Śrī-Śrī Rādhā Gopīnātha Temple, Jaipur -HG Mālati Mataji – Lecture; Indradyumna Swami’s Parikrama -2015

Memories of Śrīla Prabhupāda

– By Her Grace Mālati Mataji


As most of you must already know, this year marks the 50th year anniversary of the departure of Śrīla Prabhupāda from India and his subsequent arrival in America. This has resulted in many amazingly wonderful celebrations.

One of the most amazing celebrations occurred in Calcutta on the day of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s  departure from Calcutta Port on August 13th but 50 years later. The devotees set-up a very daring plan. Generally such ambitious plans take years of planning. But they literally pulled it off with about two and half months. They hired the enormous Netaji Stadium found in Calcutta which is famous for having a capacity of 13,000 people.  They planned to fill the stadium to its full capacity twice, in one day; in other words, hosting a morning program of 13,000 devotees and then an independent evening program, consisting of another 13,000 devotees. This amounts to 26,000 devotees!  The goal would be more readily attainable if the program was free, but the guests were asked to pay. Concern crossed their minds a few times and they wondered, “Maybe we have gone a little bit beyond our ability here.” They had very ambitiously invited devotees from 125 countries around the world. These countries represented the presence of ISKCON. The devotees orchestrated this whole plan to celebrate Prabhupāda’s departure. Embedded in their plan was to enter the Guinness book of records on two accounts. One was by having the most people from the most countries partaking in a single yoga session. And the second was by having the largest choir with the most number of people from different countries. Bhakti yoga was the yoga session and the Hare Kṛṣṇa Mahamantra chanting was the choir.

However, the topmost reason was to honor and celebrate Śrīla Prabhupāda’s remarkable success in departing from India. Countless devotees came, including a large number of  Sannyāsīs such as: Bhakti Charu Mahārāja, Rādhānath Mahārāja, Jayapatākā Mahārāja, Bhakti Purshottama Mahārāja and many others. Numerous top name local and national political heads attended the celebration out of personal belief and conviction in Śrīla Prabhupāda—that he had, indeed, done something great. They weren’t hiding their appreciation. However, as is prone in India the law was broken by over-occupying the stadium. On both occasions the full capacity of 13,000 was reached, but 15,000 devotees were given entrance—thereby a total of 30,000 devotees attended both events! This excludes the thousands of people who were so eager to honor Śrīla Prabhupāda, but were reluctantly turned away. The Calcutta celebration was like the kickoff ceremony for—the 50th year of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s departure from India. About a week and a half later—in Houston, Texas, USA—the next ceremony took place. It was not as large, but it was enthusiastic. Following this was the arrival ceremony in Boston.

The celebration in Boston was great because that is where Śrīla Prabhupāda first stepped off the boat Jaladuta that brought him to America. They had an unbelievable day of activities that began with the Mayor of Boston reading a letter which proclaimed that that day is to be A.C. Bhaktivedanta Day in Boston. For the first time the Indian flag was raised in Boston. All over Boston they knew that that day was Bhaktivedanta Swami Day. Next, a grand Harinām with Śrīla Prabhupāda’s Murti (full-size Murti) proceeded and a large pandal was constructed in the well-known park called The Boston Commons. Śrīla Prabhupāda used to take his morning walk in that very same park.  And then Giriraj Swami, who is an alumnus of Boston, gave the Bhāgavatam class on the pandal in the park. Then a second Harinām went from the park to the dock where Śrīla Prabhupāda stepped off the Jaladuta. And there was a great boat that allowed 900 devotees to climb aboard. Not everybody could fit onto the boat as there were more than 900 devotees but the devotees filled the boat, along with Śrīla Prabhupāda, and for 3 hours we sailed around the Boston Harbor, seeing how it was for Śrīla Prabhupāda to first enter and what he was seeing when he first arrived in America. During this period there were memories of Śrīla Prabhupāda such as Kīrtana and Gurupuja. Many senior devotees were present. Then we got off the boat and began the Harinām back to the Commons park. The reason I’m telling this story is because this morning the chanting was so blissful with Baḍa Hari Prabhu. It was such a blissful Kīrtana and during the Kīrtana you were feeling as if you somehow got lifted into a transcendental realm; and of course you’re in Govinda’s courtyard, so everybody is a devotee and I was seeing the monkeys, the pigeons, and the peacocks—all as devotees. It’s a beautiful vision.

In the Harinām from the boat back to the Boston Commons there was very intense chanting, but joyfully intense and there were many chanters, but Chandramauli Swami and Mahavishnu Swami from the UK were the main ones. Trivikrama Swami who’s quite elderly also became enlivened—and so did other younger devotees.  And sometimes in America when you have a Harinām, people aren’t always as happy to see you as you would like them to be. But somehow, on that day, Prabhupāda’s mercy was flowing outside of the Harinām. And everybody was just smiling and usually what happens on Harinām, is that devotees aren’t always so considerate and take up the whole side walk, right? And people get a little annoyed. But, on that day, they were just happily jumping aside and looking with such pleasure at this beautiful chanting. It was a Saturday. Boston is a touristic place; there was beautiful weather, and so many people were out.  We would stop in places and chant for a while and then move on. At one point you couldn’t tell the so-called spectators from the so-called devotees. Everybody was looking just like a devotee. There was just no distinction and when I saw that, I started laughing because it was such a wonderful thing. So the Kīrtana this morning was reminding me of that wonderful experience.

Somehow by Śrīla Prabhupāda’s extreme kindness and mercy, I got to come along with the group of devotees who came here to Jaipur, probably because my husband was the secretary that helped. So there was an amazing pandal program, an outdoor program that was arranged and it was right on the grounds of Govindaji Mandir. And the extraordinary thing for that occasion was that we had done pandal programs before, but the devotees always had to go out to gather, raise and beg for the money. And you know it was quite an effort to finance one of those programs and dozens of devotees would be involved.

This particular program was organized with Prabhupāda’s permission by two ladies, Her Grace Kauśalyā Devi Dāsī and Her Grace Śrīmatī Devī Dāsī. And they had come to Jaipur and they noticed the amazing mood—which is still here, that amazing mood—but it didn’t have all the commotion that’s there now. There were no motorcycles, cars, subways and trains overhead. It was a quietly, beautifully different city. When they came for their first Maṅgala Āratī to Govinda’s and they saw all the people just literally running—you know, you see in the morning when you come to Maṅgala Āratī, people are running to get in and we just felt so inspired to see this extreme devotion—they thought we must bring Prabhupāda here.

In the olden days there was not much of the tourism industry that is going on now. So being  Western devotees in India was a very unusual sight—especially dressed in Sāri and tilak. It was very unusual, like never seen before. We were so strange to them that sometimes they would come up and they would take their finger and rub it on our hand or arm and look to see if we were painted white—like, they wanted to see if color would come off. So these two girls were noticed by the population here and of course all they could talk about was Śrīla Prabhupāda. And some of the leading people came to meet them and they told them their desire; they expressed, “We have a desire to bring our Guru here.” And they told him, “He has books—published books, we have temples around the world.” You know, so they were intrigued that they wanted to meet Bhaktivedanta Swami. So they agreed, “Yes, we will do something.” And they contacted Śrīla Prabhupāda to request permission. You know they couldn’t invite him to do a program unless he agreed. And he gave the permission. So it was the people of the town who really were helping these two ladies pull off a wonderful event. And they were the ones who assisted in the financing and helped introduce them to the important people they needed to make contact with in order to ensure that this was a very first class operation.

So when you first go through the gates of  Govinda’s Mandir—on the left side—when you go through the final arch—on the left—if you look a little bit there is a gazebo—a round outdoor enclosed canopy.

It was enclosed, but it was round and it had like a temple dome top with lattice work all around and then there was a veranda. Many of the buildings you see now came after. They are newer buildings but that gazebo stood on its own! Śrīla Prabhupāda lived in there and continued his work from that little enclosure. Shyāmsundar, that was my husband, lived with him and one servant. And the rest of us stayed in very elegant Dharma-śālās. Our Dharma-śālās were just up the road. And they were cement rooms—just cement—the walls, the floor, the ceiling, with straw. So that was it, you just brought your own bedding, and you slept on the straw on the floor. No private room. Of course the men had their own room. And then there was one small room with just a water tap—that was the bathroom. And it was very cold because it was January. This place gets very cold in January. But we weren’t seeing any disadvantage because we felt so blessed to be here with Śrīla Prabhupāda in this wonderful place.

When Śrīla Prabhupāda arrived, the plan was to have a grand procession and take him through all the main streets in town. So they wanted to get an elephant. Because we had seen in different types of situations when the great person was being honored like a big yogi or something, they would have him on an elephant. But there was some other things going on and all the elephants were booked. So then they thought, “Well, if he can’t get an elephant, one of those beautiful silver horse-drawn carts with a beautiful white horse—that would look very good.” But it was wedding season. All the white horses were booked. What we ended up with was a bullock cart with a very old white bullock missing one horn.

You know, Prabhupāda, he didn’t need elephants and white horses, he didn’t need it actually. He has such a beautiful presence himself, that his presence would eclipse anything else. And I remember the devotees were apologetic, because at least we were going to have the parade; you know, we had the procession, but they were apologetic—you know what they were like… And Prabhupāda just, he took a look, and then he got on the cart and he sat in a very, as he would, straight-backed position. And I was at the back of the cart but for some reason I was thinking, “I’d like to be on that cart with Śrīla Prabhupāda.” And I didn’t usually think like this. But I was at that moment, “I would like to be on that cart with Śrīla Prabhupāda.”  And then Śrīla Prabhupāda turned to me and he said, “Where is Sarasvatī?” Well, Sarasvatī was my child; she was a small girl at that time. And he said, “Bring her.” So my daughter got to ride with Śrīla Prabhupāda. And as a mother, I felt completely satisfied. Just like when King Prataprudra wanted to meet Lord Caitanya but Lord Caitanya refused him, then Lord Caitanya asked for his son and blessed his son and the King Prataprudra felt very satisfied.

One, two things: you know, there were so many things that went on but my service actually was that I was Prabhupāda’s cook and the house cleaner. So for me everything was based on making sure I somehow or other could adequately do my service under the circumstance, which also included taking care of my husband and my daughter and the other lady devotees. So we would all run down, we would join all of the Jaipur devotees running to Maṅgala Āratī in the morning. And then we would chant rounds and every morning, Śrīla Prabhupāda sat with us and chanted the Govindam prayers: “Govindam Ādi purusham …tamaham bhajami” so that was very beautiful.

Śrī Gopīnātha ki Jaya!

Thank you very much, Hare Kṛṣṇa!


Śrī-Śrī Rādhā Govinda Temple, Jaipur -HH Śrīla Indradyumna Swami – Lecture

Pastimes of Govindajī

– By His Holiness Śrīla Indradyumna Swami

Before we begin I’d like to introduce you to two very wonderful disciples of Śrīla Prabhupāda who’ve joined us this morning. They’re going to be with us for a few days. My dear Godbrother, HG Batu Gopāla Prabhu, whom I originally met in New York. He used to preach to me; he helped make me a devotee. He used to engage me in helping him paint the temple when I was a new BhaktaBhakta Brian. I still remember his classes on Īśopaniṣad and I still remember going out on the streets of Detroit with a bright white head just shaved up and new crisp white dhoti and he was leading, playing mṛdungas, “Oḿ pūrṇam adaḥ pūrṇam idaḿ pūrṇāt…”

In time we went our separate ways, I was always so inspired. I always considered him light years ahead of me in Kṛṣṇa Consciousness and with his wonderful wife, they raised two beautiful daughters, pure devotees of the Lord already in their young age in Kṛṣṇa Consciousness. And he’s come to Jaipur for his first time, so we get to serve him now and show him the wonderful sights of this beautiful city. So please offer him all the help he may need while he’s with us on our Parikramā, offer him all the respect and adoration that he deserves. If it wasn’t of him I might not be sitting here. Batu Gopāla Prabhu ki Jaya!!!

Another devotee maybe doesn’t even need an introduction, a very, very famous devotee who did so much personal service for Śrīla Prabhupāda. You see her in many of the old photos with Śrīla Prabhupāda. She was here in Jaipur cooking for Śrīla Prabhupāda when he visited here: Mother Malati Prabhu. She had so much personal association with Śrīla Prabhupāda. She will share some of the wonderful pastimes she had with Śrīla Prabhupāda here in Jaipur a little later. She’s done many wonderful services. We could go on for many hours. She’s a member of the GBC, watch out! And of course she’s joined with her beloved Godsister, my Godsister, Śītala Devī Dāsī. She came all the way from Vṛndāvan down with us here; she made it. I was praying to Kṛṣṇa and all the incarnations that she would make it, especially Dhanvantari. And Manyu Prabhu came down with us from Vṛndāvan, as well, with his son. And Kalasamvara Prabhu is here. Caturātmā Prabhu is here. Did I get everybody? Ah, Baḍa-Hari Prabhu. Well, you know Baḍa-Hari Prabhu. I think I’m here, too. All us old guys are having senior moments. We’re forgetting everything! And Uttamaśloka, my favorite translator, has joined us from Vaikunthaloka.

[oṁ ajñāna-timirāndhasya …prayers]

I will start speaking without further ado, because it’s going to get pretty hot in about 45 minutes or an hour; and we want to take a little Prasādam and our plan is later in the morning to go over to the Rādhā Govinda temple, or the Rādhā Gopīnātha temple. We have come to Jaipur. The name Jaipur literally means the “City of Victory”. Why this very beautiful city was given this name we will reveal later on in our talk this morning. But for the moment, for now, I’d like all of you to meditate on exactly where we are in the middle of this very beautiful garden, this very beautiful complex here at the famous RādhāGovinda temple.

If you could go up in the air, well you can with our drone, if you go up in the air and look down, you would see this temple more or less is situated exactly in the middle of this big city. There’s a reason for this. The reason is that for the people of this city, Jaipur, the most important Person in the city, the most important Person in the country, the most important Person in the world, the most important Person in the creation, lives here with His eternal consort. Can you guess who the most important Person in creation is and who is His eternal consort?—The most important Person in the material creation and the most important Person in the spiritual world is ŚrīŚrī RādhāGovinda and His eternal consort, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī.

It was planned in exactly that same way. This city had a specific plan about 300 years ago. The king himself actually became the architect of this city and he started on this big blank page and the first thing he did was put the temple of Govindajī right in the center of the city, and he put his quarters right beside the temple. Every morning when he’d wake up, the first Darśana he’d have would be the lotus feet of his Iṣṭadeva, Govindajī. In other words the city of Jaipur was planned with the worship of Govindajī in mind. There’s a saying in the West, in Europe, in Italy: “All roads lead to Rome.” You could say here in Jaipur, “All roads, all hearts, all minds lead to this beautiful temple of RādhāGovinda.”

How this all came about?—This history which all Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas just love to recount and to hear, I’ll explain this morning in summary, because I gave a similar talk a few years ago. It was actually when I looked in my notes, it was 47 pages, so I reduced it to nine. But we will get the essence, and that’s important about the history of Govinda. Actually here they say Govindajī, and those of you are Indian know that “ji” is affectionate. Kṛṣṇa in Vṛndāvan is very easy to approach, He is very loving, He has Rasa with His devotees, so there is an intimate relationship, so we are allowed to call the Lord “ji”, Govindajī, the locals call Him Govindajī.

This history of Govindajī goes back 5,000 years just after the departure of Lord Kṛṣṇa from this planet back to the spiritual world. Kṛṣṇa’s departure from the Earth is called MauṣalaLīlā. Actually, many of you are maybe just hearing this word, this phrase for the first time: MauṣalaLīlā. How many of you are familiar with this term, MauṣalaLīlā? One devotee! Probably, because he reads the Eleventh Canto of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. Kṛṣṇa’s departure from this Earth planet is called MauṣalaLīlā and is described in the first few chapters of the eleventh canto of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. We don’t hear much about Kṛṣṇa’s departure. Of course, Śrīla Prabhupāda does touch upon it in various purports throughout the Bhāgavatam, because it is a Līlā of Kṛṣṇa. But you very rarely if ever hear our Gurus, our Sannyāsī or esteemed Bhāgavatam speakers lecturing about it or what to speak extensively about Kṛṣṇa’s leaving this world. On our Vaiṣṇava calendar, there’s never, I’ve never seen a disappearance day festival for Lord Kṛṣṇa.

His appearance is celebrated in a magnificent way, but you never say, “Oh, today is Kṛṣṇa’s disappearance. Let’s have a festival.” Never mentioned. No one even talks about it. We sometimes celebrate the disappearance day of great devotees, but we never celebrate the disappearance of the Lord. Why? Well, at present we’re all so busy trying to revive our lost relationship with Kṛṣṇa, what to speak, you know, we don’t want to think about Him leaving our lives. We’re trying to reconnect with Him. The word religion comes from the Latin word ‘religiō which means to literally reconnect. To reconnect to what, with God, with Kṛṣṇa.

Prabhupāda says the word “yoga” has the same connotation, the same meaning, to connect with the Absolute Truth. So generally, we don’t like to talk about Kṛṣṇa’s departure. We’re meditating all the time on meeting Him again: ‘Jagannātha svāmī nayana pathagāmī bhavatu me’.…Oh Lord of the Universe, kindly be visible to me. So we’re just aspiring devotees and we think in this way; imagine if you’re an advanced devotee, you’ve had Kṛṣṇa’s association, and He disappears from your life. What is that like? Logic tells us that as much as you’re attached to something when you lose that thing, to the same degree you feel separation.

A mundane example, you know, if you lose your Gamshā —it’s okay; but if you lose your watch in the bathroom, then “Woah!” You know, the separation is more intense, because of the attachment. The advanced devotees, especially the devotees on the highest platform, Uttama-Adhikārīs, pure devotees of the Lord, who have KṛṣṇaPrema, how do they experience the separation of the Lord? It’s no mystery; it’s described by Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu in His Śikṣāṣṭakam prayers. Something He is preparing us for at some point in our progress in Kṛṣṇa Consciousness. “Oh Govinda, feeling your separation, I am considering a moment to be like twelve years or more. Tears are flowing from my eyes like torrents of rain. I am feeling all vacant in the world in your absence.”

One time ŚrīlaPrabhupāda was giving Darśana on the grass at New Māyāpura in France. And he was speaking on the subject matter about how the pure devotee, he just sees Kṛṣṇa everywhere. He sees Kṛṣṇa in everything, he’s always with Kṛṣṇa. Oh, he was elaborating, giving analogies, examples and then about 45 minutes later, he finished and said, “So are there any questions?” So I just wanted to get Prabhupāda’s attention, so I thought up a question. I said, “Prabhupāda, you—” I raised my hand, he said, “Yes”—I said, “Your speaking how the pure devotee sees Kṛṣṇa everywhere, but in His Śikṣāṣṭakam prayers, Lord Caitanya says that He’s feeling separation from Kṛṣṇa, He doesn’t feel the Lord’s presence. He’s suffering in that way, how do we—it seems contradictory.” So Prabhupāda looked at me for a moment and [acting out Prabhupāda]. He started to explain, he said, “Yes, the Lord goes away to make His devotee mad for Him.” And then he paused and looked at me a little closer and said, “But anyway these things you will understand one day when you are very advanced. We will not discuss this anymore.”

This is a subject matter for very elevated devotees, but we can appreciate that the residents of Vṛndāvan in particular because they were so attached to Kṛṣṇa, when He left, they felt so much separation. There were devotees all over India, all over the planet, there were devotees in Dwarka, devotees in Mathurā, devotees in Vṛndāvan but they all had a common trait amongst them: that was they all loved Kṛṣṇa more than anyone’s ever been loved before.

When Kṛṣṇa left, we can hardly imagine their pangs of separation. So the ruler of Vṛndāvan, the executive king of Vraja Maṇḍala, of that area of India, of the surrounding areas, was actually Kṛṣṇa’s grandson at the time that Kṛṣṇa left this world. His name was Vajranābha. So as a ruler he was very concerned for his people, the ruler has to take care of the material needs and the spiritual needs of the population and he was a devotee, so he was feeling “How will all these devotees that are literally dying in separation, what can I do to appease them, to satisfy them? Our beloved Lord has left. What can I do? They’re just crying. No one’s doing any service, no one’s moving, no one is hardly even breathing. They’re just crying.”

Fortunately, for them and for us and for the countless generations that will come in the future, he came up with a great idea. He decided to supervise the carving of and the installation of different Forms of Kṛṣṇa according to different places where Kṛṣṇa performed His pastimes throughout Vṛndāvan. This is a good idea, because as we know, the Deity form of the Lord is non-different from the Lord. As the young brāhmaṇa said to SākṣiGopāla when he met Him in Vṛndāvan, he said, “My dear Lord, you are not a statue. You are directly the son of Mahārāja Nanda.Any devotee who approaches the Lord sincerely, and engages in service to the Arcā-vigraha, the Murti of the Lord, then by His mercy, by the mercy of Guru and Gaurāṅga, even in the neophyte stage that devotee feels or experiences His presence.

Vajranābha, he personally supervised the carving of eight Deities. Now bear in mind he was the grandson of Kṛṣṇa, he knew what Kṛṣṇa looked like. So he personally supervised the carving. That’s better than a photograph. He personally was with the Lord, he knew the mood of the Lord, he knew the Līlās of the Lord, he knew the countenance of the Lord, everything about the Lord, so he watched the carving of each Deity. He sat and, “No, no, move that there—okay, ah, perfect! Place that Deity at GovindaKuṇḍa, place that Deity at Vaṁśīvaṭa, place that Deity at SevāKunja”, like that. Whatever the mood of the Lord was in a particular Līlā, he established the Deities there. All, these eight Deities were around Vraja.

He supervised the beautiful carving of :

  • Govindajī;
  • Harideva, which is the Deity worshipped at Govardhana Hill;
  • BaladevaDaujī, which is another Deity, we passed on our Parikramā on Govardhana Hill;
  • Keśava, a Deity who has unfortunately disappeared;
  • Śrī Gopāla, who Madhavendra Purī found also at Govardhana, is now worshipped as Śrīnathaji;
  • SasksiGopāla, I mentioned briefly;
  • Madana-Mohana, we visited that temple of Madana-Mohana; and
  • Gopīnātha—later in the morning, we’re going to go see Gopīnātha.

All these Deities were carved and the dresses were made and the ornaments were made and the installation was done and they were established very nicely, and different devotees who had different moods would come and worship the Lord in these different parts. Something was there: “Ah, okay, Kṛṣṇa has left but He is present here in His arcā-vigraha form.” They were appeased somewhat. Prabhupāda said in New Dvārakā­ when he was installing the little RādhāKṛṣṇa Deities, “If you serve these Deities nicely according to all the rules and regulations,” he said in his lecture, “One day, these Deities will speak to you.” The devotees in VrajaMaṇḍala, they would be somewhat appeased. Unfortunately, after the Lord disappeared, well you know what happened. The sun set so to speak. And the dark age of KaliYuga began. With the disappearance of the Lord, immediately the dark age of Kali Yuga began.

Foreign invaders began descending in India, plundering the wealth of this country, just destroying much of its heritage. In particular, Muslim invaders would destroy temples and Deities. So during this time, this dark time in Vaiṣṇava culture, devotees had to hide their beloved Deities. Can you imagine? Many of you have Deities. It came to the point where you couldn’t worship your Deities anymore because the invaders were coming plundering your town, breaking your temple. You had to go somewhere and hide your Deities and never know what the future would be. What would that be [like]?

These eight Deities were hidden by Their devotees, by their pujaris, and they hid Them in the bushes, in the jungle., Sometimes they placed Them in lakes or ponds, they’d submerge Them in the water. Sometimes, they’d dig big holes in the Earth and bury Them in the Earth and create a secret map and give it to somebody to keep, to some grandmother, you know, it was all very secretive. The Deities were hidden and after time went on, people pretty much forgot where the Deities were. So it looks like that’s the end.

But as we all experience in Kṛṣṇa Consciousness, or if you’re new to Kṛṣṇa Consciousness, you will experience in Kṛṣṇa Consciousness, no matter how sad the story is, in our lives, in our community, in our organization, ultimately there’s always a happy ending. Last year one of my dear God-brothers, BimalaPrasāda, passed away and I was really lamenting. And one of my friends said, “No, he reasons ill who says that a Vaiṣṇava dies, when thou art living still in sound. A Vaiṣṇava dies to live and while living tries to spread the Holy Name around. Don’t lament for Bimala, he is in a better position now.” I went, “Haribol!” There’s always a happy ending in Kṛṣṇa Consciousness. This is a transcendental movement. If we’re sincere and we’re practicing nicely, eventually everything becomes auspicious.

In this particular case, this particular history where all these very famous Deities carved by—you could say installed by—Vajranābha and worshipped by the residents of Vṛndāvan, then hidden in lakes and ponds and under the Earth—They were rediscovered by the very plan of the Lord Himself. He felt it so important these Deities be rediscovered and worshipped for the benefit of the world. He made a plan Himself that They could all be rediscovered. Who is that Lord Who made this plan?

kṛṣṇa-varnam tvishakṛṣṇam


yajñaih sankirtana-prayair

yajanti hi su-medhasah

Kṛṣṇa came in this age as Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. And part of His plan for spreading Kṛṣṇa Consciousness throughout India and eventually the world was initially to set up a spiritual headquarters in none other than Śrī VṛndāvanDhām, to revive the glories of Vṛndāvan. Because 4,500 years into this inauspicious age of Kali Yuga, externally, to the external vision, Vṛndāvan had become just overgrown; it had become like a jungle, just a few old Bābās living there, chanting, but it was covered. Of course, it’s never covered. It’s always the spiritual world, but it appeared like that.


Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu called upon His most intimate disciples (the six Gosvāmīs of Vṛndāvan) to whom He revealed everything in various ways and gave them various service: “Go to Vṛndāvan! Write books on the science of Kṛṣṇa Consciousness. Rediscover the lost places of Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes. Build temples and install Deities.” He was building the framework for an international movement that we know eventually manifested from Prabhupāda’s heart as the International Society for Kṛṣṇa Consciousness.

Six Gosvāmīs of Vṛndāvan ki Jaya! ISKCON ki Jaya!

Those six Gosvāmīs: Rūpa, Sanātana, Jīva, Gopāla Bhaṭṭa, Raghunātha Dāsa, and Raghunātha Bhaṭṭa all made their way to Śrī VṛndāvanDhām in due course of time. They didn’t all come together as a group. It’s a long history, but they all made it. So how they succeeded in this one particular instruction of reestablishing temples and Deity worship, actually it’s very mystical. Most of the time instead of finding these lost Deities, these Deities found them. I believe Caturātmā told the story of how Sanātana Gosvāmī found Madana-Mohan? We heard that pastime.

Jīva Gosvāmī received his Deity Dāmodara from the hand of Rūpa Gosvāmī. Rūpa Gosvāmī carved RādhāDāmodara very intricately, very beautifully and gave that Deity to Jīva Gosvāmī. As all of you know famously, Gopāla Bhaṭṭa, one of his Śālagrām Śilās mysteriously, mystically manifested as RādhāRamana. Madhu Paṇḍita, he was chanting japa near Sevā Kunja in Vaṁśīvaṭa where Kṛṣṇa would play His flute, and came, moving some brush aside, he found Gopīnātha, who had been hidden by the pujaris thousands of years ago, so it’s quite amazing.

All these Gosvāmīs, in one way or another established temples and worship. Only Govindajī had not revealed Himself yet to Rūpa Gosvāmī. It’s described that he would sometimes wander through different parts of Vṛndāvan, different villages, looking for Kṛṣṇa, looking for Govindajī. In his transcendental madness, he would ask the villagers or the Sādhus, “Have you seen Govindajī? Have you seen the Lord of my heart?” So time went on and Kṛṣṇa says in Gītā: “yoga-kṣemaṁ vahāmy ahamFor my devotee, I protect whatever he has, and I provide whatever he requires for his sevā, for his service.” So one day, the feelings of separation in the heart of Rūpa Gosvāmī caused the Lord to reciprocate fully with His devotee.

“All of them as they surrender unto Me I reward them accordingly.” If you surrender 25% to Kṛṣṇa, He’ll reveal to you 25%. 50%-50%, 100%-100%, He’ll give His very self to you. So one day not far from the Yamunā in a little Kunja, a little hilly area, Rūpa Gosvāmī came to the point of total desperation, “Govindajī! Govindajī! Govindajī”, crying, crying. Suddenly, a little boy appeared, a little cowherd boy, “Bābā, why are you crying? Are you hungry?” As Kṛṣṇa famously says to many Sādhus, “No one in my village goes hungry.” So Rūpa Gosvāmī looked up, “Your village? You’re a six-year-old boy. I have serious things to think about. Go play with your friends.” But the little boy, he insisted, he sat down next to Rūpa Gosvāmī, put his hand on his knees, “Bābā. Tell me why you’re so sad.” So for whatever reason, Rūpa Gosvāmī revealed his heart to that cowherd boy.

He said, “You know, all the other Gosvāmīs and so many Sādhus, they had fulfilled the instruction of Caitanya Mahāprabhu to establish worship of Deities here in Vṛndāvan, but I haven’t found my Govindajī, and I don’t know where he is.” The little boy said, “Bābā, I know where your Govindajī is.” So Rūpa said, “You know where my Govindajī is?” “Yes,” the boy said, “I know, because I sport in all these fields of Vṛndāvan. With my friends and with my cows, I go here, I go there, I go everywhere. I know Vṛndāvan very well. I know everyone in Vṛndāvan, I know every place in Vṛndāvan. I know everything about Vṛndāvan.” So Rūpa’s kind of like, “What?” But there was something special about this boy. In the Bible it says, “From the mouth of a child”—especially this child.

The boy said, “You know, Bābā, every time I come down here near the Yamunā I noticed on that little hill out there (there was a little hill there) every day one beautiful cow, like Surabhī cow, she comes and she walks up that little hill and she pauses for a moment and it appears that she becomes overwhelmed with intense emotion. And that Bhāva, that love, causes milk to pour from her utter into a hole in the ground at the top of that little hill. It seems almost like a pastime to me.” And then the boy walked away.

Well, this got Rūpa Gosvāmī thinking, “The little boy knows where my Govindajī is. What is the connection and what is the mystery behind the cow pouring milk?” He is most intelligent. Next day he went to that place and he went behind a tree and he watched that Surabhī cow and sure enough, she climbed up that little hill and at one moment, she  emptied all her milk…Then she went away and so Rūpa Gosvāmī came. That whole area was soaked with milk. He noticed that in that hole there was a little protruding—it looked like a topknot on the head of a Deity. You see on the old Deities sometimes how they have a little topknot, like representing Kṛṣṇa’s hair tied up like that. If you look closely—I looked, I got to go in just this morning and I saw closely, Kṛṣṇa has a topknot. I was thinking, “That’s the same topknot that Rūpa Gosvāmī saw!” And he saw a topknot, and he kind of brushed away like that and he saw the beautiful beaming face of Govindajī and he fainted in ecstasy.

Govindajī found him in the form of the cowherd boy, Kṛṣṇa. So he immediately stood up, “Hey, everybody! I found Govindajī. Come help me get Him out of the ground.” He’s in the middle of the forest, there’s no one around. But Kṛṣṇa is in the heart of every living entity, He is especially dear to the residents of Vṛndāvan, so in the heart of the residents of Vṛndāvan, this message was transmitted and so many cowherd men came with their shovels, and their picks like this, and then very carefully, Rūpa Gosvāmī excavated this big Deity. You see how big He is? All these big strong men, they placed Him there. And Govindajī had been rediscovered by the Bhāva, by the love of Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī.

It’s so amazing. It’s so easy to love Him, just the mysterious transcendental way that He reappeared, His transcendental form. Even today, people are coming to the temple hundreds of years later, and having Darśana of Govindajī with the same enthusiasm as those villagers who rediscovered [him]—listen to that crowd! The same enthusiasm. He’s such an attractive Deity, such a powerful Deity, such a potent Deity. Even today, they’re crying their hearts out, “Govindajī, Govindajī!”

That spot where he rediscovered the Deity, that hole in the hill, that spot still exists. I was told that if you visit the Govindajī temple in Vṛndāvanit’s there, it’s broken, we all pretty much know the history, it’s a little hill upthat temple, and you go inside, there’s a room in the basement area where they’re still worshipping an eight-armed form of Yoga-maya. And I’m told if you go and you ask the priest there to take you down the winding staircase which is in the basement; in the basement, there’s a staircase still going down, down, down, down. You’ll go down to that, the hill that the temple was built on and that spot, there’s the hole where Govindajī was discovered and you can take Darśana there.

Rūpa Gosvāmī wrote a letter to Lord Caitanya, just like he had previously written with Sanātana Gosvāmī when they’d first heard about the Lord, they wrote Him a letter introducing themselves, so again he wrote a letter and he told Lord Caitanya, “I have found Prānadhana he [the Lord of my heart], Govindajī. I’m going to begin His worship, as per Your instruction.” So Lord Caitanya received that letter. He was very happy and in that letter Rūpa had requested some help, so Mahāprabhu who was living in Purī at that time, I believe, He sent a very intimate follower of His—Kāśīśvara and He told Kāśīśvara, “You go help Rūpa and you be the pujari, the first pujari, for Govinda-Deva.”

When Kāśīśvara arrived, Rūpa had a ceremony to reinstall the Deity. It’s not that the Deity ever leaves His form, but these ceremonies are saṁskāras, they create impressions in the hearts of devotees. So to impress upon all these devotees that the Lord was there, Rūpa had an installation ceremony in February 1536. He personally presided over the installation of this Govindajī Deity and many devotees came. What was the next step? Build a temple; because they were worshipping Him in a grass hut. I won’t elaborate on anything from this point on. We have many more beautiful discussions about Rūpa Gosvāmī, Govindajī, Rādhārāṇī by Mother Śītala tomorrow.


How to build a temple for Govindajī? Sanātana is a Sādhu, a Sannyāsī—he had nothing. How is he going to build a temple for Madana-Mohan? So again Kṛṣṇa helped His devotee. It’s very obvious in the lives of pure devotees, it’s like so obvious, it’s amazing how some mundane scholars don’t get it. It’s just amazing how, it’s obvious how Kṛṣṇa intervenes and helps His devotees, like He helped Śrīla Prabhupāda. It’s obvious. So how did Kṛṣṇa help Rūpa Gosvāmī build a temple for Govindajī in Vṛndāvan? Here’s the story. This is the real news. In 1590, there was a very powerful emperor—Muslim emperor ruling most of India. His name was Akbar.

Akbar was a Muslim but he had made alliances with different Hindu groups which was his diplomacy. He said, “If you work with me, I won’t destroy you.” “Oh, we’ll work with you.” So many, many Hindus, many princes, and even some kings, were working with this emperor and expanding his kingdom. So one Hindu general in the Muslim army of Akbar, he was a very powerful general; his name was Mān-Singh, and he’d performed some very courageous activities in battle. So the word got out that Akbar wanted to meet Mān-Singh and give him maybe some money, maybe elevate him to a higher status,  a bigger general, but the rumor was maybe Akbar would give Mān-Singh a grant of land and make him a small king.

Mān-Singh went from the area of Delhi where he had his troops go to Vṛndāvan and he fell at the feet of Govindajī. And in the presence of Rūpa Gosvāmī, he said to the Deity of Govindajī, “Lord, if you can make sure that I get a tract of land—a big tract of land—and I become a king, I will raise enough money to build you the most beautiful temple this world has ever seen.” So two days later, he had his Darśana with the emperor, so Akbar in the presence of so many courtiers and ministers and members of the public, he said to Mān-Singh, “My dear Mān-Singh, you have been fighting so nicely; you conquered so many dacoits. You have kept us safe. I grant you a very large piece of land, and you’re no longer a general, you’re a king, working under me, the emperor.” So Mān-Singh came out of that ceremony and thought, “Well, I have to raise some money now. I promised Govindajī I’d build Him a big temple.” And by his ways, he collected that money and came back to Vṛndāvan. He employed different people to start building that temple.

It’s an architectural wonder, even today it’s a protected heritage and it’s just a masterpiece of architectural skills. It took a long, long time to build actually, several decades, I think, to build that temple. But eventually the Lord was installed in that temple, Govindajī, and later, He was joined by His eternal consort, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, whom you see beautifully sitting on the throne here in Jaipur. Now that’s a class in itself how Rādhā came to Govinda. But that’s the pastime that Śītala’s going to share with us tomorrow. Unfortunately some centuries later, one very demoniac Muslim ruler again, by the name Aurangzeb, ordered the destruction of all the temples in Vṛndāvan.

The story is that he was sitting in his palace in Agra and he looked towards Vṛndāvan some distance away, and he saw that Govindajī’s temple was bigger than his palace. He told his troops, “Destroy it!” So by Kṛṣṇa’s mercy the word reached Vṛndāvan before the armies came and you know the major Deities were all taken and hidden very quickly, except for RādhāRamana. RādhāRamana didn’t have to leave Vṛndāvan. Because these were Muslim times and the builders who’d constructed that temple, constructed the Rādhā Ramana temple to look like a house, so when the soldiers, if the soldiers ever came to destroy temples, “Uh! That’s not a temple, that’s a house, let’s move on.” And that’s exactly what happened.

Most of Vṛndāvan’s Deities were moved out of Vṛndāvan, but what became one town’s loss became another town’s gain. Just like when we lose a devotee here amongst us, it’s our loss, but it’s the devotees’ in the spiritual world—it’s their gain. A couple more points. Initially Rādhā and Govinda when They were moved out of that temple, They went to Rādhā Kuṇḍa and They were hidden in a small house in Rādhā Kuṇḍa. Actually, they built kind of a temple inside the house and that spot, where that temple was is still called the RādhāGovinda temple. It’s right on the banks of Rādhā Kuṇḍa, we’ll visit there. But it was all very secretive, only a few devotees knew where They were.

When the Muslims became a little suspicious, they might go out there, then They were moved to another town. And after a couple years, They were moved to another town, and then They were moved to another town. All these Deities were moved all around, just to keep Them away from the Muslims who were searching for Them to destroy Them. In those villages there were some villagers—you know they’re like Vaishyas, but there was one called the Jat, they were like warriors really and many of them sacrificed their lives, fighting the Muslims to protect these Vṛndāvan Deities, as the Muslims went searching for Them. So that’s all happening up there in UP, one state, but down here in Rajasthan, this was like a Kṣatriya state, there are many powerful kings and warriors, and they’re always fighting amongst themselves. Very powerful, and one very powerful king down here, he heard this history and he was a devotee of Kṛṣṇa by nature, so he heard that these Deities are hiding and being moved. His name was Jaya Singh. so he thought, “Oh, I’m living here [in] Amer,” he said, “Let me build a city and bring the Deities of Rūpa GosvāmīRādhā Govinda—put Them in my city and protect them from these Muslim invaders.”

Amer Palace is a big palace on the hill, that was where he lived, and that was his city, but he decided to move ship, everything to Jaipur, and he took out the map—this was a desert area, and he drew it. He said, “We’ll put a temple  here and my quarters will be here and the businesses will be over here and the Go-śālās will be over here and the streets…” He planned the whole thing and the city was built; there was nobody living here, no Deities and what to do? How to get the Deities here? They’re hiding in some village somewhere. So through his spies, because kings have lots of spies, he learned that RādhāGovinda had moved very far South from Vraja, They’d actually come into Rajasthan. There were in one village which is now called appropriately Govindapur. I don’t know exactly how far away, this is maybe a hundred kilometers or something like that but he found out. They were there, so he made a plan that Rādhā Govinda were put in a bullock cart and covered with hay and a sleepy old guy with a big white mustache and a red turban, when he was under the cover of darkness, he’d just be driving his hay to the market in some village nearby one morning, but he’d just keep going and keep going and in the cover of darkness he’d just drive into Jaipur and then yeah—the Deities were here. But it didn’t work exactly like that.

Historians have related how it unfolded, you could actually make—Steven Spielberg could make a wonderful movie about this, the plot is perfect, as is always the case in Kṛṣṇa Consciousness. Everything else, all these other movies are perverted reflections. They could really put on wonders—to satisfy the hearts of all living entities by producing these cinemas about the pastimes of the Lord. So as the bullock cart was moving with a few farmers and a couple of ladies with babies, the word got out to the Muslim patrol, because the Muslim patrols were looking for Hindus not acting properly and they’ve always got an agenda: “If you ever find one of Those Deities, smash it!” Word got out, somehow or other, this is no ordinary bullock cart, that’s no ordinary driver, he’s a devotee, and those are the famous Deities that Aurangzeb wanted to smash. They’re almost at the gates of this big empty city.

This Muslim patrol of soldiers, they came charging down the road to intercept the bullock cart. So the bullock cart driver, he whipped them and the bullocks started running and the dust is coming up and the hay is coming off, and he is charging towards the town and people are up on the ramparts. The town has these walls, it’s called the pink city. The walls are actually saffron, but they say “Pink city” and there are the crowds up there cheering on the bullock cart. The Muslim patrols, with their horses and the soldiers with their swords raised, they’re charging behind and, “Are they going to make it?” The people are [saying], “Jaya! RādhāGovinda-Deva!” The Muslims are getting closer and closer. Now it’s morning time, the sun has risen. Everyone is seeing what’s happening. As I said, there’s always a happy ending in Kṛṣṇa Consciousness, so the bullock cart sped through the main gates of the city. They closed the gates, and the Muslim soldiers—they had to stop. Thus there was a big celebration in the city. When Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad-Gītā, “I am adventure,” He really is part of the adventure.

If you have an adventurous spirit, you can also help the Lord in His adventures. So we are part of a great and very glorious history and culture. We can have pride in that. We don’t want to be proud ourselves, but we can be proud of our Deities, we can be proud of their sevā, we can be proud of their service. Our hearts can swell with pride in that way, we’re part of a great spiritual heritage which is ultimately meant to deliver the whole world in Kṛṣṇa Consciousness.

I think if they made a movie like that, most movies people see maybe two or three times and buy the video and they watch it three or four years later. You could watch this video again and again and again and never be satiated. It’s transcendental Līlā. So it’s important to know the history, the philosophy, the mood of pastimes like that so next time or later this evening when we go before RādhāGovinda, you’ll look at Him in a different way. How will you look now? You’ll look with transcendental eyes and you’ll appreciate Him much more, because as I mentioned the other day, saintly people see with their ears, not through their eyes.

So it’s hot, it’s getting a little humid, there’s a few flies. It was a long bus ride yesterday, it was many hours, kept stopping, and there wasn’t enough prasādam when we first came, and it was too spicy and you didn’t get the room you wanted, you know. But all these difficulties are all worth it, when you get to sit in this transcendental abode. We’re at the lotus feet of RādhāGovinda in the association of so many wonderful devotees having wonderful Kirtans. It’s all worth it. Those things just kind of pass away when you can relish these special moments of your life and being here in a special garden of Śrī-Śrī Rādhā Govinda. We can tolerate those austerities. India is not an easy place, but the holy places make it all worthwhile.

So tolerate the austerities and relish the ecstasy. This beautiful place that we are now, you can say is non-different from Vṛndāvan. And it’s very nicely described in a spiritually poetic way by Śrīla Kṛṣṇadas Kavirāj Gosvāmī. He describes in Caitanya Caritāmṛta: “In a forest of desire trees known as Vṛndāvan is a golden mansion and in its midst is a jeweled throne at the place called Yogapitha. Seated thereupon is Śrī Vrajendra-nandana, Śrī Govinda-Deva, a veritable Cupid incarnate. He is served there as a King, bedecked with divine clothes, ornaments and other paraphernalia. And served incessantly by thousands and thousands and thousands of devotees.”

Śrī-Śrī Rādhā Govinda-Deva ki Jaya!

Śrī Vrajabhumi, Śrī Vṛndāvan-Dhām ki Jaya!

Śrī Jaipur Jaya!

Śrī Jaya Singh ki Jaya!

Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī ki Jaya!

Six Gosvāmīs of Vṛndāvan-Dhām ki Jaya!

Śrīla-Prabhupāda ki Jaya!

Worldwide ISKCON ki Jaya!

Back home, back to Godhead ki Jaya!

Gaura-Premanande Hari-Haribol!

Jaya-Jaya Śrī Rādhe……

Jaya-Jaya Śrī Rādhe……

Jaya-Jaya Śrī Rādhe ……………..  Govinda!

Thank you very much.

Nityānanda-vat – HH Śrīla Indradyumna Swami – Lecture

The Glories of Śṛīngāra-vat or Nityānanda-vat

– By His Holiness Śrīla Indradyumna Swami

[Following opening address follows from 59:28 time laps in above video after Madhav Prabhu’s Kirtan]:

Prabhus, I’d like to welcome all of you to Nityānandavat. It’s also called Śrīngāravat. We’ll be discussing this during our talk this morning. But before we begin, it’s my very great pleasure to introduce you to one of my spiritual mentors and a very, very, very, very, very close friend of mine who is a direct descendant of Lord NityānandaAnup Gosvāmī.  [Applause, “Haribol!”]

I met Anup Gosvāmī a couple of years ago in a very unusual way. He’s the Mahānta in charge with his family, but he takes most of the responsibility for this sacred place. That is a very prestigious position, but he showed his very deep humility. One day, I was doing Parikramā and I was just outside the road here and it was kind of a rainy day, and there was this Bābā, this Sādhu with long white hair and disheveled blue clothing out there begging for a few rupees for his Nitāī.

I kind of bumped into him and he said, “Oh Mahārāja, can you give a few rupees for Nitāī?” I thought, “Who is this Bābā?” I didn’t have much time and I kind of, I don’t know if I gave a small donation, went on my way, but later on, I learned and realized that he’s actually the Mahānta, he’s in charge of this great project here.

I came back to offer my respects and a very close relationship began over time. Actually a couple years ago, I brought Anup Gosvāmī to Poland and he was on the Polish Festival tour for about two or three weeks. I was a little hesitant to take him to Woodstock, because if any of you have been to Woodstock, it’s really the epitome of Kali Yuga. There are so many Jagāis and Mādhāis—real Jagāi—modern-day Jagāi and Mādhāis, and I thought Mahārāja is from India, he’s a Gosvāmī, aristocratic family, he might be kind of repulsed by seeing all these low-class people drinking and wearing very few clothes and speaking bad language. I thought “Oh, this may not be good for Gosvāmī.”

But I remember the first Kīrtana we had in the Kīrtana yoga tent that night. We have that tent, we have Kīrtana with all the kids who come—there must have been a thousand kids in the tent. And I think it was Mādhava Prabhu who was leading and all these youth, these kids from all over Poland, many of them were drunk. They were chanting, “Hare Kṛṣṇa! Hare Kṛṣṇa!” And Mahārāja was in ecstasy; he was like, “Jaya Nitāī! Jaya Nitāī!” And he just got so ecstatic and I thought, “Wow! This is the mood of Lord Nityānanda who displayed the ultimate compassion to the most fallen souls.” He was the Commander-in-Chief of Lord Caitanya’s Saṅkīrtan Army.

He’d come to Kīrtana every night and just sit there and relish seeing all these fallen souls chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa. And I thought that was enough. He should just stay back in the school during the day, because we’re going out on the Ratha Yātrā. We’re passing all these kids passed out on the ground, sleeping in their tents, drunk. He said, “No, no, I want to go on Ratha Yātrā.” And during the parade he was right out front with this symbol that Nitāī used to carry for the Saṅkīrtan party and he would be chanting and dancing, “Chant Hare Kṛṣṇa! Chant!”

He is a great well-wisher, he is very appreciative of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s efforts to take the mercy of GaurNitāī to the western countries, and he’s very supportive of our International Society for Kṛṣṇa Consciousness. So I’m always trying to tell him, “I am your servant—”Daso ‘smi, Daso ‘smi”—He said, “No, we are friends.” But the reality is I am his servant. He’s very kind to see me as a friend, because we love doing the same activity, spreading the mercy of Lord Nityānanda all over the world, to all the Jagāi and Mādhāis of Kali Yuga.

He has practically single-handedly carried on the project here. He has a very wonderful devotee wife; she cooks very nice Prasādam. But practically single-handedly he’s maintaining this whole place, he maintains these beautiful Deities, preaching the glories of Nityānanda, so it’s quite touching to the heart. And he loves when we come here and have our programs. He would be happy if we came here every day.

I love to come here. Yesterday, I was very sick. I was crying in pain. And usually when I get that flu you get here in Vṛndāvan, it usually lasts three days. I was praying last night, “Please, Kṛṣṇa, please cure me so that I can go to the program and serve the lotus feet of Anup Gosvāmī”—and I got better. I’m fine.” [Applause, “Haribol!”].

He’s the care-taker of some very precious objects—transcendental paraphernalia. He actually has the jewels that Nitāī would wear around his arms when he would go out on Saṅkīrtan. He has those in his room—you can go and take Darśana later in the morning. Those jewels were brought by Mother Jāhnavā here to Vṛndāvan for safe-keeping, Jāhnavā Mata. He is the caretaker and the fierce protector of these beads. These are the beads of Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī. And after the program is over, he’ll take the beads back in his room and you can come and have Darśana of these beads, and you can offer some nice donation for the Sevā of this sacred place, Nityānanda vat.

We have a very friendly relationship, but sometimes Gosvāmī chastises me very heavily. “Mahārāja, why aren’t you coming down to Nityānanda-vat? And simply sitting here chanting on the beads of Jīva Gosvāmī? Why aren’t you coming daily and chanting on the beads of Jīva Gosvāmī?” That’s a very nice chastisement. Such an offering is simply causeless mercy we can hardly comprehend, how much mercy that is. So I asked him in his room very humbly if I could wear the beads of Jīva Gosvāmī during my discourse, so I might get some intelligence and say something nice. I think he agreed. [Applause, “Haribol!”].

[Anup Gosvāmī speaking]:

nitāiyer koruṇā habe, braje rādhā-kṛṣṇa pābe

dharo nitāi-caraṇa du’khāni

heno nitāi bine bhāi, rādhā-kṛṣṇa pāite nāi

dṛḍha kori’ dharo nitāir pāy

āra kabe nitāi-cānder koruṇā koribe

saṁsāra-bāsanā mora kabe tuccha ha’be

viṣaya chāriyā kabe śuddha ha ’be mana

kabe hāma herabo śrī-bṛndābana

rūpa-raghunātha-pade hoibe ākuti

kabe hāma bujhabo se jugala-pīriti

[Anup Gosvāmī speaking…Translation follows]

“One who wants the mercy of Lord Nityānanda, they must come here. Nityānanda Prabhu has four places: one is His place of birth, one is His place of marriage, one is Kharda, and one is here. When Nityānanda Prabhu first came to Vṛndāvan, this is where He met Mahāprabhu. From here He went to Navadvīpa. And then from there, He went to Nandanācārya’s place where He met Mahāprabhu. Then Jāhnavā Ma came to Vṛndāvan with this Kunti. That Kunti was given to Nitāī by Hussain Shah. That Kunti here is being worshipped here. Here there are three small Murtis: NitāīGaura and Jāhnavā Ma. Those Deities were brought here from Bengal by Vīracandra Prabhu.”

“And then the disciplic succession was maintained here. Since then the worship has been done and the Kunti has also been worshipped here. Until then, since that time, only the descendants of Nitāī have been worshipping here, Jīva Gosvāmī, who is a conduit of Nitāī’s mercy. Before, my father was in charge of the RādhāDāmodara temple. At that time (1962), Śrīla Prabhupāda was in Vṛndāvan. My father was the one who gave Śrīla Prabhupāda the place to stay in RādhāDāmodara. So when they gave the temple over to the next authorities who are taking care of it now, at that time, they took the beads with them. Since that time, the beads have been worshipped here.” “Jaya Nitāī! Nitāī-Gaur Haribol!”  [Applause].

[Śrīla Indradyumna Swami Mahārāja speaking]: I’d like to remind all the devotees to please give very generously to Anup Gosvāmī. You will be greatly benefited by donating to a direct descendant of Lord Nityānanda. If you want Nityānanda’s kṛpā, Nityānanda’s mercy, then you help this Sādhu, this Gosvāmī maintain this most sacred place.

I myself give lots of lakṣmī to this temple, because it’s a very, very special place and he’s a very special devotee. We’ll also be bringing him back to Poland again this year for part of the summer tour. And this year, we are going to bring his good wife, as well. She can give counsel and instruction to all the young ladies.

So you can either give to Mahārāja directly or when you go into the room to see the jewels of Lord Nityānanda which you know you can’t see in one billion lifetimes, you can give a nice generous donation to Mahārāja there. Okay, so I’ll be speaking now about Śrīngāra-vat and Nityānandavat.

I’d also like to take the opportunity to welcome a very dear friend of mine and a very wonderful disciple of Śrīla Prabhupāda, His Holiness Kavicandra Mahārāja, he’s joining us today. [Applause, “Haribol!”] Mahārāja is a member of the GBC, sannyāsī, initiating Guru, and has so many responsibilities all over the world. So this place is auspicious, but his presence makes it even more auspicious.

Kavicandra Gosvāmī Maharaja ki—Jaya!

Śrīla Prabhupāda ki-Jaya!

Śrī Nityānanda-vat ki—Jaya!

Śrīngāra-vat ki—Jaya!

Gaur Premanande! – [“Haribol!”]



[Opening prayers…]

Five thousand years ago, even in more recent history, five hundred years ago, the Yamunā river used to flow right by here. That’s why you see all these sitting places, all little shrines as you walk along the area here, because they were all built on the banks of the Yamunā river. Now Yamunā Mai has shifted some couple hundred yards, or a mile in the distance, but traditionally this was where the Yamunā river flowed by. And at that time, Vṛndāvan was actually a van—it was a forest of trees. Now it’s become a concrete jungle.

Five thousand years ago, this was a place where all the cowherd boys would come and their cows would drink the fresh water of the Yamunā and eat the soft grasses on the banks of the Yamunā. And simultaneously, this was one place where Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa would come and have Their confidential pastimes. Actually, most pastimes take place in particular places. The Rasas are not mixed, so the cowherd boys don’t mix with the girls and the parents don’t mix with the kids. The Rasas take place in different parts of Vṛndāvan. They don’t mix. But this is one place where both the cowherd boys would come and the Gopīs would come. It’s a very unique place. Previously, this particular place where you’re sitting was distinguished by the fact that there was a huge banyan tree here of which you see a small portion there still remaining. So in Sanskrit, the Banyan tree is called vata. Vata means many things, but it also means “Banyan tree.” And Śṛīngāra means decorating with clothes and jewels and ornaments.

Śṛīngāravat means that place where Kṛṣṇa often decorated his beloved Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī with clothes and ornaments and jewels and make-up and so forth—here. And as the cowherd boys would see from distance or hear about Kṛṣṇa decorating Rādhārāṇī, they became inspired by the Gopīs‘ service and they asked Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma if they could also dress them in beautiful clothes and ornaments here at Śīngāravat. So Viśvanāth Cakravārtī Ṭhākur says, Devotees come here to be inspired in that same type of service, particularly dressing Kṛṣṇa in beautiful clothes and ornaments. In his prayers to the spiritual master, Viśvanāth Cakravārtī Ṭhākur sings, Śrīvigrahā rādhananityanānāśṛṅgāra”—that one of the duties of the Spiritual Master is to engage and train his disciples in decorating the Lord in a particular form as His, in the Archa-Vigraha, the mercy incarnation of Kṛṣṇa.

This is the place where pujaris come to be inspired in that service of dressing Kṛṣṇa in beautiful clothes and ornaments, putting jewels and decorating in this way. They come here to become inspired to perfect that particular service. Śṛīngāravat: very important place.

By Kṛṣṇa’s arrangement I was listening to a tape just the other day and Prabhupāda was saying, “One should worship Kṛṣṇa not just once a week or just once a month, but one should worship Kṛṣṇa twenty-four hours a day.” He said, “In this regard, we have our worship to our beloved Deities.” Then he paused and you could tell he was addressing whoever the pujaris were and he said, “Kṛṣṇa should have a nice dress, not once, not twice, four times a day—or as much as possible!”

He said, Kṛṣṇa is the most opulent Enjoyer. And the duty of His devotees is to supply Him things with which He can enjoy.” So here the whole business is decorating Kṛṣṇa with beautiful clothes and ornaments. And Kṛṣṇa, He set the example Himself, here at Śṛīngāravat. Because it is here, right under this Banyan tree that Kṛṣṇa would sometimes dress and ornament Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī in preparation for the Rāsa dance. It’s interesting because generally we think of the manjaris or the sakhis as those personalities who decorate beautiful Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. Rūpa Gosvāmī says generally, the Gopīs generally decorate Rādhārāṇī eight times a day. But sometimes Kṛṣṇa had the opportunity to help them in that service. And when He did so, He did it so expertly, with so much love, that all the cowherd girls would eagerly watch His every move in decorating Rādhārāṇī in order to improve their own service to Her. So the Ācāryas describe one of those particular pastimes.

Here on the bank of the Yamunā in this forest of trees with this big Banyan tree, Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa met here and for a long time in the Kunja, Kunja-bihariKṛṣṇa’s the Enjoyer of the groves of VṛndāvanThey performed Their confidential pastimes. And in the midst of those pastimes, They lost track of time. We often say some kind of material śloka that, “If you’re doing something you like, time passes very quickly, and if you’re doing something you don’t like, time passes very slowly.”

In the midst of Their topmost confidential pastimes, They lost track of time, so VṛndāDevī, who’s in charge of arranging all these pastimes, she arrived and she said, “Hey, You’re both going to be late for the Rāsa dance this afternoon.” So at that moment, that time, Rādhārāṇī manifested some māna—it means She became angry with Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa: “We’ve just enjoyed Our transcendental pastimes, why are You angry at Me?” So Rādhārāṇī said, “You lost track of time. We’re going to be late for the Rāsa dance. And all My Gopī friends will miss out on Your transcendental association.” This is the compassionate nature of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, Prabhupāda describes in the CaitanyaCaritāmṛta that She’s such a great devotee, She takes ten thousand times more pleasure to engage others in Kṛṣṇa’s service than Herself doing the service.

Then She said, “And look at Me!” She was all unkempt and disheveled, because of Their pastimes, Her dress was here and Her hair was here. She said, “How am I going to show up at the Rāsa dance like this?” So Kṛṣṇa reassured Her, He said, “Devī, let Me put You back together very nicely. Let Me put on Your make-up. Let Me decorate You with all these gold and diamond and rubies and sapphire ornaments. And I promise You it won’t take more than a minute.” So Rādhārāṇī turns to Lalitā and Lalitā says, you know, “He’s just a boy, He’s a cowherd boy, we can do better than Him.”

Rādhārāṇī tended to agree with her, but in Her heart of hearts, She wanted to have that intimate association with Kṛṣṇa, so after awhile, She said, “Alright, but do it nicely and don’t do it too quickly. Don’t rush the job.” So Kṛṣṇa looked around, He was smiling. So you can see the remnants of this Banyan tree, this big beautiful tree, right there where devotees are sitting, Kṛṣṇa sat with Rādhārāṇī to put on Her makeup and Her jewels. And He asked the different Gopīs to go different places and acquire different jewels and ornaments and bracelets and bangles and make-up, so all the Gopīs ran off and got all this paraphernalia and came back.

Viśvanāth says that as devotees, each of us have a worshipable Deity whom we love to serve in so many ways. And Kṛṣṇa, although He’s God, He also has His worshipable Deity who He loves to serve: Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. Viśvanāth says dressing Her is the life of His life. So understandably Kṛṣṇa took a long time. And when He finished He stepped back, and all the Gopīs went, “Oh, soooo beautiful dressing you’ve done. You’re a boy, but you have done such beautiful dressing.” So Viśākhā whispered something in the ear of Lalitā, so Lalitā who’s usually very kind of fiery and she gets angry when Kṛṣṇa mistreats, so-called mistreats Rādhārāṇī, she stood up at a very unique time, she said, “On this very day, under this banyan tree at Śṛīngāravat, we declare that this cowherd boy, Kṛṣṇa, He’s the emperor of pujaris.”

Then everyone just looked at the beauty of Rādhārāṇī, Her transcendental beauty, Her effulgence, all Her divine qualities and how expertly Kṛṣṇa had decorated Her with the jewels and ornaments. Everyone, just like, they became like statues, nobody was moving, just totally immersed in observing the beauty of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī as Her beloved Kṛṣṇa had dressed Her; only Rādhārāṇī had not said anything. The Sakhis had all shown their approval and all the young manjaris, they were just stunned but Rādhārāṇī hadn’t said anything yet.

TungaVidyā, one of the sakhis, very carefully came forward and offered Rādhārāṇī a mirror. And as everyone was looking, Rādhārāṇī took that mirror and She looked at Herself, that reflection, and She smiled. Everyone’s heart became pacified. But then She said, “Oh! We’re late! Let’s go for Rāsa!” And they went over to a place called Nikuñjavana, where the other Gopīs were waiting impatiently for the Rāsa dance. And you know the Rāsa dance was going on, it’s a very wonderful occasion. It doesn’t just happen once, it happens all the time in different places around Vṛndāvan. On this particular occasion, all the Gopīs are whispering, “Rādhārāṇī looks especially beautiful today. Who dressed Her?”

The word got out that Kṛṣṇa dressed Her and all the Gopīs were smiling and their love and appreciation for the Emperor of Pujaris increased unlimitedly. So I mentioned the cowherd boys would bring their cows down here to drink the fresh clear water of the Yamunā river and to eat nice, soft green grass that grew on the banks of the Yamunā river. So the cows are grazing and they’re drinking the water and you know, boys are boys, and they’re just kind of laying down and throwing their sticks up in the air and kind of playing with each other and exchanging sweets, like that, and suddenly, Subala says, “Hey, boys! Why don’t we decorate Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma?”

Raktak, one of the boys, he said, “Decorate? Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma? What do you mean?” So Subala said, “You know, like, when we go through the villages and we see the brāhmaṇas, they’re in the temples, they’re decorating their Deities, let’s do the same thing. Let’s decorate Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma like the Brāhmaṇas decorate their Deities in the villages.” So [they are] laughing and saying, “Yeah!” You know, it’s not that they see Kṛṣṇa as God like a Deity who they’re going to [decorate], but they just want to imitate the Brāhmaṇas in the village who decorate Deities, so “Yeah, let’s decorate Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma. That’ll be a lot of fun!”

Viśvanāth says, in the same way as Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa are for the Gopīs their worshipable Deities, so Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma are ultimately, although the boys don’t acknowledge it, the worshipable Deities of the cowherd boys. All the cowherd boys approached Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma; “Oh!” Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma thought there was going to be a wrestling match. They’re tightening Their belts, “Okay, boys, we going to have a wrestling match?” And the boys said, “No, we’re going to decorate you with beautiful clothes and ornaments.”

Some of the boys found a big slab of marble that was hanging around and they put it right next to that banyan tree right where Kṛṣṇa decorated Rādhārāṇī and they put Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma on that marble slab. And you know Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma are kind of uncomfortable, saying “What’s going on, guys?” “We’re going to decorate you.” “Well, okay.”

One of the boys said, “Wait a minute! Let’s make a canopy!” Because we see in the temples when the Brāhmaṇas decorate the Deities they have kind of a sṛnga-asana over Them. The boys, “Oh yeah, yeah!” So they went and got twigs and flowers and leaves and vines and they made a beautiful canopy over the marble slab where Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma were sitting.

Subala said to Raktak, like, “Well, how do they do it? What do they do?” So Raktak said, “Well, you know. They open the doors and then they pour water on the Deities’ feet.” So some of the boys ran over to the Yamunā, got some water, and they sat, they started pouring the water over Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma’s feet. Then he said to Raktak, “What’s next?” He said, “They take soft cloth and they wipe down the Deities.” So the boys took soft cloths and they started down the legs and the feet. It was all kind of in fun, because in Vṛndāvan, there’s no aisvarya Bhāva, it’s all spontaneous fun. Kṛṣṇa’s your friend, He’s your child, He’s your lover. But they were pretending in the mood of the Brāhmaṇas in the temples. And everybody was having a good time.

Then Subala said, “Get some more things we can offer”, so the boys went around. They got flower garlands and different ornaments; they got colored minerals and different dust of Vṛndāvan. Some of them found some fresh silk cloth and they put it on trays and they all came forward and very reverentially offered all these articles to Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma. This is all happening right here, this is why this is Śṛīngāra-vat. So then Subala said to Śrīdāma, “Śrīdāma, you know, you’re really good, you’re like an artist, can you go paint some beautiful designs of fish and birds on the faces of Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma?”

Very soon the pastime was over and the boys said, “Let’s go play down at the Yamunā”, and it was sort of the kind of thing they did for a few hours and then later when Kṛṣṇa snuck away to meet Rādhārāṇī at twelve noon at Rādhā Kuṇḍa, He came with these beautiful designs on His face and silk cloth and His hair was combed and jewels and you know, Rādhārāṇī hadn’t seen Him like that before—ever really. They were all like, “Wow, look at Kṛṣṇa! He looks different today!”

The Gopīs are saying, “He is so wonderfully decorated.” And all the Gopīs were thinking, “Who dressed Kṛṣṇa so nicely?” This is Śṛīngāra-vat; this is where Kṛṣṇa would decorate Rādhārāṇī and this is where the cowherd boys would decorate Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma—very special place. Viśvanāth concludes by saying that Śṛīngāra-vat is a place where we can come and meditate on the expertise of Kṛṣṇa, the Gopas, and the Gopīs in dressing Their respective Deities and refine that devotional service ourselves.

How many of you have Deities? Worshipping Deities? Well, this is a very special occasion. Later you can put your head on the wood of this ancient banyan tree and pray to become expert in that service of worshipping your Deity. And to commemorate these wonderful pastimes at Śṛīngāravat, you can see over here on your left there’s a little altar where those pastimes are depicted. Now if you ask Anup Gosvāmī where we are, he’ll say, “Where are we? Nityānandavat!” “Anup Gosvāmī, where’s Śṛīngāravat?” “Yes, we’re at Nityānandavata!” Vata again means banyan tree, so Nityānandavata means that place where Nityānanda when He came to Vṛndāvan, this is the first place He came and He sat under that banyan tree.

Just up the Parikramā Mārga here a little way there’s a place called Imli-tala. When Lord Caitanya came to Vṛndāvan for the first time, He sat at Imli-tala and that’s commemorated with a beautiful temple and Deities, so when Nitāī came, He came to Nityānandavat. He sat under this banyan tree.

If you remember from your studies in Caitanya-Bhāgavata or Caitanya Caritāmṛta, there was a period where Nitāī went on pilgrimage all around India waiting for the Saṅkīrtan movement to start, because it took some time for Nimāi to grow up, take sannyāsa and start the Saṅkīrtan movement, so where did Nitāī wait? He waited here at Śṛīngāravat.

While here at Śṛīngāravat, Nitāī would play like a little cowherd boy here on the banks of the Yamunā, remembering His pastimes as Lord Balarāma. And when local children would come here to swim in the Yamunā, He would join them in their childish games. Now again, Nimāi was growing up and He was Nimāi Paṇḍita. He had His Gurukula, His school, He had His pastimes. So He took sannyāsa, I think at the age 25, so the Saṅkīrtan movement didn’t really begin in earnest till a little bit before that and after that, Nitāī didn’t join Lord Caitanya until the Saṅkīrtan movement actually started.

Nityānanda was sitting here anxiously waiting for the Saṅkīrtan movement to begin. Something like it’s a big marathon, the December marathon and you’ve finished Prasādam and you’re waiting for all the devotees to get in the van and go out, and you’re anxiously waiting to go out on Saṅkīrtan. So Nitāī was sitting here anxiously waiting for the Saṅkīrtan movement to begin.

Viśvanāth said He would sit under this banyan tree. What would He do? He’d loudly chant all day long:



Sometimes, He would call out, “Oh, My Brother! Where are You? Where are You? When are We going to go out and deliver the fallen conditioned souls? Gaurāṅga, Gaurāṅga, Gaurāṅga!”

All this took place right here. This whole area is permeated with the loud chanting of Nitāī chanting the Lord’s Holy Names. Śivarāma Mahārāja told me that Lord Nityānanda stayed here 20 years. And when He was 32, He left for Navadvīpa to meet Gaurāṅga and begin His Saṅkīrtan movement.

One more little pastime! While Lord Nityānanda was staying here at Śṛīngāra-vat, there was a wealthy brāhmaṇa who renounced everything and came to Vṛndāvan and lived out at Govardhana Hill. His name was Artha-vanta. He renounced everything, and went out to Govardhana Hill. And every day, he’d just walk around, around and around and around Govardhan Hill.

Now His worshipable Deity was Lord Balarāma. So as he was going around Govardhan Hill, he was calling out for the mercy of Balarāma, just praying that one day he could have the vision, he could have the Darśana of his worshipable Deity. So because the Lord is present in the heart of every living entity, Lord Nityānanda, who’s non-different from Balarāma, was here at Śṛīngāravat. He understood the desire of His devotee. So He decided to go out to Govardhan Hill and give His Darśana to Artha-vanta. So Nitāī traveled from here, Śṛīngāra-vat, out to Govardhana Hill and He sat in a very secluded place. Nowadays there are not even anymore secluded places at Govardhan Hill but in those days, it was really jungle. So He sat in a secluded place and He took some Prasāda.

He waited for His devotee, Artha-vanta, to pass by on his daily Govardhan Parikramā. And sure enough, Artha-vanta passed that secluded place where Nitāī was sitting taking His Prasādam and he looked over at Nitāī. He saw this beautiful effulgence radiating from the Divine form of Lord Nityānanda and he could understand, “This is no ordinary person!”

Very greedy to get the mercy of Lord Balarāma and see his worshipable Deity face to face, Artha-vanta went and he paid full dandavats at the lotus feet of Lord Nityānanda. And he said to Nitāī, “Sādhu, you appear to be an Avadhūta! Surely, you can give blessings.”

Nitāī said, “What blessing is it that you are desiring?” So Artha-vanta said, “Please bless me that one day I can see face to face the Lord of my life, Rohini-Nandana, Lord Balarāma.”

As I was reading this pastime, I was thinking, “Oh! Well, the natural conclusion is that Nitāī’s going to reveal Himself as Lord Balarāma to Artha-vanta, but He didn’t do that.” He said, “Surely, you will receive the Lord’s mercy,” and He took some Prasādam from His own plate and He put it in the hands of Artha-vanta. He said, “You take this Prasāda.” So Artha-vanta took a little piece of his cloth and he tore it and he put that MahaPrasāda there. Little did he realize, it was Nitāī’s own MahaPrasāda. He tied it in a bundle and he carried that and eventually he finished his Parikramā, went home, took a bath, and was ready to eat that Prasāda.

Of course, his home was just a little grass hut somewhere near Rādhā Kuṇḍa. He was a renunciate; he lived all alone. So he finished his bath, and for his Prasāda, he said, “I will take the Prasāda of that Sādhu and maybe by His blessings I’ll have the Darśana of Lord Balarāma face to face.”

He opened that cloth and spread it out to four corners and put the Prasāda out there like that. PrasādaSevāya…So then he took that Prasāda and he put it in his mouth and as soon as his lips touched the divine remnants of Lord Nityānanda, his hairs started standing on end, his body started quivering, his voice was faltering, tears were flowing from his eyes like torrents of rain and he fell unconscious with KṛṣṇaPrema.

Then he would wake up and he’d take more Prasādam and his hairs would stand on end again and his voice would falter, tears would fall—he’d fall unconscious. It took him a few hours to finish the Prasāda. So then he went to sleep and he had a vision where first he saw this Avadhūta Nitāī and then he saw Balarāma, then he saw Nitāī, then he saw Balarāma, and he put one and two together. He realized that Avadhūta was actually Lord Balarāma and he had had Darśana face to face with his worshipable Deity.

As soon as he finally woke up without performing any type of rituals or oblations or anything, he just jumped up, didn’t even take a bath, he didn’t chant any mantras, he didn’t put fresh cloth, he ran to Govardhana Hill,  to that spot where he had seen the Lord. Nitāī was still there, effulgent as the Sun, as the Moon, and that brāhmaṇa came, “Shoooooooooom” [sound of offering dandavats]. And he lay down and he grabbed the feet of Nitāī. He said, “Nitāī! Balarāma! Nitāī! Balarāma! Balarāma!” He had Darśana of his worshipable Lord.

Lord Nityānanda took that brāhmaṇa’s hand and He put it close to His chest and He spoke for a few hours and enlightened him with transcendental knowledge:

tad viddhi praṇipātena

paripraśnena sevāyā

upadekṣyanti te jñānaṁ

jñāninas tattva-darśinaḥ

[BG 4.34]

When we receive mercy from our Spiritual Master, especially in this form of divine knowledge, then Sevā has to be there, we have to remunerate, we have to reciprocate by offering our Spiritual Master some Sevā so the brāhmaṇa said, “Avadhūta! What Sevā can I do? How can I repay my debt to You?”

As I was reading this pastime, I was thinking, “Oh, Caturātmā Prabhu will very much like the next part.” So Nitāī said, “What Sevā can you do?” And He picked up a small Govardhana śilā, and He showed that to the brāhmaṇa. He said, “This is non-different from the son of Mahārāja Nanda. This is Kṛṣṇa Himself in the form of the Govardhana śilā. I want you to take this Govardhana śilā and you cover it completely in gold with a nice chain so I can wear that Govardhan śilā in gold around My neck.”

Artha-vanta left and he went back to where he previously lived and renounced everything, and begged from all his former associates and family members, got gold, had that gold melted, put it around that Govardhan śilā with a beautiful chain. He came back and gave it to Lord Nityānanda and it is mentioned in different scriptures how Nitāī always had that beautiful golden Govardhana śilā around His neck.

Of course we can’t imitate the Lord, we can follow in His footsteps, we can worship the Govardhana-śilā, but I don’t think we should imitate and put the Govardhana śilā in gold and wear it around our neck. Prabhupāda didn’t ever instruct us like that, although he did instruct us that we could worship the Govardhana śilā. Please don’t go to Govardhana Hill, pick it up, and put it in gold and all—all my disciples are wearing Govardhana śilās in gold around the world. No, this is the Lord.

Now with all this knowledge and hearing all these pastimes, next time you come here, you can fully appreciate this transcendental place. I’ll admit I’ve been coming here for many years and, “Oh, this is very beautiful. Oh, this is the banyan tree that Nitāī sat under?” Pay my obeisances. But only after I did all this research was I able to actually understand how potent and how wonderful is this transcendental place—Śṛīngāravat, which is very nicely maintained and glorified by my friend Anup Gosvāmī.  And he’s very happy when devotees come here and they chant and dance in great ecstasy. He said, “Mahārāja, when you bring all the devotees, will they dance? Will they chant very loudly?”



I said, “Yes, they will.”

The perfect thing to do here in this Śṛīngāravat where Nitāī spent so much so many years is to have a big Kīrtana. But before we have a Kīrtana a few practical details: Tomorrow, we’re going to be leaving for Jaipur to take the Darśana of RādhāGovinda, just one thing after [another], just gets better and better and better and better, so many of the original Deities of Vṛndāvan are there. So we’re going to leave tomorrow morning in the buses at 5:30. We want to get through Bharatpur. Bharatpur’s one city not far away; we want to get there before the traffic starts, so we’re going to leave at 5:30 in the morning for Jaipur.

We’ll stop a little bit outside of Bharatpur along the way to Jaipur. We’ll have Prasādam, you can bring your breakfast Prasādam. Oh! You’re bringing! Oh! Rasikā and Govinda are providing the breakfast Prasādam. [Applause].

Then when we get to Jaipur, we’re going to settle in our different hotels; no we’re not, we’re going to have Prasādam. Where are we going to have Prasādam? Oh, we’re going to have Prasādam at RādhāVinoda temple. The pujari there’s a very wonderful GauḍīyaVaiṣṇava and he arranges nice Prasādam for us every year.

Then we’re going to go to our hotels and then if we have time, if you’re all quick enough, we’re going to go take evening Darśana of RādhāGovinda. The first thing we’re going to do the next morning is go have Darśana of RādhāGovinda. And behind the temple, there’s a big beautiful area of park, with a big lawn and we’ll have our program there. The next day we’re going to have a feast at Raju’s factory like we did last year. And the next morning we’re going to go to Kurukṣetra. How many of you have been to Kurukṣetra? Two, three. I have never been, so I am looking very much forward to that. Actually, I’m just looking for excuses to keep talking so I can keep wearing these beads.













Śrī-Śrīngāra-vata ki—Jaya!

Śrī Nityananda-vat ki—Jaya!

Śrīla Jiva Gosvāmī ki—Jaya!

Śrī Anup Gosvāmī ki—Jaya!

Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu ki—Jaya!

Śrī Gaurāṅga Mahāprabhu ki—Jaya!

Śrī Pañca-Tattva ki—Jaya!

Goloka-Prema Dhana Harinām Saṅkīrtan Yajña ki—Jaya!

Śrī Nama Prabhu ki—Jaya!

Jaya-Jaya Śrī Rādhe-Śyāma!


Śrī-Śrī Rādhā Gokulānanda –Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur Disappearance Day- HG Śītalā Mataji – Lecture Part 2; Indradyumna Swami’s Parikrama -2015

Spiritual Warrior’s Battle Strategies, Part 2

(From Life of Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur)

– By Her  Grace Śītalā Mataji

Hare Kṛṣṇa. We are talking about environmental scanning. I say everybody is pretty much in bliss doing an environmental scan here [Laughter]. We will just talk a little bit more about what happened after Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur went on his pilgrimage. While he was doing that pilgrimage he was of course—seeking blessings, but he was also doing an environmental scan.  As he traveled around, he was seeing, “What is going on with all of the devotees?” He saw that there were quite a variety of things going on. That is what a preacher does, wherever he travels he looks around and he sees, “What is going on with the people and what can I do for them?”

Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur, as he was traveling from one place to another he was seeing all theses associates of Mahāprabhu that were hardly able to breathe or speak due to the incredible separation that they were feeling from Mahāprabhu. Of course we have to understand that, the separation they were feeling, it’s nothing like mundane depression. It’s not that, as Mahāprabhu left they were miserable and in a mundane way that they become depressed and unhappy. No, it was a very different thing that they were feeling and it’s a very elevated spiritual emotion. The intensity of their separation was increasing their ecstasy of love. But Narottama saw that it was like they were burning in this fire, they were just missing Mahāprabhu so much. Thus he wanted to bring them all together.

Then he also saw that there are many lesser advanced devotees that were experiencing difficulty. In the absence of Mahāprabhu, a variety of different types of moods and even philosophies were cropping up. Especially because all these devotees that were in Bengal, they were completely separated from what was going on in Vṛndāvan, where you know the Gosvāmīs were writing all their books. But they didn’t really know so much about what was happening there, so there was a kind of disconnect. The devotees in Bengal primarily were meditating on Mahāprabhu and they grew up with Him and they were thinking of Him as their friend. The devotees in Vṛndāvan on the other hand, the Six Gosvāmīs have been writing all these books and explaining Rādhā Kṛṣṇa Līlā. There was a difference in mood in these two places but they are all the followers of Mahāprabhu.

So there was some confusion and Narottama saw that all the devotees need to come together. He needs to bring them all together and inspire them to become one unified group to glorify Mahāprabhu. He had done, so to speak, his environmental scan and now he had to make his strategy. He decided that he wanted to bring everyone out, all these devotees who had been in different parts of Bengal and around the surrounding areas. He wanted to bring all of them together for a big festival and he wanted to do that on the appearance day of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. This is quite a number of years after Lord Caitanya had left, but this was going to be the first Gaur-Pūrṇimā festival;  so this required a huge plan. It’s not like now. We just make a website and then everybody clicks into it, and we say this is where it’s going to be, this is what we are going to do, everybody come. Then you get on your plane, get on your train. It was a very difficult task to organize a Gaur-Pūrṇimā festival at that time. He had to convince first of all, all of the associates who can barely move out of intense separation from Mahāprabhu, that they should get up and go a long way for this festival.

It required a lot of effort, so Narottama got in touch with Śrinivāsa Ācārya and Śyāmānanda Paṇḍita, his old friends from Vṛndāvan, and he asked for their help. He said like, “I want to do this big massive festival. I want to bring everybody together, and we are just going to all come together and push forward Mahāprabhu‘s mission.” It was difficult; it was a really difficult thing to do. Even Śrinivāsa Ācārya was dubious. He was like, “How are we going to do this?” Especially Narottama wasn’t really an organizer, but Śrinivāsa Ācārya was. They decided to dig in and support Narottama and really try to do this MahāMahotsava festival—Gaur Pūrṇimā festival. Now just imagine if he didn’t have that inspiration, where would we be? Just think of having no Gaur Pūrṇimā festival; it’s horrible!

By the mercy of Narottamas inspiration, we have this festival every year. Because he saw these devotees are suffering all over the place, many of them are alone, many of them don’t have enough association; and he wanted to bring them all together. Following in the footsteps of Narottama Dāsa ṬhākurŚrīla Prabhupāda was very adamant about having these GuarPūrṇimā festivals every year, where devotees will come together, they will get inspired, and then they can go out and preach.

So for Narottama the strategy was to bring everybody together and it required a massive effort to make this happen; but everybody went for it. The inspiration spread everywhere and the devotees got very inspired, “We are all going to Kheturī!Kheturī is the first place of this festival. Narottama and all the others had to make so many arrangements to bring the devotees into the house. The whole of Kheturī; everyone was just busy to accommodate and to make Prasāda. These descriptions of arrangements indicate it was a most incredible festival that was organized. It’s said that there were so many devotees coming that the Padmāvatī River was black with boats, you could hardly see the river. Narottama, Śrinivāsa, Śyāmānanda—all the devotees are on the bank waiting to greet all these boats as they come in. This is the first GaurPūrṇimā festival. That’s why we can thank Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur for that wonderful experience of celebrating the GaurPūrṇimā festival that we have every year.

Narottama was making his own preparations and his preparations were to go very deep into his Kīrtana that he established. He knew that he had to bring these two camps of people together; there is the Vraja mood and the Bengal mood. He had to bring these devotees together so that they would become united in the mission of Mahāprabhu. You know so much could be said about that festival;—it’s so amazing in itself that we could talk for a long time, but suffice it to say it was something that had never happened before: that kind of confluence of so many wonderful devotees. There were so many preparations that were required. Like you know when you have these big festivals, what it takes to put it on, to feed everybody—so much had to be done. But the real preparation that was going on was going on in Narottama‘s heart. That he was developing his style, his mood and his emotion of the Kīrtana that would bring the presence of the Lord. The real success of the festival wasn’t that there was fantastic Prasāda, and everybody had great accommodations. The real success of that festival was that, when Narottama began to sing, it was so potent and it was so powerful that the Supreme Lord Himself and all of His associates appeared before everyone—non-devotee and devotee.

That was the real purpose of the festivalto transport everyone to the spiritual worldand he achieved that; and that is the purpose of our Parikramās and that is the purpose of our festivals. The purpose of all these things that we do is to actually leave the material realm and enter into the spiritual realm. You don’t have to go somewhere; it is here all the time, it’s just our consciousness is not there. Lot of amazing things happened at that festival. The establishment of the Caitanya Caritāmṛta as the biography, and the philosophy to be followed for all times, that was one thing. Of course because so many devotees were separated from one another—they didn’t have internet, they didn’t have telephone—as they were separated, so varieties of different types of philosophies had cropped up. That was the purpose; Narottama wanted to bring everyone together to clarify a lot of things, to increase the service to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Even though there were so many wonderful things at the festival that were inspirational, the real inspiration is that Pañca-Tattva appeared there and everyone saw Them. In Their company and in Their presence there was no need of saying anything, everyone was just in ecstasy. All differences of opinions, they just dissipated. I remember that used to happen sometimes in Śrīla Prabhupāda’s presence.

One time Prabhupāda was in New Māyāpura and he came out on a morning walk. And it was a bit of a problematic time in that Yātrā. So Prabhupāda sat down on the grass and he looked around at all the devotees and he said, “So what is the problem?” Then I was thinking, “Wow, now we can tell him, you know, so many problems”; and then I was looking around and everybody is just smiling and beaming at Prabhupāda. I was like, “Isn’t anybody going to say anything? We are having so many problems and we are so fried” [Laughter]. I was just scanning the crowd, everybody is just smiling looking at Prabhupāda, totally happy and I thought, “Well, maybe I should say something”. And then I thought, “What about this thing and that? Oh, that’s nothing, that’s not important.” Then I concluded, “Ah, there is no problem!” [Laughter].

And then, Prabhupāda said, “Yes, there is no problem; whenever we are in Kṛṣṇa Consciousness: No problem!” That’s the caveat; when we are Kṛṣṇa Conscious. This is the thing that Narottama wanted to bring everybody together, because he saw all the differences of opinions.  All those everyday problems, just like [Poof!] gone; when everyone is in the presence of Pañca-Tattva. There is Lord Caitanya, Nityānanda—all the associates, the Six-Gosvāmīs,  and everybody is dancing and chanting:



So where is the problem? That’s what Prabhupāda said, “Where is the problem? No problem, just we are not Kṛṣṇa Conscious so we think we have problems”.  But the potency of the Lord appearing through the pure chanting of the Holy Names is when the Lord appears: no problem. This is just to get some understanding of the heart of Śrīla Narottam Dāsa Ṭhākur. His chanting was so pure and so imbued with love that the entire Pañca-Tattva and all Their associates appeared right in their Kīrtana. Everybody could see them; everybody—even unqualified people they were able to see, “Wow!” We can only imagine, “What a Kīrtana! What a Kīrtana!” Every year on Parikramā in Māyāpura, Jayapatākā Mahārāja always goes and says, “Maybe this year—They will come, if we have a really good Kīrtana and we will all see Them [Laughter]”, and it’s possible; it happened and it’s not a fairy tale. But it requires the purity of heart; so this is the heart of Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur; imagine he called all the associates to be present.

I was considering, what were the elements of his consciousness?—that he was empowered and capable of doing such a remarkable thing. I mean, he was a musician, so is it the style of his Kīrtana? There are so many elements to Kīrtana; but there are many elements to the consciousness of Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur that qualified him to such an extent to be able to call the Lord and all of His associates into everyone’s presence. Just to name some of those elements because we are all trying to learn: “How to do this right?” We are all trying to learn: “How to do Kīrtana; How to be a devotee?” There are these elements that we have to add to whatever we are doing right now.

One of the ingredients in Narottama’s Kīrtanas is his intense love of the Devotees. He showed so much  love in his songs; you hear his songs and how he is talking about his friends? You know “Rāmcandra Sang…”— all these things we sing everyday; that’s him glorifying his friends, whom he loves. He had this mood of always intense hankering for perfection—that even though he had so much incredible experiences, which hardly anyone in history ever had. He never had the mood that, “Okay, I have arrived”. I mean if you look in some of his song books, there are whole big sections that are just about songs in which he is hankering for perfection. I mean, Lord Caitanya entered into him; so he is perfected, but he doesn’t feel perfected. That’s the nature of a devotee.

Also he had this constant mood of humility; if you read his songs, it’s 80% just this expression of humility and unworthiness.  There are so many elements to his Kīrtana that made it that powerful and studying that and thinking about that is very important for all of us. They have these famous books now for Managers—“7 habits of highly successful people”. Similarly for us Narottama is showing 10, 20, 40 “Habits of highly advanced Devotees”—that we should look at, we should study. After that Kheturī festival Narottama became famous everywhere and with fame comes opposition. At another time we can talk about that opposition, but we have run out of time today.

But on this, his disappearance day we can meditate on the only person I have ever heard of in my life whose heart melted in love of God and then his entire body melted in love of God. There was no body of Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur left existing, only a pot of milk. Such a personality, that we have any association with—simply miraculous.

By the mercy of Śrīla Prabhupāda we are receiving inconceivable blessings. We are supposed to leave the hall so we will have to end there.

Jaya Śrīla Narottam Dāsa Ṭhākur ki Jaya!

HG Baḍa Hari Prabhu:  Śītalā Mātājī ki Jaya”

HH Indradyumna Swami: “Once again informing you all; Prasādam is at 1 o’clock at Fogla ashram. We leave at 4.30 tomorrow morning for Govardhan. Prasādam, Lunch Prasādam will be served at Rādhā Kuṇḍa around 1 O’clock. Don’t forget to go on facebook and see all of Ananta Vṛndāvans amazing videos about this Parikramā. We have just put up a video five minutes ago; it’s called ‘A Visit to Mathurā’, —very nice video. So that is on my facebook page. Please visit and see the wonderful work of Ananta Vṛndāvan.


Śrī Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur ki Jaya!,

Giriraj–Govardhana Parikramā ki –Jaya,

Śrīla Prabhupāda ki-Jaya!

Kārtik Parikramā 2015 ki – Jaya!

Jaya-Jaya Śrī Rādhe ………………… Śyāma! ”

Śrī-Śrī Rādhā Gokulānanda –Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur Disappearance Day- HG Śītalā Mataji – Lecture Part 1; Indradyumna Swami’s Parikrama -2015

Spiritual Warrior’s Battle Strategies, Part 1 (From Life of Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur)

– By Her Grace Śītalā Mataji

Hare Kṛṣṇa! It’s so nice; it feels just like a few seconds that we were all here together last time. Yesterday I was flying here on the plane and just was glancing at a newspaper, and I was seeing all the horrific things going on in the world. You know hundreds and thousands of people migrants struggling across Europe. It’s just so much that one headline after another that are the horrible situations that people in this world are experiencing. Then you look at our situation here and literally, not exaggerating, I think we must be the most fortunate people on the planet.

We are here in this most sacred of places. Śrī Vṛndāvan Dhām, of course is the most sacred but even more sacred are certain particular spots here, that because of the Bhajan of great, great souls, they become even more amazing spots. So apparently this is like the second most favorite spot of the six Gosvāmīs that they would come here and discuss KṛṣṇaKathā together.

The environment that we are in , with just a few hundred people, we have this experience that we are just so fortunate and need to be very, very, very grateful. We have nothing possible to complain about. So for that blessing and that mercy and that fortune that we really don’t deserve, I really want to thank Śrīla Prabhupāda who is the personality who opened the door to Vṛndāvan to the entire world; and to thank Indradyumna Swami and his amazing crew for continuing to bring us here year after year to really experience some miracles in our lives; And thanks for Bada-Hari’s and Mādhavas amazing Kīrtanas; that I was feeling very dull and covered by the modes as I was coming in here; but you know once you sit through a Kīrtana by Baḍa-Hari all of a sudden everything becomes light and blissful.

I was trying to think what to talk about. There are so many wonderful aspects of Śrīla Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur that we can talk about and we do talk about every year. I find that sometimes, I wind up only talking about the early life of Narottama. Because his young life was just so fascinating, it’s so amazing, and then usually it winds up taking so much longer, and we don’t get into the middle of his life and the later part of his life.

So today I thought I want to focus specifically on Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur as the innovative, creative, dynamic preacher—what he did as a preacher. Because after all that is really what we are all here for! Śrīla Prabhupāda created this organization, ISKCON, for the specific purpose of preaching Mahāprabhus message all over the world. Because each of our Ācāryas did amazing things, so it’s very relevant and very pertinent for us to look at what our Ācāryas did in this area. How did they preach? How did they knock down the walls of the material energy? How did they go about it?!

None of our Ācāryas became incredibly successful by just doing the routine casual stuff. They really had to become spiritual warriors. That’s a preacher: spiritual warrior. That means you are waging war on the misconceptions of the mass population and those misconceptions that block their vision from Kṛṣṇa. A spiritual warrior has to figure out the ways and the means that he can break down those walls so that people can glimpse the beauty of Kṛṣṇa.

Anyone who is going to attempt to do something like that, generally they will first do what you will call an environmental scan. Even in businesses, people do it. They take a look, “What’s going on? What do the people like? What do they not like? What are the challenges? How can I touch them?”

Actually anybody who is a book distributor—they know—they do that environmental scan every time they see somebody; how to touch this person? Actually  someone said once to Śrīla Prabhupāda that, “Oh, you weren’t really doing so much in your first year or two when you arrived in the United States?”

Prabhupāda said: “What? I was doing so much”. The devotee: “Well, what you were doing?” and he (Śrīla Prabhupāda) said, “I was studying the American people”.  Prabhupāda made his strategies on the basis of what he was seeing before him.

Every preacher has to do that, make a strategy. Every soldier, every warrior has to make a strategy for the particular social context. Like say in World War 1, the strategy was to fight in the trenches, and that kind of strategy worked pretty well. But in World War 2 when they started to do that, it was a disaster. Because then they had airplanes, so the trenches just became the graveyards. Thus to be dynamic preacher you have to know, you have to think, you have to make strategies. Every single one of our Ācāryas had to consider the environment and the social situation that was going on at their time and make their battle plan.

Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur had to do this, make a strategy; and actually everyone—if you look at Śrīla Bhakti-Vinod ṬhākurŚrīla Bhakti-Siddhānta Sarasvatī all down the line, Lord Caitanya Himself; each one of them made plans for preaching. What did they emphasize? What was their battle strategy? Like Śrīla Bhaktivinode Ṭhākur, at his time Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism had fallen to such disrepute, that he had a herculean task of trying to start preaching. One of his strategies was to pray, for a ray of Vishnu. “I’ve got something to do here that’s impossible; I need a ray of Vishnu”. That ray of Vishnu of course was Śrīla Bhakti-Siddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākur, who came into the world into a situation that was very complex. Things were going on in the world and especially in India and especially in Bengal that had never happened before. It was a time when the values and the rational thought and the scientific thought of the westerners were pouring into India, with their missionaries and their condescending attitude towards everything Indian. The people of India, they began to question their own belief system. This ushered in what was considered to be the Bengal renaissance. It was a period when they tried to modernize Hinduism so that it wouldn’t seem so freaky to the intelligent westerners.

That gave rise to a group of what was called the bhadra-loka, or like the so-called intelligentsia, the intelligent Bengal people who really were trying to go along with the western viewpoint. They wanted to get rid of the idols, and all the Deities, because it looked bad to the westerners. There were reformists like Vivekānanda and Rāma Mohan Rāya who were pushing back especially Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism, anything with any Bhakti or devotion and bringing forward this Advaita philosophy. Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism was just kind of relegated to obscurity; it was just not cool.

That was the situation which Śrīla Bhakti-Siddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākur had to face. So what was he going to do? He had to make a strategy. It was the first time that they had to interact with modernity— with the modern world. How was he going to spread Kṛṣṇa Consciousness in this environment, even to the West? One of the things that is acknowledged as his key to success was his attentive awareness of the social and cultural and political environment. He really knew what was going on.

I am going to get to Narottama soon [laughter], but Śrīla Bhakti-Siddhānta Sarasvatī is so amazing also to talk about. Because he actually knew all philosophies, he studied everything, and when he got together with his friends, he debated. Think about what we talk when we get together with our friends? So he would argue everybody’s point of view. He was a very strategic thinker, so he made a radical battle plan; he had various ideas for the intelligent class, the general mass of people, the westerners, and his own devotees.

He had all different strategies, very clear. The first thing was to mass distribute—mass produce so many books. This was not common then; now we are used to it. But it wasn’t common then; Thousands of books, thousands of magazines, and just mass distributing—that was a new thing. As you know, the way that he spoke, the way that he wrote was so erudite, that the idea was to beat the English, at their ‘own game’. They think they are so smart [laughter]. But you can hardly even follow Śrīla Bhakti-Siddhānta Sarasvatī; he knew English better than the English. Apparently his Bengali works are not such high language; so it was a strategy.

The other thing that he emphasized was Yukta Vairāgya—that was also a new thing. He rode in cars and wore clothes and used the printing press, and went overseas; all these things were radical. Even wearing a wrist-watch at that time for a Sādhu was like way out there. He had a strategy with the British that he would go to practically any lengths to treat them according to their culture and to their customs and to serve them in a way that they would have to be touched. To gain strength, another part of his strategy was to unite with the other Sampradāyas; so he published Rāmānuja, Madhvācārya; he tried to get the Vaiṣṇavas together, to fight against this modern influx.

Then for the general mass of people he did these massive theistic displays, using dolls and mechanized devices. This is all just like totally radical at that time; nobody had done anything like that before. He developed Māyāpura, started Parikramās, there was no such thing. We just assume there have always been these things, but ‘No!’, somebody started everything. We are doing this today, because Śrīla Bhakti-Siddhānta Sarasvatī had a strategy and that was to do massive Parikramās. He was doing incredible Parikramās of Vṛndāvan and Māyāpura.

Then amongst his devotees he introduced so many strategies. He introduced Sannyāsa as we know it today. We just think, “Well, these things were always there”, — “No!” He established GBC, and even his own followers thought that was just so radical that they couldn’t keep it after he left. He initiated by quality and not by caste. We just think all of these things are normal now, but somebody before us just pushed and pushed to bring these things, so that we now have what we have. He focused his western preaching to westerners on Lord Caitanya and not on Kṛṣṇa. He subordinated Rāgānugā and encouraged Sanātana Śikṣā. You know he brought forward more not the Rāgānugā mood, but the mood of following the instructions of Sanātana Gosvāmī. He created a hard institution; I mean prior to that, Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism was existing just softly. I am sorry; I am saying so much about him; I don’t know if this is the day;  but I think it’s important to understand these things. These are al, the battle strategies of our Ācāryas so you could go through each one of them. I am just focusing on Śrīla Bhakti-Siddhānta, because he is just so amazing. Each one of them had to consider, “How are we going to get the mercy out there, to the people!”He was the first to create really a hard institution and at the same time, he warned against what could be the problems of a hard institution. It’s possible that it could cramp the flow of Bhakti. Nowadays they call that the ‘routinization of charisma’; that you know, you create an institution so that you can get out to people, but it could just turn inwards and lose the spirit. He emphasized the importance of keeping a very-very strong preaching spirit; that is actually the purpose of the institution, so that you can spread and teach and benefit the world. It should never just become mechanical. If you study each one of our Ācāryas, they studied the environment that they were living in and the people around them and the challenges and then they made appropriate strategies. War-strategies: “How are we going to break through here?”

Even Lord Caitanya Himself adopted strategies. It was a strategy that He took Sannyāsa from a Māyāvāda or impersonalist line. Gopala Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī, he had to make things acceptable for the smārtas. So the point is they were in touch with what was going on in the world and how to make Kṛṣṇa Consciousness accessible to the people of their time.

Of course, Śrīla Prabhupāda had strategies; what he did was as a creative, innovative, amazing preacher. He was initiating what were considered Mlecchas; he was putting ladies as Pūjāris on the altars; he was introducing book distribution, introducing RathaYātrā all over the world; he was opening up the Dhāma to the whole world, I mean opening the KṛṣṇaBalarāma Mandir.

These are all radical amazing battle strategies by great-great preachers. This is what preachers think about, “How are we going to get out to the most people?” We Neophytes think, about ‘I-me-mine’ like, “How am I going to feel better? How will I be happier?” That’s not how preachers think. The preachers are constantly thinking about, “How to touch as many hearts as is possible? How to give love to people?” Every successful preacher has made a battle strategy. You don’t win wars without a strategy; I mean you have got to figure out,”How am I going to get out there?”

Actually I am remembering the first time I went on Indradyumna Mahārāja’s festival tour in Poland. My daughter wanted to go and she was too young to go on her own, so I thought well, I will just go and take her there and then I will leave. I was going to stay a few days. I was sitting, waiting for the first bus to go out on Saṅkīrtan; and Mahārāja was showing me and he was so enthusiastic about how, “We are just starting the new tour,” and he said, “Look, I got these new flags, and we have got all these new things; we have all these balloons on a stick”. I was thinking, “My God, what is this?—a circus?” [laughter] Then I saw all the ladies were dressing all pretty and everything, and I was just sitting there and thinking, “God, I am like a dinosaur from a previous Yuga.” I thought, “I got to get out of here as soon as possible”. So then we get out there and it was the most amazing experience. I said “See, Oh my God!—this is a battle strategy, that somehow or other you bring the spiritual world out to the people; all this color, and bliss, and fun, and everybody just gets sucked right in. What a strategy!”

Thus every preacher, every devotee has to make some strategy; they have to do their environmental scan and see, “How do we go about this? How do we touch people’s hearts at this time in this place?”

Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī as also a most incredible strategically minded person is thinking “Well, how are we going to take out from Vṛndāvan now, all that we have been acquiring, all these books being written?” Jīva Gosvāmī—what a strategic thinker! He thought, “So here is this student, Narottama Dāsa and he is the son of this wealthy Zamindar who is a very powerful person; so we should send him out preaching”. This was a big shock to Narottama Dāsa.

You imagine—he, living in Vṛndāvan as a perfected devotee; it’s quite different from living here as a neophyte devotee. The first thing of becoming a preacher is that you have to be ready for sacrifice and austerity. Here is Narottam Dāsa Ṭhākur, who has been living in Vṛndāvan as a perfected devotee and associating with the greatest persons existing on this planet at that time; I mean he was actually living in Vṛndāvan. Most of us are here little bit on the covering, but Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur, Śrīnivas Ācārya, Rāmcandra as best friends, studying under Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī—they were in ecstasy here in Vṛndāvan. They were really seeing Vṛndāvan. When Narottama and Śrīnivas are doing Govardhan Parikramā, they heard Kṛṣṇa‘s flute. That’s a real Govardhan Parikramā. Try it tomorrow—right? [laughter]. They heard the sound of Kṛṣṇa’s flute, Kṛṣṇa appeared to them when they were doing Parikramā. This is how Narottama was living in Vṛndāvan. He wanted to continue with that life in Vṛndāvan forever. It was quite a shock to him when it was announced that he was going to Bengal.

Narottama had to go along with this battle strategy that he had to leave all of these beloved devotees: Raghunātha Dāsa GosvāmīŚrī Jīva Gosvāmī, his beloved Spiritual Master—Lokanātha Gosvāmī. He had to say, “Good-bye.” He took his last Parikramā around Vṛndāvan and saying good-bye to all the residents of Vṛndāvan. That is really some incredible Parikramā for a realized soul.

Narottama with great heart, I mean it was a very-very heavy heart, but at the same time with very great excitement; because he was about to fulfill the mission of the Lord. Narottama took this journey which was actually a very difficult journey to take all these books that have been stock-piled for years and years in Vṛndāvan—all the writings of Rūpa Gosvāmī, Sanātana Gosvāmī, Jīva Gosvāmī. It was so amazing, like a treasure chest of gold he was taking to the other side of the country. You can only imagine the scene—that when, I think it was in front of Govindajī Mandir where they packed all these books. Everybody in Vṛndāvan came to watch this amazing scene; all those years that these great, great, great devotees had been compiling all these works. When you think of all the Bengali devotees they didn’t know about any of this. They didn’t know, they didn’t have these works and Jāhnavā Mātā was writing from that side of Bengal to Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī, “Please send them!“, because it was a very difficult situation over there in Bengal. All those devotees were just remembering “Mahāprabhu, Mahāprabhu”—they were just remembering His presence there. But they didn’t have these books that had been compiled and were empowered by Mahāprabhu, who gave the instructions to Sanātana and Rūpa. He gave all the seeds from which they were to unpack into all these books. All these devotees in Bengal they didn’t have any of it.

This was Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī’s incredible strategy that “Okay—book distribution is going to happen now”. All these amazing, jewel-like manuscripts are carried like priceless gemstones, put into the boxes to seal them and to send them out.

What a journey and what a mission that Narottama, Śrīnivas and Śyāmānanda had! What a mission!, to take all the realizations, all the jewel-like, most valuable realizations of all the Gosvāmīs and take them across the country. That journey and all that happened there, I won’t go into that detail, but it was an arduous journey and many traumatic things happened along the way. But eventually Narottama did arrive in Kheturī which was the area given to him by Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī as his Prabhu-datta desh. “You are the wealthy son of a very influential Zamindar and so people are going to listen to you. You are going to have some influence in this area!” It was somewhat radical, because Narottama as a renunciate to go back to his home-town, that was difficult. He was going to have to meet all those old friends and relatives, who all thought of him as Rajakumar Narottama and they all loved him. There are two different versions; some say that his mother and father were still there when he returned, some say that they were not.  But in any case, many relatives and many people who knew him and loved him as a little boy were there.

That was going to be his first challenge that he had to re-enter this place where everyone saw him differently. They really loved little Naru. He was like the talk of the town. He was the only son, and so everyone, “Little Naru, he’s coming back”. Everyone came rushing out, “Narottama, Narottama is here”. Everyone was so excited.

But when they got in front of him—of course, they want to run and embrace him—but when they see him: “Whoa, this is not our little Naru. This is some great Vairagi”. There is Narottama with his thin body and as a Sādhu with his little water pot. So everyone just froze. All the village people are rushing, everyone is running from everywhere, “Narottama is here, Narottama!” They are all rushing out to greet him and then they all just freeze, “Oh my God, what is he now? Where is Naru?”

Narottama had to deal with the situation. As a preacher, he had to know how to not discourage them but at the same time they have to get the point that he is not their little Naru anymore. Because first thing that happens is his cousin-Santosh, who has taken over the kingdom that Narottama is actually supposed to be running. He said, “Oh Narottama, I was just taking care of it until you came back; take it.” Narottama as a preacher he had to make it very clear, “No one even talk about politics, or position, or anything. I am now something else. Anyone who talks about those things, or expects me to behave in those ordinary ways, I will be gone”. So everyone was just frozen that they just don’t want him to leave again. They love him so, “We will just do whatever you want, Naru”. He made it very clear, “No, I will not go into my former home. Now I will be very happy to just stay out here in the Chandi-Mandap somewhere near the temple.” Then he began his strategy for preaching and he saw most of the people at that time are fairly pious but not very intellectual, not really comprehending deeply about spiritual subject matters. So Narottama’s battle strategy was what?—It was, “I am going to write songs; songs that anybody can understand.” Because now we just take it for granted, we sing all these philosophical songs and we just think they were always there forever; well, they were not. The brahmanical class actually had a very powerful control over spiritual knowledge. They were in control of giving it out and doing Saṁskāras for people; they had a system.

This idea of writing songs with very-very deep subject matter, that will be sung in the way that people sing their village songs— this is a battle strategy. So Narottama began his work. He made a strategy but at the same time, he was feeling that he was not fully empowered yet, and so he had this very strong desire. He had never actually been to Navadvīpa, he had never been in all the sacred places on that side of the country.  He felt that, in order to do the preaching that he was meant to do, he needed the empowerment to do it and that he needed to go and get the mercy of the Dhām and the mercy of the devotees, in order to really launch his mission. This is a common strategy that you will find most of our Ācāryas planned; they also did this at some point in their life, like Śrīla Bhakti-Siddhānta Sarasvatī did this. Śrīla Bhakti-Siddhānta Sarasvatī felt that what he had to do was so complex and such difficult work that he really needed special empowerment. So he went to the Dhām. He went to Māyāpura Dhām to do a Vrata, and that Vrata was done with the purpose of understanding, “How to spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness?”

Śrīla Bhakti-Siddhānta Sarasvatī actually took a vow to chant a billion names and he went into seclusion to do this. He stayed in a hut and slept only on the floor. He used no footwear or chadar. He ate only rice once a day, and not that he was only doing that; he also did some preaching activities during this Vrata. But you imagine: this took nine years. I mean that is very serious preaching preparation. Even he did that again another time, after the departure of Śrīla Bhaktivinode Ṭhākur and his spiritual master—Śrīla Gaur Kishor Dāsa Bābāji. At that time he also went into another state of intensive Bhajan to get empowerment to preach. It’s not an easy task in this world. Probably there is nothing more difficult than to push back the material energy and bring in the spiritual energy. It requires empowerment; you can’t just decide to do it. You do these things not because the austerities bring you something, it’s because you get the blessings of the previous Ācāryas.

At the end of his (Śrīla Bhakti-Siddhānta Sarasvatī) intensive Bhajan for quite a long period of time, in preparing  to actually manifest his mission, he finally got a most extraordinary confirmation and empowerment from all the previous Ācāryas. He had a vision and in that vision he saw the PañcaTattva, he saw the Six Gosvāmīs, he saw his own spiritual master, he saw his father. In other words, everybody came and he saw them and then he heard from them, “Begin the task of spreading Śuddha Bhakti. You will get unlimited support. The support of people, opulence, scholarship—it’s all waiting to serve your mission and everything will manifest when it’s required. With full strength, you push forward. Distribute PremaDharma to the whole globe. There will be no hindrance because we will forever be with you”. So how about that realization and blessing he got for results of his Vrata? Amazing!

This is the mood of the preacher, that he comes to the Dhām for this purpose, to pray and to get empowerment. We don’t come to have a good time and to just socialize, meet new people. The devotees really come for empowerment and for realization. Śrīla Prabhupāda also went to the Dhām before he got on the boat. He went to Śāntipura and he begged the mercy of AdvaitaĀcārya there at the house of AdvaitaĀcārya. Of course he spent years in front of the Samādhi of Rūpa Gosvāmī to get the empowerment to do what he did. We also see, of course Indradyumna Mahārāja is such a great example. When we go on our Parikramās, sometimes he shares that, this is what he is praying for when he goes to Sanātana Gosvāmī’s Samādhi and in front of Govindajī—he said, “I am praying for the empowerment to go out and spread Kṛṣṇa Consciousness. I am not just coming here to have fun. Yes, Kṛṣṇa Consciousness is fun, but really there is a big task, there is a big war that we are meant to be fighting.”

So Narottama was feeling this way, he was feeling, “I need the mercy of the Dhām and I need the mercy of all these personalities in order to really become a preacher.” So Narottama went to Navadvīpa, where he had never been before. He began his pilgrimage in Māyāpura. For him it’s said,—every day, every moment his heart was pounding, because he was in such a state of separation and union simultaneously. He is meeting all the devotees that are left, that were there who were with Mahāprabhu. He is in the places where Mahāprabhu lived and played and yet he is seeing and he is not seeing, so he is torn constantly. Sometimes he is in a mood; he is just crying “How was I born late? How did I miss this? How come I wasn’t there?” Maybe some of you feel that sometimes when you think, “Why wasn’t I there when Prabhupāda came, just a few years back?” But this mood of, “Why did I miss? Where are you? I want to see you”; that brings one into the presence of that person whom you are missing. So there is union and separation going on. Like some of you probably sometimes think, “Oh, I wish I would have been there when Prabhupāda was there”, and to the degree that you have that feeling of separation, that desire, then somehow or another Prabhupāda becomes present. It’s not like a few people only know PrabhupādaPrabhupāda is interacting with everyone.

This was Narottama‘s experience that sometimes he would just be burning and burning in this mood, “How did I miss this? Why wasn’t I here?” He is in all the places; he is in the house of Lord Caitanya, but Lord Caitanya is not there. But with that mood suddenly the Lord would appear, and he would be in union. For the devotees who were dying in separation from Mahāprabhu and were seeing Narottama, then suddenly they felt union again, because he just reminded them so much of Mahāprabhu. In this spirit, Narottama traveled from Māyāpura and Shantipur and Ambika Kalna, Kardaha and he met Jāhnavā Mata and he met all these devotees who had met Lord Caitanya.  Then eventually Narottama makes his way to JagannāthaPurī and there in the house of Gopīnātha Ācārya, one evening he has a revelation; it’s not a dream exactly, it’s a revelation. I am going to read, it’s from BhaktiRatnakar about what Narottama experienced in that revelation. So suddenly Narottama finds himself standing on the grand road where the RathaYātrā comes down and he sees the RathaYātrā cart coming towards him as he is standing on the side of the road. Then he sees Caitanya Mahāprabhu and all His associates are dancing in front of that RathaYātrā cart coming towards him; so Narottama stood transfixed, just trying to take in every aspect of this extraordinary scene.

He watched Lord Caitanya dancing in such a spirit of love and all the devotees were simply gazing upon Him, dancing in utter joy.  Huge crowd of pilgrims pushed forward just to get a glance of this beautiful dancing. The demigods were showering flowers and other demigods were disguised as humans joined into the ecstatic festival of the Holy Name. Even lame and blind and deaf, they all forgot their handicaps; they forgot, “I am not supposed to be able to walk, but I am walking”. They all hurried to join the Kīrtana. Even the stone-hearted people, they started just weeping in joy. They are hearing this melodious chanting of the Lord’s Holy Names and everyone was just dancing in ecstasy. Even the animals and the birds were all stunned watching and Narottama was just standing at the side of the road watching this scene. He is just silently weeping in joy.

Then Lord Caitanya left the Kīrtana and He came right to where he was standing and he took hold of Narottamas hand and embraced him. Hare Kṛṣṇa! He said, “Narottama, you should go back to Kheturī. It is my desire, you establish a new type of Saṅkīrtan. Through your Kīrtana, you will reveal My teachings and My mission and My pastimes to the world. I will empower your Kīrtana to mesmerize the hearts of all who hear it. Those fortunate to take shelter of you will receive the most precious wealth of love of God. Now go back to Bengal, establish the Saṅkīrtan of the Holy Name. Go deliver souls, Narottama, and bring them into the Sampradāya of love of God and know that I will always be with you and will protect you”. Narottama fell at Lord Caitanya’s feet, bathing them with his tears. Then each of all the devotees that were there all came and embraced Narottama and they encouraged him to fulfill his mission. That was the real result of Parikramā. This is the real thing—real devotees—that’s what happens to them.

Then Narottama continued on Parikramā; he went to Katwa and Śrīkhanda and then he went to Ekachakra, on his way back to Kheturī, he went to these other places. Then again in Ekachakra he had some extraordinary experience. He met an old very elderly brāhmaṇa who wanted to take him around and show him the holy places. That is a whole story in itself, so I won’t get into that, but eventually what Narottama found was that the old brāhmaṇa was Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu Himself.  This was the result of Narottamas pilgrimage. We are all here on pilgrimage; I don’t know what we will take back with us. This is what Narottama took back with him. Of course during that time he had been everywhere; he had met everybody; he had taken the pulse of what was going on. He had done an environmental scan, and he got the blessings to do what he needed to do. So you might do the environmental scan, but without the blessings you don’t have the Śakti. Narottama was really ready now to launch his mission.

I am wondering if we should stop there. Yeah, we should stop there.  Haribol [clapping]

HH Indradyumna Swami: “Sadbhih!  So we are not actually going to stop; we are just going to take a break. You can take a little Prasādam now. It’s okay, it’s Narottamas disappearance day. So on these days you can take some Prasāda. So you have your breakfast now—25 minutes for breakfast—till 10 o’clock and then from 10 to 11, Mādhava is going to lead Kīrtana and then from 11 to 12, Śītalā will finish her discourse, if you would like?”

Haribol [clapping…]

Śrī-Śrī Rādhā Gokulānanda –Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur Disappearance Day- HH Śrīla Indradyumna Swami – Instructions

Narottam Das Thakur Samadhi

Opening Address

– By His Holiness Śrīla Indradyumna Swami

Today is the disappearance day of Śrīla Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur. We are blessed as BaḍaHari Prabhu is with us. We will be singing one of Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur’s songs to open the program: “Ye anilo Prema-dhana”, which we sing on the departure day of great Vaiṣṇavas. Mādhava Prabhu will be leading Kīrtana later on in the morning.

Of course as I was telling you, Ṭhākurāṇī is here—Śītalā Devī Dāsī—my dear Godsister. She will be speaking extensively on the pastimes, the teachings of Śrīla Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur. She has just joined our Parikramā from Māyāpura. You please give her a big round of applause—Mother Śītalā [Applause, Haribol!]. [Sound of monkeys jumping on rooftop]. They are also applauding in their way [Laughter]. She will be with us much of our Parikramā and she will be speaking on different Vaiṣṇava personalities at different times. We are very blessed to be here in Śrī Vṛndāvan Dhām. It’s a very auspicious day.

Just next to the Pushpa Samādhi of Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur is the full Samādhi of his Guru Mahārāja, Lokanātha Gosvāmī.   


We are very blessed that from Moscow, Russia comes BhaktiAnanta Kṛṣṇa Mahārāja to join us with his group today. Please give Mahārāja a big round of applause. [Applause, Haribol!].

I am sure that Śrīla Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur is very pleased with Mahārāja. The preaching he does is his Mahā, Mahā, Mahā, Mahā-Mahotsava—the festivals throughout the country of Russia. We are very much honored, Mahārāja, that you have joined us today.

Bhakti- Ananta Kṛṣṇa Mahārāja ki –Jaya.  

All Glories to Śrīla Prabhupāda.

We would like to ask the devotees to move forward, because we have many more devotees coming, so just take about two minutes, kind of stand up, and move as far forward as you can to give room for the other devotees.









Śrīla Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur ki – Jay!

Śrīnivas Ācārya ki – Jay!

Śyamānanda Paṇḍita ki – Jay!

Śrī Gaurāṅga Mahāprabhu ki –Jay!

Śrī-Śrī Rādhā-Madana-Mohan – HH Śrīla Indradyumna Swami – Instructions

HH Srila Indradyumna Swami chanting at Sri Sri Radha Madanmohan Temple

Spending Extra Time – Absorbed in Devotional Service

– By His Holiness Śrīla Indradyumna Swami

It is getting a little warm out here now and we don’t want to get over-heated. The sun can be quite strong here, so we are going to conclude our Parikramā. Actually in the Samādhi Mandir, there’s some construction going on there and not many devotees can fit in that area at the moment. So if you have a strong desire to take Darśana of Sanātana Gosvāmī  just go down the steps in front of the temple, then you turn right and turn right again. It is just on the side of here, you can go individually and take your Darśana.

We would like to thank Mādhava Prabhu for beginning our program today with such a beautiful Bhajan. We would like to thank Caturātmā Prabhu for giving us such an enlightened and scholarly discourse on the glories of Sanātana Gosvāmī and Madana-Mohan. We would like to thank Śrīla Prabhupāda for inviting us to Śrī Vṛndāvan Dhām. We will conclude our Parikramā here for the day.

Remember that tomorrow morning we are meeting outside KṛṣṇaBalarāma Mandir around 6 o’clock to start getting you off on the rickshaws down to RādhāGokulānanda temple. Those of you who don’t show up in time, just take a rickshaw to Rādhā-Raman, and Gokulānanda is just down the street. Please spend the rest of your day in a very Kṛṣṇa conscious way. Spend extra time chanting japa. It is one of the best things to do here in Vṛndāvan. Just find a sanctified place, a clean place, a holy place and just chant extra rounds. Take the time to take a favorite scripture and just sit under one kalpa-vṛkṣa tree and absorb the deep philosophy of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. If you can’t keep so still, you have to be a little busy, then go to the temple of some of your favorite Deities and just sit down in Their divine presence and beg for Their mercyPrabhupāda said, “If you have got time, chant Hare Kṛṣṇa”; so we have lots of time here in Śrī Vṛndāvan Dhām for these essential spiritual activities. Thank you all very much for coming today. I hope that this experience has deepened your appreciation for Vṛndāvan, for Sanātana Gosvāmī, Śrīla Prabhupāda and for Śrī-Śrī RādhāMadana-Mohan.

I will take your leave now. I’m going to go back and walk up the Parikramā Mārga back to my house. I would like to leave you with a very nice invitation. I have a very dear God-brother; his name is Bhakti Bringa Govinda Swami Mahārāja. He is one of my Śikṣā Gurus; he’s the one who gave me this infection for Vṛndāvan. Bhakti Caitanya Swami said, “Bhakti Bringa Govinda Mahārāja, when he cooks, it is like gold; when Govinda Mahārāja speaks, it is like gold; and when Bhakti Bringa Govinda Mahārāja sings, it is like platinum.”

Bhakti Bringa Govinda Swami Mahārāja ki Jaya!

Mahārāja has a house; just one house down from my little house, right next to where you registered when you first came to Vṛndāvan. Every night from now on, well at least for another week, Mahārāja has his Kīrtanas, these Bhajans at his house and he wanted me to invite all of you to come this evening at 7:30. How’s that for an invitation? So that means you can offer your lamp to Gaur-Nitāī, KṛṣṇaBalarāma, and Rādhā-Śyāmasundara. Then you can walk over and come down past Balarām Bābā’s place on the way to my house and just on the left is Govinda Mahārāja’s house. We can all sit and there are different Kīrtaniyās who are singing, but hopefully Govinda Mahārāja will sing tonight and we can enjoy a nice Kīrtana. Every night you are invited to come for this Bhajan at his house.

He can fit about 300 people in his patio. Now, our Parikramā is of 300 people, so you just do the mathematics. There are lot of devotees who come for Mahārāja’s Bhajans. We have a saying in English: “First come, first served.” You know when Prasādam is being served, some smart devotees, they run to the front of the line and they get the nice hot sumptuous Prasāda; so I would recommend if you would like to come to the Bhajan, you try to come early to get a space because it gets pretty crowded.  I am going to go see Mahārāja right now so I can report to him how many of you are coming, so raise your hand if you are coming. “Woahh!” It’s going to be a tsunami of our Kīrtana party. Okay, that is 7:30 pm at Mahārāja’s house and 7 o’clock tomorrow morning at RādhāGokulānanda.

Śrīla Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur ki Jaya!

Gaura Premanande Hari Haribol! Hare Kṛṣṇa!

Śrī-Śrī Rādhā-Madana-Mohan – HG Caturātmā Prabhu – Lecture; Indradyumna Swami’s Parikrama -2015

Life Story: Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmi

– By HG Caturātmā Prabhu


I should actually feel a bit intimidated; this is after all Vṛndāvan.  Vṛndāvan is the place for those who are qualified to speak about the pastimes of the Lord and that is certainly not myself but being requested by Indradyumna SwamiŚrīla Gurudeva, and actually on the order of Śrīla Prabhupāda I am going to speak. Many times Śrīla Prabhupāda would ask the devotees right in front of him, “You, give the class!” I never had that experience but I can imagine how intimidating that must be. But particularly this place is very confronting to me, because in 1977 when I came to Vṛndāvan on my own just to experience Vṛndāvan and to develop my relationship with Vṛndāvan, this is a place I came regularly and a place that I felt very connected with what I was learning about Kṛṣṇa Consciousness.

For Sanātana Gosvāmī, this was his place and because this is raised up above, because it’s a hill, it’s a little bit separated from everything going on below it. Also the fact that Yamunā River used to be just right below would have made it so much more beautiful during Sanātana Gosvāmīs time. It is our responsibility, our duty to appreciate and glorify Sanātana Gosvāmī, but the other Gosvāmīs also appreciated and glorified Sanātana Gosvāmī. I would like to start off with a very nice prayer from Raghunātha Dāsa Gosvāmī, whom we know was very, very exact in his renunciation, and he says this:

[Raghunātha Dāsa Gosvāmī]: “I was unwilling to drink the nectar of devotional service possessed of renunciation but Sanātana Gosvāmī out of his causeless mercy made me drink it, even though I was unable to do so. Therefore he is an ocean of mercy. He is very compassionate to the fallen souls like me and thus it is my duty to offer my respectful obeisances unto his lotus feet and to take shelter of him.”

I mean, how could we have written such a poem glorifying Sanātana Gosvāmī? This poem actually describes us, we are so fallen; yet Sanātana Gosvāmī is giving us the process of devotional service.

Kavi Karnapura gives a further indication, a little insight into the identity of Sanātana Gosvāmī. He says in his ‘Gaura Gonadesha Deepika’: “Rūpa Manjari’s closest friend who is known by the name Rati manjari appeared in the pastimes of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu as Sanātana Gosvāmī. He is considered to be a personal expansion of the body of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.” We know that when the Lord comes, whether it’s Kṛṣṇa Līlā or Gaura Līlā, He brings all of His associates with Him and they all take different roles. And through the association and engagement with these devotees He spreads the teachings of Kṛṣṇa Consciousness. It is said that the writings of Sanātana Gosvāmī are paralleled only by those of Rūpa and Raghunātha Dāsa Gosvāmī.

Now Jīva Gosvāmī has given a very detailed explanation of the ancestral history of Sanātana Gosvāmī and he traces the family line back into the late 1300s. We won’t go into all that detail especially since I have 39 pages reduced down to 25 pages; but we can suffice it to say that Sanātana Gosvāmī was very expert in leadership in the field of politics tempered with a deep expertise of all the Shastras. Sanātana Gosvāmī was not the first in his family line to be entangled in the leadership of the Muslim government. It was actually his grandfather that moved the family to Jaisore which we now know as Bangladesh and that’s when the involvement began. Sanātana Gosvāmī came from a big family. His father’s name was Kumar Dev and he had many sons and several daughters, and the three prominent ones were Rūpa, Sanātana and Anupama. As Gurudeva mentioned, Sanātana was the older of the two by about 5-6 years. They were all educated in all of the sciences of every field of knowledge. Of course these three were also the oldest of all the brothers so whatever they did the other brothers would follow and in this way it was a very educated and knowledgeable family.  Of course we refer to them as Rūpa and Sanātana, but their birth names were Amara and Santosha. We will see later how they get these names Rūpa and Sanātana.

The Muslim leader of Bengal at that time, Husain Shah, he had heard about these two pious men, Amara and Santosha, and how highly qualified they were. So he wanted to engage them in the activities within his government and at first they declined, “Not so much interested. Thank you very much!” But as we might say he made them an offer they couldn’t refuse: “You either serve in my government or I will make life for the Vaiṣṇavas very, very difficult.” At that time because they were serving in the Muslim government they accepted Muslim names and titles according to the service they were taking up. Sanātana, who was Santosha, was known as Sakar Malik and he was the private secretary to the Shah and then Rūpa became known as Dabir Khas and he was in charge of the treasury and the revenue. They even engaged Śrī VallabhaAnupama and he was the Superintendent of the Royal Mint (a treasure). The Shah was very appreciative of the service they were rendering and he rewarded them, paid them very, very satisfactorily.

Now according to strict Vaiṣṇava tradition and Hindu tradition, if a person associates with Muslims they become contaminated by their association. So Sanātana Gosvāmī, Rūpa Gosvāmī, they felt themselves very fallen due to this daily association they have. Of course, this is only due to their great humility as true Vaiṣṇavas. Sanātana’s father was a little bit of a fanatic. If he even saw a Muslim he would go and perform some type of atonement for that and here his eldest sons were serving in the Muslim government mixing with them every day. It’s described that Sanātana, Rūpa and Anupama had fallen into an ocean of humility, considering themselves to be the most fallen. In the BhaktiRatnākara it describes that this example of Rūpa and Sanātana was the tool that Lord Caitanya used to teach humility.

While serving in the government they made their headquarters in the town of Rāmakeli. And it was a good choice because Rāmakeli was the home of many famous devotees at that time also. They became very much respected and while they were there, Brahmins from everywhere, even far South India, would come to stay, and study with them, and converse with them. Even though they had this mixing with the government service they would do, they were considered to be the crest jewels of Vaiṣṇava scholars. Of course this is appropriate, because their teacher was the brother of Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya. This is when they were boys before they got this government post. VidyāVācaspati, he was the brother of Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya, and he is the one that taught them all the philosophy and Śāstra and everything else they understood. Even after they were adults and established themselves in Rāmakeli he would come and visit them and then continue with his teachings and they would have discourses.

We see that even from an early age they were very much absorbed in the mood of Bhakti, what to speak of during their government service time? They remembered Vṛndāvan in their residential area. They had planted a forest of Tamal trees and forest of Kadamba trees and of course many, many forests of Tulasi. And the ponds that they had there, they named Rādhā-Kuṇḍa and ŚyāmaKuṇḍa respectively, and they were quite well known for this activity. When there are some devotees in different places, doing some wonderful services/great activities, then (even before Interpol, internet and facebook, all these things,) a devotee’s word (glories) would travel around, so Mahāprabhu came to hear about all this. Of course they also heard of the activities of Mahāprabhu for sure and they desired very much to leave their services and go and spend time with Him, but an inner voice spoke to them, “You must be patient. Soon you will have Darśana of that Personality who is the savior of the fallen.”

When Sanātana was a young boy he had a very unusual dream. In this dream he saw a Brāhmaṇa approaching him and this Brāhmaṇa gave him a copy of the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. Upon receiving that copy of the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam from the Brāhmaṇa, his hairs stood on end and tears came to his eyes, and this caused his dream to break and he woke up and he looked around and saw there is no Brāhmaṇa, there was no Bhāgavatam. The next morning he rose as regularly and bathed and was sitting and doing his morning prayers and a Brāhmaṇa came at a distance and came before him and presented Śrīmad Bhāgavatam and said to him, “Take this Bhāgavatam, always study it and all perfection will be yours.” And the Brāhmaṇa went away, pretty amazing. When he received this treasure of Bhāgavatam, Sanātana’s satisfaction and ecstasy and devotional pleasure just knew no bounds.

From that day forward his only book of study was the Bhāgavatam. He did this because he understood that the Bhāgavatam is the essence of all scriptures and he didn’t need to study anything else. He even wrote one very nice verse, which is a nice verse for devotees to give classes particularly from Bhāgavatam to memorize and recite before they speak. “Oh holy Bhāgavata, you are my only company, my only friend and my Guru. You are my greatest treasure, my personal savior and the emblem of my highest fortune. You are the very form of ecstasy. I offer my obeisances unto you.” Nice prayers! Sanātana Gosvāmī is described by Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Sarasvatī as ‘Bhakti Siddhānta Ācārya’the most important teacher of the devotional doctrine.

After Mahāprabhu took His Sannyāsa He went to Purī and He did His tour of south India, then He returned to Purī again and decided to go and visit Vṛndāvan, by following the Ganges as it went through Bengal. Now whenever Śrīla Gurudeva tries to go anywhere, big crowds go around him; devotees all want to be there. Can you imagine the thousands of people that surrounded Mahāprabhu as He tried to go on pilgrimage? Everywhere He went, there was just chaos. In this way, He made His approach to the village of Rāmakeli. Now Rāmakeli is sometimes called GuptaVṛndāvan. Anybody knows what this word ’Gupta’ means? It means “hidden.” There is a list of five or six important things to be seen in Rāmakeli:

  • The Tamal and Kadamba tree under which Mahāprabhu is said to have sat with Rūpa and Sanātana respectively.
  • The temple of Madana-Mohan that they established there.
  • The different bathing Ghats of ŚyāmaKuṇḍa, Rādhā-Kuṇḍa, SurabhīKuṇḍa, and LalitāKuṇḍa.
  • A very large lake that Rūpa Gosvāmī personally excavated called Rūpa Sāgara and then of course another one called Sanātana Sāgara.

When the Shah saw all of these crowds of people coming, he thought maybe there was some kind of revolt or uprising or something. KeśavaKhatri knew what was going on and he assured the king, “No, no, no need to worry!”  He explained a bit about the character of Mahāprabhu, so that the king could understand that this is no political difficulty. Then His minister, Dabir Khas, also assured him of the wonderful qualities of Mahāprabhu and that there was no need to fear; but they sent a message to Mahāprabhu warning him that, “This king can’t be trusted and you should be a little cautious coming here with such a big crowd.” They more or less minimized Mahāprabhu’s importance as the Yuga Avatar to the king. But the king was very intelligent. He said, “I have been beginning to think that this person must be the Supreme Godhead Himself.” After this conversation and hearing the king think like that, Dabir Khas went back to his own residence. He and his brother decided that they would go incognito to visit Mahāprabhu. Of course first they met Nityānanda and Haridāsa, and then Nityānanda and Haridāsa took them in and introduced them to Mahāprabhu.

Caitanya Caritāmṛta gives some nice verses about this exchange. Rūpa and Sanātana said the following, “We two are millions of times more degraded, fallen and sinful than Jagāi and Mādhāi. We are of a more wicked birth because we are taking up activities that appear just like those of the Muslims. We constantly associate with people who are inimical to the cows and the Brāhmaṇas and because of this we are bound by the neck and thrown into a ditch filled with evil substances.” When Mahāprabhu heard this, he said “No, no, no! You two are my eternal servants. You should be known as Rūpa and Sanātana and I have come here to Bengal just to see the two of you. Know for sure that soon Kṛṣṇa will deliver you from your predicament.” Bhakti Siddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākur explains that this was the initiation of Rūpa and Sanātana as followers of Lord Caitanya. Suppose it’s your initiation ceremony and you want all your best friends there. Now listen to the list of those who were there when Rūpa and Sanātana received their names. Nityānanda Prabhu, Haridāsa Ṭhākur, Śrīvasa Paṇḍita, Gadādhara Paṇḍita, Mukund Dutta, Jagadānanda Paṇḍita, Murāri Gupta, Vakreśvara Paṇḍita and so many other Vaiṣṇavas who were travelling with Lord Caitanya.

The Lord gave all of His blessings to Rūpa and Sanātana and then Sanātana gave a bit of an advice to Mahāprabhu. Kind of a little unusual on your initiation, you say to Guru “Oh, I have one bit of advice for you.” But it was advice for His well-being. He said that, “Your business here is now finished, it would be better if you would leave now. Even though the Shah says he has faith in You, he is a ruler and a king and he cannot be trusted. Also for You to continue on pilgrimage to Vṛndāvan with such a large group of people is not in Your best interest. This is not the appropriate way to go to Vṛndāvan.”

Mahāprabhu was impressed by the wisdom and intelligence of Sanātana Gosvāmī and He returned back to Purī. Now after this time, Rūpa and Sanātana, it became almost impossible for them to continue on with their mundane mind-numbing service to the Shah. They had become Sādhakas of the first order and it just became so difficult to continue with anything other than that. Rūpa finally arranged to resign from his post in the government and he deposited 10,000 gold coins with one grocer, like a banker, to hold. He then took all the rest of the accumulated wealth [made] by him and he divided it up against the Brāhmaṇas, the Vaiṣṇavas and his family members. Then he sent two of his servants to go to Purī and find out where Mahāprabhu was, because he knew that Mahāprabhu was getting ready to travel to Vṛndāvan and he wanted to join up with him.

Now that was Rūpa, I mean he was the minister of the treasury, so a little easier for him to get away; but Sanātana was the personal secretary and private minister to the Shah himself, and the Shah treated him just like he was a brother and gave him all kinds of facilities and kept him very comfortably settled. Sanātana thought that, “This kind of affection from him is really a great source of problems for me. If I could get him angry at me, it would be easier for me to get out of service to him.” One day he sent a servant to the Shah and said, “Oh, I am sick, I can’t come to work!” Have any of you ever, maybe called in, “I am sick” when maybe you weren’t really sick? There may be one or two; none of you? [Laughter] I have done that; I wanted to go to Janmāṣṭamī, so I informed the office, “Oha, Oha [Coughing] I can’t make it in today! Oha, Oha.” So in this way Sanātana stayed home from work, from taking care of business with the Shah. For one day, two days, three days, and it’s a week he didn’t go in. So the Shah became very much concerned, “What’s going on with Sanātana? He is my main right-hand man. He is ill or unhealthy, something must be the problem.”

Sanātana in the meantime was sitting at home and just endlessly studying the Bhāgavatam. The Shah thought, “Now he is like my brother, so I should send the doctor to see how he is doing.” The doctor went to check on Sanātana and what did he find? He found Sanātana in perfect health, sitting and reading the Bhāgavatam with all his associates, having Kathā. “Oh! You are not sick?” “No, no, not really!” The doctor went back and told the Shah, “He is not sick; he is just studying the Bhāgavatam.” The Shah became a little surprised as to why Sanātana would lie to him. He went to see Sanātana personally and he spoke very sweetly to Sanātana, “You have to come back and taken up your ministerial duties. I need your assistance. I cannot run the kingdom without you. All of my affairs depend upon you and you are just sitting in the house with the Paṇḍitas and reading Bhāgavatam. If you do not come back, my kingdom will fall apart. You must return to your service.” Sanātana looked at him, folded his hands and said, “I will no longer be able to assist you in your governmental affairs. You will have to find somebody else; I quit.”

The Shah got so angry. He stood up and screamed at Sanātana, “First your brother left and now you are quitting. You are ruining all of my plans.” Sanātana very calmly said, “You are the independent ruler of Gauda; you can do whatever you want. You can see any mistake, and mistreat as you feel fit.” The Shah then threatened and said, “I need you because I am going to invade Orissa and take over that kingdom. If you do not assist me at this particular time I will put you in prison.” Sanātana said, “Your business is to give pain to the Deities and difficulty to Lord Jagannātha. I will not help you in this matter.”  Thus he was then sent to the prison. Actually the building that he was imprisoned in is still there. In my collection of memorabilia I have one piece of that wall, from the prison cell of Sanātana Gosvāmī. That alone is enough reason for you to come to Alachua to get the Darśana of that piece of wall.

In the meantime, Rūpa got the understanding that Mahāprabhu had gone and He was in the Jārikhaṇḍa forest on His way to Vṛndāvan. He and his younger brother Anupama decided to go and try to catch up with Mahāprabhu. But he decided first that he should send a letter to Sanātana. It was a specially composed Sanskrit verse. This is that verse: “Where has the Mathurā of the Lord of the Yadu’s gone? Where is the Kingdom of Koshala of the Lord of the Raghus? Contemplate these points and make your mind steady. This world will not last forever.” When Sanātana got this, he was able to understand the secret meaning of this verse sent to him by Rūpa, and what was the secret meaning? The secret meaning was indicating that Mahāprabhu had gone to Mathurā.

This was the conviction that Sanātana needed; he began to plan his escape from prison. Because he was very much aware of all of the activities of the kingdom, he knew the jail-keeper. He tried to convince him to let him go: “I want to make a pilgrimage to the holy land and if you give me this freedom, then Allah will be very pleased with you. The Quran says that if you free someone who has been unjustly imprisoned, you will get great benefit.” “Yah!” the jail keeper was a little bit interested, but after all, he feared for his life. So Sanātana said, “Okay, 5000 gold coins?” The jail keeper said, “I will get back to you on that.” The next day, he still hadn’t given any response, so Sanātana said, “Six thousand gold coins! Let me go.” The jail-keeper said, “I will get back to you on that.” The next day Sanātana arranged for the grocer to bring 7000 gold coins all in a pile right in front of the jailer. How strong your determination would be if someone puts 7000 gold coins right in front of you? His determination was not very strong, “All right! All right!” Sanātana told him, “You just tell him you took me to the Ganges to take care of some bodily business and I jumped in and drowned, and you don’t know what happened.”

Sanātana was the prime minister but, when he escaped from jail he didn’t have a penny to his name. He was able to arrange for one servantIshanthat he had to come with him. But this Ishan thought, “I can’t just go empty handed; I need to take care of him!” So he stashed eight gold coins. As they were traveling they went through one section of land where there was a very well known robber who controlled that area. And one astrologer palmist told him, “Oh, oh, some great fortune is coming your way, very soon some travelers will come and they have wealth, you should secure it.” When they came into his area, he received them very nicely and made arrangements for them, so they had a nice place to stay and good food and nice accommodation. He was really just a big rascal setting them up so that he could rob them. Actually we did this play one time when I was a younger devotee and I played this robber guy. I had a little beedi (cigarette) in my mouth, one of those sleeveless shirts that all the rickshaw-valas are wearing, a gamachā wrapped on my  head, so it was great fun.

Sanātana Gosvāmī was a prime minister, he was expert in politics, he knew something was up: “There is no reason for this man to be so nice to us. Something is not right here”. He went to Ishan and said “Ishan, I have one question. Have you brought something with you that you haven’t told me about? Maybe you have some private funds stashed?” Ishan hung his head and said, “Yes, my lord, I have brought seven gold coins.” How many gold coins did we say he had? Eight, but how many he told Sanātana he had? Seven. Sanātana said, “Why have you done this; you have put our lives in great peril. Give me the seven gold coins you brought.” [Ishan counting and giving coins:] “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, Um 8 (hidden)”, so he gave them and Sanātana Gosvāmī took those gold coins and went to the innkeeper, to the robber, to the landowner and he said, “I have a present for you. You have been very kind to me. Unknown to me, my servant has kept these gold coins. I would like to give them to you and you would do me a great service if you would take them.” The robber told them, “Actually I knew you had eight gold coins.” Sanātana counted that it was seven. The robber said, “Had you not given them to me, I would have taken them from you and plundered you. But now that you are offering them, I won’t even take them. You can keep them.” He (Sanātana) said, “No, no, you will do me a great favorplease, if you don’t take them, someone else will. Please you take them.” So the man accepted the seven gold coins, Sanātana and Ishan continued and they went over the mountain areas. After they crossed the mountain areas, Sanātana said one thing to Ishan, “Ishan, you have one more gold coin?” [Ishan replied:] “Yes, I do”. [Sanātana said:] “All right, you take that gold coin and you return home. You are not ready for renunciation, so you keep the gold coin and you return to your home.” In this way, he bid good-bye to Ishan and Sanātana continued on his way.

Now Sanātana got near one place called Patna, very famous place where they have big auctions for animals all the time. And remember what I said, Sanātana came from a big family. Well, one of his sisters married one devoteeŚrīkaṇṭhaand they lived there. When Śrīkaṇṭha said, “This is all your family, you stay here for a few days, be comfortable.” But Sanātana wanted no delays, “No, No I have to continue on.” [Śrīkaṇṭha said:] “But you have nothing. At least take this nice expensive comfortable Bhutanese blanket.” So Sanātana thought he could use this for sleeping, for staying warm, as his gamachā, for so many things, so he accepted it.

Finally he arrived in Banaras where Mahāprabhu was staying and when he arrived there he went to the home of Candraśekhara. Candraśekhara let him stay there, while the devotees went in and informed Mahāprabhu that he had arrived. As soon as Mahāprabhu understood Sanātana had arrived, He went in and quickly embraced him. It is described that in this anticipated meeting of these two wonderful devotees all of the different ecstatic symptoms manifested and what did Mahāprabhu do? With his own lotus hands, He began to dust all the dirt off the body of Sanātana Gosvāmī. Now Sanātana felt very uncomfortable with this happening. He said, “My dear Lord, pleaseNo, No! Don’t even touch my body.” Caitanya Caritāmṛta gives Mahāprabhus response: “I touch your body to purify myself. The devotional force in your body is so great that it can purify the entire universe. I look at you, I touch you, and I sing your glories and by doing so all of My senses reach their perfection.” The Lord repeated this again and again, that He was being benefited by touching the body of Sanātana and then He said to Sanātana, “Listen my dear Sanātana, Kṛṣṇa is an ocean of mercy. He saves the most fallen. He has delivered you from the greatest type of hell.” Now of course Sanātana wasn’t really in hell; he was an eternal associate of the Lord, but it was His pastime.

The Lord looked at Sanātana; Sanātana had been in prison for some time and living with the Muslims, serving there and traveling and he had his long beard and long hair, etc. He said to Sanātana, “Go and shave and get your hair cut and look respectable.” Generally speaking, Vaiṣṇavas are clean-shaven, no hair, no beard. Of course during the Cāturmāsya period many devotees don’t shave, do fasting and things like that. After being shaven and cleaned up, he came before Mahāprabhu. Mahāprabhu was very satisfied to see him. When he was taking his bath, and shaving up and all, his friend Candraśekhara came and wanted to give him some new cloth, “You should put on some new Dhotī, new Kūrtā, now that that one’s so old.” Now even though at one time in his life, Sanātana had been wealthy enough to give clothes to thousands of mendicants, now he only had one set of cloth. But he was just as happy with that one set of cloth and he did not want to accept any new clothes from Candraśekhara.

Now, there was one Maharashtrian Brāhmaṇa that lived with the devotees there and he invited Sanātana, “You please come for Prasādam today”. Sanātana said, “No, No, I am not interested. I am only doing Mādhukarī. Whatever I collect that’s all I eat.” Mahāprabhu was very happy with this.  As he would come before Mahāprabhu during his stay there, he would have on his little loincloth, his little shawl and that really nice Bhutanese warm blanket given to him by Śrīkaṇṭha. Whenever he would go in front of Mahāprabhu, he would see that Mahāprabhu kept looking at this blanket. Mahāprabhu never said anything; He would just look at this blanket. Sanātana could understand. He was a very intelligent man, familiar in the ways of subtle dealings. That day he went to the Gaṅgā to take his bath, and there was one old Bengali beggar with his old cloths that he had and some blanket and he was washing his clothes. So Sanātana said to him, “Can we trade? I will give you this and will take yours?” And the old beggar looked, he said, “The fact that I am poor and a beggar is not enough, you must tease me like this? You look to be a saintly person, but why do you make fun of me in this way?” “No,” Sanātana said, “I am very serious, you take,” and he put the blanket on his lap. So he took the old quilt and put it around his shoulders.

Then he went back that afternoon for Darśana of Mahāprabhu, and he had on his shoulder just a bare quilt. Mahāprabhu looked at it and looked at it again, looked at it for a third time and then smiled. He said, “I have been thinking about this. It seems that since Lord Kṛṣṇa is very kind to you, he has cured you of your disease for attachments to material enjoyments. Why would He then allow you to hold on fast to one last item?”

After restoring a patient to good health the physician does not let even one trace of the disease remain. It is quite contradictory to perform Mādhukarī while wearing a blanket worth five gold coins. You can imagine, someone comes to your door dressed in a very fine tuxedo with a big fine hat and the cane and the shave, “I am very poor, could you give me a little something?” Who’s going to believe him? So in this way Lord Caitanya said, “By giving this up you have increased your spiritual strength and refrained from becoming a laughingstock.” At this point, Mahāprabhu begins His opportunity of giving the teachings of Kṛṣṇa Consciousness to Sanātana Gosvāmī.

Sanātana Gosvāmī speaks first to Mahāprabhu, “Actually, I don’t even know how to inquire about the goal of life or the process for attaining that goal.” And then this famous verse which we all know, Ke āmi? Who am I?” Śrīla Prabhupāda actually quoted this verse many, many times in his lectures. It is one of his favorite verses to quote. It is mentioned that this is the first inquiry for one on the path to spiritual perfection. Because if we mistake what our true identity is, then all of the other knowledge will be based on a faulty conclusion. Śrīla Prabhupāda often gave an example, “If you add one and one and you get three, even if you master the most complicated calculus, you will have the wrong understanding.” So due to the fact we have limited time and due to the fact I have no philosophical understanding, we will just let it be up to you, to go to the Caitanya Caritāmṛta Madhya Līlā chapters 20 to 23 and read this conversation and the Lord’s instructions.  However, it’s interesting to note that when Mahāprabhu spoke to Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya, He gave 18 different explanations of the ātmārām verse. But when he spoke with Sanātana Gosvāmī he gave 61 different explanations of the same.

After this conversation with Mahāprabhu is finished he instructs Sanātana, “Now you go to Vṛndāvan”; and when Sanātana goes to Vṛndāvan the first person he meets is Subuddhi Rāya. Now Subuddhi Rāya made his living by just selling some dry wood for lighting fires. Despite this, Subuddhi Rāya was able to host whatever Vaiṣṇava came around. Sanātana spent some little bit of time there and he learned that Rūpa and Anupama had already returned to meet Mahāprabhu in Purī. He stayed in Vṛndāvan just long enough to visit the different 12 forests, just like we are doing.

Anyway, it took Rūpa and Anupama a little bit longer to return and of course, along the way back Anupama departed this world, but that is a whole other story. When Sanātana was going to Purī, he went through the Jārikhaṇḍa forest to stay off the main road and he developed some skin sores from the bad water. When he got to Purī, he didn’t want to go to see Mahāprabhu directly. He wouldn’t even go near the Jagannātha temple, afraid that the pujaris might bump into him and become all contaminated, because he was oozing pus and stuff. He thought, “I am such an unfortunate personality. It’s almost Rathayātrā; I just want to throw myself underneath the wheels of Jagannātha’s cart, and in this way, I will be crushed to death while I look at Mahāprabhu dancing in ecstasy.” He was thinking like this and Mahāprabhu came to see him and Haridāsa, since they were staying together. Once again, Mahāprabhu embraced Sanātana so firmly. Now he had these sores all over his body, and not just one or two, but everywhere, and Mahāprabhu embraced him very firmly and all this pus-stuff is going on Mahāprabhu’s body. Now we are making a face here hearing about it and Sanātana felt very badly about it, but Mahāprabhu was in ecstasy. He was very, very satisfied. Mahāprabhu then said to Him, “My dear Sanātana, if I could attain Kṛṣṇa by committing suicide then I would give up millions of bodies in a moment, but you cannot obtain Kṛṣṇa by falsely giving up your body. Besides, you have already surrendered your body to Me, it’s My property. Do you think you can destroy the property of another? Your body will be an important instrument in My establishing devotional principles”.

We are going to jump ahead a little bit to Sanātana being here in Vṛndāvan. There are so many nice stories but we are bound. This is an interesting thing about the difference between the material and spiritual worlds. In the spiritual world time is conspicuous by its absence and in the material world everything we do is governed by time. So Sanātana is living here in Braja in Mahavan and he has got a small grass hut that he stays in and he goes out every day for Parikramā and for begging Mādhukarī, like that. One day as he is walking, one little boythe boy’s name is MadanaGopālaruns up and grabs his hand:

[MadanaGopāla:]  “Bābā Bābā I want to go with you. I want to go; please take me with you”.

Sanātana looks at him, says: “Lala, why do you want to go with me?”

[MadanaGopāla:] “No, I want to live where you live!’

[Sanātana:] “And if you live with me, what will you eat?”

[MadanaGopāla:] “Bābā, I will eat whatever you eat”.

[Sanātana:] “But I only eat dry chapatis and a few handfuls of chickpeas.”

[MadanaGopāla:] “Then that is what I will eat also.”

[Sanātana:] “No, no, no, that won’t be enough for you. You are a young boy. You stay with your mother and father.”

[MadanaGopāla yells:] “No, Bābā no, I want to go with you.”

Sanātana explained nicely to the boy: “No, no, you can’t come with me. I have no way for you to stay with me. You stay with your mother, father.” Then he continued on his way to beg his chapatis.

Now, the Madana-Mohan Deity was residing in a home of one Brāhmaṇa named Dāmodara Choubey. This Deity was previously worshipped by none other than Advaita Ācārya and through the course of time, now came to the care of this Dāmodara and his wife Vallabhi and their son. Now the way they worshipped this Deity of MadanaGopāla, it’s a little bit unusual. It was filled with parental Bhāva and with deep friendship from the boy. They actually understood and took the Deity to be one of the family members and just like naughty brothers sometimes they do with each other, they would fight and blame the other and go run and tell the parents on each other, like that. Then the parents would sit them down together to feed them and when they are done, put them to rest together.

Sanātana Gosvāmī would periodically go by Choubey’s house and beg chapatis and he would see how they were worshiping the Deity Madana Gopāla. One day, he decided to instruct Vallabhi Mata, “What are the rules and regulations and the proper way to worship the Deity?” Now after doing this, the next time he came for chapatis he saw that Madana-Mohan and the son, they were sitting together and taking Prasādam side by side very happily. Upon seeing this scene it caused great emotions of ecstasy in Sanātana’s own body. Then he said to Vallabhi, “Forget what I told you. You worship the Lord in whatever way your heart feels.”

One night, Sanātana and Vallabhi had the same dream, Madana Gopāla comes to both of them and says “I want to go with Sanātana,” and then He turns to Sanātana and says “Bābā, I am coming tomorrow to stay with you and my name is Madana Gopāla.” So then he [Sanatana] woke up. Sanātana began to think, “What did I see? Such a beautiful boy and He resembled that little boy who tried to come with me previously.” Thinking in this way, he opened the door, he decided to go outside, and there was the Deity of Madana Gopāla. The entire courtyard was illuminated by the effulgence emanating from this beautiful Deity. He expected that any moment that Deity would say something to him, and finally with tears streaming down his face he fell and offered obeisances.

He constructed a little hut for Him and eventually he was able to get a few things together and perform an Abhisheka for the Deity. Rūpa Gosvāmī came to hear and he came and looked, took Darśana of Madana Gopāla. In this way he continued on with his writings and his little bit of service to the Deity. But that service was not very much. One day the Deity refused to eat. Sanātana said, “What is the matter?”  This is an interesting thing: he makes the offering and the Deity won’t take, so he has a conversation with the Deity. This is how advanced he is. He (Madana Gopāla) said, “All you are giving me are these dry chapatis, day after day same thingdry chapatis. Not even any salt. Can you at least give me some salt?” Sanātana Gosvāmī would beg flour, roll it with water, flatten it up and throw it in fire. That was it; and then being a good devotee, he would offer to His deity first and then he would eat. Madana Gopāla said, “That’s it! I am not going to eat any more. You have to give me at least some salt.” Sanātana says, “Salt? Today you want salt, tomorrow you may want ghee, the next day it’s a Sabzi. I don’t have time for all this. Mahāprabhu has given me the service to writes books. I don’t have time to take care of all these meals for you.”

A day or so later, there is one very wealthy Kṣatriya named Kṛṣṇadas Kapur, he was going to Mathurā for the purpose of engaging in some business and trade. But his boat became stuck on a sandbar just on a hill here. He came up to the hill, went to Sanātana and said, “Please help me sort this out and get my boat free.” Sanātana said, “I am just a renunciate; I am just writing books. You go talk to Madana Gopāla if you want something. He can arrange things, I can’t do anything.” Thus he went before Madana Gopāla and he made one prayer: “O my Madana Gopāla, if by Your mercy my boat is freed, then whatever profit I get from the sale of this cargo, I will give your Gosvāmī to be engaged in Your service.” That afternoon there was a rainstorm like you cannot believe! So much water that the river rose, the sandbar just disappeared, and the boat continued down to Mathurā. Kṛṣṇadas Kapur went to Mathurā, sold his goods, got a great profit, came back and gave it all to Sanātana Gosvāmī and became his disciple.

Oh, we have run out of time, but there’s one more really, really good story. What we will finish with is just the little description of the relationship between Sanātana Gosvāmī and all of the residents of Braja. He would go around and visit all the different houses of the Gṛhasthas and all the villagers. [Sanatana would ask:] “So how are you today? Is that daughter of yours married yet? And how’s your son’s education coming along? Have you settled that maybe land you were going to purchase; has that come through alright?” Or if a husband and wife were having some arguments, like they do sometimes, they would go to Sanātana and he would settle the dispute. In this way, he was just like an uncle to all of the residents of Vṛndāvan.

When Sanātana Gosvāmī passed away, two remarkable things happened. When a family member passes away, male family members (all the men in the family) shave their head. Every male resident in Vṛndāvan shaved their head on the departure of Sanātana Gosvāmī, and Rūpa Gosvāmī was so distraught at the departure of Sanātana, that he went into his Samādhi, stayed there and never came out. So we will finish there.

There are so many stories of Sanātana around the different places of Braja, but we will save those, when we go to those places in Braja. The sun is starting to come a little bit so we will have some Kīrtana and cool off our minds.  

Thank you very much for your attention.

Hare Kṛṣṇa. [Applause, “Haribol!”]

Indradyumna Swami Mahārāja:

Let us thank Caturātmā Prabhu again for his beautiful description of the life and teachings of Sanātana Gosvāmī. [Applause, “Haribol!”] I have adjusted the program a little bit. We are going to give you time to break out your Prasādam, and take a little breakfast here and then we will walk down to the Samādhi Mandir. It’s just down the main steps of the temple here. Behind there is the main entrance and then turn right and right again to go down, and we will meet at the Samādhi of Sanātana Gosvāmī. We will have our Kīrtana there and that will conclude the day.

You’ve got a lot to remember, a lot to absorb and to relish. While everyone is here, I would just like to remind you, tomorrow is a very special day. It’s the disappearance day of a great Ācārya that’s very dear to many of the devotees’ hearts in ISKCON. It’s the disappearance day of Śrīla Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur. Narottama, Śrīnivas and Shyamananda carried on the Saṅkīrtan movement after Lord Caitanya, along with the Pañca-Tattva, went back to the spiritual world.

Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur was a great preacher, and a great Rasikā devotee, who shared his realizations in many poems and songs. Traditionally every year in our Parikramā, we meet at the RādhāGokulānanda Temple for our program. So we’re just going to ask all of you that tomorrow you be at the RādhāGokulānanda Temple at 7 o’clock tomorrow morning. How many of you know where the RādhāGokulānanda Temple is? Okay, so it’s just a few meters away from RādhāRamaṇa Temple. How many of you know where RādhāRamaṇa Temple is? That beautiful little Deity of Gopāla Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī, Rādhā Ramaṇaji! Well, if you don’t know where RādhāRamaṇa is, you just tell a rickshaw-vala–“RādhāRamaṇa?” and I will be waiting for you at RādhāRamaṇa Temple from 6.30 on and will walk you to the RādhāGokulānanda Temple. Actually starting at 6 o’clock in the morning, devotees will start assembling outside the KṛṣṇaBalarāma Mandir, the main gate and we will be helping you on rickshaws to get down there. We will just grab a rickshaw, “Rickshaw? Rickshaw? Rickshaw?” We’ll throw you there and say “Rādhā Ramaṇaji, Rādhā Ramaṇaji, Rādhā Ramaṇaji!”

Okay, so 6 o’clock outside the KṛṣṇaBalarāma Mandir, if you miss the boat there, then just tell a rickshaw-vala–“RādhāRamaṇaji” and then Gokulānanda Temple is just down the road a little bit, down 50-60 meters.

We choose Rādhā-Gokulānanda Temple, because there is a Pushpa Samādhi of Narottama there. His Guru was Lokanātha Gosvāmī and his full Samādhi is there, and there is a beautiful hall that’s covered. By Kṛṣṇa’s arrangement, Śītalā Mātājī has come from Māyāpura today. She is the favorite of all the devotees, especially the Mātājīs, and she will be giving the lecture tomorrow at Gokulānanda temple there on Narottama. A terrible thing has happened, very terriblethe temple authorities asked Caturātmā Prabhu to give the temple lecture about Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur tomorrow morning. They kidnapped our Caturātmā. I can’t believe it, they asked him to give the temple lecture and now they stole our Caturātmā. But he will catch up with us later.  

Śrī-Śrī Rādhā-Madana-Mohan – HH Śrīla Indradyumna Swami – Lecture

HH Srila Indradyumna Swami at Sri Sri Radha Madanmohan Temple

Manohara: Attractor of Minds

– By His Holiness Śrīla Indradyumna Swami

We would like to welcome all of you to the beautiful temple of Madana-Mohan. Caturātmā Prabhu will go into great detail about how this temple manifested by the strong desire of Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī. Actually, it’s the first temple to be built by the six Gosvāmīs. Actually Caitanya Mahāprabhu very much wanted that the glories of Śrī Vṛndāvan Dhām be revived and manifest to the entire world. This is the place of Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes, Śrī Vṛndāvan Dhām but through the millenniums those glories became unmanifest.

HH Indradyumna Swami -Kirtan at Srila Sanatan Goswami Samadhi

Five hundred years ago actually Vṛndāvan externally just appeared as a very dense jungle so Caitanya Mahāprabhu asked his immediate followers/disciples—the Six Gosvāmīs to come here and perform three very important functions.

  1. To write books on the science of Kṛṣṇa Consciousness, which would later form the foundation of the –‘International Society for Kṛṣṇa Consciousness’. One time Prabhupāda said, “Kṛṣṇa Consciousness is authorized and the authorization is the ancient Vedic scriptures.” Lord Caitanya told the Gosvāmīs to come to this jungle and sit, research the Vedic scriptures, and write books on the science of Kṛṣṇa Consciousness.
  2. He also asked the Gosvāmīs to wander this transcendental land of Vṛndāvan/VrajaMaṇḍala which is quite big and rediscover the places where Kṛṣṇa performed his Lilas.
  3. Then he gave them the instruction to install Deities & temples here in Vṛndāvan so that in the future little people like us could come and be inspired. In general the Gosvāmīs didn’t ask the sculptors to carve the Deities and install the Deities. It is interesting, the history is that many of these Deities were hidden for many millenniums because of foreign invasion, so quite often the Gosvāmīs would discover their Deities in the jungle or under the ground here in Śrī Vṛndāvan and then establish their worship.

Caturātmā Prabhu will tell the story of how the Deity of Madana-Mohan appeared first of all to Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī. Actually Sanātana Gosvāmī is the elder brother of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī. Rūpa Gosvāmī considered him one of his spiritual masters. Madana-Mohan appeared but of course Sanātana Gosvāmī was a Bābāji, he didn’t have any money so how could he build a temple? So we will hear about that. But it is very appropriate that the first Deity that appeared to the Gosvāmīs was Madana-Mohan; and then Rūpa found Govindajī and Madhu Paṇḍita found Gopīnātha. Śrīla Prabhupāda describes in the Caitanya Caritāmṛta that, “Those who are aspiring to enter in and to reside eternally in Vṛndāvan, they approach the Lord in these three phases. By the mercy of our Spiritual Master we are first introduced to Madana-Mohan, then to Govindajī and then to Gopīnātha—this is the authorized path of entering into Vṛndāvan”. Why is that? – Because actually Madana-Mohan means the attractor of Cupid.

It’s a nice story, actually we were walking down the Parikramā Mārga and Kalasamvara Prabhu reminded me of that pastime that at one time Cupid came to Vṛndāvana. You know Cupid’s business, his thankless task is to shoot everyone in this material world with the arrows of lust to keep them bound up with material desires until they come up to their senses— “This is all useless. Let me become a devotee of Kṛṣṇa”. Actually Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad-Gītā, “It is lust only, Arjuna, which is the all devouring sinful enemy in this world”.

HH Indradyumna Swami on the way to Madan Mohan

So Cupid he flies around the creation and he takes his arrows of lust and he sees someone and “Phhht” [sound of shooting arrow]; he shoots those lusty desires into the heart. Everyone is bound up in material existence by these desires.  At one point in this business of Cupid he came to the point where everyone in creation had been inflicted with the material desires by his arrows. There wasn’t anyone left from Brahmā down to the insignificant ant; his arrows had entered into the heart of every living creature, so he was getting bored. “What do I do now? Everyone’s been afflicted with material desires”. He was kind of proud of his achievement. One Sādhu approached him and said, “Hey, there is one person you cannot inflict with material desires”. Cupid said, “How is that possible?” So that Sādhu said, “Because He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He is transcendental to this material creation and right now He is living in Vṛndāvan.” Cupid didn’t know about this Personality—Śrī Kṛṣṇa, so he took it as a challenge. He said to that Sādhu, “I will show you. I will go to Vṛndāvan and shoot my arrows into the heart of that Kṛṣṇa.”

HH Indradyumna Swami at Madan Mohan Temple

Thus Cupid had the good fortune to come to Śrī Vṛndāvan Dhām. When he got there he inquired from the sages, “Do you know this person called Kṛṣṇa?” He was surprised that every single resident in Śrī Vṛndāvan Dhām not only knew about Kṛṣṇa, they knew everything about Kṛṣṇa and they had given their hearts to Kṛṣṇa; they loved Kṛṣṇa. He asked the people of Vṛndāvan, “Where is this Kṛṣṇa?” It was evening time so they said, “Usually in the evening, Kṛṣṇa’s sporting on the banks of the Yamunā with his girlfriends.” So Cupid thought, “Oh He is with girlfriends? He is a good candidate for my arrows.” He didn’t understand that Kṛṣṇa’s relationship with His devotees, with His girlfriends is completely pure and transcendental.

It was just down the road a little bit Kalasamvara pointed out the particular place and Kṛṣṇa was there, having pastimes with the Gopīs on the banks of the Yamunā. Cupid came there and through the trees he could see Kṛṣṇa and he took his arrows like that and set his bow and he tried to take good aim so he could get right into the heart of this cowherd boy. You know, when you point your weapon at somebody you want to take a good aim so you don’t miss. You want to get the exact point, there are certain vulnerable parts in the body where you can shoot somebody and inflict them with your arrows or your bullets. So he is kind of looking at the form of this cowherd boy and going up and down from His feet, to His waist, to His chest, to His head, and then, “Let me see”— he is going back down. In this way, he is meditating on the transcendental form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. What happens when you meditate upon the form of the lord? It just melts your heart, because Kṛṣṇa is so beautiful. He is all attractive; especially when Kṛṣṇa is on the banks of the Yamunā with His devotees in His ‘Tribhaṅga-Sundara form.

Tribhaṅga-Sundara means He is in His three-fold bending form, like we see Him on the altar, His form is bent in three different places: His neck, His waist and His ankles/feet. He is playing His Vamsi/flute; and He is Keśava: He has long black curly hair, curling down to the sides of His shoulder. Very beautiful! Because as a young boy, He is growing, His skin is loose and He has got three lines on His neck; and in His ears, He has shark-shaped earrings dangling and shining with the brilliance of the sun. His eyes, beautiful lotus eyes, they actually extend all the way almost to His ears. Divine personalities, their eyes go almost to their ears.

Rūpa Gosvāmī describes the teeth of the Lord; they are lined up like beautiful pearls: a line of pearls on top and bottom. He is wearing yellow dhoti; and He is bluish-black like a monsoon cloud. The palms of His hands and the palms of His feet have a pinkish-reddish color; and on the bottom of His feet are different auspicious signs which delineate Him as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. There is a beautiful aroma emanating from the body of the Lord which is a combination of Āguru oil, musk, saffron and camphor; and He is wearing a garland called Vaijayantī Garland. Vaijayantī Garland means there are five kinds of flowers and the Vaijayantī Garland goes all the way to His ankles.  Because of the aroma, there are always these transcendental little bumble-bees flying around that garland to get the nectar. So like this Kṛṣṇa is so attractive. He is Manohara: He attracts the mind of all created beings.


Here is Cupid trying to figure out which part of the form of the Lord he will shoot his arrows, and at one point he is just meditating and he just drops his bows and arrows and says, “This Kṛṣṇa is so beautiful; he has captured my heart” and he runs over and falls at the lotus feet of the Lord, grabs them; and says, “Please let me become your servant!” So one of Kṛṣṇa’s unlimited names is Madana-Mohan—He who attracts even Cupid. Everyone in this world is controlled by Cupid. But Cupid is controlled by the beauty of KṛṣṇaMadana-Mohan.

We are aspiring to become devotees, because we don’t really consider ourselves devotees; we have humility so we consider ourselves we would like to become devotees. One time a devotee said to Prabhupāda, “Prabhupāda, you’re the greatest devotee.” Prabhupāda looked down, he said, “To become a Vaiṣṇava is a very exalted thing. I am just trying to become a Vaiṣṇava”. We admit we are devotees but we admit we still have some material hankerings for this world, because when we chant Hare Kṛṣṇa tears of love of God still don’t flow from our eyes; so we accept in a humble way we are aspiring devotees and we still have these material desires—lusty desires. So to conquer over these lusty desires we approach Madana-Mohan because He attracted even Cupid. If we can be attracted to Madana-Mohan we can conquer over Cupid—those lusty desires. 

HH Indradyumna Swami Kirtan at Sri Sri Radha Madan Mohan Temple

The deeper essence on this Parikramā is we are trying to enter Śrī Vṛndāvan; to enter into understanding the mellows/Rasas of Śrī Vṛndāvan Dhām. So it is very appropriate that at the beginning of our Parikramā we have come to the temple of Madana-Mohan.  We have come to the deity of Madana-Mohan to pray, “Please free us from Material desires so we can serve you purely without motivation.”

na dhanaṁ na janaṁ na sundarīṁ

kavitāṁ vā jagadīśa kāmaye.

mama janmani janmanīśvare

bhavatād bhaktir ahaitukī tvayi

“All I want is pure devotional service to your lotus feet unimpeded with any contamination in my heart”; so later when you take Darśana of the Deity you can pray like that.

HH Indradyumna Swami on the way to Madan Mohan

Actually the original Deity of Madana-Mohan was later moved because of the invasion of the Muslims to Karoli, a village in Rajasthan; and the devotees installed another Deity of Madana-Mohan that is called, “Pratibu”. Pratibu means another Deity, but identical with the first Deity, but there is not any difference. The Deity is in Karoli but this Deity is non-different from the Madana-Mohan in Karoli; so don’t think, “Oh, there’s some difference.” It is exactly—Pratibu: same Deity. Later on as our hearts get a little bit purified by approaching the Lord, chanting His Holy Names, associating with His devotees; then we approach GovindaDeva, the Deity of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī and we engage our senses in the service of Govindajī and our spiritual senses become purified. By engaging in the service, our spiritual senses become awakened and then at a more advanced stage of Kṛṣṇa Consciousness we approach Gopīnātha.“ Nātha” means Lord, so Gopīnātha means Lord of the Gopīs and we engage in higher Rasas of association in service to the Lord in His form as Lord of the Gopīs. Like this, Madana-Mohan, Govinda and Gopīnātha; this is the authorized process of entering into Vṛndāvan.

HH Indradyumna Swami Kirtan at Sri Sri Radha Madan Mohan Temple

You feel very fortunate, very blessed to be sitting here at this historic and amazing temple complex. Actually, the River Yamunā used to flow right along the path of Parikramā Mārga we were walking on; that was the original path of the Yamunā River. Here you get a beautiful Darśana of Yamunā Mai, the forests of Vṛndāvan and other temples as well. So we are at the right time, at the right place, doing the right thing. Many devotees around the world, they are very appreciative of you all coming on this Parikramā; because as we show the photos and the videos that Ananta Vṛndāvan is producing, people are feeling the same Bhāva, the same devotion that you are feeling by being here; so all the Vaiṣṇavas around the world are very grateful that you have all come here performing this great Parikramā.

This is our only business now for the next few hours. We just sit here; we are getting used to sitting and hearing and chanting; Isn’t it? I can see you are much more controlled; you are much more focused, you are hankering (Laulyaṁ) for this nectar. First couple days you were sitting down, I was noticing you were moving and looking around and falling asleep as many of you just got off the plane and jet lagged etc. Now everyone is getting used to the Parikramā; you are sitting there and focused.

Vṛndāvan is meant for Bhajan. Many years ago when Prabhupāda was here, because we were in the preaching mood, some devotees said to Prabhupāda, “Can we go out to Rādhā Kuṇḍa and open a preaching center and have Harināma all day and distribute books?” Prabhupāda said “No, Rādhā-Kuṇḍa is meant for Bhajan.” In that regard all of Vṛndāvan is meant for Bhajan. We come here in this sanctified atmosphere and we sit; engage in ‘Śravanaṁ’ (hearing) &‘kīrtanam’ (chanting), which brings – ‘Kṛṣṇa smaraṇam’ (remembrance of Kṛṣṇa).  We hear we chant, and have a little Prasāda; this is the mood of Vṛndāvan. This is the mood of our Parikramā 2015 here in Vṛndāvan.

Of course this ISKCON is a missionary movement. Prabhupāda left Vṛndāvan to go to the West to spread the glories of Vṛndāvan. But he expected us to come here; hear and chant become spiritually strong and then go back to the West to share our good fortune with others by preaching the glories of Vṛndāvan. So you should all be like transcendental sponges just absorbing the waters—-absorbing the nectars of Vraja—through Kathā, and Kīrtana and Saṅga-association.

Because of your strong desires Kṛṣṇa has sent very qualified devotees to give you this nectar. We are going to begin our program today with the nectarine very deep Kīrtana of Mādhava Prabhu. Devotees all over the world, they are hankering for the association and Kīrtanas of Mādhava Prabhu and we have him for one month on our Parikramā party. What better place to have Kīrtana than at the feet of Madana-Mohan?  Then Caturātmā Prabhu whose forte is speaking about the glories of our Vaiṣṇava Ācāryas, he is going to enlighten us on the glories of Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī. He said he had notes for eight hours about Sanātana Gosvāmī, I said, “Bābā, you have 90 minutes”. He will be speaking for about 90 minutes about Sanātana Gosvāmī, then we will have breakfast and after breakfast we will have another Kīrtana to get into the mood to go to the Samādhi Mandir of Sanātana Gosvāmī which is just behind the building here.To prepare us to take shelter of the lotus feet of Sanātana Gosvāmī we will call upon another great Kīrtaniyā, famous throughout the universe, Baḍa Hari Prabhu; to lead the Kīrtana. After that we go to the Samādhi of Sanātana Gosvāmī; and when we get there, you know what we’re going to do?

HH Indradyumna - Swami Kirtan at Srila Sanatan Goswami Samadhi Temple

harer nāma harer nāma harer nāmaiva kevalam

kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva nāsty eva gatir anyathā

More Kīrtana! But standing Kīrtana with Karatāls and Mṛdungas and dancing in great ecstasy before the sacred Samādhi of Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī.

HH Indradyumna - Swami Kirtan at Srila Sanatan Goswami Samadhi Mandir


There won’t be any lunch here. Lunch you will have at your homes or at the temple. A little preview: tomorrow is the disappearance day of Śrīla Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur; we will be having our program at the Rādhā Gokulānanda temple starting at 7 o’clock.  We will sing “Je anilo, Prema dhana”. That lecture will be given by Her Grace, Ṭhākurāṇī, Śītalā Devī Dāsī.

Please give a big round of applause for Mādhava Prabhu to lead us in an ecstatic Kīrtana to enter the mood of Śrī Vṛndāvan Dhām.

Mathurā – HH Śrīla Indradyumna Swami – Instructions

Best days of your life

– By His Holiness Śrīla Indradyumna Swami

Baḍa-Hari Prabhu ki—Jaya!

Mathurā Dhām ki—Jaya!e

Śrī-Śrī Rādhā Govinda ki—Jaya!

Lord Varāha-Deva ki—Jaya!

Kārtik Parikramā ki—Jaya!

Gaur Premanande! – Haribol!

Jaya-Jaya Śrī Rādhe………….. Śyāma!

Did you enjoy your pilgrimage Parikramā to the great city of Mathurā? [Applause, Haribol!]

Did you learn a lot of things about this transcendental abode? [Applause, Haribol!]

Has it left a deep impression in your hearts?  [Applause, Haribol!]

Did you like the pastime how Kṛṣṇa appeared as Varāha to the cowherd boys? [Applause, Haribol!]

And wasn’t it amazing the Darśana of the Deities? [Applause, Haribol!]

Tomorrow we’re going to walk to the first established temple in Vṛndāvan, Śrī-Śrī RādhāMadana-Mohan. That temple was established of course by Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī. And we’ll also be visiting his Samādhi Mandir, the Samādhi Mandir of Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī. It’s actually one of my favorite places in Vṛndāvan, his Samādhi. It’s his full Samādhi, means his transcendental body was placed in the dust of Vṛndāvan there and they built a beautiful Samādhi. And in that area there is also what’s called the Grantha Samādhigrantha means scripture; so there is a scripture Samādhi. All the books that were written by the six Gosvāmīs were placed inside that Samādhi for preservation. It’s about this big; it’s in the corner of the courtyard. And the instructions are to never open that Samādhi, because some of the books that were written by the Gosvāmīs are just too deep, too esoteric, too elevated for aspiring devotees to read or to hear.

The atmosphere in that area is very much like old Braja. In the early years we used to go and visit there, 72-73. We would go there and we would have long Kirtans and lots of Kathā, so it created a very deep impression in my heart as a young devotee and I always like to go back there and seek guidance and inspiration from Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī. We’ll sit at the foot of the Madana-Mohan temple. There’s a small little courtyard there. We’ll all fit there and tomorrow’s class will be given by His Grace Caturātmā Prabhu. He’s in shock so give him some applause.  [Applause: Haribol!]. He is very famous for speaking about the lives and the teachings of great Vaiṣṇava personalities. And Kirtans will be performed by Mādhava Prabhu, Baḍa-Hari Prabhu, and me. [Applause, Haribol!]

I just love to sing and dance in front of Sanātana Gosvāmī’s Samādhi. So we’re going to leave at seven in the morning. You can assemble on the road, the Parikramā Mārga outside my house there at Rāma Reti near Balarāma Bābā’s place, near my house, or [the] houses of BB Govinda Mahārāja, Girirāja Swami. You can all assemble there at seven o’clock. It means you can go to Maṅgala Āratī at KṛṣṇaBalarāma Mandir.

In that cool morning air of Vṛndāvan, we’ll all walk down to the Madana-Mohan temple, takes about 45 minutes. It’s a very nice walk, part of the Vṛndāvan Parikramā walk. Tomorrow we’ll give you time to have breakfast there. But there won’t be any lunch served tomorrow, because when we do the Vṛndāvan temples, you can come back and take Prasādam where you’re staying or you can take Prasādam at the temple, so we won’t serve lunch tomorrow. Okay, so remember we’re leaving a little later: seven o’clock, and if you’re late you can just come down to the Madana-Mohan temple and you’ll catch us there.

One point I know, I’m looking around, and devotees are quite sleepy. Remember I told you: in India it’s good to go to bed early. Actually, in Vedic culture, in village life, people would go to sleep when the sun went down, and they would wake when the sun got up. India has a very intense climate. You might not be able to see it or perceive it but the climate, the weather, everything is very intense here and you can’t move as quick and get as many things done as you can in the West. You may have started to experience that.

You can’t do everything. But you should do the main thing, which is come on the Parikramās. We’ve organized these Parikramās. We’ve invited these illustrious personalities, older devotees to accompany us, so you can get a real Vṛndāvan experience over the next month. So go to bed early. You need the rest. You need the rest more here than you do in the West. It also helps to take a nap in the afternoon. This is not deep philosophy, this is just how to live in India, how to survive the Parikramā. When you get back, don’t run down to Loi Bazaar to go shopping. There’ll be plenty of beautiful Sāris at the end of Kārtika, as well.  When you get back, take a nap, take a nap. And get up and chant some extra japa, read a little bit.

At most, you can go to the temple to offer your lamp and then go home and take rest. Don’t talk and chat till one—and then you get tired and you won’t be able to hear the Kathā or dance in the Kirtans and so this is good advice. You should be in bed by 8:30, nine o’clock. What? Yes! The early morning’s the best part of Braja. When you get up, it’s dark. You can chant Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa. These Parikramās are intensewalking, singing, in India. But these are some of the best days of your life. When you’re older you’ll look back and remember these Parikramās, and you’ll remember, “Wow, that was really amazing.”

Okay, early to bed and drink lots of water. We’re told to drink two liters, you know. In India you can drink four liters. It helps keep you hydrated. So tomorrow at Madana-Mohan temple up on that beautiful hill, I don’t want to see any of this [mimics sleeping]. You’re sleeping!

Okay, and before you leave today, please leave our pūjārī friend a nice donation. This pūjārī’s doing very Pakka Sevā and the Deities are very beautiful. They’re shining, there’s lots of Bhakti Bhāva. So this is setting such a nice example for the whole world taking very good care of Kṛṣṇa, so if you have some lakṣmī, please give it to the pūjārī. He has a beautiful long, long hair there—big Śikhā. So please give him a very nice donation. I’m just making a personal request because everything will go to the Sevā of RādhāGovindaji.

Ananta Vṛndāvan produced a beautiful video last night about the first days in Vṛndāvan. It’s called Entering the Dhām.” It’s on Facebook, my Facebook page. It’s three minutes long, beautiful song by Jahnavi, “Like the river flows to the sea”. So if you can get online, watch that video. He is posting photos, you can see yourself, “There I am in Mathurā!” Go online if you can and see the beautiful work of Ananta Vṛndāvan—the whole world’s enjoying it. All of ISKCON is relishing his artistic abilities.

We would love to share this with the whole world and inspire them to come to Vṛndāvan! [Applause, Haribol!] We’ll try to get a big screen maybe and show you as we produce them every day. Also everything’s going live on the internet, Vrindavan.tv. You can tell all your friends, your family members, they can see you, see the Parikramās and benefit from the Kārtik experience here on Vrindavan.tv live every day, the whole Parikramā. Okay, seven o’clock tomorrow morning outside my house. Madana-Mohan and Sanātana Gosvāmī lecture by Caturātmā Prabhu.

Mathurā Dhām ki—Jaya!

Mathurā Maṇḍala Dhām ki—Jaya!

Śrī Vṛndāvan Dhām ki—Jaya!

Lord Varāha – Deva ki—Jaya!

Śrī-Śrī Rādhā Govinda-Deva ki—Jaya!

Vṛndāvanesvari Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī ki—Jaya!

Gaura Bhakta Vṛndā ki—Jaya!

Kārtik Parikramā 2015 ki—Jaya!

Jaya-Jaya Śrī Rādhe…Śyāma!

I really hope Prasādam is here?. Prasādam is here, Wow! Rasikā Śiromani Devī Dāsī ki—Jaya! Govinda Carana ki—Jaya! She would like to make some announcements. “Announcements Dāsī!

[Announcement by Rasikā Śiromani Devī Dāsī]

Śrīla Gurudeva leads the devotees Prasādam prayers…







Śrī-Śrī Bhagavat Prasādam ki –Jay,

Mathurā Dhām ki—Jaya!

Rādhā Govinda-Deva ki—Jaya!

Lord Varāha-Deva ki—Jaya!

Kārtik Parikramā ki—Jaya!

Śrī-Śrī Rādhā Madana-Mohan Temple ki—Jaya!

Sanātana Gosvāmī ki—Jaya!

Gaur Premanande —- Hari Haribol!