Lecture by His Holiness BVV Nrsimha Swami (download mp3), given on February 26, at the 2007 Gaura Purnima Festival, Sri Mayapur Candrodaya Mandir, Mayapur, India.
kaccit puranau purusau svanabhya-
asata urvyah kusalam vidhaya
krta-ksanau kusalam sura-gehe
TRANSLATION: [Please tell me] whether the original Personalities of Godhead, who incarnated Themselves at the request of Brahma [who is born out of the lotus flower from the Lord] and who have increased the prosperity of the world by elevating everyone, are doing well in the house of Surasena.
PURPORT: Lord Krsna and Balarama are not two different Personalities of Godhead. God is one without a second, but He expands Himself in many forms without their being separate from one another. They are all plenary expansions. The immediate expansion of Lord Krsna is Baladeva, and Brahma, born from the lotus flower from Garbhodakasayi Visnu, is an expansion of Baladeva. This indicates that Krsna and Baladeva are not subjected to the regulations of the universe; on the contrary, the whole universe is under Their subjugation. They appeared at the request of Brahma to liberate the burden of the world, and They relieved the world by many superhuman activities so that everyone became happy and prosperous. Without the grace of the Lord, no one can become happy and prosperous. Because the happiness of the family of the Lord's devotees depends on the happiness of the Lord, Vidura first of all inquired about the well-being of the Lord. [End of purport]
BVV Narasimha Swami: We're hearing from the Fifth Canto, First Chapter. Vidura is speaking this chapter, of course, "Questions by Vidura". Vidura had been introduced in the Srimad Bhagavatam, First Canto, Thirteenth Chapter, Dhrtarastra Quits Home. The chapter began with Vidura's entrance into the palace at Hastinapura. It describes that he had come from pilgrimage. During his pilgrimage he had been receiving instructions from Maitreya. The chapter goes on to describe Vidura's preaching to Dhrtarastra and his encouraging his brother to get out from home and to prepare for his fast-approaching death.
Throughout the Second Canto Vidura is not mentioned again. He's only mentioned in the First Canto in the Thirteenth Chapter in relation to Dhrtarastra quitting home. Now it's interesting why this incident is explained in the First Canto without giving a detailed presentation about Vidura. Sridhar Swami, the famous commentator on Srimad Bhagavatam, explains that both Vidura's returning to Hastinapura and also Arjuna's returning to Hastinapura from Dvaraka, both of these incidents have been described in order to prepare the scene for Maharaja Pariksit becoming the ruler of the world. Then also with Pariksit becoming the ruler of the world, how he challenges the Personality of Kali, and how ultimately, he is cursed to death.
So these two incidents are very important in preparing the scene for describing the speaking of Srimad Bhagavatam, which is the cursing of Maharaja Pariksit, these two incidents: Arjuna's returning from Dvaraka and describing everything and then also this incident of Vidura coming back to Hastinapura.
Throughout the Second Canto we have a lot of information about the creation, we have the catur-sloki Bhagavatam described and how it relates to the subject matter of Srimad Bhagavatam. There is a lot of technical information about the creation of the universal form and also about material creation and annihilation. So hearing all these things, at the end of the Second Canto, the sages in Naimisaranya forest requested Suta Goswami to "Please tell us more about Vidura. Earlier you mentioned about Vidura and he had been receiving instructions from Maitreya, so tell us about that."
The sages themselves changed the topic. Just like we're in a class and the class is very technical and it's got a lot of technical details, you can't just take in a lot of technical stuff, you have to vary it. Prabhupada was very expert. He could lace his lectures with wonderful analogies and pastimes and different incidents to keep us interested in the philosophy. If we hear only the philosophy all the time without the lila, it makes it a little difficult for us. I mean, it's difficult at the best of times to absorb our minds in hearing Srimad Bhagavatam, but when it's just straight philosophy, then it's really difficult.
So it seems the sages themselves, Prabhupada mentions in the purport, at the end of the Second Canto, Tenth Chapter, Prabhupada says the sages wanted to hear more transcendental topics. They had had enough of the physical because they had been hearing about creation and annihilation and they wanted to hear something more transcendental. Prabhupada, in that purport, goes on to explain how there are two classes of men. There is the materialist and the transcendentalist. For the materialist, they like to hear about all the physical laws.
Maybe many of us, previously, before becoming devotees, we were scientists or engineers or we were absorbed in the material nature, thinking how wonderful material nature is: The beauty of the rose, how it has such a wonderful appearance, and at the same time, such a wonderful fragrance, how it opens, closes. So many wonders are there in nature to attract the mind.
Prabhupada met one man, he was studying grass and why grass is green and how it grows. Prabhupada said, "You should understand who is behind all of this nature, not just to be caught up in studying the nature only, but see who is the personality who is controlling all of this nature."
Prabhupada touches on this a little bit in this purport because he explains how Krsna and Balarama appeared in this world to perform their superhuman pastimes. Their pastimes are certainly superhuman, but they are attractive not only for the devotees. Transcendentalists are certainly attracted, but even the materialist can take pleasure in hearing of the superhuman activities of the Lord.
You like to hear love affairs? Women often like to read love stories and things like that. There are so many love stories in Srimad Bhagavatam. You can read about Krsna's pastimes with his gopis, with his queens of Dvaraka. We can hear about crime, the stealing of the Syamantaka jewel and how Krsna goes as a detective to bring it back. You like to hear about war stories, so many different incidents are there, killing demons, fighting battles. It's all there in Srimad Bhagavatam, so even a mundane materialist can take pleasure in hearing Srimad Bhagavatam.
A transcendentalist will undoubtedly will take pleasure in hearing Srimad Bhagavatam. Prabhupada writes this in his introduction to Krsna Book, how the Krsna Book is good for three kinds of people: the materialist, one who is endeavoring to become transcendental, and one who is already transcendental. They will all take pleasure in hearing these pastimes of the Lord.
Sukadeva Goswami in quoting the atmarama sloka that even atmaramas, even those who are liberated souls are inclined to discuss topics, hear the narrations of the pastimes of the Lord. We know that Sukadeva Goswami was attracted to hear Srimad Bhagavatam and that brought him back to the home of Vyasa to hear again the Srimad Bhagavatam. Although he had no interest in the material world, he was not attached to his family, he was not entangled in material life, but he was attached to hearing Srimad Bhagavatam.
So transcendentalists will also take pleasure in hearing the topics of the Lord. That is why these sages, they wanted to hear these transcendental topics. When Maitreya and Vidura met, what did they talk about, what did they discuss? This is what is being described now.
Sukadeva Goswami is describing this meeting between Vidura and Maitreya and the questions which Vidura put. He wants to know. He wants to hear. He's asking Maitreya, "What happened to all these different people? Tell me about them." Vidura is concerned about the Personality of Godhead. Are they well? He is not wondering did they catch a cold or have they got a fever or are they suffering from some disease or bodily ailments. Are they well?
How could a devotee be concerned about the welfare of the Lord? The Lord, of course, his welfare is related to that of the devotees. the Lord is concerned for the welfare of the devotees. He comes in this world for the pleasure of his devotees.
Prabhupada explains first of all that the Lord is not just simply one. Sometimes people are confused when they come to our temple because they see so many different gods. They say, "I thought you people were monotheistic. I thought you just worshipped one God. You've got so many different Gods here." But they are the one Lord in many different forms. The Lord is appearing in countless forms, innumerable forms.
Lord Balarama is another of his forms. His original form is called the svayam-rupa, the original form of the Personality of Godhead, complete and full of all opulence, svayam-rupa, Lord Krsna as a cowherd boy in Vrindavan, playing. But Lord Balarama is his first expansion, non-different from Krsna, only difference in color. Lord Balarama possesses all the potencies of the form of Lord Krsna, but he comes in the mood of the Lord's servant. Lord Balarama is able to serve Krsna in all different rasas. He will be the friend. Sometimes he will be friendly with Krsna. Sometimes he will serve Krsna. Sometimes he will play the part of the older brother and he will allow Lord Krsna to serve him. In his form as Ananga Manjari, Lord Balarama is also is serving Lord Krsna in madhurya-rasa. So in all different rasas Lord Balarama is able to render service to Lord Krsna.
Srila Prabhupada goes on to explain that Lord Brahma is also an expansion of Lord Balarama because Lord Balarama expands himself first of all as Sankarsana, then from Sankarsana into the caturvyuha: Sankarsana, Pradyumna, Aniruddha, Vasudeva. Then again there is another caturvyuha, secondary caturvyuha. From that we have also the three purusa-avataras: Garbhodakasayi Visnu, Karanodakasayi Visnu, and Ksirodakasayi Visnu. They are all coming from expansion of Lord Balarama. In this way, Lord Brahma is also an expansion of Lord Balarama.
Vidura is saying in this verse that these two Lords, Krsna and Balarama, they have appeared at the request of Lord Brahma, who is born from the lotus flower of Garbhodakasayi Visnu. Queen Kunti mentions like this. She offers different reasons why the Lord has appeared. One of these is: at the request of Lord Brahma because Lord Brahma was concerned that the world was overburdened by so many demoniac kings. Lord Brahma had been approached by Mother Bhumi. She had gone to Lord Brahma and requested for help to alleviate her distressing condition of having so many demoniac kings. At that time Lord Brahma approached the Lord at Svetadvipa, and offered his prayers. This is one reason Kunti offers for the descent of the Lord.
Prabhupada goes on to explain that by their appearance in this world everyone becomes happy and prosperous. Now we should appreciate what is real happiness and prosperity. Actually conditioned souls do not know what is real happiness. They are thinking happiness to simply be some satisfaction of the senses: fill the belly, eat and sleep, mating, and defending. This is their happiness, giving some pleasure to the body.
But factually we know that material sense gratification never satisfies anyone. It simply increases the burning fire of lust. Nobody is satisfied in the material world. No one has enough. Everyone is wanting more. They will have one holiday. After one vacation, they can't wait for the next one. Nobody ever gets any real satisfaction from material life. No one will say, "I have enough wealth. I don't need any more." They are always anxious to increase their power, their fame, and their prosperity because they are thinking prosperity means "my bank balance", having the latest model of a car, or having a big house bigger than the others and having all the latest gadgets in the house. They are thinking prosperity means economic development.
Prabhupada said economic development is just a polished way of saying sense gratification. It is nothing more than sense gratification. The Lord, when Lord Krsna and Balarama come in this world, their business is not just to satisfy our material senses or make us simply prosperous. Prosperity means having peace of mind and control of the senses.
This question is discussed in Tenth Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam. The question is raised that the devotees of Siva are so opulent. They enjoy so much wealth, but it seems the devotees of Visnu are not so wealthy, not so opulent. Although Laksmi is the goddess of fortune and the consort of Lord Narayana, it seems that her devotees have the curse of Bhrgu on them. They are bereft of opulence. Lord Siva, although he is austere, lives under a banyan tree, his devotees enjoy lots of wealth. So why is it like this?
It is explained that the real prosperity, the real wealth is not simply in having money in the bank and all types of assets in the form of land and home and family members, but the real prosperity is in having a peaceful mind and controlled senses. That is the opulence of the devotees of Lord Krsna. This peacefulness has to be achieved by the grace of the Lord. How to get the grace of the Lord? the grace of the Lord can be achieved by everyone by recognizing him as the proprietor.
In Bhagavad-gita Lord Krsna explains the Peace Formula:
bhoktaram yajna-tapasam sarva-loka-mahesvaram suhrdam sarva-bhutanam jïatva mam santim rcchati
We simply have to know Krsna is three things: that Krsna is the supreme proprietor, not proprietor of some little land or a little house somewhere, not even the proprietor of one country or one planet, but he is sarva-loka-mahesvaram. He is the proprietor of all the planets, everything is his, all the universes. And yajna-tapasam, everything we do is for his pleasure.
Bhakti Vikasa Swami was explaining to me yesterday that with the coming Ekadasi, we should not think that simply by our tapasya or performing the vow of austerity that Krsna is obliged to fulfill our desires, Krsna is obliged to give us a nice temple in Moscow, Krsna is obliged to take care of our problems in Kazakhstan. Not like that. Krsna is not just our order-supplier.
We have a loving relationship with Krsna. Our business is to please Krsna, to give pleasure to Krsna. Our business is not to tell Krsna what we want, "give me this, give me that". That is material religion. That is already rejected in the beginning of Srimad Bhagavatam: dharmah projjhita-kaitavah atra paramah. That is all kicked out, religion which is materially motivated. Our business is to please Krsna, to give pleasure to Krsna, and whatever difficulties we undergo for his pleasure, that is our pleasure, that is our enjoyment.
In Siksastakam, Lord Caitanya describes:
aslisya va pada-ratam pinasöu mam adarsanan marma-hatam karotu va
"Even if you handle me roughly by your embrace, make me brokenhearted by not being presented before me, you are free to do anything and everything, but always you are my worshipable Lord." This verse is spoken in the mood of Srimati Radharani herself, the greatest, topmost devotee. The mood of the gopis is to serve Krsna in separation, even with a broken heart. The difficulties which we undergo are, for the pleasure of Krsna, our greatest pleasure.
In the material world, we take pleasure in seeing the distress of others. When others are suffering, we say, "Ha, ha, look at them! They know all about it now. Look at them!" We enjoy seeing others suffer. That is material life, but in Krsna consciousness, for a devotee, our pleasure is taking difficulties for Krsna's pleasure without asking anything in return.
A devotee has nothing to ask from Krsna. Devotees' only business is to please Krsna, to give pleasure for Krsna without ever asking anything in return. The mood of the gopis is, "If our crying, if our distress makes Krsna happy, that is our greatest happiness."
I often ask our householders, can you tell your spouse like that? "My dear wife, if my distress makes you happy, then that is my happiness." We don't have that kind of love in the material world. This is only with Krsna. These loving relationships are spiritual. The nature of spiritual love, perfection, is to cry for Krsna. Our dear Godbrother, Gaura Govinda Maharaja used to say that he had opened a crying school in Bhubaneswar. He wanted to train people to cry for Krsna.
Prabhupada also writes in the Nectar of Devotion how perfection can be achieved by this crying for Krsna. Accepting difficulty, undergoing all kinds of trials and tribulations for the pleasure of the Lord, that is our happiness. That is our greatest pleasure. And by pleasing Krsna, by accepting all kinds of troubles, going out preaching, distributing books in all difficult conditions, doing the vow of Ekadasi also, these things, parikrama also, not just going on parikrama thinking, "I will get rid of my sins, I will purify myself," but for Krsna's pleasure. If we are just trying to get rid of our sins, that is devotional service in goodness, but pure devotional service, transcendental devotional service is doing everything for the pleasure of Krsna. We want to please Krsna. This is Krsna consciousness, that we are thinking how to please Krsna at every moment.
Of course the easiest way to please him is simply by chanting his Holy Name. Lord Caitanya has taught everyone how we can give pleasure to Krsna: Simply through chanting his Holy Name. So Krsna consciousness can be easy. It doesn't have to be a great struggle. We don't have to cry, but if we do have that strong desire, nothing wrong with that.
In this way, Vidura is inquiring, "Tell me about these people. These different devotees, how are they? Are they doing well in the house of Surasena?"
Are there any questions?
Visuddha-sattva Prabhu: I want to, with your permission, Maharaja, thank you for the nice class. I want to clarify a point. Sometimes, the mood of the gopis, you say this is the mood of Lord Caitanya, crying for Krsna, the mood of the Gosvamis also, as Umapati Maharaja was saying in his class.
Is it the mood ? 11:45 ? in separation, in vipralambha, but sometimes, the ? Gaudiya Vaisnava, this is misunderstood that not only in the mood of separation, but there are some kind of gopis, they want the union of Krsna also. We just suppose that is the high thing, you know vipralambha bhava, but there are explanations from the acaryas that the special manjaris, they want the union. They are separate but they want the union of Radha and Krsna.
I put the example of the couple, the husband and wife. They are separate because they travel some place, but their separation intensifies the necessity for union. But special gopis and manjaris want Krsna and Radharani be united, not only separate. This is an important thing to mention because sometimes we think, no, Gauranga Mahaprabhu came only in the mood of vipralambha bhava, but he wanted also the union between Radha and Krsna.
BVV Nrsimha Maharaja: Well, the feeling of separation itself necessitates that there will be a union.
VSP: It's a play, you know. ?? It's play.
Maharaja: The more the feeling of separation intensifies, then that brings the union.
VSP: With your permission, I want to quote an important point in regard to Bhaktivinod Thakur. It was surprising to me, Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur Maharaja was saying, "Bhaktivinod Thakur wants to serve in the mood of Kuruksetra." The gopis are waiting for Krsna but they can't meet with him. So there was a mystery, why Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur wants to be in that mood? Because the intensity of bhakti is very high at that moment, so he can render better service.
Maharaja: He is explaining that at Kuruksetra, at the time of the solar eclipse, Krsna had come with all the queens from Dvaraka and Nanda Maharaja had also brought all the gopis and the other Brijabasis to Kuruksetra. So they were meeting after a long time. At that time, the gopis along with Srimati Radharani, they were seeing Krsna after a long time, but they were not able to speak to him because Krsna was there with all of his wives. So Krsna, in the presence of all of his wives and his family members and these young gopis, maybe not so young by that time, but they were all there. They could not immediately go and talk to Krsna, "How are you? We haven't seen you in a long time," as we would do because the Vedic culture is such that women would not speak to another man.
VSP: Because Krsna was also in the mood of king, not in the mood of Syamasundara in Vrindavan.
Maharaja: Yes, that's also true, that he was coming more in his Vasudeva form, coming from Dvaraka, but still the gopis, they were attracted. They knew this is Krsna, the same Krsna. They wanted to bring him to Vrindavan. So they were not able to immediately speak to Krsna, they had to wait for the opportune moment when Krsna could free himself from his wives and all of his family members.
VSP: The intensity, they want to meet with Krsna but they can't, so the desire to meet came to a very high point.
Maharaja: Yes. So we can imagine how great the feeling of separation, intensity to be with Krsna was even greatest here at Kuruksetra. So he was saying Bhaktivinod Thakur was aspiring for this mood that the feeling of separation at Kuruksetra was the greatest because they are seeing Krsna, Krsna is there, he's not far away, but still the culture is such that they can't go, they can't meet with him, they can't talk to him. This was the highest fire of separation.
Umapati Swami Maharaja?
Umapati Maharaja: There has to be a desire for union because if there's no desire for union, there's no lamentation in separation. So the desire for union must be there, otherwise there is no seperation. But it is mentioned in several places that the ecstasy of separation is the most intense. In Krsna Book, Prabhupada mentions that when everybody thought that Krsna was dead, that Kaliya had killed Krsna, they were actually experiencing the highest ecstasy.
BVVN Maharaja: Any other questions, comments? Yes, Mataji?
Question: It's probably quite an ignorant question, but I'd like to ask, how is it that the austerity of Ekadasi, say that one fasts all day, how is it that it pleases Krsna?
Maharaja: Because Ekadasi is very dear to Krsna. It is like Krsna's day. Of all the days, it is a special day which is very dear to Lord Krsna.
Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur writes in his song "suddha-bhakata-carana-renu":
He says, "By following the holy days such as Ekadasi, which is the mother of devotion, one can give pleasure to Krsna."
Ekadasi is like Krsna's day. Just like Janmastami, we think of that as Krsna's day also, right? Why? Because it's his birthday. But Ekadasi, Krsna's birthday is not only every year, Ekadasi is also Krsna's day, a day that is very dear to Krsna. That is why Prabhupada said he wants us to observe Ekadasi by increasing our hearing and chanting. It is a day on which we increase our remembrance of Krsna. Everyday we have to remember Krsna, but especially it is powerful on the Ekadasi. And if we observe the Ekadasi, it becomes the mother of devotion for those devotees who take shelter of her. Devotion is awakened within us just by remembering Krsna, intensifying our remembrance of Krsna on Ekadasi. Exactly why Ekadasi is dear to Krsna, I don't know.
Anybody know? Anybody like to say? Visuddha-sattva Prabhu?
VSD: If you study in the Purana, there it mentions how Ekadasi appeared. When that bow(?) was after Krsna, while killing Krsna, then appeared. Ekadasi is the internal potency of Krsna, antaranga sakti of Krsna. Because it protected Krsna so it is very dear to Krsna. There are more elaborate descriptions in the Puranas.
Maharaja: So he says Ekadasi is antaranga sakti, internal potency of Krsna. He said this is described in Puranas.
We will find many people they are also observing Ekadasi, not only Krsna devotees, but there many other people that are yogis and tantrics and so on, they observe Ekadasi. Their mood is different. Their mood is not to please Krsna. They are observing Ekadasi, they are fasting on Ekadasi, they may not be sleeping. Why are they following Ekadasi vrata? They are doing it to increase their piety, maybe to develop some siddhis, to get rid of some of their past karmas. Their mood is not for the pleasure of Krsna.
This is the difference between devotees and the other transcendentalists. Our business is to please Krsna, everything for Krsna. By serving Krsna, when Krsna is happy, we also feel happy. When we see the Deities beautifully dressed, we feel pleasure. When we see nice offerings, nice kirtans, everything for the pleasure of Krsna, it is also pleasing for us. We become happy. Ekadasi is another means for pleasing Krsna.
Question: There is a letter from Prabhupada where he explains some of the simple rules for cooking, but in it Prabhupada says, "We must follow the rules and regulations, otherwise what is the proof that we love Krsna?"
Maharaja: This is a very clear, basic point. We follow the rules and regulations because we love Krsna. It is proof of our love for Krsna. We want to do all the things we are supposed to do. Why do we do these things? Just out of love.
Sometimes people wonder: "What are you people doing? You people are always out here singing and dancing. Who is paying you?" they often wonder like that, "Who is paying you guys?"
They can't believe we're doing it out of love because material world, nobody does anything out of love: "How much will you pay me? What are you going to give me? You want me to do something? You'll have to pay me."
That's not bhakti. That's not devotion. Devotional service, we do things out of love. We wake up early in the morning, people wiling to stay up all night, sing and dance, not even eating because they have love for Krsna, or they want to get love for Krsna. They're greedy for that.
OK, thank you very much.
Srimad Bhagavatam ki jai!