Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is very kind, in that He manifested. Because they [the Shyamakunda and Radhakunda] were there, nobody knew about them, He could have just left it that way. Because here is the highest position, Govardhana is there, the highest spot, but within Govardhana then Radhakunda and Shyamakunda. But He revealed, out of His kindness, so that just by remembering, by seeing, by worshiping, by all these things then one can get such benefit. Because then it’s connected to Radharani, that worship of Radharani, and that will please the Lord. So Lord Caitanya in the mood of Radharani makes available, so that these pastimes could be appreciated. Same time is Krishna, being most dear to Him, Radharani, anyone who pleases Her naturally is dear to Him. So from both sides one gets greatest advantage.
And in this verse from Govinda Lilamrita it’s said, “Who within this world can describe the glories and sweetness of Sri Radhakunda?” So all we can do is give an indication of what’s there, that’s why Prabhupada was saying, we should be very, very careful. Because the question may come up, here it’s mentioned at least two or three times about bathing. So the point is is bathing means, what does that mean – bathing? Means, your body made of dead matter took bath in something you consider water. Is that what we are talking about? So this is the difficulty, so what does that mean, taking bath in Radhakunda? Because the point is is, by taking bath one will develop pure love of Krishna, prema, in that mood of the Gopis. So we are taking bath, and then we come out, and then it’s kind of like, “Hey, where is my gamcha?” Lord Caitanya came out, He is dancing in ecstasy on the bank. Do you understand? So the point is is, to that degree that you appreciate, that quickly things manifest.
Of course, when it says “take bath”, it means take bath, so one is taking bath. But how quickly you will be able to realize the advantage of that, will come by how much you actually appreciate what you are dealing with. It’s the same, the Holy Name, we are dealing with Krishna, it’s Krishna directly. We appreciate it’s Krishna directly, then we get that advantage. We don’t, it’s slower. Does that make sense? So we appreciate it not really down to that issue level that some say, “You could take bath”, some say, “You can’t take bath, and what’s the real deal?” and this and that, don’t do that. This is radical, this is not a Facebook issue conversation. This is Radhakunda, it’s about understanding what is there, understanding the relationship that’s there, the specialness. That Krishna, He has just killed the demon, everybody should be jumping up and down and saying “Vow, great, fabulous!” And the Gopis are saying, “You are contaminated.” Then He goes, “Ok, I will take bath.” In His boyish manner He creates the whole thing, “I have done it.” Then, “No, not good enough.” There is a specialness here. So that specialness is what’s being offered, that’s that specialness. So appreciate that, and then you make a decision of what you are doing. But it’s not an external element.
Because you have to remember, the turtles, they stay in Radhakunda 24/7, and remember, turtles live a long time, I mean, a really long time, they are born small like this, and with time they are those really big, monstrous guys, they are hundreds of years old. So now, that’s a serious bath, they were born in the bathtub and they die in the bathtub, there is nothing in between. Maybe they don’t…, maybe the consideration of benefits, because to take a bath means you get in and you get out, and they never got in and got out, they were always in, I don’t know. The point is is, even they are special, but the point is is, they are turtles. So they are not necessarily going to appreciate the specialness of Radhakunda, but the devotee can. So that’s what we must strive for. This is not about regulations, this is about actually appreciating.
Prabhu: Maharaja, in 1987 I was in Vrindavan for Kartik, and it was about 8 o’clock at night, and it was the Appearance Anniversary of Radhakunda, and I was feeling sick and tired and about ready to go to bed, but a very dear devotee knocked on my door and said, “Suresvara, are you coming to Radhakunda? You know it says in the shastra, that if you go to Radhakunda on Her appearance night, you are guaranteed to go to Goloka”. So I am just thinking that by this devotee’s devotion I did go. But my question is, it’s sort of along the lines of what you are saying, should we take a bath or not take a bath, what really, it sounds what you are saying, the ticket to Goloka is based on my appreciation of Radhakunda.
HH BVPS Maharaja: Yes.
Prabhu: Ok, now my question is, is there something even more fundamental that enables me to appreciate Radhakunda, or it’s that just the act of my free will, there is something behind that appreciation that’s really the essence of the ticket?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Well, all the Acaryas mention. I think Jiva Goswami is pointing out, he is quoting from Upanisad, and he is giving this in relationship I think to anumana, the process of applying logic into life. So he is saying that the processes sravana, manana, nididhyasana, this is what I think Katha Upanisad gives the evidence, is that you hear, so in this case, the glories of Radhakunda. The second stage of understanding is, then you contemplate it, and you try to apply what you have contemplated. So contemplation means, it’s a form of speculation, but it’s philosophical, it’s not mental, Prabhupada makes that distinction. So therefore you see, well, how does that apply, so therefore Radhakunda is so special, but why is Radhakunda special? Is it just because it was dug by the ankle bells or something, and so the lotus feet of the Gopis, Krishna is putting on His head, you know, what is this?
So in any case, you go through, and there is something special. Then, trying to apply that in your life out of appreciation, in this case of Radhakunda, then with practice, continued practice, then you get realization, and that realization is what changes the life, that’s the values and all that. So there is the endeavor, so we have heard it, but we have to contemplate it. So we have heard, we are taking a bath, that’s the ritual, because generally you take the bath because you appreciate. Why do you go all the way to a holy place, unless there is some appreciation, unless of course…, yeah, no, anyway there would be, even the karma-kanda would have appreciation, because if you take bath, you are freed from all sins or you get liberated, you know, something is there. But here is that one gets love of God. So it’s not exactly your standard fruitive result, so you wouldn’t put the devotee in that category.
But there is the point that was being brought up before, is that why have love of God? Ok, if I bathe in Radhakunda, I get love of God, why do you want love of God? What are you gonna do with it? Ok, now I got it, ok, now what else? You know, checked that one off my list, now I want the Lamborghini. So it’s just, why have love of God? And that is so that one can express that natural affection between yourself and Krishna and the devotees. Because love of God, that is where, Vishvanath says, that’s where bhakti starts. Before that we are sadhakas, even in bhava, it’s still bhava-sadhana, though it’s different from vaidhi-sadhana in that you are liberated. But the point is is prema is bhakti, and so then now you can cultivate that and express that, so in other words, that’s what you are expressing. Because anything you have gained, you see, because it’s a goal, right, having gained it, it becomes part of our inspiration, it becomes part of our identity. So then identity is something that you work with, you have to apply, so it’s something that you are always applying.
So now, ok, now we have bathed in Radhakunda, now we can sit back. No, you bathe in Radhakunda, because you want prema, which is a dynamic, ongoing process. So as you understand and apply it, like we said, understanding comes from contemplation and application, so you have heard, now do something with it, having done something with it, that will become part of your life, having become part of your life, now you will act on that platform naturally, rather that intellectually.
Prabhu: So the statements like those in the shastras, that one will be guaranteed to go to Goloka, it’s kind of like invitations to get aboard the process…
HH BVPS Maharaja: Yes, they are, but at the same time there is always the consideration that you have done it. It’s just a matter of if you are going to take advantage in it’s natural course, or you have some other plan to slow it down.
Prabhu: Yeah, that was 26 years ago, so it has been a little slow, so my appreciation that I think was sitting on the steps with Ayodhya Pati, now Bhakti Bhringa Govinda Maharaja and Mahanidhi Swami and others, and in India people would be sitting around the pond in midnight on the steps with all these ligths, [indistinct] and that was the beginning of my appreciation.
HH BVPS Maharaja: Yes, so that’s why the association of devotees is what actually makes the process dynamic. In other words, it was by association that you ended up there, otherwise your plan of association was a mattress and a pillow, like that. And you were in Vrindavan, not Mayapur, so you wouldn’t have been getting the benefit of offering full dandavats. So here is, by those you associated with and because of how you dealt, there was that appreciation, that personal element, they went through the trouble to come and knock on your door, get you to come out, get you to go there. And how is that happening, because they have already made the arrangements to get the car, get everything, they know where they go, so it’s all because of association. That’s why the Acaryas recommed, that’s why Prabhupada made this society, it’s for association, that’s the whole thrust. So because of that association, so if you cultivate, then all those things develop.
(From His Holiness Bhaktividya Purna Swami Maharaja lecture on the day of Radhakunda Appearance, 27 October 2013, Sri Mayapur Dhama)
Photo Credit: Mayapur.com