Mathurā – HH Śrīla Indradyumna Swami – Lecture

The Glories of Mathurā-Maṇḍala

– By His Holiness Śrīla Indradyumna Swami

Let’s now please show our affection for Mādhava Prabhu for leading us in such a wonderful devotional Kīrtana. [Applause, Haribol!].

Usually Mādhava gets us going. Well, it’s very nice in the beginning, but usually crests at about an hour, an hour and a half, so this is austere for him: telling him to chant for only thirty or forty minutes.

Before we begin, I’d like to introduce two God-brothers of mine whom I have just met actually for the first time on this Parikramā: Manyu Prabhu, over here on my left, if you could stand up please.  He is a senior Prabhupāda disciple. He joined early in the movement, and he served in Southern California, and he was on the famous RādhāDāmodara traveling festival program. That’s his story; and I am sure he has done a lot of other devotional service, which he hasn’t shared with me yet, but in our association in the next month I will learn about and share with you.

Like me, he is probably in his sixties, so I asked him what he does and he said, “I am a retired teacher.” It’s not uncommon these days when I meet God-brothers or God-sisters, I ask, what is their profession. “I am retired ‘this’, I am retired ‘that’”. It just shows how old we are getting. And he has come here with his son Nimāi, and interestingly enough, they’re both visiting Vṛndāvan—India, for the first time. [Applause].

Another Godbrother, Ghoṣa Ṭhākur, are you here today? Where are you? There, sitting, Ghoṣa Ṭhākur. He is from Canada, Quebec, and he has also done lots of devotional service through the years. Actually he comes to Vṛndāvan, India quite often actually. He has got an attachment for Braja. And he will be with us for the entire month, as well. It’s very nice for me especially to meet God-brothers I have never met before after so many years. It’s kind of one of those special things that happens as you grow older.

I’d ask all of you to please give these older Prabhupāda disciples the proper respect when they are amongst us. Out of natural humility, they are sitting on one side and in the back of the temple room, but you should facilitate when everyone is sitting down; you should clear a path and you should make sure that they are sitting along with myself and Baḍa-Hari Prabhu and so forth, and they have nice cushions and they get garlands the same time we get garlands.

The disciple should offer the same respect to the Spiritual Master’s God-brothers as they offer to the Spiritual Master. So as you facilitate me, you please facilitate them, and honor them that they received the grace of a pure devotee, Śrīla Prabhupāda, and they’re active in his devotional service at the fag-end of their lives. That says a lot.

Manyu Prabhu and Ghoṣa Ṭhākur Prabhus ki—Jaya!

Śrīla Prabhupāda ki—Jaya!

Worldwide ISKCON ki—Jaya!

Vṛndāvan Kārtik 2015 ki—Jaya!

Gaur Premānande! Haribol!

Hare Kṛṣṇa!

oṁ ajñāna-timirāndhasya jñānāñjana-śalākayā

cakṣur unmīlitaṁ yena tasmai śrī-gurave namaḥ

śrī-caitanya-mano-‘bhīṣṭaṁ sthāpitaṁ yena bhū-tale

svayaṁ rūpaḥ kadā mahyaṁ dadāti sva-padāntikam

jaya śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya prabhu-nityānanda

śrī-advaita gadādhara śrīvāsādi-gaura-bhakta vṛnda



At the moment we are actually sitting in one of the most holy places in creation: Mathurā Maṇḍala, the city of Mathurā. Of course, as you are walking down the street, you may not be able to perceive this is a spiritual abode. This is a big city. It’s falling apart: there’s garbage, there are pigs, and it looks like there are more monkeys in Mathurā than there are in Vṛndāvan.

But we accept that actually this is one of the most sacred places in the universe on the basis of Guru, Śāstra, and Sādhu. This is how we see Mathurā. We see Mathurā through Guru, through Śāstra, and through Sādhu. It’s said that a saintly person sees through his ears, not through his eyes. So we can take the opportunity to see, to perceive, to appreciate Mathurā, and let us say, through the words of a great devotee like Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī. He has written in his great BṛhadBhāgavatāmṛtam, “All glories to the Goddess Mathurā Dāsī, the best of all holy cities. She enchants the mind, she is most dear to the enemy of Kaṁsa, and she is decorated with the Lord’s birthplace. The city of Mathurā is glorified throughout the world for dispelling misery and bestowing liberation and devotion, what to speak of the various pastimes the Lord has performed in Mathurā.” Very beautiful verse describing Mathurā! In this verse, Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī points out that of all the holy cities in Bhārata, in India, this universe, and the creation, actually Mathurā is the holiest of all cities.

Actually in Vedic tradition, it’s accepted that here in Bhārata, there are seven principal holy cities; and like yesterday, you can repeat after I tell you what they are: There are Kashi, Kanchi, Avanti, Mathurā, Ayodhya, Hardiwar, and Dvārakā­. This is another set of details that you can imprint within your mind and think about. I visited a few of these holy places and they are quite amazing. Why is it that Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī says that of all these cities Mathurā is the most sacred? Because he took that information from the Skandh Purāṇa!

Actually Lord Caitanya told the six Gosvāmīs to come to Vṛndāvan and write books on the science of devotional service. So to do that, they researched so many ancient Vedic scriptures, and they presented the philosophy of Caitanya Mahāprabhu based on these scriptures. Why Mathurā is considered the most holy city of all is described in the Skandh Purāṇa. The verse is quite long so I won’t quote the Sanskrit, but the translation is:

“Among the holy cities like Kashi, Mathurā is most auspicious. Why? Because she awards liberation among human beings in four specific ways: by birth, by vows of initiation, by death, and by cremation.” That means she is very auspicious because if you take birth in this city of Mathurā, you can achieve perfection. If you have your initiation ceremony somewhere here in Mathurā, if your Guru Mahārāja decides he’ll do your initiation here in Mathurā, you can very easily achieve perfection.

Like Vṛndāvan, if you come here and you die somewhere in this city, within the boundaries of the city, you die in Mathurā, you achieve liberation. Actually Mathurā is so merciful that even if you don’t die here, let’s say you die in Delhi, but they bring your body here, and they cremate your body—your dead body (you’re gone, but your body’s cremated here), you also achieve liberation. Just think about that for a moment. By taking birth in Moscow, do you achieve liberation? By having your initiation ceremony in Buenos Aires, does it necessarily guarantee your liberation?

If you die in Auckland, New Zealand, does it guarantee your liberation? If they cremate your body in Kiev, do you necessarily achieve liberation? But just by doing those things here, just those acts alone, you get so much benefit.  But the real glories of Mathurā are described in the Padma Purāṇa. And that I’ll quote because it’s a short verse:

anyeṣu puṇya-kṣetreṣu

muktir eva mahā-phalam

muktaiḥ prārthyā harer bhaktir

mathurāyāṁ hi labhyate

“In other holy places, liberation is the greatest reward that one can achieve. But in Mathurā, one can gain what is prayed for by the liberated. What is that?—Pure devotional service to Lord Hari.”

You can get liberation by doing different things, but greater than liberation you should get pure devotional service, and that guarantees you go to Vaikuṇṭha or at best you go to Goloka Vṛndāvan. Pure devotional service of the Lord is better than liberation. What does liberation mean? Liberation from suffering, liberation from the process of repeated birth and death, or the best liberation can offer is that you appear to merge into the Brahman. That’s a very blissful state, but according to cosmic time, it’s also temporary, because although you merge into the Brahman, at some point you become dissatisfied because you’re not connected to Kṛṣṇa. Material desires appear again in your heart, and you fall back down to the Earth planets.

This city of Mathurā can offer more. Liberation is very nice, but Mathurā can offer more than liberation. She can offer you pure devotional service, which guarantees an eternal life of bliss and knowledge in the spiritual world. Understanding this, pious people or saintly people; they always search out a holy place to live, a holy place like Mathurā.

I was reminded of this last year when we were at Rādhā Kuṇḍa. There is one young girl there named Pūjā. She was about nine years old and as she was growing up so I said to her, “Well, when you finish school here at Rādhā Kuṇḍa, I’d be happy to pay for your education, college education in Delhi or Mumbai or if you’re a good student, I could even send you overseas. You could go to England and get a Master’s or Ph.D.” Because she is a very smart girl!

She started laughing. She said, “No way! No way!” I said, “Are you not interested in education?” She said, “I can read, I can write, I am never going to leave Rādhā Kuṇḍa.” I said, “No, you can get an education, some security for the future.” She said, “I have Rādhārāṇī’s blessings; what more do I need?” She’s nine years old. She said, “You can achieve all perfection just by living here on the banks of Rādhā Kuṇḍa.” So I [said], “No London? No New York?” “Nope, Rādhā Kuṇḍa.” She said, “I don’t even go to Aniyore.” (Aniyore is a little village further down the side). “I don’t even go to Aniyore; I just stay here on the banks of Rādhā Kuṇḍa.” I said, “Actually on the banks of Rādhā Kuṇḍa you spend a lot of time?” She said, “Yes, last year, I was going there every day. I was pouring milk into Rādhā Kuṇḍa, praying that you would get over your sickness, Mahārāja. When you were very sick in the hospital, every day, 12 Noon, I’d go to Rādhā Kuṇḍa and give her milk, and the flowers, and the waters, and I’d say prayers that you would get healthy again.”

Pious people, devotees, Sādhus, they like to live on the banks of the Sarasvatī River, the Yamunā, the Ganges, or a holy place like Mathurā, Vṛndāvan, because they know the benefits—that just living there, you get so much pious credit and devotional mercy. Such places have been existing since the beginning of creation. Just like there are materialist cities that have existed since the beginning of creation, so cities like Mathurā, Vṛndāvan, Ayodhya, they have also been existing. Because there are two classes of men: there are the divine and the demoniac. The demoniac, they go towards the sense gratification in the big cities and the devotees of the Lord, they migrate to the cities like Mathurā.

And we have come to the best of the best. There is a nice pastime that illustrates how Vṛndāvan, or how Mathurā Vṛndāvan is the best of the best. Sometime near the beginning of creation during the night of Brahmā when Brahmā was sleeping, a demon named Śaṅkhāsura defeated the demigods in heaven and stole the Vedas. It’s said that when Śaṅkhāsura stole the Vedas, the demigods who depend on those scriptures, they lost all their spiritual strength. We can understand that. We get our spiritual strength from ‘Śravanaṁ kīrtanam viṣṇoḥ smaraṇam’—from hearing and chanting. When we read Prabhupāda’s books, we get so much spiritual strength.

The demigods are all devotees. They’re also having Kīrtana, they’re also reading Śāstra. When the demon Śaṅkhāsura stole all the Vedas, the demigods felt, “Oh, now we have lost all our spiritual strength. Śaṅkhāsura stole it.” So the demigods approached the ocean of milk and they prayed to Kṛṣṇa again to intervene and save the situation. The Lord assumed the form of Matsya, a fish, and He killed Śaṅkhāsura in a great battle and rescued the Vedas. In this way, the demigods got back their spiritual strength; so Lord Brahmā considered this to be a great victory that the Vedas had been rescued.

He decided to hold a big celebration, a big Yajña, at another sacred place called Prayāga. Saintly persons from all over the universe, various demigods, all came and celebrated this great victory of Lord Matsya over this great demon in rescuing the Vedas. While that was all going on, Brahmā was looking around and thinking, “All these Sādhus have come and this is a very holy place because the three rivers, the Yamunā, Sarasvatī, and the Ganges meet here.” He said, “At this big Yajña, I’m going to declare that Prayāga is Tīrtharāja, the King of all holy places.”

He stood up during the Yajña and he said, “Everyone pay attention. I am declaring that of all the holy places in creation, Prayāga is the best. It shall be known as Tīrtharāja, King of all holy places.” Then Brahmā ordered all the holy places personified to pay dandavats, to bow down and offer prayers to Prayāga. So they did. But after the sacrifice was over, Nārada Muni, who was attending this great function, he was looking at Prayāga personified and he could see that because of this honor that was bestowed upon it, Prayāga was getting a little proud. He was getting a little puffed up, “Oh, I am Tīrtharāja, why everyone should bow down to me. I am more holier than thou.”

We don’t want to speak ill of Prayāga, it’s a very auspicious place, but if there’s a little pride that enters the heart of a devotee, the Lord arranges that devotee again becomes humble. Nārada Muni approached Prayāga personified and said, “You know, that’s a big Yajña, you have got the title now, Tīrtharāja.” Prayāga said, “Yes, everyone is bowing down to me.” Nārada said, “Not everybody is bowing down. There are two holy places, if you didn’t notice, who didn’t come to the ceremony and offer you tribute”. Prayāga was like, “Woah! What holy places didn’t come and honor me as Tīrtharāja?” Nārada Muni said, “Mathurā and Vṛndāvan. They didn’t come.”

Prayāga said, “Mathurā personified and Vṛndāvan personified; they didn’t come and honor me as Tīrtharāja. I’m going to complain to Lord Kṛṣṇa.” He is a special personality of course; he has special abilities, so he went to Vaikuṇṭha and met with Kṛṣṇa. At that Darśana he said to Kṛṣṇa, “Dear Lord, you witnessed my coronation as the King of all holy places. But did you know that Mathurā and Vṛndāvan chose to stay away from the ceremony? In this way, they have ignored yours and Lord Brahmā’s order to worship me. This is a great aparādha, this is a great offense. You should do something about it, Lord Kṛṣṇa.” Kṛṣṇa was silent for a while. Then he smiled and replied to the puffed up Prayāga, “My dear Prayāga, I agreed with Lord Brahmā that we could make you king of all holy places, but not the king of My home. Do not try to rule over My own personal residences of Mathurā and Vṛndāvan.” Prayāga was shocked, “Your personal?” Kṛṣṇa replied, “I always reside in Mathurā and Vṛndāvan.” He said, “My personal residence. You can’t rule over My residences.”

Kṛṣṇa said, “Just try to comprehend the glories of Mathurā.” And this following beautiful verse came from the lotus mouth of Bhagavāna Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself, glorifying the very city you are now sitting in.

Kṛṣṇa said to Prayāga:

mathurā maṇḍalam saksan

miderame parat param

lokatrayag param divyam

pilepina samhritam

Mathurā Maṇḍala’s My home. It is My transcendental abode, above the three worlds. It is not destroyed even at the time of cosmic devastation. Like Me, Mathurā is eternal.”

Well, the Lord is glorifying this transcendental abode which you are now sitting in. How fortunate we are, how blessed we are to be in this transcendental abode. The Lord’s own home, the glory of Mathurā is that Kṛṣṇa takes His birth here, He appears here in Mathurā, His Janmabhumi, here. When we celebrate Janmāṣṭamī, we are celebrating His birth in Mathurā.

When he was chastised by the Lord in this way with transcendental knowledge, Prayāga being a great devotee of the Lord immediately became very humble, and he knew Vaiṣṇava etiquette. We know, we have been trained that when we offend a devotee, the only way we can become free from that offense is to show some remorse and go and bow down to that devotee and ask for forgiveness.Prayāga said to the Lord, “May I be excused?” The Lord said, “Yes.” Immediately Prayāga came here to this MathurāMaṇḍala, this VrajaMaṇḍala and from a distance he saw Mathurā personified, Vṛndāvan personified. And he paid full Daṇḍavats on the dusty road. He begged for forgiveness and as soon as he asked for forgiveness— naturally, a devotee’s very benevolent—immediately he was forgiven by Mathurā and Vṛndāvan.

But he admitted, he said, “Because of my offense I still feel some contamination in my heart. Please tell me what to do that I can become free from any residue contamination in my heart for not respecting you for who you are?”

Do you know what Mathurā personified told him? How to become free from contamination? He said, “You go on Vraja-Maṇḍala Parikramā, Mathurā-Maṇḍala Parikramā, you visit all the holy places, and by going on Parikramā, all inauspiciousness within your heart will go away and Prema, love, for Śrī Kṛṣṇa will awaken.” This will be practically experienced by all of us. We’re just beginning our Parikramā now and by the end of the month you’ll feel so much purification, so many bad things will go from the heart, you’ll develop a little drop of PremaBhakti for Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. This Parikramā is a very powerful process in devotional service.

Something very interesting happened after that. Bhūmi Devī, whom we know as the personified Earth, Mother Earth, also began kind of questioning, “Why of all holy places on the planet are all the sages and ṛṣis saying that Mathurā and Vṛndāvan are the most sacred?”

Of course we should understand when these types of doubts appear in the minds of great devotees, it’s not really their doubts, Kṛṣṇa’s just allowing that to happen so that He can instruct them and by instructing them, He’s instructing us. Śrīla Prabhupāda explains very clearly in his classes on Bhagavad-Gītā that Arjuna had some doubts but he didn’t really have those doubts. Those doubts appeared by the mercy of the Lord, so the Lord could speak Bhagavad-Gītā to Arjuna but really He was speaking Bhagavad-Gītā to all of humanity, for all of time.

So Bhūmi had the same doubt as Prayāga, “Why Mathurā? Why Vṛndāvan? There are so many holy places.” The Lord being in the heart of every living entity and seeing this, He decided to teach Bhūmi Devī a lesson. But not immediately, He decided to wait till a particular moment, and that moment came when the first demon in the universe, Hiraṇyākṣa, took the planet Earth, took Bhūmi and threw her down to the bottom of the universe, in the water of the Garbhodaka Ocean.  

At that point the Lord appeared as Varāha, a great boar, to rescue Bhūmi from the bottom of the Garbhodaka Ocean. Why? Why did the Lord assume the form of Varāha? Because Prabhupāda explains, these boars, the boars we know here on the Earth, they go to filthy places and they lay there and they bathe there and they eat there, so the bottom of the universe is sometimes considered not the cleanest place, so the Lord took the appropriate form of a boar, a transcendental boar—not an ordinary boar—to rescue the Earth and put Bhūmi back in her natural orbit.

Lord Varāha fought with Hiraṇyākṣa, He killed him, he went down, He took the Earth on his tusks, the Lord has two white gleaming tusks, so He took Bhūmi Devī on His tusks and He flew into the air and they were pausing there in the sky for a moment, and Bhūmi’s resting on the tusks of Varāha.

At that point, Mother Bhūmi became anxious and she said to Lord Varāha, “Since everything is now flooded with water, where are you going to place me? Where are you going to place Mother Earth, everything’s flooded with water.” So Lord Varāha smiled and replied to Bhūmi. He said, “I will place you where trees still grow.” So Bhūmi repeated, “But all the trees and plants are all drowned in water now.” And again Varāha smiled at her and gave her some mystic vision. And with that mystic vision, she saw in the distance, a place with beautiful flowers, green trees, beautiful mountains and rivers and all types of animals, like deer, and cows, and sheep, and butterflies and soft winds. She saw so many—such a beautiful scene.

She was bewildered, she said to Lord Varāha while sitting on His tusks, “What is that place that hasn’t been touched by this devastation?” Varāha replied, “That is transcendental MathurāMaṇḍala, a part of the land of Goloka. It is a special place because it is never inundated with water when other parts of the universe are.” Mother Earth smiled and paid her obeisances to the city of Mathurā and the greater area of MathurāMaṇḍala. And she declared that of all holy places in the universe, Mathurā is the most holy. So through these pastimes, although they’re quite detailed, we can appreciate where we are right now.

If you were listening carefully, you’ll note that Lord Varāha plays a very important part in the glorification of Mathurā. And that is one of the reasons that two of the primary principal temples in this city, are temples where the Deity of Lord Varāha are worshipped. These are very ancient Deities that have been worshipped since the beginning of time. One is a black Deity of Varāha and one is a white Deity of Varāha. We are going to visit both those temples in about half an hour. Just so you can appreciate more of these transcendental Deities, the white Deity is called “Ādi Varāha” and He was first worshipped by Aditi. Lord Indra stole the Deity of Varāha from Aditi. When Indra had it, then Meghnatha took it from Indra, and then Rāvaṇa took this Deity from Meghnatha. Then when Lord Rāmacandra killed Rāvaṇa, He took this Deity and brought it to India, Bhārata. Then Śatrughna, Lord Rāmacandra’s brother, was the king of this Province so after getting the Deity from Rāmacandra, he established that Deity here in Mathurā.

You can remember these pastimes; remember the history of these Deities when you’re taking Darśana. These Deities have been worshipped for billions and billions and billions and billions of years. I’d also like to share with you a pastime of Lord Varāha personally in this greater area of MathurāMaṇḍala or VrajaMaṇḍala. When I was doing some research last night I was very surprised to find out that Lord Varāha actually appeared in Kṛṣṇa’s Vṛndāvan pastimes.

Did you know that? There’s a pastime of Varāha with the cowherd boys. So I’ll briefly tell that pastime. Well, one time the cowherd boys were getting ready to wrestle. Near the tail end of Govardhana, there are those two lakes, one’s called Apsarā Kuṇḍa. So the boys were getting ready to wrestle between each other. So they divided into two groups. Balarāma’s older, so Balarāma, on His side, there were the older cowherd boys. And all the younger cowherd boys were on Kṛṣṇa’s side. So when the boys wrestled like this, they first began by challenging each other. Each side challenges the other side, “We’re bigger! We’re stronger than you!” “No, we’re bigger, we’re stronger; you are going to see.” There’s a lot of shouting and arguing that goes on.


Balarāma and the older cowherd boys are making fun of the younger boys. “This Kṛṣṇa, He’s so much smaller than Balarāma. He always needs Balarāma’s help and He plays with the girls anyways, so what kind of boy is He? And we’ve beat Him up so many times,” and they’re making fun of Kṛṣṇa and Kṛṣṇa—that particular time, He couldn’t stand being ridiculed. So Kṛṣṇa stood up and He kind of came into the center where the two sides were yelling at each other and He said, “Actually, I’m stronger than anyone in the universe, what to speak of any cowherd boy.” When He said that, Balarāma started laughing and laughing so hard, He fell over. So now the younger brother, Kṛṣṇa’s becoming really, really angry and when you get angry what happens? You turn red. Right? Your eyes become red, your skin flushes, you become red. So Kṛṣṇa became very angry and His face became red with anger.

He said, “All right, my friend, you’re going to see what I can do.” Without further warning, He immediately changed His form into a gigantic, angry boar. In that form, He stood up on His rear legs, and He was as high as the clouds, He had huge fearful tusks and He began moving His tusks around and lashing out with His scary hooves at all the older cowherd boys.

He was black as a Tamal tree and His eyes were red like rubies and He started getting bigger and bigger and bigger and making the noise that boars make. Now I don’t know how they do that [mimics boar snorting]. Like that, but much louder! [More mimicry] So the birds flew away and the animals ran for shelter, so Lord Varāha began to speak to the boys in a very loud voice. He said, “So you think I’m weak. Do you? My dear brother Balarāma, my dear friends, now watch me lift this entire planet with my tusks.” Then Kṛṣṇa in the form of the boar put His two tusks in the dust of Vṛndāvan and started to pick up all of Vṛndāvan and the Earth and it started to shake and the cowherd boys were rolling down. They were like this. And the boys called out, “Kṛṣṇa save us! Save us! Please forgive us!”

But Kṛṣṇa, He wasn’t pacified. Kṛṣṇa, He didn’t like being ridiculed by the older boys so He started lifting the Earth more and more and the boys started rolling down, down, down. So the boys turned to Balarāma. They said, “Balarāma, what do we do?” Balarāma said, “Uh, uh, Madhumañgala, start reciting the Pūrussuktā.” Pūrussuktā’s recited by the Brāhmaṇas and Madhumañgala takes great pride in being a brāhmaṇa, but he was so nervous [mimics shaky voice of Madhumañgala reciting]. Balarāma said, “That’s not going to work.” So Raktak, one of the cowherd boys, he had a good idea and he whispers in Balarāma’s ear, and Balarāma said, “That’s a very good idea.” Raktak figured out how to save the situation so he whispered a secret into Balarāma’s ear. And Balarāma said, “Yes, that’s the way we’ll solve the problem.”

What did Balarāma do? He fell on the ground. He paid obeisances to His younger brother and said, “I’m sorry, please forgive us.” And all the cowherd boys [mimics sound of them offering obeisances], they all lined up and finally Kṛṣṇa said, “Alright, I forgive you. No more ridiculing me in the future.” So then Kṛṣṇa assumed His original form and He tightened His belt and put His flute back in there and His bugle horn and took all the dust from His hands like that and smiled at His friends who were still shell-shocked from seeing this great boar.

But then Viśvanātha says, “But soon the great fear of the boys disappeared and they were all filled with wonder, ‘How did Kṛṣṇa do that?’” And Subala patted Kṛṣṇa on the back, he said, “Very well done, my friend. How do you do such magic?” And one by one, all the cowherd boys embraced Kṛṣṇa. By this time they had forgotten, totally forgotten about the wrestling match. And they decided instead they would go to Surabhi Kuṇḍa for a swim and as they were going there, all the boys were imitating Varāha’s roar, his noise, Caturātmā is… [Caturātmā Prabhu makes sound]. And Viśvanātha says that although the boys had been impressed by Lord Varāha’s great display of strength, most of them were still convinced they could beat Kṛṣṇa in a wrestling match.

Because although the Lord displays these fantastic pastimes, in the end, the boys just think He’s one of them, He’s the best of them; they don’t see Him as God. So these are some, very few, of the pastimes of MathurāMaṇḍala, VṛndāvanMaṇḍala. We know that you know that Kṛṣṇa came here and killed the Kuvalayapida elephant, He defeated the wrestlers, He killed Kaṁsa, associated with the ladies of Mathurā, there are so many pastimes, so we could go on for hours.

But although it’s getting late, we have to visit the temples before they close at 11, and you’re a little tired, I’d just like to conclude with reading a few of the prayers of the Gopīs when Kṛṣṇa left Vṛndāvan to come to Mathurā.

Actually, Akrūra was a Minister in the government of Kaṁsa. He was actually a great devotee of Kṛṣṇa but somehow or other he was working with Kaṁsa, so Kaṁsa chose him to come to Vṛndāvan and take Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma to Mathurā for the purpose of killing them actually. So there are many significant points, but the most significant of course was the pastime of the Gopīs, their prayers in which they’re revealing their heart to Kṛṣṇa about the impending separation from the Lord.

At that point, that you know, Akrūra was putting Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma on the chariot and getting the horses ready to leave Vṛndāvan and come to Mathurā, the word spread very quickly throughout Vṛndāvan and the Gopīs all assembled around that chariot. And their prayers actually demonstrate the deepest, most loving, and touching sentiments that any living entity can have for God, can have for Kṛṣṇa.

And those feelings they had, those emotions, those sentiments, you know we as aspiring devotees are hoping one day to achieve that same mood. So I thought it would be appropriate to finish today just by reading the prayers of the Gopīs as Akrūra was about to take the boys here to Mathurā.

And some of you may know these prayers are found in the Tenth Canto of the Bhāgavatam, Chapter 39. We won’t read all of them. We’ll just read the prayers 19 to 26. They’re quite deep so you have to kind of sit up, sit properly and take a breath of air and listen very attentively.  Some of the essence of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam! The Gopīs said:

  • “O Providence, You have no mercy, You bring embodied creatures together in friendship and love and then senselessly separate them before they fulfill their desires. This whimsical play of Yours is like a child’s game.”
  • “Having shown us Mukunda’s face, framed by dark locks and beatified by his fine cheeks, raised nose and gentle smiles, which eradicate all misery, You are now making that face invisible to us. This behavior of yours is not at all good.”
  • “O Providence, though you come here with the name Akrūra, you are indeed cruel. For like a fool you are taking away what you once gave us—those eyes with which we have seen. Even in one feature of Madhudviṣa’s form the perfection of your entire creation.”
  • “Alas, Nanda’s Son, who breaks loving relations in a second, will not even look directly at us, forcibly brought under His control; we have abandoned our homes, relatives, children, husbands just to serve Him. But He’s always looking for new lovers.”
  • “The dawn following this night will certainly be auspicious for the women of Mathurā. All their hopes will now be fulfilled for as the Lord of Vraja enters their city, they will be able to drink from His face the nectar of His smile emanating from the corners of His eyes.”
  • “O Gopīs, although Mukunda is intelligent and very obedient to His parents, once He has fallen under the spell of the honey sweet words of the women of Mathurā and been enchanted by their alluring shy smiles, how will He ever return to us unsophisticated village girls?”
  • “When the Dāśārhas, Bhojas, Andhakas, Vṛṣṇis and Sātvatas see the son of Devakī in Mathurā, they will certainly enjoy a great festival for their eyes, as will all those who see Him traveling along the road to Mathurā. After all, He is the darling of the goddess of fortune and the reservoir of all transcendental qualities.”
  • “He who is doing this merciless deed should not be called Akrūra. He is so extremely cruel that without even trying to console the sorrowful residents of Vraja, he is taking away Kṛṣṇa, who is more dear to us than life itself.”
  • “Hard-hearted Kṛṣṇa has already mounted the chariot, and now the foolish cowherd boys are hurrying after Him in their bullock carts. Even the elders are saying nothing to stop Him. Today fate is working against us.”
  • “Let us directly approach Mādhava  and stop Him from going. What can our family elders and other relatives do to us? Now that fate is separating us from Mukunda, our hearts are already wretched, for we cannot bear to give up His association even for a fraction of a second.”
  • “When He brought us to the assembly of the rāsa dance, where we enjoyed His affectionate and charming smiles, His delightful secret talks, His playful glances and His embraces, we passed many nights as if they were a single moment. O Gopīs, how can we possibly cross over the insurmountable darkness of His absence?”
  • “How can we exist without Ananta’s friend Kṛṣṇa, who in the evening would return to Vraja in the company of the cowherd boys, His hair and garland powdered with the dust raised by the cows’ hooves? As He played His flute, He would captivate our minds with His smiling sidelong glances.”

So a small portion of the Gopīs’ prayers as Akrūra is taking Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma from Vṛndāvan to Mathurā. So today we tried to share with you some of the unlimited glories of this great city of Mathurā and this greater region of MathurāMaṇḍala, VrajaMaṇḍala.

Now we’re going to visit three or four of the temples in this little corner of the city. Two of those temples are the Varāha temples, the ĀdiVarāha and the big, black Varāha. We’ll have to ask you that the temples are small so when you go in, you have to pay quick obeisances and take a quick look because we have to put four hundred devotees in and out of these four temples, so it won’t be too easy. But as always, Rasikā has a plan; Rasikā and Govinda have a plan with Narottama.

So take quick Darśana of Rādhā Govinda, then we’ll assemble outside and we’ll send you to the respective temples. And afterwards, we’ll come back here to take Prasādam. Here’s one quick note: “Dear devotees, we are broadcasting our Parikramā through the internet and you can tell your friends and relatives to join us and see the Kīrtanas and hear the lectures every day on Yeah,, everyone can watch. And also every day we’re posting on my Facebook page the photographs of the day before and very nice videos that Ananta Vṛndāvan is taking.

Śrī Mathurā Dhām ki—Jaya!

Śrī Mathurā-Maṇḍala ki—Jaya!

Śrī Vraja Bhūmi, Śrī Vṛndāvan Dhām ki—Jaya!

Kārtik Parikramā 2015 ki—Jaya

Śrī-Śrī Rādhā Govinda Deva ki—Jaya!

Lord Varāha Deva ki-Jaya!

Jaya-Jaya Śrī-Śrī Rādhe-Śyāma!  Hare Kṛṣṇa!


Kāmyavana – HG Caturātmā Prabhu – Lecture; Indradyumna Swami’s Parikrama -2015

Questions by Lord of Dharma

– By HG Caturātmā Prabhu

Alright so, Gurudeva opened the door that I wanted to continue to walk through a little bit, before I transition into this pastime. We are here because this is the Kārtik Parikramā program. And sometimes we forget that it’s named after the month that we’re observing: Kārtik. For most devotees in another part of the world, who are now here in Vṛndāvan, going around to different places every day, all kinds of vows, strict penances, and austerities are naturally performed.

But there are five prominent activities that are given by the Gosvāmīs that one should observe during Kārtik:

  1. Increase our hearing.
  2. Increase our chanting.
  3. Offer lamps.
  4. Worship Dāmodara, and
  5. Perform fasting: Now that fasting is different for each individual, but the concept is that during the month of Kārtik, we restrict our food intake. We restrict how we take food in and what we take in.

The points that Śrīla Gurudeva has made are very practical; so aside from him being the Spiritual Master of the lion’s share of devotees here, and that in and of itself being sufficient for you to follow those instructions, executing a Kārtik Vrata in Vṛndāvan during Kārtik also gives you the benefit as well. Actually not only the benefit—one thousand times the benefit! So like he says, when you see that tasty looking pakora or that nice little ice cream bar, just remember, “If I don’t do it, I get a thousand times benefit for not doing it, and I also please Śrīla Gurudeva.”

Alright, so, let’s dive into the nectar of the pastimes here at Kāmyavan a little more. I have a question for all of you. Raise your hands if you answer this. “Before today, how many of you knew that this was the place where Yudhiṣtira had the exchange of questions? How many of you knew that took place here in Kāmyavan? How many did not?” Most of us didn’t realize that this prominent pastime that we are all very familiar with, took place here right in Vṛndāvan.

As we were driving in our caravan of cars and buses, we asked directions, and the locals were like, “Okay, well which Kuṇḍa? There are so many Kuṇḍas, which one you want to go to?” One of the Kuṇḍas in this area is called DharmaKuṇḍa. Now we all know the five Pāṇḍava brothers: Yudhiṣtira, Arjuna, then Bhīma, then Nakula, then Sahadeva. These five, they were pretty much inseparable, especially when they were incognito or going out into the forest or any of these activities. They were always very close with each other. One day, four of the brothers:  Bhīma, Arjuna, Nakula, and Sahadeva, decided that they would go out for a walk into the forest, and Yudhiṣtira didn’t feel like going that day for some particular reason.

They went out walking in this Kāmyavan area, and as happens when you hike for a fair amount of time, you become a little thirsty. So the boys became a little thirsty and they came upon a Kuṇḍa, which was called Dharma Kuṇḍa. Then first Bhīma, he went to drink water and a voice in the sky said, “Stop! Before you can take this water from my Kuṇḍa, you must answer my questions.” Now we know Bhīma’s a pretty powerful, strong guy. He’s thinking, “You know, I am Bhīma, I just want a glass of water here, not even a handful, just a palm-full of water, I don’t have to listen to you.” So he took the palm-full of water— [sound of drinking water]fell over dead.

Arjuna came, he went to the lake, and he saw, “There is my brother Bhīma, he’s dead!” But he was also overcome by thirst, and he went to take water first before he investigated. And as he knelt at the lake and put his hands into the Kuṇḍa, the voice again came from the sky, “Stop! Before you can drink this water from my Kuṇḍa, you must answer my questions.” Uncharacteristically for Arjuna, he also just blew off the voice, took a palm-full of water; he also fell over dead. We have got two out of the five Pāṇḍavas no longer there.

Sahadeva then comes next. The same scenario repeats itself; he goes to take a drink, he’s told to stop, he takes it anyway, falls over dead. And finally the fifth of the Pāṇḍavas, Nakula comes also, the same exact scenario; sees that his brothers have fallen dead, goes to take a drink of water, is told to stop, takes the drink anyway, and also dead.

Now after some time, the four brothers have not returned to the house, so Yudhiṣtira, he’s the oldest; he’s kind of looking out for the rest of them, he becomes a little concerned. He goes out in search of his brothers, “Where are they? Why haven’t they come back?”  And he sees that “There are all four of my brothers lying side by side next to this Kuṇḍa. What possibly could have happened? They are the Pāṇḍava brothers!”

As he is pondering this question, the celestial voice again comes from the sky, “I own this Kuṇḍa, and your brothers tried to drink from this Kuṇḍa without following my request. I told them to first answer my question, then they could take water, but they did not obey, so they died. This is the suitable reaction for one who steals the property of another. But you, Yudhiṣtira, you’re the older, wiser brother, so I will ask you the questions, and if you answer them, I will revive your brothers.”

One hundred questions! Now Gurudeva did say we will sit here all day, right? Someone want to keep count? [laughs] There are ten that are very important, so I’ve taken those ten instead of the one hundred. You can go to the Mahābhārata on your own and read the one hundred questions; they are listed there.

1) The first question that Yudhiṣtira is asked, “Who makes the sun rise and ascend into the skies? Who moves around the sun? Who makes the sun set on the horizon? What is the true nature of the sun? And where is the sun established?”

Now if I were taking count, I’d say that’s about six questions right there. But because they all deal with the topic of the sun, the voice in the sky was able to present them as one question; and besides, if somebody’s got your brother’s lives in their hands, you’re not likely to argue fine points of topics with them. Yudhiṣtira gives the answer: “Brahmā makes the sun rise and ascend into the sky. The collection of gods circumambulates the sun. Dharma or truthfulness causes the sun to set. Therefore, truth is actually the sun and the sun is established only by truth.” So satisfaction was given, so the next question was asked.

2) “What instills Divinity in a Kṣatriya? What is the quality of virtuosity in a Kṣatriya? What is the human-like quality of a Kṣatriya? And what is the conduct that is akin to non-virtuosity in the person of a Kṣatriya?”

So Yudhiṣtira gives the following answers: “The Divinity of a Kṣatriya is the art of archery. The offering of oblations is the quality of virtuosity found in Kṣatriya. The only human-like quality found in Kṣatriya is fear. And abandoning people who are under the protection of Kṣatriya is the non-virtuous activity that a Kṣatriya can perform.  Alright, the answers are satisfactory, he moves on to the next question.

3) “What is that thing which is like a Mantra in a performance of a Yajña? Who is the performer of rites and ceremonies during the Yajña? Who accepts the offerings and oblations of the Yajña? And what is that which even the performance of a Yajña cannot transgress?” Yudhiṣtira thought and gave the following answers: “Breath is to be taken like a Mantra in the performance of a Yajña. Mind is the one that performs all the rites and activities of the Yajña. Only the ślokas accept the oblations of the Yajña. And the Yajña cannot be surpassed by the ṛṣis. [How do you say this? The transgression of this cannot be—you can’t surpass the potency of a Yajña except through ṛṣis]. Again, the answers were satisfactory, moves on to the next question.

4) “What is heavier than the Earth, higher than the heavens, faster than the wind, and more numerous than straws?” Yudhiṣtira had no problem answering this one, “One’s own mother is heavier than the Earth, one’s own father is higher than the heavens, the mind is faster than the wind, and only our worries are more numerous than the blades of grass. That’s a good one to remember, I see some of you writing it down, that’s the one you want to remember.

5) The next question: “Who is the friend of the traveler? Who is the friend of one who is ill and dying?” Yudhiṣtira thought for a moment: “The friend of the traveler is his companion. You need look no farther than Indradyumna Swami and BaḍaHari for that answer. The physician is the friend of one who is sick, and the dying man’s friend is charity.”

6) The next questions; “What is that which when it is renounced makes one lovable?” And what is it, which, if it is renounced, makes one happy and wealthy?” So what is it that we can renounce that makes us loved by all?

Yudhiṣtira gave a very good answer. “Our pride! By renouncing our desire, we become wealthy and by renouncing avarice, or bad attitudes towards others, we become happy.” That’s also a good one. “You will become loved by others if you give up your pride, you become wealthy if you give up your desire to attain things, and you become happy if you stop finding fault in others.”

7) Next question: “What enemy is invincible? What is an incurable disease? And what sort of man is noble and what sort of man is not noble?”

Yudhiṣtira was very quick to answer this question, as well: “Anger is the invincible enemy of everyone. Covetousness (To intensely desire, to hanker) is the disease that cannot be cured. That person is noble who considers the well being of all living entities  and that person is not noble who has no mercy on others.” When we think of someone who has the well-being of all living entities, can we not think of Śrīla Prabhupāda? I mean so much difficulty; he was living here in this wonderful place, and left it all just for our benefit.

8) Next Yudhiṣtira was asked, “Who is truly happy?” Which of us here feels they are truly happy? Who? [Devotees respond] Really? Only just like three or four of you feel that you’re truly happy? You are in the lap of Vṛndāvan in the association of the most exalted Vaiṣṇavas, chanting the Holy Names of the Lord, of course you are happy! But Yudhiṣtira gave a different answer.

“One is happy who has no debts. Not only financial but debts and obligations to anyone.”

So these are among the top-ten. Everybody’s got a top ten list, top-ten this, top-ten that; so these are the top ten questions. And this tenth one is one that as Gurudeva said earlier Śrīla Prabhupāda referred to many times in his lectures.

9] “What is the most amazing and wondrous thing?” Yudhiṣtira gave a very appropriate answer which Śrīla Prabhupāda liked to repeat many times in his lectures. It’s worded different ways according to the particular translation.

“Day after day, countless people die, yet those who are living wish that they would live forever. Is there anything that can be a greater wonder than that?”

This was the answer that the personality of this voice which we will soon find out was actually looking for. This was the big prize. It’s like the big bell went off; you won the big prize, and the bells ring, and the trumpets blare, and you are the winner, you got it all.

In this way Yudhiṣtira finally gets what? He gets to get a drink of water? All of this for palm-full of water? No, you have to remember that Yudhiṣtira had a better deal with the voice: that his four brothers would come back to life. So as the five Pāṇḍavas are standing there together on the banks of Dharma Kuṇḍa, the voice reveals to them who he really is. It is none other than the Lord of Dharma: Yamarāja Himself. And Yudhiṣtira of course is Yamarāja’s son. Yamarāja is so pleased with the cooperative agreeable nature of Yudhiṣtira’s approach to this that he gives his blessings to them. He said, “Since you have agreed to the laws of Dharma, Dharma will always protect you five brothers.” Then he gave an additional blessing which would be particularly useful to them, “During the period in which you would have to be incognito, hiding for fourteen years, no one would be able to recognize you.”

Because you may remember during that famous chess match when they lost, everything was gone and they were banished into the forest. The condition was, “Not only are you banished for fourteen years, but if anybody recognizes you in the last year, fourteen more years of banishment.” When you think about it, that’s really a pretty harsh punishment. I mean, the five Pāṇḍavas are like the most famous people of the time, everybody knows who the five Pāṇḍavas are. Of course we know that they were successful because they each had their own particular skill and their own particular way of taking advantage of curses they received, and qualities and characteristics they had by which nobody did recognize them.

This is a pastime also that happened here in Kāmyavan. Kāmyavan is known for the pastimes of the Divine Couple, and for the pastimes of the Lord’s devotees who have resided here, and for the pastimes of some particularly short-tempered long-haired sages [Durvāsā Muni].

Sometimes people, you know, later after this incident, Yudhiṣtira would be asked, “You know, a hundred questions. I mean, that’s like an A+.” Now we get this music [laughter at music in the background]. Anyway, Yudhiṣtira had a very good reply, you know. He would say that Dharma protects those who protect Dharma. If you uphold your Dharma, Dharma will in turn protect you. This is an important thing to remember, that we all have a particular quality, a particular religious responsibility as Vaiṣṇavas and if we embrace those qualities of Vaiṣṇavas and are very true to them then they will also protect us as we go about our life’s work. There is one of those thoughtful phrases you see posted in different places around and it says, “You know, your honesty is who you are when nobody is watching.”

So this is the important thing to remember that the qualities that we’re supposed to represent as a devotee; we should be embracing those, and then these same qualities will be our own strength. In this way, Yamarāja served a very interesting purpose with Yudhiṣtira; a purpose that’s benefited by all of us today.

Yamarāja is one of the twelve Mahājanas. These are the personalities that give us our understanding and our standards in Kṛṣṇa Consciousness. We can greatly benefit from that. Now for the non-devotee, for those not interested in their spiritual upliftment, Yamarāja has one purpose, he’s the lord of death. He’s feared by everyone who is not in their devotional position and he is the source of anxiety and stress when an individual who is not a devotee is leaving this world. But for those of us who are taking those instructions that he gives in our Kṛṣṇa Conscious development, he actually becomes our friend.

Aside from that, so many of the devotional practices we do daily protect us from Yamarāja. It is said that, “One who wears the Tilaka on the forehead, has the Tulasi beads on their neck, who sings the nice song of Tulasi, who waters Tulasi Devī, such a person never sees the lord of death.” This is why devotees don’t fear Yamarāja. They take him as an instructor. Now generally you wouldn’t go to the lord of death and seek instructions on your devotional practices. But because he serves the dual purpose as a Mahājana, his instructions, his directions are very beneficial to the living entities. Our Ācāryas, they give us a little bit of guidance, they say that there are actually three things that we can go to Yamarāja and ask for. Because he is a Mahājana, he’s capable and interested in giving us these three things. Do you want to know what those three things are? Get your pens and papers ready?

  1. The first one is that we can ask him for good Sādhana. Isn’t this what we all desire? I mean, we all have our standard of devotional service that we’re executing, but couldn’t it be a little bit better? Couldn’t I read just little bit more? Couldn’t I chant my Japa just little bit better? Couldn’t I be a little more attentive to only eating Kṛṣṇa Prasādam? Couldn’t I make more of an effort not to fault-find and criticize others? These are all practices of our Sādhana that we can ask Yamarāja, “Please help me develop these.”
  2. The second thing we can ask Yamarāja for: “Cleanliness.” Inside and outside. Outside, of course, you take Prasādam and wash your hands. It’s funny! I was just giving a class in Alachua to the children’s school. I go there weekly and speak about the Vaiṣṇava Ācāryas to the different grade levels of kids. I was talking about Mādhavācārya last week and how during the time of Mādhavācārya it was the latter part of the middle ages in Europe, and the one thing we have from the middle ages is the black plague. This comes about primarily because of the lack of cleanliness that existed at that time. When I asked the following question to each of the grade levels from the little five-year-olds to the fifteen-year-olds, “Which of you had a shower or a bath this morning?” every single one of the kids raised their hand. I said, “Which of you had a shower or bath yesterday morning?” and in all the grade levels, every single kid raised their hand. I said, “Which of you will have a shower or bath tomorrow morning?” and they all raised their hands. Then I told them, “The thing is that in the middle Ages in Europe, they bathed, oh you know, once every two weeks, once a month maybe?” They all had the same reaction, “Eeeeeee!” [indicating displeasure] That was it; they considered it to be a horrible thing! Śrīla Prabhupāda, if he would drink water, he would rinse his hands and mouth, so cleanliness outside. Cleanliness inside by being very thoughtful of what we’re thinking and where our mind is dragging our consciousness.
  3. The final thing that a Sādhaka is encouraged to ask from Yamarāja is for the ability to control our senses especially at the time of temptation. In this way we can be very, very thoughtful of these three points; and these are things that can help us in our devotional life; and this is part of the whole pastime that took place here in Kāmyavan at Dharma Kuṇḍa.


Okay, alright, so we’ll finish there. Thank you very much, and we can try and remember these things, as we have our Prasādam, how to be clean after we have our Prasādam. So that means that we want to leave the place very neat after you’re finished. Don’t leave a mess, we are Vaiṣṇavas, we have a reputation to take care of. Thank you for your tolerance, and your time, and I pray you give me your blessings.

Hare Kṛṣṇa!

Kāmyavana – HH Śrīla Indradyumna Swami – Instructions

Instructions with Indradyumna Swami

Mood & Precautions during Parikramā

– By His Holiness Śrīla Indradyumna Swami

It’s even getting more cloudy, which is nice because it’s even cooler than it was earlier. And the weather is going to start changing—that means it going to sometimes be hot, and sometimes even cold. This is not deep spiritual philosophical wisdom, it’s just kind of practical knowledge that you have to be careful not to get sick in the changing weather patterns.

I think when everyone goes out now, you should be wearing a sweater, some socks or maybe even a hat, because if it gets cold, you should be covered. You shouldn’t get sick, because once your immune system goes down, then you can get something more serious. And when it is sunny, be careful not to get too much sun. There’s a big difference between the sun in Russia—Moscow, Paris, and New York—and the sun in India. It’s a very intense sun here that can deplete you and make you sick. Well, you could get heat stroke or even sun stroke.

One golden rule in India is you should only drink bottled water and you never eat outside. When we come to places like this, we are providing nice Prasādam. When we’re back at the KṛṣṇaBalarāma Mandir, they have Prasādam every afternoon there. But don’t eat out at sweet shops.

‘vāco vegaṁ manasaḥ krodha-vegaṁ jihvā-vegam’

[NOI – verse 1]

Don’t eat out of the sweet shops. Don’t eat ice cream from those little carts they carry around. When they don’t sell it one year, they put it in the freezer and they bring it out the next year. They don’t sell—the next year’s ice cream is ten-twelve years old. [Laughter] I’m exaggerating, but be careful.

Don’t eat from the food stands, like when we’re at the bus stops on the way to Jaipur. Those little stands—they sell yummy samosas and pakoras and khachori. But you don’t know who cooked there, where it was cooked, what pot it was cooked in.

vāco vegaṁ manasaḥ krodha-vegaṁ

jihvā-vegam udaropastha-vegam

If you’re hungry—eat fruits. If you wash the fruits, it’s generally safe, especially fruits that have a skin on them like oranges or bananas. You can have them. You can eat extra fruits and nuts. You can get some nuts in packages, that’s pretty safe. But generally, we will be providing nice Prasādam at Noon. And at the temple they have Prasādam and many of you can cook where you’re staying. You have in your lodging or apartments, you can cook Prasādam there. I said this last year and then ten minutes after the talk, I walked outside, devotees were buying ice cream out of the little box, for five rupees or whatever. Be careful!

Be careful of the animals. I know the cows are really cute and especially the little calves, but every calf has a Mommy looking after that little calf. The Mommy may come and charge you. Respect the cows from a distance.

How many of you have ever been on the Polish festival tour in Poland during July and August? Oh, wow! [Polish word]. It’s intense, but this is ten times more intense. This is the first day, it’s real easy. But we get up quite early, we are driving, we are out, we are walking around everything. So when you get back, it’s good just to relax in the evening. Maybe you can go to the temple and offer the lamp, like that, and so forth, but be careful not to stay up too late. Don’t eat late at night.

Your main purpose in being here is going on Parikramā and hearing the Kathā and participating in the Kīrtana and seeing all these wonderful places. If you stay up at night and socialize, you’re walking and talking and sitting, looking around, then you go to bed late and you gradually become more and more tired, and you won’t be able to keep up with us.

We are speaking from many years of experience, like forty years of being in India, having survived. If you get sick, let my management team know. Rasikā Śiromani, she’s got nothing to do [Laughter]. You can tell her, we’ll find a doctor for you. We have the best doctors. If you get sick, take care of it immediately. Just let us know, and we’ll take care of you. If you get a little cut, you take care of it immediately. We have antibiotic creams you can buy over the counter here. In America, we come with “Neosporin”, it has antibiotics in it. You can also get something similar in all the pharmacies here. You get a cut, immediately put some antibiotic cream and a band-aid. Don’t let it go more than 2-3 days. Even a mosquito bite, if you scratch it, then it gets infected, so put on some antibiotic cream, put a band-aid on, you’ll be okay.

Another very intelligent thing to do while you are in India: we have this hand wash, the antibacterial hand wash they sell all over the world, you can even get it in India. Whenever I’m anywhere, I’m all the time just cleaning my hands with this liquid, because you don’t know what you’re touching when you’re going on, this and that, and the animals and the sides of the building. If you keep your hands clean with this disinfectant, and then when you touch your mouth, you won’t transfer a disease. I travel with this everywhere in the world. There are different kinds of it.

In the West, in Kṛṣṇa Consciousness, we follow the rule: eat to your full satisfaction. In India, we have a different rule: under-eat. Especially don’t eat too much at night. Don’t go to MVT, have a pizza, think, “I’m going to sleep really good.” And everyone’s going to probably get a little diarrhea. We’re being quite open here. Fast; just don’t eat anything for a few days, just drink water. Don’t eat, take a little yogurt; it will cool your system down.

And the monkeys are so cute. We heard how Kṛṣṇa’s playing with His monkeys here in Vṛndāvan. Rāma had a whole army of monkeys, but you’re not God. The monkeys, they just want to be rascals, and they will steal your bags, they will steal your glasses. I’ve had at least 26 pairs of glasses stolen in the last 40 years. Watch out for the monkeys! There’s one monkey, I see him, he has stolen six bananas in the last five hours here, and I don’t know where he is now. Also, always be respectful to the locals. Never argue with anyone: rickshaw-valas, never get in any arguments. One last point, as far as our Parikramā is concerned, always be on time. It all starts with getting up early in the morning. I know it’s not easy sometimes, but the buses are going to leave at 5:30 am, maybe ten or twenty minutes later. But it’s always good to be on time, as everything functions smoothly, and it saves everyone’s time.

All this is not as interesting as Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes, and stories about Durvāsā Muni, but it’s practical advice that will make your Parikramā experience much smoother, healthier and enjoyable. Now during my talk this morning, I committed a great offense. Without knowing it, I told the pastime that Caturātmā Prabhu was going to tell, about the boy that Durvāsā Muni cursed to be a crocodile. He has been waiting months to tell that story! So during Prasādam, he was practically in tears. I said, “What’s wrong?” He said, “You told my story!” Seriously!

So I said, “You will have nothing to say this afternoon?”. So I got my computer out, and I had one more story I was going to tell if I had more time, so I’m going to give him one more story that I had that he can tell. I actually gave him my notes on the computer and he has been memorizing them since Prasādam. But of course, it’s not my story; it’s a beautiful pastime which I touched on earlier, about the ten questions that Yudhisthira answered to Yamarāja. It’s a very important, instructive pastime and Caturātmā is an excellent preacher. He’s a very popular class-giver, so with great pleasure, we turn the program over to Caturātmā, who will tell this wonderful pastime. Because I just disappointed him and made him cry, please give him a big round of applause as he comes forward.

[Applause]. Caturātmā Prabhu kī Jaya!

Kāmyavana – HH Śrīla Indradyumna Swami – Lecture

Indradyumna Swami at Vrinda Devi Temple

The Glories of Kāmyavan

– By His Holiness Śrīla Indradyumna Swami

I think that Kṛṣṇa has been very kind to his devotees. It has been extremely warm here in Vṛndāvan Dhām for the last several months; and just last night on the first day of Kārtik it rained and it cooled things down. Thus instead of sitting under a blazing sun we are under clouds; although it’s a little warm but nothing like it was the last few months. This is the first day and it’s cooled down and I have seen kind of a cover of clouds in the sky. Kṛṣṇa says, yoga-kṣemaṁ vahāmy aham: For my devotee I protect what they have and I provide whatever they need; this can all be realized on the first day of our Kārtik Parikramā. Nothing happens by chance, not a blade of grass moves without the will of Kṛṣṇa.

I think that Kṛṣṇa has been very kind to His devotees. It has been extremely warm here in Vṛndāvan Dhām for the last several months; and just last night on the first day of Kārtik it rained and it cooled things down. Thus instead of sitting under a blazing sun we are under clouds; although it’s a little warm but nothing like it was the last few months. This is the first day and it’s cooled down and I have seen kind of a cover of clouds in the sky. Kṛṣṇa says, yoga-kṣemaṁ vahāmy aham: For My devotee, I protect what they have and I provide whatever they need; this can all be realized on the first day of our Kārtik Parikramā. Nothing happens by chance; not a blade of grass moves without the will of Kṛṣṇa.

We’re here in Kāmyavana. Kāmyavana doesn’t mean just this little courtyard that we are in. Vana means forest. Kāmyavana is one of the 12 forests that comprise Vraja-maṇḍala. Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī has given more details about the forests in Vṛndāvan. He says that there are five forests on the eastern bank of the Yamunā River. And there are seven forests on the western bank of the river Yamunā; so seven and five is twelve. The five forests on the eastern bank of the Yamunā are as follows; you can repeat:

  • Bhadravana
  • Bilvavana
  • Lauhavana
  • Bhāṇḍīravana and
  • Mahāvana.

Not my disciple Mahāvana but the forest Mahāvana.

And the seven forests on the western side of the Yamunā are as follows.

  • Madhuvana,
  • Tālavana,
  • Kumudavana,
  • Bahulāvana,
  • Khadiravana,
  • Vṛndāvana and
  • Kāmyavana.

These are the kind of details that make sense to memorize, we are in school and we have to memorize so many details we never use when we graduate. But here are some details that you can remember and will always remember.

Kāma means desire; so Kāmyavana means that forest where all your desires are fulfilled; Of course that doesn’t mean material desires, it means spiritual desires. We’re all very familiar with our material desires; they’re quite embarrassing. But by the mercy of our spiritual masters we’re beginning to learn what are the real desires of the heart? Our spiritual desires. Actually in His Śikṣāṣṭakam prayers, Lord Caitanya has helped us understand, what are the material desires that we want to reject? And what are the spiritual desires we want to awaken deep within our heart?

na dhanaṁ na janaṁ na sundarīṁ

kavitāṁ vā jagadīśa kāmaye.

mama janmani janmanīśvare

bhavatād bhaktir ahaitukī tvayi

“Lord I have no desire to accumulate wealth, I don’t want to enjoy beautiful women, I don’t want to be famous and have many followers. I don’t even desire liberation. All that I want is your causeless devotional service in my life, birth after birth.”

If you come here to Kāmyavana and you ask the Lord to please fulfill your spiritual desires that can be very easily achieved here in Kāmyavana. As we know, we’re struggling with material desires. And it’s very hard to awaken our Bhāva for Kṛṣṇa, our spiritual desire. But Sādhus they come to Kāmyavana because they know here it’s very easy to let go of their material desires. It means the spiritual atmosphere here is such that it [sound indicating sudden change—“poof!”]—you just don’t struggle with material desires in your mind, like: “OUT! Go away! Be rid of you!” No problem here in Kāmyavana. That BhāvaPrema towards Kṛṣṇa, which is there deep in our hearts in a seed-like form can be very easily  awakened by coming to Kāmyavana and chanting:




We often hear that when we go to a holy place like Vṛndāvan, whatever Sevā we do, whatever devotional service we do, the result we get from that activity is magnified a thousand times. So if you call your mom or dad or your brother and sister back home and they ask you, “How many rounds are you chanting every day?” You can say “16 thousand.” But be careful because offenses in the DhāmDhām aparādhās—the result of the offense is also magnified a thousand times. So be careful. When you look around, you may think, “Is this a spiritual place? Doesn’t look like what in my mind what I would imagine. Doesn’t look like the ISKCON paintings in the books of a spiritual place with flowers, lakes, swans and Kṛṣṇa.” But the difficulty is that we are seeing with material eyes. When our material vision is purified through the process of devotional service, one day we will see Kāmyavana; we will see Vṛndāvan like it really is.

This is very nicely discussed by Śrīla Bhaktivinode Ṭhākur. He wrote one book called Navadvīpa Bhāva Taraṅga. There he says, “One whose eyes are covered by material illusion; this is only a small house situated here, plus some ordinary earth, water and a few articles. But if Māyā becomes merciful and lifts her covering one can see a grand spiritual dwelling.” Then he continues, “The qualification for seeing the Dhām is something spiritual and is the combined mercy of Kṛṣṇa and His devotees.” He said, “Kṛṣṇa is very merciful but His devotees are even more merciful and out of compassion, the Sādhus bestow transcendental qualifications on other devotees. At the very moment that the living entity gives up material illusion, his eyes will behold the splendor of Śrī Vṛndāvan Dhām.” Then he says, “When, Oh when will that day be mine?”

It’s the devotees of the Lord who are even more merciful than the Lord Himself,  so we come here to receive Kṛṣṇa’s mercy and we are getting that mercy from His devotee, Vṛndā Devī. The glories of Kāmyavana are further described by our Ācāryas. Actually you can almost think, “Oh, the following must be some sort of exaggeration.” But no, this is not exaggeration. Our scriptures, the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava scriptures, describe that by visiting this forest, Kāmyavana, just one time, all of one’s sinful desires are destroyed. Not reactions, but all of one’s sinful desires will be destroyed. It’s from the desires that the reactions come, so whatever bad desires you have in your heart by coming here and sitting a few hours: ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanam—[sound indicating immediate change—Vroom!] Gone.

Now a special feature of this forest Kāmyavana is the number of things that are prominent by the number eighty four (84).

There are 84 prominent lakes in Kāmyavana.

There are 84 prominent thrones.

There are 84 prominent temples.

There are 84 pillars in every one of those 84 temples.


These are details. We want to fill our minds with details, things about the spiritual world. When you go home next—at the end of this month, and someone says, “Where did you go?” “I went to Kāmyavana.” “What was it like?”

 “Well, everything was 84 there! [Laughter] There are 84 temples, 84 pillars, 84 cows and some more facts. The center of the Kāmyavana forest is the ancestral home of Mother Yaśodā.” “Prabhuji, Do you know anything about mother Yaśodā?” “Yes, her grandparents lived in Kāmyavana.” “Oh, you are such a scholar. Where did you learn that?” [Laughter]

The Pandavas, when they had to go into exile for those whatever—12 or 14 years—this is one place they lived in exile. When Lord Caitanya came to Vṛndāvan exactly 500 years ago, out of the 60 billion holy places, He made a special point to visit Kāmyavana just after visiting Govardhan Hill and he did the whole Parikramā around Kāmyavana. He visited each and every holy place in this transcendental forest and Jīva Gosvāmī says he also bathed in all the 84 lakes. Mahāprabhu is teaching us how to go on Parikramā.

Now if you could go, take a drone, [buzzing sound of drone] you could see the video in the drone, you would see lots of lakes in Kāmyavana. I think one of the more famous, most prominent lake is called Vimala-Kuṇḍa.

You know Sādhus, when they go to holy places they very often reside on the bank of a river or next to a lake, because they need water for bathing and washing and doing puja.

In Satya-yuga, Durvāsā Muni came here. He resided on the bank of this lake called VimalaKuṇḍa. One day he took his bath and came out; he was sitting on the bank and he had very long dreadlocks. You know how the Sādhus sometimes they tie their hair like this; [action] it’s called a Jata. Big! His dreadlocks measured in length from here to the entrance of the temple. I actually met a Sādhu in Nepal whose hair was that long. One day he was drying it on the river bank. I went and saw, “Oh my God. That’s some pretty long dreadlocks.”

There were some local boys there. You know boys, they can be little rascals sometimes. One of the boys, he said to his friends, “Look at that man, his hair is 15 times longer than the length of his body! [Laughs] Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha.” They started making fun of Durvāsā Muni. We say in Polish “…Uważaj…” “Watch out!.” Durvāsā is like Śiva. Śiva is Āśutoṣa; he is easily pleased and he is easily displeased. Sādhus are often like that. If you please Durvāsā Muni you can get a wonderful benediction, if you displease him, watch out!


So Durvāsā Muni said to that boy, “Since you like to crawl around and make mischief, then become a crocodile and you can crawl around on the ground for the duration of four ages: Satya, Treta, Dvāpara, and Kali-yuga as a crocodile.” Who would like that curse—to be a crocodile for millions and millions and millions and millions of years?

But when we make a mistake the way we become free from the mistake or the offense—is to express some remorse, “Oh I am sorry, please forgive me.” The little boy; he was only nine but he was going to be a crocodile for a million years, he said, “Bābā, I am sorry. Please?” [Crying sound: “Uhn… Uhn…”].

Now when a sādhu or brāhmaṇa curses, just the nature of life, the way this world is constructed is: he can’t take back the curse. The brāhmaṇas, they would take their sacred thread and they would touch water and then “shuu…zz” [throwing curse]. But if they wanted to take it back, they can’t do it—that’s not the way things work. He couldn’t take the curse back, even if he wanted to. “Oops!” But they can decrease the potency of the curse somewhat; they can make some compromises. So Durvāsā said, “Come here, come here young man, sit next to me.” “Okay, this is Satya-yuga and we are in Kāmyavana and when the Lord of this forest Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa appears in Navadvīpa in Kali-yuga, as the son of Śaci, He will deliver you by NāmaSankirtana.” The boy had to wait four yugas until Caitanya Mahāprabhu appeared and then Durvāsā said, “When He chants,



then you’ll be freed from my curse. It’s a compromise but—well— you get to see Mahāprabhu!”

The boy immediately became a crocodile and he lived in a lake in GodrumaNavadvīpa, Māyāpura and he did what crocodiles do. He terrorized everyone around them—all the animals, the frogs and the fish and the rabbits that come to drink the water. When people came, he would eat them [sound of crocodile’s jaw] “CRAKZZ.” He was famous for eating people on the side of the bank. He was a very bad crocodile.


“kṛṣṇa-varnam tvisakṛṣṇam


yajñaih sankirtana-prayair

yajanti hi sumedhasah”

[Sound of descending from the sky to the earth: “Shuuuu–Tshuuoo!]

That means Caitanya Mahāprabhu came into this world and He appeared in Māyāpura. When He was a little boy He was called? Nimāi Paṇḍita. He was a boy but He was a great scholar and He would defeat all the other Paṇḍitas. He wasn’t just a Paṇḍita, He was playing the part of a human being so to speak and He had His childish activities like the rest of His friends. Just like Kṛṣṇa has His childhood pastimes as Dāmodara  in the month of Kārtik which melts the hearts of all the devotees.

One day Nimāi and His friends were playing in Godruma-dvipa and it was hot out and so Nimāi‘s friends said, “Let’s go down to that lake and take a bath.” There were some cowherd men who were herding the cows there and they overheard this conversation. They said, “Nimāi, don’t go down there! There’s this big crocodile and he eats human beings and he especially loves tasty little children. It’s a very dangerous place. Go home, go home to your Mother.”

Nimāi turned around and put His hands on His back and said, “Watch this!” Then He went down to the shore of the lake and He started wading in up to His waist and the crocodile appeared [sound of crocodile’s jaw] “CRAKZZ.” You could see in the waters big eyes and he is coming towards little Nimāi. All the cowherd men said, “Oh No! Nimāi is there! No No! The crocodile is going to eat Nimāi!” So Nimāi, He held His hands up like this,



Now that had a special effect. Because Kṛṣṇa is in His incarnation as Caitanya Mahāprabhu, one of His duties was to introduce the YugaDharma. What is the YugaDharma for the age of Kali? Chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa!

Dharmāṁ tu sākṣād bhagavat-praṇītam [SB 6.3.19]: Other than the Lord, no one else can introduce this system of religion. Now we have heard how when the pure devotee chants Hare Kṛṣṇa, something miraculous happens. When Prabhupāda would chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, all the drugged hippies and the sleeping people on 22nd, all wake up and dance in ecstasy, cry and be blissful.

Now imagine if you heard the Holy Name from the lips of the Yuga-Avatar, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, what effect that would have? So as soon as that crocodile heard the chanting of the Holy Names from the lips of Nimāi, he closed his mouth, and he very slowly swam up, took his nose down into the water and put it on the lotus feet of Nimāi Paṇḍita. By doing that, he easily assumed his Siddha deha, his original spiritual form and in front of everyone he came out of the water in his spiritual form and went back to? Goloka Vṛndāvan.

Śrī Nimāi Paṇḍita ki – Jaya!

Goloka Premadhana Harināma Sankirtana Yajña ki– Jaya! Hare Kṛṣṇa Mahamantra ki – jaya!

Kāmyavana ki – Jay!

It all started here in Kāmyavana in Satya-yuga; there are many pastimes here. I was mentioning the Pandavas lived in exile here. They actually lived right near here—not far from this very spot. At that time, it looked more like a forest. Now modernizations, they have cut on down all the trees, and they’re constructing buildings and making agriculture. But it used to be a forest so thick you could hardly see the rays of light come through the trees. One of my friends, a Godbrother and a deep friend of PrabhupādaViṣṇu Mārga Swami, he told us one time that when he came to Vṛndāvan in 1932, the road from Raman-Reti, where Kṛṣṇa-Balarāma temple is out to Govardhana Hill, it was so thick with trees that you could walk and not even see one ray of light between Raman-Reti and Govardhan Hill. Now there are hardly any trees. This is in 1932; now it’s becoming a concrete jungle.

So because it was so thick with trees, the Pandavas they hid here for some years during their exile. And you know, this is DvāparaYuga, Durvāsā Muni really likes this place for various reasons. So he came here with 60,000 disciples and they were hungry. They heard, “Oh, the Pandavas are living nearby here, and Draupadi is the cook.” You know the story, so Durvāsā Muni shows up, “Hey, Yudhiṣtira, hey Bhīma, Nakula, Sahadeva, Arjuna, How you all doing? We’re hungry, and your wife, she is a good cook! Cook for my 60,000 disciples.” So how is Draupadi going to cook for 60,000—Brahmacārīs? You know Brahmacārīs when they eat it’s like the plates are this big [demonstrating how big the plates are]. But it wasn’t a problem for Draupadi, because she had received a benediction from the sun god, Sūrya Bhagavān. Many of you ladies would like this benediction she got. The Sun god gave Draupadi a magical plate and with that plate she could feed as many people as she wanted—ten, a hundred, a thousand, ten thousand, ten billion people she could feed from that magic plate. Wouldn’t that be nice? You come home, cook dinner, and very easy [sound of plate filling up].

She could feed as many people as she desires. But the sun god told her, “Once you’ve taken Prasādam yourself and washed the plate, the potency of that plate is gone until the next sun-rise, the next morning.” No problem! She can feed Durvāsā Muni and 60 billion disciples. But that day, she had already taken Prasādam and was just cleaning the plate and Durvāsā Muni came. “Uh-Oh”, so she looked at Yudhiṣtira [Laughter] and Yudhiṣtira, “What do I do?” kind of connection going on. Yudhiṣtira is very intelligent, he is a Rājarṣi, so he said, “Okay, so look, why don’t you guys just go and take a bath—you know—because cleanliness is next to godliness; just go take your bath and when your bath is finished in VimalaKuṇḍa. Come back, nice Prasādam for all of you.” Thus, they all went away and Draupadi said, “Oh king, I have not only eaten off the magic plate, but I have also washed the magic plate. What do we do now?”

Yudhiṣtira thought for a moment, “What do we do?” He said to Draupadi, “We pray to Kṛṣṇa.” That’s how our Ācāryas have commented on Mahābhārata, different pastimes like this. One of our Ācāryas said, “Just like when we as devotees try everything, exhaust all our plans and nothing works, we turn to Kṛṣṇa and ask for His help,” and that way, sometimes difficulties, even tragedies, are mixed blessings from Kṛṣṇa because they cause the devotee to turn to Kṛṣṇa and really chant from the heart.



“Kṛṣṇa Pomóż mi” [“Help me” in Polish].

Actually Kṛṣṇa tells Yudhiṣtira in the 11th canto of the Bhāgavatam, “Hey, Yudhiṣtira, my first mercy upon my devotee, is that I take everything away from that poor fool, so he has no other recourse than to take full shelter of me.” So what did Draupadi do, she immediately folded her hands, started praying, “Kṛṣṇa, help, Kṛṣṇa help. Durvāsā Muni gets really angry, one time he cursed a little boy to be a crocodile [Laughter] for one million years.”

At that time, Lord Kṛṣṇa was in Dvārakā and He was resting on the couch with Queen Rukmini; and He heard the prayers of Draupadi. How did He hear? Because He is in the heart of every living entity He heard her prayers. One day, I was chanting with one devotee. He was chanting so loud, “Hare KṛṣṇaHare Kṛṣṇa.” I said, “You don’t have to chant that loud, you know.” He said “No, but Kṛṣṇa is in Goloka, I want Him to hear me.” “Do you know the philosophy? Kṛṣṇa is in Goloka, but He is all pervading by His energies and He is in the heart of every living entity. If you just whisper Hare Kṛṣṇa, He can hear you, He is right here. He is the closest thing to your soul as a Supersoul, Kṛṣṇa. Soul and Supersoul are like this.” “Hare Kṛṣṇa.” So he started chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa (softly).


Thus He heard her prayer although He was in Dvārakā­, lying down and having a casual conversation with Queen Rukmini, “Oh, what’s that? Draupadi’s calling. She needs help.” Viśvanāth Cakravārtī Ṭhākur said Kṛṣṇa arrived from Dvārakā­ to Kāmyavana in 2.5 seconds. Viśvanāth said He came so fast that His hair was all messed up, His clothes were not ironed. He was covered with perspiration out of anxiety for His devotee. Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa ki – jay. Draupadi got really surprised like she said to Kṛṣṇa, “Well, that was pretty fast Kṛṣṇa! [Laughter] Only 2.5 seconds?” Kṛṣṇa said, “Draupadi, give me the plate.” She said, “Lord, it’s already washed, my benediction doesn’t work.” So she gave the plate and Kṛṣṇa kind of looked amazed. One little tiny grain of rice stuck underneath the corner of the plate, and Kṛṣṇa took that grain of rice and He ate it with great greed. Why? Because the prasad was cooked by His devotee Draupadi with Bhāva, with Prema.

As the devotee is greedy to love KṛṣṇaKṛṣṇa is greedy, hankering, Laulyaṁ to love His devotees. Love is a two-way street, both ways. As God loves His devotee, the devotee loves God. Kṛṣṇa took one grain of rice and what happened? Viśvanāth says, “Because He’s the Soul of all souls, not only Durvāsā Muni and all the 60,000 sages immediately felt like they ate a big feast; but every created being in the material creation felt, “Oh—up to the neck—Oh, Oh. What can I do? I can’t eat one more bite.” Every living creature in creation was full. This is Yogeśvara, Master of mystic powers.

Thus Durvāsā and the 60,000 disciples, they are in the water, being satisfied “Oh”;  and Yudhiṣtira is saying [loudly], “If there’s anyone who can hear my voice, please come and take Prasādam,” and Durvāsā Muni says, “We got to get out of here!” [Laughs] “We don’t want to be offensive and not come and eat.”

If someone invites you to their house:

(Guest): Oh, I’m not so hungry. 

(Invitee): I cooked for five hours!

(Guest): Just maybe a glass of water.

(Invitee): Get out of my house!


Durvāsā Muni didn’t want to offend the Pandavas. He’s a Sādhu, so he very quietly left that place. Kṛṣṇa saved the day. Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa ki – jay!

Viśvanāth thus concludes, he says there are three lessons that we can learn from this pastime that happened here at Kāmyavana.

  • Kṛṣṇa is always ready to protect His devotee.
  • Kṛṣṇa is always satisfied with whatever is offered to Him in pure devotion.
  • When Kṛṣṇa’s satisfied, everyone is satisfied.

So many things happened here. Actually this is the famous place where four of the Pāṇḍava brothers drank the poisoned water and to revive them Yudhiṣtira had to properly answer ten questions from Yamarāja. I won’t tell that pastime today. But most of you know that pastime. The famous last question Yamarāja asked Yudhiṣtira [loudly], “Yudhiṣtira, what is the most amazing thing in this world?” Yudhiṣtira said:

“ahany ahani bhūtāni gacchantīha yamālayam ..”

[Mahābhārata, Vana-parva 313.116]

This is a famous shloka, which says, “At every moment, millions and billions of living entities are going to the kingdom of death but I think I am going to live here forever. What could be more amazing than this?”

Okay, one more pastime, then we’ll have breakfast. And then after breakfast, we will have another Kīrtana. Then Caturātmā Prabhu will tell a pastime and then we’ll have lunch. We are not going anywhere other than this place. We spent the millions and millions and millions and millions and millions of births to come here to Kāmyavana. Why then to become restless and want to go back somewhere else? You may think, “My mind is wandering; Mahārāja keeps talking and talking and talking. It is hot and I just got off the airplane.” [Loudly] ’vāco vegaṁ manasaḥ krodha-vegaṁ, jihvā-vegam udaropastha-vegam‘: We have to learn to control our mind and control our senses and fully focus on Kṛṣṇa.

As it’s the first day, it’s a little hard, but this is practice. We’re going to make you practice and practice and practice, so the last day you will be like this:  [Loudly] “More Kathā!” [Laughter]. I can speak 11 hours: “More Kathā.” [Laughter]. “I am fixed on your every word. More Kathā!” [Laughter]. Okay, we’ll tell a pastime of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. We told two pastimes of Durvāsā Muni, one from Mahābhārata and one from wherever; and because this is the place where many of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes took place, so we’ll now tell you one of those. Okay, are you ready? Sit properly. [Laughter] Prabhupāda said, “Sit properly.” Hands in the air, take a deep, deep breath. [Inhale, exhale].

[Loudly in call and response of 2 words]:

Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa-Kṛṣṇa Hare-Hare


Śrī-Śrī Rādhā Govinda Deva ki – Jaya!

Śrī Vṛndā-Devi ki – Jaya!

Śrī Kāmyavana ki – Jaya!

Gaur Bhakta Vṛndā ki – Jaya!

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

There is another lake here called Setu-Bandha Kuṇḍa and it was summertime when it gets really hot here. This is one place Kṛṣṇa does Rasa Līlā, He came with Gopīs and you know they were dancing and it got really hot and so they decided to relax on the shores of that lake, because the wind was being a cool breeze–cooling off. You will also see later if you walk around, there are lots of monkeys here. So Rādhā, Kṛṣṇa and Gopīs were watching the monkeys—you know, they come in the water and they kind of swim. They’re real cute and they jump and the babies are playing. Thus they are watching and enjoying the monkeys.

This is Vṛndāvan, so sometimes the monkeys would come out of the water and offer obeisances to Kṛṣṇa’s lotus feet. One little monkey really catches everyone’s attention. He jumped out, and he picked up Kṛṣṇa’s toes and put them on top of his head. This little monkey put his head under Kṛṣṇa’s feet and he was putting Kṛṣṇa’s toes down on his head, and all the Gopīs were laughing, “Oh how cute! He’s so cute, cute little monkey!” Lalitā said to Viśākā, “These monkeys, their friendship with Kṛṣṇa reminds me of Lord Rāmas friendship with the monkeys.” Then Viśākā replied, “But that Rāma, He was so great. He could inspire monkeys to build a floating bridge; that’s Rāma!” Kṛṣṇa was listening, He became a little jealous.


(Kṛṣṇa): “Hey, Hey wait, Hey girls, wait a minute. I’m Rāma. I am Rāma, I am the son of Dasharatha. I really am.” And the Gopīs, they just couldn’t stop laughing. They were just holding their stomachs rolling on the ground. (Gopīs) [Sarcastically]: “Yeah, sure, you’re Rāma! You’re just a cowherd boy.” (Kṛṣṇa): “No, No, I was also Rāma like last few years ago, I was Rāma—really.” (Gopīs): “Right. You are a cowherd boy. You play the flute. You know You run when Your mommy calls You. [Sarcastically] You were the great Kṣatriya Rāma? Get out of here, Kṛṣṇa.”

Lalitā said, “If You are actually the leader of the monkeys, Kṛṣṇa, then You have to take these monkeys and float a bridge across this little lake. Just do that, not the ocean. Take these monkeys, Kṛṣṇa, and build a bridge over this lake and then we will believe you are Rāma.” Now at this point, the Ācāryas comment that, “There were lots of monkeys. The monkeys, they’re not very submissive, they’re just into mischief, and they’re running here, and stealing that and jumping and doing all kinds of frivolous stuff. How is Kṛṣṇa going to get all these monkeys serious about building a floating bridge?”

The Ācāryas said, what Kṛṣṇa did is He took His flute—Venu, one of His favorite instruments, and He played a song that melted the hearts of all the monkeys in Kāmyavana. They become very submissive. Just like Kṛṣṇa can control the Gopīs by playing His flute; so all the monkeys, they became attracted. They lined up and they became very quiet and very submissive. Just like, you can just imagine children in the kindergarten and the playground and all of a sudden, they become very submissive to the teacher, they line up. Thus they said to Kṛṣṇa, “Our dear lord Kṛṣṇa, we are Your devotees, what would You like us to do?”

Kṛṣṇa gave work to the monkeys, “Bring as many stones as you can gather in Kāmyavana and place them at My lotus feet.” So you know children can be quieted down for a few moments and then again, they’re all mischievous. The monkeys were thus getting very active again and they said, “But okay, we can do that Kṛṣṇa but you have to play a flute song that inspires us to collect stones.” So Kṛṣṇa went, “I have got to think for a minute: a flute song to inspire monkeys to collect stones? Let me think for a minute.” But then [flute sound] he played, and they all ran around and brought all these stones to Kṛṣṇa’s lotus feet. Gopīs are watching and they’re laughing.

Viśākā, she takes a stone. She said, “Right, just like Rāma floated the stone; Right?” She takes a stone and throws it. It sinks to the bottom of the lake. Kṛṣṇa just looked at Viśākā and smiled. He put His lotus foot on one of the stones and touched it and told the monkeys, “Throw that in the lake.” The monkeys threw it and it floated. Gopīs got all red and embarrassed, “Oh, Kṛṣṇa defeated them!”

Thus  Kṛṣṇa touched all the stones with His feet and the monkeys had a good time, “Oh, throw, throw, throw!” [Laughter]. And they were throwing everywhere, but there were so many stones that eventually they made a floating bridge. The monkeys were very proud of themselves. They were running back and forth on the bridge, jumping up and down, shaking it, chattering, falling in the water, they were very proud of their achievement. The Gopīs were speechless. They didn’t know that they will be defeated by Kṛṣṇa. But Viśvanāth says that, “There is nothing wrong in that, because in loving pastimes one enjoys being defeated by the lover.” All the Gopīs stood up, they raised their arms, they looked at Kṛṣṇa and they said, ”Jay Śrī Rāma, Jay Śrī Rāma, Jay Śrī Rāma.”

Now Viśvanāth says, “When you know, you get an applause, the etiquette is when you are being glorified, you don’t say, “Yes, yes, I am a great person”—No! You become very humble and bow down.” So Kṛṣṇa did something very wonderful, He folded the palms of His hands and He went and He bowed at the lotus feet of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. Because She is Vṛndāvanesvari, She is the controller of Vṛndāvan and she is the controller of Kṛṣṇa: Madana-Mohan-Mohini.

The monkeys are engaged in their monkey business and then all the girls, they decided they wanted to make a victory garland for Rāma, so they went to the fields to collect flowers. So everyone was gone, monkeys were playing in the forest and Gopīs were collecting flowers. It was just Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa leftSo Kṛṣṇa took Rādhārāṇī’s hand and He said, “Let’s walk together over the bridge together.” They walked together over the bridge and had Their amorous pastimes on the other side.

Śrī Kāmyavana ki – Jaya!   

Śrī Vṛndāvan ki – Jaya!

Śrī-Śrī Rādhā Govinda Deva ki – Jaya

And we can conclude with a very, very beautiful verse by Raghunātha Dāsa Gosvāmī from his Vraja-Vilas-Stava. So he says,

yātrā kāmasara sākshada gopikā ramana sara

rādhā madhaviyor kṛṣṇam tada vanam kāmyavana bhajet

“Let me worship this forest of Kāmyavana, it is very dear to Rādhā and Mādhava, because it contains the Kāmya Sarovara lake, the place where the Gopīs and Kṛṣṇa enjoy Their loving pastimes.” 

Śrī-Śrī Rādhā Vṛndāvanesvari ki –Jaya!

Śrī Vṛndā Devi ki – Jaya!

The 12 forests of Vṛndāvan ki – Jaya!

Kāmyavana ki – Jaya!

Śrīla Prabhupāda ki – Jaya!

Gaur Bhakta Vṛndā ki – Jaya!

Kārtik Parikramā 2015 ki – Jaya!

Jaya-Jaya Śrī Rādhe……………………………….

Jaya-Jaya Śrī Rādhe……………………………….

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

Śrī Breakfast Prasādam ki – Jaya!

So please take your breakfast. Usually at breakfast you have to bring your own breakfast. If you didn’t bring your own breakfast, you can steal like the monkeys! [Laughter] We’ll take a little break. It’s 10:20 a.m., we can take a break until a quarter to 11. We’ll come back, have a little Kīrtana and then Caturātmā will continue the Kathā. And lunch Prasādam will arrive at 1 p.m.

Tomorrow, we’re going to Mathurā. We haven’t been to Mathurā yet as a Parikramā party. It’s a little difficult because the place we go in Mathurā, the streets are very narrow, and the temples, they’re very small. They can fit sometimes only five or six people. They built them very small in those days.  So I have never taken you there, because it’s just like, “How do you do it?” and I still haven’t figured it out, but I’m sure Kṛṣṇa will give us the intelligence. But it will be a little experimental. I know one temple we can have some Kathā, and maybe we’ll go in small groups and visit the other temples. Very ancient temples, beautiful Deities. I have been there many times myself. It’s a wonderful experience visiting the Mathurā temples. Okay.  

Śrī Bhagavata-Prasādam ki Jaya!  

[Prasādam prayers].