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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.

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

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

The eighteen syllable Gopal (Krishna) mantra, highlighted in the Gopal Tapani Upanisad, is the actual diksha mantra for all Gaudiya Vaisnavas. In Brhad Bhagavatamrita, Sri Sanatana Goswami reveals the inconceivably amazing power and effect of the Gopal mantra.

In his narrative of an archetypal, young Vrajavasi cowherd named Gopa-kumar, Sri Sanatana Goswami explains that this simple, uneducated boy attained the topmost spiritual perfection just by chanting the Gopal-mantra received from his Guru.

Sitting on the same asana in the same place, his Govardhan home, and in the same body, Gopa-kumar, by his diksha mantra-purified mind and consciousness, attained and experienced many positions and realms or regions of both material and spiritual reality, wherein one lives for thousands or even millions of years!

Commenting on his own verse (Brihad Bhagavatamrita II.3.9), Sri Sanatana Goswami says, “Gopa-kumar did not die, or give up his present body to accept another body. Rather, his young cowherd body became so refined and pure that he was able to “travel” to all these different regions or planes of reality, and finally enter the supreme spiritual abode.”

During his galactic spiritual odyssey, Gopa-kumar encountered the lokas of Svarga, Tapa, Satya, Shiva, Visnuloka and sakshad darshan of Sri Lakshmi Narayan.

At last, by the mercy of Sri Guru and the power of chanting his diksha Gopal-mantra, Gopa-kumar attained his cherished spiritual perfection. He received an eternal, blissful spiritual body (siddha svarupa/deha) of a cowherd boy, and entered Goloka Vrndavana.

Bhagavan Govinda Gopal greeted Gopa-kumar and locked him in a loving embrace of eternal fraternity. Now, Gopal, Gopa-kumar and all the boys will play and sport together for time eternal in the forests, rivers, lakes and pasture lands of the happy realm of Nanda Vraj!

The most significant point is that Gopa-kumar achieved all these phenomenal experiences, realizations and realities of consciousness even though he received practically no association or personal instructions from his diksha Guru.

Gopa-kumar himself explains, “I received diksha in the Gopal-mantra, but then my Guru, overwhelmed in bliss, immediately went away. I didn’t have the slightest idea how to chant the mantra, mantra –katham –sadhaniya, gyatam –na –kinchana.” (Brihad Bhagavatamrita II.1.122-24)

Sri Sanatana Goswami comments: “Just by the power of Guru and chanting his diksha Gopal-mantra, Gopa-kumar’s mind became pure and free from lust, envy and greed, and he developed deep faith, japena –chitta –shuddha, sraddha –ajayata.” (Brihad Bhagavatamrita II.1.126)

In these days of world-class Gurus, most disciples get practically no association or personal teachings from their Gurus. The example of Gopa-kumar’s full faith in Guru, and his daily diksha mantra chanting is most encouraging for all Krishna bhaktas.

Sri Sanatana Goswami says, “Even without association of one’s diksha Guru, just by a few words directly heard from Guru, and also by the inspirations and indications received indirectly from Guru, a disciple will learn all the necessary spiritual truths needed for perfection, kinchin –mukhena –sanketan –abhyavedayat.” (Brihad Bhagavatamrita II.3.5)

Ah, what astonishing power Sri Guru possesses! Like the diksha mantra, which has unlimited power because it is non-different from Bhagavan Sri Krishna, Sri Guru also has unlimited power because the Guru is being directly blessed and fully empowered by Sri Krishna, Sri Guru and one’s own Guru parampara.

Thus Sri Sanatana Goswami establishes the astonishingly inconceivable and unlimited power of the Gopal diksha mantra so kindly bestowed upon a disciple by one’s most merciful and loving eternal master, Sri Guru.

At their last meeting, Gopa-kumar’s Guru blessed him saying, “You are dear to me so I have given you everything I have. By the power of the Gopal diksha mantra you will understand and attain everything on your own, svayam –gyasyasi –lapsyase.” (Brihad Bhagavatamrita II.3.6)

Sri Guru ki jai! Gopal-mantra ki jai! Sri Guru diksha 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, 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

Srimad Bhagavatam is called the “king of all spiritual books” (Grantha Raja) for good reason. Within this tri-guna-free, immaculate and divine spiritual sastra, the amala purana, one will find all the sweet, majestic and beautiful truths about the sadhana and sadhya (daily practices and perfection) of Gaudiya Vaisnavism.

In his most merciful and wonderful sastra, Sri Caitanya Caritamrita, Sri Krishna Dasa Kaviraja summarizes all the teachings of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and the six Goswamis of Vrindavana. Throughout the book he cites key Bhagavatam verses to prove these truths, which the Goswamis themselves also discuss in their works.

To highlight its importance for all devotees of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Radha-Govinda Yugala, the same Bhagavatam verse is quoted once, twice or even four times in the Sri Caitanya Caritamrta.

With the grace of Sri Advaita Prabhu, Sri Guru and the Vaisnavas, the “Beautiful Truths of Bhagavata” series will focus on these Bhagavatam verses that reveal the absolute truth about Sri Krishna, Sri Radha, Sri Guru, Vaisnavas, Bhakti Sadhana, Sri Harinama and Krishna Prema.

* THE BEAUTIFUL TRUTH OF THE VAISNAVAS

The first post in this series discussed Guru tattva. Now we will present the key Srimad Bhagavatam verses describing the identity of Krishna’s devotees, associating with them and serving these compassionate and tangible mercy forms of Bhagavan Sri Krishna.

All sincere sadhakas should learn and reflect upon these verses. Absorbing, understanding and implementing these truths will strengthen your faith, expand your joy, and double your enthusiasm to love, serve and respect all the humble servants of Sri Sri Radha and Krishna.

Devotees Live in Damodara’s Heart

sādhavo hṛdayaṁ mahyaṁ sādhūnāṁ hṛdayaṁ tv aham
mad-anyat te na jānanti nāhaṁ tebhyo manāg api

Sri Krishna says, “O Sage Durvasa! Saintly devotees are always in the core of My heart. And I am always in their hearts. They know nothing but Me, and I know nothing but them.” (Srimad Bhagavatam  9.4.68/Caitanya Caritamrita 1.1.62)

Krishna Devotees Are Walking Holy Places

bhavad-vidhā bhāgavatās tīrtha-bhūtāḥ svayaṁ vibho
tīrthī-kurvanti tīrthāni svāntaḥ-sthena gadābhṛtā

When Vidura returned from his tirtha-yatra, Maharaja Yudhisthira said, “O Vibho! Devotees like yourself are the embodiments of all holy places. Because you carry Bhagavan Sri Krishna within your heart, you turn all places into holy tirthas.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 1.13.10/Caitanya Caritamrita 1.1.63)

Six Ornaments of a Devotee

titikṣavaḥ kāruṇikāḥ suhṛdaḥ sarva-dehinām
ajāta-śatravaḥ śāntāḥ sādhavaḥ sādhu-bhūṣaṇāḥ

“Devotees are adorned with the six good qualities of being tolerant, merciful, friendly to all beings, without enemies, peaceful, and straightforward.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 3.25.21/Caitanya Caritamrita 2.22.81)

Serving Saints Gives Liberation

mahat-sevāṁ dvāram āhur vimuktes tamo-dvāraṁ yoṣitāṁ saṅgi-saṅgam
mahāntas te sama-cittāḥ praśāntā vimanyavaḥ suhṛdaḥ sādhavo ye

“Serving saintly devotees opens the door of liberation. Whereas, association with men connected with women opens the door to hellish life. The saintly are very peaceful, pride-less, kind to all and well-behaved.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 5.5. 2/Caitanya Caritamrita 2.22.82)

Sri Visvanatha Cakravartipada says sadhavah means “those who do not see fault in others.

Unique Rarity of Krishna Bhaktas

muktānām api siddhānāṁ nārāyaṇa-parāyaṇaḥ
sudurlabhaḥ praśāntātmā koṭiṣv api mahā-mune

“Among all the perfect ones, the blissful devotee of Narayana/Sri Krishna is very rare—one in a million.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 6.14.5/Caitanya Caritamrita 2.19.150)

Sri Krishna Saves His Devotees

sva-pāda-mūlam bhajataḥ priyasya tyaktānya-bhāvasya hariḥ pareśaḥ
vikarma yac cotpatitaṁ kathañcid dhunoti sarvaṁ hṛdi sanniviṣṭaḥ

“One who gives up all other engagements to surrender to the lotus feet of Sri Hari is very dear to Bhagavan. Indeed, if such a dedicated soul accidentally commits a sin, Antaryami Sri Krishna within one’s heart, immediately removes the sinful reaction.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 11.5.42/Caitanya Caritamrita 2.22.144)

Srila Prabhupada tika: Although a beloved child may accidentally commit an abominable activity, the loving father forgives the child, taking into consideration the actual good intentions of the child.

Although the devotee does not ask Sri Krishna to free him the future suffering from his sins, Sri Krishna, by His own sweet will, frees the devotee from the reactions to accidental fall downs.

This causeless mercy of Sri Krishna upon His devotee is His param- aisvaryam, or supreme opulence. Gradually the faithful devotee becomes pure and free from sins just by thinking of and serving Govinda’s lotus feet. Thus Krishna bhaktas are never actually defeated in life.

All Nama Chanters Are Great

aho bata śva-paco ’to garīyān yaj-jihvāgre vartate nāma tubhyam
tepus tapas te juhuvuḥ sasnur āryā brahmānūcur nāma gṛṇanti ye te

“O, how astonishing and worshipable are even dog-eaters if they chant Krishna nama! They have already performed all kinds of austerities and yajnas, cultivated good saintly virtues, bathed in all tirthas, and studied all Vedas”. (Srimad Bhagavatam 3.33.7/Caitanya Caritamrita 2.11.192)

Sripada Vallabhacarya tika (Sri Subodhini): Devahuti says, “By birth, class or conduct a chandala cannot compare with a Brahmin. However, the chandala is greater if he is chanting Krishna’s Divine Names. A complacent satisfied Brahmin performs actions for his own benefit. He may not chant Krishna’s names due to pride, ego or his status in society! In this way, he does not become a Krishna bhakta.

Sri Visvanatha Cakravartipada tika: The outcaste who chants even incompletely just one name of Bhagavan Sri Krishna is the best. He is a guru, and fully qualified to teach the mantra and the holy name to others i.e. diksa-guru. Amara-kosha says anūcura (line 2 of the verse above) means “a teacher, a person proficient in recitation of the Vedas with its angas.”

In prior lives the chandalas must have performed all types of yajnas and tapas, so now they no longer need to perform them nor will they do so in the future.

Srimad Bhagavatam Maha Purana ki jai! Hari Kathamrta ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

After hearing that chanting 64 rounds a day gives spiritual perfection, some very sincere and well-meaning devotees begin chanting 64 rounds a day.

However, they soon face problems in the form of maintaining the quota, being attentive and not doing robotic/mechanical chanting, committing aparadhas, lack of enthusiasm, not seeing any results, a gradual loss of taste for the practice itself, and worst of all—PRIDE—pramada, an aspect of the 10th nama-aparadha).

When trying to understand any truth in shastra, one must always consider kala, desha and patra—the time and place, situation and persons involved. It appears that many devotees have misunderstood the circumstances (kala, desha, patra) of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s ONE INSTRUCTION regarding the daily chanting of one lakh japa (100,000 names aka 64 rounds).

If one studies the life of Mahaprabhu, one sees that in every instance and in every place, Sri Chaitanyadeva was very very strict about maintaining maryada, which means following the proper conduct or behavior according to one’s social or spiritual position (varna/ashram).

So because Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was as a brahmin (Sri Vishvambhara Mishra), whether it was from His different personal servants, or in homes of His devotees, anywhere in India, Mahaprabhu ONLY ATE FOOD FROM THE HAND OF A BRAHMIN, and not from anyone of any other jati or class, regardless of their personal purity or spiritual realization.

Mahaprabhu’s Instruction to Brahmins

Mahaprabhu’s one and only instruction about chanting 64 rounds was spoken only to grhastha brahmins who wanted to feed the Golden Avatara in their homes.

Chaitanya Bhagavata narrates the story, “When the brahmins invited Chaitanya Mahaprabhu for prasada, Gauranga smiled and said, ‘I take meals only in the house of a lakṣeśvara brahmin.’

Hearing this, the brāhmaṇas became worried. Praying to Prabhu, the brahmins said, ‘O Gosai, what to speak of a hundred thousand, none of us possess even a thousand rupees.’

Mahaprabhu replied, ‘Do you know who is a lakṣeśvara? He is someone who daily chants a hundred thousand holy names (aka 1 lakh or 64 rounds). I take meals in only such a brahmin’s house, not in the houses of any other brahmins.’”(Chaitanya Bhagavat 3.9.117-123)

After reading this lila and Gauranga’s shiksha herein, some nice devotees innocently think, “O, if I don’t chant 64 rounds a day, then God, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu or Sri Krishna, won’t eat my bhoga offerings.”

Thinking like this is ok, but it’s not really proven in this lila. One can see two points illustrated in this lila:

Point One: Since He was a Brahmin, Mahaprabhu would not display adharmic behavior by eating grains from non-brahmins, and He never did as is evident from all His biographies.

Point 2: Although it is not required, if a devotee can, then certainly it would be very good to chant a lakh (64 rounds) of nama before making a bhoga offering to his/her Thakurajis of Gaura-Nitai, Girirajaji, or Radha-Krishna.

Now let’s hear Mahaprabhu’s instructions on nama japa and attaining spiritual perfection for all the masses of us, non-brahmins and non nitya-siddha associates. Sri Chaitanya’s following teachings on siddhi in nama bhajana are the perfect instructions for every human being at all times and in every place. So everyone please understand them clearly and practice bhakti bhajana accordingly.

Mahaprabhu’s Teachings for All

Once in Navadvipa, in a general assembly of all His followers, which included brahmins, kshatriyas, vaishyas, sudras, mlecchas, yavanas, and assorted other outcastes, the all-merciful Mahaprabhu personally instructed everyone saying, “Now please, everyone happily hear the Krishna nama maha-mantra from Me……..

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

āpane sabāre prabhu kare upadeśe
Krishna-nāma mahā-mantra śunaha hariṣe

“I have told you the mahā-mantra. Now all of you chant this mantra as a daily practice (abhyasa).”[mmgd: which some take to mean 4, 20, 24, 64, 128 rounds per day]

prabhu bale kahilāṅa ei mahā-mantra
ihā japa giyā sabe kariyā nirbandha

Mahaprabhu continued, “Everyone will attain all perfection by it [i.e. Hare Krishna maha-mantra]. At every moment chant it, there is no other rule (vidhi nāhi āra).” (Chaitanya Bhagavat 2.23.75-78)

ihā haite sarva siddhi haibe sabāra
sarva-kṣaṇa bala ithe vidhi nāhi āra

Thus Mahaprabhu establishes that the Hare Krishna maha-mantra so transcendentally amazing and wonderful that it will give PERFECTION TO ANYONE who chants it daily. Srila Prabhupada repeatedly quoted this verse in his lectures.

Srila Prabhupada said:

  1. “That is the version of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu. He said, ihā haite sarva-siddhi haibe tomāra [Caitanya-bhāgavata Madhya 23.78]. He also stresses that ‘Simply by chanting, you will get all perfection.’” (folio 710217L2GOR)
  2. “That’s a fact. Caitanya Mahāprabhu says, ihā haite sarva-siddhi haibe tomāra. Caitanya Mahāprabhu blesses, “You will get all perfections simply by chanting this Hare Krishna mantra.”(folio 720714SB.LON)
  3. “If you chant or if you associate with the chanting of holy name of Krishna, then you will get the highest perfectional stage of life. (folio 680613BG.MON)
  4. “Thus Lord Caitanya has blessed us. Simply by chanting Hare Krishna, we will achieve the perfection of self-realization.” (folio POP cp. 5)

The main point Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu establishes here is that daily Hare Krishna Maha Mantra japa is compulsory. Other than Mahaprabhu’s instructing the brahmins of Navadvipa to chant 64 rounds a day, I have not seen this instruction in any of the universally accepted Gaudiya Vaisnava shastras.

However, there is some mention about chanting 64 rounds in a not so authoritative book titled Prema-vilasa (chapter 17):

“Mahaprabhu was also in the habit of chanting three lakhs, and giving one lakh to His followers.”

prabhura āchāye saṅkhya, tina lakṣa nāma
eka lakṣa bhakta gaṇe, kaila kṛpā dāna

“In His own words, Gaurāṅga told Sri Rupa and the Vaiṣṇavas that the counting of one hundred thousand names is certainly to be done.”

gaurāṅga śrī-mukhe rūpe, kahila vaiṣṇave
lakṣa nāma saṅkhya kari, avaśya karibe

From the teachings of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Sri Haridasa Thakura and Srila Prabhupada, it is clear that chanting the Hare Krishna maha mantra is the fastest, most powerful and best means to attain spiritual perfection in Krishna prema.

Not only Mahaprabhu but numerous shastras confirm the unlimited power of Sri Krishna’s Divine Name. The Name is directly Krishna Himself, and thus Sri Nama Prabhu can easily give one all perfection (sarva siddhi).

Since Mahaprabhu’s time, many Gaudiya Vaisnavas have adopted the practice of daily chanting 64 rounds of nama-japa on tulasi beads. Sri Rupa Gosvami, Sri Raghunatha Dasa Goswami, the other Goswamis, and acharyas down to the present day have also chanted 64, and instructed their disciples to do likewise.

In the beginning of ISKCON in 1966, Srila Prabhupada ordered his disciples to daily chant 64 rounds. Seeing their inability to do so, however, Srila Prabhupada reduced the number to 32 and then finally to 16.

Other than Mahaprabhu’s one time demanding His brahmin hosts to daily chant 64 rounds, the Gaudiya Vaisnava purvacharyas and contemporary Gurus all stress the need to daily chant a fixed number of nama japa with the right feeling, mentality and attitude—be it 4, 16, 24, 64, or 192 DAILY ROUNDS.

In addition, all sadhakas should happily and peacefully keep engaged mentally and physically (where possible) in Krishna consciousness, so they can remember Krishna at the time of death. Of course, if one can, under the order of and with the blessings of his Sri Guru, steadily chant 64 rounds EVERYDAY WITHOUT FAIL that is very good.

In this regard, Mahaprabhu said, “Of all forms of bhakti practices, nama sankirtana is the best, for if one takes the name without offenses, one will attain the treasure of Krishna prema. (Chaitanya Caritamrita 3.4.71)

tāra madhye sarva-śreṣṭha nāma-saṅkīrtana
niraparādhe nāma laile pāya prema-dhana

It must be noted that only a very rare sadhaka can continue to chant 64 rounds of HONEST nama japa every day without fail throughout his/her life with the proper consciousness, humility, attention, absorption, and most of all without aparadhas.

For those who cannot chant 64, however, still with the blessings of Sri Krishna and Sri Guru, just by practicing any limb of bhakti bhajana, one will definitely attain spiritual perfection and Radha Govinda prema.

SUMMARY:

64 is not a magic number in that—“Bingo! I hit 64 a day and now perfection is in my pocket!” Although quantity japa certainly helps, it does not guarantee perfection. Success depends on QUALITY NOT QUANTITY.

Our sadhana practices—be they chanting, hearing, worshiping or whatever—must bring about purification of the mind, reformation of the character, transformation of consciousness, melting of the heart, and a direct experience of Radha and Krishna within and without.

But don’t worry if you just can’t chant 64 a day. You can still attain spiritual perfection. In other yoga disciplines, personal performance brings perfection. But in bhakti only love brings perfection.

Perfection or siddhi in bhakti depends on you and Krishna—your loving endeavors offered to Krishna and Krishna’s sweet mercy returning from His heart.

In addition, the following factors will surely help bring about perfection in sri harinama japa:

  1. The mercy and sweet will of Bhagavan Sri Krishna.
  2. The blessings and satisfaction of Sri Guru.
  3. Chanting a daily fixed number of japa per Guru’s order.
  4. Quality japa which means nama japa that is free from all types of aparadhas, misconceptions, and selfish ambitions.
  5. Proper moral behavior, which means following the four principles of purity.

In closing, we hope this post will encourage all the surrendered devotees struggling every day to chant “their rounds” with the desire to attain spiritual perfection and the eternal loving service of Radha-Govinda Yugala in the groves of Vraja Dhama.

(Special thanks to Sri Advaita Dasji)

Sri Harinama Japa ki jai! Jai Haridasa Thakura ki jai! Srila Prabhupada ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

From the sweet ocean of Srila Visvanatha Cakravartipada’s tikas on Srimad Bhagavatam, we have collected some of the most rare and incredibly amazing jewels—each one glittering with a uniquely soothing and enlightening effulgence. So now please bask in their beneficial rays and rejuvenate your soul! For easier understanding and reference, the gems are presented by category.

Bhagavat Preachers:

Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti said, “For establishing attachment to Sukadeva, (Srimad Bhagavatam 1.2.2) says that Sukadeva entered into the minds of all living entities (sarva-bhūta-hṛdayaṁ munim) by his yogic power.

‘’ ‘So let Sukadeva also enter my heart and speak the Bhagavatam through my mouth, as he once entered into dull trees and replied as an echo to pacify his father calling him back from the forest. May that Sukadeva also enter my heart and thereby please the intellects of all hearers of the Bhagavatam.’

“Before speaking, all Bhagavat katha vacakas should also meditate [and pray] in the same way.”

Srimad Bhagavatam prema amrita ki jai! Sastra Pramanam Amalam ki jai! Radha Govinda Yugala ki jai!