Radhanath Swami explains “The Great Fortune of Vrajvasis Is Incomparable” 2013 Yatra, Vrindavan, Day 8

Radhanath Swami speaking at Vrindavan Yatra
Radhanath Swami speaking at Vrindavan Yatra

Hare Krishna!

I wish to express my very sincere gratitude to each and every one of you for coming to Vrindavan, and being with us together as a family at Srila Prabhupada lotus feet each evening.

Radhanath Swami Offering respects to Srila Prabhupada
Radhanath Swami Offering respects to Srila Prabhupada

Radhanath Swami explains how time is precious and how important and special human form of life is

Time is precious. Time is so powerful that at every moment it is in the process of extinguishing the sun, drying up the oceans, pulverizing the earth and all other planets, and what to speak of us, at every moment it is bringing us closer to what we call death. Time is so powerful that the most powerful armies with all the arsenals of nuclear bomb, armed forces, all the scientists and technologists with their latest ever-expanding discoveries, they cannot stop the progress of time for even a second. Duty cannot seduce it, bribes cannot entice it, and threats cannot cause it fear. On the grossest level of universal planets, and on the subtle level of the atomic particles, time never ceases its motion, and it’s affecting everyone and everything.

Krishna tells in Gita that there is another nature beyond this relative material existence, it is the antaranga shakti, the internal spiritual potency, and that it is the nature of life. The living force within everyone is transcendental and beyond the jurisdiction of time. The atma is eternal. Gita tells, na jayate mriyate va kadachin, for the soul there is no birth, there is no death, it is immortal, primeval, cannot be burned by fire, cannot be drowned by water, and cannot be affected by time.

Where does the atma, that living force get its eternal nature and its divine potencies from? Krishna tells, mamaivam so jiva loke, that every living being is a part and parcel of me. The first aphorism of the Vedanta Sutra, janmadasya yataha, the absolute truth is from whom everything is coming: the parmatma, the supreme soul. Jiva Goswami gives the example that there is the sun planet. The sun planet always exists as long as the universe exists and from the sun planets are emanating limitless sun rays. Each of those sunrays has the same quality as the sun planet: they give heat, they give light. But the difference is the sunray is deriving its nature, its existence from the sun planet, because it is part of the sun planet. The ray is never the cause of the sun; the sun is always the cause of the ray.

nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam
eko yo bahunam vidadhati kaman
[Katha Upanisad (2.2.13)]

That there is one supreme truth, the Parmatma, parabramhan, and all living beings and all, all material and spiritual energy is emanating from that one truth. This human life is very rare, durlbh manav janma lobhya samsara, unless we appreciate the value of what we have, we will not get the benefits of it. If we have something that is of great value and we don’t understand its value, then we will hardly get any of the real benefits from it. This human life is so rare. The Padma Purana tells there are 8,400,000 species of life that the eternal soul is passing through and in almost all of these life forms, the soul is so covered by the ahankar, the false ego: completely forgetful of who they are, what they really need, and are identified with the reflection of this body. We are in a body we are not of body. Just because we are not the body, doesn’t mean we should neglect it. It is God’s property, entrusted in our care and it is meant to be utilized for a divine purpose. Other species simply go through their life eating, sleeping, mating, and defending. But human life is very precious because the consciousness is developed to a state where – athatho bramha jigyasa – we can question, “Who am I? Why is there suffering? What am I supposed to learn from every situation that comes to me? Who is God? What is my relationship? How to realize that there is something beyond just the rat race of material existence?” The human life gives us the chance to realize, that we are beyond birth and beyond death, we are sat-chit-ananda: eternal, full of knowledge and full of happiness.

And the essence of that happiness is in the spiritual experience of divine love. Ultimately the soul exists to love the supreme, and to experience the love of the supreme. – Radhanath Swami

Radhanath Swami explains about Krishna and his nature

Radhanath Swami speaking at Vrindavan Yatra
Radhanath Swami speaking at Vrindavan Yatra

Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the name means all attractive, and one who possesses eternally complete absolute beauty, knowledge, strength, fame, wealth, forgiveness, and renunciation. Krishna is the supreme object of all love and because every living being is a part of Krishna, every living being in their true state is lovable. Vrindavan is the place, where that one supreme absolute truth, the cause of all causes, Krishna stu bhagawan swayam, Krishna in the original form of the Lord is facilitating the most intimate loving exchanges. There is the all-pervading brahman, which impersonalist philosophers strive to achieve, where one realizes one’s eternal nature beyond the dualities and the sufferings of material existence. But beyond that is Bhagawan and it is to understand the all attractive, all loving personality of God, and to love and to feel that love. Lila, lila means the exchange of that love in infinite variegatedness, and it’s beyond this material existence. Vaikuntha is about those places where the absolute truth is honored, is worshiped and loved as the Supreme.

In Vrindavan that one supreme truth, in order to share deeper, sweeter exchanges of love, steps aside from his role as the supreme and allows us to love him as a servant, as an intimate friend, as a parent to a child, or as a lover to the beloved. These are states of loving relationships that are beyond material existence, beyond selfishness, beyond egoism, beyond any type of lust or anger or greed. It is the pure expression of the soul’s potential and Krishna’s kindness, to facilitate, to encourage, and to reciprocate in Vrindavan, on the spiritual level there is no discrimination between bodily forms; everyone is in pure consciousness in seva.

Seva means to serve with love. If there is a tinge of selfishness or egoism or expectation of something for myself in return, it is not really seva. Seva is selfless loving service. The origin of that love, according to Srimad Bhagwatam, according to the great Vedic literatures in essence is, radha krishna-pranaya-vikritir hladini-shaktir asmad, that the absolute truth is one, but that absolute truth forever has taken two forms: the Shakti and the Shaktiman, the ashraya and vishraya, the supreme abode of love and the supreme object of love. Sri Radha is the supreme abode of love, she is the source of all love, and Krishna who is not different than Sri Radha is the supreme object of that love. And all love that exists in every heart in all of existence is an expanded manifestation of that love of the spiritual world.

Devotees hearing katha
Devotees hearing katha

Krishna appeared here 5000 years ago, it describes in Garga samhita, that it is once in a day of Bramha that he comes in his original form to reveal Vrindavan. Many other incarnations of that one Supreme Truth Krishna appears as Narayana, as Narsimha, as Varaha, as Ram, and so many others Shaktyavesha avatars, in order to establish religious principles. But once in the day of Brahma, Krishna brings his transcendental abode of Vrindavan, to reveal these loving pastimes of the spiritual world. And Krishna told Sri Radha that, “Now it is the time I will personally descend into Brahma’s universe within this material world on the earth planet of Bhumi Devi. You please come with me,” and Sri Radha said, “I cannot be without you. If you are going I must come. But I will not be happy unless the forests of Vrindavan, the river Yamuna and the mountain Govardhan also come with us.” So we learn from this and so many other evidences that the forests of Vrindavan, the Govardhan hill, and the river Yamuna are ever-existing in the spiritual world of Goloka. They have descended to participate and to render seva for Krishna’s loving past times.

Radhanath Swami recounts Sri Chaitanya visiting Bahulavana

Radhanath Swami speaking at Vrindavan Yatra
Radhanath Swami speaking at Vrindavan Yatra

In the age of Kali that same Radharani and Krishna appeared as Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. It is described in scriptures compiled by Vyasdev, five millenniums ago, Lord Chaitanya came to Vrindavan. He appeared in Navdweep in Bengal. He began the sankirtan movement. Later he took sanyass to make his residence in Puri and a very deep longing of his heart was to return to his home in Vrindavan. While he was roaming through the 12 forests he came to Bahulavana. When He arrived in Bahulavana, he was remembering his past times as Radha and Krishna in that very place, limitless past times. But some of the great acharyas have shared with us, when Srimati Radharani and Sri Shyamsundar would come to Bahulavana, the peacocks would go mad in ecstasy to see their beloved, and for the pleasure of Radha Gopinath, the peacocks would go in a circle around them. They would dance with pure love, and they would dance together for the pleasure of Krishna and Sri Radha, and as they would be dancing, they would be calling beautiful songs like a peacock. Do you know how to sing like peacocks? Can you imagine the real peacocks of the spiritual world when they are in the presence of Krishna and Radha? Those peacocks were singing with their soul; they were purely enlightened, intoxicated paramahamsas, and the ecstasy, the gratitude, and the love of their souls were pouring out of their heart in their song.

Srila Prabhupada told us, “We should chant God’s name like a baby in a desperate condition, helplessly crying for the shelter of mother.” Little infant babies don’t reach for a cell phone to call 911 or some emergency number for the police or some security agency for help. All they know is their mother, spontaneously. They don’t have to intellectually, philosophically try to logically reason. According to all the scriptures, who should I call for? Mother. The baby may be preoccupied in so many ways but when there is danger, 100% of their heart is fixed on helplessly crying for mother. And when the mother lifts up that child and embraces, the child feels infallible, completely protected and safe because of trust in the mother’s love. That is how we should learn to call out the holy names –

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

Actually like that baby, try again –

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

In the liberated state, the peacocks are not feeling that they are in a helpless condition; they are above and beyond that. They are much more highly realized than us, humans. Not all peacocks, but these peacocks. They were Krishna’s associates. They were crying out just to celebrate the beauty and the glory of Krishna’s love, and to give pleasure to Krishna by offering the fullness of the love of their hearts. In this way, they were singing. And when the peacocks would expand their feathers with all the powers they had, with all the beauty, however big or little, they were dancing in the same way; offering the very best they have for Krishna’s pleasure, out of love. Radha Govinda dev in Bahulavana would watch them, smile upon them, glance upon them, sing with them, laugh with them, dance with them. This is Bahulavana.

Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came there in great ecstasy, remembering these past times. When he arrived, something wonderful happened. Suddenly, thousands of cows were coming from all directions and surrounded Sri Chaitanya, because they understood that our beloved Radha and Krishna have returned to Vrindavan. The cows made big circles and circle after circle after circle around the Lord. They were licking his body. They were looking at him with such longing, loving glances and Lord Chaitanya was gazing upon them, each of them. And by his own transcendental power to reciprocate with his devotee’s affection, Lord Chaitanya was padding each and every one of the cows, rubbing them, speaking to them. They felt so happy. They were expressing their love by sound (mooooo) and with love from their hearts, they were expressing. And suddenly all the other animals of Bahulavana came: the buffaloes, the sheep, the rabbits, the deer’s, the Tigers, whatever animals were there; they were so happy. They were running in circles around him, circumambulating him, looking at him. Whatever specie they were in, they were using their particular unique voices to perform kirtan. The birds, all varieties of birds, they were all flying in circles over Lord Chaitanya’s head and singing beautiful songs. He was gazing upon them and they were gazing upon Him. In this way Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Krishna, had a beautiful reunion with his devotees and when all these different sounds of birds and animals, such sweet music was vibrating in all directions, all the people, the villagers of Bahulavana came running to the place. When they saw the Lord Gauranga, they understood this is our beloved Shyamsundar, ‘He is hiding his bluish complexion which is the hue of a monsoon rain cloud behind a golden complexion, the complexion of Sri Radha.’ All those crowds of people, with the same emotions as the birds and the animals and the cows, they all offered their hearts to the Lord Chaitanya. Lord Chaitanya met each and every one of them, satisfied the hearts of everyone and induced all the people of Bahulavana to perform the kirtan of the Holy name –

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

Radhanath Swami remembers his interaction with Sri Akinchana Krishnadas Babaji Maharaj in Vrindavan

Radhanath Swami speaking at Vrindavan Yatra3
Radhanath Swami speaking at Vrindavan Yatra

Bhakti Vinod Thakur says that Ekadasi is the mother of devotion. Ekadasi is observed twice a month, at very auspicious time, the 11th day of the waxing moon, and the 11th day of the waning moon. As far as possible we put everything else aside to fix our full attention on our spiritual purpose, awakening love for Krishna through reading holy books, for us especially Srila Prabhupad’s books, by discussing Krishna’s teachings, Krishna’s past times, the lives of great saints, by chanting the holy names, increasing our chanting both in intensity, in devotion and also in quantity and quality, and as far as possible putting aside our material dependencies. We are very much dependent on sleeping, very much dependent on eating, and very much dependent on physical comforts. So Ekadasi is a day when we try to put them aside as far as what is reasonable according to what we are doing and our particular position in the world. But we don’t put them aside for the purpose of liberation; we put them aside for the purpose of cultivating our love, our devotion, by replacing that same energy with depending on Krishna. So there are various levels of fasting on Ekadasi.

I remember one of Srila Prabhupad’s very dear God brothers, His Divine Grace Sri Akinchana Krishnadas Babaji Maharaj was a very simple person; he was really a brajwasi. He was very joyful in every situation. He was constantly chanting the holy names. I remember, I lived in an ashram and he was living there and most days, from about seven in the morning till 12.30 in the afternoon, he would just sit in the temple and chant, all alone. I used to usually sit next to him and just chant with him. It was so wonderful! It wasn’t an austerity for him, it was just the joy of his heart to sit before Radha Govindaji, the deities and he had a little mridanga and every now and then he would play it. He was so absorbed in chanting sometimes he would not even concern himself. He would just chant, chant, chant and every now and then he would go (mridanga sound), then chant and (mridanga sound), then another 15 minutes chanting and then (mridanga sound). Then it would get really ecstatic and then (fast mridanga sound) and chant and Radha Govinda would be standing and Radharani would be like this and I will be like this; we were the only ones there. On Ekadasi, he would chant all day and then he would go to Imlital. He would go to Imlital before the sunset and he would sit under this tree and chant japa and prayers till sunrise all alone. Sometimes he would let us come with him. People would go with him, and he would just be chanting and chanting and chanting.

Imlital is the place where Krishna, when he was searching for Sri Radha, he would cry her names with such devotion and feel such separation that his bluish complexion would actually turn golden due to his total absorption in Sri Radha. Sri Chaitanya came 500 years later, and Lord Chaitanya is Krishna feeling the separation of Radha. In Radha’s maha bhava, Lord Chaitanya would sit under that same tree and in his crying the names of Krishna in separation from Krishna, his beautiful yellow complexion would turn like the dark color of a tamal tree, Krishna’s complexion. At that special place, Krishnadas Babaji Maharaj would chant the holy names almost every Ekadasi when he was in Vrindavan, from sunset to sunrise. It seemed like the austerity was after the sun rose because there may have been other things for him to do.

trinadapi sunicena
taror eva sahishnuna
amanina manadena
kirtaniya sada hari

When one has the humility like grass on the ground, forgiveness, the desire to do good for others in a tolerant compassionate mood like a tree, when one offers all respect to others and expects none in return, that is Akinchana.

Akinchana means no false ego, whether kings like Yudhishtir or Prataparudra, or whether you are a Goswami like Rupa or Raghunath. When we have this spirit of real humility and then Krishna will bless us with such a higher taste that we could chant his name constantly – Radhanath Swami

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

You see, from Krishna’s perspective real kirtan is not about how nicely you could play the instruments , it is not about how precisely you could sing the notes of ragas, it is not about how popular you are with the general public, this is not what kirtan is about.

From Krishna’s perspective true kirtan is a matter of the heart. It is about our humility, our faith and our deep desire to please the Lord through the love and the seva in which we are chanting. – Radhanath Swami

Krishnadas Babaji Maharaj would chant like that, I remember. In December, when Srila Prabhupad came here to Vrindavan with Vishakha Devi and Yaduvar prabhu and about 30 other devotees, he was in his room. Krishnadas Babaji Maharaj and I happened to meet on the street and I said, “Srila Prabhupad is here.” He didn’t know. He said, “Bring me, bring me,” and when he came in the room Srila Prabhupad jumped up and said, “Hare Krishna!” Krishnadas Babaji Maharaj opened his arms and his eyes lit up, “Hare Krishna!” They ran into each other to the center of the room and embraced. All they were doing is just chanting, Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna. They sat together arm in arm and discussed Bengali subjects that I couldn’t understand, but I could understand what this relationship is. It was the first glimpse I have of what loving relationships in the spiritual world are like – two people who in their love for Krishna loved each other so deeply on such a platform of pure bhakti together in Vrindavan.

So Nanda Maharaj observed Ekadasi. Off course Nanda Maharaj, Yashoda Mai, and all the brijwasis, whatever they did, it was only for Krishna’s pleasure. We heard yesterday they were going to do the Indra puja. Indra puja, their forefathers were doing it generation after generation after generation, very technical rituals, the brahmans and the pujas and the mudras and the yantras and the tantras. It was all being arranged, very elaborate and Krishna just very seven-year-old little child, he said, just offer it to Govardhan hills, the cows and the Brahmins and forget this Indra. Ah, if that’s what pleases you Krishna. That was their only perfection. Whatever rituals the brijwasis did it was all just to get blessings for Krishna.

Radhanath Swami elaborates on the desperate condition of vrajwasis after Nanda Maharaj and Krishna had gone inside Yamuna

Yesterday, we celebrated the Govardhan puja, where Krishna simultaneously, for seven days and seven nights, remained with each and every one of the vrajvasis, under the umbrella of Govardhan Hill as he lifted it with the little finger of his left hand. At the same time, he curbed the pride, the false pride of Indra. They actually made the offerings to Giriraj which took place the day after Diwali. Diwali is Amavasya, so the first day. Then Krishna lifted Govardhan Hill for seven days and then there were some other beautiful little festivals, where Krishna was visiting the houses of his cousins and then Surabhi came and offered apologies on behalf of Indra. Soon after that was the Ekadasi.

Nanda Maharaj, Krishna’s father observed a fast on the day of the Ekadasi. So after the Ekadasi, on Dvadasi there was a particular time when the fast was to be broken. On this particular Dvadasi, that auspicious moment was ending very early while it was still night time, very early morning but it was still dark. So, Nanda Maharaj went to take his bath because he didn’t want to be late for Dvadasi bath this morning. He went with several other cowherd men. The place is still there, it is called Nanda Ghat, not far from here. But Varuna, who is the deva who oversees the waters, he had an assistant, one of his representatives, who is a very ritualistically oriented person. He was technically calculating things and according to his calculation, Nanda Maharaj was bathing too soon in the water; Dvadasi did not come to that auspicious moment yet. Therefore it was inauspicious and therefore according to this representative, he considered Nanda Maharaj was making an aparadha, an offense to Varuna.

So, when Nanda Maharaj goes in the water with his friends, all of a sudden these people grabbed Nanda Maharaj and pulled him under the water. They arrested him and Nanda Maharaj was gone. The cowherd men were frightened; they were in terror, “What just happened? Nanda Maharaj is Krishna’s father. He is the king of our community.” They started crying out for Krishna. They didn’t know what else to do. They were running all over the riverbank looking, they jumped in the water, and they swam down as deep as they could. In those days the river Yamuna was crystal clear, but still it was dark. They were swimming around, they came up, and they couldn’t find him. They were looking on the bank. They were actually mad with distress, crying out, and they were crying so loud that it woke up Krishna. Krishna, Yashoda Mai, and so many of the vrajwasis, gopas and the gopis came to the bank of the Yamuna. Nanda Maharaj was gone. Krishna understood that Varuna had taken him. So Krishna said to the vrajwasis, “I will go and find him,” and Krishna went into the water of the Yamuna, underwater and disappeared.

Immediately Yashoda Mai fainted. She was waiting for Krishna to come up, but he didn’t come up. Now instead of making the situation better, it was million times worst. First Nanda Maharaj was gone, now Krishna has gone too. The Srimad Bhagvatam and our acharyas explain, on ordinary days when the gopis were in their homes or they were doing their responsibilities or their lilas, when they were in separation from Krishna, a moment seemed like 1000 years. The gopis actually criticized Brahma the creator, “Why you are such an imperfect creator that you put eyelids on the eyes?” because when they were with Krishna, they were glancing upon him, this is the intensity of their affection that the inadvertent unintentional blinking of the eyes was a major obstruction to them. This is the nature of their love.

The Jiva Goswami explains that all the brijwasis were one intimate loving family, even though they were physically separate from Krishna in certain ways. In any house that Krishna was in was their house, because in Vrindavan, everyone’s house was everyone’s house. Krishna was in my house whether there is Nanda, Yashoda or someone. So even though that separation was very deep, invoking deeper and deeper experiences of prema or love, that was a special union, to be home with Krishna. But, when they saw Krishna go under the water and not come out, it appeared to them that he may be gone forever. We don’t know where he is gone. The gopis collapsed. In their state, they could not hear anything, they could not see anything, they could not say anything; they were stunned. They just lay on the ground and cried. Their minds went with Krishna wherever he had gone. Their bodies were shaking uncontrollably. Sri Radharani – Sri Radha-Raman, this beautiful name of Krishna means he is forever giving the greatest pleasure to Sri Radha who is the hladini shakti and who is the full embodiment of all love – when she witnessed Krishna going under the water of the Yamuna and not coming back out, her body and mind withered away. Only her prema or her love for Krishna kept her alive. There was a fever of ecstatic love, her heart was literally like a forest-fire of separation and the other gopis in order to try to reduce that fever were fanning her with leaves, they were rubbing her limbs with sandalwood pulp mixed with camphor and saffron and musk, they were sprinkling her with fresh water from the Yamuna, but nothing could revive her. Finally, Sri Radha’s dear friend Murcha, unconsciousness, arrived to extinguish the fire. Sri Radha became totally unconscious in her ecstasy of vipralamba. Her life followed Krishna.

When the gopis, the brajwasis saw her in that state and how things were getting worse and worse: first Nanda Maharaj is gone, now Krishna is gone, and now it appears that Sri Radha has left. They didn’t know if she was dead or alive. They took very fine little piece of cotton and put it in front of her nose and the finest little strands of the cotton slightly moved, which indicated to the gopis that Sri Radha was still living. One of the gopis cried out, “Radha! Radha! Radha! Krishna is coming! Krishna is coming!” and Srimati Radharani opened her eyes like a lotus bud blooming. Her eyes opened wide but when she didn’t see Krishna, she just gazed into space and again lost consciousness as her life went searching after Krishna in the waters of the Yamuna.

Kavikarnapura describes, when Krishna left the rasa lila, first he left the gopis to be with Sri Radha, and then he left Sri Radha. They were searching for him, they were crying out his names. They were so totally absorbed in the thought of Krishna. They were manifesting his past times with their body, their minds, their words and they went deeper and deeper into the Vrindavan forest. They went into deep recesses of the braj-van, forest. There were places with such thick trees that not even a single beam from the autumn full moon could penetrate to give any light; it was pitch darkness. They didn’t know where they were, but it describes that still they had no fear. They had no thoughts of any alternatives of where to be or not to be. Their body, their minds, their words, and their everything was with Krishna performing sankirtan, chanting his names. Even in the darkness, they were somehow picking flowers and leaves and making beds for Krishna. Ahaituki apratihata, this is the selfless absorption of the brijwasis which culminates in gopis and of all gopis that prema has its fullness and its origin in the heart of Sri Radha.

Radhanath Swami describes about Krishna’s visit to the abode of Varuna

Meanwhile, as this incredible scene of love-in-separation was taking place on the bank, Krishna reached the abode of Varuna. Varuna was so happy that Krishna was coming to his abode. He went to the gateway of his palace to greet Krishna. Varuna was jubilant, he was ecstatic with folded palms. He said to Krishna, “That this is the most auspicious day. Today my body has actually achieved its true purpose. Today my life has achieved its ultimate goal because I am seeing you and you are giving me the opportunity to serve you. You are the Supreme Absolute Truth, the cause of all causes. You are parabrahman, the all-pervading Supreme Absolute Truth who eternally has a form as parmatma within the heart of every living being and as this Bhagavan, this Supreme Personality of Godhead; you always reciprocate with the love of your devotees. Anyone who takes shelter of you is forever relieved of all the miseries of material existence. I bow down to you; I worship you with everything I have.” Varuna washed Krishna’s feet. He gave him an asana and he washed his hands. He offered him garlands, he offered arati, and he offered him cloth and jewels and bowed down to him repeatedly.

Then he said, “Here is your father Nanda Maharaj.” He said, “My assistant, he is an ignorant fool. He didn’t recognize that here is Krishna’s father. And besides that Nanda Maharaj didn’t even make a mistake. It was my servant who made this mistake with all these technicalities of rules and regulations and formalities. And because of him you have come here.” Varuna with tears in his eyes begged forgiveness, and he offered Krishna all of his jewels, all of his kingdom, everything. He said, “I am yours and all the demigods are only your humble servants. Everything I possess is yours. I offer it to you.”

Krishna said, “I don’t want anything from you. I just want my father. I already own this kingdom. So I am already here; so I don’t have to stay here. Whatever you have offered, I have accepted.” Krishna looked over and there was Nanda Maharaj; he was sitting on a beautiful throne. When that ignorant sectarian servant of Varuna arrested him and brought him there, Nanda Maharaj was screaming in fear. He was just being dragged through the water and through these caves. He didn’t know what was happening, but when he was brought before Varuna, Varuna understood this is the father of the Supreme Lord of my life. He welcomed Nanda; he gave Nanda Maharaj a better throne than his own. He offered Nanda Maharaj so many gifts; he did arati and worshipped Nanda Maharaj. He said, “Just stay here, Krishna will be soon coming.”

Meanwhile this is the very important part of this story. Nanda Maharaj, for all these years, knew that Krishna was performing incredible past times, and according to Garga Muni it was because Narayan. The Supreme Lord was giving powers to him. But still Nanda Maharaj lived in the simple village of vrajbhumi and thought, ‘Krishna is just my son. When he is hungry, Yashoda Mai feeds him. When he is fearful, sometimes I have to embrace him to make him feel protected. He is my son.’

You see, in our previous discussions, do you remember Lord Brahma came to surrender to Krishna but Krishna arranged that in a secluded place, nobody saw Brahma come to offer his prayers to Krishna. Krishna was always immersed in his loving past times with the brijwasis, simple villagers who were making garlands, churning butter, milking cows, growing crops, their wealth was in singing and dancing and being together to serve Krishna in such a simple way. And here is Brahma and he was offering prayers. Krishna didn’t look at Brahma; he didn’t say a word to Brahma, because he was just looking for the brijwasis who really loved him so intimately. Indra, in order to protect his heart from further humiliation, Krishna actually met him in a secluded place where no one was around except Surabhi. The only reason Krishna even looked at Indra, the King of heaven or spoke to him, is because it was what Surabhi who wanted him to do it. Surabhi is a simple motherly cow. So the brijwasis never actually saw these powerful great devas honoring Krishna until this day.

Nanda Maharaj was sitting on the throne of Varuna in the most elegant, the most opulent – you can’t even imagine – the palace of Varuna and Varuna who is so powerful, he is bowing down repeatedly to Nanda Nandana, to his little cowherd son. Not only Varuna but all Varuna servants, massive powerful, wealthy influential people were bowing down. Krishna just has his little golden dhoti on, had his little peacock feather, had some flowers in his hair, and minerals and leaves that his friends would put on him, and Varuna is worshiping him. Nanda Maharaj, for the first time, saw something like this and heard the prayers.

Krishna took Nanda Maharaj and went again through the passage ways, through the cave ways, and entered as the brijwasis were all on the banks of the Yamuna crying out Krishna’s name. Suddenly, Krishna appeared with the Nanda Maharaja and to the extent that there were the pangs of love and separation, there was the celebration of reunion as they chanted Krishna’s names –

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

Srimati Radharani, with tears of joy, beautiful smiles gazing upon Krishna. All the gopis were singing and dancing and embracing one another and Krishna was heart-to-heart embracing through his eyes and his heart. The cowherd men were dancing and singing. It was a grand celebration and then just in time, they all sat down together and broke the fast. Hare Krishna! Should I continue?

Radhanath Swami points out the mood of vrajwasis towards Krishna

After some time Nanda Maharaj was sitting in a comfortable place with the brajwasis, the gopas, the gopis, and he could not contain his enthusiasm. He had to share with the brijwasis what he saw. He was describing in great detail the magnificence, the luxury, the wealth of Varuna’s palace, “His abode was beyond the heavenly planets!” He was explaining to the brijwasis what they never heard of anything like this before. Nanda Maharaj actually saw it. They were in rapt attention listening: such wealth, and such luxury. Then Nanda Maharaj told how Varuna was bowing down to the little feet of Krishna, he was washing Krishna’s feet, he was offering tulsi leaves and garlands to Krishna’s feet, he was offering arati to Krishna, he was crying. He was saying, “I heard him with my ears. Varuna, in his majestic palace was calling Krishna as Parmatma, Bhagawan, the Absolute Truth, the creator of everything that exists. This is what he was saying about Gopal. Not only Varuna, everyone around him was glorifying Gopal in this way.” All the brajwasis were thinking, ‘Garga Muni said that your son is like Narayan because Narayan is empowering him but it seems that Garga Muni didn’t tell us everything.’ The brajwasis were thinking, ‘Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he is the absolute truth, he is the creator of all creators, the controller of all controllers, the ultimate object of everyone’s love and worship; this is our Gopal! He must be the Supreme Personality of Godhead.’ They were thinking, they didn’t say anything but they were thinking in their heart, ‘Will the Supreme Lord bestow upon me his transcendental abode.’

Now that they understood that Krishna was God, the Supreme God, and they were wondering after they die, will the Lord bestow his transcendental abode upon them? Interestingly, while they were thinking this way about Krishna being parabrahman for the first time like this, there were hints that, ‘Yes! Krishna may be otherwise how could he kill Putana when he is a little baby? How could he kill Trinavarta, Aghasura? How could he lift Govardhan hill for seven days and seven nights?’ But the intimacy of their love for him, remembering him as their lover, as their child or their friend, the conception of his greatness just dissipated instantly in the intimacy of their affection, and especially in the intimacy of Krishna’s affection to them. So on this occasion, when they were all thinking, ‘Krishna is God,’ our Acharyas tell us that in no way it even slightly reduced the intimacy of their love for Krishna as their friend, as their lover or as their child. Why? Because this knowledge, this gyan of his absolute position was completely insignificant compared to the bhava, to the love of intimacy that they had for him but Krishna understood their thought. They wanted to know, will they realize Supreme Abode and Krishna was thinking that these brijwasis are so simple. They are just so simple. They have the highest position beyond the luxuries of heaven, beyond the liberation of Brahman, beyond even the pure love of Vaikuntha, they have the most intimate highest realizations of love for me, but they are so simple and so humble that they don’t really understand that. They were all talking about the incredible opulence of Varuna and Nanda Maharaj was so impressed externally that they were listening, “Oh, what kind of jewels, what kind of gold, what kind of diamonds, what kind of silver, everywhere!” Krishna wanted to give them an appreciation of who they really were.

They were totally grateful. This was the quality of their simplicity and humility. They just loved Krishna, they didn’t think they were special, they didn’t think that they were great; they just loved Krishna. That is Vrindavan. – Radhanath Swami

They didn’t even think Krishna was great; they just loved him. That love was beyond appreciation of his greatness. They just loved him because of his sweetness, his beauty and his love. So Krishna understood that there was some desire in their hearts to see beyond. So Krishna brought them to a lake in the Yamuna called the Brahma-hrada. Later on, this is the place where Krishna showed Akrura the spiritual world. He had all the brijwasis dunk underwater in the Yamuna and in doing so Krishna revealed to them. First he revealed his own abode Krishna loka; this is where they were living. When they went under the water of the Yamuna, then he revealed the brahmajyoti, the all-pervading Supreme Light of Brahman. For those who worship the impersonal aspect of the one Supreme Truth, this is their goal; this is their destination when they obtain samadhi. With their consciousness, their atma transcends all the dualities and all the various limitations of material existence, goes beyond the maha-tattva, the creation and enters into this Supreme, all-pervading effulgent light.

yasya prabhā prabhavato jagadaṇḍa-koṭi

Lord Brahma explains that this all-pervading brahman is the rays of the effulgence of govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajami. And here actually the brijwasis were experiencing the state before their very eyes, the mukti, the brahman.

Krishna says in Gita that he is the source and the basis of brahman but for the brijwasis there was no sweetness there. What’s the use of being liberated? What’s the use of total peace if we can’t embrace Krishna, if we can’t serve Krishna, if we can’t see Krishna, if we can’t hear Krishna, if we can’t love Krishna? What is all this peace? Then Krishna revealed to them Vaikuntha, the Supreme Opulent Abode of the Lord and Krishna revealed to them Krishna loka. The Krishna loka in the spiritual world is beyond material existence. Within the brahmajyoti there are unlimited spiritual planets called Vaikunthas and the most intimate, highest of all those Vaikuntha planets is Krishna-loka and now the brijwasis were actually seeing what the highest realm of the spiritual world beyond brahman is. You know what they saw? Everything was exactly the same as the village they were living in; they were already there. They saw in Krishna-loka Kadamba trees, Govardhan, and Yamuna and they saw Krishna was the same exact little cowherd boy as he is there in their village. But there they saw the personified Vedas with folded hands offering prayers of love and devotion and worship to Krishna and the personified Vedas are enlightened, self- realized awesome personalities. They saw that Krishna loka in the spiritual sky was non-different than here, but as the personified Vedas were offering these prayers to Krishna, Krishna was just smiling and accepting their prayers. There was some formality there. The brijwasis considered themselves very simple people, while the personified vedas are offering worship; they can’t just go up and start talking to Krishna. So they were thinking, ‘As long as these great persons are worshiping Krishna like this, then Krishna is not going to come, run up and jump in our lap and embrace us and we can’t run up and kiss Krishna. They are honoring him so dearly. Krishna doesn’t look hungry and if Krishna is not hungry then there is no reason for Yashoda Mai to feed him, and if Yashoda Mai doesn’t have the feeling of the need to feed him, she will die. So yes, Krishna-Loka is exactly like Gokul but we like it better here because here we are free to reciprocate with Krishna with complete freedom, sweetness and intimacy.’

When they came to that realization, then Krishna like the blinking of an eye, like a bolt of lightning, his yoga maya potency changed everything and suddenly the brahmajyoti was gone and Krishna loka, and the spiritual sky was gone, and everyone was just home in Vrindavan with Krishna. All the brijwasis had already realized it but Krishna was giving them this experience that no opulence, no liberation, no elevation to anywhere can compare to the good fortune that the brijwasis were living with at every moment of every day. This is Vrindavan. Sukadev Goswami explains, by hearing these wonderful narrations, it awakens that appreciation and gratitude and love that is within each and every one of us.

srinvatam sva-kathah krishnah
hridy antah stho hy abhadrani
vidhunoti suhrit satam
[SB 1.2.17]

By developing a taste and enthusiasm to actually find the deepest happiness in hearing about our beloved Krishna, and cultivating that taste by hearing about Krishna from people who love Krishna, Krishna reciprocates from within the heart by removing all the dirty things of our selfishness, our ego, the lust, the anger, the envy, the greed, the arrogance and the illusion. He cleanses that. By hearing about Krishna, by hearing his beautiful past times of Vrindavan and his various incarnations within this world, by hearing his words, it cleanses our heart from the desire for heavenly enjoyment like for Varuna dev’s abode, from liberation and the brahmajyoti, even from elevation to the spiritual world.

When Lord Chaitanya came, the same personalities who are the nitya siddha associates of Krishna joined him in his lila. During Mahaprakash, he was revealing to them like he revealed to the brijwasis, whatever was in their hearts, and he offered them all any blessing, any benediction to each and every one of them, and all they wanted was to love him, to serve him, to remember him, to be with his devotees, and to chant his names –

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

Many of the Six Goswamis of Vrindavan left the most incredible opportunities and facilities that the world had to offer, because they had such an appreciation of the value of vrajbhumi, the love, the grace that permeates this place so deeply and through our sadhana, and through our satsang. Through our prayers and through our seva we can open our hearts to connect with that current of grace. By Srila Prabhupad’s divine grace we are all given this opportunity.

Thank you very much.

Shall we dance and chant.

Radhanath Swami doing kirtan
Radhanath Swami doing kirtan

I believe tomorrow we are going to seek shelter of Sri Giriraj, and for a few days, out of causeless mercy, we will make our homes at Govardhan hill. So, let us offer tonight’s kirtan, through our enthusiasm of offering our every limb and our heart of hearts, offer our gratitude for the association Krishna has given us in his Vrindavan dham.