Teachings from Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami

By Niranjana Swami - 25.9 2017

So, this afternoon I just opened up and started to read from this book Amrta-vani, teachings from Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja. I read a lot from this book, I like different references that are given here. They are very philosophical and I see how Prabhupada was speaking so much about these points.

Of course, someone may say, “Why don’t I just read from Prabhupada’s book? Because these points are there in Prabhupada’s books”

But this book was made available, and I’ve been reading a lot from it and these quotes are very condensed and very potent. Some of them are very cutting, very sharp and very hard to swallow.

[Maharaja talks to devotee] Swallow is a little bit more graphic. [Maharaja and devotees laugh]

Because everything from beginning to end is always emphasis on pure devotional service. And in the same way that Srila Prabhupada preached always about pure devotional service, he was very cutting and he would cut away at the false ego of people he was speaking to. Of course, Prabhupada would do it in such a way that materialists would simply laugh at themselves. But he would always leave them feeling as if Prabhupada was kind to them.

Although, in certain times and certain cases, people were very disturbed by Prabhupada’s strong preaching. But for the most part whenever Prabhupada would speak to materialists, they would always appreciate his qualities, his character and his devotion.

One of the qualities of a devotee is that he is kind. So he would speak in a cutting way that was also kind, so that when people received Prabhupada’s cutting messages, they would still appreciate how Prabhupada was kind to them. And Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura preached also in a very strong, very cutting way and it would certainly polarize people— who could surrender and who could not surrender. Or who wants to surrender, but still sees that they have a long way to go. And who’s disturbed by hearing the necessity of surrender, who may have become a little complacent at their level of advancement in Krsna consciousness, and doesn’t want to really be pushed. There is expression in English, “Don’t rock the boat.” I am comfortable where I am in right now. “When I hear this it rocks the boat and I start feeling a little uncomfortable. And I don’t want to be disturbed by having to think about having to surrender more at this particular point in my life, because it’s taken me a lot to get to just be able to stabilize myself at this point. And the concept of more surrender is just too much for me to swallow right now.”

So, often times we actually experience ourselves, or we may objectively observe this in other devotees. And I’m not speaking about it in a negative way, because everybody has to find their position from which they can move forward. One has to find some point of stability and security, because ultimately that’s what everybody is looking for. Everybody wants to feel stable and secure, because it’s our nature to be secure. Its our nature to feel and to be sheltered.

And because it is our nature, everybody wants it, although some people may take shelter in temporary arrangements. Again and again, the Vaisnava Acaryas will always remind us that real, only shelter is in surrendering to the lotus feet of the Lord and devotional service to the Lord. The only real shelter is when the mind is just fixed on Krsna in the face of any kind of adversity.

And therefore Krsna makes many different arrangements for the living entity’s boat to be rocked – especially those who are sincere. [Maharaja laughs] Because if one is actually genuinely sincere, it means that he wants to advance in devotional service and increase his dependence on the Lord. Because he has at least enough experience to know that by taking shelter in artificial temporary arrangements – there is no shelter there.

Actually, we were just discussing that point in the car on the way over here. We were speaking about a particular devotee – who was in the car at the time – who was revealing his own realizations about there is just no shelter in material arrangements. And he was revealing how material nature continuously battered him again and again and again and again. And the result of all that is that the devotee is still here to talk about it. And I was telling him, “That is your redeeming quality, that even though material nature smashes you again and again and again, you still know there is nothing else besides association with devotees and Krsna consciousness.”

That kind of underlying conviction has to be there in the heart of everyone. And that underlying conviction comes from surrendering – even if it was just for a moment. Even a moment of surrender to Krsna can actually have a permanent impact on a living entity’s eternal life.

Just as that verse in the Bhagavatam says,

‘What is the value of a prolonged life which is wasted, inexperienced by the years in this world? Better one moment of full consciousness, because that will enable him to search after his ultimate interest.” [Srimad Bhagavatam 2.1.12]

Even one moment of surrender has a permanent result. That is the power of devotional service. Like it says in Ramayana, when devotee says to Krsna, “From this day on I am Yours”, and Krsna releases that devotee from the clutches of the material energy and accepts that devotee. That feeling, even for a moment, that “nobody else, nothing else, I just want to give my life to Krsna” will make a permanent imprint on his consciousness.

So even if the next moment is forgetfulness of Krsna, even if he goes on and just forgets that he actually felt that way – at some point he will come back and he will remember the sweet taste of that total abandonment and total surrender to Krsna. It is actually very sweet taste. It is the most wonderful position to be in. There is no safer position to be in.

But still we fight and we resist. Sometimes we look for different ways to adjust the situation, so that “I can be happy, comfortable, stable, secure.” But still, deep down in the consciousness, we know that Krsna, at some point, is going to expect more surrender.

So, a Vaisnava who introduces this conception of surrender, sometimes he may do it in a cutting way and a person may not even realize how much mercy he has received. But there will be some point in time, by the mercy of that Vaisnava that he didn’t compromise presenting Krsna’s teachings, there will be some point in time when that living entity will remember that exposure to Krsna. That is the value of presenting pure devotional service. And we see that our previous Acaryas would not compromise in presenting anything other then “surrender to the Lord”.

So, I find when I am reading a lot of these different quotes from Srila Bhaktisiddhanta that definitely his quotes are in that mood of just presenting everything very clearly. I was reading one quote this afternoon about independence. The question is, “what is actual independence?” Everybody really likes to be independent. It’s one of the characteristics of being in the material world is that we like our independence. We don’t want anybody telling us what to do. We don’t want to become completely dependent upon anybody, because to become completely dependent upon somebody in the material world is a sign of misfortune. As soon as you become completely dependent upon somebody then you are obliged, you have to do so many things – things that you don’t want to do, but you feel like you have to do because, “I am dependent on that person.”

And then we always try to make some kind of separate arrangements so that we can gradually release ourselves from the clutches of that dependence. But when we try to release ourselves from the clutches of that dependence, than we have to become dependent on somebody else. But we don’t realize it. Or we may think, “At least this is a better type of dependence. It was better than the previous one.”

And actually that is what Srila Bhaktisiddhanta talks about here in this quote. He is describing what is actual independence. The quote begins with the statement,

“To try to become God is non-devotional. The desire to become independent in this world means to become the servant of others. Material independence is simply a covered form of dependence. Complete independence is obtained by becoming dependent on the Lord, who is full of eternality, knowledge and bliss, and desiring only to serve Him. As long as the living entities hold the rope of the Lord’s mercy they are known as His servants. Those who think themselves self-dependent, or independent, should know that they are actually dependent on others. Only those who depend on the Supreme Lord are truly independent. When we attain actual independence than the conception that we are eternally dependent on Sri Hari becomes prominent. Any object that is a complete whole is transcendental.”

This is an important point to explain.

“Service to, or dependence on that transcendental, absolute truth Sri Hari is actual joyful independence. Otherwise, the show of independence, while identifying oneself as the doer or master, brings only distress. It is nothing but subordination under maya.”

Here is a little explanation about dependence and independence. The desire to become independent in this world means to become a servant of someone else. The only real independence the living entity has is only when he is fully dependent on the Lord. If he is not fully dependent upon the Lord, then he can never really be independent.

He has to be dependent upon something and why? And the reason why is because, although the living entity is complete, his completeness is only complete when he is connected to the Lord. And if there is no connection to the Lord, he is always incomplete.

This is the actual state of every conditioned soul. There are no exceptions. As long as we are conditioned, we have material body and we have not established our eternal connection with the Lord, we are incomplete. And because we are incomplete we are always looking for something to compensate that incompleteness. Only those who are self-satisfied are complete.

How can one be self-satisfied, unless he understands who he really is? If he doesn’t understand who he really is

jivera ‘svarupa’ haya — kṛṣṇera ‘nitya-dasa’ [CC Madhya, 20.108-109]

One is eternal servant of Krsna. Then he understands who he is. But if he doesn’t understand, if he doesn’t act in that capacity, then he cannot feel satisfied. He always feels incomplete. Therefore he tries to always look for something to compensate for his incompleteness.

He needs a relationship. That is one way to compensate for incompleteness – is we try to develop relationships with others. And of course, relationships with devotees is a way of actually compensating for that incompleteness. In fact, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta says that in following quote. He says,

“By the devotees mercy the living entity’s conditioned state, based on their independent will, is easily destroyed. Subordination to the devotees is the proper utilization of independence, and the desire for sense gratification is its misuse.”

The proper use is to associate with devotees, and the improper use is sense gratification. And where does sense gratification always lead to?

[Devotee] Disappointment. Misery.[Maharaja} Misery. Yes. Distress. Always leads to… it’s a law. You can’t change it. [Maharaja laughs] Some living entities think they can change it. Just like Srila Bhaktisiddhanta opens this little quotation with the statement, “To try to become God is non-devotional”.

That’s one way to try to change it – try to become God. Who is God? He is svarat, He is completely independent. That is one of the characteristics of the Supreme, He is independent. So if one wants to be completely independent from God, then he is trying to become God, because the only personality who is completely independent is the Supreme Being. He can do whatever He wants.

Of course, we know that He is bound by His devotee. There are so many descriptions of the nature of spiritual world. And we see that probably the most outstanding feature of Krsna’s pastimes in the spiritual world is how He is bound to His devotees.

So we may conclude, “Well then, Krsna is not independent either. He is bound to His devotee.” But that is Krsna’s choice. He chooses to be bound by His devotees, because that’s how He gets taste. That increases His pleasure. He likes to be bound by His devotees.

On one hand He is God and He is independent, and He doesn’t have to be bound to anybody. But what it’s like to always have to just be God? He likes it better when He doesn’t have to be God. He enjoys it much more being Nanda’s son, Yasoda’s son. And being completely dependent upon them for chastisement and for nourishment. He likes to be dependent on His friends. He likes to be dependent upon how the gopis make Him dance and Radharani makes Him dance and do so many different things. When Radharani becomes angry, Krsna whimpers and comes back to Her and falls at Her feet and tries to hold on to Her feet.

But Krsna likes that. He likes to be dependent on His devotes. But He always has the choice. So He is actually ultimately independent, although He chooses to be dependent upon those who have pure devotion to Him.

But the living entities, they are not independent. They can never be independent. And when they try to be completely independent from Krsna, then they try to become God – which is non-devotional. Not only that, but they are completely in illusion, because they think they are independent. But they are simply the servant of others: to become servant of one person, another person and then try to get away from serving that person, serving another person.

“I need money, I have to work for this person. I need love and I am not getting it. I look for some person to give me love. And then after some time “Wait a minute, this is not a love. This person is taking more than they are giving. I’ve had enough of this love. Let me find another love.” We are not independent. We need love. We need to feel loved. We need to feel secure.

It’s just the law. We are not independent! Accept it! But it’s so difficult. That means, “I have to surrender to Krsna. I don’t want to be totally dependent on Krsna. If I am totally dependent on Krsna, then how am I going to have all my different arrangements taken care of? Krsna doesn’t know anything about me? Krsna doesn’t make any arrangements for me. He doesn’t know I exist?! There are unlimited living entities! Who am I?! If I surrender to Krsna, I don’t stand a chance! There are so many other living entities; there are so many other devotees. What’s my chance?! How is Krsna ever going to take care of me? I can’t just fully depend on Krsna. So I have to make some arrangements.”

Therefore, making arrangements means to become dependent on somebody else besides Krsna. Whereas Krsna says, “If you surrender to Me, don’t worry”. He gives His assurance. There are so many places in Bhagavatam. There are so many examples. When a devotee surrenders to Krsna, Krsna takes him under the protection of His internal potency.

But we are thinking, “I certainly cannot possibly surrender completely to Krsna.” So, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta says, “Ok, if you want to be independent from Krsna, you can be independent from Krsna, but you have to be dependent upon others.” In another words, “You can try to be independent from Krsna, but you can never be independent”.

And therefore he says, “Any object that is complete whole is transcendental. Only Krsna is complete.”

om purnam adaḥ purnam idam purnat purnam udacyate purnasya purnam adaya purnam evavasisyate

“Krsna is perfect and complete. And anything that comes from Krsna is also perfect and complete. So many complete universes emanate from Krsna and He always remains the complete balance.” (Sri Isopanisad, Invocation)

So, Krsna is complete. He is apta-kama, He is atmarama. He is self-satisfied. And He has no desires that He has to fulfill. But even though He is perfect and complete, He has unlimited living entities who are all His parts and parcels, who increase His pleasure by becoming subordinate to those who are fully surrendered to Him. And therefore although Krsna is perfect and complete, still He places Himself in dependent relationship on His devotees, to increase His pleasure.

But Krsna is not greedy, He is not only thinking about His own pleasure. He wants to share that pleasure. He wants everyone else to experience it also. He wants everyone to actually get the opportunity to experience what does it mean to be independent. And He says, “Yes, you can be independent, too! You can do whatever you want. And you can make Me dance according to your own will.” Krsna dances according to the will of His pure devotees.

Just like when Krsna wants something. Sometimes mother Yasoda would say to Krsna, “Ok, now Krsna. ” CLAP, CLAP [Maharaja produces claps his hands]. She claps her hands. “Dance!” And Krsna will dance. She can make Krsna dance. So many devotees can make Krsna dance.

So, Krsna wants to share that independence. He wants to give that opportunity to every living entity to experience what it’s really like to be independent. He says, “If you want to be independent then just become dependent upon Me. And then you can be fully independent.” [Maharaja laughs]

Everybody always has this conception that surrender… I like using this example. Surrender means waving the white flag. Waving white flag… when there is a war and when the army realizes they are loosing the battle and they see that everybody else, all their comrades, all of them have been killed and there is only small group left, and battle is as good as lost – so what do they do? They put out white flag. “Ok, we surrender.” And then the opposition comes in, takes them, shackles them. Brings them under their authority. And they have to surrender to the opposition. Become slave to the enemy. “Now, I have no more independence. I thought I was independent before”. Or, “I thought I wanted to be independent and therefore I was fighting for that independence from the enemy.”

Just see how much independence is natural inclination that people are ready to die to be independent, ready to lay down their lives in battle just to be independent, because it is natural to want to be independent.

But surrendering to Krsna is not like waving the white flag, because Krsna is not looking for any slaves. He is not looking for people to satisfy His greed, His lust. He doesn’t need any of it. He’s already God. Why would He possibly have to look to defeat somebody to satisfy His own greed? He is already the Supreme Being. He is the undisputed Supreme Lord, Personality of Godhead. There is nobody equal to Him, there is nobody greater than Him.

So, why does He have to look for slaves? He is not looking to defeat the living entities in the material world to make them slaves. He wants to give them their taste of independence. “You can be independent. You can serve Me however you want to serve Me. And I will reciprocate!”

ye yatha mam prapadyante tams tathaiva bhajamy aham

“As all surrender unto Me, I reward them accordingly. Everyone follows My path in all respects, O son of Prtha.” [Bhagavad-gita 4.11]

And Krsna wants that surrender because He wants to give the living entity the opportunity to experience the same pleasure that He Himself experiences. He wants to share with everyone. And He even comes with the living entities who rebelled against Him in their heart, waiting them to turn to Him, so He can share with them.

So nobody can say, “Well, what chances do I have?! How does Krsna know?” We’ll just use that as an excuse but actually Krsna is right there in our heart. And He knows everything. He knows more than we know. He is waiting for us to turn to Him to surrender. He comes with the living entity in the heart as a Supersoul, and He also manifests Himself in the form of devotees.

As Srila Bhaktisiddhanta said,

“By devotees mercy, the living entity’s conditioned state based on their independent will, is easily destroyed. Subordination to devotees is the proper utilization of independence.” [Maharaja repeats last quote]

And even Krsna does it. Even Krsna shows Himself, how wonderful it is to be subordinate to His devotee. All His pastimes are all manifestations of this principle of how Krsna becomes subordinate to His devotees.

We read in Brhad-bhagavatamrta when Narada Muni is searching for the devotee who is the greatest recipient of Krsna’s mercy. And he goes from one devotee to the next, to see who is actually the greatest recipient of Krsna’s mercy. And then he finally comes to Uddhava. And then all of a sudden there is a discussion that takes place about who is the greater recipients of Krsna’s mercy than even Udhava himself, but they don’t want to talk about it.

But in Dvaraka, Baladeva and Rohini and so many others who were present there, they were all discussing about devotees who are greater recipients of mercy. And while they were having this discussion about Krsna’s devotees in Vrndavana, who were suffering from great distress from separation of Krsna – while they were having that discussion – Krsna was in the other room. He wouldn’t even get out of bed. He was lying in bed crying.

And they were trying to figure out, “Why doesn’t Krsna get up today?” Krsna heard this discussion about the residents of Vrndavana and how they were blaming Krsna for causing them so much distress by putting them in so much suffering in separation – He came out crying. And He came out of His room and continued the discussion, and then He embraced Lord Balarama, because He was feeling so terrible that He had caused so much distress for these devotees in Vrndavana. And He lost consciousness.

And He was just lying on the ground completely unconsciousness. And then everybody was so distressed, “What’s happened to Krsna? How can we possibly bring Him back to consciousness?”

And then Lord Brahma had an idea, “I know, we can bring him to Nava-vrndavana.” And Nava-vrndavana is that place that was constructed by Visvakarma, which was actually a replica of Vrndavana – where the devotees who are the greatest recipients of Krsna’s mercy reside.

But Nava-Vrndavana is simply a replica. It looks just like Vrndavana. But one thing Visvakarma could not re-create is the residents of Vrndavana. So there are only static forms of mother Yasoda. Images. Mother Yasoda and Nanda Maharaja, all the cowherd boys and the gopis. They are all static forms, they didn’t’ move. They just stood there. And then Lord Brahma was thinking, “Yes, how we can bring Krsna back to consciousness?”

So, he looked to Garuda. But Garuda was too disturbed; he was looking at Krsna and seeing and crying. Everybody was coming crying, looking at Krsna totally unconscious. Finally, he got Garuda’s attention, and he instructed Garuda, “Let’s take Krsna and Balarama to Nava-vrndavana. We should carry them there on your back”.

So, Krsna and Balarama were placed on the back of Garuda, and Garuda brought Them to Nava-vrndavana. And Balarama gradually awakened and He started to figure out what was happening. So, when They were brought to Nava-vrndavana, Balarama saw Krsna lying in that unconscious state. But this is Krsna from Dvaraka. So He had to make Krsna just look just Krsna in Vrndavana, He had to give Him all the ornaments of Krsna in Vrndavana: Krsna’s flute, put on peacock feather on His head, dusted all the dust off His body, dressed Him as a cowherd boy, gunja berries, earrings on His ear. And then He said, “Wake up brother, wake up! Look. Look. Look where we are!”

Krsna looked around and immediately saw His father and His mother standing there. And He immediately bowed down and offered His obeisances, because that is first thing He does – goes to the feet of His mother and His father. But they were not moving. And Rohini also had come from Dvaraka. She knew what was happening. She knew that Krsna was going to wonder, “Why isn’t Yasoda actually moving?” So, she told Krsna, “Your mother is in so much anxiety because You wouldn’t get out from bed this morning. She thinks You are sick. She cannot even move because of that anxiety. Why don’t You simply go to the forest with Your friends?”

So Krsna before going to the forest with His friends, He gave an indication that, “My mother Yasoda always give Me something to eat before I go to forest with My friends.” So, Rohini realized that she immediately had to make some preparations for Krsna to take. And she said, “Yasoda can’t do it because of her disturbed state. I will immediately go and get something for You.”

And therefore Krsna went further on the outskirts of Vrndavana and He saw some of the gopis forms that were standing there. Actually, before He left He took some butter that was in Yasoda’s hands, because Visvakarma knew therefore that Krsna would go and take some butter before going out, so he put some butter in stagnant form of Yasoda. Krsna then took the butter and then He went.

And then when he saw Radharani standing there. “Look at Radharani! She must be angry at Me, She is not even moving! She must know what I was dreaming about last night, and She must be angry with me. She is not even moving. Look at Her stare.” And He goes over to Radharani, “Don’t worry, I will come back later. I will see You.”

Krsna never even realized they were static forms. He looked to see if there was anyone looking. And saw there was nobody looking, and He gave Radharani a kiss and threw flower petals on Her.

And all this time the residents of Dvaraka came to watch all of this. Satyabhama was there. Rukmini. They were standing behind the trees. They were watching, seeing Krsna completely controlled by His devotees. And Narada Muni was in the sky, he didn’t even want to get close. He was thinking, “I was the cause of all of this, because I started talking about who is the greatest recipient of Krsna’s mercy.” So, he was thinking he was responsible for putting Krsna in this state of consciousness. So he didn’t even want to go close. He just simply sat in yoga position in the sky and watched from there. And Garuda stayed in the sky and spread his wings, so that the sun would not disturb Krsna. Wherever Krsna goes, Garuda would go.

Then Krsna goes along with the cowherd boyfriends and with Balarama to the river Yamuna with all the cows and all the calves. And He goes to what He thinks is the river Yamuna but actually it is not river Yamuna, because it is Dvaraka. It’s Nava-vrndavana. So when He comes to what He thinks is Yamuna River with the calves, He looks behind Him and He sees this huge city. And He says, “Wait a minute! Where am I? Who am I? [Maharaja and devotees laugh]

And then, because Krsna was just completely controlled by these devotees, and all the residents of Dvaraka were watching how Krsna was completely subordinate to the love of these devotees in Vrndavana: the gopis, the cowherd boys, mother Yasoda, Nanda Maharaja.

When Krsna started asking this question, “Who am I?”, Balarama had to remind Him, “O, don’t You remember, You came here to protect Your devotees. You have a mission to perform in this world, to protect Your devotees.” And He reminded Krsna about His mission and how He had to go back to Dvaraka again to fulfill His mission towards His devotees in Dvaraka.

But meanwhile, all the devotees from Dvaraka were watching, seeing how Krsna was controlled by the love of these devotees in Vrndavana.

And they returned to Dvaraka and then they were having a conversation. And Krsna began speaking in His own words about the love of His devotees in Vrndavana. He said, “I would do anything for these devotees. They’ve given up everything. They’ve sacrificed everything for Me. And they’ve completely given everything in sacrifice for Me.”

In the Srimad Bhagavatam, Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura describes in his commentary about the gopis. He says that Krsna says, “I can’t repay these gopis, because the gopis, they have given up everyone, they have given up their family members, they’ve given up their mother, they’ve given up their children. They’ve given up everything for Me. But I can’t give up My mother. I can’t give up My father. I can’t give up my brother. I can’t repay them [the gopis]. I can’t make the same sacrifice for them that they have made for Me! I can never repay them!”

So, Krsna begins describing to all these devotees who actually are the greatest recipients of His mercy – the residents of Vrndavana. And by His own mouth, in His own words He explains that He can never give these devotees up. He is always thinking of them. He is always under their control.

And anybody who actually knows this and understands this… And that’s what Narada Muni asked for the blessing. Krsna brought Narada Muni into the room in Dvaraka and said, “Narada, come in the room.” Narada was afraid to come into the room, because he was thinking that he was the person who started this whole drama. And Krsna told Narada Muni, “Don’t you know that anybody who reminds Me of the devotees who are most dear to Me, is also most dear to Me?! You’ve done the greatest service by reminding Me about those devotees who are most dear to Me. I want to give you a benediction. Ask for some benediction.”

Narada Muni asked Krsna for the benediction that the nature of His devotional service would be that the devotee never thinks he has enough of Krsna’s mercy, and he never thinks he has enough love for Krsna, and he never thinks he is doing enough service for Krsna.

Krsna said, “Narada, why are you asking for a benediction like that? Don’t you know that’s the nature of devotional service? Look at all those devotees you went to. You went to king. You went to Indra. You went to Brahma. You went to Siva. You went to Prahlada. You went to Hanuman. You went to Udhava. You went to the Pandavas. You went to the residents of Dvaraka. And you saw that they all felt that they didn’t have enough of Krsna’s mercy. They all pointed to somebody who had more mercy than they did. They all thought they did not do enough service for Me. But they are all My pure devotees and I am reciprocating. That’s already the nature of devotional service. That’s how a devotee naturally thinks. Ask for some higher, some better benediction than that. Why ask for something that’s already there?!”

And so Narada Muni asked for the benediction, “I pray that anybody who hears these transcendental narrations of the love that You have for Your devotees, anyone who simply hears them giving them submissive oral reception and becomes attached to them, and is convinced of their importance, that they will be given the opportunity to engage in Your loving devotional service, the same devotional service that I’ve seen these devotees have in Vrndavana.”

And the Lord said to Narada, “Narada, I give you that benediction!” And He gave benediction that anyone who hears these descriptions that they will actually achieve that same mercy as these devotees in Vrndavana have. Narada immediately went back to where he originally saw the brahmana who was doing puja. In Prayag. He went back to where all the sages were gathered and immediately began telling them all the glories of Krsna’s unalloyed devotees in Vrndavana.

And in essence what he was describing is how Krsna is totally subordinate to His devotees. Krsna gives them the greatest independence to serve Krsna however they like it. And Krsna reciprocates fully with however they want to serve Him – totally subordinate to them. It is the greatest independence. It is the only way you can do what you really want to do. If you try to become independent in this material world, it is simply an illusion. Try to do what you want to do in this material world and try to be independent from hearing about this – then you will just have to be dependent on somebody else. And it will only lead to distress. That realization has to be there.

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta makes this point so clear. There is no independence, than full dependence on the Lord. And the Lord wants to give that experience to everyone. And all He asks, “Just do something for Me. That is all, do it for Me. If you have to do some austerities – do it for Me. If you have to make some offering, make some sacrifice – do it for Me.”

That’s all He asks. He doesn’t need it. He wants to share that experience. He doesn’t need the offering. He doesn’t need our service. He wants more than anything else to give us the taste of independence, the taste of devotional service to Him. He wants so much that others taste it, that He even wants to taste it Himself. Because He sees that, “the devotees seem to be experiencing more pleasure serving Me, than the pleasure I get from them serving Me.” The Lord sees that in His devotees that they get more pleasure, so He wants to taste that, too.

So He decided to come as Lord Caitanya to taste it. That’s how much nectar a devotee tastes in surrendering to the Lord, is that the Lord wants to become a devotee so He can taste it, too. So He became Lord Caitanya to taste it. That taste is the ultimate taste of devotional service, the last limit of bhakti. And as the Lord Caitanya, He came to distribute that taste. Not only to taste it Himself, but He is Krsna Himself who came as Krsna’s devotee to distribute that taste.

Therefore if we want that taste, we have to surrender to Lord Caitanya. There is no other way to get that taste – He has come to give us that taste. He is making that taste so easily accessible in Krsna’s Name. That is the Lord’s kindness, mercy and compassion upon the conditioned souls of this material world. And He is freely distributing it to everybody, even us. What did we do? What is our qualification? Therefore we can see how greatly merciful the devotees of the Lord are. How fortunate it is to become dependent upon the devotee of the Lord. The devotee is one who actually distributes Krsna’s mercy.

And therefore, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta says,

“As long as the living entities hold the rope of the Lord’s mercy, they are known as His servants. And His mercy comes by the mercy of His devotees. By the devotees mercy the living entity’s conditioned state, based upon their independent will, is easily destroyed. Subordination to the devotees is the proper utilization of independence.” [Maharaja repeats previous quote]

So, we should all aspire that we can live this life in subordination to a devotee of the Lord, and give up the foolish idea that we can be independent in this material world. It will not happen. It cannot happen. And the only way to become free from that illusion is to take shelter of the mercy of the devotees. That is the greatest fortune. That is what the pure devotees of the Lord pray for birth after birth, to have association of Krsna’s devotees. Because they know there is no other way that they can surrender to Krsna and get Krsna’s mercy except by the mercy of a devotee.

So, I think I’ve spoken long enough. I’ll end here. Thank you very much.