Vishrama Ghat

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After Mathura we begin Sri Vraja Mandala Parikrama at Madhuvan. Do you know what this place Madhuvan is? Can you guess how long Madhuvan has been in existence? This place Madhuvan is very, very ancient. It has been existing a very long time. In fact it is at this place Madhuvan where Dhruva Maharaja came at the age of five and following the instructions of Narada Muni performed great tapasya here which enabled him to have darshan with Lord Vishnu face to face. Now as you all know, Druva Maharaja lived in Satya yuga. Satya yuga is the golden age characterized by virtue, wisdom and religion. We live in Kali yuga, the dark age characterized by strife, vice, ignorance and irreligion. I we count backwards to the Satya yuga we find that the Dvapara yuga contains 864,000 years and the Treta yuga contains 1,296,000 years. So at the very least this place Madhuvan is 2,160,000 years old. Madhuvan has a long standing history. It is very ancient and very holy. Later on in Satya yuga the famous Ambarisha Maharaja who was emperor of the entire universe also came to Madhuvan to perform meditation and austerities. His palace and capital was at the present Madhya Pradesh area of India. He did not become famous because he was emperor of the universe. He became famous because he served the Supreme Lord with all the nine devotional limbs of his body. King Ambarisha first of all engaged his mind on the lotus feet of Lord Krishna. He engaged his words in describing the beautiful, transcendental qualities of Lord Krishna, his hands in cleaning the temple of the Lord, his eyes in seeing the transcendental forms of the Lord, his ears in hearing the glorious pastimes and activities of the Lord, his body in touching the bodies of the devotees of the Lord, his nose in smelling the fragrant, aromatic flowers offered to the Lord, his tongue in tasting the tulasi leaves offered to the lotus feet of the Lord and in chanting the holy names of the Lord, his legs in travelling to the holy places and temples of the Lord, his head in offering obeisances unto the Lord, and his desires in fulfilling the desires of the Lord. These are the qualities which made Ambarisha Maharaja famous. Although he was emperor of the whole universe with thousands and thousands of servitors he would not allow his servants to do any service for the Lord. He himself did every thing and in this way be devoted all his senses to the Lord beginning with hearing and chanting all the way to atmanivedam, complete surrender, and in his lifetime he attained the state of bhava which is devotional ecstasy and a state very rarely achieved by a devotee of the Lord. Ambarisha Maharaja once also made a vow that he would for one year stay in Sri Vraja Mandala and strictly follow the Ekadasi vrata, especially the maha Dvadasi. Those devotees who do not follow ekadasi properly very soon get hopelessly entangled in material existence. This incident of Ambarisha Maharaja took place in Satya-yuga.

Later in Treta yuga Lord Krishna incarnated as Lord Ramacandra in this world. Lord Ramacandra appeared in the line of Surya Vamsa and Ambarisha Maharaja was also born in the Surya Vamsa line. Lord Ramacandra was born in Ayodhya. According to the Ramayana of Valmiki, in Satya yuga a demon called Madhu took birth from the womb of Lola. This demon was totally inimical to the will of the Supreme Lord and his behaviour was always irreligious and demonic in nature. This demon Madhu wandered here and there until at last he reached his place in Vraja. Being very powerful and cleverly resourceful as demons often are he built for himself a small kingdom and called it Madhuvan. He started living here with his wife and son who were also demons. They were so terrible that they would not allow any sages or rishis to even come to sit and meditate in this area nor would they allow anyone to come and drink water or Lake bath at the banks of the Yamuna here. They would harass the yogis and sages munis at every opportunity giving them no peace. They would defecate from the air upon these holy men when they were performing yajnas. They would cover theses pure beings with puss and blood when they wanted to do worship. Finally in desperation these saintly souls sent an emissary to Lord Ramacandra in Ayodhya. They requested the Lord to give them relief from the harassment of these demons so they would be allowed to peacefully continue their meditation and austerities. Lord Ramacandra immediately agreed to go himself and slay these demons; but his younger brother Satrughna upon hearing the story requested of Lord Rama that he be allowed to render some service. Bowing down to his elder brother Satrughna said that he would be able to slay the demons Madhu and his son Lavanasura and the demoness Mayadana. Lord Ramacandra warned his brother that these demons were very dangerous and that it would be difficult to defeat them and that he being but a youth might not be able to slay them; but Satrughna insisted saying my Lord, by your grace I will certainly be able to vanquish them. It was at this time that he requested the murti of Varahadeva to worship that Lord Ramacandra retrieved after defeating Ravana in Lanka. Lord Ramacandra giving Varahadev to him, blessed him and gave him permission to go and Satrughna after collecting a strong army set off for Mathura dham. Or his way to Mathura he passed by the great sage Valmiki’s ashram in Prayag. Lord Ramachandra’s wife Sita devi was living there in exile and she had just given birth to twin sons on that day. Valmiki as the family guru had just named them Lava and Kusha. Satrughna was feeling ashamed to approach Sita devi, so from a distance he offered his obeisances to her, circumambulated her and then after receiving the blessings of the sage Valmiki, he proceeded on his way.

Now the demon son of Madhu, Lavanasura possessed many mystical weapons for fighting and if he would have these within reach when Satrughna came to fight him, Lavanasura would be almost unconquerable; but if somehow or other he was not allowed to take these magical weapons then he could easily be defeated. This information had been given to Satrughna by the emissary before leaving Ayodhya.

When Satrughna arrived in Mathura he went at once into the forest searching for Lavanasura. Deep in the forest he saw a huge ferocious man returning from a hunt. On his spear he was carrying several tigers and a water buffalo and on his back he carried an elephant, a big fat snake and a crocodile, all dead. This obviously was going to be Lavanasura’s dinner. Satrughna saw this dreadful sight; but undaunted he stood in the path of Lavanasura and confronted him, saying I am your enemy and I have come here to kill you. Lavanasura asked him who he was and he replied, I am Satrughna, the brother of Lord Rama. The demon said, ah yes I have heard about you. It is good that you have come. Just wait a few minutes until I go and get my weapons and I will fight with you. Satrughna told him, no he wouldn’t wait. The demon replied, you can not fight me now because I don’t have my weapons and for a ksatriya to fight someone without their weapon is a sin, so you must wait until I get my weapons.

Satrughna not moving a step told the demon, what is this talk about not having any weapons? You have a spear in your hand surely this was the weapon you used to kill all these animals. Use it to kill me. Furthermore you do not understand ksatriya etiquette. The etiquette is as soon as you see the enemy in front of you, you have to fight. You are simply a coward and you are using the excuse of getting your weapons so you can run away. We will. fight now. And saying this Satrughna and the demon began a terrible fight and it was at this place Madhuvan that Satrughna by the grace of Lord Ramacandra slayed the demons Lavanasura and then Madhu and Mayadana. After that he converted Madhuvan to Madhupuri which became the capital and he went back to Ayodhya. This pastime was in the Treta yuga.

Now we come to Dvapara yuga. In Dvapara yuga the descendants of Bhoga and Vrishni became the kings of Mathura and Madhupur and Lord Krishna appeared to Vasudeva and Devaki in the Vrsni dynasty. Madhu means honey and as young boys grazing the cows, Krishna and Balaram used to come to this place Madhuvan and drink honey here with their cowherd friends. As you can see there is a little pond here also. This pond is called Krishna kunda. Here in the temple is a deity of Lord Balaram. This is one of the few temples where the deity of Lord Balaram is black everywhere else his deity form is either golden or whitish. There is a specific reason for this. Once Lord Balaram was out in the forest grazing his cows when he came upon the gopis in a mood of intense vipralamba, or love in separation from Krishna. Some of the gopis were crying, some were talking incoherently, some were wandering here and there, some were laying perfectly still and could not move. So in order to alleviate their distress Lorc Balaram began describing the wonderful pastimes and glories 0 Krishna and started chanting Krishna’s transcendental names while doing this he became so absorbed that he himself became dark in complexion assimilating Krishna’s blackish color.

So you can see that there are many kinds of madhu or honey. The first is the honey that Krishna and Balaram would come and drink from the trees. This is the honey from the bees. The second is the honey of the sweet nectarean pastimes of Lord Krishna and Lord Balaram. This honey is for the devotees and the third is for the gross materialists who think they see the reflection of honey in a mirror, which represents material life, and who think that by licking the mirror they are receiving the honey.

In Kali yuga we have the advent of Lord Caitanya who was Krishna himself, and along with him adventing a few weeks before was Lord Nityananda who is nondifferent from Balaram. They appeared 500 years ago in Bengal. When Lord Caitanya and Lord Nityananda came to Vraja, they came to recollect and relish all their pastimes that they exhibited in their original transcendental forms as Krishna and Balaram.

Remembering their wonderful pastimes and honoring and worshipping the places where these pastimes took place with one’s physical body and mind is the highest austerity. It is also extremely blissful and very purifying. Just feel the breeze as it blows gently against our faces, smell scents of different flowers in the air. Look! There is a peacock flying to a tree. Look how beautifull it is. You hear the call that it makes. It calls, Kay Kaw, Kay Kaw. Kay means Krishna and just in rememberance to Srimati Radharani’s answer to Krishna’s call is Kaw. So the peacocks are always calling out, Kay Kaw, Kay Kaw, remembering Srimati Radharahi and Krishna.

So now let us go down to Krishna kunda and take acaman, and after paying our obeisances we will go to the temple and have darshan of Lord Balaram in one of his only existing blackish deity forms, and then we will hear a very nice lecture on humilty.

A vaisnava is decorated by the quality of humility. This is a vaisnava’s best form of decoration. If one were to recognize who is a true Vaisnava, the most outstanding and prominent quality ol characteristic would have to be humbleness. Even my own spiritual master, His Divine Grace Srimad Keshava Maharaja used to call himself an atheist out of utter humility because he felt that he was not giving enough devotional service to the Lord. Factually speaking these are the real Vaisnavas. We do not even have the faintest glimmer of humility. We become puffed up with all sorts of materialistic qualities like pride, conceit, arrogance, envy, vanity; all these things are filling our hearts. We are quick to shun ridicule and we are even quicker to seek praise. The qualities oi a true Vaisnava are described by Lord Caitanya in verse three ol his "Siksastaka".

trnad api sunicena taror api sahisnuna

amanina manadena kirtaniyah sada harih

Those who consider themselves more humble than a blade ol grass, who think themselves lower than straw in the street, who are devoid of all sense of false prestige and who are always ready to offer respect to all beings. These are the true Vaisnavas. Such elevated personalities are very rare but they are the actual persons qualified to teach of the topics of the Lord and Krishna consciousness. Those that think that they have the factual knowledge and actual understanding, those who think they have read a lot practically speaking they are intoxicated by illusion in the form of pride and vanity and they are unable to properly speak about the topics of the Lord and Krishna consciousness. I am a person of this last category with no qualifications at all, whatsoever; but because the Vaisnavas have ordered me to speak I am speaking. We do not have any access into the actual realm of spiritual mellows and rasas of Krishna; but because we are so contaminated by arrogance and puffed up by illusion we think that we are and have been approved and accepted and have entered.

Once my Guru Maharaja restricted a speaker from speaking about the more intimate pastimes of Krishna in Vrindavan, from the Srimad Bhagavatam. The Caitanya Caritamrita also forbids one from speaking indiscriminately about the more intimate pastimes of Krishna in Vrindavan. But the fact is, if these topics are riot discussed amongst elevated souls and sincere devotees and Vaisnavas, then who should they be discussed amongst. This is why Srila Vyasadeva, the literary incarnation of Lord Krishna did not explicitly describe these pastimes in any one of the Puranas. But his guru, Narada Muni objected telling him that this should be done. The world still has some people who are fit to hear about these pastimes. If Vyasadeva, who was completely qualified and knowledgeable about the more intimate pastimes ol Krishna and his activities in Vraja, if he failed to reveal these things then they would be completely lost to the world. Also if he did not write about these things, after completing and writing all the scriptures he still would not feel satisfied. Therefore for the most ultimate good and benefit of the world he must write about these topics. Thereupon following the instructions of his spiritual master Narada Muni, Vyasadeva compiled all the various pastimes of Lord Krishna in the 18,000 slokas of the Srimad Bhagavatam, ihe crest jewel of all Vedic literatures. These pastimes had never been recorded previously in any of the other Vedic scriptures.

Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami thought in a similar way, he fell in a similar mood. He also was thinking of revealing the more intimate pastimes of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu who is non different from Lord Krishna. He was thinking that if these pastime were to get into the wrong hands they could be misused; but afte reflecting intensively for some time on the matter he came to the conclusion to reveal the pastimes also. His understanding was like this... in a big mango orchard we will find only birds like parrots and they will come and eat the sweet fruits; but the neem trees attracts another kind of bird and that is the crow. Even the neem trees are right next to a mango orchard filled with fresl succulent, ripe fruits; still the crow never goes to eat the mango so then considering this Srila Krishna das Kaviraj decided to put ill the intimate pastimes of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu in Sri Caitanya Caritamrita" realising that only the parrot like devotees will be the ones who will come to taste and relish these fruits. Whereas the crow like karmis and gross materialists will never come. So at a very ripe, old age Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami recorded all these very intimate and esoteric topics and blessed iswith them in the wonderful book, "Sri Caitanya Caritamrita".

Lord Caitanya is Lord Krishna himself and Krishna never gave to completely the highest mellow of devotional love in any other incarnation, as he did in his incarnation as Lord Caitanya. Lord Caitanya was so magnanimous that he gave that highest love to each and every person he met. He and Prabhu Nityananda would go from house to house distributing the Holy Name. Counting but how many lakhs of the Holy Name each devotee would take each day. They would shout to one and all. Please take the shel-Ler of the Holy Name. Please chant always the Holy Name. To purchase us, all you must do is chant the Holy Names of the Lord. "hey used to set up a market place just like a merchant would do n a bazaar and anyone who passed they would stop saying ‘Haribol!! You there! How many lakhs of the Holy Name will you want today? One lakh! Very good! A conditioned soul automaticaiW purchases us when he chants one laIch of the Holy Name each day. I quickly relieve them of all their sinful activities. Hari! Haribolo!!

If Lord Caitanya had not descended to promulgate the sankirtan movement and to reestablish the science of devotional service to Krishna, the highest ecstasy, then who would have revealed this to the world? If Lord Caitanya bad not appeared the world have been without this benediction. And therefore we are supremely fortunate that all the previous Vaisnava acaryas Sc caretully and painstakingly recorded all these sacred and wonderful pastimes for us to be able to benefit by and relish. The compassion of a Vaisnava for the conditioned souls is a wonderful phenomena. So whenever the Vaisnavas are discussing any topic, it is correct to approach that assembly in a mood of reverence. My Guru Maharaja instructed us never to read the 10th Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam. Why do the mundane philosophers and speculative wranglers go directly to the 10th Canto? Do you think they read it in the proper mood ol reverence? It is highly improbable. I remember that although he restricted us from reading these particular pastimes it was not because he was forbidding us from reading it; but it was just to make sure that we would be extremely careful in approaching thesc subjects with the utmost care and reverence without a tinge of mundane contamination.

I remember that once I humbly approached my Guru Mahara with a question from the eastern wave of the Gopala Campi whereas Snia Jiva Goswami describes the tying of the rope around Lord Damodara by Mother Yashoda. There Jiva Goswami describes wonderfully in detail this marvellous pastime. I asked my Gurudev how Jiva Goswami was able to describe in such perfect detail this mood of vatsalya rasa. As soon as I mentioned this my Guru Maharaja started crying and howling. This went on for some time, so much so that he exhibited a state whereas he could not howl and cry anymore. This I saw personally with my own eyes and only after massaging his feet and chanting the holy names of the Lord for some time did my Guru Maharaja, His Divine Grace Bhaktiprajnana Keshava Maharaja, come back to a normal state. Therefore these topics and this sentiment should be carefully exposed and partially hidden; but nevertheless they must be revealed according to time and circumstances, taking into consideration each individual’s qualifications and eligibility.

In this way if the Vaisnavas distribute these topics to the worl with the utmost reverence and humility, then this will be in th mood of our parampara heritage and we win be fulluwing ii’ ti] tradition of our great acaryas of the past. All the six Goswam distributed these topics in this way. In fact, the Supreme Lord himself, in the form of Lord Caitanya, came and distributed this to them. Therefore we are extremely blessed that we can hear ol these topics from such greatly compassionate and saintly souls like their Divine Graces Puri Maharaja, Janardan Maharaja, Gurupad Padma and Trivikram Maharaja. In this way, by their mercy, humbly following in their footsteps, we too will be able to distribute these nectarean topics to the world in the same manner that is with the utmost reverence and humility. Hare Krishna!

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