A lecture given by His Holiness Kadamba Kanana Maharaja, 13 March 2012 in NoveSady
Jaya Jaya Sri Caitanya Jaya Nityananda
Jaya Advaitacandra Jaya Gaura bhakta vrnda
yajanti hi su-medhasah
The hidden avatar
This time Krsna appeared but His form was not blackish; it was the same Krsna but this time His mood was different. Krsna is always soft hearted. It is mentioned in Bhagavad Gita, tesam eva anukampartham aham ajnana-jam tamah, that Krsna is waiting in the heart for us to turn to Him and if He sees a little, little inclination towards devotional service, He immediately showers the living being with mercy. But Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu didn’t even consider that. Caitanya Mahaprabhu thought that, ‘even if there is no inclination towards devotional service somehow or the other I’ll give them the mercy anyway’ and suddenly everywhere people began to chant the holy name of the Lord. So the chanting of Hare Krsna is the main means by which one constantly can access the mercy of Lord Caitanya. One devotee said, ‘I cannot chant anymore, I just have no taste for it.’ All right, taste or no taste it is an ocean of mercy! Even if it is a little bit of austerity one is just been flooded with the mercy.
First the mercy of Lord Caitanya remained covered- after all He is the hidden avatar because only to His intimate devotees is He manifesting as the Supreme Lord. Many times He showed that He is the Supreme Lord: Like in the house of Srivasa, He showed it to all the devotees. To Lord Nityananda and Sarvabhauma He showed His six armed form with two arms of Ramachandra, two arms of Krsna and two arms of Lord Caitanaya. The Ramacandra arms were holding bow and arrow, the Krsna arms holding a flute and the Caitanya arms holding a kamandalu and a stick. In this way Lord Caitanya revealed Himself. To Ramananda Raya He showed that He was non different from Radha and Krsna. Ramananda Raya saw that He became Radha and Krsna and then He became Gauranga. To Advaita Acarya He showed His universal form. Lord Caitanya was directly showing in so many ways that He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead- but only to His devotees; the world could not see.
Maharaja Prataparudra was thinking that He cannot be an ordinary human being. It is described that Maharaja Prataparudra, who was the king in Puri at that time, was a reincarnation of Indradyumna Maharaja who had appeared in Satya Yuga and now He appeared as a king of Puri and again as a servant of Lord Jagannatha. Maharaja Indradyumna is the original king who installed Lord Jagannatha. And Maharaja Prataparudra, thousands of years later, again worshiped Lord Jagannatha. And when he saw Lord Caitanya dancing in ecstasy he thought He is not an ordinary human being. He must be the Supreme Lord! But then when he saw that He was falling unconscious in the street and that His body was becoming covered with dust and there was foam on His mouth and saliva everywhere, then he thought, ‘He cannot be God!’ But then that night Lord Jagannatha appeared in His dream and Lord Jagannatha was covered in dust and foam and saliva! And in this way the Lord was communicating through dreams.
The Lord present in dreams
Many times we see that devotees are experiencing the presence of the Lord in dreams. For example Narottama Das Thakura, who never met Lord Caitanya because he was born just after. I mean it’s just too much to take birth just after Lord Caitanya had left! So he was in separation. But there was one brahmana who had actually seen Lord Caitanya and he was giving all the descriptions about everything. But we know that Lord Caitanya had previously been to the same place where Narottama had appeared and Lord Caitanya had suddenly called out the name, “Narottama, Narottama, Narottama , Narottama ,” and everyone was like,’who’s Narottama?’ And then Lord Caitanya had called Ganga and the deity of Ganga came before Him. Lord Caitanya told Ganga, “you must keep this Krsna prema!” and Ganga devi was just like holding this Krsna prema and she stared trembling and shaking and became completely beyond herself and she immediately flooded all her banks and the whole village became flooded! And she said in ecstasy, “this is too much, this is too much! I can’t deal with this!” Then Lord Caitanya said, “don’t worry, you keep it but in the future you will give it to Narottama.”
So Narottama, many years later, appeared in this world. And finally one day he took bath in the branch of Ganga known as the Padma. It is a nice river. We went there; we took a boat went in the middle of the river and jumped in- just in case! Because a few hundred years earlier Narottama jumped in and he just got hit by this Krsna prema and in ecstasy his body turned golden and then he came out of the waters and he was crying and chanting! And his own mother didn’t recognise him! She said, “he looks like my son but this one is golden, mine is dark.” It was nice to jump in that water and I hope there was a little bit of that Krsna prema left- even a little, little bit!
So in this way we can see how Lord Caitanya appeared in Narottama’s life by showering him with mercy. But Narottama still felt great separation and in separation he had no desire of continuing to live. Then in his dream the entire panca tattva and all Their associates appeared and there was an ecstatic kirtan. Narottama just fell on the ground paying his obeisances. Then Lord Caitanya just picked him up, embraced him and said, “Narottama, you must go to Vrndavana.” And then Lord Nityananda embraced him and said, “Narottama, you must go to Vrndavana and then Advaita said,(loud voice) “Narottama, you must go to Vrndavana.” It is said that Advaita Acarya had a very loud voice. One day in Shantipur, Advaita Acarya said, “today we will have a special kirtana. Today we will glorify Gauranga!” and the devotees were very worried because they knew that Lord Caitanya didn’t like that. But they couldn’t say no to Advaita Acarya. And he said, “yes we will all sing the glories of Lord Caitanya but I will just dance because my voice is very loud and if I sing then you all will become afraid.” Advaita Acarya told to Narottama with a loud voice, “go to Vrndavana.” And then all the devotees told Narottama, “go to Vrndavana!”
So when Narottama woke up he had this kind of feeling that maybe he has to go to Vrndavana. So he went towards Vrndavana and it was a long walk- all the way from East Bengal. Then he walked the whole day and in the night he came to a village. He stopped in that village and the people were like amazed to see him- this lotus eyes and this golden form was just amazing! So the villagers started fighting with each other about where he is going to stay. Someone said, ‘I have the best house in the village so he should stay at my house!’ And others said, ‘no he is a sadhu, he is renounced and he should therefore stay in a simple place.’ Like this, all the people were finding a reason why he had to stay at their house. And then the whole night they had amazing kirtanas because Narottama could really sing very beautiful and then they had katha. Then in the morning Narottama said, ‘I have to go,’ and the villagers said, ‘no, no, you cannot go, we will die if u go.’ And Narottama said, ‘yes, I will also die if I go, I also cannot go, you are such wonderful devotees, how can I go? But I have to go because I have the order of Lord Caitanya, Lord Nityananda, Advaita Acarya and all the other associates of the Lord.” So then again he would walk the whole day and again the same thing would happen at another village!
So when we hear about these amazing devotees then we think how is this possible? These are the eternal associates of the Lord and their love of God is so deep and their ecstasy is so great. And Rupa Goswami asks for millions of millions of ears and tongues for chanting the holy name and we never really have that. So on the one hand it’s very inspiring to hear about such great devotees and on the other hand we ourselves seem to just be so far from that.
Pushing a broken car up the hill
Yesterday we were remembering an example: it is said in the beginning, spiritual life is like pushing a broken car up the hill. You may have experience in the village. In the stages of sraddha (initial faith), in the stages of sadhu sanga, bhajana kriya, anartha nirvittih- all stages are like pushing the car up the hill. But when you come to nishtha then the car comes on top of the hill and when you come to ruci then the car is coming down very easily; you don’t have to push anymore. At asakti it begins to move, at bhava it’s trucking down and in prema it’s just madness! It’s not difficult to develop Krsna prema. It’s not that this is some sort of deep hidden secret or something very mystical- (dramatic) ‘how do we get taste in Krsna consciousness? How?’ Well, if you would ask around the room somebody would say, ‘by chanting! By devotional service!’ but then why is it that we still don’t have taste?
The answer is that we are not enough engaged. We need more hearing, need more kirtana, need more chanting, more Deity worship, more Bhagavatam… Sanatana Goswami, when he was young then he also had a dream and in his dream a brahmana came and this brahmana gave him Srimad Bhagavatam and then he woke up and saw it was all a dream. But later that day the same brahmana came and gave him the Bhagavatam. So because he first saw the dream and then it really happened, it was a big thing and it was significant. So it was for that reason that he became completely fixed on Bhagavatam. And he writes in Krsna-Lila-Stava that, ‘the Bhagavatam is my constant companion.’ Obviously, he was not twenty four hours a day reading the Bhagavatam. I knew one devotee who was always having a book under his nose. Whenever you would see him, he would have the book and if ever you needed something from him, like, ‘can we use the car?’ and he would be like, ‘huh?’ and we go, ‘the car, car…’ and he says, ‘… er oh yes!’ and then we ask, ‘where is it parked?’ and he says, ‘huh?’He was always reading! He would walk on the street reading and he had a plastic book cover in case it rained! And at home there were all books around him. But still he didn’t have the same level of absorption that Sanatana Goswami had, who was not just reading but he was also remembering. He was always meditating on Krsna.
Just think of Krsna
One year I was attending a European GBC meeting and next to me was the European communication minister for Europe. He had a computer and on the computer something was scrolling, ‘25 ways to improve a meeting.’ Then he took a big piece of paper. On that he wrote, ‘don’t forget to think,’ and he put it right in front of him. On the other side of me was Smita Krsna Maharaja and he was writing on his notepad, ‘don’t forget to think,’ question mark! And then under that, ‘why think,’ question mark! And then under that he wrote, ‘just remember,’ and then under that, ‘…Krsna!’ It was pretty far out! Really interesting! So yes if one could be so simple, to just think of Krsna…
But when we read we read in a ritualistic way, when we chant we chant in a ritualistic way, we don’t actually simply appreciate Krsna. If we actually just sometimes think that Krsna is actually nice. He is actually very nice. And if we had a little bit of that appreciation then maybe it would not be that austere to chant His name. So like this we have to allow ourselves to appreciate Krsna and actually see how attractive is Krsna. Then that taste comes and then your car starts rolling down the hill! What more do you want? If somehow or the other we can always increase our hearing about Krsna and see how wonderful Krsna is. This is smaranam and this is actually appreciating Krsna. Then we become Bhakti Jana – people who are totally absorbed in bhakti. Then we become Parama Karuna- supremely merciful- because we are Pada Pankaja because we have taken shelter at the lotus feet of Krsna. Then we become Jananivasa, the shelter of all living beings. Because we are faithfully preaching Gauravani and then one gets absorbed in the playful pastimes of the Lord- Keli Lalita. In this way spiritual life is fun!
We just came from New York- it was nice and crazy! We didn’t see many trees, did we? But in the Tompkins Park we saw the Hare Krsna tree where Prabhupada chanted. The park was filled with bums (homeless people) and my servant naturally felt attracted! And there was the Matchless Gifts store front, which is like so much invested with Prabhupada’s potency. So just by being in such a place we get so much mercy and we were staying just around the corner. So that was nice and lot’s of nice people too. We celebrated Gaura Purnima three times there- that was also nice! And some people never leave their village and that’s also very nice. Again Smita Krsna Maharaja…We were in Switzerland in a Summer Camp and he does a seminar. So we all are sitting down in the room and everyone with a pen and paper getting ready for the seminar and then he says, ‘well, we’ll go for a walk!’ So we are all going for a walk in the mountain and we find a big tree and he said, ‘okay, we are going to sit down here.’ And then he said, ‘and now slow …’ and I must say my mind was going, ‘how do I get out of here?’ (Laughter)But this is exactly how the six Gosvamis lived under trees simply chanting Hare Krsna, no need to go here and there.
So that’s the wonderful thing because still people…like today we were on the airport and there was the advertisement of HBSC and they show a picture they show someone with tennis shoes and then it says,’ free time shoes’ but then they show a tennis player and the tennis player has work shoes- a professional- and then they show someone else has very nice shoes when they go out in their free time to a party or something. So this morning they showed a picture of a Volkswagon loaded up with furniture on top- mattresses, tables and chairs and so many things on top of it. And it said something like everyday 10 000 people are leaving the villages to go to the city. It’s because of passion. This New York is so passionate. And then we went to Times Square, it’s a high rise buildings and on the whole side of the buildings there are these big, big television screens on the whole side of the building and they all are like moving around with colours and pictures. And when you‘re on that square you don’t have to take drugs; it’s the craziest place in the world- its worst than LSD! And all this is just going on in the name of enjoy, enjoy, enjoy. And that’s what people wish each other- like if you buy something… ‘enjoy, enjoy, enjoy,’ but that’s not realistic at all. The homeless people are maybe not enjoying so much. So village life is very nice because it makes you sober. In the village we are more confronted with reality. In the big, big cities we live in illusion and in the village life is what it is.
But by adding Krsna consciousness it becomes like magic. Then you have a magic village! And that’s actually how we are meant to live. When Nove Sady becomes famous for maybe an amazing summer festival where deities are worshiped really in an amazing way, with amazing dramas in the forest, with bhajanas and with lots of prasadam from a certain gentlemen, then such a village becomes the most wonderful place in the world. But when there is no spiritual life then in the whole world, people are leaving the villages. It was said that in the year 2000 one third of the world population lived in the cities. In 2010, 55% in cities and everyday people are leaving the villages, everywhere all over the world. Well it’s good for us because land becomes cheap and lots of empty houses so we just move in and we’ll make an amazing transcendental village, something like Vrndavana and Nandagrama. We are happy to be here, especially straight from New York as it is hard to see a tree and here there are lots of them!
Any questions or comments?
Question: How is the preaching in New York?
Maharaja: There’s good preaching. There is no limit to it! There is so much opportunity to preach. There are lots of people who are willing to come. There was a building that was previously under Kirtananda Swami who had his own movement and few years ago that building came back to ISKCON. It’s a six stories building- a very long narrow temple room. And there is a mataji who rented a part of the building and who on her own is doing cooking courses. And she advertised through facebook and internet and she signed up 800 people for the introductory course! So lots of potential. Yes it’s New York city and the universities are open and book distribution is great. Union Square is the place full of young people and they come out of the subway, they come out of the dark and into the light! It’s the good spot. Yes there is nice opportunity. And here in the winter you feel – Wow! We saw a bird. But winter has its own charm as we eat lots of prasadam in winter. Preaching can be done anywhere. And Prabhupada also said that it is not that one place is good and one place is bad. Because Lord Nityananda said, prthivite ache yata nagaradi grama, in every town and village there are devotees. So in that way Prabhupada said everywhere is good, you just need to know how to do it. Different techniques for a different place.
Question: How do we wake up this desire for preaching ? Yesterday I read that a devotee came to Srila Prabhupada for darshan and Srila Prabhupada mentioned that everyone should preach even if it looked only in a way that you beg and please chant Hare Krsna.
Maharaja: Yes I guess we must develop a little bit of the mood to give some mercy to others. Like give a little bit of prasadam to the neighbours every once a while. So preaching doesn’t have to be difficult. It is not to take a book and get the money. So there are different ways to preach.
Question: Is it correct to think that as we work nicely in our spiritual life and we develop our taste then our preaching will be more effective and it will become more natural?
Maharaja: Yes it is right. ‘I lost my beads three years ago.’ But you know you must chant, it is the only thing that can save you. That was Prabhupada so much faith so much happiness. Prabhupada said preaching is very easy. Just show people how happy you are!
And then there was prasadam!