Goswāmī Mahāraj: Yes
Devotee: Goswāmī Mahārāj, we have a question from Navin Kṛṣṇa Prabhu from Russia. He just recently joined our broadcast and he sent question about mṛdaṅga. Playing mṛdaṅga is a service or to Lord Nityānanda, but I've heard that in the days of Saraswatī Ṭhākur mṛdaṅga was a printing press.
Goswāmī Mahāraj: Was what?
Devotee: A printing press.
Goswāmī Mahāraj: Oh, oh yeah.
Devotee: And, in our times mṛdaṅga is internet. So, does that mean that preaching in the internet is a greater service to Niyānanda than play on mṛdaṅga in the temple?
Goswāmī Mahārāj: Śrīla Guru Mahārāj tell us that khol and karatāls, the mṛdaṅga and the karatāls, part of the eternal paraphernalia of Śrī Chaitanya Mahāprabhu. And by extension, that means: Mahāprabhu, Nityānanda Prabhu, Gadāhar, Advaita, Śrīvās, etc; nitāi-gaura-gadādhara-advaita-śrīvāsa. So, we... like we're approaching the Ratha-yātrā. Just prior to that pastime being expressed in full, there's one pastime, I think Prahbupād called the bedā... bedā-nām kīrtan pastime.
And there, in the Ratha-yātrā and elsewhere, you will hear that when they're... the groups are there, it's... they're actually called sampradāyas; the groups. And, there's like, a principle singer in each group, a principle dancer, two mṛdaṅga players, many karatāl players. Nityānanda dancing in one party, Advaita in another, Vakreśvara Paṇḍit, Acyutānanda, and we'll read that soon. But, when we hear these descriptions, very often it's accompanied by a description saying, that this kītan resounded throughout the three worlds.
So, there's an objective point of view, where you hear, there was this many numbers of mṛdaṅga players and singer and dancers, that you know, you're in a sense, quantifying them. This many groups and they were positioned in this way. But, we're told that kīrtan is going... resounding throughout the universe. Or, sometimes it will say, tri-bhuvane; the three worlds. Three worlds sometimes described in terms of the objective universe; bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ. But, other times saying, into the Vaikuṇṭha world, then into the upper regions of the spiritual world. In a sense, it depends on the capacity of the participants and the hearers.
Just as, when Mahāprabhu is before Jagannāth, in the mood of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, and, He's singing certain songs. Not everyone can understand why He's singing a particular song, in a particular way; what is there. Like, the 'yaḥ kaumāra-haraḥ (Cc: Madhya-līlla, 1.58)' śloka. And, Rūpa Goswāmī's revealing in a parallel śloka, what is... what Divine emotions and heart is being expressed there. Svarūp Dāmodar knows that, Rūpa Goswāmī, other devotees. Not everyone maybe tuned in on that particular level. It's indicated there. But, Kavirāj Goswāmī, who's the medium of expression of Chaitanya-charitāmṛtam, certainly he can appreciate all these things.
And, he's saying, “This sound vibration, it's so fine, it's transcending the limitations of mundane consideration.” Just as, sometimes we'll hear, one place in the Gītā Kṛṣṇa's saying, “What is the material world?” —duḥkhālayam aśāśvatam (Bg: 8.15.2); temporary, miserable, unhappy place. And in another place Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī Ṭhākur's saying... what is it? —viśvaṁ pūrṇa-sukhāyate (Ccd. 5.3), the whole universe is full of ecstatic joy. Well, which is it? Is it a temporary and miserable place, or a place that's full of never ending ecstatic joy? It depends on the perspective. For Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī Ṭhākur, what is he saying?
vancito 'smi vancito 'smi
vancito 'smi na saṁśayaḥ
viśvaṁ gaura-rase magnaṁ
sparśo'pi mama nābhavat
(Sri Chaitanya-chandramrta: 46)
Mahāprabhu is come... Pañca-tattva...
nindantam pulakotkarena vikasan-nipa-prasuna-chchhavim
prordhvi-krtya-bhuja-dvayam hari harity uchchair vadantam muhuh
nrtyantam drutam asru-nirjhara-chayaih sinchantam urvi-talam
gayantam nija-parsadaih parivrtam sri-gaura-chandram numah
(Sri Radha-rasa-sudha-nidhi: 1)
He's describing Mahāprabhu with the Pañca-tattva, they're singing, dancing. Tears are streaming from His eyes, making the ground moist, like, water... cascading waterfall current. Cascading current, waterfall, like, tears streaming down His eyes, was... Prabodhānanda... mahaprabhu-gauranga-sundara- nāgara-varo nṛtyan nijair nāmabhiḥ (Śrīla Guru Mahārāj's modification of Ccb: 90.132.4), taking His own name. The Supreme Positive enveloped in the heart and halo of the Supreme Negative. Relishing His own name from Her perspective. As, Śrīla Guru Mahārāj reminds us, he says, “What is the voltage in the current of the kṛṣṇa-nām of Śrī Rādhikā?”
If we say, assert on the basis of what Rūpa Goswāmī has described, sevonmukhe hi jihvādau, svayam eva sphuraty adaḥ (Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu: 22.214.171.124−4). The sevā current, like the electric current that gives illumination. It's the current of sevā that gives illumination. There is no greater servitor then Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. From self giving, self sacrifice, She's the better-half of the Sweet Absolute. When She's taking the name of Kṛṣṇa, according... referencing Guru Mahāraj, “What is the voltage of that current?” We see the electrician sometimes, they put lightning bolts on the box. And, it says, like, “Danger − High Voltage.”
They're telling you, only the most qualified, experienced person can handle this sort of current. They're not saying that, “No one can” but, they're saying, “Only the most qualified, highly skilled can dare open this box and deal with this current.” So, in a similar way, the current of Her kṛṣṇa-nām, who can handle that? So, when Kṛṣṇa embraces Her position, rādhā-bhāva-dyuti-suvalitaṁ naumi kṛṣṇa-svarūpam (Cc: Adī-līlā, 1.5.4), He's becoming transformed. There's visible ecstatic transformation on His Divine form.
Sometimes separating the joints by this much, [showing] the ecstasy going in a particular direction. Going in the opposite direction, the limbs entering the body, like a tortoise. And, as Guru Mahārāj tells us... “What is... been observed in Mahāprabhu, that is not been expressed anywhere at anytime; this degree magnitude of devotional intensity of heart.” So, let us first understand, what is that... that... the current of their kīrtan? We're not talking about when those mṛdaṅgas sound, and they sing... That what we might conceive of any conventional sense. Again, everything is based on consciousness.
This is the objective realm. But, even that, we're told the other day, “Objective correlative”, then we suggest the “Subjective correlative.” What's going on in the subjective world; in the current. That, again, Guru Mahārāj's saying, “When Mahāprabhu goes before Jagannāth, Gaṅgā-like streams of tears pouring from His eyes. And, He's seeing Śyāmasundar-Kṛṣṇa.” And, Guru Mahārāj said, “And, us...” And, he speaking lightly, but I think truly, he said, “From our perspective —an awkward looking figure.” We're... we're in the group saying, like, “This is the Deity.” We're trying to understand all these things on the basis of what we've heard from Sādhu, Śāstra, Guru, and Vaiṣṇav.
We bow our heads and present ourselves, but what is our capacity for seeing? Where's Mahāprabhu seeing, in the mood of Rādhārāni, seeing Śyāmasundar-Kṛṣṇa. And experiencing the anguish of the deepest sort of separation, that is expressed after a hundred years of separation by Śrīmatī Rādhārāni and vraja-gopīs. Those who cannot tolerate the blinking of an eye, that moment of separation —a hundred years.
aṭati yad bhavān ahni kānanaṁ
truṭi yugāyate tvām apaśyatām
kuṭila-kuntalaṁ śrī-mukhaṁ ca te
jaḍa udīkṣatāṁ pakṣma-kṛd dṛśām
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 10.31.15)
The gopīs... so much... What is the intensity of the vraja-gopīs? They're cursing Brahmā for making eyes that blink. That's an intolerable amount of separation from the beauty of Kṛṣṇa; the blink of an eye. This is an... it is beautiful poetry expressed by Vedavyās in the Gopī-gītā. But, it's not mere poetry, it's reality. It's insight into the hearts of the greatest devotees in the supreme reality, in the uppermost region of the spiritual world. From their hearts; gopī-bhāv. As we're told by Śrīnivāsa Ācārya Bhaṭṭā Goswāmī, gopī-bhāva-rasāmṛtābdhi-laharī-kallola-magnau muhur (Śrī Śrī Ṣaḍ Goswāmy-aṣṭakam: 4.3)... gopī-bhāv... gopī-bhāva-rasāmṛtābdhi... yeah.
They're drowning in waves, in the ocean of gopī-bhāv. So, when such quality of devotees, whom they know, when they come together and have a kīrtan−what is that? What is our capacity to hear that, to appreciate that? If we cannot see the Deity substantially, then same thing applies to every other sense. That means, we... our hearing is not substantial either. Something's there, and what is there is valuable, but to degree. So, we should not think their kīrtan... we think, “We come together under the order of Guru and Vaiṣṇav and we also engage in some kīrtan...” and think, like, “Oh, like that they're doing.” We shouldn't think like that.
Read those descriptions in Chaitanya-bhāgavat, Chaitanya-charitāmṛtam. And some other very deep impression will come to your heart about what is the kīrtan of Mahāprabhu, Nityānanda Prabhu, the Pañca-tattva, and all the great devotees assembled there. And there're no limits on the reach of that kīrtan. It's transcending the limitations of objective sounds in such a fine vibration. It's penetrating the layers of the universe, into the Vaikuṇṭha world, the upper recesses of the spiritual world. So, let us bow our heads first and understand what is their kīrtan. And, to this day, under the order of Guru and Vaiṣṇav, we're trying to remain true them, we also, do the kīrtan happily.
But, Śrīla Saraswatī Ṭhākur... he was not... his mission was not to gather a group of practitioners. “I will convert a certain number of people to spiritual practices, and then my mission is fulfilled.” That's a good thing, but that was not his mission. We know... we've heard when someone said, “Are you trying, like... fulfilling Mahāprabhu's prediction? You know, pṛthivīte āche yata nagarādi-grāma, sarvatra pracāra haibe mora nāma (Cb: Antya-khaṇḍa, 4.126), your... it is your intention to establish a temple in every town and village in the world?” He said, “No, my intention is to establish a temple in the heart of every man, woman, and child.”
When they wanted to construct the flagship center of the Gauḍīya Maṭh: The Baghbazar Gauḍīya Maṭh. And, he said, he expressed his wish that they would, “Collect a lakh of rupees.” Which, in the modern world, would be like, 10 million dollars, or something. But, in that context, a lakh means a hundred thousand, but you have to factor in the time-circumstance difference, economics, and all that. But, that's for another time. Then one man, they use to call him JBD; Jagabandhu Dās Adhikārī. Jagabandhu gave three lakhs. So, all of the devotees were ecstatic, and they went to Saraswatī Ṭhākur and they said, “Prabhupād, you asked for one lakh, but Jagabandhu, he gave three.”
“You know, like, three times what you asked for.” And, they were... everyone was so happy, thinking, “Now we have what we need to construct, establish that Maṭh.” And, Saraswatī Ṭhākur said, “That is very good for Jagabandhu Prabhu. [chuckling] But, that does not satisfy my wish.” He said, “Because, I wanted that sukṛti would be extended to a hundred thousand people.” Or, you can say a million people, to get the idea. “That each one of them would give something for this temple. But, here, one man; Jagabandhu Prabhu, he came forward and gave more then was necessary. But, Jagabandhu Prabhu, he's getting all of that credit. But, I wanted a hundred thousand people, a million people to participate in this. So, what I asked for has not been fulfilled.”
So, Saraswatī Ṭhākur, as Guru Mahārāj said, “His thinking was very revolutionary.” So, what ever anyone conceived up to the point, of coming in connection with him. Not only once that it demands that you re-conceive Kṛṣṇa Consciousness, but continually throughout, you had to re-conceive. That shows a culture of Kṛṣṇa Consciousness that is vital, that's alive, that's living. Something that is alive and living shows growth and development. It's not in a static position. So, for the Kṛṣṇa Consciousness person... it's not that... like... “Oh, I was initiated so many years ago.” That's a fine and wonderful thing.
But, everyday demands reconceptualization, to rededicate, to give something everyday. Paramananda Prabhu and I were discussing this earlier in the confessional poetry of Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur. And, as a reminder, on our behalf he's expressing these things, not that we should think that he is like that. But, Saraswatī Ṭhākur (Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur) writes this song, Āmāra jīvana, like, my life. Where he's admitting to so many flaws, faults, “There's no sinful activity I've not committed thousands of times.” You know, the schadenfreude of when I see other people suffering, that makes me happy. And, when they're happy, it makes me sad.”
And, he goes on and on, and of the arrogance of scholarship, you know, he's describing all the different flaws that one might have in the world, as if there his own. But, then he's saying, “And, now when my senses are no longer viable, they're useless, now I'm coming at you shamelessly, like, surrendering, when I've lost all prospect in the mundane world.” But, he's saying these kind of things. And, what does Guru Mahārāj say? Saraswatī Ṭhākur said, “Every morning when you get up, you should beat your mind with a stick, and start singing this song.” [laughing] And, Guru Mahārāj said, “All then., you should...” What should be the mood of the devotees? He says, “What have I done? Another day, you know, wasted. Please, Lord tomorrow let me do something, some sevā, something substantial in service to Guru and Vaiṣṇav.” That's the mood of the devotees.
They're never... they... they abhor complacency. They're vigilant to not become complacent. Understanding the demands of surrender, and that it's something vital, dynamic, a growing developing thing. It's not something you did so many years ago. You took a step, so many years ago. A first step, or a step in the right direction, or seeking shelter at the lotus feet of Guru and Vaiṣṇav. Wonderful. And then the demands of surrender are not less, they're increased for the inspiring servitors. So, Śrīla Saraswatī Ṭhākur was not... His mission was not to... what's the word... convert a group of neophyte practitioners.
Like, when Bābājī Mahārāj was in the jungle of Baliati, in modern day Bangladesh, taking one lakh of kṛṣṇa-nām every day. And, Śrlila Guru Mahārāj was the Maṭh manager in Delhi, of the Delhi Maṭh; Gauḍīya Maṭh. And, some would be of the opinion... They'll, and you'll hear them say something... they'd say, “Well, if you can't chant a lakh everyday...” I mean 64 rounds a day. “Then, you can help in the kitchen or sweep the floor, but, you know, this is the desired thing '—this nām, this very thing.” But, for those who cannot do, then some other type of busy work is given to them.
So, Guru Mahārāj said, “I will... Bābājī Mahārāj, my friend, I want... I need some help in doing the sevā in the Delhi Maṭh, but, maybe he's doing the desired thing; and I would be taking him away from that and engaging him in some sort of, lesser activity.” So, he wrote a letter to Saraswatī Ṭhākur, asking. And, Saraswatī Ṭhākur responded by saying... and to preface these remarks by saying —remember, before he began the missionary work of Śrī Gauḍīya Maṭhs— Saraswatī Ṭhākur was, like, nirjan-bhajan, in isolation chanting three lakhs of kṛṣṇa-nām every day. But, relatively inaccessible. He did not continue with that after beginning the missionary activities of Gauḍīya Maṭh.
So, that person said to Guru Mahārāj, “Śrīla Prabhupād Saraswatī Ṭhākur, he said, “If you can engage him in service, in the Delhi Maṭh, you'll be... you'll be his real friend, and you'll really be doing him a favor.”” He said, “Because, I don't recognize that...” He said, “Counting beads.” He didn't even call it taking kṛṣṇa-nām. He said, “Counting beads in the jungle of Baliati is kṛṣṇa-anusilana —favorable to the culture of Kṛṣṇa Consciousness. So, take him away from that, engage him in service in the Maṭh, you'll be his real friend, you'll really be doing him a favor.” So, that's Saraswatī Ṭhākur, his view... his views on many different activities... practices, activities; what is the substance of the mission, the substance of Mahāprabu's teachings and how they should be expressed in the modern world.
We're sometimes surprising, shocking revolutionary in concept. So, he said... and we should consider these things very carefully. He's saying, “As...” and they had in the Gauḍīya Maṭh the nagare-saṅkīrtan, the big kīrtan party through the town. And, he said, “When we do that, the people hear the kīrtan and the mṛdaṅgas.” Remember, it's according to what is their capacity. Mahāprabhu and Pañca-tattva, is penetrating the subtle planes of existence, going into the higher core. He's saying, “The... what do the people hear?” For one or two blocks they hear... and they hear coming... [boom, boom, boom, boom, boom] the kīrtan coming, and some people hear, and it catches their attention, and they come, and they smile, or they even join in. And, it's a wonderful thing.
He's saying, “But, that's the reach of that mṛdaṅga in this plane.” He said, “But, the printing press, he described as a bṛhat mṛdaṅga. And, we've also seen, when we had our printing press, when we hear going like... [dv, dv, dv, dv, dv, dv, dv, dv, dv] it will be making these sounds, and you can imagine that it was a mṛdaṅga. And, it's making these sounds, and the papers are coming out with Kṛṣṇa conception on them; kṛṣṇa-kathā. And, then being put in the book form. And, then those books are being distributed. And, the point meaning, they go beyond the range of the mṛdaṅga. They have greater reach. How much did he... and, remember he also said, “Kītan means a fight.”
So, now he's... take... we're saying, “As connotation increases denotation decreases.” He's increasing the connotation, and saying, “Not that you would just sit there, you're taking kṛṣṇa-nām.” That's like a man whose cooking for himself. Right. But, if you go in the kitchen and you make in huge pots, then you're distributing this... you're... so many others and you're also getting something. But, that's even better, right, then just cooking something and you're taking that. So... and by this we don't mean... don't include the higher Vaiṣṇavas, the siddha-mahātmās of the Gaur Kiśor Dās Bābājī Mahārāj's of the world, the Jagannāth Dās Bābājī's. They're... they're... they're not practitioners, who are chanting a certain number of rounds everyday.
And... ascend... you know... making... in the process of ascension; going higher, higher. They're... they've descended from that plane. They're kṛṣṇa-nām. Their bahjan is direct service, they're serving in the upper world. We may, from an external point of view, who knows what we'll hear. But, what's going on internally in them, it's not like they're neophyte practitioners. They're not. They're directly engaged in service in the upper world. So, Saraswatī Ṭhākur, he would say, “Kīrtan means a fight.” The Kṛṣṇa conception against the Māyā misconception. He realized that the modern world was under the influence of Western civilization, as it still is.
And... so, when they mentioned that to him, he'd say, “Western civilization, crush it!” He wasn't content, like, “Oh, we'll stay in India, and we'll be taking hari-nām, and observing festivals.” Which is a wonderful thing. No. He had a plan, “Western civilization, crush it!” Like, when the Europeans were surprised when the asked Mahātmā Gandhi, who was a highly educated man, “Gandhiji, what do you think about Western civilization?” And, he replied, “I think it would be a good idea.” You understand. He means it's uncivilized. So, they said, “What do you think about Western civilization?” “I think it would be a good idea.” [laughing] [sound of surprise]
And their idea is, “No, European civilization is a higher, superior thing. And, it's the white man's burden to spread this to the heathens of Asia.” [laughing] And they say, “We've had civilization here for tens of thousands of years, and you're the newcomers, with your ideas.” So, anyway, Saraswatī Ṭhākur, that was his idea. An army of preachers, you know, promoting Kṛṣṇa conception in a war like movement against the Māyā misconception. And, he saw what is most valuable, the most valuable weapons, or ammunition; books that are full of Kṛṣṇa conception. And, their reach is greater than the mṛdaṅga and karatāls that we play.
So, in terms of reach, extend... how many people can be reached? But, understanding this principle... Oh, by the way, I like to say when we presented The Search for Śrī Krishna: Reality the Beautiful, the first book we published for Śrīla Guru Mahārāj. On one page is a picture of Śrīla Saraswatī Ṭhākur. And, on the basis of what something the Guru Mahārāj said, I wrote a caption. Because, normally it should say something like, you know, “Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākur, founder of Śrī Gauḍīya Maṭh and it branches, or World-wide Ācārya.” Something like that. That would be the so-called legend or caption that you would expect. But, let say that some inspiration descended, and I recalled what Guru Mahārāj said.
So, I... the caption we wrote, you know, “Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākur...end quote, He declared totalitarian war against Māyā; illusion, including all other existing conceptions of religion.” That was the caption. So, when it came time, Gaura-pūrṇimā 1983, we're presenting this book to Śrīla Guru Mahārāj. And, we're going page by page. He's sitting there with Śrīla Gurudev, and listening, and I will read something from the book and he'll actually finish it. The next sentence, he'll finish it. Say either the exact thing or similar thing. And, it was then, I realized he is the book the book is him. And, each picture I'd say, “It says this.” And, Guru Mahārāj is hearing and smiling. He's very happy to receive this. And, he pointed out, that it was... we presented to him 50 years to the moment, not just to the day, to the moment.
Because we present it when the moon had risen. Fifty years to the moment, they present earlier... they presented Śrī Kṛṣṇa Chaitanya to Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākur. So, Guru Mahārāj took this as significant, as well, and some Divine auspicious indication; sulakṣaṇa. [laughing] So, then came that picture, and then I thought, “Well, now I'm going to find out.” You know, did I get a little carried away, or, you know... So, “What is that?” “A picture of Prabhupād Saraswatī Ṭhākur.” “Oh.” And, then, “And, what does it say?” And I said, “It says, uh, Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākur, he declared totalitarian war against Māyā, including all other existing conceptions of religion.”
And, Guru Mahārāj... And, then waiting to see what would Guru Mahārāj say. And, Guru Mahārāj started smiling, and he said, “If, you didn't write anything else but this, our Guru Mahārāj would be properly represented there.” And, I went like, “Whew” [laughing] But, he was so happy to hear that, like, “Yes, that's our Guru Mahārāj! You could have said the stereotypical thing, but by saying this, now you've given... you've really represented him. You've given people an impression of his intensity and what his intention was, what his movement is.”
So, when we consider these things... and, statements from him, such as, after they had the temple, and the marble floors, the marble altars, and walls, and all those kind of things. When he saw neophytes fighting over rooms, or where they're going to stay, or these kinds of concerns... he was... Śrīla Prabhupād Swami Mahāṛāj said, “He was disgusted.” He said, “My Guru Mahārāj was disgusted initiating kaniṣṭha-adhikārīs, or non-preachers.” Like, if you think like, members of an army that aren't willing to fight. What is the point? [laughing] You know, and being a soldier, have a gun you're not going to use. You're not going to engage in any battle. But, wear the uniform... and all... no.
But, we know in a military campaign, you need to cook, you need the... Napoleon, what did he say, “I'd rather have one well fed soldier than five or ten half-fed soldiers.” There're many things to consider. There're many aspects to a campaign. But, it's a campaign, that is the point. It's a fight. “Kīrtan means a fight; Kṛṣṇa conception against the Māyā misconception.” So, if he considered that the printing press was a bṛhat mṛdaṅga, then what to speak of the internet. Where... and, we see now, with the proliferation of smartphones, I don't know the actual figure, you can Google it. But, how many people in the world, not only are hooked up through technology, but actually have a smartphone. It's either half the world population or more, and only increasing.
So, everyone has one of these with them, or some digital device. So, why do we call this Theistic Media Studio? Because, Guru Mahārāj suggested for Saraswatī Ṭhākur's exhibits: Theistic Exhibition. That was the term he used for the dioramas depicting the pastimes of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, and different preaching exhibits. Guru Mahārāj suggested Theistic Exhibition, and Saraswatī Ṭhākur accepted that. So, in a similar mood, we thought as a blanket, a broad, or general term, Theistic Media. But... you know, as connotation increases denotation decreases. What kind of Theism? [laughing] You know, obviously Kṛṣṇa conception.
But... so, everyone's carrying one of these devises. That means they're accessible. If, you can create content; spiritual substantial content, there's... already... there're people working, round the clock, to make it deliverable. We don't have to worry about that. There are the finest minds, working at this moment, how to improve this technology, in terms, of the experience and the delivery mechanisms. All we... and it's there for the taking. Like, Prabhupād talking about ājagara-vṛtti, the way of the python. He sits there and the food walks into his mouth. And, Prabupād said this once on a walk in a park in Caracas in Venezuela, he's saying, “They made this park for their purpose, but we're going...”
And he's walking through it with the devotee... “And... but, we're enjoying it also.” We're going for our walk and... you know, he was, like, being light about it, but making a point. So, there... they've made this... well, if you asked them, they'll say, “Well, we want to educate everyone. We want to make... our mission is to make all the knowledge of the world available to everyone at all times, for free. We may also sell ads.” You know, someone's got to pay for this noble adventure; noble venture. But... so... you know... just we're not questioning their motives for the moment; why this is being done. You know, there's someone else who might be more cynical, might say, “Well, just to make a profit.” But, if you ask them, “No, we're connecting people.” No, it's all good. We're fine with that.
But... so, it's... we have no excuse. And by the grace of Śrīla Avadhut Mahārāj and the... his team, we have all this technology at our fingertips, so there's no excuse. But, what is the sweet spot, we could say, is that generally, what we're expressing could be considered esoteric or not accessible to everyone. It's like, spiritually laden, heavy spiritual substance. Then, on the other side are delivery mechanisms.
Theistic Media, different types of media where you can deliver this content. So, we know on the other side, it's heavy on entertainment. And, if any spiritual substance is there at all, it's light. So, on the one side; heavy and relatively inaccessible, the other side; light and not substantial. So, what are we trying to do is find the sweet spot, where you can present in an accessible, sometimes entertaining way, spiritual substance. That's what we're trying to do. And, on the basis of what we said, you can see that it's a natural, conceivable, desirable, outcome.
But, just to... these are big words to throw around; bṛhat mṛdaṅga, this, that... what will it be. If we... if we see that the world is suffering from a particular type of plague. And, someone comes forward, and nobly suggests that, “We should vaccinate, as many people as possible.” We'll say, “That's a very good idea. It's a noble sentiment. Yes, everybody should get vaccinated.” But, then what will be critical to this being successful is, what is... what's the vaccine? What is the quality of that vaccine? What is in there? What are you injecting in everyone?
So, and that can be measured to what degree it's spiritually substantial and subsequently beneficial. So, all these things have to be carefully considered. But, that's the basic idea. Śrīla Guru Mahārāj, he in his own words said, he preferred to speak of higher things, or more spiritually substantial things in a smaller circle. Because, the way things work generally... like... as we said, “As connotation increases, denotation decreases.” And, the inverse is true.
Often, the greater audience you try to reach, the quality of the spiritual substance goes down; or becomes something less, or watered down, or... whatever... or more general. So, everything has it's place. Primary education has it's place, secondary education has it's place. They're both necessary. And, secondary education without primary education is often inaccessible. You can see in different courses, like in a college. You go, “Oh, this looks very interesting.” And, then they'll say, “Prerequisite; one year of this, one year of that, then you can take this course.” So, both have their value. Anything else?
Devotee: So, this is the question. According, with their nature and conception about existence, each living entity is attracted to Kṛṣṇa through karma, impersonal Brahmā, or... and Bhagavān. Some might say that the head...
Goswāmī Mahārāj: Through karma? You mean, Brahmā, Paramātmā, and Bhagavān?
Goswāmī Mahārāj: OK.
Devotee: Some might say, that the head knowledge is higher than heart; bhakti. Can you explain your...
Goswāmī Mahārāj: Who said that?
Devotee: This is a question from 'Live Stream.'
Goswāmī Mahārāj: Yes, but when someone ask a question, like... just to say, “Someone said.” Who said?
Goswāmī Mahārāj: Anyway, obviously... that's not what we say. Right. As we often use this expression for the show, Beauty Over Power, another thing Guru Mahārāj... there's a sequence of things He said, “Beauty over power, substance over form, mercy over justice.” And, to address this, “Heart over intellect.” So, from a spiritual view, the intellect is inferior to heart. Not the inverse. We talked in the beginning about gopī-bhāv, means the hearts of the vraja-gopīs. But, if we examine them and follow them into Mahāprabhu's pastimes, we see who were teenage girls in Goloka Vṛndāvan, in Kṛṣṇa's pastimes; the vraja-gopīs.
When they're in the pastimes of Mahāprabhu, there's Jīva Goswāmī; the greatest scholar of all time, Rūpa Goswāmī, Sanātan Goswāmī, Raghunāth Dās, Gopal Baṭta. They're writing books and, the highest sort of Sanskrit language and poetry. So, in that plane, they're showing themselves as teenage girls. Or, as Guru Mahārāj said once, in a delightful way, you know, “Half civilized, silly jungle girls.” That's their posing. But, even in the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa; when they're interacting with Kṛṣṇa, you see how they... how cleverly they speak, and what is their knowledge of scripture. But, they might say, “Oh, we heard some brāhmaṇ say this once.” Like, that person said, “Someone said.” [chuckling] So, they might say, “Oh, we heard this somewhere.” They know everything very well.
So well, that they can take the last syllable of one word, apply it to the next syllable of another word, and change the complete meaning of a sentence. What was apparently a glorification, to turn it into some sort of a sweet insult. They're masters of language, of knowledge, all those things. But, it's a sec... it's a secondary position. Heart is in the primary position. Guru Mahārāj would say, “In Vṛndāvan, heart is the primary position.” So, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, mahā-bhāv, another meaning bhāv is heart. Think about it, mahā-bhāv, there's no greater heart then the heart of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī. But, simultaneously, there's no one more clever then She. She's clever enough to capture Kṛṣṇa; to capture Him, to steal Him, to steal His mind, to make Him lose His mind. She's that clever. Right. And, that enchanting and charming.
So... but... and Candrāvalī's considered in the secondary position. When they expand out of Dwārakā... out of Vṛndāvan into Dwārakā, a reversal takes place. Where intellect is in the superior position, and heart is secondary. So, you have these two competitive Queens, Satyabhāmā; Rādhārāṇī's expansion, Rukmiṇī; Candrāvalī's. But, that is in a... from an analytical point of view, we like to say the way Prabhupād did, you know, “Perfect, more perfect, most perfect.” What is in Vṛndāvan is most perfect, and their heart remain... is supreme.
Yaśodā is not a scholar. But, when there's a volcanic eruption of emotions from her heart; vented by her, Guru Mahārāj said, “Everyone is upgraded.” All the devotees are upgraded, like, by one expression from the heart of Yaśodā. But, on this point, so many times within Gauḍīya Maṭh, Śrīla Guru Mahārāj weighted in on some situation. And, Saraswatī Ṭhākur backed him, so much so, at one point he said, “Śrīdharaṁ sakala-vetti.” Śrīdhar knows everything; he knows everything. So, and we know, Guru Mahārāj comes by Bhaṭṭācārya-brāhmaṇ family.
They're traditionally, their family line; they're Ācāryas, they're Sanskritians. The women spoke Sanskrit. They can quote verses, ślokas the men compose. So... and as it been said a many indication... occasions, he knows everything. When... when he was the lower ranking man, on the preaching party, he went with some Mahārājas do collections, and it was the time of Caṇḍī Pūjā; Goddess Caṇḍī —Śakti. And, they're reading from the Caṇḍī book... someone. And, the Mahārājas telling, like, “Go tell that Bābū...” Like, you know, the head man... like, “We're here to see him.” They want to collect a donation. And, his assistant comes back, and says, “He will see you when the Caṇḍī reading is finished, and not before.” And, they don't know what to say.
And, Guru Mahārāj says, “You tell him that, that man who's reading the Caṇḍī recitation, here's the following things that he's doing wrong. It says in the very thing he's reading, this must be done very quickly and briefly. Otherwise, you get a very negative result.” And, he pointed out three or four things; and also, you can't move your head. He pointed out many things, flaws in this performance. And, then that man came over, having heard what Guru Mahārāj said. He came over, and he was stunned by Guru Mahārāj's depth of knowledge in the wide range of subjects; not just pure Gauḍīya Vaṣṇavism. And, he ended up giving a big donation to those senior devotees. But, he told them, pointing to Guru Mahārāj, he said, “He knows everything.” [laughing]
So, then I meet Guru Mahārāj. And, that person, who knows everything; even certified by Saraswatī Ṭhākur, “He knows everything.” And, he's telling me when he heard Saraswatī Ṭhākur preaching, jñāna śūnya bhakti; knowledge-free devotion. That's the higher plane, jñāne prayāsam udapāsya namanta eva (SB: 10.14.3.1) of Brahmā; Brahmā stuti. Stop trying to measure Him with your jñān, with your knowledge, with your thinking. … The infinite, always dvi-aṅguli, that's what we learn from Yaśodā. You'll be two fingers too short in this approach. How did she capture Kṛṣṇa? He saw the flowers falling from her hair, the perspiration on her face, as she lovingly tried to bind Him. It was the heart of Yaśodā, her love and affection that bound the Dāmodar.
So... so, Guru Mahārāj... so, I said to him once, “So, you —and you say when you heard Saraswatī Ṭhākur preaching jñāna śūnya bhakti, it was like a hammer on your head.” You know, knowledge-free devotion, give this up. And, consider his family line, and all that. And, I said, “And, now your preaching the same thing. But, I cannot fail to notice, or to observe, you know everything. You're the person, I don't know anyone that knows more then you. And, your telling these things about jñāna śūnya bhakti; knowledge-free devotion, and all that.” So, what do you say? And, Guru Mahārāj was like... [facial expression, laughing]. For a moment he went... [facial expression, laughing] And, then he said, he thought for a moment, and he said, “When jñān is serving devotion, then it's in its rightful position.”
And, I went, “Yes Mahārāj.” That's the point, muktiḥ svayaṁ mukulitāṣjaliḥ sevate’smān, dharmārtha-kāma-gatayaḥ samaya-pratīkṣāḥ (Kk: 107.3−4), Bilvamaṅgala, Karṇāmṛtam. Muktiḥ, they're all standing with folded palms ready to serve the devotee. So, karma, jñān, you think when they're in the service of devotion, then they're in their rightful position. But, they've been rejected as a means for achieving devotion, or the devotional position. The... Prabupād would rail against these bogus interpreters of the Bhagavad-gītā, like it would... the śloka was that, kleśo ’dhika-taras teṣām, avyaktāsakta-cetasām (Bg: 12.5.1−2).
They would say. “You know, because most people, they're just simple hearted folks. They can't engage in abstract thinking that's required and, like jñān and vedānta, and all that. For them, they can like, beat on a drum, play some karatāls, sing a song, or something. Because, they can't understand philosophy.” [laughing] Prabupād would be so upset to hear these things and challenge them. You think Mahāprabhu and the Pañca-tattva, they're a bunch of simpletons? [chuckling] Like, they can't... they don't understand philosophy. When Sārvabhauma thought, “Oh, this young sannyāsī, 24 years old, so beautiful, so charming, has prematurely taken sannyās. But, once you take sannyās you have to keep it. And, now He's going around singing and dancing and crying in front of the Diety. They're throwing Him out of the temple. I'll try and help Him by teaching vedānta, and maybe that will steady His mind, stop all the crying; give Him some substance. [laughing]
Then, when we hear after a few days Sārvabhauma saying, like, “Wave or, you know, nod your head if you —I know this is deep stuff— if you understand what I'm saying.” And, Mahāprabhu saying, “I understand vedānta perfectly. I just don't understand what you're talking about.” [laughing] You know, Sārvabauma is like 80, He's 24. “What are you saying? I understand vedānta, what do you keep talking about?” And, Sārvabauma like, “Oh, excuse me.” [laughing] Gives nine explanations of ātmārāma, “What do you think about that, young man? Nine different explanations of the ātmārāṁas; not one explanations, nine levels of explanation.”
Mahāprabhu, “Oh, well.” Then what does He do? Eighteen; double, not touching on the nine. Then Sārvabauma like, “Oh, you've come to save me. It is not I who will save you, you're saving me from this scholarly ego.” And, Sārvabauma means world renowned. Means like world renowned what? Thinker, jñānī, knowledgable. The 24-year-old sannyāsī brings him to to his knees, praying, “Oh, my Lord, if you so please reveal Divine form to me.” And, He shows His īśvara mūrti of ṣaḍ-bhuj. And, then what does Sārvabauma became? A fanatic for Mahāprabhu. How fanatical is he? He writes a hundred ślokas in His praise. And, the word spreads like wildfire, “Did you hear what happened?” “What happened.” “The court Paṇḍit of the King of Purī is now a follower of Mahāprabhu.” “No!” “Yes!”
Written a hundred ślokas in His praise. And, what does he do with Mahāprabhu? How fanatical is he? He's taken one śloka from the Bhāgavatam and changed it. He's changing the Bhāg... like, cross that out, it should say this. Some... (jīveta yo) mukti-pade sa dāya-bhāk (SB: 10.14.8.4), the last line. And, he... and, Mahāprabhu going, “What are you doing Sārvabauma, changing ślokas in the Bhāgavatam?” He says, “Mukti, mukti's a horrible thing!” Now he hates muktis with Him. Mukunda, he's so beautiful. Mu-ku, he makes mukti look ugly. That's how beautiful Kṛṣṇa is. Makes mukti look... so, he's saying, “It should say bhakti-pade.” And, Mahāprabhu... “I get your mood, your heart, it's all good, but just leave the Bhāgavatam alone. Right. You don't have to start changing what is says there. Just interpret it on a different level.”
“But, I appreciate the sentiment.” [laughing] So, jñāne prayāsam udapāsya namanta eva (SB: 10.14.3.1), give up trying to know Him with your... Even... um... what is it? David Foster Wallace say, with uh... “Our tiny skull-sized kingdoms.” Your tiny skull-sized kingdom, you're going to conceive the Infinite. A fools errant. Or, as Shakespeare might say, “A wild goose chase.” How?
nāyam ātmā pravacanena labhyo
na medhayā na bahunā śrutena
yam evaiṣa vṛṇute tena labhyas
tasyaiṣa ātmā vivṛṇute tanūṁ svām
He reveals Himself to whom He chooses, through whom He chooses. The only way to approach Him is śaraṇāgati. Do you really... is there any amount of knowing that would impress Kṛṣṇa? But, as Kṛṣṇa might say, “I did not know that. Good point. I did not know that.” [laughing] You are not going to impress Him with what you figured out. “Oh, I figured out how You make the universe work.” “Really, tell me about it.” So, only by surrendering to the higher. What Guru Mahārāj said is very good, he said, “You must touch His heart.” How do you touch the heart of Kṛṣṇa?
Not with your intellectual prowess. How to touch... and that... it sounds so simple to say. But, really what a high... to touch... when someone says, “I'm touched, I'm moved.” We see sometimes, even a very big person... some... from a child or from some relatively insignificant person, sometimes they express something that touches the heart of a very great person. And, they're moved by that. And, they're moved to respond. But, how to touch the heart of Kṛṣṇa, really? Is there a way. Narottam Ṭhākur, āśraya loiyā bhaje, tāre kṛṣṇa nāhi tyaje (Thakura Vaisnava Pada: 1.3), saying... take shel... His devotees...
hy asvatantra iva dvija
(Srīmad Bhāgavatam: 9.4.63)
Because, Guru Mahāraj, “The great devotees, Kṛṣṇa's in their hearts.” The really great devotees, yaṁ śyāmasundaram acintya... (Bs: 5:38.3), you know, premāñjana-cchurita-bhakti-vilocanena, santaḥ sadaiva hṛdayeṣu vilokayanti, yaṁ śyāmasundaram... (Bs: 5:38.1−3), not Paramātmā, in their heart, Śyāmasundar; Kṛṣṇa. We say, “Oh, in the hearts of the great devotees.” Then what about the heart of Kṛṣṇa? The great devotees are in the hearts of Kṛṣṇa. So, what is the strategy of the aspiring servitors on the advice of Narottam Ṭhākur and others? They're saying, “Take shelter of that devotee who is in, already achieved, who's already touched the heart of Kṛṣṇa. Then, you'll be included.” That way. And, how to connect with them? Through service, we serve them, we serve the lotus feet of the substantial devotees.
And, they're in Kṛṣṇa's heart. They've touched the heart of Kṛṣṇa. As Kṛṣṇa's in their hearts, they're irremovably positioned in the heart of Kṛṣṇa; enshrined there. So, by connect... and, they mercifully... they're moving in this world, giving us some opportunity to connect with them through service. So, we serve them. All our hope is there in the āśraya: āśraya loiyā bhaje. Śaraṇāgati means taking shelter of the āśraya; the āśraya-vigraha. Then, the heart of Kṛṣṇa can be touched and moved. Hare Kṛṣṇa.
Goswāmī Mahārāj: Yes.
Devotee: Besides many, many, daṇḍavats were sent today. Like, really many comments. Prīthu Prabhu from Lahta is asking a practical question about mṛdaṇga. So, he's saying daṇḍavats. A practical question from mṛdaṇga practitioners. May they practice mṛdaṇga in the time when the Lord is resting...
Goswāmī Mahāraj: No.
Goswāmī Mahāraj: No. Do not practice mṛdaṇga, play the mṛdaṇga while the Deities are resting.
Goswāmī Mahārāj: Anywhere.
Goswāmī Mahārāj: Do not do that.
Goswāmī Mahārāj: Is that clear? [laughing]
Devotee: So, Raseśvari DD
Goswāmī Mahārāj: They're very sensitive to the mṛdaṇga. [laughing] Yes.
Devotee: Sucitra DD, Ānanda Līlī, Jay Govinda Prabhu, Dhanan Jaya Prabhu, Kamala DD from England,
Goswāmī Mahāraj: Hare Kṛṣṇa.
Devotee: Um...Dāmodar Priya Das, um...
Goswāmī Mahārāj: Don't go up to the Deities when they're resting and give saṣṭāṅga-daṇḍavats either. They're resting.
Devotee in audience: [inaudible]
Goswāmī Mahārāj: Go up to where they are and... No! They're resting inside. From a distance you can give, like a panchanga-daṇḍa, don't disturbed them at that time. They're already received their devotees. Don't. Be sensitive, like you would a person. If someone's sleeping, right, they're sleeping there, you don't go like, “Haribol Mahārāj, just wanted to give my daṇḍavats.” Like, let them rest, you know, like, “Oh, I'll just bow down from a little distance.” And, later they're there.
Bg: Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā
Cb: Śrī Chaitanya-bhāgavat
Cc: Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta
SB: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam