Day 6 – May 28
Location - Sri Rangam (Tamilnadu, India)
Lord Shri Rama stayed on this planet for 11,000 years and we find the whole description in Ramayana. Shri Krishna stayed on this planet for 125 years. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu performed Lila for 48 years.
Here Sri Ranganath is performing pastimes daily in the form of deity with the Acharyas. Tirupati, Kanchipuram. Rameshvaram they all have become dham due to the presence of the Lord’s form as archa vigraha. Tirupati Vaikuntha, Kanchipuram Vaikuntha, Sri Rangam Vaikuntha and Rameshvaram are Ayodhya. Yad gatva na nivartante. – Krishna says in Bhagvad Gita that one who comes to my dham, except you all, he does not want to go back.
There is Vaikuntha dwar (the Vaikuntha door) and whoever enters that on Vaikuntha Ekadashi gets transferred to Vaikuntha. From Vaikuntha you may go to Goloka, but do not go to Devi dham. Become Vaikuntha vasi. Become strong and then go ahead in life. Take the mood of Vaikuntha wherever you go. Do not degrade.
Srila Prabhupada left Vrindavan to preach in the western world, but his mind was always absorbed in remembering Vrindavan and Sri Sri Radha Damodar. Out of all the dham, most dear is Vrindavan. It is very unique. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu also did South India yatra and he came here to Ramesvaram, Kanchipuram, Adi Kesava, Trivandrum, Kolhapur, and Pandharpur and moved ahead. Although he was going to these dham, His main objective was to establish naam sankirtana. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is Sri Krishna Himself. Sri Krishna chaitanya radha Krishna nahe anya. He is Krishna so where would he stay. Thus His mind would always run towards Vrindavan. He accepted initiation from Ishvara Puri in Gaya. That time He wanted to go to Vrindavan. But could not go. Then he took sannyaas at the age of 24.
We are entangled in Maya – I and mine. In these four syllables there is whole Maya – aham and mama. My house, my wealth, my family, if nothing then – my dog.
But our kartavya (only duty) is Hari Kirtanam. Kartavyam hari kirtanam. What should I be doing – chanting. This is one important lesson of this yatra. Once you go back- do not forget this lesson. What is the use of running around in the yatra if you did not learn kartavyam hari kirtanam? If you have duties towards family etc. then do them also with this kartavyam hari kirtanam. If you cannot do this, then
gurur na sa syat sva-jano na sa syat pita na sa syaj janani na sa syat
daivana tat syn na pati ca sa syan na mocayed yau samupeta-martyum
One who cannot deliver his dependents from the path of repeated birth and death should never become a spiritual master, a father, a husband, a mother or a worship able demigod. (SB 5.5.18)
If you have become guru, mata, pitas, then you have to liberate your dependents. You have to remove them from the jaws of death of this lifetime as well as future deaths. This is actual kartvya or duty towards your near and dear ones. If you do not do this then whatever you do, even animals do. Food, clothing shelter is provided by parents in every species. Only human species can liberate their dependents. Dharmena hina pashubhir samanam without Krishna consciousness human being is equivalent to animal.
So keep these memories of yatra fresh by hearing, remembering, reminding each other of the yatra, tell others, kathyanatas ca maam nityam tushyanti ca ramanti ca.
Saints and acharyas have worshipped the arca vigraha of the dham and they have done many other works of preaching. This is the responsibility of Acharya. They are the representatives of the lord. Thus they advertise about the lord. Here is the lord so they advertise and then they write books, their realisations, they print. So in this dham Ramanujacharya preached almost 1000 years ago. After 5 years in 2017 is Ramanujacharya’s 1000 birth anniversary. In 1017 Ad Ramanujacharya was born. So 2017 is 1000 th Birthday.
Acharya has vani and vapu. Even if they leave the body, they still remain amongst us in the form of their instructions, their messages. So Ramanujacharya’s body is still here. No other acharya has such darshan in the world. Tukaram does not even have a Samadhi. There are samadhis of so many acharyas. But Ramanujacharya is sitting right here smeared with saffron, sandal paste, camphor, sitting in lotus position. He is a very dear acharya. Very dear to the lord. When he was in Kanchipuiram, he was very dear to Varadaraja.
At that time the Acharya of Sri Rangam was Yamunacharya. He was the spiritual master of Yamunacharya. Of course he had many gurus – Shailapurna, Mahapurna, Goshthipurna many such saints. He took shiksha from Yamunacharya. When Yaminacharya left, there was no acharya in Sri Rangam. So the devotees and the other priests were thinking who will be the acharya after Yamunacharya. Ranganath thought if Varadaraj’s acharya could come here and take up the responsibility, it will be very nice. So this was the thought of devotees as well as the Lord Himself.
So the lord wrote a letter to Varadaraj Swami, please send Ramanujacharya to Sri Rangam. The letter was taken by the devotees. Varadraja read the letter but refused to send Ramanujacharya. He is dearer to us than our life and breath. So Varadaraj replied, sorry we cannot send him. So Ranganath devised a plan to bring Him here. He sent some devotees who are good singers and they performed for Vradaraja Swami by singing beautiful compositions and glorifications and dance. So they performed dance and singing in front of Varadaraj and he became very pleased. He said ask from me whatever benediction you want, I will give. The performers asked, are you sure you will fulfil your promise? Vradaraj said yes, why not, sure.
Please send Ramanujacharya to Sri Rangam. Varadaraj had not even thought that they would ask for Ramanujacharya. You can take Sridevi, Bhudevi or my crown, etc. But they did not want anything else. So although he did not want to agree, but to keep up to His name He had to agree.
So those devotees brought Ramanujacharya to Sri Rangam. In the evening it was time for the Lord to take rest. But Sri Ranganath immediately ran towards Ramanujacharya to welcome Him. But the utsav vigraha moves out only when there is palanquin. At night there were no preparations for a procession. But the Lord insisted and the pujari had to carry him on his shoulders and the lord came out to greet Ramanujacharya. For 20-30 years he remained as the Acharya here.
We also visited the Jagannath Mutt during harinaam sankirtana. Murali Bhatta was telling that Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu carved the deity of Jagannath, Baladev and Subhadra, which are now present in Jagannath Mutt. Sometimes we feel that there are so many topics that with just one mouth we cannot speak all these topics. Thus there are prayers by devotees, praying for thousands of mouths. Ananta shesha has thousands of mouths and He is glorifying Krishna with all those mouths. Near every mouth of Ananta Shesha there is a crowd to hear the glorification of the Lord. Every mouth is chanting a different topic – Krishna’s name, form, qualities, pastimes, abode, then Ram Lila, description of Ayodhya, Vaikuntha, Goloka, so on and so forth. Advaitam achyuta anadi annat rupam.
Reading from CC-ML- 9.110
One time Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was discussing Krishna katha with Venkat Bhatt
Being a Vaisnava in the Ramanuja-sampradaya, Venkata Bhatta worshiped the Deities of Lakshmi and Narayana. Seeing his pure devotion, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was very satisfied. Constantly associating with each other, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Venkata Bhatta gradually developed a friendly relationship. Indeed, sometimes they laughed and joked together. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu told the Bhattacarya, “Your worship able goddess of fortune, Lakñmé, always remains on the chest of Narayana, and she is certainly the chastest woman in the creation. “However, my Lord is Lord Sré Krishna, a cowherd boy who is engaged in tending cows. Why is it that Lakshmi, being such a chaste wife, wants to associate with My Lord? (CC ML 9.109-112)
Venkat Bhatt might not be aware but Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu knew that there is a forest called Belvan or Srivana in Vrindavan, where Lakshmi Devi is performing austerities to get the association of Krishna. Or wants entry in the rasa dance. She felt, can I also sometime play with the lord like the Gopis do.
“Just to associate with Krishna, Lakshmi abandoned all transcendental happiness in Vaikuntha and for a long time accepted vows and regulative principles and performed unlimited austerities.”(CC ML 9.113)
Still she could not get Krishna. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu told him what the wives of Kaliya said.
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then said, “‘O Lord, we do not know how the serpent Kaliya attained such an opportunity to be touched by the dust of your lotus feet. Even the goddess of fortune, for this end, performed austerities for centuries, giving up all other desires and observing austere vows. Indeed, we do not know how the serpent Kaliya got such an opportunity.’” (CC ML 9.114)
So they felt great happiness that glories to our husband on whom Krishna has stepped. But although Lakshmi is performing austerities in Srivana since so many years, she could not receive this favour. The srutis personified also attained Krishna and they became Gopis. But Lakshmi could not attain. So Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu asked Venkat Bhatt right here in Sri Rangam, what is the reason for this.
Venkat Bhatt could not give any answer to this so Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu told some reasons. She is supposed to accept the dressing of the Gopis. Her opulent dressing will not work in this case. Gopis are not so bothered about their appearance. Once they hear the sound of Krishna’s flute, they just run towards Krishna as soon as possible. But Lakshmi is always dressing up very opulently and if flute vibrates, she will say keep playing, but I am not ready yet. So there is a difference between Gopi bhava and Lakshmi bhava. With Lakshmi bhava Narayan is attained, but to attain Krishna, much higher bhava is needed. So Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was making him understand that she does not accept Gopis bhava, and not just that, she also needs to follow in the footsteps of Gopis. Ei nivedana dhara sakhir anugata kara seva adhikar diye kara nija dasi -make me the follower of Gopis and Radharani and give me the adhikar to do service.
Lalita vishakha adi jata sakhi vrinda, ajnanya koribo seva charanarvinda—when shall I go to serve Radha and Krsihna. Whatever instructions they will give me I will do that service. So Lakshmi is finding it difficult to accept this anugatya – following in the foot steps of Gopis. Gopis are very innocent and simple by nature. But Lakshmi is sometimes strict. We know that from many pastimes.
In Chandrapushkarni, Lakshmi goes every day to pick flowers but because they are too high, lord Narayana steps on the branch and she can pick them. With these same flowers Lord Narayan decorates Lakshmi’s hair.
Near that Chandrapushkarni King Dharma Varma also performed austerities. It is here only that when the fish of Chandrapushkarni ate the remnants of Ramanujacharya, they left the fish body and attained their original four handed form and went back to Vaikuntha.
One should pray intensely at all these places. All prayers are fulfilled here. But we do not even know what to pray for. We must see how the pure devotee of the Lord prayed.
Kulashekhar alavar wrote the prayer krsna tvadiya pada pankaja. He was a king and then he gave up everything. His prayers are found in his book called Mukunda mala stotra. Srila Prabhupada wrote his commentary on this. It is a famous work. Whoever will read this mukunda mala, they will obtain the topmost designation i.e. the dust of the lotus feet of the lord.
When Prahalda Maharaj was told to ask for a benediction, he said I am your servant and not a merchant. If at all you want to give me something, then please take away all material desires from my heart.