Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakura
Srila Bhakti Vedanta Swami Prabhupada
Tridandi Swami Bhakti Hridaya Vana Maharaj
Akinchan Krishnadas Babaji Maharaj
Avadhuta Ramesh Babaji Maharaj
Memories of Srila Prabhupada
Back to Main Articles Menu
(C) 1995 by Richard S. Brown All rights reserved.
All Glories to Sri Sri Guru And Gauranga
By Richard Shaw Brown (AKA Tridandi Swami Lalitananda Vana)
"Swami Lalitananda Vana, sannyasa disciple of Swami Bhakti Hridaya Vana. When I first encountered his little book, "Bhakti Culture", I had no idea of his ISKCON pre-history. I was simply charmed, touched, captivated and fascinated by his presentation of Krishna-bhakti, unlike anything I had previously read. Yet I could not have been so touched by his writing if he had not first been inspired by Bhaktivedanta Swami."---Vamsidas
To the KUNDA FLOWER
HARE KRISHNA HARE KRISHNA KRISHNA KRISHNA HARE HARE
HARE RAMA HARE RAMA RAMA RAMA HARE HARE
This little book of condensed nectar was written in Vrindavan by the mercy of Paramahansa Sri Srimad Bhakti Hridaya Vana Maharaj. He is the revealer of Vraja dhama to his thousands of followers and any others who care to know. Therefore I would like to present a brief biography of his spiritual life as a lifelong brahmacari/sannyasi and intimate personal associate of Srila Bhakti-siddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada.
His Divine Grace
Tridandi Swami Bhakti Hridaya Vana (Bon) Maharaj
HIS EARLY LIFE:
H.H. Srila Vana (Bon) Maharaj was born Narendra Nath Mukherji in 1901 in East Bengal, the Gaudiya Vaisnava Brahman son of Brahmarishi Rajanikanta, who was a renowned Vedic scholar and devotee. Vana Maharaj was a lifelong celibate and as a brahmacari he joined and took initiation from Bhakti Siddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada in the very early 1900s.
Paramahansa Bhakti Siddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada,
Intimate Spiritual Master of Sripad B.H. Vana Maharaj
Later, in 1924, at the age of 23, he was the third disciple to accept lifelong Tridanda Sannyasa from Srila Saraswati Prabhupada and quickly became one of his leading preachers. He was the most bright and educated among his godbrothers and under his Gurudeva's order he preached the message of Lord Chaitanya delivering literally thousands of lectures all over India, including the Royal Albert Hall in Calcutta. He also established new Gaudiya Math's for his Gurudeva (such as in Madras) and he organized theistic exhibitions in Calcutta and Dacca which drew 100,000 visitors daily.
He was so successful and aggressive a preacher, introducing the message of Srila Sarasvati Prabhupada up to the highest levels of social and intellectual society of that time (during the British Raj) that he became famous all over India.
Because of his high-education he was sent by his Gurudeva, Srimad Bhakti Siddhanta Sarasvati Prabhupada, to UK and Germany to preach. Unfortunately the 1930's were not like America during the mid-1960's prosperity and "counterculture" revolution, and although he took Lord Caitanya's teachings to the very top of mleccha society and gave many lectures throughout England and Europe, still it was (to quote Lord Zetland) almost "impossible" to make beef-eaters of that time and place turn into Brahmin-Vaisnavas. He was living in the bitter cold and damp London during the British Raj AND the Great Depression. He was even received in audience by H.M. The King of England
Tridandi Swami B.H. Bon Maharaj (with tridanda) is greeted by 100,000 devotees
on his return from Europe. Seated at far right is young A.C. De (ACBSP)
Still, Vana Maharaj did convert two German gentlemen (Dr. E.G. Schulze and Baron Koeth, pictured above) whom he brought back to India and offered at the feet of Srila Sarasvati Prabhupada, his Gurudeva, for initiation. But there was a jealous conspiracy being hatched against Srila Vana Maharaj by some members of the Gaudiya Matha. They appeared to poison the mind of Prabhupada by telling him that Vana Maharaj was taking money sent from them in India and living a life of luxury. In fact, the truth was just the opposite. It was a great austerity for a pure born Gaudiya Vaisnava Brahmin to brave the miserable English weather and the ignorant and puffed-up British and Europeans.
Prabhupada acted displeased with Vana Maharaj at the prompting of those devious members of the Gaudiya Matha who later left the mission. They poisoned the mind of Prabhupada against Vana Maharaj.
Upon his return to Calcutta he was received by one lakh of people. But at the Matha he was returning in disgrace and being called a failure. At that time he felt very wounded by the harsh treatment of his spiritual master and the jealous plotters, so he went away to stay at another Gaudiya Matha outside Bengal.
HIS MIDDLE LIFE:
In 1942, after the disappearance of his Gurudeva, Srila Sarasvati Prabhupada, and the breakup of the Gaudiya-matha into two factions, Vana Maharaj voted for Srila B.V. Tirtha Maharaj to be the next Acarya, and (it is known) that he spent one month fasting on a raft in the middle of the Ganga to atone for any unresolved misunderstand with his great spiritual master, Srila Sarasvati Prabhupada.
Later, when the disputes became violent, Srila Vana Maharaj, who was a very high born brahman, was shocked! So he went by foot on a solitary pilgrimage into the Himalayas for many years of severe tapasya (only chanting Hare Krishna!).
His four vows were:
He journeyed 650 miles on foot and lived at the source of the Yamuna River under very sever circumstances. During these years alone Vana Maharaj describes in his Bengali book, Vaikunther-pathe, how he had vision-darshan of his Gurudeva, who revealed to him his siddha-pranali, and ordered him to go serve Sri Vrndavana-dhama.
Thereafter he retired in Vrindavana where he constructed a small bhajan-kutir on land donated to him. He also excavated an underground cave-room where he spent many years performing secluded bhajan (chanting in meditation).
HIS LATER LIFE:
By the age of 70 Vana Maharaj had many thousands of initiated Bengali and other Indian born disciples. I personally went on a tour of several East and West Bengali villages where the entire populations were his disciples. And all Vana Maharajas' bona fide disciples worship, respect and serve Lord Krishna through him. He is known as a siddha-purusa by all his disciples.
During his life Vana Maharaj wrote and translated some excellent books including his masterpiece translation and commentary of Sri Rupa Goswami's classic, Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu. Other books by Swami Vana which have also been published include the Gita As a Chaitanyite Reads It, Sri Caitanya, Viraha-vedana, On the Way to Vaikuntha (Hindi & Bengali), and seven more books in German, English, Hindi and Bengali.
Vana Maharaj also served Vraja-dhama by offering the Vraja-vasi's local accredited education...
1) He built the Vaisnava Theological University (later became affiliated with the University of Agra as the Institute of Oriental Philosophy), in Vrndavana, where many Vrajabasi's received BA, MA and Ph.D. degrees (without leaving the Dhama);
2) He also constructed the Sri Krishna Chaitanya Primary School next to Sanatana Goswami's bhajan-kutir in Nandagrama (first school there in 5,000 years; the local kids used to take a bus to Kosi in order to even begin studies);
3) He also maintains Sri Sanatana Gosvami's bhajan kutir in Nandagrama where many of his Godbrothers would stay, and even now this sacred tirtha is still under the care of his babaji disciples. It is also the sacred spot where Akincana Krishnadas Babaji Maharaj left his old body. If anyone takes darshan of the Nandagrama bhajan kutir altar they will see the Guru Parampara descending to Srila Vana Maharaj.
4) His personal Math in Vrndavana was called bhajan kutir where he lived a quiet life with brahmacari and sannyasi disciples. Vana Maharaj was always very strict with the four regulative principles, and he never acted or spoke sahajiya or fallen in any way; he was a fixed-up, lifelong celibate sannyasi disciple of BSSP who mostly performed private bhajan after returning from his tapasya. He was very concerned about the Nitya-lila pastimes of the Divine Couple and his own service therein.
Many of Bhakti Siddhanta's disciples who would often come to visit Vana Maharaj in Vraja; he also went to visit his Godbrothers in Bengal every couple years. Vana Maharaj was a clearly dear friend with his many Godbrothers, and both Srila Krishnadas Babaji Maharaj and Srila B.S. Ashram Maharaj would come to live with Vana Maharaj every year for many months at a time.
Bhajan-anandi Namacharya Krishnadas Babaji Maharaj,
intimate associate of Srila Vana Maharaj
After passing his entire life in full-time devotional service and having never broken his life long vows, Srila Vana Maharaj departed this material world at 9:04 PM on July 7, 1982 at his Bhajan kutir in Vrindavan, U.P. India, located on the very lane where the Divine Couple eternally pass every night on route to Seva Kunja).
Here are the facts about the disappearance of HDG Srila Vana Maharaja as reported in the book "Supreme Divinity and Sad-guru" by Dr. Tapodhir Krishna Dastidar.
"Our hearts, laden with anguish and anxiety, we spent all day taking part by rotation in the kirtan which somehow continued even after the expiry of the midday of July 7. In the evening when a few of us were singing sadly kirtan before the ashram Deities, we were hastily summoned from the Natmandir by Swami Rasikananda Maharaj and requested to gather round Gurudev's bedside.
"While ceaselessly chanting the "Hare Krishna" Mahamantra over and over again, we watched helplessly as Gurudev's chest slowly heaved up and down with every intake and exhalation of breath. All the while, even in his semi-comatose condition, his tongue was rhythmically chanting the Holy Name of Krishna. Swami Keshavananda Maharaj was feeling Gurudev's pulse all the time. The end, as already stated, came at 9.04 PM on July 7, 1982. The last giant amongst the best exponents of Gaudiya Vaisnavism, His Holiness Swami Bhakti Hriday Bon Maharaj left his mortal coils to join the company of the Supreme Godhead's Eternal Associates who are ever engaged in offering esoteric and supra-mundane devotional service to Sri Krishna and His Counter-whole projection Sri Radha in their transcendental love-sports. We shall never see the like of him again." (SDASG, 83-84)
Afterwards, when his corpse was taken out for a parikrama of Vrindavan, his eyes opened when the palanquin left the Bhajan Kutir, and they closed when it returned. Also, Lalit Krishna Brahmacari reported that there was a distinct smell of sandalwood coming from his transcendental body.
All glories to the sacred memory of H.D.G. Tridandi Swami Srila Bhakti Hridaya Vana Maharaj and ALL his devoted and blessed disciples. His vapu-samadhi temple is located on Madan-mohan Ghera in Sridham Vrndavana, and the murti is a very good likeness of Srila Vana Maharaj at about 72 years of age. Some of what is known about Srila Vana Maharaj is his siddha-pranali realization and his eternal service in Radha-Krishna's Vrindavan nitya lila.
It is pleasing to read the brochure written by my disciple Tridandi Swami Lalitananda Vana Maharaj. He has a good grasp of the basic philosophy of Bengal Vaisnavism as preached by Lord Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. It is further very encouraging to note the Sri Lalitananda has imbibed an earnest desire to enter into the esoteric and supra-mundane services of the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna and His Counter-whole Projection Sri Sri Radha and Their transcendental Love-dalliances. He was born and brought up in a different environment in his early years being an American by birth, and it is therefore all the more amazing that he has been able to understand the philosophy of Sri Chaitanya, and that the unalloyed sentiments of the services of Sri Radha-Krishna in pure state of awakened and innate nature of his eternal self, have found an expression. Should he be able to develop his spiritual practices without ever being carried by egoism of mundane name and fame, and faithfully tread the path of humbleness and endurance for the sake of the eternal services of Sri Guru and Sri Krishna, the Lord will one day accept him in His eternal services and thus be completely freed from the bondage of this mundane world. Sri Lalitananda has my affectionate blessings.
Bhajan Kutir, B.H. Bon
The 20th of May, 1970
Oh foolish people today or tomorrow will come your unhappy end! At the time of your death your family and relations will not be able to help you. Remembering always that cruel death is hanging over your head ready to strike you down, you should run to Sri Vrindavan!
In the whole universe there is none who is a greater sinner than myself nor will one such ever be born. Therefore, the divine land of Sri Radha Govinda, Sri Vrindavan, is my only shelter, which is ever overflowing with Divine love.
Seated in some lonely bower of Vraja daily meditate and serve mentally the Divine Couple, Sri Sri Radha Krishna, in the Vrindavan in your heart. With eyes overflowing with the divine tears of Prema (Divine Love), pray always for Their sight and await patiently the shower of Their Grace.From:
Sri Prabodanand Saraswati's
" OBEISANCE'S "
My real self is the eternal maid of Sri Radha, the Divine Goddess of the eternal land of music and joy, Sri Vraja Dham. But having neglected the divine service of Her Lotus Feet, I am now surrounded on all sides by a temporary material body and an invisible subtle mind, which are both something other than the real me both being the product of a particular External Potency, Maya, of the Moon of Vraja, the Supreme Lord Shyam Sundara.
Having fallen into the endless ocean of birth and death and being separated from the Lotus Feet of my Life of Life, Sri Radha, I am now busily engaged in wrong and sinful pursuits in this world of misery.
Therefore I seek the soothing shelter of the glorious FIVE: Sri Sri Guru Deva, Sri Sri Gouranga and Nityanada, Sri Sri Radha-Krishna, Sri Sri Vraja Dham, and Sri Sri Vaishnavas, Who are the only shelter for those who have no shelter whatsoever.
I prostrate and surrender my very existence to these glorious FIVE and beg a little of Their Mercy, Because then only may my eternal, all-spiritual divine mind and body become on with my heart, the eternal playground of the Supreme Truth, Sri Sri Radha-Krishna and all Their dearest Sakhis, "Sri Bepin Sakhi-Vilas"
The glorious FIVE are the ocean of kindness and as They are all-glory personified, I bow down to each of Them separately that They may give me the power to write this humble summary of the principle of Sir Sri Radha Krishna Vraja Lila, for the pleasure of all real devotees everywhere, among whom the greatest is my Guru Deva, Sri Bhakti Hridaya Bon, He Who's Heart is the eternal playground of Sri Radha Krishna:
Whose rose petal Feet ever emit the divine Fragrance of the Glades of Sri Vrindavan; Whose Legs, like the lotus stalk, may keep me afloat in this dark and endless ocean of kama (lust);
Whose golden Waist, which attracts Govinda, may be the turning point of my life;
Whose Heart, warm with the divine heat of Prema (Holy love) may save me from all severe cold;
Whose divine Arms, like the creepers of Vraja, may grace my head with their flower like palms;
And at the very height of all, Whose lotus Face is decorated with doe like eyes, the very reflection of the Divine Couple and beautified with the collerium of loving anger (Bamya Madhya), below which shyly resides His budding mouth, the divine Fount eternally flowing forth the nectar-like love dalliances of Sri Radha and Her Beloved.
To this divine Kunda Flower of Vraja, named Latita, the red glow of Who's Body may one day illuminate for me the way to Sri Radha's Darling, Shyam Sunder, I surrender my life!
From the mercy of the first of the glorious FIVE, Sri Guru Deva, comes the ocean of mercy of the second, Sri Krishna Chaitanya and Prabhu Nityananda, Who are the same Krishna and Baladeva Who eternally tend cows in Sri Vrindavan. They are the Jewels of the earth and the One Supreme Truth. I shall live at the Feet of Them Both, for They are eternally distributing the sweet mango fruits of Divine Love (Prema) and even though I am unworthy, still at Their Lotus Feet I may fine a fruit of love which They have dropped in Their overabundance of joy.
If I get the mercy of the Sun and the Moon and happen to taste the sweetness (Rasa) of a fruit of Prema then only I shall get the mercy of the glorious Third, Sri Sri Radha Srila Govinda Deva, Who are the embodiment of all Rasa and the glory of the blue and the gold lotus Personified; the glorious Fourth, Sri Vrajadham, the eternal playground of the Divine couple; and the glorious Fifth, the holy Feet of all devotees everywhere, Because when the Sun and Moon arise together all can be seen with the removal of all darkness. Hey Gurudev! Hey Gaura Nitai! Hey Sri Radhe! Hey Nanda Kumar! Vrinda Bepin, and all devotees everywhere, may You all be pleased with this unworthy insect and Sri Bepin Sakhi Vilas.
Before I or anyone can venture into the land of the heart, the divine and eternal Realm of God, Sri Vraja, and fully appreciate the love-play of the Supreme Lord with His Own Projected Counter Parts ion Their true light, free from any sensuality, lust, and mundane sex-thinking of this material world, he must first take unconditional shelter unto the glorious FIVE!
After surrendering to Their Lotus Feet one must then cross the ocean of Sadhana (spiritual practices) until he reaches the opposite shore with the complete destruction of the perverted ego, all sensual desires, and false relationship with the temporary material mind, body, and universe. So, before attempting to give a taste of Sri Bepin Sakhi Vilas I mentally take shelter unto the glorious FIVE mentally take shelter unto the glorious FIVE and place my head on the Lotus Feet of my Dearest in divine love, my Gurudeva Paramahansa Sri Srimad Bhakti Hridaya Bona [Bengali pronunciation of the sannyasa title of "Vana"] Maharaj, along with the source of all His divine power, Om Visnupad Parivrajakacharya Srimad Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Goswami Prabhupada, Paramahansa Sri Goura Kishore Das Babaji Maharaj, Paramahansa Sri Bhakti Vinode Thakura, Paramahansa Sri Srila Jagannatha das Babaji Maharaj, and ultimately to the source of all blessedness and the very stream of all Divine Love flowing into this world, Sri Sri Jahnava Devi, Who eternally sports in Vraja at the Lotus Feet of Sri Krishna as Ananga Manjari.
So, at the Feet of my Guru Deva and by His power I shall attempt to explain briefly the purely spiritual and most secret nature of the eternal, all-conscious love sports of the Supreme lord Himself with all his Eternal Associates in Vraja.
Without the correct comprehension of the purely Suddha Satva Chetan (spiritually pure all conscious) nature of this subject, none can understand or even imagine the Vraja love games, so at first I shall attempt here a short explanation of the nature of all realities (spiritual and material) for my own benefit and success in this most misunderstood subject as well as for all sincere readers of this humble booklet. May the glorious FIVE bless all, including my unworthy self, with proper understanding and admission into the Realm of God.
Let us first ponder over the word "Reality" and then try to determine its nature. Once during the time of the appearance of the Supreme Person, Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, one of His Own Eternal Associates, Sri Sanatana Goswami Prabhu, asked Him these questions for the benefit of the world.
Who am I? Where have I come from? What is this world of suffering, and where am I going?
So, out of infinite mercy the nature of all realities thus flowed froth from the Lotus Lips of the supreme Reality Himself. Sri Chaitanya thus answered Sri Sanatana and all mankind: "You, Oh Sanatana, and all living beings, both animate and inanimate, are the eternal servants of Krishna! "
"You are now thrown into the ocean of birth and death, the material universe, and you must all go again to the eternal Realm of Krishna!"
"The material universe is external and the product of a potency of Krishna known as Maya shakti."
ORIGIN OF JIVATMA
The spiritual realm of Krishna is internal and the product of a potency
of the Lord, known as Antaranga or Yogamaya shakti; and you are a soul
belonging to a potency of Krishna, called Jiva Shakti, which lies in-between.
You reside in the all-blissful Realm of the Lord or in the material ocean
of misery according to the correct or wrong use of your God-given free
You and all beings, as completely different from the temporary changeable material mind and bodies, are souls who belong to the jiva potency that is all-conscious and composed of spiritually pure light (Chetan).....In the beginning God said "let there be light and there was light" (Bible). The jivas were created by the Lord out of a divine Particle of His Own Self.... In the beginning He was all-alone. So out of infinite love and with a desire to sport He became many and yet Himself remained unchanged (Upanishad).
Jivas are possessed of free will, and all souls have the choice to go to the spiritual Realm of God on one side and experience eternal bliss in the loving service of the Lord, their normal condition, or they can choose the material universe with the desire to be the enjoyer and taste temporary enjoyments, which are really sufferings in disguise.
Then, putting on the ever-changing material gross and subtle bodies they enter into this endless ocean of misery passing through 84 lakhs varieties of material bodies from the atom (anu) , to one-celled, creatures, plants, insects, and animals, to man, rising and falling, until by the mercy of the glorious FIVE they experience devotion to the Lord again.
By Their Grace all can once again enter the spiritual all-conscious Realm to engage their pure spiritual mind and body of soul in His loving service, never to return to this material ocean of birth and death again. Although the jiva shakti lies in-between the spiritual and material Realms still the souls are always engaged in one or the other and do not reside in the middle but only emanate from that position on the whole. The jivas are placed into the Maha maya potency by Sarva-karana-karanam Sri Krishna Himself. It is the purpose of the Jiva to pass through Maya.
There is a complete difference between the jivatma's making the material choice as opposed to the mundane idea that Jivas can fall (down) from Goloka-dham after already being liberated, which goes against Lord Krishna's promise to Arjuna. The Jivas are a potency of Krishna, Who has injected them into His Mahamaya potency. It is simply a matter of ignorance in the beginning and certainly not a fall down from the eternal attainment of svarupa siddhi.
So, Reality is KRISHNA! He has three main points: (1) Maya (2) Yoga Maya (3) Jivas (souls), which are His potencies and rest in Him but are not He. All are souls belonging to the Jiva shakti and are His eternal servants, but having turned away from their Lord from time immemorial all are now groping in the dense darkness of this world of misery, trying to find a drop of the happiness which can only be found in the all-blissful Realm of God. All souls can be classified into two groups: (1) the deluded and disloyal atheists who are called badha jivas (those in bondage), and (2) the loyal and enlightened souls who are called mukta jivas or those who are freed.
But the latter are rare, less than one in one million. "Oh Arjuna, know
it that of all beings caught in this ocean of time only a few seek for
truth and of a million seekers only one finds that truth and of a million
seekers only one finds that truth and becomes the devotee of God." (Gita).
The devotees appear like people of the world to the eyes blinded by ignorance
but they are purely spiritual people. They appear amongst us only by the
mercy of the Lord and they will surely leave this world never to return.
They are one of the glorious FIVE and all wise people should seek the
limitless mercy of their feet.
Approach to God is called Dharma (religion), and Dharma is a way given by the Lord leading back to him. But, as all beings on their journey back to Godhead in this world of repeated births ad deaths, are at different stages in this progression (life), the all-merciful Lord has so kindly given a divine stairway back to Him and His loving service. Unfortunately the fallen living beings, due to ignorance, have mistaken the different steps to be so many different religions and having accepted one step, they denounce all others and thus fight in the name of god, not knowing that the Lord is One and religion also, is one progressive ladder to be climbed to the top.
So, what lies at the top step? From the platform of the top step we shall be in a position to know the Personality of Godhead Himself, along with all His Eternal Associates, as also His Divine Realm and the eternal Lilas (pastimes) therein. This most secret knowledge of the Supreme Lord, His sports, and His Associates, has been revealed in this mundane world from the top step, through two divine channels: Sri Guru and the Scriptures.
Sri Guru is sent into this Guru and the Scriptures. Sri Guru is sent into this mundane world by the Will of the Lord Himself. He comes from the Spiritual Realm and is not at all a person like us the body, which He appears to be, is only the instrument through which He communicates to us. As our spiritual senses (eyes, ears, etc.) of soul are now lodged within the material coil, the Lord has sent His Own Eternal Associate into this world from the Spiritual Realm as Sri Guru Dev, and He has accepted a material body and senses as a tool in order to communicate to us spiritual truths while in our deplorable state of bondage So, let us cling to the Lotus Feet of Sri Guru Dev forever!
The second channel is the sacred self-revealed Scriptures, the timeless Vedas of India along with their parts and branches, the Gita, Upanishads, Puranas, etc., among which the most supreme is the Srimad Bhagavatam, which deals exclusively with the Personality of Godhead Himself.
The Vedanta was not revealed by man in time, but is older than man and God-revealed, and should be accepted as such by all who truly desire their eternal welfare. So in order to learn the secrets of the Realm of God, we must submit in all humility to hear with firm faith the holy Srimad Bhagavatam from the lips of Sri Guru, Who has Himself come from that divine Realm!
"Satyam Param Dhimahi" (we meditate on the supreme Truth for realization).
The Supreme Personality of Godhead is Krishna ! He has many Names and Forms, all being separated from and identical with Him at the same time. But the supreme Original Person is the Lord KRISHNA, also known as GOVINDA. He is the Prime Cause of all causes. He alone was in the beginning, He is the beginning, and I worship Him forever. (Sri Brahma Samhita).
The spiritual Realm of Lord Hari is called Vaikuntha (Vai means without, kuntha means limit). Vaikuntha is described by Sri Guru as a Lotus, which covers all infinite space having an infinite number of petals, all of which are individual Vaikunthas.
These Vaikunthas are the sporting grounds of the Lord in His all-majestic aspect as Lord Narayana with his eternal Consort Sri Lakshmi. But, the Pod of this divine Lotus is the most secret sporting ground of Lord Krishna Himself, in His most supreme Form as the Divine Lover.
This Pod, which also covers all-infinite transcendental space, is known as Sri Golok-Vrindaban or Vraja, and this Vraja is located within the heart of every pure soul. Vraja again has four simultaneous levels to suit the different eternal sports of Lord Krishna. These different spiritual levels of Vrajadham are the majestic Sri Mathuradham, higher than Mathura is the divine Forest of Vrindavan, next and more superior is Sri Govardhan Hill, and the highest and most supreme level of the supra-mundane Love sports of the Supreme Lord Govinda, is Sri Radha Kunda, which is identical with the self of Sri Radha, the supreme Goddess, and Its glory cannot be described in words or even imagined. Golok-Vrindaban or Vraja has no touch of Maya (material nature), and although it contains all the things found in this changeable universe they are all eternal and made of pure spiritual conscious sentiments (Bhava). There, KRISHNA is the Supreme Lover and only Enjoyer and as the transcendental Autocrat everything else is devoted exclusively to the loving service of His Nama (Name), Dhama (Realm), and Kama (Desire). There all the Denizens of Vraja serve the Lord of their life, Krishna, in five ways according to there own eternal spiritual nature (Sthayi bhava). These five eternal relationships are:
All souls in their pure all-spiritual state, distinct from their temporary material body and subtle mind, possess an all-conscious spiritual body corresponding to any one of these five eternal relationships with Krishna, their own eternal spiritual nature (sthayi bhava). Every eternal Denizen of Vraja, from the flower or bird, to the friend or Mistress of Krishna, is a spiritual part of Vraja itself, and all beings, both in the state of spiritual practices in bondage as well as those who have achieved the state of freedom from bondage and entered into the transcendental Realm of Krishna, must serve the Lord of their life in subservience and under the direct guidance of the Eternal Associates, among whom Sri Guru Dev is the first Link now manifest in this mundane world. (Sri Bhakti-Rasamrita-Sindhu by Sri Rupa Goswami)
Among all the five rasas (sweet spiritual sentiments) the most supreme is Madhura, as it possesses all the five rasas in itself; and of all the lovers of Krishna in Madhura rasa, the greatest is Sri Radha, Who is the Supreme Goddess! In spiritually technical terms Sri Radha would be classified as the Counter Whole (Krishna) projection Himself out into a reciprocal Counter Whole and yet retaining the Original Whole (Upanishad). So, Sri Radha is the other half of Divinity or the Counter-Whole Predominated Aspect of the Supreme Lord, and She is the fountain source of all wealth, fame, beauty, love knowledge, and renunciation, spiritual and material.
No soul can ever occupy Her position, and all the divine spiritual Maidens of Vraja find their sole joy in the transcendental love-union of Sri Radha with Her Beloved Govinda, and never ever think of themselves being with Krishna.
So the highest spiritual body of the pure freed soul is that of a serving maid of the Divine Couple known as MANJARI! The highest Lila (divine sport) is Sri Radha Krishna Vraja Lila, and the highest spiritual seva (service) is the selfless and eternal loving seva of Sri Radha Govinda, in union and separation.
I should not speak these most secret and highly spiritual truths out, because most people will misunderstand. They will only confound them with mundane sex thinking, and the perverted love of man and woman in this sinful world. Only the pure soul in the state of divine Grace can realize that this is nothing less than the eternal play of the Supreme Divinity in love-sport with His Own Self ! So, I humbly ask all who are blessed enough to come in contact with such highly spiritual secrets to have faith and belief in these divine truths, because those who do not believe in these secrets are fit to be punished by the god of death (Yama), for they do not believe in the very existence of the Lord God Himself. If I be guilty of expounding secrets I do so only for my own purification and proper understanding of this most highly spiritual subject, which is not fully understood even by the gods in haven (mundane heaven). Also because my Lord of life, Sri Shyam Sundara, Who is the internal Guide of all, is within my heart directing me to do so, ad on these grounds I beg the forgiveness of all genuine devotees every where.
The eternal Lila of the Divine Couple, Sri Sri Radha Govinda, which has It's existence in the eternal spiritual time, is divided into eight transcendental divisions of each transcendental day by the inconceivable selfsame spiritual power of the Lord, Yoga Maya.
This daily Nitya Lila of Krishna is eternal, having no beginning and no end, so the material mind and senses of fallen souls cannot conceive or imagine the Divine Pastimes of Krishna due to the purely (supra-mundane) nature. Until a fallen soul, by sincere spiritual practices in the company of pure devotees and the mercy of the glorious FIVE, conquers lust and anger ad frees himself from material bondage, he cannot properly understand or have any idea of the spiritual Pastimes of Krishna with His Eternal Associates.
The Supreme Person, Sri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Who is Krishna Himself having taken the bhava (sentiments) of Sri Radha, His own Divine Beauty, and the joy which She experiences in union with and separation from Him, Manifested His identical (different only in bhava) Gouranga Lila upon the mundane plane to give to all beings the secret of Vraja Nitya Lila and the means (Sadhana) for its attainment. Lord Chaitanya Himself being primarily engaged in tasting the sublime sweetness of Sri Radha's Mahabhava, did not directly unfold Vraja Lila to mankind, but inspired His Own Eternal Associates, Sri Rupa, Sanatana, Raghunatha Bhatta, Sri Jiva, Gopala Bhatta, and Sri Raghunathadas, the Six Goswamins, with divine power to reveal the secret of Sri Sri Radha Krishna, Vraja Lila, to the fortunate souls of kaliyuga (Iron Age).
The six Goswamins, being the eternal Associates of the Divine Couple (Priya-narma-manjaris), having come from the Eternal Realm and now playing the supra-mundane role of devotees in Sri Gaura Lila, were the most qualified to unfold the Vraja Love Games, themselves being the actual Seer's.
So, in accordance with their factual revelations and by the power of my Spiritual Master I shall give here in brief the eight parts of the purely supra-mundane daily Pastimes of Lord Krishna in the company of His Own Eternal Associates in Vraja. As this Lila, the Place, and the Personages involved, are purely on the eternal level of the Supreme Divinity. I should not mention the most secret and divine subject without first giving repeated warnings to all, including myself, against viewing this subject on a mundane level through eyes darkened with lust and man-woman ideas of this sinful world, which is the dense darkness compared to the bright sun of the completely aprakrita Prema Sports of the Divine Couple, Sri Sri Radha Srila Govindadeva, in Vrajadham.
The eternal supra-mundane Lila of the Divine Couple, Sri Sri Radha Krishna, starts daily at 3:00 A.M. (according to the eternal aprakrita time) in the early morning when all the Spiritual Serving Maids, Sri Rupa Manjari and others, along with and in eternal subservience to the Eight Lotus like Sakhis: Sri Lalita, Visakha, Citra, Sri Indurekha, Campakalata, Rangadevi, Tungavidya, and Sudevi, Who are the Eight Counter Parts of Sri Radha, all lovingly serve and worship the Lotus Feet of Sri Radha and Her Beloved, Shyam Sundara, in the transcendental Kunja (grove) of Nidhuvana. The Divine Couple are engaged in Their Supra-mundane Prema Dalliances until 6:00 A.M. when with the rise of the Sun, Sri Radha with her Beloved Sakhis, swiftly returns to Yabat, the home of Her supposed husband Abhimanyu: while Krishna makes his way to His Own eternal Home, Sri Nandagoan,
From 6:00 A.M. to 9:00 A.M., Sri Radha, accompanied by all Her Nitya-lila-Parikaras (Eternal Associates), the Sakhis and Manjaris, reaches Nandagoan where She daily prepares and infinite variety of delicious food (Prema-Rasa-Bhog) for Her Beloved's meal. During this time Krishna is bathed by His Eternal Servants Citraka, Patraka, and others and after being adorned with beautiful clothes and ornaments, He sits down to take His Rasabhog in the company of His Elder Brother, Baladeva, and Their one-thousand Sakhas (friends).
After 9:00 A.M., Pyariji, accompanied by all Her beloved Sakhis and Manjaris, Who are the soft and sweet scented flowers of the divine Sri Radha-Creeper, makes Her way to Surya Kunda on the pretension of performing daily worship of Surya (the Sun-god).
By this time, Krishna and Balarama, in the company of all Their jolly Sakhas, have gone to Vrindavan for grazing Their infinite transcendental Cows.
This Cowboy-LILA continues until approximately 12:00 noon when Krishna, with the help of His Own Selfsame Internal Potency. Yogamaya, manages to leave the company of His Sikhs and make His way via Sri Govardhan, to Sri Sri Radha Kunda, for His daily rendezvous the His Beloved Nayika (Divine Mistress), Sri Radha, Who has already arrived. Then from 12:00 noon to 3:00 P.M. Prince of Vraja, Nanda Kumar, in divine supra-mundane Prema Dalliances with his Beloved in Sri Radha Kunda, at the foot of the Transcendental Sri Govardhan Hill, where, being most lovingly served by the star-like Sakhis, They pass the eternal time of Vraja in loving association. At 3:00 P.M. Sri Hari leaves Radha Kunda and again unites with Balarama and the Sakhas, Sridama, Sudama, Vasudama, Subala, Madhumangala, and others, who grazing their innumerable cows through the forests of Vraja, Madhuvana, Talvana, Kumudvana, etc., are on Their return journey to Nandagaon.
On the way, Krishna, dancing and playing on His Divine Flute in the company of His beloved Sakhas, passes by the side of Yabat, where Sri Radha, Who has already returned to Her golden palace, has the precious sight of Her Life of life, Shyam Sundara. Krishna, after reaching Nandagaon at 6:00 P.M., spends the evening being entertained by His overly affectionate Eternal Parents, Nandaraja and Mother Yasoda and all Their elderly Gopa Friends, Who find their sole joy in giving pleasure to the beautiful Prince of Vraja, Gopala.
In Yabat, Sri Radha is worshipped by Sakhi Lalita and all Her devoted Manjaris, and then with their help She spends the evening preparing eatables for Her Beloved's evening meal. Sri Govinda's bhog, which is the very essence of Prema Rasa (divine transcendental love), is delivered to Nandagaon by Brindadevi. Sri Hari then takes His bhog and retires to bed under the pretense of sleep.
At 9:00 P.M., when Mother Yasoda and all the Family are fast asleep, Krishna sneaks out His window and makes His way very silently to Raman Reti in Vrindavan, where He meets His Beloved Radha and the Sakhis, Who have already arrived? Then Madan Mohan and His Beloved, make Their way to Rasasthali (Place Rasa Sports) make Their way to Rasasthali (Place of Rasa Sports) where They spend the divine moonlit evening sporting on the beautiful sandy Banks of the Yamuna (the transcendental river of Vraja). At 12:00 midnight. They move to Sevakunj where the Divine Couple, in Prema Union, are most lovingly served by the flower-like Manjaris under the eternal direction of Sri Lalita, Who knows best how to please the Heart of Pyariji and Her Beloved.
Moving to the Forest of Nidhuvana at 2:00 A.M., They enjoy divine sleep in union while the dearest Manjaris guard outside the Kunja against any disturbance.
This, in brief, is the basis of the eternal transcendental daily Lila of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, which moves in eternal spiritual time of the all-conscious supra-mundane Realm of Krishna, Sri Vraja dham
MEANS AND END
What is Sri Vraja Lila? Where is It taking place? What is the means to reach It and the ultimate end?
Before anyone or I can ponder over these spiritual questions we must first realize our own present condition and limitations. All souls having fallen from their pure state into this miserable ocean of endless births ad deaths are caught within two types of bondage. The changeable body and senses made of the five gross elements (earth, water, fire, air, and ether) which can perceive only gross material nature; and the changeable subtle mind, intelligence, and perverted ego, which are capable of conceiving only the non-spiritual changeable plane. So, while in this deplorable condition we must realize and accept the fact that we are completely in capable of comprehending the what, where, and how, of Sri Sri Radha Krishna Vraja Lila! How to become situated on the spiritual plane of consciousness from which we may be able to comprehend the true nature of God's greatest secret, Sri Vraja Lila? By the means of a great process technically called Sadhana (spiritual practices).
Sadhana Bhakti (souls loving, services to God for His pleasure in a way that is both agreeable and favorable to Him) has many progressive stages, the first and most important being complete surrender ad wholehearted submission to the Feet of the transcendental Representative of Krishna, Sri Gurudev, manifest upon the mundane plane. Sri Hari Himself is directing us from within as Chaitya Guru (Internal Guide). And from without a Diksa Guru, Who appears in this mundane world as Sri Acharyadev (Spiritual Preceptor).
Through unalloyed submission to the Feet of Sri Guru one may become the recipient of a generous portion of Divine Grace, and through a process of initiation, by which we receive Mantra Shakti (the divine enlightening potency) and Sri Hari Name (The spiritual selfsame all-conscious Divine Name of the Supreme Lord, Whose constant repetition, meditation, and wholehearted service, becomes both the Means and highest End of pure existence) one may obtain spiritual rebirth.
The important point is the Sri Guru must belong to the bona fide Guru-Parampara (the spiritual uninterrupted chain of preceptorial Order originating from the Lord Himself). If this chain has been interrupted at any place there can be no manifestation of Divine Grace and the Divine Enlightening Potency, in the disciple. Sri Guru must be a self-realized and god-realized Paramahansa; otherwise He is not the eternal spiritual Representative of the lord. One must be very careful in his search for the genuine spiritual Preceptor!
After receiving Diksa (spiritual initiation) from Sri Guru one's spiritual life begins.
From the divine Power instilled by Sri Gurudev all ignorance of looking upon the temporary material body as one's self is slowly eradicated and one becomes identified with one's soul as self.
From the beginning of Sadhana until all accumulated sins and the dense darkness of lust and anger are washed off the heart of the pure soul in God-realization (Prema Bhakti), it is a gradual purifying process of unfolding of the innate dormant nature of the soul.
This gradual process has nine primary stages which are: (I) SRADDHA, (II) SADHU-SANGA, (III) BHAJANA-KRIYA, (IV) ANARTHA-NIVRTTI, (V) NISTHA, (VI) RUCI, (VII) ASAKTI, (VIII) BHAVA, and (IX) Prema The steps from Sraddha to Anartha-nivrtti are from utter material bondage to the souls freedom from the clutches of Maya, the Deluding Energy of Godhead.
Then, after self-realization the soul develops in her sadhana from Nistha to Prema of final liberation in God realization, which is attainable even while not separated from one's gross and subtle coverings.
Prema concerns the Siddha-deha (i.e., the eternal supra-mundane Chit body of the pure soul) alone, and although outward signs of the internal bhavas (spiritual feelings) may become manifest on the external body, they are purely spiritual expressions of the soul's divine love for the Supreme Lord.
These nine stages of gradual spiritual awakening are the stairway to be climbed by all who truly wish to know the secret to Sri Vraja Lila and take part therein. So, for my own spiritual benefit as well as others I shall give here a brief explanation of each stage as revealed on the mundane plane, through the Six Goswamins, by Lord Chaitanya Himself: (I) SRADDHA means faith. Faith in the Supreme Lord Krishna as the only Shelter, Protector, Provider, and Object of loving devotional service (Bhakti). This faith is the divine seed of Prema-Bhakti. (II) SADHU-SANGA simply means to live in the company of pure devotees in order to follow in their faultless footsteps. This stage has unlimited power, and all those vain and foolish persons who would try not to tread these steps shall find all the fruits of their spiritual labors entirely tasteless and without any base. (III) BHAJAN-KRIYA means spiritual practices in the stage of bondage according to the directions of Sri Guru and the Scriptures. The different types of spiritual practices in which to engage oneself are many and varied (vide, Sri Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu), but there are nine eternal functions which are primary: sravanam I e., Listening to the glories of the Lord, kirtanam i.e., Singing the Names of the Lord, Visnu-smaranam i.e., Meditating on the beauty, pastimes, etc. of Krishna, pada-sevanam i.e., Serving His Divine Feet, arcanam i. e, Worshipping the Lord, vandanam i.e., bowing down and supplicating one's self before the Lord, dasyam i.e., Serving the Lord as a servant, sakyam i.e., Serving Sri Govinda as the Divine Friend, and atma-nivedanam i.e., complete self-surrender to the Lord, Who is the only shelter to all.
Besides these nine primary functions there are five others which are most important for those who are interested in the realization of Sri Vraja Lila: (I) To live always in Sri Vraja Dham both mentally and physically; (2) To serve Sri Arca-vigraha or the Divine Image of the Lord, which is the fifth manifestation of the supreme Divinity graciously manifest to the view of the fallen jivas by the inconceivable and unlimited spiritual power (Yogamaya) of the Lord. This is probably the most misunderstood aspect of Vaisnava philosophy by the ignorant fallen beings who view everything on the surface only. Let it suffice to say that only the soul in the state of Divine Grace can comprehend this purely transcendental aspect to the manifested Supreme Person; (3) To listen to the Srimad Bhagavatam, which is the sum and substance of all sacred revealed scriptures, from the mouth of a Vaisnava (pure devotee of the Lord); (4) To live only in the company of pure Vaisnavas whose divine companionship can purify even the greatest sinners; (5) To chant always the Divine Names of Krishna without intermission. It is said by Sri Rupa Goswamipad the even a short time practice of these Five, while being free from spiritual offenses, has the power to awaken Prema Bhakti in the heart of a devotee.
(IV) ANARTHA-NIVRTTI, which follows close in the wake of honest and wholehearted Bhajana-kriya, means the removal of all the obstacles, offenses, and defects, that cloud pure Bhakti. Such obstacles as misidentifying one's self with one's temporary material body and mind, to misconceive one as dead when the body is destroyed, attachment to material sense enjoyments and anger against any opposition to such enjoyments. Obstacles caused by offenses against the Holy Name, and desire for the selfish mundane fruits of one's pious actions (Karma). Also keeping mundane associations, disinclination, and thinking of worldly pleasures while meditating on the Lord, as well as being prone to lust, anger, avarice, vanity, and jealousy, etc. To be completely freed from all such obstacles is Anartha-Nivritti.
Once a soul engaged in spiritual practices has reached the purified stage of anartha Nivritti through spiritual realization, he may progress to the next step, (V) NISTHA or firmness and steadfastness, both physical, mental, and verbal, in striving for the unfolding and realization of Krishna and Sri Krishna Vraja Lila. (VI) RUCI, which follows close in the wake of Nistha, is the development of a strong taste or liking for spiritual life concerning the Lord and a corresponding dislike for all things on the mundane level.
When Ruci for the service of the Supreme Lord develops into full maturity and Sri Govinda alone becomes the sole Object of one's life, an intense attachment for the Lord develops, it is called (VII) ASAKTI. Asakti makes one's heart so transparent that the Lord's Reflection appears therein as if the Lord had appeared in Person. As one's soul in the stage of Asakti begins to taste the divine Sweetness and transcendental Beauty of the Supreme Lord Govinda, all worldly affairs and talks became unbearable.
When this Asakti and Ruci soften the heart, mind, and ego, and one's soul becomes filled with sublime loving emotions for the Lord, it is called (VIII) BHAVA.
This Bhava, which is the normal innate nature of the soul proceeding from the Internal Potency of the Lord Himself, is like the Divine Glow of the rising Sun of Prema
When Bhava develops to such a degree that the heart ad entire mental quantum of the most advanced devotee completely melts in divine loving emotion, it is called (IX) PREMA, which is the highest ad most complete stage of God-realization and liberation from bondage.
In this stage, Lord Krishna Himself, with all His Eternal Associates and transcendental Realm, appears before the spiritual vision of the Prema-bhakta (realized devotee) in his completely transparent heart. To the self-realized Prema-Bhakta all sense of I and mine is completely directed to Sri Hari alone, and he feels about his Lord, "Oh my Beloved Krishna, I am Thine and Thou art mine!"
The soul who has fortunately achieved the supreme wealth of Krishna Prema now beholds the Lord and all this Dear Ones, Face to face, and experiencing the transcendental Beauty of the Lord ad His realm, the divine Fragrance of His Supra-mundane (sat-chit-ananda) Body, the captivating Sound of His Flute, and the sacred Touch and Taste of His moonlike Person, the freed soul laughs, weeps, and completely melts in Divine Love. In this stage the devotee, who has become almost unaware of the material world and even his own existence, practically gives up eating ad sleeping and remains in constant communion with His Beloved Krishna and His Nitya-lila completely unmindful of external conditions whatsoever. With the realization of Krishna and His Associates there is simultaneous realization of one's own shay behave and eternal spiritual body. Then, deep in spiritual communion the pure soul enters the divine transcendental Realm of Lord Hari and in his Siddha-deha (eternal spiritual body) he joins the Nitya Lila of Sri Sri Radha Krishna and forever drinks the ever-progressive divine nectar there in. For some souls whose sthayi bhava is Madhura Rati, it is through spiritual subservience to the Siddha-deha of one's Guru, Sri Rupa and Rati Manjaris and others, and Sri Lalita and the Sakhis, that one may eternally serve the Lotus Feet of the Divine Couple in Vraja.
To the common people deluded by Maya into the labyrinth of worldliness Sri Sri Radha Krishna Vraja Lila may appear like the unwholesome and perverted love of this sinful world.
So long as one's heart is polluted by sense egoism and one misidentifies one's true self with his gross body and subtle mind, and so long as one's mind is darkened by the dense quagmire of sex-mindedness there can be no possibility of entering into the transcendental nature of the Divine Love Dalliances of Sri Sri Radha Govinda in Vrajadham.
It is only by giving up all sense enjoyments, renouncing completely all attachments to mundane kith and kin, and leading a lift of extreme asceticism and intense spiritual practices, that one, through complete self-effacement, may realize the supreme beauty of the Divine Sex. That Sri Vraja Lila is the eternal supra-mundane Love-sports of the counter-Whole Divine Moiety (Sri Radha) with the Predominating Original Whole Divinity (Krishna)-the Original Whole having projected Itself out into a reciprocal Counter-Whole, without losing the Original Whole (Ct Upanishad).
The fallen souls deluded by Maya, who see only the gross changeable opposites of this temporary world, cannot imagine the whereabouts of Vraja Lila, but those rare and blessed souls, who by sincere spiritual practices have transcended the mundane plane, realize Sri Vrajadham in their heart of hearts and attaining a supra-mundane (Chit), all-conscious body corresponding to their own sthayi-bhava, they may enter Vraja and forever participate in the Divine Love Sports Therein.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of the atheistic fallen souls who think the world as the only reality and that there is only one life to be enjoyed like a pig, eating, sleeping and mating until death, will commit the colossal offense of viewing this divine subject on the mundane level and rejecting it altogether as being sensual and imaginary. Although the divine transcendental Beauty and Reality of the Eternal Lila of the Lord will even remain unaffected by their wrong ideas, still, for this great sin they shall be thrown by Maya deep into the depths of delusion and endless sufferings until by the cause-less mercy of the pure devotees they may be pulled out of the bottomless well of this world by the rope of Divine Grace.
May all truly good people take shelter unto the Glorious FIVE forever, and by Their mercy cross the impassable ocean of Maya as if it were the small hoof print of a calf.
By writing this small booklet on the principle of Sri Radha-Krishna Vraja Lila, I have been blessed that my wicked and unruly mind has been engaged in the purifying thoughts of the Supreme Lord of all, and if this humble booklet will give any spiritual insight unto the readers of the English-knowing world, then my efforts shall be doubly rewarded.
Hey Sri Sri Hari, Guru, Vaisnava! May you all give me a drop of Your Limitless Mercy that the eternal Love Games of Sri Sri Radha Krishna may heart with Their divine splendor, for then only may I one day enter the all-blissful Realm of Vraja and forever swim ad sink in the limitless ocean of Bhakti-Rasa (the sweetness of divine service) where I may eternally drink the nectar of the joy of my dearest in Divine Love, Sri Kunda Latika Manjari, following in the wake of Sri Rupa Manjari, being directed by Sri Lalita Sakhi in the Prema-Seva of the Divine Couple, Sir Sri Radha Srila Govindadeva, Who, seated upon a magnificent jeweled throne in a lovely bower on the bank of the Yamuna (the transcendental River of Vraja) are being most lovingly served by the Dearest Sakhis.HARE KRISHNA HARE KRISHNA KRISHNA KRISHNA HARE HARE
HARE RAMA HARE RAMA RAMA RAMA HARE HARE