Radhanath Swami speaking “Pastimes In And Around Govardhan”, 2013 Yatra, Vrindavan, Day 9
By the grace of Srila Prabhupada, our beloved Guru Maharaj, we are being blessed with an inconceivable good fortune to be together on pilgrimage in the association of wonderful devotees at the eternal home of our great beloved acharyas, Sri Govardhan Hill.
Radhanath Swami narrates the pastime of last wish of Srila Prabhupada
When Srila Prabhupada was in his last weeks, practically last days, during his physical pastimes with us in this world, his body was heartbreaking for any devotee to see it. It was so thin and so frail. When many beloved disciples, Godbrothers, well-wishers of Srila Prabhupada saw him in that condition, just prior to his disappearance, they would cry because Srila Prabhupada’s body was transcendental and it was the vehicle by which he could shower the divine grace of Krishna and parampara throughout the world. Devotees loved Srila Prabhupada. Devotees understood in their heart of hearts that Srila Prabhupada’s grace coming through his instructions, coming through his eternal person would always be with us, if we carefully tried to serve him. But seeing the body and that condition was a very personal difficulty.
One time, one of his disciples, who was a scientist started to cry when he saw Srila Prabhupada’s condition. Prabhupad smiled. He said,”You are a scientist. You require evidence. I have been telling you for all these years that we are not these bodies; we are the eternal souls, part of Krishna. So now you see, my body is almost gone but I am still here. That is evidence; scientific!” Srila Prabhupad never stopped giving Krishna consciousness.
Our beloved God brother Yadubar Prabhu, who is with us this evening, he is making a updated documentary film on Srila Prabhupada’s life. But soon after Srila Prabhupada’s physical departure, he produced and created one of the most beautiful films that has ever been made, ‘Your ever well-wisher’, which gives the glimpse into Srila Prabhupada’s life and his contributions to the world. And toward the end of the film, Srila Prabhupada is laying on what we call in this world a death bed. He was unable to sit or stand. He was just laying physically incapacitated and His Holiness Jayadvaita Swami Maharaj was holding a Dictaphone really close to his mouth and Yadubar Prabhu was filming it. Srila Prabhupada was translating Srimad Bhagvatam and giving purports to the 10th canto. Up until the last moment, he was simply giving Krishna.
When he was in that kind of state, just before he was invited to London and to America, he said,”Take me.” And all the doctors were saying,”No you cannot go. You will die!” Srila Prabhupada said that it will be a great honor to die on the battlefield! What was his battlefield? On a very personal level we can understand that he was fighting against the Maya within each of our hearts. He was going place to place to inspire us to be spiritually strong. Practically he was dictating his books till the last moment. Through his prayers, through his books, through his travel and his inspiration, through his brilliant organization of the Society of the community of Vaishnavas, he was fighting the battle of illusion, the whole world and on a personal level within each of our heart, he was there, as our general, giving us all the weapons: the holy name, the holy books, devotional service, the strength to use them and the association of devotees. And he actually went to England, but he had to return because his health was making it impossible for him to go anywhere else.
And he came back here to Vrindavan. He told the devotees,”I want to do Govardhan parikrama,” one of his last-most desire. The doctor said, “Without doubt he will die if he’s put on an ox cart on such rough roads.” Some of Srila Prabhupada’s devotees said,”Yes it is guru Maharaj’s wish and we must take him on parikrama.” They got the oxen. They got the cart ready and others were crying and begging Prabhupada, “No. Please don’t go. You will die.” Srila Prabhupada smiled. He said,”What better way will be there than to die in the Govardhan parikrama!” But some of the devotees were thinking, ‘We are fulfilling Prabhupada’s order by taking him. If he wants to die that way it is his decision.’ And others were saying, ‘But still, out of our love, it’s almost like killing him by putting him on that cart.” It was a very difficult condition. At the time when Srila Prabhupada was inevitably going to leave us, he created attention, attention of love. Whatever opinion they may have had, it was with deep love for Srila Prabhupada because in bhakti, love is not always one way or another. Hanuman loves Rama by carrying out his order. The gopas love Krishna by having Krishna carry them on their shoulders. Mother Yashoda loves Krishna by feeding him and protecting him and sometimes chastising him, and tying him up to punish him. Gopis love for Krishna is to dance, to remember and embrace him in the core of their hearts, forever. So, Srila Prabhupada was churning, churning the love of his devotees, in such a tangible powerful way. And when his dear Godbrother, Krishnadas Babaji Maharaj came to visit him, Srila Prabhupada smiled at him and said, “Babaji Maharaj, see how much they love me.” The devotees were crying, “Prabhupada, you are driving us mad,” and so to fulfill the wishes of his devotees, Srila Prabhupada he did not go. But after he passed from this world, devotees did parikrama with his murti around Govardhan Hill.
Radhanath Swami recounts the life and lessons from Raghunath Das Goswami
Raghunath Das Goswami is our prayojana acharya. We know the story that he was the only child of Hiranya and Govardhan Majumdar who were jamindars or land owners of a huge estate, a property where there were hundreds of thousands of people living. They were actually given the rights to tax these people. In their own areas they were like kings and they amassed a lot of wealth and property. Raghunath Das was the most important person in their lives because he was the sole heir to everything they had. They were devotees. His parents would give donations to Sri Advaita Acharya. They would sometimes give donations to Jagannath Mishra and Sachi devi. They were devotees and their priests and their guru were Yadu Nandana Acharya and Balarama Acharya.
When Haridas Thakur had just come from Benapal, he visited Chandpur, which is in the Adi-Saptagram area, not too far from Navdvipa, Mayapur. There they arranged for him to stay and give talks on the glories of the holy names. Now, because this is Navdvip area, there were many scholars of the scriptures. There were many babas and swamis and Saints and rishis. Haridas Thakur was from an outcast family. He was rejected, persecuted, and insulted almost everywhere he went. People would spread lies about him. They would try to incriminate him in some sort of activity so that his life would be ruined. They wanted him in prison. They wanted him beaten. Many wanted him killed and all he wanted was to just share his love of God with everyone. He just loved everyone; even those who try to destroy him in every way. He only prayed for Krishna to bless them with love of Krishna. And he would chant 300,000 times the names every day. So Balaram Acharya and Yadunandan understood that Haridas not only had knowledge but he also had realizations. He was Naam Acharya. He was the living example of the greatness of the holy names because he knew no other shelter but the holy names and he wanted nothing else.
When Raghunath was a small boy, he was brought to meet Haridas Thakur and that had such an effect. All the jewels, the gold, all the property, the power, the nice clothes, the fine foods, the beautiful ladies, everything that his family was providing for him, it was all insignificant distraction compared to what Haridas Thakur possessed. Haridas Thakur was just wearing a little loincloth. He had no property, no second set of clothes perhaps, he had no home, they lived in caves but he had a taste for the chanting of the holy names.
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare
In that taste for the holy names, he was experiencing unmotivated, uninterrupted loving service to Sri Sri Radha Krishna. He wanted that. And when he met Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in Shantipur, he became attracted spontaneously. He just wanted to serve Lord Chaitanya as the servant of the servant of his servants. And time passed and there were so many challenges in his life. It is really amazing.
I remember, one time we went to Raghunath Das Goswami’s birthplace, Krishnapur, which is not far from Chandpur and there were hundreds of devotees. We were all assembled right there at his house. What a place! And I was thinking, ‘I have been longing to come here for decades and decades’ and I asked everybody who was there, “How much are you happy and enthusiastic to be here?” And everybody was saying, “Hari Bol!” I said, “Well, we were so happy to come here but for Raghunath Das Goswami, his whole life was trying to escape and get out of here and ultimately he did, by the mercy of Lord Nityananda at Panihati.” Nityananda Prabhu gave a great lesson for everyone. He had Raghunath Das Goswami do a very simple service for all the Vaishnavas and all the people: to provide a feast of Chida-dahi. He was such a wealthy person. Chida is just flat rice and it is the cheapest food. If any of you ever decide to be beggars and you literally just give up everything and go out begging, most likely people will give you chida, it is so cheap and they will just throw some handfuls of chipped rice in your bag. I used to do that and even though it is so cheap, it is really special because it doesn’t spoil. You can take it into the Himalayas, you can accumulate it with you and you can live on it for weeks, months. Just add a little river water to it and it is very nice, providing you are not expecting anything more. That is the way the mind works.
Simple things could be so nice if you’re not expecting something else, but if you expect something else, nothing’s really nice no matter what you have. If you’re expecting something else, something more then you cannot be satisfied. But if you’re satisfied with whatever Krishna is giving, you can be satisfied, you can be happy in any situation. – Radhanath Swami
Srila Prabhupada said, “When we become advanced in Krishna consciousness, all we need is the holy name, a tree to sleep under, the association of devotees and a little prasadam, and we are happy. We don’t need anything else.” Simple living; high thinking.
Chida mixed with some water from a little pond, with no sugar or salt or anything else is like nectar if you are hungry and you are not expecting some mango pickle to mix. If you expect anything you will never be happy. So he made a Chida-dahi feast for everyone. And he put so many nice things in it. And because he served the Vaishnavas with such sincere devotion and he was earnestly praying for the shelter of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the original guru, Nityananda Prabhu blessed him and ultimately Raghunath Das Goswami went to Jagannath Puri and became the servant of the servant of the Lord Chaitanya.
Radhanath Swami elaborates on life of Raghunath Das Goswami near Giriraj
Swarup Damodar Goswami was Lord Chaitanya’s personal secretary. Even though Raghunath Das was so educated, so wealthy, coming from such a high family, he was so humble. He always wanted to just serve the servant. Even when he had a question for Lord Chaitanya, he could have approached him directly and Lord Chaitanya would have welcomed him, but he asked the question through Swarup Damodar Goswami, “Now that I have renounced everything in this world I don’t even know why I did it, what is the true meaning and duties of one in the renounced order of life?”
Lord Chaitanya instructed him, “Do not speak prajalpa, gramyakatha. Do not speak material subjects. Gramyakatha is usually speaking about the faults of other people and about things that give us material sense enjoyment. Do not speak and do not listen to it. Dress very simple. Offer all respect to others. Don’t expect any respect for yourself. This is what renunciation means. And always chant Krishna’s names and always serve Sri Sri Radha Krishna and in your heart of hearts serve them in the land of Vrindavan.”
So, Raghunath Das Goswami lived in such a spirit. Lord Chaitanya was so pleased with him and gave him as a gift his own Govardhan Shila. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu worshiped Giriraj. He had a single stone that was given to him by one sanyasi and he wore it around his neck over his heart. And Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami says, in the mood of Sri Radha, he saw that stone as the body of Krishna. It was her beloved Krishna. When he would go into ecstasies he would hold the stone to his four head, he would press Giriraj Shila to his heart. That Giriraj was constantly moistened by the tears of the ecstatic love of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Lord Chaitanya considered that Govardhan Shila as his life and his soul. He only had one. He gave his life and soul to Raghunath Das Goswami and even arranged the articles to worship and to offer Sri Giriraj to Raghunath Das Goswami.
When Raghunath received it, he was thinking, ‘By giving me Giriraj, my beloved Lord Sri Gauranga has given me eternal residence at Govardhan Hill.’ He also got Sri Gauranga’s own Gunja mala. Gunja is just a little seed, kind of a little plant seed that grows in Vrindavan. By material standards it just grows wild, but for Raghunath Das Goswami, he considered, ‘Because Mahaprabhu has given me Gunjamala, he has given me the grace and the love of Sri Radharani in her service.’
And when Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu left this world and Swarup Damodar Goswami left this world, Raghunath Das Goswami decided to come to Govardhan Hill to end his life. And he came with that intention, but first he met with Rupa and Sanatana Goswami to get their blessings. And they gave the blessing that, “You should stay with us because no one else knows Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s lilas like you do! You were his personal servant for so many years. You were the servant of his servant. You have the notebooks, the diaries of Swarup Damodar Goswami. You have heard everything, you saw everything! Reside at Sri Radha kund and every day recite the pastimes and teachings of Lord Gauranga.” Raghunath Das Goswami made his residence at Sri Radha kund.
From this beautiful story we get a little glimpse into the sacredness of Govardhan Hill. In Srimad Bhagvatam, Sri Radharani and the gopis declare Giriraj as the king of mountains. He is Hari-das-varya, the very dear most, super excellent, best servant of Lord Hari. And the other day we spoke on Govardhan puja of how Sri Krishna personally manifested his personal form as Giriraj. Govardhan is Krishna and at the same time Govardhan is performing the leela of being the dear most servant of Krishna. By Srila Prabhupada’s grace we have come and in our hearts we should be truly grateful, be really eager and enthusiastic to serve Giriraj by our eagerness to hear, by our eagerness to chant, by her eagerness to serve his devotees, by our eagerness to pray, pray for what pleases him, Giriraj himself, in the form of Lord Chaitanya who taught us how to pray. One of his prayers
na dhanaṁ na janaṁ na sundarīṁ
kavitāṁ vā jagad-īśa kāmaye
mama janmani janmanīśvare
bhavatād bhaktir ahaitukī tvayi
So many people in this world pray to God for so many things, but Mahaprabhu is teaching us something that is revolutionary. “I do not desire wealth. I do not desire enjoyments of the body and senses, even the most beautiful association of the opposite sex. I do not desire fame or followers. I do not desire great scholarship as a poet. I do not desire even liberation from suffering. My only desire is to allow me to be your servant unconditionally, birth after birth.” This is the crest jewel of all goals of life, the purushartha shiromani, the prayer for unconditional loving service, samsiddhir hari toshanam, for the pleasure of Krishna.
Giriraj is also called Kamagiri because he is especially merciful. If we pray with a sincere heart when we come here, Giriraj will fulfill our prayers. What will please him is when we pray for bhakti, when we pray for prema, when we pray to be empowered by his grace to overcome the obstacles of false ego, selfishness, lust, envy, anger, pride, greed and illusion.
The tendency of people in this world and the tendency is there very much into devotees too, is we want to serve these anarthas. We have to deeply take shelter of Krishna, take shelter of Prabhupada’s books, take shelter of the association of the devotees, and take shelter of the holy names for Krishna’s blessings to give us the strength to overcome these anarthas. – Radhanath Swami
And that is why we come to Govardhan Hill, not to think we are advanced, because if we think we are advanced then there is nothing to ask for. How did Raghunath Das Goswami live at Govardhan? We cannot imitate him but we must follow in the footsteps of the great souls. He would offer thousands of obeisances to Krishna in the form of Giriraj every day. He would offer thousands of obeisances to the Vaishnavas. Now Radha kund was a very secluded place where thousands of Vaishnavas, but he would offer thousands of obeisances to the vaishnavas.
Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami was living at Sri Radha kund and at Sri Giriraj Govardhan and he would listen to the talks of Raghunath Das Goswami every day. With the order of the great Vaishnavas, the blessings of Madan Mohanji and Govindaji, he wrote what he heard in the form of Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita. Kaviraj Goswami is writing that, “I take the dust of the feet and worship every single devotee, the neophytes who are just coming to the path and the great paramhamsa acharyas.” That was his appreciation! How much do we really appreciate Krishna? In kaliyuga, our tendency to take things very cheaply, we take Krishna cheaply, we take Vaishnavas cheaply, we take the holy name cheaply, and we take devotional service cheaply. But, if we understand Krishna, if we actually have some real appreciation and love for Krishna like Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami or Raghunath Das Goswami, we will see anybody who is approaching Krishna with some sincerity is worshipable to me.
How we humble ourselves to the Vaishnavas is actually a sign of how much we are actually appreciating Krishna. ‘This person has a little spark of love for Krishna, if I really love Krishna at all, how wonderful that spark is!’ This was Kaviraj Goswami’s mood. So when we come here, this is what we pray for, this is what we long for, this is what we try to install on the altar of our heart’s deepest aspirations.
na dhanaṁ na janaṁ na sundarīṁ
kavitāṁ vā jagad-īśa kāmaye
mama janmani janmanīśvare
bhavatād bhaktir ahaitukī tvayi
for unconditional loving service, for the pleasure of Sri Sri Radha and Krishna.
Raghava Pandit was living in a little cave near Surabhi kund. He was Champakalata, one of the sakhis in Sri Radha and Krishna’s lila. He was constantly immersed in the loving service of the Lord. When the greatest acharyas would come to Vrindavan, Raghava Pandit would take them on parikrama. In the Bhakti Ratnakar, there is a beautiful chapter, where Jiva Goswami is instructing Narottam Das Thakur and Srinivas Acharya to go on the parikrama under the guidance and with the blessings of Raghav Pandit. Narottam Das Thakur, in his beautiful song is worshiping Sri guru, worshiping the Vaishnavas, worshiping the holy name ‘ananda vrindavan, ananda bolo hari bhaja vrindavan,’ chant the holy names of Hari and worship Vrindavan. How to do so? Through worshiping the Guru and the Vaishnavas, vishaya chadiya kabe shudha habe mana, kaba habe heribo sri vrindavan ‘When will I be free of these material desires then I will see Vrindavan.’ So we come here not to be great, we come here praying to be humbled, so that we can actually serve the great and please the great; and Giriraj will fulfill our desires.
Radhanath Swami narrates the story of how Giriraj manifested in Goloka Vrindavan
The Garga samhita tells the story of how Giriraj manifested in Goloka Vrindavan in the spiritual world. It is a discussion between Narada Muni and Bahulashva, a great king. Now, nityalila is inconceivable to the human intelligence because our human intelligence, especially Western education, it tries to categorize things and put things in boxes that are logical and make sense and that are consistent with other truths that make sense and all of that. And it is based on our sensual experiences. But Srila Prabhupada taught us that to understand Krishna, to understand bhakti, first principle which quotes Jiva Goswami too, is that Krishna has achintya shakti, inconceivable potencies. This is why we speak about Krishna’s incredible pastimes here in Vrindavan.
What is this Aghasura? What is this Putana and how Krishna is sucking the life out of this giant witch? How is he expanding himself in the snake? How he is showing the universe in his little mouth to his mother? How is he lifting Giriraj Govardhan? It is not that he had one of those devices with the bubbles and everything, to try to balance it. He just lifted it, just like a child lifts a mushroom. Today Govardhan Hill parikrama to walk is 23 kms; he just lifted it and held. Srila Prabhupada said, “This is not mythology; this is history.” Materially, yes it is impossible, but for Krishna nothing is impossible. He is performing miracles in every moment through material nature. It is just that we are so accustomed to see it, we don’t even appreciate it. Krishna is inconceivable.
So it is difficult to try to understand nityalila. Also, at the same time it is describing how something begins. How does something begin that has no beginning? Now we will tell the story of how the beginning less Govardhan began in the spiritual world. Because in this inconceivable eternal nature, Krishna is eternally Giriraj in Goloka, but still, for the sake of pastimes he will give birth to Giriraj.
So one day, Srimati Radharani and the gopis were performing the Rasa Lila with Krishna in the forests of Vrindavan. Sri Radha sitting alone with Krishna said, “If you are pleased with me, if you are pleased with my love and the love of the gopis, and if you are pleased with our Rasa dance together and with the beautiful loving forests of Vrindavan, please fulfill one desire that I am having.”
Krishna said, “Whatever pleases you is my only desire.”
Sri Radha said, “Create in this Rasa mandala, in this area of the Rasa dance near the Yamuna River bank, the supreme most pleasurable place for us to perform our pastimes together.”
Krishna said, “So be it.” He closed his eyes and meditated, meditated very deeply on the very essence of his love within his heart and that love, the essence of the love of his heart which is the source of all happiness manifested from his heart as a spark of fire and water and entered into the sacred dust of Goloka Vrindavan. Immediately that little seed began to grow and it grew and grew and grew and minutes later it was a magnificent mountain. The most beautiful mountain in all spiritual world, it is Giriraj, the king of mountains. When Sri Radharani saw that, Krista took her by the hand and they explored the waterfalls, the trees, the caves. It became the favorite playground for Krishna, the gopas, the cows, and the gopis.
Radhanath Swami describes pastimes of Giriraj coming in this world
Once in a day of Brahma, Krishna descends into this world. He descends in his original personal form. In every yuga, he comes as the yuga avatar. But there are many descriptions of lila avatars. For the creation of the world, he has his purusha avatars. For managing modes of material nature, he has his guna avatars. For the purpose of management of universal affairs, he has his Manu avatars. But, krishnastu bhagavan svayam, Krishna is ‘govindam adi purusham tam aham bhajami.’ Once in a day of Bramha which is over 8 billion years, he comes to this world personally.
From Goloka, he told Sri Radha, “I am descending into the world. Please come.”
She said, “I will go wherever you go. But my greatest happiness will be if the holy river Yamuna that is flowing forever in Goloka, Giriraj Govardhan Hill, and the forests of Vrindavan come with us.”
Krishna smiled and said, “They have already descended in their expected forms, original expanded forms.” Krishna expanded his original form and descended. Similarly Giriraj, Yamuna, and the forests of Vrindavan, are the original lila stans of Krishna in the spiritual world that are appearing within this world. This is the story of how Giriraj came down long before to this world in order to fulfill this purpose of especially giving all of us mercy. Krishna in the form of Giriraj descended as Samalidvip, as the son of Dronachala. All the other mountains in the universe understood that this is the essence of Krishna’s love in the form of a mountain, the king of mountains from Goloka Vrindavan. So they all honored, worshiped, and showered flowers on Giriraj.
Once Pulashya Muni came to that place and he never saw anything so beautiful as Giriraj. So he asked the father of Giriraj, Dronachala, “I would like to take him to my ashram in Kashi. In Kashi the river Ganga is flowing so mercifully, but there are no beautiful mountains. I want to do my bhajan, my sadhana there.” Dronachala was very broken hearted, ‘How can I say ‘NO’ to a great sage and at the same time how can I be separated from Giriraj?’
Giriraj had a plan. He was coming to be a part of Krishna’s lilas. Not only a part, the heart of Krishna lilas. He said, “I will go with you. But how are you going to take me?”
Pulashya muni said, “I will carry you with my right hand.”
He said, “All right but under one condition. If anywhere you put me down I will not move from that place.”
Pulashya Muni was a great mystic yogi. He knew his own powers. He was very confident. He said, “Yes.”
As they were traveling, when they came to Vrajabhumi, Sri Giriraj could see, ‘This is my eternal abode manifested on earth. This is where I will appear in the mood of a devotee; this where my beloved Radharani and Krishna will appear to perform their pastimes.’ So by Giriraj’s desire Pulashya Muni had a very intense necessity to respond to the call of nature. So being the great Brahmin he put Giriraj down. He responded and when he came to pick him up, Giriraj did not move. He was very angry. Giriraj said, “No! No! This was the arrangement. Now I am here forever.”
Pulashya Muni – it was actually Krishna in his heart – he said, “Because you are not cooperating, every day you will shrink in size by the size of a mustard seed.”
Now this was way back in Satya-yuga which was long ago when Giriraj was very big. So, by the time Krishna came he was just the perfect size for the beautiful pastimes of the Lord. And when the gopis offer this prayer, haridasvarya, Srila Prabhupada explains it in this way that, “You are most dear to Krishna because you are providing all the pleasures and the necessities to the cows and to Krishna’s devotees.” And they explained how Giriraj in his ecstasy of love is doing seva.
Krishna is Govinda. It is his Lila to give pleasure to cows. He is Gopal, the protector of cows. And Giriraj is Govardhan, which means he nourishes the cows. They live forever in Goloka, the planet of cows. And they are living here in Gokula, the home of the cows. Giriraj, like the hair standing on end of his body, provides unlimited grass for the cows to eat. Every single blade of grass is an offering of ecstatic infinite love of Giriraj. Every blade of grass is intoxicatingly fragrant, sweet, delicious to eat, very soft, and gentle in every season, so that when the cows needs it, not only does it smell nice and it tastes ecstatic, but it also feels good in their mouth. Every blade of grass has such nourishment that it makes the cows very healthy and very happy. When the cows eat it, each and every single blade of grass creates milk that has the fragrance of lotus flowers and has such tasting nourishment beyond anything that we can even imagine. Giriraj is providing unlimited grass like this for cows, and the cows reciprocate with the milk which is produced from that grass there. In ecstatic gratitude and love for Giriraj, for Krishna, and for Sri Radha, that milk is dripping from their udders and watering the grass. This is loving reciprocation. It is like, we take water from the Ganga and then offer it back to Ganga with love. The cows are taking the grass, making milk and thy are offering the milk to the grass. That is Giriraj.
Radhanath Swami extols the glories of Six Goswamis in Vrindavan
There were unlimited trees at the time of Krishna, and if you have the spiritual vision you may see them today. All the trees are kalpavriksha trees. They have so many flowers and so many fruits. Srila Prabhupada explains the nature of the trees on Giriraj, and then the nature of the kalpavriksha trees in Vrindavan. They fulfill whatever desire you have. Any fruit or any flower you want from any tree, it will come instantly. But most of all, the fruits and flowers of Krishna prema are fulfilled when we just desire them under one of these trees.
When we hear about the six Goswamis sleeping under different trees every night, we think of that as such a state of renunciation; yes? At Ramakeli, Rupa and Sanatana were living in magnificent palaces. Raghunath Das Goswami had an estate of wealth, and now they were sleeping under different trees every night. Chaitanya Charitamrita explains, when people would come from Vrindavan back to Bengal or to Orissa, the first thing that the devotees would ask those people coming back from their pilgrimage, “Have you seen Rupa and Sanatana and Raghunath Das? Have you seen them?”
Everyone loved them so much. And they would say, “How are they living?”
“They are sleeping under different trees every night. They are only wearing kaupin,” – kaupin is just a loincloth and it’s usually just the cloth that the Vrajavasis discard – “They make it into a little wrap-it-around their waist and the little chaddar and are just begging for some rotis, wheat, and chickpeas. But they’re constantly checking the holy names, they are constantly talking about Krishna, they are constantly crying in separation from Krishna and Lord Gauranga. They are writing books in that state. They asked for nothing but they’re giving the world the greatest things!”
Now, for us sleeping under these trees is an austerity, but for the Goswamis, premananjana churitam bhakti vilochanena, when we have love in our heart, we don’t see just through these little eyes that are made of flesh and water, we see through that love. It is the soul, the atma that is seeing, and only Radharani can bless us, only Krishna can bless us with that vision. Om agyan timirandhasya jyananjana shalakaya, they are manifesting that vision through the grace of their beloved servant, the spiritual master. We are all here today because Srila Prabhupada is giving us that vision.
So, what is the vision of Six Goswami’s? They are seeing each tree is a Kalpavriksha, as a manifestation of Krishna’s infinite mercy that has descended from the spiritual world as an eternal associate. The Shakti of Radharani and Krishna’s grace is manifesting through these trees. It was a greater opulence by millions of times than Indra’s palace because they were saragrahi, seeking the essence.
Giriraj has unlimited such trees and caves, beautiful caves. When the cowherd boys, the gopas, the gopis, the cows, the calves, the bulls, when they would come to Sri Giriraj, they would taste the fruits, they would make wonderful garlands, and smell the aromas of the flowers. They would go into the caves. The caves were cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Giriraj made those caves in such a way that they had wonderful jewels on the walls, some wonderful sitting places, and places where the cow was could rub themselves and be very happy. Private places where Radharani and Krishna or gopis or the gopas when they were playing, they could rest. Giriraj created waterfalls, lakes, little rivers, ponds, creeks, and the water which was pure nectar. That nectar was sweeter than the Amrita in the heavenly planets. After many many births of great sacrifices and pious activities one can attain the heavenly planets and drink nectar. But here was a nectar millions and trillions unlimitedly greater than the nectar in the spiritual world, and it’s available every day, all day for the cows, calves, peacocks, deer, buffaloes, gopas, gopis, and everyone because this nectar is premamrita. It doesn’t just quench your thirst; it awakens the ecstasy of love by giving all these beautiful facilities for the happiness of Krishna’s devotees.
Giriraj is expert at pleasing Krishna. This was Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s principle, gopi bhartur padakamalayor das dasanudas, to be the servant of the servant of the servant of the Lord.
Should I continue? (Everyone cheers with loud “Hari Bol”) Should we take a little parikrama, around Govardhan Hill? (Everyone cheers with loud “Hari Bol”)
Tomorrow is Srila Prabhupada’s disappearance day. I don’t know what the schedule is but I hope they will announce it. There will be a program in the morning and there will also be a program in the evening. Everyone please be here especially for the program in the evening tomorrow, by 5 o’clock because as far as I know, His Holiness Sachinandana Swami Maharaj, His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami Maharaj and possibly other great saints will be here to discuss Srila Prabhupada’s pastimes and his teachings. Also, in the afternoon, as it is his disappearance day tomorrow, we will have the ceremonies for Srila Prabhupada’s disappearance. As we will begin, we will bathe at Manasi Ganga. It is recommended.
Radhanath Swami on pastimes in and around Kusum Sarovar
You could begin the parikrama anywhere. Let us begin at Kusum Sarovar because at Kusum Sarovar, there is a beautiful temple. That temple was a symbol of Vrajabhumi and it is there that there is a forest Pushpavan, on where Sri Radha and gopis would collect flowers to make garlands and make wonderful artistic flower arrangements to offer Krishna at Radha kund, when they would perform their pastimes there. The lake of Kusum Sarovar is filled with the bhava of Sri Radha and Krishna.
It is described that Ashtavakra Muni, who was one of the great sages of the Puranas and Vedas, was living on the banks of Kusum Sarovar waiting for Radharani and Krishna to appear within this world. When he had the darshan of Radha-Krishna on the banks of Kusum Sarovar at this Pushpavan, he gave up his life. Narada Muni approached Lord Shiva and expressed to Lord Shiva that even though he (Narada Muni) is the guru of Dhruva, guru of Prahlada, guru of King Prachinibarhishat, guru of Valmiki Muni, guru of Mrigari, he is the guru of almost everybody, his deepest wish was to observe Krishna’s pastimes with the gopis because he understood that this is the highest and the deepest manifestation of spiritual love. Some people worship God for material benefits in this world. When we understand that life is so short and no matter what benefits you have, you have to suffer terribly in this world. Some people want to go to heavenly planets. When we understand that even Indra is in anxiety there from time to time, then we want to go to the highest planets. When we understand Tapa loka, Jana loka, Maha loka, they are all meditating because they want to get out of the material creation. So some people want liberation and the Bramhajyoti, no more suffering. Narada Muni understands all these things. Beyond all that is bhakti, elevation into the loving service of the Lord in Vaikuntha, and beyond that is Goloka, the loving service of Sri Krishna in the mood of the Vrajavasis, and beyond that, the highest manifestation within Vrindavan is the love between Krishna and the gopis, radha krishna praneyara vikritir hladini shakti ashraya, the love of Radha and Krishna.
Narada Muni is the greatest renunciate. There is no way to even tempt him with material sense gratification.
nārada-muni, bājāya vīṇā,
He is constantly chanting the names of Radha Raman; traveling all over the universe. He prayed to Shiva, ‘Give me a mantra by which I could witness, I could have the vision to witness the love of Krishna and the gopis.’ So Shiva gave him a mantra. Mahadev told him to come to a place in Vrajabhumi called NaradaVan, which is just where Kusum Sarovar is. Narada Muni was performing his bhajan, chanting the names and meditating, and one day, Vrinda Devi, who is the presiding Empress of Vrindavan on behalf of Sri Radha, came there. Vrinda Devi is one who makes every possible arrangement of Vrajabhumi for the pleasure of Krishna, Sri Radha, and other devotees for loving pastimes. She approached Narada Muni. After he developed the mature fruit of his chanting with the mantra that he was given, he expressed his desire to be able to actually experience through his vision, the loving pastimes of Radha and Krishna. All this is very interesting because it is something we can connect to. He was living there at Naradavan which is just close to Radha kund and Shyam kund. Krishna and Radha are eternally performing their pastimes there. But Narada Muni understood that unless we are given the vision by the grace of the Lord’s devotees, even he cannot see. So Vrinda Devi told him, “You can enter the pastimes of Krishna and gopis only with the body of a gopi. Being a male is a disqualification.” She told him, “Chanting the mantra, meditating deeply with this prayer in your heart, go to the northwestern corner of Kusum Sarovar. Because this kund is filled with the maha-bhava of Sri Radha, your desire will be fulfilled.” Narada Muni took his bath at Kusum Sarovar, the same place where we are bathing by Prabhupada’s grace. And when he came out of the water, he had the body of a gopi, Naradi Gopi, and Vrinda Devi took him to Sri Shyam kund, Sri Radha kund, where he could actually perceive and experience Krishna’s madhurya lila with his Gopis. He could actually witness the love of Sri Radha for Shyamasundar. He could actually see that reciprocation of love. Radha Gopinath told Narada Muni, “Now you have experienced it, now you write the Narada Bhakti Sutras and share this realization with the world.” So Vrinda Devi took him to the southeastern corner of Kusum Sarovar and he went inside. He went in as a Gopi and he came out as the great sage Narada Muni. At Narada kund, he is actually in his spiritual form; never leaves.
If we continue a little more, we visit Radha Vanbihari. Yes? Mataji’s little temple right on the banks of Kusum Sarovar. Pulinda Devi would you like to stand up for a moment. She has been doing seva there on the banks of Kusum Sarovar for a beautiful Giriraj for many many years. Please visit her temple and pray for all blessings to be upon her wonderful service.
Radhanath Swami narrates the pastime of deliverance of Shankhachuda
A little further, we will just explain a few places. If you go inside to the right from the parikrama path, there are beautiful shady trees and there is Shyamvan or Shyam kutir. There is a footprint of Lord Krishna there. According to our Scriptures and the acharyas, Radharani would sit on the throne with Krishna called the Ratna Simhasana. There are limitless beautiful pastimes that they would exchange sitting on that throne together. One wonderful pastime is written in the Srimad Bhagvatam that took place there at that Ratna Simhasana.
It was the full moon night of the Falgun month when we celebrate Holi. We know the story of Hiranyakashipu’s sister, Prahlada’s aunt. Hiranyakashipu was trying to do everything to kill his little son. Prahlad is only five years old. He did not have any training in martial arts. He did not have any weapons. He did not have anybody to protect him. He was all alone. Whereas all the demigods in the heavens were all Hiranyakashipu’s slaves, he controlled the universe up to Svargaloka. He had massive armies. He had inconceivable powers. And little Prahlad never fought back. He just was always remembering Krishna. And Krishna was always there to protect him. So one of the ways Hiranyakashipu tried to kill him is from his sister. “Just hold Prahlada in a blazing fire to he burned to death!” She had a benediction that she could not be burned by fire. The fire was burning burning burning burning burning and Prahlad was just ‘Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna,’ sitting there remembering Krishna. Ultimately it was too much. His aunt burned to death and little Prahlad just walked out, fearless. He was happy with Krishna. So this is holi and it’s celebrated in Vrindavan with so many beautiful ways with colors. Radharani has her side, Krishna has his side, and they have a battle of love, of offering sweets and offering flowers and offering beautiful natural coloring flowers. It is all expression of love.
But, on this particular full moon night, Krishna and Balram were with gopis and there at Shyama kutir, Krishna and Balram were intoxicated with love for their devotees. All the devotees were intoxicated with love for them, and the whole forest of Giriraj Govardhan was intoxicated with the love for Krishna Balaram, Radharani and Krishna. Wonderful flowers were blooming, very gentle cool breezes were flowing, the birds were singing the most wonderful songs, and Krishna and Balaram were so inspired that for the pleasure of gopis they sang together. How did they sing together? This is inconceivable. Sa Re Ga MA PA Dha Ni Sa..Yes? How many can you say at once with your voice?
Krishna and Balaram were singing every single note of every single scale simultaneously and it sounded absolutely beautiful. The most beautiful sound you can imagine. When Krishna plays his flute, the love of his heart flows from his heart through the holes of his flute to make that music. Similarly, when Krishna was singing for the pleasure of his devotees, Krishna and Balaram were intoxicated by their own singing; it was so sweet! Literally all the notes of all the scales of all the ragas were coming simultaneously; like nectar pouring from their mouths. The gopis were so happy; they were dancing together.
At that time, an assistant of Kubera came. He had a very beautiful body, he was extremely wealthy, he was one of the treasurers of the heavenly planets, and he was extremely powerful. He had the most precious, exquisite jewel that he wore on his head. His name was Shankhachuda. He was proud. Srila Prabhupada explains, “When one is proud, arrogant, due to having a high birth, due to having a lot of wealth, a lot of beauty, a lot of strength, then one thinks that ‘I am the enjoyer and whatever is attractive it should be for me.’” You see when we are arrogant; we are subject to be envious. When we don’t have what somebody else has, when we have false pride, we have the tendency to think, ‘I’m better than somebody who doesn’t have what I have.’ When we have false pride, we could become very depressed when we don’t get what we think we expect. And most of all, when we are intoxicated with false pride, we come into the illusion where we justify our arrogance, ‘I have the right to judge others.’ How can you criticize a person unless you feel that you’re in a superior position?
‘Amani na manadena,’ when great souls like Srila Prabhupada would sometimes point out faults, it was earnestly with compassion to protect us, to purify us like a doctor. The doctor will tell you, “You stay away from this, it will cause you disease.” Or, “You have this disease, take this medicine.” But that’s with compassion. But the nature of arrogance or the false ego is, we think that we have that right.
So when Shankhachuda saw the beauty of the gopis, he was thinking that, ‘These women should be enjoyed only by me. Who is this Krishna and Balaram? What right did they have to enjoy these beautiful women? It is my right!’ So he was so arrogant. He picked up a stick and started shouting at the gopis that they should come with him. He didn’t touch them. He didn’t have that power; although he did know that. “Come with me.”But he was driving them in the northern direction; right in front of Krishna and Balaram. Actually, you know, we should be a little introspective too. Because Krishna is in our heart, so whatever we do is right in front of Krishna too. When we are trying to steal his property, we are trying to enjoy unethical or sinful activities, or when we are trying to criticize or make judgment over others, we are right in the presence of Krishna too. So the Shankhachuda is living within us; we have those propensities.
So Shankhachuda was driving the gopis and the gopis were crying out for Krishna and Balaram for help. He was very powerful person. The gopis cried so sincerely that Krishna and Balaram picked up the logs and chased after Shankhachuda. When Shankhachuda saw Krishna and Balaram very angry and coming after him, he became afraid and he ran away. Krishna told Balram, “You take care of Gopis. I will take care of Shankhachuda.” So leaving the gopis in the protective custody of Balaram, Krishna ran very fast. Shankhachuda was very distant away, but by Krishna’s transcendental powers, even though it was a long distance between them, in a second Krishna was right behind him. How did he do that? Because he is Krishna! He took his lotus like fist and hit Shankhachuda (makes a sound of a punch); it sounded much nicer than that actually. Shankhachuda was liberated. Then Krishna took that jewel from his head and he came back. All the gopis were watching. Krishna gave that jewel to Lord Balram. Later, Balaram gave that jewel to Sri Radharani. According to Rupa Goswami later that jewel became the Shyamantaka jewel. But the deliverance of Shankhachuda and this wonderful message for each of us was a pastime at the Ratna Simhasana.
Close to there is Gwala Pokhar and that’s where the cowherd boys and Krishna, everyday would perform their lilas around Govardhan hill. They would have wonderful pastimes there. And they would often take prasad there. In the late morning, early afternoon, it was from there that Krishna would very quietly go to Radha kund to meet Sri Radharani.
Radhanath Swami explains pastimes in and around Manasi Ganga
And then we come to Manasi Ganga. We described in Vrindavan, how Kamsa sent an asura named Vatsa, who assumed the form of a little calf.
What is more innocent and sweet than little baby calf? This is how Maya could work. It is a good lesson. Maya can tempt us and try to distract us away from our bhakti even by appearing in ways that are very sweet and very innocent with the intent to destroy us. – Radhanath Swami
So that was Vatsasura; such a crooked person. He was just playing with the little calves and he was waiting for the moment where he could kill Krishna. Krishna said to Balaram, “You see that little calf? It is a demon.” And Krishna just walked up behind the calf and took him by this hind legs and whirled him around and threw him to the top of a Kapita tree. Does everyone know Kapita tree? Kapita is a fruit. It is a favorite fruit for the monkeys. Monkeys love Kapita fruits. Anyways, it is a really nice fruit. So Krishna threw him and he fell in the trees of the Kapita. Afterwards, they were here at Giriraj and the cowherd boys said to Krishna that, “You just killed a calf. So you should purify yourself by taking bath in the Ganges river.” So Krishna sat down and closed his eyes, and with his mind he meditated on Mother Ganga. Ganga is coming from Krishna. She is actually Krishna’s shakti. So from Krishna’s mind, from Krishna’s heart, he was thinking and meditating. Mother Ganga appeared and filled up the lake Manasi Ganga which in those days was really big. Cowherd boys were so happy. They all went in with Krishna and they took their baths.
One day Nanda Maharaj, Yashoda Mai and the vrajavasis heard a story about the glories of Ganga. Once Garuda had caught a snake and as he was flying with this snake, the tail of the snake somehow or other touched the waters of the Ganga, and instantly the snake manifested the liberated form of an associate of the Lord in Vaikuntha with a bluish complexion and four arms. Then Garuda, instead of having him within his claws, he put that snake, who was now a liberated soul, on his back and flew to take him to Vaikuntha. So when Nanda maharaja and the Vrajavasis heard the story they said, “We also want to get liberated. Let us take a pilgrimage to the Ganga.” So they were loading the carts, the ox carts, with all the necessities, because it is many days of going to where the Ganga is.
Krishna saw this. He asked, “What are you doing?”
They said, “We are going to get liberated by bathing in Ganga.”
Krishna said, “Ganga is in Vrajabhumi. There’s no need for you to go anywhere.” Krishna was just a little child. This was when he was still herding calves.
They said, “What you mean? There’s no Ganga in Vraja Bhuami.”
He said, “Yes! Yes! There is!”
They said, “No, there isn’t! You are just a child, what are you saying?”
He said, “Come with me. I’ll show you.”
They said, “No! No! We’re going. Come with us.”
He said, “No! No! Come!”
He pulled Nanda Maharaj by the hand and ultimately they will do anything to please Krishna. So they came to Manasi Ganga, which was mother Ganga who appeared from Krishna’s mind and as soon as the Vrajavasis appeared, from the waters of Manasi Ganga, Ganga Devi, the goddess of the Ganga appeared riding on a crocodile. And right in front of everyone she worshipped little Krishna. So they understood that Ganga has come to Vrindavan. They all took their baths very happily.
Manasi Ganga is the essence of the Ganga. It is one of the favorite places. When the Ganga flows, she is supremely sacred, but when the Ganga flows in Vrajabhumi, the eternal abode of Sri Sri Radha Krishna’s pastimes, it is even millions of times more sanctified. From that day on, Krishna and Sri Radha would perform beautiful pastimes on boats in the Manasi Ganga.
Jiva Goswami describes some of these beautiful pastimes. On the banks of Manasi Ganga, one day the gopis were waiting for Krishna. During the spring time, Govardhan is the place of Krishna’s Rasa Lila and so many places in Giriraj are even revealed today, where Krishna and Sri Radha would perform these pastimes of the Rasa dance. So one day, the gopis were sitting on the banks of Manasi Ganga waiting for Krishna in separation, and Krishna was not coming. So they were crying and crying and crying out the name, “Hari Dev! Hari Dev! Hari Dev!” And as they were crying ‘Hari Dev, Hari Dev, Hari Dev,’ they were actually about to leave their bodies. They were in an intense state of love and separation. At that moment, right before their eyes, Krishna manifested in the form of a deity Hari-Dev. Sri Radha and gopis worshipped that deity of Krishna with great love: with flowers, with water from Manasi Ganga, and with beautiful prayers. They would regularly come and worship that deity. In honor of that in beautiful past time, Krishna’s great-grandson, Vajranabh installed the deity of Hari-Dev, the presiding deity of the Govardhan area of Vrahjabhumi.
Vajranabh installed many deities throughout Vrajabhumi. One was Srinathji or Gopal on the top of Govardhan hill, Dauji in Gokula, Keshav in Mathura, and Govinda Dev in Vrindavan. And in this way, this deity was visited by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. It is how he began his Govardhan parikrama. According to Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita, he first bathed in Manasi Ganga and then he came to the Hari Dev mandir. He saw Hari Dev: the beautiful form of Krishna as a seven-year-old little boy with his arm raised holding up the Govardhan hill with his left arm, and with his right hand holding the flute. When Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu saw, he was offering beautiful prayers to Govardhandhari, “You have lifted the Govardhan hill to protect your devotees. We pray to Sri Giriraj, to protect us from the anarthas within our own heart, to protect us from the influences of Maya, and by his beauty, by his sweetness, by his loving glance, to inspire us with pure unmotivated loving devotional service.” In this spirit, Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu performed Nama Sankirtan for hours and hours and hours; he was dancing in ecstasy in front of Giridhari, Sri Haridev. And when all the villagers from this area of Govardhan heard his beautiful singing, they came before him and they could actually witness how the same HariDev, who was lifting Govardhan hill, who was standing on the altar, is now dancing in front of himself in the form of Lord Chaitanya, in a beautiful golden complexion.
Radhanath Swami on pastimes of Sanatana Goswami near Govardhan
On the banks of Manasi Ganga, we find Chakratirtha. When Krishna lifted up the Govardhan hill for seven days, he called his Sudarshan Chakra and his Sudarshan chakra was creating heat to evaporate the water that was falling from the hill so that wouldn’t go under the hill to disturb the pastimes with Krishna and all of the Vrajavasis. And after Krishna put Giriraj down again, effortlessly, as it was before, Sudarshan never felt such happiness as being in Krishna’s Vrindavan lila. So he requested a place to reside eternally in Vrajabhumi and Krishna gave him this place, Chakratirtha, on the banks of Manasi Ganga and the Govardhan parikrama.
Vajranabh installed Chakaleshwar Mahadev. He installed many deities of Shiva. Predominately, Kameshwar Mahadev in Kamyavan, Bhuteshwar Mahadev in Mathura, Nandeshwar Mahadev in Nandagaon, Gopeshwar Mahadev in Vrindavan, and Chakaleshwar Mahadev at Govardhan.
Sanatan Goswami, especially during the last part of his pastimes in this world was living at Chakaleshwar Mahadev. When he was in Vrindavan, he would regularly visit Gopeshwar Mahadev. Vaishnavanam yatha Shambu, Lord Shiva in Vrindavan is the greatest Vaishnava. By the grace of Lalita Sakhi and the love of Sri Radha’s tears, he manifested his gopi form to participate in the Rasa Lila. At Chakaleshwar Mahadev, Sanatan Goswami was so happy to be there living at Sri Giriraj Govardhan.
Everyday Sri Sanatana Goswami would circumambulate Govardhan hill; year after year after year without fail, daily. But he didn’t do the parikrama that we do, he did the parikrama that is 24 miles, going to Chandar Sarovar, Rasasthali, Ganthuli, and all these distant places. Then he would come back to Manasi Ganga, Chakratirtha, where he would perform his bhajan and writing of his books. Sanatana Goswami was the guru of Vrindavan. He loved the vrajavasis. Sometimes he would travel from place to place in his younger days, all around Vrindavan, and when he would come to a village, it would be the highlight of their life for the entire village. Whenever Sanatana Goswami would come, they would all greet him with so much affection. He was their guru, he was their friend, he was their servant, he was their well-wishers, he was there to guide, and he was everything because he cared so much.
The Bhaktiratnakar explains that when he would come to the village he would just speak to them in such personal ways. They were Vrajavasis. He would ask, “How are your crops? How are your crops growing this year? Did you get your daughter married yet?” It is simple talk but would capture their hearts. He took such personal special interest in everyone’s life; every aspect of their life. They would love to hear him speak Krishna katha, they would feed him, and they would serve him with garlands and prasad. Sanatana Goswami would take little of everything. But he gave so much love to the Vrajavasis. When he would leave their village, everyone, man, women, children, everyone would be weeping and crying, thanking him, and begging him to return. And as he would lovingly take leave of them, he would go to the next village, and everybody was there to greet him. That was Sanatan Goswami: the guru of Vrindavan, the sambandha guru for our whole sampraday, and the guru of Rupa Goswami.
When he becoming very old, he was still doing the very extended parikrama of Giriraj, every day. For Krishna, Giridhari, it was very difficult to see how Sanatana Goswami was really struggling to do it. So Krishna appeared as a little cowherd boy, a very beautiful, sweet cowherd boy and told Sanatana Goswami that, “You’re too old to do this parikrama every day.”
And Sanatana Goswami said, “But it is my regulation. I have been doing it for years. I must.”
The little boy was very attractive. He actually climbed to the top of Govardhan hill and brought down a Govardhan Shila. On the Govardhan Shila, it had Krishna’s footprints and it had the footprints of little cows and calves and it had a print of Krishna’s cowherd stick. He said that, “This Shila is Giriraj. If you circumambulate this Shila 7 times, it is the same as doing parikrama of Govardhan hill.”
Sanatana Goswami said, “Whatever you say!”
And then the Lord little boy disappeared and when the little boy disappeared, Sanatana Goswami understood. Krishna revealed to him in his heart of hearts that he was Krishna. He didn’t recognize him but that was Krishna. It was Krishna’s order to Sanatana Goswami to do parikrama of the Shila instead of the whole hill. This is loving reciprocation. Because Sanatana Goswami cared so much for the health, for the prosperity, for every aspect of the Vrajavasis life, Krishna had that same care for him and personally came for Sanatana Goswami’s comfort.
There’s a famous story of Sanatana Goswami at Chakaleshwar Mahadev. Sometimes around the sunset time and at night, many big hungry mosquitoes would come when he was doing his bhajan. The Six Goswami’s hardly slept 2 to 3 hours a night at the most, and many times they were so immersed in hearing and chanting and writing their literatures and talking about Krishna that they just forgot about sleeping. But the mosquitoes were very much disturbing him. It is not that Sanatan Goswami got odomos (laugh in the audience) He was compassionate. For him, even the mosquitoes are Vrajavasis. Rather than them, he just decided that I will leave.
So that day he decided, ‘As the mosquitoes were getting him, tomorrow morning I will leave. I cannot do my bhajan here.’ But Chakaleshwar Mahadev loved the association of Sanatana Goswami. So Lord Mahadev took the form of a brahmin and said to Sanatana Goswami the next day, “Where are you going?”
He said, “I cannot stay here. Mosquitoes here are too disturbing.”
And the Brahmin said, “From this day on, there will be no more mosquitoes. Just stay.”
Because Sanatana Goswami was asked by a brahmin to stay, he said, “If you are asking me to stay, I will stay.” That was Sanatana Goswami’s humility!
Then Lord Shiva, who is Mahadev, he is the greatest of the Devas, he went to the demigod who supervises the mosquitoes (laugh in the audience) and he ordered, “None of your people should come to Chakaleshwar Mahadev, Chakratirtha!” From that day on, not a single mosquito would come and Sanatana Goswami performed his puja there.
The other Goswami’s resided at Radha Kund: Raghunath Das Goswami, Rupa Goswami had a bhajan kutir there, Jiva Goswami had bhajan kutir, and Gopal Bhatta Goswami had a bhajan kutir. Whenever they were, they would regularly come to meet Sanatana Goswami at Chakratirtha; a very holy place. It was there on Chakratirtha, on Guru Paurnima, the day of the full moon that Sanatana Goswami ended his pastimes in this world. He was just sitting totally immersed in Sri Sri Radha Govinda, Sri Sri Radha MadanMohan’s eternal lila chanting the holy names when all the devotees came to meet him on Guru Paurnima. The Goswamis, the Vrajavasis, they saw him sitting there and he was gone. Everyone, the whole of vrajabhumi was weeping and weeping, weeping. Their best friend, their guru, their well-wisher, their brother, their everything had left them. In honor of Sanatana Goswami, they performed the parikrama of Sri Giriraj. That is why, even today, over 400 years later, the main day for Govardhan parikrama for Vrajavasis is Guru Paurnima.
I remember asking Vrajavasis, “Why on this day do so many hundreds and thousands of Vrajavasis come to Govardhan parikrama?”
And they said, “Because this is the day when we honor our Guru Sanatana Goswami.” Some of these Vrajavasis were of different sampradayas but they all loved Sanatan Goswami and Sanatan Goswami loved them, their children, their cows, their buffaloes, the peacocks and he loved Vrajabhumi. Then they carried his holy form to be put in Samadhi just near the MadanMohan Temple in Vrindavan.
Radhanath Swami shares ‘innermost secret of Vrindavan’
At Manasi Ganga there is the Mukharvinda, which is, according to Gaudiya Vaishnavas, the mouth of Giriraj. Now different sampradayas have different places which they call the mouth of Giriraj. At Jatipura, the Pushtimarg, the followers of Sripad Balavacharya, accept that stone as Mukharvinda. So we can debate on which is the mouth of Giriraj. But, Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur worshipped Mukharvinda at Manasi Ganga. Giriraj is unlimited! He could manifest his mouth anywhere he wants. So for the Pushtimargis, that is the mouth of Givardhan and for us, this is the mouth of Govardhan. When Krishna accepted the offerings, his hands were everywhere, yey tha mam prapadyante. So since centuries and centuries, we will find that Vrajavasis and Vaishnavas offer milk and garlands to Sri Giriraj.
As we just come a little out of the village of Govardhan, I think that’s where you will buy your Sonpapadis. There is a particular shop that makes them. Anyways, as far as I have analyzed, that is one of the most popular holy places in all of Govardhan everywhere in the world, the Sonpapdis from Giriraj!
A little further down is a Dan-Ghati. This is the place where Krishna would disguise himself as a tax collector; he would put on special clothes. when Sri Radharani and her gopis and sakhis would be becoming to go to Govinda kund, carrying on butter and yogurt and ghee, Krishna with Madhumangal, Subala and some of the other Gopas would stop them and to tax them. And there was all these beautiful little loving exchanges, that is Danghati. Sri Radha’s footprints are there even today.
A little further down is Dananivartana kund. This is described by Raghunath Das Goswami, one time when Krishna was taxing gopis, he wanted to tax Sri Radha for all the beautiful parts of her body. For her teeth – because they were so beautiful – she had to pay hundreds and thousands of pure pearls. For eyes, for every part of her body, diamonds and pearls and jewels had to be paid, it was a very loving exchange. Krishna would not let them go. There was a nice argument – I’m very much making it short because it’s very late – Lalita Sakhi said, “Krishna, who are you to tax us? Sri Radha is Vrindavaneshwari. She is the queen of Vrindavan. We should be taxing you because your cows are eating Sri Radha’s grass. Every blade of grass is taxable.” So there was this argument and Krishna was not letting them go. The gopis were saying, “If you don’t honor Sri Radharani then we will go and we will tell Yashoda Mai or we will tell Jatila and they will all come and they will punish you.” It was becoming very very ecstatically heated. Then Nandimukhi, who was a disciple of Sandipani Muni, came. She was a Gopi. She said, “Krishna let them go and they will come back tomorrow to pay all the taxes you ask for.” So Krishna let them go.
So the next day Sri Radha and her gopis brought hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of gopis, and they came early. When Krishna, Subala, Madhumangal and a few cowherd boys came to get their tax, they all surrounded them. They actually captured them, hundreds of them. And Krishna became very humble and Lalita Sakhi brought Krishna before Sri Radharani, who was sitting on her little throne of stone jewel. She said, “Now you must accept Sri Radharani as the presiding queen and proprietor of Vrindavan.” This is a very important lila because it was there at Dannivartana kund that Krishna, in the ecstasy of his love, manifested the very culmination and essence of Vrajabhumi that he is conquered by the love of his devotee. He put his head bowing down on Sri Radha’s lotus feet and proclaimed that, “I am yours! You are the queen of Vrindavan.”
When we chant the Maha-mantra ‘Hare’, we call out for Radha because she is the proprietor of love, and the proprietor of devotion. Srila Prabhupad took these incredible intimate loving pastimes of the Goswamis in the Vedic literatures and presented it in such a simple way to us. In one beautiful lecture, Prabhupad explained that love for Krishna is only possible with the grace of Sri Radha. Therefore in Vrindavan everyone knows this. The greatest treasure is the grace of Sri Radha. So in Vrindavan, people are more fond of chanting Radha’s name even than Krishna because Krishna is only approachable through the grace of Radha. Krishna accepts the subordinate position to Sri Radha’s love.
On Diwali, we discussed how Krishna was bound by the rope of Yashoda Mai and in the Madhurya Rasa, Krishna is forever bound by this love. The Radha Damodar Lila is where Sri Radha binds Krishna with her love. ‘Hari’ is a name of Krishna. Hari means one who steals, one who steals away all inauspicious. Krishna is Makhanchor, Hari. That means he steals the butter from the house of the gopis. But actually, the gopis make their butter only so that Krishna will come and steal it. Similarly when our hearts become soft and sweet like butter churned through the process of bhakti, hearing and chanting and remembering the Lord, the ultimate goal of our life Krishna will be so pleased with our devotion that he will steal our hearts; ‘Hari’. And Sri Radha is ‘Hare’.
Chaitanya Charitamrita describes in the conversation between Sri Ramananda Rai and Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the body of Krishna and Sri Radha don’t have the material forms, they are is sat-chit-ananda. Every aspect of their form is their bhava. Sri Radharani’s form is Maha-bhava. Every limb, every ornament is a pure personified manifestation of her love for Krishna. Sri Radha is ‘Hare.’ Through the beauty of her love, she steals the heart of Krishna. That is the innermost secret of Vrindavan and that is the inner secret of the realization that we can experience the chanting of the Maha mantra.
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare,
Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare