(A summary of the katha spoken by HH Radha Govind Goswami Maharaj at the Krishna-Balaram Temple at ISKCON Vrindavan)
By Vrindavan Vrajavasis
On the holy occasion of Balaram-Jayanti to Janmashthami from 24 August 2010 to 2 September 2010, His Holiness Radha Govind Goswami Maharaj enlightened the devotees of the Krishna-Balaram Mandir and the Vrajavasis of Vrindavan with his nectarine Bhagavat Katha— Govardhan Lila.
Every day, large crowd thronged up to enjoy the sweetness of the kathamrt flown by His Holiness. It was exceptionally absorbing and the thrilled listeners were eager to listen to long hours, although Maharaj’s ill-health forced to curtail his time. Every day attendees increased in number and the daily sessions concluded by a short bhajan and distribution of delicious Krishna-prasadam to all those assembled. Please read a summary of His katha and glorious message to people:
24 August 2010 (the day of Balaram Purnima): Maharaj started the Bhagavat Katha with the mysterious birth of Lord Balarama. It was Krishna’s arrangement through Yogamaya to transfer the pregnancy of Devaki to Rohini lived at Nandagokula in fear of Kamsa. Maharaj enlightened us that although Balarama (Sankarshana) is one of the catur-vyuha expansions of Krishna and so younger to Him. Balarama appeared as His elder brother because Lakshmana prayed for an opportunity to serve the Lord better if He would have been elder to Lord Ramacandra in their previous appearances as the sons of Dasharatha Maharaja. Lord Krishna also blessed Yogamaya that she would be grossly worshipped by the people of kali-yuga in many temples constructed for her in Bharat-bhumi and she will be known by various names such as Durga, Chamundi, Kumari, Bhadrakali, Bhavani, Maya, Narayani, etc. Baladev was fair in complexion and His attire was always blue resembling the enchanting bodily hue of Lord Krishna.
Maharaj gave a brief introduction about the topic of discussion— Govardhan-lila. When Krishna was seven years old, one day he witnessed that the Vrajavasis were busy in making elaborate preparations of food offerings and many brahmanas were called to perform the puja. Although the Lord knew all about it, Krishna enquired with His father Nanda Maharaja sitting in an assembly of elders, “What are we preparing for and who is the recipient?” Nanda Maharaja said, “We are preparing for a great job and its results will reap good for all of us. This is to worship Indra, the lord of rains. Without rains, grains can’t grow, cows can’t live and life can’t sustain. When you grow up, you will understand it.” Krishna said, “It is karma that gives good and bad and the divinities influence the least. What Indra can do?” Nanda Maharaja said, “Please go my son. You should not speak badly about the divinities.” Although very young, Krishna’s message influenced all in the assembly. Krishna said, “Instead of Indra, let us worship the cows, brahmanas and the Govardhan Hill.” Krishna said to Balarama, “Indra is proud and he should be taught a lesson.” Krishna casually said to Yashoda, “I will lift the Govardhan Hill and hold it for a week.” This is the story to be told in the coming days until Janmasthami. Lord’s wonderful lilas are to captivate the minds of people and attract them towards Him.
25 August 2010 : All were busy making elaborate preparations to worship Indra, the king of heaven and the Lord of rains. Tasty bhogas (food preparations) and various paraphernalia to perform the puja were organised. Worship Govinda is our duty, but to worship the demigods is the job of the ignorant. Krishna asked Nanda Maharaja, “Dear father, what you are doing to achieve the God? Who is that Supreme Lord you try to please?” Nanda Maharaja took Krishna on lap and said, “Dear child, we have to do it for our benefit.” Krishna asked, “What benefit you get father? Who is that great person you try to please? The Supreme Almighty Lord was talking like a small boy! The elder Gopas in the assembly said to Krishna, “Hey kid, go and play outside.” Nanda Maharaja said, “It is our duty to tell the child. This is a great job and its preparations are on.” Krishna said to Nanda Maharaja and all others in the assembly, “Saintly people like you should not shield anything. All souls listen to the Supreme Soul and therefore shield nothing. Nothing belongs anyone and everything belong to all, but the eye sees something belongs to one or another.” Nanada was thus enforced to tell the Truth and he disclosed all their plans to please Indra to receive rains.
Lord Krishna tells in Bhagavad Gita (3.14),
annad bhavanti bhutani parjanyad anna-sambhavah
yajnad bhavati parjanyo yajnah karma-samudbhavah
“All living bodies subsist on food grains, which are produced from rains. Rains are produced by the performance of yajna [sacrifice], and yajna is born of prescribed duties.” Life exists because of water and therefore water is life. Water is essential for all living beings to sustain. Food is born from water. Nanda Maharaja said, “All we eat are grown from water. Our cows need grass and grass need water to grow. Therefore, we should worship Indra to receive rains. Without food, we can’t sustain.” From clouds, we get rains. If alive, then only we can accomplish our desires.” Bhagavan Krishna said, “Father, if we don’t do it, what will happen?”
Maharaj quoted from Srimad Bhagavatam (10.24.11),
ya enam visrjed dharmam paramparyagatam narah
karmad dvesad bhayal lobhat sa vai napnoti shobhanam
“This religious principle is based on sound tradition. Anyone who rejects it out of lust, enmity, fear or greed will certainly fail to achieve good fortune.” With fear and intuition, we shall not do anything. Lord Krishna said to Nanda Maharaja just to arouse anger in Indra.
Lord Krishna said in Bhagavatam (10.24.13),
karmana jayate jantuh karmanyaiva praliyate
sukham duhkham bhayam ksemam karmanaiva-abhipadyate
“It is by the force of karma that a living entity takes birth, and it is by karma alone that he meets his destruction. His happiness, distress, fear and sense of security all arise as the effects of karma.” Anyone unable to control anger is not even a devotee and how can he be the Lord? In this regard, once Bhrigu Muni was deputed by an assembly of great sages to test the Trinities to prove who among them would be the God. First sage Bhrigu went to Lord Brahma and did not regard him in the assembly. Brahma became extremely angry with him. Then he approached Lord Shiva at Kailas and said in the assembly of sages, “You are ugly and a brahmana like me cannot touch you.” Lord Shiva became extremely angry and he came charging with his powerful trident. Then Bhrigu Muni reached Vaikuntha and approached Lord Vishnu lying on Ananta Shesa and nursed by Lakshmi at His feet. Bhrigu Muni put his left foot on the chest of Vishnu and said, “He is always sleeping.” Lord Vishnu calmly said, “O Bhagavan, did I hurt your leg?” Immediately Bhrgu Muni realised that Lord Vishnu is the God and he returned and declared it to other sages.
The Lord awards results of karma and those who don’t work cannot earn the fruits. So Indra can give what? The character is developed through work and therefore we should regard our work and worship it. The same Lord Krshna said to the assembly of Gopas headed by Nanada Maharaja in Bhagavatam (10.24.18),
tasmat sampujayet karma svabhava-sthah sva-karma-krt
anjasa yena varteta tad eva-asya hi daivatam
“Therefore one should seriously worship own dutiful work. A person should remain in the position corresponding to his nature and should perform his duty. Indeed, that by which we may live nicely is really our worshipable deity.”
Lord Krishna continued, “If Indra cannot change one’s character, how can he be the Lord?” If so, what he can do?” Indra has one thousand eyes on his body and he is suffering with it. How can he give pleasure to others? Karma is the enemy and karma is the friend. Karma is the guru and karma is the God. Lord’s intention was only to diminish the ahankaram (pride) of Indra and nothing else. Bhagavan Buddha intended to stop killing and sacrificing animals, but He never intended to destroy the Vedic faith. Similarly, Lord Krishna’s intention was not to disrespect the demigods, but to redeem their pride and direct all to worship the Supreme Lord. Destroying the pride is the job of God. Karma itself is the God and therefore perform our duty with all capabilities and perfection. Lord said, “The three material qualities sattva, rajas and tamas are the cause of creation, maintenance and destruction.” Passion is the cause of origin of the variegated manifestations in the universe. If Indra is the cause of rains, why should it rain in Pakistan and other countries, where people don’t know Indra? With all opposition from Krishna, Nanda Maharaja and others still decided to prepare for the Indrayajna.
26 August 2010: Preparation to worship Indra started with pomp and glory. Many bhogas like vegetable soups, sweet rice (payas), apupa, shaskuli, etc. were prepared. Many brahmanas and saints participated in the sumptuous feast and they were served with varieties of prasadams prepared from cow milk products. All those present were also fed with the same prasadam. The prasadam should be distributed to all equally differentiating none or else it will incur sin. The prasadam should be distributed first to the brahmanas than others. In the festivity organised, Nandagokula and the streets were well decorated and the Vrajavasis wore fine clothing and beautiful ornaments.
In the assembly, as Lord Krishna directed, the Vrajavasis headed by Nanda Maharaja dropped the plan to worship Indra and they unanimously agreed to adore the cows, brahmanas and Govardhan Hill. All shouted “aha aha” wholeheartedly. The Lord is kalatma, the controller of time and destruction. They did as Lord Krishna directed and circum-ambulated the Govardhan Hill and the Lord ate all huge offerings made to the Hill.
The kingdom of God is not by election, but by selection. Indra is the King to rule all worlds and therefore he is very powerful. He protects and destroys as well. Unlike our elected democratic Governments hardly make it a five year term, Indra will rule for the entire duration of one manvantra unopposed. Indra and his deputies are minor expansions of the Lord. The messengers of Indra heard what Lord Krishna said and their move to worship the Govardhan Hill and their plan to abandon the worship of Indra. They retuned to heaven and appraised Indra about the desire of the Vrajavasis to worship the Govardhan neglecting the king of heaven. Indra was infuriated and decided to take disastrous revenge upon the Vrajavasis.
27 August 2010: As the Lord said, all were out to with various paraphernalia to worship the Govardhan Hill. Maharaj quoted the following verse from Bhagavad Gita (18.65),
man-mana bhava mad-bhakto mad-yaji mam namaskuru
mam evaisyasi satyam te pratijane priyo asi me
“Always think of Me, become My devotee, worship Me and offer your homage unto Me. Thus you will come to Me without fail. I promise you this because you are My very dear friend.” If we follow others’ words, we aren’t following Krishna’s message. A good devotee should follow the instruction of Bhagavan and should surrender to Krishna as He says in Bhagavad Gita (18.66),
sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam sharanam vraja
aham tvam sarva-papebhyo mokshayisyami ma shucah
“Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear.” Therefore, follow the message of Bhagavad Gita, which is the original message of God. Some cajole at the message of the Lord and say, “Krishna said the Gita to tell it at the end. He told it and returned.” In the Mahabharata war, the fight was between virtue and evil. The Pandavas were virtuous and the Kauravas were evil. Their heart was Kurukshetra, where the war was waged. Some may say, “Krishna was dead.” They fail to understand that they are also the servants of Krishna, the unborn Supreme Almighty. These are great messages of the Lord, and telling and hearing it will give swasti (peace of mind) and swasti-vacan is the name of God.
As Lord Krishna advised, the Vrajavasis worshipped the brahmanas and moved on bullock carts and circum-ambulated the Govardhan worshipping the mountain. Indra thought, “These foolish people now worship the rock instead of me!” The Lord entered in the mountain and devoured all the bhoga offered to it at a stretch. Everybody said, “Worship the Hill.” Lord Krishna said, shaila asmi “I am this rock.” Some Gopas thought to shield some food for them fearing that the mountain would devour up all their offerings. Lord Krishna was in kamarup and assumed whatever form He wanted. The Lord destroyed all those who abused Him and therefore never try to abuse the Lord. Those who denounce Him are like venomous serpents. The Lord enlarged in the form of mountain with numerous hands and mouths, ate up all offerings of the Gopas and said, “It is all good.” The vessels they brought the bhoga were filled up again and never emptied. Nandababa said, “Giriraj baba, please let us live in happiness.” Giriraj said, “I bless you. Let peace be upon you.”
The Lord and the Gopas walked for 22-23 kilometres around the Govardhan. Look at the boys now, they can’t walk even a kilometre! Enjoying the company of the Gopas and the Vrajavasis, Bhagavan said, “Than in heaven, I dwell in Vrindavan and Govardhan.” Inspired by Lord Vasudeva, the Vrajavasis worshipped the Govardhan Hill, cows and brahmanas and returned to Vraja together with Lord Krishna.
28 August 2010: Indra’s sentries returned and spoke to him, “Puja goes on in Vraja, but none will worship you now or in future. You were worshipped every year, but your name is not mentioned now.” Indra knew his puja was stopped and he was angry at the Gopas and Krishna. Krishna is the protector and what Indra can do? Indra summoned the Sambartaka clouds and the divinities in heaven. Indra is like a big officer in heaven, the chief of all. The divinities enquired, “Sarkar, why did you call us?” Indra said, “The Vrajavasis don’t even consider us. A human child called Krishna gives them refuge and they now defame us. They are ineligible to live. Go and pour down heavy rains, pelt hailstorms, smash off their houses with gushing storms, destroy the Vrajavasis and their cows, and devastate the place. Let us see how Krishna can protect them? The boy is in abodh (unconscious) and not in svabodh (conscious). The Gopas’ ahankar (pride) is high and Krishna is fanning their ego. I will witness all destruction seated on the back of Iravata.” Indra thought, “Let I be like a mighty serpent to revenge upon them and nothing will happen to me. I will destroy Nanda and all his accompaniments and accomplishments.”
The Sambartaka clouds lashed non-stop pouring rains upon Vraja. Severe thunder and lightning added the worries of the Gopas. Hailstorms raged and pelted like stones at Vraja and the cows and Vrajavasis ran helter shelter. The ground was soon filled with water making undulations invisible. The Gopas, Gopis, children and cows ran towards Krishna for shelter and fell at His feet for mercy. They cried in fear, “Krishna, Krishna, You are the only refuge to us. You are the protector of Gokulam. Indra and the divinities are angry upon us.” Bhagavan immediately lifted the Govardhana Hill with His left hand and held it on His little finger like a kid pays and lifts an umbrella. In fact, Bhagavan did not lift it, hut the Hill lifted up happily as the Lord wanted. A beautiful large raised ground was exposed beneath the mount and Krishna invited all living entities of Vraja to take shelter there. All were astonished. Krishna was seven years old then and He held it for seven days and protected all Vrajavasis from the massive downpour and storm caused by Indra. After seven days, Indra started to realise his mistake. He called the clouds and other divinities back. The rain stopped and the storm calmed. The Gopas and Gopis thanked the Lord in amazement. Yashoda, Rohini, Nanda and Balarama embraced their beloved Krishna in sheer delight and love. The divinities then showered flowers upon the Lord.
29 August 2010: Some people thought, “This small boy is only a child. If He is God, why He lies?” Some thought, “How this great celestial boy took birth among we cowherds in this village?” We usually use two hands to lift heavy objects, but Bhagavan easily lifted the large Hill with one hand and exhibited his supernatural lilas like a powerful elephant lifts a flower with its trunk. As a newborn baby just opened his eyes, He drank the breast milk of Putana and sucked her life out. As an infant of three months, He kicked with His toe and demolished the cart. Once the demon Trinavrta lifted the boy up in sky appearing as a whirl-wind and He chocked up his neck and killed him. When he child was bound down to a grinding stone, He dragged it between two Arjuna trees and fell them. While Krishna tended the cows in the forest with the Gopas, He destroyed the mighty Bakasura and tore him down pulling his jaws. When the Vatsa demon disguised as a calf and played with the cows, He enjoyed killing him and felling the kapitta fruits. Once Krishna and Balarama destroyed the demoniac asses and fell the tala fruits for the Gopas. With Krishna’s instructions, Balarama killed the Pralamba demon and then saved the Vrajavasis from a raging forest fire. Krishna humbled the serpent King Kaliya and exiled him from Yamuna and saved the pious river water from poison. The Vrajavasis were much attracted to Krishna and it is hard to detach them from loving Him. O King of Vraja (Nanda), “Your little son of just seven years lifted the great mount and we wonder if He a mere child?”
Nanda Maharaja said, “Once sage Garga said of this boy “Your son appears in every yuga in white, yellow and red hues and He will be called Vasudeva. He has many names and forms and appeared on several occasions before and I know them all, but others may not. The Bhagavatam (10.8.15 & 10.26.18) tells,
bahuni santi namani rupani ca sutasya te
guna-karma-anurupani tany-aham veda no janah
“For this son of yours, there are many forms and names according to His transcendental qualities and activities. These are known to me, but people in general do not understand them.” He will face many troubles, but overcome them all. When evils befall on earth, He will appear to subdue them and protect the world. Demons can’t defeat whom Lord Vishnu supports and so with Krishna, Vraja will remain protected. He will be equal to Narayana and perform wonderful activities like Him.” I believe, He is Lord Narayana.”” Lord Krishna lifted Mount Govardhana to protect the people and living entities of Vraja from huge rain and hailstorm, and thus He redeemed Indra’s pride.
In kali-yuga, the mahamantra advised by Caitanya Mahaprabhu is so great that anyone who recites it and calls Krishna by various holy names and performs japa and worships Him with devotion will attain the Lord and never returns. This is the process the Lord approved to reach Him. The greatest fortune is to recite the holy name of the Lord.
30 August 2010: Realising his mistake, Indra arrived to the Vrajabhumi and pleaded for forgiveness. He brought Surabhi and Aditi with him. The Lord is Vishuddhatma (pure Soul) and the dwellers of this phenomenal world are ashuddhatma (impure souls). Bhagavan’s form is tapomaya or cinmya. He is enlightened and brilliant, and darkness cannot enter in him. Although the Lord appears in embodied forms, He is purely spiritual. His limbs do everything good for this world. From leg to head, the Lord is gyanmaya (object of spiritual realisation) and each part of His body functions like senses and organs. Nevertheless, we are in the conditioned state of life. Lord Brahma said in Brahma-samhita (5.32) angani yasya sakalendriya-vrttimanti, “The Lord can perform all functions with any of His limbs.” Lord’s glories are better known to the divinities than we ignorant humans. This universe is made of three gunas (material qualities) and while living, we become attached to it. One should seek the God and absorb in Him to overcome the endless death-bound existence. In Bhagavad Gita (8.26), Lord Krishna says,
a-brahma-bhuvanal lokah punar avartino arjuna
mam upetya tu kaunteya punar janma na vidyate
“From the highest planet in the material world down to the lowest, all are places of misery wherein repeated birth and death take place. But one who attains to My abode, O son of Kunti, never takes birth again.” With knowledge, one cannot reach the Lord. When the living entity fully realises the Lord, he will not experience the existential world again.
The Lord manifests to perform various activities, but His form is not always everywhere. Like a screen is not fitted everywhere here, the form of the Lord is inexistent to anyone bereft of bhakti. People think, “why we worship and prostate before a piece of rock?” Such thoughts are meaningless. In Brahma-samhita (5.38), Lord Brahma says,
santah sadaiva hrdayesu vilokayanti
“Only a person smeared with the ointment of love in his eyes can see the beautiful form of the Lord whom the wandering sages always keeps in their hearts.” The Bhagavan has no guna-pravaha (flow of material qualities) to be symbolic of mental vibrations and dance according to its tunes. The Lord is sarva-jnani (omniscient) and bereft of kama (desire) and krodha (anger) caused by the flow of gunas. When one abounds to kama and krodha, he is not a jnanai (Self-realised person). Why Lord appears and punishes the people of misdeeds? Only to perfect a living entity because of love, the Lord punishes. Indra tried many misdeeds against the Lord and the Vrajavasis, but the Lord only tried to protect all living entities from severe threats. The earth never punishes anyone and everything she accepts. Humans cannot understand the glories of the Lord, but the divinities can because of our insignificant intelligence. Therefore, the knowledge of the Lord comes from the divine world and we should accept it. The Lord is everything and therefore Brahmaji says, govindam adi purusam tam aham bhajamai, “Govinda is the original Person and unto Him I worship.” Therefore we should follow Lord Brahma and take refuge of Lord Krishna.
Indra worships Lord Vishnu. visnum vande jagat-gurum “We should worship Lord Vishnu, the Supreme guru of the universe.” Indra said, “You are the father, guru and the Supreme Lord of the universe.” Indra at last pleaded to the Lord to bless him not to get entangled in any such foul thoughts again.
31 August 2010: Kal (time) dictates and to overcome kal is hard. Everything and everyone is controlled by time and it is an attribute of the Supreme Lord. Indra thought, “I am the Lord of the universe and none is superior to me.” The surrendered Indra said, “My pride is now lost.” This is an example to all to know that the Supreme Lord Krishna is always alert. On an enquiry about the identity of Bhagavan, once Shukadeva Goswami said, “From whose feet the Ganga emanates is the Bhagavan.” Lifting the great Govardhana Hill, Krishna proved that He is the Supreme Lord. The demigods also could realise that Krishna was the God appeared in Nanda-gokula. Indra is the lord of all demigods and he pleaded to Krishna for forgiveness. Those who keep away or abuse Lord Krishna or Vishnu and His devotees are imperfect and incorrect. Indra said, “You have incarnated to redeem the unwanted load on earth.” Indra prayed in Bhagavatam (10.27.10),
namas tubhyam bhagavate purusaya mahatmane
vasudevaya krsnaya satvatam pataye namah
“Obeisance unto You, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the great Soul, who are all-pervading and who reside in the hearts of all. My obeisance unto You, Krishna, the chief of the Yadu dynasty.” Seeing this, the pride of all demigods and some unconsciously opulent people will diminish and they understand the power of the Supreme Lord and surrender to Him. Indra understood that the Lord is merciful bereft of egos. Therefore, Indra said, “You are completely without pride and my bad intention of causing destruction to Vraja is totally lost. When one is deluded by power and glory, his pride and prejudice will aggravate and he becomes eligible for punishment. You are the guru and the Lord and unto whom I surrender.”
Instead of surrendering and worshipping the Lord, many people now practice yoga. Like bellows intake and exhaust air, people inhale and exhale breath, and we call it yoga. To practice yoga, the Lord never moved to a guha (cave), but performed wonderful activities for the benefit of all living entities. After executing such wonderful activities and teaching a lesson, the Lord said to Indra, “I stopped your sacrifice because you were very proud of your position and glory. A proud person deserves punishment from Me and if I wish his good fortune, I will drag him down from his position. Now you go and perform your duties well as the King of heaven with least pride.”
01 September 2010: The topic of discussion was about abhisekam of Krishna. Surabhi said, “O great yogi, Bhagavan Krishna, You are the Supreme Soul and the cause of the Universe. You are our master and Lord, and we worship You. Please become our Indra and help the cows and brahmanas. We initiate you as Indra and as Lord Brahma ordered, we will perform Your abhisek. You have appeared to dissipate the burden of the world.” With Surabhi’s milk, she performed the abhisek. As Indra said, Aditi and other mothers from heaven performed the abhisek with the holy water from Ganga carried in the trunk of the celestial elephant Iravat. Various demigods are in charge of different activities of nature. Bhagavan is the Supreme Controller of all divinities and therefore, they said, “Our Indra is You.” In the hearts of the Lord, there are tens of millions of Rudras and Brahmas. Surabhi gave the most favoured name, Govinda, to Krishna. Sage Narada, Gandharvas, Tumburus Vidyadharas and Caranas were also arrived. The Apsaras danced and the divinities showered flowers from heaven.
Reciting Bhagavan’s name, the impurities in the hearts of people will vanish. Singing in praise of Krishna and chanting His holy names will eliminate all sins. The greatest enemy of people is kama (desires) krodha (anger) and lobha (greed). Colourful flowers were showered from heaven like wonderful fireworks on great festivities. We witnessed beautiful fireworks on 4 July in Los Angels a few years ago. All inhabitants were jubilant in all the three worlds. Many kinds of foodstuffs and drinks were flown by rivers, trees gave fruits and honey in plenty, and Hills and valleys gave valuable stones in abundance. Many Governments come and go and some will cause terrible agonies to people, but in heaven all remain happy always by the blessings of God. After installing Lord Krishna as the Indra, the king of heaven returned with the demigods.
Govardhan is kulapati, the most glorious among the people of Vraja. Govardhan is in Vrindavan and Vrindavan is not small. This whole region is called Vrajabhumi.
You have heard me with rapt attention. It is a great honour to speak before you. Many among you might have travelled a long way to reach here. I thank all those arrived here to take part in this most auspicious occasion.
If you want to do anything great, please listen first. To hear Bhagavatam is a great honour and it is the greatest opportunity one receives. There is no greater pleasure than hearing and reading the Bhagavatam. Some may think, “Leaving jobs to earn a few pennies than hearing Bhagavatam?” Its glory will be known only by hearing it. I have great pleasure to tell these stories in many places. Initially, I had difficulty to speak, buy with the blessings of the Goswamis, I am able to tell it for you and I am extremely happy. One day left for the katha to end and Lord’s kirtan is very essential. Tomorrow is dedicated for katha and no eating and drinking. At the place of His birth, to celebrate the Janam-mahotsav is a great honour. Now people celebrate their birthdays and distribute sweets and paties, but fail to understand that birth is mere bondage. Living on earth is like locking up behind bars and celebrating birthday is like celebrating the first day in jail. Nevertheless, celebrating Janamastami in the name of the Lord is an attempt to free from the jail of samsara forever. Janmastami is the happiest day for Bharat-varsa and the whole world. Janmastami mahotsav ki jai.
goinda jaya jaya gopala jaya jaya
radha ramana hari govinda jaya jaya
“Hail and hail Govinda, hail and hail Gopala, Hail and hail Radha-Ramana and Hari.”
02 September 2010 (the day of Janmastami): Maharaj discussed the holy appearance of Lord Sri Krishna on the day of Janmastami starting with the verse from Srimad Bhagavatam (10.2.16),
bhagavan api vishvatma bhaktanam abhayankarah
avivesha-amsha-bhagena mana anakadundubheh
Translation by His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktivedanta Prabhupadji, “Thus the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the Supersoul of all living entities and who vanquishes all the fear of His devotees, entered the mind of Vasudeva in full opulence.”
Ajanam ka janam hai “Today is the birthday of the Supreme Creator.” Some takes birth because of karma. To worship the Lord, the divinities too appear with the Lord and that is not due to karma. To participate in the lilas of Bhagavan, Lord Brahma asked all divinities together with their consorts to appear on earth. Vasudeva is called Anakadundubhi because when he was born, the heavenly celestials sang and danced and showered flowers upon him because they knew that the Lord would appear as his son. Before His appearance, the Lord appeared in the mind of Vasudeva and he then moved the Lord from his mind to the mind of Devaki. The Lord’s embodiment is cinmaya (perfectly conscious) or divya (divine). Bhagavan dwells in all ksetras (embodiments) of all living entities and activates them. The word, go means indriyas (senses) or cows. The controller of indriyas is the mind. Therefore the Lord appeared as the best of the Gopas, the maintainer of cows. Bhagavan is aprakrt (unbound by nature), but all living entities are prakrt (bound by nature). The Lord dwells at Vaikuntha (the place of no miseries) and it is beyond the world of light. The mind cannot enter in the Lord and therefore the Lord enters in the minds of the bhaktas (devotees). When the Lord dwells in the mind, the person becomes unstoppable. The Lord tells it in Bhagavad Gita (18.65), man-mana bhava mad-bhakta “I appear in the mind of My devotes.” However, to take the Lord in heart is not an easy task. Mind always seeks material objects and therefore dwells in nature. Nevertheless, the Lord appears and dances only in the mind of the bhaktas detached from material attachments. Always thinking, worshipping and serving the Lord, Krishna will appear in the mind. Therefore, the Lord never takes birth, but appears in the mind of perfect bhaktas. All His expansions are in the Lord. Some texts say that Vasudeva thought of God, but the Lord appeared in his mind. Immediately Vasudeva shone like a brilliant sun and none could go near him. Then Vasudeva transferred the Lord to the mind of Devaki. Prabhupadji said, “The Lord is given when one accepts diksa.” When the Lord appears from aprakrt to prakrt, it is called an avatar. Thus in the womb of Devaki, the Lord appeared as His avatar.
Material world is excited by pride and prejudice. When one becomes a guru or leader, he thinks he is great and achieved a position in parity with the Supreme! It is hard for a person to control his ego irrespective of his stature or position. That was why, the Lord made Yudhisthira, the king, for he was the least proud among the Kurus. The Lord is everything and He can perform everything. Therefore, He is called the God. He was the Lord before and He will remain so in future.
The Lord remains in all parts of a bhakta. In their past life, Vasudeva and Devaki took strict penance for 10,000 years for the Lord to appear as their son. Therefore, the Lord appeared as their son twice before. Listen to the lilas (pastimes) of the Lord and perform japa (chanting) and puja (worship) to become a bhakta. As Prabhupadji said, “We have to do some tapasya (penance) to reach the Lord.” On Ekadashis, we should fast. On other days don’t eat meat; don’t drink tea, coffee or alcohol; and never approach your wife except when the need of a child is felt utmost essential in the family.’ Lying is falsehood and therefore never utter a lie. Give food offerings to the Lord. Performing these regularly, the Lord appears in the mind of a devotee. It is important to celebrate the Janmasthami. To accept the Lord as his son, Vasudeva faced severe troubles. He was jailed with his wife and Kamsa killed their children as soon as they were born. Soon after birth, the Lord asked Vasudeva to take Him to Nanda-baba. That was the kind of sufferings the parents of the Lord had to bear. The lord then remained in Nanda-gokula. When Bhagavan was in the mind of Devaki, she shone brilliant. Kamsa knew that Devaki was always happy and smiling when the Lord was in her womb. Kamsa could have thrashed her stomach and kill her and the child, but he respected her womanhood and fraternity and decided not to harm her. When the Lord was in Devaki’s womb, all were friendly with her.
After creating ISKCON, once somebody commented, “An Indian swami is brainwashing the Americans!” Prabhupadji said, “Their brain is condemned and I’m trying to wash it.” Caitanya Mahaprabhu said,
prthvite ache yata nagaradi grama
sarvatra pracara haibe more nama.
“In every town and village the chanting of My name will be heard.” By the will and mercy of Prabhupadji, the world came to know that Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu were none other than Lord Krishna and Lord Balarama. People never knew before that Caitanya Mahaprabhu was the Supreme Lord.
Once in Bombay, a marriage party said, “Let us call ISKCON to sing and dance.” The bhaktas of ISKCON teach the Bhagavatam and Bhagavad Gita better than others. The people should understand it and don’t call them to enjoy their music and dance alone. While I was travelling, a person came and asked me, “The devotees of ISKCON tell kathas as well? I thought, they just sing and dance!” In ISKCON, the devotees should teach jnan as well.
Once someone came and told me, “In Gita, the Lord is asking people to work hard and earn. In fact, the Lord told in Bhagavad Gita, to perform own duties in His service and not just go and do motive work. The Lord asked to perform duties never expecting the fruits as He says in Bhagavad Gita (2.47),
karmany eva-adhikaras te ma phalesu kadacana
ma karma-phala-hetur bhur ma te sango-astv-akarmani
“You have a right to perform your prescribed duty, but you are not entitled to the fruits of action. Never consider yourself the cause of the results of your activities, and never be attached to not doing your duty.”
When a child takes birth, he starts crying because of loss of memory and intelligence. On the other hand, when the Lord appeared, He was talking about His two previous births of the same parents. Does any child talks at the time of His birth? The parents teach a child to talk, “Mama, papa, etc….” and thus a nanga-baba (naked baby) takes birth. Those who engage in worldly activities, harm others to amass wealth, and enjoy sensual pleasures, Yamaraj sends them to Narak (hell) to begin their torturous life of sufferings.
The Lord is unconquerable and unsurpassable. Kamsa called Krishna and Balaram to be destroyed, but the opposite happened. In seeking knowledge, enjoying happiness, and suffering sorrows and in everything, Krishna is involved. Surrendering everything to the Lord, one should learn all about Him. Once Mahatma Gandhi said, “Gita is my mother. When I’m tired, I will open the Gita and an appropriate verse will appear and inspire me.” Bala Gangadhara Tilak, Sri Aravinda and several other great people followed the Gita. Sripada Shankaracarya sung in Mohamudra (verse-20),
ganga-jala lava kanika pita
sakrd-api yena murari-samarca
kriyate tasya yamena ca carca
“Read a verse of the holy Bhagavad Gita, drink a drop of the divine water of Ganga, and completely surrender to Lord Krishna, Yamaraja will not question you anymore.” Anyone who reads Gita a little bit and follows it, he will not return to his mother’s home. After the Mahabharat war, Lord Krishna asked Yudhisthira to rule because he was learned, humble and pious. In the presence of Bhagavan, all living entities listened to Him.
Maharaj concluded saying, “Today is the day of great happiness. This holy day is the appearance day of Lord Krishna. Those who speak should not talk about me.”
Following is a few excerpts from the concluding speakers:
H.H. Deenabandhu Prabhu said: When asked to Prabhupadji, the best verse in the Gita, he said (Bhagavad Gita 4.9),
janma karma ca me divyam evam yo vetti tattvatah
tyaktva deham punar janma naiti mam eti so arjuna
“One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna.” With all of you participants, we will return to the Lord.
H.H. Samik Rshi Prabhu said: When wheat is ground, all grains in the lot will be ground. Similarly, all bhaktas who participate in the Janmasthami Mahostav and follows the message of Lord Krishna and all those who speak and hear about Krishna will all reach the Lord.
H.H. Panca Gauda Prabhu said: Maharaj took it seriously to spread the Krishna Consciousness movement through his nectarine kathas and jovial speeches. He thanked Maharaj and all those who contributed and participated in the festivities. He ended up saying,
HH Radha Govind Maharaj ki jai
Janmasthami ki jai.
H.H. Vaishnava Prabhu said: I thank all those who participated in the ten days of Maharaj’s katha. Let us pray to Bhagavan to bless us more opportunities like this.
Ramakant Prabhu and Sarvajna Krishna Prabhu also thanked all those who participated in the festivities. Sarvajna Krishna Prabhu actively participated and periodically enthused the crowd, and was instrumental in nicely presenting the topics every day. HH Radha Govind Maharaj honoured all those who contributed and participated to make the event a great success and distributed gifts to them. The great event of Bhagavad Katha Mahostav ended with Bhagavatam Aarti.
Every day, soon after the Bhagavad katha, all participants were sumptuously fed with Krishna-prasadam. On the day of Janmasthami, all devotees fasted until midnight and a sumptuous feast was served to all bhaktas assembled in the Krishna-Balaram Temple at Vrindavan and joined us for the midnight abhisekam. Every day, many people from far and wide participated in the festivities and listened to the nectarine Bhagavad Katha from HH Radha Govind Maharaj. Although Maharaj was not enjoying good health, he spoke enthusiastically by the mercy of Krishna and we believe many such opportunities will occur in our life to listen to his absorbing Bhagavad kathas again and again. All glories to Srila Prabhupadji and the sat-sangh to actively propagate the message of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Let us all recite,
HARE KRISNA HARE KRISNA KRISNA KRISNA HARE HARE
HARE RAMA HARE RAMA RAMA RAMA HARE HARE