Within the Holy Dham
Introduction and welcome lecture in Govardhan
Srila Ragunath Das Goswami always prayed to Giriraj Govardhan: nija-nikata-nivasah dehi govarddhana tvam. And Rupa Goswami Prabhu also said:
vaikunthaj janito vara madhu-puri tatrapi rasotsavad
At first we can see Vaikuntha Dham as being a very high place, but above that, the more important place is Mathura— janito vara madhu-puri. Why? Because Krishna Himself is born there, that is His Lila there. Narayana, though, does not take birth. He has no birth, He has no father and no mother, but Krishna has His father and mother—that is within His Lila. And, vaikunthaj janito vara madhu-puri tatrapi rasotsavad... better than Mathura is Vrindavan, where Krishna has His Pastimes with the gopis. And over that place, is the highest place, Sri Govardhan— Srila Prabhupad Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur says: giridhari-gandharvika yatha krida kaila.
The most worshipful place, at the foot of Govardhan, is Radha Kunda; there Krishna and Radharani have Their highest prema-lila. One who has a little intelligence, he must try to stay in Govardhan; and if possible, he can stay at Radha Kunda. Everyone, though, cannot stay at Radha Kunda, but they can stay at the lotus feet of Govardhan.
Srila Prabhupad Saraswati Thakur said that we can stay at the lotus feet of Govardhan and every day go to Radha Kunda and serve Radha Kunda, Syama Kunda, etc. The devotees will stay at Govardhan and render service in their gopi bhava, their transcendental service mood form of a gopi.
The gopis also stay in Govardhan. The sakhis and manjaris stay in Govardhan, and every day for their service to Radha-Krishna they go to Radha Kunda. In the night they do not all stay with Radha-Krishna; only a few stay, and the others return to Govardhan and spend the night there up to three o'clock in the morning. Then at four o'clock they start their seva again at Radha Kunda, and spend the whole day there. When Radha and Krishna go to sleep, they again return to Govardhan. At that time only a few, like Rupa Manjari, stay for the service of Radha-Krishna, in order to massage Their lotus feet and give Them some nourishment.
At night They are engaged in Their Lila, and the manjaris also help that, but the sakhis cannot enter that place. Only the manjaris can go there at that time. Sometimes Krishna is tired and very much in need of a glass of water, but nobody can go inside at that time—only the manjaris can. That is a very high thing, and it is not a matter discussable by us, but it is happening.
Ourselves, we will stay at the lotus feet of Govardhan and pray to Krishna, or rather, Srimati Radharani. All the group at Govardhan are serving Radharani—they actually have no connection with Krishna. From Govardhan they go to Radha Kunda and Syama Kunda and arrange many things. The astakaliya-lila happens there, not elsewhere, and one who exclusively wants to serve Radha-Krishna will think about these Pastimes. But we shall not think of such things now—with our mundane body and mind we cannot think about that.
dhamera svarupa sphuribe nayane
Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur said that while chanting, chanting, chanting we will forget our body consciousness, and at that time our main form as a servitor to Srimati Radharani will manifest. That is a very high thing; but immediately we will not consider such things because we are sure to make offence to Radha-Krishna and the devotees. We say 'Vrindavan,' but Vrindavan means all associated places combined—that is Vrindavan.
jaya radhe, jaya krsna, jaya vrndavan...
All these places and more are included in Vrindavan, and in this village of Vrindavan, Krishna is engaged in many different types of lila. In this place Krishna's lila is going on in many areas. We are here in Vrindavan and praying that we may find a place somewhere for our 'Srila Sridhar Swami Sevasram.' I do not know where Radharani will give us a place, but it is approachable only by prayer. We can only pray: "Please, give some entrance."
Actually, Radharani does not give entrance. Admission is granted by the sakhis, the girlfriends of Radharani. Especially, we are in the group of Lalita Devi and in that group, Rupa Manjari is the head of the manjari section, and Lalita Devi is our Mistress. Our prayer is that she will take us and engage us in service. We are very hopeful because Lalita Devi's mood is very open, something like that of Nityananda Prabhu. She is very affectionate with all, and she is the head of all the sakhis.
The asta-sakhis, the eight principal gopis are: Lalita, Visakha, Chitra, Champakalata, Tungavidya, Indurekha, Sudevi, and Ranga Devi. Lalita Devi is the leader of that group. She has a special group and through them she arranges for maintaining the service to Radharani. She is the head Mistress of our spiritual form. We are now in mundane bodies so we will not think of that, still that is our goal of life. Therefore we must worship that with our full regard, and we must not make any offence in the Dham.
It is very difficult to stay in Vrindavan Dham. We must have an exclusive service mood to Radha-Krishna, and that can give us some place here. By the mercy of Lalita Devi, through our Srila Guru Maharaj and Rupa Goswami, it is possible to get that. And if in that way we try to see everything, then no problem will come to us.
We are so fortunate that we have, by the grace of Srila Guru Maharaj, reached Vrindavan Dham. Actually Vrindavan is in the transcendental world and we cannot reach that transcendental plane with our mundane body. But here we have some special facility by the mercy of Mahaprabhu as well as Srimati Radharani. We are like bees who try to take honey from a tightly sealed honey pot; but they may give us some chance to attach with that transcendental world. The pot is solid and the bees cannot remove the seal and take the honey. This is an example only, but still, from it we can understand what our position is like. The bees are on the outside of the bottle, and our position is similar—but we are also near the honey!
We can enter Vrindavan Dham by the mercy of Radharani, but She is engaged with the service of Sri Krishna, and She has no time to see to us, but by the mercy of Her finest, closest and topmost associate, Lalita Devi, we may gain a chance to enter. Lalita Devi is the leader of the group of sakhis, the friends of Radharani; she is very merciful and can give us admission to Vraja Dham, Vrindavan Dham.
But here is one question. Do we want that or not? We hear about Vrindavan Dham, but we hear through our mundane senses and with our mundane feelings. Some essence, however, is coming through that and we express, "We like Vrindavan Dham." But, like Sri Harinam mahamantra, Vrindavan Dham is also transcendental. If we want to enter there, we need some special mercy of Srimati Radharani through Her associates, and we can only get that with our super-hankering mood.
Srila Rupa Goswami said;
Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya-lila, 8.70
We can do many auspicious services to the Lord but that is not the cause of the real hankering necessary for service to Vrindavan Dham. We need to have the association of the associates of Vraja Dham, hear the lila of Krishna, and engage in sravanam, kirtanam, visnoh-smaranam, pada-sevanam, etc. With that kind of activity in our devotional path, inspiration can come to us, and by the causeless mercy of Srimati Radharani, that kind of devotional hankering can enter our heart: Krsna-bhakti-rasa-bhavita matih. It is very rare in this mundane world, but that is our super goal of life. We need it. We cannot touch that ecstatic lila through our mundane body, but we may understand it a little through our preceptorial Masters' line, the Guru-parampara.
isvarah paramah krsnah
Sri Brahma-samhita, 5.1
"The Supreme Lord, the embodiment of truth, consciousness and joy, is Govinda, Krishna. He is beginningless, the origin of all that be, and the cause of all causes."
That is His position.
nama chintamanih krsnas chaitanya-rasa-vigraha
The Holy Name and Krishna are non-different. Both are transcendental, therefore through our mundane knowledge and mundane activity we cannot touch that ecstasy. In the Upanisads it is said:
nayam atma pravachanena labhyo
("The Supreme Lord is not attained by preaching, by vast intelligence, nor by knowing very expertly the Vedas. He is attained only by one who He Himself chooses. To such a person He manifests His own Form.")
When from the upper level causeless mercy comes and touches a fallen soul, it can understand: "Something is touching me, and that thing is very exalted and auspicious." An example is that if an ant is running past me and I touch it, the ant can understand it is being touched. All is under my control, not his. When I lift my finger he then thinks, "Oh, whatever came and touched me has now gone away." In this situation he has no possibility to exert his personality, he has no free-will to control the situation.
Krishna is like that. When that Transcendental Knowledge Himself comes down and touches us, at that time, we can understand it, otherwise there is no possibility for us to under- stand. It is not mechanical. One possibility is there—yam evaisa vrnute tena labhyas, if we take shelter with our full unalloyed devotion to the lotus feet of Sri Krishna, then Krishna must be merciful to us; and that gives us some hope. It is up to the sweet will of Krishna, but in this way we can gain some position and enter into the transcendental world.
Why are we doing other types of activities such as worshipping, etc.? It is our practice for devoting everything, including ourselves, unto the lotus feet of Krishna. In this way we are trying to practise.
But Krishna said in Bhagavad-gita:
sarva-dharman parityajya, mam ekam saranam vraja
"Totally rejecting all kinds of religion, take shelter of Me exclusively. I will liberate you from all kinds of sins. Do not despair."
yat karosi yad asnasi, yaj juhosi dadasi yat
("O Arjuna, son of Kunti, whichever action you perform, whether general or scriptural; whatever you eat; whatever you offer in sacrifice; whatever you give in charity; and whichever austerity you perform or vow you keep, all that you perform should be as an offering unto Me.")
There are many slokas like this. Another one is:
daivi hy esa gunamayi mama maya duratyaya
"This other-worldly, supernatural, external potency of Mine composed of three modes of nature most certainly is difficult to cross. However, those who take shelter exclusively in Me alone, and who completely surrender unto Me, they certainly are able to surpass this almost insurmountable illusion."
Krishna wants full surrender unto His lotus feet, and if we do this He will take our full responsibility, and when He takes us our bodies will become transcendental.
diksa-kale bhakta kare atma-samarpana
Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita, Antya-lila 4.192 & 193
When the conditioned soul takes shelter at the lotus feet of Sri Krishna, Krishna takes him and provides for him whatever he may lack. He gives to him whatever is necessary, making him complete in that transcendental position. The main thing is devotion. A fully surrendered soul has no responsibility for himself.
manasa, deha, geha, yo kichhu mora
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur says, "Whatever I have, I am offering everything unto the lotus feet of Krishna. I do not know what I have, but whatever it may be please take that for Your service, from this day on I have no responsibility for myself. You may maintain this body or not, this is Your matter, not mine. I shall only try to serve Your holy lotus feet."
When the conditioned soul takes shelter at the lotus feet of Krishna, Krishna takes that conditioned soul as His own property.
raksa karabi tuhun nischaya jani
Bhaktivinoda Thakur said in Saranagati, "You must save us. It is Your duty, I know, so what fear can I have? I can jump into the polluted waters of the Kaliya Lake without fear—I can do anything."
Here we can see the main thing: faith in Krishna. The faithful world, that is the real transcendental world. In that world, faith is the very ground—the very foundation. When we live there with our full faith, we will attain the highest result of highest benefit in life.
You may have heard one example. If a police officer chases some thieves but mistakenly kills someone, all liability for his actions, even his mistakes, goes to the government and not to the police officer. His responsibility is only towards capturing the thieves—that is his duty. This is the main point.
After self-surrender, the result of what we do goes to Krishna and does not come to us, but that surrender must be perfect. This is the first quality of the conditioned soul. After that, everything depends on Krishna; and only He knows in which way He will take charge of the conditioned soul.
Through the Pastimes of Krishna and His devotees you can understand what is the will of Krishna, and what is not. If you try to gain that knowledge and maintain your devotion within that environment, you will have no fear from anywhere.
This advice comes within the category of our primary and secondary education. But the super-position comes by the mercy of the associates of Srimati Radharani. If we have super-hankering, then it will come to us. Who has some special quality of hankering—hankering for madhura-rasa—he will get it. It is true. Only hankering after that lila can give us a little chance.
In the pastimes of Srila Das Goswami we can see:
Srila Raghunath Das Goswami passed his life, some eighty years, in Vrindavan Dham with this special type of hankering. He showed by his position and through his lila how this mood of hankering can come to the jiva-soul—and in what super way it can come.
Sriman Mahaprabhu showed all kinds of bhavas, including mahabhava, in this mundane world. He tasted it—Krishna Himself tasted it—and the auspicious souls can see it as well as His paraphernalia and His associates. For the auspicious soul, everything shows him in which way he will proceed to his destination.
Das Goswami said, "I am only waiting for Your mercy. O Radharani, if You do not give that, I think my life is spoiled in Vrindavan Dham. Even I do not want the mercy of Krishna. What shall I do with Krishna if Your mercy is not present there? You are the Supreme Servitor of Krishna and only under Your guidance do I want that service. Without Your connection I will not get it, I know that, and it is one hundred percent sure.
"Krishna has many forms, but "Radha-sange yada bhati, tada 'madana-mohitah'": when You are with Krishna, we can see that Krishna is in His fully ecstatic form. Therefore, I need Your mercy. My whole time I have spent waiting for Your mercy. My only prayer is, 'Please give Your mercy on my head.' I need to serve Your lotus feet. I do not want the association of Krishna without You; such service to Krishna has no value. Krishna will not be happy without Your service, and I want to do Your service."
Krishna says in the sastra:
...mad bhaktanam cha ye bhaktas, te me bhaktatamah matah
("My dear Partha, one who claims to be My devotee is not really such. Only a person who is the devotee of My devotee is actually My devotee.")
We can see many slokas in Srimad Bhagavatam, Srimad Bhagavad-gita and other places expressing this point.
So Srila Das Goswami says: "Krishna Himself is very pleased with the association of His devotees; therefore I need Your mercy. Only this is my hope: one day I must get it. But I have passed my whole life here in Radha Kunda, and still I do not have it!" In this way, Srila Das Goswami is praying. His ambition is only to serve Srimati Radharani. And it is by the special mercy of the associates of Srimati Radharani that we may get that kind of hankering.
Srila Narottam Thakur wrote in one song: Nitaiyer karuna habe, Vraje Radha-Krsna pabe. Nityananda Prabhu can give us admission there, He can give us the passport, but only the associates of Srimati Radharani can give us the visa to enter into that world, that faithful service world. So we pray to our Srila Guru Maharaj. He is the non-different representation of Srimati Radharani.
acharyam mam vijaniyan, navamanyeta karhichit
Krishna Himself appears in the form of Guru, but when we see the real form of Guru, then we will understand that he is the Supreme Servitor of Sri Krishna.
Srila Visvanath Chakravarti Thakur says in his Gurvastaka:
yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasado
From these slokas we can see the position of Sri Gurudev. Srila Prabhupad Saraswati Thakur said that if we realise in a higher way, we can see Gurudev as Srimati Radharani, that means the Supreme Servitor of Sri Krishna. To gain that vision we need the mercy of our Srila Guru Maharaj. Without such mercy we cannot enter the garden of Reality the Beautiful— that transcendental world.
By the mercy of Srila Guru Maharaj we are gathered together here and asking for the mercy of the lotus feet of Gurudev. If Srila Guru Maharaj with his full wave of mercy breaks into our hearts, then we must gain admission within that transcendental world.
Many times Srila Guru Maharaj explained and praised Krishna-lila, and every time he would give us some clue: we must follow the service mood of Lalita Devi.
Lalita Devi's mood is twenty-four hours a day continuous service, and such mood spreads throughout her group. Not only that, but all groups are enlightened by the service of Lalita Devi. So, it is necessary to get their mercy and it is possible only by the grace of our Srila Guru Maharaj—and not by any other way. This is because he commands the position of the Holder of the Rupanuga sampradaya. He is the super servitor of Lalita Devi, and that servitor is Srimati Rupa Manjari.
Sriman Mahaprabhu gave charge of His sampradaya to Srila Rupa Goswami. In this way we are connected, and we must one day fulfil our divine aspiration for their service. This is our only hope.
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