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Internalizing Chaturmasya Vrata -

betal_nut - Wed, 27 Jul 2005 22:03:53 +0530
As a moderated member I was unable to post this under copy and paste, it's appropriate place. However, I stumbled across this article on the net (don't know who it is by), and I thought it relevent to the time of year we find ourselves in as well as to the topic of how to observe Chaturmasya.

Yesterday, Sri Guru Purnima, Vyasa-purnima, marks the first day of Caturmasya. We entered into a very sacred environment, Caturmasya. Caturmasya means four months. But these months are not just days and weeks. Caturmasya is like a very beautiful transcendental temple. Those four months mean the four walls of this temple. Within that temple there is not marble and hard things. Within that temple is a very beautiful garden, and within that garden is our Radha-vrata, the desire to be the palya dasi of Srimati Radhika. This very sacred desire, this high hope, is like the secret confidential garden within the four walls of rules and regulations of Caturmasya.

Sometimes Caturmasya seems like a harsh thing, but it is not. It is like a very confidential secret place. And those who follow the footsteps of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu can enter into that secret place where they begin their vrata. We should take this opportunity to make a vrata, make a promise, and dedicate ourselves that one day we will find ourselves within that sacred land of Vrndavana in the confidential service of Sri Radha.

To follow the rules and regulations of Caturmasya means entering into this confidential and very beautiful temple. Temple means the place where your istadeva resides. Radhika and Krsna and all of Their associates reside within the temple of Caturmasya. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and all of His associates who are performing very confidential and deep sankirtana all reside within this temple of Caturmasya. Nityananda Prabhu, who very freely and mercifully distributes the confidential heart of Mahaprabhu, is also there. By adopting the ways of Caturmasya, we enter into that very environment where they all are so present.

In Sri Caitanya Caritamrta there is a description of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu spending the four months of Caturmasya with Venkata Bhatta and his family. They were already very high-class devotees and their istadeva was Laksmi-Narayana. The inner svarupa, the real nature, of Venkata Bhatta and his family came out living within the four months of Caturmasya with Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. This is the hope and aspiration that we hold when we follow the four months of Caturmasya. We are entering into the house of Venkata Bhatta. Mahaprabhu is here, and living with Him for four months, our inner svarupa, our real nature, our deep aspiration should rise up and come out. We should be able to enter into that confidential garden where we actually have a place and a service to Radhika and Krsna. This high aspiration is the purpose of Caturmasya.

If we don't have a high aspiration and a real goal and intention like this, then our Caturmasya is just rules and regulations. Rules and regulations have a purpose. They create a structure. They are not the living essence, but the structure, the foundation, the walls and the ceiling wherein the living essence of our hope can reside very safely. Caturmasya is like a protection, regulations are protective. They should not be seen as restrictive. They are actually meant to enable us to run very quickly on the path of bhakti without any fear. What is the big fear? That we will become sahajiyas or we will be like crazy people running on a path of raga. Some devotees have the idea that bhakti raga marga means that there are no rules. It is just a spontaneous movement of your heart, but this is the road to destruction and disaster. There is a path called raga marga, a spontaneous path of love and affection, but it is not without rules.

The path is a very interesting thing. If you have a desert-this material world is often described as a barren, rocky desert-how will you actually see a path going anywhere across a desert? You don't see it because of itself; you see it because it is bordered on either side by something. You see the guidelines on either side of the path. So it is with the path of raga. Those rules and regulations which surround and protect the path of raga, is how you identify the way to go. The path itself is completely free and open. The rules and regulations on either side are guiding you so that you can run without fear, without worry that you will run the wrong way into the desert. Rules and regulations are on either side protecting you and helping you.

Rupa Gosvami is the most wonderful and excellent guide on the path of raganuga and rupanuga bhakti. He is the perfect example of spontaneous, transcendental and deep attraction, running towards Radhika and Krsna in Vrndavana. And he is also that person who has given the rules and regulations on either side of that path to keep us straight, to keep us correct, to save us from that big fear that Oh, I will be sahajiya and I will run to hell. He has written so many incredible and transcendental literatures. Some of them are very extraordinary and very high-Utkalika Vallari, Hamsaduta, Uddhava Sandesa and so many more wonderful books describing the lilas and characteristics of Radhika and Krsna. And he has also written Upadesamrta, describing the rules and regulations on either side of that clear and free path, by which we can know we are going in the right way.

If you are really following Upadesamrta, then don't worry. You can run very fast with your eyes closed. It is very very protective. It is the best friend for sadhakas. From start to finish Upadesamrta describes step by step how you can safely go and what is the final destination. It begins with learning how to be quiet and ends with divine service to Radhika on the banks of Radha Kunda. This book contains everything-very very safely and very very beautifully and very very precisely.

When we begin our Caturmasya vrata, we are being given an opportunity to put our feet very firmly on this road and to advance very quickly with the protective walls of Caturmasya surrounding us and giving energy to us. We have been invited to enter into that environment where Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and all of His associates, all of our Guru-parampara, our Gurudeva, are living within that temple of Caturmasya. For what purpose? To enter and follow deeply the directions of Sri Rupa Gosvami.

When we live inside the discipline of bhakti, automatically we become separated from the mundane world and mundane ways, even if we don't change our life at all. We may still have to go to work and do our business and go to school, look after our children and all the rest-these things don't change. But yet, in a very beautiful and mystical way we become pilgrims on the path to Radha Kunda in the association of all our transcendental guides and guardians who are also dwelling within that sacred four months. This is a time when that merciful realm comes to us in the form of days and weeks. It embraces us and gives us a chance and opportunity to live really like pilgrims. This is how we should live all the time. The reflection of the journey within our heart is expanded outside. We are very lucky because we get four months. Sometimes we have five months when Purusottama Masa comes in there too.

So very kindly Krsna is expanding His home. And Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is inviting us to live within that very astonishing place, Caturmasya. It brings a recognition and a realization that I really don't belong to this world at all. I'm an alien, I'm in exile here. This is not my home. The ways and customs of this world do not belong to me at all. I belong in a different place with a different family. I want to be in that realm under the umbrella of our guru-parampara-this is my home. This is my family and this is my safety. If we make a decision to dwell under the shelter of our guru-parampara, then we immediately begin to wonder, Okay, what should I do now? Today is now the beginning of Caturmasya. What should I do from the first step? I don't want to lose and waste this sacred time. How will I live? How will I stay within the four walls of Caturmasya? What should I do?

Rupa Gosvami immediately gives us our answer. Rupa Gosvami has not made it up. He knows because he knows the inner heart of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. We say this prayer to him: sri caitanya mano'bhistam sthapitam yena bhutale, svayam rupah kada mahyam dadati sva-padantikam. Why is it that I am giving my whole self in trust at the lotus feet of Rupa Gosvami? Because of sri caitanya mano'bhistam. He embodies the very deep innermost heart's desire and purpose of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. That inner heart which is actually quite deeply concealed by the Lord Himself. What mysteries and wondrous things are within the heart of Mahaprabhu! Those things that were very carefully and secretly expressed within the Gambhira, in a very small deep cave to two confidential associates, Raya Ramananda and Svarupa Damodara. What was moving in His heart? The beauty and the glory and the lilas of Braja, the ecstasy of love of Radha and Krsna and service to Them. Those things were very very quietly and confidentially kept.

But Rupa Gosvami automatically knew them and he has broadcast them. Sthapitam yena bhutale-he has established them in this world. He can establish that inner heart's desire and mission of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in my life and heart. What did Mahaprabhu come here for? What was He giving? What was He sprinkling for the first time ever? What opportunity is He giving in this world? It is Rupa Gosvami who has very clearly told us. Yan kali rupa sarira na dharata-if he had not come here, what would we have known about the inner heart of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu? He may have come, experienced His wondrous, mysterious, interior adventure and gone. But Rupa Gosvami broke open that storehouse of divine love, that golden treasury, the heart of Mahaprabhu. Rupa Gosvami opened it wide and said, This is the inner heart. This is the ecstasy of prema of Radhika and Krsna. And if you want, I am also distributing it. I can establish this in your life.

From Rupa Gosvami we know the differentiations of the many different kinds of bhakti. We know that there is such a thing as uttama bhakti. That indicates that there is such a thing as not uttama bhakti-misra bhakti, jnana-misra bhakti, karma-misra bhakti, mishmash bhakti. Because Rupa Gosvami has described uttama bhakti, we know that there are a lot of other things that are not that. Because of him we know that there is a difference between Krsna in Dvaraka and Krsna in Mathura and Krsna in Vrndavana. Even in Vrndavana nowadays people do not know these differentiations. Only those who are very fortunate to come in the line of Rupa Gosvami can know all these deep things. Even in other paramparas, even Brijabasis born and bred in the sacred dust of Vrndavana do not know that Krsna was born here, that Krsna did not marry Srimati Radhika, that She is not our mother. All of these deep sambandhas-they don't know them. We know them because of Rupa Gosvami. We know what is sakhya, dasya, vatsalya and madhurya prema. We know that within madhurya prema there are differentiations-sambandhatmika, kamatmika. We know that there is such a thing as tat tad bhava icchamayi, manjari-bhava, palya dasi bhava, the service to Srimati Radhika-only because of Rupa Gosvami. He is like a treasure map of our spiritual aspiration. He is the embodiment of our aspiration and he knows everything that there is to know, not only about Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu but about Radhika and Krsna and Their confidential service. He is the embodiment of uttama bhakti really.

Even within uttama bhakti there are so many gradations and variations. In Braja all of those transcendental and confidential and eternal associates of Krsna are all dancing on the very head of uttama bhakti. They have no other desire. They have no mish and mash of karma and jnana. They only know the happiness of Krsna and nothing else is important to them. And even within that definition there is gradation. And at the very very topmost peak of all those gradations there is a very particular kind of uttama bhakti. That is the mood within the hearts of the maidservants of Radhika. They are so without desire, so without any personal motivation that even they don't need to see the face of Krsna and directly serve Him. Really, this is anyabhilasita sunyam, completely devoid even of the desire to personally meet with Krsna. They are very unique. And because of this total and utter absence of any self-interest or even self-tasting, they are able to go in the most deep and confidential proximity to Radhika and Krsna. And Rupa Gosvami is the embodiment of this kind of uttama bhakti. He is so kind and merciful that even possessing the form, the rupa, of that kind of beauty, he did not close his heart and keep it a secret. He opened his heart and said, If you want this kind of thing, I can easily tell you how to get it-step by step by step, without danger and without fear. I can show you, I can tell you. If you will follow this, if you will follow me, then easily and quickly you will arrive at this very same end.

One day Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was walking on the sand on the beach in Jagannatha Puri with His confidential friends. Sri Rupa was also there. Mahaprabhu saw the great waves of the ocean rising and crashing. In His heart arose the remembrance of Vrndavana. He saw Yamuna River flowing there. What are these great rising, crashing waves? They are the waves of prema of Yamuna. She is in separation from Krsna. Again and again she is trying to come towards Krsna, but she is held within her river banks and cannot reach Him. Thus her waves are coming higher and higher. Seeing this scene, Mahaprabhu felt separation arise within His heart. He is seeing His own mood reflected up there, His own mood of separation, the highest kinds of mahabhava He sees reflected there in the ocean of Jagannatha Puri. And suddenly He saw, I am in Vrndavana. But where is Krsna? I don't see Him. He began to run. In the distance He saw a sand dune and He thought, Oh, this is Giriraja Govardhana. Krsna must be there. He is always there. He loves this place.

Mahaprabhu began to run towards that mountain in separation. His separation is actually the separation of Sri Radha. It is no ordinary thing. In this extraordinary mood Mahaprabhu was running towards Govardhana, on the one hand being torn by separation, and on the other hand, being pulled by the hope of seeing Krsna. As He ran, this madanakhya mahabhava rose and rose until within His heart suddenly this mood could rise no further, and so it turned on its head and turned into meeting with Krsna within His heart. And then He stopped, completely stunned. At that time all of His associates could see astonishing symptoms on His body, the symptoms of meeting with Krsna deeply and eternally within His heart.

The Lord stopped and He fell to the ground. In fear His very dear associates gathered around Him and started to chant, Krsna, Krsna, Krsna! in His ears. They wanted to quickly bring Him back. What is happening to the Lord? Look at these strange manifestations on His body. After some time the Lord opened His eyes and He saw, Oh, I am lying on the beach in Puri by the ocean. And here are My friends. Just a moment ago I was in Vrndavana, seeing Krsna performing His lilas in a cave on Govardhana Hill. I was seeing everything. Why did You bring me here?

This was a very deep and sacred time when Mahaprabhu's own inner heart's experience was coming out and expressing itself in His body, actions and words. At this time, He spoke very very precise and confidential instructions as to how anyone can run towards Vrndavana and find themselves in the lap of Govardhana and on the banks of Radha Kunda. He spoke these instructions from His own heart, experiencing the separation from Vrndavana. Being there in that confidential assembly, Rupa Gosvami collected these instructions very carefully. Gurudeva said that Mahaprabhu's heart at this time was like a wide and broad ocean, full of the rasa of Vrndavana. And Rupa-he was not yet Gosvami, he was just a little boy-dived into the ocean of the heart of Mahaprabhu. He dived into those instructions that came from His lotus mouth and collected pearls from the bottom of the ocean and brought them to the surface. Those pearls are the eleven verses of Upadesamrta. A pearl is like the condensed wealth of the ocean but not everyone is qualified to find them. A very qualified person went there, collected pearls, and instead of hiding them, strung them on a necklace and offered them to any and everyone who wishes to have this kind of wealth. Gurudeva said we should wear this necklace everyday. Rupa Gosvami personally made it-eleven verses of Upadesamrta.

If you want to be a confidential servitor, having the right to freely enter that area of Radha Kunda, that place where no one can enter freely-even Krsna cannot go there without permission-if you want to go and serve Radhika there, you will have to wear this necklace. It is as if Rupa Gosvami has drawn a treasure map. He knows what treasure lies in the end-more than gold and jewels and everything. That treasure is the lotus feet of Radhika and the qualification to serve Her. He has described this treasure in the end of Upadesamrta. X marks the spot where the treasure lies buried. And starting from where we are now, he has drawn the map for exactly how to get there. What more amazing and valuable thing can we have in this world! It is a map drawn by a manjari to her own beautiful, perfect and excellent service. All of the problems that we may encounter on the way and how to deal with them are written there. What dangers may come, how to avoid them, how to cross mountains, swim across oceans, where to go, how not to be distracted-everything is written and described there so perfectly, so precisely, very simply and sweetly. It is just dropped right into our hands.

Upadesamrta is one of the very first books that Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja translated-The Nectar of Instruction. This is nectar! Don't be put off by the fact that sometimes it tastes a little bitter-don't do this, don't do that, be very careful about this and this. But from the very beginning Rupa Gosvami assures us that this is amrta, this is nectar. This is not just meant to make our life hard. This is meant to give life to you. Amrta means immortality-nitya krsna-dasa. If you want that, then take these instructions.

The four months of Caturmasya are a very excellent time and opportunity to take this map and verse by verse, word by word, apply it everyday in our lives. We are on a pilgrimage which ends in the month of Kartika on the banks of Radha Kunda, exactly as it is written in that book. And it begins today from whichever stage we are at in our devotional life. This map is very mystical-it starts at the point of each and every one of our own hearts and it stretches to that Radha Kunda.

And it begins very simply. Rupa Gosvami's first word of his first verse is enough to stump many devotees when it comes to practical application.

vaco vegam manasah krodha-vegam
jihva-vegam udaropastha-vegam
etan vegan yo visaheta dhirah
sarvam apimam prthivim sa sisyat

Why is it that Rupa Gosvami gave vaco vegam first? Because it is possibly the hardest one. To really have a disciplined control over the urge to speak is so hard. I don't know how many times I have made a vow not to talk loosely and speak prajalpa and broken it! This is the first word of our journey. It is so important.

One time Gurudeva gave a heavy explanation of loose speech. He was speaking on Manah Siksa. Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami said: asad varta vesya vsrja mati-sarvasva-haranih. There is a very very loose and dangerous woman. She is a prostitute. She is completely shameless. She is so shameless that at any minute she can walk into the room. Gurudeva said she is naked, completely, but she has no shame. She can walk into a room full of devotees even, brahmacaris and sannyasis, anyone. She can choose anyone's lap and sit in their lap. She is asad varta, impure speech, gossip, the language of movies, just useless talk. But she does not seem to be very dangerous at all. That's the real trouble about uncontrolled speech.

What is a prostitute like? Oh, just have some fun with me. You don't have to make any commitment with me. I'm just like a happy, go-lucky girl. You can just spend some time with me and then we can part. It's easy to just hang out with me and be happy for awhile, and then I'll go. Gurudeva said, This is true, but when she goes, she extracts some payment from you. Her time is not free. What is she taking? Raghunatha dasa Gosvami said: mati-sarvasva, your good intelligence, your discrimination, how you can actually progress in bhakti-she takes that. After some sweet and carefree pastimes, she goes and takes your wealth with her. Don't give your lap to her. Gurudeva said she can come into the assembly of devotees when hari katha is going on. Devotees are talking about Krsna. And then, just in a moment, the topic can change and all of a sudden asad varta is sitting on your lap and the conversation is completely different.

So Rupa Gosvami said vaco vegam. This is the urge of the tongue. It is the first warning he gives. Why? Because if you are going on a pilgrimage and if you are going to make a determined effort to follow the map and arrive at X marks the spot, first of all you have to look: where am I standing now? Okay, I am standing on the road. My feet are just ready to walk on this path of Upadesamrta. But I also see that there are many other paths going left and right. What are they? They are all my senses and desires. I have a certain amount of determination and energy for this journey, but it is leaking out through every one of these senses. These are six roads leading in every other direction except that one. And when I give my energy to them, I don't advance on that forward path in bhakti. I go veering off somewhere else. Krodha vegam-whoooof! Very quickly off somewhere else. All of that energy and determination leaks and is gone in the desert of this swamp. Those other roads lead to hell. They lead to again birth and again birth and again birth. Only this road of Upadesamrta is going to Radha Kunda.

One verse from Katha Upanisad says:

paranci khani vyatrnat svayambhus
tasmat param pasyati nantaratman
kascid dhirah pratyag atmanam aiksad
avrtta caksur amrtatvam icchan

Our creator Brahmaji has made such an excellent vessel, this human body. It is meant for one thing-for this journey to Radha Kunda. It is meant to follow the sadhus' footsteps and arrive at our eternal happiness serving Radha and Krsna. The jiva is dwelling inside this body, sitting on the chariot of this body, ready to move forward. But then, Oh alas! The creator punched holes in this very good creation-eyes, ears and all these senses. Through those holes all my good intentions leaked out and ran into the dust. Oh alas! Why did you do such a thing?

Yogis have the idea that therefore these holes should be blocked up. I should close them off by my yogic strength. I will close my eyes and never look at maya again. I will block my ears and never hear the sweet tinkling sound of any young girl's ankle bells again. My mind won't go there. I am determined and strong. I will rise up the life airs of my body to the crown of my head and from there I will go anywhere I want. This is the path of yoga. It requires very strong control. But again and again we read in sastra how this path is very difficult, so difficult that it actually doesn't work at all.

Instead of blocking up these holes, the path of bhakti directs them forward on the path. Holes means our intentions and our energy. We use our eyes to look forward on our path, our ears to hear hari katha, our tongues to glorify Krsna. The urge to speak is almost unstoppable. So we should find something worthwhile to speak about.

It is very hard to be quiet and tolerant, especially when someone is criticizing you. What is harder to tolerate than this, especially if their criticism is not true? Gurudeva said that this is actually the hardest burden to bear in life-a false accusation. Instantly the heart goes into defense. That's not true. I'm not like that. And in an instant bhakti runs away from your heart. Gurudeva said that there is no such thing as a false accusation. There is not any sin that you have not committed, in this life or in any life. Maybe you got away with it in a previous life, and therefore this false accusation is coming now. It's not false, it's true. You did it. You might as well accept it and be sorry from the core of your heart. And if by some incredible chance, by some amazing fluke, you really didn't do it in any life, then that means that the seed of it is waiting in your heart. It's coming-in this life or a future life. But by the mercy of God this accusation is coming first. It will take the seed from your heart and throw it far away. You will never do it. So don't worry. Either way you are not being falsely accused of anything. You can think, By the grace of God this sharp karma, this thorn is being pulled from my heart and thrown away. Oh thank you. You are my friend. Bhaktivinoda Thakura wrote Amara jivana: In my life there is no sin that I have not committed thousands and millions of times. My language is falsehood. When we actually look into our heart, anything that anyone can accuse us of pales into insignificance.

Another way that the urge to speak pulls us away from bhakti is simple, everyday seemingly harmless useless talk. It takes us away from bhakti in a moment. Everything that we have ever been attached to in all of our births have formed impressions in our hearts and minds. From those impressions, like dirty water from the polluted reservoir, our speech is coming. Speech is a reflection of what is in the mind and heart. That's why vaco vegam is followed by masana vegam. If dirty water is flowing, the intelligent thing to do is to look upstream and see from where it is coming. This urge to speak is flowing from the reservoir of my own mind. It is full of all kinds of useless and unclean things I have collected in so many lives. This needs to be cleaned. I cannot control this crazy mind. I have to just deliver it to the lotus feet of some very capable cleaners.

How merciful and amazing it is that our Gurudevas, the most noble and extraordinary personalities, the highest kind of people, pure and transcendental, come into this world of sewage and start cleaning out our minds and hearts for us. They take this lowly position. Our Gurudeva comes and does this gutter sweeping for us. He enters the heart at the time of diksa. He tucks up his cloth, takes a broom and steps in there, where we would even fear to tread if we looked inside. Internally how bad is our condition? We are talking about very deep, unpleasant contaminations, the very opposite of how sweet and clean our hearts should be for the service of Radhika. But Her own people come here and clean it. This is the mercy of our guru-parampara. When we understand what they are doing, we will stop throwing more garbage in there. And we ourselves might even start cleaning. Then we will take very seriously to that process of ceto darpana marjanam: Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare / Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. Gurudeva, I am calling you and inviting you to come live in my heart. Then all of a sudden I realize what kind of place I have called you to. Then I realize how you mercifully accepted and came there anyway. Everyday by mantra we say pracodayat. O Gurudeva, please come into my heart. So at least we should make it a little bit clean.

Manasa vegam-let this mind be a little bit clean. All the strong disinfectants have been given to us-Hare Krsna. This is most effective. This will make the mind and heart clean, but this is not even the purpose of harinama. This does not even touch the glory of harinama. Cleaning mind and heart is incidental to the glories of harinama. If the mind is clear, then our speech will automatically reflect the mind.

Krodha vegam-this is the most frightening of all. Anger. Gurudeva said, In a minute, by anger your heart's mood evaporates and your sadhana is lost. The heart's mood, that very subtle thing-it does not come by reading books or by endeavor. It comes by very sweet and close sadhu sanga. A little mood, fragile thing, rising in the heart is the most precious thing. Everything else is lost at the time of death-what you gather in your mind, the slokas that you learned. But this thing, the mood in the heart towards Krsna, is so precious, and by anger, by some offense, by losing your cool, the heart's mood is gone. Bhakti runs away in a moment. She may have even been resting her head in your heart but by anger directed towards a devotee, she flees. Anger is like thorns and fire in the heart.

One time one of our godbrothers was looking over the roof of the math in Mathura into the street. He saw a man beating a cow with a big stick. Immediately this devotee's heart became angry. He started to run down the stairs to stop the man from beating the cow. Gurudeva was standing there and saw this devotee running in anger. Where are you going? He blurted out, Gurudeva, Gurudeva! Someone is beating a cow right now. I'm going to stop him. Gurudeva forcefully stopped that devotee, Don't go there. But Gurudeva, she's a cow being beaten right outside our math. Gurudeva said, Don't go. If you go, he will also beat you. And he sent him back upstairs. If you have seen something wrong happening, don't go. The result of your anger, your running and trying to help, thinking that you are so virtuous and will right the wrongs of others, this anger will come back and you will be beaten by this. A qualified person can go. Like Hanuman-he was angry with Ravana and with his tail he set fire to Lanka. He was qualified to use fire and not get burnt to death himself. But if this fire will come in your heart, you are the one to get burnt to ashes and not someone else. It burns you before it burns anyone else. It is the wide-open door to aparadha. In a moment by anger you can say something so terrible you might regret for the rest of your life.

Once someone asked Gurudeva how to deal with anger, If I just put a lid on it, then my heart becomes like a pressure cooker, ready to explode. Gurudeva answered, Then you will have to understand whose property is anger and what anger really is. Anger is the property of Srimati Radhika. It belongs to Her-in all purity and beauty. Her anger is not like ours. Her anger is actually for the joy of Krsna. It increases His happiness-to such an extent that Krsna even behaves quite outrageously only to see anger in the eyes of Radhika. She is able to use Her anger in such a way that the ocean of joy in Krsna's heart expands and expands. She makes Him cry; She makes Him beg; She makes Him desperate; and by this, His heart's ocean of happiness is expanding. Anger is meant for this, and if you can't use anger in this way, you have no right to touch it. It is Her property. It is the same as one who is aspiring to be Radhika's palya dasi-they don't touch the moods of Srimati Radhika-unnatojjvala rasam, that thing that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was tasting deep within His heart. And part of that unnatojjvala rasam is Radhika's divine anger, Her mana. It belongs to Her. It is not in our hands.

Sometimes there is good reason to be angry. If anyone criticizes your Guru, really they make offense to your Gurudeva, at that time if you don't become angry, then you become an offender. You should become angry. But you should also be so qualified that you can use your anger perfectly to defeat and disarm that offender. And if you can't, then your anger and the offense will consume you. We should be very far away from that situation. That's why we are warned to stay away, because we are bound to hear something and if we cannot use the firebrand of anger without being burnt, then we are finished. Why are we told again and again to keep very careful association? Keep sat sanga-very conducive association.

All of these vegas, urges, are very very competent to completely distract us from that road to Radha Kunda. Even by thinking of them we run down those roads, remembering all the times that we were angry. The mind will lead us astray. The mind is such a cheater. The mind is like a manager, and we are like very wealthy landowners. The atma is really wealthy. We have a capacity to love Krsna. Prema is our birthright and inheritance. But being a little stupid, we put our wealth in the hands of a very untrustworthy manager, our mind. We place this human life into the control of the mind. The mind should be serving us. But instead, the soul, not wanting to do any work, puts all the work and responsibility and property into the hands of this manager and goes to sleep. The mind is thinking, This is very good. You should stay sleeping. Be comfortable and peaceful and I will take care of everything. Then the mind enjoys all the wealth through the senses. This kind of manager squanders your wealth. This position must be reversed. The atma should wake up and take control. Paramgurudeva has told us to wake up-this is our nisantha-lila. Wake up now. The sun is rising. The chance is coming. Sraddha is dawning. The light is coming in the sky. Wake up and take back your responsibility. Your manager should be your servant.

Jihva vegam: Gurudeva was talking about overeating once. He said, Why is it that we overeat? Actually it is because the soul is hungry. And because we think we are our body, we think that our body is hungry. But this dissatisfaction is not coming from our body, it is coming from our atma. Thus the body is never satisfied and so we overeat. We eat too much to try and fill that ache, which is the natural position of the baddha jiva. I am lacking something; I am hungry; I am dissatisfied. We are wanting something-where is love, where is true love?

Deha buddhi means that we think we are hungry and therefore we eat more and more and more to try and satisfy this mood. What should be there? The hunger of our atma should be heard by us, it should be felt by us. Vaco vegam-we should be quiet so that we can hear the voice of our atma instead of the constant babble of our useless mind. If this constant babbling static reduces, then we will be able to begin to hear the voice of our atma. We will begin to hear the mantra that our Gurudeva pressed in our heart at the time of initiation. We will begin to relate with our actual identity and stop running down these paths to nowhere. When our energy and endeavor goes back inside and we quietly listen, then we will begin to hear how he spoke that mantra of initiation-Hare Krsna Hare Krsna. We will begin to hear this from within our heart. We will begin to hear the voice of atma calling (whispering), Hare Krsna Hare Krsna. We will begin to experience some interior life when we stop our energies running into our exterior life. We will begin to experience that actually I live here in the heart, not at the ends of my fingertips or in my eyes. For this reason Rupa Gosvami is advising us to retract our energy from these roads which run to hell so that we can begin to look forward on the road to bhakti, on the path to Radha Kunda.

Gurudeva once described our atma inside our body as a submarine, a ship under water. The jiva is living down deep here and ascending from the depth of our heart we send up a periscope to look all around. This is our mind and senses collecting information. How should we live? We should create a kunja here in the heart-a very sweet beautiful garden. Our seva-sthali is here. And Krsna has provided a periscope by which we can look up and collect useful information for bhakti. Actually our home is here in the heart. This world is like the office where we work, but we should always be careful to go home at the end of the day and enter into Hare Krsna Hare Krsna in our real place in the heart. We should not always be living at the very ends and tips of our senses, dissipating our energy and enthusiasm and endeavor into the useless sound of the material world.

Rupa Gosvami is giving these advices, he's giving amrta. Amrta means this will save your life. Follow these things not just out of duty. Follow like you are drinking nectar in your heart. Bhakti will spring to life in you by these very very simple steps. In this way the energy to keep your feet on the path of bhakti will come. Those things that are useless, rotten and dead will leave you. Your body and your mind will become like amrta.

When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was staying in the home of Venkata Bhatta for the four months of Caturmasya, because of His presence and association automatically the very sweet atmosphere of Vrndavana developed in the heart of everyone in that household. In the house was living a very young innocent boy named Gopala. He was only 11 or 12 years old. Gopala began to serve Mahaprabhu personally. He developed such a deep and strong attachment for the lotus feet of Mahaprabhu that the Lord became his life and soul. After four months Mahaprabhu was going to leave and it seemed as if the heart of Gopala would break in two. But Mahaprabhu told him, No, be patient and peaceful. Serve your parents, do your duty in this life and then come to Vrndavana and meet Me. That is our Gopala Bhatta Gosvami. When we dwell within the four months of Caturmasya, we should live like Gopala Bhatta Gosvami, serving Mahaprabhu in the temple of Caturmasya, developing such a deep and lasting attachment to His lotus feet. At the end of the four months Gopala wanted to leave with Mahaprabhu, but He told him, Take care of your parents. They are devotees. Don't come with Me immediately. I will meet you later in Vrndavana. He gave this promise.

Actually after this time Mahaprabhu went to Puri. When Gopala was free from his worldly duties, he knew, The Lord is in Puri right now. Many years had passed, but he carried the Lord's instruction on his head. He told me to go to Vrndavana. And so running, not to Puri where directly the Lord was there, but holding His instruction on his head, he ran to Vrndavana. He was in so much separation. He lived his whole life in separation from Mahaprabhu. Directly eye to eye he did not see Mahaprabhu after those four months of Caturmasya. Mahaprabhu sent him His kaupina, He sent him His own asana and sent His heart's internal bhava. By the mercy of Mahaprabhu, Gopala's salagram manifested in front of him as his own istadeva, Radha-Ramana. The istadeva of his mantra appeared before him in the form of this deity by the mercy of Mahaprabhu. By following Mahaprabhu, how Gopala Bhatta's relationship became so deep!

This is the aim and object of our Caturmasya-the istadeva of our mantra should manifest to us. How will this happen? By adopting the amrta, the drops of nectar, of Rupa Gosvami. Some should come on our tongue, some in our eyes, in our ears, in all of our senses. We should take these drops-vaco vegam manasa-krodha vegam-controlling them, not by force but by nectar, by knowing that anger is the property of Radhika, by knowing that speech is the property of Sri Guru. There is no such thing as a false accusation. By knowing these things, by drops of nectar controlling everything, facing towards Radha Kunda and placing our feet in the footsteps of Gopala Bhatta and those others who live in the house of Mahaprabhu, then we can begin to realize some very great value in the Caturmasya vrata. Gopala Bhatta ended up in Seva Kunja in Vrndavana, serving his Radhika and Ramana. This is our goal and aim and object of the Caturmasya vrata, the uttama bhakti described by Rupa Gosvami. And more than that is the very very specific uttama bhakti, the peak of which is only apparent in Rupa Gosvami, Rupa Manjari, nothing less. And it begins in the very first verse of Upadesamrta-vaco vegam manasa-krodha vegam. Though this object is so high, its path begins wherever we are, even we may be sunk in the lowest hell. The path begins from there, and taking one step at a time, we can become worthy of the great title 'rupanuga', and we can arrive at the banks of Radha Kunda.

Gaura premanande!

Anand - Thu, 28 Jul 2005 00:00:05 +0530
Thank you por posting this Betalnut. If you don't mind, I will add that this brilliant article was originally a public speech by Visakha dasi, a disciple of Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja. She is originally from Britain, living now in Los Angeles with her husband, Lalit Mohan das.