On behalf of all of Radha Gopinath temple devotees we welcome you to our Sunday festival. Today I am seeing devotees from so many places have assembled – Pune, Kolhapur, Nigdi, Nasik, Satara, Belgaum, Bombay. This really is a very sacred tradition of our acharyas that devotees come together from various places to perform Nama Sankirtan, to hear Hari katha, to take Prasad together, to associate together and to serve together.
Gaur Purnima festival celebrated in Kheturi
We all know the famous story of the first Gaur Purnima festival celebrated in Kheturi, which is today in Bangladesh. It was inspired by Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu Himself. After He had disappeared from this world, Narottam Das Thakur, Srinivas Acharya and Shyamananda Prabhu – they arranged for this wonderful festival and devotees came from all directions, practically whatever devotees there were, were coming like rivers to the ocean to Kheturi gram. The presiding senior most person was Jhanvadevi, the consort of Sri Nityananda Prabhu. After establishing this Gaur Purnima festival, every year on the full moon of the month of Phalgun, Gaur Purnima, the same festival was celebrated in Kheturi in the temple of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Narottam Das Thakur and the whole town would make all arrangements. There would be massive kirtana. One time during this Gaur Purnima festival there were thousands of people all anticipating Narottam Das Thakur’s sankirtan perormance. As Narottam Das Thakur began to sing, his heart was deeply affected by Krsna’s Holy Name, by Krsna’s holy qualities and he began to…
Mahadyuti Prabhu, if you like please sit here, come! Whatever makes you happy but we’ll be happy if you come here.
Let us enthusiastically welcome Mahadyuti Prabhu to our temple. (Hari Bol!)
So we are in Kheturi gram…on one o the subsequent annual Gaur Purnima festivals. Narottam Das Thakur was singing about Radha and Krsna’s pastimes in Vrindavan. He was singing according to the poems of the great Vaisnav – Candidas, one of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s most favourite. As he was describing the pastimes of Radha and Krsna, because of his sincere absorption, because of his very deep, profound intention to please the Lord and to please all of the Vaishnavas something very mystical took place. His voice became so sweet, he already had the sweetest voice than anyone in the world. But on this day because of his sincere intention, Radha and Krishna appeared through that sound vibration in such a way, that his voice was absolutely intoxicating. Devotees were swooning hear the sweetness of his voice and the content of what he was singing. It was irresistible. In fact it was so irresistible that Radha and Krishna themselves could not resist. Being affected so deeply by the love of Narottama Das Thakur, suddenly in front of everyone, Radharani and Gopinath appeared in front of everyone, right in the centre of the kirtan hall. They emitted such light, brilliant light, that illuminated all the four directions. Devotees were weeping, they were crying, they were intoxicated with love. They were having the darshan of Rahda Gopinath. It appeared like a dark could in twined by lightening and from their bodies a fragrance filled the entire atmosphere.
And when devotees were seeing Radha and Krishna tasting them in the sound of Narottama Das Thakur’s voice through their ears, smelling their fragrance, tasting their holynames chanting through their mouths. It was inconceivable, indescribable. Ram Candra Kavi and Narottama Das Thakur, they were besides themselves in ecstatic love, chanting and chanting in ecstatic love. Suddenly Radha Gopinath disappeared. Narottama Das Thakur fell to the ground unconscious, in separation of what he had just seen. And Ram Candra Kaviraj was lamenting very much and trying to bring Narottama Das Thakur back to his consciousness.
Where does the Lord reside?
This was the type of kirtans, that were happening among these great devotes. And this is the living historical testimony, of how lord responds to our devotion. And lord empowers us according to our intentions. ‘Tatra narada.. mad bhaktah’, The lor sometimes takes everything away from his devotees, but only to give the devotees himself, the highest treasure. Like we have been reading about Gajendra, and the Lord also explains to Narada Muni, “Where ever my devotees are sincerely surrendering to me by coming together and sharing their devotion by chanting the holy names, that is where I reside. That is where you will always find me.”
Every day is a festival
Every year for the caturmasya season, devotees from all different directions would come to Jagannath Puri to be together with Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. And there they celebrated so many festivals, but actually everyday and every moment was a festival. Devotees do not require something on a calendar, in order to have a festival. Krishna appears where ever we are chanting His holy names sincerely. So devotees every day we are celebrating Krishna’s appearance. One particular year, may I describe.(Devotees loudly chant “HARIBOL!!!”)
Lord Caitanya’s reciprocation with Damayanti – The Lord extracts the intention from the devotee’s heart
One particular year Sri Caitnaya Mahaprabhu while living in Puri, during his Antyalila, attracted the devotees to come from all different places., especially from Bengal, Pulinagram, Sri Kandha, Navadveep, Shantipur and all these places. And the devotees would regularly cook special Prasad, just for the Lord’s satisfaction – especially Raghava pandit and his sister Damayanti. They would cook so much Prasad and put it in special bags that it took, three strong men to carry it and they had to carry it hundreds and hundreds of Kilometres all the way from Panihati to Puri. Has anybody ever walked that? Raghava Pandit and Damayanti would cook in such a way that, so many preparations, delicious preparations.
Kavi Raj Goswami explains how the Lord extracts the intention from the devotee’s heart. After making so many bags of very very delicious bhoga, with ghee and spices and so many things then Damayanti would make a preparation called sukhata, which was extremely bitter. There were dry very very bitter leaves in that preparation. Her intention was that the Lord would take all that other food and then he would get indigestion and too much acidity. Now the Lord in …Krishna showed Arjuna the virata rupa and he was eating everything and he didn’t get acidity, but this is the emotion of the devotee. Damayanti her devotion is so great, she is thinking of Lord Caitanya, she knows He is God, but she is thinking Him like an ordinary person out of Love. And Sri Caitnaya Mahaprabhu would accept the love. When he would eat those dry, very biter leaves in the shukata it was like nectar or him. He would be in ecstasy, it tasted so ambrosially sweet, because he was tasting the intention of Damayanti, who simply wanted to keep Him in good health and make him happy. So they were carrying this, actually Damayanti she would take the preparations and put them in bags, cloth bags no plastic. Put them in cloth bags and she’d seal it very very carefully, so it would be preserved. Then she would take the small bags and put them in the large bags and seal those. Sivananda Sen with his family would arrange for the whole excursion from Bengal to Puri with great great efforts to please all the devotees. This particular year the day they happened to arrive in Sri Puri Dham it was the boat festival at Narrendra Sarovar, where the vijaya murti of Lord Jagannath comes out on a procession to this lake called Narendra and there, there was a special boat. And that named Govinda would be put on the boat and he would be taken all around the lake. There would be an arati and so many flower offerings.
Lord Caitanya’s Pastimes in Narendra Sarovar
Lord Jagannath comes out of the temple on procession to this lake called Narendra. And there is a special boat which is used only once a year. And the deity named Govinda would be put on the boat and He would be taken all around the lake. There would be aartis, so many flower offerings and bhoga offerings and Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu was just so happy to worship the deity of Lord. And when he saw that as he was standing there at Narendra Sarovar, all the devotees 400 of them, they all came right to that place hearing that the Lord was there. So Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu embraced them, he offered them garlands, sandalwood and after receiving them with such gratitude and love he would raise his arms and induce them all the chant the holy names. And Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu was so enthusiastic to see Govinda sailing around this lake in this decorated boat. Lord Caitanya couldn’t control himself and he jumped into the lake. And that’s a pretty deep lake actually. And all the 400 devotees jumped into the lake. And as they were all in the lake together, their eyes gazed upon the beautiful form of Govinda, enjoying the boat pastime, Narendra sarovar was like the Yamuna river. And they were all watching the Vrindavan pastimes with great happiness. They all loudly called out the holy names.
Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
Service Mood of Lord Caitanya
What a beautiful reunion, together celebrating the pastimes of Radha and Krsna. This was Vaishnava culture. As the festival ended, Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu brought them to his own place, the Gambhra and arranged sumptuous Jagannath Prasad for everyone to their full satisfaction. Then according to their year before, Lord Caitanya personally arranged for rooms, accommodations for all the devotees who came along with King Prataprudra, Kasi Misra were involved for making sure that everyone was nicely accommodated. So Lord Caitanya arranged the very same rooms for them again this year. The next morning, early in the morning Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu took his devotees for darshan of Jagannath in the temple.
The Tumultous Kirtan In Jagannath Temple
When Lord Caitanya saw Lord Jagannath after a long time, it was darshan after a long time, since he was in his seclusion. Then Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and all the devotees gazed upon the beautiful form of Jagannath, then Lord Caitanya in Jagan Mohan the kirtan hall, divided the devotees into 7 groups to perform naam sankirtan. Each group had a lead singer and each group had a lead dancer. Some of the lead dancers were Nityananda Prabhu, Haridas Thakur, Srivas Thakur, Vakreshwar Pandit, Narahari, Satyaraj khan. And each group had many mridangas and many kartals. And he induced them all to chant. And Lord Caitanya was going to each group to inspect each one of them. And each one of them was considering that Lord Caitanya was only with us and he is not going to others. He was actually going to each group, but he did it in such a mystical way that each of the kirtan parties was thinking that the Lord is just staying with us. Can you imagine the tumultuous sound as each of them was singing for the pleasure of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, in the presence of Jagannath playing on their kartals and mridangas, loudly chanting the holy names, it filled all the directions.
This went on for some time. Then the Lord became so inspired that he personally began to dance. He was remembering a verse which was often sung in kirtans by Swaroop Damodar Goswami. Before beginning his dance he folded his palms and recited that verse. “Let my head fall down at the lotus feet of Lord Jagannath in his kirtan hall called Jagan mohan. Thinking like that he began to dance. He turned to every one and cried, chant chant”
All the directions it appeared that the entire universe was filled by the chanting of the holy names.
Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
At that time all seven groups merged into one, in a circle around Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. How He danced? Everybody around Him, according to Krsna Das Kaviraj Goswami, were floating in His tears. His hairs were standing on end like the thorns of a Shimuli tree. Simultaneously, every pore of His body was in perspiration and blood in ecstasy. His limbs were trembling. Sometimes He would fall unconscious. Sometimes He would be very light, other times very heavy. He was completely immersed in an internal state of consciousness absorbed in the chanting of the holy name.
Lord Caitanya’s dance in the mood of Radharani
A few days ago, we celebrated Radhastami. Lord Caitanya was exhibiting the symptoms of Radha’s love for Krsna. Radha bhava dyuti sulalitam naumi krsna svarupam. Sri Caitanya mahaprabhu is Krsna who has come to taste the sweetness of Radha’s love and who has accepted the complexion of Srimati Radharani. This was a dance inundating everyone with prema or love of God. He was dancing and dancing so ecstatically and he kept inducing everyone to dance, everyone to chant. It went on hour after hour from early morning. Now it was mid afternoon. Caitanya Mahaprabhu was still dancing. Finally, Nityananda Prabhu could see that the devotees were completely exhausted. But Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu was beyond time. He was in the spiritual world.
Lord Nityananda stops the kirtan
Somehow or other Nityananda Prabhu stopped all mrindanga players except one. He stopped all the chanters except Swarup Damodar Goswami singing a very slow soft kirtan with very slow soft accompaniment. When all the tumultuousness of the kirtan disappeared, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu came to His external consciousness. And He brought all the devotees to the sea and they all bathed together while chanting the holynames.
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
He then arranged Prasad for all the devotees and He took Prasad with them. Now its late afternoon. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu went to His residence, Gambhira.
Govinda massages Lord’s body while He is taking rest
Now according to the tradition, every day after Lord Caitanya would take Prasad, Govinda would massage His feet and His legs. And then after doing so, Govinda would personally take Lord Caitanya’s remnants himself. But he would fast until he performed his service thoroughly. On this day, because Caitanya Mahaprabhu was literally dancing in ecstasy from early morning till mid afternoon, in the temple of Jagannath, He just laid down in such a way that He blocked the entire door going into Gambhira. Govinda could not massage Him without coming into the room. But how could he walk over the Lord’s body? That was impossible. So, Lord Caitanya was lying there.
And Govinda, His personal assistant, with folded palms, humbly requested, “My Lord, please, just roll over a little bit so that I can come into the room to massage you. That is my service.”
Lord caitanya replied, “I am so tired that I cannot move my body.”
What to do! Govinda again requested, “My Lord, please, just move a few inches so that I could get in.”
The Lord’s reply, “I cannot move my body”
Govinda requested again and again, “Just roll a little, I can’t walk over You, My Lord.”
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabu replied, “Do it or don’t do it – Whatever is the intention of your mind.”
Those were His last words. Then He fell asleep. So, what Govinda did is he took a outer garment of Lord Caitanya and placed it over Lord Caitanya’s body. Then very carefully he stepped over the Lord’s body to get into the room and massaged His feet, massaged His legs, massaged His back very softly and carefully.
Govinda’s mood – Lord hears your every thought
45 minutes passed. Then Lord Caitanya came into external consciousness. He woke up. And He saw Govinda sitting beside Him. And Lord Caitanya appeared angry. He said, “What are you doing sitting here? Everyday after you massage Me, you go and take Prasad. Why haven’t you taken Prasad? Why are you sitting here?” Govinda said, “Because You are blocking the door way. So, I couldn’t walk over You.” Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu replied, He said, “Why didn’t you go out the same way you came in?” Govinda was silent but he was thinking in his mind and the Lord who is within the heart hears what we think, be careful. He hears what you say, He sees what you do but He hears your every thought. Govinda was thinking, ‘In order to perform service to you, My Lord, I am willing to commit hundreds and thousands of offenses; in order to serve you my Lord I am willing to suffer endlessly or even go to hell but for my own purposes or my own sense enjoyment I am extremely afraid even to commit the slightest trace of an offense’. This was his mood – to serve the Lord he was willing to go to hell and commit any offenses but for himself he would never…impossible…he would rather starve and die.
Subtle state of Vaisnava etiquette
Caitanya Caritamrita explains how Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu personally engineered this pastime. Now many of you are engineering students, Krsna is the original engineer, He’s engineering everything and in this case He engineered this pastime just to reveal to the world the glories of His devotees. What was the mind of Govinda and Krsnadas Kaviraj Goswami explains how subtle the etiquette of the Vaishnavas is. Some people who are in an external state of devotion are very much attached to regulative principles and rituals but a more serious and mature devotee understands that we should follow the regulative principles very carefully and the rituals should be done nicely but essentially its all for the purpose of pleasing the Lord. The Lord is accepting our intention, He is accepting the purpose – samsiddhair Hari tosanam – whatever we do, its success is to the degree it pleases Krsna.
So sometimes for the purpose of pleasing the Lord, a devotee may make some offense or not follow the ritual exactly as its supposed to be. Krsnadas Kaviraj Goswami, he cites an example of one famous poem in Sanskrit how the wife steeped in great love, she offered her husband a garland but she didn’t realized that the garland was covered in mud. So its a muddy garland, it was mud all over the husband but because she offered it with such affection, the husband was completely satisfied he didn’t see the mud, he saw the devotion.
Lord accepts sincere intention
Srila Prabhupada at the beginning of his Srimad Bhagavatam in his humility he quotes a particular verse from Srimad Bhagavatam that if one is praising the Lord even if that praise is not composed properly in grammar, even if there are many actual literal defects in it, because of the sincerity and the purpose it is considered glorious by those who are self realized. And so Prabhupada is saying although my this presentation of translation and purports of Srimad Bhagavatam may have mistakes and defects, that is his humility still its being done with a sincere intention and the Lord accepts it.
When Caitanya Mahaprabhu was living in Navadweep, his own gurudev, Ishwarpuri, he asked him, “Please edit my book.” And Nimai Pandit said, “How could I edit your book? You are a pure devotee, whatever a pure devotee says is perfect. If anybody sees mistakes and flaws in it, that is their condemned state of consciousness, because you are glorifying Krishna. Krishna sees the intention.” Ishvarapuri was so happy that Lord Caitanya was glorifying pure devotional service in this way. But he said, “Still, for common people, please edit this book”
Prabhupada wrote the first canto of Srimad Bhagvatam Radha Damodar temple, which is the actual place for Krishna’s Rasa Lila in Vrindavan. The place where Rupa Goswami and Jiva Goswami are eternally residing. In the ecstacies of his love, for his Guru, for Krishna, Radha Rani and for all living beings, he made those translations and purports. And he came to America and he met Hayagriva Prabhu, Raya Ramananda, they were educated young men who a few weeks before had no vaishnav culture whatsoever. They were not following any regulative principles, but then they started doing. Prabhupada said to Hayagriva Prabhu, “Oh you are an English professor? Could you help edit something of mine?” So He gave Hayagriva the paper, and then Hayagriva brought it back. Then He said, “Would you mind doing some more?” And Hayagriva Prabhu thought that he would get another piece of paper. He said, “Sure!” Prabhupada opened up trunks of manuscripts, dozens of piles of manuscripts wrapped up and said, “Here, you can edit all there.”
Now from Krishna’s perspective or for those who are pure devotees, who really relish pure love of God, there was no need of editing. All his apparent, literal grammatical mistakes were perfect. It was absolutely perfect because it was absolute. Even if the English was wrong, even if the spelling was wrong, it was infinitely more correct than the English in any English grammar book, written by the greatest Ph.D scholars. Why? Because his intention was to simply glorify Krishna. But still for the sake of other people to make it more accessible, he had these brand new devotees begin editing it. And because it was under his instruction, the perfection of it was retained, but in a form that was more accessible to people on the material platform.
So Caitanya Mahaprabhu, wanted to teach the world through the pure love of his devotee, that the essence of the importance of whatever ritual, or whatever tradition we may be following, is our service attitude. It is our humble desire to please the Lord. It is not the thing, it is the spirit that Lord accepts. And all of our traditions and all of our rituals and everything else, the purpose of them is to cultivate that spirit of servitude. Govinda simply wanted to serve. And part of his service attitude was never to commit any offense to anyone, to any living entity for his own purposes. Just after this wonderful pastime, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and his devotees, they went to Gundica and cleaned it and washed it as they did every year. Then Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu would have them have nice feast. Then they all together performed the Ratha Yatra along the Grand Road in Sri Puri dham. Then the Hera Pancami. The devotee stayed back after the festival and they celebrated all the different festivals throughout the Caturmasya together with Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. They celebrated Radha Ashtami, Janmashtami. Wouldn’t you like to be there, with Lord Caitanya, Lord Nityananda, Haridas Thakur, Swarupa Damodar Goswami, sometimes Rupa and Sanatana Goswami? And all the other devotees, Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya, Vakreshwara Pandit, Murari Gupta, Kolavecha Sridhar? Everyone was there.
And all the other devotees, Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya, Vakreshwar Pandit, Murari Gupta, Kulavechha Sridhar and everyone was there celebrating Janmashtami. Sri Caitanya Maha Prabhu would have his devotees perform dramas, where they would enact different Lilas.
Lords Tastes The Devotion
The devotees were bringing from Bengal or else buying the most expensive possible Prasad of Jagannath to offer to Lord Caitanya. Many of them spent many serious hours and days preparing Prasad and then carrying it all the way from their homes in Bengal. Each devotee would give the bhoga to Govinda. It’s not easy being the servant of the Lord. And they would say please tell me how the Lord likes it. And they were all giving every day, giving more and more and Govinda would say “This was cooked by Advaitacharya. He wants to know how you like it.” Lord Caitanya would say “Put it in storage”. And then he would say, “This is Srivas and his wife Malini have cooked this for you, they want to know how you like it”. Mahaprabhu said “Put it in storage”. “This was cooked by Acarya Ratna, your uncle”. “Put it in storage”. Weeks went by, He wouldn’t take anything cooked by the devotees, it was all in the storage. Raghava pandit had three people bringing all his bags of food, “Put it in storage”. Soon in the room where Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu would eat, an entire area of it was piled up with Prasad. And it was very difficult for Govinda because the every day the devotees would say, “Oh, what did Lord caitanya say, did he like it?” And it was too painful for him to disappoint the devotees, by saying, “It’s in storage”. Weeks had gone by and he didn’t want to try to insist to the Lord, but it was very much…he was lying to the devotees. So finally after weeks and weeks and weeks, months, finally he said to the Lord, “Everybody is asking me, how you like the Prasad and I have to lie to them, I don’t want to lie to the Vaishnavas. All this food they’ve offered, it’s just sitting in the storage”. Lord Caitanya was very pleased, but He chastised him, “you are living with me, you know my heart. Why are you bothered with such insignificant things like these? If it will make you happy bring all the food and I’ll eat it now”. There was enough food piled up in that room that hundreds of men could not eat. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said bring it all. Govinda had recorded who prepared each preparation, because he needed to tell them. So he said “This Prasad was brought by Advaitacharya”, and it was a feast. In itself it was a huge feast. And Lord Caitanya ate it and each preparation Lord made comments and Govinda took note of it and he brought more and more and more until Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu ate the room full of Prasad, what hundreds of people could not eat and he personally relished the personal sentiments and devotion of every person. And the amazing thing, although it was months old every preparation was completely fresh as if it was prepared minutes before, by the Lord’s potency, because he tastes the Love of His devotees by His own miraculous powers the love of the devotees was preserved within each preparation.
Service Of Raghava Pandit And Damayanti
Months old, every preparation was completely fresh, as if it was prepared minutes before, by the Lord’s potency. Because he tastes the love of his devotees. By his own miraculous powers the love of his devotees was preserved within each preparation and preserved the preparation too. And Lord Caitanya said is there anything left. And Govinda said “There are the bags of Raghava Pandit”, which was a mountain in itself. Lord said keep that. Actually what the Lord did was that he went over to the bags of Raghava Pandit and there were hundreds of bags. And Lord Caitanya tasted a little part from each bag. And he gave his experience. And then he said “Now you keep the rest and I will take it for the rest of the year. Give me some every afternoon for lunch or for dinner.” So for the rest of the year Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, would have Swaroop Damodar Goswami or Govinda serve him along with other Prasad, the Prasad of Raghava Pandit and Devayanti and even though by the end of the year these preparations were one year old, they were just as fresh and tasty as if they had just cooked. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu simply relish their preparation.
And how did Devayanti cook? Krsnadas Kaviraj Goswami explains dozens and dozens of preparations of how she made it. In one place Srila Prabhupada says that Krsnadas Kaviraj Goswami himself must have been an excellent connoisseur cook, otherwise he wouldn’t have known all these ingredients so well. He couldn’t have given these descriptions so well.
Who Can Be A Good Cook – Srila Prabhupada
I remember some years ago, this is back in 1972, one of Srila Prabhupada’s personal servants who was Srila Prabhupada’s personal cook whose name was Nanda Kumar. I was living close to him and Srila Prabhupada loved his cooking. One time I asked him how he became such a good cook. He said “Srila Prabhupada once told me, in order to be a good cook, you have to really like to eat.”
So I don’t know if it pertains to everyone or just to Nandakumar, but that was Srila Prabhupada’s explanation.
Demayanti, one of the preparations she would make every year. She would go to the bank of ganga, she would go inside the ganga and would collect mud from the bottom of Ganga. And she would dry it out and after drying it, she would filter into very fine power and she would add some aeromatic ingredients to it in the form of spices. Then would add a little ganges water and roll it into balls and put it into bags. And how Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu loved this Prasad of his devotee.
Everyday so many devotees were inviting Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu for them to bring the Prasad, they would not only cook but they would purchase the most expensive Jagannath Prasad and bring it to the Lord. And sometimes there were so many invitations, again it was very difficult for Govinda. Because everyone had to go through Govinda. And there were not enough days for everybody. So who is he going to leave out and who is he not going to leave out. Very difficult. Can you imagine they come all the way from Bengal and they see that he was eating in other people’s houses, so they would invite everyday to come to my house. So Govinda was really in a very very wonderful situation, trying to accommodate everybody and not offend anybody.
Sweet Exchanges Of Lord With Sivananda Sen’s Family
One day Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu went to Sivananda Sen’s house. Sivananda Sen brought his whole family that year. And Sivanada Sen was introducing Lord to his family and children. One particular child he brought before Lord Caitanya and Lord asked what is his name.
Not this is very wonderful, the loving exchange.
bhaviñyäëi ca bhütäni
mäà tu veda na kaçcana
The Supreme Lord is the paramatma in everyone’s heart, he knows the past present and future. And he is asking what is his name. That is loving exchange between the Lord and his devotee. Sivananda Sen said I named him Caitanya das. Lord Caitanya became grave and said “What kind of name is that? Why did you give him a name like that?” Sivananda Sen replied that “Whatever name emerged from my heart, is the name I gave the child.”
So, Little Caitanya das, little boy, he offered his obeisances, then Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu blessed him with such love. Because Sivananda sen would serve the devotees with so much dedication and enthusiasm, Lord Caitanya said that, “Sivananda sen’s family is My family.” And when Sivananda sen would invite Him, He would not resist. So, Sivanandasen’s wife and Sivananda sen, they cooked a really really wonderful feast for Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and got very rich opulent Jagannath Prasad. And Sivananda sen kept giving more and more and more. And Lord Caitanya just to please Sivananda sen kept eating more and more. He ate a huge amount of Prasad that day.
The next day, Little Caitanya das tells his father, “Invite Lord Gauranga again to our house. Because, we should make a special offering to Him today.” Now, Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu already had His ……. And everything. But, when Sivananda sen says, “please come”, the Lord must come. Because he is serving the Vaisnavas with so much love. So, Lord Caitanya went to the house of Sivananda sen and Caitanya das, the little boy personally prepared one preparation. It was dahi – yogurt, some rice, with lime and ginger and salt. He mixed it up together. Caitanya das was thinking in his mind that because Lord Caitnaya ate so many preperations with ghee and jagiri yeaterday, He must have indigestion today. (laughs). So, let us just give Him this nice lime, ginger, salt with some yogurt and little rice inside and some dal paddies were also there. This is the beauty of Bhakti. The Lord knows everyone’s mind. But for those who sincerely want to please the Lord selflessly, when we have no desire for our selfish gratification; when either on the subtle or gross platforms, we are detached from our ego of enjoying; and we really want to be enjoyed by the Lord, we really want to give pleasure to the Lord, to such a person, the Lord reveals His mind to the devotee’s heart. The fact was, although Sri Caitnya Mahaprabhu ate that entire room of Prasad, which hundreds of people couldn’t eat, He didn’t get any indigestion from that, No acidity. After all, Lord Caitanya is the source of that Viradrupa. The Viradrupa is just an expansion of the expansion of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. We know what He was eating. But because of the loving emotion of this boy – Caitanya das, who was rightfully named, the servant of Lord Caitanya, because he was concerned that so much ghee and so many rich preparations, He must have acidity and indigestion. Because he was thinking that in love, Lord Caiyanya got acidity and indigestion. But it wasn’t that disturbance, it was ecstatic. And then, when He ate that Lime, ginger, salt and yogurt, immediately made Him completely in good health. All acidity and indigestion is completely removed.
Again the Lord accepts the intention, the purpose, He accepts the love of the heart of his devotees. In this way Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, He was praising Caitanya Das that “he knows my heart, he knows my mind because of his love.”
Transcendental Nature of the Lord
We were discussing this this morning, janma karma ca me divyam evam yo vetti tattva…Krsna says one who understands the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities never has to take birth in this material world but attains my abode. But what does it mean to understand the Lord. The Lord cannot be understood by scholarship, by memorization even of holy scriptures. This gives us the proper information but the understanding comes through our love, our devotion, our humility and our surrender, through our intention. Through parampara by hearing and reading the words of the great acharyas from the scriptures we get the perfect content, we get the perfect information which we need but to understand that is in proportion to our surrender- ye yatha mam prapadyante…and what is surrender.
What is surrender?
Surrender is not something extraordinary or exotic to understand. Surrender means ’My Lord, I’m yours. Let your will be done. I am here to please you according to your will, not my will. That is surrender. When we really offer our life for the service of Krsna, of Sri Radha through the service of the Vaishnavas, the service of guru or as Prabhupada has so succinctly explained if one is sincere, serious and does not have ulterior motives, the rarerest of all treasures, Pure Devotional Service is easily given. This was the quality of Damayanti, Caitanya Das, this was the quality of Govinda who was willing to suffer endlessly if it would give some pleasure to the Lord. This is what it means to follow in the footsteps of the gopis of Vrindavan. The gopis were willing to loose everything, sacrifice everything, even go to hell to give a moment’s pleasure to Krsna. It was because of that selfless pure service attitude that they could relish the most intimate highest pastimes with Krsna.
This is the beautiful culture that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has given and where there is selfless service, without ulterior motives for the pleasure of the Lord, naturally, spontaneously it brings the most intimate unity to all beings within this world..pandita sama darsina..where there is love for Krsna, we see everyone, we see Krsna in the heart of every living being. We are non envious. Krsna told Arjuna, ‘You can understand these teachings because you are not envious o anyone. He also said, ‘You can understand these teachings because you are My friend and devotee’. So to intellectually, philosophically understand is necessary, otherwise we don’t know what to know. May be the wrong thing. But to actually understand it is according to our service attitude, according to our sincere desire to serve and to please the Lord. That is bhakti and in its highest, most concentrated and fullest manifestation.
All the greatest and fullest manifestation is Vrindavan. And Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu came to bring the spirit, the pastimes, and the mood of Vrindavana to this world through the sankritan movement, where the devotees are chanting and dancing in this spirit. Then Krishna reveals himself, Radha Rani reveals herself and the whole spiritual world, when the devotees in this mood chant the holy names. ‘Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare’. Much Louder please, ‘Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare’. (Devotees again chant) ‘Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare.’
Either you are really enthusiastic or you are eagerly awaiting Maha Prasad.
Dealings between Lord Nityananda and Lord Caitanya
Krishnadas Kaviraja Goswami explains in the same light, that year that all the devotees came from Bengal, Nityanand Prabhu also came. But the year before, Lord Caitanya ordered Lord Niyananda Prabhu, not to come. Hare Krishna! But Lord Nityanand came, and the Lord was so happy. Sometimes in the pastimes of Love, and we cannot mistake this for any sentimental, physical, emotional, material love, we are talking about Love of God. Sometimes in the pastimes of Love, disobeying the Lord, gives more pleasure to the Lord than obeying him. Lord Nityananda simply wanted to come to see Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. And Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu really wanted to see Nityananda Prabhu, even though he ordered him not to come. Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami gives the example, similar, when the gopis came to Vamsi Vat to meet Krishna, He told all of them to go home. But they wouldn’t go home. Why did they not go home? Because they actually knew Krishna’s heart that he wanted them to stay. Nityanand Prabhu knew Krishna’s heart that he wanted him to stay. Now we should not pretend to know someone’s heart.
Someone may say, “I know you want me to do this, so I have done it.” (Other Person)”I told you not to do it.” (First Person)”But I know you want it.” (Second Person)”Actually I didn’t want you to do this, I wanted you to do something else.” (First Person)”No, no, I know you want it.” It’s not like that. Prabhpada said, “If I ask for water and you bring me milk.” I said,” I want water, I don’t want milk.” But I know(disciple), “No, I know that you want milk.” Gurdev, “But I want water, I do not want milk.” Disciple, “But no no Gurudev, I know you want milk” Gurudev, “You bring me water.” Disciple,”No, No, here is your milk.” Unless we are on the platform of being beyond the material desires, transcendental to the effects of Maya, we cannot imitate these great souls. But the principle is there that the Lord is not so concerned with these rules and regulations as he is in our intentions to follow them. We should follow the rules and regulations, but our intentions to follow them is most important. When Srila Prabhupada came the west, he did things that, probably in the history of whole vedic civilization no sannyasi was in the Avalon ball room, where there were naked hippies dancing, and stroble lights beaming and rock N roll bands accompanying you. Prabhupada turned to one of his disciples and said, “This is no place for a brahmacari.” Now what was he doing there? Lord Caitanya said, “If Nityananda Prabhu goes into a brothel, I know He is going there to preach, with only the best intentions. Even if he is holding hands with a prostitute like woman, I know that he is only doing it to save her life.” Mahaprabhu is saying like this, other people criticized Lord Nityananda. Srila Prabhupada in the mood of Lord Nityananda Prabhu, went to the furthest extents to somehow or other to give bhakti to the people of the west. And there were people in India who criticized him very strongly, “This is not the rules, the regulations, giving Mlecchas, the gayatri mantra. This is impossible.” He was criticized. But we learn from the pages of Srimad Bhagvatam and Caitanya Caritamrita this principle. We were giving the story of Narottama Das Thakur, should I continue or end? (Devotees Chant) Hari Bol! Narottama Das Thakur would sing with such intentions to please the Lord and please the vaishnavas, that Radha and Krishna, their pastimes and their holynames manifested absolutely so fully from his voice, that his voice was embrosial sweetness, such a divine spiritual vibration, nobody ever heard anything like this. It was absolutely ecstatic, so much that Radha and Krishna appeared in the Kirtan and gave their darshan to everyone, simply because of Narottama’s love. Because Narottama was so compassionate, he wanted everyone so much to have Krishna, that Krishna manifest himself with Radha Rani to everyone. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu did this by his own inconceivable will just so that people would love and respect Narottama Das Thakur. Because by loving and respecting him, they would get the supreme blessings of the Lord. But he was a kayasta, which certain brahamanas in Bengal at that time considered it to be a Shudra.
Sincere Vaishnava Is More Than A Brahmana
But he was a kayastha, which to a certain Brahmins in Bengal at that time was considered to be shudra. And he was giving initiation and even Gayatri mantras and other mantras to Brahmans. And there were certain people who were very very upset with this, certain brahmnas, “This was against the religious principles. According to the Shaastra where does it say?” They had their traditional interpretation of the shaastra, they didn’t understand the essence. “How can a Sudra initiate a Brahman, How dare him”. There were people who were plotting to kill Narottam Das Thakur. There were people who were aggressively blaspheming him with all their powers to denounce his reputation. One such Brahman’s name was Guru Das Bhattacharya and he was so blasphemous that he was making so many plots to destroy the reputation of Narrotam Das Thakur, that he got leprosy. And he tried every possible cure and it got worse and worse and worse. Finally he worshipped goddess Chandi, Durga, and prayed to her, “Why is this happening to me? I worshipped you all my life; I am giving you all the rituals that you asked for I am doing everything according to the tradition. I am doing my Puja every single day, my rituals every single day, I am chanting my shlokas every single day, why is this Leprosy, what’s happening?” And Chandi was so angry, she told him, “Because you have blasphemed Narrotam Das Thakur, you think you are a Brahman? He is directly empowered by Lord Nityananda Pr and Lord Caitnaya Mahaprabhu. You may be a Brahmin by caste, but a sincere vaishnava…” this is what Chandi told him, hear carefully. “…a sincere vasihnav has the sacred Brahman thread around his/her heart. You have it around their body, but they have it on their hearts. And that’s what Krishna sees not your body, but your heart. You are attached to this bodily stuff, but Krishna sees the heart and the love of a vaishnava. If one is a vaishnav who loves Krishna, even if they are chandalas, aho batasvapaca.., if they are chanting the holynames with all sincerity, even chandala is fit to become Guru for the whole world. But the person who is born a Brahmin, who is performing all the 25 duties with all the qualities of a Brahman, but if he is not chanting with devotion he can’t even deliver him or herself, what to speak of anyone else. Now you go and surrender to Narrotam Das Thakur and take initiation from him, otherwise you will be destroyed. That’s what his worshippable deity told him. So the next day he went to Kheturi fell at the feet of Narrotam and prayed to him. Narrotam Das Thakurtaught him how to do nama sankirtan, .forgave him and just by doing kirtan with such reverence towards a great devotee like narrotam, the leprosy disappeared and he became a great devotee. Then other Brahmans who were just like him, they started thinking, “before I get leprosy I should surrender. I should also surrender to Narrotam Das Thakur”.
So this is the way Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu wanted to show the glory of His devotees and what is the essence of Bhakti The essence of Bhakti is our devotion, whoever we may be. And Krsna Das Kaviraj Goswami tells that anyone who hears these stories which we have discussed today with sincere faith will very soon develop love for the lotus feet of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu and will be empowered to spread the glories of the holy names:
Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare / Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
Srila Prabhupada ki jai!
Thank you very much.
The Process Of Hearing
There are many levels of hearing. Bhagavad Gita tells – tad viddhi praëipätena paripraçnena sevayä. This is the way to hear, you approach guru and you humble yourself and then you hear submissively. But then you render service. Krsna talks about jnana and vijnana. Jnana is about gaining knowledge and vijnana is about realization of that knowledge. So no doubt that simply by hearing Maharaj Parikshit, all he did was hear, simply by hearing he attained perfection. But he was hearing on the level of surrender. He was really surrendered and he had no ulterior motives. He was listening perfectly. Prahalad Maharaj attained perfection by simply remembering. But he wasn’t remembering just like somebody who is chastising someone and chanting. Prahalad was really surrendering his heart, life and soul. That’s how he was remembering, as we are hearing our service attitude, our submissiveness, our humility is very much determining how much we are understanding and realizing. What we hear can go to the mind and be stored by the intelligence also. But actually to go into the heart and transform it, it works for everybody, but it is a gradual process. Unless like Gajendra or Parikshit Maharaj, we have the proper service attitude, we are really taking shelter of the process. In this case, specifically hearing. Just by hearing, if you hear, you will follow what you are hearing. And we hear Srimad Bhagvatam, but then what’s the content. Srila Prabhupada and acaryas are talking about the sincerity and humility and the submissiveness that is required. If we are actually hearing we are going to start living like that. Otherwise if we just ignore all the qualities that we are supposed to be cultivating, and we just take the parts which hear, it is a very gradual process.
We are hearing that: Trinad api sunicena; If we are actually hearing it then sevaya, we try to apply it. To the degree we are actually in the spirit, sincere, serious without ulterior motives, to that degree we will advance.
Because by continually hearing, this may take a few life times, gradually you come to the conclusion of what you should be doing. Then you are actually hearing. But whatever our state of consciousness is now in this very lifetime, if we are just sincere, then all understanding will come. It is transcendental sound vibration. But how much we access it, is how much we are receptive. And even the most envious person is going to access something when they hear Krsna katha. To the degree they are actually hearing to that degree they are going to work on transform their lives. And as they are going to do that they are going to get deeper and deeper understanding and realizations.
Srila Prabhupada spoke to millions of people. Some became devotees. At Cross maidan there were 25,000 people in that pandal program. In 1971, March. Now a few people became devotees. Other people I am sure that right after the pandal program went to a restaurant and ate meat and drank alcohol and found somebody to have sex with. They benefitted, they definitely benefitted, this was probably the most valuable thing they ever did in their lives.
It is the process. To go from jnan to vijnana is a process. For most of us, it is a gradual process. So, what Prabhupad continually tells us, what Krsna das kaviraj Goswami tells us, what Sukadev Goswami tells us is – in this process, Krsna extracts the essence of our intention. And that is all important. Even if we are very fallen, if our intention is to purify our heart and to please the Lord, Krsna recognizes that. If our intention is profit, adoration and distinction, Krsna recognizes that. So, what is the gradual process, we are hearing everyday, we are chanting everyday, we are performing these processes of devotional service. But the process itself is all transcendental. The transcendent nature of it is accessible to us according to our intention, according to our sincerity. Therefore, Prabhupad, one of the most common things he would commonly tell us is – “Please take this Krsna consciousness very seriously.” Seriousness means without ulterior motives, we are doing it with a very genuine intention. So, gradually as we are hearing, as we are chanting and as we are following the path of Bhakti, we are supposed to be developing deeper pure intention and we are supposed to be developing better character. Prabhupad once said, “What is the use of philosophy without good character.” Service means to follow what we are hearing. It’s a gradual process. But we should sincerely try to apply what we are hearing. Otherwise, we could chant 16 rounds or 64 rounds for hundreds and thousands of births and never see Krsna. Although we are making some progress, but eventually we have to come to that platform of really reciprocating with what Krsna is giving us, by following. Krsna wants us to be as learned in the scriptures as we have the capacity to be learned in the scriptures. But in doing so, what He really sees is our intention to be the servant of the servant of the servant of the servant of the servant of the servant for the pleasure of the Lord.