(*Click on photo to see a larger image of Srila Prabhupada in Vrindavan.)
Doing Bhajan in Vrindavan
By Srila Prabhupada, 1961
I am sitting alone in Vrindavan-dhama
In this mood I am getting many realizations.
I have my wife, sons, daughters, grandsons, everything,
But I have no money so they are a fruitless glory.
Krishna has shown me the naked form of material nature,
By His strength it has all become tasteless to me today.
yasyaham anugrhnāmi harisye tad-dhanam śanaih
“I gradually take away all the wealth of those upon whom I am merciful.”
How was I able to understand this mercy of the All-merciful?
Everyone has abandoned me, seeing me as penniless,
Wife, relatives, friends, brothers, everyone.
This is misery, but it gives me a laugh. I sit alone and laugh.
In this māyā-samsāra, whom do I really love?
Where have all my loving father and mother gone to now?
And where are all my elders, who were my own folk?
Who will give me news of them, tell me who?
All that is left of this family life is a list of names.
Like the froth on the sea water mixes again in the sea,
Māyā-samsāra‘s play is just like that.
No one is mother or father, or personal relative,
Just like the sea-foam they remain but a short time,
Just as the froth on sea water mixes again in the sea,
The body made of five elements meets with destruction.
How many bodies does the embodied soul take in this way;
His relatives are all simply related to this temporal body.
But is not everyone your relative, brother, on the spiritual platform?
This relationship is not tinged with the smell of māyā.
The Supreme Lord is the soul of everyone,
In relation to Him, everyone in the universe is the same.
All are your relatives, brother! All the billions of jivas.
When seen in relation to Krishna they are all in harmony.
Forgetting Krishna, the jiva desires for sense gratification,
And as a result he is firmly grasped by māyā.
As a result of past activities he takes on different types of body.
Absorbed in that dress he remains forgetful of Shri Hari.
Therefore māyā gives him so many kinds of miseries.
And although he bobs up and down in this ocean of misery,
he still thinks that he is happy.
Lying on a bed, suffering greatly, having been sick a long time,
He says, “I am very well today,” and laughs.
I get a laugh out of his “feeling very well”!
This is the way the soul conditioned by māyā feels “well.”
How many plans they have to remain “well,”
But time and time again nature destroys them.
daivī hy esā gunamayī — that is the Supreme Lord’s māyā.
Try to understand exactly the meaning of their “feeling well”;
No one is well in the whole world, but still they are saying it.
In this way māyā cheats the conditioned soul.
But, ignorant of being deceived, he remains absorbed in māyā.
And although māyā kicks him, he will not give up his mistaken conception.
Again and again making plans, and again and again they are destroyed.
Sometimes he falls on the dry earth and sometimes in the mud.
In this way the universe is filled with wandering jīva souls
who finally by the grace of Guru and Krishna get bhakti — the eternal wealth.
Gaining that wealth if they can give up all other so-called wealth,
Then very easily he crosses over the ocean of samsāra.
There on the other side is unparalleled spiritual variety
where he enjoys in eternal happiness and peace.
The mad say, “There everything is formless,
Without special features, like a kind of nothing.”
Krishna is actually the storehouse of spiritual tastes—raso vai sah
The intelligent knowers of rasa serves him becoming his subordinate
Śānta, dāsya, sakhya, vātsalya are those tastes,
And the best of them, mādhurya, is the essence of them all.
In the spiritual world all these tastes are relishable,
Whereas the material tastes are just shadow reflections and are all contemptible.
One who worships Krishna is clever,
Whereas one who worships māyā is a pauper.
Becoming a pauper one engages in temporary pastimes;
Without knowledge of the true relationships of things
He simply becomes bound up in māyā’s knot.
Arjuna and Duryodhana both fought in the same war,
But Arjuna was the greatest devotee and Duryodhana died.
On the same battlefield both the dear and the detestable –
One who is intelligent will be able to understand.
One who fights the war of life knowing his true relationship,
Will remain alive while all others perish.
One who does not know his relationship and takes up some other path
Will never attain love of God, and his whole life is useless.
First understand properly your relationship with Krishna
And then keeping that relationship, go and fight with māyā.
Other than this all the heroes of jnana and karma
Never attained liberation; they were all uncertain.
In name only they were great sober and unaffected men,
None of them were truly peaceful.
Desiring liberation, sense gratification or mystic powers, all had uncontrolled senses.
The uncontrolled senses don’t answer to the potency of yoga.
How many yogis and munis there were, and always the senses remained independent.
Without service of the master of the senses, there can be no sense control.
All of them return to material activities after a short term of peace.
By the process of yoga, no one ever attains sense control.
This is explained extensively in the Vedas and Puranas.
Vishwamitra sat on the yogic āsana
But he desired the pure beauty Shakuntala.
In this way the yogis fall down, what to speak of the jnānīs
And the karmīs are all just asses, suffering in all respects.
The one to whom Krishna is merciful and gives his instruction,
Becomes equally as fortunate as Arjuna.
But one who fights for his own happiness’ sake
He, like Duryodhana, dies along with his family.
One who always fights on behalf of Krishna,
Wealth, power, knowledge are all within his grasp.
Understand properly the Gītā’s message
You will attain Krishna’s service and will worship Shri Hari,
The devotees are endowed with all qualities,
So what are “non-violence” or “freedom from anger” to them?
Shri Hari teaches the living entities by means of his devotees,
one such helper is Pārtha.
Arjuna acted just like a conditioned soul;
Like one bewildered was the Pandava brother.
Violence to his relatives and then enjoyment of the Kingdom —
Could this be happiness? Arjuna displayed lamentation.
This though, was all dehātma-buddhih identification with the body
one who is a kshatriya gives up such family affection on the battlefield.
Krishna, seeing his illusion, chastised him
Therefore Arjuna accepted the position of disciple
Becoming a disciple he listened to the Bhagavad-gītā.
All his ignorance dissipated as well as his material bondage.
His material bondage was cut, but he was not dressed as a sannyāsī.
The householders understand the Gītā’s meaning this way.
The perfection of mantras, karisye vacanam tava, “I will do as you tell me.”
Therefore the war that he fought brought him an increase in fame.
“Vaishnavas have no desire, they just chant japa on their beads.”
So what kind of Vaishnava is this Arjuna in the middle of samsāra?
“The Vaishnava freed from duality simply chants japa on his beads,”
So say those who are eating the mind’s bananas.
The Vaishnava is without desire, and amicable by nature,
But he is not a forceless weakling as people foolishly think.
In the two great Indian wars, two great personalities
Were leaders amongst the Vaishnavas and became victorious.
They did not fight out of a desire for the satisfaction of their own senses,
And so are famed throughout the world as Vaishnavas.
Those who do not see the real Vaishnavas say that a Vaishnava is inactive.
But the Vaishnava is always active in the service of the Lord.
The lifeless kanistha-adhikārīs don’t perform any service.
For profit adoration and prestige they stay in their lonely place,
Nityananda prabhu, who is worshipable by the Vaishnavas
Suffered blows, but still distributed love of God in every way he could.
Gaura Hari came with the chakra in his hand and set things straight,
After which the Vaishnava haters were subdued.
The Lord himself sets the example in order to teach the jīvas,
So one who performs nirjana bhajana simply cheats himself.
The world has now become full of Jagāis and Mādhāis,
The Nityānanda Vamśa has increased its following of disciples.
But eating, sleeping, wearing the dress, and remaining so unconcerned —
It is not proper for the Vaishnavas to remain so uncompassionate.
Vishwanath Chakravarti Thakur sang the Mādhurya Kādambinī:
Look at his conclusion and see what is his judgement.
Devotional service is causeless and self-manifesting;
It is an eternally perfect substance but has become covered over.
The madhyama-adhikārī Vaishnava, being compassionate,
Gives mercy to the innocent souls by awakening devotion in them.
The Supreme Lord acts according to the will of the Vaishnavas,
Therefore by the mercy of the Vaishnavas the bewildered can be awakened.
The Vaishnavas can awaken the sleeping world
By their mercy the sinful can all become devotees.
Therefore they do not perform nirjana bhajana,
That is the world-deceiving process of the kanistha-adhikārī
All the great and famous Vaishnavas were in and assembly
When a foreign priest came in to meet them.
He asked some questions about Krishna’s līlā in Vrindavan,
But even that company of Vaishnavas was not able to explain the truth to him.
The kanistha-adhikārīs do not really understand the scriptures,
But in the guise of doing solitary bhajan, they are only thinking of their next meal.
Our spiritual master said these are all kanisthas
Now I can understand the truth of what he said.
One well versed in the scripture and who has strong faith
Is an uttama-adhikārī and can deliver the whole world.
He is the deliverer of the most fallen and is famous through the world.
Now, save this fallen one and thus become really famed.
In the Kali-yuga the jīvas are all fallen and the lowest of mankind.
Seeing they do not see the different activities
The Supreme Lord Gaurasundara is the most magnanimous
And His instructions are all full of nectar.
One who has taken his birth in the land of Bharata
Should engage in welfare activities according to his instructions.
The Supreme Lord’s līlā was to relish mellows in solitude,
But it is not the play of Vaishnavas to imitate these activities.
This transcendental service cannot be tasted by the non-Vaishnava.
In the material body one cannot relish this transcendental nectar.
One who has the material concept that the body is his self
Cannot relish spiritual mellows.
But those who have conceptions of the Vaishnavas in terms of birth etc.
Are very bold when it comes to relishing the līlās of the Lord.
Like the clerk in the post office, one caste goswami.
The bābājīs all pay their obeisances to him a lot.
The Gosai Thakur has false pride in his birth
Which Nityānanda Prabhu cut into pieces.
I see all these things going on in Vrindavan
Therefore I can understand that there is some work to be done here
The prākrita-sahajiyās all commit adultery
Taking someone else’s wife they go to “relish transcendental līlā.”
This is not Vrindavan as always think like this my dear mind
Remember the lotus feet of the Six Goswamis.
The Six Goswamis came and preached religious life
They saved the process of devotional service on the order of Lord Chaitanya.
They are all the Lord’s eternally associates and always remember Rādhā and Krishna;
Remembering them all the conditioned souls sins are cleared away
But if he tries to imitate them taking on their dress and characteristics
He becomes the plaything of māyā and does not cross over the material ocean
Always preach! From jīva’s door to door
Your life will be successful as a result of your preaching.
Shri Dayita Das prabhu gave this instruction
“Chant Hare Krishna loudly, this is my initiation:
Kirtan is not just drums and karatālas
The sound of kirtan is not this modern system
Anything favorable for devotional service is all Madhava
And the only enjoyer of the three worlds is Yadava
Māyā’s pride and joy, the radio sound
Destroy them all by forceful kirtan.
Māyā’s is all these newspapers
Preach that throughout the whole world.
Sitting alone in your room shouting, you may increase your bile’s secretion
But in ten million births Shri Hari won’t be pleased.
Shri Hari is no one’s father’s property
Come out of your cage, stop making objection
Everything belongs to Shri Hari and Shri Hari belongs to everyone.
Chant the Hare Krishna mantra loudly
By the performance of such sankirtan there will come remembrance automatically
Then nirjana bhajana will be spontaneously manifested in the heart.