[Dear Maharajas, Prabhus, and Didis, Dandavat pranams. Jaya Sri Sri Guru and Gauranga. The following is a transcription of a lecture given by Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja on the deep meaning of Ratha-yatra, and explains the significance of this special meaning in our own daily lives. Srila Maharaja is also discussing these topics in his recent Vraja Mandala parikrama classes. Your aspiring servant, Syamarani dasi]
This subject is very deep. It is not less than Raya Ramananda Samvad, but rather it is more deep. First you should know that Krsna has promised, "I will never, never, give up Vrndavana. I will always be there." Radhika has also promised, "Krsna may go, but I cannot give up Vrndavana."
Who, then, went to Kuruksetra? There are so many manifestations of Krsna, and so many of Radhika, and this is very wondrous. Krsna can be thousands and thousands of Krsnas at the same time, and there can be lakhs and lakhs more Radhikas than Krsnas. She is very expert. There are thousands and thousands and thousands of Radhikas.
Radhika and Krsna are eternally playing with Their gopi associates in Vrndavana, and there She is called Vrsabhanunandini-Radhika. She never goes out of Vrndavana, and She does not lament very much.
Who, then, was lamenting in Nandagaon when Uddhava went there? Who was feeling such great separation? With whom did Uddhava meet? Since Radhika is always with Krsna, how did this separation come about?
Who went to Mathura and Dvaraka? Krsna's manifestations went. Similarly, who was weeping bitterly with all Her sakhis in Nandagaon? It was Viyogini, or Virahini, Radha. It was She whom Uddhava met, who was feeling so much separation, and who told Brahmara-gitaone of the jewels of the Srimad Bhagavatam.
It was that same Radhika, in Her manifestation as Sanyogini Radhika, who went to Kuruksetra. She is the same Radha, as Her manifestation. She went to Kuruksetra, and from there She attracted Krsna to return to Vrndavana. It is stated in Caitanya-caritamrta:
yah kaumara-harah sa eva hi varas ta eva caitra-ksapas te conmilita-malati-surabhayah praudhah kadambanilah sa caivasmi tathapi tatra surata-vyapara-lila-vidhau reva-rodhasi vetasi-taru-tale cetah samutkanthate (Madhya 13.131)
["That very personality who stole away my heart during my youth is now again my master. These are the same moonlit nights in the month of Caitra. The same fragrance of malati flowers is there, and the same sweet breezes are blowing from the kadamba forest. In our intimate relationship I am also the same lover, but still my mind is not happy here. I am eager to go back to that place on the bank of the Reva under the Vetasi tree. That is my desire."]
You should try to know the meaning of prema. I think there is no exact word for prema in English. In English there is only the word; love, or affection. In Sanskrit, however, each word has a special meaning. Asakti, bhava, prema, sneha, mana, pranaya, raga, anuraga and so on all have specific meanings. Radhika has love for Krsna. What kind of love? If any circumstances come which should induce that prema to dissipate, still that love and affection increases more and more. This is called prema. Prema begins from here. There was a reason that Krsna left Vrndavana and went to Mathura, where He took upanaya samskara, became a ksatriya, and declared, "I am the son of Devaki and Vyasudeva. I am a Yadava."
After that He went to Dvaraka, where He first married eight very beautiful princesses. Later on He married sixteen thousand one hundred more, and He begot so many children. This is enough to break anyone's love and affection. It is enough; but here you can see the nature of the love and affection of Radhika toward Krsna, the love of Mother Yasoda and Nanda Baba, the love of Krsna's friends, and the love of all Vrajavasis including the cows and other animals. Although they were dying of separation, they did not give up their love and affection.
Here in this world, if a husband divorces his wife and marries again, the ex-wife will go to court and file a suit, and he will be bound to write, "I will pay money to you every month." She will forcibly take that money, and she may also marry another man. She cannot tolerate the thought; "He has given me up," but she will remarry two, three, four, or five times. Thus, here in this world love and affection will stop. But there, even though Krsna had so many wives and so many children, and even though He changed His name, Radhika's love for Him and His love for Radhika did not stop. If you want to realize that transcendental love, then try to be like them. The love in this world is not actually love. It is actually sense gratification and lust. If there is any cause to do so, we divorce and kick out our spouse.
Radhika knows that Krsna has so many wives, and so many children. Now He is King and now He has changed into a Yadhava, but still Her prema increases. This is called transcendental prema.
Sri Sukadeva Gosvami explains what happened when Srimati Radhika met with Krsna at Kuruksetra.
sri-suka uvaca gopyas ca krsnam upalabhya cirad abhistam yat-preksane drsisu paksma-krtam sapanti drgbhir hrdi-krtam alam parirabhya sarvas tad-bhavam apur api nitya-yujam durapam (10.82.39)
["Sukadeva Gosvami said: While gazing at their beloved Krsna, the young gopis used to condemn the creator of their eyelids, which would momentarily block their vision of Him. Now, seeing Krsna again after such a long separation, they took Him into their hearts through those eyes, and there they embraced Him to their full satisfaction. In this way they became totally absorbed in ecstatic meditation on Him, although those who constantly practice mystic yoga find such absorption difficult to achieve."]
You should read these topics, and then go deeply into what you have read. Try to forget yourself, where you are, and what you are doing. Forget everything and go totally deep, and then you can realize something of this love. You become weak because you cannot do this. Try to hear all these topics in a high class of association.
The gopis were feeling great separation for Krsna, and thus they became more than yogis. They forgot everything and they took Krsna in their heart by the window of their eyes. There they embraced Him so intensely that they became senseless. Krsna then began to pacify them saying, "O gopis, why are you feeling so much separation? I am not far away from you for even a moment. You should know that in any clay idol or murti, there is clay everywhere. There is no separation between clay and a clay statue. For example, your body is made of five elements: earth, water, fire, air and ether. This physical body cannot be separated from these elements. You cannot differentiate between the body and these elements. Similarly, you are made by My mood."
What is the constitutional position of Radhika? She is made of mahabhava. Srimati Radhika is always made of mahabhava, and that is why She is called hladini-sakti. She and Krsna are always combined as the essence of hladini and samvit. 'Hladini' and 'samvit' are the same as 'cit' and 'ananda'. Krsna therefore told Her, "I am always with you. I am sat-cit-ananda, and therefore how can I be separated from you? I am always in Your body and Your heart."
Krsna then told the gopis, "Try to meditate upon Me, and in deep meditation you will see that I am always with you and you are always with Me. Don't feel separation. Be like yogis and meditate upon Me."
You should also try to follow this instruction given by Krsna to the gopis when He told them, "Don't see that I am separated from you. You should think, 'I am the same as You,' We are the same."
Upon hearing these words, the gopis, and especially Radha, became very angry and said, "You previously sent Uddhava with the same message, and at that time we became furious because our separation mood simply increased. Then you sent Baladeva Prabhu, and he also tried to pacify us by saying, 'There is no separation between Krsna and you. Why are you lamenting?' And now again, You are repeating the same words."
ahus ca te nalina-nabha padaravindam yogesvarair hrdi vicintyam agadha-bodhaihb-patitottaranavalambam geham jusam api manasy udiyat sada nah (SB 10.82.48)
["The gopis spoke thus: Dear Lord, whose navel is just like a lotus flower, Your lotus feet are the only shelter for those who have fallen into the deep well of material existence. Your feet are worshiped and meditated upon by great mystic yogis and highly learned philosophers. We wish that these lotus feet may also be awakened within our hearts, although we are only ordinary persons engaged in household affairs."]
The gopis became very sulky and angry, and they began to chastise Krsna, "Why are You telling these things to us? We don't accept this theory of yours. We are not yogis. Yogis worship You and meditate upon You. But in thousands and thousands of births they cannot purify their hearts - or even their minds. We, on the other hand, want to forget You forever. We were so happy in the homes of our fathers and mothers in Vraja, but You have upset everything. You have destroyed everything. We gave our entire love, one hundred percent, or one hundred ten percent. We left our fathers, mothers, husbands, children, and everything else. Our relation was so deep when we were in Vraja, and it is the same even today. We want to forget You forever.
"If You can forget us, Your whole Vrndavana, Vraja, Govardhana, and all Your cows, Your calves, Your peacocks, Your deer, and even Your mother from whom You took birth, then why can we not forget You?
"This is the problemwe cannot forget. From the beginning, whenever we were engaged in any household job, we sang, 'Govinda Damodara Madhaveti, Govinda Damodara Madhaveti.'
"Even when we were cleaning our houses, brooming, churning yogurt, tears were coming from our melting heart by our remembrance of Your pastimes and by singing 'Govinda Damodara Madhaveti, Govinda Damodara Madhaveti' and 'Radha Ramana Haribol' and 'Govinda Jaya Jaya.'"
The gopis were always weeping and lamenting, "O, Krsna, where are You? Where are You?" We cannot explain how they were behaving internally and externally. Now they are saying, "We want to forget everything about You, but we cannot. Rather, we automatically always remember. We want to drive you away from our hearts, but automatically You come inside." Yogis want to bring You into their hearts, even just to meditate on Your very pure lotus feet, but in thousands and thousand of years they cannot do so. But we want to give You up.
"You tell us, 'Give up samsara-kupa, the well of family life.' You tell us, 'Meditate upon Me as the yogis do.' But where is our family life? We have no samsara-kupa."
These gopis have forgotten their homes, jobs, husbands, fathers, and mothers, and they have forgotten to eat anything or to see anything. They appear to look at things just as we do, but they do not see anything. What do they see? "Where is my beloved Krsna?" Only this. You should know the meaning of samsara-kupa. We are in the well of family attachments. Although the gopis are not like this, still Krsna is advising them, "Come out of that well and meditate upon Me."
This sloka has two meanings, and the first is for those who are not very high class of devotees. In this meaning for general persons, the gopis request Krsna, "You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead. O Kamalanayana, O You whose eyes are like reddish lotus petals. You are very, very merciful. We are now fallen in the well of family life. We want to remember Your lotus feet as the yogis do. We want to meditate, so please be merciful to us."
This meaning is external. Sometimes, when juniors try to instruct seniors, seniors may reply, "I am very foolish, and You are so intelligent. I want to obey your instructions. Please instruct me regarding proper action. "What is this? In his heart that senior person is angry, and he is speaking sarcastically. He actually means to say, "I am so many years older than you and I am so much more intelligent than you. You are so much junior to me, and yet you are instructing me?" Similarly, the gopis are in an angry mood, and their meaning is clear here: "O Krsna, don't try to cheat us. We have known You from the beginning, and we know that You are a great cheater. You have been deceiving us for a long time, but now we are somewhat clever. You can cheat Laxmi devi, You can cheat Your wives in Dvaraka, and You can cheat all others. But as far as we are concerned, we will not enter Your trap." anyera hrdaya mana, mora mana vrndavana, mane' vane' eka kari' jani tahan tomara pada-dvaya, karaha yadi udaya, tabe tomara purna krpa mani (Madhya 13.137)
["Speaking in the mood of Srimati Radharani, Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, 'For most people, the mind and heart are one, but because My mind is never separated from Vrndavana, I consider My mind and Vrndavana to be one. My mind is already Vrndavana, and since You like Vrndavana, will You please place Your lotus feet there? I would deem that Your full mercy.'"]
The actual meaning is: "We don't want to come out of this worldly well of family life." We know, and you should know also, that for worldly people there is so much difference between the heart and mind. The heart is always full of love, whereas the mind calculates, "What is better for me?" "What is good?" "What is bad?" "This is better, this is not better." The mind can do all this, but the heart can never consider whether a person is beautiful or not, very intelligent or not, or whether or not he is qualified.
Rukmini had heard so many glories about Krsna's mercy, beauty, all other qualities. Because of this, when her sakhis, father, mother and others wanted to give her in marriage to Sisupala, she did not accept their proposals. They told her, "Krsna is not a King. He is a simple son of a landlord - and not even that. His is not as qualified as Sisupala. Sisupala is king of kings. He is a very beautiful and young emperor with a golden complexion, while this other person is black and unqualified. When He was younger, Krsna would always steal from others houses, and He would always tell lies. You should give up that black fellow and marry Sisupala. Try to obey your father, mother, and brother."
Rukmini replied, "Once I have given my heart to someone, I can never, never reclaim it."
Without the consent of her father, mother and brother, she then sent a brahmana to Krsna with a message: "I don't want to marry this jackal. I have given my heart to a lion. In front of a lion, how can a jackal come and take me away? Everything depends on the lion. I have given myself solely to You, that lion. If that lion is not qualified and powerful enough to save me from the jackal, then I will take poison and die. I will not go with that jackal."
When Uma, the wife of Sankara, was not married, Narada came and revealed to her the glories to Sankara, and after that Sankara told someone, "Go and test that girl." That person went to Uma, and told her, "Siva is an unintelligent, bogus man who wears garlands of skulls and ornaments of snakes. He is always naked, he smears dust from the ashes of dead bodies all over his body, he wears rudraksa beads, he always carries a trident, and he sits on a bull like a mad person. Why have you chosen him to be your husband?" Her father also told her, "O my dear darling daughter, change your mood. I will marry you with an exalted personality like Visnu or others who are very beautiful. Why have you chosen Sankara?"
She told her father, "I will marry Sankara and no one else, whether or not he plays with ghosts and witches, and whether or not he always takes poison, ornaments himself with serpents, or wanders naked. Although he does nothing, I have chosen him for all time. I don't want to give him up. I will marry him."In this way so many others came, and even Sankara came in disguise, to test her.
For worldly persons, for all of you, the mind and heart are different, but these examples are conformation that the heart never considers whether one is beautiful or not, or what he has done or not done. The decision to love is 'forever'.
"Anyera hrdaya mana. For most people the mind always gives problems. It always accepts and rejects the same thing, and this is called sankalpa-vikalpa. It always thinks this and that. But, 'mora mana vrndavana'. My mind and heart are both one. My mind is Vrndavana.
"You have told us, 'Meditate upon me.' From where does meditation come? It comes from the mind. Understanding comes from the mind. But 'mora mana Vrndavana.' Let others meditate. You are instructing me, 'You should meditate, and My lotus feet will come in Your meditation. Therefore, if Your lotus feet walk to Vrndavana, we will then be satisfied. Otherwise, we can never be satisfied."
Under the guidance of the gopis, try to make your heart and mind Vrndavana. I doesn't matter whether you are male or female. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has said that all males, all jivas, are a transformation of tatastha-sakti. We are the power (of feminine gender), not the purusa (of male gender). Try to realize this. If you think very deeply, these meanings will come in your heart, and your heart will be greatly developed. There is no need of doing anything else.
If Narada Rsi comes before the gopis they will offer him pranama, and it may be that they will take the dust of his lotus feet. Narada Rsi will then think in his heart, "I should not upset them. These are the gopis. Krsna is my worshipable Lord, and Krsna's worshipable deities are these gopis. I should not disturb them." Then, after the gopis leave, he takes their foot dust and rub it everywhere on his body.
Even Narada cannot be the foot-dust of the gopis. He prays to be, but he cannot: "I worship the Supreme Lord to be the dust of the lotus feet of the gopis." This is very rare for anyone, even Brahma. Sri Prabhodananda Sarasvati has written, "I am always remembering the dust of the lotus feet of Radhika. Even Brahma, Narada, Suka, Sankara, Bhisma, and other devotees like them meditate on the lotus feet of Krsna, so that these lotus feet may enter their hearts. Regarding the maidservant of the gopis, however, Krsna is calling them, 'Come on, Come on,' and they are replying, 'We will not come. We know that You are a cheater.' Rather than their following Krsna, He follows them":
yat kinkarisu bahusah khalu kaku vani nityam parasya prursya sikhanda mauleh tasyah kada rasa nidher vrsabhanu jayas tat keli kunja bhavanagana marjani syam (Radha Rasa Sudha Nidhi 8)
The meaning is this: Krsna is knocking at the door of the gopis' kunja. There, at the door, Rupa Manjari and Rati Manjari are standing in a somewhat angry mood. They tell Krsna, "Return back at once, You cheater. Jahi jahi Madhava. Return back. You cannot come and meet Srimati Radhika. She is now angry with You, and She has told us, ' That cheater may come in another form, but still it is He, is Subal- sakha.Even a black bumble bee should not enter.' We don't want to see any black thing. We even want to remove this black khajal. Remove Your khajal, and then You may come here."
Krsna offers His head at the lotus feet of the gopis like Rupa Manjari, and requests her, "For a moment - please allow me to go there." They reply, "Never. It can be. Never."
What, then, is the status of Radhika? I want to be a broom - not a broom, but one stick of a broom that is used for sweeping Radhika's kunja. How glorious She is.
Now in Kuruksetra the gopis tell Krsna, "You should know, Krsna, You cheater, that our mind and heart are the same. You should consider that our heart is Vrndavana. Htomara tahan pada-dvaya, karaha yadi udaya, tabe tomara purna krpa mani.' If You come to Vrndavana with us, You can meet us there with you flute. Don't forget Your flute and peacock feather. And You should change Your form. You will have to be the son of Nanda and Yasoda Ma. Be Gopi-kanta, and Radha-kanta, and then You can enter Vrndavana. Otherwise don't. We will not allow You to enter."
"Suna more Vraja Nana he jivana. O My Prananatha, My life and soul! Vraja is My life and soul. O Prananatha, we are telling You the truth - that Vraja is our home. If You do not come and meet us in Vrndavana, we will not be able to remain alive. We will die at once. The moment fish are taken out from the water, they begin to become restless, and at the next moment they will be dead. We are in a worse condition than that. Fish may have a moment to live, but we will not be able to live even that long."