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!