February 13, 1999 VNN3033
Remembering Srila Gour Govinda Swami
BY SWAMI B.A. PARAMADVAITI
EDITORIAL, Feb 13 (VNN) Respected Vaisnavas, please accept our dandavat pranams,
On February 9th, 1996, on the holy appearance day of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur Prabhupada, Srila Gour Govinda Swami left this world while delivering Krsna katha in midst of his disciples and friends. When Maharaja uttered the words: "Eye to eye union", his voice choked and he could not speak on.
His last instruction to his disciples was: " Nama koro! Nama koro! (Chant the holy Name! Chant the Holy Name!)
Srila Gour Govinda Maharaj was not an average devotee who tried to follow the Sadhana path of devotion. His extreme appreciation of Srimati Radharani and Krishna' s exclusive love for Her is found only in the writings of the greatest Vaisnava poets and Acaryas. We are extremely fortunate to hear and discuss such Kathamrita and to feel our hearts touched by it. He left this world to go to his beloved Lordships and he left us with a great void and with the message: "Purify yourselves and the communities you try to develop for Srila Prabhupada. Do not waste a single minute. Time is short."
Actually who can describe Srila Gour Govinda Swami better than his own words? The following story was narrated by Maharaja just prior to his departure from this world.
All Glories to Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja, beloved disciple of Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
Swami B.A. Paramadvaiti
From: "Embankment of Separation" His Divine Grace Om Visnupada Gour Govinda Swami Gopal Jiu Publications:
Three Logs of Wood
Another story is given by the Gosvamis that is practically unknown. It is very confidential. Krsna is always thinking of Srimati Radharani and feeling acute pangs of separation from Her. In a dreaming condition or waking condition, He calls out, "Radhe, Radhe, Radhe, Radhe." As the gopis faint, Krsna also faints sometimes; especially when He thinks of Radharani.
Once Krsna was deeply thinking of Radharani. Feeling the acute pangs of separation from Her, He fainted. Krsna is completely unconscious now. After some time, as if by providential arrangement, Narada Rsi and Uddhava appeared there and saw Krsna lying unconscious. Narada and Uddhava are very dear to Krsna. They know everything and so they understand why this condition has come. Those who are premi-bhaktas can understand that Krsna is doing something. He is going to disclose some very mysterious lila; therefore He is in such a condition. This is Krsna's acute pang of separation from Radha, radha-viraha-vidhura krsna.
Now Narada and Uddhava are in anxiety. How can they get back Krsna 's consciousness? Just then Balarama arrived there and the three of them contemplated what to do. They came to the conclusion that if Narada Muni were to sing the glories of Vrajabhumi with his vina-yantra - narada muni bhajaya vina radhika-ramana name - then Krsna would get back his consciousness and wake up.
Narada said, "All right. I agree. But I have one apprehension. As soon as Krsna wakes up, what will happen? Don't you know? Immediately He will run to Vrajabhumi. He is mad now. He will not wait for anyone. So a chariot should be prepared." Then they called Daruka, Krsna's chariot driver, and told him to prepare Krsna's chariot.
At that time Uddhava became very grave. After careful deliberation he said, "You are correct. But as far as I have understood, the condition of Vrajabhumi is such that if Krsna goes there now and hears the piteous crying of the Vrajavasis, He will not be able to tolerate it. Then the consequences will be more precarious. We will not be able to get Krsna back. There will be no hope at all."
Then Narada said to Uddhava, "O Uddhava, you are Krsna's very good messenger. You are very dear to Him. So I think you should go to Vrajabhumi first and just inform all the Vrajavasis that Krsna is coming from Dvaraka.
Then they will prepare themselves to welcome Him."
Hearing this, Uddhava became morose. He said, "I accept whatever you say on my head; I have no objection. When such elevated Vaisnava devotees are requesting me I cannot refuse. But I have one thing to say. You may already know about this. My friend, Lord Krsna, once sent me to Vrajabhumi from Mathura. So I went there as a messenger and stayed for three months. I had gone there to give some consolation to Nanda Maharaja, Yasoda-mata, the gopis and Radharani. They are feeling the acute pangs of separation from Krsna. But what consolation could I give them? My language failed, my mission failed.
They are crying for Krsna day and night, twenty-four hours. If someone here in the material world loses his near ones and dear ones, or his hard-earned money, he cries day and night. Nobody cries for Krsna. In that case one might say, 'Why are you crying? In the material world everything is temporary, anityam. Jatasya hi dhruvo mrtyuh. One who is born must die one day. So death is certain; nobody can check it.' These are all words of consolation. But what words of consolation could I give to the Vrajavasis? They are crying for Krsna. And if someone wants to cry for Krsna, who is the object of love, how can you say don't cry?" That would be an offense. Rather, my heart says, Tell them, 'cry more, cry more, cry more!' Therefore my mission failed. I could not give them any consolation.
At last, I told them, "I am going back to Mathura and I will try my best to send Krsna to Vrajabhumi immediately." I had given my word to them, but until now it has not taken place. Now, after so many months and years, if I go again to Vrajabhumi and speak like this, they will never put faith in my words.
"No. You are a liar, Uddhava. You had promised us this before, but Krsna did not come back." They will never put faith in my words. Rather, they will scold me like a cheater. So how can I go?"
Considering all these things from different angles of vision, Narada and Uddhava requested Bararama, "It is better that you go."
Then Balarama, feeling acute pain in his heart, spoke in a voice filled with great sorrow, "Narada, you see, I would have gone to Vrajabhumi. I would not have waited for anybody. But please consider this. Your Lord Krsna always says, "Yes I'll go, I'll go, I'll go." But He is not actually going to Vrajabhumi. He is only procrastinating. I have been to Vrajabhumi and I have seen the condition of the Vrajavasis. I stayed there for two months and I also failed to console them. I tried to tell them, "Please have patience. Don't feel so much distress. Krsna will be coming soon." But their condition is like that of a fish out of water. I understood clearly that without the presence of Krsna nothing would give them consolation. They cannot survive at all. It is as if they are dying, feeling the pangs of separation from Krsna. And still Krsna has not gone there.
"Krsna's presence would be a soothing balm for them. They would get back their life. Especially Yasoda-mata. She is always crying. I touched Her lotus feet and said, "Mother, as soon as I reach Dvaraka, I will make my best effort to send Krsna to Vrajabhumi. Please wait for some days, mother." I have given my word to mother Yasoda. But what happened? I requested, "My dear brother Krsna, please go to Vrajabhumi immediately, otherwise, they will all die. Give up all your work here. Suspend everything and go to Vrajabhumi." I requested Krsna many times. "Please, make them survive. Your presence will be like a soothing balm; the medicine to save their lives. Otherwise their lives will get out." I requested Him many times.
"Previously, whatever request I made, Krsna would carry out immediately.
But He has not carried out this request. He only says, "Yes, I'll go. I'llgo." But He has not gone until now. O Narada, you are all knowing, so please tell me. If I were to got to Vrajabhumi what would I tell mother Yasoda? I have already promised mother Yasoda that Krsna would come to Vrajabhumi. What shall I say? Will mother Yasoda put faith in my words? She will never put faith in my words. Rather, she will say, "Balarama, you are a liar."
Thinking of the condition of the Vrajavasis, Balarama felt such pain in his heart. He said, "Alas! My dear Vrajavasis, are you still surviving?" O my dear Krsna, my brother, Your heart is as soft as butter, navanita-hrdaya.
How strange it is that such a soft heart became as hard as a block of stone."
Saying this, Baladeva could no longer surpress his mood and he began to cry. At that time, Subhadra appeared there. She is very intelligent. "All right, I will go to Vrajabhumi. I will go first, " she said. "All of you please be patient and give up your anxiety. I'll go to Vrajabhumi and sit on the lap of mother Yasoda. I'll wipe the tears from her eyes and say, "O, my mother, Krsna is coming just now. My two brothers and I started from Dvaraka simultaneously, but along the road many people had assembled just to greet Him. They have constructed big gates. So many kings, maharajas, are standing at the roadside. Innumerable people are carrying arati plates just to offer puja to Krsna. So He is coming a bit later. I came in advance just to give you this good news, He is coming! Krsna is coming!"
"Similarly, I will go to each gopi, wipe the tears from their eyes and console them . I will tell them, "Male persons are a little crooked. But we females are very simple." I am a woman. So when they hear from me that Krsna is coming, they will put faith in my words. Then all the Vrajavasis will become very blissful and make arrangements to observe a great festival to welcome Krsna."
Uddhava, Narada and Balarama agreed unanimously. "Yes, this is a very good proposal." Subhadra said, "Please prepare my chariot."
One chariot had already been prepared for Krsna and now another chariot was prepared for Subhadra. Baladeva has great affection for Vrajabhumi, so when he saw that Subhadra was ready to get into the chariot, he said, "How can I allow my brother Krsna to go alone. No. I must go.
Subhadra is going, so I will go with her."
Uddhava agreed, "All right, both of you will go. When you start your journey on the chariot, we will not make any delay. As soon you leave, Narada Muni will sing vraja-lila kahani with his vina-yantra. Then Krsna will regain His consciousness and we will send Him along immediately."
Balarama and Subhadra got up into their chariots and started for Vrajabhumi. First Balarama and then Subhadra. At the time of Ratha-yatra, Baladeva's ratha goes first, then Subhadra's ratha follows. This is the procedure. Three rathas are decorated and Krsna will get up and go last.
As soon as the two rathas started out, Narada began to play his vina-yantra and sing preme-lila kahani. When this transcendental sound vibration touched Krsna's ears, He became conscious again and at once stood up in a three curved way, tribhangima thani. That three-fold bending form is not in Dvaraka. That form is only in Vrajabhumi. In Dvaraka Krsna is a king in royal dress. He is not bent in three places, no flute and no peacock feather.
This is only in Vrajabhumi. Because He is only thinking of Vrajabhmi now, at once He became tribhanga. That is His dream and His only thought; no thought of Dvaraka.
Then immediately Krsna said, "Where is My flute? Where is My flute?" There is no flute in Dvaraka. "Where is My flute? Who stole My flute? Oh, this must be the work of those gopis. They have stolen My flute."
Then saying this, He started to run to find out His flute. At that time He saw Uddhava and said, "Hey, Uddhava. Why are you in Vrajabhumi?" Then the next moment He saw Narada, "O, Narada. You 're here in Vraja?" Then He came to his senses. " Is this not Vrajabhumi?"
Both Uddhava and Narada said, "O my Lord, we knew You would run to Vrajabhumi, therefore we have already prepared a chariot for You. Please get into the chariot." Then Krsna, who is always thinking of Radharani, had become like a madman. Krsna had become intoxicated like a drunkard. He is only thinking of Radha, radha-rasa madira. The mellow of Radharani is like a liquor, madira. He is drunk; shaking and waving like an intoxicated madman.
With much difficulty, Narada and Uddhava caught hold of Him on the chariot.
So when Jagannatha comes to the chariot during the Ratha-yatra festival, He is in that intoxicated condition, shaking and waving. In Jagannatha Puri one can see how He is carried to the chariot in this condition.
Then Narada ordered Daruka to drive the chariot to Vraja and Daruka drove off as swiftly as the wind. In the meantime, Baladeva's chariot and Subhadra's chariot had reached Vrajabhumi. Arriving in Vraja, Baladeva saw that all the inhabitants of Vrajabhumi were as if dying, feeling the acute pangs of separation from Krsna. Baladeva thought very deeply, "O Vrajavasis, how are you surviving?" Such an ecstatic mood manifested in the body of Baladeva, asta-sattvika-bhava; pulaka-asru, kampa, sveda, vaivarnya. Shedding tears, perspiration and standing of the hairs. Because there is no difference between deha and dehi, the body of Balarama and he who is inside the body, the mood in his heart manifested outside. That is the form of Baladeva, mahabhava- prakasa. That form you will see in Nilacala Dhama. Then the same transformation also took place in Subhadra as soon as she saw the condition fof the residents of Vrajabhumi. So Subhadra could not go to Yasoda-mata because she had become completly ecstatic, mahabhava-prakasa. Now she is completely forgetful. It is as if these two forms are drowning in the ocean of vraja-rasa madhurima. The sweetness of the mellow of Vraja is like an ocean, and these two forms are drowning in that ocean.
On the other hand, while all this is going on, Radharani's condition is gradually becoming worse. What has happened to Radharani? She is completely under the uncontrollable giddiness known as udghurna. That adhirudha mahabhava, the highly advanced state of ecstatic love, is just like a dying condition. All Her sakhis are doubtful whether or not there is life in Radharani's body. The whole of Vrajabhumi is in complete anxiety, "Radharani is giving up Her body. She cannot survive." Radharani's kunja is in Nidhuvana.
She is lying there with Her head resting on the palms of Lalita's hands. Her asta-sakhis are all sitting around Her. They could not understand what to do.
Lalita and Visakha are very restless. Sometimes they are singing the name of Krsna in the ears of Radha, and sometimes they take some cotton and hold it in front of Her nostrils to test whether or not She is still breathing.
In the meantime, the whole of Vrajabhumi had come there because the word had spread that Radharani is dying. First came Ayana Gosh, Abhimanyu, who is known as the husband of Radha. This is only outward, not true. Radharani's real husband is Krsna. Crying and crying, with tears in his eyes, Abhimanyu came running. Putting his head on the lotus feet of Radharani, he bathed Her lotus feet with his tears and said, "O Sarvaradhya Radhe, all worshipable Radhe. I have never touched Your body."
How can he touch the body of Radha? Only Krsna can touch Her body.
Therefore he said, "I have never touched Your body, but today I am very fortunate. I am taking some dust from Your lotus feet and putting it upon my head. My life has become successful today. All people know that I am a pujari of Katyayani devi and my worhipable goddess is also Paurnamasi devi. O Radhe, Krsna' s desire is to relish parakiya rasa, paramour love. Therefore, to fulfill His desire, Paurnamasi -devi has manifested this lila. Your real husband is Krsna and You are His wife. You are eternally husband and wife. But to fulfill Krsna's desire to relish parakiya rasa, Paurnamasi ordered Vrnda- devi to perform our marriage ceremony. This is only external; it is not real.
Krsna is Your real husband and You are His wife. And You are the goddess of my heart. I married the chaya, the shadow of Radharani, not the real Radharani. Now that You are in a dying condition, what will happen to us? Having spoken in this way, he cried out, "Let everyon eknow today that I have married chaya-radha!"
This is Gaudiya Vaisnava siddhanta. Who can understand it? For example, Ravana took Sita. But did he take the real Sita? No. He took the shadow of Sita, chaya-sita, maya-sita. How can Ravana, a demon, touch Sita? That is not possible because She is the Lord's internal energy. So whom did he take? He took chaya -sita. Similarly, this Ayana Ghosh married the shadow of Radha so that Krsna can relish parakiya rasa. This is Vraja -lila.
Then came Kutila, Ayana Ghosh's sister. She is the sister -in-law of Radharani. Crying and shedding tears, Kutila put her head on the lotus feet of Radharani. She took some dust from Radha's lotus feet and put it on her head. Married ladies, who are not widowed, put vermilion on the parting of their hair, sinthi. And so today, Kutila put some dust from the lotus feet of Radha as vermilion on that sinthi.
With a choked voice she said, "O Radhe, I am very fortunate today. I got the opportunity to put some dust from Your lotus feet on my sinthi. Today I really became sati, a chaste lady. I had a great pride. Yes, as great as a sky scraper, akasa-cumbi. I was always proclaiming, "I am the only chaste lady. There are no other chaste ladies in Vrajabhumi. All are prostitutes." I used to say that and I have tried my best to prove that you are a great prostitute and that You have no chastity at all. Although You married my brother, You are always running to Krsna. So I have tried my best to prove that You are most unchaste and that I am the most chaste. But once a very mysterious thing happened. One day Krsna manifested a lila - jvara- lila, as if He was very sick with a high fever."
Krsna was overcome with a disease, sannyasa roga. "I will give up everything and take up sannyas. " This fever had come. All were in anxiety.
"How will it be cured? What is the medicine for You?"
"Oh, yes. I know a medicine." "What is that medicine?"
"If there is some sati-sadhvi, a lady who is very chaste and pure, only she can supply the medicine. Let her go to the Yamuna carrying a pot that has hundreds of holes. If she can bring back some water from the Yamuna in that pot, and not a single drop of water falls down, then that is the medicine. If you put it on My body I will be cured of this fever." All decided that Kutila is the most chaste lady. She is always beating drums and proclaiming, "I am the most chaste lady. And all others are unchaste." So they said, "All right. Call her and give her that pot with hundreds of holes. Let her bring water from the Yamuna without spilling a single drop." But when Kutila tried to do it, all the water poured out. That proved that she is not chaste at all.
Kutila admitted, "It was proved; my pride was completely crushed.
That is why Krsna manifested such a jvara -lila; to crush my pride."
Then the next moment Radharani was called. "Let us give that pot to Radharani. Let Her bring water." When Radharani went to the Yamuna to fetch water, although the pot had hundreds of holes, not a single drop fell out.
Kutila continued, "So at that time it was proved to the whole world that You are the real chaste lady; not I. Yogamaya has created this lila just to crush my pride. O Radhe, my pride was crushed, but today I am very proud to have the opportunity to take some dust from Your lotus feet. My life has became successful today."
Then, from another direction, Candravali came running. She was followed by her sakhis headed by Saibya. Candravali came and fell flat, putting her head on the lotus feet of Radharani. Washing the lotus feet of Radharani with the tears from her eyes, she said, "Radhe, I am kalankini. I am most condemned in Vrajabhumi. It is not You who is condemned but I." In Vraja everybody is condemning Radharani. Radharani says, ko va na yati yamuna pulina bane radha name kalankapavada: "Who is not going to the Yamuna to fetch water? But if I go, then I become a prostitute."
Everyone says, "O, She is a prostitute. On the plea of fetching water, She went to the Yamuna only to mix with Krsna." Everyone is going. But when Radha goes, suddendly She becomes a prostitute.
They are accusing Radharani in this way, but Candravali said, "No, I am condemned. You are not condemned. O Radharani. Sri Krsna is Your real husband. You are leftist, so sometimes Krsna goes to my kunja just to increase Your leftist mood.That is my good fortune. In that way I am related to Yo.
Today I am very fortunate that I could put my head at Your lotus feet, O Radharani. Though I am very eager to fulfill the desires of Krsna, still, I am most distressed and condemned. I have become a cause of taking Krsna away from You. Krsna is Your husband. Sometimes Krsna goes to my kunja, but He is not happy with me. He is only happy with You. Even in dreams, He only thinks of You. He never thinks of me." It is said that while Krsna is with Candravali, He thinks of associating with Radha. He never thinks of Candravali. He never gets such pleasure or happiness when He is with her.
Candravali said, "This is all lila created by Yogamaya. Yogamaya has made everyone dance here in Vrajabhumi. And for the pleasure of Krsna, in whatever way she made us dance, we all danced. I know it very well. Everyone here is engaged in nourishing the lila of Krsna; nothing else. But today I heard that You were in a dying condition. If You give up Your body then no one in this Vrajabhumi will survive. O Radhe; not even a single animal. Everyone will die. Then Krsna will never come to Vrajabhumi. We will never see Krsna again. Please do not die."
LOG OF WOOD
Just at that time Krsna's chariot reached Vrajabhumi. As soon as Krsna arrived in Vraja, He jumped down from His chariot. Now Yogamaya is manifesting another lila. As if by providential arrangement, Krsna appeared there in Nidhuvana where Radharani is lying as if dead. Krsna ran there, and from His mouth the words are coming, Radhe, Radhe dehi pada pallava mudaram: "O Radhe! O Radhe! Please give Me Your lotus feet. I want to put them on My head." Krsna is shouting in that way. Such a wonderful lila has manifested.
Krsna, feeling the acute pangs of separation from Radharani, became completely ecstatic. His hands and legs were pushed into the body. He became like a tortoise. This is the form of Jagannatha. And, with big dilated eyes, He is only gazing at Radharani, who is lying there in the kunja as if dead. Seeing Her condition, He lost His consciousness and fell to the ground. In that form He is feeling the acute pangs of separation from Radha. That is the form of Jagannatha, radha-bhava sindhure bhasamana, as if He is a log of wood floating in the ocean of radha-bhava.
At that time, the wind blew over the transcendental body of Krsna, When that wind touched the body of Radharani, who was about to die, it acted like a soothing balm. Radharani 's life returned immediately. Just then, in a very sweet voice, Srimati Lalita whispered in the ear of Radharani, "Krsna has come." When She heard this, Radharani gradually opened Her eyes to see Her Pranavallabha, most beloved Krsna. This was the medicine by which She regained Her life and got up. Now She has forgotten everything. Alll the pangs of separation have completely gone.
But Krsna is still unconscious in this tortoise -like form. Seeing Krsna in this condition, Srimati Radhika gave direction to Her priya-sakhi, Visabhka,"Please help Krsna" and Visakha knows what medicine she will apply.
In a very sweet voice she started to chant the name, "Radhe, Radhe, Radhe," in the ears of krsna. Hearing this, Krsna regained His consciousness and opened His eyes. Now Krsna is looking at Radharani, and Radharani is looking at Syamasundara, Krsna.
Eye to eye union...
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