Lecture by His Holiness Jayapataka Swami (download mp3), at the 2007 Gaura Purnima Festival, Sri Mayapur Candrodaya Mandir, Mayapur, India.
cacara tirthayatanesv ananyah
TRANSLATION: He began to travel alone, thinking only of Krsna, through various holy places like Ayodhya, Dvaraka and Mathura. He traveled where the air, hill, orchard, river and lake are all pure and sinless and where the forms of the Unlimited decorate the temples. Thus he performed the pilgrim's progress.
PURPORT: These arca forms of the Lord may be considered idols by the atheists, but that does not matter for persons like Vidura or His many other servants. The forms of the Lord are mentioned here as ananta-linga. Such forms of the Lord have unlimited potency, the same as that of the Lord Himself. There is no difference between the potencies of the arca and those of the personal forms of the Lord. The example of the postbox and post office may be applied here. The little postboxes distributed all over the city have the same potency as the postal system in general. The duty of the post office is to carry letters from one place to another. If one puts letters in postboxes authorized by the general post office, the function of carrying letters is performed without a doubt. Similarly, the arca-murti can also deliver the same unlimited potency of the Lord as when He is personally present. Vidura, therefore, could see nothing but Krsna in the different arca forms, and ultimately he was able to realize Krsna alone and nothing else. [End of purport]
Jayapataka Swami: So Vidura began his pilgrimage traveling around the different holy places of India. By his traveling, Yudhisthira later made a quotation that you make the holy places holy because you are carrying Krsna always in your heart. He went as a humble devotee. He was going to get purified from the association of Duryodhana and Dhrtarastra.
So here in this verse, the glories of the holy places is mentioned. In the Padma Purana there is a list of holy places. According to a holy place's ability to counteract sin, purify one from different sins, it is rated. So there is a whole chapter that rates little sins like lying and stealing. There are lots of holy places that can do that. But if you murder somebody, then which holy place? There is a list of those. Then if you murdered a brahmana, then there's a list. Then finally there are seven holy places that if you die there you go back to Godhead immediately. Mayapur is one of them.
Prabhupada once arrived in Mayapur, we had a big reception for him, we offered guru-puja. Then he gave his class. He went up to his room, he sat in seat, he took a sip of water. Prabhupada would drink water without touching. He taught us, so we had to drink water without touching. If you touch, your hand is dirty. You touch the Bhagavatam, you just committed an aparadha. You spit on the Bhagavatam according to brahminical standards.
He taught everyone. He gave Brahmananda sweet balls and said, "Throw it in your mouth without touching." If you live in India, you have to learn these things because people notice. They know the standard of cleanliness. In the West, nobody cares. If you drink from a glass of water, nobody thinks twice about it, but in India they notice. You drink, you touch. If you drink without touching, then you can touch the Bhagavatam.
Prabhupada always drank without touching. He had a golden goblet. He drank and then, [sighs]. I can't sigh the way he sighed. He sighed an ecstatic sigh. I just sigh an ordinary sigh.
He said, "Living and dying in Mayapur is all the same."
Wow, what does that mean?
He said, "You live in Mayapur, you are living in the holy dham, and when you die in Mayapur, you go back to Godhead. You are living in the spiritual world and when you die you go back to the spiritual world."
It's like this year we are going on the safari to Divyadesa. We are going to the holy places designated by Ramanaujacarya. Some of them are considered like the spiritual world on earth. Prabhupada told us even Haridaspur, where Haridasa Thakur was chanting for one day, within a three mile radius it is a holy tirtha. It is called sripat. Where the Lord's murti is established, then it has a wider area that is affected. It is a whole science.
So Vidura was going to all these temples. Just like Ranganatha is the personal Deity of Lord Ramacandra. He gave to Vibhisana, but he got tricked by the brahmana to leave on Ranganatha Island, Sri Rangam, in the middle of the Kaveri river. So all these deities, the Kancipuram diety, Ramanauja's disciple, Kuresa, who was blinded, he got his eyesight back from the Deity. Even in our Mayapur, Lord Jagannath is always performing so many miracles. When we go there on parikrama, you can hear from the pujaris about his different pastimes. Our Nrsimhadeva also saved one lady from blindness, many different pastimes.
I think this verse is very appropriate for me because I travel around the world. I don't know what most of the places look like. Only I know what Frankfurt looks like because I went on harinama in downtown Frankfurt with the devotees. Otherwise, I don't know what. I went to Koln in Germany. I only know what London looks like because I go on Ratha Yatra. I just go from the airport to the temple and see the Deities. The Deities are so special.
Some of our devotees, some did well, some didn't do well, but the ones who did well took groups of wealthy Indians to see the temples in the west. In this way, going around seeing all the Deities, seeing the wonderful devotees practicing Krsna consciousness in the West. Many of them started chanting japa and become devotees themselves. Even they went on a mixed spiritual tour, see Washington, see New York, then they'd go and see Radha-Govinda, they'd see the different Deities. Actually, they'd get purified. These Deities all over the world also, like we heard a few days ago in the class, embassies.
The Dhams are direct extensions of the spiritual world. The temples are embassies. Like Haridaspur,there was no temple there, but Haridas Thakur stopped and chanted 300,000 names of Krsna there. So Prabhupada said it is a holy place, Sripat, wherever some pure devotees gives a class, that is also sanctified. So all the places they especially established Deities.
We go around Gaura Mandala Bhumi and say, "This Deity was established by Lord Nityananda. This Deity was establish by Bhaktivinoda Thakura. This deity was established by one of the associates of Lord Caitanya." We go there, we bow down, remember that associate. It is so sanctified.
Similarly, the Deities which were installed by Prabhupada or worshiped by Prabhupada, those are more special. In New Panihati, Atlanta, Prabhupada taught the devotees how to chant "parama karuna, pahun dui jana, nitai-gauracandra". He was crying before Gaura-Nitai. Tears of love were pouring from his eyes. He said, "How merciful they are. They have come here to America to deliver the fallen souls." Like that there are worshipable Deities all over the world, giving their mercy out.
For me it's a great pilgrimage to go and visit these Deities. Of course in India, if you can't go anywhere, at least come to Mayapur or Vrindavan or both because here all the holy places are exisiting. They all reside. This is Radharani's place. Radharani made Mayapur Dham for the pleasure of Krsna. So to please Radharani, the supreme energy, all of the holy places have come. Or some say they are all here and from here they expand out to their other external forms. We'll see Naimisaranya on parikrama. We'll see Puskar-tirtha, Kuruksetra, Triveni, Pancaveni, Campaka gardens of Campakalata devi. Campakalata is next to Lalita. She has her own gardens in Mayapur to bring campa flowers to Radha-Krsna by her mystical powers. With their supreme energy, they all have so many potencies. We can't imagine. These deities are unlimited, ananta-linga, unlimited potencies.
We pray, Prabhupada would pray to all the Deities, so many pictures of him standing with folded hands, praying. Once some lady came up to Prabhupada and said "What are you praying?"
Everyone was shocked, how can you just ask someone what they're praying. It's private.
Prabhupada looked at her, then said, "I'm praying that I never leave Krsna consciousness." Whether that was what he was praying or that is what he was instructing her she should pray, we should pray like that anyway. Take the tip. You don't want to leave Krsna consciousness. We want to spend ourselves under the shelter of Lord Krsna's devotional service.
Today is a very special day. It's the disappearance day of three great Vaisnavas, one of whom is a disciple of an associate of Lord Caitanya. Shyamananda Pandit, who helped bring the works of the acaryas with Narottama Dasa Thakura and Srinivasa Acarya. His disciple was Rasikananda, his chief disciple. He had thousands of disciples.
Rasikananda was born as the son of a very wealthy feudal landlord. He was married to Icchadevi. As soon as he met Shyamananda, immediately he knew, his hairs were standing on end. Immediately he knew there was a connection from a previous life, this was his preceptor. He immediately surrendered and begged Shyamananda for initiation, Shyamananda initiated him and his wife. He became Rasikananda and she became Syama Dasi.
Rasikananda and Syama Dasi established Deities in their town where they were the lords, previously the lords. The town was so much, he said the people were so devoted to the Deities, that they changed the name of the town to Gopiballabhpur, all were in love with Gopiballabh, the dear to the gopis, Lord Krsna, hoping that all the townspeople would also develop this love for Radha and Krsna.
Somehow I have a really great fortune that Prabhupada made me the life chairman of the Bhaktivedanta Swami Charity Trust and gave some of his guru daksina as the seed capital. One of the assignments he gave was to fix up the temples, preserve the ancient temples of Gaura Mandala Bhumi. So somehow this trust has been fixing up the original temple of Rasikananda, which is five hundred years old now, putting up a wall around it, fixing it up. We did so many services, so somehow I got a little mercy there.
Rasikananda was taken to Radha-Gopinatha, Ksira-cora Gopinatha. After Lord Caitanya and Madhavendra Puri visited. Gopinatha stole the ksira, everyone knows that famous story. If you don't, have someone tell you because if I tell it it will take too long. Anyway, the basic thing was, just the short form of it: Madhavendra Puri wanted, since we are talking about Deities, he wanted, everyday they offered condensed milk sweet to this Deity of Gopinatha. Madhavendra Puri was coming from the Sri Nathaji deity. The Gopalji deity, who is now known as Sri Nathaji, was in Vrindavan. He thought, "I'd like to know what this tastes like so that I could offer it to my Gopal deity. Wow! I just committed a big aparadha! It's bhoga. It's an unoffered offering and I thought, 'How would it taste?' This is a big offense. I am an aparadhi."
So he went out and he was chanting his japa and thinking, "Krsna forgive me. I am so offensive."
Then the Deities came in the dream of the pujari that night and said, "We took one of the pots of ksira and put it under our cloth. You can come and get it. In the market there is a devotee called Madhavendra Puri. You can give it to him."
He wasn't thinking about tasting it to enjoy it. He was thinking about offering it to Krsna. So there was really no offense, but he was very humble about the whole thing.
So this pujari woke up. Hours had passed since this Deity stole the offering. He took his shower, got dressed in clean cloth, went, opened the temple, looked, and sure enough, behind the dhoti of Gopinatha, there was the pot of ksira. So the Deity stole the ksira to give to his devotee.
He went out in the market, crying, "Madhavendra Puri! Madhavendra Puri!"
Madhavendra Puri said, "Yes?" No one else was there. It was like one in the morning. He was chanting his japa. He was still feeling so bad. He [the pujari] told him what happened and said, "You are the most fortunate man in the entire world. For you, the Deity has stolen this condensed milk." He gave it to him. Madhavendra Puri offered his obeisances to it, ate the ksira, kept the clay pot. He would eat a little piece of the clay pot every day. So many other pastimes with Madhavendra Puri.
So this Ksira-cora Gopinatha was very famous. There was some king, maybe he was a Muslim king, I don't know. He was a Deity-hater. He was going around smashing Deities in temples. Like the Taliban in Afghanistan were smashing the Buddhas. So when the people in Remuna heard that he was coming, they hid Gopinatha under a pond three miles away.
The king was so upset, "Oh I could not smash the Deity! I love smashing Deities!" What a demon, huh? Some people are like that. So then he broke the Ramacandi, the Durga Deity that was there.
Later, Rasikanada was kept in-charge of that place. He had a dream to excavate the pond where that Gopinatha Deity was hidden. He recovered the Gopinatha Deity, built a temple for Gopinatha, because the temple, the other one, must have been smashed or something, and he took charge of the worship.
Rasikananda and his wife made hundreds of thousands of devotees, according to the history. They were super preachers. Even Shyamananda made Rasikananda a guru in his presence. Like in ISKCON we have a few where the guru orders his disciples to take disciples. Rasikananda was one of the main examples of that kind of that the guru wants one of the disciples [unclear] preaching, so they were both preaching simultaneously in different places. Later, Rasikananda inherited the temple responsibility in Remuna.
There is a famous story that one morning he was sitting brushing his teeth with a neem twing. Prabhupada used to use neem twigs. He said, "These toothbrushes are unclean, using again and again." Of course sometimes he used toothbrush, too, but that is because there was no neem twig in the West. But he would change regularly his toothbrush, not keep them until they are like rotting. But he said, "Best is the neem twig, disposable toothbrush." You chew on the end, make a brush out of it, brush your teeth, divide it in half, scrape your tongue, finished. So Rasikananda was sitting in the asrama, in the courtyard of the temple, brushing his teeth early in the morning and the villagers came, "Gurudeva! Gurudeva! There's a yogi in the village, a yogi!"
"So what, there's a yogi in the village?"
Another group of villagers came, "Gurudeva, Gurudeva, there's a yogi in the village and he's flying! He's got a stick under his leg and he's flying around." Like the witches, they put broomstick, but somehow, this guy put some kind of stick and sometimes people get this magical power.
"It's not important."
Again a third group came, "Gurudeva! There's a yogi flying, 'phush, phush, phush,' flying in the sky!"
"I told you, it's not important." He took the twig out of his mouth, put it under his leg, and started flying around the asrama. [laughter] "It's not important. If it was important, I would have taught you a long time ago." Landed down again.
Rasikananda Prabhu ki jai!
He's one of these personalities who came down from the spiritual world to help Lord Caitanya's movement spread. It was on this day, on this tithi, he was chanting in the courtyard in front of the Gopinatha Deity. Suddenly, poof, he disappeared. He went back to Godhead. Some of his associates were so struck with separation that they also went back. His samadhi is in the temple courtyard compound of Ksira-cora Gopinatha. Today was his disappearance.
Today also is the disappearance day of Jagannatha Dasa Babaji, the guru of Bhaktivinoda Thakura. Rasikananda was 1590 AC. Jagannatha Dasa Babaji was born in 1780. That was probably before the British got here, 1780 AC. And he left, that year it was 25th of February, this is tithi, 1895. So he lived to be 125 years old. He was born in Mymensingh, Bangladesh. Mymensingh is about two hours drive north of Dhaka, the capital. I went there several times to do programs. We have to find out his birthplace. I don't know if we can find it out.
He a disciple of Madhusudana Babaji. He lived in Vrindavan, Kuliya, Navadvipa. Bhaktivinoda Thakura met him in Vrindavan as well as here. So we are going to go to his samadhi mandir on the parikrama on the third day. We tell a lot of pastimes about Jagannatha dasa Babaji. I don't want to spoil all those.
There is his samadhi temple there and behind the temple there is the old Ganges. The Ganges at one point had a channel that ran there. He used to chant his japa looking over the Ganges. One day he was chanting his japa in great separation here in Navadvipa dhama. Radha and Krsna revealed themselves to him. Everyone knew he had realization of Radha and Krsna. He was called Siddha Jagannatha dasa Babaji. He was perfected. He had God realization while he was living.
Because of his God realization, he had very much spiritual vision. One pastime I can tell, some wealthy Indian gentleman came and saw him and asked him, because at that time, in India it is quite popular that babas show a little magic and then everyone thinks, "OK they're God." Without mentioning which babas, there are a number of babas who are thought to be God or some incarnation or something. Similarly, any great Guru, they should show some magic.
Even people asked Prabhupada to show magic. "I went to America with forty rupees. Now I have over forty million dollars of temples all over the world in just five-six years with thousands and thousands of disciples. What more magic do you want to see?"
Sometimes they say that someone walks on water, so you save fifty paisa. It costs fifty paisa to cross the river by boat.
So they asked Jagannath dasa Babaji to show some magic, show some miracle. He said, "No, no, I don't do that. . . . Eh, get out! Out, out!" He started with hitting his stick on the ground, "Out!"
"What are you doing? There is nothing there."
He said, "No, no, in Vrindavan," I forget which temple, one of these temples, "the Gokulananda temple, there is a goat who is eating the Tulasi by someone's samadhi, I am just scaring that goat away."
"How can you be sitting in Navadvipa scaring a goat away from eating a Tulasi plant in Vrindavan?"
So they sent a telegram to find out if it is true. They said, "Yes, there was a goat eating a Tulasi and the goat was chased away by something."
But the biggest miracle for us, the most important, is that he found the birthplace of Lord Caitanya. We'll go there tomorrow morning and pay obeisances at the birthplace because on the parikrama, we are supposed to first start and end at the birthplace. The international parikrama, the day after tomorrow when we have the parikrama, we won't go to the birthplace because we'll save three miles of walking. You may not appreciate that right now, but you will the day after tomorrow. Even if you don't go on the parikrama, it is nice to go and hear from the different sannyasis about the glories of the birthplace of Lord Caitanya. He found that. He was carried on the head of Bhaktivinoda Thakura. You'll hear about that tomorrow, so I won't. So today is his disappearance day.
In our own ISKCON, our own saint, Tamal Krsna Maharaja, he left the world on this holy day. When I first went to the temple in San Francisco, I saw him and I saw Visnujana. They were very impressive to me. At that time I didn't talk to them, but I saw that they looked like very enthusiastic devotees. Jayananda Prabhu was the one who talked to me. That's another story.
Here in India we were together when we were building that building. These columns where Prabhupada is seated is in the Lotus Building. Behind Radha-Madhava is the Conch Building. This is the temple, separate, connecting the two. The first building we built was the Lotus Building. Prabhupada was very tight. He gave us a 600,000 rupee budget to build that building, which was about, in those days, about seven and a half rupees per dollar, so 600,000, that's less than a 100,000, maybe 85,000 or something dollars. Now it's forty-four, forty-five rupees a dollar, forty-two, I don't know the latest rates, but in those days it was seven and a half, maybe. I don't know. At one point it was seven and a half. Of course it's been changing.
So we decided we wanted to cut the money, we wanted to really save the money, so we decided we'd go out with the steel in the trucks. Tamal Krsna sat in one truck and I sat in another truck. There was one other devotee, I don't remember who, was in the third truck. The three of us were escorting the steel. Why do you have to escort the steel? Who would steal steel?
Along the way, they stopped, after the weigh bridge, they weigh. We had the right amount of steel. The weight was OK. The drivers offered us glasses of milk at the Punjabi Dhaba. We were traveling the whole day, we haven't eaten anything, so a little milk. Milk you can take from anybody. So we decided to take a little milk.
Then somebody came and whispered in my ear because I was the only one who knew Bengali, "They are stealing your steel. They are unloading it from the trucks and throwing it in the ditch. They will pick it up later." So we ran out. You can imagine Tamal Krsna at that moment. We found they were stealing, trying to unload the steel. Like that, we were together many times, many days, getting cement, getting steel, getting stone chips. He was helping us.
He was a great strategist, great preaching strategist. Some points he was here in India in the beginning. Before that I was temple president in Calcutta. It was very hard to please him. I was not very efficient. He was a very efficient person. He really wanted to do the right thing for Prabhupada. Sometimes I'd get chastised. That was his special mercy. But something I never minded because everything he was trying to do for Prabhupada.
In the end, last days, he was serving Prabhupada so nicely. He was anticipating. Prabhupada said, "First class disciple knows what the guru wants even without him telling." It seemed he would always anticipate what Prabhupada wanted. Sometimes Prabhupada wouldn't say anything, he was just lying there in Vrindavan. He would go, [motions]. So like, what does that mean, "Bring me water? Close the window?" He figured out. I was amazed. Like that, "Go and close the window." How did he do that? He was like that. So many times he would ask Prabhupada, "Do you want this, do you want that something?"
In the last days, when he was here, he was just, I don't know if he graduated or he was about to graduate as a PhD from Cambridge. He came here and he was treating everyone, he started these kirtans that we should come and get more absorbed in chanting the Holy Names. For a couple of years he was having this chanting, really going deep into the nectar of the Holy Name.
One day he went with me to the Ganges. We took our holy dip together. He was very especially loving and affectionate during his visits.
I'm remembering how he was the one who made the six buses on the Radha-Damodara party. Was it six? Prabhupada initiated, I think, one hundred and fifty devotees at one time, Chicago, installed Radha-Damodara. Many amazing things. Later Prabhupada asked him to go to China. He opened up China.
Prabhupada suddenly took him away. He left his body in the holy place of Phulia where Haridasa Thakura was chanting 300,000 names in a cave, just about a kilometer from there. So today is his sacred disappearance day. Devotees should go and pay their obeisances to his samadhi. Previous years we had very big celebrations for his disappearance.
Today is a day when many people, three of our Vaisnavas left and went back to Godhead, so it must be a special day for going back, just before the Gaura Purnima.
So this verse we read today, Vidura is also visiting the holy places, chanting. I hope that your pilgrimage, coming to Mayapur, seeing Radha-Madhava, seeing Panca-Tattva, the other deities, Prahlada-Nrsimha, Jagannatha, Baladeva, Subhadra, and other deities while you are here, will purify you. These deities can grant your wishes. Try to ask for something Krsna conscious. Don't ask for something ordinary that you can get just by your karma. Get the mercy to chant and hear and serve and achieve pure devotion for the Lord. Very important verses here. We are learning from Vidura how all the temples are ananta-linga.
I remember once Prabhupada was telling us, we were at an old temple in Panihati, he said, "Look at, it's a five hundred year old temple, but they are still worshiping." The temple was rundown. He said, "At least they are worshiping. I don't know, we are . . . ." ISKCON was only ten years old. He said, "What will happen after twenty-five years? What will happen after a hundred years?" Will the devotees keep worshipping the deities? Will they be careful?" He told us to, "Install a deity you are very enthusiastic, utsaha, enthusiasm, but then later on you may think that the guru, 'Why he has given me all this burden? I have to get up early in the morning. I have to wash the glasses and the plates, make the offering. So much service to do.' If you start thinking like that, then everything is lost.
[We should think,] "The guru is giving me this great fortune, this Deity. I get to serve the Deity, serve Krsna's incarnation, arca-avatara. One of the eight kind of incarnations is the worshipable deity. So Prabhupada is saying, "Utsaha, enthusiasm, and later if you are in maya, it becomes nigraha, neglect, offense."
Sometimes disciples ask me, "Can I worship Radha Krsna? Can I install?" Who will maintain? Like you go to the temples in Vrindavan. We inherited one temple in Bangladesh where there are a thousand deities. If someone wants a deity, we can give you, little donation for the temple, but you have to take very nice care. There is the main deity that was installed by some rich, wonderful devotee, built a big temple, but over the years, people could not maintain the small deities. The children were not devotees anymore. Like we want our children to take on the worship. So they came and leave an endowment to take care of the Deities. Now it's got a thousand deities. Then they gave to us. Now we have a thousand. You've got to wash them with a hose or something. We don't have a hose, I mean, it's like so many deities. When we took it, it was really run down.
Some of these, many of these grhasthas, gurus who were also grhasthas, great pujaris were also grhasthas. People should also give some time to do the deity worship in the temples. Some of the big temples, here we have enough brahmacaris. Some of the grhasthas also come. In Mayapur, Vrindavan Prabhupada said male public worship in the main temples because of the culture, but in other temples, the ladies, too, they worship. That's also important. Everyone in the community should share this burden of love. It's a loving service. How much mercy you'll get by worshipping the deities, it's incalculable.
So Thank you very much.
Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare