Inis Ratha, Ireland, Radhastami Celebration

Sri Rupa prabhu requested I give Bhagavatam class this morning.  I really wanted to hear from him.  After all, that is why I came to Inis Ratha – for Vaishnava association.  Sri Rupa prabhu, however, got his way.  Dear friends and readers, please accept this imperfect summary of my presentation from this morning.

I introduced the class by describing Bhaktivinoda Thakur’s beautiful song Radha Madhava.  Srila Prabhupada told Mother Yamuna and his early disciples at John Lennon’s country home, Tittenhurst Estate, in 1969, that this song is so powerful, it is just like a bolt of lightning in the dark.  It has the power to destroy the darkness within the heart.  Krsna surya-sama maya hy andhakara/ yahan krsna tahan nahi mayadhikara.  Krishna is like the sun.  Maya is like the darkness.  Where there is Krisha there can be no jurisdiction of Maya.  Where there is sunlight there can be no darkness. 

I briefly described how this prayer is just four lines and 18 words, yet it sums up the entire Spiritual World.  Krishna is Madhava, the lover of the Goddess of Fortune.  Krishna is the lover of Radha.  I embellished my explanation of this song a little.  I mentioned how Bhaktivinoda Thakur is describing Goloka Vrindavan and the love of the residents of Vrindavan for Krishna and vice-versa here.

We then spoke on Dadhici Muni and how he gave up his body in charity so that Indra could vanquish Vrtrasura (Srimad Bhagavatam 6.10.10).  This body can be destroyed at any moment.  Why not give it up for a noble cause?  In his purport, Prabhupada calls this para-upakara or ‘helping others.’  The main point of Prabhupada’s purport is that the best use of our resources, including our own body, is for the welfare of others. 

What are real welfare activities?  These are beneficial activities executed in relation to Krishna.  I cited Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu as prime example of this, since he is the inaugurator of the Sankirtan Movement.  When Lord Caitanya was a little baby He would cry and cry and cry.  The women of Navadvipa would try to pacify child Nimai in so many different ways.  When they chanted, ‘Haribol! Haribol’, He stopped crying.  Little Nimai offered the townsfolk sandesh (milk sweets) if they chanted Hare Krishna.  The Lord was playing out His pastime of being a perfect devotee.  The symptom of a first-class devotee is that anyone who sees Him chants the Holy Names.

This is the Sankirtan Movement of Lord Caitanya.  The heart is compared to a mirror.  Ceto-darpanam-marjanam.  In Lord Caitanya’s Siksastakam prayers He says that the mirror of the heart has been covered by ‘dust’ for so many lifetimes.  The chanting of the Holy Names of the Lord, however, cleanses the heart of the dust.  You cannot see your reflection in a dusty mirror.  When the mirror is clean, however, you can see your reflection clearly.  When the heart is cleansed of the dust of material desires, we can understand our true identity as eternal servant of Krishna.  We will also be able to see Krishna within our heart. 

The Caitanya Caritamrta explains how Srimati Radharani’s heart is like a mirror, darpana, that perfectly reflects Her love for Lord Krishna.  She is the Queen of devotion, Radhika-rani.  She epitomizes and personifies love of Krishna to the highest degree.  When Lord Krishna sees His own reflection in a pillar in Dwaraka, He sees what Srimati Radharani sees in Her heart.  He wonders to Himself, ‘Who is that beautiful person?’  Then He realizes it is Himself!  Krishna is bewildered by His own beauty.  Krishna appears as Caitanya Mahaprabhu, therefore, to understand what it is like to love Him and to feel the happiness on tasting the sweetness that love.  Sri krishna-caitanya radha-krishna nahi anya.  Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is none other than Radha and Krishna.  Caitanya Mahaprabhu is Krishna with the sentiment (bhava) and complexion (dyuti) of Srimati Radharani.  Radha-bhava-dyuti-suvalitam naumi krsna-svarupam.  Mahaprabhu is also called Gauranga or ‘golden-limbed.’  Srimati Radharani is Gaurangi.  She is golden in complexion.  These are the confidential reasons for Mahaprabhu’s appearance.  And the rest of the Caitanya Caritamrta illustrates these reasons through the life of Lord Caitanya.  Careful study, therefore, of the Caitanya Caritamrita will certainly help us to understand Srimati Radharani.

I went on to describe a little more about Srimati Radharani being the personification of love of Godhead.  I also described how the prayers that we chant during the morning programme are describing the spiritual master’s intimate service to the Divine Couple, tulasi prayers are prayers in the mood of being a maidservant of Srimati Radharani and I explained how the mangalacharan prayers are also invoking Sri Radha’s mercy through disciplic succession.  The devotees appreciated these points.  We may not have realized these yet, but through continual practice of vaidhi-sadhana-bhakti the meanings of these exalted prayers will be revealed to us.  Then, of course, there is the chanting of the maha-mantra.  This is the essence of our all our sadhana.  It is the means and the end.  Pure love of Krishna is within the heart.  We simply have to awaken it through the process of hearing and chanting.  Nitya-siddha krishna-prema sadhya kabhu naya/ sravanadi suddhe-citte karaye udhaya.  By chanting Hare Krishna we are, in fact, calling out to Radharani – O Divine Mother!  O energy of the Lord!  Please engage me in the service of Krishna!  Radharani comes first.  As Caitanya Mahaprabhu prayed – gopi bhartur padakamalayor daser-das-anudasa.  I am the servant of the servant of the servant of Lotus-eyed Krishna one hundred times removed.

I finished my presentation by reading from Prabhupada’s purport once again, stressing the futility of living in the material body.  We should live for others.  How do we do this?  Prabhupada describes the preacher in the following way.  He has love for God.  He has love for the devotees.  He is compassionate to the innocent (ie. those who are favourable).  And he avoids the envious or atheistic.  This is basically a description of a madhyama-adhikari or second-class devotee.  When we examine the symptoms of such a devotee, we can see that it is something quite exalted.  We should aspire for this.  We should help others.  In order to do so, however, we have to help ourselves.  We have to develop a taste for hearing and chanting.  How do we develop taste?  By following the programme set for us by Srila Prabhupada in association with his devotees.

Srila Prabhupada ki jaya!!  Srimati Radharani ki jaya!!

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