Giriraj Swami

Apr 062020
 

For Balarama Rasa-yatra, we shall read from Srila Prabhupada’s summary study of the Tenth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam, called Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead—about Lord Balarama’s visit to Vrindavan after He and Krishna had been away from Vrindavan for many years.

In our meditation on the deity of the Lord, we begin from His lotus feet and then gradually progress upward to His ankles, knees, thighs, waist, navel, chest, neck, and face. Srimad-Bhagavatam is also a form of the Lord, and so we begin its study with the lotus feet, which are the First and Second Cantos, and gradually progress upwards until we get to the Tenth Canto, which is compared to the Lord’s smiling face. The topics in the Tenth Canto are very elevated and can actually be fully appreciated only by liberated souls—because Krishna’s pastimes with His pure devotees are enacted on the liberated platform—but on special occasions like Balarama Rasa-yatra we do explore such topics.

On this occasion some years ago, I was in Vrindavan tending to a disciple, Arca-vigraha dasi, who was preparing to leave her body. Many senior devotees would come every day and read to her, discuss with her, and chant for her, and on this particular occasion I read the same pastime—about Lord Balarama’s visit to Vrindavan—from both the Tenth Canto and the Krsna book. The basic features of the pastime were the same in both texts, though there were little differences in terms of details and revelations of insights into the pastime. Today I shall read from the Krsna book, Chapter Sixty-Five: “Lord Balarama Visits Vrndavana.”

TEXT

Lord Balarama became very anxious to see His father and mother in Vrndavana. Therefore, with great enthusiasm He started on a chariot for Vrndavana. The inhabitants of Vrndavana had been anxious to see Krsna and Balarama for a very long time. When Lord Balarama returned to Vrndavana, all the cowherd boys and the gopis had grown up; but still, on His arrival, they all embraced Him, and Balarama embraced them in reciprocation. After this He came before Maharaja Nanda and Yasoda and offered His respectful obeisances. In response, Mother Yasoda and Nanda Maharaja offered their blessings unto Him. They addressed Him as Jagadisvara, or the Lord of the universe who maintains everyone. The reason for this was that Krsna and Balarama maintain all living entities. And yet Nanda and Yasoda were put into such difficulties on account of Their absence. Feeling like this, they embraced Balarama and, seating Him on their laps, began their perpetual crying, wetting Balarama with their tears. Lord Balarama then offered His respectful obeisances to the elderly cowherd men and accepted the obeisances of the younger cowherd men. Thus, according to their different ages and relationships, Lord Balarama exchanged feelings of friendship with them. He shook hands with those who were His equals in age and friendship and with loud laughing embraced each one of them.

COMMENT by Giriraj Swami

There are many points in just this one paragraph. First, Lord Balarama offered obeisances to Nanda and Yasoda, who had played the roles of His parents, and they in turn offered their blessings to Him—yet they referred to Him as Jagadisvara, the Lord of the universe. It appears contradictory that the Lord of the universe is offering obeisances to Nanda and Yasoda and that they are offering blessings to Him. But in transcendental pastimes there are two considerations: rasa and tattva. Rasa means the transcendental mellows exchanged between the Lord and the devotee in a loving relationship, and tattva means their existential positions. Although in terms of tattva, Balarama is the Personality of Godhead, vishnu-tattva, and Nanda and Yasoda are devotees, in terms of rasa, their transcendental relationship, Nanda and Yasoda are in the position of parents to Balarama and Krishna (vatsalya-rasa).

Queen Kunti prayed to Krishna,

gopy adade tvayi krtagasi dama tavad
  ya te dasasru-kalilanjana-sambhramaksam
vaktram niniya bhaya-bhavanaya sthitasya
  sa mam vimohayati bhir api yad bibheti

“My dear Krsna, Yasoda took up a rope to bind You when You committed an offense, and Your perturbed eyes overflooded with tears, which washed the mascara from Your eyes. And You were afraid, though fear personified is afraid of You. This sight is bewildering to me.” (SB 1.8.31) The image of Mother Yasoda with rope in hand and Krishna trembling in fright with tears in His eyes—even though Krishna is feared by fear personified—caused Kunti to become transcendentally bewildered.

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Apr 032020
 

What is called? A quarantine, quarantine.

How you can violate the nature’s law? It is not possible. Nature’s law is so strict, a little deviation will put you into suffering. This is going on. That is Yamaraja. And if you violate more and more and more, then you suffer more and more and more. This is the law. You cannot escape. That is the general law everywhere, all over the world: life for life. So, in God’s law there is no such thing that if you kill a human being you’ll be killed, and if you kill an animal you’ll not be killed. That is imperfect law, man-made law.

You are maintaining so many slaughterhouses, and when it will be mature, there will be war, wholesale murder. Finished. One atom bomb—finished. You’ll have to suffer. Don’t think that “Innocent animals, they cannot protest. Let us kill and eat.” No. You’ll be also punished. Wait for accumulation of your sinful activities . . .

Why do you think there is no punishment and there is no God? This is utopian. Don’t think like that. There is God, there is His government, there are His agents, there are witnesses. Otherwise, why there are different varieties of life? Eight million four hundred thousand species of life. Everyone is a living being. The trees are living beings, the fishes are living beings, the ants are living beings, the mosquitoes are living beings, the human beings are living beings, the demigods are living beings, the cats, dogs—all are living beings.

So we should be very careful. This human form of life is a chance to make your choice, whether you are to go on being punished like this in different forms of life or whether you shall go back to home, back to Godhead. Here is the chance. . . .

You can imagine that “There is no God, there is no Yamaraja, there is no punishment. Let me do.” That is your fancy. But it is not the fact. The fact is, if we commit some sin we must suffer for it, and there is nobody in the world who can check it.

—Srila Prabhupada, talk on Srimad-Bhagavatam 6.1.32, May 31, 1976, Honolulu

Apr 032020
 

This verse is quoted in Srila Rupa Gosvami’s Sri Padyavali (151):

ramo nama babhuva hum tad-abala siteti hum tam pitur
vaca pancavati-vane viharatas tasyharad ravanah
nidrartham janaki-katham iti harer hum-karatah srnvatah
saumitre kva dhanur dhanur dhanur iti vyagra girah pantu nah 

[Mother Yasoda is telling Sri Krishna a story:]

“There was once a king named Rama.”

“Yes.”

“His wife was Sita.”

“Yes.”

“On the order of His father, Rama lived in the Panchavati Forest. There Ravana kidnapped Sita.”

Hearing His mother narrate His own activities performed in ancient times, Sri Krishna suddenly called out, “Laksmana! Where is My bow? Where is My bow? Where is My bow?”

May these alarmed words of Lord Krishna protect us all.

Apr 012020
 

We read from Srimad-Bhagavatam, Canto Two, Chapter Seven: “Scheduled Incarnations.”

TEXT 23

asmat-prasada-sumukhah kalaya kalesa
  iksvaku-vamsa avatirya guror nidese
tisthan vanam sa-dayitanuja avivesa
  yasmin virudhya dasa-kandhara artim arcchat

TRANSLATION

Due to His causeless mercy upon all living entities within the universe, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, along with His plenary extensions, appeared in the family of Maharaja Iksvaku as the Lord of His internal potency, Sita. Under the order of His father, Maharaja Dasaratha, He entered the forest and lived there for considerable years with His wife and younger brother. Ravana, who was very materially powerful, with ten heads on his shoulders, committed a great offense against Him and was thus ultimately vanquished.

PURPORT by Srila Prabhupada

Lord Rama is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and His brothers, namely Bharata, Laksmana, and Satrughna, are His plenary expansions. All four brothers are visnu-tattva and were never ordinary human beings. There are many unscrupulous and ignorant commentators on Ramayana who present the younger brothers of Lord Ramacandra as ordinary living entities. But here in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, the most authentic scripture on the science of Godhead, it is clearly stated that His brothers were His plenary expansions. Originally Lord Ramacandra is the incarnation of Vasudeva, Laksmana is the incarnation of Sankarsana, Bharata is the incarnation of Pradyumna, and Satrughna is the incarnation of Aniruddha, expansions of the Personality of Godhead. Laksmiji Sita is the internal potency of the Lord and is neither an ordinary woman nor the external potency incarnation of Durga. Durga is the external potency of the Lord, and she is associated with Lord Siva.

As stated in the Bhagavad-gita (4.7), the Lord appears when there are discrepancies in the discharge of factual religion. Lord Ramacandra also appeared under the same circumstances, accompanied by His brothers, who are expansions of the Lord’s internal potency, and by Laksmiji Sitadevi.

Lord Ramacandra was ordered by His father, Maharaja Dasaratha, to leave home for the forest under awkward circumstances, and the Lord, as the ideal son of His father, carried out the order, even on the occasion of His being declared the king of Ayodhya. One of His younger brothers, Laksmanaji, desired to go with Him, and so also His eternal wife, Sitaji, desired to go with Him. The Lord agreed to both of them, and all together they entered the Dandakaranya Forest, to live there for fourteen years. During their stay in the forest, there was some quarrel between Ramacandra and Ravana, and the latter kidnapped the Lord’s wife, Sita. The quarrel ended in the vanquishing of the greatly powerful Ravana, along with all his kingdom and family.

Sita is Laksmiji, or the goddess of fortune, but she is never to be enjoyed by any living being. She is meant for being worshiped by the living being along with her husband, Sri Ramacandra. A materialistic man like Ravana does not understand this great truth, but on the contrary he wants to snatch Sitadevi from the custody of Rama and thus incurs great miseries. The materialists, who are after opulence and material prosperity, may take lessons from the Ramayana that the policy of exploiting the nature of the Lord without acknowledging the supremacy of the Supreme Lord is the policy of Ravana. Ravana was very advanced materially, so much so that he turned his kingdom, Lanka, into pure gold, or full material wealth. But because he did not recognize the supremacy of Lord Ramacandra and defied Him by stealing His wife, Sita, Ravana was killed, and all his opulence and power were destroyed.

Lord Ramacandra is a full incarnation with six opulences in full, and He is therefore mentioned in this verse as kalesah, or master of all opulence.

COMMENT by Giriraj Swami

Srimad-Bhagavatam is the supreme scripture, or book of knowledge, in the science of God. It explains the Absolute Truth in detail. The Vedanta-sutra says, janmady asya yatah, that the Absolute Truth is that from which everything emanates, and Srimad-Bhagavatam begins with the same words—janmady asya yatah—and proceeds to explain that the Absolute Truth is a person, the Supreme Person, Krishna. Krishna expands Himself into various plenary portions and portions of plenary portions, and the Bhagavatam, after listing so many incarnations of Godhead, says, krsnas tu bhagavan svayam, that all of the abovementioned incarnations are either plenary portions or portions of the plenary portions of the Lord but that Lord Krishna is the original Supreme Personality of Godhead.

So Lord Rama is an expansion of Krishna. There are so many expansions of Krishna mentioned in Srimad-Bhagavatam, but Rama is an expansion of Vasudeva, who is an expansion of Krishna. Laksmana is an expansion of Balarama, who is the first expansion of Krishna. Bharata and Satrughna are also direct expansions in the category of visnu-tattva. They are all God but manifest in different forms. Sri Brahma-samhita gives the example that from one candle you can light a second, from the second you can light a third, from the third you can light a fourth, and so on. All the flames are the same fire, and all have the same strength, but still, there is one original candle, and that is Krishna. Still, Rama, Laksmana, Bharata, and Satrughna are all God. They are all the same as Krishna, but they descend into the world for different pastimes. The verse says, avatirya. Avatara means “one who descends.” They descend from the spiritual world into the material world out of mercy—prasada—for the conditioned souls, to deliver the conditioned souls from the quagmire of material existence.

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Apr 012020
 

April Fools’ Day is celebrated yearly on April 1, and today I thought of Srila Prabhupada’s instruction that we remain fools before the spiritual master, as stated in a conversation in Bombay, August 16, 1976.

A devotee asked, “Even nitya-siddha has guru . . . Even the liberated soul, nitya-siddha?” And Srila Prabhupada replied, “Liberated soul never says that ‘I am liberated.’ As soon as he says ‘liberated,’ he’s a rascal. A liberated soul will never say that ‘I am liberated.’ That is liberation. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, He is God—guru more murkha dekhi’ karila sasan [Cc Adi 7.71]: ‘My Guru Maharaja saw Me fool number one, and he has chastised Me.’ He’s God. This is the example. If one remains always a servant, everlastingly, of guru, then he is liberated. And as soon as he thinks that he is liberated, he’s a rascal. That is the teaching of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Guru more murkha dekhi’. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is murkha? Why He is posing Himself that murkha, ‘I am fool number one’? That means that is liberation. You must be ready always to be chastised by guru. Then he’s liberated. And as soon as he thinks that ‘I am beyond this chastisement. I am liberated,’ he’s a rascal. Why Chaitanya Mahaprabhu says guru more murkha dekhi’ karila sasan? This is sahajiya-vada, thinking, ‘Oh, I have become liberated. I don’t require any direction of my guru. I’m liberated.’ Then he’s rascal. . . . So better remain a foolish person perpetually to be directed by Guru Maharaja. That is perfection.”

I pray to be directed by Srila Prabhupada eternally, as his everlastingly humble servant, or servants’ servants’ servant.

Hare Krishna.

Your servant,
Giriraj Swami

Mar 302020
 

From a talk by Srila Prabhupada on Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Madhya-lila 25.29, January 21, 1967, San Francisco.

The laws of nature are so strict that if you have to suffer, nobody can check it. That is realized by Prahlada Maharaja. There are so many evidences. Balasya neha saranam pitarau. (SB 7.9.19) [“My Lord Nrsimhadeva, O Supreme, because of a bodily conception of life, embodied souls neglected and not cared for by You cannot do anything for their betterment. Whatever remedies they accept, although perhaps temporarily beneficial, are certainly impermanent. For example, a father and mother cannot protect their child, a physician and medicine cannot relieve a suffering patient, and a boat on the ocean cannot protect a drowning man.”]

There are many children, they have got their parents, but they are suffering. Actually, their parents take care. But in spite of their parents being present, they are suffering for want of food, want of proper management. Therefore it is to be understood that the father and mother are not actually the responsible persons to take care of the children.

Then, nartasya cagadam. Artasya, those who are suffering from disease—medicine is not all. Suppose one man is suffering: you give him all treatment and medicine. There are many rich men; they can spend like anything. But does it mean that he’ll be cured? No. He may not be cured. And even in the presence of parents, the children may suffer.

Udanvati nauh. And suppose you have got very good, nice ship. Do you mean to say that you’ll cross over the Atlantic Ocean safely? Oh, at any moment it can be drowned. There is no guarantee. You have got very nice jet plane; you are going to San Francisco. Oh, there is no guarantee that you will reach there. Therefore, unless there is God’s sanction, all these remedies, all these protections, are useless.

Therefore the best service to the humanity is to revive people’s Krishna consciousness, God consciousness. That will save them. Not this little hospital or this little foodstuff. No. That cannot save him. If God neglects one . . . There is a Bengali saying, two lines: rakse krsna mare ke, mare krsna rakse ke. If Krishna, God, wants to kill somebody, oh, nobody can protect him. And if God wants to protect him, oh, nobody can kill him. . . . Both ways.

One Dr. Ghosh told me—because I was in medical business. He went to see one patient. He explained, “He’s suffering from pneumonia, and he’s such a poor man, lying in such an unfavorable condition. Our medical science says he should have died. But I don’t see that he’s dying. He’s not dying.” I have tested this. One doctor at Gaya, a Muhammadan named Suvahi—I saw that many patients were surrounding him. So I congratulated him, “Doctor, you have got very good patients. Your practice is very nice.” “Sir,” he replied, “it is not my credit. If you want my practical experience, I’ll tell you that with confidence I prescribe somebody some medicine—it fails. And without any confidence, just to take a chance, I prescribe some medicine, ‘Oh, let me see . . .’ and, oh, it works nicely. So actually, I can take no credit.” So, he was an honest man to admit, “It is God’s grace that so many patients are being cured in my hand, but I say I have no credit.” This the reality.

So, we should not take any credit. Everything is under the laws of the Supreme Lord, through the agency of this material, external energy. Just like a government is working through different departments, similarly God is working through His different energies. He’s sitting with you, He’s seeing everything, and He knows everything. Vedaham samatitani. (Gita 7.26) [“O Arjuna, as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, I know everything that has happened in the past, all that is happening in the present, and all things that are yet to come. I also know all living entities; but Me no one knows.”]

Mar 292020
 

Lord Caitanya says that one should always try to associate with saintly persons because if one establishes a proper association with a saintly person, even for a moment, one attains all perfection. Somehow or other, if one meets a saintly person and achieves his favor, then the entire mission of one’s human life is fulfilled. In our personal experience we have actual proof of this statement of Manu. Once we had the opportunity to meet Visnupada Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja, and on first sight he requested this humble self to preach his message in the Western countries. There was no preparation for this, but somehow or other he desired it, and by his grace we are now engaged in executing his order, which has given us a transcendental occupation and has saved and liberated us from the occupation of material activities. Thus it is actually a fact that if one meets a saintly person completely engaged in transcendental duties and achieves his favor, then one’s life mission becomes complete. What is not possible to achieve in thousands of lives can be achieved in one moment if there is an opportunity to meet a saintly person. It is therefore enjoined in Vedic literature that one should always try to associate with saintly persons and try to disassociate oneself from the common man, because by one word of a saintly person one can be liberated from material entanglement. A saintly person has the power, because of his spiritual advancement, to give immediate liberation to the conditioned soul.

—Srila Prabhupada, Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.22.5 purport

Mar 242020
 

Krishna is absolute. Krishna the person, and Krishna’s words, Bhagavad-gita—there is no difference. Advaya-jnana, no duality. Everything is one, absolute. Krishna is absolute, Krishna’s instruction is also absolute, Krishna’s pastimes absolute. Everything. That is Absolute Truth. There is no difference. In the material world, the name and the thing are different. Suppose here is mango—mango the thing and mango the name. If I simply say “Mango, mango, mango,” there is no mango. There must be the thing, mango. That is duality. This is the world of duality. “Absolute” means the name and the thing are the same. Otherwise, if they’re different, then what is the use of chanting “Krishna”? Krishna chanting means Krishna this word, and Krishna the person are the same. Therefore constant chanting means constantly associating with Krishna. And thus we are becoming purified. Purified. There is no difference.

—Srila Prabhupada, talk on Srimad-Bhagavatam 6.1.19, May 19, 1976, Honolulu

Mar 232020
 

Srila Narottama dasa Thakura says, samsara-visanale, divanisi hiya jvale, judaite na kainu upaya: “We are always suffering from material pangs, and our hearts are burning, but we cannot find any way out of it.” The materialistic person can also be called a tapasvi, which means someone who is always suffering from material pains. One can get rid of all these material pains only when he takes shelter of the chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra. This is also explained by Narottama dasa Thakura: golokera prema-dhana, hari-nama-sankirtana, rati na janmila kene taya. Narottama dasa Thakura regretted that he did not pursue his attraction for the transcendental vibration of the Hare Krsna mantra. The conclusion is that all persons in this material world are suffering from material pains, and if one wants to get rid of them, he must associate with saintly persons, pure devotees of the Lord, and chant the maha-mantra, Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare / Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. That is the only auspicious way for materialistic persons.

—Srila Prabhupada, Srimad-Bhagavatam 4.22.15 purport

Mar 222020
 

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu teaches us, na dhanam na janam na sundarim kavitam va jagad-isa kamaye. (Siksastaka 4) Dhanam means wealth . . . But Chaitanya Mahaprabhu says, na dhanam: “I don’t want money.” Just the opposite. Everyone wants money. He says, “No, I don’t want money.” Na dhanam na janam: “I don’t want many men as My followers.” Just the opposite. Everyone wants. The politicians, the yogis, the swamis, everyone wants, “There may be hundreds and thousands of my followers.” But Chaitanya Mahaprabhu says, “No, I don’t want.” Na dhanam na janam na sundarim kavitam va jagad-isa kamaye. “Neither I want very nice, beautiful, obedient wife.” Then what do You want? Mama janmani janmanisvare bhavatad bhaktir ahaituki: “Life after life, let me remain a faithful servant of Your Lordship.”

This is Vaishnava. He doesn’t want anything. Why will he want? If he becomes servant of Krishna, then what does he want? Suppose if you become servant of a very, very big man, then what is the question of your want? This is intelligence. . . . There is no question of want. Just try to become servant of God, and all your necessities will be sufficiently fulfilled. This is intelligence. Just like a rich man’s child, does he want anything from father? No, he simply wants father, mother. The father, mother knows what he wants, how he will be happy. That is the duty of the father and mother. Similarly, this is very good intelligence: just to try to become the sincere servant of Krishna. All your necessities of life will be sufficiently supplied. There is no question of asking.

Therefore intelligent devotees do not ask, “Give us our daily bread.” He’s God’s servant, and He will not get your bread? You have to ask from God? No. God is giving bread to the eight million other living entities. Birds, beast, tigers, elephants—they are not going to the church for asking bread. But they are getting it. So if God is supplying everyone food, why He shall not supply you? He is supplying. So we should not go to God for begging some material benefit. That is not actual devotion. We shall go to God for begging how we can be engaged in His service. That should be the begging.

“Hare Krishna” means . . . Hare means, “O energy of God,” and Krishna, “O Krishna, Lord Krishna, please engage me in Your service.” This is Hare Krishna.

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

It is simply praying, “O my Lord Krishna, O Srimati Radharani, Krishna’s energy, kindly engage me in Your service.” That’s all. All business finished. This is Vaishnava. So, Vaishnava has no necessity. He knows that “I have no necessity. My only business is to serve Krishna.” So he’s happy in all conditions.

—Srila Prabhupada, talk on Srimad-Bhagavatam 6.1.6–7, June 8, 1975, Honolulu