|Radhanath Swami Speaks|
Lecture introduction by HG Radheshyam Prabhu
Hare Krsna! It is our great blessed good fortune today that we have HH Radhanath Maharaj who has come here especially to grace the occasion to distribute the certificates to the devotees.
A week ago, I met maharaj in the Vrindavan forest. I had gone to seek blessings from maharaj to start similar Vidyapitham classes in Bangalore, and Pune, and Kanpur and Calcutta. Of course, I told Maharaj that I am only planning to teach half of it, and for the rest half, I want to take teachers from here like Gaurang Darshan pr, and Balaram Shakti prabhu, Radhika Vallabha pr, and other devotees.
The main reason I told Maharaj was that it is very easy to hand over the content, but the consciousness and the Vaisnava qualities that these devotees are exemplifying is very rare, and I am requesting them to come Maharaj. I sought blessings from Maharaj.
Retelling of Maharaj’s words to proposed plan
Maharaj was telling about… Three things Maharaj said on that day. First thing he said in 1972, SP called the devotees and said that it is time for you to boil the milk now. We have acquired a lot of milk, but if we don’t boil it, we will lose it. And, and also Maharaj said that although at that time, our society was flooding with devotees, many were coming, staying for a while, and then leaving. Prabhupada felt the need for making the devotees study his books.
Secondly, Maharaj said, SP did say, simply by touching his book, you know, one will perfect his life. It is very rare so we should distribute his books. Let people at least touch his books. But Prabhupada said, Maharaj was saying that Prabhupada not only wanted people to touch his books and keep quiet, but he also, Prabhupada wrote in his letters about Bhakti Sastri, Vaibhava and such courses. That he wanted them to be systematically taught. It was his very personal desire. And Maharaj said that I am very pleased that this Bhaktivedanta Vidyapitham is actually fulfilling that order of Srila Prabhupada.
And thirdly, he said a very important point. That study of these Prabhupada’s books should not just be an academic endeavor but it should actually help the devotees to imbibe the Vaisnava qualities and sadachar which is actually the ultimate goal of these studies.
HG Radheshyam prabhu’s realizations from studying at Bhaktivedanta Vidyapitham
So, I was sharing with Maharaj how I personally felt very happy being here, my coming here is not only to study the books, but also to watch the teachers and watch the devotees, living in their company. Grasp some of their Vaisnava Consciousness and go back after this two years course, so I was telling him that I am immensely benefitted and now I am reiterating the same point here that our Bhaktivedanta Vidyapitham is blessed by Maharaj and Gaurang Prabhu started it with HG Gaurang Darshan prabhu, and in the last so many batches, our overview notes has been developed into Subhodini guides that are being printed and published and going all over the world. And also many, many devotees have come forward assisting Gaurang Darshan prabhu in doing many things in co-operation. In this way, this course has become a very, very effective and powerful course. In a couple of years, teaching the essential substance of the Bhagavatam and CC.
Expression of gratitude to Maharaj
And, we are especially thankful to HH Radhanath Maharaj because in his teachings, he has interwoven all the vital aspects of a Vaisnava’s life that Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu wanted to hand over. So this course actually imbibes the same mood, the thread of humility, and submissiveness and surrender in the teachings as we have found in our wonderful teachers, and now I will request Gaurang Darshan prabhu to take over the dais and say a little bit about the course to Maharaj and the certificates.
The historical context of Srila Prabhupada’s purpose in New Vrindavan
Hare Krsna. Thank you for giving this very last minute opportunity (smile)…I was just told about it today afternoon? Truly it is a beautiful opportunity for me to on behalf HDG Srila Prabhuapda to express my gratitude for all of the devotees participating in the Bhaktivedanta Vidyapitha.
Gauranga Darshan cited Gauranga who cited SP, in his directions for the original rural community of ISKCON, New Vrindavan. It was established around 1968. But even before that in 1966, Srila Prabhupada wrote in his principles he wanted to accomplish in ISKCON, places of pilgrimage where people could experience and meditate on the pastimes of Krsna.
It’s necessary for us to go back 500 years, from just this month in this year, when Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu is speaking to Sri Rupa Goswami in Prayag and Sanatan Goswami in Varanasi. He gave them instructions which were among his most important instructions to all of his associates. Rupa Goswami and Santana Goswami are like the pillars for the expansion of Krsna Consciousness. Lord Caitanya told them to go to Brindavan, and to reveal the Holy Places of Krsna’s pastimes, to build temples, establish worship of the deities, to extract the essence of all the Vedas and write literatures to teach the world the glories of pure devotional service in Brindavan, and to personally exemplify the lifestyle, the qualities of a Vaisnav.
So when Srila Prabhuapda established these communities in foreign lands even, he took those same principles. He said establish a replica of Brindavan, the seven major temples, Govardhan, Yamuna, cow protection, agriculture, and his…he wanted to establish in New Vrindavan what he called Rupanuga Vidyapitha. Which is a institution where people can get away from the cities to live in a Holy Place. As far as Prabhupada was concerned, when we re-establish Brindavan in another place, it becomes Brindavan. He said that about New Brindavan, he said that about Gita Nagari, and there are so many histories of Srinivas Acarya, King Birambir, Narottam Das Thakur, Bhaktisiddanta Saraswati thakur, how they established replicas of Vrindavan in various places. To go to these Holy Places, with Holy people, to deeply grasp these scriptures.
Humility – the deep import of being Rupanuga as the means and the goal of sastric study
In the Rupanuga Vidyapith, Srila Prabhuapda wanted systematic comprehensive studies of his books, and interestingly he called it the Rupanuga Vidyapith because what is the whole…what it the means by which we can actually realize the content of these books and what is the actual result when we understand the content of these books. We are Rupanuga. That means we are following in the footsteps of Rupa Goswami. Lord Caitanya told Rupa Goswami, and the other Goswamis, not only to establish the literatures in writing, but to teach people how to live them by their example.
Rupanuga Vidyapith means the place of learning how to follow in the footsteps of Rupa Goswami. And this is what really is the essence of a Vaisnava. Vairagya vidya nija bhakti yoga. Caitanya Mahaprabhu taught renunciation, knowledge, and true bhakti. Mahajano yena gatah sa panthah. But we can only understand what is true bhakti by following in the footsteps of great souls. Rupanuga Vidyapith, that means we understand in this Holy Place of learning, how to follow in the footsteps of Rupa Goswami, by examining the qualities of his life.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu told his principle associates in Jagannath Puri, that what he spoke to Rupa Goswami is the deepest and most profound realizations. He said that because of his humility, I understood that he is the proper candidate to receive that. And therefore, Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu empowered Rupa Goswami with His own realizations, with His own love for Krsna. So in this very prominent episode of Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, one of the most important parts of the Vedic literature for us, Lord Caitanya is establishing Rupa Goswami as the acarya of our sampradaya. That I have entrusted him with my teachings. And I have given him the full understanding of these teachings. Because of his humility, because of his Vaisnava qualities. So this is what Rupanuga Vidyapith means.
Be learned as far as one’s ability allows, but know that scholarship is not everything
Srila Prabhupada wanted us to be, as far as our abilities, to be very learned in the scriptures. But we find in Vaisnava traditions, even illiterate people become great acaryas. Gaur Kishore das Babaji was not a very literate person, but Srila Bhaktisiddanta Saraswati, of all the great scholar, and Babas, and pandits, and swamis that were in the world, he chose Gaur Kishore Babaji as his guru. The greatest scholar chose a person who had very little literacy because he knew perfectly the scriptures, in his heart, through his realizations.
And there are many examples like this. That Brahmin in Sri Rangam. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu saw that he was not very literate but with all humility and will all surrender, he was trying to please his guru. Lord Caitanya said, you are the true knower of BG, even though he could not say any verse properly. Lord Caitanya embraced him and gave, like he gave Rupa Goswami, in a similar way he embraced him and gave him all the realizations of the conclusions, the siddhantas of those knowledge.
So if illiterate people can become pure paramahamsa devotees, our scholarship, however much we know, and we should try to learn as deeply as possible, so that our intelligence is fixed, and so that we can then convince other people of all different states of mind within this world, clarify misconceptions… namas te sārasvate deve gaura-vāṇī-pracāriṇe nirviśeṣa-śūnyavādi-pāścātya-deśa-tāriṇe. On the order of Srila Bhakti Siddanti Saraawati thakur, Srila Prabhupada came to the West. He came especially to help people rise above impersonalism, voidism, and understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and pure devotional service, unconditional, unmotivated loving service to the Lord. That is Lord Caitanya’s mission. That was Srila Prabhupada’s message.
Foundational principle of our advancement – being without false ego
So it is very important that in our scholarship, we don’t move from the foundational principle of our advancement. Which means, following in the footsteps of Rupa Goswami. Being without ego, false ego.
Sanatana Goswami was Rupa Goswami’s guru. 500 years ago, in Varanasi, although he was trully a scholar. Nobody in the world can match what he was even before he met Lord Caitanya. He was such a scholar. So many scriptures. So brilliant. And he really did understand the conclusions. That is why he came to surrender to Lord Caitanya. That is why he had such faith, he was willing to renounce his multi-million dollar estate. All his fame, all his prestige. He was willing to be put into prison, in chains. He was willing to be a refugee. That’s when he came to Lord Caitanya in Varanasi, and he said, people call me a scholar, but I am such a fool that I believe them. Actually, I don’t know who I am, I don’t know why I am suffering. I don’t really know what the purpose of life is, or how to achieve it.
These feelings are expressed from the depths of their heart, it is not a show
And when these devotees are speaking to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, they are not trying to, you know, be showing, showing something they are not. He was speaking from his heart. This was the humility of the six Goswamis. They actually feel this way. They know more than anything and they feel that they don’t know anything. This is just the natural quality of a Vaisnava.
Today, I was just reading a purport of Srila Prabhupada. And what he has done, and what he has taught. Such a historical manifestation of the highest, purest devotion and compassion. And he was saying in this purport. I am just trying to satisfy the order of his spiritual master. I may not know so much, but whatever I can do, I am trying, and now…because I have tried, so many people are spreading this movement all over the world. He is not saying that in an artificial way like sometimes, all of us do. He was speaking from his heart. These are actually the qualities of great souls. And they live with real detachment, with real integrity, with a deep desire to serve, to be the servant of the servant of the servant of the servant. gopī-bhartuḥ pada-kamalayor dāsa- dāsa dāsānudāsaḥ. In this world, everyone wants to be great. And Lord Caitanya is praying, I want to be anu, I want to be anudasa. The most tiny little servant. That is his ultimate aspiration. It very much contradicts all egoistic ways of material nature.
Import of Rupanuga – to understand the tattva, and to deeply know ourselves as Krsna das
So this is what Rupanuga means. To understand very, very comprehensively, as far as our intelligence is capable, what is Krsna tattva, what is jiva-tattva, what is maya-tattva, what is bhakti-tattva, wha tis rasa-tattva. What are these profound truths? Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, he explained to the Goswamis, that of all the Vedic literatures, there’s essentially subjects. Sambhanda, Abhideya, Prayojana. How to establish one’s relationship with Krsna – Madan Mohan. How to act according to that relationship in every aspect of our lives with deep attachment – Govindadev. And how to love Krsna with pure, unmotivated love, following in the footsteps of the gopis – Gopinath.
So all of our studies of the scriptures. All of our philosophies. All of our understandings of how material nature works. Three modes of nature. How time affects every living being, at every moment. How time is Krsna Himself, the Supreme controller within the cosmic manifestation. How the jiva is part and parcel of Krsna, is sat-cid-ananda, is eternal, full of knowledge, and full of bliss, whose inherent potential potential is to love Krsna, in great ecstacy. But how, because we are part-and-parcel of Krsna, and we have free will, we can choose to try to be the controller, the enjoyer, and the proprietor, in subtle, little ways. Even a sannyasi, or a babji, or a sadhu, who has no material possessions, can be completely engrossed in being the controller, enjoyer, and proprietor, what to speak of family people. Or brahmacaris – that propensity is so deep seated in all of us.
Real renunciation or detachment
Renunciation, detachment is understanding what is the nature of the jiva – we are eternally the servant of Krsna. This is the basic foundation of all of Lord Caitanya’s teachings: jīvera ‘svarūpa’ haya—kṛṣṇera ‘nitya-dāsa’. We are eternally the sevant of Krsna. In every aspect of our life, we never want to be the enjoyer. We never want to become God. We never want to enjoy supernatural powers. We simply want to please Krsna. That’s the essence.
The depth and beauty of Srila Prabhupada’s books
And within our scriptures, Jiva goswami, Visvanath Cakravarti Thakur, Baladev Vidyabhusana, what to speak of Rupa, Santana, Bhaktivinod, Bhaktisiddanta Saraswati, all of these great acaryas, and they are citing Madhvacarya, Ramanujacarya. They have taken this philosophy of bhakti and Vedanta, in such incredible, comprehensive detail. Explaining in the perspective of the atomic particle, and explaining from the perspective of the cosmic manifestation, the greatness of Krsna. And our eternal subordinate with Krsna, as the lover and beloved. To learn the beautiful sciences, technologies, philosophies that Srila Prabhupada has encapsulated within his books, is trully a way of offering our gratitude to him. And he has written these books, because it is of the highest blessing for us.
Srila Prabhupada’s books give us real entrance to higher things
Srila Prabhupada wrote his books in a very, very conscious way in which we can trully make true spiritual advancement. Sometimes, unfortunate people, think that Srila Prabhupada just gave us basics, and we want to jump to higher things. But the basics that Srila Prabhuapda gave us, give us real entrance to the higher things, in and of themselves, because, if we really live by the principles Prabhupada is teaching us, he is really teaching us from the most basic to the highest. He is giving us everything. He is giving it in such a way, that we don’t take it cheaply. He is giving it in such a way, if we follow carefully, we become genuine.
Higher levels only come by following guru, invites Krsna’s mercy
And in that genuine, character, that we have, by having that faith, and that obedience to Srila Prabhupada’s teachings…yasya prasadad bhagavat prasado yasya prasadan na gati kuto ‘pi. Then Krsna reveals the highest truths. Because ultimately, no matter how much we study, realization only comes by Krsna’s grace. Realization does not come just by our acts, our donations, just by our management, just by our success, just by the results of what we have done. Or by our scholarship. Realization comes by the grace of Krsna. Rupa goswami says that pure devotional service is very rare. We can attain many things in this world. But pure devotional service is not attained. Pure devotional service is given. It is given by Krsna when he is pleased with us.
I love to cite a particular instance within our scriptures that always moved my heart, where Srinivas Acaryas’ father, is telling him, about all these great acaryas, and he is describing Rupa and Sanatana Goswami. And he is saying how he went to Ramakeli, and he saw, they were so wealthy, they were so young, they were so beautiful, they were so popular, so powerful, so learned in all scriptures. Yet, they were humble like blades of grass. And they were eager to offer all respects to everyone, and serve everyone. That type of…it’s almost a contradiction, when you have such opulence. Usually, it’s impossible not to become proud. Akincana-gocaram. Queen Kunti said that knowledge, beauty, and fame, and wealth, are disqualifications because they make us proud. Real renunciation is akincana-gocara. Nothing is mine. In that state, we can really take shelter of Krsna. Saranagati. And when we trully take shelter of Krsna, Krsna bestows His grace upon us. And then we can actually understand.
So, this is my little explanation of what Prabhupada meant by Rupanuga Vidyapith. It is a place of learning by following in the footsteps of Rupa Goswami, cause we are all Rupanugas in our sampradaya. Caitanya Mahaprabhu established that whoever is his follower is following in the footsteps of Rupa Goswami. And this is the quality of Rupa goswami.
Meaning of Bhakti Vedanta
Srila Prabhupada was given the name Bhaktivedanta, because he was trully a follower of Rupa goswami. In one sense, this name Bhaktivedanta says everything. When Lord Caitanya told the Six Goswamis, “go to Vrindavan, reveal Brindavan, establish temples, extract the essence of scripture, and live an example of pure devotional service,” that is Bhaktivedanta. The conclusion, the summam-bonum of all Vedas is Bhakti. Pure devotional service. Prabhupada was awarded that name, because of his knowledge, and his qualities. Because he was true, a true, supremely evolved follower of Rupa Goswami.
In the pranam mantras of his guru Maharaj, we honor Bhaktisiddanta Saraswasti Thakur Prabhuapda as a true follower of Rupa Goswami. And that is Bhaktivedanta. Rupa Goswami gave us that. And Srila Prabhupada, through his life, through his teachings, through his ISKCON movement, and especially in his books, is teachings us how to understand who I am, why I am suffering, what is the goal of life, and how to achieve the goal of life. And Srila Prabhupada wanted devotees to deeply study his books, and share that knowledge with each other, exemplify that knowledge with each other, inspire our movement to become a very, very strong community, a very united community, where the only thing anyone values is how they can serve. That is real knowledge. That is realization. And he wanted us, as far of possible, to be like lawyers, with laws books, where we could go out and present, to know his books so well, we could present it, or we know where to find the answers.
Maharaj’s study of Prabhupada’s books at New Vrindavan
All of you have been so fortunate. And please know what a rare fortune it trully is. I wish, because New Vrindavan never made a Rupanuga Vidyapith. I was happy milking cows, and doing deity worship. I was working so many hours a day, we were all like Goswamis. There was no time to sleep. What a blessing it could have been, if I could have really… I was reading all of Prabhupada’s books, sleeping maybe 3 hours a day, the most. And the only time I had for reading, because I was so busy with 6 offerings, 6 aratis, deities, often cooking for them, milking the cows, keeping everything clean. Nobody else there to help.
But I hear Srila Prabhupada said, you must study my books. And I was hearing he wanted a Rupanuga Vidyapith, a place where people would deeply study Prabhupada’s books. I was thinking I have to read Prabhupada’s books, but when? There was literally no time in the schedule. So between offerings and aratis, as soon as I would ring the bell, and complete the prayers, and then there would be, for the raj-bhoga offering, there’d be about 40 minutes between the arati. For the others, there’d be about 10 minutes between, you know when you finish the arati, and you go off the altar. Finish the offering, and during those times, immediately, I would pick up the book from where I left off, and I couldn’t sit down. Because when you only sleep three hours a day, if you sit down, maybe not you, but me, the tendency is to become sleepy.
So I would walk fast, and I would walk up and down the temple room. In the winter, it was so cold, below freezing, below 0 degrees Celsius. Inside the temple room. You can’t wear shoes. So the floor was…it’d keep you awake. I’d just walk back and forth reading, and I’d have to read out loud to really understand, and I read the entire Srimad Bhagavatam, Caitanya Caritamrta, Nectar of Devotion, Isopanishad, Bhagavad Gita, like that. That was my Vidyapith (laughs). I didn’t have Gauranga Darshan, Radhika Vallabha, such nice teachers explaining. I couldn’t even go to SB class because I was on the altar during it. And I would listen through the doors. Dressing the dieties was during the Bhagavatam class. And the only japa period was before Mangal arati. So somehow or other, that’s…but there was an enthusiasm to read. Can you imagine what I would have given to be in such a wonderful project as what you have done.
Realize your good fortune – Assimilate it, Live by it, Share it
Come together with devotees, to scrutinizingly go deeper, and deeper, into the study of Prabhupada’s books. It’s an incredible opulence that is so rare, and so precious, and such a good fortune. Somehow or the other, you have been given that good fortune. So my request is be humbled by your good fortune. Understand its value. If you don’t understand its value, you can become very egoistic that you know so much. But if you understand its value, then you’ll be more humble than a blade of grass (laughs), cause when you…when you offer a lamp to the sun, if you don’t understand the value of the sun, you’ll just think, “Oh! See what I’m, how great I am with this little lamp.” But if you understand the greatness of the sun, you become very humble when you offer that little, little, deep (hindi – lamp). So, It is very important, to be very humbled, and extremely grateful, and feel very blessed that you had this opportunity.
Take responsibility to realize your good fortune
But I’m going to end with this little message. When we are blessed with incredible good fortune, in order to assimilate it, and actually make advancement with it, we have to take responsibility for what we have received. And that responsibility is to live by that teachings, and to share them with others to the best of our capacity. Srila Prabhupada gave us this movement, he gave us his association, his devotees, his books, he said, just receive what I given you, and share it with others. So you are all, extremely fortunate, you have been given an opportunity that rarely anyone has ever had in such a holy place, with such incredibly wonderful sadhus.
Now it is the responsibility to share what you have received through your acts, your thoughts, your words, your life. Very grateful to Gauranga Prabhu for putting so much of his divine energy into establishing this, facilitating it. Sanat Kumar pr, who has been a leader of GEV, since it’s very beginning, providing this wonderful opportunity for all of you. Gauranga Darshan pr, all of the teachers, administrators, organizers, special gratitude to Radheshyam prabhu.
Maharaj glorifies HG Radheshyam Prabhu
It’s quite extraordinary (laughter), because, he’s senior to practically every teacher. He probably, he probably, educated the people to become devotees who educated the people who made the teachers devotees (laughter). He is like a param-siksa guru to almost everybody in the Bhaktivedanta Vidyapith. He’s teaching so many, more than anybody, in the history of India, or ISKCON. He has, he’s been systematically training people, who are systematically training people, who are systematically training people, and yet, what is it? A two-year course? And yet, he’s just come as a student. Just a humble student. He’s taking notes (laughter), and he deeply appreciates all of his teachers, many are so junior to him, in every single way, but still, he’s really just, he’s learning from them, he’s not just formality. You can go to one, or two classes, sometimes, but two years! Every day! He’s really learning, and appreciating cause he doesn’t really see junior or senior, he’s just seeing that these people are repeating Srila Prabhupada, so they are repeating our guru-parampara, so they are supremely exalted.
One of the greatest lessons at Bhaktivedanta Vidyapith
And his being a student, in my own estimation, is, is one of the great lessons of the Bhaktivedanta Vidyapith. As you are studying, you are seeing somebody, who know more than the teachers, humbly learning from them. That’s Rupanuga. That’s following the footsteps of Rupa Goswami. Thank you Radheshyam prabhu! But I almost don’t want to give you your certificate because, after you leave, the college will not be the same (laughter). But it will be, it will be better actually, it will be one of the great legendary, historical, ummm…trademarks of the Bhaktivedanta Vidyapith, that he was a student here (laughter). I want to congratulate each and every one of you. Thank you very much.
Final Concluding words by HG Radheshyam prabhu
Haribol! These certificates have been waiting in Gaurang Darshan prabhu’s locker for 6 months. But they were waiting for HH Radhanath Swami Maharaj to come for this meeting today. So we all could receive from his divine hands.
Maharaj is himself a walking and talking Srimad Bhagavatam. And in today’s presentation, he taught some of the very vital lessons for us. And I’ll request maharaj to bless all of us, that whatever you taught us today in your talk, we will imbibe it very deeply within the core of our hearts, and imbibe it in our life Maharaj. The knowledge we are receiving from the vidyapitham, may it transform into practical realization, in such a way that our actions will be pleasing to you. Thank you Maharaj.
HH Radhanath Maharaj ki, Jay!
Srila Prabhupada ki, Jay!