Govardhan Retreat – Questions and answers. Summary and parting words
Questions and answers. Summary and parting words.
What do to if we have envy towards Krsna’s pastimes?
Bhurijan Prabhu: If we have false ego, it means we WILL have envy to Krsna’s central position (or to Radhrani’s)… So we need to work on removing the false ego through the process of Krsna consciousness…
For staying in Vrndavana dhama for a long time, how not to start thinking it is an ordinary place?
Jagattarini Mataji: I also stayed in the dhama for a long time but I always had a lot of service and that service was not even always so directly connected with Krsna[katha] like in this Govardhan retreat. The main question is, “For whose pleasure am I staying in the dhama – for Srila Prabhupada’s service or for your own satisfaction?”
… You can develop the introspection and always feel grateful for being in the dhama. This gratefulness will protect you.
When we chant in separation, we focus on what we DON’T have. When I chant in gratitude for having been brought here I am happy. So should I chant like this or switch to separation?
Madhavananda Prabhu: KC is a very personal process. We cultivate the feeling of union with Krsna. “How can we cultivate the mood of separation if I have never met Krsna?” – We can meet Krsna through His representative. And when he leaves we can feel separation. We also cultivate atma-krandana, the cry of the soul. The yajna-brahmanas failed because they were doing something mechanical, the yajna-patnis were hearing and remembering with their hearts. KC is about personal relationship. …
When is one eligible to hear rasa-lila? When one is eligible to speak rasa-lila? Under what circumstances should it be spoken?
Jagattarini Mataji: Sometimes Srila Prabhupada would give very strong warnings, at other times he said that without hearing about Krsna’s pastimes, you won’t be able to remove the unwanted things in the heart…
So, when is one eligible to hear? – when we have a sincere desire. …
Bhurijan Prabhu: Prabhupada gave us Krsna book very very early- in the 70s, he wanted the devotees to meet Krsna .. and was afraid he would not be able to finish the Bhagavatam with the Krsna-lila. … In the beginning that is how devotees would read: from beginning to end.
The natural *key* is reading FROM BEGINNING TO THE END, unless we are extremely qualified, we should read in krama, in a sequence.
Why should we chant 16 rounds, why not 8?
Sacinandana Swami: According to love of God’s incarnation if one has not chanted 64 rounds, one is fallen and Gauranga does not accept food from someone who has not chanted 64 rounds- that means no food for you :-) … It was the standard in the Gaudiya line. … When Srila Prabhupada came to the West, that was the number he had in his mind … [Mukunda Maharaja’s recounting his experience with Srila Prabhupada telling him to chant 64 rounds. “OK, 16 round and not less”].
“The Krsna consciousness movement prescribes sixteen rounds daily because people in the Western countries cannot concentrate for long periods while chanting on beads. Therefore the minimum number of rounds is prescribed. However, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura used to say that unless one chants at least sixty-four rounds of japa (one hundred thousand names), he is considered fallen (patita). According to his calculation, practically every one of us is fallen, but because we are trying to serve the Supreme Lord with all seriousness and without duplicity, we can expect the mercy of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who is famous as patita-pavana, the deliverer of the fallen.”
>>> Ref. VedaBase => NoI: verse 5
You can say, What is Srila Prabhupada doing, he is changing the tradition, is it OK? Yes, it is OK, he is the acarya. In fact, to know what is the proper duty for a specific group and time is the what the acarya sets. Krsna comes to the disciple through the acarya’s method given to him.
“O Lord, who resemble the shining sun, You are always ready to fulfill the desire of Your devotee, and therefore You are known as a desire tree [vancha-kalpataru]. When acaryas completely take shelter under Your lotus feet in order to cross the fierce ocean of nescience, they leave behind on earth the method by which they cross, and because You are very merciful to Your other devotees, You accept this method to help them.”
>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 10.2.31
So whether 64 rounds, or 16, or 1, this is up to the acarya’s discretion, questioning that would mean questioning the mind of the great soul. I know that 16 rounds for the Hare Krsna movement in 2012 is a challenge. I have heard this is a challenge. We have many who are up to 64 rounds a day, this is a hidden success story in our movement. But when we give japa retreats, we know, why people come – because they know, they either don’t always chant 16 rounds or don’t chant them satisfactorily. And we are not to point fingers at them, it is about establishing priorities in life. When a child suffers, he does not think, “Now I have to say the mother’s name” – no, this is a priority, it comes automatically.
It is our hope in these retreats to inspire the devotees that Krsna is attractive and beautiful, [you will feel you want to chant].
… Bhaktisiddhanta S.T. says that just like Krsna is always associated with His svarupa-sakti Srimati Radharani, so our hari-nama chanting must always be associated with Krsna-katha, then Krsna’s name will dance ecstatically on your tongue.
Gunavatara Prabhu: [Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati T. about a householder: “Yes, I know he is in the mood of chanting of 64 rounds].
Should we have self-love?
Madhavananda Prabhu: In puja there is ahangrahopasana and even Krsna does that : – ) But, as devotees, we don’t beat ourselves, … but we take all as mercy of our gurus…
Even demigods cannot recognize a Vaisnava (vaisnave cihnite nahi devera sakati – from Jagadananda “Prema-vaivarta”). Just like an ant in this pandal can understand that something is happening but not the intricacies of what it is going on here…
If Indra is so proud and has such difficulty learning his lesson then what is the hope for me?
Jagattarini Mataji: Sometimes we think that KC is something so difficult, even Indra can’t achieve it, as if it is a huge mountain and not any person can reach the top, a few people can make it, but definitely not me. So here another analogy is required: There is a deep deep well, into which we have somehow fallen, and someone has passed a rope into that well and asks us just to hold on. But even that may seem hard. But if with the help of others we can hold on and come out of that dark place and see how the light of KC is our natural place. Our natural state is being attracted to Krsna. We are hopeful because it is already there in all of us, we simply have to hold on and follow the process.
These days gave my lots of hope, experience and something like love for Krsna. How can I see Krsna in His original form? Is it the same like seeing Krsna’s picture or murti-vigraha? If this is a foolish question, please forgive me.
Sacinandana Swami: Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami says there are three forms:
Svarupa (own original form), arca-vigraha (Deity), name – and they are absolutely non-different.
Our philosopher scholars have studied these three forms and have concluded that Krsna in His name is even more merciful than His svarupa form. In His svarupa Krsna appears only in a totally purified heart, full of bhava and prema, but the name is willing to appear and sweep our heart, make it pure. Krsna in His name form takes the role of a ‘street-sweeper’ or ‘heart-sweeper’ so we can have darsan of Him. So if you want to see Krsna in His svarupa original form, then I recommend that you become a scientist in chanting the Holy Name.
This question brings a lot of heart and intellectual tension. It is for Bhurijan Prabhu.
“Bhurijan Prabhu talked many times about incredible beauty of Vrndavan. But I have not seen it. I have felt something. He said all is dead outside Vrndavan. I see majesty in mountains and rivers and the sprawling fields … Should I learn not to see the heaps of plastic, and be happy when robbed by local boys, the all pervading smell of sewage. I am sorry for my heart.”
Bhurijan Prabhu: I was just waiting for someone to ask this question! : – )
If one sees the beauty in the mountains and rivers and the sprawling fields and if one just gets a glimpse of Vrndavan, then one can just imagine how much more is there in Vrndavan. That is the positive.
Regarding the plastic, robbing, the sewage etc. – there are many places that are free from that! And they are not even far. Just walk through the mustard fields or go up the Yamuna. You can walk with someone else, or not take your computer, mobile and dress as a wealthy Westerner, and just sit and absorb. Pray to the dust of Vrndavan. You can feel humble, “This is my heart, what should I do?” Should I start picking up plastic? We can bring our prayers to the Giriraj and ask for response.
And yet it is such a sad thing: so many things have been lost or covered by the mobile towers, plastic, concrete etc. Yet, the beauty is also there. And good efforts are being made. There are many many devotees who are doing something to counteract the plastic etc and if you ask them they can tell you how you can help.
Jagattarini Mataji: There two levels of Vrindavan: the covering film of praudha-maya, what you see and think, but there is also the real Vrindavan, and that can get revealed by hearing about the glory of Vrindavan. If you don’t hear about what is eternally taking place here you may be on the platform of a mundane well-wisher of the drisyamana, visible Vrndavan, but we won’t enter the real eternal Vrindavan. That takes place only by sincere hearing…
Sacinandana Swami: Thank you very much for your questions! The basket is still full with your questions but we have to move on to the next section of our program, which Bhurijan Prabhu will introduce. Thank you very much!
Three questions we would like to ask you:
1. What was your most memorable unforgettable moment of the GR?
2. What realizations, deepest thoughts would like to take home from GR?
3. What can you do, when you arrive at your home that can best insure that you can keep what you’d like to bring home from the retreat?[Devotees sharing realizations]
Madhavananda Prabhu: First I would like to thank Sacinandana Maharaj and Bhurijan Prabhu for bringing us here and allow us to serve. This is a highlight for me and Krsna-kund.
We were speaking about the lila of the yajna-patnis and the philosophical side…
Bhaktivinoda Thakura – This represents devotees controlled by the people with low level of faith. ..The first door we come through is usually a church … but we want to go to Vraja. The brahma-patnis went to Krsna and when they came back, their husbands were bewildered, “How was this possible, these ladies never got diksa, never lived in the guru’s asrama, how could they have attained Krsna?” They overlooked that they did sravana-kirtanam.
sravanad darsanad dhyanan
mayi bhavo ‘nukirtanat
na tatha sannikarsena
pratiyata tato grhan
It is by hearing about Me, seeing My Deity form, meditating upon Me and chanting My names and glories that love for Me develops, not by physical proximity. Therefore please go back to your homes.
>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 10.23.34
Krsna SENT the wives back. In “Laghu-Vaisnava-Tosani” Sri Jiva Gosvami says that AFTER the brahma-patnis returned, those yajnas became successful. We are coming to the retreat to have the direct darsan, but then we go back….
Once my Guru Maharaj asked, “What is KC movement? Who has joined?” Then he pointed to me and said, “Madhavananda – not joined.” : – )
The yajnas of the brahmanas had some value. The brahma-patnis became gopis in Vrndavan. But what happened to the brahmanas? Sukadeva Gosvami says:
iti svagham anusmrtya
krsne te krta-helanah
didrksavo vrajam atha
kamsad bhita na cacalan
Thus reflecting on the sin they had committed by neglecting Lord Krsna, they became very eager to see Him. But being afraid of King Kamsa, they did not dare go to Vraja.
>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 10.23.52
They did not go.
My spiritual master said … that in a KC society there are different levels. There is a management level and we must cooperate, … but the essential level is the holy name. We should understand, “If I go to the retreat and improve my japa, I am helping this movement”. If we improve our japa, go deeper in Krsna-katha we are helping the whole movement.
Brahmanas had the fault of niyamagraha. … Mechanical chanting…
Baladeva Vidyabhusana says there are 3 levels of faith: sanistha “I must follow these material rules”, parinisthita is higher, [who has more faith in bhakti] and then nirapeksa, who may or may not follow the social rules.
The essence of the whole Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu is expressed in one verse:
silanam bhaktir uttama
In “Durgama-sang.” Sri Jiva Gosvami explains that there are 3 kinds of jnana: about the soul, the Lord, and oneness, and only the third is detrimental. And karmadi is varnasrama – to think that “if I don’t follow these rules I cannot get bhakti”. But bhaktya sanjataya bhaktya – bhakti comes from bhakti. Although the yajna-patnis were married to those fellows, … [they were hearing and chanting] and they were brought to the ashoka grove and this is the process: we realize, that Krsna is a person, my guru is a person and I am also a person. … We cannot jump to it (the pressure cooker has to gather steam) – … the yajna-patnis were crying for a long time, but then they met Krsna.
Vaisnava sanga is not only the speaker, but also those wonderful devotees who lend their ears to Krsna-katha.
I want to thank again Jagattarini Mataji, Bhurijan Prabhu, Sacinandana Swami for tolerating me and letting me do a little humble service and get this Vaisnava-sanga.
krpa-sindhubhya eva ca
vaisnavebhyo namo namah
This year preparing “Dana-keli-kaumudi” I felt a little nervous. I was going back to the Folio to see if Srila Prabhupada would be happy by my presenting it. Then
“…To go to Vrndavana means to understand the transcendental pastimes of Radha and Krsna. How this will be possible? So he says, rupa-raghunatha-pade hoibe akuti. Rupa, Rupa Gosvami, beginning from Rupa Gosvami down to Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, there were Six Gosvamis: Rupa, Sanatana, Gopala Bhatta, Raghunatha Bhatta, Jiva Gosvami, Raghunatha dasa Gosvami. So he says, rupa-raghunatha-pade: “Beginning from Rupa Gosvami down to Raghunatha dasa Gosvami,” pade, “in their lotus feet, at their lotus feet. When I shall be eager to be attached at their lotus feet…” Rupa-raghunatha-pade, hoibe akuti. Akuti, eagerness. What is that eagerness? That means to understand Radha-Krsna through the guidance of the Gosvamis. One should not try to understand Radha-Krsna by his own effort. That will not help him. As these Gosvamis, they have given us direction, just like Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, so one has to follow step after step how to make progress. Then there will be a fortunate day when we shall be able to understand what is the pastimes or loving affairs between Radha and Krsna…”
>>> Ref. VedaBase => Purport to Gauranga Bolite Habe — Los Angeles, January 5, 1968
Then Srila Prabhupada said: Don’t take it as ordinary boy and girls reciprocating their loving feelings.
I realized it will be successful only if done for the pleasure of Giriraja, Srila Prabhupada and the assembled devotees.
It is quite difficult to speak about these things when one lives back in those metropolises.
… Therefore it very important to learn the sadhana of hearing.
…When has to learn the property of humility … to receive the pastimes from those who have realized them and hand them down to us…
As a person and as a devotee I cannot get away from the fact that we have to go home. And there is no way to go home unless we become eager to go, and it is not possible to become eager unless we hear! … Thank you very much for hearing and for your reciprocation.
krpa-sindhubhya eva ca
vaisnavebhyo namo namah
In taking the well-spoken words of the devotees and the experience of the increased KC we have all achieved in this place by its mercy … to describe it is not possible, but we can say
This is the essence and simple secret of the Govardhan Retreat – that we should hear and chant in the association of the devotees. Yet, it is special to be near the Giriraj with so many devotees – Krsna manifests Himself among the devotees sincerely hearing and chanting. In preparing on this 46th chapter about Uddhava’s visit to Vrindavan I have seen how Srila Prabhupada includes the commentaries of the acaryas. He writes:
“Since Krsna had departed from Vrndavana and gone to Mathura, the inhabitants of Vrndavana, especially Mother Yasoda, Nanda Maharaja, Srimati Radharani, the gopis and the cowherd boys, were simply thinking of Krsna at every step. They were thinking, “Here Krsna was playing in this way. Here Krsna was blowing His flute. Krsna was joking with us in this way, and Krsna was embracing us like this.” This is called lila-smarana, and it is the process of association with Krsna most recommended by great devotees; even Lord Caitanya, when He was at Puri, enjoyed lila-smarana association with Krsna.[-and this was the methodology of Nanda Maharaja to open channel between aprakata and prakata Vrndavan – the feeling of missing Krsna, “Only if Krsna were here” – this is how they could associate with Krsna. So this is how to take the retreat home. Here we like that taste it is sweet, that is natural, and when we go home we’ll miss it. “Even Lord Caitanya, when He was at Puri, enjoyed lila-smarana association with Krsna.” In Brhad-bhagavtamrta (Kesava Bharati Maharaj who edited it, helped me understand this passage precisely) Sanatana Gosvami says that without the kirtan of the names the lila [and qualities of Krsna that we hear and read] will not open in the mind. Very important part is chanting the holy names. By continuously chanting we make our consciousness most receptive and then by hearing … we approach Krsna -]
“Those in the most exalted position of devotional service and ecstasy can live with Krsna always by remembering His pastimes. Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura has given us a transcendental literary work entitled Krsna-bhavanamrta, which is full with Krsna’s pastimes. Exalted devotees can remain absorbed in Krsna-thought by reading such books. Any book of krsna-lila, even this book, Krsna, or our Teachings of Lord Caitanya, is actually solace for devotees feeling separation from Krsna.”
>>> Ref. VedaBase => KB 46: Uddhava Visits Vrndavana
It is where we actually we belong – here – and missing that we can find Krsna very easily, and by reading Krsna-book, Caitanya-caritamrta … we can be with Krsna again.
(1) Be a servant. The greatest obstacle in our KC is reverting or keeping our enjoying attitude instead of being a servant (“Don’t try to see God but act so He sees you”).
(2) We should serve, aspire, but not imitate. We should be very careful and proceed appropriately.
(3) Hear and chant ABOUT KRSNA in the association of devotees.
The best way is to recount my most memorable experience. As you know, just before this retreat we had a holy name retreat in Varsana just 3 days before, and it was a little fast for me. I thought, “Let us give our best”. I was a little passionate about ending the retreat nicely, I felt happy about how everything went every well, for the first time I felt confident speaking about Krsna to the large international group of devotees. And all of a sudden I learn that I have offended a senior devotee. This whole morning I was trying 5 phone numbers and every time it was a wrong number. I was trying to call and apologize but couldn’t get through and became desperate. And part of me still thought I was not wrong, but the point is that the devotee was hurt. Then I had the intelligence to look at Giriraj and understood: Giriraja has arranged this, because my katha was about Indra who for 7 days could not understand that he had made a mistake. So I was not only telling the katha, but also Krsna decided to teach me. We have acknowledge a mistake and then apologize. I told you, I lost the goodness mood and a devotee felt hurt, I know this devotee is very merciful – I just hope I get the right number now.
Krsna is very personal. … You remember the Kaliya-damana-lila? At the end Kaliya’s wives say:
“O Lord, we do not know how the serpent Kaliya has attained this great opportunity of being touched by the dust of Your lotus feet. For this end, the goddess of fortune performed austerities for centuries, giving up all other desires and taking austere vows.”
>>> Ref. VedaBase => SB 10.16.36
I meditated on it when I read this this morning. You have all touched the dust near Giriraja… It will stay on your head… How did this happen for you, Nitya Prabhu? How did this mercy happen? How did you even get a visa in your country?
It was only that in the past Kaliya was compassionate and respectful – Krsna likes when His devotees are compassionate and respectful – because Kaliya got this dust we must speculate that he was compassionate and respectful to others.
So as you go home, why don’t you be compassionate and respectful and affectionate to all? It pleases Krsna.
Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura says in his commentary: When a devotee respects everyone the Lord becomes satisfied. [?4.11.13, 4.31.19, 6.4.13…]
Isn’t it a wonderful thing to remember as you go home?
Even the person who sweeps your house is under the shelter of Krsna feet. Krsna extends the shelter of His lotus feet to all.
You can start with the devotees around you and not judge them – to please Krsna! Then Krsna will be pleased with you….
What do you think about this program? – “HARIBOL!” – I am convinced that half of those who said Haribol will forget about this when they take prasadam now.
Please, practice this and your whole life will change and the lives around you will change.
You heard Krsna-katha – it is only the beginning, more and more will come over the years. Please, don’t disconnect yourself from Krsna-katha but remain connected to Krsna-katha. You can do this by hearing the recordings of inspiring Krsna-katha or reading Srimad-Bhagavatam.
Apply the three steps we discussed: sravanam (hearing), mananam (reflecting), nididhyasanam (applying)
Stay in connection…
The full recordings (without my -APD- mistakes, omissions, and miscomprehensions:-) will be available at http://vihe.org under “Audio”, in a couple weeks time.
Please check Dandavats.com and http://govardhanretreat.com for updates. You can subscribe for email updates with the help of feedblitz.com entering the RSS or subscribing to dandavats.com or writing to vihe AT pamho.net
Begging for your kind blessings, on behalf of your servants at VIHE, Das Adi Purusha
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