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om ajnana-timirandhasya jnananjana-salakaya,caksur unmilitam yena tasmai sri gurave namah
My heartly dandavat pranama at the lotus feet of my spiritual master, nitya-lila pravista om visnupada Sri Srimad Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja, my entire guru-paramapara, and my siksa-guru, nitya-lila-pravista om visnupada Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja.

quinta-feira, 14 de junho de 2012

Boycott the Sahajiya Babajis

 Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja

I want to explain something so that you will be very careful. I am receiving questions about the books published by the babajis of Vraja. They accept Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Sri Nityananda Prabhu, and Sri Sri Radha-Krsna Conjugal. They have not written their own books. They only take books like Stava-mala by Srila Rupa Gosvami, Stavavali and Vilapa Kusumanjali by Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami, Radha-rasa-sudhanidhi by Sri Prabhodananda Sarasvati, and other Gosvami books. They have taken our Gosvamis' explanations, which are in Sanskrit, and they are simply translating them into Bengali. Everything seems to be okay. However, you should know what are the defects of these babajis, and you should be very careful. You should carefully note down their defects in your hearts and your notebooks. First of all they don't accept that the Gaudiya Vaisnava Sampradaya is one of the sakhas, branches, of the Brahma-Madhva Sampradaya, although this fact has been clearly explained by Sri Kavi Karnipura, Srila Jiva Gosvami, and then by Sri Baladeva Vidyabhusana Prabhu. It has also been explained by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, by my Gurudeva, that is, Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja, and also by Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja.
Secondly, they think that Sri Prabhodananda Sarasvati and Prakasananda Sarasvati are the same person, although there is so much difference between them. This cannot be so. Will a person of the Ramanuja Sampradaya go down to become a Mayavadi like Prakasananda Sarasvati, and then again become Prabhodananda Sarasvati, who was so exalted that he became the guru of Srila Gopala Bhatta Gosvami? This idea is absurd. Prabhodananda Sarasvati and Prakasananda Sarasvati were contemporaries. Will the same person go back and forth, being a Vaisnava in South India, then becoming a Mayavadi, again becoming a Vaisnava in Vrndavana, and again becoming a Mayavadi? Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura has vividly written about this, and great historians and research scholars have also rejected the idea that they are the same person.
Thirdly, they don’t give proper honor to Sri Jiva Gosvami, and this is a very big blunder. This is a vital point. They say that Jiva Gosvami is of svakiya-bhava, that he never supported parakiya-bhava, and that he is against parakiya-bhava. They say that in his explanations of Srimad Bhagavatam and Brahma-samhita, in his own books like Gopala Campu, and especially in his Sri Ujjvala-nilamani tika, he has written against parakiya-bhava. This is their greatest blunder. We don’t accept their statements at all.
Srila Jiva Gosvami was rupanuga, a pure follower of Srila Rupa Gosvami and Sri Rupa Manjari. However, for some devotees who were not very qualified at that time, who were beginners, and who did not know what is parakiya-bhava -- and even in Vraja there are so many like this -- he seemed to favor svakiya-bhava. For some followers, so that they would be able to come at least to vidhi-marga (worship according to the rules and regulations of Narada-pancaratra), Jiva Gosvami wrote as if he was a supporter of svakiya-rasa. He wanted that through this they should become qualified, and then they should come to the mood of parakiya. For qualified persons he has written that parakiya-bhava is in Vraja and svakiya-bhava is in Dvaraka. He has vividly written this, and he also accepted this. He can never be against the teachings of Srila Rupa Gosvami, Srila Sanatana Gosvami and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He can never be so. He was a follower of the same root idea of parakiya-bhava as Rupa Gosvami. For some unqualified persons he has written in that other way, but the babajis of Vraja cannot reconcile this. They are ignorant persons. They became opposed to Srila Jiva Gosvami and took the side of Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, even though in fact there is no dispute between Jiva Gosvami and Vi svanatha Cakravarti Thakura! . Whatever Jiva Gosvami wrote for the benefit of those unqualified followers is in the line of tattva-siddhanta, established philosophical truths. He wrote that, by tattva, the gopis are krsna-svakiya.

ananda-cinmaya-rasa-pratibhavitabhis
tabhir ya eva nija-rupataya kalabhih
goloka eva nivasaty akhilatma-bhuto
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami
(Brahma Samhita)
["I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, who resides in His own realm, Goloka, with Radha, who resembles His own spiritual figure and who embodies the ecstatic potency (Hladini). Their companions are Her confidantes, who embody extensions of Her bodily form and who are imbued and permeated with ever-blissful spiritual rasa."] Nija-rupataya kalabhih. The gopis are Krsna's power. They cannot be parakiya in the eyes of tattva-siddhanta. They are the same as Krsna. They are the power of Krsna. They are also not the wives of any gopas, cowherd men, of Vrndavana. They are all beloved of Krsna, and they are not different from Him. Thus, by tattva, they are svakiya. (Sva means 'own' and kiya means sampatti, wealth.) This means they are of Krsna, Krsna’s own, and they are His power. Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura has written in the line of rasa-siddhanta or rasa-tattva. In rasa-tattva Yogamaya has arranged that both the gopis and Krsna think that the gopis are married to other gopas, and therefore they have a paramour relationship. If it were not like this, there would be no rasa at all. (Para means 'greatest', one's own greatest wealth, and it also means 'another', another's wealth. Therefore the meaning in both tattva-siddhanta and rasa-siddhanta is harmoniously reconciled.)
Srila Rupa Gosvami has explained all these things, especially in Ujjvala Nilamani, and also in his other books. The gopis are Krsna’s own, His power, but for rasa it is said that they are parakiya. What is parakiya? There are two principles: atma-rasa and para-rasa, or eka-rasa and aneka-rasa. Krsna is eka-rasa or atma rasa. He is one rasa. In other words He is the complete embodiment of rasa. He is atmarama and aptakama. He is always full and satisfied in Himself. He doesn’t need anything from anyone in order to be happy. The gopis are His own power. Sakti-saktimatayor-abheda. Sakti, the energy, and saktiman, the possessor of that energy or power, are both one. They are identical. However, although Krsna has this quality, He is also para-rasa. Para-rasa means that the gopis are vaishisteya; that is, they also have a speciality that distinguishes them from Krsna. Although they are part of Krsna, although they are one with Him, their speciality is that they serve Him in the mood of rasa. Krsna is the enjoyer and they are the container or reservoir of love and affection. Krsna also wants to taste their mood. Aneka-rasa or para-rasa is the gopis' rasa, and Krsna wants to ta ste that rasa in various wa! ys. That rasa is in the form of parakiya rasa, and this is the meaning of parakiya rasa -- nothing else. These are a very high-class of philosophical understandings, and Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has explained all these truths.
Therefore, Jiva Gosvami is not of a different opinion than Rupa Gosvami. They have the very same opinion. Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura has proven that Jiva Gosvami was in parakiya-bhava, and that he accepted Srimad Bhagavatam and Ujjvala-nilamani. [In his own Ujjvala-nilamani tika, Srila Jiva Gosvami has written, "Svecchaya likitam kincit, atra kincid parecchaya. I have written some things by my own desire and some things by the desire of others. The portions which are consistent, in which svakiya and parakiya are reconciled and in the line of Rupa Gosvami, is my desire, and the portions that are not reconciled are written by the desire of others." I have written about all these topics in my book called Prabandha Pancakam, Five Essential Essays. You should try to know these things fully. The babajis say that we are not a branch of the line of Madhvacarya. They say Madhvacarya is of a different opinion than the Gaudiya Vaisnavas. But this is quite wrong. We have so many specialties that are there in the line of Madhvacarya.
Also, they say that because Caitanya Mahaprabhu took sannyasa from Kesava Bharati, a Mayavadi, He, Himself, must be a Mayavadi. We don’t accept this. Mahaprabhu's actual guru was Isvara Puripada, He only took vesa, red cloth, from Kesava Bharati, and there is no harm in this. Madhvacarya also did this, and Ramanujacarya as well. [Another point is as follows. Sri Madhvacarya accepted sannyasa from Acyutapreksa, who was also a kevaladvaita-vadi. Suppose we accept the opinion of the opposing party, just for the sake of argument. In that case, if Mahaprabhu is a kevaladvaita-vadi sannyasa, then by the same logic so is Madhvacarya. Where, then, is the obstacle to Sriman Mahaprabhuji’s being in the Madhva Sampradaya, if both of them accepted the advaita-vadi Sankara’s sampradaya? There is a second point here. Sri Madhvacarya accepted eka-danda (a single staff of renunciation) according to the customs and regulations of the Sankara Sampradaya. It would be logically consistent to say that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu fol! lowed his ideal example, and also accepted eka danda-sannyasa from a sannyasi of the Sankara Sampradaya, namely Sri Kesava Bharati. From this it seems clear that Gaudiya Vaisnavas are in the line of Sri Madhvacarya.(from Five Essential Essays)] Sannyasa can be taken in this way. [During the time of Lord Caitanya, the influence of Sankaracarya in society was very strong. People thought that one could accept sannyasa only in the disciplic succession of Sankaracarya. Lord Caitanya could have performed His missionary activities as a householder, but He found householder life an obstruction to His mission. Therefore He decided to accept the renounced order, sannyasa. Since His acceptance of sannyasa was also designed to attract public attention, Lord Caitanya, not wishing to disturb the social convention, took the renounced order of life from a sannyasi in the disciplic succession of Sankaracarya, although sannyasa was also sanctioned in the Vaisnava sampradaya.(Cc. Adi-lila 3.34 purp.)]
However, Mahaprabhu took gopal-mantra and other mantras from Isvara Puripada. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Srila Rupa Gosvami, and Srila Jiva Gosvami have accepted this -- that Caitanya Mahaprabhu was not a Mayavadi. Madhavendra Puripada also took sannyasa from a Mayavadi, but he took diksa initiation in the line of Madhva, and Laksmipati Tirtha was his guru.
We are thus in one line. There is some little difference in upasana-marga, but by tattva we are both the same. Sri Baladeva Vidyabhusana Prabhu has written about this very vividly, and the opinion of Kavi-karnapura is also that we are in the Madhva Sampradaya. He wrote a sloka about this. Another point is that the babajis don’t accept that Srila Baladeva Vidyabhusana is in the Gaudiya Vaisnava line. They are vehemently opposed to this understanding. However, if Baladeva Vidyabhusana Prabhu is out of our Gaudiya Sampradaya, then who is our savior? He went to Galta Gaddi in Jaipura and defeated the Sri Vaisnavas. He told them that Srimati Radhika should be on the left of Krsna. He wrote a commentary on Vedanta Sutra called Govinda-bhasya, and that commentary has been accepted as the Gaudiya-bhasya (commentary representing the Gaudiya Sampradaya).
[As far as we in the Madhva-Gaudiya Sampradaya are concerned, our acaryas accepted Srimad-Bhagavatam as the natural commentary on Brahma-sutra. The Gaudiya Sampradaya did not make any commentary on the Brahma-sutra because they accepted, and Caitanya Mahäprabhu accepted, that Srimad-Bhagavatam is the natural commentary because it was also written by Vyasadeva, the original author of Brahma-sutra. If the author has made his own commentary, there was no need of another. This is the Gaudiya-vaisnava-siddhanta. Sometime back, however, in Jaipur, there was a challenge that the Gaudiya Sampradaya has no commentary on the Vedanta-sutra. Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura was requested to go there, because he was the most senior Vaisnava scholar. He was living in Vrndavana at that time, and because he was very advanced in age at that time, he authorized Baladeva Vidyabhusana, "You do it. There is no need, but people are demanding, 'Where is your commentary on the Vedanta-sutra?'" Therefore, by th e dictation of Govindaji at! Jaipur, Baladeva Vidyabhusana, wrote the commentary on Brahma-sutra called Govinda-bhasya. In this way, the Brahma-Madhva- Gaudiya Sampradaya has also got a commentary on Brahma-sutra, and that is required. (from Srila Prabhupada's lecture on Sept.30, 1973)]
If Baladeva Vidyabhusana Prabhu is not in our sampradaya, then what sampradaya is He in? All his commentaries are in the line of Srila Rupa Gosvami and our Gaudiya Vaisnava acaryas. If Baladeva Prabhu is out of our sampradaya, everything will be finished. This is a vital point. Also, these babajis say that if anyone wears the saffron cloth of sannyasa, he is not in the Gaudiya Vaisnava line. They have no correct idea. It is stated in Caitanya Caritamrta:

kiba vipra, kiba nyasi, sudra kene naya
yei krsna-tattva-vetta, sei 'guru' haya
["It does not matter whether a person is a vipra (learned scholar in Vedic wisdom) or is born in a lower family, or is in the renounced order of life. If he is master in the science of Krsna, he is the perfect and bona fide spiritual master." (Madhya-lila 8-128)] Krsna dasa Kaviraja Gosvami has written 'kiba nyasi'. Nyasi means sannyasi. Isvara Puripada, Madhavendra Puripada, and all renunciates in their line were sannyasis in saffron cloth. There are so many associates of Caitanya Mahaprabhu who wore saffron cloth. Svarupa Damodara also wore saffron cloth. What harm was there? Saffron cloth is the sign of renunciation. It is the color of anuraga, attachment for Krsna. Because it is a color, it is worn by sadhvis. Sadhvi means a married lady, a lady who is not a widow. 'Married' means having Krsna as one's beloved. We are not widows, but those who wear white cloths are widows.
From where has this word 'babaji' come in our line? From whom has it come? Isvara Puripada, Madhavendra Puripada, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Nityananda Prabhu, and after Him, Sri Rupa Gosvami, Sri Sanatana Gosvami, Srila Raghunatha Bhatta Gosvami, Sri Jiva Gosvami, Sri Gopala Bhatta Gosvami, and Sri Raghunatha dasa Gosvami. After them, Krsna dasa Kaviraja Gosvami and Vrndavana dasa Thakura, and then Narottama dasa Thakura, Syamananda dasa, Srinivasa Acarya, and Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura. Where is the word babaji? Was anyone known as Babaji? From where did this word babaji come? The babajis have no reply. These Vaisnavas were all paramahamsa, not babaji.
Sri Sanatana Gosvami did not wear saffron cloth because he had great honor for Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's saffron or reddish cloth. He was thinking, "I cannot be like Him, I am not so high." Therefore, out of honor and reverence he wore white cloth, and he used to worship this saffron cloth. In Vraja, the Vrajabasis all used to call Sanatana Gosvami 'baba'. They called Sanatana Gosvami bara-baba, elder sadhu, and Rupa Gosvami chota-baba, younger sadhu. After them, others in their line took white cloth; but then, after the time of Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, they deviated. Some, like Jagannatha dasa Babaji, Madhusudana dasa Babaji, and Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji, took this babaji name out of humility, and everyone used to call them that. [Baba means sadhu or father, and ji is a suffix meaning respectable. These mukta-mahapurusas are paramahamsas, and they are also the eternal associates of Radha and Krsna. They are far above the conception of babaji or sannyasa (which is within the varnasrama system). For them to accept the nomenclature babaji, therefore, is their humility.] [After Sriman Mahaprabhu, His lila-parikaras (eternal pastime associates) such as the six Gosvamis, Sri Lokanatha and Bhugarbha, and later Sri Krsnadasa Kaviraja, Sri Narottama Thakura, and Sri Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura were naturally niskincana paramahamsa Vaisnavas. There was no need for them to wear sannyasa-vesa, saffron cloth. Secondly, Sriman Mahaprabhu had performed the lila of wearing sannyasa-vesa and saffron cloth. Thus considering themselves to be worthless, lowly and unqualified, these mahatmas did not wear sannyasa-vesa and saffron cloth in order to show honor and respect to the vesa of Sriman Mahaprabhu and also to maintain their own identities as servants under the shelter of His lotus feet. On the other hand, in order to express veneration for the niskincana paramahamsa-vesa of the associates of Sriman Mahaprabhu, and, under their guidance to preach His message throughout the entire world, many akincana Vaisnavas on the path of raganuga-bhajana, holding the parama hamsa-vesa upon their heads! , have accepted a position below their worshipable superiors by wearing the saffron cloth of the sannyasa asrama which is included within the system of varnasrama dharma. These two customs, each having their own place, are both exquisitely beautiful and also completely in accordance with siddhanta. Today suddha-hari-bhakti has been, is being, and will continue to be, preached and spread throughout the world by these mahapurusas, great perfected saints, who wear this second type of niskincana sannyasi-vesa. (from Five Essential Essays)]
When Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura saw that many babajis were now bogus, that they were with widow matajis and producing sons, he became very furious and said that we will again accept the same saffron cloth of others like Ramanujacarya, Madhvacarya, Mahaprabhu, and Isvara Puripada. He then preached everywhere in the world. At that time, those family persons who were of loose character and had no status in society honored these bogus babajis. That is why Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura re-introduced the reddish cloth and sannyasa. Presently, those who are bogus persons, but were previously in the Gaudiya Matha, have become lusty and have thus been kicked out from the Gaudiya Matha. Now they have become babajis.
The babajis especially criticize Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, saying that he didn’t have a guru. This is a bogus idea. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura preached the name and the glories of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and the Gaudiya Vaisnava Sampradaya to the whole world. He wrote hundreds of books. Still, the babajis say he did not have a proper guru, and that Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada also had no proper guru. [A sadhaka may receive bheka (sannyasa vesa) from some suitable guru and alternatively, when genuine vairagya (in bhava-bhakti) arises, he may accept bheka from himself. Haridasa Thakura, the Six Gosvamis, Lokanatha Gosvami, and others are examples of the practice of accepting bheka from oneself. This is also the way that Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura accepted sannyasa vesa after the disappearance of Srila Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji, from whom he had received the diksa mantra. We see from these examples that acceptance of bheka in this way is fully in agreeme nt with sastra. Sri Ramanuj! acarya also accepted tridandi-sannyasa from himself after the disappearance of his guru Srila Yamunacarya. (from Five Essential Essays)] You should know that Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura was in the Bhagavata-parampara of Srila Jagannatha dasa Babaji Maharaja. Srila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura was also in the line as the same Jagannatha dasa Babaji Maharaja, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, and his guru, Srila Gaura Kisora Das Babaji Maharaja. They were all in the same line.
Those in the babaji line say that our Guru Maharaja, Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja, and even Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja, were not in the proper disciplic line, and that they have no guru-parampara. But it is actually the babajis who are not in the guru-parampara.
I saw in France that so many devotees have given up Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja, and they have become babajis. They took babaji-vesa, dor-kaupin and so on. Then, after two years, they fell down with mataji-babajis. They accepted and lived with divorced ladies. They are bound to do this. Thus, those who are not accepting that Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja, our Guru Maharaja, Srila Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, and all other high-class Vaisnavas are in the Gaudiya line, are completely ignorant. If you read their books this poison may come.

avaisnava-mukhodgirnam putam hari-kathamrtam
sravanam naiva kartavyam sarpocchistam yatha payah

(Padma Purana)
["One should not hear anything about Krsna from a non-Vaisnava. Milk touched by the lips of a serpent has poisonous effects. Similarly, talks about Krsna given by a non-Vaisnava are also poisonous."] Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami's Vilapa Kusumanjali, and other books like Krsna Bhavanamrta, Radha-rasa-sudhanidhi, and Stava-vali are all good books. They are amrta, nectar. However, you should not hear them from non-Vaisnavas; otherwise the bogus ideas of such non-Vaisvnavas will come, and you will be deviated. Be very careful about this.
Another point is regarding bhajana-pranali. Instead of giving the proper process to the appropriate persons, without giving proper training, without considering whether a person is qualified or not, these babajis give their own version of bhajana-pranali. Their so-called disciples do not know who is Krsna or what is bhajana. They don’t know any definition of bhakti, and they don’t even know how to clean themselves after passing stool. They don’t know anything. What will become of them?

naitat samacarej jatu
manasapi hy anisvaram
vinasyaty acaran maudhyad
yatharudro ’bdhi-jam visam
["One who is not a great controller should never imitate the behavior of ruling personalities, even mentally. If out of foolishness an ordinary person does imitate such behavior, he will simply destroy himself, just as a person who is not Rudra would destroy himself if he tried to drink an ocean of poison." (SB. 10.33.31)] If someone is not qualified, but he wants to drink poison as Sankara did, he will die at once. First be Sankara, and then take poison. First be qualified. First you should know Srila Rupa Gosvami’s Upadesamrta: vaco vegam manasa krodha vegam. Also read Manah Siksa. First learn tattva: maya-tattva, jiva-tattva, and krsna-tattva. Afterwards, if you have actual greed, then you can read those other books. Otherwise, if you don’t learn these principles first, you will be lusty, and you will be bound to deviate and give up bhajana and sadhana. We should read Jaiva Dharma. There, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has explained all the ideas of Srila Rupa Gosvami. First learn trnad api sunicena taror api sahisnuna / amanina manadena kirtaniyah sada harih. "One can chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking himself lower than the straw in the street. One should be more tolerant than the tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige and ready to offer all respects to others. ln such a state of mind one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly." This was advised by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu:

ye-rupe la-ile nama prema upajaya
tahara laksana suna, svarupa-rama-raya
["O Svarupa Damodara Gosvami and Ramananda Raya, hear from Me the symptoms of how one should chant the Hare Krsna maha-mantra to awaken very easily one's dormant love for Krsna." (Antya 20.21)] Caitanya Mahaprabhu Himself gave us the instruction to have these qualities. Try to develop these qualities, and then you can read the other books. There are so many devotees around the world, especially in France, who are reading all these elevated books. However, they don’t know krsna-tattva or any other tattva, and they have no nistha, steady and strong faith, in their gurudeva. Gradually they are giving up Srila Swami Maharaja, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, and the entire guru-parampara. They criticize this line. Therefore, although the books which have been translated by these babajis are themselves bona fide, we should boycott them. Don’t read them. If you are qualified like a hamsa, a swan, if you can separate milk from water, then you may read their translations -- otherwise not.
About ten years ago I went on Vraja Mandala Parikrama with Pujyapada Janardana Maharaja. We went to Radha-Kunda, and there we challenged the babajis. We had a discussion for three hours, but no one came. I have also challenged those babajis in my book, Five Essential Essays, but no one responded. After reading that book they wanted to take us to court, and I challenged them, "Yes, we will see you in court." But they never came. Their lawyers had advised them not to go to court, as they would have lost everything.
Don’t be attracted to these sahajiya babajis of Vraja. You should be attracted to our guru-parampara: Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada, Sri Baladeva Vidyabhusana, Srila Jiva Gosvami, Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, and all those in our Bhagavata-parampara. I have come to tell you these things only to make you all careful. Don’t be bewildered. Try to be very strong, knowing all these points.
(typed by Madana Mohini dasi, edited by Syamarani dasi)

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The Wave of Sahajiyaism

The Wave of Sahajiyaism

by Sriman Atul Krishna Das

Reflections on the text "Who is following whom?"

23 June 2001
 
With great curiosity I have been reading the papers written by the party of B.G. Narasingha Maharaja, as well as the recent responses from the followers of Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja. I have noted that the articles written by the followers of Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja appear to address the philosophical conclusions under discussion in a very polite way and with honor for the other side. Despite this fact, B.G. Narasingha Maharaja and his followers have not responded with equal kindness, but rather they have gradually escalated their propaganda into the realm of vicious and anonymous ad hominem.
This exchange of articles reached its peak, as recently an article entitled "Who is following whom?" by an anonymous disciple of B.G. Narasingha Maharaja was posted on "Krsna Talk" and other websites. This barrage of misinformation may be harmful to many innocent readers. Therefore, with the interests of our vaisnava community in mind, I will briefly point out some of the major defects in this paper. It is with great reluctance that I have chosen to stray slightly from the discussion of pure siddhanta, but the severity of the accusations made in "Who is following whom?" have impelled me to address some practical issues. The facts are the facts, and the truth has to be spoken. If the feelings of the gentle readers are hurt in any way due to anything I may present hereafter, I am requesting them to kindly forgive me in advance.
The paper in question sets the scene with the following statement:
"The followers of Sripad B.V. Narayana Maharaja write that, ‘the highest good can be obtained by anyone who faithfully hears krsna-katha from a bona-fide rasika acarya’ and quote Srila Narottama dasa Thakura, (‘A person averse to hearing these lilas will never attain perfection. I refuse to hear his name’) in an attempt to justify the hearing of confidential lilas by the unqualified."
Here we see how the author tries to graft together two unrelated statements from the excellent article "Hearing from a Rasika Acarya" by Sripad Dhrstadyumna Das to give the impression that Srila Narayana Maharaja and his genuine followers (quote) "attempt to justify the hearing of confidential lilas by the unqualified." However, such a conclusion has not been presented anywhere in that paper. The statement that "the highest good can be obtained by anyone who faithfully hears krsna-katha from a bona-fide rasika acarya" is undoubtably true because a bona-fide rasika acarya knows how to present everything according to the qualification of the audience. The statement that "a person who is averse to hearing rasa-lila will never attain perfection," is also true because it is the statement of Srila Narottama Dasa Thakura. However, the author then makes 2+2=5 by waving his finger and boldly announcing, "Just see how they are attempting to justify the hearing of confidential lilas by the unqualified!"

 
In this way he insults the readers’ intelligence by incorrectly summarizing the gist of "hearing from a rasika acarya", and hoping that the reader will not notice. After that sleight of hand, he goes on at great length, slashing and cutting triumphantly at a point that was NEVER MADE. If Sripad Dhrstadyumna Das had actually condoned the hearing of confidential lilas by the unqualified anywhere in his paper then surely B.G. Narasingha Maharaja's disciple could supply us with the quote. Furthermore, even the quote he does present us clearly states "one who FAITHFULLY hears". Then totally overlooking the content of his own evidence, he attempts to persuade us that this means the followers of Srila Narayana Maharaja advocate the hearing of confidential lilas by the unqualified. Is he suggesting that the words "faithfully" and "unqualified" have the same meaning? Such incoherent and absent-minded writing can only occur as a result of vaisnava aparadha.
Previously B.G. Narasingha Maharaja wrote: "While commenting on this verse [10.33.39] Srila Viswanatha Chakravarti Thakura has mentioned that one should first come to the stage of anartha-nivrithi before attempting to hear the rasa-lila topics. It is sometimes taken that sraddha anvitah or full faith means anartha-nivrithi, the stage of being FREE from misconception and unwanted disturbances in the heart."
Of course Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura never wrote any such thing. This was proven conclusively in "Hearing from a Rasika Acarya". It seems that a sannyasa disciple of B.G. Narasingha Maharaja became upset over the fact that his guru was categorically wrong. Better to accept that fact with integrity than to shamelessly concoct a classic "straw man" argument to compound the humiliation. What is this straw man argument? X Maharaja has written:
"The followers of B. V. Narayana Maharaja have taken exception to Srila Narasingha Maharaja's statement that one must ‘first come to the stage of anartha-nivrtti’ before hearing rasa-katha."
It is not that we have taken exception to this statement. We have taken exception to B.G. Narasingha Maharaja’s speculation regarding the teachings of Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura. It is quite evident that the anonymous author of the aforementioned document lost track of the topic of discussion a long time ago. In his original article, B.G. Narasingha Maharaja has attempted to establish his own conclusions in the name of Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura. Then later on, a sannyasa disciple of his, after reading the true explanation of Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura’s statements, indirectly admits that his guru was wrong by trying to invalidate those statements as IRRELEVANT FOR the modern age and claiming that they present a method of sadhana which is different from that propounded by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura!
"Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura's writings must be seen in the context of the time, place and circumstances that he was living in. The genuine followers of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami do not practice the same sadhana that was practiced in the sixteenth century."

Herein they disclose the root of their inadvertent deviation. Although the tenor of preaching may be adjusted to address the ebb and flow of history, the actual process of sadhana in the line of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu always remains the same and can never change. We invite the author to supply us with the details of this NEW style of sadhana, which is different from the sadhana described by Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, and thus also different from the same sadhana described by Srila Rupa Gosvami. The example of non-Hindus not receiving Brahma-gayatri is an irrelevant sociological detail, which has absolutely no effect on the main principles of hearing and the qualification to hear. For example, Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada gave brahma-gayatri to ladies, a practice which was not observed by his guru. Is it a new method of sadhana? Let us adhere to the subject at hand. The qualification of the general populace may change from time to time, but the qualification to hear cannot be altered by such external phenomena.
Actually, the commentaries of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura and of Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura on the verse "vikriditam vraja vadhubhir… (10.33.39)" express the same idea in different words. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura does not claim that one must be free from all anarthas, rather he stresses that one simply should not neglect the strict practice of sadhana-bhakti, the cultivation of sambandha-jnana, or compare the transcendental lila with mundane affairs.

This definitely leaves us wondering: "Who is following whom?" It appears that the two Maharajas are not able to follow even each other’s flows of thoughts. In their earlier document, they quote Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s Sri Caitanya Siksamrtam to establish the conclusion that one should first become purified by hearing the pastimes of Krishna’s killing the demons, and in the later, they quote Srila Jiva Gosvami’s Krama-sandarbha to establish the conclusion that one should first purify his heart by chanting harinama, realizing Krishna’s form, qualities and associates, and only then is one qualified to hear Krishna’s pastimes. Certainly the authors of these documents are very competent in making it look like our acaryas contradict each other all the time, leaving behind heaps of confused readers, who must wonder whether the authors have a fixed siddhanta at all.

It appears that the anonymous author of the document is quoting from anywhere and everywhere to defeat his opponent, without a serious interest in establishing a solid conclusion. Technically speaking, this is called vitanda, or irrational, aimless reasoning. If B.G. Narasingha Maharaja and his followers intend to have a serious discussion on a particular subject matter, it would be helpful if they could stick to the issue at hand. Every time we give a thorough response to their documents, they twist and turn things around, make up facts of their own design, and subtly change the topic of discussion on top of it all.

Just because Sripad Dhrstadyumna Das has shown that one need not be beyond anartha nivrtti to hear rasa-lila katha from the lips of a pure devotee does not mean he is advocating hearing by those who are utterly unqualified, as illogically suggested in the paper under question. Quote: "This verse (Bhag 10.33.39) is often misused on an attempt to justify the hearing by anyone and everyone of the Lord’s confidential pastimes." Sripad Dhrstadyumna Das has thoroughly established the actual qualification required on the basis of the direct explanations of Srila Jiva Gosvami and Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura. So why does the anonymous author try to establish that Sripad Dhrstadyumna das is advocating hearing by the unqualified? Why?

Since the character and activities of Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja are all immaculate and flawless, it is necessary for those who are averse to him to first quickly create a false allegation against him and then enthusiastically present an exhaustive body of evidence from accepted authorities in the hope that the reader will not notice that the original allegation was unfounded. This cheap shot has been made in such a cowardly way that the author even declined to put his name on it. This is indicative of a distinct lack of guru-nistha.

Not only that, but the rest of the paper contains not less than another twenty anonymous statements and "some unspecified person allegedly said to another unspecified person etc…." type of anecdotal references. One might rightly ask, "If your case is so strong, then why is all your so called evidence anonymous?" Of course, all the witnesses are so dubious that even though anonymous statements have no credibility, it is better to have no credibility than to be associated with the infamous by citing their statements as evidence.
The unknown author goes to great length to provide us with evidence that one should not discuss the highly confidential astakaliya-lila of Sri Sri Radha-Krsna in a public assembly. However, he does not provide us with a shred of evidence to prove that Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja is actually doing this. If that were the case, then surely it would not be difficult to prove because the lectures if Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja are immediately transcribed and posted on internet and all the classes spoken in English over the past six years or so are easily available to anyone. If we inspect those lectures, what do we find? Mainly practical and repeated explanations of Sri Upadesamrta, Sri Siksastakam, Sri Rupa Siksa, Sri Sanatana Siksa, the opening verses of Ramananda Samvada, the lives of Prahlada Maharaja, Dhruva Maharaja, Ambarisa Maharaja, Bharat Maharaja, Ajamila, Citraketu Maharaja and so on. Sometimes we may find the pastimes of Krsna stealing butter, killing demons or even the separation feelings of Nanda Maharaja, Yasoda Maiya and the gopis when Krsna left Vrndavan. Do we find any discussions of sambhoga-rasa, astakaliya-lila, Sri Govinda-lilamrta and Krsna Bhavanamrta? Then why does the anonymous author rant on about this for more than thirty pages? He challenges:
"The onus is on those differing with this presentation of our acaryas actual inner mood to show where Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Svami Prabhupada, Srila Bhakti Raksaka Sridhara Gosvami Maharaja and Srila Bhakti Pramoda Puri Gosvami Maharaja prominently preached rasa-lila to mixed audiences."
Here the author tirelessly reiterates his false accusation to reinforce the impression that Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja prominently preaches rasa-lila katha to mixed audiences. Where is the evidence? The best he can come up with is:
"In section 4 above, Srila Narayana Maharaja claims that Srila Prabhupada wanted to give this rasa-katha to everyone. This is clearly not the fact."
Thus the author continues with his tiresome and transparent faultfinding. Any ordinary person will agree that all of our acaryas want to give rasa-katha to everyone (eventually). Simply to state this does not in any way dispose of the recognition of adhikara, as implied by X Maharaja. Such dysfunctional statements reveal more about the character of the author than about Gaudiya Siddhanta. The idea that Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja is not following the mood and conclusions of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura is absurd. The unknown author explains that Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja emphasizes smarana over kirtana in the following statement:
"Srila Sarasvati Thakura emphasized the chanting of the holy name over lila-smarana in order to purify the conditioned soul, whereas Narayana Maharaja stresses the opposite."
However, nothing could be further from the truth. In his commentary on Sri Bhakti Rasamrta Sindhu Bindu, Srila Narayana Maharaja writes:
"In Kali-yuga, if another anga of bhakti is performed, it must be accompanied by harinama sankirtana. Srila Sanatana Gosvami has also said that harinama-sankirtana is the foremost among all the angas of bhakti, such as smarana and so on.

manyamahe kirtanam eva sattamam
lolatmakaika svahrdi sphurat smrteh
vaci svayukte manasi srutau tatha
divyat paran-apy-upakurvadatvat

(Brhad-Bhagavatamrtam 2.3.148)

The Lord’s associates in Vaikuntha said: "In our opinion, KIRTANA is superior to SMARANA because remembrance manifests only within the mind, which is by nature unsteady. Kirtana, however, manifests on the tongue and vocal organs and automatically creates an impression on the mind. In the end the sound of kirtana not only satisfies the sense of hearing, but it pleases all those who hear it just as it does for the self. In smarana there is no such power. Therefore kirtana alone is capable of controlling the mind, which is ever more flickering than the wind. Besides, the mind cannot perform smarana without kirtana. Other than kirtana there is no other method by which the mind can be made steady–this is the deep and confidential meaning of this sloka by Srila Sanatana Gosvami."
(Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja, Bhakti Rasamrta Sindhu Bindu pg.106)
Again we challenge X Maharaja to provide just one shred of evidence to support his accusation that Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja stresses smarana over kirtana. It is utterly astonishing that the author of the aforementioned document has taken so much time to refute the products of his own imagination. Had he ever studied the books and lectures of Srila Narayana Maharaja, which are freely available on the internet, he would have discovered that the teachings of Srila Narayana Maharaja in the world of his mind do not even remotely correspond with the teachings of Srila Narayana Maharaja in reality. Instead of being radically different from the teachings of our previous acaryas, we find that the teachings of Srila Narayana Maharaja are identical with theirs in this regard. This is also true of the teachings of Srila B.R. Sridhara Maharaja, as is evident in the two quotes given below:
"Yes, Govinda Lilamrta is there, with asta-kaliya-lilas, the eight lila of Radha-Govinda. This is for the higher students."
(Srila BR Sridhara Maharaja, Room Conversation, Nov. 12, 1981)
"At our present stage we should not buy or read Govinda-lilamrta and Krishna-bhavanamrita. We must first engage in very good sadhana-bhajana and become mature in bhakti. Until then, we don't require to read these books any more than a three-year-old boy requires a young and beautiful wife."
(Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja, lecture, France, June 27, 1997)
We request X Maharaja to explain the critical difference in the moods above, which impels him to accuse Srila Narayana Maharaja of deviating from the line of Srila Prabhupada Sarasvati Thakura. Should this not be convincing enough, let it be known that Srila Narayana Maharaja has stated: "Don't try to follow Krsna Bhavanamrta and Govinda Lilamrta at once; otherwise you will go to hell." (Srila Narayana Maharaja, lecture, Eugene, USA, April 29, 2001)

 
How, then, should we relate with these very confidential pastimes? "Just as our Guru Maharaja, he is very cautious about to deal with the higher rasa, pujala raga-patha gaurava bhange." (Srila B.R. Sridhara Maharaja, quoted by B.G. Narasingha Maharaja without supplying the reference in article #19 of Krishna-talk) Or, in other words:
"Those who can sing and follow asta-kaliya-lila are very elevated. We only do pranama to these lilas. … I tell you that you should read First Canto, Second Canto, Third Canto; and after that you should take Tenth Canto. Prabhupada has also told this. I never tell the pastimes of the gopis with Krishna to common people."
(Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja, lecture, Wales, July 1, 2000)
B.G. Narasingha Maharaja’s party claims to be on a mission to quell the wave of sahajiyaism. However, they have embarrassed the line of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura by publicly presenting incorrect statements about the precepts of our guru-varga and by being unable to counter the arguments of various sahajiya groups on several occasions, having first challenged them. Still, they would do well to attack those who are actually sahajiya and opposed to the mission of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, instead of trying to discredit the very person who has done more to protect the mission of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura and to crush sahajiyavada than anyone else in the world-preaching arena today.

We refer our readers to Gaudiya Vaisnavism vs. Sahajiyaism and Prabandha Pancakam — "Five Essential Essays" by Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja. These two literatures have silenced all the critics of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. They have established the dignity of the Sarasvat Gaudiya Vaisnava line in the eyes of its adversaries. Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja is famous for publicly and successfully challenging all the sahajiya babajis at Radha-kunda to debate on sastra and the siddhanta presented by Srila Prabhupada. Thus he is the pride of our sampradaya.

It is beyond the scope of this document to discuss the misconceptions of sahajiyavada. The reader is invited to read Five Essential Essays - Prabandha Panchakam by Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja. This exceptional book is a compilation of five different essays written over the past 20 years in defense of Gaudiya sampradaya tattva siddhanta. Each refutation is elaborately and conclusively proven with evidence from sastra. Included in this edition are two lectures which glorify and follow the example of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Prabhupada who boldly re-established the true conceptions of Sriman Mahaprabhu and the gosvamis, and began the preaching mission which is today bringing this pure bhakti tattva siddhanta to every country in the world.

The fact of the matter is simply that the mission of B.G. Narasingha Maharaja is weakening all over the world. The more he engages in pointless criticism, the more his disciples are losing faith and taking shelter elsewhere. The problems of B.G. Narasingha Maharaja are his own creation and should not be attributed to the preaching of Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja. It would be a source of great delight to see his mission flourish, yet we fear the worst due to his current spate of serious offences.
It is my sincere desire that all the misunderstandings among the followers of Srila Prabhupada Sarasvati Thakura can be resolved in a harmonious way, and that the message of Rupa and Raghunatha can be spread in good cooperation all over the world. Should there be anyone interested in discussing the philosophical conclusions or any details to substantiate the facts presented herein, the author of this document may be contacted at atul@gaudiya.net.
Vaisnava dasanudasa,
Atul Krishna Dasa
[Edited in 2006 by the BVML]


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Sripad Satsvarupa Maharaja Glorifies Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja

This article is posted for historical reference only.

Sripad Satsvarupa Maharaja Glorifies Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja

The following is an unreleased account written by H.H. Satsvarupa Maharaja of a number of days spent in Vrndavana during which he was able experience the extreme good fortune of acting as host to my divine spiritual master om visnupada paramahamsa parivrajakacarya astottara-sata Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja. Having written it, H.H. Satsvarupa Maharaja gave copies of it to a number of his ISKCON guru godbrothers who, at the time, were also accepting Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja in the capacity of their siksa guru. However, when, after some time, H.H. Satsvarupa Maharaja gave up his connection with Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja, he sent urgent messages to all of those godbrothers to whom he had earlier given copies of the Vrndavana journal, requesting them to destroy their copies. However, one of those copies was given to me by a secretary of one of the guru godbrothers of H.H. Satsvarupa Maharaja. Upon showing it to Sri Navin Krsna prabhu, the secretary of Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja, I was told by him that H.H. Satsvarupa Maharaja had personally presented copies to them both also.
H.H. Satsvarupa Maharaja has been described by his godbrother H.G. Ravindra Svarupa prabhu in this way: "He is by nature transparently honest-even, some say, to a fault. His own account is characteristically direct, simple and guileless.
Therefore, in these days when malicious rumors and false accusations abound, I hope that all devotees will be benefited by H.H. Satsvarupa Maharaja's reliable eyewitness account of some days in the life of such a dear devotee of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Sri Sri Radha Krsna yugal.
Submitted by Sridam sakha das

The Vrndavana Journal Unshredded

December 20, 1992, 2:20 P.M.
Because of rioting in Mathura, we have not been to see Srila Narayana Maharaja in some days, but today, Madhu went to his matha and found no difficulty in traveling. Srila Narayana Maharaja laughed at the suggestion that he was in any trouble and laughed when Madhu said we hadn't come because we thought it was too dangerous. He said we should come tomorrow for a 10:30 A.M. meeting. Madhu invited Maharaja to come and stay two days at our house in Vrndavana. He considered it, speaking in Hindi with Navina, Savita, and Uma. Nothing definite was decided. Navina suggested I should personally invite Maharaja.
This invitation was Madhu's idea. I'm a little shy, thinking this house isn't so nice or that something might not go right when he is here. How could we justify taking him away from his routine in Mathura? But of course, I like to be with him and want to please him. And I want him to approve and bless me. I don't seem to have so many questions. I know what I haste to do in my writing service. And my japa, for example, seems no better than it ever was. I don't see how it will improve no matter how much I see Srila Narayana Maharaja. Don't be foolish . . . Invite him and hear from him. Try to add to the little spark of aspiration for raganuga which he has implanted in your heart.
So we are on for visiting Srila Narayana Maharaja tomorrow morning. I am eager. We're afraid it
may not take place; the time between now and then may not pass or something may arise to stop us. When we do get to his feet, it will be a relief. I will tell him we were afraid of "Kamsa in Mathura," so we did not come. We should have come anyway, but we got bad reports.
Madhu and I read and discussed verses of the Gopigita which Srila Narayana Maharaja has already spoken on. I like having these discussions and we plan to continue them throughout the year, filling our minds with the details of the Venu and Gopigitas.
Krsna and Radha are present in unmanifest Vrndavana. By hearing of Their pastimes from the lips (words) of a rasika Vaisnava, and bv reading the writings of predecessor rasika Vaisnavas, especially Srila Rupa and Raghunatha Gosvamis, and Visvanatha Cakravarti and Bhaktivinoda Thakura , we can get a glimpse of it. The more we hear, the better.
There doesn't seem to be much point in my noting once again my lack of feelings in this area. Better to do something about it. Fuel up by hearing. Then will have something to write.
December 11
I wanted to do poems, but there is a mood of pulling out from India for me.
Today we will ask Srila Narayana Maharaja if we can see him more often. Also, I will invite him to this humble house. These visits with him are of crucial importance; they are even more important than answering my mail or enjoying solitary peace in the house. So what if I get rattled around on an auto rickshaw ride to Mathura? It's worth it. It can all be taken away at any moment.
But the soul and the soul's relation to God will remain. Pray to be guided to the next life by remembering your gurudeva. Pray to resume his service in the next life.
If Srila Narayana Maharaja agrees to come here, we will do a mahacleanup and make it as nice as possible. There may not be time to paint his room.
12:52 P.M.
Maharaja is giving us nectar, although we are not qualified. We take it anyway.
I asked him to come to Vrndavana. He replied, "I will see." Go ahead and paint the room, just in case he comes.
Speaking of the adharamrtam from Krsna's lips. Only the gopis can taste it. The flute receives the nectar and turns it into sound vibration. Some, like the birds of Vraja, can hear the flutenectar. We at best can hear, not the flute, but the spoken nectar of His lila, how His flute acts.
6:00 P.M.
I was reading Hari-sauri Prabhu's Transcendental Diary on the roof. Around 4:50 P.M. Madhu came up. He said that Vegavati and Svarga dasis had been visiting Srila Narayana Maharaja in Mathura. A man came in and told him something in Hindi. Then Srila Narayana Maharaja turned to Vegavati and asked her to tell Madhumangala to come at once and pick her up. He was coming here to Vrndavana!
I went downstairs and in a blissful burst of energy, Vegavati, Svarga, Bhakta Alex, and I fixed up the room for Maharaja's arrival. We brought my bed in, put clothes on the shelves, new pictures on the walls, swept the cobwebs away, cleaned the bathroom . . . now they have gone to get blankets.
There must be some threat of arrest for Maharaja. It's unforeseen mercy on us that he is coming here. I hope I can stay alert and serene him nicely, befitting the siksa-guru.
It passed through my mind that I'll have to stay up late tonight because that's Maharaja's habit. He takes a full meal at 9:00 P.M. I am not mentally criticizing him for anything. I just want to be humble and serve.
I, who have not a drop of devotion in my heart for Radha and Krsna - if I can serve and honor this friend of my gurudeva's, this friend of Prabhupada's, this rasika Vaisnava, then Radha and Krsna and Prabhupada will show me their mercy.
This will be the epitome of my visit to Vrndavana, just as I were come to my last week here. It's still hard to believe it's happening.
7:40 P.M.
Maharaja arrived about half an hour ago. He went to the room we had prepared for him and sat down. He briefly described that he was advised to come and stay for some days in a solitary place. Soon he began talking about the Bhajanrahasya, which he is discussing in his Hindi-speaking classes.
He said it begins with three verses: srnvatam svakathah krsna, nasta-prayesu abhadresu, and tat te 'nukampam. He asked me if I knew the meaning of the tat te 'nukampam averse. I explained it as follows: if a devotee meets with difficulties in life, yet he accepts them as reactions to his past activities and surrenders to Krsna, then he earns the right to go back to Godhead.
Maharaja said that this is the simple explanation. He said that this is the understanding of a junior devotee. A senior devotee understands it even further. When we chant even namabhasa, our prarabdha-karma is removed. And yet a person has to progress onward to remove further anarthas before he can reach the stage of ruci or asakti or higher. But how will he be able to do that if he becomes liberated? Therefore, Krsna kindly gives that devotee more prarabdha-karma so he can take another birth and continue onto prema. The senior devotee understands that any suffering he is receiving is Krsna's mercy so that he can continue to execute his bhajana up to prema.
Maharaja then explained the meaning of mukti-pada. He said that mukti is within bhakti. Mukti sits at the feet of bhakti. It also means that the devotee can go to the spiritual world and serve Krsna's feet by putting Krsna's feet on her breasts.
Maharaja said that maybe it is Krsna's arrangement he has come. He just moved in in such a homey way. It's supposed to be secret, but I'm sure his ISKCON friends will soon find out. I hope he won't be inconvenienced. I will do the best I can along with the others to keep him comfortable here. He said that he would speak to us twice a day so that we can finish the Gopi-gita.
This is Prabhupada's mercy on me. I want to take advantage of it in the right way.
He is so close - right in the next room. I have to be alert not to become too familiar. He came into my room, saw my desk, and said he'll have to get his own desk lamp from Mathura.
I'm thinking, "What if he discovers my non-devotee poetry books under the cover in the closet? I will be completely exposed . . . I pull a note from the wall, "Dreams, poems, diary." Can't have a rasika devotee see where I'm at.
Explaining the nastaprayesu abadresu verse he said that there are still some anarthas in the heart of a devotee after he serves the book and person bhagavata. These are described in Madhurya kadambini - the devotee stops chanting before completing his quota, thinks of sense enjoyment during harinama, and so on. But by association with the pure bhagavata who is free of anarthas, he also becomes free. As he said this, I thought that by Maharaja's association, I could improve in my own anartha-filled practice of harinama.
May I take full advantage of his presence in that way.
9.00 P.M.
I asked Maharaja if I could inform the little group that he is here. At first he said yes, but then Navina came in and said Maharaja didn't want anyone to know for three or four days. They plan to read the newspapers and see how things go.
So the lid is on. But some of the matajis and men who come by to do service are bound to find out. I will have to tell each one who finds out, "Don't tell anyone else."
Maybe his being here will help my bhajana and japa.
I spoke with Madhu about his relationship with Maharaja, and of my other disciples too who know Srila Narayana Maharaja. We made an analogy of manjaris who enjoy through serving Radha; yet they get all the same signs on their bodies as She does.
I'm not fully explaining it here, but I know what I meant.
December 12, 3:30 A.M.
Maharaja told me his schedule. He rises about 4:00 A.M. From 4:00 A.M. to 9:00 he does bhajana, harinama (japa), and some reading. A walk at 7:00, breakfast around 9:00. 9:0010:00 he writes (although he says that when he goes to write, his head hurts and it prevents him from concentrated work). Around 10:30 he usually starts seeing people. Lunch at 12 noon.
We will follow our individual schedules awhile he is here.
He seemed concerned that I left so early (before 4:00 A.M.) to go to the temple. Madhu will stay back.
I was thinking how Lord Caitanya and later Rupa Gosvami wanted to see the Deity of Gopala on Govardhana but didn't want to step on the hill. On the pretext of a Muslim invasion, the Gopala Deity came to see Lord Caitanya and Rupa Gosvami. I don't want to compare myself to a great devotee, but on the plea of Muslim agitation, Narayana Maharaja has come to my humble home.
I should be careful not to think he is inconveniencing me - I can't play tapes of Srila Prabhupada's lectures in the bathroom or in my room while eating, I can't make noises, can't get up at 1:00 A.M. He is not an ordinary man. The fact that he is willing to accept such a simple material standard as this makes a relationship with him sweet and accessible. I won't forget his rasika nature or ability to explain slokas.
I think his being here will also help me to see how he is representing Srila Prabhupada for me. Prabhupada wants me to receive him in a Vaisnava way, and if I hear from him submissively, I will be better able to write and lecture on behalf of Prabhupada. I will also get a deeper appreciation of who Srila Prabhupada is as an eternal associate of Lord Caitanva and Radha-Krsna.
8:00 A.M.
I met him at 7:00 A.M., ready to go for a walk. Srila Narayana Maharaja says it's colder here than Mathura. He is wearing my "Swami hat." We walked on the parikrama trail. He said when he walks, he doesn't talk but does harinama. I agreed to that. He found a road I didn't know existed. It was secluded and flat. He said the doctor told him to walk a mile a day. Going past fields he said, "That is mustard."
"You told me this yellow is the color of Krsna's dhoti "
"It is also the color of Srimati Radhika's body. But it has not fully blossomed yet," he said.
Later, he said Krsna played and took His cows all over Vrndavana. Krsna liked to do the rasa dance in places like Vamsivata and other places too, near the Yamuna. Krsna used this area where we were walking for cowherding.
He said, "You should not have difficulty with your bhajana." I thought he meant I should overcome aparadhas and inattention in chanting. Then I realized he meant my routine should not be inconvenienced because he was here.
I laughed and said, "My difficulty in bhajana is not caused by you but by my mind. I think my bhajana will improve because you are here."
We walked mostly in silence. He was pleased with the road for walking. I was able to see it as a pleasant, rural village road with fields alongside, and my senses were alert in a different way.
I was also aware that we make an unusual two-some. I noticed puppy dogs and children and a man with donkeys, a boy driving a fast jeep - everything colored by the fact that I was walking with Maharaja. Vrndavana is beautiful even from my limited point of view. I know only a few sites, the Pagala Babu Mandir, the ISKCON Mandir, the railroad, and the Radharani Express.
10. 30 A.M.
I read through some sections of Hari-sauri Prabhu's diary. Then I read a little in Srila Prabhupada's purports to Mukunda-mala Stotra. It occurred to me that preaching is a very deep thing. I react adversely to the hype that has accompanied preaching in ISKCON - the pressure put on devotees to produce results, the demeaning of sadhana, and so on. But Prabhupada's preaching mood is deep and attractive if we are fortunate enough to tune into it. I would like to do some more preaching, to catch the spark and burn with it as a worthy son and follower. Surely writing is a form of preaching. And caring for disciples, accepting new disciples.
Partha-sarathi Prabhu asked me how to see the balance between sadhana and preaching. I said all development of our sadhana will be shared with other devotees. Just by living in ISKCON, we preach. It's the nature of our movement. So the devotee who tends to his sadhana and who sometimes goes alone to do it, will inevitably contribute his realizations to the society of devotees. He will be able to say honestly that chanting Hare Krsna is the life of all knowledge and increases the bliss for which we are always anxious. He will be able to give us a taste of that nectar.
The sharing happens automatically, and yet we need to keep at it, be inspired to do it, and realize some of the depth of the preacher's compassion.
Maharaja is sitting in the outdoor hallway on one of the wicker chairs Baladeva purchased in Mathura. He is reading one of the books by the six Gosvamls (I think it's Vilapa-kusumanjali). I am happy to see him relaxed and not bothered here. Right now there are no songs or chants being broadcast, and the birds are chirping. I hope this kind of peace can continue as long as he likes. I prefer to see him like this than to run up to him with questions. I invited him here for solitude. Let him have it. He rarely has this opportunity. And who can use solitude more profitably than he can?
I'm used to the disturbances of the neighborhood, but with Srila Narayana Maharaja here, I am noticing them more and I'm disturbed on his account. Our front gate is so flimsy and public. People can see in and push their way in if they want. A man came by with karatalas and stood at the entrance chanting Hare Krsna. We tolerated his exhibition, didn't give him anything, and eventually he went away. Just now he came and saw Maharaja sitting and reading. He chanted and whomped on his karatalas and I glared at him with folded arms from behind the screen door of my room.
After one intrusion ends, there is quiet, but then someone talking loudly walks by or the neighbors will begin a loud conversation. On the whole, it's not so bad.
A newspaper arrived: I can hear Maharaja turning the pages. This is crucial because he can get some idea of the development of Hindu-Muslim strife and specifically any references to the government arresting Hindu leaders or sadhus.
The routine we are developing here will probably go on for a week. At any rate, I have only a week left. If Maharaja needs to, he can stay here after I leave.
I read today's Indian Express. The government has banned Hindu political organizations, including the Vishva-Hindu Parishad. The ban seems unpopular with journalists and others. It will be counter-productive. The main, immediate need is to stop violence. It sounds tense. The Hindu organizations want to declare December 1 "Black Day" and December 1420 "Protest Week." I wonder how this will affect Maharaja, and also our intended departure from India. Should we avoid stopping at the Delhi temple?
One editorial said that better than banning the Hindu organizations would be to arrest their leaders and members under present penal codes. That sounds ominous. Maharaja is not a member of the VHP, but his picture was printed in the paper claiming him as a member. And as he said, he is known throughout the province and even all over India as a "strict" person and a Hindu. That is why he has been advised to lay low for a week.
We are not pestering him for classes.
12:00 noon
I came down from the roof and sat by Maharaja as Navina massaged him. He was sitting on a mat in the sunlight. He said he's happy to be here. He said something like "It's God's grace." I think he meant that I am able to live in this solitary way. He said it's not possible for him. But at least for these days, he's peaceful, I hope.
I told him he could stay here after I leave. He said that he thinks the agitation will die down in a few days and he will be able to return to Mathura. If necessary, he could go to his Rupa-Sanatana Mandir or to "Tamal-kunja" in Vrndavana.
Then he said devotees can come this afternoon at 4:00 P.M. for the Gopi-gita class. He wants to finish the chapter before I leave. We are inviting the select group. What a surprise, when they hear Maharaja is here and they can come and be with him! Let me not be puffed-up as if I am special and have captured him. But it's a fact, this asrama has become a tirtha.
Either he keeps "my" Swami hat or leaves it for me as maha-prasadam. Either way I'm happy.
I look forward to Baladeva's return from Delhi. I want to tell him how thankful I am that he arranged this house so that Maharaja could come and use it.
Maharaja is sitting cross-legged on the wicker chair saying Gayatri. He took what seemed to me a long time to carefully apply his tilaka. I wish that front gate was more private. So far he hasn't been intruded upon. But I know it can happen and probably will. Hopefully they won't be heavy intrusions.
I like this role of providing him a peaceful place. The house is quite humble, yet he likes it. He likes to be outdoors in the front yard.
I may read and write while he's here, but mostly I listen to what he is doing, hover around in case I can help, and think about his presence.
All this may not solve my longstanding difficulties in doing bhajana. But it's up to me to improve. I'm getting plenty of causeless mercy.
Thank you, Srila Prabhupada, for Maharaja's visit, for the solitude you give me, and the intelligence you give me how to use solitude and for everything you do to save me and maintain me in this movement - for Krsna consciousness. I'm made of your mercy and feeling grateful.
Nicest kind of association - to sit beside him on the roof, neither of us talking, both chanting. My chanting was as usual. But I pray he may infuse me with devotion. Then both reading silently. Thank you, Prabhupada.
5:50 P.M.
Maharaja is pacing back and forth in the darkening evening outside my door chanting japa: Hare Krsna Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna Hare Hare/Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare . . . It's like that. It's not so much going to him and asking questions as living closely. I go again and again and put my head on his brown shoes outside his door.
He went to use the bathroom. Alex was inside. At once Maharaja headed out the gate and passed urine squatting in the field across the way.
Some devotees are finding out he's here. One devotee returned from Jagannatha Puri and sent me a note and some maha-prasadam: "You may want to distribute it to certain house guests also." They say they have a sixth sense as far as he is concerned. They ask me if they can render him some service.
On the roof he spoke two verses tonight closely following the commentary of Visvanatha Cakravarti hakura and Srila Jiva Gosvami. He said that there are many hidden meanings which he could not tell us. He warned us not to think of these lilas with worldly kama.
I must not take this for granted; when he's gone, I will feel it - the fortune and the feeling of separation.
The gopis love Krsna even more than other vrajvasis. None feel the pain of His separation as much as the gopis do. If we want to love Krsna or His dear devotees, we have to be prepared to feel pain in separation from them.
Maharaja also said that when someone dies, whoever loves them the most feels the most grief. I try to guard myself against such losses by not loving "too much." But when I do that, I cheat myself.
Krsna enables us to offer the use of this simple house for Maharaja. He is also letting me share the nature of quiet solitude which I so much value. It encourages me to see that Maharaja also likes this kind of life with time to himself for bhajana. It's like his indirect approval for me to live this way when I'm on my own.
I hear him chanting japa in the next room.
December 13
Little things: yesterday on the roof he gave us each a piece of sweet (Jagannatha "tongues") before the reading. We neglected to wash our hands. (We had to leave his presence to do so.) He pointed it out. He said he didn't feel unclean, but he washed his hands after eating and before touching the scriptures (book). Same with touching japa-mala. He said cleanliness is for the ordinary sadhaka like himself, whereas we were all above that and were always clean . . .
I wake and rise at l:00 A.M. Chanting eight rounds in a whisper. Just trying to place the chanting in my attention instead of thinking of things. By giving harinama respect, He will reveal His nature to me. The main respect is to devote my time to chanting and to honor the numerical vow as the most important thing to do. These are lower considerations, but they are all I have right now.
Thinking over how to pack luggage - how will it go when we travel to Delhi? Will the civilized world hold up and not fall into chaos? Will we be able to travel? That's one side of my thoughts. Another is the feeling, "What are we trying to accomplish by leaving Vrndavana?" We are planning how to successfully leave India and reach America, but what is so desirable about going there?
We are going to preach and to serve the devotees elsewhere. I am also going to face new adventures in writing. And leaving Vrndavana will produce a feeling of abhasa-viraha from Krsna's and Radha's dhama.
6:40 A.M.
At mangala-arati I decided to attend the temple program from 7:009:00 A.M. for Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati's disappearance. But back at the house, hearing Maharaja chanting japa in his room and then hearing him sing a little, I thought of my duty to him as his host. Nladhu helped me to decide in favor of staying back from the temple. I can go with Srila Narayana Maharaja on his walk soon. I may be criticized by some, but his being here is such a rare opportunity. I don't want to think, "Oh, if I don't go with him today, I can go tomorrow." This special treat could be taken away at any moment.
Surrender to hearing the sound of the holy names,
Morning walk: He asked me how many rounds I chant. I said, "Today I have done sixteen, but I am doing extra."
"I thought you were doing more," he said.
"Usually I do sixteen, but since you have come, am doing more."
"Why?" he asked.
"Because you inspire me."
He said he tries to do one lakha a day (sixtyfour rounds). Thirty-two in the morning, sixteen at noon, and sixteen in the evening. "I have a program to do that," he said, but sometimes he cannot.
I said, "I am a slow chanter; it takes me two hours and fortyfive minutes to chant sixteen rounds. Should I go faster?"
"Not faster," he said. "Quality should not be sacrificed for quantity."
He pointed to the flowers blooming in the fields. In a few days they will be fully bloomed, he said. Their color will be like butter.
We passed cow dung patties. He said Jatila used to make them. Seeing a certain berry growing, he said Krsna used to eat them. He asked if I'd been to Davanalakunda. He wants to walk there one morning.
He talked with a young boy who walked beside us.
He said he was born in a village, all brahmanas and agricultural fields. He used to help his father in the fields. And from the youngest age, he was doing harinama.
He asked if I knew what Krsna and Radha were doing at this time, 7:40 A.M. I guessed wrong. He said Krsna is milking cows and wrestling. Radha is with the sakhis, preparing to come to meet Krsna at Ter Kadamba. The sakhis are decorating Her and inspiring Her by recalling last night's pastimes. Syamala asks Radha what She did last night with Krsna. Radha says, "I forget everything."
I asked, "If Krsna always wants to be with the gopis, does that mean when He is with His mother or the gopas, He doesn't take pleasure in their company? Maharaja said that He takes pleasure, but not so much as when He is with the gopis. I asked if this disappoints the gopas. He said that Krsna makes them feel happy - He doesn't let on that He is thinking of the gopis.
We walked for thirtyfive minutes. His hint to me was to increase the japa quota, if I can. But the main thing is bhajana - writing, reading, japa.
10:10 A.M.
Two of Maharaja's lady followers are here. I am a little upset that they broke his solitude here. Why don't they come only in the evening? But Maharaja can't be controlled by me. If you have him in your house, then people are going to come see him.
I also resent that my own peace is disturbed. Anyway, calm down. As I write this, Srila Narayana Maharaja is talking with Baladeva.
B: "We are happy to have you here."
NM: "I am also happy to be here."
Everything happens naturally with Maharaja. People who want him and need him get to see him. They have previous qualifications (samskara), or they just get his mercy.
Maharaja is saying the water here is dirty. He is praising Tamal-kunja for its gardens and birds. That hurts. But objectively, it's true. This is a run-down place by comparison, and not protected. But we will make it nicer.
Don't expect to get all praises or to "own" Maharaja or anything like that. When you think like that, your bubble will be popped.
Neither can you stop other people from coming to see him, but your duty is to control it so it doesn't get out of hand.
The morning was recovered - Maharaja spent one and a half hours reading, I was happy to see, uninterrupted after the flurry of talking.
Compared to him, I'm tiny with no realization. Yet I have my set-up with disciples, etc. Should I be ashamed of my diet differences and my various habits which are considered dirty? Sometimes I cower and just want to get out of Srila Narayana Maharaja's way, not take time to pass stool, hurry up so he can go . . . be quiet when I wake up early, etc. - as befitting a disciple. But sometimes I want to assert my needs.
I could write a lot about this - but not now. I should always be tiny before Maharaja. Yet be unashamed to do your minimum bodily maintenance and your writing, your service - do it even though it's a lowly level of bhakti.
There is also a WestEast thing. We are Western-inclined and Maharaja does things in the Indian way. India is spiritual. But by "West" we mean not just mundane notions and languages, but ISKCON and preaching adapted to many places and peoples - as our Prabhupada taught and gave us.
3:00 P.M.
Afternoon visitors for Maharaja. I feel some annoyance that his peace is broken.
"You have visitors?" I say.
He says to them, "Have you paid the tax?" And now they sit and joke in Hindi. I'm realizing better these surroundings are somewhat impoverished. That front gate looks unprotected to me. (Even the goatherds going by can see our scene, Maharaja and his friends at his feet. And since his remarks about the dirty water and the gardens of Tamal-kunja, I'm more sensitive. He did say this place is "sattvic," but in my sensitivity, even that seems like a euphemism for "bare of adornments, comforts, etc.")
This place reminds me of when we invited Srila Prabhupada to the Boston temple in 1971. There was no heat and the building was old. Later I apologized by letter. Srila Prabhupada said it was all right. He also said we should offer the best to the spiritual master. This place is the best we have. But it's not the best ISKCON has. Tamal-kunja and Ayodhyapati's place are better. Should I suggest to Maharaja or Navina that they transfer there? But that might seem as if I want to get rid of him. Don't suggest he leave your place. His coming here is like Krsna's going to the house of Srutadeva.
I can't worry about the fact that Maharaja is popular and guests will come as long as he's here. It's not the fault of our non-private gate entrance. Even at his matha, you can get in to see him, or he sits outside the room and gets "attacked." He does not screen guests there, so I can't expect to do it here. If I try, I will just be anxious and frustrated and maybe offend people. He's only here for a few days. At least I shouldn't be annoyed with the visitors because they infringe on my privacy. Just see the difference between Maharaja and I. He attracts people and allows them to meet with him. I don't attract many people and I don't welcome or allow them to meet with me.
Come to think of it, I'm amused at my own frustration here now that Maharaja has "taken over." I can't keep away his guests, but it's not so much my worry. Yet I worry and am happy when I see him as I did this morning when he sat alone in half sunshine reading his precious books, Stavavali or Vilapa-kusumanjali.
I also realize a little better what he goes through every day. As they talk with him now he occasionally interjects a Hare Krsna mantra. I think he would like to be alone, finishing his one lakh quota or reading.
Maharaja said kind things to me on the roof in the presence of others. He said he only came here because, "I want to live with him." He said if he can be in the shade of "Satsvarupa . . . " (I can't remember the rest.)
I said, "You are telling me my Sat-svarupa." (I can't know it without you.)
Earlier, one of the devotees said, "Extraordinary things like this [Srila Narayana Maharaja staying
here] don't last long." In a few days he will leave, he said. He is saying there's no danger in Mathura.
Also, he's joking that now "everybody" knows he is here. He jokingly blames Jagattarini for telling everyone.
He thanked Baladeva. Asked him to stay. I said Baladeva has to go back to earn money. "Oh, to complete [the purchase]?"
He makes us all feel great. Speaking inner meanings of Tenth Canto, "Song of the Gopis."
I feel from him mv own desire to chant japa and his practice to do it whenever possible. May I imbibe some of it!
I place his shoes for him to use. He said, "Oh, why? What will your Prabhupada say?"
I said, "He will be pleased with me."
December 14, 8:00 A.M.
Maharaja led us to Davanalakunda. He asked a sadhu walking on the parikrama path where Davanalakunda is. We arrived there and he told the story as it is in the Krsna book. Then he said this is a pastime of purva-raga with the gopis. When Krsna danced on Kaliya's heads, it was just to show the gopis how powerful and beautiful He is. After that, at Davanalakunda, the gopis were able to come close to Krsna because it was an emergency and so everyone - parents, boys, cows - mixed. Maharaja also said the forest fire was started by Kamsa.
On the way back, he asked if I had been to Kaliya-daha (ghata). I said yes. He asked if I had been to Prabhodhananda Sarasvati's samadhi (near Kaliya-daha). I couldn't recall if I had been there and said no. He was surprised and asked twice if I had been there. (As if I should have.)
I asked why we say in Gayatri that the sun gets effulgence from Radha-worship. He said Siva and Brahma pray to be in Radha's pastimes. So She agreed to live on Brahma Parvat (a hill at Varsana) and Siva came as Nandisvara Parvat and She was sometimes there. Surya did austerities and begged Radha to come to Surya-kunda. So in Her nara-lila, She goes there.
He said if the davanala or fire of desire to see Krsna burns in the heart, it can be satisfied only when we see Krsna.
At the end of the walk, he said he had been talking and didn't do harinama. In Mathura when he walks there is no talking. I apologized. He said tomorrow will be his last walk and at 9:00 A.M., he will go to Rupa-Sanatana Mandir, stay for a few days, and then return to Mathura.
Maharaja's association encourages me to chant extra rounds. I am also eager to go west for preaching. And always ready to hear more from Maharaja. I like chanting japa in my room and hearing him chant japa in his room.
As I write this on the sunning roof, he is downstairs reading the newspaper, sitting in the sun, on the wicker chair. It's his last day here, so I will not get agitated if people come to hear from him. I tell myself this, but I would much prefer to be quiet and remember that when he first came here, he was able to read and chant in peace, at least more than he usually does in Mathura. But we'll have to see who comes.
11:30A.M.
I can't help but be amused by the scene here. Every morning since Maharaja arrived, it has been like this. His peaceful time is so fragile. He sits near that completely non-private gate!
Savita came and he read aloud from a precious Sanskrit book. But then one of my disciples came. He wanted to see Madhu: he said he was having trouble. He started a loud conversation with another devotee at the pump a few feet from where Srila Narayana Maharaja was trying to read. I went out and chased him away. But later I felt I offended my disciple and wrote him a note, apologizing.
A little later I looked out and a sannyasi was standing talking to Maharaja! I went out and Srila Narayana Maharaja said, "So many people are coming! That front gate should be covered!" Wow. He yelled at me! "I agree," I say. "It's the big defect of this place."
Maharaja said, "Yes, it is a defect."
The sannyasi asked to me, "How is your health?" I wave him to leave Maharaja alone. I escort him to the gate. He says, "I was just walking by." Just walking by, but does he have to walk in because he sees Maharaja? Anyway, maybe I offended him. Darn that front gate!
A lady disciple leaves and a moment later, comes back in the gate. Srila Narayana Maharaja says to her, "Coming and going, coming and going." "Please forgive me," she says.
Madhu comes by and says exactly what was on my mind. What can Maharaja expect when he's sitting right near the entrance? If he wants privacy, maybe he can go on the roof. Maharaja doesn't seem so perturbed by all this, despite his comments. So why should I get upset and give myself a headache? It's the last day of his visit.
Haribol, haribol. I'm sitting by my doorway, facing the entrance to this house. Navina was reading aloud in Hindi to Maharaja. I feel like a watchdog with my eye on the entrance. But when someone appears there, I don't start barking and run out. I peer, retreat so they won't see me, but I'm also ready to take action if need be.
When Savita was sitting alone with Maharaja, both looking at the book in the sunshine, I gestured to Vegavati to look at them. "Are you ready for that?" I asked, and said, "It will take you a few births." She agreed.
While I watch, Lalita-manjari comes through the gate carrying a tin suitcase she got for Madhu. She's such a nice servant. We just can't stop the traffic here. That's life - traffic.
The door to Maharaja's room needs oiling. It opens with a loud squeaking noise.
But basically, it's peaceful so far today, and he's had less visitors that he would have had in Mathura. He's got a straw mat outside his room. Gamcha and other clothes are on the clothesline.
I'm glued to this spot, although the room is too chilly. As soon as Maharaja goes to the bathroom, I'll go on the roof for sun.
Took lunch with Maharaja in his room. He had a stack of rice. My plate had katoris on it. He said, "Eat according to your ruci" The preps were nicely cooked by Navina. I said, "Navina told me your spiritual master said, 'If you cook with ghee and spices, even dry grass and stones will taste all right. But if one can cook tastefully without spices, he's a good cook."'
Srila Narayana Maharaja said, "Navina cooks according to my ruci." He said his spiritual master took urad dal, and when he ate, he didn't look to the right or left of his plate, but was in "prasada-bhavana."
"Any difficulty?" he asked me. I was eating a lot for me, but he said I took only small amounts and my capatis were "feeling in separation" because there was a big stack of them untouched.
I told Srila Narayana Maharaja that I like to hear his harinamajapa when I'm in my room and he's in his. "How do you hear it?" he asked. "Through the walls," I said.
3:45 P.M.
Srila Narayana Maharaja is sitting on a wicker chair talking to guests outside his room. I'm not going to be anxious about what happens when the 4:00 P.M. group arrives, but we hope the early guests will leave and that Srila Narayana Maharaja will shift to the roof. The present meeting is in Hindi.
Remember the nice times, sitting with him for lunch! I noticed he rearranged some of the pictures I placed on the shelves. He had one with a picture of his Guru Maharaja and next to it, the Deities on the altar at Kesavaji Gaudiya Math. He took one large picture I had of Rupa Gosvami and placed it in a prominent place.
I'm looking forward to going into the room after he uses it. We'll try to keep it as he had it, but for practical purposes, we'll have to use it our own way too.
5:30 P.M.
After class on the roof, Srila Narayana Maharaja walked with the devotees across the field of Swami Bon's college. He noted cement markers for each of the four sampradayas. He said Swami Bon wanted to make the biggest university in India, but couldn't do much. The devotees asked him if he would like to walk to Krishna-Balaram Mandir and take darsana. He said, "No, I will practice under Satsvarupa and one day to go Krishna-Balaram Mandir." We walked back to this house and again two devotees followed. He said if we find akarsana-sakti (attraction) in him or in hari-katha, then just imagine how much is in Hari Himself.
He said he will stay two more days. In the verse tonight, the gopis asked Krsna for just a little of the medicine to counteract kama-raga. Srila Narayana Maharaja said they are like beggars who ask for a little but want a lot. Later I said we have learned something from the gopis. We will ask him to tell us "just a little" about gopi-bhava. He replied smilingly, "Don't deceive me.'
December 15
Yesterday afternoon on the roof, I told the devotees Srila Narayana Maharaja's talk at Davanala-kunda. When he came up, they said I told. He joked that I shouldn't have. He said I am like him, telling what should be kept secret. He told a Hindi saying, "You broke a big pot right in front of many people in the market."
At mangala-arati in KrishnaBalaram Mandira I keep my "secret" special identity - that Srila Narayana Maharaja is in "my" house and I'll soon return there and hear his japa through the walls.
This morning he chanted "Radha-krpa-kataksa Stotra" to himself - I heard it through the walls.
We are putting two straw mats up to make the gate more private. We will have to see if he really does stay all day and overnight like he said he would. He moves with a special flow of spontaneous events, not like my rigid schedule.
It seems to get colder every night. Electricity off all night two days in a row. Still off.
8:00 A.M.
At about 7:l0 A.M. we walked out of the gate.
Maharaja, Navina, Madhumangala, and I. Maharaja took a few steps and then turned back and saw Madhu and said, "You've come?" He said, "I don't want any talking or any disturbance."
"I won't do any talking and they won't either," I said. Then we started walking and chanting. After some time, I noticed that Navina and Madhu had gone back.
We walked down the main road and then the side road which overlooks the vista of yellow mustard flowers, and then the Pagala-baba Mandir and the road to Mathura. On the other side there are huts and a village. When we got as far as he wanted to go, Maharaja stopped walking and looked out at the field. He said when he sees a field like this, he thinks of Srimati Radhika and Lord Caitanya because this is Their color. He also thinks of Krsna's ... I supplied the word, "Pitambara."
Maharaja said, "This cadar that we wear is pitambara and pitambara means Krsna is coming."
We walked a little more while chanting. Then Maharaja asked me if I'm getting a taste in bhajana.
I replied, "When you speak I get a taste, and when I read. But chanting is difficult because my mind wanders."
Maharaja said that whatever I hear from him and whatever I read, should be added to the japa.
Before we began that conversation about bhajana, he asked me, "So you are chanting perhaps thirty-two rounds?"
I replied, "Yesterday I chanted thirty-two rounds. Today, so far twenty-two."
He said, "Bas, very good."
He said that I should add whatever we have read while chanting. Especially what Radha and Krsna are doing. Then he quoted from the prayer to the six Gosvamis, the line radha-krsna guna-smrter and asked me the meaning.
I answered, "It means the qualities of Radha and Krsna. "
He asked, "What are Their qualities?"
I replied, "Their vilasa, Their pastimes."
He said we should add this and then the chanting will have such a sweet taste. Otherwise, in vaidhi-bhakti when you chant, all worldly things come in the mind, relationships and friendships, things like that. But instead, you can think what Krsna is doing now at this time of the day or what He is doing with Radharani, and especially think of these things from the viewpoint of how the gopi-manjaris are serving Them. Especially think of the manjaris' service to Radhika. You can add this, he said, to your chanting.
He said that at the time of death, you will be able to think of these lilas and not worldly things, and then you will be able to go on to think of them in the next life. He said we are not interested in salvation.
I said, "But we want to associate with devotees again in our next life and be able to think of Krsna."
He said, "Yes, that is what we want."
Then he stopped walking and told me that many years ago, he wanted so many books when he was in Mathura, but he had no rasika books or other books of the Gosvamis. This was in the 1940s when he didn't know anything about these things. So some Vaisnava came and gave all these books to his gurudeva. He read those books himself. Maharaja said that Krsna will arrange for everything for our bhajana.
When he said that, I thought to myself that Prabhupada has arranged that I could meet with Srila Narayana Maharaja and maybe by Prabhupada's and Srila Narayana Maharaja's grace, I will now be able to take up some of this proper bhajana and improve my japa. But this idea to chant more is also good.
When we got near the house, I started thanking Maharaja for the valuable instructions he gave me this morning and I said I hoped I would practice them.
As we came in the gate he said, "We have been gone fifty minutes, is that right?" I looked at my watch and it was fifty minutes. He laughed and said he had no watch, but he was able to time it exactly by his japa. I asked him how long he took for each round. He smiled and said that some things should not be told now. In other words, he wasn't going to tell me yet how long it took him to chant each round.
Then we stood close together and he told me some pastime to illustrate the principles of why everything shouldn't be told at once. He said after Uddhava had been with the gopis in Vrndavana, he was about to leave and make his last pranamas. He had been repeatedly asking the gopis, "What do you want me to tell Krsna?"
The gopis said, "Uddhava, you are a child. You do not even know the ABCs of prema. Especially our prema for Krsna." Then they said. "Our hearts are like stone, but Krsna's heart is like makkhana, butter. It is very soft. So if you were to tell Krsna that we were very sad in separation from Him, He would die. And if He died, then everything would be finished. So you should tell Krsna that we are very happy, that we are drinking and eating, like that. And then later you may tell Him a little bit of something. "
Before Maharaja started this story, I had repeated what he had said the night before, when the gopis ask Krsna, "Give us just a little bit of the medicine which will cure lust." Now Maharaja was telling how the gopis told Uddhava to tell just a little bit to Krsna.
Uddhava went back to Dvaraka. He hadn't seen Krsna in a long time, but he did not tell Krsna about the gopis actual state. He first told Him that they were happy and doing very nicely. The gopis told Uddhava that he should tell Him that they were happy so that Krsna would be happy and enjoy with the devotees in Dvaraka. But after a while, Uddhava began to tell a little bit of the gopis' feelings of separation. Gradually he told more and more, and described their state of maha-bhava.
The point is, not everything about Vraja should be told at once, but a little bit and then a little bit. I'm not exactly sure how this applies in my case. The principle is that to please Krsna, everything should not be told at once, but gradually.
8:45 A.M., roof
Srila Narayana Maharaja gave me clear information about what bhajana is. I have to try practicing it: while chanting "add" thoughts and feelings that I have heard about raganuga. In a sense, I already knew this. But how to practice it so that the other thoughts don't come? It's not enough to hear and to count the rounds. Try recalling thoughts of what I have heard, how the manjaris serve Radha.
It means driving out those other thoughts when they come. Or gently putting them aside. It also means faith in the pastimes so that I can incline myself to enter that world (avyakto sanatana).
Increase rounds and add thinking of Radha-Krsna guna-smrter. When he told me what the gopis said to Uddhava, he also said that if you have an old cloth and you wash it, you cannot wring it out in your hands with a very strong motion. If you do, the cloth will tear to pieces. So Krsna's heart is like that: "Don't tell Him at once of our fully bereft state." Similarly, what we learn of Vraja should be shared gently and gradually.
Srila Narayana Maharaja is gradually instructing us in raganuga. Today's discussion was significant for me personally, especially when he encouraged a quota increase and thinkings of Radha-Krsna guna-smrter.
Navina came up to the roof to put Srila Narayana Maharaja's blankets in the sunshine. He says Maharaja would like a home in Vrndavana. He also said Srila Narayana Maharaja chants a round quickly, but he pronounces the mantras very clearly. He said Maharaja is very happy with the straw mats covering the front gate He is sitting reading a newspaper outside his room and people can't see in. We'll have to see who comes later this morning. I'm sure he won't be completely undisturbed
"Extraordinary things like this don't last long."
10:50 A.M.
This place is sweet for my use, but it's even sweeter to see it being used by Srila Narayana Maharaja. I can see his shoes from here and I know he's sitting reading, facing the covered gates. I just want him to be undisturbed. The longer the better. I thought this house unworthy for him, but it's mainly okay, at least for his visit of several days. It has not been perfect - interruptions, cold, the gate electrical failure all night . . . But even in times like that, I get to relish his undisturbed conditions and I have the satisfaction of rendering a simple kind of service.
Baladeva has kindly given this house and now it's being used in a perfect way. Maharaja can use solitary hours better and deeper than I can. Let him dive deep in Stavavali. I will sit here happily and watch.
A disciple wrote me that she's upset she has to leave Vrndavana. Her attachment is nice. I told her perhaps she doesn't have to leave. But if she does, then go with a preaching spirit. As for me, these last days are filling me up with abundance. Still, I see them as last days. I will be looking forward to the writing yajna and praying that Krsna will allow the pen to flow with topics relevant for devotees.
At 11 sharp, Savita and others came through the gate and caught the lotus feet of Maharaja. No protest from me. They talk in Hindi, yet I guess he's trying to ask them to leave. Savita is charming and wants to stay.
(I remember the time I told Srila Prabhupada on behalf of the devotees in his room that we would leave him alone so he could work. He replied that this talking was also work, and that I didn't know what work was.)
3:15 P.M.
Five or six ladies have arrived.
Maharaja is on the roof. He told Madhu don't let anyone up before 4:00 P.M., but some of the ladies say he told them to come this afternoon. They are talking with Navina and so far they haven't gone up. Madhu and I want to "wash our hands" of further responsibility whether they go up or not. Navina is talking with them. I don't dare leave my room. "Your" house becomes tense sometimes when a rasik-guru is visiting.
I hope I can sincerely apply the instructions I got today on japa. I could go out and tell the ladies the things Maharaja has said and done while he has been here, but that wouldn't pacify them. Besides, I don't think he wants me spilling everything out of my heart. If I do it in my diary, that's different.
Maharaja walked after our evening class across Bon Maharaja's field. He said he's trying to write when he's in Mathura. He starts work at 9 00 A.M.
Before that, he does bhajana. He would work earlier, but his head hurts.
Keep in my heart what he said to me on the walk. "Bas. Very good.' [regarding increasing my quota to thirty-two rounds while he's here.] And his instructions to add Radha-Krsna guna-smrter to bhajana.
I went to use the bathroom, but from outside the main room, I heard Srila Narayana Maharaja talking. I looked in and there he was squatting down beside Santi and Navina. Prema-bhakti-marga was also there. Maharaja was supplying a missing word in the transcript of his Venu-gita talks. The only light was a burning candle. He was explaining the word and the lila. A sweet thing to behold, his simplicity in coming to be with all of us.
The newspaper today told of the mass arrest of VHP, leaders, so it may not be safe for Maharaja to return to his matha. I admitted to a Godbrother that this house is inconvenient - Maharaja says it also - he can't read at night. This is the third night in a row without electricity. It comes on only in the daytime. And at other houses, they have heaters, walledin compounds, etc., although I doubt it's as quiet as here.) Maybe he will shift.
He said he would speak here again tomorrow afternoon at 4:00 P.M.
December 16, 8:00 A.M.
I just returned from the walk with Maharaja. He went out the gate quickly in his long bundi jacket and I was behind him. We went down the same road that leads to the old parikrama trail, then past that temple which has Durga on a tiger in front of it, and then we made a quick left down a long road. All during this time we didn't talk, but just chanted japa. Maharaja said it's colder now and some fog has come. Then we went off that road at the point where there's a big tree. You go left and it turns into a narrow dirt lane. We were walking for over twenty minutes. Maharaja saw a dried up canal and told me that this canal feeds Davanala-kunda. It occurred to me that he knows the terrain of Vrndavana like the back of his hand. After he walked as far as he wanted, he said, "'Have we walked a mile?" I said yes, certainly.
He stopped and again looked at the yellow blossoming mustard flowers. He said, "how they are beginning to blossom." He said this color reminds Krsna of Srimati Radharani. Sometimes Krsna wears these flowers behind His ears.
"They're such small blossoms," I said.
Maharaja said, "Anything and everything in Vrndavana reminds Krsna of Srimati Radharani. Some flower or some fruit - anything - reminds Him of Srimati Radharani's qualities."
I said, "We should want to be in that mood too." Maharaja laughed. Then he quoted a verse, sevon-mukhe hi jihvadau. "Do you know what it means?" I quoted the whole verse, atah sri-krsna namadi. I said it means that we cannot know Krsna with our blunt senses, but when we serve Him, beginning with the tongue, then Krsna will be revealed to us in His holy name.
Maharaja said this is all right, but he wanted something more. He explained that we have a body, mind, and words. Everything should be engaged in Krsna's service. When we do this, we always think of Krsna at all times. He quoted another phrase from a verse, nikhilasv apy avasthasu, body, mind, and words should all be engaged in Krsna's service.
Maharaja said we should chant to please Krsna and Radha. When we say Hare, Krsna will be pleased. So we should chant softly and sweetly for Their pleasure.
I said, "Oh, we should be confident that They will hear it and be pleased?" He said, "Yes, certainly They will be pleased." So that should be the mood of our chanting. Radha and Krsna are everywhere and if you chant, They will hear you and They will be pleased. Then you will make all success and advancement.
I thought this was a very good instruction in addition to what he told me yesterday morning. He asked, "Is this something new?"
"Yes," I said, "it is new." He said that it is all there in the scriptures that if you chant, you please Krsna. But what he added was the specific focus on the Vrndavana mood. By chanting, we may please Radharani and Krsna. He said actually, we should be even more focused on Srimati Radharani than on Krsna. When She hears you say Krsna and Hare and RadhaRamana, She will be so pleased.
We walked some more in silence. I began to think that this ideal instruction would be hard for me to follow. I wanted to tell Maharaja something about my struggles to control my mind. I was thinking of saying, "Arjuna said the mind is as difficult to control as the wind." I seem to spend most of my time thinking of other things and trying to bring the mind back But I didn't express this; I kept silent.
After awhile, Maharaja spoke again. He asked, "This year, your trip to India and Vrndavana, has it been successful?"
"The main reason I came was to get your association, so it has been successful because I got so much of it in Bombay and now." I said that now I am prepared to go back to the West and practice what he has taught. As I said this, somehow it didn't sound like it was coming from a deep place within me. We walked some more in silence.
Then I said, "Last year I was actually more excited that I could reach this goal, but now it seems far away. It will take many lifetimes, but I am not going to be discouraged by that." Maharaja didn't say anything at first, but after awhile he said, "We will consider our life successful if in this lifetime, we can develop some greed to become the palya-dasi of Srimati Radharani."
"If we do that, then in the next life, we will be able to continue on the path," I said.
He said that surely Krsna will make an arrangement. Radharani will make an arrangement. He gave the example of Bilvamangala Thakura who considered Cintamani, a prostitute, to be his guru because she turned him toward Krsna. So his greed is the greatest thing.
I said developing this greed is even more important than removing anarthas. He said certainly. If some of the greed comes then the anarthas will quickly go away. He said that I should not be disappointed that I don't attain success in this so quickly, He quoted the verse that was composed by Rupa Gosvami, that it will take kotijanma before we attain laulyam. Maharaja said ordinary bhakti we may get, but this laulyam can take many lifetimes.
As we neared the last part of the walk I said, "The ISKCON devotees who follow you, Maharaja, follow you for this reason. You awaken in us the hope of attaining this greed [to become the maidservant of Radharani]. Otherwise, why should we come to you? We have our own institution and so many activities, but we don't have this greed."
"Yes," he said, "the other things are secondary." I said, "Like maintaining the temples and distributing books." He said, "These are essential for ordinary people, but those who want something higher must have this greed. Even Prahlada Maharaja cannot imagine what this greed is."
He mentioned other great devotees. But then he laughed and said what to speak of us ordinary devotees. He exposed my disappointment as naive. Who am I to even think that I should attain this greed and therefore when I don't feel it, become disappointed? Even Prahlada Maharaja cannot imagine what it is.
About that time, we were ready to come in the gate of the house. He said that Uddhava also does not know what it is. He only knows a little bit. But when Uddhava tried to become a gopi, he couldn't enter the greed for service to Radharani. I said, "Yes, you told us once that when Uddhava saw how grief-stricken the gopis were, he wanted to go back to be with Krsna in Dvaraka." Maharaja said it is very rare.
What did I hope to achieve and what have I achieved on this trip to Vrndavana? How kind Maharaja has been to focus on my case and think what is best for me.
So many foolish things pass through my mind. I pray to continue to serve Maharaja, hear from him, and approach this wonderful greed that he talks of. I hope to chant the Hare Krsna mantra to please Radharani and try to remember Radha and Krsna even though my mind is so cancala.
9:50 A.M., roof
Maharaja also said on the walk that the cuckoo is near and dear to Krsna because it sings in a beautiful voice and reminds Him of Radha's voice and singing. As he said it, I had a little realization that the poetic metaphors in the Gosvamis' poetry are not concocted. Krsna and Radha feel and see this way, and a rasika devotee can live in Vrndavana even today (physically, or at least in mind) and have these perceptions.
Be reminded of Radha-Krsna. Do everything to please Them. Chant to please Them.
Last night Maharaja was talking about this house with a Godbrother. I heard him say, "The ants are coming," and they laughed. I thought he meant the ants were coming into his room. But then I picked up that he was saying the devotees have found out he is here, like ants who have discovered the sugar.
10:55 A.M
I am enjoying Maharaja's morning by watching from my room. One of his brahmacaris from Rupa-Sanatana Mandir arrived on bicycle with vegetables for Maharaja's lunch. Maharaja is sitting on a straw mat in the mild sunshine. Now the brahmacari has taken the pillows and mattresses out of Maharaja's room and is cleaning them. The door squeaks . . .
Even if Savita comes now, it won't be so bad. Maharaja has had from 8:0011:00 undisturbed. The neighborhood is also quiet today. I am pleased to overlook all this from my chilly room. The electricity is back on, but we can expect it will go off when we need it most.
12:20 P.M.
No one came all morning. Maharaja put oil on his body, sitting with no shirt on. The front gates are covered. Now he'll take his bath. I'll take mine immediately after.
There's talk of his shifting soon, but nothing definite. Today could be the last day, or maybe not.
I'm not inclined to blurt out what he told me on the walks. What good will it do if I say he encouraged me to chant thirty-two rounds? Better I do it and then say he recommended it. Also, the hints about Radha-Krsna guna-smrter and soft, sweet chanting to please Radhika - better I do these things rather than tell others the "latest news." It will build up within one as a nice pressure. And it will be a secret between him and me. At best, I will be able to practice what he said.
Maharaja was sitting. I went to him, touched his feet, and said that I am happy he was undisturbed all morning. He said he was reading deeply in the "Ten Vows" of Raghunatha dasa Gosvami. "It is very good for raganuga."
I said I appreciate what he told me this morning, to chant sweetly and softly for Srimati Radhika.
He said, "It was good?"
I said, "Yes. a secret."
He smiled.
He said I should take prasadam now. "Navina has made some paramananda [sweet rice]," and he would give me some.
3:45 P.M.
Srila Narayana Maharaja is on the roof with his guests. The newspapers tell us that three state governments where the BJP rules have been dismissed. VHP and RSS leaders have been arrested. It is not a good time to be visible. Will he stay here? Shift to Tamal-kunja?
Srila Narayana Maharaja just finished speaking on the Gopi-gita. I told him that when they are finished typing it, I will edit it and show it to him.
"There is no need. You are not an orphan boy. I have full faith that you cannot make a mistake in siddhanta. "
Then I said I would show it to a Godbrother. He said my own decision was enough.
On the roof he told others I have given him my own lantern. "He has given everything of his own. He is Sat."
We took maha-prasadam from his hands. Then he walked across the field again, escorting the devotees back to Krishna-Balaram Mandir. Some took dust from his footprints.
It has been decided that he will leave this house tomorrow around 9:00 A.M. He said he will stay away from Mathura for another five days or so because of the political agitation. He never goes to the VHP's political meetings or talks about politics, but they use his name as a Hindu sadhu for their own purposes.
I can visit him when he moves. We will quiet down to our routine and get ready to leave India.
Anarthas I can see at this time: As Maharaja is honoring me, I am feeling puffedup and important in front of the others. I don't deny it when he says I am sat, I am learned, etc.
I resent that certain devotees are coming to see and hear Maharaja at "my" house and are rendering him services.
We are concerned with Maharaja's safety, that he not be arrested, etc. But when I read the reports of national arrests, I seem at least equally concerned for my own safety. I want to leave India as scheduled.
I am attached to my bodily routine eating and sleeping, etc., and also my little lordship.
I don't want to displease Maharaja or my Srila Prabhupada.
7:25 P.M.
Every night, Navina holds an "examination" for Madhu. He asks him to repeat what Maharaja said in the evening talk. Madhu goes over the words in the verse. Navina has been kind to encourage him. I heard their voices and stood outside the room listening to Madhu repeat and express his own enthusiastic appreciation of Srila Narayana Maharaja.
December 17, 8:00 A.M.
I wasn't sure whether Maharaja would go on a walk this morning since he is leaving, but he did. He glanced at my clothes and said, "Are your colors matching?" I have a gray cadar, gray scarf, blue gloves, and my bundi jacket is a brighter orange than his. I placed my jacket up close to his and matched them. I said, "Yours is better because it's lighter. "
He said that his Guru Maharaja wore light colors and Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati also wore light. He likes to wear light shades also. He said that Swami Maharaja [meaning our Prabhupada] wore whatever anyone gave him. He said it in an affectionate way, that Prabhupada just accepted whatever he got. I said, "Yes, but the Gaudiya Vaisnava color is light," so I made a mental note to try to always wear light-colored saffron.
Maharaja also said that Raghunatha Gosvami wrote that he wants only things that come from Vrndavana. I thought, "Yes, I should wear my Vrndavana bundi in the West and anything else (gloves) I can bring from here. I won't find a speck of cintamani Vraja-raja (dust) outside Vrndavana.
When we came to the turn going to the dirt path he said, "Perhaps for the rest of your life you will remember that we walked here."
I said, "Yes, I will. And when you're not here, I will also come here and walk and remember." We didn't talk much on this walk. When we got to the first corner after leaving the house, we heard them chanting mantras or hymns from the Mayavadi temple there. He said that they are chanting something from the Vedas, but in the whole Veda, there is scarcely any mention of Radha or Krsna. So when we chant Hare Krsna once, we cover the entire Veda. But they don't believe that. In this way, I took it that he was encouraging me on the theme of harinam-bhajana.
We walked further down the road and saw black smoke coming from a factory in the distance. He said that the factory is poisoning the oxygen.
We got to the point where he walks no further. He stopped and looked out over the fields. He said, "In America, do they have mustard flowers like this? "
I said, "No, I haven't seen them. But they have yellow flowers. Is it all right to try to think of Radha and Krsna in the West when we see yellow flowers or a forest or a river?"
"Yes," he said, "but actually Vrndavana is so helpful." And then he began to praise Vrndavana. He looked down at the sand glowing in the morning sunlight and said, "This is all cintamani. The sand is Baladeva Prabhu personified."
"Perhaps some day, everyone [meaning all of Maharaja's ISKCON followers] can come and live in Vrndavana."
He said, "They will reach a stage where they will have to."
It occurred to me that I am going back to the West because I have to. I have to preach and also, I am just not ready to live in Vrndavana full-time.
He said even the ants who live in Vrndavana are fortunate all living entities. Even if we don't realize that the dirt is cintamani, still it is the fact. Therefore, there is always benefit in living here. And there is great benefit in going to Krsna's lila places.
As we walked, a man passed us chanting, "Jaya Radhe Radhe, Radhe-Syama Jaya Radhe Radhe Radhe-Syama." Maharaja repeated what he was chanting and said, "Nowhere else in the world does anyone chant these names or know these names except for ISKCON persons."
"Not even in Jagannatha Puri?"
"No," he said, "not there either."
As we headed back he said, "Vrndavana is now moving out to this part, but you still have to go to places like Vamsivata and Seva-kunja." He laughed.
I said, "Those are the most intense places of Vrndavana-lila. "
I wanted to keep his rule of not talking, although I wanted to bring up a question about tonight's class. But I tried to keep quiet and hear his japa while murmuring my own mantras. This is the real lesson to be learned - how to chant faster, how to chant sweetly, and how to chant with devotion. I can learn it in his association.
But finally I asked if we would have a class at 4:00 P.M. He said we would. I suggested we read from Vilapa-kusumanjali and he agreed. Then he invited us to come.
A man passed us herding three donkeys. Maharaja said, "He has no coat. We have become luxurious." In other words, this man didn't need a coat and yet somehow, we thought we did. I said, "And he's saying Jaya Radhe."
"Nowhere else," Maharaja said.
As we headed around the last turn he said, "The reason I have come to Vrndavana is for you." He gave me a loving glance. He said that it was not due to trouble (Hindu-Muslim) but because I had asked. He kept it in his mind and when there was an opportunity, he came. He said it has been so helpful here for his bhajana because it has been peaceful.
Then he walked back and forth chanting just inside the gate. Now he is sitting in the wicker chair, chanting in the last minutes of his stay in our house. I went into my room to leave him alone to chant. Just before that, he said that I could come over to see him at any time I wanted, except during the day when he is taking visrama (rest).
Vegavati delivered Maharaja his Hindi newspaper while he was sitting in the wicker chair. I sat at my door and tried to overhear. I think he asked her what she was doing and she said japa. Then I heard him say, "Now add something." He began telling her what Krsna was doing at this time. It was the same thing he had told me the other day on the morning walk. At this time of the day, Krsna is with His friends milking the cows in Nandagram. Srimati Radharani is getting ready to go to Nandagram from Her place at Yavat. Krsna will then meet Her at Ter Kadamba and He will play some trick to squirt Her with milk.
As I write this, it is now 8:30 A.M. Time for Maharaja to leave. I am chanting my twenty-third round.
Acyuta arrived about forty-five minutes late, but neither Maharaja nor his servant seemed to be disturbed. I asked Maharaja to please take any pictures he wanted with him. He took three small parampara pictures of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, Gaura-kisora dasa Babaji, and Bhaktivinoda Thakura. Navina said that Maharaja would take these with him wherever he went now.
Maharaja came out and we walked him to the gate. He said that I could come at any time in the day because I only had a little time left in Vrndavana. He said, "But then we won't be able to have our walks anymore."
"Yes, but you can walk in other places. There are nice places like the Vrndavana parikrama." Then I realized who I was talking to and said, "But you know Vrndavana!" He laughed and said, "Yes, I know."
It was a sweet parting. I told him how much I liked Navina's cooking, his sukta. Maharaja got in the jeep seat, smiled, and said, "But I think Madhumangala is more qualified." I said, "Madhumangala will have to learn from Navina."
The jeep pulled out, with Madhu and I standing and watching. I said to Madhu, "We're usually not in this position. We're usually the ones who are leaving. But here we are the home owner's watching him leave."
Then we went back into the room Maharaja had used. Madhu took a few photos of the room as Maharaja had used it. He had put a quilt on the floor for winter living, and he had made a sitting place with bolsters. Otherwise, everything was as we had prepared it for him. I was thinking of saying to Maharaja when he left that his visit was like Krsna's coming to see Srutadeva, the poor man. I didn't say it, but I was thinking like that.
After Srila Narayana Maharaja left, Madhu said, "Now you can relax." A rasika-guru is no longer living in your house. You can follow your own schedule, use the bathroom when you want, the way you want. You don't have to worry that visitors will come to disrupt his (and your) morning activities. Relax.
"Relax" - you will no longer be able to hear his japa through the wall or savor his presence as he sits on a mat in the sunlight reading Raghunatha Gosvami in Sanskrit. Relax, you can't expect to exchange words with him at any time during the day. You are only now a potential visitor to see him in his residence.
Relax - you chanted thirtytwo rounds a day when he was here. You went together on a morning walk. "Perhaps you will remember it for the rest of your life." "You are not an orphan boy. I am confident you cannot make a mistake in siddhanta."
Relax. And get ready to leave Vrndavana.

anaradhya raha-padambhoja-reum
anasritya vrndatavim tat-padakam
asambhasya tad-bhava-gambhira-cittan
kutah syama-sindho rasa-syava-gahah
"Without worshiping the pollen of Sri Radha's lotus feet, without taking shelter of Vrndavana which bears Her footprints, and without respectfully greeting the great souls whose hearts are filled with deep love for Her, how will one be able to plunge into the nectar ocean of love for Lord Krsna? "
Sri Sva-sankalpaprakasa-stotra, text 1, by Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami
tadera carana-sebi-bhakta-sane bas
janame janame hoy ei abhilas
"This is my desire, that birth after birth I may live with those devotees who serve the lotus feet of the six Gosvamis"
(Nama-sankirtana, Narottama dasa Thakura text 7).
bhavad-vidha bhagavatas
tirtha-bhutah svayam vibho
tirthi-kurvanti tirthani
svantah-sthena gadabrta
"My lord, devotees like your good self are verily holy places personified. Because you carry the Personality of Godhead within your heart, you turn all places into places of pilgrimage"
(Bhag. 1.13.10).



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trnad api sunicena
taror api sahisnuna
amanina manadena
kirtaniyah sada harih

One should chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking oneself lower than the straw in the street; one should be more tolerant than a tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige, and should be ready to offer all respect to others. In such a state of mind one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly.