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Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Did you ever wonder at what transcendental age Krishna performed His various pastimes in Vrindavana? Sri Jiva Goswami answers this question in his Srimad Bhagavatamtika (10.45.3), which lists the pastimes and Sri Krishna’s age at that time. All pastimes are described in the Tenth Canto. * mark means added by editor because not mentioned by Sri JivaGoswami.

1. *Putana killed (6th Chapter) Krishna only six days old. (not in list)

2. Tṛṇāvarta killed (7th Chapter) – after a full year passed (varṣepūrṇe).

3. Damodāra-līlā (Chapters 9-10) – in the beginning of the third year during Kārttika month (tṛtīya-varṣārambhekārtike) (2 years and 2 months).

4. Move from Gokula to Vrindavana (Chapter 11) Kṛṣṇa-Balarāma and all the cowherds move to Vṛndāvana. This happened a few days after Damodāra-līlā (katicid-dināntevṛndāvana-praveśaḥ) (2 years and 2 months).

5. Vatsa Charana Lila (Chapter 11.37) Kṛṣṇa began herding the calves 2-3 months after moving to Vṛndāvana (dvi-tra-māsānantaraṁvatsa-cāraṇārambhaḥ) (2 years and 4-5 months).

6. Vatsāsura, Bakāsura and Vyomāsura killed (10.11.41-54) during that time (tatravatsa-baka-vyoma-vadhaḥ) (2 years and 4-5 months).

7. BrahmāVimohana Lila- Brahmaji stole the cowherd boys and calves (Chapters 12-14) in the autumn after the third year passed and the fourth year started, (tṛtīyepūrṇecaturthārambheśaradibāla-vatsa-haraṇaṁ) (little more than 3 years)

[Note: At this time Gopala actually entered paugaṇḍa age but it was manifested only after a year passed. (ref. 10.12.41] Paugaṇḍa age manifested (10.12.37) – in the beginning of the fifth year (paṣcamārambhepaugaṇḍa-prakāśaḥ) (little more than 4 years).

8. Go Charan Lila– Krishna started herding the cows (10.15.1) on śukla-aṣṭamī of Kārtika month [Gopastami] (tatrakārtika-śuklāṣṭamyāṁ go-cāraṇārambhaḥ) (4 years, 2 months and 2 weeks).

9. Kāliya-damana-līlā (Chapters 16-17) – in the summer of the fifth year (paṣcamasyanidāghekāliya-damanaṁ) (4 years and appr. 10 months).

[Note: Due to ecstasy, Sri Suka Muni described this līlā out of sequence by mentioning it after killing of Dhenukāsura.]

In His sixth year Gopala was immersed in herding the cows – (ṣaṣṭhe go-cāraṇa-kautuka-mātraṁ). Govinda entered kaiśora age in the beginning of the seventh year (saptamārambhekaiśora-praveśaḥ) (little more than 6 years).

10. Dhenuka killed (15th Chapter) during the time and season when the tāla-fruits are ripe (tatraivapakva-tālāvasaredhenuka-vadhaḥ). On that evening also the gopīs for the first time manifested their loving mood described in 10.15.43. (little more than 6 years).

11. Pralamba killed (18th Chapter) – in the summer of the seventh year (saptamasyanidāghepralamba-vadhaḥ) (6 years and appr. 10 months).

12. Veṇu-gītā pastime (21st Chapter) – in the eighth year during Aśvina [Sept-Oct] month (aṣṭamasyāśvineveṇu-gītaṁ) (7 years and 1 month).

13. Govardhana Lila- Sri Krishna lifted Govardhana (24th Chapter) – in His eighth year on the first day of the waxing moon in Kārttika month (kārtīkegovardhanoddharaṇaṁ) (7 years, 2 months and 7 days).

14. Indra Surabhi Govinda-abhiṣeka (27th Chapter) – in the beginning of Krishna’s eighth year, on śukla-ekādaśī of Kārtika month (aṣṭamārambheevakārtika-śuklaikādaśyāṁgovindābhiṣekaḥ) (7 years, 2 months and 17 days).

15. Journey to Varuṇa’s planet (10.28.1-11) – on the following dvādaśī (dvādaśyāṁ ca varuṇa-loka-gamanaṁ) (7 years, 2 months and 18 days).

16. Brahma-hrada Lila- Sri Krishna’s Vrajavāsīs bathed in Brahma-hrada (10.28.16) – on Karttika purnima; (tat-pūrṇimāyāṁ brahma-hradāvagāhanaṁ) (7 years, 2 months and 21 days).

17. Vastra-haraṇa-līlā (22nd Chapter) – in the winter of Krishna’s eighth year (hemantevastra-haraṇaṁ) (7 years and apx. 3 months).

18. Yajna Patni Anugraha lila (23rd) Krishna shows mercy to the wives of the sacrificial brāhmaṇas (23rd Chapter) – in the summer of His eighth year (nidāgheyajṣa-patnī-prasādaḥ) (7 years and appr. 10 months).

[Note: In 10.24.1 tika, Sri Jiva Goswami says that these līlās are described out of chronological order because of Śukadeva Gosvāmī’s lack of self-control due to his prema (prema-vaivaśyāt).

19. Rāsa-līlā (Chapters 29-33) – in the beginning of His ninth year, in the autumn season (navamasyaśaradirāsa-līlā) (8 years and 1.5 months).

20. Ambika-vanaGamana Lila—to observe the Shiva ratri festival (Phalguna Krishna chaturdasi) Nanda Baba and his clan travel to Ambikā-vana on chaturdasi (10.34.1-3 (śiva-rātri-caturdaśyāmambikā-vana-yātrā) (8 years, 6 months and 6 days).

21. Śaṅkhacūḍa killed (10.34.25-32) – in Phālguna [Purnima] month (phālgunyāṁśaṅkhacūḍa-vadhaḥ) (appr. 8.5 years).

22. Ariṣṭāsura killed (10.36.1-15) – on the full moon of Caitra month (April) (ekādaśasyacaitra-paurṇamāsyāmariṣṭa-vadhaḥ [and Radha-kunda formed]) (10 years, 7 months and 21 days).

23. Keśī killed (10.37.1-8) – on the twelfth day of the dark fortnight of Phālguna (dvādaśasyagauṇa-phālguna-dvādaśyāṁkeśi-vadhaḥ) (11 years, 6 months and 4 days).

24. * Krishna Mathura Gamana Lila- Uncle Akrura takes Krishna and Balarama to Mathura (39th Chapter “Viraha Gita”) on Phalguna Krishna trayodashi, (11 years, 6 months and 5 days).

25. Kaṁsa killed (44th Chapter) – on the fourteenth day of the dark fortnight of Phālguna month [2 days later] (taccaturdaśyāṁkaṁsa-vadhaḥ) (11 years, 6 months and 6 days).

Adapted from Sri Advaita Dasji Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Upon hearing about Bhishma-panchaka, non-devotees respond by saying, “O what a terrible vrata!” The following information comes from Padma and Skanda Purana.

I. BENEFITS & INTRODUCTION:

Bhishma Panchaka is a 5-day vrata, vow of fasting, starting on Utthana Ekadashi tithi (which usually means Dashami when the Ekadashi tithi starts) and ending on Karttika Purnima. Pure Krishna bhakti is easily obtained by Bhishma Panchhaka Vrata. Doing Bhishma Panchaka in Vrindavana can fulfill all one’s desires and easily give one pure bhakti for Sri Krishna.

II. STARTING BATH:

Begin with sunrise bath in holy place or at home on Dashami. Then starting the vrata, worship Bhismadeva with a bhoga offering, water and afterwards aratik. (use a painting of Bhishmadeva for puja).

Then offer obeisances and water to Bhishma along with this prayer: “I offer this water to Bhishma, who has Vaiyaghra pada gotra and Sanskrit pravara. I offer respectful obeisances to Bhishma, the incarnation of Vasu, who is the son of Shantanu and a lifelong celibate.” Worship Bhishma and pray for his mercy to complete the vow. Everyday bathe in silence at sunrise.

III. PUJA:

Daily bathe Thakurji with panchamrita. Offer new clothes to the Thakurji. Offer excellent food and cloves to the Thakurji. Offer aratika with incense, ghee lamp, water in a conchshell, napkin, flowers and camara. *also offer camphor lamp mixed with aguru oil.

Maintain an akhanda dipa near Thakurji or Tulasi for the entire five days. Offer ghee lamp in morning and evening to Thakurji. Daily offer ghee lamp to Tulasi devi.

IV. ACTION:

Observe celibacy and sleep on the floor. After Thakurji puja, chant 108 times the mantra: “Om Namo Vasudevaya” [Hare Krishna maha-mantra].

V. EATING:

Begin Dashami fasting til sunset and eat phalahara, no grains. Every day eat once only after sunset.

Eat fruits only ripe papaya, apple, mousambi, banana, all dried fruits, all raw nuts, sabzis only arbi, green banana and papaya, potato, yams (suran), and sweet potato (shakarkandi).

Ok to eat ghee, ekadashi salt, black pepper and ginger. No other spices can be taken. Continue this diet every day until Purnima.

DASAMI (DURING THE EKADASHI TITHI): Eat ½ tsp of cow dung; then eat only once after sunset.

EKADASI: Nirjala vrata; if you can’t do this, then eat muni-phala (apple, papaya, banana, mousambi) only once after sunset.

DVADASI: Breakfast with Maha Tulasi leaf and water; if you ate muniphala on ekadashi, then breakfast with charanamrit or a few cashews, almonds or raisins; then drink 50 ml of cow urine; eat the recommended foods once a day after sunset.

TRAYODASHI: Eat ghee once after sunrise. After sunset, eat recommended foods.

CATURDASHI: Eat yoghurt once after sunrise. After sunset, eat recommended foods.

PURNIMA: Drink milk once after sunrise; and follow the rules below for fast breaking.

VI: BREAKING THE FAST:

Before you break your fast, you must first feed brahmanas sweet rice made from cow’s milk and serve them all the foods you fasted from during your vratas of Bhisma, Karttik and Chaturmasya. Give money, gifts, sesame seeds and pots of water to the brahmanas.

Now break your fast during Purnima Abhijit Muhurta (11:45 am to 12:30 pm appx.), or later if necessary, but before sunset of Purnima day. First eat panchagavya (cow dung, cow urine, cow milk, cow yoghurt and cow ghee). Then eat sweet rice.

NOW eat all foods fasted from for Chaturmasya, Karttika Vrata and Bhisma Pancaka (eg. spinach, yoghurt, urad dal, milk, sweets, honey etc.)

All the above actions should be completed before sunset or before the end of Purnima tithi.

*NOTE: Eating five things from Gomata and sweet rice on Purnima is optional.

SRI BHISMA PANCAKA VRATA KI JAI!!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

The minds of most people are filled with thoughts, which change from moment to moment. Like ocean waves, these thoughts, arise in the ocean of the mind, stay awhile and then disappear in the murky waters of forgetfulness—never to be thought again.

Devotees, however, try to still the ocean of thoughts by always thinking, remembering and speaking about the sweet and satisfying names, forms and pastimes of Radha and Krishna. In this regard, Sri Suka Muni says, “Devotees, who have accepted the essence of life, only talk about the ever-fresh topics of Acyuta Sri Krishna at every moment, satamsarabhrtamprati-kshanam, navya-vadacyutasyayat sadhu varta.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.13.2)

The practice of remembering Sri Krishna is so powerful and purifying that just by this one can attain liberation from birth and death, even while living. Think of Krishna—Go to Krishna!

The Vedas say, “One who remembers Sri Hari at every moment is liberated even while living in this world, harihsmrtihanukshanamjivanmuktasya.” (Brahma Vivarta Purana 4.16.122)

For Gaudiya Vaisnavas, the teachings of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu are the essence of all spiritual instructions on how to attain the perfection of Krishna prema. In the following dialogue, Mahaprabhu reveals the importance of remembering Radha and Krishna and Their divine Vrajalilas.

Mahaprabhu said, “O Ramananda Raya! What should one always remember?”

Ramananda Raya: “One should mainly remember Sri Krishna’s name, qualities and pastimes, Krishna nama, guna, lila pradhana smarana.”

Mahaprabhu: “Among all the topics one can listen to, which is the best, sravanamadhyeshreshthasravana?”

Ramananda Raya: “The best topic is Radha-Krishna’s transcendental, amorous affairs that are a nectar tonic for the ears, Radha Krishna prema kelikarnarasayan.” (Caitanya Caritamrta. 2.8.252, 255)

During His youth, Nimai Pandita’s Sanskrit students once asked Prabhu a question about perfecting letters (varna siddha). Mahaprabhu replied in an equivocal way, which actually gives the answer to all questions, the solution of all problems, and the best means to attain spiritual perfection in human life. At that time, Mahaprabhu said, “Remember Sri Krishna at every moment, prabhu bale sarvakshanasrikrishnasmarana! (Caitanya Bhagavata 2.1.254)

In pursuance of Gauranga Mahaprabhu’s instruction to remember Krishna from moment to moment, we present the following outline of one transcendentally blissful, ever-new and fresh day in the loving lives of Sri Sri Radha and Krishna in Gokula Vrindavana.

Throughout the day, many people look at their mobiles to find out the time, weather, road conditions, news, sms messages, missed calls etc. If one keeps this asta-kaliya-lila outline on his/her phone, then one can always tune into the spiritual world, and thereby experience the peace and bliss of remembering Krishna from moment to moment.

We pray that the sensitive devotional readers will fill their minds and hearts with these pastimes, and thereby always think of Krishna from moment to moment. This outline can be saved on mobiles, pc’s or even printed out for constant review and relish of love divine.

Radha-Krishna lila smarana ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!

SRI SRI RADHA KRISHNA**** ASTA KALIYA LILA

Period  One   Pastimes at the End of Night (3:36 a.m.—6:00 a.m.) Niśānta-līlā

3:36 a.m.—4:24 a.m.

The sakhīs’ morning services
The birds awaken Rādhā-Mādhava
The pleasure fatigue
Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa’s sweet fatigue

4:24 a.m.—5:36 a.m.

Mañjarīs’ services and Kṛṣṇa’s agitation
Female parrots speak to Rādhā
The male parrots speak to Kṛṣṇa
The sakhīs joy in seeing Rādhā& the pleasure bed

5:36 a.m.—6:00 a.m.

Forgetting to go home and Kakkhatī’s poetry
Rādhā’s lamentation and sleeping

 

Period Two   Morning Pastimes (6:00 a.m.—8:24 a.m.) Prātaḥ-līlā

6:00 a.m.—6:24 a.m.

The mañjarīs activities and Rādhā’s abode
Performing services for Rādhā
Dawn and arrival of Mukharā
Rādhā awakens
Talks with ŚyāmalāSakhī
Madhurikā Sakhī describes Kṛṣṇa’s waking and milking cows
Milking the cows
Rādhā’s condition &Śyāmalā’s departure
Rādhā brushes Her teeth
Kalāvatī narrates Kṛṣṇa’s cow-milking pastime

6:24 a.m.—6:48 a.m.

Rādhā’s bath and dressing

6:48 a.m.—7:36 a.m.

Hiraṇyāṅgī Sakhī describes Kṛṣṇa’s wrestling match
Kṛṣṇa’s dress & ornaments
Kundalatā takes Rādhā to Nanda’s house
Joking with the sakhīs
Tuṅgavidyā describes Nandīśvara
Seeing Kṛṣṇa at the entrance gate
Rādhā meets Yaśodā
Yaśodā’s cooking instructions
Rādhā & Rohiṇī cook
Yaśodā inspects the preparations

7:36 a.m.—8:24 a.m.

Serving and eating
The breakfast joking
Kṛṣṇa loses His appetite upon seeing Rādhā
The sakhīs eat

 

Period Three   Forenoon Pastimes (8:24 a.m.—10:48 a.m.) Purvāhna-līlā

8:24 a.m.—9:12 a.m.

Kṛṣṇa’s dressing & meeting His friends
Service items for forest playing
The gopīs’ responses to Kṛṣṇa’s leaving
Yaśodā instructs Kṛṣṇa
Bidding farewell to the Vrajavāsīs
Rādhā’s plans to meet Kṛṣṇa

9:12 a.m.—10:00 a.m.

Description of Kṛṣṇa& His friends
The Vṛndāvana forest and the boy’s sports
The forest welcomes Kṛṣṇa
Kṛṣṇa sees Rādhā everywhere
Dhaniṣṭhā’s news & Kṛṣṇa’s water sports
Picnic & Kusuma Sarovara meeting
Tulasī brings news of Rādhā
Śaibyā Sakhī deceived

10:00 a.m.—10:48 a.m.

Rūpa-mañjarī describes Rādhā’s anguish
Rādhā goes to Rādhā-kuṇḍa
Description of Lalitānanda-da Kuñja

 

Period Four   Midday Pastimes (10:48 a.m.—3:36 p.m.) Madhyāhna-līlā

10:48 a.m.—11:12 a.m.

Rādhā’s attraction to Kṛṣṇa
Power of Kṛṣṇa’s flute
Tulasī-mañjarī brings news of Kṛṣṇa
Dhaniṣṭhā describes the beauty of spring
The love journey to Kṛṣṇa
Kṛṣṇa sends Vṛndā to bring Rādhā
Rādhā, Vṛndā and Kundalatā’s discussion
Rādhā-Govinda’s mutual vision
Kṛṣṇa’s joy on meeting Rādhā

11:12 a.m.—11:36 a.m.

Conversations while picking flowers
Rādhā’s ownership of the forest
A clever conversation
Kṛṣṇa embraces Rādhā
Lalitā jokes with Kṛṣṇa

11:36 a.m.—12:00 p.m.

Flute stealing pastimes
Kṛṣṇa enters Rādhā’s bower

12:00 p.m.—12:24 p.m.

Description of Rādhā

12:24 p.m.—1:12 p.m.

Service of the six seasons
Beauty of Vṛndāvana
Service of the creepers
Rādhā’s pretense of anger
The Spring Forest

1:12 p.m.—1:36 p.m.

Spring festival of Holī
Summer forest pastimes
Entering the monsoon forest
Swing pastimes
The autumn forest
The winter forest
The dewy season forest
Rādhā transformations in prema
Pastimes of drinking madhvikā nectar

1:36 p.m.—2:00 p.m.

Sleeping pastimes
Talks about Rādhā’s intimacy

2:00 p.m.—2:24 p.m.

Divine water sports in Rādhā-kuṇḍa
Dressing at the lotus pavilion
Forest lunch

2:24 p.m.—2:48 p.m.

The parrots glorify Kṛṣṇa’s beautiful form

2:48 p.m.—3:12 p.m.

The parrots describe Kṛṣṇa’s divine qualities

3:12 p.m.—3:36 p.m.

The sakhīs praise Rādhā’s elegant form
The female parrot describe the sakhīs
The gambling match
Sun-god worship

 

Period Five   Afternoon Pastimes (3:36 p.m.—6:00 p.m.) Aparāhna-līlā

3:36 p.m.—4:00 p.m.

Candanakalā Sakhī relieves Rādhā

4:00 p.m.—4:24 p.m.

Rādhā cooks Kṛṣṇa’s favorite five sweets

4:24 p.m.—4:48 p.m.

Rādhā praises Kṛṣṇa’s flute

4:48 p.m.—6:00 p.m.

The sakhīs receive the returning Kṛṣṇa
The meeting of Rādhā-Mādhava

 

Period Six   Dusk Pastimes (6:00 p.m.—8:24 p.m.) Sāyāhna-līlā

6:00 p.m.—6:24 p.m.

The attractive features of Kṛṣṇa
Tulasī relieves Rādhā
Yaśodā’s motherly affection for Kṛṣṇa

6:24 p.m.—6:48 p.m.

Kṛṣṇa’s bath
Kṛṣṇa&Balarāma’s meal

6:48—8:24 p.m.

Kṛṣṇa milks the cows

 

Period Seven   Evening Pastimes (8:24 p.m.—10:48 p.m.) Pradośa-līlā

8:24 p.m.—8:48 p.m.

Induprabhā Sakhī brings Rādhā news of Kṛṣṇa
Kṛṣṇa’s sleeping chamber
Kṛṣṇa describes Rādhā’s beauty
Subala describes Rādhā’s separation
Nanda entertains Kṛṣṇa

8:48 p.m.—10:00 p.m.

Kṛṣṇa goes to His bedroom
Rādhā’s evening meal

10:00 p.m.—10:24 p.m.

Kṛṣṇa goes to meet Rādhā
Rādhā describes Kṛṣṇa’s beauty
Lalitā comforts Rādhā and their departure
Description of Govinda-sthali Yogapitha

10:24 p.m.—10:48 p.m.

Meeting Kṛṣṇa
Kṛṣṇa searches for Rādhā

 

Period Eight   Midnight Pastimes (10:48 p.m.—3:36 a.m.) Niśa-līlā

10:48 p.m.—11:12 p.m.

Vṛndā serves Rādhā-Mādhava
Pastimes in the forest
Glory of the forest

11:12 p.m.—1:12 a.m.

The rāsa dance begins
Rāsa-līlā

1:12 a.m.—1:36 a.m.

Rest & more dancing

1:36 a.m.—2:00 a.m.

Drinking party
Rādhā-Mādhava’s intimate pastimes
Pastimes with other gopīs

2:00 a.m.—2:24 a.m.

Water pastimes

2:24 a.m.—2:48 a.m.

Dressing, eating and resting

2:48 a.m.—3:12 a.m.

The mañjarīs serve Rādhā-Mādhava

3:12 a.m.—3:36 a.m.

Rādhā-Mādhava’s confidential pastimes
Mādhava enjoys the other gopīs

Radha-Krishna lila smarana ki jai! Remembering Radha Govinda moment to moment ki jai! Jaya Jaya Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Why do we offer obeisances before taking Sri Krishna prasadam? Srila Prabhupada answers, “Because the prasadam is also Krishna. So by taking prasadam, I am contacting Krishna.” (Folio 661205CCNY)

The standard is to first offer obeisances to Krishna prasadam, and then glorify Krishna’s grace food with selected prayers. Most Vaisnavas utter the following Skanda Purana verse:

maha-prasade -govinde
-nama-brahmani -vaishnave
svalpa-punyavatam -rajan –
vishvaso -naiva -jayate

“A person with little piety can never develop faith in Krishna’s maha-prasada, Bhagavan Sri Govinda, Krishna’s transcendental Name, or the Vaisnavas.” (Caitanya-caritamrta 3.16.96)

Srila Prabhupada often quoted Bhagavad-Gita (2.65) to glorify Sri Krishna prasadam, the sanctified food remnants of Radha and Krishna.

In Paris (1974), when he saw a plate of Krishna prasadam brought in by a disciple, Srila Prabhupada excitedly uttered, “Hare Krishna! Prasade -sarva-duhkhanam hanir-asyopajayate!” (Folio 740610R1.PAR)

Once an Indian gentleman asked, “What is the importance of Krishna prasada?

Srila Prabhupada answered, “Yes, prasada! Very good! Prasada is Krishna’s special favor. That is prasada. Prasade -sarva-duhkhanam hanir-asyopajayate. If we simply eat Krishna prasada, without any culture, we can get spiritual knowledge.” (Folio (660812.BG.NY)

By reciting the following Gita verse before honoring Sri Krishna’s sacred food remnants, devotees can simultaneously glorify the tremendous power of Krishna prasadam, and remember our “ever well-wisher”, Srila Prabhupada:

prasade -sarva-duhkhanam
hanir -asyopajayate
prasanna-cetaso hy -ashu
buddhih –parya -vatishthate

“Krishna prasada destroys all miseries, fills the mind with happiness, and establishes the intelligence in self-realization.” (Bhagavad-gita 2.65)

Devotees doing raganuga –bhakti –sadhana often recite the following verse while remembering the sweet compassion of Kishoriju Srimati Radharani:

sri –radhaya -madhura –madhur -occhishta -piyusha -saram
bhojam -bhojam -nava -nava -rasananda -magnah -kada -syam

“When will I be absorbed in relishing ever-new blissful rasa by repeatedly chewing Sri Radha’s sweeter than sweet remnants which are the essence of nectar?” (Radha Rasa Sudhanidhi 87)

Jagannatha maha-prasada ki jai! Radha Raman maha-prasada ki jai!

Srimati Radharani’s nectarean prasadi ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Dear devoted friends and students.

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Please be happy knowing that Sri Guru and Sri Krishna are always beside you to protect, guide and love you.

We want to share some Krishna conscious philosophy to help everyone deal with the fear surrounding today’s pandemic. This presentation has three parts; 1- cause of fear; 2- conquering fear; 3- overcoming fear of death.

CAUSE OF FEAR

Fear is part of material existence. Fear is based on insecurity and due to worrying about the future. Actually all fears boil down to the basic fear of death. It is only when one identifies oneself with the external material body that one fears death.

Fear is therefore due to ignorance of one’s real identity. Surely a fearful situation stirs up emotions within the body of a devotee, but a devotee relates to these emotions in a Krishna conscious manner.

CONQUERING FEAR

We can conquer fear by constantly analyzing the spiritual truth. Krishna arranges fear of death for a transcendental purpose: it should inspire us to turn to Krishna and take shelter in Krishna. In one sense fear is a state of mind. Factually there is nothing to fear, since Krishna guarantees protection to all souls surrendered to Him.

Rani Kunti prayed that fearful conditions would come to her again and again so that she would remember Krishna again and again. A devotee becomes peaceful through  transcendental knowledge. One who understands the meaning of life, knows that death is simply a change of body. For a devotee, however, the greatest fear is to forget Krishna, or to somehow lose the opportunity to serve Krishna. This should be our only worry and fear.

When one surrenders to Krishna in love, material fearfulness goes far away. Trust in Krishna overcomes all fear.

Overcoming fear and becoming free from worry is the subject of the Gita’s opening lines, where Sri Krishna admonished Arjun and told him not to lament (Bhagavad Gita 2.11). And in his concluding words, Krishna stresses exclusive worship in surrender unto Him. By this one will overcome all fear. One whose heart is saturated with faith in Krishna’s closing instruction in Gita will be fearless.

sarva-dharman -parityajya
mam -ekam -sharanam -vraja
aham -tvam –sarva -papebhyo
moksha -yishyami -ma -shucah

Sri Krishna says, “Forgoing all religious injunctions, take exclusive shelter in Me. I will deliver you from all sinful reactions. DO NOT FEAR!” (Bhagavad Gita 18.66).

If we have any fears, we can remove them by perceiving the love in Krishna’s voice as He speaks this verse to the grief stricken devotee Arjuna and to all of us. Trust in Krishna’s love requires no reasoning and vanquishes all fear.

When we come to understand that we are eternal, we will no longer identify with the body and have nothing more to fear. Thus fear can be defeated by knowledge of Sri Krishna and our dependent relationship with Krishna. A devotee is confident and fearless in this world, because even the prospect of death won’t interrupt one’s loving exchanges with our beloved Shyamsundar. If our minds are always fixed on our merciful Sri Krishna, we have nothing to fear!!!

DEATH THE ULTIMATE FEAR

Actually there is no death for the spirit soul, but due to our absorption in the identification of body as self, the fear of death develops. When one is fully convinced that one is not the body, there is no question of fearing death, since the spirit soul never dies.

For one who knows that the body is temporary and the soul eternal, what meaning does death have? Death is simply a change of dress. A devotee who takes shelter of merciful Krishna has nothing to fear. Even if the devotee dies, Krishna being kind upon His dear servant, either brings the devotee to Goloka Vrndavana or arranges a good next birth for serving Krishna again.

Krishna states in Bhagavad Gita (8.5), “And whoever at death remembers Me alone at once attains Me. Of this there is no doubt.” A devotee is never afraid of death because one is always secure, being protected by the lotus feet of Bhagavan Sri Krishna.

As Sri Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita (9.31), kaunteya pratijanihina me bhaktah pranasyati: “My dear Arjuna, you may declare publicly that My devotee will not be vanquished under any circumstances.”

So why be in anxiety about whether you live or die. If you live, what will you continue to do? Krishna bhakti bhajan! And if you die, what will you do? Krishna bhakti bhajan! A devotee is established in Krishna consciousness not body consciousness. Because devotees have knowledge of the next life they are never in anxiety.

So relax my devoted friends, and be peaceful knowing that Sri Krishna’s invincible loving arms are wrapped around you in an eternal embrace of friendship and protection! Just go on practicing bhakti bhajan with redoubled enthusiasm and sincerity. Keep your faith strong by trusting Sri Krishna’s words in Gita.

And live your days serving Shyam with joy in your hearts and smiles on all your pretty faces.

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madangopal Das

One day in Goloka Vrindavana, Shyama sat alone under the shade of a beautiful flowering kadamba tree that was filling the entire forest with a sweet fragrance reminiscent of Radharani. Becoming absorbed in vivid memories of His sweet beloved, Krishna spontaneously began glorifying Radha with the choicest words full of love.

Brilliant green parrots gathered in the branches, curious innocent deer collected nearby, and swans floated in the peaceful waters of the Yamuna. All were stunned in bliss and spellbound in amazement to hear what Shyam was saying.

Contemplating within Himself, –vichar –antare (238), Krishna said:

cin-maya –purna -tattva, radhika –prem –unmatta
“I am full of spiritual truth, but Radhika’s love makes me mad. (122)

na –jani –radha –prema –bal, kare -sarvada -vihval
What is that power of Radha’s love by which Radha always overwhelms Me? (123)

Everywhere, everyone says I am the adi-guru, jagat-guru, spiritual master of the universe. But now I know the real truth is this:
radhika –prem –guru, ami –shishya –nat
ama –nana –nrtye, nachaya -udbhat
 “Radhika’s prem is the Guru. I am Her dancing disciple. Radha’s sweet love always makes Me dance in wonderful ways. (124)

radha –prem –vibhu,
kshane –kshane –baday –sadai
“Although Radha’s love is all-pervading, it increases at every second.” (128)

While Shyam was praising His beloved Priya, He suddenly remembered Her divine form and how Radhika’s rupa, gandha, shabdha, rasa, sparsha and vritti completely attract and captivate all His senses of seeing, smelling, hearing, tasting, touching and thinking.

Krishna continues speaking: “Ten million Cupids are conquered by My matchless, unsurpassed sweet beauty. But My eyes find the greatest happiness in seeing Radha. (242-3)

vamshi –gitakarshay –tri -bhuvan
radha –vacane –hare -shravan
My flute song attracts the three worlds. But Radha’s voice fully enchants My ears. (244)

amara –gandha –jagat –sugandha
chitta –prana –hara, radha –anga –gandha
The fragrance of My body fills the universe with sweet aromas. But the naturally sweet scent of Sriji’s limbs fully enthralls My mind and heart. (245)

amara –rasa -jagat -sarasa
radhara –adhara –ras –kar –vasha
Although My rasas fill the world with sweetness, I am totally controlled and subjugated by the sweet taste of Radha’s lips. (246)

amara –sparsha –kotindu -shital
radhika –sparsha –amasushital
Although My touch is cooler than ten million moons, I am completely refreshed by the cooling caress of Kishori. (247)

jagat -sukha –hetu, radha – rupa -jivatu
Although I am the cause of happiness in the world, Radhika’s sweet beauty is My life and soul. (248)

anya –sanga –yata –sukha –pai, radha -sukha –shata -adhikai
I get a hundred times more happiness from meeting Radha than from anyone else.” (258)

Somehow by divine arrangement, that very Queen of Shyam’s heart suddenly appeared at that lonely spot beside the Yamuna. Seizing the opportunity to flatter the cherished treasure of His heart, Gopinatha said:

“O Devi! Your divinely attractive body is the source of all beauty.
O Sulochana, Your radiant cherry-red lips are softer than the sense of immortal sweetness.
O Pranapriya! The effulgent orb of Your perfectly shaped face bears the aroma of a lotus.
O Radha! Your heart-touching, honey sweet words silence the soothing warbling of the cuckoo.
O Sriji! Your shapely golden limbs are cooler than sandalwood.

“Actually, O Shyamaa! Each and every one of My senses floods with bliss whenever I am with You, who are the abode of the most attractive and sensational qualities.”

Jai Jai Sri Radheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

P.S. Verses numbered above are from “Sri CaitanyaCaritamrta” adi-lila, chapter four.

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

The people of Bharatavarsha have seen many calamities in the form of severe droughts, heat waves, famines, plagues, social unrest and war. History shows that these calamities were often rectified and the people were saved by massive performance of Harinam Sankirtan, collective chanting of Bhagavan nama along with drums, cymbals and hand-clapping

To counteract various calamities at different times and places in Bharatavarsha, great saints such as Nam Alvar, Namdev, Tukaram, Guru Gobind Singh and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu have led thousands of devotees in publically chanting the transcendental holy names of Narayana, Ram or Krishna. And history shows that this massive Harinam was effective in stopping plagues, bringing rains and good fortune for the people.

And thus to attract the mercy and protection of Bhagavan, we humbly beg all families to come together TWICE DAILY after breakfast and dinner to enthusiastically perform at least half-hour of Harinam Sankirtan. By chanting Harinam together as a family, each member will get relief from tension, and feel hopeful in the presence of Bhagavan who will manifest within anyone who sincerely sings His holy name.

At this time everyone is sheltered within their homes. But we also need a shelter for our minds and hearts. One Gaudiya Vaisnava saint, Thakur Mahashaya said, “Sri Sri Radha and Krishna my only shelter, in life or in death.” Another saint said, “The only shelter in the entire world is Harinam.”

Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu popularized chanting of the maha-mantra for this dismal dark time of Kali:

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

Mahaprabhu emphatically proclaimed, Param Vijayate Sri Krishna Sankirtanam, “Chanting Sri Krishna Nama Sankirtan will make one supremely victorious!”

Jai Jai Sri Radhe! Harinam Sankirtan ki jai!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

Srila Rupa Goswamipada says (Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu (1.2.291) raganuga-bhakti sadhana can begin when one has a slight but specific hankering and desire (lobha, divine greed) to experience the feelings and render services like a particular eternal associate of Sri Krishna in Vrndavana i.e. Sri Radha, Visakha-sakhi or Sri Rupa Manjari in madhura-rati (vraja-vasi jana bhaava lubdho).

Regarding this, Srila Prabhupada says (Nectar of Devotion, pg. 125), “There is a gradual development to become like a particular devotee.”

In the next verse (Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu 1.2.292), Srila Rupa Goswamipada says divine greed may appear and develop by repeatedly hearing [or reading] sastras like the Srimad Bhagavatam and books of the six Goswamis. Sri Jiva Goswamipada says that to develop raganuga-bhakti sadhana, one should especially hear the Tenth Canto Bhagavata’s depiction i.e. [Gopi-gitas) of the sweet love and activities of the cowherd damsels of Vrajabhumi.

In (Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu 1.2.294), Srila Rupa Goswamipada says practicing raganuga-bhakti means to live in Vraja Mandala and be absorbed in hearing topics specifically related to the Vrajavasis whom you want to follow, such as Radhika and the Vraja-gopis.

For devotees pursuing Vraja bhakti in the amorous mood of the gopis, the Srimad Bhagavatam contains six priceless jewels known as the six Gitas or songs of the Vraja-gopis. Bhagavatam is the cream of the Vedas, and the Gopi-gitas are the burfee of the Bhagavatam.

Why is that you may ask? The six Gopi-gitas are full of deeply emotional, pure love-surcharged verses that have arisen from the Vraja gopis’ immaculately pure hearts. In these outpourings, often cried out in the agony of separation from Shyam, the Vraja-gopis reveal the topmost transcendental ecstatic sentiments of mahabhava, pure and selfless, divine love for their dearest Priyatama Shyama, Sri Krishna!

The Gopis’ songs are especially meant for sadhakas treading the emotional path of raganuga-bhakti in pursuance of the madhura-rati of Sri Krishna’s Vraja ragatmikas as taught by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. By regularly hearing, reading, or better yet crying like they did, these six songs of love divine, devotees will quickly develop the moods and feeling of the damsels of Vraja.

The Vraja gopis sing these six Gitas either in times of union or separation, while relishing the ecstasy of their srngara-prema, pure ecstatic amorous love for Shyamsundar, the beautiful dashing sweet Lord of Love.

Srila Sukadeva Goswami comments (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.33.36) on these Gitas, “People must hear about Krishna pastimes [in the six Gopi-gitas]. By doing so people will become exclusively devoted to Bhagavan Sri Krishna.”

Many contemporary Vrndavana Goswamis and Bhagavata katha vachaks say that if you want to cultivate the gopi’s mood separation, attract the heart of Krishna, and receive His beautiful darshana, then daily sing the “Gopi Gita”. (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.31.1-19)

Moreover, since the Vraja-gopis are the topmost devotees of Bhagavan Sri Krishna in all of creation, any devotee who daily hears, reads, or cries these songs will surely increase his/her attraction, love and attachment for Sri Krishna, our Sweet Loving Master.

OUTLINE OF THE SIX GOPI GITAS

  1. Venu-gita:

In verses (10.21.7-19), the gopis describe Sri Krishna’s purvahna-lila (8:24-10:48 a.m.) in the morning when Govinda goes out with gopa friends to tend the cows in the forest. While the gopis are staying at home they hear Krishna sweet flute song echoing and resounding in the distant pastures. Their hearts thrill with ecstatic hankering. Then to ease their pangs of separation, the lovely damsels of Vraja sing about their beloved Shyam, His amazing flute, and His frolicking in the forests of Vrndavana.

  1. Pranaya-gita:

This Gita appears in the Tenth Canto at the end of the first chapter describing the rasa-lila (SB 10.29.31-41). After the gopis hear Sri Krishna’s flute invitation for amorous sports, they drop everything and run through the frightening midnight forest to stand before their beloved. And what does Shyam do? He preaches patni dharma, lajja dharma, varna dharma and morality to seemingly dissuade and reject them.

Replying, the Vraja damsels forcefully express their pure intentions, and transcendental loving sentiments for the one and only true husband and master of everyone, Krishna! In their talks about the deepest pure love, the Vraja-gopis reveal a type of sweetness in prema called pranaya. To better understand the gopis’ feelings at this time, please attentively read and reflect upon the following passage:

Pranaya-prema is a spiritual mentality of equality and oneness of heart between the lover and beloved. It includes boldness, firm faith and trust, and it is completely free from the slightest scent of reverence. Ujjvala-nilamani states that alaukik pranaya is the fifth stage (rati, prema, sneha, mana, pranaya) of ever-thickening sweetness in divine love. In pranaya prema, the lover completely identifies with the beloved, but not like the oneness of the jiva identifying with Brahman in sayujya-mukti.

At this level the lovers feels that their life-airs, minds, intelligence, bodies, and garments (prana, mana, buddhi, deha, vesh) are identical with the counterparts in their beloved. The lovers think, “You are my very prana and I am your very prana (life force).”

Thus, in their loving exchanges there is no hesitation, fear or distance created by respect or feelings of difference. For example, Sri Krishna can place His feet on Radharani’s breasts or pass His chewed pan into Radha’s mouth without any fear or hesitation.

  1. Gopi-gita:

This Gita (10.31.1-19) comprises the entire third chapter of Radha-Krishna’s rasa-lila in the Tenth Canto of Bhagavatam. On the camphor white, soft sandy banks of Yamunaji, the gorgeous gopis sing the pranaya-gita directly to Sri Krishna in chapter 29. Then later in the night during the rasa lila, Sri Krishna suddenly disappears leaving the damsels distraught and dejected.

Overwhelmed with broken hearts and sobbing continuously, the gopis sit down on the bank of the Yamuna after searching a long time for Krishna. Each in her own way, the gopis ecstatically cry out to Rasikashekhar while praying for Shyam’s merciful darshana.

Their minds filling with Krishna’s pastimes and presence, and their hearts burning in loneliness they cry out for their beloved. The commentators say singing the “Gopi-gita” will assuage the aggrieved heart of any bhakta who truly feels separation from Krishna.

  1. Yugala-gita:

This Gita appears in (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.35.2-25). Although wanting, the gopis can’t run out with Shyam when He goes to the forest every day. But their minds do run out. So while remaining in the village doing their chores, the gopis sadly pass their time singing of Krishna’s pastimes while eagerly awaiting Shyam’s return.

Standing in small groups here and there in Vraja, the gopis recite pairs (yugala) of verses glorifying Sri Krishna’s late afternoon pastimes (aparahna-lila 3.36- 6 p.m) of returning from the pasturing grounds (uttara-gostha lila) with the cows and cowherd boys.

  1. Viraha-gita:

Viraha-gita is in (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.39.19-31). This chapter describes one dismal day in February, when Akrura comes to town to take the tender boys Krishna and Balarama out of Vraja and on to Mathura City for a wrestling match with the fierce and hefty henchmen of the notorious demon King Kamsa.

Priyaji Radha and the other gopis are afraid to be without Shyama for even an eye blink. So when they hear the news, they become extremely upset and distressed.

Their faces turn pale from their heavy breathing, and their dresses, bracelets and braids slip off. When Radhika hears the bad news, She remembers some intimate moments with Shyama and faints.

Tossing in the high waves of prema, the Vraja-gopis stay up all night vacillating between madness and fainting. Half-conscious, the gopis lament and condemn Providence for separating them from Shyam.

Due to the intense anxiety of thinking that they may never see Krishna, the gopis run to Nandagrama at dawn. They decide to cast away their shyness and try their best to keep Krishna in Vraja. Standing at the door of Nanda’s palace, they openly express their deep feelings of love of separation in what is called the “Viraha-gita”.

In Nectar of Devotion (ch 44), Srila Prabhupada cites Srila Rupa Goswamipada’s Padyavali: “Since the inauspicious day when Krishna left Vrindavana to go to Mathura, Srimati Radharani has been pressing Her head on one of Her hands and constantly shedding tears. Radha’s face is always wet now, and therefore there is no chance of Radha’s sleeping even for a moment. Radharani was always weeping for Krishna because of His separation and She could not sleep for a moment.”

And how did Krishna feel in Mathura after being separated from His beloved sweetheart Radhika? In the Prahlada-samhita, Uddhava says, “Sri Govinda, panic-stricken from the piercing arrows of Cupid, is always thinking of Radharani. He does not eat regularly nor sleep at night.”

  1. Bhramara-gita:

This Gita appears in (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.47.12-20). After Sri Krishna leaves the gopis and moves to Mathura, He sends Uddhava back to Vraja with a message to pacify the gopis who are completely distraught in Krishna’s separation.

When the young maidens of Vraja see lotus-eyed Uddhava, wearing Krishna’s prasadi dhoti, turban and ornaments, they are astonished thinking that perhaps he is Krishna. The gopis bring Uddhava to a secluded place to speak confidentially.

As they remember their pleasurable pastimes with Krishna, the gopis abandon all propriety and shyness and loudly cry. At that time, Sri Radha sees a bumblebee and mistakes it to be a messenger of Uddhava or someone very dear to him and Krishna. Completely bewildered by intense pangs of love in separation from Shyam (divyonmada mahabhava), Radha speaks to that bee like a madwoman.

Uddhava tries his best to console the deeply anguished Radharani and the damsels of Vraja, who just want to see Shyam again, but he fails! Instead of pacifying the anguished gopis, Uddhava himself becomes baffled and astonished at Sri Radha’s intensely mad love in separation from Krishna.

The Bhramara-gita concludes with Uddhava’s response which is simply his heartfelt prayers to the gopis expressing his gratitude, appreciation and aspiration. Although he is a most exalted Vedic scholar and a confidential friend of Krishna, Uddhava prays with folded hands that the gopis will bless him in some life with their foot dust if by chance he gets birth in Vraja as a lowly creeper. It seems this pastime occurred during the morning (purvahana-lila 8:36-10:48 a.m.)

We hope this article will inspire devotees to cultivate their individual budding attraction to follow the Vraja-gopis by regularly hearing and reading these wonderful Gopi-gitas of the Tenth Canto.

Srimad Bhagavatam Gopi-gitas ki jai! Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

To progress nicely in Radha-Krishna bhakti -bhajan, we offer the following ideas for your daily remembrance and practice, sadhana -abhyasa. For most Gaudiya Vaisnavas this is the essence of SAMBANDHA and PRAYOJANA i.e. the foundation and goal of Radha-Krishna bhakti bhajan.

Our Eternal Identity

** By nature every jivatma (you) is an eternal servant, part and parcel of Bhagavan Sri Krishna.

** As Gaudiya Vaisnavas we are Radha-Govinda Yugala -upasakas, which means that here every day, and forever in Vraja Gokula, we will worship Radha and Krishna in the keli -kunjas, divine play groves of Sridhama Vrndavana in Goloka—the spiritual sky.

** My Sthayi-rati (permanent mood of loving attachment to Bhagavan Sri Krishna.)

Of the five Vraja rasas or ratis, we possess and serve Sri Krishna in the topmost form of madhurya-rati (divinely ecstatic amorous love), with the same parakiya bhava that Srimati Radharani and all Her confidential sakhis like Lalita, Visakha and Tulasi-manjari feel toward Bhagavan Sri Krishna.

** We are eternal loving maidservants (manjaris/dasis/kinkaris) of Srimati Radharani, following the moods and sevas of Her other manjaris like Sri Rupa and Tulasi manjaris.

** For Sri Radhika’s happiness, in our daily reading and meditation, we offer one specific seva (which we cherish most), and a variety of other tasteful services to please Swamini Radha throughout the day and night, asta-kaliya lila.

** Upon attaining Radha-Govinda prema, we will leave this maya jagat, samsara, once and for all, and go directly to Radha-Govinda Yugala’s pastimes in Bhauma Vrndavana.

** Then Srimati Herself and Her dearest companions like Visakha sakhi, Tulasi-manjari, Guru manjari and param-guru manjari will personally train us in perfect sevas, and all the nuances and advanced feelings beyond Krishna prema i.e sneha, maan, pranaya, raga, anuraga, bhava and MAHABHAVA.

** Our hearts and bodies have now become perfect (siddha-deha/siddha-bhava)—complete and immaculate divine spiritual beings.

** Upon concluding Their prakata lila in Bhauma Vrndavana, Radha-Govinda Yugala, all Their eternal associates (nitya-siddhas), and all Their sadhana-siddha dasi manjaris (us) will go directly to Goloka Vrndavana in the spiritual sky to eternally serve Radha-Krishna in the ever-fresh, beautiful and natural play land of loving happiness—Sridhama Vrndavana.

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!

Sri Vraja Dhama ki jai!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das

For all Gaudiya Vaisnavas, Vrndavana is the topmost place of sadhana bhajan. Sri Krishna Caitanya Himself set the example of staying here for four months, totally immersed in gopi-bhava i.e. Radha’s premonmada mahabhava.

Roaming around Vraja, Mahaprabhu went mad searching for that elusive King of love divine, the all-attractive, Master of sweet bliss eternal—Sri Krishna! After partially recovering from His eternal swoon of love in separation from Syama, Gaurahari left Vraja and returned to His circle of loving friends.

In great ecstasy, Gauranga then ordered His antaranga bhaktas, the six Goswamis, to go live in Vrndavana—serve, search and cry for Krishna, and teach others to do the same.

For fifty-years or more of their manifest presence, the Goswamis—Sri Rupa, Sanatana, Bhatta, Gopala and Dasa Raghunatha, and Sri Jiva—LIVED IN VRNDAVANA. They showed the ideal of Radha-Krishna sadhana bhakti for all Gaudiya Vaisnavas.

Their lives, books, bhajans, and eternal blessings teach us how to live in Vrndavana in the mood of Srimati Radharani’s eternal maidservants i.e. dasis, manjaris. Like the Goswamis, the fervent, hankering bhaktas will internally serve Radhika with their minds, and externally through bhajan, tears and endless prayers to see Her beloved sweet Syama.

Jai Jai Sri Radhe

Ten Phenomenal Powers

To encourage everyone to live in Vrndavana doing Krishna bhakti sadhana, Sri Rupa, the very form of Sri Radha’s beauty and compassion, wrote extensively about the glories of Sridhama Vrndavana. In Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, Sri Rupa Goswamipada describes ten uniquely astonishing attributes of Vrndavana, unavailable anywhere else in the universe!

1) All in Vraja! Other Yatras Not Needed

In Adi Purana, Bhagavan Sri Krishna says:

mathuram -ca -parityajya,
yon -yatra -kurute -ratim
mudho -bhramati -samsara,
mohita -mama -mayaya

“Only a fool, wandering in samsara and bewildered by My maya, will leave Vrndavana out of attraction to go somewhere on a yatra.” (Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu 1.2.211)

One might argue, “But Bharata-bhumi is filled with all kinds of sacred places, tirthas, and dhamas like Prayaga, Puskara, Haridvara, Kanchi, Dvaraka, Ayodhya, Sri Rangam, Ramesvaram, and Badrinatha. So why can’t we go on tirtha yatras to see all these wonderful places?”

Of course, anyone can go; there is no law against it. Indeed, these sacred places can purify one and even grant mukti. But why leave Braja, since the Six Goswamis never did that once they settled here? They stayed 24/7 in Vrndavana and quoted so many sastras to encourage others to live here too.

In fact, Sri Rupa Goswamipada’s “Sri Mathura Mahatyam” contains over four-hundred Vedic verses proving the supreme efficacy of Braja vasa, and the incredible benefits of living and dying here.

To establish Vrndavana Dhama above all the other sacred places like those listed above, Sri Rupa Goswamipada quotes the Padma Purana on residing in Mathura/Vrndavana:

anyesu –punya -tirthesu
muktir -eva –maha -phalam
muktaih -prarthya -harer -bhaktir
mathurayam tu labhyate

“Mukti is the topmost fruit to be gained at other sacred places. But HARI BHAKTI, which even the liberated desire, is only attainable in Mathura/Vrndavana!”

aho -madhu -puri -dhanya
vaikunthac -ca -gariyasi
dinam -ekam -nivasena
harau -bhaktih -prajayate

“Aho! Wow! The sweet land of Mathura/Vrndavana is most auspicious and even superior to Vaikuntha. By staying here only one day, Hari bhakti will appear! (Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, 1.2.135, 137)

In the following, most beautiful, poetic and musical Sanskrit verse, Sri Rupa Goswamipada summarizes nine more powers of Braja, elaborately described in the Puranas (khyatam-puranesu-na-vistara-bhiyocyate). In these nine ways, Mathura/Vrndavana fulfil desires.

sruta- smrta –kirtita -ca
vanchita- preksita -gata
sprsta- srita sevita -ca
mathur -abhista -da -nrnam

“[Due to the unlimited power of Vrndavana], anyone can fulfil their cherished desires [for Krishna’s eternal service] simply by:

2) Hearing about Vrndavana (sruta).

3) Remembering Vrndavana (smrta).

4) Glorifying Vrndavana (kirtita).

5) Desiring Vrndavana (vanchita).

6) Seeing Vrndavana (preksita).

7) Visiting Vrndavana (gata).

8) Touching Vrndavana (sprsta).

9) Living in Vrndavana (asrita).

10) Serving Vrndavana (sevita).”

Sri Jiva Goswami’s commentary

“The word preksita (#6) means seeing Vrndavana from a distance, or going near but without direct contact. Srita (#9) means accepting Vrndavana as one’s shelter [residence]. Sevita (#10) means serving Vrndavana by cleaning, beautifying, repairing old temples, etc.

The items in this list fulfil the desires of all beings with successively increasing power. Thus, the last item, sevita, serving Vrndavana is the most powerful!

Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das comments:

Regarding (#9), living in Vraja, in Padma Purana (Patala-khanda), Sri Rudra says to Sri Parvati:

aho -madhu -puri -dhanya
yatra –tisthati -kamsaha
tatra -deva -munih -sarve
vasam -icchanti -sarvada

“Aho! Wow! The sweet land of Mathura/Vrndavana, where Kamsari Sri Krishna resides eternally, is so valuable and fortunate. Even all the munis and devas desire to always live there.” (Laghu Bhagavatamrta I.5.433)

Thus, the conclusion of sastra, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and the example and teachings of the six Goswamis is that Gaudiya Vaisnavas should live in and serve Vrndavana, while continually practicing raganuga bhakti bhajan in the mood and manner of the sakhi/manjaris of Srimati Radharani in Goloka Vrndavana.

Sridhama Vrndavana vasa ki jai! Six Goswamis ki jai!

Jai Jai Sri Radhe!