Tridandi Goswami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana
Maharaja Wales, July 1, 2000 (Evening)
Today I want to
discuss the subject of Tenth Canto Srimad Bhagavatam. There has
been some confusion in this regard. A preacher from India came
and told something that we don't agree with. What he told is not
written anywhere in sastra. I think that you should wash away
your doubts and be clear about this-especially those who are
sincere and senior, those who know something about bhakti, and
those who are entering into madhyama adhikari. You should know
all these things-clearly. There should be no doubt.
Some persons may say that we should not read Tenth Canto Srimad
Bhagavatam, but I will not listen to this warning. I will say,
"Produce any evidence that we should not. Has it been written in
Srimad Bhagavatam, or in Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, or has any guru
in our line written like this? Has your Gurudeva told this?" Such
persons will never be able to answer. I know that Srila Swami
Maharaja has never written like this.
Stand up and
read. What Prabhupada has written is clear from his
You should all hear this. Don't neglect
Sripad Aranya Maharaja: Someone was writing to
Srila Prabhupada about whether or not the devotees could hear and
chant about the gopis. Srila Prabhupada replied, "The policy
should be that people may not understand the gopis to be like
ordinary girls. You should be careful to present the
It does not mean that we should not utter even
the name of the gopis; that we have taken a vow to boycott the
gopis. No. They are our worshipable devotees. How can we avoid
This next quote is a letter to Hayagriva prabhu
in 1968. Srila Prabhupada wrote, "The Deity worship must be
continued by everyone. Another secret of success is that when one
is very much sexually disturbed, he should think of Krsna's
pastimes with the gopis-and he will forget his sex-urge."
Srila Narayana Maharaja: What is the meaning? Was your Prabhupada
ignorant when he wrote this? He is an authentic person. He can
never do anything wrong. Go on.
Sripad Aranya Maharaja:
Srila Prabhupada continues: "One should think of Krsna's pastimes
with the gopis, but not try to imitate them."
Narayana Maharaja: Never imitate. You should hear His pastimes
with honor. Then your lust will go. Among all the pastimes of
Krsna, rasa-lila is the most powerful medicine. It has been told
nivrtta-tarsair upagiyamanad bhavausadhac
chrotra-mano-'bhiramat ka uttamasloka-gunanuvadat puman
virajyeta vina pasughnat
What is the meaning? Those who
are not hearing this rasa-lila of Tenth Canto Srimad Bhagavatam
are 'pasughna'. What is the meaning of pasughna? Self-killer. If
they are not hearing, they are killing others and also
themselves. Nivrtta-tarsair upagiyamanad. What is the
Sripad Aranya Maharaja: Nivrtta-tarsair
upagiyamanad. Those persons who are nivrtta-tarsair have no
thirst for material enjoyment. They are liberated souls. They
speak about the pastimes of Krsna and their speaking of these
pastimes is bhavausadi-the cure for the contamination of material
It is like a medicine. Ka
uttamasloka-gunanuvadat. What kind of person will not listen to
the Tenth Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam? Only a very cruel person
who would like to kill himself and others.
Narayana Maharaja: Here it has been told that those who are
visayis, full of lust, those who are liberated, those who are
kanistha, madhyama and uttama bhaktas, those who in the stage of
suddha sattva or bhava-bhakti, and even those who have received
prema-they should all hear this Srimad Bhagavatam Tenth Canto. If
they are not hearing, they are killing themselves and others.
What more shall we clear? Everything is clear; we must
Sripad Aranya Maharaja: This
is Srila Prabhupada. He is describing in Sri Caitanya Caritamrta,
Adi-lila, chapter four, text thirty: "The Lord is so merciful
that He Himself descends to take the fallen souls back home to
the kingdom of Godhead where the erotic principles of Godhead are
eternally relished in their real form, distinct from the
perverted sexual love so much adored and indulged in by the
fallen souls in their diseased condition. The reason the Lord
displays the rasa-lila is essentially to induce all of the fallen
souls to give up their diseased morality and religiosity, and to
attract them to the kingdom of God to enjoy the reality. A person
who actually understands what is rasa-lila will certainly hate to
indulge in mundane sex life."
Srila Narayana Maharaja:
It is clear. Are you understanding all these things? After
Sripad Aranya Maharaja: Some people say that Srila
Prabhupada never spoke about the gopis, especially in public and
especially not to new people. But this is not the case. The
following is a conversation between Srila Prabhupada and a person
who was not a devotee. He was Bob Cohen, a peace-core worker. Bob
is asking, "Does the devotee keep his individual likes and
dislikes?" Srila Prabhupada: "Yes, he keeps everything, but he
gives preference to Krsna. Krsna says positively, 'I like these
things.' We have to offer to Krsna what He likes, and then we
will take the prasada.
Krsna likes Radharani." So now
Srila Prabhupada begins to speak about Radharani to a completely
new person who doesn't know anything. "Krsna likes Radharani.
Therefore all the gopis are trying to push Radharani to
'Krsna likes this gopi. All right, let's push
Her.' That is called Krsna consciousness." Bob said, "Is Krsna
attractive to rascals?" Srila Prabhupada said, "Oh yes, He as the
greatest rascal also." Then Bob asked, "How can you say that
Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is a rascal?" Srila
Prabhupada began to laugh. "Because He is always teasing the
Sometimes, when Radharani would go out,
Krsna would attack Her. And when She would fall down, She would
say, 'O Krsna, don't torture Me in that way.' They would fall on
the ground and Krsna would take an opportunity to kiss Her."
Srila Prabghupada laughed again and said, "So Radharani was very
pleased, but superficially Krsna was the greatest rascal. So
unless rascaldom is in Krsna, then how could rascaldom be
existent in this world?"
Srila Narayana Mahraja: Even I
have not spoken like this. What is he writing? She fell down and
He kissed Her. What is this? Prabhupada was also a good
ras(a)cal-full of all kinds of rasas. He is in the line of
Otherwise how could he have spoken like this?
Ras(a)cal means rasa-full of rasa. But rascals cannot understand
this ras(a)cal. No one in sakhya rasa (fraternal love) can speak
like like this. Prabhupada was of madhurya rasa (conjugal love).
Therefore he can speak like this. More?
Mahraja: In 1968, Srila Prabhupada was speaking with Saradiya
devi dasi. She was only sixteen years old and she had just
Srila Narayana Maharaja: And what is he
speaking with her?
Sripad Aranya Maharaja: She is asking
a question to Srila Prabhupada.
Maharaja: Even I have not told anything like this. I always tell
about Druva Maharaja, Prahlada Maharaja, Cittraketu Maharaja,
Ajamila, and Jagai and Madhai. And sometimes I tell
Damodara-lila. Go on.
Sripad Aranya Maharaja: Saradiya
dasi is asking the question: "I want to know, when we serve Krsna
we have spiritual senses, that satisfies our spiritual senses
when we serve Krsna in Krsnaloka. Is it correct?" Srila
Prabhupada said, "Yes, you can dance with Krsna, you can eat with
Krsna, you can talk with Krsna, you can enjoy with Krsna, and
Krsna will also kiss you."
Srila Narayana Maharja: Yes.
This is ras(a)cal. We should therefore not hear from those who
say not to read Tenth Canto. And we should not hear from those
who say that Prabhupada also warned against it. We should follow
our line. We are in the same line. I am not different from him.
Oh, yes. In some senses I am different. I am not beautiful as he
was, I am not as healthy as he was, and I am not a powerful
acarya like he was. I am his disciple. I cannot be like him, but
I am in his line. Achintya beda-beda.
We are in the same
family, the same line. We have taken sannyasa from the same guru
in the same line-in the line of jagad-guru Srila Bhaktisaddhanta
Sarasvati Gosvami-the Sarasvata line. I gave him all the sannyasa
mantras, his danda, and so on. And at the end of his manifest
stay I also gave him Samadhi.
You must believe in him.
And you can believe in me also; no harm. I have no chance of
falling down because I am now crossing my eightieth year. I am
not speaking from my own ego. I am only telling all these things
by the power of my Gurudeva, by our guru-parampara, by the mercy
of Prabhupada. He told me that our relationship is
transcendental-eternal. What does eternal mean? I have so much
faith in his words that I will never fall down. So you can depend
on me; no harm.
If anyone is not reading Tenth Canto
Srimad Bhagavatam and yet he is reading Sri Caitanya Caritamrta,
what is he doing? What has not been written clearly in Srimad
Bhagavatam is everywhere in Caitanya Caritamrta. For example, in
the dialogue between Srila Raya Ramananda and Mahaprabhu-what has
been told? Do you know about kila-kincita bhava? This has not
been explained in Srimad Bhagavatam. Sometimes Srimati Radhika
wanted to meet Krsna.and He caught hold of Her hand.
["Approaching Her, Krsna prohibits Srimati Radharani from picking
flowers. He may also touch Her in front of Her friends"
Madhya 14.173).] Now She was so much angry. She was
weeping, but also smiling. Her hair was standing on end and She
was exhibiting all the symptoms of sattvika-bhava. This is so
high-class. She was weeping and smiling; and She was also
rebuking Krsna. This is all written in Sri Caitanya Caritamrita,
and you should read it. I am not telling these things.
It has been told in Caitanya Caritamrta.
Maharaja: Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, Madhya-lila, chapter fourteen:
"When Srimati Radharani saw Lord Krsna just before Her, Her
progress stopped. She assumed an attitude of opposition. Although
her face was slightly covered by a blue garment, Her two starry
eyes were agitated, being wide and curved. Thus She was decorated
with the ornaments of vilasa, and Her beauty increased to give
pleasure to Sri Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When
Srimati Radharani stands before Krsna, She stands bent in three
places-Her neck, waist, and legs; and Her eyebrows begin to
dance. When there is an awakening of various ecstatic features on
Srimati Radharani's face and eyes, the lalita ornaments are
manifest. When the bodily features are delicate and expertly
curved, and when the eyebrows are very beautifully agitated, the
ornaments of charm called lalita alankara are manifest."
Srila Narayana Maharaja: All these very mysterious and deep
things are vividly written in Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, and for
this reason Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami was worried. He
said, "Only animals like camels, dogs and pigs will not have
interest in these things. So I don't fear. I should write, and
only the peacocks, meaning the very high class of rasika
devotees, will have interest. Nigama-kalpa-taror galitam phalam.
["All the scriptures are like a transcendental desire tree, and
on that tree Srimad Bhagavatam is the sweetest fruit of
To what is Sri Vyasadeva referring? Only to
rasa-lila. If rasa-lila was taken out from Srimad Bhagavatam,
there would be no beauty at all. Srimad Bhagavatam would no
longer be rasa-sindhu, the ocean of rasa. Everything is
there-more than anyone can imagine.
And even more is in
Sri Caitanya Caritamrta. If Tenth Canto should be banned, then
Caitanya Caritamrta should also be banned. We should not read it.
If you cannot read Srimad Bhagavatam, how can you read Caitanya
Caritamrta? From beginning to end, there is only one conception:
Mahaprabhu is always absorbed in Radha's mood. In that case we
should not read it?
Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami is
telling that we should always hear Caitanya Caritamrta. It has
sruyatam sruyatam nityam giyatam
giyatam muda cintyatam cintyatam bhaktas
"O devotees, may the transcendental
life and characteristics of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu be always
heard, chanted and meditated upon with great happiness"(Antya
12.2). So it is clear. Caitanya Caritamrta is full of unlimited
rasa, and everything is there. If we can read Caitanya
Caritamrta, why can we not read Tenth Canto?
I know that
Pujyapada Madhava Maharaja has introduced the singing of
astakaliya-lila during kartikka month. What is
Sripad Madhava Maharaja: The
confidential pastimes of Radha and Krsna.
Narayana Maharaja: It is written in Sri Govinda-lilamrta by Srila
Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami. Those who can sing and follow
astakaliya-lila are very elevated. We only do pranama to these
lilas; but he has introduced this. For whom? For all devotees,
here and there. He introduced it for those who are initiated, not
initiated, senior, and neophyte also. Astakaliya-lila is more
than Srimad Bhagavatam. There are certain preachers who are
coming from India, and who say that unless one is perfect he
cannot read Tenth Canto. But we do not agree.
four ways or three types of persons who tell others not to read
Tenth Canto. The first way is simply told in ignorance. Elevated
and high-class devotees know all the reasons why Caitanya
Mahaprabhu descended to this world. Do you know why He came? If
you are not reading and hearing the Tenth Canto Srimad Bhagavatam
you cannot know. You will be cheated. So you should try to hear
Srimad Bhagavatam from elevated Vaisnavas. Do not think-as some
devotees may tell you-that we should not read the Tenth Canto of
Good devotees know everything, and
they may tell you in the second way: "You should begin from the
First Canto, then the Second, the Third, Fourth, Fifth, and thus
you can go there. The third way is to 'cheat'. How will they
cheat? They will say: "What is in my hands? Can you tell me what
I have in my hands?" Others then become curious to know. If
anyone tells you: "Do not read the Tenth Canto of the Srimad
Bhagavatam!", this curiosity will come automatically: "What is
there? I should know that!" In order to increase others'
curiosity to hear and read Srimad Bhagavatam, they do like this.
In the forth way the speaker is speaking exactly opposite to what
he means. When Srila Rupa Gosvami says, "Don't go to the banks of
the Jamuna where Govinda is sweetly playing on His flute, because
then you'll forget all about your society, friendship and love",
he means, "Do go." For all these reasons they are telling these
There was a devotee in my village who used to
go to the Ganges river to take bath daily. Whenever someone came
and called out to him, "Rama! Rama!" he became very furious and,
taking his stick, he wanted to beat that person.
he do so? And why did all the boys from all the villages call out
to him in this way? Whenever they said, "Rama! Rama!", he would
pretend to beat them. Why did he do so? In order to make them
chant, "Rama! Rama!". It was a kind of fun.
is telling that you should not read the Srimad Bhagavatam, then
there should be a curiosity to know what is inside. There must be
some jewel there.
Without hearing and reading,
especially without hearing the Tenth Canto Srimad Bhagavatam, you
cannot decide the aim and object of your devotional life. On the
other hand, by hearing the Tenth Canto, a greed may come to
attain that object.
Why has your Gurudeva, Srila
Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, written Krsna Book? He has even
explained about rasa-lila there, and you should read it now. You
should hear it; it is a very important thing. You should hear it
carefully. I tell that you should read First Canto, Second Canto,
Third Canto; and after that you should take Tenth Canto. Don't
Prabhupada has also told this. I never tell the
pastimes of the gopis with Krsna to common people. Any high class
of devotee, who has given up lust and all other bad qualities,
can describe all these things; and we must hear from him. This is
the powerful medicine-to hear. What is Prabhupada telling? You
Trai dasa prabhu: This quotation is from the
Introduction in the Krsna Book.
It was written in 1969,
very early in the Iskcon movement. This is the introduction to
the first book that we distributed en mass, to the general
public. From the first day it came out, we were distributing
"This krsna-katha will also be very much
appealing to the most materialistic persons because Krsna's
pastimes with the gopis, cowherd girls, are exactly like the
loving affairs between young girls and boys within this material
world. Actually, the sex feeling found in human society is not
unnatural, because the same sex feeling is there in the original
Personality of Godhead.
"The pleasure potency is called
Srimati Radharani. The attraction of loving affairs on the basis
of sex feeling is the original feature of the Supreme Personality
of Godhead. We, the conditioned souls, being part and parcel of
the Supreme, have such feelings also, but they are experienced
within a perverted minute condition. Therefore, when those who
are after sex-life in this material world hear about Krsna's
pastimes with the gopis, they will relish transcendental pleasure
although it appears to be materialistic. The advantage will be
that they will gradually be elevated to the spiritual platform.
In the Bhagavatam it is stated that if one hears the pastimes of
Lord Krsna with the gopis from authorities, with submission, then
he will be promoted to the platform of transcendental loving
service to the Lord, and the material disease of lust within his
heart will be completely vanquished.
In other words,
such hearing will counteract material sex-life."
Narayana Maharaja: What did he say?
Even if materially contaminated people don't understand the
higher spiritual truth behind the Krsna Book, simply by reading
and hearing from the proper authority, they will gradually be
purified, and come to understand in a correct way. They will then
become free from all these mundane attachments.
prabhu: In Krsna Book, chapter thirty-three, which is the chapter
about rasa-lila, Srila Prabhupada writes: "Some ask that if Krsna
is self-sufficient, why did He manifest the pastimes with the
gopis, which are disturbing to the so-called moralists of the
world? The answer is that such activities show special mercy to
the fallen, conditioned souls. The gopis are expansions of His
internal energy, but because Krsna wanted to exhibit the
rasa-lila, they appeared as ordinary human beings.
the material world, pleasure is ultimately manifested in the sex
attraction between a man and woman. The man lives simply to be
attracted by women and the woman lives simply to be attracted by
men. That is the basic principle of material life. As soon as
these attractions are combined, people become more and more
implicated in material existence. In order to show them special
favor, Krsna exhibited this rasa-lila dance. It is just to
captivate the conditioned soul. Since they are very much
attracted by sex, they can enjoy the same life with Krsna and
thus become liberated from the material condition. In the Second
Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam, Maharaja Pariksit also explains that
the pastimes and activities of Lord Krsna are medicine for the
conditioned souls. If they simply hear about Krsna, they become
relieved of the material disease. They are addicted to material
enjoyment and are accustomed to reading sex literature; but by
hearing these transcendental pastimes of Krsna with the gopis,
they will be relieved of material contamination."
Narayana Maharja: Everything is clear by all this evidence. The
powerful disease for worldly persons is lust. No one can become
free from it. Even Brahma, Siva and Narada, who are liberated
souls, could not control this lust. It can be controlled only by
devotees like Srila Haridasa Thakura, Srila Rupa Gosvami, Srila
Sanatana Gosvami, Srila Raya Ramananda, and all others like
them-very easily. How? By always remembering, chanting, and
hearing this with honor.
We should not imitate Krsna.,
even by mind. But we should very honorably hear all these topics.
This has been very clearly written in Srimad Bhagavatam and Sri
Caitanya Caritamrta. In Adi-lila 334, it is written, "Anugrahaya
bhaktanam." You should read the meaning.
Maharaja: "Krsna manifests His eternal, human-like form, and
performs His pastimes to show mercy to the devotees. Having heard
such pastimes, one should engage in service to Him." The next
verse states: "Here the use of the word 'bhavet', which is in the
imperative mood, tells us that this certainly must be done. If
one does not do this, non-compliance will be an abandonment of
Srila Narayana Maharaja: There is a verbal
root-bhavet. What is the meaning of bhavet? 'You must hear. If
you are not hearing, then it is like an offense. You must obey.'
You must hear-but with honor, from elevated devotees. If you are
not hearing, you are killing yourself. This is the meaning of
Srila Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami, who is a
rupanuga Vaisnava, is telling this in Sri Caitanya Caritamrta.
"You must hear, but don't imitate."
We are warned not to
read Govinda-lilamrta, and all these rasa-lila pastimes from
Srimad Bhagavatam. But we know that so many of the devotees in
Iskcon are reading Govinda-lilamrta and all other similar books.
Although all these books are especially warned against, they
still read them. So many have Govinda-lilamrta and Srila
Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura's Krsna Bhavanamrta. Yet, for
others they are telling, "You should not read." What is the
meaning of this?
I think it will be better that they not
read-but hear-the pastimes of Krsna from elevated devotees.
Throughout the entire kartikka month we sing: 'namamisvaram
saccidananda-rupam lasat-kundalam gokulebhrajamanam
yasoda-bhiyolukhalad-dhavamanam paramrstam atyam tato drutya
gopya.' What is this? Damodara-lila. From where has it come? From
Dasama Skanda; from Tenth Canto. Why do we do it? Because our
entire guru-parampara does it.
Cakravarti Thakura has explained this sloka.
vraja-vadhubhir idam ca visnu sraddhanvito 'nusrnuyad atha
varnayed yah bhaktim param bhagavati pratilabhya kamam
hrd-rogam asv apahinoty acirena dhirah
faithfully hears or describes the Lord's playful affairs with the
young gopis of Vrndavana will attain the Lord's pure devotional
Thus he will quickly become sober and conquer
lust, the disease of the heart."] What is the meaning? You should
explain the very essence of Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura's
words. He has written the meaning of the word 'dhira'.
Sripad Aranya Maharaja: In this verse, which concludes the
chapters on rasa-lila, Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura has
given a commentary on the words of Sri Sukadeva Gosvami. In this
verse he is saying that the gopis of Vrindavan are playing and
performing this rasa-lila with Krsna. Anusrnuya means 'you should
hear it continuously'.
Srila Narayana Maharaja: It
means you must hear with faith-with honor. If you have no honor,
then you should purchase that honor from anywhere.
"Krsna-bhakti rasa bhavita mati. You should buy it, and then read
with honor. You should hear.