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Indradyumna Swami’s Parikrama 2018 in Vrindavan and Mayapur Dham with Bada Haridas

Indradyumna Swami Parikrama
Indradyumna Swami 2018 Parikrama in Vrindavan and Mayapur Dham
PART 1 : VRINDAVAN : OCT 24TH to NOV 8TH 2018

PART 2 : MAYAPUR : NOV 9TH to NOV 23RD 2018

Welcome to Indradyumna Swami’s Parikrama. Indradyumna Swami and Bada Hari Das will be taking devotees on a special journey of pilgrimage, in Sri Vrindavan dham and Sri Mayapur dham in the most auspicious month of Kartik 2018. Join them!

 

Registration – 2018

 Registration for Kartik Parikrama with Indradyumna Swami is now open!

Saubhari Muni Āśrama – HH Śrīla Indradyumna Swami – Instructions

Indradyumna Swami at Saubhari Muni Ashram

True purport of Sannyāsa

– By His Holiness Śrīla Indradyumna Swami

We would like to welcome all of you to another very beautiful and transcendental place in Śrī Vṛndāvan Dhām. As our 2015 Kārtik Parikramā slowly comes to an end and the cold weather and the fog is setting in, and you can hear devotees coughing anywhere and everywhere. We don’t mind all these things—the fog, the cold, the sickness—because we are experiencing transcendence in this holy Dhām of Śrī Vṛndāvan. We have learned the art to rise above the modes of material nature through the very simple technique introduced very mercifully by Lord Caitanya, by hearing and chanting the glories of the Lord, specifically Lord KṛṣṇaRādhā and Kṛṣṇa.

Today we find ourselves at the very sacred Āśrama of one Muni, Saubhari Muni. His story is elaborated in the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam and Prabhupāda speaks about it in the Kṛṣṇa Book. We have spoken about Saubhari Muni several times over the past few years, so we won’t go into much detail today about his life. But very simply, he was a Sādhu living here and he had not yet achieved perfection; he had some material desires still in his heart. He wasn’t so strong, as he should be in his Sādhana, so he fell prey to sex desire and he gave up his celibacy and he married. Nothing wrong with that; Prabhupāda said that’s the safest Āśrama. Prabhupāda says in a purport in the Bhāgavatam that one should find that Āśrama where one feels most comfortable and continue on with his service, whether it be Brahmacārī, Gṛhastha, Vānaprastha or Sannyāsī. That’s not so important, what is important is our Sevā to Kṛṣṇa, that’s what purifies our hearts. Because of the strong influence in this age, 90-95% of those who are practicing devotional life will serve the Lord in the Gṛhastha Āśrama and we see that in the beginning and now middle of our society’s progress: it’s mainly the Gṛhasthas who have set up temples and preaching centers and programs. Therefore Prabhupāda very proudly said, “My Guru Mahārāja, he created an army of Sannyāsīs; I am creating an army of Gṛhasthas.”

This pastime is relevant that he situated himself and then after sometime, Saubhari Muni began making progress, making advancement; he left the Gṛhastha Āśrama and he again became a renunciate and achieved perfection. That’s the general path: Brahmacārī, Gṛhastha, Vānaprastha and Sannyāsa. The real definition of Sannyāsa is not necessarily change in the clothes but just ‘YuktaVairāgya’—seeing that everything belongs to the Lord and using everything in Kṛṣṇa’s service—this is the true purport of Sannyāsa. We are speaking like that because this is the pastime here and these are the lessons to be learned from the life of Saubhari Muni

We see here two altars:  here is Saubhari Muni—here he is alone. I don’t know if this is before or after his household life; and here he is with his two very beautiful wives, and over here, we have a beautiful ŚivaLiṅgam which the resident Tyāgis worship. The Sādhus who live here are part of the Rāmānandī Sampradāya, which is an off-shoot of the Rāmānuja Sampradāya. The Mahānta of this Āśrama is presently in Madhya Pradesh on some transcendental mission and the Sādhus who live here are on Vṛndāvan Parikramā, and they have opened their home to us. I mentioned the other day, if you went to Paris or London, Moscow or Kiev and just gave your keys to someone to just accommodate 300 people coming in your house—you know, no one would think like that. But this is the mood of the Vrajavāsīs. They like to share anything Kṛṣṇa conscious, so they have given us the keys, so to speak, the keys to the Āśrama and they are all gone. And here we are, so we have to thank them for being so generous and allowing us to come here year after year and hold our programs at this sacred place. Although they are not here, we can express our gratitude to the transcendental medium—this is how spiritual life works. Although they are very far away doing their Parikramā, we can show our gratitude to them by giving a big applause. [Applause].

Again, this place gives us an idea of what Vṛndāvan was even 30 or 40 years ago. When we came, much of Vṛndāvan was like this. We were walking on that dusty path on the way here. At one time the Vṛndāvan Parikramā— the 2.5 hour, 3 hour walk around Vṛndāvan— the whole path was just dusty like that.

There is a famous picture of Mother Śītalā and Bhogini and several devotees walking on that path—there are big smiles on their faces, japa beads, and you can see the dust is up to their ankles. That was just down somewhere near my house. So today you got a little bit of the Vṛndāvan experience just walking through the nature on the way to this Āśrama. That’s the VrajaReṇu that we talk about—the VrajaReṇu, the dust—one of the five personalities who grants us entrance and residence in Vṛndāvan. That’s the VrajaReṇu. Some devotees take little vials of that dirt home, put it in a little jar on their altar and worship it. We are very blessed to be here again, the Vṛndāvan experience, the Āśrama of Saubhari Muni. This is a secret place. As you see the pilgrims are going around Vṛndāvan, but no one took a left turn and came here, and even many ISKCON devotees are not aware of this place. So let’s keep it secret; part of our family for our Kārtik Parikramās 2016. We will keep it secret, okay? The Sādhus who live here are actually renounced, engaged in Bhajans. Sometimes I come here alone and I sit here and chant, so if ever I disappear and you want to find me, just come here, I will be with the Bābājis in a loin-cloth. Seriously, I may not leave today.

So yes, we are going to enter into the mood of Vṛndāvan once again through the beautiful Bhajan of Mādhava PrabhuThat’s the best way to enter into the mood, with the transcendental sound vibration of Kṛṣṇa’s Holy Name, which is one of the revealers of the Dhām. Then we are going to have a class on the Yamunā River, or rather the personality of Yamunā Devī. We have covered the other four personalities of the five important personalities, so as we come to a conclusion of our Parikramā, we will conclude with the glories of Yamunā Devī.

We are going to have breakfast after that, and then another Kīrtana with Baḍa Haridāsa Prabhu. It’s Ekadāsī today, another potent thing to consider and then there will be lunch Prasādam and then tomorrow we are going to Yavat. Yavat is where Rādhārāṇī lived when She was married. Her parents arranged for Her to get married to Abhimanyu who is actually an expansion of Kṛṣṇa; he is Kṛṣṇa’s shadow. Anyway, he created all kinds of obstacles for the meeting of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. Rādhārāṇī’s always trying to get out of that house to meet Kṛṣṇa and Kṛṣṇa’s always trying to get into that house to meet Rādhārāṇī; so many obstacles, the main obstacle is Jaṭilā.

[In a joyful voice:] Caturātmā is pulling on my chadar, “Please, don’t tell all the stories,” because tomorrow he’s the speaker. He has been studying for one year—my notes from last year’s lecture and Śivarāma Swamis books and Rādhānātha Swami and everybody’s lectures. So get ready for the lecture of the month. But that will be superseded a few hours later with the lecture of ṬhākurāṇīŚītalā Devī on the pastimes of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī at Tera Kadamba.

We will be leaving at what time, Rasikā? — 6:30 tomorrow, the buses will leave for Yavat and we will walk through the fields and the VrajaReṇu.

Śrīla Prabhupāda ki—Jaya!

Śrī Vraja-Bhūmi Vṛndāvan Dhām ki—Jaya!

Saubhari Muni Dhām ki—Jaya!

Jaya-Jaya Śrī-Śrī Rādhe————– Śyāma!

Mādhava Prabhu ki—Jaya!

Rāvala – HH Śrīla Indradyumna Swami – Lecture

Baby deity of Srimati Radharani at Raval

Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī’s Pastimes as a Child

– By His Holiness Śrīla Indradyumna Swami

“Good Morning, Dear Devotees!” as Śacīnandana Swami

would say, and welcome to Rāvala, where Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī made Her divine appearance. In the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam we hear how 5,000 years ago, the world was in a very distressed state of being. Actually, it has always been in a distressful situation, but this was particularly true 5,000 years ago. Śrīla Prabhupāda summarizes very poetically the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam’s descriptions of what the world was like at that time. He writes that, “Once the world was overburdened by the unnecessary defense forces of different kings who were actually demons, but were posing themselves as the royal order.”  

The Bhāgavatam goes on to describe how Bhūmi Devī, the predominating Deity of this Earth, went and complained to Lord Brahmā. Apparently, when there are some difficulties within this particular universe, the demigods have the right to go and complain to Lord Brahmā to somehow rectify the situation because he created them all. She, the personified earth, was feeling this burden on herself. She explained that all these demoniac kings are creating so much disorder. Then Brahmā went to the shore of the ocean of milk and he spoke to Lord Vishnu, Lord Kṛṣṇa, who eventually agreed to appear on this earth planet to rectify the situation. 

But, elsewhere in the Garga Saṁhitā, a little more detail is given. As Kṛṣṇa was preparing to descend towards the end of the Dvāpara Yuga: “yadā yadā hi dharmasya, glānir bhavati bhārata”, as He describes, He went to Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. He requested that She join Him in His earthly pastimes. Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī was considering His request that She come with Him to this earthly planet, but She eventually made a condition. Specifically Garga Saṁhitā quotes Her, Rādhārāṇī said to Kṛṣṇa, “My Dear Śyāma, wherever You go I must also be there. But how can I be happy when there is no Vṛndāvana forest, there is no Yamunā river and there is no Govardhan hill? If you want Me to come with You to the earthly planet, then We have to bring all of Vṛndāvana with us, especially the Vṛndāvana forest, the Yamunā river and the Govardhan hill.” Of course, Kṛṣṇa agreed and therefore shortly after that Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī made Her appearance here in Rāvala.

The last week or so we have been discussing a lot about Kṛṣṇa‘s appearance in Mathurā in the jailhouse of Kaṁsa, and yesterday how Kṛṣṇa was transferred by Vasudeva and Devakī over to Gokula under the care of Yaśodā and Nanda Bābā. He was in Gokula and then later Kṛṣṇa was transferred to Vṛndāvana and from Vṛndāvana later to Nanda-gram. The Śāstra says that, just as Kṛṣṇa enjoyed His childhood in Gokula and His youth in Nanda-gram, Rādhā enjoyed Her childhood here in Rāvala and Her youth in Barṣāṇā. Actually, if you look on the altar, when we were over there at the temple, there are very beautiful Deities of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa and, interestingly enough, on the right side there is a Deity of baby Rādhā. I have never seen that before. I was told that it was installed here three or four years ago but, yes, this is where She had Her baby pastimes. 

You can see as we are driving through the little village of Rāvala—it’s quite a village site, although it doesn’t look like the description we hear in the Śāstra: a very beautiful, gorgeous place, but what we are seeing here is a little bit more what it was like. This is because particularly in Kali-Yuga, there is a thin film of matter or Māyā covering Vṛndāvana Dhām.  One time a disciple inquired from Śrīla Prabhupāda, “Is this the Vṛndāvana Dhām that we read about in Kṛṣṇa book where everything is very idyllic? The weather is idyllic, the scenery is very idyllic.” The disciple further said, “Why is it so hot most of the time? Or why is it so cold most of the time in Vṛndāvana? Prabhupāda paused and thought for a moment and he said, “Oh! That’s to keep the Māyāvādīs away from Vṛndāvana.”

But Raghunātha Dāsa Gosvāmī gives a very beautiful description of Rāvala in his writings. He doesn’t refer directly to Rāvala; he calls it Mukyaravali, which means chief of all the other towns in Vṛndāvana. Just in the following prayer he describes the beauty of this place where we are seated and this is how we should see Rāvala, through his eyes. He actually describes it as a city. He says,

  • “In the city of Mukyaravali the precious jewel known as Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī took birth in the mind of Kīrtidā Devi’s womb, which is glorified by jubilant demigods, sages and human beings.”
  • I pray that when I enter King Vṛṣbhānu’s capital city of Mukyaravali populated by many Gopās, Gopīs and Surabhī cows, I may drown in a great flood of transcendental bliss and love.”

That is Raghunātha Dāsa Gosvāmī’s vision of this transcendental place.

Actually, when I was researching all night, I found out that some persons say that Rādhā’s birthplace is not Rāvala but actually Barṣāṇā. But at 1:30 am we discovered that both opinions are correct because in this millennium, She appeared in Rāvala and in another millennium, She appeared in Barṣāṇā. In a previous day of Brahmā, Her father King Vṛṣbhānu near Barṣāṇā found Her one morning as she was playing on a lotus in a lake called BhānuKuṇḍa.

  1. The scripture, or you can say more oral tradition, gives three versions of how She made Her appearance in this world either in Barṣāṇā or Rāvala: She made Her divine appearance from the ground,
  2. She made Her appearance on the top of a lotus flower as we mentioned and
  3. The third way in the womb of Her mother Kīrtidā.

As far as the ground version, I could only find a reference from Śrīla Prabhupāda, because he is quoting the local tradition. In that lecture Prabhupāda was describing how King Vṛṣbhānu was once plowing his fields with a golden plough and he found baby Rādhā buried within the earth and he picked Her up, brought Her to the palace and gave Her to his queen, wife Kīrtidā Sundarī – that’s one version. I was thinking how similar that is to a pastime of the father of Sītā Devī, Janaka Mahārāja finding his daughter in the ground when he was plowing the field as well.

The second version that is discussed and glorified here in Vṛndāvana is that Rādhārāṇī appears in the lotus flower in the water. In this version, Her father King Vṛṣbhānu is bathing in the river Yamunā and suddenly he looks up and he sees a thousand petal lotus flower floating down the river towards him. Imagine a 1000-petal lotus flower, and in the centre of that lotus flower sitting a very effulgent baby girl. As the lotus flower passed by King Vṛṣbhānu He lifted the smiling baby out of the lotus and embraced Her and when he did, he felt waves of transcendental ecstasy move through his body. The locals say that when he was lost in that ecstasy he could neither move nor speak. In this pastime, he also goes back to the palace and presents the baby girl to his queen Kīrtidā.

Now there is the 3rd version, that Rādhārāṇī appeared in the womb of Her mother Kīrtidā Sundarī, without having being impregnated by her husband and this is actually described in Śāstra. It’s described how as clouds floated very peacefully in the sky, Rādhārāṇī made Her appearance at noon on the 8th day of the bright fortnight of the moon, in the month of Bhadra which is August & September.

Thus you can meditate on any one or all three of those versions of Her divine appearance. Now, after that there is not a lot of information about Rādhārāṇī’s childhood like there is about Kṛṣṇa’s childhood. Kṛṣṇa’s childhood pastimes are of course recorded by Śrīla Vyāsadeva in the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam and our Gauḍīya Ācāryas also comment a lot about Kṛṣṇa’s childhood pastimes, they are written in that way. But Rādhā’s pastimes again are mostly oral tradition. You walk around Vraja and you talk to residents and, “Oh, My father told me, his grandfather told me, his grandfather …” –the oral tradition. But that’s also accepted.

There is a very beautiful oral tradition spoken from grandmother to mother to child about how Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa first met. There are actually a few pastimes but because of lack of time I chose just a couple that I thought were particularly interesting. I thought it would be interesting to share this pastime, how Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa met for the first time. It all begins with Nārada Muni; as he often facilitates these pastimes. So not long after Kṛṣṇa appeared and was transferred over to Gokula, Nārada Muni went to Gokula, where we were yesterday, to have Darśana of baby Kṛṣṇa. While he was there, having Darśana of baby Kṛṣṇa; in his heart he felt some type of message that the Lord’s ĀhlādinīŚakti, His pleasure potency Śrī Rādhā had taken birth nearby as well; he got some divine inspiration. But he couldn’t find her; He was actually going from village to village and door to door inquiring about the appearance of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. Finally, he came to Rāvala or some say to Barṣāṇā and he was greeted by King Vṛṣbhānu. After King Vṛṣbhānu respectfully received the great sage Nārada, he enquired to Nārada Muni, “It’s wonderful that you have appeared in my home, any particular reason you have come here?”

Nārada said, “Yes, some reason. I have a question: has a girl recently taken birth within your home?” A big smile came over Mahārāja Vṛṣbhānu’s face, he said, “Yes, by the grace of the Lord I have been blessed with a daughter who is divinely effulgent.” But then King Vṛṣbhānu became a little despondent. He looked down and he said, “But unfortunately this child has not yet opened Her eyes.” So Nārada Muni went, “Oh! She has not opened Her eyes?” King Vṛṣbhānu said, “Yes, therefore we do not know whether She is blind or if She is a celestial being who is unwilling to look at the imperfections of this world.” I thought that was particularly beautiful. He said, “We don’t know if She is blind or She is some celestial being, some higher being who is unwilling to look at the imperfections in this world?”

Nārada said, “Can I see Her?” King Vṛṣbhānu sent for the servants and they brought little baby Rādhā before him; and because of his deep spiritual insight he was able to perceive that this was no ordinary baby, but Lord Kṛṣṇa’s eternal consort Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. Then it was noted that it was only out of great difficulty that upon seeing Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī he was able to restrain his ecstatic emotions. But Her eyes were closed, so he said to King Vṛṣbhānu, “My dear King, Providence has surely blessed you! Quickly bring me the items that we can perform a purificatory ceremony. I will perform such a ceremony to ensure that in time this child blesses the world with the glance of Her dove like eyes.”

King Vṛṣbhānu was in ecstasy. By the power of this sage he would perform a ceremony by which She would open Her eyes and they could see that She was not blind. The Śāstric reference at this point is that, while Vṛṣbhānu was getting all the Pūjā paraphernalia, Nārada Muni knelt down before Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī and revealed his heart and made many, many beautiful prayers glorifying Her.  As he did so the little baby girl playfully wiggled Her hands, like little kids do. But knowing that Her devotee Nārada was actually eager to behold Her original form, Rādhārāṇī appeared before him as a fresh youth, as a young girl around 8 or 9 years of age and on either side of Rādhārāṇī was Lalitā and Viśākā. At this point you can just imagine, Nārada Muni became speechless, gazing upon this divine form of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. Suddenly from around the corner King Vṛṣbhānu appeared with the Pūjā paraphernalia, so immediately Rādhārāṇī became a baby again and hiding his ecstasies Nārada Muni performed the rituals for the child and then he departed.

But because of that special Darśana that Nārada Muni had with Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī he was left with a very deep and intense desire for more of Her association and even more so for Her Sevā, for Her service. He went to a particular place here in Vṛndāvana, some say it’s next to Govardhan hill called Nāradavana and he performed very severe austerities under the direction of Vṛndā Devī for a very long time. I thought it was interesting that he performed his austerities under the direction of Vṛndā Devī, because again she is one of the five personalities to grant us entrance and residence in Vṛndāvana. So, whatever austerity he did, he did it under Vṛndā Devī’s direction.  That’s another story we will tell that sometime, but eventually he was able to enter into Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes in the form of a Gopī; and some devotees say her name was Naradiya. Some say he simultaneously continues his travels through the universe, others say that he left that service as Naradiya Gopī to do his service of preaching; as Prabhupāda called him an ‘eternal space-man’ to travel and preach, but he never forgets the lotus feet of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī.

As a result of those pastimes the Garga Saṁhitā, from where much of this comes, states that he always has at the tip of his tongue a very special prayer as he is travelling and preaching; and I have often placed this prayer on my Facebook page. The prayer is as follows:

“I wander this earth, meditating on Her, who is a moon shining in the arena of the Rasa dance, who is a host of bright lamps in Vṛṣbhānu’s palace and who is the central jewel in the necklace of Goloka.”

Hare Kṛṣṇa.

Vṛndāvanesvari Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī ki Jaya!

Now Rādhārāṇī did not open Her eyes immediately after the purificatory ceremony that Nārada Muni performed. But King Vṛṣbhānu had great faith that whatever that sage said would come true. Next day PūrṇamāsīYoga Māyā, she also arrived to have Darśana of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī at the palace of King Vṛṣbhānu. When Pūrṇamāsī first had Darśana of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, very beautiful words came from Her mouth glorifying Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. She said to Mahārāja Vṛṣbhānu and Queen Kīrtidā, “This girl is not ordinary. Great personalities like Brahmā, Śiva and Nārada worship Her knowing that She can fulfill all their desires, material and spiritual, so please take good care of Her.” They were very joyful, hearing this blessing from Yogamaya Pūrṇamāsī, but at the same time they were concerned. They expressed their concern to Pūrṇamāsī, “Look, Her eyes are closed; we don’t know what’s going on? Why are Her eyes closed? Why doesn’t She open Her eyes? Is She blind? Of course, we know that Pūrṇamāsī, with her assistants like Vṛndā Devī, they just arrange all these different pastimes to increase the ecstasy. Pūrṇamāsī just smiled and said, “Don’t worry, it’s just Rādhā’s pastime.”

The next day the pastime unfolded even more because Nanda Maharaja and Yaśodā with baby Kṛṣṇa, they came to visit their friends – King Vṛṣbhānu and Kīrtidā Sundarī. They were kind of like, friends, so they both had babies. Nanda & Yaśodā brought their baby Kṛṣṇa over to show them to Kīrtidā and to Vṛṣbhānu and Vṛṣbhānu and Kīrtidā, they wanted to show their baby girl to Nanda and Yaśodā, so just guess what is going to happen?

When Nanda and Yaśodā arrived with Kṛṣṇa, Rādhārāṇī was sleeping in Her bedroom. Nanda and Yaśodā were met at the door by Kīrtidā Sundarī and king Vṛṣbhānu, and they were invited into like a living room; they all sat down, they started talking and baby Kṛṣṇa was on the lap of mother Yaśodā. While they were all kind of talking, Kṛṣṇa very silently climbs off of Mother Yaśodā’s lap and crawls towards the bedroom where Rādhārāṇī is sleeping. So, there is little Rādhārāṇī sleeping and baby Kṛṣṇa recognizes Her as His eternal divine consort, He reaches out and very gently baby Kṛṣṇa touches baby Rādhā’s eyes. The Śāstra describes that moment very nicely, that as soon as Rādhārāṇī felt the touch of Kṛṣṇa’s hands on Her eyes, She became aware that the Person for whom Her eyes were created was sitting beside Her; and casting off Her blindness She opened Her cloud blue eyes and smiled. All the parents just seeing that Kṛṣṇa wasn’t present began looking for Kṛṣṇa. They came into the room and there was Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa playing together like little children on the bed there, Rādhārāṇī’s eyes wide open and they were all very happy.

Again, there is not a lot about Rādhārāṇī’s childhood Līlās. But it is mentioned that when She turned 7 months old mother Kīrtidā Sundarī decided it was time to celebrate her daughter’s grain ceremony – that is Anna-prāśana. Those of you who are parents know that for 6 months or 7 months a child is taking the milk; then they start eating grains, so there is a ceremony. I have done it a thousand times. [In jolly mood:] Mahārāja comes and takes the sweet rice, gives to the baby and he gets the donation [Laughter]. Sometimes he gets the 100 dollars [Laughter], one of my favorite ceremonies [Laughter].

King Vṛṣbhānu and Kīrtidā Sundarī they made announcements everywhere, that their daughter Rādhārāṇī was going to take Her first grains. News spread to all villages and thousands of people came for the grain giving ceremony. Amongst the respected guests again were Nanda Bābā and mother Yaśodā and baby Kṛṣṇa. They were invited for this ceremony to see Rādhārāṇī get Her first grains. The Brāhmaṇas had made a big Yajñaśālā, big pit and there was a fire and they were chanting various Mantras and Kīrtidā Sundarī was sitting near the fire with Rādhārāṇī on her lap.

When Nanda Bābā and Yaśodā arrived; as Yaśodā is very good friend with Kīrtidā Sundarī, she came and sat next to Kīrtidā Sundarī, there next to the fire Yajña. Nothing much had actually happened yet, Rādhārāṇī had not received the grains yet and they are just chanting all the Mantras. But mother Yaśodā had brought a little bowl of sweet rice to keep Kṛṣṇa occupied, because Kṛṣṇa is a baby boy and is hungry, older than Rādhārāṇī and he already had his ceremony of grains. She brought along a little bowl of sweet rice to feed Kṛṣṇa just to keep Him calm.

At one point before Rādhā received Her grains from one of the Brāhmaṇas, She just spontaneously reached over onto the lap of mother Yaśodā and took some of the grains from Kṛṣṇa’s bowl and ate it. In this way She received Her first grains which were Kṛṣṇa Prasādam. When the brāhmaṇas saw that, they cancelled the ceremony [Laughter] because Rādhārāṇī’s first grains were Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s remnants. The Ācāryas comment that this spontaneous event strengthened the two mothers Yaśodā and Kīrtidā’s conviction that divine providence had chosen their children for each other.

I will describe one more pastime and then we will take breakfast Prasādam. After breakfast Prasādam Śrī Prahlāda will lead us in ecstatic Kīrtana. Then there will be lunch Prasādam and then tomorrow we will go to Vṛndā-kuṇḍa.

But one more childhood pastime of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī! By researching this one I found out so much nectar.  So sit properly, put your hands in the air:

Jaya-Jaya Śrī-Śrī Rādhe …………………………………… Śyāma!!

One day long, long ago when Rādhārāṇī was a young girl, I could not find Her exact age, but I could say something like a girl of 6, 7 or 8, she was playing with Her girlfriends just outside the door of Her house and suddenly Durvāsā Muni appeared. Scriptures describe that at this point Durvāsā Muni had already realized that Kṛṣṇa was Bhagavān, He was the Supreme Personality of Godhead. But he had heard from celestial beings that Kṛṣṇa’s eternal consort Rādhārāṇī had also made Her appearance in this world and was living in Vṛndāvana. So he wanted to have Her Darśana; actually he wanted to verify that this is actually true: that the divine girl has appeared in Vṛndāvana. The locals here in Vṛndāvana said, “Oh yes, yes She has appeared. She is living in the palace of King Vṛṣbhānu and Kīrtidā Sundarī. Go and see Her with your own eyes.” But he had some doubts, so he said, “Is that girl actually Rādhā? Is She actually the eternal consort of Kṛṣṇa?” “Yes, Yes, go and see Her.” “Really?” He wasn’t convinced. Rādhārāṇī and Her girlfriends were playing and he just appeared; and immediately all the little girls went away because, you know these sages; their appearance is sometimes very frightening. Like wild eyes and wild beards and they are chanting Mantras, fire is coming in, blessing and curses. All little girls screamed except for Rādhā. She didn’t run away. She stood up, “Welcome!” She said to the sage.  

The little Rādhā, She is only 7 or 8, but the reason that She wasn’t afraid. It was described; it was because Her parents were often entertaining great sages and yogīs at home. She was used to these scary guys being around, She wasn’t scared away like Her friends were. Again it’s described that She touched the sage’s feet and She put Her palms together and She said, “Svāgataṁ, Svāgataṁ! – Welcome Bābā!

Now Durvāsā Muni, He was amazed by the delicate beauty and aristocratic bearing and nature of this tiny girl. He is very tall and he is very big and so he bent over and very gently asked Rādhā, “Who are you little girl? And what games are you playing with all your little friends?” In a very steady voice She said, “My name is Rādhā, the daughter of queen Kīrtidā. My friends and I have been pretending to cook for Mahārāja Nanda’s son, the killer of Pūtanā and Tṛṇāvarta, Kṛṣṇa.” When She finished She pointed across the courtyard to a little make shift temple She had made with Her friends where there was a blue doll of Kṛṣṇa. It was a makeshift temple made of mud; She and Her girlfriends had decorated it with the flowers and leaves and bits of colorful cloth.

The Ācāryas describe that in the palace She was always hearing the glories of Kṛṣṇa, because that’s what Vrajavāsīs do, they talk about Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa constantly. She was always hearing about the glories of Kṛṣṇa, so She insisted Her mother to give Her a doll of Kṛṣṇa and She and Her friends worshipped the doll. The main daily activity of Her friends with Her was centered around dressing and decorating Kṛṣṇa’s image, cooking for Him – a little doll, offering Aratrik and tucking Him into bed at night while singing His glories. Isn’t it very interesting information? Just as young girls played with dolls; Rādhā and Her friends played with this doll of Kṛṣṇa.

She was explaining this all to Durvāsā Muni, who is a very serious sage, he is always doing penances and austerities, no sentiment, no unneeded emotions, he  is very strict in vows, so he kind of smiled. He has his big thick eyebrows, they go up and wider and he bends down and he said, “So little Lāli are you an attentive housewife?” Rādhārāṇī said, “I am not married Bābā.” [laughter] Then She continued She said, “But because Kṛṣṇa is well known to be very demanding, my friends and I try to serve this doll of Him in such a way that He would be satisfied with all of us.” Durvāsā Muni was like “What?” He was just like taken aback by Rādhārāṇī’s reply. He thought, “No ordinary girl of Her age could think such divine thoughts.” His doubts started to dissipate, He was thinking, “Yes, maybe what the Braja-vasis are saying is true. This is Rādhā – this is the Lord’s eternal concert. She has appeared here in this world.” He decided to test Her, he said, “Little Rādhā, yesterday was Ekadāsī and today I must break my fast. My request is that you please cook some sweet rice for your Kṛṣṇa and then you give me the remnants. In this way I will complete my Ekadāsī vow and I will test your skill as a good cook.” Little Rādhā became very ecstatic, “Oh, a chance to cook for Kṛṣṇa again!” and, “Yes, Bābā I will do.” She accepted his request and She sat him down on the branch, a low branch of a tree and asked him to be patient. She ran into the palace and said, “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy Kīrtidā, I got this new service. I get to cook for Durvāsā Muni” and everybody in the palace froze hearing the name Durvāsā Muni [Laughter] because, you know, when Durvāsā Muni comes it’s no small affair because he can be easily pleased and very easily displeased and he is famous for his curses. Mommy sort of froze – “No! My little girl…, Durvāsā Muni? Oh No!”  

But then some of the cowherd boys they have been watching all this, for them these little girls are just girls, what’s this?  They walked in and they said to Mother Kīrtidā Sundarī, “Ah don’t worry about it, Durvāsā Muni he is being very fatherly towards your daughter Rādhā.” Then mother Kīrtidā said, “Oh he is being very fatherly toward you – kind towards you, don’t worry.” Kīrtidā became pacified. But she told Rādhā, ”I am going to cook because you are just a little girl, we can’t make any mistakes here, so I am going to cook.” She started collecting all the ingredients.

Rādhārāṇī is playing under her Sāri, “No, I must cook. The great Yogī he asked me to make sweet rice for him.” Kīrtidā, “No, no, no, darling, I will cook and you watch.” Then Rādhā said, “No mother you don’t understand. Durvāsā Muni wants to taste my cooking.” It’s described that queen Kīrtidā, she could see the determined look on little Rādhārāṇī’s face and she had experienced that when her daughter wanted something She would persist and ultimately She would get Her way because that was Her contrary nature. Mother Kīrtidā, she stepped aside and some servants brought some little tables that little Rādhārāṇī could stand on to reach the fire and She started making the sweet rice.

Because She was cooking for Kṛṣṇa as She did every day for the little dolls, She did it very attentively with much devotion and added the ingredients little this and that, then made it – first class. And then with Her mother watching and all the palace attendants there She took that cooked sweet rice, put it into some nice clay pots and took it outside and bowed down before the doll of Kṛṣṇa and made the offering. Then She took that offering, with Her mother following Her. Durvāsā was sitting on that low branch of the tree and Rādhārāṇī said, “Bābā, I have cooked the sweet rice.” Durvāsā Muni took that cup of sweet rice, [sound of drinking] “tak tak tak tak”, he drank a little bit. Then he famously said, “Now I see how well you cook little Lāli and how much your hero Kṛṣṇa savors your cooking!” and he looked up with wide eyes and said to all the people who were watching, “Materially this food is perfect in its appearance, taste and texture. What’s more – spiritually it is mixed with prema from both Rādhā the cook and Kṛṣṇa the enjoyer.” Then he said, “Excuse me, I have to finish this pot of sweet rice.” That’s what he did and then scriptures describe, He relished every last drop of that sweet rice and as he did so, his bliss increased unlimitedly with each mouthful.

Everyone was watching him and as soon as he finished the pot he put it down and he was silent. Then he shook his head. He made a declaration publicly, “There is no doubt about it. The child who cooked this sweet rice must be the Supreme Lord’s eternal consort.” He said, “Call all the residents in the village to come here; I want to make a proclamation.” [Sound of conch blowing] – With bells ringing and the conch shells blowing everyone came to hear Durvāsā Muni’s proclamation, because that’s something significant. All of Braja, all the residents, Braja-vasis were there, and the animals, birds, butterflies, fish looking out of the water [Laughter], everyone was there to hear his eternal proclamation. He said to little Rādhā who stood before him with Her soft pink lotus feet and Her little soft palms folded in submission, he said to Her, “My dear child, you have served me with such devotion and given me a taste of your unmatched cooking skills. I must reward you. In the form of the following blessing, I shall share with you half of my austerities that I have gained through my life as a Yogī.”

Mahārāja Vṛṣbhānu he said, “Go forward, Rādhā, go forward. Stand a little closer to the Muni.” So She wiggled a little bit forward and this great formidable, austere tapasvi Yogī, who is capable of blessing and cursing the entire universe; tears started flooding his eyes, flowing down his cheeks as he looked at Rādhā. His hands were shaking, his hairs were standing on end, his voice was faltering. He said to little Rādhā, “I hereby declare that, whatever you cook will always taste like nectar. In addition, whoever tastes it will never see disease, defeat from enemies or bad fortune. My dear little Rādhā, for as long as the world turns you will be famous as the empress of all cooks and because everything you touch will turn to nectar you will be known by the name Amṛtapāni. OM TAT SAT!” [Haribol].

After hearing this wonderful blessing King Vṛṣbhānu, Kīrtidā and little Rāṇī they bowed down to the sage to offered their respectful obeisances and then suddenly Durvāsā Muni just disappeared. That’s how these sages are, they come into our lives, spend some time and then they just disappear and go unto some other pastime. This is one of the most wonderful pastimes of Durvāsā Muni.

Mother Kīrtidā Sundarī was like really happy and she grabbed little Rādhā and hugged Her and said, “Oh Rādhā, how fortunate we are? By the sage’s blessings perhaps even the Supreme Lord would insist on eating from your hands, just imagine?” When mother Yaśodā heard this blessing as referred before, she started thinking, “Can that little girl be a cook for my little boy Kṛṣṇa?” and that was arranged later on actually. As a result of Durvāsā Muni’s public blessing, all of Vṛndāvana resounded with this news that Rādhārāṇī’s cooking surpassed even that of Lakṣmī Devī.

Let’s conclude this morning  hearing the blessing of Durvāsā Muni to Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī at this holy auspicious place Rāvala where She appeared.

Vṛndāvanesvari Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī ki – Jaya!

Durvāsā Muni ki – Jaya!

Rāvala ki – Jaya!

Barṣāṇā Dhām ki – Jaya!

Śrī-Śrī Rādhā Śyāmsundara ki –Jaya!

Kārtik Parikramā 2015 ki –Jaya!

Jaya-Jaya Śrī Rādhe …………………

Jaya-Jaya Śrī Rādhe ………………..

Jaya-Jaya Śrī Rādhe ………………..  Śyāma!

OM TAT SAT! [Laughter]

Hare Kṛṣṇa! Thank you!  

Gokula – Dāmodara Līlā place- HH Śrīla Indradyumna Swami – Lecture

A simple life with Kṛṣṇa at the center

– By His Holiness Śrīla Indradyumna Swami

When Kṛṣṇa was born Vasudeva and Devakī were in great anxiety that Kaṁsa would come into the cell and kill their new child. Mysteriously in the jail, the jail opened, the cell opened and Vasudeva took baby Kṛṣṇa and crossed over the River Yamunā, which is just near here.

At that time, Mother Yaśodā and Nanda Bābā, they were living here; they weren’t living out at NandaGram. They were living right here, so the baby was brought here and given charge to Yaśodā and Nanda Mahārāja. They say that the ancestral home of Nanda Mahārāja is just down the road, maybe one kilometer down the road. There is a palace with one thousand black pillars. They say that’s where Kṛṣṇa grew up under the care of Nanda and Yaśodā.

All the pastimes we read at the beginning of Kṛṣṇa Book, the killing of Pūtanā and Tṛṇāvarta, and all those pastimes they took place here in Gokula. Of particular interest, of course, is the pastime where Kṛṣṇa was tied to the mortar by Mother Yaśodā, because He was naughty. I won’t elaborate on that story, that pastime, because Baḍa-Hari is going to be the main speaker this morning. But local tradition says that this is the place where Mother Yaśodā tied baby Kṛṣṇa to the mortar and just behind it there you can see that little shade—it’s actually a temple right behind you. They say there is the original mortar that Mother Yaśodā tied Kṛṣṇa to, so this is a very, very special place we are sitting right now.

That is the Dāmodara pastime and we are always singing the Dāmodara Aṣṭakam during this month. This is the month of Kārtik, or the month of Dāmodara, so what better place to come than Gokula during the month of Dāmodara. This is really the place to be during the month of Kārtik, so we finally made it. Then there is a very beautiful—one of my favorite Deities actually in Vraja—behind us is a very beautiful deity of Yamunā Devī. She is holding a garland of lotus flowers. She is a very, very old, very ancient Deity. They painted her so she looks a little modern. But actually she is a very ancient deity, so you can pray to her as well, because as we discuss many times here in Vṛndāvan, we are coming here for shelter. We are ultimately coming here for residence: that we want to live in Goloka Vṛndāvan forever. Again she is one of the five personalities who grant residence in Vṛndāvan. So you can say some special prayers to her today here in this auspicious place of Gokula, the land of pasturing grounds for cows.

This is Vṛndāvan as it was well five thousand years ago. And this is how we would like the whole world to be actually, back to an agrarian culture, taking care of the cows and cultivating the land—a simple life with Kṛṣṇa at the center. Without again going into too much detail, because Baḍa-Hari Prabhu has been preparing to speak for a few days now, I will just explain in short. This is also Gopāṣṭamī, this is the day that little Kṛṣṇa was given charge of the calves when He was young, because calves are not that difficult to deal with.

But when he got a little older, He got to be in charge of the cows. So today is the celebration that Kṛṣṇa takes charge of the cows. Now these are cowherd boy pastimes, involving Kṛṣṇa and His cowherd friends and the cows and the pasturing grounds, but somehow or other the Gopīs also got involved. The Gopīs are never far from Kṛṣṇa, wherever He is. In fact, Rādhārāṇī, She is called Anapāyinī, it means She is never separated from Kṛṣṇa. Just how the Gopīs got involved in this pastime of Gopāṣṭamī? I will save that for Baḍa-Hari, but I will mention the Gopīs did dress up as cowherd boys, so you can see we have some girls here who are dressed as cowherd boys. 

There we have a little cowherd boy, too, with a black turban and a peacock feather in her/his hair/head/turban following in the footsteps of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. Actually, all of you know this is the one day of the year, because Rādhārāṇī is playing the mood of a cowherd boy, so She doesn’t have Her sāri, She has a dhoti on. So this is the one day in the temples all around the world, you can see the lotus feet of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī

A perfect day to come to Gokula, the pasturing grounds of the cows on Gopāṣṭamī! Fantastic, amazing that we are actually here today! There are lots of nice cows here. Our Mahānta here takes very good care of this area throughout the year. He just finished his sixteen rounds; he chants sixteen rounds in the morning and sixteen rounds in the evening and the rest of the day, he takes care of Kṛṣṇa’s cows.

We will relish this day. This is a memorable month; this is a memorable day, a memorable place. Just take advantage of every precious moment that we are all here together in each other’s association. It makes it more appreciable, more understandable, more relish-able that we are all here together, our Parikramā family for the month of Kārtik 2015.

I always say that you will look back on these days, these moments as some of the most precious moments of your life. If your memory fades in your old age, when you are my age, 65 or 70, “Yeah, I remember when we were with Gurudeva way back in 2015 at Gokula—and I can’t remember, there was a big tree.” Then you can take out this little USB drive we are going to give each of you, with all of Ananta Vṛndāvan’s twelve or fifteen videos that he has worked so hard to produce and you can watch those videos and all the memories of this wonderful month will flood back into your hearts. I have counted how many hours he has slept in the last three weeks. He has slept about four hours—seriously.

He has only slept about four hours in three weeks. I think he is a mystic yogi. The important part of the world, Vaiṣṇava community, they are all watching these videos and they feel actually like they are here in Vṛndāvan. We are getting thousands and thousands of people inquiring, “We want to come next year, too!” This is a problem, because it’s going to be like Rādhānātha Swami’s yatra with 6,000 devotees! We want to keep it at 300, keep the family small, so I am not exactly sure what is going to happen, but anyway.

The stage is set for our wonderful experience, for our wonderful stay here in Gokula at the place where Kṛṣṇa dragged the mortar! How are we so fortunate to be here? It’s all by the mercy of Śrīla Prabhupāda, by his invitation we have come to Śrī Vṛndāvan Dhām. You can see we have a very nice Yajñaśālā here, even our pujari—priest of Emperor amongst the priests—MadhumañgalaCaturātmā Prabhu, even he is impressed by what Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur and Mañjarī have put together here this morning. 

Madhumañgala Caturātmā Prabhu ki—Jaya!

Narottama could you come take a bow, please. Take a bow. This is Narottama. Give him a big round of applause. But behind every great man is a woman, so this is Mañjarī, she is the real force behind it.

Behind them, that tall handsome boy, that’s Śaśi, he is getting initiated today. The whole family is here, everyone is here, so this is a big day for that family, and of course this is a big day for the 32 or so initiates who are going to be initiated here on this auspicious day in Śrī VṛndāvanDhām. I can’t imagine a better place to get initiated. 

As always I stayed up all night last night searching nice names for the boys and beautiful names for the girls, so if I fall asleep during the ceremony, just wake me up. It’s important to have a nice name because you are going to hear that name for the rest of your life. These are all names of Kṛṣṇa or Rādhā or holy places or pastimes with Dāsa or Dāsī affixed at the end—that we are the servant of all these great places, these personalities, these pastimes. 

Actually for the initiates this is the most important day not only of their lives, this is the most important day in their existence since they left the spiritual world. This is the ticket back home, back to Godhead, so this is really a day to celebrate. Generally, it is of course the spiritual master who gives the lecture at the initiation ceremony. But I think more important than that is that we are actually a family, with a greater family of Śrīla Prabhupāda within the big family of our GauḍīyaVaiṣṇava Sampradāya. So in the family, you share. I mean, in my family, my father always taught us to share. I can’t remember how many times he said, “Share with your brother! Share with your sister!” Today I have asked my illustrious, lovable, traveling companion Baḍa-Hari Prabhu to give the initiation lecture. This is brotherhood—real brotherhood. Actually he is more advanced than me anyways, so I think it’s appropriate that he speaks to my disciples and inspires them in Kṛṣṇa Consciousness.

And usually, I like to do the Yajña and how many times have I done that initiation Yajña in Moscow and St. Petersburg and Yekaterinburg, but again we are family and we share. We are all serving our father Śrīla Prabhupāda, so I have asked my illustrious Godbrother Caturātmā, ‘Madhumañgala’ Caturātmā Prabhu to do the Yajña today, to be the head-priest. 

We have many senior devotees, Prabhupāda disciples here. I don’t know who came, who didn’t come, I don’t know. Manyu Prabhu was sick and Ghoṣa Ṭhākur? Oh, Manyu is here. Glad you are better, back to health. Ghoṣa Ṭhākur. Where is Ghoṣa Ṭhākurji? Most welcome. Ṭhākurāṇī is here. [French statement]. That’s French. Mother Viśeṣa, just like we call Govinda, as Govindajī, so I call her “Na-Viśeṣa”, my Godsister Viśeṣa, she is here as well giving her blessing to all the initiates today. [French statement]. My good brother, Bonjour, Gopa Swami Prabhu is also here. He is very humble. I don’t know, where’s Gopa? See. He is a very advanced devotee. He is hiding back in the cowshed. I think he wants to be a cowherd boy or something.

No less important are all of you—Gaura Bhakta Vṛnda, we say Gaura Bhakta Vṛnda, all the devotees of Lord Caitanya, so thank you everyone for coming and making this the special day that I am sure it will be as it unfolds. 

Okay, I am going to step off center stage here and give the microphone to our most beloved, talented musician and singer who sings with lots of Bhāva, and he will be speaking today as well. Please give a big round of applause to Baḍa-Hari Prabhu, who will carry the program on from here. [Applause]

Śrī Gokula-Dhām ki—Jaya!
Dāmodara  pastime ki—Jaya!
Śrī Vraja-Bhūmi, Śrī Vṛndāvana Dhām ki—Jaya!
Yamunā Devī ki—Jaya!
Kārtik Parikramā 2015 ki—Jaya!
Jaya-Jaya Śrī Rādhe ……… Śyāma!

Durvāsā Muni Āśrama – Śrīla Prabhupāda Disappearance Day- HG Śītalā Mataji – Lecture; Indradyumna Swami's Parikrama -2015

The Glorious Departure of Śrīla Prabhupāda

– By HG Śītalā Mataji

[Opening Prayers]

This is going to be very difficult today. I need to see lots of smiling faces out there because it’s very easy to cry today. Mahārāja couldn’t even get through the announcements. I don’t want to look at any of my God-brothers and God-sisters. I will look out here at smiling faces. Because this is a festival and every festival has a kind of different flavor to it. In Āyurveda we learn that we are supposed to get all the flavors. Some festivals are very sweet and joyful. But this one is the bitter-sweet day, especially for people who were here with Śrīla Prabhupāda at that time, it’s a very, very—very bitter. But if we take that bitter, somehow it turns sweet. They say in Āyurveda that bitter, it increases your appetite; it’s important. This particular day, this festival, this is extremely important day for everybody not just for Śrīla Prabhupāda disciples, but for every single one of us.

One time I was attending the festival at the temple and I had to leave for a few minutes. It was very-very intense, listening to all the devotees talk about Śrīla Prabhupāda. But I had to run a home and answer the call of nature for a few minutes. I was running through the MVT and then suddenly I noticed that there were about 25 younger devotees that I know, and they were all just sitting and chit-chatting together. I was so shocked by their light-hearted mood as compared to mood from where I had been coming from; that I just blurted out, “What are you doing? Why aren’t you hearing?” They said, “Oh, you know, we don’t like to hear all the old devotees just crying about Prabhupāda, it’s just so sad”.  I was like, “What? What are you talking about? This is not like a bunch of old fogies sitting in their rocking chairs talking about the good old days when we were young.’”

Thus it’s important for us to know; every single one of us that, this is not about, “Oh, remember when—the old good days” —not at all. It’s about something Mahārāja spoken about, when we were in Kuruśetra. He was describing about—Vipralamba Bhāva and the mood of separation. Now of course we cannot compare our feelings with those of the Gopīs or Vipralamba Bhāva. But pure devotees, they come into the world to have relationships with us and to ignite some of these spiritual emotions, to give the seed for which we start to feel something real. It’s very, very important for all of us to feel some separation. If you look at the lives of Ācāryas like Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur; his whole life was just, “Oh I wish I had been there.” This is not mundane lamentation; this is very-very deep spiritual emotions. This is a day of going deep; this is a deep day; this is not a light day. This is going deeper and deeper into real spiritual feelings.

In the very early days, like 1968-69, many of those devotees, their lives just revolved around the personal association of Śrīla Prabhupāda. I mean basically, their spiritual life was just being with Prabhupāda, that’s what it meant. Then Śrīla Prabhupāda became ill and he had to return to India, and Janakī who is a sister of Yamunā and one of the first female devotees, she was really suffering when Śrīla Prabhupāda left and so she wrote to him to express her feelings, and she was begging, “Please come back”. Śrīla Prabhupāda replied to her, it’s a very important point that Śrīla Prabhupāda makes. He said, “Your eagerness to get me back in the States will surely be a success, because I am also eager to return. Tears for Kṛṣṇa are as good as associating with Him personally. In the spiritual world, separation is more valuable than meeting. Your feelings and tears of Kṛṣṇa Consciousness will make you more enriched in spiritual advancement.” These tears and these thoughts on these days, this is helping us to become advanced. Then after a bit later, Janakī’s sister, Yamunā also had some very profound realizations about this deep feeling of separation. I am going to read that, it’s from her book, because I think it’s very—very valuable for all of us. Because every one of us is going to have to deal with separation, in one way or the other at some point in our life; and we need to know how to do that.

This is about 1971 and Yamunā was noticing that things were dramatically changing in the movement. Prior to this time she was always very close to Śrīla Prabhupāda physically and spending time with him, cooking with him; and everything just around—revolved around his personal association. But then she saw “Oh, things are changing; our movement is getting bigger, another kind of mood is coming in.” She said she was terrified, “Maybe I won’t be ableto so close to Śrīla Prabhupāda anymore”. She asked Śrīla Prabhupāda, ”How many times were you with your Guru Mahārāja?” Without pause, Śrīla Prabhupāda said, “Since I met him I have never been away from him. Not for one second.”

[Yamunā]—“But, but how many times?”

[Śrīla Prabhupāda] –“Very few, five or six times I met him; but it’s very intimate to me. He used to walk and talk with me so many intimate things. Many big Sannyāsīs thought associating with the Spiritual Master personally was most important. But in some cases they were no better than mosquitoes on the lap of the King. And what is the business of a mosquito? It is simply to suck blood. So don’t think the only way to associate with the Spiritual Master is by his physical association. You try to hear”.

Yamunā says, “For me, this was monumental,—a life changing moment; up until then I couldn’t conceive of being separated from Prabhupāda. Neither could I bear the thought that he would ever leave us. But I realized from this exchange that there would be a point in the future when I would be physically separated from him; and I would have to learn to feel his presence through his Vāṇī, his instructions, and his example. Then looking at me with great feeling and love he [Śrīla Prabhupāda] said, ‘I am giving these lectures because you want to hear them so much. That person who is most favored by the Spiritual Master is one who follows his instructions; so do not think you are being separated from me‘—and again the floods of tears came to my eyes”.

Yamunā continues,  “So I could tell as early as January 1971, that from then on there was to be a seeming distance from the prior intimacy that I had with Śrīla Prabhupāda’s personal association and I was prepared for it. I knew that it was destined to come. Śrīla Prabhupāda had explained many times that in the early stages of association, the Spiritual Master is like a father. But he said that when the son matures, it is then the duty of the son to take care of the father. The father no longer has to spoon-feed the son. This was the maturing process in understanding my responsibility to my Spiritual Master and it began in this very small way on this very special day.”

So these are very-very big lessons for learning today. This is today’s lesson—union in separation. But most of us, I think probably 99.9% of us, were not so advanced as Yamunā. She was like the mature elder sister and we were very much like the children that were very dependent, that had no sense whatsoever that the parents can ever not be there.

Even when Śrīla Prabhupāda was in 1977 I was with him for a little while in Bombay and he was in his room most of the time. Of course, for any normal material perspective, anyone could see that Śrīla Prabhupāda was emaciated and very-very ill, but somehow we just couldn’t think, and didn’t consider that Śrīla Prabhupāda might be leaving. It was like Kṛṣṇa just didn’t allow those thoughts to go into your brain even though they were. It was such an obvious thing, but I think almost all of us, we just didn’t think about it.

Then in Bombay, one day Śrīla Prabhupāda, just announced. “Now I want to go to Vṛndāvan and I am going to leave my body there.” We were so shocked and we watched as Brahmānanda Prabhu carried Śrīla Prabhupāda. He was so weak and so frail, that big Brahmānanda, he carried Śrīla Prabhupāda in his arms from his room down the stairs, just like lovingly carrying a baby. Prabhupāda was so frail and I remember we all went to the train station to see Prabhupāda. They figured the train would be easiest way for Prabhupāda to travel and I remember standing at the bars and looking inside as Brahmānanda was carrying Śrīla Prabhupāda and laying him down on the bench in the train. I was like, “Oh God, couldn’t they at least get a first-class for Prabhupāda?” Pālikā said, “This is first class!” Then naturally everyone frantically, we would all been there; the hope was that the Bombay temple would open, I think in January, so a lot of devotees were there trying to accomplish this. But now that Prabhupāda made this announcement, then everyone, forget Bombay, forget everything; everybody there was just trying to get train tickets, plane tickets, bus tickets, “Anyway, by any means, let us get to Vṛndāvan”. Then  even though Śrīla Prabhupāda said that he was going there for that purpose, still we all, we were thinking, “No, it’s not possible.” Of course there were many; I won’t go into all these things as they are documented in many of the books about Śrīla Prabhupāda.

There was a time period there of many-many very sweet exchanges, while Prabhupāda was lying on his bed. Śrīla Prabhupāda is lying on his bed, and I always think of it like Bhīṣma was lying on the bed of arrows. The Kavirāj said that his body was so emaciated that the feeling would be as if his skin were on fire. But in such a condition what was Śrīla Prabhupāda doing?  

Laying on this, like bed of arrows, emaciated and he is speaking the Bhaktivedanta purports of ŚrīmatBhāgavatam; and you could barely hear his words; and Jayādvaita Swami had to keep his ears literally right to Śrīla Prabhupāda’s mouth and trying to record. It’s absolutely inconceivable how someone could have such presence of mind in such a state.

All of his God-brothers that came to visit, they were remarking in this way; they were amazed to see how Śrīla Prabhupāda was. One day, someone came running; I was living over at the Go-śālā and one devotee ran into the Go-śālā and said, “Śrīla Prabhupāda is leaving his body today”; so of course everyone dropped everything—whatever they were doing and ran to Śrīla Prabhupāda’s room. Now the doors were open; previously only a few people were in there with Śrīla Prabhupāda. But now the door was open and everyone could come in and sit and chant next to Śrīla Prabhupāda’s bed; so that was about 1:30 or 2 in the afternoon. Then there was everyone surrounding Śrīla Prabhupāda’s bed, just staring at Śrīla Prabhupāda and chanting in a way that never before or never since have I ever experienced. It was like being in a suspended animation—no past, no future—just now, was if it—for me. It was if my mind, it just stopped, there is nothing before, there is nothing after; there is just now and the Holy Name and there is Śrīla Prabhupāda laying there and there is the soft rise and fall of his chest and we just watched that chest for five hours [Pause … in remembrance] until there was no more rising and falling.

Then of course, there was madness. After this, it lost everyone in different states of madness. The inconceivable had happened and nobody knew what to do. I mean, of course there were those devotees, all glories to them, who actually had to do stuff, and they did the needful while the rest of us wandered. We were asked to leave the room and then I remember walking out and thinking, “Where do you go?”

I saw different devotees in varying degrees of madness basically; so I thought, “Well, I will go see Kṛṣṇa.” I remember walking in and looking at RādheŚyāma and seeing Kṛṣṇa smiling, and I thought “How could you smile?” Then after sometime, I saw that the Palanquín of Śrīla Prabhupāda was coming out from his rooms and this is how kind of state of madness we were in, —I thought, “No..! He didn’t go! He is coming out now”. 

I actually thought that; because we actually thought, “Prabhupāda—well, he can do anything; he is just teaching us a lesson. Now he is going to come out and now we will have his association again.” Then we saw, Prabhupāda looked so beautiful sitting on that Palanquín, and then they took that Palanquín and they started to circumambulate the temple. Then of course, somebody had to lead Kīrtana. There was one devotee, who was like dancing and singing like ecstatically, blissfully, and we were like, “Are you mad?” But the thing was that, there was just all different kind of madness at that moment.

Then they brought Śrīla Prabhupāda into the temple room on the Palanquín and placed the Palanquín on the Vyāsāsana. And then they just became utter silence. Like everyone was just standing, doing nothing, just staring at Śrīla Prabhupāda sitting on the Vyāsāsana in complete silence, and that was kind of when it actually hit, “Oh, it’s actually happened”; and then I remember that Śrīla Prabhupāda’s God-brothers, they took up the slack. We couldn’t even pick up a karatāl or a drum; so Nārāyaṇa Mahārāja, he stood up in that silent temple room, put his hands over his head and started to sing, “Je Anilo Prema Dhana ..”,  and at that moment, just everybody collapsed, – just crying, crying, and crying. Then, Śrīla Prabhupāda’s God-brother Kṛṣṇadas Bābāji, very-very elderly amazing devotee, was playing the Mṛdaṅga. I remember, he was just playing his heart out; —you would have never seen such Mṛdaṅga playing—all night long. We all just sat with Śrīla Prabhupāda all night as somebody was digging the Samādhi.

That night, somehow it became freezing cold in every way on every level. It was so cold and we just sat in front of Śrīla Prabhupāda and chanted all night long until 6 in the morning and we were just thinking of all the missed opportunities for personal service. As soon as the Sun started to rise, then we took Śrīla Prabhupāda off of the Palanquín and we started a procession to all the major temples in Vṛndāvan.

Actually all the Vrajavāsīs, so many had come and they begged, “Please we want a final Darśana”; so we went on this Kīrtana procession that was just unbelievable. People were coming out from everywhere and just doing full Daṇḍavats as Prabhupāda went by and many people were rushing out to offer Āratī, and to offer flowers and many people thought Śrīla Prabhupāda actually there and he was still present, because he looked so beautiful.

It was such an incredible Kīrtana because on one hand, we felt so proud of how glorious was this glorious event; and how glorious is Śrīla Prabhupāda that all the Vrajavāsīs are coming out! We stopped at every temple, and Pūjārīs came out and offered garlands and garlands and garlands upon Śrīla Prabhupāda’s body.

It was devastating, but it was beautiful. Then when we brought Śrīla Prabhupāda back to what’s now the Samādhi area; and so many things were done there.  Actually at that point I just couldn’t handle another second, after Śrīla Prabhupāda was put into the Samādhi. Devotees came forward and they were putting the dirt in and many other things happened and then there was a feast and stuff I am told, but I just couldn’t personally stand one more second of even just being conscious. I went to my room and I just lay down and went to sleep.

I will never forget the exact feeling I had when I woke up after that rest. There was a very-very strange feeling that I have never experienced before or after and it felt like there was just this vacuum in the universe, like this emptiness—like a void. Something had really happened to the world and you could really feel it—it was palpable. 

I think there is something like that in the Bhāgavatam when it describes Bhīṣmadeva’s departure; that there was just this silence as the universe respected this soul who has gone back to Godhead.

So then I felt, “What do we do now? What do we do now?” We hadn’t thought of anything. We had never thought of this happening as strange as seems. “What do we do now?” Then I remember I went down to the temple room and there were so many devotees there and they were just talking about Prabhupāda. I was, “Ah! This is what we do!” We just keep talking about Prabhupāda and so for three days, I think it was three days—pretty much throughout the whole day, we just—I mean nobody planned it, nobody—you know it wasn’t a program, it was just like—there was nothing else to do; we just all got together and we just kept telling story after story after story of Prabhupāda and as long as we were talking, we were happy.

Then we were getting this little hint of a new kind of experience that is there on the transcendental platform. After about maybe a week, then there was this idea that we would fulfill Śrīla Prabhupāda’s last desire which was to do Govardhan Parikramā. It was the first time that most of us had done Govardhan Parikramā. I mean we just didn’t do that in those days; we were too busy with our services. But this was a very new and strange experience that we were going with Śrīla Prabhupāda’Murti, so this was new. Now we could see Śrīla Prabhupāda in this Deity form. It was this most amazing and most incredible Parikramā we did with Śrīla Prabhupāda. We stopped at Rādhā-Kuṇḍa and bathed the Deity and somehow we were all so blissful, despite being utterly devastated.

Then I remember we ended our Parikramā at Kusuma Sarovara and I believe maybe it was BB Govinda—somehow had arranged that there was a big feast there.  They had big speakers and they had the Kṛṣṇakīrtana album. They had Prabhupāda playing out, blaring out over Kusuma Sarovara—“kṛṣṇotkīrtana-gāna ….”; and I just remember it was a moment of profound realization that Prabhupāda was so present; he was there, but yet he wasn’t there. These are beginnings of some real spiritual emotions; so through hearing, just like now we are sitting here; we are feeling the same thing. It’s not that you can’t feel these things; you are feeling them,—how come some of you are crying? You are feeling, because the presence is there.

I remember one VyāsaPūjā I was standing next to Śrīla Prabhupāda’s Vyāsāsana, just a few years ago, and I was like, “Prabhupāda just seems so alive and he seems so present,” and I was just like overwhelmed; and tears were in my eyes and I was so excited about this that “Prabhupāda is so present!”. I went home and I told my husband, “Wow! Did you see Prabhupāda today? Did you see how present he was?” And he was just like, “You were just paying attention today. He is always there.” You know, I was totally blasī about it; “Oh, yeah!” That’s actually how it is, everything is all there. I mean, Vṛndāvan is here, great devotees are here, but we are just not really paying attention.

I think this is something to really think on particularly on this day, ‘how Śrīla Prabhupāda is present for each and every one of us’. Prabhupāda once said that, “I called and you came”; so out of the billions of living entities in the universe somehow you all heard the call and here we are. You might say that, “We are all marked men”. When there was a plague in Europe, anyone that had been touched by the plague then they would put a mark on their door, so you would know. All of us somehow have been marked by the touch  of Śrīla Prabhupāda, regardless of your age, or when you joined, or whatever. Then all of us can realize in one way or another how Prabhupāda is alive and present in each of our lives.

Actually in Māyāpura we have started to have like four days of VyāsaPūjā celebrations, so everybody gets to speak. I went to the community VyāsaPūjā where, we old folks just sit and listen, to the younger generations speak about Prabhupāda and I was so moved, so touched, brought to tears by all the, you know expressions of all these second and third generation devotees, that they have as much love and as much relationship for Prabhupāda and they are alive in their relationship with Śrīla Prabhupāda. It’s not like Prabhupāda is just present for us; his disciples. Prabhupāda is present for all of us.

Actually, one devotee who is a younger devotee, but a very-very serious and very mature and very grounded second generation devotee, who is doing some very difficult and very serious service in America. She is under lot of pressure to do very big services; so she came to India to take a break and she went to Bombay, because she had this desire to go to Śrīla Prabhupāda’s rooms; and she was in Prabhupāda’s room and she said she was crying and praying and you know, “Please allow me to do my service,” and she had the experience that Śrīla Prabhupāda walked into the room where she was and offered her some advice. And I believe that she is a very sober lady. I am his disciple; I have never had such an experience.

So surely Śrīla Prabhupāda is there for all of us. What to speak of second and third generation, he is also there even for the most fallen devotees. He doesn’t forget service. Now there was an early devotee called Kauśalyā; she was a very, very nice devotee, but somehow or another she went away for a long time and then one night she had a dream and Śrīla Prabhupāda said very strongly, “Kauśalyā, where are your beads?” By that time she didn’t have any beads so next morning she was at the LA temple buying her beads; and many, many stories of devotees that are like as they are about to leave their bodies or whatever, —how Śrīla Prabhupāda comes even they have been away for many-many years; Prabhupāda never forgets service rendered.

I will just read a very beautiful letter Śrīla Prabhupāda wrote to one devotee, Umapati, who had fallen away for some time. This is what Prabhupāda wrote to him. He said, “When you left us, I simply prayed to Kṛṣṇa for your return to Kṛṣṇa Consciousness, because that was my duty. Any good soul who approaches me once for spiritual enlightenment is supposed to be depending on my responsibility to get him back to Kṛṣṇa, back home. The disciple may misunderstand a bonafide Spiritual Master being obliged to do so under pressure of Maya’s influence. But bonafide Spiritual Master never lets go of a devotee once accepted. When a disciple misunderstands a bonafide Spiritual Master, the Master regrets for his inability to protect the disciple and sometimes he cries with tears in his eyes”.

So how Śrīla Prabhupāda is there even for the fallen devotees and for the second and third and fourth generations and even for the parents of devotees? There are so many stories of how Prabhupāda has come to encourage the parents of devotees. There was a devotee in Alachua, who had decided to spend time and stay with his father till the last days, and the father was indifferent; he wasn’t really into Kṛṣṇa Consciousness at all. They made some practical arrangement, “You stay in that room, and maybe you will hear some bell ringing and things but you know somehow we will manage it”. Of course, they were feeding him Prasādam as much as possible and the chanting was going on in the house and then one day this devotee came in, and he saw that his father was beaming and smiling and looked so happy. And he was like, “Dad, what’s going on?” He said, “You don’t see him?” He was like, “See who?” “Your Prabhupāda, he is there at the end of my bed, you don’t see?” and devotee, ”No, you are so lucky Dad, I don’t see him!” Many stories like this. Prabhupāda was so kind, even to non-devotees.

There was a story in New-Vṛndāvan, of how one totally ordinary lady, who didn’t know anything, just was going on a tour through the palace. She went past the Vyāsāsana and she heard a voice that said, “Take my shoes”; and she was like looking around, “Who said that?” You know, there was just a Prabhupāda’s Murti was there. She was ignoring it like, “Aha, this is weird— this place is weird” Again and again, the voice was saying, “Take my shoes; take my shoes.” So she is like a really ordinary lady, she says, “I have never stolen anything in my life,” you know, and she sees the shoes are sitting there by Prabhupāda so she just slips them in her bag. And she took them home and she was like mortified, “What did I do at that crazy Hare Kṛṣṇa place, I have got these shoes”. She just put them in her closet and tried to forget about it. And then one day, she was in her house and she hears, “You can take my shoes back now”. [Laughter]

She said “Oh my God! How am I going to like—take these shoes back; [Laughter] without saying that I stole them?” She thought, “Well, you know, I better do it.” She takes the shoes back and she, very sheepishly said, “Well I brought these shoes back”. And she was like, “I don’t know why I took them and I don’t know why I just heard this voice and I don’t know understand—I am so sorry, I am so sorry”; and the devotees, “No—No, we understand; we know why you had taken them, we know why you brought it back; it’s very clear and wow, you are so lucky! Prabhupāda spoke to you twice! I never got to speak to Prabhupāda!” This was during a time when there was lot of difficulty in NewVṛndāvana and actually it was not part of ISKCON for some years; so this was that period of time. After some time, all of that got sorted out, and as it was sorted then, “Okay, bring my shoes back!”

In this way, I am just saying a few stories; just so that we can all understand that Śrīla Prabhupāda is very much present although this is the separation day. We also want to think about the union and how he is present for everybody, for the first generation, second, third, non- devotees, fallen devotees—everybody. It’s a day for each one of us to examine: “What is my relationship with Śrīla Prabhupāda?”

It’s different for everyone, it’s not all the same; we all have different kinds of relationships with Śrīla Prabhupāda. That relationship of course is through your Spiritual Master, and through Prabhupāda’s books, and through really everyday at the programs that we follow; everything we do is Prabhupāda’s arrangement. Our whole life—how we dress, everything we do—it’s all connected with Śrīla Prabhupāda. Infact, Śrīla Prabhupāda he is like— the whole fabric of our life. On a fabric there is the weft and the web; this is like two pieces of thread that make a fabric; so that is what Śrīla Prabhupāda is in our life.

It’s important on this day, especially this bitter-sweet day, to meditate on that relationship, so that we never feel alone. That we know that Śrīla Prabhupāda is here and what to speak of Śrīla Prabhupāda, the whole Guru paramparā is there for us.

Actually before Śrīla Prabhupāda left, he sent a letter and he said, “I maybe going, but my Guru Mahārāja and Bhaktivinode Ṭhākur are here. I have asked them to kindly take care of all of you—my spiritual children. The grandfather always takes care of the children much better than the father; so do not fear; there is no question of separation. The sound vibration fixes us up together, even though the material body may not be there. What do we care for this material body? Just go on chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa and we will be packed up together. You will be chanting here and I will be chanting there and this vibration will circulate around this planet.”

This is our day:

  • For remembering Śrīla Prabhupāda and trying to remember that we are never meant to forget him ever; his sacrifices and what he has given us, he has given us everything that’s of value.
  • To pray that we not just take from him like little children do, but we become mature sons and daughters; and we actually give back and do something for Śrīla Prabhupāda, whether in this life or next life or how many zillions of lifetimes it takes. We owe a very, very, very great debt.

Śrīla Prabhupāda—ki Jaya! Hare Kṛṣṇa!

Durvāsā Muni Āśrama – Śrīla Prabhupāda Disappearance Day- HH Śrīla Indradyumna Swami – Lecture

Śrīla Prabhupāda’s Mercy

– By His Holiness Śrīla Indradyumna Swami

 

Today is a very special day. It’s the departure day of the Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Kṛṣṇa ConsciousnessHis Divine Grace Om Vishnupada Paramhansa Parivrajakacharya Ashtottar-Shata Śrī Śrīmada Śrīla A.C. BhaktiVedanta Swami Śrīla Prabhupāda. I have chosen not to speak today. This is always for me, this is a difficult day. I have asked Mother Śītalā to speak today. Has Mother Śītalā arrived? Oh, okay, Mother Śītalā is here, so she will be speaking today.

This is a very beautiful setting that we are in. This is the Āśrama of Durvāsā Muni in Vṛndāvan. Actually we have mentioned Durvāsā Muni a number of times during our Parikramās here in Vṛndāvan through the years. He is a Muni; he would travel to different holy places, but this was his ashram in Vraja, right here on the banks of Jāmuna. Fortunately, it still remains much as it was for the last hundred years. It still has that old Vraja feeling to it. Under this Banyan tree, literally on the banks of the Jāmuna river, and in the past years, we have discussed the particular pastimes that have taken place here.

But we won’t touch on that today, because this is Śrīla Prabhupāda’s disappearance day, so that will be the theme of today’s visit, and in coming years we will recount again the pastimes of Durvāsā Muni here. I always like to come here and bring the devotees here, because of its special atmosphere—it’s kind of like what you would have imagined SatyaYuga would be like.

Of course, our old friend Bābāji is here. He is not so old; he is in his thirties, but he is a Pakka (fixed-up or determined) Brahmacārī, Pakka Sādhu. He stays here all year long despite whatever austerities may be. He is very fixed in his vows and in his practices in spiritual life. You can see he is very simple in his living style. He leaned over today, and he said to me, quietly said, “After so many years I have conquered hunger.” Kṛṣṇa glorifies Arjuna in the Bhagavad-Gītā for conquering sleep—Guḍākeśa, so these things: conquering sleep, hunger, senses—these are not easy things to conquer. He confidentially said, “Mahārāja, I have conquered hunger.”

I remember last year I said to him, “In my next birth I want to be just like you.” He said, “No, you are doing the best work. You are preaching Bhagavad-Gītā.” Then he quoted the verse in Sanskrit where Kṛṣṇa says that, “There is no one more dear to Me than those who are preaching this message.” He said, “You do what you are doing, so I am doing what I am doing; you do what you do. We will both go on.”

Of course, all of this is for us. It’s all due to Śrīla Prabhupāda’s mercy that we get to come to Vṛndāvan Dhām, take boat rides down the Jāmuna river, touch the sacred water of the Jāmuna, come to secluded holy places like Durvāsā Muni’s ashram, meet the Sādhus who are living here; chant ‘Hare Kṛṣṇa’ in the association of so many wonderful devotees in a holy place. Just one of these things is great fortune, so we can hardly imagine how fortunate we are, and what to speak of fortune that we are everyday going out into Vṛndāvan and experiencing all this.

This is all because Śrīla Prabhupāda left this holy place and went to mlecchadesh, went to the west to spread the glories of Vṛndāvan. Had he not done that, none of us would be sitting here today.

In the Skandh Purāṇa there is actually a very strict warning, that a person who is interested in his deliverance from the repetition of birth and death, of achieving mokṣa —liberation; that person should not cross beyond the boundaries of Bhārata or India, because everything becomes more and more inauspicious, the further you go from Bhārata. Just like a lamp is burning and it’s very bright around the lamp, but the further you go from the lamp, the darker it becomes. Sādhus were forbidden to leave India because of the bad association, sinful activity that exists in another part of the world; but Prabhupāda took that risk for all of us.

Of course, in Śrīla Prabhupāda’s case there was no risk, because he told us one time: “There was never a time I forgot the lotus feet of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa.” He said, “Never a moment I ever forgot the lotus feet of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa.” And he said, “In my life-time, I did not know what sinful activity was. I never experienced what was sinful activity.”

Taking upon his head that great responsibility of carrying Lord Caitanyas desires to spread Kṛṣṇa Consciousness all over the world, he was fully protected by Guru and Gaurāṅga. But that doesn’t mean he didn’t have to endure so many hardships  and so many austerities, and so many difficulties in establishing Kṛṣṇa Consciousness in the west. One time he told us, someone asked, “Well, what was the first year for you like in America?” Prabhupāda said, “You will not believe the difficulties I underwent that first year.” He never really revealed how he struggled that first year. But history has shown the great success that was there and after a few years. After the movement was somehow established in the west, Prabhupāda came back here to Vṛndāvan with a desire to establish a temple: KṛṣṇaBalarāma Mandir, so that Westerners could come and get the Vṛndāvan experience, which is so important to our evolution or progress in Kṛṣṇa Consciousness.

By his invitation, by his arrangement the facilities are there; we are here by Śrīla Prabhupāda’s grace so we should honor him today as best we can on his disappearance day in Vṛndāvan. Not just this day but everyday; we should remember his lotus feet and by his good fortune we came to Kṛṣṇa Consciousness. We are existing in Kṛṣṇa Consciousness, and we will achieve perfection in Kṛṣṇa Consciousness by Śrīla Prabhupāda’s mercy

We will begin with, as we always do, to create that wonderful atmosphere of auspiciousness and our ability to focus on all these transcendental subject matters. We will have Mādhava Prabhu leading us in a very melodious, beautiful, and deeply devotional Bhajan, and then one of His Divine Grace Śrīla Prabhupāda’s most senior and beloved disciples, Ṭhākurāṇī, will speak about some of the glories. How much can you speak about Prabhupāda’s glories? They are unlimited, but she shall speak on the glories of our Spiritual Master.

Then Baḍa-Hari Prabhu will lead us in Gurupujā; then we will sing “Ye anilo prema-dhana”………….. [Voice of His Holiness Śrīla Indradyumna Swami Mahārāja choked in deep separation and remembrance of Śrīla Prabhupāda. [Tears rolled down his cheeks and he excused himself from the announcements and went into seclusion for a few minutes.]

Barsānā – HG Śrī Prahlāda Prabhu – Lecture; Indradyumna Swami’s Parikrama -2015

Kṛṣṇa-Kuṇḍa,Barsana, 2015 Kartik Parikrama with Indradyumna Swami

Rādhā: Tattva, Rasa, and Kṛpā  

– By HG Śrī Prahlāda Prabhu

We are so fortunate to be gathered here at KṛṣṇaKuṇḍa in Varṣāṇā. By what good fortune, what pious activities have we done to find ourselves in this situation? What austerities have we performed? Maybe we gave lots of charity. Actually none of these activities can award us the great opportunity, the great benediction that we are experiencing at this moment. It’s only by the mercy of the Vaiṣṇavas. Bhakti is the most valuable treasure and no amount of piety, no amount of austerity, no amount of charity can award one this treasure. There is nothing we can do to make ourselves eligible. How then is it ever received? – Only by the mercy of compassionate, kind-hearted devotees!

Kṛṣṇa’s mercy extends down into this world of Saṁsara and by the mercy of Vaiṣṇavas, our free will is interfered with, such that we do not receive the juice of our karma, instead we receive something much more. We receive the seed of Bhakti and so that is all our great fortune. These great devotees who share this mercy, these seeds of devotion, they represent Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. She is called Karuṇāmayī, that is She is most kind and compassionate. It is by the grace of Karuṇāmayī Śrī Rādhā that we find ourselves in Her abode.

This morning, we will share some realizations about Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. We will begin by speaking some Tattva. Tattva— means truth, this can be a little dry but it is important. It is important that we have a foundation of Tattva and on the basis of that then we will discuss some RasaFinally, we will also discuss Kṛpā—we will discuss mercy.

We will discuss:

  1. Rādhā Tattva—truth of Rādhā’s ontology;
  2. Rādhā-Rasa that is some understanding of Her mellows of loving exchange;
  3. Rādhā Kṛpā—some discussion on how we might try to gain Her mercy, Her grace.
  4. Śrī Kṛṣṇa—He is SarvaŚaktimān. He is the source of all energies. He is Ātmārām; He is self-satisfied; He is aptakama—without any unfulfilled desire. Yet He decides to expand His bliss, and He does this by interacting with His potencies. Kṛṣṇa’s potencies, they are unlimited but we categorize them as primarily as three. This is the Bhāgavata understanding, — three categories of truth; three categories of Tattva. In the Bhagavad-Gītā, we are told by Śrī Kṛṣṇa to approach a Guru. He says we should approach this teacher with humility and we should render service. He also describes the quality of such a Guru that we should approach. This Guru should be Tattva-Darshi—one who has seen Tattva— “jṣāninas tattva-darśinaḥ” [BG 4.34]. Kṛṣṇa is telling us to approach a Spiritual Master who has seen Tattva, who has seen truth. Where to find such a Guru who has seen truth?

Śrīla Vyāsadeva is such a teacher. When Śrīla Vyāsadeva wrote the Vedas and the Purāṇas, the Mahābhārata, it was a great endeavor that he engaged in for the benefit of the people of Kali who are short-lived, and with a short attention span and a short memory. It was important to write these things down. After doing this great work, he felt depressed and couldn’t understand —why? His Guru came to visit him. He heard the strumming of the Vīṇā. He heard the chanting of the Holy Names of Rādhikā and Ramana. He understood his Gurudeva Nārada Muni had come to visit him. Nārada diagnosed Vyāsa’s condition. “You have done a great work. But you have not given one text that exclusively describes Bhakti. That’s what you must do”.

Vyāsadeva, he sat down in a meditation with his new mission from his Spiritual Master, and in that meditation he had a vision. He saw the truth, He saw Kṛṣṇa, and before Kṛṣṇa to the side and looking down in shame, he saw personified material nature. To the side then, between them he saw the living entities. Material nature, her shame was that she was bewildering these living entities causing them to forget Kṛṣṇa. On seeing this vision—these three categories of truth, Vyāsa knew what he had to do. He had to write a scripture, a text that describes the eternal relationship between living entities and Kṛṣṇa, this relationship of love. He had to describe these things so that the conditioned souls would be able to wake up from their illusion and be reminded of this eternal relationship, and so he wrote Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. This is the most elevated, the cream of all Vedic literature; exclusively focused on devotion to Kṛṣṇa. The cure, the medicine for the people of Kali is hearing Kṛṣṇa-Kathā.

These three categories of truth that Vyāsa saw; they are explained by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu as Antaraṅgā Śakti Tattva, the Bahiraṅgā Śakti Tattva and Taṭasthā Śakti Tattva that is Jīva.

  1. The Antaraṅgā Śakti Tattva means the internal potency of Kṛṣṇa;
  2. The Bahiraṅgā means the external potency of Kṛṣṇa; that is the material nature. Material nature has three categories— goodness, passion and ignorance. They are personified by the Deities Lakṣmī, Sarasvatī and Durgā. Their masters are Viṣṇu, Brahmā and Maheśa.

It also has three divisions or categories. They are Sandhinī, Samvit and Āhlādinī.

  1. The Sandhinī Śakti—that is the principle of eternity which is the stuff which the spiritual world made of. It is personified by Baladeva. Baladeva expands as the Holy Dhām. He expands as Kṛṣṇa‘s paraphernalia.
  2. The Samvit Śakti—that is the cognizance potency that makes this—everything in the spiritual world conscious or aware.
  3. The Āhlādinī Śakti—that is the bliss potency of Kṛṣṇa. It is personified as Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. She expands Kṛṣṇa‘s bliss, with so many loving pastimes and for us She is like as the mother of devotion.

When Kṛṣṇa enters into any other Dhām, then Baladeva and Śrī Rādhā also expands with Him. In Dvārakā­, Baladeva is present as Saṅkarṣaṇa and Rādhā as so many queens—16,108 queens they are all expansions of Śrī Rādhā. In VaikuṇṭhaBalarāma expands as the throne—the Anantaśeṣa that Nārāyaṇa sits upon, and Śrī Rādhā expands as so many Lakṣmīs. When Kṛṣṇa appears in this world as so many incarnations/Avatāras, Baladeva is also always present as His paraphernalia and Lakṣmī, She always expands with Him as His consort. In the pastimes of Śrī Rāma, then Baladeva and Rādhā, they are present as Lakṣmaṇa and Sītā.

For the souls that wish to become free from their conditioned nature, they must do so taking shelter of ĀdiGuru—Lord Balarāma, who comes, who is manifest on earth as the Dīkṣā Guru. As we become more mature in our spiritual understanding, then we take shelter of Śrī Rādhā as our Śikṣā, represented by the Śikṣā Guru. Dīkṣā Guru & Śikṣā Guru, they might be the same person or they might be different persons.

Five thousand years ago, that same Rādhā appeared here in Vraja Dhām, whether in Rāvala or Barṣāṇā. There are different views. The understanding of the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas is that She appeared in this most recent pastime in Rāvala, and in previous pastime she appeared here in Varṣāṇā. In Varṣāṇā, She performed Her childhood and youthful pastimes, that gave perfection to Kṛṣṇa’s own childhood and youthful pastimes. How?      

To understand this, we must understand little bit more about Śrī Rādhā’s supreme position. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, in his Upadesāmṛta (NOI), he tells us that:

karmibhyaḥ parito hareḥ priyatayā vyaktiṁ yayur jṣāninas

tebhyo jñāna-vimukta-Bhakti-paramāḥ premaika-niṣṭhās tataḥ

tebhyas tāḥ paśu-pāla-paṅkaja-dṛśas tābhyo ‘pi sā rādhikā

preṣṭhā tadvad iyaṁ tadīya-sarasī tāṁ nāśrayet kaḥ kṛtī

He says, out of many millions of unlimited living entities, most are just interested in fruitive work, they are just interested in sense gratification. Amongst them, some maybe interested in piety and so they follow the Vedic prescriptions for pious work to get pious rewards. Amongst them, few will be actually interested in spiritual understanding, becoming liberated from the cycle of birth and death, Rūpa Gosvāmī refers to those as—Jñānīs. Amongst them few will actually take to devotional service. How rare it is! Amongst them, amongst the devotees, those who have taken devotional service—Rūpa Gosvāmī says the best are the Vrajavāsīs, because they love Kṛṣṇa not because He is God, they loved Kṛṣṇa because He is Kṛṣṇa—because He is the most wonderful of all-attractive personality, and they will give everything for Him. Rūpa Gosvāmī says amongst the Vrajavāsīs then the Gopīs, their love for Kṛṣṇa is the most intense. Amongst those thousands of Gopīs, Rūpa Gosvāmī says Śrī Rādhā stands supreme.

Śrīla Prabhupāda explains in his commentary on this verse that the Mādhurya Rasa of the Gopīs is most pleasing to Kṛṣṇa. It is the most intense expression of love for Kṛṣṇa. He compares it to earth as an element which contains the qualities of other more subtle elements. Ether contains the quality of sound, air contains the additional quality of touch; if you blow some air over your face, you will be able to feel that. Some of you are already doing that because it is a little bit hot. We can feel the air. Fire contains the additional quality of sight. Water contains the additional quality of taste; in the GītāKṛṣṇa says, “raso’ham apsu kaunteya…” [BG 7.8] I am the taste of water. Finally earth, it contains the additional quality of—all of them? Yeah, but it has one unique special quality—smell—aroma.

In the same way, Prabhupāda explains, “Mādhurya Rasa, it contains the qualities of love found in other Rasas. That love that is there in Dāsya Rasa or servitorship, that love that is there in Vātsalya Rasa, or parental affection, or Sākhya Rasa—friendship; it is all contained within this relationship of Mādhurya Rasa or conjugal affection. Therefore Rūpa Gosvāmī’s statement is that of all the Vrajavāsīs the love of the Gopīs is most intense and pleasing to Kṛṣṇa.

But we can further analyze this. Within Mādhurya Rasa there are two categories. There is Svakiya and Parakīya.

  • Svakiya means married love, and
  • Parakīya means unwedded love. The affection in Parakīya Rasa or unwedded love is more intense than in Svakiya. Because there is more uncertainty, there is more risk, greater sacrifice is made and the uncertainty makes it very exciting. People watch sports,—there is great excitement seeing two teams competing against each other. The excitement is that you don’t know which way it will go.

In Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes with the Gopīs, it is always uncertain, “Will they meet or not? Will Kṛṣṇa be able to enter Rādhā’s house or will He spend the night in a tree? Maybe He will make it to meet Rādhā, but She will be upset and they will not be able to have any pastimes together.” Like this there is an ongoing uncertainty.

Now this Parakīya Rasa can be further analyzed. That is, there is the mood of submissiveness, and the mood of contrariness, that is Dākṣiṇya-Bhāva: or the right wing mood, and Bāmya-Bhāva: or the left wing mood. Amongst the Gopīs there are these two main parties, two main groups:

  1. There is the right wing group of Gopīs; we will not speak the name of leader of this group in this place.
  2. Then there is the left-wing group that is headed by Śrīmatī RādhārāṇīKṛṣṇa finds the company of this left-wing group, so much more satisfying, once again because it is most uncertain. Generally whatever Kṛṣṇa wants then Rādhā and Her friends, they will say the opposite. Kṛṣṇa would say, “Come,” and they will go away. Kṛṣṇa would try to approach them and they will say, “Don’t touch us, you debauchee!” They will call Him names; makes it so much more exciting for Kṛṣṇa. Amongst these Gopīs, then Śrī Rādhā is the leader, and so Kṛṣṇa, He desires Her company more than anything else. Her love in fact makes Kṛṣṇa mad.

Okay, so we will speak some of the pastimes that are enacted between Śrī Kṛṣṇa and Śrī Rādhā in this place, where you will see Śrī Rādhā’s contrary nature expressed and how delightful that is to Kṛṣṇa. Churning the ocean of Rasa, of loving exchange! When we were coming here, we came through a narrow passage. That place is called Sāñkari-khora and we were obstructed by tax collectors; they were re-enacting Kṛṣṇa’s own pastime of collecting tax in this place. Rādhā’s resistance to Kṛṣṇa’s tax collection gave Him great delight. One of Her names is GovindaĀnandinī. GovindaĀnandinī—that is She who brings ānanda or bliss to Govinda; not only brings, She is His bliss. Another of Her names is GovindaMohinī. These are names glorified by Kṛṣṇa Dāsa Kavirāj Gosvāmī – [CC Ādi 4.82]

govinda-ānandinī rādhā, govinda-mohinī

govinda-sarvasva, sarva-kāntā-śiromaṇi

“She is the bliss of the Govinda, She has bewildered Govinda, She is His everything, She is the crest jewel of all of Kṛṣṇa‘s lovers.”

In the Sāñkari-khora we see how Rādhā brings bliss or delight to Kṛṣṇa. He establishes a toll station. As Rādhā and Her friends try to come from the palace in Varṣāṇā to the market to sell, by transporting their yogurt, butter, ghee and milk. For some reason, they choose this very difficult pass. There is actually a more direct route. But they choose this very difficult path, hoping that someone might be there and very often He is with His toll station. “Oh, you are going to sell these commodities on the market, but you must pay tax to cross this border.  I am appointed by whom?—By King Cupid”. He is demanding, “I need tax for this yogurt, I need tax for this butter, I need tax for this ghee. You are going to make a profit from them and so it’s appropriate that you pay tax at this point.

Sometimes He also wants to charge a tax for the beauty of Śrī Rādhā. Not just the products that they carry, but also She is very beautiful that should be taxed as well. [Gopīs:]“Well, what type of payment are you expecting?” [Kṛṣṇa :] “Mmmm, okay, let me calculate! Her eyes are more beautiful than millions of blue sapphires, it’s like they have stolen the beauty of the sapphires. The sapphires themselves have no beauty anymore after seeing Her eyes. So I will need a million rupees—a million sapphires for those eyes.” [Gopīs:]“Oh, what else?” [Kṛṣṇa :]“Her teeth—they have robbed the beauty of the pearls. I will need the million pearls for those teeth. And those lips, they have stolen the luster of rubies. Her luster—it has stolen the beauty of gold.” And like this, Kṛṣṇa composes a most beautiful love poem glorifying all the features, the limbs, and the aspects of Śrī Rādhā’s beauty.

Śrī Rādhā blushes with pleasure. But She pretends to be angry. “Enough of this nonsense!”, and tries to barge Her way through and there is a scuffle between them, there is some jostling, pots of yogurt get broken, that makes the Gopīs even more angry. “Now you see what you have done, troublemakers —stay away from us!” Kṛṣṇa and His friends, they decide to eat that yogurt and butter.

In this place Sāñkari-khora, the Gopīs they decided one day to get some revenge; and so early in the morning, Lalitā arrange for thousands of Gopīs to hide behind the different bushes and rocks, in caves. Later in the morning Kṛṣṇa came and set up His toll station with His cowherd friends. Then at the usual time, Śrī Rādhā and Her friends they started to travel along that pass carrying yogurt and butter and so forth. Kṛṣṇa became very excited when He heard them coming. “Oh, oh here they come again. We will have some fun.” Kṛṣṇa didn’t know that He was about to be ambushed. He was sitting in a trap. When the Gopīs approached Him and He began to harass them, Lalitā gave the signal and a thousand Gopīs came out of the mountain side and there are three, four, five Gopīs for capturing each boys, tied their hands with garlands. Took them and tied their hair to the tree branches; and with their lotus hands slapped their faces, so that their cheeks were made red, “You rascals, you nonsenses!”

Madhumañgala, his shikha was tied up to a tree branch; and he was saying, “I am a Brāhmaṇa, I would never do anything wrong. I was just very-very hungry and I happened to join the company of these Vaiśya boys. What a big mistake it was. I will never associate with them again. Just let me go”. But the main target was Kṛṣṇa; He was to be punished personally by Śrī Rādhā, Lalitā, Viśākā. They bound His hands, tied His hair to tree branch, and then they dressed Him as a girl. They put a Gopī skirt on Him, they put a blouse on Him—a veil and they balanced a pot of yogurt on His head. “Oh pretty girl, where you are going with that pot of yogurt?” Kṛṣṇa was hanging His head, and He was so embarrassed. Lalitā held His chin, “Keep your head up!” Gave Him some slaps. “Don’t look down, look at us.” They were taunting Him, “You have to pay tax for that yogurt, You have to pay tax for Your beauty. You are such a pretty girl” [Laughter] Kṛṣṇa, He was silent. “So what—you are not going to pay anything?” Lalitā she took a rock, she took very careful aim, threw it at that pot balancing on His head and it broke and Kṛṣṇa was covered in yogurt. All of the Gopīs were laughing and laughing. It was the funniest day ever; the day they got back at Kṛṣṇa and His friends.

But Madhumañgala, he was quite distressed and he was still using his being a Brāhmaṇa, as the argument for why the Gopīs should not have treated him that way.  He was warning them, “Very bad things going to happen now that you have offended a brāhmaṇa. You have to try to win back my favor.” So the Gopīs said, “Well, what do you want Madhumañgala? If we give you some Lāḍus, would you be happy? “Oh yeah, that would work”. They brought him here—at KṛṣṇaKuṇḍa. They sat him on a throne. They piled up lots of Manohara Lāḍus. And Madhumañgala ate and ate and ate until his belly became bigger and bigger such that he could not eat anymore and he was very pleased, and he blessed all of those Gopīs that they would achieve their greatest fortune.

Up from here is Mora kutir and Mora means peacocks. That is a place where there are many peacocks. All along these mountainsides are peacocks. Once Śrī Rādhā and Śrī Kṛṣṇa; They went to the top of that mountain and it was monsoon. The monsoon clouds, they were blackish, they were filled with so much water and there was lightning flashing in those dark clouds. Śrī Rādhā, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, They sat up there to watch these big beautiful clouds with a lightning streaks through them. When the monsoon clouds saw Kṛṣṇa, how beautiful He was with His darkish, blackish, bluish complexion, they felt very ashamed and the lightning saw Śrī Rādhā with Her beautiful golden complexion, it also felt very ashamed.

The clouds they cried tears of shame and turned whitish and they began to rumble thunder. When the peacocks heard the thunder rumble, they started to dance, and Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa were observing the peacocks dancing, the peahens dancing; and then they also became inspired to dance. As the peacocks saw Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa’s dance they became more inspired to dance ever new dances, which inspired Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa’s own dance. Like this, each was inspiring the other and they were performing other new dances. Today you can see a painting of that dance in that very place, painted by a blind Sādhu who was doing Bhajan at that location. Śrī Rādhā appeared in his meditation and said, “I would like you to paint this Līlā”. “Paint the Līlā? I can’t see—I am blind. How will I paint anything?” She said, “You just paint and your hand will be guided”; and so he did, even today we can see that painting—a painting of the peacock dance of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa.

Let’s meditate on this name Govinda Sarvasva It says that Śrī Rādhā is everything to Govinda. There was a brāhmaṇa, an elderly brāhmaṇa, near to Varṣāṇā, and he heard – from the village, he heard sounds of a wedding celebration. Generally we might see a wedding or hear a wedding and we might become a little bit enlivened, “Oh! A wedding; how nice!” You might give your blessings, best wishes to the bride and the groom—to create auspiciousness for them. This brāhmaṇa started crying loudly wailing—“Oh!” He is the hearing the wedding music and crying. Kṛṣṇa asked him, “Dear brāhmaṇa, why are you crying? How can I help you?” “Oh! I am an old brāhmaṇa, I am very poor and I have a daughter that I am unable to marry because I don’t have any wealth. You can help me by giving me some wealth that I might get my daughter married”.

Well, Kṛṣṇa was in the forest, with the Gopīs, with Rādhā. He didn’t have any gold treasure with Him that He could give to that brāhmaṇa.  He was looking around. “What treasure can I give this brāhmaṇa?” and He thought, “Here is My greatest treasure—Śrī Rādhā Herself.” “Dear brāhmaṇa, I will give you My greatest treasure—It is my Pyāri Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī”. This brāhmaṇa, he began to cry even louder. Kṛṣṇa said, “What’s the matter now?” He said, “You have doubled my troubles. I had one daughter to marry and that was a problem and now I have two daughters that have to get married. You didn’t help at all. You have just increased my distress”. Kṛṣṇa said, “I am so sorry. Dear brāhmaṇa, I will fix this”. He took a rope and threw it over the branch of a tree. He tied a stick at one end and at the other end He tied a cow’s blanket. He had Rādhā sit on that stick like a swing and on the other side in that blanket He took off His bangles; He took off His anklets and He told the Gopīs, “You take off your jewelry—whatever you have and throw it into that blanket”. When that blanket filled with gold and jeweled ornaments equal to Śrī Rādhā’s weight, then He took that blanket and He gave it to the brāhmaṇa and He said, “Here, this is Śrī Rādhā’s weight in gold. You give Her back to me. I will give you all of these jewels and gold and you will get your daughter married.” That brāhmaṇa, although he was very old, he was very enlivened, he was able to lift that blanket, go off to his village very enlivened. Many years later, he had a realization like Dhruva Mahārāja, “I was with Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa and I asked for material things,—what a fool I am”, and he completely surrendered to RādhāŚyāma.

We glorify Kṛṣṇa as the all-attractive. He has sad-aisvarya—six opulences. Well, His opulences are unlimited but six principle opulence are prominent. Our Ācāryas explain, how in fact these opulences are made complete because of Kṛṣṇa’s association with Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. Yes, Kṛṣṇa is beautiful, but He is most beautiful when He stands next to Śrīmatī RādhārāṇīKṛṣṇa on His own is not nearly as beautiful as when He stands with Śrī Rādhā. Yes Kṛṣṇa is famous, but He is most famous because of His pastimes with Śrī Rādhā; most famous as RādhāRamana, RādhāKānta, Rādhā-Vallabha—all these wonderful names that is His fame. Yes, Kṛṣṇa is strong, but His real strength is His ability to attract Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. His real wisdom is in how He resolves the dilemma that arises in Their relationships. His real renunciation is perfected in the Rasa dance where He walks away from millions of Gopīs just to be with Śrī Rādhā. She is His everything—Govinda Sarvasva.

I would like to speak about this name of Rādhā, GovindaMohinī—She who bewilders Kṛṣṇa. Her love is so great that She causes Kṛṣṇa to forget Himself. When we leave from here later today, we will go to another lake— Pili Pukur. I won’t tell you all the details of that pastime. Oh, we will wait for one week to arrive at that place. But let me tell you this much, at that place Kṛṣṇa became completely bewildered as to His own identity. He became completely bewildered by Rādhā’s Prema for Him and temporarily He assumed Rādhā’s own complexion, Her duty, and Her mood—Her Bhāvana. You will have to wait to find out how that happened; there is a cliffhanger for you. Yeah, you are going to wait in anticipation for those details. Let’s suffice to say that Kṛṣṇa became bewildered. He merged in Rādhā’s mood and complexion and He left that lake wandering through the forest of Varṣāṇā saying, “Hey Kṛṣṇa, where are you?” A golden-colored Kṛṣṇa calling out for Himself; Looking for Himself. Rādhā’s love so bewilders Kṛṣṇa. He is unable to comprehend its breadth and its depth.

That He appears in this world as Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu to answers three questions:

  1. What is Rādhā’s Prema—what is the nature of Rādhā’s love?
  2. What is it about Kṛṣṇa’s sweetness that attracts Rādhā?
  3. What is the bliss that She experiences in loving Him?

To answer these questions, Kṛṣṇa who is blackish in complexion, He appears in a golden form as Gaurāṅga. Internally, Kṛṣṇa—externally like Śrī Rādhā in mood and complexion and mad with love for Śrī Kṛṣṇa, He tastes the nectar of Kṛṣṇa Prema. Day and night He chants Kṛṣṇa‘s name feeling intense pangs of separation from Kṛṣṇa. That is Vipralamba Bhāva or Love in separation; and in this intense mood of loving separation from Kṛṣṇa, His experiment is to understand, get responses or answers to these questions that bewilder Him. In this, He very mercifully, very kindly distributes that very love to anyone who will take it. He is Mahāvadanyāya Avatāra—that is the most munificent incarnation. Kṛṣṇa has so many incarnations, but in this incarnation of Caitanya Mahāprabhu, He is Mahāvadanyāya, the most merciful, because He is in the mood of His own devotee —Śrī Rādhā

Generally we have to be qualified to get Kṛṣṇa’s mercy. But when Kṛṣṇa is drunk with love; He is drinking the nectar of that love, and it’s falling around Him. He is not discriminating who will taste that nectar with him. If the king decides to give away the most valuable treasures in his treasury; If the King becomes drunk and decide to give away valuable jewels from the treasury, who can stop him? When Kṛṣṇa becomes immersed in a mood of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī and freely gives this love, who can stop Him?

That is Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the most kind, the most merciful incarnation of Godhead; so if we want to approach Kṛṣṇa, if we want to enter His eternal pastimes in Vrajadhama, we approach Him through Caitanya Mahāprabhu, we approach Him through Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī and Her maid-servants.

 Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī explains,

tan-nāma-rūpa-caritādi-sukīrtanānu-

smṛtyoḥ krameṇa rasanā-manasī niyojya

tiṣṭhan vraje tad-anurāgi-janānugāmī

kālaṁ nayed akhilam ity upadeśa-sāram

The essence of all advice is to hear Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes and glories, to chant them, to engage our mind on meditating on them, and gradually, to become immersed in this Kīrtana, Śravaṇa and Smaraṇa. But to engage in this Sādhana under the direction or under the guidance of Kṛṣṇa’s eternal devotees—that is called ‘janānugāmī ‘ –to follow in the footsteps, to follow in the mood of residents of Vṛndāvan. Anurāga—means follow in their mood. We want to approach Kṛṣṇa; so we are advised to approach Him in the mood of the residents of Vṛndāvan —as Caitanya Mahāprabhu did. We are advised to approach Kṛṣṇa for cultivating that mood of His eternal associates—always with guidance and in this process as a servant of the servant of the servant we will be able to enter; we will be granted entry.

The famous story of Lakṣmī is that She performed great penance and austerities to enter into the RasaLīlā. Kṛṣṇa appeared and asked, “What can I do for you?” “I would like to participate in your Rasa dance.” “That’s very nice, but this isn’t the process. Penance and austerity will not give you entry into the Rasa dance.” “Well, what is the process?” “The process is to follow my eternal devotees who are participating in the Rasa dance;  — to follow in their mood, to take up their service, to receive their mercy.” Lakṣmī—She is a goddess, born from the ocean of milk, so She didn’t take to this very advice and So Kṛṣṇa said you can be a golden line on my chest. But you can’t enter into my Rasa dance; so She didn’t follow that process. We are therefore advised that we must follow this process of following in the footsteps of servants of the servants of the servants of the residents of Vṛndāvan.

Caitanya Mahāprabhu prayed: Gopī-bhartuḥ pada-kamalayor dāsa-dāsānu-dāsa” – I am the servant of the servant of the servant of the lotus feet of the Gopīs of Vṛndāvan. As followers of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, we are followers of Rūpa Gosvāmī, i.e. Rūpānuga – followers of Rūpa Gosvāmī, who is Rūpa Mañjarī, the maid-servant of Śrī Rādhā. All of our Ācāryas in the line of disciplic succession, they are in the spiritual identity—they are servants maids of Rūpa Mañjarī. Thus we followers of Rūpa Gosvāmī, followers of Bhakti-Siddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākur, followers of Śrīla Prabhupāda, we aspire to the service of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī under the guidance of Rūpa Mañjarī. That is our aspiration. That is our highest objective. It is our invitation as well. The opportunity to visit Varṣāṇā, to chant here, to associate with devotees under Gurudeva’s guidance here, the opportunity to visit so many holy places in the month of Kārtik,  it is a great opportunity for all of us, who despite of our lack of qualifications, somehow or other find ourselves here by the mercy of the devotees. Somehow or other, by this special mercy, as we express our eagerness and our sincerity, then that mercy will deliver to us unto, what is apparently impossible to achieve.

By Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī’s grace, we can be given a place in service in the spiritual world, and as a servant of the servant of Śrī Rādhā and Her associates.

Kṛṣṇa says in the Gītā that He reciprocates with everyone according to their devotion. Karmīs approach with material desires, and He gives them material rewards; Jñānīs approach desiring liberation and He gives them that. Devotees approach desiring devotion and He reciprocates. Like this according to devotion of devotee Kṛṣṇa manifests Himself. Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, She loves Kṛṣṇa the most and so the highest manifestation of Kṛṣṇa—that is the most loving and affectionate Kṛṣṇa is manifest only before Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. Can we ever hope to see that Kṛṣṇa? It is possible. We can never love Kṛṣṇa as Śrī Rādhā does with the same intensity. In principle, we would never see that Kṛṣṇa. But we can stand behind Śrī Rādhā; we can stand behind Her servant and Her servant, Her servant’s servant’s servant ; somewhere standing behind the servants of Her servant, standing behind our Spiritual Masters,—we can actually see that Kṛṣṇa. That Kṛṣṇa who takes delight in Śrī Rādhā— ‘Govinda Ānandinī’, that Kṛṣṇa for whom Śrī Rādhā is everything— ‘Govinda Sarvasva’, that Kṛṣṇa whom Śrī Rādhā has bewildered—‘GovindaMohinī’, that Kṛṣṇa we will be able to see and serve by following as a humble servant of our Spiritual Masters. Only by Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī’s mercy!

Vṛndāvanesvari Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī ki – Jaya!

Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī ki – Jaya!

Śrī Varṣāṇā Dhām ki – Jaya!

Vrajendra-Nandana Kṛṣṇa ki – Jaya!

Govinda-Mohini Rādhā ki – Jaya!

Govinda-Ānandinī Rādhā ki – Jaya!

Govinda-Sarvasva Rādhā ki – Jaya!

Śrīla Prabhupāda ki – Jaya!

Nitai Gaura Premanande – HARIBOL!

Jaya-Jaya Śrī Rādhe…………………..Śyāma!

Barsānā – HH Śrīla Indradyumna Swami – Lecture

The Glories of Barsānā

– By His Holiness Śrīla Indradyumna Swami

The palace servants over here, they are inspired by the kind of bliss that is unknown to the inhabitants of NandaGram. Rūpa Gosvāmī gives a very poetic description. He says “The concert of Rādhā’s laughter mixed with the tinkling of Her ankle bells and the song of Her Vīṇā defeats even the vibration of Kṛṣṇa’s flute.” This is the place of many of Her youthful pastimes, especially with Her girlfriends; they would roam this particular area, selling their milk products.

Sometimes they would meet the cowherd boys and there would be confrontations. The particular hill that we are sitting on now, this is one of the four Brahmās heads in Varṣāṇā—be careful. This is called Vilāsa-Gad. Vilāsa means pastimes, so this is the hill of pastimes. Very briefly, one Śāstra describes that at one time during the Srāvaṇa season during the month of July, Rādhārāṇī and Kṛṣṇa got into a really heavy argument.

The result of that argument was that Rādhārāṇī became very angry at Kṛṣṇa. Now generally when Rādhārāṇī gets angry, Kṛṣṇa has to make it up to Her. He has to give Her some gifts, some sweet words, try to appease Her. But in this particular instance, Rādhārāṇī would have nothing to do with the gifts, the sweet words of Kṛṣṇa. She came up here on the hill, sulking with Her girlfriends.

Now Kṛṣṇa tried to come up that same hill you walked up; you saw it’s a little difficult. He tried to come up here to appease Her, but Rādhārāṇī had Her Gopīs and Sakhīs there and they wouldn’t let Kṛṣṇa come up, “No way You are going to come up here. Stay away. You offended our Mistress.”

Especially Lalitā, she is very protective of Rādhārāṇī. So she said to Kṛṣṇa, “Rādhārāṇī doesn’t want to speak to you, She doesn’t want to see you—forevermore.” Kṛṣṇa was totally devastated. He sat down with all His cowherd boyfriends, “How am I going to get up on the hill and say I am sorry?” So all the boys were saying, “Just forget about Her. She is just a girl. Let’s go play.”

Kṛṣṇa said, “No, no, I have to go tell Her I am sorry. I have an idea.” Kṛṣṇa said, “I will trick those Gopīs who are guarding over there by the hill. I will trick them. I will dress up as a girl and I will get through. I am going to dress up like a girl with a sāri and jewelry and makeup and they won’t even notice me and I will get in there to see Rādhārāṇī.”

All the boys went, “Oh no! You are not going to dress up like a girl, Kṛṣṇa! We don’t like this idea.” But Kṛṣṇa was very determined and he said to his boy friends, “Dress me as a girl.” “Oh, Okay.” You can just imagine.

So they went through the villages here and somehow they got a sāri, they got some kājal, they got some jewelry. And they dressed Kṛṣṇa as best they could. Balarāma was saying, “Do you really want to go through with this? I mean it’s so demeaning if you dress like a girl.”

Madhumañgala—he was just in the back laughing and laughing. He couldn’t control it. He didn’t participate, and he was just laughing and laughing. Then Kṛṣṇa said, “All you guys stay here and I am going up,” and He walked up the hill as femininely as He could and He came to that group of Gopīs who were guarding there and He said, in a very sweet feminine voice, “I am from this village, this is my name, I have come to sing for Rādhā.” “Oh, you have come to sing for Rādhā. Please go by. She is just up here.”

This young Gopī came and she sat down and she just started singing the glories of Rādhārāṇī. Who could sing the glories of Rādhārāṇī better than Kṛṣṇa? That very sweet voice of Kṛṣṇa was filled with so much Prema, so much RādhāBhāva, love for Rādhā, which captured the attention of Rādhā and she said to Lalitā, “I have never heard any of my Mañjarīs or Sakhīs sing so sweetly. Who is this new girl?”

So Lalitā again (she is very protective) said, “Yeah, it’s nice but there is something off here. I mean, it’s just that the voice is not exactly so feminine and look how she is dressed.”

As Kṛṣṇa (dressed as a Gopī) is singing, Lalitā is staring at Him and Kṛṣṇa starts to perspire. Viśākā said, “Why is this young Gopī perspiring? It’s not warm up here. This is the autumn season. What’s up?”

Lalitā whispers into Rādhārāṇī’s ear, “Let’s have an Iṣṭa-goṣṭhī.” The Sakhīs—they are the elder girls that are very close to working with Rādhā—they said to the Mañjarīs, “You just sit here,” and they went and they had an Iṣṭa-goṣṭhī, and they are talking and talking and they come up with some plan.

Meanwhile, you know Kṛṣṇa is singing the glories of Rādhārāṇī and perspiring and wondering, “What’s going on?” So Rādhārāṇī comes back and the girls sit there and they listen a little bit longer and Rādhārāṇī raises Her hand, “Okay, stop.” [Tells Kṛṣṇa to stop singing]. “My dear Mañjarī, you are such a beautiful singer. I want to reward you.”

This is very natural, Rādhārāṇī of course is BhaktiDevī. She is in charge of devotional service and when She sees that some aspiring devotee is very serious about Kṛṣṇa Consciousness, She rewards that devotee with devotional service. We are always praying to Her:

Hare-Kṛṣṇa-Hare-Kṛṣṇa-Kṛṣṇa-Kṛṣṇa-Hare-Hare

Hare-Rāma-Hare-Rāma-Rāma-Rāma-Hare-Hare

“My dear Kṛṣṇa, my dear Rādhārāṇī, please engage me in Your devotional service.” So it’s Rādhā who engages us in the service of Kṛṣṇa. She said to this Gopī, “You are expressing so much devotion; I want to give you a reward.”

Kṛṣṇa is thinking in His mind, “Oh, maybe She will hug me.” You know, Rādhārāṇī hugs Her Mañjarīs, gives them a little kiss. “Maybe She will kiss me.” Kṛṣṇa stopped singing and He says, “Well, yes, what is the reward you would like to give me, your young Gopī?”

Rādhārāṇī looks at Viśākā and She looks at Lalitā and She smiled. She said, “We want to give You a new set of clothes. I mean, where did You get those clothes? Like, You must have really been in a hurry to dress Yourself, because you know it’s a little disturbed. So we are going to give You a new set of clothes and all of My Mañjarīs are going to dress you.”

Kṛṣṇa said, “No, no, no, no, no—these clothes are very nice. They are hand-me-downs from my Mom and they are very special and I took a lot of care. I was in a hurry to dress, but it’s okay. These clothes are fine. No!” All the Gopīs are coming forward with a set of clothes to dress: “No, no, no, no, no, it’s fine, fine. Thank you. Give me something else.”

“No, we are going to change your clothes.” But Rādhārāṇī said, “Girls, dress this new Gopī.” Well, they came and they take off the top little piece that they put there, whatever you call it, and they remove the sāri and then some of the Gopīs undo the choli, and as they undo the choli, two big kadamba flowers pop out!

All the younger Gopīs, they didn’t know what was going on. They started laughing. “Oh, this is Kṛṣṇa!” Kṛṣṇa, He was so embarrassed, He turned bright red. He is blue, but He turned bright red, and they are all laughing and Rādhārāṇī, by this act of trying to come up and win Her favor, She was appeased by Kṛṣṇa’s trick.

She welcomed Kṛṣṇa back and He dressed in His normal clothes and then Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, They sat on the beautiful swing here and They had Jhulan Yātrā, and all the Gopīs and Mañjarīs were fanning Them. This Jhulan Yātrā is a popular festival, and it takes place in different parts of Vṛndāvan, but this is one of the favorite places of the Jhulan Yātrā, the swing festival which commemorates those two Kadamba flowers that popped out of Kṛṣṇa’s choli, as He was trying to dress as a Gopī and appease His beautiful Rādhā which He did.

This is the VilāsaGad, the place of pastimes, one of the four heads of Brahmā. He very much desired at the beginning of creation, “Oh, let Kṛṣṇa’s Vṛndāvan pastimes happen on my head,” so they happened here. There is the beautiful palace which Rādhā lived in with Her family, and you see another beautiful palace right here, isn’t it? This is called the Jaipur palace. One king in Jaipur, of course we heard about the Jaipur kings, how pious they were. The Kṣatriyas wanted to protect Kṛṣṇa; RādhāGovinda went there. These kings often came here to Vṛndāvan. So one king he wasn’t very impressed with this old palace, so he built what he thought was a better palace architecturally and he invited the Deity that is worshipped, this Deity of Rādhārāṇī that is worshipped in this palace to come over here. They tried to bring Her, but She wouldn’t leave that palace to come to this palace. So this palace has been empty ever since it has been built. It is just used for Sādhus, and tourists sometimes stay there. She had Her desire to stay in the palace of Her father.

So a very brief introduction to Varṣāṇā, just one or two of the unlimited pastimes that take place here daily. You can appreciate where you’re sitting. Every day we’re sitting in another very special place and imbibing the mood and the pastimes of that particular place. On this very beautiful autumn morning, I don’t think it’s going to get very hot here. The season’s getting a little cooler so this is a perfect place to come.

We will have Kīrtana now. Sit and just enter deeply into the chanting of:

Hare-Kṛṣṇa-Hare-Kṛṣṇa-Kṛṣṇa-Kṛṣṇa-Hare-Hare

Hare-Rāma-Hare-Rāma-Rāma-Rāma-Hare-Hare

We have nothing else to do, nowhere else to go, we are in the perfect spot doing the proper thing.

This is the best way to see Vṛndāvan through Śravaṇaṁ, kīrtanam. Then Śrī Prahlāda will enlighten us about the glories of this divine personality, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. Then we will have breakfast, and then we will have another Kīrtana. Why should we go anywhere else? We have come to the perfect place after many, many lifetimes. Then we will walk the traditional route around Varṣāṇā. We are not going to stop and have any more Kathā or Kīrtana. We will just walk, walk, walk, walk, walk; and we will go to the palace, and have darśana of the Deities of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. Then we will walk down the hill. We will go to Pili Pokhar. We will hear that pastime later where Rādhārāṇī washed her hands and we will have lunch Prasādam there.

So relish every moment of your stay here in Varṣāṇā and that will not be difficult with Mādhava’s Kīrtana.

Vṛndāvanesvari Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī ki—Jaya!

Vilāsa-Gad ki—Jaya!

King Vṛṣbhānu ki—Jaya!

Kīrtidā-Sundarī Devī ki—Jaya!

Jaya-Jaya Śrī Rādhe……….. Śyāma!

Tālavan- HH Śrīla Indradyumna Swami – Instructions

Praying to Daujī

– By HH Śrīla Indradyumna Swami

This is Tālavan, one of the 12 forests. Sometimes the boys would bring the cows to the forest. The little cows would graze on the soft grasses and because you don’t have to watch the cows all the time, the boys would have their pastimes. They would wrestle and would swim in the waters, and they have lunch and they tell jokes and things. And then in the evening, they take the cows back to Nanda Mahārājas Go-śālā. But this particular forest, it was all off-limits. The other 11 forests, they can pick and choose, but this forest was off-limits. You couldn’t come here. Just like as a young boy or girl we had the perverted reflection of the Purāṇas, in the forms of Grimm’s Fairy Tales from Germany. We heard these fairy tales. We always heard of these dark dangerous forests in Germany where the witches live and also the half–goblins. We read the stories and were scared, “I will never go there—the dark forest of Germany.” [Laughter]

Similarly the cowherd boys, they would rarely even mention the name–Tālavan because this was the scariest place. Why? Because of Dhenukā. Dhenukā means ass. Dhenukāsura–ass-like demon. This is where he lived, and you just didn’t come here because he was a man-eater. He was not just any ordinary demon, he was a Rākṣasa. He loved eating men and he found that children would be particularly delicious. He loved the little boys; so cowherd boys wouldn’t even in their jokes mention Tālavan, because Dhenukāsura lived there.

One day they were in Mahāvana, which is the next forest over. While in Mahāvana, they were taking rest and a breeze came which carried the sweet smell of the Tāla fruit, which grew on the trees. There were lots of Tāla fruits. Nobody came here to eat them, only the Dhenukāsura and his other ass friends would eat that. But there was so much they couldn’t eat. As the scent came through, the boys woke up, “Mmm, Mmm,” and they wanted some of those fruits. And we will continue the story after the Bhajan [Laughter]. But this is the place where Balarāma killed His first demon. Kṛṣṇa was killing all the demons as before and Balarāma didn’t have a chance. This is a very, very special place, because Balarāma chased a lot of demons, but this was the place He killed His first demon—Dhenukāsura.

Like this, every place in Braja, which of the 60 billion holy places, has its special pastimes and special devotees, special characteristics, special Rasas, special mood. When we come to each of these individual places, we absorb ourselves in all of those specific characteristics of that holy place. Kṛṣṇa is called Manohara, one of His unlimited names. Manohara means who attracts the mind. The yoga process, including Bhakti yoga, means to control the mind. The mind is very restless, slipping off over all these material subject matters and things. We control our mind by fixing it on hearing in Vṛndāvan of the beautiful pastimes of the Lord. This is the best way to control the mind.  One day our minds and our hearts will be spontaneously attracted to all these wonderful pastimes of Kṛṣṇa. If we think of them day and night, then in that mood we will eventually follow one of the residents of Vṛndāvan in a particular mood, in a particular service. We will follow that and we will practice that and we become perfected, so in this way we will enter one day into the eternal pastimes in Śrī Vṛndāvan Dhām.

We control our mind also through deity worship, and we are very fortunate that here in Tālavan the presiding deity is Lord Balarāma. You can see Lord Balarāma here; He is in a blackish form. We think about, we always have our deities in ISKCON that are white but throughout Vṛndāvan generally, I see that the deities of Balarāma are also a dark color—black. Here is Balarāma and on His left, all white, is His wife Revatī, His girlfriend.

Balarāma means the source of unlimited strength, unlimited spiritual strength. You can pray to Daujī, Balarāma for unlimited spiritual strength to advance in Kṛṣṇa Consciousness because:

‘daivī hy eṣā guṇa-mayī mama māyā duratyayā’

[BG 7.14]

Even Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa admits that, “This material energy of mine is very difficult to overcome.” By the mercy of Balarāma we can overcome this powerful material energy.

Daujī means older brother, so on Daujī’s left is a little Deity of Kṛṣṇa playing His flute. This is a Kṛṣṇa Balarāma temple, much like the same mood we have in the ISKCON temple in Vṛndāvan. Prabhupāda chose to place Kṛṣṇa Balarāma at the center of our temple, because that is Ramaṇ Reti—the soft sand of Ramaṇ Reti where Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma also have many of Their transcendental pastimes. As I look at the crowd I can see you are becoming veteran Parikramis now. Devotees on Parikramā you all look very seasoned after several weeks: breathing in the dust of Vṛndāvan, walking on the dust, riding on the buses, getting a little sick, still coming out and relishing these pastimes. You look like seasoned Parikramā devotees now. Congratulations!

Do you know how to relish these Parikramās? We just engage in Śravaṇaṁ, Kīrtanaṁ, Kṛṣṇa Smaraṇaṁthat means by hearing and chanting we absorb ourselves in these Līlās of Kṛṣṇa, which is the essence of Vṛndāvan. Please relish every moment of this day here in the Tālavan forest. As we always do, we enter into the mood through a Kīrtana. Mādhava Prabhu will lead another one of his amazing kīrtanas and bhajans, and then we will have more kathā about Tālavan.

Tomorrow we have changed the schedule a little bit. Again, variety is the spice of life. Tomorrow we are going to Barśānā. You don’t want to miss that one. In Vilasgad, I have asked Śrī Prahlāda to give a lecture on Rādhārāṇī and her pastimes at Barśānā.

The next day actually is Prabhupāda’s disappearance day, but we are going to have a little special program ourselves, like we do as a little family here. So our Parikramā family will be going to the ashram of Durvāsā Muni and speaking the glories of Śrīla Prabhupāda, because it’s a very quiet, clean atmosphere next to Yamunā. I have chosen to take all of you on a boat-ride down to Durvāsā Muni’s ashram. There, we will speak the glories about our beloved Founder-Ācārya Śrīla Prabhupāda.

Not going too far ahead, next we will be going to Yavat and Caturātmā Prabhu will speak about the pastimes of Yavat and then we will walk to the beautiful fields of Vṛndāvan to Tera Kadamba and Ṭhākurāṇī is going to speak about the glories of Rūpa Gosvāmī. The next day we will be going on Govardhan Parikramā again. Haribol!

Girirāja Govardhana Bansi-vala ki–Jaya!

If you want a preview, there is a video up on my Facebook page and YouTube about the first GovardhanParikramā there, made by Ananta Vṛndāvan and it got so manyaround 20,000views. The next day is a very sad day, a very sad daya day for crying only. It’s a break day! [Laughter] No Parikramā. “Kṛṣṇa PAMAGI IIIII…..” [Russian word] [Laughter]. The next day we will be going to Gokula. We can have initiations, first and second and then Baḍa Hari Prabhu will give the initiation lecture. I asked, “Will you do the initiations?” But he said, “No!” [Laughter] I will stop there. There are still five or six more places, but we will just relish all the nectar up until that point. Okay, so let’s have a kīrtana in front of Daujī Kṛṣṇa–more nectar at Tālavan.

I want to mention one of my special friends came from Surat–one of my very best and closest friends in life. I remember when she was just a little girl. Now she is a big girl. Today is her birthday. She has come with family all the way here to Vṛndāvan on her birthday. Her family is coming to my house for a lunch. We are going to have a big chocolate cake for her birthday. So Vṛndā please stand up; give her a big round of applause on her 15th birthday. [Clapping, “Haribol!”]. Happy Birthday, Vṛndā! My gift to you, my prayers, and my blessing to you is that this will be your last birth in the material world and at the end of your life, you will go back to Goloka Vṛndāvan and be a Gopī.

Samādhi of Brahmānanda Prabhu – HH Śrīla Indradyumna Swami – Memories

Remembrance of Brahmānanda Prabhu

– By His Holiness Śrīla Indradyumna Swami

[Opening prayers…]

I thank Pañca-Gauḍa Prabhu and Gargamuni Prabhu for giving me the opportunity to speak so early in this ceremony. There is a common saying in society that, “You can judge the greatness of a person by how many people—or more important, who— attends their funeral or memorial service.” So as I look around here at this august assembly of Vaiṣṇavas and Vaiṣṇavīs, it’s very apparent what a wonderful and great devotee Brahmānanda Prabhu was and he has certainly earned this epitaph which is on his Samādhi: “Indisputably the favorite son of His Divine Grace ŚrīlaA.C. Bhakti-Vedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Kṛṣṇa Consciousness.”

We all have our personal stories of association with Brahmānanda Prabhu. For me, I see him as my Vartma-Pradarśaka-Guru. Gargamuni Prabhu remembers that in 1970 I was working at the University of Michigan—in Michigan, Detroit. I was wandering through the grounds and I came across a Kīrtana party of four very effulgent personalities: Viṣṇujana Swami, Subala Swami, Gargamuni Swami at the time, and Brahmānanda Swami. This is what it took to make me a devotee. [Laughter]. I am going to get to that. I was just swept up with their love and their devotion to Śrīla Prabhupāda more than anything else. Viṣṇujana Swami was giving a talk to the students when we walked up and then he asked for questions, and some of the students were arguing, as it was an intellectual university. But he defeated them one by one and they all went away, and just myself and my former wife were standing there, so Viṣṇujana Mahārāja said, “Come, and I will tell you about my spiritual master, Śrīla Prabhupāda.”

We sat down. He spoke for about a half an hour. And he said, “What do you think?” I said, “He is also my spiritual master now.” They were so potent, so powerful. Then, Brahmānanda was speaking to me, preaching to me, convincing me very quickly to become a devotee and he said, “Now, do you know where we can stay tonight?” So I said, “Well, we are staying in an apartment building that’s going to be condemned soon. People are living in a few apartments there, and there is an apartment next to us. You can stay there.” Then Brahmānanda Mahārāja said to Viṣṇujana Swami, “This nice young couple has invited us to stay with them, so we will stay there.” Then Mahārāja said, “What do you think?” Brahmānanda Mahārāja said, “Well, if we can have a nice feast, some nice Prasādam, we can stay with them.” [Laughter]

I said, “Okay, guys”—excuse me for my language, but that’s what I said—“Let’s go back to my apartment.” On the way, Brahmānanda looked at me and he said, “So do you have any money?” [Laughter]. I had just gotten my paycheck for working as a gardener at the University. I think it was around $455, so I said, “Yeah.” He said, “Give it to me.” He showed Gargamuni and Gargamuni nodded his head, so Brahmānanda said, “Sign the check.” I signed the check and then they cashed it at the supermarket and they spent every cent—every single penny of that paycheck—on the bhoga for the feast they were going to cook at our apartment. They cooked it and I think Gargamuni was cooking and Viṣṇujana Mahārāja was cooking and Brahmānanda Prabhu was waiting.

We sat down to take Prasādam, and me and my former wife—we had been on a fast for 20 days, because in those days, you know, spiritual life meant fasting and meditating and everything. I am thinking “How I am going to eat this feast?” Now it’s cooked, it’s offered, and everyone is sitting down there. I said, “No-no, we are fasting.” Brahmānanda Prabhu said, “No, you are not.” [Laughter]. If you knew him, he could be very heavy. I sometimes remember him as you know, strong as a thunderbolt and soft like a rose. For myself, he was always very soft like a rose, but this one occasion, he just pulled me into Kṛṣṇa Consciousness. He said, “No, you are going to eat.” And I broke a fast—a 20 day fast—with a huge feast.” And I survived. [Laughter].

As we were taking Prasādam, I noticed that in the time it took me to eat one plate, he ate five plates. [Laughter]. In the end, he looked at me and said, “This is Kṛṣṇa Consciousness.” [Laughter].

You know, with Gargamuni’s management, and Subala’s serving everything, and Viṣṇujana’s lectures, and Brahmānanda’s brotherly love, I became a devotee, so he is one of the persons who showed me the path of Kṛṣṇa Consciousness. I can honestly say I would not be here today without his and those other Prabhus’ mercy so this is why I have come to offer my gratitude to Brahmānanda Prabhu. Through the years, we would meet, from time to time.

A couple of years ago, I came here to the temple and I came in just before the Bhāgavatam class had started, and Brahmānanda Prabhu was giving the class and as I walked in he said, “Oh, Indradyumna Swami has come.” And he stood up and he sat down on the floor, and he said, “You give the class.” I was so embarrassed, because here is the person who had made me a devotee, who convinced me to give up material life, to take shelter of Śrīla Prabhupāda, and although he was a well-known personality and deserves so much respect, he showed genuine humility by stepping down and asking me to give the class. He was instructing us in so many ways. Another wonderful attribute that I remember about Brahmānanda Prabhu is his deep love and deep affection for Śrīla Prabhupāda. I think in all our minds this is what stands out probably most. That was demonstrated without exception, whenever Brahmānanda Prabhu would give a class about his memories of Śrīla Prabhupāda. Inevitably, sometime during the speaking he would cry. Tears would come to his eyes. This of course you know is the perfection of Kṛṣṇa Consciousness, when we can feel some deeper emotion and actually tears can come to the eyes, expressing our love for Hari, Guru, and Vaiṣṇava.

As Brahmānanda Prabhu would cry whenever he would speak about Śrīla Prabhupāda and it was never sentiment, it was based on deep realization of who Śrīla Prabhupāda was; it was based on the purification he had achieved as the result of serving Prabhupāda. They were genuine tears of spiritual love for Śrīla Prabhupāda. In the same way, love is always reciprocal. It’s never a one-way street, it’s always reciprocal. It brings to mind one pastime of Śrīla Prabhupāda when he was flying somewhere with one of his secretaries. I forget who the secretary was, he told me the story, but old age affects our memory. Prabhupāda’s secretary told me that he was flying with Śrīla Prabhupāda somewhere in the world and he was opening Śrīla Prabhupāda’s mail and reading it to Śrīla Prabhupāda, as was the custom or the tradition. One of the letters he opened was from Brahmānanda Mahārāja who at the time was preaching in Africa of all places. What a challenge to go to Africa and spread Kṛṣṇa Consciousness!

But along with the instruction of the spiritual master comes the ability to fulfill it, so because he was such a surrendered soul to Śrīla Prabhupāda he was successful against all odds in Africa. Prabhupāda understood this and as Prabhupāda’s secretary was reading Brahmānanda Prabhu’s report about his preaching, the secretary told me Prabhupāda started crying; tears. At the end of the reading, he said, “Brahmānanda has done so much for me. He has sacrificed his very life for me.” Prabhupāda was crying. So this is love, and the love is demonstrated, the genuine symptoms are there. As Brahmānanda cried out of love for Śrīla Prabhupāda, Śrīla Prabhupāda would cry out of love for his disciple. This gives us a glimpse of how deep is the relationship.

When he passed away, naturally in our community, devotees asked the question, “Where did he go?” We can’t speculate like that, but:

yaṁ yaṁ vāpi smaran bhāvaṁ

tyajaty ante kalevaram

[BG 8.6]

“Our next destination is determined by our Consciousness at the moment of death.” No one can doubt where Brahmānanda Prabhu’s consciousness was when he passed away. It’s where it always was—at the lotus feet of Śrīla Prabhupāda. Wherever Śrīla Prabhupāda is, whether he is continuing his preaching mission somewhere in this material world or he is engaging in his NityaSevā in the spiritual world, I have no doubt and I am sure none of you have any doubts, that’s where Brahmānanda Prabhu is. So our loss is their gain. As Gargamuni Prabhu was saying, these ceremonies are simultaneously emotionally difficult, but very joyful as well. As Bhaktivinode wrote that famous verse which is on the Samādhi Mandir of Haridāsa Ṭhākur in Purī: “He reasons ill who says that Vaiṣṇavas die, when thou art living still in sound! A Vaiṣṇava dies to live and while living tries to spread the Holy Name around!”

I am convinced that Brahmānanda Prabhu is with Śrīla Prabhupāda; it can only be because that’s where his heart always was, so that is very joyful. We miss his association. For so many years now, we have been coming to Vṛndāvan, we would always come to his talks in the evening at the temple, and he would recount about Prabhupāda.

We miss him, but we hope that we can become as qualified as he was, as wonderful a servant of our spiritual master as he was, have as much love for his spiritual master as he did, and be as capable of rendering incredible service, like Africa and pioneer preaching in New York, etc., etc. I think we can truly give him another epitaph; this is one here, but I think for any ISKCON devotee, probably the most important title we could ever give a devotee, we can give it to Brahmānanda Prabhu: “He was definitely a Prabhupāda Man.”

Brahmānanda Prabhu ki Jaya!

Śrīla Prabhupāda ki Jaya!

Worldwide ISKCON ki Jaya!

Gaura-Premanande Hari Haribol!