A lecture given by H. H. Kadamba Kanana Swami Maharaja – 09 July 2010, Fruska Gauranga Camp, Serbia
Srimad Bhagavatam, 1st Canto, Chapter 2, text no. 16
Syan mahat- sevaya viprah
Translation: O twice-born sages, by serving those devotees who are completely freed from all vice, great service is done. By such service, one gains affinity for hearing the messages of Vasudeva.
( Purport )
( Invocatory prayers )
‘The servants of God are to be respected as God by the devotees who actually want to go back to Godhead. ‘ It is very nice to think about the punya-tirtha, the great and pure devotees, who every moment of their life are absorbed in glorifying, remembering or hearing the glorification about Krsna. In the Padma Purana there is reference to the nine processes of devotional service and these nine processes: sravanam, kirtanam, Visnoh smaranam, pada sevanam, arcanam, vandanam, dasyam, sakhyam, atma- nivedanam, are further subdivided into two groups. The first three are known as as the Bhagavat vidhi, or the process of glorifying the Supreme Lord. Bhagavat is refering to the Supreme Lord, it refers to Bhagavan and one translation of the word Bhagavan, or rather, of one expansion on the forms of ba-ga –van, is bhajaniya-guna-visista. That means ‘he who is so irresistible you have to worship him’.
So in this way, these punya tirtha, these great devotees are addicted to hear about Krsna. They are addicted to chant the glories of Krsna. They are addicted to serving Krsna. They want to take risks for Krsna, because they know when they take risk for Krsna that they would attract the special mercy. And this is their meditation, that special mercy of the Lord. They desire it with great eagerness. This eagerness is the root of coming to spontaneous devotional service. Such vaishnavas are sometimes in association of devotees and they share with all those devotees the ecstatic glorification of Krsna. And whitin that association, the enthusiasm of one devotee is enlivening the other devotee. Devotees together are just lightening up the spark in each others hearts. In coming together with devotees we never know, we just never know what will be ignited. Just like one can not say we’re going to have an ecstatic kirtan from 9 till 12 scheduled today. It may not be ecstatic. We may clang, we may bang, we may bring all the instruments, but somehow or other it is not really happening. But when we all get in mood of simply glorifying Krsna, then automatically it is ecstatic.
Recently I was also in a Tabor, on the Czech summer camp and this year Trivikrama Maharaja was there. I was happy to see him, because I didn’t see him for very long long time and because I really like Maharaja’s non-compromised simplicity. He was saying ‘ I can’t give great lectures, all I can do is tell some Prabhupada stories’. And everyone said ‘ yes, please tell us these Prabhupada stories. ‘ So, Maharaja was explaining that he was among the first devotees that were sent from America to England. And at that time they stayed on the estate of John Lennon, so Prabhupada came and Prabhupada also stayed there for three months. And during that time it was Trivikrama Maharaja who gave Prabhupada his daily massage. And naturally, he was very attached to that. And his other service was that he was also a driver. So, the three months went so quick and Prabhupada schedule was to continue his journey and to go back to America. Trivikrama then heared the rumour that in America Upendra was going to serve Prabhupada. So he was sort of asking around and it was being confirmed. And he was thinking ‘what about me and my service?’ But then, he also didn’t want to bother Prabhupada and sort of say: ‘But Prabhupada, what about me?’ One day while he was driving Prabhupada around, he said’ Srila Prabhupada, this Upendra, is he a nice devotee?’ And Prabhupada said ‘Oh, yes, Upendra is a very nice devotee. But not as nice as you. ‘ (laughter) Trivikrama Maharaja was finished, defeated and purchased. So that is the nature of such a great Vaisnava. They are full of love, they are full of mercy, they are full of kindness. It is that which is their mood. Because they are servants, they don’t place themselves in the center of attention, unless they do that as a service. So, as they are in the center of attention, they will say: ‘Krsna, Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is the object of our worship. ‘ So in this way the Vaishnavas are always remembering Krsna.
It is mentioned in Bhagavatam how there was discusion between Uddhava and Vidhura and when Vidhura came to Uddhava, Uddhava was overwhelmed with ecstasy. Tears were flowing from his eyes and it was difficult for him to speak. But then Vidhura requested him to speak, about Krsna. Then Uddhava felt that, when such a vaishnava is asking, then I must speak. And he began to speak and he said that how amazing is this merciful Lord. I couldn’t dream of worshiping any other Lord. Just think of this Lord, he gave the position of a mother to Putana, who smeared poison on her breast and tried to kill him. Who is more merciful than that Lord? If someone tries to kill you, will you accept her as a mother after that? No way! But Krsna, made a few arrangements for her purification. He did suck out her life air, which happened to kill her on the way, but Krsna said: ‘What is my fault? It is natural for a child to drink milk, and if she dies while I am drinking, what can I do about that? That is not my fault. ‘
Uddhava remembered that Krsna, and of course, Uddhava remembered Krsna in so many ways. Uddhava could never forget Krsna. And why was Uddhava crying such tears? Because Uddhava was so much overwhelmed by the mercy of Krsna. He could see how amazingly merciful Krsna is. And therefore, naturally, the love of God developed in his heart.
And how to develop love for Krsna? How, somehow or other, to develop love when you don’t even have a heart? How? How to love Krsna? We can only complain to Krsna: ‘Oh Krsna, it is so difficult in spiritual life, can’t you make it easier?’ That’s generally how we pray to Krsna. We put some flowers and some flowery words, but if you really look what are we praying, it’s: ‘Krsna, it’s so difficult, please make it easier. ‘
But for Uddhava it was different. It was very different. Uddhava was obsessed. Uddhava couldn’t think of anything else because Uddhava had seen and experienced the amazing mercy of Krsna. And Uddhava was remembering how he used to have the good fortune of being in association of Krsna in Dvaraka. And because he is intimate family member of Krsna he was getting such a special mercy of Krsna. And all devotees in Dvaraka knew it- Uddhava was a special devotee. Everybody knew that Uddhava is more attached to Krsna than anybody else. He was a special devotee and for that he was highly respected and worshiped by others. Ofcourse, he was humble and wasn’t looking for that. But in the association of devotees Uddhava stood out. Of course, Uddhavas Spiritual Master was no other than Brihaspati, The Spiritual Master of demigods, and therefore Uddhava was incredibly learned. He was so learned in the Scriptures and he could present it so nicely with realization, so everyone wanted to hear from Uddhava. Even Krsna himself heard from Uddhava. And he would also sometimes ask the opinion of Uddhava about various matters.
And Uddhava remembered how Krsna called him. And how Krsna himself was overwhelmed. And everybody in Dvaraka knew very well what that meant. Srila Sanatana Goswami, in the Brhad Bhagavatamrta, is describing the separation that Krsna felt while he was in Dvaraka.
Krsna had the headache and everyone in the palace was quiet: ‘Psss, Krsna is not well, he has a headache. He didn’t get up this morning, he is still resting. He is not well. ‘ And everybody was just saying: ‘Krsna is not well, Krsna is not well, … Oh, we hope he’ll recover quickly. Krsna is not well… ‘ And than Satyabauma said: ‘What is all this hypocrisy? It is all false, nothing is truth about all this ‘Krsna is not well. ‘ You know that Krsna doesn’t have a headache, you know that Krsna is simply suffering in separation. You all know very well. As all the wifes of Krsna know very well that his only attachment is to the residents of Vrindavan. Sometimes in his sleep, while lying next to his beloved queens, he is calling out the names of Radhe or the other gopis of Vrindavan. . Let’s not cover it up. Let’s except the facts, Krsna doesn’t care at all about Dvaraka. ‘
‘Satyabauma! Satyabauma please!. Do you have to do this? Satyabauma please! Why do you always have to do this? …
This is our Krsna in Dvaraka, Vasudeva Krsna. That Vasudeva Krsna, it is described in the Caitanya Caritamrta, is not the same as our Krsna in Vrindavana, he is different. Are they different? Are there two Krsnas? No! He is different and non-different. He is Krsna, the same Krsna but he is gone into a different mood. Oooh, that Krsna. But every once and while he can’t stay in this mood of Vasudeva ‘paritranaya sadhunam vinasayaca duskrtam dharma- samsthapanarthaya sambhavami yuge yuge’, his religious duty, to establish the principles of religion, unihilate the demons, … Krsna wants to go to Vrindavan. He is thinking day and night of Vrindavan. But how can he go to Vrindavan? How? It is not possible. Why, I’ll tell you later.
So, this day Krsna seated on his trone and called Uddhava. And Uddhava knew Krsna s mood, everyone knew Krsnas mood. And than, Uddhava, that special devotee is called by Krsna to go to Vrindavan. Because Uddhava, he was related to Krsna. He had a family relationship with Krsna and, therefore, Uddhava looked quite similar to Krsna. Uddhava was also wearing yellow dhoti and he had this blackish-bluish complexion, long arms and lotus eyes just like Krsna. So, Krsna sent him to Vrindavan. When Uddhava came to Vrindavan he saw the love of residents of Vrindavan… he saw how Nanda and Yasoda gone completely mad… Yasoda was just constantly upset. Her mind had stopped in one point. When someone goes trough very intense situation, the clock stops and their mind stays absorbed in that moment. That’s where Yasoda was. And she kept on repeating to herself: ‘How could Nanda Maharaja sent Krsna in Mathura with Akrura? How could he do it? Couldn’t he understand? How it is possible?’ And she kept on thinking about this point. And Nanda Maharaja says: ‘You mad woman! Don’t you know that Krsna just went out to the forest, he’ll be right back. ‘
Who was mad? Was it Nanda or Yasoda? They were totally overwhelmed. And, of course, what to speak of the gopis in separation? So there Uddhava realized ‘ I have no love for Krsna. Whatever I have for Krsna you can not call it love. ‘ Because real love means nothing else. Nothing else. One can not divide his time between Krsna and something else.
I just came from South Africa and before class Rohini Suta Prabhu ordered me that I should say something about South Africa. Yes, South Africa… All the devotees have tickets. Everyone. It’s becoming a whole devotional thing now. Chant Hare Krsna on the soccer game, and of course preaching in the fan parks. Oh, yes, it’s big. I’ll tell you another story now. Once I was cheking in for a flight and the lady behind the counter was asking „ would you like a window or aile seat?“ it was a short flight and it was beautiful weather and it was a specially nice route from Germany to Spain over the Swiss Alps and over the Pyrenees and I thought: „Window. “ And then, I was siting at my window seat and enjoying the view but after a little while it got boring, just clouds and mountains, . . And I took something to read, it happen to be the „Nectar of Devotion. “ And I read right there that the Gopis had no interest to see anything else but Krsna. And than I thought „Oooops! Here I am with my window seat. “ (laughter) What to do… ? What to do… ? Our love is divided.
The German television crew came to South Africa in our temple to film us at Mangal Arotik with bright lights. And then the camerman put the big camera right into my face and I told him in German: „We think we are the players but in the actuality we are the ball“. We are the ball. Yes, we are playing in this world but actually we are the ball. Because Srila Prabhupada said it like that. He said, because we can be kicked any moment and then we fly. (laughter) That’s it, we are the ball.
Ok, so much about that topic. Now we want to come to that one point in absorption in Krsna, Krsna, Krsna, … To chant the Holly Name of Krsna all the time. To always remember Krsna. To just think of Krsna and let nothing distract us from Krsna. To always be absorbed in Krsna… . Oh, if only that could be possible. So in this way we are trying but it is a little difficult sometimes. Because, you know, when your country is in the finale it feels better than being of the country that lost. Although Sacinandana Maharaja said “It’s good that the Germans lost, it’s good for their false ego. (laughter) No, I am not gonna let anything distract me. Kecit kevalaya bhaktya vasudeva-parayanah, only absorbed in Krsna. But, how to do it? This topic is something I think about often. And it’s not matter of just flicking the switch. It’s dark and- the light is on. It’s fighting with the material desire- sex desire (dramatically), and then, suddenly the switch, flick- „Krsna, Krsna, . . “ It’s not just like that. In other words, it’s not an intellectual adjustment.
Few years ago I was also during the football finale in Paris, and it was France against Brasil. And many devotees would just go for a japa walk. (laughter) But the persistent ones, they stayed in the temple. „No, this is all maya, this is all sense gratification, this is not bonified, … “ But then, when it was time for the match, even those devotees went to to the TV in the temple. But there was no antenna, because antenna is maya, so they tried to use clothes-hanger as an antenna, but it didn’t work.
0ne can not say „I’m giving up the material world, it’s all maya. “ That will never work. Because our hearts are filled with sinful seeds from so many lifetimes and we have material desires. Padma Purana says that there is the big stock of of sinful reactions within the heart and that creates a sinful inclinations. Yes, we put nice tilak and we don’t forget to pick up our halo and put it above our head. But you may have wondered why dhotis have a tail in the back? It is to remind us, that although maybe we wear the halo of a devotee on our head, that at the same time the tail of the devil is sticking out of the back. (laughter)Sorry about that, I hope I didn’t commit vaishnava aparadha but if anyone has feel offended, I really beg You, please forgive me. Without Your mercy I can not attain Krsna.
Anyway, what to do now? We are in this predicament that we are caught up between two worlds. The material world and the spiritual world. And we are in the middle. And now, what to do? How can we break through? Military planes sometimes go through the sound barriere. And it is said that some devotees have gone trough the taste barriere. And how can we go trough that taste barriere? Well, I have a proposal. My proposal is that we need to build a temple in our life. A sacred space where we worship Krsna. And that we must keep on building on it. And keep on improving it. And we must fill that sacred space with more and more remembrance of Krsna.
Coincidentally, I happen to be writing a book which is called ‘Visrama Mandir or Sacred Space’. And of course, If I tell you the whole book, someone is going to steal it. (Laughter) So, I’ll keep a few secrets, but one point I’d like to make now. In my book, in the first chapter I’m beginning to describe a mood where Krsna is in the center. Krsna is everything and everyone is always thinking of Krsna. And that is the mood of Vrindavan. And the residents of Vrindavan are full of eagerness to be always with Krsna, and they only think of that eagerness to be with Krsna. Then my book continues and it says: In that land I am the beggar. I don’t really belong there but, somehow, I am promoted there by the mercy of my Spiritual Master. And in that land I am living on the banks of a river, in a small little hut. And that river is the stream of my thoughts. And there, living on the edge on the stream of my thoughts, I am trying in my little hut to remember Krsna. And I am doing that by trying to be absorbed in sravanam, kirtanam and smaranam, in hearing, chanting and remembering. But because I am living in this little old broken hut, the mundane influences are leaking trough the roof, trough the walls, everywhere, … Anyway, this is where I live as a beggar. As we know from Mayapur, when big river flows, on the side of big river the current is not very fast. But in the middle of the river, there the current is very fast. So, by the mercy of my Spiritual Master I have received some Krsna Consciousness.
So, if we want to remember Krsna we can do it as an exercise. We can think, for example, of Krsnas lotus feet and we can sistematically go over all the symbols that are on Krsnas lotus feet. The stick to control the elephant is there to encourage us and remind us that, by taking shelter of Krsna, we can control the elephant of our mind. And when we think: „Oh, I have such a bad karma. It shows in my chart… . Rahu, Ketu, … it’s bad, bad… Any astrologist that looks in my chart starts crying. My karma… My karma is so bad. Of course, I really want to be Krsna conscious, but with my karma it’s almost impossible. What can I do? My karma is insurmountable, it’s higher than Mount Everest. “ And there on Krsnas lotus feet there is a thunderbolt. And with that thunderbolt he will smash it to pieces in one time and your mountain is gone. So, we can go trough that kind of meditation, but that is the meditation in form of exercise. It means we go in the river but there’s no current yet. We don’t become swept up by the current of remembering Krsna. So, that is good, that kind of remembrance, because little by little, it will bring us to Krsna.
But, I have different proposal. My proposal is that why don’t we just follow our natural taste. By Krsna’s grace I was able to stay in Vrindavan for a long time. And therefore, for me Sri Sri Radha Syamasundar in Vrindavan became the most beautiful Dieties in the world. No other Dieties can compare. I offer my respect to all Deities, but Radha Syamasundar are the Deities that I worship. They allowed me to serve them. So, somebody knew because they put two nice pictures of Radha Syamasundar in the room where I’m staying. But even then, there may be a particular darsan of those deities, that darsan stands out amongst all darsans, that is the one that hits you. That darsan goes in my sacred space. Sacinandana Maharaj sings nice bhajans and he always has these good melodies. He starts sooo slow (laughter) , but then in the end it really builds up. And of course, Gaura Hari plays harmonium, no one else can do it. And, you know, of all these melodies there is one that I particularly like. So, I’m putting Sacinandana Maharaj and Gaura Hari in my sacred space. And they have to play that melody there. Of course, I will receive them nicely and tempt them with nice prasadam and sweet words. And then I suggest: „How about a little bhajan?“
In this way, why not at least fill our sacred space with things that are naturally dear to us. Of course, that is not all there is, because there is also a place for duty in my sacred space. There is place for sacrifice. There is place of taking on some austerities for Krsna. In this way I carefully construct for myself a visrama mandir, a transcendental resting place, or in other words I am developing my sacred space.
Now I have to come to the point of asking you for your questions.
Q: Maharaja, you said that you will tell us why was it so difficult for Krsna to leave Dvaraka and go to Vrindavan?
A: I said that I will tell you later, I didn’t say when. I’ll tell you on seminar because it is too long and someone is counting the time…
Devotee: I am not happy but I accept.
Maharaja: Ok, a preview then. Just a drop. Just like a movie, you don’t get a whole movie but you get a little preview. Ok, why Krsna can not go to Vrindavan? It is said that it’s no solution. It will not become a happy reunion. Because that feeling of separation is so strong that it even happens in the presence of Krsna. And how is that possible? The little thing, the slightest little emotion, it creates an outburst of a volcano. Emotions are not cheap and shallow on the spiritual platform. Like in this world- I love you today and bye bye tomorow. No, we can not imagine how deep emotions these are. That story of Prem Sarovar, do you know? Anyway, short version again. Radha and Krsna are meeting and there happens to be a bumblebee present. And the bumblebee is buzzing around the couple doing parikram. Because the bees, they know very well that Krsna is not only the God of human beings, but also the God of the bees. After all, he has a blackish body, a yellow dhoti and he likes music, just like them. So, the bees are worshiping Radha and Krsna. So, this king of the bees came to take darsan and then to tell to all the bees. And then Radharani became a little bit disturbed by this buzzing bee so Madhu Mangal chased him away and then he came back and said“ I have chased him away Madhusudhan. And that created an outburst of emotions. And immediately Radharani had the tears in her eyes and therefore she couldn’t see Krsna any more. And then river of tears flowed from her eyes. And when Krsna saw that, river of tears flowed from his eyes. And that made a Prem Sarovar, which is a great place for remembering Krsna in Vrindavan Dham. I like that place… I put it in my sacred space.
I’ll end with this. Thank you very much. Srila Prabhupada ki jay!