Live from Sri Mayapur Candrodaya Mandir! HH Bhakti Vikas Swami – Gaura-lila
Date: February 27th, 2010 Verse: Gaura-lila Speaker: HH Bhakti Vikasa Swami
Okay someone go around and wipe away all the tears! Gauranga bolite habe pulaka-sarira hari hari bolite nayane ba’be nira. We should all be crying according to Narottama dasa. One of the first of the very profound statements I have ever heard after being allowed in the doors of this movement was from Gurudas. Not you. You weren’t even born then in this body. So he said, “You will know when our movement is successful when we have to appoint someone to mop up the tears after kirtan.” We didn’t get there yet. Well we all came here to worship,
sri-krsna-caitanya prabhu-nityananda sri-advaita gadadhara srivasadi-gaura-bhakta-vrnda
To worship Sri Krishna Caitanya Mahaprabhu who is known along with Lord Nityananda and Advaita Prabhu with His saktis beginning with Gadadhara Jagadananda and all the devotees headed by Srivas Thakur. So in this way we have to know Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He is not alone. He is known as vande guru isa bhakta. First words of Caitanya-caritamrta – first offer respects to the Gurus – plural, then to the devotees altogether, but first the Gurus are mentioned, then to the devotees of the Supreme Lord, to the Supreme Lord Himself, to His avatars, to His prakasa, His expansions and His saktis. In this way Krishna Caitanya Mahaprabhu is properly known.
We have come here together on the order of Srila Prabhupada who in Sri Caitanya-caritamrta in one of his wonderful purports instructed all the members of the International Society for Krishna consciousness t assemble in Sri Dham Mayapur at the time of Gaura Purnima to celebrate the appearance of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu in this world. Caitanya Mahaprabhu is very pleased not doubt. So many devotees are coming and we can also remember having this superb facility here, seeing this superb Deity worship with the gopis dressed today in Manipuri dresses. Did anyone announce? Manipuri style.
So these facilities have come together thanks to the gaura-bhakta-vrnda who are specially the Prabhupada-bhakti-vrnda. Sprila Prabhupada brought devotees here into the rice fields. No one except Srila Prabhupada could understand why one would want to build a temple in the middle of the rice fields. One couldn’t even get there. There were no buses going at that time. The buses started coming after this temple came. Otherwise there was no buses, no need for any bus. You could get a train to Krishna-nagara and walk, convince a rickshaw to driver to take you. Something like that! You walk over the rice fields. And this is the world center of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, Srila Prabhupada very happily said.
It didn’t look like the center of anything. Center of the wilderness but Srila Prabhupada established this temple here. Now it has come up and is coming up so beautifully. The big temple is to come but we have to remember as we are very comfortably accommodated here – atleast I am. I lead a privileged life more than others. Others are also. Depends on the level you pay for. There are nice facilities. I am staying in the senior brahmacari building. There are so many devotees who have been there so many years and are being well looked after.
Initially there was so much struggle. There was no electric current most of the time. There was no running water. There were plenty of mosquitoes, quite a few snakes – quite a few struggles. In Bombay in Mayapur, in Vrindavan – these three centers Srila Prabhupada after establishing his movement in the west spent more time in India and especially on these three projects. So devotees, some of them are not with us now, some of those devotees who went through so much struggle. Some are very famous for their having stuck with it for all these years. Some are less famous. Some are not with us means that some are departed from this world, this bodies, some have unfortunately gone from Mayapur to maya but that won’t be permanent but their sacrifice has made this possible. And more sacrifice will be required to expand Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s movement more and more. We have come here to glorify Sri Krishna Caitanya Mahaprabhu – very difficult task to understand Caitanya Mahaprabhu. It is very difficult task to understand Krishna.
bahunam janmanam ante, jnanavan mam prapadyate vasudevah sarvam iti, sa mahatma su-durlabhah [Bg 7.19]
After many births of cultivating knowledge someone might come to the correct conclusion that vasudevah – Krishna is all in all, but such a great soul is very rare. But of those who have understood Krishna as all in all much lees have understood Caitanya Mahprabhu.
na caitanyat krsnaj jagati para-tattvam param iha [SB 11.3.37]
There is no higher truth that Caitanya Mahprabhu.
yad advaitam brahmopanisadi tad apy asya tanu-bha [Cc Adi 1.3]
The Brahman effulgence, which is considered non-dual which is glorified or indicated in the Upanisads, that is simply the bodily effulgence of Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
ya atmantar-yami purusa iti so ‘syamsa-vibhavah [Cc Adi 1.3]
And the Paramatma feature of the Lord is simply His expansion.
sad-aisvaryaih purno ya iha bhagavan sa svayam ayam [Cc Adi 1.3]
He is directly the Supreme Personality of Godhead replete with six principle opulences. It is very difficult to understand Caitanya Mahaprabhu because He doesn’t show Himself as such. He shows Himself as a devotee.
Here in Mayapur in 1976 during one of his lectures Srila Prabhupada said – I remember because at the time I was surprised by Srila Prabhupada’s statement that we should just try to understand and have faith in Caitanya Mahaprabhu. And I thought Prabhupada but this is such a difficult thing but it sounded very easy. I thought, “What is the big thing?” Actually by Prabhupada’s mercy it is not so difficult because we have faith in him. Our faith in Krishna was nourished by him established by him. And Prabhupada told us Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Of course he didn’t claim that just as his own opinion but on the basis of sastra. And he also told us that Caitanya Mahaprabhu is the Supreme Personality of Godhead who has come appearing like a devotee but He is actually the Supreme Lord. So we accepted that.
I was just saying this the other day in the Hindi class that in Bengal and Orissa, people at least those who are devotees of Krishna the understand bhakti devotion to Krishna means simultaneously to Caitanya Mahaprabhu but outside of Bengal and Orissa and maybe some parts of Manipur, Indian people, for them Krishna bhakti means they have heard of Caitanya Mahaprabhu but they are in Vallabha-sampradaya or Madhava-sampradaya and they know as great saint Surdasa, Meera, Purandara dasa but they don’t have any special regard for Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
So actually devotees coming from the West or outside of India who come to Krishna consciousness by the grace of Srila Prabhupada then from the beginning just like children in Bengal especially those who grow up in Vaisnava families, they imbibe with heir mothers milk as the saying goes – for them it is just part of growing up. From the beginning they have faith in Caitanya Mahaprabhu. And for those whose spiritual life begins after a career of ungodliness coming from outside of India, they are also coming from the beginning having faith in Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
So for us it seems very natural. In that sense for those of us who are coming from outside of India are in a more fortunate position than even Vaisnavas from India who don’t grow up with the understanding that, na caitanyat krsnaj jagati para-tattvam param iha [SB 11.3.37] – that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is not just another saint but He is the ultimate object of worship for all saints and even for those that aren’t saints. Some know, some don’t know but he is the ultimate object of worship for everyone. For people who take to bhakti in other parts of India they have to later on learn about Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Sometimes it is difficult for them to accept because they are inclined to their own local traditions. So in that sense we are very fortunate. Actually in every sense we are very fortunate. That is Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s mission – to make everyone fortunate.
Everyone in this material world is unfortunate. We have made our own misfortune. Caitanya Mahaprabhu has come to make the unfortunate fortunate. It is a difficult job. Even Caitanya Mahaprabhu recognized that it is a difficult job. He Himself feels that it is very difficult. He says that,
ekala malakara ami kahan kahan yaba [Cc Adi 9.34]
I am just one person. I am one gardener, gardening the garden of bhakti. How many places can I go to? He sent Nityananda Prabhu. Caitanya Mahaprabhu it appears that He fled Bengal having been insulted by certain persons here. And He visited again, forgave those persons but He sent Nityananda Prabhu back to Bengal. “You preach here. It is difficult for me. You better do it.” Difficult place to preach Caitanya Mahaprabhu thought. Of course it would seem that there are places that are more difficult to preach in such as the United States of America, Turkey, Russia and all other impious places. Caitanya Mahaprabhu fulfills His desires through His devotees, gaura-bhakta-vrnda. His desire,
sri-caitanya-mano-‘bhistam sthapitam yena bhu-tale svayam rupah kada mahyam dadati sva-padantikam
We pray to Rupa Goswami. The mundane scholars, they call the Gaudiya-sampradaya the Caitanya-vaisnavas like our own way of describing ourselves as Gaudiya or Rupanugas – followers of Rupa Goswami not Caitanya-anugas. It is very difficult to follow Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Actually most of the time Caitanya Mahaprabhu was simply absorbed in ecstasy, especially in the later part of His pastimes and some description of that is given in Sri Caitanya-caritamrta.
Many of His pastimes are described but actually most of the time was His apparently mad. Actually that is sanity. Because we are insane it appears to us as mad. He is apparently mad utterances, scrapping His head on the wall, calling out pathetically, “Where is Krishna?” So that is very difficult to follow but Caitanya Mahaprabhu He instructed His principle associates to write books among which especially the Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu of Sri Rupa Goswami. That is the guidebook for all devotees who are following Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
That gives guidance – sambandha, abhidheya and prayojana. Not so much sambhadha-jnana but the lorry of bhakti or pure devotional service is established – how to practice that. That is most important for us. And what is to be attained by the practice of that? What is the ocean of bhakti-rasa that awaits one who goes through all the preliminary stages, that is described in Sri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu? Therefore devotees in the sampradaya of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, they are called Gaudiya, which appears to be a geographical description because Caitanya Mahaprabhu appeared in this land. So it appears to be a geographical connotation but actually Gaudiya indicates those devotees who are more attached to Radha than to Krishna. So that is a very esoteric understanding.
gauda-mandala-bhumi, yeba jani cintamini, tara haya vraja-bhumi vasa
Those who accept that this land is fully spiritual then they are actually living in Vrindavan. Rupa Goswami, He instructed the devotees, taking instruction from Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Caitanya Mahaprabhu specifically sat down with Rupa Goswami and on another occasion with Sanatan Goswami and instructed them to write the books that would form the basis of His sampradaya. Rupa Goswami is also the leader of the followers of Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
Another point is that why we are rupanugas, just like a devotee doesn’t say, “I am a devotee of Krishna” but he aspires to be a devotee of a devotee of Krishna. So Rupa Goswami is the chief follower of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. So we always have to place ourselves position further away, not further away. Actually that brings us very close but not to suggest that we have direct access. Devotee is dasanudas anudasa. Rupanuga implies that after Rupa Goswami the next generation there is Krsnadasa Kaviraj Goswami, Narottama dasa, Visvanatha and in this way the parampara is going on.
So that implies that we are followers in the parampara up to Rupa Goswami who discovered Caitanya Mahaprabhu or revealed Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s inner intention. So in that way we are also followers of Rupa Goswami. Follower of Rupa Goswami means follower of Caitanya Mahaprabhu and actually t here is no other way to follower Caitanya Mahaprabhu. That is why the recent acaryas who have revealed Mayapur they have also revealed what it means to be a devotee, what it means to be a follower of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Recent acaryas means here we have our own Srila Prabhupada, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur, Srila Gaura Kishore Babaji Maharaj, Srila Thakur Bhaktivinode and Srila Jagannath Dasa Babaji Maharaj. All of these acaryas, great followers of Caitanya Mahaprabhu they have revealed the dham of Caitanya Mahaprabhu – Jagannath dasa Babji Maharaj,
gauravirbhava-bhumes tvam nirdesta saj-jana-priyah vaisnava-sarvabhaumah sri-jagannathaya te namah
We offer our respects to Srila Jagannath dasa Babji Maharaj who is the nirdesti. He said it is here. He confirmed this is the birthplace of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He had been performing bhajan in Vrindavan. He came to this Vrindavan. Here in Mayapur dham, Navadvip dhama this is Vrindavan, non different but actually more accessible. Vrindavan is very difficult to access even fro very highly elevated devotees but Sridham Navadvip is most merciful, non different from Vrindavan, but we can find Vrindavan more easily here by the mercy of Caitanya Mahprabhu. The acaryas they have revealed the dham. Gaurakishore dasa Babji Maharaj also. He was living in Vrindavan but he came to Navadvip. Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur aspired to live in Vrindavan but was told, “No you have to serve Navadvip dham.” So he lived in Vrindavan while living in Navadvip at Svananda Sukhada Kunja in Godrume, just over the river – non different from Nandisha – the place of Nanda Maharaj in Vrindavan.
So Bhaktivinode Thakur he performed such service to Navdvip dham that practically we have to be Bhaktivinode-anugas. If we are told to reside in Mayapur, Navdvip because he revealed this dham which all the indications were there, geographical, historical but it was lost. No one knew what is this dham. Bhaktivinode Thakur revealed that by his own vision. He compiled books revealing the glories of Navadvip dhama. He personally resided here. He wrote so many songs glorifying Navadvip. People of the world have no idea of Bhaktivinode Thakur’s contributions.
Even in Bengal. Bengalis are so fortunate and so unfortunate. They are so fortunate to be in the land of Mahaprabhu. The land of all these acaryas but they don’t even know their names. It is the most ridiculous thing. Even people in Bengal mostly they have never heard of Bhaktivinode. They can very easily sing his songs and understand them but they are so unfortunate that they are just wondering when we can kick out the communists and bring in Mamata management. It is foolish preoccupations. Bhaktivinode Thakur told Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati to serve gaura-nama, gaura-dhama, gaura-kama – the name of Gauraganga –
bhaja gauranga kaha gauranga laha gaurangera name
Nityananda Prabhu’s instruction. Serve the names of the dham and serve the desire of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, which Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur did in an unprecedented manner. Sitting for nine years and chanting! That was what he was doing for nine years chanting the names of Krishna. Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. We say if you are happy to say the names of Krishna but if someone tells us, “Now you sit for a whole day and chant.” We will think that it is a very difficult task but he was sitting for over nine years and he did nothing else. Of course he was also overseeing the affairs of the Yogapitha, preaching also. After chanting three lakhs, that is three times sixty-four rounds everyday like Haridasa Thakur – he was also preaching on top of doing that. We will think where is the time? They were doing it also. These are our acaryas.
So he was chanting and preaching. It means people would come he would preach to them, he would convince them. He was sitting in the rice fields chanting. Means that the temple was there. At that time not that big temple He built that later. It was just the original temple built by Bhaktivinode Thakur. It was actually quite a small construction. So he was sitting there chanting and people would come and he would preach to them and some of them although they were young men with their life’s possibilities ahead of them, educated young men, ambitious, they left Calcutta and came and sat with him with no facility. They thought that it was better to be here and they were right, better to be at the lotus feet of a Vaisnava, such a Vaisnava.
So he was chanting and chanting and chanting and chanting day and night and preaching and overseeing the affairs, writing. He was serving gaura-nama and gaura-dham. And that is also gaura-kama, the desire of Caitanya Mahaprabhu that people chant His name and reside in His dhama. And by doing so they can achieve the highest love of Krishna up to the highest level, which Caitanya Mahaprabhu came to reveal. Rupa Goswami revealed that, the highest level of love for Krishna – ramya kacid upasana vraja-vadhu-vargena ya kalpita.
The best worship of Krishna is that conceived by the gopis of Vrindavan. That is sri caitanya mahaprabhu mata idam. This is the teaching of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. So Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur, he didn’t have to chant the holy names to achieve that, rather by chanting the holy name he simply swam in the ocean. Gaura-prema-rasarnave – swimming in the ocean of gaura-prema-rasa. For the great devotees chanting the holy names is not a sadhana. It is simply natural out pouring of their inner ecstasy. So he was chanting and chanting but there was another desire of Caitanya Mahaprabhu that Bhaktivinode Thakur wanted fulfilled.
Prthivite ache yata nagaradi gram/ savatra pracara haibe mora nama.
That gauara-dham is there, Navadvip dham but the whole world should be in undated with the name of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. So that requires going to the world because the people of the world are so unfortunate. They won’t come. Why should they come here? There is nothing for them. There is no sense gratification. Then why should they come here? They have no interest to come here.
So Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur apparently went to Calcutta although he denied that he ever went to Calcutta because his Guru told him, “Don’t go to Calcutta.” So he never went. It means that his mind never went to Calcutta, not to the offers of enjoyment that were there but his mind went to the fallen conditioned souls who were flocking to Calcutta, growing city. And it is still growing and growing. But none was flocking to Mayapur. None had heard of it and none had any interest in it. Some few people had. The efforts of Bhaktivinode Thakur had not gone in vain. But for preaching Krishna consciousness, to fulfil the desire of Caitanya Mahaprabhu that not just a few people should know about His glories but that the whole world should take to Krishna consciousness Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur went to Calcutta.
So the history is at least from the external facts and figures – he is probably well known to all of you how own Srila Prabhupada on what appears from our perspective to be his first meeting with Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur before he could even attempt to say anything to Sarasvati Thakur was instructed by him to preach Krishna consciousness in the English speaking world, which he did, which is why we are all hear. It is all the mercy of Sri Krishna Caitanya Mahaprabhu, which is received through his devotees. We have this opportunity to come here in this sacred land.
Srila Prabhupada wanted us to come each year to get inspired and purified and then go away to the various parts of the world that we come from and preach the message of Krishna consciousness. If we go to people in Venezuela, Russia, China and tell them about Sri Caitanya mahprabhu’s golden form shimmering in ecstasy, preme dala dala sonara anga. His golden form shimmering in ecstasy as he dances. People are so unfortunate they won’t have any interest in us. They will think we are made which we are by Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s mercy. According to the materialistic perspective devotees are all mad people. So it is good to be mad for Krishna but preaching means we have to give a message that people can at least begin to understand and make further progress. Therefore Srila Prabhupada preached Krishna consciousness all over the world. We don’t find that he often spoke about Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His ecstasies. Not very directly but he introduced the chanting of the holy names of Krishna.
Many people didn’t feel the need to understand because they take it as something enjoyable people are singing. That is nice. Unless people are very hard hearted they appreciate when people are singing and happy, even if the people who are observing that don’t know why the people are singing and happy. Generally they appreciate, “That is nice. People are singing.” Sometimes the don’t. [End of recording] [Audio of this lecture and others are available on mayapur. com/downloads.]