Goswāmī Mahārāj: Questions?
Devotee: One question sent from Āśutoṣa Kṛṣṇa Prabhu. And...in Bhagavad-gītā, Chapter 10, verse 8, comment, Śrīla Śridhar Mahārāj says, "the most rare and elevated stage of devotion is in the line of spontaneous devotion known as rāga-mārga. In that line, guided by the qualified guru, an elevated pure devotee may attain service to a leader of one of those groups of Kṛṣṇa's personal associates who serve the Lord in His pastimes in a relationship of friendship (sakhya-rasa), parenthood (vātsalya-rasa), or consorthood (mādhurya-rasa)." Śrīla Guru Mahārāj mentions specifically sakhya, vātsalya and mādhurya, but not dāsya or śānta. Are we to understand that rāga-mārg sevā can only mean sakhya, vātsalya and mādhurya? And, how do we understand the words about the so-called śānta-rasa of the soil of Vṛndāvan, sva- pāda-ramaṇam in this context?
Goswāmī Mahārāj: Hare Kṛṣṇa. Well, first, we should point out that Śrīla Guru Mahārāj's Bhagavad-gītā commentary is published as "The Hidden Treasure of the Sweet Absolute." So, this means that it's not apparent, or what is obvious, or most easily, readily understood.
Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur published more than one Bhagavad-gītā, commentaries by different āchāryās. Śrīla Swāmi Mahārāj Prabhupāda mentions in the beginning of his [commentary, that] he is following the Baladeva Vidyābhūṣan commentary. So, Bhagavad-gītā can be understood in many different ways, according to how that devotee receives inspiration in their heart. So, there is how these verses may be understood in the general sense, and how they may be understood in a specific sense.
Here, when Guru Mahārāj speaks of hidden treasure, it's an allusion to madhura-rasa. How to extract madhura-rasa from Bhagavad-gītā. The same Guru Mahārāj says that in Mahābhārata, there's no mention of madhura-rasa, as Gaudiyas generally conceive it. Only in the line where Draupadi is hopelessly, helplessly praying for her....to save her dignity, when Duryodhana tried to disrobe her in a public assembly.
And she is crying out to Kṛṣṇa...we know Kṛṣṇa has many different names, and they all have some specific meaning. But when she says, "He! gopī-jana-vallabhā!" When she addresses him as gopī-jana-vallabha, that Krsna who is the lover of the vraja-gopīs, then — and we should preface it by saying she was, like, one arm raised, the other trying to keep herself concealed, means there's some parts like miśra, a mixture of something, of self-help and prayer to the Lord. But when she raises both arms, and it's just placing yourself exclusively at the mercy of Kṛṣṇa goptṛtve varaṇaṁ and addressing Him as gopī-jana-vallabha, the lover of the vraja-gopīs, that Kṛṣṇa.
Then, Krsna responds. So Guru Mahārāj is saying, this is where within this great epic, the only reference to that plane, we can say gopī-bhāva, their type of heart, their type of heart-felt surrender, totally offering oneself in service to Kṛṣṇa. But, for the sake of argument, someone can say, well, but, Guru Mahārāj said that's the only place, but here in the Bhagavad- gītā, he is extracting madhura-rasa. And that's also within the pages of Mahābhārata. Why didn't he mention that? Because he is talking about what is overt, what is hidden, what is confidential, what is obvious, what is standard way of interpretation, all of those sort of things.
And the reason I am prefacing my remarks this way is just to remind us that Guru Mahārāj is extracting a particular quality of meaning in this context. So, it has been pointed by him and others elsewhere, Rūpa Goswāmī in Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, he will say sometimes devotees recognize four out of the five, dāsya, sakhya, vātsalya etc. Because of the lack of, you could say, a more active participation of śānta-rasa. But, those are broad subjects. As I once offered to Guru Mahārāj, that it occurred to me that...thinking of śānta-rasa, I thought, oh, a blade of grass, there must be a difference between a blade of grass in Vaikuṇṭha, and a blade of grass in Goloka. And he said, "Of course!"
So, then we have to understand something about the nature of the overall Vaikuṇṭha world, the spiritual world, and then Vaikuṇṭha in a more specific denotation, as the southern hemisphere of the spiritual world, then understanding Goloka Vṛndāvan as the super, super subjective plane, the upper hemisphere of the spiritual world, where as he mentions in this question — vṛndāraṇyaṁ sva-pada-ramaṇaṁ prāviśad gīta-kīrtiḥ (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 10.21.5) that this appears to be a contradiction of what is normally understood. What does it say, sva-pāda-ramaṇaṁ, that the earth, the ground that Kṛṣṇa walks on, which we would generally take to be śānta-rasa, is shivering in conjugal ecstasy at the touch of the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa.
So, then we can take it that there's a general understanding of how these things work, more specific understanding of how they work, and some things that contradict the science of rasa. We can say that also. But in a good way. Rūpa Goswāmī in Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, he also deals with rasābhāsa. But in two ways. He said, here's rasābhāsa — conflicting mellows, one sentiment would really cancel out the other, it's rejected as something inappropriate, insubstantial. But then he'll show something that's apparently rasābhāsa, from another context, it is not. So, we're....when Guru Mahārāj asked Saraswati Ṭhākur, Sanātana Goswāmī concludes Kṛṣṇ-līlā in one way, Rūpa Goswāmī concludes in another way, how are we to take that? And his answer was: adhokṣaja.
And Guru Mahārāj would say, do we want to retire that name of Kṛṣṇa? Everything will pigeonhole, or have some pat explanation for? Or [do we] recognize that He is adhokṣaja, He has achintya-śakti, and these things can be described, discussed, observed, understood from different perspectives. So, what to speak of, you know, śānta, dāsya....or like, when I meant, when Guru Mahārāj [was] talking about some of these things. And maybe I wasn't following carefully what he was saying. And...because he was talking about Yaśodā and different [things]...and I said at one point, "Well, what about the Gītā ślokā, man-manā bhava mad-bhakto (Bhagavad-gītā: 9.34) You know, 'Think of Me, become My devotee etc..' And Guru Mahārāj said, "We left that a long time ago!" Meaning this discussion — think of Me, become My devotee... We are speaking of Yaśodā, you can't introduce that śloka in this context.
When Mahāprabhu is asking Rāmānanda Rāya certain questions, and Rāmānanda Rāya is offering Bhagavad-gītā ślokas as answers to those questions, Mahāprabhu is saying, "eho bāhya, āge kahe āra" (Chaitanya-Charitāmṛta: Madhya-līlā: 8.60). That's external. Wait a minute, it's the Bhagavad-gītā! So, there's a plane where Mahāprabhu is saying that's external, go further. So, it means a particular perspective, a particular way. So when Guru Mahārāj is applying this analysis, as he would say, as connotation increases, denotation decreases. Example: [if you] say those who accept the Bhagavad-gītā as being a work of, you know, spiritual substance and enlightening, [then] you have [included] the Gaudiya-Vaiṣṇavas, the Śrī- Vaiṣṇavas, everybody, the Māyāvādīs, they also read Bhagavad-gītā. And, in the western world, like they used to make the propaganda point, Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman, Annie Beasant, Christopher [Isherwood], they start naming all these great writers, [saying] all these people say yes, Bhagavad-gītā is so....wonderful, and we can get so much from that. But Guru Mahārāj [is] employing this [principle], concept, as connotation increases, denotation [decreases], means as we ratchet up the meaning, then what is denoted, or the group indicated by that meaning will narrow.
So, we say, yes, but Bhagavad-gītā should be understood in the light of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. Then, we lose the Māyāvādīs and now we're back to Vaiṣṇavas. So we have the Gaudiya-Vaiṣṇavas, the Śrī-Vaiṣṇavas, the Mādhva-tattva-vādīs etc. They'll all say yes, in the light of Bhāgavatam, that's correct, that's how we'll understand Bhagavad-gītā. Must be in sync in the line, light of Bhāgavatam. As connotation increases, denotation decreases. Then we say, but actually, the Bhāgavatam should be understood in the light of Mahāprabhu's achintya-bhedābheda ...Gaudiya-darśan. Then, the...we lose the Śrī-Vaiṣṇavas and the Madhvās....Madhvās [are] eliminating fourteenth [chapter], Brahma-vimohan-līlā. As connotation increases, denotation increases [ed note: should be “denotation decreases”].
So, when Guru Mahārāj is talking here about rāga-bhakti, he's increased the connotation of what that means. And, as I say, what to speak of discussing dāsya, śānta and dāsya, when we reach of madhura-rasa, svakīya, pārakīya, the emphasis will go to pārakīya-rasa. And pārakīya-bhāva, and then everything will be seen in a new light. So, in one of Śrīla Gurudev, Śrīla Govinda Mahārāj's books, the one published by Siddhānti Mahārāj, 'Religion of the Heart', so there was a section in there that Gurudeva had said something and maybe it wasn't printed as appropriately as it should have been, but he is talking about pārakīya. And, saying that this particular type of behavior of Kṛṣṇa with mother Yaśodā was indicative of pārakīya. So someone thought, oh, wait a minute, pārakīya, that means...one of its meanings is paramour. How can Kṛṣṇa be having a paramour relationship [with Yaśodā]? This is rasābhāsa, this is not appropriate in the context of Kṛṣṇa's relationship with mother Yaśodā.
But what Gurudeva was saying in the line of Guru Mahārāj [is] that Vṛndāvan is pre-dominated by pārakīya-bhāva. And what this means is — it has a specific meaning in relation to the Vraja-gopīs as the paramour, but with others, para, here in the sense of others, when they say, for example, the cowherd boys...they'll have a discussion after some miraculous līlā of Kṛṣṇa, of Gopāl, and they'll say, "There are people who say Gopāl is not one of us...What?" Yes, they are thinking, they're cowherd boys, and he's a cowherd boy, who they love very much and can't live without. "Yeah, some people, they're saying he's some sort of a God." "No! Gopal?" "Yes, our Gopāl! I heard someone say not only god, devata, but like, the God, the deva-deva, the God of gods." "Gopal?" "Yes! Gopal!" "Our Gopal?" "Yes, our Gopal!" "No!"
That's pārakīya for them, that this makes them...it increases their love and affection for Him. To hear the suggestion that He is not theirs, or He is "other." How does it take place with Yaśodā? She hears the rumors that Kṛṣṇa is not her son. That's what is means. In that sense, that Kṛṣṇa is not her son, faced with that prospect, she becomes more attached to Kṛṣṇa. She has deeper love and affection for Him. Right? Viśwanāth Chakravarthi Ṭhākur points out that Nanda Mahārāj, after meeting with Vasudeva and Devakī, after Kṛṣṇa killed Kaṁsa and everything, and he is staying there for some time and Nanda Mahārāj, he is hearing all of these things too. And whereas Devakī and Vasudeva, when they sometimes understood Kṛṣṇa's divinity, it constrained their familial affection for Him. They became somewhat apprehensive and awe-inspired.
Whereas, Viśwanāth Chakravartī Ṭhākur points out, Nanda Mahārāj, his mood is that I don't care if He is God, He is still my son. Right? So, even faced with that prospect, it doesn't break his familial affection. Just as when Yaśodā looks into the mouth of Kṛṣṇa, and sees the earth, all the plants, stars, galaxies, everything, and basically concludes that she's hallucinating. It can't break her [mood], even a display like that. In the Gītā, Arjuna becomes full of fear, to see the virāṭ-rūpa. Mother Yaśodā, just thinks she's hallucinating. Right? That her...it cannot break that motherly love and affection she has for Kṛṣṇa.
So, once we enter that realm, Goloka, aprākṛta-līlā of Kṛṣṇa, then as Gurudev said, Guru Mahārāj said, the whole environment...there is a predominance of pārakīya sentiment. And, in some sense it can be extended even to the, if we want to say śānta-rasa aspect of that plane. What is the rasa of the flute? Chandrāvalī is expressing envy for the flute. What is that? OK...(ed. note: seems to be unrelated to the talk, and seems to be a question directed toward what is happening at the location). Generally, we'll think of it as being a śānta-rasa, you know a bamboo. But she is saying ohh, that bamboo is intercepting all the nectar that is meant for us. It's going from Kṛṣṇa to this faulty, dry, piece of wood. So, when Guru Mahārāj is expressing these things — I mean, I'd have to read that section carefully, but he is increasing the connotation, that's what I mean to say, of what it means. So, from one perspective it may include all five, [but] increase the connation of what's being discussed and implied, and it will start becoming more narrow. That's what I would say to that.
Devotee: Meaning more excusive?
Goswāmī Mahārāj: Pardon me?
Devotee: Narrow in the sense of becoming more exclusive.
Goswāmī Mahārāj: Right. Any other question?
Devotee: So, Vaiṣṇavas are said to be kind to all living beings. But if you don't see Krsna in everyone's heart yet, how to follow this? We also know that Gurudeva was talking with trees. What animals did he have and what were their relations with him and [what were] Gurudeva's servitors' relation to them?
Goswāmī Mahārāj: In the Gītā Kṛṣṇa says, what does He say?
yo māṁ paśyati sarvatra
sarvaṁ ca mayi paśyati
tasyāhaṁ na praṇaśyāmi
sa ca me na praṇaśyati
For one who sees Me everywhere in everything, I am never lost to them, they are never lost to Me. That's the principle. But we may say, who really embodies this, personifies this type of seeing? The mahā-bhāgavata. Right? And then we say, well how can I see like a mahā-bhāgavata? Not going to happen any time soon. But there must be some beginning to that. So, at least, first to recognize that is the higher vision of the mahā-bhāgavata. They're seeing Kṛṣṇa everywhere and [in] everything, in every event. So, one way to achieve that kind of seeing, Guru Mahārāj said, if the devotee in the third class position will take up the service of the mahā-bhāgavata, they can bypass the analytical madhyam, intermediate position. With that reference to Gurudev and his servitors, you can say they're doing that. They're...by serving him, they're bypassing the analytical stage.
bhagavad bhaktitah sarvam, ity utsṛjya vidher api
kainkaryam kṛṣṇa-pādaikā-, śrayatvaṁ śaraṇāgatiḥ
(Śrī Śrī Prapanna-jīvanāmṛtam: 1.35)
By surrendering oneself to a mahā-bhāgavata and serving them, the way they see, their devotional way of seeing, can be transferred to the heart of the servitor. But that means incrementally, gradually, coming under the influence of sādhu, śāstra, guru and vaiṣṇava. śāstra-chakṣuḥ, seeing through the eyes of the scripture. I remember when there was a museum in Los Angeles with some dolls exhibiting, like, Bhagavad-gītā ślokas...and this swāmī came to visit, famous swami, Swami Sachidānanda...and I was there, Hridayānanda Mahārāj and myself were giving him a tour, and you go through the museum, and there was one exhibit of the...what was it...
brāhmaṇe gavi hastini
śuni caiva śva-pāke ca
How the paṇḍit, and in this sense means the Kṛṣṇa conscious way of seeing, whether he sees the brāhmin, the cow, the elephant, the dog, the dog-eater, he is seeing equally. paṇḍitāḥ sama-darśinaḥ. So, after we went on this tour, we said, "Swāmijī, which exhibit did you like the best?" And he said, he mentioned that one. But now, he described it from his point of view, he said, "what I like is, where they are showing that dog is God." Right? And his group, they're like, heh-heh, they're all like giggling, and he goes, "because after all, God backwards is dog!" And they all go, heh-heh-heh. And Hridayānanda Mahārāj said, "we're not interested in any backwards conception of God." [Laughter]. He's a brilliant man, and genius-like wit. He [said], "we're not interested in any backwards conception of God!" [Laughter].
So, and...in the Vilāpa-kusumāñjali (Verse 6) of Raghunāth Dās Goswāmī, where he's praising Sanātana Goswāmī Prabhu, he says,
apāyayan mām anabhīpsum andham
kṛpāmbudhir yaḥ para-duḥkha-duḥkhī
sanātanas taṁ prabhum āśrayāmi
He says that the suffering of the vaiṣṇava is really...he is happy, we hear from Narottam: viśvam pūrṇa śukāyate. He knows how to extract this happiness in life, in life circumstances, and everything. So, really the devotees of the Lord, they're....and back to that Gītā śloka:
kathayantaś ca māṁ nityaṁ
tuṣyanti ca ramanti ca
They're feasting by talking about Kṛṣṇa, by engaging in Kṛṣṇa-kathā. Tuṣyanti...as if they're eating a feast, and ramanti, takes it even a stage further. By hearing the topics of Kṛṣṇa. But, what is their suffering? Para-duḥkha-dukhī. Seeing the sufferings of others for want of Krṣṇa consciousness, in the absence of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. And, for that, that requires them to come descend from this platform, the viśvam pūrṇa śukāyate platform, somewhat to see...in Guru Mahārāj's word, non-Kṛṣṇa. With their task of converting non-Kṛṣṇa into Kṛṣṇa. So....like, we have the dog here. So, we think, we understand what is the dog mentality. There are so many dogs, but this particular dog, he gets to hear the holy name, eat prasādam, the remnants of vaiṣṇavas, have the affection of the devotees. So, we can understand, he is accumulating sukṛti and he is going to reap the benefit of that in a future life. So it's good for him.
Gurudev, if I understand right what he's saying, he had some special rapport with animals. He used to keep a mongoose in his shirt pocket. [Laughter]. I mean, first of all, his shirt pockets are big. But still, he had this mongoose named Pinkoo, a female. And she would, like her head would be out, just sitting in his pocket with her head out, like this...He'd be talking to Guru Mahārāj, and Guru Mahārāj is legally blind. [He] who has the greatest depth of spiritual vision, he [was] legally blind. Means he can see to a certain degree, but not very clearly, and sometimes, when Guru Mahārāj is sitting like that in a chair, Pinkoo would like, crawl up Guru Mahārāj's [chair] and then go around, then down the other side, and Guru Mahārāj would be going, "ke?" He thought somebody was like, tapping him on the [shoulder]. But he couldn't [see], how can there be anybody behind me, I'm in my [chair]. And then, Gurudev is like, "sshh, Pinkoo." Then Pinkoo would like crawl back in Gurudev's pocket. [Laughter].
But, as intimate as their relationship was, once Pinkoo had babies, even Gurudev couldn't go near her. That vātsalya-rasa. [Laughter]. Guru Maharaj said vātsalya-rasa conquers sakhya-rasa, it's more intense. [Laughter]. Like Yaśodā. So... but, he's always....I remember even the last time he came back to Calcutta, the street dogs who lived at the Math, they knew he was coming, somehow. What was their name, Diamond, Hira? And her puggle son...yeah, Gurudev named them, Anthrax. But, she is waiting, they are in the lion pose, outside the gate, on either side of the gate. What was her son's name? Mothi, he was a little puggle. And the mother, Hira, which means diamond. They are like, outside, in lion pose, and Gurudev is coming from Navadwīp. They could sense something.
So...and Guru Mahārāj told of the..like, yogī, in the mountains, he's doing his meditation there, and because he is non-envious of any living being, the animals like him. Remember the animals can sense when earthquake is coming, or some natural disaster. So, they started like, pushing him, and they pushed him to safety. He could realize they're trying to tell him something, they took him to a safe place where he wouldn't be harmed. And that's...you know, in this world...
When Śivānanda Sen was taking the...every year he takes all the Navadwīp [devotees], senior devotees in Navadwīp to Purī, they stay with Mahāprabhu for four months, celebrate Ratha-yātra and stay the cātur-māsya. On their journey, a dog attached himself to the party and got the affection of Śivānanda Sen and then they...he's, like, taking care of the dog and everything...and they came to a river where a boatman said, "No dog can ride on my boat." So they had to, like, part. And then, you know, Śivānanda Sen, he's soft-hearted, felt something for him [the dog]. Then when they arrived in Purī, his heart is lifted, [he's] happy, [and] he sees that dog is seated, a little far, a bit, from Mahāprabhu and Mahāprabhu is eating coconut pulp and tossing it to the dog, and the dog [is eating]. And taking Kṛṣṇa-Nām. [Laughter]. Then a few days later, the dog leaves his body and goes to Vaikuṇṭha
kleśa-ghnī śubha-dā mokṣa- laghutā-kṛt su-durlabhā
sāndrānanda-viśeṣātmā śrī-kṛṣṇākarṣiṇī ca sā
Rūpa Goswāmī says how auspicious — śubha-dā , Kṛṣṇa consciousness is. Śubha-dā, giving all auspiciousness, any connection. And Narottam [in] his song he says, if....this happened where....[one time] when talking to Guru Mahārāj, one bengāli devotee started taking some pictures and when Guru Mahārāj said, like, "What are you doing?" and then understood he's taking pictures, Guru Mahārāj said, "A waste of energy!" And that devotee said, "Well, if I was taking pictures, you know, of anybody, some mundane image, I understand, but taking pictures of mahā-bhāgavata, higher vaiṣṇava, it has its value."
[Then ] I mentioned to Guru Mahārāj this song that begins ei bāro karuṇa koro vaiṣṇava gosāi, and a verse or two later, it says, gaṅgāra-paraśa hoile paśchāte pāvana — he's saying, that repeatedly bathing in the Gaṅga, purifies one, but just once being bathed in the glance of the vaiṣṇava gives you those results. And actually, beautifully Guru Mahārāj sang the whole song, every line. But...so that idea is there too, to present ourselves to the vaiṣṇavas so that we can be bathed in the glance, the merciful glance of a vaiṣṇava. As present ourselves to the deity, are we coming to see the deity? Yes, but, to be [seen], is more to the [point]. And we have limited capacity to do so, [to see the deity], there's the rub. But so, what is our prayer? The deity has infinite capacity to see me. Really me, [the] real me. So if I present myself before the deity, that'll be beneficial for me. And I acknowledge, I have very limited capacity to see [the deity]. So, we favor that, being seen by the vaiṣṇava, serving the vaiṣṇava who has this vision. And by that service, [we hope] that sort of vision will awaken within one.
Any other question? Or, was that all the questions, I forgot...[questions] that were asked.
Devotee: I think that's it...
Goswāmī Mahārāj: OK, go to the next one.
Devotee: Yes, the next one is: what does it mean to be real. Mostly...
Goswāmī Mahārāj: What does it mean to be real? Period. I mean, question mark.
Devotee: Yes. Real, what does it mean?
Goswami Maharaj: Uh-huh.
Devotee: So, most...
Goswami Mahārāj: So, when I was in Soquel once, giving a talk at the Sunday feast, one of the young people there said, like, "like, dude, I believe, like, none of us even exist..." I said, "well, then. I don't have to answer your question." [Laughter]. So, real, what's the famous ślokam in Bhagavad-gītā:
na tv evāhaṁ jātu nāsaṁ
na tvaṁ neme janādhipāḥ
na caiva na bhaviṣyāmaḥ
sarve vayam ataḥ param
I forget the last line. Real has to do with permanent, eternal. Things that are not permanent are not in the true sense of the term, real. They're temporary.
Devotee: The question asked is more specific. Because he said, mostly when you do something and at the same time observe it, all very really you feel that there is only you. No observer, no estimation (?). Are both these positions false, or one is a true one?
Goswāmī Mahārāj: Everything is only possible by Kṛṣṇa's grace. Everything. Right? So, what is the Gītā śloka?
guṇaiḥ karmāṇi sarvaśaḥ
kartāham iti manyate
Forgetting this, what we think we are doing — now we are talking about mundane things — is actually the modes of nature in operation. Like the drug addict who's actually lost their freedom of movement and independence, now they're just under the influence and control of their addiction. So once someone is addicted to the mundane, it's just the modes of nature in operation. Right?
For a devotee, [they] come under a different jurisdiction. So there's mahā-māyā — it's always māyā, but there's mahā-māyā, yogamāyā. So, our hope is by offering ourselves in service to guru and vaiṣṇava, that...by the grace of Sri Guru, that we can do some sevā. Here, the devotees they won't think that they're doing something, but they're thinking, by the grace of guru, vaiṣṇava, we're able to do something. Pratiṣṭhā, the credit, goes to guru. But nothing, good, bad, ugly, beautiful is possible to be done without the will of Kṛṣṇa in the background. And in the case of something spiritual, the grace of Kṛṣṇa, which descends through this agents, particularly his devotees.
Goswāmī Mahārāj: Anything else?
Devotee: OK...Mahārāj, you were working with Śrīla Śrīdhar Mahārāj's lectures, classifying them, compiling the books, you are always inspired, and fully realizing what great things you are dealing with. So, what were you moved by?
Goswāmī Mahārāj: Well, someone's asking me...hmmm...I would say this: that at a time of great anguish and doubt, someone asked me, is there anyone who can remove your doubts? And actually I didn't have an answer prepared, I wasn't prepared. That question caught me off-guard. But then he said, so is there anyone who can remove your doubt, and I said, Śrīdhar Mahārāj. It's as if I heard myself saying that. At that point, I had, like, an hour or two of Guru Mahārāj's talks. And...more, maybe I had a few more. But I said, he can. I said, in fact, whatever he says, in answer to whatever these questions might be, I accept it now. Before we hear what his answers are, I accept those answers. That's the inspiration I have right now. He's the person who can do this, and whatever he says, I accept it now. Like, I'll sign a paper, if you want, that whatever he answers to these questions, you know, I accept that fully.
And so, at that time, I went to the lotus feet Śrīla Guru Mahārāj with certain questions that I had, that other devotees had, many things like that. And, actually, in the first thing he said, he answered everything. The first thing that came out of his mouth, perfectly adjusted, answered everything. But I had a list....and so, we just, like, went through [everything], and other people had [questions], so I represented them, or asked them. And that was at the end [of the] first meeting. Like, substantial meeting, I had met him one time before. So...in the night, with a flashlight, and a...and Haricharan Prabhu’s room...they're like..[I] remember on the mosquito net, where these Bengali insects, that are just frightening, they look like they're out of monster movies, you know...
And, anyway, I'm looking with a flashlight, like...and I am thinking, Śrīla Śrīdhar Mahārāj has answered everything perfectly. But, if I had to train [to] represent what he's saying to others, these are some other questions they might ask. So, then I prepared, like day two's questions. And, at the end of the second day, he said to me, he said, "Are you satisfied?" And, in my heart, I was saying, I want to offer myself in service to you. But I thought that would be, it would be premature to express something like that. So, I just said, yes, I am very satisfied with you know, all, everything you've said.
But then as time went on, I thought, and as I made more tapes of Guru Mahārāj's [talks], I thought, the best thing I could do would be to take what he's saying, and transcribe it, you know, compile it, structure it and publish it. So...and now Mahāyogī [Maharaj] is visiting, so when we decided to do this, and with backing from Guru Mahārāj...in terms of…they were talking about being enlivened, was that part of the question? Let's just assume it was, all right? I mean, I could talk about this extensively, but I don't want to at this moment, but I'll say this.
When I designed these books also, when I saw them coming alive, before me, on a layout flat, what they were going to look like, I was very enlivened. [Laughter]. Like, to the extreme. When we were working on the ‘Search for Śrī Kṛṣṇa’ [book], we were in the final edit, and say it was around 10'o clock at night. And so, we were really absorbed in doing this, and this will give you some idea. So, I thought....we had been doing this for a long time, and I thought it must be after midnight, it might even be 2'o clock in the morning, And, where we were working, there were no windows, and when I opened the door to go outside, the sun had risen. So, you can understand, we lost sense of time. So, it was very enlivening. [Laughter].
And, [when we] went to take the book to Śrīla Guru Mahārāj, trying to [keep] Gaura- Pūrṇimā as a deadline...and we get there on the day of Gaura-pūrṇimā, but we haven't arrived in [Navadwīp], we're trying to go from Calcutta to [Navadwīp], and cross the Jalāṅgī and the Saraswati, that part in Navadwīp, it's also Holi, people are throwing colors in the [air], and...we offered the book to Śrīla Guru Mahārāj [just as] the moon has just risen. On Gaura-Pūrṇimā. That's when I am putting the book in his hand, it's like right after that, after singing, you know, nādiya udhaya giri purna chandra gaura hari...so, the moon, the full moon in Navadwīp is shining down on Śrīla Guru Mahārāj, I am offering him the ‘Search for Śrī Kṛṣṇa: Reality the Beautiful’, and Śrīla Guru Mahārāj says, "50 years ago, to this moment, we offered Śrī Kṛṣṇa Chaitanya to Śrīla Prabhupāda (Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākur)."
So Śrīla Guru Mahārāj took it as being very significant. He said, "50 years to the moment..." That's when they had offered that book to Saraswatī Ṭhākur, which was meant for the preaching in the western world, and we gave this book to Śrīla Guru Mahārāj, it became the foundation of Śrīla Guru Mahārāj's going out of India, his su-siddhānta going out in India and all over the world. So, we were very fortunate to be used in that way. Like when Gurudeva said of the typesetter, he saw Saraswatī Ṭhākur's typesetter, in those days you had to pull lead type out of boxes, like, there was a box of A, B, C, D etc. And you...according to how good you are, you lock them up on a...I forget what you call it...anyway....that's how they do it, but this man was so good at it, you'd see his hands moving, like, so fast. And, how did Gurudeva describe it, he said, Prabhupāda's will was playing through him very nicely. And that goes back to the question before, that's what the devotee wants, that that flow will [go through them]. That we are offering ourselves to be used, whatever capacity we might have, and we can exceed our capacity too, the limitations of our normal capacity, in connection with guru and vaiṣṇava that can be far exceeded. And we want that the will of the Lord and His devotees will use us, in Gurudeva's words, play very nicely.
So, Kṛṣṇadās Kavirāj Goswāmī will say, I am blind, I have arthritis, my health [is such that] I could die at any moment, he's in his nineties, and what is he saying? By the mercy of Madana-Mohana, and the blessings of the senior vaiṣṇavas at the time, he said, I am writing Chaitanya-Charitāmṛtam, the greatest literature to ever have seen the light of day in all time, all space, all universes, all creation. That's coming through him. He said some divine power is moving my hand. So, that's not be imitated, but to know that's the way of the higher devotees, they become wholly one with the interests of Kṛṣṇa, is a beautiful thing and something to aspire to.
Arjuna, was arguably the greatest warrior ever, in presence of Kṛṣṇa, with Kṛṣṇa's backing. And after Kṛṣṇa withdrew, when Yudhiṣṭhira meets Arjuna in the first cānto of the Bhāgavatam, that chapter, it's very sad and he's..Arjuna is not saying anything, and Yudhiṣṭhira is first trying to welcome him and then he's sensing something is wrong. And, he starts wondering what's wrong with Arjun? And he's saying, did you do this, he starts thinking of adharmic violations, maybe he has not lived up what's expected of him as a kṣatriya, and offering different possible explanations for the malaise and the sadness of Arjuna.
But as the chapter concludes, Yudhiṣṭhira says, or is it what Yudhiṣṭhira wanted to avoid even thinking all along, he said, "is it that...that personality who we...our lives are an aspiration for the service of His holy lotus feet, has left this world, plunged it into darkness and us into separation?" In other words, Kṛṣṇa has left the world, that's why Arjuna is so despondent, and the mighty Arjuna, in the absence of Kṛṣṇa, he is defeated by some Afghanis, basically. Highway robbers.
So, if Arjuna feels like that, how shall we feel? He's thinking, I am nothing without Kṛṣṇa. So, Guru Mahārāj says, without the grace of Śrī Guru, we are lifeless clay. But the lifeless clay can become animated by the grace of Śrī Guru. But, that's the way we like to think...if you look at Śrīla Gurudev, Śrīla Govinda Mahārāj's intro to one of the books, I forget which one at the moment, it could be the Bhagavad-gītā actually, he says, whatever valuable things you find here, that's my Guru Mahārāj's. And what is he giving, [he says], if you find anything wrong here, or any mistake, that you can attribute to me. If there's anything like that. But whatever wonderful things you find, that's glory of my Gurudeva. That's the proper attitude of the servitor, aspiring servitor. Pratiṣṭhā is for Gurudeva, the credit.
So, we could say in retrospect, it was clear to us that Kṛṣṇa wanted to glorify Śrīla Guru Mahārāj, and have the world become aware of his glories, and become the recipients of his su-siddhānta, these divine concepts and original Kṛṣṇa conscious ideas. The Search for Śrī Kṛṣṇa: Reality the Beautiful, Golden Volcano: Divine Lava, Subjective Evolution of Consciousness...After we had Search for Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and oh...Śrī Guru and His Grace, I remember thinking of another book after three, and Guru Mahārāj said, well, in search for Śrī Kṛṣṇa we showed, you know, how the devotees are searching for Kṛṣṇa. He said, but actually Kṛṣṇa is also searching for his devotees. He said, "But it is a loving search! He is searching for His lost servants. It is a loving search ! A Loving Search for the Lost Servant." Then, Gopakumar and Kṛṣṇa embracing.
So, it's like, slow, measured, careful, methodical compiling, structuring. And everyone who had the opportunity to participate in that, got some eternal good fortune. And I am hearing Gurudeva say, "and remember," he would sometimes caution us, "Don't become the cause of burning the lotus of your own good fortune." So everyone who comes in connection with Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement has some good fortune, but he said, "Don't become the cause of burning the lotus of your good fortune." And that caution makes us eternally mindful of the lotus feet of Śrī Guru. All credit, if we give all credit to Guru and vaiṣṇava, then we'll be safe. From the ego that, you know, I did something.
Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur, Guru Mahārāj said, when he's leaving the world, Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur, what does Guru Mahārāj say in the verse?
Guru-daṁ grantha-daṁ gaura-dhāma-daṁ nāma-daṁ mudā
Bhakti-daṁ bhūri-daṁ vande bhakti-vinodakaṁ sadā
(Śrīla Śrīdhara Mahārāj in Śrī Laghu-chandrikā-bhāṣya of Śaraṇagati: Maṅgalācharaṇa Verse 8).
He gave us everything. Gaura-dhām, discovery of Mahāprabhu's birthplace, the Navadwīp Dhām Mahātmyam, all of our books, all of our songs, bhakti up to, including Rādhā-dāsyam. And including Saraswatī Ṭhākur to distribute it and connect everybody through his agents. And that Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur, who is the bandhari (?) of the treasure of Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, in his final moments, he was saying, "I couldn't serve You, my Lord! I failed at serving You, I couldn't properly serve You." Guru Maharāj says that Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī says, I am famous in the world as the greatest devotee of Kṛṣṇa, but the truth is, I couldn't give myself to Him fully. So how shall we think?
Śrīla Prabhupāda, Guru Mahārāj said of Swami Mahārāj — śaktyāveśa avatār. Whenever he is pressed on his success, he is always saying he's an insignificant servitor of Śrīla Saraswatī Ṭhākur. Writes sixty books, millions of copies are distributed around the world, he's saying, ahh, I'm not a Sanskrit scholar. But my Guru Mahārāj wanted me [to do this], I am trying something to fulfill his order. When others would praise him, he would say, no you have done. No, you have done.
When Mahāprabhu says to Svarūpa Damodar, how can Rūpa express these things? My heart, how is that possible? What's only in My heart, he's expressing. I know this, and you know. Svarūp Dāmodar, Mahāprabhu’s dvitīya kalevara (Chaitanya-charitāmṛtam - Madhya-līla:11.76) And what does Svarūpa Dāmodar say? You must have revealed it to him. It's not possible, so You must have flooded his heart with understanding of these things. And Mahāprabhu said, yes, that's the answer. That's true. Why? Because I saw him as fit for these things. So, we are thinking, we want to serve the vaiṣṇavas, and we don't want anything from them. They've made our lives meaningful. They've made our existence meaningful. Not just meaningful, [but] in the most substantial way imaginable, unimaginable. Unimaginable good fortune awaits. We don't want anything from them, but it's their nature to reciprocate sevā. Out of affection, they like to nourish their servitors. Out of their some inconceivable sort of gratitude.
Devotee: Mahārāj, our viewers online are sending their daṇḍavats. Rajeswari didi from Brazil, Alakananda didi from Kiev, Dhanañjaya Prabhu from Europe..
Goswāmī Mahārāj: From Italy....
Goswāmī Mahārāj: Dhanañjaya Prabu, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Rajeswari, and....who else...
Goswami Maharaj: Oh, Alakananda, in Kiev. Oh, and Āśutoṣa Kṛṣṇa Prabhu. My Russian voice. Once I was giving a lecture in Moscow, I thought it was pretty good, and someone came up at the end, and they walked right by me, and they went to Aśutoṣa, and they're like, "That was great!" [Laughter]. And I thought, at least that means, he's doing a good job. And not Tapana Nandini in Mexico, Theresa, she's there, I know she is there...Hare Kṛṣṇa, you want some mercy, I am giving, what more can I do than this? You have the mercy of Guru Mahārāj and Gurudeva.
[SONG Hari haraye namaḥ kṛṣṇa yādavāya namaḥ....]