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Krishna's Flute
Song of the Lotus Feet of Radharani

A talk by
Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj
on his verandah at the
Sree Chaitanya Saraswata Krishnanushilana Sangha,
Dum Dum Park, Calcutta, 28 February 2002.

Part One
of two

Part One:
19+ minutes

Hear this as streaming mp3 audio or download to hear later.

Part Two of this talk: audio.

Part One and Part Two: Full transcription

Krishna's Flute
Song of the Lotus Feet of Radharani

Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev Goswami Maharaja

Srila Govinda Maharaja offers deep insight into Srila Sridhar Maharaja's unparalleled explanation of the Gayatri Mantra: Krishna's flute is singing the song of service to the lotus feet of Radharani (gayatri muralista kirtana-dhanam radha-padam-dhimahi).

There is gayatri mantram but what we are chanting is mantra: Hare Krishna maha-mantra. It is mentioned in the scriptures:

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

This is not mantram but the maha-mantra. It is especially worth noting. The scriptures describe what we take at the time of second initiation as gayatri mantra. That is mantramgayatri mantram.

At the time of first initiation, what we get from Guru is maha-mantra. We need to consciously differentiate between mantra and mantram. In Chaitanya Charitamrita Krishnadas Kaviraja Goswami clearly states the difference: by Krishna mantra one will get liberation from material existence, but only by Krishna-nam will one enter the land of dedication and achieve service of the lotus feet of Krishna (krsna-mantra haite habe samsara-mocana, krsna-nama haite pabe krsnera carana).

With this in mind we can understand what is what. If we want to enter into the transcendental world, first we need the help of the maha-mantra, because the maha-mantra can rescue one from the very lowest level and take one to the very highest level. For gayatri mantra some qualification is necessary; there are rules and regulations, many obstacles etc. Gayatri is mantram, and harinam (the Holy Name of Krishna) is maha-mantra. The harinama maha-mantra is very appropriate for the age of Kali yuga. Every yuga has its own maha-mantra, and that is called, taraka brahma nam (liberating spiritual name).

Like the trumpet of an elephant, it is a sound so great that it captures the hearts and attention of everyone. But that sound has no material form — it is pure spiritual sound. And that divine sound descends into this world from the flute of Lord Krishna.

Some mornings I see how our temple is decorated with our Math logo [in the center is a lotus flower (disciple) sheltered in the water (guru) nourished beneath the shining sun of OM (Krishna). At the base is the flute of Krishna with its divine song of liberation descending into this world.] I think how sweetly and intelligently Srila Guru Maharaja has described this in his explanation of Gayatri Mantra.

Gayatri means, "Sing and you will get liberation!" (ganat trayate iti gayatri). Such a very nice style! “Dance, sing, and you will get liberation!” This is gayatriganat trayate. No one anywhere, at any time, has explained the transcendental vibration form of the Lord in this way. No religion says, “Chant, dance and get liberation!”

And what is the form of that song? Murali means the flute of Krishna, the sound that comes out of the flute of Krishna (muralista-kirtana-dhanam). Krishna's flute is singing. Flutes are for singing, not for blasting, not for making violence. The sweet sound of Krishna's flute brings peace to the heart.

And what is the flute singing? It has some target. When we sing, we have some object in mind. We also employ rhythm and meter. The flute has a regulator and that meter is — the name of Radharani. No other sound is coming out from the flute, only, "Radhe, Radhe, Radhe, Radhe, Radhe!" Only this sound is coming — in a variety of ways.

We can conceive something in this regard from studying the life and character of Raghunath Das Goswami. Everyday Das Goswami is singing,

radhe vrindavana-vilasini radhe radhe
radhe kanu-mano mohini radhe radhe
radhe asta-sakhira siromani radhe radhe

In this song every verse concludes with, “Radhe Radhe!” Every day this is sung in the Radha Damodar Temple. When Prabhupada Saraswati Thakur first met Gaura Kishore Das Babaji, Babaji Maharaja was singing this song. And always singing this song, whether walking in the road or sitting in bhajan, he was always singing this song. This sound is the only song coming from the flute of Lord Krishna. The sound manifestation of its divine influence spreads over the entire transcendental and mundane worlds.

This understanding we get from the description of Rasa Lila in Srimad Bhagavatam. First Krishna calls all of the Gopis to assemble for Rasa Lila by playing his flute. It is the clarion call. And this call is the real property of all souls (jivas). We understand this through Bhaktivinode Thakur:

jiv jago, jiv jago gauracanda bole
kota nidra jao maya-pisacira kole

Is this the clarion call or what? We are sleeping on the lap of Maya in ignorance but the clarion call is coming, “Wake up!” The Upanishads say, uttishata jagrata prapya varan nibodhata, 'Wake up, arise and begin the search for Sri Krishna. Now is the time to get love for Krishna.” The Upanishads, Bhaktivinode Thakur, the song of Krishna's flute — the gist of that sound, its wealth, is realized in connection with the lotus feet (service) of Srimati Radharani (Radha Dasyam). Krishna is only attracted to his Divine Potency. She is serving Krishna wholeheartedly and very extensively with her associates. She is known as Radharani. And Krishna is always and only thinking of her.

The sound of Krishna's flute not only regulates madhura rasa but all rasa. In madhura rasa Radharani is the chief, but all other rasas are also maintained by madhura rasa. Madhura rasa is adi rasa the principal rasa from which all rasa springs. Madhura rasa maintains all variety of spiritual relationship: passive, active — servant, friend, parent — guardian (shanta rasa, dasya rasa, sakhya rasa, vatsalya rasa). Maintenance means preservation. Radharani's supreme sweet mood of service sustains the entire spiritual existence.

Gayatri-muralista-kirtana-dhanam. Generally we refer to the Hare Krishna maha-mantra or any devotional song as kirtan or sankirtan. But there is a little difference between the two. What one does alone may be called kirtan. But sankirtan means when, in a gathering of devotees, their heart comes out, that kind of kirtan is called sankirtan (bahubhir militva yat kirtanam tad eva sankirtanam).

Here Guru Maharaja has specifically mentioned kirtana dhanam. Kirtan is not only recommended for everyone, but it is the wealth of our life, because through kirtan we get entrance into the Rasa Lila — divine play with Krishna, Radharani, the Vraja Gopis — playing, singing, dancing. And this is the wealth of liberated jiva souls.

Guru Maharaja says not only kirtan but kirtana dhanam. The flute is not a bamboo stick or something made out of metal. It is alive. This means it is a conscious living being (cetana). Everyone in the transcendental and material world has free will, this freedom Krishna has given to everyone. The body of the flute is a form of consciousness. He has desires and free will like any being, but he is using his freedom for this inconceivable service to Lord Krishna. The flute's ecstasy is in singing the song of the lotus feet of Radharani (Radha Dasyam).

sakhi murali visala-cchidra-jalena purna
laghur atikathina tvam granthila nirasasi
tad api bhajasi svasvac cumbanananda-sandram
hari-kara-parirambham kena punyodayena
— Vidagdha Madhava, Rupa Goswami

[Hey flute-friend, what sort of good things have you done that such a hard, dry piece of bamboo like you, with more faults (knots) than holes, enjoys being squeezed by Krishna's lotus hands and tastes an endless stream of nectar from his kiss?]

Rupa Goswami's Prabhu's sloka praises the flute.
The flute has its own life which is dedicated to this most desirable and palatable song (istha kirtana dhanam). More than that I cannot express in English. But I can see in the eyes. Cannot express — maybe. But it is true, what the flute is playing, that is written everywhere. He is playing the name of the Supreme Servitor of Lord Krishna. The Supreme Servitor Form of Lord Krishna is Srimati Radharani.

It is fully described in Garga Samhita. I have seen yesterday maybe — I am opening and getting. This is the mercy of Guru Maharaja. Standing in the arati and seeing the Math logo above the Deities, my brain starts working. Brain is material and matter cannot touch the transcendental but everything is possible by the grace of Gurudeva. So by Srila Guru Maharaja's grace I am very hopeful. The meaning of Gayatri as revealed by Srila Guru Maharaja is: Krishna's flute sings the song of the lotus feet of Radharani (Radha Dasyam).

The word dhimahi in Gayatri is very famous in Sanskrit literature. Two words are present most in gayatri mantrams: dhimahi and pracodayat. The concluding word of the meditation is pracodayat. It's not that we will only meditate, but the mantram will pressure us to serve Radharani.

We need to know the spiritual regulations and injunctions (codanampraticodanam). That scriptural advice is found in the Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, Mahabharata etc. Sruti and Smrti: Bhagavad Gita is smrti and sruti is Vedanta, Upanishads etc. But here codanam means prerana (inspiration). What kind of inspiration? Forceful inspiration — inspiring forcefully. The mantram's nature is like that: to capture the jiva soul's mind through inspiration and forcefully engage one in the service of Radharani. This is the extraordinary meaning Srila Guru Maharaja has given of the Gayatri Mantra.

And I have found this sort of nectar in the Garga Samhita, maybe a thousand times. We should note that in Srimad Bhagavatam the most exalted, qualified, exponents of Vedic mantram were all present at Sukadev's meeting with Parikit Maharaja. Veda Vyas records their names in the Bhagavatam because each name also represents a different school of thought (Srimad Bhagavatam 1.19.9-10).

Even though they are the senior-most representatives of all schools of Vedic thought, Sukadev Goswami did not try to fully disclose the esoteric secrets of the Krishna conception (Goloka Vrindavan — aprakrta lila). By inference he revealed the highest truth. But Sukadev Goswami did not expose the conception of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (radha bhava dyuti suvalitam naumi krsna svarupam).

Mahaprabhu came to give what was never given before (anarpita-carim cirat karunayavatirnah kalau). What was not given before in this material world, not only this material universe, but in the millions of universes in this material sky, nowhere was it given. Mahaprabhu Chaitanyadev came to give that (krsna prema pradayate). And that can be found in the Srimad Bhagavatam. But Viswanath Chakravarti Thakur says clearly, if you search for evidence you are foolish, because although Srimad Bhagavatam may be the junior-most scripture, it contains the senior-most thought.

After Veda Vyas had revealed all the scriptures still he was unhappy. He was again initiated by Narada Goswami, mediated and then composed the Srimad Bhagavatam. So it is junior-most in terms of date of composition, but the senior-most beautiful theories of the highest reality are given in an organized way to the souls of this world (jiva cetana). Srila Guru Maharaja used this expression, jiva cetana: it may be a material atmosphere, but the basis of the world is consciousness.

Still there is a little suspicion in the minds of pure hearted devotees, “If the purpose of the book is to reveal the devotion of Radharani (krsna prema), then why is her name not mentioned in Srimad Bhagavatam?” Mercifully, Srila Guru Maharaja has given this theory to us in his original sloka:

yadamiya-mahima-sri bhagavatyam kathayam
pratipadam anubhutam apyalabdhabhideya
tadakhila-rasa-murteh syama-lilavalamvam
madhura-rasadhi-radha-padapadman prapadye

In the Srimad Bhagavatam, everywhere, every sloka, every letter, is glorifying the holy name of Radharani. Her particular form may not be visible, but Krishna is always playing with whom? Radharani. Srimad Bhagavatam is the Play of the Sweet Absolute. Then it is impossible that Radharani's name will not be there. But Sukadev is hiding her behind a veil of inference. In India there is a marriage system. Married girls always keep their heads covered. When a senior honorable person comes they immediately cover their heads. This is also the style of Srimad Bhagavatam for concealing, yet revealing Radharani.

Without Radharani's association, Krishna is nothing!

The Sweet Absolute's play in Goloka Vrindavan depends upon Radharani. Only she can fully exchange rasa with Krishna. Krishna is the emporium of all rasas (akhila-rasamrta-murtih), but who can contain that infinite ocean of rasa? Who is the pot? The pot is Radharani. In that pot Krishna is keeping his wealth and tasting. Otherwise, all will be spoiled. So Krishna keeps all his wealth in the pot of Radharani and tastes her mood of devotion.

This is the explanation Srila Guru Maharaja has given of the Gayatri mantra. And no one has given anything like this in the conscious world — this material conscious world. No one has given an explanation like Guru Maharaja. In his final days we saw Guru Maharaja continually discovering new things. Actually, it is all within him, but he didn't have anyone to tell. Finally in his last life I asked, “Nowhere has anyone given such an explanation of Gayatri mantra, why are you giving? What all of the Acharyas are hiding, why are you exposing that?”

Within Gayatri mantram, within Rg mantram — Guru Maharaja revealed everything. I have taken six explanations. I chose from there — and four I have taken specifically. But it is especially my desire that I shall take this one: dhir aradhanam eva nanyad iti tad radha-padam dhimahi. Buddhidhi. Buddhi — where will go buddhi? There are two kinds of intelligence: one para and one apara. Apara intelligence is always serving the Lord. Then dhir aradhanam eva nanyad iti, without serving the Lord, no other conception exists. That is Guru Maharaja's vakya, meaning — explanation. But I have taken, gayatri-gaditam mahaprabhu-matam, where it is a little hidden (radha-padam dhimahi).

The original Rg Veda mantram is:

om tad visnoh paramam padam sada pasyanti surayah
diviva caksur atatam visnor yat paramam padam

It is called Rg mantra. But Srila Guru Maharaja has enhanced that Rg mantra:

om tad visnoh paramam padam sruti matam muhyanti yat surayah
drastah caksur iva prasarita-maha-suryeva divyatatam
dhamna svena sada nirasta-kuhakam satya param sabditam
jyotih priti-tanum hiranya-purusam pasyanti tam surayah

This line is especially significant: jyotih priti-tanum hiranya-purusam. Effulgence and love — heart and halo — has taken form as Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. This sort of revelation is Guru Maharaja's miracle!

So many pundits can understand the Sanskrit language but from within the Sanskrit, everyone cannot extract the gist of ecstasy. This is a fact. In the Upanishad it is said very clearly, nayam atma bala-hinena labhyo, nayam atma pravacanena labhyo, na medhaya na bahuna srutena. You know so many things — maybe. You may have so much intelligence (medha), but you will not understand. Without the grace of Nityananda Prabhu, without the grace of Baladev, you cannot understand anything.

But when Krishna in the form of guru will give this mantram to you and you will meditate with your own existence, then you must understand (yam evaisa vrnute tena labhyas). There is no doubt. But everywhere people are plagued by doubt and questions. Therefore everywhere there is so much difficulty. But he will reveal himself to whom he chooses (tasyaisa atma vivrnute tanum svam). It is as if we have no eyes! Like owls, who don't like to see the Sun. If we do not have a pair of eyes, how will we see? (andhi bhuti caksu yara vishaya dhulite, kemone se para tattva paibe dekhite). This is a Bengali expression. Which way will one see whose eyes are blinded by the dust of material conception?

Hare Krishna.

Here is the word surayah. Guru Maharaja used it only to honor the Vedas, Upanishads. But Guru Maharaja has not given the meaning of surayah as "the vision of the gods." Surayah means demigods. They are seeing, but demigods can never see that higher reality, hiranya-purusah, without the mercy of whom? Jyotih priti-tanum's mercy — without the mercy of Mahaprabhu. Without the mercy of Nityananda Prabhu, even the gods (surayah) also cannot see. This is a fact. Not that only I am saying this but Brahma himself agrees:

jananta eva janantu
kim bahuktya na me prabho
manaso vapuso vaco
vaibhavam tava go-carah

"Those who say, 'I know Krishna' — let them talk. But as far as I am concerned I cannot understand even a little bit about your glories. And for that I am misguided. It is not only bodily, mentally, or verbally, but my whole existence is blind without your mercy my Lord."

Brahma doubted Krishna's divinity and wanted to test his Omnipotence. He stole Krishna's cows and cowherd boyfriends while they took a lunch break from their cow herding pastimes (gostha-lila). Brahma kept them in a cave on his planet and after one year came back and was shocked, “Everything is normal! Sri Krishna's pastimes in Vrindavan are going on as ever without interruption."

He thought the cows and cowherd boys must have somehow escaped and returned to Vrindavan. So he checked back on his planet Brahmaloka and saw they were still there sleeping under the influence of his illusion. He wanted to bewilder Krishna but instead he was now completely bewildered. He returned to Vrindavan and finally fell at the lotus feet of Krishna. He begged forgiveness for doubting his divinity and failing to realize his inconceivable potency.

Kneeling before Krishna, Brahma offered so many wonderful prayers, only to be sweetly dismissed with a mere affectionate glance from Krishna's lotus eyes.

Every day this type of divine substance does not come out. Today I am very fortunate — you are all very fortunate. And it came by simply seeing our Math logo. By his mercy I could give some explanation about Srila Guru Maharaja's Gayatri conception (gayatri-muralista-kirtana-dhanam radha-padam dhimahi).

The Hidden Meaning of Gayatri
— Srila Bhakti Rakshak Sridhar Dev Goswami

bhvades tat savitur varenya-vihitam kshetra-jña sevyarthakam
bhargo vai vrsabhanu-jatma-vibhavaikaradhana sri-puram
(bhargo dhama-taranga-khelana-sudhaikaradhana sri-puram)
(bhargo dhama sada-nirasta-kuhakam prajñana-lila-puram)

devasyamrta-rupa-lila-rasadheraradha-dhih prerinah
(devasyamrta-rupa-lila-purusasyaradha-dhih presinah)
(devasya dyuti-sundaraika-purusasyaradhya-dhih presinah)

gayatri-muralista-kirtana-dhanam radha-padam dhimahi
(gayatri-gaditam mahaprabhu-matam radha-padam dhimahi)
(dhir aradhanam eva nanyad iti tad radha-padam dhimahi)

Copyright © 2003 Sri Chaitanya Saraswat Math

Part One:
19+ minutes

Hear this as streaming mp3 audio or download to hear later.

Part Two of this talk: audio.

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