March 30, 2013 Sadhu-Sanga — Sripad Bhakti Niskama Shanta Maharaja read from Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita.
Topic: Resolution of the Gopinatha Pattanayaka Pastime
Here is the recording of the March 30, 2013 sadhu-sanga.
- Sripad Puri Maharaja discusses the definition of faith in terms of one who knows that by serving Lord Krsna, everything else is served. By practice, we can realize this principle as the system of the organic whole.
- He continues with a discussion of the progress of the Bhakti Vedanta Institute at Princeton University and then increases our understanding of the relationship between science and religion, emphasizing the failure of deterministic theories to explain the long-term stability of the universe.
- Although we may not be able to obtain the direct glance of the Lord, by serving our spiritual master and the devotees, we have some chance of gaining a connection with the Absolute.
- Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu objects to the King’s favorable treatment of Gopinatha Pattanayaka because it appears that forgiving Gopinatha’s debts was an indirect contribution to Him. However, the King requests Kasi Misra to explain that he favors all the sons of Bhavananda Raya and does not object to their spending from the collected taxes. The King explains that the difficulties with Gopinatha arose due to a misunderstanding with the Prince.
- Having heard these things from Kasi Misra, the Lord was very happy. Bhavananda Raya then expresses his gratitude to the Lord and proclaims that all the members of his family were eternal servants of the Lord.
- Gopinatha Pattanayaka fell at the lotus feet of the Lord, described in detail the King’s mercy, and proclaims that this was entirely the result of the Lord’s mercy.
- >Gopinatha then proclaims that the principle result of meditating upon the lotus feet of the Lord is not material opulence, but the development of love for Krsna in any circumstance.
- Sripad Puri Maharaja discusses some of the deeper meanings within this remarkable pastime and emphasizes that the use of our free will to remember Krsna is our primary objective.
April 27, 2013 Sadhu-Sanga — HH Sripad Bhakti Madhava Puri Maharaja read from Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita.
Topic: The Passing of Haridasa Thakura
The recording for the April 27, 2013 sadhu-sanga is unavailable.
- Haridasa Thakura said, “My dear Lord I have had one desire for a very long time. I think that quite soon, my Lord, You will bring to a close Your pastimes within this material world. I wish that You not show me this closing chapter of Your pastimes. Before that time comes, kindly let my body fall down in Your presence. With my tongue I shall chant Your holy name, ‘Sri Krisna Chaitanya!’ That is my desire. Kindly let me give up my body in this way.”
- Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said, “My dear Haridasa, Krisna is so merciful that He must execute whatever you want. But whatever happiness is Mine is all due to your association. It is not fitting for you to go away and leave Me behind.” Catching the lotus feet of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Haridasa Thakura said, “My Lord, if an insignificant insect like me dies, what is the loss? If an ant dies, where is the loss to the material world?”
- Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu left to perform his noon duties, but it was settled that the following day, He would return to visit Haridasa Thakura. The next morning, after visiting the temple, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, accompanied by all His devotees, went hastily to see Haridasa Thakura, who offered his respects to the lotus feet of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and all the Vaisnavas.
- Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu inquired, “My dear Haridasa, what is the news?” Haridasa Thakura replied, “My Lord, whatever mercy You can bestow upon me.” Upon hearing this, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu immediately began great congregational chanting in the courtyard. Headed by Swarupa Damodara Gosvami, all the devotees surrounded Haridasa Thakura and began congregational chanting. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who seemed to possess five mouths, began to describe the transcendental attributes of Haridasa Thakura. The more He described, the more His great happiness increased.
- Haridasa Thakura made the Lord sit down in front of him and fixed his eyes on the lotus face of the Lord. He held the lotus feet of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu on his heart and then took the dust of the feet of all the devotees present and put it on his head. While chanting the holy name of Sri Krisna Chaitanya, he gave up his life air and left his body. Seeing the wonderful death of Haridasa Thakura by his own will, everyone remembered the passing away of Bhisma. There was a tumultuous noise as they all chanted the holy names “Hari” and “Krisna.”
- Sri Chaitanya raised the body of Haridasa Thakura and placed it on His lap, then began to chant and dance in the courtyard in great ecstatic love with all the devotees. The body of Haridasa Thakura was then raised onto a carrier and taken to the sea, accompanied by congregational chanting. The Lord bathed the body of Haridasa Thakura in the sea and then declared, “From this day on, this sea has become a great pilgrimage site.”
- After a hole was dug in the sand, the body of Haridasa Thakura was placed into it. Remnants from Lord Jagannatha, such as His silken ropes, sandalwood pulp, food and cloth, were placed on the body. Along with the devotees, the Lord personally covered the body of Haridasa Thakura with sand, chanting “Haribol! Haribol!” The devotees then constructed a platform upon the site where Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu danced and chanted all around the platform. After sankirtana, He bathed in the sea with His devotees.
- Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then went to the Simha-dwara gate of the Jagannatha temple. Spreading His cloth, He began to beg prasadam from all the shopkeepers there. The shopkeepers immediately came forward with big baskets of prasadam. However, Swarupa Damodara stopped them and said, “Deliver to me four palmfuls of prasadam from each and every item.” In this way varieties of prasadam were collected, then packed up in different loads and carried on the heads of the four servants.
- With Paramananda Puri and Brahmananda Bharati, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu sat down and accepted the prasadam. When He began to eat, so did all the Vaisnavas. After all the devotees finished accepting prasadam and had washed their hands and mouths, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu decorated each of them with a flower garland and sandalwood pulp.
- Overwhelmed with ecstatic love, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu offered a benediction to all the devotees: “Anyone who has seen the festival of Sri Haridasa Thakura’s passing away, anyone who has chanted and danced here, anyone who has offered sand on the body of Haridasa Thakura, and anyone who has joined this festival to partake of the prasadam will achieve the favor of Krisna very soon. Being merciful upon Me, Krisna gave Me the association of Haridasa Thakura. Being independent in His desires, He has now broken that association.”
- Sripad Puri Maharaja briefly discusses how Krsna is present within a Krsna Conscious devotee. Krsna says that He is present in the heart of a devotee — “don’t look for me in the temple.”
April 20, 2013 Sadhu-Sanga — HH Bhakti Prapanna Tirtha Maharaja read from Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita.
Topic: Maha-prasadam and Haridasa Thakura
Here is the recording of the April 20, 2013 sadhu-sanga.
- Srila Tirtha Maharaja begins by explaining that Srila Krsnadas Kaviraja has given us a nectarean stream of hari-katha. By drinking from this stream, devotees become very peaceful and desire to drink more and more. In this chapter, we learn the glories of the Holy Name from Haridasa Thakura, our namacharya.
- Srila Krsnadas Kaviraja begins by offering obeisances to Srila Haridasa Thakura, Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita, and all the devotees of the Lord. Sripad Tirtha Maharaja explains that if we give proper respect and honor to others, we shall receive the capacity to serve. In this way, Krsnadas Kaviraja teaches us how to express devotion.
- Residing at Jagannatha Puri with His personal devotees, the Lord enjoyed the congregational chanting of the maha-mantra. In the daytime, the Lord engaged in dancing and chanting and seeing the temple of Lord Jagannatha. At night, in the company of his confidential devotees, He tasted the nectar of Lord Krsna’a pastimes. Feeling separation from Krsna, He exhibited many transcendental symptoms all over His body. Day after day, the transcendental symptoms increased just as they are discussed in the sastras. Swarupa Damodara and Ramananda Raya remained with Him day and night.
- Out of respect for his fallen nature, Srila Haridasa Thakura never visited the temple. Out of His mercy, the Lord had his servant, Govinda, take maha-prasadam to Haridasa. One day, Govinda found Haridasa lying on his back and chanting very slowly. When Govinda asked him to rise and take the maha-prasadam, Haridasa replied that he would fast. Nevertheless, he did honor the prasadam by offering prayers and by eating a small portion.
- To further explain the importance of maha-prasadam, Srila Tirtha Maharaja narrated a pastime of Lord Shiva and Parvati. Then he shared his own experience with honoring maha-prasadam. Simply by honoring maha-prasadam we can overcome maya.
- The next day, the Lord visited Haridasa and asked if he was well. Haridasa offered his obeisances and then explained that his body was all right but his mind and intelligence were not. When asked what his disease was, Haridasa replied that his disease was that he could not complete his rounds.
- “Now that you have become old,” the Lord said, “you may reduce the number of rounds you chant daily. You are already liberated, and therefore you need not follow the regulative principles very strictly. Your role in this incarnation is to deliver the people in general. You have sufficiently preached the glories of the Holy Name in this world.”
- Srila Haridasa Thakura replied by requesting that the Lord hear his real plea — something we will learn about in the next lesson.
- Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada notes that the Lord’s form of address shows that Haridasa Thakura was an incarnation of Lord Brahma. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura explains that advanced devotees help the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His mission and that such devotees or personal associates incarnate by the will of the Supreme Lord.
April 10, 2013 Sadhu-Sanga — HH Sripad Bhakti Madhava Puri Maharaja read from the Srimad Bhagavatam
Topic: Progressive Knowledge of the Supreme Lord
Here is the recording of the April 10, 2013 sadhu-sanga.
- The Personality of Godhead may not be present before one’s eyes, but if one is sincere in wanting such guidance the Lord will send a bona fide devotee who can guide one properly back home, back to Godhead. A sinful soul cannot approach the Lord directly, but he can very easily approach a pure devotee of the Lord.
- The conception of Brahman, realization of one’s spiritual nature, is the first step, due to the Lord’s and the soul’s distinction from the illusory conception of material existence. However, the ultimate realization of Brahman is meeting the source of the Brahman effulgence, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One must understand all three features of the Lord — Brahman, Paramatma (Supersoul) and Bhagavan — to attain the fullness of affection for the Lord (prema).
- The Lord is the full, naked, uncontaminated object of affection for all living entities because He is the Supersoul residing within everyone’s heart. The relationship with the Lord is never broken; thus there is no grief and no fear. In the material world the sense activities are not without grief. However, sense gratification in the spiritual world is uninterrupted and unbroken by material contamination because the senses are purified.
- The living entity is unborn and eternal. The living entity is not exhausted even though the material body is vanquished. However, devotees are naturally inclined to become associates of the Lord rather than merge in the spiritual existence. The devotees, therefore, following their constitutional instincts, achieve the desired goal of becoming servitors, friends, fathers, mothers or conjugal lovers of the Lord.
- The material body develops according to the desires of the living entity. However, after annihilation of the material body, the living entity who has developed a desire for Krishna’s service, is at once awarded the necessary spiritual body befitting his association with the Lord.
- In the Bhagavad-gita it is confirmed that by His potencies alone He is present everywhere and anywhere. Everything that is manifested rests on His potency only, but the Supreme Personality of Godhead is always aloof from everything. The potency and the potent are simultaneously one and different from one another.
- The Lord, being absolute, is nondifferent from the science of God, Srimad-Bhagavatam. The Bhagavata Purana is therefore the direct incarnation of the Lord in the form of transcendental sound, and one should receive this transcendental knowledge from the bona fide representative of the Lord in the chain of disciplic succession.
- Srimad-Bhagavatam is the philosophy of devotional service and the scientific presentation of man’s relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. With the beginning of the age of Kali, human society gradually became influenced by four sinful principles — illegitimate connection with women, intoxication, gambling and unnecessary killing of animals — blinding mankind to the ultimate goal of life. For such a blind society in the darkness of ignorance, Srimad-Bhagavatam is the torchlight to see things in proper perspective.
- Those who are not completely free from the clutches of the Lord’s external energy should devoutly hear regularly about the activities of the Lord in relation with the external energy. They should not foolishly jump up to the activities of the internal energy such as His rasa-lila. A devotee must begin reading or hearing the Srimad-Bhagavatam from the very beginning.
- Sripad Puri Maharaja clarifies that mere theoretical “knowledge about” Krishna can lead to imaginary conceptions. Realized knowledge only comes as a consequence of purification. He adds further that direct perception of the Lord comes from the Paramatama, not from the senses directly.