On the Way to Sri Puri Dham
A lecture by
Tomorrow you are going to a special place of pilgrimage. There you will see that the servitors of the Jagannath temple, known as 'pandas', hold a very special position. There is a saying, 'if you love me, love my dog.' It means if you love me, you will also show your love to my dog; then I will know that you really love me. Lord Jagannath has given the pandas the position of controllers there, so whatever they do, we have no say in that.
Mahaprasad is available all over the world, but in Jagannath-ksetra it is different. There the pandas do not let just anyone go inside the temple. They especially do not let anyone enter the temple whom they consider to be low-class or mlechhas. But when mahaprasad comes out of that very same temple, then they will eat it out of the hands of the most low-class people, the mlechhas. This means that they follow some customs. They follow a custom that was introduced by Lord Jagannath.
Ramanuja Acharya wanted to break that custom, but what was the result of that? Ramanuja Acharya wanted the worship of Lord Jagannath to be done in the vidhi-marga. There are some rules and regulations in the Vedas, and especially in the Manu-samhita, and he wanted the worship to be done in a bona fide way following these rules and regulations. He thought the way the Pandas were doing the worship was not the customary way, the mantras they were using were not the right ones, and he wanted that the worship be done in the right way. All the scholars there were defeated by him. The next day, the final meeting was supposed to take place, and the King would have been forced to introduce the Vedic way of worship. While Ramanuja Acharya was sleeping that night, his bed was thrown three hundred miles away to Kurmaksetra. In the morning he wondered where he was and found that it was Kurmaksetra. In those days there were no aeroplanes. It was not possible that someone chloroformed him at night and carried him away by aeroplane. But Ramanuja Acharya really saw that he was in Kurmaksetra, with his whole entourage; Lord Jagannath had transported them Himself. Lord Jagannath also gave him a dream in which He told him, "The way I am being served here will continue. Please do not interfere. Go from here."
It is hard to find accommodation in a special place like this. But by the influence of Srila Guru Maharaj and the mercy of Lord Jagannath we found some accommodation there, and now we have been able to acquire a bit more space. Now Srila Guru Maharaj's desires are fulfilled, so we can see that Lord Jagannath has some special goodwill towards us. Before, I could not go there in spite of a lot of effort, but now Lord Jagannath is dragging me there every now and then.
I do not know if tomorrow I will be able to go with you. I am praying to Lord Jagannath, because I know I will only be able to go if He takes me there, not otherwise. But He has attracted all of you. That is why you have all come here, and joining the sadhus and the devotees of this Ashram, you have found the opportunity to go there. You see, money is needed in every situation in life. To survive and go through our daily lives, money is always spent. Yet money is not everything. There is no guarantee that if I have money I will be able to go. This is a truth that has been proved many times in my life. You all pray to Lord Jagannath that He will take us safely there and then bring us all back safely to where we are doing our respective seva. This is our only prayer today. We have nothing else to pray for.
We are not going sightseeing but we are going to a place of pilgrimage, a holy place. Going there will purify us—body, mind, and soul. We are going to the shore of the sea. Mahaprabhu has said, "From today this ocean has become a maha-tirtha." As it is, the ocean is a great place of pilgrimage, because the waters of all the holy rivers merge there. In addition to that, at the disappearance of Srila Haridas Thakur, Mahaprabhu danced with his body in His arms, and when He bathed his body in the ocean, Mahaprabhu said, "From today the ocean has really become a great place of pilgrimage." Why?
It is said in Srimad Bhagavatam,
Srimad Bhagavatam, 1.13.10
If those who always carry Gadadhar, the Supreme Lord, in their heart cannot purify the places of pilgrimage, then who can? They are places of pilgrimage personified, and they have no need to go on pilgrimage.
Then why do they go to places of pilgrimage? The really sinful people contaminate the places of pilgrimage. Everyone and everything has a particular capacity. We also have a particular capacity, that is, the burden of our sin is so great that even a place of pilgrimage cannot digest it. This is how a place of pilgrimage automatically becomes contaminated. At that time the great personalities who carry the Supreme Lord in their heart appear there. As soon as they bathe in the holy water, the water becomes clean, as if a purifying agent has cleansed it. That is their natural capacity. Mahaprabhu has demonstrated the supreme example of this. Mahaprabhu said that the ocean at Puri became the greatest place of pilgrimage when He bathed the body of Haridas Thakur there. Haridas Thakur used to chant three hundred thousand names of the Lord every day. He even purified the animate and inanimate environment around him when he chanted aloud. His purity was beyond question.
The Western devotees who have come to India will not be allowed to enter the Jagannath Temple, but still they go there again and again, because they are attracted by Mahaprabhu's Pastimes in Jagannath Dham.
Of all the places, Mahaprabhu chose Jagannath Dham, which is non-different from Kuruksetra. Bhaktivinoda Thakur has said that Kuruksetra is the highest place of worship for us. Why? Where the hankering is the greatest, that is the highest place of fulfilment. If you do not have hunger, you will not be able to enjoy even a sumptuous feast. If on the other hand you are starving, even rice with salt or spinach will taste like ambrosia. In my childhood I had malaria, and my doctor recommended something called, 'poder bhat.' Do you know how poder bhat is made? A little bit of rice is boiled over a fire that is fuelled with a few cow dung patties, and it takes a very long time to boil it. So the rice was boiling for hours and I was looking at it, thinking when I will be able to eat it.
This demand that comes from inside is the highest thing for us. This is called hankering, and this is raganuga-bhakti.
The kind of devotion, which is Krishna-bhakti-rasa-bhavita matih, in which one's entire consciousness is soaked in the nectar of loving devotion for Krishna—is not ordinary devotion. The demand of such love is also not a small demand.
The Lord Himself says,
sadhavo hrdayam mahyam
Srimad Bhagavatam, 9.4.68
The Lord is telling Durvasa Muni, "There is nothing I can do. My pure devotees have bound Me with their love, and I have also bound them with My love. Thus we are indebted to each other. I cannot be impartial."
In more recent times Sripad Kesav Maharaj said this: "I cannot be impartial because I have taken sannyas from Srila Sridhar Maharaj." Sripad Kesav Maharaj was a godbrother to our most worshipable Srila Guru Maharaj. Before he took sannyas he was a very famous and influential brahmachari called Vinod Brahmachari. When some brahmacharis wanted to take over our Srila Guru Maharaj's Math, there was need for a mediator. So they decided to request Sripad Kesav Maharaj to become a mediator. When they went to Sripad Kesav Maharaj with that request, he told them, "You are all my godbrothers, and so is Srila Sridhar Maharaj. But I have done something, I have taken sannyas from him. I have offered my head at his lotus feet, therefore I cannot be impartial. So how can I be a mediator?"
Then they said, "Then you should know there will be bloodshed there. We are ready to give our lives."
Hearing this, Sripad Kesav Maharaj said, "If you are ready to give your lives, then someone there will also be ready to take your lives, because I will not be able to be impartial, as I have already sold myself to Srila Sridhar Maharaj."
Then they went to Sripad Goswami Maharaj, but still their purpose was not served. Sripad Goswami Maharaj told them directly, "If you bring two Nepalis, I will bring fifty Sikhs. I have taken sannyas from Srila Sridhar Maharaj, therefore I am indebted to him."
The Supreme Lord is indebted to His devotees in the same way. He cannot be impartial.
Srimad Bhagavatam, 9.4.66
Krishna says, "My devotees charm Me with their seva. Their only demand is to serve Me. They do not want anything else." If in the process of seva they feel some joy or happiness, then they think they have committed some offence; they feel they are probably in the mood of enjoyment. Just to see that, Krishna gives them a lot of seva. He gives them so much seva that they become intoxicated with it. Krishna thinks, "What is this? Radharani becomes so ecstatic by seeing Me? What is the depth of that ecstasy? How can I measure it? I cannot measure it, because I cannot become Radharani." Then:
sri-radhayah pranaya-mahima kidrso vanayaivasvadyo
Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Adi-lila, 1.6
("'What is that great glory of Sri Radha's love? What is My extraordinary loving sweetness and charm that Sri Radha enjoys? And what is the joy Sri Radha feels by experiencing My sweetness and charm?' Yearning to taste these three sentiments, the moon—Krishnachandra—was born from the ocean of the womb of mother Sachi.")
In order to taste Srimati Radharani's highest rasa of vipralambha, Mahaprabhu went to Jagannath Dham, which is Kuruksetra. Why? Because there Srimati Radharani is thinking, "My Lord is tearing My heart apart." Srimati Radharani knows that Krishna is Her life and soul, but there She sees that He is surrounded by His children, friends, relatives, and queens, and they are all swarming over the whole place. She is just a simple milkmaid who would generally not be given any attention in such a royal gathering; but they gave Her attention, and in a very special way. They requested Her to show them the rasa dance, which is performed only in Vrindavan. When they saw that, they were amazed. They said, "We have never experienced anything so wonderful." Then Radharani smiled. She said, "What have you seen? You have seen a headless body, a dead thing. You have not seen the real thing: that you can see only in Vrindavan. Where is that Yamuna? Where are the groves of kadamba trees? Where is the chirping of the peacocks and parrots? And where is the Lord of our hearts, Krishna, who plays the flute and herds the cows? None of those things are here, so how can you see the rasa dance here? What you have seen is the shadow. If you want to see the real thing, you have to go to Vrindavan."
On another occasion Krishna told Uddhava what the highest fulfilment of bhakti is.
na tatha me priyatama atmayonir na sankarah
Srimad Bhagavatam, 11.14.15
("My dear Uddhava, even Lord Brahma, Lord Siva, Lord Sankarsan, the goddess of fortune Laksmi Devi and indeed My own self are not as dear to Me as you are.") But Uddhava himself was thinking,
asam aho charana-renu-jusam aham syat,
Srimad Bhagavatam, 10.48.61
When Uddhava went to Vrindavan he was so charmed by seeing the gopis' love, their devotion, their attraction, and their affection for Krishna, that he said, "For life after life, I only desire one thing: I want to become a speck of dust in Vrindavan. Not only that, I want to be one of those who are worthy of receiving that dust, the plants and creepers of Vrindavan, and live here for all eternity. Here in the land of Vrindavan, Krishna has performed His Pastimes, and His companions, the gopis, also roam around here. If I can be born as a small creeper so that I may get the dust of their lotus feet on my head, that will be my highest fortune."
Sri Gadadhar Pandit, who kept Mahaprabhu in the depths of his heart and performed the supreme seva, also lived there. Mahaprabhu took sannyas and went to Jagannath Puri, and by His desire Lord Gopinath became manifest. When you go to Puri you will all see Lord Gopinath there. Both the feelings of Mahaprabhu and the feelings of Gadadhar Pandit were described in a beautiful sloka by our Srila Guru Maharaj.
nilambhodhitate sada svavirahaksepanvitam bandhavam
The lotus feet of Gadadhar Pandit are our sole treasure. He resided by the ocean of vipralambha which was manifest by his life and soul, Lord Gauranga, who took everything from him. Mahaprabhu was suffering separation from Krishna, and His feelings of separation were so intense, that sometimes His body became elongated, sometimes He retracted His limbs like a tortoise, and sometimes His joints became separated.
So Mahaprabhu, Sri Krishna Himself, suffered intense separation from Krishna, and He was enlivened by hearing topics about Lord Krishna from Gadadhar Pandit: When a person is in intense grief, what does he do? He becomes blinded by his grief, and he cannot decide how he will find some peace, so he drinks alcohol. Sri Gadadhar Pandit provided such intoxication for Mahaprabhu by enlivening Him with the intoxicating topics of Srimad Bhagavatam. This is how he served the Lord of his heart.
And how were Gadadhar Pandit's own feelings of separation? He is seeing that his beloved Lord is in front of him, and his Lord is suffering so intensely that He is becoming unconscious now and then. All the eight symptoms of separation can be seen in His body, such as perspiring, trembling, tears, becoming stunned, changing of bodily colour, etc., but there is nothing he can do about it. Lamenting this, continuous floods of tears flowed from his eyes.
Whenever Gadadhar Pandit read the Bhagavatam, he became so mad with feelings of separation from Krishna that his tears would wash away the letters on the page. The proof of this is when Srinivas Acharya came to him to study Srimad Bhagavatam, Gadadhar Pandit told him, "My dear son, when I was reading Bhagavatam to Mahaprabhu, all the letters in my book were washed away, therefore I cannot now read to you from this book. Please find a book somewhere. Mahaprabhu instructed me in my dream, saying you were coming, but you need to have a book. I have memorised everything, but you need a book also." Gadadhar Pandit thus worshipped the Bhagavatam with his tears. Is it necessary to have any ingredients to worship? One's own tears are the best ingredients.
The lotus feet of this Gadadhar Pandit are our ultimate destination. Our worshipable Deities are Gaura-Gadadhar, and the supreme demonstration of their vipralambha was seen in Nilachal Dham.
In Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita Krishna Das Kaviraj has given such deep meanings of the slokas of Srimad Bhagavatam, and he has exposed such great inner wealth from them that it is beyond our imagination. When Mahaprabhu sees Lord Jagannath in Rathayatra, He prays like this:
ahus cha te nalina-nabha padaravindam
Srimad Bhagavatam, 10.82.49
("O lotus-navelled one, Your lotus feet, eternally held as the object of meditation within the hearts of the greatest yogis of profound intellect, are the only resort for delivering those souls fallen into the well of material life. May those holy lotus feet graciously appear within the hearts of we, ordinary household ladies.")
And in Chaitanya-charitamrita we find these slokas:
anyera hrdaya—mana, mora mana-vrndavana,
Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya-lila, 13.137
("Speaking in the mood of Srimati Radharani, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, 'For most people, the mind and heart are one, but because My mind is never separated from Vrindavan, I consider My mind and Vrindavan to be one. My mind is already Vrindavan, and since You like Vrindavan, will You please place Your lotus feet there? I would deem that Your full mercy.'")
prana-natha, suna mora satya nivedana
Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya-lila, 13.138
("My dear Lord, kindly hear My true submission. My home is Vrindavan, and I wish Your association there. But if I do not get it, then it will be very difficult for Me to keep My life.")
purve uddhava-dvare, ebe saksat amare,
Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya-lila, 13.139
("My dear Krishna, formerly, when You were staying in Mathura, You sent Uddhava to teach Me knowledge and meditation. Now You Yourself are speaking the same thing, but my mind does not accept it. There is no place in My mind for all these superficial things. You are artful and gracious, and You know well my heart—it does not befit You to speak to me in this way.")
nahe gopi yogesvara, pada-kamala tomara,
Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya-lila, 13.141
("'The gopis are not like the mystic yogis. They will never be satisfied simply by meditating on Your lotus feet and imitating the so-called yogis. Teaching the gopis about so called meditation is another kind of duplicity. When they are instructed to undergo mystic yoga practices, they are not at all satisfied. On the contrary, they become more angry with You.'")
What intense feelings of separation the gopis had! "What are You saying to whom?"
deha-smrti nahi yara, samsara-kupa kahan tara,
Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya-lila, 13.142
The gopis are saying, "People worship You to be delivered from material existence, but that is not our kind of worship. We do not want to be delivered. We do not even remember our bodies. What do we care about material existence? And You are saying we will be delivered from material existence!"
Ahus cha te nalina-nabha padaravindam yogesvarair hrdi vichintyam agadha-bodhaih: "Those processes are only for people who want to be delivered. Your lotus feet are our only goal." Tahan tomara pada-dvaya, karaha yadi udaya, tabe tomara purna krpa mani.
In Nilachal Dham, there has been the utmost cultivation of such intense feelings of vipralambha.
chandidasa, vidyapati, rayera nataka-giti,
Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya-lila, 2.77
("He also passed His time reading the books and singing the songs of Chandidas and Vidyapati, and listening to quotations from the Jagannath-vallabha-nataka, Krishna-karnamrita and Gita-govinda. Thus in the association of Svarupa Damodara and Raya Ramananda, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu passed His days and nights chanting and hearing with supreme ecstasy.")
So tomorrow you are going to that place. Lord Jagannath has attracted you by His mercy. We will all feel our goals fulfilled there, and if we can humbly offer ourselves, then we will become complete.
om purnam adah purnam idam
Sri Isopanisad, Invocation
We may be very small, but He is infinite. If we can establish a relationship with the infinite, then just as when you subtract zero from zero, zero remains, similarly when you subtract infinity from infinity, infinity will remain. So we can become complete. So please go to Jagannath Dham with such feelings in your heart.
There is happiness and misery everywhere—at home and outside. I definitely know that you do not care too much about such things, but still, at times such feelings come to us because we have material bodies. This body is like a spoiled brat that does not like to tolerate any inconvenience. The more comfort it gets, the more comfort it wants. But comfort is our enemy. There is no need for such comforts in our life.
As elephants, we have eaten so many jungles, and our hunger was not satisfied. As pigs, we have eaten mountains of stool, and our hunger was not satisfied. For life after life we have searched for comfort, but we have not found it. So now we must separate ourselves from such comforts and search for Lord Krishna, the Ocean of Pleasure, the Personification of all Mellows. We can have Him in our vision by initiating ourselves in bhakti-yoga. This will fulfil our highest mission, and this should be the object of our greatest desire.
Please, you all go there with such desires in your heart. I am sure there will be some inconveniences. Our brahmachari Prabhus are all very respectable and affectionate, and they will try their best to give you all facility, but still you may face some austerity.
Please, go with such desires to Lord Jagannath that by His mercy He will appear in our vision and give us the dust of His Holy Dham, so that we can travel there. This is our only desire and prayer.
vanchha-kalpatarubhyas cha krpa-sindhubhya eva cha
|"HUMILITY, TOLERANCE, GIVING HONOUR TO OTHERS | HUMILITY, TOLERANCE, GIVING HONOUR TO OTHERS"|
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