H H Bhakti Raghav Swami gave the lecture on 2nd March 2015. Below is the transcript of the lecture.
So we would like to welcome everyone to our class this morning. We have chosen something from the Caitanya Caritamrta and also we will be reading something from the Sri Caitanya Bhagavata, since today is a very auspicious day. We are very fortunate as Vaisnavas to have many festivals.
So three things that we will dwell on in the next 45 minutes. First of course is Santipura because today is Santipura festival. Many devotees have left by bus a little while ago. We will all together by the chariot of the mind all go to Santipura also. We will reach there before them. (laughter)
And second thing of course we will talk about, Santipura means especially Srila Madhavendra Puri and the second most important personality Srila Advaita Acarya. So we will just read what is on the board, just two verses actually from the Caitanya Caritamrta.
santipura aila advaitacaryera ghare
purira prema dekhi’ acarya ananda antare (CC Madhya 4.110)
“When Madhavendra Puri arrived at the house of Advaita Acarya in Santipura, the Acarya became very pleased upon seeing the ecstatic love of Godhead manifest in Madhavendra Puri.”
Just a little background here, although today is the disappearance of Srila Madhavendra Puri, this verse is talking about his appearance in Santipura.
tanra thañi mantra laila yatana kariña
calila daksine puri tanre diksa diña (CC Madhya 4.111)
Advaita Acarya begged to be initiated by Madhavendra Puri. After initiating Him, Madhavendra Puri started for South India.
In this connection, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura comments that Advaita Acarya took initiation from Madhavendra Puri, who was a sannyasi in the disciplic succession of the Madhva-sampradaya. According to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu:
kiba vipra kiba nyasi sudra kene naya,
yei krsna-tattva-vetta, sei ‘guru’ haya
“A person may be a brahmana, a sannyasi, a sudra or whatever, but if he is well conversant in the science of Krsna, he can become a guru.” (Cc. Madhya 8.128) This statement is supported by Sri Madhavendra Puri. According to the pañcaratra injunction, only a householder brahmana can initiate. Others cannot. When a person is initiated, it is assumed that he has become a brahmana; without being initiated by a proper brahmana, one cannot be converted into a brahmana. In other words, unless one is a brahmana, he cannot make another a brahmana. A grhastha-brahmana partaking of the varnasrama-dharma institution can secure various types of paraphernalia to worship Lord Visnu through his honest labor. Actually, people beg to be initiated by these householder brahmanas just to become successful in the varnasrama institution or to become free from material desires. It is therefore necessary for a spiritual master in the grhastha-asrama to be a strict Vaisnava. A spiritual master from the sannyasa order has very little opportunity to perform arcana, Deity worship, but when one accepts a spiritual master from the transcendental sannyasis, the principle of Deity worship is not at all neglected. To implement this conclusion, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu gave us His opinion in the verse kiba vipra kiba nyasi, etc. This indicates that the Lord understood the weakness of society in its maintaining that only a grhastha-brahmana should be a spiritual master. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu indicated that it does not matter whether the spiritual master is a grhastha (householder), a sannyasi or even a sudra. A spiritual master simply must be conversant in the essence of the sastra; he must understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Only then can one become a spiritual master. Diksa actually means initiating a disciple with transcendental knowledge by which he becomes freed from all material contamination.”
Before reading from the Caitanya Bhagavata just a little bit of additonal background information. Srila Madhavendra Puri today being his dissapearance we will talk about both his advent in Santipura and also some small lila in connection with his disspearance as well.
Actually Srila Madhavendra Puri who is one of our major acaryas in the Madhva Gaudiya sampradaya that we belong to, he was one of the first personalities who actually developed the seed of pure love of Radha and Krishna. And the story is narrated in the Caitanya Caritamrta, how he was feeling very sad because so few people in the world were Krishna conscious. That is one of the most important characteristics of a Vaisnava. He is titiksavah karunikah (SB 3.5.21) full of mercy and compassion for the fallen condtioned souls.
So Srila Madhavendra Puri could not find anyone with whom he could associate. And therefore he was wandering and finally came to Vrindavana and that whole lila is there of Madhavendra Puri who had taken a vow, a very serious vow, of never asking anyone for anything including food. And that is when of course a young cow herd boy had appeared or brought him some milk and later on that same cowherd came in his dream and given him an order to fetch some sandalwood.
So it was after installing Gopala on Govardhana Hill along with the inhabitants of Vrindavana that he had another dream where Gopala was sending him actually to get some sandalwood which was at that time available in Jagannath Puri. So it was at that time travelling from Vrindavana to Jagannath Puri, he stopped in Santipura.
Simulataneously as Srila Madhavendra Puri was also feeling great seperation from the Lord and great sadness at seeing the condition in the world Advaita Acarya was also having the same emotions. And when, because to go to Jagannath Puri traditionally people would follow the rivers, the path along the rivers and therefore anyone who goes to Santipura will see the place where the Ganga used to pass right beside the residence of Advaita Acarya.
When Srila Madhavendra Puri arrived in Santipura, the whole village actually is the place of brahmanas, that’s why it is called Santipura, the pura of Shanti (laughs), where everyone is peaceful because they are in the mode of goodness. And somehow Srila Advaita Acarya came in contact with him and they both, because they were on the same transcendental platform, they both became ecstatic. Just like when we meet a devotee, if we haven’t been associating with devotees, we become very happy, they became extremely ecstatic and Advaita Acarya as we heard a few minutes ago he immediately requested “Please intitaite me.’ (chuckles).
And then as if there were no wedding periods at that time for initiation as we have in our ISKCON society especially for such personalites, and after that Srila Madhavendra Puri he left Santipura and he went to Jagannath Puri. So just we will hear a few verses from Sri Caitanya Bhagavata which is the antya kanda section, this is of course by Srila Vrndavana Das Thakura describing the worship of Sri Madhavendra Puri. This because a personality like Vrndavana Das Thakura can describe much more eloquently than I can the qualities and wonderful character of Srila Madhavendra Puri.
So this begins from text 399. Just listen nicely and try to appreciate this wonderful description by Srila Vrndavana Das Thakura. And even if we don’t understnd Bangla, Bengali because Bengali like Sanskrit actually is very melodious and sweet language…one time Prabhupada explained that even if we don’t understand those languages they have a purifying effect on our heart.
“it is a certain fact that Sri Gaurasundara constantly resided in the body of Srila Madhavendra Puri. To preach the glories of the Supreme Lord in this world Sri Gaurasundara appeared within Madhavendra Puri and preached pure devotional service. Srila Madhavendra Puri was always invested with the full potency of the Supreme Lord. His incomparable service attitude is beyond the description of human language.”
“Madhavendra Puri’s devotional service to Visnu is indescribable. He was always fully empowered.”
“Now hear atentively the auspicious narration of how Advaita became his disciple.”
“Before the advent of Lord Caitanya the entire world was devoid of devotional service to Visnu.”
“Yet by the mercy of Lord Caitanya even at that time Madhavendra Puri he floated in an ocean of ecstatic love.”
“His body was always decorated with hairs standing on end. Tears, shivering, roaring and thundering…”
…means all the ecstatic symptoms that we hear about in someone who is totally self-realised.
Just a few more verses, I will read the English,
“Even while walking on the road he would dance in ecstacy and chant the name of Hari. Sometimes he would lose consciousness in ecsatcy for six to nine hours. Sometimes while absorbed in feelings of seperation he would shed tears like streams of the Ganges. Such topics are certainly wonderful. Sometimes he would laugh loudly and sometimes in the mellows of ecstatic love he would forget to dress. In this way Madhavendra enjoyed the happiness of Krishna consciousness. Yet he was most unhappy to see that the world was devoid of devotional service.”
So of course this gives us a little glimpse, a little idea of the level of devotional service practiced by Srila Madhavendra Puri. And therefore he immediately could recognize similar symptoms in the body of Advaita Acarya. Actually Srila Madhavendra Puri even before the advent of Lord Caitanya was displaying actually the mood of Lord Caitanya in terms of wanting to save the conditioned souls. And of course we know how after sometime Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu advented Himself and Srila Advaita Acarya came when He was born and so many other occasions he met Him. And later on Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu of course so many pastimes are there, came to Santipura right after taking sanyas.
Actually Srila Advaita Acarya you could say was the first grhastha, first householder who had the great privilege of having Lord Caitanya come to his residence after immediately taking sanyas. And Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu specifically in terms of the dissapearance of Srila Madhavendra Puri, He happened to come when Srila Advaita Acarya was celebrating the dissapearance of his spiritual master. At that time Srila Advaita Acarya made so many elaborate arrangements to commemorate this event of his spiritual master’s disspearance. And He spent some time in Santipura along with Nityananda Prabhu, these three great personalities, Lord Caitanya Mahaprabu, Advaita Acarya and Nityananda Prabhu they spent time in Santipura discussing about the preaching mission.
So in other words such great personalities they are constantly meditating how to find ways and means by which we can bring people to Krishna consiousness. Just like the Goswamis in Vrindavana they would meet and discuss, of course a lot had to do with Krishna katha, part of that Krishna katha was how to preach, how to spread the holy name, how to spread the mission of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabu.
I have heard how when our own Srila Prabhupada, our founder acarya Srila Prabhupada before leaving for America, maybe a little bit less known…….we all know that Srila Prabhupada came to Navadvipa, isnt it, to have darshan of Lord Caitanya and also the samadhi of his Guru Maharaj. Because Srila Prabhupada knew that I am now about to embark in a great mission, I am leaving India, I am going to an unknown country and I have no friends, therefore I must get all the mercy that I can to be successful in this mission. Not only did Srila Prabhuapda come to Mayapur, he also went to Santipura because it is in Santipura that Srila Advaita Acarya as we know was in great feelings of seperation and anxiety about the condtion of fallen souls, prayed very loudly for the advent of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. And therefore he wanted to get the mercy of Srila Advaita Acarya who at that time was having the association of both Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Lord Nityanand Prabhu.
Actually some years back some devotees, a number of devotees made research into various places where Srila Prabhupada performed his different pastimes. And one of the most important places of course was in Vrindavana when Srila Prabhupada was residing in the Sri Sri Radha Damodar temple. Srila Prabhupada was also having intense feelings that how this missioin of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu can be spread and he could understand even more that – no one is taking it up, I have to take it up.
Srila Prabhupada as we know was for many years residing in the Radha Damodar temple, right beside the samadhi of Srila Jiva Goswami and he would in the evening unknown to most people, evening means at night time…..the story is narrated as follows. That at night time sometimes people would be hearing some loud noises as if somebody was crying and howling. So this devotee actually narrated this because he met the person who narrated that story of who was actually howling and crying. So this person actually came out to see who was making this noise and he saw it was Srila Prabhupada who was cleaning actually the courtyard around the samadhi of Srila Jiva Goswami and in that great intensive mood would actually be loudly crying. So in other words Srila Prabhupada was in a similar way as Advaita Acarya also demonstrating that a vaisnava must develop these deep emotions in order to attract the attention of the Lord. It is just like a child, a child in order to get the attraction of the mother will start crying. So this is described by many of our acaryas, it is part of the mood that we need to develop actually as preachers in order to attract the attention of the Lord, in order to get the mercy of the Lord.
So this pastime of Santipura is helping us to remember such great personalities as Srila Advaita Acarya and Srila Madhavendra Puri and to develop that same intense desire. Actually there has to be an intense desire to want to preach Krishna consiousness. First to understand deeply what is Krishna consciousness, what is the desire of our acaryas. All of our great personalities, so many great acaryas, so many great associates of the Lord, they had that very intense feeling of wanting to assist the Lord in his mission.
Of course there are so many unlimited ways that we can engage ourselves, somehow we should pray to the Lord, we should pray to Srila Prabhupada, we should pray to the acaryas, to become inspired in taking up some aspect of Lord Caitanya’s mission. Actually all of us as devotees, there are certain words, actually there are many words that should immediately evoke many thoughts and many feelings within us. Words like dharma, words like tattva, they are full of unlimited meanings. Actually the world is devoid of this understanding, the world largely is devoid of Krishna consciousness.
And we know as devotees we have this great fortune because we have come in contact with personalities Srila Advaita Acarya, Srila Prabhupada and other such personalities. The knowldege that we have received is helping us understand that unless one knows about Krishna consciousness one can never be happy in this world.
So in this way Srila Prabhupada has given all of us a tremendous mission, actually the mission of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu and we should try to follow in the footsteps of these personalities. They were constantly taking inspiration especially from the, our more recent acaryas they are constantly taking inspiration from the writings of the Goswamis. Our acaryas as we know the Goswamis of Vrindavana have been deputed by Lord Caitanya to give us the cream and the essence of the Vedic knowledge. And these great personalities like Srila Madhavendra Puri and Advaita Acarya they fully imbibed actually this knowledge and therefore they were constantly inspired to very forcefully preach Krishna consciousness. So likewise as followers of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu we have these great personalities that we can look up to and in this way try to execute more and more the mission of Lord Caitanya.
Actually I just wanted to comment on one or two small things. These personalities Srila Madhavendra Puri, Srila Advaita Acarya and Nityananda Prabhu they are of course completely absorbed and situated in the prema level or pure love of Krishna. They have already realized the third level, what we call third level of knowledge isnt it, sambandha, abhideya and prayojana. They are on the level of prayojana. Now it is…of course our goal as well is to reach that platform of pure devotional service. But the science of bhakti, the science of devotional service it is very vast and very deep. And especially Srila Jiva Goswami who as we know is known as the acarya in terms of tattva. And he has given us, summarized actually this tattva in what is called the Sat Sandarbhas.
And actually if we analyze not only the Sat Sandarbhas of Srila Jiva Goswami, if we analyze the writings of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura our acaryas have written many things in regard to, before the highest level of Krishna prema. The initial phase of Krishna consciousness sometimes we want to go a little too fast. The initial phase of Krishna consciousness is actually the most important. It has to do with sambandha. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura actually in his small book called dasa mula tattva, seven of those ten topics deal with sambandha. So sambandha of course as we know in itself a very big topic, it has to do with our identity and our relationship.
So this first level we in our ISKCON society we have experienced, we still do experience quite a bit of challenge in terms of this level actually in relationships. And to a large extent that is because we are not living as naturally as we should be living. Actually during the pastimes of Lord Caitanya let’s say in Santipura, society was very different from as we know them today. And many of these aspects of tattva actually can only be understood when we live that more simplified natural lifestyle.
So the point is that there are many aspects in terms of Krishna consciousness, many aspects in terms of tattva. We should be patient in terms of gradually rising to the higher platforms. Our goal of course is to come to that level where personalities like Advaita Acarya, and Madhavendra Puri are fully understanding and absorbing the mission of the Lord. And the more we are engaged in the activities of devotional service this understanding will gradually come.
So I would like to take this opportunity actually because our festival is close, you know, Gaura Purnima is just in a few days, it is actually very inspiring to see so many devotees coming to Sridhama Mayapur. Devotees are able to share many of the activities that are ongoing around all over the world. Srila Prabhupada wanted that we come to Sridhama Mayapur to actually we could say recharge ourselves again and become more and more inspired so that we can also become very enthusiastic, inspired in preaching more and more Krishna consiousness.
So we shoud pray for the mercy of Srila Madhavendra Puri and Srila Advaita Acarya so that we can also get the mercy of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
Jaya Srila Madhavendra Puri ki jaya!
Jaya Srila Advaita Acarya ki jaya!
Jaya Santipura dhama ki jaya!
Jaya Nitai Gaurapremanande hari haribol!
Any questions or comments?
Devotee: Can you describe how sambandha jnana can be understood in a natural lifestyle.
Maharaj: Very quickly. Two things. Sambandha jnana has to do with our spiritual identity. A more natural lifestyle on the spiritual level is bhakti, devotional service. And sambandha jnana also has to do with understanding our natural lifestyle on the material level. This has to do with what is called sva-dharma. We have a spiritual sva-dharma what is bhakti and we have a material sva-dharma. We have a material sva dharma which is connected with varanasrama. Both are eternal principles. Both are based on eternal principles established by the Lord Himself, Krishna.
So natural lifestyle on the material level means specifically two things, actually three. It is summarizing in our Vedic sastra what is called science of economics and that natural lifesytle means connected with the land, connected with the cows and connected with Krishna. Part of our preaching mission, part of dharma, part of part of Lord Krishna’s mission is, Lord Caitanya’s mission as well, because Lord Caitanya comes to follow and establish Krishna’s mission is to understand these two levels of dharma actually and to make them happen. Actually both are science sciences within themselves, the science of bhakti – the science of devotional service, the science of spiritual sva-dharma is a science in itself and the other one the science varnasrama is also a science in itself.
And of course at the end of the class we can’t start talking about that very much but that’s I would say the gist of it.
Devotee: I know Maharaj you have got ten self-sufficient communities and I have myself lived in a self-sufficient house in New Govardhana just for a few years. But when you live in the city or you live in Mayapur its connected to electricity, everything not running self-sufficiently. So if you wanted to live a self-sufficient lifestyle how would you be able to do that when you are living in these different places?
Maharaj: If one is living in different places like cities how to manifest self-sufficiency? Well, Vedic culture is teaching us simple living. The principles of simple living can be applied anywhere. But it is more of a challenge in the cities as they are constructed at present. The cities we should know that are presently existing are not ideal cities. Not only are they not ideal but they are actually very detrimental in many ways for our, you know, for promoting Krishna consiousness. So Srila Prabhupada wanted that we be in the cities but for giving a message. (chuckles) Those of us who are in the cities for preaching purposes, we should understand primarily it should be preaching purposes and we should avoid becoming overly entangled. Part or our mission, part of Srila Prabhupada’s mission is to actually understand the Vedic norm in terms of how the vast majority of people are meant to live and the vast majority of people are not meant to live actually in the cities.
So those of us who are in the cities we should, there are different ways that we can minimize accumulating too many material things, only whatever we are needing for our living, for our preaching. And we should, Srila Prabhupada gave this instruction many years ago, we should be connected with a rural community. (chuckles) Something very practical where we can get wholesome food or where we can get pure milk, things like that. And Srila Prabhupada gave a very important instruction also which is part of our Vedic culture that the vast majority of house holders they should be connected with agriculture, but those in the cities at least they should be connected with prasadam. Connected with prasadam doesn’t mean just eating prasadam, or taking prasadam but means developing catering services, offering prasadam, distributing prasadam.
Yes Srila Prabhupada wanted that, he gave many instructions in that regards for those who are, of course there are many other preaching activities, for example those who are involved in book distribution or preaching to congregation. Whatever preaching activity we can do that’s fine but we should avoid becoming overly entangled basically.
I will close on this one point which some of you might find a little difficult to either understand or digest. That those devotees, listen carefully, (laughs) those devotees who are living in the cities, and I know that’s a vast majority of you sitting here but who are not engaged in front line preaching actually don’t belong in the cities, should not be living in the cities. Our cities should be our preaching bases. I repeat – our cities should be our preaching bases where we are engaged in preaching first and foremost.
And the second part of the mantra is that our living bases should be rural communities. We should be living in the country, we should be living actually in villages, that is the Vedic norm. And then the question you are asking, sambandha relationships will take completely a different dimension. And that is one of many reasons why we have many complicated situations in our lives as devotees actually.
It’s like when somebody doesn’t know about Krishna he is maya isnt it? Before we all came to Krishna consciousness I was in maya like probably most people. So we can be in maya in two ways, actually more than two ways, but two major ways. One we don’t know about Krishna and number two we don’t know what is the natural way to live. When we are disconnected with the land and the cows we are disconnected with Krishna. Or put it in another way our connection with Krishna is not complete.
Those of us who are here, that means all of us who are here in the material world, it’s like we have this material body, every day we have to provide for this material body. Krishna has given a way and a system, Krishna has given us all ideal perfect complete systems. Yes, even this pastime of Srila Madhavendra Puri both in Vrindvana for example is connected with cows because this cow herd boy brought him milk. When Srila Madhavendra Puri stopped in Remuna his pastime is also connected with cows – Ksiracora Gopinath.
So actually we are past our time, kindly excuse me for going over time. Once again thank you very much. Have a wonderful Santipura festival today.
Jaya Srila Advaita Acarya ki jaya!
Jaya Srila Madhavendra Puri ki jaya!
Jaya Samasta Gaura bhakta vrnda ki jaya !
Nitai Gaurapremanande hari haribol!