With verse 15, Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī begins offering his obeisances directly to Kṛṣṇa Himself. Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja was an inhabitant of Vṛndāvana and a great devotee. He had been living with his family in Katwa, a small town in the district of Burdwan, in Bengal. He worshiped Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa with his family, and once when there was some misunderstanding among his family members about devotional service, he was advised by Nityānanda Prabhu in a dream to leave home and go to Vṛndāvana. Although he was very old, he started out that very night and went to live in Vṛndāvana. While he was there, he met some of the Gosvāmīs, principal disciples of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu. He was requested to write the Caitanya-caritāmṛta by the devotees of Vṛndāvana. Although he began this work at a very old age, by the grace of Lord Caitanya he finished it. Today it remains the most authoritative book on Caitanya Mahāprabhu's philosophy and life.
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Devotees of Vrndavana
- 1 Srimad-Bhagavatam
- 2 Sri Caitanya-caritamrta
- 3 Other Books by Srila Prabhupada
- 4 Lectures
- 5 Correspondence
SB Canto 5
Holy places like Vṛndāvana, Hardwar, Prayāga and Jagannātha Purī are especially meant for the execution of devotional service. Vṛndāvana specifically is the most exalted and preferred holy place for Vaiṣṇava devotees of Lord Kṛṣṇa who are aspiring to return back to Godhead, the Vaikuṇṭha planets. There are many devotees in Vṛndāvana who regularly bathe in the Yamunā, and this cleanses all the contamination of the material world. By constantly chanting and hearing the holy names and pastimes of the Supreme Lord, one certainly becomes purified and becomes a fit candidate for liberation. However, if one purposefully falls victim to sense gratification, he has to be punished, at least for one lifetime, like Bharata Mahārāja.
SB Cantos 10.14 to 12 (Translations Only)
Yet even though the extent of the good fortune of these residents of Vṛndāvana is inconceivable, we eleven presiding deities of the various senses, headed by Lord Śiva, are also most fortunate, because the senses of these devotees of Vṛndāvana are the cups through which we repeatedly drink the nectarean, intoxicating beverage of the honey of Your lotus feet.
My mind becomes bewildered just trying to think of what reward other than You could be found anywhere. You are the embodiment of all benedictions, which You bestow upon these residents of the cowherd community of Vṛndāvana. You have already arranged to give Yourself to Pūtanā and her family members in exchange for her disguising herself as a devotee. So what is left for You to give these devotees of Vṛndāvana, whose homes, wealth, friends, dear relations, bodies, children and very lives and hearts are all dedicated only to You?
CC Preface and Introduction
In fact, Rādhārāṇī is the internal potency of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and She eternally intensifies the pleasure of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Impersonalists cannot understand this without the help of a mahā-bhāgavata devotee. The very name "Rādhā" suggests that Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī is eternally the topmost mistress of the comforts of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. As such, She is the medium transmitting the living entities' service to Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Devotees in Vṛndāvana therefore seek the mercy of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī in order to be recognized as loving servitors of Śrī Kṛṣṇa.
The devotees of Vṛndāvana were all very anxious to hear those pastimes.
Impersonal realization of the Absolute Truth is certainly transcendental, but this does not mean that one who has attained this realization can understand the sac-cid-ānanda form of the Lord. Similarly, Paramātmā realization—realization of the plenary expansion of the Absolute Truth within everyone's heart—is also an incomplete understanding of the Absolute Truth. Even a devotee of the Personality of Godhead Nārāyaṇa cannot actually understand the transcendental attractive features of Kṛṣṇa. Indeed, a devotee of Kṛṣṇa who is attached to the sublime attractive features of the Lord does not consider Nārāyaṇa very important. When the gopīs sometimes saw Kṛṣṇa in the form of Nārāyaṇa, they were not very much attracted to Him. The gopīs never addressed Kṛṣṇa as Rukmiṇī-ramaṇa. Kṛṣṇa's devotees in Vṛndāvana address Him as Rādhāramaṇa, Nandanandana and Yaśodānandana, but not as Vasudeva-nandana or Devakī-nandana. Although according to the material conception Nārāyaṇa, Rukmiṇī-ramaṇa and Kṛṣṇa are one and the same, in the spiritual world one cannot use the name Rukmiṇī-ramaṇa or Nārāyaṇa in place of the name Kṛṣṇa. If one does so out of a poor fund of knowledge, his mellow with the Lord becomes spiritually faulty and is called rasābhāsa, an overlapping of transcendental mellows. The advanced devotee who has actually realized the transcendental features of the Lord will not commit the mistake of creating a rasābhāsa situation by using one name for another. Because of the influence of Kali-yuga, there is much rasābhāsa in the name of extravagance and liberal-mindedness. Such fanaticism is not very much appreciated by pure devotees.
"Svarūpa Dāmodara is a pure devotee of Vṛndāvana. He does not even know what opulence is, for he is simply absorbed in pure devotional service."
Although it is very difficult to enter into the Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa pastimes, most of the devotees of Vṛndāvana are attracted to the rādhā-kṛṣṇa-līlā. However, since Nitāi-Gauracandra are direct incarnations of Balarāma and Kṛṣṇa, we can be directly in touch with Lord Balarāma and Lord Kṛṣṇa through Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Nityānanda Prabhu. Those who are highly elevated in Kṛṣṇa consciousness can enter into the pastimes of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa through the mercy of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. It is said, śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya rādhā-kṛṣṇa nahe anya: "Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu is a combination of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa."
“The original inhabitants of Vṛndāvana are attached to Kṛṣṇa spontaneously in devotional service. Nothing can compare to such spontaneous devotional service, which is called rāgātmikā bhakti. When a devotee follows in the footsteps of the devotees of Vṛndāvana, his devotional service is called rāgānugā bhakti.
In his Bhakti-sandarbha, Jīva Gosvāmī states:
tad evaṁ tat-tad-abhimāna-lakṣaṇa-bhāva-viśeṣeṇa svābhāvika-rāgasya vaiśiṣṭye sati tat-tad-rāga-prayuktā śravaṇa-kīrtana-smaraṇa-pāda-sevana-vandanātma-nivedana-prāyā bhaktis teṣāṁ rāgātmikā bhaktir ity ucyate. . . . tatas tadīyaṁ rāgaṁ rucyānugacchantī sā rāgānugā.
When a pure devotee follows the footsteps of a devotee in Vṛndāvana, he develops rāgānugā bhakti.
“"When an advanced, realized devotee hears about the affairs of the devotees of Vṛndāvana—in the mellows of śānta, dāsya, sakhya, vātsalya and mādhurya—he becomes inclined in one of these ways, and his intelligence becomes attracted. Indeed, he begins to covet that particular type of devotion. When such covetousness is awakened, one"s intelligence no longer depends on the instructions of śāstra (revealed scripture) or on logic and argument.’
This verse is also found in the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.2.292).
“In the seed of affection, there is attachment which goes by two names, rati and bhāva. The Supreme Personality of Godhead comes under the control of such attachment.
Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura comments on this verse. Externally a devotee performs all the items of devotional service in nine different ways, beginning with śravaṇa and kīrtana, and within his mind he always thinks of his eternal relationship with Kṛṣṇa and follows in the footsteps of the devotees of Vṛndāvana. If one engages himself in the service of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa in this way, he can transcend the regulative principles enjoined in the śāstras and, through his spiritual master, fully engage in rendering spontaneous love to Kṛṣṇa. In this way, he attains affection at the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa actually comes under the control of such spontaneous feelings, and ultimately one can attain association with the Lord.
“Devotees in Vṛndāvana who are friends of the Lord can increase their ecstatic love to the point of anurāga. Parental affectionate lovers, Kṛṣṇa's father and mother, can increase their love of Godhead up to the end of anurāga.
Lakṣmī, the goddess of fortune, has complete knowledge of Kṛṣṇa's opulences, but she could not achieve the association of Kṛṣṇa by dint of such knowledge. The devotees in Vṛndāvana, however, actually enjoy the association of Kṛṣṇa.
Other Books by Srila Prabhupada
Teachings of Lord Caitanya
The author of Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī, was an inhabitant of Vṛndāvana and a great devotee. He had been living with his family in Katwa, a small town in the district of Burdwan in Bengal. His family also worshiped Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, and once when there was some misunderstanding amongst his family about devotional service, Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja was advised by Nityānanda Prabhu in a dream to leave home and go to Vṛndāvana. Although he was very old, he started out that very night and went to live in Vṛndāvana. While he was there, he met some of the Gosvāmīs, principal disciples of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu. He was requested to write Caitanya-caritāmṛta by the devotees of Vṛndāvana. Although he began this work at a very old age, by the grace of Lord Caitanya he finished it. Today it remains the most authoritative book on Caitanya's philosophy and life.
Nectar of Devotion
To perform devotional service means to follow in the footsteps of Rādhārāṇī, and devotees in Vṛndāvana put themselves under the care of Rādhārāṇī in order to achieve perfection in their devotional service. In other words, devotional service is not an activity of the material world; it is directly under the control of Rādhārāṇī. In Bhagavad-gītā it is confirmed that the mahātmās, or great souls, are under the protection of daivī prakṛti, the internal energy—Rādhārāṇī. So, being directly under the control of the internal potency of Kṛṣṇa, devotional service attracts even Kṛṣṇa Himself.
We must always remember, however, that such eagerness to follow in the footsteps of the denizens of Vraja (Vṛndāvana) is not possible unless one is freed from material contamination. In following the regulative principles of devotional service, there is a stage called anartha-nivṛtti, which means the disappearance of all material contamination. Sometimes someone is found imitating such devotional love, but factually he is not freed from anarthas, or unwanted habits. It has been seen that a so-called devotee proclaims himself a follower of Nanda, Yaśodā or the gopīs, while at the same time his abominable attraction for mundane sex life is visible. Such a manifestation of divine love is mere imitation and has no value. When one is actually spontaneously attracted to the loving principles of the gopīs, there will be found no trace of any mundane contamination in his character.
Therefore, in the beginning, everyone should strictly follow the regulative principles of devotional service, according to the injunctions of the scriptures and the spiritual master. Only after the stage of liberation from material contamination can one actually aspire to follow in the footsteps of the devotees in Vṛndāvana.
It is said by Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī, "When one is actually liberated from material contamination, he can always remember an eternal devotee in Vṛndāvana in order to love Kṛṣṇa in the same capacity. And developing such an aptitude, one will always live in Vṛndāvana, even within his mind." The purport is that if it is possible one should go and physically be present at Vrajabhūmi, Vṛndāvana, and be engaged always in the service of the Lord, following the devotees in Vraja-dhāma, the spiritual realm of Vraja. If it is not possible, however, to be physically present at Vṛndāvana, one can meditate anywhere upon living in that situation. Wherever he may be, one must always think about life in Vraja-dhāma and about following in the footsteps of a particular devotee in the service of the Lord.
So prākṛta stage is pratyakṣa knowledge, direct perception, and knowledge received from paramparā. Pratyakṣa, parokṣa, then aparokṣa, self-realization, then adhokṣaja, aprākṛta. So Kṛṣṇa consciousness is aprākṛta knowledge. It is the topmost platform of knowing Kṛṣṇa, aprākṛta knowledge. So, so long we are up to the adhokṣaja knowledge, that is regulative principles. We have to follow the regulative principles strictly. And aprākṛta knowledge is for the paramahaṁsa. There is... That is called rāga-bhakta. In these stages, pratyakṣa, parokṣa, they are called viddhi-bhakti. But without viddhi-bhakti, you cannot reach to the platform of rāga-bhakti, although that is our aim. Rāgānugā, rāga-bhakti is executed following the footprints of the devotees in Vṛndāvana. That is called rāga-bhakti. Kṛṣṇa's personal associates. Not to become directly Kṛṣṇa's personal associate, but following the footprints of Kṛṣṇa's eternal associates, we can come to the stage of rāga-bhakti. That is called parā-bhakti. That parā-bhakti is required.
What is Vṛndāvana? The devotees of Vṛndāvana, they are all individuals. The gopīs are individuals, the cowherd boys are individuals, the calves are individuals, the cows are individuals. Everyone is individual. But the purpose is how to love Kṛṣṇa. That is formless. There is no disagreement in that purpose. The gopīs are trying to satisfy Kṛṣṇa, the cowherd boys are satisfying, trying to satisfy Kṛṣṇa, mother Yaśodā is trying to satisfy Kṛṣṇa, Nanda Mahārāja is trying to satisfy Kṛṣṇa. The whole center is how to satisfy Kṛṣṇa. That oneness is required. Not that I become one with Kṛṣṇa. That is not possible. Therefore śāstra says, āruhya kṛcchreṇa paraṁ padaṁ tataḥ patanty adhaḥ anādṛta-yuṣmad-aṅghrayaḥ: (SB 10.2.32) when they do not agree to serve Kṛṣṇa, then they come back in this material world, again they begin to serve the society, to serve the country, to serve the daridra-nārāyaṇa, to serve this, that, that, that, that. So āruhya kṛcchreṇa paraṁ padaṁ tataḥ patanty adhaḥ, even they go to the Brahman effulgence, because they do not agree to serve Kṛṣṇa, anādṛta-yuṣmad-aṅghrayaḥ they again come back to serve the society, friendship, and daridra-nārāyaṇa, so on, so on, so on.
Nectar of Devotion Lectures
Pradyumna: "To perform devotional service means to follow in the footsteps of Rādhārāṇī, and devotees in Vṛndāvana put themselves under the care of Rādhārāṇī in order to achieve perfection in their devotional service. In other words, devotional service is not an activity of the material world; it is directly under the control of Rādhārāṇī. In the Bhagavad-gītā it is confirmed that the mahātmās, or great souls, are under the protection of daivī prakṛti, the internal energy—Rādhārāṇī. So, being directly under the control of the internal potency of Kṛṣṇa, devotional service attracts even Kṛṣṇa Himself."
Prabhupāda: Yes. Mahātmānas tu māṁ pārtha daivīṁ prakṛtim āśritāḥ, bhajanty ananya-manaso (BG 9.13). Here we are under the influence of this material energy, but those who are devotee of Kṛṣṇa, they are under the influence of internal energy. The internal energy of Kṛṣṇa, it has got three different functions. One of the function is hlādinī śakti. That is Rādhārāṇī. That is Rādhārāṇī. Rādhārāṇī is the pleasure potency of Kṛṣṇa.
Rādhe jaya jaya madhava-dayite. How She is? Gokula-taruṇī-maṇḍala-mahite. Taruṇī, taruṇī means young girls. You'll see the pictures, they are all young girls. But of all the young girls, She is the most beautiful. She is enchanting to the young girls also. She is so beautiful. Gokula-taruṇī-maṇḍala-mahite. Dāmodara-rati-vardhana-veśe. And She always dresses Her so nicely that Dāmodara, Kṛṣṇa, becomes attracted by Her beauty. Hari-niṣkuta-vṛndā-vipineśe. And She is the only lovable object of Kṛṣṇa, and She is the queen of Vṛndāvana. This queen of Vṛndāvana... You'll find in Vṛndāvana, if you go to Vṛndāvana, everyone is worshiping Rādhārāṇī. Rāṇī means queen. They are always speaking, "Jaya Rādhe!" Rādhārāṇī. All the devotees in Vṛndāvana, they are worshiper of Rādhārāṇī. Hari-niṣkuta-vṛndā-vipineśe. Vṛṣabhānudadhi-nava-śaśi-lekhe. And She appeared as the daughter of King Vṛṣabhānu, and Her companion, Lalitā-sakhī and Viśākha-sakhī, and the devotees... So on behalf of the pure devotees of Kṛṣṇa, Rūpa Gosvāmī is praying, karuṇāṁ kuru mayi karuṇā-bharite. "Oh, my worshipable Rādhārāṇī, You are full of mercy. So I am begging of Your mercy because You are so merciful, very easily You offer, bestow Your mercy. So I am begging Your mercy." Karuṇāṁ kuru mayi karuṇā-bharite, sanaka-sanātana-varṇita-carite. Now somebody may say, "Oh, you are so great, learned scholar, you are so great saintly person, and you are begging mercy from an ordinary girl? How is that?" Therefore Rūpa Gosvāmī says, "Oh, this is not ordinary girl." Sanaka-sanātana-varṇita-carite. "This girl's description is possible to be made by great saintly persons like Sanaka-Sanātana. She is not ordinary."
That is a village worship. So in every demigod worship there are drum beaters. So a party of drum beaters were engaged, and when the fees, bill, of the drum beaters was to be paid, the demigod Mansa(?) was sold. They could not pay the bills. Similarly, we may print our books, but the binding charges are so high, then it will cost more than getting it from Japan. (chuckles) Jayānanda looks like Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. (laughter) Yes. He was tall and stout and strong, Caitanya Mahāprabhu. (laughing) Yes. Very good. And in Vṛndāvana, when Kīrtanānanda was given sannyāsa, he was looking so nice with this dress and daṇḍa, oh, practically all the devotees of Vṛndāvana came to offer him respect. Yes. On Janmāṣṭamī day I offered him sannyāsa. So many devotees came to see in the temple. So there was a big crowd. He was looking very nice. Caitanya Mahāprabhu was also very fair-complexioned. So with this dress, persons with fair complexion looks very nice, very attractive. People are not attracted with this dress in kīrtana party? (laughs) This bare head with tilaka and this dress, they will know that they are coming from, directly from the kingdom of God. (laughs) Actually it is so. They have forgotten God; otherwise they would have received these brahmacārīs so nicely. In India, oh, you'll be received just like gods with this dress. Hundreds and thousands of people will come to receive you. Yes. That is sufficient. (kīrtana) So how Bīrabhadra is feeling? (Bīrabhadra answers?) He has got pains in the body?
POINTS OF APPLICATION
1) We are establishing various centres all over the world to propagate Krishna Consciousness, which means recognizing that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead;
2) Krishna's instructions in the Bhagavad-gita is the scriptural evidence of this fact;
3) The chanting of the Holy Name (the Hare Krishna Mahamantra) is the Vedic hymn;
4) Activities in the loving service of the Lord is the occupational duty of every man;
5) In other words we are preaching all over the world the principle of one God, one community, one scripture, and one occupation. This principle has been accepted practically all over the world.
We have got an international body of students trying to preach this cult of Krishna Consciousness, and we are so pleased the people of Vrindaban (Brijbasis), as well as the Fathers of Vrindaban Town—all of them have appreciated our attempt. I am so much obliged to the devotee-residents of Vrindaban for their giving me the civic reception.
I am currently in Vrindaban with a party of 40 devotees, and we are having daily parikrama of the holy places. We shall return to Delhi tomorrow by coach. The officials and residents of Vrindaban have greeted us very nicely, and they are simply astounded to see our SKP chanting with great jubilation through the city streets. The Mayor has publicly proclaimed that I have done something wonderful, and practically speaking, they realize that before I went to the western countries no one there knew about Vrindaban. Now hundreds of visitors and hippies from your country come here to see Krishna's place. The Vrindaban devotees have understood that Vrindaban is now world-famous due to my preaching work, so they are all very much appreciating their hometown Swamiji.
I have just heard from Malati that our Digvijaya and Pritha devi are presently staying with the devotees in Vrindaban in India. So we must take every precaution to prevent our devotees from slackening and falling away. This is done by observing that they are always chanting 16 rounds and observing the regulative principles. If these things are neglected, then they will fall down. It is not good if small numbers of devotees open a center and then fall away. Association of devotees is the most important thing. So I think in the future at least 10 or 12 men must open a center. But you have done the right thing to concentrate our forces on travelling sankirtana.
Regarding the KLM Airlines, Syamasundara. is corresponding with them in this connection and he shall write to you separately. We are trying to get one very huge and beautiful Palace of the Maharaja of Bharatapur, just on the Kesighat by Yamuna River in Vrindaban, and our devotees are living there now. He has promised to donate, so we shall know very soon if he is sincere. If we get this place, many many foreign tourists and devotees can be accommodated, it is so nice. So try to assist Syamasundara. from your side to attract many foreign tourists to stay with us in India.
Regarding men for Vrindaban, when I was in Toronto one British householder with wife and child has agreed to come. Please send me the list of all devotees there in Vrindaban giving their passport names, nationality, and passport number, and date of arrival in India. Send this list to Bombay. Krishna will arrange more men for you there. Do not worry. I have requested them to send more men from Canada.
The atmosphere in Vrindaban is beyond compare and the teachers are far more experienced as we have many men willing to work there who are retired and qualified professors, what to speak of our own scholars who are living in Vrindaban and starting this gurukula project. Many people will contribute to expand this program and the Krishna-Balarama Mandir is the finest in the world. All the devotees in Vrindaban, especially the children are in fine health and their needs are being guaranteed by the members. They can even beg from door to door and collect enough to feed themselves nicely. This is the system. This is the required training. But if this is done in America, they will accuse us of child cruelty although this is actually the saving grace of the child and he becomes very blissful. Therefore in all ways it is obvious that the best place to have this gurukula is in Vrindaban and this should be done before the US Government starts to cause a disturbance which will harm us, and before we have to waste large sums of money on a risky endeavor which may turn out to be a complete failure.
I have received information that some of our devotees are mixing with the babajis in Vrindaban. This has produced so many problems amongst our men and women who visit Vrindaban. Here in Los Angeles, we have found that there is a group of about 40 devotees who privately meet to discuss the intimate pastimes artificially thinking that they can enter into the understanding of the gopis prematurely. This will create havoc in our society, and the result will be that if this is allowed to go on, our preaching work will be greatly hampered. This premature desire to understand the lila of Krishna is due to mundane sex-life desire as we have seen amongst many of the babajis and sahajiyas in Vrindaban. Our Jagannatha das came back from Vrindaban asking me that he had heard some babaji speaking about siddha-deha and he also was listening to these babajis. So I want this immediately stopped. If it continues, this mixing with the babajis, then it will mean spoiling. In many cases, these babajis keep 2 or 3 women. Asatsanga tyagi. Their association is to be avoided and prohibited amongst all of our devotees who visit Vrindaban.