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

BhagavadGītā Overview

– By HG Śrī Prahlāda Prabhu

[Opening prayers…]

We are the most fortunate to be here in Kuru-Kṣetra Dhām, also called as DharmaKṣetra. The first verse of the Bhagavad-Gītā, Dhṛtarāṣṭra speaks:

dharma-kṣetre kuru-kṣetre

samavetā yuyutsavaḥ

māmakāḥ pāṇḍavāś caiva

kim akurvata sañjaya

“My dear Sañjaya, at that place of Dharma, place of spirituality, at that place of the Kurus, when my sons and the sons of Pāṇḍu assembled, what did they do?”

Prabhupāda explains in his commentary that Dhṛtarāṣṭra is afraid. He is afraid because he knows that his sons headed by Duryodhana are most sinful. They have violated the codes of Dharma in so many ways. They have stolen the kingdom of the Pāṇḍavas, they have cheated in a gambling match. They have tried to assassinate the Pāṇḍavas in so many ways; by feeding them poisonous food, trying to have them burnt alive in a palace of lak. They are most accustomed to adharma, and this battle will be fought in a place of Dharma. The opposing side, the Pāṇḍava army, is led by Yudhiṣtira Mahārāja—otherwise known as DharmarājaDhṛtarāṣṭra is afraid; this holy place it will give benefit to Dharmarāja Yudhiṣtira Mahārāja and it will act against the victory of Duryodhana and his sons.

We are here at this DharmaKṣetra. We are all trying to practice BhagavataDharma, and the influence of this place will be such that our proclivity, our ability to or inclination to practice Dharma will be further increased. Because we are all aspiring Bhaktas, we are all aspiring devotees, and so the effect of this place will be such that it will nurture our Bhakti, this DharmaKṣetra. Kṛṣṇa visited this place twice that we know, as recorded in the Śāstras. Maybe He visited more times as well, but in His pastimes 5,000 years ago we have the record of the Śāstra that He made two visits. One was for the famous Kurukṣetra war that we have been discussing, when He spoke the Bhagavad-Gītā, or we should better say, sung the Bhagavad-Gītā. That is the Song of Bhagavān.

The second time He visited with the Yadus, to bathe in these holy lakes during the solar eclipse. Whatever the chronology of these events, whether one happened before the other, I would like to discuss both in that order, Kṛṣṇa is speaking the Bhagavad-Gītā and Kṛṣṇa is coming here during the solar eclipse and meeting with Vrajavāsīs.

In both of these events, the external purpose is fighting the war or escaping the effects of an inauspicious solar eclipse. These are external reasons. The real purpose of Kṛṣṇa’s coming to this place is to engage in loving reciprocation with His devotees; to also demonstrate to us those loving relationships, as our invitation—“Would you like to join Me in these loving relationships?” That’s Kṛṣṇas invitation to all of us. In the Bhagavad-Gītā, this great song of Bhagavān, Kṛṣṇa so mercifully and kindly distills for us the essence of the Veda. There are many ways of analyzing the Bhagavad-Gītā. For today I would like to emphasize one specific point that Kṛṣṇa makes in the Bhagavad-Gītā, wherein He says:  ‘vedānta-kṛd veda-vid eva cāham’, that “Indeed, I am the knower, the compiler and the goal of the Veda.”

The Veda is very vast. It consists of thousands and thousands of verses, and they are quite abstract, difficult to understand particularly because they have quite contradictory messages, which lead to debates amongst Vedic scholars, as to the purpose, meaning and teaching of the Veda.

In the Bhagavad-Gītā, Kṛṣṇa so mercifully and beautifully, comprehensively synthesizes all of these apparent contradictory ideas; and demonstrates that they have in fact one essential teaching, one conclusion, one message that we will take from them: love of Kṛṣṇa. That’s it, so let us analyze a little how Kṛṣṇa does this.

We can divide the Vedic literature into six schools; these are the six schools of Vedic knowledge. These can further be divided into—well, summarized into pairs, so we get three divisions. We have the Nyāya and Vaiśeṣika schools of Vedic knowledge. Nyāya means logic given to us by Gautama Ṛṣi. Vaiśeṣika is a method of analysis, bringing things down to their smallest component parts, trying to understand the essence of things by distilling them to their essence, their fundamental components. Then we have Sāṅkhya and Yoga as another pair. The Sāṅkhya system of Vedic understanding describes the world in terms of interactions between Consciousness and matter, or Puruṣa and Prakṛti. The (Aṣṭāṅga) Yoga system is a mechanical system for pacifying the mind, given to us by Patañjali.

Finally, we have the Uttar and Pūrva Mīmāṁsaka Schools. The Pūrva Mīmāṁsaka school is focused on the Veda Saṁhitā, that is the Ṛg, Sāma, Yajur, and Atharva Vedas; they describe sacrifice to the Puruṣa. The Uttara Mīmāṁsaka consists of the Upaniṣadas that is focused on renunciation and meditation on Brahman. Okay, there are the six systems. Let’s now turn to the Bhagavad-Gītā and see how Kṛṣṇa harmonizes these schools into one comprehensive method or application of Vedic knowledge.

We begin with Nyāya and Vaiśeṣika, remember that Nyāya was about logic. Kṛṣṇa doesn’t give us a method of logic in the Bhagavad-Gītā by explaining, these are the different schools, these are the different fallacies, as Gautama does. But the Bhagavad-Gītā is sometimes described as a Nyāya text; because Kṛṣṇa uses a very logical approach to teach His disciple Arjuna. The objective of Nyāya is to overcome faulty thinking or faulty reasoning, and Kṛṣṇa does that. He cuts through Arjuna’s faulty thinking, faulty logic. In that sense Bhagavad-Gītā is described as a Nyāya śāstrā. Let us go to Sāṅkhya and Yoga.

Remember, Sāṅkhya is a system that describes relationship between Puruṣa and Prakṛti. The thirteenth chapter of the Bhagavad-Gītā is where we have Kṛṣṇa presenting a theistic Sāṅkhya philosophy, thirteenth, fourteenth, fifteenth chapters. Arjuna asks questions about the field—that is material nature, and the knower of the field—the living entity—who tries to enjoy the material nature.

Kṛṣṇas explanation is very much similar to teachings of Sāṅkhya. Sāṅkhya philosophy describes how material nature, Prakṛti, is activated by Consciousness and becomes dynamic. And from this, it creates what is described as Mahat-Tattva—that then interacts with the modes of material nature, so Consciousness interacting with Tamas, it creates the sense objects—earth, water, fire, air, ether. Then Consciousness interacting with the mode of goodness, it creates the knowledge acquiring senses: our eyes, our ears, our nose, our sense of tongue, touch; that is our ability to engage with the sense objects, as well as the working senses. The mind, as well, is created in this interaction of Consciousness with the Mahat and Rajas. Like this in the thirteenth chapter of the Gītā, Kṛṣṇa describes 24 material elements. But He tells us something more. He says, “ahaḿ bījapradaḥ pitā —I am the seed-giving father. It is Me who impregnates the material nature. It is Me who generates or activates this material cosmic manifestation. Everything comes from Me, everything depends on Me, like pearls are strung on a thread.” Sāṅkhya philosophy doesn’t give us that higher understanding, Kṛṣṇa gives it to us.

He also tells us about the material modes of nature in chapters 14 and 15. We get a great topography, a great system for understanding all things around us. Kṛṣṇa says, “Food can be categorized according to sattva, rajas, and tamas—goodness, passion, and ignorance. Work can be classified that way. Happiness can be classified that way. Everything can be classified according to these modes of nature. They have different results; Tamas leads to further distress, Rajas leads to a temporary happiness and then distress, Sattva leads to a sustainable happiness.” But Kṛṣṇa doesn’t want us to remain in the modes of nature. He wants us to transcend them. That’s His teaching about the modes in Bhagavad-Gītā that we can transcend the modes of nature by His grace.

daivī hy eṣā guṇamayī, mama māyā duratyayā

This material nature is difficult to overcomes, these gunas are very difficult to overcome but by My mercy, you can do it very easily.

Kṛṣṇa teaches about Yoga in the sixth chapter and eighth chapter of Bhagavad-Gītā. Patañjali’s Yoga system, it’s an eight-fold system. He has given a system to help address the issue of the ‘Citta-Nirodha’—the turnings of the mind, that is the agitated and disturbed mind. He says this can be overcome; Patañjali explains, this can be overcome through an eight-fold process. Yama, Niyama, you practice rules that are prescriptive and restrictive rules, do’s and don’ts. You should be kind, you should be compassionate, you should be forgiving, and you should be charitable. These are rules of right conduct. Niyama, the things you shouldn’t do: don’t steal, don’t lie, don’t kill, and so forth.

Patañjali next describes āsana. Generally in today’s time, people talk about āsana as practicing different Yoga poses; like Vṛkṣāsana, standing like a tree, Virāsana, like a warrior and so on and so forth. When Patañjali describes āsana, it’s about sitting in meditation and that’s how Kṛṣṇa describes āsana in the Bhagavad-Gītā; “Sit in a solitary place, with your spine straight, with your gaze at the tip of your nose.” The next stage Patañjali describes is Prānayama—to regulate the breathing. Kṛṣṇa describes that we should also regulate our breathing in this Yoga practice. Today’s science tells us that the best way to pacify the mind is with extended outward breaths. It tells the body, “You are safe.” When we are afraid, we have very quick breaths and our body knows “Oh, I am in trouble; I am in danger.” When we are feeling safe and satisfied, then our breathing extends. Patañjali teaches this system for pacifying the mind. The next stage is Dhāranā—to hold the mind, fix it. Pratyahāra—withdraw from the external environment—then you can practice Dhyāna—meditation, which will lead to Samādhi, complete absorption. Complete absorption in what? Iśvara Paridhāna, focus on Iśvara, the Supreme.

In the Bhagavad-Gītā, Kṛṣṇa teaches a similar system in the sixth chapter of the Gītā. Arjuna actually rejects it, he says “It’s too hard, Kṛṣṇa. I can’t do that. Fixing the mind in one object is very difficult.” Kṛṣṇa says, “Never mind. It’s just a technique, it’s just a method. The main thing is to think of Me, to love Me, that’s the real purpose of Yoga.”

yoginām api sarveṣāṁ


śraddhāvān bhajate yo māṁ

sa me yuktatamo mataḥ

[BG 6.47]

Of all the yogis, the best one is the one who always thinks of Me, who has faith in Me, who worships Me, that yogi is Yukta—is connected with Me in love.

That’s the real purpose of Yoga. Patañjali doesn’t teach that. But we learn it in the Bhagavad-Gītā. Let’s move to Uttara and Pūrva Mīmāṁsā, the third pair. Pūrva Mīmāṁsā relates to the Veda; the Veda SaṁhitāṚg, Sāma, Yajur, and Atharva. The Ṛg is the first of these Saṁhitās and the most famous section of the Ṛg Veda is the Puruṣasuktā. It describes the essence of the Veda, the Veda Saṁhitā’s teachings. It describes the person, the Supreme Person, Puruṣa. How is He described?

sahasra’śīrṣā puru’ṣaḥ 

sahasrākṣaḥ sahasra’pāt

sa bhūmi’ṃ viśvato’ vṛtvā


He is described as having thousands and thousands of faces, in all directions. How His faces are? How He has expanded Himself in all directions? How He has expanded as the world, as the universe? This universe is described, as different features, or aspects, of the Puruṣas form, even society.

brāhmaṇo’sya mukha’māsīt The brāhmaṇas are His face.
bāhū rā’janya’ḥ kṛtaḥ His arms, they are the kṣatriyas.
ūrū tada’sya yadvaiśya’ḥ The merchants, they are His thighs.
padbhyāgṃ śūdro a’jāyataḥ The sudras are His feet.
candramā māna’so jātaḥ Now the planets, the demigods, the moon is His mind. 
cakṣoḥ sūryo’ ajāyata His eyes, that is the Sun.
Mukhād Indra’ścāgniśca’ Indra is His mouth.
prāṇādvāyura’jāyata And Vayu is His breath

Like this, the Veda describes the universe as an expansion of Kṛṣṇa, the Puruṣa. So then what are we going to do with that information? We must engage in sacrifice to the Puruṣa. That is the teaching of the Veda. What should we sacrifice? Everything is the Puruṣa. You take the Puruṣa Himself and sacrifice the Puruṣa unto Himself. Why would you do that? Well, actually, human society will derive benefit by doing so. The demigods have rulership over the different aspects of the universe. When human society takes these resources and offers them in sacrifice, it creates a cycle of prosperity. That is the essential teaching of the Veda Saṁhitā.

In the Bhagavad-Gītā, we get to meet this Puruṣa. In Chapter 10, Kṛṣṇa starts telling Arjuna about his vibhuti—about His opulence:

 “I am the strength of the strong. Of bodies of water, I am the ocean. Of aquatics, I am the shark. Amongst people, I am the monarch, the ruler”  and so on and so forth.

When we meditate on this universe as different aspects of Kṛṣṇa, we can actually become detached. We can appreciate Kṛṣṇa in the universe and become detached from thinking of it as something we can own and possess for ourselves. Rather we feel, “Let me surrender to Kṛṣṇa.” At the end of the tenth chapter, Arjuna says, “You have told me so many wonderful things about Yourself. I would like to see that. Can I see this?” Kṛṣṇa says, “Well, you don’t really have the eyes, the divine eyes necessary to see this divine form of Mine. But I will give you that Divya-Cakṣū—I will give you these divine eyes. Behold My mystic opulence.” What Arjuna saw filled him with wonder. He saw thousands and thousands of faces spread out everywhere. Some of them were benign (means kind), and some of them were very fearful. Arjuna became very afraid. Every face that has existed in this cosmic manifestation is there in the Virat-Rūpa. If you were to look at a painting, you can see the many, many faces. If you could look with a magnifying glass, you could even see your own face there. That’s right. We are all part of this Virat-Rūpa, this universal form of the Lord.

 Arjuna saw time—past, present, and future and he became overwhelmed. He realized that Kṛṣṇa is the Puruṣa, described in the Veda. He kind of knew it before, but now that he was seeing this, he was overwhelmed with Kṛṣṇa’s majesty. He offered prayers and he offered apologies, “Kṛṣṇa, please forgive me. I called You ‘friend’. How dare me! I sat on the same bed as You, I joked with You, I called You Yādava, thinking of You as part of a lesser family as my own. Forgive me my arrogance, and accept my humble obeisances from the front, from behind, from the side, I offer You my humble obeisances.” Eventually he asked Kṛṣṇa, “Can You, please, withdraw this form? I can’t behold it any longer. I want to see Your two-handed form, Your form of sweetness.”

The Puruṣa described in the Veda is revealed in the Bhagavad-Gītā to be none other than Kṛṣṇa. What about this idea of offering sacrifices? Kṛṣṇa talks about how we can actually offer sacrifice by doing whatever we do as an offering to Him. Not necessarily that we have Yajñaśālā with ghee and wood and fire and so forth. But that we make this sacrifice consciously in our endeavor to offer all that we do to Kṛṣṇa. The Vedas also describe this ongoing battle between the Devas and the Asuras—the gods, the demigods and the demons. Demigods are responsible for the resources of the universe, they follow Dharma and protect Dharma; and the Asuras, they want to appropriate all of this for themselves, who don’t care for Dharma, but only for power.

In the sixteenth chapter of the Gītā, Kṛṣṇa describes the same conflict; but as something that takes place within us, the divine and the demoniac natures. Not that there are not Asuras and demons, but that as conditioned souls we have these two inclinations.  Which one will win? Depends on which one we nurture. We can cultivate or nurture our demoniac nature, wanting to dominate and control and possess, to be superior to all others. Or we can cultivate or nurture our divine nature—and that’s what Kṛṣṇa encourages us to do in the Bhagavad-Gītā.

 Okay, we finally come to the Uttara Mīmāṁsā. Now we are at our sixth. I explained that this is generally the teachings of the Upaniṣadas, about a focus on Brahman, renouncing the material nature, understanding the fallacy of identifying with a material body, taking to a spiritual practice, meditation. Right there in the second chapter of the Bhagavad-Gītā, Kṛṣṇa gives these very same teachings. Second chapter of the Bhagavad-Gītā, He explains to Arjuna that, “You are not the body; you are a soul transmigrating from one body to the next.” The second chapter of the Gītā in fact contains many, many verses that are verbatim from the Kathā Upaniṣada.

In chapter four, as well, Kṛṣṇa explains the significance and importance of this transcendental knowledge. As a whole, what do we have in the Bhagavad-Gītā? This incredible synthesis of the entire Vedic knowledge, but it gives us something more. Don’t forget chapters 9, 12, and 18, where the focus is Bhakti. Kṛṣṇa tells us about His loving relationships with His devotees. How He is equal to everybody, but He has special affection for His devotees.

samo ‘haṁ sarva-bhūteṣu

na me dveṣyo ‘sti na priyaḥ

[BG 9.29]

“I am equal to everyone but those devotees that surrender unto Me, they are Mine, I am always within them; they are always within Me. They will never perish, those devotees of Mine, even if they make a mistake, they are still Sādhus, because I declare it so.”

He tells us of how His devotees, they are always thinking of Him. They worship Him. They surrender everything to Him and He delivers them. He brings His devotees out of this material world to join Him in the spiritual world, where life is eternal. He brings them to a place from where they will never return to this material world again. He gives us the Veda and more in the Bhagavad-Gītā and in such a concise and consistent manner, just 700 verses in eighteen chapters. This knowledge should inspire us, that we have nothing to do but surrender to Kṛṣṇa, to love Kṛṣṇa. This knowledge of Kṛṣṇas divinity, as the source of all that is, including us, should lead us to surrender to Him.

Yet, in the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, we are given something even deeper still. That is, we are introduced to different types of devotees: devotees who worship Kṛṣṇa and reciprocate with Kṛṣṇa in different ways. He reciprocates with devotees as Kūrma-avatar, helping them to churn the ocean of milk; as Varāha, who helps them by rescuing the earth that has fallen into the depths of the Garbhodaka Ocean; as Matsya, who helps Satyavrata to rescue and preserve the herbs and other species through the great floods of partial inundation. These relationships, they deepen in the later cantos of the Bhāgavatam.

Narasiṁha, He has much parental affection for His devotee, Prahlāda. Śrī Rāma, in the ninth canto, shows even more loving relations with His devotees, as the ideal son, ideal friend, ideal husband, disciple, king, and in the ninth and in the tenth canto of the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, we are introduced to Kṛṣṇa. He lives in Vṛndāvana, where He interacts with devotees who don’t even know He is God, who love Him more than anything, even so. Their impetus for loving Kṛṣṇa is not knowledge of His divinity; their impetus for loving Kṛṣṇa is Kṛṣṇas own sweetness. Even when they see indications of His divinity, they still don’t get it. Sometimes when Kṛṣṇa returns from the forest to enter into the village of Gokula, and the demigods, they are gathered above in the heavens to witness this beautiful procession of Kṛṣṇa’s return from the forest with His friends. The cows, they are mooing, the boys are playing bugles and flutes, and in the center of it all is Kṛṣṇa. The boys see the demigods, and they think, “Kṛṣṇa is so incredible; He is so amazing, that look—even the demigods have come to see Him. Why wouldn’t they? He is the most handsome, He is the most expert dresser, He is the best flute player; and so despite seeing the demigods, they don’t connect the dots to understand that He is God.

When Kṛṣṇa runs away from the Gopīs, and decides to play a prank as they search for Him in the forest, by standing before them as Lord Nārāyaṇa, they come to Him and they say, “Namo Nārāyaṇa! Have you seen Kṛṣṇa; the son of Mahārāja Nanda, with a peacock feather in His hair, a yellow silken garment that He ties around His waist so expertly? He left us and came somewhere in the forest and we are looking for Him everywhere.” Hello, you are speaking to the Supreme Godhead! Their only interest is Kṛṣṇa.

When Rādhā comes before that same Nārāyaṇa, Kṛṣṇa is unable to maintain His pretense. Her love for Him is so great that He is unable to maintain those four arms. He changes back into His two-armed form of sweetness, because as His devotee looks upon Him, He reciprocates accordingly. When Kṛṣṇa left Vṛndāvana and goes to Mathurā, and finally to Dvārakā; the residents of Vṛndāvana were swept up in these pools of separation; and when they heard He was coming nearby to Kurukṣetra during the solar eclipse, they felt that they were having a second lease on their lives. They finally got to meet Kṛṣṇa. But He didn’t look like that sweet boy that they remembered from Vṛndāvana. In the place of His flute, well instead of His flute, He was holding weapons.  Instead of His cowherd’s turban with the peacock’s feather, He had a royal crown on His head. Instead of a procession of cowherd boys with their ropes and their bugles and their sticks for herding cows, He was surrounded by many soldiers, protecting armor. Their hearts were pining to be with that Kṛṣṇa from Vṛndāvana.

The Gopīs finally got to meet with Kṛṣṇa, and He gave them some advice to console them. He said, “In fact, I am the Supreme Godhead. Hence, I am present everywhere as the Puruṣa. I am the Supersoul within the hearts of all living beings, and the yogis meditate on Me, and they feel that they are always with Me. They become Ātmārām —self-satisfied in meditating on Paramātmā.”

When the Gopīs heard these words, they were becoming angrier and angrier. [Gopīs]: “What nonsense He is speaking! Is He the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Supreme Truth? What lies He speaks! He said He would come back to Vṛndāvana, and we have been waiting for so many years! How He stole butter in His childhood? What about the time that He stole our clothes?—The Supreme Absolute truth, telling us to meditate on His feet like yogis?”

They spoke to Him, they gave their reply, “Our dear Supreme Godhead, the great Yogis, they are able to meditate on Your transcendental feet. The Jñānīs, they have this understanding of Your supreme position. We are unfortunate village girls; we do not know such things.”  When you read the text, it looks like some glorification. Our Ācāryas they tell us of the tone in which these verses, these words are spoken. They are words of sarcasm. They are making jest of this Jñāna that Kṛṣṇa is trying to teach them. [Gopīs]: “You want us to remember Your feet like Yogis; and remain satisfied? We can’t forget Your feet! We are trying to forget You! We cannot forget You! We cannot get You out of our minds. If You can teach us the technique for forgetting You, we would be more interested. All we can do is take You in our hearts and beg You; beg You, please, always stay there with us.” The Gopīs’ hearts are non-different from Vṛndāvana. They want Kṛṣṇa to come with them to Vṛndāvana.

Caitanya Mahāprabhu, He took great relish in remembering this pastime during the Ratha-Yātrā festival. He was dancing in front of Jagannātha’s chariot and He was thinking that He is taking Kṛṣṇa from Kurukṣetra to Vṛndāvana. Sometimes He would go behind Jagannātha’s chariot just to see what Jagannātha will do. Jagannātha’s chariot would become immobile. They would pull with all of their strength and the chariot would not move. The king would bring his elephants and soldiers to pull that chariot, and then Śrī Caitanya would go and start dancing in front of that chariot and then Jagannātha’s chariot would start moving again. As He sung and He danced, tears flooded from His eyes like rain. His hair on His body was standing erect and He was singing a poem. This poem caused great confusion to the people who were observing Caitanya’s dancing. It was a secular love poem, nothing from any Śāstra. It was a love poem that said, “You are the same boy; I am the same girl. These are the same moonlit nights in the month of Caitra. But My heart is not happy. Oh, how I long to return to the bank of the Revā, under the Tulasi tree.” This is the song Caitanya was singing.

People were very confused; the Sannyāsī is singing a love poem that has nothing to do with transcendence. Yeah, you might hear some song on the radio, and you like the line, you like the words and if you were singing it in the Ratha-Yātrā, people would think it’s odd. Right? It would be strange. That’s what Caitanya was doing and people were a bit confused. The next day Caitanya went to visit Haridāsa Ṭhākur. Haridāsa Ṭhākur’s Bhajan kutir had a thatched roof and as Caitanya was entering, He saw a piece of manuscript—that is a palm leaf pushed into the thatch. He pulled it out and He read it. It said, “Oh my friend, He is the same Kṛṣṇa. I am the same Rādhā. These are the same moonlit nights. Now we are here in Kurukṣetra. Oh, how I long to return to the bank of the Yamunā River. Oh how I long to be with Him there under the Kadamba trees.” When Caitanya read this, He experienced ecstasy and He asked, “Who has understood my Mind? Who has written this?” The devotees said it was Rūpa Gosvāmī. Caitanya was so pleased with Rūpa. He had Him come to sit amongst His associates, He showed them the verse, and He asked, “How is it possible that he has understood My mind?” They said, “Surely, it must be that you have empowered him to reveal the treasures of Your heart.” These very high spiritual truths of loving Kṛṣṇa, they are difficult to express in philosophical terms and so Caitanya borrowed the language of poetry; and following in His footsteps, Rūpa borrows the language of poetry to express these very intense spiritual feelings. His Bhakti-Rasāmṛta-Sindhu—borrows the aesthetics of the language of poetics to explain the science of Bhakti.

Here we are in Kurukṣetra, we are remembering Kṛṣṇa speaking the Bhagavad-Gītā, and we should pray. We need that understanding of Kṛṣṇa’s divinity. Let us pray that those teachings become manifest in our heart, that we can become attached to Kṛṣṇa and detached from the material nature. But let’s also pray simultaneously that our Bhakti not be stifled or inhibited, that our love not be inhibited at higher levels by our knowledge of Kṛṣṇa’s divinity. But that we might join the residents of Vṛndāvana who have forgotten of Kṛṣṇa’s divinity and in whose company Kṛṣṇa Himself has forgotten His own divinity and is swept up in love. We need both. We need to know of Kṛṣṇa’s divinity; we also want to be able to forget it in the right way. As followers of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu we will be given both. If we pray, if we follow Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and the process that He has given us—that is the invitation we have. Both invitations have been made: Kṛṣṇa has extended both invitation with His both pastimes here in Kurukṣetra; both opportunities are there for us. It’s up for us to be eager to take those opportunities. Okay, we will conclude there. Thank you very much.

Śrī Kurukṣetra dHama ki—Jaya!

Śrī Vrajendra Nandana Kṛṣṇa ki—Jaya!

Bhagavad-Gītā As It is ki—Jaya!

Śrīmad Bhāgavatam ki—Jaya!

Vṛndāvanesvari Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī ki—Jaya!

Śrīla Prabhupāda ki—Jaya!

Nitai Gaura Premanande!—Haribol

Kurukṣetra – HG Baḍa Haridāsa Prabhu – Lecture; Indradyumna Swami’s Parikrama -2015

Importance of studying BhagavadGītā

(At Bhagavad-Gītā Appearance Place)

– By HG Baḍa Haridāsa Prabhu

Hare Kṛṣṇa,

Indradyumna Mahārāja asked me to say a little something about Bhagavad-Gītā. There is actually so much to say about Bhagavad-Gītā. One time Śrīla Prabhupāda—in one of his writings, before he came to America, in some works that were compiled called “Vairāgya Vidyā”—he made a very interesting statement. He said that this Saṅkīrtan movement of chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa inaugurated by Lord Caitanya; this movement could be very well established and spread on the philosophy of Bhagavad-Gītā. We are saying “namas te sārasvate deve gaura-vāṇī-pracāriṇe” and that is Prabhupāda.  It’s his own description of being established in his mission. He described himself as servant of Bhakti Siddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākur. His mission was to preach the words of Lord CaitanyaGaura Vāṇī. If we see practically, Śrīla Prabhupādas preaching was based almost entirely or at least strongly on Bhagavad-Gītā. He would again and again recite Bhagavad-Gītā. One time he said, “So this is the perfect lecture!” Here all preachers are here. Do you want to know what Prabhupāda said the perfect lecture was?

[Devotees:  “Yes, yes, yes!”] Quite a lot of you said yes.

He said, “Point 1: You are not that body. Bhagavad-Gītā and (Point 2) Lord Caitanya came to teach us to chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. So if you include these two things, then the lecture is perfect.” This Bhagavad-Gītā is so important. I remember I was in the Los Angeles temple during the time when Bhagavad-Gītā was actually minimized. It was the time of the GopīBhāva Club. Anybody heard of that? Somebody heard. Okay. If you haven’t, that’s great [laughter]. We will keep it that way. Anyway, the idea is that there was a bunch of devotees, who were saying that we just have to hear very, very high topics. They didn’t consider Bhagavad-Gītā worthy of their hearing, and when ŚrīlaPrabhupāda came to hear of this, he really chastised very heavily.  He said that these people should be stopped, and if they don’t stop, they should leave our movement. He said this kind of speaking will stop the preaching work. Śrīla Prabhupāda again and again quoted from Bhagavad-Gītā in lectures. He made it the basis of the philosophy that he gave us, and he really, really, really wanted us to understand Bhagavad-Gītā. We may read many books, but Bhagavad-Gītā should be our life and soul. As Prabhupāda said, we should know Bhagavad-Gītā as a lawyer knows the law books. We study it again and again, and again and again. To point out the very first instruction Kṛṣṇa gives to Arjuna, it’s that, “You are not that body, you are spirit soul.” So we can ask ourselves, “Have we understood that? Have we realized that instruction?” If not, we should keep studying Bhagavad-Gītā.

Actually so much is there in Bhagavad-Gītā; it is an untapped gold mine. The more we study deeper, the deeper our realizations go. Just consider how much trouble the Lord Himself went to speak Bhagavad-Gītā. Actually this whole elaborate history of Mahābhārata and the war of Kurukśetra; practically speaking, all these different things were arranged, so that in the middle He could speak Bhagavad-Gītā. Just like His Holiness Indradyumna Mahārāja puts on the festival of India, and we have dancers, and we have martial artists, and it’s a whole circus. It’s a whole carnival. But, practically considering, the whole thing is orchestrated just to get people to hear a little about the Bhagavad-Gītā. It’s a very elaborate arrangement, just to make people hear Bhagavad-Gītā and hear the Mahāmantra.

Kṛṣṇa did a similar thing when He appeared here 5,000 years ago. There was a huge battle. So many different considerations, so many different personalities and Arjuna was there as Kṛṣṇas best devotee. Kṛṣṇa put him in illusion, just so that He could speak to him, and He wanted to deliver him from ignorance, but that actually was not necessary. More importantly He wanted to deliver us from ignorance and suffering—fear, illusion and anxiety. He wanted to deliver us from the ocean of suffering. How merciful is Kṛṣṇa? Just try to understand how merciful Kṛṣṇa is. This book Bhagavad-Gītā is our book. It’s really our book; it’s just for us.

There are many other Vedic literatures that we certainly should read and try to understand. But especially Bhagavad-Gītā is meant for conditioned souls to free us from illusion, anxiety, lamentation and suffering. He spoke this knowledge to relieve us from suffering. How much we should take shelter of Bhagavad-Gītā? Unfortunately many times when we are suffering, we take shelter of everything else. We take shelter of psychiatrists and so many things, but actually we can take shelter of Him. Bhāgavatam says [SB 2.1.4]:

dehāpatya-kalatrādiṣv ātma-sainyeṣv asatsv api ….

There are various fallible soldiers which generally we take shelter of. Do you know what they are? Deha or body; we want to become strong—well, sometimes. Dehāpatya: family members, wife. Then, maybe we want to take shelter of a strong nation, a military force. But these things can’t actually protect us. There is a famous recording. Śrīla Prabhupāda was in his quarters in Los Angeles and just across the highway there was a karate studio. Prabhupāda was sitting there, and he was listening to all these karate guys going, “Hi-yah! Hi-yah!” Prabhupāda said, “What is this?” So devotees explained to him, and then he said, “This Hi-yah!’–will not save you at the time of death.”

We need to have faith in the immortal words of Bhagavad-Gītā.  It’s not something to read when we have some spare time or something to speculate on. But it’s actually a shelter. It’s a shelter for our soul, and if we take it seriously, like that, as our life and soul, then when we read Bhagavad-Gītā, Kṛṣṇa will speak to us. This is the mystery of Vedic literature.

Some might say, “Well, but Kṛṣṇa doesn’t talk about RasaLīlā. He doesn’t talk about the spiritual world; He doesn’t talk about our SiddhaSvarūpa. He is just speaking basic things.”  But the point is—Kṛṣṇa is there speaking, and if we hear from Him repeatedly, He can reveal everything to us. It’s not just a book with some facts and figures, it’s Kṛṣṇa speaking. So if we read in this way, then we will find great shelter and repeated realizations in Bhagavad-Gītā. As Kṛṣṇa says Himself [BG 18.58]:

mac-cittaḥ sarva-durgāṇi

mat-prasādāt tariṣyasi

atha cet tvam ahaṅkārān

na śroṣyasi vīṇāṅkṣyasi


mac-cittaḥ—“You just become conscious of Me.” We need to become conscious of Kṛṣṇa. That’s the purpose of the International Society for Kṛṣṇa Consciousness, we could say. We can be traced to different sources, but this is also the one source. Kṛṣṇa is saying, mac-cittaḥ: “Become conscious of Me” and what will happen—”Sarva-durgāṇi mat-prasādāt tariṣyasi”—you will cross over all obstacles, every obstacle you will cross over, mat-prasādāt—by My grace. It’s the grace of Kṛṣṇa.

If we read Bhagavad-Gītā, we become conscious of Kṛṣṇa. Then by His grace, He helps us. Not by our own strength. Then He says, “atha cet tvam ahaṅkārān”—What is the alternative to doing this? You will be lost by  acting according to your false ego. It’s very interesting actually. He uses this word, “na śroṣyasi”—if you don’t hear from Me, then you will be lost. Our spiritual life very much depends on repeatedly hearing; repeatedly hearing the Mahāmantra:



And repeatedly hearing the Bhagavad-Gītā, and then Kṛṣṇa will speak to us. Actually everything is there in the Mahāmantra. Rādhārāṇī is there, the spiritual world is there. It’s just a question of freeing our hearts of anarthas and then everything is revealed by the grace of the Lord. Śrīla Prabhupāda placed so much emphasis on this Bhagavad-Gītā, and he was always preaching Bhagavad-Gītā.

I was thinking that just as Arjuna fought here 5,000 years ago, Śrīla Prabhupāda also came here and fought. Do you know that? Śrīla Prabhupāda fought a battle here. This was in 1974, and he actually was recovering from very, very serious illness—very serious. Devotees around the world were performing 24 hours Kīrtanas for his welfare.

He was just barely recovering from his illness and he got an invitation to come here to Kurukśetra, because they were having Gītā-Jayanti. First of all celebrating Bhagavad-Gītā. So he was still very ill and he asked the devotees, “Should I go?” He would do it sometimes. The devotees all consulted and said, “No, it’s too hard to drive.” “It’s a hard drive—you agree, right?” “And you are still too ill.” Then he said, “Okay.” But later he called all the devotees, and he said, “We are going to Kurukśetra, because we must go and speak on Kṛṣṇa Consciousness.” You all read in Śrīla-Prabhupāda-līlāmṛta­ that many times he had to defend Kṛṣṇa. He had to fight for Kṛṣṇa and defend Bhagavad-Gītā.

In Indor when Śrīla Prabhupāda went there, they were speaking so many different strange philosophies in the name of Bhagavad-Gītā. In an introduction to Bhagavad-GītāŚrīla Prabhupāda says that when they asked, “What’s the need of for another Bhagavad-Gītā, when there are already hundreds of Bhagavad-Gītās in English?” He said that, “I actually haven’t found even one Bhagavad-Gītā that presents Kṛṣṇa’s message. They are all presenting somebody else’s opinions.” That’s the idea. Kṛṣṇa wanted to tell us something. He had a point; He wasn’t just like talking casually. He had something He wanted to communicate. But Prabhupāda could see, in course of time, that what Kṛṣṇa wanted to actually tell us— no one was saying that. They were using Bhagavad-Gītā to say what they wanted to say. So many different strange philosophies, you are probably familiar with some of them. One of them was that when Kṛṣṇa says, “Surrender unto Me,” they say, ”It’s not to Kṛṣṇa that we should surrender, but to the unborn within Kṛṣṇa”—very tactful. In other words, what they are saying is, “You don’t have to surrender. You don’t really need it.” Another said, “This is just an allegory.” We were discussing in the car, “Well, this is not an allegory.” Kurukśetra is a real place, and here we are. The real battle took place here. It’s not an allegory.

Anyways, ŚrīlaPrabhupāda was invited to speak at Kurukśetra, and he was sitting there listening to these different Sādhus, saying so many things. They were speaking about peace and love, and how we should cooperate, and no one was speaking about Kṛṣṇa. Actually, before I came in contact with the Kṛṣṇa Consciousness Movement, I read a Bhagavad-Gītā that didn’t mention Kṛṣṇa or Arjuna—wow! [Laughter] Small oversight! It’s one little tiny detail.

Anyway, they were talking, and no one was speaking about Kṛṣṇa. Śrutakīrti Prabhu describes that Prabhupāda was becoming angrier and angrier. His foot was tapping, and his jaw was clenched, and at one point without any introduction he just stood up and roared. It was in Hindi, so the devotees couldn’t actually understand what exactly he was saying. But Prabhupāda was just roaring like a lion. They understood one part of what he said, “sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja”—like this. Afterward, he was asking the devotees, “Did you understand what I was saying?” and they said, “Not exactly, but we think we got the point.”

Okay, anyway, we can understand that Prabhupāda fought for Kṛṣṇa and fought to give us Kṛṣṇa’s real message. But let’s understand truly what Kṛṣṇa wanted to tell us. We are so fortunate to have Bhagavad-Gītā. We are fortunate to get pure knowledge. It’s so rare in this world to get pure spiritual knowledge, and this knowledge even becomes sweeter by the purports of Śrīla Prabhupāda. When we read Bhagavad-Gītā, we are also associating with Śrīla Prabhupāda. He said that these purports are his devotional ecstasies, so we should desire to read Bhagavad-Gītā again and again and again.

Please, please, I am begging you. Please, understand Bhagavad-Gītā. Most of the time, when we have difficulties in our life, in all honesty, it’s just because we haven’t understood the Bhagavad-Gītā. Really. Really. Anyways, Hare Kṛṣṇa!

We should read this again and again, and I will conclude. This is Śrīla Prabhupāda’s conclusion to his introduction to Bhagavad-Gītā, and he is quoting another work called GītāMāhātmya which glorifies the Bhagavad-Gītā. He says, “In conclusion, Bhagavad-Gītā is a transcendental literature which one should read very carefully. Gītā-śāstram idaṁ puṇyaṁ yaḥ paṭhet prayataḥ pumān. If one properly follows the instructions of Bhagavad-Gītā, one can be freed from all miseries and anxieties of life .… bhaya-śokādi-varjitaḥ [Gītā-Māhātmya 1]”

So bhaya means fear, śokā means lamentation and so on. Varjitaḥ—one becomes free from these things. Sound good? Have you heard any advertisement on TV for a product that gives this kind of claim? It’s bogus; other claims of these products are not bold enough. Understand: one will be free from all fears in this life and one’s next life will be with Kṛṣṇa.

[BG Intro:]


prāṇāyāma-parasya ca

naiva santi hi pāpāni

pūrva-janma-kṛtāni ca

“If one reads Bhagavad-Gītā very sincerely and with all seriousness, then by the grace of the Lord, the reactions of his past misdeeds will not act upon him.” (Gītā-Māhātmya 2). Again we have to understand that our problem will be solved, Kṛṣṇa gave us the solution.

Then Prabhupāda quotes the, “Sarva-dharmān parityajya …” verse.

[BG Intro:]

mālā-nirmocanaṁ puṁsāṁ

jala-snānaṁ dine dine

sakṛd gītāmṛta-snānaṁ


“One may cleanse himself daily by taking a bath in water, but if one takes a bath even once in the sacred Ganges water of Bhagavad-Gītā, for him the dirt of material life is altogether vanquished.” (Gītā-Māhātmya 3) – Jaya!

gītā su-gītā kartavyā

kim anyaiḥ śāstra-vistaraiḥ

yā svayaṁ padmanābhasya

mukha-padmād viniḥsṛtā

“Because Bhagavad-Gītā is spoken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one need not read any other Vedic literature.”  This is “kim anyaiḥ śāstra-vistaraiḥ“ that indicates, “What’s the need for any other book?”

 “This one book, Bhagavad-Gītā, will suffice, because it is the essence of all Vedic literatures and especially because it is spoken by Kṛṣṇa Himself.” (Gītā-Māhātmya 4).  I am skipping ahead.

“This Gītopaniṣad, Bhagavad-Gītā, the essence of all the Upaniṣads, is just like a cow, and Lord Kṛṣṇa, who is famous as a cowherd boy, is milking this cow. Arjuna is just like a calf, and learned scholars and pure devotees are to drink the nectarean milk of Bhagavad-Gītā.” (Gītā-Māhātmya 6)

This is the cow of Bhagavad-Gītā. We should repeatedly drink this wonderful milk which is milked by none other than Kṛṣṇa Himself.

He concludes, “ekaṁ śāstraṁ devakī-putra-gītam”: there should only be one scripture: the Gītā spoken by the son of Devakī and “eko devo devakī-putra eva”: there should be only one God:

īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ


anādir ādir govindaḥ


[Brahma-Samhita 5.1]

This is the one Supreme Lord—Kṛṣṇa“eko mantras”: there should be one mantra, tasya nāmāni yāni”: His names:



“karmāpy ekaṁ tasya devasya sevā”: and there is only one workto engage in the devotional service of Lord Kṛṣṇa.

So we are very, very, very, very, very, very, very fortunate. [Laughter] 10 times fortunate. I was just considering my birth in this world, and I don’t know how I am here chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa and at Kurukśetra. It’s inconceivable! It’s causeless mercy. We should take advantage, and we should also think, “Why we are here?” We can pray to Lord Kṛṣṇa and to Arjuna to understand deeply this message that Kṛṣṇa gave him.

This message of Bhagavad-Gītā will enter our hearts and enlighten us. Actually Śrīla Prabhupāda said, “Arjuna managed to find time to hear Bhagavad-Gītā in the middle of the battle…” Well. “…So what Arjuna’s business do we have that we can’t hear Bhagavad-Gītā?”

Jaya- Śrīla Prabhupāda ki – Jaya!

Śrī Kṛṣṇa Bhagavān ki –Jaya!

Pārtha-sārathi ki –Jaya!

Śrīmat-Bhagavad-Gītā ki Jaya!

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

Hare Kṛṣṇa!

Kurukṣetra – HH Śrīla Indradyumna Swami – Lecture

The History of Kurukṣetra

– By His Holiness Śrīla Indradyumna Swami


[Prayers …]

When Śrī Prahlāda started to sing that particular melody, it brought back a lot of memories and emotions and realizations. Unknown to much of ISKCON devotees, many of the melodies we sing today that are favorites amongst devotees, especially on Harināma, came from the heart of Śrī Prahlāda. One time Prabhupāda described that the melodies that we sing, particularly the melodies we were singing when Prabhupāda was here—the Bengali melodies in particular, Prabhupāda said, “These melodies, they come from the spiritual world.” Later on one of the devotees kind of complained to Śrīla Prabhupāda that my Godbrother Viṣṇujana Swami who was a legend now for his Kīrtanas, he also used to produce melodies; and someone said “That is not correct.” And Prabhupāda said, “No, he can. He is an expert musician.” Prabhupāda said, “And a devotee. He can come with different melodies.” Prabhupāda sanctioned it.  

When we were traveling together for so many years, sometimes Prahlāda would just start the Harināma with a new melody—and everybody would just go, “Wow!”, and even the people, they would love it. He’s gifted like that. The reason I am bringing this up is because this particular melody, we had a name [for it]. We used to name melodies; I would say, “Well, there are so many melodies; we should give them a name!” We would drive in the car and people would suggest names. So this melody was called, ’The feelings of the pangs of separation.’ As Prahlāda started to sing it, I didn’t have to look at him; I knew the reason he was singing this is because this is how we were thinking and this is a very appropriate mood, actually for Kurukṣetra—the place of the big battle.

Amongst many things, many historical events took place here. But paramount of all of them is the Gopīs’, particularly Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī’s feeling of separation, meeting Kṛṣṇa here after so many years, or you could say lifetimes. Her Bhāva of separation from Kṛṣṇa, Her Vipralamba Bhāva, went to the highest state that it could go here at Kurukṣetra, so I was thinking, “Well, that’s an appropriate melody.”  

But we will come to that a little later. Again many of us think appropriately that this is where the great Kurukṣetra war took place between the Pāṇḍavas and the Kurus, and Kṛṣṇa took the opportunity to enlighten the Arjuna and thus all of mankind with His words of wisdom. Gītā means “song” and Bhagavad means “Kṛṣṇa.” So the song of God was spoken here, at Kurukṣetra. As Śrīla Prabhupāda comments I believe in a purport in Bhagavad-Gītā, that the Pāṇḍavas chose to have the battle fought here strategically, because it was a pious place and the pious, sanctified atmosphere would act to their advantage in defeating the enemy, because the enemies were demons and they were Devotees. Having the battle in a holy place gave them some advantage. Being a very famous holy place, since really you could say time immemorial—that’s why when that big solar eclipse came, Kṛṣṇa and the residents of Dvārakā came here to take shelter, because contrary to what modern scientists and the population think, eclipses are very inauspicious things.

Practically speaking, eclipse means the demon Rāhu is eating up the Sun or the Moon, trying to gobble him up. My dear Godbrother, Śrīkara Prabhu, is sitting over here. He could probably elaborate on this for many hours. He is a very famous astrologer, [now] retired. Now in his retired life, he is traveling to the various holy places of India with his nice wife, Jyotikā. We are honored that Śrīkara Prabhu has joined us for this Parikramā. Please give him a big round of applause. [Clapping] Śrīkara Prabhu ki Jaya!

When there is an eclipse, people either stand aside, so they don’t get the inauspicious rays or they will bathe in a holy river. There was an eclipse when Mahāprabhu appeared, so everybody was bathing in the river and to create auspiciousness everyone was chanting:



The Lord took advantage of that chanting of the Holy Name to make His appearance, because He was the incarnation to introduce the Yuga Dharma of chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa. To get away from the inauspiciousness, people will come to a holy place like Kurukṣetra. Kṛṣṇa and all the Dvarakavasis, they came here during the solar eclipse and as I mentioned earlier, this was the main holy place in SatyaYuga. Now SatyaYuga lasts a long time, so if you wanted to go on pilgrimage in SatyaYuga this was the place to come, where you are sitting right now. Similarly then, Puṣkara, in TretāYuga and Naimiṣāraṇya in DvāparaYuga and NavadvīpaMāyāpura during the KaliYuga, are the prominent pilgrimage places.

Now when Lord Brahmā was creating all the diversity in this universe; when it came time to create planet earth, Brahmā came here and He sat in the middle of this lake behind us. That’s why it is called BrahmāSarovara. He saw a lotus flower and He created the planet earth from this spot right here. This is the center of the earth. One of the most amazing things I discovered is that, it is here in Kurukṣetra that Bali Mahārāja gave the entire universe to Vāmana Deva when the Lord begged that king to give him three steps of land. This is where the pastime took place, right here!

Lord Vāmana Deva ki — Jaya!

As we know also, from the study of the Bhāgavatam, Lord Paraśurāma, He killed 21 generations of impious Kṣatriyas.  

evaṁ paramparā-prāptam

imaṁ rājarṣayo viduḥ

That this knowledge of Kṛṣṇa Consciousness comes down through a disciplic succession the saintly kings understood and implemented it. In that way, the Kṣatriyas have a very important role in Vedic society. They make sure that there is material prosperity and most importantspiritual prosperity. So if they are acting improperly, there are great obstacles to the goal of life. These Kṣatriyas, 21 generations, Paraśurāma took His chopper, [sound of chopping] ‘Chuk, Chuk’ ‘Chuk, Chuk, Chuk’—wiped them out. So then He collected all their blood. This is the gory part of the story. He collected all their blood and made these five lakes. These lakes are the blood of those 21 generations of Kṣatriyas. One may so much think, “I am not going to bath there!” But just like when Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva touched the body of Hiraṇyakaśipu, he became purified to the point where he went back to the spiritual world, so when Paraśurāma killed these generations of Kṣatriyas, their blood was purified. So you can take bath. Just bring a good towel, so you get all the blood off [laughter].

There is one big lake and kind of four smaller lakes, so they are called Samanta-Pañcaka, these five lakes. You will see the big one, but I think when we do our Parikramā, you will see the other four as well. This is also the place where Lord Paraśurāma performed His penances for killing all those Kṣatriyas. Lord Vāmanadeva, Lord Paraśurāma, there are a lot of things that took place here. Kṣetra means a large area, large piece of land, it’s not just this little village. It’s like VrajaMaṇḍala. Maṇḍala means the greater area of Vṛndāvan, not just Loi bazaar. Similarly this Kurukṣetra is a very big tract of land.

In days of yore, it went through different names. Through different epochs of history, it had different names but how it became known as Kurukṣetra is interesting. It’s named after King Kuru who was the forefather of the Pāṇḍavas and the Kauravas. He was a great king, and being a Rājarṣi, interested in spiritual life, he also himself practiced penance and austerities to become purified to do his sevā for Kṛṣṇa.

At one time in the history of the world, the Sarasvatī River used to flow by here. Now, she has gone underground; she is unseen. The Gaṅgā, the Jāmuna are seen, but Sarasvatī is not seen, but she used to flow right here. Mahārāja Kuru came here on the banks of the Sarasvatī to perform penance and then the Śāstra says that he took a golden plow, and he tilled the ground of the whole Kṣetra. It didn’t yield just corn and wheat, but it’s very mystical. These are historical facts; we shouldn’t doubt them. When he tilled this sacred ground, it yielded eight virtuous qualities. Things that are very dear to our heart. As aspiring transcendentalists, we want to get rid of the bad. What are the bad things? You know—the lust—‘shuu’ [sound indicating fleeing away], the greed—‘go away’, anger —‘shuu’ [sound indicating fleeing away]; and we want to evoke or bring forth Maha—virtuous qualities. We like to hear, “Well, what are these things I am trying to attain?”

He is plowing this land with a golden plow and what does he produce—truth, yoga, kindness, purity, charity, forgiveness, austerity and celibacy.

Lord Kṛṣṇa, He appreciated this so much, He gave King Kuru two blessings:

  1. Number one, that this particular Kṣetra—this land would always be known after him and instead of just being a Kṣetra, it would be known as Kurukṣetra.
  2. Kṛṣṇa gave King Kuru a second blessing that anyone who died in this Kṣetra regardless of how, whatever, however horrible a sinner he was, if he died in this Kṣetra, he would immediately attain Mokṣa—liberation.

Hearing the glories of this Dhām is very important. I am just giving a short summary, scratching the surface. Saintly persons, great Sādhus, Ṛṣis, they used to come here all the time to perform their spiritual activities. Just like mundane, sensuous, wicked people, they congregate in places like brothels, bars, and gambling casinos and things like that; e.g., Las Vegas [laughter]. But Sādhus, they come to Kurukṣetra, so we welcome all of you—Sādhus and Sādhvīs. In particular, this was one of the favorite places of Sādhus. We all have our favorite places, right? There are Māyāpuravasis, Vṛndāvasis. Some devotees like Purī; there are Govardhanavasis. Similarly this was one of the favorite places of Pulastya Muni. He gives advice to all transcendentalists, all aspiring transcendentalists. He says, “Go to Kurukṣetra!” Why?—

  1. Because it fulfills all deep spiritual desires.
  2. Just by seeing that place, all living entities are liberated from their sins.
  3. Whoever merely says, “I will go to Kurukṣetra,” is free from sin. Who would like to become free from all sinful reactions? Then repeat after me [loudly—everyone together]: “I will go to Kurukṣetra.” You are here [Laughter]. You are all sinless.  
  4. Then he says, “If the dust of Kurukṣetra raised by the wind, touches a great sinner, then free from his sins, he attains the highest abode.”

Śrī Kurukṣetra Dhām ki – Jaya!

Śrī Pulastya Muni ki – Jaya!

It’s described here in the last Yuga, the DvāparaYuga, Kurukṣetra was not only spiritually potent but it was also extremely beautiful. You came on the bus through the industrial area that we passed through, you wonder, “Wow.” But before, there were green groves, lotus filled lakes and fertile pastures here in Kurukṣetra. There used to be a mantra, not official mantra, but I mean in the sense of what people would say. They would say, “One who lives in Kurukṣetra lives in heaven.” These are some of the glories of Kurukṣetra. How can even we count the glories of such a place that existed since SatyaYuga? Just like Vṛndāvan, we have been having our Vṛndāvan Parikramā, for five or six to seven years now, and we still don’t run out of things to say, because in Vṛndāvan there are 60 billion holy places. We have just started, Prabhus. We are going to have to take birth after birth after birth to see and benefit from all these holy places in Vraja.

But for us, in our particular tradition, what we hold dear to our hearts, of course, is the immortal wisdom of Bhagavad-Gītā, the ABCs, the foundation of the philosophy of the International Society for Kṛṣṇa Consciousness. Another fact is that Kṛṣṇa came here with the residents of Dvārakā on the occasion of the solar eclipse. The important thing is that the residents of Vṛndāvan, they also came—apparently for the same reason. They all said, “Oh, well there is an eclipse, let’s go to Kurukṣetra.” “Okay, let’s go.” But like many things in Kṛṣṇa Consciousness, there is a different level of depth and there is a deeper reason for their coming. They came here to see Kṛṣṇa. Not just to see Kṛṣṇa, they came here to convince Kṛṣṇa to come back to Vṛndāvan. Does someone here know how many years Kṛṣṇa was gone?—But you have to magnify that in a transcendental way, because we know in separation from Kṛṣṇa, pure devotees of the Lord they feel even one second to be like twelve years, —“Oh Govinda, feeling your separation, I am considering a moment to be like 12 years or more and tears are flowing from my eyes like torrents of rain”—this is the sentiment, the emotion of advanced devotees when Kṛṣṇa is not around.

We touched on this subject in a lecture the other day that as much as you are attached to something, when you lose it, you have that much separation from that object or that person. And how much do the residents of Vṛndāvan love Kṛṣṇa? We can hardly imagine. They loved Kṛṣṇa more than anyone has ever been loved before. Unlike material relationships that after some time diminish—perhaps after someone is gone because of whatever—the memory begins to fade and maybe the detachment starts. But this is not the case in spiritual life, where everything is always increasingĀnandāmbudhi-vardhanam. In the spiritual world, it’s not that you attain a certain level of love for Kṛṣṇa and then it stops; but it’s just ever increasing, Ad infinitum, forever. We can’t imagine what it is like. How much the people of Vraja felt separation from Kṛṣṇa. He promised them He would come back. But He didn’t come back.

LotāBābā, he is still waiting. He’s one cowherd boy, waiting around the southern end of Govardhana Hill, where we went on Parikramā. It is near the Nṛsiṁha temple, we didn’t go a little further, but [if we had] there is a Deity of Lotā Bābā. He is a cowherd boy and Kṛṣṇa promised him,  “I am just going to go to Mathurā. I will be back in a few minutes.” Lotā, he is still waiting. The cowherd boy is still there. “No, let’s not go. He is going to come back. We don’t have to go home; He is going to come back.” He is still thinking like that.   

When the residents of Vṛndāvan heard that Kṛṣṇa was coming here to Kurukṣetra, they left Vṛndāvan immediately. There was no discussion and no planning; only the cowherd boys had to stay back to milk the cows, but everybody else left. You couldn’t leave the cows un-milked so Viśvanāth Cakravārtī Ṭhākur says, “The cowherd boys had to stay back because somebody had to milk the cows. Everybody else dropped everything—whatever they were doing, just like the Gopīs when Kṛṣṇa calls them in the forest with His flute at the Vaṁśī-Vata, they dropped everything. Vṛndāvan just became vacant in a moment. Everyone headed for the North to Kurukṣetra. There was this long caravan of Vrajavāsīs coming towards the North, to Kurukṣetra.

Now one of the favorite activities, especially of the young girls in Vṛndāvan is to always sing songs about Kṛṣṇa. That’s how they deal with their feelings of separation; they sing songs because Kṛṣṇa is present in that transcendental sound vibration. But that particular time, they were so overwhelmed with the possibility of seeing Him again after so many years, they were unable to sing.  Just try to imagine, Viśvanāth Cakravārtī Ṭhākur, who gives us an even deeper understanding of these pastimes in his writings, he says, “Their teeth clattered [kad kad kad: sound of the clattering] and their voices choked, so they couldn’t sing.” They were just so excited, “We are going to see Him again.” Even if a few of the Gopīs were able to sing something, the words came out all garbled, like all mixed up, because their minds were so overwhelmed, so blissful—they are going to see Kṛṣṇa again after a long time! They were so transfixed on this opportunity that was coming to them again, they forgot to eat and they forgot to sleep. The Ācāryas say that by the time they arrived at Kurukṣetra, they were all emaciated. Now that reminds us that the six Gosvāmīs of Vṛndāvan, they themselves were so much involved in devotional activity, with the expectation of having Kṛṣṇa’s Darśana. Prabhupāda says they were also sort of emaciated. They didn’t look big, healthy, and strong, because they didn’t take time to eat or sleep. They wanted to utilize every second in chanting, the Lord’s Holy Names:



Viśvanāth, he described it as sort of a pitiful scene, these bullock-carts are coming North and there are these young girls kind of draped over the rails and kind of laying down. Someone seeing this scene without any knowledge of the transcendental position of these Gopīs and what was actually taking place, they would be mortified: “Look at those girls, they are not eating, they are not sleeping.” But as soon as they approached Kurukṣetra, they smelled the aroma of Kṛṣṇa’s transcendental body, and they came back to life. Not only did they come back to life, they went mad with Kṛṣṇa-Prema, mad with love for Kṛṣṇa. You couldn’t hold them down in the bullock carts, just smelling the transcendental scent of Kṛṣṇa’s form.

This transcendental aroma of Kṛṣṇa’s transcendental body—“sac-cid-ānanda-vigrahā”—sometimes poses problems for Him like, there is a pastime out near Yavat where, Kṛṣṇa was secretly meeting the Gopīs and Kuṭilā was sent by Jaṭilā to find where Rādhārāṇī was. Then as Kuṭilā was coming, some of the Gopī messengers who were posted as guards, they [whistle sound]; they made a little noise like that. The Gopīs knew that, so then Kṛṣṇa hid in the forest and the girls pretended nothing was happening. But when Kuṭilā came, she said “I know Kṛṣṇa was here, I can smell Him.” [Laughter] So it can cause a problem sometimes—not for us, we wouldn’t mind.

Finally when the residents arrived, they kind of went to their various hotels—their Dharma-śālās, the places where they were staying—[and] prepared themselves, and then Kṛṣṇa agreed to meet them in different groups. First He met with Nanda and Yaśodā, and of course Kṛṣṇa this time, He was a King. He was ruling over Dvārakā­, and He was fighting many demoniac armies and so forth, and so when He came like a Kṣatriya and when Yaśodā saw Him, she got bewildered. “This is my Lala? My little boy?” She refused to see Him in His Aiśvarya Bhāva, in His mood of great opulence, so she took Kṛṣṇa, a grown-up boy—man—and she placed Him on her lap and milk began to flow from her breasts out of motherly affection. This is her relationship with Kṛṣṇa. They just saw Him as a young child. Even Kṛṣṇa was appearing with some of His various opulences—the residents of Vṛndāvan, their eyes are covered, blinded by this Vraja-Bhakti. They don’t see Him like that, but they always see Him in their particular Rasa. Even if He is God, they never recognize that and therefore it is said, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” They see the beauty of their intimate spontaneous loving relationship with Kṛṣṇa.

Then some of the older cowherd boys like Raktak, Sudāmā, Subala; they were allowed to come, and they kind of said, “Well, let us wrestle, Kṛṣṇa.” Kṛṣṇa kind of hesitated because, the Dvārakā-vasis were there. To see the King wrestle with some boys? It wasn’t appropriate. Kṛṣṇa had to control His emotions, because emotions were—He did want to engage with the Vrajavāsīs—they are His favorites because of their pure love, but He had to control Himself. So He didn’t wrestle with the boys.

Like the King, He gives council, He gives time for people to come forward and meet Him. Kṛṣṇa finished it for the day, but He hadn’t met the Gopīs yet. But He didn’t want to meet the Gopīs with everyone around because it was quite confidential. So He arranged to meet the Gopīs at some secluded place. I am not sure where it is here. But there is some place just like out at NandaGram, there is a place where, Dinabandhu Prabhu, my Parikramā Guru, he takes the devotees there where Kṛṣṇa met the Gopīs secretly. Here also there’s some place, maybe we will find that place and there, after a long time the Gopīs finally had Darśana of Kṛṣṇa.

One time Prabhupāda, he helped us understand the love of the Gopīs by saying in a very simple way that the Gopīs, they never ask Kṛṣṇa for anything, always wanted to serve Kṛṣṇa. What’s more? They were ready to sacrifice anything for Kṛṣṇa, even their reputations. You can sacrifice many things but, reputation—Kṛṣṇa mentions in Gītā, “For one who has been honored, dishonor is worse than death.” Thus reputation is an important thing, but for the Gopīs, “Let it go to hell, if we can please Kṛṣṇa.” This is how exalted devotees of the Lord they are. These are the subject matters which we are—obviously not qualified, even to speak on. But because we are here, and because these pastimes happened here, we must say something and by hearing these things, our hearts do become purified.

Kṛṣṇa, when He met the Gopīs here, He expressed His undivided and unalloyed love for the young girls of Vṛndāvan. So what was their response? “Then come back to Vraja. You are saying you love us; your love for us is so deep. Then please, accept our request.” Love is something reciprocal. Isn’t it? You reciprocate with your lover; it’s never a one-way street. It’s always reciprocal. The Gopīs said, “Then prove it. Come back with us to Vṛndāvan because that’s the atmosphere, where we can exchange in a very intimate loving way. Not here in a battlefield. You are dressed like a King, what’s this? We are restricted here, but when were we restricted in Vṛndāvan? Please come back”. Kṛṣṇa started thinking, “Hmm, what to do?”

For those few moments that Kṛṣṇa was contemplating their request, the Gopīs turned to Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī and they said, “You be our spokesman. You ask Him. He can’t refuse you.” Why can’t he refuse Rādhārāṇī? Because She is Vṛndāvanesvari, She is the controller of Vṛndāvan. She is Madana-Mohan Mohini, She’s the controller of the controller of cupid. Kṛṣṇa is controlled by Her pure devotion.

The Gopīs were thinking, “Surely if Rādhikā asks, Kṛṣṇa can’t say ‘No’ to Rādhārāṇī.” They are shy, young girls, they are trained in Vedic etiquette, so Rādhārāṇī felt a little uncomfortable just walking up to Kṛṣṇa in front of everybody and saying, “Come.” She used the technique, She spoke to Lalitā—and in a loud voice because Kṛṣṇa was just there nearby so Kṛṣṇa would overhear Her speaking to Lalitā—the following verse which is dear to the heart of every Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava. Is there any verse which is dearer to the hearts of Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas? The following verse or Rādhārāṇī speaking Her heart to Lalitā and indirectly speaking to Kṛṣṇa.

Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī later on, Prabhupāda says 500 years ago used this verse in describing the mood of Caitanya Mahāprabhu during Their pastimes together in Jagannātha Purī. That’s another pastime. Rādhā is speaking to Lalitā, revealing Her heart to Kṛṣṇa, “My dear friend, now I have met My very old and dear friend Kṛṣṇa on this field of Kurukṣetra. I am the same Rādhārāṇī and now We are meeting together. It is very pleasant. But I would still like to go to the bank of the Jāmuna, beneath the trees of the forests there. I wish to hear the vibration of His sweet flute playing the fifth note within the forest of Vṛndāvan.”  This is Her plea to Kṛṣṇa to please come back to the atmosphere of Vṛndāvan for their transcendental pastimes. Very famous, important verse. Actually Kṛṣṇa wanted to go back to Vṛndāvan. Kṛṣṇa actually says in Gītā, “All of them as they surrender unto Me, I reward them accordingly.” But the Ācāryas say, first He had to consult with Vasudeva and Devakī, to get their permission because He was associated. They are His parents also, so He had to get their permission to leave Dvārakā­ to go back to Vṛndāvan. That’s one layer: ask your parents. But in the weeks that followed, at nights He would secretly have the Rasa dance with the girls.

After some time, three months had gone and by that time, the solar eclipse had only lasted a day but, everybody kind of hung around, because Kṛṣṇa was there. But after three months because of the respective duties, different Devotees in different categories, they started to go back to different places. But the Vrajavāsīs, they didn’t go anywhere, they stuck to Kṛṣṇa like glue. They were always engaged in His service and they kept asking Kṛṣṇa, “So you have made up your mind? You are coming back to Vraja?” “Uh, I haven’t fully decided yet!” Finally considering all things, Vasudeva consulted with Devakī, but the word came from Vasudeva. He said, “So Kṛṣṇa you are free to go back to Vraja, but only after you kill one or two more demons.” The Gopīs, when they heard that, “Oh, only one or two more demons, Kṛṣṇa killed so many demons when He was in Vṛndāvan. That will be easy. He will be coming home very soon.” To prepare for Kṛṣṇa’s arrival back in Vṛndāvan, they immediately got back in their chariots and sped back to Vṛndāvan to get everything ready for the grand arrival of Kṛṣṇa, to have Him back home in Vraja. But they knew Kṛṣṇa better than anyone else and they all knew when they were leaving, “Actually, it’s going to take a long time for Him to come back. He promised us before and He stayed away so many years.” They were going there with some hesitation, and especially Rādhārāṇī.

As the Gopīs are leaving this place Kurukṣetra, actually Kṛṣṇa went out a little bit to escort them out for some distance. Kṛṣṇa was coming back from Kurukṣetra into Dvārakā­ and Rādhārāṇī and the Gopīs were going to Vṛndāvan. Rādhārāṇī was actually standing on Her horse cart like a statue staring into the clouds of dust behind Her, knowing that Kṛṣṇa was traveling in the opposite direction to Dvārakā­ and tears were rolling down Her cheeks. She knew what was happening. Kṛṣṇa is going that way and She is going this way. That’s not what She wanted. Standing like a statue and just seeing these clouds of dust, as Kṛṣṇa’s chariot was going away, the tears are rolling down.

Actually the essence of that verse, “Oh Govinda, feeling your separation, I am considering a moment to be like 12 years, and tears are flowing from my eyes like torrents of rain.” This is the exalted stage of pure devotional service. Lalitā stood up and made Rādhā sit. “You are not supposed to stand on these chariots, you sit down.” She confronted her by the following words, “Oh Rādhārāṇī, Oh beautiful friend, do not lament! For it is well known that sacred Kurukṣetra fulfills all desires. The great King Kuru tilled this land and made it fertile with his piety. Now Kṛṣṇa has planted the seed of His promise there, a seed that will sprout and bear fruit by the time we arrive in Vṛndāvan. Rest assured that He, for Whom we came to Kurukṣetra giving up our home and lands will soon be tapping on your window, begging you to join Him in a grove, on the shore of the river Yamunā.”

Bhaktivinode Ṭhākur says that because of these particular pastimes, there are two transcendental moods that permeate Kurukṣetra, and he says it in a very nice way that outshines all other influences here:

  1. Number one is the pain of being separated from Kṛṣṇa once again, because they came and now they have to go back and experience it all over again.
  2. Number two, the mood here is the great hope that, ‘Kṛṣṇa will come back to Vṛndāvan again.’

These are the two moods that just permeate this Kurukṣetra. The question has been discussed and debated, and churned you could say through the centuries by various devotees. It’s always on their minds, “Did Kṛṣṇa ever go back to Vraja?” It’s very esoterical and we have already been speaking for forty minutes, but do try to pay attention because—this is the bliss; this is the real news. What’s happening, Prabhu? This is the “real” what’s happening. This is the essence of life, this is the life of our life: what Kṛṣṇa does. Did He ever go back to Vṛndāvan?

Jīva Gosvāmī says He did go back in Aprakaṭa-Līlā, means that—there is the unmanifest pastimes. When Kṛṣṇa left to go back to the spiritual world, the pastimes are still going on, even right now in Vṛndāvan but they are unmanifest. Kṛṣṇa would go back from time to time in Vṛndāvan, but they were all Aprakaṭa Līlā—unmanifest, only the most, you know the real Vrajavāsīs, they were experiencing Kṛṣṇa’s association and dancing with Him and singing with Him. But in PrakaṭaLīlā, the manifest pastimes, does He go back? —No, He didn’t. The Ratha-Yātrā—the pastime of taking Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma back to Vṛndāvan, that’s like a wish pastime. It’s the hope, the aspiration, the desire to bring Kṛṣṇa back. But, Kṛṣṇa didn’t go back. How can He be so cruel? There are two answers again:

Whenever Kṛṣṇa is gone, His devotees feel His separation and in separation their love increases. Like we have that saying, “Separation makes the heart grow fonder.” It’s just one of those transcendental tricks. It’s not that they are really suffering, it’s not that they are lamenting, it’s not like crying like we would do on losing something material. It’s something we will understand when we are more advanced.

Once again, I will quote my short inquiry of Śrīla Prabhupāda.

[Me]: “Śrīla Prabhupāda, you have mentioned several times in recent lectures that a pure devotee can see Kṛṣṇa everywhere, that He is never out of your vision. And at the same time in Śikṣāṣṭakam prayers, Lord Caitanya explains, ‘Oh Govinda, I am feeling your separation to be 12 years or more. I am feeling all vacant in this world in your absence.’  Can you explain this?”

[Śrīla Prabhupāda’s reply]: “Yes. He is explaining how you can become mad without seeing Kṛṣṇa. That is the higher stage. It cannot be explained. But when you go higher and higher, you will understand.”

Like that, in separation, one becomes more attached to Kṛṣṇa — and that’s our goal.

Now there’s a second reason Kṛṣṇa didn’t go back to Vṛndāvan and that was noted by Vasudeva when Kṛṣṇa asked his permission to go back. He said, “Okay, you can go back, but you have to kill one or two more demons first.” This actually was one of Kṛṣṇa’s main concerns, one of the main reasons He decided not to go back, because there were still a lot of demons out there. That was one of the three principle reasons that Kṛṣṇa appeared on this planet—to:


Deliver the pious,

  1. Annihilate the miscreants and
  2. Reestablish the principles of Dharma—religion.

As Prabhupāda puts it so poetically in His Kṛṣṇa Book, which is the summary of the tenth canto of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, he says that the earth was overburdened by the unnecessary defense force of demoniac rulers. There were lots of demoniac kings, not just Kaṁsa, there were plenty, and they were a force to be reckoned with. They were naturally against the pious, naturally against Devotees of the Lord. Baladeva Vidyābhūshaṇa says that Kṛṣṇa was afraid if He didn’t kill these demons, they would attack Vṛndāvan.

Kṛṣṇa was especially wary of Jarāsandha. Why Jarāsandha? Because Kṛṣṇa had killed Kaṁsa, and Kaṁsa had two wives, Asti and Prāpti, who were the daughters of Jarāsandha. Jarāsandha gave His two daughters to Kaṁsa. Daddy’s little girls, he gave them to Kaṁsa as his wives, and after Kṛṣṇa killed their husband, Kaṁsa, the two wives went back to daddy, to Jarāsandha, and they complained, [crying]: “Hey Daddy, this Kṛṣṇa killed our husband.” Jarāsandha said, [gravely]: “Yes, I have heard.” “No but Daddy, you don’t know all the details. The Vaiṣṇavas are not giving the real story. Our husband, Kaṁsa, was so sober and so sweet. We know—we are his wives. He was very sober, very sweet. He was simply sitting and watching Kṛṣṇa play with the wrestlers and somehow Kṛṣṇa just kind of overdid it and the wrestlers died. Then without any reason at all, Kṛṣṇa dragged our husband Kaṁsa down from His throne and killed Him and then dragged him around the wrestling arena. Because Kṛṣṇa was his nephew, our husband Kaṁsa, he didn’t fight back. They say that generally an uncle does not even slap his nephew. Therefore, our very sweet and sober husband did not protest when Kṛṣṇa was beating him, because uncles don’t protest when the little nephews get upset. Our husband was defenseless.” And then they started to cry.

Now, any of you have daughters? Śrīkhara? When they start to cry, you ask, “Okay, what do you want?” Right? Caturātmā? He is just laughing here in total self-realization [Laughter]. Jarāsandha took their story to heart and he  took up a vow. His vow was “I will go to Mathurā and Vṛndāvan and kill them all.” He started with Mathurā, and He attacked Mathurā 17 times. Sometimes devotees ask, well, why 17? Why didn’t Kṛṣṇa just kill him in the first battle but, actually Balarāma asked that question to Kṛṣṇa. Like you know, “10, 11, 12—what’s going on?” Kṛṣṇa says, “No, he has assembled a great army of the demons. Let more and more demons come. We will kill them all and in the final battle, we will kill Jarāsandha.” So Kṛṣṇa was a great strategist as a king.

Someone inquired from Kṛṣṇa that, “Well, you killed a lot of demons in Vṛndāvan. Just go back to Vṛndāvan and you can kill them when they come there,” and Kṛṣṇa just laughed. He said, “These Vrajavāsīs, they don’t have weapons and swords. They just have sticks for herding the cows and a few bugle horns. How are we going to deal with these great demons like Dantavakra, Kālayavana and Jarāsandha? We have to meet them on the battlefield—not Vṛndāvan.” But then someone brought up the point, “No! You know, Pūtanā, Tṛṇāvarta, Dhenukāsura—these were powerful Asuras and Kṛṣṇa  killed them. He as a little boy was a big demon killer. Surely, it’s not a problem for Kṛṣṇa to kill these.” But then Viśvanātha Cakravārtī Ṭhākur, he counters, he says, “Actually, Kṛṣṇa didn’t really fight with the demons that Kaṁsa sent to Vṛndāvan. He only played with them.”

He says, “Technically, He didn’t killed Pūtanā, He only sucked her breast a little too hard. He was just playing with these demons like sometimes a cat gets a mouse and you know, the cat is not really hungry, so she just bashes the mouse around a little bit, playing and ‘OOPS’ killed it, sorry.” [Laughter]. Kṛṣṇa was a cowherd boy. He was very playful, He wasn’t killing these demons. He was playing with them; but because He is God, they got the worse end of the stick [Laughter].

Viśvanāth said, “Kṛṣṇa didn’t actually killed Tṛṇāvarta; He only wanted to play in the sky.” When the demon came in the form of a whirl-wind, Kṛṣṇa grabbed on, “Woo-hoo! I get to go high in the sky.” But He was so high in the sky, He got a little afraid so He was like really holding on.

Viśvanāth Cakravārtī Ṭhākur says, “And because He was holding on, He is God—He is very heavy, Tṛṇāvarta crashed to the ground, but that wasn’t Kṛṣṇa’s intent” [Laughter]. He was just playing, and sometimes the cat plays with the mouse and the mouse dies.

Then Dhenukāsura and the ass demons—Viśvanāth Cakravārtī Ṭhākur said that just like little boys, they just throw rocks, “Look at me, I can throw!” Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma were just throwing the demons like that into the trees. They weren’t going to kill, but were just playing, “Watch this—woo hoo—Wow! [Sound of ass demons falling onto trees] [Laughter]—But they all died.” [Laughter]. He also mentions Aghāsura. Aghāsura of course opened his mouth and the cowherd boys went in and then when Kṛṣṇa went in, Kṛṣṇa’s body became burning like fire and then that killed Aghāsura. But His body became burning like fire because of the digestive juices inside the snake’s stomach. It wasn’t that He planned to kill him but the digestive juices are like fire, so they made Kṛṣṇa very hot, and Kṛṣṇa became so hot the demon died, so it was all play.

Vṛndāvan is all play; it’s all play. All the demons are killed by the Vishnu expansions outside of Vṛndāvan, so the real demons like Jarāsandha, Kālayavana, Dantavakra, many of them were still there, and they were intent. Jarāsandha had taken a vow, “I will go to Mathurā to avenge his wives whose husband is gone. I will go to Mathurā, Vṛndāvan, I will kill them all.” For Kṛṣṇa, there is no way He is going to go back—He is going to face these demons and then when He kills them, then He will go back to Vraja.  

These are the two reasons He didn’t return: to protect the Vrajavāsīs, and on a deeper level to increase their feelings of love. Therefore Bhaktivinode Ṭhākur once stated that, “Kurukṣetra is the highest place, because the Gopīs’ feelings of separation reached their highest level.” There is an English maxim, “So close, yet so very far away.” Therefore Bhaktivinode Ṭhākur said one time that this was the place he actually wanted to leave his body. I will quote Śrīla  Bhakti-Siddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākur. Śrīla Bhakti-Siddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākur once surprised his audience by saying that shallow thinkers appreciate Vṛndāvan, but a man of real Bhajan, real divine aspiration, will aspire to live in Kurukṣetra.” He noted that Bhaktivinode Ṭhākur after visiting many different places of pilgrimage remarked, “I would like to spend the last days of my life in Kurukṣetra.” So these are some things to contemplate while we are in this very sacred abode.

Let us appreciate our good fortune in being here. Take full advantage. What does it mean to take full advantage? To spend the maximum amount of time in:—“Śravaṇaṁ kīrtanam viṣṇoḥ smaraṇam”—hearing and chanting the glories of the Lord. Associating with Devotees, visiting these actual places where these pastimes took place—that’s very purifying. We will hear more from other speakers as well, but we are not going to take a break and just rest and go to sleep. We are going to jump into action. We are going to get on the buses and we are going to go out to the actual place where Kṛṣṇa stood on the chariot and spoke the immortal wisdom of Bhagavad-Gītā to Arjuna. We are going to that exact place. There is a big tree there [“Haribol!”]. We can have Kīrtana; we can read from Bhagavad-Gītā, have some commentary.

We can come back and take Darśana of the five lakes here, the lakes of blood. Especially this big lake and meditate how Brahmā created the earth while sitting on a lotus flower in the middle of that lake. Nice meditation. Then we will have lunch and then I think what I am going to do this afternoon is just sit on the banks of that lake and chant japa and get back to the basics and read Bhagavad-Gītā. Then this evening, we will go on Harināma around the five lakes and then tomorrow morning, we will have another morning program. Somehow we will tear ourselves away from this sacred abode around 12 or 1 o’clock and go back to our beloved Vṛndāvan Dhām. We have two more weeks of Parikramā. So much nectar! We have experienced so much nectar; we have so much nectar ahead of us. All these austerities we have to undergo, they are just paling in comparison; we don’t even think about them anymore.

Śrī Kurukṣetra Dhām Ki – Jaya!

Śrī Bhagavad-Gītā as it is, Ki – Jaya!

The Vrajavāsīs, the Residents of Vṛndāvan, ki – Jaya!

Śrī Vṛndāvan Dhām ki – Jaya!

Śrīla Prabhupāda ki – Jaya!

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

Hare Kṛṣṇa!

Thank You! [clapping, “Sādhu-Sādhu”]

Kurukṣetra – HH Śrīla Indradyumna Swami – Instructions

Being Tolerant

– By His Holiness Śrīla Indradyumna Swami

I’d like to extend a very warm welcome to all of you to the very holy and sacred place of Kurukṣetra. We’ll be elaborating on the many glories of this holy place as the morning proceeds. Actually there is much to be said about Kurukṣetra. It is described in the Skandh Purāṇa that Kurukṣetra was the main holy place in the SatyaYuga. In the Treta-Yuga the main holy place that people assembled for spiritual progress was Puṣkara. And in DvāparaYuga the main place that the Sādhus would go to for spiritual enlightenment was Naimiṣāraṇya. And in the Skandh Purāṇa which is of course ‘Purāṇa’ means very ancient, very old; it’s described now that the holy place in Kali-Yuga is Navadvīpa

So my point is that, you know when we think of Kurukṣetra you usually think of the big war here, the battle that took place. And of course most significant for us actually the whole world, the whole creation is that, Prabhupāda said one time—our Lord Kṛṣṇa, He spoke Bhagavad-Gītā here, the eternal wisdom of Bhagavad-Gītā. The song of God for the eternal welfare of humanity past, present, and into the future was spoken here at Kurukṣetra. So we’ll be elaborating more on this again as the morning goes on, the glories of this holy place because you know from SatyaYuga down to the present day there’s a lot to be said about Kurukṣetra. But due to the limitations of time I’ll take a particular angle because we’re Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas and speak about when the Lord came here with the residents of Dvārakā­ because of a solar eclipse, and the residents of Vṛndāvan took the opportunity to come and meet Kṛṣṇa here after a very, very long time. We’ll speak about that pastime in particular.

I would like to apologize for any inconvenience caused by the long trip in the buses here yesterday. Some of you rode 7-8 hours. [The] situation is that for whatever reason it’s India, and you can never plan things perfectly. Some of us are living in Svarga-Loka. Although Caturātmā Prabhu informed me last night that everybody’s room in this hotel except mine only, there’s cold water. So I’m the only person here in Svarga-Loka who has hot water. He came to my room and told me that. “You’re the only one with hot water.” “Oh!” [Laughs]

And Prabhupāda has pointed out, although Svarga-Loka is Svarga-Loka, it’s not perfect. He said the problem in Svarga-Loka is—oh there’s practically no birth, no disease, no old age, no death, practically, almost like that, he said. The problem is people are always worrying when are the demons going to come and try to take over. And some of the hotels are like the earth planet: a little good, a little bad,  mixed you know—maybe some warm water. [Laughs] I don’t know. And some of the hotels are like the subterranean planets like Pātāla-Loka I heard. So…I am very sorry. What to do?  Prabhupāda said sometimes we live in a fancy palace, sometimes we live under a tree. That’s the nature of traveling especially in India. You have to be very tolerant here, but the rewards for such tolerance you could hardly measure. The rewards of coming to a holy place like Kurukṣetra.

So let us not fall prey to thinking about the austerities, the difficulties, the inconveniences. Let’s come above that platform, and realize, meditate on where we actually are; somehow or other we got here. And for most of us this will probably be the only time in our life that we come to Kurukṣetra. Because you know, generally we’re in Vṛndāvan, we’re in Māyāpura, sometimes Purī, sometimes Devotees go here and there. But in my 45 years as a Devotee this is my first time in Kurukṣetra. And let’s try to see everything here, experience everything here through the eyes of Guru, Śāstra and Sādhus. As I’ve said before, a saintly person, he sees through his ears, he sees the world through his ears, from Guru and Gaurāṅga—not from these imperfect eyes. And let’s relish every moment, every precious moment. We’re only here a day and a half. That’s nothing out of your life. Let’s relish every moment that we’re in this sacred abode of Kurukṣetra, the place where the Lord chose to speak the eternal wisdom of the Bhagavad-Gītā which is guiding us back to the spiritual sky.

After the morning program we’re going to go to the tree. I heard that Kṛṣṇa spoke the Gītā under a tree. We’re going to visit that place today. Right, Rasikā? We’ll go out there. Yeah. And this big lake here, I’ll be speaking about that later, very sacred lake. The government, I’m surprised how well managed everything is here. There’s this beautiful circular path that goes around those holy lakes. We’ll go on a Harināma party this evening around the sacred lake.

But for now let me introduce you all to a very close, intimate, loving, eternal friend of mine: Śrī Prahlad Prabhu. Prahlad and I were together for many, many years, I think over 15 years traveling the world together preaching Kṛṣṇa Consciousness. Now Prahlad lives in Sydney with his wife, Gāndharvikā. He’s a professor at the University of Sydney. And most important, he’s very much involved in the Kīrtana/Bhajan scene throughout the country. He’s famous for his Kīrtanas and for preaching Kṛṣṇa Consciousness to many of the young people of that country, as well as giving classes in the temple and counsel to Devotees, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. And we take time out every year to go to some transcendental place together. The Bhṛgu Muni, we went to a Bhṛgu, he once said that, “You’ll be separated after some time, but you’ll always come together time after time throughout your lives visiting the transcendental LīlāSthānas of Lord Kṛṣṇa.”

So here I have met my old friend here at Kurukṣetra. I’m not going to quote the verse, but…There’s a verse like that [Laughter]. So we’ll ask Śrī Prahlad to open the morning program with a beautiful Bhajan.

I think some of you, many of you are new to Kṛṣṇa Consciousness. You never heard of Śrī Prahlad, you never heard of his Bhajans. That’s how old we’re getting, Prahlad. But if you are in that category, you’re in for a pleasant transcendental surprise. Prahlad can sing for about 45 minutes and then we’ll speak about the glories of Kurukṣetra.

Śrī Kurukṣetra Dhāma ki—Jaya!

Bhagavad-Gītā as it is ki—Jaya!

Śrīla Prabhupāda ki—Jaya!

Kārtik Parikramā 2015 ki—Jaya!

Gaur Premanande Hari Haribol!

Jaya-Jaya Śrī Rādhe …………….Śyāma!

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

Life Story: Baladeva Vidyābhūshaṇa

– By Her Grace Śītalā Mataji

[Prayers …]

Hare Kṛṣṇa! What a wonderful combination is Baḍa-Hari Prabhu’s Kīrtana and being in the presence of the most ancient Deities of our six Gosvāmīs of Vṛndāvan! We are here at RādhāVinodilal temple, they call Him Rādhā Vinod. We won’t talk about RādhāVinod today, but just some of you maybe haven’t been here before; so for their information, these are the Deities of Lokanātha Gosvāmī. Lokanātha Gosvāmī was the beloved Spiritual Master of Śrīla Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur. Although we don’t hear so much about Lokanātha Gosvāmī, it is just because he was such an incredibly humble soul that he didn’t want anything to be talked about him.

But he is sometimes referred to as the Seventh Gosvāmī, because actually he and his very good friend BhūgarbhaGosvāmī were the first to go to Vṛndāvan. I better not get into that story, because that’s a long one. But just so you know that this Deity RādhāVinod actually appeared to Lokanātha Gosvāmī as he was doing Bhajan in the forest of Vṛndāvan near a village named Umrāo. He was just sitting doing his meditation, and suddenly this Deity appeared to him. He had a desire for the Deity and this RādhāVinod just appeared before him. There are two stories: One is that a little boy arrived holding the Deity and just placed it down and ran away, and the other is that the Deity just opened his eyes from his japa and he saw the Deity standing before him.

Then Lokanātha looked around and wondered, “Who brought this Deity?” Then RādhāVinodilal said to him, “I have brought Myself.”  This Deity, if you see Him, is fairly small, so Lokanātha Gosvāmī made a bag, and he wore the Deity around his neck.

[Śrīla Indradyumna Swami Mahārāja arrived]

“Do we have a seat for Mahārāja? Okay.”

So we won’t go into the details, but just so that you know where we are and who these Deities are, so I just wanted to bring that point up.

Indradyumna Mahārāja: “Too Far!”

Śītalā Mataji [Jokingly]: “Okay, Mahārāja likes to embarrass me. It’s a Rasa, Brother–sister Rasa.” [Laughter] “Difficult!”

I thought I would talk today a little bit about giving a broader picture on what  Indradyumna Mahārāja spoke so wonderfully and explained to us regarding: “Who is Rādhā Govindajī and how He appeared. How He came; how He landed up in Jaipur?” But, on the altar, there are also other personalities; so to round out our understanding of Who’s  all there at that temple, I would like to talk a little bit about Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī and the Deities that were brought by Kāśīśvara Paṇḍita.

As Mahārāja mentioned yesterday, when the GovindaDeva Deity was found, this was a source of great ecstasy for Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. His first immediate desire was to send the best man to take care of this Deity.  So immediately  he thought, “Kṛṣṇa has appeared in His Deity form, so who is going to take care of that Deity there?” It’s very important that Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu Himself arranged for it. Mahāprabhu had a servant called Kāśīśvara Paṇḍita, and Kāśīśvara was actually His Godbrother. That Kāśīśvara Paṇḍita and Govinda, the personal servants of Mahāprabhu, were originally personal servants of Īśvara Purī, the Spiritual Master of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. When Īśvara Purī was about to leave this world, he had these two beloved disciples, Govinda and Kāśīśvara, who personally served him. So before his departure, he said, “After I leave, I want you to go  and serve Caitanya Mahāprabhu in the way you have served me.”

At this time, Lord Caitanya was travelling in the south and he very soon arrived back to Purī, and so Kāśīśvara and  Govinda made their way to Purī. They came and made their full dandavats at the feet of Mahāprabhu.  Mahāprabhu was extremely upheld and upset at the idea that His Spiritual Master had sent His own Godbrothers, to be His personal servants. He said, “No, no, no. I can’t take service from my Godbrothers!” But they were determined. They said, “But this is the order of your Spiritual Master, that we come here, and we do this service for you.” So to solve this dilemma, they went to Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya. Mahāprabhu explained, “I can’t take service from My Godbrothers!” And Kāśīśvara and Govinda Paṇḍita said, “But we have been ordered to do this service and we want to do this service.”  Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya solved that. He said, “Now, the order of the Spiritual Master supersedes any social etiquettes.” From that time onwards, Kāśīśvara Paṇḍita and Govinda were Mahāprabhu’s personal servants. You can imagine that service: until Lord Caitanya got this news that Govindajī had now appeared in Vṛndāvan. He took Kāśīśvara Paṇḍita to a secluded place and he revealed his mind that, “I want you to go to Vṛndāvan, leave my service. Go to Vṛndāvan and take care of the Govindajī Deity.”

Just to know little bit of the past of Kāśīśvara. He was a very powerful man physically. He used to always go in front of Caitanya Mahāprabhu and move away the crowds and keep everything peaceful, like some of the devotees are organized to do that here; keep everybody back, and that’s what Kāśīśvara Paṇḍita did.  He was always there right next to Lord Caitanya. He was also the Prasādam server, the organizer serving Prasādam by Lord Caitanya’s order. Thus he had very important service there, and service that he must have loved so much. Now he is being sent away to Vṛndāvan to take care of Govindajī. But it is interesting to note, Lord Caitanya wanted to send His best man to take care of the Deities. We also, in our movement, should think in this line of Caitanya Mahāprabhu, that our best people, our most elevated people, should be caring for our Deities.

Kāśīśvara Paṇḍita, he didn’t really like that idea, he was lamenting piteously. He just couldn’t bear the thought of leaving the service of Mahāprabhu—very difficult to ask. He actually said, “How can I leave You? How will I be able to maintain my life? If I leave You, how would I live?—I would die!” Thus Lord Caitanya gave to Kāśīśvara Paṇḍita a very special Deity called GaurGovinda, which is Govinda and Gaur in one Deity. And He said, “I am going with you, and I am always going to be with you in the form of this Deity.” He gave him instruction: how to worship that Deity and He said, “Whenever you offer bhoga to Him, you will just see how I am eating.” So with great difficulty Kāśīśvara Paṇḍita had to leave the association of Mahāprabhu with his GaurGovinda Deity and travel to Vṛndāvan. He placed that Deity at the feet of GovindaDeva and then for the rest of his life, he dedicated himself fully to the service of Govindajī and GaurGovinda. It’s important by the power of his love, for the first time, Mahāprabhu came to this side of India in the form of a Deity. You probably wouldn’t have noticed, but that Deity is there on the altar of the temple of RādhāGovinda.

Also to just round out the whole picture of all the Deities on the altar, then we will talk a little bit about how Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī wound up there. When Govindajī and Madana-Mohan appeared, They appeared by Themselves, not with Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. So for some time, They were worshiped alone. But the son of Mahārāja Pratāparudra in Purī named PuruṣottamaJana had a very strong desire— he wanted to send Rādhārāṇī to Govinda and  Madana-Mohan. He arranged that two Deities of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī were made, and they were sent to Vṛndāvan in a very elaborate procession and very carefully brought to Govindajī and Madana-Mohan. When these two Rādhārāṇī Deities arrived in Vṛndāvana, they had a great welcome festival. But before They were installed, the Pūjāri at Madana-Mohan temple had a dream, and Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī appeared to him and said, “One of these deities is Me (Rādhārāṇī), but the other one is Lalitā; so you install Me next to Madana-Mohan and also Lalitā next to Him.” So interestingly that dream was just accepted by everyone. Thus, that left Govindajī without Rādhārāṇī. So PuruṣottamaJana heard about this later that he sent these two Rādhārāṇīs, and apparently in the dream, Rādhārāṇī said, “That person who sent us—he didn’t know I was there, but also Lalitā is there. He didn’t know.”

PuruṣottamaJana still had a desire and wanted to send Rādhārāṇī to Govinda. He tried again many, many times  to make a Deity, but somehow or another, it just didn’t happen, until he had a dream. Everything is based on dreams in those days, and Rādhārāṇī came to him and said, “I am in the Jagannātha Temple. Actually, the Deity that they are worshipping there as a Lakṣmī is actually Me, and I want to go to Vṛndāvan and be with Govindajī. I won’t be Lakṣmī anymore.” PuruṣottamaJana woke up and he was very excited, and he rushed to the Jagannātha temple and went before this LakṣmīDevī and he saw, “Oh, this is Rādhārāṇī!” So then he inquired, trying to get to the root of this, “How did Rādhārāṇī become LakṣmīDevī here in the Jagannātha temple?” He found out that long, long ago She had been brought from Vṛndāvan to a place called Rādhānagar in Orissa.

Now I don’t know—there is no history of who brought Her and why did he only bring Rādhārāṇī. But somehow or other, that place Rādhānagar became named Rādhānagar after Rādhārāṇī came. But somehow, She actually originally came from Vṛndāvan to this place in Orissa. There was a very, very pure devotee there in Rādhānagar whose name was Bṛhadbhānu. He was a very, very pure devotee, very rare soul, and he worshiped this Rādhārāṇī Deity like his daughter. So a very, very highly elevated devotee. He worshiped Her in a mood that if he didn’t have a sight of Her even for a few minutes, he would be in an unbearable separation. So that’s the kind of devotee he was. He was famous for his love for Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. When he expired, even the king wondered, “What are we going to do now with this Rādhārāṇī Deity? This great soul has gone, now there is this Rādhārāṇī Deity.” The king himself at that time went to Rādhānagar and got this Rādhārāṇī Deity.  Now we are talking about the Deity that’s on the altar there that we are going to see every day.

He went to see this Deity of Rādhārāṇī and he was trying to figure out, “What we should do now? What should we do with Her?” While he was there he had a dream and Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī appeared to him. Apparently, She likes to appear in dreams to people. We haven’t had that good fortune, but it’s something we can look forward to, maybe in some lifetime. Thus, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī said, “Take Me to the Jagannātha Temple.” He was very happy to follow those instructions and He brought Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī to the Jagannātha Temple. But over the course of time, many, many years, people started to just see Her as Lakṣmī. Somehow the history got lost and people started worshiping Her as LakṣmīDevī and She reciprocated according to their devotion. PuruṣottamaJana was very, very happy to find out that this is the Rādhārāṇī that should go to Vṛndāvan and that should be with Govindajī. So She was brought to Vṛndāvan all the way across the country in a great procession, and all the devotees in Vṛndāvan received Her with great ecstasy. Then we know, as Mahārāja described the history from thereon out, that Rādhā and Govinda were united in Vṛndāvan, and then eventually, the disciple of RaghunāthaBhaṭṭa, MānaSingh built a glorious temple for them, the best temple in Vṛndāvan. As Mahārāja described, the Deities were in Vṛndāvan until the nasty Aurangzeb started to attack temples, and then the Deities were brought here.

Really, I think we can feel how wonderful it is to be in Jaipur, where so many of the principal Deities of Vṛndāvan are situated. It’s just so powerful to be in Their presence and to be in these temples and have these beautiful Kīrtanas in such a historical place. We tell these stories not just to entertain or just to tell a story, but so that we understand our heritage and how amazing is the history and how glorious is what we have entered into. It becomes so much more meaningful when we go to the temple of RādhāGovindajī, and then we see, “Oh there is GaurGovinda, the Deity that Lord Caitanya Himself gave that came all the way.” It becomes very meaningful. We don’t just look at the altar with a blank look. You know, we experience, “Wow, this is very interesting, exciting, amazing!” It was a very glorious time when they started to build the beautiful temple for RādhāGovinda here, and it was a very glorious time for Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas. All these Deities were now nicely protected. But as usual, when there is some kind of success, some pushing forward, there is also pushing back by the material energy there, and challenges, and things which come after that. Not everyone was completely in ecstasy about Govindajī’s arrival here in Jaipur.  As with anything, there is always somebody who is unhappy about things.

What was going on here at that time for many generations was that Rāmānandī Vaiṣṇavas had been very prominent. They were favored very much by the queen. I believe they were worshipers of SītāRāma, so that was the primary Deity at that time. The queen, she loves SītāRāma and she loves all these Rāmānandīs, and then all of sudden this Govindajī appeared. As with every situation, there is always a political side, a power issue. There are many factors to everything apart from just devotion. The Rāmānandīs saw, “Wow, Jai-Singh, the King, he has so much attraction, affection and attachment to this Govindajī Deity. What is going to happen to us?” There is always a power and a prestige issue and financial backing and so many things that these Rāmānandīs had been given for generations because of the favor of the queen.

But now the king had such a strong affiliation with Vṛndāvan and with the Deities of Vṛndāvan. For Jai-Singh, this arrival of Govindajī was a major turning point personally in his spiritual life. Unfortunately, many of the spiritualists are not always the true spiritualists which they should be. So those Rāmānandī Vaiṣṇavas, they were quite upset that, “Now the King’s attention and affection and now, probably, finances, and so many other things are going in the direction of RādhāGovinda.” They waged war against Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas basically and it was a very difficult time.

Now to give you a little background to the story that will develop, we’ll have to tell a little bit about the history of an extraordinary devotee who saved the name of Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism here in Jaipur, and that devotee is called Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa. We don’t even really know what his original name was. Vidyābhūshaṇa was the name given to him later, an honorary title. Not much is known about his lineage, because again, like Lokanātha Gosvāmī, he is a pure devotee and therefore devoid of false prestige. So he just never talked about himself. We don’t know much about it, but we know that, although he came from a merchant family, he had no inclination for that particular cast. He was born in Orissa, in a town near Remuṇā. From a young age, he had the desire that he wanted to be a teacher. He didn’t want to be a shop-owner. Those days actually it was very, very common that whatever family you were brought into, you just do what your dad did, and it just goes on like that for generations. But he didn’t have any inclination. He wanted very strongly from a very early age to be a teacher of divine wisdom. That means he had to study extra, extra hard, because he wanted to break out of his normal cast to do something that wasn’t really expected of him. He became a very, very learned young boy. He studied cosmology, logic and medicine, all kinds of topics he became expert in.

At young age, as soon as it was possible, he went on pilgrimage and he was seeking his Spiritual Master. So traveling in the south, he came across the Tattvavādīs or the followers of Madhvācārya, and he studied very hard there, and he became a master of debate. Then he again traveled, and actually he was a very powerful exponent and a preacher. Eventually he arrived to JagannāthaPurī in his travels, and there he met a devotee named Rādhā Dāmodara, who was a grand-disciple of Rasikānanda, who is coming in the line of Śyāmānanda Prabhu. Rādhā Dāmodara became his Shiksha Guru, and he explained to him everything about Caitanya and the six Gosvāmīs. He totally captured the heart of Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa. The natural thing to do next would be to go to Navadvīpa. So he went to Navadvīpa, and he began studying TattvaSandarbha and all the other Sandarbhas actually of Jīva Gosvāmī. In Navadvīpa, everyone was telling him the same thing, “Actually, you should go to Vṛndāvan. If you really want to study Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism, then you should go to Vṛndāvan and study under Viśvanāth Cakravārtī Ṭhākur, because he is the best.”

When Baladeva arrived in Vṛndāvan to take shelter of Viśvanāth Cakravārtī, a lot of the glory of Vṛndāvan had already been diminished. As Mahārāja described yesterday, how there were all the Mughal attacks, and Vṛndāvan was in incredible turmoil for a long time. He started studying under Viśvanāth Cakravārtī, and during this time, now Govindajī had arrived here in Jaipur, and the Rāmānandīs were beginning to wage their war on Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas. The first attack of the Rāmānandīs was to question the legitimacy of the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava line. They are saying, “There are only four Sampradāyas, so who are these Gauḍīyas? Where have they come from? They are not in those Sampradāyas.” They made this challenge, and, of course, the king, although he favored Govindajī and the Gauḍīyas, he has to be fair as a King. He had to show that this is legitimate. Apparently at that time to be legitimate you have to have a commentary on the Vedānta-Sūtra. You have to show what you are doing is in line with tradition. Jai-Singh was very concerned about this, but he had to deal, he had to be fair as he is the king. He wrote to Mahānts in Vṛndāvan, and he said, “Look, you have to help me. I don’t know what to tell them about, “How are you legitimate? How is your Sampradāya? How are you going to explain this?  Of course, our Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism begins with Mahāprabhu, and Mahāprabhu who is He? He is God Himself, so how much more legitimate can it be? God Himself is the head of our Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism. The Rāmānandīs were saying, “No way, we will not accept that argument. We want to see your commentary on the Vedānta-Sūtra.” Then, the answer to that was that, “The Śrīmad Bhāgavatam is the natural commentary on Vedānta-Sūtra.” That’s the way we accept it. There is no need for a commentary on Vedānta-Sūtra, that’s Bhāgavatam.

Suffice it to say, they didn’t accept that argument even. Jai-Singh was a very spiritual person, and he really just wanted everybody to get along. He studied everyone; he studied the work of the Gosvāmīs; he studied the works of the Rāmānandīs. I mean that is a really cool king; he just made a comparison. Nowadays with the politicians that we have, it’s never possible! Here he is a king, and he really wants to get to the philosophical roots, and he wants to be fair, and he wants to guide this spiritual development in his kingdom; so he actually compiled a book called Brahmā-Bodhinī. Jai-Singh himself compiled a book, and he read everything, and then he thought, “Well, let’s just unify these all, and everybody can be happy.” But it didn’t worked so the Rāmānandīs were still unhappy. Then to up the ante, they started to attack the method of worship of the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas. They said, “You shouldn’t worship Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa together, this is completely bogus.” The Rāmānandīs had some understanding up to the point of Aiśvarya Bhāva. But that was it, that’s where it ended. You imagine our fortune. It’s actually very rare to understand these things, Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī: who is She? People simply didn’t know. Jai-Singh again wrote to the Mahānts of the Gopīnātha Mandir in Vṛndāvan and said, “Please, I am trying everything to defend you.” He said that, ”You have to silence these people; you must silence them or because as a king, I am going to be forced to remove Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī from GovindaDeva.”

This was pretty serious, can you imagine your Deity, RādhāGovindajī, and now you’re going to take away Rādhārāṇī, who traveled all the way from Orissa, went to Vṛndāvan, and then came here. Now, they are threatening that, “You have to take this Rādhārāṇī off the altar here because this is bogus.” So this is very serious. All the four temples in Vṛndāvan, major temples there, the Mahānts got together. They wrote something about how both Parakīya and Svakiya Bhāva, married love and unmarried love, how Deities can be worshiped in both ways. Then again, the Rāmānandīs, “No, no, we don’t accept his arguments.” Now apparently Jai-Singh actually did remove Rādhārāṇī from the altar for some period of time. Now just picture that, just picture going in to see Rādhe Shyam in Vṛndāvan and Rādhārāṇī is not there. I mean, how horrifying? How shocking? Then the Rāmānandīs become even more forceful. They said, “But why are you not worshiping Nārāyaṇa first?” Apparently that’s the tradition in some lines.

It was getting very, very difficult and very worrisome for, what was going to be the future of the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava line? I mean, we wouldn’t be here if somehow they didn’t keep the Gauḍīya line going strong and prove its authenticity. Someone had to do that. It became an actually desperate situation where Viśvanāth Cakravārtī was keeping in touch with all of this fighting that’s going on in Jaipur and thinking that, “I have to do something as the leader of the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas at the time.”  Baladeva Vidyābhūshaṇa had been studying under Viśvanāth Cakravārtī, and he was an incredibly knowledgeable person who was expert at debate. If you remember, he was trained under Madhvācārya’s group, so he was very well versed in all arguments. Viśvanāth Cakravārtī Ṭhākur sent his student Baladeva Vidyābhūshaṇa here, to Amber, to defend the name of Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas. At that time, the center was in Amber; the Jaipur city had not been built yet. Baladeva Vidyābhūshaṇa arrived as a young devotee that nobody knew. He wasn’t famous. He was a very young man and unknown to everyone here, but in him was a philosophical giant.


Because he was unknown, it was even difficult to get an audience with the king. But eventually he did see the king and he said that, “I am here to defend the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas.” So they accepted. He made the challenge, “Here I am going to do it. I am going to explain you why we are legitimate.” He said, “I have come to resolve this issue.” The Rāmānandīs were kind of thinking, “Who is this new kid on the block?” But since he was making the claim, they said, “Okay, you go ahead, but we don’t want to hear what you want to say. We don’t care what you have to say. We just want to see your commentary on Vedānta-Sūtra and nothing else will be satisfactory.” Just as a side note, formerly during the time of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu; well actually, when Jīva Gosvāmī was going on Parikramā with Lord Nityānanda, Jīva Gosvāmī had the idea to write a commentary on Vedānta-Sūtra at that time, and Lord Nityānanda told him that, “There is no need to write this commentary now, later on Gopīnātha Ācārya is going to take birth, and he will write that commentary.” So it was many, many years later, and it was Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa who was the reincarnation of Gopīnātha Ācārya.

This was a very, very difficult task. I mean we couldn’t have really understood what is this task—to write a commentary on Vedānta-Sūtra. But, suffice it to say, it is extremely difficult, and it takes a very, very long time. Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa had an impossible task before him, so as an exalted devotee, of course, what did he do? He went to Govindajī, and he said to Govindajī, “I can’t do this. This is too difficult. Help. But you are the Divine Puppeteer. Please move my pen.” This is the mood of a devotee to be empowered, to do something that is difficult or even impossible. He just surrenders, “I am a puppet, please, do something with me, move my pen, move my hands, and move my body.” Because in truth we can do nothing, we can’t even blink our eyes without the mercy of Kṛṣṇa. We see how this was the mood of Śrīla Prabhupāda when he arrived in America, and when he was on the boat, he wrote that poem. He called out to the Lord in the same mood as Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa, and he wrote that song which said, “Please, I have come here. What can I do? Let me just be a puppet in your hands and, please, make me dance, make me dance, make me dance.” So that’s the formula of success for even the impossible tasks. Just fully surrender to the Lord that, “I can’t do anything, and, please, use my body, use my hands, use my mind, use everything in your service. I can’t do it.”

Then Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa had a dream, and in that dream, Govindajī Himself said, “You write this, and I will move your pen. I will compose it, and no one will be able to defeat you.” Next day, Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa woke up as a very happy man. He began to write with great, great enthusiasm and happiness.  Some say it took non-stop for seven days, and some say it took a month. But however long it took, it was a miraculous task.  What he wrote, became known as “Śrī Govinda-Bhāṣya—the words of Govinda. He came before everyone much to the shock of the Paṇḍitas and the nobles. Everyone came together and that’s how they resolved issues in cultured society. There are no nasty emails flying back and forth: “No, I think this. No. I think that.” They get the smartest people together that are the Paṇḍitas, the devotees, the nobles, the Kings. And they have an open mind. They wanted to hear the arguments; they don’t want to fight. They just wanted to hear—what’s right? Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa came before this large gathering of people, royal people and all the Paṇḍitas. He spoke so eloquently and so exhaustively on each one of the points. He made it very, very clear each argument that had been set forward. He made it very, very clear to explain our Gauḍīya Siddhānta.

I would like to read from the beginning of the very beautiful introduction that ŚrīlaBaladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa spoke there in the GovindaBhāṣya. He writes, “May Śrī Govinda be all glorious. By His mercy He revealed this commentary to me in a dream. The commentary revealed by Him is especially appreciated by the highly learned, and as a result of this, I have been given the name Vidyābhūṣaṇa, but it is Śrī Govinda who deserves all the credit. May that Śrī Govinda who is the most dear life and soul of Śrī Rādhikā be all victorious!” It was so beautiful, and so eloquent, and so convincing that there was no more arguing. He completely establishes the Gauḍīya Siddhānta and thus Rādhā and Govinda were united again. [“Haribol!” Applause]

Jai-Singh was so happy that he built a temple of victory. I think it’s at Galtaji. We went there last year. That’s where the debate took place. He then installed the Deity called Vijaya Gopāla, so such a glorious victory.  Just to bring it down to our practical level of how this applies to us: We can know that there is always going to be challenge. Fortunately, there was an amazing devotee who was able to uphold the name and the legitimacy of Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism at that time. But it’s not like, ‘’Oh, okay! Well, he did the job and now it’s all over.” There is always going to be more challenges that come our way in the course of devotional service. Devotees have to be prepared to defend who we are, what we are, what we stand for, how it’s right, how it’s bonafide.” Because these kinds of things happened in the past, and they are happening now and will happen in the future—where we are really having to be able to explain, how we are legitimate.

As I was talking the other day about Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur, that he had made a strategy of how to do his preaching, and so he had called everyone together and had that incredible festival called Kheturī Mahotsava. It was so successful, and his name spread far and wide, and he really uplifted the whole of Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism at that time. But there is always somebody that’s going to challenge. Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur was challenged in similar ways to what happened in Jaipur.  Because after the Kheturī festival Narottama made so many disciples, who were very elevated Brāhmaṇas, Paṇḍitas—very influential people. Just like the Rāmānandīs here became concerned, so in the same way, many Paṇḍitas in the area where Narottama was preaching also got concerned, “Oh, he is getting so powerful, this Narottama.” They made a challenge, because Narottama was also initiating people who were non-brāhmaṇas, and this was very controversial at that time.

A whole band of Paṇḍitas decided to come and have debate with Narottama, “What you are doing is not right. This is not bonafide.” Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur, he really didn’t like debates. He didn’t really like to argue with anyone. His disciples knew that, so they made a plan that they would hand off these Paṇḍitas before they arrived to argue with Narottama. That’s a whole story. I won’t tell all of that, but just briefly, GaṅgāNārāyaṇa Cakravārtī and Rāmacandra Kavirāj, they dressed themselves up as pot sellers: clay-pot seller and a pan-vala. They dressed, sitting at their shops, and then these Paṇḍitas came in to buy their bhoga and things for the Pūjā, and stuff, and they hear these two shop-valas speaking in eloquent fluent Sanskrit, like “Wow!” The Paṇḍitas were completely shocked, “What kind of town is this? If even the shop-valas speak eloquent Sanskrit, then what are the Paṇḍitas here?” They got a little nervous.

[Paṇḍitas]: “You are just a clay-pot seller; and how do you speak Sanskrit  like that?”

[Disciples]: “Oh, you know, we are just humble servants of our Guru Mahārāja. Oh, we all know this stuff.”

{Paṇḍitas]: “Oh, well who is your Guru Mahārāja?”

[Disciples]:“Oh, Śrīla Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur Mahāśaya.

The Paṇḍitas were like, “Wow, we are going to debate with Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur, but we can’t even defeat his disciples, we better get out of here. Forget it.” This ability to defend your spiritual position and to have this strength to be able to do that is required. That’s going to be required for everybody in some small way or maybe in some very big way. Already in our movement we have got so many situations where devotees have to figure out how to defend our position.

Like when I first joined, I came to the temple to live in a temple after Janmāṣṭamī in 1970 in Detroit. I think that, probably at that time, was one of the first major difficulties that happened in the movement. I didn’t know what was really going on. I was just a plain new devotee. But all the devotees just came back from the Janmāṣṭamī festival in New Vṛndāvan and there, four senior Sannyāsīs had been propagating an inappropriate philosophy. In a nut-shell they were saying Guru is God. Many devotees that were there at the festival were really in anxiety, because they knew that what they were saying was wrong, but they didn’t know how to defeat it. So it was a real major problem. The devotees were so disturbed by what they were hearing. They knew that, “That doesn’t sound right. That’s not our philosophy.” But they didn’t have the Śāstric reference, and they didn’t have the maturity to really defeat them.

So I remember that all went to Prabhupāda and eventually everything got resolved. But as a result of that, we all realized that, “We just don’t know enough. We should have been able to say these things.” Thus, we did as a radical thing as, “We have got to study whole lot more.” We decided we have got to study the whole day long one day., But when you are going to do Sankirtana?—For the whole next day. It’s like a 48 hour schedule, so we can cram everything in. We made a schedule where we had Bhagavad-Gītā, Śrī Īśopaniṣad and Nectar of Devotion and then an all-day schedule of classes. Because we realized we weren’t capable, we were not able to rise to the challenge. So we needed to learn more. As you can imagine, devotees sitting for 6 or 7 hours a day studying, and then everyone was in sound sleep within two hours. When it came to Śrīla Prabhupāda, he nixed it immediately, “This is not necessary, Śrīmat Bhāgavatam in the morning, Bhagavad-Gītā in the evening. Chant Hare Kṛṣṇa and go on Sankirtana. Don’t be fanatics!” Then there are other things we had, a Gopī Bhāva club thing that we had to deal with. So many things, and if you don’t know the philosophy of Kṛṣṇa Consciousness, you are just sentimental, how to deal with it? You don’t know, “Oh, God, what are we going to do?”  We had huge problems with brainwashing things at some point, so there are always problems that you have to come forward, to be able to defend our tradition. Even after Prabhupāda left, we still now got on-going with the problems like Ṛtvik ideas, origin of Jīva issues, so many things. They are always going to be there. We have to become knowledgeable and devoted to keep Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism alive, in the mood of Śrīla Prabhupāda who said, “I will fight till my last breath. I will preach, preach and preach,” which he did. 

Just going back to Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa, maybe you have noticed that Śrīla Prabhupāda dedicated the Bhagavad-Gītā to him. I always wondered why. Because I never knew much about Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa, I wondered, “Why did he dedicat it to him?” But now when you hear the story, you can get it. Just imagine, Baladeva uplifted the whole of Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism, he kept Rādhā and Govinda together—amazing; of course, Śrīla Prabhupāda dedicated it to Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa.

After that, Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa returned to Vṛndāvan, and he became like a ruling Mahānta in Vṛndāvan after Viśvanāth Cakravārtī Ṭhākur. He is like a warrior, like a great hero coming back from battle. I mean, you imagine devotes were applauding like, “Yeah!” when he returned to Vṛndāvan. He became the Mahānta of the Rādhā Śyāma Sundara temple. He did his Bhajan there; you can see his cave. There is a little cave when you go down in the temple courtyard where he did Bhajan and lived there for 25 years or so.  He wrote many, many more commentaries, and actually he brought a special stone from Orissa to have the Rādhā Śyāma Sundara Deities carved there. What an amazing personality! He was Gopīnātha Ācārya, the brother-in-law of Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya in a previous life, and in Vrajalīlā he was Ratnāvalī Devi—so what a personality!

With that, I hope we have more appreciation of Who is there on the altar at Rādhā Govindadevajī Temple. “Who are those Deities or personalities? How They came to be there? Then, how we have came to be here?” These are all miracles, and we are just part of all these miracles that are happening. By the grace of Śrīla Prabhupāda, all this is possible to us.

Jaya! Śrīla Prabhupāda ki –jaya!

Program at Factory, Jaipur -HH Śrīla Indradyumna Swami – Lecture

Reconnecting with Kṛṣṇa 

(Program at Factory)

– By His Holiness Śrīla Indradyumna Swami


[Opening prayers and glorifications!]

As we mention every year, this has become a great tradition in our Parikramā party which visits Jaipur from Śrī Vṛndāvan Dhām during the month of Kārtik, to comes here and associate with the Mangalam family and have nice Kīrtana, Kṛṣṇa Kathā and prasad. We would like to thank all the members & extended members of the Mangalam Family; in particular, Kṛṣṇaji, Omji & Śyāmaji. Rājiva wouldn’t let me mention his name so I won’t. (Laughs) I got away with that one somehow or other. But thank you, all of you, for giving us this opportunity to come and have your association and have a wonderful program here at the factory where you produce so many amazing objects.

I know that our devotees, look forward to coming to Jaipur in particular to see our beloved Deities Śrī-Śrī  RādhāGovinda. We actually always come here for the Saṅga, for the association because we’re so impressed and so touched with the devotion, the Bhakti, that the people of this city have for these wonderful Deities of Rādhā Govinda-deva. As they are very dear to the people of Jaipur, they are now very dear to people all over the world by the mercy of our spiritual master Śrīla Prabhupāda, who spread this Saṅkīrtan movement practically speaking to every town and village in the planet.

Actually every living entity has an eternal relationship with Govindaji; that they have simply forgotten. George Harrison, one of the famous members of the Beatles, once said, “Everyone is a devotee of Kṛṣṇa. Some know it and some don’t”. Actually that relationship can never be broken. It can be forgotten but it cannot be broken. Just like you have your father and your mother, in this life-time, they’re always your father and mother. That relationship can’t be broken. You can make a mistake and turn away from your family but the relationship is always there.

nityo nityānāṁ cetanaś cetanānām

eko bahūnāṁ yo vidadhāti kāmān

[Kaṭha Upaniṣad 2.2.13]

Every living entity is an eternal servant of Lord Kṛṣṇa.”So those who are fortunate, those pious souls they realize this and in their life-time they try to revive that forgotten relationship. Most people in this world are simply concerned with themselves and in their pursuit of sense gratification but,

“manuṣyāṇāṁ sahasreṣu kaścid yatati siddhaye”

[BG 7.3]

There’s a few souls in this world who come to the point of realizing that the point of life is to reestablish our lost relationship with God and they do their best to do so. The word religion as we were mentioning this morning comes from the Latin word “reglio” which means to reconnect with God. Just like the Sanskrit word “yoga” means to yoke—to reconnect also with the Absolute Truth, with Bhagavān, with Kṛṣṇa.

By the mercy of the Lord in His incarnation as Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu that process becomes very simple in the age of Kali. As described in the Bṛhad Nārāyaṇa Purāṇa:

harer nāma harer nāma

harer nāmaiva kevalam

kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva

nāsty eva gatir anyathā

[CC – Ādi 17.21]

That in the age of Kali there is no other way, no other way, no other way for achieving perfection than chanting the Names of God, specifically as introduced by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu



Only when that relationship with Kṛṣṇa, that relationship with God is reestablished, can we actually be happy. I was watching the mother and her little baby, so the baby was very happy in the mother’s arms but she wanted to experiment, so she came here and she went here, but as soon as she came back in her mother’s arms she fell asleep, she was very happy. As soon as we reconnect with Kṛṣṇa through the via medium of His Holy Name; of which He is non-different then we see that we become happy, we smile, we laugh, we stand up, we dance because we’re reconnected with our beloved Lord.

I was reminded recently of a story one devotee who was formerly a policeman had told me. He was on duty one time in London and he came across a young girl who had somehow become separated from her father. They were on a shopping spree. It was a Saturday afternoon and it was a very crowded day, and Daddy and his little girl had come downtown to do some shopping and somehow in the surge of this huge crowd—the little girl was about 6 or 7 years old— became separated from her father in the big crowd. In desperation she just sat down on the curb and started crying and people brought this to the attention of this policeman. The policeman was thinking we’ll take her to the police station, and we’ll make some calls, and we’ll find her family somehow. He told me that in the meantime to stop her from crying he said, “Well, you know, let’s go buy an ice-cream.” But she actually started crying more; she said, “No, I want my father. I don’t want ice cream; I want my father.” My friend, he was previously a policeman, he said, “Okay, let me think here, look, there’s a toy store here; let’s go buy you a dolly.” Then she really started again, “Nooo, I want my father.” He reached in his pocket and saw how much money he had, a few pounds, he said, “Well, a beautiful dress?” “Nooo, father!” There were five or six or seven things he tried and she just refused; what she really wanted was her father. She just cried more and more and more; so suddenly at that point somehow or other the father had been searching for the daughter as well, he appeared from the crowd and the little girl saw him and she—my friend said he’ll never forget the look on her face when she saw her father—just ran and jumped in his arms and hugged him and said, “Father, Father, Father; you found me!” (Laughs)

I sometimes think almost as an analogy that our situation is very similar; we are in this world and we have so much facility for sense gratification, so much facility for material enjoyment but we’re not really happy. At best we can only pretend that we’re happy. Because along with all the material assets come so many complications. You have to maintain them, you have to protect them and you don’t have time to enjoy them. (Laughs).

I went to a shop here in Jaipur the other day with Narottama, and we met one business man and he’d come practically from poverty to becoming one of the most successful businessmen in India and we walked in and there was so much paraphernalia and stacks of rupees and I said, “Oh, you’re doing well,” and he looked at me, he said, “Mahārāja, you know I was happier when I had nothing. Now my life is so complicated. So I’m thinking of the day I’ll become renounced like you and then true happiness will begin.” (Laughs) Of course, that’s not to say we don’t need material facility, we do need material facility but in our heart of hearts what we know is we really need to reestablish our lost relationship with our Father, with Kṛṣṇa. And unlike—unlike other spiritual processes like yoga and jnana and Tyāga, which may take many life-times to reestablish that connection, it can be done immediately just by the mercy of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu by chanting the Lord’s Holy Names—



Caitanya Mahāprabhu actually recommends, “kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ” one should chant as often as possible, and one should chant not just alone but one should chant with as many other devotees as possible. That is actually the Saṅkīrtan movement, the recommended process to come together: many devotees, and chant very loudly—



We thank Kṛṣṇaji, Omji, Shyamji and Rajeevji for giving us this opportunity to come together in such an amazing exotic beautiful atmosphere every Kārtik, and together with the family and the friends and the employees, we all sing together the sweet names of the Lord and remember the lotus feet of our Iṣṭadeva, Govindaji.

Hare Kṛṣṇa

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

Memories of Śrīla Prabhupāda

– By Her Grace Mālati Mataji


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Śrī Gopīnātha ki Jaya!

Thank you very much, Hare Kṛṣṇa!


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

Pastimes of Govindajī

– By His Holiness Śrīla Indradyumna Swami

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

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

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

[oṁ ajñāna-timirāndhasya …prayers]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He supervised the beautiful carving of :

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

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

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

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

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

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

kṛṣṇa-varnam tvishakṛṣṇam


yajñaih sankirtana-prayair

yajanti hi su-medhasah

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


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

Six Gosvāmīs of Vṛndāvan ki Jaya! ISKCON ki Jaya!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Śrī-Śrī Rādhā Govinda-Deva ki Jaya!

Śrī Vrajabhumi, Śrī Vṛndāvan-Dhām ki Jaya!

Śrī Jaipur Jaya!

Śrī Jaya Singh ki Jaya!

Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī ki Jaya!

Six Gosvāmīs of Vṛndāvan-Dhām ki Jaya!

Śrīla-Prabhupāda ki Jaya!

Worldwide ISKCON ki Jaya!

Back home, back to Godhead ki Jaya!

Gaura-Premanande Hari-Haribol!

Jaya-Jaya Śrī Rādhe……

Jaya-Jaya Śrī Rādhe……

Jaya-Jaya Śrī Rādhe ……………..  Govinda!

Thank you very much.

Nityānanda-vat – HH Śrīla Indradyumna Swami – Lecture

The Glories of Śṛīngāra-vat or Nityānanda-vat

– By His Holiness Śrīla Indradyumna Swami

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Anup Gosvāmī speaking]:

nitāiyer koruṇā habe, braje rādhā-kṛṣṇa pābe

dharo nitāi-caraṇa du’khāni

heno nitāi bine bhāi, rādhā-kṛṣṇa pāite nāi

dṛḍha kori’ dharo nitāir pāy

āra kabe nitāi-cānder koruṇā koribe

saṁsāra-bāsanā mora kabe tuccha ha’be

viṣaya chāriyā kabe śuddha ha ’be mana

kabe hāma herabo śrī-bṛndābana

rūpa-raghunātha-pade hoibe ākuti

kabe hāma bujhabo se jugala-pīriti

[Anup Gosvāmī speaking…Translation follows]

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kavicandra Gosvāmī Maharaja ki—Jaya!

Śrīla Prabhupāda ki-Jaya!

Śrī Nityānanda-vat ki—Jaya!

Śrīngāra-vat ki—Jaya!

Gaur Premanande! – [“Haribol!”]



[Opening prayers…]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

tad viddhi praṇipātena

paripraśnena sevāyā

upadekṣyanti te jñānaṁ

jñāninas tattva-darśinaḥ

[BG 4.34]

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

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

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

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

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



I said, “Yes, they will.”

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

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

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

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













Śrī-Śrīngāra-vata ki—Jaya!

Śrī Nityananda-vat ki—Jaya!

Śrīla Jiva Gosvāmī ki—Jaya!

Śrī Anup Gosvāmī ki—Jaya!

Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu ki—Jaya!

Śrī Gaurāṅga Mahāprabhu ki—Jaya!

Śrī Pañca-Tattva ki—Jaya!

Goloka-Prema Dhana Harinām Saṅkīrtan Yajña ki—Jaya!

Śrī Nama Prabhu ki—Jaya!

Jaya-Jaya Śrī Rādhe-Śyāma!


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

Spiritual Warrior’s Battle Strategies, Part 2

(From Life of Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur)

– By Her  Grace Śītalā Mataji

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

Jaya Śrīla Narottam Dāsa Ṭhākur ki Jaya!

HG Baḍa Hari Prabhu:  Śītalā Mātājī ki Jaya”

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


Śrī Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur ki Jaya!,

Giriraj–Govardhana Parikramā ki –Jaya,

Śrīla Prabhupāda ki-Jaya!

Kārtik Parikramā 2015 ki – Jaya!

Jaya-Jaya Śrī Rādhe ………………… Śyāma! ”