PART ONE : "The Glories of Devotional Service"

Chapter 1
The Service of Vrndavan


Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is non-different from Sri Sri Radha-Govinda. He appeared in this world to relish the sweetness of the transcendental mellows which Srimati Radharani tasted in love of Krsna. Krsna did not have that opportunity; therefore He appeared as Sri Gaurangadev. We can understand this by this sloka of Srila Svarup Damodar Goswami:

radha krsna-pranaya-vikrtir hladini saktir asmad
ekatmanav api bhuvi pura deha-bhedam gatau tau
chaitanyakhyam prakatam adhuna tad-dvayam chaikyam aptam
radha-bhava-dyuti-suvalitam naumi krsna-svarupam

(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta, Adi-lila, 1.5)

Srila Rupa Goswami has also written:

sri-radhayah pranaya-mahima kidrso vanayaiva-
svadyo yenadbhuta-madhurima kidrso va madiyah
saukhyam chasya mad-anubhavatah kidrsam veti lobhat
tad-bhavadhyah samajani sachi-garbha-sindhau harinduh

(Sri Chaitanya-charitamrta, Adi-lila, 1.6)


The supreme devotee of the Lord

Once our Guru Maharaj, Om Visnupada Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj, was preaching in South India and he was invited to speak at an assembly of pandits. When Srila Guru Maharaj was seated the pandits asked him some questions. They were all expert in Sanskrit and vastly learned in all respects. They asked him who, in his opinion, was the supreme devotee of the Lord? They said they considered the chatuhsan—the four Kumar sages, Sanak, Sanatan, Sanandan, and Sanat Kumar—to be the supreme devotees of the Lord.

At first Srila Guru Maharaj did not say anything, so the head pandit directly asked him, "Can you tell us, Sir, who you think the best devotee of the Lord is?"

Srila Guru Maharaj said, "I can tell you but can you accept what I say?"

The head pandit replied, "Yes, if it is reasonable we can accept it."

Then Guru Maharaj said, "In our conception the chatuhsan are primary grade devotees."

The pandits were shocked to hear this. They asked Guru Maharaj who, in his opinion, was a higher-class devotee.

Guru Maharaj answered, "There is a sloka in the Srimad-Bhagavatam that differs from your claim and since you have all read Srimad-Bhagavatam why do you say the four Kumaras are the supreme devotees?"

Then Guru Maharaj quoted that sloka:

na tatha me priyatama, atma-yonir na sankarah
na cha sankarsano na srir, na eva atma cha yatha bhavan

(Srimad-Bhagavatam, 11.14.15)

Here Lord Krsna says to Uddhava, "The chatuhsan's father, Lord Brahma, is their Guru; but he is not as dear to Me as you are. Even Sankar, Lord Siva, who is the greatest Vaisnava and who is always chanting My Holy Name, is not as dear to Me as you. Laksmidevi, the Goddess of Fortune who resides on My chest, is also not as dear to Me as you. Even My own Self, naivatma, is not as dear as you are. You are My most dear devotee."

Krsna told Uddhava he is His most dear devotee and when Srila Guru Maharaj gave this answer the pandits were stunned.

But after Uddhava went to Vrndavan and saw the Vraja-gopis and the Vraja-vasis mood of devotion, dedication and whole-hearted service, he said:

asam aho charana-renu-jusam aham syam
vrndavane kim api gulma-latausadhinam
ya dustyajam sva-janam arya-patham cha hitva
bhejur mukunda-padavim srutibhir vimrgyam

(Srimad-Bhagavatam, 10.47.61)

"If I can take my birth as a piece of grass on the footpaths of Vrndavan where the Vraja-gopis walk so the dust of their feet will bless me, I will feel my life is successful."

There is no doubt Krsna is more satisfied by the devotion of the gopis than He is satisfied with His dearest disciple Brahma, or with His dear brother Sankarsan, or with Sri Laksmidevi, who always resides on His chest, or even with His dearmost devotee, Lord Siva.

The Vraja-vasis, especially the Vraja-gopis, have this type of dedication, devotion and wholehearted service attitude; and Uddhava, the dearest devotee and disciple of Lord Krsna, declares this. This is real Krsna consciousness, and real Krsna consciousness is proceeding in this line.


Krsna, Arjuna's charioteer

Many people have many different ideas and conceptions about Krsna consciousness but they all accept Krsna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In some of them, Krsna's position is like that of a master. In the Bhagavad-gita Krsna teaches Arjuna like a spiritual master. He gives spiritual knowledge to him, so the followers of this line generally worship the "Gita-Krsna," or the Krsna who presented the Bhagavad-gita to this world.

An example of this is when Krsna and Arjuna were on the battlefield of Kuruksetra and they saw millions of soldiers ready to fight.

Previously Duryodhana and Arjuna both wanted to ask Krsna for His help in the battle, so when Krsna was sleeping, they both went to see Him. When Krsna awoke He saw Arjuna first. Duryodhana was a great personality and like an elder brother to Arjuna but when Krsna saw Arjuna first, He asked him why he had come.

Arjuna said, "King Yudhisthir has sent me to ask for Your help in the battle of Kuruksetra."

Krsna said, "I thought that was the reason you came and I think Duryodhana has also come for the same reason, but I am not going to fight in this battle. I shall not use any weapons. If I can give any other help I will do that. I have millions of soldiers and they can fight. I am giving you first choice, Arjuna, please choose."

Arjuna said, "I need You!"

Krsna said, "Alright, alright!"

Then Krsna looked to Duryodhana and said, "Is that alright with you? Are you happy?"

Duryodhana said, "Yes, that is very good, especially if You will not fight. Is that Your promise?"

Krsna replied, "Yes! Yes, I shall not fight."

Then Duryodhana said, "If You will not fight, then what Arjuna said is alright with me. Shall I get all Your soldiers?"

Krsna agreed and said, "Yes!"

Both left very happily. Duryodhana was thinking he had all Krsna's soldiers, and Arjuna was happy because Krsna had accepted his proposal.

After Duryodhana left, Arjuna stayed and Krsna said, "Arjuna, you are very foolish! Why did you take Me when you heard I would not fight? You could have had all of My soldiers."

Arjuna said, "I am not afraid to fight with that group. It is not difficult to fight with them. I can fight with everybody but I need Your help in this battle. I have one request from You."

Krsna said, "What is your request?"

Arjuna asked, "Will You be my chariot driver while I am fighting?"

Krsna was very happy to hear this. He said, "To be a chariot driver is not such a respectable position but to be your driver is very respectable. I accept your proposal. I will be very happy to stay with you."

When both sides were ready to fight, Arjuna said, Senayor ubhayor madhye, ratham sthapaya me 'chyuta (Bhagavad-gita, 1.21), "O Krsna! Please, place my chariot between the two armies. I want to see who has come to fight." This is very nice and expresses one form of Krsna. He is carrying out the order of Arjuna and then He instructs Arjuna as a spiritual master.


Subjective perceptions of the Lord

When Krsna was fighting with Kamsa in Mathura He was young and apparently unqualified. When He came to kill Kamsa, He wasn't carrying much with Him. He had only a flute and a stick for herding the cows. His dhoti was rolled up like short pants. Kamsa had invited Krsna in order to kill Him. Externally Kamsa announced there would be a wrestling match so there could be some sport between Krsna and Balaram and his wrestlers but secretly Kamsa wanted to kill Krsna.

One sloka in Srimad-Bhagavatam explains how different types of persons saw Krsna when He entered the arena:

mallanam asanir nrnam nara-varah strinam smaro murtiman
gopanam sva-jano 'satam ksiti-bhujam sasta sva-pitroh sisuh
mrtyur bhoja-pater virad avidusam tattvam param yoginam
vrsninam para-devateti vidito rangam gatah sagrajah

(Srimad-Bhagavatam, 10.43.17)

All the wrestlers saw Krsna as death personified, mallanam asanir. They were very much afraid to see this fourteen-year-old boy who looked like He was twenty-one. He was tall and wore His dhoti very short, like short pants. When He entered the arena, all the fighters were thinking death personified had come to kill them.

Nrnam nara-varah, all the kings and their sons, the princes, saw Krsna as the King of kings. He was actually a cowherd boy but He appeared as the greatest of all kings.

Strinam smaro murtiman, the women were also invited to see the fighting and when they saw Krsna they saw Him as the embodiment of Cupid. When they saw Krsna's beauty and effulgence, they fainted.

The cowherd men were also invited, gopanam sva-jano 'satam. Everyone was invited. The cowherd men were thinking, "Our friend is coming! Now a member of our society is coming, our boy is coming!"

The evil kings who were always harassing their people were thinking, "Our ruler is coming to punish us," ksiti-bhujam sasta.

Nanda Maharaj and his fatherly group of friends were thinking, "Our own boy has come," sva-pitroh sisuh. Kamsa was thinking his death had come in the form of Balaram and Krsna, mrtyur bhoja-pater.

All the religious experts were thinking, "Paramatma has come in the form of Balaram and Krsna," virad avidusam tattvam. The yogis were thinking, "The Supreme Personality of Godhead has come," Tattvam Param yoginam. And, vrsninam para-devateti, the members of the Yadu dynasty were thinking, "Our worshipable relative has come"—vidito rangam gatah sagrajah.


The perfect conception of Krsna Consciousness

But a very few exceptional devotees and those who have the finest conception of Krsna consciousness and who come in the line of Sriman Mahaprabhu think the perfect conception of Krsna consciousness is fully manifest in Vraja Dham where there are five kinds of divine ecstatic relationships playing freely and happily with the Lord.

A small hint of Krsna's transcendental abode is given in the Brahma-samhita. When Mahaprabhu was in South India He discovered the Brahma-samhita. He had previously heard of it, but when He saw it, He was surprised and said, "Sei punthi nila lekhaiya, give me the fifth chapter. The whole book of one hundred chapters isn't necessary. I want only the fifth chapter for My devotees." He brought Sri Brahma-samhita as well as Sri Krsna-karnamrta back from South India to Jagannath Puri.


Vrndavan Dham is expressed in Sri Brahma-samhita

During Lord Brahma's meditation on the Gayatri Mantra, Lord Brahma heard the transcendental sound vibration of Krsna's flute and the whole realm of Vrndavan Dham revealed itself in his heart. He saw everything: the transcendental abode of Krsna, the Vraja-gopis playing, the cowherd boys, the trees, the plants, an infinite variety of beautiful flowers, lush ripe fruits and crystal clear water. He saw the complete environment of Vrndavan in his meditation and He expressed this in Sri Brahma-samhita (5.56):

sriyah kantah kantah parama-purusah kalpa-taravo
druma bhumis chintamani-gana-mayi toyam amrtam
katha ganam natyam gamanam api vamsi priya-sakhi
chid-anandam jyotih param api tad asvadyam api cha
sa yatra ksirabdhih sravati surabhibhyas cha su-mahan
nimesardhakhyo va vrajati na hi yatrapi samayah
bhaje svetadvipam tam aham iha golokam iti yam
vidantas te santah ksiti-virala-charah katipaye

Sriyah kantah kantah parama-purusah, all the women in Krsna's abode are very beautiful. They are like beautiful goddesses and all wealth is with them. They are always trying to satisfy Krsna and they always worship Him. In Vrndavan, Krsna is the only enjoyer, and everyone supplies enjoyment to Him; therefore they get double enjoyment. When someone supplies food to another person, who gets the most enjoyment? The person who supplies the food gets the most enjoyment. Krsna is the only enjoyer but those who supply enjoyment to Him get even more enjoyment than Him.

There is no sadness in Krsna's abode. There everything exists in a very happy and ecstatic mood. When you eat an apple the apple is happy to be eaten by you and you are happy when you are eating the apple. Both are happy. When someone is eating a banana the banana is happy and laughing. When a person is eating he is very happy. Everyone is always very happy in Krsna's abode.

In Krsna's abode all the trees are wish-fulfilling trees, kalpataru. If you want a mango from a banana tree you can get a mango. If you want an apple from a jackfruit tree you can get an apple. And the earth—bhumis chintamani—can give you anything you want. If you want milk, wheat or anything you can get it from the earth.

The residents of Vrndavan don't wear any golden rings, pearls or any jewelry. It is not because there is no jewelry in Vrndavan, it is because they like the flowers of Vrndavan. They wear flower jewelry. Every flower is very beautiful and glorious. There is one special flower in heaven called the parijata flower. Indra, the God of Heaven, is very proud because he has the parijata flower. There are millions of different flowers like the parijata flower in Vrndavan. Everywhere you will see beautiful flowers.

We have had a little experience of this. When we went to Badarikasram on parikrama there were flowers growing everywhere. It is a natural flower garden. No one gives them any nourishment; they are growing naturally. If you could see this you would understand there are examples of Vrndavan on Earth. Of course one example is not fully sufficient by itself but it can give us an idea of the reality of that divine land.

Toyam amrtam, all the water in that divine land is like nectar and the talking is like the sweet singing of birds, katha ganam. From outside you can't distinguish whether they are talking or singing. You will think they are all singing but actually they are talking. Natyam gamanam api, all the walking in Vrndavan is like dancing. You can't tell the difference between walking and dancing. They are always dancing.

Api vamsi priya-sakhi, the sound of Krsna's flute is always flowing over Vrndavan. Only one song comes from Krsna's flute and that is the sound of the Gayatri Mantra, Om. It can deliver the entire world. Only one sound is necessary to rescue the whole world and that is the song of Krsna's flute.


Complete fulfillment

We can't imagine how much happiness exists in Vrndavan. Everything is gracious, glorious, and extremely beautiful there. Paramour love (parakiya bhava) is extremely beautiful there.

Sometimes Mother Yasoda is frying food and when Krsna smells it He says, "Give it to me now, I can't wait!" Mother Yasoda says, "Wait, wait, I'll give it to you on a plate!" And Krsna says again, "I can't wait! I don't want to wait! I must have it now!"

This is characteristic of the mood of parakiya bhava which is more worshipable than other rasas and finds its highest expression in paramour love.

In Vrndavan, Krsna is always playing with His friends. Sometimes when He plays His flute He says He would like to play in such and such kunja (forest grove) with certain friends. Sometimes He puts His hand on His hair and all the girls think it is a signal He will play with them in Kesi Kunja (kesi means hair), so the girls think of arranging things there for playing.

Lord Brahma described the abode of Sri Krsna in the prayers of Brahma-samhita and Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has given the gist of that conception in a sloka composed by Srila Visvanath Chakravarti Thakur:

aradhyo bhagavan brajesa tanayas tad dhama vrndavanam
ramya kachid upasana braja-vadhu-vargena ya kalpita
srimad-bhagavatam pramanam-amalam prema pumartho mahan
sri chaitanya mahaprabhur-matam-idam tatradaro nah parah

The essence of this sloka is: "If you want to worship anything, for your complete fulfillment you must worship Krsna."


The supreme conception

What are the qualities and qualifications of Krsna? What do you need? You need love, beauty, charm, ecstasy, affection and harmony. All these qualities are present in Krsna.

If your Master is rich with all the wealth of love, beauty, charm and ecstasy you won't experience any deficiency—you will get everything through His mercy. Krsna has many expansions and they also possess these qualities of wealth, beauty, love and charm. This is the Vedic conception, the conception of Vedavyasa and the supreme conception of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.







Part One: The Glories of Devotional Service
1 The Service of Vrndavan
2 The Lord is not Impersonal
3 Evidence of the Conception of a Personal God in the Scriptures of India
4 Preparing to Understand Krsna's Transcendental Pastimes

Part Two: Krishna's Four Super-excellent Qualities
1 Krishna's Sweet Pastimes
2 Krishna's Wonderful Associates
3 Krishna's Transcendental Flute
4 Krishna's Unparalleled Beauty and Opulence