About 500 years ago, Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came to this place. In the pages of Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita we read of how Lord Chaitanya took his bath in Pampa Sarovar and visited the holy places here.
Radhanath Swami speaks of the gratitude that the Lord feels for his devotees
In the pastimes of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, like in the pastimes of Lord Ram and Krishna, he especially revealed the glorious devotion of his devotees. As Ram, here in Kishkinda Kshetra, he embraced Hanumanji. We will discuss this story tomorrow at the very place where this pastime happened – in the morning.
Lord Ramchandra confessed to Hanumanji, “The love and the sacrifice you have offered in my service is so overwhelming to me that I have no power to repay you. All I can give you is my embrace.” He embraced Hanuman, and in doing so he gave himself. For Hanumanji, there was nothing that he wanted in all creation except to give happiness to his beloved Lord Sri Ram. And knowing Ram’s love for Sita, his ultimate and only goal in life was to give happiness to Sita.
In fact, Hanuman lives forever to give protection, inspiration and empowerment wherever devotees sincerely chant the Lord’s holy names, because he knows there is nothing that gives pleasure to the Lord greater than being the servant of the servant of the servants; that is what he lived for. – Radhanath Swami
Similarly, when the gopis made such great sacrifice and took such risk to meet Krishna on Sharad Poornima, Krishna honestly revealed his heart to them. “I have no power to repay you for your love, even in the entire lifetime of Brahma, with all that I have.” Krishna is the proprietor of everything that exists in all spiritual and material worlds! “I have no power to repay you for your love.” This is the nature of Krishna. It is the nature of the God.
Gratitude is one of the most essential virtues for spiritual progress. A grateful heart is a fertile field for the seed of devotion to grow. The origin of that gratitude is the reciprocation of Krishna for the love of devotee and the devotee’s love for Krishna. – Radhanath Swami
tat te nu kampam susumiksa ma……
In Srimad Bhagvatam, Lord Brahma tells us – and it was a verse that was often quoted by Srila Prabhupad as a foundational teaching to our spiritual progress – that even when troubles and difficulties come, even when they seem by worldly estimation to be very unfair – we may have to deal with it according to the necessity – but in our hearts we bow down to Krishna with gratitude. “This is an opportunity for me to take shelter even in the hardest times.”
Hanuman comes as Murari Gupta
Lord Chaitanya expressed in many ways to many of his devotees his indebtedness for their service. I would like to speak very briefly tonight about one such devotee of the Lord. Vasu Ghosh, in one beautiful song, he sings about how Lord Chaitanya, the son of Sachidevi and Jagannath Mishra, is Lord Jagannath himself. “He had appeared as Ram to subdue Ravana; he appeared as Krishna to reveal the most splendorous pastimes of love in Goloka; and now he has again come in a beautiful golden complexion to give that same love to the world through this Nam-Sankritan or the chanting of the holy names.” Krishna’s most intimate loving associates, of all of his different avatars, appeared as various personalities in Mahaprabhu’s Leela. One was Hanuman. It was Hanuman’s wish to be the servant of the servant of the Lord whenever and wherever the Lord appeared within this world. He came as Murari Gupta. As Hanuman saved Laxman from a great catastrophe by carrying Gandhamadana Mountain from the Himalayas with healing ayurvedic herbs, he is considered to be the supreme ayurvedic physician.
Hanuman was everything: he was a great yogi, he was a great ayurvedic physician, he was a poet, a scholar, a musician, an athlete, an architect, engineer. He was everything! Because in whatever way he could be engaged in Ram’s service, he put his entire heart and soul in total surrender without ego. So therefore he was fully empowered in whatever he did. – Radhanath Swami
He came as Murari Gupta, who happened to be an ayurvedic physician, a doctor who lived in Sri Nabadwip Dham. Years ago we went to the birth place of Murari Gupta which is now in Bangladesh, East Bengal. In Nabadwip on the bank of Ganges, he was a householder with family.
He was the first person to write notes on the life of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Just as Hanuman is celebrated forever for bringing the glories of Ram to this world in such an incredible way, as Murari Gupta he was the initial person, and from his biography all the other biographies were very much rooted – Chaitanya Charitamrita – to glorify his beloved Lord. – Radhanath Swami
After Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came back from Gaya and established the Sankirtan Movement, Murari Gupta was one of his closest beloved devotees.
Radhanath Swami describes Murari Gupta in the Mahaprakash
During the Mahaprakash, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu wanted to show the world what real bhakti is through the example of his devotees. And he selected very special devotees to reveal their hearts. The Lord told us:
Mahajano yena gatah sa panthah
We cannot understand the essential goal of the Vedas even by reading and memorizing scripture after scripture, nor by our tapasya or simply by our sadhana, not by giving enormous donations or accumulating millions of followers. The real truth can only be understood by following in the footsteps of great souls. And what is a great soul? Srila Prabhupad writes that Krishna doesn’t see the things that are offered, but he accepts the intention in which it is offered – that is, something within the heart. The purpose of our chanting of the holy names, of our seva and everything we do is to cleanse our hearts of selfishness , of ego and all of the things that come from that – lust, anger, envy, greed, arrogance and illusion. – Radhanath Swami
So during this Mahaprakash Lila, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, he wanted to show the world what was deep in the innermost core of the hearts of his devotees. He called Sridhar, Haridas Thakur, Srivas, Advaita. He was revealing the very form of the Lord that they loved and worshipped, and offering them any benedictions. He called Murari Gupta.
Now, in the Lord’s pastimes, these associates, although they had the identical consciousness of their original spiritual identities, for the purpose of the Lila the Lord sometimes covered them from understanding who they actually really were. The Lord was sitting on the throne in the house of Srivas and he called Murari. He said, “Murari! See who I am before you.” Murari Gupta looked up and he saw Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu manifesting his form as Sri Ramchandra. He was sitting in the veerasana, heroic pose, holding his mighty bow with the quiver and arrows. His complexion was like the durva grass, his eyes beautiful like lotus flowers, on his left side Sita and on his right Laxman. Murari Gupta saw in all directions around him were vanaras, monkey soldiers, all offering their prayers. There was Jambavan and Sugriva and Nila and Nala. And then Murari Gupta happened to see his own body. He had become a monkey; he had a tail. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said to Murari Gupta, he said, “Look at me. You have forgotten, but I am reminding you. Don’t you remember? When Ravana stole Sita away from me, how you jumped over the ocean and with your tail blazing with fire you burnt the city of Lanka? I am your beloved Lord Ramchandra and you are my beloved devotee Hanuman.”
Murari gupta fell unconscious in ecstasy. And then the Lord touched him and woke him up. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, “Look! Here is Laxman. When he was critically wounded, you felt such deep compassion and love for him that you jumped from Sri Lanka to the Himalayas and carried the entire Gandhamadana Mountain back, just to revive him. And here is Sita. When you saw her condition in the Ashoka grove as a captive of Ravana, you wept a shoreless ocean of tears. I am your beloved Lord and I have the desire to fulfill any wish you have. Ask for any benediction.”
The substance of a person’s character is ultimately the ideals that we hold sacred – our desires. So much of the world around us is revealed according to our desires. Krishna tells in Bhagavat Gita,
ye yatha mam prapadyante, tams tathaiva bhajamy aham
As one surrenders to me, I reveal myself accordingly. According to the desires we cultivate – through our prayers, through our sadhana, through our association and through our intentions – that’s how Krishna reveals everything within us and around us. For one who is envious, for one who is angry, for one who is arrogant, they see the whole world through that lens. They see everything and everyone accordingly. For one who is humble, compassionate and eager to serve, they see opportunities to humble themselves and serve in every situation that exists. – Radhanath Swami
So during this great Mahaprakash Lila, Lord Chaitanya was revealing the inner character and essence of each of his devotees by offering them anything they desired. They understood that he is the husband of Goddess of fortune; he is the controller of all controllers. Whatever they ask for, they will receive. Murari Gupta told Sri Chaitnya Maharprabhu in the spirit of Hanuman. “I do not want to ask anything from you. My only desire is, how I can serve you?”
This was the principle of Prahalad maharaj also. Lord Narsimhadeva offered Prahald any benediction. Prahalad said, “If I ask anything for myself then I am not really a devotee; I am just doing business with you. I only want to remember you and serve you.” Murari gupta, he said, “I want nothing from you my Lord. But if it really pleases you that you give me something – in every situation I may be in, in any birth I may take, allow me to always remember you with love. Let me always remember that you are my master and I am your servant. Allow me to always be in association of those who sincerely and genuinely consider themselves to be your servants. Allow me to be the servant of the servant of your servants. That is all I desire. And in this spirit let me forever chant your holy names.”
When Murari Gupta revealed his heart in this way, wanting nothing but the opportunity to serve the Lord…
This material world is full of challenges, full of sufferings. There are always people like Ravana, big ones and little ones. Hanuman didn’t ask that the obstacles be removed. He didn’t ask that envious people be removed from his life. He only asked, “In whatever situation, let me always remember you and please you by being the servant of the servant of your servants.” – Radhanath Swami
And in his humility, Hanumanji, as Murari gupta, revealed, “Let me always be with your devotees who have that spirit.” When Lord Chaitanya heard this, he began to cry. All the devotees began to cry. All the trees and flowers and animals and reptiles and insects began to cry. Even the stones started melting. This was the power of Murari Gupta’s devotion. Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, he granted this benediction to his devotee and he said, “Anyone who considers you to be an ordinary householder with a family, who has an apparently material occupation of being a doctor, is most unfortunate.”
Murari Gupta was a great saint, he was a pure devotee of Krishna, but he wasn’t a sannyasi. He wasn’t living like a very highly qualified learned Brahman. He was a householder with family and he was performing his occupation. But Lord Chaitanya said, “Murari, who is Krishna himself, is ‘gupta’, he is secretly living within your heart.” Prahalad, such a great devotee, he was born in a family of demons, the son of Hiranyakashipu. Gajendra, that great devotee who surrendered to the Lord, was an elephant. Hanuman, he was a monkey, he had no caste. There was nothing very prestigious about his birth, but his devotion was something that lives forever in the hearts of all devotees. And similarly Murari Gupta, he appeared to be very ordinary person. Ordinary people just saw him as a doctor, but those who were blessed by the Lord’s grace could see that he was a topmost devotee. He was Hanuman. Later on in Jagannath puri or…
By the way, Vrindavandas Thakur, the author of Sri Chaitanya Bhagvat, he gives us benediction. “Anyone who hears faithfully this story of Lord Chaitanya revealing himself as Ram to Murari gupta and hearing the prayers of Murari ,will be given pure love for Krishna.” The seed is planted. Now we cultivate that seed, and it will definitely bear fruit.
Radhanath Swami elaborates on Murari’s chaste devotion to Lord Ram
While Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was living in Puri, he explained how one time he was telling his devotees, “I asked Murari Gupta to worship Krishna.” Lord Chaitanya said, “I told Murari that you are a devotee of Ram, but myself and all of the devotees, we are devotees of Krishna. And although Ram and Krishna are the same person, the same one Absolute Truth, the cause of all causes, still Krishna’s pastimes are the very essence of sweetness. The intimacy of the love of Krishna with the gopis and gopas is the highest revelation of spontaneous intimate spiritual love or prema. So please join us all and worship Krishna and chant the names of Krishna.” Murari Gupta, knowing Lord Chaitanya to be his beloved Ram himself, because he was Hanuman…
Anything Hanuman was asked to do, he would do. There was nothing impossible for him. In his previous avatar as Hanuman, he jumped across oceans, he single handedly faced Ravana and all of his armies and burnt the city, and he fought valiantly. Nothing was impossible for Hanuman. But the next morning, Murari came to Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, his beloved Ram. He said, “I can’t follow your order. I tried all night long. I tried to chant Krishna’s names, and even when I chanted Krishna’s names I could only see my beloved Lord Ram. I have given my heart, my head, and my life to Lord Ram. I know that there is no difference, but I cannot take my heart away. I can only see my beloved Lord and feel my beloved Lord. You are my Lord. I must follow your order, but it’s impossible. All night long I cried, I cried and I cried. And I ask your permission, please allow me to end my life.” Lord Chaitanya became so happy, he embraced Murari Gupta. “You are Hanuman. I wanted to show the world that chastity and the purity of your love for Ramchandra.” Lord Chaitanya showed his greatest pleasure. He said, “Blessed is that Lord who always is there to protect his devotee, and blessed is that devotee who never gives up the loving service of his Lord. And blessed is that Lord who if the devotee tries to do so, he drags him back by the hair.”
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, at one time he personally wrote the name ‘Ram’ on the forehead of Murari Gupta. Through this beautiful pastime we understand: from Krishna’s perspective, how he honors his devotees who genuinely and sincerely love him and serve him in all of his various forms that he has appeared within this world or in the spiritual world! Murari Gupta, a devotee of Sri Ram from the core of his heart, Hanuman himself, was there when Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was performing his most beautiful pastimes at Srivas Angan which was non-different than the rasalila. He was there at Rath Yathra when Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was revealing his supreme love of Sri Radha in separation, bringing Krishna back to Gundicha or Vrindavan. In this way Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, he brought Hanuman and the devotees of his various avatars. And although they were fully chaste in their love for their beloved Istadeva, still he was giving them entrance into most intimate loving pastimes of Vrindavan through the congregational chanting of the holy name.
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
Tomorrow is Deepawali. In the morning, I believe we are going to Malyavanta, the ancient temple and the cave where Lord Sri Rama and Laxman lived for the four months of rainy season, and where Lord Ram had his most intimate pastimes with Hanumanji. In the evening we will meet here. We will narrate the story of the Damodar Lila, Krishna showing the world how he is bound by the love of his devotees. And the next day is Govardhan Puja. In the morning we will speak from Sundarakanda of Sri Ramayan and in the evening we will meet here and narrate the Govardhan Lila. And tonight let us have kirtan for few minutes, and then I believe Gaur Gopal Prabhu will sing Damodarastakam and we can offer the lamps of our devotion.
Thank you very much