Gaura Purnima lecture – Lord Chaitanya manifested the three internal reasons for his descent in his Ratha-yatra lila
Gaur Purnima Bhagavatam class at ISKCON, Canberra
Transcription of Lecture
Lord Chaitanya manifested the three internal reasons for his descent in his Ratha-yatra lila
Today morning on the occasion of Gaura Purninma we will discuss about the intimate internal reasons why Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu appeared. In the evening I will talk about the magnanimity of Caitanya Mahaprabhu using an acronym Gaura. I will talk about five ways in which we can appreciate Caitanya Mahprabhu’s mercy, but here Srila Prabhupada would say that the bhajan of Radha and Krsna is our internal business, and refuting evolution and Darwin is our external business. So, the morning program is for our internal business. We will try to appreciate here the sweetness of the mood in which Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu appears.
The deepest inner longing of the human heart is for love. We all want to love and be loved, although there are times when we may get frustrated in our relationships, and sometimes we may say, “Just leave me alone”; but if people literally left us alone and left us alone for ever, we would be miserable. So, we do want relationships, and this theme of the intimate relationships between people, this is one of the most enduringly and appealing thing throughout history. Whether it be novels or nowadays it be movies, they all talk about love, and of course talk about it in romantic terms largely between male and female. But still the principle is that everyone wants to love and be loved, and this theme constantly attracts the human heart. And yet the fact of life is that, whatever loving relationship we establish will be thwarted sooner or later. We will find that sooner or later the person we love – either we go away or they go away for whatever reason; if there is no other reason, then ultimately through death. And then all the relationships are terminated.
The human heart longs for the movie which is called as HEA, Happily Ever After, and yet we have Krishna telling us in the Bhagavad-gita (8.15) that world is Dukhalayam Asaswatam. So, dukhalayam asaswatam is the exact opposite of Happily Ever After. Dukhalayam means that it is not happy, it is a place of misery; asaswatam – it is the opposite of every after. So, this raises a question that, if this heart’s longing which is so innate to us, and yet its ultimate frustration is so inevitable in this world; if on one side this longing is so deeply rooted with us, on the other side we see that there is just no chance for this longing to be fulfilled in this world. What does this imply? Suppose we came to the temple hall, and suddenly found on the wooden floor a golden earring lying, or some golden ornament. Now nothing around is made of gold. Naturally the question would come, “Where has this gold come from?” Because everything else is of a significantly different nature, so when something of another nature comes up we can ask, “Where does it come from?” So, everything in this world is temporary and made to be doomed, and yet we have this longing for everlasting love. “Where does this longing come from?” And that the Bhakti tradition explains comes from our essence, the soul, and this soul is non-material. Everything
in this world is material, but the soul is non-material, and this soul’s longing is meant to be fulfilled at the spiritual level in an eternal relationship with Krishna.
God as explained, especially in the Gaudia Vaisnava tradition, is not just an authority figure who is to be bowed down and worshipped and adored. He is a person who wants to love and be loved, and not only can we have an intimate relationship with him, but he already has intimate relationships with millions of his most intimate devotees. And that relationship is so satisfying that Krishna himself wants to taste that relationship more and more, and the secret of Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s descend is for his longing or lobha (strong desire or greed). So, Krishna has a greed and it is that greed which makes him descend as Lord Caitanya. What is that greed that Krishna has?
At one level we say that Krishna is free from lust, anger, greed, pride and illusion. Yes, that is true but this same emotion at a material level cause us illusion and bondage, but at a spiritual level they can bring us elevation and liberation, and Krishna has this emotions. Not in their impure, self-centred forms, but in their pure, selfless forms. So, Krishna also has a strong desire; he has a lobha (greed). What is that greed for? This verse basically introduces what is the reason for Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s descent, and the subsequent chapters of the Adi Lila actually elaborate on these reasons. In the later chapters it is said that, Krishna performs pastimes with the gopi’s, and he sees that the gopi’s are so happy, so jubilant, so delighted and so ecstatic, that he feels, “I am not feeling so happy. What is this?”
Sometimes when we are practicing bhakti for many dozens of years or several decades, then sometimes bhakti becomes mechanical for us, and we are doing kirtans which we do every day, but there are some new people who come and they are dancing with so much ecstasy that we start wondering what is happening. How is that feeling so much ecstasy when they are so new? I have been there for so long, but I don’t feel so much ecstasy, what is going on?
Sometimes when we see others happy, but if we are very self-centred, we feel, “Why are they so happy? I should be happy.” We want to take away their happiness, but if we are not so self-centred, we are concerned about what it is that they are relishing, and we want to relish that too. Same way Krishna sees especially in the Rasa Lila how the gopi’s are relishing pure devotion, how the gopi’s are completely absorbed and maddened in remembrance of him in the desperate desire to somehow be reunited with him.
Actually the Rasa Lila is described in five chapters in the tenth canto of the Srimad Bahgavatam, and from chapter 29 to 33 in the tenth canto are called the Rasa Panchadhaya, the five chapters of the Rasa Lila. And the broad outline of the five chapters is: in the 29
th chapter Krishna plays the flute and calls the gopi’s, and the gopi’s leave everything and rush towards Krishna. The gopi’s thereby demonstrate Sarva Dharman Paritajya Mam Ekam Sharanam Vraja. They give up everything and rush towards Krishna to surrender to him, to give their life to him, to please him. And then in the thirtieth chapter there is brief conversation between Krishna and the gopi’s. Krishna tells, Why have you come here. Please go back home. This is not a time for ladies to be out of their homes; and Krishna actually teaches dharma to them, and then the gopi’s protest. They say, Krishna you only called us. Why are you sending us back? And after that they start performing the Rasa dance, but at that time it seems that the gopi’s they become proud, and because of that Krishna disappears from them, and the gopi’s become mad, How has Krishna disappeared, where should we go? They search everywhere, far and wide in the forest.
Kavi Karnapura has a written a book called Ananda Vrnadvana Champu in which he describes that the gopi’s go so deep into Vṛṇdavana forest; its late night and the forest is at that a place so thick that even the moonlight and the star light can’t penetrate. The gopi’s can’t even see their hands in front of them. Then they decide, “We can’t find Krishna here”, and they become desperate. They can’t live without Krishna and yet feel, “We don’t have Krishna, what should we do?” So, they decide to go back to a place where they had performed pastimes with Krishna earlier in the banks of Yamuna, and they sit down there, and they all start offering prayers to Krishna. As they are offering prayers to Krishna – those prayers are described in the celebrated Gopi Gita which is the thirty first chapter of the tenth Canto.
Yayati te dikham janma na vraja – beautiful, sweet, short prayers which all are very illustrative?[9.58] The first words of all the lines are illustrations?[10.00], and the gopis offer fervent prayers, and Jiva Goswami in his book called Gopala Champu, he actually analyses each prayer and he analyses the nature of each gopi, and he explains which prayer is offered by which gopi. So, each of the prayer is offered individually by every gopi, and then after that as a response to that prayer, in the thirty second chapter Krishna appears, and again there is a conversation between Krishna and the gopi’s, and then in the thirty third chapter there is the celebration of the supreme love, and the gopis and Krishna perform Rasa Lila.
Throughout this, even when Krishna is separated from them, and even when Krishna is united with them; all these times the gopi’s are mad in love for Krishna, and Krishna is observing the gopi’s and he sees that they are experiencing so much ecstasy and so much joy. What is this joy? And among all the gopi’s, there is one gopi who is special; many gopis are special and infact all gopis are special.
Laxmi Devi is the goddess of fortune. All the gopi’s are actually super goddesses of fortune because they are far more intimately connected with Krishna. So there is goddess of fortune, there is super goddesses of fortune which are all the gopis, and among them there is the supreme gopi – Radharani. She is the supreme goddess of
fortune, and she is experiencing the maximum ecstasy, and when Krishna sees that, he desires, “What is it that this particular gopi, Srimati Radarani is experiencing?”
This verse describes three things. Normally when there is a relationship; say there is A and there is B; So, A is at one end of the relationship, and B is in the other end of the relationship. If we apply this to the human divine relationship – the soul is here, the devotee is here, Krishna is here. So, Krishna experiences the devotional relationship from the position of the Lord. He is the Lord, and he is the receiver of devotion, and Krishna feels that, “As the receiver of devotion I am not experiencing as much ecstasy as my devotees are experiencing.” Therefore, he desires to shift position from the receiver of devotion to the giver of devotion, and the receiver of the Lord’s love. So, he decides to shift his position. The Acharya’s give the example, that there is prema ashraya, and there is Prema Visaya. There is a reservoir of love and there is a object of love.
For example in our arati say we have a candle or a lamp. If we have one candle or a lamp which is kept in some earthen container, then that lamp gives light whichever direction it is pointed, but on that lamp itself, below it there will be no light, whereas around it there will be all light. So, like that it is said that Krishna is the object of love and Radharani is the giver of love. So, because Krishna has all the attractiveness within him, he receives that love and Radharani transmits that love. But because he is like the lamp, within him he feels that there is some incompleteness, and he feels that it is all the beauty, all the attractiveness that is there within me, but I am not able to experience it. Just as the lamp is not able to experience its light fully on its lower side; like that he feels that, “I can’t experience this love, and therefore I want to experience what is that Radharani experiencing”, and therefore he decides to change his position and come from the position of the Lord to the position of the devotee, and not just any ordinary devotee, but the topmost devotee.
Radha bhava dyuti suvalitam naumi krsna-svarupam. So, it is described who is Lord Caitanya? He is Krishna Swarupam. He is the form of Krishna, but in what form is he? Radha bhava. That he has taken the bhava, the disposition, the emotion of Radha-Rani; dyuti means complexion, suvalitam means very attractive. So, he is Krishna who has come with the emotion and the complexion of Radharani. Now how did he get the complexion? That our Acharya’s are revealing in other places. That when Krishna expressed his desire to Radharani, “I want to experience what you are experiencing, therefore I will go to the earth and I will dance in ecstasy, I will roll in ecstasy.” At that time Radharani said, “Krishna, you will not be able to bear my ecstasy.” Normally parents tell a child, “You will not be able to do this.” But who will tell God, “You can’t do this, you will not be able to bear this” But that is Radharani’s love for Krishna, that she tells, “Krishna, you will not be able to bear my ecstasy. That the ecstasy, the intensity of the emotions that is experienced within that ecstasy, you will not be able to bear that.” What does this mean? Sometimes when people
hear some very bad news, or even sometimes some extremely good news; like sometimes in movies they show that a woman is carrying some plate and suddenly she hears news that someone has died. Immediately she falls over there, and she faints over there. Why is that?
Fainting is of course also described in the Bhagavatam, in 55th Chapter where Krishna and Rukmini talks; when Krishna starts teasing Rukmini, and Krishna tells, “I think that you have married the wrong person.” Now when he is just speaking like this, Krishna is actually teasing Rukmini. But Rukmini feels that as if Krishna is going to reject me now, and she goes into so much anxiety that she faints.
Actually fainting is a defence mechanism of the body. When we experience too much pain or too much emotion for the body to sustain, the body switches off. Sometimes it can be because of physical pain. Just like if you are hit on the head, there is so much pain that the body switches off. This is so that although there is damage to the body, the body doesn’t have to experience further pain that is there. Similarly, when there is too much emotional pain; that time also the body also switches off. Similarly, we will see that Caitanya Mahaprabhu often fainted in ecstasy because he is in so much ecstasy, that the body would switch off. Similarly, Radharani is telling Krishna over here that, “Actually when you descend, your body will not be able to sustain the extraordinary ecstasy that will vibrate through it, that will wave through it, that will stampede through it practically speaking. So, I want to protect you.” Then what is Radharani saying. She says, “I will wrap you with my complexion.” Normally the fair complexion is considered extremely attractive, but Krishna, his complexion for Radharani is supremely attractively. Krishna is shyama, he is dark complexion, but he is not just shyama, he is Shyama-sundara, he is dark and he is irresistibly attractive.
In the early days of our movement, when the devotees were preaching in America, there is a Prabhupada disciple named Hayagriva Prabhu; he was in Ohio state University as an English Professor, and while teaching English he was talking about Krishna to his students. So, some of his students went and told the Principle, and the Principle called him and told, “I heard that you are talking about God in your classes.” He said, “Sir, I didn’t know that there was any rule against talking about God.” Then the Principle said, “No, but you are talking about a strange conception of God.” He said, “What is your conception of God?” The Principle said, “I don’t have any conception of God.” Then Hayagriva Prabhu said, “If you don’t have any conception of God, then how can you say that my conception is strange? What is the basis of saying that?” The Principle said, “No, you say that God is a cowboy.” There they have cowboy movies of the West. He said, “No, not a cowboy. He is a cowherd boy.” They couldn’t get this cowherd boy. The Principle asked, “What is that?” The he said, “But you said that God is black.” At that time the civil rights movement was going on, and there was a conflict with black and the white. So he said, “You say
God is black.” Hayagriva Prabhu said just to make fun, “No, God is blue.” He just saw the blues at that time and he didn’t understand what is going on. So, Krishna’s black complexion is very different from the material complexion. It is incredibly attractive. There is poet, he says that, Rupa Goswami says this in the Lalita Madhava, one of his beautiful books, he says that, “Actually I glorified you with great poetry, with great metaphors, and I felt that I had done a very good job, but now that I am seeing you O Lord, I feel that as if you know I have glorified the king of the world as the landlord of the village. Actually the glorification is a minimization.” Similarly, in words we cannot actually describe how beautiful Krishna is. So, Radharani, she considers that Krishna is Shyama complexion, his syama Varna is so incredibly attractive that she can’t tolerate the thought that if Krishna faints in ecstasy, he will fall in the ground and the Shyama Varna may become spoiled, that dark complexion may become spoiled, and therefore she tells Krishna that, I will cover you with my golden complexion, and that is how Krishna himself desires the mood of Radharani. And Radharani when she hears of Krishna’s desire she gives her complexion also. This is how Radha bhava dyuti suvilitam; he has the bhava and the dyuti. Now when he assumes the bhava, the emotion what all does he assume? Those three things are described in this verse to understand these three things. What are those three things? The greatness of her love, and then what is the sweetness that she experiences in him, what is his greatness by which she gets attracted by him, and the third is, and then she experiences his love. To understand this, let’s consider, if there is originally a seed, the seed has the potential to grow into a tree. Say a mango seed has the potential to grow into a mango tree. There is the seed, and there is the fertile soil in which the seed has to be planted. When it is planted in a fertile soil, then after that the seed blossoms into say a big mango tree and it gives delicious mangoes. So, in the process of fructification there is the seed which comes first, there is the soil, and there is the fruit that comes. Similarly Krishna was to experience three things about Srimati Radharani. First is the seed. What is her love for Krishna? What is that mysterious feeling by which she is so forcefully and so irresistibly attracted to Krishna? So, he wants to understand her attraction to Krishna. That is the seed, the second is, he also wants to understand, “She is so attracted to me, but what is it in me that is attracting her so much?” That is his attractiveness, it is his attractiveness that he wants to understand. That is like the soil.
Sometimes there may be fertile soil, but if there is no seed put in it, then nothing will fructify over there. Similarly, Krishna is always all-attractive, but if we don’t have devotion for him, then even when we go infront of him, and when we behold him, there is no spiritual emotion and there is no ecstasy that is experienced. So, the fertility of the soil is very important, it is indispensible infact, but it alone is not enough. There has to be the proper seed also.
Sometimes some people ask, “Krishna is all-attractive, but I don’t feel attracted to
him.” Why we don’t feel attracted to him. Because right now the seed of devotion is either very tender or it is not there also. So, when that seed of devotion is there, and as it grows, then that attraction manifests. So, even when the seed is there – we have this famous verse in Caitanya Caritamrita which says that, Brahmande Vramite Kono Bhagyavan Jiva, Guru Krsna Prasade paya Bhakti Lata Vija. So, brahmande brahmite, in this universe there is so many souls who are wandering here and there, and all over the world, and among them some very fortunate soul. What is the fortune of that soul? By the mercy of the guru and Krishna they get the seed of devotion. So, there is the attractiveness which Radharani feels for Krishna. There is the attractiveness of Krishna which actually is the cause of that attraction, and thirdly that love is not just one sided but that love is reciprocal. When Radaharani sees that Krishna also loves her, that gives Radharani such ecstasy.
To understand that nature of reciprocation here: when a woman first gives birth to a child she feels naturally attracted to her baby; and initially when the baby is born, the baby may not even understand that, “Ok here there is person, she is my mother, she loves me.” For the baby all of existence is potential food. For her, initially she sucks the mother’s breast, and put her finger in her mouth, and takes her toe and puts in the mouth, whatever toys he has she puts it in her mouth. So, initially the baby may not even understand actually that, “This is my mother, and this mother loves her, and she cares for me.” Even without that the mother feels a shower of love for her baby, but as the baby starts growing and the baby starts becoming aware, “Oh this is not just a comfortable soft place, this is a person, and this person loves me”, and as the baby starts understanding this, then the baby starts expressing her lover for her mother. At that time when the mother sees that her baby also loves her back, she feels great joy at that time. Similarly, Radharani she already has attraction to Krishna, and Krishna already has supreme attractiveness, but when Radharani sees that Krishna also loves her, at that time when she experiences his love for her, her ecstasy increases much more.
Normally there is the saying that, “Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.” Say a boy sees a girl, and a girl sees a boy and they fall in love with each other. When somebody is in love, they may see that, “This boy is so attractive, this girl is so attractive, and nobody else compares with that.” Some others may say that, “There are some others also beautiful, why are you so captivated by that?” But when there is affection, when there is attraction, then one sees so much beauty, but Krishna’s beauty is not subjective like that. When it comes to Krishna, beauty doesn’t just lie in the eye of the beholder, beauty lies outside the eye also. Krishna is eternally beautiful, but that perception of that beauty lies in our heart. To the extent we are pure, to that extent we will perceive Krishna’s beauty. Just like the sun always gives light, but if my eyes are closed, I can’t perceive the sunlight, but even if I am not perceiving the sunlight, the sun is still giving light. Similarly, Krishna is always all attractive but to the extent our eyes are open, to that extent our heart is directed
towards Krishna. To the extent we are trying to love Krishna, to that extent we start appreciating Krishna’s beauty and we can start relishing his reciprocation. So, there is the affection of Radharani for Krishna, there is the attractiveness of Krishna which further increases that affection, and there is a reciprocation of Krishna which gives enormous satisfaction to Srimati Radharani.
Now from Radharani’s perspective Krishna wants to experience, “What is her affection for me, what is her attraction for me?” And then from her perspective he wants to experience, “Ok, what is it in me that attracts her to me?” Just like sometimes the Pujaris may decorate the Deity’s very beautifully on the altar, but then they are seeing from the altar. They may come out of the altar and look from the temple, how do the Deity’s look from here? Like that Krishna is himself all-attractive, but if we look at ourselves in the mirror, we see, “Oh I don’t look good, but even if we look at ourselves we are still looking from some other perspective. So, Krishna he can know himself, but he knows himself from his perspective. He wants to know, but Radharani is so attracted. What is it in me that that attracts her? So, she wants to take her role. By taking her role, he wants to understand what is her sweetness, what is my attractiveness, what is it in me that attracts her so much, and then further he wants know – sometimes we see a beautiful statue or a beautiful object and we may get mesmerized. People go to India and they see Taz Mahal, or they go to various places and they want to see some wonders of the world, but those wonders may be very captivatingly attractive, but they don’t reciprocate. Whereas Krishna wants to see, “When I reciprocate at that time what does Radarani feel? I want to experience that also.” And in fact if we look at the Caitanya Caritamrita further, initially the pastimes that Lord Caitanya performs in his later half; Caitanya Mahaprabhu lived for forty eight years out of which the first twenty years he did not manifest his devotion. He was primarily a scholar named Nimai Pandita, and for four years he manifested his devotion as a resident of Nabadwipa, as a grihastha; and then for the next six years he travelled all over South India and North India sharing love of God, and then the last eighteen years of his life he just relished Krishnaprema in Jagannatha Puri. So, when he relished Krishnaprema in Jagannatha Puri, at that time in his pastimes he demonstrates all this there things. What was the affection that Radharani had for Krishna, he demonstrated this, and what was the attractiveness within Krishna that attracted him.
If you look at all of Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s pastimes, all of them are extraordinary, but this three level dynamic; this is a little subtle. I will conclude with this point. This may take a few minutes.
Among all the pastimes of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the most extraordinary of his pastimes which was widely appreciated by many people was his dancing in Jagannatha Yatra in Jagannatha Puri. So, now in the ratha yatra what exactly is happening? We know philosophically speaking it is the gopis who are pulling Krishna
from Kurukshetra back to Vrndavana. That is true. At the same time when Caitanya Mahaprabhu is performing Ratha yatra, actually there are a multiple reciprocation that are happening.
There are broadly three levels of reciprocations: there are the devotees, there is Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and there is Jagannath. So, there are three people. There is reciprocation between Caitanya Mahaprabhu and the devotees, there is reciprocation between devotees and Jagannatha, and there is a reciprocation between Jaganatha and Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and then there is reciprocation between Jagannatha and the devotees. The point is that all of them have their own individual flavour.
When Caitanya Mahaprabhu is infront of Jagannatha, he is thinking, I am a devotee and Jagannatha is my Lord, but for the devotees, when they are looking at Caitanya Mahaprabhu they are thinking, “Caitanya Mahaprabhu is not such a devotee. He is just a saint. He is the supreme Lord.” So, for them the Lord is manifested in two ways: as Jagannatha, who is they say is the non-moving Iswara, and there is Caitanya Mahaprabhu who is the dancing Iswara. So, he is manifested in both ways.
For Caitanya Mahaprabhu, he has his transcendental mood swings. Sometimes he is in the mood of a devotee, and sometimes he is in the mood of the Lord himself. So, we will try to understand how this verse and the three aspects which I talked about in this verse are manifested in the Jagannatha Ratha Yatra and in Caitanya Mahaprabu’s emotions. So, Caitanya Mahaprabhu wants to experience what is the love of Srimati Radharani for Krishna. When he is dancing in front of Jagannath, what is he dancing for?
In Jagannatha Ratha Yatra there are people who pull Jagannath, but Caitanya Mahaprabhu is dancing in front of Jagannatha because he doesn’t want to pull Jagannatha back to Vrndavana, he wants to attract Krishna back. So, he is dancing in ecstasy and by that he is reminding Krishna, “Krishna! This was what you enjoyed in Vrndavana, you left this and went away, now please come back. So, he doesn’t want to pull. Caitanya Mahaprabhu practically never pulls the rope when he is in the Ratha Yatra. All that he does is, he dances, and the captivating attractiveness of that dance is the rope by which Jagannatha is pulled towards Vrndavana. So, what is happening? Caitanya Mahaprabhu is exhibiting his love for Krishna through his ecstatic dancing, and as he dances ecstatically. Jagannatha also sometime plays in mysterious ways, and Caitanya Mahaprabhu gets completely lost in ecstasy, lost to the outer world completely because he is not there in Jagannatha Puri at that time, he is actually with his beloved Lord Krishna. And although Jagannatha and Krishna seem to be externally not very similar; there was one of Srila Prabhupada’s early disciples. She wrote a letter in 1967. Prabhupada had installed Jaganatha, Baladeva and Subhadra in San Francisco, and at that time Caitanya Caritamrita had not yet been published. So, there was no written literature about Jagannatha, Baladeva and
Subhadra. So, the devotees they were really worshipping Jagannatha, Baladeva and Subadhra diligently, but one devotee wrote to Prabhupada, “Prabhupada can you tell us who is this Lord whom you are worshipping?” So, they were worshipping everyday diligently, but they didn’t know who he was. They had some understanding that he is Krishna; they had heard about Krishna, and Prabhupada had talked about Krishna, but Jagannatha did not look like Krishna at all. So, “What is this? Who is this”, they were asking.
Then Prabhupada wrote a letter explaining, and then of course Caitanya Caritamrita came out where it was described about Jagannatha much more, but the thing is that externally Jaganatha may not look like Krishna, but Caitanya Mahaprabhu, he is seeing Krishna over there. What is he seeing?
Sometimes if say people are watching a T.V program, or say a cricket match is going on, and people are watching a cricket match, and then when they want to be absorbed in it, then what do they do? They want to cut off all stimuli, all distractions. Nowadays people can watch movies in their homes also, but still people go to a theatre and in the theatre they pay money to watch the same movie. Why? Because they feel that in the theatre they can experience that movie more. How is that? Because in the theatre the two things happen, first the light goes off, and then another light goes on. So, when the lights go off, all the distractions are cut off, and when that light comes on, then complete absorption in illusion results. So, when we want to relish something a lot, then we don’t want any distractions at all. Like that when Jagannatha is manifesting, what is happening? We know how Krishna manifested as Jagannatha, and one time Rohini Devi, she was speaking Krishna’s pastimes when she was in Dwaraka, and Krishna was standing outside the door, and he was hearing. At that time what happened? Krishna was hearing and he was so attracted. He just wanted to hear completely and not be distracted at all. So, what happened? Sometimes when our hands move, even if it is unconscious, there is a little consciousness over there. Krishna doesn’t want to have any distraction, and because of that his hands get withdrawn into himself. It is like keep your hands steady so that there is no distraction; keep your legs steady so that there is no distraction. Like that Krishna just withdraws his limbs which may cause distraction, and his eyes go big just beholding, and he is just absorbed in hearing the nectar coming from Rohini Devi’s ears. Basically here we are talking about Ratha Yatra Festival where Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu is dancing.
Caitanya Mahaprabhu when he is seeing Jagannatha, what is he seeing? He is not just seeing Jagannatha. He is seeing Krishna in ecstasy. What is the ecstasy? Krishna is the all attractive supreme Lord, and it is described that when Jagannatha is in ecstasy thinking how much Radharani loves me, how much the gopis love me, and he goes into ecstasy, he smiles in delight, and seeing that Caitanya Mahaprabhu goes into ecstasy, because he is already captivated by Jagannatha, but when he
sees, “Jagannatha is noticing me, Jagannnatha is pleased with me, and Jagannatha wants the whole world to know that actually I am doing all this for my devotee, Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s pleasure”, and that’s why sometimes Jagannatha stops. The ratha cart stops moving, and there are big body builders who try to move, but they can’t move. The king is anxious and he brings animals, and the animals can’t move, and then nothing happens, and then Lord Caitanya comes and what does he do? Just touches his head, and the same cart which could not be pulled by elephant, just starts moving smoothly. This demonstrates how much Jagannath is pleased with Lord Caitanya, how much he loves Lord Caitanya, and then the people start cheering. They say, “Jaya Jagannatha, Jaya Caitanya, Jaya Nitai-Gauranga.” They glorify them. So, they are seeing the majestic reciprocation of love, and when Caitanya Mahaprabhu sees that actually Jagannatha is noticing him, Jagannatha is acknowledging him, Jagannatha is proclaiming his love for him and proclaiming the speciality of my love for him; Jagannatha was not moving earlier and now he has started to move. When he sees this, he goes into ecstasy, and there is so much ecstasy that he can’t even sing Jagannatha or enunciate the words. That is as we sing in the Siksastakam, that the throat becomes choked with emotions, and the bodily hairs stand in ecstasy, and then one can’t even speak words. So, Caitanya Mahaprabhu goes into that extraordinary level of ecstasy.
In this way enriched with Bhava, enriched with devotion, Caitanya Mahaprabhu descends through the – the metaphor is given, that the moon rose from the milk ocean. So, like that the moon is actually eternally existing but at that time it appeared as if it rose from milk ocean. So, like that Lord Caitanya is the eternal Lord, but he appears as if he came from the womb of Sachi Devi, and he came to relish that supreme love, to demonstrate that supreme love and to share that supreme love. So, how he shared that love we will discuss in the evening class.
I will summarize:
I discussed about how the longing for love is our deepest longing, and yet it is inevitably frustrated in this world because of its temporary nature. Where does this longing come from? It doesn’t come from matter. It comes from spirit, and it is meant to be fulfilled in the spiritual realm, and how it is fulfilled in the spiritual realm eternally is demonstrated in the loving relationship between the Lord and his devotees, and he has many devotees, and the topmost among them is Srimati Radharani, and Krishna and Srimati Radharani they have a very intimate love and in this loving reciprocation, actually Krishna feels that, “I am left out, Radharani is feeling more ecstasy than what I am experiencing.” Just as others get more light from the lamp than the lamp itself, the lower side of the lamp remains un-illumined. So, Krishna wants to switch himself in the relationships, from his position, that of the receiver of devotion to the reservoir of devotion, who gives out devotion. So, that’s why he wants to take the mood of Srimati Radharani, and when he wants to take the
mood of Srimati Radharani; we discussed which mood when Radharani was utterly maddened in separation from Krishna in the rasalila, especially when she was separated from Krishna as was manifested in the Gopi Geeta, the thirty first chapter of the tenth canto. And when Krishna told Radharani that, “I am going to come in your mood”, Radharani thinks that Krisna’s dark complexion is so irresistibly attractive, that it will get spoiled when he falls or faints. So, she covers him with her complexion, and that’s how he gets emotion and the complexion of Srimati Radharani.
And then I discussed about the emotions. I took the seed metaphor, that first there has to be fertile soil, but even when the soil is fertile without the seed in it no fruit will grow. The fertile soil is Krishna’s supreme attractiveness. The seed is Radharani’s devotion, and the fruit is the ecstasy and the infinite happiness that Radharani experiences when she sees that Krishna loves her back. So, she has immense love of Krishna, and Krishna wants to know, what is her love for me, what is the extraordinary nature of her attraction for me, and further he wants to understand from Radharani’s perspective, what is it that within him that attracts her, and then what is it when she sees that he loves me, just a mother understands, Oh my baby is seeing and he is also loving me, the mother feels great joy. Like that when that awareness comes that not only do I love Krishna, not only is Krishna lovable, but Krishna loves me back, the ecstasy that he experiences at that time, that is what Caitanya Mahaprabhu also wants to experience, and we discussed how in the Ratha Yatra Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu gets to experience all these three. By dancing in order to pull with his beauty of his dance, Jagannatha back to Krishna, he is manifesting the same ecstasy that Radharani felt when she was separated from Krishna, and when she was longing for union with him, and then he sees the attractiveness of Krishna. That he is seeing that Jagannatha is not just a form different from Krishna; it is Krishna in the ecstasy of about to be reunited through recollection with Krishna with the Vrajavasis. That is Jagannatha, and lastly we discussed how Jagannatha actually noted Caitanya Mahaprabhu and reciprocated. He would not move till – not with even the greatest physical force would he move, but just by a little tap of Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s hands he would move. That means that he showed, “I notice, I appreciate, I appreciate your love”, and when Caitanya Mahaprabhu saw that, he just went into ecstasy, unable to even speak the names of Jagannath. In this way Caitanya mahaprabhu, in the Ratha Yatra pastime demonstrated the fulfilment of the three reaon’s why he manifested in this world.
Question and Answers:
Question: Is it possible that Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s lila is too elevated for general people?
CCP: Yes, definitely. It is elevated. At the same time there is the intellectual aspect with aesthetic aspect, with ultimately the spiritual aspect. The spiritual aspect of the Lila is, what is that Krishna and Radharani are experiencing that Caitanya Mahaparbhu experienced. It is a very esoteric emotion which we can’t experience, but at the level of conceptualization; at the intellectual level at least, the conception of what the spiritual world is, if that itself is understood to some extent, that can enhance people’s attraction to spirituality and attraction to God.
In the Sistine Chapel of Europe there is the famous picture of God extending his grace to Adam, and in that picture God is depicted as an old man, and Adam is young and handsome, and he is raising his hand. So, God is extending his grace and Adam is getting the grace, but if you look at that picture, actually speaking Adam looks healthier than God, but the fact is that, that is not a very attractive conception of God. When people have that conception of God as a grand old man or something like that, then it is not a very attractive conception.
In the Christian tradition, broadly the conception of heaven is that of a perpetual family reunion. It is not exactly a celebration of God. It is more about the eternal reunion of your grandfather, grandmother, your lost sister, your lost cousin etc. Well it is fine, but it is not an irresistibly captivating conception of God. So, if you at least intellectually understand how much subtle, how refined, how variegated the spiritual world is, that is demonstrated through Lord Caitanya’s pastimes, then that itself creates some intellectual appreciation and attraction to Lord Caitanya, and to the spiritual world ultimately. So, that is important, and that is why according to people’s level we can explain whatever is practical.
Prabhupada did not talk about the Rasa Lila too much, but still he talked about Krishna as the butter thief etc, and he gave Krishna book for everyone, for mass distribution actually. While it is difficult for people to understand that esoteric aspects of Lord Caitanya’s pastimes, still the basic pastimes and the basic conception that is there, if we can explain that, then it can be a whole new universe opening for many people in what spirituality is, what love for God is, and what life’s ultimate perfection is. So, according to time, place and circumstance we can explain to people, but the elevated pastimes of Lord Caitanya, and especially the internal moods, they are so elevated that most people can’t understand it. At the same time we as devotees, we do need to gradually appreciate this pastimes, because it is our legacy. The Gaudia Vaisnava tradition in which it has been revealed that our Acharya’s have preserved it, have elaborated it, and they have given it to us. And unfortunately these elevated emotions have been prematurely imitated and that has led to the sahajiya tradition, sajajiya apasampradaya.
Now actually these elevated emotions, this elevated love of God, that is our tradition’s legacy to us and through us to the world. Now if we also start saying that it is too elevated, then the only people who will be talking about it will be sahajiyas,
and they will misrepresent it. But because we are not talking about it, their misrepresentation will become the only representation of the Gudia Visnava tradition available to people, and that has unfortunately happened in much of the academic world. The Gaudia Vaisnava tradition is primarily thought of as sahajia tradition, and ISKCON is thought of as by some people as a Neo-Gaudia Vaisnava movement, which is not really not Gaudia Vaisnava because it has too many other things which doesn’t focus on the essence of Gaudia Viasnavism; but this is not true. Srila Prabhupada did give us the essence, but we as devotees who have been practicing for many years, we need to at least to some level appreciate it to ourselves and share it with others, so that that which is our legacy, that which is our traditional legacy to us, that is not taken away and misrepresented to others.
Our Acarya’s certainly protected the legacy. Srila Prabhupada was also very cautious, “That it is very elevated, don’t trespass into it in advance, don’t trespass into it prematurely.” But at the same time Prabhupada wanted us to come to this level. Right in the first chapter of the first Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam Prabhupada gives a list of the various commentaries in the Bhagavatam, and he says that the serious students of the Bhagavatam should study these commentaries. So, Prabhupada has given us access to all these. With his blessings and following in his footsteps if we gradually gain appreciation for these, then that which is elevated will elevate us, and that which is elevated we will also be able to present to people in a way which they can appreciate.
Question: Is Radharani attracted to Krishna because he is handsome?
CCP: We cannot … it is not that Radharani is attracted to Krishna just because he is handsome, but his handsomeness is also a part of who is. That is also what attracts her. That means that Krishna is one person, and he has six opulence’s: his beauty, his strength, his knowledge, fame, renunciation and wealth. So, they all are Krishna. we cannot separate Krishna’s beauty and Krishna’s handsomeness from the person Krishna; they are non-different from him. So, Radharani is attracted to Krishna as a full person; actually in Sangeet Madhava there is very beautiful pastime, again it is a very esoteric pastime. What happens is that, there Prabhodannada Saraswati Thakura is depicting that, at a time when the first time Radha and Krishna meet in the spiritual world, when they are descended to this world, first time when it happens how do they meet? When Radharani is going through near her house in Barsana, and she hears a flute being played, and just by a flute being played, she thinks, “This flute is so attractive, whoever is playing this flute I have lost my heart to him whoever it is.” And then afterwards she sees Krishna walking through the forest, and she says, “Such a handsome, such attractive young boy”, she falls in love with him, and she doesn’t know that this handsome boy is the same person who played the flute, but she starts thinking, “What is this, what kind of woman am I, I was attracted to that
man, and now I am attracted to this man also.” Then after that she sees and experiences another aspect of Krishna; that is she sees that this cows are being herded with so much expertise that there is such a attractive fragrance coming; now when the cows are coming, Krishna has so many cows, but Krsna she can’t see only. She says, there are so many cows and they are all being herded in with so much expertise, and whoever is there that person has such an extraordinary fragrance coming from his body. So, this fragrant cowherd boy, I am attracted to him also. And then she starts thinking, “I am really a terrible woman. I am attracted to three men now.” And then she is thinking like that, she is berating herself, and at that time what happens? Actually through all these Krishna is teasing her, but then Krishna appears in front of her, and then at one time, in one vision she sees that the fragrance suddenly is increasing, and she sees that the same boy whom she had seen, she sees that the same body is playing a flute, and captivating sound which is coming, that is coming though the same boy, and she feels so relieved. Oh it is the same person I am attracted to.
Krishna is so attractive that just his form can attract Krishna is so attractive that just his fragnance can attract Srimati Radharani, completely attract her, overwhelm her heart, and he is so attractive that just his sweetness of his music can attract Srimati Radharani. In that sense, there are magnets and there are iron filling. So, Krishna is like the magnet and Radharani is the iron filling, but whichever part of the magnet Radhrani experiences, she is attracted to that. So, his handsomeness also is what she is attracted to, but it is not only his handsomeness, it is his complete person, every aspect of it, she is attracted to him.
Question: Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu has come to offer us, to tell us how we can love Krishna. So, he is experiencing the love or Srimati Radharani. Can we also experience that love, and if not, why not?
CCP: Actually there is completeness in the spiritual world.
Say in Ramlila, there is Hanumana and there is Sita, and there is Laxmana. Now Ram has one kind of relationship with Sita, and he has another kind of relationship with Hanumana. Now Hanuman doesn’t feel that, “O Ram loves Sita more.” and he doesn’t feel unfulfilled, he doesn’t think that, “I want to be Sita so that Ram will love me more.” He is completely fulfilled in his position. What it means is; we talked about these five Rasa’s- Santa Rasa, Dasya Rasa, Sakhya Rasa, Vatsalya Rasa and Madhurya Rasa. Among these it is said that the Madhurya rasa is the highest, and in the Madhurya Rasa the gopis love is the highest, and in that Radharani’s love is the highest. What does it mean? Actually everybody is complete and everybody is completely fulfilled in their love for Krishna. At the same time there are levels of this love. Compare there are five glasses of water. Say one is 200 ml, another is 400 ml, another is 600 ml, another 800 ml, and one is 1000mil (1 Litre). Now all these glasses are full. They cannot take even one drop of water more. So, all of them are
full, from their own perspective they are completely full, and their fullness is nothing deficient in it, but from the perspective of an objective level we have the one Litre glass with the maximum water. Like that whatever is our eternal relationship with Krishna in that relationship we will be completely fulfilled. At the same time there are levels of intimacy which Krishna has with different devotees and that is Krishna’s prerogative as a person.
There are some devotees in other Vaisnava Traditions also who give explanation, why Krishna has a flute, why Krishna plays only a flute, why not violin, why not a guitar, why not some other instrument, why Krishna has a peacock feather only, why not some other birds feather, why Krishna wears a pitambar only, why Krishna wears only yellow clothes etc. Somebody may give some explanations esoterically for these, but essentially the Gaudia Vaisnava Acharyas have not given much focus on esoteric explanations. They focus that, Krishna is a person, and as a person he has preferences. So, why does he play a flute? Because that’s what he likes. Why does he wear a peacock feather? That’s what he likes. Why does he eat butter only? Why not something else? That’s what he likes. So, it is his liking.
If we understand that God is a person; as a person he has his likes. Now he likes something, it doesn’t mean that he doesn’t like other things, or he dislikes other things. It is just that he is a person, and his personal preferences ornament his personality. So, from our perspective we will be completely fulfilled in our eternal relationship with Krishna. We will not feel, “Why don’t I like Krishna as mucht as Radharani?” we will be satisfied in our relationship. At the same time from Krishna’s perspective, he sees that, “Oh the kind of love that Radharani has for me, what is this love, it is the highest love, nobody has that love.” It’s interesting that even the gopis also don’t feel envious of Radharani, they also feel appreciative, because their whole purpose in the spiritual world is to please Krishna. They feel, “If Radharani pleases Krishna the most, then let us send Radharani to Krishna.” So, in the rasa lila also which I just pointed towards, it is said that when the Gopis’ became proud Krishna left the gopi’s and went away, but actually did not become proud. The gopi’s were simply thinking, “How fortunate we are.” and yet they had the thought that actually all of us don’t have the same level of love for Krishna, and therefore they wanted that Radharani’s singular love be uniquely demonstrated for the world, and that’s why they acted as if they were proud, and that’s why what happened, Krishna left them and went alone with Radharani. But the gopi’s did not become proud. They acted as if proud so that Krishna would leave them and go away with Radharani. If Krishna would have been with all the gopis, then all the gopi’s love would have been considered to be equal and of the same level. But the gopi’s wanted the world to know that, Radharani’s love is the greatest. That’s why they left and they acted as if proud and Krishna left them, and then Krishna was with Radharani.
And Radharani realized that Krishna is only with me. She initially felt such ecstasy,
“O Krishna loves me alone, and loves me so much”, but the next moment she started thinking, “But what will be the condition of Lalita, what will be the condition of Visakha, they are my sakhis and being separated from Krishna. What will they feel? and she said, “I cannot enjoy Krishna alone”, she thinks like that, and therefore she thinks that Krishna is taking her in the forest, and she thinks, “Let me slow Krishna down”, and because Krishna is rapidly going to the forest, she wants that the gopis should also be searching and catch, find and locate them and be with them again. Therefore she tells Krishna, “Krishna I am getting tired, how long do we have to walk?” She basically acts tired so that Krishna will slow down, but then what happens? Then Krishna thinks that she has become proud, and Krishna says to her, “Because this is jungle I cannot get a palanquin for you. So, therefore you can just ride on my back, and Krishna sort of bends down as if to get Radharani to climb on him.” Radharani was shocked. She didn’t expect Krishna to get angry, and she is just looking at him, and right infront of her Krishna disappears, and Radharani is devastated that Krishna has left her and gone away, and similarly when the gopis, when they initially see that, “O Krishna has left us and gone with one special gopi.” they start feeling a little annoyed. Who is that special gopi with whom Krishna has gone? But when they finally find Radharani, Radharani is swooned in agony and separation from Krishna. And when they see Krishna has left Radharani also, they all come around her and they revive her, and they console her.
The point which I am making through this pastime is that, because Krishna is the centre and everybody wants to please Krishna, by Krishna’s arrangement he has his preferences, and nobody objects to those preferences. Everybody feels fulfilled perfectly in their role in Krishna’s lila in this pastimes. So, Vṛṇdavana, if Krsna steps just once on that grass that grass is completely satisfied, that grass doesn’t think that I want to be Radharani and be constantly embraced by Krishna, and the gopi’s also don’t feel that I want to be Radharani. Rather than trying to understand intellectually; because we right now operate from a very limited material and self-centred perspective; to understand how there will be perfect satisfaction in the spiritual world, right now we can focus primarily on trying to absorb ourselves in Krishna. Once we are absorbed in Krishna we will ourselves realize that Krishna is always available for me.
Now in this world there is sometimes there is a love triangle. So, there is one person, and one boy and two girls love that girl. Then what happens? If that girl loves one boy, she is not available for the other boy. So, then there is a conflict because of that but Krishna is not like that. Krishna can love you fully, be fully available for you, and despite making himself fully available to you, he is still fully available to me, and he is still fully available to everyone. So Krishna is not limited, and that’s why no matter what is the nature of Krishna’s relationship with someone else, even if their loving reciprocation is of a higher intimacy than that is ours, we won’t feel anything missing because Krishna will be fully available for us, and we will be fully satisfied provided
we are absorbed in him.
If we are not absorbed in Krishna, but we are seeing, “What is Krishna doing with them?” then we will be dissatisfied. That is the material mentality. The material mentality is what? Say today evening there is Gaura Prnima, and after the festival there is going to be a feast. But suppose if it is a special feast where everyone is getting a distinct feast; you have a plate of Prasad which is different from somebody else’s, and all of us have different plates of Prasad, but it is all feast, all delicious items. But instead of savouring our own feast we look, “O he has got that, she has got that”, and if we keep looking at others plates we will be dissatisfied, although we have enough to be fully satisfied. So, rather than looking at what is there in other’s plates, we focus on appreciating what is there in our plate. Like that in the spiritual world, because everybody is absorbed in Krishna, everybody is concerned about pleasing Krishna, nobody feels any resentment because of any hierarchy that might be there in the spiritual world. Everybody is completely satisfied in their relationship with Krishna.
Thank you very much.
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