Spiritual Warrior’s Battle Strategies, Part 1 (From Life of Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur)
– By Her Grace Śītalā Mataji
Hare Kṛṣṇa! It’s so nice; it feels just like a few seconds that we were all here together last time. Yesterday I was flying here on the plane and just was glancing at a newspaper, and I was seeing all the horrific things going on in the world. You know hundreds and thousands of people migrants struggling across Europe. It’s just so much that one headline after another that are the horrible situations that people in this world are experiencing. Then you look at our situation here and literally, not exaggerating, I think we must be the most fortunate people on the planet.
We are here in this most sacred of places. Śrī Vṛndāvan Dhām, of course is the most sacred but even more sacred are certain particular spots here, that because of the Bhajan of great, great souls, they become even more amazing spots. So apparently this is like the second most favorite spot of the six Gosvāmīs that they would come here and discuss Kṛṣṇa–Kathā together.
The environment that we are in , with just a few hundred people, we have this experience that we are just so fortunate and need to be very, very, very grateful. We have nothing possible to complain about. So for that blessing and that mercy and that fortune that we really don’t deserve, I really want to thank Śrīla Prabhupāda who is the personality who opened the door to Vṛndāvan to the entire world; and to thank Indradyumna Swami and his amazing crew for continuing to bring us here year after year to really experience some miracles in our lives; And thanks for Bada-Hari’s and Mādhava’s amazing Kīrtanas; that I was feeling very dull and covered by the modes as I was coming in here; but you know once you sit through a Kīrtana by Baḍa-Hari all of a sudden everything becomes light and blissful.
I was trying to think what to talk about. There are so many wonderful aspects of Śrīla Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur that we can talk about and we do talk about every year. I find that sometimes, I wind up only talking about the early life of Narottama. Because his young life was just so fascinating, it’s so amazing, and then usually it winds up taking so much longer, and we don’t get into the middle of his life and the later part of his life.
So today I thought I want to focus specifically on Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur as the innovative, creative, dynamic preacher—what he did as a preacher. Because after all that is really what we are all here for! Śrīla Prabhupāda created this organization, ISKCON, for the specific purpose of preaching Mahāprabhu’s message all over the world. Because each of our Ācāryas did amazing things, so it’s very relevant and very pertinent for us to look at what our Ācāryas did in this area. How did they preach? How did they knock down the walls of the material energy? How did they go about it?!
None of our Ācāryas became incredibly successful by just doing the routine casual stuff. They really had to become spiritual warriors. That’s a preacher: spiritual warrior. That means you are waging war on the misconceptions of the mass population and those misconceptions that block their vision from Kṛṣṇa. A spiritual warrior has to figure out the ways and the means that he can break down those walls so that people can glimpse the beauty of Kṛṣṇa.
Anyone who is going to attempt to do something like that, generally they will first do what you will call an environmental scan. Even in businesses, people do it. They take a look, “What’s going on? What do the people like? What do they not like? What are the challenges? How can I touch them?”
Actually anybody who is a book distributor—they know—they do that environmental scan every time they see somebody; how to touch this person? Actually someone said once to Śrīla Prabhupāda that, “Oh, you weren’t really doing so much in your first year or two when you arrived in the United States?”
Prabhupāda said: “What? I was doing so much”. The devotee: “Well, what you were doing?” and he (Śrīla Prabhupāda) said, “I was studying the American people”. Prabhupāda made his strategies on the basis of what he was seeing before him.
Every preacher has to do that, make a strategy. Every soldier, every warrior has to make a strategy for the particular social context. Like say in World War 1, the strategy was to fight in the trenches, and that kind of strategy worked pretty well. But in World War 2 when they started to do that, it was a disaster. Because then they had airplanes, so the trenches just became the graveyards. Thus to be dynamic preacher you have to know, you have to think, you have to make strategies. Every single one of our Ācāryas had to consider the environment and the social situation that was going on at their time and make their battle plan.
Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur had to do this, make a strategy; and actually everyone—if you look at Śrīla Bhakti-Vinod Ṭhākur, Śrīla Bhakti-Siddhānta Sarasvatī all down the line, Lord Caitanya Himself; each one of them made plans for preaching. What did they emphasize? What was their battle strategy? Like Śrīla Bhaktivinode Ṭhākur, at his time Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism had fallen to such disrepute, that he had a herculean task of trying to start preaching. One of his strategies was to pray, for a ray of Vishnu. “I’ve got something to do here that’s impossible; I need a ray of Vishnu”. That ray of Vishnu of course was Śrīla Bhakti-Siddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākur, who came into the world into a situation that was very complex. Things were going on in the world and especially in India and especially in Bengal that had never happened before. It was a time when the values and the rational thought and the scientific thought of the westerners were pouring into India, with their missionaries and their condescending attitude towards everything Indian. The people of India, they began to question their own belief system. This ushered in what was considered to be the Bengal renaissance. It was a period when they tried to modernize Hinduism so that it wouldn’t seem so freaky to the intelligent westerners.
That gave rise to a group of what was called the bhadra-loka, or like the so-called intelligentsia, the intelligent Bengal people who really were trying to go along with the western viewpoint. They wanted to get rid of the idols, and all the Deities, because it looked bad to the westerners. There were reformists like Vivekānanda and Rāma Mohan Rāya who were pushing back especially Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism, anything with any Bhakti or devotion and bringing forward this Advaita philosophy. Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism was just kind of relegated to obscurity; it was just not cool.
That was the situation which Śrīla Bhakti-Siddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākur had to face. So what was he going to do? He had to make a strategy. It was the first time that they had to interact with modernity— with the modern world. How was he going to spread Kṛṣṇa Consciousness in this environment, even to the West? One of the things that is acknowledged as his key to success was his attentive awareness of the social and cultural and political environment. He really knew what was going on.
I am going to get to Narottama soon [laughter], but Śrīla Bhakti-Siddhānta Sarasvatī is so amazing also to talk about. Because he actually knew all philosophies, he studied everything, and when he got together with his friends, he debated. Think about what we talk when we get together with our friends? So he would argue everybody’s point of view. He was a very strategic thinker, so he made a radical battle plan; he had various ideas for the intelligent class, the general mass of people, the westerners, and his own devotees.
He had all different strategies, very clear. The first thing was to mass distribute—mass produce so many books. This was not common then; now we are used to it. But it wasn’t common then; Thousands of books, thousands of magazines, and just mass distributing—that was a new thing. As you know, the way that he spoke, the way that he wrote was so erudite, that the idea was to beat the English, at their ‘own game’. They think they are so smart [laughter]. But you can hardly even follow Śrīla Bhakti-Siddhānta Sarasvatī; he knew English better than the English. Apparently his Bengali works are not such high language; so it was a strategy.
The other thing that he emphasized was Yukta Vairāgya—that was also a new thing. He rode in cars and wore clothes and used the printing press, and went overseas; all these things were radical. Even wearing a wrist-watch at that time for a Sādhu was like way out there. He had a strategy with the British that he would go to practically any lengths to treat them according to their culture and to their customs and to serve them in a way that they would have to be touched. To gain strength, another part of his strategy was to unite with the other Sampradāyas; so he published Rāmānuja, Madhvācārya; he tried to get the Vaiṣṇavas together, to fight against this modern influx.
Then for the general mass of people he did these massive theistic displays, using dolls and mechanized devices. This is all just like totally radical at that time; nobody had done anything like that before. He developed Māyāpura, started Parikramās, there was no such thing. We just assume there have always been these things, but ‘No!’, somebody started everything. We are doing this today, because Śrīla Bhakti-Siddhānta Sarasvatī had a strategy and that was to do massive Parikramās. He was doing incredible Parikramās of Vṛndāvan and Māyāpura.
Then amongst his devotees he introduced so many strategies. He introduced Sannyāsa as we know it today. We just think, “Well, these things were always there”, — “No!” He established GBC, and even his own followers thought that was just so radical that they couldn’t keep it after he left. He initiated by quality and not by caste. We just think all of these things are normal now, but somebody before us just pushed and pushed to bring these things, so that we now have what we have. He focused his western preaching to westerners on Lord Caitanya and not on Kṛṣṇa. He subordinated Rāgānugā and encouraged Sanātana Śikṣā. You know he brought forward more not the Rāgānugā mood, but the mood of following the instructions of Sanātana Gosvāmī. He created a hard institution; I mean prior to that, Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism was existing just softly. I am sorry; I am saying so much about him; I don’t know if this is the day; but I think it’s important to understand these things. These are al, the battle strategies of our Ācāryas so you could go through each one of them. I am just focusing on Śrīla Bhakti-Siddhānta, because he is just so amazing. Each one of them had to consider, “How are we going to get the mercy out there, to the people!”He was the first to create really a hard institution and at the same time, he warned against what could be the problems of a hard institution. It’s possible that it could cramp the flow of Bhakti. Nowadays they call that the ‘routinization of charisma’; that you know, you create an institution so that you can get out to people, but it could just turn inwards and lose the spirit. He emphasized the importance of keeping a very-very strong preaching spirit; that is actually the purpose of the institution, so that you can spread and teach and benefit the world. It should never just become mechanical. If you study each one of our Ācāryas, they studied the environment that they were living in and the people around them and the challenges and then they made appropriate strategies. War-strategies: “How are we going to break through here?”
Even Lord Caitanya Himself adopted strategies. It was a strategy that He took Sannyāsa from a Māyāvāda or impersonalist line. Gopala Bhaṭṭa Gosvāmī, he had to make things acceptable for the smārtas. So the point is they were in touch with what was going on in the world and how to make Kṛṣṇa Consciousness accessible to the people of their time.
Of course, Śrīla Prabhupāda had strategies; what he did was as a creative, innovative, amazing preacher. He was initiating what were considered Mlecchas; he was putting ladies as Pūjāris on the altars; he was introducing book distribution, introducing Ratha–Yātrā all over the world; he was opening up the Dhāma to the whole world, I mean opening the Kṛṣṇa–Balarāma Mandir.
These are all radical amazing battle strategies by great-great preachers. This is what preachers think about, “How are we going to get out to the most people?” We Neophytes think, about ‘I-me-mine’ like, “How am I going to feel better? How will I be happier?” That’s not how preachers think. The preachers are constantly thinking about, “How to touch as many hearts as is possible? How to give love to people?” Every successful preacher has made a battle strategy. You don’t win wars without a strategy; I mean you have got to figure out,”How am I going to get out there?”
Actually I am remembering the first time I went on Indradyumna Mahārāja’s festival tour in Poland. My daughter wanted to go and she was too young to go on her own, so I thought well, I will just go and take her there and then I will leave. I was going to stay a few days. I was sitting, waiting for the first bus to go out on Saṅkīrtan; and Mahārāja was showing me and he was so enthusiastic about how, “We are just starting the new tour,” and he said, “Look, I got these new flags, and we have got all these new things; we have all these balloons on a stick”. I was thinking, “My God, what is this?—a circus?” [laughter] Then I saw all the ladies were dressing all pretty and everything, and I was just sitting there and thinking, “God, I am like a dinosaur from a previous Yuga.” I thought, “I got to get out of here as soon as possible”. So then we get out there and it was the most amazing experience. I said “See, Oh my God!—this is a battle strategy, that somehow or other you bring the spiritual world out to the people; all this color, and bliss, and fun, and everybody just gets sucked right in. What a strategy!”
Thus every preacher, every devotee has to make some strategy; they have to do their environmental scan and see, “How do we go about this? How do we touch people’s hearts at this time in this place?”
Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī as also a most incredible strategically minded person is thinking “Well, how are we going to take out from Vṛndāvan now, all that we have been acquiring, all these books being written?” Jīva Gosvāmī—what a strategic thinker! He thought, “So here is this student, Narottama Dāsa and he is the son of this wealthy Zamindar who is a very powerful person; so we should send him out preaching”. This was a big shock to Narottama Dāsa.
You imagine—he, living in Vṛndāvan as a perfected devotee; it’s quite different from living here as a neophyte devotee. The first thing of becoming a preacher is that you have to be ready for sacrifice and austerity. Here is Narottam Dāsa Ṭhākur, who has been living in Vṛndāvan as a perfected devotee and associating with the greatest persons existing on this planet at that time; I mean he was actually living in Vṛndāvan. Most of us are here little bit on the covering, but Narottama Dāsa Ṭhākur, Śrīnivas Ācārya, Rāmcandra as best friends, studying under Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī—they were in ecstasy here in Vṛndāvan. They were really seeing Vṛndāvan. When Narottama and Śrīnivas are doing Govardhan Parikramā, they heard Kṛṣṇa‘s flute. That’s a real Govardhan Parikramā. Try it tomorrow—right? [laughter]. They heard the sound of Kṛṣṇa’s flute, Kṛṣṇa appeared to them when they were doing Parikramā. This is how Narottama was living in Vṛndāvan. He wanted to continue with that life in Vṛndāvan forever. It was quite a shock to him when it was announced that he was going to Bengal.
Narottama had to go along with this battle strategy that he had to leave all of these beloved devotees: Raghunātha Dāsa Gosvāmī, Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī, his beloved Spiritual Master—Lokanātha Gosvāmī. He had to say, “Good-bye.” He took his last Parikramā around Vṛndāvan and saying good-bye to all the residents of Vṛndāvan. That is really some incredible Parikramā for a realized soul.
Narottama with great heart, I mean it was a very-very heavy heart, but at the same time with very great excitement; because he was about to fulfill the mission of the Lord. Narottama took this journey which was actually a very difficult journey to take all these books that have been stock-piled for years and years in Vṛndāvan—all the writings of Rūpa Gosvāmī, Sanātana Gosvāmī, Jīva Gosvāmī. It was so amazing, like a treasure chest of gold he was taking to the other side of the country. You can only imagine the scene—that when, I think it was in front of Govindajī Mandir where they packed all these books. Everybody in Vṛndāvan came to watch this amazing scene; all those years that these great, great, great devotees had been compiling all these works. When you think of all the Bengali devotees they didn’t know about any of this. They didn’t know, they didn’t have these works and Jāhnavā Mātā was writing from that side of Bengal to Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī, “Please send them!“, because it was a very difficult situation over there in Bengal. All those devotees were just remembering “Mahāprabhu, Mahāprabhu”—they were just remembering His presence there. But they didn’t have these books that had been compiled and were empowered by Mahāprabhu, who gave the instructions to Sanātana and Rūpa. He gave all the seeds from which they were to unpack into all these books. All these devotees in Bengal they didn’t have any of it.
This was Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī’s incredible strategy that “Okay—book distribution is going to happen now”. All these amazing, jewel-like manuscripts are carried like priceless gemstones, put into the boxes to seal them and to send them out.
What a journey and what a mission that Narottama, Śrīnivas and Śyāmānanda had! What a mission!, to take all the realizations, all the jewel-like, most valuable realizations of all the Gosvāmīs and take them across the country. That journey and all that happened there, I won’t go into that detail, but it was an arduous journey and many traumatic things happened along the way. But eventually Narottama did arrive in Kheturī which was the area given to him by Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī as his Prabhu-datta desh. “You are the wealthy son of a very influential Zamindar and so people are going to listen to you. You are going to have some influence in this area!” It was somewhat radical, because Narottama as a renunciate to go back to his home-town, that was difficult. He was going to have to meet all those old friends and relatives, who all thought of him as Rajakumar Narottama and they all loved him. There are two different versions; some say that his mother and father were still there when he returned, some say that they were not. But in any case, many relatives and many people who knew him and loved him as a little boy were there.
That was going to be his first challenge that he had to re-enter this place where everyone saw him differently. They really loved little Naru. He was like the talk of the town. He was the only son, and so everyone, “Little Naru, he’s coming back”. Everyone came rushing out, “Narottama, Narottama is here”. Everyone was so excited.
But when they got in front of him—of course, they want to run and embrace him—but when they see him: “Whoa, this is not our little Naru. This is some great Vairagi”. There is Narottama with his thin body and as a Sādhu with his little water pot. So everyone just froze. All the village people are rushing, everyone is running from everywhere, “Narottama is here, Narottama!” They are all rushing out to greet him and then they all just freeze, “Oh my God, what is he now? Where is Naru?”
Narottama had to deal with the situation. As a preacher, he had to know how to not discourage them but at the same time they have to get the point that he is not their little Naru anymore. Because first thing that happens is his cousin-Santosh, who has taken over the kingdom that Narottama is actually supposed to be running. He said, “Oh Narottama, I was just taking care of it until you came back; take it.” Narottama as a preacher he had to make it very clear, “No one even talk about politics, or position, or anything. I am now something else. Anyone who talks about those things, or expects me to behave in those ordinary ways, I will be gone”. So everyone was just frozen that they just don’t want him to leave again. They love him so, “We will just do whatever you want, Naru”. He made it very clear, “No, I will not go into my former home. Now I will be very happy to just stay out here in the Chandi-Mandap somewhere near the temple.” Then he began his strategy for preaching and he saw most of the people at that time are fairly pious but not very intellectual, not really comprehending deeply about spiritual subject matters. So Narottama’s battle strategy was what?—It was, “I am going to write songs; songs that anybody can understand.” Because now we just take it for granted, we sing all these philosophical songs and we just think they were always there forever; well, they were not. The brahmanical class actually had a very powerful control over spiritual knowledge. They were in control of giving it out and doing Saṁskāras for people; they had a system.
This idea of writing songs with very-very deep subject matter, that will be sung in the way that people sing their village songs— this is a battle strategy. So Narottama began his work. He made a strategy but at the same time, he was feeling that he was not fully empowered yet, and so he had this very strong desire. He had never actually been to Navadvīpa, he had never been in all the sacred places on that side of the country. He felt that, in order to do the preaching that he was meant to do, he needed the empowerment to do it and that he needed to go and get the mercy of the Dhām and the mercy of the devotees, in order to really launch his mission. This is a common strategy that you will find most of our Ācāryas planned; they also did this at some point in their life, like Śrīla Bhakti-Siddhānta Sarasvatī did this. Śrīla Bhakti-Siddhānta Sarasvatī felt that what he had to do was so complex and such difficult work that he really needed special empowerment. So he went to the Dhām. He went to Māyāpura Dhām to do a Vrata, and that Vrata was done with the purpose of understanding, “How to spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness?”
Śrīla Bhakti-Siddhānta Sarasvatī actually took a vow to chant a billion names and he went into seclusion to do this. He stayed in a hut and slept only on the floor. He used no footwear or chadar. He ate only rice once a day, and not that he was only doing that; he also did some preaching activities during this Vrata. But you imagine: this took nine years. I mean that is very serious preaching preparation. Even he did that again another time, after the departure of Śrīla Bhaktivinode Ṭhākur and his spiritual master—Śrīla Gaur Kishor Dāsa Bābāji. At that time he also went into another state of intensive Bhajan to get empowerment to preach. It’s not an easy task in this world. Probably there is nothing more difficult than to push back the material energy and bring in the spiritual energy. It requires empowerment; you can’t just decide to do it. You do these things not because the austerities bring you something, it’s because you get the blessings of the previous Ācāryas.
At the end of his (Śrīla Bhakti-Siddhānta Sarasvatī) intensive Bhajan for quite a long period of time, in preparing to actually manifest his mission, he finally got a most extraordinary confirmation and empowerment from all the previous Ācāryas. He had a vision and in that vision he saw the Pañca–Tattva, he saw the Six Gosvāmīs, he saw his own spiritual master, he saw his father. In other words, everybody came and he saw them and then he heard from them, “Begin the task of spreading Śuddha Bhakti. You will get unlimited support. The support of people, opulence, scholarship—it’s all waiting to serve your mission and everything will manifest when it’s required. With full strength, you push forward. Distribute Prema–Dharma to the whole globe. There will be no hindrance because we will forever be with you”. So how about that realization and blessing he got for results of his Vrata? Amazing!
This is the mood of the preacher, that he comes to the Dhām for this purpose, to pray and to get empowerment. We don’t come to have a good time and to just socialize, meet new people. The devotees really come for empowerment and for realization. Śrīla Prabhupāda also went to the Dhām before he got on the boat. He went to Śāntipura and he begged the mercy of Advaita–Ācārya there at the house of Advaita–Ācārya. Of course he spent years in front of the Samādhi of Rūpa Gosvāmī to get the empowerment to do what he did. We also see, of course Indradyumna Mahārāja is such a great example. When we go on our Parikramās, sometimes he shares that, this is what he is praying for when he goes to Sanātana Gosvāmī’s Samādhi and in front of Govindajī—he said, “I am praying for the empowerment to go out and spread Kṛṣṇa Consciousness. I am not just coming here to have fun. Yes, Kṛṣṇa Consciousness is fun, but really there is a big task, there is a big war that we are meant to be fighting.”
So Narottama was feeling this way, he was feeling, “I need the mercy of the Dhām and I need the mercy of all these personalities in order to really become a preacher.” So Narottama went to Navadvīpa, where he had never been before. He began his pilgrimage in Māyāpura. For him it’s said,—every day, every moment his heart was pounding, because he was in such a state of separation and union simultaneously. He is meeting all the devotees that are left, that were there who were with Mahāprabhu. He is in the places where Mahāprabhu lived and played and yet he is seeing and he is not seeing, so he is torn constantly. Sometimes he is in a mood; he is just crying “How was I born late? How did I miss this? How come I wasn’t there?” Maybe some of you feel that sometimes when you think, “Why wasn’t I there when Prabhupāda came, just a few years back?” But this mood of, “Why did I miss? Where are you? I want to see you”; that brings one into the presence of that person whom you are missing. So there is union and separation going on. Like some of you probably sometimes think, “Oh, I wish I would have been there when Prabhupāda was there”, and to the degree that you have that feeling of separation, that desire, then somehow or another Prabhupāda becomes present. It’s not like a few people only know Prabhupāda. Prabhupāda is interacting with everyone.
This was Narottama‘s experience that sometimes he would just be burning and burning in this mood, “How did I miss this? Why wasn’t I here?” He is in all the places; he is in the house of Lord Caitanya, but Lord Caitanya is not there. But with that mood suddenly the Lord would appear, and he would be in union. For the devotees who were dying in separation from Mahāprabhu and were seeing Narottama, then suddenly they felt union again, because he just reminded them so much of Mahāprabhu. In this spirit, Narottama traveled from Māyāpura and Shantipur and Ambika Kalna, Kardaha and he met Jāhnavā Mata and he met all these devotees who had met Lord Caitanya. Then eventually Narottama makes his way to Jagannātha–Purī and there in the house of Gopīnātha Ācārya, one evening he has a revelation; it’s not a dream exactly, it’s a revelation. I am going to read, it’s from Bhakti–Ratnakar about what Narottama experienced in that revelation. So suddenly Narottama finds himself standing on the grand road where the Ratha–Yātrā comes down and he sees the Ratha–Yātrā cart coming towards him as he is standing on the side of the road. Then he sees Caitanya Mahāprabhu and all His associates are dancing in front of that Ratha–Yātrā cart coming towards him; so Narottama stood transfixed, just trying to take in every aspect of this extraordinary scene.
He watched Lord Caitanya dancing in such a spirit of love and all the devotees were simply gazing upon Him, dancing in utter joy. Huge crowd of pilgrims pushed forward just to get a glance of this beautiful dancing. The demigods were showering flowers and other demigods were disguised as humans joined into the ecstatic festival of the Holy Name. Even lame and blind and deaf, they all forgot their handicaps; they forgot, “I am not supposed to be able to walk, but I am walking”. They all hurried to join the Kīrtana. Even the stone-hearted people, they started just weeping in joy. They are hearing this melodious chanting of the Lord’s Holy Names and everyone was just dancing in ecstasy. Even the animals and the birds were all stunned watching and Narottama was just standing at the side of the road watching this scene. He is just silently weeping in joy.
Then Lord Caitanya left the Kīrtana and He came right to where he was standing and he took hold of Narottama’s hand and embraced him. Hare Kṛṣṇa! He said, “Narottama, you should go back to Kheturī. It is my desire, you establish a new type of Saṅkīrtan. Through your Kīrtana, you will reveal My teachings and My mission and My pastimes to the world. I will empower your Kīrtana to mesmerize the hearts of all who hear it. Those fortunate to take shelter of you will receive the most precious wealth of love of God. Now go back to Bengal, establish the Saṅkīrtan of the Holy Name. Go deliver souls, Narottama, and bring them into the Sampradāya of love of God and know that I will always be with you and will protect you”. Narottama fell at Lord Caitanya’s feet, bathing them with his tears. Then each of all the devotees that were there all came and embraced Narottama and they encouraged him to fulfill his mission. That was the real result of Parikramā. This is the real thing—real devotees—that’s what happens to them.
Then Narottama continued on Parikramā; he went to Katwa and Śrīkhanda and then he went to Ekachakra, on his way back to Kheturī, he went to these other places. Then again in Ekachakra he had some extraordinary experience. He met an old very elderly brāhmaṇa who wanted to take him around and show him the holy places. That is a whole story in itself, so I won’t get into that, but eventually what Narottama found was that the old brāhmaṇa was Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu Himself. This was the result of Narottama’s pilgrimage. We are all here on pilgrimage; I don’t know what we will take back with us. This is what Narottama took back with him. Of course during that time he had been everywhere; he had met everybody; he had taken the pulse of what was going on. He had done an environmental scan, and he got the blessings to do what he needed to do. So you might do the environmental scan, but without the blessings you don’t have the Śakti. Narottama was really ready now to launch his mission.
I am wondering if we should stop there. Yeah, we should stop there. Haribol [clapping]
HH Indradyumna Swami: “Sadbhih! So we are not actually going to stop; we are just going to take a break. You can take a little Prasādam now. It’s okay, it’s Narottama’s disappearance day. So on these days you can take some Prasāda. So you have your breakfast now—25 minutes for breakfast—till 10 o’clock and then from 10 to 11, Mādhava is going to lead Kīrtana and then from 11 to 12, Śītalā will finish her discourse, if you would like?”