It is a widespread idea that Shiva Ratri is the day Sri Shivaji married Srimati Sri Parvati-devi. The Bengali yearly calendar, circulated in the millions, boldly proclaims: “Shiva Ratri, the day Lord Shiva married Parvati.”
However popular this idea is, it is not found in the sacred texts of India. To know the real facts regarding transcendence, divine personalities, and reality in general one must refer to three different sources of Vedic knowledge i.e. prasthana-traya.
1) Shruti Prasthana: (108 [major] Upanisads and Vedic mantras)
The Upanisads are the crown jewel of the Vedas, eternally existing as the sound incarnation of Bhagavan meant to bring (nishidati) one near (upa) the Absolute Truth. The wisdom of the Upanisads is called rahasya-vidya, secret knowledge, because one realizes it in the heart after receiving it from Sri Guru.
2) Nyaya Prasthana: (Vedanta-sutra)
3) Smrti Prasthana: (Gita, Mahabharata, Puranas)
Among the many Puranas (smrti-prasthana), the most comprehensive and authentic source of knowledge regarding Lord Shiva is the Shiva Purana. Here we will fine the real marriage day of Shiva and the meaning of Shiva Ratri.
The Shiva Purana (chapter 9, vidya-sara “Rudra Samhita”) says that SHIVA RATRI IS THE PUJA DAY, when Sri Vishnu and Brahmaji performed the first worship of Lord Shiva. Once Sri Vishnu and Brahmaji came to Kailash Parvata to have darshana of Shivaji.
After waiting sometime, they suddenly saw an unlimitedly huge stambha (“Jyotira-linga”). Neither Vishnu nor Brahmaji could find the beginning or end of that linga. Then Lord Shiva personally manifested before them, and Vishnu and Brahmaji worshiped Shiva with pancha-upacaras, five puja items.
Feeling joyful with their puja, Shiva said, “I am very pleased by your worship. From now on this day will be called “Shiva Ratri”. I will be fully bless anyone who honors this day by worshiping me.” Thus began the tradition of worshiping Lord Shiva on Shiva Ratri.
Regarding the actual, true marriage date of Srimati Parvati and Lord Shiva, the Shiva Purana says, “They were married in Chaitra month (march-april) shukla trayodashi, which means the 13th day of the waxing moon.
We hope this information will increase everyone’s awareness and understanding of Lord Shiva, who is the best Lord Sri Krishna’s devotees, vaishnavanam yatha shambhuh [SB 12.13.16], and one of the 12 authorities (mahajanas) of Vaisnava wisdom, svayambhur naradah shambhuh…[SB 6.3.20].
Har Har Mahadeva ki jai! Om Namo Shivaya! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!
One day during the wave of a kalpa rising and falling in the endless ocean of time, Shankara Mahadeva visited Vraja Mandala and came to Govardhana Hill.
Astonished, amazed, overwhelmed and plunged into the ocean of Krishna prema, he gazed at Radha-kunda. Entering a deep state of prema samadhi, then and there Shivaji saw the beautiful divine forms of Radha and Krishna, realized Their sweet all-attractive qualities, and became tantalized with enchantment upon seeing Their nitya lilas, going on right before his prema-filled eyes.
Mahadeva clearly saw and realized the oneness of Radha-kunda—Shyama-kunda with sakshat Mahabhava Prema-svarupini Radha and Rasikashekara Srngara Rasaraja Sri Krishna. To glorify the power, mercy and sweet beauty of Sri Radha-kunda, Shivaji, trembling in divine bliss, spontaneously uttered a beautiful prayer which he called “the king of all prayers”.
Concluding his stotram, Shivaji gave a benediction (shruti-phala) combining his prayer and the endless mercy Sri Radha-kunda. Shivaji said, “Any sādhaka who recites this stava 100 times (Pandas say 108) while standing inside Sri Radha-kunda up to the thighs, navel, chest or neck will attain complete perfection in (dharma, artha, kāma, mokṣa) and ATTAIN KRISHNA PREMA!
“Everything that sadhaka says will come true and he/she will obtain Sri Radhika’s darshana, seeing Her even with his present eyes! Being supremely pleased with that sadhaka, Sri Radha will also grant darshana of Her dearly beloved Syamasundara.
“Then Vrajadhipa Syama, the Master of Vraja-dhama, will grant one entrance into His eternal pastimes (asta-kaliya-lila). Other than this, nothing more is ever hankered for by sincere devotees.” (Urdhvāmnāya-tantra v. 16-19) [Just see the kindness! Can there be any other lila-sthali in Vraja Mandala more merciful and beautiful than Sri Radha-kunda.]
This wonderful, divinely empowered stotram, the king of all prayers, forever plays in the minds and hearts of all the Radha-kunda Vrajavasis. It regularly dances upon their lips as they gaze upon Srimati Radharani, and heart fully express their love, gratitude and appreciation to Swamini for the blessing of their birth in Radha-kunda, the daily darshana of Her most compassionate and accessible divine form, and the most rarely attained golden opportunity of being able live in and serve Sri Radha Kunda.
All the brahmana children and others in Radha-kunda learn this prayer by the time they are five-years-old! And it is our constant prayer that birth after birth we will take birth in Sri Radha Kunda Dhama till that one merciful day when Lila Yugala grant me Their loving darshana and take me into Their eternal asta-kaliya-lilas…. ki jai!
For the pleasure of Radha Giridhari Shyama, Radha Ramana, Gopeshvara Mahadeva, Sri Advaita Prabhu, the Vrajavasis, Sri Gurudeva and all the devotees, we herein present Sri Shankara’s amazing prayer.
Spoken by Sri Shivaji to Sri Gaurī in Urdhvāmnāya-tantra
kadā kariṣyasīha māṁ kṛpā-kaṭākṣa-bhājanam? (1)
- Lord Siva said, Adored by all the best of sages, Radha removes all the miseries of the three worlds. Radha’s joyful face blooms like a lotus flower. In Vraja’s secret groves Radha delights in pastimes of love. Bhanunandini Radha is the charming daughter of King Vrsabhanu, and Radha always associates intimately with Sri Nandanandana. Radha, O when will You shower upon me Your sidelong glance of mercy?
kadā kariṣyasīha māṁ kṛpā-kaṭākṣa-bhājanam? (2)
- Radhika rests upon a flower throne beneath a canopy of creepers and boughs of Asoka. Kisori’s soft lotus feet radiate a pinkish glow like the rising sun or coral-colored freshly sprouted leaf buds. Rasesvari’s upraised hand bestows the benediction of fearlessness upon Her devotees. Radha is the abode of abundant opulences.
Radha, O when will You shower upon me Your sidelong glance of mercy?
savibhramaṁ sasambhramaṁ dṛganta-bāṇa-pātanaiḥ
kadā kariṣyasīha māṁ kṛpā-kaṭākṣa-bhājanam? (3)
- Radha’s eyebrow brows, curving like bows, suddenly unleash the invincible arrows of Her sidelong glances, which pierce Nandanandana with amorous delusion and bring Syama into reverential submission. In this way, Kṛṣṇa eternally comes under Radha’s complete control. This is further enhanced by Srimati’s crookedly-bending eyebrows that dance with the most auspicious sportive interest of the god of love! Radha, O when will You shower upon me Your sidelong glance of mercy?
kadā kariṣyasīha māṁ kṛpā-kaṭākṣa-bhājanam? (4)
- Radhika’s form has a fair complexion brilliantly more effulgent than a combination of pure gold, lightning, and campaka flowers. The splendor of Candramukhi’s face defeats the glory of a million Autumn moons. Priyaji’s restless eyes, moving to and fro like young cakora birds, display astonishingly new and wonderful expressions at every moment. Radha, O when will You shower upon me Your sidelong glance of mercy?
kadā kariṣyasīha māṁ kṛpā-kaṭākṣa-bhājanam? (5)
- Srimati Radhika is madly intoxicated with the beauty of Her own youth. Manini Radha is always adorned with Her pre-eminent ornament, that delightful sulking mood known as māna. Radha is colored by the delight of Her darling’s love for Her. Vilasini Radha is supremely expert in the art of loving affairs. In the incomparable realm of wonderful kuñjas, Kunjesvari is the most learned in all of love’s novelties. Radha, O when will You shower upon me Your sidelong glance of mercy?
kadā kariṣyasīha māṁ kṛpā-kaṭākṣa-bhājanam? (6)
- Srimati Radhika is adorned with profound loving sentiments for Kṛṣṇa (e.g. anurāga, dhirādhira, kilakincita) that manifest as amorous gestures, ecstatic moods and gentle manners, which shine on Her person like a diamond necklace. Radha’s lovely breasts are plump like a pair of golden water pots or the cranial globes of a baby elephant. Radha resembles a swelling ocean of happiness full of (not water, but) the soft pollen of Her most glorious mild sweet smile. Radha, O when will You shower upon me Your sidelong glance of mercy?
kadā kariṣyasīha māṁ kṛpā-kaṭākṣa-bhājanam? (7)
- Radhika’s soft arms are like fresh, delicate lotus stems playfully swaying in the waves of a river. The restless roving glances of Radha’s deep blue eyes dance seductively like vine-tips in the breeze. Radha’s playful and alluring movements entice lovely meetings, and fascinate Mohana Himself to take refuge in Her charms. Radha, O when will You shower upon me Your sidelong glance of mercy?
kadā kariṣyasīha māṁ kṛpā-kaṭākṣa-bhājanam? (8)
- Srimati Radhika wears a pure golden necklace on Her neck which is as graceful as a lovely conch enhanced with three lines. Sobhangi is decorated with small jasmine garlands, and ornaments made with glistening jewels of three colors (diamond, emerald and pearl) that swing from Radha’s trisūtra (three auspicious cords tied around the neck of a new bride). Sundari Radha’s luxuriant black tresses, artfully woven with clusters of colorful flowers, sway to and fro. Radha, O when will You shower upon me Your sidelong glance of mercy?
kadā kariṣyasīha māṁ kṛpā-kaṭākṣa-bhājanam? (9)
- Radha’s rounded hips are decorated by a belt of dangling flowers. Tiny tinkling jewel-bells hang from the flower belt on Radhika’s charmingly slender waist. Vrndavanesvari’s most beautiful thighs taper gracefully like the sloping trunk of the king of the elephants. Radha, O when will You shower upon me Your sidelong glance of mercy?
kadā kariṣyasīha māṁ kṛpā-kaṭākṣa-bhājanam? (10)
- Radharani’s captivating golden ankle bells, sweetly resounding with a host of Vedic mantras as She walks, resemble the warbling of a flock of royal swans. The elegant beauty of Gaurangi’s limbs as She walks along, mocks the grace of undulating golden creepers. Radha, O when will You shower upon me Your sidelong glance of mercy?
kadā kariṣyasīha māṁ kṛpā-kaṭākṣa-bhājanam? (11)
- Srimati Radhika is humbly bowed to by all the Lord Brahmas in the countless millions of universes created by Lord Visnu. Rasapriya Radha is worshiped by Śrī Lakṣmī, the goddess of unlimited millions of Vaikuṇṭha planets, Śrī Pārvatī, Sarasvati, and Indrāṇī (Indra’s wife and daughter of Puloma) to attain benedictions from Her. Meditation on even one of Gandharvika’s radiant toenails grants an infinite variety of mystic perfections and opulent prosperities. Radha, O when will You shower upon me Your sidelong glance of mercy?
makheśvari! kriyeśvari svadheśvari sureśvari
rameśvari! kṣameśvari pramoda-kānaneśvari
vrajeśvari vrajādhipe śrī rādhike namo ’stu te (12)
- O Makheśvari Radha, Queen of Vedic sacrifices (especially of the topmost yugala milana-yajña);
O Kriyeśvari Radha, Queen of all pious activities (Who are the root of all potencies, mūla-śakti);
O Svadheśvari Radha, Queen of all that is natural and spontaneous;
O Sureśvari Radha, Queen of all the demigods and goddesses;
O Triveda-bhāratīśvari Radha, Queen of all the knowledge of the three Vedas;
O Pramāṇa-śāsaneśvari Radha, Queen of the enforcement of all scriptural principles;
O Rameśvari Radha, Queen of all the goddesses of fortune (Ramā-devī, the goddess of fortune);
O Kṣameśvari Radha, Queen of forgiveness;
O Pramoda-kānaneśvari, Queen of the most pleasurable forest of Vrndavana;
O Vrajeśvari Radha, Queen of the entire realm of Vraja (especially of the delightful keli-kuñjas in Vṛndāvana);
O Vrajādhipe Radha, the owner, maintainer, and the one and only authority of Vraja;
O Sri Radhika! I perpetually forever offer my most respectful obeisances unto You! [O Radha, when will You mercifully make me Your dāsī and grant me the qualification to render service in Your amorous pastimes with the prince of Vraja?]
BOONS AND BENEDICTIONS (Shruti Phala)
itīmam adbhutaṁ-stavaṁ niśamya bhānu-nandinī
karotu santataṁ janaṁ kṛpā-kaṭākṣa-bhājanam
bhavet tadaiva sañcita-tri-rūpa-karma-nāśanaṁ
bhavet tadā vrajendra-sūnu-maṇḍala-praveśanam (13)
- O Vṛṣabhānu-nandinī! Upon hearing this most astonishing prayer, please make me the perpetual object of Your merciful glance. O Srimati Radhika! By the influence of Your causeless mercy, may all the reactions to my karma be destroyed and, realizing my internal identity as a mañjarī, may I enter the circle of Your confidential sakhīs to participate in Śrī Vrajendra-sūnu’s eternal pastimes in Sridhama Vrndavana.
rākāyāṁ ca sitāṣṭamyāṁ daśamyāṁ ca viśuddha-dhiḥ
ekādaśyāṁ trayodaśyāṁ yaḥ paṭhet sādhakaḥ su-dhiḥ
yaṁ yaṁ kāmayate kāmaṁ taṁ taṁ prapnoti sādhakaḥ
rādhā-kṛpā-kaṭākṣeṇa bhaktiḥ syāt prema-lakṣaṇā (14-15)
14-15. If a sādhaka with purified intelligence recites this prayer with a fixed mind on the lunar days known as the full-moon day, the bright (shukla) aṣṭamī, daśmī, ekādaśī and trayodaśī, then each and every one of his desires will be fulfilled.
“And by the merciful sidelong glance of Śrī Rādhā, he will obtain devotional service that has the special symptom of being imbued with pure, ecstatic love of God (prema).
16-19. Any sādhaka who recites this stava 100 times (Pandas say 108) while standing inside Sri Radha-kunda up to the thighs, navel, chest or neck will attain complete perfection in (dharma, artha, kāma, mokṣa) and ATTAIN KRISHNA PREMA! [If old,weak, ill or both], just sit in water up to waist]
“Everything that sadhaka says will come true and he/she will obtain Sri Radhika’s darshana, seeing Radharani with his present eyes! Being supremely pleased with that sadhaka, Sri Radha will also grant darshana of Her dearly beloved Syamasundara.
“Then Vrajadhipa Syama, the Master of Vraja-dhama, will grant one entrance into His own eternal pastimes of ecstatic daily sports (asta-kaliya-lila). Other than this, nothing more is ever hankered for by the sincere devotees.” (Urdhvāmnāya-tantra v. 16-19)
Shankara Bhagavan Mahadeva Gopeshvara ki jai! Radha-kunda ki jai! Shyama-kunda ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!
Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das
One of the oldest and most famous Gaudiya Vaisnava scholars in Vraja today is 99 year old Pandita Sri Krishna Dasa Babaji Maharaja, Bhakti-tirtha.
Srila Prabhupada and Pandita Sri Krishna Dasji became friends in the 1960’s after meeting in Bon Maharaja’s college in Vrindavana. A few years ago, Pandita Baba recounted his memories of Prabhupada for a book titled, “Our Srila Prabhupada—A Friend to All”.
Here we share those memories, and invite our readers to relish the sweet and sometimes humorous exchanges between the liberated ones.
Pandit Sri Krishna Dasa Babaji:
“I was a Sanskrit student and scholar in the early 1960’s, and I often visited Bon Maharaja’s Sanskrit college, which was across from where the ISKCON temple is now. At that time, Srila Swami Maharaja also was living in Sri Vrindavana Dhama. He was writing translations and purports to the beginning three volumes of his Srimad Bhagavatam series in the English language.
“At the college, there was an informal gathering of local Gaudiya and Vrajavasi scholars and writers who met regularly every few weeks or each month to share their work and ask for suggestions regarding the Sanskrit or whatever. I attended those writers’ meetings and so did Srila Swami Maharaja. That is how we began our acquaintance and friendship.
“I remember how delightful his countenance was. Swamiji was very charming, and full of realization, humor and affection. He was so kind upon me. I was a much younger man, junior in all ways. Yet Swamiji treated me just like a son or a very little brother. He always encouraged me, asked about my welfare, and shared hari-katha from his writings.
“He was a valuable friend during that time. Although his material circumstances were then so poor, he always seemed to me to be one of the richest devotees in spiritual blessings. He was a very learned and humble Vaisnava. He worked very diligently on his manuscripts, and often spoke about the order from his guru maharaja, His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada.
“I have one special remembrance of something that occurred during our regular meetings at Bon Maharaja’s college. Swamiji had every intention to somehow spread this Krishna knowledge in the West, despite all obstacles.
“He would often speak of this task of service, and was always looking for opportunities to somehow arrange to travel there. Most of us at that time were quite doubtful that he could succeed to go. He was practically penniless then, without sponsors or connections. Many of us were not so favorable for any Indian to go to the mleccha [western] countries, so we did not encourage him. Nevertheless, he was undaunted.
“I recall how Swamiji came one day in great happiness and excitement. I think he had just completed his third volume of the Srimad Bhagavatam and he was carrying all three in his hands. He then explained to our group how he had finally printed the last texts and now the books were ready to go to the West.
“In a very sweet way, he formally asked if we would all please bless his books that they would be able to go across the ocean and be successful in spreading Krishna consciousness in the western countries. Of course, we were willing to do that. So he carefully passed around the stack of three, brick-red, cloth bound books, and asked each of us to touch them and give our blessings, which we did.
“Immediately after this he did something quite remarkable. Swamiji explained with deep seriousness how these Bhagavata books, now blessed, could not go across the ocean by themselves. Someone would have to take them to the west, popularize them, and distribute them properly to the public. So he then humbly requested, with folded palms, that our assembly would also bless him to accompany the books and preach on their behalf. In this way he took us all by surprise.
“We all then felt moved to finally give our full blessings to his mission. I thought at that time how remarkable a Vaisnava he was, to request such blessings and to arrange for receiving them so wonderfully. I remember when I gave my blessings to him, I felt a spiritual surcharge in my heart.
“Many years later, and now still it stands strongly in history how Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja [Srila Prabhupada] was successful in carrying our heritage and philosophy to the whole world. I feel honored to have been some very small part of that glorious success.”
Srila Prabhupada ki jai! Pandit Sri Krishna Dasji Babaji Maharaja ki jai!
Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!
In the last article, we heard about the glories of brahmanas.
Here Sri Narottama Dasa Thakura reminds us of the power and position of the saintly devotees of Bhagavan Sri Krishna. May we always be blessed with the darshana, sanga and seva of the wish-fulfilling angels of mercy gracing this gloomy world in the form of Krishna bhaktas, the Vaisnavas.
“The lotus feet of the saintly Vaisnavas are the greatest wealth in this world. O my dear brothers! Please listen attentively. One who takes shelter of the Vaisnava and worships Krishna is never forsaken by Krishna. Others die without reason.
“The water that has washed the feet of a Vaisnava gives divine strength to a person engaged in loving devotional service. Nothing else is more powerful than this. The dust of the feet of the Vaisnavas upon my head is the only decoration needed at the time of death.
“The Puranas and bhakti discourses often mention the purifying power of tirtha jal. However, the water from the feet of a Vaisnava far surpasses the benedictory power of such sacred water. In fact, all of one’s desires are fulfilled by taking the water from the feet of a Vaisnava.
“One experiences great bliss in associating with Vaisnavas discussing hari-katha. Becoming impatient due to forgetfulness of Krishna, Narottama dasa thus laments. (Prarthana 5.44)
Satam prasangam ki jai! Koti koti bhakta gana ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!
The word ji or jiu (Bengali) is added to the name of any senior personality deserving our respect, honor, service and worship such as Krishna Ji, Ramachandra Ji, Thakura Ji, Govindadeva Ji, Sri Radha Ramana Ji and Sri Sri Radha Damodara Jiu.
Among elders and superiors, the honorific term “Ji” refers to the spiritual master (Guru Ji, Babaji, Swamiji, Maharaja Ji); or one’s father or mother (Pitaji/ Papaji, Mataji) or other relatives (Kakaji, Mamaji, Dadaji etc.)
The term Ji comes from the Sanskrit word JIVATU which has many meanings i.e. life and soul, life, source of life, enlivening, maintainer. The term Ji is also used as a blessing meaning “live a long life.”
What does it mean when a bhakta takes darshana of Thakura Ji and lovingly says, “Radha Govinda Deva Ji Maharaja ki jai!”
While speaking this, the bhakta is thinking and truly feeling, “O Radha Govinda Deva, You are my life and soul, my providers, my eternally enlivening Beloveds, and the most venerable and worshipable Ishvara and Ishvari of my life.
“May You live forever within my heart, and my I live forever in Yours, serving You with every breath!” This is the meaning of jivatu indicated in the honorific suffix Ji or Jiu.
In closing, we quote Sri Rupa Gosvami glorifying Sri Radha with the word JIVATU. One can remember this sweet meditation whenever one’s uses the term “Ji”.
“The honey-sweet nectar from Sri Radha’s delightful red lips is the life and soul of Shyama, the Prince of Vraja, goshthendra-suta jivatu, ramya bimbadhara amritam.” (Stava Mala, Prarthana Paddhati v.4)
Sri Giriraja Ji ki jai! Radha Govinda Devi Ji ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!
Gaura nitya-parishad Murari Gupta describes how Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu once honored the brahmanas in Gaya by drinking their foot water. (Sri Krishna Chaitanya Carita Maha Kavya 1.15.11-12)
While narrating this pastime, Srila Prabhupada gives some important instructions for all followers of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, i.e. us.
Srila Prabhupada said, “When Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu went to Gaya, He became sick on the way. He had such a high fever that He asked His students to bring water that had washed the feet of brahmanas. After Mahaprabhu drank it He was cured.
“Therefore everyone should respect the position of a brahmana. Neither the Lord nor His followers displayed any disrespect to brahmanas. The followers of the Lord must be prepared to offer brahmanas all due respect.” (Cc. 1.17.9 p.)
The following entry from Padma Purana, Kriya-yoga-sara khanda (21.3-36) beautifully glorifies the brahmanas and reveals the severe reactions of not properly treating or respecting them.
Sri Brahmaji said, “Of all the castes the brahmana is the most venerable person. Gifts should be given to him by all men. A brahmana is the resort of all deities. He is actually a god on the earth (bhu-deva). He delivers one from samsara to whomever gives him a donation.
“Brahmanas are respectable to ksatriyas, vaisyas and sudras. Brahmanas are always to be honoured. The lifespan, sons, fame and wealth will increase for one who worships a brahmana as being non-different from Sri Vishnu.
“One who does not respect a brahmana is just like a dog-eater. An intelligent person should not hate brahmanas who have committed faults. If out of foolishness someone shows hatred toward a brahmana then Vishnu will forever be angry with them.
“Yamaraja puts a needle into the eyes of one who looks angrily at brahmanas. And Yama puts a hot iron rot into the mouth of one who rebukes a brahmana.
“However, Yamaraja quickly destroys all the sins of one who carries a mere drop of water from the foot of a brahmana. All the holy places in crores of worlds exist in the right foot of a brahmana. He whose head is sprinkled with water from the feet of a brahmana, has bathed at all holy places and is initiated for all sacrifices.
By washing and worshiping a brahmana’s feet, one simultaneously worships Lord Vishnu, becomes free from all sins and attains liberation. By doing parikrama of a brahmana one circumambulates the entire universe.” Sri Brahmaji shiksha ki jai!
To conclude we offer this prayer:
namo brahmanya devaya, go brahmana hitaya ca
jagad-dhitaya Krishnaya, govindaya namo namah
I offer my respects unto Sri Govindadeva, the worshipable Lord for all brahmanas, and the benefactor of cows, brahmanas and the entire universe. (Vishnu P.1.19.65)
Brahmana bhu-devas ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!
Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das
It is very sad to see that in the holiest of places, Sri Dhama Vrindavana, the yatris and pilgrims show very little if any respect to the brahmanas, pandas and tirtha gurus.
Of course, such neglect can be expected since this is the age of Kali which is characterized by ignorance and degeneration, a lack of quality, and total distrust in anyone and everything. It is very, very rare to find a good anything; be it a good teacher, good parent, good spouse, friend, politician, doctor, soldier, merchant or laborer, or a good devotee, guru or brahmana.
Everyone is faulty in one way or another. The Srimad Bhagavatam confirms that Kali-Yuga is the AGE OF FAULTS—each and every one of us is drowning in an ocean of faults and shortcomings, kaler dosha nidhe. (SB 12.3.51)
Thus we all have a “faulty outlook” and for various reasons or even no reason, many people have personal prejudices or negative feelings toward brahmanas.
However, if we just follow our minds and impulses, whims and wants, impressions, negative samskaras, dislikes and prejudices we will never attain any happiness or success in human life.
Follow the mind and attain frustration, anxiety and failure at last. Or follow shastra and attain happiness, perfection and liberation forever.
Sri Krishna describes these two paths in Gita (16.23): “One who rejects and neglects the shastra vidhi (rules and suggestions of scripture) and just follows his/her desires and lust will never achieve happiness, perfection or the spiritual world, yah shastra vidhim utsrjya, vartate kama-karatah, na sa siddhim avapnoti, na sukham na param.
An intelligent person should guide his thinking, desiring and actions on the basis of the perfect knowledge given by Bhagavan Sri Krishna, personally appearing before us in the form of shastra to guide, be friend and help all of us. In Srimad Bhagavatam (10.85.42), Daityaraja Bali said, “O Bhagavan, Your divine form comprises the revealed scriptures, tvayi shastra sharirini.
To create a healthy attitude toward brahmanas, to improve our understanding of their position, and to learn how to properly respect, honor and treat them, we offer the following shastric references for the benefit of all.
While touring South India, Bhagavan Sri Krishna and His exalted entourage visited the home of a brahmana devotee named Shrutadeva. At that time, Sri Krishna gave some very important “eternal instructions for everyone” regarding the proper vision and treatment of brahmanas.
By reading, reflecting upon, and trying to follow these Puranic teachings one will acquire a peaceful, controlled mind which will be shown by proper behavior toward the brahamanas.
Bhagavan Sri Krishna said, “My dear brahmana Shrutadevaji! You should know that these great sages have come here just to bless you. They travel throughout the worlds with Me, purifying them with the dust of their feet.”
Tika: Sri Krishna said, “I have heard you praise Me but not the brahmanas accompanying Me. Being favorable to the brahmanas, I will personally praise them in order to teach devotion to the brahmanas.” By saying this Krishna implies, “Even though I am Your object of praise, the brahmanas are Mine.
Sri Krishna: “One can gradually become purified by seeing, touching and worshiping temple deities, places of pilgrimage and holy rivers. But one can attain the same result immediately simply by receiving the glance of exalted sages.”
Tika: “Moreover, the brahmanas, who immediately purify one just by their darsana, are even greater than temple deities who slowly purify one.”
Sri Krishna: “By his very birth, a brahmana is the best of all living beings in this world, and he becomes even more exalted when he is endowed with austerity, learning and self-satisfaction, what to speak of devotion to Me.”
Tika: Krishna continued, “By birth, austerity, peace and knowledge the brahmana is the best of all living entities. He is even more so when he has attained direct realization of Me by intensely worshiping Me.”
Sri Krishna: “Even My own four-armed form is no dearer to Me than a brahmana. Within himself a learned brahmana comprises all the Vedas, just as within Myself I comprise all the demigods.”
Tika: The phrase sarva-veda-mayo vipraḥ means that the brahmana sages, who are the Vedas personified, can reveal Krishna who embodies all the demigods and Vishnu-tattva expansions of Narayana.
Sri Krishna: “Ignorant of this truth, foolish people neglect and enviously offend a learned brahmana, who, being nondifferent from Me, is their spiritual master and very self. They consider worshipable only such obvious manifestations of divinity as My Deity form.
Tika: Krishna said, “Foolish people who are ignorant of this truth find fault (asuyavah) with brahmanas, and think that deities are worshipable but not brahmanas.”
Sri Krishna: “Because he has realized Me, a brahmana is firmly fixed in the knowledge that everything moving and nonmoving in the universe, and also the primary elements of its creation, are all manifest forms expanded from Me.”
Tika: This verse describes the qualities of the brahmana. Krishna said, “Special brahmanas like Narada Muni, who are endowed with direct realization of Me (mad-ikshaya), know that this universe and its causes (hetavah), the primary elements (bhavah) such as mahat-tattva, are all manifest forms expanded from Me.”
Concluding His glorification of brahmanas, Bhagavan Sri Krishna said, “Therefore you should worship these brahmana sages with the same faith you have in Me. If you do so, you will worship Me directly, which you cannot do otherwise, even with offerings of vast riches. (SB 10.86.51-59 v& tikas Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti) See more in part two.
Respecting and serving brahmanas ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!
About anyone who is even slightly inclined to Krishna bhakti, we often hear people say, “O, this person is a good devotee, a nice Vaisnava!”
But exactly how does one define who is and who is not a Vaisnava, a “devotee”? The correct and most authoritative answer to this question is found in the sacred texts of our Gaudiya Vaisnava tradition. By reading and understanding these passages, one can then accurately determine who is a Vaisnava.
- Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu:
“A Vaisnava is one who rejects the association of materialistic people (asat-sanga tyaga), the unsaintly (asadhu), and those not devoted to Bhagavan Sri Krishna (krishna abhakta)” (Cc. 2.22.87)
- Sri Kapila Muni:
One is a sadhu Vaisnava if he/she is:
- Merciful to all living entities.
- Not inimical toward anyone.
- Follows rules of scripture.
- Peaceful. (SB 3.25.21)
- Sri Sanatana Goswami:
Simplest definition of a Vaisnava:
“The wise have determined that a Vaisnava is one who is initiated into a Vishnu [Krishna] mantra and engaged in the worship of Sri Vishnu [Krishna, Rama, Nrsimha].” All others are known as non-Vaisnavas. (Hari Bhakti Vilasa 1.55)
A Vaisnava is one who meets these criteria;
- DIKSHA: has received Krishna mantra diksha from Sri Guru.
- SEVA: dedicated to serving Sri Krishna.
- EKADASHI: follows Ekadashi vrata without fail.
- BALANCED MIND: is equipoised toward all living beings.
- MAINTAINS VAISNAVA BEHAVIOR: follows Vaisnava niyamas and sadachara. (HBV 2.12.338-340):
III. Sri Jiva Goswami:
PREMA: “The greatness of a Vaisnava depends on the amount of Krishna prema.” (Bhakti Sandarbha 187)
- Srila Prabhupada:
“A devotee is one who is always pleasing Krishna. He has no other business. That is a devotee.” (folio: PQPA 5)
In summary, a Vaisnava is one who is devoted to seeing, serving, pleasing, loving and living eternally with the Absolute Supreme Person, GOD—Bhagavan Sri Krishna, Rama, Vishnu.
A Vaisnava is a devotee, and a devotee is one who cares for God, and is loyal to Sri Guru, Sri Hari and the Vaisnavas. A devotee is committed, determined, dedicated and steady in serving and pleasing Sri Krishna with deep feelings of attachment and mine-ness. A devotee genuinely feels, “I belong to Krishna and Krishna is mine.”
A true devotee feels his loving Lord’s presence everywhere, and he/she shows sweet affection to all, big and small, from an ant to a President.
A devotee adores and worships his/her beloved Sri Krishna with great enthusiasm, attentively offering everything available at every moment throughout the day and night.
Vaisnava sadhu sanga ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!
For fifty years, the sweet glories of Sri Radha-kunda and the service of Srimati Radharani in manjari-bhava have been broadcast worldwide by the esteemed Mahantaji of Radha-kunda, Srila Ananta Dasaji Maharaja.
What follows are a few of the gems collected from ocean of Babaji Maharaja’s deep love for Srimati Radharani and Sri Radha-kunda. May all the bhaktas relish these realizations with the utmost humility and gratitude.
Sri Ananta Dasaji Maharaja
Priyaji’s Sarasi [Radha-kunda] is most dear to those whose everything is the service of Sri Radhika’s lotus feet. (Vilapa Kusumanjali 15 p.)
Radha-kunda and Shyama-kunda will be merciful to anyone who is sincerely and earnestly surrendered. And they will bless such a soul by showing him the pastimes that are taking place there. (Vraja Vilasa Stava 52 p.)
For the sake of Her daily bath at Manasa Pavana Ghata, Srimati personally decorated Sri Shyama-kunda with a flight of stairs. (VVS 58 p.)
Radha-kunda and Shyama-kunda are non-different from Sri Sri Radha-Madhava. As Sri Krishna embraces His Priyaji with the greatest love, similarly Sri Shyama-kunda lovingly embraces Sri Radha-kunda [at the Sangama] which is non-different from Srimati Radharani. (VVS 58 p.)
The attraction to reside at Sri Radha-kunda awakens within the heart of a person who is totally fixed on Sri Radha’s lotus feet. And in life or in death they don’t know anything but Radha’s lotus feet. (VVS 58 p.)
Srimati Radharani most carefully bathes in Shyama-kunda every day and thus attains the pinnacle of bliss. Sri Radha loves Shyama-kunda as much as She loves Shyama. (Sri Visakhanandada Stotram 26 p.)
Sri Radha-kunda is the limitlessly beautiful crown jewel of Vraja, [Vraja Mukuta Mani]. (Vilapa Kusumanjali 15 p.)
The most fortunate souls can live on the banks of Sri Radha-kunda, and that fortune is Radharani’s personal mercy upon them. (Vilapa Kusumanjali 15 p.)
The water that fills Radha-kunda and Shyama-kunda is not actually water, it is the splendid spiritual erotic flavour of Radha-Madhava’a pastimes! (Vilapa Kusumanjali 15 p.)
The desire vine of love for Kåñëa will blossom for even an ignorant and unqualified person who performs some service at Radha-kunda in the form of bathing, living there, seeing or touching Radha-kunda, and it will bear the fruits of Radha service. (Vilapa Kusumanjali 15 p.)
O Radha, Because Radha-kunda is Your [Radha] dearmost place I will surely receive Your mercy by taking shelter of it! Surely one day Your loving pastimes in
this lake will appear before the spiritualised eyes of an unfortunate soul like me!” (Vilapa Kusumanjali 97 p.)
Without making any distinction between who is qualified and who is not, Sri Radha-kunda blesses everyone who performs some devotional service there with the treasure of love of God, even if they do not perform any sadhana bhajana. (Vilapa Kusumanjali 98 p.) Shyama-kunda Radha-kunda ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!