sri-krsna gopala hare mukundaA person who chants the names of Sri Krsna, but who is without the guidance of the gopas and gopis, cannot achieve vraja-prema. This is to be remembered and understood. If we do not contemplate the prema of Mother Yasoda and the vraja-gopis for Krsna and how that prema controls Him, we will not be able to achieve it. In the words of Srila Sanatana Gosvami: "Vraja-prema is very rare."
govinda he nanda-kisora krsna
ha sri-yasoda-tanaya prasida
["O Sri Krsna, Gopala, Hari, Mukunda, Govinda, O son of Nanda, Krsna! O son of Sri Yasoda! Life of the gopis! Lord of Radhika! May You be pleased with me!"]
In addition, we must try to understand the instruction that can give us the qualification to chant purely, and we must follow it.
trnad api sunicena taror api sahisnunaFollowing this instruction is essential in the beginning stages – most essential. We cannot gallop, or successfully practise beyond our qualification. We should try to follow all these guidelines, such as the instructions of Upadesamrta, beginning with vaco vegam.
amanina manadena kirtaniyah sada harih
["Thinking oneself to be even lower and more worthless than insignificant grass which has been trampled beneath everyone’s feet, being more tolerant than a tree, not desiring any respect, and offering respect to all others according to their respective positions, one should continuously chant the holy name of Sri Hari."
(Siksastaka, verse 3)]
I recall a pastime of Krsna in Dvaraka wherein Krsna tells His sons and nephews how to behave so that krsna-prema may come. "You should be very polite and humble towards devotees," He said. "Do not anger them. And if by chance you do so and they curse you in some way, you should remain meek and quiet. Do not become angry in return and seek revenge."
If you want to have these moods, and if you want to stay in Vraja serving Krsna forever, you will also have to follow such instructions as:
yadiccher avasam vraja-bhuvi sa-ragam prati-janurUnless we follow such instructions, Nama Prabhu will not manifest His form and all the rasas in our heart.
yuva-dvandvam tac cet paricaritum arad abhilaseh
svarapam sri rupah sa-ganam iha tasyagrajam api
sphutam premna nityam smara nama tada tvam srnu manah
["My dear mind, please hear me. If you are eager to gain residence in Vraja on the platform of ragatmika-bhakti, and if you desire to obtain the direct service of nava Yugala-kisora, Sri Radha-Krsna, then birth after birth always distinctly remember and bow down with great love to Sri Svarupa Damodara Gosvami, Sri Rupa Gosvami and his elder brother Sri Sanatana Gosvami, and all other associates of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who are the recipients of His mercy."
(Sri Manah-siksa, verse 3]
Satyavrata Muni prays that Krsna, as Bala-Gopala (cowherd child), should forever remain manifest in his heart. In Srila Sanatana Gosvami’s commentary on Damodarastakam, named Dig-darsini, on this verse, he gives a hint regarding how to attain prema, and he elaborates on this point in his Brhad-Bhagavatamrta. My Gurudeva, nitya-lila pravista om visnupada Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja, took this from Brhad-Bhagavatamrta and included it as a footnote to his publication of the Dig-darsini Tika.
varam deva! moksam na moksavadhim va
na canyam vrne ’ham varesad apiha
idam te vapur natha! gopala-balam
sada me manasy avirastam kim anyaih
["O Lord, although You are capable of granting any boon, I do not pray to You for liberation, eternal life in Vaikuntha, or for any other benediction . O Natha, may Your form of Bala-Gopala forever remain manifest in my heart. Besides this, what is the use of any other benediction?"]
We want to see Sri Krsna with these eyes, but mortal eyes cannot take darsana of Krsna, who is sac-cid-ananda (eternal, fully cognizant and all blissful). These bodies are made of five material elements – earth, water, fire, air and ether. Our material eyes cannot even see our own souls, what to speak of the Supersoul. The conclusion is that we should try to see Krsna with these ears.
Pippalayana Rsi told him, "Why are you wandering here and there? If you stay here with us and perform tapasya, you will receive darsana of Krsna within your heart. If you don’t, it will not be possible, for material eyes cannot take darsana of Krsna.”
Gopa-kumara replied, "I hanker to see Him with these very eyes. If those who have performed austerities, such as Lord Brahma and Dhruva Maharaja, have seen Krsna and Lord Narayana with their eyes, why can’t I?"
Pippalayana Rsi answered, "They have not seen Lord Narayana or anyone with their material eyes; they have realised Him within their hearts."
Sahajiyas desire to become gopis or other transcendental personalities with their material bodies. They adopt feminine hair-styles and dress, wear ornaments and ‘become’ Lalita or Visakha-sakhi. This is not only incorrect; it is offensive. It is mayavadism or sahajiyaism. To avoid making such a mistake, we should simply endeavour to follow the teachings of Srila Rupa Gosvami, Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami and Srila Sanatana Gosvami. By following in their disciplic line we will receive Krsna’s darsana. It is not possible for this material body, which we will be forced to abandon, to become sac-cid-ananda. We must be prepared to give it up, just as Narada Muni willingly gave up his body.
Pippalayana Rsi went on to give several examples from sastra to prove that we cannot see Sri Krsna or any other transcendental personality with our material eyes. Nevertheless, Gopa-kumara had vowed to do so.
Gopa-kumara had taken birth in Govardhana and travelled throughout the universe seeking his inner fulfilment. In the course of his journey, he gradually became purified, and passed through different levels of realisation. By chanting the gopala-mantra, he was able to pass beyond Brahmaloka and Siddhaloka. Then, by performing nama-sankirtana (sri krsna-gopala hari mukunda), he eventually came to Vaikuntha and finally to Goloka Vrndavana. Only when he was in Goloka Vrndavana could he see Krsna directly. Darsana of Him is not possible with these present eyes in this present condition.
Pippalayana Rsi had explained to Gopa-kumara that it is not possible to see Krsna with material eyes because they cannot see spirit. He then instructed him to see Krsna within his heart.
"The heart is also material,"Gopa-kumara replied. So how can I see Krsna there?"
Pippalayana Rsi said, "If we take a variety of material objects, like iron, wood and a mirror, we will be able to see our face in the mirror, but not in the other objects. Similarly, we can see the Lord within our heart, but we cannot see Him with our eyes. The eye is a separate, localised unit and therefore it is limited. Consequently, it cannot fully perceive the Lord.
Gopa-kumara then argued that the heart is also a localised, separate part of the body. Pippalayana Rsi responded by giving another example, this time using the material objects of iron, wood and rubber. He said that we cannot stretch iron and wood, but rubber, which is also material, can be stretched. Similarly, although the heart is located in just one part of the body, it is flexible and can expand to accommodate perception of the Lord along with His associates, pastimes and so forth. It has the power to see the Lord in full. He said that although it seemed that Dhruva Maharaja took darsana of the Lord through his eyes, he actually saw Him in his heart.
The eyes can see only a part of the Lord at once; they cannot perceive His whole form. But this is possible for the heart. And even if the eyes can see the Lord, where does one feel the bliss of beholding His form? The eyes have no capacity to experience bliss, but the heart does. When the Lord is perceived in the heart, bliss is felt in the heart.
5Satyavrata Muni prayed "You can award millions of benedictions as You are the master of all who bestow them. Yet I want nothing from You but that Your lovely face, weeping while You are controlled by Your mother’s prema-bhakti, manifest in my heart."
idam te mukhambhojam avyakta-nilair
vrtam kuntalaih snigdha-raktais ca gopya
muhus cumbitam bimba-raktadharam me
manasy avirastam alam laksa-labhaih
["O Deva! May Your lotus-like face which is framed by Your cascading, glossy black curly locks tinged with red, which is kissed again and again by Mother Yasoda, and which is beautified by lips as red as ripe bimba fruits, always remain visible in my heart. Millions of other benedictions are of no use to me."]
This is the prayer of a vatsalya-raganuga bhakta (one who is aspiring to attain spontaneous devotion in the mood of parental love), so it is a very high sentiment. Such bhaktas are extremely rare. This kind of prema can only be achieved by the mercy of Mother Yasodaji, the original undivided embodiment (akhanda-murti) of vatsalya-rasa. A person may perform sadhana-bhakti in millions of ways, beginning with sravana, kirtana and visnu-smaranam, but if he is not under the guidance of Srimati Yasoda-devi, he cannot achieve this kind of prema.
Krsna cannot bestow this vatsalya-prema because He does not possess it; He simply enjoys receiving it. Mother Yasoda, however, is the abode of the original, undivided vatsalya-rasa. If we want to have affection and love like hers, we can get it exclusively from her, not from Krsna. He is almighty – all-powerful. He controls and possesses everything, and yet He cannot give such prema. He is lacking in this ability.
Sri Krsna took Srimati Radhika’s mood and appeared in this world in the form of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. What need was there for Him to take Her mood? He is the visaya (object, or enjoyer) of the devotee’s love for Him. He is not the asraya, the abode of that love. He wanted to experience the emotions of one who has that prema. We must take shelter of one who is the abode of prema if we want to attain any rasa – santa, dasya, sakhya or vatsalya or madhurya.
That is why Satyavrata Muni prayed to Krsna that His form of Bala-gopala manifest in his heart. Darsana in the heart depends on the mercy of Krsna and also on His devotees’ mercy. Without their grace you cannot achieve this kind of prema.
Avyakta-nilair, vrtam kuntalaih snigdha-raktais. Krsna’s lotus face is covered by His curling, glossy hair which is avyakta-nilair. The commentary explains that avyakta-nilair means parama-syamal, or "extremely dark blue”. The word "syamal" is used to describe Krsna's exquisite beauty. In order to know how beautiful Krsna really is, we must know the meaning of syamal, but actually there is no equivalent English word. In describing His beauty, My Gurudeva explained that His complexion is not actually black; there is equivalent English word to describe His beauty.
Snigdha means "very soft and glossy”, raktais means "reddish"and kuntala, "curly". Bimba-raktadharam – His lips are likened to the bimba fruit. Amy Gurudeva explained that the bimba fruit is very soft. When any pressure is applied to it, juice immediately oozes from under its skin. Similarly when any pressure is applied to Krsna’s lips, nectar flows out. His curly black hair, which is very beautiful, appears to be millions of bees hovering around the face of Krsna, which is kissed again and again by gopya – Mother Yasoda.
Srila Sanatana Gosvami explains that the gopis pray to have the good fortune of Sri Krsna’s earrings, which always kiss His cheeks. Satyavrata Muni prays, "I want that very face which is kissed again and again by Mother Yasoda to forever manifest in my heart – not only for this life, but forever."
Satyavrata Muni thought, "Mother Yasoda is so fortunate! What austerities must she have performed to have the fortune of kissing Krsna’s cheeks? In what holy tirtha has she taken bath? To whom has she generously given charity?"
Like a flash of lightening, the form of Krsna manifested for a split second in the heart of Satyavrata Muni, and he fainted. Then, overwhelmed by anxiety, he began to weep and describe what he saw in his samadhi darsana – the beauty of Krsna. If we tried to describe Him, our description would not be accurate. We can only truly describe Him when we have actually seen Him, even if it is only a glimpse. And even then, no worldly language can fully describe His beauty.
So Satyavrata Muni is saying laksa-labhaih – "I do not wish for millions of benedictions. I only want that Your exquisitely beautiful face manifest in my heart.”
6Absorbed in this prayer, Satyavrata Muni wept in separation and prayed: "How will I see this exquisitely beautiful, fragrant, soft, sweet face?" He contemplated this for a moment and concluded that if he does not perform nama-sankirtana, he would not be able to please Krsna. Without pleasing Him, He would not reveal His lovely face. Therefore, Satyavrata Muni offered this prayer.
namo deva! damodarananta visno!
prasida prabho! duhkha-jalabdhi-magnam
grhanesa! mam ajnam edhy aksi-drsyah
["Obeisances O Deva! O Damodara! O Ananta, who is endowed with inconceivable potency! O all-pervading Visnu! O my master! O supremely independent controller of all! Be pleased with me. I am deeply sunk in the ocean of sorrow. Please favour me by showering the rain of Your merciful glance upon this surrendered soul, who is so pitifully fallen. Please grant me Your direct darsana."]
There are so many kinds of sadhana, all of which must be assisted by nama-sankirtana, especially in Kali-yuga. Any type of bhakti performed without nama-sankirtana cannot bear fruit.
Kirtana is of many types: nama-kirtana (chanting Krsna’s names), guna-kirtana (chanting about His qualities), rupa-kirtana (kirtana describing His form), lila-kirtana (chanting about His pastimes) and parikara-kirtana (glorifying His associates). Among them, nama-sankirtana is foremost. Srila Sanatana Gosvami confirms this in Brhad-Bhagavatamrta (2.3.158)
krsnasya nana-vidha-kirtanesuSri Krsna’s names are of two types: primary (mukhya) and secondary (gauna). Among His primary names, His Vraja names, such as Yasoda-nandana, Nanda-nandana, Syamasundara, Radha-ramana, Radha-Govinda, Radha-Gopinatha and Madana-Mohana are supreme. By chanting them we can attain all-perfection.
tan-nama-sankirtanam eva mukhyam
tat-prema-sampat-janane svayam drak
saktam tatah srestha-tamam matam tat
["Nama-sankirtana is primary among the various types of kirtana of Krsna. It is considered superior to all others because it has the power to immediately invoke the wealth of prema for Him."]
In Brhad-bhagavatamrta Gopa-kumara chanted:
sri-krsna gopala hare mukundaGopa-kumara began his nama-sankirtana by chanting "Sri Krsna”, but this did not satisfy him because he had not yet addressed Krsna by any name associated with His beloved devotees.
govinda he nanda-kisora krsna
ha sri-yasoda-tanaya prasida
["O Sri Krsna, Gopala, Hari, Mukunda. O Govinda, O son of Nanda, Krsna, O son of Sri Yasoda, O life of the gopis, O Lord of Radhika, may You be pleased with me."]
He therefore cried out "Hari", "Mukunda”, "Govinda" and other names. "O Nanda-kisora Krsna! O Sri Yasoda-tanaya (O son of Yasoda-devi), prasida – be pleased with me."
Sri ballavi jivana. Who is superior among all ballavi, or gopi beloveds of Krsna? Srimati Radhika. For this reason he says, "Ballavi-jivana!" "Radha-jivana!" By chanting these names of Krsna, Gopa-kumara passed through all of the Vaikuntha planets and eventually arrived in Vraja.
Similarly, after catching a glimpse of Sri Krsna’s lotus face in his heart, Satyavrata Muni prayed to Sri Damodara to receive His direct darsana. Since this is only granted when one performs sankirtana of Damodara’s holy names, Satyavrata Muni started nama-sankirtana by saying "Namo deva – O Deva, obeisances."He did not say "tubhyama – unto You’’.
In verses four and five, Satyavrata Muni prayed for Krsna to appear in His heart. When Krsna mercifully did so, however, Satyavrata Muni remained dissatisfied because he could not talk with Krsna or see Him before his eyes, and therefore he could not serve Him. He thus prayed: "O Deva, O Damodara, O Ananta, O Visnu, O Supreme Controller of all, O Prabhu! Please be causelessly merciful to me and appear before me; I yearn to see You."
The word deva means "playful”, or "sportive”. Satyavrata Muni prayed "O Deva, I want to see You as You play in Vraja, bound by the love of Mother Yasoda."He prayed, "O Damodara, You are causelessly merciful, and You are controlled by Your devotees’ love. I understand that you will become pleased with me if I perform bhakti. The very name ‘Damodara’ denotes Your pastime of being tied around the belly by Mother Yasoda. Your being controlled by the love of Mother Yasoda reveals Your nature of being bhakta-vatsala, or particularly affectionate to Your devotees. If I call out the name ‘Damodar a’ You will surely be affectionate to me, also."
Satyavrata Muni then addresses Him as Visnu, which means "all pervading”. "O Visnu, You reside in the hearts of all living beings. You, therefore, know my heart and the ocean of suffering and sorrow in which I am immersed.”
What is the nature of the suffering of a bhakta like Satyavrata Muni? When we pray like this, it is out of desperation for relief from suffering in the ocean of birth and death. His prayer, however, was not motivated by material suffering, but by overwhelming feelings of separation from Sri Krsna.
Satyavrata Muni prayed for sadhu-sanga. He prayed that by the mercy of the Vaisnavas he will be able to have darsana of Krsna. As far as we are concerned, however, even if sadhu-sanga is available, we don’t give it importance. We should clearly understand that without sadhu-sanga we cannot attain krsna-prema like the vatsalya-prema of Mother Yasoda. Therefore we should pray, "Please be merciful. Please give us Your merciful glance (krpa-drsthi). That glance must come through Your causeless mercy, because otherwise I am hopeless. I have no sadhana-bhajana.”
In his Stavamala, Srila Rupa Gosvami prays:
pracinanam bhajanam-atulam duskaram srnvato me
nairasyena jvalati hrdayam bhakti-lesalasasya
visvadricim-agha-hara tavakarnya karunya-vicim
asa-bindu ksitam-idam upaity-antare hanta saityam
["O slayer of Aghasura (or destroyer of sins)! When I hear of the extremely rigorous sadhana and bhajana undertaken by great souls like Sri Suka and Maharaja Ambarisa in former times, my heart, which is devoid of any trace of bhakti, becomes stricken with remorse and hopelessness. Because I will never be able to perform such difficult bhajana and sadhana, I feel that I will never obtain Your lotus feet. But when I see the waves of mercy You have diffused everywhere – from Brahma down to the most heinous sinners – my heart is again pacified and instilled with a ray of hope."
(Tri-bhangi-pancakam, verse 2)]
Sri Sad-Gosvamyastakam (6) states:
sankhya-purvaka-nama-gana-natibhih kalavasani-krtauThe word asesa in the above-mentioned verse refers to the six Gosvamis’ asta-sattvika bhavas, or bodily transformations born from eight types of ecstasy. Sometimes in their intense separation their condition almost culminated in the tenth stage of life – death. The six Gosvamis were at Radha-kunda and Syama-kunda, rolling on the earth, wandering around Vrndavana at Vamsi-vata and all other sacred places, weeping and deeply lamenting.
nidrahara-viharakadi-vijitau catyanta-dinau ca yau
radha-krsna-guna-smrter madhurimanandena sammohitau
vande rupa-sanatanau raghu-yugau sri-jiva-gopalakau
["I worship the six Gosvamis, who passed their time by humbly fulfilling their vow to daily complete a fixed amount of harinama and offer dandavat-pranama. In this way they utilised their valuable lives and conquered over eating and sleeping. Always seeing themselves as completely worthless, they became enchanted in divine rapture by remembering Sri Radha-Krsna’s sweet qualities."] radha-kunda-tate kalinda-tanaya-tire ca vamsivate
premonmada-vasad asesa-dasaya grastau pramattau sada
gayantau ca kada harer guna-varam bhavabhibhutau muda
vande rupa-sanatanau raghu-yugau sri-jiva-gopalakau
(Sri Sad-Gosvamyastakam 7)
["I offer dandavat-pranama to the six Gosvamis, who had become mad in prema (premonmada) in separation from Radha-Krsna. Sometimes they went to the banks of Radha-kunda or the Yamuna and sometimes to Vamsi-vata. Intoxicated by krsna-prema, they were overwhelmed in bhava and jubilantly sang of Sri Hari’s most sublime and brilliant madhurya-rasa."]
he radhe braja devike ca lalite he nanda-suno kutahThe Gosvamis ate and drank only enough to maintain their lives, simply taking some dry grains or dry chick peas. Sometimes they ate nothing at all, and sometimes they only took water. If they slept, it was usually for only twenty-four minutes – never more than forty-eight. Sometimes they did not sleep at all – not even for a moment. They spent all their time weeping, lamenting, remembering and discussing the sweet pastimes of Sri Krsna and the gopis of Vraja. Sri Rupa Gosvami, Sanatana Gosvami and Raghunatha dasa Gosvamis would associate with each other like this.
sri-govardhana-kalpa-padapa-tale kalindi-vanye kutah
ghosantav iti sarvato vraja-pure khedhair maha-vihvalau
vande rupa-sanatanau raghu-yugau sri-jiva-gopalakau
(Sri Sad-Gosvamyastakam 8)
["I offer my obeisances to the six Gosvamis, who were always calling out, "O Radha, O Queen of Vrndavana, where are You? O Lalita, O son of Nanda Maharaja, where are you? Are you seated beneath the kalpa-vrksa trees if Sri Govardhana Hill? Or are you roaming in all the forests along the soft banks of the Kalindi?"They were always lamenting, overwhelmed and burning in feelings of great separation as they wandered throughout all Vraja-mandala, searching for Radha."]
Only mountains cannot receive mercy. Rain falls on the head of a mountain, but then it flows down the mountain and collects in a ditch. For one who has the following mentality, rain (or mercy) can be retained.
trnad api sunicenaKrsna’s mercy falls on the whole world, leaving no place on this earth devoid of it.
taror api sahisnuna
kirtaniyah sada harih
["Thinking oneself to be even lower and more worthless than insignificant grass that has been trampled beneath everyone’s feet, being more tolerant than a tree, being without pride and offering respect to everyone according to their respective positions, one should continuously chant the holy name of Sri Hari."
(Sri Siksastakam 3)]
samsara-davanala-lidha-loka-This verse states that Srila Gurudeva, who is just like a cloud made of Sri Krsna’s grace, sprinkles that mercy everywhere. Those who want to bathe in his mercy may attain prema, yet those who neglect to do so may be deprived of that mercy forever. Therefore, I pray to always have the causeless mercy of Krsna.
vande guroh sri caranaravindam
["Just as a rain-cloud extinguishes a blazing forest fire by showering its rain upon it, Sri Gurudeva, by his rain of divine mercy, delivers the people burning in the fire of material existence, suffering the three-fold miseries – adhyatmika, adhibhautika, adhidaivika. I offer prayers unto the lotus feet of Sri Gurudeva, who manifests when Krsna's mercy becomes very thick and who is an ocean of auspicious qualities."
(Sri Gurvastakam, verse 1)]
Satyavrata Muni performed nama-sankirtana (namo deva damodara) with the desire to have the direct darsana of Krsna. We should pray to Krsna, but more importantly, in our performance of nama-sankirtana we should also pray to His associates. Without the darsana of Krsna, the kasaya, or final remaining contamination in the heart, will never go. Only by seeing Krsna directly will anartha-nivrtti be completed. Then, not even a trace of anarthas will exist, nor will there be any chance of them returning. Unless we understand this tattva-siddhanta (conclusive philosophical truth) our bhakti will never develop.
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