Lots of Questions, Lots of Answers
by Tridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja
Mathura, India: August 1992 (Part 2)
[Question:] Balarama is known as servitor Godhead. He provides Krsna’s seat and serves Him in so many ways. But at the same time he has his own lila with the gopis. This seems contradictory, like a different mood.
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] He serves Lord Krsna – By doing rasa-lila he is serving Krsna. He is none other than Krsna. You should know this; He is Krsna. Krsna has a form as Guru, and that form is called Sri Baladeva Prabhu. In another form He is also Ananga Manjari, and He serves Krsna in that form also. He teaches the gopis how to serve Krsna, just as Raya Ramananda taught the deva-dasis in Jagannatha Puri to sing Gita-govinda very beautifully and sweetly for Lord Jagannatha. Baladeva Prabhu is Krsna, and in the form of Sri Guru he teaches everyone how to please Krsna. It has been written in the Srimad Bhagavatam that Baladeva Prabhu performed rasa-lila, and this is correct. But we will have to reconcile these truths – that He is Guru, and at the same time He danced with Krsna’s gopis.
We cannot reconcile by ourselves. We cannot try to understand independently. Rather, we will search the words of Srila Rupa Gosvami, Srila Jiva Gosvami, Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami and Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura. Then, developing their moods, we will have to do sadhana and bhajana as they have done. Doing so in this manner, we will get realizations. When we are given suddha-sattva from that transcendental realm, in a descending manner, all appropriate spiritual moods will automatically come in our heart by our sadhana. Then we will realize everything about Sri Krsna, Sri Baladeva Prabhu, all the gopis and all their associates.
Today someone asked me, “How do you know that Lord Krsna’s pastimes pass through several universes? There are millions of universes, and He passes them all and performs His manifest pastimes in them all. In one universe He is killing Kamsa, and in another He is in Vrndavana performing rasa-lila and other pastimes. On one hand He is a very little boy, and on the other hand Mother Yasoda is seeing all the universes in His mouth. So how can you say that it is true?” How? I told him that you are sadhakas. You are not realized souls. You will have to have very deep faith in our guru-parampara and our Gosvamis. What they have told is really true. Srila Jiva Gosvami and Rupa Gosvmai have told this; Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami has told us this, Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and all Gurus have told us this. We must have very strong faith in them.
We know that by chanting of the holy name and performing devotional activities we will one day realize all these truths. Those who have no faith will put forward so many arguments. We should not argue; but rather we have to know that it is true – and know how it is true. We will have to reconcile all truths by the help of our acaryas, but we know that it is true.
[Question:] In your Vraja-mandala Parikrama book you stated that in Krsna’s pastimes vipralambha, seperation, has no meaning unless there is also union again. From what I have understood so far from reading the books of Srila Prabhupada, he says that now we have dualistic thinking. We are thinking that happiness can only be experienced when there is distress, but in the spiritual world it is not like that. I was always quite satisfied to hear that vipralambha can be ecstatic without having to worry about the union again. But here you state very emphatically that vipralambha has no standing…
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] That is not his meaning. If there is no milana, meeting, no actual separation will come. Do you understand? You have seen me, you have met me and heard from me many times. So if you will not see me, you may have feelings of separation. You have met your Prabhupada and so you have feelings of separation for him. If you had never met him, how would you feel separation?
For conditioned souls aspiring for bhakti; real separation will not be realized. Now you can think, because of the words of our Guru, that we are dasa or dasi of Lord Sri Krsna, and by the grace of Guru we can meet with Him. By chanting the holy name, eagerness to see Him may come, and that eagerness will create some mood of separation. A sadhaka-jiva can come only to this limit. Understand?
[Question:] What I don’t understand is that you said we can’t feel separation unless we have seen Krsna. But if we were never in lila before, where is the question of feeling separation?
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] There is no separation mood in the conditioned soul, but by continually hearing, this mood can develop. Rukmini devi had never seen Krsna before her marriage with him, but she heard from Sri Narada Rsi about His beauty, liberality and many other good qualities. She heard “There is none as beautiful as Krsna, and He is so loving.” Hearing this, Rukmini gave her heart to Him. She had not only heard from Narada, but many others told her, “Krsna is so beautiful, and He is about your age. Rukmini thus gave her heart to Him, even though she had never seen Him. This is called purva-raga (attachment that comes previous to meeting).
She was not a sadhaka, but we are. Do you understand? Not so much separation mood will come in us. Gradually, however, by doing bhajana, when we get only a glimpse of Krsna, whether it is in a dream or spurti (vision), when He will come in our sight like a flash, we will then weep and feel separation. Do you understand something of this?
Suppose you are meditating on Gopal-mantra. You are uttering “Gopi-janavallabhaya”. At the time of meditating on that mantra you are seeing that Krsna’s flute is upon His lips. He is searching for something and, surrounded by so many gopis, He is in a very pleasant mood. When you are absorbed in only one such meditation, this is called mantra-mayi upasana. You will keep your meditation on that very point, and only on that. When you become still more advanced, however, so many mantra-mayi upasanas will come together and make a garland of pastime remembrances. Meditating on many pastimes together is called svarasiki-lila upasana, and it continues from morning to morning. This will come automatically, and then svarupa-siddhi will arise. Yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dhyana and so on are the stages of meditation. When one can sit for one hour, three hours, four hours, ten hours, twenty four hours – in one sitting – that is called asana. Sama-dama. Sama means control of the eleven senses, and making our hearts pure is called dama. Without this we cannot meditate for a long time; not for a single moment. Our minds will go here and there. Pranayama means keeping our atma in our heart - not allowing oneself to be attracted or disturbed by external things and situations of this world - and by that we will fix our hearts and minds on one thing – our mantra. Our minds will not go here and there.
[Question:] But you once said that performance of pranayama gives purusa-bhava, male false ego. You said it is not good for developing gopi-bhava.
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] No, this type of pranayama will not develop purusa-bhava. That pranayama is of mundane yoga. This is of bhakti-yoga.
[Question:] What pranayama is there in bhakti yoga?
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] What I have been speaking about.
[Question:] In which one concentrates on the breath?
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] On Sri Sri Radha and Krsna – that kind of pranayama. Thus meditating, ones mind leaves all other things and goes to Radha and Krsna. Dhyana – the mind does not go here and there. Then samadhi comes.
[Question:] You were saying that this comes after mantra-mayi upasana?
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] These mantras are needed for mantra-mayi upasana. First these will come; then mantra-mayi upasana can begin.
[Question:] What is the difference between samskara and sukriti?
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] From sukriti (spiritual pious activities) samskara (impressions on the heart) comes.
[Question:] In the Hari-vamsa sampradaya, the followers do sadhana for attaining Radha-kinkari-bhava and all their katha is nikunja-katha (Sri Sri Radha and Krsna and the gopis performing amorous pastimes in the secluded groves of Vrndavana)
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] Foolish persons do like that. They don’t know anything. There is no separation mood there. Constant meeting is likened to the relationship between husband and wife. This is the mood of Rukmini and Satyabhama. It is not the mood of Srimati Radhika. Sometimes Lord Krsna becomes crooked, sometimes Srimati Radhika, and They feel each other’s separation mood.
[Question:] But yet these persons always meditate on the nikunja-lila of Radha and Krsna; so I cannot understand how they go to Dvaraka.
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] Their so-called meditation is akin to svakiya-bhava (the mood of a married couple), not parakiya-bhava (the mood of a paramour).
[Question:] So they go to Goloka, where Radha and Krsna are worshipped in awe and reverence?
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] It is not certain where will they go. If they come in contact with a pure Vaisnava, then they will go to the spiritual world. They take grains on Ekadasi. This is a very sinful act. How can they go to Goloka or anywhere in the spiritual kingdom if they do this? They will have to suffer, because they avoid Ekadasi, Rama-Navami and Janmastami. They don’t follow Hari-bhaki-vilasa. They don’t follow scripture. We don’t accept as Vaisnavas those who don’t accept the Bhagavatam.
In order to come to raganuga-bhakti, there is no way other than the performance of vaidhi-bhakti. If genuine greed is not there, what can you do in raganuga-bhakti? In general, vaidhi-bhakti is to be adopted. There is no other process; greed will not come without that practice. By samskaras (impressions in the heart) from previous births and this birth, if there is association of rasika tattva-jna (those who are in full knowledge of all established truths and rasas) Vaisnavas, your samskaras will become very thick and you will develop in raganuga-bhakti. Until then you will have to follow vaidhi-bhakti. We cannot create greed. Greed will come by samskara, and by the association of raganuga Vaisnavas.
[Question:] How is it that vaidhi bhakti will give greed? There is no guarantee that by following vidhi-marga (the path of vaidhi-bhakti)…
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] No guarantee, but there is no other path. Lord Krsna will manage that you will have the association of a rasika Vaisnava, and then it will be very easy to advance. You should all follow vaidhi-bhakti, with this mood: “How will I get the association of a rasika Vaisnava?”
Now, if I ask you if you want to serve Lord Narayana, what will you say? Do we want to serve Lord Narayana?
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] Why don’t you want to?
[Tungavidya:] I want to serve Radha and Krsna, but I have no greed to serve Them.
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] You have no greed, yet you know about service to Them and you cannot serve Lord Narayana. Why not?
[Question:] Because I have heard so much from you.
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] This is called samskara – impressions on the heart.
[Question:] Yesterday you were telling us about the gopis.
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] There is something to learn from the gopis – saranagati, faith in Krsna, and real prema for Him. We don’t want to have prema for Him like that of Draupadi, or anyone other than the gopis. The gopis don’t want husbands. They don’t even want Krsna as their husband. We only want to see Krsna as the prananatha (lord of the life) of Srimati Radhika. We want to serve Her, and this service is the aim and object of our life. That is enough for today.