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  • Residents of the spiritual world. Who are they?

    Who is Kṛṣṇa and who is the girl with Kṛṣṇa? The sweet fruit of the Veda tree What is the special significance of Sukadev's appearance at the sages meeting? Pure nature of the spiritual world Different moods of parakīyā-bhāva What did Nanda Mahārāj do that Kṛṣṇa is crawling in his courtyard? Mahaprabhu is extending Kṛṣṇa Are there any great yogīs in Vṛndāvan? What is the circular nature of the divine Pastimes? Which rāsa is the best? Karma or devotion?

    Chiang Mai 2013 - Residents of the spiritual world. Who are they?

    Author: Bhakti Sudhir Goswami Cycle: Chiang Mai 2013 Uploaded by: Radha Raman das Created at: 12 December, 2013
    Duration: 00:55:30 Date: 2013-02-06 Size: 76.24Mb Place: Gupta Govardhan Chiang Mai Downloaded: 2894 Played: 7606
    Tagged by: Nalina Sundari d.d. Edited by: Nalina Sundari d.d., Birchandra Das Translated by: Nalina Sundari d.d. Transcribed by: Yuvati Devi Dasi

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    Goswāmī Mahārāj: Any questions from anyone?
    Question: He said, that he heard that in the Spiritual World the difference has very important [meaning]. It's like the main importance is the difference.
    Goswāmī Mahārāj: The difference between what?
    Devotee: I am not sure. Yes, that is his question. The difference between inhabitants of the Spiritual World.
    Goswāmī Mahārāj: And?
    Devotee: Everybody has some difference, have different characters and this difference is like different nature of everybody, it's very important. He says that he heard from Śrīla Śrīdhar Mahārāj and he wanted you to explain. But I also don't understand it so clearly.

    Who is Kṛṣṇa and who is the girl with Kṛṣṇa?

    Goswāmī Mahārāj: All right, I'll try to answer something. And it has to do with the nature of the Kṛṣṇa Conception. So, Śrīmad Bhāgavatam is the book of Kṛṣṇa. So much so that Prabhupād called the tenth canto 'The Kṛṣṇa Book'. And anyone who has the good fortune of come to connection with that book will forever be changed and happy. Sometimes Prabhupād would say in a very simple way, he said, “When people see…”  There was a picture, there was an artist, a lady, an elderly lady when I joined, her name was Devahūti and she painted this famous picture of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, it was on the volume of one of the Kṛṣṇa Book. And Prabhupād said once, “Sometimes when people see a book like Kṛṣṇa, they will say, ‘Who is Kṛṣṇa, who is the girl with Kṛṣṇa?’”  Just that, very simple. “Who is Kṛṣṇa, who is the girl with Kṛṣṇa?”  If we can answer that question, that's everything. Everything will come out of that question. Who is Kṛṣṇa and who is the girl with Kṛṣṇa? Already it surpassed the partial conception of divinity and the other traditions, religious traditions of other systems. Who is Kṛṣṇa and who is the girl with Kṛṣṇa?
    So, in the beginning of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam the first śloka is this magnificent, pratama  śloka upon which is the, it's the introduction, the overview, foundation
    janmādy asya yato 'nvayād itarataś cārtheṣv abhijñaḥ svarāṭ
    tene brahma hṛdā ya ādi-kavaye muhyanti yat sūrayaḥ
    tejo-vāri-mṛdāṁ yathā vinimayo yatra tri-sargo 'mṛṣā
    dhāmnā svena sadā nirasta-kuhakaṁ satyaṁ paraṁ dhīmahi

    (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 1.1.1)
    Here everything has been condensed, this we're told is the sambandha-jñāna śloka, dharmaḥ projjhita-kaitavo 'tra paramo nirmatsarāṇāṁ satāṁ (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 1.1.2) śloka, the second one being abhidheya śloka and nigama-kalpa-taror galitaṁ phalaṁ śuka-mukhād amṛta-drava-saṁyutam (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 1.1.3), that's been the prayojana-tattva. This is revealed by Bhakti Vinod Ṭhākur in his Bhāgavatārka-marīchi-mālā. Which he says was inspired directly by an appearance of Svarūp Dāmodar, whose other self is Lalitā-sakhī. And the very first statement janmādyasya yataḥ echoing what was in the Vedānta. But now being fully, about to be fully expressed in the pages of the Bhāgavatam.

    The sweet fruit of the Veda tree

    Śrīla Guru Mahārāj has told us that as a, sometimes Vedas are compared to a tree. So, if the Vedas are the tree then we're told, Vedānta is the flower. Like here some of the mango tree are flowering or what stage are they? Anyway let's say they are flowering. So the tree for so long it looks a particular way then at the particular stage the flower comes out. And you know if you take a flower from the tree they have this very sweet essence. It's amazing. The flower of many different trees and the fruit trees particularly I I'm speaking of. And someone may say, “Oh, I didn't know that such and such fruit tree has such a sweet smelling flower.”  That flower is like the essence of what is about to be manifested in a form of the fruit. In some mystical way it's the essence, what is essential. They talk about essential oils, essence.
    So, this tree of the Veda produces the flower of Vedānta. But we're told as the flower falls away then the fruit appears. Nigama-kalpa-taror galitaṁ phalaṁ śuka-mukhād amṛta-drava-saṁyutam. This is being relished and tasted by Śukadev Goswāmī, muhur aho rasikā bhuvi bhāvukāḥ (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 1.1.3). And the real rasiks and bhāvuks they will relish this substance repeatedly. How? In Bhagavad-gītā Kṛṣṇa's telling,
    mac-cittā mad-gata-prāṇā
    bodhayantaḥ parasparam
    kathayantaś ca māṁ nityaṁ
    tuṣyanti ca ramanti ca

    (Bhagavad-gītā: 10.9)
    How the devotees, they're feasting speaking about Kṛṣṇa. As we told in that śloka Jayadev, viśveṣām anurañjanena janayann ānandam indīvara-śreṇī-śyāmala-komalair upanayann aṅgair anaṅgotsavam (Gīta-govinda: 1.11). Kṛṣṇa's divine form is a festival. Every aspect of Kṛṣṇa conception is a festival for the eyes, ears, testing, smelling, total full sensual engagement. So, the devotees they're relishing speaking about Kṛṣṇa. It's not an academic exercise. As much as someone feels joy and satiation, nourishment, strength from eating, that comparison is being given. And elsewhere,
    bhaktiḥ pareśānubhavo viraktir
    [anyatra caiṣa trika eka-kālaḥ
    prapadyamānasya yathāśnataḥ syus]
    tuṣṭiḥ puṣṭiḥ kṣud-apāyo 'nu-ghāsam

    (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 11.2.42)
    In the Bhāgavatam also it's compared, this type of thing. And not only that tuṣyanti ca ramanti ca, The erotic principal and unalloyed devotion, as given by professor Sanyal under the guidance of Saraswatī Ṭhākur. So, full sensual engagement. Śukadev Goswāmī says,
    pariniṣṭhito 'pi nairguṇya
    gṛhīta-cetā rājarṣe
    ākhyānaṁ yad adhītavān

    (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 2.1.9)  

    What is the special significance of Sukadev's appearance at the sages meeting?

    By way of introduction when he appears on the scene where Parīkṣit Mahārāj is asking from all those different sages their unanimous verdict and what they advise for him how to spend his remaining days in substantial spiritual culture. Cause everyone was recommending something on the bases of what helped them overcome negativity or the mundane. So because they were suffering or contaminated in different ways, one person's recommending this, someone is recommending another thing. So, Parīkṣit Mahārāj says, “I have seven days in hand, I need your consensus, your unanimous verdict how I should precede.”
    Then Śukadev Goswāmī appeared on the scene. And how, in what form? We're told, sixteen years old boy, but totally naked and totally beautiful, looking, having similar features to Kṛṣṇa. And what describes his beauty was neck, the different parts of his body. And everyone was astonished to see him, and they thought, “Here is that legendary Śukadev. The legend we've heard about, liberated in the womb of his mother.”  All these things are significant. They are not just interesting stories or interesting details; they are critical parts of establishing Kṛṣṇa Conception. It's thematic, it's cohesive, it's all unified. Everything is connected, so there is a reason. So, all the representatives of all the different schools of thought have met. Because of hearing that Parīkṣit Mahārāj will leave the world. That means every school of every type of philosophical and religious thought; their leaders are there. And they're all given different advice as they do. And he's saying, “No, make a consensus, you're all the leaders then you meet together and give me your unanimous verdict.”  That's when Śukadev enters.
    And looking at him and knowing he is the legendary Śukadev. And we're told they are experts in a physiognomy, they elevate the naked 16-year-old boy to the presidential seat in the assembly.  So, although some of them maybe hundreds of years old, thousands of years old, from different planets, they recognize, “Here is the qualified person to speak.”  Why? Liberated in a womb of his mother before he entered the world, before he came out, he was already liberated.
    So, Śukadev is not going to give advice on the basis what was helpful to him in overcoming mundane, mundane attraction, but rather as he says by way of introduction, pariniṣṭhito 'pi nairguṇya. You all know I was situated in nirguṇa plane. What does that mean? This world is saguṇa plane – ignorance, passion, goodness – the mundane world, the objective world, the world of misconception, the world of exploitation. For him, no misconception, no exploiting tendencies. And he says, “I am situated in nirguṇa, not nothing.”  People say, “Oh, it says without qualities.”  So, then they further think, “Then it must mean neutral, nothing, blank.”  But that's not what he's saying. He saying, nirguṇa means not with mundane qualities, but on the outskirts of the qualified world, the super qualified world, the adhokṣaja realm.
    He said, situated in that position, we can take it in one sense almost like a neutral, without any mundane, but on the outskirts of the spiritual domain. He's saying then, uttama-śloka-līlayā gṛhīta-cetā rājarṣe. I heard Kṛṣṇa Conception; through my ear Kṛṣṇa Conception entered my heart.
    praviṣṭaḥ karṇa-randhreṇa
    svānāṁ bhāva-saroruham
    dhunoti śamalaṁ kṛṣṇaḥ
    salilasya yathā śarat

    (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 2.8.5)

    Pure nature of the spiritual world

    Guru Mahārāj said, “This world of experience,”  when he was telling about his boyhood experiences, very different than most childhood experiences. So, he'll remember the time he saw the universal form or had some particular realization. So one day it occurred to him that consciousness and mind, he said, was like a giant vat of milk and the objective world was like a thin layer of cream floating on top of it. Guru Mahārāj said, “I remember this day.”  When that occurred to him in a very deep realized way, the whole world is like a giant vat of milk, mind conscious world, the objective world is like a thin layer of cream floating on top of that. So, the objective world's floating on top of consciousness. The whole objective world that's what it is doing, it's floating on consciousness.
    That Śukadev's saying, “But hearing about Kṛṣṇa, my consciousness was captured and I was carried away to another world that I didn't know existed previously.”  And what's part of his story we hear in the Bhāgavatam that when he left Vedavyās, his āśram, his father, he went by a tank, a pond where so-called divya-devīs were bathing. Naked girls were bathing. But seeing him they didn't bother to cover themselves out of shyness. But when Vyās went running after him, we're told it's a very moving section, he says, “Oh, my son!”  And we're told it's only the trees echoed in response. “Oh, my son.”  “My son, my son.”  Only the trees are responding. And when he goes by the ladies, they're all covering themselves. And he's thinking, “When my son, he is 16-years old, you're not covering yourselves out of shyness, now why?”  And they said, “But we can see in him there is not even a trace amount of exploiting tendency in his gaze.”  They're telling this to Vedavyās. That Vedavyās of Mahabharata, who's Vedavyās Kṛṣṇa Dvaipāyana Vedavyās. Saying, “That boy has not even a trace amount of exploiting tendency in his gaze.”
    And we can think, “O that is an interesting story.”  Interesting anecdote, sidebar, note, footnote. It's critical, because what it's telling us? That Śukadev, who has not even a trace amount remote interest in male-female relationship, when he hears about the Pastimes Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa and Vraja-gopīs, loving, intimate pastimes, he is captured heart and soul by that. So, it's telling us indirectly – they're not mundane. These are not the pastimes between men and women of this world like we conceive them. Vaikuṇṭhera pṛthivy-ādi sakala cinmaya (Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta: Adi, 5.53). Everything in the spiritual world is comprised of consciousness. And not only consciousness in the generic sense, but consciousness enriched endowed with dedicating tendency.
    The strata of the spiritual world is based upon degrees of dedication. Just as the strata of the material world is based upon degrees of exploitation. From gross to subtle. There the strata Vaikuṇṭha the southern hemisphere of the spiritual world, the adhokṣaja realm goes from Vaikuṇṭha, Ayodya, Dvārakā, Madhurā, Vṛndāvan, Govardhan, Rādhā-kuṇḍa, going more fine, more subtle and more enriched with dedicating self-giving tendency.

    Different moods of parakīyā-bhāva

    So, once thinking about this thing I said to Guru Mahārāj, “Oh, so, then there would be difference between being the blade of grass in Vaikuṇṭha and the blade of grass in Vṛndāvan.”  And Guru Mahārāj says, “Of course.”  I thought that it was a big realization and Guru Mahārāj, “Of course.”  Cause I thought, we'll say, “They're both śānta-rasa.”  Just as an example. But what's the difference between the blades of grass? The one Goloka-Vṛndāvan, as Śrīla Gurudev once said, “Everything in Goloka is permeated by parakīyā-bhāv.”  Some people misunderstood this, “No, parakīyā-bhāva, that's paramour relationship, that's justgopīs and, you know, Rādhārāṇī, Vraja-gopīs and Kṛṣṇa.”  But Guru Mahārāj's saying, “No!”  Yaśodā, when people say, “You know, Kṛṣṇa is the son of Vasudev and Devakī, he's not really your son.”  “What?”  That's parakīyā. She's, the sense that he is not hers, he belongs to someone else, that's her version of parakīyā. When the cowherd-boys were told, they say amongst themselves, “Some people say Gopal is not one of us.”  “What?”  “No, that he's some like demigod or some people are saying he is even God Himself” “No, Gopal?”  “Yes, Gopal, our Gopal, they're telling these things.”  It makes them, bring him nearer and dearer to themselves, that sense that he is not theirs. “No, that's our Gopal, our friend Gopal.”  The cows, everything there is permeated by this mood in one form of another.
    Janmādyasya yataḥ. If we say in a general sense, “Oh, the Absolute Truth is that from which everything is emanated.”  Or the Upaniṣad, yato vā imāni bhūtāni jāyante (Taittirīya Upaniṣad: 3.1.1), from which everything has come. By which it's maintained and into which it will enter ultimately. But Cakravartī Ṭhākur ever the parser and extractor, you know, the rasika-ranjan, delighting. He's saying, janmādyasya. Here ‘ādi' use means janma, ādi means birth, etc. He is saying, “No, here ādi we take to mean ādi-rasa, the original rāsa.”  And the original rāsa is madhura-rasa. All other rāsas are satellites. All other rāsas are clients. Madhura-rasa is the original. And of madhura-rasa, which is the superior? Parakīyā. So, we can understand, that is the original. And everything is coming from there. Everything is coming from that position. Janmādyasya yataḥ.

    What did Nanda Mahārāj do that Kṛṣṇa is crawling in his courtyard?

    Ādi-rasa, mukhi-rasa, madhura-rasa. So, when Mahāprabhu asks Raghupati Upādhyāya, “Tell me, what's the best thing you've realized and understood with all your knowledge of the Scriptures, this, that and the other thing.”
    śrutim apare smṛtim itare bhāratam anye bhajantu bhava-bhītāḥ
    aham iha nandaṁ vande yasyālinde paraṁ brahma

    (Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta: Madhya, 19.96)
    Saying, there's the śrutis, the Vedas, what we can hear from there. They're indicating some direction, “Go in this way.”  Śṛṇvantu viśve amṛtasya putrā (Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad: 2.5), wake up you nectar children and understand your identity does not lay in the world of mortality, but in the immortal world. They're telling us to go in that direction – the smṛti, the Purāṇas, Mahābhārata, Gītā. They've come to rescue us from this fearful, worrisome, anxiety-filled situation we've created by turning our backs, turning away from Kṛṣṇa. And they all give some advise in different ways, just like those sages, who were acquainted with all these different things advising Parīkṣit Mahārāj. He said, “But what I want to know,”  aham iha nandaṁ vande. He said, “I prefer to worship Nanda Mahārāj. I worship Nanda Mahārāj, yasyālinde paraṁ. Because he has that paraṁ brahma, who's described in the śrutis, the smṛtis, Purāṇas, etc., crawling in his courtyard as a baby. What did he do? That I am interested in.”  And Mahāprabhu liked this very much. Raghupati Upādhyāya is just going immediately to this position. In one śloka summarizes everything. What did Nanda Mahārāj do that Kṛṣṇa's crawling in his courtyard? That I want to know. What does it mean? Rāga-bhakti. Love and affection. Not karma, not jñāna, not yoga, not meditation, he's saying, “What did he do that God's crawling in his courtyard?”
    Like when Devashis Prabhu said, he was at some flea market in London or something. There were some devotee's kids there and some Christians came up and said like, “You've got to find God and go to the house of God or find the Lord, invite the Lord and…”  And then he said, because this gṛhastha couple had some Deities in their house, the child answered that man by saying, “If you want to see God, come over to our house.”  [laughing] He said, “What?”  “He is in our house.”  [laughing] So, that's what he's saying. He is in the house of Nanda Mahārāj crawling there. What did he do to get that position? The infinite coming under the control of the finite, the infinite crawling in the courtyard of the finite.
    And it's Śukadev, he asks a similar question the Parīkṣit Mahārāj. Where he said after hearing about Nanda and Yaśodā, he's saying, nandaḥ kim akarod brahman śreya evaṁ mahodayam (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 10.8.46).   Again praising Nanda Mahārāj. But here he takes a step further, he said, yaśodā chā mahā-bhāgā is even more fortunate papau yasyāḥ stanaṁ hariḥ. Kṛṣṇa is sitting on her lap, sucking her breast. What is this? What kind of approach is this. Then Mahāprabhu was saying, “Very good. Anything more you can say?” And he says,  
    kaṁ prati kathayitum īśe
     samprati ko vā pratītim āyātu
     gopa-vadhūṭī-viṭaṁ brahma

     (Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta: Madhya, 19.98)
    The śloka of Gurudev, he quoted at the opening of the ISKCON Chandradoya Mandir. Where he is saying, “Who can I tell?”  He is asking, “Is there anything more to say. There's more to say, but who could I tell, is there anyone who is qualified to hear this. And if there were, would they believe me, if I told them?”  And what is that? Who will believe that that Supreme Brahman crawling in the courtyard of Nanda Mahārāj whose sought after by the yogīs, karmis, jñānis, everyone, that he is hunting gopī-girls in the kuñja of Vṛndāvan. Is there anyone I can tell this and anyone who will believe that?
    And Guru Mahārāj said, he wrote an article in perhaps the Harmonist, one of the Gauḍīya Maṭh publications, was appreciated by many. Where he said, he revealed, that the inverse of this or inference, there's imply, infer, is that, he's saying, “But now that you have come, everyone will hear it and everyone will believe it. Somehow by your divine grace and mercy, it'll be given to everyone.”
    namo mahā-vadānyāya
    kṛṣṇa-prema-pradāya te
    kṛṣṇāya kṛṣṇa-caitanya-
    nāmne gaura-tviṣe namaḥ

    (Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta: Madhya, 19.53)

    Mahaprabhu is extending Kṛṣṇa

    Mahāprabhu's extending qualification, he makes Sārvabhauma qualified, He qualifies others. When he goes to the Jarikanda [forest]. They're going to Vṛndāvan, he and his servant Kṛṣṇadās, and they're in the jungle collecting the śāk for his favorite, that spinach. But they come to one place where there is a sleeping tiger on the footpath. Like we see in the Night Safari those tigers, that one when I open my umbrella, he got very angry, took it as aggressive gesture. So, there is some sleeping tiger and the servitor is, “Oh, that's…”  He's thinking which way to go, how to avoid and Mahāprabhu goes up to the tiger and [claps], “Wake up! Chant Hare Kṛṣṇa!”  [laughing] And servant think, “Oh no. Slapping tiger.”  The tiger gets up and starts, “Hare Kṛṣṇa” , and starts chanting and dancing. Because his, when it penetrated his ignorance, that body that rajo-guṇa body and the tamo-guṇa elements and all of that together that tiger body, Mahāprabhu is Kṛṣṇa vibrating is so fine that it penetrated all the layers covering that soul, entered his soul, liberated him and began to dance. But expressing his ecstatic dance in the body of a tiger.
    Then Mahāprabhu goes towards the elephants are bathing with the she-elephants. You can be crushed easily. Then splashes water on the elephants and tell them, “Hare Kṛṣṇa, chant Hare Kṛṣṇa.”  The elephants start dancing and screaming and pounding on the ground taking Kṛṣṇa-nām in ecstasy. It's penetrating the layers because His vibration is so fine. So He's qualifying everyone.
    yathā yathā gaura padāravinde
    vindeta bhaktiṁ kṛta puṇya-rāśiḥ
    tathā tathotsarpati hṛdy akasmāt
    rādhā padāmbhoja sudhāmbu-rāśiḥ

    (Śrīla Prabodhānanda Saraswati Ṭhākur)
    Prabodanada's saying, “Therefore as Nityānanda Prabhu advised, ‘Worship the lotus feet of Gaurāṅga.'”  Those who are sumedhasaḥ, of refine theistic intellect, sukṛtimān, they'll get it, they'll understand, give everything to the lotus feet of the Guru and Gaurāṅga then automatically, subconsciously deep in a core of the heart the rādhā-rasa-sudhā-nidhi begins to flow and they awaken in the soil of Vṛndāvan.
    And in that plane, what do we hear Uddhava say? Āsām aho caraṇa-reṇu-juṣām ahaṁ syāṁ vṛndāvane kim api gulma-latauṣadhīnām (Śrī Bhajana-rahasya: 10.47.61). He is saying, after he witnessed Rādhārāṇī and Vraja-gopīs prema, their love for Kṛṣṇa, their ecstatic nature and self-giving and it surpassed everything he'd ever conceived. Sanātan Goswāmī says in his Bṛhad-bhāgavatāmṛtam-tika, “At one point Nārada forgot that he was even a devotee.”  Like if you have, you're musician, then they bring in the master musician and they play and they say, “I can't touch my instrument ever again. Did I ever play?”  They think, “This is so superior.”
    So, he mentioned that momentarily Uddhava forgot that he was ever any kind of a devotee. He was that overwhelmed by the devotion showed by Rādhārāṇī and her girl friends, who own and control Kṛṣṇa. They have the copyright, the patent, he's registered. They alone can extend him. So, he is praying what? To become a creeper, a blade of grass there, tad bhūri-bhāgyam iha janma kim apy aṭavyāṁ yad gokule 'pi katamāṅghri-rajo-'bhiṣekam (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 10.14.34). To get some of the dust from the lotus feet of the Vraja-vāsī or in this case Rādhārāṇī and Vraja-gopīs. But Ragunāth Dās Goswāmī says in his prayers, factoring this in, Guru Mahārāj says, then he says,
    yat kincha trnagulma-kikatamukham
    gosthe samastam hi tat
    sarvvandamaye mukundadayitam
    lilanukulam param

    (Vraja-vilāsa-stava: 102)
    Even the insects in the spiritual world they're lilānukul, they're dear to Kṛṣṇa, mukundadayitam, they're enhancing the pastimes, they have a part to play.

    Are there any great yogīs in Vṛndāvan?

    So, we're talking about individual nature and form. We're generally told there are no yogīs in Vṛndāvan. But great meditators, those who has this dhyāna ability to meditate to the extreme, they are in Vṛndāvan, but not as yogīs. How? As birds, bees. Guru Mahārāj put it this way, because we think like, “Insects, is that desirable?”  He is saying, “When Uddhava says, ‘I want be born as a blade of grass or something.' Does that mean that their position is nothing?”  It's just like in a play; in a play you play different parts. It says, if man in a play plays a dead man, does that mean he is dead? No, he is fully alive, but he might play a dead man very well. Right? Or a villain, or the child comes home from the school play and the parent say, the child, “Oh, I am in the play!”  “What do you play?”  “I am a flower”  “You're a flower?”  “Yes.”  And they have a little, the head in the center and petals coming out and a little flower-like outfit. And they're happily playing a flower in a play. If you can understand that then you can understand the flowers in Vṛndāvan are people. They are very exalted people. They can talk, they can preach. They can talk about Kṛṣṇa. They can become ecstatic. They can dance, they can move, they can do everything.
    So, we're told in the second canto of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, the leader of the bumble-bees, big bumble-bees, not like thin ones, but like chubby bumble-bees, like roly-poly bumble bees, they know haw to dance. When you see that type of dance, they're dancing ecstatically and it's told that king of the bumble-bees he starts madly dancing and singing Kṛṣṇa-kathā, then Kṛṣṇa, Balarāma, everyone just watching this dance and they're appreciating it like anything. So, what is the position of those there? Muktir hitvānyathā-rūpam svarupeṇa vyavasthitiḥ (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam: 2.10.6). Coming liberated from misconception, the body being the biological expression of the soul's delusion. Svarupeṇa vyavasthitiḥ.  They achieve the svarūpa that's based upon their dedicating tendency. Everyone and everything there is exalted and guru.
    Guru Mahārāj told that it's the world of gurus. The soil is guru, those who traverse the soil are guru. Then the Guru Mahārāj poses the question. “If that is the guru-world, everyone there is venerable, worshipable guru, how can you walk there? How can you take one step in the guru-world?”  Where the soil is of superior stuff to your own self. It said, like a pūjārī has to put the crown on Kṛṣṇa. It's an offence to touch the altar with your foot, but if you have to put the crown on the Deity and step on the altar to do that, that's the sevā. When Govinda in the Gambhīra had to massage Mahāprabhu, he stepped over him to do this massage, but once he was done he wouldn't step over Mahāprabhu till he leaves the room. So, when Mahāprabhu awaked, he said, “What are you doing?”  He said, “I couldn't leave the room”  “Why?”  “Because I'd have to step over Your divine form.”  “But how did you get there?”  “I was massaging you.”  So, when he was massaging, he stepped over the divine form of Mahāprabhu, because that's not for him, but for his own he wouldn't do that.
    So, we have to understand these spiritual principals that are operating there. Śuk and Sari, the two parrots than land on Mahāprabhu's fingers when he is in Vṛndāvan, the male-parrot is glorifying Kṛṣṇa, the female parrot glorifying Rādhārāṇī. And how? In perfect Sanskrit. These parrots are composing perfect Sanskrit verses that are astonishing all the devotees and bringing joy to their hearts. So, we have to reconceive if we're going to understand that world and unique position of everyone there. But for general reference Rūpa Goswāmī is giving some analysis and system – mādhura-rasa is like this, sakhya-rasa like that, these are the principal devotees, these are their quality and characteristics, those who in their group have similar qualities and characteristics, but are unique.

    What is the circular nature of the divine Pastimes?

    Guru Mahārāj reminds us, when we hear, we sing rādhā-kṛṣṇa-nitya-līlā korilā prakāśa (Śrī Nāma-Saṅkīrttan) every day. These pastimes are circular, nitya, they're continuing. From Sanātana Goswāmī we understand, Nanda and Yaśodā are thinking, “We have no child for so long, we have no child.”  They are praying. Kṛṣṇa appears as their son, they have their pastimes. Then Kṛṣṇa has the pastimes as a cowherd-boys, then all pastimes with the cowherd-girls. Then Akrūra comes and takes him from Vṛndāvan to Mathurā. Yaśodā is senseless, crying herself blind like a stone, Vraja-gopīs are trying to stop the chariot, throwing themselves in front of the wheel, holding the horses trying to keep Kṛṣṇa. He goes to Mathura and Nanda and Yaśodā are plunged into an ocean of separation, thinking, “We can't live in separation from our son.”  It goes, this circle is continuing, becomes more extreme and they think, “He's been gone so long, was he really here, did we really have a son?”  And it goes deeper and deeper and then they think, “We have no son, and for so long we had no son.”  And then Kṛṣṇa appears as their son and the circle is completed and it continues, this pastime.
    So, then someone will say, “Does it happen the exact same way every time?”  Guru Mahārāj, “No.”  Sanātan Goswāmī tells that when Kāliya after being punished by Kṛṣṇa, the dancing of the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa on the heads of Kāliya. Pounding the rubies into rose-colored powder, it's making the Yamunā look even more beautiful. And He is doing all the different, it the source of all the different dances, bharatnatyam, this dance, that dance. When Kāliya's praying for some mercy, he says, “In the future if you need a ride I'm available. I know Garuḍa, normally you ride on the Garuḍa in your Viṣṇu and Dvārakā pastimes.”  And Baladev, whose expansion Ananta, thinks, “Hmmm,”  who likes to be throne, seat, thread, cloth, also super-conscious. The ropes of the Jagannāth chariot are worshiped every year, they have names, personalities. We have to really reconceive. But so, Sanātana Goswāmī says that sometimes when Akrūra comes to take Kṛṣṇa from Vṛndāvan to Mathura that instead of chariot Kāliya shows up and they all climbed on Kāliya and they ride Kāliya to Mathura. That's another pastime, and then another pastime. And incidentally Baladev will say, “Why are you fighting with this ordinary snake? If you really want something, my expansion Śeṣ, then we can play. But this ordinary snake, playing with him?”

    Which rāsa is the best?

    So, gradation is everywhere and in everything. So, just to conclude Mahāprabhu told to Raghupati Upādhyāya, “Then what do you think is the best form of Kṛṣṇa, supreme form of Kṛṣṇa, supreme age of Kṛṣṇa, supreme abode of Kṛṣṇa, supreme [rāsa], what's the best?” And he says,
    śyāmam eva paraṁ rūpaṁ
    purī madhu-purī varā
    vayaḥ kaiśorakaṁ dhyeyam
    ādya eva paro rasaḥ

    (Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta: Madhya,19.106) Śyāmasundar is the supreme, paraṁ rūpaṁ, the supreme form of Kṛṣṇa. Mathurā [is] by extension Vṛndāvan, Govardhan, Rādhā-kuṇḍa, supreme abode and Kiśor, supreme age. Guru Mahārāj told it means like that teenage always on the verge of becoming, that's how he described it. Sometimes he said, “Kṛṣṇa is evergreen.”  “I thought Kṛṣṇa was blue.”  That's not the meaning of evergreen. It means always fresh, in the becoming of fresh youthfulness, beauty. So, Kiśor and that's when we has his pastimes with Vraja-gopīs. And ādya eva paro rasaḥ, ādi-rasa, madhura-rasa are the supreme.
    But still everything is necessary. When Hanumān as Murāri Gupta was pressed by Mahāprabhu to fully embrace Kṛṣṇa Conception, and he thought, “But Rāmachandra is established on the throne of my heart, he is my iṣṭa-devatā. How can I? I appreciate Kṛṣṇa, but Rāmachandra is my Lord.”  That night, because the next morning he has to answer Mahāprabhu, he thought, “The only way out of this situation is if I die, if I die tonight then I don't have to make this choice or reveal that I can't.”  But then he shows up and tell, “I am sorry, but I can't remove the lotus feet of Rāmachandra from my heart. I understand what you're saying about Kṛṣṇa, but I can't. He is enthroned in my heart.”  And Mahāprabhu laughs and we're told, that he writes on his forehead ‘Rāmdās'. He is, we're told, he is the āśraya-vigraha of dāsya-rasa.  So, he is worshiped by all devotees, the madhura-rasa servitors worshiping Hanumān. For this type of loyalty and fidelity to his Master.
    Śiva's praising Prahlād. Prahlād's praising the Pāṇḍavas. The Pāṇḍavas praising the Yādavas. The Yādavas  praising Uddhava. Uddhava praising Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī and Vraja-gopīs. And what are they saying? They're praising the flute. Now it's gone full circle. The trees, the flute. How? “Look at the flute, such a wonderful position.”  Rūpa Goswāmī's śloka about Chandrāvalī expressing her envy, [Sanskṛt verse]. She's saying, “The flute…”  it appears to be criticism, faultfinding, but is very sweet, she is saying, “Bamboo, dry, piece of wood, full of holes.”  The word is simultaneously, hole and fault; she is saying, “Full of faults, full of holes.”   Dry means nirāsa, no rāsa. So, “Why Kṛṣṇa always kissing this flute? Really, the nectar of Kṛṣṇa's lips meant for Vraja-gopīs. But this flute is stealing everything.”  So, they're praising this flute. They are in the highest [position], they are Vraja-gopīs. Flute we're taking to be śānta-rasa lower position. They are praising the position of the flute.
    So, the Kṛṣṇa Consciousness is the mutual admiration club. Always the devotees are appreciating good qualities of other devotees, whatever they're positions are. Guru Mahārāj does not like to hear that in the comparative analysis of these things where it's very easy to commit some offense. Someone will think, “Oh, if they are not in madhura-rasa that's some lower position.”  Once he said, “My heart is mortified to hear this.”  When Rādhārāṇī and Vraja-gopīs awake in the morning the first business to go to the doorstep, the threshold of the house of Nanda and Yaśodā and bow down and thank the Lord for her. Without her there is no Kṛṣṇa in this world.
    So, Rūpa Goswāmī and the Goswāmī, they can engage in this type of analysis to understand the nuances and unique position of different devotees. And they do in a very delightful respectful non-offensive sort of comparative analysis. But we like to finish with this, it's Śrīla Saraswatī Ṭhākur, we're told, when he would be given a plate of prasādam and many different preparations and the devotee would ask eagerly, “Oh, Prabhupād which do you like the best?”  He said, “Each one tastes better than the other one.”  And so that's Rāmānada-saṁvād where Rāmānanda says, kintu yāṅra yei rasa, sei sarvottama  (Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta: Madhya, 8.83), whatever you're tasting at the time, you think, “Could be anything better than this?”
    Do we think Yaśodā doesn't know what we know? Does she think, is there something better then her loving relationship with Kṛṣṇa? Impossible. But Rūpa Goswāmī's saying, “But on a comparative analysis this one is called madhura-rasa.”  It's the sweetest and contains all the elements of śānta, dāsya, vātsalya, everything is contained within there. That's why it is the original. They all spring out from there. But everything is necessary and akhila-rasāmṛta-mūrti, Kṛṣṇa reciprocating with everyone. Hare Kṛṣṇa.

    Karma or devotion?

    Devotee: We have a question from…
    Goswāmī Mahārāj: Yes. Simple question or like an hour class question? Okay, tell me the question.
    Devotee: Question from Veshpari dd. “Dandabat, in the beginning of the class Goswāmī Mahārāj spoke, ‘We can be very blessed becoming in touch with Śrīmad Bhāgavatam'. What he can say, if we read this book by ourselves? Is it okay?”
    Goswāmī Mahārāj: Okay, I can answer this question briefly. But I do want to say ‘friends' and I do mean friends, our facebook friends. Sakhya-rasa is good on facebook, it's best on there, liking [laughing] So, we like you too, but this is good, a simple answer fortunately.
    But first of all we'll say, Swarūpa Dāmodar's famous saying, where he says, “Bhagavata parodya bhagavata stane.”   You need to learn Bhāgavatam, you have to hear the book Bhāgavatam from the person-bhāgavatam. So, Guru Mahārāj mentions Professor Sanyal told that, “If I go to read the Bhāgavatam on my own it may be karma, it may be vikarma. But if I go to read the Bhāgavatam on the order of the vaiṣṇava, guru and vaiṣṇava, then it may be devotion.”  So, what is all important to us is the order of guru, the sanction of the vaiṣṇava. Otherwise anything we do on our own, what's the word, initiative then it doesn't necessarily have the divine will of Kṛṣṇa backing. Kṛṣṇa decides to reveal Himself, he says,
    nāyam ātmā pravacanena labhyo
    na medhayā na bahunā śrutena
    yam evaiṣa vṛṇute tena labhyas
    tasyaiṣa ātmā vivṛṇute tanūṁ svām

    (Kaṭha Upniṣad: 1.2.23) You won't get this by reading, pravacanena means speaking, labhyo na medhayā being very intelligent, intellectual, bahunā śrutena – hearing so much. Can also be paraphrased or reading. It said, he reveals Himself to whom He chooses, through whom he chooses. So, what is all-important is the sanction of Guru and vaiṣṇava.
    Just on this point to conclude with this. When I was, Guru Mahārāj, having conversations with Guru Mahārāj, like we mentioned earlier, getting certain impressions, sometimes saying something, correct and maybe pushing a little further, other times saying something incorrect. When Guru Mahārāj detected a lack of discrimination or ability to wait and assess and measure and understand strata and gradation, he said to me, “Haven't you gone through the Bṛhad-bhāgavatāmṛtam?”  And I said, “No.”  And then he explained it in summary and then he sanctioned that I would read that. Then I could read that in a meaningful substantial way and by his grace extract something from there.
    So, the sanction. When, we hear sometimes Śrīla Gurudev, he would quote a śloka that maybe I tried to learn before but could not, for some reason, it would not just come. But once he would discuss it and like throw it to, he had a throwing potency just like Guru Mahārāj did, then you can get it. So, it has to be a sanctioned. Guru and vaiṣṇav. Then it may be devotion. And we are interested in devotion not knowledge, not data, not a data-transfer, tene brahma hṛdā (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 1.1.1), it's not an information-data-transfer, but it's heart-to-heart transaction. That's what it has to be. So, what to speak of, that's in the Bhāgavatam, the very book is saying, “That has to be a heart to heart transaction.” From whom? The heart of the vaiṣṇava. Hare Kṛṣṇa.