Blog Description

This blog is for sharing one of the six loving exchanges between vaishnavas - bhajana katha sravanam alapa - sharing and discussing bhajan topics with devotees.

It is also my humble attempt to follow the instruction my gurudeva would give at the end of every class: take these pastimes and instructions into your heart. Therefore in the hopes that it will make some impression in my heart, I am sharing lecture notes, quotes, book excerpts, and other words from the brahma-madhva-gaudiya sampradaya and vaisnava/is around the world.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The white lotus of good fortune

om ajnana timirandhasya jnananjana salakaya
caksur unmilitam yena tasmai sri gurave namah

O Gurudeva, you are so merciful. I offer my humble pranama unto you and am praying from the core of my heart that, with the torchlight of divine knowledge, you open my eyes which have been blinded by the darkness of ignorance.

Today, I started reading Srila Gurudeva's commentary on Sri Siksastakam. This book contains two books, both of which are commentaries on Sri Krsna Caitanya's siksastakam. One is Sri Sanmodana Bhasyam by Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura, and the other is simply called Vivrti, meaning "commentary" by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura. Some of Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura's commentary is based on commentary by Srila Jiva Goswami (for verses 7 and 8 of siksastakam).

Srila Jiva Goswami, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura, Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura

In his introduction, Srila Gurudeva emphasizes the deep pain he felt that these two gems were not in the Hindi language; so he translated it into Hindi, and the mercy of the vaishnavas so sincerely serving him we have an English translation as well.

It is very extensive and detailed; I am only on sloka 1 of the siksastakam (chapter one of this book) and already there is detailed commentary by Srila Bhaktivinode, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta, Srila Jiva Goswami, and Gurudeva on this one sloka! It is kind of a lot to take in. There are many lists branching off of other lists; my poor feeble mind has trouble keeping track of it all!

Here is some nectar by Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura:

"Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who is the Supreme Lord of all and whose lotus feet are constantly served by suddha Vaisnavas, says, 'param vijayate sri krsna sankirtanam.' In other words, let there be supreme victory only for the chanting of the holy name of Sri Krsna. A question may be raised here. Can sri-krsna-sankirtana, which is aprakrta, non-material, and beyond the range of maya, become victorious in this material world created by the external energy? Yes."

Later, detailing the effects of Sri Krsna sankirtana, there is one section titled "Sreyah kairava candrika vitaranam: Diffuses the moonrays of bhava bhakti for the highest good of the jiva":

"For the living entities ensnared by maya, material enjoyment alone is desirable, and it is on this account that they have to rotate in the cycle of repeated birth and death in this material world, suffering the three-fold miseries. In complete opposition to this, aversion toward maya and constant engagement in the service of Sri Krsna is the highest achievement (sreyah).

This highest achievement is compared to the white water lotus or kumudini. Just as the soothing rays of the moon cause the white lotus to blossom, sri-krsna-sankirtana, diffusing the moon rays of bhava-bhakti, causes the white lotus of good fortune to bloom for the jivas."

Monday, May 2, 2011

Sri Gadadhara Pandita is Srimati Radhika

om ajnana timirandhasya jnananjana salakaya
caksur unmilitam yena tasmai sri gurave namah

O Gurudeva, you are so merciful. I offer my humble pranama unto you and am praying from the core of my heart that, with the torchlight of divine knowledge, you open my eyes which have been blinded by the darkness of ignorance.

Today is the appearance day of Sri Gadadhara Pandita. Jai!!

Just yesterday I was reading the last chapter of Srila Gurudeva's Sri Prabandhavali, wherein he speaks of the glories of Srimati Radhika and radha-kunda. Then, today is the appearance day of Gadadhara Pandita! So I am going to share a little on who Gadadhara Pandita is, and of Srimati Radhika's beautiful kund.

On Sri Gadadhara, Caitanya Caritamrta says:

"“Gadadhara Pandita is celebrated all over the world for his gentle behavior, his brahminical attributes, and his steady love for Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.”

"“No one can describe the characteristics and ecstatic love of Gadadhara Pandita. Therefore another name for Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is Gadadhara-prananatha, ‘the life and soul of Gadadhara Pandita.’"

“No one can say how merciful the Lord is to Gadadhara Pandita, but people know the Lord as Gadaira Gauranga, ‘the Lord Gauranga of Gadadhara Pandita.’”

Caitanya Caritamrta Antya Lila 7.166, 163-164

Sri Sri Gaura Gadadhara in Campahati

In the book Gaudiya Vaishnava Samadhis, Mahanidhi Swami writes:

"Sri Gaurahari had so much affection for Sri Gadadhara Pandit that He couldn't be without him for a moment. Sri Gadadhara Pandit appeared the year after Lord Caitanya. Gadai and Nimai were inseparable as childhood playmates....Nimai Pandit regularly teased Gadadhara by challenging him with illogical questions.

...Sri Kavi Karnapura states that in Vraja-Lila Gadadhara Pandit is the daughter of King Vrshabhanu, Srimati Radharani. Gadadhara Pandit served as Lord Gaura's chief assistant during His Navadwipa-lila.

...Gadadhara Pandit also took the renounced order of life and went to Jagannath Puri to be with Lord Caitanya. Accepting kestra sannyasa (renunciation without leaving the dhama), he served the deity of Tota Gopinath with full love and devotion. Regularly, Sri Caitanya came to relish Sri Gadadhara Pandit's rasika reading of Srimad Bhagavatam. Lord Caitanya concluded His manifest pastimes by entering the deity of Tota-Gopinatha.

Although Gadadhara Pandit was barely forty-eight when the Lord departed, he quickly became old because of the intense anguish he felt in separation from his beloved Lord Gaurasundara. He couldn't stretch his arms to offer a garland to his deity. Understanding His servant's difficulties, Sri Tota-Gopinatha sat down to facilitate Gadadhara's loving service. To this day, Sri Tota-Gopinatha is the only sitting deity of Krishna.

...Sri Gadadhara Pandit's danta (tooth) samadhi stands near the Vamsi Gopala temple in Vrndavana."

Sri Gadadhara at ISKCON Mayapura

In his Sri Prabandhavali, in the final chapter, Srila Gurudeva glorifies Radha-kund, Raghunatha dasa Goswami, and Srimati Radhika Herself:

yatha radha priya visnos
tasyah kundam priyam tatha
sarva-gopisu saivaika
visnor atyanta vallabha

Padma Purana

'Amongst all the gopis, Radhika is the best and most beloved of Krsna. Therefore for someone to attain Her mercy is very rare; even for great souls such as Narada it is rare. But if someone really desires that prema, that Radha-dasya, which even Narada is praying for while performing austerities at Narada-kunda, then if they bathe just once with great devotion in Radha-kunda, the kunda will bestow everything upon them.'

"Is it not more difficult than that? After all, anyone can go there and bathe, but it must be ascertained whether or not we are really bathing with feelings of bhakti. If we bathe with great humility and faith, then those whose hearts are impure will become a little pure, those whose hearts are already a little pure will become a little more pure, and those whose hearts are completely pure will attain the direct service of Sri Radha and Krsna.

"The highest ideal is shown by Raghunatha das Goswami - how he left everything, took exclusive shelter of Radha-kunda, and said, 'We desire nothing besides the mercy of Radhika':

tavaivasmi tavaivasmi
na jivami tvaya vina
iti vijnaya devi tvam
naya mam caranantikam

Sri Vilapa-kusumanjali #96

'O Srimati, I am Yours only, Yours only' - he wanted Radhika to hear him say this twice. 'I cannot live without You, so please bring me to the shelter of Your feet and appoint me to Your service.'

If we bathe at Radha-kunda, our hearts will become purified, an attraction for Radha-dasya will arise within us, and if we have similar feelings of pleading as Rupa and Raghunatha das Goswamis had, then we will certainly attain Radhika's direct mercy.

radhika ujjvala-rasera acarya
radha-madhava suddha prema vicarya

ye dharila radha pda parama yatane
se paila krsna pada amulya ratane

radha-pada bindu kabhu krsna nahi mile
radhara dasira krsna, sarva vede bale

[Gitavali 3, 4, 5 by Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura]

"Those who very carefully worship Radhika's feet will meet Krsna in the snap of a finger, but what does it mean to meet Krsna? Where is Krsna complete? Without Radhika is He complete? Therefore only where there is the youthful couple is Krsna complete. Only by the mercy of Radhika will one be able to have Their darsana and attain the qualification to serve Them.

"...what do the Vedic scriptures declare? What to speak of just Radhika, Her dasis are also very instrumental in helping one to meet Krsna. They will say, 'Come, you can meet Him here.'...Sometimes Krsna says to these dasis, 'I belong solely to you. As you say, I will do.' So what to speak of Krsna's feelings towards Radhika Herself, who is the acarya of ujjvala-rasa.

"Sometimes when They play games like chess and tic-tac-toe together, Radhika says, 'You don't know how to play, therefore I will not play anymore!' Sometimes Krsna applies Her tilaka, and She says, "You haven't applied it correctly. It should be like this.' In this way She instructs Him, and is therefore the acarya of ujjvala-rasa."

Last but not least, Gurudeva explains the constitutional position of Gadadhara Pandit in this transcribed darsana from May 2000:
click here

Jai Radhe! Jai Sri Gadadhara Pandit!