Radhanath Swami explains “Exalted position of Gopis” 2013 Yatra, Vrindavan, Day 3
We offer our sincerest heartfelt obeisances and gratitude to His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad because through his vision and compassion, we have all been brought together in the holy land of Vrindavan.
Radhanath Swami narrates pastime of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu taking diksha from Sripad Ishwarapuri
When Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was living in Navdweep as Nimai Pandit, he successfully conquered every possible scholar in his knowledge of the scriptures. When he went to Gaya on the occasion of offering the sraddha of his departed father Sri Jagannath Mishra, he met with Sripad Ishwara Puri. In the presence of the presiding ishta dev of the lotus feet of the Lord Vishnu, hearing sincere and pure hearted brahmans chanting the praises and the powers of loving devotion to the feet of Vishnu, and seeing his guru standing before him, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu first manifested what he had hidden so carefully throughout his life, the very purpose of his coming to the world.
Could everyone hear? Hari bol and NO sounds the same from where I am sitting. Could you hear my Godbrothers and Godsisters? It is like watering the root of the tree, so all of you will be happy.
He came to this world to taste the sweetness of Sri Radha’s love, to feel the happiness that she experiences when she tastes the sweetness of his love as no one else could, and through the harinam sankirtan movement, and the examples of his devotees, he wanted to share that love with the world. That love erupted uncontrollably in his heart at that moment. He accepted initiation from Ishwarpuri. He rendered very humble simple services. He cooked for his guru, he cleaned for his guru, he massaged the feet and the legs of his guru, and he volunteered to do any menial chore for his guru. Although, from a material perspective, he was the greatest scholar in the whole world, and from a spiritual perspective he is the Supreme Absolute Truth, the Personality of Godhead, the source of brahman and Parmatma, still, he wanted to show by his example, how to progress on the path of bhakti as a devote. Also, from an internal perspective, it is the Lord’s deep eternal wish is to serve his devotees and the devotee’s only wish to serve and please the Lord.
Radhanath Swami describes the reasons for why Krishna is sucking his toe
There is that beautiful meditation of Krishna as a little infant baby Gopal laying on a single leaf from a banyan tree and that leaf is floating in the ocean of devastation with nothing else around it. Now, if you are a little baby on a single leaf in a massive ocean that was covering half the universe with massive waves and timingala fish jumping up and down, what would you do? Krishna was very happily sucking on his toe. Markandeya Rishi had this darshan.
Our beloved acharyas tell why he was sucking on his toe? There are so many levels of explanation for whatever Krishna may do. One is, babies like to suck their toes, at least, that’s what they say. You mothers, have you seen this? Laxmimuni Devi, the mother of the universe, is confirming that babies like to suck their toes.
So, what is so extraordinary about the Supreme Personality of Godhead doing what every baby likes to do? What is so extraordinary is the reason that he is doing it because devotees are willing to undergo any difficulty, they are willing to do absolutely anything, and they are willing to detach themselves from their homes, families, possessions, and ego, to please Krishna because they want to taste the sweetness of the dust of his lotus feet. The dust of the lotus feet personify service to the person whose feet we are meditating on. When we talk about taking dust means surrendering our heart with the deep intention to serve that person and please that person. – Radhanath Swami
rasa-varjam ‘py asya
param dristva nivartante
Krishna tells in the Gita that, “One can crossover all the temptations, attractions, and aversions of this world by tasting something higher and that is bhakti, devotional service.” One starts tasting the sweetness of service to the dust of Krishna’s lotus feet. Krishna sees the type of ecstasies and madness of transcendental happiness that his devotees experience by tasting it and hence Krishna wanted to taste it himself. But as Lord Narayan, it would not be befitting him. As Krishna Kishore, he was playing on flute and it also does not fit. But, as a little baby he could suck his toes to his heart’s content, and taste the sweetness of what his devotees are always aspiring for.
Radhanath Swami speaks on longing of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu for Vrindavan
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came in the mood of the devotee because he wanted to taste the sweetness of love for himself. He came in mood of hladini shakti, the supreme lover, the reservoir and origin of all love that is in the heart of every devotee which is his own shakti, Sri Radha. In Gaya, when he was initiated in the holy names, he began to taste the sweetness of that love, day and night. He could only chant Krishna’s name which is something very significant for us to understand.
namnam akari bahudha nija-sarva-shaktis
Krishna is non-different than his name, his powers, his beauty, his sweetness, his abode, and his love; everything is there in the name.
goloker prema dhan Harinam sankirtan
This Hare Krishna mantra is not a composition of a saint, it has descended from Goloka Vrindavan; the Maha mantra is Sri Sri Radha Krishna in transcendental sound vibration. In the spiritual world, the highest abode Goloka, it is the eternal past time of everyone to give pleasure to Krishna and to give pleasure to each other by so often chanting this Mahamantra. Immediately, Lord Chaitanya wanted to go to Vrindavan in the middle of the night when everyone was sleeping. He left Gaya and was running to Vrindavan, weeping, crying, “Where is Krishna? Where is Krishna?”
vrindavanam parityajya padam ekam na gacchati
“Krishna never takes a single step outside of Vrindavan.” In his ecstasies he was running to this place. The demigods from the higher planets called out to the Lord Chaitanya, so only he could hear that, ‘This is not the time for you to go to Vrindavan. You have descended to the world to establish the harinam sankirtan movement in Navdweep. You will go to Vrindavan another time.’
Out of compassion for all of us, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu put aside the most profound longing of his heart to return to his eternal abode of Vrindavan in the mood of the devotee to meet Krishna. In Navdweep, he established Harinam Sankirtan. In Srivas Angan, during the Mahaprakash, he fulfilled all his devotee’s innermost desires by revealing exactly in reciprocation to the love of their heart. He revealed these particular forms: to Murari Gupta, who was Hanuman, he became Sri Ramchandra, to Kolavecha Sridhar who was a cowherd boy, he manifested himself as Krishna Balram, to Haridas Thakur, he revealed his divine form of Sri Krishna, and to others, Sri Sri Radha Krishna. He was offering everyone any benediction that they liked, but the only benedictions anyone ever asked for were: to be with his devotees, to chant his names in the mood of the servant of the servant of his servants, and never forget him. When there is a love that is the only thing we could ask for.
Years later, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu accepted sanyass because there were people who were offensive, who were criticizing him, and they took him to be ordinary. He was thinking, ‘If they offer obeisances to me, which they will, if I am a sanyasi then their hearts will be open for me to give them harinam and Krishna prema. If I am a sanyasi, I can travel everywhere and give harinam and Krishna prema.’ So, he left home for our sake. He went to Katwa where Keshav Bharati Maharaj gave him: the sanyass name, Sri Krishna Chaitanya, a danda, a kamandalu, the dress of a sanyasi and shaved his head. As soon as he accepted that vow, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu began to dance in ecstasy and chant. What were his words? “Now I will go to Vrindavan!” Now he is a sanyasi and nothing could stop him. He was moving toward Vrindavan. Keshav Bharati Maharaj and the entire town of Katwa were also going to Vrindavan with him. After some time he sent everyone back except his very close associates including Nityananda prabhu. Nityananda prabhu knew that the people in Navdweep: Sachi Mata, Advaita, Gadadhar, Srivas and his brothers, and Haridas were dying of separation. So he led Lord Chaitanya to Shantipur where he met his mother. Sachi Devi requested Mahaprabhu to live in Jagannath Puri, “Please go there. I will hear many stories about you.”
Kaviraj Goswami tells that when Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was in Puri, the thought of Vrindavan would increase his love many times, hundreds of times, and when he was en route to Vrindavan through the Jharikhanda forest and all the other places, just knowing that he was soon to arrive, that happiness increased hundreds of times. When he reached Mathura, that happiness increased thousands of time and when he actually entered into Vrindavan and was roaming around through the twelve forests, that ecstasy increased unlimitedly. But for the sake of his devotees, after two months he went back to Puri, where his whole life, especially in the Gambhira, was in separation from Krishna and Vrindavan.
Radhanath Swami reveals the mood of devotees visiting Sri Vrindavan Dham
Sanatana Goswami, Rupa Goswami, Raghunath Das Goswami, had immense wealth, power, youth, health everything. Traditionally people come to Vrindavan on pilgrimage but usually when somebody is on the verge of death and there is no other way to heal themselves, then they come to Vrindavan. But these Goswamis that we have just named, had youth, health, power, and everything, but they gave everything away to live under the trees on the ground, to wear only the clothes that the vrajwasis would discard because it was worthless to them. They would make a kaupin out of it and to beg with gratitude. Sanatana Goswami was the prime minister and the king divided his entire fortune with him. He was like his younger brother. But now he was a beggar; he was begging. Let us meditate on this. He was not just begging ritualistically but he had great honor for the vrajwasis. He was begging for some of their food, not because he needed food, but because he considered the mercy of the residence of Vrindavan to be a treasure that cannot be valued in monetary terms.
When we hear these stories, we can appreciate Srila Prabhupad’s kindness to us. We have come where Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu craved to come for his whole life. We have come where the greatest scholars, politicians, billionaires renounced everything to be. We are in Vrindavan! So let us not be in anxiety about the little things that may happen. The nature of the mind in the conditioned state is that it wants to cheat us of opportunities. When we are in the association of the devotees, when we are in kirtan, when we are sitting down at the time of japa, when we are standing before, dancing before holy form of Radharani and Krishna in the temple, when we have seva, we are in Vrindavan. We are being given the greatest opportunity for the highest fortune but the mind wants to cheat us to take it cheaply, to be thinking that focusing its attention on anything else is more important.
We come on these pilgrimages to be with each other, to help remind ourselves very strongly that there is nothing more important. Birth after birth after birth the mind wants to cheat us by putting other priorities to consume our attention other than harinam, vaishnava seva, jeeva daya, service to the devotees, and sharing this wonderful gift with the people of this world. These are the jewels of life and we come on this pilgrimage to deeply appreciate that treasure and take it back with us wherever we may go in the world. – Radhanath Swami
Radhanath Swami recounts the discussion between Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Venkata Bhatta in Srirangam
When Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was on his South Indian tour, he stayed at the home of Venkata Bhatt for four months of chatur masya. In fact that year, at this time of kartik, during chatur masya he was in Srirangam and beautiful past times took place there. In a few pastimes which Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami describes towards the end of the trip, Lord Chaitanya was very much appreciating Venkatbhatt because he had such pure devotion to Lakshmi Narayan. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was pleased but he wanted to share something even deeper. One day, in a joking way he said to Venkatbhatt, “You are a pure devotee of Narayan. This is very good but Krishna’s past times are the essence of all sweetness and even Lakshmi performs tapasya and is willing to leave even Vaikuntha in order to taste the sweetness of Krishna’s pastimes.”
Venkatbhatt listened. He was very pleased by what he was hearing but he said, “But that is not a fault with Lakshmi Devi because Narayan and Krishna are identical, the same person. So even if she left Narayan for Krishna, because he is the same person, that’s not unchaste. So Lakshmi is perfect.”
Lord Chaitanya said, “Yes! What you are saying is true, but why is it that Lakshmi was not allowed entrance into Krishna’s rasa lila?” And then Lord Chaitanya told stories. There is a place called Belvan, which is not far from here, across the river Yamuna. In Belvan, at the time of Lord Krishna, there were many trees that had bail fruits and those fruits were like balls. When Krishna was with the gopas or the cowherd boys, they would love to play and those ball like fruits were very enjoyable for them to play with. Can you imagine what it is like playing with Krishna? Krishna is the creator of everything that exists.
There is a little meditation. Astronomers are trying to figure out how the universe works, how the suns, the planets, and the laws of gravity work? The sun planet is millions of times bigger than the earth and everything is in its orbit. Within this little tiny speck of the universe there is the earth planet. How does the molecule work, how does the atomic particle operate, how does the body work, how does nature exist? Such an incredible creative technology! This creation is absolutely inconceivable and it is all created by Brahma, and Brahma is just created by Vishnu.
In fact, the Brahma who created this universe once wanted to meet Krishna and he went to Dwarka. The guard at the door went and reported to Krishna. He came back to Brahma and said, “Which Brahma? Krishna is asking, which Brahma?” “The four headed Brahma,” he said. Krishna knew how to humble him. When he came in, he saw eight headed Brahma, sixteen, sixty four, and hundred and twenty eight headed Brahmas. I am not a mathematician. He saw Brahma with hundreds and thousands of heads. So could you imagine what those universes must be like!
Lord Brahma himself has prayed-
īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ
anādir ādir govindaḥ
That means, I am a controller and everyone in the little ways is a controller, but Krishna is parameshwar, he is the supreme controller of all controllers and his body, his personality is sat-chit-ananda: eternal, full of knowledge and full of bliss. He is the cause of all causes, sarva karna karanam, the origin of everything. So, if we analyze how material nature works, what is creativity involved, it is absolutely incredible. But the cause of all that creativity is playing with his boyfriends, can you imagine?
What type of games they create? We see in this world how many little games there are and how many sports are there. There are so many sports and so many ways to play. In a lifetime of Brahma, even the greatest poets cannot explain how many games Krishna could play with his friends in one hour. This is achintya shakti. This is Krishna! They would play various games: playing with these balls fruits, such simple games. Krishna, what a technologist he is in his universe! Today children need all kinds of computerized games to be happy, but Krishna is happy by just throwing fruits, with his friends. This is Vrindavan where the beauty is in the simplicity. Belvan was one of the favorite place for them to play ball games. Also, Belvan is where Lakshmi Devi sat doing tapasya because she wanted permission to cross the Yamuna and enter into the past times with Krishna and his gopis. Leaving Narayan, leaving Vaikuntha loka, she sat right there performing tapasya. We could go right to the place where she is still sitting. She fasted, she did austerity and she was told that, “You can only enter into the past times of Vrindavan if you give up your identity as a goddess of fortune.”
Radhanath Swami presents the simplicity in Vrindavan
Vrindavan is a place where the love is simple. Just be a gopi, milk cows, make paddies out of cow dung and sing songs.
jihve pibasvāmṛtam etad eva
govinda dāmodara mādhaveti
Whatever the gopis did, they were just singing about Krishna. Such a simple life! Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was explaining the story to Venkatbhatt. He said that we can only enter into Krishna’s lila by following in the footsteps of the residence of Vrindavan, even Lakshmi has to do that. He explained how Narayan has 60 most essential qualities of his unlimited quality, but Krishna has four that are beyond even Narayan.
His leela, his past times are a limitless, bottomless, and shoreless ocean of happiness. His devotees, the gopis, the gopas, their love for him is so unlimitedly deep, so unconditional that Krishna actually gives them entrance into a personal relationship where his identity as the absolute truth, as the Supreme God of all Gods in society is forgotten and he becomes their child, their friend and their love. Krishna’s flute – there are hundreds and thousands of beautiful poems that describe the sound of Krishna’s flute and the effect it has on the devotees hearts. When Krishna plays his flute, the trees tremble and dance, sometimes the movable objects become stunned like trees, sometimes the rocks melt and flow like rivers, and sometimes the rivers become stunned and immovable. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, “When sound of Krishna’s flute enters into the ear of the gopis, it is like a bird that goes into their ears and makes a nest so that nothing else can get into the ear. Then goes into their heart and completely steals their hearts.” Krishna’s beauty – the charm and the sweetness of his beauty attracts even the absolute truth Narayan. Even Krishna is attracted to his own beauty.
Chaitanya Charitamrita tells a story where Krishna will saw a reflection of himself in a jewel pillar and became stunned and intoxicated by his own beauty. Then he was thinking that, ‘I am the visaya, I am the object of love, but Radharani is the ashraya vigraha, she is the abode of love. What does she experience when she sees my beauty? Even I cannot understand that.”
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu told the story, how Krishna would perform rasalila with the gopis during the spring season at Govardhan. It would usually begin at the rasa sthali where he would play his flute and they would meet together near Chandra sarovar. One time Krishna left all the Gopis and they were searching everywhere for him. He was sitting in a place. Krishna’s great-grandson Vajranabh actually had a deity made in that very place, which is called Paitha, which immortalizes this past time even to people like us. Krishna was sitting and the gopis were looking for him. They saw him from a distance and were chanting his names in great separation, weeping and crying. In such expectation, they were very happy and they were running towards Krishna. Krishna wanted to run away but his emotions were so much affected by the gopis that he could not move. So, he disguised himself and he manifested his form of Narayan. In all majesty he was sitting with a magnificent crown and jewels, four opulent arms carrying: the conch shell, the disk, the club, and the lotus flower.
When the gopis approached him, they were disappointed that he was not Krishna. They bowed down with great reverence and said, “Oh Lord Narayan, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, we offer our obeisances to you. We beg you to give us one benediction that we are able to find Krishna.” Srila Prabhupad explains here that they knew he was God but they were not concerned with God, they wanted Krishna. This was the sweetness and the intimacy of their love. Some commentators tell that Lord Narayan with his four arms said, “That way!” So they ran to search for Krishna.
A few moments later, Srimati Radharani approached the Lord and he was in his aishwarya bhava as Narayan with his four arms. He wanted to play a trick on Srimati Radharani and he tried with all his powers. What is the power of God and expansion of an expansion of an expansion of expansion Maha Vishnu? He just exhales and entire cosmic manifestation and all the universes are manifested. He inhales and the whole cosmic manifestation goes in his body and everything is finished. That is his power! But before Sri Radha, although he tried to keep those four arms, two of them disappeared and she understood that he was Krishna. So Lord Chaitanya is telling these past times to Venkatbhatt and Venkatbhatt upon hearing it said, “I am really confused.” Lord Chaitanya seeing him confused said, “Actually Narayan and Krishna are one, there is no difference. And anyone who, due to their false ego, tries to differentiate the different manifestations of the One Supreme Truth commits an offense.”
Srila Prabhupad explains in the purport that the Absolute Truth is advaita, is one. But there is achintay bhed abheda tatva, within that absolute oneness there is inconceivable variegatedness eternally, and that one truth Krishna is Ram, he is Narayan, he is Vishnu, he is Narasimha, he is Dwarkadhish, he is Mathuranath, he is Govinda Dev, and he is Vrindavan Chandra. They are all one. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu himself honored Murari Gupta’s love for Ram. He actually deeply honored and was happy with Venkatbhatt’s love for Narayan, but he gave him entrance into the sweetness of Vrindavan. He said to Venkatbhatt, “There is nothing to be disturbed about, because the absolute truth is one. Narayan and Krishna are identical.”
Venkatbhatt said, “I don’t know who Narayan is, I don’t know who Krishna is, but I do know that you are Narayan and you are Krishna, you are the Supreme Personality of Godhead and I will follow you and from this day on. I will worship Radha Krishna in the mood of Vrindavan and follow in the footsteps of vrajwasis.” Their little son Gopal saw the transformations of his father. He later received the mercy of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and became Gopal Bhatt Goswami.
Radhanath Swami presents the life of Lokanath Goswami
When Lord Chaitanya was about to leave Navdweep to take sanyass, his intention was to come here, where we are in Vrindavan. There is a beautiful story which is explained quite elaborately in Bhakti Ratnakar. There was a devotee and his name was Loknath Goswami. He was born in Bangladesh. His birthplace is still there. His father’s name was Padmanath Chakravarthy and his mother’s name was Sita. His father was a great devotee and he was a follower and dear friend of the greatest of all the vaishnavas, Advaitacharya. When Loknath Goswami was a young man, he left his home because he wanted to be with Lord Chaitanya in Navdweep. He was part of all those beautiful past times in Sri Navdweep. He understood the true identity of Lord Chaitanya. Lord Chaitanya was his life and his soul.
Lord Chaitanya told him privately that he was going to take sanyass and leave Navdweep. Loknath Goswami’s heart was broken, ‘You are going to cut off your beautiful hair? You are going to take off your ornaments and be in the cloth of a simple mendicant? You are going to leave your beloved wife Vishnu Priya, who is the goddess of fortune and your mother Sachi who has nothing except you in her whole life? You are going to leave all of us, Srivas, Advaita, Gadadhar and Nityananda?’ He was thinking how is this? In his mind he was tormented. He did not want to be in Navdweep. When the news came that Lord Chaitanya had left and renounced the world, it was be too painful for him. He couldn’t say anything but Sri Gauranga understood his heart and he said, “Loknath, you will not survive being here when I take sanyass. But after I take sanyass, I will be going to Vrindavan, so you leave now and go to Vrindavan and I will meet you there. We will be together.” Loknath Goswami’s heart was crushed. He wept incessantly. He fell in his full prostration and took the dust of Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s lotus feet. Then, without saying any reason to anyone, he went to every vaishnava, with tears in his eyes, fell at their feet, took their dust, and he left for Vrindavan.
He visited many holy places on the way by foot. He arrived and waited for Lord Chaitanya. He received the news that Lord was actually on his way to Vrindavan to meet him, but he was detoured to Shantipur. Due to the love and the affection of his devotees, all his plans were changed, and now he was living in Puri. So Loknath Goswami was just ready to go to Puri but then he heard news that the Lord Chaitanya has left Puri and has gone to South India. Loknath left barefoot and started walking to South India to find Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Now, in those days, they did not have GPS or text. They did not text Kalakrishna das asking where is Lord Chaitanya. There was no possible way of communication. Can you imagine the faith of Loknath Goswami? He leaves Vrindavan by foot to go to South India to meet Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Is he going to be in Andhra Pradesh or Madhya Pradesh or Tamil Nadu or Kerala?
You see, when devotees are in this state of loving devotional service, nothing is impossible. Sometimes Srila Prabhupad would give very difficult things to do. That historical event where the devotees of the BBT printed Chaitanya Charitamrita books in two months. The art department was in New York, and part of the BBT department was in Los Angeles. When they were really on marathons, they were coming up with one book every few months. Srila Prabhupad said, “I want 17 volumes Chaitanya Charitamrita complete in two months.” So the head of the BBT said, “Prabhupad that is impossible!” Prabhupad said these historical words and he wasn’t joking, “Impossible is a word in a fools dictionary! You do it.” And they did it. It was impossible but they did it.
So when devotees have that enthusiasm to please the guru and please the Lord, they can transcend material nature in so many ways. – Radhanath Swami
So Loknath Goswami just left everything and walked all the way to South India, but it took him about a year to get there. The whole time his heart is yearning and longing to be with Lord Chaitanya and when he arrived in South India, he found out Lord Chaitanya had returned to Puri. So he went to Puri and when he came to the outskirts of Puri, he was told the news that Lord Chaitanya, finally after so many years, after a lifetime of aspiration, has gone to Vrindavan. Loknath Goswami was supposed to be there to meet him. So as far as humanly possible, he rushed to Vrindavan and finally he arrived. The one instruction that Lord Gauranga gave him was, “Be in Vrindavan, I will come and will be together.” And when he arrived there here he was told that Lord Chaitanya spent two months here. He was at Imlital chanting his japa every day at the banks of Yamuna and he was living at Akrura Ghat. He roamed through Mahavan, Khadirvan, Bhadravan, Bhandirvan, Vrindavan, Kamyavan, Talvan, Madhuvan, and Kumudavana. He was in great ecstasy everywhere. He was talking with the cow, with the dears, with the peacocks, with the monkeys, with the parrots, and with the vrajwasis, but then he left for Prayag. Loknath Goswami fainted.
So, Loknath Goswami decided that the next morning, ‘I am leaving for Prayag!’ But that night Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu appeared to him in a dream and said, “Loknath, I want you to stay in Vrindavan for the rest of your life. Very soon Rupa Goswami and Sanatana Goswami will come and meet you here.” This is the extent that these devotees had given their lives to please the Lord. He never physically saw the Lord Chaitanya again his whole life. He was seeing him in his service, here in Vrindavan. He was wandering around the twelve forests and one of his dear friends was with him, Bhugarbha Goswami, who is a disciple of Gadhadhar Pandit.
Radhanath Swami narrates a beautiful pastime between gopis and cowherd boys at Chatravan
At one time, Loknath Goswami was living in a place called Chatravan. There are beautiful stories about this place. When Krishna was personally living here in Chatravan 5000 years ago, in his manifested lila, he declared himself to be king of the whole vrajbhumi, especially that area. He was just a small boy with his friends and he told his friends, “You go out and declare it to everyone in this Chatravan area that they must accept me as the King. If anyone picks any flower without my permission, they will be punished.” So the cowherd boys were declaring this and they were inviting all the vrajwasis to come and support that Krishna is the king.
Krishna was sitting on a little thrown in the forest. Madhu mangal was very enthusiastic and he was proclaiming, “Krishna is the king, Krishna is the king of Chatravan, and everybody must accept this.” Some of Sri Radharani’s dear friends, Lalita Sakhi, Visakha Sakhi heard Madhumangal saying like this and they told him, “No! Srimati Radharani is the queen of Vrindavan and she in a place called Umrao. She is taking the role of the Prince of Vrindavan.” They dressed Radharani as a princess. She was sitting on her little throne and they decided that nobody can declare himself to be a king without the blessings of the princess. So, Vrinda Devi made weapons out of little sticks and thousands of gopis went to attack Krishna and the cowherd boys.
When the cowherd boys saw the gopis coming, chanting the glories of Sri Radha, Subala and all of them ran away. But they caught Madhumangal. They tied up his hands with the flower garland and brought him right before Srimati Radharani, who was the princess of Umrao. They declared to Madhumangal that, “She is the queen, she is the princess and no one has a right to take any title without her blessing. How should we punish you?” Madhumangal was very humble before Srimati Radharani and the gopis. They were thousands of them and he was all alone. He said very boldly, “You should punish me by filling my stomach with prasad!” Radharani said to Lalita, “What is the use of keeping a useless Brahmin like this here. A useless Brahmin! The only thing he wants to do is fill his belly. Let him go.” So they let him go. But his hands were still tied up with the flower garland.
Now you may think of a flower garland but there wasn’t a rope because they didn’t even use strings in those days. They just had special ways of making the flowers together and they would use some natural strings from wines to bring them together. The strength of that garland was the bhakti in which he was put around him. So he was helpless. He was very much afraid. He went back to Krishna and Krishna saw him tied up. He said, “What happened to you Madhumangal? What happened to you?” Madhumangal said, “Sri Radharani is declaring to be the princess and you have no right to have any role without her blessings.” Krishna said, “Well I am seeing that you are in so much anxiety. I will do anything you say. What should I do?” Madhumangal said, “You should surrender to Srimati Radharani.” So Krishna went and when Sri Radha saw him coming, she became so ecstatic and uncomfortable in her role of the princess. But her friend said, “No! No! You stay like this.” She was sitting on her throne and the gopis brought Krishna and put him on the throne next to her. Then everybody, very happily, seeing them together, performed kirtan of the holy name.
All of these beautiful pastimes are various creative expressions of pure love, because the ultimate happiness of the devotee is to see the happiness that Radha Govinda share with each other, and that happiness is unlimited. When we take our happiness in Krishna’s giving his love to Sri Radha and Radha’s giving her love to Krishna, then our happiness becomes unlimited. That is the internal nature of the soul! – Radhanath Swami
Radhanath Swami speaks on dealings between Lokanath Goswami and his worshipable Radha Vinod
So that was in that forest that Loknath Goswami was living. He was meditating on these wonderful pastimes and he was alone most of the time. By Krishna’s arrangement a desire awakened within his heart. He desired to have a murti, a holy archa-vigrah to worship with love. In the Western world and sometimes even these days in India, people think that deities are idols. Srila Prabhupad explains that Krishna is the ultimate creator of all existence. The whole material existence is his energy, and if he wants to manifest himself personally to receive the love and give his love through his energy to his devotee, in whatever form he wishes, it is absolutely the truth that he does so. The greatest acharyas had their ishtadeva, their worshipable deities.
Loknath Goswami wanted to have that loving exchange, but in those days there was no Loi-Bazaar where you buy deities. Vrindavan was a forest. Where would you get deities? He was just sitting in this lonely forest, near a place called Kishori Kund, which is one of Radharani’s most favorite places. One day when he was thinking like this, a beautiful looking brahmin walked up to him, did not say a single word but gave him a bag. Inside was a deity of Krishna. Loknath Goswami looked at the deity of Krishna and then looked around to thank the Brahmin and ask him who he was, but the brahmin was gone, he disappeared. Loknath Goswami was in ecstasy. He started to weep. Krishna is here but he was so confused, ‘Who was that brahmin and what I am going to do? How is this happening?’ And then the deity spoke to him. He said, “My name is Radha Vinod and I have been living in this area of Umrao for a long time, just waiting for you. Without the help of anyone else, I personally brought myself to you.’ Radha Vinod actually incarnated himself as a brahmin to give himself to Loknath Goswami and then Radha Vinod said, “I am hungry, feed me.”
Loknath Goswami went and begged for some food, made a fire, cooked bhoga, made a little altar of stones and wood from whatever was there, and made the offering. After making the offering, he made a bed out of flowers and leaves, and put Radha Vinod in his bed. For many hours Loknath Goswami was massaging Radha Vinod’s feet, and massaging his legs. He made a fan out of leaves and was fanning him. He, somehow or other, begged and got some cloth and made another bag out of that cloth, and that became Radha Vinoda’s home. As Loknath Goswami would travel, he would have that cloth and wear it around his neck, and Radha Vinod was always pressed against his heart.
Sometimes during the rainy season, the rain was pouring and the village people asked Loknath Goswami, “Let us build you a temple, let us build you a home,” but he said, “No! I will not live in any home.” There was a tree, which was a very ancient kalpavriksha tree and it was hollow inside. So he kept Radha Vinod in the hollow of the tree and would offer all of his worship to the deity in the tree. He would stay outside, subjected to all the rain and all the cold. He didn’t just tolerate the difficulty; he gratefully accepted it, because he had the opportunity to serve his beloved. As he was traveling in this area, sometimes he lived very close to Chatravan in the forest of Khadirvan. In fact, I believe there is bhajan kutir, the place where Bhugarbha Goswami and Loknath Goswami would do their bhajan in Khadirvan, and there he would meditate upon Krishna’s lilas.
Radhanath Swami speaks about the deliverance of Bakasura in Khadirvan
The Srimad Bhagavatam explains one beautiful story and our acharyas have given in their commentaries and many wonderful realizations of the story. May I tell? Thank you.
Krishna left Mahavan because Putana, Trinavarta, Sakatasura, and then Nalakuvera Manigriva, the two Arjuna trees fell down, and so many things were happening there, and they were thinking that, ‘This is not a safe place!’ So Nanda and Yashoda along with the other cowherd men, Upananda, Abhinanda, decided that we should go to the forest to Vrindavan. Near Bhandirvan, Kamsa sent one asura in the form of a calf named Vatsasura, and Krishna twirled him around and threw him on the ground. May be we will discuss that another day.
When the news came to Mathura that Krishna had killed Putana, Trinavarta, Saktasura and now he has killed Vatsasura, Kamsa’s eyes began to flutter uncontrollably and he fainted. How is it possible for any small child to kill Vatsasura? He was immensely powerful but then the ministers of Kamsa said, “There is only one solution. We have to send Bakasura to kill him.” Kamsa became really enthusiastic. Bakasura is the cruelest of all the asuras. Not only that, but he was Kamsa’s best friend and was willing to live and die for Kamsa. So, Kamsa was very enlivened, ecstatic, “Yes, let us send Bakasura.”
Krishna was herding his calves with the little gopas in Khadirvan. The calves were jumping around and playing. The children, gopas were jumping around and playing in so many ways. Boys were taking the calves to better, very luscious grassy areas, to eat the grass, and taking them into these beautiful kunds, to drink the crystal sparkly nectarine waters. One day, after playing for many hours and drinking nice refreshing water, they saw something that was extraordinary. It was never there before because Khadirvan was one of their favorite playing places, but now they were seeing this immense mountain and it was like old white mountain. It was huge and the boys were thinking, ‘What could this be? This is bigger than mountain Kailash but it seems to be moving.’ Since they were with Krishna, they were fearless but they were curious. So they started coming closer and closer and they saw that it was a breathing mountain. They were talking amongst each other, “It seems to have this long neck,” “The neck is down,” “There is a massive gigantic razor sharp beak,” “This is a massive bird,” “It’s a crane.”
As they came closer, Bakasura roared. And with his gigantic beak he attacked Krishna. In fact, he just closed his beak around Krishna, and Krishna kind of jumped inside. He swallowed Krishna. When Krishna with inside this massive asura, the cowherd boys and even Balram fainted, they were in total anguish. Now, Balram is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and he knows that Krishna is undefeatable; he knows that whatever this asura must be is just Krishna’s insignificant material energy. Later on we read, when Balram saw Krishna in the coils of Kaliya, he said, “I am ananthasesa, I am a bigger snake than this. Krishna never plays with me like this. This Kaliya is nothing but an insignificant little water snake.” That is Balram. At least with Kaliya, Balram could see Krishna, but with Bakasura, everything happened suddenly. Suddenly Krishna was gone, he was inside the body of Bakasura and all the cowherd boys swooned and cried along with Balram, and fell to the ground unconscious.
Krishna was in his throat, Bakas’ throat, and he began to radiate his effulgence, the brahmajyoti. It was extremely hot and it was burning Bakasura’s throat. Not only that Krishna was playing, but he was expanding himself in the throat, then contracting himself small, then expanding, then contracting, and expanding and contracting, and meanwhile he was burning hot. Bakasura was in great pain, he was being tortured, he couldn’t even scream because he couldn’t get any air out of his throat, his heart was about to burst with pain, and his eyes were bulging. Bakasura was in such a painful state. With all his might he was trying to spit Krishna out, with his wings he was jumping up and down, flapping, flapping, flapping, flapping as hard as he could, trying to get that inertia to spit Krishna out but he couldn’t get Krishna out. Then by Krishna’s own sweet will, he came out of the Bakasura’s beak. A great miracle because as he came out, all kinds of saliva and other stuffs came out with him, but Krishna’s clothes, his garland, his ornaments, and his hair were just perfectly fresh and there wasn’t a single touch of any of the saliva or blood or vomit or anything else that was coming out along with him.
He started dancing. Bakasura wanted to kill him and so he took his razor sharp beak and he lifted Krishna, then he opened up his mouth again to try to crush Krishna with his beak. Meanwhile, all the gopas were watching this. As long as Krishna was in the throat of Bakasura, the gopas were unconscious, but as soon as he came out, they came back to consciousness. Krishna, effortlessly, with his little hands, took one side of the beak in one hand and other side in another, and as Srila Prabhupad said, he bifurcated and Bakasura was like two twin mountains lying next to each other. Krishna ripped him up in half and when that happened, all demigods, who were practically unconscious themselves during this ordeal, collected chameli flowers, jasmine flowers, and the best flowers from heavenly planets, and they were showering them upon Krishna. Cowherd boys were clapping and jumping and saying, “Well done! Well done!” and they were all coming and embracing Krishna. Krishna was smiling.
When they all went back to Vrindavan that day, the gopas were so excited that they could not stop talking about how Krishna killed Bakasura. Yashoda Mai, the cowherd men, and the gopis were astounded to hear it. Yashoda Mai said to Krishna, “Krishna, it just fills my heart with wonder that you’re killing these demons, but we left Mahavan because of these demons and it seems like wherever we go and wherever we take you, these demons attack. So Krishna it’s not safe for you. You are my child. You don’t have to herd the calves or the cows. Actually Nanda Maharaj has so many people. From now on, you will stay home with me and I will protect you. I can’t bear the thought of you going out there.” Krishna smiled at his mother and said, “All these stories of my heroic deeds are all lies. There is never any demon that is coming to me. I am going out to herd my calves,” and Yashoda Mai said, “Whatever makes you happy my Krishna.”
Bakasura represents cunningness, one of the great obstacles. One of the great obstacles to pure devotional service is duplicity, that cunning behavior, which means we put ourselves in the center of our lives. Once we put ourselves in the center of our lives and keep us there instead of Krishna and seva, then the mind could justify anything. This is cunning and that tendency is the presence of Bakasura: to be deceitful, to be untruthful, to tell lies about others, to be duplicitous and deceitful to try to bring other people down, and to hurt other people to make ones position stronger. Krishna has appeared within his name to rip that demon of Bakasura out of our heart. We are praying for pure devotional service and we are crying, crying to Krishna to free us from these anarthas as we chant his holy name-
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
Loknath Goswami was doing his seva for Radha Vinod and while living in Khadirvan area, he received the message from Sri Rupa Goswami and Srila Sanatana Goswami that, “We are now here living in Vrindavan, come let us be together as brothers in the service of Lord Chaitanya.” Where the Radha Govinda temple is today, that is where Loknath Goswami made his residence. Later, after Jiva Goswami came at Radha Damodar temple, Rupa Goswami, Sanatana Goswami, Raghunath Das Goswami, Raghunath Bhatt Goswami, Gopal Bhatt Goswami, Bhugarbha Goswami, they would all meet, have kirtan, hari katha, and seva. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu asked them: to restore and excavate Vrindavan so that people could come here on pilgrimage, to exemplify the perfection of those in the renounced order of life, to establish temples and deities and the proper mood of worship, and to extract the essence of all the great scriptures, unmotivated, uninterrupted, loving devotional service in the mood of the inhabitants of Vrindavan. Not far from here is Chirghat.
Radhanath Swami brings out the personality of Sukadev Goswami
We were speaking about Lakshmi Devi that how she was aspiring to follow in the footsteps of the gopis. Srila Prabhupad explains the nature of the gopis love, especially he quotes from Srila Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami: everything, their mind, their body, their words was for Krishna’s pleasure and the gopis understanding Krishna’s inner desires was reciprocating accordingly. Sukadev Goswami was in the exalted nature of his renunciation. We read, how he remained within the womb of his mother for 12 years because he had no desire to come out into the world, because he had nothing to enjoy. The only reason anyone is born in this world is because we have a desire to enjoy material gratification. He was brahman realized and thoroughly self-satisfied. He did not have to go anywhere, so he just stayed in the womb of his mother. Vyasadeva was chanting the glories of Krishna and Krishna himself had to come to convince Sukadev to come out. We know the story that when he was going from his home and Vyasadeva was following him, there were some ladies bathing without clothes in a lake, and when they saw Sukadev Goswami they just went on bathing, and when they saw Vyasadeva, they immediately got up and start covering themselves and were very much ashamed. And Vyasadeva said, “Why are you ashamed of me? I am old enough to be your grandfather. Sukadev is young; he is only 12 years old. Why are you not ashamed when he is there?” They said, “Because he brahman realized, he makes no distinction between male and female, he doesn’t see any of the dualities of the world. He is liberated. You are also, but because you are grihastha, you have to make distinction.” That was Sukadev Goswami.
Sukadev Goswami praised the exalted gopis as the most highly liberated of all souls. When Sukadev Goswami was 16 years old, he came into that great assembly, where the greatest rishis, yogis, sages, gurus were together to be with Parikshit Maharaj, the Emperor, for his last seven days. Vishvamitra Muni, Vasisth Muni, Bharadwaj Muni, Narada Muni, Vedvyas, Parasar Muni were all there with thousands of sages. Every single liberated great soul in the universe was there at that time. Some of them were ageless. We read about them from others yugas, how they were great gurus. Vishvamitra was Ram Chandra’s guru, Vyasadeva is Vishnu himself, Narada muni is son of Brahma and is almost everybody’s guru, but they all unanimously agreed that Sukadev Goswami is the most qualified to speak. When Sukadev Goswami spoke the Srimad Bhagavatam for seven days, nobody left. All these great munis and rishis sat in rapt attention hearing the nectar of Sukadev Goswami’s realizations and he is glorifying the pure spotless love of the gopis.
Radhanath Swami describes the nature of love of gopis
The gopis wanted to exclusively dedicate their body, mind, words, and lives to Krishna. They wanted to love him and serve him as their husband. Vrindadevi told them, “You should worship the Goddess Katyayani during the winter month from November- December,” and she told them how to do it. They were to fast and eat only once a day, rice cooked with moong dal with no spice, no salt, no turmeric. Early in the morning just before sunrise, they should rise and go together to the Yamuna and take their bath. Then they should make a murti out of the sand and the clay of Katyayani, and worship and pray to her to get Krishna as their husband.
The energy of Krishna is one, but that one energy can manifest as Yogamaya or Mahamaya. Yogamaya is the spiritual energy that facilitates pastimes of love with Krishna, and Mahamaya is the material energy that covers our awareness of our own eternal soul and our relationship with Krishna. Mahamaya keeps us under the egoistic conception of ‘I’ and ‘Mine’, ‘I am the body and whatever is in relation to the body is mine.’ Our acharyas explain, how Durga or Katyayani is the name of both the material energy, when it is applied in that context, but also they are the names of yogamaya. So, it is not that the gopis were worshiping a demigoddess; they were worshiping yogamaya, Krishna’s eternal spiritual energy, because they were approaching her for pure unalloyed devotional service.
Srila Prabhupad explains, “Even if a person worships a demigod,” Prabhupad said, “Narottam das Thakur and others say, there is no need, but if we worship a demigod for loving devotional service to Krishna, then that’s perfect too.” What Krishna discourages in the Bhagavad-Gita is worshiping demigods for material selfish purposes, because that keeps us bound within the cycle of birth and death. But the gopis, because their intention was pure, their worship was perfect. They would hold hands together in the darkness, just before the sunrise, and they would be singing beautiful songs about Krishna. They were totally absorbed in Krishna, 24 hours a day.
When they were together, it was the most beautiful experience for them, because they can openly share their love for Krishna. Otherwise, at their homes, they had keep it to themselves. On our own little level, we should be like that too. That is the joy of being with devotees. Sometimes in our congregation, you have to do work, you have to mix with so many social situations, and you have to kind of keep your enthusiasm for Krishna to yourself. But when we are with devotees, we can freely talk about Krishna, sing about Krishna, and encourage each other with Krishna. There is no –
mac-citta mad-gata-prana bodhayantah parasparam
Krishna tells in Gita –
tesam nityabhiyuktanam yoga-ksemam vahamy aham
Krishna carries what we lack and preserves what we have. And he tells that, the greatest joy for devotes is, to be together, to glorify him, and converse about him. One of the greatest tragedies is when we come to the association of devotees – it has probably taken us millions of births to have the association of devotees – and we waste our time gossiping, talking about the faults of others, and talking mundane prajalpa. We could do that anywhere.
The beauty and the glory of satsang, the association of devotees, is that we could freely discuss Krishna, and we should really try to do that: we can read Srila Prabhupad’s books, we go to classes and discuss with each other, enlighten each other, and enliven each other. The greatest service we can do for each other is to bring each other closer to Krishna and that was the mood of gopis. – Radhanath Swami
They would hold their hands, they would be dancing to the Yamuna, singing the glories of Krishna together, and each one was enthusing the others to sing with more and more love about Krishna. And when they came to the Yamuna, some of them would play veenas; they would have kirtan, chanting Krishna’s names and glories together –
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
Radhanath Swami explains the worship of Katyayani by gopis
It was the winter season and they would remove their clothes and enter into Yamuna. It was freezing cold and they would stay in the Yamuna and chant beautiful prayers to the goddess Katyayani. After coming out of Yamuna, they would get dressed, and some of the very artistic gopis would make a beautiful of Katyayani out of the clay and sand. Vrindadevi explained to them all proper procedures of how to worship. They would offer an asana to the Goddess, a place to sit. How many of you engage in deity worship? Please raise your hands. So you know the idam asanam, my dear Lord please come, please come and sit here.
When the gopis would offer their asana to Katyayani, their prayer would be, “Dear Goddess Katyayani, please bring Krishna to us.” Then they would offer the padya, which is the washing of the feet of the deity, and as they would wash Katyayani’s feet, they would pray, “Please give us shelter at Krishna’s lotus feet.”
They would offer agya which is washing the hands of the worshipable object, and as they would be washing her hands, they would say, “Please Goddess, give us the blessing to meet Krishna and offer our lives for his pleasure.” They would offer achaman which is mouthwash, “Please let us taste Krishna’s love.”
They would offer madhu pak, which is a very delicious preparation of yogurt or dahi, ghee, milk, and honey, and as they would be offering, “Please give us the blessing that Krishna will taste our love.” Then they would offer achaman again, the mouthwash, they would do idam achamanayam, “Goddess Katyayani, give us the blessings that we will repeatedly, repeatedly, repeatedly giving our love for Krishna to taste and taste his love.”
And according to the procedures, they would take fragrant oil to massage the limbs of the Goddess, and as they were massaging the limbs, they would pray, “Let all of our limbs be engaged in the loving service for Krishna’s pleasure.” Then they would have powder to remove the oil, and as they would be sprinkling the powder and rubbing the powder, they would be praying, “Goddess Katyayani, please remove all our sorrows of separation from Krishna.”
Then they would do the abhishek and as they would offer the abhishek, their prayer was, “Give us the blessing. We worship you with the prayer that let us always bathe in Krishna’s holy names, in Krishna’s holy pastimes, and Krishna’s loving service.” And then they would offer clothes and ornaments and they would pray, “Let us always ornament Krishna with our love.” In this way they worshiped absolutely with one desire. They would offer incense and as they light the incense, they would be praying, “Please pacify our burning hearts by giving us shelter in Krishna’s loving service.”
When they would offer the lamp, they would pray, “Illuminate our lives in the loving service of Lord Krishna.” And at the end, after all the worship was complete, they offered a beautiful mantra that Vrinda Devi gave them, “Oh Yogamaya! Oh Mahamaya! Oh divine energy of the Absolute Supreme Lord, we offer our worship to you with only one desire, bless us that Krishna be our husband.” They performed this puja for one full month. Interestingly, their beauty was increasing every day. After each day, according to Jiva Goswami, they would take the Goddess Katyayani and lovingly put her in the Yamuna, and the next day they would do the same thing again, but their worship was going more intensified, more elaborate as the time was passing.
And then it was the last day, they woke up early in the morning, and Goddess Katyayani appeared to each of the gopis in their minds, and smiled and said, “The good fortune that you are praying for, you will achieve today.” So they were holding hands, singing Krishna’s glories and names on their way to the river Yamuna with happiness and anticipation. They took off their clothes, put them on the banks of the Yamuna, and entered into the freezing waters.
Radhanath Swami recounts the pastime at Chirghat
At that time, it was just after the sun rose, Krishna was with Balram and gopas. They were herding the cows and Krishna understood the hearts of these gopis, and he was thinking, ‘Let me make the bud of the gopi’s heart’s prayer blossom into a beautiful flower today.’ So by his own inconceivable nature, he walked away from Balram and all the cowherd boys and they didn’t even know he left. He brought tiny little children with him who were just 2-3 years old, little gopas, and these children they didn’t know what a girl or a boy was. They were so much attached to Krishna that no matter what their parents said, they would just go out every day and be with Krishna as he would herd the cows.
So he went with a few of these little children to the place where the gopis were taking their bath, praying for Krishna. They did not see him as he collected all of the clothes and climbed onto a Kadamba tree. He was sitting on the tree, and all the clothes were draped over the different branches. He was just watching and listening as they were singing Krishna’s glories and singing Krishna’s prayers. It was time for them to come out and they looked on the riverbank, and they couldn’t see their clothes. With their beautiful lotus like eyes, they were gazing across the whole riverbank, ‘Where are the clothes gone?’ How could they come out? It was very cold and then Krishna spoke. They didn’t know who it was; they just heard this voice coming. He said, “If you want your clothes back, then you must come and collect them from me.” They were looking all around and then Krishna said, “I am here.” He was in the bushes and behind the leaves of the beautiful ancient Kadamba tree. Gopis were very shy. They said, “We cannot come out of the water without clothes, you must give us our clothes back.”
Krishna spoke so affectionately towards the gopis and the gopis spoke very affectionately towards Krishna as they were having an argument of love. Gopis said, “If you do not give us our clothes back, you are breaking moral principles, and we will report you to Kamsa.” So Krishna said, “I have no fear of Kamsa.” The gopis were trembling as it was very cold. Our acharyas explain that they were up to their necks in the Yamuna and their heads looked like the most beautiful fully blossom lotus flowers within the current of Yamuna. And Yamuna Devi herself was sold to the gopis that she was embracing them with her waves. Krishna told them, “You will only receive your clothes if you come one by one. I will give each to you.” So they came out covering themselves very expertly. They were shy and they were very pure. Krishna told them, “You have made an offense to Yamuna Devi, to Varuna dev, the Lord of the waters, to the demigods by going inside without your clothes. So to atone for the offense, you must fold your hands and put them on top of your head and offer your pranams.” On one level, the gopis were simple and shy girls, who were afraid of offending anyone, which is really the way we should all be, but ultimately they would do whatever to please Krishna. The false ego, the ahankar covers the eternal soul.
jivera ‘svarupa’ haya — krsnera ‘nitya-dasa
“Our true nature is to be eternal servants of Krishna”
nitya-siddha krsna-prema sadhya kabhu naya
“The nature of the soul is to love Krishna and to serve with love.” But the ego covers that.
When we chant Krishna’s names, when we engage in the nine processes of devotional service in the association of the devotees, we are meant to leave behind all that egos. Essentially that’s what tapasya is, that’s what vairagya is. Renunciation means not just fasting or subjecting ourselves to torturous conditions, real renunciation is to leave the covering of these false egos and all of our misconceptions behind. – Radhanath Swami
When the devotees, the vrajwasis go to Chirghat and offer cloth to the tree, that is the meditation, ‘Krishna, like the gopis, we want to leave behind all of our material desires, attachments and designations, so that the pure soul can surrender in your loving service.’ Krishna gave the gopis their clothes back but he did not give their hearts back. He stole their hearts forever and that is the ultimate perfection of bhakti. We are following in their footsteps, not imitating but following the footsteps of the gopis of Vrindavan. According to this leela and the great acharyas, our prayer, our intention, our aspiration, and our goal in life is –
premā pumartho mahān
“To serve Krishna with love,” and when we are sincere, Krishna will steal our hearts.
Satsang in Vrindavan is where we are all hearing, chanting, and serving together to inspire one another with this goal in life that Krishna out of his causeless mercy will steal our hearts. That is the purpose of chanting hari nam sankirtan. – Radhanath Swami
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
Thank you very much.
May I give you a little meditation of how easy devotional service is? When we hear a story like this, we are simply happy that Krishna kept the gopis hearts, then Krishna will steal our hearts. We see, Krishna told the gopis that night, “I have accepted your prayers, I am yours and you are mine, and the fact that we were interacting in this way is only possible between a husband and a wife, and next year we will enjoy together.” The next year in Sarad Purnima, Krishna performed the rasalila with these gopis. So when we find happiness in other devotees getting Krishna’s mercy, then Krishna is most pleased with us. We don’t have to be a gopi. If we are just happy that the gopis were so happy, that is our entrance into Vrindavan. But as long as we have our selfish egos, immoral tendencies, and our spiritual laziness, we can’t have that happiness. We are cultivating ourselves through our sadhana, through our seva, through our morality and following regulative principles. Ultimately, we will listen to this wonderful leela and feel, ‘Yes! This is the perfection of my life.’ As Krishna accepted the gopis and their desires were fulfilled, if you have that happiness, Krishna will give you the same experience. So let us celebrate by chanting and dancing.