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Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Srimad Bhagavatam is called the “king of all spiritual books” (Grantha Raja) for good reason. Within this triguna-free, transcendental treatise, the amala-purana, which showcases the absolutely selfless, divine love of Srimati Radharani, one can find all the sweet, majestic and beautiful truths about the sadhana and sadhya (daily practice and perfection) of Gaudiya Vaisnavism.

In his most compassionate and wonderful shastra, Sri Chaitanya Caritamrita, Sri Krishna Dasa Kaviraja summarizes the teachings of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and the six Goswamis of Vrindavana by mentioning the same Bhagavatam verses that they used to substantiate their sublime instructions. To emphasize the importance of these particular verses for all Gaudiya Vaisnavas, the same Bhagavatam verse is often mentioned two, three or more times in the Sri Chaitanya Caritamrta.

This series of posts presents these verses, along with selected tikas of our acharyas and the compiler. We will cover the beautiful truths, tattvas, of Krishna, Radha, Vaisnavas, Sri Guru, Bhakti Sadhana, Nama, Prema and more.

Bhakti Brings Good Qualities

The Bhagavata says that all good qualities reside in a devotee who is engaged selflessly in Sri Krishna’s service:

yasyasti -bhaktir -bhagavaty -akincana
sarvair -gunais -tatra -samasate -surah
harav -abhaktasya -kuto -mahad -guna
mano-rathenasati -dhavato -bahih

The devatas and all their good qualities constantly dwell in one who has pure bhakti for Bhagavan Sri Krishna. However, there are no good qualities in the non-devotee who chases after temporary material objects with desires for sense pleasure. (Srimad Bhagavatam 5.18.12)

Sri Jiva Goswami

Sri Radha has the highest degree of pure love for Sri Krishna. Thus, all good qualities and opulences are present within Radharani. (Krishna Sandarbha 190)

Visvanatha Cakravartipada

This verse praises the devotee who attains bhakti and all its good qualities by association. Good qualities always reside within devotees who distribute Hari-katha and relish the sweetness of Sri Krishna.

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das 

Bhagavan Sri Krishna personally mentions the twenty-eight qualities of a Krishna bhakta in Srimad Bhagavatam (11.11.29-31):

(1) Krpalu. A devotee is merciful to others by helping them become Krishna conscious.

(2) Akrta-droha. A devotee never uses the mind, body or words to injure any living entity.

(3) Titikshu. A devotee tolerates all and forgives and forgets any offense against oneself.

(4) Satya-sara. One who lives by truth and whose strength comes from truthfulness.

(5) Anavadya-atma. One free from envy, jealousy and the tendency to agitate or criticize others.

(6) Sama. A devotee remains steady and equal in happiness or distress, fame or infamy.

(7) Sarvopakaraka. Endeavoring as far as possible for the spiritual welfare of others.

(8) Kamair ahata-dhi. One’s intelligence is not disturbed by material desires.

9) Danta. Controlling the senses.

10) Mridu. Devotee is gentle and sublime.

(11) Shuci. Clean, pure and well-behaved

(12) Akinchana. A devotee is free from possessiveness.

(13) Aniha. A devotee is free from worldly affairs.

(14) Mita-bhuk. Controlled eater.

(15) Shanta. Peaceful by controlling the mind.

(16) Sthira. Remaining steady in one’s duty.

(17) Mat-sharana. Accepts Bhagavan Sri Krishna as the sole shelter.

(18) Muni. A devotee is thoughtful and confronts all problems with steady Krishna consciousness.

(19) Apramatta. One who is cautious and sober.

(20) Gabhiratma. Grave and unchanging.

(21) Dhrtiman. Remaining steady and patient even in distress.

(22) Jita-shad-guna. One who conquers the six material qualities, namely hunger, thirst, lamentation, illusion, old age and death.

(23) Amani. A devotee is without desire for prestige.

(24) Mana-da. A devotee offers all respects to others.

(25) Kalya. A devotee is expert in making people understand the truth of Krishna bhakti.

(26) Maitra. A devotee is the true friend of everyone.

(27) Karunika. A devotee always shows compassion to others.

(28) Kavi. A devotee is completely learned.

Ultimately, the most important quality is # 17, mat-sharana or Krishnaika-sharana, taking complete shelter of Krishna because Krishna can easily award all good qualities to a sincere devotee.

Krishnadas Kaviraja Goswami described one great Vaishnava of his time: “The chief pujari at the Govindaji temple in Vrindavan was Haridasa Pundit. His reputation as a virtuous man spread throughout the world. Haridasa was polite, tolerant, peaceful, generous, grave, sweet in his words and endeavors, as well as sober.

“Haridasa was respectful to everyone and acted for the welfare of all. His heart was free from duplicity, envy, and malice.” (Chaitanya Charitamrita 1.8.24-27)

We pray to the compassionate guardians of devotion like Sri Haridasa Pujari to bless us all with the shelter of Radha Govinda Yugal.

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Srimad Bhagavatam is called the “king of all spiritual books” (Grantha Raja) for good reason. Within this triguna-free, transcendental treatise, the amala-purana, which showcases the absolutely selfless, divine love of Srimati Radharani, one can find all the sweet, majestic and beautiful truths about the sadhana and sadhya (daily practice and perfection) of Gaudiya Vaisnavism.

In his most compassionate and wonderful shastra, Sri Chaitanya Caritamrita, Sri Krishna Dasa Kaviraja summarizes the teachings of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and the six Goswamis of Vrindavana by mentioning the same Bhagavatam verses that they used to substantiate their sublime instructions. To emphasize the importance of these particular verses for all Gaudiya Vaisnavas, the same Bhagavatam verse is often mentioned two, three or more times in the Sri Chaitanya Caritamrta.

This series of posts presents these verses, along with selected tikas of our acharyas and the compiler. We will cover the beautiful truths, tattvas, of Krishna, Radha, Vaisnavas, Sri Guru, Bhakti Sadhana, Nama, Prema and more.

Krishna Pays All Your Debts

The Srimad Bhagavatam says:

devarshi-bhutapta-nrnam -pitrnam
na -kinkaro -nayam -rni -ca -rajan

sarvatmana -yah -sharanam -sharanyam
gato -mukundam -parihrtya -kartam

“One who gives up all varnashrama duties and takes full shelter of the lotus feet of Mukunda, who shelters everyone, is not a debtor to or servant of the universal controllers, great sages, ordinary living beings, relatives or forefathers.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 11.5.41)

Srila Sridhar Swami tika:

“The Krishna bhakta’s accomplishment of spontaneously giving up rules and regulations is described here. The word aptah means ‘dependent people or family members.’ Devas means the five yagya-devatas (Prakrti, Surya, Ganesa, Siva and Vishnu). Ordinary people devoid of vishnu-bhakti are indebted to these devas and must serve them by daily performing five kinds of yagyas.

But those who have taken full shelter of Mukunda Sri Krishna do not have to do this because they see everything as Sri Vasudeva Krishna, the origin of everything. As pouring water on the root of a tree nourishes and satisfies all the branches and twigs, pleasing Vasudeva Sri Krishna satisfies all the devatas, forefathers, spirits and so on who automatically receive a thousand times more joy than they would by being worshiped themselves.

Therefore, if a Vaishnava is born in their family, the forefathers in Pitrloka dance in great joy thinking, “Our descendent will be the liberator of our family!” All the devas, feeling most favorable toward the bhaktas who perform Sri Krishna bhajana, continuously praise them by saying “bravo! bravo!”

Sri Jiva Goswami tika:

Giving up all obligations (parihrtya -kartam) here means that the devotee rejects the distraction of one’s attention caused by thinking that Indra or Candra must be worshipped. Having surrendered (sharanam -gatah), the Krishna bhakta has destroyed all prarabdha-karmas, and consequently destroys being situated in varnashrama and is no longer obliged to perform regular varnashrama duties.” (Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu 1.2.68)

“The Krishna bhakta is not a servant of the devatas, sages, pitrs but a servant of Bhagavan Sri Krishna. The Krishna bhakta does not see the devatas as independent of Sri Krishna. Thus, Garuda Purana (1.235.20) says:

“As long as one does not worship Vishnu one should offer respects to devatas, sages, Brahma and Brhaspati.” (Bhakti Sandarbha 173)

Sri Mukunda Dasa Goswami tika:

The word ‘sarvatmana’ in the text means one’s surrendering to and taking refuge in Sri Krishna with the firm faith that Bhagavan Sri Krishna alone is the supreme object of all devotional services, that bhakti is the supreme sadhana, and Krishna prema is the supreme goal of life. One who thus takes shelter at Krishna’s lotus feet is not bound by any karma or relative duties.” (Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu 1.2.68)

Visvanatha Cakravartipada tika

This verse shows that bhakti is devoid of the troubles caused by daily and occasional duties such as shraddha rites and tarpanas. Apta refers to those who give nourishment such as mother and father. One involved in karmas is a debtor and servant of the devatas, sages, living beings, parents, and Pitrs.

Smrti says one should perform karmas to destroy one’s debts. But this does not apply to the devotee who has surrendered completely to Mukunda Sri Krishna. It is just like a person who becomes a servant of the emperor need not serve the local king.

When one worships Vishnu all worship of devatas and Pitrs is automatically accomplished as giving water to the root of a tree satisfies its branches, twigs and leaves, and by supplying food to the stomach one satisfies the whole body. Similarly, by engaging in the transcendental service of Bhagavan Sri Krishna one automatically satisfies the devatas and all other living entities.

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das comments:

To Sri Krishna’s father Vasudeva, Devarshi Narada explains the unique position and privilege of persons surrendered to Bhagavan Sri Krishna Sri Rama or Sri Vishnu. The Vedic shastras say that civilized humans are indebted to many living entities from whom they derive the essentials of life i.e., food, air, water, light, healthy environment, education, culture, character, moral values etc. This verse shows the “debtor list” which include:

1) DEVAS like Surya, Chandra, Indra, Varuna, who supply us with sun and moonlight, water, and oxygen.
2) SAGES (rshis) like Narada, Vyas, Vashishta, Patanjali, and Dhanvantari who teach us how to keep healthy and attain spiritual perfection
3) LIVING ENTITIES (bhuta) like cows and bulls, horses, singing birds, etc.
4) RELATIVES & FRIENDS (apta)
5) OTHER PERSONS (nrnam)
6) FOREFATHERS (pitrnam)
7) SERVANTS (kinkara)

Devotees who give up all material designations and take full shelter Sri Krishna are no longer debtors to the devatas, ancient saints or anyone else. For most people, who are not Krishna bhaktas, they must daily do five yagyas described in the karma-kanda section of the Vedas to liquidate their five kinds of debts to the devatas, great sages, forefathers, living entities and common people.

But Krishna bhaktas only need to do ONE YAGYA, Sri Hari nama sankirtana-yagya.

The only Vedic injunction for Krishna bhaktas is to worship Bhagavan Sri Krishna, offer Krishna-prasada to the forefathers and share Krishna with friends, relatives, servants, cows, birds, fish and all living entities.

Sri Gita’s conclusion is that Bhagavan Sri Krishna will liberate those who give up their attachment and dependence on all other dharmas and fully surrender to Sri Krishna, the ultimate, all-attractive form of beauty, charm and sweetness!

Param vijayate Sri Krishna sankirtan ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Srimad Bhagavatam is called the “king of all spiritual books” (Grantha Raja) for good reason. Within this triguna-free, transcendental treatise, the amala-purana, which showcases the absolutely selfless, divine love of Srimati Radharani, one can find all the sweet, majestic and beautiful truths about the sadhana and sadhya (daily practice and perfection) of Gaudiya Vaisnavism.

In his most compassionate and wonderful shastra, Sri Chaitanya Caritamrita, Sri Krishna Dasa Kaviraja summarizes the teachings of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and the six Goswamis of Vrindavana by mentioning the same Bhagavatam verses that they used to substantiate their sublime instructions.

To emphasize the importance of these particular verses for all Gaudiya Vaisnavas, the same Bhagavatam verse is often mentioned two, three or more times in the Sri Chaitanya Caritamrta.

This series of posts presents these verses, along with selected tikas of our acharyas and the compiler. We will cover the beautiful truths, tattvas, of Krishna, Radha, Vaisnavas, Sri Guru, Bhakti Sadhana, Nama, Prema and more.

Krishna’s Expertise in Fulfilling Desires

As a compassionate father gives his children whatever they ask, Bhagavan Sri Krishna also fulfils the desires of His devotees.   satyam -disaty -arthitam -arthito -nrnam
narvarthado -yat -punar -arthita -yatah
svayam -vidhatte -bhajatam -anicchatam
iccha -pidhanam -nija -pada -pallavam

“Bhagavan Sri Krishna certainly fulfills the material desires of a devotee, but Krishna  does it in a way that the devotee will not ask for more material things. Even though the devotee does not aspire for it, Sri Krishna mercifully gives the devotee shelter at His lotus feet, which satisfy all one’s desires.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 5.19.27)

Sri Sanatana Goswami tika:

If Sri Krishna does not give what is requested, Krishna’s reputation as the fulfiller of desires will be destroyed. However, Krishna gives what is valuable, not what is worthless (artha-dah).

What is that valuable thing that Krishna gives? Krishna gives bhakti to His lotus feet. Since bhakti includes all types of bliss, by attaining bhakti one becomes indifferent to everything else. (Brhad Bhagavatmrita 3.2.131-132)

Sri Jiva Goswami tika:

Being requested, Krishna gives what humans ask for. But by just giving, material desire will not be extinguished and again the person will request the desired object (yatah-punar- arthita). Manu-samhita confirms: “Desires are not extinguished by enjoying the objects of desire, just as fire increases by adding ghee.” (Bhakti Sandarbha 98)

Visvanatha Cakravartipada tika:

Even if one has material desires the bhakti sadhaka becomes successful. Being requested by His worshippers for desired objects, Krishna gives those objects. But Krishna does not give the object in such a way that object is again requested after enjoyment. What does this mean? Krishna gives His lotus feet which satisfy all desires (iccha-pidhanam).

Srila Prabhupada tika:

Sri Krishna is so kind even to a sakama-bhakta, a motivated devotee, that He satisfies his desires in such a way that one day he becomes an akama-bhakta [desireless].

Dhruva Maharaja, for example, became a bhakta with the motive of getting a better kingdom than his father. But finally, Dhruva became an akama-bhakta and said, “My dear Lord, I am very satisfied simply to serve Your lotus feet. I do not want any material benefits.”

Sometimes it is found that a small child eats dirty things but his parents take away the dirty things and offer him a sandesh or some other sweetmeat. Devotees who aspire for material benedictions are compared to such children.

Sri Krishna thinks, “Why should I give such a foolish person the dirty things of material enjoyment? It would be better for Me to give the shelter of My lotus feet, then one will give up all material desires and become My eternal servant.”

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das:

In Sri Gita 2.59, Bhagavan Sri Krishna says:

vishaya -vinivartante
niraharasya -dehinah
rasa-varjam -raso ‘py -asya
param -drstva -nivartate

“One who refrains from eating stops the sense objects from functioning, but the desire for tasting remains. Having experienced the highest taste, one can stop the desire for tasting material pleasures.”

Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu taught the same principle in Sri Chaitanya-caritamrita (2.22.41):

kama -lagi -krsne -bhaje, paya -krsna-rase
kama -chadi -dasa -haite -haya -abhilashe

“One who worships Krishna to fulfill desires receives a taste for Krishna, Krishna rasa. Then one gives up desires and aspires to become Krishna’s loving servant.”

The “highest taste” of Krishna bhakti bhajan is so powerful that the sweet taste of devotion makes one forget all material desires as seen in Balak Dhruva.

Sri Krishna is the transcendental form of supreme sweetness, raso-vai-sah. Thus, when a devotee tastes the sweetness of Krishna’s nama, rupa, guna and lila, all sense objects become completely tasteless and detestable.

Relishing Krishna bhakti-rasa ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Please read previous part one before.

On the path of Radha-Krishna bhakti bhajana, one must pass through nine steps or stages to reach the final goal, Krishna prema.

1) Beginning with faith in Sri Krishna (Shraddha); bhakti grows, deepens and progresses successively through the levels of:
2) Sadhu sanga;
3) Bhajana kriya (practicing nine limbs of Radha-Krishna hearing, chanting and remembering);
4) Anarthanivrtti (sensual, mental and emotional, purification);
5) Nishtha (firmness, strong conviction, enthusiasm and mental peace);
6) Ruchi (taste, joy and fulfillment in bhakti bhajana;
7) Asakti (strong attachment to Radha-Krishna with intense yearning to meet Them);
 Bhava (experience spiritual ecstasy, and intense desire to see and intimately serve Radha-Krishna along with occasional deep visions or even darshana;
9) Krishna prema (the final stage of perfect, transcendent loving bliss eternal, and constant rapturous Vrajamadhurya-lila immersions in one’s siddha.

One should be forewarned, however, that the fourth stage, anarthanivrtti (cessation of offenses and all bad habits), is the most difficult one to pass through. It may take lifetimes!

In Madhurya-kadambini (3.16,18), Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti explains exactly how aparadhas and anarthas i.e. offenses, unwanted obstacles and impediments gradually disappear from the mind and heart of the sincere sadhaka. He describes five stages in gradual cessation of all aparadhas and anarthas:

STAGES OF PERFECTION IN KRISHNA CONSCIOUNESS:

1) Partial—15% anarthas & aparadhas destroyed; Bhajankriya stage.At this stage one is 15% attached to serving and being with Krishna and 85% attached to enjoying his/her material body and senses. 15% Krishna consciousness v.s. 85% MAYA!
2) Pervasive—75% anarthas & aparadhas destroyed; Nishtha stage.At this stage one is 75% attached to serving and being with Krishna and 25% attached to enjoying his/her material body and senses. 75% Krishna consciousness v.s. 25% MAYA!
3) Almost complete—95% destroyed; Bhava stage. 95% Krishna consciousness v.s. 5% MAYA!
4) Complete—100% destroyed; Prema stage. 100% Krishna consciousness v.s. .0,01% MAYA!
Even here however, there is a slight chance anarthas may reappear. Sri Rupa Gosvami confirms this: “Yes, it’s true and possible that even at the stage of bhava or prema, one may commit an aparadha if one offends a great devotee of Bhagavan Sri Krishna, Krishna presthaaparadhatah.”(Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu 1.3.54)
5) Absolute—100/100% destroyed; 100% Krishna consciousness v.s. 0,00% MAYA!

For the fully realized Krishna premibhakta, the cessation and destruction of ALL ANARTHAS AND APARADHAS IS ABSOLUTE because one has received the complete mercy Sri Krishna along with His direct seva and association (sakshad seva & sanga). There is not even the slightest chance for the appearance of anarthas or aparadhas. One has now attained the perfection of his/her human life and the final goal of Krishna consciousness.

Thus one can see that advancing in Radha-Krishna bhakti bhajana is a gradual process that may extend for many lifetimes.

In Sri Gita, Bhagavan Sri Krishna explains this point:“In the next life, one is automatically attracted to the type of sadhana bhajana one practiced in the previous life, pūrvābhyāsena tenaiva hriyate hy avaśo ’pi saḥ.”(Bhagavad Gita 6.44)
Sridhara Swami tika:“Thus struggling under the momentum of his former practice, the sadhaka gradually attains liberation in Krishna consciousness.”

Sri Krishna continues, “Unlike one’s previous life, the bhakti yogi will now strive for spiritual perfection with intense effort and become purified of his/her anarthas and aparadhas. Then after many births, one will finally attain perfection in Krishna consciousness, Krishna prema. (6.45)

prayatnād yatamānas tu, yogī saṁśuddha-kilbiṣaḥ
aneka-janma-saṁsiddhas, tato yāti parāṁ gatim

Sri Baladeva Vidya bhushana tika: “Due to fear of his previous obstacles, the sadhaka now makes even more effort in bhajana. And this additional effort purifies one of all material desires.”

Srila Prabhupada tika: “With determination, therefore, the bhakta begins his/her unfinished task, and thus one completely cleanses oneself of all material contaminations. When one is finally free from all contaminations, one attains the supreme perfection—Krishna consciousness.”

The principle of a gradual process also applies to the realization and perception of one’s Guru received or mentally conceived siddha svarupa, siddha deha. In the beginning, awareness of one’s eternal, transcendental female identity as Srimati Radharani’s loving loyal maidservant is slight, and bodily attachment is great. Gradually as one advances in meditation and receives more mercy from Sri Krishna and Sri Guru, he/she will more deeply identify with the siddha deha and Sri Radha’s seva, and simultaneously identify less with the external material body and enjoying material sense gratification.

The material body and siddha deha are like communicating vessels—more identity with body, less identity with siddha deha; or more identity with siddha deha, then less identity with one’s temporary material body.

In this regard, Srila Prabhupada said, “The more we make progress in Krishna consciousness, this ‘my consciousness and I consciousness’ will vanish. So this is a natural consequence. And as soon as you begin to eat, your weakness will disappear along with your hunger and satisfaction will come.

“Similarly, these two things cannot stand together, maya and Krishna. If I am in Krishna consciousness then there is no question of maya. It may be that I’m not fully Krishna conscious. Just like while eating it is not that immediately my hunger is satisfied; it takes a little time. Similarly, Krishna consciousness is a gradual process of advancement. That is the test. If I am still in illusion, then I should understand that my Krishna consciousness is not progressing. This is the test.” (folio: 670116CC.NYC)

Further, Srila Prabhupada said, “Material hankerings and spiritual advancement go ill together. (Srimad Bhagavatam 1.8.27 tika) Material attachment and taking shelter of the lotus feet of Bhagavan Sri Krishna go ill together. Material attachment means ignorance of transcendental happiness under the shelter of Sri Krishna (Srimad Bhagavatam 1.12.27 tika). Increasing one’s love for Krishna is a gradual process. “(folio: TLK Verse 36)

In the next wonderful quote, Srila Prabhupada perfectly and beautifully explains the gradual journey to Krishna prema:
“The development of intimacy between Bhagavan Sri Krishna and the living entity happens by a gradual process of progressive devotional activities. Such a progressive march of transcendental devotion for Sri Krishna culminates in the attainment of loving service of Krishna, which is called prema in different transcendental varietgatedness called rasas, [astonishingly tasty, loving divine mellows].” (Srimad Bhagavatam 1.5.37 tika)

The conclusion is that one must try his/her best to perform bhakti bhajana, all the while understanding that perfection does not come easy. One should think, “Krishna prema may come in one life, two or even ten lifetimes, but still I must attain this perfection no matter what! The joy, the peace and the fulfillment I have found so far in bhakti bhajana completely eclipses and surpasses all other pleasures I obtained by trying to enjoy my body and this mundane world.

“I am totally convinced that nothing else in this world but Krishna consciousness is so supremely beautiful, sweet, blissful, tasteful and fulfilling. I know that I am far, far away from Krishna prema perfection, yet I will keep moving on and on. I am sure that if not now then in some future life, my most loving and merciful Radha-Govinda Yugala will grant me Their sweet love, Their blissful darshana and Their tight, loving embrace!!!!

Bhakti bhajana ki jai! Radha-Govinda Yugala prema seva in Vrajanikunjas ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

One can experience, perceive and literally see transcendental phenomena i.e. the spiritual form of Bhagavan Sri Krishna or one’s own siddha svarupa according to the purity of one’s consciousness. Brahmaji says a sadhaka can directly see God, Bhagavan Sri Krishna, when the mind and eyes are fully purified and saturated with Krishna prema.
premāñjana-cchurita-bhakti-vilocanena santaḥ sadaiva hṛdayeṣu vilokayanti (Brahma Samhita 5.38)

To enter fire one must become fire. Thus, if one wants to see the transcendental, madhurya prema svarupa of Vrajendranandan Sri Krishna, one must also have a form, heart, mind and eyes full of madhurya prema.

As GaudiyaVaisnavas we are aspiring for the absolute topmost of all conceivable and attainable goals of spiritual perfection i.e. Radha-Krishna prema, and the confidential service of Sri SriRadha-Krishna in the bowers of Vrindavanaas the loyal maidservant manjaris of SrimatiRadharani.

Such a lofty spiritual perfection will naturally demand the utmost sacrifice, dedication, determination, patience and enthusiastic endeavor continually sustained for possibly many life times. Yes, it’s true that spiritual success in Kali-yuga comes to one and all just by chanting Hare Krishna, dancing and honoring Krishna prasadam.

Although it may sound easy, IT IS NOT SO EASY! There are many levels and stages of purification that one must pass through before attaining the coveted goal of Krishna prema, wherein one will pass his/her days chanting and dancing with Krishna in Vrindavana!

When confronted by disciples disappointed over their slow progress, lack of spiritual advancement, and complete absence of any direct experiences of Sri Krishna, Srila Prabhupada repeatedly used the phrase “GRADUAL PROCESS” as seen in the following examples:
“Cleansing the heart is a gradual process, it doesn’t happen abruptly!”
“Krishna consciousness is a gradual process of realization and purification.”

This post will describe the ‘gradual process’ (anukramat) of spiritual advancement in Krishna consciousness, and the consequent seeing or perceiving of one’s individual eternal spiritual body (siddha deha/siddha svarupa).

One starts Krishna consciousness by hearing and reading to gain knowledge of Krishna, the practice, and the goal of bhakti sadhana. Transcendental knowledge helps us to perceive our eternal individual spiritual identity as atomic particles of consciousness—a soul, jivatma. Gradually purity and knowledge (aka Krishna consciousness)increases to a point wherein one can meditate on Sri Sri Radha-Krishna’s beautiful names, forms, qualities and sweet Vraja lilas.

Although moving from one level to the next may take many years OR EVEN MANY LIFE TIMES, the fact remains that bhakti sadhana has different stages (anukramat) which one must reach before attaining spiritual perfection in Krishna consciousness.

There are nine levels or stages in performing Krishna bhakti sadhana:
culturing faith – sraddha;
meeting a Vaisnava, hearing hari-katha, taking diksha, and serving Sri Hari, Guru and Vaisnavas – sadhu sanga;
performing bhakti sadhana –bhajanakriya;
purification and inner peace – anarthanivritti;
steadiness and conviction – nishtha;
taste, inner joy and satisfaction – ruchi;
loving attachment and hankering to see Bhagavan Sri Krishna – asakti;
ecstatic spiritual emotions, experiences, and possibly a glimpse of Radha and Krishna – bhava;
overwhelming spiritual bliss and continual communion with Radha and Krishna – Krishna prema.

The Srimad Bhagavatam describes the ‘gradual process’ or the progressive steps to spiritual perfection as follows:

I. HEARING/READING ABOUT KRISHNA
(sraddha, sadhu sanga)

“With an attentive mind one should constantly hear, chant, remember and worship Bhagavan Sri Krishna who protects devotees.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 1.2.14)
tasmād ekena manasā, bhagavān sātvatāṁ patiḥ
śrotavyaḥ kīrtitavyaś ca, dhyeyaḥ pūjyaś ca nityadā

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das: One may ask, “The Bhagavata directs one to constantly hear about Krishna. But I have no interest or attraction for this. Even if I try to read spiritual books, I get no taste and just fall asleep. So how does one get the desire and a genuine taste to hear and read about Sri Krishna?”

The Bhagavata(Srimad Bhagavatam 1.2.16) answers:
“By nicely serving pure-hearted devotees (mahatsevanisevanat) one obtains four priceless benefits:
a. Taste for Harikatha (vasudevakatharuchi);
b. Strong faith;
c. Surrender to Guru;
d. Genuine desire to hear more Harikatha.”
śuśrūṣoḥ śraddadhānasya, vāsudeva-kathā-ruciḥ
syān mahat-sevayā viprāḥ, puṇya-tīrtha-niṣevaṇāt

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das: Here the secret is revealed—it’s mercy. There is a mystic transference from the kind and compassionate heart of the sadhu bhakta into the mind and heart of the humble serving soul. You approach a saint and attentively, lovingly and carefully serve him.

Then the sweet heart of the sadhu melts, and he invisibly deposits into the vault of your heart some jewels from the vast treasure of his personal firm faith in Radha-GovindaYugala and his deep taste for hearing Harikatha. Your newly strengthened faith and taste attracts the attention of Bhagavan Sri Krishna, who in turn comes to purify you and personally help you advance in spiritual life.

II. CHANTING GLORIES OF SRI KRISHNA (bhajanakriya, anarthanivrtti)
“By the mercy of the sadhu bhakta, one now hears and chants the beautiful and purifying topics of Sri Harikatha with taste and faith. Becoming pleased, Krishna as the Antaryami within (hṛdiantaḥ)personally removes all one’s obstacles and inauspiciousness (abhadrāṇividhunoti ).” (Srimad Bhagavatam 1.2.17)
śṛṇvatāṁ sva-kathāḥ kṛṣṇaḥ, puṇya-śravaṇa-kīrtanaḥ
hṛdy antaḥ stho hy abhadrāṇi, vidhunoti suhṛt satām

III. NISHTHA
“Daily hearing from and serving the beautiful Srimad Bhagavatam and Bhagavata devotees destroys all inauspiciousness to nil and brings steadiness in bhakti bhajana.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 1.2.18)
naṣṭa-prāyeṣv abhadreṣu, nityaṁ bhāgavata-sevayā
bhagavaty uttama-śloke, bhaktir bhavati naiṣṭhikī

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti: By serving bhaktas and Bhagavata, most of one’s namaaparadhas (abhadresu) diminish, and this continues till the stage of bhava bhakti. Anarthas are mostly destroyed, and one attains the stage of nishtha where one can easily concentrate on Bhagavan Sri Krishna.

IV. RUCHI & ASAKTI
“Gradually one becomes very fixed, steady, pure minded and free from lust, desire, greed, hankering and other qualities born of ignorance and passion.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 1.2.19)
tadā rajas-tamo-bhāvāḥ, kāma-lobhādayaś ca ye
ceta etair anāviddhaṁ, sthitaṁ sattve prasīdati

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti: The mind is not disturbed or transformed (anaviddham) by the agitations of lust, greed and other qualities such as anger, illusion, and hatred arising from passion and ignorance, rajas, tamas.

In the stage of ruchi, one loses his/her taste and interest in material objects because one is relishing great happiness by hearing, chanting and remembering Radha and Krishna. After this, the mind becomes fixed (sthitam) in the transcendental form of Bhagavan Sri Krishna and one attains the stage of asakti, which means continuous attachment and thinking of Radha and Krishna.

IV. BHAVA
“By the process of Krishna bhakti bhajana, one’s mind becomes enlivened and satisfied. One obtains clear, realized knowledge of Bhagavan Sri Krishna and freedom from all bad association.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 1.2.20)
Second translation: The mind becomes joyful and satisfied on attaining bhava or rati. Finally prema manifests along with complete detachment. The devotee then experiences the transcendental form, qualities, pastimes, powers and sweetness of Bhagavan Sri Krishna.

evaṁ prasanna-manaso, bhagavad-bhakti-yogataḥ
bhagavat-tattva-vijñānaṁ, mukta-saṅgasya jāyate

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti: As one becomes more and more attached to Sri Krishna and worships Him at every moment which is the stage of asakti. Afterwards, the stage of bhava bhakti appears (prasanna-manasao). Without having bhava bhakti, no one can be completely detached from the objects of material enjoyment.

And without constant detachment, one can never find mental satisfaction. Finally the long awaited Krishna prema appears (bhagavad-bhakti-yogatah). From that arises realization (vijñānaṁ) of the Sri Krishna’s form, qualities, pastimes, powers and sweetness.

V. KRISHNA PREMA
“The knots (ignorance) within the heart are completely cut out, and all doubts and karmic reactions are destroyed because one now sees his real self and His eternal Supreme Controller, Bhagavan Sri Krishna.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 1.2.21)
bhidyate hṛdaya-granthiś, chidyante sarva-saṁśayāḥ
kṣīyante cāsya karmāṇi, dṛṣṭa evātmanīśvare

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti: Ignorance which is the main knot in the heart is cut out, hrdaya-granthischidyante. All doubts, i.e. thinking that attaining Krishna prema is impossible, are destroyed. And all karmas are destroyed because one directly sees Bhagavan as the Paramatma, (atmani) in the mind (sphurti), and also externally with the eyes.”

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti summarizes the ‘gradual process’ to spiritual perfection in Krishna prema in fourteen steps:
1. mercy of devotees;
2. service to devotees;
3. faith;
4. surrender to guru;
5. desireto worship, serve and hear about Bhagavan Sri Krishna;
6. bhakti;
7. clearance of anarthas;
8. nishtha;
9. ruci;
10. asakti;
11. rati;
12. prema;
13. sphurti, seeing Sri Krishna;
14. madhuryaasvadana, experiencing and relishing the sweetness of Shyamasundara.

Krishna bhakti bhajanaki jai! Nava vidha bhakti ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Before starting the Japa Mini Lila Meditations series, we will first reveal some supremely interesting truths about the nature of the spiritual sky that we all hope to attain one day.
In the spiritual dimension of Vrindavana, every person and every “so-called object” such as a tree, rock, finger ring or a necklace is a completely transcendental person—a unique and colorful individual made of pure, love-saturated consciousness.

Everyone has a bhava-deha, a body made of transcendental loving sentiments. There are no bodies made of gross matter, flesh and bones or even mind, intellect or ego (prakriti, indriya, mana, buddhi, ahankara). In other words, everyone and “everything” is completely personal, interactive, alive and full of prema for Radha and Krishna.

In Vraja Dhama in the spiritual sky, there is only love, bhava, pure divine love interacting with pure divine love. Vraja is an eternal blissful realm wherein all the lovers and beloveds exist only to please and satisfy Sri Krishna and each other, be they acting as Sri Krishna’s servants, friends, parents, gopi lovers or dasi serving girls.

Our Gaudiya Vaisnava shastras and purvacharyas say that there is one form of Bhagavan Sri Krishna for every liberated soul! Not only one Krishna, but there is also one form of each one of Sri Krishna’s eternal loving associates in Vrindavana to interact with and accept eternal sevas from that liberated soul i.e. sadhana siddha bhakta.

This is a most astonishing and wonderfully inspiring and reassuring spiritual truth that fully enables every liberated soul, premi-bhakta, to have his or her own individual and personal Radha and Krishna to love, have, hold and humbly serve forever.

Thus we see in the books of Sri Rupa Gosvami, Sri Raghunatha Dasa Goswami, Sri Narottama Dasa Thakura and Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti describing Radha-Krishna’s asta-kaliya-lilas and Their sevas therein, the first person tense “I” is used to speak of the eternal present or the future eternal.

For example, sometimes these acharyas describe their hankering to someday serve Srimati Radharani: “O Kishori-mani! WHEN WILL I COMB Your hair and set beautiful bakula malas in Your shimmering, silky black hair braid?”

Or they write: “O Kalyani! On the full moon night, I DRESS YOU in pure white garments, ornament You with pearls and moonstone, and cover Your beautiful lavanya lustrous face with white sandalwood paste to prevent anyone from noticing You rushing out to the kunja to meet Your beloved Priyatama.”

And these acharyas also describe how they or rather I am personally doing each and every service required by Srimati Radharani when She is alone and with Her dearest sweet heart Shyamasundara. This means when you attain spiritual perfection you will not be left out in cold, waiting one millennium for your turn to render your individual service of fanning Sri Radha.

In the spiritual dimension of pure loving consciousness, Radha and Krishna are eternally present in millions upon millions of unlimited divine, transcendental forms. And with each form the Playful Pair are being eternally loved and served by one individual liberated prema bhakta—YOU!

Now just imagine how vast, beautiful, inconceivable and personal is the spiritual sky? Radha, Krishna and all Their loving associates with YOU in Vraja Dhama forever.
Following the lead of our Gaudiya Vaisnava acharyas, we will present the Japa Mini Meditations series in first person “I”. Thus while listening to the lila audios, one should think, “I am right there with Radha and Krishna and Their dedicated sakhis and manjaris. And I am personally offering each and every one of the many sevas being described here for the pleasure of my own individual Radha-Govinda Yugala.”

In the next audio, we will begin our Japa Mini Lila Meditation series.

Radha-Krishna asta-kaliya-lila ki jai!
Japa and lila ki jai!
Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Srimad Bhagavatam is called the “king of all spiritual books” (Grantha Raja) for good reason. Within this triguna-free, transcendental treatise, the amala-purana, which showcases the absolutely selfless, divine love of Srimati Radharani, one can find all the sweet, majestic and beautiful truths about the sadhana and sadhya (daily practice and perfection) of Gaudiya Vaisnavism.

In his most compassionate and wonderful shastra, Sri Chaitanya Caritamrita, Sri Krishna Dasa Kaviraja summarizes the teachings of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and the six Goswamis of Vrindavana by mentioning the same Bhagavatam verses that they used to substantiate their sublime instructions.

To emphasize the importance of these particular verses for all Gaudiya Vaisnavas, the same Bhagavatam verse is often mentioned two, three or more times in the Sri Chaitanya Caritamrta.

This series of posts presents these verses, along with selected tikas of our acharyas and the compiler. We will cover the beautiful truths, tattvas, of Krishna, Radha, Vaisnavas, Sri Guru, Bhakti Sadhana, Nama, Prema and more.

Where Does Bhakti Come From?

In Uddhava-gita, Sri Krishna answers this question saying:

yadrcchaya -mat-kathadau
jata-sraddhas -tu -yah -puman
na -nirvinno -nati-sakto
bhakti-yogo -’sya -siddhi-dah

If by unexpected association with devotees one develops faith in hearing hari-katha, such a person, who is neither completely detached from sense gratification nor too much attached to it, can attain perfection by practicing bhakti-yoga.  (Srimad Bhagavatam 11.20.8)

Comments Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das:

Some translate the word yadrcchaya as “by good fortune”.  However, the dictionary meaning of yadrcchaya is “complete independence” or “freedom of will and action” and that is the meaning in this verse.

Sri Jiva Goswami tika:

The cause of bhakti is faith alone. That is explained in this verse. Faith arises from associating with devotees (yadrcchaya). The person develops faith in Krishna-katha and thinks, “This Krishna-katha is the best.” One then becomes disgusted with other activities.

However, one cannot give up objects of enjoyment which are the remnants of results of pious acts from previous lives even though one knows they give suffering. This person is not completely detached and not too attached. This is the devotee’s initial state. (Bhakti Sandarbha 171)

Visvanatha Cakravartipada tika:

A person develops faith (jata-shraddha) in Krishna-katha by the merciful association of devotees (yadrcchaya). That is the meaning of yadrcchaya in this verse. By the unexpected association of the devotee, even a person extremely attached to sense objects becomes qualified for bhakti.

The cause of a devotee’s mercy manifesting itself is bhakti itself residing within the devotee’s heart. Without the devotee having bhakti, there is no possibility of the devotee manifesting mercy to others. Bhakti causes the devotee’s mercy which causes bhakti in another person. Bhakti causes bhakti. The self-manifesting, causeless, independent nature of bhakti is thus concluded.

Pandit Sri Ananta Dasji Maharaja tika:

That bhakti manifests in an individual without any reason is the intent of this text. The word yadrcchaya, “by chance,” appears repeatedly in the Bhagavatam. Bhakti’s appearance in an individual does not depend on any external cause.

One may ask, if devotion is truly spiritual, then how can it manifest in a devotee’s material senses? The answer is that an iron bar put into fire attains the qualities of fire—brilliance, heat and the power to burn. So too bhakti, by its own potency, destroys the material nature of a person’s senses and spiritualizes them.

Shruti and Smriti describe bhakti as sac-cid-ananda-mayi just like Bhagavan Sri Krishna and as a self-manifesting aspect of Sri Krishna’s svarupa-shakti. It is only by the mercy of devotees that ordinary human beings can attain bhakti. As Krishna is under the control of His devotees, His mercy follows that of a devotee.

By carefully considering this point, one can understand that it is bhakti herself, residing in the heart of a devotee, that causes the devotee to give mercy to others. The conclusion is that bhakti alone is the cause of bhakti. Bhakti does not depend on any other cause for its appearance. Bhakti residing in a devotee’s heart, inspires one to act mercifully to others.

Krishna on the other hand is always absorbed in His own divine bliss and can therefore not feel the pain of the conditioned souls. Compassion arises only when one becomes aware of another’s misery. As Sri Krishna is the embodiment of concentrated bliss, it is impossible for even the omnipotent Krishna to truly feel pity for the bound jiva.

The only way the misery-bound souls can attain liberation is through the independent kindness of a Vaishnava. However, Vaishnavas also exist in the realm of bliss, but they can remember the miseries of their previous lives.

Sri Krishna has given full independence to His devotees to give blessings to others, and these blessings are the only way to reach Bhagavan Sri Krishna. The conclusion is that the jivas can only receive Krishna’s grace through the form of a devotee and not directly from Him. (Madhurya Kadambini tikas)

Comments Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das:

Vaishnavas are the personified forms of Sri Krishna’s mercy, krpa-shakti-murtis. Vaishnavas have direct experience of the struggles, anxiety, tension, stress, frustration, pain and miseries of material existence.

And they themselves are the recipients of mercy, krpa-patras, from other kind-hearted, compassionate Vaishnavas. Thus, without the mercy of a Vaishnava no one can attain bhakti and the eternal loving service of Radha Govinda Yugal in Goloka Vrindavan!

Vaishnava krpa-shakti murtis ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Srimad Bhagavatam is called the “king of all spiritual books” (Grantha Raja) for good reason. Within this triguna-free, transcendental treatise, the amala-purana, which showcases the absolutely selfless, divine love of Srimati Radharani, one can find all the sweet, majestic and beautiful truths about the sadhana and sadhya (daily practice and perfection) of Gaudiya Vaisnavism.

In his most compassionate and wonderful shastra, Sri Chaitanya Caritamrita, Sri Krishna Dasa Kaviraja summarizes the teachings of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and the six Goswamis of Vrindavana by mentioning the same Bhagavatam verses that they used to substantiate their sublime instructions.

To emphasize the importance of these particular verses for all Gaudiya Vaisnavas, the same Bhagavatam verse is often mentioned two, three or more times in the Sri Chaitanya Caritamrta.

This series of posts presents these verses, along with selected tikas of our acharyas and the compiler. We will cover the beautiful truths, tattvas, of Krishna, Radha, Vaisnavas, Sri Guru, Bhakti Sadhana, Nama, Prema and more.

* POWER of VAISNAVA ASSOCIATION

tulayama -lavenapi, na -svargam napunar -bhavam
bhagavat-sangi-sangasya, martyanam -kim -utashisha

A moment’s association with a Krishna bhakta cannot be compared to elevation to Svarga, attaining mukti, or what to speak of any blessings in this world. (Srimad Bhagavatam 1.18.13)

Sri Jiva Goswami:

Bhagavat-sangi-sanga means association with persons who are attached to Bhagavan Sri Krishna. A moment’s association with such a person cannot be compared to attaining the heavenly planets. The affectionate nature (snigdha) of devotees should be implied from the verse. (Bhakti-rasamrita Sindhu 1.2.228)

Sri Vallabhacharya:

In association of Krishna bhaktas one enjoys unlimited happiness by relishing Krishna’s nectarine lilas. Even one second’s association with a true bhakta gives rise to bliss! (Subodhini tika)

Visvantha Cakravartipada:

Here the sages at Naimisharanya glorify the influence of Suta Goswami. The fruits of karma, jnana, or worldly enjoyments are insignificant compared to the benefit one gains by bhagavat-sangi, a moment’s association with a Krishna bhakta. By this one receives the bhakti-beeja which results in prema. Thus, there is no possibility of comparing this with the fruits of karma and jnana. It is like comparing a mustard seed to Mount Meru. (Bhakti-rasamrita Sindhu 1.2.228)

Srila Prabhupada:

One cannot compare the association of a pure devotee to anything material. The pure devotees are factually liberated even in the material world because they are engaged in a transcendental loving service of Bhagavan Sri Krishna.

Devotional service is eternal; it has no end because it is spiritual. Association with Krishna bhaktas is always desirable; it is worshipable, it is praiseworthy, and one may accept it as the highest goal of life.

Pandit Sri Ananta Dasaji Maharaja:

Without sadhu-sanga, no one is able to engage in bhagavad-bhajana with a mind freed from the vile decoction of attachment and aversion and the pollution of beginningless karma-samskaras.

Bhagavan Sri Krishna is filled with profound transcendental joy and always enjoying His prema-lilas. Thus, the miseries of the jivas can never touch Him. Even though the full power of compassion exists within Krishna, it is impossible for Krishna to directly express it toward the suffering jivas.

“Then how will they be delivered?” Sri Krishna’s compassion is present in the hearts of the sadhus. The rays of bhakti spread from their hearts in all directions and infuse pure love into the hearts of those around them. Such is the enormous power of sadhu-sanga.

Thus, it is the supremely merciful sadhus living in this world who help the illusion-bound suffering jivas. Other than sadhu-sanga, there is no way to obtain the mercy of Bhagavan Sri Krishna. 

Vaishnava sadhu sanga ki jai! Srimad Bhagavatam ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Sometimes devotees attracted to raga-marga think that continuous chanting of Radha Nama, “Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! is the means to perfection.

They say, “Radha is the goal, so only Radha is important. Thus when I chant my Hare Krishna japa, I am just thinking Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Radhe!”

Such devotees are innocent and well-meaning, but not very clear in their understanding of Gaudiya Vaisnava tattva siddhanta. Of course, sometimes the enthusiastic chanting of Srimati Radharani’s Divine Name is and can be done on special occasions like Radhastami, Vraja Mandala Parikrama, during a Bhagavata sapataha or special festivals.

How do they get this idea? Believe it or not, this misconception of innocent devotees arises after they sincerely read the Goswami granthas. After reading they conclude that Radha’s name is everything, and we should just chant Radhe! Radhe!

There are many but we will cite one verse as an example:Gaudiya Vaisnava mahajana Sri Prabodhananda Sarasvati writes, “The nectarean name of Sri Radha—the complete form of prema, rasa and ananda—is my very life!” (Radha Rasa Sudhanidhi 97)

Yes, our purvacharayas often glorify the amazing power and fantastic benefits of chanting Radha nama in their books. However, such verses should be seen as beautiful praises of Sri Radha’s Divine Name arising from their personal loving ecstasies.

Such ecstatic premi bhaktas are described in the Srimad Bhagavatam (11.2.40): “At the stage of prema, a devotee will incessantly chant his favorite name of His beloved Bhagavan [sva priya nama kirtya]. Melting his heart, the ecstasy of prema will make him laugh, cry, become restless, and sing and dance like a madman without caring for anyone or anything.”

evam vratam sva, priya nama kirtya, jatanurago, drutacitta uccaih
hasaty atho roditi, rauti gayaty, unmade van nrtyati, lokabahyah

One should not think however that such verses are establishing a new sadhana, a more powerful mantra to chant, or a fast track to perfection. The prime sadhana for all Gaudiya Vaisnava devotees is chanting Sri Krishna nama along with meditation upon the meaning of the mantra, and the form, qualities and pastimes of Radha-Krishna who are personally present in the Hare Krishna maha-mantra.

Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was not chanting Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Rather, Mahaprabhu chanted Krishna nama, and gave the same instruction to most everyone He met, which indirectly includes all of us. Raising His radiant golden arms into the spiritual sky, Gauranga told one and all, “Continually chant the Divine Name of Sri Krishna, and serve Krishna and the Vaisnavas, prabhu kahena krsna seva vaisnava sevana, nirantara kara krsna nama sankirtana.” (Caitanya Caritamrta 2.15.104)

In the same book wonderfully praising exclusive Radha nama chanting, Sri Prabodhananda Sarasvati also gives the conclusive truth regarding the proper sadhana for all raganugiya bhaktas.

Sri Prabodhananda Sarasvati says, “May Sri Radhika, the very life of Sri Krishna, be pleased with me when I fill my consciousness with the nectar lake of govinda-katha; and pass my days glorifying Krishna’s qualities, performing His archana and puja, and living in loving relationships with His devotees.” (Radha Rasa Sudhanidhi 115)

The conclusion of this topic and the essence of nama-bhajana for manjari bhava upasakas is given by Sri Prabodhananda Sarasvati himself in the following verse:

“I always meditate on Krishna wearing a peacock feather crown; I chant Krishna’s Divine Names; I always perform archana and puja of Sri Krishna; I chant the Krishna mantra [gopala-mantra], His best mantra; and while doing all this I continually hold the cherished desire in my heart to attain the service of Sri Radha’s beautiful lotus feet!” (Radha Rasa Sudhanidhi 259)

dhyāyantaṁ śikhi-piccha-mauli-maniśaṁ tan nāma-saṁkīrtayan
nityaṁ tac caraṇāmbujaṁ paricaran tan-mantra-varyaṁ japan
śrī rādhā padāsyam eva paramābhīnṭaṁ hṛdā dhārayan
karhi syāṁ tad anugraheṇa paramādbhutānurāgotsavaḥ

Basically, the final word is that the Hare Krishna maha-mantra means, “O Krishna, give me Radha!”

Harinama sankirtana ki jai! Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Radhe! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Srimad Bhagavatam is called the “king of all spiritual books” (Grantha Raja) for good reason. Within this triguna-free, transcendental treatise, the amala-purana, which showcases the absolutely selfless, divine love of Srimati Radharani, one can find all the sweet, majestic and beautiful truths about the sadhana and sadhya (daily practice and perfection) of Gaudiya Vaisnavism.

In his most compassionate and wonderful shastra, Sri Chaitanya Caritamrita, Sri Krishna Dasa Kaviraja summarizes the teachings of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and the six Goswamis of Vrindavana by mentioning the same Bhagavatam verses that they used to substantiate their sublime instructions.

To emphasize the importance of these particular verses for all Gaudiya Vaisnavas, the same Bhagavatam verse is often mentioned two, three or more times in the Sri Chaitanya Caritamrta.

This series of posts presents these verses, along with selected tikas of our acharyas and the compiler. We will cover the beautiful truths, tattvas, of Krishna, Radha, Vaisnavas, Sri Guru, Bhakti Sadhana, Nama, Prema and more.

Vrajavasis’ Astonishing Prema

aho -bhagyam -aho -bhagyam
nanda-gopa-vrajaukasam
yan-mitram -paramanandam
purnam-brahma -sanatanam

Aho! How greatly fortunate are Nanda Maharaja, the cowherd men and all the other inhabitants of Vrajabhumi! There is no limit to their good fortune, because Krishna gives them prema, which is the highest bliss, eternal and complete.(Srimad Bhagavatam 10.14.32)

Sri Sanatana Goswami tika:

Krishna acts for the benefit of the Vraja-vasis not just in certain situations but always. And Krishna not only delivers the Vrajavasis from fear but also gives them the highest varieties of ecstasy. Thus Krishna is the source of their intense happiness, and they consider Krishna their dearmost friend.

Were Krishna merely Bhagavan, their love for Krishna would be severely restricted. But Krishna, at once, is both the Supreme Absolute Truth and the dear friend of the residents of Nanda’s cowherd village. (Brhad Bhagavatamrtam 3.7.98)

Sri Jiva Goswami tika:

Oh (aho)! Brahmaji is astonished over the inconceivable good of the Vrajavasis. He repeats the phrase to show their extreme good fortune and indicate his still greater astonishment.

Anandam hints at the shruti which says vigyanam -anandam -brahma: parabrahman Sri Krishna is knowledge and bliss. (Brhad-aranyaka Upanishad 3.9.32)

Other forms of Bhagavan also give prema. But bliss personified, Sri Krishna gives prema to the Vrajavasis. This is to be known from the shruti alone. Parama combined with ananda means extraordinary sweetness.

There is something else which is astonishing: this bliss is eternal. Someone may have a little amount of bliss, but that is not eternal. These cowherds have eternal bliss.

Sri Visvanatha Cakravartipada tika:

After praising the ragatmika vatsalya-prema (deep spontaneous parental affection) of the Vrajavasis, Brahmaji glorified those with ragatmika sakhya-prema (mitram), relishing intimate relationships with Sri Krishna.

As a friend (mitra), Sri Krishna is not a temporary friend; Krishna is the eternal friend (sanatana) of Sridama and others (yat).

All the inhabitants of Vrndavana ruled by Nanda Maharaja (nanda –gopa- vrajaukasam) down to the birds and beasts were indescribably fortunate because they became the friend of parama -anandam -brahma –sanatanam Bhagavan Sri Krishna.

Therefore, the Vrajavasis give the topmost bliss to Krishna, and receive the topmost bliss in return. Witnessing this exchange of supreme, selfless love, Brahmaji repeats the phrase aho bhagyam twice to indicate His extreme bliss and astonishment.

Sri Visvanatha Cakravartipada ki jai!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das comments:

Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu quotes this verse from Brahma Stuti while enlightening Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya about the Personality of God (Caitanya Caritamrita 2.6.149). In Vraja Vilas Stava (42), Sri Raghunatha Dasa Goswami glorifies the cowherds of Vrndavana:

“I worship the best of cowherds, who have attained the greatest happiness that can be achieved in the entire universe. The Vrajavasis are protected by Krishna with more love than He feels for millions of universes. The Vrajavasis are always eager to protect even the particles of dust falling from the edges of Krishna’s beautiful lotus-toenails.”

Although the Vrajavasis directly witness Krishna’s unlimited power when He kills demons, their conception of Krishna as Nanda’s son is not even slightly slackened. Their unbounded love for Krishna simply increases.

Brahmaj repeats “aho bhagyam, aho bhagyam” to highlight the incredible good fortune of Sri Krishna’s cowherd clan in Vrndavana. Thus we continually pray for a particle of mercy dust from the beautiful lotus feet of Nanda Baba. And for time eternal, we will worship the sacred dust of the cowherds, the cows and the transcendental land of Vrndavana!

Vrndavana dham ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!