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Sri Suka-sari-stava (RTF)

Asta Kaliya Nitya-lila (Word)

Govinda Lilamrta

"A devotee is naturally very humble, and even if he is highly elevated he does not consider himself to be so. A practical example is found in the life of the author of the Caitanya-caritamrta, Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami. He was a vastly learned scholar and a first-class devotee, yet he still referred to himself as the lowest of mankind, lower than the bacteria in the stool. He wrote that he was so sinful that no one should even utter his name, lest that person fall down! Of course, when a great devotee speaks this way, we should not believe that he is actually in the lower status of life; we should rather take it as evidence that out of humility a pure devotee never thinks he is elevated. He always thinks he is in the lowest status of spiritual life."

Narada Bhakti-sutra Chapter 13 Purport

"The author of the Caitanya-caritamrta, Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami, was an inhabitant of Vrndavana and a great devotee. He had been living with his family in Katwa, a small town in the district of Burdwan in Bengal. His family also worshiped Radha-Krsna, and once when there was some misunderstanding among his family about devotional service, Krsnadasa Kaviraja was advised by Nityananda Prabhu in a dream to leave home and go to Vrndavana. Although he was very old, he started out that very night and went to live in Vrndavana. While he was there, he met some of the Gosvamis, principal disciples of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. He was requested to write the Caitanya-caritamrta by the devotees of Vrndavana. Although he began this work at a very old age, by the grace of Lord Caitanya he finished it. Today it remains the most authoritative book on Caitanya Mahaprabhu's philosophy and life.

When Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami was living in Vrndavana, there were not very many temples. At that time Madana-mohana, Govindaji and Gopinatha were the three principal temples. As a resident of Vrndavana, he offered his respects to the Deities in these temples and requested God's favor: "My progress in spiritual life is very slow, so I'm asking Your help." In the Caitanya-caritamrta, Krsnadasa first offers his obeisances to Madana-mohana vigraha, the Deity who can help us progress in Krsna consciousness. In the execution of Krsna consciousness, our first business is to know Krsna and our relationship with Him. To know Krsna is to know one's self, and to know one's self is to know one's relationship with Krsna. Since this relationship can be learned by worshiping Madana-mohana vigraha, Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami first establishes his relationship with Him.

When this is established, Krsnadasa begins to worship the functional Deity, Govinda. Govinda resides eternally in Vrndavana. In the spiritual world of Vrndavana the buildings are made of touchstone, the cows are known as surabhi cows, givers of abundant milk, and the trees are known as wish-fulfilling trees, for they yield whatever one desires. In Vrndavana Krsna herds the surabhi cows, and He is worshiped by hundreds and thousands of gopis, cowherd girls, who are all goddesses of fortune. When Krsna descends to the material world, this same Vrndavana descends, just as an entourage accompanies an important personage. Because when Krsna comes His land also comes, Vrndavana is not considered to exist in the material world. Therefore devotees take shelter of the Vrndavana in India, for it is considered to be a replica of the original Vrndavana. Although one may complain that no kalpa-vrksa, wish-fulfilling trees, exist there, when the Gosvamis were there, kalpa-vrksa were present. It is not that one can simply go to such a tree and make demands; one must first become a devotee. The Gosvamis would live under a tree for one night only, and the trees would satisfy all their desires. For the common man this may all seem very wonderful, but as one makes progress in devotional service, all this can be realized.

Vrndavana is actually experienced as it is by persons who have stopped trying to derive pleasure from material enjoyment. "When will my mind become cleansed of all hankering for material enjoyment so I will be able to see Vrndavana?" one great devotee asks. The more Krsna conscious we become and the more we advance, the more everything is revealed as spiritual. Thus Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami considered Vrndavana in India to be as good as the Vrndavana in the spiritual sky, and in the Caitanya-caritamrta he describes Radharani and Krsna as seated beneath a wish-fulfilling tree in Vrndavana, on a throne decorated with valuable jewels. There Krsna's dear friends, the cowherd boys and the gopis, serve Radha and Krsna by singing, dancing, offering betel nuts and refreshments, and decorating Their Lordships with flowers. Even today in India people decorate thrones and recreate this scene during the month of July. Generally at that time people go to Vrndavana to offer their respects to the Deities there.

Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami maintains that the Govinda Deity shows us how to serve Radha and Krsna. The Madana-mohana Deity simply establishes that "I am Your eternal servant." With Govinda, however, there is actual acceptance of service, and therefore He is called the functional Deity. The Gopinatha Deity is Krsna as master and proprietor of the gopis. He attracted all the gopis, or cowherd girls, by the sound of His flute, and when they came, He danced with them. These activities are all described in the Tenth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam. These gopis were childhood friends of Krsna, and they were all married, for in India the girls are married by the age of twelve. The boys, however, are not married before eighteen, so Krsna, who was fifteen or sixteen at the time, was not married. Nonetheless, He called these girls from their homes and invited them to dance with Him. That dance is called the rasa-lila dance, and it is the most elevated of all the Vrndavana pastimes. Krsna is therefore called Gopinatha because He is the beloved master of the gopis.

Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami petitions the blessings of Lord Gopinatha: "May that Gopinatha, the master of the gopis, Krsna, bless you. May you become blessed by Gopinatha." The author of the Caitanya-caritamrta prays that just as Krsna attracted the gopis by the sweet sound of His flute, He will also attract the reader's mind by His transcendental vibration."

Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi lila, Introduction