this he is teaching all these sanyasis about what is renunciation and Parvati is sitting on top of him. In this way he did not offend Lord Siva, he offended Parvati who thought that he offended Lord Siva, and therefore he was cursed to become a demon. This is the result of vaisnava aparadh that even a great devotee can become demonic by offending vaisnavas. And yet we feel it is alright, “I am different, I am special.” No one is special. Sometimes we think we are getting away with it. I offend devotees every day, I still chant 16 rounds, I still following the four regulative principles, I still come for mangala arati, still giving donations, I am a great devotee. And I offend devotees all the time. We have all seen, it is just a matter of time. The mills of God grind slow but exceedingly fine. Sometimes there is immediate reaction, sometimes it comes much later, but it will come, we will lose our taste for Krishna consciousness, we will lose our respect for our Guru, we will lose our respect for exalted vaisnavas, we become proud and we will become demonic, unless we very carefully rectify this anartha in our heart. So Citraketu became a demon. But because of his previous devotional service, as a demon he was reminded of his previous life. As Vitrasura he fought against Indra and ultimately as he was being killed by Indra, he was simply remembering the beautiful lotus feet of Lord Narayan and his soul returned to the kingdom of God.
RADHANATH SWAMI EXPLAINS HOW AJAMILA FALLS DOWN DUE TO BAD ASSOCIATION
Prabhupada also gives the example of Ajamila. When he was young he was a very nice bhrahmachari, trained up in sanatana dharma and later on he got married to a very pious religious lady. He was doing nice seva for his guru. But because of association, like Bharat Maharaja who associated with a deer, he happen to fall into the association of a woman who was very materialistic, full of lust and greed. He became so captivated by that association that he lost his intelligence. His left his good wife, he left his guru, he left his father, he left everything and he became the slave of this woman. In order to satisfy her he performed all sorts of sinful activities. His whole life was miserable and degraded. But really did he lose anything? He lost time and suffered, but Krishna never forgot the nice service that he rendered with the sincere heart. And ultimately at the time of his death by the arrangement of the Lord he called for his son Narayana, and the Yamadutas, first they came and they scared him a lot. He really suffered when he saw them with their ropes ready to drag him to hell. So if you fall down from devotional service, it is not that everything is going to be very nice and then you come back to Krishna consciousness. You will come back definitely, but what happens in between you don’t want to experience, believe me. So he had to see Yamadutas face to face putting ropes around his neck, he was suffering, terribly regretting and repenting everything he has ever done. But because he was a devotee previously and Krishna gave him the chance to chant the name of the Lord. The Visnu dutas came to save him. They chased away the Yamudutas and gave him another chance to go to Haridwar to continue his life and there he immersed himself simply in sadhu satsang and saravanam kirtanam Visnu – hearing and chanting the glories of the Lord. So many wonderful examples.
YAMUNACARYA CAUGHT UP IN KINGLY DUTIES FORGETS BHAKTI
There is also the example of Yamunacarya. When Yamunacarya was a little boy he was trained to be a good devotee. His granfather’s name was Nathmuni. Then when Nathmuni’s son, when he was very young, he married and his wife was pregnant with a child, but then he died and the child was named by his grandfather Nathmuni as Yamuna. But Nathmuni was thinking, “what is the use of this material world, he had a son, he just had a child and then he dies. This world is a terrible place, it is a miserable place. There is no control over the circumstances.” So Nathmuni, after giving some basic lessons to his grandson, he just renounced every things and became like a sanyasi to preach the glories of the Lord, preach the absolute futility of trying to be happy in this world of birth and death and the absolute joy and glory of hearing and chanting the glories of the Lord and engaging in the process of pure bhakti. So Yamuna lived in gurukul with his spiritual master. But then later Kolahala, the pandit of the king, he was taking taxes from everyone he would defeat in argument. And Yamuna was a very good brahmachari, he just could not tolerate, “what is this nonsense, you are offending my guru.” Actually Yamuna was more learned than his own guru. But still he was so humble, he did not think that this material learning is all in all. He actually was very much always submissive, obedient and surrendered to his guru.
So Yamuna challenged Kolahala and in front of the kind and the queen he defeated him and he was only a small child. So the king gave little Yamuna half of his kingdom as reward for annihilating the arguments of the greatest pandit in the land. So here he was a nice brahmachari who just inherited half the kingdom, which means be became the king. And when you become king you have ministers, you have servants. He had all these things and he had to associate with all of it. And he had to administer the various duties of the king. There were so many luxurious, opulence and materialistic people around him. He got so caught up, so entrenched with all of his responsibilities and his surroundings that he completely forgot about devotion to the supreme Lord. His all of the conclusions and the teaching of the scriptures were just washed away by his environment and association. This is the power of materialistic association. “asat sanga tyaga ei vaisnava acar”.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, “You want to become devotee, avoid the association of non-devotees, and avoid the association of devotees who are too much materialistic.” Associate with the devotees, chant the names of the Lord, this is simple process the Caitanya Mahaprabhu has given us. We can see the power of satsang is so great. Sadhu sanga sadhu sanga sarva sastre kaya, lava matra sadhu sanga sarve siddhi haye. A moment’s of association with a good sadhu can save one from death and open the door to liberation and perfection. But on the other hand association with materialistic people is so powerful. niskincanasy bhagavad bhajanonmukhasya, param param jigamisor bhava-sagarasya, Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, “Anyone who wants to cross this ocean of material birth and death know that to associate with people too much addicted to the objects of the senses is worst than drinking poison willingly.” So Yamuna became infatuated and he became completely materialistic king, became completely attached to sense gratification. But at one time he was a sincere devotee. What is important is that he was a sincere devotee.
If you are show bottle devotee, if you are pretender devotee, then you will not get the same mercy. But if you sincerely and honestly chant the holy name, engage in devotional service, then Krishna will never ever let you go. He may allow you to go for a while apparently, but He will always be making some arrangement to reclaim your soul. So in this case it was through his grandfather. Nathmuni, had already renounced everything material. And for most grand fathers to see their son become the king, very famous, would be a great joy. But for Nathmuni it was disgusting. “My son is just wasting his life futile. He gave up real diamond to pick up broken pieces of glass. He gave up remembering Visnu to enjoy the luxuries of a king, how unfortunate?” So when Nathmuni was on his death bed, he called upon one of his intimate disciples – Ram Misra, and told him, “Yamuna was a good devotee but he is fallen down. Now he is attached to all material life. I am old, I can do nothing to save him. So I am giving you this as my last instruction before I leave this world. Somehow or other please rescue my grandson from materialistic life.” Ram Misra was just a sadhu, he had no means to go and meet the king. He went to the kingdom and found that Yamuna acarya was already arranging big armies, enemies were attacking him, he had so many problems. And he was seeing ministers, and wealthy aristocrats and all sorts of people all day, who had to stand in line for days to have a few minutes audience with him. He was important. So he was thinking ‘He will never see me, I am just a little sadhu”. But because he had performed devotional service, his faith was sealed and Krishna knows exactly how to bring us back. So through Ram Misra he was saved. It is an interesting story. Ram Misra will go and collect some special tasty spinach that would grow wild. He would bring it to the cook and say, “Please cook this and offer it to the king. It is very very healthy and very delicious.” So every day for two months Ram Misra brought this spinach, and Yamunacarya very much enjoyed this spinach. But actually, whether he knew or not, it was prasada. It was coming from the hands of the great devotee of the Lord. And that was awakening certain sentiments that he did not understand.
One day Ram Misra purposely did not come to give spinach. The king called for his cook “why you don’t make this spinach, everyday you are making this nice spinach, why now you are not making”. He said “Because one sadhu who was coming everyday and giving me the spinach for you, today he did not come”. He said “Well, next time he comes please call him, I want to talk to him”. So Ram Misra knew exactly when to come back. And the Cook said the king wants to see you. The king said “Oh, you are giving me this nice spinach, please continue it is very good”. He said ‘I have come to give you more than just this spinach’. I am the disciple of your grandfather – Nathmuni – he died – a very wealthy man and he left an immense treasure for you and he has told me that I should show you where that treasure is.” Yamunacarya was thinking, “Oh right now my kingdom is having some difficulty, I need a big treasure, where is it, where is it, I need it.” He said, “You have to come with me alone, no one else, I will take you to where it is.” He said, “Alright I will go.” So Ram Misra took him away from all of his material occupations, all of his association with exploited worldly people, and they started walking, and as they were walking, it was hot, it was noon, he said, “Let us sit and rest.” As they were resting, Ram Misra began to recite in a beautiful voice, Srimad Bhagvad Gita:
mämakäù päëòaväç caiva
kim akurvata saïjaya
And Yamuna was just listening and said, “What is this Bhagvad Gita, I used to listen this Bhagvad Gita. I used to like Bhagvad Gita, but I have not heard Bhagvad Gita for years, I completely forgot it existed.” And he just listened, and listened. And as he was listening, it was just awakening in his heart what he had attained in the past due to his devotional service. When he came to a certain verse that we should always think of Krishna, and always use our intelligence for Krishna in His loving service, He realized that all these years he has been in Maya. He has wasted his life. By the end of the 18th chapter of Bhagvad Gita, hearing it, he just fell at Ram Misra’s lotus feet. Ram Misra told him, “If you like Gita, let us stay here away from everybody else, and I will just give you nice instructions from Gita.” For so many days he just sat all day and he was listening to the narrations of Gita. Then he told him that Nathmuni’s treasure that he has left for you, I will show you. He brought him to the holy place – Rangaksetra where the Ranganath Deity is laying. He told him that this treasure is guarded by seven walls, guarded by a snake, so many things. So when he went into the seven walls there was Anantasesa, over him he saw the beautiful form of Ranganath – Lord Visnu. He said this is the supreme treasure that your grandfather has left for you – the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Yamuna thought ‘I will never go back to that kingdom’, it is all maya, it is all illusion, this is really opulence, this is real wealth, and he became Yamunacarya – the spiritual master of Ramanujacarya.
So we find through these many stories how once we sincerely begin the process of devotional service, we really have nothing to lose. Even if for some reason due to offences, or due to bad association we fall down, we will never be satisfied with material life again. It is impossible. Once tasting the sweetness of the nectar of the lotus feet of Krishna through bhakti, one can never be satisfied with material life, however much we try. It is impossible. There is nothing more miserable than a fallen vaisnava – a devotee who leaves the principles of devotional service to try to enjoy the material world.
FALLEN DEVOTEE TRYING TO TASTE MATERIAL ENJOYMENT
Sometimes we see such devotees they become the most enthusiastic towards sense gratification to make up for lost time, as they say “All these years I have been controlling my senses, all these years I have been chanting mantras and restricting my mind and senses from natural pleasures of life, why didn’t I listen All these years I have wasted, I have to make up for lost time. So they just dive deeper and deeper and deeper in the ocean of material existence, but what they find is that they just can’t enjoy. It is all empty, it is all superficial. It is not real, but they want it to be real. They can’t bear the fact that they just can’t enjoy like all the karmis are enjoying. “Now I am a karmi, I am not a devotee, I am a karmi, why I can’t enjoy like the rest of the karmis.” They can’t. Because he has tasted something higher. Param drstva nivartate! These pleasures have no substance any more.
The materialistic people, they really are under the illusion that this is the all in all. This is the real thing. But Krishna will never allow a devotee to fall under that illusion. He will let him fall under the illusion that he can try to enjoy but he will be frustrated. He will try harder and harder and harder but there is just nothing there, he knows too much. So for any of you who have sincerely chanted the holy name, you should know that materiallly you can never do what you used to do. If you go back to the material world you can be successful. You can achieve great things, but you will be miserable, utterly miserable. It is too late. You can’t turn back the hands of time. When the cannon goes off you can’t undo what the cannon has done. But why should we?
NO LOSS IN BHAKTI; NO GAIN IN MATERIAL OCCUPATION
So ultimately that devote has to come back to Krishna consciousness. And that devotee is welcomed back to Krishna consciousness. So therefore, we should not be thinking “Let me hold back, because if I give too much of myself to Krishna and then I change my mind, how much will I lose.” Narada muni says “You have nothing to lose”. In the immature stage due to some sentiments or whatever you may come to Krishna consciousness without a real philosophical understanding of life, you may fall astray. But you have lost nothing, you gain everything. But a materialist, even fully engaged in his occupational duties, he does not gain anything.
Lord Jesus Christ says “Do not make your treasure in this world, because in this world your treasure will be either be stolen by thieves or will be covered by rust, or will be eaten by moths. Put your treasure in the Kingdom of God, where there are no thieves, no rusting and no moths”. It is eternal. The devotees have this conviction that whatever we do for Krishna is never lost. And we should have no hesitation to surrendering to Krishna. Rupa Goswami says “you have nothing to lose, but you have everything to gain”. Sometimes we see in a worldwide international movement where so many people come to Krishna consciousness for so many reasons, with so many previous conditionings, and many fall away. We may find even amongst our own god brothers and god sisters that some may fall away. They may give up temporarily their faith, their sadhana, their association with the devotees, and they may just go back to their materialistic life. This should not bewilder us. This should not confuse us. Because even stalwarts on the path sometimes get astray by material energy. But ultimately what do they lose. They suffer for sometime, they lose some time, but they will go back to Godhead.
Srila Prabhupada would sometimes cry when a devotee would leave because he was so sad to see that devotee who had the best chance in this life, to be wasting so much time. Do not be surprised who leaves, be surprised who stays, because material energy is so powerful. But yet, if all of those people who came, everyone of them whether they stay or don’t stay involved in devotional activities, it is glorious what they have achieved in their life. They will go back home back to Godhead. That is for certain. Krishna will not allow them to be content anywhere else but his lotus feet. They have tasted the sweetness of bhakti, they may try every other form of enjoyment, but in the end they realize that bhakti is the only flavor that gives pleasure to my heart. Then they will come back, and Krishna will arrange.
I have many times explained through the example of one of my great dear older god brothers who fell away from the principles of devotional service. But somehow or other he was just not offensive to the devotees. Because of this he attained perfection in this very life. Because of his previous bad habits before meeting his guru, he just had some conditionings, although he was doing nice service, material energy was too strong, he couldn’t control his mind and senses. He fell away but he never offended vaisnavas. When other vaisnavas were saying “Look at him how fallen he is, our older god brother, we were looking up, he was preaching to us, now look at him”. Then Prabhupada would always ask how he was doing from anyone who knew. Because He said “because he has once chanted the name of Krishna sincerely in Vrindavan Dham, Krishna will rescue him and bring him back home back to Godhead. And he spent many years like this. Like Ajamila he had to see the Yamudutas in the form of terrible terminal cancer, after trying to enjoy material life and he was suffering treacherously, he was bedridden, there was no anesthesia or no pain killers to take away the pain. It was just too much. As he was laying there, he was crying out ‘HARE KRISHNA HARE KRISHNA KRISHNA KRISHNA HERE HARE/HARE RAMA HARE RAMA RAMA RAMA HARE HARE’. He came back to the devotees and he just didn’t even want to see face of anything but of the devotee. He just wanted to be in their company. With tears in his eyes begging devotees to read Srimad Bhagvatam to him, to chant with him. In this way he left this world in wonderful Krishna consciousness.
DON’T HESITATE TO BRING OTHERS TO KRISHNA BY RADHANATH SWAMI
So we should not hesitate, we should not hesitate bringing others to Krishna consciousness. Sometimes we have friends, relatives and we think “Oh this person, what if the person doesn’t make it in Krishna consciousness. I don’t want to disturb his/her material life, so I will not preach to them. I will not bring them to the temple.” Do not treat them like this. Nardamuni is telling “Even if they are perfectly successful in their material occupation, they gain nothing except karma and bondage.” Whatever way you can bring a person to Krishna consciousness, however far you can bring a person to Krishna consciousness; it is the glory of that person’s life. It is never lost.
BHAKTI NEVER LOST – BILVAMANGALA THAKUR
There is another story before we end class. The story you all know of Bilvamangal Thakur. Leelasuka, he was also a disciple of his guru Somagiri, and he was a very good devotee. But somehow or other he took his next birth in a wealthy and aristocratic atmosphere and he became very attached, his senses became very much, the more you have the more you can think you can enjoy. He became bewildered and he became attached to a prostitute. How is it that a person who has a nice spiritual master and who is doing nice seva, in his future life he becomes attached to a lowly prostitute – Cintamani?. He was so attached that he couldn’t live without seeing her. It was like, if a day went by and he didn’t spent time with Cintamani, it was unbearable. So he would go every single day giving his hard earned money. One day there was terrible storm, floods, all the villages were just evacuated, people were just hiding from this torrential wind storm, rain storm, but he was so enthusiastic, as I say, once you taste bhakti it is so sweet that you have to find that pleasure again and you try to look for sense gratification and you can’t but you try so hard, you can’t. It is not there. So through winds, rains, through the darkness of the night, somehow or other crossing terrible terrible flooding river, torrents of waves by using a dead corpse to get across, and somehow or other by using a serpent as a vine he climbed up to the window of Cintamani’s room, and when he got there his cloths were all torn, there were bruises and scars all over his body. He was soaking wet, he was miserable. Tapasya – if we could do so much tapsya for Radha Gopinath, as he did for Cintamani, what types of devotees we would be? Rupa Gowami says manobhirama. Just like the anxiousness the young boy and girl have to meet, if we just have that anxiousness to meet with Krishna, how wonderful it would be. So she looked at him, she could not believe it, “You have done all this just to see me. You have already been seeing me for so many days and weeks and months and you are still not satisfied, you are still totally agitated, disturbed, so what makes you think is ever going to be any other way. If you are only so anxious..”. At that point Somagiri, his guru, by the mercy of Krishna, spoke through the lips of the prostitute to preach to him. How Krishna reclaims His devotees is so wonderful. “If you are only so anxious for Krishna as you are for this dead body, you will be a liberated soul.” When he heard this, just at that moment, because he was so miserable, he was suffering, he was so frustrated. When gurudev spoke through her mouth at that time, he was just ready to hear and said “Yes, it is correct.” He touched Cintamani’s feet. “My guru has spoken through you.” He became a vaisnava, became a sadhu and gave up everything to go to Vrindavan. Ultimately when he reached Vrindavan Krishna was personally waiting for him. Then he became the intimate associate of Lord Sri Krishna.
So do not hesitate to forsake anything for Krishna, you will never lose. Do not hesitate to convince anyone to forsake everything for Krishna because they will never lose. Srimad Bhagvatam Philosophy is the most practical scripture.