Navadvipa is considered by the high devotees to be the highest place of theism, of Absolute Love. Sri Radhika and Govinda combined Themselves together, and They are avowed to give their dearest thing to the public. As Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu They came here with this idea. Both parties have the best wealth, and They have come to distribute that for the benefit of the public: “Come this way, you will get the highest thing that We taste Ourselves. The same dish you can have. O people, you can have a taste of the same dish that We relish. It is the play of the highest order.”
Raso vai sah – the Upanisads say that sweetness – rasa, anandam, sundaram is really controlling the whole creation. Everyone wants rasa, none can say otherwise. From the atheist to the highest order of theist, everyone wants rasa.
If we can develop the eye to see, then every atom of Gaura-Dhama will charm us to the utmost. Only the eye is necessary. By charm every atom is sufficient to engage us fully and accommodate us wholesale. One particle of dust can give us the fullest engagement because all is infinite and of the most generous type here. All the dust is of the most generous type and promising for Krsna.
Every particle of dust promises to give us Radha-Krsna, so what more do we need? They all promise, and this is the outcome of Gaura-Dhama. No other nature can be traced in them. They are all helping to take us to our highest attainment. It is their nature. Externally, according to our anarthas, it may produce so many tests and examinations, but with the least test and least trouble, they are ready to give our highest goal – the connection of Mahaprabhu, and the eye to see who Mahaprabhu is. The angle of vision is the most important thing – the angle of vision to look upon the environment.
In Vrndavana there are apparently so many demons such as Aghasura, Bakasura, Dhenuka, Vyoma, Arista, Kesi and Kamsa, but they are all on the surface, whereas Krsna is everywhere. There is the superficial vision and the real vision. Similarly there is the internal self, and the necessity of that internal self – the soul’s necessity – avoiding the superfluous, the surface. The surface is for our physical senses, and for the mind there is also a mental layer of different types of religionists, including so many other religions. But on the layer of the soul, when we come to appreciate assistance from others, then we will come to appreciate how beautiful and how magnanimous is the connection of Gauranga here in Navadvipa. How it can enrich our soul! It is our soul’s necessity.
We only have to pierce through the surface and dive deep within the inner Navadvipa, the Navadvipa of Gaura-Nitai. Externally we may find Jagai and Madhai, Krsnananda Agamavagisa, Canda Kazi etc. but if we dive a little deeper, we shall find what is there, what is real. Take this gift of Navadvipa-dhama to the market and all other merchandise will be of less value with no charm. All will be like trash in comparison. The gift of Navadvipa is so high. Even Vrndavana will not be able to stand in competition!
Although we are preaching about Vrndavana, Vrndavana lacks something. If we close the door then what valuation will you have? Nityananda Prabhu is dragging Baladeva from the throne. Once, Saci-devi had a dream – “I had a dream that Krsna and Balarama were on a throne and Nityananda was catching hold of Balarama and He was drawing Him away saying, “Your age has finished! Now the age of My Lord Gauranga has come. You must come down from the throne. In this age of Kali, if there is no canvasser, then what is the value of the property? You are all confined in a room and you simply eating lavishly. You are confined in Vrndavana! But our Navadvipa – we are throwing to the length and breadth of the world.”
In Vrndavana Radha-Govinda are separate and here in Navadvipa They are combined. More power! Combined! And They had made their mind up to loot – “Take as much wealth as you can. We are giving it to you all.” This is impossible! impossible! What does Prabodhananda Sarasvati say?
kaivalyam narakayate tridasa-purakasa puspayate
visvam purna-sukhayate vidhi-mahendradis ca kitayate
yat karunya kataksa vaibhavavatam tam gauram eva stumah
Kaivalyam narakayate – if one can get a taste of the dish that is distributed in Navadvipa, if one can get a slight taste of that dish then, kaivalyam narakayate – permanent emancipation will seem to him to be like hell which has been so much preached and admired in so many sastras. Kaivalya-mukti means eternal emancipation from this world of exploitation. The trouble is the tendency to exploit – that is the trouble found by the experts of those areas. What is the trouble? The exploiting tendency forces us to connect with the environment and we have to suffer severely from the reactions. So how to successfully get out of the action-reaction problem? Prabodhananda Sarasvati says, “Oh, you talk so much about kaivalya that you will have no possibility of coming into connection with the exploiting tendency, action-reaction – that is like hell to those that come to see Sri Gauranga-deva’s lotus feet.”
Tridasa-purakasa puspayate – you talk so much about heaven, but that is just like akasa-puspa – an illusory conception, a flower which is produced from the sky. That is the most negligible type of imagination. Your heaven is just like a flower in the sky – it is impossible!
Durdantendriya-kala-sarpa-patali protkhata-damstrayate – when you feel so much difficulty from your senses, they become your master and force you against your will to do so much mischief. Durdantendriya-kala-sarpa-patali – like so many serpents that cannot be controlled. Your senses are like venomous serpents and they are running hither and thither and the reaction is that the poison is coming and making you suffer. But don’t be afraid – protkhata-damstrayate – the venomous teeth have been broken off. The senses will become like that. All your senses will play like so many serpents whose venomous teeth have been removed – so no apprehension from them.
Visvam purna-sukhayate – whatever you will see, hear or touch in the whole environment will only carry waves of happiness to you. Every incident will carry some good news to you always. All the waves from outside will only carry good news to you.
Vidhi-mahendradis ca kitayate – are you afraid of Brahma the creator and Siva the wholesale destroyer of this world? Are you afraid of them? For you they will become like an insect or a worm. Their power and authority against you will not be of any use. Your position will be unassailable if you attain Mahaprabhu’s merciful glance.
Yat karunya kataksa vaibhavavatam tam gauram eva stumah – Mahaprabhu is very benevolent, very magnanimous. If you get His kataksa, His glance – even if you get a glimpse from that glance, if you can attain a point of a ray of the glance of that magnanimous Lord Gauranga, then you will get such a position in the world. This has been described by Prabodhananda Sarasvati.
Gauranga is such – all joy, ecstatic joy. There is no problem –His mercy is of such a type. All difficulties will go far, far away. You will be in the zone of ecstatic joy. No, do not complain! You are in a normal position. Everything else is more or less suffering from the influence of an abnormal stage. You are at such a high degree of normality – you have attained a normal existence to the extreme. More or less all outside is abnormal – so how can it venture to approach you? You have attained the full surrendered stage of Krsna Consciousness to Radha-Govinda and Mahaprabhu. You need not care for anything in this world. No apprehension. Such is the thing we have to conceive and we have to have.
Devotee: In Brhat-Bhagavatamrta, Sanatana Gosvami shows the travels of Gopa Kumara as he is going through different stages of realization. But is that necessary for everyone?
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: Not everyone. Of course, you will have to pass through those stages unconsciously – Viraja, Brahmaloka, Sivaloka, Vaikuntha – but there is no stopping at any station. You will quickly go towards the destination. You may go anywhere unconsciously, passing through various stages to reach there. Very quickly you can pass unknowingly and unconsciously. If there is any special attraction to any stage, one may have to stop. But if our guide is strong enough he will tell us, “No, no! No stopping here! Come! No charm is here. What you see here is already known and that is only a distraction – no bhakti. Come!”
Devotee: There is one train here called the ‘Vrndavana Express Train.’
Srila Sridhara Maharaja: An express train also stops at the main stations. But there is a special train – there is also the ‘Navadvipa Special’ and that is considered to be above Vrndavana and we are there. For appreciation, realization is necessary. Why is it so? Why is Vrndavana superior to every stage of life and why is Navadvipa also considered as such?
We are poor, we have got no money, but with the least capital we can get into Navadvipa, which is in Vrndavana. It is difficult to understand. The highest power of the Positive and Negative combined is giving something. Rasaraja-mahabhava dui eka-rupa – it is the Sweetness and the Taster of the sweetness in its highest degree and they have combined to distribute Themselves. If you can give up all religious prejudices and concentrate upon the naked truth, that rasa and sympathy towards Him, then you shall be able to understand how both combine together – both the parties – Giver and Taker. The greatest Giver and the greatest Receiver – both combine to distribute Themselves to the ordinary people. That is on the unlimited subject to the qualified circle, and here, ordinary mass can have entrance and in no time they may be given a ticket to that high, high position.
The achievement of Krsna’s service may also be found with the Nimbarkas, Vallabhas and others. But their conception of Krsna is also different from the conception of Mahaprabhu in some respects. The Gaudiya Vaisnava school has understood the real position of Krsna. If we can approach Krsna through Mahaprabhu, we will achieve the highest and fullest attainment – not a partial attainment of Krsna. We have to clearly understand for ourselves what is the difference between the Krsna-conception of the Gaudiya Vaisnava school as opposed to Nimbarka and others conceptions of Krsna.
We have to give more stress towards Radharani – that is the peculiarity of the Gaudiya Vaisnava school. There may be sweets, but with the absence of a tongue, their taste is nothing to me. Without a tongue there is no meaning to sweetness. Without ears there is no meaning to music.
One who tries to contact Krsna independent of Radharani will be the loser. In the service of Radharani, we get the highest quality of Krsna realization because so much high sweetness and so much intense realization of Krsna is not possible anywhere else, and that quality I can have if I participate in Her line. The highest quality can only be drawn from that rasa, that ecstasy, by Her alone, and that type of quality I can expect to have in Her line. So much so that one who can understand the taste of that quality, then any other current becomes quite tastesless, to them. The rasa may come through other channels, but that will be tasteless to the tongue that has tasted that rasa coming through Radharani. That is radha-dasya, kainkarya.
When I came first to Navadvipa, some explanation was called for from me from one professor – “Why have you joined that nasty sampradaya of Caitanyadeva? Now all the outcastes of society they have been accommodated there. Their status is very low in the society, and you have entered that camp?”
I replied that, “Reading the Bhagavad-gita and the Bhagavatam, I have clearly understood that varnasrama-dharma culminates in Vaisnava dharma and this conception of Sri Caitanyadeva's Vaisnavism is of the highest. In Gita and Bhagavatam we can find it clearly. What Caitanyadeva gave, that is the highest thing.”
“No, no! We can’t – ”
“I shall show! The sastra says that.”
So I published Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu here and I sent it to that gentleman.
Actually, this place, Navadvipa, is very anti-Vaisnavite. The mrdanga was broken here several times when the sankirtana party was led through this place. Krsnananda Agamavagisa was a contemporary of Mahaprabhu in Navadvipa. He was a great tantrika, and created the concept of rasa for Siva, Kali, Durga – no Radha-Krsna. The rasa of Vrndavana is famous, but the Sakta section introduced siva-sakti-rasa here in this invulnerable place.
Once, our Prabhupada (Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura) was delivering a lecture here in Paramatala and he was attacked by one gentleman who threw a book at him. Later, when I came here, I had a festival and that very same gentleman, who was the chairman of Navadvipa town at that time and an orthodox Smarta, approached me and said, “I am dying, I want some prasadam from Prabhupada because I committed some offense by throwing a book at him.”
Our godbrother, Sakhi-carana Babu, had a house in Navadvipa and he knew the history of this town from long ago. He told, “That man who committed such an offense against Prabhupada is now so repentant and desperate? He is desirous of having the prasadam of Prabhupada?” With much earnestness he took that prasadam to him.
Sakhi Babu also remarked that, “Prabhupada preached the doctrine of Mahaprabhu throughout India and abroad, but this Navadvipa town – that was kept for you. You have preached in this area.”
The area of Tegharipara in Navadvipa gave the greatest opposition to Vaisnavism. From the time of Mahaprabhu, Krsnananda Agamavagisa and his party were preaching against Mahaprabhu’s movement. Now that is dissolved. I continued for one month preaching Bhagavatam in this area. Many people came with so many questions and I tried to answer them and they could not defeat me.
Our Krsnamayi also comes from a most respectable family from Tegharipara. Satish Prabhu is also there. He once told, “When I went to Campahati to Mayapura through Tegharipara, my heart was always shaking that some big vessel would be thrown on my head. I was apprehending every moment that some attack was coming. But now I go through the area with my breast full of pride. With a proud gesture I move through the town. Tegharipara is not an enemy now, but it is subdued and they are having a friendly attitude towards us.”
So this Navadvipa was very anti-Vaisnava and the caste-gosvamis were suppressed by the Sakta and Smarta sections here in Bengal. Somehow their section was oppressed by the society in general, but the preaching of the Gaudiya Matha raised their standard. By the preaching of the Gaudiya Matha, their dignity increased and it was understood that those who preach about Sri Caitanyadeva, their position is unique. This was preached by Gaudiya Matha. Otherwise the caste-gosvamis were living in a cave. Now they can stand with their heads erect due to the preaching of the Gaudiya Matha, that Mahaprabhu gave the highest thing. All others are false or they are of a lower rank.
Once, when I went to deliver a lecture here, one of the leaders of the anti-party openly confessed, “First we could not understand Sarasvati Gosvami Prabhu. We commented against him in endless ways and tried to subdue him. But now it is clear that we did wrong and what he did was right. He took sannyasa and we commented that, rakta-vastra vaisnavera podite na yuyaya (‘red cloth is not fitting for a Vaisnava to wear’). Why he has taken that red cloth? The Gosvamis already discarded it. He preached in a European style and we wondered why he is not of the style of the old Indian rsis? But he showed us why he indulged in the European style and doing so, he took the flag of Mahaprabhu to the whole of Europe and America. And he gave the sacred thread to those who are real devotees of Krsna. He also proved that brahmanas are by qualification (guna-karma vibhagasa) not by birth. By occupation and mental nature one becomes a brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya or sudra. So we criticized him severely, but now we understand that you are right and we were wrong.”
The flag of Mahaprabhu is now fluttering in the so-called civilized world that has captured everyone. The civilization of Europe has a charm to the Indians, so if Guru Maharaja couldn’t conquer the European people, then the Indian conversion would not stand. That European style of life, which is coming here and capturing everything, should be attacked. We must break its pride, then we will be able to preach the doctrine of Mahaprabhu all through the world.
Rabindranath Tagore and others tried to mix Indian and European thought together – “Ours is good, theirs is also good. Give up the non-important portions and combine the important ones.”
But our Guru Maharaja said that everything that Mahaprabhu has given should be taken wholesale and all other concepts must be attacked and finished! “What Mahaprabhu has given is perfect and no addition is necessary to that. It is coming from the eternal, absolute quarter, and no addition, no reformation is necessary there.”
That was our Guru Maharaja’s point. So we must accept that in-toto. It is coming from Goloka, the highest quarter of existence. It does not need any addition or dilution. That is full in itself and perfect. Gaura-hari! Gaura-hari! Gaura-hari!