by Mark Gerard Keenan, 10th Oct 2023
What is Love?
We hear that the essence of Krsna Consciousness is Love of God, but to quote the title of a modern pop song “What is Love?” The modern-day pop singer cried out this aching question? ‘Modern love’ is often confused with physical lust, yet we know in our heart that real love is NOT lust. In fact, there is a vast, even infinite difference. Love is not material – can you touch love or bang it with a hammer? No… Love is spiritual… Love is transcendental. We cannot see it, but Love is Real.
Love, in fact, is the only thing that can save us from the clutches of Maya. Some of us have to dragged by our deluded senses, kicking and screaming through the alleyways of passionate despair before we may, by some mercy – simply STOP chasing the angels of deception – and ask this question – What is Love?.
Let us humbly beg to have our eyes spiritualized so we can perceive this beautiful picture of transcendental eternal love – the pure supreme love reality between Radha and Krsna. The Manjaris selfless devotion and pure love is the essence. That love is too great for the rules of language – it is a vibration of the heart. The Manjaris have no selfish material motivation whatsoever, and Lord Sri Krsna trusts them and asks the Gopis for advice.
Krsna ‘needs’ the love of Radha – it means everything to Him. Thus, the service of Sri Radha is the most extraordinary goal of life. When we aspire to serve Sri Radha, we begin to realise who we actually are – eternal servitors of Sri Sri Radha-Krsna.
Yet, how can we even begin to understand the pure spiritual loving rasa between Radha and Krsna?
His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada informs us that the instructions in the books left by the Six Gosvami’s, headed by Srila Rupa Gosvami and Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami is key to this process. The six members of the group were:
The brothers Rupa Goswamiand Sanatana Goswami
Jiva Goswami (nephew of Rupa and Sanatana).
Raghunatha Bhatta Goswami
Gopala Bhatta Goswami
Raghunatha dasa Goswami
Bhajans of devotion
This week I am grateful for, and inspired, by the association of a devotee who spoke about the wonderful bhajans of Narottama Dasa Thakura. Srila Prabhupada Himself often sang the sweet bhajans of Narottama Dasa Thakura and he quoted them in his Bhagavatam lectures. Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura took diksha from Shri Lokanatha Goswami and siksha in Gaudiya philosophy from Shri Jiva Goswami. His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada also informs us that:
“… we quote from Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura often. Not, not only Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura—Kṛṣṇadāsa Kavirāja Gosvāmī and the six Gosvāmīs, they are authorities” – The Nectar of Devotion
Appearing as the son of a king, Shri Narottama Dasa Thakura showed all the bodily symptoms of an exalted divine person and he longed to serve Krishna. He was a lifelong brahmachari and took took diksha from Shri Lokanatha Goswami and siksha in Gaudiya philosophy from Shri Jiva Goswami. Narottama Dasa Thakura wrote many devotional songs about the spiritual master, the Devotees, devotional service, the six Goswamis, Gaura-Nityananda and Radha-Krishna. Narottama Dasa’s sweet songs are a source of devotional inspiration for us all. His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada informs us in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 7.6.7 that:
“Whatever Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura has said in simple Bengali song, they are all Vedic injunction. Therefore Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura’s Prārthanā are very popular and famous amongst the Vaiṣṇava, Gauḍīya” – Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 7.6.7
Therefore, let us hear the words of a beautiful loving bhajan of Narottama Dasa Thakura. Song name: Gauranga Bolite Habe (This is the first song in Narottama Das Thakura’s book “Prarthana.”)
gaurāńga’ bolite habe pulaka-śarīra
‘hari hari’ bolite nayane ba’ be nīraāra kabe nitāi-cānder koruṇā hoibe
saḿsāra-bāsanā mora kabe tuccha ha’beviṣaya chāriyā kabe śuddha ha ‘be mana
kabe hāma herabo śrī-bṛndābanarūpa-raghunātha-pade hoibe ākuti
kabe hāma bujhabo se jugala-pīritirūpa-raghunātha-pade rahu mora āśa
prārthanā koroye sadā narottama-dāsa
When will that opportune moment come to us, when there will be shivering of the body as soon as we chant Lord Gauranga’s name? While chanting Hare Krsna, when will there be tears in the eyes?
When will I obtain the mercy of Lord Nityananda-candra? When, by His mercy will the desire for material enjoyment become very insignificant?
When the mind is completely purified, being freed from material anxieties and desires, then I shall be able to understand Vrndavana and the conjugal love of Radha and Krsna, and then my spiritual life will be successful.
When shall I be very much eager to study the books left by the Six Gosvami’s, headed by Srila Rupa Gosvami and Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami? By their instruction I shall be able to properly understand the loving affairs of Radha and Krsna.
My only aspiration is to attain the lotus feet of the Six Gosvamis headed by Srila Rupa Gosvami and Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami. Narottama dasa constantly prays to attain their lotus feet.
The prayers of Raghunatha Bhatta Goswami
I am grateful for the association this week of the devotee who spoke about the beautiful prayers of Raghunatha Bhatta Goswami, which are another wonderful source of devotional inspiration. The following in as extract from the Çré Viläpa Kusumäïjali.
Sré Viläpa Kusumäïjali is the last and foremost writing of Çréla Raghunätha Däsa Gosvämé. These beautiful prayers will give us an insight into his intense feelings of transcendental love in separation:
“Shrila Raghunatha Dasa Goswami was rolling on the bank of Sri Radhakunda, muddying the ground with his tears of divine love… By the mercy of his divine mistress Sri Radha he is perceiving a very sweet pastime within his transcendental heart.
He sees a mind-stealing bower and doesn’t see himself any longer as Shrila Raghunath Dasa Goswami but as Tulasi manjari. Shrila Raghunatha das Gosvami in his manjari-svarupa is officially known as Rati manjari but her nickname is Tulasi manjari.
Within the temple, which is in this bower of Vraja, she sees a very beautiful transcendental pastime of Shri Shri Radha-Krishna. She is directly relishing the sweetness of this pastime by looking through a slit in the wall. After their transcendental pastimes Shri Shri Radha-Krishna are sitting on Their bed of flowers and Tulasi manjari understands that her time to serve has come. When she enters the temple she can see how sweet Shrimati Radharani looks.
Shri Govinda Himself is also relishing the sweetness of Her face… Tulasi manjari picks up that relish in between. Shrimati Radharani is called here ‘beautifully faced girl’, in reference to Krishna who is relishing the beauty of Her face. Krishna says to Shrimati Radharani’s girlfriends: ‘ki dekhilo aparupa rama?’: “What an amazing girl I have just seen!”…
Tulasi manjari (Raghunatha Dasa Goswami) used the word ‘Sumukhi’ (beautifully faced girl) in this transcendental vision.”
What is the essence of sevā (devotional service)?
Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura Prabhupāda provides the following answer:
“Answer: Sevā is not an activity or dharma of the mind or body. It is the dharma of the soul. There are no business dealings in sevā. Rather, when service is rendered solely to give happiness to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, without even slightly desiring one’s own happiness, then only is it genuine kṛṣṇa-sevā. So the essence of sevā is this: it is the unadulterated, unmotivated and uninterrupted instinct of the soul. Unless we perform such unadulterated devotional service to the lotus feet of śrī guru, it is impossible for us to comprehend the essence of Vedānta. Apart from the devotees of the Supreme Lord, none can become guru. And this is the factual truth, not merely imagination. Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa has said, “In whatever manner someone serves Me, I serve Him in the same manner.” Devotees in kānta-rasa (the mood of a beloved consort) render sevā to Śrī Kṛṣṇa by dedicating every part of their body to Him. And Śrī Kṛṣṇa completely immerses every part of His body in that service as well. Yet, even after giving Himself fully, He considers Himself indebted to them. Hence, the absolute completion of surrender and the pinnacle of excellence in sevā exist in kānta-rasa alone.”
In this material world, despite relationships with friends and family, we will be alone when material death comes. We do not know what will happen when that moment arrives. Therefore, we should seek a loving relationship with God now, rather than some unspecified future date. Reality distinguished from illusion for the welfare of all is that God exists, and if we truly desire to be with Him in the Spiritual World, we must learn to serve Radha, we must lean the path of devotion – the path of Bhakti.
What good is ‘peace’ if there is no love of God?
Krsna Consciousness is both an internal and external process to establish God-consciousness – it maybe peaceful but it may also be a war that involves ‘fighting’ with knowledge.
Many of us aspiring to develop Bhakti can become waylaid by the distraction of becoming a peace activist. Yet, we must realise we are not the controller – God and his agents are in control. The material world is flowing with powerful karmic forces we cannot understand.
If there is war we hope for peace and safety. Peace sounds like a nice safe utopia, yet peace is of limited value if there is no love of God. The essence of Krsna Consciousness is love of God – not ‘peace of God’. Peace by itself without love of God can be atheistic and impersonal. I took the beautiful picture below of the peaceful still Lough Erne whilst on Krsna Island 8 years ago. Beautiful is’nt it? Yet, we can only sit peacefully looking at a peaceful lake for so long.
We should not be fools “waiting for peaceful utopia, waiting for hell to freeze over”. Sometimes the ocean is still and peaceful and sometimes there are wild destructive storms. That is the way of things. There will always be waves in the ocean of the material world. Peace in the material universe is virtually impossible for the conditioned souls subject to the modes of material nature.
My books listed at www.mkeenan.ie clearly evidence that the atheistic forces that have been creating wars and genocide over the past centuries are those greedy financialists that own the world private banking sector. Wars are hugely profitable for the private bankers that instigate wars, pull the strings, and fund both sides like a ‘punch and judy’ show puppeteer of destruction. Forces that create war for their own demonic or greedy purposes without the sanction of God will themselves be subject to karma.
Only God knows the complexities of these karmic reactions. None of us know better than God. The Bhagavad Gita itself is the story of the Battle of Kurekshetra – all out WAR to defeat godless demonic forces. Utopia in the material universe does not exist – it only exists in the imagination. Thus, whatever happens in the material world we must know that we have limited control of events and whatever happens we should prioritise devotional service; chanting Hare Krsna; and surrendering to God. When we fight fight we must fight with knowledge – the knowledge that Krsna and the line of divine Acharyas gave us in their writings.
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare
All Glories to Lord Sri Krishna !
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Author: Mark Gerard has been practising Vedic Vaishnavism since 2013, and is a former scientist at the UK Government Dept. of Energy and Climate Change, and at the United Nations Environment Division. Author of 7 books available on Amazon.com, and www.mkeenan.ie including Krishna is the Greatest Scientist – Godless Fake Science Exposed.
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