A lecture given by HH Kadamba Kanana Swami Maharaja in October 2010, Vrndavana, India
The spiritual world in the material world
This land of Lord Krsna is His great and causeless mercy upon us because if we contemplate for a moment then what an amazing gift this is! The living beings have since time immemorial, anadir bahir mukhe, have turned away from Krsna for such a long time. Although Krsna is known as atmarama, He is known as one who is satisfied within and He is not dependent on anything else for satisfaction but we are always dependent; never can we be satisfied independently. But Krsna, He can be satisfied independently and yet still Krsna is feeling something lacking when some of the living beings have turned away from Him and have not joined His eternal pleasure pastimes. So Krsna thought to Himself, “let Me give them some mercy,” as anyone would do. What would we do if our son who’s grown up would leave home and become totally degraded, somewhere in Mumbai or some place like that? Totally degraded and what can we do? He will not listen to anyone is such a state but we are always remaining his well wisher and we want to do something to give him some mercy. Krsna, in the same way, was thinking, “let me give some mercy, something…” Then He thought, “why something? I will not give them something, I will give them everything!” and then He manifested the entire spiritual world, within the material word. This is where we are! This Vrndavana is the spiritual world! It is non-different from the spiritual world and somehow or other the Supreme Lord has manifested this Vrndavana and even conditioned souls, who are otherwise fallen and saying, ‘oh, it is so difficult this spiritual life and I follow all this and do I really have to? I don’t know how you do it?’ even for those who are conditioned, we can come and enter into this spiritual realm.
So just thinking about that we can appreciate where we are and we can appreciate how great the mercy of the Supreme Lord actually is. Srila Prabhupada explains, he said, Krsna is more eager for us to return back Godhead than we are to go for ourselves. That is the case. Therefore the Lord is always reaching out to us with eagerness when we are sort of mixed; we have our devotional moments and we have our materialistic moments. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura wrote a letter and he said, Hiranyakasipu, he could not see the Supreme Lord anywhere in this world. Prahlada, he saw the Lord anywhere and everywhere. And we are in between Hiranyakasipu and Prahlada, that is our condition. Anyhow, the mercy of the Lord is there and therefore He has manifested this dhama, the spiritual world within the material world.
Vrndavana- a state of consciousness
Srila Madhavacarya, in his commentary (tika) on the 10th Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam, has mentioned that Vrndavana is not just a physical location somewhere on this planet or somewhere in the land of Bharata but rather, that Vrndavana is a state of consciousness. So Vrndavana is not just an external place; you cannot simply board a train to Mathura and think, ‘now we are in the dhama, we have come to Vrndavana, very nice’ no, in this way one cannot reach. You cannot buy a ticket…one cannot externally reach Vrndavana. So that part of the journey we all have completed; we bought our tickets, some came by train, some came by plane and somehow or other we came, we are here. That part completed but now the rest, the consciousness part…So as Madhavacarya said our consciousness has to be a Vrndavana consciousness. In the Caitanya Caritamrta, Caitanya Mahaprabhu is explaining that a little more. And He was saying that for most people, the mind and the heart are the same- whatever is in the heart, that’s where the mind is. If there’s money, money, money then the mind will always be thinking money, money, money and so on. He said, “but in My case, My mind is Vrndavana!” and in the mood of Srimati Radharani, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, “and since You like Vrndavana (speaking to Krsna) why don’t You place Your lotus feet in My mind…”
So Vrndavana is a place, which is entirely meant for the pleasure of Krsna. There is no other meaning to Vrndavana. And whatever is happening here in this place is meant to be like that. Now Srila Prabhupada explained to us that on top of the dhama is a little layer of yoga maya, the illusory energy, which covers that transcendental abode and makes it look like any other small town, a little busy with lots of shops and cows walking in the streets and hogs and rikshas (riksha hooter noise) and all these things going on. There are bazaars and one can go shopping in Loibazaar; Prabhupada once said, “but Krsna doesn’t loiter in Loibazaar!” So we are here in this wonderful place and all that is separating us from this Vrndavana is our consciousness and nothing but our consciousness. If our consciousness is materialistic then we cannot see beyond the material covering.
I heard that tomorrow you will do the Govardhana Parikrama. I did it yesterday so I will not join you tomorrow because my legs are a little sensitive! It’s quite a walk but very transcendental and it is described that actually, Govardhana Hill is made of jewels entirely. In the Gopala Campu of Jiva Gosvami, he describes that Govardhana Hill is made of jewels and there are big jewel slabs that are offering transcendental seats, for the devotees, for the Supreme Lord and His consort. So one can understand how amazing is Govardhana. I don’t know if any of you will be able to see a mountain of jewels tomorrow; if you do then don’t put any jewels in your pocket! If you cannot see the jewels and all you see is stones then still don’t put any of the stones on your pocket either because one cannot just take Govardhana out of Vraja. Govardhana is worshipable and one must first make his heart Vrndavana before he can just take Govardhana.
So this is our pilgrimage. We are here and we are challenged while we are here in Vrndavana to find Krsna. Our biggest challenge is to find Krsna, where is Krsna? It’s not so easy to see, not so easy. In those years that I was here in Vrndavana full time, then I remember that one day there was the mother of a devotee who had come from London to Vrndavana. And when she came she said, “is this your Vrndavana? I’m so disappointed! It’s dirty, it’s noisy, there is bad smell. Is this the bank of your Yamuna? It smells very bad here! There’s so much sewage! Is this your holy Yamuna? Is this your Vrndavana?” and in this way she criticised Vrndavana. Then when she returned, she went into our guest house in the temple. And as she went to fresh up in the bathroom, a rat jumped from the toilet! Three hours later she was back on the airport ready to go back to London. That was it! Vrndavana is not an ordinary place! Whatever transpires here is not transpiring by chance or by some ordinary, mundane arrangement. Everything here is arranged directly by Srimati Radharani, by Krsna and in this way we should understand that here…Srila Prabhupada said we are on Krsna’s lap. That is how it is! So we are here to find Krsna, we are here to see Krsna, we will look beyond any material discomfort. That is the first principle. Let not the material limitations that we are experiencing obsess our mind. We tolerate and we are not paying attention. Even if some difficulty comes,
tat te ‘nukampam su-samiksamano
bhunjana evatma-krtam vipakam
hrd-vag-vapurbhir vidadhan namas te
jIveta yo mukti-pade sa daya-bhak
one becomes daya bhak, a rightful heir to the mercy of Krsna if we tolerate. So in Vrndavana this mood is there and whatever difficulties come we take is as, ‘ah, that is for my purification,’ but we carry on searching Krsna, always searching Krsna.
The easiest process to find Krsna is to chant the Hare Krsna maha mantra because it’s more than a process. One could follow different processes- yoga, one could fast, one could perform tapasya- but by chanting we are associating with Krsna. So we are here to look for Krsna through hearing and chanting. This hearing is very powerful. Srila Prabhupada explains; he said once here in Vrndavana, on the side of Govardhana, some katha was going on and during the katha there were descriptions about Krsna, beautiful form- tribhanga rupa- three bend, folded form, Krsna’s flute, Krsna assembling in the forest of Vrndavana, seated in the keli kadambas, the transcendental Kadamba trees and holding His flute and attracting all the living beings in Vrndavana and the cows would immediately come upon hearing Krsna’s flute and then Krsna would count His herd of cows on His japa mala, which is made of jewels and has 108 and Krsna has 108 cows, which He counts like that! Some are white cows, some are reddish cows and some have heads just like mrdangas! They’re called mrdanga-mukhi! So the mrdanga mukhi cows also came and Krsna counted His different cows here in Vrndavana. So as the descriptions of Krsna’s pastimes were going on in that katha, at one point the speaker began to describe the opulence of Krsna and said that Krsna, He is dressed in a very opulent way! He is wearing crowns, He is wearing big turbans with many jewels and strings of pearls, He is having a huge gem on His chest (kaustubha gem), like that, Krsna, His opulence knows no bounds! Just as the speaker was explaining all these qualities about Krsna, one thief who was attracted by the crowd and who thought that, ‘maybe if I could possibly pick some pockets there at least to keep going for the day…’ so he was mixing with the crowd and when he heard all these descriptions about Krsna, he was thinking, ‘I would like to meet this Krsna! Hmmm…!’ So he had such eagerness to meet Krsna that at the end of the lecture he approached the pandita, the speaker, and the speaker could see that this person was sinful because a devotee is naturally effulgent and a sinful person naturally carries some darkness. So this person being quite sinful, this person could realise that this person, there is some intense karma. The person said, ‘I’ve heard about Krsna from your speaking and it was wonderful, wonderful descriptions! I would really like to meet Krsna!’ ‘Ah!’ said the speaker, ‘you are very fortunate, this is very rarely attained! This is very rare that one comes to the point of wanting to meet Krsna. Who wants to meet Krsna? It is very few people that come here to get some punya, take bath in the Yamuna, say a prayer in this mandira and that mandira, give me blessings, give me health, give me wealth, give me beauty, give me name, give me fame, give me glory! But, oh, you want Krsna, you want to meet Him? This is very nice.’ ‘Yes I really want to meet Him, where can I find Him? ‘He is very near to here…’ ‘Ah! That is good.’ ‘But He is not staying fixed in one place but He is regularly roaming around here, around Govardhana. Therefore the best thing that you can do is walk around Govardhana because then surely you will meet Him somewhere. Yes you will see. So you just walk around Govardhana and surely you will catch Him somewhere, surely!’
So anyway, our thief went and went looking here and there and then suddenly yes, he saw someone! Turban! Lots of jewels! Flute of gold and decorated with jewels! The flute alone was worth a fortune, you know what I mean! And then he saw a jewel on the chest, which alone was enough to never ever work another day in your life! And He’s only a boy and He’s walking around with crores and crores and crores and so the thief went up to Krsna and said, ‘So, I’m so happy to meet You! I’ve been really wanting to meet You…give me some of those jewels!’ and then Krsna said, “No, no I can’t do that; Mother Yasoda will become very upset, how can I give you those jewels? No, no, no, no I cannot give. This is not possible.” Then the thief said, ‘No, I want them, You give me them!’ So Krsna said, ‘what can I do? You are forcing me to give…’ ‘yes, I’m forcing You, so give them!’ and so Krsna gave all His jewels and then something happened; while this gunda was looking at Krsna- up close- he just became touched by the beauty of Krsna and then he stood there with all the jewels and then he said, ‘you know, I have one desire, would it be all right if I decorate You with all these jewels?’ and Krsna said, ‘yes, yes that will be fine. Yes…’ So then this dacoit very carefully decorated Krsna really nicely and when Krsna came home that evening, Mother Yasoda said, “what happened? I didn’t dress You like this…who did that?” “Oh, my devotee did that!”
So that is Krsna! If we approach Krsna to steal from Krsna, we can be the best thief, may be you don’t know that may be in your group there is also one thief! It can be…! Maybe a small one, maybe a big one, maybe someone innocently came along with the group and plan to steal! Maybe even the organisers themselves have planned the whole thing, to systematically steal from everyone! (Laughter) yes, you don’t know! But know for one thing, if you try to steal from Krsna, you can be the best thief but Krsna is a better thief still! Srila Visvanatha Cakravati Thakura has said, Krsna is nothing but a thief! He steals everything! He says that one who sees Krsna, Krsna steals your eyesight, one who listens to Krsna, Krsna makes you deaf because you will not be able to hear anything else anymore! After hearing about Krsna you will lose all taste; newspaper- newspapers are good for washing windows and making fire! For the rest, no one reads a newspaper- rubbish! Gramya katha, not interested in such mundane talks and there is no news there anyway! This one is corrupt and that one is corrupt, what is new? The names may change but the articles are the same. But Krsna, He steals our eyes, He steals our ears and He steals our heart. This is really Krsna’s business, stealing our heart! He’s the chor!
Prabhupada- the gateway to Vrndavana
So it is very nice that we can be here in Vrndavana and simply spend our time in remembering Krsna. As they read a little introduction about myself it’s said that I came here in Vrndavana and that I began my spiritual life in Vrndavana. So let me tell you something about that. Somehow or other I had been travelling in India in various holy places for quite some years before I came to Vrndavana. Someone had told me on the way about Vrndavana. So I took a train to Mathura junction and when I came to the railway station I said, is Vrndavana far? They said, ‘no, it’s very close.’ I said, oh can I walk? They said, ‘yes, no problem you can walk.’ It wasn’t that close, it was 20km! Anyway, I walked and as I came, I reached in the evening and I came over this road. There was no traffic in those days, maybe there were two cars a day that would come to Vrndavana. In India there were very few cars at that time. So when I was walking towards Vrndavana in the evening, there were no people on the road, there were only cows and they were all walking to Vrndavana. So I came to Vrndavana with the cows and a hundred cows or so were all coming. So it was very nice and when I came to this Krsna Balarama mandira, well as I came, I came through the gate over the road. You may have seen the gate or you may have not seen the gate because it went too quick but there is a gate if you go out to the main road, just a little back you will find the gate. It is the Prabhupada gate because the road that we are on is known as the Bhaktivedanta Swami Marg!
It was named after Srila Prabhupada and that gate was constructed to honour Srila Prabhupada for being a resident of Vrndavana who went to the West and returned with so much success. And the residents of Vrndavana, they really appreciated it, ‘you did something wonderful! You did something amazing!’ and there were speeches and everyone was glorifying Prabhupada for the amazing thing that he did. And the arch over the road constructed and then Prabhupada constructed the Krsna- Balarama mandir and in 1975 that Krsna-Balarama mandir was inaugurated. Of course on the 14th November in 1977, Srila Prabhupada gave up his physical presence in the world and then Srila Prabhupada’s remains were placed in the Samadhi. At that time of course, the Samadhi was a small, little hut, just a few breaks over the place where Prabhupada’s remains were buried. And there was Srila Prabhupada’s house. So Srila Prabhupada almost seemed to be more in the fore front than Krsna. Everything in the temple reminded us of Prabhupada! Everything! The bell at the entrance, the bell was very important because Prabhupada said that the bell must ring on time and the bell must ring on the hour, plus it must ring every half hour, plus it must ring during the arati all the time- all the aratis! And that bell, Prabhupada said, it must be rung by the security guards and Prabhupada said, “I will judge the management of this temple by the ringing of that bell,” and I tell you, that was difficult! For many years I was in charge of that bell- impossible bell! So many times at night the security guards sleeping- the bell is not ringing! Run down… ‘the bell is not ringing! I’ll cut your money!’ sometimes as we were ringing the bell, the rope would break! We’ve been up there with hammers to ring Prabhupada’s bell but it had to ring in time to keep that bell of Prabhupada ringing. It was something to be taken serious and even today everything in Vrndavana, Srila Prabhupada took personal interest. He didn’t just give the responsibility of the temple to some management; no, he took personal interest. So here in Vrndavana we are in Prabhupada’s home and that is another special feature for us and we can go to Prabhupada’s room. Prabhupada’s room is very interesting and let me tell you one thing about Prabhupada’s room. When you go into Prabhupada’s rooms there is a very nice Deity of Prabhupada, you go in and you go out, you look quickly around, you see a few things here and there, some paintings and we go pranama, pranama, pranama and we go out and think it was very nice…no, no not like that! Look better, look more closely…first of all you can go to Prabhupada’s desk and there is a letter on Prabhupada’s desk- a daily letter- you can read it. Nowadays we have these letters on our computer this that but one should know that we never had these letters. Vrndavana and Los Angeles were the only 2 temples in the world that had a collection of Prabhupada’s letters and everyday they were on the desk and Prabhupada used to write those letters. Here we can sit at Prabhupada’s feet.
All the paintings on the wall…some of the major paintings of course were original illustrations of Prabhupada’s books. That is there but that is not everything; there are also some pictures of deities of some temples that devotees gave to Prabhupada. Why did they give the pictures of these Deities to Prabhupada? So that Prabhupada would remember their temple and would want to come to their temple and you can see that on the wall if you look carefully. In this way you can see that there is a whole story there in Prabhupada’s house- a relationship between Prabhupada and his disciples taking place in his house. Take your time and have a good look.
Go to Radha Damodara mandir…of course you are many but it doesn’t matter. Still you go and go to Prabhupada’s rooms because he was a resident of the eternal Vrndavana. He was able to see Krsna and the spiritual world. We are trying but he was able to see. We are here and not the only ones, Vrndavana is full! It is full with people, the month of Kartika, so many pilgrims are here. Tomorrow, Sunday, so many people will come from Delhi and it will be a busy day. The temple will be packed and packed and packed and we will hardly be able to tell the difference between any of this group or the other people coming. But there is a difference because we have connected to the mercy of Srila Prabhupada because we have seen that here is one who knows. When Prabhupada was preaching sometimes people were objecting, ‘why are you always saying that we should only worship Krsna? It is said in our tradition we are worshipping so many different deities, so many gods and you are saying only Krsna, why only Krsna? We cannot worship the other deities also? But in my family for 375 years we are worshipping and you say we cannot? Why stressing Krsna so much? Isn’t this dogmatic?’ and Prabhupada said, ‘why are they so dogmatically saying that I am dogmatic? Why are they so dogmatically saying that Krsna is not God if they have not seen Him?’ That was it.
On another occasion one journalist said, ‘how is it that the pure devotee knows what Krsna wants?’ one sannyasi said, ‘oh that’s easy, he has a direct connection in the heart and Krsna reveals from within the heart.’ Prabhupada said, ‘no not like that, if I want to know what Krsna wants I just ask Him!’ That was Prabhupada! So we can remember that also.
So we are here and we can pray to Srila Prabhupada and we can try and remember Krsna and all His different pastimes. I don’t know how much time you will take tomorrow at Govardhana. And of course there is also a visit to Radhakunda because Bahulastami is at midnight. Some people take bath before and some people take bath after and many people, too many people, take bath at midnight. There will be a huge rush, something like the unreserved bogi! So it’s going to be a lot of pushing and shoving there in the night and when you go with a large group you may lose a few, so therefore it may be better to also reserve that for tomorrow I guess. I heard how it was planned.
Radhakunda- the most sacred place
Radhakunda of course if the most sacred place in the entire universe. It is said that Mathura is more sacred than any other place in Krsna’s pastime because Krsna appeared in Mathura but Vrndavana is more sacred than Mathura because in Vrndavana, Krsna performed amazing pastimes. But then in Vrndavana, Govardhana is more sacred than Vrndavana because Govardhana is hari dasya varya, the greatest servant of Krsna. Govardhana’s makes so many arrangements for Krsna’s service; there are nice caves where Krsna can hide the cowherd boys, or different coloured minerals that they use to decorate their bodies and there are green grass for the cows and nice streams with fresh water and in this way even when it’s dry elsewhere in Vrndavana, there is still green grass on Govardhana. So Govardhana is known as hari dasya varya, the greatest of all Krsna’s servants. But greater still than Govardhana is Radhakunda because these two lakes, Radhakunda and Syamakunda, they are actually the melted love of Radha and Krsna. Srimati Radharani is such a devotee. She is completely dedicated to Krsna. It is said that when Srimati Radharani appeared that everything was wonderful, this beautiful, golden child appeared and it was wonderful. But there was only one problem: the child was blind! So of course that was a very painful thing and it was a very beautiful child and yet the child was blind. Krsna, who did not live far away from the birth place of Srimati Radharani came also for the celebration of that birth ceremony. And when Krsna came, though Krsna was a little older, and when Krsna looked at the child then She opened Her eyes for the first time. That was it! Then She saw. Otherwise She had no interest in seeing anything else. Yes, we are different…
One time I was boarding a plane and they said, ‘do you want window or aisle seat?’ so I said, window seat and I thought I’ll have a nice view. So I was having a view and I took the Nectar of Devotion and I was reading and it said that the gopis had no interest to see anything but Krsna! So like this, what shall we say! These devotees, the gopis, and of all the gopis especially Srimati Radharani, is so extraordinarily pure. When Krsna left and left Vrndavana all together and went to Mathura, we remember, when Krsna left Srimati Radharani said that, “from that day I stopped sleeping because sleep also plays its part with Me because sometimes I forget Krsna. Therefore I stopped sleeping.” I don’t think that happened to any of us yet! Sleeping is very dear to us but just so that we understand what kind of devotee Srimati Radharani is. In the Caitanya Caritamrta it is said that there is no devotee like the gopis. Krsna says in the Bhagavad Gita, Krsna says, ye yatha mam prapadyante tams tathaiva bhajamy aham “as you surrender unto Me I reward you accordingly.” He said in the case of the gopis, “you service is so glorious that there is nothing in My possession that I can give in exchange. So I don’t know what to do? The only thing I could possibly do is to let the fame of your own service, let that be your reward.” So therefore this Radhakunda is the most exalted place and it is a place where we go in a prayerful mood.
Just like when we go in the temple…of course in Kanartaka they don’t speak Hindi but it’s not like (speaks hindi) that’s not right for the mandir. Here in the mandir one goes in respectful because there is the Supreme Lord. So in Radhakunda we go to that place in a very respectful and prayerful mood. Therefore it is better to go tomorrow when it is more peaceful and more easy to go in the right mood because it is not the time that is important, it is the mood that is the most important, it is the consciousness that is the most important. So we go in a prayerful mood and pray. Srila Prabhupada, following his spiritual master, recommended that we would not bathe in Radhakunda but that we would simply put some drops on our head and pray. So that we will do. And what do we pray for? We pray for pure devotional service and nothing else. We don’t pray, ‘please fix the rheumatism of my grandmother or have a cousin and may that cousin pass the exam for medical exams and so many other things. We have a big list so forget the whole list, we will not pray for that. We will pray for only pure devotional service. And all throughout in our stay in this holy land let us do that.
By the acaryas mercy…
So thank you. It is really nice that I have the opportunity to introduce you a little to Vrndavana. There is something more because 5000 years ago, Krsna performed His pastimes in this transcendental land of Vrndavana. 5000 years ago, Krsna lifted Vrndavana, Indra came and threw thunder bolts on the back of Govardhana and 5000 years Krsna gave shelter to all the residents and to all the cows and that is amazing because it is said that Krsna has unlimited cowherd boy associates and each of them has unlimited cows! And Prabhupada said not million of associates, not trillions, not zillions but unlimited associates that He has and they have even unlimited cows and calves! And all of them would just go every morning in Vrndavana from their homes on the narrow forest path. Can you imagine the traffic? But no jams, nothing! Somehow or other all these cowherd boys, all these calves, all these cows could fit! So Vrndavana is such a place. So here in Vrndavana 5000 years ago, Krsna performed His transcendental pastimes but overtime Vrndavana was covered by forest. Even today if you would go on the roof of a high building then you see that there is a lot of trees but are all walls and gardens now but actually it is still kind of a forestry area. So the forest in Vrndavana covered everything and it was forgotten. Something was remembered by the local villagers but places were forgotten.
So 500 years ago when Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu came to Vrndavana it was Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu who discovered Radhakunda and Syamakunda, which then had been forgotten. No one knew and they were just two ponds in the middle of the fields and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu began to dance in these ponds and then He began to explain that here are Radhakunda and Syamakunda. Then later Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu sent His principle disciples, Srila Rupa and Sanatana Gosvamis to Vrndavana. Of course we are very much coming in Vrndavana through these Gosvamis.
lokanam hita-karinau tri-bhuvane manyau saranyakarau
vande rupa-sanatanau raghu-yugau sri-jiva-gopalakau
(Sad Gosvami Astakam, vs 2)
So the principle followers of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu were the six Gosvamis. These six Gosvamis, they wrote transcendental literature, nana sastra vicaranaika nipunau. They studied and scrutinised all the Vedic literatures and produced books on how to perform pure devotional service- bhakti. Within these books they were based on the teachings of what they had heard from Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and they found all the evidence in the scripture for the same points that Mahaprabhu had made and these books of the Gosvamis were famous. And then they began to excavate holy places here in Vrndavana and they also installed a number of Deities. Rupa Gosvami installed Sri Sri Radha Govinda. Sanatana Gosvami was the first. Sanatana Gosvami found a place in Vrndavana where he was hoping that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu would come. This place was known as dwadasa aditya tila, it is a hill overlooking the Yamuna. On there, on that hill, he made his residence. It was the place where Krsna took rest after dancing in the hoods of Kaliya and because Krsna had been in the water for a very, very long time, Krsna had become cold. So therefore Krsna sat down on that hill because He was cold from being in the water for a long time, so the sun became 12 times as hot! Therefore dwadasa aditya tila- 12 times more hot the sun came. So Krsna warmed up nicely! And this place is known to be a very important place. It is said that whatever bhajana is performed in that place it is also becoming multiplied. Therefore Sanatana Gosvami had chosen this place and it gives a beautiful view over the Yamuna. And Sanatana Gosvami made his residence there and we know that somehow or other there was this Deity of Madan Mohan. Madan Mohan was worshipped by one brahmana in Mathura- well not exactly worshipped. This brahmana was treating the deity just like his son. He had a whole number of sons and he would sit them down for prasada and he would put the deity also and give Him a plate and then serve everyone. This was going on and then one day Sanatana Gosvami use to come door to door to beg for some atta so that he could make chapattis and then when Sanatana Gosvami saw this he said, “But you know, this is not proper. How can you worship like this? This is not the right standard…” So then that night in the dream of Sanatana Gosvami, Madan Mohan appeared and Madan Mohan said, “tomorrow, you go to the house of the brahmana and I want to some with you. And after that you worship Me.” And He also appeared in the dream of the brahmana and said, “tomorrow Sanatana Gosvami will come and I want that you will give my form to him.” The brahmana was not so happy but what to do. So he gave the deity to Sanatana Gosvami and Sanatana Gosvami he didn’t also have so much facility because he was a simple renunciant. They were making from some atta, flat balls and then tikkis and then put the tikkis in the ashes of the fire and then cook them on some glowing charcoal, little rotis like that- vrajabhasi roti! And that was it! And because there was no temple, he was hanging the deities on ropes on the tree and then he was offering these rotis. So one day Madan Mohan said, “you know, the roti is very nice but could I have maybe a little salt?” Sanatana Gosvami said, “what is this? You want salt? We are renunciants, we have given up this sense enjoyment and now you want salt? What is this? Today You want salt and then tomorrow You want so many other things, no, no, no! We are simply renunciants and this is all we have. Sorry no salt.”
So then shortly after that there was a storm. In those days there was no dam in Delhi and there was a lot more water in the Yamuna and there were ships plying on the Yamuna. Due to the wind, a ship got out of its course and got stuck on the banks. Sanatana Gosvami had previously been the prime minister of Navab Hussain Shah in Bengal. Therefore Sanatana Gosvami was extremely intelligent, extremely learned and very practical. So everybody if they had a problem then they would go to Sanatana Gosvami. So any question, instead of google, they had Santana Gosvami! It was like that in those days. So they would just ask Sanatana Gosvami so when the ship got stuck they asked, what to do? So the owner came and said what to do? What to do? Sanatana Gosvami said come and pray to Madan Mohan. So he prayed to Madan Mohan and then Sanatana Gosvami said, “all right, then now you pull the ship (in a certain direction) and then it will come off the bank.” So they did and the ship came off the bank. The owner was very happy and he came back and he said, “oh you have saved my ship! How can I reward you? Please tell me what can I give you?” Sanatana Gosvami said, “I didn’t do anything; Madan Mohan did it! You prayed to Them, you didn’t pray to me so They did it. So get something for Them. You can make a temple for Them.” And then the owner of that ship said, “all right, I will do that.” And what was the load on that ship? Salt! So Krsna got His salt, just see! He has His ways to get what He wants! This is Krsna and this is Vrndavana! Krsna always gets His way, that is for sure! So here we are…
So the temples of the six Gosvamis are the principle temple in Vrndavana. These are the original temples and these temples are the most important temples. Since we are the followers of the six Gosvamis, these are our temples. Some other temples may belong to other traditions who also have sometimes other philosophy and even the Mayavadis are here also and some demigod worship and there are a few masjids also in Vrndavana but these temples of the six Gosvamis, these are very important. 500 years ago, these temples were filled with devotees, with great and pure devotees and the six Gosvamis were leading them and everyone was reading the literature of the six Gosvamis and therefore Vrndavana is more than just a place of wonderful Krsna lilas. But Vrndavana is also the place where the absolute truth has been revealed by the pure devotees and is preserved. So we also come here to go deeper into the siddhanta and to thoroughly understand the nature of the teachings of Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
The wealth of Vrndavana
So all this wealth is here. This Vrndavana is where our movement has roots. It has roots because here our principles acaryas are there. Just like in the South, they’ll go to Uddupi because that’s Madhavacarya’s place. They’ll go to Sri Rangan but we go to Vrndavana and here in Vrndavana, this is the home of our acaryas, of our teachings of the Gaudiya vaisnavas, especially here. So that is another feature and we are here so we are really in a very significant place. So I have made three points, three major points: one was that we are in the spiritual world, that Krsna is present here, we must find Him, we must look for Him, we go to His holy places, we hear about Him, we chant His glories…the second point was that this is also Srila Prabhupada’s home. Now we must also spend some time here connecting with Srila Prabhupada and you have today asked me to speak but I must recommend to your organisers that they somehow or other catch Sruta Kirti, Srila Prabhupada’s personal servant. He is here at the moment and you catch him to speak about Prabhupada or you catch Brahmananda Prabhu, one of the two. He is also here. And you just ask them to speak on Prabhupada and what can be said…
The other day I came into the temple and we have in Vrndavana a new temple president. It’s since a short time actually- some months- that he took over and in that time he really painted the temple very nicely and decorated the altar with gold decoration and it looks better than it ever looked before. So I stood next to Sruta Kirti and I said, “Prabhupada would be pleased,” Sruta Kirti said, “Prabhupada is pleased.” Nice! So much living in that relationship with Prabhupada. So just having such devotees- Brahmananda or Sruta Kirti- then Prabhupada is present, completely present. So please take the opportunity and connect with Srila Prabhupada while you in Vrndavana.
And then the third point that I made was about our tradition…how Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu actually uncovered Vrndavana and how the six Gosvamis, his principle disciples, how they established our tradition, how they established our main temples in Vrndavana…at Radhakunda we will see all the stone steps leading into the water and ghatas and so on. That was constructed Raghunatha das Gosvami. When we do Govardhana Parikrama there will be not enough time to see all the places at Radhakunda but Raghunatha das Gosvami’s Samadhi we must see, at least we’ll go there.
Like that we can connect to Krsna through our acaryas, through Prabhupada and here in Vrndavana, whatever we do…it’s not that we came here to get some inspiration. No, inspiration is one thing, we came here for something much more than inspiration; we came here to deepen our eternal connection with Krsna. Whatever connection we make here for Krsna, it’s eternal and there’s eternal benefit. It will deepen our eternal relationship with Krsna. That is what we are doing here. So it’s a very important visit and I heard that many of you are coming for the first time. And if possible let it not be the last time! Let this first visit be your first introduction to Vrndavana and then develop that relationship. It is said that Vrndavana is non-different from Balarama; Balarama is Vrndavana. Balarama is such a servant of Krsna He becomes His shoes, He becomes His seat, He becomes His plate, He becomes His bed and He even becomes Vrndavana! So let us come again and again and go deeper and deeper into Vrndavana.
So I thank you for listening. If you have a question or two I will try to answer otherwise if you don’t have a question or two that’s also fine. Then we will also chant for a few minutes some kirtana. You have a question?
Maharaja: When I came from Mathura junction and I entered into Vrndavana and the cows were walking in, I came to the temple here and it was just the time of the evening arati. The doors of the temple were opening, the pujaris came out and blew the conch shells. So I came at the time of the evening arati and I was very impressed by the whole spiritual nature of the dhama. I understood immediately that this place is not ordinary at all. So then I stayed…
Okay lets chant a little Hare Krsna and then we’ll end. Hare Krsna.