I am very grateful to be with all of you this evening. Thank you.
When we met on the first evening of our gathering, we cited a beautiful prayer by Narottam Thakur. It is a prayer of yearning in separation for the Lord’s kindness and mercy.
The more spiritually advanced we become, the more humble and soft our heart becomes, and the deeper these prayers become. A great soul on the path of bhakti does not think that, ‘I am great,’ a great soul appreciates Krishna’s greatness, and appreciates how the greatness of Krishna is manifesting through other devotees to show mercy upon oneself, and in the presence and awareness of such greatness one becomes most humble. – Radhanath Swami
Logically from a material perspective it does not make sense, but from a spiritual perspective it makes perfect sense, that those who are pure and sinless think themselves most sinful. Those who are in the highest platform of ecstatic spiritual realization feel themselves the lowest, and that connects them so deeply with Krishna that it brings them the greatest happiness.
Radhanath Swami explains the prayers of Narottam Thakur
Narottam Thakur prayed, that in order to understand Sri Sri Radha and Krishna’s pastimes, one must follow in the footsteps of the Six Goswamis. When Rupa and Sanatana Goswami first met Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in Ramakeli, they were in that state of humbleness, and they repeatedly offered their prostrated obeisances in full surrender. They claimed that they were more fallen than Jagai and Madhai. They said, “Lord you are patita-pavana. You have come to deliver the most fallen. So, to truly manifest this quality all that is required is, you deliver us, because we are so fallen.” When Sanatana Goswami was speaking in this way Lord Chaitanya cried. He said, “Your humility is breaking my heart,” and he embraced him. Thakur Narottam, in this song, is praying,
‘gaurāńga’ bolite habe pulaka-śarīra
‘hari hari’ bolite nayane ba’ be nīra
“When will that day come, when upon chanting the name of Gauranga, tears will fall from my eyes and when I chant ‘Hari Hari’, my voice chokes with spiritual emotion?”
vishaya chadiya kabe suddha habe mana
kabe hama heraba shri-vrindavana
“And we will I cast far away, once and for all, all of my material desires, my selfish desires. Then and only then will I see Vrindavan.”
When we aspire to follow in the footsteps of these great souls, and when we apply this spirit of devotion to our lives in everything we do, then our hearts actually become receptive to receive the mercy of the Lord. – Radhanath Swami
Srila Prabhupada explains that the mercy of the Lord is like the sunshine. It is shining everywhere for everyone.
ye yathā māḿ prapadyante. tāḿs tathaiva bhajāmy aham
“As we open our hearts to receive it, we can actually access it.”
Radhanath Swami narrates the story of King Parikshit getting cursed
Maharaj Parikshit was the king of the world. There is no one like him anymore. Today, people can be king of one little province or one country, but he was the Emperor of the world. He was such a great personality that he literally loved and protected everyone in his kingdom as his own children. ‘sarva-loka-mahesvaram…’ Krishna is the proprietor of everything and everyone and whatever influence we have, a devotee realizes that, we are simply caretakers. Whatever intelligence, ability to speak, wealth, type of family occupation, the political influence we have, we are just caretakers of God’s children and God’s property, in Krishna’s service. As King Parikshit was such a selfless servant of everyone, he served with courage, incredible power and conviction. He made laws and enforced laws as a Kshatriya. As a king, he was totally humble at heart, but that humility manifested in a very practical way that would best serve the Lord. Srila Prabhupada, in his humility could melt hearts with sweet encouraging words and with that same humility he could roar like a lion to dispel misconceptions; but it was always in the spirit of the servant.
Parikshit, due to a mistake he made, a foolish mistake, was cursed to die in seven days. In today’s world people may curse you, but the potency of their curse is highly doubtful. But in those days, Kaliyuga was just about to begin and curses were effective. A little boy cursed him. That is quite embarrassing, compared to getting cursed by an ancient sage who was still around from previous yugas. But it was a little brahmana boy named Shringi, who was playing with his friends. Shringi found out that Parikshit Maharaj was thirsty, and, his father was in samadhi and so didn’t welcome the king properly; so Parikshit Maharaj somehow or other due to thirst, put a dead snake around the yogi’s neck. It was ultimately Krishna’s arrangement and the little boy cursed him to die in 7 days.
King Parikshit had previously conquered Kali, the predominating power of this age. Kali was dressed like a powerful king and his mission was to spread quarrel and hypocrisy to the entire world. He was torturing a cow, which was representing Mother Earth, and a bull, representing morality and dharma. Parikshit stood before him and Kali surrendered in total fear. Kali did not even try to fight with Parikshit because he knew that he was no match. And here is Parikshit Maharaj, at the prime of his career being cursed by a little boy to die. Srila Prabhupada writes in his book that, one’s greatness has to be estimated by one’s ability to tolerate provoking situation. You can never really understand who a great person is till they face a provoking situation. Are they going to react according to their ego with anger, arrogance, and fear, or are they going to turn to Krishna and respond with integrity? To be cursed by a small boy to die in 7 days knowing that 100% for sure it will come true, is indeed a provoking situation. He felt bad that, ‘I made a mistake and if this is what happens, I must deserve it.’ But when a great soul thinks that maybe I deserve whatever trouble I’m going through, it doesn’t make them depressed; it inspires them to turn to Krishna for total shelter. That is what Parikshit Maharaj did, ‘What a welcome blessing this is! I know that I have seven days to give my entire body, mind, words and life to Krishna.’ Now anyone could talk about giving their lives in surrender to Krishna but what does that actually mean? He wasn’t just being theoretical saying “Krishna, I’m yours.” Yes, he offered that prayer. But he offered it in a very practical, tangible way, because to take shelter of Krishna means to take shelter of Krishna’s devotee. He left behind all his wealth, all his material connections and wearing very simple cloth he went to the bank of the Ganga.
How many of you have been to that place, shuka-tal? Please raise your hands? It is not too far from here. How many have been to Haridwar and Rishikesh? If you are driving from Delhi to Haridwar Rishikesh, just in the area of Meerut, if you turn right, not too far, there is a banyan tree on the bank of the Ganga and that is the actual place where Parikshit Maharaj heard the Srimad-Bhagavatam. So he went there. In front of all the assembled sages and rishis, he bowed to them, and told them that he wanted to hear about Krishna. He asked: what is the purpose of life? What is the essence of all religion? What is the foremost duty of everyone? And what is the main duty of a person about to die? At that time Sukadev Goswami came in to the assembly, and all these great sages from throughout the universe proclaimed him to be the most qualified person to speak. Although he was just a teenager in physical units, he was so enthused by the sincerity of Parikshit’s inquiries, that from his heart Krishna manifested, the Srimad-Bhagavatam.
In the 10th canto, there is one place according to the acaryas, whenParikshit Maharaj had about three days more to live, but he was so happy. He was showing us how to take shelter of Krishna, to be in the association of devotees with deep enthusiasm to serve, to hear about Krishna and to chant Mahamantra-”Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.”
One of my God brothers, who was a very early follower, was having spiritual difficulty, and he wrote to Srila Prabhupada and explained to him. Srila Prabhupada said, “Because you have once chanted Krishna’s name sincerely in Vrindavan, Krishna is going to rectify everything, and bring you back home, back to Godhead.” Parikshit Maharaj told Sukadev Goswami that, “Previously when I was thirsty, I was in so much anxiety, that I put that dead snake around Shamika Rishi and,” he said “now for over four days, I haven’t had a drop of water or a morsel of food, but I’m not feeling the slightest bit anxiety. I’m not feeling thirsty at all or tired because I am drinking the nectar of the ever flowing Ganga of your narrations about Krishna’s life, teachings and pastimes.”
Radhanath Swami explains the pastime of Krishna calling out for gopas
Sukadev Goswami told, how one day – not too long after Nanda Maharaj and Yashoda Mai brought Krishna from Mahavan to Vrindavan, where they were living in this forest area – Krishna and Balaram were very eager to take care of the calves. They were very small and there were so many calves. How many of you, mothers and fathers, when your children are just a few years old, are going to give them the care of hundreds of thousands of calves and have them go out into the forest by themselves, all day, every day? But Krishna and Balaram were insisting, “We want to take care of the calves. We are very intelligent and very strong. We would like to do it.” Ultimately the intelligence of Vrindavan is simply to please Krishna and Balaram. So they took charge of the calves.
When this story took place, they were about five years old, and one day Krishna wanted to have breakfast with his friends in the forest near the bank of Yamuna. So they were going to go out earlier than usual. So Krishna woke up early, just around the time of the sunrise, and his mother Yashoda Mai bathed him, and she decorated him so nicely with oils, minerals, jewels, turbans and peacock’s feathers. Everything looked so nice. Then Krishna took his buffalo horn and blew it to call his friends. Krishna was so eager to personally reciprocate with his little cowherd boyfriends, that he was calling each one of their names. In fact Krishna, in his own inconceivable mystical way, could simultaneously stand at the doorway of every one of the gopa’s houses. He was not only calling their name but he was singing beautiful poems about each of the cowherd boys. He was composing these poems right on the spot, about the qualities of the cowherd boy, their relationship, and what they were going to do that day. Each boy was so happy to see that Krishna is here for me. Each one thought, ‘he was blowing his buffalo horn just for me!’ Then Krishna went back to his house and collected his calves, and each cowherd boy came with all of their calves. There were so many calves! The word is asankhya which is sometimes translated as unlimited. What does unlimited mean? Srila Prabhupada gives us some visualization of unlimited: if you take the number one and put 17 zeros after it, and that is asankhya. Those many calves were with the boys. As Krishna was playing upon his flute, they all were dancing together, going into the pastures. The older gopis, seeing Krishna playing on his flute, because of their motherly love were thinking that, ‘because Krishna’s lips are tasting the sweetness of the milk from the body of Mother Yashoda, just hear how sweet his flute is and how fortunate that flute is.’
That day was Balrama’s birthday and so he was asked to stay back. Because on his birthday, Nanda, Yashoda, Rohini Devi would have him do yagnas, and give charity, and all of those things. From the way it is described in our scriptures and acaryas, it seemed like Balaram really just wanted to be with his friends, he wasn’t so interested in all these formalities. But still he stayed back and Krishna planned it that way so nicely.
Radhanath Swami narrates the activities of Gopas in forest
There were limitless gopas and limitless calves. Each gopa had their own stick. Each had a bag of prasad, which their mother had prepared for them for the trip, which they carried on their shoulders. Each had little flutes and little horns. When they came into the forest, they all began to decorate themselves. Their mothers already decorated them with jewels, sandalwood and very nice garments, but they decorated themselves with natural gifts of Vrindavan. They were decorating their hair with leaves. They were taking the minerals and grinding them with rocks, and smearing them over their bodies. They were collecting feathers of birds, and feathers of peacocks; even they would take fruits and decorate themselves. Each of them would look at Krishna and want to decorate Krishna. Now, when you have unlimited gopas and each one personally wants to decorate Krishna with leaves, flowers, minerals, fruits and the feathers of Vrindavan, then what to do? Krishna is Rasbihari! He is the supreme connoisseur, and enjoyer of loving relationships. He is inconceivable and unlimited in every way. In Vrindavan, in his unlimited nature, he has limitless capacity to satisfy everyone’s desire. Krishna manifested himself so that every single one of the cowherd boys was just with Krishna alone, and every one of them was thinking that, ‘Krishna is only with me! Of all these limitless gopas I get to be the one to decorate Krishna.’ Out of all those gopas, no two gopas had the same way of decorating Krishna, because everyone is individual and has their own personality, taste, and artistic abilities. So each one was getting different types of minerals, different kinds of leaves and putting them in different ways. They were putting tilaks and putting so many lovely forest ornaments on Krishna, and Krishna was personally decorating every cowherd boy. Throughout the day, every time a cowherd boy looked at Krishna, each boy would see Krishna the way he decorated Him. This is not due to some advanced computer technology? This is Krishna! This is Krishna’s power to reciprocate with his devotee’s desire to serve. Sukadev Goswami describes, Krishna had beautiful complexion like a tamal tree, his eyes were like blooming lotus petals, his lovely and enchanting hair was curling around his moon like face, his smiling lips bright like the bimba fruit, he had a flute in his belt, had a buffalo horn, his cloth that he was wearing was golden like lightning, and around his neck he wore a gunja mala – gunja are simple sacred seeds that grow wild Vrindavan, – he had a beautiful vaijayanti mala, forest vanmala, a forest garland that extended below his knees, made out of so many of the natural forest flowers and leaves. He had a peacock feather in his hair. He had beautiful ornaments that Yashoda Mai put on, and all the different natural ornaments of the forest.
When they went out to take care of the calves, the cowherd boys really didn’t have anything to do in that sense. The calves were so deeply attached to Krishna and they would never leave Krishna. In Vrindavan, the pastures were full with luscious, nutritious, grasses, and the calves were absolutely happy. In this way Vrindadevi and Yogmaya arranged things in such a way that the gopas could put their entire attention on playing with Krishna and playing with each other.
Radhanath Swami speaks on ‘How Krishna reciprocates during his playful pastimes in forest’
At one time, Krishna went a little distance from all of them to a very scenic place, and he was looking out at the beauty of Vrindavan. Vrindavan is not different than Krishna. Vrindavan is the abode of Srimati Radharani, the pleasure potency of Krishna. Therefore, just as Krishna’s beauty and sweetness is never the same, it is ever increasing; similarly, Vrindavan on the spiritual platform is ever increasing. If you look at the same tree or the same view, you can never get tired of it, because it is constantly in such a spiritually dynamic way for the pleasure of Krishna becoming more and more and more beautiful, with unlimited variety everywhere. As Krishna was looking out and Sri Vrindavan dham was making herself so ever increasingly sweet for Krishna, and one of the Gopas cried out, “I will be the first to touch Krishna!” and ran to Krishna. And all the unlimited gopas cried out, “I will be the first to touch Krishna!” And everyone was running to Krishna. It is not that even Krishna has to expend himself in many forms. Krishna can do whatever he likes, but each and every gopa thought that they were the first to touch Krishna. Not only did they touch him, they ran up and they touched and embraced Krishna, and Krishna embraced each gopa. Everyone was thinking, ‘Krishna is just letting me embrace,’ and many of the Gopas started talking among themselves,
“I was the first to touch Krishna”
“No, I was the first to touch Krishna”
“Krishna, who was the first one to touch you?”
Krishna said, “It doesn’t matter we are all together.”
Ultimately whatever competition we may have to show our love for Krishna, or to serve Krishna, or to serve the great acaryas, they are most satisfied when we actually take satisfaction in being all together and appreciating each other’s service. – Radhanath Swami
All the games and the playfulness of this world – children like to play – the origin of that, in its perfection is in the spiritual world
The difference between play in this world, and play in the spiritual world is: the play in this world, as innocent as it may be, never really satisfies the heart, because we are trying to enjoy; but in the spiritual world everyone’s intent is to give Krishna enjoyment. – Radhanath Swami
Krishna enjoys when we enjoy, so we will enjoy like anything because we make Krishna happy. That is the sakhya-raas of Vrindavan. They would play their flutes, they would dance in the pastures in the forests, and they were very fond of imitating various animals.
There would be bees and they would hmm like the bee’s, bbbzzzzz!!!! They would imitate the motions of the bees. They would hear cuckoos sing in the trees and they sung like cuckoos. Krishna was doing everything and his friends were doing too; he was encouraging them like anything. The gopas would say, “Krishna, can you sing like a cuckoo?” When Krishna would sing like a cuckoo, his voice was millions of times more melodious and sweeter than cuckoos; so much so that the cuckoo birds were extremely honored that Krishna was singing their song. But at the same time they felt so embarrassed, humble, and so insignificant because Krishna was singing so much better than they could. This made them so happy, but they were embarrassed, and they started hiding behind the branches of the trees. They couldn’t show their faces, because they were the cuckoos, and they couldn’t sing near like Krishna. But that was their happiness. The gopas were so playful with Krishna and they would say, “Gopal, you are singing so much better than cuckoos, that all the cuckoos are hiding in shame, you should not sing like cuckoos anymore. Why are you doing this?” Krishna would stop singing like cuckoos.
Then they turned to the swans. They would make all the beautiful graceful gestures of swans. They saw ducks sitting by a lake and gopas would sit just like the ducks silently, not even moving. It doesn’t say that they made this sound like ducks but they probably did. The peacocks and the peahens were dancing together for the pleasure of Krishna. Krishna so expertly danced and moved just like a peacock, and the peacocks were so happy that Krishna was acknowledging and appreciating them in such a way, that they were filled with transcendental ecstasy and all the boys began to transcendentally dance like peacock. They would praise Krishna, “You are dancing so nicely like peacock!”
Radhanath Swami explains the naughty activities of Gopas
One boy saw a baby monkey on a tree and pulled the tail of the monkey. If you do that today, monkey will probably turn around and bite you, so please don’t do that. When Krishna was in Vrindavan, the little boys would pull the tail of the monkey, and the monkey would be afraid and jump to another branch, and the little boys wouldn’t letgo their tails, they would just follow right behind him, exactly with the same motions as the monkey. Others would sit next to a monkey and the monkey would look at them, and make an expression on their face, like monkeys do. The little cowherd boy would make the exact replica expression looking back at the monkey. Then the monkey would jump away and go from branch to branch to branch, and the gopas would jump from branch to branch, playing like the monkeys. Some of them saw little frogs and the little boys would go right next to the frogs, and jump with the frogs. The frogs would get scared and jump into the water, and the little boys would jump in the water after the frogs. When they would see the water, they would see the reflection of each other in the water, and they would start talking to the reflection and laugh.
They would start making all sorts of gestures to the reflection and say, “Look at this person, how strange he looks!”
They would go to a well and they yell in the well. There would be an echo and they would laugh. Sometimes they could see a reflection in the well too, and would say, “Krishna there is somebody down there”
And Krishna said, “Who are you?”
And an echo would come and say, “Who are you?”
Krishna would say, “I asked you!”
And then the echo would come out and say, “I asked you!”
Krishna said that, “You are fool!”
And then an echo would come out and say, “You are a fool!”
Krishna said, “How dare you to say that I’m a fool?”
Then echo would come out and say, “How dare you to say that I’m a fool?”
Krishna said, “I am the son of Nanda Maharaj.”
Echo would say, “I am the son of Nanda Maharaj.”
And Krishna said, “You come out, I will give you a good beating.”
And then echo said, “You come out, I will give you a good beating.”
And everyone would laugh. This is how the cowherd boys would spend their days. Sometimes they would play all games with the balls in the forms of the fruits from the trees. Sometimes, one of their teams would be the constables and others would be thieves. Sometimes, they would play where Krishna would be the Emperor and others as the subjects.
In this way Sukadev Goswami tells that, the para-brahman, that person who the gyan-yogis worship as the unlimited, all pervading, Brahman, the supreme power within and beyond all of existence, that same personality who the yogis worship as parmatma, the Lord within the heart of every living being, the witness, the knower of past present and future, and those who the devotees see as Bhagwan, the all beautiful, all merciful Lord of their heart, the gopas just saw Krishna as their most loving friend, and Krishna reciprocated with them as their friend. Many countless lifetimes of devotional service is required to attain the good fortune of the cowherd boys of Vrindavan. Srila Rupa Goswami tells us that somehow or other just think of Krishna. This was the fortune of the vrajvasi.
Radhanath Swami narrates the entry of Agasura in Vrindavan and his sinister plans
Srila Vishwanath Chakravarti Thakur explains that, when the gopas and Gopal would play, their play was so intoxicating, it was so inconceivably unlimitedly increasing each other’s happiness at every moment, it was impossible for them to stop playing. But at the same time it would be lunchtime or breakfast time. So the yogmaya potency would arrange one of Kamsa’s demons to come just before lunch to stop their play., It was exciting the way Krishna would liberate the different asuras, and that would make their appetite even more enthusiastic.
Sukadev Goswami explains that while they were playing like this, one asura named Aga entered Vrindavan. Aga means sin. This Agasura was a very best friend of Kamsa in Mathura. He was the younger brother of Putana and Bakasura. We discussed Bakasura yesterday and you can imagine what kind of family influences he had, because usually the younger children like to copy the older brothers and sisters, Putana and Bakasura. Not only was he in that family, but also he was best friend and trained by Kamsa. Agasura was most cruel. Kamsa was so outraged with Krishna’s behavior and so fearful for his own life, that he sent Agasura.
“He killed your brother and sister. You go to Vrindavan and kill him.”
Agasura hated Krishna and he wanted revenge. He was so wicked and so cruel that killing Krishna was not enough for him, he had vowed that he would not only kill Krishna, but he would also kill every cow, every cowherd boy, every gopi and every single resident of Vrindavan. He would murder all. He made a plan. He came into Vrindavan in an area that’s today called Sapoli and by his incredible mystic potency he transformed his own form into that of a python, a massive serpent. He planned in such a way that he would devour all the Gopas and their calves.
This snake was 8 miles long. His idea was that he would open his mouth like a massive cave and he would look just like a wonderful place to explore and play for all the cowherd boys, and when they all went into his mouth along with Krishna, he would devour them. Without Krishna, children and calves, the cows would die and all the older Gopas and gopis would definitely die in separation.. This was serious mass genocide. His plan was to exterminate from the world the whole vrajvasi race or community.
So he laid down and he manifested this form that was completely motionless, just waiting. He saw something that really disturbed him. He was watching and seeing how the cowherd boys along with Krishna were having so much fun together and this was disturbing his mind with ever increasing hatred. He couldn’t tolerate that Krishna and his friends were having fun. He was thinking, ‘This is the killer of my sister Putana. She was a very nice beautiful lady. She didn’t do anyone any harm and Krishna mercilessly killed her. My brother Bakasura, he was a great soul. Krishna attacked him and killed him.’ This is the way false ego thinks.
World is a mirror of our own consciousness. Sometimes people talk about being objective to some extent, and we could be objective. But nobody can really be completely objective, because we are all subjects; a living being is a subject, not an object. The very conscious force within us is not just object, it’s a subject. So how can a subject be object? A subject is subjective, and in the spiritual world everyone is seeing Krishna according to their particular rasa. Everyone is seeing in a very unique way. Hanuman is seeing Ram according to his love and devotion. Each gopa is seeing Krishna, according to their unique way, and Krishna is revealing himself accordingly.
Now in this material world, when we are envious, then that envy colors everything we see. Srila Prabhupada gives the example that, if you wear rose colored glasses, everything you see is rose-colored, everyone and everything. If you wear yellow colored glasses, everything is going to be yellow. According to our consciousness we see everything. For example:
if you show a flower to an artist, he will say, “Oh! Look at this flower, let me draw it and make a nice beautiful painting,” he is seeing the flower in one way.
If a man has some romantic attachment to a woman, he sees the flower and says, “Oh! let me steal this flower and offer to my beloved and put it on her hair, she would be so happy,” and he is seeing it on the hair of his beloved.
If a person has high fever or allergy, they see the flower and just run away, they start sneezing and their eyes start itching and will say, “Take that flower out of here!”
When devotee sees the same flower, he/she thinks, “Oh! Just see Krishna’s beauty in the flower. Let me collect it and let me offer it to Radha Shyamsundar with love and devotion and put it in their garland.”
So no one is seeing it the same. That’s the way life is. We have to understand this. Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur said that, “I only see faults in others because I am honeycombed with so many faults in myself.”
brahmane gavi hastini
suni caiva sva-pake ca
Krishna tells in Gita that, “One who is actually learned, sees every living being as a child of Krishna, sees Krishna in the heart of every one, sees the whole creation as an opportunity to serve Krishna.” Sripad Vallabhacharya gives one of his very strong teachings that “A devotee should see the whole universe as Krishna’s playground, and think how can I utilize everything that is for Krishna’s service.” Srila Rup Goswami explained this principle of yukta vairagya ‘om purnamadah purnamidam’ – to see everything in relation with Krishna. But if we have greed everything and everyone we look at is going to be tainted by that greed. We may have envy, the worst of all qualities.
Krishna tells Arjuna, “You can understand this message because you have no envy.” This is significant because one could memorize every verse of the Bhagavad-Gita, and recite them hundred and eight times a day in precise eloquent Sanskrit, and be able to give a commentary that will mesmerize hundreds and thousands of people whenever you speak, but if there is envy in our heart, we can’t actually understand a single word of it; because understanding is not just an intellectual conceptualization. Actual understanding is the transformation of heart that awakens our love, devotion, realization. – Radhanath Swami
Agasura was vengeful to Krishna as Krishna killed his brother and sister. He was seeing only goodness in Bakasura and Putana, and only evil in Krishna. For him there was nothing that disturbed him, more than seeing Krishna and his friends having fun. Unbearable! He wanted them to suffer, and when you want somebody to suffer, it is too painful to see them having fun. Do we all have that experience? You don’t have to raise your hands or anything, but just in your own heart you can ask that question. The problem is ‘me’. Even if somebody has faults, and if I’m enjoying seeing those faults and if I get absorbed, and get some sort of gratification in seeing those faults or speaking those faults, the disease is ‘me’. The fault may be true or may not be true, but, the disease is ‘me’. Aga was the symbol of sin. He was burning with the desire to cause them suffering and death. The more he saw them enjoying, the more frustrated he was becoming.
Radhanath Swami speaks on cowherd boys entering mouth of Agasura
The cowherd boys saw something that they never saw before in the forest of Vrindavan. They saw this giant structure of some sort and they began to speculate.
“What is this?” somebody said.
“Look!” one of the Gopas said, “It looks like such a wonderful playing place.”
“It’s a mountain.”
“It’s an incredible mountain that has been created in Vrindavan, just so that we can have fun, and enjoy with Krishna in this mountain.”
They were all talking among each other and they were laughing.
“It looks like a giant Python.”
“Yes, it looks like it has a lower mouth that’s on the ground and the upper part is in the clouds.”
“And it looks like those structures,massive white marble pillars, they look like python’s teeth.”
“And that fishy smell that’s coming out, it must be a massive cave.”
“It’s a massive cave and there must’ve been a forest fire long ago and some animals must’ve burned there because it smells like dead animals.”
“And look at this, this wide highway. It looks like the python’s tongue and its red.”
“Let’s go inside and explore and play.”
Some of the boys looked up and they saw the eyes of Bakasura, which were bright red with anger, arrogance, envy and greed. They got scared.
They said, “This is a Python!” and started running away.
But other boys said, “No, No! If you run away, we will not to let you play with us anymore.”
“You come back, it’s not a Python, it’s just like this…” and as they were going further, they were speculating more and more…
“Maybe it is a Python!”
One of the boys said, “I think, it’s a Python!”
Another boy smiled and said, “Even if it is a Python, Krishna will save us just like before. Bakasura was big like this and you saw how Krishna killed Bakasura. So let us go inside and play.”
And in this way, they were clapping their hands, dancing, running into the mouth of Agasura, and just when they entered the gigantic cave-like mouth, every boy and calf looked right at Krishna and smiled. Krishna was standing there.
Radhanath Swami narrates the killing of Agasura
Our beloved acaryas say that, Krishna knew that it was Agasura, and he knew the intent of Agasura. He wanted to stop them, but they were having so much fun speculating about what Agasura was and Krishna couldn’t interfere with their beautiful joking and laughing, but when he was just about to stop them, “No! No! You can’t go in!” they had already gone in. Krishna is the supreme controller of all controllers, but this is the nature of his love for his friends.
According to Sukadev Goswami, for a moment, by his own sweet will, by the power of his Lila Shakti, he felt bewildered, ‘What am I going to do now? They’re all in his mouth.’ Usually when you kill somebody and if somebody is inside that person whom you are killing, it is very dangerous. So how to rescue them when they are inside the mouth. ’If my friends went in and then I must go in.’
Agasura kept his mouth open as he was just waiting for Krishna, killer of Baka and Putna. After all the other friends and calves were inside, Krishna entered. When Krishna entered, the demigods, who were watching from the clouds, were so afraid of Agasura, that they began crying, “Alas! Alas!” When Krishna was outside, they were thinking, ‘maybe he will rip open the mouth of Aga, like he did with Baka.’ But now he is inside. So the demigods were very alarmed. Kamsa had his spies and they reported to Kamsa. They were celebrating. They were convinced that the vrajvasi race was exterminated.
Acaryas give us a lesson from this, Aga means sin and there is a lesson that we can learn from this: the cowherd boys were Krishna’s devotees, they were Krishna’s associates, but sometimes, even devotees of the Lord, who associate with the Lord by worshiping the deity, rendering devotional service, chanting the holy name, sometimes, they have a tendency to run toward sinful activities. Because like Aga, although those sinful activities cause our ruination and suffering, their purpose is to kill us spiritually, still it appears to us in an illusion state, as something that will bring us enjoyment. Sinful activities appear to be the places where we can enjoy. That is why Srila Prabhupada explained, that it is so important to have very quality association with devotees, and strict sadhna, especially the chanting of the holy names of Lord.
There is one purport where Srila Prabhupada says that, if one doesn’t attentively chant 16 rounds each day, at any moment, that person could become a victim of Maya, and Maya makes us victims to Agasura, promising all sorts of happiness. But by hearing Hari Katha, by reading Srila Prabhupada’s books, by hearing the classes of sincere devotees, we are reminded, and it fills our hearts with Krishna. So, we must be very careful. – Radhanath Swami
So when they were all inside mouth of Aga, and when Krishna followed, then Agasura was determined to crush them all. Due to the poison and the lack of proper oxygen, all the Gopas and the calves had dropped dead. They were lifeless. It was dark.
Pythons are very expert, not only do they like to chew you with their teeth, to get you inside, but once you are inside, they have a certain mystical power that only they have, and muscles within their bodies can crush you. A python can eat deer, just crush it, pulverize the bones, liquefy the whole body and digest it. That is Python. So that was his plan and he just began the process.
In all the other asuras that Krishna killed in Vrindavan, he never changed his form. He was always just like a little boy, because he didn’t want to disturb the rasa of his devotees, the love, and the affection. When he killed Putana, he was just a tiny little baby. Even though Putana grew and grew and grew and grew, Krishna just remained the same size, little baby, and just kept sucking her breast and her life out. When all the vrajvasis saw this,
“He is just a little baby”
“It must be due to our pious activities, because we planted banyan trees or dug lakes”
“Lord Vishnu has protected our beloved little Krishna.”
Trinavarta: When he took Krishna high up in the sky, Krishna didn’t become big like a mountain. He remained a little tiny baby of the same size. But he assumed the weight of the mountain, to make him come down, in a crashing way. For all of the asuras that were killed by Krishna, or liberated by Krishna, in Vrindavan, he always maintained his same little cowherd boy form.
Vamandev: When he wanted to fulfill his purpose, he expanded into a form where, with two steps, covered the universe.
Varahadev: When he wanted to save the earth, he assumed such a form that the whole earth planet could rest between his tusks.
Narsimhadev: How he appeared! He appeared to be covering all directions.
But Krishna was killing asuras, even worse than these, as a little baby. But now, no one could see him, so he could do anything he wanted. Because he was inside the serpent, the demigods couldn’t see him, Vrajvasis couldn’t see him, and all his friends were dead. So he assumed a huge form. He began to expand himself to completely block all the passage of air within Agasura. Agasura with his mystic potencies expanded himself, and he was getting bigger and bigger. But no matter how much he expanded, Krishna was expanding even bigger, so Aga couldn’t breathe. Agasura was struggling, he was suffering and his whole body was shaking. Somehow or other, he was trying to either crush Krishna or to expand bigger than Krishna. And Krishna kept getting bigger and bigger, until there was no possibility for Agasura to expand. Aga couldn’t exhale any air and his life force burst from the top of his head and went into the sky in the form of a light. He was dead.
Radhanath Swami explains why Agasura got sarupya-mukti
Krishna’s glance is the source of all life and all nectar. Krishna expands as Balaramji, Balaramji expands as that chaturvyuha – Anirudha, Vasudeva, Sankarshan and Pradyumna. Sankarshan expands as Narayan. Narayan expands as the secondary chaturvyuha. That Sankarshan expands as Karanodakshaya Vishnu, a very expansion of expansion of Krishna, and that Maha-Vishnu, by one moment of the glance upon the Maha-tattva, or the potential material energy that he creates, impregnates it with all living beings. With his glance, he activates the three modes of material nature through time, to begin the whole creation of the entire universe. That is the power of the Lord’s glance.
Krishna glances upon all of his friends and all the little calves, and brought them back to life, in such a way that they never even knew what happened. They didn’t know that they were dead. They didn’t even know that they fell asleep. They just came to consciousness, and they also saw Krishna glancing at them. They continued their clapping, playing, laughing, joking and came out of Agasura’s mouth. After all of the Gopas were again in the pastures of Vrindavan, then Krishna came out.
As soon as he came out, all the Devas were watching and something incredible happened, Aga’s atma, his eternal soul, which was hovering in the sky as a bright light, soared and entered into the body of Krishna. They understood that he had attained sarupya mukti, which means the liberation of being an eternal associate as a loving devotee of the Lord in Vaikuntha, in the spiritual world. This was astounding.
Aga was so cruel, sinful, envious, vengeful, then how is it possible? To a person who wanted to not only kill Krishna, but his whole family, all of his friends and every devotee, Krishna gave him eternal residence in his abode, liberation, why? Agasura gave pleasure to the gopas. They really enjoyed looking at him and they were laughing, clapping, dancing, while going into his mouth. Due to enjoyment given to the gopas while going into his mouth, because of their association or satsang, for a single moment, Aga found pleasure in their happiness, and Krishna saw that one little spec of goodness and liberated him. Also, because Krishna was inside of him and he was totally remembering Krishna at the time when he gave up his life, he was Krishna conscious. And therefore he was completely purified.
ye yathā māḿ prapadyante, tāḿs tathaiva bhajāmy aham…
Krishna’s reciprocates, because he allowed Krishna to come inside of him, Krishna allowed his soul to come inside Him. This was astounding!
Radhanath Swami explains the astonishment of Lord Brahma
When demigods saw this, they were showering flowers upon Krishna, and playing so many beautiful instruments. Gandharvas were singing, and the Apsaras were dancing, and so many wonderful celebrations and festivities were going on, because Agasura had been killed.
At that time, Lord Brahma came down to see what had happened. It was astounding that how Krishna was able to liberate Agasura. But the most astounding thing was, how Krishna gave him, like his sister Putana, eternal loving service in the spiritual world. That is Krishna! When the other avatars of the Supreme Personality of Godhead liberate asuras, they usually liberate them by giving them a place in the Brahmajyoti, mukti. But Krishna has given has given some of them entrance into his own past times.
Afterwards, the boys were really hungry and they all went to the bank of the Yamuna to take their prasad. Krishna was sitting among them, and he was praising the beauty of the Yamuna River, and the kalpavriksha trees of Vrajbhumi. All the boys took off their little packets of prasad, and they all made so many different kinds of plates: using flowers, rocks, and leaves. They were joking and showing each other their prasad, and Lord Brahma was watching. He was mystified.
A little Gopa would eat something, which his mother made it for him, and it would taste so good, and he would say, “Krishna you have to taste this!” And he would take it out of his mouth, and Krishna would eagerly eat it. This was even more astounding for Lord Brahma after he kills Agasura. Lord is yagna-purusha, yagna-bhuk. The greatest brahmans and the demigods after chanting beautiful Vedic hymns from the Sama-Veda, Rig-Veda, are offering oblations to the Almighty Vishnu; and is this the same Almighty Vishnu? He is joking and playing in the forest with these little cowherd boys, and he is eating the food right out of their mouths. Brahma wanted to test Krishna.
Radhanath Swami explains the way to deal with Agasura who represents envy in our heart
Sukadev Goswami explains that after the killing of Agasura, the gopas returned to the village of Vraj at the end of the day. On their way back, they saw something extraordinary, they saw dried up body of Agasura, and from that day Agasura’s body was a favorite playground for the gopas. All the same mystery and experience, when he was actually a Python, was still there, except now he was dried up and there was nobody inside. So it was one of their favorite places to play, hide-and-go-seek, doing kirtans and hearing echo. There were incredible acoustics inside of his mouth. Agasura not only did he go back home, back to Godhead, but his body was even there for the pleasure of Krishna and his friends. That is the power of association of Krishna.
So, we may have some Aga or sinful tendencies but when we chant the name of Krishna, Krishna is in our mouth. And when we chant the holy names with feeling Krishna is in our heart, and we become purified. – Radhanath Swami
Srila Prabhupada explains
om apavitrah pavitro vā
sarvāvasthāṁ gato api vā
yaḥ smaret puṇḍarīkākṣaṁ
sa bahya abhyantaraṁ śuciḥ
“Whether you are pure or impure, even if you are Agasura, by associating with the all supremely pure Krishna, we become purified.”
Srila Prabhupada gives a simple analogy: if you put an iron rod in fire, it becomes red and hot like fire and if you don’t believe it, you touch it and it will burn just like fire. That’s the power of association! If we associate with very materialistic, selfish, egoistic people, people who love to find faults with others, then undoubtedly those qualities influence us. But if we associate with pure hearted devotees, who are honestly and sincerely trying to serve Krishna, then we become purified. Krishna is the supreme pure.
kali-kale nama-rupe krsna-avatara…
“He has descended within the sound vibration of his holy name.”
Srila BhaktiSiddhanta Saraswati Thakur explained, just by associating with Krishna’s name purely and sincerely, the name of Krishna will reveal his form, qualities, past times, abode, and devotees, and it will reveal our own eternal relationship with Krishna, This is the power of associating with Krishna within our own hearts and within our own mouths – Radhanath Swami.
So we cry out his holy name “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.”
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu explains that we should take the string of the holy name, and wear a particular verse on that string of the holy name, and keep it over our heart always:
trinad api sunicena
taror api sahishnuna
kirtaniyah sada harih
This is our aspiration, not to have great positions or facilities, but to be humble like a blade of grass. In fact, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu tells, more humble than a blade of grass, more tolerant than the tree, eager to offer all respect for others without any false prestige ourself, and not demanding or expecting respect for ourselves. When we could chant in that state of mind, Rup Goswami tells us, what the experience will be – “I do not know how much nectar the two syllables ‘Krishna’ have produced. When the name of ‘Krishna’ dances on my tongue, I desire many many many tongues, and when the sound vibration enters my ears, I desire millions and millions of ears to drink that nectar, and when the holy name enters into the courtyard of my heart, my life is conquered, my senses become inert.
Srimad-Bhagavatam explains, if we chant Krishna’s name and our tears are not falling from our eyes, then we are not feeling transcendental ecstasy. Then it can be understood that we must have steel framed hearts. But Krishna’s name can melt those steel framed hearts too. Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya asked Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, of the nine processes of bhakti, which is most important? Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said: kirtanam;
namnam akari bahudha nija-sarva-shaktis…
All the powers of Krishna are within the name. It is the prime benediction for all humanity.
golokera prema-dhana harinama-sankirtana…
As Krishna descended here in Sri Vrajbhumi, Vrindavan, 5000 years ago and as he is in his aprakata-lila, performing his Lila here, eternally, Krishna descends from Goloka-Vrindavan, in the form of the holy name.
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu told Haridas Thakur and Nityananda Prabhu, go to everyone, see without discrimination, and only beg this one charity, “Chant the holy names of the Lord.” On his journey to Vrindavan, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, in the Jharikhanda forest transformed the hearts of tigers and deer into loving brothers and sisters, by transforming their hearts to the chanting of Krishna’s holy names.
Krishna’s presence in Agasura gave him supreme liberation. Whatever we may have done, if we just follow the path that Srila Prabhupada and great acaryas have given us, to live in the spirit of devotion, and take Krishna’s names, we will also become purified and we will return back home, back to Godhead. – Radhanath Swami.
Sukadev Goswami told Parikshit Maharaj, when this past time took place, the gopas were in their kumar-lila, from birth till five years old, and when they went back to the village, and explained it to all the vrajvasis, the elder gopas and gopis, they were in their pauganda age. Parikshit Maharaj was very inquisitive, and asked, “How is it possible? According to your explanation, it is in the same day, and it is also a year later, how?” Sukadev Goswami was so enlivened that Parikshit Maharaj was listening so attentively, and asked this question. Sukadev Goswami went into transcendental ecstasy, because he was remembering in his own heart, the incredible pastime that took place, that same day. He became speechless. But Narada Muni, Vyasdev, Vishvamitra Muni, and others had to keep katha going, as time was running out for Parikshit Maharaj. Sukadev Goswami explains one of the most beautiful past times that we will discuss this tomorrow.
Agasura represents cruelty. Aga represents envy, one of the great obstacles on the path of bhakti, where we actually take pleasure in seeing the misfortune of others. A true devotee is saragrahi, one who seeks the essence, and naturally their quality is, para-dukha-dukhi, the pleasure of another is my pleasure, the good fortune of another is my good fortune and the suffering of another is mine. So let us together, we need each other, to inspire each other, to be examples for each other, cry out Krishna’s name with great feeling –
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare