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With the blessings of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the deliverer of mankind, I shall describe another episode which I heard from my guru, Shri Iswari Hemalata.
Returning to his home, the king began to think of the exalted spiritual qualities of Ramacandra. Thinking in this way he realized that Ramacandra's association was as valuable as a precious gem, and he desired to learn the proper method of worship from him. Thus the king went before Shrinivasa and fell at his feet. Prabhu lifted him affectionately and embraced him cordially. The king then offered his obeisances to Shrimati Thakurani and Ramacandra. Turning to Shrinivasa, the king humbly requested that Shri Acarya take him into his confidence and give him shelter under his feet. The king glorified Shri Acarya as an avatara who had descended to save suffering humanity, and also repented that he had wasted so many years uselessly striving for sense gratification. Now he begged for the mercy of Shrinivasa so that he could learn the proper method of worship and meditation, and expressed his attraction to Ramacandra. Surrendering at his feet, the king earnestly requested Shri Acarya to cast his merciful glance upon him, and humbly fell prostrate before Prabhu.
Shrinivasa lifted him up and embraced him lovingly. He said that Ramacandra would be the king's religious guide and would teach him according to the instructions of the six Gosvamis of Vrndavana. Shri Acarya called Ramacandra and told him to take care of the king like his younger brother, and happily reassured the king that he was actually the most fortunate person for Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu had shown His favor by entering into the king's house in the form of the Gosvami's books, thus he would also surely be blessed by Shri Rupa, Sanatana and the other Gosvamis. Hearing this, the king was overwhelmed with emotion and fell on the ground, crying.
Shrinivasa then turned to Ramacandra and told him to give further instructions to the king. Thus Ramacandra explained to the king how great his fortune was having attained the shelter of Shrinivasa Acarya's lotus feet, because by his grace one could easily receive the blessings of Rupa and Sanatana. Ramacandra explained that when Shri Acarya was traveling to Gauda from Vraja with the Gosvami's valuable books and the bandits stole them, the king rescued those books and kept them carefully. At that time he had actually earned the best wishes and blessings of all the Gosvamis who had mercifully entered into his house in the form of books. Thus Ramacandra was most pleased to have him as his disciple.
Ramacandra went on to instruct the king about the proper methods of sadhana. He emphasized that the king must firt humbly serve the Vaishnavas and serve the Tulasi tree. Then he would be able to attain the gracious feet of Krishna. Ramacandra said, "My Prabhu is the living example and embodiment of these principles. He is always absorbed in the service of the Vaishnavas. Thus you should follow his footsteps and worship and serve the Vaishnavas, drinking the water which has washed their feet, eating the remnants of their foodstuffs and smearing the dust of their feet on your body." Ramacandra assured the king that if he performed all of these duties he was sure to attain the mercy of Krishna. However, he warned, that even a slight offense to a Vaishnava was capable of depriving one of pure devotional love for Krishna. The Vaishnavas have great power, by pleasing them one attains the grace of Krishna and by displeasing them one loses the grace of Krishna. Thus he recommended that the king first of all wholeheartedly serve the Vaishnavas.
According to the Puranas, Krishna and Krishna's devotees are non-different, as Krishna personally empowers His devotees. The Vaishnavas are abodes of all good qualities; kindness, truthfulness, innocence, saintliness, benevolence, determination, sobriety, equality, are all to be find in the devotee. These qualities help one to attain the grace of Shri Krishna. Thus Ramacandra advised the king to give up all other types of company and to associate only with the Vaishnava devotees of the Lord. He also instructed the king to serve Shrimati Tulasi devi with the utmost care and devotion. Thus he would certainly obtain the grace of Krishna. Every devotee should observe, touch, worship and utter the name of Tulasi every day. In this way Krishna will become satisfied with such a devotee.
Listening intently, the king inquired further, requeseting Ramacandra to explain the sixty-four methods of devotion and meditation. Ramacandra gladly explained that amongst the sixty-four methods of devotional service, first of all one should learn the process of sadhana bhakti then eventually the devotee will rise to platform of pure love of Krishna. The method of sadhana bahkti is of two varieties--vaidhi-bhakti (regulated service) and raganuga bhakti (spontaneous service). Vaidhi-bhakti is performed according to the rules of shastra. This process must be followed by those who have not yet developed their spontaneous service atittude. Some of the other important processes recommended amongst the sixty-four items of devotion service are accepting initiation from a bona fide spiritual master--depending upon his mercy and serving him with utmost care, following the path of the previous acaryas, studying religious books, giving up all types of greed, observing the Ekadashi fast day, worship of the cows, brahmanas, Vaishnavas and sacred trees, avoidng the company of non-devotees, not making many disciples, not reading books which do not help to increase religious knowledge. One should not allow himself to become distraught upon losing or gaining something material, neither should one criticize other processes of religion. One should not listen to criticism of Vaishnavas, one should avoid sentimentality and should constantly engage in worshiping and glorifying Shri Krishna. One should follow the nine-fold process of devotional service (i.e. sravanam, kirtanam, smaranam, etc.). Dandavata pranama, asthana and anuvraja to tirthas should be performed, as well as accept the mahaprasadam of the Lord. One should visit the temples and attend the arati ceremony, and should generously distribute articles to the poor and distressed. One must very attentively serve Tulasi, the Vaishnavas, Mathura, the Bhagavata, and observe different types of fasts and religious vows with great sincerity. Ramacandra furter described that the five types of worship which were of the greatest importance were the performance of sankirtana, associating with the devotees, listening to Shrimad Bhagavatam, living in a sacred place such as Mathura, and worshiping the Deity.
The king then humbly requested Ramacandra to explain the method of raganuga worship. Thus Ramacandra explained that raganuga bhakti is also executed by the performance of hearing and chanting the glories to Krishna. This is the verdict of the Gosvamis. Shri Radha Thakurani possesses the highest elegance of style and beauty. She is the embodiment of devotional love, so much so that the intensity of her love is not understood by Krishna Himself. Yet, if even once the name of Krishna enters into her ear she immediately begins to tremble in emotion and completely loses her self-control. No one has the capacity to describe the ecstatic state of Shrimate Radharani. She is desirous of chanting the name of Krishna with millions of mouths, and hearing His name with millions of ears. If one is attracted by the holy name of Krishna, he is sure to give up reading the Vedas and engage in the worship of Krishna. The glorification of the holy name as described by Shri Rupa in the form of slokas is full of the sweetest nectar. Mahaprabhu, Himself accepting the mood of Shri Radha, tasted the nectar of Krishna's holy name. While at other times Shri Krishna Chaitanya enjoyed the nectar of the name as Krishna Himself. Thus Ramacandra instructed the king that he should also take shelter of continuous chanting of the holy name. In this way he would taste the highest pleasure. Ramacandra explained the Siksastaka slokas as preached by Mahaprabhu which are meant to dispel the darkness in one's heart and light the lamp of love for Shri Krishna. Mahaprabhu, along with Swarupa Damodara and other disciples, always engaged in sankirtana. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu explained to Swarupa Damodara and Ramananda Raya that nama-sankirtana is the only way to attain the lotus feet of Krishna. Nama-sankirtana destroys all evils and vices, and brings happiness in the minds of all. Sankirtana destroys sins and emerges one in the ocean of loving devotion to Krishna. When sorrows and distress try to occupy the mind, the only remedy is the chanting of the holy name of Krishna.
Whatever one's desires may be, he should take to chanting the holy name. There is not hard and fast rule, nor any limitation of place, time and regulations regarding the chanting of Krishna nama. One can chant the holy name anywhere at anytime. Ramacandra described Mahaprabhu's instructions to Swarupa Damodara and Ramananda Raya regarding the chanting of the holy name. The Lord said that if one chants the holy name in a humble state of mind, thinking himself lower than the grass and more tolerant than the tree, his love for Krishna will certainly increase. A tree shows its tolerance in two ways; it never complains when it becomes dry--on the contrary, it always offers its fruits to all and protects everyone with its shade. In the same way, a Vaishnava never shows his pride and vanity, and always pays respect to everyone. He who chants the holy name in this frame of mind is sure to attain the favor and blessings of Lord Krishna. When Mahaprabhu was explaining in this way to Ramananda Raya and Swarupa Damodara, He became emotional and began to humbly pray for the attainment of pure devotional service. He prayed, "Although I am Your eternal servant, I am bound by maya in this world, please lift me up from this ocean of birth and death." Absorbed in ecstatic love the Lord continued to pray, "When will my eyes be decorated with tears of love flowing constantly when I chant Your holy name? O Govinda, I am feeling all vacant in the world in Your absence." In such a state of disappointment, Mahaprabhu was unable to spend his days and nights and His eyes began to shed tears like torrents of rain. Without Govinda, the whole world seemed to be vacant to Him.
The confidantes of Krishna became very sorry to observe Krishna's indifferent attitude towards Mahaprabhu. Radha became very anxious and after thinking for a long time she arose dasyabhava in Mahaprabhu. Joy, anxiety, humbleness and politeness--all these feelings made Radha very much perturbed and she began to cite some slokas which Mahaprabhu also began to cite as He heard? them in dasyabhava. In these slokas Radha announces? Mahaprabhu how she completely dedicated herself to the favour and mercy of Krishna though she knew that Krishna used to sport with all the gopinis. Yet He was the life of Radha. Ecstatically Prabhu Himself cited some slokas which are known as Sikshastakas which help to increase love and devotion of a devotee to the feet of Krishna. While reading the slokas of Jayadeva, the Bhagavata, drama written by Raya and Karnamrita, Mahaprabhu being overwhelmed with emotion used to be in those bhavas as described in those slokas.
During long twelve years, Prabhu with His two associates passed His days and nights in tasting the essence of Krishna rasa. Raganuga devotees always used to engage themselves in listening to and singing kirtanas. Ragatmika devotion can only be possessed by the Vrajavasis and raganuga bhakti belongs to those who used to be submissive to the Vrajavasis. Deep tustaraya to ista is the nature of ragamayi bhakti. Raganuga devotees do not care about the sayings of the shastras. Sadhana is of two types, namely bahya and antara. A bahya sadhaka used to hear and sing kirtanas, but he used to be in siddha bhava in his antara and to be absorbed in the thought of Radha and Krishna. He never exposed himself to anybody and always engaged in worshipping Krishna introspectively. For enjoying the suddha bhava of Radha, Krishna appeared in Navadwipa as Shri Gauranga. It is not possible for all to explain this wonderful sport of Krishna. Only Kaviraj Goswami is able to realize it and writes in his book that now Vrajendranandana took up the attitude of dasya bhava for enjoying the audarya bhava. Kaviraj Goswami in the seventeenth and eighteenth extracts of his book tried to explain it by giving the name of this episode as Antyalila.
One day Prabhu taking the shape of a tortoise laid on the ground. Swarup Goswami helped him to come to senses. Again the hands and legs and then the full body of Mahaprabhu became visible. Back in sense, Prabhu looked here and there and asked Swarup, "Where do you bring Me"? He told Swarup that following the melodious sound of flute He went to Vrndavana where He saw that Vrajendranandana was playing flute in the grazing ground. Krishna attracted Radha by his flute sound who at once came to the Kunjavana. Krishna took her into the Kunja Vasara (room) for playing with her. Mahaprabhu also entered with them. He was enchanted to hear the sound of Radha's ornaments and the sound of Radha's sweet laugh and conversation with the gopinis. In that very moment Swarup Goswami broke Prabhu's meditation. Prabhu repented this because he had been refrained from enjoying the divine sport of Radha Krishna in the Yamuna river. In His meditation He viewed the Kalindi river which attracted Him to go to Vrndavana where He found Radha and Krishna playing divinely in the water of Yamuna river. Mahaprabhu had been enjoying this sport with the confidantes of Radha while standing on the bank of the river. He only described this divine scene to Swarup as he was only eligible to enjoy this with Prabhu.
Ramacandra told the king that here he was about to explain another episode which the king should listen attentively by giving up all kinds of malevolency.
Shri Rupa Manjari requested Radha that she wished to prepare a scented betel leaf with scented camphor for Radha and she hoped to see that Krishna was sure to snatch it from the mouth of Radha. She wished she could get a scrap of that betel leaf chewed by Radha and Krishna both, she also wished she could comb the hair when Radha would become tired by a long time sport with Krishna in the water of Yamuna.
The king felt highly satisfied to listen to this confidential topic. The king also heard the most confidential episode from Ramacandra that what Rupa Manjari wished to do for Shri Radha was the wish of Prabhu who always prayed to Radha, worshiped Radha and wanted to be at her service constantly. He wished to be a confidante of Radha like her other confidantes and have the permission of serving her always. He had nothing more to demand for. The lotus-like eyes of Radha attracted him and rose in his mind the desire to be a confidante at her feet. He addressed Shri Radha as Vrndavaneswari and wished to dye her feet with liquefied lac.
Ramacandra told the king that if he wished to worship Radha Krishna in Vrndavana, he should have to worship passionately their feet jointly. Ramacandra wished to live in Shri Vrajamandala in his present life and the lives following so he could nurse Radha and Krishna constantly. If he succeeded in getting the favour of Swarup, Rupa Sanatana Gosvamis and Gopala Bhatta, he could also get the divine grace of Radha and Krishna. To get the favour of Krishna and Radha, he should involve in sankirtana and meditation every day, should nurse the Vaishnavas and worship the divine hill, Govardhana.
Shri Rupa Manjari and Shri Guna Manjari were two favourite confidantes of Radha who wished to be loved by Krishna. So when the rasa festival began, Shri Radha humourously sent Krishna to a hiding place where Shri Guna Manjari had been waiting for Krishna and requested Krishna to kiss Shri Guna Manjari. Shri Raghunath Dasa Goswami narrated all these events in his book. He explained all these points in the hymns of Shri Vishakhananda. His opinion was that only that persons could realize the hymns who could get favour from Shri Rupa Goswami. Being ordered by Shri Rupa Sanatana, he began to live hear the Radhakunda. The Goswami used to follow very stiff and hard rules of worship as if the lines of rules were written on stone. He methodically used to recite hymns in prayer to his guru, Krishna nama and hymns in prayer to Shri Chaitanya. He regarded Swarup Goswami and Shri Rupa Sanatana as his elder brothers. He had great devotion to Shri Girindra, Gandharvi Sarovara, Shri Mathura Mandala and Shri Vrndavana. He had great confidence in Shri Vrajamandala and devotion to Vrajavasis. Parakiya lila is very confidential and deep Vaishnava philosophy of love which unfortunate and undevotional persons can never grasp in their lives. If the king desired to realize this doctrine he had to worship his guru sincerely every day. Shri Kaviraj Goswami had realized it to the full extent and had discussed it in his book. The activities of Mahaprabhu were of this kind of doctrine which only Swarup and others were able to realize. Mahaprabhu used to cite hymns of this doctrine while dancing in sankirtana, the meaning of which was only clear to Swarup. When Mahaprabhu came to Nilacala, Shri Rupa Goswami realized the significance of the slokas regarding this doctrine and feeling the mind of Mahaprabhu he wrote some slokas. The slokas dealt with the episode of the marriage of Radha Krishna during their virginity which took place in the Vetasivana. As ordained by God, they were married but it did not last long. Radha was married to another man. After this marriage of Radha, Krishna and Radha again were united but they did not get public consent. So the love which united them is known as parakiya prema which is very difficult to understand. Mahaprabhu cultivated the conception of this type of love which Shri Rupa Gosvami after realising fully had expressed in his slokas. Shri Vrndavana always attracted Mahaprabhu because there He could get the constant company of His intimate followers and He could feel the constant presence of Shri Radha and Krishna. Parakiya prema of Shri Radha and Krishna could only he found in Shri Vrndavana. It could not be found elsewhere.
Listening all these from Ramacandra the king was full of satisfaction. The king then most humbly requested Ramacandra to explain to him that vast eternal world which is the best of all the holy places and where Krishna always used to remain. Ramacandra explained it that Krishna is the God of Gods who lives in eternal Vaikuntha. It is the living place of all living beings of this eternal world and Vrajendranandana is the eternal and omniscient and ever blissful God of all and is full of all worldly and heavenly riches, beauties and powers who is to be worshipped by hymns of Kama Gayatri and Karma vija. He who tries to follow this method of worship sincerely is sure to obtain Vrajendranandana. Shri Krishna is the Absolute Being who lives in Goloka. Krishna is the root of all divine pleasures which cannot perish and those who are his devotees possess the quality of six fold supernatural power obtained through asceticism. As Krishna Himself always likes to be in Vrndavana, it is the best of all holy places and Vaikuntha and other holy places are only parts of Vrndavana. The word Goloka means Gokula city. All the holy places are only the kinds of wealth of Gokula.
The king then requested Ramacandra to discuss the glorious character of Ganga and Yamuna. He further requested that he had already realized the fact that Krishna is the only God to be worshipped by all. But now he wanted to hear something about Shri Radhika and the swakiya and parakiya lila of Shri Krishna. Ramacandra was very glad as the king had requested him to narrate those topics.
He said that the glory of Yamuna is greater than that of Ganga because Yamuna is the only river where Vrajendranandana used to sport in the water with his sweet-heart Shri Radha and her confidantes. Now he started to qualify the divine grace and glory of Shri Radha whose characteristics are beyond realisation even to Krishna. Shri Radhika is the mine of all kinds of devotional qualifications which have been highly praised by all shastras. Among all the female deities of this vast eternal universe, Shri Radha is the Goddess of Goddesses. The mistresses of Krisna are of three classes, namely Lakshmis, Queens and Vrajanganas. But all are the embodiments of Shri Radha. The three classes are taken to be the three types of virtues of Shri Radha. Lakshmis denote her luxurious character, Queens denote her wealthy character and Vrajanganas denote her witty and humorous character. As it is impossible to enjoy wit and humour alone, Radha exposes herself by creating all the Vrajanganas from her own entity. Shri Radha is the main source of power to Krishna. So she is the deity to be worshipped by all. She is the protectress and mother of this vast universe. She is the mine of divine beauty. Shri Radhika fulfils all the wishes of Krishna. Krishna is the fascinating figure which charms the vast universe and Radha is the God Himself and the Supreme Being in this vast eternal universe. Radha is the Supreme Goddess. Goddess Durga is only a part of Krishna whereas Radha is the whole part of Krishna. Krishna is the Lord of Radha who is the embodiment of Krishna and has none but Krishna in her mind. She always thinks of Krishna in her external and internal body and can feel the entity of Krishna in all things which come into her view. She is not related to swakiya prema. She is only related to parakiya prema which can be found only in Vrndavana. Shri Das Goswami analysed this ectatic state caused by profundity of love and devotion in his book Premambhoja Makarandhyaksha. The affection of Krishna for Radha is taken to be an act of anointing with perfumes which gives her perfumed body a bright golden colour. She takes her bath first from the showers of nectar-like compassion of Krishna, secondly from the showers of nectar-like immortality of Krishna and thirdly from the showers of nectar-like charm of Krishna. Then she wears a blue coloured (i.e. skin of Krishna) dress to hide her shyness and she carefully and most beautifully tries to cover her beautiful breasts. She put a spot of saffron on her beautiful forehead and smeared the paste of camphor and sesame all over her body. She also smeared the perfume of musk which is compared with the perfume of the body of Krishna all over her body. She coloured her lips in red by chewing betel leaf and used collyrium to blacken her beautiful eyes. She painted a sectarian mark on her bright forehead and put a garland of flowers round her neck. She always tried to make herself beautiful to please Krishna. The poet said that all should be grateful to Brahma i.e. providence as he has created Radha whose divine qualifications are above all saying. Those who failed to satisfy Radha who is worshipped by the whole universe and by Narada and all the deities and Vaishnava asceties and devotees, those who neglected to worship Radha who is the main source of power of Krishna, are taken to be follishly proud of their knowledge. So Shri Dasa Goswami directed everybody while worshipping Krishna he should first worship Radha sincerely and regularly. Shri Dasa Goswami strictly followed the practice of worshipping Radha and Krishna. He settled on the bank of the Radhakunda with Shri Krishnadasa Gosvami and Lokanatha and used to engage themselves always in Radha Krishna nama sankirtana for the whole day. During this time they used to enjoy most gladly the book Gopala Champaka. This book is consisted of very stiff slokas which externally dealt with the swakiya prema but internally meant the parakiya prema. Some people could not understand Shri Jiva and said that Shri Jiva wanted to say swakiya prema. But when they became able to understand the inner-meaning of it, their satisfaction knew no bounds. Shri Dasa Gosvami declared that as Vrndavana is the only place where the parakiya prema lila could be found, he would not go anywhere leaving Vrndavana. He also declared that he would perform his all spiritual and devotional duties in Vrndavana and he would die here. He prayed to Shri Jiva to be with him as his elder brother and to Shri Krishnadasa and Goswami Lokanatha as his friends. He wished he could die first leaving all of them. By following the meaning of Champu Grantha, Goswami Kaviraja wrote the book Gopala Champu in which he tried to discuss the daily activities of Krishna and the parakiya prema. Those who are able to grasp it by heart, they are sure to get Krishna in their lives. Self-willed Krishna makes daily sports with his companions.
The king desired to know what is meant by daily activities of Krishna. Ramacandra pointed him out that there are three methods of it, namely Krishna tattva, Radha tattva and Lila tattva. Ramacandra tried to make it elaborate to the king. He explained to the king all the points which Sanatana had learnt from Mahaprabhu. After being familiar with all the unrevealed things of Vaishnava religion, the king humbly surrenderd himself to the favour of Ramacandra.