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Sri Guru (Vyasa) Purnima

We are going to celebrate Srila Gurudeva's Vyasa-puja. It is necessary to understand the meaning of Vyasa-puja. There are two words - vyasa and puja. First, I would like to explain what the Sanskrit word puja means. From English it is translated as "worship". Our acharyas (spiritual preceptors) have explained the true meaning of this word very well. Puja means to satisfy the desires of our ishtadeva (deity). That is the perfect meaning of puja - I am worshipping the lotus feet of the guru, i.e. I am thinking of how I can fulfil my Gurudeva's wishes.

Srila Narottama dasa Thakura humbly praises the lotus feet of Srila Rupa Gosvamipada, who fulfilled all the desires of Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu:

śrī-caitanya-mano-'bhīṣṭaṁ sthāpitaṁ yena bhū-tale

svayaṁ rūpaḥ kadā mahyaṁ dadāti sva-padāntikam

Sri Rupa pranama

[When will Sri Rupa Gosvami give me refuge at his lotus feet? In fulfilment of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's innermost desire, he has initiated His mission in this world and is therefore very dear to the Lord.]

Srila Rupa Gosvamipada served Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in such a way that all the treasures of the Lord's heart entered his heart. May Srila Rupa Gosvamipada, his sentiments and all the teachings he manifested enter my heart! He served physically as well as inwardly. Srila Narottama dasa Thakura describes it beautifully.

We worship Gurudeva. What does it mean? It is a desire to fulfil the wishes of the guru and also a longing to serve in the same mood (bhava) as our Gurudeva serves his ishtadeva. The true meaning of puja is when you wish to serve the Divine Couple of Sri Sri Radha and Krishna under the guidance of the gurupada-padma.

Puja is not just an offering of flowers, ghee (clarified butter) lamps, incense. These are all outward manifestations. There is a very deep inner meaning of worship. How do you offer your pure heart to the lotus feet of the guru? By offering flowers. In Sanskrit, the word 'flowers' sounds like 'sumanа'. Su means ‘beautiful’ and manа means mind. So how do we offer our beautiful, sweet mind and heart to the gurupada-padma? The mind should not be contaminated by any duplicity or hypocrisy. It should be pure, and it is such a heart that should be offered to Gurudeva.

There should also be a desire to serve the gurupada-padma. There are many paraphernalia - incense and the rest of the ingredients that we offer during puja. What is the point of offering incense? They exude a wondrous fragrance, sugandha. It is the sweet mood of the Gurudeva, which is not mixed with opulence mood. It is entirely in madhurya (sweetness), the mood of Vrajavasis.

When we offer the ghee lamp, we offer five wicks - pancha-dvipa. This means that we serve our ishtadeva with the five moods - shanta, dasya, sakhya, vatsalya and madhurya. In this way, we illuminate the place. Especially the innermost place where Radha and Krishna meet, nikunja-bhavana.

Srimati Radharani and Sri Krishna are making sweet love games, and we should have the desire to serve in this nikunja-bhavana. Everything there is completely illuminated with golden glow on one side and blue glow on the other side, ramancha-nilamani. Nilamani is a blue gemstone. The colour of Krishna's body resembles a beautiful blue sapphire, and the complexion of Srimati Radhika's skin is molten gold. This gold and blue glow lightens the whole nikunja-bhavana. You cannot imagine how beautiful this exquisitely decorated place of Goloka Vrindavana on the banks of the Yamuna is!

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura wonderfully describes how beautiful this kunja of Vrindavana is:

sugīta-nartane, saba sakhī-gaṇe

tuṣiche yugala-dhane

kṛṣṇa-līlā heri', prakṛti-sundarī

vistāriche śobhā vane

Yamuna-puline (verse 3)

[The gopis were pleasing the beautiful Divine Couple with their sweet singing and skilful dancing. Thus I contemplated Krishna's lilas with His enchanting lovers in the picturesque forest.]

This is actually the inner meaning of the puja. Radha and Krishna meet together and enjoy sweet lilas: separation and meeting, meeting and separation, beautiful waves of all kinds of divine love, prema-taranga.

You can't even imagine how beautiful it is! On the computer, sometimes there are different extraordinary screensavers, shimmering colours - it can only remind you from afar how amazing it is there. When a practising devotee in his sadhaka-sharira, (the body of a practitioner) is mindful of these lilas, he offers water in the sink. This is bhakti-dhara, prema-dhara, the flow of divine love of Sri Sri Radha and Krishna. It flows unceasingly, and when you pour this water from the basin, you imagine the love that pervades everything in this place.

There are five kinds of sakhis, friends of Srimati Radhika, and how beautifully they serve the Divine Couple of Sri Sri Radha and Krishna! And there are eight other moods such as abhisarika and others. If I explain in more depth, you may just not understand it. But there is something I can say. How amazing this place is!

Then we offer a handkerchief, which symbolises our love and affection. Radha and Krishna meet together and manifest many beautiful lilas of love. Droplets of sweat appear on their bodies and then the sakhis, manjaris wipe them off very carefully and gently. They are very skillful in all kinds of service. They don't just take a piece of cloth and wipe it. New devotees can do that, but those who are more deeply immersed in bhajana and sadhana can understand what is going on there.

What do we do afterwards? We offer flowers. What does this mean? When Radha and Krishna are tired, a beautiful soft bed should be made. In Sanskrit this is called pushpasha - a bed of petals and flowers. The sakhis, manjaris prepare it in the best possible way.

Srila Narottama dasa Thakura is singing:

prabhu lokanātha kobe sańge loyā jābe

śrī rūpera pāda-padme more samarpibe

heno dina ki hoibe mora narma sakhīgaṇe

anugata narottame koribe śāsane

Suniyachi Sadhu Mukhe Bole

by Narottama dasa Thakura

[When will my master Lokanatha Gosvami take me with him and offer me to the lotus feet of Srila Rupa Gosvami? When will this happen and the dearest priya-narma-sakhis give orders to their faithful Narottama?]

Gurudeva once explained this song beautifully and profoundly in Bengali. The mood of Narottama dasa Gosvami is amazing. A skilful guru puts this mood into the hearts of his disciples. This is called bhajana-chaturya, proficiency in spiritual practice, which is very profound.

Such is the perfect Vyasa-puja. How to fulfil the inner desire of the gurupada-padma? One who spreads krishna-katha throughout the world is called Vyasa. Vyasa is like a diameter passing through a circle whose centre is Krishna. So the one who spreads krishna-katha all over the world to help all the conditioned jivas is Vyasa.

It is necessary to understand who is the genuine guru, Vyasa, someone who is skilled in doing bhajana. Usually we think, "Vyasa-puja is when disciples offer many things to their guru. He sits and accepts all kinds of offerings." But this is all external. One has to go to the inner plane, and there Gurudeva on the day of his appearance worships the whole guru-parampara, he offers prayers to the acharyas: Brahmaji, Narada, Vyasa and the others. On the day of Sri Vyasa-puja, Gurudeva serves the entire guru-varga.

I remember how we celebrated Gurudeva's Vyasa-puja by worshipping him along with Madhava Maharaja. All of you should glorify the gurupada-padma, and offer pushpanjali to his lotus feet. If your heart is unclean, pray to Gurudeva in the mood of Amara-jivana or Gopinath, mama nivedana shuno (names of bhajanas). It describes how to purify the heart. Then by the guru's causeless mercy we will understand how to glorify him.

Link: not available

Date: 2 April 2016 Location: Brazil


Transcriber: Divya-premamayi dasi (Slovakia) Editor: Sanatana dasa (USA) Integrity check: Divya-premamayi dasi (Slovakia) Proofreader: Chandrika dasi (UK) Image: Navina-krishna dasa (Holland)

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