Words fail me in glorifying a personality whom even Ananta-sesa cannot sufficiently glorify. I simply offer this darsana in remembrance of him, in hopes that he will grant its fruit. The darsana took place at the Vinoda-vani Gaudiya Matha in Vrndavana, India, on Oct 6, 2012.
Syamarani dasi: Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me. When I met you for the second time in Mayapura, a devotee introduced me to you. He told you I was a famous artist-preacher disciple of Srila Prabhupada Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja, and a famous siksa-disciple of Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja, editing and painting for Srila Narayana Maharaja’s books, and so on.
You responded by saying that that's nothing – only nama-bhajana is something. You showed me right away that I need to have a complete change of my life.
Although your words were amazing to me and I wanted to be able to follow them, I continued along on my superfast train of publishing, preaching, and trying to avoid the fact that there is nothing inside. Going around-the-world so many times, finally everything caught up with me; my health failed to the point where it doesn't bounce back. I know that I have to concentrate on nama.
Srila Bharati Gosvami Maharaja: I am delighted to learn that you have a desire to chant the name. All this seva (service) is not real seva. Chanting the name and thinking of the lilas of Krsna, and doing manasi-seva, is real seva; but that is the highest stage. We have practically done so much seva, but it is not justified unless and until you have identified yourself with the name. Name and Krsna and His vigraha (Deity form) are identical.
Madhavendra Puripada only uttered the name. He did not perform any other seva, puja (worship), nor did he write any books. He only chanted the name; that is sufficient. Krsna was compelled to reach Madhavendra Puri with a milk pot.
Krsna asked him, “Why not you are begging."
Madhavendra Puri replied, "Who told you I am not begging?"
Krsna said, “The women of our village come to take water from Govinda-kunda. They informed Me that there is a babaji who is fasting; he is only taking milk if someone supplies it. So I am compelled to come here. Please take this milk. I have an engagement, because I am a cowherd boy and so I am milking the cows. After I finish, I will return here and take My pot back. Please clean it and keep it with you, and after sometime I will take it.”
He continued to chant the name, but the boy did not return. When he was later on in a dreaming stage, that boy rushed there and told him, “My name is Gopala. I was installed by the grandson of Krsna, Vajranabha. My sevaka left Me in the deep jungle, and since that time I have been waiting for you to come here and rescue Me. I am suffering from the winter and summer seasons. Please come immediately.”
Was Madhavendra Puri a rich man?
Syamarani dasi: Not externally.
Srila Bharati Gosvami Maharaja: Gopala demanded cloth for winter and a room for staying in the rainy season. Was it possible for Madhavendra Puri? Who is the boy? He is Lord Krsna.
Krsna is the owner of all properties, the owner of all knowledge and all beauty. He is the Supreme Power; He can do anything. When He was only six days old, he killed Putana. His hand is so soft, but Putana could not remove the boy from her breast and He finished her. How long was Putana? She was eighteen kilometers long.
Yasoda was crying. In the meantime, all the Vrajavasis of Gokula rushed there. They were compelled to use stairs to climb up to Putana’s breast to rescue Gopala, and Gopala was smiling there. He was not harmed; there was not even a scratch on His body.
When He was five years old, Brahma stole His calves and cowboys while He and His friends were taking lunch. [He thus expanded into all those innumerable calves and friends in order to keep their parents happy until the originals would return.] He is most powerful, and His knowledge is incomparable. His beauty is incomparable, so much so that it attracted Lord Narayana.
Yet, that Krsna was attracted by Madhavendra Puri because He wanted to taste His devotee’s prema. The prema of the devotee is what attracts the Lord.
Syamarani dasi: I thought taste for harinama would come by the external services of the publishing and preaching, but it didn't.
Srila Bharati Gosvami Maharaja: If it is real seva, then it will increase.
Madhava-priya dasa: I presented your words in a little different way. I spoke with him that by doing so many services for the pleasure of Guru and Vaisnavas, will there be a time that it will develop. He said that if it is real service, without personal motive, then there will gradually be love.
Syamarani dasi: There must be personal motive in me, because there is no taste in nama.
Srila Bharati Gosvami Maharaja: If some selfishness is there while we are doing service – for name, fame, or position – then one will not achieve that stage which we are supposed to achieve while doing service for the pleasure of Hari, Guru and Vaisnavas.
Your services are not heartly services.
Syamarani dasi: I am understanding now that only if I can chant nama purely will the service be heartly. I feel completely helpless. My mind goes all over the place, to a million places. How can I be empowered to chant nama properly?
Srila Bharati Gosvami Maharaja: When we are doing seva, if the motive is to please Hari, Guru and Vaisnavas, even though it may take time, definitely the time will come when the name will appear on the tongue and make us fortunate. At that time it doesn't come by our efforts, but it comes automatically.
The gopis are illiterate externally and never read anything, but they had full conviction and were not fearful at all to give their foot-dust for the service of Krsna; whereas the rsis and all other devotees were afraid. The rsis were learned, but they could not come to the level of the gopis. The gopis achieved this because of their selfless service.
Another example is Govinda prabhu, the servant of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Once, when Caitanya Mahaprabhu was in the doorway, he put one chaddar on Him and crossed over Him while massaging Him. Where did he get this intelligence that he could do this and not be committing an offense at all? It is completely prohibited in the sastra, and no one would dream of doing it; but he had the conviction to do it.
Krsna says in the Bhagavad-gita:
dadami buddhi-yogam tan
yena mam upayanti te
["Upon those who perform bhajana to Me with love, yearning for My eternal association, I bestow the transcendental knowledge by which they can come to Me." Bhagavad-gita, 10.10)]
If someone does service with love and affection, then He gives that person intelligence at the topmost level. Chanting of harinama can never come on one's tongue unless he is in the association of pure devotees.
Syamarani dasi: I understand that. But I traveled around-the-world with Srila Narayana Maharaja for so many years, hearing thousands of lectures, hearing on my iPod, and so much reading, but zero now.
Madhava-priya dasa: Srila Maharaja gives one example: Suppose a tap is broken and one drop is continuously leaking out onto the ground. If it is not repaired for 6 months or a year, then after a year one sees that a small hole is there in the earth. Was this small hole started with the first drop or with the last drop when we are able to see it? Even though it started from the very beginning, to our external vision, it appeared after one year.
Srila Bharati Gosvami Maharaja: It does not matter if we see any difference or not in our life. As one gets a chance to serve great devotees, please them, travel with them, or hear from them, then impressions are coming. We won't realize it until after a long time, but it starts from the very beginning. Serving pure devotees can never go in vain.
When one is feeling this way, it is a symptom that he has attained something. If one has not attained anything, then he will not feel anything. When the vessel is empty or has a little water, it makes a big sound, "Yes, I am something." But when it is full, it doesn't make any sound.
The topmost sentiment of Srimati Radhika:
na prema-gandho ’sti darapi me harau
krandami saubhagya-bharam prakasitum
bibharmi yat prana-patangakan vrtha
[Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu continued, “My dear friends, I have not the slightest tinge of love of Godhead within My heart. When you see Me crying in separation, I am just falsely exhibiting a demonstration of My great fortune. Indeed, not seeing the beautiful face of Krsna playing His flute, I continue to live My life like an insect, without purpose.” (Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, Madhya 2.45)
It is the nature of bhakti that it never makes anyone feel that they are attaining something. The more we attain, the more we feel we are lacking. You are fortunate that this has happened and a chance is there.
Syamarani dasi: If there is chance, then can you tell me something so that nama-ruci can come? That is my main service now that my health went down.
Srila Bharati Gosvami Maharaja: There is no need to focus on external physical services. In your mind (and heart) you can do some service.
Sriman Mahaprabhu gave the order to Raghunatha dasa Gosvami to do manasi-seva. Always be engaged in serving Radha-Krsna with your mind. Service in the mind is also complete service. It is not that that is not considered complete service.
Once, Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami offered milk and rice (ksira) to Radha and Krsna, and then took Their prasadam. Externally in his body, some symptom came that he was manifesting sickness pastime. The doctor came and some villagers also were there. The doctor announced that he took some rice and milk, but nobody could understand it. They said he was only taking buttermilk so this doctor must be a crazy person.
Srila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami admitted that it was true. We can understand that doing manasi-seva is a complete seva and not only physical seva is real seva, because it was in his internal meditation that he had taken the remnants of Radharani.
A sloka from Srimad-Bhagavatam states that if with one’s whole heart, body, energy, and mind one serves Krsna for the welfare of all beings, his human life is successful. If someone is not capable of doing that externally, is there no chance for someone to engage in bhakti of Krsna? No. Whatever one has can be used for the service of guru and Bhagavan.
If someone is poor, does it mean he can't serve? No, there is also great hope. One can serve with his intelligence. If one is foolish, is there no hope? If one is physically unable to serve, he can serve by his words.
For example, once there was a fat woman. She loved her husband so much, but with her body she could not do service for him. She would sit in one chair and order the maidservant: Make hot capatis for him, he only likes hot chapatis. Keep his shoes by the door, otherwise he won't be able to find them in the morning. Do this and do that.
Even though externally the maidservant is serving the entire time and the fat lady is sitting, who is serving? In reality, the wife is serving because she has love and affection for her husband. Even though physically she cannot do anything, she is serving. It seems like the maidservant is serving all day, but she is not serving; because there is no mood of service, she is only getting paid.
Syamarani dasi: My problem is that I cannot control my mind to concentrate on manasi-seva of the nama. Can you give me some blessing for that?
Srila Bharati Gosvami Maharaja: God will help you.
Syamarani dasi: Can you bless me that my desire for that increases?
Srila Bharati Gosvami Maharaja: I always bless you because you are sincere to know and follow. It is very few who are sincerely following. I think that in my understanding and experience, your attempt is sincere because you remembered my words which I told you in Mayapura.