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The Glories of Purushottama Vrata

By the causeless mercy of Guru and Gauranga we are now very nicely observing purushottama-vrata. Again and again I remind you of who Lord Purushottama is— Purusha-uttama, Purushottama. Which means one who is supreme to all persons and one who is the supreme controller of the entire universe. Brahma, Shiva and Narada are all hankering to receive one sprinkle of His footdust. And this Supreme Lord is actually called Vrajendra-nandana Shyamasundara, He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead— He is Purushottama.

According to our shastra we observe Purushottama, which means that there are three purushas: Karanodakashayi, Garbhodakashayi and Kshirodakashayi Vishnu. While Krishna was staying in Dvaraka-puri, He was feeling pangs of separation from Vraja and the Vrajavasis, the residents of Vraja. However, He did not return from Mathura to Vrindavana, or from Dvaraka to Vrindavana.

According to Srimad-Bhagavatam, Srila Vyasadeva Gosvami did not mention Krishna returning from Mathura to Vrindavana or from Dvaraka to Vrindavana. But in another Purana, Laghu-bhagavatamrita, Srila Sanatana Gosvamipada explains a very beautiful lila which takes place in Vrindavana. Krishna performed His sweet lilas in Gokula, called His bala-lila charita-katha; after His bala-charita-katha, Krishna performed His sweet sakhya-lila with all of His friends.

itthaṁ satāṁ brahma-sukhānubhūtyā

dāsyaṁ gatānāṁ para-daivatena

māyāśritānāṁ nara-dārakeṇa

sākaṁ vijahruḥ kṛta-puṇya-puñjāḥ

Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.12.11)

[In this way, all the cowherd boys used to play with Krishna, who is the source of the Brahman effulgence for jnanis desiring to merge into that effulgence, who is the Supreme Personality of Godhead for devotees who have accepted eternal servitorship, and who for ordinary persons is but another ordinary child. The cowherd boys, having accumulated the results of pious activities for many lives, were able to associate in this way with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. How can one explain their great fortune?]

Shukadeva Gosvamipada also spoke this katha to Pariksit Maharaja when he described how Krishna relished the sakhya-rasa from the heart of His friends Subala and Sridama. Then after sakhya-lila, comes Krishna's pauganda-lila (childhood pastimes). After the Lord’s pauganda-lila, Krishna enters His youth pastimes called yauvana. Then Krishna performed His sweetest lila known as rasa-lila.

kṛṣṇera yateka khelā, sarvottama nara-līlā,

nara-vapu tāhāra svarūpa

gopa-veśa, veṇu-kara, nava-kiśora, naṭa-vara,

nara-līlāra haya anurūpa

Chaitanya-charitamrita (Madhya-lila 21.101)

[Lord Krishna has many pastimes, of which His pastimes as a human being are the best. His form as a human being is the supreme transcendental form. In this form He is a cowherd boy. He carries a flute in His hand, and His youth is new. He is also an expert dancer. All this is just suitable for His pastimes as a human being.]

Shukadeva Gosvamipada told Pariksit Maharaja:

kṛṣṇera yateka khelā, sarvottama nara-līlā, nara-vapu tāhāra svarūpa gopa-veśa, veṇu-kara, nava-kiśora, naṭa-vara, nara-līlāra haya anurūpa

Krishna performs many lilas, yet His topmost lilas are known as His human being lilas— manava-lila, manusha-lila. And these manusha-lilas taking place in Vraja are very important. You see, Krishna and His pastimes have two things simultaneously: sarvajnata and mugdhata. In this way Krishna performs many sweet lilas, especially those which He performs with the vraja-gopis, like His rasa-lila, which actually is a perfect human being lila because our shastras explain:

bālasya tāvad kriyāsaktas taruṇas tāvat taruṇī-raktaḥ

Bhaja-govindam (7)

by Shankaracharya

[During childhood one is attached to play, during youth one is attached to women.]

When a child is still a small baby, he is attached with his parents. Then, when he grows up a little, he becomes attached with his friends. Later, when the child enters his more youthful years, also called yauvana, he becomes attached with young ladies. And in the same way, Krishna performs this same human being lila.

Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu also recites one verse:

yuvatīnāṁ yathā yūni yūnāṁ ca yuvatau yathā

mano ’bhiramate tadvan mano me ramatāṁ tvayi

Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu (1.2.153)

[As the minds of young girls take pleasure in thinking of a young boy and those of young boys take pleasure in thinking of a young girl, may my mind take pleasure in You.]

Here, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu teaches us how to perform our bhajana and sadhana. Our bhajana and sadhana should be svabhavika. It should be done spontaneously, not artificially or not in any other way. For this reason, the Lord in this verse says:

yuvatīnāṁ yathā yūni yūnāṁ ca yuvatau yathā

mano ’bhiramate tadvan mano me ramatāṁ tvayi

When the time of youth comes, the mind of a young boy will spontaneously become attached with young girls, and young damsels also become automatically attached with young boys. We can see this in krishna-lila, as Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami in Chaitanya-charitamrita also explains:

rātri-dina kuñje krīḍā kare rādhā-saṅge

kaiśora vayasa saphala kaila krīḍā-raṅge

Chaitanya-charitamrita (Madhya-lila 8.189)

[Day and night, Lord Sri Krishna enjoys the company of Srimati Radharani in the bushes of Vrindavana. Thus, His pre-youthful age is fulfilled through His affairs with Srimati Radharani.]

Krishna successfully performed youthful, transcendental lusty pastimes with the gopisgopis kama krida range. However, the gopis kama krida here means prema-krida.

premaiva gopa-rāmāṇāṁ

kāma ity agamat prathām

ity uddhavādayo ’py etaṁ

vāñchanti bhagavat-priyāḥ

Chaitanya-charitamrita (Madhya-lila 8.216)

[Although the dealings of the gopis with Krishna are on the platform of pure love of Godhead, such dealings are sometimes considered to be lusty. But because they are completely spiritual, Uddhava and all the other dearmost devotees of the Lord desire to participate in them.]

The lust of the gopis’ is actually transcendental divine love. Now we see that this transcendental love of the gopis is referred to as lust, but it is important to understand that this transcendental lust is the complete opposite of material lust.

Both the gopis and Krishna’s kama-krida may appear like human, material lust, however it is purely transcendental. And in this regard, because of the gopis’ ‘āma-krīḍā saphala kaila gopīgaṇa-saṅge’, in Chaitanya-charitamrita, Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami explains how Krishna performed many youthful, sweet amorous times with them.

In this way, the gopis and Krishna enacted many types of sweet amorous pastimes like vamsi-chori, nauka-vilasa, water sporting pastimes, boat sporting pastimes, rasa-lilas and naisha-lilas— naisha means sweet nighttime lilas. This is also explained in our granthas: Govinda-lilamrita and Sri Krishna-bhavanamrita grantha.

In Srimad-Bhagavatam, Shukadeva Gosvami also very briefly explains these naisha-lilas; naisha-lila also means ratri-kala-lila. And especially when Krishna performs His rasa-lila with the gopis, and how the gopis become completely absorbed in Krishna's sweet and amorous pastimes.

Afterwards, Krishna departs from Vrindavana to Mathura. Actually, in previous classes I have explained how Vrindavana Krishna does not take even one step out of Vrindavana.

vṛndāvanaṁ parityajya na padam ekaṁ gacchati

Yamala-tantra, quoted in Laghu-bhagavatamrita 1.5.461

[Krishna does not leave, even by a step, Vrindavana.]

However with His expansions, Krishna appears to leave Vrindavana, causing so much pain and separation for Him and the gopis, especially for Srimati Radhika. And purushottama-vrata actually means how one will feel separation from Vraja and the Vrajavasis— this is the main aspect. For this reason, while Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was staying in Jagannatha Puri and Gambhira, He would cry and cry as He listened to these types of separation mood kathas from Svarupa Damodara and Raya Ramananda. While hearing, Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu would think, “I am Radha, and now My beloved Krishna has left Me.” So Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, who at the time was completely absorbed in the separation mood of Srimati Radhika, recited this verse on Krishna’s ‘shikhi-pinchha-maulih’ (Krishna’s peacock feathers in His crown).

“Where is Krishna, who always keeps the peacock feather on His head, where is this Krishna?” Throughout the entire day and night, Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was weeping from pangs of separation He felt from Krishna— ‘Krishna-viraha-vidura Radha’. And in Jagannatha Puri, Purushottama Jagannatha-kshetra, Jagannathadeva is crying for Srimati Radhika— called ‘Radha-viraha-vidura Krishna’. Which means that now Krishna is also feeling pangs of separation from Srimati Radhika.

In his Embankment of Separation, Srila Gour Govinda Gosvami Maharaja very clearly describes this philosophy and how Purushottama-kshetra is actually full of separation, viraha. And this same viraha manifested in Kurukshetra when Krishna met with the gopis. Thus, purushottama-vrata means that we should always feel separation from Srimati Radhika and gopis. And if possible, you can recite Gopi-gita every day:

jayati te 'dhikaṁ janmanā vrajaḥ

śrayata indirā śaśvad atra hi

dayita dṛśyatāṁ dikṣu tāvakās

tvayi dhṛtāsavas tvāṁ vicinvate

Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.31.1)

[The gopis said: O beloved, Your birth in the land of Vraja has made it exceedingly glorious, and thus Indira, the goddess of fortune, always resides here. It is only for Your sake that we, Your devoted servants, maintain our lives. We have been searching everywhere for You, so please show Yourself to us.]

In this way you have to feel separation from Krishna. And if your time permits, you may also recite verses from Bhramara-gita which describe how Srimati Radhika felt pangs of separation from Krishna and in those times manifested Her transcendental madness, divya-unmada-dasha. You can recite verses like this as they are in this same separation mood:

gopy uvāca

madhupa kitava-bandho mā spṛśaṅghriṁ sapatnyāḥ

kuca-vilulita-mālā-kuṅkuma-śmaśrubhir naḥ

vahatu madhu-patis tan-māninīnāṁ prasādaṁ

yadu-sadasi viḍambyaṁ yasya dūtas tvam īdṛk

Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.47.12)

[The gopi said: O honeybee, O friend of a cheater, don’t touch My feet with your whiskers, which are smeared with the kunkuma that rubbed onto Krishna’s garland when it was crushed by the breasts of a rival lover! Let Krishna satisfy the women of Mathura. One who sends a messenger like you will certainly be ridiculed in the Yadus’ assembly.]

Without this separation mood, you cannot attain Krishna. So what does purushottama-vrata actually mean? Always feeling a separation mood— viraha. In one of his classes, Gurudeva nicely explained how purushottama-vrata really means how to feel the separation mood of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu.

During kartika-vrata, meeting lilas take place where Radha and Krishna meet together, this lila is called Radha-Damodara. And there are also Yashoda-Damodara lilas— most meeting lilas take place during this period. However, in purushottama-kshetra, purushottma-lilas are mostly viraha-lilas, imbibed with separation moods.

So you can observe purushottama-vrata by reciting verses day and night time, especially two shlokas from Gopi-gita and Bhramara-gita. This is very important. Lastly, you can also sing how Lord Jagannatha, meaning Krishna, will return back to His consciousness.

śrita-kamalā-kuca-maṇḍala dhṛta-kuṇḍala e kalita-lalita-vana-māla jaya jaya deva hare

Sri Mangala-gita (1)

[O You who take shelter of Kamala Sri Radha’s round breasts. O You whose ears are decorated with earrings and who are garlanded with an enchanting wreath of forest flowers. O Hari, may You triumph!]

rādhe kṛṣṇa govinda gopāla nanda-dulāla yaśodā-dulāla jaya jaya deva hare

So I very humbly request that you observe purushottama-vrata. In our Mathura Matha, when our Thakuraji is going to sleep, we perform shayana-arati. At night, all of the brahmacharis offer a ghee lamp while singing Mangala-gita.

jaya jaya deva hare jaya jaya deva hare

rādhe kṛṣṇa govinda gopāla nanda-dulāla yaśodā-dulāla jaya jaya deva hare

Our shastras explain that without hearing recitations of Mangala-gita, without hearing Jayadeva Gosvami's Gita-govinda, Purushottama Krishna will not take rest. This tradition is still taking place today in Jagannatha Puri; sometimes around 11:00 or 11:30pm, the very beautifully dressed devadasis, young girls, come in front of Lord Jagannatha and begin dancing while singing Mangala-gita.

Then, Lord Jagannatha becomes calm and quiet and He takes rest. This is our tradition. And the actual proper way to observe purushottama-vrata is to always remember Krishna’s sweet pastimes especially those in separation moods. Because Chaitanya Mahaprabhu taught us that when a separation mood manifests, all meeting lilas will automatically manifest in your heart. This is because:

na vinā vipralambhena

sambhogaḥ puṣṭim aśnute

kaṣāyite hi vastrādau

bhūyān rāgo vivardhate

Ujjvala-nilamani (15.3)

[Vipralambha (separation) nourishes sambhoga (meeting). That is, sambhoga is enhanced by vipralambha; without separation, meeting will not be nurtured. By re-dying a dyed cloth, the intensity of its tint increases. Similarly, through separation alone, the joy of meeting is heightened.]

Without separation, meeting will not be nourished. For this reason, our Gaudiya Vaishnavas follow the path of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu:

nayanaṁ galad-aśru-dhārayā

vadanaṁ gadgada-ruddhayā girā

pulakair nicitaṁ vapuḥ kadā

tava nāma-grahaṇe bhaviṣyati

Chaitanya-charitamrita (Antya-lila 20.36)

[“My dear Lord, when will My eyes be beautified by filling with tears that constantly glide down as I chant Your holy name? When will My voice falter and all the hairs on My body stand erect in transcendental happiness as I chant Your holy name?”]

Nama-grahana, chanting the holy names while tears roll down your eyes as you remember these specific pastimes— this is the process. Thus, purushottama-vrata means to always remember how Krishna is feeling separation from Vrajvasis and vice versa. Then, through all of this separation, meeting lilas become manifested. Perhaps next class we will further discuss the conceptions of viraha-milana and milana-viraha.

Remember that purushottama-vrata actually means moods of separation, and kartika-vrata are moods of meeting. And Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu taught us that a sadhaka must first and always feel separation from Krishna.

kāhāṅ mora prāṇa-nātha muralī-vadana

kāhāṅ karoṅ kāhāṅ pāṅ vrajendra-nandana

kāhāre kahiba, kebā jāne mora duḥkha

vrajendra-nandana vinu phāṭe mora buka

Chaitanya-charitamrita (Madhya-lila 2.15-16)

[Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu used to express His mind in this way: “Where is the Lord of My life, who is playing His flute? What shall I do now? Where should I go to find the son of Maharaja Nanda? To whom should I speak? Who can understand My disappointment? Without the son of Nanda Maharaja, My heart is broken.”]

“Where will I go now? And how can I open My heart to anyone? Where will I meet with My beloved Krishna?” In this way, while in Jagannatha Puri and Gambira, the Lord felt separation moods throughout the day and night. This is why in Chaitanya-charitamrita, Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami mostly explained these separation mood pastimes, because he understood that Chaitanya Mahaprabhu's lila and Krishna’s lila are nondifferent.

kṛṣṇadāsa kavirāja rasika bhakata-mājha

je racila caitanya-carita gaura-govinda-līlā

śunile galaye śilā nā ḍūvila tāhe mora cita


[Srila Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami, the devotee who knows very well the loving relationships of Radha and Krishna, compiled Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita and Govinda-lilamrita, describing the nectarine pastimes of Sri Gaura-Govinda. Even the stones melt in ecstasy upon hearing these narrations. But alas! Only my mind is not attracted to them.]

Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami is so magnificent and magnanimous, he manifested gaura-lila and govinda-lila kathas— Mahaprabhu's and Krishna’s lilas respectively. These ’gaura-govinda-līlā śunile’ are so beautiful, if anyone listens to gaura-lila and krishna-lila katha, their hearts will automatically melt. Even if one's heart is hard like a stone, and they listen to gaura-lila katha their heart will melt.

Thank you for your kindness.

vāñchā-kalpa-tarubhyaś ca

kṛpā-sindhubhya eva ca

patitānāṁ pāvanebhyo

vaiṣṇavebhyo namo namaḥ

[I offer pranamas unto the Vaishnavas, who are just like wish-fulfilling desire trees, who are an ocean of mercy, and who deliver the fallen, conditioned souls.]

Jaya Sri Krishna Chaitanya Prabhu Nityananda Sri Advaita Gadadhara Srivasadi Gaura Bhakta Vrinda!

Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Hare Hare

Hare Rāma Hare Rāma Rāma Rāma Hare Hare

Jaya Radhe! Jaya Krishna! Jaya Radhe! Jaya Krishna!

Nitai-Gaura Haribol! Haribol! Haribol!

Bolo Vrindavana Bihari Lala ki jaya!

Date: 25 September 2020 Location: Zoom


Transcriber: Radha-sundari dasi (UK) Editor: Sanatana dasa (USA) Integrity check: Chandrika dasi (UK), Divya-premamayi dasi (Slovakia) Proofreader: Chandrika dasi (UK) Image: Ananda-svarupini dasi (Poland)

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