A Tour of Lords Abode
July 4, 1997
I think we have come a long way starting with the holy name and contemplating, meditating on the rupa, form of the Lord, going over the list of the qualities of Krishna and then having some glimpses of the pastimes, lila of the Lord. Having done this much I’m sure you have some desire now to do something, go somewhere. In the last four days of our presentation we were trying to use few techniques which we also had learned in our teachers training course which had taken place a week ago to get an audience involved by forming groups and then group responses.
They did that and then some question answer on going thing and we also had yesterday just grouping into pairs and then hearing realizations of those discussions. So from what we had learnt in teachers training, I thought of using those techniques. One technique was to take the students on a tour- field trip, they say something like that? ‘Take them on a field, some experiments.’
Some lecturing and some interaction and then some experiential learning. So first two things we have done, lecturing we have done and lots of interactions have taken place and now is the time for the experiential learning. So after hearing about the name and form and the qualities and then the pastimes where would you like to go on a tour, to Hawaii? Someone was saying, I didn’t hear you, yes, to Vrindavan! Anyone else has some of course we would be going to Paris as that is dham also. Radha Paris-Iswara and Jagannath will appear there so it’s also appropriate to do that.
Nothing else comes to mind right, any other places you would like to go? Mayapur-In other words you would like to go to dham- Mayapur dham. To go to Vrindavan you have to go through Mayapur, to reach Krishna you go through Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Prabhupada also planned that way, Mayapur festival then Vrindavan festival.
So these places- Mayapur and Vrindavan are on this planet and in that way the Lord has made His dham accessible to us, however finally after visiting those dhams one finally goes- this Mayapur, Vrindavana is non-different from Mayapur Vrindavan In the spiritual sky, in Goloka. In that sense we could say we just go to Mayapur, we don’t know which- same Mayapur or we go to Vrindavan and is it this Vrindavan or up there Vrindavana?
We think there are two, this is Gokul Vrindavan there is Goloka Vrindavan but we also hear that they are the same, there is no difference. So we will be going on a tour of Krishna’s dham today, are you ready? You are still thinking, everyone else said yes but your lips are still tight so I was wondering. Ready? So as I’m talking, wishing to say something about Krishna’s dham, I can take you on a tour to show you Krishna’s dham.
I’m just thinking about the very first thing I ever heard from Srila Prabhupada about the description of Vaikuntha in ’71. In Bombay Prabhupada was lecturing and the first thing on the first day I had seen and heard Prabhupada, what I remember from that first hearing is Prabhupada was talking about the Vaikuntha planets, spiritual world. Yet there’s another world, so that was the introduction, not more. We have heard and read since then and as Ravindra Svarup was talking this morning, sharing his realizations, I also have a similar realization or in few days I was thinking something similar.
In the last few days, I was talking about the form of Krishna and all the- this part of Krishna is the lotus and the navel is deep and He has so many marks and He plays flute, not guitar- He plays flute only. And then you are talking about His relatives and He has father and mother and these are the names and all. So I was thinking in the last few days that although I can say that I haven’t seen Krishna face to face and yet I am describing His form and likewise His pastimes and His relatives and His neighbours and friends and cows and His abode.
And I was thinking that although myself, it is also a realization of you all or many of you, that for sure there’s a full conviction that Krishna plays flute. There’s no ‘I won’t accept that He plays any..’ I mean he could play some other, He could also play vina and He could also play mridanga but for sure He plays flute. Or the colour of His dhoti for sure is yellow, and all other facts.
Yes, these are His relatives and this is where He stays and even if someone is going to beat me to death I would not say that He doesn’t play flute or if someone going to bribe me ‘take a million dollars but say something other than what you have been talking here’ what to speak of God doesn’t exist or He has no form or He has different kind of- He is green in colour. Rama had some greenish complexion. Someone says ‘I will bribe you, I will give you million dollars or I will beat you!’ Could you say something differently?’
I thought I would not say anything from what has been said by Prabhupada and what Srila Vyasadeva has written or what Krishna has said in Bhagavad Gita. So I wanted to say this in Ravindra Svarup’s class this morning of my realization and I am saying this to you now. So how many of you also have similar realization as I or that kind of conviction? So most of you- we are together. So the same thing again of touring the dham, while most of the world doesn’t even know what we’re talking about. Here we are, even if we are beaten to death we are not going to give up these thoughts and these ideas and these words and we are only over our dead bodies we could be separated from this information and all these realizations- more than information.
Information is knowledge but when it begins to do something within you then it is more than just information. So well Ravindra Svarup said this had something to do with the Supersoul who is in action. So having said that much this idea of the tour is there still. Once upon a time when mother earth was overburdened by the load of the – especially ksatriyas who were not doing their duties properly and Mother Earth was in total distress, in tears and was in shape of a cow and she is crying and then she approaches demigods for help and they told her that they couldn’t do anything and they said ‘let’s go to Brahma.’
Even Brahma says ‘okay we better go to someone even higher than myself’ and they end up in Svetadvipa where Ksirodaksayi Vishnu resides and communication was made and Vishnu is ready to help. You are familiar with what I’ve just said but what I’m going to say hereafter is not something that you’re familiar with. It is simply because what I say did not happen five thousand years ago because that was not the only time that Krishna had appeared in this world.
Krishna appears once in day of Brahma so many, many times Krishna has made His appearance so one of those times- and these different times are called kalpas. This was the time of Varaha kalpa and what I am going to be describing to you in this touring dham- this description is found in Garga Samhita. Gargacharya- you know Gargamuni from Gokul to Vrindavan, a very prominent figure, spiritual master and like that.
He wrote the whole description of the pastimes of the Lord in Garga Samhita so what I’m going to narrate to you is from Garga Samhita. It’s just the touring concept, everything else I think you will have no difficulty to accept. And this tour was taken by the demigods- the demigods are going on a tour and they come to this time at the end of the kalpa to Vishnu. This time he says that even I am not Supreme, I am just expansion or plenary portion.
ete camsa kalah pumsah krsnas tu bhagavan svayam
So I would like to bring you to svayam Bhagavan and then He says ‘please follow me.’ So the tour guide is- who is guiding the tour here? Ksirodaksayi Vishnu. You are familiar here? So Rupa Manjari is one of the tour guides here and there are others. So here Vishnu is personally guiding all the demigods and He says ‘please come along.’ And they are all now following, so they are all within the universe. We had one painting showing the spiritual sky and material sky.
So there in the universe now what our idea is that as the demigods go on the tour guided by Vishnu, we want to follow that path. Imagine that you are also in that crowd with the demigods and so you are benefitted and so when you have to go in the future then you would know. But who knows you may not want to come back once you are there.
yad gatva na nivartante
tad dhama paramam mama
At least in consciousness you will be fixed in, our bodies may be still walking and talking and wondering here. That’s also one way of saying we did not come back from the dham, so that’s the idea. So those who want to stay can stay but the demigods did come back but you don’t come back. The demigods had some duties to perform- for preaching you also could come.
Everybody is within the universe now, how to get out of the universe? So Vishnu knew how to get out and he knew that the Lord had appeared or He had appeared as Vamandeva and He had taken one step and second step and while taking the second step Lord’s foot had touched the universe from inside and that had made a little hole, puncture. A little cracking took place although the layers- layer after layer are very, very thick.
But here is the Lord, as you go you also make some dent right in the ground, right? So the Lord, powerful Lord as He touched He made a crack and then what happens? Water that is outside starts dripping and so there’s a hole. There’s a hole in the layer of the universe so Vishnu enters that tunnel and all the demigods are walking right behind. Are you with us?
So now you are walking through that tunnel and on the side, where is that little stick? And on the side they’re noticing that water is flowing. They’re going in another direction, going out and water is flowing and this water turns into – what happens to this water? It’s Ganga, mother Ganga, we see her in Mayapur and she goes all the way through the universe- up and through the middle and she even goes down. So they’re travelling a long, long time- a long distance because layer after layer of different elements.
They come out of the universe, so there are all the universes, so which one is our universe? Okay that one, so they came out, they’re out now. So as they come out of one universe, what are they seeing? They’re seeing all the universes but this they had never seen ever before. They come out, universes like a watermelon or like a football and all the time we are inside and now we are out and as we look around there are watermelon type objects or footballs all over, unlimited, as far as you could see and beyond that in all directions there is this big, big gigantic bodied thing floated.
What to speak of the tiny creatures even demigods were simply – they had never imagined anything like this. So this happens as they simply come out of this universe, and there is water everywhere. Where is this water coming from? Maha Vishnu. Now you could see these little ones -they have just come out of the bodily pores, the universes and the water also.
This is the causal ocean and this is all the perspiration from the body of Maha Vishnu and as they come out they travel, their goal is to of course go touring to see Krishna. Krsnas tu bhagavan svayam, so somewhere between the border of the material existence and the spiritual sky, there’s a river there called the Viraja river who is supposed to be one of the consorts and she is liquid form in one of the pastimes, we also read that.
And then they cross across that and the first thing that they experience is that there is a brilliant, brilliant effulgence and their eyes – what happens when there’s a big torchlight right in front of your face? You could hardly you know, there’s a lot of light so you should be able to see but you stop seeing when there’s too much light. This is what happens with the mayavadis, there’s too much light, too much effulgence so they stop seeing the form. So as the demigods crossed the river the first thing they saw was this bright light and they had to close their eyes as they were almost becoming blind.
So Vishnu gave instruction to them ‘bow down, bow down, bow down’ so they all bowed down and as they then raised, they got up and they were able to see. Also they were able to enter that effulgence. Are you with us? So in the beginning we were – these are all Vaikuntha planets and according to Brahma:
goloka namni nija dhamni tale ca tasya (B.S 5.43)
devi mahesa hari dhamasu tesu tesu
Brahma says, goloka namni nija dhamni. Lord Krishna’s own abode is Goloka and tale ca tasya, underneath the Lord’s dham there’s Devi dham and that is material existence and then Mahesh dham somewhere, I can’t show it to you here. Then comes Hari dham- Hari dham is all the Vaikuntha planets, Vishnulokas and.. Then at the top is Lord Krishna’s own abode. So Vishnu’s original proposal was that ‘I will bring you to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsnas to bhagavan svayam.’
They’re not stopping anywhere and they are going through this effulgence and they’re seeing all the different planets of all the different incarnations and finally there is also Ayodhya dham and finally up there is Krishna’s own abode Goloka which they finally enter. Before entering in fact there’s a huge gate, there’s a description that there’s a big big huge gate and it is guarded by some sakhis and they have a stick in hand and they are guarding like a guard. So one of them approached and they saw two big large groups coming ‘Hey where are you from and who are you?
Are you from the universe where Brahma has four heads? Okay okay I heard so wait, wait don’t come in.’ So she goes all the way to give the report to Krishna that there’s a large crowd – ‘Three hundred and thirty million persons have come my Lord.’ So the Lord was very kind and He said ‘Let them in’ so this sakhi called Chandranana- a sakhi who is anana, who’s face is like a chandra- moon-like faced, bright faced sakhi.
So she said ‘okay, come on in’ and so Krishna is not right there at the gate entrance, He is all the way in the inner chambers like when you go into a palace there are so many other things before you can get to see, you pass by this that door or that corridor or that. So like that this is where the demigods get to see very closely the abode of Lord Krishna first time ever.
As they are going to see Krishna they are seeing what is there and they are all trying to hear and smell and touch as they are really overwhelmed with the whole experience and they see Jamuna there, there’s a Jamuna and this scene is there. Jamuna is very much there in the spiritual sky so they see crystal clear water and many blooming lotuses and there is a description that lotuses in the Jamuna mean that Jamuna is trying to hand out, ‘oh Krishna please take. This flower is for you.’
She’s trying to offer these flowers to Krishna, ‘ please take these flowers. This is our offering unto you.’ And swans are all swimming, the demigods are all seeing this and there are palaces on either side of Jamuna and there are steps leading to the waters and all those steps are studded with very valuable gems and sapphires.
Then they walk through the fields and they see cows everywhere- this is Goloka. Even this loka, planet is named after the cows. Also the Gokula, the whole dynasty that takes care of the cows, Goloka and Gokula – this Go is cow. So there are cows in abundance everywhere of all different complexions, sizes and there are calves which are running with their tails upraised and everyone is all jubilant and there are so many cowherd men, boys and they are singing songs.
There is no air pollution and the whole thing is crystal clear and there is no sound pollution, you say something and it could be heard at some distance away and the air would like to bring that vibration so that others hear and so like this all the demigods had never experienced such a clear, clean, spotless, beautiful, dazzling, brilliant place.
Then they also go this side here and there’s also a huge tall mountain with so many trees and there are rasa mandals, big, big arenas for rasa dancing and they see caves and then they happen to go this side which is like the mouth of Govardhan and there is Radha Kunda, Shyam Kunda, this is the mouth side. So of course all these forests are very glorious because Krishna performs varieties of pastimes. And superior to these twelve forests is what? Giri Govardhan, why? Because Krishna is lifting that personally. And superior to Giri Govardhan is Radha Kunda. Is there anything superior to Radha Kunda? There is nothing superior to Radha Kunda because it is as good as Radharani and there is nothing more better or superior than Radharani. So they have experience of that and they are just taking a little tour around and just enjoying and relishing the beauty.
So making tour, they finally, it must be Radha Kunda-like place, it says in Garga Samhita, they finally come to the place which is the centre of dham, there is a nikunja- nija, nikunja’s. Nija means His own kunjas which are thirty two in number according to Garga Samhita. So they are going through these nija nikunjas of the Lord and finally they come to the centre of these kunjas and there they see a lotus petal, a lotus flower that has thousand petals.
You could see a thousand petals going round and then there must be another layer and another on and another- a thousand petalled lotus. Then they see another lotus higher, which has sixteen petals and even higher yet another lotus with eight petals and there’s a big throne there, so they’re getting there. There’s a big throne bedecked with jewels and most opulent.
And there He is,
Govindam adi purusham tam aham bhajami
Govindam adi purusham tam aham bhajami
venum kvanantam aravinda-dalayataksam
barhavatam samasitambuda sundarangam
kandarpa koti kamaniya vishesha shobham
govindam adi-purusham tam aham bhajami
govindam adi-purusham tam aham bhajami
govindam adi-purusham tam aham bhajami
So curtains have been already opened, the curtain of illusion is removed. The curtain is made thinner and thinner and thinner and then finished. You are there face to face with Krishna so here is the divine couple on that throne being served by:
lakshmi sahasra shata sambhrama sevyamanam
Millions of gopis are serving Radha and Krishna, it is all the description we heard of His form just like that- Krishna is just like that with His complexion resembling the monsoon cloud and He has a turban, peacock feather and He has that four piece suit on. His upper garment, tight belt and dhoti, all this is also described as the complexion reminds us of the monsoon clouds and the peacock is like a rainbow, when there’s clouds and raining the rainbow is there.
The garland of pearls, they are white in colour, sometimes He wears and they are compared to like a swan. Imagine the clouds in colour and white swans are going across, flying across and here is dhoti which is a brilliant yellowish colour, what is that? At the time of rain sometimes there is lightning, His dhoti is like a lightning and the Lord’s voice is compared to thunder or rumbling. The Lord has deep voice, right? His voice is deep and as He would say just one word it would just..
It could also be heard at long distances so that Shyamsundar is there, of course His flute is ever ready and to His left side Radharani is sitting with blessing mudra, to bless you all. Her beautiful clothes, colour of her sari is what? Bluish – because Krishna’s colour is bluish her sari is bluish. And because Radharani’s colour is golden so Krishna’s dhoti is that colour. They wear these clothes so just by seeing her own sari she remembers Krishna and by seeing His own dhoti He remembers Radharani.
And both of them with their lotus eyes and their merciful glances, now here they look at thirty three million demigods and you are also part of that crowd, they are looking at you mercifully. They have higher throne so that they could see everyone. There is one advantage why not that the speaker is proud that is why his seat is higher, but there’s a practical reason so that he could see or even speak to them and have eye contact, some relationship with the audience.
So Krishna used to meet so many of them and as his elevated throne was an elevated position, from there he’s seeing and then Vishnu gives an introduction and the reason why they were there. So Krishna says ‘okay, fine with me if you cannot handle. The demigods and Shiva and Brahma and even you Vishnu. Okay so you all go and I am just now coming.’ So they were all asked to go and then they appeared in this Gokula and later on Krishna comes and then makes His appearance.
So this happened in Varaha Kalpa and so this is a tour of the dham and so the demigods had to come back because they had lots of assignments. You can decide now if you want to hang around for longer up there or do you have some meeting tomorrow? Okay so that will bring description of the dham – Krishna’s dham is supreme abode, topmost abode, the spiritual planets and all other dhams they bow down in fact to the dham of Krishna.
One time there was a conference of all these dhams in Prayag in Allahbad and all the dhams were invited to attend one meeting and they all came- dhams are also made of personifications, so they all came many of them and everyone was there and they looked around and they said ‘where is Vrindavan dham?’ And then they had a little discussion, they were all furious, they were all very angry, ‘why is this Vrindavan not here?! Who does he think he is?!’ And they all thought ‘we should personally go and chastise this Vrindavan dham so he doesn’t miss any future meeting.’
So they started their journey and they’re going towards Vrindavan but as they came closer to Vrindavan and saw the beauty and the grandeur, the opulence- the whole position of Vrindavan was entirely a different one and they all realised their foolishness and they all bowed down to Vrindavan dham – bow down Mr! And they also decided to reside there in Vrindavan. So as you go to Vrindavan you will see all different dhams as part of Vrindavan dham, they are in there.
In other words also, Vrindavan dham is the source of all other dhams, like Krishna is the source of all other incarnations similarly Krishna expands in different incarnations and Krishna’s abode expands in different dhams for other incarnations. The origin of all dhams is Vrindavan dham and touring Vrindavan dham is just enough- Vrindavan Mayapur is sufficient and this is the ultimate pilgrimage and so at this point we could also do a little advertising, commercials as Shaunaka is expert in doing these things but he’s not here.
Yes we would like to invite you to the next Vrajamandal Parikrama which starts this year, so it’s 15th October for one month so that is till 15th of November and we’ll bring you to all these places and we’ll start there in Mathura and go like that and come back so it is thirty days camping at different places of Krishna’s pastimes including the foothills of Govardhan and the banks of Jamuna.
We take our breakfast and lunches at the same places where Krishna used to sit down and take his lunch with his cowherd boyfriends, what more do you want? The same dust is still there, there are three things still there- the dust of Vrindavan, Giri Govardhan and Jamuna, they are still there. Other things are- some externally, transformations, different looking. So this is the eleventh annual Vraja Mandal Parikrama.
Every year we have been organizing and devotees come, this is not a large group Parikrama like in Navadvipa we have a thousand devotees in Navadvipa Mayapur Parikrama, here we get hundred or hundred and fifty. Between hundred and two hundred devotees come from worldwide and it becomes more personal and we always have a few Swamis, talkers- Dina Bandhu prabhu joins us and also we are taking bath in Jamuna and one day we will go ahead and do it.
At midnight on the appearance day of Radha Kunda, imagine at midnight we will take bath in Radha Kunda. Unforgettable experience of your life, something that you’ll treasure. How many of you have gone through this experience, Vraja mandal parikrama? You could see one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine- how many times Maharaj you have been? Sacinananda Swami has done for many times.
So I think we will stop here for our fifth and final topic of our seminar in Radhadesh Iskcon european convention. We could always do a little question answer.
1. Question: Krishna was a cowherd boy, He had many cows so I wondered what is the importance of cow protection or maintaining cows?
Answer: They cannot be separated from Krishna consciousness. If you realize how dear is the cow to Krishna-it’s not just some artist’s imagination here, just painted a cow next to god or next to Krishna. In fact His deep affection for the cow- love my dog. Before you love me love my dog philosophy is there so if you want to love Krishna you have to love His cows. So this Prabhupada taught us how to serve and love cows so he gave us some cows and some farms.
New Vrindavan cows, Prabhupada would talk that the cows and Krishna you cannot separate- ‘They know, that is why they’re happy’ Prabhupada said. It’s a part of our culture, cow and Krishna and so they cannot separate. Prabhupada talked about ox and bullock cart sankirtan in India was successful and Prabhupada said we should have millions of carts all over the world, millions of bullock carts and ox carts all over the world so that seems to be the future. Whatever Prabhupada said has came true or it will come true sooner or later so so much could be said on this topic, thank you for reminding us.
And for economic reasons, I mean we’re taking ample developing the economy of Iskcon, Prabhupada did say ‘You need the land and the cow, so chant Hare Krishna and be happy.’
2. Question: Maharaja, I was wondering that Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita in several places that one should get to Krishna’s abode and never leave it for the material world, so I was wondering if the demigods again left to go back?
Answer: They did yes, they were not really qualified- it was the special mercy of Vishnu so they were taken in and out. Their consciousness was not- they were not thoroughly purified, it was an emergency time so they- Vishnu took them to the big boss to see how to resolve this calamity now- so yes they came back.
3. Question: They say that you can’t buy a train ticket to go to the dham and that when you’re in the dham, Krishna is covering the dham so it’s protected. So is there any benefit in going there or could it be penetrated, that layer?
Answer: Well it could be penetrated by cultivating the mood exhibited by Narottam das Thakur who sings:
visaya chadiya kabe suddha ha’be mana
kabe hama heraba sri vrndavana
He’s talking ‘oh Lord, when will I give up this idea of gratifying the senses?
visaya chadiya kabe suddha ha’be mana. Once I give up this idea of gratifying the sense my mind will become purified and then I will be able to see Vrindavan and reside in Vrindavan.’
So he has told us how to do it. Yes? Well one thing we hear is that the dham is revealed unto you by your spiritual master so this is one of the dhams. As there are ten offences against the holy name there are ten offences against the dham and one of them is to blaspheme or disrespect the spiritual master who reveals dham unto you. And for us Prabhupada has revealed dham unto us and the present spiritual masters or his disciples by the help of Prabhupada are revealing the dham unto their followers further.
This is done by all spiritual masters, so by the grace of Srila Prabhupada, easy answer- no, standard answer is how to do. By also chanting Hare Krishna which the spiritual master has given you instructions to chant Hare Krishna but we went over that on the first day, not to chant attentively and the result of that attentive chanting is that the Lord would reveal His form unto you. Then His qualities will be revealed and His pastimes and where do the pastimes take place? In the dham.
So like that it starts with the chanting, chant Hare Krishna and be happy and also follow these regulative principles and control yourself, free yourself from this sinful life and do your chanting and associate and take Krishna prasad. So doing these things is all mercy, this is mercy and this is how to become qualified. Okay so this is time up for questions and answers for today’s presentation.
Thank you for encouraging me and giving me many topics. I also think you’re a very wonderful audience which I’ve had in last five days, it was very relaxed time which we dont get in our busy life of spreading Krishna- expanding. I was hankering to do this for a long time, i was ending up making some centennial sessions but I was not able to talk directly in Bhagavatam classes yes but seminars of this kind is- this has not happened.
So this was new teacher and new students practicing this so like that you can all pray so that I can do this more in the future. Alright so, maybe one more comment on this topic highlighting the points to improvement? Maharaja already gave me some few hints possibly using some slight presentation and more audio visual which even I was thinking in last few days but it never happened so any other things we could do to improve?
Thank you. I highly appreciate those listening with attention.