A Glimpse of Sri Ujjvala-Nilamani
by Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayan Gosvami Maharaja
hawaii_sbvnm.jpg - 14922 Bytes[A lecture given at the home of Vrndavana dasa in Oahu, Hawaii on May 11, 2002
Every day, Srila Maharaja is usually surrounded by hundreds of devotees in the West, and hundreds or thousands every day in India. From mid-April to mid-May, however, he was externally almost alone in Hawaii, accompanied only by a few assistants, so that he could concentrate on his translation of Sri Rupa Gosvami's Sri Ujjvala-nilamani and his translation of our acaryas' commentaries of that literature. He only gave one public class, and the transcription of that class is presented herein.]
Srila Swami Maharaja inspired me to go to Western and Eastern countries to preach the same mission that he preached, and I am happy that by the combined mercy of Srila Swami Maharaja and my diksa-guru, Srila Bhaktiprajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaja, I am doing so. Srila Swami Maharaja preached everywhere by his books.
The words we speak in classes may disappear into the sky, but what is written as a document, in books like Sri Caitanya-caritamrta, Srimad-Bhagavatam, and the books of the Gosvamis will remain forever and help for millions of years.
Srila Swami Maharaja used to come to this island to write, for it is very favorable here, and I am also doing a great deal of writing here. I have been totally absorbed in that for the last three weeks, and I have not been giving classes during that time. Do you know why? I am concentrating on my translation work so that I can give document writings to the world...
On this island I am totally absorbed in writing about the very elevated moods of Srila Rupa Gosvami; moods that were inspired in him by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu Himself. Mahaprabhu ordered Srila Rupa Gosvami to write about the deep moods of the gopis, as well as the process by which we can achieve similar moods.
Most of you are not qualified to hear or read about this, what to speak of follow, and yet we are writing. Otherwise, if we do not do so, these moods will be lost to the world. We must record this for future generations. These moods of the gopis have not been clearly written about even in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, except in a hidden way, but Srila Rupa Gosvami has given definitions of each of them in Sri Ujjvala-nilamani.
We see that in this world, those who have lust, anger, and other bad qualities cannot advance in sadhana-bhajana, what to speak of entering the transcendental realm. If a person cannot remove all the anarthas delineated in first sloka of Upadesamrta, like vaco vegam manasah krodha-vegam, jihva-vegam udaropastha-vegam, he cannot advance in bhakti.
On the other hand, we see that there is quarreling in Goloka Vrndavana. Srimati Radhika has a somewhat jealous mood towards Candravali, and Candravali has the same mood towards Radhika.
It seems that they also quarrel. Why is this so in that sphere? Actually, the gopis are transcendental, Krsna is transcendental, their love and affection is transcendental, and their quarreling is also transcendental. You should know that their quarreling is not worldly. Rather, it is an expression of love and affection, to increase the pleasure of Krsna.
If the above-mentioned moods were not present in their pure forms in the transcendental world they could not exist in this world, and Srila Rupa Gosvami has written about all the gopis' moods for our benefit. He has explained why they are sulky and so on, and I am giving you a very slight taste of their moods in my translation and writing.
Jealous of Candravali, Srimati Radhika told Lalita, Visakha, and all Her sakhis, "Candravali does not know even the ABC's of love and affection. Since she has no real mana (transcendental loving anger due to jealousy), no sulky mood, how can she please Krsna? She will never be able to please Him." The prema of Candravali is called grta-sneha. Grta means ghee. It has the quality of being very soft and smooth, but it is not sweet. The prema of Radha is called madhu-sneha. Madhu means honey, which is both soft and smooth, and also sweet. Even if Radhika abuses Krsna, or even if she is in maan, Her mood is very attactive and wonderful. All become happy to see Her activities, and their love becomes more intense. Therefore, in all situations, Her madhu-sneha prema can be called "soft and sweet." Radhika continued, "Candravali is very soft in her dealings with Krsna. Even if she sees that Krsna has committed an offense to her lotus feet and, in front of her, He is meeting with other gopis, she will generally not become sulky. She may sometimes do so, but not often. Without this sulky anger, no one can serve Krsna, or please Him. She does not have a trace of love and affection, so I don't even want to hear her name. Never mention her name in My assembly."
Candravali likewise told her sakhis, "I don't want to hear the name of Radhika. I don't even want to hear the name of the star constellation called anuradha. Why not? Neither the experts on the subject of love, nor the great sages and munis, appreciate the mood of Radhika; nor do the yogis and rsis meditate on the mood of Radhika, nor do they appreciate Her name. Those rsis who always meditate upon Krsna's lotus feet never attract Radha to their hearts. Those who want to peacefully meditate on the lotus feet of Krsna become disturbed if they think about the moods of Srimati Radhika. In fact, Her name alone makes then tremble and become disturbed. That very same Krsna fell at the feet of Radhika, and still She rejected Him and said, 'I don't want You here. O black Krsna, get out of My kunja.' So don't utter Her name, and don't even utter the word anuradha."
Radhika and Candravali both speak in this way, but Radhika's love and affection is superior. The highest truths of Radhika's madhu-sneha prema have been described, in minute detail, in Srila Rupa Gosvami's Ujjvala Nilamani. They have not been disclosed in Srimad Bhagavatam, or in the books of Sri Jayadeva Gosvami, or by previous acaryas. Only Srila Rupa Gosvami has revealed these intimate moods, in Vidagda-Madhava, Lalita-Madhava, and here in Ujjvala Nilamani.
Except for works like these, there are no other descriptions of these moods, and my mind and activities are absorbed in writing here in Vrndavana dasa's house in Hawaii. The topics in Ujjvala Nilamani are very elevated subject matters, which you would never be able to imagine even in thousands of births. I am translating this most valuable literature for the future, and those who will be qualified will experience a new life by reading it. Although I have little formal education, I am so fortunate that by the mercy of my guru-parampara, this ability to translate and write commentary is coming automatically.
[Sripad Madhava Maharaja: (Madhava Maharaja is engaged as the editor of Srila Narayana Maharaja's translation and commentary of Sri Ujjvala-nilamani, and now he is requested by Srila Maharaja to give some hint about the subject matter therein.)]You have heard from Srila Gurudeva why he came to Hawaii and what he is doing here. He is now translating the commentaries of Srila Jiva Gosvami and Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura on Ujjvala Nilamani, and on his previous tour he completed the writing of his own commentary.
Once, a sakhi of Srimati Radhika asked Her, "O Radhike, why are you jealous of Candravali? What is the fault that Candravali has the same desire? You want to make Krsna happy and Candravali has the same desire. So what is the harm if She takes some of your workload? Let her do so." Radhika replied, "Yes, you are speaking the truth, but Candravali does not know at all what will please Krsna and make Him more and more happy. I'm bound to be jealous of her and in competition; otherwise Krsna will never be happy."
Once Krsna wanted to enjoy with Radhika and the other gopis who were on the bank of Manasi Ganga. Whoever has been on Vraja Mandala Parikrama in Govardhana has seen Manasi Ganga. there was a boat there, called vilasa-taraa, and Krsna wanted to have fun on that boat with the help of the gopis. Krsna invited Radhika, "O Srimati Radhike, tarani uttistha; please come and sit in this boat." According to Sanskrit grammar, tarani is the seventh case ending and it has more then one meaning.
Taruni means "on the tree," and it also means "on the boat." Krsna was inviting Radhika to be seated inside the boat, but Radhika replied, "Oh, I am unable to climb the tree." Krsna meant one thing and Radhika replied with another meaning. Then Krsna told Her, "O Radhike, you are quite ignorant! You could not understand what I wanted to tell You. I am saying boat and You are hearing tree.
Why? Oh, I think you must be very clever." He then again said, "Taruni uttistha." Taruni means "boat" and also "the Sun-god." This time Radhika replied, "I have no love for the Sun-god; I have love for You. Why are You asking Me to love the Sun-god? I don't like this."
Krsna was defeated by Radhika, but He did not want to accept defeat. He said, "You think You are the most clever person in the entire world. Now I am telling You, "Naukam uttistha. Naukam means boat. This word does not have two meanings. What will You say now?" Radhika replied, "Oh, according to the rules of Sanskrit grammar, nau is the sixth case ending of the root word asmad. Nau means the dialogue between You and Me for meeting.
There was no dialogue between You and Myself for meeting. I never proposed to meet with You, so why are You saying, 'Naukam uttistha'? I'm not satisfied with Your words." Thus, Krsna was defeated again by Radhika, and He began to smile.
Srila Rupa Gosvamipada has explained how Radhika and Krsna joke with each other, and how Krsna is always defeated by Radhika.
When Srila Dasa Gosvamipada was absorbed in an inner mood, he saw this pastime in trance and wrote the verse: "Vak yukta keli katu kejit. When will that day come for me that I will be able to see the debate between Radha and Krsna in which Krsna is defeated by Radhika, all the sakhis rejoice and clap, and Radhika's lotus face looks very happy? When will I be able to see all this?"
We pray to Srila Gurudeva that although we are very unqualified to even discuss such topics, the day will come by his causeless mercy that we will be able to serve the Divine Couple.
[Srila Narayana Maharaja:] In his Bhajana Rahasya, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has explained how to do bhajana for attaining these moods, and to that end he quoted Srila Rupa Gosvami's Sri Upadesamrta:
sanga-tyagat sato vrtteh
sadbhir bhakti prasidhyati.
["There are six principles favorable to the execution of pure devotional service: (1) being enthusiastic, (2) endeavoring with confidence, (3) being patient, (4) acting according to regulative principles [such as sravanam, kirtanam, visnu smaranam [SB 7.5.23] – hearing, chanting and remembering Krsna], (5) abandoning the association of nondevotees, and (6) following in the footsteps of the previous acaryas. These six principles undoubtedly assure the complete success of pure devotional service."]
Before this, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura had written that if you really want to have bhakti and be a guru, you must follow this instruction of Srila Rupa Gosvami:
vaco vegan manasah krodha-vegan
etan vegan yo visaheta dhirat
sarvamapiman prthivit sa sisyat
You should try to control your mind, tongue, speech, belly, and the other urges. Otherwise, you cannot do bhajana. The guru is one who has controlled all six urges, and without such control one is bound to fall down. It is for this reason that so many sannyasis have fallen down.
The second sloka of Sri Upadesamrta states:
atyaharah prayasas ca
jana-sangah ca laulyam ca
sadbhir bhaktir vinasyati.
["One's devotional service is spoiled when he becomes too entangled in the following six activities: (1) eating more than necessary or collecting more funds than required; (2) overendeavoring for mundane things that are very difficult to obtain; (3) talking unnecessarily about mundane subject matters; (4) Practicing the scriptural rules and regulations only for the sake of following them and not for the sake of spiritual advancement, or rejecting the rules and regulations of the scriptures and working independently or whimsically; (5) associating with worldly-minded persons who are not interested in Krsna consciousness; and (6) being greedy for mundane achievements."]
I have explained all these principles to you before, and they are all important, but now I wish to discuss the particular sloka beginning "Utsahan niscayad dhairyat," with consideration of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura's the explanation.
From past births' impressions, you are somehow or other coming in touch with pure devotees like Srila Swami Maharaja, who traveled everywhere to help so many. By this, sraddha comes, and one somehow takes the shelter of a guru. However, if one is chanting, remembering Krsna, and hearing hari-katha, but he has not yet come to the stage of ruci, taste in these devotional practices and taste in serving guru, Vaisnavas, and Krsna, he will certainly be weak. This is the case with those who have fallen down. This stage is very critical, and I think most of you are in this stage.
We know very well, intellectually, that by chanting and remembering Krsna we will be happy. We will realize Krsna and then we will be happy. Still we have anarthas, however, and if they are not removed, they are very dangerous to our devotional life. We know we should not have lust, but lust is there, and we cannot remove these material desires by our efforts alone. We must have the mercy of Krsna and His devotees, but we must also try to follow the orders of our gurudeva and try to control our senses.
Srila Thakura Bhaktivinoda is thus explaining in his Bhajana Rahasya the instructions of Srila Rupa Gosvami. Utsahan means enthusiasm. We think that we should work 24 hours a day for worldly things, to make money and have a position, and we labor very hard at our jobs. But do we have the taste to work for Krsna 24 hours, seven hours, one hour, or even one minute? If taste will come, we will automatically serve Krsna. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura is telling us that as long as we are in this world we will have to maintain our life, but we will also have to practice our bhakti-yoga.
Do you understand what I have said? If not, then I am speaking to the sky. Not all of you are hearing attentively, so why am I speaking? If you cannot pay attention in class, it would be better for you to go out and perform nagara-sankirtana. But since you have come, then please give two or three minutes to me. Don't let your mind wander here and there, to your children and everywhere else. You have enough time to look after your children and all other things at other times.
If you are in this world and you want to have bhakti, then both are necessary. First, you will have to somehow maintain your life, otherwise you cannot do bhakti. At your present stage of development, maintenance of your lives is the first priority.
However, when you advance, bhakti will be the priority and life's maintenance will be secondary. In fact, the effort for it will be very insignificant at that time. Life's maintenance will be done automatically.
Prahlada Maharaja has also said, tat-prayaso na kartavyo yata ayur-vyayah param: ["Endeavors merely for sense gratification or material happiness through economic development are not to be performed, for they result only in a loss of time and energy, with no actual profit." (Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.6.4] "Why are you wasting your time in maintaining your life? Even if you render a little devotional service, Krsna will arrange everything; your maintenance will come automatically." This is the case with me. I never engage in any activity for life's maintenance, but so many devotees are engaged in bringing me whatever I require.
Some are giving fruits, some vegetables, some rice, some dahl, and some anything else; and some give their houses and other very costly possessions. I think that living in Hawaii, and especially in Honolulu, is more costly than living on the mainland of America. Nonetheless, along with my companions, I am living here without any cost. We have a free house, a free garden and free vegetables, and so many things like Govinda's juices. Everything is free. Also, my daughters bring many jack-fruits and other vegetables.
I am not doing anything for maintenance. Rather, I am totally absorbed in Krsna consciousness, and I will not worry about maintenance for the rest of my life. If no maintenance comes, then Krsna is bound to carry what I need on His head.
Similarly, if you have ruci, your bhajana will develop and you will be happy forever. You should note down this very important principle in your heart and keep this precious understanding in your pocket. Don't concentrate on your maintenance. Srila Rupa Gosvami and Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura tell us that both are necessary, and that in your stage there is a prominence of endeavor for maintenance of your life, but at the same time you should try to follow the principles of bhakti: sravanam kirtanam visnoh smaranam pada sevanam arcanam vandanam dasyam sakhyam atma-nivedanam.
Especially, try to follow the five most important items of bhakti: sadhu-sanga, nama-kirtana, bhagavat-sravana, mathura-vasa, and sri murtira sraddhaya sevana. ["One should associate with devotees, chant the holy name of the Lord, hear Srimad-Bhagavatam, reside at Mathura and worship the Deity with faith and veneration." (Caitanya-caritamrta Madhya-lila 22.128)] [sakala-sadhana-srestha ei panca anga, krsna-prema janmaya ei pancera alpa sanga. "These five limbs of devotional service are the best of all. Even a slight performance of these five awakens love for Krsna." (Caitanya-caritamrta Madya-lila 22.129)]
These five are very powerful; they can give you krsna-prema at once. So try to give some time for this; otherwise you will be weak. Try to remember all these truths. Maintenance is not so important. You can see for yourselves: Don't do anything for seven days, simply chant Hare Krsna, and you will see whether or not your maintenance is coming. Even if you sit idle, still your maintenance will come. A python does not do anything, but his maintenance automatically comes; so try to be like that. Be somehow engaged in bhakti. Be very strong and tolerant.
Editorial advisors: Pujyapad Madhava Maharaja and Sripad Brajanatha dasa
Transcriber: Yasoda-gopi dasi
Editor: Syamarani dasi and Krsna Bhamini dasi
Typist: Premavati dasi
HTML: Bhutabhavana dasa
by Srila Rupa Gosvami