I extend my sincerest gratitude to each and every one of you for being with us for our 2015 pilgrimage to Vrindavan. Haribol! Special gratitude to my worship-able God sisters and God brothers, and to each of you.
Radhanath Swami speaks on true devotional love
Gratitude makes the heart fertile so that the seed of prema, the bhakti-lata can grow. Within this Kaliyuga, in the world we live, practicing true bhakti we will inevitably be challenged at practically every step of our life.
sa vai pumsam paro dharmo
yato bhaktir adhoksaje
Srimad Bhagvatam describes that the essence in the supreme dharma is loving devotional service to the transcendental Supreme Absolute Truth, Sri Krishna. True devotion must be without any elements of motivation, selfish motivation, arrogance, and true devotion cannot impeded by any circumstances. Bhava-grahi-janardhana, Krishna sees the very essence of our love.
According to our conditioned desires and experiences in this world, there is so much selfishness, so much of an obsession to prove to ourselves and prove to others that we are better than them. And in the material world one who could really do that good is considered strong, heroic, and successful. But, from the spiritual perspective, in whatever name you call it, it is all due to spiritual weaknesses. It is actually pathetic in light of the soul. The whole world around us is trying to influence us in so many that we will be happy and we will be protected, we will be protected if we are successful in our mission of being selfish and egoistic, we want to be the enjoyer, and one who really enjoys is considered successful in life. But, in order to actually connect with the soul, we have to give up these tendencies.
Radhanath Swami illustrates, “Seva means to serve”
Seva means to serve without selfishness, it is unmotivated and uninterrupted. It is this seva or devotional service that is our true nature. – Radhanath Swami
If we are not very careful, even in spiritual life these same tendencies can so much beat us. Rupa Goswami tells us how important it is to associate with devotees, and especially in holy places –
tatra tisthami narada yatra gayanti mad-bhaktah
Actually wherever the devotees are gathered together with sincere hearts, to hear about to glorify, and to serve the supreme Lord, that is a holy place. Krishna is there, but the supreme Lord has established these holy places for us to come together, to leave aside all the petty things that we think are so important in this world, and dive deep them into the true purpose of our lives. – Radhanath Swami
Radhanath Swami narrates on how Srila Prabhupada faced difficulty in New York
In Kartik Purnima 500 years ago, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu personally came to Vrindavan and this will be very much the theme of our yatra – Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s visit. He arrived 500 years ago, and 50 years ago from this year His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada departed from Vrindavan for the same purpose that Lord Chaitanya came here; Srila Prabhupada physically departed. In 1922 Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur, upon his first meeting was Srila Prabhupada, gave him this order that, “You should take the message of Lord Chaitanya and spread throughout the world of the English language.”
Many years later Srila Prabhupada came here to Vrindavan to prepare himself for this impossible mission. Around 50 years ago in 1965 he left his room at Sevakunj – where Sri Sri Radha Govinda Dev performed their eternal Rasa Leela – to go to Mumbai, and then to Calcutta. In Sri Mayapur Dham he took the blessings at his Guru Maharaj’s Samadhi, and then he boarded the cargo ship Jaladuta. He crossed over several oceans and seas and continents, and 38 days later arrived in America, today is November 8.
On November 8, 1965 Srila Prabhupada was living in New York City. He was a guest of Dr. Mishra who was a yoga teacher. Dr. Mishra gave Srila Prabhupada accommodations in his own room, and after some time Srila Prabhupada was staying in the fifth floor in a little flat in Manhattan that had no windows. He didn’t have a private bathroom; that’s were Srila Prabhupada lived. And today 50 years ago he wrote a letter to one of his God-brothers. If we read Srila Prabhupada’s biography, he just had heart attacks, he was just living in a little town called Butler Pennsylvania, he had recently come to New York, and he was really living in poverty. But yet in his letter he wrote, “What incredibly good scope there was for spreading Lords Caitanya’s teachings in America.” Srila Prabhupada would see even the smallest positive opportunity as something so great.
Radhanath Swami tells how Srila Prabhupada spread the mission thought the world
He wrote that are guru Maharaj Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur Prabhupada wanted us to spread this mission throughout the world, and in his life he did send people to the west, but they did not have much results. “But, I’m in New York and I see there’s great potential. And I see other people coming from India who hardly have any philosophy, and they have beautiful buildings and they’re getting followers. If only we had a building we would be established in America. So let us work together! If you can send some people, and send some funds to actually get a building – I found a really good one, and it’s not much money – then I could be the representative of Gaudiya math and manage it for you; have confidence in me. This is a wonderful opportunity.”
That letter was sent on November 8. On November 9 at 6:00 PM Srila Prabhupada was sitting in this little room and all the lights went out; in fact all the lights went out in that whole area of America. There was a blackout. 800,000 people were trapped underground in subways because they were depending on electricity. 30 million people were affected. It was fugitives. I was just a teenage boy living in the Midwest and I heard all about it; it shook the country. Just about 13 hours of no electricity and the whole nation was shaking, billions of dollars lost, such fear, so many robberies, and violence. In India the lights go out and just like in any other day. Anyways, after the lights were out for about two hours at 8 o’clock Dr. Mishra sent with one of his assistants, a candle and some fruit. So, they knocked on Srila Prabhupada’s door, and the person who delivered the candle and fruits was later interviewed.
He said, “Swamiji was sitting so completely peaceful. The rest of the city was traumatized with fear and anxiety and he was just sitting peacefully smiling and chanting Krishna’s names.”
Srila Prabhupada said, “Thank you.” And he asked, “What’s happening?”
The person told him and Prabhupada just smiled and continued to chant. Not too long after that Srila Prabhupada got the response to his letter. His God-brother told him encouraging words, in the sense that he was very pleased to hear about the scope of preaching in America, and Srila Prabhupada’s enthusiasm to do so, but he also told him that, “Our matha does not have the funds to send anything or anyone.” Actually in Srila Prabhupada’s letter he said, “I only have nine more days until my visa ends, and if you send me a positive response I will stay on to serve. Otherwise I will probably return to India.” It was Krishna’s arrangement.
Not long after this, from that same little windowless flat that Srila Prabhupada was living, his typewriter his manuscripts and all his belongings were stolen. Srila Prabhupada had a return ticket to Vrindavan, to Radha Damodar, but he stayed ON. He stayed on motivated by compassion because Vrindavan was within his heart, and he wanted to share that with the world.
And then in 1971 Srila Prabhupada brought the first group of foreign people to Vrindavan, in the history of the world. The Vrajvasis could not believe the size of the group of foreigners that were coming. I happen to be here at that time. Srila Prabhupada brought a bus of 40 people and the town came to welcome them. And then the next year at Rupa Goswami Samadhi, Srila Prabhupada gave one month of lectures on the Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu-Nectar of Devotion to devotees that had come from all over the world.
Srila Prabhupada wanted to bring Vrindavan to the world and he wanted to bring the world to Vrindavan, and for most all of us it was that compassion and the sacrifice which made our qualification for being here today. –Radhanath Swami
We begin our 2015 Vrindavan Kartik yatra by offering our Dandwat Pranam and our sincerest gratitude Srila Prabhupada, all of our previous Acharyas and to all be assembled Vaishnavas.
Radhanath Swami describes the planetary system
Our Vedic scriptures describe how there are 14 planetary systems within this universe and among the upper planets are: Bhuloka, Bhuvarloka, Svargaloka, Janaloka, Mahaloka, and Satyaloka. The earth planet is a middle planetary system. Above are planets Swargloka where there is unimaginable prosperity and incredibly healthy competent bodies to enjoy, there is no poverty, there is hardly any suffering, just enjoyment. And for most people who follow religious processes that is their goal, to go to these heavenly planets of Swargloka. But above that are the planets of the rishis: Maharloka, Janaloka, and Tapaloka. They don’t care anything about sensual enjoyment; there their enjoyment is of a more subtle level.
Even in this world sensual pleasures come and they go: money, sex, property and all of these things. But they can’t compare to peace of mind or inner happiness. – Radhanath Swami
So in these higher planets these great sages and rishis, they are very deeply immersed in this inner wealth of happiness. And the highest planet is Brahmaloka. But Krishna tells us in Bhagvad Gita –
punar avartino ‘rjuna
mam upetya tu kaunteya
punar janma na vidyate
“From the highest planet in this material world Brahmaloka down to the lowest, they are all places of misery.”
Because in all of these places there is birth old age, disease and ultimately death. But Krishna says, “One who attains my abode never has to take birth in these miserable situations again.”
Beyond Brahmaloka, beyond this material universe there is the mahatattva, where there are limitless such universes, and beyond the cloud of the mahatatva, beyond the entire material existence is the paravyoma or the spiritual sky or the Brahmajyoti. And there within this spiritual sky, a place beyond birth, beyond death, beyond suffering, there are limitless spiritual planets called Vaikunthas, where the various forms of the one Supreme Absolute Truth eternally reside. And above all of these Vaikuntha planets, above meaning, the highest place of the deepest loving relationships with the Lord is Krishnaloka or Goloka the abode of Lord Sri Krishna.
Radhanath Swami lights on how Krishna brings Vrindavan in this material world
Krishna tells in Bhagvad Gita –
yada yada hi dharmasya
glanir bhavati bharata
tadatmanam srjamy aham
That again and again he descends into this world, but only once in the day of Brahma which is about 8,600,000,000 years, one day and one night, Krishna in his original form from Goloka Vrindavan descends into this world. It is described, Krishna told Sri Radha, his own lhadini shakti that, “I will descend into the material world, and you should also come with me.”
And Sri Radha said, “But I will find no happiness without the river Yamuna, the hill Govardhan and the forests of Vrindavan,”
Krishna told, “I have already sent them!”
So this Vrindavan within the material world, where we are sitting today, is none different than the eternal Goloka of the spiritual sky. Lord Brahma performs tapasya and offers prayers to become a hill in Vrindavan, so that Sri Sri Radha Govinda and their associates could place their feet upon his head and he could assist the past times here. Lord Shiva also appears within Vrindavan on a hill, just to assist in the past times. And Lord Vishnu does as well, in Barsana and Nandagaon. Then we read about Udhava, a royal prince and Krishna’s dear most friend of Dwarka, who was praying to be even a simple piece of grass in Sri Vrindavan Dham. Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, the Devas, they all glorify Vrindavan as the most glorious of all places within creation, why? Sri Caitanya Caritamrita describes how Krishna is thinking that, ‘Within the material universes, is even the most highest, the most pure, and the most religious people worship me in my supreme majesty; as been the creator, the controller, the proprietor, and serve me in a very subordinate position.’ But such majesty cripples the intimacy of pure love. ‘In Vrindavan, the inhabitants think of me as their son, or their friend, or their lover.’ Vrindavan is a place where the sweetness Madhurya of Krishna is so deep and reveals himself so intimately that that sweetness causes the majestic, all powerful nature of the absolute truth to move aside.
Radhanath Swami sketches out the love of Yashoda Mai and Gopis
Krishna was thinking – according to Sri Caitanya Caritamrita – that, ‘My mother, when she sees and nobody for my protection out of the mother the love she will be bind my waist with a soft rope, and she will nourish me, she will feed me with the milk of her own body, and she will protect; in fact at every moment she will be worried about my safety, because to her I am completely helpless and dependent on her and because she has that love is so powerful that I become subordinate to that love. And although yes I am the supreme absolute truth the controller of all controllers the God of all God’s, I feel helpless and dependent upon her.’
‘The gopas are cowherd boys and want to play with me, they joke with me, and in their infinite love for me they think me as their equal sometimes. Sometimes we wrestle, sometimes I win and sometimes I loose. And the gopis, their love for me is so deep, that when they reproach me, when they chastise me in a sulky mood, those words steal away from my mind all the reverent hymns of the Vedas.
In Vrindavan, Krishna steps outside his supreme role as being God to reciprocate with the love of his devotees. It is this mood of Vrindavan that Krishna descends to reveal to the world once in day of Brahma. Krishna descended with his eternal loving associates and he brought the supreme abode with him. – Radhanath Swami
5000 years ago Krishna came at the end of Dwapara Yuga. Rupa Goswami tells us that Krishna has four qualities that he only displays in Vrindavan, that neither the Jiva nor Brahma or Shiva or even Lord Narayan display. Krishna has 64 qualities, Rupa Goswami tells, and among them the jiva – mamaivamso jiva loke – the eternal soul within the hearts of all living being has 50 of these qualities in minute proportion. 55 Brahma and Shiva have, and 60 Lord Narayan, but the four qualities that make the supreme all inclusive opulence of Krishna sweetness are: his flute, his beauty, his past times, and the intimacy of the love of his devotees. And all other incarnations are present within Krishna when he appears within this world. When Krishna performed his lila here, it was defined as the prakata lila, the manifested past times of Krishna.
Radhanath Swami speaks on Vrajnabh
Krishna lived in Vrindavan about 11 years and nine months and then he went to Mathura and then to Dwarka, and then he came back to Vrindavan to bring everyone here back to the spiritual world of Goloka, and then the past times here are aprakata, they are eternally existing but they are unmanifested to the material senses. After Krishna disappeared from this world, his great-grandson Vrajnabh was made by Maharaj Yudhishtir as the king of this Vraja mandala area. Krishna’s primary wife was Rukmini who had a son named Pradyumna, who had a son named Anirudha, and Vrajnabh was the son of Anirudha. He reestablished many of the holy places and established many temples and deities here. But as the centuries passed, again and again various foreign invaders came to conquer this area of India. Mathura and Vrindavan were conquered by various religions, conquered by various militaries.
In the age of Kali, Krishna descends as Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. And it was he who reestablished Vrindavan for the world. Lord Chaitanya manifested his past times in this world and Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita tells that there were three external and three internal reasons for his descent. He appeared to reestablish the principles of religion, as he promised in Bhagavad-Gita, to annihilate the miscreants and to protect the pious. He came to establish the Yuga Dharma, Harinam Sankirtan and to fulfill the prayers of Sri Advaita, his beloved devotee. And Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s three internal purposes were to understand the glory of Sri Radha’s love, the wonderful qualities in him that she alone relishes through her love and the happiness she relishes when she realizes the sweetness of his love.
Radhanath Swami describes Radharani’s love
The absolute truth is one, but that absolute truth eternally manifests as to for the purpose of transcendental love and pastimes of love. Sri Radharani is the transformation of Krishna’s ecstatic love, his Lhadini Shakti. Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami describes in great detail, how Krishna who is the supreme truth the knower of everything desires to taste the sweetness of Sri Radha love. He explains himself that Sri Radha is ashraya, she is the abode of love, and he is the vishaya, the ultimate object of love. And how in Sri Radha’s love, she experiences 10 million times more happiness and he can experience. How Sri Radha’s love for him is all pervading and there is absolutely no possible space to expand, but yet it every moment it is infinitely expanding.
The love of gopis of Vrindavan is completely pure because there is no selfishness, there is no ego, their everything: their bodies, their minds, their words, their lives are for Krishna is pleasure. And even when they talk about their own happiness, it is only because Krishna becomes happy, when he sees them happy; they are only happy for Krishna. And the great contradiction is although they have absolutely have no desire for their own happiness, Krishna gives them 10 million times more happiness than he himself. And of all the gopis, Sri Radha is the source, she is foremost.
Krishna tells that, without Sri Radharani I can find no happiness from any of the gopis. Here in Vrindavan there are many places that revealed this truth – there is Srinagar Vat. In the Raas Leela Sri Krishna plays upon his flute, and all of the gopis detach themselves from everything only for Krishna’s happiness, and he danced with them. But simply to increase Krishna’s love Sri Radha left the Rasa leela and Krishna left everyone only for her.
In this place called Srinagar Vat, on the bank of Yamuna, when the gopas-cowherd boys, they would play with Krishna, they would decorate him with flowers and different minerals, leaves and peacock feathers. But on this evening of the Rass Lila Sri Krishna found Srimati Radharani and it was there that he decorated her. Krishna personally picked flowers and he braided her hair, he decorated her hair, he personally got various different herbs and cosmetics and jewels to ornament her. Krishna becomes the servant of the love of his devotee. Krishna left the loving exchanges of all other devotees to offer such simple services for the pleasure of Sri Radha.
At Imli Tal, when Sri Radha left Krishna and he was feeling great separation from her he sat and he chanted her names remembering her, and his beautiful dark complexion became golden as he was totally immersed in his love for her.
When Sri Radha came and saw him in that complexion, she asked them, “How is this?”
And he explained that, “In the age of Kali to taste the sweetness of your love I will come in this golden complexion, your complexion, and I will share that love with the whole world through sankirtan, the congregational chanting of the holy names – Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Ram Hare Ram Ram Ram Hare Hare.”
At Mansarowar, when Sri Radha was in separation from Krishna, she cried tears and those tears filled a lake. Krishna came there and there he humbled himself, he became a beggar of the prema the pure love of Sri Radha. Also the great Mahadeva Shiva bathed there in the tears of Sri Radha to get his greatest most intimate prayer fulfilled, to become a gopi and assist Krishna and the gopis in their Rasa Leela as Gopeshwar Mahadeva.
The various places of the past times of Krishna which are very intimate and difficult to understand, give some glimpse into the nature of Sri Radha’s love – the source of all love, the source of all devotion.
radha-bhava-dyuti-suvalitam naumi krsna-svarupam
Krishna, to taste that love, and to share it with the world appeared with the sentiments and the complexion of Srimati Radharani as Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Lord Chaitanya made a garland with the holy name and prema ecstatic love, and he garlanded the whole world, without considering who was fit or unfit from the material perspective. He wanted to share the most intimate joy of his own heart with everyone.
Radhanath Swami explains Lord Chaitanya’s attempts to reach Vrindavan
We were saying that 500 years ago Lord Chaitanya came to Vrindavan. After Lord Chaitanya took initiation from Iswarpuri in Gaya, in the middle of the night he began to run to Vrindavan, but the celestial beings spoke to him and said, “You have descended into this world to establish the Harinam Sankirtan movement in Navadvip, so go there and later you shall go to Vrindavan.” Lord Chaitanya went back to Navadvip and there he inundated everyone with love for Krishna. He took Sannyasa just to reach to people who were too arrogant to receive his mercy. He took sannyasa so he could be free to go everywhere and anywhere with no other distractions.
It was in Katwa, the day he accepted sannyasa with his Danda in hand, he called out, “I’m going to Vrindavan,” and he started running to Vrindavan Dham. But Nityananda Prabhu knowing the grief of his devotees in separation and knowing the Lord’s heart, distracted him and redirected him to Shantipur. There Sachi Devi and the devotees requested him to make his residence in Puri. While Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was living in Puri, the thought of Vrindavan would awaken such deep prema ecstasy. He made so many in attempts to go to Vrindavan but his devotees would always have some way to keep him back, because they all were fearful, ‘If he goes to Vrindavan we may never see him again.’
And finally when he began his journey to Vrindavan, all his devotees and everyone else came with him, there were literally millions of people following. He came to Ramakeli, where he first met Rupa Goswami and Sanatana Goswami and they told him, “If you go to Vrindavan with so many millions of people, you will not be able to appreciate. Better you go alone or with just one or two.” So Lord Chaitanya took that very seriously and he returned to Puri and with the permission and blessings of all of his devotees along with one person Ballabhadra Bhattacharya, he began his pilgrimage. Kaviraj Goswami tells, “When Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu would think of Vrindavan his ecstatic love would increase by hundreds of times, when he was on the path to Vrindavan it increased thousands of time.”
In his ecstasies he passed through the Jharikhanda forest and there he induced the snakes, the elephants, the insects, the tigers, the deer, the trees and the creepers to experience ecstatic love for Krishna by inducing them to chant the holy names –
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Ram Hare Ram Ram Ram Hare Hare
In a world where there is so much deep ingrained animosity between people for so many reasons, Krishna taught us that whoever we are, if we sincerely become the servant of the servant of the servant and chant the holy names, we could rise above all of these anarthas or unwanted things. – Radhanath Swami
The tigers and the tears embraced and danced together. Lord Chaitanya came to Varanasi and there he met with Tapan Mishra, and Chandrasekhar, and there he met Raghunath Bhatt Goswami, the son of Tapan Mishra. From Varanasi Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu who stayed about 10 days there, he continued his journey and came to Mathura. Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami said, “When Lord Chaitanya arrived at Mathura the ecstasy of his love increased thousands of times, and when he was roaming through the 12 forests of Vrindavan it increased limitlessly.”
Actually on his way to Vrindavan whenever he saw the river Yamuna, he would become so happy, he would jump in the river and sometimes fall unconscious. In Mathura he bathed in Vishram Ghat and then he went to Keshavji, the temple with the deity established by Vrajnabh, the great-grandson of Krishna, at Krishna’s birthplace according to Srimad Bhagvatam. There Lord Chaitanya loudly chanted the holy names and dance, and thousands of people from Mathura came to see him. He called out “Hari Bol! Hari Bol!” and he induced everyone to raise their arms to loudly chant the names of Krishna –
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Ram Hare Ram Ram Ram Hare Hare
Radhanath Swami elaborates on dealings of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in Mathura
In that beautiful scene one Brahman came and offered his Dandwat Pranam to Lord Chaitanya and the two of them dance together. After this Lord Chaitanya brought that Brahman to a side and asked him, “From where did you get so much love for Krishna?”
And the Brahmana said, “Many years ago, the great Madhvendra Puri came to Mathura on pilgrimage, and there he showed great kindness to me. In fact, he stayed at my home and I invited them for prasad and he ate my prasad, and then he went to Govardhan, and later established Gopal or Srinathji on top of Govardhan hill.”
When Lord Chaitanya heard this person’s connection with Madhvendra Puri, intermediately he offered his full prostrated obeisances to the feet of this brahmana, and the brahmana offered his obeisances to Lord Chaitanya.
Lord Chaitanya asked, “Why are you bowing down to me? I am your servant. Anyone who has served Madhvendra Puri, I am the servant of that person.” Lord Chaitanya is a sanyasi and this man was a householder.
A Sanodia Brahman invited Lord Chaitanya to his home for prasad and the brahmana asked Lord Chaitanya, “By seeing the type of love for Krishna you have, I believe you must have a connection with Madhvendra Puri too,” and Ballabhadra Bhattacharya explained how Lord Chaitanya was the disciple of the disciple of Madhvendra Puri.
When he invited them for prasad he said, “I will supply the ingredients and Ballabhadra Bhattacharya can cook for you.” The reason was this – a sanodia brahmana was considered of a lower class and no sanyassi would ever take food from the hands of a sanodia.
But Lord Chaitanya explained, “If Madhvendra Puri accepted your prasad then what a great honor and fortune it will be for me to accept your prasad,” and he quoted the beautiful verse –
mahajanaeyno gatahsah pantah…
That the true path to perfection is by following in the footsteps of the great souls.
It is interesting, the first lesson Lord Chaitanya taught us when he came to Vrindavan is that our true qualification is not based on anything material. Saragrahi means one who seeks the essence. One who loves Krishna, one who engages in the loving service of Krishna is above all varanashram and cast considerations. – Radhanath Swami
Lord Chaitanya would often quote from the Scriptures –
aho bata śva-paco ’to garīyān [SB 3.33.7]
If one sincerely chants the holy names of the Lord, even if such a person is born of the most sinful family chandala, one is fit to be a guru for the whole world; one who is the servant of the servant of a true vaishnava is worshipable. It was there at Sri Kaishavji temple that Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu established this principle once again, mad bhakta pujabhyadika that worship of the devotee is more pleasing to Krishna than worshiping of Krishna himself.
Radhanath narrates story of Krishna’s birth in Mathura
Mathura is Krishna’s birthplace. I’d like to speak briefly the story from Srimad Bhagvatam. Mother Earth Bhumi Devi took the form of a cow and approached Lord Brahma explaining how much suffering she was into her seeing her own children and her resources being exploited by selfish demoniac arrogant people. Lord Brahma along with Lord Shiva and the other devas went to the ocean of milk and offered prayers to Vishnu, and Vishnu revealed his plan to descend within the Yadu dynasty.
Vasudeva and Devaki were married and Devaki’s cousin brother Kamsa, to please his sister, was going to personally drive her to her new home. But he heard a voice, an unembodied voice, “Kamsa you are a fool! The eighth child of Devaki will kill you!” So he was about to sever her head but Vasudeva promised Kamsa, “Every child I have I will give to you.” So they lived in his prison and six consecutive sons Kamsa slaughtered. The seventh child was Sankarshan or Baladeva, who took shelter in the womb of Devaki, and then on the order of Krishna, Yoga Maya transferred him to the womb of his eternal mother Rohini, who was under the care of Nanda Maharaj in Mahavan. Then Krishna, by his own sweet will, appeared within the heart of Vasudeva, and from Vasudeva’s heart, like the sun lights up the full moon, he entered the heart of Devaki.
At midnight, Janmastami, Krishna appeared from the womb of Devaki in his form with forearms holding: the conch, and the club, and the lotus flower, and the chakra, beautifully decorated with ornaments. Vasudeva and Devaki offered their prayers to him, knowing him to be the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Devaki as a mother, even though knowing him as God still her motherly affection, spoke, “Kamsa has already killed six of my children because he is afraid, he will come and if he sees you he may harm you. Please conceal your form.” And by her wish Krishna or Vishnu manifested the form of a little baby.
Lord told Vasudeva, “Bring me across the Yamuna and exchange me with the child of Yashoda and Nanda.” All the doors opened and all the jail keepers fell asleep and Vasudeva brought Krishna across the Yamuna to Mahavan where he exchanged with the little baby girl Yoga Maya and brought her back to Mathura. Srila Vishnwanath Chakrawarti Thakur tells us from his incredible realizations of knowledge of various scriptures that Krishna simultaneously took birth to Yashoda and Nanda in Mahavan and Vasudeva and Devaki at Mathura, and Srila Jiva Goswami in Gopal chumpu gives an elaborate explanation of the story of Krishna’s birth to Nanda and Yashoda in Gokul.
Radhanath Swami draws parallels in stories of Lord Krishna and Lord Chaitanya
When Lord Chaitanya appeared in this age of Kali to give light, to give hope, to get the supreme benediction of Krishna prema and Krishna naam to the world, he performed the same past times as Krishna. In fact there are so many harmonious features of the past times of Krishna and Lord Chaitanya. We just spoke about how when the earth was covered with demonic influences Brahma and Shiva and other devas prayed to the Lord and performed tapasya for the Lord to appear within this world.
In Lord Chaitanya’s pastimes, Krishna’s maternal grandfather Parjanya appeared as Upendra Mishra, Bariyasi his wife appeared as Kamalvati, and they gave birth to Nanda Maharaj. Saumuka and Patalla Devi were the mother and father of Yashoda. Nilambar Chakravarty Thakur and his good wife gave birth to Sachi. Gaura Ganodesha Dipika tells us that Sachi Devi and Jagannath Mishra were Nanda and Yashoda, and all the incarnations of God entered into the body of Lord Chaitanya. Similarly Kaushalya and Dashrath, Devhuti and Kardama, Prishni and Prishnigarbha, Devaki and Vasudeva, all entered into the bodies of Jagannath Mishra and Sachi Devi. Lord Brahma appeared is Haridas Thakur. The original Shiva, Sadashiva along with Maha Vishnu appeared as Advaita Acharyas. And just as Brahma and Shiva prayed for the Lord to appear on the banks of the river Ganges or Ganga, Sri Advaita and Haridas Thakur performed great tapasya offering prayers for Lord Krishna to appear within this world.
Kavikarnapura tells that Sadashiv on the day of Diwali saw Krishna – this is 5000 years ago – dancing with gopas the cowherd boys, and he longed they yearned to dance with Krishna like this. So Krishna allowed him to come as a cowherd boy to dance with and later as explained Lord Shiva, Sadashiv yearned to be a part of Krishna’s beautiful past times with the gopis and he was given entrance as Gopeshwar Mahadeva to Krishna’s Madhurya Raas. It is that same SadaShiva who as Sri Advaita, out of compassion for all living beings, fasted, prayed, and cried for Krishna to appear; and an answer to his prayer Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came.
Radhanath Swami speaks on appearance and pastimes of Nimai
Six of Devaki’s children were killed, and Devaki and Vasudeva were in deep desperation taking shelter of the Lord. And in a similar way Sachi Mata and Jagannath Mishra had eight daughters and each one of them died just after birth. In great intense mood of devotion they took shelter of the Lord, and as the seventh child of Vasudeva and Devaki was Balaram, an expansion of Balaram Nityananda, Vishvarupa appeared within the womb of Sachi Mata; and was their first child.
Krishna was born at midnight in a prison cell. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu appeared during a lunar eclipse which is considered very inauspicious, and because of that lunar eclipse he induced everyone in all directions to loudly call out the names of Lord Hari. At midnight in Mathura all the demons they fell asleep so that Krishna could go to Vrindavan. During the lunar eclipse as everyone was chanting the holy names, Lord Chaitanya awakened them. And to attract our hearts Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu appeared in the roll of his own devotee, to teach us through his words and his example how to receive the true treasure of life, Krishna consciousness.
When little baby Lord Chaitanya would cry, then Sachi, Jagannath Mishra, all the relatives, all the friends, all the devotees felt such deep compassion for this child that they would do anything for him. And when nothing could pacify him, they just cried out to Krishna by loudly chanting the holy names –
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Ram Hare Ram Ram Ram Hare Hare
And little Nimai as infant baby child had such a beautiful smile, and on a regular basis he would cry just to attract all of them to gather around him to chant the holy names. This is the pastimes of Krishna as Lord Chaitanya. His devotees were not thinking him as God. Who was little Nimai, the baby? He is the source of Maha Vishnu, the source of Narayan, the source of Brahma, the source of all that exists. But yet he is attracting the love of his devotees in such a sweet way. Just to make him happy they were crying out to Krishna and Sri Radha, to bless this child with absolutely no conception that he is Krishna coming to taste the sweetness of Radha’s love. By his crying like a little baby he was actually sharing that love with them, and through the Sankirtan movement, to share that love with all of us.
When Lord Chaitanya was on his way to Vrindavan, in Varanasi he gave a simple analogy that he was like a seller of fruits and he had so many fruits, the fruits of love of God, and he didn’t find anyone there that was willing to purchase them. So he said, “I will give them freely to anyone who will simply accept it,” and he said, “With my two hands how many of these fruits can I distribute?” and he requested his devotees, all his devotees for all time to come, “Help me to distribute these fruits of love of God.”
Srila Prabhupada sometimes tell us that he was an old man, and he didn’t know how long he would be living, but he had great confidence in the mercy of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and his guru Maharaj, and he requested all of us, “Please assist in receiving these fruits of love of Krishna, and assist in distributing these fruits of love of Krishna!”
Radhanath Swami portrays Lord Chaitanya’s visit to Vrindavan
When Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu first arrived in Sri Mathura, Krishna himself came back to his own birthplace from 4500 years before, and induced literally hundreds and thousands of people in Mathura to gather with him Keshavji temple, to dance, to chant, and to experience Krishna prema in kirtan. Then along with the Sanodia Brahman and Ballabhadra Bhattacharya Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu crossed the Yamuna and began this Parikrama of the 12 forests of Sri Vraja Bhumi.
When he was wandering through the forest of Vrindavan, Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami tells first thing that happened is that cows were very attracted to him, and so many cows gathered around him, and mooed and gazed at him with tearful eyes and licked his body. Lord Chaitanya in great emotion he caressed each of these cows. As Lord Chaitanya continued on his pilgrimage all the cows followed him but somehow or other the gopas, the cowherd man of the time tried to bring the cows back. And then the deer, the deer without fear gathered in a big circle around Lord Chaitanya and then closed in, and gazed upon him with great love and licked his body, and he caressed the deers.
The bumble bees were singing beautiful songs completely attracted by Lord Chaitanya, and he reciprocating with each of these bumblebees. The parrots were singing, and the monkeys were dancing, and peacocks were dancing in front of Lord Chaitanya, and Lord Chaitanya was smiling. And all the trees and all the creepers felt that their dear most friend had returned, and Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu reciprocated with all of them as his very dear most friend.
Radhanath Swami expresses the right mood in visiting Vrindavan Dham
In Vrindavan every living being, everyone and everything is most dear to Krishna. The flowers, the trees, the grains of dust in the Vrindavan that we see with our material eyes, this essence is covered, premanjana churita bhaktivilochanena, when we receive Sri Radha’s grace, that grace opens our heart to allow the true love of the soul to shine then we can actually see Vrindavan as it is and to see Vrindavan as Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has revealed to us. – Radhanath Swami
So as you are going to these various holy places, please be grateful, every moment is so precious, every moment in life is precious, and this is especially magnified when we come on a pilgrimage to Sri Vrindavan Dham. It is a time in our life to go very deep to reestablish within our consciousness what our real purpose and value in living is – to serve and to please Krishna, samsiddhir hari toshanam. So while we are here, let us not waste a moment: absorb ourselves in hearing about Krishna, in talking about Krishna, in chanting the names of Krishna, in remembering Krishna, in worshiping the places of Krishna, and especially also in being the servant of the servant of the servant of Krishna.
One of the greatest gifts of a pilgrimage is called tapasya, austerities or hardships. Hardships really are gifts because they give us an opportunity to put aside our own particular concerns for the higher principle of devotional service, and by doing so we make great spiritual progress. – Radhanath Swami
The six Goswami’s of Vrindavan were living in beautiful palaces, Rupa and Sanatana in Ramakeli, but when they came here they lived on the ground under trees, and whatever little they begged for, that’s all they ate. So in our own ways we come to Vrindavan to follow in the footsteps of the Goswami. Whatever inconveniences, we should joyfully receive them, they are giving us a chance to transcend material existence. And when there is great crowds of people, which some of you may be experiencing, what a wonderful opportunity to be the servant of the servant of the servant.
So let us except whatever may come in this pilgrimage with great happiness and it is that type of happiness that will bring Krishna great happiness; and in Krishna’s happiness we find the true treasure of life. At this time let us all chant and dance with much gratitude.
Thank you very much.