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Hearing Krsna-katha as the new sadhana

Friday, 14 December 2012 / Published in Articles / 2,273 views

By Sacinandana Swami


I warmly welcome you to this day of our retreat.
Every year we want to give a distinct color to the retreat. In Varsana Japa Kirtan retreat we focused on the instructions for improving our chanting. We were searching for the theme for this year’s Govardhan Retreat. This year for the first time really we are embarking on this “Hearing of Krsna-katha” which is according to many devotees is something which is something which in our society is new and needs to be introduced.

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was focused on the Holy Name and the Bhagavatam. The Bhagavatam gives the sambandha, connection between the individual soul and the Lord, and since it is rasa-sastra, it tells a lot about His names, qualities, and especially pastimes, – in the 10th canto, but even in the 1st canto Krsna comes as a charioteer as Arjuna is embarking on his new heroic deed.

SB 1.7.22
arjuna uvaca
krsna krsna maha-baho
bhaktanam abhayankara
tvam eko dahyamananam
apavargo ‘si samsrteh
Arjuna said: O my Lord Sri Krsna, You are the almighty Personality of Godhead. There is no limit to Your different energies. Therefore only You are competent to instill fearlessness in the hearts of Your devotees. Everyone in the flames of material miseries can find the path of liberation in You only.
>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 1.7.22

Kirtan is known, more and more, in our movement. But hearing the Bhagavatam, just sitting down and hearing SB for hours, is something new. How to enter this river? We will speak how to make this a sadhana, spiritual practice. Sadhana takes you away from the material and takes you to Krsna. It clears muddy and reveals what was previously hidden.

By hearing Srimad-Bhagavatam, as a side effect, lamentation, fear and illusion leave. SB promises that the Supreme Personality of Godhead appears by this hearing in the heart in a very short time!

Our Visakha Mataji has written an article that inspired me very much: “The Magic of Hearing”. Something incomprehensible happens by hearing! Krsna enters the heart.

“How will I do this hearing? Are there more instructions?”

When there is something new, like a motor scooter :-), we want to know the instructions. Like the host of our participant provided an electric scooter and said, “If you know about this button and press it, it will go very fast, otherwise it will go slow”. So we need instructions.

We made a little research about what is “RAPT attention”. Madhava from hot Alachua made a research and these are the definitions:

1 carried away in body or spirit (to heaven, etc.)
2 carried away with joy, love, etc.; enraptured
3 completely absorbed or engrossed (in meditation, study, etc.)

So you have to be lifted up and carried away.

Jiva Gosvami says that the mind is like a snake, – always moving right and left – who knows these? Accepting and rejecting. “Your mind is a snake, listen to Krsna-katha, which is like a flute song that will charm your mind”.

[Demonstrates a snake charmer’s tune] …
The snake becomes hypnotized (at least, if its teeth have not been removed like in India) and its biting tendency is reduced.

This is rapt attention. My God, I will write to the editors of the Webster’s dictionary and say, “You should hear S.Bhagavatam, you have served the participants of the Govardhan retreat”:)

The other aspect is _mananam_ – you need to again and again reflect. Human being is “manushya” which is connected with the word “thoughtful”.

Modern telephones which can do 54 functions, people are lost in the PCs and they never reflect. All reflection is done by the computer… And then nididhyasana – [concentrating&] applying in our life. Baladeva Vidyabhusana adds that then we Vaisnavas also pray.

Sanatana Gosvami after instructions asks Caitanya Mahaprabhu – please touch my head so whatever I say is proper.

The samvartaka cloud, urged by Indra, became exhausted. Indra was hissing, but after some time even Indra could not fail to notice that there is no effect. He has noticed joyful flute music coming from under the hill. The boy looked completely happy gazing with love at His people. Vrajavasis did not even notice what Indra was doing. Not even one Govardhan-sila fell from the hill. The 7 days passed for them like 1 ghatika, 24 minutes.

Finally Indra felt confused. Like falling from a high platform on the ground, – that is how a proud person feels when ignored – he is confused. That is the best way to deal with the proud person – just ignore him.

“Let us run, Krsna will now punish us!” By Indra’s command the sky cleared, the sun became visible and everything became auspicious in all the four directions. Brijbasis saw the attractive scenery – roofs of their houses were glittering as if washed. They were not eager to leave, they were ready to stay and look and Krsna.

[Lord Krsna said:] My dear cowherd men, please go out with your wives, children and possessions. Give up your fear. The wind and rain have stopped, and the rivers’ high waters have subsided.
>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 10.25.26

If there is festival you have to look out for 3 points, they say:
– wife
– children
– your possessions (like some of our mobiles were stolen:-)

The cows and calves strated moving but when they saw Krsna still under the hill they rushed back. That is how attractive Krsna is. Krsna glanced at the cows and by his eyes communicated, “I am just now coming, I have to put the hill down”.

Here you can see the Vraja culture. Krsna is saying: go around the Vraja and see if anyone is sleeping. Wake them up and then I put the Giriraj down. Giriraja was very high, wide and long. They had to first inspect if anyone was taking an ecstatic rest.

When everything was clear, Krsna put Giriraj in exactly the same spot. All was exactly matching its natural environment. Because the acaryas say that Krsna is the supreme expert of esthetics. So everything has to be where it belongs.

How Krsna did it is extremely difficult. I sometimes wondered, how He did it – He was in the center, so did he first tilt it or? No, Krsna threw it, but not in a rough way, and it all matched very exactly.

In world class tennis you have to be able to hit a ball into a small object from 35m, that’s how they train. Krsna put all in exact spot.

Now all Brijbasis were looking at Krsna. He was smiling, He wore the gunja berries – He prefers them to all jewels. Pearls, e.g., are foreigners, come from outside, but gunja berries come from Vrndavan.

The Brijbasis thought, we need to bless Krsna, He saved us! The elders came and smelled His head:) You may say, how is this good? If an elder smells the child’s head it brings auspiciousnesss (I heard this only about children, so after this katha I hope no matajis and prabhus don’t start smelling each others head:-)

Some were massaging especially the left arm, some pulled and cracked the fingers of Krsna, some blew on Krsna’s nail – maybe it was hot from Giriraja’s pressure. So Krsna gave everyone opportunity to once again associate with Him intimately.

Some drew tilak on Krsna’s forehead with yogurt. Do you know why? All cow products drive away inauspiciousness. Finally, Krsna’s closest relatives came forward. Nanda M., Yasoda Mata, Rohini, Balarama, they all came and embraced Him. It is only that Yasoda was worried that Krsna was hungry.

You may ask, if Balrama was there, why did not HE lift Giriraj? He is experienced in weight-lifting, He carries the worlds as Ananta. Krsna is not experienced in weight-lifting – He lifts only the flute and even after that He has indentures on His soft fingers. He does no work. All is done by His saktis. So why did not Balarama life Giriraja?

Do you feel this is a good question?

Certainly Balarama could lift Giriraj, but He knew that Krsna wanted to make a point: Surrender to Me and I will protect you. If someone surrenders to Krsna, Krsna will take TOTAL charge of you. Krsna wants to give the message: If you surrender, if you call for Me, I Myself will protect, I will come.

[Draupadi, why Krsna came late, Krsna’s mind – where was her shelter]

Taking shelter only of Krsna is necessary if we want to chant.
Krsna wanted to make a point: don’t take shelter in Indra for your water supply, in problems don’t take shelter in tantra, just take shelter in Me.

Even in the heavenly planets the demigods were so charmed by this, that Krsna protects those who take shelter in Him – they all showered flowers, they lost all fear of Indra. They all wanted to come to Vrindavan but thought the cow would get scared of their forms and bolt, so they just played instruments and showered flowers. The whole upper planetary system was just one big concert.

In the heavens, O King, all the demigods, including the Siddhas, Sadhyas, Gandharvas and Caranas, sang the praises of Lord Krsna and showered down flowers in great satisfaction.
>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 10.25.31
My dear Pariksit, the demigods in heaven resoundingly played their conchshells and kettledrums, and the best of the Gandharvas, led by Tumburu, began to sing.
>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 10.25.33
Surrounded by His loving cowherd boyfriends and Lord Balarama, Krsna then went off to the place where He had been tending His cows. The cowherd girls returned to their homes, singing joyfully about the lifting of Govardhana Hill and other glorious deeds performed by Lord Krsna, who had so deeply touched their hearts.
>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 10.25.33

Up till now Krsna did not say anything to Indra. Krsna is known as Hari – one who takes away. From His devotees He takes away the miseries and illusions. He takes away the hearts of His devotees when they hear about His character and qualities.

Now Krsna decided to do something very merciful. Indra is also His devotee – conceited and illusioned, but also a devotee. Krsna decided, “I will act so his pride is removed”. You can see how exactly does Krsna do this. You have to study, so you don’t protest when Krsna does it to you.

Brijbasis were becoming more and more thoughtful. Finally they got a heavy doubt (Garga-samhita). “Nanda Maharaja, O king of the gopas, no one in your family could lift a hill. O Yaod€, you could not hold even a single rock for seven days.” His color is different.

He must be God! But He begs for butter. He cannot be a God…

If the doubt is not solved, it grows {like a mosquito eating Roman emperor Titus brain little by little}.

They could not come to a conclusion. Srila Prabhupada summarizes it in “Krsna” book as the “Wonderful Krsna” chapter.

They all came as big delegation to Nanda Baba. Their faces were dry from the doubt. “Is Krsna really your son? He would not be able to kill Putana, Trnavarta …”

Nanda Maharaja’s face lighted with a smile – not like we, who come to the Govardhan retreat and struggle not to fall asleep during katha – they become totally transported.

In love you feel “I am totally unqualified, I do not deserve such a person”.
…[guru-disciple mutual humility of love]…

Brijbasis: “The most amazing we always offend Him! We call him a thief! He should have left us long ago. But He loves us! We cannot understand this. He was bound by a rope. Isn’t it offensive? You don’t bind the president of USA to a mortar with a rope. Krsna cries sometimes – we are not qualified for Him”.

There is something about Krsna’s pastimes which you must know, dear devotees, to understand them more. There are three qualities:

(1) intimate sweetness;
(2) amazing strength {left hand for lifting Giriraj – a small job, not even a hand but a pinky, or even a nail}

And another thing that we Westerners will have very hard time to understand. Krsna is “multi-complex” but Krsna acts VERY simple with His devotees. He jumps into the laps of His devotees. Brahma was bewildered, when Krsna ate food from devotees –

(3) endearing simplicity

Visvanatha Cakravarti T, explains this comment from Sri Sanatana Gosvami: of the three in Vrndavan the power is usually hidden.

Nanda Maharaja answered:”Your doubt is natural. But I have no doubt. My guru, Gargacarya in His name-giving ceremony said that Narayana is working through Him.”

– for us Westerners the concept of avesa is very difficult to understand; you are like a container, when someone of superior power acts through you.
…[Yamunotri story, someone dancing, ‘next year there will be rains if this puja is performed’]…

So Nanda Maharaja quoted Garga:

To increase the transcendental bliss of the cowherd men of Gokula, this child will always act auspiciously for you. And by His grace only, you will surpass all difficulties.
>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 10.8.16
In conclusion, therefore, O Nanda Maharaja, this child of yours is as good as Narayana. In His transcendental qualities, opulence, name, fame and influence, He is exactly like Narayana. You should all raise this child very carefully and cautiously.
>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 10.8.19

[empowerment – also for devotees, for preaching]

Nanda: So He is not Narayana – He is my boy.
Brijbasis became very happy and enlivened: Thank you, thank you!!

This is how it works, all the doubts will go away more and more, Krsna wants us to have …pure love for Him…

All the Brijbasis waited for Krsna. They greeted and encouraged Him: “Well done! You can do such amazing things!” They decorated Him, shouted, “Jaya jaya, o Vrajamani, may you live a long life!”


What happened with Indra?
We will hear tomorrow, your “yes” was very small:)

After a few days went by, Krsna, the Supersoul in every heart, knew He has to deal with Indra. Indra could not sleep in the heavenly planets. “He will send Yamaraja after me, I wanted to kill cows, Nanda- He loves them – Krsna will kill me like killing some devil”. Finally he went to Brahma, “What should I do? I made an aparadha against Krsna!” – “I also made an aparadha, I know what it feels like. I can give you one tip. Don’t go alone. Bring a cow, Surabhi. When she goes in front, Krsna will be happy, then you show yourself a little, then a little more, this will work”. – “No I cannot do that…” – “Then you are lost”.

Saci, wives are often good intelligence of their husbands, told him, “Don’t be an arrogant fool, go there”.

Indra approached Surabhi and she advised to not ride the elephant, but come on foot. He knew he “blew it”. Indra was so afraid. Brahma also came and said to Surabhi “I also did this once, we all want to come and bring you on the swan – all sages and rishis – now it is not me who did it:-)”

Surabhi said, “See the person behind me. He repents his rude actions. He rebukes himself again and again”.

We will stop you with one suggestion – how do you apologize? In ISKCON we very often apologize but how. Do you know that forgiveness happens only after an apology is uttered? It brings out the forgiving side of the person. You need three things for a good apology.

(1) you need to show that you understand that you made an offense

(2) one needs to assure that one does not intend to do the same offense again

(3) you need to sincerely beg for forgiveness.

Tomorrow we will check Indra if he is sincere or does he just want to save his skin.


The full recordings (without my {APD} mistakes, omissions, and
miscomprehensions:-) will be available at under “Audio”,
in a few weeks time.

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Begging for your kind blessings,
on behalf of your servants at VIHE,
Das Adi Purusha

4 Responses to “Hearing Krsna-katha as the new sadhana”

  1. New sadhana? Or reviving the old? In my early years in ISKCON I often speak many hours daily just reading SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM. Especially when new volumes kept coming out we were reading so much.

    Japa, read and distribute. Simple living and high thinking.

    Thank you for for reminding us to get back to basics.

  2. Adi says :

    :-) Thank you, Maharaj!
    Yes, these titles may come out a bit provoking :-) Krsna-katha is our eternal sadhana, even though we often manage to find so many other topics, “srotavyadini rajendra nrnam santi sahasrasah” (2.1.2)…
    Your servant,
    Adi Purusha Das

  3. Radhakundadd says :

    Please could the retreat be held at A DIFFERENT TIME IN THE YEAR? Three of our book distributors from Ahmedabad went for your retreat and sadly missed SRILA PRABHUPADA’S MOST DEAR TRANSCENDENTAL BOOK MARATHON…… )-;

  4. Adi says :

    Respected Radha Kunda Mataji,

    The retreats are held immediately after Kartik (Kartik is totally packed in Vraja) – and this year was the rare ‘late Kartik’ year, due to Purusottam mas…

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