[The week-long Harikatha Festival in Germany – April 3 - 9, 2006 – was attended by about 600 devotees from around the world. During that week, Srila Narayana Maharaja spoke in the temple room each evening. On the first night he discussed the first canto Srimad-Bhagavatam, and on the subsequent nights he discussed the five kinds of pure devotees as described in Srila Sanatana Gosvami's Brhat-bhagavatamrtam. He discussed the glories of Sri Prahlada Maharaja, Ambarisa Maharaja, Hanuman, the Pandavas, and finally the glories of Sri Uddhava and the gopis. At the end of his final class he spoke the following closing words:]
Depend on Sri Krsna. At least develop saranagati, practicing the six types of surrender – always consider that Sri Krsna is your protector. No other person can protect you. Depend on Krsna, not anyone else. Be like Gangamata Thakurani*[See endnote 1], whose life history we saw in the drama last night, and thus make your lives successful.
Don't be weak. Don’t give up chanting. Remember your guru-mantra and gayatri mantras daily – three times a day. Don't take alcohol or marijuana or things like that. Be strict. Always remember to read my books and the books of Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja, and try to understand them. Hear hari-katha from superiors. Don't criticize any Vaisnava. If you don't like someone, don't associate with him; but don’t criticize him. Always be strong.
Also, distribute my books. Read, take the essence, follow, and distribute my mission. My mission is not different from that of Srila Rupa Gosvami or Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. You should help me in preaching all over the world – as Mahaprabhu’s mission was preached at the time of Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja. At that time all the devotees used to go to airports, railway stations, shop to shop and door to door to preach His mission; and thus it spread all over the world. Again you should inspire all – but first inspire yourselves.
My heartly blessings to all the devotees – to the audience. If there was no audience, to whom would I speak hari-katha? I want you to be strong, and preach my mission throughout the world.
[Endnote 1: The following is a lecture given by Srila Narayana Maharaja on the subject of Srimati Gangamata gosvamini, in January of 2000, in Murwillumbah, Australia. It was this lecture that was used as the script for the drama referred to above:]
Saci devi was not only beautiful, but she was very intelligent and she used to study Sanskrit and Bengali. Her father and mother were very worried for her marriage, but she totally refused. She told her father, "My marriage has already been done. There is no need of another marriage. Don't be worried. I will go to Vrndavana and I will meet my beloved there."
She took her Deities and was ready to go to Vrndavana alone, on foot, which was a three to four thousand mile journey. There were no airplanes or any modern conveniences in those days. She was preparing to go by foot, but her father arranged everything for her travel.
Having come to Vrndavana and being completely infatuated and controlled by the desire to meet Krsna, she began searching for Him everywhere, wandering here and there. She would go to Vamsivata and ask that Vamsivata banyan tree: "Where is Krsna? Can you tell me where is Krsna?"
There was a disciple of a very exalted devotee named Hari Dasa, and he was in the line of Srila Rupa Gosvami. He was always chanting and remembering Krsna. He was also giving classes, just as I give in the evenings, and all Vrajavasis and saints and sadhus in our line would attend. Saci devi also used to hear the classes, and she was attracted. She told him, "I am taking your asraya, shelter. Please give me initiation, otherwise I will die. I want to see Krsna, and I want serve Krsna and Radha." Hearing this, he was so much happy. Though he never wanted to initiate anyone, he initiated that beautiful princess.
Hari Dasa then gave Saci devi instructions on how to chant, how to remember, how to practice in the line of Srila Rupa Gosvami, how Krsna is her beloved, and how she should serve Radhika. He told her that her Guru was a manifestation of Srimati Visakha devi or Sri Rupa Manjari.
Sri Hari Dasa did not want her to be alone. He told her that there was an elderly lady of about fifty years, and that lady was very mature in hari-bhajana. He placed her in the hands of that devotee, just as Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu placed the hands of Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami in the hands of Sri Svarupa Damodara.
After her initiation, Saci devi was always weeping for Lord Krsna. She used to chant more than one hundred thousands names (64 rounds) of harinama daily, and she was totally absorbed. Her Guru never gave her any bhajana kutira (a small house or room or hut, used for chanting and remembering Krsna). Rather he told her, "Oh, you should arrange this yourself. I have nothing to do with these things. You should manage."
Saci devi used to live in a broken-down temple on the Yamuna ghat, and there she would perform her sadhana-bhajana. She never made any management for taking prasada, but rather she would go from door to door, taking very little madhukari. She would eat only one forth of one chapatti in a meal, not taking all or even half of it. Everyone loved her and wanted to give her foodstuffs, but she never accepted them. She never wore nice clothing. She wore only warn and torn white cloth, and she was satisfied by this. She had no electricity and no facilities at all.
By continually hearing and developing her Krsna consciousness, she became totally renounced. When she became twenty-five years old her Gurudeva told her, "You should go to Radha-Kunda, to the place of Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, and do bhajana like him. And also take that nice elderly devotee."
For the next twenty-five years Saci devi remained in the renounced order, doing madhukari (begging) and somehow maintaining her life. There was no problem in maintaining herself, and therefore she used to perform bhajana day and night. She did not sleep, even at night.
After twenty-five years her Guru, now very old, called her and said, "You should now go to Nilacala, Jagannatha Puri, near the Gambira of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and you should remain there for some time. There you will become siddha, perfect; so don't delay. Also, you should renovate the place of Sri Sarvabhuma Bhattacarya. At present it is in ruins. No one is taking care of it and practically no one knows about its existence. So you should go and discover it, make a very simple temple there, worship there, live there, and take the prasadam of Lord Jagannatha.
That elderly lady was now gone, and therefore Saci devi went there alone. Somehow she came in the same way that Sri Sanatana Gosvami came from Vraja Mandala to Jagannatha Puri, traveling for many days on foot. You cannot imagine how she came.
Once in Puri, Saci devi discovered the place of Sarvabhuma Bhattacarya. She made a hut of leaves and began to live there, chanting and remembering Lord Krsna. In the evenings she gave classes on Rasa Pancadyaya (the five chapters in Srimad Bhagavatam 10th Canto regarding Lord Krsna’s lilas with the gopis of Vrndavana). Sometimes she spoke on Venu-gita, and sometimes on other very important subjects of Srimad Bhagavatam.
When giving class, tears would come to Saci devi's eyes. All the residents of Puri were attracted, and even the King used to come in disguise to hear from her. The King made a proposal: "I want to give something to you. I want to build you a nice hut, and I want to give you a donation." Saci devi refused the donation and said, "I don't want a donation from a king."
One day, on Makhara-sankranti, millions of Indians were going to take bath in the Ganges, which was hundreds of miles away from Puri. At that time Saci devi made up her mind: "I should also go to the Ganges to take bath." She made this determination in her mind, and she was going to go, but at midnight she saw, "Oh, the Ganges is coming." There was a very heavy, roaring current. As though by magic, she found herself in that Ganges, where millions of persons were taking bath. The current in the Ganges took her to the temple of Lord Jagannatha, and then it entered and touched the feet of Jagannatha. [The Ganges originally came from the feet of Jagannathadeva, because He is Krsna Himself. When Sri Vamanadeva took the universe away from Bali Maharaja, His foot went through the universal covering and touched the Causal Ocean. A drop of that Causal Ocean thus came into the universe as the Ganges. It is also said that Ganges is originally a sakhi of Srimati Radhika from Goloka Vrndavana. It can therefore be said that Jagannatha Himself, in the form of the Ganges, picked Saci devi up and brought her to His lotus feet.] She was now there at Lord Jagannatha's feet, and the door was closed. No one else was there.
In the morning the priest came, opened the door, and thousands upon thousands of persons came in to take darsana. The priest saw that lady and said, "Oh, why did you come here? To steal the ornaments of Jagannatha?"
Saci devi was absorbed in meditation on Krsna, thinking, "Krsna is so merciful. Ganges came to me, made me take bath, and her current took me to the lotus feet of Jagannatha." She could not answer that priest, however. It is prohibited for a devotee to reveal his or her realizations, and moreover, no one would have believed her. She was thus taken to jail as if she were a thief.
During the night Jagannatha gave a dream to the King, and also to the prominent pujari. Saci devi would now become famous as Gangamata Thakurani or Gangamata Gosvamini, due to her being carried by the Ganges. Jagannatha told them, "Go at once and beg forgiveness. Bring Gangamata Thakurani in a golden chariot, with drums and all other paraphernalia to make a royal reception and royal procession. Also, you should become a disciple of that lady, along with your priests and all other prominent persons."
The king awoke and at once went to the jail with golden chariots, a large crowd, and a royal reception. He brought her to her cottage and said, "Jagannatha has told me, "You should go and take shelter of that devotee. And, if you do not take initiation from her, I will destroy your entire dynasty." Along with all his councilors and others, he now began to fast and pray, "Be pleased to give us initiation very soon." Gangamata Thakurani replied, "My Guru has not told me to do this. I don't want to make any disciples." Jagannatha then ordered her, "For Me, to please Me, you should make disciples." After that she accepted them.
The king then promised, "I will give some land for Sarvabhuma Bhattacaraya, and I will make a very good temple there. I know that you have come from your Gurudeva for this." He made a temple, but Gangamata Thakurani was always living in the temple of her heart. Her temple was there.
She continued to give classes, and all the residents of Puri, as well as the highly elevated devotees, used to attend. One day, while she was absorbed in chanting and remembering the pastimes of Krsna, a brahmana from Jaipur came to her. That brahmana had been serving the Deity of Raya Kisora, Sri Krsna Himself.
Krsna had told him in a dream, "You should take me to Puri and give me to Gangamata Thakurani. She will serve me. If you don't do this I will curse you. You are not doing proper service to me. Sometimes you give offerings and sometimes not. You sometimes give Me bath and sometimes not. You are not doing service as you were before. So please go there and give Me to her. Otherwise, I will curse you, and your dynasty will also be finished."
That brahmana then took the very beautiful Thakurji (Deity) in a basket, and walked on foot for many months until he came to Puri. Now he approached Gangamata Thakurani and requested her, "Thakurji has come. Please take Him and serve Him. She refused and said, "I am doing manasi-seva (worship of Sri Radha-Krsna by meditation) in the line of Srila Rupa Gosvami. I cannot do all this. I have no time to worship with external paraphernalia."
The brahmana became very worried and thought, "What shall I do?" Gangamata Thakurani had a Tulasi garden. That night the brahmana left the Deity in the midst of her Tulasi garden and fled. At four the next morning, Raya Kisora, that is, Syama Raya, Vrajendra-nandana Syamasundara, said to Gangamata, "You are neglecting Me. I came to have your service, your love and affection, and you are neglecting me. I'm thirsty; I'm so hungry. So please take me. Prepare something and offer that to Me." Gangamata Thakurani then went to see that Deity. Charmed, she took Him in her arms. She brought Him inside the temple and began worshiping Him there, and still now that vigraha (Deity) is there.
When the king heard about this, he thought, "I am fortunate to be the disciple of this great devotee."
All the ladies should try to be like Gangamata Thakurani. She never even dreamed of marrying any worldly person. I have come to help you to become a devotee like this. The world is like a fire, a burning forest fire. We have seen such a big fire in Florida. It burned for miles, and the government could not do anything. The burning forest fire of material existence is greater than this. We are in that fire, and we can never be saved as long as we are in material consciousness. If someone puts ghee in the fire, what will happen? It will become bigger. You will not be able to be saved.
The father of Yadu Maharaja, Yayati, had so many very beautiful wives, but he was not satisfied. When he was old he wanted to take the youthful age of his son, but Jadu Maharaja refused and told him, "This life is only meant to serve Krsna. If you were a pure devotee, I would have been very happy to give you my youth." Yayati then asked his second son, Puru. He said, "Puru, you are my very dear, darling son. Please give me your youth. I want to further taste material pleasure. My thirst has not been quenched." Puru replied, "O father, I came from you, and so I'm giving you my youth." Yayati thus became young, and for many thousands of years he engaged in sense gratification. He was not satisfied, however, and one day he thought, "What silly things am I doing?" He quickly returned his youth to his son, and then left every material consideration and went in the forest.
This history shows that the world is a burning fire. The fire in the sea is thousands of times greater than the forest fire, and we are in that fire. We should try to know all these truths. Don't waste your time. Try to develop your Krsna Consciousness. If you are married, there is no harm in that. Along with your wife and children you should try to be detached. There must be some sense of duty, but no attachment at all. You should think, "I must serve my wife (or husband) and children because they are eternal servants of Krsna. For this reason, so that they may develop their Krsna consciousness, I should help them."
Male devotees should try to become like Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, Srila Sanatana Gosvami, and Srila Rupa Gosvami. Lady devotees should become like Gangamata Thakurani, Jahnava Thakurani, and Hemalata Thakurani. Sometimes Jahnava Thakurani exhibited four arms. [Jahnava Thakurani is the eternal potency of Lord Nityananda. Nityananda has two potencies, Jahnava and Vasuda. The son of Vasuda devi is the incarnation of Godhead, Bhirabhadra, He was searching a Guru and was recommended to take shelter of Jahnava Thakurani, but he thought, "She is my mother. How can she be my Guru?" One early morning, after passing and just before taking her bath, Jahnava Thakurani was undressed from the waist up, as was the custom for Indian ladies. Bhirabhadra saw her in that condition, standing by a well, and became shy. She immediately manifested two more arms, and with them she covered her breasts. Bhirabhadra then offered his pranama (obeisances) to her and took initiation.
Don't waste your time. Remain in your positions, and if you are married, that is okay. If you are not married, if you are renounced, that is okay. If you are not renounced, that is okay. But hear hari-katha wherever you are and in whatever position you are. Offer pranama to that place where hari-katha is being spoken. Offer pranama to the organisers, and offer satstang-pranama to the speaker and to the whole audience. Then, very soon you will have sadhana-bhakti, bhava-bhakti and prema-bhakti. Try to realize all these things. These are eternal, transcendental truths.
Gaura premande hari hari bol.
Editorial advisors: Pujyapad Madhava Maharaja and Sripad Brajanatha dasa
Editor: Syamarani dasi
Transcriber: Vasanti dasi
Typist: Anita dasi
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