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Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

To attain siddhi or perfection in chanting of the diksha mantras i.e. gopal mantra, Sri Sanatana Goswami says the one must observe the purashcaran process which he and Sri Rupa did before meeting Sri Chaitanya. (Bhakti-ratnakara I.647)

In over 220 verses, Hari Bhakti Vilasa describes the details of purashcaran

Puja- traikaliki- nityam- japas -tarpanam -eva -ca
Homo- brahmana-bhuktish- ca- purashcaranam ucyate
Guror- labdhasya -mantrasya -prasadena -yatha-vidhi
Panchanga upasana-siddhyai –purash- caitad -vidhiyate

“The purashcaran process is as follows:

‘In the morning, afternoon and evening of each day of purashcaran, one must do:

murti-puja;
murmur the gopal diksha mantra;
offer tarpana, oblations to ancestors;
perform homa, fire sacrifice; and
feed brahmins.

‘To do purashcaran vrata, one must do these five activities daily for as many days (20, 30, 45) it takes to chant one’s diksa mantra 18,000 times or whatever number one vows to murmur (sankalpa). To attain siddhi in the gopal diksha mantra received from Sri Guru, one must observe the purashcaran process.’” (Hari Bhakti Vilasa 17.11–12)

Hari-bhakti-vilasa (17.4–5, 7) says:

vina -yena -na –siddhah – syan -mantro -varsha-shatair -api
krtena -yena -labhate -sadhako –vanchitam -phalam
purashcarana-sampanno -mantro -hi -phala-dhayakah

“Without doing purashcaran, one cannot attain mantra siddhi even by chanting the diksha mantra for hundreds of years. But one who does purashcaran can very easily attain mantra siddhi.”

At the end of the description of the purashcaran process, Sri Sanatana Goswami describes a samkshipta-purashcaran, a brief or “short cut” form of it.

“During a solar or lunar eclipse, one should fast, remain in a pure state of mind, and chant the gopal diksha mantra from the beginning of the eclipse until the end (sparsha time to moksha time), while standing in the water of a river that flows into the sea up to his waist.” (Hari Bhakti Vilasa 17.235-236)

Regarding this point, Pandit Sri Krishna Das Babaji said that according to Hari Bhakti Vilasa (17.17-21), one may chant in other places also: “Purashcaran may be done by the side of a river, underneath a bilva or banyan tree, within water, in a holy place, before murti of Sri Krishna [best place], on the seashore, or any place where you can easily concentrate your mind.”

Before observing a purashcaran vrata one should receive blessings from Sri Guru. After bathing, dress in clean cloth (dhoti & chadar or sari), sit on a pure asana, and chant the gopal mantra without stopping or getting up for the entire eclipse period.

The Moon eclipse on June 5-6th is not mentioned or observed in the Radha-kunda Babaji Panchangam. But the Sun eclipse is described, and one can do purashcaran then.

Sun eclipse June 21
Chanting time 10.20 a.m. to 1.50 p.m.

After doing purashcaran, one must bathe, change clothes, worship Sri Guru and take maha-prasad after full Thakurji puja.

Jai Jai Sri Radhe! Mantra siddhi 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 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

The great Gaudiya rasika acarya, Sri Prabodhananda Sarasvati, lived many years in Vrndavana worshiping Sri Sri Radha-Govinda. His many deep realizations and intimate ‘nitya-lila’ visions appear in his wonderful books like  Sri Radha Rasa Sudhanidhi.

Speaking as a realized Vraja ‘bhajananandi’ saint, Sarasvatipada reveals SIX ATTRIBUTES ONE NEEDS to live in Vrindavan and attain perfection in Radha-Krishna bhajana. If you are living in Vrndavana already, or considering it, then please study these six. Sincerely and repeatedly try to think, feel and see the reality of Vraja vasa through these sublime truths.

1= To live in Vrndavana (śrī-vṛndāvanam-āvaset), you must feel that Radha-Muralidhara’s lotus feet are the one and only object of your love, rādhā-muralīdhar-āṅghri-kamala-premaika-mātrīyate.

2= You must think that other’s wives are your mothers, mātrī-yaty-aparāṅganāṁ.

3=You must think that one who severely rebukes you is your own family member, gotrīyat-yati-tarjan-ādiṣu.

4=You must think that all moving and non-moving living entities in Vrindavan are your own lovely children, sthira-caraṁ-sattvaṁ-su-putrīyate.

5=You must see your envious haters as great friends, mahā-mitrīyate-dveṣiṣu.

=6 And, you must see your own body as a stranger to you, the eternal soul within, yaḥ-svāṅge-anya-gātrīyate (Vrndavana-mahimamrta 8.81).

Shri Dhama Vrndavana ki jai! Nitya Vrajavasa ki jai!

Radha-Govinda Yugala nitya kunjavilasa seva ki jai!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

In 6 verses (Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu 1.2.291-296), Sri Rupa Goswamipada teaches the main principles and practices of raganuga-bhakti. After learning these at the feet of my teacher, we wrote this article about cultivating manjari/gopi bhava as a handmaiden, dasi manjari of Srimati Radharani.  

A raganuga sadhaka pursuing the madhurya-rati of Sri Krishna’s ragatmika devotees in Vrndavana will mainly concentrate on the different sevas and feelings of a few manjaris. The supreme goal of a sadhaka manjari is the happiness and pleasure of Sri Radha, and Her beloved Sri Krishna.

Gaudiya Vaisnava sastra mention over 150 different sevas of the manjaris. The sadhaka will read about the different sevas performed by the manjaris Sri Rupa, Tulasi (Raghunatha Dasa Goswami), Vinoda-vallari (Visvanatha Cakravarti), and Campaka (Sri Narottama Dasa Thakura), and as described in Radha Rasa Sudhanidhi. While meditating on Radha-Krishna’s eternal Vraja-lilas, the raganuga sadhaka will think, “I am serving, assisting, and helping Radharani along with these manjaris and my Guru sakhi manjari.”

The sadhaka can also think, “I am meditating on all these different sevas. But sometimes I am all alone with Sri Radha or with others. I am taking the lead and personally doing all these wonderful sevas for Radhika’s pleasure throughout the day and night (asta-kaliya-lila).”

While reading about the sevas and interactions of the four manjaris mentioned about, I will observe and relish their feelings and intimate loving exchanges with Radhika, Krishna and one another. I will personally identify with those feelings as being my own, or at least what I am aspiring to attain. 

Being Radha’s kinkari or loving manjari, I possess tad-tad bhavecchatmika bhava or devotion. This means I only desire to identify with, nourish, and experience the quality but never the quantity of the ecstatic feelings i.e. bhava that Sri Radhika relishes within Her heart during Her intimacies with Syama. I share Radha’s feelings but not Her enjoyment.

As Radha’s confidential manjari, I am also bhava-tadatmya, which means I am one in feelings and thoughts with Radhika. Radha is in my heart and I am in Hers. This is my natural svabhava, the very way I am. Whatever Radha feels produces the thoughts of what Radha needs, which immediately manifest in my mind as I carefully focus at every moment on perfectly serving and pleasing my Pranesvari Sri Radha. Thus Radha never has to tell me what to do because I already know.

Radha’s anxieties and needs are all that matters to me, and not the bliss and incredible transcendental ecstasy that automatically arises by attending to Swamini. Radha is the sole mistress of my life. I am totally made of service. I exist only to serve and please Radha throughout the day. Radha’s joy is my joy—Radha’s distress is my distress.

“O Radha! I am Yours! I am Yours! I cannot live without You. So please understand this and bring me to Your lotus feet.”

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!  Sri Sri Sita Advaita Prabhu ki jai! Sri Gurudeva ki jai!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

To celebrate Sri Krishna’s Janmotsava every year, King Vrshabhanu, Rani Kirtida, Radharani and their whole family stay four days in Nanda Baba’s palace (Bhadra Krishna 7-10th).

Two weeks later, Nanda Maharaj, Yashoda Maa, Krishna and family come to Varshana and stay three days in King Vrshabhanu’s palace to celebrate Srimati Radhika’s birthday. From the first to the 8th day of the bright half of Bhadra month, King Vrshabhanu elaborately decorates all the homes and streets in Varsana in preparation for Radha’s appearance. Musicians and drummers purify the atmosphere with a continuous flow of auspicious songs and ragas.

Two days before Radhashtami, Vrshabhanu Maharaj sends Sridham to invite Nanda Baba and family to come honor Sri Radha’s birthday. On the 7th morning, Nanda Baba, Sri Krishna and Their family come to Varshana in bullock carts, palanquins and by walking. Kirtidarani and Vrshabhanu Maharaj warmly greet them, arrange their rooms and feed them nicely.

Sri Radha, Lalita-sakhi, Vishakha-sakhi and other gopi yutheshvaris cook rice, puris, sabjis and kheer, which is offered to Bhagavan Narayana and then served out to all the guests.  Sri Radhika and the gopis lovingly quarrel over serving first. Yashoda pacifies everyone by making different lines with a different sakhi serving each one. After eating, everyone rests in their guestrooms.

As per the usual asta-kaliyalilaschedule, Sri Radha cooks something for Krishna. Then carrying these items, Srimati and all go to Radha-kunda, meet Krishna, and enjoy Their midday pastimes.

Radhashtami

In the morning of Radhashtami, everyone watches Radhika’s grand abhisheka performed by Gargi, daughter of the kula-guru Garga Rishi. Musicians play vinas,dolaks, mrdangas, dundubhisand pakhowajas. Paurnamasi blesses Radha with different mantras. After bathing Radhawith herbal water, panchaamrit and gavya, a hundred pots of water, and a huge conch showering water through the 1,000 jalpatra, Sri Radha is anointed with fragrant oils, musk, sandal and camphor and dressed.

The manjaris offer a beautiful arati to Radharani. Yashoda Maa offers blessings and wonderful gifts of costly clothes and ornaments to both Sri Radha and Her yutheshvaris. Vrshabhanu Maharaj and Radharani donate ornamented cows and calves. Then Radhika and Her sakhis take some prasada and then start cooking a feast.

In jest, Yashoda Maa says to Kirtida, “Sakhi, you are so hard hearted that you make tender Radha cook so much!” Kirtida replies, “Because our Radhika got a unique boon to cook nectar-filled health foods, my Prabhu Vrshabhanu wants you and Nanda Maharaja to savor Radha’s delicious preparations today. After Radha and the sakhis finish cooking, Yashodarani blesses them all and has some manjaris fan Radha to remove Her fatigue. 

The Yogurt Game

Later everyone proceeds to the bank of Bhanukhor, King Vrishabhanu’s bathing tank on the east side of Varshana hill. Then like Janmashtami, everyone starts playing Dadhikada, a game of throwing yogurt, butter and milk on each other. Afterwards, according to age and gender, everyone bathes in different corners of Bhanukhor, eats and takes rest.

Later Sri Radha goes to Radha-kunda and enjoys all Her usual pastimes with Krishna. The only exception to Their daily asta-kaliyalila flow is that for these three days, Sri Krishna is staying with Radha in Her own palace in Varshana!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Naumi Lilas

The next morning in Varshana, Radha-Krishna and the gopis bathe, eat and go out to perform Their usual morning pastimes. At noontime, Radha-Krishna and the gopis go to Mor Kutir in Varshana and Krishna entertains the gopikas by dancing like a peacock. Then Radha and Krishna throw laddus to all the sakhis. Later in the midday, Radha and Krishna dance the Rasa in a secret place in Gehvara, Radha’s personal garden/forest just near Her father’s palace.

In the late afternoon everyone returns to the palace.At that time, Sri Krishna, Nanda Baba and his family take leave from King Vrshabhanu and return home to Nandagram in the topmost bliss.

Sri Radha’s three day janmotsava 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 along with the key Bhagavatam verses which prove and substantiate these beautiful truths, and which the Goswamis themselves quoted in their own shastras. The same Bhagavatam verse is sometimes quoted once or twice or even four times within the Sri Chaitanya Caritamrita to highlight its importance for all devotees of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Radha-Govinda Yugala.

With the grace of Sri Advaita Prabhu, Sri Guru and the Vaisnavas, we will quote some of these important Srimad Bhagavatam verses from the Sri Chaitanya Caritamrita to present the beautiful truths of Gaudiya Vaisnavism regarding Sri Krishna, Sri Radha, Bhakti Sadhana, Sri Harinama, Krishna Prema, Sri Guru and the Vaisnavas.

I. * THE BEAUTIFUL TRUTH OF SRI GURU

We will begin by describing the basis, beginning point, and the fundamental truths of Krishna bhakti regarding the identity, position and relationship of the sadhaka (the jivatma) with Bhagavan Sri Krishna which is called sambandha tattva.

Sambandha-tattva means the absolute truth regarding the mutual relationship between the Sri Krishna, the jiva and maya, the external material energy. Sambandha means the relationship, bonding and exchanges that culminate in ultimate love, Krishna prema. Included within the category of sambandha-tattva are the beautiful truths i.e. tattvas of Guru, Vaisnava, Bhagavat (SB), Sri Krishna, Gaura, Nityananda, Shakti, and Jiva.

Why does Sri Rupa Gosvami say bhakti bhajana proper begins with surrender to the spiritual master, adau guru pada ashraya? (Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu 1.2.74) Why, because the benevolent master is the essential contact, connecting point and eternal link between me and God, Bhagavan and the jiva. The beautiful truth about Sri Guru is the substratum of all other spiritual truths.

Thus we now present some of the key Srimad Bhagavatam verses illuminating the truth of Sri Guru. It is suggested that all sincere sadhakas learn and reflect upon these verses. By doing so one will deepen his/her faith, devotional taste and realization, and also  increase one’s enthusiasm to serve Sri Krishna and Sri Guru more and more.

1. Sri Guru is One with Sri Krishna

ācāryaṁ māṁ vijānīyān nāvamanyeta karhicit
na martya-buddhyāsūyeta sarva-deva-mayo guruḥ
Srimad Bhagavatam 11.17.27

Bhagavan Sri Krishna said, “O Uddhava! You should know the ācārya, Śrī Gurudeva, to be My very self. You should never disrespect him in any way, be envious of him, or judge him to be an ordinary man, because within Śrī Guru are all the devatas.”

Tika Srila Prabhupada: “Sri Guru is like a parent. Without the attentive service of his parents a child cannot grow to manhood. Similarly, without the care of Sri Guru one cannot rise to the plane of transcendental service.

“In the Vāyu Purāṇa an ācārya is defined as one who knows the import of all the Vedic literatures, abides by their rules and regulations, and teaches his disciples to act in the same way. Only out of His immense compassion does Bhagavan Sri Krishna reveal Himself as the spiritual master. Therefore in the dealings of an ācārya there are no activities but the transcendental loving service to Sri Krishna.

“The spiritual master is known to be a direct manifestation of Bhagavan Sri Krishna and a genuine representative of Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu. A disciple should always respect Sri Guru as a manifestation of Śrī Kṛṣṇa.”

“Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī confirms that one should always think of Sri Guru in terms of his intimate relationship with Mukunda Sri Krishna [nikunja yuno rati keli siddhyai...]. Sri Jiva Goswamipada says (Bhakti Sandarbha 213), ‘The disciple should see Sri Guru as one with Bhagavan Sri Krishna in terms of his being very dear Sri Krishna but not identical with Bhagavan all respect.

“In all the ancient bhakti shastras and in the bhajans of Sri Narottama Dasa Thakura and Sri Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Sri Guru is always considered to be either one of the confidential associates of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī or a manifested representation of Śrīla Nityānanda Prabhu.” (Chaitanya Caritamrita. 1.1.46 pur.)

2. Accept Sri Guru as Your Life & Soul

bhayaṁ dvitīyābhiniveśataḥ syād, īśād apetasya viparyayo ’smṛtiḥ
tan-māyayāto budha ābhajet taṁ, bhaktyaikayeśaṁ guru-devatātmā
Srimad Bhagavatam 11.2.37, (4x in Caitanya Caritamrita)

“The jivas adverse to Bhagavan Sri Krishna are bewildered and full of fear due to misidentifying with their temporary material bodies because of absorption in Krishna’s maya i.e. the external, illusory energy. Therefore, an intelligent person, after accepting Sri Guru as his master and very self (guru devatātmā), must worship Parameshvara Bhagavan Sri Krishna with one-pointed devotion (aikantiki bhakti).”

Tika Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti: “Krishna bhaktas should not fear bondage in saṁsāra because as soon as one starts bhakti bhajana fear is naturally destroyed. Non-devotees, however, will always be bound by fear and samsara because they falsely identify with their material body and senses.

“Sri Brahmaji says, ’O Krishna! Until people become Your devotees, their material attachments and desires are thieves, their homes are prisons, and their affectionate feelings for their family members are iron chains binding their feet.’ (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.14.36)

“That fear of saṁsāra takes two forms: foolishness and forgetfulness. Foolishness means thinking, “I am this body, bas!” And forgetfulness means not knowing or forgetting one is actually an eternal spiritual being, a jivatma.

“The forgetful ones never ask questions concerning their past or future. They never ask, “Who am I? What should I do? What was I before? What will I be after?” The word ataḥ in line one of this verse means that the wise, after gaining intelligence by the mercy of Gurudeva’s lotus feet, should fully worship (bhajet) Bhagavan Sri Krishna with pure bhakti devoid of other desires and devoid of karma or jñāna. Such a wise soul considers Sri Guru to be as dear as Bhagavan Sri Krishna and as dear as the self. “

3. Sri Krishna Appears Before Our Eyes as Sri Guru and Internally as the Paramatma, Antaryami

naivopayanty apacitiṁ kavayas taveśa, brahmāyuṣāpi kṛtam ṛddha-mudaḥ smarantaḥ
yo ’ntar bahis tanu-bhṛtām aśubhaṁ vidhunvann, ācārya-caittya-vapuṣā sva-gatiṁ vyanakti
Srimad Bhagavatam 11.29.6

“Sri Uddhava said, ‘O Parameshvara Sri Krishna! Intelligent devotees attain the pinnacle of bliss whenever they remember all that You have done for them. And even if they had the lifespan of Sri Brahmaji, they could never pay off their debt to You. For You so kindly appear in two features—externally as the acharya Sri Guru and internally as Paramātma (Antaryami)—to destroy their misfortune and show the way to You [Krishna prema].”

Tika Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti: “To this Sri Krishna replies, ‘O Uddhavaji! Because I give all benedictions only to persons who worship Me, such bestowals are not unconditional. Rather they are conditional.’

Uddhava: ‘Hey Bhagavan! This is not so. Whatever worship the devotees perform is actually given by You alone. You are the supreme unconditional giver of benedictions. People can never repay their debt even by serving You for thousands of Brahmā’s lifetimes.

‘When Your devotees remember what You have done for them, their bliss increases. What have you done? You appear externally as the mantra-guru and śikṣā-guru to give them mantra diksha and bhakti shiksha. And You appear internally as Paramātmā to give them the intelligence to attain You, dadāmi buddhi-yogaṁ taṁ yena mām upayānti te. (Bhagavad Gita 10.10).

‘And it is You alone that make Your devotees worship You, and You reveal to them the goal of becoming Your eternal loving associate.’”

4. Qualifications of Real Disciple

amāny amatsaro dakṣo nirmamo dṛḍha-sauhṛdaḥ
asatvaro ’rtha-jijñāsur anasūyur amogha-vāk
Srimad Bhagavatam 11.10.6

“A disciple of the Guru should be free from false pride and never consider him/herself to be the doer. The disciple should be active, expert, never lazy, and free from the false conception of “I and mine.” The disciple should have feelings of loving friendship toward Sri Guru, and be patient in attaining the goal, without becoming overwhelmed by material passion. The disciple must eagerly inquire about the Absolute Truth, be free from envy, and always avoid useless talk.”

Tika Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti: “The true disciple should be devoid of possessiveness (nimamaḥ), and have firm affection Sri Guru and Sri Krishna. The disciple should not be hasty [madly passionate] in attaining his desired goal (asatvaraḥ) of Krishna prema.”

Sri Guru tattva ki jai! Srimad Bhagavatam ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!

 

Please also see other articles from “Beautiful Truths of Bhagavata”  002, 003, 004, 005, 006.

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Three Karmas

Sruti describes three forms of karma; sanchit, kriyaman and prarabdha i.e. the stored collection, present experience good or bad, and new actions.

Sanchit karma is the complete collection of the results (punya:papa karma-phal) of all our actions done in past lives lying latent in our chitta to fructify in future births.

Kriyaman (syn. aagami) means the punya:papa karma being done in ignorance in the present life which will be added to the existing collection of sanchita karma stored our chitta. Kriyaman actions are under our control and must be performed with the utmost awareness and transcendental wisdom. Krishna explains the science of karma-free living in Gita chapters 4-6.

Each one of us is the architect of our own destiny. No matter how trivial it may seem, every act we do will produce an effect. For devotees, all actions are performed simply for the satisfaction of Guru and Krishna without motivation or attachment. Thus even mundane actions like eating and sleeping become seva leading to liberation because they are performed without desire for results. Thus no further karma is produced.

Prarabdha (syn. arabdha) is acting on us right now! When the chitta is transferred from one body to another at death, it brings all one’s residual karma with it. Only some of it will give its fruit in that birth. Once the next life begins, the portion of karma relevant to this birth is called the prarabdha-karma.

It’s a portion of our punya papa karma from the stockpile of sanchita which is now fructifying and giving us good or bad results. It manifests our present body, desires, mentality, feelings and actions. Prarabdha karma is beyond our control and producing our present conditions which we must bear with patience. It is like a flowering tree from the seeds of prior planting.

Kriyaman is compared to grains growing in a field. Sanchit is grains stored in the house. And prarabdha is rotis in the belly being digested and exhausted in some time.

The Upanisads, Gita and Gaudiya granthas say that the jivas and karma are beginning less i.e., without a beginning and without a prior non-existence. Therefore, questions such as how did my karma begin, what caused my first birth, how can people have different fortunes unless there was preceding karma; and how can we have karma without a previous birth are all meaningless because the jiva and karma are beginning less. It’s all the divine arrangement of Bhagavan Sri Krishna as He wants it. There is no other cause or explanation.

Suffering and Bad Karma

Besides being three poisons in the mind that block spiritual advancement, Gita says lust, anger and greed are three gates to HELL. The source of all three is delusion (moha), thinking that the body/mind complex is me, and that I am special, unique and different from every other living entity.

The grand illusion of I and Mine causes rebirth and bondage in samsar. Until we attain spiritual knowledge and understand our true eternal identity as spiritual parts of Sri Krishna meant to submit to, love and serve Him, we will remain bound in maya forever.

Let’s examine these terrible ghosts that harass all of us, lust anger and greed.

LUST means amorous passions and selfish desires which engage us in all kinds of reactionary material activities. Lifetimes of misery can pass paying the debt of desire.

ANGER is the psychological and emotional reaction arising from unfulfilled desires, frustrated attempts to do something, or the unfilled expectations one has of others. Anger causes one to hurt others whom one blames for their own shortcomings or failures. This in turn creates bad karma which produces pain now and more in the future. A moment of anger can create millenniums of misery.

GREED means being attached to your money and not giving charity (dana-dharm). If Krishna gives one more than required, that wealth should be distributed to the needy. The sages say that the attachment to money which binds one in samsara can be renounced by acts of charity, vitta -ishanam –danair (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.84.38).

Sri Krishna directs us to give charity to the right person for the right cause. Failing to do so brings many miseries now and in the future, vittam –tv –atirthi –krtam –duhkha -duhkhi (Srimad Bhagavatam11.11.19). The miser will be poverty-stricken in the next life. Thus, giving charity is a very important aspect of human life especially for householders.

Besides the suffering caused by lust, anger and greed, shastra describes three factors in suffering: the person suffering, the degree of suffering, and the agent or cause of suffering i.e. a person (self or others), thing or condition.

When we clearly realize our true identity as eternal, blissful spiritual beings, and understand the laws of action/reaction (karma), then the agent of suffering becomes incidental and secondary. We no longer become angry or resentful toward the person or thing that we take be causing our suffering because they are merely agents of our own karma. When one acquires divine wisdom, one gets the vision to see enemies as friends, and radiates love and compassion toward those who hurt, abused or offended one.

Through wisdom, humility, tolerance, devotion, and surrender to Krishna one will use suffering to transform, transcend and transport oneself to the spiritual platform of inner peace and contentment reached by experiencing Krishna’s love and compassion within one’s heart.

Freedom from karma

Every thought we think, act we do or experience we have is recorded and stored in the chitta in the form of samskaras. This is the cause of strange dreams of things never experienced in this life. They arise from samskaras i.e. the mental imprints, memories, subconscious impressions formed by the experiences of our prior births now stored in the chitta of the jiva.

Thus, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s first instruction is to clean the chitta by Sri Harinam Sankirtan, ceto –darpanam –marjan (Shikshasatak 1). The endless cycle of repeated birth and death, samsar, is caused by ahankara, the false notion of our actual eternal identity. Due to ignorance, one identifies with the material body mind complex thinking oneself to be the doer, controller and enjoyer and thus stays stuck in samsar.

However, if we identify ourselves only as eternal servants of Krishna, and act only for His pleasure in bhakti, then by Krishna’s grace all our karmas are destroyed, samsar ends, and we go to the spiritual sky, Goloka Vrndavana. Brahmaji says, karmani -nirdhahati -kintu -ca -bhakti –bhajan, “Bhakti bhajan destroys karmas.” (Brahma-samhita 5.54)

Sri Krishna bhakti bhajan ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe! Karma Free life ki jai!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

The famous 64 arts and talents, which Krishna and Balarama mastered in two months at Gurukul, are mentioned in many shastras, including Srimad Bhagavatam (10.45.35-36); Brahma-samhita (37 tika); Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu (2.1.84); Vrindavan Mahimamrita (11.69,13.4); Govinda-lilamrita (13.1140; and Sadhana Amirta Chandrika (19), catuh-shashthi-kalanvitam.

Srila Prabhupada: “Srimati Radharani makes Krishna happy in so many ways with the sixty-four arts i.e. dancing, cooking, making peace, and smiling in many attractive ways.”

(BBT folio: Discussions, Syamsundar das)

Our Gaudiya Vaisnava Goswamis and acharyas explain how Srimati Radharani’s intimate, sweet and loyal, most loving dasi serving maids, Her dearest kinkaris and manjaris, pleasantly serve Priya-Priyatam with 64 different arts and talents.

The manjaris learn these 64 arts directly from Srimati Radharani and Her sakhis. In the next para, Sri Raghunatha Dasa Goswami mentions a few of the arts that the sadhana siddha manjaris will learn after arriving in Bhauma Vrindavan to serve Sri Sri Radha and Krishna.

  1. Radharani Herself will personally and repeatedly teach (gandharva –asakrt- shikshayati) four arts to the nava dasis: drama/play writing, poetry, riddles and vina, kavyam-nataka-prahelli-vina.
  2. Vishakha will teach the art of telling clever, tasteful and funny jokes, narma.
  3. Champakalata will teach how to cook amazing feasts.
  4. Citra-sakhi will teach painting pictures on Radha-Krishna, citra.
  5. Tungavidya will teach 18 different kinds of knowledge and science, vividha vidya.
  6. Rangadevi will teach how to dance in rasa-lila, natana.
  7. Sudevi will teach the art of playing dice and advising Radha in defeating Krishna. (Stavavali, Sva Sankalpa Prakash Stotram 2-11)

Next we will list the basic 64 arts. For the Sanskrit names and more elaborate descriptions, please refer to KRSNA BOOK or our book “Gayatri Mahima Madhuri” (cp. 7 pg. 100-102).

The most amazing point about the 64 arts is that every Gaudiya Vaisnava following Sri Caitanya’s path of raga bhakti, will some beautiful fine day in the future go directly to Radha-Krishna’s Bhauma Vrndavana lila, and then learn all these wonderful skills and talents DIRECTLY FROM SRI RADHA and Her dearest sakhis.

In a divine passage, Sri Raghunatha Dasa Goswami reveals how one day in Varshana, Sri Radha holds a nava dasi’s hand and takes her alone into a cave in Govardhan to personally teach Her own love poem. Later in the nikunja on Radha’s signal (ingite), the fortunate manjari will recite Radha’s prema-filled poem for the ecstatic pleasure of Her Priyatam.

This is definitely the ultimate Guru/Shishya sambandha!

THE SIXTY-FOUR ARTS

 1-Architecture

2-Arguing with adi-vasis

3-Bed covers, pillow making

4-Bird training for sports

5-Body ornaments, jewellery placing

6-Cakes, bread, salad making

7-Carpentry

8-Children’s games

9-Cloth, hiding quality, cheap look good

10-Conversation

 

11-Costumes, make and store

12 Crossbreeding plants, trees

13-Crossword puzzle solving

14-Dancing

15-Decorating, hanging pictures

16-Dialects, speaking different

17-Dictionary using

18-Disguise

19-Drama writing

20-Drinks, with red color making

 

21-Dyeing cloth

22-Earrings, flowers, leaves making

23-Embroidery

24-Face, body painting

25- Flower asanas, beds making

26-Gemstone dyeing

27-Hair care, dressing

28-Hand, sleight of, magic tricks

29-Hypnosis

30-Jewel testing

 

31-Jokes telling

32-Jugglery, magic

33-Kavaca making

34-Marionettes using

35-Metallurgy

36-Mineralogy

37-Miniture carts making

38-Mystical charms, casting

39-Others, respecting, glorifying

40-Painting, drawing

 

41-Parrots, train to speak

42-Pathways, cover with flowers

43-Perfumes, make and apply

44-Playing musical instruments

45-Plays, acting in

46-Poetry, mentally compose

47-Rangoli making

48- Recite books

49-Riddles, make, solve

50-Rites, rituals performing

 

51-Sign language using

52-Singing

53-Skin care

54-Splashing water

55-Stringing necklaces and flowers

56-Tongue twisters

57-Thread making on spinning wheel

58-Turbans, topknots, crown making

59-Victory, attaining

60-Vina, drum playing

61-Wagering

62-Water music making

63-Weapons, bows, arrows, big sticks making

64-Yantra making

 

Sri Radha teaching arts to manjaris ki jai!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!