AFFECTIONATE GUIDANCE: CHAPTER THIRTEEN
The Plane of Dedication
Devotee: Maharaj, could you explain the significance of the worship of Nrsimhadev in the Gaudiya Vaisnava Sampradaya.
Srila Govinda Maharaj: Nrsimhadev is described as Bhakti-vighna-vinasana. He is the killer of all the obstacles on the path of devotion. If the devotees make their obeisance to Nrsimhadev, and He is happy with them, then He will remove all the obstacles to their devotional life. The service of Nrsimhadev is in santa-rasa and although the Gaudiya Vaisnavas are praying to other forms of the Lord, such as Rama, Nrsimha, Vamana, etc., their only prayer is, "Make me perfect for the worship of Sri Krishna." This is the line of the Gaudiya Vaisnavas. They are not exclusive worshippers of any other incarnations of Lord Krishna. They exclusively worship Krishna, and more explicitly only that Krishna who is worshiped by Srimati Radharani, who receives the service of Radharani, and who has so much love for Radharani. That is the Krishna worshiped by the Gaudiya Vaisnavas.
Actually, in his exclusive devotional mood, Srila Guru Maharaj was not so enthusiastic for the devotees to visit Nrsimha Palli and worship Nrsimhadev there. The worship of Nrsimhadev is not in the line of exclusive devotion to Krishna. Of course this is a very subtle point and it should not be considered as an offence to Sri Nrsimhadev. What was the mood and conception of Guru Maharaj, I can convey that to you. When devotees wanted to go to Nrsimha Palli, Guru Maharaj would say, "Why are you going to Nrsimha Palli? You pray to Nityananda Prabhu and He will give everything to you." But our intelligence and mentality are always mixed with mundanity, so sometimes we may think that Nrsimhadev can give us more help in our devotional life. It is true that Nrsimhadev can give us much help, but the Gaudiya Vaisnavas are not thinking in that way. They worship Nrsimhadev and make their dandavat pranams to Nrsimhadev but all their attention will be under the guidance of Radharani for the service of Krishna. This is the Gaudiya Vaisnava line.
We have heard from Guru Maharaj that Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur would often chant on the roof of his house and every morning at 4 o'clock a great wind would pass over his roof in the direction of Mayapur. Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur expressed his understanding of this miraculous wind as being Sri Nrsimhadev every day going to see the arati of Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu. So, although ordinarily it may be difficult to conceive, we can conclude that Nrsimhadev is also very eager to see the worship of Sriman Mahaprabhu.
Your father may be a very big, rich and famous man, and another's father may also be a very big, rich and famous man. You may have much wealth, and I may be poor, but I am steadfastly devoted to my father even though my father may be poor, may not be important or may not be famous. That is the mood of the Gaudiya Vaisnavas. They do not care to know who is very big and who is very small, they only know their own Guru and their own path of life. In this way they are proceeding under the guidance of Sri Guru in the Rupanuga line, worshipping Nityananda Prabhu, and Mahaprabhu who is non-different from Radha-Krishna. Their life's goal is shown by Rupa Goswami Prabhu, that under the guidance of Lalita Devi we will give service to Radha- Krishna, and our supreme guardian is Srimati Radharani. This is the exclusive mood of the Gaudiya Vaisnavas.
In Nrsimha Palli you will see there are many people searching after mundane wealth. They are making puja to Nrsimhadev, binding a stone to the tree and praying, "I need this, I want that." Somebody is asking Nrsimhadev, "Please give me a child." Another is asking, "Give me some wealth," another, "Cure me or my son from this disease," and they are hanging a stone and after getting their desired result, they remove their stone and offer some puja to Nrsimhadev. In this way this mundane worship is being conducted in Nrsimha Palli.
Sometimes our devotees—if they are very fickle and cannot understand—they think, "I would like to do some worship to Nrsimhadev," and when they see this they will also tie their rock to the tree and pray for something. Previously, the devotees visiting our Math might sometimes furtively go to Nrsimha Palli and they would say, "Don't tell Govinda Maharaj," because they knew that I would give report to Guru Maharaj, and he may not be pleased.
Actually, this is how I was raised. I am trained by Guru Maharaj for the exclusive devotion to Radha-Krishna and I've not heard anything other than this conception from the first to the last time I heard from Srila Guru Maharaj. I have grown up with that conception, and I cannot compromise, but still I am compromising. Somewhat unhappily I am compromising because I see that if I don't compromise with others then they may leave the sampradaya of Guru Maharaj. But the mood of Guru Maharaj was always exclusive devotion to the service of Radharani under the guidance of Lalita Devi. That is the mood of Guru Maharaj and he cannot tolerate anything without this. Before 1980 there were only a few devotees living in Guru Maharaj's mission, and those devotees were also not so qualified but they were very affectionate and very attached to Guru Maharaj's lotus feet, and due to that attachment and affection they were following his orders. They did not know much siddhanta, but whatever order was coming from Guru Maharaj they would follow that. They only knew service and they were very happy with that service.
I had not been to Nrsimha Palli before I went there during Nabadwip Parikrama about thirty years ago, perhaps, and when the western devotees started to come and they wanted to see Nabadwip Dham, then I am sending some to Nrsimha Palli, some to Mayapur, some to Champahati, etc. It was only then that our connection with Nrsimhadev was there to some degree, but not before. Only once yearly we were going and giving some puja, with five hundred or perhaps a thousand devotees to Nrsimha Palli during parikrama. The intention was not to see any one particular place but rather the whole of Gaura Dham.
The Western devotees are coming from time to time, and all cannot come during the time of Nabadwip Parikrama. When they come they want to see something of the Dham and so sometimes we are sending devotees to Nrsimha Palli, and they are very interested when they hear that Nrsimhadev will give very easily. But the truth is that it is not so easy to get a boon from Nrsimhadev.
It is very easy to get a boon from Lord Siva. If you ask for anything from Lord Siva, and offer some Ganges water and bael leaves then he will happily give anything. His mood is like that. But Nrsimha is more difficult to please. Still He is very merciful to the devotees and He will give us some help in our devotional life; but the suddha bhaktas, the pure devotees, they are not asking for anything from anybody. And if they do ask for anything, then they will ask Krishna. Their only business is with Krishna, and no-one else. If you are indebted, you must be indebted to Krishna. If you are earning, then you earn from Krishna, if you are gaining you gain from Krishna. Their only transaction is with Krishna, and this is the nature of the pure devotees.
There are many perspectives to the Absolute; what can I say? Srila Vyasadev has composed eighteen separate Puranas, the Mahabharat, Vedanta-darsan, and so many other Scriptures he has compiled for our adhikara. Adhikara means one's position in devotion, and Vyasadev wants to bring us all to the line of Krishna-bhakti. He is trying to elevate all jivas, from every position of life, and for that reason he has compiled so many different scriptures. And if we meditate on this we will realise that it is necessary to give a chance to others to move towards Krishna.
If we are to rigidly exclude the validity of anything but our own way then others will not be able to proceed happily. There are many levels of development. We are making many varieties of Prasadam because we are not easily satisfied with only one. So similarly there are many varieties of devotion and we must accommodate that to give a chance to others. But for one who has exclusive devotion for Sri Sri Radha-Krishna they cannot happily compromise. If you say you are a follower of the Gaudiya Vaisnava line then you are immediately separated from all other devotional moods.
The Gaudiya Vaisnavas are a class of Vaisnava that only need the mercy of Srimati Radharani and nothing else. This final conclusion has been given to us by Srila Raghunath Das Goswami and Srila Rupa Goswami.
Das Goswami says:
"This is my only hope, O Radha, that one day You will bestow Your mercy upon my head; and for that I am waiting so long. Now I am over eighty and I cannot tolerate it anymore. Please bestow your mercy upon me. I am waiting on the banks of Sri Radha-Kunda for your mercy alone. Without your mercy I do not even want the mercy of Krishna." This is his expression and this is the line of the Gaudiya Vaisnavas. They do not want the mercy of that Krishna who is not in the association of Radharani. Exclusive devotion of the Gaudiya Vaisnavas is shown in the line of Rupa Goswami. That is the supreme goal of life: the service of Radharani under the guardianship of Her associates.
Rupa Goswami has written:
virachaya mayi dandam dinabandho dayam va
"I need one drop of water from the sky, but if it will not come, then I have nothing to do but to wait for that rain, and that will be my only sustenance. That is Your mercy. And sometimes a thunderbolt may come; but I must tolerate that. I want no other water except for the water that falls directly from the sky. I am waiting for that like the chatak bird. I need Your mercy and nothing else. O Krishna, if You give that mercy I shall be satisfied and I shall be full of joy. And if You will not grant me that then I shall wait and, like the chatak bird, I will look anywhere else."
All the great Gaudiya Acharyyas are followers of Sri Sri Rupa-Raghunath, and they are not going anywhere else. They are reading the Bhagavatam and all the Vaisnava Scriptures, but when they find the mood of Madhura-rasa, this part of Srimad-Bhagavatam has the greatest attraction for them. Inside of Srimad-Bhagavatam there are many things other than the lila of Krishna—many stories—but they are not so much interested in this. They have passed many things and now they are reading in the 'master degree' class. They have no time to learn the rudiments of language, they have passed that stage.
The line of Gaudiya Vaisnavism is a very exclusive, devotional mood and you will get the whole conception in one place, and that is in chapter eight of Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta, Madhya-lila: the Lord's conversation with Ramananda Ray. You will also find it in the Lord's conversation with Raghupati Upadhyaya and specifically in the books Sri Krishna Karnamrta and Sri Brahma-samhita:
venum kvanantam aravinda-dayalataksam
(Sri Brahma-samhita: 5.30)
"Always playing the flute, His eyes like blooming lotuspetals, His head adorned with a peacock feather, His beautiful form the hue of a blue cloud; with the unique beauty that charms millions of Cupids—the Primeval Lord, Govinda, do I adore."
All the explanations are going to show Krishna. Once, in Puri, Vallabha Bhatta approached Mahaprabhu and said, "You are preaching Krishna-nama and I have given many explanations of the Name of Krishna. You please hear that." And Mahaprabhu said, "No, I do not like to hear that. I cannot tolerate hearing many explanations of the Name of Krishna. Only that He is Syamasundar, and that he is Yasodanandan, the son of mother Yasoda. That is sufficient for me and nothing more do we want to hear from anybody." That is the expression of Mahaprabhu:
prabhu kahe,—"krsna-namera bahu artha na mani
(Chaitanya-charitamrta: Antya-lila, 7.85)
We want to hear that He is Syamasundar and that He is Yasodanandan, this is His identity. Mahaprabhu asked Raghupati Upadhyaya, "What is the most beautiful form of Krishna?" And Upadhyaya said, "Syamam eva param rupam—Syamasundar is the topmost."
"And what is the supreme land?" Upadhyaya replied, "Puri Madhu-puri vara—The transcendental land of Mathura, where there is Vrindavan."
"And what is the best age of the Lord?" He said, "Vayah kaisorakam dhyeyam—From thirteen to fifteen, that age is the best."
"What is the supreme rasa for the satisfaction of the Lord?" And he said, "Adya eva paro rasah—The supermost rasa is conjugal love."
Then Mahaprabhu happily said, "Today I have learnt a new sloka from you."
syamam eva param rupam puri madhu-puri vara
(Chaitanya-charitamrta: Madhya-lila, 19.106)
Mahaprabhu's conception is very simple but we are making it complicated in so many ways, because we are tainted with a kind of uncleanliness. Mahaprabhu has given within His Siksastakam a sloka about Harinam sankirttan, and I think this is sufficient for us. What could we need more than this?
Cheto-darpana-marjjanam—that is the full, clean position of the jiva. The mind, the consciousness, is being fully cleansed by the performance of Nama-sankirttan. But cleanliness, purity, on its own is not sufficient. When you are cleaning something, all the dirt that will come out as a result, you will have to do something with that. The dirty things—our mundane wealth, our mundane conceptions, all our evil tendencies—what will we do with them? Bhava-mahadavagni-nirvvapanam—you make a fire there, and that fire of Nama-sankirttan will burn all those things to ashes. First you will clean your house and then you will burn all the filth accumulated there. And then in its place you will need to establish something good. Sreyah-kairava-chandrika-vitaranam vidya- vadhu-jivanam—you can start a new life there and you will see the nectarean ray of Krishna-nama bestowing grace upon your head; the service of Sri Krishna in Madhura-rasa. Sometimes I think that this one sloka is sufficient. There we find Chaitanya, Advaita and Nityananda.
When Sri Chaitanya appears in our heart then all that is a-chaitanya flees from there. Then Sri Advaita; The feeling of so 'ham—that means Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and I am a part of Him, and Nityananda—ecstasy, nectar, everything. Through the chanting of Hari-Nama, the non-different form of Krishna, the Pastimes of Krishna will play in the heart.
Siksastakam is the he gist of all slokas, and in this first sloka we can see that everything is contained there; the living conception of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Who has the eyes, he can see. Ajnana-timirandhasya—this is the main thing that we need. Through love and hankering and through the mercy of Krishna, you can reach the service plane of Krishna. It is hard to leave the plane of exploitation, and the plane of renunciation is very harsh without the mercy of Krishna. But dedication, the plane of reality, can clean us. It can give us a higher, authentic position in the transcendental world. This is the plane of dedication.
Section 1 — 'Siddhanta'
Section 3 — 'Our Devotional Line'
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