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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.

This post will present two Bhagavatam verses which best display Bhagavan Sri Krishna’s unique transcendental qualities of unexcelled beauty and unfathomable compassion. Acaryas tell that Vyasadeva directed his students to recite these two verses to Sri Shukadev who had run away into the forest to escape the bondage of samsara.

Upon hearing these astonishing verses, Shukadev become so overwhelmingly attracted and amazed that he abandoned his absorption in impersonal Brahman. He returned to his father’s ashram and heard the Srimad Bhagavatam from Vyasadeva. As a result, Shukadeva became great devotee of Radha and Krishna.

When Sri Nityananda Prabhu heard the venu-gita verse describing Sri Krishna’s gorgeous, beautiful divine form, He uttered “Ha Krishna!” and fainted, manifesting the eight ecstatic symptoms in His body. (Chaitanya Bhagavata 2.4.9)

Sri Pandit Baba said the following verse spoken by the gopis, whose matchless love for Krishna gives them the greatest perception, is the best verse describing Sri Krishna’s exquisite natural beauty. We humbly suggest that all devotees should learn these two most important verses for constant remembrance.

Krishna: Reality the Beautiful

barhapidam -nata-vara-vapuh, -karnayoh –karnikaram
bibhrad -vasah -kanaka-kapisham, -vaijayantim -ca -malam

randhran -venor -adhara-sudhaya, -purayan -gopa-vrndair
vrndaranyam -sva-pada –ramanam, pravishad -gita-kirtih

“Shyamasundara is entering the forest of Vrndavana accompanied by His cowherd boyfriends. In Krishna’s turban there is a peacock feather; over Krishna’s ears, a yellow karnikara flower; on Krishna’s body, a yellow dhoti glitters like gold; and around Krishna’s neck, extending down to Krishna’s knees, is a heart-stealing garland strung with five kinds of fragrant forest flowers.

Krishna’s beautiful dress is like that of an expert dancer on a stage, and the nectar of Krishna’s lips flows through the holes of Krishna’s flute. Singing Krishna’s glories, the cowherd boys follow from behind. In this way, this Vrndavana, which is more charming than Vaikuntha, has become even more beautiful by the impressions of Sri Krishna’s lotus feet, which are marked with the conch, disc and other symbols.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.21.5)

Sri Sanatana Goswami tika

The Vraja gopis are the best analysts of the glories of Krishna’s flute, which they frequently praise for its captivating power. More than anything else, the sound of Krishna’s flute most fully expresses the essence of Krishna’s sweetness (madhurya). This form of Krishna with attractive forest dress is the one which disturbed the gopis’ minds. Venugopal played the flute with a special bhava, which enchanted Him as well as the gopis.

Sri Jiva Goswamipada tika

Sri Krishna’s pearl necklace and gold armbands are not mentioned because of the overwhelming attractiveness of Krishna’s forest ornaments. The phrase “filled the holes of the flute with the nectar of His lips” indicates that the deep sound of Krishna’s flute would be as attractive, pleasing and satisfying as the nectar of Krishna’s lips. Vrindadevi cleaned and decorated the forest specially with the intention of stimulating Krishna for intimate pastimes with the Vraja gopis.

Sri Visvanatha Cakravartipada tika

Sometimes Krishna wore one karnikara flower on the left ear and sometimes on the right ear to express the intoxication of His youth. Krishna purposefully dressed in an artful way to display His youthful charms in order to incite romantic desires within the gopis. Krishna’s flute song fully exhibits its powers by conquering the Vraja-gopis with Cupid.

The Limit of Compassion

“Krishna is so merciful that He gave Putana rakshasi the position of mother. You will never find in any country, at any time, in any grantha, any shastra, such a merciful Lord as Krishna. This is the message of Srimad Bhagavatam.” (Sri Gaur Govinda Swami)

“Upon hearing the following verse, Pundarika Vidyanidhi, an eternal associate of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, became very serious. He began to throw his hands and feet left and right. He began to roll on his bed, tearing off his silk clothing and the silk sheets. He was pulling out his beautifully curled and decorated hair.

He began to cry, ‘Of whom should I take shelter but that most magnanimous Sri Krishna? Where should I take refuge, without such a great master.’ With this upon his lips, he was rolling on the floor in ecstasy.” (Sri Swami B.R. Sridhar)

aho -baki –yam,- stana-kala-kutam
jigham –sayapaya, -yad -apy -asadhvi
lebhe -gatim dhatry, -ucitam tato ’nyam
kam -va -dayalum, saranam -vrajema

Lamenting in separation from Sri Krishna, Uddhava sighed, “Aho, how wonderful it is! Although the Putana-witch came to kill Krishna with her poison-smeared breasts, Krishna granted her the position of a nurse in Goloka Vrndavana! To whom else but this merciful Krishna, who grants a good destination even to someone who simply dresses like a devotee, should I take shelter?” (Srimad Bhagavatam 3.2.23)

Sri Visvanatha Cakravartipada

Even though Putana, who feigned the sentiments of a mother, gave Krishna poison to kill Him, she attained a position in Goloka similar to the nurses of Krishna named Ambika and Kalimba. Though Putana only had the dress of a devotee, she attained love suitable to a devotee. Though she hated Krishna, Krishna made her a special example. This incident shows Krishna’s quality of giving liberation and bhakti to even those who hate him.

Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada tika

Here is an example of the extreme mercy of Bhagavan, even to His enemy. Krishna may assume the form of a baby or a shape other than that of a human being, but it doesn’t make the slightest difference; Krishna is always the same Supreme Godhead. This lila shows that Krishna accepts the least qualification of a living entity and awards one the highest reward. Therefore, who but Sri Krishna can be the ultimate shelter?”

Sri Ananta Dasa Babaji tika

“Whose heart will not be filled with hope after hearing how merciful Govinda redeems the fallen by kindly rewarding a witch who came to kill Him? Then what can we say of the destination of spontaneous and sincere devotees.”

Srimad Bhagavatam 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.

Srimad Bhagavatam is the Rasika Essence of Vedanta

In Varanasi, for two months, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu instructed Sri Sanatana Goswami in all the truths of Krishna bhakti, shikaila-bhakti-siddhanta. (Caitanya-caritamrta 2.25.3)

While glorifying the Bhagavatam, Mahaprabhu said, “Srila Vyasadeva, the author of the Vedanta, has personally explained the sutras of Vedanta in the Srimad Bhagavatam.” (Caitanya-caritamrta 2.25.142)

Mahaprabhu then quoted key verses to establish the unique position of Srimad Bhagavatam.

sarva-veda-itihasanam
saram-saram-samuddhrtam

Mahaprabhu said, “The quintessence of all Veda and histories is collected in Bhagavatam.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 1.3.41: Caitanya -caritamrta 2.25.145)

Sri Visvanatha Cakravartipada tika (Srimad Bhagavatam 1.3.41): “Vyasa affectionately fed the Bhagavatam, the essence of the essence of the Vedas, which is like butter appearing from churning yogurt, to his son Shukadeva. This indicates that his effort of churning the Vedas was successful. And Shukadeva, though the best of the self-realized souls, ate that butter of the Bhagavata with great greed because of its wonderful taste.”

Continuing, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu cites the Twelfth Canto to show the supreme power and effect of the Srimad Bhagavatam.

sarva-vedanta-saram-hi
sri-bhagavatam-ishyate

tad-rasamrita-trptasya
nanyatra- syad –ratih- kvacit

“Srimad Bhagavatam is the essence of all Vedanta philosophy. One who has felt satisfaction from tasting the rasa amrita of Bhagavatam will not be attracted to anything else.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 12.13.15)

Just see the astonishing effect of tasting the mellow beauty, sweetness and charm of the Srimad Bhagavatam! The word ratih means attraction, attachment and love. The fabulous taste and experience of the Bhagavatam makes one lose interest in anything else but Radha and Krishna, and Their eternal loving service in the bowers of Vrndavana.

Srimati Radhika, in the delirium of mahabhava in separation from Her Priyatam Shyam, reveals the unlimited power of Bhagavata shravan.

Srimati Radharani said, “To hear about the pastimes that Krishna regularly performs is nectar for the ears. For those who relish just a single drop of that nectar, even once, their dedication to material duality is ruined. Many such persons have suddenly given up their wretched homes and families and, themselves becoming wretched, traveled here to Vrndavana to wander about like birds, begging for their living.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.47.18)

Commenting on this verse, Sri Visvanatha Cakravartipada says, “In this verse Srimati Radharani is saying, ‘Just hearing about Krishna’s pastimes is nectar for the ears. Even one drop of this nectar completely destroys the propensities of mutual friendship between men and women.

‘If a wife hears Krishna lila, she will immediately give up affection for her husband. And so to the husband will give up affection for his wife. If a mother hears about Krishna, she loses all affection for her children. The same is also true for a child in connection with his mother and father. Thus, by this mutual rejection they all become totally ruined.’

‘Just by hearing about Krishna they immediately give up their homes and families, including even their parents and sisters-in-law who then suffer with no other means of support, and without even enough money for the next day’s food.’

‘Alas! Alas! Even if we disregard that their wives and children may die, even they themselves fail to become happy. They are penniless after leaving their families, due to having forgotten to tie up even a few coins in their cloth, because of the agitation of their minds while leaving.’

But it may be questioned, “How do they maintain their lives?”

Radha answers, ‘Like birds, they live by begging, just collecting small amounts of wheat and other grains, rather than taking substantial charity from one person. Or they come begging here in Vrndavana, the place of suffering, and suffer even more in our association.’

But someone may object, “Krishna lila is like a poisonous mixture of sugarcane juice and powdered seeds of the dhatura plant.”

To this, Radha replies, ‘For this reason Krishna has accepted the role of the Supreme thinking, “Just like the gopis, I will make all people fall into the ocean of suffering.”

‘Indeed, seeing others’ suffering is Krishna’s only happiness. As a result, Krishna must bear the consequence of giving such misery to others, not Vyasa and other sages.’

Sri Visvanatha Cakravartipada concludes his amazing commentary, “As we can see there are thousands of implications in this verse. Through condemnation Radha is indirectly praising Krishna, and thus establishing the superexcellence of shuddha-bhakti.”

Srimati Radharani ki jai! Srimad Bhagavatam ki jai! Sri Visvanatha Cakravartipada ki jai!

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.

Srimad Bhagavatam is the Tastiest Fruit of Vedas 

nigama-kalpa-taror galitam phalam
shuka-mukhad amrita-drava-samyutam
pibata bhagavatam rasam alayam
muhur aho rasika bhuvi bhavukah

“O refined ones of sensitive taste! O fortunate souls! From the mouth of Shukadeva, constantly drink the Bhagavatam, which is the luscious fruit fallen from the tree of the Vedas. This fruit is immortal liquid, the essence of sweetness and it includes all types of liberation.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 1.1.3)

Sri Visvanatha Cakravartipada tika:

This verse highlights the sweetness of the Bhagavatam. The Vedas (nigama) are a kalpataru (wish-fulfilling tree) because they satisfy humans desires for dharma, artha, kama, and moksha.

Srimad Bhagavatam is called the galitam -phalam, which means fully ripened, sweet fruit. This fruit remains intact and undamaged because it is handed down personally from guru to disciple beginning with Narayana-Brahma-Narada-Vyasa-Shukadeva and so on. This indicates the necessity to drink the rasa (pibita rasam) of Srimad Bhagavatam through guru-parampara and not merely by one’s own intellect.

Alayam: Refers to laya, the eighth sattvika-bhava called pralaya, fainting. One should drink the rasa of Bhagavatam until one faints. And upon returning to consciousness, one will drink more (muhur: continuously) and faint again because one cannot give up drinking. Or it means the more you drink the more you relish. Aho! This is most surprising.

Rasika: This refers only to Krishna bhaktas, who by drinking the Srimad Bhagavatam develop rati (bhava) which becomes their sthayi-rati. Then they can taste the rasa of Bhagavatam.

Bhavukah: refers to persons who perform actions for tasting the beautiful. It indicates persons who appreciate Bhagavan Sri Krishna—who is rasa personified.

The Taittiriya Upanishad (2.7) says, raso -vai –sah, rasam- hy -evayam –labdhanandi -bhavati: Bhagavan Sri Krishna is rasa; by realizing Sri Krishna one attains bliss. Both Gita and Bhagavatam proclaim Krishna to be rasa.

Bhuvi indicates Vraja-bhumi. And bhavukah and rasikah indicate Krishna’s dear gopis. O dear relishers of Krishna rasa, drink the sweetness of the rasa arising from Krishna’s form as the Bhagavatam.

Pibata -bhagavatam -rasam -alayam can mean “relish rasa up to the point of embracing (alayam) Krishna.” Krishna rasa is indestructible (amrita) and flows away quickly from the mind and eye (drava). Therefore, drink that indestructible nectar in the form of Krishna’s lips.

In that case, nigama-kalpa-taror -galitam -phalam means “raganuga-bhakti is the fully ripened fruit (galitam) on the tree of the Vedas, because it follows the sentiments of the gopis.” This is an acceptable meaning because the Brhad-vamana Purana says the Vedas personified practiced raganuga bhakti to become Vraja gopis, and then drank the sweet rasa of Krishna’s lips. This very secret meaning can be seen in the Shruti Stuti chaper 87 of the Tenth Canto.

Sri Visvanatha Cakravartipada ki jai!

Srila Prabhupada tika: With great respect and attention, one should receive the lessons of the Srimad Bhagavatam. This verse definitely states that spiritual rasa can be experienced in the Srimad Bhagavatam due to its being the ripened fruit of all Vedic knowledge. By submissively hearing this transcendental literature, one can attain the full pleasure of one’s heart’s desire.

Comments Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das:  One acharya told us, “You should keep drinking the Bhagavat rasa until you drop!” Of course, intoxication is prohibited for Krishna bhaktas, but one can drink the rasa of Bhagavatam until one faints, alayam.

There is mystery and magic here. The Bhagavat is full of words, shabdha brahman, transcendental sound vibration. Yet Shukadev tells us that the Bhagavatam is actually liquid, rasa amrit, to be drunk through our ears until we drown in it, pralaya

Indeed, a paradox appearing as an irresistible offer to all seekers of love divine. So my friends, just remember that, ‘by hearing the Srimad Bhagavatam one can attain the full pleasure of one’s heart’s desire.’

Srimad Bhagavatam rasa amritam ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Vaisnava aparadha is spiritual suicide. But unfortunately, thousands of devotees are dying daily from this terrible deed. Vaisnava aparadha is like cancer. And it just grows and grows invisibly inside one slowing devouring the vitals of one’s bhakti.

A Vrajavasi saint living in Varshana named 108 Sri Sri Vinod Hari Das Babaji Maharaja gives the following important teachings about Vaisnava ninda, disrespecting and offending devotees of Bhagavan Sri Krishna. Definitely, if you read this post 108 times, you will understand and realize the unique and special position of EVERY SINGLE VAISNAVA without distinction.

Then once and for all the dreaded deadly disease of Vaisnava ninda will be removed, and peace, pure vision, balance and joy will arise in your purified consciousness.

THE SUBJECT OF VAISNAVA APARADHA

(note: this post is copied from net as it is without editing)

Sri Vinod Haridas Babaji Maharaja said, “The other aparadhas break the branches and leaves of the wish-fulfilling creeper of bhakti. However Vaisnava-aparadha is very powerful and it uproots the creeper altogether.

If we commit the other aparadhas the creeper will, no doubt, grow weak, but it will continue to live. However, if we commit Vaisnava-aparadha the creeper of bhakti dries up completely. Shastra say, “If we beat, criticize, disrespect, get angry with, do not express pleasure on seeing, do not pay obeisance and do not glorify a Vaishnav we commit Vaisnava-aparadha.” – (Sri Hari-bhakti-vilas)

Sriman-Mahaprabhu has especially warned the sadhak about this Vaishnavaparadhas. Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita and Sri Chaitanya Bhägabat mention Vaisnava-aparadha repeatedly. Meaning – “Chaitanya Gosain (Sriman-Mahaprabhu) delivered even the drunkards, but He sent the ones who indulge in Vaishnav-ninda in the Kumbhipäka hell.

Gourachandra will deliver everybody except the ones who criticize the Vaishnavs since they are the most fallen ones. Even if one pays obeisance to Sri Bhagavän, he will perish if he criticizes a devotee since it strikes Sri Gourahari like a spear in His heart. All Shästras declare that even if one is all-knowing he will fall down if he criticizes a Vaishnav. Although Sri Krishna’s Holy name cleanses us of all the sins, He cannot deliver us from the effects of Vaisnava-aparadha.”

– (Sri Chaitanya Bhagavat)

“heno baishnab-aparadhas jasi uthe hatimata,
upariya chinde tar shuki jay pata.”

Meaning – “A Vaisnava-aparadha is like an intoxicated elephant. It uproots the wish-fulfilling creeper of bhakti and its leaves dry up.”

– (Caitanya Caritamrita)

Besides these, other Shastras too have warned us about Vaisnava-aparadha.

“ninda kurvanti ye mudha vaishnavanang mahatmanang,
patanti pitribhih sardhang maha-raurava-sansthite.”

Meaning – “All those fools who critisize Vaishnavs, they fall into the Raurava hell8 along with their ancestors.” – (Skanda Puran)

“janma prabhriti yat kinchit sukritang samuparjiang,
nasham-ayati tat sarvang pidayed yadi vaishnavan.”

Meaning – “Those who hurt Vaishnavs, all their pious activities (even those performed in previous lifetimes) come to a naught.”

– (Skanda Puran)

“pujitaih bhagavan vishnur-janmantarshatair-api,
prasidati na vishwatma vaishnave cha-avamanite.”

Meaning – “Sri Bhagavan is never ever pleased with all those who show disrespect towards Vaishnavs.” – (Srimad-Bhagavatam)

So now, you can understand how dangerous Vaisnava-aparadha is. If we keep on collecting Vaisnava-aparadha there is no point in performing lots of bhajan. There is no way we can progress even the slightest bit in bhakti.

Vaisnava-aparadha does not constitute only Vaishnav-ninda. May be someone comes to you and does Vaishnav-ninda, you only say “Yea, yea, that’s right”. Even then, you will have to bear the entire effect of Vaishnav-ninda. It is like this – suppose, someone comes to you with an application, you do not say anything, but only sign below it; this is proof enough that you are making that statement. Similarly, if someone comes to you and does Vaishnav-ninda and you quietly nod your head then you should understand that you too are making the same comments.

Vivek das – That is all right. However, Shastras prescribe some behavioral code for the Vaishnavs, do they not? If some Vaishnavs do not follow these rules – instead – they behave in a completely opposite manner then why can we not mention it? Why should that constitute Vaisnava-aparadha?

Gour kripa – Most certainly, it will constitute Vaisnava-aparadha. Even if we see some Vaishnav behaving against the Shastriya-rules, we must not indulge in ninda. Instead, we should give him full respect, as a sadhu deserves to be given. This is because the Lord says in Sri Bhagavad Gita –

“api chedsuduraharo bhajate mam-ananyabhk,
sadhureva sa mantavyah samyag vyavasito hi sah.”

Meaning – “Even if someone is most sinful, but he worships me alone, then you must consider him to be a sadhu.”

Hence, if we ever disrespect a sädhu it is an aparadhas.

“hari-bhakti-para ye cha harinama parayanah,
durvritta va suvritta va tebhyo nityang namo namah.”

Meaning – “Whoever does Hari-bhakti and chants Holy Name – he may be good or bad

– I pay him my obeisance.”

– (Brihan-naradiya Puran)

“bhagavati cha haravananya-cheta
bhrisha-malino’pi virajate manushyah,
na hi shasha-kslushachchavih kadachit
timira-parabhävatam-upaiti chandrah.”

Meaning – “One who has bhakti for Sri Krishna alone, even if he is seen to commit some sinful activities, he always emits the aura of bhakti, just as the moon, although blemished, is not defeated by darkness.” – (Nrisimha Puran)

Therefore, we must never ever show contempt for a Vaishnav. Sri Chaitanya Bhagavat has strictly warned us –“We shall never get any respite if we criticize a worthy Vaishnav, for his behavior is beyond our limited understanding. Sometimes a worthy Vaishnav commits the same activities as a sinful person, only by Sri Krishna’s kripa, someone can understand this – but there are others who fall in trouble (of Vaishnav-ninda) and perish.

Those who do not fall in this pit, they survive in bhakti. I can see only one way out of this peril – it is best to glorify and behave humbly with everyone. In this mood, we must chant Holy Name and carefully hear from the great devotees. Then Krishna gives them divine intelligence, he crosses over the material ocean and no one can stop him.”

Vivek das – All right, I will not do Vaishnav-ninda. However, if someone comes to me and does the same then how is it harmful?

Gour kripa – Of course, it will harm you! If someone come to you and does Vaishnav-ninda – you don’t know whether that person is telling the truth or a lie, yet your respect towards that Vaishnav will decrease, won’t it? Immediately you will incur Vaisnava-aparadha ! This is why Shastras have ordered us not hear Vaishnav-ninda.

“nindam bhagavah shrinvan tatparasya janasya Vaisnava-aparadha,
Tato napaiti yah so’pi yatyadhah sukritachchyutah.”

Meaning – “On hearing Sri Krishna-ninda and ninda of Sri Krishna’s devotees, those who do not leave the place, he loses all his sukritis9 and falls down to the hellish planets.”

(Srimad-Bhagavatam)

“sadhu-ninda shunile sukriti hoy khoy,
janma janma adhahpat bede ei koy.’

Meaning – “The Vedas state that if we hear sadhu-ninda we lose our sukriti and fall down in every birth.”

From all these statements made in Shästras we can understand how dangerous is Vaisnava-aparadha ! So whoever wishes to progress in bhakti must be extremely careful about Vaisnava-aparadha. It is best to consider every Vaishnav as Sri Govinda’s dear devotee, show him respect and pay obeisance.

Vivek das – Does this mean that even a Babaji should show respect to a householder and pay obeisance?

Gour-kripa – A Vaishnav is a Vaishnav. He may be a grihastha or a renounced – that is immaterial. We must never distinguish. We must show respect, behave respectfully and pay dandavat to every Vaishnav. Otherwise, we’ll be committing an offence. Sri Bhagavän sees our heart. Whose heart is always filled with Krishna and he is not interested in material things, is a true Vaishnav. Sri Gita has defined ‘sannyas’ as –

“jneyah sa nitya-sannyasi yo dweshti na kankshati,
nirdvandvo hi mahabaho sukhang bandhat pramuchyate.”

Meaning – “O Mahabaho! He who never desires anything material, is devoid of anger and envy, know him to be an eternal sannyasi. A pure devotee like him, who is devoid of such dilemma very easily, transcends material bondage and gains liberation.”

Sri Bhagavan has said in Sri Gita –

“anashritah karmaphalang karyang karma karoti yah,
sa sannyasi cha yogi cha niragnirna chakriya.”

Meaning – “Whoever discharges his duties without expecting any fruit thereof; he alone is a sannyasi, a yogi and not one who has given up all activities.”

Therefore, if we accept the above statement of Sri Gita, then it is quite possible that a grihastha, whom I have shown contempt so far, is actually a sannyasi. Therefore, I have no business to feel proud ‘Ohh! I am a Babaji’ and treat a grihastha with contempt. I will only be committing Vaishnavaparadhas if I think him to be ‘a person worthy of my mercy’ or ‘a materialist’.

Now this does not mean a grihastha should disrespect a Babaji and think – ‘What is there in a dress? Greatness depends on the quality of bhajan. I am a nice devotee, I perform good bhajan, while this person is only a Babaji in name, and he does not behave like one.’

Even this is wrong. If a grihastha thinks like this and has contempt for a Babaji, he is crossing maryada and so is committing Vaisnava-aparadha. If a grihastha sees a young Babaji and thinks – “I am old and experienced. Moreover, I have lived for so long in Vrindävan and performed bhajan while this Babaji is of my son’s age, so why should I pay dandavat to him?

Rather I should bless him.” This is an aparadhas. We must remember that ‘kaupin’ is not something ordinary. It is according to Sriman-Mahaprabhu’s wish and Goswamis such as Sri Rup and Sanatan have worn this attire. Therefore, we must never disregard this dress.

“maryada langhile hoy narake gaman.”

Meaning – “If we overstep ‘maryada’ we shall go to hell” – (Caitanya Caritamrita)

He may do bhajan, he may not do bhajan, he may or may not behave properly, and still we should not disrespect him. Moreover, who knows, I am considering him to be my junior, I am thinking – ‘He is a newcomer, what does he know of bhajan?’ – In reality, he may have performed asadhan-bhajan for many previous lifetimes and is in a much more advanced state than I am.

Therefore, I will be at a loss if I disregard him. Hence, it is best to consider every Vaishnav higher than myself, pay dandavat, and treat him with respect. Then we have nothing to fear. We must do dandavat to anyone who dons Vaishnav emblems such as tilak and Tulsi.

“sakal baishnaber sahit abhed dekhiya,
je krishna-charan bhaje se jay toriya.”

Meaning – ‘One who worships the lotus-feet of Sri Krishna without discriminating between Vaishnavs, he is delivered.”

– (Sri Chaitanya Bhagabat)

“e-kale je baishnaber bodo chhoto bole,
nishchinte thakuk se janibe koto kale.”

Meaning – “Whosoever discriminates between Vaishnavs may rest in peace, for it will take him a long time to realize the Truth.”

(Sri Chaitanya Bhagabat)

Vivek das – Tell me, when I see a Vaishnav, will it not do if I pay him dandavat mentally?

Gour kripa – How is that? Pranam means ‘By body, mind and speech’. If we do not pay dandavat bodily then it means we have a veiled pride. What will happen if he considers me inferior? Only those who think like this will not pay dandavat openly.

Sriman-Mahaprabhu does not like this sort of Pranam. If we are ashamed to bow our head in front of Vaishnavs how van we expect to advance in the path of bhakti as shown by Sriman-Mahaprabhu?

‘baishnab dekhiya je na noway munda,
sei mundo pode giye naraker kunda.”

-(Sri Chaitanya Bhagabat)

Meaning – “The one who does not bow his head before a Vaishnav, his head falls into the pit of hell.” When we meet a Vaishnav we should at least join our palms, lower our head, speak humbly and thus show respect.

Vivek das – O exalted one, today I can see the Vaishnavs embroiled in so many quarrels, due to this my faith is shaking. What should I do?

Gour kripa – Never ever speak like this, because Sri Chaitanya Bhagabat is saying –

“nitya-shuddha gyan bastu baishnab sakal,
tobe je koloho dekho sob kutuhol.
iha na bujhiye kono kono buddhi nash,
eke bonde, ar ninde, jaibeko nash.”

Meaning – “All Vaishnavs are eternally pure and have pure knowledge, when you see them quarrel it is only in play. Some foolish people don’t understand this and take sides. They praise one and criticize the other – they will surely perish.”

Therefore we must think – “It is only a leela of the Vaishnavs. I am foolish, so am unable to comprehend” and we must not take sides. If you support one and find fault with the other, you will harm your bhajan.

“je papishtha ek baishnaber paksha hoy,
anya baishnaber ninde sei jay khoy.”

Meaning – “He is verily a sinner who supports one Vaishnav and criticizes another. Such a person will surely perish. – (Sri Chaitanya Bhagabat)

We must not even go where there is groupism and Vaishnav-ninda.

je sobhay baishnaber ninda matra hoy,
sarba-dharma thakileo tär hoy khoy.

Meaning – Even if an assembly follows all the rules of Dharma, yet indulges in Vaishnav-ninda, it perishes.” – (Sri Chaitanya Bhagabat)

Vivek das – But O exalted one! I live amidst so many Vaishnavs. Then how can I save myself from such Vaisnava-aparadha?

Gour kripa –For this we must stick to a few rules.

1. We should always remain engrossed in bhajan and sadhana.

2. We should not discuss anything else other than God.

3. We should speak with anyone only when it is absolutely necessary to do so.

4. We should walk on the road with our head lowered and palms joined – thus showing respect to everyone.

5. It is best to consider everyone superior to us.

6. When one comes to us and critisizes another person we should say, “I have remembered some urgent work” and quickly leave that place.

7. If we ever see some fault in another, we should think, “my heart is evil, so I am finding a fault in him, it is my fault and not his.” In this manner, we must chastise ourselves.

If we do not live like this, we shall never get rid of aparadhas and these huge barricades will continue to block our progress in bhakti. We will never even realize when, unknown to us, these aparadhas have accumulated and have formed mountains on our path.

Vivek das – Now I am really scared. I have begun to realize that Vaishnavaparadhas is very dangerous indeed! If I collect Vaisnava-aparadha, then no matter how much I try, I will make no progress in bhakti whatsoever. Please tell me how I can rid myself of these Vaisnava-aparadha. Please have mercy on me.

Gour kripa – Sriman-Mahaprabhu Himself has instructed how to get rid of Vaisnava-aparadha. He said –

“prabhu bole upadesh korite se pari,
baishnab-aparadhas khondaite nari.
je baishnab-sthane apardh hoy jar,
punah se khomile se ghuche nohe ar.”

Meaning – “The Lord said –I can instruct you on this matter, but I cannot take away your Vaisnava-aparadha. The only way to get rid of this aparadhas is to beg forgiveness from the person against whom you have committed the aparadhas. If he forgives then you are saved, there is no other way.” – (Chaitanya Bhagabat)

Therefore, we must please the one against whom we have committed an aparadhas by glorifying him and showing him respect. It does not mean we should go and angrily beat our head on the ground saying, “Sir! Please forgive me. It is entirely my fault! I should have never spoken to you at all! From now on I‘ll never talk to you and you mustn’t speak to me either.” In this manner if we harbor anger against that person then it is of no use.

The best way to rid ourselves of aparadhas is to repent. “Alas! I am ignorant, so I have committed aparadhas against a Vaishnav. Unknowingly I have hurt the feelings of a Vaishnav, shame on me! I am not qualified to be called a devotee at all. If my heart is blemished like this I shall never ever progress in bhakti.” In this way, we should be ashamed of ourselves. Bow at the feet of the one against whom we have committed aparadhas and cry out in misery for forgiveness.

Sri Vishwanath Chakravartipad has stated the same –

“tatashcha daivat tasminnaparadhase jate ‘hanta pamarena maya sadhushu
aparadhasamiti’ anutapta janah ‘krishanou shämyati taptang krishanano
evayam’ iti nyayena tatpadagra eve nipatya prasadayamiti vishannachetasa
pranatistuti samman-adibhis-tasyopashamah karyah.”

After much trying if we are unable to please the devotee, we should continue to try to please him by doing things to please him. If we are still not successful, we should chastise ourselves, be very much repentant and take the shelter of Holy Name. We must also take an oath that we shall never again commit am aparadhas like this. Then some day Sri Nam-prabhu will take mercy on us.

Vivek das –That’s good. The Shastras say, “If we take the shelter of Holy Name we will be rid of all aparadhas.” So isn’t it better to follow Shastra and take the shelter of Holy Name rather than beg others repeatedly to forgive us?

Gour kripa – In that case we will commit another aparadhas called ’to commit a sin on the strength of Holy Name’. We have to follow the above-mentioned rule only when we don’t know against whom we have committed an offence, or the person whom we have offended, is no more. It leaves us with no option other than to take the shelter of Holy Name. Then may be Holy Name will take mercy on us. Even then, we must remember that we must repent enough and we must be especially careful about not committing such an aparadhas again.

Otherwise, Sri Nam-prabhu will never be pleased.

Many times, we see that great devotees do not take offence in spite of behaving badly with them or insulting them. Instead, he considers it his own fault and repents. Even if someone treats him unjustly, or expresses anger, he thinks, “I have hurt him – it is all because of my faulty character.” Thinking thus, he chastises himself. Such is the nature of a pure devotee.

“rukshakshara girah shrinvan tatha bhagavateritah,
pranama-purvakang kshantva yo vaded-vaishnavo hi sah.”

Meaning – “He is a Vaishnav who, in spite of hearing harsh words from a devotee, pays obeisance unto him and praises him.”

– (Linga Puran)

Although a great devotee may forgive us, yet the specks of dust on his feet do not forgive. Hence if we think, “Oh! He is a great devotee, he is not hurt, so I have not committed an aparadhas,” the aparadhas will not leave us and we shall have to suffer for it. All those who have gained Bhaktidevi’s kripa, they never sight faults in others. They only sense their own faults. Let me tell you about the great Saint Tukaram.11

Sri Krishna is saying –“O Uddhav! Know Acharyadev to be non-different from me. Do not ever disregard him. Do not ever disrepect him by considering him a mere mortal. Sri Gurudev is the abode of all celestial beings.”

– (Srimad Bhagavatam)

Regarding this Sri Chaitanya Bhagabat says –

“The Lord showers mercy on a womanizer and drunkard, but He destroys a ninduk although he may be a Vedantin18. He says –‘I solemnly pledge that Krishna will easily deliver you if you do not indulge in ninda’.

The Lord kills the demons in only one birth, but He destroys a ninduk every moment in every life. We should understand that Krishna is the all-powerful Supreme controller and all the Shastras declare that ninda angers Krishna the most. A scholar may have studied the four Vedas, yet if he commits ninda he is punished by drowning in the Kumbhipak hell in countless births.”

Hence, if we want to gain Sriman-Mahaprabhu’s mercy we must refrain from ninda. Moreover, when we do ninda we accept the other person’s bad qualities and our good qualities flow through him. “Ninda is useless. It only results in sin. He who does not indulge in ninda is blessed indeed”

If we fix our gaze on this declaration of Sriman-Mahaprabhu, He will most certainly shower His kripa on us – harbor no doubt about it.

Vivek das – Now I know why, in spite of chanting Holy Name so many times, I am not progressing in bhakti. The saddest part of my life is that, I forsook everything – my home, luxury, wife, children, and relatives – but I could not give up para-ninda. Please tell me, how can I rescue myself from this miserable state?

Gour kripa – Sriman-Mahaprabhu has said in this context –

“I tell you there is but one truth. You have committed many aparadhas (ninda) unknowingly; but henceforth if you never ever commit ninda and constantly glorify Sri Vishnu and the Vaishnavs, then these aparadhas will leave you. This is the only means to get out of this trouble. Even if you perform crores of penances, you will not be cleansed.”

Sri Goursundar continued, “Whoever does not obey this command and still commits ninda is verily a sinner and floats in the ocean of misery. When someone indulges in the ninda of my servant, my all-powerful Holy Name destroys him. I have countless servants in infinite universes. Whoever is envious of a single one of them surely perishes.”

– (Sri Chaitanya Bhagabat)

– (Sri Chaitanya Bhagabat)

So, let us realize that He exists in every element. If we do not respect each and every soul, we are hurting Him Whom we are worshiping. This sort of bhajan is futile.

We perform Love-sadhana. Will our love remain confined to just one kunja24? Then it is a very narrow love indeed! But this is not true! When a single spark of this Love enters us, we realize Love within each molecule, nay, each atom. This Love is so magnificent that we should be careful not to minimize it.

So the bard has sung –

“O mind! You did not bow your head at every foot. Do you not realize the Treasure of your heart dwells amidst all? Bhagavan is in every being and He is the same. You puffed up and insulted others. O my foolish mind! Do you not know – your Priceless Beloved Krishna exists in so many forms? If you desire Him, if you have any wish to get Him, make everyone your own, beg at his or her feet and love all. If you cannot do it, your sadhana and bhajan are worthless. Consider yourself fallen; you will gain from it. You will get His lotus-feet, intoxicate your heart and beget prem. Otherwise you will only come and go (roam around in the cycle of birth and death) and never gain that priceless treasure called ‘Love’.”

We simply cannot avoid this point in our sadhana. We shall love Bhagavan and not love our fellow men – then we can be sure that we shall never love Bhagavan. If we really love Bhagavan, we shall love His creation as well. I dislike or envy my fellow men and I say –“I love Bhagavan”. Most definitely I am a liar!! On the other hand if I don’t serve Bhagavan and say – “Service to mankind is the topmost Dharma”, I am verily a cheat.

When we experience Him as the One present in all and all present in Him, then we are Bhagavad-bhaktas (God-lovers). Srimad Bhagavatam defines the best devotee as –

“sarva-bhuteshu yah pashyet bhagavad-bhavam-atmanah,
bhutani bhagavatyatmanyesha bhagavatottama.”

Meaning – “He who experiences Sri Bhagavan in every element and perceives all objects in Him is the best devotee.”

Sri Gita agrees with the above statement –

“bahunan janmanan ante gyanavan mam prapadyate,
vasudeva sarvam-iti sa mahatma sudurlabhah.”

Meaning – “After many lifetimes a wise devotee realizes that ‘Vasudev is everything’. Such a great soul is very rare.”

There is nothing other than Him. Advay-gyan-tatva25 Sri Krishna is Swayam Bhagavan26. The more we realize it, the more we‘ll move away from hate and envy. We’ll relish Divine ras more and more. When we develop this bhäv, all will appear nice and we will like everyone. We’ll go beyond good and bad, happiness and sorrow, and submerge in the ocean of Krishna-prem. Although lotus leaves touch the water, they never get wet. Similarly, the good and bad, justice and injustice of this material world will not affect the sadhak27 any more.

Vivek das – Everything you say is true; but how shall I get this realization? How can I get rid of liking some and disliking others? I can understand that He is the same and is present in every element, but when it comes to practicing, I cannot do it. What do I do?

Gour kripa – It is not as easy as we think. To bring this bhav in us we must always keep our conscience awake. Conscience is a very sharp weapon. In all our waking hours, we must constantly feel this bhav. When we move on the streets we should awaken this feeling in us – “Sri Bhagavan exists in every element” and we should indiscriminately

Vivek das – You speak nothing but the truth. Nevertheless, I am unable to follow it. I don’t even realize when I start seeing faults in a person and feel contempt for him. Please tell me an easy remedy to get rid of this disease.

Gour Kripa – The easiest way to practice the “trinadapi” verse is to feel that God exists in every being. When He is present in everyone and everyone is present in Him then we shall not feel embarrassed to bow before anyone. Whenever we meet a person, we should get into this mood. This is the best way to practice “trinadapi”. Along with this, we should chant constantly without any gap. At the same time, we should give up all aparadhas in body, mind and speech. There is no other way to get “trinadapi” bhav30. If we do not follow this path even if show humility, it will only be external. Inside our false ego will always hold its head high.

“You must pay obeisance and have lots of respect for all beings – be it a Brahmin31, Chandal32 or a dog. It is the religion of Vaishnavs to pay obeisance to everyone. A Vaishnav who does not obey this dictum is a cheat.”

( Sri Chaitanya Bhagabat)

Nitai Gaura Sitanatha premanandi ki jai! Pure Vaisnava Behavior 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.

GLORIES OF SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM

dharmah projjhita-kaitavo ‘tra paramo nirmatsaranam satam
vedyah vastavam atra vastu sivadam tapa-trayonmiilanam
srimad-bhagavate maha-muni-krte kim va parair isvarah
sadyo hrdy avarudhyate ‘tra krtibhih susrusubhis tat-ksanat
(Srimad Bhagavatam 1.1.2)

“A sincere devotee can immediately capture Bhagavan Sri Krishna in the heart just by hearing Bhagavatam or even desiring to hear. This does not happen with any other spiritual book. The Srimad Bhagavatam, which is manifest by Sri Krishna Himself, presents the eternal spiritual reality. This transcendental truth, which makes one’s life auspicious and free from all material miseries, can be understood by those without selfish intentions. Only the Srimad Bhagavatam teaches the way to attain pure love of God, Krishna prema, devoid of all material goals and liberation.

Sri Visvanatha Cakravartipada tika: Since Bhagavatam is the essence of all scripture, it shows what is beneficial and unbeneficial for the jiva. This verse clearly establishes that the Srimad Bhagavatam gives bliss to all its listeners and helps everyone achieve the highest objective, Krishna prema.

That prema arises in the devotees, since Sri Krishna is brought under control only by prema. Pranaya-rashanaya dhrtanghri-padmah: Krishna’s lotus feet are tied by the ropes of prema to the devotee. Krishna enters the heart from the moment one begins listening even if one has no faith. And if one hears with faith then how much more quickly one will develop Krishna prema.

Since Krishna becomes supremely blissful by being trapped in a heart filled with prema, this also indicates that Krishna is happy and filled with prema when the devotees hear Bhagavatam. This result is not achieved by any other scripture or other practices (kim-va-paraih).

Krishna prema is understood by those without selfishness. And even the selfish will lose their selfishness by hearing Srimad Bhagavatam. This permanent object (vastavam vastu) that Srimad Bhagavatam gives one includes Sri Krishna’s transcendental name, form, qualities, divine abode, devotees and bhakti.

Hearing Srimad Bhagavatam brings one auspiciousness (shivadam) in the form of becoming an associate of Sri Krishna with prema, and it gives release from the three-fold miseries or liberation (tapa-trayonmulanam) as the unsought result.

Pure bhakti-yoga, which this verse advocates, is called parama or supreme, because bhakti is the best process in that it gives all types of material happiness, liberation and prema.

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das: This opening verse of Srimad Bhagavatam is mentioned thrice in Caitanya-caritamrta (1.1.91;2.24.100;2.25.149). The Srimad Bhagavatam is so merciful and powerful that it benedicts the faithless with faith and the selfish with pure love, divine Krishna prema just by reading it or even desiring to read it.

This verse says Srimad Bhagavatam will not cheat you like everything else in this cheating age of Kali. Sri Krishna is Bhagavan as the ultimate loving, caring, giving and compassionate form of Godhead.

Fifty centuries ago, Sri Krishna simultaneously left this world and appeared in the transcendental form of the Srimad Bhagavatam. Now anyone just for the price of giving up envy can avail oneself to all the love, care and compassion of Sri Krishna just by reading Srimad Bhagavatam.

Srimad Bhagavatam ki jai!  Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Most all of the 8,400,000 species of life have eyes to see the reality they live in. It is only human beings, however, that have the eyes to see God, Bhagavan Sri Krishna.

In Gita, Sri Krishna describes the vision of the perfect person who sees Krishna everywhere. By such divya -drshti, divine sight, one captures Krishna in the heart, and keeps Krishna forever bound in the embrace of one’s loving eyes.

Sri Krishna explains this point in Bhagavad-gita (6.30):

yo –mam –pashyati -sarvatra
sarvam -ca -mayi -pashyati
tasyaham -na –pranashyami
sa -ca -me -na -pranashyati

Bhagavan Sri Krishna says, “One who sees Me everywhere and sees everything in Me, never loses sight Me, nor do I lose sight of him.”

Sri Sridhar Swamicharan: In other words, Sri Krishna is saying, ‘Since I am continually present before one, one is never lost to Me.’

There are two levels of seeing Bhagavan Sri Krishna everywhere.

1- With eyes coated with pure spiritual love, Krishna prema, like the cowherd damsels of Vrajabhumi and sadhana-siddha Krishna premi-bhaktas.

2- With eyes coated with desire and eagerness to see Sri Krishna everywhere.

At this level, one has not yet attained Krishna prema, but one does have a strong, focused and continuous desire, backed by intense eagerness to see Sri Krishna. One thinks, “I really, really want to see Krishna. No matter what it takes, I MUST SEE KRISHNA in this very life!”

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu says, “A devotee is one who firmly believes Krishna will show His mercy, krishna –krpa-karibena- drdha- kari-jane.” (Caitanya-caritamrta 2.23.28)

Having a genuine, driving desire and eagerness to see Sri Krishna will automatically make one detached from maya and one’s unlimited material desires. Srila Prabhupada said that eagerness is absolutely essential to make tangible spiritual advancement.

Srila Prabhupada says, “We must be very, very eager to see Krishna; then you can see Krishna. Whether you are lusty or a thief or whatever, somehow you must develop this eagerness, this desire: ‘I MUST SEE KRISHNA!’ Then KRISHNA WILL BE SEEN!” (Journey of Self Discovery 2.2)

Sri Ananta Dasa Babaji Maharaja says, “Eagerness is the very LIFE FORCE OF BHAJAN! A devotee with loving eagerness will receive abundant grace from Sri Krishna. Eagerness is always the best means to fulfill our desires. Without it, there is no taste in sadhana and one can’t attain anything!”

Out of His infinite love and compassion, Sri Krishna personally teaches how anyone, even without Krishna prem, can always see and remember Krishna everywhere throughout the day and night. All it takes is the desire to see Krishna, and the eagerness to sincerely try.

By reading and remembering the following simple Gita verses, one will easily SEE KRISHNA EVERYWHERE day after day, until the last when Sri Krishna Himself will appear, and take you to Vraja Dham to see and be with Krishna forever!

We have arranged the following verses, all personally spoken by Sri Krishna in Gita, in a logical sequence of time and category that follow one’s daily activities beginning with waking.

Time: I am time, kala -asmi. 11.32

Existence: I am the life of all that lives, jivanam –sarva –bhuteshu. 7.9

Speech: I am the letter A, aksharanam –aksharo –asmi. (10.32) I am the sound in ether, shabdah –khe –aham. 7.8

Water: I am the taste of water, rasa -aham -apsu. 7.8

Chirping Birds: Of birds, I am Garud, vainateyash -ca -pakshinam. 10.30

Trees: Of trees, I am peepul, ashwattah -sarva -vrkshanam. 10.26

Nama/Diksa: I am japa, japa –yagya- asmi. 10.25

Beauty, Wealth, Strength: All beauty, wealth and strength is just a spark of My splendor, yad -yad –vibhutimat- sattvam, srimad -urjitam -mama -tejah -amsha. 10.41

Perfumes: I am the beautiful fragrance of the earth, punyo –gandha –prthivi -asmi. 7.9

Food: I am the fire of digestion, aham -vaishvanaro, (15.14) I am the heat in fire, asmi –vibhavasau. (7.9)

Sunshine, Moonshine: I am the light of the sun and moon, prabha –asmi –shashi- suryayoh. (7.8) Of all bright things, I am the radiant sun, jyotisham –ravih -asmi. 10.21.

Exercise: I am the strength of the strong, balam –balavatam –aham. 7.11

Wind: Of purifiers, I am the wind, pavana –pavatam –asmi. 10.31

Months: I am November-December, masa -margashirsha -aham. 10.35

Seasons: I am spring, rtu –kusumakara. 10.35

School: I am the intelligence of the intelligent, buddhi –buddhimatam –aham. (7.10) Of all knowledge, I am knowledge of the self, adhyatma –vidya –vidyanam.

Intelligence: I am the knowledge of the wise, gyanam –gyanavatam –aham. 10.38

Work: I am the ability in persons, paurusham –nrshu. (7.8) I am the beginning, middle and end of all creations, sargan –adir –madhya- anta. 10.32

Animals: Of all animals, I am the lion, mrganam –mrgendra –aham. 10.30

Ocean: Of all water bodies, I am the ocean, sarasam -asmi -sagarah. 10.24

Rivers: I am Ganga, asmi -jahnavi. 10.31

Fish: I am the shark (dolphin ?), jhashanam -makara -asmi, 10.31

War: Of generals, I am Skanda (son of Siva), senaninam -aham -skanda. 10.24

Moon: Among all the stars, I am the moon, nakshatranam -aham -shashi. 10.21

Intimacies: I am union that is not against religious principles, dharma –aviruddha –kama –asmi. 7.11

Secrets: Of secrets, I am silence, maunam -asmi -guhyanam. 10.38

In all these simple everyday ways, you can always remember Krishna everywhere, and see His beautiful sweet and charming, smiling face in everyone’s heart and everything that you see throughout the day.

Seeing Krishna everywhere 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.

GLORIES OF SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM

* Sri Krishna is the Main Topic of Bhagavatam

janmad -yasya –yaton -vayad –itaratash, carthesh -vabhigyah –svarat
-tene -brahma –hrda -ya –adi –kavaye, -muhyanti -yat -surayah
tejo -vari-mrdam -yatha -vinimayo, -yatra -tri-sargo ’mrsha,
dhamna -svena -sada -nirasta-kuhakam, -satyam param dhimahi (Srimad Bhagavatam 1.1.1/Caitanya Caritamrita, 3 times)

“One should meditate upon the Supreme Truth, Bhagavan Sri Krishna, as the source of all manifestations. Krishna is both present in and aloof from everything in existence. Krishna is completely independent and omniscient. Krishna manifested the wisdom of Veda in the heart of Brahma, the primeval rishi. Just as sun’s rays are mistaken for water (in a mirage), Krishna deludes the greatest devatas by making the temporarily manifest material world seem real. Sri Krishna Himself, however, is forever free from all illusion because Krishna eternally exists in the divine realm.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 1.1.1)

BBT Tika of Srila Prabhupada:

“Acharyas like Sri Jiva Goswami, Sri Sanatana Goswami, Sri Visvanatha Cakravartipada and Vallabhacharya made elaborate commentaries on Bhagavatam. Serious students should go through them to better relish the transcendental messages.”

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das: PLEASE NOTE how in the very beginning of Bhagavatam, published in 1962, Srila Prabhupada directs his disciples to study the tikas of both the Gaudiya and Vallabha Sampradayas. Srila Prabhupada is not only appreciating other great Vaisnavas, “in print” he is ordering his disciples to study their sacred words. One may wonder if such a broad-minded, devotional attitude still prevails.

Srila Prabhupada continues: “[In his tika on this verse] Sri Visvanatha Cakravartipada explains that the very first word of the Srimad Bhagavatam “janmaady” indicates the “adi-rasa”, the madhurya-rasa (divine amorous love) found in the transcendental realm of Goloka Vrndavana. In modern civilization, amorous enjoyment is the focal point for all activities.

“However, its real and true form is only experienced in the spiritual world in the Absolute Truth. Without knowing about the actual spiritual form of amorous pleasure, everyone has accepted its material counterpart as the all in all. This Srimad Bhagavatam will gradually elevate the reader to the highest perfectional stage of transcendence.”

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das: Srila Prabhupada ki jai! What an amazing, straight to the point commentary by His Divine Grace! Sitting in the shade of the lotus feet of Sri Rupa and Sri Jiva Goswami in Seva Kunj, Srila Prabhupada, with the blessings of Sri Sri Radha Damodar Jiu, translated and commented on the First Canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam from 1959-1964.

Like all Gaudiya acharyas, Srila Prabhupada knows that the whole purpose of the 18,000 verse Bhagavatam is to reveal the eternal truth and glories of Srimati Radharani’s nirmal –vishuddha -vraja –prema and madhurya-rati for Rasikashekar Bhagavan Sri Krishna.

Forever we remain grateful to Srila Prabhupada for teaching us through his KRSNA BOOK, Nectar of Devotion, Teachings of Lord Chaitanya, and this opening verse of Srimad Bhagavatam that the goal of human life is to attain the “adi-rasa” (janmaady yasya), which means the eternal prema seva of the lotus feet of Sri Sri Radha-Krishna in Vrndavana.

“Jaya Radha Madhava, Kunja Bihari, Gopijanavallabha, Girivaradhari” ki jai!

Indeed, true to their beautiful rasika drshti kon, angle of vision, our Gaudiya Vaisnava acharyas show how the Bhagavatam starts off with a BANG!

Radha-Govinda Yugala’s divine madhura-rati, the “adi-rasa”, and Their eternally blissful Vraja nikunja-lilas are indicated in the very FIRST WORD OF THE BHAGAVATAM!

Out of his infinite kindness, Srila Prabhupada in his very first commentary on the Bhagavatam has revealed to the sensitive reader the real rasik essence of the Bhagavata which proclaims the supreme position of Radha-Govinda Yugala and Their uniquely blissful “adi-rasa” in Vraja Dhama!

Srimad Bhagavatam ki jai! Adi-rasa ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

You said work. But is it work? Let’s see the difference between “work” and “service”.

Two words: work and service. Work means doing, toiling, labour, struggle, drudgery. Work means karm, and karm brings bondage, samsara and misery.

Service is not work. The word service means to help, aid, assist. Service with devotion is seva, Krishna’s seva, which means devotional, loving service for the pleasure of Hari, Guru and Vaisnavas. This type of service or seva is bhakti, giving service, and bhakti seva brings one freedom, liberation and mukti, joy and satisfaction.

In Gita, 4.34, Bhagavan Sri Krishna says a disciple needs three things to approach a Guru and learn about the Absolute Truth, Sri Krishna.

=1 Pranipat means “unconditional surrender,”

=2 Pariprashna means “a variety of questions related to spiritual life.”

=3 Seva means “a mind and heart having the feeling to serve and please another person.”

If you approach Sri Guru with these three attitudes, you will certainly gain knowledge about Sri Krishna and make your human birth successful.

The Srimad Bhagavatam says the RESULT OF SERVING Sri Hari, Sri Guru and the Vaisnavas, is that by this seva, or service, one’s bhakti will deepen and become steady and strong. This is the difference between “work” and “service” or seva, the loving service of Krishna.

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, immaculate and divine spiritual shastra, the amala-purana, one will 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 all the teachings of the six Goswamis of Vrindavana by quoting the key Bhagavatam verses which the Goswamis themselves used to prove and substantiate these beautiful truths.

To highlight its importance for all devotees of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Radha-GovindaYugala, the same Bhagavatam verse is often quoted three or more times in Caitanya Caritamrita.

With the grace of Sri Advaita Prabhu, Sri Guru and the Vaisnavas, this series will focus on these super important Bhagavatam verses and commentaries in order to present the beautiful truths or tattvas of Gaudiya Vaisnavism i.e. Sri Krishna, Sri Radha, Bhakti Sadhana, Sri Harinama, Krishna Prema, Sri Guru and the Vaisnavas.

Beautiful Truths

THE VAISNAVAS

* Devotees Are Superior to Brahmins
viprād -dvi-ṣaḍ-guṇa-yutād,-aravinda-nābha,
pādāravinda-vimukhāt-śva, pacaṁ-variṣṭham
manye -tad-arpita-mano,-vacane-hitārtha-
prāṇaṁ-punāti-sa-kulaṁ,- natu-bhūrimānaḥ (Srimad Bhagavatam 7.9.10)
Sri Prahlada said, I consider a dog-eater who has dedicated everything—his mind, words, activities, wealth and life—to Bhagavan Sri Krishna superior to a brāhmaṇa having all the twelve qualities of brahmin averse to Bhagavan. The dog-eater purifies his whole family, whereas the so-called respectable person does not.

Srila Visvanatha Cakravartitika: One should consider the absence or presence of bhakti. The dog-eater who has offered his mind, actions (īhitam), wealth (artha), words and life to Sri Krishna is far superior to a born brahmin endowed with the good qualities of knowledge, mind and sense control, shyness, tolerance, lack of envy, determination and peace.
How is the dog-eater devotee superior? He purifies his whole family whereas a venerable Brahmin without Krishna bhakti cannot purify himself, what to speak of his family.

* Devotee Helps Others
etāvaj-janma-sāphalyaṁ, dehinām-iha-dehiṣu,
prāṇair-arthair-dhiyā-vācā, śreya-ācaraṇaṁ-sadā (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.22.35)
It is the duty of every living being to perform welfare activities for the benefit of others with one’s life, wealth, intelligence and words.

Sri Jiva Goswamipada tika: Words means giving good instructions to free one from samsara.

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti tika: One should use one’s life to serve others.

* A Nama Sadhaka Is Topmost
aho-bata-śva-paco, ’to garīyān,
yaj-jihvāgre- vartate,- nāma-tubhyam
tepus -tapas –te,- juhuvuḥ -sasnurāryā,
brahmānūcur-nāma, gṛṇanti -ye -te   (Srimad Bhagavatam 3.33.7)
How astonishing! The outcaste who chants Your name with even the tip of his tongue becomes a guru (gariyan)! All those who chant your name are most respectable, and they have already performed all types of austerities, yagyas, sacrifices, bathing (tirtha-snanas) and Vedic study (brahma-anucuh.

Srila Visvanatha Cakravartitika: This is most astonishing (aho-bata)! The outcaste who chants just one name of Bhagavan Sri Krishna is the best guru (gariyān). He becomes a qualified diksha guru empowered to teach and give mantra to others.

Srila Prabhupada tika: If one has the pure mentality of only chanting the holy name to please Bhagavan Sri Krishna, then even a low born person is purified and quite competent to deliver others (as Guru), even though he or she was born in a family not following Vedic rules and regulations.

* The Perfect Devotee King
sa –vai- manaḥ- kṛṣṇa, -padāravindayor,
vacāṁsi-vaikuṇṭha,-guṇā-nuvarṇane
karau- harer- mandira,-mārjanādiṣu,
śrutiṁ- cakārācyuta, -sat-kathodaye

mukunda-liṅgālaya,-darśanedṛśau,
tad-bhṛtya-gātra, -sparśe -’ṅga-saṅgamam
ghrāṇaṁ -ca -tat-pāda,-saroja-saurabhe,
śrīmat-tulasyā,- rasanāṁ -tad-arpite

pādau–hareḥ-kṣetra, -padānu-sarpaṇe,
śiro-hṛṣīkeśa,-padābhivandane
kāmaṁ -ca- dāsyen,-atukāma-kāmyayā,
yathottama-śloka, -janāśray-āratiḥ (Srimad Bhagavatam 9.4.18-20)

King Ambarisha attained bhava or love for Bhagavan by using his mind, senses and whole body in favorably serving Bhagavan Sri Krishna by meditating upon Krishna’s lotus feet, glorifying Bhagavan Sri Krishna, cleaning Hari’s mandira, hearing Sri Acyuta -katha, taking Thakuraji -Mukunda’s- darshana, visiting Sri Hari’s lila-sthalis like Mathurā and Vṛndāvana.

Touching and embracing Vaisnavas, smelling Thakuraji’s maha oil perfumes and flowers, tasting Sri Krishna’s maha-tulasi, bowing down to Sri Hrshikesh and His bhaktas, and by engaging all his desires in selflessly serving Bhagavan Sri Krishna under the shelter of loving devotees fully attached glorifying Bhagavan Sri Krishna.

Srila Visvanatha Cakravartitika: These verses describe the kings’ sādhana for attaining Krishna prema. King Ambarish performed all these wonderful devotional acts with the sole desire to attain love divine devoid of material desire as seen in Prahlāda and other pure Vaisnavas.

Srila Prabhupada: This verse shows that IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO TRAIN ONESELF without guidance from the spiritual master. The first business of a devotee is to accept a bona fide spiritual master who can train him to engage his various senses in rendering transcendental service to Bhagavan Sri Krishna.

Vaisnava Tattva ki jai! Srimad Bhagavatam ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

1977, we left our Delhi train in Mathura, and bounced along the dusty road in a clickety-click, clickety-click horse cart ride to Vrndavana. “Welcome to Vrndavana, the Land of Krishna” said the sign as we approached its precincts.

“Ahh, we made it, we’re here; this is the spiritual world!”

Then Sri Vrndavtavi Mata blessed us with our first darshana of Vrndavana, and completely excited our heart with a special kind of attraction. We felt a unique sense of imperceptible peace, and some inexplicable feeling of continually resonating joy in the core of our heart.

As we wandered about the villages of Vrndavana, Varshana, Nandagrama, Govardhana and Radha-kunda all of our senses, especially our eyes, ears and nose, were captivated and transported to a subtle and mysterious realm far beyond whatever lies outside this “play land of God”, lilabhumi Vrndavana.

Now we will share some of our memories from forty-two years ago.

Legions of robust, brilliant green happy parrots chattered everywhere in the neem trees lining the Chattikara road like rows of sentinels guarding the path from the Delhi Road to the Banke Bihari Mandir. The road was so narrow that if two cars were passing, the car giving way would get scratched by the scrawny, thorny babul trees (acacia arabica) flanking the road.

The twisty, narrow roads of bricks were polished smooth from millions of loving shuffles scurrying to tiny temples or regal palaces housing the sweet Kings of their hearts. In the small “family temples” and grand mandirs, the Thakurajis were all being cooled with large cloth fans pulled by the eager hands of grateful bhaktas.

Before our Vrndavana yatra we had darshan of many Krishna murtis in mandirs in America, Canada and UK. But here in Vrndavana, we experienced the Thakurajis to be very different, extra special, close and friendly, touchable and human like. If you reach out, Thakuraji will hold your hand, whisper something in your ear and move into your heart. Here the Thakurajis are not aloof and distant. They are loving, and like gaumata they want attention and care.

Thakuraji wants to be close and near His devotees. He misses them and hankers to see them in every arati. When you take darshan of Damodar jiu, Govindadeva, Gopinatha, Radha Raman, Radha Vallabh and Shyamsundar you feel that They really like you, and appreciate your standing before them admiring Their sweet and perfectly beautiful divine forms with every drop of devotion you possess.

“O such a land! Such a wondrous experience! And such a love found in nowhere but Vrndavana!”

The Yamuna River, glistening with an undeniably rich dark blue color, immediately reminded us of our beloved Shyamsundar. Yamunaji meandered in a zig-zag way through the magical landscape, not purposely toward a goal, but lazily like a person relishing one’s self in the inner world of contentment. Like the path of Krishna bhakti, Yamunaji moved slowly, carrying the hidden treasure of her personal joy while steadily move toward her goal, the ocean.

One night at 1.30 a.m. while sleeping in our small Raman Reti guesthouse, we were suddenly awakened by some unearthly sound. It was the deep thunderous crying of what seemed to be thousands of domestic cats meowing in unison. What was that curious mystical cry? The sound abated after some time, but then again roared back into prominence at about 4 a.m.

The next morning, our Vrajavasi friend said, “O that is the peacocks in the forests singing for Radha-Krishna’s nightly rasa lila. And at 4, they are calling all the bhaktas to come for Krishna’s darshan in mangal arati!”

In 1992, by Krishna’s power alone, we did dandavat parikrama of Vrndavana. It was all just sandy plains from Keshi Ghat to the big white Jagannatha Mandir. Then believe it or not, the entire length of the parikrama marga was ONLY soothing cool and purifying white Yamuna sand. Parrot and peacock filled big tall neem, palasha, kadamba and arjuna trees interspersed with fruit orchards of ber, guava and jamun trees lined both sides of the marga. Crossing the Vrndavana-Mathura road, the parikrama marga was bordered by big trees and garden filled spacious ashrams of various saints all the way to Raman Reti.

Often we would take visiting devotees to the then tallest building in Vrndavana, the seven storied “Pagal Baba Mandir”. From its roof we would point out the Goswami Saptalaya Mandir domes, and the royal Madan Mohan temple gloriously reigning atop Dvadashaditya Tila.

This is the Vrndavana of forty-two years ago that completely captured the dry and broken heart of one 24-year-old American. Like many, we were searching for a nature loving, personal and playful God. We found Him here; Krishna and Radha in their paradise of pure devotion, Vrndavana! It was an incredible overtaking of our being. Impossible but it’s happening. We can see, smell, hear, taste, touch and feel Krishna right here, NOW in Vrndavana.

Ten years later, in 1987, by Srimati Radharani’s mercy, we happily moved permanently to Vrndavana. Then a tragedy appeared. Unfortunately, for the next 20 years (1987-2007), we painfully and helplessly watched the divine paradise that once enchanted our hearts disappear right before our tear-filled eyes.

Sadly, our hearts broken, it’s now ALL GONE! No more trees, no more parrots, peacocks or mynas, those talented maestros, and NO MORE YAMUNA! Small “family temples” vanished under the rubble of stores and apartments. Other friendly, sweet and vibrant small temples turned into sprawling complexes of marble, gold, tinsel and trim all neatly packaged in steel “monkey cages”. Thakuraji’s “devotee fans” moved by loving hands and hearts were replaced by ceiling fans and AC’s.

During the destruction of Vrndavana, we often thought and prayed, “O Radharani! You are the Queen of the trees, birds and forests of Vrndavana. And You are the one and only supreme Empress of absolutely, pure and immaculate selfless love for Sri Krishna, mahabhava. We promise You that if we ever get some money, we will buy a little land and offer You some beautiful trees as a small token of our love and gratitude for all and everything that you have and still are giving to us.”

After many years, by Srimati Radharani’s sweet will, She gave some land in Her heart’s domain, Sri Radha-kunda Dhama. By Sri Krishna’s grace there are now over thirty-five trees here for Lila Yugal’s enjoyment, including neem, campak, asoka, amla, moulshri and Their favorites, our precious Tamal and Kadamba yugal vrksh.

With great disappointment, however, we have seen that most of the devotees buying land here will mindlessly decimate all the trees, and then cover every inch of their plots with cement, buildings driveways and towering walls, leaving zero vraj raja, save and except a ceremonial “tulsi stambha”. What about serving Vrndavana, and pleasing the Queen who so kindly gave you the land, Vrndavaneshvari Sri Radha?

We met one South Indian sadhu just after he purchased a plot in Vrndavana. “Maharaja, what is your plan for your land? Are you going to cover every inch with cement like everyone else does?”

Swamiji replied, “O, No, no, this is Vraja. I promise you I will build a small ashram along the back wall and leave the remaining area for a garden with trees and flowers for our Thakuraji.”

“Yes, this is good. Actually, it’s a privilege and a special favor from Srimati Radharani to be granted some land in Her Queendom. “Your property” and all the land in Vrndavana actually belongs to Sri Radha alone. We are merely guardians meant to protect and beautify it with flowers and trees as a place for the happiness and sweet pastimes of Sri Sri Radha Govinda Yugal.”

Conversation over, construction starts and guess what happened? A big ashram manifested eating all the land, and the “promised garden” is nonexistent! Such is the age of Kali!

To all those blessed devotees moving to Vrndavana and building a home on a private plot, we humbly make the following appeal. No matter how big or small your plot is, please only build on one-third or one-half of “your land”, and leave the rest for a “Radharani Bagicha”, a beautiful garden full of fragrant flowers and happy trees! The is real residence in Vrndavana, Vrajavasa, and this is Krishna bhakti.

In closing, we pray: “O Vraja! O Vrndatavi Mata! How very much we miss you that while writing this our tears are falling on the paper. Will we ever see you again? Will we ever be embraced by you again, and fill with that special feeling of love, security, hope and happiness than only a bhakta can perceive? O Srimati Radharani! If Vraja does not return, then please I beg You to take me to Your lotus feet in Goloka Vrndavana Dhama.

Jai Jai Sri Radhe! Sridham Vrndavana ki jai!