(A Lecture on Rāya Rāmānanda Saṁvad)
Holland: June 29, 2002
Tridaṇḍīsvāmī Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja
I offer my millions of obeisances unto the lotus feet of my Paramārādhyadeva Gurupādapadma Oṁ Viṣṇupāda Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktiprajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī Mahārāja. I offer the same millions of humble obeisances at the lotus feet my śikṣā-guru, Oṁ Viṣṇupāda Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja. I also offer the same obeisances to our whole guru-paramparā.
I'm very happy and satisfied that many devotees from various countries have assembled here in order to hear, and to develop their Kṛṣṇa consciousness. It was also the desire of my śikṣā-guru, Śrīla Svāmī Mahārāja, that devotees would come together to hear. It is very difficult to gather 20, or even 10 devotees together in the Western countries, and therefore I am very happy to see that so many have come. The management here is so expert that no one has complained. Also, I know that devotees are very humble, and that even if there were anything wrong, they would not complain. That is the nature of devotees.
I am only repeating the words of the ācāryas in my guru-paramparā, who are themselves under the guidance of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Mahāprabhu is none other than the Supreme Lord, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī, Śrī Sanātana Gosvāmī, and the entire guru-paramparā are under his guidance.
You should have the strong belief that my words and teachings are non-different from the words and teachings of Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja. Several persons say that there are many differences in our teachings. Yes, there are many differences; but only in the sense that I am not as learned as he is, and my English pronunciation and also my words are not exactly the same as his. However, even if my choice of words is sometimes different, my siddhānta and mood are the same as his.
In my classes, I have sometimes discussed truths that Śrīla Svāmī Mahārāja could not tell his disciples - because at that time they were not qualified to understand them. He had translated and commented on those truths in his books, but he generally did not discuss them in public meetings. But now, many years have passed and those disciples must have become more qualified. Their Kṛṣṇa consciousness has developed, and the same teachings will not be sufficient for them. Therefore, more advanced hari-kathā should be given. The teachings for class 1 students will not be sufficient for the students of MA. A student does not remain in the same class.
My teachings are the same as those of Śrīla Svāmī Mahārāja. There may be some difference in my choice of words, or in my pronunciation, but our teachings are the same. Whatever I have written in my books, Śrīla Svāmī Mahārāja has also written in his books - in books such as:
'Bhagavad-gītā As It Is'
My translation and commentary on Bhagavad-gītā is a sequel to his.
They are the same, but I am giving something more than he could give at the time. He did not extensively explain certain aspects of the philosophy at the time because he knew that his disciples would not be able to understand. Śrīla Svāmī Mahārāja has taken the ideas of Śrī Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa, and I have taken the ideas of the Gurudeva of Śrī Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa, Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura. There is no difference between our teachings; all of my books are in the same line as his.
If someone wants to say that he is:
That he is only obedient to his Gurudeva, Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja, he should know that Śrīla Svāmī Mahārāja, your Prabhupāda, accepted our entire guru-paramparā. He never said anything that was in any way different from the teachings of our Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī or Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, or from any of the teachings coming down the line from our guru-paramparā. He preached in Western countries, and therefore he has simply translated many books and their commentaries into English and he has also added his own commentary.
Kṛṣṇa consciousness existed before him. It first descended from Kṛṣṇa to Brahmā, then to Nārada, Vyāsadeva, Śukadeva Gosvāmī, Mādhavendra Purī, Īśvara Purīpāda, Svarūpa Dāmodara, Rāya Rāmānanda, Rūpa Gosvāmī and so on. They are all Iskcon; they are the real Iskcon, just as he is. If one has fallen down, that person was never in the real Iskcon.
A real Iskcon member cannot fall down; he cannot deviate. You should become members of Kṛṣṇa consciousness in the real sense. To obey me is to obey the teachings of your Prabhupāda and our guru-paramparā. Thus, in a very short time you will come to realise all those teachings, and then you will be Iskcon members; there is no doubt about this.
Our Gauḍīya Vedanta Samiti sannyāsīs have never fallen. I have strong belief in this, as I have seen our Gurudeva's sannyāsīs; none of them have ever become deviated. And, only in a very exceptional case have any of Śrīla Prabhupāda Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura’s sannyāsa disciples fallen. Those who cannot fall are the real Iskcon. You should give proper respect to our guru-paramparā, and also to the disciples of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī.
We have no consideration of cast and creed; we are all in the family of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Nityānanda Prabhu, and advaita Ācārya. If the name of an institution is different, there is no harm in that; still we are in one family. Those who have accepted Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Nityānanda Prabhu, and are doing bhajana of Kṛṣṇa and Rādhikā, are in one family. Don't dishonour them; give them proper respect. Even if that person is a kaniṣṭha-adhikārī (materialistic or third-class devotee), there is no harm; always try to give proper respect.
There are four ways of dealing in a madhyama-adhikārī (middle or second-class devotee). He has prema for Kṛṣṇa and he has three kinds of behaviour towards the devotees. He offers daṇḍavat praṇāma to those who are superior to him and respects them as śikṣā-gurus. He gives proper respect to those who are equal to him, like a friend. And, he gives his association and tries to help those who are junior to him and those who are kaniṣṭha-adhikārī, without consideration of cast and creed.
Always try to chant the holy name and don't be weak. This is also the teaching of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. You should remember and meditate, three times daily, on the dīkṣā mantras given to you by your Gurudeva: guru-mantra, guru-gāyatrī, gaura-mantra, gaura-gāyatrī, kṛṣṇa-mantra, kāma-gāyatrī, pañca-tattva mantra, and hari-nāma. Never think they are useless. Like Kṛṣṇa, they are very powerful. The kṛṣṇa-mantra (gopāla-mantra) is exactly like Gopāla, who is Kiśora-Kṛṣṇa Himself. Kama-gāyatrī is more superior, and it came to Brahmā from the flute of Kṛṣṇa. Try to be punctual and utter the gāyatrī-mantras without fail three times daily, at the proper times, and you will gradually come to realise your relationship with Kṛṣṇa.
Try to develop a very thick and eternal relationship with Kṛṣṇa. That relationship is revealed in the gopāla-mantra, and it is a very secret thing. You cannot develop Kṛṣṇa consciousness without such a relationship. Kṛṣṇa should think:
"Oh, this devotee has a thick relationship with Me"
And that thick relation should first be with Rādhikā. If Kṛṣṇa knows:
"She is the dāsī of My most beloved Rādhikā"
He becomes theirs. There is no doubt about this at all.
The Vedas say that Kṛṣṇa only belongs to those who are serving Rādhikā. He will hear about their service to Her, and He will at once give His whole heart to them. He becomes their property. Therefore, try to obey.
We have been discussing the dialogue that took place between Śrī Rāya Rāmānanda and Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, from Rāya Rāmānanda Saṁvad (Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Madhya-līlā 8), and for the past week I have spoken only up to dāsya-rasa. Relationships in Vraja begin from sakhya-rasa (friendship). Dāsya is also present there, but it is not prominent and it is not pure dāsya. It is mixed with sakhya, vātsalya, or mādhurya. Today we will begin our discussion from sakhya-rasa. The sakhās are eternally attached to Kṛṣṇa with love and affection, and they can even take foodstuffs from their own mouths and place it into His mouth. They never have any consideration other than their absorption in their very thick relationship with Him.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu glorifies the means to attain that relationship - Śrī Kṛṣṇa saṅkīrtana:
ānandāmbudhi-vardhanaṁ prati-padaṁ pūrṇāmṛtāsvādanaṁ
sarvātma-snapanaṁ paraṁ vijayate śrī-kṛṣṇa-saṅkīrtanam
["Let there be supreme victory for the chanting of the holy name of Kṛṣṇa alone, which cleanses the mirror of the heart and completely extinguishes the blazing forest fire of material existence. Śrī-kṛṣṇa-saṅkīrtana diffuses the soothing rays of bhava which causes the white lotus of good fortune for the jīvas to bloom. The holy name is the life and soul of transcendental knowledge, which is here compared to a wife. It continuously expands the ocean of transcendental bliss, enabling one to taste nectar at every step. The holy name of Śrī Kṛṣṇa thoroughly cleanses and cools the self, one's nature and determination, as well as the body both internal and external."
(Śrī Śikṣāṣṭakam, verse 1)]
When one is properly initiated by a bona fide guru and has a thick relationship with Kṛṣṇa, seven symptoms will appear as a result of his chanting. These symptoms will become manifest especially when he is in the process of giving up all kinds of anarthas, which are unfavourable for bhakti. Be very strict in your determination to give up anarthas, and simultaneously you should firmly accept that which is favourable for bhakti. Whatever you do, do to please Kṛṣṇa and give up anything that is not pleasing to Him. But begin with service to your gurudeva. Accept that which is favourable for his service and forever give up anything that is unfavourable.
Mother Yaśodā loves Kṛṣṇa, and her love is superior to that of Mother Kauśalyā, Mother Aditi, and all other mothers. When Kauśalyā gave birth to Rāma, she saw that He was four handed. He carried śaṅkā, cakra, gadā, and pādma, and He looked like a youth of sixteen years. Kauśalyā folded her palms and began to pray:
"You are Svayam Bhagavān. You are Viṣṇu"
Mother Yaśodā’s love was so high, even higher than the love of Nanda Bābā. Mother Yaśodā can chastise Kṛṣṇa and say:
"Don't come on my lap; I will not give you my breast milk"
You can see how lovely is this relationship, and your relationship with Kṛṣṇa should also be transcendental, eternal, and very thick.
In Dāmbandhana-līlā, Kṛṣṇa wept as Mother Yaśodā tied Him to the grinding mortar. Up until that moment, no one in history had ever bound Him, but Mother Yaśodā did so. The sakhās wanted to untie Him, but they could not. Nanda Bābā also wanted to untie Him, and he was able to do so. This shows the superiority of vātsalya-rasa (parental love for Kṛṣṇa), but it is not as great as mādhurya-rasa. When Mother Yaśodā went into Kṛṣṇa’s room at night, He pretended to be asleep. He wanted her to go away so that He could meet with the gopīs. This is the superiority of the gopīs' love. Their love and affection is totally for Kṛṣṇa. Mother Yaśodā also has love and affection for Nanda Bābā, and she has many duties, but the gopīs have nothing to do. They have left their husbands; they have left everything. They only have one pointed love and affection for Kṛṣṇa.
Kṛṣṇa’s queen Rukmiṇī has ten sons and one daughter, and therefore her love and affection is divided into twelve parts. Kṛṣṇa only receives one twelfth of her love. When she was first married to Him, she gave Him her total love, but after she gave birth to her first child Pradyumna, her love became divided. Then, when more children were born, her love became still more divided. The Queens of Dvārakā cannot fully love Kṛṣṇa, but the gopīs, who also have husbands, could easily reject them and give their full love to Kṛṣṇa. They left everyone, even their mothers and fathers, and they have no love and affection for anyone other than Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa Himself has therefore said:
na pāraye ’haṁ niravadya-saṁyujāṁ
sva-sādhu-kṛtyaṁ vibudhāyuṣāpi vaḥ
yā mābhajan durjara-geha-śṛṅkhalāḥ
saṁvṛścya tad vaḥ pratiyātu sādhunā
["I am not able to repay My debt for your spotless service, even within a lifetime of Brahmā. Your connection with Me is beyond reproach. You have worshiped Me, cutting off all domestic ties, which are very difficult to break. Therefore, please let your own glorious deeds be your compensation."
Kṛṣṇa told the gopīs:
"O gopīs, your love and affection for Me is selfless; you live only to please Me."
If Kṛṣṇa tells the gopīs:
"You can take any boon from Me"
They will say:
"We want Your service"
Kṛṣṇa will then be still more indebted to them. He cannot repay them, and He Himself has admitted this.
Why did Kṛṣṇa send Uddhava to Vraja?
He did so because He was grievously suffering. He was in Mathurā, without association, and He was suffering from loneliness there. Although there were so many young queens, friends, and family members in Mathurā, Kṛṣṇa would weep bitterly on His bed at night. He could not tell anyone what was in His heart. Weeping, He thought:
"I was once admitted in the school of Vraja. The principal was Śrīmatī Rādhikā, and Lalitā and Viśākhā were heads of the department; and they all used to teach Me love and affection."
It is stated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 10.47 that only those who have perfectly learned the two and half letters of "prema" – pa and ma are whole, and ra is half - are actually considered learned. In English there is a four-letter word - "love" - but actually there is no word in the English language that defines the transcendental emotions of prema. It can only be described in Sanskrit, Hindi, or Bengali.
Kṛṣṇa is the embodiment of prema. Rāmacandra is also abundant in prema, but Kṛṣṇa is more complete than Him. Kṛṣṇa is the most complete in prema. Rāmacandra has love for all, especially for His wife, Sītā, but He gave her up when she was accused of doing something wrong. Actually, Sītā did not do anything wrong. Rāvaṇa forcibly took her away to Lanka and kept her there, and in doing so he touched her body; so she was not at fault. Nevertheless, Rāmacandra had her exiled because of this; not for one or two months, but for the rest of her life. I do not agree with Rāma. I cannot.
You can see that everyone in the whole of Vraja, like Jatilā, Kuṭilā, Abhimanyu, and all the rival gopīs were against Rādhikā. They said that She was not a chaste lady, but still Kṛṣṇa accepted Her. In fact, He never left any of the gopīs.
Assuming the form of a mother, Pūtanā went to Vraja to cheat Kṛṣṇa. However, instead of killing Him, she was liberated by Him. Actually, He not only liberated her; He gave her a position, like a mother, in Goloka.
How kind He is!
Like Pūtanā, Aghāsura, Bakāsura, and all the asuras also went to Vraja with the intention to kill Him, but He also gave them liberation and other good positions.
If this is so, how will Kṛṣṇa repay Yaśodā who has served Him without any self-interest?
Pondering this, Brahmā considered:
"I cannot fathom what benediction He will give to Yaśodā, and also to His cowherd and other friends.
And especially, what will He give to the gopīs?"
Later, Brahmā’s curiosity was somewhat satisfied when he heard that Kṛṣṇa admitted:
"I cannot repay the gopīs."
Kṛṣṇa was thinking:
"I should send Uddhava to Vraja, where he can be admitted into the school of the gopīs and thus learn something about their moods."
Shortly after, when Uddhava arrived there, the gopīs wanted to test whether or not he was qualified to be admitted to their school.
Were his marks good?
What exams had he passed?
"If he is a good student, we will accept him into our university; otherwise we will not allow him to enter."
But Uddhava failed the exam and the gopīs declared:
"Uddhava is not qualified to be admitted into our college"
They rejected him, but nevertheless the scent of their love and affection had entered him. He now realised how high-class was the love of Nanda Bābā and Yaśodā, and even more so, how high was the love and affection of the gopīs. He thought:
"I have never seen love like this anywhere"
It is not written about in the Vedas, Purāṇas, or any other Vedic literature. So high-class was their love for Kṛṣṇa.
The gopīs can do anything for Kṛṣṇa. If He is made happy by their abuses, they will abuse Him at once. Sītā cannot abuse Rāmacandra, nor can His mother and other associates abuse Him. Rukmiṇī and Satyabhāmā are always in fear of upsetting Kṛṣṇa, and they used to approach Him with folded palms.
Once, pretending to be ill, Kṛṣṇa told Nārada:
"I'm sick. I have a headache. If any devotees will give Me their foot-dust, only then will I be cured."
Nārada then went to see Rukmiṇī and Satyabhāmā in Dvārakā and begged them:
"Please give your foot dust"
Puzzled, the Queens asked:
"Why do you want our foot-dust?"
"Kṛṣṇa is sick. He has a headache. He has asked for the foot dust of His devotees. He will rub it here and there on His body, and He will thus be cured."
The Queens asked:
"Why don't you give your own foot-dust?
You are a high-class devotee, so you should give your own foot-dust.
How can we give our foot-dust to Kṛṣṇa, the Lord of lords?
He is our husband. We cannot give our foot-dust to be placed on His head."
When Nārada returned to Kṛṣṇa, he repeated what the Queens had said, and Kṛṣṇa replied:
"I have no hope of being saved; I will die. But there is one thing that you can do. You can go to the gopīs.
Yes, fly to Vṛndāvana at once and ask the gopīs if they can give their foot-dust."
Nārada immediately left, and upon arriving in Vṛndāvana he saw the gopīs and told them:
"Kṛṣṇa has a headache, and He will die at once if a remedy is not given to Him."
The gopīs asked him:
"What do you want?
What can we do?"
"Kṛṣṇa said that if any devotees can give the dust of their lotus feet, He will quickly be revived."
Millions of gopīs at once began to take the dust from their feet, and when there was no dust left, they collected dust from elsewhere. Now there was abundant dust, and they gave it to Nārada. He asked them:
"Aren't you afraid that you will go to hell?"
The gopīs replied:
"If Kṛṣṇa’s headache is cured, we don't mind going to hell."
Nārada happily took that dust and returned to Dvārakā. Kṛṣṇa then touched the dust and, rubbing the foot-dust of the gopīs on His head, He instantly became cured.
What became of that dust?
It is kept at a place known as Gopī-tālava, the pond of the gopīs. Even today, gopī-candana is collected from there, at that pond, and that is the clay we apply on our bodies as tilakā every day. We apply the gopīs' foot-dust.
The gopīs can give anything to Kṛṣṇa, and they can do anything for Kṛṣṇa. They can be naked for Him, or at other times, to please Him, they can stamp His head with the red colour dye from their feet. No one else but the gopīs can ever do this. The gopīs alone can do everything, and this was one example of their high class of love.
Mahāprabhu continued speaking to Rāya Rāmānanda:
"I'm satisfied. There is nothing above the love of the gopīs. But I want to ask one thing.
Among the gopīs, who is the most beloved of Kṛṣṇa?"
Rāya Rāmānanda answered:
"Śrīmatī Rādhikā is the highest and most beloved gopī."
Mahāprabhu then asked:
"If Rādhikā is the most beloved of Kṛṣṇa, then why did He secretly steal Her away at the time of rāsa?
Why didn't He openly take Her?"
Kṛṣṇa had taken Rādhikā away from rāsa-līlā in a secret way, and after She left He disappeared as well, following Her. He had actually wanted this, so that He could meet with Her alone in a secluded place, and there He took Her on His lap. Rādhikā then told Him:
"I cannot walk now."
Why did She behave in this way?
She was thinking:
"The gopīs are my life. I am like a creeper, and the mañjarīs, flowers, and leaves of that creeper are my gopīs. I don't want to meet with Kṛṣṇa without them."
She wanted to wait for the gopīs. This was the reason She did not leave that place with Kṛṣṇa.
But Kṛṣṇa was thinking:
"All the gopīs will come here, and when they see Us together alone, they will become envious of Rādhikā."
Not wishing for this to happen, He disappeared from that place, and upon His doing so, Rādhikā fainted. When the gopīs arrived there and saw that Rādhikā was alone, they thought:
"Kṛṣṇa has left us, but He has also left Rādhikā. Now we are equal. Thus, feeling themselves on an equal level with Her, their envy subsided and they began to pacify Her.
In this instance, Kṛṣṇa had secretly stolen Rādhikā from the rāsa-līlā arena. Mahāprabhu then gave the example of Vāsantī springtime) rāsa, which was written about by Jayadeva Gosvāmī.
At the time of Vāsantī-rāsa, Śrīmatī Rādhikā became angry, (in a sulky mood), and She began to leave the rāsa dance. Then, giving up all the other gopīs, Kṛṣṇa openly followed Her. This act of Kṛṣṇa establishes the prominence of Rādhikā.
Why is She the topmost?
Prema has many levels: mahābhāva, rūḍha, adhirūḍha, mohana, modana and madana. Madana is manifest only in Rādhikā, whereas the prema of Candrāvalī and her gopīs reaches to the stage of mahābhāva and rūḍha. Adhirūḍha is only in the gopīs in Rādhikā’s group, like Lalitā, Viśākhā, and the rest of Rādhikā’s eight principle sakhīs, whereas madana, the topmost mood in both meeting and in separation, is only manifest in Rādhikā. Not even Kṛṣṇa has madana, and therefore Rādhikā’s love and affection is the highest of all.
After speaking in this way, Caitanya Mahāprabhu revealed Himself as Rasarāja-Mahābhāva, and seeing this form, Rāya Rāmānanda fainted and began to roll on the earth.
What was so special about this form?
Rāmānanda Rāya had personally seen both Rādhikā and Kṛṣṇa in Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes, (because he is Lalitā Sakhī in those pastimes), but now, in this form, he saw that each and every limb of Rādhikā was covered by each limb of Kṛṣṇa, and the body of Kṛṣṇa was covered with the golden complexion of Śrīmatī Rādhikā. And still, even though He was covered by that golden complexion, some black lustre from His body was showing through. Rāya Rāmānanda had never before seen this form. This means that Caitanya Mahāprabhu is Rādhikā covered by all the limbs of Kṛṣṇa, who is covered by the complexion of Rādhikā. Kṛṣṇa’s beauty is nīlamaṇi-kānti, which means it has the beauty and lustre of a sapphire pearl. This beautiful lustre was covered with a golden lustre, and the combined beauty of the two is Rasarāja-Mahābhāva.
Kṛṣṇa is Rasarāja and Rādhikā is Mahābhāva. Here, Rasarāja and Mahābhāva are combined, and Rāya Rāmānanda fainted when he saw that form.
This siddhānta is the top-most in any history or in any Vedic literature, and it has not even been revealed in Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. I know that you cannot understand this elevated mood, but something of it will gradually come to you.
Suppose you are trying to take bath, at the same time all the water is draining out. Still, some of the water touches your body and you feel somewhat refreshed. Similarly, even if you do not fully understand what I am telling you, something will nevertheless come to you. Somewhat of a seed of greed to attain this mood will come to you, and it will become a treasure for you in the future. You should try to become very bold and strong, and try to follow my teachings. Actually, these are not my teachings; they are the teachings of my Gurudeva and the guru-paramparā.
My abundant blessing to you all, especially to those of you who have assembled here from countries all over the world. I pray that Kṛṣṇa, Mahāprabhu, and Rādhikā will sprinkle Their mercy upon you so that you will very soon develop your Kṛṣṇa consciousness and become pure devotees. Try to become stronger; don't be weak under any condition. Many problems may come, but be bold enough to keep your feet on the head of all problems. If you do so, Kṛṣṇa will always be very merciful to you. Always remember Prahlāda Mahārāja, whose his father gave him many problems. Try to remember Haridāsa Ṭhākura, who was beaten in 22 market places, whose flesh and muscle were thus torn apart, and who still continued chanting:
Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Hare Hare,
Hare Rāma Hare Rāma Rāma Rāma Hare Hare
Try to become very fixed, and determined to follow the teachings of the previous ācāryas.