A lecture given by H.H Kadamba Kanana Maharaja on 2nd December 2011, in Pretoria, South Africa
jaya jaya sri-caitanya jaya nityananda
jayadvaita-candra jaya gaura-bhakta-vrnda
We’re reading from Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, Adi lila, chapter 8, entitled, “The author receives the order of Krsna and guru,” text 79:
sei likhi, madana-gopala ye likhaya
kasthera puttali yena kuhake nacaya
Translation: As a wooden doll is made to dance by a magician, I write as Madana-gopala orders me to do so.
To be the instrument of Krsna
As a doll is made to dance…this marionette, the puppet on strings, is not dancing independently. It is said that in the same way, the pure devotee is the instrument of the Supreme Lord and the Supreme Lord from within the heart is dictating His desires through him. In that way this devotee is becoming an instrument, nimitta-matram bhava savya-sacin- as it is said in the Bhagavad Gita. Savya Sacin- to become the instrument of the Lord. That is the idea. To put false ego aside, to put false dreams aside, to put what we want to be aside or to put lamentation of all that we couldn’t get… to put it aside and to simply be what Krsna wants us to be. We should accept that and preach accordingly. Destiny somehow or other gives us a certain service and then we develop that service. The mind may come up with so many things- not satisfied, restless, disturbed…the mind is not our friend, it is stated and in the conditioned state, only the pure devotee, his mind becomes his friend. The mind is no longer in conflict, the mind is no longer pulling in another direction and the mind simply becomes purified. ceto-darpana-marjanam bhava-maha-davagni-nirvapanam, it is said by chanting Hare Krsna, the consciousness becomes purified. The consciousness is like a mirror and this mirror is simply reflecting Krsna or His desire in various ways.
Krsnadas Kaviraja Goswami was writing the Caitanya Caritamrta. How he was writing was inconceivable because the Caitanya Caritamrta is in a way a book full of quotes from different scriptures. It is therefore a book, which is not something which is written like on the top off ones head but it is a book that has a lot of work in it. A lot of work- by taking quotes here and there from different scriptures and it means the writer has to do hard work. One can also just write something that comes into the head but if one starts to pull in evidence from here and there then that is a serious book. So the Caitanya Caritamrta is like that, it’s a serious work but he was in his 90’s when he was writing it! So most people in their 90’s are like slowing down a little, the brain is no longer in such a good condition and Krsnadas Kaviraja Goswami, in the last chapter of the Cc is writing like that; he is saying, “my memory is finished, my eye sight is gone, my hand is trembling so much, my body is full of disease…how am I writing? How is this possible? It’s not me who is writing, it’s the Supreme Lord who is dictating, dictating from within.” Caitya-guru, Srila Prabhupada explains, is the guru in the heart, Krsna who is acting as guru in the heart. In this way the pure devotee, he knows what to do, he knows from within.
We cannot imitate because when we start listening to the heart then actually we are listening to our mind and how do you know what comes from the mind and what comes the heart? It’s very difficult. We say, ‘yes, yes we feel it,’ but later we realise that no, that was not Krsna, that was my mind. At the time when I got the message, I thought, yes, yes, this is Krsna’s desire but now I realise that it’s my mind. My mind is just pushing me through the three modes of material nature and in the three modes of material nature we desire to enjoy this and that. That is the mind and that will bring us suffering, it will bind us because the mind is the seat of the senses. The senses are connected to the mind so whatever we perceive through the eyes, the nose, the ears or the sense of touch, all that is connected to the mind. In the mind we store remembrances of previous experience. For so long no sense enjoyment and then we remember that, ‘actually the last time it wasn’t that bad, let’s have it again. Of course that is difficult then one has to struggle to try and get the same enjoyment again. So these are all being on the mental platform.
To be the servant of the servant
Krsnadas Kaviraja Goswami was obviously another type of devotee. He was always thinking of Krsna. According to the Gaura- ganoddesa- dipika from Kavi Karnapura, which is a book that basically describes the ‘who is who.’ It describes who in the pastimes of Lord Caitanya, what role they played in the pastimes of Krsna because after all, Caitanya Mahaprabhu is Krsna. So He has come back now as Caitanya Mahaprabhu then along with Him all His associates also come like that and vrajendra-nandana yei, saci-suta haila sei, balarama ha-ila nitai. That Vrajendra-nandana, the son of Vraja, the son of Nanda (Vrajendra means the controller of Vraja, Nanda Maharaja) has now appeared as saci suta, the son of Saci. And Balarama, He has come as Nitai. So Krsna and Balarama appear and along with Krsna and Balarama all the associates also appear. So we see that so many of the devotees with Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu were also there with Krsna and then we can see who they were. So the Gaura- ganoddesa-dipika is saying that Krsnadas Kaviraja Goswami was Kasthuri Manjari, one of the gopis described as nitya sakhis, or the eternal friends of Srimati Radharani. Of course it is known that Krsna is not only enjoying with Srimati Radharani but also with other gopis. But these nitya sakhis, they are performing austerities to become free from the desire to be embraced by Krsna so that their desire is only to serve Radharani and nothing else. Those are the nitya sakhis.
So Kasthuri Manjari is one of these sakhis and they perform these austerities. Srila Jiva Goswami describes that they perform these austerities and then as a reward for their austerities they perform a bathing ceremony of Srimati Radharani, who was always in that mood of somehow or other serving Radha and Krsna, by serving Radharani. That actually is the mood of Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s followers that, ‘I am not a great devotee, so what can I do to please Krsna? Here I am doing some service for Krsna but what does Krsna care about my little service in comparison to the service of His great devotees. Therefore better than trying to make my offering and say Krsna here is my offering, I’ll make my offering to assist a greater devotee and in that way Krsna will be more pleased.’ So that is the mood in Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s movement, to assist the greater devotee and not to just say, ‘out of the way! Here I am! I am serving Krsna!’ so that is our mood. One serves the spiritual master, one serves the vaisnavas, the senior vaisnavas and one thinks, ‘who am I? I am simply an assistant.’ That is important. It’s obviously in that where humility develops, in that mood of being an assistant and all assistants are assistants of Srimati Radharani, who is the topmost.
So Krsnadas Kaviraja Gosvami comes in that mood now to assist Caitanya Mahaprabhu. When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu comes into this world then all these associates come and in the spiritual world, they are close servants. Rupa Manjari is Rupa Goswami. Rupa Manjari is the direct servant of Lalita. The most intimate servants are Lalita and Vishaka. It is said that they are members of the asta-sakhis and they are expansions of Srimati Radharani. So Radharani is serving Krsna in a particular mood but then She expands Herself into other forms that have a little bit different mood so that She can also serve Krsna in another mood simultaneously. Like that, it is going on.
The service of the Goswamis
The point is that Rupa Goswami is a real leader amongst all the devotees. Rupa Goswami is distributing service as an assistant of Lalita. So there is a whole heirachy, it’s not that everyone is in the spiritual world and walking around in the mood of, ‘I’m serving Krsna…’ and it’s all just ‘Krsna, Krsna, Krsna, Krsna…’ no, everyone is serving some other servant and service is given, not that service is taken. In this way everyone is given some service. There is incidental service, service that you do sometimes. That may be given just once, ‘do this service,’ ‘yes, thank you. Done!’ and then there is a fixed service, a service where one takes responsibility for a particular service. In that fixed service, there we are developing that service, improving the service. That is of a higher calibre. So we see that all the eternal associates of the Lord have a fixed service.
So when Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu came into this world then we see that Rupa and Sanatana Goswamis also came and they came to write books, elaborating on the teachings of Caitanya Mahaprabhu as they had heard it and then establishing these teachings based on conclusions of various scriptures. nana-sastra-vicaranaika-nipunau sad-dharma-samsthapakau, they took different things from so many scriptures and they found evidence of everything they had already heard from Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. So in this way they established all the conclusions of Mahaprabhu on the basis of scripture. Not that Mahaprabhu could have not done that Himself but He left it for them to do that, ‘okay you do that; this is the essence and you do that work…’ and then Jiva Goswami came and he was brilliant, absolutely brilliant! Such a learned person! Such a brain! So sharp that Jiva Goswami was defeating all other philosophers and clearly establishing vaisnavism based on Srimad Bhagavatam as the truth. And then Krsnadas Kaviraja Goswami came…
He appeared during the time that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was still on the planet but he never met Him because he was still a child at the time. Only later when he was grown up did he go to Vrndavana and he spent some significant amount of time in Vrndavana. Exactly how long, he’s not sure and in Vrndavana he resided in Radha Kunda and he became the assistant of Raghunatha das Goswami. So Raghunatha Goswami is interesting because he was born of a very, very wealthy family. It is said that at that time his father was having a monthly income of 1.2 million rupees. So if even today- 500 years later- you can imagine, incredibly wealthy! Inconceivably wealthy! And Raghunatha das just gave it up, he gave up everything, he gave up all that wealth and he became completely renounced and his renunciation was just inconceivable. He came to Jagannatha Puri and joined Caitanya Mahaprabhu there. So Caitanya Mahaprabhu placed him under the care of Swarup Damodara Goswami and Swarup Damodara Goswami was teaching Raghunatha, not in renunciation but in antaranga-seva. He was teaching him according to his eternal spiritual identity, which is for the very advanced devotees. So he was serving under Swarup Damodara, not in the consciousness of this external body but within the consciousness of a spiritual body. He was really there; it wasn’t like imagined therefore he was able to serve, always being in the spiritual world. On the material platform, he had no interest in anything material- zero interest. Not only had he renounced all the wealth of his parents but he didn’t want to bother with material things. So very simple clothes, whatever was lying around, whatever he was getting he took without any endeavour. Even for his meals he was begging at the Jagannatha temple. But then he stopped doing that and then he started taking from the charity booth. They have these holy places in India where they give out some free food. So he would just go there. So Caitanya Mahaprabhu asked, “Swarup Damodara, what happened to Raghunatha? He used to beg in front of the gate, the lion gate of the temple.” He said, “ya, he gave that up because this kind of begging is in the mood of a prostitute who is always thinking, ‘maybe this one will be my customer, maybe that one will be my customer.’ And if one stands and begs, he is thinking, ‘maybe this one will give something…yesterday he came and he gave so maybe he’ll give again.’ One’s mind gets into calculating so he said Raghunatha das decided to give it up. So Raghunatha said, “better to take once a day from the charity booth and then finished.”
Then after a while Caitanya Mahaprabhu asked again to Swarup Damodara, “Raghunatha has stopped taking from the charity booth, what’s he doing now?”
“Oh, what Raghunatha das is doing now, he is taking whatever rice they have thrown out from the Jagannatha temple. Whenever there is the maha prasadam there is always too much rice and when the rice goes bad they throw it out and first the cows eat it but then after a while it gets so bad that even the cows will not take it. So Raghunatha is taking that and he’s washing it under the water until all the soft parts comes off and only the hard core remains and he eats that with a little salt.” Then that day, Caitanya Mahaprabhu went to Raghunatha das and He said, “oh, Raghunatha, what nectar are you having there?” and Raghunatha das said, “no, no, no, my Lord, no, no, no! This is not for You!”
“But Raghunatha das what are you hiding from Me? You are having some nectar there!” Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, “Raghunatha, give me some of that…”
“No, no, no….” but Caitanya Mahaprabhu, He is very powerful and Raghunatha das couldn’t stop Him. Somehow or other He snatched it and said, “mmmm! This is the best prasadam, the best prasadam I’ve ever tasted! Delicious!” Then Swarup Damodar arrived there and sort of came in between and said, “no, no, no, this is enough, enough! This is not for You, this is for Raghunatha.”
So in this way we see how Raghunatha das performed his austerity but it was not austerity at all. He was simply staying free to be absorbed in the eternal, spiritual reality. Why bother with the material world and all the complexities? Just keep it as simple as possible and as pure as possible. Like he wanted to solve his eating problem very simple but at the same time he got maha prasadam! So like this, it was of the higher, spiritual calibre and at the same time very simple. So Raghunatha in this way was very fortunate. He became the intimate servant of Swarup Damodara Goswami and Swarup Damodara Goswami, he was the one who stayed in the final days with Caitanya Mahaprabhu so he knew everything about the special ecstasies that Caitanya Mahaprabhu was experiencing in His last days. The amazing symptoms of love of God, nobody knew about but people had heard about- not in detail- but they had heard that there was something extraordinary going on but nobody knew the fine details of it. But Swarup Damodara knew and he wrote it down in a diary. Then that diary was lost! My God! It was a written in a diary and the diary was lost but somehow or other, Swarup Damodara had told about this diary so many times to Raghunatha das that Raghunatha das remembered it. Raghunatha das was one of the very few so he was a treasure house of knowledge.
Krsnadas Kaviraja Goswami- the chosen one
Krsnadas Kaviraja Goswami, he lived in Radhakunda. It was Raghunatha das who had developed Radha kunda. With the wealth of some businessman, who was instructed from within to give his money to Raghunatha, he had used it to build all the ghatas and so on. Raghunatha was expert at handling money because of his family background. He had arranged for all these ghatas and now Radhakunda has all these stone slabs- the whole thing! Then, because Krsnadas Kaviraja Goswami was there, he had heard everything from Raghunatha das Goswami. So, he knew that the vaisnavas knew it, that Krsna das Kaviraja knew it. And the vaisnavas knew that Krsnadas was very learned in the vaisnava books of the Goswamis because they knew that Krsnadas had come to Vrndavana and had been trained by Rupa Goswami and Jiva Goswami personally. Therefore he had not only studied the books but he had personally trained him. They knew that and they knew that he knew the secrets about the diary of Swarup Damodara Goswami and therefore they knew that he was the one to write about Caitanya Mahaprabhu although he never met Him! So he was the one who was chosen to write the Caitanya Caritamrta, which included the teaching and the life of Mahaprabhu and especially also the later part, describing to what extent love of God can go. And then one chants Hare Krsna and then one becomes mad with love of God. But what is this madness, how does it work? It is to do with intensity, not just a desire to be a devotee, not just a desire to serve Krsna but intense desire and everything else becomes insignificant, meaningless, forget it. Caitanya Mahaprabhu forgot everything else- everything else! It was only Krsna and it just became more and more intense. That of course is another subject matter.
The Caitanya Caritamrta as a mirror
But we can see that actually, the pastimes of Caitanya Mahprabhu are like staged by the Lord. When the Lord comes into this world He stages His pastimes like a road show and along with Him comes His associates and they are performing all this pastimes and teachings for us so that we can connect and that everything that we need is there, that everything that comes up in our spiritual life is being dealt with. In this way, a book like the Caitanya Caritamrta deals with everything that we encounter in our pursuits in spiritual life, it’s there. Everything that we come across is dealt with, is described. In that way, when we look at the Caitanya Caritamrta it’s like looking in a mirror and we see our own spiritual life in front of our eyes and how we performing. We can see how to move on, we can see where we went wrong, we can see what we are lacking, what pure devotional service really is. In this way we can find inspiration to become more serious.
Being cooked on all sides
The kanistha is a weak devotee. It is said kamala sraddha, he has weak faith, he doesn’t believe firmly that his happiness will come from only Krsna. He is thinking, “Yes, happiness comes from Krsna but there is also other things. So the kanistha will always hold on to other things but can’t give them up either. So this is the first fight; the first fight is that one has to cut with knowledge. One has to cultivate knowledge and when there’s knowledge, very sharp knowledge, then it cuts. So with this sharp knowledge, we cut this old, stale attachments- cut, one after another! And one has to cut more, step by step…
Krsnadas Kaviraja Goswami, is described as a wooden doll that is dancing in the hands of the magician. That means he is completely humble. Step by step one has to cut to become humble. One doesn’t get humble by a mood, ‘and now I’m going to be humble…’ I usually say that one can take super glue and put their hands together and they always stay together…it looks humble but it’s only superglue! That is really what it is. So one of the acaryas was saying that it is a journey and one has to pass by oceans, mountains, stars in the sky… and give them all up! So, big things, big attachments, one has to leave them. The big things, one has to pass by and let it go. Everyone has some big things in his life, big, so many big things are there and we have to do it. Of course in the beginning we have all these big attachments so the spiritual master will say, ‘yes, yes…’
We had a discussion about, ‘yes, yes’ it was a ‘yes, yes’ discussion. Someone came and said, ‘should I get married? Or should I stay single for life?’ Yes! ‘Should I take a job?’ Yes! ‘should I just surrender and just preach?’ Yes! ‘You’re saying yes to everything?’ Yes! ‘Then what am I supposed to do? Should I just do any of these things?’ Yes! ‘You mean it doesn’t matter?’ Yes!
Whatever you do there will be austerity, whatever you do there will be austerity. You choose, you try…
I went to the city of New York and you know, in New York you have everything! So in New York I saw a chapatti machine. Yes somewhere I saw a big machine cooking chapattis. That’s New York- you have everything! And it was interesting that at the top there was a container and they put in the flour in the machine and then some water and then (machine noise) it mixes it up and then cut and little balls come and they go through rollers and then perfectly round, flat chapattis come out. And then it goes on a hot disc and it gets roasted. Then after a little while the metal arm comes and the chapatti hits the metal arm and then it goes down a hole and then it goes down a slide and it turns and lands on a hot disc one level lower and now it gets cooked on the other side. So, you’re going to get cooked no matter what! Either this side or another side, but you are going to get cooked! Oh yes you are! Therefore the spiritual master knows, he knows that you are going to get cooked, he knows. And he can see, this one needs to be cooked a little more…so what to do, we just wait. He says, ‘yes…yes…’
‘Shall I get married?’ Yes! ‘This marriage is too much!’ Yes! ‘Shall I move to another country?’ Yes! Everything is ‘yes’ because you will be cooked by the austerity that is in that situation. Yes, you can’t escape it; it’s there! ‘Shall I stay in Soweto? Shall I move to Pretoria?’ Yes, yes! If you get cooked in Soweto, you get cooked in Pretoria! No matter where you go you get cooked! Have you noticed? That is how it is. at one point you just say, ‘you know what, I had enough of this, I really had enough! No, no, I’ve said it many times that I’ve had enough but this time I’m not only saying it but this time I actually really had enough! I’m going to get serious about spiritual life!’
So this is what it takes to go from kanistha to madhyama- one has to be cooked! A kanistha has to be cooked like a chapatti! Sometimes on one side, sometimes on the other side until finally a kanistha says, ‘I’ve had enough! I’m going to get serious about spiritual life and then madhyama begins. When was is serious and one takes shelter of devotional service then one will apply himself very seriously to both acara and pracara- to behave like a devotee and to preach. And because we behave like a devotee and preach then we’ll get mercy, taste and inspiration very quickly. So a madhyama gets inspiration. Then uttama, to be completely uttama- an advanced uttama- means to be like Raghunatha das. To actually live in that eternal, spiritual relationship with Krsna, that comes by grace and you can’t jump to that. That you cannot do by determination. Some try to jump to that level by determination. No, that level comes by grace. When Krsna gives it, He gives. That day will come when Krsna desires. That comes by grace of guru and Krsna.
So in this way we can see the progression and we can see how these eternal devotees are showing everything, all the stages of bhakti. And then the present spiritual masters are presenting it according to time, place and circumstances. In this way we are all the servants of the servants. We are servants of Krsnadas Kaviraja Goswami when we are trying to explain the Caitanya Caritamrta, who is the servant of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who is non-other than Radha and Krsna combined, showing the eternal nature of the spiritual world. This is how we are all servant of the servant. And otherwise, just be a chapatti!
Any questions, any comments?
Question: So if we are cooked anyway, it doesn’t make sense to get married or move to another country…
Maharaja: Yes, it makes sense…if you marry a blue eyed blonde from America, beautiful and pockets full of dollars! Anyway, there are other countries and other varieties and yes you can handle all these things and why not…
At the point when you come to surrendering, it really doesn’t matter. As long as you’re in the grhastha asrama and you’re not surrendered to Krsna and then your hope will be that this grhastha asrama is going to work out and is going to be full of wonderful experiences and so on is not happening. Well sometimes, a little bit, but most of the time it’s not and then the result is that you get frustrated. Then we think, ‘is this what I got married for?’ well there’s a few options and then we may think, ‘I’m going to dump this one and get another one.’ We can think like that but then again there’s so much trouble. So that’s all part of the frying process of being cooked. So ultimately, one day, a grhastha will have to come to the point and say, ‘actually, it really doesn’t work, I should just try and be a devotee and should just put my energy into being a devotee.’ And then when both of them are going to do that, then it’s okay and then suddenly the relationship starts to work better. And before that, it just doesn’t work. So it’s okay to be married, there’s nothing wrong there. Of course if you are all alone then you will save yourself a lot of time and a lot of money. You know, when you get married you need a lot of money and you have to work or somehow or other hustle to make some money. It takes effort.
So you can save yourself all that trouble and walk around in orange. But that’s also austere because there you also get cooked. And for the one thousandth time…bang! clang! In the middle of the night some guy smashes the door and turns on the light just when you’re asleep. And then for the one millionth time, one brahmacari puts his alarm clock at 2 ‘0 clock and he doesn’t get up. And the damn thing keeps on beeping and beeping and it’s everyday!!! and when you feel, ‘I want a place of my own, just my own place, where I can do what I want, my place…God do I want it!’ Well when you come to that point then you know that as a brahmacari you are going to get cooked. And then you know that there’s only two options: either get married or take shelter of Krsna and get serious.
So yes….anybody else?
Question: Hare Krsna Maharaja, please explain this conditioned life and karma… (question inaudible)
Maharaja: Karma is a factor obviously. Some people, by karma, they are more renounced and some people by karma are more inclined towards sense enjoyment. Some people in the last life were already brahmacaris and some people in the last life were you know, just having a party everyday. So yes, obviously, we bring some karma with us but it is stated that karma is only a factor in the beginning. This karma in the beginning makes a difference but if one is advancing then the karma does not make so much difference. Yes, a kanistha adhikari, one of the factors is karma but when we make karma too big then we think, ‘it’s all my karma, it’s destiny’ and then you begin to believe in astrology. And then you are going to an astrologer and he’s looking at your chart and then he begins to do calculations and says, ‘oh my God! Oh my God! Ya on September this year your whole life will change and then it will become very difficult for you and to maintain this asrama. You will meet your wife from last life in September. Yes, she will come and there’s not much you can do about it and I mean, what are you going to do? Tell me honestly? Think about it…but I’m telling you, in September, you are going to meet your wife from last life!’ So then you go like, ‘oh my God! oh my God! Listen to this prabhus! I went to an astrologer and you know wha5t he told me? He told me in September it’s going to happen to me, I’m going to meet my wife from last life…oh no! What am I going to do! What am I going to do! What am I going to do! Oh no, oh no, oh no!’
Look, my answer to that is, you married her last life, so don’t make the same mistake again- that’s one answer! (Laughter) Of course, I’m not speaking out against marriage but it doesn’t mean you have to do it again. But some people, astrology, it will control everything in their life. ‘oh it says on my chart! Oh now what can I do? I have to do.’ No, it’s up to you to choose and karma, that’s the astrology- it shows the karma. And when we think that astrology controls our life, the karma controls our life, then we have no faith in the power of Krsna consciousness. So the power of karma is there but the power of bhakti is greater than the power of karma. What can karma do? Prabhupada said that Krsna can kick out a million Rahus!
Another question? Okay finished…finished with Rahu- an auspicious end! (Laughter)
Srila Prabhupada ki, Jaya! Hare Krsna!