Goswāmī Mahārāj: Yes, Prabhu, some question?
Devotee: Yes, Mahārāj. There is a question from Simon Norwitz, musician from UK. So, he says, “Thank you, very insightful and interesting.” And the question is: “the gopīs seem to...the gopīs seem so deep, that they seem to be a part of Kṛṣṇa, like a part of Kṛṣṇa's body. Are the gopīs separate to Kṛṣṇa or abstractly linked somehow?”
Goswāmī Mahārāj: The more accurate assessment would be, in relation to Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. What comes to mind is — actually it's perhaps the very last sentence of the last purport of Śrīla Prabhupāda Swāmi Mahārāj in Bhagavad-gītā. And I am paraphrasing, I may not be saying it in the exact words, but this is his concluding words of the Bhagavad-gītā. And so he is talking about being, in his language, sometimes re-instated in one's constitutional position as an eternal servant Kṛṣṇa. But he says there something to this effect: that's [how] the jīva resumes her normal position in the pleasure-giving potency. So he is saying the real position is in pleasure-giving potency. That's English for hlādinī-śakti. That's pleasure — hlādinī — pleasure-giving, śakti potency. So, as Guru Mahārāj says elsewhere, jīvas, they are considered to be atomic particles of chit-śakti. Chit-śakti, we take as like the super-servitors of the various rasas. And [in] their aṅga-jyoti, or if you want — their halo, but not in the sense of light, but in radiance of their own conception, are those who are...[those who] have similar devotional expression. It's a very beautiful thing, actually. We have a tendency, we think, as soon as we hear jyoti or light, we think it means like this [pointing to some light]. You know, it's like wavelengths or whatever it is. I know some science...No, it's actually, whatever it actually is [according to science, it's] not that.
Because it's all chinmaya. Rather, we are told, the light we see here is a reflection of that sort of illumination. But when we are speaking about spiritual light, jyoti or prīti rūpam. You know, jyoti-rūpam. The form of light. In that world, it means illumination, or radiant. In what? Of a particular loving tendency. We have to think more in those lines. In one place Guru Mahārāj says, you know, faith is the halo of Rādhārāṇī. It's all chinmaya. How Krṣṇa is being revealed. And with regard to the two examples given: [we can think of] sunlight and heat. You can't separate these things from the conception of the sun. Or what else is given [as examples ?] Musk and its scent. The scent is inseparable from that. When you are saying, Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, They are inseparable. But, They are, you know, delightfully different. And [it's] like [the] Thai [people] say: same, same, but different. In Saraswati Ṭhākur's language, pre-dominating moiety, means half, [and then] pre-dominated half. Śakti, Śaktimān. The potency and the possessor of that potency. Musk and its fragrance, sun, light and heat.
In the inaugural issue of the Harmonist magazine, Saraswati Ṭhākur is pointing out that — previously Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur had a publication called the Sajjan-Toshāṇī, and he is saying not to think of this publication as different. Thematically the same, the name may be different, but thematically, substantively, the same. And he gives an explanation of Sajjan Toshāṇī. He is saying, sat, in this context — sometimes Prabhupāda would say, that means the Supreme Absolute Truth, or it's a reference to divinity, as you will — but he is saying sat here means, he says, Kṛṣṇa alone is not the Supreme Truth. And these words have to be understood carefully. Because it's not running counter to the conception of īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ
sac-cid-ānanda-vigrahaḥ (Śrī Brahma-saṁhitā: 5.1) He's using "alone" here, meaning without another. Because from another point of view, yes, we say, Kṛṣṇa alone, He is the Supreme Truth.
vadanti tat tattva-vidas
tattvaṁ yaj jñānam advayam
bhagavān iti śabdyate
But here he is using the word "alone" meaning like without another. [We might say] oh, no, Guru Mahārāj says reality is for itself and by itself. Again, we have to look at this very carefully. He is saying "alone" meaning not with — He is not alone. And this very simple statement is very illuminating, inspiring and full of hope and prospect. Because from the Judeo-Christian side of, you know, the equation, you get the sense of a lonely God. Right? He has no equal. There [are] some angels, and they are good. But He has no one who is His peer, or equal, what to speak of a feminine counterpart. Many ontological questions are left unanswered, or not comprehensively expressed. So, just this very statement alone is wonderful, illuminating and as we say, full of hope and optimism. He is saying, Kṛṣṇa is not alone. He has, what I like to call, the better half, of the Sweet Absolute is Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. And so there must be some similarity between Them but also some difference. So, She possesses feminine attributes. And even in this world, which is said to be a perverted reflection, still, some hint at innately feminine attributes and qualities which are attractive [is present].
We just celebrated the appearance of Mahāprabhu, Śrī Kṛṣṇa Chaitanya Mahāprabhu, on the Gaura- pūrṇimā. And really, it's in the pages of Śrī Chaitanya Charitāmṛtam that we hear Kṛṣṇa speaking very candidly in first person. It's of what we have heard from the scriptures in different places. Kṛṣṇa, He makes many statements that are full of infinite meaning, they are clever, they are so many things. But I could say, in one sentence, rarely do they get really personal and candid, where He is giving you a really, you know, glimpse into His private thinking. That's really astonishing, because for the most part we deal with God [as], you know, again, the man at the top is alone. You know, He is God, He created everything but He is alone at the top. You know, it's almost like you think [of Him] as someone, like, who is so alone that He made [as in created] some friends. You know, like, "I make [create] friends...." [Laughter]. But not like that. That would be pathetic. We are told from a Vedic perspective, ānanda-maya... He is, by nature, He is full of ecstasy and joy. But there is also the expansion of that. Although there is no room for expansion, it is expanding. That concept. You are saying, how can that be? Inconceivable. acintyāḥ khalu ye bhāvā na tāṁs tarkeṇa yojayet (Śrī Chaitanya Charitāmṛtam Ādi-līlā: 17.308). That which is inconceivable is not subject to finite reasoning. Thank the Lord for that. But as Guru Mahārāj said, but if the Infinite wants to make Himself known to the finite, then there is no...nothing will obstruct that. Not only will finiteness not be inadequate, but there won't be any impediment to His revealing Himself. That said, in the pages of Chaitanya Charitāmātam, He is speaking very candidly and [in] first person, revealing some of His private thoughts.
And where He says, you know, all the creation is — means, those in the know, the kovido — [He says] that they..."they're mad about Me." If someone can really go in the proper direction theistically, then they're those who are Kṛṣṇa-loving people, you know, puṇyo gandhaḥ pṛthivyāṁ ca tejaś cāsmi vibhāvasau ( Bhagavad-gītā: 7.9) — the fragrance of the earth, all of these wonderful aromas, that reminds them of Kṛṣṇa. What to speak of — He has His own fragrance [which it is said] drives others mad. But He says there, "but...the fragrance of my beloved, that makes Me crazy, drives Me mad." Ohh...We never thought from His side." Like when Guru Mahārāj presented "Loving Search for the Lost Servant", he said in the [beginning], it was a [progression], like a [next step], the latest, you know, or a progression in a sequence. So he said in the beginning, we had Search for Śrī Kṛṣṇa: Reality the Beautiful, [where he shows] how the devotees are searching for Kṛṣṇa. And if you understand the structure of that book thematically, it culminates in Kṛṣṇa as a devotee — Mahāprabhu — searching for Himself. Like Radhārāṇī. So, but Guru Mahārāj said, now, we will show from the other side, that the Lord is searching for His lost servants. Again, that's good news for us. Right?
Because we would think, does He have the capacity to care about us, individually? [One might] say, there's so many, how do you keep track of them all? [Laughter]. We are our own worst enemy. [We are saying] how is it possible, I mean, that you could know everybody. Well, you know, brahmeti paramātmeti . We are little bit of Paramātmā. By His Paramātmā expansion, He is accompanying every soul, we are told, like two birds on the karmic tree, one bird enjoying the fruits, the other bird as a neutral, passive non-interfering observer. So, He knows. And that is astonishing. That He knows every single person personally. And their entire history. bahūni me vyatītāni janmāni tava cārjuna ( Bhagavad-gītā: 4.5) He tells Arjuna, "many births we have had..." Because Arjuna is saying, "You said, you know"
imaṁ vivasvate yogaṁ
proktavān aham avyayam
vivasvān manave prāha
manur ikṣvākave ’bravīt
( Bhagavd-gītā: 4.1)
"You gave the karma-yoga to the sun-god. Well that must have been millions of years ago. How could You do that? You know, the sun-god is so much older than You." [And Krsna said], "Many births you and I have had Arjuna, I remember all of them, you don't." And boy, is that an understatement. So, we think, that we know ourselves better than anyone. Right? And if we can someone in the world [who understands us], we think, "they really get me, they really know me, that's why I have so much love for x, y, or z." Because, [we think], they get me, they know [me], they are my best friend, you know. Not to dismiss that, but...to dismiss that. [Laughter].
Because suhṛdaṁ sarva-bhūtānāṁ jñātvā māṁ śāntim ṛcchati ( Bhagavad-gītā: 5.29). You want relief from the anxiety of material existence, feeling alone, and this, that and the other thing, Krsna is saying, "I am your dear most friend, I know everything about you. How much? More than you know!" That's what He's telling Arjuna. "Arjuna, there are births you had, you don't remember, but not only do I remember all of mine, I remember all of yours. So, that puts me in a unique position to understand you, actually." [And we might be saying,] is there such a person who is like that? [But] should we expect God to be anything less than that? Absolute means, implies this. The Absolute has this ability to have a personal relationship with every living being simultaneously. Absolute must be nothing less than that. So, but still, that's good news for us, [we are saying], ohh, how wonderful is Kṛṣṇa, and we benefit from Kṛṣṇa, when we smell the beautiful flowers in this world, that we can trace back to Kṛṣṇa, and we hear [that] His fragrances, you know, [is] madly intoxicating. And this Kṛṣṇa is saying, "but, personally, from My side, Rādhārāṇī has this kind of [effect], the kind of effect that I have on you is the kind of effect that She has upon Me. The world is driven mad by the sound of My flute..." But He is saying, "the sound of Her voice is more sweet to Me than the kokyo(???)." In this world, the kokyo(???) [is considered very sweet]. [He is saying] "Her voice is more, infinitely sweeter than the kokyo(???). That sound...But everyone else is saying the sound of My flute [is sweet]. Even Rādhārāṇī, that's making Her mad, but Her sound is making Me mad." So for each sense, Kṛṣṇa is revealing something personal about Himself and in the process, glorifying Her position. But with regard to the flute of Kṛṣṇa, we would be remiss not to....Rūpa Goswāmī should know something about that. Right? Rūpa Goswāmī, Rūpa Mañjarī. In one place Saraswati Ṭhākur said, "Sri Rupa, how to understand [him]? [We can understand as] the separated beauty of Rādhārāṇī." That in itself in inconceivable. But, that Rūpa Goswāmī in one of the places says:
rundhann ambu-bhṛtaś camatkṛti-paraṁ kurvan muhus tumburuṁ
dhyānād antarayan sanandana-mukhān vismāpayan vedhasam
autsukyāvalibhir baliṁ caṭulayan bhogīndram āghūrṇayan
bhindann aṇḍa-kaṭāha-bhittim abhito babhrāma vaṁśī-dhvani
(Śrī Chaitanya-Charitāmṛta Antya-līlā: 1.164)
aṇḍa-kaṭāha-bhittim — The cracking of the universal shell. He is saying when Kṛṣṇa makes the sound of His flute, generally the world — sometimes aṇḍa means the egg, jagadaṇḍa means the universe[s] are like eggs, but very large eggs [Laughter]. Like, a billion kilometers, they are large, but like eggs. And so, [like an egg, the universe] has a shell. And those shells are, they are eight-layered shell. Bhumir āpo, 'nalo, vāyuḥ etc. He is saying the sound of Kṛṣṇa's flute penetrates, cracks a hole in the shell of the universe and then it enters the universe. And in the beginning, [it reaches] the Brahmaloka, the higher planetary systems, then it works [its] way around the whole universe. Just the sound of Kṛṣṇa's flute. So, Rūpa Goswāmi is saying, what's the effects of the sound of Kṛṣṇa's flute? Clouds that are raining stop like they are frozen. Right? Stones melt, everything...rivers become like...stop motion, they just stop flowing. And things that are solid start flowing, melting. And [the] Gandharva[s'] leader, Tumburu, the leader of all the Gandharvas, that means he is the best musician, the best singer, he is saying I have never heard music like this. The greatest, arguably the greatest musician in the universe is saying, this is beyond me, how does He do it? Viśwanāth Chakravarthi Ṭhākur says is one place, Kṛṣṇa, although He is playing different tunes on His flute, He has the ability to play all the notes on the scale simultaneously, but it is different tunes. And not like when you put your elbow on [all the keys] an organ, OK? [Laughter]. Not like that. Something very beautiful.
Then, what? dhyānād antarayan sanandana-mukhān .And the four Kumāras, who are the ultimate...they are Kumāras of the divine type, means they never go past the kumāra stage, which means a child. One of the implications of that is they are not bothered by mundane sensuality. They are like, way beyond that. We'll say there is nothing material about them, but just to help us understand the context. So, the four Kumāras, nothing disturbs them in their meditation, nothing, ever disturbs them in their meditation. How did they achieve their position? Speaking of fragrance...
antar-gataḥ sva-vivareṇa cakāra teṣāṁ
saṅkṣobham akṣara-juṣām api citta-tanvoḥ
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 3. 15.43)
In this world, sometimes people inhale fragrances and it alters their mood. But here, we are told, they inhaled the fragrance of the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa and the tulasi and their whole existence is [changed]. It was not just [that it] elevated their mood, or made them feel better. Their whole existence changed, the whole Vaikuṇṭha world became open to them from the fragrance of Kṛṣṇa. That Kṛṣṇa is saying, "But Rādhārānī, She has that effect upon Me." But these Kumāras, now with [the] sound [of Kṛṣṇa's flute], when they [hear it], those who are never disturbed by anything, they can meditate, maintain their meditational focus always, he is saying when they hear the sound of Kṛṣṇa's flute, they can't concentrate. So, from each place, he [Rūpa Goswāmī] is giving us like a different reaction to the flute of Kṛṣṇa. So, the greatest meditators of all time, the four Kumāras, suddenly they can't concentrate.
And Brahmā, he is thinking, this is not something created by me. I know what I created within the world, I was empowered to do it, but this sound is not my creation. Simple statement, but coming from Brahmā, what does it tell us? By inversion, applied to analysis, [it tells us that] it's out of this world, it's other-worldly, it's transcendental, it's spiritual. But not just in the generic, off-the-shelf sense, but aprākṛta. Why the flute? This one lady in Hungary once, the lead girl who was the translator, her mother had some objection to her participation in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. And I was having a meeting with her, and this idea of Kṛṣṇa being a cow-herd, this is too much for her...so I said, "so, but if I said the Lord is my shepherd, you don't have a problem with that." But it's like sheep-herd, cow-herd, it's like, cow-herd: problem, sheep-herd: OK. [Laughter]. [I said to her], think about what you are saying. [She said], "ohh, I don't know anyone is this country [who participates in Krsna consciousness].” [I said], “you know, this isn't about this country.” Right? Always, [people are saying] your country, the piece of land that you plopped out on, you know, from your mama. Not that country. bhauma ijyati. But the aprakṛta-līlā of Kṛṣṇa, so that is the deceptive simplicity of Kṛṣṇa-līlā, the human-like pastimes...a bamboo flute.
How much Rādhārāṇī is absorbed in thinking of Kṛṣṇa? We have so many bamboo here, we're lovers of bamboo. And particularly the yellow bamboo. Don't ever, like, cut the yellow bamboo. You can see it's rare. But, sometimes the bamboo, maybe it's old, something happens where the wind goes through the bamboo and it starts making a flute-like sound. When the wind goes through the bamboo, Rādhārāṇī thinks it's Kṛṣṇa, playing His flute, and she starts running towards the bamboo, thinking it's Kṛṣṇa. She embraces a tamāl tree because their blackish color reminds Her of Kṛṣṇa. So many things. This type of....it gives us a hint that Her vision, She is seeing Kṛṣṇa everywhere, in everything. Which we are told, this is symptomatic of a mahā-bhāgavata in the general [sense], in this case, they would be the general case. So what to speak of the greatest devotee of all time, how She sees everything as Kṛṣṇa, or indicating Kṛṣṇa.
Well, Brahmā, and...then what's the next line? autsukyāvalibhir baliṁ. The flute sound, remember it is going throughout the universe. So, it's like Brahmā, and the gandharvas...now the flute sound is making its way towards the "southern hemisphere of the universe," we'll say. And there's Bali Mahārāj, he finds [it]...it's just utterly astonishing to him. And remember he knows Vāmanadeva. [Laughter]. But this flute, this sound is just astonishing to him. And then, we're told, what is the planets and everything, whether it's the planets of the universe, [what are they resting on? They] are resting on the heads of Anantadeva, like so many mustard seeds. And those who are cooks know about the mustard seeds, right? These black mustard seeds, or yellow...They're are very, very tiny, mustard seeds. I think, I don't know, has anyone seen a banyan tree seed? It might even...Did someone? I don't know if they are small. But they are also very small. It's how...it's what Gurudev said, like how out of the...the Gayatrī....Guru Mahārāj's explanation in the Bhāgavatam springs out of that, and out of the flute sound of Kṛṣṇa. Gayatrī muralīṣṭa-kīrtana-dhanaṁ rādhāpadaṁ dhīmahi (the Logo of Śrī Chaitanya Sāraswat Maṭh ). What Gurudeva said: what is Kṛṣṇa's fluting matter? The lotus feet of Rādhārāṇī — Rādhā-dāsyam. But here....Bali Mahārāj is astonished, he is in the, like, southern hemisphere, the very southern part. And all the planets, whatever you want to say, on the heads of Ananta, which look, you know, like in this world, similar to the cobra, the beauty of a cobra. And we are told that, Ananta, hearing that sound, that his heads just start to sway, like intoxicated. And it's like the planets, oooh, slip off the heads..[Laughter]. So, bhindann aṇḍa-kaṭāha. Aṇḍa means egg, but here means universe. The universal shell. babhrāma vaṁśī-dhvaniḥ. Gurudeva liked that part. The sound vibration of Kṛṣṇa's flute has this effect. So, it's so extraordinary. And what does Kṛṣṇa say? "The voice of Rādhārāṇī has that type of effect on Me."
On and on, ad infinitum. Her qualities, that Śrī Kṛṣṇa...in this world, we have madan, cupid, what's Russian word for Cupid? There you go. From Greek and Latin, wherever it comes from. Yes, it's always something similar to that. In Sanskrit, you have a few words. Anaṅga, Kandarpa, Madan. So, we are told, one cupid [is] driving everyone mad. Love makes the world go around, right? As Freud said, eros is the driving principle of material existence. So one cupid [is] bewildering the world, but we are told kandarpa-koṭi-kamanīya-viśeṣa-śobhaṁ (Śrī Brahma-saṁhitā: 5.30). That Kṛṣṇa [is] like ten million cupids. If ten million cupids in their full-blown "cupidity" — and I mean the word here, I am repurposing that word, it's cupidness, when I say it — ten million cupids in full-blown cupidity, personified as one, that's the seductive charm of Kṛṣṇa. And here the word ten million, the number, numerical value of ten million is being used because our minds don't compute what's achintya. So that's about as far as we go. So, he [Rupa Goswami] is saying He has that type of draw. And so much so, we are told, Madana-mohana. As everyone in the world is bewildered by Madan, or cupid, Kṛṣṇa bewilders Madan. Cupid is overwhelmed by Kṛṣṇa's beauty. So, Madana-mohana. Mohana means [one] who charms or bewilders.
But what is Rādhārānī's name? Madana-mohana-mohinī. [One] who bewilders the bewilderer of cupid. That's Her position. So, in Charitāmṛtam, we can't say much about this, but just to answer the question, it's sometimes comparing Rādhārāṇī like a vine, and all the gopīs they are more like the...how do you say, the leaves on that [vine]. Just like you have, on a tulasī, the vine, and then you have leaves, and then mañjarīs, right? So it is saying they, through Her they come in contact with Kṛṣṇa. Really, it's more appropriate to think that way. And, we're told, that experience is inconceivably wonderful. But it's always...so it's there visually, graphically, thematically and every other way that the real, substantial connection with Kṛṣṇa will always come through Her. Because then we come back to the constitutional position of a jīva soul: being an atomic particle of chit-śakti. That means here you have the infinite Kṛṣṇa, right, and then infinitesimal jīva. Now the infinitesimal jīva is going to interact with Kṛṣṇa. On a direct interaction, what's the capacity for exchange? Although a drop of the infinite is infinite, still we can understand the finite capacity of the infinitesimal jīvas. Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī is not finite. She's the other half, the better half of Kṛṣṇa. She is His equal. He is Rāsarāja, She is Mahābhāva. What does that mean? It means She can extract from Kṛṣṇa on an equal level. So She can extract the highest quality of rasa, and the highest quantity of rasa from Kṛṣṇa. Jīva soul cannot [extract] that quality or quantity, not even close. So She can extract the highest quality and the highest quantity or rasa. Therefore mahābhāva svarūpiṇī Rādhā Ṭhākurāṇī.
But out of gratitude to Her assistants and servitors, She is letting them have a taste of mahābhāva, which is otherwise beyond the constitutional capacity of a jīva soul to experience. So by Rādhārānī's grace, they have a taste of this inconceivably wonderful substance. And with regard to [that], Śrīla Guru Mahārāj said, once you have had a taste of that substance, he said, what to speak of all other tastes, all other rasas become tasteless, compared to this. That's an incredible statement. So:
tābhir ya eva nija-rūpatayā kalābhiḥ
goloka eva nivasaty akhilātma-bhūto
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
(Śrī Brahma-saṁhitā: 5.37)
Kṛṣṇa's side of expansion, really, proper is the avatāras, Viṣṇu-tattva, like that. Līlā-avatāras, so many puruṣa-avatāras etc. Then śaktyāveśa-avatāras, you start getting, you know, some sort of like a divine mixture. But Rādhārānī is on the other side. She also, as He is expanding, She is also expanding. [The] three principal expansions are, in order of importance, if you went higher, higher, higher, you know perfect, more perfect, most perfect, the Lakṣmīs of Vaikuṇṭha, the mahiṣī — queens of Dwārka, the gopīs of Vṛndāvan. And this world, the gods and goddesses are also, within this plane, we can take it to be, like a reflection. So, the śakti side, jīva is śakti, jīva-śakti. Kṛṣṇa's side means the Viṣṇu-tattva. Everything we take it [as] coming from Kṛṣṇa. But Rūpa Goswāmī, no less than Rūpa Goswāmī, has given this sort of delineation and analysis in Laghu Bhāgavatāmṛtam and elsewhere. And it also comes from Mahāprabhu and His teachings to Rūpa Goswāmī and Sanātana Goswāmī. So,that makes it even more special, that this is within the teachings of Mahāprabhu to Rūpa Goswāmī and Sanātana Goswāmī. In consideration of who is Mahāprabhu, that makes it even more decisive.
So, what was the question originally, just this line I want to remember...
Devotee: Are the gopīs separate to Kṛṣṇa, or abstractly linked somehow?
Goswāmī Mahārāj: Well, right…So, Radhārāṇī is the link. But as Saraswati Ṭhākur said, to finish that first [thought], as Saraswati Ṭhākur said, Krṣṇa is not alone, means, He alone is not the Supreme Absolute Truth — means Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. Right? Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. They are sat-jan, put together satjan. sajjan means, jan means, like, the people, but it means, like who They consider Their own, [that] is more to the point. Whom They consider Their own. Think about that. Whom Rādhā...because people can make all kinds of observations about things, or self-identify. But here, these words of Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur, [are] so carefully selected and so profound. He is saying, sat-jan really means whom They consider Their own. That's who we're interested in, not someone who is boasting this, that, or the other thing. Right? Ostentatious displays of achievement. Those whom They consider Their own are, how do you say, concealing their positions. As opposed to the ostentatious display of achievement of the neophyte or the sahajiya imitationist, they're concealing their position.
na prema-gandho ’sti darāpi me harau ( Chaitanya-Charitāmṛtam: Madhya 2.45). I don't have the scent of the fragrance of Kṛṣṇa-prema, what to speak a drop of that divine substance. Sat-jan. He is saying in this publication, Sajjan Toshani, we want to please them, whom Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa consider Their own. And the first śloka of the Bhāgavatam, which is expanding upon the theme of the Vedānta-sūtra — Janmādy asya yataḥ (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 1.1.1) These aphorisms —athāto brahma- jijñāsā — now you have acquired the human form, engage in spiritual enquiry, that's the one thing you can do as a human being that no other species can do. So, then you might think, maybe that's we are meant to do, is what only we can do uniquely. Right? Others — even animals, they have affections for their offspring. Right? Now you should do that one thing that you were unable to do in any other species, which is this sort of brahma- jijñāsā. To enquire about [spiritual matters]. Really, it's at the core of your identity. And this is not a peripheral, anecdotal or, you know, secondary concern. It's primary. Especially if you factor in that you are living in the world of mortality. So that means you have a limited amount of time for this sort of enquiry, if you are, you know, keeping score. Right? So, you have a [limited amount of time]. This is what you should be doing, so in the midst of, what is it, āhāra-nidrā-bhaya-maithunaṁ ca , in the midst of doing those things that everybody has to do, which are just part of living in this world, you have a limited amount of time for the spiritual enquiry. Right?
That's why Śukadeva Goswāmī told Parīkṣit Mahārāj, "Ohh, this question you have asked, what is the duty of one in life, specifically for one who is about die, hey, considering that we are all about to die, [it is very important]." Janārdhan Mahārāj was reminding me, the end of the movie Blade Runner — I'll just throw something out there, so that you go, what? — the theme of the movie is supposed to be like, what does it mean really to be human? What is the difference between a human and a robot? The last line of the movie where the man is going with the robot-like girl, you know, off into the sunset, and the detective says to him, "It's too bad she has to die." And then he says, "But, so does everybody else." That's the point. So, Śukadeva is saying, "Not only is it a relevant question for one who is — you know [one who] has advance information about impending death, but everybody in this world is dealing with mortality. So, this is the relevant question, it's relevant to everybody. It's not just something that's unique to you. So, I like [that you have asked this]. You've asked this, this is the question to ask." And, that Śukadev, by way of introducing himself:
pariniṣṭhito ’pi nairguṇye
ākhyānaṁ yad adhītavān
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 2.1.9)
Like the Kumāras, similar, you can say just for the sake of story, like a Brahmavādī. Not a māyāvādī, but a Brahmavādī. Spiritually realized, nirguṇa plane. So he is saying, "Everyone knows, it is legendary that I was already realized within the womb of my mother. It's not like I came out and then followed a path, and then [achieved realization], not like that." That's why he is legendary, ohh, this is that Śukadev. We have heard about him. He was liberated in the womb of his mother, so much so that he thought there was no compelling reason to come out of his mother's womb. So he stayed there for a long time, like many years. [Laughter]. 9 months...he came out like fully developed. [Laughter]. So, he is a legend, and [he has] no [mundane interest], not even a trace amount of interest in the mundane, or exploitative tendency. That's why this seemingly anecdotal tale in the Bhāgavatam where it says — remember Veda- Vyāsa is writing the Bhāgavatam, especially the intro. Sūta Goswāmī [is writing] later...but, he [Veda- Vyāsa] is writing this and he is recalling this [anecdote]. Because he wants to introduce the speaker. Right?
And so, he doesn't say he [Śukadev] is qualified because he is my son. Actually he is saying, he [Śukadev] is qualified because he did not acknowledge the father-son relationship. Śukadev, he is leaving the āśram of Veda-Vyāsa, where the jujube...you know, the fruits, and the Saraswati [river], the current of the Saraswati [river], it's all more than [just symbols]....not symbolic, in a symbolic way, but like, in a substantial way, the current of the Saraswati, the Himalayas, the jujube tree, the fruit, you know —nigama-kalpa-taror galitaṁ phalaṁ (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 1.1.3) etc.. And Śukadev is going, and we are told he goes by the pukura, [the] ponds, where the divya-devī, they are bathing naked, and when Śukadev goes by they don't bother to cover themselves. When Veda-Vyāsa comes, they are covering themselves. And it says in the Bhāgavatam, he says "Oh, my son!" And it says, only the trees echo, like "ohh, my son, ohh, my son..." An echo. He felt something. But he noticed that these girls, they didn't cover themselves for Śukadev but for him [they covered]. And he is asking them, why is that? And they said, "we can see in his eyes, there is not even a trace amount of male gaze, or exploiting tendency." And he is Veda-Vyāsa! For him, they are covering themselves. It is telling you, who is this Śukadev. He doesn't even have a remote interest in the male-female dynamic. So, he could hear about Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa and be utterly charmed by that. Eros-based pastimes and he is charmed by this. It's a way of telling us they [the pastimes] are not erotic in the mundane sense of the term. And, it's what Nārada chastised Vyāsa for [not] saying, like, "you haven't clearly told the people straight, that there's a possibility for this sort of expression, relationship with the Supreme entity in the upper world, the spiritual world." Otherwise, we are so hard-wired to this psycho-emotionally that our conclusion will be, the only venue for expression is the mundane world. Because the spiritual world, [we think] all the spiritual people, they're just sitting, you know, with their eyes closed, smiling, in a lotus position. Right? Not like they are doing anything. As David Byrne [of the American rock band, Talking Heads] was singing, "Heaven in a place where nothing ever happens." Apparently, he hadn't read the Bhāgavatam when he wrote that song.
Nārada is telling Vyāsa, "You have to tell them, Heaven is where all possibilities are. This world is limited in its offering because of its mortal nature. But everything that we could want, we could seek here, has its natural, pure, infinite unlimited, ecstatic expression there. You've got tell people about this." And so now Vyāsa is telling the story, and he realizes it needs [Śukadev] — Śukadev needs to be the loudspeaker to broadcast this, because he is beyond suspicion. No one [could suspect him]. If he is telling them, as Guru Mahārāj said — and you see with Parīkṣit Mahārāj, when they get to the rāsa-līlā and those pastimes of Rādhārāṇī and Vraja- gopīs, some of the sages, like, you know, their mouths are hanging open. And Parīkṣit Mahārāj is seeing that — remember, he is playing the role of the enquirer. So he said, "You told us in the beginning with the jugupsitaṁ dharma-kṛte ’nuśāsataḥ (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 1.5.15) , the ślokā of Nārada to Vyāsa, that Nārada condemned Vyās for giving religion." What we generally conceive of religion, because that sort of kaitava dharma or cheating religion, means that people, not only are they ill-informed about their prospect in the upper world, they'll use religion to remain attached to the mundane world. So, [Nārada said,] "you're going to have the exact opposite effect of what you intended. You thought you were giving them something that will regulate their lives and gradually break their attachment and you know, [help them achieve] mukti. But no, what's going to happen is, in your name, they're going to just be religious to stay in this world as long as possible, interminably. So you have to break that."
kṣīyante cāsya karmāṇi
mayi dṛṣṭe ’khilātmani
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 11.20.30)
When they realize all this possibility, all this love and affection we seek, and loving relationship we seek, is possible in the Kṛṣṇa world, Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, Lalitā, Viśākhā, Nanda, Yaśodā, Sudhāma, Subāl ,. everyone. The spiritual world is the world of love and affection and relationship.
So in that first thing [in the Bhāgavtam] he said, janmādyasya yataḥ (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 1.1.1). That was in the Vedānta-sūtra, where it said, janma — janmādyasya means birth etc. from which everything is coming from, by which is being maintained, and ultimately what it will enter into. And that's true, but Viśwanāth Chakravarthi Ṭhākur says — because Viśwanāth is the expert of subtle interpretation and detail — he said, this ādi — because ādi also means the first, the original— he said, this ādi is a reference to madhura-rasa, which is the ādi-rasa, the mukhya-rasa, the principal rasa. And so he is saying, this can be re-interpreted to say that the madhura-rasa pastimes of Kṛṣṇa, of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, from that everything is coming. That is astonishing. He is saying in the first three words of the Bhāgavatam you are being told this. That Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa and their madhura-rasa pastimes are the source of everything. And so this leads Guru Mahārāj to conclude [that] all the other rasas, including vātsalya, sakhya-rasa, dāsya-rasa, śānta [rasa], they are all satellites of madhura-rasa, clients of madhura-rasa. Guru Mahārāj told, Madhvā[chārya] said, you know, there's a thing, the devata of that thing, the guru of that thing, and the heart of guru is Nityānanda, and then Rādha-Govinda chit-līlāmṛtam. You can trace everything back this way. But Guru Mahārāj beautifully, he said, but I say just the opposite. Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, then from [them], you know, Balarām, Nityānanda-Balarām, then the guru-tattva, the devata, the thing. But either way you think, [it] means everything is springing from these divine pastimes. But there in that world, Kṛṣṇa [is the] pre-dominating half, Rādhārānī [is the] pre-dominated [half]. So, as Prabhupāda said, then the jīva, she resumes, regains her natural position, her normal, natural position in the pleasure-giving potency. And this is corroborated by Mahāprabhu, Rūpa Goswāmī, Sanātana Goswāmī...
And we will pay attention — I just want to add this — we will pay attention to how they present things as well. When we consider things. How they presented it. If for some reason, we don't understand why it was told that way, or the sequencing, most often it means, we need some ontological adjustment. Right? Till we come in consonance with the very way things have been presented. So, in that way, all of these things become significant. That's why we are mentioning what Viśwanāth says, in his commentary, what Mahāprabhu taught to Rūpa and Sanātana, there's a connecting thread, thematically that's always consistent.
So, in the general sense of course, you say, jīvera ‘svarūpa’ haya — kṛṣṇera ‘nitya-dāsa’. (Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta Madhya-līla: 20.108). This is the teaching of Mahāprabhu to Sanātana Goswāmī. Sanātana Goswāmī's question is: ke āmi’, ‘kene āmāya jāre tāpa-traya’ (Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta Madhya-līla: 20.102). Who am I, and why am I suffering from the three-fold miserable conditions — adhyātmic, adhibhautic, adhidaivic. Self-induced misery, misery due to others — can be insects, or sometimes people are very annoying. Adhidaivic. You know, what they call in insurance policy, "acts of God." They always say we don't cover acts of God. That's mighty humble of you. And then he says: ihā nāhi jāni — if I don't know this —‘kemane hita haya’ (Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta Madhya-līla: 20.102) — then how can I know what's good for me? We assume, everyone is supposed to be self-interested, right? For better or for worse, we are self-interested. Right? There's some political philosophy [that] says, [that's] good, you know, Ayn Rand, a lady from Petersburg. No one in Russia knows who she is, half of the people in America follow her. Thank the Lord she is no longer with us. But she would say, everything, only do something if it's in your self-interest. That should be the motivation for everything you do, is it in your self-interest.
And the goddess Saraswati speaks through the asuric, because we could say — on the one hand, we reject that as being selfish — even the greatest atheist, one of the greatest atheists of the twentieth century said, do we really need a book to tell us that we should be more selfish? [Laughter]. But, that said, if it's goddess Sarasvatī speaking through her, then what she is saying is true. Because everything should be motivated by what? Your ultimate self-interest. śreyas, preyas and śreyas. śreya uttamam — Śābde pare ca niṣṇātam brahmaṇy upaśamāśrayam
tasmād guruṁ prapadyeta
jijñāsuḥ śreya uttamam
śābde pare ca niṣṇātaṁ
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 11.3.21)
You should get a guru, you are a human being, get a guru and enquire what is in your ultimate self-interest. And as it turns out, the central interest of the Supreme Absolute, that is in your self-interest. As much as pouring water on the root of a tree nourishes all the branches and limbs, putting food in the stomach nourishes the whole body. Serving the central conception of the Sweet Absolute, it's in your ultimate self-interest. So, in this way it becomes true.
But...why did I say that? Because of...read back to me a little bit...Ohh, thank you. Sanātana Goswami, [he asked] if don't know that [what is good for me], [what should I do?] And what is Mahāprabhu's answer? First of all, who am I? jīvera ‘svarūpa’ haya — kṛṣṇera ‘nitya-dāsa’ (Śrī Chaitanya Charitāmṛtam, Madhya-līlā: 20.108). The svarūpa of the jīva, your original, personal form, your actual self, is what? The eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa. And then the next line is interesting too. He says, and, well, you mean, like, I am Kṛṣṇa, or no, servant of Kṛṣṇa, or what? mamaivāṁśo jīva-loke jīva-bhūtaḥ sanātanaḥ. ( Bhagavad-gītā: 15.7) They are my aṁśaḥ, my parts, in what way? kṛṣṇera ‘taṭasthā-śakti’ ‘bhedābheda-prakāśa’ (Śrī Chaitanya Charitāmṛtam, Madhya-līlā: 20.108) He is saying, and you are the taṭasthā-śakti of Kṛṣṇa. So you are śakti of Kṛṣṇa, on that side of the equation. And what kind of śakti? Taṭasthā, marginal, on the outskirts of the chit-śakti . Hare Kṛṣṇa. Bhedābheda-prakāśa. Same, same, but different. That's Bhedābheda-prakāśa. So, we need to understand it as it's being expressed, that was the point I was trying [to make], as it's being expressed. Of course, many questions will come, from time to time, but then consider how it's being expressed to us and we'll find repeatedly that there's a system and we need to become acquainted with the system. And if we follow the system and the ontological method, then we won't be backed into an ontological corner or a dilemma. Or, something apa-siddhāntic.
So, what I mean to say is, [if we are saying], ohh, we are all eternal servants of Kṛṣṇa. That's a general [statement], of course, Kṛṣṇa is the answer to everything. I once — there was this math teacher, algebra teacher I had, just to tease him, because he said — he had a Southern accent, he said, he was trying to tell us something [and] he said, "In math, we don't say nuthin' we write zero." So he was saying, nothing is a word, he said, "in math, we want to eliminate words, so we don't say nothing, we write zero." And I said, "Ahh, I am just the opposite. I am taking your mathematics and turning them into words." So I said, "I have a theory that there is a[n] absolute integer which is the answer to all mathematical problems." And he said, "that's too theoretical for me." But Krsna, He is the answer, He is the absolute integer, who, you know, like, we say, zero, put a one to zero, it becomes 10, to two zeros it becomes a 100, to three it becomes a thousand....Kṛṣṇa gives value to everything. So He's always there, of course. But, when we get more specific, we are saying, we are eternal servants of Kṛṣṇa, then what type of servant?
Śānta, dāsya, śakhya, vātsalya, madhura. Then the type of Kṛṣṇa-dāsa. Sometimes Kṛṣṇa-dāsa means Rādhā-dāsi. That's also possible. That is our guru, it's not only possible, that is our Radhikā madhavaśām. Our aspiration, as Gurudev said, Gayatrī muralīṣṭa-kīrtana-dhanaṁ rādhāpadaṁ dhīmahi ( the Logo of Śrī Chaitanya Sāraswat Maṭh). Krsna's flute song is really the song of service to the holy lotus feet of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. So, it will be not only helpful, but most beneficial for us to become acquainted with the siddhānta and how it is being expressed. And see that it's consistently [expressed], it's thematic, and there's always a connecting thread from one to the other. And if we don't see that, it's usually on us. So then we know, we have to look at these things more carefully. Just like Guru Mahārāj said, in speaking, we may answer something in a general way and then later think, ohh, I could have answered this better. He said, it will lead you to greater scrutiny in your study of the scripture, so it's a good thing. But you can't necessarily answer everything, and even if you got something wrong, it's good, he said it'll send you to the books with greater urgency and scrutiny and you'll benefit from that. So we want to see, what is expressed in the Gītā, and the teachings of Mahāprabhu, Rūpa, Sanātana, the Bhāgavatam, the Bhāgavatam commentators, there is a connecting thread, a chinmaya connecting thread, and it's something that's very beautiful as well.