Written by Nandan
During the day Maharaj was with Jayadvaita Swami, no doubt engaging in intimate guru-disciple talk.
In the evening, there was a Pandava Sena (youth wing of the British yatra) program at Krishna Kirtan Prabhu’s. The house was packed and Ravi Pattni Prabhu (up and coming kirtaneer and leading University preacher) led a deep and slow kirtan full of raag but mixed with some serious capriccioso mrdanga playing. The crowd was predominantly young and British Asian. Prasadam consisted of Caesar salad, pasta, hing bread and strawberry cheese cake.
Afterward, the lights were dimmed and Maharaj broke into an exquisite melody. As you may have guessed by now it wasn’t a classic ‘Kadamba Kanana Swami explosive kirtan’. But the melody was sung with so much focused emotion that it beckoned one to go deeper into what it means to be Krishna Consciousness – to really introspect and purify one’s heart. Maharaj finished off with a controlled but incredibly intense crescendo that left one hankering for the emotional ecstasies that are mentioned in the sacred scriptures.
He then opened up the Brhad Bhagavatamrita which chronicled the adventures of Gopakumar through the universe and beyond. With just a lamp providing some reading light in an otherwise dark room, it evoked an ‘old school’ mood of devotees meeting together and having clandestine discussions at night under the occupation of the Nawab.
Needless to say it, was a highly esoteric discourse. Starting off with Gopakumar taking over the post of Indra and getting to know his ‘new’ younger brother, the Supreme Lord, Sri Vamanadev. In this role, Gopakumar had such intimate exchanges with Lord Vamana who is also known as Upendra that it was literally like a younger and older brother embracing and playing with each other. One doesn’t always realise what a deep relationship Indra and Vamanadev may have and it’s easy to dismiss the demigods as material, fallible personalities. But here, Maharaj demonstrated how exalted they really are and deserving of our full respect.
As Gopakumar floats to higher realms like Brahmaloka, he gets the throne of Brahma. The question arose: What does Brahma do once he creates the universe? He may be the grandfather but what does he do… At this point a devotee offers one, too many fisherman’s friends tablets to Maharaj who states that he doesn’t want to overdose on them and somehow the young devotees found that funny and started cracking up… Surya is riding through the sky and Indra is taking care of the cosmic affairs. Well, it turns out that Brahma is constantly engaged in the puja of Lord Vishnu whose deity is fully alive. The way Maharaj was describing this pastime in the darkened room with a little lamp light; he really bought the pastime to life and gave it so much warmth and humour…
So Brahma was doing this worship. And there were various cultural events going on up there. So when Gopakumar became Brahma, there was a huge festival and he asked all the Vedas to come and they all came, then came the Upanishads and so on. Then some of the Upanishads started to dominate the show and promote their own impersonalistic understandings. Many of the confidential Puranas and scriptures like the Gopala Tapani Upanishad got exceedingly annoyed at this state of affairs and staged a walk out. At which point, they had to be pacified and the other Upanishads had to be chastised and warned to stop their impersonalistic nonsense. And so the pastimes continued. As Maharaj carried on with his discourse, it was incredible to think that this is actually going on in the upper echelons of the cosmos. Truly mind boggling!
Ultimately Brhad Bhagavatamrita should be seen as an expansion Srimad Bhagavatam. You can also see it as a key to the Srimad Bhagavatam. But Srimad Bhagavatam is the essence. Everything is pointing to the Srimad Bhagavatam, even the Bhagavad-gita is pointing to the Srimad Bhagavatam. So in that way, the Brhad Bhagavatamrita is giving a new and fresh vision of the Srimad Bhagavatam.
As the night carried on, it was obvious some of the devotees were feeling sleepy. Krishna Kirtan Prabhu mentioned that maybe everyone can chant with Maharaj a bit more and those who want to leave can by all means leave. Maharaj immediately answered, “Yes I’ll leave!” Everyone burst into laughter and Maharaj did a nice lullaby style kirtan to finish of the night.
HH Kadamba Kanana Maharaj ki Jai!