By Śrīla Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswāmī Mahārāj
Chapter Seven of Affectionate Guidance
virajāra pāre śuddha paravyoma-dhāma,
tad upari śrī gokula vṛndāraṇya nāma.
“Beyond Virajā River is the Holy Dhām Vaikuṇṭha, above that is Śrī Gokula, known as Vṛndāraṇya.
chinmaya apūrvva daraśana,
ta̐hi mājhe chamatkāra, Krishnavanaspati-sāra,
nilamaṇi tamāla yemana.
“Vṛndāvan, jewel of our hearts, mine of divine gems, what a joy to see that holy beauty! In the middle a miracle, Dark Lord of forest trees, appearing like a sapphire tamāl.
tāhe eka svarṇamayī, latā sarvva-dhāma-jayī,
uṭhiyāchhe parama pāvanī,
hlādinī-śaktir sāra, ‘mahābhāva’ nāma yāra,
“And there is a golden vine, Queen of all the Dhām, appearing, She’s supremely gracious; She’s the joy of ecstasy—‘Mahābhāva’ is Her Name, as She charms the charmer of the world.”
hlādinīra sāra ‘prema,’ premasāra ‘bhāva’
bhāvera paramakāṣṭhā, nāma ‘mahābhāva’
(Chaitanya-charitāmṛta: Adī-līlā, 4.68–69)
“The essence of ecstasy is love; the essence of love is heart; and the acme of heart is called‘mahābhāva.’And the personality of mahābhāvais our Queen, Śrī Rādhā
Ṭhākurāṇī. She is the mine of all good, She is the jewel of Krishna’s beloved.” Śrīla Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur and Śrīla Krishna Dās Kavirāj
Goswāmī Prabhu composed these great things. We are not actually in the practice of reading them constantly, but I have heard such things from Guru Mahārāj. These matters are very elevated for us. But there is our goal, and She is actually our Guru, as our Divine Mistress. Her form is being described here. Although these are very high matters it is necessary for us to remember them from time to time. We have our future prospect, and that is very high. Śrīla Kavirāj Goswāmī has quoted in Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta:
krīyatāṁ yadi kuto ’pi labhyate
tatra laulyam api mūlyam ekalaṁ
janma-koṭi-sukṛtair na labhyate
Real devotion to Krishnais very rarely attained. If you see that type of devotion anywhere, purchase it with your hankering, your laulyam. Only your hankering can give you your share of that property. That is the only price for that, otherwise you cannot achieve it after even billions of lifetimes of merits. So hunger is necessary for that; and hunger will come if you make your stomach empty first.
First take some purgative and cleanse yourself. Then gradually hunger will come. This cleansing means sādhu-saṅga. Through devotional association you will get everything. Those who have heard about Devahūti, the mother of the Lord when He appeared as Kapiladev, may know about this story:
Devahuti was asking Kapiladev, “My son, I know that You are Bhagavān, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but how shall I reach You? The munis, ṛṣis and yogīs have so many processes, but I have no capacity to follow them.
My body is a woman’s body, and a woman has no right to practise in the Vedic scriptural way. Then tell me, my son,
how shall I get devotion to Your lotus feet?” Kapiladev said, “Don’t worry, it is very easy. It is not
necessary to read many books, perform yajñaor fire sacrifice, etc. Nothing like this is necessary for you. I am telling you only one point and you are to follow this:
satāṁ prasaṅgān mama vīryya-saṁvido
bhavanti hṛt-karṇa-rasāyanāḥ kathāḥ
taj joṣaṇād āśv apavarga-vartmani
śraddhā-ratir bhaktir anukramiṣyati
“‘By the association of the sādhus, talks revealing My super-glories take place. Those talks are nectar to the pure ear and heart. Continue affectionately in this way, and rapidly you will gain first faith in Myself who am the way to purification of all evils. Then heart’s devotion, and finally divine love or prema-bhaktiwill graciously appear within your heart.’
“Mother, associate with the sādhus and follow their directives. Then you will understand everything. Why? The sādhus are always trying to satisfy Me; and you can see how they satisfy Me by having their association. If they are affectionate to you, they will give that consciousness to you and you will easily get My grace. This is the only way. Whoever follows it reaches Me very quickly; and this is also My direct advice in the Scriptures.”
In the eleventh canto of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam we find the śloka
ye vai bhagavatā proktā
upāyā hy ātma-labdhaye
añjaḥ puṁsām aviduṣāṁ
viddhi bhāgavatān hi tān
“The ways for even the ignorant to reach Him have been told by the Supreme Lord; know those ways to be Bhāgavat-dharmma.”
If Bhagavān says, “I like fried potato,” and I give Him fried potato He will be satisfied. It is not neceśary to think out what will satisfy Him if He tells us what He likes. So this is the directive of Bhagavān, the Supreme Lord. He is telling you what to do, “Do this, do that.” This is Bhāgavat-dharmma.
So Kapiladev was saying, “Bhāgavat-dharmma is what is practised by the real sādhu.You follow that. You need the association of sādhu and this is My final advice to you, mother. That is, satāṁ prasaṅgān Mama vīryya-saṁvido, bhavanti hṛt-karṇa-rasāyanāḥ kathāḥ. They are hearing about Me—śravaṇam; they are glorifying Me—kīrttanam; they are remembering Me—smaraṇaṁ. Śravaṇaṁ kīrttanam Viṣṇoḥ smaraṇaṁ. They are trying to serve Me in every way possible. Also pādasevanaṁ archchanaṁ vandanaṁ dāsyaṁ sakhyam ātma-nivedanam—serving My feet, prayer, servi- torship, friendship and self-surrender. They are offering everything to Me. They try to do everything with My association. If you aśociate with such sādhus then you must also do that. There is no other work there in their association. So you must be benefited if you take advice from the sādhu and follow the sādhu’scharacter.”
This is the first and last advice, and very simple advice, of Bhagavān Kapiladev. And in the eleventh canto the Lord Himself also defines Bhāgavat-dharmma. So what is followed by the Vaiṣṇava and written in the Śrīmad- Bhāgavatamis Bhāgavat-dharmma. Then in the next verse we find (11.2.35):
yān āsthāya naro rājan
na pramādyeta karhichit
dhāvan nimīlya vā netre
na skhalen na pated iha
If you take that path you have no fear from anywhere. Just run—whether your eyes are open or closed it doesn’t make any difference, you won’t fall down. We cannot guess from here how much joy and ecstasy is there, how much happiness and enjoyment. We are trying to guess but we can’t because our puppy brains can’t conceive it.
Everything is explained in the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu by Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī; that is called the Science of Devotion. There, Śrīla Rūpa Goswāmī has said,
hṛdi sattvojjvale bāḍaṁ
svadate saraso mataḥ
What can we guess about that plane? It is living. The slightest idea of that ecstasy you cannot guess with your puppy brain. What can you think? You can try to imagine how great the sky is, but how will you imagine it? In your estimation only two kilometres or two miles is great. But your brain can think, “Yes, the same sky is in America and in India,” so some kind of broader conception is possible.
Still even that is less than a mustard seed. ‘One mustard seed’ means fourteen worlds, up and down. All those planes together are called one brahmāṇḍa or universe, and that is like no more than a mustard seed in the presence of the Divinity. Then how much can you guess?
If you can surpass the ideas of your entire consciousness then perhaps you can consider what kind of wonder that ecstasy is. Our brains are always agitating this way and that trying to understand, but we cannot guess what kind of wonder that is, but it is. And the sages and seers— the munis and ṛṣis—they feel for us, and for our benefit they have compiled the śāstra to guide us, especially Śrīla Vedavyāsa.
So it is not helpful to try to understand this with our tiny brains. Only when that ecstasy will come and conquer our hearts can we feel it. And we must wait for that, not try for it. This is the way to taste it. When He will come, my heart will be fulfilled within a second. That is the ecstasy, the eśence given in the perfect philosophy of Vedānta.
raso vai saḥ, rasaṁ hy evāyaṁ labdhvānandī bhavati
If you want that ecstasy you can try to worship that plane. Then you will get it by the mercy of the real associates of Krishna. And that is the main thing. But there’s no need to be hopeless; much hope is here, especially in this kali-yuga.
Mahāprabhu said “Harer Nāma Harer Nāma Harer Nāmaiva kevalam” chant the Hare Krishna Mahā mantra without offence and you will get everything